There is a special feeling ‘round the world in this time. It’s in the crispness of the winter chill, triumphant song  and humble gratitude. It’s in the scent of cumin and warm spices of varying colors. Traditions of the Christmas celebration have danced across centuries, nations and the hearts of merry-makers.

Asia

From stolen moments of Sung Tan Jul to large parades, romantic dinners, mango and large quantities of fried Chicken, the Christmas traditions of Asia are as varying as the cultures of the people on the largest continent on earth.

Although Christmas joys can come with a penalty in North Korea, South Koreans enjoy festive trees and ice cream cakes. In Japan, the holiday has become similar to Valentine’s Day with festivities centering around romantic excursions for couples, but singles and couples alike enjoy KFC and often need to make reservations to ensure they get their share. In China, the holiday is not official, school and work remain in session; but celebrators still enjoy decorations such as the Tree of Light, decorated with paper flowers and chains. In India, those who celebrate do so by decorating mango and banana trees.

 

Africa

 

Merry Kisimusi is the thing to say (amongst other greetings) on a bright African Christmas Day. The nations celebrate in different ways and merry-makers are of a variety of backgrounds. In Senegal plastic trees and blow up Santas are purchased. Nairobi utilizes fake snow to imitate a white Christmas; Ghana celebrates with candlelit palm trees, while Liberians gather ‘round bell laden oil trees.

 

All the décor however, doesn’t compare to the celebrations found in countries across the continent. Celebrators attend church and then form a festive parade in some locales, carrying carefully crafted paper lanterns or children swathed in leaf skirts dance and sing with homemade instruments.

North America

 

From Alaskan pineapple doorways to Canadian Mumurings to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting and the Native festive dances, Christmas is celebrated in many ways in North America.

Many enjoy cozying up by the crackling fireplace with stockings hanging from the mantle, attending a candlelit service or singing carols through snow quieted streets and drinking cider with friends in the United States. Canadians enjoy Christmas day, but the festivities continue through early January as “Mumerers” attempt to fool friends and loved ones by disguising their voices and yelling outside the door of their homes in exchange for treats. Alaskans carry a star on a pole through the streets of towns and stage roadside plays which commemorate the Nativity story. In New Mexico, Natives of the old tribes celebrate the Christmas story with a service and dances.

South America

 

Ancient tradition and the inevitable effects of modernity both play their part in South American Christmas celebrations. Some attend the midnight mass, called the mass Misa del Gallo in Chile, and enjoy large feasts of dainties. Argentinians believe the birth of the Christ child occurred on 24th and so celebrate on Christmas Eve. Peruvians and Venezuelans celebrate through the beginning of January. The children of Venezuela set out straw and water for the Magi’s camel and hope to awake with the black smudge of Balthazar’s kiss on their cheek for luck. We can also thank the warmth of Latin America for the beautiful Poinsettia plant that reminds us all of Christmas joys.

Antarctica

 

What would seem a winter-wonderland to those in warmer parts of the world is actually a summer scene in Antarctica. Christmas is celebrated by Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station with a footrace around the world (those who wish to use other means besides their feet may do so). However, at the South Pole the journey is not nearly as arduous as it may sound. In fact, the journey could be made in a few minutes, but for kicks they make the course a few miles long. Yet, beyond the races is the quietude of the holiday celebrations. Christmas is greeted in the evening with soft carols of the station choir, gentle reflection on the meaning and the longing from researchers for home and family.

Europe

Everywhere there is a feast, streets are filled with carol and song as Europeans recognize the biggest holiday of the year. Christmas in Europe is greeted with Christmas markets from Brussels to London, pine trees, decor and gifts. Lights dazzle Parisian socializers, and a midnight mass of organ and song soothes the ears. Finland may consider their country to be the Christmas capitol as the nation is widely named as the home of Santa. Yet, in Rome, it is not Saint Nicolaus who receives wish lists from children, but the famed Santo Bambino, whose statue isn’t far from where the Pope delivers a Christmas message in Saint Peter’s Square.

Australia

For Aussies, Christmas is in the warmer months, so Santa comes in on the beach and the day is also often celebrated away from home. People eat outdoors and exchange gifts during the holiday that marks their summer break. Christmas trees are still a staple and plenty of goodies to eat are a must. As in many other parts of the world, Australians enjoys Christmas lights; however, since it’s in the summer, they can enjoy them without the shivering cold.

 

No matter what traditions you enjoy, Officense has your business needs covered and can even cover you with 24/7 communications if your Christmas goes global.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.antarcticaonline.com/culture/culture.htm

http://mentalfloss.com/article/58810/8-antarctic-traditions

http://www.worldofchristmas.net/christmas-world/south-america.html

http://www.latina.com/lifestyle/christmas-facts-latin-america

http://traditionscustoms.com/christmas-traditions/christmas-north-america

http://www.ilac.com/news/a-north-american-christmas-an-inside-look-for-esl-students/

http://goafrica.about.com/od/peopleandculture/a/christmas.htm

http://www.one.org/us/2012/12/17/how-africa-celebrates-christmas-2/

http://www.xmyase.com/asia.php

http://www.mydestination.com/travel-articles/721444/100-christmas-traditions

http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/australia.shtml

http://travel.aarp.org/articles-tips/articles/info-10-2013/travel-in-europe-christmas-holiday.page.2.html

Posted in 2014, Christmas, Fireworks, Holidays, New York City, Outdoors, Perspective, Small Business, Virtual Office | Leave a comment

Witcrowdsh Christmas so near it would seem there would be an abundance of holiday cheer. Mere weeks away though, stressed out gift-givers can be found across shopping centers fighting over parking spaces, the year’s “it” toy, and spreading words and actions that don’t reminisce with the joy, peace, and love intended of the holiday. Luckily, Baltimore has a great line-up of holiday inspired events to keep you in high and holiest spirits to keep you cheerful this season

  • A Miracle on 34th Streetmiracle

A block in Hamden that bears the same street name as the famous 1947 Christmas movie, truly is quite the spectacle. Since 1947, the 700 block of row homes on 34th street has taken the meaning of “deck the halls” to a whole new level as neighbors adorn their homes with giant inflatable snow globes, musical trains, and even a life size Grinch. The Christmas decorations and lights display, rumored to be visible from space, will be celebrating its 67th year this season. See one of Baltimore’s greatest community light shows through January 1st, including all night on Christmas Eve.

