I have had the great pleasure of traveling around the country and visiting 42 of the 50 states. At different times of my life, I have been North, South, East and West and points along the way. When I viewed these great City Scenes Christmas cards, I was taken back to some of those fabulously happy trips.

Boston Beacon Hill Christmas Card

Being a fan of history, the quietly elegant Boston Beacon Hill card is one of my favorites. Traveling to Boston brought out the history buff in me. I was able to see where the tea was dumped in the harbor, I know the British thought dumping the tea was an act of vandalism (quite honestly we might think the same thing if it happened today), but to us it was one of the first steps in a revolutionary new concept of freedom. Bunker Hill, Faneuil Hall, the USS Constitution and Beacon Hill were some of the other sights I visited, but my favorite was the beautiful homes (where many famous people through the years have lived) in the Beacon Hill area. Oh and Boston has great New England Clam Chowder. Happy memories, great card, worth seeing for sure!

Seattle Harbor holiday card at twilight with its great scenic view was another favorite place I was privileged to see. The laid back welcoming attitude of the Seattle people leaves you feeling really good about the city. I remember standing in the very spot that is pictured on this beautifully rendered card and thinking I could enjoy watching this peaceful view forever. Now everyone knows Seattle has great coffee, but have you ever had a Hangtown Fry? That is an oyster/bacon omelet and it is worth visiting Seattle just to experience it.

Who couldn’t love the iconic Beverly Hills City Hall Christmas Card with the palm trees swaying in front? I loved the glitz and glam of this area. Who among us doesn’t dream of living with day after day of sunshine in one of those fabulous mansions? It may be a day dream, but I remember having a burger at the famous Brown Derby and enjoyed my day dreaming of the famously glamorous stars of the 40’s & 50’s walking through the door. It is amazing how many different foods are available in Beverly Hills and some of the most famous chefs have restaurants there. Everyone should visit the land of make believe at least once.

The Miami Skyline Christmas Card as viewed through the tree branches in this card bring back the really surprisingly vibrant energy that you feel in Miami. Party City for sure. The nightlife here has to be experienced! South Beach, Downtown or Wynwood/Midtown will provide a vast variety of nightlife and I enjoyed this immensely, of course, I was a little younger when I visited. This was also my first introduction to Cuban food. Great flavors without the really hot flavor in some other Spanish cuisines. Biting into a great Cuban sandwich will also transport me back to one of my favorite spots.

The New York City Skyline with Statue of Liberty Christmas Card is probably one the most beautifully moving pictures to me. Have grown up with this view all my life, I still never tire of it. There is a different feeling in New York than any other city in this country. The feeling of sophistication, the vibrancy of walking on the city streets, the culture that is so diverse and plentiful adds to the attraction of New York. It is considered one of the premier destinations for visitors from around the country and the world. This is where you get the best of the best from every different cuisine in the world. The best pizza, the best Italian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, French, German, etc. can be found here. But the absolute best treat is to have a hot pretzel from a street vendor, now that is food heaven.

As you can see I am a great foodie, but consider this foods as well as pictures trigger a happy response to all those great memories we have stored over the years. So eat, travel and live life to its fullest.

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The Gallery Collection, as part of our charitable donations program, recently donated 500 birthday cards to the Paralyzed Veterans of America Central Florida Chapter. The PVA sends these birthday cards to the Veterans that they serve throughout the year.

Sophisticated Presents Birthday Card

The Paralyzed Veterans of America Central Florida Chapter and the membership is comprised of those who have sustained a spinal cord injury/dysfunction or disease and those people who support the quest of the membership for cures to their infirmities or seek to help create an atmosphere whereby the injured and suffering can assume a place in society that can be mutually beneficial.

For more information about the Paralyzed Veterans of America Central Florida Chapter, and how you can help, please visit their website at http://www.centralfloridapva.org/

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Common Job Interview Questions – Be Prepared

by Lauren C. on August 21, 2014

Probably one of the most stressful situations after speaking in front of a large audience is sitting for a job interview. You want to make a good impression and let the interviewer know without a doubt that you are the right person for the job. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Like every good Boy Scout will tell you, the key is to be prepared!

Common Job Interview Questions

A big part of your preparation will be reviewing some of the more common job interview questions and practicing how you will answer them.

