How to Heal From Divorce Through Writing

Most people who have been through a divorce would probably find it one of the most challenging times in their lives. It’s a time of grief, mourning, upheaval, and changes that you never dreamed you’d have to make. Social support, emotional support, and self-care are completely important during this painful transition.

For centuries, writing has been used to express people’s deepest feelings and find meaning and purpose in their lives. By using well-thought-out prompts, you can do the same thing and experience the benefits of expressive writing.

Introspective writing, for example, can help lift up your spirit. It can also benefit you emotionally and physically.

Writing can help you in practical ways as well. How?

Below are some great examples:

Sharing the news

For one, you can use it to plan how you are going to tell your family and friends about your impending divorce.

It can be uncomfortable and awkward for everyone involved. This makes it critical that you carefully plan how you’re going to tell them the news.

Try writing about how you would like your divorce to be perceived. You will probably need a page or more to explore this in writing. Eventually, you’ll be able to narrow it down to a sentence or two.

Focus on what you would like the divorce to be like and decide how much you are willing to share with different people. You will have different versions for the children and for family and friends.

Preparing your answers

Children will need to know concrete facts, like where are they going to live and how often they will see each parent. Anticipate the questions they might have and plan your answers.

For friends, focus on the ideal way that you are aiming for. You might say something like, “Peter and I have been struggling in our marriage for a long time and we have decided to get a divorce. We would like to remain friends.”

However you decide to word it, practicing on paper will help make conveying this difficult message easier.

Forgiving yourself

You can also support yourself during this time by writing a letter to yourself, expressing encouragement and love.

It is vital that you forgive yourself for your part in the dissolution of your marriage. And also give the assurance that you can successfully move forward. Then self-address, stamp, and mail it!

Another enlightening exercise is to sit down and write the complete story of your marriage, with a beginning, middle, and end. Do it in a few short sessions as it can be overwhelming.

Forgiving your ex

As you write the story, remember that the good memories are still yours to cherish. And feel the relief that the bad times will soon be over.

writing about divorce

It is vitally important that you begin to forgive your ex – no matter how hard that may be. There is a Buddhist saying that holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else – you are the one who gets burned.

Planning your future

Most importantly, when writing the history of your marriage, do not end the story with the divorce as that isn’t where your story ends!

Extend this story into your future, describing how resilient you inherently are and how bright your future will be. Detail what you learned from your mistakes and how your next relationship will be different. Then, go on to describe your ideal future!

See Also: How To Overcome Negative Emotions Using 5 Writing Techniques

The very best way to heal is to begin living your dreams. So, list your goals in the next five years and what you would like your life to look like ten years down the road. And when you are ready, list baby steps you can take to realize those goals.

Expressing gratitude

Finally, one of the simplest but most powerful practices is to write a daily gratitude list.  As I wrote in my book Write For Recovery:  

write for recovery

No matter how bad your life is at any given point, even in the worst of times, there are always things for which we can be grateful. A practice of appreciating the good things in your life nurtures feelings of optimism and joy. It also gets your ego out of the way so your spirit can shine.

A minute of gratitude is like a vacation for your heart and mind. And just as the runner gets a second wind and is stronger with every run, gratitude is strengthened by repeated effort.”

The act of acknowledging our blessings has been shown to increase serotonin and dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitters in our brains. A practice of appreciating the good things in your life nurtures feelings of optimism and joy.

A minute of gratitude is like a vacation for your heart and mind. You cannot hold anger at your ex and bemoan your past while you are busy being consciously grateful for all the precious little gifts in your life!

See Also: The Magic of Appreciation: How to Practice Gratitude

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5 Flavored Popcorn Recipes You Need to Try Now

One can’t simply watch a movie without a huge bowl of buttered or salted popcorn in his lap and a cold drink in his hand. But who says popcorn only has to be salted or buttered?

In this article, we’ll introduce you to 5 innovative ways of spicing up popcorn. All of the recipes are super easy to make and preparation time can only take around 15 minutes. Plus, the ingredients you’ll need are only minimal. Seriously, you won’t burn holes in your wallet with these treats.

So, if you’re too curious to know, here are our must-try flavored popcorn recipes.

Popcorn with Herbs and Garlic

popcorn with herbs and garlic
Via thedomesticgeek

Garlic and herbs go together perfectly and complement each other’s tastes. This recipe has good chances of becoming your favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp of sage
  • 1 tbsp of thyme
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp of rosemary
  • Popcorn kernels

Instructions:

  1. Mince or grate the 4 cloves of garlic and then melt your butter.
  2. Add the herbs and cook everything for 60 seconds. Make sure the stove’s not set on max because the mixture will be burned and that will surely taste awful.
  3. Put your popcorn in a bowl and pour the garlic and herbs over it.
  4. Add a few pinches of salt to enhance the flavor.

Cheese-popcorn with Parmesan, Cheddar, and Colby

This is for all the dairy lovers out there. In less than 5 minutes, you can get some popcorn that will blow your socks off. You are free to use any kind of cheese you like.

