Conneropticals

It is always interesting to study the history of weddings of different cultures. One can find that some of the old traditions have been carried forward to the current weddings.

In Italy, to this day marriages are not performed during Lent and Advent in May or August. Sunday was declared the best day for the marriage and June was (and is) considered the ideal month to marry. This is based on the Roman goddess Junio, representing safety of home, marriage, and childbirth.

In some families the marriages were arranged by the families of the bride and groom. A male relative of the groom would visit with the father of the intended bride and ask for her hand in marriage. Sometimes a matchmaker was used to carry a message to the intended bride’s family. Once an agreement between the families was reached, the couple was declared engaged. The prospective bride was expected to immediately start gathering clothing (even for her future husband), furniture, and other items for the home. This became known as the bride’s ‘trousseau’. If the engagement ring contained gold it was not to be worn until she received the gold wedding band as it was seen as bad luck to wear gold without being married.

In olden times a great deal of the Italian wedding traditions consisted of warding off evil spirits. The groom would be sure to have something iron on his person to ward off the evil eye. The wedding veil was for the purpose of warding off evil spirits they may try to attack the bride and tearing the veil after the ceremony was considered good luck. The bride was not to have a complete bridal gown until the wedding day. It was to remain incomplete until she walked down the church aisle. Presumably a final stitch was made somewhere on the dress at the entrance of the church. The groom would wait at the front of the church and present the bride with a bouquet of flowers and herbs, to ward off the evil spirits.

At other times the groom would pick the bride up and walk her to the church. In this case a log and a saw would be placed in their path and they had to saw it into two pieces to show their union. If the bride walked to the church, without the groom, the local people often put things in her path such as a broom, beggar, crying baby. How she handled these items showed if she would be a good wife, mother, would be kind, etc.

In the ceremony the groom stood to the right of the bride, thus freeing his sword hand, just in case someone tried to steal his bride. Ten witnesses were required to make the ceremony official; hence the need for a large bridal party. They were dressed like the bride and groom to confuse the jealous spirits. The bride carried (and still does in most weddings) a silk or satin purse for guests to deposit their money gifts in as a way to help with the expenses. Another way money was raised was by the best man cutting the groom’s tie into pieces and selling them to guests at the wedding.

Following the ceremony the bride and groom were pelted with almonds (in mesh bags), three for children and five to seven to promote fertility. In ancient times a loaf of bread was broken over the bride’s head to represent fertility. At the end of the wedding the bride and groom broke a vase or glass into pieces with the number of shards representing how many years they would be married. Mothers-in-law sat at a table and kept a record of the repayment of favors or money which needed to be witnessed (this is still done in some of today’s ceremonies)

Most of the ceremonies started with mass in the early morning, followed by music and dancing throughout the night. Food was, and is, a large part of the wedding. Thirteen or more courses were ordinarily served (a large meal is still served at today’s weddings); this represented the union of the couple and their families.

It’s amazing how many wedding traditions still remain even though they may have evolved somewhat to reflect today’s society. Incorporating traditions based on heritage is often a good way to honor the old while celebrating the new.

Reminiscing about the good old days when we were growing up is a memory trip well worth taking, when trying to understand the issues facing the children of today. A mere 20 years ago, children used to play outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports and building forts. Masters of imaginary games, children of the past created their own form of play that didn’t require costly equipment or parental supervision. Children of the past moved… a lot, and their sensory world was nature based and simple. In the past, family time was often spent doing chores, and children had expectations to meet on a daily basis. The dining room table was a central place where families came together to eat and talk about their day, and after dinner became the center for baking, crafts and homework.

Today’s families are different. Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were what held families together. Juggling work, home and community lives, parents now rely heavily on communication, information and transportation technology to make their lives faster and more efficient. Entertainment technology (TV, internet, videogames, iPods) has advanced so rapidly, that families have scarcely noticed the significant impact and changes to their family structure and lifestyles. A 2010 Kaiser Foundation study showed that elementary aged children use on average 8 hours per day of entertainment technology, 75% of these children have TV’s in their bedrooms, and 50% of North American homes have the TV on all day. Add emails, cell phones, internet surfing, and chat lines, and we begin to see the pervasive aspects of technology on our home lives and family milieu. Gone is dining room table conversation, replaced by the “big screen” and take out. Children now rely on technology for the majority of their play, grossly limiting challenges to their creativity and imaginations, as well as limiting necessary challenges to their bodies to achieve optimal sensory and motor development. Sedentary bodies bombarded with chaotic sensory stimulation, are resulting in delays in attaining child developmental milestones, with subsequent impact on basic foundation skills for achieving literacy. Hard wired for high speed, today’s young are entering school struggling with self regulation and attention skills necessary for learning, eventually becoming significant behavior management problems for teachers in the classroom.

