High Cost of Healthcare Induced By Contradictory Goals of Providers and Payers

Healthcare has been the topic of debate for most of the last few years. From the boardroom to the water cooler, costs and quality of care are hot topics that impact everyone in this country. Young and old, Americans are feeling the squeeze and most are finding it difficult to come up with solutions. In the boardrooms of corporations both large and small, employers are struggling to cope with reality of rising premiums and declining benefits. Meanwhile employees are left with the prospect of going without health insurance. Currently it is estimated that 50 to 60 million adults in this country are walking the tightrope of living without health insurance. With such widespread reach for ripples created by this healthcare debacle, everyone is looking for answers. How can we afford coverage? Can we go without? What can be done to curb the costs and get this problem under control?

In the workplace, employers and employees often feel as if they’re on opposite sides of the fence. Employers feel as if their subordinates take no consideration of how difficult it can be to turn a profit while facing spiraling costs and a difficult economic environment. While large corporations may be able to ride out the storm, small businesses rarely have this luxury (especially at a time when credit is difficult to obtain). Most small businesses would close their doors if the balance sheet goes in the red for more than a few months or quarters. On the other hand, employees often adopt a near-sighted approach. How could they expect me to afford a premium increase? Should I just try to float without insurance for a while? These questions often lead to resentment on both sides of the coin, but are the employers or employees to take the blame and the higher cost?

Looking for answers to this growing problem is not easy. Where did the system go wrong? Why is it so expensive? Who’s to blame?

Many people blame healthcare providers for the rising costs of quality care. I can assure you this is not the case. Providers are facing a myriad of challenges and roadblocks. More so than ever, running a profitable medical practice is daunting task. Like any other business, a medical practice will close if it can not cover expenses and afford to pay salaries. Labor and leasing expenses are only the tip of the iceberg. Practitioners are forced to pay for equipment, insurance, hardware, software, licensing, and more. After establishing an office with all the appropriate resources, medical practices and hospitals must then attract patients in a very competitive marketplace.

Yet with all these costs and challenges in their way, healthcare providers are not complaining about patients or labor or costs! The largest problem facing healthcare providers is the insurance reimbursement process. Contradictory goals of payers and providers are resulting in inefficient and difficult payment systems. Insurance companies are more concerned with bottom-line profits and shareholders than they are about the care their members receive. How can we expect doctors and healthcare providers to keep their offices open if they can hardly get paid for the services they perform? Individuals believe that because they pay premiums, the insurance company will pay their doctor. Unfortunately, this is hardly the case. Health insurance claim denial rates can reach as high as 25% or more. Many providers have outstanding receivables measured in the millions of dollars. The insurance reimbursement process is so arduous that many medical practices never get paid and as a result close their doors forever.

Insurance companies use a wide variety of tactics to delay payments and deny claims. Payers employ hoards of representatives charged with the task of fielding calls and scrutinizing claims. Due to these tactics, insurance claims take anywhere from 30 days to more than 1 year to reach a completed status. In most cases claims are delayed and denied due to inconsequential, irrelevant errors. These errors result solely from the many difficult and senseless hoops that are placed in the way of the provider’s billing representatives. This extremely labor intensive process of collecting from insurance companies costs providers a great deal of time and money.

The only beneficiaries of this process are the shareholders of insurance companies. The delays in payments result in interest earned for the time period in which the claim was delayed. In many cases, providers never receive reimbursement for the services they perform. These claims must be written-off as a loss by providers while insurance companies see these cases as victories leaving more cash on their balance sheets. It appears that the primary goal of insurance companies may be to deny as many claims as possible; after all they answer to shareholders not providers or individual policy holders. This gross abuse of power by insurance companies may be the biggest problem we face in the healthcare sector.

The days when doctors sat on golf courses all day while making millions per year are over. Now they must battle insurance companies tooth and nail for every claim. If insurance companies paid doctors for the services they perform, perhaps we would see a reduction in costs related to providing care.