We’re doing it with parmesan, cheddar, and Colby. Some people use mozzarella, but we prefer not to because it doesn’t melt properly.

Ingredients:

  • Popcorn kernels
  • 1 full cup of parmesan
  • Half a cup of Colby cheese
  • 2 full cups of cheddar
  • 1 baking sheet
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. Grate and shred your cheeses.
  2. Spread the popcorn on the baking sheet and heat the oven at 3000 F.
  3. Put the shredded cheeses on the popcorn and insert the tray in the oven. It should be ready in about 4 minutes. Stay by the oven and look inside.
  4. If the cheeses have melted properly, take the popcorn out and add as much salt as you like.

Popcorn with Curry and Turmeric

Curry and turmeric are among the healthiest condiments in the world because of their potent anti-inflammatory properties. Now, you can enjoy their health benefits by adding them to your popcorn.

Keep in mind that these spices are extremely powerful, so you certainly don’t want to use them in large quantities.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • ½ tbsp of curry
  • ½ tbsp of turmeric
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • Popcorn kernels

Instructions:

  1. Set the stove on low heat and melt the butter-stick in the pan.
  2. Add the other ingredients. You might be taken aback by the sugar – it’s actually important because it will mellow out the taste of the curry and turmeric.
  3. Cook the mixture for approximately 1 minute and a half (maximum of 2 minutes).
  4. Add the salt and spread the dressing on your popcorn.

Cocoa Popcorn

cocoa popcorn
Via POPSUGAR Australia

This will take a little longer to make than the other three recipes, but it’s certainly worth the wait. You will also need more ingredients than usual.

Ingredients:

  • Half a cup of butter
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla or half a spoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup of cocoa
  • 1/3 cup of sugar (your choice)
  • Popcorn kernels

Instructions:

  1. Set the stove on low heat and melt the butter in the pan.
  2. Add the vanilla, cocoa, and sugar.
  3. Stir and let the mixture boil for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and stir so that the popcorn gets coated evenly.
  5. Set your oven at 2500 degrees, put the popcorn on a baking sheet and bake it for half an hour. The cocoa coating will become crisp and won’t fall off the popcorn.

Popcorn with Cinnamon and Bananas

This is such a delicious recipe that you’ll never go back to traditional popcorn.

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh banana or 1 cup of dried banana
  • 2 tbsp of cinnamon powder
  • 3 to 4 tbsp of butter
  • 2 tbsp of sugar,
  • Some mint and chocolate chips (optional)
  • Popcorn kernels

Instructions:

  1. Melt the butter in the pan on low heat so you don’t vaporize it.
  2. Mince and then crush the banana with a spoon and add it to the butter.
  3. Add your cinnamon powder and let the mixture boil for 1 minute. Make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
  4. Lastly, add the sugar and pour everything on top of your popcorn.
  5. You can add some chocolate chips or a few drops of mint oil.

Conclusion

These 5 flavored popcorn recipes are just some of the awesome ways to make your snack taste a lot better. There are surely a lot more recipes you can try if you just search around. In fact, you can even experiment and create your own!

The more you experiment, the more enjoyable your popcorn will be. Just make sure to watch your pot closely since popcorn kernels can burn pretty quickly.

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6 Simple Things That Women Want From Men

There is a lot of confusion and mystery when the topic of what women want arises. Most men think that women are so incredibly complicated that knowing what they want is nearly impossible. That is not necessarily the case. Actually, in most cases, it’s pretty simple.

Women, like men, differ from each other. There are, however, some things that are common among them.

If you are wondering what those things are, check out this handy guide on what women want.

Respect

Aretha said it well.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Women want to be respected.

That is true for most people on the planet, but women have expressed that they often feel less respected by their partners than they would like to be. It is possible that, as men, we forget that the respect women are referring to is larger than showing good manners in their presence.

Women and men are intellectually equal and just as capable as one another at most tasks. Yet, as men, we often try to take over, control or disregard their contributions not just in the workplace but in relationships, too.

A good rule of thumb is to consider the respect you would like and then show that same level of respect to the women in your life.

Attention

women wants attentionMost women like attention. So, make it a habit to practice touching, hugging, and talking about the little things that happened during the day. These things can help keep you connected to your partner.

Take note that it’s perfectly fine to ask for the same things even if you’re a man.

Honesty

Honesty goes hand-in-hand with respect and is a non-negotiable in a healthy relationship. Practice respect for your partner by being honest at all times.

She is an adult and if she asks you a question, whether it is about her appearance, behavior, or anything else – be honest with her.

Fun

When you stop to think about why people get into a relationship, you’ll probably think about love, kids or growing old together. But, if you really consider it, you start a relationship because you have fun with the other person.

Something about being together makes you happy and that really never changes. Girls and women really do want to have fun.

See Also: Friendship’s Day Special: Why Friendship Makes Marriage More Fun

Sex and Romance

women wants sex and romance

Yes, I said sex. Women want sex, too.

However, don’t overlook the romance. Although women can be just as visual and just as physically motivated to have sex as men, they consider it a personal experience associated with love. This makes incorporating romance into the equation a crucial piece to keeping your sex life active.

