Types of Custom Promotional Merchandise

As a smaller business, you don’t have the unlimited budget of a large corporation when it comes to your custom promotional merchandise, which means you need to look for branded merchandise that is affordable and will work into your budget. Just because you are a smaller company, doesn’t mean you should ignore this amazing branding opportunity.

We have put a list of the top custom promotional merchandise options for the smaller business, that will work into your budget and provide clients with a branded item that they can use, boosting your brand visibility on a daily basis.

The first and probably the most popular of all the custom promotional merchandise that you can buy is T-Shirts. Ensure when you choose to brand t-shirts with your company logo that you choose a good quality garment, such as a polo shirt, which can be worn by men and women. Whether you are getting your team to wear the t-shirts to promote your business wherever they go or you are looking for promotional t-shirts you can give or sell to your clients, never ever compromise on quality.

Another great opportunity for the smaller business is branded pens. Everyone uses pens and they are cheap. You can buy a high volume of pens branded with your logo at a price that works into your budget and you can use them in-house and hand them out to clients, so that your company name is being seen throughout the day every day.

Further you may want to look at coffee mugs. Almost everyone has their own coffee mug at the office and drinks at least one cup of coffee while at work. The benefit of these mugs is that they are branded with your company name and logo, along with any other important information you want to put on them, what this means is every sip of coffee or tea your client takes, your name is seen and remembered, not only by them but the others in the office.

Key chains are another great branding opportunity when looking for affordable custom promotional merchandise. Have some key chains printed with your company name, logo, address and phone number. Clients can use the key chain on their keys and in the event they are lost, hopefully someone has contacted your company or dropped them off. In addition to branding these are a great opportunity to add a bit of added value to your service.

If you have a store, then you definitely want to look at reusable bags that your clients can take away from your store and use time and time again when they do their basic shopping. The great thing with reusable bags is that your clients can use them for anything and at any time and what that means is your company name is being seen by a variety of people every time your client leaves their home with your bag in hand.

If you are on a very tight budget, then take a look at lanyards. Lanyards hang around your neck, with your branding of course, but the benefit is that clients can use them to hang their access card for the office or even their keys to reduce the risk of losing them. They can be used for all types of applications, boosting your brand in the process.

Other options can include the credit card wallet, because these days with the number of credit cards, debit cards and loyalty cards you receive, they cannot all fit into your wallet easily. The credit card wallet can free up your clients purse or wallet, enabling them to keep all their cards in one handy place.

Brandz is a United Kingdom based company specializing in promotional products. This well-established company provides a complete turnkey service from the initial stages through to completion. They provide their customers with an experienced team who focus on helping their customers improve their branding with a range of promotional products to meet their requirements and marketing budget. Brandz offers a twenty four hour service, the highest quality products and affordable prices. Samples are available on request to help their customers identify the best promotional products to choose from based on the extensive range available on their easy to use and secure website.

Nonprofit, Civic and Church Leaders Can Help Us Heal

There is real human suffering happening in our country and around the world, but we all have to step up to help because here’s the reality, we’re all in this thing called life–together. No one is better than anyone else. And, as the adage goes, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Is it just me, or are you tired of the relentless stream of neurosis, disrespect, screaming and shouting that is dividing us on almost any and every level? If there’s an idea or statement made, there seems like there’s going to be someone out there who will take on the issue and as quickly as you can snap your fingers, there’s debate, particularly on social media. Often, these “debates” devolve into online name-calling, trolling, and utter disrespect. I have seen several conversations shut down in nonprofit and church social media groups, which is ridiculous when you think about it, because if people can’t have substantive and productive debates and discussions in these areas, where can they discuss critical social issues?

Here’s my message: We’re better than this.

I believe that nonprofit, civic and religious leaders can play a part in elevating the civil discourse.

Social networking has been great because, in practical ways, it has broken down borders. Connecting with people around the world is easy. For many organizations and groups, social media has brought down marketing and advertising costs considerably, raised awareness and leveraged resources.

But, I think that as we’ve become more “connected,” there’s incredible division. Divisiveness has got to stop.

Church, civic and nonprofit leaders can help our communities heal.

Do you remember the Golden Rule?

The Golden Rule was simple, and I think leaders should remember it each morning as they head to work and ask that their teams adhere to its tenets.

