3 Great Tips For Exploring the 49th State: Alaska
Mar30

3 Great Tips For Exploring the 49th State: Alaska

Americans love to travel all over the globe. Flying across oceans and checking out foreign countries can be magical, but there is something special about traveling to various parts of the United States. By traveling the U.S., you’re not only gaining a historical perspective, but you’re broadening your horizons, trying new and exciting foods, and witnessing some of the most beautiful parts of the entire world. Roughly 34% of Americans visit casual dining restaurants once a week, but that number is sure to go up during a trip of a lifetime. Whether you’re booking a cross-country flight or packing up your recreational vehicle, of which 10 million U.S. households own, it’s time to get out and explore the United States! Sure, there are plenty of amazing locations to visit, but if you’ve never been to Alaska, you might want to prioritize the 49th state on your travel plans. Most people might not think of Alaska as being a great vacation spot — but it’s a fantastic travel destination. If you’re going for complete relaxation, sunny weather, and nice beaches, you’ll probably want to head to Florida or California. But if you really want to take in some of the U.S.’s best-kept secrets and amazing scenery, Alaska is the place to be. Rather than hopping in your RV and heading to Alaska right away, however, you should do a little research beforehand to ensure that you’re having the trip of a lifetime. Here are a few Alaskan travel tips to keep in mind prior to your new adventure: Get in shape — It sounds silly, but if you’re really going to take in this beautiful state and all it has to offer, you need to be in relatively good health. Since 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the U.S. are located in Alaska, you’ll likely be doing a lot of hiking. Getting in shape is great for all kinds of reasons, but being able to reach breathtaking heights in Alaska is right up there! Checkout the rail system — Hiking up the Alaskan mountains will likely change your life, but so will simply riding around on the state’s rail system. Do your best to sit in the dome car, too, because you’ll truly be able to see everything. Research the wildlife — If you spend any time at Denali National Park, which is a must for Alaskan travel, you’re going to see all kinds of wildlife. It’s best to spend some time online so you can easily identify these animals for curiosity purposes and safety reasons. You’ll see black bears, brown bears, gray wolfs, caribous, and so much more. If...

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The Future Of Digital Marketing: Trending Tips From Industry Experts
Mar28

The Future Of Digital Marketing: Trending Tips From Industry Experts

We live in an era that depends wholeheartedly on the Internet for our information; as such, business owners the world over are forced to compete for consumer attention via their online presence. However, as this competition continues to increase, so too does the need for optimized websites. Some of the industry’s leading experts have stated their personal opinions and experiences about the factors that will shape the future of digital marketing. Personalization, Please! As Rachel Cunningham of Bop Design explains, personalization is the key to success. “There’s a better understanding about the relationship between content marketing and inbound leads. Companies and marketers are shifting away from creating any and all types of content and are instead focusing on creating content that resonates and builds value for the end user.” This makes inherent sense; customers are more likely to become and remain loyal to a company if they feel valued as an individual. Molly Riddle-Nunn of Mostly Serious echoes these sentiments — and highlights the risk of denying them. “If you’re still creating rapid-fire content just to collect links or hold keywords instead of making impactful, purposeful, shareable pieces that truly tell your audience how you’re going to make their lives better, you’re missing the mark — and your rankings are going to reflect that.” Customers are also faced with a lot of digital options to choose from. Dan from One Thing Marketing often gets asked what digital strategies businesses should choose to stay relevant. “We have a lot of clients and prospects asking about digital advertising (such as IP Targeting, Retargeting, Remarketing, etc.) options. They are being approached by YP type companies and/or traditional marketing companies who have started offering other marketing mediums to local businesses. They are confused by all the options and unsure which is going to work best for them. Another frequently ask about topic related to SEO has been local business owners wondering how they can compete with all the Google My Business listing spam that’s going on and seems to be getting worse every day.” Changing With The Times One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re giving your customers what they want is by staying up-to-date, both with their interests and Google’s ranking factors. “A website is never static, and needs to be reviewed and updated often to keep up with the steady changes to search engine algorithm updates,” said Zelen Communications’ owner Terry Zelen. This includes adapting to the way consumers are searching; as smart technology use expands, typing is becoming obsolete. As such, your website must be optimized for voice search. “2019 is shaping up to be the year of voice,”...

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New Bill Could Reshape Child Custody Following a Divorce
Mar26

New Bill Could Reshape Child Custody Following a Divorce

Divorce is tough on the couple, sure, but it’s much more difficult on the children. Whether it’s an infant, a toddler, or a teenager; they’ll pick up on the situation and quickly realize something is wrong. If not handled properly, this could lead to serious issues down the line. Divorce courts deal with four basic types of childhood custody recognized under state laws: Sole Physical Custody — The child will reside with and be under the supervision of one parent. Joint Physical Custody — Both parents will have significant periods of custody and continuing contact with the child. Sole Legal Custody — One parent will have the right to make decisions about the child’s health, education, and overall wellbeing. Joint Legal Custody — Both parents share the right and responsibility to make important decisions about the child’s health, education, and overall wellbeing. In divorce cases, the non-custodial parent will have only around 88 days with their child in a single year. According to KCRG, a new bill that could reshape childhood custody within divorce cases is making its way through legislation. The Senate bill encourages judges to grant joint physical custody when point legal custody is awarded. Meaning the child would split time living with both parents and both parents would have equal decision-making powers. There would be, however, an exception in situations when joint legal and physical custody would harm the child: “I got a divorce in October 2013 and I’ve been an ‘every other weekend dad’ since that time,” said Matthew Hickok, who has five kids and only gets to see them twice a month and is co-founder of Families United Action Network, a group that has been pushing for a bill like this. “You become kind of a Disneyland parent on the weekend where you’re trying to cram as much fun as possible into that weekend but you’re missing out on the routine things that actually build trust and build a relationship with your children.” This conflict between parents can be extremely traumatic for children of all ages. “It puts them at risk with just about every category for severe emotional and behavioral problems, struggling in school and repeated those same relationship patterns in their own lives,” added Jenny Schultz, attorney and director of Kids First, a non-profit that provides legal and counseling assistance for children during these difficult familial times. The bill was reported out of committee on Monday, March 11 and is now up for discussion by the full U.S....

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Last Year’s Average Auto Expenses Reached All-Time High
Mar25

Last Year’s Average Auto Expenses Reached All-Time High

The two biggest purchases that anyone will make throughout their life are virtually always the same: a home and an automobile. Whether you prefer the term “silver” or “cash, there’s no doubt that these items are pricey. Though both of these markets can fluctuate both in the buyer’s favor and favoring the seller, these purchases will almost always be more significant than anything else throughout life. According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2017, the average home sold by an agent went for roughly $249,000. Today, though $200,000 is still a significant amount of money, it’s a much more buyer’s market for a U.S. home. Conversely, the average selling price for a midsize vehicle during the second quarter of 2018 was $26,336, with an average monthly finance payment of $462. Midsize vehicles are certainly popular options across the country, but since truck’s skyrocket average prices by around $20,000 and other models are going for much more, the auto market is anything but buyer friendly at the moment. In fact, according to USA Today, the average price of automobiles hit an all-time high of more than $36,000 in 2018. Creating modern cars is a complicated, and expensive process. From new fuel-efficiency standards to industrial protective coatings (industrial coatings are used for decoration and corrosion prevention), there are a variety of manufacturing costs that drive up the costs of car ownership. New vehicle buyers have agreed to pay an average of $551 per month for 69 months, which is roughly 10% more per month than 2016 reports. Since interest rates are also rising, vehicle buyers are being forced to borrow more money than ever before and are extending their loans to unprecedented lengths. “Easy credit and longer repayment terms have coaxed many consumers into buying more car than they can really afford,” said Ed Mierzwinski, senior director for consumer programs at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “It’s even worse for those who have been subjected to deceptive and predatory lending practices at auto dealers.” Many auto manufacturers and dealers acknowledge the record-high prices, but remain optimistic due to the “very strong economy.” Did you know that for every $1 spent in manufacturing, $1.40 is added to the economy? “Although interest rates are coming up, which obviously can increase the purchase cost of the vehicle, on a historic basis they’re still at a very low level,” added Henio Arcangeli, Jr., an executive in Honda’s U.S. division. According to U.S. News, Americans who are struggling to afford a brand new vehicle should remember that buying a car isn’t exactly an investment, but rather a massive expense for a rapidly depreciating asset....

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Despite Growing Prominence of Body Positivity, Plastic Surgery is On the Rise
Mar25

Despite Growing Prominence of Body Positivity, Plastic Surgery is On the Rise

Although countless people have fully embraced the body positive movement and numerous brands have pledged to refrain from airbrushing their models, the data doesn’t lie. In 2017, one survey found that only 29% of women reported having a positive relationship with their bodies. And if 2018 plastic surgery numbers are anything to go by, it’s very clear that many patients are willing to go to great lengths to make improvements that align with society’s conventional ideas about what the ideal body should look like. That’s right: cosmetic surgery is on the rise in the United States. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 17.7 million such procedures performed last year — an increase of more than a quarter million from the year prior. Minimally invasive procedures are becoming more popular, which isn’t surprising when you consider that both accessibility and variety have increased. But the stigma surrounding plastic surgery in general has decreased in recent years, thanks to more patients and celebrities being open about the procedures they’ve had performed. By and large, body shaping procedures are still the most popular. What’s more, less invasive procedures tend to outnumber the more drastic transformations. Botox, fillers, chemical peels, and laser hair removal procedures are now more popular than conventional surgery. With a laser hair removal session to treat the legs or back taking only 30 minutes, it’s easy to see why such procedures are growing in popularity. But although non-invasive treatments like Coolsculpting have been found to be highly effective, reducing subcutaneous fat by up to 25% after just one treatment, some patients would still rather go under the knife than opt for something a bit less scary. Breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tucks, nose reshaping, and eyelid surgeries are all extremely popular with patients last year, as were buttocks augmentation, breast lifts, and thigh lifts. No matter what’s on the docket for the day, surgeons and medical spa professionals both may use equipment created through the Reaction Injection Molding (RIM) process — which involves mixing two liquid components and injecting them into a mold to cure — to perform these procedures. Both non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures may be done using equipment first formed through this or a similar process. But of course, patients are way more concerned with the final results on their face or on their body than the equipment being used to perform the treatment. One thing is clear: we’re just as (if not more) obsessed with youth and beauty than ever. Some are blaming social media for the rise in cosmetic procedures, especially among millennials. Other young people cite job market competitiveness as...

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