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Quarantine Birthday Ideas for Teens

Dec
11

Quarantine Birthday Ideas for Teens

In an era where theme restaurants and spectacular birthday events traditionally occur, being locked down for a teenager’s birthday could feel like a major disappointment. While another activity at home or on Zoom may initially receive a lukewarm reception, having fun and interesting things to do may make the kids forget for a moment they are in a situation like this. Here are some suggestions for activities and ideas on what to do when your teen has a birthday while under quarantine.

DRIVE-BY BIRTHDAY PARADE – If you’re far from ready to have outside guests over to your home, host a drive-by birthday parade. Ask your guests to drive by your place at the same time with decorated cars and homemade birthday signs. Have them honk as they go by, drop off gifts at a safe distance, or sing “Happy Birthday” out the vehicle windows.  Make this a total surprise, and your kid will be impressed.

MOVIE PARTY – Netflix now has a new feature called Netflix Party, where everyone can watch the same movie on Netflix and talk to each other in the group function. They can also watch a movie together using another streaming service and then chat over an app such as FaceTime.

VIDEO CARD – Challenge your guests to each makes a short video about the birthday honoree. Encourage each guest to make it something specific for the birthday celebrant. Please post it on any social media platforms like TikTok or YouTube, and don’t forget to create your own unique birthday hashtag to add in the comments.

KARAOKE SING OFF – Karaoke combines all the best things in life: music, socializing, and making a total fool of yourself with friends. You’ll want video conferencing software, so your child and their friends can all see and hear one another. The other tech application to consider is Watch2Gether, which enables users to stream videos at the same rate. If you type the song title plus “karaoke” into the search bar at the top of the page, it will then deliver songs to sing. 

A GOODIE BAG WITH AN ACTIVITY IN IT – A couple of days before, drop off a goodie bag at everyone’s place. When the moment comes, everyone can enjoy the same treats as if they are in the same room. Send out an appropriate task in the bag, such as a small Lego building set, so both parents and kids can get creative together during the event.

PAINTING PARTY – If your teen is into art, having a virtual paint night is a unique and fun way to celebrate their birthday while letting their friends join along. Invite all their friends to join the party over Zoom, and send the guests a week or a few days before the party a DIY Paint Night Kit for them to use. Then, when it’s time to get the party started, they can all paint together.

HIRE AN ENTERTAINER OR EXPERT – Think of a real-life activity you might have considered for an in-person party and now do it as an online group activity. Pick something your teen enjoys: a cooking class, magic lessons, a TikTok dance party, acting or improv games, or a small concert/sing-a-long.   The instructor will lead the activity while offering encouragement and feedback. The kids will end up with a fun new skill, maybe a souvenir, and some great memories.  It’s also a fantastic way to support small business owners, instructors, or entertainers who are getting creative themselves these days to stay in business. 

GIVING BACK – Take the moment to help those who may not be as fortunate as you and your neighbors.  Whether it’s writing letters of thanks to first responders, making masks for people who need them, or some other community service activity, take this opportunity to have your teen and their friends learn about being engaged in our area. This could start a habit of giving that could last a lifetime.  

SEARCH ENGINE SCAVENGER HUNT – Many teens think they know the Internet better than adults do, so let’s put them to the test. Pair up a series of teams and have each team find these on the internet. Once found, have them take a screenshot and report back. Use our suggestions or come up with your own: 

  1. Locate an online Earthcam that is at least 500 miles away from where you are right now. 
  2. Assign each team a specific food and come up with at least three pictures of different ways to prepare it. 
  3. Find out the names of the mayor of your current city and the city next door you where you are.
  4. Find pictures of items in exotic colors:  try colors such as Sarcoline, Coquelicot, Smaragdine, Mikado, Glaucous, Wenge, Fulvous, and Xanadu. 
  5. Identify someone with the same exact name as someone on their team. Where do they live? Tell us two additional facts about them.
  6. If it’s noon here, what time is it in England, Egypt, China, New  Zeeland, and Hawaii … or any other destinations you suggest?
  7. Plan a car trip starting at home then drive the most direct route to any five of these actual American cities and head back home again. How many miles did you travel in total, and how long did it take?