The Golden Rule has a religious origin. It came from the words that Jesus said in the “Sermon on the Mount.” The principles became religious teachings incorporated into the Bible.

Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Those words are so simple–treat others as you would like to be treated.

I think our society is in a precarious place. We are not listening to each other. We are shouting and screaming past each other. We are ignoring each other.

And, here’s the bigger thing for me–many of us are expecting attention and the world to hear us, and we are not giving others the same respect.

This has got to stop.

I think nonprofit, civic and church leaders are in a unique position. Often, because of their position in communities, they are leaders.

Seven Money-Saving Tips for Affordable Pet Care

You want to keep your Fido happy and healthy as always. Isn’t it true? Right. But spending at arm’s length may be also not possible for you. And, you are always on the run to save few bucks wherever possible. As per the data collected from different sources, the estimated expenditure of every pet owner is around $1500 a year for each of their pet, and that too varies depending on the size of the pet. However, there are ways applying which you can easily save a little more on every necessity of your furry pal.

Go through these tips and see how much can you save on your pet as well as keep your Fido in good health.

Make Half-Yearly Or Yearly Vet Visits Compulsory

Normally, pet parents in order to save money most times miss vet visits. But when it comes to health whether it is you or your pet, it is crucial to have a health checkup at least once or twice a year. Your vet may give vaccination necessary for the prevention of certain diseases in your pet. They can also diagnose for any of the problematic health conditions in your pet. Therefore, a yearly visit can save huge bucks by keeping your pet in good health. Missing vet appointments may sometimes lead to a development of some chronic diseases, which could have been preventive in a case of regular vet visits.

Don’t Skip Preventive Treatments

Pet parents are least aware of the importance and benefits of the preventive treatments. Mostly they only prefer to treat their pets when they see that the furry pal has been infected with parasites in which flea and tick infestation is most common. Many times due to lack of preventive treatments like Heartworm Prevention and Flea and Tick Treatments, pets are badly affected and sometimes the situation even turns out to be worst. They suffer from health complications and when infected with diseases such as heartworm, they are even at the risk of losing their lives. Therefore, it is better to treat your pet with flea and tick treatments as well as heartworm preventives in order to protect your furry friends from preventive diseases.

Ensure Proper Dental Hygiene

Most health conditions are the result of poor dental care. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly boost his overall health. In lack of dental hygiene, there is a build-up of tartar and plaque leading to periodontal diseases. Moreover, the bacteria in the gums travel through the blood to the various vital organs such as heart, lungs, liver and kidneys and badly infect them. This can even end up into emergencies. To avoid such critical situations, it is always in the favor of your pet and your budget to provide proper dental care.

Regular cleaning with Pet Dent Toothpaste and Toothbrush along with Pet dent oral rinse can help your pet dental health to be at optimum.

Look For Affordable Pet Supplies And Food/ Treats

People get swayed away by those big advertisements of pet supplies and pet food on those local pet stores, that pushes you to buy only certain brand of pet supplies or pet food and treats for your furry pal from them. In reality, you can get these high-quality pet supplies and top brand pet food and treats from online pet stores at cheaper rates. Normally, these neighborhood stores sell pet items at higher prices whereas same supplies you can purchase at affordable prices with big discount, and at some stores like Pet Care Supplies or Budget Pet World, you can even get Free Shipping for any of your pet products.

Be Watchful For Signs Of Something Wrong

Pets are a bundle of joy and happiness, and they are least vocal to tell you about their pain or what health difficulty they are undergoing. That’s why it is paramount to be always watchful to look for any suspicious signs that can direct you that there is something wrong with your furry pal. While grooming, move your hands all around your pet’s body to find about the existence of any lumps or warts. Part the fur and check for the presence of ticks. Look for flea dirt or flea eggs in your pet’s surroundings. Notice the movement of your pet, whether he is swift in his movement or taking a time to get up or jumping. Whether he is limping or reluctant to walk. This can direct you that whether he has got some injury in his leg or may be facing a problem of arthritis. At the notice of any unwanted signs on your pet’s body, consult your vet for further diagnosis or treatments. This greatly lowers the vet bills due to treatment of diseases in advance stages.

Keep Your Pet Moving

A healthy pet is always in a good shape and fit and fine. As to keep yourself in proper shape you exercise daily, it is also imperative to make your pet exercise. A regular exercise helps to keep your dog healthy and fit. Keeping your pet moving, not only keep his weight under control but also boost immunity, digestion, mood and behavior. A tired dog gets a good sleep and stays happy. This is a good way for you to keep your furry friend in great health.

