Dynamic Work/Life Solutions Blog

How to Throw a Party

Posted by Blog Tipster on Tue, Dec 06, 2016 @ 11:33 AM

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The holiday season is in full swing and there’s no better time for a party.  eni’s Personal Assistants want to help you plan a holiday party for the history books.  It’s important to keep in mind that on average, about 70 percent of the invitees will attend. Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to invite a few more people than you can actually fit at your location.

Give your guests advanced notice.  Let them know the date of the party a few weeks prior so they can set that weekend aside. Then send a reminder as it gets closer to the party.  Mail, e-mail, phone and even social media invitations are acceptable for general parties and get-togethers.  If it is a more formal event, you may want to stick with sending invitations in the mail.

Pick a theme if you want one as theme parties have become more popular.  Decorations, food/drinks, and music can all fit into whatever theme you choose.  Here are just a few theme ideas:

  • Have an “ugly sweater party”. Invite all guests to wear their “ugliest” holiday themed sweater.  Place old family photos around your home from a time gone by when holiday sweaters were all the rage.  You can even have a contest and give a prize to the guest with the “ugliest” sweater.
  • Everyone has heard of “Christmas in July” parties, well this holiday season throw a “Summer in December” party. Decorate with a beach theme, complete with beach balls as party favors and play some relaxing reggae music in the background.  Use tropical fruit such as bananas, pineapples and coconuts as edible décor.  Brave the cold and grill up some summer favorites and serve punch and the tropical drink of your choice.  Invite your guests to dress “Island Casual”. 
  • Throw a New Year’s Eve Gala. Break out your classiest decorations and don’t forget the confetti.  Serve plenty of delicate hors d'oeuvres along with champagne and/or sparkling cider.  Invite your guests to dress in their favorite formalwear.  Finally, be sure to play music that people will want to dance to.

Start cleaning your house a few weeks before the party and as time gets closer, you can rearrange the furniture as needed, hang lights, decorate, etc.  Starting the process a few weeks earlier will give you time to run out to get things you may have forgotten you needed.

If you expect a large number of people or there’s a chance the party may be loud, be respectful and inform any neighbors that are close by.

Remove and hide anything of significant value so it is not out in the open and cannot be damaged or stolen.  You may also want to hide personal things, like medicine, in the bathroom cabinet, etc.

Don’t forget trash cans!  Have a place for garbage set up in a few different locations.  It will make the cleaning process easier for you if someone can easily access a trash can.  Check them periodically throughout the party and change the bags so they don’t overflow.

Finally, make sure there is plenty of seating for your guests and have fun!

eni’s EAP and work/life services are designed to help employees effectively balance the competing demands of work and life while achieving optimal levels of productivity.  Contact [email protected] for more information.

Tags: Personal Assistant, Virtual Concierge Service, work/life balance, EAP, party planning, event planning, holiday party planning

Five Must See Shows on Netflix

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 @ 04:20 PM

Winter is officially here and for a lot of us that means we find ourselves spending more time indoors. To keep you from getting cabin fever, eni’s work/life experts have compiled a list of shows that will keep you happily occupied!

Making a Murderer (TV Mini-Series 2015)

After spending 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Steven Avery was exonerated after DNA evidence proved him innocent. Avery then sues Manitowoc County for $36 million in damages. After filing the lawsuit, Avery was arrested for a murder that happened on his property. Did he do it or was he framed? You’ll find yourself binge-watching Making a Murderer to find out more answers. Be prepared to be glued to your screen.

Master of None (TV Series 2015)

Aziz Ansari created and stars in this award-winning comedy focusing on a 30 year old actor living in New York City. The show is both funny and heart-warming and you’ll easily fall in love with the main character, Dev, as you watch him figuring out his life through dating, dealing with his parents, and other social situations.

Narcos (TV Series 2015)

This fast-paced drama tells the true story of Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar and the spread of drug cartels; from his start as a marijuana dealer to his rise as notorious drug lord. The story is told from the viewpoints of Escobar and U.S. DEA Agent Steve Murphy, who is trying to track him. The show has been called “thrillingly addictive.”

