Ivy and Wilde – An Honest Review on Luxe™ Series

The Luxe™ Series from Ivy and Wilde is a remarkable instance of practicality blended perfectly with sophistication.

It is rare to come across such an exceptional array of kitchenware on the Ivy and Wilde store in which each product within the series brings something completely unique and distinguished to the table. Beautiful enough for special occasions but durable enough for daily use, each product in this exquisite line of wares displays an incredible versatility. Considering the high quality of materials used, the prices are incredibly reasonable, as well.

The Luxe™ Series feels like a breath of fresh air.

Infused with an undeniable influence of modern chic luxury, the silverware sets are stunning; designed in an impeccably unconventional manner, they are made from 100% high-quality stainless steel, which is fashioned into a metallic golden hue.

The elegance is heightened by the contrast of color: black, white, pink, and blue are all available.

One model, however, is completely gold- without a color to contrast. Akin to this, one is completely shaded with a matte black, and does not feature any gold whatsoever. The set contains one fork, one knife, and two spoons- one for the standard course and another for dessert. Conveniently, every piece is safe to be washed in the dishwasher– however, the company recommends that you avoid detergents scented with citrus. Again, these have integrity in every sense of the word: they are durable, long-lasting, and thoroughly eye-catching.

The chopsticks in the Luxe series by Ivy and Wilde are equally appealing. The set includes five pairs of chopsticks, all completed with gold mirror polishing.  Made from the same stainless steel as the other set but with a hollow interior, they bring a similar level of decadence– this time, though, combined with an undeniably international influence. Some foods are meant to be consumed with chopsticks. If you’re going to serve East Asian cuisine or Asian Fusion dishes in the household, it’s best to do it right. Not only do these chopsticks allow you to do so, but they add an undeniable dash of class and style. Like the other dinnerware, they are dishwasher safe.

Finally, the plates and bowls offered in the dinnerware set are just marvelous. Available in either white or black with a gold inlay which is prominently featured around the rim, these dishes range in size. There are several options available, ranging from 5.5 inches all the way to 10-inch plates. They are hand-crafted, too, meaning there are nuanced differences between each artisan-created dish.

If there is one complaint to be lodged, it would be that the shipping time took a little longer than I’d like it to.

However, when everything finally arrived, it was definitely worth the wait. The shipping time can be attributed to the popularity of these products, which causes them to be sent from the warehouse, rather than the retailer.

These days, there is no denying that home decor extends far beyond the furniture. Our taste in design can be judged by the decisions we make concerning the smallest decorative details within the home. In this way, dinnerware of all kinds is subject to a level of stylistic scrutiny. This series has allowed me to make seriously strong impressions on guests, and feel good about how I serve food for my own family, too.

Needless to say, I highly recommend The Luxe™ Series.

DIY Beauty: Do it Yourself Sugar Recipes for Your Face and Body!

Consuming sugar is probably one of my favorite past times. I appreciate the substance in all its myriad forms and almost always have a bountiful supply in my cupboards. I’m guessing that you do, too. If not, it’s super inexpensive and easy to come by. Oh, and you can make the following (fabulous) recipes with the wonderful stuff! Here are 3 of my favorite DIY Beauty: Sugar recipes.

Orange Sugar Body Exfoliator

This is one of my very own recipes and I love it because it smells great and leaves your skin feeling clean, revitalized and glowing! Here’s what you need to gather before you begin:

2 tablespoons Sugar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 medium sized lemon

½ teaspoon honey

This is mega-easy to make. Simply combine all of your ingredients into a medium sized bowl. As for the orange, cut it in half and squeeze out the juice of one half. Remove any seeds should they escape into your bowl!

Next, mix well. Apply a generous amount to your washcloth or cleaning puff and massage into your skin in a circular motion. Rinse off in the shower with warm water and gently pat dry. Ta-da!

Sweet Cinnamon Milk and Sugar Face Mask

Another recipe conjured up in the kitchen of yours truly. This one is easy to prepare, too. Here’s what you need:

2 tablespoons non-fat powdered milk

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

¼ tsp. Cinnamon

1 tablespoon honey

1 tsp. milk

In a small to medium sized bowl, combine your cinnamon, powdered milk and powdered sugar. In a separate bowl, combine your honey and milk and stir until thoroughly blended.