Surely there is no easy fix to this problem. We may find the answers by addressing the goals of big insurance companies. Providing oversight and incentives for paying healthcare providers for the services they perform would be a good start. If insurance companies focus on weeding out fraud rather than just delaying and denying payments, we could see an increase in efficiency and productivity in the healthcare sector that could be the start of controlling costs while maintaining a high standard of care. For the sake of all Americans, hopefully we find an answer soon!

Fashion Reviews: Diesel Clothing for Men

Diesel jeans are founded by Italy designer Renzo Rosso in 1978, and have become one of the most famous street fashion brands. Its target market is 25-34 ages, for that the prices are just suitable for them. This brand is just neither too expensive nor very cheap. With the style of accessible, versatile and funky, diesel is just stand out in the mid-range of designer clothes.

Most of men would be attracted by this stylish and distinctive clothes brand. The different collections have different styles. For instance the Low Rise fit is target at comfortable wearing. You can match them with simple t-shirt, if you add boots that may be perfect for your look.

Their outer wear is now selling well. The leather jacket is really looking cool and last for a long time. Even the accessories are nice and well-crafted. There’s something special that they made the belts in different sizes. It has the jewelry series that with top quality and special designs. Also special mention needs to go to the underwear. The Lycra hipsters can give you the most comfortable wearing experience. The well-known fuel for life fragrance is nice enough too.

These jeans are available in wonderful designs and different colors. Maybe the denim blue is the most classical series of all items in diesel line. Men always look simply as well as casual with these fresh and stylish clothes. You will amaze the classical feeling it will get to you. These jeans are suitable in every season and almost every casual occasion. There’s so many people choose it as a necessities in their wardrobe including many celebrities that prefer to wear jeans.

The top quality of denim is really comfortable to wear, you will shocked with the light weight of diesel denim that provide you softness and best feeling of wearing.

Boost Your Cold Calling Results in Commercial Real Estate

To make your prospecting system work for you in commercial real estate, you really do need to systemise it and set some priorities. Systems help build the future; random undirected action does little for you as a commercial real estate agent.

When you set the priorities you will not be wasting your time on things that don’t matter or perhaps have little results and conversions for you. It’s tough enough finding the time to prospect every day, let alone spending time on things that are not good converters of business opportunity for you.

So what can you do here? You can set a plan up that keeps you focused on the highly converting prospecting processes. You need new business to make your career work for you and prospecting is the key to pulling it all together.

Here is a priority model used by salespeople that I have helped in shaping their market share.

  1. Practice your call pitch for 30 minutes at 8:00am every day. This single one fact will help you convert more people faster to opportunities.
  2. Start the day with cold calls to new people. This should happen for a period of 2 hours. Start your calls at 8:30am.
  3. It will take you 30 minutes to build momentum as part of the call contact process. After 30 minutes you will be comfortable with what you are doing and the conversations will flow. The calls will get easier.
  4. Remove any meetings from the start of a business day. That includes team meetings. Focus on prospecting before anything else. Don’t let other people waste your prospecting time.
  5. Any follow up calls to established contacts should happen later in the day outside of your prospecting time. Create a habit of prospecting for new business. Don’t let existing customers or contacts derail your prospecting system.
  6. Towards the end of the day you should enter the results of the calls into your database. Perhaps you can do that as you are making the calls; the data does however have to be entered and you must take responsibility for that.
  7. End the day with research related to new prospects that you are to call tomorrow. Who are they and why are you calling them. You will need to know those facts as part of the process.

So these are some very rigid rules. When you stick to them you will find that opportunities develop. In any market and at any time the business is out there; it is just a matter of opening up the relationships with the right people.

Raincoats For the Women of Today

Raincoats for women come in many shapes and styles and have been around for a very long time.

Often referred to as a mackintosh, the ‘mack’ has been in existence since the early 1820’s, and was invented by Charles Macintosh.

The mackintosh was a waterproof garment made from rubberized material, similar to the waxed jacket we often see worn by the men and women today.

Originally a practical garment to keep the wearer dry, this outerwear is now much more of a fashion statement. All top designers will include such an item in their collection.

The traditional design has been transformed to suit the needs of the modern woman, which has led to a variety of lengths. You’ll just as easily find a short anorak style rain jacket, as a full length raincoat.

