Managing wireless roaming and data costs while travelling for business

For many small businesses, travelling to the US and abroad is a regular activity. With business being increasingly mobile, smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices have become essential tools to stay connected. However, using these devices while travelling can come at an unexpected cost if you don’t have the right wireless roaming services in place.


First, determine ahead of time what your roaming needs will be. How frequently do you travel? What services you will require (voice, text, and/or data)?

Occasional travelers can purchase roaming offers that have a one-time fee and include a set amount of minutes, texts or megabytes. For data (emailing, browsing, apps), this option usually comes in the form of a “Roaming Data Pass”. To make calls and send texts, a “Travel Pack” is the option to go with. If you are a frequent traveller, consider a recurring roaming option that remains on your account each month and can be utilized every time you’re away. This will save you the time of having to re-purchase a one-time offer every time you travel.


Second, pay attention to how much data you are using and ask your carrier about options to manage it. Rogers Communications offers small businesses the ability to monitor data usage on their mobile device through near real-time text alerts included with Roaming Data Passes.


Every small business is different, so don’t hesitate to speak to a specialist at your carrier who can help you to set up the right options.

Courtesy of Newscanada

Room to spare

What do you do with that extra room in the house? The one that has no real purpose except to collect things? Or you may have an empty room or two when the last of the kids have moved out or gone away to school. We end up with lots of remnants of their lives, but no kids. This room becomes either a shrine with no real purpose or a place to collect all the things we don’t know where to put.

We are so often cluttered with the stuff from grown children that gets left behind as they get established elsewhere on their own. They like to have the unpaid additional storage space in a parent’s home or they just don’t want to make any decision about what to do with their things. So, their things are left taking up lots of precious space, even though the stuff may not be so precious to anyone anymore.

What to do with a spare room:

1. Dump the junk- Don’t waste that spare room with an accumulation of junk. It won’t go away on its own. Make a plan to clear out the clutter and disperse of the goods to people who can better use them. Your home’s square footage is too valuable not to be using it.

2. Guestroom– Create a spa-like retreat for your guests. Include reading materials and brochures for local activities. Have some hotel-like amenities ready to go in a decorative basket so they feel welcome, knowing you have thought of their needs.

3. Craft or hobby room– You finally have a place to do your scrapbooking, sewing, or painting! Let this room be your private studio where creativity flows.

4. Gifting- Have a room just for gift giving. Keep ribbons, gift bags, tags, and wrapping paper in the room along with any items you have purchased ahead of time for gifts. Don’t forget the scissors and tape. So whenever you need a present, it will be a snap to put one together.

5. Exercise room- This does not mean you have to have all the big equipment that you find at a gym, but if the area is designated as a workout space, you are more likely to do your yoga, palates, and strength training. Clear out the room and put your yoga mat, weights, TV, audio equipment and workout DVDs in it.

6. Home office- Instead of letting paper pile up on your coffee table or kitchen counter, set up an area to pay bills and answer mail. Put everything you need for these activities in the room including a desk, stamps, stationary and pens. Create a simple filing system and get a jump on tax preparation for next year.

7. Mediation room– Oh to have some peace and quiet–create it! Don’t allow anything in this area that doesn’t bring you peace and tranquility. Some suggested contents include a water fountain, floor cushions, candles, incense, and chimes. Selected reading and audio materials will also set the mood. A serene start or end to you day, or a quick getaway to rejuvenate.

8. Room to spare, room to share– create that media room, music, pool, puzzle, card or board game room and invite friends over for a night of fun and hospitality.

9. Renovators rescue- Use the empty room as the spare room to hold addition furniture, etc. when you are renovating – flooring especially is difficult as you need room to move all your stuff. When all your renovations are complete, rework your spare room into one of the above suggestions.

Often your spare room can be used for several of these purposes. So next time you walk by that room, stop a moment to think about the possibilities. Take the next steps today to give that spare room some real purpose and turn it into a room that will give you a feeling of satisfaction and relaxation.


The secrets to successful outdoor entertaining

What makes an outdoor party great? It’s simple: Keep guests comfortable.

When friends and family gather at your place for a party this summer, what will they remember most about your backyard? The lovely landscaping and delicious food you served, or uncompromising weeds and stinging bugs? Make that lasting impression a positive one by creating an outdoor environment that’s both comfortable and enjoyable for everyone.

No pest zone

Nothing ruins a party faster or more thoroughly than unwanted stinging bugs or prickly weeds. Take the proactive route and prevent these pests from showing up at the party.

Before the invitations are sent out, make a sweep of the yard and look for pesky weeds that could cause discomfort for guests. Keep unwanted plants like poison ivy, thistles or sand burrs from ruining the fun. In addition, it’s always a good idea to head-off any annoying pests like wasps, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks to keep them from assaulting party guests. 


An easy way to set the party mood is by choosing a menu appealing to everyone. Casual or formal, food can be easy to prepare and enjoyable for everyone to eat. Consider your guest list and the event that you may be celebrating. Be aware of common food allergies as well as any vegetarian or vegan friends. Make your menu simple by providing guests with a little variety and by relying on fresh produce. Locally grown fruits and veggies are abundant this time of year and are appealing to most people – even dieters. Use fresh fruits and veggies to make easy appetizers, salads, entrees, side dishes or even desserts.

Drinks are essential to great outdoor entertaining as well. Whether you are entertaining children or adults, the drinks you choose can set the mood. A signature drink is always fun. Try refreshing lemonade for the kids or a festive sangria for adults. Also, be sure to provide lots of ice-cold water to prevent dehydration in the heat of summer. Offer herb cuttings for garnish or float edible flowers in pitchers.


Nothing is more inviting than a comfortable seating area. Offer shady areas to help establish comfy conversations and be sure to provide ample seating for all your guests. Pull out all your folding chairs, borrow outdoor chairs and tables from neighbors, rent extras if needed and get creative. Ottomans, large buckets, logs, straw bales or even coolers can make great seats. As long as the surfaces are clean and sturdy, a cushion can always be added for a little extra comfort. Make sure to dust off and spruce up existing seating for a fresh look as well.


Nothing sets the tone of a party better than lighting. This important element can make a world of difference. Candles or torches can do double duty by providing soft, illuminating light and helping to keep bugs at bay. Purchase candles or oils with citronella to discourage mosquitoes from making an appearance. In addition, solar lights or battery-powered lanterns can bring some much-needed illumination to dark corners of the yard. Strings of electric twinkle lights can make the less-remote areas sparkle for guests as well.

In anticipation of a big event, you’ve compiled the guest list, pulled together a menu, made sure there was enough seating, set the mood with lighting and gotten rid of the uninvited pests. Let the partying begin.

Courtesy of BPT

Safe, simple and affordable healthy skin tips for men and women

Whether you are male or female, you likely have some key elements to your health routine like exercise, good food, rest and regular medical and dental check-ups. Taking care of your skin probably isn’t a part of this important list – but it should be. Your skin is a living organ and a first line of defense against the outside world. Your skin protects you from environmental toxins and pathogens, gets rid of waste, regulates healthy body temperature and is ultimately the picture of health the world sees.

Men are often guiltier of neglecting healthy skin care than women. Maybe skin care isn’t considered manly enough, or maybe men simply feel that beyond a good scrub and shave nothing else is needed. And the barrage of high-priced, celebrity-endorsed anti-aging products sold by powerhouse cosmetics companies for women contributes to the notion that skin care is a luxury for well-to-do women rather than an important aspect of a healthy everyday lifestyle.

What’s not in your skin care products is just as important to your health as what is in your skin care products. Control what goes on your body by making and using a few essential oil-based products yourself that that don’t contain any of the chemical preservatives and synthetic fragrances often found in expensive skin care products. Why pay for what you don’t need when you can create more affordable, natural and healthy skin care products – with a custom scent of your liking – on your own?

One hundred percent pure and natural essential oils provide a natural way to scent your homemade skin care products. Here are the essential oil scents that tend to be favored by men and women and some do-it-yourself natural alternatives to the commercial products cosmetic companies offer.

Masculine Scents

* Cedarwood

* Frankincense

* Myrrh

* Sandalwood

* Vetiver

Feminine Scents

* Geranium

* Jasmine

* Neroli

* Rose

* Ylang Ylang

Neutral Scents

* All citrus oils

* Eucalyptus

* Lavender

* Patchouli

* Peppermint


Maintaining clean skin is important for men and women because a good wash removes the build up of accumulated toxins and allergens from the outside environment while it removes dead skin, oil, bacteria and odor. Cleansing stimulates cell turnover and renewal. A gentle, natural liquid soap made with a wholesome vegetable oil such as olive or sweet almond is the best cleanser you can use. Good old-fashioned soap is a very effective cleanser – but it might be drying for sensitive individuals or with repeated use, so make sure you follow up with moisturizing oil afterwards.


1 cup unscented liquid vegetable oil-based soap

2 tablespoons water or unflavored green tea

48 drops essential oil or blend of oils of your choice


Combine soap, water (or tea) and essential oils in a small bottle. Apply about 1 tablespoon to a soft, wet washcloth and gently scrub damp skin in a circular buffing motion (not for too long or with too much force). Rinse with warm (not hot) water.


It’s essential to re-hydrate the skin after cleansing. Washing with soap lifts away dirt, makeup and dead skin, leaving skin bright and pores clear, but it also strips skin of its natural protective (and wrinkle-fighting) oil known as sebum. A light-bodied, absorbent and non-clogging oil such as grapeseed, jojoba or rosehip oil can be applied to still-damp skin after rinsing off your liquid soap-based cleanser to perform the same function as costly lotions and creams at a fraction of the price.


1/2 cup grapeseed oil

1/2 cup jojoba oil

48 drops essential oil or blend of oils of your choice


Combine all ingredients in a small bottle, apply a teaspoon to the palm of hand, rub hands together and smooth over damp, freshly cleansed skin. The oil will seal in moisture and protect against dehydration.