Now add your liquid mixture to your dry mixture and stir until you have a nice, consistent paste. Wet your face and apply the mixture, gently rubbing in a circular motion. Let it set on your face for 5 minutes and then rinse off with tepid water. Splash with cold water to tighten pores and gently pat dry.

Vanilla Brown Sugar Foot and Body Scrub

This recipe is good enough to eat. Literally! But don’t be tempted once you’ve whipped up this easy as pie beauty recipe – it’s for your body! Gather these items:

½ cup Brown Sugar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon vanilla

Combine all of your ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix thoroughly. You don’t want any clumping! Next, hop in the shower with your mixture and wet your skin. Apply the brown sugar scrub to your body paying careful attention to extra dry spots like your feet, elbows and knees!

Massage with a loofah or washcloth in a circular motion for 1-2 minutes. Rinse off in the shower and gently pat dry.

If you liked these recipes, check out my other DIY Beauty secret’s by clicking on “Wendy Rose Gould” at the top of this article. Enjoy!

We’ll be having a workshop about this happening in  Kinderdagverblijf Leiden. See you there!

One-on-One with Flossie Skincare Founder & CEO Ashley Terrell

At the young age of just 22, Ashley Terrell, Flossie Skincare Founder amp; CEO, has taken the world by storm with her seven companies and counting, including a clothing label and a production company. It is no wonder she won third place in the State of Virginia for entrepreneurship when she was just 18 years old.
After graduating two year early, nearly the head of her class, Ashley went on to pursue her education, tackling an Associate of Arts Degree in Pastry Arts at Johnson and Wales in Charlotte, NC, and is currently working on a business degree at Bryant and Stratton in Virginia Beach and a Public Relations degree at Tidewater Community College. Ashley is also the author of “The Diary of the Successful Stilettos” book series, as well as a model.

And not too mention she has one of the hottest new natural skincare lines on the market today, and one of my personal faves. Prepare-ment for Relaxation peppermint scrub, Get Growing Tea, and Apple Cider for Softness are just a few of the fabulous products that Flossie Skincare has to offer. It all started with Ashley’s biggest inspiration Grandma Flossie and her incredible homemade recipes.

Recently, I was awarded the opportunity to sit down with the amazingly talented Ashley Terrell, founder and CEO of Flossie Skincare, to talk about; her amazing skincare line, incredible accomplishments, and what keeps this young woman going from day to day. And here is what she had to say.

How did you start your first business and what was it?

My first business originally was my clothing company, it was called Yel’ Hsa Clothing (my name spelled backwards), but over the years, I changed the name to B. Dang3rouz Clothing. I started it when I was seven. I was making clothes for my Barbie’s because I couldn’t afford to buy the clothes, so I started making them myself. From there, I started making bigger pieces for adult people in my bedroom. From there, my mother saw my potential and gave me her sewing machine and I started making dresses and skirts I could dress up in.

How old were you when you realized what you wanted to do when you got older?

I think I was about seven. Over the years, I kind of had a grasp of where I was headed. At ten, I started reading business books, just to get a head start. At the age of fourteen, I was telling my business mentors what to do and how to get things done! Nonetheless, I had potential at a young age.

What is your biggest inspiration? And Why?

My great grandmother Flossie Lee. My companies are all pretty much named after her. She was so strong and powerful. She meant a lot as well as I learned a lot from her. She was the one that kept me motivated and told me when to steer away from things that could hurt or affect me. She always use to tell me what you want in life is worth fighting for and if it doesn’t happen when you want it to, keep trying. I even use her name as an acronym for business! F.L.O.S.S.I.E. = Fun, Luck, Optimistic, Satisfy the customer, Smile, I contact, Excite. It has helped a lot over the years.

What is your favorite project that you have worked on?

I have to say this year; it has to be Flossie Skincare. Only because we switched over from plant and root based products to completely organic and getting them certified has been the part where you have to be optimistic because the process is quite long. Not to mention, the new labels, the new bottles, the new marketing campaign, and the constant need and use of guerilla marketing. Everyone has their own reaction to the new line. I still have a lot in store for Flossie Skincare this coming year, so be looking out for it! Also check out www.flossieskincare101.com .