Old heavy style fabrics have been replaced by breathable lightweight materials, which allow them to be packed up neatly into a small bag. Some models also have a hood which may be detachable.

The garment not only come in the single breasted, but also the double breasted, and zipped fastening design. This makes them more suitable to a wider range of customers as body shape, age, and taste, are all catered for.

For the winter you can choose a garment with a faux fur lining, which not only keep you dry but keep you very warm and snug too.

From the ever practical black or beige version to the fluorescent pink worn with matching wellington boots, raincoats for women are available to suit everyone.

The Most Iconic Style on Feet – UGG Boots

When searching for the most sought-after accessories online, you will find that a kind of footwear is extremely popular among a large part of keen fashionistas. With such a chic pair on your feet, you will feel comfortable throughout the cold days, and create trendy look in front of others. What is it? It’s UGG boot.

As far as I’m concerned, besides luxury watches, designer handbags and Tiffany jewelry, UGG is one of the hottest words all around the globe. When it comes to buying shoes for freezing cold days, UGG boots are always the top one in the list. Thanks for their comfort and functionality, people of any age are spotted wearing them. Even some celebrities tend to wear a pair of them to pair with her fashionable clothes when she is invited to the red-carpet situation. It is not bold to say that beside UGG boots, there is no one that can make such a renown feet style.

Made with twin-faced sheepskin, these boots will make you feel incredible warm and comfortable. While, do not just regard that they are specially for freezing cold days. Actually, sheepskin also has the ability to keep the body temperature normal even in hot days. If you are tired of wearing high heels everyday, you could have a try with UGG to create a fresh casual look. After all, wearing shoes with heels everyday is harmful for your feet.

I guess that some of you would consider these boots as unfashionable and will make a big feet look. Actually, that is absolutely wrong. Though they look big, they will make a chic and refined look. Now they come in a variety of styles, sizes and colors. No matter which style you are searching for, you can always find the suitable one to fit with any kind of apparel you are wearing.

The genuine boots never come up with cheap prices, so you are not recommended to buy them of the season. Instead, you should wait until the seasonal or clearance sales begin. That will help you to save a lot of money.

In a word, the great popularity of UGG boots truly proves that they will never go out of fashion. If you want to keep up with the fashion trend and make feet feel pretty comfortable at the same time, just go ahead to add a pair of them to your wardrobe.

Anatomic Gel – Shoes Built for Wear

Anatomic Gel footwear is a range of beautifully styled and manufactured men’s shoes and boots which are made in Brazil and designed in the UK. The key feature of this range is the Anatomic Gel Technology which is created using only the finest softest 100% leather available. The beauty of this leather, used in the uppers, gives a unique and pleasing appearance to each pair of Anatomic Gel shoes. The hinged leather insole allows the shoe to be flexed without breaking and is constructed using four layers. The double layer of foam and latex makes it supremely comfortable for walking throughout the day and there is also a layer or patented antibacterial fabric and a layer of sheepskin. The rubber sole allows for plenty of flexibility and is non-slip. The thread used in the stitching is waxed to help prevent water penetration and it is 100% stitched through using the McKay method.

Jose Rosa Jacomete originally founded Brazilian Anatomic and Co some 20 years ago after working for 20 years from the age of 13 in the footwear industry. Jose Rosa Jacomete (affectionately known as Zuza to his family) left home to earn money for his family and found he had a passion and Uncategorized talent for footwear design. He learnt the trade inside out over the next 20 years and after gaining experience pattern cutting, designing and shoemaking as well as practising and learning at the technology centres that were specific to the shoe trade, he decided to open his own small factory. Since those days Anatomic and Co’s reputation for human rights and fair trade has gained recognition worldwide along with its Anatomic Gel Technology.

Anatomic Gel footwear’s first venture into the overseas market was launched in the UK about 2005 but has now spread to over 60 countries worldwide with customers in Europe, Asia, USA, Japan, South Africa, The Middle East, South America, Australia, New Zealand and also a high quality niche market in China. The company’s attention to detail and use of high quality materials has made them a major force in the world footwear market. Not only mature age customers are attracted to their product but also the younger generation find their shoes appealing with the high level of comfort and trendy stylish good looks.