So what is the impact of technology on the developing child? Children’s developing sensory and motor systems have biologically not evolved to accommodate this sedentary, yet frenzied and chaotic nature of today’s technology. The impact of rapidly advancing technology on the developing child has seen an increase of physical, psychological and behavior disorders that the health and education systems are just beginning to detect, much less understand. Child obesity and diabetes are now national epidemics in both Canada and the US. Diagnoses of ADHD, autism, coordination disorder, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders can be causally linked to technology overuse, and are increasing at an alarming rate. An urgent closer look at the critical factors for meeting developmental milestones, and the subsequent impact of technology on those factors, would assist parents, teachers and health professionals to better understand the complexities of this issue, and help create effective strategies to reduce technology use. The three critical factors for healthy physical and psychological child development are movement, touch and connection to other humans. Movement, touch and connection are forms of essential sensory input that are integral for the eventual development of a child’s motor and attachment systems. When movement, touch and connection are deprived, devastating consequences occur.

Young children require 3-4 hours per day of active rough and tumble play to achieve adequate sensory stimulation to their vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile systems for normal development. The critical period for attachment development is 0-7 months, where the infant-parent bond is best facilitated by close contact with the primary parent, and lots of eye contact. These types of sensory inputs ensure normal development of posture, bilateral coordination, optimal arousal states and self regulation necessary for achieving foundation skills for eventual school entry. Infants with low tone, toddlers failing to reach motor milestones, and children who are unable to pay attention or achieve basic foundation skills for literacy, are frequent visitors to pediatric physiotherapy and occupational therapy clinics. The use of safety restraint devices such as infant bucket seats and toddler carrying packs and strollers, have further limited movement, touch and connection, as have TV and videogame overuse. Many of today’s parents perceive outdoor play is ‘unsafe’, further limiting essential developmental components usually attained in outdoor rough and tumble play. Dr. Ashley Montagu, who has extensively studied the developing tactile sensory system, reports that when infants are deprived of human connection and touch, they fail to thrive and many eventually die. Dr. Montagu states that touch deprived infants develop into toddlers who exhibit excessive agitation and anxiety, and may become depressed by early childhood.

As children are connecting more and more to technology, society is seeing a disconnect from themselves, others and nature. As little children develop and form their identities, they often are incapable of discerning whether they are the “killing machine” seen on TV and in videogames, or just a shy and lonely little kid in need of a friend. TV and videogame addiction is causing an irreversible worldwide epidemic of mental and physical health disorders, yet we all find excuses to continue. Where 100 years ago we needed to move to survive, we are now under the assumption we need technology to survive. The catch is that technology is killing what we love the most…connection with other human beings. The critical period for attachment formation is 0 – 7 months of age. Attachment or connection is the formation of a primary bond between the developing infant and parent, and is integral to that developing child’s sense of security and safety. Healthy attachment formation results in a happy and calm child. Disruption or neglect of primary attachment results in an anxious and agitated child. Family over use of technology is gravely affecting not only early attachment formation, but also impacting negatively on child psychological and behavioral health.

Further analysis of the impact of technology on the developing child indicates that while the vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and attachment systems are under stimulated, the visual and auditory sensory systems are in “overload”. This sensory imbalance creates huge problems in overall neurological development, as the brain’s anatomy, chemistry and pathways become permanently altered and impaired. Young children who are exposed to violence through TV and videogames are in a high state of adrenalin and stress, as the body does not know that what they are watching is not real. Children who overuse technology report persistent body sensations of overall “shaking”, increased breathing and heart rate, and a general state of “unease”. This can best be described as a persistent hypervigalent sensory system, still “on alert” for the oncoming assault from videogame characters. While the long term effects of this chronic state of stress in the developing child are unknown, we do know that chronic stress in adults results in a weakened immune system and a variety of serious diseases and disorders. Prolonged visual fixation on a fixed distance, two dimensional screen grossly limits ocular development necessary for eventual printing and reading. Consider the difference between visual location on a variety of different shaped and sized objects in the near and far distance (such as practiced in outdoor play), as opposed to looking at a fixed distance glowing screen. This rapid intensity, frequency and duration of visual and auditory stimulation results in a “hard wiring” of the child’s sensory system for high speed, with subsequent devastating effects on a child’s ability to imagine, attend and focus on academic tasks. Dr. Dimitri Christakis found that each hour of TV watched daily between the ages of 0 and 7 years equated to a 10% increase in attention problems by age seven years.

