My partner and I always get terrible service at restaurants. After talking to a waiter that I met through a friend, I started to realize that wait staff has expectations of the patrons. What can I do to ensure I meet these expectations and get good service?

4 Dec

So true! This might be my favorite question yet. 

I used to work at a restaurant. Well, a few actually, for about 9 years. So I can tell you first hand what your wait staff expects of you, and why. This will help you give a good impression to your wait staff, and up your chances of getting better service. Some of these rules may not seem fair, and you’re entitled to that opinion. I’m not here to argue about right and wrong. I’m here to tell you how to get the service you want. If you decide to go by your opinion, by all means, do so. You’ll be fighting a losing battle. Be warned.

Outlook

From the time you walk into the door, you’re being judged. This may not seem fair, but understand that guests are also judging waiters. Their tips, which is the ONLY money they get to take home, are based on that judgment. So, they return the favor as a defense mechanism, in hopes that they show the most promising guests the best attention. The fact of the matter is that a server/waiter has several tables and guests to keep happy. Most of which are demanding and needing of attention and flattery constantly. They won’t all get that. Waiters pick favorites, because most of the time, with only two arms and legs, they have little choice. You are literally competing for attention. If the server gets a hint that you’re not worth their time, it will show, because I can guarantee you there’s another table in his/her section that is.

Sometimes you will be judged based on factors out of your control: race is the biggest culprit in my experience. I hate this. I’m black, so I’ve been on the guests’s end of this unfair treatment, and I’m a great tipper! But I constantly have to prove myself, which mean’s that from two ends of the coin, I definitely have some tips to offer.

Here’s what you do to stay on the good side of your server:

The Greeting

When you sit at the table wait patiently for your waiter to come. If it’s busy in the restaurant, understand that the hosts sat you not necessarily because your waiter is immediately available, but because they had a seat available to give you comfort. You waiter will be with you ASAP. (Of course, if it takes a ridiculously long time, consult the host stand and be sure there’s a server in your section. Mix-ups do happen.) When the server gets to your table, all you’ve got to do is smile. Let the server finish their required intro, and then politely ASK for your preferred drink and appetizer. Show some manners. If the server asks you what you want to drink but you’re ready to order, ask the server if he/she has time to take the order. Even if they don’t, they’ll do it for you, but it’s all in how you present it that dictates how happy they’re going to be about doing it. Likewise, if they ask you what you want and you’re not ready, ask them to come back instead of making them wait for you.  First impressions are lasting. Be sure to make a good first impression by: 1. asking instead of demanding. 2. smiling. 3. use proper english (I’m pretty sure the US is the only country that operates restaurants this way). 4. saying please and thank you.  

Meal Time

Once you receive your meal, your server will ask you if everything looks okay. Actually look at your food and give an honest answer. Don’t be afraid to voice your displeasures if there are any! Just be polite about it. They will come back within a couple of minutes to then ask how it tastes. Again, give an honest answer. If you need something extra, assess your meal and ask for everything you need at once. ‘Running’ your server will result in a frustrated server, because you’re monopolizing the server’s time, which is terrible for overall productivity and maintaining a happy section. Running is: the act of asking for something else every time the server brings the last thing you asked for. The, “thanks for making the trip to get the ketchup. Oh by the way, may I have ranch. Thanks for the ranch, may I get some napkins?”. Don’t do that.

Compliments

Servers love compliments, and don’t hear them enough. But if you’re going to talk about how great the service is, back it up with a tip that proves it. There’s nothing worse than getting what servers call a ‘verbal tip’. Imagine you asked your boss where your paycheck was for all of the awesome work you did this week and she said, “You did do awesome work this week! Here’s a dollar!” and expected you to be happy with that. How would you feel?

Servers do not get paychecks. They get a $3ish hourly rate that gets eaten up by taxes. The only money they take home is tips. You may think that that isn’t fair, and that the restaurants should pay the servers more. Doing this would only increase your food bill, because restaurants owners aren’t stupid, so you would be paying it one way or another. Also, when you stiff/lowball your server in protest of the system, you’re not hurting the system, you’re hurting the server who just bent over backwards giving you everything you asked for hoping they’ll be able to pay their rent by the end of it. Managers don’t care. Owners don’t care. They make $40+ a year with annual bonuses and raises, and that’s all they care about. Show some support to the wait staff. The majority of servers are students and/or parents, both of whom deserve to be paid for their work, the same way you do.