The range of Anatomic Gel shoes and boots covers a wide variety of styles and colours. There are beautifully crafted dress boots, made of soft sheep leather, that are suitable for the office but that look just as good with a comfortable pair of jeans for that laid back casual weekend outing. There are also wonderfully comfortable elastic sided pull on Chelsea style boots that incorporate the fabulous soft layered insole and like all Anatomic Gel boots have the padded ankle support. In addition there are dress shoes in lace-up or pull on styles in a large range of fantastic colours.

Try a pair of Anatomic Gel shoes or boots for yourself and find out why they are such a favourite with people from all over the world.

Four Major Functions Provided by a Real Estate Agent That You Can Do Yourself

Selling a home entails four major functions that are usually performed by a real estate agent. If we take the mystery out of those functions, they start looking as if we can do them without an agent. And you can!

1. Pricing your property

The first thing that an agent will do for you is help price your property. You don’t want to offer your home for sale at double its market value because it just won’t sell. Likewise, you don’t want to offer your home for sale at half its market value because you would just be cheating yourself of that price difference. If the market is such that your house in your neighborhood in your city is worth about $200,000 then you want to sell it for that. If you have made additions to the house that might make it worth more, then you want to add those items to it. The real estate agent has a lot of that data at their fingertips through their subscriptions and through their knowledge of the marketplace.

You can do this pricing yourself as long as you don’t let your ego get the better of common sense. You can find out what homes are selling for by cruising your neighborhood and checking out homes for sale to see what they are priced at. You can check to see what they sold for by visiting your tax authorities. Most municipalities and counties require that all deed transfers be recorded as a matter of public record. You can access that data through the internet if your municipality offers it, or you can go look it up in person where the internet is not used. Just make sure you are pricing your 3 bedroom 2 bath house with other 3 bedroom 2 bath houses rather than a 2 bedroom or 5 bedroom house.

2. Marketing your property

Marketing real estate is a sort of catch-all word for advertising the home as being for sale and then showing the property to prospective buyers through appointments or open-houses. The most important and probably most costly marketing activity is advertising the house. There is one real estate agent around here that states in their commercials that they spend between $1,000 and $1,500 per HOUSE while claiming that many agents only spend less than $500 per month for all of the houses that they list.

You can perform all 3 of these marketing functions. Who would be better to show a home or to have an open-house than the resident of the home — just do not let your ego get in the way and react defensively to reasonable buying questions. The advertising should be fairly simple as well. You are just as qualified to create want-ads for your local and regional papers and classified magazines as long as you model your ads after the ones that you will be competing for attention with. There are some advertising sites that require that all of their advertisers be real estate agents. You might try circumventing that restriction by offering a real estate agent a small fee to list your property on those restricted sites. The worse they can do is say “No” and a different agent might be more cooperative.

3. Contract exchange and negotiation.

Real estate agents act as intermediaries between the seller and the buyer. They take a contract proposal from the prospective buyer or their agent and present it to the seller. This goes on with price changes or with feature additions and removals until both the seller and the buyer agree on the selling price and property conditions.

There should be no question that you can do this yourself as the seller. After all, the agent would have to come to you anyway to get your approval and signature. Once again, this is where you need to put your ego and pride to the side. At this stage, all of your advertising and pricing work has come to fruition and you have a buyer negotiating with you. The worse thing you could do is to react defensively. You just participate in a give and take during the process as if it were for someone else.

4. Preparing the final paperwork and closing the sale

The real estate agent is usually the one to give all of the closing information to the title company and lawyers so that the deed to the property can be transferred from the seller to the buyer with no problems. This is when checks are transferred and mortgages paid off. It is also when the commission check is given to the real estate broker for dispersal to his agent.

You can do these things also. You are the one that has handled the paperwork up to now. You are the one that is ready for your mortgage to be paid off. You are the one ready to receive a check for the difference between what you owe on the mortgage and the selling price of the house. Most of this information is put on the HUD-1 form by the title company. In fact the major role of the agent here is to hold your hand and collect the commission check. Again, these tasks can be handled with a minimum of activity on your part. Any legal requirements can be farmed out to a lawyer for a much smaller fee than the agent’s commission.