Grooming your dog at home is also a great saving. Taking your pet to spa or grooming salons can be quite expensive, however shampooing, brushing fur, trimming hair and clipping nails at home save you few bucks.

Having a family of four dogs, I always look for cost effective pet supplies. Working on these steps, I have seen that I can save a little extra on pet products and provide the best care to my pets.

The Important Pros and Cons of Vinyl Siding

If you are on the market for new home siding, it is no surprise that you are considering vinyl. Vinyl plastic exterior has been a long-time favorite for both residential and commercial properties, and for many reasons. Although there are a few drawbacks you need to think about, this material is almost always a safe investment. Continue reading to review some of the common pros and cons of vinyl siding.

Pros

Vinyl siding is mostly admired for its extreme versatility. It comes in a wide range of colors, styles, textures, and more, which makes customizing the look of your home an easy task. Aside from versatility, vinyl is very low maintenance. Caring for it is simple, and there is very little you need to do to make it last a long time. Furthermore, installation is quick and easy, and the cost comparison to other options on the market is very low. It is one of the most affordable choices for residential siding you can buy.

  • Very durable;
  • Lasts between 30 and 40 years with good care;
  • Endless color options and schemes;
  • Very low maintenance;
  • Easy to clean and care for;
  • Insulated options increase energy efficiency;
  • Cheapest siding option on the market;

Cons

There are not many drawbacks to vinyl siding, however, there are a few attributes that are important for you to know in order to make an educated decision. For instance, it is not waterproof. Although it is water-resistant, poor installation can let water leak behind the panels and cause rot, mold, and mildew. Also, many homeowners have complained that the color option is too permanent with vinyl siding. Whatever color you choose, it will always be that color. That is because plastic exterior siding cannot be repainted like other siding materials.

Another common con to this material is the potential for the boards to warp, bend, or dent. This can happen from a string impact or extreme summer heat. Homeowners also complain that whole panels must be replaced because there is no patchwork in vinyl siding. Some additional common complaints about vinyl siding include:

  • 90% of homes have vinyl siding, so it’s not always the most unique;
  • Lawn mowers, weed trimmers, and even high winds can rip panels off;
  • Faulty installation can lead to water leaks, rot, mold, and decay;
  • It can crack in extreme cold weather, and warp in hot weather;

The Dangerous 10 – Top 10 Worst Food Additives

Food additives are substances added during the processing or making of a certain food in order to preserve flavors and freshness and enhance taste and appearance.

Although some of them have been used for centuries, the use of certain food additives is becoming really widespread and some of them are extremely dangerous for your health, I would say toxic even.

I’m not talking about the once-in-a-while consumption of a certain processed food containing additives, which can’t harm anyone. I am talking about daily use. Statistics show that the average American spends about 90% of his/her budget on this kind of food; which means that if you open an American fridge or look up on the shelves you’ll find tons of canned, dehydrated, artificial or processed stuff, which is extremely unhealthy, and its persistent consumption can cause health problems.

Typically these food ingredients are very difficult to identify, both for the variety of names and codes they’re labelled with and the very minuscule fonts used to lists them on the ingredient list.

Here is the list of the top 10 toxic ingredients.

Go get your detective glass and start reading labels!

1) HFCS – High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a highly-refined artificial sweetener made from corn starch and found in almost all processed food such as: bread and baked goods, salad dressing, candies, yogurt, soda etc. And according to some studies has become the number one source of calories in the US.

Indeed, its easy handling and cheap cost made it the number one granulated sugar replacement: The amount of refined sugar we consume has declined over the past 40 years, while we’re consuming almost 20 times as much HFCS.

HFCS is linked with weight gaining, it increases your LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels, and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage, among other harmful effects.

Also, recent researches published by the American Association for Cancer Research found that the fructose in HFCS promotes cancer growth, specifically pancreatic cancer.

2) Sodium Nitrate & Sodium Nitrite (NaNO3- NaNO2)

Both of them are chemical compound used as a food additive to preserve and give to cured meats, smoked fish and poultry a nice red pinkish color. Although their purpose seems harmless, these ingredients are highly carcinogen and their consume is linked with gastrointestinal cancer and heart diseases.