Manners

You undoubtedly expect your server to say “please” and “thank you”. Show some manners yourself. Say please and thank you. Be kind and forgiving. Understand that if your food comes out late or your burger has lettuce when you specifically said no lettuce, it could be the kitchens mistake. If you don’t see your server for a while, maybe another table is running the ragged and monopolizing their attention, and so on. Show that you understand that the server is working hard for you without even knowing whether they’re going to get paid or not. Servers take a risk with every new table that walks in the door. They give each person the benefit of the doubt. Show them that you are willing to do the same out of appreciation. And before you place blame, ask them what happened. Most servers will tell the truth and apologize for it, even when it’s not their fault. Show them the same courtesy if you want their kindness.

Complaints

Sometimes complaints are inescapable. Even as a former server, I understand that. I had tables that I felt terrible for, because shit seemed to just not go my way that day when it came to keeping them happy. And with those tables, if they made a complaint to management, I understood. Let a complaint be just that: a complaint. You don’t need to rant and rave and demand a discount. Management at most restaurants will offer that, and be happier to offer it to people who don’t ask for it, believe it or not. We value that kindness, because we see so little of it. Those are the people we want to return. The one’s who don’t hate us for accidentally letting the fact that we’re human slip out. You don’t need to call your server names and berate their intelligence or work ethic. If everyone’s order at the table was wrong (it’s happened), simply state that. “We don’t like to complain, but each and every one of our entrees came out with mistakes. This really put a damper on our experience, having to wait for the mistakes to be corrected instead of being able to eat right away. We don’t know if it was the kitchen’s doing or the server’s doing. We’ll leave that to you to find out, but we thought we should let you know.” That’s the proper way to complain. Improper: “This is fucking ridiculous. I had to wait for 10 fucking minutes for my well-done steak to get here just to find out that it’s the sirloin when I ordered a god damn NY strip. If your staff fucking stupid? How hard is it to get a guy what he asks for? I’m never coming here again unless you give me this steak for free. And I still want my NY strip to go.” This doesn’t earn you respect in anyone’s book. Not the manager’s, not your server’s, not anyone else’s. And guess what, if a staff doesn’t want you as a patron, they will show it. They will take you up on your threat to never return, because they won’t want you to.

Tips

Tip 20% for overall good service (multiply the first number by two. i.e. 20% of $60 is $12). Above 20% for excellent service. 15% for service you feel is lacking, maybe one too many mistakes for it to be everyone else’s fault. And 10% if your server just straight up had an attitude with you and behaved in a horrible manner and you’re not sure why. Never stiff your server. If you leave less than 20%, leave a note politely explaining what was lacking. This isn’t for your server, this is for you: If you plan to ever return to the restaurant, you want to do everything in your power to have the staff understand that you’re not a bad tipper, but you had a poor experience. Servers talk. Don’t give them reason to talk about you being an asshole rather than an honest tipper. Set yourself up for future success by tipping well and being completely justified when you don’t. If you pay for good – excellent service, you will receive it. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s just dinner to you. To them, it’s business, it’s rent, it’s senior dues and soccer uniforms. Understand that if you’re not worth their time and effort, they will consciously do the bare minimum to make more room for those who are.

After-Hours

Bottom-line: Never come in less than 30 minutes before closing if you’re not going to make it out the door within 10 minutes after close. No one will like you, no matter how nice you are. Another bottom-line: If you were there well before closing, leave when it’s time to close.

Follow social cues. If you’re the last guest in the restaurant, you’re no longer a guest, you’re a hold-up.

Getting Your Server’s Attention

If your server has checked on you and you said you’re good, then it will be up to you to get their attention here on out for anything that’s not a refill, boxes, or otherwise completely visible in passing. If you need to get your server’s attention it is okay to: 1. make eye contact and raise your hand. 2. say their name if they’re close and not with another guest. 3. ask another member of the staff to find your server for you. It is inappropriate to: yell their name across the floor. 2. snap. 3. get up and approach them while they are working. 4. call for their attention while they’re talking to a guest. 

Typically making and holding eye contact is enough of a cue. They’ll come over and ask you what’s up.

Camping

Camping is a common offense at sports bars, and restaurants that attract studying students and business meetings. Camping itself (sitting at a table for hours, disabling the server’s ability to turn the table and make consistent money) isn’t the offense. It’s tipping properly while camping that’s the offense. This could be because there isn’t a set standard. It could also be because people tend to think “They’re not working for me, so I shouldn’t have to tip them any more.” WRONG. They’d be making more money from the table you’re holding up if you left. Pay your table rent.

