Posted By:Pligg Blog Team, Author at Pligg

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Common Health Concerns For Mature Men

December 11, 2017 - By 
mature men

The saying is true: getting older is a pain. Everyone has their own ways of aging, but most struggle the same way.

This is definitely true if you’re a man — it’s easy to lose the vitality you had when you were young. You’re sluggish, and you lose your strength.

There are also certain diseases and conditions men are susceptible to developing as well as certain types of cancer.

Whether they’re issues with genitalia or issues with hormones, male aging isn’t a joke.

Read these health concerns for mature men. And always discuss any possible health issues with your doctor. Start understanding the signs before your health deteriorates.

Alopecia

This is a fancy word for balding. Up to 25% of the male population is susceptible to baldness as they mature. Most of these mature men develop this symptom at the age of 60, but some can start to lose hair as young as 30.

Alopecia isn’t limited to just balding. Alopecia also includes thinning hair or a receding hairline.

Check your genetic history if you believe you’ll be a victim of Alopecia. There are some treatment options available.

Heart Attack and Heart Disease

Heart diseases include cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease, also called coronary heart disease (CHD).

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. One out of five Americans will get a heart attack sometime in their lives. And heart disease is also killing plenty of men and women outside of America.

Men are more likely to develop heart disease than women. The reason why has always been speculated. Heart disease is also the number one killer of women, but men are twice as likely to get a heart attack than women.

The most likely factors are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and lack of exercise that also results in a higher body mass index (BMI).

1.2 million heart attacks occur in America. 460,000 turn out to be fatal. Because these heart attacks are so intense, 300,000 die before they receive medical attention. These numbers are scary for mature men.

Hypertension

When the force of blood is stronger than what your arteries can handle, hypertension occurs.

Hypertension is the first sign that something life-threatening can occur. These diseases include heart failure, heart disease, impaired vision, stroke, and kidney disease.

Mature men are at more risk of developing these diseases when their blood pressure is very high. If this issue isn’t resolved, it can shorten a man’s lifespan between 10 and 20 years.

High Cholesterol

Produced by the liver, cholesterol is the building block of cell membranes.

It’s a soft and waxy fat that is a common steroid. Cholesterol is needed for many things such as producing Vitamin D, the formation of bile, your hormones, and other steroids.

Cholesterol is a very good steroid. However, too much cholesterol has negative consequences. When too much cholesterol is in your blood, it will accumulate in your arteries.

How do we consume too much cholesterol? In the food we eat.

If you don’t treat high cholesterol, it will increase your risk of heart disease as well as stroke and circulatory issues.

Urinary Tract Infection

Anyone can develop a urinary tract infection (UTI). These are common in adult men and women, even children can develop a UTI.

You get a UTI when bacteria enter your urethra. This causes bacteria to multiply, resulting in painful urination.

While not serious, without treatment mature men can suffer. A UTI can do serious damage to your kidneys and bladder. If not treated, a UTI can turn into a kidney infection.

Enlarged Prostate and Prostate Cancer

Every man does not look forward to the daunting prostate exam. But it’s necessary if you want to prevent Adenocarcinoma. This is cancerous growth on the prostate.

If the growth isn’t caught on time, cancer can spread to the whole prostate and other tissues. Eventually, cancer can spread throughout the body including the lungs, liver, and bones.

If you catch the prostate cancer before spreading, good news. Prostate cancer alone is very easy to treat. But you will have to endure the extremely awkward yearly exam in order to truly prevent prostate cancer.

Erectile Dysfunction

As a man grows older, his sex drive slows down. While this is normal, it’s not appreciated by your wife, whose sex drive increases as she ages.

Erectile dysfunction has many forms.

A failed erection is the most common type, but other erectile dysfunction types include premature ejaculation. In some cases, infertility is the cause of erectile dysfunction and not age or lack of hormones.

To keep up with your wife — and continue feeling young — modern medicine has your back. You can easily treat erectile dysfunction with medication such as Testerone Free. Discuss your options with your doctor.

Testicular Issues

Your testicles are a very fragile part of the body. This is why many mature men are susceptible to developing some kind of issue with their testicles.

The most common issues are testicular pain or pain in the scrotum.

Epididymitis is another testicle issue that’s a cause of infertility. This is inflammation of the area that stores sperm.

If you notice your scrotum is swollen, this is hydrocele. However, this isn’t an issue; hydrocele is usually just scrotal inflammation and goes away on its own.

Addiction

One of the many causes of health risks for mature men is how you treat yourself. As men age, they become more prone to developing addictions. The two biggest players are alcohol, narcotics, and cigarettes.

Additions and habits usually form with social incompetence, addiction family history, and stress.

Prevent Health Problems in Mature Men

There are many genetic and external factors that contribute to increased health risks.

It’s common for men to develop bad habits such as drinking and smoking cigarettes. If you’re predisposed to physical conditions such as cancer, this makes you more likely to develop them.

By paying attention to your health, you could potentially save your life.

If you want more health advice, read our content and educate yourself.


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5 Low-Carb Diet Tips to Keep You Sane

December 6, 2017 - By 
low carb diet

More and more scientific research shows the benefits of maintaining a low carb diet.

From losing weight to lowering triglycerides, this diet has numerous health benefits for people looking to improve both their physical and mental well-being.

Anyone following a diet knows the importance of remaining sane while staying on track. This applies to your low carb diet, too.

We’ve come up with the best tricks to keep you rounded, excited, and well on track to meeting your goals.

Let’s get into it!

Avoid Liquid Calories

Here’s the bad news. Those frothy coffee milkshakes aren’t good for you or your waistline. Same goes for fruity cocktails or fancy fruit juices (even if they have whole fruit in them).

Put away your full-sugar sodas. They have nothing good in them (beyond really good marketing campaigns, perhaps).

Here’s the good news. You won’t even miss the calories or the carbs. For many people, reducing liquid calories is the most surefire way to eliminate carbs.

You probably already know that water is king when it comes to quenching your thirst. Not only does it have exactly zero calories, it has numerous health benefits, assisting everything from staving hunger to helping with constipation.

Tired of plain water? Consider sparkling ice, loose tea, or unsweetened coffee. Your taste buds will adjust, and your waistline will thank you.

Make Healthy Swaps

Wondering how you can replace the standard American diet when choosing to follow a more low carb plan? Fortunately, it’s not that challenging!

We live in a digital age that is full of amazing recipes for anyone following a low carb diet. Many bloggers and chefs happily post and share their recipes.

Concerned about giving up ice cream? There’s a low carb option for that. Sad about surrendering your favorite sandwich bread? There’s a killer recipe for that (click here for more information on that).

From pizza to brownies to your favorite ethnic Thai dish, there’s a way to make it low carb. You may even be able to do it with ingredients that you already have on hand!

Regardless of your favorite food, there is a great chance that a healthier swap exists. You just need to be open and creative to the change!

Plan for Emergencies

Ever been hangry? As in, you’re so hungry that you start feeling angry? Don’t worry- we’ve all been there.

When you initially start cutting out carbs, you might notice yourself feeling sluggish or fatigued. You might also notice a brief plummeting in your mood. You might even fantasize about drowning yourself in a pint of your favorite ice cream.

This is all a normal reaction to changing your diet. The best words of wisdom for this? Have a plan!

Stash away healthy, low carb snacks in your desk, car, and office. Consider the following:

  • Veggies and low-carb dip
  • Nuts
  • Beef jerky
  • String cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs

Don’t let yourself get too hungry. You risk making impulsive decisions (hence: bingeing on lots and lots of carbs). It’s best to always have a plan of attack.

Plan ahead for restaurants as well. Today, many establishments post menus online. If not, the waitstaff is often able to locate nutrition facts for you.

Don’t be shy! This is the food that’s going into your body. You have the right to know what you’re about to consume.

Fat is King & Protein is Queen

Want to know the trick for eating less and still feeling full?

It may sound counterintuitive, but eating more fat doesn’t actually make you fat. Feel free to tell that to anyone who ever told you that the low-fat diet was the way to go!

Fat is naturally filling. As a result, you consume a lot less than you would if you were eating simple carbs.

Some fat ideas to consider adding to your low carb diet:

  • Adding half an avocado to your salad
  • Sauteeing in olive oil
  • Using full-fat cheese when cooking
  • Eating full-fat meat when grilling

When fat is paired with protein, you create a killer combo. Protein is essential for building muscles and repairing tissues. Your body also uses protein to make enzymes and hormones.

You already know that protein is good for you! By focusing on this macronutrient, you will likely notice that you crave significantly fewer carbs.

Boom! How’s that for staying sane on your diet?

Be Kind to Yourself

Dieting is not easy. Weight loss isn’t easy, either.

Do you want to know what is easy? Shifting your new eating habits from diet mentality to lifestyle mentality.

Following a low carb diet is simple if you are able to stay kind and patient with yourself. After all, change is a long process. You’re not going to be perfect, and you don’t need to be.

What’s important is identifying your mistakes, committing to growth, and being compassionate to yourself during the process.

Ideally, this is a lifestyle you are committing to for the long haul. A single poor meal will not dictate your health nor will it completely send you back to square zero. Remember that!

Final Thoughts on Staying Sane on a Low Carb Diet

If you’ve taken the exciting step towards improving your physical and mental health, congratulations! You’re about to feel so much better!

With that said, staying sane on any new eating plan can be tricky. Be tolerant and patient with yourself. Focus on small changes and watch how they can yield big results.

Interested in learning more about emerging trends in health? Be sure to check out our other blogs today!


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5 Automation Devices for Modern Garage Doors

November 30, 2017 - By 
modern garage doors

Home automation devices are designed to make your life just a little bit easier. Who doesn’t like convenience?

In a world with so many distractions, it’s easy to have your attention diverted from a task. Maybe you’ve misplaced your house keys in the hurry to leave the house, or maybe you’ve forgotten to close your garage door.

With modern garage doors, the latter doesn’t have to be a problem anymore. Read on to find out our top 5 automation devices for modern garage doors.