In 2001 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement recommending that children less than two years of age should not use any technology, yet toddlers 0 to 2 years of age average 2.2 hours of TV per day. The Academy further recommended that children older than two should restrict usage to one hour per day if they have any physical, psychological or behavioral problems, and two hours per day maximum if they don’t, yet parents of elementary children are allowing 8 hours per day. France has gone so far as to eliminate all “baby TV” due to the detrimental effects on child development. How can parents continue to live in a world where they know what is bad for their children, yet do nothing to help them? It appears that today’s families have been pulled into the “Virtual Reality Dream”, where everyone believes that life is something that requires an escape. The immediate gratification received from ongoing use of TV, videogame and internet technology, has replaced the desire for human connection.

It’s important to come together as parents, teachers and therapists to help society “wake up” and see the devastating effects technology is having not only on our child’s physical, psychological and behavioral health, but also on their ability to learn and sustain personal and family relationships. While technology is a train that will continually move forward, knowledge regarding its detrimental effects, and action taken toward balancing the use of technology with exercise and family time, will work toward sustaining our children, as well as saving our world. While no one can argue the benefits of advanced technology in today’s world, connection to these devices may have resulted in a disconnection from what society should value most, children. Rather than hugging, playing, rough housing, and conversing with children, parents are increasingly resorting to providing their children with more videogames, TV’s in the car, and the latest iPods and cell phone devices, creating a deep and widening chasm between parent and child.

Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist and child development expert has developed a concept termed ‘Balanced Technology Management’ (BTM) where parents manage balance between activities children need for growth and success with technology use. Rowan’s company Zone’in Programs Inc. http://www.zonein.ca has developed a ‘System of Solutions’ for addressing technology overuse in children through the creation of Zone’in Products, Workshops, Training and Consultation services.

As an “Abundant Life Coach” I get asked about the meaning of “financial abundance” very often. What this means to you can be the difference between living the lifestyle of your dreams, or settling for something less than your dreams. I want you to live the life of your dreams!

Here, then, are 5 Essential Factors of Financial Abundance:

“The Abundant Mindset”

Thousands upon thousands of books, articles, media, programs, and so much more have been produced that discuss the awesome power of our minds, and the influence of our thinking upon our lives. It is difficult to say enough or emphasize enough that truth. As I see it, we are exactly as we think.

In my work, I recommend the adoption of an “Abundant” mindset. This means so much more than finance or money, however, for the purposes of this article, I will discuss abundance only as it applies to the world of money and finance.

A financial abundance mindset means enjoying an abundant amount of money, and yet not allowing greed. Greed does not work (sorry, Gordon Gekko). Of course “financial abundance” will be a relative concept; it will probably mean something different to each person. Greed, however, is fairly obvious; it is almost like knowing (within your mid or heart) the difference between right and wrong.

Further, a financial abundance mindset means having the monetary means or resources to enjoy an abundant lifestyle, yet balancing your financial wealth with philanthropy and generous giving (see point 4). When one’s personal motives are clearly defined and one’s goals are aligned with those motives, then financial abundance becomes clear.

“Specialized Knowledge”

The largest difference between the rich and poor (or the “haves” and “have-nots”) is knowledge. Or, more specifically, the largest difference is a specialized knowledge; meaning that they have the “right” knowledge and also know how to use that knowledge to their advantage. In other words, specialized knowledge is the information or data itself, coupled with the wisdom to know how to use the information or data.

For many, specialized knowledge is an academic education such as medical or law school, while for others this might mean computer programming, aviation repair, or something. Further, many of those with a financial education know how to leverage their own money to make more money. Obviously the point is that specialized knowledge translates to earning ability.