Bacon, Indiana Bad Axe, Michigan  Big Rock Candy Mountain, Vermont

Buttermilk, Kansas Cheesequake, New Jersey Chicken, Alaska

Dinkytown, Minnesota Dinosaur, Colorado Frankenstein, Missouri

 Fries, Virginia Horseheads, New York Normal, Illinois

Riddle, Idaho Sandwich, Massachusetts Soda Springs, Idaho

Zzyzx, California Whynot, North Carolina Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

  1. What is the most expensive item they can find? How much does it cost? Where can you buy it?
  2. The year they were born, what were the number one song, movie, TV show, and a championship team in a sport of your choice.
  3. Have the birthday guest or someone else come up with something for the teams to find. 

Cyber Security Degree Requirements

Nov
02

Once a specialty only linked with government agencies and defense contractors, cyber security is now in the mainstream. Industries like health care, finance, manufacturing, and retail all hire cyber security professionals to protect valuable info from cyber breaches. The demand for trained specialists in this field is high. A report by job analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies discovered job postings for openings in cyber security have grown three times faster than those for IT job overall, and cyber security professionals are earning nine percent more than their IT counterparts. 

What Does a Career in Cyber Security Involve?

From “ethical hackers” who look for and exploit security vulnerabilities in web-based applications and network systems to cryptographers who examine and decrypt hidden information from cyber-terrorists, cyber security professionals work hard to make sure data stays out of the wrong hands. Cyber security professionals work in almost every industry, responding quickly to real-world threats. While there are cyber security associate degree programs, high-level careers usually require an array of technical IT skills and advanced analysis capabilities found in graduate-level degree programs.

Cyber Security Degrees and Careers In-Depth

A four-year cyber security degree program concentrates on the variety of methods used to protect data and information systems. Students get training in technical and business skills like database applications, systems administration, and data recovery. Coursework mixes criminal psychology, digital forensics, and policy analysis to offer a complete perspective of IT security. There are hundreds of job titles in cyber security, and some of the top positions include:

  • Security Analyst
  • Security Engineer
  • Security Architect
  • Security Administrator
  • Security Software Developer
  • Cryptographer
  • Cryptanalyst
  • Security Consultant

Pursuing a Cyber Security Degree & Career

While it’s possible to find some entry-level cyber security positions with only an associate degree, most jobs require a four-year bachelor’s degree in cyber security or a related field like IT or computer science. Coursework in programming and statistics in addition to classes in ethics and computer forensics prepare students with the technical and analytical skills needed for successful careers in cyber security.

In an environment where data breaches are becoming more and more frequent, more cyber security degree programs are being added each year. Before deciding on a cyber security degree, students should make sure that it is not only accredited, but also supports their career goals.

 Associate Degree in Cyber Security

An associate degree in cyber security is a two-year program suitable for the following types of situations:

  • Securing entry-level work as a computer support technician or a similar position
  • An added qualification for those already working in the field
  • A step on a path to a four-year cyber security degree

Associate degree coursework includes the vulnerabilities of a variety of hardware and software systems, network technologies, and key cyber security concepts like security administration and intrusion detection. Many programs also prepare students for certification exams typically required for full-time employment, ranging from basic CompTIA Security+ to ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Cyber Security Certificates

Many colleges and universities offer certificates in cyber security for those who are looking to develop further expertise in the field or add credentials to their resume. Students study the principles of computer systems security, including attack protection and prevention. Courses delve into cryptographic techniques, legal issues in computer security, digital forensics, and designs for network perimeter defenses.

Most certificates are 12-18 credits and accessible online. In some cases, students may apply credits earned in a certificate program to a master’s degree in cyber security at a later date. There are a few types of cyber security certificates that cover cyber security technology, cyber security management and related areas.

Complete advanced training

Some employers require candidates to hold an advanced degree like a master’s degree in cyber security. Prospective employers can also offer tuition assistance to meet this goal. A master’s degree requires an additional one to two years to complete after the bachelor’s degree-level and delivers advanced instruction in protecting computer networks and electronic infrastructures from attack. Students learn the ethics, practices, policies, and procedures of cyber security as they examine how to tackle network security defense techniques and countermeasures. Cyber security professionals also pursue certification to boost their skills while working full-time to gain hands-on experience.

