How Good Web Content and Design Impact Visitor Retention

by David Webb

Getting noticed in the overcrowded digital realm is a daunting task. On one hand, we never had such versatile tools and channels for marketing and promotion. On the other, the level of noise is at an all-time high. Despite the competitiveness and complexities present in the field, losing yourself in it is not an option.

After all, not having enough users interacting with and consuming your content can spell doom for your business. So, harnessing design and content, two mainstays of digital user experience, is the way to go. They empower you to get in front of people and earn their trust and loyalty. This endeavor is more than worth it, as it is linked to various benefits, including better retention rates, as well as more sales, social signals, and revenue.

Success by design

Web design is the first thing someone notices upon coming in contact with your pages. It makes the first impression and determines what type of image your project onto the audience. Not only that, it anchors your whole visual identity, allowing your brand to stand out from the myriad of other brands out there. Not surprisingly, over the course of the internet’s short history, we have seen it all— the good, the bad, and the ugly.

But, we are mainly interested in the good, right? Well, the best kind of design is the one that successfully blends usability and aesthetics. It captivates with nice visuals, but it does not let them get in the way of smooth navigation and intuitive functionality. Furthermore, it also features a look that is current and fresh. Rest assured that nothing puts users off like an outdated-looking website.

So, to cut through the noise, stay on top of prominent trends like bold fonts, minimalist aesthetics, parallax scrolling, and responsive design. Moreover, make sure everything is displayed properly across different platforms, especially mobile ones. In other words, your site must open seamlessly and load quickly. Otherwise, you risk hampering your efforts and increasing bounce instead of retention rates.

Apart from immense power, one should also be aware of the innate limitations of web design. Namely, you cannot rely just on it to build lasting relationships. It is highly effective when it comes to grabbing attention, yet retaining it an entirely different ballgame. This is when content comes into play. For it to fully shine, web design must not overshadow, but complement it.

 

Beneath the shiny surface

Quality content is the king of visitor retention, the main incentive you can offer to keep people lingering and coming back for more. Unlike aggressive sales pitches and pushy ads, it delivers true value by entertaining, educating, and evoking emotions. Therefore, content marketing and production enables brands to connect with visitors on a more meaningful, deeper level.

Again, keeping an eye on popular trends is crucial. Here, we see that visual content is constantly gaining traction. Striking infographics and viral videos communicate complex ideas and messages in an instant, in a way that is highly engaging. It is also aligned with the steady decline of the = average user’s attention span. Hence, it certainly plays a key role in your overall digital strategy.

Feel free to take lessons from brads killing it with videos or agencies doing miracles with professional ecommerce photography. This type of content can elevate sales of certain products and improve the bottom line. It also prompts the user to at least spend a few more seconds looking at what is presented. So, done right, it captures the imagination, at least for short period of time, enough to form a connection.

Another great thing about content is that reinforces your authority and improves your ranking. It gives you virility and exposure by propelling you to the forefront of search engines. As you know, these booming highways of the internet are major content discovery channels. Thus, to take your game to the next level and boost your organic reach, get into the practice of search engine optimization (SEO) and adhere to the best practices.

Let content and design work hand in hand

Web design and content profoundly shape the way users perceive and interact with your digital presence. If you really mean to gain and retain people, make an effort to boost the site’s usability and enhance its aesthetics. Use design and content creation in synergy, to produce an enthralling experience to your visitors.

Likewise, employ visuals to summarize and emphasize the content, not the other way around. Stay on top of the trends and preferences and interests of your audience. Be unique and show your human face. Build lasting bridges of trust and loyalty. Put the focus on the customers’ wants and needs.

These steps should enable you to arrest their attention and do not let it go. The window of opportunity to pull it off is limited, so get ready to seize the moment.

How Good Web Content and Design Impact Visitor Retention

by David Webb

Getting noticed in the overcrowded digital realm is a daunting task. On one hand, we never had such versatile tools and channels for marketing and promotion. On the other, the level of noise is at an all-time high. Despite the competitiveness and complexities present in the field, losing yourself in it is not an option.

After all, not having enough users interacting with and consuming your content can spell doom for your business. So, harnessing design and content, two mainstays of digital user experience, is the way to go. They empower you to get in front of people and earn their trust and loyalty. This endeavor is more than worth it, as it is linked to various benefits, including better retention rates, as well as more sales, social signals, and revenue.

Success by design

Web design is the first thing someone notices upon coming in contact with your pages. It makes the first impression and determines what type of image your project onto the audience. Not only that, it anchors your whole visual identity, allowing your brand to stand out from the myriad of other brands out there. Not surprisingly, over the course of the internet’s short history, we have seen it all— the good, the bad, and the ugly.

But, we are mainly interested in the good, right? Well, the best kind of design is the one that successfully blends usability and aesthetics. It captivates with nice visuals, but it does not let them get in the way of smooth navigation and intuitive functionality. Furthermore, it also features a look that is current and fresh. Rest assured that nothing puts users off like an outdated-looking website.

So, to cut through the noise, stay on top of prominent trends like bold fonts, minimalist aesthetics, parallax scrolling, and responsive design. Moreover, make sure everything is displayed properly across different platforms, especially mobile ones. In other words, your site must open seamlessly and load quickly. Otherwise, you risk hampering your efforts and increasing bounce instead of retention rates.

Apart from immense power, one should also be aware of the innate limitations of web design. Namely, you cannot rely just on it to build lasting relationships. It is highly effective when it comes to grabbing attention, yet retaining it an entirely different ballgame. This is when content comes into play. For it to fully shine, web design must not overshadow, but complement it.