Romance can stand alone. It doesn’t always have to lead to sex. In other words, don’t expect to hit the sheets every time you bring home flowers.

See Also: Four Ways to Help Your Guy Get A Clue About Romance

Acceptance

We all desire this, don’t we?

Women feel a great deal of pressure to fit whether it involves their appearance or behavior. The open secret is that they don’t like that.

The woman in your life has flaws. As long as they are not detrimental to her health, safety or your relationship, try to accept her the way she is. As much as men accuse women of trying to change them, men can be just as bad.

I am sure you don’t want to constantly be told to change, so don’t do that to her.

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Top 7 Jobs That Pay Well

It appears that there are only two options when it comes to picking a profession. You can either spend long hours in an oppressively high-pressure yet high-paying environment or do something meaningful and earn only the minimum.

A recent report from Payscale examines 454 jobs about their meaning and value. If you are thinking of changing careers, consider these 7 jobs that pay well.

Neurosurgeon

neurosurgeon

The most meaningful job with the highest pay is a neurosurgeon. These doctors specialize in treating conditions involving the central and peripheral nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. They also perform critical surgeries on the brain and spinal cord, allowing them to earn a median annual salary of $543,343.

Neurosurgeons contribute to society and experience a great deal of personal satisfaction from their work. In fact, a staggering 97% find the job meaningful. However, this kind of satisfaction comes at a price.

Budding neurosurgeons must complete 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school and roughly 7 years of residency training in order to meet the educational requirements.

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Cardiothoracic surgeons treat cardiovascular diseases by operating on the heart, lungs, esophagus, and surrounding vessels. To become board-certified, they must undergo rigorous training. This includes 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and a minimum of 7 years of residency and fellowship.

Performing surgeries for correcting heart complications is a great responsibility but it’s tremendously rewarding for both patients and doctors. Successful operations performed by cardiothoracic surgeons can change or save peoples’ lives each day.

They earn an average annual income of $522,875 after 6 years of surgical practice. 91%  consider it a meaningful work.

Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologists administer anesthetics and are responsible for the well-being of patients throughout every stage of surgery. The education and preparation needed to become an anesthesiologist include 4 years of undergraduate education, completion of a 4-year doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO) program and 4 years of residency training.

Overall, anesthesiologists give their jobs exceptional ratings in areas of personal satisfaction and quality of life. They make an average of $283,600 a year, with 88% considering the job as meaningful.

Physiatrists

Physiatrists specialize in a wide array of treatments for the musculoskeletal system, including the muscles, bones, nerves, ligaments, and tendons. However, they do not perform surgery. The average pay for a physiatrist is $283,500 a year.

Results of a nationwide career satisfaction survey indicate 75% of physiatrists are happy with their career. If you are considering this job, you have to complete 4 years of medical school, in addition to 4 years of residency training. Initially, residency training concentrates on internal medicine and the following 3 years focuses on specialty training. After residency, you’ll need to complete a one to two-year fellowship.

Veterinarian

veterinarian

Veterinarians are accountable for diagnosing and treating a variety of animals. 85% of employees say this job is meaningful since it makes a genuine difference.

However, becoming a veterinarian requires a 4-year bachelor’s degree and a doctor of veterinary medicine degree which takes at least eight years. Then, you must pursue your state license to practice. This entails passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination.

As people are increasingly treating their pets like family, there’s a mounting willingness to spend exorbitant amounts of money on animal care. Correspondingly, the average veterinarian salary soared to $100,560 in 2016 and is still on the rise.

Registered Nurse

From assessing patients to collaborating with physicians, registered nurses operate at the forefront of patient care. Despite being one of the fastest-growing occupations, there’s still a rapidly increasing demand for nurses nationwide.

The typical entry-level educational requirements are minimal compared to other health-related professions. Registered nurses can begin with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Then, they must be licensed before they can practice.

Being there for people during their darkest times of pain and suffering makes for very meaningful work. In fact, 86% find their job valuable. With a median salary of $68,450 in 2016, registered nurses can enjoy a lucrative and fulfilling career.

Clergy

Members of the clergy directly embrace people with questions and problems. By providing them with support, guidance, and faith, 87% percent of clergymen and clergywomen think their work is gratifying. The median annual salary for this position is $45,740, which isn’t too shabby.

Unfortunately, over 50% of clergy members report they’re paid below the average wage for their particular role.

Each religion has unique procedures and requirements for appointing clergy members. The majority of clergy members holds a master’s degrees in religious studies or theology, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They also regularly partake in continuing education studies of pertinent holy texts.

Conclusion

Finding the right career for you isn’t that hard. Once you know what your passion is and you’re sure that it aligns with your goals, you won’t have a hard time finding the best profession for you.

This list of jobs that pay well is only a guide. Consider it but don’t depend on it in making a final decision. Remember, you also need to be happy with your work.

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Top Lessons From Successful Entrepreneurs You Need to Know Now

These days, it seems like everyone is starting their own business. But why do some startups seem to succeed while others fail embarrassingly?