Pass security clearances (if applicable)

Security clearances are a requirement for those who want to work with classified information as part of a military of government agency. A number of agencies issue both personnel and facility security clearances, but for the most part they are issued by the Department of Defense. Each type of clearance requires its own procedures and paperwork. The process, which can take three months to a year, does not begin until an employer has hired you, at which point you be given a conditional offer of employment. The first step is to submit clearance documentation, which is then followed by a Background Investigation.

Find the Right Cyber Security Degree Program

The field of cyber security concentrates on network and data protection at various levels. Whether you are looking for an accredited online program or a traditional on-campus program, students have a variety options when it comes to cyber security degrees.

While it is still a relatively fresh field, cyber security degrees are available at all levels, from associate degrees to PhD degrees. Students can engage in cyber security degrees online or in a campus-based environment. Each degree-level preps students for specific opportunities, from entry-level employment to careers in academia. Before choosing a cyber security program, students should ensure it supports their long-term goals

Top 5 Tips for Zoom Party Success!

Jul
31

5 Tips for Zoom Party Success!

Before March 2020, many people had not heard of Zoom. It’s quite the platform for sure – if you know how to use it, you know how to have a Zoom party too!

Did you know you can invite artists to your Zoom Party? These days they are becoming experts and have been using it to draw remote digital caricatures, or eSketches™, for a while. Over time they have learned how to make your Zoom events, birthday parties, work meetings, etc., flow smoothly with fewer hiccups and so everyone has a great time!

General Zoom Tips For Zoom Etiquette

Some zoom meeting etiquette is the same whether you’re in person or online. Zoom-specific options, like muting if there are distracting noises, is a feature we only wish we had for in person meetings! Here are some tips to improve your Zoom online events:

  1. Use the zoom chat feature! This is especially true if your conversation is only between you and one or two other people. Don’t take the focus from the speaker just to share that important idea – or that funny comment – with your friend or colleague!
  2. Ask guests to log on a few moments early. Depending on your system, and how many people are logging in, it may take a minute or two to get up and running. If a waiting room is enabled, the host will need to let everyone in at the beginning.
  1. Keep your video on. No one likes speaking to a screen full of blank squares! Now more than ever, we desire to see your smiling faces! If you need to get up, move around or leave for a minute, go ahead and turn your video off as to not disrupt the event.
  2. Remind everyone to turn off all notifications and silence their devices next to them.
  3. Avoid logging in to your Zoom Party in the same room as someone else who is logged in on another device. This causes an annoying echo effect! Either log in on just one device and share, mute one device, or have one person go into another room.

More important have fun. This is your opportunity to interact with people. Plus, you can have a great memory to “take-home”.

What Qualifies for Bulk Mailing?

Jul
01

How Much Does Direct Mail Marketing Cost? 

Bulk mail is a discounted mailing service offered by the USPS for those who prepare and send large quantities of mail. If you regularly send out standard-sized mailings in an amount equal to or greater than the numbers below, you may be able to save money but working directly with a printer. They can offer direct mail production and distribution rather than taking your pre-printed pieces to the post office. 

Usually, your bulk price mail is cheaper than a regularly priced single piece of mail. Single piece means you’re paying full price for a standard piece of mail.

So, how many pieces do I need to send to qualify for bulk mail?

Below is a list of exactly how many verifiable pieces you need to send in order to qualify for bulk mailing discounts. If you’re sending as much or more than this, it can be more cost effective apply to a bulk mail program or work with a direct mail printer. 

You’ll need to send at least:

  • 500 pieces for First-Class Mail
  • 200 pieces (or 50 pounds of mail) for Standard Mail
  • 50 pieces for Parcel Select (also known as Standard Post)
  • 300 pieces for Presorted or Carrier Route Bound Printed Matter
  • 300 pieces for Library Mail
  • 300 pieces for Media Mail

How do I get a bulk mail discount?

First, you’ll need a mailing permit, basically an allowance to send large amounts of postage from a single facility. You can apply for this at your USPS Business Mail Acceptance Unit, which is also where you will drop off your bulk mail. Then you will have to pay the annual mailing fee.