Beneath the shiny surface

Quality content is the king of visitor retention, the main incentive you can offer to keep people lingering and coming back for more. Unlike aggressive sales pitches and pushy ads, it delivers true value by entertaining, educating, and evoking emotions. Therefore, content marketing and production enables brands to connect with visitors on a more meaningful, deeper level.

Again, keeping an eye on popular trends is crucial. Here, we see that visual content is constantly gaining traction. Striking infographics and viral videos communicate complex ideas and messages in an instant, in a way that is highly engaging. It is also aligned with the steady decline of the = average user’s attention span. Hence, it certainly plays a key role in your overall digital strategy.

Feel free to take lessons from brads killing it with videos or agencies doing miracles with professional ecommerce photography. This type of content can elevate sales of certain products and improve the bottom line. It also prompts the user to at least spend a few more seconds looking at what is presented. So, done right, it captures the imagination, at least for short period of time, enough to form a connection.

Another great thing about content is that reinforces your authority and improves your ranking. It gives you virility and exposure by propelling you to the forefront of search engines. As you know, these booming highways of the internet are major content discovery channels. Thus, to take your game to the next level and boost your organic reach, get into the practice of search engine optimization (SEO) and adhere to the best practices.

Let content and design work hand in hand

Web design and content profoundly shape the way users perceive and interact with your digital presence. If you really mean to gain and retain people, make an effort to boost the site’s usability and enhance its aesthetics. Use design and content creation in synergy, to produce an enthralling experience to your visitors.

Likewise, employ visuals to summarize and emphasize the content, not the other way around. Stay on top of the trends and preferences and interests of your audience. Be unique and show your human face. Build lasting bridges of trust and loyalty. Put the focus on the customers’ wants and needs.

These steps should enable you to arrest their attention and do not let it go. The window of opportunity to pull it off is limited, so get ready to seize the moment.  

 

What home sellers can expect in 2018 


(Jim R. Bounds/BLOOMBERG NEWS)

If you sold your home in 2017, you probably enjoyed the process.

Home prices have risen 40 percent in the last five years so you got a good price for your home. There is only four months’ worth of housing inventory (the number of months it would take to sell all the homes that are for sale), which is an extremely low number. Consequently, you probably got a offer fast, maybe delivered via a bidding war, followed by a quick closing. New competition on the agent side meant you might have paid less in commission.

Here’s the good news: Homes will continue to be a hot commodity in 2018. There aren’t enough people selling (thanks to a combination of factors, led by locking in extremely low interest rates and rising home prices). In some areas of the country, like Denver, you can drive a long time without seeing a “for sale” sign. Homeowners in hot communities receive almost instant offers.

We’re starting to see pocket listings, where agents tell their friends or officemates about a listing so it can be sold without ever hitting the general market. Different types of brokerages, where discounted commissions are available. More home sellers seem to be trying to sell on their own.

When it comes to pricing your home, we usually talk about the three types of sellers: Someone who is desperate and anxious and must sell as soon as possible; someone who has a “pie in the sky” view of their home value; and someone who is realistic about what the market will bear and is willing to price their home accordingly.

This year, given how overheated (some economists say) the market is, we’re not sure any price a seller could dream up would be too high. Some housing economists, like Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller, say general impressions about the inherent risk of buying a home can indicate the presence of a bubble. At a conference in early December, Shiller noted the return of what he called the “buyer’s panic,” where potential buyers fear they will be priced out if they don’t purchase a home soon. “It’s not just interest rates and tax law that drive prices in speculative markets,” Shiller said.

Choosing the right price is the key to having a great selling experience. If you price your home too high, even in a hot market, it’ll sit on the market, growing stale, until you reprice it. If you price it too low, it should ignite a bidding war. The agent you choose (whether he or she is aggressive or more low key) will be an important consideration.

Before you list your home in 2018, you should figure that out. Then, consider adopting my classic New Year’s Resolutions for home sellers:

• Overcome any possible objections a buyer would have. Buyers are always looking for a reason not to buy your house. Your job as a seller is to eliminate any potential objections that would stand in the way for a buyer to make an offer.

• Get your home into selling shape. Cleaning your home is a must. After that, you should consider hiring a stager to give your home the television-worthy polish so many buyers expect today. (Yes, they want your home to look like something they’d see on HGTV.) Assess what other sort of work needs to be done, such as fixing things that don’t work, touching up paint, or cleaning or replacing your carpets. Decide if you need to update your landscaping, and paint, clean or tuck point your home’s exterior. If you’re selling in January, clear out the holiday decorations as quickly as possible.

• Invite at least three agents to create a comparative marketing analysis (CMA). Often, sellers simply call the agent who sold them their home to list it. While you may wind up hiring that person, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you invite a couple of other agents in from different firms. That’s because each will bring different ideas to the table about how much your house is worth and what kind of marketing plan will work. They’ll all have different experiences to draw on and have different buyers in mind who may want to make a quick offer.

• Be realistic about the market, even if it’s a hot one. Find out what types of properties are selling in your area and how many days they’re sitting on the market. Accept the reality of your local market and make sure you price your home realistically. Don’t blame your broker if you don’t get three offers over your list price within 24 hours of putting your home on the market. Sellers who set sky-high (or even pretty high) prices could wait months or years for an offer (one of my neighbors has been trying to sell his overpriced home for four years) and may wind up with the same price they would have had if they’d priced their home correctly the first time — or a lot less.

