The Wrong Way to Entertain Your House Guests

Having house guests can be difficult. Depending on how close of a relationship you have with the guests that are staying in your home will negotiate what type of host or hostess you will be. Though regardless if you are having you in-laws stay for a long weekend or an old college over for a night while he passes through town, there are certain things you should avoid. They key is to make your house guests feel comfortable, regardless of how close your relationship is. Avoid some major hostess blunders to ensure your guests will have a pleasant stay in your home and will want to return in the future.

Don’t Over Do It

Yes, you should put a little extra thought into your guests stay; however, if you appear to be going over the top and creating a huge fuss, your guests will surely feel uncomfortable. Rather than preparing a huge dinner and fancy wine lists, invite your house guests to join your typical family dinner. They key is to make your guests feel special while not making them feel like a burden. Perhaps creating a nice recipe and a simple dessert would be more appropriate than a three course meal served on a fancy linen set table.

Don’t Make Them Hunt

As a considerate hostess, don’t make your guests go hunting through your cabinets for items like extra blankets, toilet paper, or bottles of water. Think about the items they might need during their stay and set them out in plain sight. Leaving and extra blanket at the foot of their bed and clean bath towels on top of the bathroom sink will make your guests stay much more pleasant and less embarrassing. No one wants to be caught snooping through cabinets in an attempt to find the extra toilet paper.

Don’t Run Out in the Morning

Depending on the reason for your guests’ stay, don’t simply get up and run out the door in the morning. If you are going to be leaving early in the morning, be sure to let your guests know before the turn in the night before. Letting them know what to expect for the next day is much more considerate than having them wake up in an empty house and wonder where everyone went and when they’ll return. If you do have to run out the next day, let them know when to expect you home, provide them with your cell phone number, and tell them to make themselves feel comfortable.

Don’t Deprive them of Television

If your home television requires three remotes just to turn on, be sure to let your guests know how to work them. Perhaps even creating a small list of instructions to serve as a guide will be the easiest. Make sure that if your guests want to flip on the news late at night, they’ll know how and not be afraid of hitting the wrong buttons. Also, be sure to let them know where the telephone is in case they need to make a call and the key to operating any other technically challenging devices you may own.

The most important key to ensuring that your house guests are comfortable while staying with you is to simply think about what would make you the most comfortable if you were the guests. Give it a little thought and you’ll be having them back several times over.

Start a Home Based Business Online – 4 Simple Steps to Succeed

Do you want to start a home based business online? Well, you have taken a wise decision. When you do it right, this can be the most wonderful step you have ever taken in your life. Doing business online is the surest way to achieving your financial goals in a short while. Everything in life has steps and as you want to start a home based business online, there is no exception. Here are the 4 steps you should follow if you hope to succeed. These steps are not in order anyway; determine which comes first.

# Get a Website
You can’t possibly succeed online without your own website. I’m sure you have heard some strange rumors on how you can make millions without a website? This may be true in some way, but you need a website in order to be trusted and to gain credibility. I have never met a successful internet entrepreneur who does not own several websites. If you plan on getting a free one, then you better not get at all. With as little as $20, you can get a domain name of your choice and a hosting account for 1 year. Let this be your #1 thought today as you move on to the next step.

# Find a Mentor
To start a home based business online, you need a mentor. This is somebody who has done what you are planning to embark upon. No matter the niche you are into, the truth is that somebody has gone through it and succeeded. You should contact and learn from them. Mentors can have a significant touch on your online business; they know how to do it better because of experience and hard-core skills.

# Find a Niche
There are so many niches online that is profitable. You don’t need to market to everyone, you need a particular field to dwell on. My niche for instance is internet marketing. I chose this niche because I love the idea of making more money as well as teaching others. Yours may not be internet marketing, you can decide on relationship, family, health (very profitable), shopping, finance, entertainment, technology etc. This can be easy when you already have a niche in mind, explore that niche and let’s see what happens.

