Tag Archive: Grow

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Your Holiday Dinner

The year has flown by, and somehow we’ve already stored our skeletons and pumpkins, and we’re ready for Thanksgiving. Time to order those stretchy pants as you bring together family and friends over one table.

But with every large event, there are safety issues that occur as you cook a big feast in your kitchen.

Did you know Thanksgiving is the No. 1 day for home cooking fires in the country, followed by Christmas? Yes, that’s more than three times as many as a regular day. Unattended cooking is the culprit for the rise in kitchen fires.

Sure, smart stove apps can help keep an eye on things and alert you, but not everyone has those on hand.

If you’re thinking of hosting this year, read on for Thanksgiving safety tips for this holiday season.

Before dinner

turkey in the oven

Preparing a large feast for your family and friends isn’t an easy feat, but it can be enjoyed with some pre-planning to save money and time. Check your smoke detectors, switch out the batteries if needed and make your grocery list.

1. Turkey safety

Timing is everything when purchasing the best turkey and the ingredients for all of your sides. If you’re buying a fresh turkey, wait until two days before Thanksgiving. We know it’s not ideal for your busy schedule, but this helps keep it fresh for your meal.

Move your frozen turkey to the refrigerator prior to the big day. The general rule of thumb is to give it about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey to thaw it completely. Place a tray under it to catch any juices and never let the turkey thaw out on the kitchen counter — frozen meat can start to grow bacteria after only two hours outside.

2. At the grocery

Start filling your shopping cart with grocery shelf items before reaching for the refrigerated perishables and frozen foods. After you’ve picked out your groceries, make sure to come straight home to make sure nothing thaws out.

As you go down your grocery list, keep all of your guests’ dietary restrictions in mind. For example, pre-basted or self-basting turkeys often contain soy, wheat or dairy, so be sure to read the labels.

3. Keep an eye for cross-contamination

Use different utensils and cutting boards when preparing meat and produce and thoroughly wash them between each use. We know it’s an extra step, but it keeps all bacteria off your prep area. Skip rinsing the turkey — it’s not necessary.

Be sure to keep the meat thermometer out to check that the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature of 164 degrees Fahrenheit. With a different thermometer, check that all hot side items reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

4. Don’t forget about the stove

With everyone catching up about this year’s work and life milestones, you can quickly get distracted and walk away from the kitchen. A fire can start in the blink of an eye.

Set a timer on your home assistant like the Amazon Echo, your smartphone or walk away with a potholder. Any of these will jolt you right out of conversation and back to the kitchen.

5. Set the table

So, it’s time to dig in — do you set up the table with name tags and formal place settings or a casual buffet? We think both a formal table and buffet are good options.

If you have room for a buffet, make sure that you set out the cold food first, so it’s the right temperature when the guests grab it. Also, set up sauces and gravy near their corresponding dishes for easy access.

If you have a formal setup, designate your turkey carver and set all sides on easy to grab platters with serving spoons.

While you eat

turkey being served on thanksgiving

First things first — as you start plating sides for the table and putting the turkey on a platter, make sure that you check every stove burner and the oven. Turn everything off.

Move all things away from the burners to make sure nothing catches on fire, and check that the oven is empty. Don’t leave anything still cooking, simmering or boiling.

After the feast

Leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving. But every year, one in six people get sick from contaminated food. Bacteria grow fast. But if you don’t want your Thanksgiving feast to become the infamous story told again and again at parties, make sure to keep an eye on your food preparation and storage.

As people start to slow down over their meals, start wrapping all leftovers, taking them to the kitchen and placing them in the refrigerator. While a few of you clean, have someone in your family be in charge of entertaining the kids so everything will go faster.

Avoid storing the stuffing inside the turkey. They should remain separate. No food should stay out for more than two hours. Skip any leftovers on plates touched by your guests.

Once everyone is headed home, pack up the leftovers in small, shallow containers. Let them know to refrigerate them as soon as they get back. Store the turkey in the freezer.

You have up to four days to make all the turkey sandwiches and fried mashed potatoes you want, then you have to toss them.

turkey safety infographic

Source: Fightbac.org

Enjoy your Thanksgiving day

Thanksgiving kicks off the ever-tiring holiday season, but with good food and people to surround you, you’ll have a good time. Cook everything at the right temperature, keep your kitchen clean, be careful when handling produce and store leftovers within two hours.

Don’t miss a good meal due to a dangerous kitchen fire. Stay safe in the kitchen this coming season.

The post Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Your Holiday Dinner appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

The Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City

One of the most family-friendly cities in the west, Salt Lake City has more to offer than many might think. While it’s not an extremely large city, it’s definitely not small — and it’s growing. A lot.

It’s slowly becoming a new hub for tech companies, creating an abundance of jobs and drawing in the crowds from out of state. Although people are coming in droves, rent prices went down last year and you can typically find a one-bedroom apartment for between $1,200 and $1,300.

With prices like that, there’s no better time than now to find the perfect neighborhood for you in Salt Lake City.

Sugarhouse

Sugarhouse in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / 21 and View

Sugarhouse offers the best of everything — a quaint suburban feel, lots of fun, independently-owned restaurants and it radiates an eclectic feeling. Not to mention that it’s near the mouth of Parley’s Canyon, making it easy to find hikes nearby or hitting the slopes in Park City.

