How to Become a Successful Fashion Designer

If you are like me you live and breathe fashion. You are constantly inspired with so many new designs racing through your mind, so many you can’t seem to get them all down quick enough at the pace they arrive. You constantly dream of the day your fashions will be on the fashion runway with the lights beaming brightly overhead, the cameras flashing everywhere and the audience being completely mesmerized by your incredible designs. You can’t stop thinking of the day you will open a magazine or watch the Oscars and see a famous celebrity in one of your breathtaking designs. Your book shelf is stocked with fashion books and magazines, and you absolutely can’t resist visiting textile stores to view all the latest fabrics, decorative beads, rhinestones and trims.

It’s this ever present dream of being a successful fashion designer that has you work day and night on your designs in most cases for many years without pay and working a job to pay the pills which is brutal torture, when all you can think about is living and working in fashion.

Famous fashion designers come from all walks of life there is no one system to follow that will have you become the next famous fashion designer. Some have graduated from elite fashion schools and some have never attended fashion school. Some have undertaken a fashion internship with a fashion house and others have made their own designs in their basement. The only elements all these fashion designers have in common is they had an intense passion for fashion, were able to design fashions highly sought after and connected with someone who gave them the opportunity to break into the fashion industry. It is essential in becoming a successful fashion designer you get you and your designs out there as much as possible, as how will anyone know about your fashions if they can’t see them?

In getting your fashions out there here are a few things you can do:

1. We are not usually good at everything some of us are great at designing clothes but lack the sewing and pattern making skills. It is here you can partner with someone who shares your passion for fashion and has the skills you lack. It is in the bringing together of different skills you can create a real product that can be showcased.

2. In having a fashion line of 14 outfits you can apply to your local fashion week. In the USA: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco all have fashion weeks. These fashion weeks attract many editors, journalists and local socialites who will see your fashions and potentially give you the exposure you need to get known.

3. Many city night clubs hold fashion shows, find out what night clubs hold fashion shows and contact them as to how you can be apart of an up and coming show.

4. Locate fashion boutiques that cater to the fashions you design, first make a trip to the stores to look around, if you can see your clothes fitting in well with the store, find out who the owner is and ask if they would be willing to have some of your fashions offered for sale in their store. You will be amazed at how many store owners are willing to work with you. I walked around San Francisco in the Nob Hill district and had my fashions placed after visiting and discussing my product with four boutiques. In having your fashions displayed you will receive valuable insights as to whether or not your designs are in demand and if you need to change your designs to increase sales. It will also give you free exposure to the public. When your fashions do sell you can present this to investors who are more than willing to invest in your line, when you prove the existence of a strong demand for your fashions.

What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I'm talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from "real life" and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.

Would not it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a "home away from home" for your next vacation? That's what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next "home away from home" vacation rental is right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else's home for your vacation might just be the thing you're looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You'll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them are not just rental homes, but also function as the owner's own residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other external charges. However, there is a wide variation among others based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there's always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you'll only know what you're getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things are not the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There is not usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it's rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you'll be able to find what you're looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Do not be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for "vacation rentals" and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the "go-between" or the "classified" section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.

If you're not comfortable with the whole renter / owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are really getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you'll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different from the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access … etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospect vacation rental. Ask about any "extra" fees, or if the house is "all-inclusive". Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

Real Estate Property Values – Ranked High

Rob Norquist, a real estate agent admits that Newport Beach is as active as it used to be, with some good record sales. He also agrees with the fact that a property, should never be considered deprecated, and as a seller, you should never give up and use the low end price. It is true that, during a certain period of time, depending on the real estate market, client’s desire, real estate auctions, there may be moments when a property’s price drops, but not forever.

Other cities such as, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine or Mission Viejo – are considered among other 25 cities as being the ones with the best real estate property values, with average values of $680,000 and more. The national average value in 2007 was $194,300.

However, some property values are based on subjective answers from residents living in a certain home, so the given numbers , and real estate evaluation may be hanging on a wishful thinking instead of a real appreciation . This is where real estate auctions come in picture, to inform potential clients about the property, and the investment possibilities, giving them a clear image of the real estate’s worth.