1. Chamberlain MyQ-G0201

The Chamberlain MyQ-G0201 is everything you could want in a garage automation device. This nifty gadget will monitor, open, and close your garage door from anywhere as long as you use your smartphone.

It’s compatible with most modern garage doors’ opening systems made after 1993 that have standard safety sensors. Its easy installation makes it super convenient.

If you’re in the process of a garage door installation and the thought of setting up a tech system feels intimidating, fear not! It doesn’t take long at all to set this little thing up.

Since it’s controlled via smartphone, it comes with its own MyQ Garage App. It’s compatible with both Apple and Android devices. For security purposes, you can choose whether you want the app to notify you when your garage door opens and closes.

2. Garageio Garage Door Opener

The Garageio garage door opener is another easy to install beauty. With this neat gadget, you can open or close your garage door with a simple swipe of your smartphone. This particular model is also compatible with Amazon Alexa.

The great thing about this model is its range. You can implement modern security for your garage from the other side of the world if necessary. Wherever you are, you can rest assured your garage and its contents are safe and secure.

You can also easily grant and remove device access to anyone. There’s no limit on the number of users, so there’s no need to share existing codes or invest in extra openers.

3. Asante Garage Door Opener

This device is compatible with multiple modern garage doors.

The Asante door opener also offers the option of LED lights for better night vision.

You can not only control but also see your garage with their amazing free app. It boasts unlimited cloud access, too, as well as an optional push notification system.

4. GoControl/Linear GD00Z-4

This model makes a great addition to established smart homes. Easy to install and use, it also provides both visual and audio warnings before any garage door movement occurs.

The GoControl has a range of roughly 100 feet and is compatible with most garage door openers.

With an average rating of 4-5 stars on Amazon, you know you’re getting quality with GoControl.

5. LiftMaster MyQ Universal Garage Door Opener

This reasonably priced and reliable model is compatible with both older and newer garage door openers.

This is perfect if you’re not the most tech-savvy homeowner. The device can control up to two garage doors at once (provided you have an extra door sensor), as well as up to 16 MyQ enabled devices.

Suffice it to say, you’ll be getting your money’s worth with LiftMaster.

More on Modern Garage Doors?

For more about modern automation devices and smart-tech, check out our archives.

And if you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to get in touch!


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The Best Free Downloadable Video Editing Software

November 28, 2017 - By 
downloadable

The internet turned the business world on its head. Much like any other major technological innovation, those who adapted faster found more success.

Radio seems to have reincarnated into the popular podcast format, and video is now a more important medium than ever, which makes video-editing skills all the more crucial.

You may be running your own business. You might just maintain a blog, or perhaps you’re an entertainer. No matter what your pursuit is, being able to utilize video as a mode of composition is going to expand the reach and reception of your audience.

Trouble is, video editing is generally a skill that takes a lot of time to develop. Plus, the top photo/video editing software can cost hundreds of dollars.

Luckily, there are free apps available.

The versatility of these apps ranges from bare-bones to powerful enough to create Hollywood-level video content. While some have premium packages, they are all freely downloadable in some form. Let’s take a look at the top ones.

Machete Video Editor Lite (Windows)

Machete is the simplest app on this list. If you just need to cut, copy, paste sections of your video, this is your program.

The app is easy enough that you can dive right in, even with zero editing experience. There are no audio editing options, and the file types are limited to .avi and .wav formats.

Much like the tool it gets its namesake from, your end product may not be the most gorgeous, but you will have cleared away any unneeded material.

Videopad (Windows/Mac)

Sometimes the easy apps don’t offer enough. Stepping up to a more powerful software usually comes with spending hours on YouTube trying to figure out the interface.

This is the thin line that comes with most design software. Think MS Paint vs Adobe Photoshop. Where’s the middle ground?

If there was an app that existed right in the middle of these two ideas, it would probably be Videopad.

Some of the more popular video effects including different resolutions, transitions, stabilization, and text-overlay at your disposal. You also get access to audio-editing options as well, like importing music, voice-narration, and built-in sound effects.

What gives Videopad it’s edge is the drag-and-drop interface. This makes it easier to utilize the effects available.

Videopad also makes it super easy to export your edited work to sites like YouTube, Flikr, and Facebook. If you need more help with social media managing check out these apps.

iMovie (Mac)

Garage Band and iMovie are probably the two main reasons Macs have the reputation of being the creative’s best choice for a computer.

True to Apple form, iMovie has that almost unearthly balance of power and intuitiveness. It boasts many of the features of Videopad, easy transitions, adding music, and even an option for 4k resolution.

Something your not going to find anywhere else is the ability to edit your video on multiple devices. You can shoot something on your iPhone, add touches on your iPad, and do even more fine-tuning on your Mac.

If you find that you’re on-the-go often, and already have an iPhone and/or Mac, iMovie is a no-brainer (it should come preinstalled on Macs) but is also downloadable here.

VSDC (Windows)

The rest of the list definitely exists on the other side of the ease of use/available features line. The side of the line you need to be on depends on your needs, which is why we’re looking at a spectrum of options.

VSDC Free Video Editor is downloadable for Windows for FREE. You get everything VSDC is capable of at no cost to you. No tiered packages, no subscription, just free.

What you get is a rather robust editor that supports nearly all formats. It includes object transformation, filters, and a myriad of audio capabilities and charts and animations to add.

So what’s the downside? Well, their support isn’t free (you have to subscribe.) So if you need help figuring something out, prepare to spend a lot of time on YouTube and various subreddits.

Lightworks (Windows/Mac/Linux)

Lightworks is one of the mac daddy’s of the video editing world. Available on most OS’s Lightworks is one behemoth of possibilities.

Just think of it this way. Pulp Fiction, Mission Impossible, Moulin Rouge!. These blockbusters were all edited using Lightworks, and they are just a few of many award-winning films that have used this software.

Of course with great power comes great difficulty. Just because it’s easy to get doesn’t mean it’s easy to use. Lightworks boasts a pretty steep learning curve, but that’s to be expected.

Of course, to unlock it’s full potential, you have to opt for a monthly or annual subscription, or an expensive one-time purchase.

The free version is still impressive, and the Lightworks website even has video guides to help get you started.

One More Thing

In addition to grabbing that video editing software, there’s another program, also free and downloadable, that you may want to consider.

Pikto Chart is a design program tailored to making top-notch charts and infographics. If you’re doing any sort of informative video, or an engaging style of vlogging, this app is crucial.

Infographics are one of the best ways to coalesce a lot of hard data into an easy-to-digest visual package. This not only makes it easier to understand but also makes it easier for you point to stick with your viewers.

The app is also useful outside of video, just think of all the viral memes that are basically an infographic.

While the app doesn’t have the largest library of preset templates, it’s intuitive enough that creating your own with their own icons graphs and maps isn’t hard.

Best Downloadable Video Editing Software: Wrap Up

You should now have everything you need to start producing your own video content in-house!

Now all that’s left is to get a handle on the slippery slope that is SEO and you’re set for success.


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The Best Wearable Technology of 2017 & What’s To Come In the Future

November 17, 2017 - By 
wearable technology of 2017

It all started with the Fitbit Flex back in 2013. This activity tracker set the path for future wrist-band technology that was yet to come.

Now, the world of wearable technology isn’t limited to what we can wear on our wrists. We have wearable heart rate monitors, headphones, and even sleepwear designed to enhance our daily lives.

But, as you know, when one player in the tech market has a hit, there are 10 dupes that follow. Most of these gadgets will cost you a pretty penny, so it’s best to do your research ahead of time.

Before you go by that fancy Apple Watch, check out this list of products that are more than worth your while. Here are the best wearable technology of 2017 and the future.

The Best Wearable Tech of 2017: Fitbit Charge 2

The man, the myth, the legend- what wearable tech list would this be without a Fitbit? The Charge 2 is for anyone looking to up their fitness game.

Take advantage of its advanced PurePulse Heart Rate Monitor or Guided Breathing for relaxation. Its intuitive controls make it the perfect sidekick for multi-sport tracking.

Under Armor Recovery Sleepwear

Sure, it may seem a little science fiction-y to wake up feeling different from a piece of clothing. But, there’s nothing nerdy about this sleepwear from Under Armor.

It’s designed with bio-ceramic fiber which helps improve blood flow and muscle recovery. This happens through a process called Far Infrared which draws heat back to the body.

Halo Sport

Its name may suggest its only for the weightlifters out there. But, these Beats-like headphones offer a plethora of benefits to anyone for better movement.

We can attribute those benefits to its ability to forge better nerve and muscle connection. The Halo Sport works with one of our brain’s key functions, the motor cortex.

The motor cortex is what sends signals to the rest of your body, causing these parts to contract. These contractions get your body moving about.

Garmin Vivoactive

It’s all about how you market yourself, right? (Just ask these Portland SEO gurus). Garmin may have been known as the bulky object your parents use to get from A to B.

After a little rebranding magic, Garmin is now a leader in wrist-band tech that can handle everything from “playing to paying”.

The Vivoactive has an app store, games and allows you to pay for purchases card-free. It tracks your workouts, heart rate, and even stress levels.

You can even compete with your friends through the Garmin Connect app. Share your fitness accomplishments and participate in challenges together.

Let’s Wrap Things Up

That concludes our list of the best wearable tech for 2017 and beyond. We’ve seen some major breakthroughs in the tech sphere. That’s not slowing down anytime soon.

To stay on top of your digital game, your marketing efforts have to be on trend. But, when running a business, who has time be some kind of wearable tech connoisseur?

(Hint- it’s us! We have the time!)

Interested in learning more? Contact us today!


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Everything You Need to Know About Hardwood Decking

November 13, 2017 - By 
hardwood decking

If there’s a better option for a deck than hardwood decking, we couldn’t tell you what it is. The strength and beauty of hardwood is without match, and its durability seals the deal for anyone considering hardwood as a deck building option.

Hardwood decking provides the best long-lasting alternative to synthetic materials or softwoods. It boasts a natural beauty that gets better with age, much like a fine wine.

Nobody can deny the durability of hardwood. As an example, the hardwood Ipe Decking used on the Coney Island Boardwalk lasted 70 years. When torn down, the wood was re-used on other products.