Here is a list of 10 of the more common questions asked when going on a job interview:

1. What are your strengths?

2. What are your weaknesses?

3. What would your previous supervisor/manager say about you? What would they say are your strengths/weaknesses?

4. Name an accomplishment you are most proud of.

5. Describe a time you made a mistake and how you handled it.

6. What is your understanding of the position?

7. Describe a time you disagreed with your boss and how you handled it.

8. How do you handle disagreements with co-workers? Or What types of personalities do you find it most difficult to work with?

9. Why are you interested in working for this company? Or What do you know about our company?

10. Why should we hire you?

Most likely you will be going to more than one interview before you find that dream job at the company that is the right fit for you. Be sure to review these questions before each interview as you will want to tailor your responses as needed to the specific industry and/or company culture (Are they more corporate and traditional? Is this company more cutting edge?) You’ll want to do your homework. But most of all, you’ll want to be honest, be yourself and be prepared!

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When To Send Out Company Christmas Cards

by Marina F. on August 18, 2014

When you send out your personal Christmas cards to friends and family, you can choose to mail them out anytime from December 1st to the week of Christmas itself. I know a few family members that like to send them out so they are at your doorstep for Christmas Eve! However, when it comes to business, when to send out your company Christmas cards should have a more defined time frame.

Holiday Glamour Card

A good rule of thumb is to send out your cards 2 weeks before the holidays. Since business Christmas cards usually serve in theory as a “thank you” as well as a “Merry Christmas” sentiment, it is good to send them out to your clients, vendors and employees not too far away from the holidays, but not at the last minute either. Some companies choose to send out Thanksgiving or Happy New Year cards in lieu of your typical Merry Christmas. It is a more generic way of wishing someone the best for the upcoming season and year ahead. So put it on your iCal or on your smartphone reminders – send out your company Christmas cards by the week of December 7th and you’ll be good to go!

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So it’s your birthday, huh? I know what you’re thinking… man, I look good for my age. Everyone thinks that. Even the ones that don’t. So put an end to that thought right away!

Office_birthday_Party_Style

You want to celebrate your birthday at your place of work. I don’t blame you. Then again, Mr. Mingle doesn’t blame anyone. Who has time to waste on blaming when you could be out there mingling? Good Question, Mr. Mingle. Thanks, Mr. Mingle! (Mr. Mingle winks at his clone)

Mr_Mingle

Here is what I will do for you since I have nominated myself to be your life guide and trusty companion. Think of me as your life’s Swiss army knife. Except I am not Swiss, so technically I am your British army knife. Some people call me BAK for short. I have removed those people from my life.

Without further ado, below are my top 5 ways to celebrate a birthday in style.

  1. Throw a get together in a common area that everyone has access to in your workplace and invite everyone. Yes… even Dave from accounting. I know everyone hates Dave from accounting but invite him anyway.
  2. Learn everyone’s names beforehand so you can thank them personally. But Mr. Mingle, how can I possibly learn everyone’s names? Simple, learn the easy ones and just call the rest of the people that show up pal and comrade.
  3. Play a couple of birthday games to build team chemistry. This is a great way to separate the strong from the weak so you know who to work with on that next big work project.
  4. Make sure you give your manager the largest piece of the cake. I know you love cake but so does your manager. Plus, who is more important, you or the person in charge of you? Exactly!
  5. Make sure you are the last one to leave the party. I know, I know, Dave from accounting is always the last one to leave a room. Well tell Dave you need that pie chart in a different hue of blue. That should get him to evacuate the party premises.

So there you have it. My 5 tips to celebrate your birthday at the office in style. Remember, Mr. Mingle is here for ya no matter what you need. Mingle is the name and Mingling is the game.

Mr_Mingle

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Congratulations to the winners from the third round of voting in the Gallery Collection Scholarship Contest!

10 Designs moved on to the finalist round as a result of them finishing in the top 10 in voting, plus, our scholarship team also used our 1 save available to us on the design submitted by Lisa Lopez. The scholarship team loved the shading and creativity of Lisa’s drawing.

Check out the top 10 vote getters and the saved design that are moving onto the finalist round in the gallery below.

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Appropriate Christmas Party Themes For Your Office

by Millicent T. on August 11, 2014

Having a Christmas Party at work can be strenuous. First, you have to come up with an appropriate Christmas party theme for the office. Then, the planning begins. The planning is the easy part. One of the hardest part seems to be a theme. Since I have been in charge of this project, we have had four themes.