Pricing, marketing, negotiating, and closing are all functions that are required to sell a property. They are all tasks normally handled by a real estate agent. They are also tasks that you can do yourself at a cost far less than 5% of the selling price of your house.

Earning a Nursing Degree Online – Advantages & Considerations

Nowadays, going to classes at college is not the only way to earn your nursing degree. Online education is an alternative where you can earn a nursing credential from anywhere you like and at the time when it’s most convenient to you. Earning a nursing degree online has many advantages over the traditional learning setting, but there are a few considerations that you must look into before sign-up an online nursing degree program.

Advantages of Pursuing Nursing Degree Online

1. Choose Your Major Regardless of Location Concern

Nursing degrees come with various specializations, but your preference major may not being offered at the nursing college near to your place. You found the nursing degree program with the specialization that you like to major with, is offered by a college at another state or at the college located far way from your convenient travel distance. But, lucky the college does offer it nursing degree online. You can become their online student to sign the nursing degree with your preference major.

2. Flexible Study Time from Anywhere

You can plan your study schedule and log-on to the classes from anywhere as long as you are at a location that has internet connection. Flexible study time from anywhere is the key advantage that will benefit those working individuals who want to earn a nursing degree without giving up their paycheck. Many people have a desire to enter the nursing field, which is a very rewarding and challenging career field, but they are unable to give up their current job to go back to school due to family & other obligations. Online education with it advantages in term of flexibility learning option will enable them to continue their current life while realizing their nursing career goal. This advantage will also benefit those working individuals who need to travel a lot due to their job assignment; they can log-on to the classes from where they are.

Considerations When Taking Nursing Degree Online

Although you can earn a nursing degree online, there are a few considerations you must take into account before you sign up your degree of choice:

1. The Nursing Program Meets Your State Requirement

Each state has it own requirement for nurses, you must make sure that the online nursing degree program that you are going to enroll is a nursing program that is recognized by your state. This is particularly important for preparing for the NCLEX examination, which is required for state certification before you can start your nursing career after graduation.

2. Clinical / Lab Work Facilities

Most nursing degree programs will require you to complete a certain lab or clinical assignments before you can earn the degree. Some nursing schools will require you to complete the clinical experience at the school while other may have co-operation with other health care facilities which may locate near you place to ease you in completing your clinical experience. If traveling to the school is not convenient to you, then you must consider those schools that offer online nursing degree program which can allow you to complete the clinical experience locally.

3. Be Prepare To Be An Online Student

Online learning is different from classroom-based learning style. Most materials are in text format and you must have good reading and writing comprehension. Self-motivation is another key factor that will determine the success or the failure of an online student. If you choose to earn your nursing degree online, you must prepare yourself to face the challenges in your online study and be a successful online student.

Summary

Earn a nursing degree online has many advantages that can benefit you, but at the same time, you must consider a few important factors to ensure you can successful earn a degree that can help in your nursing career.

Top 10 Internet Marketing Trends for 2011

The dawn of 2011 gives us the perfect opportunity to predict the top 10 internet marketing trends for the upcoming year. The 90’s was the decade of the internet, and since then we have seen new layers, tools, and worlds built on top of the world wide web.

Social networks dominated the past decade, apps came on top of that, and 2011 will bring even more areas of digital interaction and communication.

And just to have some fun for the holidays, I decided to turn them into some of the cheesiest puns and rhymes ever assembled in a blog post. If you can’t stand the rhymes, I’ve put a real title right next to them.

So here’s my take on the top 10 trends (in order) for internet marketing in 2011.

(1) No more game layer naysayers (The sculpting of the “game layer”)

Seth Priebatsch, the founder of SCVNGR, plans to build a “game layer” on top of the world. Things like rewards programs, board games, social games and check-ins have all come to make up the idea behind a game layer.

This game layer is a way to influence consumer behavior, by turning everything into a game. Wherever you go, whatever you buy will be built into a sort-of game dynamic that will reward you in multiple ways.