Bloodline (TV Series 2015)

This dramatic thriller focuses on the Rayburn family who own a hotel in the Florida Keys. The black sheep of the family, their eldest son Danny, returns home for the 45th anniversary of his parents’ hotel. His arrival back in town threatens to expose the family’s dark, shameful past and tests the family’s loyalty.

BoJack Horseman (TV Series 2014)

Netflix’s original animated comedy is voiced by numerous celebrities (Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, and Aaron Paul) and follows the washed up life of BoJack, a used-to-be celebrity. The humor is mostly ridiculous but it’s easy to watch one episode after another.

eni’s Personal Assistant service is designed to help employees effectively balance the competing demands of work and life, while achieving optimal levels of productivity.  Our Personal Assistants are available to provide our members with research and information on virtually any topic from finding a great new TV show to finding a list of local contractors to fix that leaky roof.

Tags: Personal Assistant, work/life balance

Best Buys for Fall

Posted by Blog Tipster on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 @ 04:47 PM

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In most parts of the country, outdoor pools have been closed for the season by Labor Day, but don’t let that stop you from buying a bathing suit! Swimwear is one of the many goods retailers discount this time of year. Other items include grills and lawn mowers. Store managers don’t want to store these things, send them back to a warehouse or sell them to wholesalers at a loss. They would rather sell them to you!

If you’re in the market for a new car, fall is a good time to buy. New-model cars have been parked in dealership lots since September, and salespeople are eager to get rid of the others in October and November. Expect to save at least 10%, and probably more, on the previous year’s model. And if you’re not particular about the color, the longer you wait the better deal you’ll get. It’s also a great time to look for a new RV.

The best time to buy fruits and vegetables is when they’re in season. In September through November, apples, cranberries, oranges, tangerines, honeydew melons, Bartlett pears, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms and spinach will be in season and less pricey than imported exotic fruits and vegetables .

Good wine can be found for a good price any time of the year, but fall is a great time to stock up on wine. The fall harvest season, when most vineyards release their latest vintages, offers the best selection.

Fall is also one of two best times of the year to buy cookware.  Ranges and stoves typically go on sale during the summer but ranges, and sometimes dishwashers, also get discounted in early fall, when new models arrive.

If you can plan ahead to make your purchases, you can save big in the fall!

BalancePro is a Personal Assistant Service designed to help employees effectively balance the competing demands of work and life while achieving optimal levels of productivity. The BalancePro service allows your employees to delegate their personal tasks- so they can focus more attention on business.  Learn more today!

Tags: Personal Assistant, work/life balance, EAP, Best Buys, Fall Shopping

Spring Cleaning Tips

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Thu, Apr 02, 2015 @ 04:09 PM

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It’s that time of year again- spring cleaning! Although having a clean and organized living space feels great, it can be a daunting task to clean and organize your entire home. eni’s Personal Assistants have a few tips to make the process more manageable!

Break it down one room at a time. Make a list of all the rooms of your house. Then think about what specific tasks need to be done for each and list them out. Think about tasks like cleaning baseboards, moving furniture and cleaning underneath, washing windows inside and out- things you don’t necessarily do during a normal cleaning session. Then take one room at a time and work off of your list, checking things off as you complete them.

Enlist the help of your family. Add one or two simple tasks to your kids’ chore list. Or you can assign each task points, allow them to complete the tasks they are able to, and tally up their “points” for a prize (ex - 100 points gets takeout of their choosing for dinner, 200 points is a trip to the movies for them and a friend)! This can be a great way to reward and motive them to help out.

Take your time. You don’t have to complete spring cleaning all in one day or even one weekend. Make April spring cleaning month and go room by room working off your list. You can break it down however works best for you- per day, per week, per weekend, etc. This will allow you the time you need to clean thoroughly without feeling overwhelmed and giving up all of your free time.

Ditch the expensive store bought cleaners for baking soda and vinegar! Did you know you can clean just about anything with baking soda, vinegar, or a combination of the two? It’s all natural and much cheaper than store bought cleaners. Check out this blog for all the ways you can clean with these products.

Follow these tips to make your spring cleaning more manageable! 

