Category: Sponsored

Looking for Whole Life Insurance for your little ones? Check out Great Start!

 

 

Juvenile whole life insurance is one of those things that every mom and every family should give serious consideration to and is one of those things that many of us are either unaware of or give no thought to whatsoever. However, in many circumstances it can be a very valuable element in the financial planning and protection for you and your child.

Great Start® Insurance Plan is offer by Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Company, which is in Glenview, Illinois, and has been in business for over 80 years. You can check them out at https://greatstartinsure.com/. Great Start specializes in juvenile whole life insurance coverage which is available to children from the day they are born until they are 24. They offer 5 policy levels: $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, $25,000 and $30,000.

The application process is very simple. They only ask questions about the general health of your child, their age and gender and where you live. Basically, almost everyone who applies is accepted.

If you are a parent or grandparent who is trying to decide if juvenile whole life insurance is right for your family, it is often a good choice. Whole life insurance is the most affordable when a child is young, and you can lock in rates that are extremely low. Furthermore, the policy that you secure when they are young can be extended by them when they are adults. They are then the owner of a a policy that is much less expensive for them than if they had purchased it for the first time as young adults. They can even keep their policy if they join the military or engage in a risky occupation as an adult.

Visit the Great Start site at https://greatstartinsure.com/ and you can learn everything you need to know about the importance of juvenile life insurance for your family.

5 Tips For Finding The Perfect Family Vehicle

 

This is a sponsored post on behalf of my sponsors Cars.com, however, any thoughts and opinions stated are my own.

 

Are you on the hunt for the perfect vehicle for your family but don’t know where to start?  Believe me, I understand…the struggle is real!  My husband and I recently went through this same experience when we were choosing a new vehicle for our family.  There were so many things that we took into consideration, but it all boiled down to a few areas where neither of us would compromise in what we wanted and ‘just settle’.  I’ve put together this list of ways to find the perfect family vehicle in hopes that it will save you all some frustration and major headaches, as well as making the road to finding the perfect vehicle just a little more smooth.

 

#1 What size/type of vehicle do you need?

Probably the biggest factor in choosing a family vehicle is taking into consideration the size and space you need.  How many children do you have?  Do you plan on having more children and need room to expand?  Do you have to accommodate car seats or carpools?  All of these are things that you HAVE to take into consideration above all else.  If you have children you’ll obviously have to look at a practical vehicle vs. a little sports car, and if you’re a single person, you can have fun looking at all those sexy sleek sports cars while avoiding the larger vehicles.

 

#2 What’s your budget?

After considering the size or type of vehicle you need, you’ll want to realistically look at your budget.  What you can afford to spend will help you narrow down the large categories and point you to your more realistic choices.  If you’re paying in full, you may be able to look at higher priced options and negotiate a better price with your salesman.  If you’re planning on financing, you need to figure out what you can afford for a monthly payment, also taking into consideration the cost of insuring the new vehicle.

 

#3 What kind of power do you need out of your vehicle?

This may seem like an odd thing to consider for some, but for my husband and I, this is something that ABSOLUTELY made all the difference in the world.  We live in an extremely rural area of Arizona and need the durability of a more stout vehicle.  When it’s monsoon season here, the washes we have to drive through to get to our home are no longer dry, and run with a large volume of moving water.   A little 4 cylinder sedan just isn’t going to cut it in our neck of the woods so we stuck to looking at larger, heavy duty vehicles.  You should consider the various scenarios your vehicle will face year-round and what you need out of a vehicle to get your through all these situations.  Also take into consideration whether or not you’ll be towing a camper or trailer.  If you want to pull heavy gear, you should consider a six-cylinder (V-6) engine.  They’re generally smoother and quieter than four-cylinder engines and offer a lot more power.

 

#4 What features are you looking for?