Toning and hydrating mist

As the day goes on, you’ll inevitably lose your fresh glow. Some areas of your skin might become increasingly dry, while others might be oily. A simple mixture of pure water and protecting essential oils like lavender and geranium can help diminish an oily appearance and moisturize dry areas while the oils provide healthy protection.


1 cup water

48 drops essential oil or blend of oils of your choice

Small spray mister bottle

Directions: Combine water and essential oils in bottle, shake vigorously and apply 2-3 spritzes of the mist to skin, smooth over surface if needed.

Good skin care isn’t as much effort as heavy lifting or running a marathon, but it’s a tool of health maintenance that can be as beneficial as hitting the gym. Man or woman, you should add it to your health routine. For more information and valuable skin care tips, visit

Style and function: key elements of today’s kitchen

When your family comes home at the end of the day – from school, work, a play date or extracurricular activities – it’s very likely the first thing they do is dump whatever they’re carrying on the kitchen table or counter and grab a glass for a drink.

The kitchen is also where you prepare meals, entertain guests, help your children with homework and even stay up late to pay bills. Because the kitchen is the hub of the home, homeowners are always looking for ways to do more in this vital space, all while keeping it stylish.

One of today’s most popular trends in new and remodeled kitchens is the use of multiple kitchen faucets, which add extra functionality to the room.

“Pot fillers, island faucets and even bar or convenience faucets all help to maximize the room,” says Kevin McJoynt of Danze, a manufacturer of decorative plumbing faucets and fixtures. “But convenience and functionality aren’t the only two items homeowners are looking at while upgrading their kitchens. Ambiance, decor and style are also top priorities.”

If you’re reconsidering your kitchen’s function and style, consider adding these options into your remodeling plan:

Pot fillers

These faucets are located near your stove to provide you with a convenient way to fill a pot without having to carry it to the nearest sink. This saves plenty of back-breaking work and minimizes the likelihood of spills. Pot fillers are commonly found in the restaurant industry and have quickly made their way into private kitchens across the country. They are available as a wall mount or deck mount. Find a style that matches your appliances and other faucets in the room.

Island faucets

Usually acting as second sinks, island faucets help avoid congestion at the main sink and are a great way to increase a kitchen’s workflow. Because island sinks are frequently used for preparation, they are sometimes referred to as prep sinks. Homeowners commonly use this workspace for cutting vegetables, chilling wine or washing hands prior to a meal. Choose a faucet style and finish that complements the room’s decor and adds an eye-catching decorative piece to an otherwise “ho-hum” island. Danze has several pull-down or pull-out faucets with three functions – spray, stream and pause – giving your island workspace additional functionality.

Bar faucets

Also referred to as a convenience sink or a beverage center, this area is typically used for entertaining purposes and is often located on a secondary counter space in the kitchen or adjacent room. Danze offers a variety of bar faucets, including high-arc options, small-scale faucets and several others. Choose a style that will make this space “entertaining.” Visit for more kitchen solutions.

Make your “‘heart of the home” work for you as you plan your kitchen design. But remember, you don’t need to sacrifice style in the process.

Learn the details of counter depth refrigerators

If you are unsatisfied with the space in your kitchen, but need lots of room in the fridge, you should consider counter depth refrigerators. This kind of appliance does not stick out any farther than your kitchen cabinets, which means that it takes up less room than a traditional fridge. However, it is often a bit taller than most refrigerators so that you do not lose much space when it comes to storing your food. Think about the details to consider before you start browsing counter depth refrigerators.

This kind of fridge usually has different measurements than most types, as it usually sticks out into the walkway a few inches less than most, but is a few inches taller. This means that you need an appropriately high ceiling in order to fit this fridge into your home, so be sure that you measure the height as well as the depth. Of course, you should also consider the width like you would before buying any fridge, but the width of most counter depth refrigerators is typically the same as other types.

If you want to add style to your kitchen while adding space, you should consider counter depth refrigerators that blend into the cabinetry. If you go this route, you will need a custom fridge company, but the results are often worth it since having matching cabinets and appliances is certainly unique. Keep in mind that many of the popular counter depth refrigerators on the market come in the French door style, adding to the classy appearance that most homeowners crave.

Of course, you can expect to pay a little more for this kind of fridge than most others, as the style is unique and up-to-date. Consider how important your kitchen’s image is to you. If you rarely use it or show it off and want to save money, you might be better off sticking to traditional top freezer or side-by-side styles. However, homeowners who spend a lot of time in their kitchen and enjoy showing it off to guests will likely find this a worthy investment in their home.

Counter depth refrigerators are not for everyone, and if this style does not appeal to you, remember that there are several other types of fridges on the market. Before you browse counter depth refrigerators, you should first decide if this is the style you really want and can afford. The next step is to measure your kitchen and make sure that it will fit, and then determine whether you want a counter depth fridge from the store or from a custom refrigerator builder. Thinking about these details first can ensure that you are satisfied with this major purchase.

by: Heather Mills