  • MonumentThe Holly Jolly Holiday Lights Trolley Tour

Love the lights, but hate the parking around 34th Street? Then come enjoy the splendor of Baltimore’s holiday lights on the Holly Jolly Trolley. Departing from the Inner Harbor, this whimsical trolley ride will take you on a festive tour of Baltimore’s most decorated neighborhoods and attractions. Avoid the crowds and see Hamden’s world famous 34th street Christmas Festival of Lights and the first monument to George Washington light up Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. Through December 28th, the trolley departs from the Pier 5 Hotel in Harbor East on weekends and tickets are available via: http://tickets.baltimore.org/default.asp

  • A Christmas Carol presented by The Chesapeake Shakespeare Companyxmas carol

One of Christmas’s most enduring stories, A Christmas Carol, is coming to Baltimore! Until December 23rd, the Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic tale of the season’s most famous bah-humbug will be presented by the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. With a Charm City Twist, Join Scrooge as he embarks on his journey through past, present, and future in Baltimore’s 19th century business district in the heart of Baltimore’s business district, the Inner Harbor. For tickets, visit: www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com/tickets

  • The new skating rink at McKeldin Square located at the intersection of Pratt Street. and Calvert Street is due to open up.  We are lIce Rink at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

The Waterfront Partnership’s newest addition to McKeldin Plaza is a great way to spice up your next date night, teach your kids how to ice skate or simply get fit while having fun! The Inner Harbor’s ice skating rink will be open daily, with special programming and events happening throughout the season and up to January 19th. See more at: http://baltimore.org/article/ice-rink-baltimores-inner-harbor#sthash.3Wb4iFtd.dpuf

  • The Polar Express 4-D Experience4d

The beloved Caldecott Medal winning children’s book, The Polar Express, will be playing at the Baltimore National Aquarium in stunning 3-D and further brought to life with 4D effects. This multi-sensory experience follows a young boy on his extraordinary journey to the North Pole. An immersive experience for the whole family to enjoy, embark on the train ride of the season through January 1st. http://www.aqua.org/

  • German Christmas Villagegcm2

Christmas Village is returning to the Inner Harbor’s West Shore Park for a German inspired winter-wonderland marketplace! Festival goers can shop at the 45 various arts and crafts vendors in the beautiful outdoor wooden booths, surrounding the Christmas tree. Take a lunch break from holiday shopping for a Bratwurst, Lebkuchen [German for Gingerbread], warm up with mulled wine, or sip on a German beer at the Bavarian Beer Garden. Then take a warmth break within the festival’s heated tent and revel in the daily performances of local choirs, bands and performers. This cultural experience is taking place through Christmas Eve. Learn more at http://baltimore.org/article/german-christmas-village#sthash.fTXehczn.dpuf

  • Ring in the New Yearfws

After all these events, if you still can’t embrace the Christmas spirit; know there’s always next year! The celebration kicks off at 9 p.m. at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater with a variety of live music. The largest fireworks display in the region will commemorate the countdown to 2015 at the stroke of midnight. For details, please visit www.bop.org

However you choose to celebrate the holidays, you can rest assured your calls are being answered, your packages received, and appointments are set. From all of us at Officense, have a safe and happy holiday season, and Cheers to a prosperous New Year!

Posted in 2015, Business, Business Address, Chesapeake, Christmas, Conference/Events, entrepreneurs, Events, Executive Assistant, family, Festivals, Fireworks, free, fun, Holidays, Maryland, New Year's, Office, Small Business, snow, Theatre, To-Do, Tourism, video conference, Virtual Office, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It is goodbye turkey and hello Monday – Cyber Monday! Here are some Cyber Monday deals to take care of all your geek and gadget gift giving needs. Be prepared for limited supplies, limited-time sales and restrictions though. So get your mouse clicking finger ready, it’s time to save.

Best Cyber Monday Deals 2014

Amazon

Amazon’s Fire phone is available unlocked for $199, originally $649, in a limited promotion that ends Monday. The phone works with GSM carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro PCS and Cricket. It comes with a full year of Amazon Prime membership for free two-day shipping and access to free streaming movies and television shows, like FX’s “The Americans.”

Amazon’s new Fire HD 7 tablet deal began Thursday and ends Monday. It’s available for $109 (regularly $139) in six-inch and seven-inch models plus five color choices.

Best Buy

If you’re looking to get your hands on Android Wear for as cheap as possible, we might have a deal for you. Best Buy is selling the LG G Watch, one of the very first Android Wear devices, for $79 as part of its Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions. That’s even better than Google’s sale on the watch, and it’s $150 off the device’s list price. Now, we don’t recommend the G Watch — it’s already been superseded by a newer model and it’s been left in the dust by the competition — but it’d definitely a bargain-basement price. It looks like it’s sold out online, but you might be able to find it at a local Best Buy near you. Best Buy is also offering a $50 Google Play credit with purchase, which makes this an incredible deal.

GameStop

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Cyber Monday through Sunday, Dec. 7, GameStop.com will offer deals on new and pre-owned video games, consoles, smartphones and more. All week long, customers can snag deals both online and in its more than 4,200 retail stores.

