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Even the simplest fireworks display can amaze audiences and leave spectators breathless. All those colours lighting up the night sky are a form of entertainment, especially for major occasions like the ringing in of a New Year.

fireworksWhile you can go ahead and purchase fireworks from trusted suppliers like Fireworks International and other reliable companies to celebrate others occasions, it is important to practice safety at all times when dealing with explosives. This is important because no one wants any accidents happening.

Here are some tips on how to be safe when handling fireworks:

Trust Fireworks Experts

If you are planning to use fireworks, make sure that it is legal in your location first. Some areas have designated days or times for the use of such, while other places ban them completely. Still, the best way to prevent accidents and protect your family is by not using fireworks at home. Fireworks displays should be a treat, so maybe limit viewing to fireworks display and let the experts astound you with their pyro abilities instead.

Buy from Trusted Sellers

Check if the store you are going to buy from two has the approval of the British Pyrotechnists Association. The BPA evaluates the products that fireworks companies offer and gives approval only to those with safe products to sell. Never forget to check if they have a BPA approval before buying.

Take Basic Safety Precautions

Do not wear loose clothes whenever you use fireworks. Do not ever light them up indoors or near dry grass. Before lighting fireworks up, make sure not to point them directly to a home. Keep away from leaves, brush, and other flammable substances.

Be Mindful with Sparklers

Sparklers can heat up to 1,200 degrees, and it is not advisable to let little arms hold them. If your young children wants to see lights, make them use glow sticks instead. They can bring fun without the risk for burns.

Fireworks are only safe if you buy from accredited sellers and keep yourself and those around you safe while using it. Just make sure you remember these simple safety precautions to enjoy a lively occasion with friends and family without causing any accident.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Cannes

Image by Georges Biard | Wikimedia

Hollywood’s hottest couple Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie have finally tied the knot after nine years of being together.

The long-awaited union has happened on August 23 at Chateau Miraval in France, a representative for the pair confirms.

As the news made the rounds on the Internet, many people are wondering how they managed to keep the whole event secret.

They Chose A Simple Venue

Pitt and Jolie decided to tie the knot at a small chapel, which is not a celebrity-favorite venue. They purposely planned to have the wedding at their family home. Their six children played a special part: Jolie walked down the aisle with her eldest children Maddox and Pax, while Zahara and Vivienne threw flower petals and Shiloh and Knox served as the ring bearers.

They Kept Their Guest List Small  

Unlike many Hollywood celebrities with hundreds of guests attending their big day, Pitt and Jolie chose to invite only few important people. An unnamed source there was only 22 guests in total. It seems the couple believe that the bigger the party, the greater the leak.

It’s All About Timing

Citing multiple sources, the wedding was planned for several months, but the couple made sure to conduct their special ceremony at the right place at the right time. Pitt and Jolie ensures the wedding would happen after their major public appearances, where there are no photographers that could spot their wedding band.

travellerEvery culture is different – and you wouldn’t want to learn about this the hard way when you travel. Habits in your home country may be a bad flub in another. For this reason, you have to learn the peculiarities of the culture in any country you would visit, especially when you are heading to a country that values formality and etiquette, like Japan.

Whether you are conducting business trips or enjoying tailor made holidays in the Land of the Rising Sun, it is important that you know its customs and etiquette. Not doing so may strain relationships with people you meet there. To help you with this, follow this quick guide:

When sightseeing/walking around town

The dress code isn’t strict, but jeans and skirts are recommended for the guys and the girls, respectively.

When you’re visiting a temple or someone else’s residence, do not ever enter the premises with your soiled shoes on. Instead, remove your shoes and wear the slippers by the entrance. Bring a small token if someone invites you to a restaurant or in their home.

When dining

The first thing you need to know when eating is that you do not have to eat using chopsticks – or hashi – if you are not accustomed to it. You can always ask for a fork anyway. But if you do use chopsticks, do observe its proper etiquette.

In the event that you are asked to drink, never refuse, as it is a sign of rudeness to do so. Also, when drinking with companions, do not pour your own glass. Let your companions do that for you. Consequently, you should do the same when you spot an empty glass.