What is the most challenging or stressful part of your career?

(Sigh) Overcoming other’s thoughts on you being a young entrepreneur. People sometimes think that since you are young, your attention span, morale and motivation to complete anything isn’t worth trusting. A lot of people in the business world didn’t take me seriously in the beginning because of my age, the ideas I had developed and where I saw myself– they thought I was a joke. So I had to perfect my craft more and come back harder to show them I was the real deal and I have so much potential. I still have the same problem on certain days, but at the end of the day, I give my all, I work hard and I barely sleep to show the world that I am an example of a hard working entrepreneur and this is what I love to do.

What is the most rewarding part of your career?

Seeing that people really like my products and appreciate my work ethic. I like knowing they love my skin care products, my samples from my clothing lines, my customer services reps, the whole nine. I love the feeling that people see and understand my hard work pays off.

What words of wisdom would you pass onto others following in your footsteps?

Blessings come in many shapes and forms. Keep an open mind and all things will come within time. Don’t ever feel or believe that the road you are needed to go down will show you all the obstacles ahead of time. Obstacles on our roads help God see if we really want our blessings or not. Don’t ever be afraid of failure. Believe it or not, failure is what motivates us to be better at our gifts. You work longer hours for yourself than you would for someone in Corporate America, but at the end of the day, when you hold the key to your own building, it means more than anything. Keep God first, family second and yourself third. Show Him praise even in the midst of your problems. Thank Him for all your blessings. Stay motivated and determined; think outside the box and you WILL get there.

What is your favorite Flossie Skin care Product?

Wow, that is definitely a hard one because I love them all! I have to say the Shea Butter Moisturizer is my favorite right now because it seems to be the most talked about item this season! It definitely keeps your skin moisturized in this cold weather. We also have the Shea Butter Moisturizer Kit on flossieskincare101.com . Aside from this, I would definitely recommend to use derma roller amazon. It is truly amazing!

What else will we see in the future? Any new businesses or products?

I am currently making some adjustments for the year 2011. I am working on the first issue of my online magazine, Spotlight Magazin3, which will be debuting in January. I am in the real estate field right now. The sense of independence– I so love it! I am looking to open a real estate lead generating business, called FL Marketing Solutions, in Portsmouth, Virginia sometime next year as well as my clothing boutique, Dang3rouz Trendz, in Virginia Beach, Virginia in September 2011.

Check out the amazing products that Flossie Skincare has to offer by visiting www.flossieskincare101.com .

And check out some of her other fabulous companies:




The Samsung HF1000 Vehicle Hansdsfree Bluetooth Speakerphone: Reviewed


Holding a cell phone while driving has become a non-no in many places. While hands free devices to not eliminate the distractibility of speaking on the phone while operating a motor vehicle, they are known to reduce the risk measurably. When you tire of earpieces, a smart and affordable next move would be to the Samsung HF1000.
Small earpieces and large hands free devices have flooded the Bluetooth market for years. Especially since many states have enacted legislation prohibiting the use of a cell phone while operating a vehicle without one. After a plethora of earpieces that fall out at inconvenient moments and visor mounted sets that are heavy and cumbersome, Samsung has entered the market with this HF100. Compact, user friendly and accurate voice recognition in a small and reliable unit that holds a charge for an extended period of time.

To top it off, it costs about one half that of its best known competition, the BlueAnt hands free devices. This Samsung replaced my second BlueAnt SP-3, a nice machine costing nearly three times as much and one I found to be far less reliable and capable of receiving and sending good, clear voice both to and from the device itself.

So far as hands free, visor mounted units go, this Samsung HF100 is relatively petite 2 1/4″ X 4″ X 1/2″, it is simple to program (and can be program to operate with two different phones that are Bluetooth 2.1 compliant) and has a rather remarkable fully charged standby time for 3000 hours (turned on but not being used for about 25 days, and a measured talk time of up to about 30 hours.) You are not apt to find a headset that comes even close!)

The voice recognition capacity includes the ability to voice dial calls that are numbers listed in the phone’s memory, answering and responding to incoming calls as well as training the unit to respond to various other voice commands for operations like putting one call on hold while you answer another (Call Waiting.) When two devices are paired with the HF1000, it announces which one has an incoming call, and audibly confirms connections, call terminations and warns of the battery running low and needing recharging.

