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4 Tips for Planning a Baby Shower

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ID-10069146Mom and baby need a whole lot of stuff, and baby showers exist to ease some of that burden on the new parents. Plus, having a baby is a really exciting time in a woman’s life and it is a fun way to celebrate. They can be fun to attend, but to those who are tasked with planning them, the whole event may feel a bit stressful. But, the whole thing will only drive you crazy if you let it. Here are some helpful tips to put together a great shower while minimizing the stress of putting it all together.

Etiquette Basics

The ins and outs of baby shower etiquette could fill a whole post in and of itself, but for now, we will just touch on some of the basics. While in the olden days, it was seen as bad form for close family members to host a shower because it gave the appearance of them simply fishing for gifts, that is really not the case anymore. Let’s face it, we all know that is the point, no matter who hosts it and we are all fine with it. As for whom to invite, you want to consider whether you think it would be appropriate for this person to purchase a gift for the honoree since this is what is expected of anyone who is invited. Ideally, the guest list will be comprised of close family and friends, not every person the woman has ever known in her life. As for whether to include registry information, there is some debate among those ‘’in the know’’ about baby shower planning. If you are worried about how that may appear, make a note people can contact you about the information if they wish to.

Gifts

As far as the gifts are concerned, you may be wondering what is appropriate to spend. Typically, the family takes on the more expensive core items like cribs and strollers, while friends tend to purchase stuff that may be more personal or creative—you might want to create unique personalized baby bracelets, for example. So, if you are just a friend, and you are taking on the task of hosting the shower, don’t worry about getting some big, fancy gift for the mom.

Enlist the Help of Others

Unlike a bridal party where everyone is an official part of the festivity planning, a baby shower tends to have one, maybe two, people leading the charge. But, this is not to say you must take on the whole thing by yourself. If people offer to help, don’t turn it down. If you feel like you need help, don’t hesitate to ask people to take on smaller jobs, like picking up the flowers or helping make the favors.

Get an Early Jump on Planning

Start planning everything as soon as possible to ease your stresses. It will help you be better organized and keep everything under control. Don’t wait until the last possible minute to do everything, whether it be finding the caterer or buying the decorations. Scores of websites provide great baby-shower planning checklists—it would behoove you to get your hands on one. Decide on your budget so you can plan accordingly.

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February 18, 2014 |  by  |  Shopping  |  Comments Off

Tips for Choosing an Egg Donor

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ID-100168086Our bodies are designed to make babies, and it is natural to assume that ours will follow suit when we finally make the decision we are ready to have a child. Hopefully within a few months of trying, you will get that positive result on the pregnancy test. Unfortunately, for a small percentage of women, this is not the path they take to motherhood. Myriad issues can stand in the way, and for some, the quality of their eggs, or reduced a reduced store, makes it practically impossible to conceive. This is where egg donation comes in. If you find yourself considering this path, here are some tips for choosing your donor.

Physical Appearance

For many couples, the physical appearance of the donor is very important. If you cannot have your own biological child, at the very least, you would hope you could have one that looks physically similar to you and/or your partner, particularly if you do not have any plans on telling your child or others he is not biologically related. There is no way to predict the appearance of a child, but you might request childhood photos of potential donors to get some idea of what your child may look like. But, the more particular you are about appearance, the fewer options you will have. This is important of course, but be careful not to get too caught up at the risk of overlooking other factors that may be more important in the long-run.

Medical History

Medical history is crucial when deciding on a donor. Ideally, she will come from a long line of healthy people who all died of old age in their sleep, but this is unlikely. Considering one out of three people get cancer, there might be some history there at the very least. Certain conditions are not necessarily deal breakers, as they are relatively common and do not present an immediate risk to your child, like heart disease.

The most important point in thoroughly reviewing the medical history is reducing the risk of health problems that may present themselves if the father’s history also contains similar problems. For example, certain conditions may manifest if a child’s parents both carry a gene for a particular condition. Then, you would avoid any donors who have this in their history.

Blood Type

When choosing a donor, you might not think about something like blood type, but it is an important consideration. Children inherit their blood type from their parents, and you would want a match in the event your child needed blood. This consideration is also important if, again, you do not plan on telling your child he was conceived with a donor egg.