Christmas_Party_Themes

The first year we did ‘Christmas Around the World.’ That was fun. We had the words Merry Christmas and Santa Claus in languages from different countries. We had dishes from different countries on the table. And we even had people tell short stories of their Christmas traditions. That year was one of my favorites. The next year, we worked with Toys for Tots. Our theme was ‘Santa’s Christmas List.’ The idea was to buy a gift that you would have wanted as a child and donate it. Everyone who brought in a gift for a child received a ticket to our Christmas Buffet. It was a great year for the kids. My associates were very generous. The third year, our theme was ‘Generosity and Kindness.’ The idea was to be generous and giving for the Month before Christmas. Every time you did something nice or charitable, you received a ticket for our tricky tray. The nicer and more generous you were, the more tickets you got to put into the bucket. Everyone seemed so much nicer that year!

This year, I’m working on something really special. We are actually having a Christmas Mini Carnival. We are inviting the families of the staff so they can enjoy some carnival games, popcorn, cotton candy, ice cream, and of course, a visit from the big man himself, Santa Claus. Then we will have a sit down style dinner. I know family is the most important thing in life, so why not include them in the fun. I’ve already called The Gallery Collection to order my corporate holiday party invitations. Everyone is so excited. My boss can’t wait to dress up as you know who!

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Preparing for a Job Interview

by Tabitha K. on August 7, 2014

I’m sure each one of us would agree that one of the most stressful events in our lives can be not only going on job interview but also preparing for a job interview.

Preparing_Job_Interview

From the moment a face to face meeting begins, everything is about you – your appearance, speech, ability, personality, even your smile – is being assessed. It’s up to you to create a favorable impression. And preparation is the only sure-fire way to make an important job interview a winning experience.

By following just few simple steps, you can better prepare yourself before the interview:

  • Select and layout your complete interview wardrobe. Carefully go over what you plan to wear the day before.
  • Sort out the credentials you plan to bring with you. Be sure to include several copies of your resume, letters of commendation. Be sure to include any achievements you received in your field.
  • Have a notebook and pen handy. Review notes and other data you compiled to help prepare you for the interview.
  • Most importantly, get a good night’s sleep! You never want to arrive late for an interview.

As an applicant in any job interview situation you are bound to be tense no matter how relaxed the interviewer may try to make you feel in his attempt to have you reveal yourself fully. During the interview, the interviewer will take note of your knowledge of the company, the manner in which you respond to questions as well as in the kind of questions you ask him. He will observe how you talk, sit, and smile. You always want to listen attentively. He will observe your enthusiasm (or lack of it). You always want to present a positive attitude. You shouldn’t talk too much during your interview; you don’t want to talk yourself right out of the job. One of your biggest goals during the interview (besides being offered the position) is to get the interviewer to like you. All these observations will be the basis for determining whether or not you are rejected, placed in a doubtful category, maybe be invited back for a 2nd interview, or in some cases, you’ll actually be offered the position.

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How to Exercise at Your Desk

by Janna D. on August 4, 2014

Many of us have good intentions when it comes to working out in spite of being at work for 1/3 of the day. We try to get up early to squeeze in a workout before we head in to the office. We plan a stop at the gym on the way home. We might even try to see what can be done during a lunch break. How about sneaking in a workout while you’re at your desk?

Exercise_at_work

Let’s face it, that’s where many of us spend much of our day, and all of those hours sitting in our desk chairs, hunched over our keyboards, are a big part of why we need the exercise in the first place. Turn that Catch 22 into the perfect time to wake up your muscles and learn how to exercise at your desk.

These Arm Exercises actually use your desk as your exercise equipment:

Place your hands under the desk, palms up, and press up as if you’re trying to lift the desk. Hold this contraction until your arms feel tired. You can do both hands at the same time, or alternate between working each arm individually.

Now place your hands on top of the desk, palms down and press as strongly as you can as if you’re pushing the desk down into the floor. Hold contraction until your arms feel tired.

Isometric Hand Press:

Sitting upright in your chair, grasp your hands together in front of your chest as if you were clapping. Firmly press them against each other, the right hand pushing to the left and the left hand pushing to the right. Hold contraction for 10 seconds before releasing. Repeat 4 times.

Shoulder Shrug:

Lift the tops of your shoulders toward your ears and hold for 5-10 seconds
Relax and drop your shoulders low, feeling a slight stretch in your neck.
Repeat as you like.

The Wooden Leg:

Sit in your chair, back straight. Engage your stomach muscles and extend one leg out straight in front of you even with the chair height and hold for 5 seconds. Pressing through your heel, slowly raise your leg up as high as you can, and hold it again for 5 seconds. Lower to the floor and repeat the sequence 8-10 times. Follow up with your other leg.

The Wooden Leg can also be done with both legs at once:
Sit closer to the edge of your seat and place your hands on the desk for balance.
Raise both legs together as high as possible under the desk. Hold for several seconds and slowly lower back down.

Crossed Leg Resistance Lift:

Cross one ankle on top of the other.
Begin to raise your feet off the floor.
Press top leg down and resist with bottom leg – hold this contraction until muscles are tired. Release to the floor.
Repeat with opposite ankle crossed over the top.

Chair Squats:

Stand tall with back straight.
Slowly lower your body to within 1 inch of the chair, almost sitting down but not quite touching the seat.
Hold for ten seconds.
Relax and sit fully into the chair, or lift back up to standing to repeat.

Thigh Muscle Static Contraction Series:

These isometric contractions can be done with all the muscles in the thighs simply by focusing your attention on each muscle group individually.

Begin by focusing on the inner thigh muscles: Contract/squeeze the inner thighs with maximum effort, holding the contraction for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat between 10-15 times.
Next focus on the outer thigh muscles. Contract these muscles as much as you can, holding for roughly 5 seconds and release. Repeat 10-15 times.
Continue on with your hamstrings – the backs of your thighs – strongly contracting those muscles for several seconds and then releasing. Repeat 10-15 times.
For your quadriceps (the tops of your thighs), straighten your legs out in front of you and then do the contractions, holding for 5 seconds, releasing and then repeating.
These can be done periodically throughout the day.

Inner Thigh Adduction:

Choose an item that can be squeezed such as a rolled up towel or even your sweater. Sit up straight in your chair towards the edge of the seat, your abs tucked in. Be sure your feet are flat on the floor and place the item between your knees. Squeeze your knees together with maximum force, holding for several seconds before releasing. Repeat 10-15 times.

Butt and Ab Clenches:

Tighten your buttocks as strongly as you can and hold that contraction for 10 seconds. Relax your muscles. Repeat this contraction 10-15 times.

Follow with your abs:
Tighten your tummy muscles, focusing on pulling your belly button in towards your spine and your side muscles in towards the center. Hold the contraction for 10 seconds. Repeat this contraction 15 times.

Sitting Spinal Stretch:

Sit tall in your chair, abs engaged and making sure your spine is straight. Place your left hand on the desk and with your right hand grab the back of the chair and gently twist your spine and neck to the right as if you’re trying to look behind you. Try not to hold your breath. Hold the twist for 10 seconds and then gently twist back to facing forward. Repeat with your right hand on the desk and your left arm on the back of the chair, gently twisting to the left until you can see behind you. Hold for 10 seconds and then release.

Finally, even just checking in every now and then to be sure you’re sitting properly in your chair helps your back muscles stay strong. Your chair height should allow your feet to be flat on the floor with your knees and hips bent to a 90-degree angle. Your back should be straight, with the lower spine flat against the back of the chair and your chair pulled in close to the desk to avoid hunching forward.

Follow these ideas throughout the day and you can get in some great movement, and you won’t even have to lunge your way to the photocopier.

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Christmas Cards for Your Dentist Office

by Mason A. on July 31, 2014

Going to the dentist could be a pretty awful experience for some people. The long drawn out process of making the appointment for a routine “check-up” on your pearly whites seems to take a toll on just about everyone for one reason or another. It could possibly be the constant usage of numerous metal instruments that are jagged, pointy, oh and yeah, could cause your gums to bleed! So what do you do if you’re a dentist and you know that most of your patients pretty much hate the sight of you? Well, how about showing them a little love with Christmas Cards for your Dentist Office.

Bright Smiles Holiday Card

Everyone enjoys the appreciation behind sending a Christmas Card. Now, has anyone received a card from their Dentist? Probably not; in fact it is an anomaly. That’s not true at all. I’m sure SOME of you have received a really nice Christmas card from your dentist on occasion. The dentist needs to have the support of their patients. They want their patients to coming back to them. So besides being a dentist that they can rely on to take care of all of their teeth’s very dire needs, how about providing each of the patients they have with fantastic cards? Christmas cards for your Dentist’s office will ensure that your patient knows that not only do you care about their teeth and their money, but also, you care about how they know you’re perceived. You want to appear caring at least! Go out and get spectacular Christmas Cards for your patients! They deserve it.

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