How to Organise Your Christmas Party Entertainment and Have a Fun Evening Too

Choosing entertainment for your Christmas party can be a daunting task. You have a group of 100plus people who never socialise with each other, generally only talk to the people they know and spend most of the evening avoiding their boss!Not a situation that shouts fun!There is however a simple solution, one that is often overlooked or left until last in the event organising process, entertainment.After organising entertainment for the last 13 years I can honestly say that entertainment can either make or break a Christmas party and this depends on how much research is done by the organiser.Here’s a checklist to help you choose the best Christmas party entertainment for your company;1)¬†Find out the average age of your guests (there’s no point in booking a DJ if you guests are over 50 and will probably leave straight after the meal)2) Find out the average gender of your guests (if most of your guests are female you probably won’t want Belly Dancers!)3) Are you guests bringing their partners? (If so you’ll need to make the entertainment more general so having a company quiz is probably out.)4) Ask you guests what they’d like (it sounds obvious but simply asking your guests what type of entertainment they’d like is sometimes the best way to please the majority)5) Find out your entertainment budget as early as possible (there’s no point spending hours talking to Christmas party DJ’s, bands, magicians and casinos if you know you’ve only got ¬£100 to spend)When you get the answers from this checklist you’re ready to start finding your entertainment.Now comes the second conundrum, do you use an entertainment agent, go directly to the acts or use the entertainment that your venue recommend?This can completely confuse the average Christmas party organiser.It’s probably best to only go directly to the act if you’re only having one entertainment act, think of all the stress it’s going to be having three or four acts calling you on the day asking the same questions!This is where going with an entertainment agent can help, the agent will look after all the acts so you don’t have to and they’ll deal with all those small questions that will just add to your stress!If your venue does recommend an entertainment agent then it’s probably best to go with this option, they’ve been recommended for a reason and their acts have probably all worked at the venue before so they’ll know how to get in, set up and who to speak to if there are problems.If you’re stuck for Christmas party entertainment ideas here’s a fewDrinks Reception Entertainment This can set the tone for the whole evening, if you’re guests relax and talk to each other then you’re going to relax too! So how do you break the ice?The best way to do this is with some ‘Walkabout entertainment’ for example a Close Hand Magician or Caricaturist.Close Hand Magicians are great because they subtly mingle in with your guests, come up to small crowds of people and draw in other guests to watch. This means that by the end of the trick all the guests should be left laughing and commenting ‘how did they do that!’ with someone they don’t really know, in effect breaking the ice.Caricaturists do the same thing with the added bonus that you’re left with a gift to put above the computer at work.Entertainment after the main mealIt’s sometimes a fun idea to have a surprise element to your evening and what better way to do it than by having your waiters who have been quietly serving you all night suddenly break into song!This will delight all your guests, make them laugh and stop people talking shop at the end of the meal.Main Christmas party entertainmentThis is the most exciting party of the entertainment, the main event! Will it be a Christmas party band or a DJ, or if you can afford it, both.A Christmas party band adds a great live feel and if they’re good, can have the immediate effect of getting every dancing. A DJ will do the same but with the added bonus that they generally play for longer, although it can be a bit cheesier and generally it will take people longer to get up and dance.Other Christmas party entertainment ideas Other ideas include Casinos and Belly Dancers which can be great if you have mainly male guests. Henna artists, Butlers in the Buff and Chocolate Fountains are all better for female guests unless everyone is on a diet!Remember, when you’re guests are leaving the event, the biggest talking point isn’t the food, decorations, venue or the staff, it’s the entertainment.

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The Best Investment Strategy for 2013

