A stack of business cards on hand.

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One of the things I requested from the company I am employed at when I joined a couple of years ago was a business card. I planned on meeting business associates and other key individuals related to the business operations. A business card is a person’s brand. A stack of square business cards containing your contact details as well as the company or brand you are representing is very important to have with you all the time.

Here are two things I immediately caught on when my boss welcomed me into the company: make sure I am always ready for a face to face meeting with a business partner and to always have a business card on hand. The former is for me to become familiar with the industry, the company itself, and with every business partner we have. The latter is for every one I meet to remember me as the newest member of the company back then.

I was issued a box of business cards right away. You need one, too. Especially if you are in sales, marketing, promotions, and PR.

Aura Print, one of the largest in the UK and the USA, has been producing a range of business cards since 2007. You can choose from a textured paper to a 100% recycled one, or even a uniquely shaped card. They can cater to your business card needs, depending on what you require for that is uniquely identifiable to your business.

You know you are in good hands when you choose Aura Print. Quality, attention to detail, fast turnaround, and efficient. Send the design you have in mind. If you don’t have one yet, you can ask them to design it for you. Aura Print will make sure that you will be remembered by the individual(s) you meet when you hand over your business card.

Get a quote now. You need a stack of those quality-made business cards ready at all time.

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Settled before thirty.

He was raised by a single mom who had to juggle two to three jobs in order to make ends meet. He has a younger sister. It was, and still is, just the three of them in life. It was probably seeing the sacrifices that his mom made that drove him to really study hard in order to get a scholarship in college. He chose to become a teacher.

accomplishedHe graduated a year early. He took the board exams and passed it. He then began teaching in his alma mater while getting his masters. Then, his doctorate degree. He passed each one with flying colors. While getting all those degrees, teaching, and even writing school textbooks, he also worked on getting a house of his own. And he did, you know. He did plus he got a car which he used for Uber, part-time.

He did all that before he turned thirty years old. Wow. To say that I am envious and extremely proud of my cousin is an understatement!

When I was in my twenties, I was struggling to make ends meet. I was sending my siblings to school while trying to work my butt off paying off bills. My mom was sick that time and my dad was focused on her hospital bills and medication. I was minding my siblings, food on the table, household bills, and even the washer repair. My mind was close to exploding during that decade of my life. I am just so glad that I was able to make it. Looking back, I knew that I became stronger because of that decade. When I am being asked about dishwasher repair, I now answer with a smile and would even help finding one online. Whereas in my twenties, if you asked me about anything related to household stuff, I would give an earful. That’s for sure. I was that stressed out and I didn’t want to hear any problems or issues or worries related to home.

When I look at my cousin, my heart swells with pride. It was also my plan to become settled early on in life. I had grand plans for when I turned thirty. Financially stable, with a good job, but also with a back-up business for a side hustle. But all that went down the drain when, first, my brother got sick with leukemia, and then, my mom got sick with a rare kidney disease. I couldn’t turn my back on my siblings. I wanted them all with a bachelor’s degree to their name. I am proud to say that even though settling is still far from sight, I was able to send my siblings to college. And, yes, they all got their bachelor’s degree, and license as well!

Soon, I will be able to settle in my own home. With enough money in the bank to support my travel plans and a good side hustle, too. I can’t wait for that day to happen. I hope, soon!

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Reorganize and repair.

One of my aunts called me out of the blue last weekend. Like majority of us in this side of the world, she is experiencing cabin fever. She told me she would go crazy if she would not take on a couple of projects to take her mind off the situation we are all in now. I am talking about the ongoing pandemic. She wanted to ask me for suggestions on what she could do while stuck at home most of the time. Two things I suggested to her: reorganize her furniture and appliance repair.

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My aunt’s house is a combined two big houses. The main house is the original house that they bought years ago. The second one, the smaller of the two houses, was bought just recently. The idea was to renovate it and put it up as a rental. But plans changed and they combined the houses into one. It is one big house! Five bedrooms with another one in the basement, a huge double kitchen, two dining rooms, a big family room, and a wide backyard. The backyard is big enough to hold celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries, holiday parties.

Reorganizing her furniture will occupy a lot of her time. The idea came from a conversation I had with her about two or three years ago. A neighbor was selling their house and my aunt was telling the owner to move the furniture around so the aesthetic of the interior would change. She loves spending time choosing furniture and appliances, planning where to put those, and reorganizing it. She told me that I really gave her a good idea because she wants to move the sofas, couches, and recliners around.

Her backyard is another sub-project she could take on as she is in the process of getting furniture for it. And a hot tub as well.