It’s also a really safe area, which is why there are so many people always looking to move to Sugarhouse. There are many parks, notably Sugarhouse park, which has plenty of wide-open grass fields, pavilions for public use, basketball courts and a pond.

Find apartments for rent in Sugarhouse
Buy a house in Sugarhouse

The Avenues

The Avenues in Salt Lake City.

The Avenues is a fairly affluent area — home to lots of historic buildings and houses built in the 1920s and 1930s. Although it’s a little more expensive here, it’s for good reason.

It has the old charm, but with new, vibrant residents that have given new life to the neighborhood over the last decade or so.

The neighborhood is safe and beautiful and it’s easy to walk to restaurants and shops in the area.

Find apartments for rent in The Avenues
Buy a house in The Avenues

Downtown

Salt Lake City.

Downtown is right in the middle of everything — it’s truly the heart of Salt Lake City. There’s a good mix of the old and the new, with historical sites and beautiful architecture.

There’s also lots to see and do, whether you’re wanting to try a great restaurant or shop at the massive City Creek shopping center.

You can walk most places, but you’ve also got the TRAX and FrontRunner trains that not only will get you around downtown but will get you to other outlying parts of the valley quickly (and you don’t have to deal with the traffic).

Find apartments for rent in Downtown
Buy a house in Downtown

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City.

The area surrounding the state capitol building, fittingly named Capitol Hill, is one of the most desirable neighborhoods. Not too far from downtown, you are in close proximity to endless entertainment.

As noted by the name, it’s right on top of a hill, which overlooks the entire Salt Lake valley for some of the best views you can get. Furthermore, one of the favorite local activities every year is strolling through the cherry blossom trees that line the capitol building.

Find apartments for rent in Capitol Hill
Buy a house in Capitol Hill

Yalecrest

Yalecrest in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / the New Broadmoore

Safe, diverse and historic are three words that perfectly describe Yalecrest. Here, you’ll find incredible homes — many larger Tudor-style homes that make you feel like you’re in another century.

You’re right by many trendy restaurants and food markets, not to mention you’ve got both Sugar House Park and Liberty Park nearby.

A simple neighborhood walk through Yalecrest is a treat — the mature landscaping and exposed wood beams on homes never grow boring.

Find apartments for rent in Yalecrest
Buy a house in Yalecrest

Wasatch Hollow

Wasatch Hollow salt lake city

Photo source: Redfin / 1838 E Kensington Ave

Wasatch Hollow feels like many other city suburbs. It’s quiet and fairly safe but has a diverse crowd of residents to set it apart from other neighborhoods.

Many young families are settling down in the area since it’s close to grocery stores and good schools. While it’s not quite Yalecrest, full of beautiful Tudor-style homes — it’s pretty close to it with fully matured tree-lined streets and well-kept homes.

Find apartments for rent in Wasatch Hollow
Buy a house in Wasatch Hollow

Central City

Central City in Salt Lake City.

In Central City, you’re about as close to Downtown as you can get without actually being downtown. The age of the area is easily noticed — but in a good way.

Expect a mixture of old historic homes from different times and architectural periods and lots of restaurants with decades of history, along with newer bars and coffee shops.

The area attracts lots of young professionals who work downtown and don’t mind having a little less square footage to live in. Even with the smaller living quarters, the distinct indie vibe of Central City is well worth it if you’re looking for an interesting day-to-day life.

Find apartments for rent in Central City
Buy a house in Central City

Rose Park

Rose Park in Salt Lake.

While it didn’t always have a great reputation, Rose Park is now an up-and-coming neighborhood. It’s a fairly peaceful and quiet area that’s seeing a revival — more and more people are flocking to it.

Couples and young families are turning Rose Park into a more youthful area. More restaurants are opening up to accommodate the crowds.

Soon, it’s expected that the area will be one of the most lively in the valley.

Find apartments for rent in Rose Park
Buy a house in Rose Park

East Bench

East Bench in Salt Lake City.

Settled into the hills of the mountains to the east of the Salt Lake valley, you’ll find East Bench. This neighborhood is full of single-family homes and well-established, older residents.

Most of the homes are large and spacious here — unlike many other neighborhoods in the lower valley with smaller and tightly packed streets.

There are no grocery stores or shopping centers in the actual East Bench neighborhood, but there’s plenty nearby, — so you’re not missing out on anything important.

Despite being further from local amenities, the view from the neighborhood is an exceptional one.

Find apartments for rent in East Bench
Buy a house in East Bench

Poplar Grove

Poplar Grove in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / Cornell Street Apartments

One of the larger neighborhoods within Salt Lake City, Poplar Grove lies just east of downtown. And like some of the other neighborhoods, it’s been given new life in recent years.

It’s maintained a diverse demographic throughout the years, which is part of what makes the neighborhood great. Being so close to downtown means there’s no shortage of things to do, restaurants to eat at and shopping spots to explore!

Find apartments for rent in Poplar Grove
Buy a house in Poplar Grove

People’s Freeway

People

In People’s Freeway, you’ll find it’s full of laid-back restaurants and activities. Smith’s Ballpark is in the neighborhood, where you can catch Salt Lake’s minor league baseball team, the Bees.