For the average investor, the best investment strategy for 2013 likely won’t be the traditional investment strategy commonly recommended by the investment companies and their representatives. Change is in the wind, and one of the best ways to deal with this is to make adjustments to the asset allocation strategy in your investment portfolio.For over 30 years the investment industry recommended that the best investment strategy for most investors was an asset allocation of: 50% to 60% in stocks and 40% to 50% in bonds. The investment vehicle promoted was mutual funds – stock funds and bond funds. This kept things simple and actually worked quite well. Losses in one asset class were often offset by gains in the other. This investment portfolio produced both good growth and income for average investors over the years.As 2013 unfolds it’s time to review your asset allocation. Sometimes the best investment strategy is to be a bit more conservative than the tried and true strategy of yesterday. The stock market has more than doubled in value since early 2009. Bond prices are near historical highs, with interest rates pushing all-time lows. The markets are in a state of uncertainty, as Americans in general are fed up with the lackluster economy and the Congressmen who represent them.Having followed the markets for over 40 years, I have never seen a tougher environment to invest in. Putting together the best investment strategy has never been more difficult. All of the investment asset classes appear to be selling at high price levels, with real estate being perhaps the exception. So, let’s take a look at the things to consider in your asset allocation strategy.If you are one of the millions of every-day Americans who are relatively heavy into bond funds, consider cutting back on your asset allocation to these funds. Bond funds are NOT safe investments in today’s low-interest-rate environment. Your best strategy: no more than 30% or 40% invested in bonds or bond funds. Even U.S.Treasury bonds (T-bonds) will lose significant value if interest rates go back up to normal levels.Also, if you hold long-term bond funds, consider moving to intermediate-term funds that hold bonds with an average maturity of about 5 to 7 years in their investment portfolio. Bond funds that hold long term bonds, maturing in 20 years or more, can lose significant value when interest rates head upward. With this investment strategy you will receive a bit less in dividend income, but you will gain by significantly increasing the safety factor.Millions of Americans have lost faith in the stock market, and many have sold their stocks funds to buy bond funds. The average diversified stock fund gained more than 100% between early 2009 and early 2013. If you missed this opportunity, it is not the best investment strategy to jump in big time and play catch-up now. But, depending on your risk profile and age, you should consider an asset allocation with 20% to 50% going to stock funds.In times of high uncertainty diversification is one of the investor’s best friends. Let this thought guide your investment strategy and asset allocation when picking stock funds for 2013 and beyond. Include a variety of stock (equity) funds in your investment portfolio. The perfect place to start is with a diversified large-cap equity fund like an S&P 500 index fund. With an S&P 500 index fund you own a small piece of 500 of America’s largest, best known companies. Make this your largest holding in the stock portion of your investment portfolio.Then, add an international equity fund to your portfolio. Also include specialty funds in your investment strategy that focus on specific sectors like real estate, gold, natural resources and basic materials. These funds have sometimes been the best investment when the stock market in general is weak.Now that you have cut your asset allocation to stocks and bonds, where do you invest those proceeds? Cash is your other friend when uncertainty is high. Cash refers to safe, liquid investments like money market funds or money in bank savings accounts. Sometimes the best investment strategy includes keeping some powder dry awaiting future opportunity.Your best investment strategy for 2013 is to modify your asset allocation in stocks and bonds so that risk is only moderate. Diversify broadly across the asset classes, and have cash available so you can take advantage of future investment opportunities. This strategy will keep you in the game, with less risk than yesterday’s conventional investment strategy.

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Nine Ideas to Help Plan My Trip to Europe

So, the stage is set for your travel plans this year. You chosen to travel to Europe because it just feels right, but you begin to panic a little because you’ve started to psych yourself out by thinking, ‘How do I plan my trip?’ After all, you’ve usually traveled domestically, and there’s a good chance that most of that was in a car for an epic road-trip. You figure if you forgot or needed something, you’d take care of it along the way or at your destination. Traveling to Europe, though, is a little different because you can’t really stop along the way over the Atlantic.You know this is the trip you’ve been waiting for, but it can be daunting to figure out where to start. Rather than stress out too much over your travel plans, use these nine steps as a guide to help put your travel plans into perspective & keep the joy of knowing you’re going to Europe:1. Choose A Destination – Sure, you’ve chosen Europe, but that’s a continent. You need to figure out where you’ll be visiting, so sit down & hash out a list of places you’d like to visit, the time you’d like to spend there, and how it all works on the amount of time you have for your vacation. This is a key step because you’re having to choose between places like England, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, so take your time & don’t procrastinate.2. Create A Budget – You’re investing money in your trip, but you don’t want to break the bank. The best way to keep your money in check is to create a budget with which to operate. This is not just for how much your trip will cost but also how much you’ll allow yourself to spend on food, souvenirs, and other spur-of-the-moment possibilities.3. Travel Documents – You need to make sure your passport is in order, and it wouldn’t hurt to check on documentation on additional ID, prescriptions, and emergency contact information.4. Figure Out Your Travel – If you’ve chosen to visit a particular city, you want to think of the best way to get to your lodging. Is it by train or bus? Also, since you’re flying, where will be the best airport to fly into (i.e., if going to England, Heathrow or Gatwick; if going to France, Charles de Gaulle or Paris Orly)? You also want to figure out how best to get to the places you want to check out on your trip, and this will also help you establish a home-base of sorts.5. Make At Least One Itinerary – As you start your planning, make rough drafts of how your trip will play out with destinations, lodging, and travel. Remember that there should be drafts as in more than one. You’ll find that fine-tuning your itinerary will be vital.6. Guidebooks – Don’t think of guidebooks as “touristy” because the purpose of them is to help tourists. Find one or two that really provide good info & use them to your advantage. “Touristy” or not, they help.7. Too Much To Do – Since you’re making itinerary drafts, remember one key item – don’t overdo it on the activities. You’ll end up wearing yourself out which is no fun. For example, checking out France is exciting, but travel experts cite that it would be easier, depending on how much time you’re traveling, to visit a city at a time. If you’re there for a weekend, try only Paris.8. Little Things – Start thinking about how a house-sitter or pet-sitter. You’ll also want to check on your cellphone capabilities abroad, and you certainly want to put a temporary freeze on receiving mail or ask a neighbor to pick it up for you. This also helps so that they know you’ll be out-of-town & can keep an eye out.9. Practice Packing – In the same way you used to try on clothes for the first day of school, you want to pack what you think you need & see if it works with your luggage and your ability to actually carry your stuff around. If you’re having trouble maneuvering your luggage or you’ve packed too many things, you might want to rethink an item or two & try again.You once thought, ‘How do I plan my trip to Europe?’ Now, with this list as a guide, your thoughts should be on more important things like having fun & making lifelong memories.