Another suggestion is to take charge of the maintenance of the appliances. And another great idea, she said. She is already looking for an expert to do her washer repair. Cleaning of all her air conditioning units plus a check on the HVAC is also due.

I told her that there are a lot of things that she can do around the house. Instead of focusing on being stuck at home, I told her to focus her attention on things that she can now do while she has a lot of time in her hands. Aside from those two suggestions, she can also check on her electricity costs and how she can cut down on consumption. Another idea is to grow herbs. She has a green thumb so she can utilize that.

I was also feeling listless the past several weeks but when I pinned down the cause, I made sure to tackle it head on. I diverted my attention through reading and writing.

Any suggestions on what projects to take on now that majority of us are stuck at home?

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Celebrating my siblings.

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When I was younger, I resent the fact that I was always held accountable for my siblings. I am the eldest and I was always told that it was my responsibility to guide and protect my siblings no matter what. I knew for a fact that my mother brainwashed me so that being responsible would be deeply ingrained in me. And it worked! Up to this day that we are older, I still feel responsible for my siblings, even the one who already has a family of his own. I would check on them from time to time. I would make sure that my sisters are all safe and sound at home before I close my eyes at night. That’s me when I got older, now.

But back then, when an opportunity to escape from the responsibilities presented itself, I would grab it. Every time I could escape, they’d find me in my grandma’s house. I really just wanted to be left alone, to read, to play, to do everything without the burden of taking care of the young ones.

These days, I love being around my siblings. I think as we grow older, we appreciate so many things that we used to take for granted. A simple request to accompany my sister for an appliance repair is a cause for get-together already. Lunch or dinner together, coffee afterwards. Then, hanging out at someone’s home.

Just last week, my sister-in-law was asking about this dishwasher repair she found online. That conversation became a catalyst for a weekend staycation in one of the sibling’s places. It was such a memorable one.

Nowadays, I celebrate my siblings. I am grateful that I have not just one but four siblings plus a sister-in-law. I have two nephews. I am surrounded by love all the time and I feel blessed because of that. Not every person out there has that to his name. Yes, we are now orphans because our parents have passed on. And we miss them a lot especially when we are gathered together. My mother was the one who taught us to celebrate every moment we have of each other and we do that now more than ever.

Life is short. My siblings and I know that for a fact. Our mother died when she was only forty eight years old. Our father passed away before this pandemic hit the world. He was sixty two only. Both were too young. So many parents out there live to their eighties, nineties. But ours passed on early in their lives. So, we celebrate each other whenever we can. Because we all know how fragile our lives are. Who knows when we will be taken away from this world? Not us. We do know, though, that it can be today or tomorrow. Or a decade from now. So, we love each other fiercely nowadays. We celebrate being together and we celebrate each other.

You should, too. You don’t know when a love one will be taken away from you.

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Growing number of plant-fans everywhere!

plantsAre you one of the numerous fans of various house plants that have been posting in social media about it, left and right? I love plants. I have grown up surrounded by it because of my mom who was, primarily, a big fan of orchids. But I must admit I am not as big a fan as others who really shell out their hard-earned money for the newest “it” house plant being sold at the moment.

Still, the PlantShed flower delivery is bookmarked because we all love a house with plants and flowers in it. Succulents are our favorite right now. A high school friend of mine gave us a couple of succulents and it’s thriving, thanks to my sister who takes care of the plants we have.

I remember when my brother was getting married, my sister and I took care of almost everything related to the church and the reception venue. The flowers, in particular, we really made sure were ones guests would remember even years later. We were successful in that area, I must say. People remembered the beautiful white flowers we chose for the church, bouquets, boutonnières, and even centerpieces for the reception venue. Cally Lily is the primary flower we chose. It was really beautiful!

Plants, flowers, are not just to be placed at home. Every celebration needs to have flowers, in my opinion. If a special someone will be celebrating a milestone, you can always rely on gift delivery from Plant Shed in New York City, or elsewhere for that matter, so you can convey your felicitations.

A house plant, a bouquet of flowers, a succulent in a cute pot, or even a bonsai. Almost every person I know will thank you if you give them one now.

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Dressed up on a Friday night.

dressed-upThis pandemic has made us complacent, to say the least. We are now so used to being at home, dressed shabbily, and even with our hairs in disarray. Admit it, you are also guilty of slacking off and letting things slide when this pandemic hit.

But one thing hit me when I read something on Instagram lately… this is the period when we need to take care of ourselves even more!