In fact, under certain conditions, they can form nitrosamines compounds, molecules that cause cancer in animals and humans.

Also, in massive doses, nitrite – and nitrate, which under some conditions changes to nitrite – can lead to a condition called methemoglobinemia. In our body, nitrites, indeed, have the ability to change the structure of the hemoglobin into methemoglobin: the binding of oxygen to whom results in an increased affinity for oxygen in the remaining heme sites. This leads to an overall reduced ability of the red blood cell to release oxygen to tissue and it may occur in tissue hypoxia.

Can’t give up on eating salami, bacon or ham? Choose the uncured ones.

Sodium Nitrate is listed under its INS number 251 or E number E251, Sodium Nitrite has the E number E250.

3) MSG – Monosodium Glutammate

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. While the Glutamic acid is naturally present in our bodies, and in many foods, such as tomatoes and cheese, the ones exploited by the processed-foods industry is chemically produced through hydrolysis of vegetable proteins with hydrochloric acid to disrupt peptide bonds or by the fermentation of starch, sugar beets, sugar cane or molasses.

The substance produced has the ability to excite our taste buds and make everything taste delicious, which wouldn’t be a big deal if it hasn’t been shown that high levels of MSG can seriously screw with brain chemistry causing damage to areas of the brain unprotected by the blood-brain barrier.

4) Artificial Colors

Food dyes are one of the most common ingredients in processed food used with the purpose to make your meals or drinks more desirable and appealing.

Nothing against that if they wouldn’t have been linked to some serious health problems.

Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133)

Banned in Norway, Finland, and France. May cause chromosomal damage.

Found in candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks and pet foods.

Red dye #3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye) (E124)

Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission.

Found in fruit cocktail, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, candy, bakery products and more!

Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)

Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage.

Found in American cheese, macaroni and cheese, candy and carbonated beverages, lemonade and more! (source Food Matters website)

The slogan “Eat the Rainbow” is still cool but go natural, please!

5) BHA & BHT

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), also listed with the label of E320, and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are two organic compound widely used by the food industry as preservatives due to their antioxidants proprieties as they can prevent rancidification of food containing fats.

Although declared safe from FDA, The U.S. National Institutes of Health reported that they may form cancer – cause reactive compounds in our body potentially leading to cancer.

Also, they can disturb your hormone and neurological system.

BHA is in tons of food: pick up a bag of chips, a box of cereal, a package of frozen sausages or simply eat a gum, and you have a high probability to find BHA and or BHT (or even worse, both of them) in the ingredients list.

6) Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners are sugar substitute used to give some sweet taste to drinks of food without all the calories of sucrose.

Aspartame, known also as NutraSweet, Equal and codified ad E951, is the most famous one. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar, but its effect on the human body is not as sweet as it tastes: is a neurotoxin and carcinogen.

Some studies claim that is the most dangerous substance on the market, with a wide range of health effects ranging from mild problem such as memory issues, headache and dizziness, to more serious ones, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, and emotional disorders.

Avoid Acetisulfame K, Saccharin (Sweet’N Low, SugarTwin), and Sucralose (Splenda) too.

7) Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur Dioxide is a chemical compound with antimicrobial and antioxidants proprieties, used as a preservative for dried fruits such as dried apricot, raisins and prunes and added to fruit juices, cereal bars, breakfast cereal to prevent discoloration, ripening, and rotting.

Checking food labels for it, and for sulfites in general, with numbers in the range E220-228, is helpful; however, companies are required to list it only if there are more than 10 parts per million (ppm) in the finished product.

Whilst harmless to healthy persons when used in recommended concentrations, it can induce asthma and respiratory problem when ingested by sensitive subjects, even in high dilution.

It also destroys vitamins B1 and E.

8) Trans Fats

“Trans fats, or trans-unsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, are a type of unsaturated fat that occur in small amounts in nature, but became widely produced industrially from vegetable fats for use in margarine, snack food, packaged baked goods and frying fast food starting in the 1950s. Trans fat has been shown to consistently be associated, in an intake-dependent way, with increased risk of coronary artery disease, a leading cause of death in Western nations.”

As matter of facts, Trans fats have the power to increase LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, while decreasing the amount of HDL (the good one) in our bodies. Trans fat is abundant in fast food restaurants. Here is a list of health issues linked to a high consume of trans fats: Alzheimer’s disease, coronary artery disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, liver dysfunctions, infertility, depression, deficit in memory.