If you’re looking to create an unforgettable outdoor oasis for your house then hardwood is where you should start.

Here’s everything you need to know about DIY hardwood decking.

What Type of Hardwood to Choose

The first step is choosing the right hardwood for your project. Here, we’ll break down 5 of the most popular options so you can choose the right one for your project.

If you’d like to know what other types of hardwoods are available, then give this a click!

1. Ipe Wood

This is the most popular decking option for builders using hardwood. Color options range from olive-brown to dark brown. Some even have a blackish tone.

The wood grains vary widely.

Ipe wood will provide a gorgeous, long-lasting deck. It’s incredibly hard and will last over 40 years with the right installation and care.

If you live in a harsh environment with extreme weather, you can’t go wrong with Ipe wood.

2. Garapa Wood

This is the second most popular hardwood solution.

Grarapa decking features a beautiful golden brown to light yellow color. As it begins to weather, it turns a silvery gray.

The best part about Garapa is that there’s no need to apply an annual sealer. It’s naturally resistant to decay, rot, scratches, splinters and even fire.

Also known as Brazilian Ash, its moderate cost makes it a great alternative to Ipe or Teak hardwoods.

3. Massaranduba

This type of hardwood is one of the most durable timbers on earth. It’s a very cost-effective sub for Ipe decking in many applications.

It has a straight grain and reddish-brown hue. Some people refer to it as Brazilian Redwood.

If you’re looking for a Mahogany appearance, Massaranduba is a great way to go.

4. Cumaru (Brazilian Teak)

Cumaru provides a long-lasting, cost-effective alternative for hardwood decking.

It glows in a warm and attractive golden-brown color that’s unmatched by most hardwoods. It also ages gracefully and is long-lasting.

Cumaru has a similar density as Ipe but at a much more moderate cost.

5. Teak

Teak surpasses most all other woods for outdoor use. True teak decking, known as Tectona Grandis, has natural oils which completely eliminate the need for sealants or preservatives.

It’s the most expensive hardwood option but is also the highest quality. It’s so high quality that it’s used on many luxury yachts.

If you’re looking to build a one-of-a-kind deck, Teak is the best material.

Choose the Right Profile

The decking profile you’ll use will depend on the fasteners you’re using and the location you’re installing the deck.

Standard Decking

Use this profile for face screwed decking. Then, plug it to give your deck a completely seamless look.

Pre-Grooved Decking

Use pre-grooved decking when you want to allow hidden fasteners to be installed so that the decking boards don’t show any of the fasteners.

Tongue and Grooved Decking

Use this profile for porch flooring or when your deck will be covered. It should only be used when you aren’t concerned about water drainage.

How to Choose the Right Fasteners

First, note that all hardwood decking requires stainless steel screws. You’ll also need to pre-drill each hole due to the hardness and density of the wood.

Stainless Steel Screws

No matter what type of hardwood you’re using, employ stainless steel screws. The wood is going to last 40 or more years, so you’ll want your screws to last just as long.

In addition, other fasteners cause discoloration and staining in hardwoods.

Use stainless steel screws for hidden fasteners, face screwing and if using wood plugs.

Wood Plugs

When face screwing, wood plugs can be used. You’ll need to counter-sink each screw to allow you to cover the head of each screw with a wood plug.

Typically the wood plugs will then be planed or sanded to be smooth with the deck surface.

Hidden Deck Fasteners

When you’re using pre-grooved decking, you’ll want to use hidden deck fasteners. They’re used to clip the decking boards to the span and are almost completely hidden by the deck grooves.

Sanding and Finishing

Once your deck is installed, you’ll want to consider treating it will an oil-based finish. That’ll depend on the hardwood you’ve chosen and the look you’re going for.

How to Sand and Seal Your Decking

First, you’ll want to seal all of your fresh cuts with AnchorSeal. Then, spot-sand as needed. It’s not recommended that you do orbital sanding because it will leave unsightly circular scratches in the wood grain.

Finishing

If you’re OK with your deck developing a natural “silvering” color, you don’t need to worry about finishing. Your deck will still last many, many years.

However, if you’re looking to keep the wood coloring of the original hardwood you should look for a penetrating oil-based finish that’s transparent. It should also have UV protection.

Before you apply, clean and brush your deck’s surface to remove all dust and dirt. Then apply several transparent coats and you’re good to go.

Maintenance and Care

One of the best features of hardwood decking is that it’s very low maintenance. However, you can still help improve its appearance and make it last longer.

The Best Way to Clean Your Deck

A couple times per year put together a simple water and soap solution and take a stiff brush to your deck. This will keep is shining like new.

Pressure washers are rarely recommended for a hardwood deck. When it’s time to rinse, a garden hose and spray nozzle will work just fine.

Refinishing

When you need to remove stains or age from finishes, look for a commercial cleaner that’s made specifically for hardwoods.

When refinishing, make sure to clean the deck thoroughly before you start. Some finishing products may not need to be stripped off the deck prior to applying a new coat. If you have questions about this, contact the product manufacturer.

Hardwood Decking is the Way To Go

With all the options, durability and beautify of hardwood, it’s difficult to see a better option for your new deck.

If you learned from this article, take a look at some of our ebook downloads that can further expand your knowledge base.

Good luck with your deck project!


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A Simple Guide To Buying A Home With Bad Credit

November 8, 2017 - By 
buying a home with bad credit

Preparing to buy a home should be an exciting time in a person’s life. It’s a big step, and should be one that you take confidently.

If you have a low credit score, however, you may feel like home ownership will be out of your reach or more difficult to achieve. That may have been true once, but it isn’t the case anymore.

Potential home buyers now have lots of financing options that can help them secure their dream home, even if they don’t have the best credit history financial standing.

Buying a home with bad credit is now a real possibility, but you have to know the right steps to take. Read on for our simple guide, so you can eventually be ready to buy the house of your dreams.

1. Determine a Realistic Budget

Buying a home with bad credit is possible, but you have to be honest with yourself about how much home you can afford. If you’re already standing on uneven financial ground, the last thing you want to do is take on more debt than you can handle.

Start by looking at the numbers. How much do you make each month? How much do you have saved for a down payment? How much are you already paying toward other debts?

It’s also important to remember that the listing price is not the only cost associated with buying a home. There could be closing costs, a home inspection cost, and moving costs that you will have to pay. Factor those into your overall budget so you don’t end up spending more than you can realistically afford.

2. Consider a Co-Signer

If you think that your bad credit may stop you from getting approved for a mortgage on your own, consider asking someone with a more secure financial standing to co-sign your mortgage.

Your co-signer should be someone that you have a close, trusting relationship with — such as a spouse, parent, or sibling — and he or she should be willing to take on the financial responsibility of co-owning the property.

A co-signer will likely have to share their credit report, income information and other qualifications with the lender, so be sure you’ve prepared them to do so.

3. Explore Mortgage Lenders

Traditionally, if you wanted a mortgage loan you had to go to a bank. Now, however, mortgage lenders are becoming a popular option because they can make it easier for everyone — even those with bad credit — to buy a home.

Mortgage lenders can offer non-conforming loans that don’t have to meet a bank’s stricter criteria for funding.

They are willing to work with potential home buyers who don’t have a great credit score and can find financing options that enable those people to buy a home like they’ve always dreamed about.

Want to Know More about Buying a Home with Bad Credit?

Our lives are more complicated than they used to be, and between student loans and credit card debt, it’s common for your credit score to take a hit. But that shouldn’t — and doesn’t have to — stop you from being able to buy a home.

For more information about buying a home under any financial circumstance, please explore our blog.


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3 Great Ideas for an Off the Grid Vacation

October 27, 2017 - By 
off the grid vacation

In most cases, living on the grid means leading a lifestyle that’s fast-paced, stressful and overall unhealthy. You’re constantly checking your smartphone for emails from work, dealing with the stresses of managing relationships and getting projects in on time.

Everyone who lives in society today deals with life’s stresses, so it’s good to disconnect every once in a while. This includes professionals, stay-at-home parents, and students.

Both the young and old can benefit from going off the grid and completely disconnecting from the “real world.” Some even go to extremes by leaving their mobile devices at home.

But where should you go on your off the grid vacation? Here is a quick list of three locations you should definitely consider.

1. Emerald Lake Lodge in the Yoho National Park, Canada

There’s nothing like setting up camp next to a beautiful lake in Yoho National Park. This is the perfect location for those living in Canada or North America.

You can take the road trip and enjoy the scenery or take a plane to Alberta’s Calgary Airport.

This site features a 13-acre tract of land filled with pristine waters and plenty of paths for hiking and mountain biking. Enjoy a day on the lake fishing in your canoe, or bring along a raft or rowboat to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the mountains from the lake.

You can’t get any further from society than this, which makes it the perfect place to rest, rejuvenate, and reconnect with nature.

If you need help planning for the trip, you can shop for outdoor gear at Gear for Life.

2. Punta Placer in Oaxaca, Mexico

For those who want to go a little bit further away can head right on down to Mexico. You can find Punta Placer inside of a tiny village along the southern Pacific coast of Mexico.

It’s a beachfront bungalow offering gorgeous views of the Pacific ocean. Enjoy the shade of palms and coconut trees as you relax in your lounge chair or hammock.

Forget sports, work life and any other stresses that bog you down in the real world. Enjoy a swim in the warm waters or relax in your recliner with the warm Pacific breeze.

And if you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can whip out your surfboard and take to the waves.

3. Ultima Thule Lodge in Chitina Alaska

Who said your off grid vacation had to be in a warm location? Some enjoy wintry retreats in the mountains. Those who do will enjoy this Alaskan getaway.

Here, you can soak in all this 13 million-acre tract of land has to offer. This includes plenty of hiking trails, mountain views, and even glaciers. There’s no cellphone range here, so you won’t be tempted to “check in” while on your off the grid vacation.

Find More Travel Ideas for Your Off the Grid Vacation

Planning your off-grid vacay is easier when you have resources. You can visit Pligg to find all sorts of articles on travels around the world.