One idea that popped in my head is to get dressed up on a Friday night. I mean, why not? There are Women’s Boutique Dresses online that we women can choose from. Let’s get dressed even if we will just be staying at home and will just be watching Netflix alone. Dress in one of those summer boutique dresses or those boutique maxi dresses from MySistersCloset-Boutique. Pop the bottle of wine in the fridge to get it cold. Set up that table for one with the pasta just off the stove. You can even set the mood by dimming the lights or completely turning it off to light some scented candles on the floor. Go ahead and do it. It is one form of self-love that we need to be espousing in order to stay sane in this tough period of our lives.

Love yourself. We need to start with ourselves before we give love to others around us. That’s one of the things that I have learned since this pandemic started. It can be simply eating something special on any given time or day. Dressing up on nights you normally reserve to going out and meeting friends. Or just opening a bottle of a special wine to sip a glass all by yourself.

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Unique Places to Visit in Vancouver

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Vancouver may be deep in the tech world, but it still can be as fun and quirky as Victoria, British Columbia. Instead of art boardwalks and endless sweaty lines for carnival rides or beach games: consider exploring these parts of the city. Each is unique and maybe your new favorite thing the moment you try it.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Classical Chinese Garden
Sometimes it can feel like every park and garden you see is starting to melt into one floral-scented blob of memory in your mind. If you’ve visited one English garden, it feels like you’ve seen all of them. That’s what makes Sun Yat-Sen’s garden so unique. Not only does he go above and beyond with presentation, but he also creates a magical new space. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s garden is a breath of fresh air.

This garden tucked away behind private walls that hide it from the street is like a breath of fresh air. Beautiful and striking red and gold decor mingles with the beautiful fanned-out plantlife. Countless herbs, flowers, trees, and other greens are growing here, each expertly chosen for its specific position. This is a garden unlike most people in Canada have seen!

Bloedel Conservatory
Visible from nearly everywhere in the city, the Bloedel Conservatory is a gorgeous glass and metal dome that sits like a crown above the main parts of the city. Stepping inside away from cold winters or hot summers, your breath will be taken away by how comfortable and warm the inside of the dome is.

Filled to the brim with lush greenery, it can feel like you’re slipping off into a rainforest to explore. Coffee trees and fig trees fill the space with a delicious smell, and your eyes will have no choice but to dart excitedly from plant to plant as you take it all in.

There’s a unique walking trail that allows you to be amongst parrots and other winged friends for those who love animals. The childish wonder you’ll feel from walking in here will be enough to make you want to look at homes for sale in Vancouver.

The Marine Building
Sometimes the actual work of beauty is the building itself. This art-deco-style building is so intricately designed that you can look at it every day for years and still find something new. Within this building’s lounge, framed photos of the multiple projects used this building as their backdrop. Used for DC movies and shows centering around Superman, this building was capable of showing the ostentatious energy of the 20s without having to create a replica. When the sunlight pours into the city in the afternoon, the reflective surfaces of The Marine Building shine brightly, ushering in more guests through its door.

Vancouver is more than just a movie city that’s trapped between a mountain range and the ocean. It’s full of creative people, beautiful art, and enough gorgeous plants and buildings to make you want to move at the moment you can.

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Entertaining the kids during this pandemic.

gamingThis pandemic has brought out the creative and skillful in us. Can you imagine a time in our lives when majority of the adults are working from home and the young ones attending their classes online? To be honest, I am still reeling from the changes that this virus has brought in our lives.

In our home alone, two kids are attending their classes online. Both classes are in the morning. My younger sister teaches her pre-school classes online as well. And then two of us accountants are also working from home. Can you imagine the chaos when we are all using the internet and then the speed suddenly fluctuates? You can only imagine the noise when the lot at home shouts for the internet connection to be checked and restored. At night, when everyone is relaxing already, the television is on, most are on social media through their mobile phones, the kids are playing video games… that’s when it hits you. This pandemic has given us a chance to spend more time together and it is one of the positive things that we should be grateful for.

So, anyway, I am sure the adults in your home are struggling to entertain the kids so cabin fever won’t set in. I will share two ways that we skillfully thought of in order for the kids, and the kids at heart, to have fun while stuck at home to avoid exposure to the virus.

Super-TetrisBond over online games. Friendly competition is the name of the game, my friends! I have a seven-year-old nephew who is very competitive and would really learn ways on how to defeat everyone who plays against him. He knows some of the newest video games these days but I thought how much fun would it be to teach him some of the classic games from my generation. Pac-man, Galaga, Super Mario, Street Fighter… Just some of the games that I got hooked on when I was younger. I am grateful for smart television these days, you can easily play online games while lounging on the sofa in the family room. That’s what my nephew and I have been doing the past several months.