Yes, this may seem silly to some, but for others the features are what makes or breaks a deal.  If you’re in the vehicle for extended periods of time, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got all the creature comforts you’re looking for.  Do you want heated seat and steering wheel options?  Do you want a remote start?  Do you want a backup camera or brake assistance?  Make a list of all of the features you just can’t live without, and narrow down your list of possible vehicles based on what makes and models meet your needs.

 

#5 The test drive

Before making your final decision on any vehicle, make sure you test drive the models that you’re interested in.  If you have children, BRING THEM ALONG!  Bring along any car seats and strollers that you’ll need to accommodate so you can make sure everything fits the way that you want it to.  How easy is it to get all the necessary items in and out of the vehicle?  How comfortable is it to drive?  How does the vehicle handle?  A simple test drive will allow you to answer all of these questions first-hand so you can make the best, most informed decision when it comes time to purchase that new family vehicle.

 

While we all have different needs, these are the steps that I took into consideration when purchasing our new family vehicle.  We typically drive mini-vans but the terrain of our new location just didn’t allow for that any more.  We decided on a heavy duty truck with 4 wheel drive to allow us to get through the precarious terrain out here in the middle of nowhere.  No matter what your budget, what size/type of vehicle you need, these simple steps will help you pick the very best vehicle for all of your needs without all the headache and hassle.  Good luck and happy shopping!!

Artificial Intelligence and Video Games

 

First and foremost, a super huge thanks to my sponsor Andrew Charlton for making this post possible.

 

If you have ever played a video game, no matter what era you played it in, you have interacted with artificial intelligence.  Regardless of whether you prefer race-car games like Gran Turismo, strategy games like God Of War, or shooting games like Call Of Duty, you will always find elements controlled by AI.  Even things that you don’t think would be AI controlled, are!  AIs are often behind the characters you typically don’t pay much attention to, such as enemy creeps, neutral merchants, or even animals and other background characters.

 

 

When it comes to video games, artificial intelligence has grown leaps and bounds, allowing us to have some of the most realistic gameplay experiences yet.  Video game AI’s have come a long, LONG way from Pong on Atari and Goombas in popular Nintendo games marching along a set path.  Video games are now able to carry out complex commands, and artificial intelligence is the key behind it all.  AI developers are now able to create AIs that can actually think, learn, and even develop their own personalities.  AI not only affects how we interact with and play video games, but it affects almost every aspect of our life (whether you realize it or not).

 

Artificial intelligence isn’t just being used to make games better, it’s actually learning to develop games!  You read that right, AI can recreate a game, just by watching it!  Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology are developing an AI that can recreate a game engine simply by watching gameplay.  This technology is being created in an effort to aid video game developers to speed up game development and experiment with different styles of play.  During the researchers’ most recent experiments, the AI they’re developing watched two minutes of Super Mario Bros. gameplay, and then was able to build its own version of the game by studying frames and predicting future events.

 

 

Video games have always been at the forefront of experimentation with artificial intelligence systems and the gameplay has become more engaging and entertaining along the way.  Rather than getting stuck in a frustrating loop with a partially intelligent NPC (non-player character), these background characters will also learn and evolve so when you play the same level more than one time, it won’t be the same allowing a unique experience each time you play the game.  Imagine playing Super Mario Bros. where the Goombas and other characters can actually change path and move in ways that they never could before.  Imagine your opponents learning your strategy and making you think outside the box to change the pattern and beat the AIs.  Imagine possibly being able to play your favorite games like Super Mario Bros. in virtual reality, stomping Goombas in real life!  I’m super excited about where AI and video games are headed, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

 

I hope you’re all ready to see where AI and video games are going next!  Thanks again to Andrew Charlton for sponsoring the fun content 🙂

5 Ways To Keep Your Customers Satisfied

 

Looking for ways to improve your customer success?  Read these 5 ways you can help keep your customers happy and coming back on a regular basis:

 

#1 Treat customers like you want to be treated

The number one golden rule in life is do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.  That should also be your mantra when it comes to dealing with your customers.  This is going to get your miles farther than any other tactic you can try.

  • How are your customers being greeted? — Make your customers feel welcomed and their business desired.  This will help set the tone for your entire transaction.
  • Let your customers know that they are valued — Let your customers know you think they are important.  Your sincerity makes them feel good about you and the organization and will keep them coming back time and time again.
  • Ask how you can help your customers — Find out what they want. It is important that each customer encounter makes them feel satisfied and understood.
  • Don’t challenge disgruntled customers —  Remember that the customer is ALWAYS right.  Listen, reassure them that you’ll escalate or act on their complaint and follow through until resolution.
  • Help customers — You should be willing to go out of your way to get your customers what they want. Make it easy for customers to locate or obtain the information they need.

 

#2 ALWAYS say ‘Thank you’

Kindness and gratitude will go a LONG way!  As many as 3 out of 4 customers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive experiences.  Kindness and gratitude towards a customer is an sure fire way to further enchant them for the long term.

Sending a thank-you note in a e-mail won’t impress anyone. A handwritten note is a great idea – not only is it more personal, but also very original. This applies mostly to situations where the sale or transaction is arranged personally by a sales representative.  Your customers will want to engage with your staff and come back again and again.

 

#3 Add a personal touch

Adding a personal touch to your relationship with your customers is a great way to show you care.  You can add personal touches with hand written Christmas cards or birthday cards, or even an email about your work anniversary. Even though these are small actions, they help show that you care and enforces your position as the top choice for your customers.

 

#4 Always listen and hear what your customers are saying

Really listen to what your customers are telling your.  Talk to your customers, take their opinions into account when making large scale changes.  Your customers fell in love with your business for a reason, you want to make sure you maintain what it is that drew them in.  If your customers have reasonable requests, listen to what it is that they want.  There may be other customers who desire the same product/service which will in turn help grow your customer database.

 

#5 Be Consistent

Consistency is key in life and that’s no different when it comes to your business and keeping customers happy.  To keep customers happy, you need to be consistent in providing quality products and services.  Regularly schedule meetings with your employees to get new ideas that might help increase customer satisfaction.  If you’re able to, setting up focus groups is also a great way to gather information!

 

If you’re a business owner, you know the importance of having a great customer success platform.  I hope these tips will help you all grow your business with happy, recurring customers for a long time to come.

5 Tips To Avoid Food Coma This Thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving is almost here, and every year we ALL indulge a little bit too much and absolutely regret it later.  We feel full, tired, overstuffed, and if you’re like me, you don’t typically consider the calorie consumption until later and say “what have I done?!”, haha!  Did you know the average Thanksgiving meal has us eating 3,000 calories in one sitting?!  That’s right, 1 and a half times what our DAILY recommended intake is!  This year, thanks to my sponsor Jacob Bustos, I have 5 of the most fabulous tips to help you avoid the food coma this Thanksgiving.

 

Tip #1 – Water, water, water!

You should drink plenty of water throughout the day as it is, but it’s ESPECIALLY important on Thanksgiving.  Drinking water throughout the day, and during or after your Thanksgiving meal, will help aid your digestion.  Water helps to break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients and digest the meal at a faster pace.

 

Tip #2 – Use more fruits and veggies in your meal planning

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal, and your Thanksgiving meal is no different!  Fruits and vegetables are more packed with nutrients and lower in calories than many of the heavier food options we typically serve on Thanksgiving, so offering a wide variety of fruit and vegetable based dishes will help lower your caloric intake while the natural fiber will help keep you full, leading to less snacking on leftovers throughout the day.

 

Tip #3 – Indulge on the lighter side

No matter what dishes are being served at your Thanksgiving dinner, it is possible to indulge and have some of everything.  The key of course is moderation.  Rather than have a few full plates of various dishes and sides, settle for one full plate with a small serving of all the foods you want to enjoy so you don’t break your calorie bank, so to speak.  With smaller portions, you still get to enjoy all the great flavor without feeling the food coma or regret later.