It allows for incoming calls to be accepted or rejected and I am told by those I use it to speak with while I am driving on the high way, that the noise management technology works better than any other device I have ever used ‘” and I have used many!

It clips easily to any overhead car visor and I bring more in once a week to recharge it. This is, perhaps, the one oversight in the design and packaging of the device. While it comes equipped with a car charger, it does not include an AC charging device. The good news is that AC chargers designed for other brands of handsfree units work perfectly well with this Samsung HF12000 so long as the electronic requirements are identical.

This means any charging device you use with it must be compliant with its rating of 3.7v and 700mA. Gladfully, these values are nearly ubiquitously standard on hands free vehicle devices.

There are realistically too many hands free devices on the market to try them all. I am delighted to report that this little Samsung HF1000 outperforms units I have used and tried costing considerably more that are two and three times the size and weight of this unit. It is a fine piece of increasingly necessary technology at a reasonable price.

Like all Bluetooth devices you can find in Holoplot, it has a range of up to 33 feet and like all of the better ones, when left on, automatically reconnects with a powered-on, paired phone once it is in that range.

How to Decorate Your Place on MySpace


Myspace is a site that seems very challenging to some, but it is actually more intimidating than it is actually is.Just follow some of the tips I am offering and you will have your own space in no time. Easy as one, two, three. After learning how to do this, you will be revamping “your space” often and in no time. You can be very decorative and artistic or just something basic.
If you don’t already have an account with myspace, the first thing you need to do is register with them. You can do this by going to http://myspace.com/ . Go to the right side of your screen where it says member login and under that click on sign up.You will then login to your account. It will be very plain and basic at this point. This is where the fun begins. At the top of your page, click on the edit profile link. This takes you to a screen with many different sub links.
Let’s start off clicking on interests and personality. The first thing you see is Headline. This is what you want people to read beside your picture on your profile. You can write in anything you would like. You can even get creative and put your name in glitter. If you would like to try this, go to:

image=8jt4G817XD text;=Jawna size;=50 text;_color=CC66CC angle;=0 border;=0 border;_yes_no=4 shadows;=1 font;=’fonts/Cream%20Puff.ttf’

Scroll down and input what you want your headline to say. You must keep this pretty short in order for it to fit into the section correctly. I used my name. You can choose different text styles,colors,shadowing and borders. When you find what you think you like hit apply changes. You will then see a preview of what this will look like on your myspace page. If you like what you see and want to use this, click on get HTML code. You will then have different codes with previews to choose from. You find the one you like and copy the code. To copy a code you left click in the box of the code you like. You then right click your mouse and go to copy. You will now go to the headline section and right click your mouse and click on paste. This inserts the code into your page. Above the headline section, click save changes.

You can now move to your about me section. You can type in something about yourself that you want people to know. I think I should seek the help of my friend who’s a master in net cms. This is also where we will input codes for your myspace background. After you have typed what you want to type about yourself, go to the top of it and hit the enter button a few times to move this down out of the way. The next step is to find a background for your page. (You will want to have another window open for this so you can switch between windows). There is a huge variety of pages in which you can choose your background. I will post a few here.

1. http://www.myspacemaster.net/ 2. http://mylayouts.cc/ 3. http://www.pimpmyspace.org/myspacecursors.php After reaching these sites, either look for myspace layouts or myspace backgrounds. Sort through and find one that you like. There is usually a preview page on most. After you find the one you would like to use, click on get the code or some will take u to the code after clicking on the layout. We will then do as we did for your headline with the copy and paste. Copy your code and then go to your myspace page at the top of the myspace about me section and paste this code in. Click on save all changes.

You can now move on to the remaining categories and fill in what types of music and such that you like. After you do these, click save all changes again. Go back to the top and click on basic info. Fill in all this information that can be viewed by people that will visit your space. After completing this, click on save changes.

You can fill in the rest of information you want by clicking on various sub links at the top of your screen.

Now we are going to preview what you have done so far. You need to click on home. This will bring you to your basic page. You are not going to see your results on this page. To view your profile as others will see it, you will need to click on view my profile. After doing this, you will see how others will see your space when they go to it.