Most residents in this area live in apartments or condos, which have drawn in more young professionals and young couples, rather than full families. And the neighborhood caters to those young professionals and couples — with plenty of chill bars and affordable restaurants around, it’s easy to meet new people in the same stage of life.

Find apartments for rent in People’s Freeway
Buy a house in People’s Freeway

Fairpark

Fairpark in Salt Lake City.

Fairpark, given its name for the fairgrounds in this neighborhood, is a truly eclectic area of Salt Lake.

Full of great ethnic cuisine, Fairpark offers up some of the best Mexican and Asian restaurants in the city. Furthermore, if you’re one who likes to cook cultural foods at home — there is a surplus of ethnic markets so you can buy anything you need for authentic dishes.

Fairpark is close to downtown, but a bit quieter. You still feel like you’re in the city but in a lesser-known part. You’re far from the hustle and bustle of the big city and can explore this hidden gem of a neighborhood in peace.

Find apartments for rent in Fairpark
Buy a house in Fairpark

Liberty Wells

Liberty Wells in Salt Lake City.

Full of restaurants, coffee shops and bars — the Liberty Wells neighborhood attracts some of the most interesting, eccentric people in the valley. Most are young professionals, so it’s no wonder the area maintains a vibrant atmosphere.

There’s not too much traffic and you can walk most places in Liberty Wells. Local businesses offer everything from handmade postcards to imported cheese — you’re always bound to find something interesting and unexpected around every corner.

If you’re wanting to meet new people, this is one of the friendliest neighborhoods where you can grab a drink and chat with almost anyone.

Find apartments for rent in Liberty Wells
Buy a house in Liberty Wells

Bonneville Hills

Bonneville Hills in Salt Lake City.

Bonneville Hills is your typical suburb — quiet, safe and beautiful in its own right.

With great K-12 schools in the area and the University of Utah close by, lots of families, college students and young professionals enjoy living in the neighborhood.

There are parks around every corner and you’re minutes away from many hikes and canyons, so there’s no shortage of outdoor activities right outside your front door.

Find apartments for rent in Bonneville Hills
Buy a house in Bonneville Hills

Glendale

Glendale in Salt Lake City.

Established during World War II, Glendale is one of the friendliest neighborhoods you’ll find. Its close sense of community attracts families and couples looking to settle down for a while.

With such an engaging community, Glendale brings in plenty of diversity, blending together Hispanic, Polynesian and Native American cultures — along with many others.

Plus, it’s one of the more affordable areas close to downtown, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

Find apartments for rent in Glendale
Buy a house in Glendale

Which Salt Lake City neighborhood is best for you?

There are so many wonderful neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, it’s hard to choose where to live. No matter which neighborhood draws you in, you’re sure to find that Salt Lake is a wonderful, diverse city that you’ll fit into quickly.

So check out Salt Lake City apartments to rent or homes to buy to get started with your move!

The post The Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

"How Will You Measure Your Life?" The Question that Changed Me Forever

Reading is one of my superpowers. I make time daily in my work life to consume an article or a chapter of a non-fiction book. I usually learn something—a new fact to absorb or a tactic to try. 

Incredibly rarely, something I read actually changes me. 

When I first read this piece, I was an exhausted, overworked, always-feeling-guilty mom with a long commute and a need for something to change.

Seven years ago, I first stumbled on an article called How Will You Measure Your Life? written by the renowned Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. The piece captivated me, and I credit it with setting me on a new path. Christensen, who has since passed away, offered me a sense of direction and clarity. I find many people around me seek the same thing right now, which is precisely why I'm revisiting a seven-year-old article with you today.

When I first read this piece, I was an exhausted, overworked, always-feeling-guilty mom with a long commute and a need for something to change. Reading it helped me ask and answer some big questions for myself—not by telling me what to think, but rather how to think. Christensen's article applied big wonky management concepts to the everyday business of humanity. And he did it beautifully.

Since I first read "How Will You Measure Your Life," I've made a habit of rereading it once a year. And each year I take something new from it.

Today, in case you’re one of those people sitting with big questions, I’d love to share some of my favorite insights. If you’ve ever wondered how to maintain fulfillment, balance, and integrity in your life and career, then this one’s for you.

How do I achieve fulfillment in my career?

Professor Christensen begins with an introduction to the work of Frederick Herzberg whose research in the mid-twentieth century taught us that money is not our most powerful motivating force.

As Money Girl Laura Adams tells us, money can buy us happiness … but only to a point. To have emotional well-being, we need to have enough money to cover basics like food and shelter comfortably. A widely cited 2010 study set that bar at $75,000 a year. Making more than that, data told us, didn’t equate to more happiness.

Unlock those golden handcuffs and free yourself to find joy in your work.

So if money doesn’t drive happiness, then what does? According to Christensen, it’s the opportunity to learn, to grow in responsibility, to contribute to the development of others, and to be recognized for your hard work and achievements. 

So ask yourself: Are you having these fulfilling experiences in your work today? 

If you could use a bump, are there ways you can infuse more life into your work? Can you take on a project that might help you expand your thinking, network, or knowledge? Can you mentor someone whose success you’d love to enhance? Can you publicly recognize a colleague who did you a small solid?

Or are you ready for a change you now realize you can afford to make?