• Read all documents thoroughly before you sign them. Why would someone sign a legal document he or she hasn’t read? I’m not sure, but home sellers do it every day. If you’re going to sell (or buy) in the coming year, promise yourself you’ll take the time to read and understand the listing contract, offer to purchase and loan documents for your next purchase. (If you’re taking back a loan for the home buyer, have an attorney prepare the documents so you are sure to be protected.) Unless you’ve got cash to spare, a mistake in these documents and the warranties they contain could seriously affect your finances.

• Don’t get greedy. One big mistake many sellers make is to get a little greedy, particularly if the first offer is above the minimum acceptable price you’ve set. Then, the negotiation becomes a game of how much you can get.

Remember, a successful sale means everyone walks away feeling happy. If you get so greedy that the buyer walks away, you’ve let the deal get the best of you. Resolve to be reasonable, and you’ll end up shaking hands with the buyer at the closing. You should also know there aren’t unlimited buyers out there, and if you lose one it might take you quite some time to find another.

The Secret to Stronger Muscles

 

by Annie Hauser

THURSDAY, April 26, 2012 — One look at Olympic weight-lifters shows that the heavier the weights, the stronger the weight lift, right? Although there’s definitely some truth to this conventional workout wisdom, a new position paper published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism argues that there’s more to the story.

Weight training with less weight but more repetition may be as effective for building muscle as lifting heavier weights for fewer repetitions, said researchers at McMaster University in Ontario. The key to muscle gain, researchers say, is working the muscles to the point of fatigue, no matter the weight size. They want you to feel the burn.

The authors of the paper conducted a series of experiments to measure how muscles react to different forms of training. They found, not surprisingly, that high-intensity muscle contractions from lifting heavy weights produced muscle development. But when volunteers performed resistance training with smaller weights until they reached muscle fatigue, identical muscle development was formed. The higher repetitions also helped sustain the muscle-building response in the days following the workout.

This means you can continue using 3-pound hand weights for bicep curls if you want. But if you want to see a bigger, stronger bicep, you must keep up the curls until you have to fight to pull up the weight each time. (For a woman who works out regularly, this could means scores of repetitions.)

No matter how you chose to get there, the key to seeing a real benefit from strength training is using enough weight to challenge yourself, and repeating the exercises enough times that your muscles reach fatigue. As you get stronger, remember to switch to progressively heavier weights to keep on feeling the burn.

Why Strength Training is Essential

Now that you know how to strength train to build muscle mass, here’s why strength training should be a regular part of your fitness routine.

  • Increasing muscle mass is the only way to boost metabolism. Fad diets claim they can increase your metabolism, but the only real way to make it happen permanently is to increase your muscle mass. This is because muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest.
  • Regular weight training can help protect your brain. As you age, strength training can help keep you sharp. One recent study found that women who started strength training at the first signs of memory decline might ward off full-blown dementia by routinely lifting weights.
  • Muscle mass manages blood sugar levels. Because your muscles store glucose, researchers believe that muscle mass can help your body keep blood sugar in check and ward off type 2 diabetes.
  • Strength training plays a role in bone and joint help. One of the best ways to prevent or even reverse bone density loss is through strength training. If you have arthritis, studies have shown that regular resistance training can help ease joint pain.
  • Lean muscle looks good. Last but certainly not least, weight training is a surefire way to build those long, lean muscles so many women want. If you’re worried that weight training will make you look bulky, know that women do not have the testosterone levels required to get bigger from weight lifting. Instead, you’ll look lean and toned.

More Fitness Equals Less Fatness

Look around you and chances are you’ll see that more than two adults in three are overweight or obese. Perhaps you are among them and you’re thinking, “That’s O.K. I’m no different from anyone else, so what’s the point in waging yet another losing battle against the bulge?”

You are not alone. A subtle form of peer pressure has convinced many, consciously or otherwise, that it’s acceptable to be significantly heavier than the “normal” weight ranges listed on a body mass index (B.M.I.) or doctor’s height-weight chart.

As Americans have gained extra pounds in recent decades, Mary A. Burke, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston who studies social norms, says they seem to have adjusted to a new normal regarding weight. A study she and co-authors published in 2010 revealed that a growing proportion of overweight adults — 21 percent of women and 46 percent of men (up from 14 percent and 41 percent, respectively, in the 1990s) — consider their weight “about right.” And a study published in JAMA last year found that fewer adults who were overweight or obese were trying to shed excess pounds.

Public health experts fear that this trend toward “fat acceptance” bodes ill for future well-being and the soaring costs of chronic weight-related ailments like heart disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and more than a dozen kinds of cancer. As Dr. Burke wrote in a recent issue of JAMA devoted to obesity, public health and medical professionals worry that “individuals who do not believe they are overweight, or who view obesity in a positive light, are less likely to seek treatment for weight loss.”

Even doctors may be tempted to give up trying to convince their overweight patients to lose weight. Although Medicare now covers up to 20 visits for weight loss counseling each year, few doctors (or perhaps I should say few patients) have taken advantage of this benefit. Yet only a 5 percent or 10 percent reduction in weight can often result in a significant improvement in health risks like high blood pressure, blood sugar or serum cholesterol levels. In other words, you don’t have to become model-thin to improve your health and life expectancy.

In an editorial in the JAMA issue, Dr. Edward H. Livingston, bariatric surgeon at the University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine, suggested that perhaps a different message — one that encourages physical fitness — would do more to improve the health of individual patients and the overall population “than continuing to advise weight loss when that message is increasingly ignored.”