I’ve heard some server’s say they expect $10/hr from campers on top of the original 20%. I personally think that that’s a bit much, considering you still have other tables. However, $5/hr isn’t too steep. If you sit at a table for hours in a restaurant you frequent and frequently receive bad service, think about whether you’re paying your camping dues. Don’t be afraid to ask your server what their expectations are. Most servers feel like they will get in trouble for ‘asking’ for money. Let them know you want to make sure you’re taking care of them, and ask them to be honest with you about the etiquette, no harm no foul. Warn them that if you don’t know, you may accidentally short them. They’ll open up and let you know what their preferred rate is.

You should also find out whether your server is leaving any time soon, because you owe them the original 20% plus however many hours for them taking care of you. The server they bring on afterward, you owe a new 20% plus hourly to. Clearly, if you order nothing else, then you just owe the hourly table rent.

Okay, I’m all done now. 

Now you know everything you need to know about receiving good service. 

Tootles!

 

 

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My husband and I recently got a puppy (the same kind you have, a Catahoula). It’s mainly his, but he’s deploying soon. With children and a busy schedule, it’s only going to be crazier with him gone. Should I give up the puppy or get a playmate for him? I’d prefer playmate but I just don’t know! -Anonymous

2 Dec

I’m actually glad you asked this question before making a decision, because it’s a big one and it’s great to get some advice from someone who knows Catahoulas specifically. 

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^Britton being an awesome big brother on our way to introduce baby Delilah to friends. (Delilah is much bigger now haha).

In short, playmates are awesome for puppies especially Catahoulas, because they’re incredibly energetic. Energy + boredom = bad puppy and angry owner. You would think that having two would make your already busy household even busier, and you’re right. Puppies will wear each other out, which requires a lot of activity. However, it frees up your time and responsibility to be the one who does the wearing of the pup. I would think your children would play a large role in that as well. Think of some games you think that the children and puppy will find interesting to play together, and see if you can get them to play a role. Kids and puppies wear each other out the same way they do with their own species.

We started with just Britton (the Catahoula). When he was a younger pup he ran us both ragged. My fiance and I are both full time working students, and while we’ve set up our schedules to be home so he can be out of his crate plenty of time, that doesn’t mean we’re not either too busy or exhausted for play, walks, and runs while we’re home. Getting Delilah was an AWESOME decision, because we refused to let go of Britton, plus she’s just down right adorable. Britton and Delilah do a great job at entertaining one another while we’re busy and/or resting. Think about it, they have similar energy levels and the same amount of free time to play, so it’s perfect. And they still get to feel our companionship when they’re all worn out and want to cuddle up with us on the couch :). 

We also make awesome use of our back yard. We have friends with dogs, so when we visit with them we take our own, and we also go to the dog park, where they can run and we can just hang out while they do so (I don’t recommend dog parks for dogs who aren’t both vaccinated and properly socialized). 

However

It’s not all sunshine and roses. You will not be able to just bring a puppy playmate home, let it loose and have your day to yourself. Puppies still need training and leadership. With your husband gone, you will have to fill that role. You will be the person who will have to discipline. You and the puppies will have to find your rhythm, so they know how you want your house run. My fiance likes to do the whole “Babe, Britton did this” when he’s doing something wrong, because he’s primarily my dog. If you’ve taken advantage of that, you must understand that that’s out the window now. You have to do the disciplining, poop scooping, feeding, cleaning, nurturing, all of it. You can outsource the energy release, but there’s so much more that depends on YOU and YOU alone. A puppy’s behavior towards you will directly reflect the bond you are attempting to develop with them. (i.e. now my fiance has a difficult time getting Britton to listen altogether, because she spent so much time pawning off his bad behavior rather than taking advantage of the opportunity to express her expectations.) If your husband has done all of the primary bonding up to this point, my recommendation is that you take puppy 1 to puppy training, and then do the same for puppy 2. I don’t recommend getting a second puppy before getting the first one to understand your rules and expectations. You will cry, because the puppies will bond with one another, who are both young and naturally mischievous, rather than you, who knows best.

As long as you understand this, like, truly and whole-heartedly understand, you will do well to get a playmate.

 

Tootles and Thanks for Asking! Good Luck!

