Stress-Free Entertaining – An Eight Step Recipe For Success

Like many of you, the commotion in my life this time of year tends to revolve around entertaining. As our big Halloween blow-out approaches and the growth of the guest list shows no signs of slowing, I’m struggling to keep my cool. We threw our first huge party in this house around this time last year, and while it turned out fabulously, the effects of the preceding preparation marathon left me winded for weeks afterward. Since then, I’ve learned to do things a little… OK, a LOT differently. I also know that I’m not alone in working a full time job, with a family, and lots of other outside obligations, so it’s not like you have the luxury of sitting at home and planning your next soiree to perfection! None-the-less, you wish you could entertain more, but the idea of all the preparation is daunting. Good news – it’s totally doable. These lessons can be just as well applied to having one couple over for dinner, like we did a couple days ago, or to an extravaganza, like the one we’re anticipating. I’ve acquired them in the trenches of experience, so I assure you, if you just follow the steps, everything will go much more smoothly than you anticipate!

Step 1. Decide on a theme (which can be literal if you wish) or a mood. This is where it all begins. If you’re just having someone over for dinner, is it casual, formal, or somewhere in between? For a party, there’s a bit more to this. What’s the occasion? How do you want it to feel? Will it be sit down, buffet, or cocktail style? Close friends, family, acquaintances, or business associates? All of these factors will affect the tone of the evening.

Step 2. Send out your invitations. Your invitations should reflect your theme. (If this is a casual evening with a friend, a quick phone call or email would qualify as step 2… although I have sent invitations in the past, just for fun!) They should tell your guests the date and time, the location, appropriate attire, whether they should bring anything (or NOT bring anything), whether they are allowed to bring a guest of their own, etc. Don’t leave anything to chance. Pretend YOU are being invited – would you have any questions if you were reading the invitation for the first time? Your invitations should also reflect the formality of the evening. Professional invitations are appropriate for formal events, while store-bought are fine for family or close friends. is a wonderful service that is available for free. You can customize your invitation with whatever theme you wish, import your guest list straight from your email address book, and send all the invites out with the push of a button! You also want to make sure that you are sending your invitations in a timely enough manner for your guests’ comfort. Generally, two weeks in advance is appropriate, but for something like a costume party, for example, I give my guests four weeks to allow them enough time to find their costumes. Further if you are having any sort of a holiday gathering where people are likely to be invited to multiple functions on the same date, it is perfectly acceptable to send out “save the date” notices, which effectively give them the heads up that you will be having an event, and gets you first dibs on their time.

Step 3. Plan the menu. Is this a sit down dinner? At the very least, you will want an appetizer (could be a salad), a main dish, a side dish, and a dessert. For a buffet, you could have the guests bring a dish for a pot-luck style meal, have it catered, or just have two or three main dishes and a couple side items to choose from. For a cocktail party, finger foods that can be easily eaten while standing and conversing are the way to go. Finger foods are basically small appetizers. You can make several batches of a few different items, or a single batch of many items. Keep your theme in mind when planning your menu – spaghetti is great for italian night with the in-laws, not so much for the boss and his wife!

Step 4. Purchase and/or cook IN ADVANCE. If you are doing the cooking yourself, this step is a life saver! Once you have your menu decided, make a list of all of the ingredients necessary for all of the recipes. Start buying them a bit at a time, breaking the list down over several weeks, depending on the size of your gathering. (Clearly, you’ll be buying the perishable items last.) This not only spreads out the time in the grocery store, but also the expense. Anyone who’s ever thrown a decent size party knows that food is notorious for being the budget buster! Next, start cooking ahead of time anything that can be frozen. If you have a large extra freezer, great! Personally, I’m not so fortunate in that department, so I have to plan a little more carefully. Leading up to the party, I try to eat whatever is in the freezer, and also not to buy too many frozen items in my routine grocery shopping, so that real estate will be available to me! Now all you have to do is pull things out to thaw the day of the party, and voila! A small note: keep your party food either separated from your regular food, or clearly labeled, so that it doesn’t accidentally get eaten before the party!!

Step 5. If your lifestyle permits, set up ahead of time. Rearrange the furniture, put out the serving tables, put up the decorations, wash the serving dishes, set out the candles and candle holders, rent tables and chair if you’ll need them (or bring them down from the attic, or whatever), and basically pull out anything you’ll need. For most families, this could be done at least a couple days ahead. If you have pets, just don’t put out the dishes and the linens until the day of the event. Before the guests arrive, all you’ll need to do is dim the lights, turn on the music, and light the candles!

Step 6. The week of the party, start cleaning a little bit at a time. Most people over-do this… I know I do. Especially for large parties, things just need to be “visually clean.” Focus on the bathrooms, because that’s the only place people will be alone, with time to really focus on anything, in a brightly lit space. Your dusting only needs to be “good enough.” By that I mean, you do not have to get the BACK of the refrigerator, the tops of the artwork, behind the books in the bookcase. DO knock down any dangling cobwebs, and dust any table surfaces. A quick vacuum or sweep is more than sufficient. If you just do 30 minutes a day for four or five days, you will be in stellar shape.

Step 7. The day before the party, pull anything that needs to thaw out of the freezer, and rearrange the furniture if you haven’t already.

Step 8. The day of the party, you’ll need to do any last minute cooking. I strongly urge you to get up early so that you don’t feel pressed for time. Prep your bar area, or pre-mix your drinks. Pick up bags of ice. Give yourself plenty of time to get showered, dressed, and ready. Have a stiff drink. When the doorbell starts ringing, just let it roll. No one but you will know if everything isn’t exactly perfect! Here’s the most important thing to remember: Don’t let yourself become paralyzed by your apprehension. These people are here to spend time with you, and to enjoy the social interaction. So relax! Spending quality time with friends has been shown repeatedly to lower stress, lower blood pressure, and increase life-span. The more you do it, the easier it gets, so go call some people!

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Backup Software – The Importance of Back – Up Data

Simply put, backup software products create copies of your computer files for retrieval at a later time, usually when your hard drive or computer crashes. It can back up most sorts of files, like documents, application software, and media. It is best for office and home computers that use protected or confidential information like medical records and financial statements or any information you don’t want to lose.

Kinds of back-up software

Traditional: This kind of software backs up the general kind of computer files. These include selective back-ups for critical and important files. Usually saving data on CD or DVD formats, it has limited capacity for storage that make it quite unsuited for system recovery and drive imaging.

Drive Mirroring: This kind of software backs entire hard disks, include all user settings plus temporary files. Also called drive imaging, it saves data on a bootable format on disc that can be utilized in system recoveries.

Buying tips

There are different backup software that you can use. If you go the common way, via disc use, check to see what kind of software is suited for you. If you only need to back up some files, then the traditional software would do. If you need extensive backing up, then drive mirroring is the way to go. The use of online services for backing up is also gaining ground. Online services connect to your pc and backs up all your files and stores them in a server that you can access at any time, from anywhere in the world. You can also set the option of having an online service monitor if you have new files such that it automatically stores new files when detected.

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3 Reasons To Take A Business Online Opportunity

Nowadays, a lot of people are looking for different ways to earn money. A good way to earn greater income than what you have now is to enter a much better career or start your own business. Many people choose to start up their own business and because of this; the number of people who look for a home business online opportunity is increasing.

Why choose an online business instead of a much better career? One good reason is the potential to have more time with your family. The most valuable but also the most perishable of all our possessions is time. Time is like your life. If you waste your time then you also waste your life. In our current condition today, busy people like us trade our own time for money that can’t even make us happy like our family does. Unless you enjoy doing your job, it would be better if you make money without getting busy instead of getting busy to make money. Does that even exist? Yes it does. How? It is by simply working at home without getting busy and enjoying your time with your family. How can you work at home without getting busy? It is also simple, just by finding a business online opportunity you can start at home.

Another reason why you should work at home is freedom. Can you say that you are actually free when you are working under your employer 8 hours a day, 5 days a week or sometimes even more than that because of possibly overtime? If you are in this situation then freedom is not exactly the word to describe where you are right now unless your job is your passion. No man is free who is not a master of himself. Obviously, you are not a master of yourself working in a regular job. But if you are just at home running your business and working at your own schedule that you want then now, you can say that you are the master of yourself and freedom is all yours.

If you are about to be laid off or you already have been then this is another reason why you should look for an online business. It is said that because of this reason, a business online opportunity is becoming popular. Although you can just find another job, or you can shift into another career, then slave away again, then possibly get laid off again… That though sounds unpleasant. That is why instead of looking for another job, why not invest on an online business you can do at home?

Working at home has many benefits. You can work whenever and wherever you want to while gaining a lot of income. Start an online business now and it will also give you an advantage over the others. If you start later then the business online opportunity might just fade away. So, why let that chance go right?

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Advantages Associated With Lifestyle Trading

Many topic of concern are developed when a person begins to make the decision to change the career into lifestyle trading. Many individuals do not feel they have the ability to enter this market due to the educational requirements that are believed to exist, but this is not true. While intelligence is important when assessing the financial investment into lifestyle trading, no formal education is required to find market success.

The relaxed and self reliant nature of lifestyle trading can offer a solution to any individual who desires to escape the rat race associated with the nine to five job. The benefits of becoming a lifestyle trader can generate inspiration for any person to make the jump into lifestyle trading.

The large amount of variety in stocks available to the lifestyle trader represents the first benefit related to lifestyle trading. In too many situations when a person invests themselves in money making project the avenues of options available to them are limited. This varies with lifestyle trading since the opportunities it provides allows you to pursue a large number of financial avenues. The economies of the world are now available in the lifestyle trading arena thanks to the advances of the internet.

In addition to the various global economies you can invest in you may also take advantage of the various markets within those economies. If your market research reveals an increasing trend in technology then make sure to invest in the top technology companies in the various global markets. The wide variety of choices available for you to invest in can insure that regardless of the market woes of one economy, there will be success to be found in another market or economy.

The various markets offer another benefit related to lifestyle trading found in brand familiarity. If an individual decides to take strict advantage of their national market they have the opportunity to trade in stocks for companies that they recognize through brand familiarity. Brand familiarity is a great starting point for the inexperienced lifestyle trader since they can easily research the market trends of the major corporations they are familiar with.

A person who deals with companies that are local can identify the new products that are soon to be released on the market and utilized the research that other trading professionals generate.The professional research that is generated can give you a unique perspective on how the market will respond to the products release so that you can make the investment decision you are comfortable with. The familiarity of companies in a national market can offer the beginning lifestyle trader a foundation to start their financial future through lifestyle trading.

The financial goals of individuals may vary from person to person but the ultimate goal always leads to finding financial success. For the individual who is looking to achieve early retirement then smart investments in companies that offer a quick increase in stock can assist in you achieving this goal.

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