While there is no “right” way to start a business, experts can agree on a handful of best practices.

The glamour of running a startup is really only skin deep. In a world where entrepreneurs are rock stars and Silicon Valley is their Hollywood, they really do make it look easy.

However, many people aren’t aware of the nuances and challenges that entrepreneurs face every day. If you want to make it big and succeed, you have to know how to overcome them.

Here are the best lessons from successful entrepreneurs you’ll find helpful.

Choosing Goals

setting goals

Setting a goal is the key to sustained progress, particularly when it comes to entrepreneurship. Any startup pioneer will tell you this. However, in terms of business startups, one size certainly does not fit all.

Picking the goals that will work for you is deeply personal but there is one question you can ask yourself before starting out:

“What is the enduring purpose of the venture?”

We know that successful businesses aren’t built overnight and very rarely does the initial vision remain 5 or 10 years down the line. While setting goals and actually meeting them are two different stories, learning the skills to set realistic goals that work for you is key.

Ask yourself:

  • How do I want my company to look like in 10 years?
  • How can I tweak my current goals to fit that vision?
  • Am I flexible enough to allow for shifting priorities?

Knowing your own goals and limits helps build perspective for future ventures.

Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, identified that the success of the group as a whole required a recognition of previous failures. Back in 1994, Branson launched Virgin Cola, disrupting the soda market and shaking Coca-Cola to its core.

With the product not giving consumers a radically different experience or even a much better value, Branson realized that his own previous successes were clouding his self-awareness. He figured that the solution was to go back to the company’s strengths.

Today, Virgin Group remains strong because it focused on what it does best.

See Also: 4 Cheesy But Effective Tips To Set Goals And Achieve Them

Networking Skills

networking skills

For many startup founders, the help they received in the early stages of their business came from their current group of connections. Maintaining your network is key to getting the support you need to make it to the next stage.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Post frequent but quantifiable updates on social media.
  • Congratulate your contacts for their success.
  • Introduce contacts to potential clients or partners.
  • Offer suggestions and help the people in your network in their own business ventures.

Being sensitive and assisting others on their own journey to success can give you a different and unique perspective on your own journey. Just because someone else is succeeding does not mean you are failing.

Developing networking skills is, of course, a large part of success in the startup world but it’s easier said than done. You need to know how to make strategic plans as necessary.

  • Search for events that will grow your perspective and challenge you. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
  • Face-to-face communication skills can always be honed and developed.
  • Maintain open networks when possible, especially for potential clients, partners, and investors.

Don’t let your focus linger on others for too long. You still need to make strategic decisions for yourself.

For Chris Buttenham, co-founder and CEO of Tasytt, picking out the right contacts and networking events is key to keeping your eyes on the prize. Buttenham says that he “does his homework” beforehand and only attends networking events that he has a particular “ask” for.

See Also: How Networking Can Make You More Productive

Know Yourself

The final lesson is simply to know yourself. Gaining and maintaining self-awareness is important for keeping a level head, learning from past failures, and keeping perspective.

Personality and aptitude tests are not a perfect science. However, they can give you a new perspective of yourself that can help make or break your business.

  • Myers-Briggs, widely accepted as a reliable way to track personality traits, can help you get a clearer idea of your work habits, decision-making skills, and critical thinking.
  • Learn to suspend traits that are incompatible with your environment, such as inflexibility or hasty decision-making.
  • Open-mindedness and an appreciation for diversity open doors for different perspectives that could result in success.

Even in the very early stages, tracking the movement of your startup will help for larger decisions down the line.

  • Value all feedback, both negative and positive, equally.
  • Track results of key decisions and use that to piggyback on other decisions.
  • Reflect on successes and failures frequently and identify patterns.
  • Analyze qualitative and quantitative results.

Do you have what it takes to start your own business?

Take a look at this infographic to learn more about the habits of successful startup founders and what they have to say about success, failure, and everything in between.

Habits of Highly Successful Startup Founders

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Trading Tips For Beginners: Are You Emotionally Ready to Trade Online?

Trading online is no child’s play. It requires guts and an unflappable will. If you are not able to control your emotions and exercise the highest level of discipline, you most probably need to change direction.

Trading online needs you to forget about your emotions and think with your head at all times. You also need to know the right trading tips for beginners to help you get started on the right track.

But why do you need to be in control of your emotions?

  • Because as a trader, everything happens on a short notice.
  • Markets can nosedive in the blink of an eye.
  • The direction can change anytime and you need to make snap decisions.
  • You do not have the time to throw even half a tantrum. You must be present and ready all the time.
  • If you look at sites that have information on online trading, such as social trading platforms, you will see why you cannot afford to slack.

Are you afraid?

Without a doubt you are.

However, that doesn’t mean you should hurl your computer against the wall and just walk out. Instead, take a deep breath and take stock. Sometimes, the stress can be too intense that the urge to punch something can almost take over.

The one thing you should avoid when the fear sets in is overreacting. This may feel like the right time to liquidate everything, but hold on. As earlier mentioned, tides can turn really fast and selling off your holdings can cause you to miss out on very good gains.