Maybe you’ve always worked in corporate and dreamed of rolling into the non-profit space. Or you’re being pulled in multiple directions and want to transition to working part-time for a while. Or there’s that side hustle you always wanted to try, or that degree you dream of getting.

Unlock those golden handcuffs and free yourself to find joy in your work. 

For me, this meant finally stepping out of a job that felt heavy and taking that chance on starting my own business. I’ve never looked back.

How do I maintain balance?

This, Christensen explains, is really a question of how your strategy is defined and implemented.

”…A company’s strategy is determined by the types of initiatives that management invests in.”

If a company's strategy is to win by creating high-quality products, but it chooses to maximize its profit margin by using cheap materials to manufacture them, well … I think you can see why the strategy is doomed to fail.

So the question here is what strategy have you defined for your life. And are you making the right investments to support it?

To make the analogy work, Christensen imagines each important part of his life as a line of business—his career, his family, and his community.

He wants each of them to succeed. So he allocates his investments—his time, his focus, his care—in alignment with that strategy.

I realized that my time is my investment portfolio. I wanted to take ownership of it.

“Allocation choices,” he says, “can make you turn out to be very different from what you intended.”

He goes on to observe that “People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers even though… loving relationships… are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.”

When I first read this, I knew my sense of balance was off. Yet I somehow felt powerless to change it. But there was something in his framing about the allocation of resources that really hit me. I realized that my time is my investment portfolio. I wanted to take ownership of it.

Did I quit my job and start my business the next day? I assure you I did not. But this reframing was exactly the gift I needed to move from feeling constrained and trapped to feeling encouraged and ready to explore some options. 

Where have you possibly overinvested in work and underinvested in the things or people that bring you joy?

I’m not suggesting you follow my path. I’m inviting you to assess yours. Are you investing according to the outcomes you hope to achieve? Where have you possibly overinvested in work and underinvested in the things or people that bring you joy?

How do I keep integrity at the forefront?

Ever hear of something called the “marginal cost mistake?” I hadn’t. It’s the idea that most people who’ve fallen from grace (think Bernie Madoff) didn’t wake up one day and decide to commit a major crime.

“A voice in our head says ‘Look, I know that as a general rule most people shouldn’t do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once it’s OK.’ The marginal cost of doing something wrong ‘just this once’ always seems alluringly low. It suckers you in.”

Personally, I’ve never stood on the precipice of making a criminal choice. But this concept has shown up in my life in different ways.

Think long and hard before you break the golden rule. Otherwise, your 'marginal cost mistake' will stay with you.

In my life today, I stand firmly in the camp of respect and equality for every human being. If someone in my life—a client, a colleague, even a family member—makes an off-color joke or comment, I know it’s easier to ignore it. Just this once. 

But I won’t. And having that clarity makes the choice so simple for me.

Maybe your boss asked you to “borrow” a competitor’s idea you heard about… just this once. Or a friend needs a reference and wonders if you’ll play the role of her former boss… but just for this one potential job.

Think long and hard before you break the golden rule. Otherwise, your "marginal cost mistake" will stay with you. I still remember kids I didn’t stand up for on the playground. I can’t change what’s behind me, but I can be a version of myself going forward that the little girl in me would be proud of.

I wish the same for you.

I hope these ideas have triggered some insight or courage or inspiration. May you be fulfilled, may you be in balance, and may you be the most gleaming version of you.   

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

The Average Salary of a Pilot

The Average Salary of a Pilot

The job of an airline pilot has a certain glamour to it. However, unconventional working hours and plenty of time away from home can be a recipe for stress and burnout. This could be why airline and commercial pilots are compensated fairly well, earning a median annual salary of $115,670. That one number doesn’t tell the whole story, though, as it varies depending on whom you fly for and where you’re based. 

The Average Salary of a Pilot

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary of the group the BLS calls airline and commercial pilots was $115,670 per year in May 2018. The BLS also tracks the job outlook for the careers it studies, measuring how many jobs the career will add between 2016 and 2026. The BLS job outlook for Airline and Commercial Pilots is 4%, which is about as fast as the average across all careers. According to the BLS, the U.S. will add 4,400 airline and commercial pilots between 2016 and 2026.

Where Pilots Earn the Most

The Average Salary of a Pilot

When it comes to tracking state- and city-level earnings data, the BLS looks at commercial pilots and “airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers” separately. Let’s take a look at where commercial pilots earn the most.

The mean annual wage for commercial pilots is $96,530 per year. According to BLS data, the top-paying state for commercial pilots is Georgia, where commercial pilots earn a mean annual wage of $130,760. Other high-paying states for commercial pilots are Connecticut, New York, Florida and Maryland. The top-paying metro area for commercial pilots is Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC, where the annual mean wage for commercial pilots is $128,600. Other high-paying metro areas for commercial pilots are Savannah, GA; Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA; Bakersfield, CA; Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO and Spartanburg, SC.

Now let’s take a look at where airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers earn the most. The top-paying state in this field is Washington, with a mean annual wage of $237,150. Other high-paying states for this profession are Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and California. Of the metro areas for which the BLS has data, the top-paying metro area for airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers is San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, with a mean annual wage of $247,120. Other high-paying metro areas for this field are Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA; Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV; Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL and Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI.