Whether you’re looking for someplace exotic or off the grid, there’s something here for you. So stop by today to see what tips and tricks you can find!


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5 Reasons to Go On a Machu Picchu Trek

October 27, 2017 - By 

Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – and it’s certainly not hard to see why.

The Inca citadel is one of the most popular hot spots on the planet. Many travelers and tourists flock to the landmark ruins in the Andes Mountains every year. This year make sure you’re among them.

So what’s all the hype about?

There are so many reasons to go Machu Picchu, but we’re going to stick to 5 reasons to go on a Machu Picchu trek. Let’s take a look.

1. The Secret History of the Machu Picchu Trek

It’s common knowledge that Machu Picchu was constructed by the Incas many hundreds of years ago.

However, it’s less well-known that the famous landmark was only discovered in 1911. The American historian, Hiram Bingham was searching for the Inca capital when he was led to the site by a local farmer.

UNESCO established Machu Picchu as a World Heritage Site, describing it as:

“an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization”.

Was it a pilgrimage site or an estate for the Inca ruler Pachacuti?

Historians can’t decide. We don’t know for certain how the site was used by the Incas or why they left.

So enjoy the mystery of one of the most incredible ruins in the world.

2. The Other Landmarks

Another surprising fact about Machu Picchu is tahat there are many other ruins along the Inca trail.

In the excitement of approaching the Machu Picchu ruins, you can wet your appetite on the way by visiting some of the other landmarks.

These include the large archaeological sites of Patallacta and Llactapata.

Historians believe the sites were settlements used by travelers on their way to Machu Picchu. And you can follow in the footsteps of these pilgrims in the modern day.

3. The Spectacular view

As anyone who has been to Machu Picchu can tell you, at 2,430 meters above sea-level, the view is out of this world.

You may have seen pictures on the internet before. However, nothing compares to being there in person. For the best views, find the viewing point of the Sun Gate.

3. The Inca Trail

The Machu Picchu experience is not complete without the Inca Trail. Not only is it much more satisfying when you arrive, you get to enjoy the wonderful views along the way.

The popular hike over the Peruvian Andes Mountains is an experience you shouldn’t miss out on. While the entire hike normally takes 4 days, you can also break the journey up by camping on the trail.

For a more expensive stay, there are even some luxury hotels popping up along the route. Make sure you don’t get lost on the route to Machu Picchu by getting some Inca trail maps.

5. Experience Adventure

Exploring the enchanted forests, indulging your historical curiosities and experiencing breathtaking views; is there anything more adventurous than this?

There is perhaps no better sense of adventure than hiking the Machu Picchu Trek.

Book your flights today to visit the Machu Picchu trek and have the experience of a lifetime in one of the magical places on earth.


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What Are the 10 Best Websites to Legally Download Music

September 28, 2017 - By 
download music

Nowadays, more people listen to music than ever before. But does that mean music is more accessible to anyone who wants it?

Yes and no.

While Spotify and Apple Music compete with each other for customers, they both can cost over 100 dollars a year (around ten dollars a month). Those costs are big enough to deter some people.

If you’ve been blocked out by high costs, we have you covered.

There are plenty of ways to listen to your favorite music without dolling up big money. That’s right–you can still download music and enjoy songs at your leisure, legally. Here are ten websites where you can do it.

Here are ten websites where you can do so.

1. Amazon MP3

Amazon does everything nowadays. Now you can add music to the list. The website plays host to millions of songs- a collection on par with Apple Music and Spotify.

Jeff Bezos’ company offers a wide selection of choices for its music-oriented customers to have access to the collection. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can receive a discount on a full-paying membership.

Or, if you’re looking to keep the cash in your wallet intact, you can check out the free options they offer. You don’t get the same diverse options of a paying customer, but hey, free music is free music.

Check out their offers to see if any float your boat.

2. Soundcloud

Since its founding a decade ago, Soundcloud has undergone many changes. Still, the platform is a great place for young artists and accomplished ones alike to upload their new music.

Still, the platform is a great place for young artists and accomplished ones alike to upload their new music.

So, Soundcloud is a great place to find new tracks from your favorite artists, both present, and future. It’s free to join as a member and download music there without limits.

3. NoiseTrade

NoiseTrade is similar to Soundcloud in its purpose: connect listeners with free, new music. But NoiseTrade offers a more personal angle to its clients.

The company incentivizes its artists to interact with its fans on the site.

Their music options are less expansive than other services, but that can be made up for by getting to know your favorite musicians and bands better.

4. YouTube to MP3 Conversion Sites

There are a million YouTube to MP3 converter websites out there. They all do a good service: you plug in a YouTube link and the video is converted to an MP3 file.

You can download music for free in that way. But there are some hitches.

Some of these sites deal in fishy advertisements; some videos on YouTube aren’t available for conversion.

Still, these services are convenient in certain instances. With some tips on how to find safe downloads online, you’ll be well on your way.

5. DatPiff

Are you inclined to the world of hip-hop and rap? Then DatPiff is a must for you.

DatPiff is in some ways the minor leagues of the international rap scene. For the past decade, its played host to some of the biggest stars first, initial mixtapes.

That includes Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar, two of the biggest music stars in the world today.

If you’re a regular on DatPiff, you’ll be able to download music for free while also coming into contact with some of the rising stars in the industry.

6. Free Music Archive

In this case, it’s all in a name. The Free Music Archive does exactly what it promises: provide free music that can be downloaded by its users.

They even go one extra step: most of the music on the site comes with a built-in legal right to use for people doing creative projects. That means if you’re doing any kind of visual or auditory creative project, this site is a must.

Or, you might just want to listen to some good music. They’ve got you covered in that respect, too.

7. Jamendo

Jamendo bills itself as the largest platform in the world for free digital music downloads. Whether they deserve that title is up to you, ultimately, but it’s easy to see where they’re coming from.

Originally from Luxembourg, the community offers thousands of new artists a platform to get their start by connecting them with new listeners.

That means their platform is perfect for an aspiring audience or casual listener alike.

8. Last.fm

Last.fm is similar to the other massive communities of streaming services in some ways. Like the others, it allows customers to stream thousands of tracks from new artists looking to crack into larger audiences.

But they differentiate themselves with the diversity of genre they provide.

Last.fm is making an effort to give its users a more fulfilling music experience. Videos and images are available alongside the tracks you can listen to on their site.

That means you can download music or choose to engage in the wide array of platforms provided on the website. It’s a good site for the music fan looking to expand their horizons.

9. Vimeo/SmartSound

Vimeo? Vimeo, the video site? That’s right–Vimeo does music now.

Vimeo Music existed for a few years until the end of 2016, when it decided to switch its focus to SmartSound. SmartSound is a service that is perfect for creative types who need to use royalty-free music in their projects.

All these add up to a lot of places to download music. But what if you want to create yours at a reasonable price?

10. Musopen

Musopen offers free and discounted products to musicians. Whether you need to find the sheet music of a specific composer from two hundred years ago or are just looking to learn to play piano, this site is the place for you.

Its made a name for itself by providing a unique service. Is it one you can take advantage of?

Download Music Stress-Free

This isn’t a Limewire situation. There’s nothing illegal about these websites, and they’re cheap, if not free–you get the best of both worlds.

If you bounce around these ten websites, you’ll be able to listen to a diverse array of music. You can download music to listen to anytime–with or without service–worry-free.

Looking for more information on the wild world of digital downloads? Check out our expert advice on the subject.

Now go download some music. What are you waiting for?


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The Top 7 Software Trends to Keep an Eye On

September 27, 2017 - By 
Software Trends

Things are always changing in the world of software development. New tools, frameworks, and software are constantly being released and changing the landscape of business and technology.

If you want your business to stay ahead, you need to keep track of the latest and greatest software trends. By taking advantage of these software trends, your company can achieve greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency.

Want to know the 7 top software trends your company should be keeping an eye on? Read on to learn more.

Trend 1: Increase in Security Measures

Due to the huge increase in mobile device usage, people are relying on their smartphones for everyday needs like communicating, shopping, and storing service sensitive information. The more they use e-banking, e-wallets, and things like social media payment methods, the more vulnerable they become to mobile malware, identity theft, and cyber attacks.

Breach of mobile payment systems, hacktivism, and the cracking of cloud storage are things both users and companies should be worried about. Companies need to invest in the latest security software trends to assure users that their private information is being protected.

Here are a few computer safekeeping features to keep you protected:

IM Protection

IM Protection will protect you from any instant messages with hidden malware.

Firewall

A Firewall will prevent you from unintentionally downloading malware. A Firewall also protects you from shady websites trying to steal data from your computer.

Anti-Spam

Anti-Spam will filter email and block annoying and unwelcomed messages.

Privacy Filter

A privacy filter will warn you whenever you’re about to accidentally reveal personal information. It’s also a panel or filter you can place over your display to make it difficult for someone to see your screen without directly being in front of it.

File Shredder

A file shredder lets you erase files so that they can’t be recovered from your hard drive at a later time.

Trend 2: Cloud Technology

As people continue to use more and more devices, the need to access data from multiple devices becomes greater. Today, companies are using cloud computing as a way of storing and access data over the Internet instead of on your computer’s hard drive.

Today, electronic manufacturers are investing in cloud computing and cloud security. Industries like banking, manufacturing, and gaming are even migrating to the cloud.

In fact, it’s reported that by 2018, at least 30% of service companies will move their enterprise resource planning applications to the cloud.

Knowing how cloud technology works and any relevant software trends will then be incredibly important in the next few years.

Trend 3: Increase in Chat Applications

With the increase of applications like Slack, more and more companies are using team chat applications not just as a form of communication, but as a way of conducting business operations.

Here’s a list of just a few things chat applications can do:

  • Perform daily data look-up
  • Run builds and deployments
  • Automate tasks
  • Analyze legal contracts
  • Create financial reports

Using chat applications and bot technology can help teams ship software faster, increase the effectiveness of your product, and improve the overall user experience.

Trend 4: Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are two of the most important new software trends out there. Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence that lets systems automatically learn and improve from experience without being programmed.