Reign in the fear

Face it head-on and see it for what it is. Take the time to assess your fears and the things that are causing them.

Additionally, it helps if you can cover all bases before placing trades. Ensuring that all loopholes are sealed may not guarantee you a win, but it will set your mind at ease. Fear, when well-managed, can turn into your greatest asset.

Greed is a sign of emotional immaturity

Sometimes, there is the compulsion to latch onto what seems to be the winner at the time. There is also the temptation to risk more when you have experienced some great gains.

Those are things you need to know how to control. If you are in tune with whatever is driving you, you might recognize greed and probably do something about it before it leads to your downfall.

Your business decisions should not be made on a whim. They should be carefully planned and executed.

Follow the rules

There are trading rules that you should take seriously. If you find yourself taking shortcuts, you are definitely not emotionally mature.

There must be limits governing your trading activities to cushion you from monetary disaster. Some of the rules that you may need to formulate are:

  • When to quit
  • When to stop a loss
  • A limit on how much money you can place on a trade
  • The limit on how much you can rake in or lose every day

These are just a few of the rules you need to come up with. They are important in regulating your trading activities so that you do not go overboard.

Have a plan

learn how to trade

Have a plan that you can justify and own. A few pointers to how to come up with a plan include:

  • Know the market that you are most interested in trading in.
  • Attend seminars and workshops on trading.
  • Spend a lot of time on research.
  • Learn all you can about how the market operates. This is one surefire way of managing fear.
  • Get out of your comfort zone once in a while. Try new things but do not stray for too long.
  • Every once in a while, evaluate your progress. It gives you an amazing boost to see how far you have come.

While is important that you see the whole picture before taking the plunge, remember to do the following:

  1. Follow rules
  2. Plan
  3. Research
  4. Get experience

Emotional maturity in trading is something that you must have. Without it, the chances of committing serious errors are very real.

Try seeking the advice veteran traders. They can share their experiences with you and also help you identify the pitfalls so that you can prepare for them.

So, are you ready to trade stocks?

After learning those trading tips for beginners, you need to know what you should do next. Opening your brokerage account is one thing. Getting into the game is another.

To start with online trading, you will need:

  • Goals
  • A trading plan
  • A system that has the potential for profits
  • Rules to manage risk– Be clear about how much risk you can take and how much you can afford to lose.

All those things should be written down and studied well so you won’t feel overwhelmed. Having a well-documented plan is one way of ensuring that you are prepared.

online trading plan

See Also: Want To Start Trading? Here’s What You Need To Know

Conclusion

Emotional maturity is paramount in online trading. You need to be sure that you’re prepared and ready to make decisions when and where they matter.

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10 Best Sites for Free and Paid Online Courses

One of the most significant benefits of today’s advanced technologies is the access to endless learning opportunities. Just a quick search on the internet and you’ll find tons of online learning platforms available at your fingertips. They can help you learn a new skill or perfect an existing skill.

Because the number of options can be a bit overwhelming, we went ahead and put together this list of the best websites for online learning. Check out each platform and find out which is best suited for your needs.

Courseroot

courseroot

If you’re not really sure where to begin, Courseroot is one of the best websites for online learning you can start with.

Consider this:

There are tons of platforms that provide high-quality online courses. Some of them are created by companies while others are developed by universities.

With a great multitude of options, cross-searching to find the best one for you can take a lot of time and effort especially if since you have to check different websites and compare content, price, and value.

This is where Courseroot is especially helpful.

Simply by typing in the skill you wish to learn, the website shows you all the available courses available across different websites and universities. You can also filter for level, price, hours, and so on. It’s especially helpful if you’re looking for a free course or a course that offers a certificate at the end of the lessons.

Udacity

udacity

Udacity is a type of e-learning platform that’s way cheaper than the cost of your traditional schooling. It offers courses and credentials that can put you way ahead of the competition when it comes to applying for jobs.

If you are thinking of working in technology, Udacity is the best choice for you. It offers courses in data science, iOS, Android, web development and software engineering. It provides the most up-to-date education.

Lynda

lynda

If you are aiming to learn skills that can set you apart from people interested in technology, business, and creativity, try Lynda. It’s an educational hub owned by LinkedIn.

This platform offers a 30-day free trial upon signing up. You can use that period to test the waters first before you get charged a basic membership fee of $20 per month or $30 for premium membership. If you decide to deactivate your account, you can still reactivate it and your progress in the course.

Udemy

udemy

This list of the best websites for online learning wouldn’t be complete without Udemy. After all, it’s one of the biggest platforms you can find.

Just like Coursera, Udemy has thousands of courses on different topics. Those courses are really quick and easy to take anywhere you go. You simply need to download the app and you can take your lessons anytime.

With such features, however, don’t expect the courses to be free. Prices can range from $9 to $500.

If those numbers don’t fit your budget, don’t worry. Udemy is known for its promotions and large discounts.

edX

edx

edX offers higher education from some of the world’s top educational institutions. The list includes MIT, Berkeley, and Harvard.