Even though some buildings such as Orange County properties , dropped their values in 2007, but they recovered extremely well after. So this is another reason why as a seller, you should never fear if you observe a temporally value drop, because it is normal from time to time.

For instance, about 81% owners, sellers, agents, trusted in 2007 that their estate property values were over $1 million, against 75% in 2006. So things are for the best and it would appear that most of estate agents have finally understood what this business is really about. It takes a lot of patience and ability to maintain your property’s value among top ones on real estate market.

But Norquist, trusts that many Newport Beach arguments are near the mark, sustaining that this city has survived the “housing slump” better than other locations. However, the unexpected surprise attacked more on sales, which he admits that they are on a falling edge right now, but there is still hope for better times.

Newport Beach is very well known for its highest-valued real estate properties in the U.S., being a perfect place for real estate business . It’s location and proximity to the water, and the beach front view increase it’s real estate value considerably. Auctions in this area are very interesting and those who are interested in real estate business domain should never miss them. You can learn a lot on such events.

Experienced real estate agents or even friends will surely advise you that as a buyer you are very likely to come across many real estate properties in foreclosure having perhaps no equity,being over priced . In such moments, lenders sometimes choose to accept a smaller amount than the initial.So you get in the negotiations process. As a hint, when you realize the over pricing phenomenon, you have to understand that this happens when the real estate agent , or seller is aware of the real estate property’s value, and he tries his luck in a raising price. So watch out! The negotiation can become a difficult process especially when reasonable terms are not agreed by both sides: owner and buyer. Negotiations can occur privately or in public, where real estate auctions come in the picture. Of course, a real estate auction is safer and more trustful than a private one. Private negotiations occur especially when the agent is a close friend or relative to buyer’s, and because of the friendly environment some details regarding even the real estate transaction may be skipped. So in situations like this be careful.

Even as a friend, for a real estate agent , money comes first, and friendship after. Of course, during such a negotiation, there can be all sort of problems, such as mortgage value, real estate market, all sort of official formalities, conflict of interests in a particular area etc. Moreover, time a very important issue when real estate auctions are involved. As a general rule, and as an advise for a potential buyer, negotiation process should not be extended on a long period of time, because, as I said before, in time, real estate properties drop their values, and the client’s interest together with it. In this case, not only does the buyer loose, but the real estate agency as well. Why?Because if a property’s value drops, the price must drop as well, if you ever want to sell it again. In this case the under priced phenomenon appears. This is why short sales are preferred. Many Realtors, and clients started using this strategy, because they faced the problem regarding their property’s value.So they decided the selling process should not take too long.

Another important issue refers to the well known “acceleration clause” , which is an official word met in any mortgage document, meaning that the lender, after the real estate property is sold, can demand the payment of the remaining balance for the loan. Realtors can provide more information about this contractual right. If this clause is good or bad for a real estate transaction, it is hard to say, because it has its advantages and disadvantages. Buying a real estate property which has already a mortgage loan represents a pretty raised risk. Why? Because first of all, if the mortgage loan was contracted for many years, depending on the interest’s rate, and marketplace evolution, you may come to pay the house’s price 3 times more. However, if you have experience in monitoring the market place, and find a right moment when every interest’s value drops, you could go for it. It’s kind of a gambling in this business, and Realtors, or individual real estate agents know it best.

Realtors and real estate agents are here on the real estate market, to help clients understand how they can value their houses, what should they look for when trying to sell or buy a house, how to negotiate, and how to win a real estate transaction. Some may say that buying or selling a real estate property is easy, but the fact is that pricing a house is a very difficult process. Many real estate agents, brokers, have suffered many defeats before their first good business, so do not expect their job to be an easy one.

Unfortunately, a concerning price and sales gains of these past years have determined in many cases quitting the real estate business. Many real estate agents who have seen the future preferred to do something else than real estate business. The credit market is also in a critical position, as many Realtors have observed. Mortgage values are also a result of real estate market position right now. Real estate investors have diminished their participation number to real estate auctions, as a sign they have seen it too.