Keep them in mind while you’re enjoying your fries!

9) Sodium Benzoate

Sodium Benzoate is the sodium salt of benzoic acid and it’s famous for the anti-fungal proprieties.

Pick up a soda can and you’ll surely find it as an ingredient (E211). Indeed, it is heavily used by the soft drink industry, and not only in that. This chemical compound it is primarily added to acidic foods such as prickles, sauces, vinegars in order to enhance their flavor.

When mixed with ascorbic acid (well known as Vitamin C), Sodium Benzoate create an unfortunate side effect: it forms benzene known as a potent carcinogen, which contribute to the formation of many different types of cancer.

10) Potassium Bromate

Last but not least, Potassium Bromate, used in the Unites States, as a flours additive to improve elasticity and strength of the dough and allow it to rise higher.

In 1999, the International Agency on Research for Cancer declared that potassium bromate was a possible human carcinogen. Since that, it has been banned in a number of country including Europe and Canada, but not in the United Stated, where studies have found it in more that 86 baked goods found on supermarket shells.

Do You Make These Diet Mistakes?

Mistake #1 – Meal Skipping

Research has shown that those who skip breakfast actually weigh more than those who eat three meals a day. Skipping a meal usually causes you to eat more calories during the day, and skipping a meal also slows done your metabolism. Frequent meals control craving and binge eating. So aim to eat three (or more) meals a day.

Mistake #2 – Over-sized Portions

Just because restaurants load your plate with a mountain of food doesn’t mean you should eat that much at home for a normal meal. Remember that your stomach, like your heart, is the size of your fist. Don’t think you could fit much food into your fist? You’re right.

To eat a little less, use smaller plates and eat slower so you know when you’re full. As a little side hack for when your craving more food – you can pretty much eat as much veggies as you want. What I like to do is blend a variety of fruits and veggIes into a delicious healthy smoothie.

Mistake #3 – Blaming Your Genes

Many people give up on dieting or think there’s no hope when it comes to meeting their weight goals because of their genes. Just like you may share your father’s hair color or your mother’s eye color, there is a small chance you also share your parent’s body type.

However, this is no excuse for doing nothing about trying to lose weight. Stick to your diet and exercise plan and you should definitely see results.

Mistake #4 – Eating Without Thinking

It happens to everyone. You’re tired after a long day and you just want to snack in front of the television or read a good book. Unfortunately, mindlessly eating is often involved.

Now you may think that since it’s not on a plate it doesn’t matter, but every bite you take counts. When it comes to a successful diet, make rules for appropriate times to eat. And don’t always feel the need to eat when relaxing.

Mistake #5 – Eliminating All Treats

Guess what?

Here’s some great news – you don’t have to stop having treats! Ya! You see, dieters often become over-zealous in their plan and completely rid the house of all the food they enjoy, whether chips, sweets, or snacks.

This commitment may last a few days until they can’t tolerate it any longer and over-indulge on what they deprived themselves of. A better plan is to allow yourself a treat every once in a while.

How To Expand Your Family Law Practice: Ten Money Making Tips For Divorce Lawyers

The divorce rate in the United States is likely to rise over the next five years due to the ten sociological trends that will be outlined below.

These changes will create an abundance of work and opportunities for family lawyers and matrimonial lawyers.

  • In a bad economy, some people stay in bad relationships because they feel trapped. In short, they can not afford to leave their spouse. Today’s economy is quite strong. Home prices are rising and the stock market has been on the rise. Many people who are unhappy with their marriages can now afford to terminate these unfulfilling relationships.
  • The opioid crisis, the heroin crisis, the increase in alcohol abuse will create a lot of familial stress and will contribute to marital disintegration in America. Interestingly, many private corporations are now investing in drug treatment center to profit from the increased need for these services.
  • Domestic violence often coexists with addictions and substance abuse. Spouses in violent relationships will need to be protected by family lawyers and by the criminal justice system.
  • The rising number of people who are addicted to pornography, video games and social media will continue to put a strain on marriages and on family life. Many clinicians and attorneys are seeing the impact of these kinds of addictions on marriages and on intimate relationships.
  • Laws allowing same sex marriages create more relationships. More relationships means that there will also be more relationships which end in divorce.
  • Internet dating has made it very easy to meet, to hook up with people and find another spouse. Consequently, people are not afraid of being alone and will not hesitate to remove themselves from an unhappy marriage.
  • The public is now more aware of the value and utility of pre nuptial and post nuptial agreements. Attorneys will need to create more and more of these contracts.
  • Infertility treatments are creating many complicated legal issues for couples. Who owns the fertilized eggs is merely one example of the kind of legal issues that this relatively new technology is generating for families and for their lawyers.
  • The growth of mediation will simplify and shorten the divorce process and make it easier and less expensive to terminate a failing marriage. Consequently, more people will be likely to utilize the legal system to end their marriages.
  • Similarly, collaborative divorce is gaining in popularity and is creating another viable route to divorce for some couples in America.

