When Good Looks Sell: How to Maintain an Attractive Commercial Space

fMaintaining an attractive commercial space should be a top priority for any business. As with home renovations, commercial design features eventually fall out of fashion or into disrepair. Yet, many business owners delay the remodeling process out of fear that the project will be too costly or disruptive. If your business needs a facelift, follow these four tips to help ensure a smooth renovation process.

1. Prioritize.

One of the most important steps you can take as a business owner is to identify which repairs and renovations are truly top priorities. Anything that is not working properly or poses a health risk should obviously move to the head of the line. However, you should also cast a critical eye on your business space to determine which improvements will give you the most bang for your buck. If your business has a greeting area, for instance, it may be worth your time and money to invest in an eye-pleasing area that makes a good first impression on customers.

2. Budget carefully.

Renovations can bring significant price tags, and commercial renovations in particular can create complex financial consequences. When you budget for physical repairs, make sure that you take into account the costs of any necessary permits and licenses. If you lease your space, you should also ensure that renovations are permitted under your lease terms. Finally, consider whether you will be able to stay open during renovations. Any lost income should be included in your budget for the project.

3. Hire a good team.

A good contractor will be able to help you estimate many of your expenses and can work with you on the overall budget. The key here is to find commercial contractors like Renovation Experts who have experience in commercial redesign and remodeling. You may have loved the contractor who remodeled your home, but commercial renovations have unique needs and entail unique challenges. It is important to work with a team that understands the exigencies of remodeling a commercial space.

4. Create a detailed timeline.

In collaboration with your contractor, you should develop a timeline for project completion. Whether or not you close your space during the remodel, the goal is to minimize disruption to your business. If you are particularly concerned about deadlines, consider offering your contractor an incentive for early completion.

While renovation can be an overwhelming prospect, the rewards at the end of the process generally outweigh any challenges along the way. By following these four steps, you can help ensure a successful commercial renovation.

Recognizing Special Canine Friends in Your Life

Many people now consider their pets to be valued members of their families. No longer relegated to the mere status of an animal that is owned, a dog now can hold a special place in its family’s household. Some people even throw parties for their dogs to celebrate their canines’ birthdays or adoption dates. When you get invited to one of these dog-centered events, you may wonder if you should bring along a gift. As with being invited to any special event at a person’s home, etiquette calls for you to arrive with some token in hand. You can make the right impression by coming with a canine-specific token like a dog gift basket.

Gifts such as these that are catered for dogs are actually quite popular around the world today. Dogs are given treatment that show others that these animals are treasured friends and family members. As such, as you consider what present to buy for the party, you may find the idea of giving a basket full of dog treats to be appealing. Dogs often love to eat treats that are flavored like bacon and chicken. You can show your friend that you too value the dog in question by bringing a treasure trove of dog treats to the party.

Like people, dogs need frequent baths to stay clean and to avoid the doggy smell that many people find unappealing. If your friend has noted that his or her dog sometimes gets dirty, you also may show up to the event with a basket full of dog hygiene products. Your friend will know that you want his or her dog to stay as clean as possible and also that you want the canine friend to be bathed with safe and sweet-smelling products.

You also may want to honor the human behind the party’s occurrence. When you shop online, you can find people baskets that also would make for ideal gifts. People, like dogs, enjoy the occasional treat. You can find baskets that have candy and other sweets in them. You also can find gifts that are appropriate for corporate gatherings if you want to avoid seeming too familiar with those in attendance. Gift baskets can be ideal because they typically contain more than one item. You actually give the guest of honor several items all at once instead of a single gift.

A dog is definitely man’s best friend.  Treat it right, and you’ll have a buddy who’ll stand by you through thick or thin.

What to Do if Your Home Has Been Burglarized

Coming home to realize you’ve been robbed can be a scary and frustrating experience. It’s hard to know how to react after you’ve felt your safety has been violated and your possessions compromised. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to hopefully help catch the person who burglarized you and prevent them from doing it again.