Donor Location

Many databases allow you to search donors located all over the country; it is important to keep your budget in mind. Can you afford to fly someone in to your area on a regular basis, and put her up in a hotel? If you are looking for egg donation in Kansas City, getting your heart set on a woman out in California may not be a good idea. If you know you cannot afford to do this, don’t set yourself up for disappointment—look for local donors from the start.

Should You Go with Someone Who Has Donated Previously?

Another consideration is whether to only look at women who have successfully donated a healthy egg previously. This can provide some reassurance on various fronts. This person is familiar with the process, responded well to the medications and clearly had healthy eggs that gave way to healthy baby. Now, it is important to note there are no guarantees when it comes to this process, so don’t let this be the only guiding factor. If you find another donor that really speaks to you, but she has not donated before, don’t dismiss it so quickly.

 

January 31, 2014 |  by  |  Health  |  Comments Off

4 Tips for Choosing Your Psychology Discipline

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 ID-10021491

Are you confused about picking a psychology discipline? With the myriad of choices facing you it is common for undergrad students to be lost in the maze of different psyche niches for their advanced degrees. Doing your homework and following a few simple tips can help you pick the right discipline for you.

Know Your Disciplines

Research specific disciplines to find a proper match for your interests. What types of work would you enjoy? How can you best use your innate talents in the psychology field? Getting your preference down pat makes your life incredibly easier when you need to make your decision. You can choose from either basic or applied sciences. Health, occupational and clinical niches makes up the applied science branch of psychology. Sub fields of psychology disciplines include social, emotional, perceptive and developmental disciplines. Traffic, ecological and mathematical psychology niches are strict niches some people choose to study.

Common disciplines include psychotherapy, cognitive psychology and behavioral medicine. Most psychologists focus on research or practice fields. Work environments range from forensic, sports or legal settings to research facilities, schools or clinics.

Read up on the different types of jobs in each field, the outlook and whether demand is increasing;. What types of changes are happening? For example, this article Forensic Investigation: Is It Time for Reform? discusses changing requirements for education, certification, licensing and the like for the various professions that fall under this arena, including forensic psychology.

Choose at the Right Time

Refrain from specializing in one psychology niche before graduate school. Treat your undergraduate psyche studies as an exploratory journey. Find out what aspects of this discipline excite you. Perhaps you might feel a pull toward research psychology. Or maybe you feel compelled to start your own practice after learning through your undergraduate experience.

Consider working in the field before pursuing your masters and or doctorate to gain valuable real world experience. After working for some time you might be exposed to new and exciting opportunities you were previously unaware of when studying in school. Be open to the possibilities around you before deciding to specialize in any one particular discipline.

You might even decide to move out of the field all together after getting your bachelor’s degree. Having a psychology undergrad degree can open many doors for you in different, respectable fields.

Find a Learning Institution which Suits Your Needs

Research online and offline to find the university which best meets your needs. If you are a busy mom tending to a growing family going the online degree route might suit you best. Younger students might gravitate toward commuting to a local school or perhaps going away to college. Research programs which meet your academic and financial needs.

Be picky. If you are going to spend years learning online or offline in a certain setting make sure you are picking the program which best fits your needs.

Do Not Chase Money

One of the easiest and most dangerous temptations is to chase money when deciding on your discipline. Being lured by promises of $200 or $300 per hour practice rates can be tempting but if you hate your job you will not be able to enjoy the money.

Even skilled professionals are not immune to the stresses suffered by someone who has to embrace people’s deep psychological issues on an almost daily basis. Do not chase dollars. Pick a discipline which seems the most enjoyable to you.

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January 31, 2014 |  by  |  Education  |  Comments Off

What You Need to Know about Getting a Cybersecurity Degree

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ID-100205830As the internet continues to ingratiate itself into every aspect of the human experience, cyber criminals are finding ever-new ways to steal sensitive information and damage systems. Protection from this problem is an ever-increasing concern for consumers and businesses alike, and there is a growing demand for professionals who can help accomplish this end. A degree in cybersecurity might be a good direction for anyone interested in working in the field of computers and technology, and here is an overview of this field of study.

