Home Furniture: Using Occasional Furniture and Accent Pieces

Home furniture can be complemented by the use of occasional furniture and accent pieces. Although most will initially furnish their home with the accepted tables, chairs, display cabinets, sofas and the like, a time will come when that seems just a little plain. Something seems lacking, and that is when you will turn to individual items of occasional furniture and other accent pieces.

Examples of these are elegant bookcases, crafted in hardwood with a beautiful rosewood or walnut veneer. An empty corner can be filled with a tall elegant corner cabinet, and you have a fabulous selection of consoles available, beautiful semi-round tables with one straight back to stand against a wall anywhere in your home. They make lovely telephone tables!

Many people will collect their home furniture curios and accent pieces throughout their life, while others will inherit them. However, many of the better cabinet makers and furniture stores also offer them to the discerning buyer who has a need for such pieces. Among these are Southwood, Stickley, Sherrill and American Craftsman, and if you feel there is a gap in your home that needs to be filled, then you could do worse than consult the websites of these firms and those like them.

Here are some examples the types of occasional furniture that can be used to complement your existing home furniture as accent pieces. They add a touch of class to a room, and make it appear more distinguished and certainly better furnished than had you simply used the standard three-piece suite and perhaps a coffee table.

Occasional Tables

There are three distinctly different types of occasional table that can be used in your home. The most popular is the coffee or cocktail table which is available in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. They range from glass tops in any color resting on a variety of different types of leg to traditional hardwood tables

Traditional occasional tables are available in many styles, including the fine and delicate Sheraton style and the sturdier thicker-legged Chippendale – often French polished to a very high gloss. Contemporary tables can be anything, including the aforementioned glass, metal and plastic.

If you use tables such as these as accent pieces for your home furniture, then they should meld with your existing style of furniture. A clash of colors and materials is often fine for contemporary pieces, but this looks out of place with tradition polished hardwood furniture.

End Tables

End tables are fundamentally intended to stand to either side of a chair or sofa, and are used to hold items such as books, magazines and drinks. They can also be decorated with candles, lamps, floral arrangements and so on.

They are available in a variety of styles, and are excellent accent pieces for traditionally furnished homes. They are not intended as alternatives to coffee tables, since the latter generally sit in front of a chair, but they can also be used as a table irrespective of any nearby seating.

Card Tables

Nowadays used mainly for show, card tables can double as chess tables and their original use is obvious. Some have a reversible top, with a polished wood surface on one side and a baize or felt surface on the other for playing cards. Others have a flip-top, where top opens up from the middle using two flaps to create a playing surface double the size of the original.

Card tables can double as cocktail or coffee tables, and are used more as accent pieces than as functional pieces of furniture. They originate from an era when computers were science fiction, and even radio was almost unheard of let alone TV, and when playing cards was a normal evening entertainment.

Benches, Love Seats and Settles

Benches, love seats and settles are indoor accent pieces of home furniture that are designed for sitting on. They look good in a conservatory or large hall, and at one time would be used by courting couples and their chaperones. The couple would sit side by side with the chaperone present, and would talk but not come into bodily contact. Oh, the joys of old-time courting!

Miscellaneous Occasional Furniture and Accent Pieces

There are many other types of home furniture that can be used as home accents, such as cocktail cabinets, entertainment centers and hall/umbrella stands. Many like an individual bookcase or a display cabinet. Escritoires are writing desks, while secretaries are tall, coming in the form of a chest of drawers at the bottom, on which stands a bureau with a pull-down flap that doubles as a writing surface and with a book case or display cabinet resting on that.

Each of these would grace any home, but again should be used to complement existing home furniture. Rockers are also occasional pieces that can be used in a more rustic style of home or in a conservatory, although some of the better made rockers that are finished in polished hardwood would grace any room in your home.

Benefits of Choosing Home Furniture Online

One benefit of choosing home furniture online is that you can choose your accessories at the same time without any pressure to buy. I am sure you have sometimes felt under pressure when visiting furniture stores – you are trying to select your furniture and then check out the best accessories to go with it, but are continually followed around by keen sales staff who are trying to help, but are doing anything but!

However, that aside, whether you choose your home furniture online or visit the furniture store itself you should choose the furniture that meets each of three criteria: a) you need it, b) it fits in with your decor and other furniture, and c) you like it. It is surprising how many people miss out one of these factors when choosing furniture for their home – and it can be even worse with accessories such as lamps, mirrors and rugs.