Indeed, as one team of specialists put it in JAMA, “Low cardio-respiratory fitness may pose a greater risk to health than obesity.” The team, headed by Ann Blair Kennedy of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, cited a 2014 analysis showing that, compared with normal-weight people who were physically fit, unfit individuals had an increased risk of death regardless of what they weighed, and those who were fit and overweight or obese did not face a significantly greater mortality risk when compared with normal-weight individuals.

But before you give up trying to lose weight, a better understanding of the likely sources of those extra pounds and the most successful approaches to losing them may help you achieve a double goal: more fitness and less fatness.

The average weight of American adults and children was fairly stable until 1980. Then began a frightening rise that has only recently shown some signs of leveling off. There are many reasons, among them the growing employment of women outside the home contributing to a decline in home cooking; greater reliance on packaged and processed foods; the rise of fast foods, takeout and restaurant meals; and a commensurate decline in physical activity. A result: more calories in and fewer out, a perfect formula for weight gain.

Several decades of commercial weight-loss diets, ranging from the Drinking Man’s Diet to the low-carb Atkins Diet, each claiming to be the best way to get rid of unwanted fat with minimal or no sacrifice to taste and satiety, tempted those struggling with rising poundage. Most, however, involved a radical change in people’s eating habits that was rarely sustainable. After a while, dieters returned to their old habits and regained the lost weight, often more than they had lost in the first place.

As Dr. Livingston stated, “Providing patients with the false hope that if they only reduce one class of foods or another (e.g., carbohydrates or fats) they will lose weight can become frustrating, and may in part explain the failure of most diets.” Even reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (which provide no nutrients beyond sweet calories), he wrote, “is not likely to influence obesity at the population level,” which has continued to increase even as soda consumption has declined.

Rather than a soda tax, Dr. Livingston endorsed taxes based on the calorie content of foods, and using the revenue generated “to subsidize healthy foods to make them more affordable.” Noting that “the common denominator for all successful diet plans is calorie reduction, irrespective of how that is achieved,” he said that a slimmer American populace can be achieved only if attention is paid to the entire food supply.

That attention is unlikely to be paid anytime soon by either the processed food industry or government regulatory agencies, so it is up to consumers to take matters into their own hands, eyes and mouths. The goal is not radical change but a reduction in calories of 500 a day and/or an increase in physical activity to achieve a weekly deficit of 3,500 calories, the approximate amount in one pound of body fat.

Just eliminating any of these — a bagel with cream cheese, one Big Mac, a Belgian waffle with a drizzle of syrup, one cup of Häagen-Dazs Green Tea ice cream, a Starbucks Venti Caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream, or one serving of a Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe chicken salad — will create that 500-calorie deficit. (For the sake of comparison, you’d have to eat six apples or seven eggs to get to 500 calories. Or you could choose a two-cup Wegman’s Caesar salad for a mere 200 calories.)

If you live in a city that mandates calorie listings on menus, pay attention before you order. Also always request dressings and sauces on the side and drizzle them on yourself rather than let the restaurant pour hundreds of calories on a low-calorie salad or chicken breast.

Eight Beauty Trends from Fashion Month

From left: Altuzarra, Sies Marjan, Louis VuittonCreditFirstview

Painterly eye makeup

Canary yellow, aqua, the brightest purple: These colors are not typically the stuff of fall palettes. But makeup artists gravitated toward multicolored eye makeup this season. At Sies Marjan, rings of Day-Glo orange and peppermint green — or crimson and ultraviolet — enclosed models’ eyes, complementing the collection’s saturated tones. (The designer Sander Lak is known to shun the color black.) At Altuzarra, the makeup artist Tom Pecheux treated eye makeup as watercolors, skirting forest green along the lower eyelid, dabbing turquoise on the outer edges just above the cheekbone and blending a wash of lilac up to the brow bone. An imperfect wing of dark liner was the final flourish. And, at Louis Vuitton, Pat McGrath played with negative space and applied racing stripes — in cobalt blue, red, yellow and asphalt gray — across the eyelids.


Image

From left: Brandon Maxwell, Thom Browne, Ulla JohnsonCreditFirstview

Not the usual gold accents

The decisive sentiment at the shows seemed to be: Go for the gold, and in perhaps unexpected places. At Brandon Maxwell, that meant the cupid’s bow, where a thin line of metallic gloss topped with ultrafine glitter was traced along the cupid’s bow to enhance the fullness of the lips. Thom Browne’s models went down the runway with gold-painted cropped haircuts or tightly wrapped updos, appearing as modern-day queens. But the most shimmery — and still wearable — iterations came from Ulla Johnson and Akris: At the former, gold foil gilded the entire lid for a mesmerizing 3D result; at the latter, clusters of gold particles dotted the lids, for an eye-opening effect when paired with the blackest eyeliner. As for the rest of the face? Keep it low-key.


Image

From left: Jil Sander and Alexander McQueenCreditMolly SJ Lowe

Braids of all shapes

The hairstylist Eugene Souleiman did the near-impossible at Jil Sander: He turned a simple braid into a total fashion spectacle. The sculptural, playful plaits didn’t wind down the models’ necks, instead sticking out thanks to skillful knotting — and the look lit up Instagram. In real life, the surreal style can be recreated by making a looped half-bun, braiding the tail and, with ample amounts of gel, sticking it out on an angle. Elsewhere, plaits took on new personas. Long rope braids, resembling whips, topped off the fierce ensembles at Alexander McQueen, and at Coach 1941, thin boho twists were randomly woven throughout the hair.