Becoming a Pilot

Typically, it’s easier to become a commercial pilot than an airline pilot. Because of this, many airline pilots start their career as commercial pilots. To be a pilot of any kind, you’ll need to have a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  To be an airline pilot, you’ll need an additional document known as a Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate. This is also issued by the FAA.

In terms of education, you will need a high school diploma and a commercial pilot’s license to become a commercial pilot. To become an airline pilot, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree, although it can be in any subject.

The typical path to becoming a commercial pilot is to complete an FAA-certified flight training program. These are held both at independent flight schools and through colleges and universities. Once you’ve assembled enough flying hours, you can get a job as a commercial pilot.

Regional and major airlines typically require significantly more flight experience for new hires. This is another reason why many people start out as commercial pilots and then move on to working for an airline. According to the BLS, many commercial pilot jobs require a minimum of 500 flying hours, whereas entry-level airline jobs require somewhere around 1,500.

Bottom Line

The Average Salary of a Pilot

Have you ever flown out of an airport and wondered what it would be like to be a pilot? With an average annual salary of $102,520, pilots earn a good living. Not just anyone can become a pilot, however. Commercial pilots must earn a commercial pilot certificate, while airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers must earn the Federal Air Transport certificate and rating for the specific aircraft type they fly. Being a pilot is also a dangerous job, so it’s not surprising that pilots’ compensation is high.

Tips for Saving Responsibly

  • The median pilot salary is enough to live comfortably in most areas of the country, but it’s still important to make sure you’re saving some of that money for emergencies and retirement.
  • A financial advisor can be a big help in managing your money and choosing smart investments that grow your nest egg. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/xavierarnau, ©iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund, ©iStock.com/amesy

The post The Average Salary of a Pilot appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

Source: smartasset.com

Does Your Small Business Need a Blog? Blog Writing Services Can Help

If you have a business, the next step to taking it further is to build and grow a connection with your customers. Simply providing a service or product is no longer enough. In a world that is always moving and full of change, people crave meaningful interactions. And that need extends to the products and services they use. Customers want to be surrounded by things they can identify with. If a business with great products or services is also able to provide some kind of added value for someone, that person is more likely to become a loyal patron. 

As a business owner, providing that added value can feel like a huge task. This is where the value of blog writing services can really shine. Not only can these services create more connections between you and your customers, but they can also make your life easier through a smoother workflow. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started.

What are my goals?

Ultimately, you probably hope to increase your sales. However, modern consumers expect personal connections. Set a goal for providing helpful facts that engage new readers. Establish a goal regarding how many new readers left comments on your blog. Consumers are more likely to complete sales when they feel that you hope to improve their lives. 

Do I even need a blog?

Yes. According to studies conducted by the Pew Research Center, people regularly turn to blogs and internet articles instead of using their televisions for news and information.

How can I connect with customers?

A blog allows businesses to connect with customers in many ways. Blogs provide answers to consumers' questions. They make your brand seem approachable and friendly. Blogs encourage readers to interact with your company and maintain meaningful connections. In addition to providing a blog, reach out through social media to invite readers to visit your website. 

Who are my current customers?

If you aren't sure about the needs, motivations, and concerns of your existing customers, it will be easy to miss out on meaningful connections. As you respond to comments on your blog posts or on your social media sites, you'll learn more about the needs that drive sales. While copywriters will spend time researching your current customers, it's also helpful for you to develop relationships with them.

Who is the target audience?

Who benefits most from the goods or services you offer? These people are your target audience. Take a look at the demographics of your existing customers to identify the new audience you want to attract. Remember to focus on how your offerings can improve the lives of your existing customers to understand how to attract people from your target audience. 

How busy is my schedule?

Building and maintaining a blog with a consistent schedule takes a lot of work. Some people make the mistake of underestimating the time commitment that goes into planning, design, and content creation. When your workday is already pushing beyond the 9-to-5 schedule, you don't really have time to produce consistent, fresh content. 

There are a lot of potentially great blogs out there that consist of just one or two posts … last updated eight months ago. If you want to have a blog that builds and sustains an audience, a consistent schedule is critical. Without a schedule, it can sometimes be impossible to ensure posts are written and content keeps flowing. If you have loyal followers and you disappear for several months, you may very well be forgotten! Using blog writing services makes this a non-issue. When someone else writes your content, you can tend to your life and work without having to worry about losing customers.

Can copywriters really represent my voice?

The task of finding someone to accurately portray your company should not be taken lightly. After all, writing in a business or brand's voice is a critical part of the copywriting process.

It is equally important to understand the value of professional copywriters. There are many factors involved in the process of creating great copy that leads to increased sales, and copywriters must understand and use these strategies. With research into your subject and your target consumers, talented copywriters can represent your voice. 

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

What to Do About Bad Smells in the House

When you’ve found the perfect new home and are counting down the days until you can move in, nothing can put a damper on your spirits quite like bad smells in the house that just doesn’t seem to go away. Musty or stale smells, odors from previous smokers or pet owners, or even smells from fresh paint can be less-than-welcome and hard to get rid of.

While it might take a little elbow grease, there are several plans you can put into place to get your new home smelling a little fresher.

1. Start with a top-to-bottom deep clean

cleaning

While one can hope that the previous owners, previous tenants or landlord have already done a thorough move-out clean, it doesn’t hurt to go through the process once more to ensure nothing was left behind in the turnover process.