This game layer will be the most important trend to watch in internet marketing in 2011, as companies like SCVNGR and Four Square become a bigger part of the consumer process.

(2) Even more apps perhaps (Mobile apps continue to “suburbanize” the internet)

The internet has been compared to the wild wild west with its initial lawlessness and quick expansion. With the introduction of apps, the internet is being tamed into smaller communities – suburbanizing the internet in a way.

Jeff Cormier (Examiner.com) wrote an article today about how mobile apps are projected to experience 60% growth by 2014. In addition, revenue from mobile apps will increase from $4.9 billion this year, to $35 billion by 2014, according to an IDC report.

So we will see even more apps in 2011. Apps mark the beginning of the taming of the internet into organized mobile programs, and 2011 will continue this trend.

(3) All bets off, all Groupon (Downward pricing pressures on SMBs from Groupon-like sites)

As Groupon continues to roll out sites for more and more cities across the country, the “group coupon” phenomenon continues to sweep the web.

Thousands of other coupon sites have also popped up. I Am Hungry, for example, offers restaurant deals around your area. With apps for Facebook and mobile devices, these types of sites are spreading like wildfire.

We are almost at the point with all of these sites that you could always get a meal at half price. For 2011, look for the Groupon and I Am Hungry-type sites to put downward pricing pressure on small service businesses (especially restaurants).

(4) Online privacy issues and miscues (Online privacy becomes a huge issue/opportunity)

Access to data is an essential part of the idea behind Web 2.0. Having up-to-date information on people is the key to targeting search results, advertising, and offers. However, when will this go too far? 2011.

The Federal Trade Commission just released a report this month about protecting consumer privacy. This movement covers an idea to implement a “Do Not Track” program for consumers. This would be a technology that would allow consumers to tell websites to not track their activities and information.

As this movement plays out, look for online privacy to be a huge part of the web in 2011.

(5) Boob Tube out, YouTube in (Increase in online video marketing)

Faster internet connections, easy share capabilities, better video search, link integration, and YouTube channels – these all point to an even bigger emphasis on video marketing. A video going viral is the dream of every marketer, and it’s easier to make those videos and easier to have them spread.

Pew Internet Research says that 7 in 10 adult internet users have used the internet to watch or download a video. In addition, videos can help increase search rankings and have a major impact on SEO.

With all of these factors coming together, online video marketing will become mainstream in 2011.

(6) Local becomes focal for search engines (More emphasis on local search)

Over the last few months of 2010, we’ve seen local results take a bigger role in Google SERPs (search engine results pages). Tools like Google Places and Yahoo! Local make it easier for businesses to gain exposure for their certain keywords and now have placed more importance on those listings.

By incorporating Google Tags into Google Places and offering statistical insights for your place listing, Google is telling small businesses that local search will become even more important in 2011. This makes sense considering that the goal of a search engine is to deliver the best results for each search. What good would a plumber in Seattle do for a homeowner in Boston?

(7) 2011 Twitter: More litter, less glitter (Major change in the Twitter model)

A San Francisco Chronicle article came out today revealing statistics about Twitter. As the article states, Only 8% of American adults use Twitter and less than 1/4 of those users are “heavy” Twitter users.

Twitter’s goal to become the world’s largest media company, therefore, is too far out of reach.

It seems that Twitter has been most successful in the celebrity-realm, as people can get an insight into the lives of their favorites stars. The celebrity element, however, is not mainstream enough for Twitter to survive solely on that niche and its goal to become THE media outlet seems out of reach. So where does Twitter go from here?

Well, we’ve seen the introduction of “promoted tweets” and the new Twitter profile in 2010.

What does 2011 hold for Twitter? I am predicting declining participation rates on Twitter, more dead profiles, and potentially a serious change to make money and increase participation.

(8) HTML5 goes live (The release of HTML5 and its impact)

HTML5 is currently under development by the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group. The latest HTML revision will make it easier to incorporate multimedia into websites.