The first thing to do is leave your home and call 911. You may have the urge to immediately search the rooms to see what’s been taken, but don’t risk the chance that the burglar is still in your home. After the police arrive, they will do a search of your place and take a report. You want to make sure to not touch anything as to not disrupt fingerprints potentially left at the scene. It’s best to stay out of the way while the police work and answer any questions they have.


If you or one of your family members did by chance see the person fleeing from your home, make sure you can be as descriptive as possible to the police. They will ask the sex of the person, hair color, build, and other distinguishing factors. Try to remember as much as possible to help them create a character sketch of the burglar. Any information that you can provide will help investigators. What was the person wearing? Did they have a limp? Any visible tattoos? These kind of characteristics help create a better picture for the police.


Make sure not to return to your home until the police have arrived. Head to a trusted neighbor’s house or stay in your locked vehicle. Be observant of any suspicious looking vehicles or people around the neighborhood. Take down license plate numbers, if you can and make any notes of anything that looks out of place. Again, the information you provide, while it may seem unimportant at the time, could be useful later on.


After the police have left, you’ll need to take an inventory of what’s missing to file a claim with your insurance. The officer will leave you a report number, which you can provide to your insurance provider. They will ask a series of questions including if there was any property damage from the person breaking into your home. Be as detailed as possible and take photos of everything that relates to the robbery. You most likely will still be shaken up from the chain of events, but try to do this as soon as possible after the police have come to your home. You’ll be able to remember more and the insurance company can file a claim right away.


While locked doors and closed windows may have seemed safe enough, it is a good idea to look into a home security system that will alert a security company and 911 if something like this should happen again. Even installing motion sensor detectors can be a good preventative tool while you research options for your home. You should also be sure to have a sign made for your front lawn that states that you have a security system. You can easily get one made at eSigns.com. If you do choose to keep firearms in your house, please be sure to be educated and make sure your kids are also educated about gun safety.


If there is anything new that pops up in the days to come, make sure to share it with the police. Leave it to them to handle the case and don’t try to investigate the criminal activity yourself. Just be on the lookout for any unusual activity in the neighborhood and keep an eye on Craigslist for the next few days as burglars might try to sell stolen goods.


It may be difficult to resume normalcy after an ordeal like this has occurred. Give yourself time and don’t be afraid to call on friends and family to come over and help put your house back in order, since it can be emotionally exhausting and stressful to have to relive it. If you live by yourself, accept invitations of people who want to stay with you for the next few days. Installing a security system will be the first step in order to protect your home and allow yourself peace of mind, but it is a traumatizing event and you should allow yourself ample time to recover.

Four Options for Remembering Your Cremated Loved One

Cremation has grown increasingly popular in recent years, as the cost of a traditional burial has skyrocketed. However, deciding what to do with the cremains can be difficult. If your loved one has expressed a desire in cremation or you’re researching cremation for yourself, here are four of the most popular options for placing cremains at rest.

A Niche in a Columbarium

Columbariums usually resemble broad hallways lined with spaces for urns. Some columbariums seal the niche with a remembrance plaque, while others leave the niches open to showcase the urns within. Costs range wildly, depending on size of the niche, where it’s located in the columbarium, whether or not a plaque is required and where the columbarium is geographically. Purchasing a niche will create a public space for all friends and family to grieve, making it an attractive option.

Home Display of an Urn or Urns

It is also perfectly acceptable to display urns in the home. This is an especially attractive options for families who move frequently and don’t want to leave loved ones’ remains behind in another city. Ashes can also be split among two or more urns. For example, if a parent dies and the children wish to each have an urn, there’s no problem with splitting them. Containers range from handsome bronze urns to hand-made pottery urns to attractive steel boxes.