  • Online Monday only: save $70 off Xbox One Holiday Value Bundle ($329.99) and $50 off Xbox 360 500GB Holiday Value Bundle ($199.99).
  • Online and in-store Monday: $20 off new video game titles for Xbox 360 and PS3: NBA 2K15 ($39.99), Borderlands the Pre Sequel ($39.99), WWE 2K15 ($39.99); and $10 off BioShock Infinite Complete ($29.99).
  • All week online: pre-owned PlayStation 3 console bundles for $199.99 and Xbox 360 console bundle for $149.99.
  • All week online and in-store: pre-owned Wii console bundle for $89.99 and Nintendo DS bundle for $69.99.

techie gift ideas

Google Play

Though this year’s details haven’t been released, last year Google Play had free MP3s, including pop hits and classics.

“If last year’s spoils were anything to go by, Google Play will be the one-stop shop for any movie buff or music-lover who may have overstretched themselves on Black Friday,” according to DealNews.

Kmart

Kmart and Sears’ Cyber Week deals start Sunday, Nov. 30 at midnight until Saturday, Dec. 6 at 11:59 p.m. The two sister companies interchangeably allow free in-store pick-up at any of 1,800 Sears or Kmart locations nationwide.

  • Save $100 on a RCA 46-inch 1080p LED HDTV, paying $349.99.
  • Get 50 percent off Hasbro games.
  • Save $70 on Craftsman 42 piece 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch Drive Bit and Torx Bit Socket Wrench Set, paying only $29.99.
  • Receive up to 40 percent off Joe Boxer apparel for the family plus save 15 to 25 percent off with code CYBER25.

Office Depot and OfficeMax

The sister stores Office Depot and OfficeMax will have exclusive online deals with a Cyber Monday pre-sale beginning on Sunday through Monday, Dec. 1. Then, the stores will have deals through the week on laptops and tablets through officedepot.com/cybermonday.

Sears

  • Save $80 on Kenmore Elite 5 Qt. 400 Watt Stand Mixers and pay $169.99.
  • Save $30 on Craftsman C3 19.2V Lithium-Ion Hammer Drill Kit and pay $99.99; plus Shop Your Way members get an extra 10 percent off tools purchases at Sears.com, with some exclusions.
  • Save $530 on the Kenmore 25 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Stainless Steel Refrigerator and pay $819.99. Save up to 50 percent on all outerwear for men, women and children (regularly priced from $30 to $180), plus an extra 25 percent off using coupon code: CYBER25.

cyber monday onling shopping_2

Staples

  • Save $100 on an Asus X205 laptop, spend $149 online only.
  • Get a Dell 24-inch monitor for $99 online, saving $100.
  • Get 40 percent off select custom holiday cards and photo calendars in-store and online.
Posted in 2014, Christmas, Hanukkah, Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and holidays such as Hanukkah and Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to reflect on this year’s accomplishments.

You’ve been working extra hard to achieve your goals, improve your marketing strategies and dedicate yourself to bringing in new clients.

Remember all the sleepless nights, the overtime you put in on weekends and the valuable moments with your family you’ve invested in attracting new clients? Let me ask you this: How often did you take out the time to show your old and current clients your appreciation?

Research has shown that it takes 8 times the investment to win a new client as it does to retain an existing one. So don’t make the mistake and overlook your present and past customers as they build the foundation of your business and without them; your business would not exist.

To get your creative juices flowing, we at Officense would like to share our top 10 ideas for your own client appreciation campaign that will create a remarkable impression.

keep calm because you're invited MP

1. HOST A CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENT
A client appreciation event is a great opportunity of getting some face-to-face time with your former and current clients. Contact OFFICENSE to find out more about our yearly appreciation luncheon in December.
2. SEND GREETING CARDS ON UNIQUE HOLIDAYS
How many times are we overwhelmed by the piles of holiday cards we receive for Christmas, Hanukkah or New Years? Lessen the chance your card gets overlooked by sending it to customers on a unique holiday. Ground hog day, National Chocolate Day just to name a few… Now it’s time to get innovative.

3. A PERSONAL CALL
There’s no need to break the bank with a lavish gift to thank a customer. By simply picking up the phone and saying “Thank You” or “Happy Holidays” you will make a powerful statement and unique impression.

pick up phone

4. SEND A HANDWRITTEN NOTE
Some might call it Old School others unique. Let’s switch it up a little and send a personal handwritten note instead of an email or tweet. You’ll make your customer’s day—everyone loves receiving real mail!

5. DISCOUNT THE BILL OF YOUR LONG-TIME CLIENTS, JUST BECAUSE
Send a note telling your client you’ve taken a few bugs off their June bill as a way of showing your appreciation for their loyalty.

6. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – SHARE IT!
You’re the expert on your product and service, so show it off a bit to provide useful information and educate your customers. An email newsletter or blog would be a great start.

7. MAIL HEALTHY SNACKS TO THEIR OFFICE
Who doesn’t like snacks during a busy day at work? By sending a healthy snack variety you show more than just appreciation.

Thank you in different languages

8. CREATE AN HONOR ROLL ON YOUR WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE
Even though it’s not The Nobel Prize or The Grammys, you can still make your clients feel special by highlighting your best customers.

9. SEND SMALL GIFTS OR GIFT CARDS
Cupcakes from your local bakery, a Starbucks gift card, and even movie tickets are a great way to say “Thank You”. The better you match your client’s personality the more you show just how well you know them.

10. GIVE REFERRAL REWARDS
One of the most valued compliments you can get is a referral to your business.

Of course our list could go on and on, but now it’s up to you. Try out some of our tips or incorporate your own ideas to make a positive statement. We can guarantee that it will set you apart from competitors, cultivate client retention and build relationships that will last a lifetime.

For more information call (410) 814-7500.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving 11.26.14 mP

Written by MP

Posted in 2014, appreciation, Autumn, call, Christmas, client, Coffee, discount, Food, free, fun, Hanukkah, Holidays, loyalty, note, presents, referral, relationship, rewards, social media, Thanksgiving, unique | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Friday Deals

Thanksgiving is a time for celebration with those we love and the clients and staff members we appreciate—a time for giving thanks and enjoying a delicious holiday feast! But the best part of Thanksgiving isn’t the blissful food-induced coma we slip into while lounging in our elastic waist-band pants—it’s all about that Black Friday sale! And this year Black Friday is starting even earlier than ever—some of the best deals are going to ramp up starting as early as 5pm Thursday evening—that is, unless you live in Maine, Massachusetts or Rhode Island.