They include technologies like deep learning, natural language processing, and include even more advanced systems that can learn, adapt, predict and operate on their own.

Why are these two things important?

AI and machine learning can lead to the development of more intelligent devices and programs. They can help companies more intelligently target users, more easily detect security threats, and even help things like cars learn how to operate more efficiently.

Trend 5: Intelligent Applications

One of the newer software trends is intelligent applications that help make people more efficient and everyday tasks easier. For example, some will help you prioritize emails, and even highlight the most important pieces of text so you won’t have to read the whole thing.

How can intelligent applications help you?

Intelligent apps like virtual customer assistants can help do specialized tasks for sales and customer service teams like keeping track of bookings. Virtual customer assistants can help improve the customer experience by reducing the workload for human customer service agents and speeding up the overall customer service process.

Software intelligence apps also give you the ability to detect when a user makes an error, or when there’s a performance issue so you can quickly solve any issues.

Trend 6: Internet of Things

To put it simply, the Internet of Things is the concept of connecting devices such as cell phones, headphones, lamps, etc. with automated systems.

Here are a few ways the Internet of Things will change how you do business:

Greater Access to Data

The Internet of Things will help mobile devices use data to track and record customer behavior and make intelligent product recommendations for them.

Easier Inventory Tracking and Management

Tthe Internet of Things will help businesses keep track of inventory automatically.

Faster & More Efficient Work

The Internet of Things will help you and your workers accomplish tasks faster and do things like data analysis and management with greater precision.

By 2020, more than half of new businesses will use the Internet of Things to some extent, so jump on this software trend now!

Trend 7: Mobile First

Mobile devices are being used more today than ever before. So it’s important to optimize your mobile experience and make sure it has the most up to date features and security measures.

Take advantage of VR and AR technology, and make sure your security is up to date to prevent malware from accessing or stealing user information.

How to Keep Up With Software Trends

Keeping up with the latest software trends isn’t easy. Here are some tips for staying in the know:

1. Check out Twitter and social media feeds for conversations surrounding new technology.

2. Visit news aggregation sites like Reddit and Techmeme for recent tech developments.

3. Read blogs, connect with software industry experts, and search YouTube for videos on new and exciting software.

Was this post helpful? Are there any software trends were missing? Let us know in the comments below!


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Why Should Your Business Use Paperless Payroll?

September 22, 2017 - By 
paperless payroll

Are you trying to make your workplace more convenient?

If that’s the case, you might want to consider paperless payroll management. Thanks to cloud computing, businesses can manage payroll processing through web-based solutions.

Why are more businesses turning to a paperless payroll system? It can help save time, money, and even the environment. These systems can also be handled internally — eliminating the hassle of dealing with a third party’s convoluted process.

Are you considering making the switch to a paperless office? Read on to discover why your business should consider making the payroll switch.

Paper Costs

A web-based payroll solution might sound expensive. But rising paper costs have made paperless payroll a cost-effective option for businesses.

Paper costs have been on the rise thanks to increased supplier costs. These increased costs have had a domino effect on prices on everything from shipping to packaging.

The web’s accessibility makes these costs unnecessary to businesses. Paperless systems can eliminate the need for paper involved in checks, tax forms, government documents, and mailing documents.

Eco-Friendly

You’re not just helping your business when you switch to a paperless solution. You’re also helping the environment.

The average person in the United States uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year and paper use contributed to over 26 million tons of landfill waste in 2009.

Consider a large number of businesses still using paper systems. The employee paper usage adds up when you consider each individual pay stub and W-2 forms. Eliminating these paper documents could help to cut down on millions of tons of paper waste.

Convenience

Moving towards a new payroll system might sound like a tedious process. But it can save you a large chunk of time in the long run.

Paperless payroll offers unparalleled convenience for businesses. For one, employees have a central portal where they can access all of their payroll records and documents.

Online pay stubs have a number of convenient benefits. Employees no longer have to worry about losing their records, dealing with bank deposits, or picking up their paper checks.

Employees can also take advantage of a paystub generator. By simpling entering their salary information and company name, the generator will provide them with a snapshot of their payment history. This can be extremely useful for tax information, proof of income, and even salary breakdowns.

Mobile

Thanks to smartphones, it’s easy to access a wealth of information from the palm of your hand. Payroll systems are no different.

Employees can use their paperless system to access their paychecks directly via their smartphone. This allows them to access paperless stubs and deposit their checks at any time.

This helps to make sure payroll is always processed on time. Mobile continues to dominate the modern landscape and will only play a bigger role in payroll systems moving forward.

Your Paperless Payroll

Are you interested in moving your payroll system to a paperless platform? Doing so can make your modern workplace more convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

Payroll is just the start. There are a number of other digital programs available that can help change your business. Read our blog about how digital downloads can help your company today.


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5 Secure Websites Where You Can Access Legal Document Downloads

September 22, 2017 - By 
document downloads

Hiring an attorney is expensive, even for simple legal needs like petitioning for a change of name. Did you know that most legal needs can be resolved on your own with legal form document downloads?

All you need to do is find the proper form for your legal needs, fill it out and pay the required filing fee at your local courthouse.

Even when dealing with complex legal issues like establishing a DBA (doing business as) or filing for divorce, you can still handle things on your own with the right document downloads.

In this article we’re going to cover the top 5 secure websites where you can access all the legal document downloads you’ll need.

Not only will this save you money, it’ll end your legal stress.

1. US Legal Document Downloads

This is one of the most helpful and comprehensive online legal forms services available.

This service boasts over 36,000 legal forms that are state-specific, as well as a host of non-legal documents. US Legal covers more areas of law than any other legal form document download website.

US Legal’s range of documents is so extensive that it’s unlikely you’d need to look at any other site to find what you’re looking for.

They even have the documents you’ll need when you learn how to apply for income based repayment navient on student loans.

One negative is that they don’t have any presence on social media.

2. FindLegalForms, Inc.

This is also a very comprehensive service with almost any legal form you could need. They allow you to download your chosen forms directly into an MS Word document so you can enter all your personal information.

You can also choose PDF downloads if you’d like to fill out the forms by hand before filing.

FindLegalForms gives you great support options that make it a top pick.

On the downside, you can’t access immigration forms on this site. But other than that, it’s quite good.

3. Rocket Lawyer

One of the best features of Rocket Lawyer is that you can speak with an attorney for free as a part of their service.

That’s a unique option you should definitely take advantage of.

They also have most of the forms you’ll need for personal and business needs. However, you won’t be able to access lien forms or certain immigration forms like the I-485 (to apply for permanent residency).

They do have a very extensive list of real estate, business and financial forms that make it a good choice.

4. Legal Zoom

At Legal Zoom, the forms are simple to locate and fill out.

You’ll get easy questionnaires to help you find the legal forms you need. You also get the option of previewing them before making a purchase.

They’ll auto-check your forms for errors and spelling mistakes to make sure everything is done right.

Unfortunately, they don’t offer any bill of sale or loan agreement forms.

5. Law Depot

This is another easy-to-use service with state-specific forms for business, real estate, finance and personal legal issues.

For each form, you’ll be given step-by-step instructions within an interview format.

Completed forms are then saved, printed or emailed off to be signed and filed with the court.

You’ll notice that they don’t offer any bankruptcy documents.

You should utilize these free options before going after the more expensive versions.

When it’s time to resolve legal issues, check out this article on hiring an attorney.


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The Weird, Wonderful World of Video Game Influencers

September 22, 2017 - By 
video game influencers product or service

Now that billions of people play video games, gaming as a hobby is becoming far more accepted. But things have come a long way since Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.

Games like Call of Duty and Destiny are far more complicated than their predecessors. And yet many gamers prefer to watch someone else play a game rather than play it themselves.

An estimated 90% of gamers reportedly tuned into a YouTube or Twitch stream at least once a week. In fact, one YouTuber, Markiplier, is so popular that he’s getting his own tour!

What’s the deal with these gamers and how do you find them anyway? Read on for all of the details on the weird, wonderful world of video game influencers.

What Exactly Are Video Game Influencers?

If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out the world of influencers, you’re not alone. Most businesses can’t figure it out either.

But there’s something about it that resonates with audiences. So what’s an influencer anyway?

A video game influencer is someone who makes sponsored content by streaming games. They use the power of social media and streaming to get their content directly to their audience. These streamers form unique bonds with their audiences and in turn, influence their purchasing choices.

Let’s take the Five Nights at Freddy’s series for instance. Initially, Scott Cawthorn’s game was released to little to no fanfare. In fact, most people didn’t even know it existed. That is until some YouTubers got their hands on it.

Suddenly, millions were tuning in to see what the jumpscare riddled game was about. And just like that, FNaF became a multi-million dollar hit.

How Does it Work?

This is where things get really interesting. How does becoming a video game influencer work, anyway? Well, it largely depends.

In some cases, like the CBS-owned Giant Bomb, there’s a combination of corporate sponsorship mixed with creative freedom. The company is under the CBS Interactive umbrella but only employs around a dozen employees.

In other cases, such as Jim Sterling or TotalBiscuit, the influencer gets paid from their audience via crowdsourcing.

Of course, there are also streamers who take sponsorships directly from corporations. Turn on Twitch at any given moment and you’re likely to discover a streamer with a company’s watermark in the corner or a chair with a logo.

If you’re interested in finding streamers for your business, all you have to do is use social media. Tools like Grin find influencers on Instagram and make it easy to connect with them.

Why Would Anyone Want to Watch Someone Play Video Games?

All of this begs the question: why are people watching game streaming? Why not play games yourself?

Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. First of all, streamers and their audience have a unique relationship. The audience forms a bond with the influencer and views them as more friend than an entertainer.

Of course, others don’t have the time to play these games themselves.

Video games are getting increasingly complex and time-consuming. Watching someone else play lets you experience the game without having to buy it.

Last Thoughts on Video Game Influencers

If you’re still confused by the world of video game influencers, that’s okay. It’s a bit of an odd phenomenon. But it likely isn’t going anywhere, and having the right influencer on your side can be beneficial.

