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Amel M


Top 10 Children’s Charities You Can Support

The world can be a cruel place. Some children are living lives full of despair, pain, and suffering. Every time there is a breakdown in the social or political systems, children end up suffering most. Whereas this leaves some people feeling helpless and paralyzed, others feel that there is something they can do no matter how small.  This is what has prompted the establishment of charities meant help children faced with challenges.  If you are among those who would want to help, you can sponsor a child through a well-established charity. The following are some of the best charities to donate to.

  1. Share Our Strength -More Than Food for Hungry Kids

Credit: Share Our Strength

You will be surprised to note that children face starvation even in the midst of plenty.  Are you aware that there are children who are undernourished in America? You may consider partnering with Share Our Strength. This is a children’s charity that addresses root causes of hunger.  They have set up emergency-relief organizations and food banks.  They teach families with low incomes about nutrition and budgeting, and assists to enroll the poor children in state-owned nutrition programs.  They also fund groups involved in teaching job and life skills to destitute families. You may want to donate your wage for one hour towards this worthy cause.

  1. KABOOM – Safe Playgrounds

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If your passion is environment, then you can join Kaboom.  This is an organization involved in upgrading playgrounds in towns and cities in the country.  They have been in operation since 1995. They team up with corporate partners to equip and make safe playgrounds.

  1. Education and Health Needs – SOS VILLAGES

Credit: SOS Villages

You would probably want to be instrumental in restoring abandoned and orphaned children back to family life.  The SOS children’s village is a charity organization that provides homes for children without homes or parents.  They organize what they call SOS “village”, which is basically an arrangement of ten homes. Each home is manned by two adults who supervise about six to eight children.  They endeavor to make every village a community and each home to be like a family.  Since the children are destitute, all their needs from social, education, and health are met by the organization.  This arrangement ensures that siblings are not separated in case of loss of parents.

  1. Reach Out and Read

Credit: Reach Out and Read

Have you ever thought that the children’s books lying idle in your house after your children are through with them can help others?  Reach out and Read is a charity that is involved in a unique program in literacy.  They distribute books to the children who are needy at the time when they visit the doctor for their regular check-ups.  Doctors and nurses are trained to educate parents on the value of reading and provide them with books. You can partner by donating money and books. If you have time on your hands, you can volunteer to be in the doctors’ waiting rooms to help kids read.  This is one of the best charities to donate to.

  1. I Have a Dream Foundation

Credit: I Have a Dream

There is nothing as compelling as a dream, and you could be a part of such a dream for a child from a poor family. The ‘I Have a Dream’ Foundation is a charity that was started in 1981. It supports poor children who make it to college by paying their tuition fee. Children in this program become focused in their studies as the promise of being educated up to college gives them a reason to go on. As a result, they are able to withstand peer pressure and stick in school up to college level.  You can be a part of this foundation by making cash donation towards this worthy cause.


5 Handy Tips for Hiring a Moving Company

Moving houses, even when it involves coming from one street to the other, or from one state to another is never easy.  It is worse when it involves moving countries as you will need to make drastic decisions concerning what to carry and what to leave behind.  Moving is challenging and can also be quite expensive.  Therefore, it is critical to start the process on the right footing.  This will involve hiring a moving company.  Getting a moving company will entail doing a bit of research. It is with this in mind that we have come up with some handy tips for hiring top rated moving companies.

  1. Get Recommendations

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You can use the people around you to make your work easier.  Coworkers, friends or family members may have used some credible moving companies that you can contact.  You can also use the phone book or online contacts to get one.  Whichever method you use to locate one; ensure the company you settle for is under the regulation of the movers. Do not accept quotes online or through the phone.  You should ask the company to come and visit your house before they give you a quotation.  Please note that even small companies that are legit can do a good job just like the more reputable ones. By working with a smaller company, you may end up paying less.

  1. Do Initial Screening

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Before committing yourself to any service provider you should do a background check. Check the consumer-advocacy sites ‘’ for blacklisted companies.  You can also email or call American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA). A company which is a member of AMSA included in the AMSA arbitration program. This can help should there be disagreements between you and the mover. Since membership is voluntary, you should not disqualify a company just because it is not a member.