All of our favorite retailers and department stores have put together absolutely amazing deals on all sorts of holiday favorites for this year’s Black Friday savings. You can even take advantage of all sorts of sales and discounts without leaving the comfort of your home. Forget fighting through crowds of other shoppers or worrying about whether the items you’re after are all sold out. Get in on the action through your computer, tablet or smartphone and enjoy mind-blowing values on apparel, home goods, furniture, jewelry and everything in between! With all the savings you’ll enjoy, you can get something for every executive on your gift list (and be sure to check out our upcoming client appreciation gift guide for suggestions).

So relax, and don’t fret about getting your holiday shopping done—just sit back and help yourself to another slice of pumpkin pie. We’ve got you covered.*

grandmas-pumpkin-pie

DEPARTMENT STORES

JCPenney: Doors open Thanksgiving Thursday at 5:00pm. This year will be their biggest Jingle Sale ever including a special $100 coupon giveaway of instant savings. Earn $20 cash bonus when you spend $75 in store; $10 off $10 or more coupon giveaway; 60 to 70% off most apparel; $9.99 Cooks Kitchen Electronics after rebate; $2.99 towels; 60% off luggage; 60%-70% off all sheets; An extra 30% off fine jewelry already reduced 40-65%; Tons of DoorBuster deals in store.

Kohl’s: Sales begin Thursday at 6:00pm. Over 500 deals. 32” Direct LED TV for only $99.99; 50% off all toys; Get $15 in Kohl’s cash for every $50 spent; $179.99 Beats by Dr. Dre; Huge savings on all electronics; $79.99 Canon PowerShot Elph 135 Camera; $329.99 Xbox One; 55 to 60% off + additional 20% off selected fine jewelry; 40-50% off watches; $9.99 Kitchen Electronic Deals; $29.99 HP All-In-One Desktop Printer; and much more.

Macy’s: Doors open 6pm Thursday Nov. 27th to Friday Nov. 28th at 10pm, and again Saturday from 7am-1pm. Rampage Boots Soon $19.99; Luxurious Cashmere Sweaters $39.99; Sherpa Comforter $49.99; Dyson Vacuum $299.99; Diamond Bangle $199; Estee Lauder Advance Night Repair & Supreme Set only $50; Julius Leather Sectional $2999; and a Yardley 3pc. Queen Bedroom Set $399; Huge rebates on men’s and women’s pants, sweaters, coats and jackets as well as home furnishings, bedding and bath accessories, home decor, jewelry, bags and  much more.

Target: Doors open at 6pm on Thanksgiving Thursday Nov. 27. Here are just a few of the deals you can find: Beats By Dre Solo HD Drenched Headphones $97; Nikon L330 20.2MP digital camera w/ 26X zoom lens $99; Xbox One with Assassin’s Creed Unity & Black Flag $329.99; Element 40″ 1080p LED HDTV $119; and a NABI 2 8GB 7″ Kids’ Tablet  $129.99; 100s of doorbusters and 1000s of amazing deals—HDTVs, computers, digital cameras, mobile devices, brand name kids’ toys and much more.

Walmart: Walmart is kicking off its Black Friday Event on Thursday Nov. 27th at 6pm with a one-hour guarantee (in-store only while supplies last). It will be open for Black Friday Nov. 28th from 6am on. This is the most anticipated Black Friday kick off of all major department stores. Deals include unbeatable doorbusters on the latest electronics, audio equipment, kids’ toys, home furnishings, and much more. Alongside some great savings on TVs, tablets and headphones; Buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 5s and get a $75 Walmart gift card; Trade-in your old smartphone and get up to $200 on a Walmart eGift Card.

VIRTUAL OFFICES

Officense: This year we are offering a Black Friday special all our own! Receive One (1) month free when you sign up for a yearly membership until the end of December 2014! Call Kevin Feng for details 410 814 7500.

gifts girl

APPAREL

Abercrombie & Fitch: Abercrombie is being very super secret santa with all their planned Black Friday goodness. They are asking that you sign up and #stayupallnight to get in on the all the details. They said “We’ll text you the Black Friday deets on the year’s biggest deal! Just text ALLNIGHT to 231892!” and you’ll get on the list. Current offerings are 50% off all flannels; All jeans 50% off; Outerwear $100 off; Free shipping over $75.

Aeropostale: Same as Abercrombie, no specific Black Friday deals are posted yet. They do have a gift guide available featuring gifts for Him & Her; Gifts under $10; Gifts under $20; Stocking stuffer specials with selected items more than 50% off; Many clearance items.

American Eagle: Current offerings include AEO Holiday Collection Buy one get one 50% off; Additional 25% off AEO clearance items for a savings up to 70%.

Bloomingdale’s: There will be special savings for early shoppers, available from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28—Receive a $15 money card with almost any $100 purchase; Get an extra $25 off a selection of women’s cashmere sweaters; Get an extra $50 off when you spend $100-$499.99 on almost all women’s and men’s coats; take an extra $100 off almost all women’s and men’s coats priced at $500 or more.

Express: Coldwear and Outerwear 50% off; Mix & Match Sale – Buy one, Get one $19.90; Must have his or hers sweaters – Buy one, Get one $19.90; Mens & Women’s Jeans – Buy one, Get one $19.90; 50% off men’s suits and blazers.

Forever 21: This year they are offering an email exclusive set of Black Friday deals starting at $3 – Must subscribe to get the perks; Up to 50% Winter Styles; Free shipping on orders over $30. 

H&M: Already offering online and in store Black Friday Daily Deals as low as $4.95 in all departments – Ladies, Mens, Kids and Home; Free shipping on orders over $50.

Hollister: This year Hollister is having a House Party to offer the biggest deals all week long. You must text PARTY to 743722 to get in on all the savings.