-Tori

How do I get my dog to follow me off a leash? -Dena, London

17 Jun

Leash training is incredibly important because it ensures the safety of both your pup and others. However, off-leash training is also important. It teaches your dog boundaries and obedience should there ever be an instance when there isn’t a leash available, he/she escapes from the leash and other situations. It’s also handy at the dog park. Some tips for training your pup off of a leash.

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  1. If you have a young puppy you’re already off to a good start. They tend to follow their parent/care figure, and all you have to do is encourage that by giving the pup praise whenever they follow you around. Making them chase you is also a good way to get them to follow you. Overall, just make following you and coming to you a good time.
  2. If you have an adult who’s never been leash trained you want to start in a fenced in yard with treats. Start by calling him/her while you’re walking, and use a mixture of “come” and “heal” commands to let him know that they mean similar things. Keep walking and talking. Again, make it an entertaining event, like a game. Pick a side (right or left) that you want your dog to heal to and point to that ground or tap your leg. The closer he gets to it the more you treat him until he’s made it to your side, then you act like the gates of heaven just opened up for you. Repeat until your pup is successfully walking with you around the fenced in area.
  3. Once you’re done with fenced yard training choose an unfenced area, like the front yard if such applies. Take your dog out when the neighborhood isn’t busy/is sleeping. Use this area to teach your pup/dog boundaries by simply waiting for him to cross one and telling him “no, come” or “no, heal” if you’re walking around with him in a big yard. Whenever he goes outside of the boundaries you make him come back to you and praise him. This will get him understanding that boundaries do exist.
  4. You want to gradually work in walking in newer areas. Start with walking in a quiet night time neighborhood to get him accustomed to the sidewalks being the boundaries/staying out of the road. Also to get him accustomed to walking with you outside of the back yard. Use the “heal” command often and keep pointing to the side you want him to be on or tapping your leg. When he’s being a good boy tell him so, and don’t forget to bring treats.
  5. Start testing him with distractions by letting him go to the unfenced area when there’s one or two neighbors outside of the boundaries, out of reach but in sight. Start by letting them know what you’re doing so they don’t encourage any poor behavior, making your job more difficult. Tell them to not talk to you or the dog; ignoring you BOTH is important. When you let him out do the walk and heal, or just “no, come” if you’re reinforcing yard boundaries. Have a leash ready and if he gets out of line and refuses to listen you tell him “no”, mumble something in your unhappy/discipline voice while you leash him and take him inside. You stay outside. He’ll probably be upset that he has to stay inside when you and the fun are outside, and also probably understand that he’s in time out for not listening. Leave him in “timeout” for about 5 minutes (or until he calms down if he has separation anxiety) and then let him back out to try again. Repeat until he learns that he doesn’t get to play outside freely unless he behaves.

The last timeout bit is primarily for impulsive pups/younger more stubborn dogs like my Britton. Punishment doesn’t have to be physical and it really does work when you have a difficult breed like a Catahoula, who may find curiosity/the nose to be more impressive than your encouragement and praise during exciting times. Reinforcing good behavior by adding a positive experience (treats, praise) and coupling negative behavior with a punishment (timeout, or any other form of taking something away that they want at the moment but they’re misbehaving with) is good obedience training and doesn’t hurt the dog a long as you do it properly and the timeout is short-lived. Timeout worked like a charm for him when he misbehaved in our unfenced front yard. Now he knows that if he wants to come out front he has to listen when I speak to him and stay within his boundaries, otherwise he’s going inside while we stay out and have all the fun. He’s only 6 months old and energetic as ever so I’m still wary of taking him out front when people are out, but when the neighborhood is relatively quiet with only one or two people out he does really well.

More mature and seasoned dogs shouldn’t have as difficult of a time ignoring the neighborhood folk, because they typically have a “been there done that” mentality about people.

You could also teach heal while on a leash, but teaching it off of a leash works better in my opinion because they won’t relate the command with the leash itself and be confused when the leash is taken off.

Note that not all dogs are built to be trusted off of a leash. Some dogs take it as an opportunity to jet. If you have a jetter you may just want to avoid off-leash training until they start to mature more and calm down.

 

Hopefully this helps!

I’m a little pudgy but I like to drink. Is there a happy medium between drinking and dieting, and if so, for which diet(s)? – Parker, Toronto

13 Jun

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Parker^ :), indeed there is. A lot of people think that in order to lose weight they must give up their favorite foods and beverages. This is never actually the case. You simply need to cut back. I’m going to list some strategic drinking tips for you that correlate with both low-carb and low calorie diets.