  1. Get an Estimate

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Finally, after doing the initial screening, you should be left with at least three companies on your list.  Invite each company to your house to evaluate and give you an on-site estimate.  If moving to another state, find out if the company can consider giving you a written binding estimate or a not-to-exceed estimate.  Interstate movers often base their estimates on the distance and the weight of the goods.  The amount of time that the move will take is also taken into consideration during costing.

  1. Negotiate

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You can now compare the three or so companies and get the one which not only fits your budget, but also has terms and conditions that favor you. Get a brightly colored folder or document holder and file every estimate you get. Keep the folder somewhere within sight when negotiating for rates. This way you are likely to get a competitive quote as the movers will see that you are keen on what you are doing and you are keeping track.

  1. Award the Job

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Once you are sure and you are confident about the service provider, confirm the details and dates of your move.  Make sure to ask for a bill of lading and a signed order for service.  On the material day, ensure you have a copy of the inventory list from the movers and a number you can reach them throughout the move.  Do not forget to give precise directions to your new house!


Top 10 Websites with the Best Deals on Clothing for College Students

Are you in college and can’t quite seem to get the time to shop for clothing? Why not ditch that plan to go to the mall that you keep postponing and get everything you need online? Online shopping is fast and convenient, and you can get some really fashionable pieces for unbelievable prices. Below is a list of the best online shopping sites for clothes for both men and women.

  1. Forever 21

Credit: Forever 21

If you want trendy clothing for cheap (who doesn’t?), Forever 21 is the place for you.  You will find all sorts of clothing in your size, which is rare for a clothes shop. If you are a bit bulky and only shop on the plus size section, then you’ll be blown away by the wide selection of clothes available. Men can also get some tasteful pieces, both casual and formal, at unbeatable prices.

  1. Clothing Under 10

Credit: Clothing Under 10

If you’re looking for clothes under $10, then you can’t go wrong with this website. Everything is super affordable and you can find a few reviews on YouTube for some of the clothing items they sell. The checkout process is a breeze and you can actually pay with Paypal.  Better yet, you get a discount on your first purchase.

  1. Styles for Less

Credit: Styles For Less

While you can always walk into one of their stores, you will get an even better experience shopping from their website since it’s so convenient. You can get women’s footwear and clothing at amazing prices. They usually have sales and deals on a variety of clothing items. Check it out.

  1. Deb

Credit: Deb

Deb specializes in women’s clothing that’s perfect for college students. There are plenty of outfits for plus-size women for which you can get great discounts of up to 40%.

  1. Necessary Clothing

Credit: Necessary Clothing

Here, you will find fashionable clothing items for women. If you spend more than $125, you qualify for free shipping within the US.

  1. Charlotte Russe

Credit: Charlotte Russe

The target market for this site is young women. Charlotte Russe has physical stores and a website for those who don’t have a store near them. They have great deals on skirts and dresses. If you buy a pair of shoes, you can get a second one for only $5.

  1. Rue 21

Credit: Rue 21

Rue 21 has clothing for both men and women. You can get stylish graphic tees, fragrances, accessories, skirts and so much more. There’s always a sale going on at Rue 21 so makes sure to check out their website regularly.

  1. ASOS

Credit: ASOS

ASOS is quite popular and probably one of the largest clothing retailers in the world. They stock different types of clothing for both men and women. As a college student, you get a great deal right off the bat since they give a standard 10% off on all purchases.

  1. Sammy Dress

Credit: Sammy Dress

This is one of the cheapest online clothing store available. Shipping is fast and you can even get free shipping deals based on the amount you’ve spent. Make sure to check out the trendy pieces they have on their website.

  1. Urban Original

Credit: Urban Original

This is one of the best online shopping sites for clothes. You will only find women’s clothing on this site, but they have a very wide selection of items. They also have great deals that are available all year round. You’re likely to get a buy-one-get-one for 50% off if you check out their website every once in a while.


5 Things to Consider Before Moving to A New Apartment

Have you found the perfect furnished apartments for rent and are considering moving in? You must be worried about all the little details that will have an impact of your transition to this new world. This seemingly harmless exercise affects your career, your kids and their education, and even your social life. For this reason, moving should be a considered decision that’s well planned out. Below we explore some of the things you should do before moving to a new apartment.

