Here’s an Exciting Luxury Gift Idea

Here’s an exciting luxury gift for him and her from Air Partner, the global leader in private aviation.

Air Partner offers a one-of-a-kind JetCard which gives its guests one of the most unique and luxurious experiences world-wide. Air Partner’s JetCard members enjoy flexible departure times, faster trips and comfortable accommodations with every trip they take. Services include, but are not limited to, premium lounge access, arranging chauffer driven cars and confirming luxurious accommodations on their clients’ behalf – making it the perfect luxury getaway gift.

Rated the industry’s #1 most flexible program for four consecutive years, Air Partner’s JetCard offers simple pre-paid flight hours, minimum of 10, with fully refundable account balances and flight credit that never expires. There are two types – JetCard and JetCard Sterling – both of which allow clients to tailor a program that fits with their needs and countless member benefits.

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Some benefits include:

  • Guaranteed availability in as few as 12 hours’ notice with no blackout dates
  • Flight credit that never expires and fully-refundable account balances
  • Only pay for the time you fly, with no hidden fees
  • 20% discount on qualifying round-trip travel
  • Freedom to apply JetCard funds to on-demand jet charter
  • 24/7 global coverage year-round

For more information on the JetCard, please visit https://jetcard.airpartner.com/?utm_source=article&utm_medium=press&utm_campaign=5_ways_jet_travel_reduces_stress&utm_content=jc_link.

Don’t Overpay Your Taxes

Commonly overlooked credits and deductions

With tax season in full swing, take time to consider how to get the most out of your tax return, which includes finding all the credits and deductions available to you. While many taxpayers claim common deductions, such as home mortgage interest and self-employment expenses, there are additional tax deductions that can lessen your final tax bill or increase your refund. These often-overlooked tax breaks could potentially save you hundreds – maybe even thousands – of dollars if you itemize deductions.

To start, get to know the difference between tax credits and tax deductions. Tax credits reduce the amount you owe in taxes. In some circumstances, tax credits allow a refundable credit, meaning you may not only reduce the amount you owe to $0, but you can also get money back. Deductions, on the other hand, simply reduce your taxable income. Both can have a potentially significant impact on your taxes and are often worth the extra effort to include on your return.

Some commonly overlooked credits include:

1. Child and Dependent Care Credit

You can claim a credit of up to $2,100 for day care for your dependents so you and your spouse can work. Qualifying dependents include children under 13 and parents who are no longer able to care for themselves.

2. Earned Income Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit based on your income and the number of qualifying children living with you. Nearly 1 in 5 people who qualify fail to claim the credit, worth up to $6,318. Just because you didn’t qualify last year doesn’t mean you won’t this year; one-third of the EITC-eligible population changes each year based on marital, parental and financial status.

3. Saver’s Credit or the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit

Make sure you “pay yourself first.” Even if it is only $20 each pay cycle, make sure you are putting some money into a retirement fund. If your company offers a retirement savings plan, like a 401(k), it is usually in your best interest to participate. If your income is lower than $60,000, you can receive a credit of up to $1,000 for a contribution of up to $2,000 into an IRA or an employer-provided retirement account, such as a 401(k). The credit is in addition to any deduction or exclusion from income for the contribution.

Some tax deductions that allow you to reduce your taxable income include:

1. Moving Expenses

If you moved for a job that is at least 50 miles away from your home and held this job for at least 39 weeks, you can claim your moving expenses even if you don’t itemize deductions.

2. Tax-Preparation Fees

Plan for tax time. Tax laws change and so do life circumstances. Using a professional to help you file your return may be a wise investment. For example, the tax pros at Jackson Hewitt can help you get every deduction and credit you deserve and the biggest refund possible. Plus, the cost of preparing your taxes can be claimed if you itemize your deductions. In fact, one missed credit or deduction could more than cover the cost of having your taxes prepared by a tax professional.

3. New Moms

Breast pumps and lactation supplies are considered medical equipment, which means they qualify for a possible deduction.

4. Career Corner

Job hunting often means investing both time and money. However, you may be able to deduct some of the job-search expenses you incur. Costs such as preparing resumes, creating and maintaining websites, business cards, agency fees and travel expenses may be eligible.

5. Wedding Bells

If you were married in a church or at a historical site during the past year, you may be able to deduct fees paid to the venue as a charitable donation.

6. Medical Fitness

While general toning and fitness workouts to improve general health are considered personal expenses, you may be able to deduct your gym membership as a medical expense. If a doctor diagnoses you with a specific medical condition, such as obesity or hypertension, or a specific physical or mental illness, and prescribes workouts or participation in a weight-loss program to treat your illness, the membership dues may be tax-deductible.