“The Power of Compounding Interest and Investing”

For many people, diligent savings and investment of a consistent percentage of income over considerable lengths of time has lead to financial abundance. I would certainly add that economic factors always play a significant role with regard to risk in investments. Even so, living well within one’s means while investing and saving can very often lead to financial abundance.

“Generous Giving”

Generosity does not necessarily mean giving away or donating money. Mr. Zig Ziglar has said: “If you can dream it, then you can achieve it. You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

This is so very true. It must be an unwritten law of nature that over time, our generosity is paid back several times over. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and yet employing an attitude of generosity is always a safe bet for a great return. And, if nothing else, it is an illustration of excellence of character.

“What You Love Over Time”

We should seek ways to turn what we love to do into a good living. I am a firm believer that when we do what we love doing, money very often comes as a byproduct, because our focus is not so much on making money as it is on enjoyment and lifestyle. Over time, money tends to take care of itself in large part when we are doing what we enjoy, especially when it helps others.

In conclusion, the very first point – having an abundant mindset – sums up all of the points I have made in this article. When we do what we love to do; when we are generous and seek to help others; when we live within our means and save money; when we always seek a more specialized knowledge…we then have an abundant mindset, and are bound to realize financial abundance.

The unwritten rule of effective advertising involves creating ads that appeal to people’s emotions, these appeals can be broadly categorized into fear, sex, humor, music, rationality, emotions and scarcity. These appeals are something that are experienced by everyone universally, regardless of race, financial stance or intelligence.Think back to an advertisement that you can remember, what appeal did it have? chances are it fit into one of the “magic 7” appeals, perhaps even using a mixture of the appeals. Needless to say the successful advertisement is not only the one you remember, but the one you remember in a positive light. Successful marketers are able to create advertisements customers favorably recall in memory… and we all know positive attitudes lead to positive behaviors, such as consumers buying your product! Below is a guide to using the appeals, highlighting both positive and negative consequences associated with using the advertising appeals.

Fear Appeal – The first advertising appeal and perhaps the most effective to date, is the advertising appeal of fear. Fear is an emotion that has existed as long as intelligible life has walked the Earth. Fear advertising concentrates on emotional responses from customers to a perceived threat, typically severity and vulnerability. An example of a fear appeal would be an advertisement for a “web hosting” company focusing on the severity of downtime experienced on the site and the customers vulnerability of losing business due to downtime. The Good – Fear appeals tend to be very persuasive and are great for capturing peoples attention, such as an eye-catching advertisement of an injured car crash victim due to drink diving. The Bad – hard to gauge how much fear to use, too much and you can scare people away from your ads and too little fear and nobody will notice your ad.

Sex Appeal – Another universal aspect of being human, sex has been used for years by marketers to capture attention of the sexes. The use of sex can be subliminal, sexually suggestive, nudity or sensuality, ever notice how most people that appear in ads tend to be attractive? An example of sexual advertising is with the America’s Next Top Model TV series, which has ads showing the girls in sexually suggestive clothes to lure in male viewers to watch episodes. The Good – Sex is proven to cut through clutter, if your advertising in a busy time-slot using sex appeals will help your ad get noticed, this helps increase brand recognition The Bad – Sex appeals can be provocative and may cause negative reactions with different cultures (non-western) and sex appeals are so prevalent nowadays that they no longer carry the WOW-factor they once did.

Humor Appeal – Everyone loves to laugh and most people have negative attitudes towards advertising but positive reactions to humor, a consumer watching a humorous ad laughs, tells people the joke and remembers this greatly helps marketers. There are many memorable TV ads that use humor to promote their brands, the John West Salmon ad where a man fights a bear for salmon effectively leverages the humor appeal The Good – Humor is one of the best methods for cutting through advertising clutter as funny ads are more easily noticed by the increasingly time-scarce consumer, humor gets attention, stays in peoples memories and typically win awards The Bad – it is important that the joke does not overpower the brand or its associated motto, if people remember the joke but not the brand this is not effective. Advertisers must also be culturally aware as what is funny in one culture may be offensive in another.

Music Appeal – Music is something that everyone enjoys, music is something that is both personal and causes people to recall moments that are both good and bad in their life. Music helps capture attentions and link to the consumers emotions. An example of music appeal is soft drink company 7UP using the song ‘sunshine’ by the Partridge family, this helped resonate the message to their target market. The Good – using a well known song can bring back positive nostalgic memories in consumers causing them to have positive attitudes towards your brand, music’s intrusive nature means that people can still be attracted to the ad even if they are avoiding ads in general. The Bad – certain music can cause negative reactions in consumers if they relate to bad memories in the past.