Computer Maintenance – Computer Repair in Hawaii

Computer Repair Hawaii

Computer Repair Services in Hawaii is not so much different than the mainland, especially on the island of Oahu, but there are a few challenges. Having lived on Oahu over 45 years ago in Ewa Beach, and returning just over 7 years ago, the scene has changed drastically. Things were more rural back then, and of course there was no internet.

In Oahu, people seem to work on one side of the island and work on the other. Since there are only 1 or 2 ways to get around, traffic can be extremely congested, and parking can be a challenge. So while you are looking for a Computer Repair Shop to drop off your computer, or waiting for a Mobile Technician to drive out to you, timing can be a challenge. For some reason, even in Paradise, things can get pretty busy. With that said, I just wanted to put out my two-cents that affect both the customer and the service provider about computer repair in Oahu.

Traffic Challenges

If you live in Waianae, Waialua, Haliewa, or the North Shore, Windward and around Waimanalo, you will have to rely on Mobile Technicians willing to come out to your location, or to drive the distance yourself. The problem with dropping off a sick computer yourself is that most shops open about 9-10am and close at 6pm. You either have to take time off from work, hope traffic is light after getting off work, or just wait until a day off.

For some reason, there are no shops I am aware of in Waianae, Haliewa and all through the North Shore. Shops on the Windward side are scarce as well, but I vaguely hear that there may be a shop out in Kaneohe, but they must not do much advertising. If you have a Macintosh, there is definitely a shop in Kailua, just be aware that not all shops repair both PCs and Macs, and while do mobile technicians.

My Rant About Windward Computer Repair

Concern computer repair for our valued Windward customers, I have to rant a little bit. Windward customers in Kaneohe and Kailua are fiercely loyal to their local businesses, which is a good thing. But when it comes to computer repair and they are looking for a mobile technician, they always want someone who looks closer to where they are, which at first, looks to make sense.

If they call you and you actually have a physical location and provide both in-shop and mobile services, they get hung-up on your shop's physical location even though they are calling for mobile service. The truth is, that they have no idea where the technician is coming from. The technician might already be scheduled to be out in that area for another customer and can easily set an appointment for you as well. They are not just just sitting around at home all day waiting for you to call, so you just can not accumulate where they will be dispatched from. That may sound harsh, but it always surprises me when we spend some valuable time over the phone with a prospective customer, trying to understand their computer problems and comfort them with our solution to their problem, and as soon as we mention that our shop is over the hill on the other side of H3, they start backing out of the conversation almost as if they thought they were doing "us" a favor and say thanks but no-thanks, we'll just call someone a little closer. I do not get it, and even when I can truthfully say that I have a tech in the area already, they do not care. I know other shop owners who get this same response about mobile repair on the Windward side. The fact is that we are happy to serve customers on the Windward side, and we appreciate their loyalty once they finally hire us to repair their computer. But it is a hurdle starting that relationship. I might add that it is a beautiful drive to the Windward side, especially if you get to drive back through the Northshore if you have the time. I always look forward to a good Shrimp Plate lunch from one of my favorite shrimp trucks along the way.

Parking for Mobile Computer Repair Technicians

If your business or home is located in a reliably populated area away from the areas I just mentioned, you'll have plenty of options for both in-shop and onsite computer repair in Oahu. But if you need service in the congested business areas of downtown or Waikiki, parking is a problem. My suggestion is that if you want prompt service, that you provide information to the technician about the most convenient place to park as well as any parking fees (which may be added to your bill). You might even be able to pre-arrange parking in a reserved area for vendors. And lastly, it even helps to know details such as any vehicle height restrictions for parking garages, or detours due to emergency or special events.

Giving Directions

When setting an appointment for mobile service, it is vital that you provide an accurate address and phone number. Many local Hawaii residents prefer to give directions and landmarks than actual addresses, but Mobile Technicians end up learning the island very well and even use GPS devices these days. Some even print out directions with Yahoo or Google before coming out. We would prefer that you just give us your complete address and then maybe a landmark if you live in an obscure hard to find location. We need the address for our invoice anyway. We appreciate the directions, but customers somehow assume we will be driving to their location the same way they do everyday, but the fact is that we might be coming from the other way, and then left become right, and right becomes left and it gets confusing while driving.