In this platform, you’ll find courses in engineering, psychology, computer science, and so much more. You can take up those courses for your high school education or in earning a credit in your university.

One of the nice things about edX is that it issues an official certificate as proof of one’s accomplishment.

Alison

alison

In case you’re looking for something free, Alison is your best option. It has courses in health, technology, and business. You can also find courses in language.

Now, there’s just one caveat.

Alison isn’t accredited yet. Although it follows industry standards, it will still be up to your employer if he’ll recognize the certificate you earned.

Khan Academy

khan academy

Khan Academy partners with a lot of post-secondary schools to provide micro-lectures, instructional videos, and practice exercises to help you learn and sharpen your skills. Almost every course you’ll see on this platform is free.

Codecademy

codecademy

One thing that sets Codecademy apart from other platforms designed to help people learn how to code is that it’s free. There’s no fee for signing up, and there’s no monthly subscription fee to ruin your budget.

And the best part?

It covers tons of programming languages.

There are lessons on CSS, Ruby, Java, and HTML. Codecademy can also teach you how to code using Rails, SQL, and JavaScript.

There’s also the opportunity to ask around community members.

When you sign up at Codecademy, you can join groups for people interested in a certain coding language. Whenever you feel lost and stuck, you can just ask for help from other members.

Tuts+

tuts+

Tuts+ is a platform fit for people interested in creative technology. It has a huge library of tutorials and designs that can help enhance your skills in coding, photography, illustration, and web design. It also offers courses in 3D animation, music, and motion graphics.

Now, if you are wondering how huge that library is, there are actually more than 870 video courses and over 22,000 tutorials. Every week, Tuts+ keeps on adding more and more courses.

Take note that the platform offers no free trial. If you want to give it a try, you can start with its $29 membership fee.

Bloc

bloc

Bloc isn’t cheap. However, since it’s designed to provide highly structured programs that can run for 25 hours for a week, it can help you learn faster.

If you are transitioning from one career to another, taking your courses in this platform can help speed up your career change. Of course, that pace can be expensive with Bloc’s tuition starting at over $4,000 each.

See Also: How to Study Online Courses : 7 Best Study Methods

Conclusion

No matter your age, continuous learning has so many advantages.

Finishing specific courses and gaining new skills can help you stand out from a crowd of job applicants. It can bump you up for promotion. It can help you grow your own business. Or, it can simply quench your thirst for more learning.

 

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A Quick Marketing Guide On How to Utilize Visual Content On Social Media

Fact:

People’s attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish.

We lose concentration in about 8 seconds and this is probably an effect of the mobile age and our digitalized lifestyle.

Because of this, it’s critical that you know how to promote your business using visual content on social media. Blogs and posts with images are up to 95% more likely to be viewed than those without.

Now, if you want to learn how to use images to promote your social media page and business, then check out the tips below.

Use High-Quality Images

Using high-quality images is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Having high-quality images can show that your brand or product is legit and is of high-quality as well. Most of the time, the quality of images you use is more valuable than the product descriptions you create.

So, be smart when choosing. Make sure that your photos resonate not only with your target audience’s interests but with your brand as well.

Don’t confuse quality with image size, too. You wouldn’t want your images to be too big since that may interfere with the load time of your page. It would be a good idea to downsize your images if they are more than 2000 pixels.

Where to Find Images for Your Content

pexels free images

High-quality and captivating images that attract attention are often too expensive to purchase. However, there are some amazing sites that offer free photos that are not only high-quality but attractive as well.

Here’s a list of the five sites that offer amazing free images that you can use for your social media pages

Create Your Own Images

If you want to add a more personal touch to your social media strategy, using original images is a good idea. You can edit and personalize them even more by using some of the many free editing tools you can find online, like Canva or PicMonkey.

If you don’t consider yourself to be a good photographer or graphic designer and have a small budget, you can always hire a freelancer who does small and quick projects. You can use freelancing sites like UpWork and JobRack to hire a photographer or a graphic designer. You could also use Fiverr.

By going this route, you can brand your images so they are easily recognizable. You can give the professional photographer/designer specific guidelines regarding the colors, fonts, and layouts you want.

Engage Your Audience

In order to promote your business alongside your social media page, you’ll need to get more engagement from your followers. Images are a great way to do that.

Encouraging your followers to be more active and involved with your page or site gives them a chance to contribute and share their ideas.

For example, you can post a funny photo and you can ask your followers to create a caption for it. You can also try asking your audience light-hearted questions like “What is your morning routine?” with a photo of you or your team doing something funny in the morning.

Encouraging discussions and answering your followers’ questions will make them feel acknowledged. This will increase engagement and promote your social media page.

If you sell a product, you can ask your followers to post photos of them with your product on your page. You can start a challenge or a game out of that. Just make sure to reward the photo that gathered the highest number of likes or shares in order to motivate your followers more.

Optimize Your Images for Social Media

As a business owner or a marketer, you are probably aware of the fact that adding SEO to your content could lead toward higher search rankings and more traffic.

But did you know that you can also optimize your images?

In fact, images have the power to improve your traffic through SEO. Here are a few tips on how you can do that:

  • Post interesting pictures that will catch your followers’ attention. More often than not, use images with warm colors since they attract more attention and are more likely to be liked or shared.
  • Make sure that the caption of your image conveys a certain message related to the image in question.
  • To ensure faster load time, keep your images small without sacrificing the quality. You can reduce the size of your images by using some free tools online.
  • Make sure that the filename of your image contains descriptive keywords that describe the image as well as its title or caption.
  • Post images that are relevant to your target audience.
  • Horizontal (4:3) and square images are more shareable than vertical ones.
  • Use different types of images to keep your audience interested, like stock photos, cell phone photos, animated gifs, infographics, pictures with text, memes, and so on.
  • Brand your images so that your brand is easily and instantly recognizable by using colors, fonts, and proper layout.
  • Optimize your images so they fit each social media platform.

See Also: Finding Out the Best Time for Posting on Social Media Sites

Use Instagram and Pinterest

instagram users

Visual social media platforms are taking the internet by storm. Instagram and Pinterest are the two most popular ones. Using these platforms can expand your brand’s presence, increase engagement with your followers, and connect you with other influencers from your industry.

Pinterest users are more likely to shop online than non-Pinterest users and the platform is used more for curating images rather than sharing personal ones. If you want to learn more about this platform, check out this amazing guide to Pinterest Marketing.

On the other hand, Instagram is more likely to be used for sharing personal images, making it a better choice if you want to give your followers a more authentic view of your brand.

If you still aren’t using these platforms, give at least one a go and make your business look more professional, creative, and exciting.

See Also: 5 Instagram Tools That Can Boost Brand Performance

Final Words

Social media pages are powerful tools that can immensely help promote your business. So, create your brand’s digital personality by using visual content on social media. Be original, post high-quality images, engage with your audience, and promote your brand to the best of your abilities.

About the Author:

Nate Gadzhibalaev is the founder of Amplifr, a service that assists individuals and businesses by automatically scheduling their social media posts, helping them to earn more money. With a background in product managing, business development, and international growth, he aims to help individuals and businesses by showing them how they can continue to grow their audience profitably and efficiently.

 

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How To Ace Your Apartment Hunt

Finding an apartment to move into is an exciting experience. Well, that’s if you’re fully prepared.

In the same way that you go shopping for clothes, you will want to find an apartment that will fit your lifestyle. Knowing the size that you need, the amount you want to pay, and where to look are the key factors that make an apartment hunt go smoothly.

To make sure you enjoy the experience, here are 8 tips to help you in finding an apartment.

Make a List

writing a list

Before you even begin your search, we advise you to make a list. Make sure that it includes two categories: your wants and your needs.

Be realistic with your list and be willing to bend.

For example, not being able to find an apartment in your chosen location is alright as long as the apartment is big enough to accommodate all your things.

See Also: Here’s What Millennials Want When They Buy A Home

Prepare a Budget

In the same manner that you made your previous list, you should now prepare your budget. Determine the highest amount you can afford, including the cost of utilities, parking, public transportation, and Homeowner Association (HOA) fees. You should also determine the highest amount you can afford without those fees included.

Then, outside of your budget, you will want to set aside some money for the extra fees. This includes the security deposit and the registration fee for your pet.

Finally, depending on where you are looking, you may even need to set aside some money for a broker’s fee. A broker is necessary when a landlord won’t deal directly with tenants.

Take note that a broker’s fee can be quite expensive. In some cases, it’s equivalent to a month’s rental fee.

One good tip you can use to lower that fee is to find an apartment in a newly constructed building. Most developers will want to fill in all the empty apartments fast that they are willing to cover the broker’s fee. Looking for a place during the winter season can also lower your rental cost.

Narrow down your preferred location

Before you begin looking at rental properties, you may first want to select one or two neighborhoods to begin looking in.

Do you have a friend or family member who already lives in the area? Or are you selecting a neighborhood because it sounds like a great place to live in?

Try and do some quick research beforehand so that you’re not running all over the city.

Create a checklist

Being ready with an apartment hunt checklist will help you keep track of what you are going to see, especially if you have scheduled multiple visits in one day. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, consider bringing a friend. Chances are he or she will want to have input on your place, too.

Second, have your previous wants and needs list attached to your checklist. Include an area where you can write down your comments.

Check off the features you are getting, such as washer, dryer, and easy access to public transit. Acknowledge the things you won’t be getting, too.

As you take a look around, make sure to also take pictures. Otherwise, when you get home, all the apartments will start to blur together and you won’t remember which one was which.

See Also: Changing Trends in the Way Families Buy Homes

Feel free to snoop

When you are looking around the apartment you want, it’s important for you to know that you’re getting your money’s worth. So, push those buttons on the dishwasher, run all the faucets to check how long it takes to get some hot water, and don’t be shy to check out each closet.

If this is going to be your next home, you don’t want to be caught off guard when you move in. And while snooping, feel free to talk with the tenants next door about what it’s like to live in the building and with the current landlord.

Know how much space you will need

Do you have a king-size bed and a large dresser? If that is the case, you’re going to need a bedroom that will fit them both.

