Entries Tagged 'For Better Life Tips' ↓

Top Great Gifts and Gadgets for Your Valentine

Oh, Valentine’s Day. When it comes to this emotionally loaded holiday, everyone has a different opinion. I’ve made peace with the chocolate, red, perfumed, floral explosion that bombards me at every shop I visit leading up to the holiday. I’ve eased up on the self-inflicted pressure to prepare a spectacular romantic gesture each year, and I’ve dropped the expectations of receiving something of similar grandeur in return. Honestly, the best part of the day is the reminder that love of any kind is awesome. I enjoy the opportunity to surprise my loved ones with a little token of my affection, and the chance to indulge in the incredible color combination of hot pink and red is pretty great, too.

It is in this spirit that I decided to round up some of my favorite gifts and gadgets for Valentine’s Day. Nothing too grand or luxurious here; just some great-looking, useful, sometimes silly products that I think your friends and loved ones would appreciate. With this great selection of gifts big and small, you can easily find a little something to send to your loved one, best friend, sister, brother–maybe even a secret crush perhaps? Give a little extra love this Valentine’s Day, and I guarantee it will make you feel the love in return. Enjoy!

There’s still time to plan, and I’d love to get inspiration from fellow romantics out there. Have any special Valentine’s Day plans or gift ideas? Let’s hear ’em!



  1. 1. 4GB Red Zip Zip drive, $25
  2. 2. Drink Clip in orange, $5
  3. 3. Mophie Air juice pack for iPhone 4 in red, $80
  4. 4. Cross My Heart wooden yo-yo, $12
  5. 5. Mountain notebook by LittleAlexander, $12
  6. 6. DANNIJO Stache iPhone 4 case, $98
  7. 7. 16GB Victorinox USB drive, $80
  8. 8. Rope bottle openers, $28
  9. 9. Jawbone Jambox speaker in red dot, $200
  10. 10. Society6 I Like You case by Gemma Corell, $35
  11. 11. Herschel Supply two-tone varsity backpack, $75
  12. 12. Leather iPad 2 case (monogram available), $98
  13. 13. Rifle Paper Co. “You’re a Fox” card, $4


  1. 1. Crosley Retro Spinnerette portable USB turntable, $170
  2. 2. PostcupTM from Bailey Doesn’t Bark, $52
  3. 3. Mini robot vacuum, $26
  4. 4. Rebecca Minkoff set of two Best Friends iPhone cases, $68
  5. 5. Native Union Pop phone set in red, $35
  6. 6. Face mug, $18
  7. 7. Gummy Bears earbud headphones, $12
  8. 8. Dancing Lion speaker, $70
  9. 9. Tunes for 2 heart-shaped headphone splitter, $18
  10. 10. Personalized “Smitten” snuggle mitten for two, $23

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Be me – theme for 2012

I advocate that we be true to ourselves, and be who we really are inside. My personal theme for 2012 is: be me.

But, how do I “be me”?

In fact, how do I even know who I am inside and who is “me”?

I have always had a particular image of myself – I was impatient, generous, versatile, adaptive, kind, friendly, strong… I also created an image for others to see, whether it was in the social or professional world – easy going, efficient, trustworthy, a manager, a leader, a friend…

I thrived on these qualities I attributed to myself. Yet I wonder if this is really me or rather, who I want to be?

Perhaps when something is not true to its core, it will not be sustainable in the long run. Fatalistically, towards the end of 2009, these images crumbled to millions of tiny pieces. As I lugged myself through major depression, ailing health and a few suicide attempts, I could not cope with the fact that perhaps I was not as strong as or easy going as I thought myself to be.

The reality that I could not cope with the stress working as an international executive prancing around the world was more than I could bear.

I hid away from the world. I felt I had let everyone down. The image I had so carefully constructed for others and maintained in the last 10 years disintegrated into thin air. Maybe it wasn’t a fake me, but it was definitely only part of me – the part of me that I wanted the outside world to see. So I crafted carefully the image prior to my demise, heeding to all the management training I had undergone about building a reputation, networking, and how to be a good manager.

As I sat at home everyday, mulling over what happened, I became bitter and angry. For the longest time, I did not understand why I had caved in under stress, or why I was wrought with depression. What was wrong with me?

Needless to say, I was put on anti-depressants, had to see a psychologist regularly, and ordered to take leave of absence from work. It took about 18 months before I became more opened about my fate with depression, or even admit I needed help.