Be Sure to Give and Get Correct Phone Numbers

As for your phone number, things happen and we may need to call you. We also like to call before we come out to ensure you'll be home. Fortunately, we are not like the cable companies that tell you they will arrive between 9-5. Mobile Technicians can usually provide you with a 30-60 minute window. But if you have something come up, we would appreciate if you could call us as soon as possible to postpone.

Also, be sure that you know which Computer Repair company you made the appointment with and have their correct number. Many customers call quite a few shops before they choose who they will make their appointment with and get phone numbers mixed up. Some even call us more than once because we have more than one phone number. It gets quite funny hearing the same person calling again, now using a better description of their problem because of talking to us earlier. The problem is that it might get confusing to remember who you chose in the end. Now and then I'll get a person calling us by mistake to cancel an appointment that we never made. Imagine the frustration of the technician when he drave out to your home or business just to find out that you said you called and canceled already, why are you here?

In-Shop vs Onsite Computer Maintenance

This basically boils down to price, turn-around time and convenience. In-shop repair fees are usually flat rate fee based, and takes days to get back, but you will get more thorough service this way. Shops are also more prepared for the extremely difficult problems. With shops, you can just walk-in during normal business hours, although you should call first to get guidance on what to bring. For laptops, you should always bring the AC Adapter (battery charger). For desks, we usually only need the computer itself (no cables or peripherals, although it would not hurt if you bought your CDs).

Onsite service is usually hourly fee based, and may even have a trip charge. Onsite service by nature is by appointment only, but many problems can be diagnosed and repaired within an hour or two. With onsite service, it is critical that you describe your computer problem as well as possible, because if it sounds obvious that it might be a hardware problem, your computer may be a better candidate for in-shop repair. It's already difficult enough to get certain types of parts on island such as motherboards and CPUs at a Computer Store, so you can expect that a Mobile Technician will not have every part needed to fix every computer in their vehicle. Some parts even have to be ordered online and can take a week or so to arrive. Hopefully you can see the complications this may cause with setting another appointment as well as how the technician will bill you for the first and second appointments. It would just be better to bring these problem computers to a shop.

Major Limitations for Mobile Only Technicians

I certainly do not want to knock mobile only technicians, because I got my start that way. But you have to know that these ones can only serve a small finite number of customers in any given day. Many people get attached to their computer guy once trust is established, but it can get frustrating when your trusty Mobile PC Tech can not make it out fast enough. They might even need to take a vacation and when you get a hold of them on their cell phone, you find out they are on the mainland for a week or two. If you can not wait, you have to find someone else.

Mobile repair is limited as well for reasons spelled out in the "In-Shop vs Onsite Computer Maintenance" section above. There are also certain types of maintenance that will never get done onsite due to how long it will take. If I think I have to perform a surface scan on a hard drive just for starters (which can take 2 hours or more in some cases), I almost immediately recommend I take the computer back to the shop to complete at the flat rate. Some computers develop multiple problems and can take 4-5 hours to repair. For one, it will save you on further hourly charges, but it will also help the technician to be on time for other appointments after you, since he probably only allotted 2 hours for your appointment. The complicated part is that a mobile technician may not have a shop to take your computer to, and may only be able to take it to their home. If you are okay with that, then fine, no problem.

I would add that a technician that has both in-shop and onsite experience are the best technicians. For mobile only technicians, it can be hard to get this experience because they will rarely get a customer that is willing to pay a technician to spend 4-5 hours onsite, not to mention having to dedicate their own personal time as well to be there . But if the technician does not ever get the chance to spend time on the real hard problems, it is unlikely that they will ever progress to become a master technician. If you were choosing a doctor for a complicated surgery, how concerned would you be about his or her experience? The answer is obvious.

Anyways, while our computers and online lives might not be life and death situations, we seem dependent on them suddenless. So I hope this insight into both sides of Computer Maintenance and Repair in Hawaii help you make the right decisions when that inevitable computer problem occurs. That way, you can be armed with the insight to make the best choice available for your computer needs.