Tags: Personal Assistant, virtual resources, Spring Cleaning, work/life balance

Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 03:43 PM

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Each year we make resolutions to be better versions of ourselves in the New Year. According to one study (http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/), only 8% of us actually succeed in accomplishing those goals. So what can we do to ensure we are one of the elite 8%? Here are a few ways you can set yourself up for success:

  1. Don’t go overboard. Set one or two meaningful and achievable goals so you can focus all your efforts on the things you want most. Attempting an extreme makeover of sorts or setting a laundry list of goals to better yourself is nice in theory, but putting too much on your plate can make your goals seem daunting. If you feel like a deer in headlights just thinking about what you’re trying to accomplish it becomes easier to abandon your resolutions altogether.

     

  2. Make a plan. Come up with a series of smaller steps you will take to help you reach your goal. It’s easy to say you’re going to run a marathon in the New Year, but how are you going to get there? Unless you are superhuman and can roll out of bed one day and bang out 26.2 miles, you need to plan ahead for that. How often will you run, what weekly mileage will you aim for, how will you deal with the temptation of skipping your run on any given day? Identify smaller goals that will help you get to the “bigger picture”, think ahead about what obstacles may keep you from achieving those goals, and decide how you will handle them ahead of time.

     

  3. Track your progress and reward yourself for sticking with it. Check in with yourself every so often and see where you’re at with reaching your resolution. Maybe you want to quit smoking and 4 weeks in you’re still smoking but instead of 1 pack/day you’re down to 5 cigarettes a day. That IS progress and progress is better than nothing at all. Celebrate those small victories and allow them to remind yourself that not only CAN you do it, you ARE doing it! “Dead Last is greater than Did Not Finish which trumps Did Not Start” (unknown).

     

  4. Share, share, share! Tell your friends and family, post it on social media, tell your coworkers, and shout it from every roof top you can. Others will support and encourage you when you’ve stayed on track. On the flip side, no one likes to admit their weaknesses when a friend or family member asks about your progress and you have to tell them you’ve fallen short this time. Best case, you find someone who shares the same resolution and you help each other stay motivated.

     

  5. Use the technology available to you. There are a ton of trackers, apps, websites, facebook groups, etc you can use to help you achieve your goals.  You can use this technology to set and track your goals, get feedback and encouragement from others, or give yourself incentives to keep on track. Check out this article from Men’s Health on the best apps to help with your resolutions: http://www.menshealth.com/best-life/best-resolution-apps

Don’t be afraid of setting resolutions or of failure; keep your eyes on the prize and use these tools to help you achieve your goals! Good luck readers. 

eni’s Personal Assistant Service is designed to help employees effectively balance the competing demands of work and life while achieving optimal levels of productivity. This service allows your employees to delegate their personal tasks - so they can focus more attention on business. For more information contact eni today.

Tags: New Year's Resolutions, Personal Assistant, Virtual Concierge Service, work/life balance, Resolutions

Family Time This Fall

Posted by Cindy Mccall on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 @ 08:37 AM

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Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year!  For many of us, it’s also one of the last chances we may get to enjoy some family fun before the harsh winter weather kicks in. Check out these family friendly activities to keep your kids busy and entertained this year. 
 
Go apple picking. Apple picking is a great way to spend quality time with your family, while enjoying the outdoors and getting a little exercise. Plus, you will have fresh ingredients for those apple pies, homemade applesauce’s, and many other delicious fall recipes. Visit http://www.pickitfarmfresh.com/ to find a farm near you. 

Once you’ve picked your apples, make homemade caramel apples with this easy kid friendly recipe! Just heat up 1-2 cups of Chewy Caramels in a Pyrex measuring cup, dip your apples, and then roll in your choice of toppings. Visit http://www.busybeekidscrafts.com/Easy-Carmel-Apples.html for the full recipe with instructions. 

Visit the pumpkin farm. Games, food, fresh produce, farm animals, hayrides, and more- pumpkin patches offer a variety of entertainment for all ages. Go to http://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/ to find a pumpkin patch near you. 

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After you’ve chosen the perfect pumpkin, get creative with crayon drip art. Simply tape or glue the crayons where you want the drips to start and carefully melt them with a hair dryer. It’s easy enough for kids to help, and your pumpkin will stay fresher, longer than if you carved it!  For the full tutorial check out http://diycozyhome.com/crayon-drip-art-pumpkin/

Now that you’ve got some ideas, get out there and enjoy the beautiful fall foliage!