Looking to learn more about the world of video games? Be sure to check out our software downloads or ebook selection.


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Using Technology to Step Up Creative Marketing for Dentists

September 21, 2017 - By 
creative marketing

Are you looking to use technology to step up the creative marketing efforts of your dental practice?

Technology can help keep your practice in touch with your patients, and attract new ones, in the digital age.

Read on below to learn about how you can use technology to help amp up your dental practice’s creative marketing.

1. Social Media Marketing

You should be utilizing social media platforms as a dentist.

It’s a great opportunity to grow your brand and connect with your target audience.

Social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram are great tools for branding.

They have made it possible for dentists to reach their target audience in an effective way.

These platforms allow you to connect, engage, and interact with your patients before their appointments and long after they leave the office.

This means it’s worth it to develop engaging social media campaigns that reflect your brand and digital presence in a positive way.

Finding ways that help bridge your office’s mission with your online community will help make your practice feel modern, vibrant, and welcoming.

2. Maintain a Blog on Your Practice’s Website

Did you know that 75% of people will make judgments about your practice based on your website?

That’s why it’s important to make sure your website is up-to-date and that you maintain a blog in addition to your social media channels.

A blog is a great way to keep your patients, and potential new patients, informed about dental health, industry news, and updates about your practice.

An effective way to help promote the content available on your blog is to share your posts directly on your social channels.

This kind of inbound marketing guarantees that your content is visible on various online platforms to your audience.

Sharing content on your blog and social channels is a great way you can use technology and SEO together. It will help improve your marketing efforts and drive web traffic.

Remember: always create valuable content for your blog that your target audience cares about to help sustain online engagement for your practice.

Taking the time to learn more about the importance of valuable content to your marketing efforts is essential to your business’ success.

3. Email Marketing

People regularly check their email throughout the day. Why miss out on this opportunity to reach your patients?

Email is a great way to combine your marketing efforts in one place and reach your patients directly in their inbox.

Send out regular e-newsletters with office, website, and blog updates.

Be sure to place your social buttons in the email and make sure your office’s contact information is readily available too.

Want to use email effectively in other ways? Send your patients electronic appointment reminders.

To really step it up, ask them if they’d like to receive reminders via text message as well.

Your patients are bound to appreciate the convenience that email updates and electronic reminders provide them in their busy lives.

Technology Can Enhance Your Creative Marketing Efforts

It’s clear that technology and how it is used has influenced the way dental practices shape their creative marketing strategies.

Utilize social media marketing, your website and its blog, and email marketing to your advantage to help step up your practice’s marketing efforts.

What other technology do you use as a dentist when it comes to your creative marketing tactics?


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8 Websites Where You Can Legally Download Movies

August 1, 2017 - By 
download movies

Everyone loves a good movie. Who doesn’t love a movie even more when it costs nothing to watch?

The Internet is full of illegal websites that promise free downloads. But, most of these websites are illegal. Illegally downloading or streaming movies or television is piracy.

Online piracy is a growing problem. In 2016, there were more than 191 billion visits to piracy websites. Streaming piracy, which includes film and TV, accounts for almost 77% of all piracy.

If you are caught illegally downloading movies, you could face jail time. Fines can range up to $250,000.

Your once free download may cost you a quarter of a million dollars!

Looking to get your on-the-go entertainment fix without the risk? If so, you’re in luck!

Keep reading to learn about 8 websites where you can legally download movies.

8 Legal Websites to Download Movies

Netflix and Hulu provide a vast selection of movies and television shows. But what if you don’t want to pay?

Here are 8 legal websites to download movies that you’ll want to check out!

1. Crackle

Crackle is owned by Sony, so you can count on having plenty of movies to watch!

To use Crackle you first have to sign up. Once you’re a member, you’ll create a watch list. This will be used to display movie recommendations.

Unlike many other sites, Crackle lets you watch popular movies and television shows. Their library includes:

  • Seinfeld
  • Jeopardy
  • Joe Dirt
  • Iron Man
  • Resident Evil

To keep the site free, users have to watch ads and commercials. A minute-long ad is well worth free entertainment though!

2. The Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is a motherlode of entertainment. Not only can you legally download movies, the site also offers books and music.

The site is easy to browse. You can search by genres, including:

  • Comedy
  • Black Noir
  • Sci-Fi/Horror

The Internet Archive even offers entertainment in various languages.

Looking to watch a movie in German? What about Portuguese? This site has you covered!

To use the site, you’ll need a torrent program. Torrents typically take 30 minutes to download.

3. YouTube

YouTube is home to more than just viral videos of cats and dogs. You can also use the site to get your movie fix. There are several channels that allow you to legally watch movies.

Channels you’ll want to check out include:

  • The Paramount Vault
  • The Documentary Network
  • Full Cinema Channel
  • PizzaFlix

You can also watch YouTube Originals without paying a single dime!

The company has self-produced a variety of shows, including comedies and documentaries. Popular shows to check out include:

  • This Is Everything
  • Bad Internet
  • Lazer Team
  • The Paranormal Action Squad
  • Hyperlinked

4. Open Culture

Open Culture hosts more than 1,100 movies. The best part? The high-quality videos are from all across the world.

Open Culture is more than a site to download movies. The site also offers free language lessons as well as free online courses. You’ll also find:

  • Textbooks
  • eBooks
  • Audiobooks

Don’t let the educational-theme throw you off! This site has a huge collection of Hitchcock and Chaplain films.

5. PopcornFlix

PopcornFlix is a quality site for downloading entertainment for free! The site offers well-known movies as well as independent short films.

On the site you can sort by genre, including family, action and drama. You can even sort by staff picks if you don’t want to make the tough decision yourself.

Aside from movies, PopcornFlix also offers a variety of television shows. The site is the go-to place to get your 90s television fix.

The site offers beloved shows such as:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Inspector Gadget
  • The Big Comfy Couch
  • The Man Show

6. Public Domain Torrents

Very few torrent sites are legal. Public Domain Torrents is a site that you can trust when you want free entertainment.

The site mostly offers classic movies and television shows. You can sort by genre for easy selection. You can also view the newest additions to the site.

Want to watch a movie on the go? Running out of room on your laptop? Want to stream instead of download?

Public Domain Torrents also offers links to legal live streams! You can watch documentaries as well as movies.

7. MovieZoot

MovieZoot offers viewers legal and free movie streaming services.

The site is free because of its advertising-supported business model. While you will have to watch a few ads here and there, the free movies are worth it.

The site provides a wide range of movies. From classics to today’s most popular, you can find a movie to watch any day of the week.

Got a few nights with no plans? Bad weather got you stuck in the house? If so, head to MovieZoot and check out the Binge Watching list.

MovieZoot covers all sorts of genres, including musicals, westerns, and comedies.

The site even lets users create a watch list. Never lose track of the movies you want to watch in the future.

8. Retrovision

Love to watch Lucille Ball on the small screen? Want to re-live your childhood with a night of Dragnet? If classic television is your forte, Retrovision is your go-to site.

Retrovision is home to a variety of classic movies and shows. You can easily sift through the movies by searching by:

  • Genre
  • Name
  • Actors/Actresses

The site also allows you to view all of the available movies at once.

Want to ensure you never miss a show? Sign up for Retrovision’s newsletter to be notified when new content is added.

Your Go-to Source for Digital Downloads

Looking for a manual for your car? Need an e-book to teach you about running a small business?

No matter your digital download need, Pligg can help. Our site offers a wide variety of ebooks, manuals and more.

Check out our site today to find the digital download you need!

You can also visit our blog to boost your knowledge about all sorts of topics. From marketing to tips for art students, we cover it all.


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5 Tips to Create Unique Videos for Training Online

June 30, 2017 - By 
training online

If you’ve ever had to undergo a training process, you know how drab and dry it can be.

At best, you’re getting lectured on safety procedures that seem like common sense. At worst, you’re stuck watching an outdated video from a few decades ago that isn’t of any help.

As a business owner, you’ll want to make sure your training process is easy and fun for employees. And thanks to the internet, training online is more popular than ever.

But to make the most of your online training, be sure to make your videos as easy to follow and creative as possible. Here are some tips on making your training video something employees will remember.

5 Tips to Create Unique Videos for Training Online

1. Break Your Content Up Into Small Sections

One of the toughest things about the training process is that it can to overwhelm newcomers. And understandably so. There’s a lot to learn at any new job, so try and keep your information to a manageable pace.

While everyone learns at their own pace, avoid potential confusion by chunking info. Chunking is a psychological term that refers to the grouping of content in bite-sized portions.

Studies show that once chunked, information is easier to digest.

Before you go about creating your video series, create an outline with everything you want to go over.

Here’s a brief example. Let’s say we’re creating a video tutorial on how to be an ideal employee.

Your outline could look something like this:

  • What sets an employee apart?
    • Example 1
    • Example 2
    • Additional info, etc.
  • What makes an employee?
    • Example 1
    • Example 2
    • Additional info, etc.
  • How does a good employee deal with conflict?
    • Example 1
    • Example 2
    • Additional info, etc.

Obviously, you’d fill in the details of the examples and so forth. This could all theoretically be one large section, but the important info may be lost that way.

Try and put yourself in your trainee’s shoes and keep information manageable. Let’s face it, we have shorter attention spans these days. You’ll need to take that approach when training online, too.

Keep sections confined to 3-10 minute sections for the best results.

2. Make Your Videos Interactive

Creating interactive videos is a great way to keep trainees from getting bored.

One of the best ways of creating a sense of interaction is to include brief quizzes at the end of a section.

Starbucks, for instance, puts their baristas through an online training process. Upon module completion, they’re given a multiple-choice exam. This keeps the trainee on their toes and forces them to pay attention.

You can also add interactive elements within your video itself. This is a fantastic way to engage both kinesthetic and kinetic learners.

An interaction in your online training can be anything from a hyperlink to a choose-your-own-adventure style video. It’s all up to you as the author to make your video as thoughtful and engaging as possible.

The medium of video allows you to get creative, so have some fun with it!

3. Use a Blend of Text and Video

You’ll want to make sure that you’re using a variety of methods to keep your trainees interested. Researchers have come to realize that there are tons of different learning styles.