I was pleasantly surprised. My friends did not judge me or think lesser of me. My company and bosses were supportive of plight, and gave me time and space to recover.

One day I picked up a pen and starting scribbling in my journal again, and noted down all these things I wanted to do, places I wanted to visit, what my ideal life was, and what kind of person I’d want to be. I started writing again and started a blog to note down my thoughts.

In the process of self-reflection and self-exploration, I slowly realized that I wasn’t as strong as I was – and that is actually not a problem! I was not invincible either, and that doesn’t make me any less of a person. I finally came to admit that I could not cope with the stress placed on me, and the pressure I placed on myself. I could deny no more that I was not happy despite the veneer of having my life together.

In short, I rediscovered who I was at the core. Personality traits such as strength were imposed on me from childhood – I actually am not so strong, I need a lot of help and support. I’m also not as versatile and adaptive as I thought I was, based on the international experience I had during school years. Moreover, I’m really not that outgoing or friendly; if given a choice, I’d rather stay at home all the time, watch DVDs, sleep, and not talk to anyone.

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The psychological jargon I learnt was “Self Awareness,” a state in which we understand who we are, why we have certain emotions, the thoughts behind emotions and the actions as a result. Sadly, many of us plod along day by day, not understanding ourselves at all.

However, the quest for self-awareness is only the first step and it is by no means an end goal. Rather, this is an ongoing process. The process of introspection is in itself a piece of homework and you can find some great insights on how to achieve self-awareness here and here and here.

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Yet, once we are aware of who we are, how do we go about being this person we are?

These are some of my humble suggestions after some 2 years of pondering, musing, and reflecting. In no particular order:

  • Have courage to be different from others
  • Know that some people may not like the “new”, or rather, “real” you
  • Surround yourselves with people who are supportive
  • Alienate those who try to make you the person they want you to be
  • Open up to the world and admit this is who you are, the good, the bad and the ugly
  • Laugh at yourself
  • Take criticisms in a stride
  • Do not apologize for who you are
  • Trust in your own judgment, you know best for yourself
  • Love who you are
  • Don’t let others tell you who you are

Today, I am no longer afraid to voice my dissenting opinions for fear of not being accepted, or seen as weird. I am unique and have my own ideas and perspectives. I do not mind that people think I’m a silly idiot for quitting a job that offers me a permanent expatriate package until I retire. I know I’m impatient and hot-tempered, and I cry because I’m emotional. That’s all fine.

The more I love myself, who I am, and accept the good bits of me and the not so good bits of me, the more I am sure of who I am, and I’m not scared to be just that person!

Confidence to be oneself exudes radiance from within. No one else has the right to tell you how you should or should not be.

Once you can look yourself in the mirror, and smile at the reflection, that’s when you know you are being who you are at the core.

These are some enlightened perspectives I came about through my own introspection. I’d love to hear your ideas too on how to be true to ourselves everyday in the comments below.

Read more

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Best Tech Tools to Save Your Time and Money

In today’s day and age, we’re not just looking for technology to entertain us, we’re looking to it for much more. By saving us time and money, technology can enhance our lives by giving us more time to do the things we love. So whether you’re planning a trip and need a quick way to keep organized or you’re out shopping and you want to make sure you’re always getting the best deal, check out these top ten tech tools that were built to help.

1. Mint.com


If you’re looking for a website to help you manage your money, check out Mint.com. For free, Mint will keep track of your finances including your spending, budget, and investments. They’ll also help you set goals to save you money. If you’re comfortable with storing your encrypted account information in Mint.com’s secured servers, use Mint to alert you of upcoming bills that will soon be due, automatically balance your account, and create pie charts of your spending by category. The site is nicely designed, making managing your money a pleasant experience.

2. TripIt.com


If you travel a lot for vacation or business, use TripIt to keep you organized even before you step on a plane. TripIt’s main functionality is to create customized travel itineraries from confirmation emails by airlines, hotels or travel agents. As a nice bonus, they’ll even include maps, directions and weather. Recently, TripIt Pro was released which tracks any pro member’s flight itinerary so that you are notified of a price drop via email or text message. This will save you money by showing you if you’re eligible for an airline credit or voucher. Armed with this information, you can then contact the airline to obtain your credit. With TripIt Pro, you’ll also get alerts via your phone about flight delays, cancellations and gate changes.