# Get a Product to Sell
Now that you have found a profitable niche, the next step when you want to start a home based business online is to get a product. Your target market has their problems and they need solutions to them. This is where your product comes in. it could be in form of e-books, software, e-course, membership sites, video, audio etc. you can sign up to promote affiliate products if you can’t create your own now. There are a lot of affiliate programs on virtually any niche you choose. Just makes sure the program pays a minimum of $20.

Safeguarding Intellectual Property in the Republic of Panama

Panamanian Intellectual Property Law No. 35 of May 10, 1996, replaced the obsolete legal provisions on Intellectual Property, which were in existence for more than sixty years. This law simplifies the process of registering trademarks and allows for renewal of a trademark for ten-year periods. The law’s most important feature is the granting of ex-officio authority to government agencies to conduct investigations and to seize materials suspected of being counterfeited.

This new legislation introduced modem concepts recommended by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), consistent with the policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO), thus bringing Panama into line with international developments on industrial property, which has reduced the infringement of foreign trademark rights in Panama.

In addition, Panama is party to the following international agreements:

(a) The Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) contained in the Marrakech Treaty, approved by means of Law No. 23 of 1997;
(b) The Berna Convention approved by means of Law No. 3 of January 3 1996;
(c) World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Treaty approved by means of Law No. 93 of 15 December 1998;
(d) The General Inter-American Convention for Trademark and Commercial Protection approved by means of Law No. 64 of 1934; and
(e) The Paris Convention, approved by means of Law No. 41 of 1995.

In Panama, differing from other jurisdictions where cases of industrial property are of administrative nature, since 1997, the IP jurisdiction has been removed from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and given to special courts with exclusive competence to handle IP conflicts (ie, oppositions, cancellations, infringement of trademarks and copyrights, etc). Also, the District Attorneys’ office is specialized in the prosecution of IP rights. Since the creation of this specialized jurisdiction within the court system, the proceedings regarding these subjects have been more expedite and owners are allowed to get a better protection of their IP rights in Panama.

The creation of specialized prosecutors for intellectual property-related cases has strengthened the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in Panama.

Panamanian Intellectual Property Law also includes criminal enforcement and criminal penalties such as prison, which are the most effective methods and procedures in the fight against infringement of intellectual property rights.

Another major difference from foreign jurisdictions is that in Panama custom authorities and administrative authorities from the Colon Free Zone, which have their own special brand register, are empowered by law to retain, inspect and even seize counterfeit goods; in some cases, these institutions may proceed even without the need of a claim or process in case of suspicion of counterfeited goods.

On the other hand, Panama’s 1994 copyright law modernized copyright protection and its 2004 update created a special Copyright Office with anti-piracy enforcement powers.

The Republic of Panama is signatory to the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonographs Treaty. The copyright office has enhanced border measures and established new punishable offenses, such as for Internet-based copyright violations which have significantly reduced the rate of VHS piracy.

Panama worked through the FTA negotiations with the United States of America to establish a legal regime to combat piracy of audiovisual products over the Internet, including notice and take down provisions and clearly defined Internet Service Provider (ISP) liabilities and copy protection measures.

At the international level, Panamanian government has reinforced the legal framework and institutional arrangements to comply with the existing international treaties, including more effective methods and procedures to all intellectual property matters, such as:

• Administrative enforcement, such as seizure of infringing goods by a customs office;

• Criminal enforcement against the infringer;

• Civil enforcement, in which the right holder, or someone in possession of valid rights, such as an assignee or licensee, takes prescribed legal action, such as in court by filing a civil action against an infringer, and perhaps seeking an injunction;

• Technological enforcement, in which producers of products and services employ technological means to protect IP rights against infringement (for example, encryption of digital copyright works).

• Border measures before the Customs Office and the Colon Free Zone Authority. In order to enforce IP rights, Panamanian Intellectual Property Law grants discretionary powers and faculties to Customs and The Colon Free Zone authorities to conduct investigations and retain any goods suspected of being imitations, including the confiscation of equipment used to manufacture fake goods.
The Attorney General’s Office and the Customs Bureau are officially empowered to initiate investigations on Intellectual Property matters.