 

Tip #4 – Make sure you eat breakfast!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I know you’ll be tempted to skip breakfast on Thanksgiving to “save room for later” but don’t!  If you stick to your normal meal routine, you’ll stay full and satisfied all day long, making you less likely to ‘pig out’ at the dinner table.  Eating a hearty meal in the morning keeps your appetite in check the rest of the day so you can enjoy the Thanksgiving spread in moderation because you won’t feel starved by the time food is served.

 

Tip #5 – Substitute the bad stuff

There are a number of ways you can either substitute the bad stuff or compromise on portion size.  Rather than fattening cream or milk in your mashed potatoes, go for a lighter dish and use a chicken or vegetable stock for the added liquid.  Want to serve your favorite pie but don’t trust yourself to stop at just one slice?  Make smaller versions of your favorite pies with ramekins for smaller portion sizes, and you can even skip the crust to cut more calories!  Another great way to make substitutions is simply removing the skin from your turkey which will drastically reduce the fat and calorie count in your serving of that beautiful Thanksgiving bird.

I know I’ll be following all of these great tips this Thanksgiving to help maintain the 55 lbs I lost last year and stay feeling my best this Thanksgiving.

How My Internal Medicine Specialist Helped Me Gain Quality Of Life

This is a sponsored post, however, it is my own account of living with a chronic illness.  Thanks to my sponsor Martin Stallone for sponsoring this post.

For those of you that don’t know, I struggle every day with a chronic illness that changes my life on a day by day basis.  Back when I was 23 (10 years ago) I started having some symptoms that were bothersome, but I was able to get through the day with a straight face.  I was struggling every day with bouts of unexplainable nause, stomach cramping, joint pain, nausea, fatigue, and loss of appetite.  It wasn’t long before my symptoms became so severe that I took a trip to my primary care doctor to get to the root of the problem.  First visit we did some basic blood work.  Second visit we did some blood work that was a little more in depth than before.  Third visit my doctor prescribed stool sample cultures (yuk!).  After all of the tests my doctor ran, everything came back showing as normal.  According to my primary care doctor, there were no issues that she could explain and gave me a general diagnosis of IBS.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a diagnosis that’s given when the doctor just can’t find the root of the problem, but acknowledges there is indeed a problem.  I refused to settle with the general diagnosis I was given.  I knew that my symptoms were much worse that what my doctor was understanding them to be, so I set out on a mission to see an internal medicine specialist.

Why did I want to seek out an internal specialist?  Well, internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum.  I knew if there was going to be anyone that could help me, it was going to be an internal medicine specialist.  It took a little while to get a referral approved, but once it went through, the specialist wasted no time getting to the root cause of the issue.  After just a couple of visits, I indeed did have a concrete diagnosis, something more than a general diagnosis of IBS.  The verdict was in, and I was officially diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

What is Crohn’s Disease?  Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation of the digestive, or gastrointestinal tract. In fact, Crohn’s can affect any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the rear end, but it is more commonly found at the end of the small intestine where it joins the beginning of the large intestine (or colon). It can also affect eyes, skin, and joints as well.  I can tell you firsthand, living with Crohn’s disease every day can be a living hell, literally.  My symptoms were always flaring at random and often inconvenient times, I was constantly laying curled up in a ball just praying for some sort of relief from the pain.  My typically happy and outgoing demeanor turned me into a homebody.  My anxiety would go through the roof whenever I had to go somewhere, wondering if my symptoms were going to flare, was I going to get home before it got to it’s worst?  The anxiety just only made things worse and it was a snowball effect making everything just so, so much worse.

Thanks to the help of my internal medicine specialist, I have been able to regain a quality of life I had not had in a long time.  Learning what to avoid eating or drinking combined with some carefully prescribed medications and other treatment options, I have gotten back to living a happy, full life, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the expertise of these miracle workers.  If you’re finding yourself relating to my story, and you’ve also gotten a general diagnosis with no help, I really urge you to seek out your local internal medicine specialist and see how much better your quality of life can become!