Arranged Marriage vs Forced Marriage: Everything You Need to Know

Interested to know the difference between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage so you can identify it better? Discover the signs to look out for, right here…

Arranged marriages are not the same as forced marriages. In an arranged marriage, both parties always give their consent but, in a forced marriage, victims are coerced into a marriage that they do not want. They also often suffer physical and mental abuse in the process.

Distinguishing between the two types of marriage is really important. Forcing a marriage is a criminal offence, requiring a Forced Marriage Protection Order to protect the victim. Getting the two confused can promote a negative image of certain cultures and countries who practice arranged marriage.

There are no ‘typical’ victims of forced marriage. That said, there are a number of signs that can indicate that someone is at risk of a forced marriage, or is already in one. With this in mind, to discover the differences between these two controversial marriages so you can better spot them, read on…

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What are the Differences Between a Forced Marriage and an Arranged Marriage?

It is important to understand the differences between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. Not only will this avoid wires getting crossed between culture and abuse, you may be able to better spot it…

Arranged Marriages

An arranged marriage is where a family find a marriage partner for their son or daughter, but the marriage is entered into willingly. Both parties have the option to choose whether or not to enter into the marriage, although it is generally believed that parents know what is best for their children in the long run.

In arranged marriages, parents will look for a partner for their son or daughter who has a good family, good career prospects, and the same religion and values; someone who will ultimately make their child happy. That’s not to say that all arranged marriages end in happiness. For children who refuse to marry their chosen partner, they are often shamed and cut off from their family.

Forced Marriages

A forced marriage, on the other hand, is one in which either one or both parties do not consent. This could be because the person is too young, they have a learning disability which prevents them from making an informed decision, they have a physical disability, or because they simply don’t want to. 

Forced marriage is illegal in the UK, and victims are often coerced into marrying through physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse. Some victims are sometimes unaware of the situation, and are then drugged or kidnapped so that they can’t escape and are forced to go through with the marriage.

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Who is Most at Risk of Forced Marriage?

There is no ‘typical’ victim of a forced marriage. It can happen to anyone from any background. It can affect both men and women who are usually aged between 13 and 30. It is also not a problem specific to one culture or country. 

According to the latest statistics from the government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), in 2019 they handled 1,355 cases related to a possible forced marriage. These related to 66 different countries, excluding the UK. The most frequently encountered countries were:

  • Pakistan
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Afghanistan
  • Somalia
  • Iraq
  • Romania

This could be the country in which the forced marriage is due to take place, or has already taken place. It could also be the country in which the spouse is currently living. There were 72 cases reported in the UK in 2019. Of these cases the FMU handled in 2019;

  • 27 percent involved victims below 18 years of age
  • 36 percent involved victims aged 18-25 years of age
  • 10 percent involved victims with learning disabilities
  • 80 percent involved female victims
  • 19 percent involved male victims

These are the reported cases only. The full scale of the problem in the UK, and other related countries, is unknown, as many cases go unreported. Because fo this, the government introduced lifelong anonymity to forced marriage victims in 2017, to encourage more people to come forward.

Why Do Forced Marriages Happen?

There are a varied number of reasons for forced marriage, many of these reasons relating to family honour. Some of the most typical reasons this might occur include:

  • Parents reacting to social pressure from friends or older relatives to marry off their children;
  • Parents believing that their children’s behaviour is starting to disgrace the family honour;
  • If a child reveals that they have been raped or sexually abused, the parents may force them to marry to restore the family honour;
  • Retaining wealth and property in the family;
  • Marrying children into a wealthy family to reduce poverty and pay off debts;
  • Marrying children with physical or learning disabilities so that they are taken care of;
  • Forcing children to marry to cover up their true sexual identity, e.g. lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
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What Does the Law Say About Forced Marriages?

Forced marriage has been illegal in the UK since 2014, under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act. Because of this, it is now a criminal offence to:

  • Take someone overseas to force them to marry (whether or not the marriage actually takes place)
  • Marry someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to the marriage (whether they are coerced or not)

Committing this offence can result in imprisonment for up to seven years.

In 2008, under the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007, the government introduced Forced Marriage Protection Orders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to protect victims who are being forced into a marriage or who are already in a forced marriage. Anyone who breaches this Order is committing a criminal offence, and it can result in imprisonment for up to five years.