The Customs Bureau and the Free Zone Administration are duly empowered to keep records of the Panamanian Intellectual Property Registrations for companies willing to protect their intellectual property through barrier measures. GALINDO, ARIAS & LOPEZ offers the service of registering a Panamanian Trademark Registration before the Customs Bureau and the Colon Free Zone.

With the information in the register, the authorities can control and even seize merchandise more effectively at the Colon Free Zone and Customs. These measures take importance because allowing an infringing product to remain on the market will hurt the right-holder’s sales and lead to a risk of market confusion.

Some complexities involved in establishing or enforcing IP rights on a cross border/international scale, are time factor and expertise on the part of the authorities. In view of the seriousness of the sanctions involved, which require that decisions be taken as quickly as possible, time is of the essence.

Demanding cessation of infringement only makes sense if a court order can be issued quickly. For this reason, preliminary injunctions play a major part in enforcing IP rights, since these measures are intended to prevent further infringement until the court has decided on the merits of the case.

On the other hand, the demand for a quick procedure, leading to a very tough sanction, requires expertise on the part of the judges. Only judges fully versed in intellectual property matters are prepared to make speedy use of this prohibitory instrument. It is also necessary to ensure the participation of well-trained legal practitioners and attorneys.

Finally, costs are an issue of major practical importance in establishing or enforcing IP rights on a cross border/international scale. With the complexity of these matters, retaining the services of experts, and of specialized legal practitioners in addition to attorneys, imposes a heavy financial burden on the parties. Measures such as taking evidence and carrying out tests and investigations on the infringing goods also involve further costs. In some cases, in Intellectual Property infringement proceedings, the financially weaker party is always in disadvantage.

The United States concluded free trade negotiations with Panama on 2006. This trade agreement will eliminate tariffs and other barriers to goods and services, promote economic growth, and enhance trade between the United States and Panama.

This trade agreement includes a chapter on Intellectual Property. Conventions such as the Madrid Arrangement concerning the International Registration of Marks, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) will be mandatory in the Republic of Panama.

The agreement provides for improved standards for the protection and enforcement of a broad range of intellectual property rights, which are consistent with both U.S. standards of protection and enforcement, and with emerging international standards. Such improvements include protections for digital products such as U.S. software, music, text, and videos and; stronger protection for patents, trademarks and test data, including an electronic system for the registration and maintenance of trademarks.

Strengthening and improving Panama’s overall regime for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in a broad range of areas was an important objective of the FTA negotiations.

In Panama’s climate, businesses are often looking for a way of putting themselves ahead of competitors; many companies lack a clear understanding of exactly what their intellectual property is or what it’s worth. Many businesses are unaware of the extent of their intellectual property and the consequences of failing to protect it properly.

Therefore, businesses are realizing the importance of an effective protection and use of intellectual property and companies are seeking expert legal advice to find out the best way to protect their intellectual property and also to understand how best to enforce it.

Some companies are tending to implement measures in order to have an inventory of their intellectual property to determine what the company’s intellectual property is, where it is, and what it is worth; and also to understand that managing the company’s intellectual property is more than just registering patents and trademarks.

Companies are starting to implement processes to identify intellectual property that belongs to others – such as knowledge and trade secrets of competitors that may accidentally come into their business with new personnel.

Between in-house resources and outside advisors, companies are making sure to cover intellectual property licensing, strategic alliance structuring, counterfeit and grey market tracking, due diligence on partners and employees, registration of patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, intellectual property valuation and royalty and revenue recovery.

How to Live a Balanced Lifestyle

Nowadays with busy work schedules, overtime work, deadlines, further/extra studies, kids, rising petrol prices, inflation, social obligations, house chores, mortgage repayments, etc, it is getting harder and harder for many people to stay healthy, stress-free and happy. Many of us end up disregarding our physical, mental and emotional well being just to ensure we stay on top of things (or so we think) and that the bills are paid for, our project deadlines are met, our kids go to private schools, etc.

What many people fail to consider is: What is the point of doing all of this if you’re not going to enjoy and live a happy life?

Living a balanced lifestyle is the key to ensuring that you can have time for yourself, your work, your friends, your family and time to enjoy life and the people and things around you. Admittedly, achieving one is easier said than to be done. But if you are discipline and really try to challenge yourself, you will get there and you would never want to look back.

To help you along your journey, I have listed out some simple tips and ways to go about balancing your life, work and commitments.

1. Indulge in yourself

By indulging and taking care of yourself, this can significantly reduce your stress levels and clear your mind so that you’re in a better frame of mind to tackle any issues, problems and unexpected challenges that pop up along the way. Reduction of stress is important as high levels of stress have been shown to significantly impact negatively on one’s mental and emotional health. Hence, as part of a balanced lifestyle, activities that are stress-reducing are important and I have listed out a few ideas to get you started.

  • If you have the money and time, go for a massage or spa to pamper yourself. There is nothing better than having a professional masseuse nut out all the knots on your back and shoulders. You will feel energized and rejuvenated after an hour’s long indulgence.
  • Get up slightly earlier in the morning and take your time to use the bathroom, brush your hair, stretch and apply your make up (if you use make up) before everyone else wakes up. The few extra minutes of quietness in the morning can be extremely therapeutic and relaxing before the day really begins.
  • Savor your breakfast and cup of coffee/tea. If you don’t normally have breakfast, this should be the very first thing you change. Eating breakfast is extremely important as it has health and energy benefits and can help increase concentration and assist in weight loss. So in the morning when you’re eating your food, chew slowly on it, sip your coffee and really appreciate the taste and aroma. Sometimes, it is the simple pleasures in life that can really make the long day ahead seem much more manageable.
  • If you’re time-constrained and your hobbies include things like running, playing angry birds on your iPhone, going for a walk, reading a good book, listening to music, knitting, making craft, etc. Do this during your lunch break. If you have something due soon but you feel your brain is fried, take that break (even if it is just for half and hour) and engage in an activity you love. It will give your brain a chance to relax and re-energise so that by the time you hit your work desk again, you would be in a more optimum and efficient mindset to tackle your work.
  • If you absolutely cannot afford to take a 30 min break, lean back on your chair, close your eyes and zone out for 5 – 10 mins. Daydream about positive things such as the amazing dinner you’re going to be having tonight, the dinner you have scheduled to see your best friend or the weekend coming up. Think happy thoughts and when you open your eyes, straighten your posture, smile and get back to work. You will be surprise at how simple things can really boost your energy, approach and motivation.

2. Take care of your body

Since we take time to indulge in ourselves, as part of a balanced lifestyle, we must also take time to care for ourselves. Caring for ourselves and our body involves eating a balanced diet and being active (ie. exercise). Approaching this with a positive can-do attitude will also make things a lot easier, and in combination with these ideas, you will be on your way to achieving a balanced lifestyle in no time.

Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

Remember this phase: “Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness” (Edward Stanley). The reason why eating well is so essential for a balanced lifestyle is because having a balanced diet will ensure that your body is functioning well, you have more energy for your day and you will have a lower chance of falling sick or developing any illnesses/diseases. There are a million and one things that could go wrong if you continuously indulge in an unhealthy diet but it is outside the scope of this article. If you’re interested and would like to read up more on it, I would recommend you to read up on how to achieve a balanced diet

  • Ensure that your home is always stocked with ready to eat fruits and vegetables so you can quickly grab them as you head out of your house to begin your day
  • Plan ahead so you always know roughly what you’re going to be eating for your meals. This reduces the chance of you wanting to have take-away food and unhealthy home deliveries.
  • During your afternoon tea break/5 min break from your work, Google some healthy, easy to make recipes. There are a million of recipes out there and looking and the pictures will guarantee not only to relax you, but to also get you pumped and excited to try out your new dish at dinner tonight.
  • 3 meals a day. Especially breakfast. Enough said.
  • Eat in moderation. And this does mean enjoying the occasional cake, KFC meal, Big Mac or pizza delivery when you feel that you have been treating your body right for the majority of the time! Remember, we are not going on a diet; we are aiming to have a lifestyle change which means no strict diets or regime. Just honest good ways to live a little healthier and enjoy a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.
  • Don’t follow the crowd: If your workmates or friends around you love to eat fried foods, take-away and unhealthy meals, you don’t have to follow them! Recognise that you can be healthier than the people around you and enjoy looking after yourself.


Exercise is not only a fantastic way to reduce stress, it is great for the waist line, your skin, mental health and ensuring that your bodily functions are at their optimum. If you’re “too busy” for exercise, schedule it like how you will schedule your other work appointments and social events. By committing it down on your calendar, you are more likely to stick with it and be motivated to do it. Make sure that the exercise is something you love to do. So for example, if you don’t like running or hitting the gym, go for a bike ride instead. Or try something new like dancing, zumba, rock climbing, etc. Be creative! There are so many other options out there besides hitting the gym.

3. Prioritise your life

To enjoy a balanced lifestyle, you need to manage all aspects of your life: Work, health, fitness, relationships, family and mental well-being. However, realistically, it can get unbelievably hard to manage all aspects of this and become bogged down with one aspect (ie. work) and ignore the rest (ie. your diet or time spent with your loved ones). Therefore, it is vital that you take some steps and tips to ensure you maintain on top of things so that you can enjoy all areas of your life.

  • Be forward thinking and organized – Plan and think ahead at the start of each week to assess what events are coming up. Make sure you dedicate adequate time to finishing up your work and assign quality time for yourself; this includes scheduling time for exercise, social events and “Me-time”. A good trick to do is to overestimate the amount of time you need to complete a task (ie. if you realistically think it will take 3 hours to finish a report, estimate that it will take 4 hours instead), this will ensure you have more than enough time to deliver high quality work, spend high quality time with your friends and yourself. If the task/event took lesser time than budgeted, you now have some extra spare time that you can use to either start on the next task, have a break, or catch up with your friends!
  • Expect the unexpected and the worst case scenario – Things unfortunately do not always go according to plan, and when this happens, many of us end up stressing over it and start doing things that may not be healthy to your body and mental well-being. By expecting the worst case scenario, you can actively take steps to ensure that that scenario doesn’t take place or that you have a Plan B ready should anything go wrong. This is also another reason why overestimating the amount of time you need to complete a task is very useful as it provides you with a time buffer to fix anything should things not work out the way you planned.

4. Be contented and disciplined

When you’re contented, you can actually properly enjoy every moment of your life and savor the things that are important to you. Many people get caught up in the whole materialistic world which can drive them to work more and more hours which consequently impacts negatively on their health, emotional wellbeing, and relationships with their love ones. It is important to distinguish between a want and a need because lets face it, most of the time, we do not really NEED that new BMW car, we just want it for superficial reasons. Again prioritising what is important to you (because everyone is different) is important as you will be able to have a holistic view on what is important and what you need to work and aim for.

As with everything (especially at the start), living a balanced lifestyle can be challenging to achieve as it requires you to change your current lifestyle. Being disciplined and committed is so important in ensuring that you permanently and sustainably having a healthy diet, an exercise routine and enough time for your work, your love ones and yourself. Start off with planning your calendar and diary and make sure you look at it everyday and stick with it. Doing it with a friend that is equally or more motivated is also a great idea as you can both motivate each other and start doing things together (ie. healthy cooking or exercise activities).

5. Do something you find meaningful in your spare time

Happiness comes from achieving a positive sense of well being and achievement, and this can occur from developing relationships with people. When we believe that we have helped another person in a certain way, chemicals in our brain actually react and make us feel good about ourselves in a selfless kind of way. Meaningful ways to spend your time include volunteering at the local dogs shelter or elderly homes, or visiting a friend in hospital, or going to see your grandparents/parents that you haven’t seen for a while, or catching up with a friend that you know is going through a hard time, or assisting the new colleague of yours in finishing up his project. There are countless of meaningful activities that you could be doing and enjoying in your spare time. Remember, the meaning of life is to live a life of purpose and you can only get the most out of your life if you can manage all aspects of your life that are important to you.

I hope this article has been useful to you and all the best!

~Regina Cheah