When doing business

Let’s face it: travel is not always a vacation. Sometimes, you travel to do business and meet clients overseas, and disappointing them with bad manners is the last thing you want to do after that long flight.

In Japan, you have to observe a few things when meeting prospective clients and professionals.

First of all, never be late. Arriving even just a few minutes late for a meeting sets a negative tone for the entire event. There is no word for “fashionably late” in Japanese.

Bring business cards – or meishi – with you. Upon meeting with your clients, bow and hand them your card using both hands. They would do the same – and they expect you to take care of their card, not put them in your wallet or bag right after. Put the meishi on the table instead.

Knowing your etiquette goes a long way in building lasting relationships with the people you meet while you travel. Be informed on how you should act and you would surely enjoy the experience more.

social mediaThe power of social media can either make or break a business, but many companies are not aware of this. There are still many company leaders who believe only in traditional methods of marketing, and dismiss social media as negligible. This is an outdated view.

Instead of propelling your business to success, your social media arm — or the lack of one — might lead you to consequences that all point to losing opportunities to earn and strengthen your brand. Not knowing you’re committing mistakes might get you in bigger and costlier trouble.

According to Internet Marketing Advantage, you have to prepare your company for a marathon instead of a single sprint. As they say, a good reputation is not built overnight. Build relationships and communities as these can boost your reputation and credibility. Learn to commit to creating engaging posts and planned strategies.

Don’t go the wrong way.

Without a clear strategy, you could be facing your business’s slow demise.

Before starting any campaign, conduct a series of case studies and analyse your market. Identify their interests and the ideal media channels to reach them. If the majority of your target market stays on Facebook, focus on the site and enhance your web visibility during peak hours.

Keep track of your competitors’ performance while planning how to stay ahead of the game.

Just like in courtship, consistency is key.

A consistent course of action can maintain your competitive edge in the market and win the online customer journey.

Schedule your posts every 10 minutes during peak hours, but make sure not to swamp your followers’ news feeds. Sustain the posting schemes as long as it is appropriate for your target market’s behaviour.

There is the temptation to hunt other fertile grounds to reach your market, but you don’t have to be everywhere. Focus on a single platform or assign different key persons to handle various projects. By concentrating on a few yet strong channels, you can monitor the changes and easily adapt to them.

Value social media sharing.

With social media, boring content can leave you outside the playing field. Make sure to produce intelligent and “worth-sharing” content that caters to your followers’ interests.

As experts say, sharing is the distinctive power of social media. Videos and creative posts can go viral in just a few minutes, proving the influence of the platform to various markets.

Effectively using social media can secure your market share and competitive edge over other companies. Don’t let social media mistakes break the business and rob you of success. There is a bigger online market now, and the resources you spend on social media could net you more profits.

brand mentoringAmid a highly competitive market, a successful enterprise must stand out. One of the most effective ways of doing so is through maintaining a recognizable brand that sets you apart from competitors.

Not all brands, however, can stay highly competitive all the time. There are times when changes don’t work out for an enterprise. When this happens, you have to adapt and know when your brand needs to change gear.

Don’t worry. Finding out when you need to do this is easy enough. Here are three signs that mean you need to rebrand your business.

Your enterprise has undergone changes

Lesson number one in business states that the economic and competitive landscape changes all the time. When you want to be a top entrepreneur, you have to stay keen on these changes and adapt to whatever new trend surfaces.

This includes implementing different changes in your company. With a stable growth rate, chances are you would plan an expansion soon, which means you need to align your marketing campaign and company values to cater to this development. A rebrand right at the moment when you have something new to offer your customers is a very timely move that can boost your brand’s power and popularity.

You fail to reach your target audience

Yes, every advertising campaign attracts a certain part of the audience, but are you targeting the right demographic? Sometimes, it’s because of your brand that your business lags behind in terms of your popularity among consumers.

One angle is that your ads were appealing to a demographic outside your target audience. Another possibility is that your audience has changed. Here’s an invaluable lesson brand mentoring experts often highlight: business trends are fleeting. What’s highly popular today may be passé tomorrow – and this is something every entrepreneur should remember. A revamp of your brand can go a long way in keeping in touch with old clients and finding opportunities to reach new ones.