Odds are that no two employees will learn the same way. Cover all of your bases by using both text and video throughout your training.

Some subjects are also easier to explain with a particular medium. For instance, anything with numbers or equations would need to be text-based.

Other procedures like data entry or cleaning are often better learned via demonstration.

While making sure your video has text and video may sound like a painstaking process, it doesn’t need to be. If you have certain tasks your business does different, videos give you the opportunity to show your preferred method.

Text can be used along with a slide or talking head, or something simple like closed captioning.

There’s nothing stopping you from screen casting a lecture like many colleges do, but don’t be surprised if your employees don’t retain much info.

And make sure your online training videos contain the ability to rewind and fast forward. Sometimes an important detail is missed, and you’ll want to make sure your trainee has a grasp on the subject.

Sometimes an important detail is missed, and you’ll want to make sure your trainee has a grasp on the subject.

4. Know Your Audience and Create a Connection

For better or worse, most training online makes use of talking heads. Under the right circumstance, talking heads are an easy way to create the feel of a classroom.

The problem, however, comes when a talking head is too dry. If you’re going to use talking heads throughout your training online, be sure to keep things animated.

Use big, open, friendly gestures. If you’re the person talking to the camera, try and imagine you’re speaking with someone.

Being recorded may be intimidating, so create an eye line for yourself to reduce tension. Talk to the cameraman if it helps.

Make sure you’re using language that’s fit for your audience. Even if you’re not an educator, you know that you wouldn’t talk to an 18-year-old and a 70-year-old the same way.

Knowing your audience can play a critical role in how successful your training online is.

5. Get Feedback

There’s a good chance your training online may need a few revisions along the way. There’s nothing wrong with that, just make sure you’re incorporating feedback.

Include a brief survey at the end of your training.

Asking some of the following questions can give you a better idea of what did — and didn’t — work for trainees. That way you can tinker your training as necessary.

  • What did you like about the training program?
  • What would you like done differently?
  • Do you feel that you thoroughly understood the content presented?
  • Do you feel that this training method was effective?

Feedback is one of the most important things in the business world. Why should training online be any different?

Final Thoughts

Training online can be difficult if you’ve never put together a video before. But with a little ingenuity, the right crew, and some planning, you’ll have a great regimen in no time.

Be sure to check out our great resources. Whether you’re looking for video clips or repair manuals, we’ve got everything you’ll need.


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Natural Pain Relief: 4 Things You Should Try

June 26, 2017 - By 
natural medication

Pain is a real problem that can damage your quality of life. If you’re reading this article, you probably know that.

What you might not know are the real problems that stem from pain pill abuse in American culture. Americans consume 80% of the world’s supply of pain pills. That number isn’t likely to decrease anytime soon.

These tendencies have caused real harm to the health and wellbeing of Americans who suffer from pain. This pills can lead to addiction, further health complications, and are an incredible expense for many.

Before seeking synthetic pain relief, look for these natural alternatives.

Before taking any medication, natural or otherwise, you should always first consult with your doctor.

CBD Dabs

CBD wax comes from the cannabis plant, but it isn’t illegal!

That’s because CBD isn’t the ingredient in cannabis that gets people “high,” that would be THC, which is not contained in dabs, drops, or edibles of CBD wax. What is contained in these packages is CBD, the medically powerful ingredient in these plants.

Along with being great for pain, CBD also provides a variety of other benefits. These can range from increasing your appetite to providing you with anxiety relief. It truly is one of the most effective natural medicines on the market.

Ginger

Ginger also provides a wonderful gift of healing for those struggling with arthritis pain.

Eating ginger capsules has been shown to reduce pain in arthritis sufferers by 40% more than a capsule medication.

This isn’t surprising when you consider the cleansing antioxidant properties of ginger. If you have arthritis, it may be time to stop thinking of ginger as just a palette cleanser from sushi, and start thinking of the ways it can help you in day-to-day life.

St. John’s Wort

Rubbing oil made from St. John’s wort on the point of pain can reduce it greatly, as can taking an infused tincture.

As is usually the case, herbal medicine has often been overlooked when it comes to relieving pain. But it also is one of the most effective methods out there. It also has great calming properties.

If pain keeps you up at night,  St. John’s wort can be the pain solution you’re looking for. That being said, it is usually used for more mild pain relief. This means that it will most likely provide a temporary solution while you seek more long-term effective relief.

Capsaicin

Capsaicin is the ingredient that causes hot peppers and other foods to seem spicy. So you might think it’s counterintuitive to use capsaicin for pain relief.

But you would be wrong.

Applied topically to the skin, capsaicin can help relieve pain caused by everything from surgery to arthritis. But how does it work?

Well, the painful part of spiciness does apply here. When first applied topically, capsaicin actually stimulates feelings of pain in the body. But after stimulation, the feeling subsides into a number feeling as the nerves relax.

So, it isn’t entirely pain-free, but it comes close and stops more pain than it causes.

Think Naturally

You don’t have to rely on medication for relief. Instead, look to what the Earth provides.


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Survivalist Book Shelf: Top 5 Books of 2017

June 26, 2017 - By 
Survival emergency kit

With rising temperatures, political unrest, and infrastructure collapsing, it pays to be prepared. While the odds of a societal collapse aren’t likely, you’ll want to have a good set of survival skills at the ready.

A strong set of practical skills can get you out of a sticky situation. From creating a bug-out bag to learning wilderness skills, the right skills at the right moment are important.

We all know that knowledge is power, so arm yourself accordingly. Here are the top 5 books that should be on every survivalist’s bookshelf.

1. SAS Survival Guide

Written in 1986 by John Wiseman, The SAS Survival Guide is the gold standard in survivalist lit. Wiseman, a former SAS soldier, served in the British military for over 2 decades where he honed his skills.

Now, he’s passing the knowledge onto a brand new generation. Readers can expect Wiseman to walk them through everything from first-aid to climate.

Some survivalists may already have a copy on their bookshelf, but they may not know about a modern twist. The guide is now more accessible than ever thanks to Wiseman’s new app. Now you can learn survival techniques wherever you go.

2. The Complete Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook

You may remember the Worst-Case Scenario series from your childhood. The series has been in publication for decades, but now you can get all 11 guides in one collection.

Admittedly, this is a lighter read. With topics like dating and driving, it takes a light-hearted approach to preparedness.

That isn’t to say you shouldn’t expect to learn a thing or two about genuine survival, however. On the contrary, the book is full of fascinating and useful tidbits of information.

Even a survivalist needs a humorous outlet every now and then.

3. How to Stay Alive in the Woods

How to Stay Alive in the Woods is a favorite amongst wilderness enthusiasts. Bradford Angier’s classic guide contains everything you’d ever need to know about the woods.

From scavenging and cooking food, to building a fire and shelter, you’ll learn it all.

4. How to Survive the End of the World as we Know It: Tactics, Technology, and Techniques for Uncertain Times

With a title like that, you know you’re in for some hardcore survival techniques. This book will fully prepare you for when disaster strikes.

Learn practical tips on how to keep yourself and your family safe during tough times. Rawles details food and shelter, but also useful tips like how to shoot the best recurve bow.

Despite its apocalyptic title, How to Survive is a realistic and excellent resource.

5. Bushcraft 101

Dave Canterbury’s classic Bushcraft 101 is an absolute must-have. Even if you’re only headed into the woods for the weekend, this field guide can teach you how to make the most of your time in the wild.

Our favorite thing about Bushcraft is its minimalist approach. Canterbury set out to create a resource guide for those with as few resources as possible.

Learn to survive with just your wits and a few twigs!

There’s something on this list for everyone from novice to expert. So take a minute to crack open a book. It could even save your life.


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A Guide to Pesky Bugs in Washington

June 20, 2017 - By 
Ants taking care of aphids on nettle stem

Are you spending a lot of time outdoors this summer in the state of Washington?

Have you found a ton of bugs and pests bothering you whenever you’re out on a walk? You might need to learn more about the most common bugs in Washington to prepare for the upcoming season.

Keep reading to learn more about the insects of Washington. We’ve compiled a guide on the state’s most common bugs below. Let’s get into it!

The aphids found in trees

One common species of insect found in the state of Washington is the aphids, which are typically found in fruit trees. These bugs don’t necessarily harm the fruit itself but do damage the longevity of the entire fruit tree.

The size of the fruit is usually reduced if aphids are found in the area. You will find honeydew, a sticky substance, on the fruit and leaves of the tree due to these bugs.

Beetles, flies, and wasps

Some more beneficial insects that reside in the state of Washington include beetles, lacewings, syrphid flies, and parasitic wasps. These bugs can sting and lay eggs in aphids so that fewer fruit trees are harmed.

Be sure to identify these bugs and keep them alive since they are more beneficial to the ecosystem. If you have a fruit tree growing in your backyard, you can attract these insects so that they remove aphids from your trees.

You can plant specific flowers in your yard to attract these bugs. Plant some asters and legumes under your fruit tree. You should also reduce pesticide use to conserve these insects.

Silverfish

Have you ever found a silverfish in the corners of your attic or basement? Silverfish are common to the state of Washington and tend to stick around in warm and dark areas of the house.

These bugs are nocturnal and wingless. Silverfish can also live for months without eating, so don’t expect a lack of food to lead to their demise.

If you want to remove a silverfish from your attic or another part of your house, http://naturapestcontrol.com has some great tips.

Buffalo Treehopper

The Buffalo Treehopper is a small and harmless insect. However, they have very large, bison-like heads and tend to look intimidating at first glance.

These bugs have wings and are green in color. You will find these insects outdoors in your yards or gardens.

North American Carpenter Ants

Ants called the North American Carpenter Ants are found in Washington as well. Carpenter ants are the largest type of ant found in all of North America.

Be careful if you see a carpenter ant because they are known for biting humans. These ants have very large jaws for shaving timber and wood, eating other bugs, and biting people.

Giant water bugs

Another bug you’ll find in Washington is the giant water bug. These bugs are dark brown and very big. The giant insect lives in muddy water.