There are so many possibilities for this website. I will try to keep publishing different lessons on how to make your page fantastic. In my next publication, we Will learn how to insert music on your profile, change your profile cursor, and insert pictures.

Until then, I hope you have fun getting your space ready and making yourself and others feel at home while visiting. Visit my site, check it out and see what lessons I can help you with. http://www.myspace.com/emtandmommy2 I also hope for those reading this article, I have helped you learn a little bit more on getting your space ready. Good luck.

How Google Docs Has Vastly Increased My Writing Productivity

Google, you just keep on doing it. You keep on bringing the world innovations which change the way we work, play and communicate.

We all fell in love with Google’s search engine, and though it seems we’ve lived with it forever, there was a time when the world didn’t “google” stuff, but merely searched or researched it. Now you’ve gone and done it once again. Although still fairly new in terms of wide use, Google Docs is coming into its own as a place to create, organize and share documents more efficiently than most anything else.

You may love your Microsoft Word or word processor of choice and that’s fine, but it’s a safe bet that once you start using Google Docs, you might find going back to traditional word processing much harder. It may not be like going from a typewriter to a PC, but it will change the way you write. Google Doc’s ease of use, it’s convenience and the way it will organize your work is really hard to beat.

Google Docs Meets Email

The best way to describe Google Docs is to say it’s word processing combined with email. The way your documents are organized and accessed are much like emails in an inbox. At a quick glance, you can see exactly how many documents you have, what folders they’re in, the date they were created and so on. Email is now hard or impossible to live without and the way in which we communicate and save and share ideas is now mainly through emails. With Google Docs, it’s a logical extension built around that sturdy email foundation. You no longer have to keep your academic diary always with you because Gmail can do it better.

Google Docs Organizes Me

Look, I’ll admit it. I’m not the best organized person in the world. I usually keep my best organization skills for my writing, but even that can get away from me. With Google Docs, organizing is painless – it just happens. It’s nearly impossible to lose track of a document – unless you actually purposely put it in the trash. Aside from that, everything you write is always there. Say goodbye to trying to remember a file name or even utilizing tags. Document titles are clearly displayed in your Google Docs menu. With a mouse click, you can go to just one folder or the special ones you’ve designated with stars. Anyone who uses Google’s Gmail will be familiar with this process, for everyone else it’s an easy learning curve.

More than just organizing, the basic word processing approach and tools is really all most of us need. Multiple fonts, bold, italics, underline and spell check are all tools included. Sure, anything really advanced may be out of Google Doc’s reach for now, but the basics are there and well supported.

Google Docs Shares

One of the most powerful features of Google Docs is the sharing feature. By designating a file as collaborative or as viewable, you can enable friends, family or co-workers to have access to the file. This allows say a co-writer on a project to access something you’re both working on. By just using the one document at Google Docs, say goodbye to the annoying multiple drafts problem. Change the document in Google Docs, save it and when your collaborator logs in, they see the changes and can now do more work on the same document. This sharing ability alone makes Google Docs pretty revolutionary.

Google’s Ambition

Google Doc’s many features are still growing, and honestly, I haven’t tested all of them. The speed at which Google puts out applications, and how quickly we adopt them, may intimidate some, but the price is certainly right – FREE. I say bravo to Google’s ambition of wanting to organize and coordinate the world’s information. If they can organize someone like me, the world can’t be all that tough to whip into shape.

Essentials for Your Medicine Cabinet


Being prepared for injuries and illnesses is important for a child and adult’s well-being. Many items should be in your medicine cabinet. Yet, the odds are high that most homes are missing these essential products.
For first-aid purposes, you should always have a variety of band-aids. Keep a stock of different sizes, as no cut is alike. There may be large scrapes requiring large bandages or small paper cuts requiring small ones. Surgical tape and gauze pads are necessary for deeper cuts that do not need stitches, but require more padding. Also, keep some antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin, to prevent infection and hydrogen peroxide for washing out scrapes and cuts. Splinters require the use of tweezers. Be sure you spend the money and get a pair that really grabs. Other items that should be on hand are butterfly closures for jagged cuts, nail scissors, fingernail clippers, toenail clippers, muscle rubs (Bengay), and cortisone cream for itchy rashes and bug bites. Finally, keep an ace bandage handy in case of emergency.