Your brand no longer sells

In line with the brand mentoring lesson above, you have to understand that what sells is what’s current. This means you have to craft an identity for your business that would remain relevant. Should your brand lose its relevance and selling power, consider rebranding as one of your options. Although the step may seem severe, the benefits of a good rebrand outweigh its costs.

Business is competition – and those who can’t keep up lose and disappear. As a business owner, you have to stay resilient against every change the business landscape offers – and this includes knowing these signs and the right time when your brand needs an overhaul.

fixing water leaksWater leaks can occur anywhere in your home where pipes run. While some leaks are minor and easy to detect, others can go unnoticed for months, sometimes even years. Major hidden leaks are the most expensive and dangerous, as they can cost thousands of dollars of damage to your home.

Here are a few signs that there are leaking pipes somewhere in your house:

Rising Water Bill

Compare your most recent water bill to those from previous months. Price increases aside, if your water bill has gone up without increased usage, you may have a hidden leak. Look through your home for other hidden water leaks or damage signs. You can also check your water metre to detect water leaks.

Musty Odour

Musty or mouldy odour may indicate water leakage behind the walls. Clean your bathrooms and kitchen, and look for unexplained moisture. If you notice an earthy smell after cleaning, it is likely that you have hidden water leaks.

Mould and Mildew

Despite your best efforts to clean the house, mould and mildew can appear if you have hidden water leaks. Leaking pipes are the perfect breeding ground for mould because they thrive in moist and dark places. If you find mould or mildew other than on your bathroom walls, it is likely that you have a leaky pipe.

Damaged Wallpaper or Paint

Cracking or peeling wall covers and damaged walls are all definite signs of a water leak. When the wall is exposed to moisture, it softens and begins to bubble. When the leak reaches the ceiling, it may cause sagging or ceiling stains and discolouration.

Damaged Flooring

If the floor is cracking or buckling, the pipe underneath may have leaks. Depending on the flooring material installed, moisture can also make the floors soft or spongy. Tiles may come loose and you’ll notice a damp subfloor.

If you notice any of these signs, call a plumber for assistance immediately. It is also best to have a yearly plumbing maintenance or check-up to make sure that your pipes are leak-free and in order.

BuzzFeed_logoOnline media company Buzzfeed has recently closed a $50 million investment from prominent capitalist Andressen Horowitz in an attempt to improve its services.

Aim to be known

Buzzfeed released a statement, saying the funds will be used to make several changes. This will include new content sections and potential acquisitions.

The website creates buzz and draws 150 million average monthly users.

Buzzfeed has also announced its plans to put more money on its Buzzfeed Motion Pictures.

Most of the company’s revenue comes from its video unit in LA that’s dedicated to create brands custom video advertising.

Maintain a culture’

The investment has prompted concerns from media experts and analysts, who are wondering what is Buzzfeed’s next move.

“As we grow, how can we maintain a culture that can still be entrepreneurial?” said Jonah Peretti, the company’s co-founder and chief executive. “What if a Hollywood studio or a news organization was run like a start-up?”

Buzzfeed has recently strived to target more on current affairs.

home designVictorian homes are known for elaborate interior and exterior home details. Many homeowners enjoy the comfortable elegance of asymmetrical floor plans and grand towers painted in fancy colours.

In giving your Victorian home a makeover, you can keep the classic Victorian look while adding a personalised and modern touch. Here are several modern twists you can apply in your Victorian home design:

Installing small-scale artworks

Even with a simple and old-fashioned design, your home can become a modern abode by installing small-scale artworks, according to novus-homes.com.au. With a natural theme or abstract prints, the artworks can unite modern twists and the whimsical decorations of your Victorian home. Just make sure that the paintings only take up a minimal area of the wall. Never crowd them together.

Creating an illusion of space

Despite the narrow structure of Victorian homes, you can maximise the living room area by placing clean-lined furniture and centre tables. Allow natural light to flow through the large windows to create an illusion of space. Paint the walls with light and earth colour palettes. This can lighten up dark spaces and trick the eye in detecting a comfortable spot in the living room.