Next, you pay for your postage using one of three ways:

  • Precanceled Stamps: these are stamps that are set aside for presorted First Class and Standard Mail. You pay a much lower price for them upfront and then only pay the difference when/if you use them.
  • Postage Meter/PC Postage: this is best for home-printed postage. You can save time and money when you’re printing your own postage.
  • Permit Imprint: this is ideal for high bulk mailings; however, the items have to be the exact same weight to qualify. You’ll also must have an “advanced deposit account” from the specific post office you’ll be using. You prepay for your postage, then use their postage indicia for your permit imprint rather than a printed stamp and they deduct it from your account.

Do I need to presort bulk mail?

Lastly, you have to presort your work. This requires going through and ensuring all of your mail is presorted by zip code. This is the key reason you get cheaper prices -you save the post office time which means you save money.

Often businesses find this goes beyond what they’re willing to spend time doing, but if you can afford the extra time it can save a significant amount of money on high volume shipping. 

Using Bulk Mail to Market your Business

Now that you know what qualifies for bulk mailing, how much does direct mail marketing cost? Data continues to show that consumers respond favorably to direct mail. When done strategically, direct mail is a great way to increase revenue for your business.

Before reviewing costs, it’s best to figure out what type of direct mail piece is most effective for your brand. While research from the Data and Marketing Association suggests the response rate is usually highest for oversized envelopes (versus something like a letter-sized mailer), you’ll still need to determine what will work best for your campaign goals.

Which is right for you is going to vary and depends on a few different things:

  • What’s your budget? – Oversized mailers and catalogs are more expensive to design, print and ship because of their increased weight. 
  • What are you selling? – If you sell a serious product, like insurance or tax preparation, you most likely will want to send a traditional letter. If your offer is more fun and creative, you can create a colorful and eye-catching postcard.
  • Who is your campaign targeting? – If you’re nurturing past customers who are already familiar with your company, you won’t need to give them as much information and a letter or postcard can suffice.  If you’re targeting cold leads, you may need to send a bigger brochure so they can learn more about you.

If you’re interested in the more expensive direct mail pieces, it’s a good idea to do testing on a smaller group so you can measure how well it converts before going wider with it. Working directly with a direct mail printer can be a cost-effective way to A/B test, and even save on campaign costs depending on your campaign specifics. 

Direct Mail Costs

Direct mail pieces costs can range anywhere from 30 cents to more than $10 per person, depending on how much you spend on design, copy writing, mailing lists, printing, and distribution. Some companies do much of this inhouse and wind up only paying for printing and mailing or you can find printers that also offer design services in addition to fulfillment and distribution. 

Let’s break down these individual cost factors:

Design Costs ($0 – $100)

When it comes to designing your direct mail piece, there are several options:

    DIY – If you only need something basic, like a renewal letter, you should be able to create something suitable in Microsoft Word.

    Use a template – You can find a number of websites that sell templates that cost $10 on average.

    Hire a professional – If you need creative help, your best bet is to pay a professional print designer. You can someone local in your area, find a freelancer online, or see if your printer offers design services.

Marketing Copy Costs ($0 – $100)

If you have a tight budget, you may have no other choice but to write your own marketing copy. However, if budget allows you can hire a professional copywriter. Your copy has to be persuasive and there is an art to getting it just right. Copywriters are trained to write content that hooks the audience and gets them to buy.

Mailing Lists Costs ($0 – $0.30 / record)

Free mailing lists can be generated by gathering data you already have on your current customers, or by doing a trade of your info with another business in your industry.

If neither of these options are a possibility, you will pay between .02-.30 cents on average per record. The cost will vary based on the quality of the list, how many records you buy, and how many times you can send to the list. 

Printing Costs ($0.03 – $2.00 / person)

Printing costs will vary based on the following:

  • Paper quality
  • Black and white vs. color
  • Paper size
  • 1 sided vs. 2 sided
  • Number of pages
  • Quantity

Visit an online or local printing business to find out exact printing costs for your campaign.

Distribution Costs ($0.25 – $2.00 / piece)

Of course, the final cost to consider is mailing costs. Prices fluctuate and are dependent on the current postage rate, the quantity you send, and how much all of that mail weighs. Keep in mind, the larger the pieces, the heavier the order, and the more you’re going to pay.

Bulk mailing and direct mail, if done right, can be both an effective and cost-effective way to market your business.

More resources:

Financial Advisor For Retirement

Aug
26

Your dad tells you to spend less money and save for your future life, or your mom scolds you for buying a new car or your aunt living next door suggesting you invest in BitcoinDon’t mistake the wrong people for a financial advisor.

People are happy to tell you where and how to spend your money. Don’t let their advice be a huge mistake. They are not what we call a real financial advisor.

Do you wonder what a real financial advisor is?

A financial advisor is a well-educated, certified professional who helps people and families figure out their taxes, retirement plan, or help them to stay in control their money. A good advisor doesn’t randomly invest your money anywhere. They research and depend on a professional analyst to help find the best options based on your risk tolerance level.

You work hard to earn money, and earning lots of money can be even harder, however finding a good financial advisor should not be as hard. To find someone to trust with your money with the skill to earn better returns requires a little research.

But don’t worry! We are here to make the tough task easy for you. Below are some tips that will help you figure out what a good financial advisor is for you.

Here are the things that you should look in for a good financial advisor:

Qualifications and Education: 

In the world where skills have overpowered degrees, judging someone on the basis of their qualifications looks old school, right? Well not always, because education does matter a lot. Therefore, it is important to check the records of the person you consider for the role of a financial advisor. Look for someone who holds the proper certifications and has worked with various clients you know. Get referrals!.

Such advisors should have a lot of exposure to multiple options. Even as complex as a 1031 exchange. Therefore, they often come up with the best solutions and plans.  Also, based on their qualifications and achievements, you will get an idea of how much expect to pay for such financial advisor. Although, not all advisors change based on the same criteria.

Pay structure of Financial Advisor

As a new bee, looking for a financial advisor, it is better to go for a financial advisor who charges on an hourly or fee basis. These planners can be the best fit for you because they do not operate on a commission. These advisors are client-centric and give you genuine reviews of your options. Unlike other financial advisors who operate on a commission basis and might direct you to buy products which may be a more profitable deal for them. Besides, they are highly experienced and take their clients seriously because they know someone is counting on them for hourly basis. 

Know the background of your advisor

Do you like investigate? To find an advisor, you need to become a detective. Learn how they treaded their previous clients or how they handled their money. Details are important to uncover because you don’t want to risk your money with the wrong person. You should also get a sense of how trustworthy they are, for this, you can seek information about then from some sources like friends or family.

Try asking for referrals

References are powerful and can make an uphill task easier. As you hunt to find a good financial advisor, you can ask for help from people you know. Ask your friends for a good referral. You can seek information about various financial advisors or financial advising companies on Google. Read reviews to know what other people say about them. After a little research and brainstorming, decide on the financial advisor that feel right to you. 

Interview various financial advisors

“Hard work is the key to success.” This idea proves to be true to find a good financial advisor. In the world full of smart speaking people who can fool you easily, you need to find someone you can trust with your money.

This is a big deal, right? So, you need to interview multiple advisors. Weed out the worst to find the best among them. When you talk to advisors, you can ask them about the work they have done for their clients. Their approach to investing, how do they measure success.

These are some tips that can help you find a good financial advisor. Don’t forget to remember to include these points in your hiring checklist. A good financial advisor can make your income and savings work for you.

The person who understands the value of money and the hard work required to earn money is someone who can give you good advice. We hope by following these tips you find the best financial advisor who will make your life happy well in to your 90’s!

What Is A Culinary School?

Aug
14

Culinary School

What is a culinary school?

A cooking school — an institution devoted to education in the art and science of cooking and food preparation

One thing to know is Everything about a professional kitchen, including an educational kitchen, is amazingly intense. The fact is the Knives are much sharper, stoves are a lot hotter, shared space is tighter than your kitchen. Professional kitchens run at a fast-moving pace and you’ll be expected to figure everything out very quickly.

Is Culinary School Hard?

More people than ever are chasing a dream of running a kitchen or become a famous chef. Culinary school enrollment has increased in recent years. Yes, culinary school is and should be hard. The real world of culinary arts is hard. Long hours for low pay is common in the early years. It’s important to think about why you want to go to culinary school.

How much is culinary school?