  1. The Cost of Living

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The cost of living in an area can negatively affect your lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to find out well in advance about the cost of living in the area where the apartment is located. This enables you to determine whether your financial position is on par with the new area. You don’t want to move into a new apartment and have to relocate to a cheaper location shortly after.

  1. Safety

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How safe is the new neighborhood? You want to move into a place with a certain level of security to have peace of mind. Find out about the security situation in the new neighborhood before moving your family.  You can do a web search with the name of the area followed by “police”, “disturbance”, “crime”, “killings”, or “burglaries”.

  1. Schools

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If you have kids, then you want to find out if there are good schools in the area. Generally, more expensive areas tend to have better quality schools. Having a good school in the area reduces the cost of transporting your kids to school every day. Its also good for your kids if they go to school with other kids in the neighborhood. They will be able to make friends and adapt to the new environment faster.

  1. Amenities

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Apartment features vary widely even within the same neighborhood. For this reason, it is important to distinguish what you want from what you need. Have a list of all the amenities that are a must-have, and then have another for those that are nice-to-have. For example, if you have a dog, then you want an apartment that allows pets and won’t settle for anything less.

  1. Job Market

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Will you or your spouse need a new job after you have moved? If so, then you need to move to a place where there’s job availability. Some areas are better for job seekers than other with unemployment rates varying widely across states. You will also need to take your industry of interest into account before moving into the new apartment. Find out if there are jobs available in your area of interest to avoid going for too long without getting a job.

  1. Daily Commute

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You need to figure out how you will be getting to work every day. How is traffic in the area and how long does it take you to get to work every day? It the commute is too long or it becomes too much of a hustle to get to work, then you would be better off getting a more convenient location even if you think the apartment is perfect for you.


How to Save Money When Buying NFL Tickets

Americans love their football, and for this reason tickets don’t come cheap. If you’re an ardent fan who goes for many games, ticket prices can easily put a dent in your wallet. Below are some tips on the best place to buy NFL tickets and how you can save money in the process.

  1. Legitimate Sources

Credit: ticketmasters

Always make sure to get your tickets from a legitimate source. They should have a money back guarantee in the event that the game is cancelled. Some of the go-to places for genuine NFL tickets are Ticket Masters and SeatGeek. Avoid becoming a victim of ticket scams by doing your due diligence before making a purchase. Frontier sources, for instance individuals on Craigslist, tend to mark up the prices of their tickets to attain considerable profit margins. Buying from Craigslist will definitely be more expensive than from a genuine reseller.

  1. Timing Is Key

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Ticket prices usually fall when it is a few hours to the game. The reason for this drop is straightforward. It is in the interest of the vendor to dispose of as many tickets as possible before a game. This means that the tickets remaining with the vendor a few hours to a game could be disposed of at discounted prices that are a considerable fraction of their original value. However, you run the risk of missing out on tickets if you do this. If you’re really strapped for cash, it is worth a shot.

  1. Purchase Tickets by Value as Opposed to Price

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If you are operating on a tight budget, you can purchase a ticket based on its value as opposed to its price. What this means is that you purchase a ticket that costs way less than its going price based on your seat number. For instance, by paying $20 less you get to seat on the upper bleacher seats, distant from the field of play, but you ultimately get to watch the game.

  1. Who Is the Opponent?

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If you don’t care too much about who is playing, then you can save money by watching games by less popular teams. Ordinarily, games that feature teams that have a national following such as the Dallas Cowboys or teams that are successful such as the New England Patriots will attract higher viewership. This naturally tends to drive up ticket prices. The best way to save money, if you want to watch your team, is by purchasing tickets where your team is playing against a less popular team.

  1. Purchase Tickets in Bulk

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Bulk purchases can be leveraged to get discounts on the listed price. This applies to all sorts of purchases including purchasing NFL tickets. If you approach a vendor as a group of alumni, friends, or even workmates, you might be able to negotiate a discount on the listed price. The vendor might also merge your order with an existing group order. The effect of this is that you get to purchase listed tickets at sub-market rates.


5 Nifty Tips for Getting Your Bank Loan Approved

How can I get a loan?