Old NavyDoors open Thanksgiving day at 4pm. 50% off everything in the store. Doorbusters on jeans, v-neck tees, scarves, sweaters, coats, jackets and kids’ apparel; Women’s Jeans $14.75; V-Neck Women’s Tees $5; Girls Toddler Half-Zip Pullovers $5; Wool-Blend Mens Peacoats $39.97; Wool-Blend Boys Moto Jackets $24.97; Wool-Blend Boys Moto Jackets $24.97; Old Navy Boys Long Sleeve Tees $4.97-6.47; Plus, be one of the first 100 customers in line at your store for a chance to win Old Navy’s Overnight Millionaire giveaway.

gifts guy

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

AmazonIt seems Amazon didn’t want you to have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving for Black Friday deals, so they kicked off the savings VERY early. As in it’s already happening. They are counting down to the big day with even more deals, all day, every day. They ask that you subscribe to their daily deals email to assure you won’t miss out on any of the last minute savings.

Barnes & Noble: Barnes and Noble is running out of the gate with early savings but these deals will only last from November 21 to the 23 so act fast. The Nook-branded 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is down to $149.99 after a $50 instant rebate, while the 10-inch model, after a $100 rebate of its own, gets a $249.99 price tag. If e-readers are more your type, the Nook GlowLight is down to a rock-bottom $99.

Best BuyGo online Thursday Nov. 27 and Friday Nov. 28 (plus score online exclusive doorbusters all day on Thursday), or you can head out to a local Best Buy store Thursday starting at 5pm and Friday at 8am. Huge doorbuster savings on all your favorite gizmos and gadgets.

OTHER

Bath & Body WorksTheir special showcases a tote bag valued at over $100, containing 5 popular products: Holiday Wish 3-Wick Candle, A Thousand Wishes Body Lotion, A Thousand Wishes Fine Fragrance Mist, Winter Cranberry All New Hand Soap, and Forever Red Mini Eau de Parfum.

Dicks Sporting Goods: Black Friday deals start on Thursday at 5pm. Huge 50% off doorbuster deals and free shipping when shopping online.

Toys R UsThanksgiving Thursday will also feature special 4 hour deals (while supplies last) between 5pm and 9pm. Doors open Thanksgiving Thursday Nov.27th at 5pm and stay open through Saturday until close. Specials on VTech InnoTab Connect WiFi Learning Tablet $39.99; Disney Frozen Olaf Jumbo Plush $19.99; LeapFrog LeapsterGS Explorer $24.99; Imaginarium 55-pc. $249.98; All Disney Princess & Me 18″ Dolls $19.99; Fisher-Price Imaginext Batcave $29; True Heroes Sentinel 1 Military Vehicles Set $39.99; Stats 10′ Round Trampoline and Enclosure $149.99; Nintendo 3DS XL Handheld Gaming System $179.99; Razor PowerRider 360 $99.99.

GameStopMost of the best GameStop deals come in the form of console bundles. If you’re in the market for a game console, new or old, you’ll probably find what you’re looking for on GameStop’s list of bundles. Save up to 50% on bundles; Huge savings on preowned Video Games.

But Do I Really Have to Do the Shopping Thing?!

Absolutely not! We completely understand the urge to avoid malls and shopping centers on the busiest and most congested day of the year. Never fear, our What Fun Stuff Can I Do in Baltimore Instead of Shopping with My Family Activity Guide is here! We’ve got irresistible outings and events for both young and old alike that’ll make your escape plan solid and guilt free. Because, really… who can fault you for wanting to participate in a 5K Turkey Trot for charity in lieu of, well, see visual aid below.

miserable men shopping

Blessing of the Hounds November 27, 2014Each Thanksgiving, it is a time-honored Maryland tradition to hold blessings of fox-hunters’ hounds and horses. More info…

Baltimore City Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K  November 27, 2014  – Every year, thousands of individuals from local communities come together to join the Y of Central Maryland for the annual Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K, a Thanksgiving Day tradition that raises critically-needed funds to support kids whose families live in poverty throughout Central Maryland. More info…

8th Annual Bulle Rock Turkey Trot November 27, 2014Open to the public for all age groups and fitness levels, this Thanksgiving 5K run and 1-mile walk will raise money for the Susquehanna Hose Company. More info…

Hearth and Home in Early Maryland November 29-30, 2013 - Explore the colonial table and discover how Maryland’s first settlers celebrated the end of the harvest season. Help churn butter, shuck beans, grind corn and learn about the many tasks required to cook the family feast over a 17th-century hearth. Discover a Southern Maryland delicacy – stuffed ham. Visitors contributing a non-perishable food item will receive a $1 discount off admission benefiting the Southern Maryland Food Bank. Historic St. Mary’s City  | Rt 5 and Rosecroft Rd South of Leonardtown  | St. Mary’s City, MD 20686  | t – 240 895 4967 More info…

Thanksgiving Extravaganza at Port Discovery November 28-30, 2014The weekend will be full of fun performances and loads of family activities. Port Discovery, Baltimore. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Ages 10 and under. Free w/ admission. More info… 

Don’t Forget Cyber Monday!

Cyber-Monday-2014

Forgot to add something to your holiday shopping list? Missed out on that excellent deal? Or perhaps your must have items were sold out? Don’t fret, Cyber Monday is here! If you thought that Black Friday sales were the end of it, think again! Even more great deals are on the way to make sure your holiday shopping is complete! We’ve got the whole list for all those irresistible savings on all kinds of gift goodies—now this is a Monday to actually look forward to! Check out our Cyber Monday Gift Guide coming soon.

*Officense has got you covered. While you are inundated with client requests, holiday gift lists and a million other things to wrap up before the end of the year, we can handle all your calls. We can take care of your mail. We can create custom business solutions specifically for you and your business that will make getting through the rest of the season a breeze.

Give us a call today to take advantage of our Black Friday offer so you can mark one more thing off that monster to do list!