What Drinks Work Well With Dieting

While you can pull off drinking and dieting, you can’t pull off drinking just anything. Red and white wines are the major leagues and what you should definitely stick with if you like them/are willing to acquire a taste for them. Most light beers will work, but you should definitely double check. My favs are Select 55, MDG 64, Coors Light, and Corona Light. Dark beer? Guinness is lower cal than orange juice, believe it or not. Parker, a lot of these are imported for you. Find some domestics that have low calories (around 125 or fewer per bottle) and you’re safe.

These are all low cal drinks by comparison and relatively easy to implement into your diet. If you’re not accustomed to drinking any of these you should try to build a tolerance of them so you can enjoy alcohol and successfully manage weight loss.

No More Drafts/Draughts/Kegs

Dieting is about taking control of your intake and regulating it for the sake of losing weight. You may be filling a 10 ounce glass but with the head you actually don’t know how many ounces, and therefore calories, you’re getting. If you must do a draft go for small. If small may still be too big don’t chance it. Otherwise always stick with bottles and cans so you can keep an accurate calorie count.

Drinking for Low-Calorie Dieters

When participating in a low-cal diet you typically set both a daily and weekly ceiling. If you’re not doing it this way, you should start. It allows you to be flexible, and therefore allows you to get some drinking in as well as some room to trick your metabolism which is good for your weight. Remember that the beers and wine listed have fewer calories than most juices and milk, so they provide an adequate substitute should your Vitamin C and D levels be alright for the day. You could also easily switch these out with a nutrition bar or other type of low-cal snack. Just remember that nutrition comes first.

Drinking for Low-Carb Dieters

I’m a big fan of the low carb diet over any calorie counting diet because calorie diets don’t account for different types of calories and how your body processes them differently, hence being able to drink beer. But you can’t get away with drinking beer everyday with the low-carb like you can with the low-cal diet. What can you drink everyday? A glass of wine (maximum 2 if red) a day is your limit until cheat day, then you can start pounding as many 6-packs as you want.

Parties/Events for Low-Cal Dieters

The cool thing about the weekly limit is that you can save calories for a later date during the week. That date may be a wedding or birthday party date, during which you would like to be able to drink and reset your metabolism for the week. If you save 102 calories for six days straight, you get to have seven Coors Lights on day seven and still get in all of the nutrition you need without busting through the goal you set. Everyone’s happy.

Parties/Events for Low-Carb Dieters

Low-carb diets are all about the cheat day, the day when you get to go nuts eating and drinking to your heart’s desire. Should your cheat day fall on Fridays and you have a wedding coming up on Saturday, skip your Friday cheat day. You can switch your cheat day whenever you want as long as they’re seven days apart. You may have a tough time drinking with friends every week but you will have an easy time preparing for special events that really count.

Now, go drink and lose weight.

I think my teenager is getting into some serious trouble but he isn’t being honest with me. What can I do to find out what’s going on with him so I can keep him safe? -Brandi, Michigan

13 Jun

Sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. If you’re absolutely positive that you’ve exhausted every option as far as connecting with your teenager and developing a trusting relationship, it’s likely time to invade some privacy. After all: you’re not his friend, you’re his mother, he may be in danger, and ultimately he will forgive you for using your power for steering him straight rather than allowing him to get deeper into whatever it is. You may even find out that though he may be doing something illegal, it may just be something expressive and community oriented like graffiti and not something actually harmful.

Graffiti_Artist_Shop.sizedConsidering I don’t know the details of the situation, a teenager’s phone is his lifeline, and therefore your main point of attack. If your teen has an iPhone or Android this guide will help you. Though this guide is specifically for iPhones the application I’m telling you to install is available on Android phones and all you have to do is find it. Otherwise the directions are the same. Here’s what you do:

  1. Get an hour alone with your teenager’s phone. This is easy. You could find a lame excuse to confiscate it for the day or you could do a classic phone switch and “omg honey I’ll bring it to you ASAP” before school, which is cool because it ensures no skipping class that morning.
  2. Do not start going through the phone. You will be able to see everything on it and more in under an hour.
  3. For iPhones you will need to jailbreak unless the phone is already jailbroken. Make sure you read the site thoroughly to know the ins and outs before applying the jailbreak to the phone.
  4. After the jailbreak you will see Cydia. Open her up and search for OwnSpy. Touch install.
  5. Once OwnSpy installs it will put you through a short registration process in which you register the application to yourself, not your kid.
  6. Then you will be asked whether you want to hide just the app, or both the app and Cydia. If you jailbroke the phone behind your kid’s back make sure you hide both. If not just hide the app.
  7. Go to the OwnSpy website and log in with the same registration info you signed up with. From there you get to see everything your kid has been up to including: location, call history, text messages, keylog, apps used, pictures, web browsing history, iPhone 5 has call recording and the models before have live call streaming and a text message to call & listen in (the cellular equivalent of picking up the house phone to eavesdrop), and more. If your kid is getting into trouble you will know it now.
  8. When your spying job is done you can remove the app via the website. Don’t abuse your power or you will regret it.

At the point of interception it may help you to learn some slang. You can bring these words up in conversation with your teenager to try to get a feel for them or you can get in touch with Urban Dictionary to help you out.

I hope this helps and I also hope everyone using it does so for good purposes.

Good Luck!

My dog smells like rotten fish. Please help me figure this out. – Andre, Tenessee

13 Jun

Set the scene:

You’re enjoying a comfortable evening watching movies on the couch with your fiance and dog, where you have to persistently tell your pup to stop licking his butt while on the couch. You get up to, idk, grab a cup of water maybe. When you get back to the couch you have to move pooch who has somehow, as dogs do, migrated to your spot. As you move pup to sit down you feel something on your shins, causing you to immediately regret wearing basketball shorts instead of pj pants, and all of a sudden you smell that rotten fish smell everywhere.  You immediately get on Google to figure out what the hell just happened.

^ How I found out about the military weapons in dogs’ asses called anal glands.

 

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Your dog’s anal (or skunk) glands fill up over time and are meant to release (express)when they poop, causing you no more trouble than dog poop normally does. It’s also the reason they sniff one another’s butts, because to them they all smell different and they want to know who what smell belongs to, for whatever dog world reason. As far as I’ve learned the only real purpose of them is to mark territory/keep unwanted animals away (may be more useful to you than you think), but it’s not typical practice to get them removed.

It’s common in growing puppies to find anal glands have trouble expressing, and some dogs even hold onto this into and throughout adulthood. First know that your dog is fine, you’re just in for a minor annoyance and extra maintenance from time to time.

If you smell the rotten fish and your dog licks his butt/scoots a lot, your pup is having trouble expressing naturally and is trying to handle it his/herself. The result is a smelly house, and maybe some tonsillitis if you don’t take care of it.

Solution

  1. Add more fiber to your dog’s diet. This will help to better solidify waste and make a more efficient impact on the glands during exit, hopefully fixing the problem. There are both high fiber treats and high fiber dog food that you can buy. If your dog’s food is homemade and you want to keep it that way add some leafy greens to the mix.
  2. Whenever your pup/dog is having trouble you will notice it ahead of time with the scooting and licking. Take your pup to the vet to get them expressed, or express them yourself (glove and squeeze). At the vet it’s really cheap (about $10 at mine) and it’s worth it because you don’t have to smell it or risk it getting on you, and your dog remains safe from tonsillitis which is considerably more expensive.

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Good Luck!

I have a lot of trouble getting to sleep at night. What are some home natural and herbal remedies I can try? Brian, AZ

11 Jun

Okay now that I’m done with my PS4 holiday digression we can get back to regularly scheduled programming.

Brian, there are some things that you may want to try that will help, but ultimately unless you go to the doctor there’s no way to tell the cause and therefore no way to know for sure what the proper treatment is. You could be suffering from Sleep Apnea or another nighttime breathing condition (I forget what it’s called, but that’s the point, a doctor is good for this). Should you be suffering from one of these then you will need something called a CPAP machine that will help you breathe and relieve all of this for you.

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Now that that’s out of the way there are some remedies I’ve been privy to learning about in detail, and approve of the most.