The impact on SEO will be interesting to follow in 2011. The new <> tag, for example, will make it easier to segment new posts for online periodicals like blogs and online magazines. Search engines will most likely place either more or different emphasis on these sorts of tags.

(9) Online communities = new opportunities (Market Research continues to change)

Typical market research reports are generated over a long period of time and result in 1000 pages of somewhat outdated data. Online communities are a newer way to conduct real-time market research from a group of about 200-500 consumers that represent the target market for that specific brand. These people will answer key questions and discuss certain topics associated with a product before it launches, for example.

Companies like Communispace and MindGauge allow brands to gather consumer insight quickly. MindGauge’s website describes the difference between traditional market research and online communities by saying, “Rather than an independent source gathering information, respective managers will begin to integrate the community into all components of their projects.”

Although this powerful insight tool has been around for awhile, we are predicting that more dollars will be devoted towards this kind of tool in 2011.

(10) The cloud starts to reign (Cloud Computing continues to spread)

Although “the cloud” does not really fall under internet marketing, its impact on agility for sales forces and IT departments is undeniable, so it found its way into the top ten. The days of building custom-made business apps and soft
ware are gone with companies like salesforce.com. Cloud computing allows businesses of all sizes to get better systems up and running, faster and cheaper than custom-built software.

For 2011, even more clunky and expensive IT systems will be scrapped for the cloud and collaboration will be brought everywhere through mobile devices.

2011 should be the fastest year in internet marketing. Many more trends will occur that could change the landscape of internet marketing for businesses of all sizes.

What do you see as the biggest trend for 2011?

Cookie Decorating and Cocktails: Themed Parties For the Holiday Season

The holidays are upon us, and one of the most timeless, beloved traditions is cookie decorating before Christmas time. Instead of setting aside an afternoon to bake batch after batch of Christmas cookies, why not plan a full-blown cookie decorating party to include friends and family?

How a Cookie Decorating Party Works

A cookie decorating party can work in one of two ways. You can ask all guests to bring their own favorite cookies, undecorated, to the party for a group decorating project. Or, you can ask guests to pitch in and make batches of cookies in your kitchen that you can all decorate together once they cool, fresh out of the oven.

For a smaller gathering with a few friends, baking cookies and decorating together will work well. For a larger party of five or more, it’s a better idea to ask guests to bring their own undecorated cookies so you don’t have to worry about squeezing a large group into a crowded, hot kitchen to bake cookies together.

To plan ahead, make sure that you have all of the necessary decorating supplies set up in advance in different stations throughout the room, including:

• Aprons or smocks
• Paper towels
• Tubes of icing in different colors
• Sprinkles and other assorted decorations
• Food coloring
• Small paintbrushes

From there, it’s time to get cracking! Guests can decorate plain cookies of their choice with different icings and assorted decorations, like sprinkles, chocolate chips, M&Ms, crushed peppermint, and more. You may also choose to splurge on fancy holiday cookie decorations like colored sugar, silver ball candies, and cinnamon hearts.

All of the decorations can be set up in individual bowls for use at each decorating station. Guests can also create their own colored icing with food coloring to paint different designs on each cookie using a small paintbrush.

Adult Beverages for Cookie Decorating

If this is an adults-only party, you have the perfect opportunity to pair holiday cookies with delicious seasonal cocktails to enjoy throughout the decorating process. Depending upon the type of cookies that you decorate, whether they’re plain sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, or even peanut butter cookies, you can pair your holiday drinks accordingly.

Decorated holiday sugar cookies will go well with a warm beverage like Irish Coffee or spiked cider. You can also make a large batch of alcoholic holiday punch with flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, served chilled and topped with a splash of cranberry juice and sparkling wine.

For more flavorful cookies, like peanut butter or snickerdoodle, serve a refreshing holiday favorite like mulled wine, peppermint martinis, or rich yet satisfying alcoholic eggnog.

For an adult-themed cookie decorating holiday bash, make sure to provide guests with the convenience of arranging transportation to and from the venue with a limo rental or luxury town car. This will allow guests to ride safely to and from the party destination so that they can enjoy a few holiday cocktails without having to worry about driving home at the end of the evening. ‘Tis the season!