Rationality Appeal – The rationality appeal relies on consumers actively processing the information presented in the ad, this appeal is typically used in print media due to the consumers having more time set aside to read the advertising in this medium. Typically rational appeals focus on the practical, functional or utilitarian needs of consumers. Rational appeals are typically used in advertising drugs or healthy lifestyle products like Vitamins, such as recent ads by pharmaceutical company Swisse which used Australian Cricket captain Ricky Ponting who asserted the individual vitamins to appeal to knowledgeable consumers. The Good – rationality is great for high-involvement products and for B2B advertising The Bad – the rational appeal must be credible as false claims can cause negative brand attitudes.

Scarcity Appeal – Scarcity is based on limitations, typically this is in the form of limited time to purchase or limited supply. Scarcity is often used with fear appeals, to help empower customers by missing out on a potential immediately negative event. Australian advertisers use scarcity appeal in cricket memorabilia advertising, by offering The Good – scarcity is great for encouraging users to take action, and is often effectively used with other promotions like coupons, sweepstakes and contests The Bad – scarcity appeals must be genuine or consumers will harbor negative attitudes towards your brand.

Emotional Appeal – Appealing to the emotions of consumers is an effective technique for capturing attention and fostering attachments for a consumer to your brand, it is generally more effective to concentrate on positive emotions like happiness, joy, trust and love. Typical industries that use emotions in their advertising copy are banks and insurance agencies who often center on optimistic emotions like happiness and joy in an attempt to reconcile commonly held stereotypes of these industries as corporate mega powers. The Good – emotional appeals combine with nearly every appeal very effectively, can be the key to building up brand loyalty amongst customer base The Bad – emotional appeals must match the target market and current PR history of the company, consumers are increasingly aware of advertising messages.

In summary, the seven appeals of advertising are useful to understand when in the beginning stages of creating an advertisement whether it be online or offline, building your advertisement around a given combination of appeals acts as a good starting point. Some tried and tested combination’s of advertising appeals includes the combination of fear and rationality (typically used in anti-smoking advertising), and the use of music and emotion generally are a good basis for any advertisement. In the end the appeals should be taken into consideration with other factors, namely your organizational marketing objectives, media strategy, target market make-up and brand strategy. If for example your organization is a local newspaper that caters to a demographic of 40 and above, and its looking to improve its brand loyalty by expressing its concern and care for the local community, a emotional or rational appeal would be most appropriate in helping you reach your marketing objective of brand loyalty with your target market.

 

The 1990s witnessed one of the most rapid rates of technological innovation in the 20th Century. A movement which spurred an increase in the availability of mass media and helped usher in an era where music was shaped by emerging technologies, transforming not only the songs of the 90s, but changing the world of music for the decades ahead.

At the epicenter of the new wave of technological innovations in the 90s was the digital revolution. Bulky, single-purpose mobile phones were replaced with smaller devices loaded with lots of embedded functionality. The internet grew exponentially from anonymity to become a digital communication and information super highway adopted by 50% of Western Countries. Helping to increase the dominance of the internet was Intel’s creation of the Pentium chip. For their part, computer hardware manufacturers added staples to their personal computer offerings such as CD burners and CD Rom drives.

With the onslaught of new technology came a transformation of the songs of the 90s. The 1990s heralded the dawn of the boy band, teen pop sensations, commercial and sampled hip-hop music tracks. Even armchair musicians would be given a chance to make more significant musical contributions with the glut in musical technology as it became possible for a wider number of musicians to produce electronic music. What started out sounding like dance music was gradually less targeted towards the dance-floor audience and more towards home listeners. This genre later became known as “Electronica”, or in its slower manifestations, “Chill-out” or “Ambient music”.

In late spring 1998, the first Mp3 player was released, alongside the 32 and 64MB Mp3 players. By the mid 2000’s the Mp3 format would overtake the CD player in popularity. Early adopters of the technology – mostly younger music audiences would be given the opportunity to endorse their preferred music tastes — the pop songs of the 90s, catapulting pop stars into the spot-light. Not surprisingly, between 1997 and 1999, American teen pop stars and groups were all the rage, with some of the more popular acts being the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, 98 Degrees, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. This scene targeted the younger members of Generation Y.

Today, technology continues to play a vital role in deciding which music we allow into our personal space. The internet and new media have built on top of the foundations laid down in the 1990s bringing better access to talent that might have gone undiscovered in the past. Songs of the 90s evoke a sense of nostalgia of perhaps the decade in which the dominant music genres of today were still in their infancy.

No business exists and operates in a vacuum, but as a part and parcel of the environment in which it finds itself. Efficient and effective marketing strategy is a function of the marketing manager’s ability to understand the environment in which the business operates.

The marketing environment consists of a set of factors or forces that operate or influence a company’s performance in its chosen target market.

Jain (1981:69) defined the marketing environment to include all those factors that may affect the organization directly or indirectly in any perceptible way. Marketing environment factors affects the organization by the way of input and the organizations also affect the environment by output. The relationship between the organization and the marketing environment is often referred to as “inseparable” the organization and it environment are constantly in a state of: give and take” or homeostasis.

The marketing environment consist of those forces or element that impacts on the company’s capability to operate effectively in its chosen target market.

The marketing environment is divided into two major components. The elements are,

Internal environment: the internal environment is concerned with the controllable variables. Controllable variables are categorized into two groups, they are; the strategy variables and unmarketable variables. External environment: the external environment is concerned with the uncontrollable variables. These variables are called uncontrollable because the marketing manager cannot directly control any of the elements. The marketing manager is left with the option of adapting to the environment by prompt observation, analysis and forecasting of these environmental factors. The external environment can further be divided into two components, the micro environment and the macro environment.

Micro environment:

The elements that fall under the micro environment consist of forces or factors in the firm’s immediate environment that affect the firm’s capability to perform effectively in the market place. These forces are suppliers, distributors, customers and competitors. Let us discuss each of the variables in details.

Suppliers:

Suppliers are business customers who provide goods and services to other business organizations for resale or for productions of other goods. The behavior of certain forces in the suppliers can affect the performance of the buying organization positively or negatively. The critical factors here are the number of suppliers and the volume of suppliers to the industry. An audit of the suppliers will enable us to appreciate their strength and bargaining power, which the suppliers hold over the industry as a whole. The answers to the issues concerned have the potentials to affect the capability of firms in the industry to effectively deliver need-satisfying goods and/ or services. The trend today is that buyers attempt to persuade the supplier to provide exactly what the firms want. This process is known as “reverse marketing”.

Customers:

Customers are those who buy goods and/ or services produced by the company. In a purchase chain, different people play significant roles before a purchase decision is made. The various influences must be understood. The customer may be the consumer of the products where he/she is the user. The critical factor here is that needs and wants of consumers are not static. They are fast changing. The changes in the preferences of the consumer create opportunities and threats in the market. The changes called for the marshaling of separate strategy to either fit into windows of opportunities or survive the threats in the market. A good knowledge of consumers’ behavior will facilitate the design and production of goods and services that the customers need and want, and not what they are able to produce.

Competitor:

A competitor is a firm operating in the same industry or market with another firm. The consideration here is that, Firm A produces a substitute to that of firm B (industrial approach) or firm A and firm B seeks to satisfy the same customer need (market approach.

 

International travel can be a great experience; it allows you to witness many new cultures and lifestyles. International travel has many benefits which make it better than your traditional domestic vacation. Depending on your destination, traveling abroad can also save you money because of the current exchange rate. These rates change and may not be available in the future. A good exchange rate or activity that you would like to see may not be available if you put off planning the vacation. Another benefit of planning an international trip today is the current technology, which makes booking a trip easy. Technology can help eliminate the hassle of finding the best prices and locations based on your budget.

Traveling, whether for a long weekend away to a nearby country, or clear across the globe, is invigorating, refreshing and expands so much in one’s life that it is something that more people should do. Traveling abroad can greatly change your life for the better because there are many cultures and lifestyles to experience. These cultures can provide you with an entirely new perspective on life. Once you begin experiencing the beauty of the world, you may even begin planning yearly international vacations.

Currency rates fluctuate regularly and, as stated before, this may be a good reason to plan an international vacation today. Money is necessary if you are planning to travel and see the sights the country has to offer. If your currency can be exchanged at a reasonable rate, this can greatly improve your vacation experience. This is an important reason for traveling internationally now since you can get the most out of your trip. If you put the trip off the exchange rate may change for the worse and you can lose money after arriving at your destination.

Practical reasons

However, let us get down to the more practical reasons for traveling internationally. Frankly, it is understandable why most people would be hesitant to travel now. The economy appears to be in bad shape and many people are trying to save money. However, in some instances, this can be beneficial for travel, the airlines may lower their prices in order to get your business and this can save you money. Airline prices also fluctuate between airlines and by looking around you may find a special promotional vacation package that may not be available in the future.

Vacations are meant to be fun and enjoyable and this is another reason for traveling abroad today. There are many locations to visit from the beaches of the Caribbean to the beautiful and exquisite city of Paris, France. Experiencing something new is always the best way to live and an international vacation provides just that. This can spice up your life by allowing you to find things that you would not normally consider trying.

In fact, these days traveling is so much easier, more efficient and less time consuming than it used to be. We can travel across the globe faster and it requires much less energy than was required years ago. It is also possible watch TV, movies or listening to music while traveling. On some airlines, you can even follow the path of your airplane via satellite!

Technology and travel

Due to the technology available, planning a vacation can be stress-free as well. By using the internet to purchase your international flight tickets, you can plan your trip, get travel advice, and shop around for great deals. Technology has come a long way especially for finding the best travel packages. You can book your hotel, car, flight, and even your entertainment all on one website. If you are unsure of your destination, you can browse through the millions of videos and pictures of different locations to find which location best suits you. Planning an international trip can be an enjoyable experience when compared to the hassle involved years ago.

It is highly recommended to travel abroad at least once in your life and there are many benefits to planning your trip now. Saving money is the main reason for planning your trip today. When traveling abroad, you may have to exchange your money for the local currency. Currency exchange rates change frequently and this can have a large impact on your vacation. Since you do not know what the rates are going to be in the future, it is best to plan your trip while a good rate is available. You should also consider planning a trip because of the cultural value. Experiencing new cultures and lifestyles can help provide much value to your life. It may even change your life completely because you may find something new that you like. If you are planning an international trip, you should consider these suggestions because they can help you get the most out of your trip.

 

According to the dictionary, the avant-garde current it is an artistic current which fights against the already known and accepted forms and traditions, suggesting a revolutionary formula. In other words, this avant-garde may be regarded as an artistic innovative movement, which came out from a spirit of negation and revolt against certain traditionalism. It has become a synonym of innovation, progress and rebellion.

In fashion, the avant-garde style is defined through its personality. Many designers have been asked to define this style and they all added a certain term to define it: sophisticated, mysterious, intimidating, intriguing, striking.The accessories have to be very modern, unusual, but elegant. All clothes should be matched with hats, belts or shoes in the most unusual shapes.

The models may intimidate because what they wear is beyond a normal image. Avant-garde fashion means a little bit of theatre. Most of the time, the clothes cannot be worn in the street because they belong to a flamboyant style. They are very innovative and can be a bit shocking. Somehow, this style does not refer only to fashion. It means a mixture between fashion and art.The avant-garde fashion teaches women to have a certain attitude.

Avant-garde clothes mean unusual ones, which catch the eye and does not let you fade in the crowd. In fact, when we discuss about avant-garde fashion, we should not talk only about clothes. In the end, the result of the avant-garde has to be a whole form. For this reason, the make-up has to go hand in hand with the clothes.

The make-up has to express something new, unexpected, and even exotic. A niche for the avant-garde style in fashion was connected to men and the items designed especially for them.

At the beginning, women were the perfect models to underline these innovative ideas. Little by little, the designers extended upon men. First of all, they wanted to surprise through their clothes, later on every little detail mattered. One example may be the boots designed especially for them. A mixture of styles, the first tendency towards rejection and then the craziness of wearing them are some of the reactions encountered.

Planning on having a vacation with your family? Do you want to have a hassle free option for you to set up your travel plans and choose the best travel destinations around the world? No worries. The easiest and the most convenient way to book your ticket and help you with your travel itinerary are through the internet. You can find so many websites about travel guides and tours that would certainly help you with your trip.

You can find online travel agencies that can be helpful in giving you information about great destinations around the world without going to any travel agency office or talk to a travel agent. These online travel agencies will surely give you all the comforts to set up your destination plans in front of your laptop or PC. When you choose your online travel destination, you have to remember to find the best deal that allows you to choose your own destination and at the same time gives you all the comfort and convenience.