Image

From left: Prada, Marc Jacobs, Max MaraCreditFrom left: Kevin Tachman; Dina Litovsky; Firstview

Heavy, winged eyeliner

Another antithesis to the soft pink and earth-tone eye makeup typical of colder months is the vibrant ’80s-esque winged eye. Look no further than Pat McGrath who, for Prada, created Swarovski crystal-studded cat-eyes that gleamed alongside the sportswear-inspired clothing. (She used pigments from her just-released Mthrshp Subversive La Vie En Rosepalette.) At Marc Jacobs, the makeup artist Diane Kendal opted for an ’80s club-kid version, brushing metallic shadows (from the brand’s forthcoming holiday palette) onto the lid, then layering black gel and liquid liner to sculpt a sharp-winged edge. There was also something entirely transformational about the heavily lined smudged cat-eyes at Max Mara, which held their own against strong fashion elements like animal prints, fringe and black leather.

From left: Sacai, Anna Sui, Yohji YamamotoCreditFirstview

Windblown strands

The reality of everyday life moving at a fast pace wasn’t ignored on the runway. At Sacai, the models’ hair seemed to have been blown to one side by a gust of wind, which looked chic by the very fact that it wasn’t brushed perfectly into place. Similarly, Anna Sui skipped anything too precise in favor of low-volume waves tossed over a shoulder, as one does when scrambling to leave the house. At Rochas, models wore their hair clipped to the side and ignored the errant strands, but the hairstyle at Yohji Yamamoto may be the truest to life for those of us really fighting the weather: Models’ hair was wildly and quite comically airborne.

From left: Ashley Williams, Issey Miyake, Philosophy di Lorenzo SerafiniCreditFirstview

Mood-setting blush

Depending on its exact position on the face, strong blush can be read as pretty or punk. The makeup artists at Ashley Williams created a look that fell into the latter category by brushing hot pink blush on the upper cheekbone and around the eye, fading into a halo of burnt orange eye shadow. And then, there were a handful of subtler applications: a post-sports flush at Issey Miyake, sun-kissed skin at Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and a rosy glow at Oscar de la Renta done with eye shadow (called “Maybe I Will” and out this spring). The takeaway: No matter where you place it, blush has, most definitely, made its triumphant return.

From left: Elle Fanning at Miu Miu, Sonia Rykiel, GucciCreditFirstview

Retro hairstyles, with a twist

Throwback hairstyles were hard to miss — thanks to their size — but they felt decidedly modern despite vintage references. It was the imperfections, or slightly-off elements, that made them feel right for the moment. The actress Elle Fanning opened the Miu Miu show with her hair teased to the hilt in a ’60s-like beehive, left a little undone. The models at Sonia Rykielwore their tresses in bouncy waves, but you could spot some crimping and frizz. And at Gucci, there were several mid-80s-like perms: One model’s mass of curls was pulled back at the sides and then combed out for a fluffiness that espoused the house’s geek-chic code. Add glasses and a stenciled moon between her eyebrows, and the look belonged entirely to Gucci’s kooky-time-warp world.

From left: Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs, Simone RochaCreditFrom left: Dina Litovsky; Firstview; Kevin Tachman

Hair accessories, from subtle to unmissable

This season, the question wasn’t if you should you wear a hair accessory, but rather, what kind? One option that had previously fallen out of favor with the cool kids, the notorious claw clip, resurfaced at Alexander Wang; The Prabal Gurung woman wore those stretchy comb headbands that any ’90s teen will remember well. (They came off as oddly sophisticated when paired with the richly textured clothing collection.) Barrettes received the high-fashion treatment at Chanel and Simone Rocha, and black-leather headbands became Beverly Hills glam, thanks to Tom Ford. At Dries Van Noten, the hairstylist Sam McKnight placed thin ostrich feathers along the part line — barely detectable from far away, but incredibly cool up close.

St. Joseph’s Day

St. Joseph’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Joseph, is the feast day for St. Joseph – which falls on March 19th each year. Saint Joseph is believed by Christians to have been the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the step-father of Jesus Christ.  In Poland and Canada, it is a Patronal Feast Day and is Father’s Day in some Catholic countries such as Italy and Spain. In Switzerland, it is a public holiday.

History of St. Joseph’s Day

On some Western calendars, St. Joseph’s Day was clearly marked on March 19th by the 10th century. By the late 15th century, the custom was adopted by Rome. In 1570, Pope St. Pius V extended its use to the entire Roman Rite. From the late 19th century through the middle of the 20th century, a feast day had been established to honor St. Joseph as the spouse of the Virgin Mary. It was originally celebrated on the 3rd Sunday after Easter but was eventually moved to the Wednesday before and re-titled The Solemnity of Saint Joseph. However, this celebration was abolished by Pope Pius XII in 1955.

St. Joseph’s Day Customs & Traditions

St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated all over the world. In Sicily, participants usually wear red and build what is known as “St. Joseph’s Table.” This table is often decorated with flowers and candles, and people place wine and foods on it that are considered lucky. Some of these lucky foods include fava beans, lemons, and foods that contain sawdust. All of these foods have symbolic meanings. Fava beans were the only things that survived a drought during the Middle Ages in Italy – which is why it is considered lucky. Breadcrumbs are worked into the recipes of the dishes because St. Joseph was a carpenter and the breadcrumbs represent sawdust. Some people place fish and seafood on the altar as well. However, what is not placed on St. Joseph’s Table is any dish which contains meat. That’s because this holiday occurs during Lent.