Posted in 2014, family, Festivals, History, Holidays, Maryland | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

voteFor voters, Election Day is anticipated as the day their voices may finally be heard as state and federal representatives are elected. For others it’s just another Tuesday in November. In these modern times of absentee ballots, Election Day has evolved to embrace early voting as much as weeks in advance. Have you ever wondered why elections are held on a Tuesday in November to begin with? Well it all began in 1845…

Election_Day_1815_by_John_Lewis_KrimmelPrevious to 1845, states were allowed to hold elections at any time of year, as long as the elections took place within a 34-day period, and that the period ended prior to the first Wednesday in December. As you can imagine, this system created critical flaws to the electoral system.  To begin, the elective results for states which voted earlier in the year had the potential to affect the ‘voter turn-out’ in states holding later elections. More so, the opinions of voters in these late-casting states could be swayed by the results of early-voting states. As a result, Congress originated the current Election Day with the intent of having a consistent and efficient voting model.

ballot1888In 1845 congress decided to streamline an election day. The first Tuesday in November may not seem the most logical selection now, but back then it specifically appealed to 19th Century American farmers. You see in the 1800s, most citizens worked in the agricultural sector and lived quite far from their polling places. Generally, it would take these farmers at least a day of travel just to cast their ballots. Given that travel time alone was a full day, congress knew they needed to allow a two-day window for Election Days. But, still, why a Tuesday? Well, weekends weren’t practical since many voters spent their Sundays in church and Wednesdays were “Market Day” for farmers. It just so happened, Tuesday was the first opportune and most convenient day of the week to hold elections.Harry Truman

Now you know why Election Day is on a Tuesday, but you may still be wondering why elections are held in November. Believe it or not, you can blame farm culture for this one too. Throughout the spring and early summer months, it was planting season and so an Election Day during those seasons would overlap with the farmer’s sowings. Meanwhile, late summer and early fall elections would impede with the farmer’s harvest season. As you can see Congress was quickly running out of seasons, because as you can remember, travel in the 19th century was no easy feat, and this was especially true during harsh winter weather. Congress was essentially left with the late fall month of November as the best choice, perhaps only choice, to host Election Day; after the fall’s harvest and before winter weather could delay voters and their travels.

Nancy ReaganOver 150 years later, we still vote on the first Tuesday in November.  Why elections are still being held on this date is a mystery and some have contested that moving the date to the weekend would increase voter turnout. Until then, you at least have all the history you need about Election Day to share with your polling place as you fulfill your civic duty tomorrow! Before you cast your ballot, remember to update your Officense status so you can “vote”-assured that your business’s calls are being answered and packages received. Your friendly Officense receptionists have sent in their absentee ballots so we can be here greeting your clients and maintaining your business image while you vote for the laws affecting your business’s operations!Democracy

Happy Voting!

 

http://www.history.com/

Posted in 2014, Administrative Assistant, america, Baltimore, Business, Business Address, Community, Conference Room, Conference/Events, Economy, Election Day, entrepreneurs, Executive Assistant, History, Holidays, Office, patriotic, politics, Receptionist, video conference, Virtual Office, weather, workplace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

michael scott

What is a leader? One can define a leader as somebody whom people follow, who guides, or directs others. Whether it is the CEO of your company, or the captain of your varsity sports team, leaders come in all different forms, sizes, shapes and backgrounds. The one common thread is that leaders are needed in a group of people, and vice versa. A group of people without a leader becomes a disorganized mob, and a leader without a group is just someone walking a path all by themselves.

Not all leaders are destined to succeed, and even the ones that do have failed many times in order to achieve success. Steve Jobs got fired from Apple, and then went on to create NeXT and Pixar before being hired back and bringing Apple out of bankruptcy. What separates successful leaders from unsuccessful leaders is perseverance and learning from failure. Here are 10 reasons why leaders fail.

1. Arrogance too cool for school

Arrogance leads to thinking that you are “too cool for school.” Having a horrible student mentality is a major character flaw for aspiring leaders. You can always learn something new in life that can better yourself, and once you reach the pinnacle don’t stop learning. Arrogance goes beyond exaggeration of your abilities, as it also has to do with importance. This leads to the thought that rules and standards do not apply to you.

2. Melodrama 

The best leaders are always the ones who give credit to the team before themselves, the ones who use we instead of I. People who are melodramatic need to be the center of attention no matter what the situation is. They always have something going on that everyone “needs” to hear about.

3. Volatility turk

Someone who is volatile is by definition, “liable to change rapidly and unpredictably, especially for the worse.” These people tend to have mood swings. When you think of a leader, you always picture someone who has a great poker face. When the pressure is on, they never have a meltdown. Maybe they do behind closed doors, but they will never let you see them in that state of mind. No one wants to follow someone who cannot maintain their attitude, or someone who is very up and down.

4. Excessive Caution mj

Everyone is afraid to fail; however, not taking any risks at all in life will lead to failure. Michael Jordan once said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Like I said earlier, great leaders have failed multiple times on the road to success. They also weren’t afraid to make the big decisions. If a leader is not empowered enough to make tough calls, then they seem weak and no one wants to follow a weak leader. Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

5. Habitual Distrust

These people will always focus on the negatives. Negative people lack the magnetism needed to attract and retain people. It also leads to insecurity which is not a great quality to have as a leader. Some of the best advice I have ever gotten from one of my former bosses was about trust. He said, “I know I’m going to get lied to. It’s my job. But I either have to completely trust someone or not at all. Once it gets to the grey area, there is no coming back from that.”

6. Aloofness ron swanson 2

People who are aloof are disengaged and disconnected. Some other adjectives are unfriendly, distant, detached, antisocial, and unapproachable. This should be self-explanatory as to why a leader might fail if they are aloof. Do I really what to follow someone who is completely uninterested in what I have to say? Great leaders are the ones who truly seem like they care about the individuals in their organization.