How to Spot the Signs of a Forced Marriage

Now that we know more details about what exactly forced marriage entails, and who is most at risk, spotting the signs is crucial. Here are some of the things you can look out for in others that may signal a forced marriage, both before and after the marriage has taken place:

  • Parents removing a child from education of from participating in extra-curricular activities for no reason;
  • High levels of absenteeism from school, college or work;
  • The victim may come from a community where ‘honour’ is culturally embedded;
  • An engagement announcement between the victim and a stranger not previously mentioned;
  • Changes to the victim’s personality e.g. they may appear depressed, anxious or withdrawn, and their appearance may deteriorate;
  • The victim may go missing or have a fear of returning home;
  • The victim may talk about a family holiday abroad with trepidation;
  • The victim may go abroad and not return home;
  • The victim’s family may regularly check up on them when they’re not home via phone, emails or text messages;
  • Incidents of crime or domestic disturbances at the victim’s home;
  • The victim may not have any control over their own life e.g. they may not be allowed a phone, money or access to the internet;
  • The victim may show signs of self-harm or even attempt suicide;
  • The victim may experience an unwanted pregnancy or a pregnancy very early in their marriage;
  • The victim may have their passport or other legal documents taken away from them so that they can’t leave.
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What Should You do if You Think That you or Someone Else is at Risk of a Forced Marriage?

There is lots of help out there from the government and domestic abuse charities, such as Refuge, Karma Nirvana and the Halo Project, who can give you advice. If you believe you or someone you know is in immediate danger, always call 999.

The Forced Marriage Unit can also help you or someone you know. Just be sure to have as many details as possible ready before getting in touch, including:

  • Name (you or the person you are calling about)
  • Address (you or the person you are calling about)
  • Details of why you are concerned about your own or someone else’s safety
  • Any details about where you or another person is being forced to go or has gone

If you’re not comfortable calling any of these helplines, or you’re not able to, try speaking to someone you trust. This could be a friend, co-worker, or even your GP.

Getting a Forced Marriage Protection Order

If you’re being forced into marriage, are unable to leave a forced marriage, or someone you know is in this boat, there are legal avenues you can take. Applying to the court for a Forced Marriage Protection Order is the main pathway to look into.

The order is designed to protect victims of forced marriage based on their individual circumstances. For example, the court can stop someone from approaching you or threatening you, and can even order someone to hand over your passport so that they cannot force you to travel abroad.

It is also possible to get an emergency order to protect you or someone you know immediately. This does not require the involvement of the person you’re making the order against.

If you’re concerned that you are about to be taken abroad to be married against your will, then contact the Forced Marriage Protection Unit. Or, if you are already abroad, contact your nearest British Embassy. You can also do this on behalf of someone else.

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Get Help and Support About a Forced Marriage

As mentioned above, if you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 999 straight away.

Forcing someone to marry against their will is a form of domestic abuse and is a criminal offence. If you think that you are at risk of a forced marriage or you think that someone else might be, there are many resources and helplines available to help:

Forced Marriage Unit: 020 7008 0151

Refuge: 0808 2000 247

The Halo Project: 01642 683 045

Karma Nirvana: 0800 5999 247

If you wish to apply for a Forced Marriage Protection Order, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Remember, help and protection is available; don’t suffer in silence.

Top Tips for Buying a Home during a Pandemic

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During ‘normal’ times, buying a house is always a very involving process. It involves meeting lots of people, from sellers and advisors. The level of human interaction is quite high, which is a considerable problem in combating the Covid-19 pandemic. In this complicated Covid-19 times, you may be wondering whether buying a house is possible. Well, here is some help. Here are some tips that will help you buy a home and still ensure safety.

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Find a Tech-Savvy Real Estate Agent

An excellent real estate agent is key to finding the ideal home for you. Apart from aligning with your needs, real estate agents are now required to be conversant with technology. This is because physical meetings expose you to risks. Therefore, the agent of your choice needs to be comfortable in hosting online meetings. This is through platforms such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, and many more. There also applications that allow you to receive and sign documents digitally. Such measures ensure a limit on time spent moving around and coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.

Consider Virtual Tours

House tours where there were cookies for everyone to nibble on are no longer viable. Visits carried out at the comfort of your couch are now the in-thing. Your realtor can easily send you pictures and videos of prospect properties. Since sellers can always edit videos, you may ask for a real-time virtual tour or a Face time with the realtor. This will ensure you get a feel of the house and make observations on imperfections without edits. The primary purpose of virtual tours is to eliminate some properties from a long list of choices. It is unnecessary to visit numerous houses where you expose yourself to more risks. Take your time and visit Movoto.com to narrow down your choices.