Medications that should be kept on hand include pain relievers, aspirin, nausea remedies for indigestion, cold medicines including decongestant, cough syrup for persistent coughs, and throat lozenges or sprays for sore throats. Keeping a bottle of Pepto-Bismol on hand is an excellent idea during the winter when stomach viruses are common.

There is plenty of debate over pain relievers. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is not recommended for those who have a few drinks because it can damage the liver. Ibuprofen (Advil) reacts to a number of medications. Many people are allergic to aspirin.

Despite this, aspirin is beneficial in thinning the blood. Keep aspirin on hand, even baby aspirin will work, in case of a heart attack. The pills can save a life.

Many new parents are told to keep Ipecac syrup on hand in case of poisoning. There is debate on this issue now, as many doctors say the medicine does not help remove poison from the stomach at all. In some cases, proper treatment must be delayed until all of the ipecac is vomited by the child. Only in rare occasions is ipecac helpful. I still suggest keeping a bottle on hand, but only use it if your pediatrician has given you the okay.

Every medicine cabinet needs a thermometer. The new digital kinds work quickly and easily. They take up little room, so there is no reason to bypass this important tool. If you have older thermometers, they may contain lead. Dispose of them at your local pharmacy.

Other items that are helpful to keep on hand include cotton swabs, cotton balls, Vaseline for chapped lips or cracked skin, Epsom salts for sprains, and witch hazel for bruises.

It is important that you check and update your medicine cabinet on a regular basis. For the face, it is advisable to stack up on best vitamin c serum for face that you can find in the market too.

At the beginning of every season, you should go through your medicine cabinet, dispose of any outdated medicines, and inventory your supplies. Medications that are past their expiration date can be toxic and you want to restock the items that you have run low on.

Hardee’s Red Burrito – A Marriage Made in Heaven


All right, I confess. I’m a bachelor. I eat out a lot more than most folks I know. I cook maybe twice a month, and that’s if you consider boiling spaghetti cooking. I eat at my local Hardee’s restaurant about once a week. This past week, the location I frequent started carrying Red Burrito food. I had my chance to sample this cuisine.
Now, I don’t live in the Eastern Carolinas, or anywhere where Red Burrito exists as a stand-alone restaurant. I have never seen one in my life. I have been informed recently that many Hardee’s restaurants already offer the dual-branded service. Why did it take so long to get to me? I could have had it all this time. Where they holding out on me? Who cares? It’s a great thing.

I remember as a kid, I could count on one hand the times I ate at Hardee’s. That’s not per week or year. That’s for my entire childhood, including my teen year! Hardee’s just wasn’t competitive with the other burger joints. But sometime in the last ten years, Hardee’s repackaged their entire franchise and drastically improved their menu. They even rebranded their water bottles using water bottles custom label. I’ve enjoyed their Thickburgers about once a week ever since.

Now, there’s more to the selection. Of course, I love fast-food prices, but let’s face it. When it comes to Mexican, fast-food hasn’t been so kind. Taco Bell is far from authentic. Although I’m a Taco Bell fan, too, I know the Bell is anything but realistic. I even lived in South Texas for seven years, on the Rio Grande border. I know authentic Mexican food, and Taco Bell is not authentic.

Red Burrito is certainly not more of the same. Red Burrito menu selections feature a distinctly more authentic flavor than the Bell. If you’re looking for good Mexican food at fast-food prices, you’ve got it there. The beans I had took me back to the Border. The rice took me back to the Border. But for me, the coup de grace was the taco shell. It wasn’t hand-made, but it was much closer to authentic than anything Taco Bell has ever given me.

So I conclude this by saying simply that I love Red Burrito. No, I’m not quitting Taco Bell. I’ll just eat at Taco Bell when I just want to eat food. If I want a more authentic Mexican meal, I’ll eat at Hardee’s/Red Burrito. Sure, I’d like to eat at a sit-down authentic Mexican restaurant, but I can’t afford to do that once or twice a week. Fast-food is my way for now. Hardee’s/Red Burrito has my business.