We discovered online Neon Invaders, Pac Rat Game, and Super Tetris! Ah, Tetris. My nephew was hooked the first time he played this! We would spend hours beating each others’ high scores. My heart skips a beat whenever I see my nephew enjoying a game from my youth.

I believe most of us older ones know how to play Tetris. You just have to use arrow keys in order for the pieces to fit in and create a straight line. Fit until you find yourself racing against time. It’s so simple that you won’t feel pressure while playing. You can easily play again and again. Trust me, you’d think it was a no-brainer game, not as much fun as other games out there, but you will be surprised at how much time you will spend lining up those falling bricks.

Get those thousand pieces puzzles. And slowly fit the pieces to complete it. Believe me, the kids will go crazy finding every piece that matches the ones that are already sitting in their places. Ah, the hours you will spend just doing it…

Need more skillful ways to entertain the kids?

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Is this cabin fever?

What is cabin fever? I Googled it and this came back:

cab·in fe·ver
/ˈkabən ˈfēvər/

noun INFORMAL•NORTH AMERICAN

irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter

Truth is, I’ve been feeling all of those things and more. And it is not winter in this part of the world where I am in. In fact, the weather is hot and humid. But this part of the world is still very much being attacked by the virus that is making every person in the world worried and angry. Our lives are dependent on a bi-weekly announcement from the president.

Is this cabin fever?

cabin-feverI should get it out there that I am one of the lucky few who get to work from home and be with my family almost daily. I go to the office once or twice a week, only when there are absolutely necessary tasks to be done. Most days, I work from home and my schedule depends on what I need to do. Yes, I am lucky that I am earning while being able to stay indoors.

But being cooped up inside the house is getting to me. I admit it now. I feel restless, worried, anxious, and angry. I cannot stay put in one place nowadays. And the weather is aggravating my emotions. You can find me sitting on the epoxy flooring, on the stairs, on my stomach on the sofa. I cannot work as peacefully as I used to.

When the pandemic was in its first few weeks, my sister and I would go to the market every Sunday morning. It became a routine until a few sellers got infected with the virus so the market was shut down. Now, every few days I go to the grocery store to buy essentials. The number of cases are still rising so there is more anxiety in going elsewhere. I don’t. I stay put indoors unless I totally need to go somewhere. It is my way of contributing to the welfare of frontliners who are exhausted and about to give up since last year.

Maybe, I will go out very early to walk around the block. Maybe. We live near a hospital so I am not sure about the situation. I will ask around first. But I will do something about this ‘cabin fever’ because it is getting to my head. And I don’t want to start feeling sad about the situation. I can overcome this. I can find a way. We all can. We just need to find alternatives to what used to be our daily routines so we can stop feeling anxious and listless.

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Sofa for everyone.

sofaAre you one of those families that converge in a single place at home even though there is a lot of space to sit or lounge at? I belong to one of those families.

My sisters and I love chatting. Even our sister-in-law loves to chat. Since we all live in a single house, we often chat. And we love to do it while eating. Also, when we are in front of the television in the living room. You can just imagine the abuse our chairs would get from us. We would sit there for hours at times, even the nephews love to relax and play with their tablets while lounging with us around.

Just last night, I realized just how much we are in need of a new sofa for the living room. A sidearm is already broken while several sweat stains can be found on the chocolate brown sofa. We are in need of a trip to the furniture store Fredericton soonest.

In choosing a sofa for your home, here are two things to make sure you check: lifestyle and dimension.

When buying a sofa, make sure you choose the right dimension. You don’t want to get a bulky sofa for your small living room. Right? It might eat up all the space you have in that section of the house you want to put it in.

What to do? Measure the space where you plan to put the sofa at. Make sure your measurement is correct. When you are in the store, give your measurement to a store assistant to help you find the right sofa. Check available colors and fabrics. And count the number of people who can seat on it.

We always choose neutral colors. We used to have a gray sofa then we chose a chocolate brown one after. We also always choose leather. Easier to clean and maintain. The fabric ones can easily get broken especially when there are kids at home. Just a pen or scissor can tear one apart.

And, then, consider your lifestyle. Some people love entertaining at home. You choose a roomy sofa, easier to clean and maintain, and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. For people like us, a sofa is really for lounging, a place where we can sit for hours. It is what we use to chit-chat, watch television, read a book, and just chill. Some buy a sofa for aesthetic purposes and nothing more.

Also, consider if you have kids at home. Better choose a sturdy one even if it is pricier than most. Kids tend to jump on anything soft so you know that the new sofa will be used as a trampoline of sorts.

What’s your choice?

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