If you go swimming in a lake, you may come upon this bug since it may pinch your toes when you step into the muddy floor.

The state of Washington has its fair share of pesky bugs. If you’re planning to move to the state or you currently live here, you now know the bugs to look out for!


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5 Daily Tips to Help Cleanse Your Body

June 19, 2017 - By 
cleanse

Feeling overtired and weighed down?

Cleansing is an easy and effective solution to increase energy, promote weight loss, and contribute to overall health. A healthy lifestyle is easy to achieve.

Let’s discuss 5 simple ways you can cleanse your body every day.

1. Begin Your Day With Citrus Water

Drink a glass of warm or cold lemon water after you wake up. Lemons contain pectin, which aids digestion and makes lemon an essential part of any detox. Water with citrus curbs the appetite.

2. Detox With Breakfast

The next step to a daily cleanse is to fuel the body with healthy foods that detoxify your system.

For those that spend the weekends eating salty, unhealthy foods or drinking, pushing back breakfast is a great way to make sure your body isn’t storing fat. Twelve hours without food puts your body into a fasted state. However, be wary of exceeding this number as the goal is to help your body, not slow it down.

Breakfast kick starts your metabolism. Cut out bread, cereal or any other breakfast foods that result in retaining water. Add more protein to your breakfast like eggs and salmon. If you’re in a hurry, a smoothie acts as a wonderful alternative.

3. Rethink Your Diet

Eat three square meals a day. Do not skip meals.

Consistent eating helps you build healthy eating habits. You won’t be reaching for unhealthy snacks that will derail your cleanse!

Fermented foods like raw kraut are rich in probiotics to support your digestion.

The turmeric in curry powder acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps produces glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that keeps your liver in tip top shape.

You need to load your diet with foods rich in fiber. Fiber helps with regularity and rid your gut of toxins.

Forget about processed foods. These contain excessive amounts of sodium and sugar that harm your diet and your body.

4. Detox With Tea

Dandelion root tea or green tea improve digestion and hydrate the body. Hydration acts as an essential component of a healthy metabolism, energy, and great skin.

The best cleanse for weight loss will provide a powerful detoxifying punch by way of helping digestion and promoting hydration.

5. Workout

Regular exercise helps control weight and cleanses your body. Increased heart rate means increased blood flow. This helps flush toxins from your system.

The benefits exercise provides include improved mood, increased energy, and blood pressure control.

Workout before breakfast to burn energy from your body’s fat storage.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is easier than most people think. Cleanse your body every day with these simple tips!


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5 Ways to Master the Art of Mindfulness

June 15, 2017 - By 

In today’s busy and frantic world, it is often too easy for the traveler or business person to forget to leave enough time to relax.

When the day is crammed with meetings, flights, and hotel rooms, it’s not always simple to achieve much-needed balance.

But there are techniques which the busy person can use in order to de-stress, wind down, and re-center themselves regardless of how active their schedule is.

1. Mindful Meditation

Studies show that regular meditation can be beneficial in reducing high pressure, stress, and depression. Using mindful meditation to reach a point of ultimate relaxation will help the stresses of the day to quickly slip away.

The idea is to put on some music, draw the curtains, sit comfortably, and relax the mind. The problems or issues of the day should not enter any thoughts. Instead, concentrate on serenity and peace.

2. Make Healthy Food Choices

Regular travel and back-to-back meetings can play havoc with one’s diet. It can be all too easy to make poor food choices when hurrying through a busy daily schedule.

By taking a few minutes to think about what is on the plate, and opting for a diet filled with vegetables, fruits, and protein, the busy traveler can help their body by fueling it well.

3. Stay Hydrated

Air travel causes significant dehydration. However, there are certain steps to be taken to prevent dehydration. A wise traveler will choose to drink plentiful amounts of water and avoid alcohol while flying.

A water bottle is easily carried in a travel bag or briefcase. A business person should always remember to drink before, during, and after a flight. Their body will thank them for it.

4. Get Pampered In Hotels

Regardless of where in the world the traveler finds themselves, a sure fire way to relax and unwind is through an in-room massage. The convenience of a trained professional masseuse bringing their services to the door cannot be surpassed.

Plus, everyone loves the luxury of massage in hotels!

Booking a hotel massage to enlist the services of a reputable local company is a highly recommended way to achieve mindfulness. An expert massage will ensure the traveler is left rested, renewed, and ready to continue with their busy timetable.

In-room massages that come to the traveler are a top option for the stressed business person.

5. Be Present In The Moment

The essential meaning of “mindfulness” is to be present in the moment. This means that a person should be aware of what is going on around them and what they are doing at all times. It’s essentially a heightened state of awareness.

Whether an individual is traveling for business or pleasure, it pays to be alert to how they treat their body each and every day. Remaining on top of the game with a competitive edge requires a holistic and health-minded approach.

The astute traveler takes care of themselves through good food choices, drinking plenty of water, taking the time to relax, and opting for in-hotel massages whenever possible.


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How to Successfully Publish Your Novel

June 15, 2017 - By 

Many writers dream of two things: to get their novels published and win a fiction Pulitzer.

While winning a fiction Pulitzer isn’t an easy feat (you have to earn a nomination, and sometimes there isn’t even a winner in this category), getting your novel published isn’t quite as hard.

This doesn’t, however, mean it’s a walk in the park, especially if you’re a rookie novelist. You will find walls along the way, and your ability to climb or knock them down depends on how well you understand the process.

In this article, we’re sharing insider-style tips that will help you ensure your manuscript morphs into a book.

It’s Not Just About How Great Your Writing Is

Of course, to get your novel published you must be a master of your craft.

Anything less than a thought-provoking story, a delicious turn of phrase, and an ending that leaves the reader with more questions than answers, chances are high publishers will turn your novel down.

But then, most writers know their art. Publishers literally read thousands of captivating manuscripts every year, yet only a handful get the nod.

You see, publishers are in this business to turn out a decent profit. This means you have to offer more than just a great story.

Are you, for instance, a professional who can excel at publicity campaigns such as TV and radio interviews? Given the platform, do you have the gift of gab to draw potential readers to your book?

Find a Competent Literary Agent

The literary industry can be a jungle. Publishers rule this great land.

They, with the pickiness of a fashion model and her shoes, determine what books hit the shelves. And they have a systematic way of doing this.

Even though various publishing companies have different book acquisition strategies, most rely on literary agents.

If you can’t directly get a publisher’s eyeballs on your manuscript, perhaps a good literary agent can help you.

These professionals are industry experts. They have contacts with influential people (mostly commissioning editors) in publishing companies.

Although this will cost you (agents typically take a cut on your book’s earnings (advance plus sales), it’s one of the best routes to getting published.

Self-Publishing. Anyone?

There is a huge benefit of getting published by an established publisher. Their powerful marketing and publicity machinery can get your novel on a front table at a popular bookstore.

But what if you keep getting rejected by these publishers?

It’s time to shake off the rejections and self-publish (publish privately). You get to be in control of everything, from using your favorite book mockup generator for cover design to printing, pricing, marketing and distribution.

What’s the end game here?

A great first self-published novel can launch your career and get you noticed by top publishing companies. When it comes to publishing your second novel, you’ll likely choose your seat at the table and negotiate a good deal!

OK. That’s probably an exaggeration (unless you’re Harper Lee), but you catch the drift.

Write Your Way to the Bookstore!

In a writer’s world, there’s probably no greater pain than living with an untold story.

Sure, you might have the story in a manuscript, but of what importance is it if you’re unable to share the story with the world?

Follow these tips closely, and sooner or later, your novel will see the light of day.


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5 Tasty Anti-Inflammatory Desserts for Summer

June 14, 2017 - By 

Many adults deal with aches and pains, but there are 54.4 million Americans over 18 who are diagnosed with some form of arthritis. One type is known as rheumatoid arthritis.

This disease can be quite complex, affecting each person differently. It can be found in people of all nationalities, making it the third most common after osteoarthritis and gout. There are an estimated 1.3 million Americans living with rheumatoid arthritis.

But what can they do to alleviate the inflammation and pain? Thankfully, there are some safe and natural methods you can start using right away. Everyone loves to snack, so here are some anti-inflammatory desserts you should try this summer.

Turmeric

This ingredient can be found inside of curry and various other Indian and Caribbean dishes. What’s little known about turmeric is its strong anti-inflammatory properties. Clinical studies have proven the beneficial effects of this spice on arthritis patients.

In fact, it’s shown to have similar effects as OTC medications. It’s frequently used to treat other types of illnesses, such as irritable bowel disease. And it can help reduce your chances of getting cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

How to use it? Try putting it in your smoothies and yogurt!

Walnuts

We always hear great things about nuts, especially in weight loss programs. It’s a great snack that can keep you full, without packing on unhealthy fat. But what’s even better is that it’s filled with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

These are essential for combating inflammation. There’s more than one way to eat them – you can add them to your cakes, pies and yogurt.

Ginger Root

These are the funny looking yellowish roots sold in most grocery stores. It’s another food that offers many different benefits, including reducing inflammation. It has chemokines and cytokines, which suppress pro-inflammatory compounds.

Try adding ginger root to your cookies, cakes and ice cream.

Dark Leafy Greens

There are a host of leafy greens you can choose from – spinach, collard, turnip, mustard and kale are just a few. These are all packed with antioxidants and vitamin C and E, which all aid in inflammation.

You can use them as an ingredient in your pot pies, muffins or even bake them into crispy little chips!

Berries

Like leafy greens, there are a variety of berries you can eat to help fend off your rheumatoid arthritis aches and pains. This includes raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, goji berries, acai berries and any other you can get your hands on.

And who are we kidding? Berries taste good with almost everything. Put them in your smoothies, eat them in your fruit salads and yogurt or juice them. You really can’t go wrong with berries!

Make this Summer Anti-Inflammatory

This summer should be a great one, along with every summer after. But it all starts with what you put on your plate (and take off of it). The healthier your choices, the better your chances of reducing your inflammation.

Hopefully, these tips will help you get through this summer with as little pain as possible!