 

What Every Traveler Should Know About Making Hotel Reservations

There was a time when making hotel reservations was as simple as picking up the telephone & booking a room for a specific period of time. Depending on how your travels worked out, you would sometimes have the misfortune of having to book the same day & were hoping for the best, but all in all, booking a hotel room was not a big deal.

Boy, things have certainly changed! When the occasional hotel room “Booker” decides it’s time to make a reservation, the nervous perspiration starts. Palms get clammy, internal temperature starts to rise, and voices start cracking. The issue at hand is that we’re constantly bombarded by commercials on our airwaves telling us that we can find better deals by using technology. Online booking, booking apps, and email & text message alerts for price drops are now the way to book a hotel room not necessarily the right way but the smart way. Of course, no one wants to seem foolish, right?

To begin, let’s keep it simple. First of all, you always want to be sure you have the dates correct for your prospective reservation at the correct hotel. In other words, have the basic information spelled out correctly before you even start. It seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often people will try booking a hotel room with faulty information.

You also want to be sure to try & book early. Even though this may not always be possible, it does help get things off your mind faster than waiting until the last-minute before booking. You also avoid issues of not having a room to reserve because of something on the calendar that is bringing people into town. An example would be trying to book a hotel near the beach during Spring Break season.

It pays to think about how you book so that you can avoid having to contend with overbooking, time crunches, and heavy travel windows. For example, if you are traveling on the weekend, try to book a room at a hotel that tends to have a leaning toward business bookings. In the same vein, if you’re traveling during the week, like to stay in a hotel that has more of a ‘resort’ feel to it. This way, you’re always trying to travel opposite of the general travel traffic.

Finally, here is some input regarding the online & discount booking apps & websites – it can go either way. You can actually save some serious money booking online in some way, but you may open yourself to being booked at a mystery hotel whose identity isn’t known until after the reservation is made. In some cases, you also have to act quickly to take advantage of hotel reservation deals in order to get the pricing, which you may not be in a position to do right away. It’s also important to know about being “walked” by a hotel. Getting “walked” means that if a hotel can’t fill your reservation, it will pay for a night elsewhere. Hotels overbook assuming that there will be “no shows”. Depending on how & when you book, your indirect/third-party booking leaves you as a low priority, and if you’re unlucky enough to have booked at a hotel where everyone showed up, you will be “walked”.

Surprisingly enough, booking hotel reservations directly with a hotel over the phone or through their own website is the best way to book in many cases & provides the most perks. Whether through loyalty programs, flexibility in price negotiation, or being a frequent guest, connecting the old-fashioned way seems to be the best bet for handling your travel lodging.

Things to Know About Domestic Violence Laws in the US

In every household there comes a time that an intense verbal argument occurs for a number of reasons: jealousy, financial problems, sibling rivalry, etc. However, sometimes people may physically assault a family member because they cannot control their anger, want to assert control or may have been verbally provoked. In so doing, the aggressor has committed Domestic Violence.

Whenever such serious matters occur, you may think of seeking outside help either by calling the police or by consulting an attorney. It is preferable to discuss the issue with an experienced legal professional first, since you may have trouble handling the legal ramifications that may ensue following the crime’s disclosure.

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the most important legal aspects of Domestic Abuse, in a simplified and accessible way and to provide a starting point for more specialized study.

1. What is Domestic Violence?

Any person who physically abused a family or household member has committed the crime of Domestic Violence. Domestic assault is a distinctive and more serious case than Assault and Battery -which involves strangers- and is treated accordingly.