In Sicily, it is also believed that if a woman manages to sneak a lemon off of St. Joseph’s Table on this day, then she have better luck finding a husband. It is also customary for people to wear red on this day and to indulge themselves with doughnuts and crème puffs. In Italy, Spain and Portugal, St. Joseph’s Day is Father’s Day.

Since New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States was a major port of entry for Sicilian immigrants during the late 1800s and has a large Sicilian population, this holiday is celebrated by the whole city. On St. Joseph’s Day. St. Joseph’s Tables are built both for the public and by private individuals. These altars are then filled with a variety of different food – just like the celebrations in Sicily – however, these foods usually have somewhat of a Cajun twist to them. Afterward, all of the food is then usually donated to the poor. New Orleans also has a variety of parades and marching bands performing on the streets during this day.

In Switzerland, it is a public holiday in some of the cantons. The cantons which observe this day include Valais, Schwyz, Uri, Ticino, and Nidwalden. On these days, banks and schools are usually closed but many businesses may still be open. While this holiday was traditionally popular in Switzerland, it has begun to lose much of that popularity over the last several years and fewer people are observing it in this country.

St. Joseph’s Day is also traditionally celebrated in many other American communities, particularly those who have large Italian populations. This includes cities such as New York, Syracuse, Buffalo, Jersey City, Chicago, Gloucester, Providence, Kansas City and St. Louis. In Providence, some people will wear red clothing on this day – much in the same way that people will wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.

In parts of New England and the Midwest, American with Polish ancestry will often celebrate this holiday as an imieniny. Known as Dzien Swietego Jozefa, Polish-American parishes will hold St. Joseph’s Tables in solidarity with the Italian parishes. Since this holiday falls on Lent, no meat is served on these altars.

The Key To Become An Employer Magnet


By Champion Employees

 

Technological advancements bring a lot of job opportunities for many people. Job hunting online has also become easy, economical and fast. However, the volume of job seekers also continues to increase, making it even harder than ever before to get your potential employer’s attention.

Hiring managers and recruiters receive applicants in a great volume that it is very important for you to stand out from the crowd to be considered for the position. Here are some valuable tips to help you become an employer magnet instantly.

Don’t Take For Granted the Power of Personal Branding
Collect your Portfolio Materials
Register on a Reliable Job Portal

Personal branding is about having a clear message about you, your experiences and the direction you are going. You need to convey your identity to your potential employers rather than being a faceless part of the big crowd. Personal branding is a great way to handle your job search and help you focus on the right job types that matches your skill and you’re qualified for.

In order to become an employer magnet, you need to make yourself irresistible to them. Start collecting your portfolio materials or samples of your work, such as reports, brochures, presentations, projects and papers. You can also include your certifications, licenses, professional associations and a lot more. Just be mindful of the fact that sharing confidential information about you can become damaging to you as well as your previous employer. Therefore, use only documents and files that can be publicly shared.

Many recruiters and staffing agencies are now using job portals to find the right candidate suitable for the job. It enables them to make the entire process a lot simpler and easier. By posting the job on these sites, applicants are able to easily locate it and they don’t need to spend a lot of time and effort going through a lot of applications.

If you are looking for the right job portal that will make the job searching process more convenient and easier, then it is a smart idea to register at Champion Employees. It is your ultimate solution to landing your dream job and becoming a job magnet. With your profile at the site, potential employers will come to you, which make the job seeking process stress free. If you are now sure how to create a compelling resume, the experts at Champion Employees will also be there to help. They can critique your resume or if you want, they can make an interesting and eye-catching resume that will surely grab the attention of your potential employers. Most of the employers these days are using Champion Employees. Because they want to find the top candidates for the job, they refer to the site to help them hire the best staff that will drive success to their company. So, if you want to get their attention and hire you, register at championemployees.com now! The site has outstanding offerings to accelerate your job search.

Things that turn green on St. Patrick’s Day

(CNN)Every year on St. Patrick’s Day, the world around us suddenly looks a little … jealous.

It’s not just Kermit the Frog or the Incredible Hulk or that guy in your office with the green necktie. It’s green food, green parades, green fountains and famous sites around the world that take on a greenish glow.
There are numerous theories as to why green became the color of the holiday. It is one of the colors on the Irish flag. Green also is the color of a shamrock, a symbol of Ireland — known as the Emerald Isle because of its lush vegetation. And traditional Irish legend held that wearing green made you invisible to leprechauns.
Regardless of the reason, the world unites around the color green on St. Patrick’s Day. Here are some of the most notable green landmarks.

Rio’s Christ the Redeemer

The 98-foot-tall statue in Rio de Janeiro gets a green glow.

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The Colosseum

Rome’s 2,000-year-old stadium takes on a green look.

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The White House fountain

The fountain on the North Lawn of the White House in Washington is dyed green.

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The Chicago River

It takes 40 pounds of dye to turn the Chicago River green. The dye is a secret recipe.

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The Empire State Building

The iconic New York skyscraper is lit green, white and orange.

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St. Patrick’s Day parades

And of course, green is the dominant color in March 17 parades around the world. Here, members of the County Carlow Association ride horses past St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue in New York. The city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, dating back to 1762, is often called the world’s largest.

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Stephen Hawking, ground-breaking physicist, dead at 76

Dr. Hawking delivered an address at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre in April 2016.
PAT GREENHOUSE/GLOBE STAFF/FILE
Dr. Hawking delivered an address at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre in April 2016.

Stephen Hawking, the British physicist whose scientific achievements, decades-long battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and best-selling book “A Brief History of Time” helped make him the most celebrated scientist since Albert Einstein, died at his home in Cambridge, England, his family said in a statement early Wednesday. He was 76.