This is a question many people ask when they need to buy a car, do some renovations at home, or consolidate their debt. Whatever the reason you have for getting a loan, you have to go through an application process and thereafter an approval. You’re unlikely to walk into a bank and get money thrown at you without demonstrating that you’ll be able to pay it back. Here are some tips for getting your loans approved every time.

  1. Work on Your Credit Rating

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Today, banks can easily access your credit information from credit reference agencies. Therefore, it is important for you to ensure that you have a good credit score if you want to increase your chances of having your personal loan approved. Go through your credit file to ensure that your details are correct and that the information is up to date. Check that all the accounts listed therein are yours and are current. Having accurate data on your credit report will improve your chances of getting your loan approved.

  1. Managing Your Finances

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Personal finance management can be done in two phases – managing your regular income and managing the way you make use of your credit once you have access to it.  All banks will want to know how you spend your money and how you intend to spend the money they lend to you. Therefore, as you prepare to apply for your loan, start managing your money better. It is a good idea to keep records showing how you use your money.

  1. Know If You Are Eligible

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Different banks have different eligibility criteria. When deciding on where to get a personal loan, you need to find out if you meet the prospective bank’s eligibility criteria. If you find that there are areas you do not qualify, try and work on them to ensure you pass the eligibility test.

  1. Avoid Applying for More Than You Need

Credit: Pixabay

It is a good idea to only apply for what you need. A bank is more likely to loan you $5000 than it is $25000. This is because the latter posses a higher financial risk to the bank should you default. Therefore, while you may want to apply for more than you need, it is better to stick to applying for what you need.

  1. Honesty Is the Best Policy

Credit: Pixabay

Your honesty plays a big role when it comes to getting your loan approval. Ensure that you are completely honest in your application. Even the least bit of dishonest information can cause your loan application to be rejected. It also damages your chances of getting credit in the future with the same bank.

Final Tip

Before you walk into a bank, it is advisable to check online for loan packages. This gives you a good idea of what different providers are offering. Before doing your search, you need to be sure of how much you need for your personal loan and what you are able to pay back within the time frame required.



5 Loft Tips for Improving Your Loft

The words “loft apartment” often conjure up images of an urban, bohemian lifestyle that seems out of reach for many people. The truth is, you actually don’t need tons of cash to live in a loft. You don’t even have to live in San Francisco or SoHo, Boston to rent one. You can also find a one-bedroom loft apartment in smaller communities in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Lofts are wide-open spaces with few or no partitioning walls, and are usually on one floor. They’re often former industrial, commercial or mill spaces that have been renovated.

Loft apartments have gained a lot of popularity over the years. These spaces have a lot of potential and can easily be converted into cohesive and cozy homes oozing with charm and personality. Nonetheless, it can be hard deciding where to start when trying to personalize your space. Below are some tips for improving your loft.

1. Curtains

Credit: Pixabay

Choosing the right curtains will go a long way in making a space that’s primarily one room look sophisticated. You can give the illusion of rooms by hanging curtains to divide your loft into designated living spaces. This also helps establish some privacy. If you have large windows, which are recommended for a loft, then curtains will help dress them up and darken the room whenever you need to.  To maximize the light coming into the room during the day, use light colored curtains and shades.  This will also help save on energy costs.

2. Storage

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Space is limited in a loft. For this reason, you want to make the most of every inch. The first thing you need to do is remove all clutter since it takes up a lot of space and makes the room feel crowded. Any stuff that you’re not using should be stored away or disposed.

Make proper use of your walls for storage. Have as many shelves as possible and place hooks at strategic locations. Hooks come in handy where you want to display your kitchenware. Buy pretty containers to store tools and dry goods if they’re exposed. Whenever you can, buy functional furniture pieces that you can use for storage. For example, you can get a table with drawers, a bed with storage underneath, and a TV stand with cabinet space.

3. Go Vertical

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Maximize on the use of space by going taller on storage and other fixtures. You can give the illusion of space by using tall lamps, hanging light fixtures, bookshelves and plants. Using oversized wall art helps draw the eyes upwards and makes the room look taller.

4. Colours

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Using darker colors will make the room seem smaller. For this reason, you should stick to lighter colors on your walls and floors.  Combining bright colors with mirrors on the walls will bounce light throughout the room and make it look larger than it actually is. To break the monotony, have an accent wall with a darker color. This will also help create a contrast between living spaces.