Remote House Inspection

Skipping a house inspection is one of the biggest mistakes you could make when buying. However hard the times maybe, you could still get a thorough home inspection, without necessarily putting yourself at risk. You can easily find agencies that conduct remote inspections by consulting with websites that show house listings. An independent review is the best option. The agency will take videos and pictures of things they find faulty in the house. This helps in getting a full report on the state of the residence. The findings reach you through a virtual meeting. Apart from that, after inspecting the house, the inspectors sanitize all surfaces before and after physically examining them.

Apply for Loan Pre-Approvals Online

Getting pre-approved for a loan ensures your finances for your house are okay. Before the pandemic, several lenders had transformed into a fully online system for efficiency. Thus, it should not be hard finding a loan officer who is conversant with an online order. The officer should provide learning materials, where you can learn everything about mortgage, the interest rates, and still track your loan progress. Shop around for loan officers, compare what they are offering and pick the best. Documents that the officer needs to assess, such as credit history, bank statements, or tax returns, are also available online. This ensures a paperless system with limited human contact.

Prepare Efficiently for the Showing

When you narrow down your options to a few houses, you could start physical visits. There are some details about the house that may not be detected by virtual tours. This includes things like smells. For those few house tours, you should prepare thoroughly. Carry your mask and sanitizer.

Additionally, insist on precautions such as filling of questionnaires to ascertain the health status of everyone involved in the process. You could also practice habits that reduce our exposure to the virus like avoiding touching your face. You could also arrange such that showings are minimal to avoid congestion. Such simple preparations reduce your likelihood of contracting the virus tremendously.

Remote House Closings

Previously, house closings involved shaking hands and handing over keys, among other activities, where both parties heavily interacted. Since there are documents that require signing, physical presence is necessary. However, both parties could observe social distancing by choosing a favorable location for the closing. This could be a conference room, with plenty of room for sufficient air circulation. Alternatively, the parties can occupy different rooms or use personal vehicles as an office. Signing often takes very little time, which reduces exposure time significantly.

Final Thoughts

As things slowly move back to normalcy, more buyers are exploring the market for homes. Therefore, there is an influx of buyers in the market. When you come across a good deal, move fast and close as you are up against a vast competition. Also, do not rush into sales to keep up with the market. Remember that your health is of paramount importance. Avoid unnecessary meetings and take all necessary precautions to protect yourself.

Recognizing a Successful Real Estate Agent

Recognizing a Successful Real Estate Agent

Finding the right person to list your home or help you on a search to buy a new one can be daunting. There are dozens of real estate agents in any community, and since your decision to buy and sell can be lifechanging, you definitely need to pick the right agent for the job. Here are some hallmark identifiers of a successful real estate agent.

Local Experience and Knowledge

If someone is new to town, they aren’t going to know all about the school districts or where the closest communities are to transportation hubs. You don’t want a beginner helping you find your dream home. A local agent will experience may grab your attention through real estate prospecting postcards. This local form of advertising may be worth a second look.

Strong Organizational Skills

When you speak to an agent, you want to know that they are truly listening to what you say. They could drag you around from house to house, but if none of these homes have the details or designs that you are looking for, it is nothing more than a waste of time. A successful real estate agent will note the wants and needs of the client when looking at properties, sorting them into priorities and affordability.

Reliable Connections

When you fall in love with a home, you want to know that your agent is going to get the job done. Whether it be the negotiations with the listing agent or arranging for signing at a title company, your agent should have reliable connections and a strong reputation in the field among his or her peers. Agents that can work well with others get the job done faster and with less headache.

Don’t launch your dreams of a perfect home to a real estate agent without checking them out beforehand. You want a partner in the process, not a stressor.

When It Comes To School Reopening, “There’s An App For That”

When It Comes To School Reopening, “There’s An App For That”

With the incidence of new COVID-19 cases growing by the day, healthcare stakeholders are continuing to search for tools and medications to help stem the tide. We have seen the digital health community release a slew of new tools aiming to monitor the spread of the disease and facilitate better treatment. And it sounds as if there’s still more to come, as tech giants Facebook, Amazon and Google sat down with the World Health Organization (WHO) to talk about their role in combating the spread of disease, as well as misinformation. 

As of this morning there were over 4.8 million laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. The medical community has rushed to search for solutions to the spread of the disease with a big push for vaccine and medicine research. 

In lieu of a vaccine or therapy for COVID-19, the idea is to provide evidence-based guidance to businesses and schools that otherwise don’t know how to go about developing a return-to-work plan. In the absence of clear leadership here or clear guidance from the government, a lot of employers and educators feel like they’re having to play armchair epidemiologist — and very few employers or teachers are really positioned to do that.

Technology has a history of helping the medical industry track and treat viruses. Among more recent examples is flu tracking. In 2018 the US experienced a particularly severe flu season. During this time aggregated user data collected through Kinsa’s smart connected thermometers indicated illness spikes across the country.

Even more recently, a Scripps Research Translational Institute study published in The Lancet Digital Health found that resting-heart-rate and sleep-duration data collected from Fitbit devices could help inform timely and accurate models of population-level influenza trends.

And now, as schools grapple with how to safely reopen this fall, DrOwl is offering their groundbreaking new platform to schools for free. Neither students nor teachers are likely to return to school if they fear infection, so there needs to be some way to separate the sick from the. DrOwl’s technology is helping schools make their activities safer for staff, students, and guests, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health screening and contact tracing are a large part of reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 in schools. DrOwl does both of these things.

As a technology company, we are thrilled to use our skills and expertise to help during this crisis.  We understand the importance of a solid screening process and that it is one of the things that is helping get us get back to school in a safe, well-thought manner,” said Arvind Raichur, CEO, and Co-Founder of DrOwl. “Our screening tool is a game-changer for schools, businesses, and so many other organizations throughout the world.”

The digital tools go far beyond the infrared thermometers and temperature checks that have dominated the conversation around safely reopening. The new wave of software products allows employers and schools to direct their workers and students to get a Covid-19 test, clear them to return to work or school, track their symptoms, and trace the contacts of anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus.

The rollouts are forcing digital health vendors and their customers to navigate a range of unprecedented legal, cultural, and financial questions. Among them: What kinds of surveillance can employers require their workers to submit to — and will employees actually use these tools? Just as 9/11 led to more invasive security in airports and other vulnerable spaces, most indications are the pandemic will lead to more pervasive health surveillance abetted by new digital tools.

Civil liberties experts say it is important for any virus-tracking of employees or students to be voluntary. Otherwise, by linking identification technologies like facial recognition to employees’ or students’ health status, businesses and schools could usher in an authoritarian, China-like system of surveillance and social control at workplaces and schools.

We are accepting encroachments on privacy here that we would not normally accept,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. “We need to be vigilant to make sure that they don’t outlast this crisis.” Four Republican senators said in May they would introduce a Covid-19 privacy bill to hold businesses accountable when they use people’s health information to fight the pandemic. Some of the reopening tools may raise questions about whether employers or schools are invading their workers’ or students’ privacy — and so digital health vendors pitching pandemic-related services are taking steps to try to steer clear of such concerns. As least for now, increased tracking and screening seem poised to become a fact of daily life for workers, students, and consumers.

Effective Marketing In A Remote, COVID-19 World

Effective Marketing In A Remote, COVID-19 World

The start of 2020 not only brought a new decade, but it also brought a new mysterious pneumonia-like virus outbreak known as the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). With the number of cases continuously increasing daily, the World Health Organization declared the novel COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. Millions of people worldwide have been affected in one way or another by this outbreak. With over 4.2 million+ confirmed cases around the globe, it’s apparent that the outbreak is moving quickly and spreading rapidly. 

Some countries are currently experiencing a rapid rise in new cases. Meanwhile, in others, the rate of growth has slowed after leaders have instituted nationwide lockdowns, leading to a battered world economy. As a result, many businesses around the world were forced to change their working conditions and some even had to shut down. However, that doesn’t mean things will be like this forever and it doesn’t mean your marketing and creative engine has to grind to a hault.  By engaging a company to help with your work on an outsourced basis, you save financially while consistently moving your marketing engine forward.  Flocksy is the premier outsource creative, content and marketing platform, that engages only professional creatives. With this service, you can not only create a game plan, and utilize various marketing strategies, but also support your business while it is in a transition of any kind.  Re-opening takes planning, time, effort, and the proper deployment of both inbound and outbound marketing.  By utilizing a custom service on a retainer-basis, you can engineer your growth, remain consistent with your customers, and reap the rewards from your hard work. 

The main goals of a successful re-opening digital marketing strategy should be to build consumer confidence through clear communications that set and manage expectations related to your business operations. Best customer communications practices include:

  • Use multiple communication channels to ensure your message is widely received and reinforced.
  • Create and share a FAQ document to address the most common questions regarding your health and safety practices and other important changes to your daily operations.
  • Be prepared to listen and respond to customer comments and inquiries quickly.

Develop a reopening digital marketing strategy that addresses each of your online channels such as your website, your social media, online advertising, and your Google My Business profile(s).

Step 1: Optimize Your Google My Business Profile

Over 5 billion search queries are performed daily on Google search. Google specifically built its Google My Business platform to help local businesses attract customers. A properly optimized Google My Business profile is proven to help achieve a top Google search rankings and directly attract customers. Therefore, optimizing and maintaining your Google My Business profile should be pivotal part of your re-opening strategy.

Step 2: Update Your Website in Key Places

After seeing your Google My Business page and your recent Google Posts, your customers should have the confidence that your website has the same information to match. On your website, you can offer expanded content pinpointing specific operational shifts your customers may expect.

For critical operational updates or promotional offers, consider adding copy where it’s most likely to be seen. Review heatmap or clickmap data to determine what sections of your website maximize exposure of your message. Consider adding a pop-up message to capture attention and eliminate confusion. It may mean the difference between more revenue or less.

Finally, if you have specific and developing information about your business, whether this is health and safety-related or new reopening guidelines, an important digital marketing strategy tip is to create a separate page or section on your website and direct visitors to it.

This can be accomplished through a pop-up, a link on your main navigation, or a link or banner from critical pages. This grabs customers’ interest and makes sure they know all the details when it comes to your reopening. If the information is health and safety-related, this gives you the chance to make your customers feel comfortable about returning to your business as you reopen.

Step 3: Update Your Social Profiles

Today, customers expect a business’ social media to be the most accurate and up-to-date resource for operational changes. Your social media profiles may very well be the “front door” for customers online because each channel serves content in a chronological timeline. The date of your most recent update shows your level of activity to keep customers informed through your reopening.

To implement a strong digital marketing strategy, first, audit your social profiles – make sure you know what profiles represent your business online. Consider:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Yelp

Not only is it important to be prepared, but it’s also important to learn how to adapt and make changes where necessary. As a business owner, you need to be able to respond and adjust your strategy accordingly. Flocksy can help you update your digital marketing materials quickly and affordably. They offer web development, graphic design, copywriting and video production.

Normalcy is not going to happen overnight. In fact, “normal” for you moving forward may look very different from what it looked like before the coronavirus pandemic. Your journey back to the volume of customers you had before may take time, but all your business can do is keep learning, growing, and evolving as new information becomes available. It’s important to continuously research, learn, and adapt so that your business can be the best it can be.

Why is Access to Healthy Foods Important?

Why is Access to Healthy Foods Important?

Healthy foods provide us with the nutrition our bodies need. Without this nutrition, our bodies break down leading to future health issues.

For some of us, eating healthy food is not much of an issue. For others, it can be a matter of life and death.

If you look in your grocery stores, you may notice that healthy foods are often more expensive than “not as healthy” food products. When you compare organic to non-organic, organic will always have a higher price tag. Lower fats and non-fat foods also tend to be more expensive than foods with a high fat content.

Because healthy foods are more expensive, lower income people may not be able to afford them. As a result, grocery stores in lower income neighborhoods may not carry these foods at all.

But the problems don’t stop there.

Data from 2012-2013 shows that the average person lived 2.19 miles from a supermarket. While that is not very far for those who have a car, it is impossible to walk this distance with a week’s worth of groceries, and carrying them on public transportation isn’t much easier.

Then there are the food deserts. Food deserts are areas where food resources are limited which is often the case in low income areas. As a result, convenience stores and small food markets may be the only way for these people to access food. Unfortunately, these smaller businesses tend not to offer a lot of healthy food options.

Why is Access to Healthy Foods Important?

If you are wondering, why is access to healthy foods important, read on to find out.

Those who do not have access to healthy foods are likely to experience health problems in the future. Diabetes and obesity are two health issues that are quite common in low-income neighborhoods where people do not have access to the healthy foods they need.

What is Being Done?

Fortunately, the issue of a lack of access to healthy foods has not gone unnoticed. As a result, several strategies have been implemented to “improve diets by altering food environments.” For instance, Supplemental Nutrition Access Programs have helped low income individuals afford the healthy food they need.

Other strategies include opening supermarkets in underserved neighborhoods, lowering the prices of healthy foods and limiting the number of fast food restaurants in communities.

It Starts with You

Healthy foods are important but to really make sure you are getting the nutrition you need, supplements are recommended.

Garden of Life is a brand that is dedicated to creating a world where obesity and diabetes are a thing of the past. They manufacture whole foods nutritional supplements that they believe will help make that dream a reality. Products like their Omega 3 Fish Oil, their Woman’s Once Daily, and their FucoThin Fat Burner are just some Garden of Life products designed to boost health and wellness.

The question is not really, “Why is access to healthy foods important?” Rather, it’s “What do we need to do to make healthy foods more accessible?” Fortunately, programs are underway to help people get the nutritious foods they need. Hopefully this will make a change in promoting better health throughout the world.

Outsourced Marketing Support Means Professional Work On Demand

Outsourced Marketing Support Means Professional Work On Demand

Flocksy is a professionally managed flat rate creative services and content platform focused on long-term relationships with clients, designers, and partners. Flocksy utilizes only U.S.-based project managers who understand the needs of both clients and on demand teams. Their team is fully vetted and tested, ensuring their clients get top notch results for the projects they desire. Flocksy was founded in 2016 by Sam, George, and Charles Ryan as the first platform of its kind to offer the breadth of services and consistency of teams.

Flocksy’s proprietary platform engages teams, both internally and externally, through their user-friendly platform. Their platform is cost-effective for businesses of all sizes and locations. The monthly cost is at $349, $420, or $995 price points and Flocksy offers video editing and creation, copywriting, design, website development and voiceover services.

The company works with businesses of all sizes that need marketing materials created and agencies. They help their customers with all their marketing projects for a fraction of the price they would pay an inhouse team. Their service replaces the typical full-time designer, video editor, developer or writer and more. 

Flocksy integrates chat functionality and a full dashboard, both of which are focused on consistent, best work practices for every project. Their platform vets and selects only the best creatives from around the world, ensuring work is done correctly and on time. Flocksy was designed so clients get a whole team they are working with and not one person that they may or may not connect with.

Businesses sign up and can create unlimited design, video, development and writing projects. Flocksy then forms a fully vetted team around the customer’s account based on the projects they run, their style, and more. The team then works on all their projects and makes sure to keep their brand and style consistent. Their professional-grade work is work we use ourselves. 

Flocksy has proprietary software that vets creatives who want to join. Once they submit the application and go through an onboarding process, they have a team of experts review the applications that make it through the onboarding process. The experts choose who is finally accepted based on a number of criteria. Once creatives are accepted onto the platform, they start joining teams and work directly with the clients. 

The teams get projects done in 12 hours on average. Since there is always someone available on the team to work on the projects, there are few delays and most projects are done correctly and consistently the first time around. This allows businesses to scale and start as many projects as they need without any bottlenecks. 

Flocksy has consistently beat client expectations for quality of work and work turnaround times from our first day in business. Typically, the Flocksy team is one you build as a consistent, complete outsource team, focused on your core business needs. Flocksy was designed to work with small to mid-sized businesses the way they do business best. And their retainer-based monthly service fee includes all work, licensing, and more.

Clients can do as many projects as they can complete in a given month.  In order to better focus on client work, projects can be located into our dashboard and are completed one at a time.  When you sign off on a project, the next one begins. The dashboard includes recent activity in a client’s account, the team, the client’s active projects and stats on their activity. 

The proprietary portal is very user-friendly. Clients can easily sign up and create projects within minutes. They can easily provide feedback by commenting and tagging designs within a project. Once the client is happy with a project, they can simply close it out and the team starts on the next project in the queue. 

Accounts are each assigned a dedicated Project Manager. The Project Manager is USA based and oversees the client’s team and account. If the client has any questions, issues with the team, concerns about a project or more, they can simply reach out to their Project Manager for a fast response (usually in under an hour). 

With the My Team page clients can see everyone on their team and remove team members they don’t like. The dashboard allows the client to quickly see what is happening in their account.  And the Pending Projects area, allows clients to create unlimited projects and have them queued up. The team works through them as fast as possible. Flocksy enables you to keep your team for the long haul or change them around whenever you want to.  Flocksy’s professional creatives and active team members serve as outsourced members of YOUR team.