Web Designer Hurdles to Overcome


As a professional web designer from top digital marketing strategies company for over ten years, I have had to overcome some hurdles, both in terms of actually designing web sites and training clients on the importance of owning and properly maintaining a web site.
Hurdle 1: Train Yourself

Imagine sitting to take a test for a subject you know nothing about. This is how a client might feel if you approach them and do not at least know some basics of web design. Whether you are working with software to design the web site or hand coding as I do, knowing how to use your tools is the first step.

One such tool every web designer needs, regardless of how you design the web site itself is communication. How well you know a subject can be seen in how well you are able to explain it to someone else. Imagine going to purchase a car and all the salesperson is able to tell you is that you put gas in it and turn the key. They are unable to tell you anything else. Would you buy a car from that salesperson? Probably not.

Remember, your client will most likely not be a web designer.

Hurdle 2: Training the Client

The first question I ask all clients is, “Why do you want a web site?” Silly question to ask a client, right? Yet the typical answers I get are mind blowing. I get answers like “everyone else has one” and “shouldn’t I have one?” Sure a web site is a helpful marketing tool to either share information about a company or product to generate customers and revenue. Remember, most of your clients are not going to be web designers and many might not fully understand what a web site can do for their business.

As a Web designer, your first job behind educating yourself on designing web sites is to train the client. This can include everything from explaining the difference between a web site and a web page. Try to avoid technical terms if you can. Do not dummy things down for clients, but do make sure to explain items in a way they will be able to understand.

For example, you might try equating a web page to a page in a book and a web site as being the whole book. Just as a book is broken into chapter, a web site can be broken down into sections, and then further broken down into pages.

A web site is not a magic bullet. It will not grow revenue all on its own.

Hurdle 3: Marketing

If no one knows about the web site, no one will visit. Simply adding the web site to a search engine might have seemed enough back when the web was young, but unfortunately today this will not work. Decide if you will be offering this service yourself or outsourcing to another company.

Business cards and other marketing material the client is using might need to be updating to including the web site address, especially if the web site is new to the client.

Hurdle 4: Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Do not be afraid to evaluate your abilities and scope out the pricing of other web designers locally. Most clients will want to work with local web designers if possible or at least my experience has been such.

Know your strength and weaknesses. This is where knowing the competition as well as those in related areas come in. Say you are really good at writing the code and laying out the page, but not so hot graphically. You might need to outsource this part of a project. Having contacts who are graphic designers might be of some value to you when you approach a client who desires a graphic heavy web site.

If you don’t know something, make sure this is communicated. Do not be afraid to let the client know you are unable to assist them or that you might have to do some research before committing to a project. The worst thing for you to do is to commit to something you know you cannot do and then not deliver.

This is where networking skills are very important. If your weakness is in writing proper code or graphics, network with something who can. Even networking with those in other areas such as the printing business might be beneficial, for possible mutual client sharing.

Hurdle 5: Sell Yourself

When you approach a client regarding designing or redesigning their web site, remember you are selling more than just a service. You are selling yourself: your experience, your reliability, your talent. This is where knowing your tools comes in. Remember, your tools are more than just your ability to design a web site.

First impressions are so vital as you never get a second chance to sell yourself the first time again. Make sure your attire is appropriate and you have a business card to present the client. Also, if you are familiar with the business or products, this could also be a plus to bring up in an appropriate manner.

Writing a Great Resume

Everyone knows the more common mistakes made on a resume, such as overlooking typographical errors. But there are 10 mistakes rarely talked about, yet equally crucial. Avoid these resume ‘don’ts’.

1. One size does not fit all. You may not be able to get away with just one resume. Most job seekers with at least five years’ experience will need two resumes, perhaps even three. Why so many? With five or more years of experience, chances are you can comfortably land a job in more than one field or industry. You don’t want to confuse a potential sales employer with irrelevant technical experience.

Think of your resume as a 15-second television commercial. You simply don’t have the time to talk about anything other than what is most important. Chances are, whoever views your resume will scan it for mere seconds before flipping to the next “show”.
2. There is no one ‘right’ way. Some of your friends and colleagues will brandish some favored, dog-eared book written by an employment guru or other well-known expert in resumes and job hunting, quoting from it as if it were a holy book. “You should never do this,” they will say, or “Don’t you know? According to so-and-so, you should always . . .” The reality is that the only opinion that matters is your future employer’s. Maintain common standards of what looks nice — keep it clean, neat, and free from errors — but pay more attention to your industry and the position you desire than any job-hunting expert.