Enhancing traffic spaces

When giving your home a revamp, you need to consider the transitional spaces, including home passageways. Even with a narrow Victorian home, enhance the traffic flow by widening the passageways and staircases. Keep the staircase carpet and other home furnishings in neutral and plain colours or white interiors to illuminate space.

Preserving architectural details

During the renovation, you can still preserve the architectural details. If the existing details have been timeworn, build new items that integrate the same style. Make sure to hire a professional designer who can replicate and preserve the intricate details of your home.

With modern twists, you can keep your Victorian home and leave a lasting impression on your visitors. Just make sure to preserve the revolutionary ambiance in your home by recreating the intricate details. Combine the modern and previous home styles for an exceptional house design.

topnotch web design companyIn an age when the shelf life of a web design is influenced by unpredictable search engine algorithms, a redesign project is something you should carefully look into. Many website owners make the mistake of rushing into this without considering some important factors. When this happens, the owner runs the risk of losing some elements that might be useful to site visitors. Web designers who don’t perform a comprehensive site review are prone to such errors.

Authorities in online marketing and web design, such as Voodoocreative.com.au and Smashingmagazine.com, remind designers that the main goal of a redesign project is to improve conversions and revenue by modifying existing functions and aesthetics. You should do this without compromising the established reputation or branding position of your business. Here’s a guideline on how you should manage your redesign project.

The Necessity for Design

This is the first issue to tackle. Ask yourself why you need to redesign. Is it because your sales are plummeting? You see no comments on your blog? Your followers are too few? Or is it because you need to re-brand for long-term benefits? These questions are actually the bases of how your website will look like in the end. Have a definite answer in mind, as you can’t go back once the new design is implemented.

Analysis of the Competition

Before coming up with your design plan, check the looks and functions of your competitors’ portals. Compare objectively to see what you’re missing and to get a grasp of how they connect with their customers. Once you see the differences, fill the gaps with appropriate solutions and then integrate them with the design plan you have in mind.

On Brand Consistency

Make sure that your design plan is in line with your branding objectives. For instance, your redesign effort should automatically make use of your brand colour. If the typeface of your logotype is Gill Sans, make sure that this typeface will also be visible on the website. To avoid compromising such elements, refer to the style guide of your brand. Yes, you need one.

Don’t forget the things that concern the website’s more technical aspects. These include the content management system, the server support, the language of the design, and SEO-related matters. These are the crucial elements that ensure your website is functioning regardless of the environment or browser or is visible on the top search engine results pages. If you feel lost in what you’re doing, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a reliable design team.

accounting servicesKeeping up with a fly-in fly-out (FIFO) lifestyle can be very challenging and affect each family member differently. It is normal to feel lonely and stressed out because of relocation and isolation issues. Overcoming these challenges is possible, though, by working closely with your loved ones.

Here are a few useful ideas to help you cope with this unique lifestyle:

Give Yourself Some Time

It is normal to have doubts about your new job and lifestyle. Give yourself sometime and focus on the positive aspects of your new opportunity. Be patient with the new culture and customs. Reach out to other FIFO families and build connections to help your family cope while you’re away.

Keep in Touch

The way you keep in touch with your family depends on the facilities available and what works for your loved ones. Some work sites have access to all telecommunication mediums, while others allow access to only a telephone. Familiarise yourself with the family’s daily activities and time zone differences so that you contact them only when they are free to chat.

Get Financial Advice

Financial advice will help with managing your money wisely and preparing for the future. ATO.gov.au and Femia-Accountants.com.au suggest hiring FIFO tax accountants to help you plan and save with an effective accounting strategy.

Look After Your self

Being away from your loved ones can be stressful and lonely. This is why it is important to look after yourself and seek support whenever you need it. While you’re on site, you can talk to trusted wok colleagues or officers. You can also join on-site based sporting events or find like-minded people to share some time with.

While the financial gains of a FIFO job are substantial, it can also be tough for families. Keep these tips in mind to help deal with your new lifestyle. Seek help from FIFO workers who know the challenges that go with the job.