 

Want some more ideas? Contact eni to learn how our Personal Assistants can help you achieve a better work/life balance this fall!

              

Tags: Fall, Fall Activities, Personal Assistant, work/life balance

Funding Veterinary Bills – Tips from eni’s Work/Life Experts

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 @ 10:43 AM

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Your dog is sick, you’ve just made an emergency trip to the vet’s office and now it’s time to pay up. You’ve just paid for your own expenses and don’t have much in your savings, what now? Here are some options for paying large and unexpected veterinary bills.

Pet Insurance

Consider purchasing pet insurance for unforeseen circumstances. Before choosing a policy, make sure you understand what will and will not be covered. Visit http://www.petinsurancereview.com for information on how pet insurance works.

Payment Arrangements

Talk with your vet’s office. Often, if you are an established patient they will work out an arrangement with you to pay over time.

Care Credit

CareCredit is a credit card specifically for health and wellness needs. It can be used for your family and your pet’s medical needs. When used to make a purchase $200 or more special financing options are available. Call 800-677-0718 or visit http://www.carecredit.com to learn more.

Crowdfunding Websites

Crowdfunding has become more and more prominent in recent years. Individuals can use these crowdfunding sites to post a cause and receive monetary donations from the public. Generally anyone can use these sites for any cause (read about the man who raised $25,000 on Kickstarter for potato salad here

Here are a few crowdfunding sites you can use to raise money if your vet bills become exorbitant:

www.gofundme.com  

www.indiegogo.com

www.youcaring.com

www.giveforward.com

Charitable Organizations

There are also non profits and funds available for owners and pets in need. See http://www.humanesocietynational.org/veterinary_care_help.html for a list of national, regional, and breed specific assistance options.

211.org

This is an information and referral service run by The United Way. Dial 211 from your area or visit www.211.org and they will provide information on any additional programs in your area.

eni’s Personal Assistant Service is designed to help our members effectively balance the competing demands of work and life while achieving optimal levels of productivity.  Our Work/Life experts are available 24/7 to assist our members with everyday issues that require their attention, like finding money to care for a sick or injured pet, so they can focus on the job at hand.  

Tags: employee satisfaction, Personal Assistant, work/life balance, employee productivity, Pet Insurance

Surviving Summer With Kids

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Thu, May 15, 2014 @ 11:42 AM

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Summer is fast approaching and school will be over soon. That could mean bored children with too much free time on their hands. Luckily, eni’s Work/Life Experts have scoured the web to provide you with these tips and tricks to make summer more fun and less stressful!

Use a shoe caddy to make road trips and long drives easier.

Hang a shoe caddy over the back of the passenger seat. Stock it with toys, snacks, etc. This will allow your child to pick and choose the entertainment they want without distracting you from driving. It can also help keep your vehicle cleaner and more organized.

Make your own temporary safety tattoo for when you will be out and among large crowds.

You can make your own temporary tattoo by simply writing emergency information on your child’s arm or hand and then spraying it with liquid band aid. The liquid band aid will ensure the information remains visible even if it gets wet.   

Make summer snacks less messy with a cupcake wrap.

Warm weather means melting popsicles. Melting Popsicles mean sticky hands. Put a cupcake wrap at the bottom of the Popsicle, it will catch the drips and keep hands cleaner.

Bring baby outside with you while you work.

A simple fitted crib sheet over top of your playpen can protect your child from sunburn and insect bites while you enjoy the sunshine.

For older kids, make them work for their computer time.

Since they aren’t in school all day, you may as well put them to work! If you have a wireless internet connection, you can hold it hostage by updating the password daily. When they complete their chores they are rewarded with the current password.

Make Capri Sun slushies for hot days.

Throw them in the freezer for a few hours, when ready to eat cut off the top and you have a readymade slushie! They are fun, tasty, and portable.

 

Happy Summer!


Sources:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/hacks-that-will-make-a-parents-job-easier

http://redtri.com/bump-baby/life-hacks-for-new-parents/

http://justsomething.co/21-funny-life-hacks-to-make-parenting-easier/

http://news.distractify.com/fun/parenting-hacks-to-make-life-with-kids-easier/

Tags: Summer Activity Tips, summer activities, Keep Kids Busy During Summer, Personal Assistant, Virtual Concierge Service, employee engagement, work/life balance, employee productivity

Spring Break Travel Tips from eni’s Work/Life Experts

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 @ 03:46 PM

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With spring rapidly approaching, eni’s Work/life experts have provided a few travel tips to help you get the most out of your spring break!