Wipe down surfaces, sweep and mop the floors and use your go-to cleaning products, so the scents left behind will be familiar to you. Perhaps the most important task: open up the windows, turn on any ceiling fans and let fresh air circulate throughout your new home. This will help eliminate any bad smell in the house.

2. Try to identify the cause of the odor

dirty dog

If the bad smell in your home still seems to be lingering a day or two after you’ve cleaned and aired out your new space, it’s time to get to the bottom of the issue. Depending on the source, your cleaning techniques will be different.

Pet odors

Odors left behind by pets can be notoriously strong and difficult to get rid of — especially if your home has carpet. Try to identify specific areas where pet urine may have left stains — a blacklight can help you here as it will illuminate any areas containing urine.

You can try techniques like baking soda or an enzyme-based carpet cleaner to spot treat the area and neutralize lingering odors. Spot test any cleaning products first or your security deposit could be at risk if you cause further damage to the flooring.

Food odors

If strong food or spice smells are still present after your general cleaning, focus your attention on the kitchen and deep clean areas like vents, fans, oven, refrigerator, etc. Examine sinks and garbage disposals to see if they might be the source of bad smells. Consider asking your landlord to repaint any walls located close to the oven, refrigerator, sink or microwave.

Smoke odors

Cigarette smoke is one of the most potent odors and hardest to remove, which is why most landlords and property managers prohibit smoking of any kind indoors. Very strong remaining odors can even lead to thirdhand smoke damage to new occupants.

To truly tackle cigarette smoke odors, removable items like blinds, carpet and draperies will need replacing, which is something you should discuss with your landlord.

Mold odors

Odors from mold or moisture damage are not only unpleasant, but they can also impact your health. Mold typically grows in parts of the home that are prone to moisture or ventilation issues — like the bathroom or basement — but can grow almost anywhere including on wood, carpet, food and fabric.

For areas with light mold like the shower, use bleach to effectively remove the mold. For larger mold issues, contact your property manager as a few states have laws in place defining landlord responsibility regarding mold maintenance.

3. Consult with your property owner

man on the phone talking about bad smells in the home

If you’ve done your own deep cleaning, tried to address the issue at the source and still can’t seem to shake the bad smell in your home, it’s time to consult with your landlord to see how the two of you can address the situation together. In some cases, foul odors can be a sign of a larger issue that is beyond renter control.

Stubborn odors from a previous pet or smoke damage may require a cleaning crew or maintenance crew to replace items like blinds and filters. If your home contains a substantial amount of carpet, ask to have the carpets professionally cleaned if they weren’t already before you moved in.

You may run into issues concerning financial responsibility, as foul odors from food or unhygienic previous tenants are not typically a health risk (though odors from cigarette smoke or pets may be, depending on individual situations). Your landlord may ask you to split the costs or cover costs of additional cleaning if you are unhappy with the living situation, but it is always worth bringing it to their attention early on to see what the two of you can work out.

Eliminate bad smells in your house

Even though they are a pain to deal with, most unpleasant smells in the home can be handled if you are persistent and try various tried-and-true methods to eliminate them.

The post What to Do About Bad Smells in the House appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

The Average Salary of an Architect

The Average Salary of an Architect

The average salary of an architect is $76,100 per year.

Have you ever wondered how much an architect earns? Becoming an architect requires an investment of money and time, but pays off in the form of a rewarding career that comes with above-average earnings. And for those lucky few who become “starchitects,” it’s a path to fame. Let’s take a closer look at the average salary of an architect. 

The Average Salary of an Architect: The Basics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finds that the average salary of an architect was $76,100 per year, $36.59 per hour in 2015. There is wide range of architect salaries, however. The top 10% of architects earn an average salary of $125,520 per year, $60.34 per hour. The bottom 10% of architects earn an average salary of $46,080 per year, $22.15 per hour.

Architects’ salaries are fairly high, but what do the future job prospects look like for architects? The BLS releases a “job outlook” for the fields it studies. The job outlook predicts the percent by which the number of people in a given job will grow between 2014 and 2024. For architects, the BLS job outlook is 7%, which is around the average for all the jobs the BLS studies. The field isn’t shrinking, but it’s not growing at faster-than-average rates either.

Related Article: The Average Salary of a Doctor 

Where Architects Make the Most

The Average Salary of an Architect

The BLS examines state- and metro-level data on earnings, too. Where does it pay the most to be an architect? According to BLS data, the top-paying state for architects is California, where the annual mean wage for architects is $97,880. Other high-paying states for architects are Georgia ($93,940), Massachusetts ($90,430), New Jersey ($89,130) and Minnesota ($88,680).

What about metro areas? The top-paying metro area for architects is West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL, where the mean annual wage for architects is $117,870. Other high-paying metro areas for architects are Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA; Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA; Syracuse, NY and Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA.

Related Article: The Cost of Living in California

The Cost of Becoming an Architect

The first step to becoming an architect is to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in architecture. A poll by the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) found that poll respondents (all architecture school graduates) had an average post-graduation student debt of $40,000. The students also reported spending thousands on extra costs such as modeling materials, textbooks and more.

After obtaining a degree (often a five-year degree), budding architects do an average of three years at an architecture internship. Finally, they must take the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). That means that even the fastest path to becoming an architect in the U.S. takes eight years, but most people take around 11 years. In the meantime, most of these aspiring architects are paying back student loans. The ARE also comes with stiff fees. Depending on which version of the exam you take, the exam fee itself is either $1,470 or $1,260. If you have to cancel your exam, the fees you pay are non-refundable.

Bottom Line

The Average Salary of an Architect

The job of an architect comes with glamour and prestige, as well as a high salary and a solid job outlook. However, the path to becoming an architect is a long and expensive one and not everyone who wants to become an architect makes it through the multi-year process. Still, if you have the discipline, talent and funds architecture is a financially rewarding career path.

Update: Have financial questions beyond an architect’s average salary? SmartAsset can help. So many people reached out to us looking for tax and long-term financial planning help, we started our own matching service to help you find a financial advisor. The SmartAdvisor matching tool can help you find a person to work with to meet your needs. First you’ll answer a series of questions about your situation and goals. Then the program will narrow down your options from thousands of advisors to up to three registered investment advisors who suit your needs. You can then read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while the program does much of the hard work for you.

Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/Geber86, Â©iStock.com/vgajic, Â©iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

The post The Average Salary of an Architect appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.

Source: smartasset.com

How to Measure Progress and Achieve Goals

Measurement! I just love measurement. That’s because it tells you how you’re doing and how much progress you’ve made. Progress checks can motivate you, help you catch yourself when you’re slacking, and tell you when to change course. 

Without giving thought to how you define progress, however, you can measure the wrong thing, or measure the wrong way. You might end up demoralized for no reason, or falling behind unknowingly on a project, or missing opportunities. So if you’re going to measure progress, do it right! Turn off auto-pilot “gut checks” and measure progress thoughtfully.

Measure process goals

If you’re Type A like me, you probably overwork yourself, under the assumption that more work gives more progress. But does it? Have you ever measured? Just being busy and stressed doesn’t mean we’re getting anything done. We need to track how far we are from our goal, and whether we’re closing that gap.

First determine the kind of goals you’re chasing. Episode 462, “Grow a Pair for Your Career,” outlines the difference between outcome goals and process goals. Outcome goals—like getting a promotion—are something you strive for, not something you just do. Process goals, on the other hand, are measurable actions that help you get closer to your outcome goal, like making ten more sales calls each day. 

If you’re going to measure progress, do it right! Turn off auto-pilot “gut checks” and measure progress thoughtfully.

On a daily basis, measure progress through movement toward your process goals. It doesn’t matter how much you work, only whether that work takes you closer to finishing that day’s process goals. Then check that your process goals are doing what they should, by tracking overall movement toward an outcome goal.

For example, if you work in sales, your process goal might be to make fifty cold calls a day. If that’s your goal, sending two hundred emails should not count as progress. What’s more, if your outcome goal is to close sales, and you haven’t closed one in months, you may need to rethink if you have the right process goals. Maybe “number of calls” doesn’t lead to sales. Maybe you need to make progress on the quality of your calls, instead. So make your new process goal tweaking your sales pitch, and direct some work toward that.

Measure how far you’ve come

Another way to track progress is to look at how far you are from your starting point. 

Sam is a twenty-something who’s just started up a fairly successful online delivery company. The vision of being the next Amazon.com seems impossible! Or at least, light years away. And it is. But knowing that it’s not Amazon yet isn’t a useful measure for evaluating progress. Furthermore, it’s so far away that it isn’t even clear which paths lead to that result.

Sam can instead concentrate on what’s been accomplished so far. They started sitting around a dining room table. Now they have office space, customers, a business model that works, money in the bank, and profit. By measuring progress based on how far they’ve come, not on how far they have left to go, Sam can realize they’ve made tons of progress, and can make sure it continues to unfold, as more and more milestones get added to the list.

Measure distance to your goals

At some point your goal is within reach. Then, you can start measuring how far you are from your goal, and concentrate on closing the gap.

Don’t do this too soon! You can hurt morale. At my last Harvard Business School reunion, for example, doing an “Am I there yet?” progress check gave me a soul-crushing burst of inadequacy as I was moderating a panel of my classmates, whose combined net worth was enough to purchase a third world country and pave it over. In gold. 

When you’re out on a long run, you get a surge of fresh energy when you see you’re only ten feet from the finish line, and there’s an entire 55-gallon drum of gummy bears waiting at the end. And an Oreo ice cream cake. The next thing you know, you’re barreling over the finish line.

When you’ve passed the halfway point, start measuring your progress by how quickly you’re closing on your goal. Keep that Oreo ice cream cake in mind, and set new goals to push you those last few feet.

Even if you get some steps wrong, just making the plan will energize you and be motivating.

A good way to do this is to make a checklist of things you’ll need to do to reach the end point. These can be high-level things like, “Run A/B testing with focus groups,” or low-level things like, “Write an email to call for A/B testing participants.” Once your plan is on paper, finishing your project will seem much more doable, since all the steps left to take are right there in front of you. And as I talked about in episode 466, "Make a Plan for Motivation," even if you get some steps wrong, just making the plan will energize you and be motivating.

Re-measure often

Once you figure out the best way to track your progress, and the types of progress you need to track, choose how often you’ll track. Sometimes, tracking progress once a week is plenty. But from my experience, it’s best to track progress every two to three days.