You can deal with those friends and colleagues, by the way, by fighting fire with fire. Show them books that offer multiple possibilities, such as 202 Great Resumes by Jay Block.
3. Don’t listen to your friends. Job-hunting, especially in the corporate world or in hospitality jobs often puts us in an insecure frame of mind. We’re scared. We feel judged. We may have been laid off or fired, further puncturing our ego. So it’s natural for us to turn to the people we love and trust the most, our family and friends, and ask their opinion of our resume. But this is a huge mistake. Unless your family and friends are in the same industry as you, and seek the exact same or similar positions, they don’t really know what your potential employer is going to expect. Instead, they will provide feedback based on their own careers and work experience, which may be completely contrary to yours.

Even if they have the right credentials, ask yourself: When did they last have to send out a resume? If their last resume was done on a typewriter, they don’t really understand the current job market in a way that is helpful to you.

Take a deep breath, and work up the nerve to ask a mentor or trusted colleague who understands your industry, your desired position, and the job market in that field.
4. Don’t put your resume on a pedestal. Your resume will not get you a job. Your resume is one tool of many that, when taken together, should provide you with a job offer, hopefully in a field you care about. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put a lot of effort into your resume, but don’t overlook other important factors — namely, your appearance, your attitude, your ability to be punctual, and how you conduct yourself. A jerk who shows up late (albeit with a winning resume) is still a jerk who shows up late.
5. Don’t ignore the resume recipient. While it is obvious that your resume is going to potential employers, you need to think about who, specifically, your resume will be read by and what they expect. For example, larger companies will probably have a human resources generalist read your resume first. This human resources person may be told to look for specific key words or phrases, but they won’t necessarily know every bit of esoteric jargon. That means you need to write your resume in such a way that it clearly shows your intended industry and position to a specialist and a generalist alike. While the human resources contact is the generalist, the specialist is the last step in resume review — your likely future supervisor, who will expect to see that you know what you should know.

6. Don’t ignore formatting. Leave the 20th century behind. Remember typewriters? If you do, you remember that we only had an underline and capital letters to make things distinctive. Well, we have so much more than that now, and you know what? Underlines and capital letters aren’t really that attractive. Unless your industry deems it standard, avoid underlining and all capital letters. To highlight and separate text, use boldface type, shading, and white space instead. For email resumes, stick with the white space, since formatting comes out differently in each email system.

7. Don’t court ageism or sexism. It is illegal for employers to ask you many questions about your personal life, such as marital status. Leave the year you earned your degree off your resume unless you need to show what you did during that gap in your employment or you just graduated. Don’t mention kids, spouse, or other family members. These details put employers in an awkward spot — they often can’t ask about them, but there they are on your resume. And, you have no way of knowing whether the person interviewing you considers it a positive or a negative. Stick to business.

8. Don’t make it sound like you barely work. Forget the activities and outside interests unless there is a direct tie to the position you seek. Even volunteer activities need to be measured carefully — one or two may be OK (it shows you are community-minded, after all), but a laundry list of charitable causes may make it seem like you merely come to work to rest between volunteer stints.

9. Don’t make it too long or too short. Academic resumes will be longer than those for most sales positions. A sales resume three pages long is going to come off as being untrue, unedited, or the work of an egomaniac. You should know what your industry expects, and stick to it. Don’t try to inflate your experience, and eschew pedestrian descriptions — if your experience is clerical, you can say you did “filing” rather than using three sentences to describe it. Think about what is truly crucial, what you did that really made you stand out. (Again, think of your resume as a 15-second commercial, not a 3-hour documentary.)

10. Don’t be surprised or offended if your resume doesn’t matter. People don’t read a lot. (If you made it through this article, you’ve probably read more than 80 per cent of the population today!) Many jobs are not advertised, and every person you meet could be the person who can recommend you for a job. That means you may never submit a resume, ever — or do so only after the fact, as a formality. Don’t jeopardize this route to a new job by plastering a resume into someone’s hand when it simply isn’t wanted.