4 things you can do in your backyard to keep yourself entertained during the quarantine

4 things you can do in your backyard to keep yourself entertained during the quarantine

The pandemic is impacting individuals differently. One thing is for sure though, that it’s still taking some getting used to. With so many rules and regulations to pay attention to, it’s all enough to make you lose your mind but staying at home is by far the most effective way to flatten the curve.

Although it’s essential, we also acknowledge that being stuck at home might mean that you are more restless, tense, and bored than you have been for a while. And if you have kids, schools may be out for the foreseeable future, which means that there are a lot more hours in between the day to fill up that should be used for entertaining everyone in the household. 

As you probably already know, entertaining kids is no small feat; it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. Sure, you could always let them watch hours of TV because it will buy you a little peace and quiet when you need it. However, giving your kids unlimited screen time is no way to spend time during this quarantine period.

With most spaces only opening up gradually, you’ll find that a lot of the playgrounds, community spaces, and stores that you once loved are still closed. Lucky for you, there are still lots of things that you can do when it comes to keeping yourself and your kids entertained during the quarantine. To prevent you from going stir crazy, here are things that you can do- and you don’t even have to leave your backyard to enjoy them:

1) Set up and backyard ping pong tournament

If you are still doing the responsible thing and staying at home as much as possible, it only makes sense that you want to make full use of your side, front, or back yard. One of the simplest things that you can do outdoors is to organize some lawn games such as a ping pong tournament.

Since you’ll be hosting a game at home, there’s no need to follow all the rules of ping pong. You can have a totally reasonable game with a few paddles, a ping pong table, and a few participants. If you don’t have a ping pong table, simply grab your dining table and create some boundaries and markings.

2) Throw an impromptu Karaoke session

If you are a shower singer or just love music in general, an impromptu Karaoke session can be a great way to spend time with your loved ones in the backyard. When the sun goes down, there is absolutely no reason why the party has to stop. Rather, it’s an opportunity to turn things up with an outdoor Karaoke session.

To throw a successful outdoor session, ensure that you keep your guest list tight; try not to invite more than 10 attendees. If you are thinking about how you can host more people, consider making Karaoke night a weekly thing, that way you will be able to host a different group each time without overcrowding.

If you don’t have enough supplies, request your guests to kindly bring their own blankets or chairs. If there are outsiders that aren’t part of the household, ensure to layout your blankets in the appropriate six feet distance. And don’t forget the hand sanitizer.

You will also need some basic equipment such as a portable projector, a projector screen and some speakers. Make the space as comfortable as possible so that your guests can relax and have fun. Consider setting up some walkway lights or offer your guests inexpensive flashlights to prevent them from accidentally stepping on or tripping over each other.

3) Create a reading nook outdoors

You now have more time than ever to complete those unfinished DIY projects that you have always wanted to try. One of them should be creating an outdoor reading nook where you can retreat to in the quiet of the night or just before sunset to read a book or a magazine.

Don’t have access to a whole ton of books? No problem. Simply get yourself a Kindle and you can read anywhere, anytime. What’s so great about reading on Kindle is that you can read in your backyard without worrying about illumination. Kindles are also mostly waterproof and you can store all your favorite reads and podcasts without worrying about space.

4) Set up an outdoor movie party

Netflix and chilling is great and all, but sometimes you just need to shake things up, which is where an outdoor movie party comes in. With a few supplies and a simple, non-frilly setup, you can create an outdoor theater to beat all outdoor theaters in no time.

First and foremost, you will need to select an outdoor spot with access to electrical outlets. You can’t watch a movie without power, now can you? Also, make sure that the location that you select is quite and where headlights, house lights from nearby houses, or street lights will not make viewing hard.

You also need a retractable projector screen. However, if you cannot afford to buy one straight away, there are plenty of DIY options to try. You will also need a projector, as well as surround sound (regular computer speakers will also work just as fine). Set everything up, grab some popcorn, an outdoor blanket, warm drinks and you’ll be good to go.

Final Thoughts

You may not have as many options as you once did to eat, drink, and get out into the world as you once did pre-quarantine. However, there are still plenty of things that you can try to keep yourself entertained.

Like most people that have been forced to self-isolate or quarantine owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the best thing that you can do is look for alternative ways to make the best of your situation. If you look around, you’ll find that you can do a lot more with the little that you have and still be able to stay safe and sane.

The good news for you is that these tips that we’ve listed above will definitely keep you occupied until the next time you will be able to go out dancing, catch a movie, check out a new restaurant or simply just hug the friends that you miss.