5. Lighting

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Want to open up your loft? Why not bathe it in light? Light is an excellent tool for manipulating your spaces and creating moods. For example, you can use light to highlight certain areas of interest and minimize others. You can also use unique light fixtures to bring character and style to your loft.


7 Tips to Optimize Field Service for Better Customer Experiences

Sometimes, field service technicians are your only point of contact with your customers. You need to make the most of these touch points to retain customers and keep your bottom line in check. The best way to go about it is to make each of your customers’ interactions with technicians impactful and profitable. However, this is often a challenge for busy field service organizations. For this reason, your field service technicians need proper field service software for small business to enable timely provision of services, access to customer history and encourage accountability. You can optimize your field service operations by doing the following.

  1. Improve Response Time

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Customers are becoming less and less patient. They want help to arrive fast without requiring too much input from them. Field service employees have to find ways to shorten appointment windows and appointment times. Using a service scheduling software facilitates accurate and fast technician assignment based on skills-set, location, and availability.

  1. Prevent Service Failures and Repeat Problems

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Instead of focusing on response to failures, it is more prudent to focus on how to prevent the failures from occurring. Whenever an issue arises, you should figure out how to solve it once and for all and prevent it from happening again.

  1. Empower Your Customers

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If you can provide self-service troubleshooting for your customers, you will have a much easier time dealing with complaints. You will only have to deal with the more complicated issues. For example, providing a hosted cloud solution other than a premise-based hardware solution will allow your employees to do more remotely.  This also empowers your customers to solve their own issues.

  1. Use Mobile Software

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Paper-based field service management is expensive and inefficient. Investing in mobility enabled software allows real-time capture of information that is then shared with the entire organization. Overheads are also reduced due to the elimination of paper-based field service management and the establishment of accurate audit trails. Get the right field service software for small business to help streamline your operations.

  1. Invest in Diagnostics

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Invest in remote diagnostics and monitoring to improve customer experience. Installing remote sensors in equipment can help deliver real-time monitoring and diagnostics data that can be acted on immediately. For example, you can find out at a glance where the equipment is, whether it is running, and any faults or triggers arising. This helps reduce failures on site and improves customer satisfaction.

  1. Assign Jobs to the Right Person

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Before sending out a support team, you need to find out if they have the right skill set to manage the kind of problems that need to be addressed. Invest in good resource scheduling software to optimize service calls and ensure the right personnel is assigned to a customer’s job.

  1. Examine Your Manual Processes

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It is important to find out where you can automate in order to make critical information available to all your staff in real-time. Look at all your manual processes and the critical information held captive in these processes. Find software solutions to help you automate where possible. Make sure to keep track of all transactions including expenses, travel, and labor. Field service management software will be an essential part of the automation process.




Top 10 Legal Mistakes Small Businesses Make

It’s very easy for a business owner to make mistakes that can expose them to legal ramifications. Below we explore some of the top mistakes made by entrepreneurs.

  1. A Lack of Legal Structure

Credit: Pixabay

Many start-ups operate without being incorporated. At the outset, the reasons for doing so might be understandable. However, in the long haul, this exposes the business owner to liability. For example, an employee may sue the enterprise, a founder may depart from the firm, or the company might need a capital injection from an external investor. Find out how to establish your company in its home state to avoid this pitfall.

  1. Absence of an MOU

Credit: Pixabay

A lack of a Memorandum of Understanding to govern the relationship between shareholders is detrimental to the health of a business. Chaos ensues in the absence of such an agreement. The route out of this mess is to have a lawyer draft a document that governs how disagreements are sorted out between shareholders.

  1. No Human Resources Policy

Credit: Pixabay

The absence of an employee manual to regulate the conduct of employees can be problematic. It opens up the business to the possibility of being slapped with lawsuits from disgruntled employees. A small business does well to formulate human resources policies that resonate with the ethos of the organization. This should be done with the advice of human resource professional and a lawyer.

  1. Libel

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The need to remain visible online raises the possibility that a small business will make libelous statements at one point in time. Seek legal advice from a lawyer on what constitutes free speech and what is libel. This could save you many hours of being entangled in court processes.