A Career in Demand

Cyber crime is growing exponentially, with new threats emerging constantly. The web is full of articles such as this one: The Virtual Wild West Needs More Sheriffs, outlining the various assaults faced by individuals and businesses. Between 2011 and 2012, cybercrime reports have increased 34 percent. Federal agencies reported a 650 percent increase in cybersecurity incidents between 2006 and 2010, and that has likely increased since this most recent set of data. In the next several years, the demand for cybersecurity experts is expected to rise faster than average for other types of positions—22 percent by 2020. While both the private and public sector have a growing need for cybersecurity experts, the majority of these new jobs are expected to be in federal agencies.

Median Salary

What you can expect to earn will depend on the exact position you take upon completing your degree. Here are some median salary statistics for some of the most common jobs linked to this degree.

  • Information security analyst: 70,000
  • Information technology auditor: 71,800
  • Forensic computer analyst: 76,200
  • Security consultant 81,300
  • Information assurance engineer 89,700
  • Security director 118,300

 

Education Requirements

Most employers will require at least a bachelor’s degree for positions related to cybersecurity. They will also want people knowledgeable about the particulars of that job. For example, if you are looking to work for financial institutions, you should take classes in the finance arena; if you want to work in the healthcare sector, you may need some background in health management. Because technology is always evolving, continuing education will be necessary. If you want to advance to higher positions, such as a chief information officer, you will typically need a master’s degree, along with professional experience.

Course Work

Earning a cybersecurity degree will require you to take a range of classes. Examples include cybercrime investigations and forensics, computer organization and programming, system vulnerability assessments, software engineering principles, national cybersecurity policy and law, terrorism, antiterrorism and homeland security, ethics in information technology, security policy analysis, psychology of criminal behaviors, and advanced math courses such as discrete mathematics, calculus and statistics. These classes will help you strengthen your logic skills, critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills. Many people in this field work with other experts, so there will also be a focus on communication and teamwork.

While there is a heavy focus on protecting systems from cyberattacks, you must also learn about the criminals themselves so you can aid in tracking down perpetrators.

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January 31, 2014 |  by  |  Education  |  Comments Off

Improving Your Business Cash Flow

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ID-100147494

Lots of things are pulling for your business dollars, from purchase orders to employee salaries. A steady cash flow is part and parcel of a successful business; and this is often a major source of troubles for many owners, not an actual lack of money. Many factors may contribute to this cash flow issue, from extending credit and waiting on customer payments to poor management of inventory. Luckily, it is not a problem without a solution. It simply requires taking a fresh look at how you are running your operations and identifying opportunities to turn things around. Here are some important tips for improving business cash flow.

Giver Your Finances a Good Looking Over

This tip may seem obvious but it is easy to just fall into certain patterns of behavior, and continue doing things as you have always done without ever stopping to consider if there is a better way, if there is somewhere you may be dropping the ball. Go over your finances with a fine-tooth comb to see where the problem areas may exist, to see what may need to be fixed, changed or eliminated.  If you are looking to improve your cash flow, you have to start with an examination of your current situation.

Stay on Top of Receivables

Poor management of receivables is a major contributor to many a businesses’ cash flow problems. You have a right to timely payments, and you must get on customers as soon as they come past due. You need not be aggressive, but you must act. Develop a set process to be followed every time, with every invoice. Haphazard, random efforts will not work. Invoice clients immediately. Depending on your line of work, request at least a deposit before beginning a project.

Consider Factoring Invoices

Invoice factoring is an alternative financing option to help get cash in the door more quickly. You sell your receivables to a lender at a discount, and you get the money within 24 hours. Clients then pay the factoring company directly and you get the remainder. This can be very helpful, but ultimately used as a temporary solution, not a long-term strategy for increased cash flow.

Use Credit Cards/Line of Credit

Credit cards and a line of credit can come in handy when it comes to improving cash flow. Being able to pay for something with a card or line of credit, and holding onto much-needed cash to meet other needs until those invoices get paid, for example, is a great way to keep everything flowing. But, you must be disciplined about paying them off as necessary and not just piling up a huge amount of debt unnecessarily.

Don’t Pay Bills until They are Due

While paying a bill as soon as it is due is a great feeling, you may be unnecessarily impeding your cash flow. Don’t get rid of money any sooner than you need to; of course, there may be some exceptions, such as getting discounts for early payments that really add up to significant savings .

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January 31, 2014 |  by  |  Business  |  Comments Off