7. Eccentricity

Many young entrepreneurs are told to think outside the box, dare to stray away from the norm, and I couldn’t agree more with that statement. Being inventive, creative, and taking initiative leads to success; however, this is a completely different case. People who are eccentric are described as unusual, and have odd behavior. Basically, they try to be different just for the sake of it. Great leaders stay true to themselves.

8. Eagerness to Please 

officeww(pp_w880_h1232)Business is not a popularity contest. Most of the time leaders will have to make the unpopular decision in order to succeed. Nobody liked the teacher’s pet in school and no one likes the person eager to please everyone. You can’t make everyone like you so why waste your time?

 9. Passive Resistance

What they say is not what they believe. You wouldn’t buy a product from salesman who doesn’t believe in the product so why would you follow a leader that doesn’t believe in what he’s preaching? This leads to skepticism, skepticism leads to doubt, and doubt leads to people questioning your leadership.

10. Perfectionism perfectionist-image

You’re probably wondering how this can lead to failure. Perfectionists want to perfect everything, even the littlest details. This means that little things are always in place instead of the big things. Great leaders know what they are great at, and what they lack. They delegate what they are not great at instead of wasting time trying to perfect everything.

 Every leader has made one or more of these mistakes in their lifetime. I’m not afraid to say that I have. No one is perfect. What makes someone successful is they keep going and learn from their past failures. “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”  For leaders who are serious about their professional image, check out our Officense website and learn more about all the services that we provide that will help your business achieve success.

Written by Kevin Feng

Posted in Administrative Assistant, Baltimore, Big Business, boss, Business, Business Address, Business Plan, Executive Assistant, Group, growth, leader, leadership, linkedin, marketing, Office, Receptionist, Small Business, smarter, steps, success, Tips, Virtual Office, workplace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Redefining the Sole of the Shoe Industry

Bethlehem

 

 

 

 

Who: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu

Age: 34

What She’s Doing: There is a long standing tradition in Ethiopia of standing firm and
the shoes they wore became symbolic of the struggle. During the colonization period Ethiopian native tire-shoe clad rebels fought off invaders and went down in history as the only nation in Africa to never have been colonized. From this auspicious history was born the brand soleRebels, dreamed up by a daughter of that nation at the age of 24. The holistic model of the company celebrates the rich culture of Ethiopia and creates a sustainable boost to local economy by using 100% local resources, retaining the Ethiopian dedication to independence. Focusing on eco-consciousness and cruelty-free clothing, soleRebels produces popular footwear using recycled tires. The shoe designs are inspired by two other local companies that design shoes from tires. From slip-ons to lace-ups to sandals, these hand-made shoes are taking the footwear business by storm and have garnered a profitability of $5 million dollars in revenue.

The Young Fashionista

Isabella

 

 

 

 

Who: Isabella Rose Taylor

Age: 13

What She’s Doing:  From the time she began incorporating “mixed-media” in her finger-painting as a child, Isabella Rose Taylor has been an avid art lover. At the tender age of 13, the young artist has her own clothing line and is astonishing the fashion world with her exceptional design skills and “preternatural poise.” The vision of the Isabella Rose Taylor line is to create “art with legs” that reflects the collective and individual identity of girls and celebrate the “ever-evolving teen spirit.” The youthful fashionista has met and exceeded the expectations of many with managing a line being sold at high-class department store Nordstrom and even modeled on the runway during multiple fashion weeka, besides being a college sophomore.

 

The IT Kid

Jaylen Bledsoe

 

 

 

 

Who: Jaylen Bledsoe

Age: 16

What He’s Doing: At the age of 13, Jaylen began pursuing the dream of an IT business and three years later, the high school Junior is a noted motivational speaker, CEO of Bledsoe Technologies, LLC (an IT consulting firm), Board Director for the National Youth Rights Association of D.C. and a millionaire. Bledsoe Technologies focuses on providing technology consulting, Google AdWord marketing and other IT support services to small-to-medium sized businesses.

 

The Advertising Game Changer

Brian Wong

 

 

 

 

Who: Brian Wong

Age: 23

What He’s Doing: Over the years of his primary and secondary education Brian Wong’s intelligence and academic skill caused him to skip four grades. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at the age of most people are beginning their freshman year of college. However, a couple of years after graduating and landing a dream job with Digg, he found himself unemployed and out of options. Until he caught a vision while pacing the aisles of a plane, watching people play games on their smartphones. Today, Brian Wong is the head of multi-million dollar company, Kiip, which gives people real rewards for high scores on games. It’s win-win for advertisers and users. Users don’t get annoyed by constant banner ads on games and advertisers get contact information since users have to submit emails in order to receive rewards, expanding business advertising reach.

Baby Entrepreneur and Her Boo Boo Goo

Kiowa Kavovit –Entrepreneur - Boo Boo Goo

 

 

 

 

Who: Kiowa Kavovit

Age: 6

What She’s Doing: At six-years-old this tiny inventor was featured on SharkTank and scored a $100,000 investment for her paint on bandages for kids. Since the March 2014 airing of the show, this mini business mogul is singing her ABC’s to the tune of over a million dollars in revenue. She has partnered with a team of wound specialists and is currently finalizing “Goo” plans with manufacturing companies.

Need a Business Incubator to kick start your youthful business? Call Officense! 410-814-7500 wwwofficense.com

Sources:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237318

http://www.isabellarosetaylor.com/

http://bledsoetechnologies.com/

http://www.kiip.me/

http://booboogoo.com/

 

Posted in Big Business, Business, Business Address, ecological, Economy, entrepreneurs, environment, Going Green, google+, growth, Office | Leave a comment

Whether you’re planning on starting your own business or are already an established business owner, raising capital is a core necessity on your way to success.

Therefore, your entrepreneur business plan is literally the bible of your start up’s vision in raising finances.

No single source of funding is necessarily easier to come by than another. It depends on your business model, projections, and how well you can sell yourself to potential financial partners.

But what type of financing is best to shake the “money tree” for your business?