To make sure you don’t end up guessing, include those measurements on your checklist and be sure to bring a measuring tape with you. Don’t be afraid to pull it out to verify the measurements of a room.

Sometimes, a room might look big but with the location of the window and closet, you will find that there isn’t enough wall space for you to fit all of your furniture. While you’re at it, make sure that your large couch will also fit the door.

Arrive prepared

property manager

Just because you believe that you are simply looking for an apartment doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared and be presentable. In a sense, the landlord is interviewing you in a similar way that an employer would.

It wouldn’t hurt to create a resume or file of all the necessary details your possible future landlord would need. Even if the property manager requires you to fill up a lease application form, having your resume to add to that will highlight your good character.

You will want to include all your up-to-date information, such as your contact numbers, employer information, previous landlord, and even checks for security deposits.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate a better rental price either if you think you can give the landlord something in return, such as a long-term lease. You might even be able to negotiate the security deposit if you can prove that you are a good tenant.

Get it in writing

If your apartment hunt progresses swiftly and you end up finding a place that you like, take a moment to write down the details. Make sure that it includes the rental fee, security deposit, and any visual damages that they’ll repair for you for free.

Remember to secure copies of everything that you sign. Confirm that you can make the changes you want, such as painting the walls or updating the floor. Wait for him to sign the agreement before initiating the changes.

Make it count

Being prepared is only half the battle when finding an apartment. Hopefully, this list of tips can help make the process a lot easier for you.

 

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Save Hundreds of Dollars By Growing These 7 Plants

You may not be ready to buy an acre lot, build a chicken coop, and start living off the land. But, with a small yard or even a sunny balcony, you can start growing your own fresh food and save hundreds of dollars each year in supermarket bills. But which plants to have in your garden?

Check out this really quick list.

Herbs

herb plant

I cringe every time I spend $3 on a tiny plastic case of herbs.

Rosemary, thyme, and oregano can be tucked in any sunny corner of your yard. They require almost no maintenance and can be harvested throughout the year.

When it comes to saving money, basil is the king. 2 plants are enough to provide you with several batches of pesto and fresh leaves throughout the spring and summer.

Basil can be grown in a pot on a sunny balcony or windowsill.

Summer Squash

Summer squash includes zucchini and yellow squash. Having them in your garden means being able to test out squash casseroles and zucchini bread recipes anytime you want.

Check your plants every other day for new fruit. Remember to harvest them when they are about the size of your hand. They quickly get huge and tough so make sure to keep an eye out for them.

Cucumbers

Like summer squash, cucumber plants are prolific producers. You can save space by growing the plants vertically on a trellis.

There are two broad categories of cucumbers: slicing and pickling.

Slicing cucumbers are the ones commonly found in stores. They are large and meant to be eaten fresh.

Pickling cucumbers, on the other hand, are usually smaller, more difficult to find.

I have seen jars of “gourmet” pickles sold for over $15.

With your own cucumbers, some vinegar, salt, and homegrown herbs, you can create your own pickles better than any “gourmet” ones.

Lettuce

lettuce

Instead of spending $4 a week on a sealed bag of lettuce, grow your own. 10 plants are enough for a family’s salad needs.

Harvest the outer leaves and in about one week, the plant will be ready for another harvest.

Remember this:

Lettuce likes cool weather and will die once the heat of summer arrives.

Sugar Snap Peas

These are the peas with an edible pod that can be eaten right off the vine. Pea vines grow rapidly and the more you harvest, the more they produce.

Their sugar content starts to turn to starch once harvested. They taste the sweetest when freshly picked.

Tomatoes

tomato plant

After you taste a tomato picked from your own vine, you will never buy from the store again.

Expect to harvest anywhere from 10 to 30 lbs of medium sized tomatoes in its growing season. At the store, tomatoes run $3 to $4 per lb. It’s like growing money.

Hot Peppers

If you like to put hot sauce on everything, start growing your own peppers. They are small and easy to grow.

Experimenting with novel varieties like the Carolina Reaper (currently the hottest pepper in the world) is fun and saves extra money. Create your own chili powder, hot sauces, and chili oils for even more savings and to give as gifts.

More Ways to Save Money in the Garden

Preserve your harvest: Fruit and vegetable prices spike when out of season. Save even more money by preserving your harvest. This can include freezing basil pesto, canning tomato sauce, and making chili oil.

Mulch: Mulch can be any organic material that covers the soil around your plants, such as straw, wood chips or fallen leaves. It prevents evaporation and will save you money on your water bill. Conserve even more water by installing drip irrigation.

Start plants from seed: Seed packs run around $3 and can contain hundreds of seeds. Furthermore, you will have access to a much wider variety of produce.

Garden on a Friday Night: Gardening is fun! Skip going out and spending money. Instead, spend the weekend with your plants or host a garden party.

The best place for any new gardener to start is by growing food you love to eat. This will save you extra money as you buy less of them. With these 7 plants to have in your garden, you might enjoy growing your own food so much that you end up buying that acre lot after all.

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