Tuition Rates for Culinary Schools

In addition to traditionally high tuition rates, the costs of culinary schools are also rapidly rising. Currently, culinary school tuition typically costs over $30,000. That’s a steep price for most students to consider, and one that will force many students to utilize financial aid.

When looking at culinary school tuition, pay close attention to whether the dollar amount covers the whole degree program or only a portion of the program. In many cases, it isn’t the same as a yearly tuition fee that you’ll find at a four-year college. Instead, culinary school tuition typically encompasses the cost of the entire degree program. For example, the Arizona Culinary Institute has a nine-month program that costs $25,990. Meanwhile, The Culinary Institute of America charges about $12,950 per semester for a nine-semester program. The difference in total cost is significant, so it’s important to look into these kinds of details when researching culinary schools.

Source: https://www.campusexplorer.com

Is going to culinary school a good idea?

Quiz: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/should-you-become-a-chef-4100305

This is a question I hear often, between my educator hat and my columnist hat. Adding to the confusion is that if you look up the answer, you get a flurry of advice, much of it from culinary schools who have a horse in the race and argue that either:

  1. A degree is a waste of money—you just need to learn the cooking skills as efficiently as possible.
  2. A degree will better prepare you for long-term success and adaptability.

 

As usual with these questions, there is no single answer that will work for everyone.

My advice is to ask yourself a series of questions that may help you decide on the program to meet your needs.

First: What is the goal? If your goal is simply to get a job in a restaurant kitchen, consider learning on the job with a good mentor. I know that may seem like surprising advice from a culinary educator, but employers are desperate for talent, culinary school is expensive, and a popular misconception is that you need a degree to get a foot in the door. While that may be true for top kitchens, you can learn a lot from working full time in the right environment and supplementing your work with reading and classes.

 

Is Culinary a good career?

In the recent years, more and more people are gaining interest in culinary arts. Whether they want to be executive chef of the fanciest restaurant in town or own their own business catering to locals, lots of people are researching, learning, and consuming more fine food than ever before.

For those who want to make a career out of the culinary arts, this profession requires one to be highly educated. An individual has to know how to cook, but also how to manage a kitchen, restaurant, and about the food industry to keep up with trends and demand. Working in the culinary arts field is much more than preparing a tasty meal.

Let’s take a look at how to become a part of this exciting and fast-paced field. From your first day in culinary school to the day you are promoted to head chef, what does it take to make your mark in the field of culinary arts?

Can you go to culinary school with no experience?

How do I become a chef without culinary school?

Speaking from experience, you do not need any previous experience to get in to a culinary school. Like many schools, if you claim to have the passion, and are willing to pay the bills, you can get into a culinary school. I had no professional kitchen experience before attending Le Cordon Bleu, a few years ago. It is not easy to succeed, since many individuals will have previous experience and more knowledge. This should not not keep you from following your passion in the kitchen. Culinary school can either be a place to hone your skills in preparation for becoming a chef or it can be a place to start your journey in working in the food industry.Do I need to go to culinary school to be a chef?

You can also get a job in a restaurant kitchen or even a fast food restaurant with little or no experience so you can practice your newly acquired skills. All you need is a willingness to work hard and learn, as well as a passion for food. The first answer above is correct in the fact that it is not always glamorous. You’ll have to do a lot of things you don’t enjoy, and may not seem related to what you want to do in your career, but it is all important. If you really want to be a chef, and have a love for all things food related, it is worth it, because in the end, if you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like you’re working. I still can’t believe I get paid to play in the kitchen every day.

How many years does it take to become a chef?

It usually takes only two years to complete and is offered by a variety of institutions, such as community colleges and culinary schools. During the two years of education, students should expect to gain an extensive array of culinary skills and knowledge that will provide the foundation for a career as a chef.What’s the difference between a cook and a chef?

 

The following are some schools to consider:

 

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA)
The world-renowned Institute of Culinary Education (ICE)
Kendall is the Accelerated Associate of Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts,
New England Culinary Institute (NECI) The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Washington
San Diego Culinary Institute (SDCI)
Schoolcraft College Detroit Culinary Arts (Detroit)
St. Louis Community College (SLCC)
Delgado Community College (DCC)