Here are some of the best options for securing appropriate funds to start or grow your own business.

save_money 1. Personal capital

Over 50 % of small business start-ups decide to raise money for their business from personal savings or borrow against a retirement plan, life insurance policy, credit card, or home equity.

2. Friends and family

If you can’t finance your business out of your own pocket, there is another great way to raise capital – friends and relatives. Although the idea of involving your friends and family in your business matters might cause a natural discomfort, it seems to be quite a popular option.

3. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a way of raising finance by asking a large number of people each for a small amount of money, typically via the internet.

The term crowdfunding was reportedly created in 2006 by a man named Michael Sullivan and has branched out into a myriad of online platforms for lending money, funding projects and sourcing information. Three of the best- known platforms are Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Pubslush.

4. Angel Investors  

calculator-178124_1280

Angel investors, who are typically well- connected, wealthy individuals, can be a good funding source to consider after you’ve tapped your friends and relatives.

However, be thoughtful in approaching prospective high net-worth investors since they’ll own a part of your company and most likely want a say in major decisions. Therefore,  “ACA recommends that entrepreneurs work with investors who are accredited investors (who meet requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission) and who can add value to the company via high quality mentoring and advice.” (www.angelcapitalassociation.org)

5. Bank Financing

It’s important to note that small business loans are a lot like personal loans. In order to receive a bank loan you need to have a flawless credit profile and a well-structured and logical business plan. In other words, the bank does not want to lose money by taking too great of a risk.

Grow moneyRegardless of which path you choose, chances are that you may do all of these at some point as your business grows.

In today’s fast paced economic landscape we are forced to utilize our creativity and out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to financing. Let us lend you a hand by generating a professional image for your company presence. Not only do we offer the appropriate office and meeting room space to connect with potential VC’s or angel investors, we also provide a wide spectrum of business services to support your start up or established small business.

Posted in angel investors, bank loans, Business Plan, Capital, crowdfunding, Financing, investment, money, Savings, Small Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the Time magazine article, “Kmart Unleashes Season’s First Christmas Ad”  the airing of Kmart’s first Christmas commercial mere days within the Labor Day holiday, caused an uproar with consumers. The releasing of premature holiday ads kicked off in September of 2013 only mere days behind the NFL’s kick off date! This year K-Mart is at it again with a “Non-Christmas” ad which is more than a little reminiscent of the holiday. Meanwhile, consumers appalled by the premature marketing, took their frustrations to social media:

NBC-Clock-nightmare-before-christmas-17526564-2560-1714“What happened to Halloween and thanksgiving?” one commenter posted. “Stop with the Christmas commercials ALREADY!!” Another raged, “Why don’t you just start this on 1st each year! This is ridiculous and if I see an ad on TV I will never stop in your store!” Kmart’s “Non-Christmas” Ad

In light of this, we are dedicating our latest blog, in a most-timely fashion, to Halloween in Charm City! Whether you’ve been on the prowl for a ghost sighting or it’s the candy that you crave, Baltimore has got you covered! From family-friendly scares to adults only events, below you’ll find a miscellany of local activities sure to amplify your Halloween’s fear factor.

Fells Pt Relish in the cool crisp air of fall weather and take a stroll through one of Baltimore’s most widely contested haunted neighborhoods. The award winning Mount Vernon Ghost Tour allows thrill-seekers to appreciate the community’s historical architecture while guides, dressed in period-attire, escort you through the spirited neighborhood. If it’s another type of spirit that you’re after, check out the Fells Point Haunted Pub Crawl! Ghost-sightseers can sip on a pumpkin-ale while your tour guide accounts tales of spirits startling the local taverns workers and patrons. For a gravely different experience, visit the reportedly most haunted city in the state of Maryland and one of the most haunted cities in the United States, Frederick. This year, Candlelight tours will be extending a historic cemetery tour in addition to their nationally acclaimed ghost tours.

ZoobooCandy seekers can get their fill at the Maryland Zoo. October 24-26 marks the return of the Maryland Zoo’s Zoo-Boo event! Besides trick or treating, kids can enter in costume contests, participate in craft making, play carnival games, or visit their favorite animal. Food and live entertainment will be available.

FrightfestNow through November 2, Six Flags America will be hosting its annual Fright Fest! Here kids can enjoy a pre-Halloween trick or treat trail, Halloween-themed shows, haunted houses and all the usual thrill rides. Fright Fest isn’t just for kids though; check the schedule, as the park is closed to children several evenings for adults-only events, and several new attractions have been added for the 2014 season!

pumpPonyFor family friendly events that won’t put your children at risk for nightmares, Baltimore has several festivals that guarantee fun for all ages. The Harbor Harvest commences its Halloween inspired festivals on October 19. The 7th annual, two day, waterfront festival will be featuring a hay maze, petting zoo, pony rides, face-painting, live music, pumpkins patches and even pumpkin decorating! The event takes place between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and both admission and activities are free.

LanternparadeFinally, the 15th annual Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival: Kaleidoscope in Baltimore is no ordinary costume parade. Creative Alliance will be hosting this true community art project where visitors are encouraged to build their own lanterns, learn to walk on stilts, and even participate in the parade as puppeteers! Live music, hay rides, food trucks, various workshops, and the parade of course will be taking place on October 25 between 3:30-9 p.m.

Whatever ghoulish plans you may partake in, you can find comfort in knowing Officense is signing for your packages, screening your calls, and setting your appointments. Likewise, if you need an office to tie up some last minute business, we are conveniently located in the Inner Harbor for you to quickly return to your Halloween festivities!

Posted in 2014, Administrative Assistant, Arts and Entertainment, Autumn, Baltimore, Big Business, Business, Business Address, Christmas, Community, cut-costs, entrepreneurs, Events, Executive Assistant, family, Festivals, Food, free, fun, Guide, Halloween, Holidays, Maryland, Parade, Pumpkin, Receptionist, Sight Seeing, Small Business, To-Do, Tourism, Trick or treat, Virtual Office, weather, Zoo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment