Go ahead, try to find a picture for your blog of a man yawning at his computer, and you guessed it, YOU start yawning! It’s called Daylight Savings Time and how it impacts your life, small business, health, body and (yawn) sleep!

Sunday, in many states – Daylight Savings Time went into effect. With all the new technology, most of the clocks changed automatically for users; however, for watches and any analog clocks, we had to set the time ourselves. (Yawn!)

It was Benjamin Franklin back in 1784 who proposed the change according to the Smithsonian Magazine. He noted that the most difficult time to adjust would be the first two or three days. (Yawn!)

The Uniform Time Act originated in 1966 when Congress standardized daylight saving time across the country so public transportation would not be affected by schedules.

Now a debate lingers as to the true benefits of the time change as far as if it indeed saves money, or if it is really just a money grabbing opportunity.
So, let’s get down to business. Yawn! How does it impact your business…for the good or bad?

Sleep specialist and psychologist wrote in an article that it is much easier to adjust in November when the clocks “fall back” then in the spring when the clocks “spring ahead”. Gaining an hour of sleep in the fall is a huge advantage.

There are some keys to dealing with the time change that will help you “yawn” less.

  •  Go to bed at the same time on the night the clocks change. If you find you sleep an extra hour in the morning, it is really an indication that you are sleep deprived.
  •  Start exposing yourself to more sun now. It will boost your mood, especially as the days tend to get gloomy as winter nears. A walk around the block, a breath of fresh air after your lunch break will energize you.
  •  Turn on a light around 4:00 p.m. for about 20 minutes. I will help you as you start dragging down at that time.

These little “tips” will help you adjust to the time change…not to mention if you are in the American Express Cruise Planners business, you will feel energetic as you plan that vacation to another time zone;  there, it is not only sunshine, water and a fun ship, but as you work your at-home business you are making the money for that time-change vacation!


Learn about the origins of your favorite Halloween traditions with these fun facts.

Halloween is at once a campy celebration of the supernatural and an ominous observance of the genuinely spooky side of life. Its popularity in the United States only extends back a handful of decades, yet its traditions have lingered since ancient history.

Birthed in the rugged landscapes of the British Isles, Halloween melded the sacred and the secular, with different cultures tossing in their own rites and folklore along the way.

Today, the concept of costumed kids begging for candy and bobbing for apples may seem commonplace, but there’s far more rhyme and reason behind those holiday customs than meets the eye. To get to the bottom of why black cats got a bad rap and where revelers can catch glimpse of a ghost, treat yourself to these 10 frighteningly fun Halloween facts.

Businesses don’t picture Halloween in orange and black hues. Instead, they see big, green dollar signs. From costumes and candy to seasonal haunted houses, Halloween has ballooned into an impressively lucrative industry unto itself. Fast Company magazine reports that the 2008 Halloween season netted $5.1 billion in profits.
The U.S. Census Bureau offers a few stats that show where some of that sweet chunk of change goes:
• $117 million-worth of pumpkins grown in the United States in 2007
• 1,760 chocolate and cocoa product manufacturing establishments in the United States in 2006
• 2,077 costume and formal wear rental businesses nationwide

• According to the National Confectioner’s Association, the average American gobbles up 24 pounds (10.8 kilograms) of candy every year. As one might guess, Halloween tops the list as the sweetest day of the year, followed by Easter and Christmas.
• One of the most quintessential Halloween treats is candy corn. It was invented in the 1800s by George Renninger, and the Goelitz Confectionary Company began manufacturing the sugary kernels in 1898 in Illinois. Today, that company is known as Jelly Belly. Originally, candy corn syrup was hand-poured into molds and required three separate layers to achieve the tri-coloration of white, orange and yellow. Now, that tedious process is completed by machine.

The Black Cat’s Tale The Cat’s Meow
Although they don’t share the same prestige as dog shows, cats also compete for ribbons and trophies at cat shows. The Cat Fancier’s Association established standards for every feline breed that contestants are judged against.
Halloween is probably a cat’s least favorite holiday. The Humane Society advises people to keep pets — and especially black cats — indoors to protect them from becoming victims of candy-fueled mischief. Black cats are most at risk for pranks and cruelty because of their lengthy association with evil spirits.
In ancient Egypt, cats were held in high esteem and one goddess, Bast, was represented in the form of a cat. But in the 13th century, when the Catholic Church launched the Inquisition, the favorable feline tide turned as alleged pagans sometimes kept company with cats. Because of their dark coloration, black cats became especially reviled, and eventually people started to think that they were special companions to witches. According to popular folklore, witches can also turn themselves into cats.

Stingy Jack-o’-Lanterns
The Halloween jack-o’-lantern pays homage to an old, Irish folk character named Stingy Jack. As the legend goes, Stingy Jack tricked the devil into making a promise that he’d never hassle him. Once Stingy Jack died, heaven wouldn’t open its gates for him, but neither would hell, since the devil had to uphold his end of the bargain. For that reason, Stingy Jack’s spirit had no eternal resting place and was cursed to roam the Earth forever. In an uncharacteristically kind gesture, the devil gave Jack an ember to light his way on his endless travels, and Jack stowed it inside a hollowed-out turnip.
As the Irish tradition of turnip jack-o’-lanterns traveled over to the United States, Americans began using pumpkins instead of turnips. Apparently the orange fruits are far easier to carve — and make for tastier pies.

Halloween’s Celtic Roots Did You Know?
Some historians think that the Catholic Church deliberately designated All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1 in an effort to replace the pagan Samhain. Whatever the motives, the church wasn’t able to erase the superstition associated with preceding night.
Historians generally point to the ancient Celts as the original founders of Halloween. They celebrated the end of harvest and the beginning of their new year with the pagan festival Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”), which took place on Nov. 1. The Celts believed that on the night before Samhain, the dead roamed the Earth, and they lit fires and wore disguises to protect themselves from any accompanying evil spirits. In the eighth century, the Catholic Church designated Nov. 1 as All Saints’ Day, and the day before became All Hallow’s Eve, eventually shortened to Halloween.

Bobbing for Brides Did You Know?
Apples are a healthy snack option — and not just because they’re packed with vitamins. Their fiber helps fill you up and satisfy hunger, and enzymes in apples promote efficient digestion, unlike Halloween candy.
Although we associate Halloween with all things sugar-dipped and chocolate-coated, apples also play a starring role among the traditional holiday treats. Ancient Celts associated apples with goddesses, who were commonly believed to control people’s romantic fates. On Halloween, young unmarried boys and girls would race to pluck out an apple from a pool of water with their mouths, and that evolved into the contemporary game of bobbing for apples. Whoever bit the apple first would supposedly be the next among the group to get married.

A Soulful Pastime
Today’s trick-or-treating tradition largely developed from soul parades that took place on Halloween in England. Poor people would beg from door to door, asking for food or money in exchange for praying for souls to be delivered from purgatory. Eventually, children took over the tradition, and people began baking sweet soul cakes to give to the young revelers. In the United States, trick-or-treating didn’t become widely popular until the 1940s, when communities sought wholesome Halloween activities to discourage kids from vandalism and other mischief.

Crazy for Costumes
In the days of the Celtic Samhain festival, people dressed in disguise to avoid being recognized by wandering evil spirits. Centuries later, Halloween partygoers still put on silly and scary getups to celebrate the holiday. And although trick-or-treating is generally reserved for kids, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that more than 51 million American adults also wore Halloween costumes in 2008.

A Haunted (White) House
Soon after the Obamas moved into the White House, the L.A. Times reported that the first lady had gotten some spooky sensations in her new residence. This isn’t too surprising since it has long been rumored that the White House has its share of ghostly inhabitants. According to legend, Abigail Adams’ ghost hangs laundry in the East Room on occasion. Andrew Jackson sometimes snoozes in his old bed in the Rose Room, and Abraham Lincoln supposedly roams the hallways from time to time as well.

Historical Facts provided by Cristen Conger


The holiday honoring Christopher Columbus’ sighting of America on October 12, 1492, is observed in the states of the United States and also in parts of Canada, in Puerto Rico, and in some cities in Italy and Spain.

Although Columbus was not the first explorer to set foot in the Western Hemisphere, his landing at San Salvador Island in what is now the Bahamas was very important. It opened the way for the settlement of America by Europeans. It is probable that the first celebration honoring the event was held in 1792. Columbus Day became a legal holiday in the United States in 1892, 400 years after the famous voyage. It was then called Discovery Day. Many cities and organizations sponsor parades and banquets honoring the holiday.

October 12 is celebrated in Latin American countries not only as Columbus or Discovery Day, but also as the Day of the Race (El Día de la Raza). It honors the many different peoples of Latin America. Schoolchildren in the larger cities join parades. Fiestas, sometimes lasting several days, are held in the areas with large Indian populations.

Reviewed by William R. Keyser
Author, Days of the Week




Focus on other aspects of your travel business

Seasonal businesses such as the cruise industry are often thought to be the best careers because you only have to work hard during the peak seasons. This is truly a myth and can be substantiated by the fact that any business, seasonal or otherwise, has potential to grow, make money, reinvent and renew the business all year round.

If you are running your travel franchise properly, you are financially prepared for down time in the off-season of cruising. You have disciplined yourself to budget your expenses for year round costs and therefore, can focus on other aspects of your travel business.

For instance, this would be a good time to poll your customers and ask them how they felt the past season went for their vacation. What would they like to see different or improved when the “next” seasons trip comes around? (This also lets you know the “potential” for repeat business).

As much as you are financially disciplined during the peak season, you must make sure you are prepared during the off-season of your travel business. For example, make a plan of the activities you are going to do a month in advance and stick to them. Are you going to do a big pre-season promo? Are you going to go out and do presentations for potential clients? Are you going to have team meetings or retreats with your employees so brainstorming and enthusiasm does not have its own off season?

Are you going to plan your marketing strategy for the next peak season? Are you going to add new media, refresh websites and reorganize your data base, tossing out the deadbeat business and create new ideas for the repeaters?

Have you designed your social media plans for the off-season? Are you going to implement strategies that will utilize the opportunity to either take cruises or consider purchasing their own travel franchise business? When the season changes, that is the time that YOUR seasonal plans change too and you gear your travel business up for expansion and growth. Renew! Repeat!  Rebuild!