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Holistic Approach to Pet Health Care – Preventing Disease in Dogs and Cats

Preventing Disease in Dogs and Cats with Holistic Health CareHolistic health care uses knowledge of what causes disease to make preventative lifestyle choices. For people, holistic health has a history that goes back 5,000 years to India and China, but for pets, the concept is modern.Often times, Western medicine hasn’t been on the same page as holistic health care. In Western medicine, scientists identified germs as outside causes of disease, and created synthesized chemicals to destroy them. People made unhealthy lifestyle choices and assumed health problems could be “fixed” if they got sick.While it is wonderful to be able to cure disease, wouldn’t it be a better approach to prevent disease in the first place?Promoting optimal health and disease prevention are the main goals of holistic health. As a pet owner, you can choose to use holistic health with your pet. The benefits include:
Lower overall health care costs (prevention is cheaper than curing)
Pets with greater energy and freedom from infirmity
Having a disease-free pet who lives a longer, healthier lifeHolistic Health Care Diets for Dog and Cat Holistic health care for dogs and cats is simpler than it is for people. Why? Because dogs and cats are have simpler needs and are easier to satisfy.For many people, the most challenging aspect of maintaining holistic health is consistent emotional balance. The human mind creates its own worries in the over-stimulated world we all live in.However, a dog or cat that has a bed to call their own and gets exercise and belly rubs on a regular basis is likely quite content. For owners, the simply purity of our pets happy state of mind is one of their great charms.The food we give our dogs and cats, however, is dubious from the holistic health perspective. Many dogs and cats go their entire lives eating nothing but processed food. This creates imbalances with essential nutrients, fatty acids and digestive enzymes.Providing a well-balanced diet for our pets can be challenging but is the most important factor in achieving optimal health. Many people barely keep up with cooking healthy for themselves, much less their pets. Although commercial pet foods are convenient to serve and most pets gobble them up, they are often quite poor in nutritional value and can even lead to many adverse health conditions such as allergies, skin problems and digestive disorders.Nutritional supplements can provide a consistent means for ensuring your pet receives the nutrients they need to lead healthy lives.Natural Support for Anxious Pets While dogs and cats don’t sit around worrying about bank accounts or politics, being part of the human world can be stressful. Unfortunately, we have also bred traits into dogs and cats that leave some animals susceptible to not only physical problems, but also anxiety disorders.Holistic health offers help for nervous pets. Herbal remedies are similar to giving a nervous dog or cat a soothing cup of tea. This calming effect allows your pet to learn how to deal with anxiety provoking events like being left alone or loud noises.Holistic Health and Everyday Choices Every day you make a variety of choices about how you live your life – what you choose to eat, whether you exercise and how much you sleep, how you handle stress, etc. Your pet cannot choose a holistic lifestyle. It is up to you as the owner to make everyday decisions that have a cumulative, long-term effect on your pet’s health.Exercise and attention are everyday essentials for holistic pet health. With a complete diet, your dog or cat will be happy, active, and require fewer trips to the vet.The average pet owner usually has little choice but to use processed foods. Adding nutritional supplements is an everyday choice that ensures your pet is getting essential nutrients in their diet. Over your pet’s lifetime, you will spend less on health care and have a healthier pet.

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