  1.  Intellectual Property

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Some companies fail to secure their intellectual property. Intellect property issues touch on patents, copyrights, and trademarks. Seek an attorney to perform an inventory of the firm’s intellectual property and to secure it on your behalf.

  1. Filing too Many Lawsuits

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Business can be an emotional affair. When emotions run high people end up in all sorts of lawsuits with partners and suppliers. This is costly. To avoid many hours spent on commercial litigation, always opt for negotiation as a first option to settling disputes.

  1. Data Security

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A small business should invest in software that protects customer data. Hacking is quite common nowadays and the last thing you want is to deal with is a breach of customer data, which could lead to a firm being sued.

  1. Regulatory Compliance

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Business has to remit payroll as well as sales tax to the IRS. This implies investing in accounting software or an accountant. Failure to remit taxes will result in penalties and possible closure of the business.

  1.  Internet Usage

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The use of the internet at work has to be restricted for a firm to thrive. Using the internet for personal use lowers productivity and exposes the firm’s data to  security risks. Download of illegal torrents by employees can also result in lawsuits and even prosecution. The way to deal with this issue is to restrict access to inappropriate websites and monitor web usage.

  1. Capital Injection

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The taking in of capital from external sources can pose challenges concerning the ownership of a firm. To ensure that the business is not exposed to litigation in future, have a lawyer audit the investors and set out a guideline on how they can structure a share agreement.


9 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Blog

Ready to start blogging? Blogging is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website and convert prospective customers into buyers. Done well, it is a valuable tool in your marketing arsenal. But how do you go about it to make it work for you? Below are some valuable tips on how to start your own blog.

  1. Competitor Analysis

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Unless you’re selling spaceships or something equally esoteric, then you probably have lots of competition in your niche. Therefore, you’re unlikely to come up with any new content that’s not been covered before. Check out the kind of content your competitors have on their blogs. What’s their most popular content? What keywords are they targeting? How many backlinks do the articles have, and where are they from? If the links come from authority sites such as Wikipedia, then you’ll have a harder time outranking them.

  1. Long Content Works

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It’s tempting to go for short little updates. After all, they won’t take too much time and you’ll cover more ground faster. This is not the way to go. Work on longer, more detailed pieces that help the reader solve an actual problem. More in-depth pieces will provide so much value that readers won’t have an option but to share.

  1. Make the Right Connections Early

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Establish strategic relationships with influential bloggers at the beginning of your journey. Do not spam them with guest post requests. Form bonds of friendship with them by sharing their content on social media, and mentioning their content on your site. Let them know what you are doing, and this will go a long way in affirming your support for each other.

  1. Invest in Responsive Web Design

Credit: Pexels

Ensure that you develop a website that is responsive. Your blog should be easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile platforms. An unresponsive website puts you at the risk of losing valuable traffic when people on mobile devices are unable to access your blog since it’s not user-friendly.

  1. Grow A Mailing List

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If you’re serious about your blog, you need to have a mailing list. A mailing list ensures that you have access to people’s inboxes whenever you want. This removes over-reliance on Google and social networking sites for traffic. You don’t want your business to be affected in a crippling way by a change in policy by these sites.

  1. Go Big on Visual Content

Images and video are gaining popularity over text. You need to invest in proper photos that have an attribution license. You could take your own photos or have a professional do that for you. A blog that has quality visual content stands out from other blogs.

  1. Spend Money on Ads

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You will need to run ads to promote your blog. Advertising need not be expensive. Set aside $25 for advertising on a social network site such as Facebook and watch how things unravel. The genius behind advertising on social media is that recipients of the ads can share them on their profiles and this is a plus for you.

  1. Outsource

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You need to outsource some aspects of running your blog such as managing updates and the social network pages. This allows you to concentrate on churning out creative content that converts readers into customers.

  1. Hosting

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Avoid free hosting options such as BlogSpot and WordPress. Instead, set up a WordPress blog with your own host. If you outgrow the free host, moving to your own domain will be a tedious exercise. Also, the control and branding options that you enjoy on a free blog host are limited by propriety rights of the host. Get a hosting service that is pocket friendly and meets any other unique needs you might have.