Let’s examine each of these three simple criteria in turn:

1. You Need It

Only purchase what you need. ‘Nice to have’ stuff is nice to have, but unless you need it you may wish later on that you had spent the cash on something else – unless you have unlimited funds of course, but then you wouldn’t be reading this. Your interior designer would be looking after your home furniture for you!

It is possible that you will come across some lovely pieces of furniture and accessories that were not included in your original list. That is only to be expected, because it’s not unusual for somebody to spot the need for a particular item when they come across it. Everyone cannot be expected to draw up a list of furniture needed for their home without missing something!

If you are furnishing a bedroom for example, you might spot a beautiful chest that can be used to store your bedding. One example is a beautiful Allure ottoman almost 4 feet long and 2.5 feet deep sufficient to hold a selection of sheets and duvet covers that can also double as seating. You may not have thought of using an ottoman for your bedding, but it seems a reasonable addition to make to your list.

2. It Fits In With Your Decor

If this ottoman was in bright red and your room was decorated in light blue, then it might not be such a good choice after all. However, if the ottoman in question is upholstered in powder blue it would match perfectly – unless you prefer the contrast!

Perhaps the item you came across was a fabulous armoire in cherry or maple, and you intended to furnish your bedroom in light oak. You would then have one of three choices: search for a light oak armoire in the same design that attracted you, switch the plans for your bedroom furniture to cherry or maple, or simply forget it.

For many people the third choice is not conceivable so they usually decide to fit the rest of their bedroom furniture around their preferred piece. Although this appears to be a contrived example, it is not as theoretical as it seems because such things do happen. It is not unusual for people to furnish an entire room around a single essential piece.

3. You Like It

It would be extreme folly to purchase home furniture you don’t like simply because it fits in with your design and decorative style. It’s better to change your decor than to live with furniture you don’t like.

Sometimes the opportunity to choose home furniture online is not an advantage. Sometimes it’s best just to do what our parents, or even our grandparents had to do, and visit a selection of furniture stores and choose from the bedroom suites available.

Maybe Using One Home Furniture Store is Best

Many would visit just one store, and make their choices from that. Choosing home furniture online can offer too many choices for us to make, when it would be better to be more limited. Is there an answer to this problem? You bet there is!

Rather than ignore the choice the internet offers you, why not make the best use of it by using a single online furniture store that offers you a room planner. Using that, you can start with an empty room of your exact dimensions and then fill it with the furniture options offered by that store.

Don’t look further because that just causes confusion. Then you can add the bed, cabinets, chests, armoire and everything else you need, each piece matching, and end up with a beautiful bedroom furnished just as you want it. The main reason for using just the one store is that everything will match.

Yes, the internet can offer too much choice. However, if you choose your accessories and home furniture online using a template of your room, then you will meet all three of the above criteria and be happy with your choice.

5 Great Tips to Stop Travel Anxiety

While most of us enjoy holidays and traveling, many find the associated travel anxiety tough to bear. Travel anxiety isn’t a disease but it is rather the fear of the unknown. Fear of travel is usually caused by several factors. Some people may worry about their house and pets when they are away while others might have had unpleasant traveling experiences during their previous trips. Others are afraid of flying. Some fret that the trip will turn out to be a disaster and worry about all of the details. All of these are examples of worries related to travel that can lead to varying degrees of uneasiness. Regardless of the causes or intensity of your anxiety, it can really compromise the pleasure and excitement of your trip.

Although, travel anxiety is common in both experienced and novice travelers, most travelers have positive traveling stories to tell. Probably, they learned how to manage their anxieties and have regained the joy of travel. It is not too late; you can also overcome travel anxiety by following a little advice. The following 5 tips to stop travel anxiety could prove invaluable to you in planning your next holiday.

5 Tips to Stop Travel Anxiety

1. Spend time making Preparations Prior To Your Trip

From past experiences, to think of the details and annoyances that bothers you about traveling. For example, you think that your house will be in a mess once you step out of the door hire a house cleaner to clean your home prior to your return. If flight travels frightens you, you can equip yourself with your iPod or your favorite book to keep you busy while you’re traveling. Simply make a list of those things you think you’ll require in your trip and those things you won’t want to be left running while you are away. The time spent organizing, planning and taking care of all the details well in advance will help to stop travel anxiety.

2. Don’t Procrastinate

Some people are well aware of their travel anxieties and they’ll often avoid taking care of the details; eg. booking a ticket, packing, etc. They will make excuses, avoid and procrastinate due to previous poor experiences with traveling. Just because you have travel anxiety doesn’t mean that avoidance will eradicate your fears. If you really want to take control over travel anxiety, get yourself involved in the action by preparing early and taking care of all necessary details. Keep in mind, travel fears are just made up fears and they are never real.

3. Learn How to Cope Up With Flight Phobia

For those people who worry about flying, you may wan to dig a little deeper to find the root of this fear. Get to know exactly what frightens you. Are you are acrophobic or claustrophobic? Perhaps the mechanical sounds bother you or air turbulence puts the fright into you. All of these fears are irrational meaning you can counter them with rationality. Airlines have strict safety measures on board. Once you are aboard, try to listen to attendant instructions to calm your nerves. Also, use anything that you like such as music to disrupt your thoughts while you are traveling.

4. Meditate

To effectively manage their travel anxiety, many individuals use meditation to gain control. Meditation makes use of a kind of self-hypnosis, so you can calm your nerves and mind down. Various self-hypnosis scripts designed specifically to ease travel anxiety can be found online. Meditate on these scripts and your mind will be at ease during your time of travel. The scripts are great tools of converting people’s subconscious minds into a friend rather than a foe. Instead of having a subconscious mind that is deep-seated in travel anxiety, you’ll have a subconscious mind that is confident and not frightened of flights.

5. Get rid of the Unknowns

Illuminate your travel shadows by doing a research prior to your trip of things you’ll expect to encounter once you’re at your destination. Apart from visiting various travel blogs, you can also use travel guides to become well-informed with your destination point. Go online and checkout your accommodation so you will know what to expect. Have your looked into travel from the airport to the hotel? What about meals and special dietary requirements? The little unknowns add up and will add to your travel anxiety.

Besides the 5 tips to strop travel anxiety strategies listed above also ensure that you maintain proper communication using Facebook, MySpace, etc. Keeping the communication channels open with loved ones back home will keep you connected.

Observing the 5 tips listed above is a great way to start you on the path of happy travels. Best of luck!

The Fashion Style That’s Right for Your Body Type

Women have different body types and because of this, women require a different fashion style for each type. Sometimes it could be quite daunting to go shopping and not really know what clothes are best for you. Below are tips for you to follow about the best kind of clothes that’s right for your body type.

Petite women are those with heights up to 5 feet 4 inches. If you’re in this category, the best strategy for you is to find clothes that would elongate your whole frame. As much as possible, you have to try to stick to using one color or at least clothes with the same hue from top to bottom. This would help make you appear taller.

Also shop at petite sections, because wearing clothes that are too long or too big for you will make you appear shorter and smaller than you are. Having clothes that fit will is one of the most important things to remember when choosing a fashion style. And of course, as you need to look taller, wearing heels is never a bad idea.

For tall and slim women, it is a good idea to make sure you don’t wear pants that are too short for you. It makes you look bigger than you really are. Also, being tall and slim, creating curves is one of your goals. Wearing blouses with ruffles and frills will produce an illusion of a curvier body.

Your top should be just at the level of the waist and you should wear jackets to break off the length of the body. You should also go for belts, particularly colorful ones to emphasize your waistline and give you an hourglass shape. And try not to wear V-necks as they tend to elongate the body.

For women who are plus-sized, it is important to remember that the clothes you wear should be just the right fit. Wearing clothes that are too loose will make you look even bigger, and wearing clothes that are too tight will emphasize the “bulges” that you don’t want to direct attention to.

Straight leg jeans are great as they make your legs longer and slimmer. Your top should not be too long. It should just be below your waistline. Also, V-necks or scoop tops help elongate the body, giving it a slimmer look.

When looking for a fashion style that is good for you, you must always consider the different factors that can affect the way your clothes will look on you. Of course you must always dress for comfort, but you should aim to dress for confidence as well.

What You Should Know About a Party Bus

A party bus can go by many names. You might hear it being called a luxury bus, party van, limousine bus, limo bus or even a party ride. In essence a party bus is a large vehicle that has been converted from a more conventional motor coach or bus. It has generally been modified and then designed to be able to carry more than a dozen people for purposes that are recreational and might involve some sort of celebration. In the main, the bus will typically be driven by a professional driver who is in the employ of the company that owns the bus.

Types and Sizes of a Party Bus

Party buses come in a variety of sizes. Some are small and will only carry 10 people while others are much larger and have a seating capacity for 69 people. In some instances these buses have been made from a converted mini bus or van chassis while in other cases the chassis will have been converted from a motor coach or urban coach.

A bus may have a variety of amenities that can include things like different floor plans, equipment to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, toilet facilities, strobe lights, disco lights, laser lights, smoke machines, back up cameras, luggage partitions, audio and video equipment, passenger entry doors that are air actuated, stripper poles, seats and fabric that have been upgraded, power windows and door locks, fast idle controllers, electrical systems that have been upgraded and even more.

Why Hire a Party Bus?

Mainly it will be used for things like city tours, birthdays, a night out on the town, casino trips, bachelorette and bachelor parties, proms and weddings. That said, you will also find that they are sometimes used for events such as week-long tours or even just a day trip. Most of the time, this is a type of vehicle that is for hire. It provides an alternative that is more accessible than taxis or limos.

No matter what your event is, you can make it stand out with the sleek and stylish party bus at your service. The drivers and staff of the companies know that your plans can change at the last minute and they are always professional and can help you with these changes with courteous accommodation.

Private outings are a great reason to hire one. No matter where you are planning on going, your group will arrive in style. They can be had for small tour groups as well as for large ones. You will be able to relax and enjoy the day without having to worry about the stress of traffic and dealing with maps and other driving annoyances.

You can hire a party bus for a single day or for a set period of time and then use the bus for casino trips, concerts, theater events, athletic events, dining, shopping, sightseeing and even more! Whatever your event might be, it can get you there safely and comfortably.

Problems in Learning English and How to Improve Them

Are you having difficulty learning English? Are you saying to yourself “If only I could learn English better, I could do so much more.”? If you are answering yes to these questions, I’m sure you’re wondering how you can do that. In this article, I would like to explain some problems many English learners face, and ways to improve your English that are simple and can be fun at the same time.

Problems in Learning English

Poor English Vocabulary

Vocabulary is important when learning a language. Any language, of course including English, has thousands and thousands of words. In many cases, even those native speakers of the language do not know all the words of that language. there are just too many to learn. In fact, according to many sources I have come across, there are only 800 words that you must know to converse in English. That list is too long to display here, but a good start is to read through that list and see how many words you know. You may surprise yourself in the amount of words you are familiar with. I have posted the list on World English club, and you can go over it there. Another problem people face in learning English vocabulary is that they learn new words, but they tend to forget what they have learned quite soon after the just learned them. So what can you do?

How to Improve your English Vocabulary

There are games to play and methods to learn to improve your English vocabulary. The best simple method I want to suggest is this; just make a list. Now there is more to it than just making a list, so keep reading. Once a week, make a list of twenty five words using the World English Club Vocab lists, or choose words from other popular websites. As you are compiling (or making) your list, make sure to write down the definitions if you are unsure of them at the time. Do your best to study and learn these new words. Now break the list down into five words a day. On your first day, study your first five words. On your second day, study your next five words. Now here’s the trick; after your second day of your five vocab words, try to write down yesterday’s words. On your third day, study day three’s words, and then try to remember and write down day two’s vocab words. Are you seeing a pattern yet? I hope so. Do this for five days, and on your sixth day of vocabulary learning, try to write all your vocab words for the last week. Take your time, and do your best. When you are done, review those words and see what you remember. If you use the method above, I guarantee you will improve your English vocabulary and not forget the words you have learned.

Poor English Speaking Skills

One of the biggest complaints I hear about when one is learning a new language, is their inability to communicate successfully. Whether it is an issue with reducing their accent, or not knowing the vocabulary or grammar to create a decent conversation, many people struggle with poor speaking skills. People assume that learning grammar in a classroom or studying vocabulary words will help them speak a English as a language. But those factors only gain you knowledge of the English language and cannot translate into real conversational English skills. Are you having problems with English speaking skills? Here are ways to improve your English speaking skills.

How to improve your English Speaking Skills

Have you tried to watch a movie in English? I’m sure you have. It is one of the easiest things to do while studying and learning English. But what is it about watching movies that is a good idea? I’ll tell you; it’s hearing the words spoken out loud. So there is one thing that I’m sure you haven’t thought of to mirror this learning effect, but it will make a bigger and better improvement on learning English speaking skills. Read a book. Well, it doesn’t have to be a book, but it needs to be in English. Now here’s the trick; As you are reading this book, read it OUT LOUD. Yes, it is as simple as that. Reading out loud will let you hear your English and at the same time, help you gain more confidence in speaking English. It does not have to be for a very long time. But you should read out loud for at least five minutes a day. Do not give up on this. I think this is an important method to practice and not enough people practice in this manner. Make sure you are pronouncing your words, and if you have to read slowly, that’s OK as well. The point is that you are speaking out loud and practicing speaking English. Since many English learners do not have the opportunity to interact with native English speakers, this is one of the best methods to help improve your English speaking skills. Which brings me to my final learning English problem.

Not enough interaction with English speakers

Not being able to have interaction with native English speakers can be a great hindrance on one who is learning English. But there are many things you can do to help improve your interaction with native English speakers, or at least to simulate this experience. Which, let’s face it, is probably the most important part of learning a new language. Interaction. So here are some things you can do.

– As you all are aware, watching movies is a good idea. You can learn slang words and, if you are interested in learning to speak like an American, there are a lot of colloquialisms and Americanisms (as I like to call them) that are difficult to learn about simply by reading. to learn colloquialisms, a person must hear the words and phrases in context. So by watching movies, there can be no way in which you, as a learner, can mistake or misunderstand the meaning of the words or phrases.

– One way (and I think this is the best way) that many English learners do not think of, is finding an native English speaker in a chat room or English learning website and chat with them via Skype or other internet voice service. There are plenty of people who would love to just talk with you over the phone or internet to help you learn. Or maybe you can offer to teach them a little of your language in return. That way everybody gains something from the experience. If you are in a country or city where you do not have the opportunity to find a native English speaking friend, chatting on the phone or internet is the next best thing.

– If you are lucky enough to know an English speaker that you can meet with (and it should be someone you are comfortable with so as you are trying to speak, you will not be shy), try to meet them in a comfortable place that you can hear each other speak and just spend about an hour talking about any topic that comes to mind. You can also plan some topics to talk about so you don’t waste your time thinking of things to say. maybe write down questions you have or have them ask YOU questions so you can practice answering them.

There are plenty of other problems in Learning English but I think these are the three main reasons. I guarantee that if you know these pitfalls and know how to avoid them, every aspect of your English learning will be improved. And you will be a native English speaker in no time. Good Luck!

Latest Fashion News & Ideas: Old Fashion Is Bold

Many fashion trends are coming back from the old days to hit us this year in the most amazing ways. One of the most daring trends is the 90s trend. They are back today and with a small twist! Here are the latest fashion news & ideas for today.

The chokers is one of the most amazing 90s fashion style, and they are back and they are looking amazing! You can adopt any type of choker you want, whether a plain piece of ribbon, or a tattoo like choker, with all the black details. And for the edgy style lovers, you can pick a rock studded choker. Plaids have never been more in than they are now! It’s over every piece of clothing for women and men. This fashion trend is somewhat universal as anyone who adopts it falls in love with it! The spice girls sandals, the jelly sandals and the high platforms are back and not only for kids! Try this bold style with your daily look and let it add some peps to your fashion style. It’s been here for a while, and this trend is never enough. Ripped Jeans are here to stay and to take us with their rips to the nostalgic era of the 90s. Adopt scrunchies in your hairstyle, as they will add volume in the Tina Turner technique. Ditch the ordinary bags and choose backpacks to fit your style and silhouette. Be stylish in Overalls, as there’s no denying that they are the hottest trend of the 90s fashion style. Fall in love with the Birkenstock all over again since this trend is back.

You can also adopt the Gingham fashion. Seeing Gingham immediately means 90s. You can adopt it in an edgy style add some leather accessories and a cute leather jacket. Or you can have that all cute style, mix this print with some floral ones. You can also style it with denim, if you choose gingham top, style it with cute jeans, and could be boyfriend cut with a somewhat loose shirt and some converse. Choose gingham shorts and style them with a simple top that can get your styled and ready. Adopt a gingham top as a cardigan and keep it open while styling it with any look you want. Keep things formal in gingham and style them with some smart cut pants, maybe cropped ones, a blazer and a pair of high heeled shoes. Pick the big gingham prints; opt for big squares as they will give you a more fun look. Try them in pants. These pants are very fun and can easily give you a chilled and relaxed look.

Create Your Own Fashion Style 101

Fashion is a funny thing. Many people strive to be as fashionable as possible and they only wear the hottest new designers and that season’s “in” color. The point of fashion is to stand out and make yourself look unique and original. However, when everyone sees that runway show and then shows up at the city’s hottest night clubs in the signature outfit of a particular line, the worst situation happens. Everyone ends up looking the same! As hard as it is to believe, every piece of clothing, whether made by a top designer or a no-name company, is influenced by that season’s latest fashion trends. It is boring to look like everyone else, however. It is much more exciting to put together your own outfits and create a statement of your own.

You might be wondering how you can be original if every piece of clothing that is manufactured has somehow been influenced by fashion trends. One option is to make your own clothing! Many people enjoy working with patterns and a sewing machine. It can be quite fun especially because you can experiment with different types of fabric and cuts. When you are ready to model one of your latest dresses, throw on a pair of oversized sunglasses and your design will be an instant hit.

If you are not someone who is skilled with a thread and needle or you simply do not have time to spend on making your own clothing, then you just need to get creative with the items that are out there. Layering and mixing and matching are just two of the many ways you can spice up your everyday look. Since you are already familiar with the types of outfits that are popular already, you can try changing them up by using different accent pieces, such as a bold necklace or eye-catching belt.

You should also try shopping at boutiques or resale stores. You never know what great pieces of clothing you can find and, most of the time, you can alter these pieces very easily. Since the price is never too high, you have no qualms about altering it to make it your own! Every piece you come up with will always look great with oversized sunglasses. This extra accessory just makes your unique designs stand out more and you will establish yourself as a trendsetter in no time!

Selecting a Corporate Online Booking Tool For Your Travel Program

Online booking of travel is one of the earliest business applications to come out of the internet explosion and is clearly one of the most successful. There are so many options when it comes to booking travel online, it is a wonder how anyone can keep them all straight. There are new booking tools coming online all the time. What makes one different from another, and when should I use one versus another? There are two different kinds of travel, and two different kinds of sites to consider. Leisure travel bookings have certainly done very well on the internet, but this article will focus on the many options for corporate booking online and what you should look for if given the task of finding the right solution for your company.

First of all, you certainly have the option of going directly to an airline website to complete your reservation. This is a great way to do it in certain circumstances. You may be familiar with the flight you need and know exactly what the fare should be from previous experience. Also, the airline websites sometimes offer mileage bonuses for booking online, and there is no fee in most cases for booking directly on the airline site. Sounds great, right? But actually there are many shortcomings by going directly with the airline websites. You are likely getting the lowest fare available for that airline, but you will usually have better options if you look at many airlines simultaneously. By going with a solution that looks at all airlines at once, you’ll guard against a traveler using their preferred airline for the mileage benefits without regard for price. What you will pay in booking fees with one of these solutions will likely be more than made up for by the lower fares you will find on multiple airline searches. Booking sites like Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia are examples of this kind of travel search engine.

Most people are familiar with these websites for leisure travel, but there are also business travel divisions of these companies with excellent alternate websites specifically designed for business travel use. What can you expect from a business travel site that differs from the leisure sites? You will get multiple traveler profile information stored on the site, as well as corporate reporting capability. You will see the ability for a travel coordinator to book travel for someone else, using a variety of credit cards. There will be some additional business friendly options, including options to book a car and/or hotel along with the air reservation. One of the best reasons to utilize an online system like this is that you can take care of the entire business trip in one shot instead of visiting multiple sites or making additional phone calls. So what exactly should you be looking for in a corporate travel online system? Let me give you my thoughts on the biggest issues.

Can it be customized?  This is a must for any company that really wants to get a handle on the travel program. There should be the ability to input corporate contracts for negotiated airfare (with detail down to the market or fare class level). This is also crucial for car contracts and individual and chain-wide hotel contracts. The reason this is so important is two-fold. First, your travelers need access to the absolute lowest fares and rates possible. Equally important but often overlooked, is the fact that in order to keep your current contracts, you need to perform to certain standards. If you need to drive 35% of your business to American Airlines, for example, you need to ensure that your online booking tool will help drive volume in the appropriate direction. This also holds true for the number of room nights you have agreed to with your hotel partners. Some of the newest online tools will automatically drive the volume to the right places based upon your input. While many are not this sophisticated, there are still ways to remind travelers of their corporate obligations as they are booking through pop-up reminders, banner headlines, etc.

Can it be integrated and branded?  For many companies this is an important way to drive adoption of the tool.  If you can brand the site with your logo and other design options, your travelers will be more likely to use the product.  Brand identity is important both inside and outside your organization.  Also, if you have a corporate intranet that travelers are used to using on a daily basis, you should be able to integrate the system using a Single Sign On application so users can access travel booking internally without having to remember another password for another system.

What kind of reporting can be generated?  If the whole idea of an online system is to better track traveler activity and spending, you need to be sure the available reporting meets your needs.  Many corporate systems may offer some baseline reporting, but it probably won’t be anything close to what you are used to, especially if you’re working with a Travel Management Company that customizes their reports to your specifications.  Make sure you have access to the information you need as it’s being generated.

What kind of backup support it offered?  This is perhaps the most critical issue you’ll come up against.  The larger online systems like Travelocity and Expedia have call centers to back you up in emergencies.  But do you need a better level of service in these situations?  There are many reasons to utilize a Travel Management Company’s online system instead of going with a larger, better marketed company.  If you partner with a TMC that offers an online system, you can get the support you need not only for complex reservations and emergency situations, but you’ll also get better support in programming your system.  Which brings us to another area of importance.

Who is responsible for programming the site?  Travel program changes happen all the time.  You’ll have travelers coming in to the company and leaving.  Your contracts, if you have them, will be renewed and canceled.  Your company policy will change, and it’s different for different level of employee.  In all these changes, your online booking system will also change.  When these changes happen, who is responsible for updating your system?  If it’s left up to you, do you have anyone that is trained in how to make the changes you need?  If it is the TMC’s responsibility, how quickly can they implement the changes?  And remember, an online booking site is only as good as it is programmed, no matter which way you go.  So who takes responsibility for programming errors?

Who takes care of training users?  Just as a system is only as good as it’s programmed, travelers can only benefit from the system insofar as they’re properly trained.  Most of your travelers are likely familiar with online booking either for personal travel or in previous business travel, so it shouldn’t be difficult to train them on a basic level.  However, each site that you investigate will have different strengths and weaknesses that travelers need to know about.  Online training can be effective, but personal training is even better.  Is your representation at the company local or willing to send a trainer to your location(s) for more in-depth training?  This goes for both end user travelers, travel coordinators booking for others, and anyone that needs to know programming of your site.

Top Designers in Fashion – Style And Fashion Weeks

Fashion designers are creators! The fashion shows and the fashion weeks attract fashionistas even in this time of financial insecurity. The catwalks are full of beautiful models presenting glamorous collections however, the buzz of the fashion weeks is dimmer.

The social and the financial instability through which the world is going through today has affected the fashion industry and the fashion designers. But in times of crisis there is no need to despair you just need to make the most of the situation given. This seems to be the motto after which the designers are creating their collections this year. Even the tops designers at fashion weeks have adapted to this trend. The collections seem to be down to earth and more wearable than the ones in the previous years.

However, even if there is this common ground from where the designers leave when they start their collection there are many differences in the style and attitude of their clothes. We can actually separate the fashion trends and styles according to some of the biggest capitals of the world. For instance, the French scene is dominated by designers such as Gautier, Nina Ricci and many others. However, Paris seems to be losing it fashion crown to London. Some of the best designers here are Vivienne Westwood, Sir Hardy Amies, Christopher Kane and many others.

The French designers have always respected the chic and classy trends and have focused on high glamor styles. Their clothes are sophisticated and are almost always accompanied by smart accessories. Having boutiques and shows all over the world they seem to have an aesthetic sense of fashion that prevails at any time. The British designers on the other hand create conservative attires using extravagant material. Their creations take us to the idea of royalty and dignity.

The style of the designers is characteristic of the city where they reside however, choosing a particular clothing item is something of personal taste. There are many fashion trends and styles but you should always invest in clothes that represent you and your personality.