Expect Large Crowds and Plan Ahead
Late March and early April are times when a lot of college students get time off for Spring Break. Therefore, you can expect travel to be crowded during that time. Get to the airport earlier than you normally would in anticipation of longer lines at check in and security. American Airlines suggest for Domestic flights and flights to Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands to arrive a minimum of 90 minutes prior to check in, and two hours ahead for international flights (http://www.aa.com).

Pack Smart
Toiletries are often much more expensive at a resort or on a cruise ship than they are from your local drug store. Remember to bring your essentials - tooth brush, tooth paste, shampoos and conditioners (many hotels are no longer providing these items) etc. If you are going somewhere tropical, don’t forget the sunscreen and after sun lotion.

Fly Healthy
Blood clots become a risk on long flights, so be sure to stand up and stretch every so often to keep the blood flowing to your extremities. Remember that when you are flying you’re in a confined space with many other people and little air circulation. Reader’s Digest suggests taking Echinacea and Vitamin C starting three days before your trip to boost your immune system (http://www.rd.com); no one wants to be sick on vacation!

Know Your Budget and Stick To It
You’ve already shelled out big bucks to get to your destination and stay while you’re there, but don’t forget about the extras including food, souvenirs, airport parking if necessary, baggage fees, etc. Plan ahead what you are able to spend on these items and don’t go outside your budget. Visit your airport’s website for parking fees. Fare Compare has a great table of baggage fees for the different airlines: http://www.farecompare.com/about/worldwide-baggage-fee-chart/

eni’s work/life experts available to assist our members with all aspects of travel planning!

Tags: Vacation Planning, Spring Break, Travel Planning, Personal Assistant, Virtual Concierge Service

eni’s Personal Assistants Ease Back to School Stress

Posted by Melissa Mayfield on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 @ 09:15 AM

It’s that time of year again readers - back to school! As any parent can tell you, getting your children ready for back to school can be a busy and stressful task, which is why eni’s Personal Assistants have put together some information to help make the process a little less hectic.

describe the imageSchool Supplies:

The list of school supplies needed seems to be growing larger every year. Although these items are generally low in cost individually, they can add up to a rather large bill. Knowing where to find discounts and specials may help keep costs lower.

Retailmenot.com
This website allows you to search for coupon codes that can be used online for discounts on various items. Go to the site and type in school supplies into the search function. You will be provided with a list of current coupon codes various retailers and online stores are offering.

Staples
Staples is offering weekly discounts and coupons for different school supplies. Check their back to school website to find out what supplies are currently offered at discounted rates. They also offer a Back to School Savings Pass which you can purchase for $10 and receive a 15% discount in store on school supplies all year long.

211.org
This website and phone line are sponsored by the United Way. They can connect you with local resources for school supplies and other basic needs items. You can go to the website www.211.org and type in your zip code or just dial 2-1-1 from any phone within the area code you reside to be connected with community programs.

After School Activities and Childcare:

YMCA/YWCA
Your local YMCA/YWCA is an excellent resource for low cost childcare. Visit http://www.ymca.net/ and type your city/state or zip code into the “find your Y” search box to get information on your local Y programs.

Your Local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency
The Child Care Resource and Referral agency can assist you with locating care as well as applying for any financial assistance available in your area. This is a good resource if you are having trouble finding after school programs or care. You can visit their national site at: http://www.naccrra.org/ to locate the agency closest to you.

Your School’s Administration
Contact your child’s school office. Many schools have their own after school programs or have deals with local providers to bus students to certain programs. Contact the school to find out if they are aware of or participating in any programs.

We hope you have found this helpful and informative. We wish you and your children the best of luck throughout this school year!

eni’s Personal Assistants are available 24/7 to provide our members with support on a wide variety topic including back to school issues such as: assistance locating after school care, school supply items, discounts, charity programs.

Contact us today for more information:
1-800-364-4748

Tags: Back to School, Personal Assistant, Virtual Concierge Service, work/life balance