That way, if you suddenly notice you’re not where you should be, you only have to make up two or three days’ worth of work. If you were only checking once a week, you could get an entire week behind before you’d notice it.

From my experience, it’s best to track progress every two to three days.

What gets measured gets managed. And we love to manage progress. On a daily basis, concentrate your measurements on your progress goals, rather than your outcome goals. Then choose a less-frequent measurement that is based on where you are in your project: distance to your goal, or distance from your starting point. With a little experimentation, you can find the magic balance that keeps you on top of your game.

This is Stever Robbins. I give great keynote speeches on productivity, Living an Extraordinary Life, and entrepreneurship. If you want to know more, visit http://SteverRobbins.com.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

Fed: Credit card balances dipped by $3 billion in December

Credit card balances edged down in December, even as consumers engaged in holiday shopping, as uncertainty about a second round of stimulus checks extended to the latter part of the month.

Consumer revolving debt – which is mostly based on credit card balances – was down $3 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis in December to $975.9 billion, according to the Fed’s G. 19 consumer credit report released Feb. 5.

In December, credit card balances were off 3.6% on an annualized basis, following November’s revised 0.8% dip and October’s 6.7% drop, which came on the heels of September’s 3.2% annualized gain.

The Fed also reported that student loan debt outstanding for the fourth quarter rose to $1.707 trillion, from the third quarter’s $1.704 trillion. And auto loan debt outstanding gained to $1.228 trillion, from the third quarter’s $1.219 trillion.

Total consumer debt outstanding – which includes student loans and auto loans, as well as revolving debt – continued to grow and rose $9.7 billion to $4.184 trillion in December, a 2.8% annualized gain.

For the entire year, credit card balances were down 11.2%.

Card balances had been growing before the coronavirus impacted consumer spending and bank lending in 2020. They dipped below the $1 trillion mark last May, for the first time since September 2017.

See related: 51% of consumers accrued more debt during the pandemic

ABA sees brighter days ahead for credit availability

The American Bankers Association reports, based on input provided by chief economists of large North American banks to its credit conditions index for the first quarter of 2021, that credit conditions (both credit quality and availability) have rebounded from their lows of last summer.

However, all three components of the index (the headline credit index, the consumer credit index and the business credit index) remain below 50, which is not a robust index reading. It indicates that while bank economists expect credit conditions to remain “soft” in the coming six months, they are less pessimistic than they were in September 2020 when the ABA  conducted its last credit conditions survey.

The consumer credit index component of the survey gained to 45.3, its highest level since mid-2019. Economists are optimistic about both the availability and quality of consumer credit compared to September. They expect credit to be more available to consumers in the coming six months, although a small majority expects credit quality to decline.

“Although credit quality is still expected to worsen over the first half of the year for both consumers and businesses, the overall outlook for credit markets has improved significantly since the summer and fall,” said Rob Strand, ABA senior economist. “As widespread inoculations against the virus and new fiscal stimulus measures help heal the economy, banks will continue to work closely with policymakers, consumers and businesses to ensure that affordable credit remains available and recovery strengthens.”

Fed reports easing of credit card lending standards in fourth quarter

According to the Fed’s senior loan officer opinion survey on bank lending practices for January 2021 (which is based on input related to the fourth quarter of 2020), a “moderate net share of banks” reported that they had eased up on credit card loans.

As a result, a “modest net share of banks” also hiked up their credit limits on credit card accounts. And a “moderate net share of banks” reported that there was higher demand for credit card loans during the fourth quarter.

As for the outlook, a “significant net share of banks” is expected to ease up on their standards for credit card loans. They are doing so in anticipation of an improvement in their loan portfolios’ credit quality, as well as a hike in their tolerance for risk.

Also, the New York Fed’s survey of consumer expectations for December 2020 finds that consumers are less concerned about the possibility of missing a minimum debt payment in the coming three months. The average perceived probability of this occurrence dipped to 10.5% for December, from November’s 10.9%.

See related: What happens when you miss a credit card payment?

Jobs edge up in January

The New York Fed survey also finds that on average fewer consumers expect the unemployment rate to be higher a year from now, with this probability declining to 38.9%, from November’s 40.1%.

While the average perceived probability of losing a job in the coming 12 months rose up a bit to 15% (mainly on account of those without a college degree), respondents were also more likely to leave their job voluntarily. However, they were less optimistic about landing a new job if they lost their current ones.

The U.S employment situation was about stable in January, with the economy adding 49,000 jobs, the government reported Feb. 5. “The labor market continued to reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it,” according to the Department of Labor’s employment report media release. The unemployment rate dipped 0.4 percentage points to 6.3% and average hourly earnings were up $0.06 to $29.96. Also, the job numbers for both November and December were revised down, with November down 77,000 jobs (to 264,000) and December losing an additional 87,000 jobs (to minus 227,000).

In his daily email commentary, Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, noted, “Coupled with the -159K net revision, this is a significantly softer report than expected, at least in terms of payrolls. Bulls will cite the large and unexpected drop in the unemployment rate, but two-third(s) of the decline was due to a 405K drop in the size of the labor force – a sign of discouragement – while household employment rose 201K.”

He added that “the labor market was frozen at the start of the year, and is completely dependent on the pace of reopening, which in turn is contingent on the speed and sustainability of the fall in hospitalizations.”

Source: creditcards.com