The benefits and advantage of online travel agencies is having low cost and convenience. Online travel agencies is also available at any time, as long as you go online, you have all the time for bookings that you need to complete. With all these online agencies, you have all the option to choose the best deal and the right budget for you. It also gives the comfort in the country of destination; you are provided with the transfer to your hotel and agencies are the one taking care of any problems you might encounter.

Also, the advantage of choosing online agencies is your control on your decision without influences or pressure from travel agents. If you visit a travel agency office, many travel agents have the same tone like a salesman; remember that most of these people are working under a commission program. So basically, you might be pressured by their sales pitch and book a trip without checking other good options and much less affordable.

Usually one of the concerns for online travel agencies is the security of paying large amounts of money online. Online security is a major issue for any online business, so it is very important to make sure and choose a travel agency online with a good reputation by checking customer reviews and feedback. Not all agencies can be relied on because some of them might disappear with your money. There are so many scams over the internet nowadays, so b very careful. It is better to be safe than sorry.

So overall, make sure to choose the legitimate and quality online travel agencies to avoid scams. Always seek some tips and assistance if you’re not sure about the online travel agency. Most importantly plan your trip carefully to avoid any hassles or problems. Good luck and enjoy your vacation.

Integrated Resorts by definition are resorts with mixed development like hotels, restaurants, convention centre, theme park, shopping centre, casino etc. Because of the gaming component – casino, integrated resorts development has stirred a great controversy among the Singaporeans.

The Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Long announced the cabinet’s decision to develop 2 integrated resorts in Marina Bay and Sentosa. The Singapore Government stated that the aim of the Integrated Resorts is to boast the country’s tourism industry. There has been very keen competition from the neighboring countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong. According to the Government, the Integrated Resorts are expected to create some 35,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

There has been debate among the Singaporeans on the plan to build Integrated Resorts. Religious groups and social workers voiced their disapproval at the negative social impact of gambling.

The Government however, promised to have a proper and strict safeguard to limit the social impact of gambling, among others exorbitant entrance fee and the casinos would not extend credit to local population.

Marina Bay Sands

It is located at the Marina South of Singapore. Currently, there are a few pretigious hotels operating like Ritz Charlton Millenium, Oriental Hotel, Marina Mandarin and Pan Pacific Hotel. It will have a panoramic view of the sea and tranquil environment.

The Government of Singapore called for request for concept in December 2004. It received overwhelming response from the industry. A total of 19 bids were submitted during the request for concept.

In the formal bids later, 4 companies/consortiums submitted their tender including:- (i) MGM Mirage/Capital Land, (ii) Harrah’s Entertainment/ Keppel Land, (iii) Las Vegas Sands and (iv) Genting International/Star Cruises.

Eventually, Las Vegas Sands succeeded in their tender, by committing the highest development investmetn of S$3.85 billion. The concept was designed by Moshe Sofdie consisting of 3 layers shells containing conference halls, 3 hotel towers linked to top floor of a sky garden.

Resorts World at Sentosa

Sentosa which means transquility in Malay is a popular island resort in Singapore. Previously, it was known as Pulau Belakang Mati (Island of Death from Behind). Statistics shows that it has been visited by some 2 million people annually. It has a sheltered beach of more than 2 km in length on the Southern coast, historical Fort Siloso from World War II, two golf courses and 2 5-stars hotels.

The island has an area of 5 square kilometres. 70% of it is covered by secondary rainforest. It is the habitat of monitor lizards, monkeys, peacocks, parrots as well as native flora and fauna.

Since its inception of development in 1972, some S$420 million of private capitals and S$500 million Government fund have been invested to develop the island.

3 consortiums submitted their proposal on 10 October 2006. They are: (i) Kerzner International with Capital Land; (ii) Genting International with Star Cruises Universal Studios and (iii) Eight Wonder with Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, Melco International Development Limited, Isle of Capri Casinos Inc.

The bid were reviewed by a ministerial committee and a tender evaluation committee and results were announced on 8 December 2006. Genting International and Star Cruises won the bid. Genting committed to a development investment of S$3.85 billion.

With these 2 Integrated Resorts completed and in operation by late 2009, Singapore will be placed at a totally better position in tourism industry in the region as compared with its competitors.