2. Domestic assault can be difficult to prove.

The easiest way to identify an abused victim is by looking for signs of assault on the body (scratches, bruises, etc.). In the absence of such evidence, eye witness’s testimonies are valuable, but are not always available. What adds complexity when evidence is inconclusive, is that it can be hard to prove the crime or ascertain who the instigator was (both parties can claim to have been abused or acting in self-defense and the aggressor could deny the charge).

3. The severity of the assault, the victim and the aggressor’s medical history and potential addictions are taken into account for the sentence.

Simply put, an aggressor who slapped his spouse will be punished more leniently, than one who punched and kicked her. If a child was abused the law is more severe. A person with addictions (a drug-user or an alcoholic), or mental disorders may also be required to undertake therapy.

4. If domestic abuse is reported, it can severely disrupt family relations.

Domestic assault is a serious criminal charge, which means that if the authorities find out about the crime, they are obligated to take legal action, whether the victim intents to or not. The state laws of Virginia dictate that the authorities can issue a no-contact (protective) order, effectively prohibiting any form of communication between the aggressor, the victim and the rest of the family.

5. First time offenders can have their case dismissed or may be judged more leniently.

The guilty party can have their sentence dismissed, if they have never committed a crime before. It is also possible that the state offers a plea bargain to the accused. If the abuser admits guilt before the case goes to court, the sentence can be more lenient.

6. The alleged abuser’s and the accuser’s personality and habits play an important role in court.

A person with a toxic and abusive personality, will have a harder time convincing the court about his innocence. On the other hand, the accuser may have an ulterior motive or may be a habitual liar. All of the above aspects come into play when the case is tried.

7. It’s advisable for both parties to avoid contact after the crime has been reported.

Whether you are the accuser or the perpetrator it is preferable to refrain from communicating between each other, as any form of contact could have a detrimental effect to your case, especially if a protective order is in effect.

Conclusion

Domestic Violence can be a complex and challenging crime to handle. Whether you decide to press charges against an abuser, or think you have been wrongfully accused, you should always consult with an experienced criminal law attorney.

Important Facts About National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

The Purpose of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Since December is one the busiest months of the year full of winter holiday celebrations like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, there are a lot more social events and late night get-to-gathers where alcohol is available. Sadly, driving under the influence is quite common during holiday season. Impaired driving puts drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk, and each year it claims the lives of thousands of Americans. In December, we observe National Impaired Driving Prevention Month to create more awareness on the issue.

Some Important Facts About This Month

It is reported that every year, around 30 million people drive while intoxicated and around 10 million drivers go behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs.

Nearly 25 people a day were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2010. Drinking and driving can be deadly, especially for teens.

Young adults (ages 21-34) are much more likely to die in a car crash after drinking alcohol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day, 28 people in the United States lose their lives in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

In 2014, of the 1,070 traffic deaths among children (ages 0-14), nearly 19% involved alcohol-impaired drivers.

Drugs other than alcohol are also a factor for traffic accidents.

Effective Preventive Measures

Prevention starts with our sense of personal responsibility. It is high time that drivers, irrespective of their age, start thinking about how they can practice safe driving and re-evaluate their driving habits.

Conducting school programs and educating teens on how important it is NOT to get in the car with a driver who’s under the influence would be an effective solution.

Electronically monitoring repeat DWI offenders also appears to be effective. Ignition interlocks in cars prevent operation of the vehicle by anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the specified level.

If you come across a possibly drunken driver on the road, immediately contact the police! Your timely action might save someone’s life.

Families play an essential role in putting an end to impaired driving. We should all educate our children about the risks involved in consuming alcohol or illicit drugs and especially how dangerous this is while driving.

If your holiday plans involve drinking liquor, make sure to always plan ahead for a safe ride home.

Every year, a higher volume of vehicles flood the roads. People rush to see their loved ones for the holidays and the odds of getting into a driving accident increase during these periods. While most people are well informed, there are still many other people who are not aware about how this easily avoidable problem could affect their loved ones. It is our personal duty to help people understand how dangerous this habit actually is.

Organize a local awareness campaign to explain the risks involved and how drinking and driving can affect families. Surprise the attendees with customized giveaways. Silicone wristbands are perfect for such campaigns because they are original, durable, long-lasting and inspiring. You can get them in different colors, fonts, sizes and styles. Wristbands carry messages. Choose from “Think and Drive”, “Never Drink and Drive” or come up with something of your own.