3. Wanderfly


If you need help coming up with ideas for your vacation, check out Wanderfly. By simply selecting a few options – which city you’re departing from, your time frame and budget, Wanderfly will automatically find the best deals, supplying you with a curated list of over 1,500 destinations. As a personalized recommendation engine, it helps you discover new and exciting experiences, based on not only on your budget but your interests. By partnering with over 22 different content providers such as Expedia, Yelp, Foursquare, and Lonely Planet, Wanderfly hopes to be the first place you’ll go to when you’re planning your next vacation.

4. Google Shopper


While you probably already know about Google Goggles, you may not have heard about Google Shopper. A free Android app, Google Shopper helps you check prices on almost anything you see. Take pictures of books, CDs and DVD, perform a bar-code scan or type in or say the name of a product to quickly bring up a list of prices. They’ll even help you find local stores who carry the product which you can easily then call or get directions to. Next time you’re not quite sure whether you’re getting the best deal, try out this app.

5. Groupon


By negotiating great deals for you, Groupon helps you save money and encourages you to explore your city. Activated when a minimum number of people buy, these deals can range from spa treatments to meals at restaurants. You only have a a certain amount of time before the offer expires, which makes you want to grab these deals before they’re gone. Called a social-coupon site, Groupon has exploded since it first started back in November 2008, with Forbes calling it the fastest growing company ever. Sign up for their email newsletter to get daily deals sent straight to your inbox. (You can also check out Livingsocial.com and Buywithme.com for a similar experience.)

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6. Dragon Dictation


Dragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice recognition app that’s perfect for anyone on the go. Speak into it and you can instantly see your text or email messages. All you have to do is press the record button and start talking. After that, you load an onscreen keyboard to correct any errors. If you’re on Facebook and Twitter, dictate your status updates and then send them all with a push of a button. This app is also great for sending notes and reminders to yourself.

7. Evernote


Evernote is the must-have app for anyone who has a million things running through their head at any given time. It was the Winner of the Best Mobile App Award from TechCrunch, Mashable and the Webbys because, as they state, it helps you to “remember anything and everything that happens in your life.” With Evernote you can take text, photo or audio notes. More than anything, it helps you keep track of new ideas or reminders. By synching up to your computer, Evernote makes it easy for you to access your notes on either your phone or computer.

Do you use any of these tools? If so, which of them do you find most useful?

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6 Fashion Inspiration Sites

Picking out an outfit is easy but making it look effortless and chic not only requires good taste but a bit of courage. With the rise of technology and the Internet, we can now see stylish looks from all around the world from people who dared to be different. Today we’ve rounded up six sites that will navigate you through the latest trends and show you outfits that will inspire you to find your most stylish self. So whether you prefer classic styles or more trendy ones, you’ll feel confident in whatever you’re wearing.

1. The Sartorialist

Arguably the most popular street style fashion blog, The Sartorialist was started back in 2005 by Scott Schuman, a former director of men’s fashion at Bergdorf Goodman in New York. Schuman is credited with pioneering fashion photography in blog form with his ability to show how real-life people with great taste look around the world. He’s since gone on to publish a book by the same name of his blog and was featured in Intels’s Visual Life series as he explained how technology played a pivotal role in bringing his passion for fashion and photography to life. Schuman takes photos of stylish people in several different locations, including Paris and Milan. Come here to see gorgeously shot fashion photography found right on the street.

Tip: To get to know Scott Schuman, watch Intel’s Visual Life – The Sartorialist. It will give you more insight into his creative process.

2. Refinery29

Refinery29 is the ideal site for those who love being on the cusp of breaking fashion news. It’s a fashion, beauty and shopping site that offers deals, trends and sneak peeks of the latest collections. With a corporate office in New York, this laptop batteries store rises above the rest because it focuses on finding up-to-the minute insider reports from emerging and established fashion designers. Not only that, Refinery29 is also known for providing great tips on everything from what to wear to the holiday dinner party to how to incorporate styling looks from a J.Crew catalog.

Tip: If you currently live in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco or Washington D.C., make sure to check out their city specific editions to find local deals and news related to your area. You can also sign up for their free daily newsletter to get your fashion info sent directly to your inbox.

3. Who What Wear

From celebrity fashion and runway trends to shopping suggestions from fashion experts, Who What Wear (WWW) has you covered. Started in 2006 in Los Angeles by two former ELLE magazine editors, this site has a great mix of both street style and runway. If you’re interested in checking out the latest trends, they have the “trend report” where they’ll tell how you to easily wear certain styles, including shirtdresses or plaid pieces, without looking like a fashion faux pas. This site also picks out “the girl of the month” and then showcases a selection of products that reflects her impeccable taste.

Tip: If you prefer a simple blog layout over the look of a fashion magazine, check out Who What Wear’s blog. Curated by WWW editors, the blog shows of celebrity and runway style in a less formal way. It’s also a quick way to get your fashion fix.

4. NotCouture

Launched in July 2007 by Jean Awe (who’s also the one behind the popular art and culture site Notcot.org), NotCouture shows you the artistic side of fashion. The beautiful layout lends itself nicely to really making the pictures pop, presenting you with visual eye-candy you could look at for hours on end. This site is perfect for not only the fashionista but the design enthusiast who’s always on the hunt for stylish accessories. If you’re searching for the perfect gift or just want to splurge on something wonderfully refined for yourself, check out NotCouture. You won’t be sorry.

Jean Awe has built a virtual empire with her array of beautiful, niche sites. Check the top of the page to see links to not only Notcot and NotCouture but Tasteologie, Liquirous and NotVentures.

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5. Lookbook.nu

Skewing slightly younger, Lookbook.nu is a very large online community that shows member-uploaded “street style” photography. Founded in 2008 by Yuri Lee in San Francisco, this site was created so that fashion enthusiasts could come together to get feedback on their own personal style. (Lee credits Scott Schuman’s The Sartorialist for inspiring her to start this site.) Lookbookers “hype” a look and the more hypes they receive, the more popular the style is. Photographers, models, designers and bloggers also come here to promote their work. Lookbook.nu calls itself the “the world’s first, truly editorless fashion magazine” because it’s open to anyone and everyone. With over 150,000 users, this popular site is a great place to visit if you’re looking to jazz up your own wardrobe and need some fresh mix and match ideas.

Tip: Get to know this community by participating in their forum. There you’ll find topics that range from fashion and shopping to photography, art and DIY.

6. Fashion Gone Rogue

What better way to get immersed in high fashion than by seeing the latest fashion spreads? Fashion Gone Rogue is your go-to site if you’re both a fan of fashion and photography. Founded in December 2008, this site covers the latest fashion editorials, covers and ad campaigns from all around the world, all shot by today’s most prestigious fashion photographers. For those who love finding fashion inspiration through the pages of Vogue, this site will satisfy you and then some. Just a warning, their editorials will make you swoon for luxurious high end labels like Valentino and Chanel.

Tip: Can’t wait to see what everyone’s wearing in the coming seasons? Check out their Collections section where you’ll find lookbooks galore.

Which websites do you visit to get your fashion inspiration?

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5 Tools To Help Moms Launch Online Careers

Top 5 Tools To Help Moms Launch Online Careers

Many moms are making it big these days, using their abilities to multi-task, problem-solve, and roll with the punches to start thriving businesses based from the internet. While not everyone will easily replace a full-time income with their startup, many can fuel a passion and create much-needed cash flow with the right tools and guidance. Here are the top picks every mom should refer to when creating a biz online.


Mogul Mom Books

Designed with the matriarch in mind, this self-published series of paperbacks is tailored to deal with the unique concerns of starting a business in today’s online culture. Written by a handful of “Mogul Moms”, they cover several interesting business niches. Titles include the original Mogul Mom, which features profiles of over 30 successful work-at-home moms in various niches, Etsy Success, and Make Money As a Writer. (All books are available from aussiebattery.com.)



This site appears at first glance to be a bit of an online gossip mag, offering tips and tidbits into “who’s doing what” in the more female-driven parts of the online world. ShePosts is more than just lists of brand ambassadors, blogger conferences, and the “who’s who” of social media, however. It offers insights into building traffic, FTC compliance, marketing your business, and playing well with others. There are also interviews with those that have proven success in building an online career – especially while raising kids. ShePosts provides up-to-the minute news on job openings and blogging opportunities, as well.

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Here’s ShePost founder Esther Brady Crawford talking about what inspired her to launch the site:

Working Mother Magazine

This hard-copy magazine is one of the few that I continue to subscribe to, even thought I left the “traditional” workforce over 5 years ago. The majority of articles, while geared toward moms who still schlep their briefcase to some employer-owned office each day, can be applied to ANY working mom, even those who don’t clock a typical time clock. There is a healthy section of print dedicated to moms who are “doing it all”, as well. Many of these featured role models are entrepreneurs who made it big by working hard at their online-based business.  (Hint: Most of the best tools presented in the magazine are also available via their free website).


Have you ever wanted to get the inside scoop on an online or internet-based marketing opportunity before you meet with the pushy sales rep? WAHM.com has a a variety of guides designed to offer the facts about a number of national businesses that appeal to the mom genre. You can learn specifics on commissions, start up costs, and whether the business would be a good fit, as well as get links for how to sign up for more information.

working-moms-blog-coach.jpgBlog Coach

One thing is certain about the world of being a successful online mompreneur: you need to have a blog to reach your customers. If blogging is something you’re new at, or you just like to brush up on your skills, you’ll love the savvy advice behind Blog Coach. This site not only offers relevant info to anyone wanting to blog, it’s written by a mom, so she has some specific tidbits that small biz moms will find extra juicy. The best part of this site, maintained by Baby Cheapskate’s Angie W., is the “Critique This Blog” feature, which highlights a blog’s finer (and not so fine) points, as well as tips for improving a DIY website.

The resources we’ve listed here may not always be the top ones to reference even one year from now. How then does busy mom keep taking her business to the next level? Start by following businesses you admire on Twitter and subscribing to the Google RSS feeds of people you want to learn from. As new sites are launched, books are written, and conferences are held, you’ll be in the know and already connected to those who can help when you have an online business question you just can’t answer. When it comes to Moms starting an online laptop batteries business, community is key!

But wait! The best is yet to come. Slated for publishing in 2011 are what I anticipate to be some of the best sources for creating a career in today’s highly social online world.  Two worth mentioning (and waiting for) include Wendy Piersall’s Mom Blogging for Dummies (due out in July) and Colleen Padilla and Audrey McClelland’s The Digital Mom Handbook, also out later this year.

How have you grown your online business? Let us know in the comments below.

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Changing Your Life in 2012 Guide

It’s the beginning of a new year, and if you are like me, you’ve probably thought about how you want to make changes in your life this year.

Maybe you want to finally commit to exercise or getting healthy.

Maybe you want to find your passion or purpose in life.

Maybe you want to simplify, find self-confidence, or improve a relationship.

Maybe you want to do all of these things.

What if you had the support of some of the top coaches, counselors, and self-improvement experts to achieve your goals and dreams?

What if you had access to their courses, books, videos,and guides for a fraction of the price?

For the next three days, you can.

The Empowerment Pack includes over 25 products from 25 of these online experts covering all areas of self-improvement and personal development. These are products and experts I know and highly recommend. My own product, Change Your Life, is included in The Empowerment Pack as well.

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And for the next three days, you can get this pack for 1/10 of the cumulative price of the products.

$1,000 worth of life-changing products for only $97!

You can check out all of these comprehensive and self-empowering products here:

These products at this price will never be available again.

After Thursday, January 19, at 9:00 am EST, this offer will be gone for good.

All the best,


P.S. For less than one family dinner out, you can have a lifetime’s worth of life-changing products. But if you want The Empowerment Pack, you need to act now. By Thursday morning, it will be gone.

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How to deal with the 7 reasons you are not reaching your goals

If goals were easy to reach we’d all be rockstars, billionaires and rocket scientists. But having dreams isn’t enough; to make them come true, you’ve got to walk the walk. And that walk can be real tough.

That’s why 92% of Americans fail to achieve their New Year’s resolutions. They know what to do – the popular resolutions are all straightforward – but something holds them back from succeeding.

You’ve probably experienced the same problem. You had a goal, you knew what had to be done but you couldn’t manage to do it.

Don’t worry; you’re not alone.

In fact, a few common slip-ups keep most people from reaching their goals. Make them and you’ll sabotage your progress time and time again. Get a handle on them and achieve anything you set your sights on.

Here’s how to understand – and deal with – the 7 reasons you’re not reaching your goals.

#1 – You Expect Too Much, Too Soon

As a generation used to instant gratification, we want it all and we want it now. There’s a reason marketers promise a flat belly in 6 weeks; a better life in 15 minutes; easy money in a few hours. They cash in on our laziness.

But the truth is, anything worth having takes time and effort. Whether you want to run a marathon or make a million dollars, think long-term. Be prepared for good days, bad days and a million setbacks on the long ride to success.

#2 – You Burn Yourself Out

Every January, gyms fill up with New Year’s Resolutioners who want to get fit “this year.” They train for hours, use every machine and work themselves to half-death. No wonder they burn out in a few weeks and never go to the gym again.

Don’t make the same mistake. A moderate, sustained effort is better than an intense burst that leaves you exhausted. Pacing yourself is crucial to achieving your goals.

#3 – You’re A Perfectionist

We often wait for the perfect moment, feeling or opportunity to take action. “I’m sleepy; if I start my essay now, it’ll probably be bad. Maybe tomorrow.”

But since life is inherently imperfect, waiting often turns into procrastination.

The right time might never come, but that’s no reason to do nothing. If there’s a goal to be achieved, don’t wait: the best time for action is always now.

#4 – You Punish Yourself

What happens when we do the “wrong thing”? Drunk-dial an ex; eat 12 muffins three days into a diet; buy a pink flamingo with our rent money?

We punish ourselves. “Why did I do that? I’m an idiot. I’ll never amount to anything; I’m destined to fail.” And once you start thinking this way, it’s easy to make more bad decisions. “I’ll be fat forever; may as well eat 20 more muffins.”

Instead of punishing yourself for bad choices, remember that you’re only human. Everyone makes mistakes; successful people just don’t think about theirs too much. Never let a few screw-ups drive you into negative thinking.

#5 – You Relax Too Early

When you start making progress, it’s tempting to let go and relax. “I worked hard to get here; I should stop and enjoy the fruits of my labor for a bit.”

The problem is, thinking this way gives you an excuse to slack off. Your mind always wants you to make as little effort as necessary. Once you have a sense of accomplishment, there’s little motivation to keep going.

So don’t relax.

Always commit to keep going until you reach success – and make an effort to maintain it when you have it. This will help you stay on your toes, build positive momentum through repeated effort and keep old habits away.

#6 – You Need Approval From Other People

Humans are social beings; we want to be liked and accepted. That’s why being admired for your achievements is such a great feeling. But relying on the approval of others for motivation and direction is dangerous.

Other people might want you to do things that make you unhappy; they might disagree with your goals or methods. When that happens, it’s easy to doubt yourself and consider changing course.

But do you really want to let other people control your life?

No matter what your goals are, the only approval you ever need is your own. Enjoy compliments when you get them, but put your own wants first.

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#7 – Resistance

No matter how motivated and disciplined you are, you’ll have off days. When they come, the temptation is to stress out. “Why do I feel so tired today? I need to feel energetic right now. Man oh man, what do I do? This sucks!”

That’s how resistance works: by refusing to accept events and situations, we make them worse. Before you know it, you’ve made yourself feel bad over nothing.

The solution is acceptance. No matter what happens, simply make the best of it. The next time you feel down, try saying: “Well, I feel tired today. I guess I’ll just do what I can and see what happens.”

Now that you know the 7 reasons you haven’t reached your goals in the past, you can stop making them. Apply this post to your life and nothing will stop you from succeeding, no matter how wild and extravagant your dreams are.

Top 5 art-evoking apps

I just bought an iPad, so you know what that means: non-stop app downloads.  Now that I have the larger touch screen to play around with, I thought it would be fun to check out some of the incredible art apps that are available. From drawing and painting to editing and color manipulation, there are some really interesting apps out there to help unleash the artist within.

I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite and coolest artistic apps that are out right now.  But then again, art is in the eye of the beholder, so what are your favorite art-evoking apps? Share your personal favorites in the comments below. Let’s make some art!

paper.jpgPaper, Free
Paper has to be the coolest iPad apps I have seen in a while…and everyone else agrees. Within the first two weeks, Paper was downloaded more than 1.5 million times and generated over 7 million creations.  The simple design of the app makes it easy for anyone to create notebooks of hand-drawn sketches and designs.  You can even go as far as to customize the look of your “notebooks” by importing pictures and graphics for the covers. But be sure to note that while the app itself is free, they do charge for any additional art tools you may need.

livesketch.jpgLiveSketch, $1.99 

LiveSketch renders incredibly realistic pencil sketches on your iPad.  You can even create the effect of shading and detailed lines with the simple drag of your finger across the screen.


Pixl, $.99
One of my favorite things to do with the everyday photo is to add filters and graphic overlays to make the image seem more like a piece of art.  Now I can do that with the photos I take from my iPhone or iPad with the Pixl app.  Pixl allows you to pixelate an image in a fun geometric way that makes your photos look more like pop art.  While there are limited options in the editor, the simple interface makes it very easy to use.
adobeideas.jpgAdobe Ideas, $9.99

If you are a graphic designer, illustrator or artist, this app is a wonder.  Adobe Ideas allows you to not only create professional quality vector graphics wherever you are, but you can also sync your Adobe Creative Cloud to transfer any projects you are currently working on in your Adobe Suite directly to your mobile device.  It really is your art database on the go!
composite.jpgComposite, $1.99 
This app is pretty unique because it lets you manipulate real-time visuals seen through your iPad’s camera.  So whatever it is that you are taking a picture of, you can create a “painting” of that image with the simple drag of your finger across the screen.  I really recommend checking out the incredible tutorial video on their site right here. Blew me away!  Now everyone can truly paint a picture of what they see.


1. Lose the Weight


From wearing a pedometer to surrounding yourself with the color blue, there are all kinds of small changes that can help you finally drop those extra pounds. Make a commitment that 2012 will be the year you get rid of what’s weighing you down.


  2. Get Organized


 If your home is makes you feel like you’re heading toward an episode of Hoarders, start small: Focus on one clutter-packed zone (even that junk drawer in your kitchen) and get that in order, then move on to the more-intimidating areas (hello, garage!).


  3. Get On Top of Finances


Even if cash is really tight, 2012 can be the year you finally get a sense of control over your money.


  4. Spend More Time with Family and Friends


 A lot of us feel we don’t spend enough quality time with those we love. So pick up the phone or fire up the computer and start arranging experiences that you can do together. Here’s one way: Send an e-mail invite to a picnic in a centrally located park. Everyone brings food and drink‚ and a smorgasbord of catch-up results.


  5. Get Fit


Okay, this January you’ll finally say, “No excuses!” Schedule regular time to get active, and stick with it. Handy hint: Make a date today with a pal to walk once a week for 50 minutes.


  6. Quit Smoking


You know all the ways cigarettes hurt your body — that they dramatically increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, and almost every other health concern, small or large. So if you’ve still got the habit, this can be the year you ditch it.


  7. Smell the Roses


Lost your mojo? The easiest way to kick-start your joie de vivre is to focus on those little things that give you pleasure. Every day, have a moment where you focus on just a small, immediate enjoyment, like a great song on the radio, a tasty peach, a pet’s licks, your friends’ thoughtfulness, or an unexpected invitation.


  8. Tackle Your Drinking


 If drinking is doing you more harm than good, stop altogether, learn to moderate or get support (such as from Alcoholics Anonymous) if you can’t control your intake on your own. (Those living with alcoholics will also find friends at AA.)


 9. Learn Something New


 There’s nothing more esteem-building than getting an additional qualification under your belt. Your career options widen, you meet new people and you exercise your brain. Check out local community colleges, which offer a range of inexpensive courses.


  10. Help Others


Every day, we’re hearing about a new catastrophe in some corner of the globe, so it’s no surprise that “volunteering vacations” are booming worldwide. But you don’t have to head to a far-flunch locate (or spend money) to make the world better — offering your time, or if that’s in short supply, simply donating furniture, clothes and other household items can help someone in need (and make you feel great).

每天,我们耳边总传来地球的某个角落又发生了一场大灾难,因此,世界各地都有义工假期也就不足为奇了。但你不必要到那个偏远山区(或出钱)才能 让世界变得更好–你只要奉献你的时间就好了,或者如果出现物资缺乏,捐出家具、衣物和其它一些家居用品就可以了。这些能帮到在困境中的人们(也能让你感 觉很棒)。

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 11. Land a New Job


Whether you’re itching to switch careers or have recently lost your job, there are plenty of reasons these days to stay current (read: keep your resume updated and don’t stop proving you bring something to the table).


  12. See the World (or Even the State!)


Get a new perspective on things — literally and figuratively — by putting yourself into a new environment. And it doesn’t mean hopping on a plane — there are plenty of fresh locales within driving distance from where you live.


  13. Find Your Zen


 If even thinking about all these changes starts getting you stressed out, make a vow this year to chill out.


See More

Top 5 Simple Ways to Reboot Yourself

5 Fundamentals for Success in Life

10 Tips for Living a Better Life

10 trends in technology for 2012

10 best electronic gadgets of CES 2012

10 Blogs For Learning Something New

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