7. Road Warriors

If you travel for business and aren’t reimbursed by your employer, those costs can qualify as a deduction.

Every possible tax credit and deduction can help when money is tight. You might qualify for at least one overlooked credit or deduction – and maybe more than one. Consult a tax professional to discuss how you can maximize your refund and learn more at JacksonHewitt.com.

Refund Advance

If you’re getting a refund, you typically want it as soon as possible, but that isn’t always an option, especially if you are one of the millions of Americans who claim either the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit. You could access up to $3,200 with a no-fee Refund Advance loan at zero percent annual percentage rate (APR), offered by MetaBank, at participating Jackson Hewitt locations. Terms apply, visit JacksonHewitt.com for details.

Did You Know?

1. The IRS, as well as many states, allows taxpayers to catch up on missed credits or deductions, offering a three-year window for filing an amended tax return. You can secure unclaimed credits and deductions by filing amended tax returns to avoid losing any unclaimed funds from as far back as 2014.

2. With locations across the United States, including kiosks in 3,000 Walmart stores, the tax professionals at Jackson Hewitt make it easy to stop in when it’s most convenient for you.

3. If you are a single parent, you can file as Head of Household instead of Single. This filing status can provide better deduction options and a lower tax rate schedule. (Family Features)

SOURCE:

Jackson Hewitt

Make Working from Home Productive and Liberating

Working from home is a reality for a fast-growing portion of American workers. It can add flexibility, drive higher productivity and reduce company costs related to maintaining physical facilities.

However, it also comes with challenges. If you have worked from home, you have most likely encountered issues collaborating and communicating with colleagues in multiple locations. While there are multiple technologies aimed at helping remote workers and increasing their productivity, they can at times thwart it.

All too familiar with productivity, remote working woes and how to address it, CyberLink created U, a collaboration tool that integrates online presentations, video meetings and instant messaging whether working remote or down the hall from one another.

“It’s a place to hold online meetings, have presentations and chat with your colleagues that doesn’t come with the messy installation fuss and technical errors associated with other options out there,” said Richard Carriere, CyberLink’s general manager and senior vice president of global marketing. “It brings the best of social media, such as emojis, ease of use and the flexibility to have impromptu interactions, to a business environment, in a unique way that heightens communication and collaboration across users.”

According to commissioned research by polling firm YouGov, nearly half (43 percent) of U.S. office workers think it’s harder for remote workers to be seen in the workplace than non-remote workers.Office workers think it’s twice as difficult, when working remotely, to make strong relationships with bosses and coworkers while collaborating effectively. In fact, 1 in 6 think remote workers are less valued by the company, more than 1 in 3 think remote workers miss out on office culture and 1 in 5 think they get promoted less often.

There are also technical difficulties workers can encounter when using the technology solutions of the past. Of office workers who said disruptions and working with a solution that’s incompatible with the demands of a remote workforce today had impacted their work, the most prominent included:

  • Nearly half (42 percent) have misinterpreted the tone of written communication (email, instant messaging, etc.)
  • Nearly half (40 percent) said an important call had been dropped
  • 1 in 3 (31 percent) have been late to or missed a meeting because of a tech failure and a nearly one-quarter (22 percent) because it was too complicated to join
  • More than one-quarter (28 percent) have used the wrong version of a document
  • About 1 in 4 (23 percent) said an important video meeting had dropped
  • 1 in 5 (21 percent) mistakenly “replied all” to an email

To help address these issues and others, all of U’s offerings create virtual counterparts to in-person scenarios, in turn allowing workplace culture, creativity and dialogue to resonate beyond the physical workplace and to all workers, despite location. Learn more at u.cyberlink.com . (Family Features)

SOURCE:

CyberLink

5 Tips for Entrepreneurs to Keep Customers Engaged

Entrepreneurs, it’s time to stop and give yourself a pat on the back. Small business owners know it’s a life that can be high stress and sometimes even uncertain. But here’s one encouraging fact: Small businesses are doing a lot to keep Americans employed and the economy humming.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, firms with fewer than 500 employees account for 99.7 percent of all businesses in the U.S. And the SBA finds that 60 percent of new job creation comes from small businesses.

Still, one of the top challenges that small businesses face today is attracting new customers and keeping existing customers engaged. That’s what pays the bills, of course. Part of that solution is always looking ahead so you can capture their minds and hearts, so you can then capture the sales — with these five simple tips for small business success.

Be a joiner: If you haven’t already, become a member of your local chamber of commerce as well as neighborhood business groups. These often host special “Shop Local” events and promotions, which give you a way to participate and gain extra exposure from their marketing efforts. These groups also offer events and opportunities to network, help you to stay apprised of local trends and allow you to discover new opportunities to collaborate.

Cross-promote: Pair up with a second business in your neighborhood and find creative ways to work together. Collaborate on sales and special offers. Make your customers’ lives easier and put together gift baskets and share the proceeds. Or invite someone from a different business to teach an in-store class or workshop. Take the guerrilla marketing approach and host a joint scavenger hunt, with clues left around the community for a big prize. When you pool your ideas and resources, the possibilities are endless.

Market in-house: Getting the word out doesn’t stop at your doorstep. When customers enter your space, it’s a great time to tell them more about your services and products. “Digital signage” isn’t just for big companies. Deliver your message in vivid color and create an interactive experience with LG’s touch displays, perfect for menu selection and point-of-purchase. Commercial displays are better for businesses than a plain old consumer TV; they offer simple ways to post a warm welcome message with your business name and logo to create an inviting, personalized experience. Consider affordable options like “commercial lite” TVs from LG that have a USB Auto Playback feature, so you can build custom playlists to entertain and inform your customers. Things like an inspirational idea reel or quick tips and facts can position you as the trusted local expert.

Get social: Raise your presence on your social media accounts. Use this platform to inform and even entertain current and prospective customers, and they’ll turn to you as the expert. Turn on your smartphone’s video camera and give a rare peek behind the curtain. Increase traffic by announcing a flash sale or giveaway. And during big social media events, expand your reach and potentially your community by using hashtags.

Upgrade your tech: Sometimes, the busyness of life and running your own shop can mean we neglect the things that make a great impression. Take time for an objective critique of the appearance and functionality of your space. Get sleek and streamlined with a much-needed tech upgrade, with a new LCD desktop monitor like LG’s 32-inch 32MU99. Its show-stopping, vivid display offers true-to-life image rendering, thanks to the shadow detailing and richer colors. It also busts the clutter with its space-saving features, such as an ultra-thin panel and a single-cable delivery system that transfers audio, data and power. Upgraded tech with dazzling display is a sure way to make a favorable impression.

Small businesses have lots of technology options to enhance their business today. To learn more, visit http://www.lg.com/us/business. (BPT)

Hotel Granduca Austin Appoints Executive Chef and Rolls Out New Food & Beverage Program

Hotel Granduca Austin, the Tuscan-inspired boutique hotel and member of The Leading Hotels of the World, recently announced the launch of its new food & beverage program, helmed by newly appointed Executive Chef Will Packwood. The hotel opened in the Westlake area of Austin, TX, in November 2015.

Chef Will Packwood

Chef Will Packwood (Photography courtesy of Ashley Huff)

Named Food + Wine’s Best New Chef in 2001, and having been recognized in publications, including Bon Appetit, Delta Sky Magazine, Texas Monthly, and more, Packwood boasts more than three decades experience. In his role at Hotel Granduca Austin he will oversee Visconti Ristorante & Bar, the hotel’s 70-seat restaurant, as well as all banquet food production. Most recently, Packwood, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, worked as private chef and consultant at La Tavola in Austin, where he designed and taught recreational and professional cooking classes, created and personalized menus for clients, and provided operational and creative consulting to various operating restaurants. Prior to that, he worked as a culinary, baking and wine instructor at the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Austin.

Hotel Granduca (Photography courtesy of Michelle Gardella)

Hotel Granduca (Photography courtesy of Michelle Gardella)

“At Hotel Granduca and Visconti Ristorante & Bar, we are always searching for individuals who exhibit outstanding leadership qualities, as we are committed to providing an extraordinary guest experience,” said Larry Bundy, general manager of the hotel. “Mr. Packwood is a great asset to the hotel and Visconti Bar & Ristorante and we are thrilled to have him,” he continued.

Soon after appointing Executive Chef Packwood, Hotel Granduca Austin rolled out new food and beverage programming for the restaurant, bar, and in-room dining designed by Packwood himself.

“As a chef of Italian cuisine, I believe you have to fully understand the culture, appreciate the ingredients, combinations, even the people behind that culture,” says Packwood. “My goal in developing this new food and beverage program is to showcase my experiences, as well as Italy’s passion for food and dining.”

Serving  breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily and brunch on Sundays, Visconti Ristorante & Bar’s new menus emphasize traditional Italian cuisine with an innovative twist:

  • Breakfast: Breakfast showcases Italian-inspired dishes such as Eggs Bruschetta, featuring grilled focaccia topped with scrambled eggs, roasted tomatoes, and prosciutto; Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes topped with macerated raspberries and creme fraiche; and Il Benedetto, a dish made of poached eggs, asparagus, Italian ham, and hollandaise, all atop a delicious crostini. The breakfast menu will also include the classics – steak and eggs, pancakes, Belgian-style waffles, as well as juices, smoothies, and pastries.

  • Lunch: This newly revamped menu showcases craveable and quick lunch fare, including pizzas, like theNapoli,a pizza made with tomato, mozzarella, Gaeta olives, capers, anchovies, and oregano;a Baby Spinach-Grilled Tenderloin salad; and entrees, including Grilled Beef and Pork Spiedini, sandwiches, pastas, and more.

  • Dinner: Visconti’s new dinner menu features three sections: Starters, Pastas & Risottos, and Entrees. Starters include Tuna Crudo with roasted red pepper, capers, salsa verde, garlic emulsion and mint and a Carpaccio paired with pickled fresno and artichokes, arugula, tonnato, and black pepper oil. Saffron-Ricotta Gnocchi with a Ragu alla Bolognese and Parmigiano Reggiano, and Roasted Corn-Zucchini Risotto topped with toasted cornbread crumbs, stracchino, and basil,can be found on the Pastas & Risottos menu. Entrees showcase dishes from light to hearty, including Branzinowith broccoli rabe, roasted potatoes and tomato, and preserved lemon relish, and a Trio of Grilled Pork featuring pork tenderloin, belly, luganega, sweet corn polenta figs, arugula, and herb oil.

In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Executive Chef Packwood and Hotel Granduca created new bar, dessert, and in-room dining menus.For more information, call (512) 306-6400 or visit granducaaustin.com.

5 Ways to Boost Engagement and Productivity in the Office

Step into the office of the future on the first day of work, and the things that you expect in a traditional workplace are not going to happen here.

There’s no landline, no file cabinet, no bulletin board. The employee is never taken to an assigned cubicle. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that employees will spend much of their day in the same chair.

The forward-looking workplace design discards all the usual trappings of the traditional office that lock employees into physical departments with seating arrangements, moving toward an open design. While perks such as catered lunches and ping pong tables are getting attention for changing workplace culture, it’s actually the power of technology that is quietly transforming the way we work. Technology is a tool that gives us a fluid and flexible use of time and space, changing how people get the job done.

“Eventually, the open digital workspace design will not be simply nice to have, it’s becoming more and more expected. It’s going to become mandatory if you want to attract top talent,” says Donna Kimmel, the senior vice president and chief people officer of Citrix.

Welcome to the era of the open workspace, where people can work and collaborate anywhere in the office, wherever they need to be. What do these modern workspaces look like? These are the five traits they have in common:

They ditch the cubicle farm: It’s no longer necessary to spend the day alone in a cubicle rooted to one spot for access to a desktop computer or landline phone. Today, you can easily and securely access, store and share your information from anywhere whether you’re on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Without the need for space-wasting cubicles, your building space needs are reduced, in some cases up to 50 percent. And a collaborative environment is created when walls are torn down and open seating arrangements invite conversation and brainstorming.

They accommodate work needs: Because technology frees knowledge workers from being rooted to a single cubicle, the new way is to offer an entire floor of flexible workspaces that accommodate various needs and styles. For example, one day an engineer could be working at a long table with fellow engineers, vendors and a project manager. The following week, that engineer might duck into a small privacy room for a marathon session of focused work.

They invite collaboration: Unlike the traditional cubicle farm, a flexible workspace sends a different message to the team. It invites conversation and innovative ideas by actively engaging with colleagues throughout the day, rather than rushing through a meeting agenda and hustling out.

They increase employee engagement and productivity: Flexible workspaces send a message that employees are entrusted to do their jobs wherever they feel most productive. Great leaders know and understand that their actions speak louder than words. Things like corporate policies and company culture send powerful messages to employees about how they are seen in the organization. With feelings of increased autonomy and trust often come increased levels of employee engagement. Once they have autonomy, the magic starts happening.

“… The data tells us — greater autonomy leads to better engagement, better engagement leads to greater productivity, which leads to better bottom-line results,” says Amy Haworth, director, organizational readiness at Citrix.

They embrace BYOD: That is, bring your own device. Sure, many employers may still provide hardware, but as workspaces become more flexible with a burgeoning work-anywhere ethos, employees simply wish to access their work platforms using their own laptops, tablets and mobile devices.

Luckily, it is now much easier to give employees seamless access to documents and networks safely — without draconian security measures to slow connections and processing speed. And as information, applications and work resources move to the cloud, businesses can securely deliver them to any device that has a secure network connection.

For example, Citrix offers a suite of solutions, including Citrix Cloud, XenApp, XenDesktop and ShareFile that makes BYOD secure without sacrificing user experience. If you are interested in learning more, visit citrix.com/products/.

The benefits of the redesigned workspace are numerous, says Kimmel.

“They break down barriers between managers, employees and departments. The increased, casual encounters make it easy to approach others to ask questions, make suggestions and solve problems,” says Kimmel. “As a result, work gets done more quickly, and employees and managers alike report higher productivity.

“In the end, employees report greater satisfaction, which leads them to stay with a company longer.” (BPT)

Meet Esteemed Contributing Writer Lauren Reid

Lauren Reid is an Account Executive at C. Blohm & Associates, a PR and marketing agency based in Madison, Wisconsin. She began her PR career in higher education, which led to her tenure at CB&A. For the past year, Reid has spent her time developing and executing visibility campaigns for education clients. When not at work, she enjoys exploring local hotspots and spending time creating DIY home projects.

Lauren has contributed the information article in our July / August 2017 Issue titled Sculpting a Generation of Makers which we invite you to read.

Actress, Model, and Philanthropist Gena Lee Nolin is Someone You Should Know

Photography courtesy of ShandrewPR.

We have the pleasure of Featuring Superstar Gena Lee Nolin in our July / August 2017 Issue.

Gena Lee shares with us her perspective on the Power of Taking Changes, the Appeal of Media, why Family is Power, and her Powerful Words of Wisdom

Read Gena Lee’s inspiration InNetwork Features in our July / August 2017 Issue here.

4 Keys to a Successful Side Hustle

Deciding to join the leagues of entrepreneurs launching a part-time small business can be a major personal and professional step. It’s a way to stretch your creative muscles, build new skills, earn extra income from home and potentially unlock additional possibilities for you and your family in the future. It’s also a significant investment of your time and talents, which is why it’s important to choose the right “side hustle” for you.

Most part-time small business owners get started because they want extra income, low-risk wages, flexibility and the opportunity to contribute to the common good. However, these benefits are not enjoyed evenly across the many different types of businesses you may be considering. Learn to ask smarter questions about these highly sought-after benefits to make sure you find the right fit for you and your family:

  1. Extra income: Many people seek a side job with a specific, money-oriented goal in mind. That can be increasing the monthly household income, saving toward a down payment for a new home or going on a vacation. In order to make the income you want, it’s important to look at how much you can expect to earn on an ongoing basis. Look for a side gig that solves daily problems around necessities like cooking or eating to ensure your services are in-demand year-round.
  1. Low-risk wages: The ideal side job is easy to start without heavy investment or training. An independent consultant business, for example, can provide low start-up costs, easy ways to join and the built-in appeal of an already established brand, so you can get to earning extra income faster. Before jumping on board, take time to learn the start-up costs associated with any part-time gig and how long it will take you to learn the necessary skills to recoup your investment.

“Starting a business can be a very expensive thing,” Pampered Chef consultant Rachel Hanson said. “I was looking for something that was affordable and gave me everything I needed to get started.”

  1. Flexibility and family time: Being your own boss allows you to decide when you will work and when you won’t, but some side gigs require work during “high-traffic” times that can detract from the freedom you are seeking. Be sure to pick a side hustle that fits your schedule and can be done at any time – or even from the comfort of your own home – if flexibility is important to you. 
  1. Work with purpose: If you get your drive from a powerful sense of purpose, like improving people’s health or bringing families together, a side job that makes an impact is likely to give you the job satisfaction you need to succeed long-term. There are many franchise and direct-sales businesses that have strong charitable partnerships so you can give back locally while you earn extra cash. Beyond charitable work, look for roles where you are teaching important skills or solving common problems for your customers, beyond simply selling products.

Learn more about opportunities for creating your own part-time business at pamperedchef.com/be-a-consultant. (Family Features)

Interview Tip: How to Answer “What Can You Offer Us That the Other Candidates for This Job Cannot?”

Recommendations from Go Resumes.

“What can you offer us that the other candidates for this job cannot?”
• Interviewers often use questions like this to determine if you have an inflated view of yourself or possibly a tendency to be overly critical of your co-workers.

• Showcase your strengths without implying that you are above everyone else.

• Qualify your answer by beginning with a disclaimer that you don’t know the qualifications of the other applicants, then assert how your qualifications make you a great choice for the position.