What CBD Salve Can Do For You

When my brother and I were growing up our household had two main ‘treatment’ remedies that were my mother and granny’s ‘go-to’ cure. 

The first one was a red watered down liquid that looked like imitation blood which seemed, as much as it was horrific to look at, to speed up the healing process. 

Cotton wool drenched in the stuff would be smeared all over, and then some, of the emergency area and you walked around looking like you had just come back from war. Let’s just say this went down well with the boys, anything that made a sore look gross and they were all for it. Yuck.

The other was a topical cream, pale pink as if a red shirt had found its way into the white load and smelled like a pureed hospital, old granny’s, and care homes all in one, it’s not something you are likely to forget let me tell you this. 

The funny thing is, and I’m wondering now if it was because it was used so religiously used on us, but I put it onto everything on my kids. It’s ‘magic’ and there isn’t a problem it can’t tackle. This is what I tell them and try to convince myself, of course, splinters to blisters to scratches, ‘get the tube,’ and it hasn’t failed me yet.

For a trip down memory lane on all things grannies used to practice as a self-proclaimed doctor no doubt, click here and see how many relate to your childhood, you’ll be surprised at how many you can remember never mind that you may implement them into your family dynamics now like I do.

When it comes to muscles, on the other hand, you need something that penetrates a little deeper than the surface, one that can be massaged into the muscles and tissues and get to the root of the pain or problem. 

I have always known only one brand left unmentioned but it comes in a red tube and can burn your eyes dry just by getting too close, and even then its results weren’t guaranteed and you have a heated patch on your body for the next 2 hours. 

Thankfully coming across this innovative product and one that has saved my eyeballs a lot of stress is CBD Salve. CBD comes from the cousin of the marijuana family and this flower has a long list of beneficial factors and healing properties, but with all the negatives removed it makes this product that much better.

A CBD story.

People hear CBD or Cannabidiol and immediately jump to an idea of a group of youngsters sitting huddled in a circle surrounded by a cloud of smoke. While this may be true if the THC component, which is responsible for the hallucinogenic and psychoactive reaction, is not fully extracted to a concentration of less than 0.3%.

You can brush up on your insight here on what THC is and how it works in the body, the chemical reactions, and its history of being discovered. 

CBD comes in many forms, oils, edibles, and my new favorite, salve. This has changed the way I perceive pain.

No longer do I dread the onset of a muscle spasm or twinge, I simply reach for my little tub of cream and enjoy the quick effects.

This is of course hidden away from my achy-bones hubby who thinks he is in pain when I just mention loading the dishwasher after dinner, suddenly he needs the kids to do a 15-min massage. Cheeky. 

If you are nodding your head in agreement but don’t have your hands on this ‘miracle’ salve then don’t wait, you may be unsure or overwhelmed by which is best or what is suited to you, browsing products on sites such as Cheefbotanicals.com is a good way to get you started and set off on the right foot.

You can begin your CBD journey with something small and work your way up, the main objective is to use an all-natural product and eliminate chemical-based alternatives. Who knows what toxins are being put on your skin or ingested into the system?

We need to take care of ourselves in the safest way we can, and if CBD is the answer, count me in.

3 Ways That Web Design Relies on Creativity

3 Ways That Web Design Relies on Creativity

When you put together a website for your company or organization, you probably think that the process involves lots of computer coding and other technological skills. While knowing how to code is crucial to designing a professional website, the process also involves the following creative skills.

Writing

The heart of every website is its content. If the writing is not original or well-written, people will not trust your information or want to buy your products. Whether you use an SEO reseller or another source, your writers need to use their creativity to develop unique content related to your industry. 

Graphic Design

While your articles must be well-written to generate an audience, they also need to be presented well. This phase of website design is similar to graphic design. Your web designer and administrator pick fonts, images and layouts that best feature your content. Part of this process is scientific, as research has shown where certain widgets should be placed and which styles are most appealing to potential customers. However, your designer still has lots of control over your site’s look.

Customer Outreach

Every website includes information on how to reach its owner. To make yours stand out, get creative with your customer outreach. Ask your web designer to add a joke or funny image to your customer service page, or generate a new message each time a visitor clicks on your chatbox. The more ways that you and your designer can think of to engage customers and show them that you care about their visit, the more likely they are to return.

Many stereotypes are associated with web design, one of which is that it requires advanced technical skills and nothing else. However, without you and your web designer’s creativity, your writing, graphic design and customer outreach cannot compete with other websites.