Dr. Hawking, who was emeritus Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, a chair once held by Sir Isaac Newton, was often called the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein. His most important work — which brought together quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and the general theory of relativity — marked a startling extension of Einstein’s greatest discovery, relativity.

Dr. Hawking focused his research on what are now known as black holes, dying stars that have collapsed upon themselves, forming centers (“singularities”) of such density and with such immense gravitational force that nothing, not even light, can escape. In a 1965 paper, a colleague, Roger Penrose, had done the theoretical work to demonstrate that singularities could exist.

Dr. Hawking took this framework and applied it to the origins of the universe as a whole, treating the entire universe as if it were a singularity and showing that “time has a beginning.” His name then became linked with the Big Bang theory of the creation of the universe, and his work became a major support of the theory, which is now the generally held view on the origins of the cosmos.

Dr. Hawking’s groundbreaking advances in cosmology, the science of the nature of the universe, early on earned him renown among scientists. What made him a household name was his tragic illness. He was first diagnosed as having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 1962, just as he was beginning graduate studies.

ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, afflicts the spinal cord and those parts of the brain that control motor functions. As the affected cells degenerate, muscular atrophy leads to paralysis. However, other functions of the brain, such as memory and reasoning, remain unaffected.

Dr. Hawking’s doctors told him he had two years to live. He proved them spectacularly wrong. Demonstrating an indomitable, even heroic, will, Dr. Hawking carried on with his work and is believed to have been the longest-surviving patient to have ALS.

Almost immediately Dr. Hawking was required to use a cane, then crutches, and eventually a wheelchair. As he lost use of his arms, he was unable to work out equations on a blackboard. He was called upon to produce prodigious feats of memory to deal with the mathematics involved in theoretical physics. As Werner Israel, a colleague, once noted, Dr. Hawking’s “achievement is as though Mozart had composed and carried an entire symphony in his head.”

His arms and legs were not the only parts affected by the disease.. By the mid 1970s, only family members and close associates could understand his increasingly slurred speech. Even that form of communication was denied him when a near-fatal bout with pneumonia in 1985 necessitated a tracheotomy, which left him voiceless. He could, however, laboriously type out words with his left hand — and, in fact, had for several years been using a computer keyboard to facilitate communication.

A computer-controlled voice synthesizer was then developed for Dr. Hawking, and it was by machine that he communicated for the rest of his life.

“It was a bit slow,” he once said with characteristic humor, “but then I think slowly, so it suited me well.” As his muscular control further deteriorated, eye twitches were eventually employed to control the synthesizer.

This remarkable medical history combined with Dr. Hawking’s scientific eminence to make him a worldwide celebrity. People magazine described him in 1995 as “almost a character of science fiction, a disembodied intellect above and beyond the flesh.”

That disembodied intellect was also one of the world’s best-selling authors. Since its publication in 1988, “A Brief History of Time,” Dr. Hawking’s introduction to cosmology for lay readers, has been translated into 40 languages and sold some 10 million copies. Presumably, he could have sold 20 million: Told by a publisher that “each equation I included in the book would halve the sales,” Dr. Hawking “resolved not to have any equations at all,” but did end up including Einstein’s E=mc2.

Dr. Hawking’s wizened, 90-pound frame, slumped in a computer-equipped wheelchair, became a familiar media image. The director Errol Morris made a film of “A Brief History of Time,” starring Dr. Hawking. When the publisher of his first book, an esoteric work titled “The Large Scale Structure of Space-time,” changed the author credit on its dustjacket from “S. W. Hawking” to “Stephen Hawking,” sales jumped. A character on the ABC series “Lost” was named “Hawking,” a nod to the scientist. He appeared on an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”and was a “guest voice” on “The Simpsons.” “We were in awe of him, said Matt Selman, one of the show’s writers. “He was unbelievably cool.”

Dr. Hawking published four children’s books, written with his daughter, as well as the best-selling “The Universe in a Nutshell,” in 2001, and “The Grand Design,’ written with Leonard Mlodinow, in 2010, among other titles.

“I want my books sold on airport bookstalls,” Dr. Hawking once said.

Stephen William Hawking was born in Oxford, England, on Jan. 8, 1942 — the 300th anniversary of the death of Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science. Dr. Hawking dryly noted in his 2013 autobiography, “My Brief History,” that some 300,000 other babies were born the same day and “I don’t know whether any of them was later interested in astronomy.” He was the son of Isobel and Frank Hawking, a physician specializing in research into tropical diseases. “My father would have liked me to do medicine,” Dr. Hawking later recalled. “However, I felt that biology was too descriptive and not sufficiently fundamental.”

Although Dr. Hawking did not learn to read until he was 8, he did well enough in secondary school to win a scholarship to Oxford University. While there, he won the University Physics Prize yet later estimated that during his three years as an undergraduate he spent perhaps 1,000 hours actually studying — or roughly 60 minutes a day. Capitalizing on his small frame, he was coxswain on his college crew team. He also began to display the mischievousness that would mark him for the rest of his life. A favored tactic in later years when he heard an annoying statement was to run his wheelchair over the speaker’s toes. At Oxford, Dr. Hawking was, in the words of his biographers, Michael White and John Gribbin, “a graffiti-daubing sluggard.”

His sluggardness put Dr. Hawking on the cusp between a First- and Second-class degree. In such cases, an oral examination is prescribed. Asked by his chief examiner what his plans were, he replied, “If you award me a First, I will go to Cambridge” (a First was required for the program he had applied to there). “If I receive a Second, I shall stay at Oxford, so I expect you will give me a First.”