Scattering of Ashes

While this may seem romantic and freeing, the legality of scattering depends largely upon local laws and is considered littering or polluting in some areas. Most crematories crush any fragments in the cremains, but it’s not unheard-of to find teeth and bits of bone still intact. This could be cause for alarm should they be found, so any scattered cremains should be pulverized. If you want to scatter human cremains, check your local laws and regulations before doing so.

Burial of Cremains

If a loved one has been buried in a traditional plot, it may be possible to have cremains interred with them. Some people also choose to bury the cremains at home, or at a place the deceased loved. Others plant a tree over the ashes, so that the tree will stand as the beloved’s marker. As with scattering, various laws exist regarding the practice of burying ashes, whether contained in an urn or not.

Cremation is becoming more and more common. What to do with the cremains, however, largely remains an issue of personal preference and the will of the deceased’s survivors.

How to Throw the Perfect Boodle Fight

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From sending invites to making sure you have food and drinks enough for everyone, planning a party can be quite an arduous task, no matter how much you enjoy having people over. And although having one ‘pot luck’ style is a good hack, your guests would much rather prefer that you, as the host, took care of everything.

The ‘boodle fight’ is a great way to check at least one of your party preparations off your list—setting the tables—because a boodle fight only requires a single long table and a lot of food.

Few know that we have the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to thank for the concept, as the boodle fight originated from the military’s practice of members of the army, regardless of rank, gathering around a long table and eating food spread over banana leaves with their bare hands.



A typical boodle fight layout. Photo from www.angsarap.net <http://www.angsarap.net/2015/05/21/what-is-a-boodle-fight/>


As primal as it sounds (‘boodle’ fight is military jargon for ‘attack the food’ after all), a boodle fight need not be so messy. Just follow these tips to make your boodle fight the talk of your barkada:

boodle21.  Have a theme.

Few things are more fun than themed parties, and your boodle fight’s can be reflected in the decorations, activities and, of course, the food! Prepare a lei for each guest, and serve kalua pork for a Hawaiian luau; spice up your guests’ evening with a Mexican fiesta, complete with tacos, enchiladas and margaritas; or go organic and serve only vegetarian delicacies!


  1. Come in costume.

Have your guests come as opposing characters, and prepare for a real fight! Heroes and villains, nerds and jocks, #TeamNicki and #TeamTaylor—the possibilities are endless! At the end of the night, award the guest with the best costume and prepare a consequence for that one friend who was just too lazy to dress up (oh come on, we all have one).

  1. Create food stations.

Encourage guests to move around and mingle by creating food stations—meat in one area, seafood in another, and desserts at the end. You also have the option of creating several stations of the same mix of food items, so guests don’t crowd the table. Print cute labels and directional signage for your stations so your guests don’t get lost in all the food!

  1. Have an accessible wash area.

Since you’ll be eating with your hands (as much as possible), your guests will appreciate a wash area complete with hand soap, lotion, and the works. Surprise them with a masseuse giving free hand massages to make it more special!

  1. Have food delivered.

Save time and have food delivered instead! With foodpanda, you can order food online from over 1,000 restaurants of different cuisines (Like Greenwich, Andoks, Omakase, Cibo, Pepper Lunch etc) and have them conveniently delivered to your doorstep via www.foodpanda.ph or the foodpanda app.



So gather your friends, order food, and have the best boodle fight! That’s one match you won’t mind having with one another.

A Single Mom’s Guide to Career Advancement

This is a guest post by Jenn Lyons, a working single mom who kicks ass!


It was one of those days… rushing to pick up my daughter from daycare, scrambling to make dinner, dealing with an after-hours call from a new boss to discuss an important initiative, while at the same time my daughter was excitedly asking me to come join her for a tea party. That’s when it hit me: I was a true single, working mom.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in2012, more than 80% of 12.2 million single-parent families were headed by women. That means there are 9.7 million of us dealing not only with the mundane issues of getting the oil changed and folding laundry, but fears about our career options, our personal lives and that question any parent on a career path faces, “How can I foster professional growth when I have to foster my child’s growth?”

While there is much debate if working mothers can “have it all,” single moms go out and “make it happen.” There is no other option. Achieving career growth, even under the best of circumstances, requires self-awareness, strategic thinking and careful planning. But there are steps all working moms with professional aspirations — single or married — can take to achieve their goals. Here are five guideposts that will help keep single mothers (or any working parent) on the path to professional, personal, and parenting goals.

1. Find an advocate
Find someone in your company who is your advocate — better yet, work for that person. When I was offered my first job out of college, I informed the hiring manager that I was concerned I might not be qualified. She replied that it was personality traits and intelligence that she needed; the skill set could be learned. She saw something in me from day one that she fostered and encouraged. Because she saw my potential, I was able to pursue my dream career. Everyone needs that kind of champion — find that person!

My next step up the ladder was working for a chief marketing officer at a Fortune 500 company. This CMO became my greatest advocate (and mentor to this day), helping me realize my strengths and capabilities and apply them to my career. She pushed me toward roles that were challenging and even some that were intimidating. Through her guidance and encouragement, my skill set, and simultaneously self-confidence, grew significantly. That confidence has served me well as a single, working mom.

2. Learn how to prioritize
Before having a child, I let nothing drop. I was as Type A as they came, balls perfectly balanced and all in the air. As I awaited the arrival of my daughter, many warned that things would slip and that would be OK. I thought “OK for you, but not for me!” Then as I became a mom and subsequently head of a household, I was surprised to see that I could continue to meet deadlines and objectives.

What I learned (often the hard way), was how to prioritize and stay laser focused on critical tasks.

When it comes to managing the workloads of today, data, demands and deadlines come at you all at once. It’s easier to duck and take cover than to stop and take stock. Be very clear on what you need to know to achieve your goals versus what is simply “noise” — meaningless data or even unnecessary tasks that simply distract and disrupt.

3. Surround yourself with good people
“It takes a village…” translated into your career means finding experts to ask for business or problem advice over coffee, lunch or at after-work gatherings. It is a waste of energy to reinvent the wheel, so talk to the experts who have been there and done that. You may find them at your company, at your gym, maybe even your next-door neighbor. Ask how they have handled tricky situations and use their wisdom to help solve your own problems as you move forward.

4. Stay true to who you are
It’s easy to lose sight of yourself as a person with hopes, dreams and goals when all your time and energy is spent on job, family and other responsibilities. But take the time to make a list of who you are and who you want to be.

Knowing who you are and what you want to achieve is important as new career opportunities arise. At some point you may be offered that job that’s not quite what you want, but it is close to home, or one that is a great opportunity, but requires too much travel. When considering career opportunities, avoid settling for less. That little voice in your heard that was concerned about the role will inevitably surface in reality and become a bigger deal than you had expected. Instead, honor your work-life balance priorities and be confident that your career can dovetail with your goals, not clash.

5. Flexibility is a necessity, not an option.
It is true that being a parent, especially a single parent, is a full-time job in and of itself. Flexibility is no longer a ‘”nice to have” — it is a must-have. The good news is many workplaces now offer flexible hours and/or the ability to work remotely a few days a week. Find a place that can accommodate your schedule so you maintain control over your work/life balance. You will feel better and your kids will too!

6. Changing the definition of “all”
There has been a lot of discussion of late about the question of can working women “have it all.” I wish I had the time to read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, but I simply don’t have spare time to read about people waxing philosophical about the balance between being a mom and a career woman because I’m a single mom, which means I’m both — a full-time mom, full-time marketing executive — full-time everything.

With everyone from Drew Barrymore to Hillary Clinton weighing in on the topic, the question is: Can working single moms have it “all”? For that matter, can any working parent, single or married, male or female? Sure, but the key lies in defining what “all” means to you. If all means always having the time to get away from work every day to have lunch at school with your child, and staying on the career fast track , let’s be real — that likely won’t happen. However, if “all” means achieving the realistic yet, desired, items on your list of goals and priorities, then of course, on your terms it can be done.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that being a single mom is a challenge, but it is not a career limitation. A sense of accomplishment and fulfillment does not need to be sacrificed in the face of single-parenting demands. With an open mind, smart prioritizing and savvy decision-making, single mothers “make it happen” every day and as a result, they truly do “have it all.”

This post originally appeared on theglasshammer.com

Travel, Set, Go: The Smarter (and Cheaper) Way to Travel

Life has just thrown me another curve ball.  It’s a shock which has totally caught me unawares.  I will divulge in forthcoming posts.  For now, silence will be my weapon.

I would almost like to believe that it’s true what they say- there’s a reason for everything.  Well, reason or no reason, all this dodging of curve balls has made my body and soul weary.  I am in dire need of a break.

If you yourself feel that you deserve a hiatus from the daily grind, then don’t think twice, pack your bags and travel!

Let me make it easier for you, my dear blog follower, by giving you a complimentary VIP membership ($99 Value) to Travel Set Go. Travel Set Go is a world-class discount travel service provider that offers amazing discounts on hotels, cruises, condos, and rental cars world-wide.  Travel Set Go guarantees its hotel rates with taxes included will always be lower than Expedia, Kayak etc. or you will be refunded 110% of the difference.

Commercial Photography

You Can Start Receiving Your Travel Discounts Immediately!

To redeem your new travel benefits online

Visit: http://www.travelsetgo.com/pepperrific

Enter Password: tplvip99


So get out there and experience life the way you’re supposed to.  Happy Travels!

“WeChat Stick-It-To-Win-It PROMO: Your Movie Date is Free!”

During the time of our Neanderthal ancestors, whenever they pined away for someone, they’d look to the stars and make a silent wish to see them again.  In this day and age of technological advancement, we no longer have to turn to the heavens to connect with the ones we love.  Thankfully, we have various social media to help us keep in touch with friends and family from all over the world.   WeChat is one app which fulfills that role of linking people to one another.

I stumbled upon this press release from them:

“Popular social network and messaging app WeChat is giving away an early Ber-months treat to its mobile users from September 22 to October 6, 2014 via its new “Stick-It-To-Win-It PROMO!” Simply share your favorite WeChat stickers with friends for your chance to win free  movie tickets!


To join, follow these simple steps:

1)   Download the WeChat app for free at www.wechat.com

2)   Send stickers to your friends and loved ones in any Group Chat (at least 3 friends per group, valid within promo period).

3)   Winners will be notified immediately within the WeChat app with an SM Cinema e-coupon code.  Redeem the promo code for movie tickets at any SM Cinema branch nationwide.

WeChat will be giving away 1,500 SM Cinema e-coupon movie tickets worth P200 each. So download the app today and send stickers everyday to increase your chances to win!

*For extra bonus prizes, like the WeChat Facebook page or share and tag us! (Details below)

Commercial Photography


Created by Tencent, one of the top 3 largest Internet companies in the world, WeChat is changing the way social-media-savvy Filipinos communicate with their friends and family all over the world.”



About WeChat


WeChat envisions and innovates new ways for people to connect, communicate and share. A mobile social communication app designed for smartphone users, WeChat is the world’s fastest growing social app with 438 million monthly active users. WeChat empowers users in fun dynamic ways by bringing together communications, social and gaming in one seamless, interactive experience, with comprehensive privacy and security settings that can be tailored as needed.

WeChat is available free for download on Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian and Windows operating system. For more information visit: wechat.com. Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WeChatPH. And check out our official Chatterbox blog: blog.wechat.com.



Keep Calm and Watch Movies

What movie made you fall in love with watching movies?

Art imitates life.  Oscar Wilde would probably pelt me with rotten tomatoes, as I’m not really in a philosophical mood right now, so I’ll just hastily say that this means that art is a depiction of what real life is about.

Movies, I’d like to think, are a form of art.  Movies are not so much about being a form of escape from reality, as they are about imitating life.  Life is about self-expression, and movies- as a form of art- provide an avenue for that.

I’m one who has always been a sucker for this form of art.  And the movie which started it all, which made me fall in love with watching movies, was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.  It warms my heart to this very day whenever I think about this sci-fi movie about a lonely boy who befriends an alien stranded on earth.

Image source: here

Since E.T. has served as a springboard for my movie addiction, I knew that I simply must have an app which feeds this “cinematic hunger”, so to speak.  Lo and behold, I stumbled upon GMovies which they say is the “ultimate pocket app for your movie fix”- and for good reason!

GMovies, the first of its kind here in the Philippines, is a free app powered by Globe Telecom which acts as a one-stop shop for movie tickets.  Here, you can view showtimes, book the best seats, and buy movie tickets without breaking a sweat.  Long lines at the cinema ticket counter are now a thing of the past.

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GMovies on my phone

You can fully enjoy the GMovies experience by following their social pages:
– GMovies on Facebook
– @GMoviesApp on Twitter
– @GMovies on Instagram
– GMovies on Youtube

Even with an unassuming movie like E.T., art does imitate life.  Although the existence of aliens is still debatable, what E.T. as a movie imitates about life is the poignant friendship the boy had with an alien. If that’s not what life is all about, I don’t know what is.

How about you?  What movie made you fall in love with watching movies?


20 Ways You Can Be the Best Friend Ever

The first time in my life when I felt like a celebrity was when I turned 18.  At my debut party, my closest friends from school surprised me with their a cappella rendition of James Taylor’s You’ve Got a Friend.  I thought that was really sweet, although I wanted to cringe from all the attention I wasn’t so used to getting.

So, this got me to thinking about how one can be a good friend.  The term BFF has become so popular these days that I wonder if we really know what it means to be somebody’s best friend.

Off the top of my head, here are 20 ways you can be the best friend ever:

  1.  Sing her a song for her birthday.  This could be any song in your vocal chord range.  Even You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story should work.
  2. Cheer her on at her pole dancing recital.   Supporting her just when she needs it speaks volumes.
  3. Tell her she looks fat.  Instead of sugarcoating things, be honest and tell her when her excess fat is bursting at the seams.  Better you tell her than somebody else, right?
  4. Correct her grammar.  A true friend wouldn’t want her friend to be embarrassed when in front of many people.  So while it’s just the two of you, go ahead and tactfully improve her flaws.
  5. Eat together.  There’s nothing like dining with your friend to bring you two closer.
  6. Drink together.  So if she unintentionally gets drunk, you’d be there to drag her puke-infested body home.
  7. Listen to her.   It helps ease the pain when you share the burden just by listening to your friend vent.
  8. Give her space.
  9. Don’t be jealous of her other friends.
  10. Be honest with her.  Never lie to your friend.
  11. Fix her hair.  If you have a knack for hairdressing, have a primping session with your friend.
  12. Be there when you say you will.
  13. Stand up for her.  Show her that you’ve got her back.
  14. Email or Skype regularly.  Bridge the gap from long-distance friendships by constantly communicating with your friend.
  15. Don’t flirt with her boyfriend.  Seriously.
  16. Don’t flirt with her husband.  Even more seriously.
  17. Do little things for her.  Offer to look after your single-mom-friend’s kid while she’s away doing errands.
  18. Laugh with her.  Share the silliest, foot-stomping jokes with her.
  19. Trust her.  Trust her with your darkest secrets.  Trust that she’ll also be there for you when you need her.
  20. A real friend calls.  Coincidentally, Globe Telecom has an ongoing promo which lets you make calls for cheap.  “With GoUnli20, it’s now easy to call without a need for a prefix and it’s just P20 for unli calls, 15mb of mobile surfing, and 20 texts to all networks! Kaya if you need a friend, don’t call me, I’ll call you!”