  1. Valerian is popular and according to word of mouth very helpful for most. It gets you to sleep within an hour of consumption, is completely natural, doesn’t cause morning grogginess, and is not addictive. It only costs about $5 for 100 capsules and you can order it right online. Take Valerian about an hour before you want to be asleep for 3 weeks before you deem it to not work. It has to be rotating in your system regularly to be helpful so don’t give up on it quickly.
  2. Ask your doctor if Melatonin is good for you. While it’s definitely affective and inexpensive (about $10/bottle) it hasn’t been approved for long-term use by the FDA nor does it seem quite as safe for people with certain mental illnesses like depression, schizophrenia, etc. If your doctor okays Melatonin it will definitely help you get to sleep, but you should try to work on some other remedies in the meantime.
  3. Yoga is my third optional prescription. If you’re really having trouble getting to sleep you’ve probably already tried different relaxation techniques like visualization and counting sheep (it really does work for some people). It’s time to take it up a notch and take a Yoga class. I don’t know how to describe why Yoga helps, I just know it really, really does.
  4.  If you have a diet full of sweets and caffeine then that could be your problem. Cut the sweets and caffeine and eat more magnesium rich foods, like whole grains, dark leafy greens, and legumes.
  5. Drink teas with Chamomile and Kava. Both of these ingredients promote stress and tension relief which is a big factor in a lot of people not getting enough sleep. Have a late night cup of tea about a half an hour before bedtime and you should see some improvement in your overal state of tension (or lack thereof).

 

Brian I hope these help!

Avoid Lines and Inflated Prices for the PlayStation 4

11 Jun

Black Friday shoppers wait in line in 30 degree temperatures

I know we’re normally all about answering questions here but the announce of the PS4 release date is somewhat of a holiday. In honor of said holiday, I’ve decided to inform you guys on how to get the PS4 the right way, because whether you like to believe it or not waiting in line at Best Buy and paying the full amount is not it.

  1. Amazon pre-orders have started today, and their deal is my favorite. You preorder the PS4 and go through all of the steps but they don’t charge you when you order it. Instead, they wait until the ship date to charge you. With that comes a lowest price guarantee. The price will fluctuate from the day you order to the shipping date, and whichever the lowest price is within that time is the price you get. So you can order it today for $399.99 and end up spending $369 or less. Just make sure that a) you go through with the checkout process like normal and b) you have that money in your account by about a week before the release/ship date.
  2. GameStop also has a preorder page complete with several bundle options. The bundles are way more expensive because they come with games and extra controllers. They still do the lowest price guarantee and charge on ship day. Overall you may like this deal better than the Amazon one, but be aware that with GameStop you can only order 1 system per household. With Amazon your options are limitless and if you save on the system saving on the rest is easy. It’s still a cool option to avoid the ruckus on premier day and from what I hear there’s a preorder bonus, but it’s not as likely that you’ll get it unless you order like 10 minutes ago.

sony-unveils-the-playstation-4-1

If I may be frank: Reserve your shit!

AnswerLoft’s Guest Post Membership Details

10 Jun

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Guest posting is an excellent way to get your name and blog out there, reach more people, bring more traffic to your own website, and network with other bloggers. For bigger blogs it even pays cash. Overall it’s a positive experience and intelligent business decision.

Guest posting at AnswerLoft is an option for you. While we do know a lot and have access to a lot of information, we don’t know it all. We believe that there are other bloggers out there who will provide excellent perspectives, experiences, and answers that we don’t have.

Here at AnswerLoft our guest posting deal is a little unconventional. It’s all about mutual services and agreements, and happiness for all involved. Keep reading for the details of how and why.

Qualifications

  1. You must have a blog of your own.
  2. You must be a niche writer pertaining to valuable information and guidance. It can be a niche that hasn’t been listed on AnswerLoft, or a niche that is already covered on AnswerLoft. We get all kinds of questions already.
  3. You must present quality content on your blog with a minimum of 10 posts and 20 followers (a.k.a. new bloggers welcome).

The Process

Because AnswerLoft is about answering questions that have been sent our way, our guest posting works a little differently than normal blogs.

  1. Send an e-mail to AnswerLoft@gmail.com and title it “Guest Post Application” in the subject. In this e-mail you must list your name, the URL of your blog, and your niche.
  2. I will then check out your blog and decide whether I feel like your style of writing and how you attack your niche will be a good fit for AnswerLoft. I will let you know if you’re accepted into the membership. If you’re not I will let you know why.
  3. From then on, should I get a question pertaining to the niche of your interest and it’s guest posting time on AnswerLoft, I will pass it to you and request that you write a post on it. Accepting is not mandatory. This is ongoing, meaning as AnswerLoft’s web presence grows so does yours, as long as you post.