Dr. Hawking did go to Cambridge and began graduate work in cosmology. Earlier that year, he had begun to exhibit symptoms of his illness. “Lay off the beer” was the advice of the first doctor he consulted. Soon enough Dr. Hawking was diagnosed. The fact that he was in theoretical physics — a discipline consisting of mathematical calculations rather than experiments — meant that he could expect to continue working. In addition, as colleagues later noted, his illness might even be seen to have expedited his work, freeing him from the standard bureaucratic chores of academe and mundane domestic tasks.

That was little consolation to Dr. Hawking, and he entered into a state of depression, secluding himself and listening to music, particularly the operas of Richard Wagner. He found himself thinking: “How could something like this happen to me? Why should I be cut off like this?” Yet, as he later recounted, the memory of a boy dying of leukemia in the next hospital bed while Dr. Hawking was undergoing the tests that diagnosed ALS acted as a powerful corrective.

“Clearly there were people worse off than me. At least my condition didn’t make me feel sick. Whenever I feel inclined to be sorry for myself, I remember that boy.”

An even more important factor in bringing Dr. Hawking out of his depression was Jane Wilde. He had met her at a family New Year’s Eve party shortly before his disease was diagnosed. They married in 1965. As his disease worsened, she devoted herself to his care.

The early years of Dr. Hawking’s battle with the disease, along with this marriage, inspired the 2014 film “The Theory of Everything.” Eddie Redmayne won a best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of the scientist.

The couple later had three children: Robert, Lucy, and Timothy. Dr. Hawking once said that his greatest regret about his illness was “not being able to play physically with my children.”

The Hawkings divorced in 1995, and later that year he married Elaine Mason, who had been his nurse for a number of years before she and Dr. Hawking married and whose first husband had designed the voice synthesizer he employed. They divorced in 2007.

His three children released a statement to the British media early Wednesday, according to the Guardian newspaper: “He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.

“He once said: ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him for ever.”

In 1965, Dr. Hawking received his PhD for his work on black holes, contained in his thesis, “Properties of Expanding Universes.” He was made a fellow of Cambridge’s Gonville and Caius College. It was an especially exciting time in cosmology, as such astronomical discoveries as pulsars and quasars opened new avenues for Dr. Hawking and his colleagues to pursue.

Over the next few years, he built a reputation for himself as a gifted — and somewhat brash — theoretician. He and Penrose worked further on singularities, predicting in 1970 that black holes could in fact be detected. This later was borne out experimentally. Then came what one writer has called “Hawking’s Eureka Moment,” a flash of insight that transformed cosmology. “One evening in November 1970,” he later recalled, “I started to think about black holes as I was getting into bed. My disability makes this rather a slow process, so I had plenty of time.” The realization came to him that the surface area of a black hole can remain constant or increase, but can never decrease.

Hawking’s Law of Area Increase, as this became known, raised numerous problems, however, problems that led to the formulation by Dr. Hawking of a breathtaking menage a trois among quantum mechanics and relativity (the two greatest achievements of 20th-century physics) and thermodynamics, a field of 19th-century physics. Dr. Hawking argued that, against all previous assumptions, “black holes are really not black after all. They have a temperature, an entropy and produce radiation just like any other thermodynamic body.”

“It is unlikely that there has ever been a more powerful demonstration of the self-consistency of physics,” the science writer J. P. McEvoy has written, “than this formulation, which became known as Hawking Radiation.”

In March 1974, shortly after the announcement of Hawking Radiation, he was made a fellow of the Royal Society. Dr. Hawking was 32, one of the youngest scientists to be invested in that august assemblage.

Seven years later, Dr. Hawking weighed in again on his first research interest, the origins of the universe. At a Vatican conference, he delivered his “No Boundary Proposal,” in which he applied quantum theory — which seeks to explain the transfer of energy among matter’s most basic building blocks — to the origins of the universe, arguing that space and time were finite but without boundary or edge. Dr. Hawking went on to use the No Boundary Proposal to develop quantum cosmology, further refining the application of quantum mechanics to the singularity at the Big Bang.

It was this turn in his work that led Dr. Hawking to write “A Brief History of Time.” Other books by him include “300 Years of Gravitation,” “Black Holes and Baby Universes” and, as joint editor, “General Relativity: An Einstein Centenary Survey,” “Superspace and Supergravity,” and “The Very Early Universe.”

When Dr. Hawking announced in 2004 that he’d made a mistake in his calculations about black holes, that information can in fact escape from them, it drew worldwide headlines.

“I’m sorry to disappoint science fiction fans,” he announced at a conference in Dublin that year, “but if information is preserved there is no possibility of using black holes to travel to other universes.” Provoking laughter from the audience he added, “If you jump into a black hole, your mass energy will be returned to our universe, but in a mangled form, which contains the information about what you were like, but in an unrecognizable state,”

Dr. Hawking made headlines in 2007 with a different form of travel. He took off from Cape Canaveral in a specially designed Boeing 727 and experienced zero gravity for eight 25-second periods.

“It was amazing,’ Dr. Hawking said of the experience of floating in air. “I could have gone on and on. Space, here I come.”

Dr. Hawking was the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, among them the Wolf Foundation Prize, the Maxwell Medal, the Fundament Physics Prize, and Albert Einstein Award.

“If you understand how the universe operates,” he wrote in “My Brief History,” “you control it, in a way.”