The Benefits & Details 

You have the option of accepting or denying the posting requests I send you. I may send you several, or I may send you few. It depends on how the wind blows with the questions we receive. Should you deny no harm no foul (unless you absolutely never post, proving that your membership is pointless). Should you accept there are a few benefits and guidelines.

  1. Guest posting on AnswerLoft is a mutual deal. That means you must also accept a guest post from AnswerLoft on your own blog for the same release date. You may assign a subject or we can choose one. It’s your blog and therefore your call, but that’s the deal.
  2. We will assign you a question and a template. We will edit the post and send it back for major edits if necessary. We are willing to work with you until the post is accepted.
  3. Posts on each blog will provide back-links and proper introduction of authors.
  4. There will also be a permanent link to you as an affiliate on the AnswerLoft home page (this isn’t required of you, though it would be pleasant).
  5. You must agree to not release your guest post to any other blog.
  6. The content must be completely original.
  7. We have exclusive rights to use it how we please so long as we do not use it as ghostwritten content. You may do the same with the post(s) you receive from us. This means that when AnserLoft starts releasing eBooks to sell we can use your content to sell, as you may with ours.
  8. ^Free advertisement, because whatever we do with the post you will get credit that is rightfully yours for the content written. Ebooks or otherwise wherever the content appears so does your name and URL. By agreeing to guest post you are agreeing to show us the same courtesy that we have agreed to show you.

 

So, if you would like to guest post for AnswerLoft simply send the required e-mail to AnswerLoft@gmail.cm and let’s get started.

I have some pretty great quality content on my monetized blog but I need to generate more traffic. Any tips? – Patty, Mass.

9 Jun

Patty and others,

You’ve hit on an important mark and stepping stone when it comes to taking your web-marketing campaign to the next level. The key is this: the content on your site can be as great as you want, but that doesn’t mean that people are going to see it. Your biggest purpose is to make people see it or its value goes from quality to nil.

Generate-traffic-to-your-blog

The fact of the matter is that it’s difficult to make money on the web. On average, only about 1-2% of those that come across your URL on search engines and elsewhere are going to click the link, and then only 1-2% of those people are likely to purchase something. (There are different metric theories but this is the one I’ve found listed most consistently concerning websites in general). Instead of fighting basic metrics, join their cause. Expand your reach before you try to up that percentage with better quality.

With that being said, you need to spend more time reaching out and putting your website out there.

Here are some tips:

  1.  Integration is key. If you have a WordPress site for instance, you want to integrate that with a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and a multitude of other networks. By integrate I mean you want to be able to post to all of these sites at once. This expands your reach by millions automatically.
  2. Spend time getting to know people on these networks. Whatever time you put in to write a post you want to put in triple that socializing on social networks. You get out of it what you put into it. Get to know people and allow them to get to know you. Don’t be pitchy and focus too heavily on getting the lead & conversion. Focus on building a relationship. This is where quality is most important (without ignoring quantity). The rest will follow.
  3. You’re going to start small building your platform on these networks. On facebook, for instance, you may only have 100 friends at the moment. However, if you are a part of the right groups, and like the right pages, you automatically have access to hundreds and thousands more people. Same goes with Twitter and Instagram with hashtags. Find out what will land you the most visibility, then strategically place your back-links in these places that offer you more visibility in addition to placing them on your own page.
  4. Use PPC advertising. The best is Facebook in my opinion, though Google’s advertising services may suit you better. You could also use StumbleUpon, though I wouldn’t make that my first pick of investments if you’re on a budget. PPC advertising works because it gets you leads and gives you time.
  5. Give people something to talk about. The best form of marketing and advertising is word of mouth, and it will always be the best. You can ensure that someone will be talking about you if you make a difference in their day for better or for worse (shoot for better). Aim to make a strong enough impression that people will mention it.
  6. Don’t ignore the power of Facebook. Aside from having contact with the masses and an awesome PPC campaign, you also have the power of the like button. The like button is the ultimate convenience to those who use it and want to promote something, and it’s the easiest rendition of word of mouth marketing to pursue. Use Facebook and think to yourself “Would I ‘like’ this?” before anything that you post.

Hopefully this will help you. Remember that you get out of it what you put into it. This means you need to spend genuine time and effort building your web-craft. People are getting rich off the web, it’s true, but it’s not a cake walk.

Don’t forget to ask more questions whenever you want, and like us on Facebook!

Recommended book(s) for this topic: