Saturday, December 5, 2020

3 Things To Know Before You Rent

 Finding and deciding on a place to rent can be a daunting task. There are so many "what if?" questions that can arise that it can be difficult to know where to begin. After twenty years of renting, I think I have encountered every single one of the possibilities that can come up! Luckily I am here to give you answers to those what if questions and see if I can help you avoid a few catastrophes.



Compare Prices In A Larger Rental Area

I love that there is an app for everything these days. Every time we would have to move, I immediately began searching all of the apps for the area we were going to next. I am originally from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, which is coastal Virginia chopped up into seven cities. The seven cities are Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Hampton, and Newport News. If you are any one of those cities, you can live in any other of those cities and only be 45 minutes away at the most (unless the bridge is jammed, but that's a story for another day). So, if I were moving to Norfolk, I could search for Norfolk, VA rent prices as well as any of the seven cities of the Hampton Roads area to find the best price and area. Apps like Zumper make it easy to see what schools are like in your area, what the median rent is, and you can even see satellite photos of the area. Always remember to look at the surrounding areas of where you're moving, you might be surprised with what you find!

Invest In Renter's Insurance 

Someone once told me with a straight face that buying renter's insurance was asking for something bad to happen. Here's some breaking news: bad things happen regardless. No one thinks they need insurance until they do and they don't have it. No one likes to learn this lesson by losing everything they own in a fire that wasn't even their fault, and you shouldn't either. Buy the insurance, if anything, for peace of mind.

You Have Options For How Long You Rent

I thought that all rental leases were for a year for far too long. You actually do have options to rent by the month, 6 months, or even longer than a year. In some places, it is actually cheaper by the month if you sign the lease for longer than a year. Everyone likes to save on rent so don't forget to explore those options when looking for your next rental!



Want more advice on renting and moving? Check out my blog: 5 Things To Keep In Mind When Moving 

Do you have any tips to add?

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

How To Stay Motivated To Learn A New Musical Instrument

 When it comes to interests and hobbies, learning an instrument seems to be one of the most popular options available. Having a musical hobby opens up a lot of unique opportunities and experiences. Whether you just play it at home in your spare time as a relaxing activity, or if you’re interested in joining a band or an orchestra, it can actually be difficult to stick to an instrument for a long time. So in this post, we’ll be looking at some practical tips to help you stay motivated when learning an instrument.

Ask yourself why you want to learn an instrument

First, ask yourself why you want to learn an instrument. Is it because you find it cool? Is it because you’ve always wanted to play it? Is it because your favorite song has the instrument playing in it? There are lots of reasons why you might want to start learning an instrument and it doesn’t need to be for serious reasons either. It could just be because you wanted a productive hobby!

Don’t buy an expensive instrument to force yourself to play it

One of the more questionable things that people do is buy an expensive instrument to try and force themselves to play it. If they don’t play it, then they can feel like it’s a waste of money. That’s the sort of mentality that they’re aiming for. It helps to push them to play the instrument so they don’t waste their money. Unfortunately, this is a bad way to encourage yourself to play an instrument and should be avoided.

Try to learn simple songs at first

Don’t get too ahead of yourself! Look for simple and easy songs and use them to practice. You can practice reading tabs or sheet music, or you could look up tutorial guides on how to play specific songs. This will help encourage you to play since it’s a song that is familiar to you.

Learn songs that you want to

Once you’ve made it past the simple songs, you can then start moving to more advanced or complicated pieces. You can make this easier by getting a hold of the sheet music or books with the scores. You could even purchase the pieces individually. For instance, you can find items like the Clair de Lune sheet music online for a fraction of the price of a book. It’s a fantastic way to motivate yourself and it can also be used to track your progress at learning a song.

Get started with whatever you have to try and learn more about your instrument of choice

There are lots of different musical instrument apps that you can play around with on your phone, tablet or even your PC. These are excellent for trying out different instruments to see what they sound like. It also gives you an idea on how to learn the instrument, especially if it’s something like a keyboard or piano.

With these simple tips, you should be playing in no time! Do you have any tips to add?

Sunday, October 4, 2020

4 Tips For Selling Your Book

 You’ve written a book. That’s incredible! Not many people can say they’ve poured all that time and energy into writing and finishing their own novel. Regardless of how long it is or what genre, it’s important to do what you can in trying to sell it. It might not be something you’ve thought of doing, but it’s a great way to be rewarded for your achievement. Here are four tips for selling your book.



Take Care In The Design

First, take care in the design of your book. This is an important element because a book is something that is enjoyed visibly. Whether it’s a digital one or physical, it’s going to be on display, and so you want an eye-catching cover. Think about what you want to achieve in the book art and whether you’re going to do it yourself or get someone to do it for you. There are lots of options out there when it comes to book design services, and it can be a great opportunity to get an eye-catching design that many book lovers will at least want to pick up and take a look at. You might want to look at previous designs of authors you aspire to be like or are similar in the genre of book you’re selling. Inspiration is a great source of creativity.


Approach Publishers

When selling your book, it’s a good idea to look at all the publishing houses available and to pitch to as many as you can. There’s a lot of competition that comes with publishing houses, and so you might be up against it when it comes to being picked over another author. However, publishing houses hold a lot of reputation in the industry, and having a certain publishing house that prints your book can end up giving you thousands more in sales if you’re lucky.

Consider Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is an avenue that you might want to go down if you find that going to a publishing house isn’t successful. It doesn’t by any means, indicate that your book isn’t good enough. In fact, it might be that the right people didn’t read it and you’ve still got a book that will sell to an audience. The internet is large and vast, which offers great opportunities for those wanting to sell online. Self-publishing is certainly something worth trying if you’ve done your research and believe it’s worth a try.


Advertise & Promote 

Even though publishing houses will have their own marketing and advertising departments, you should be advertising and promoting your book regardless. If you’re self-publishing, this is even more important, and you might want to think about pulling together a budget that will help invest in your career as an author. Don’t be ashamed of plugging your book at every opportunity, otherwise, how do you expect your hard work to sell?


Selling your book is possible if you find the right publishers or work hard enough to get your name and book out there. Use these tips to make that happen!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Little Money Solutions For Home Ownership

Today I have a guest post from Phil Georgiades. Phil Georgiades is the CLS of V.A. Home Loan Centers, a government-sponsored brokerage specializing in V.A. Home Loans. He has been a practicing real estate professional for 22 years. To apply for a VA loan, click here! I hope you enjoy!

Have you ever wanted to buy a home but then changed your mind after you saw how expensive they are? If you did, then you’re not alone. In fact, according to a report from the Urban Institute in 2018, the homeownership rate for millennials was about 37%, which is 8 points lower than baby boomers and generation X at the same age. 

This lack of homeownership is due to a growing concern by new potential homeowners that they might not be able to afford it, resulting in the dream of homeownership being just that, a dream. However, there are ways to become a homeowner without burning a hole in your pocket, and that is by using government-guaranteed loans. 



There are three government guaranteed home loans, which are sure to make homeownership more accessible for people who are concerned about upfront costs. These loans are Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, U.S. Department of Agriculture Home Loans, and Veteran Affairs (VA) Home Loans.

FHA Home Loans

The first and perhaps more accessible of these home loans are FHA loans. These loans have proven time and again to be great for first time home buyers because they offer incentives like a low 3.5% down payment requirement. This requirement is lower than the usual conventional loan down payment of 20%.
In addition to the low down payment cost, FHA loans are also incredibly adaptable as to what credit scores they are willing to accept with a score as low as 580, you can still get you approved for an FHA home loan. Keep in mind, some lenders are ready to take lower credit scores, but they might require that you make a higher down payment.

FHA loans are also known for their low monthly and closing costs, the latter which can be covered by the seller in some cases. Also, if you’ve had the misfortune of declaring a chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past, you can still apply for an FHA loan. The only thing is that there needs to be a two year period from the time you initially declared bankruptcy.
The U.S. government guarantees FHA home loans, but they are lent out by qualified lenders. One such lender is FedHome Loan Centers, which does not charge any fees to the borrower since their prices are paid off by the investor.   

VA Home Loans

If you are a veteran, an Active Duty Service Member, or the spouse of a service member who is either missing in action or diseased, you might qualify for a VA home loan. This loan is one of the best available due to its $0 down payment and low monthly payment benefits. 

In addition, VA loans offer some of the lowest interest rates available, as well as no mortgage insurance premiums and no prepayment options. All of these benefits only require that you meet the eligibility requirements, which include:
  • You served either 90 days active duty during wartime or 181 days active duty during peacetime.
  • If you’re a member of the national guard or a reservist, you must have served for at least six years.
  • Qualifying as the surviving spouse of a service member, must have passed away while in the line of duty or from a service-related disability. 
Furthermore, VA loans which already have an excellent reputation, just got a little better. As of January 2020, the VA has removed their loan limits. Allowing borrowers not to be limited by their county’s loan limit, but instead dictated by their income and ability to make their monthly payments. 
Currently, V.A. Home Loan Centers have a loan limit of $5,000,000, and their team of real estate experts can help you through the home buying process.

USDA Home Loans

It turns out that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects our food also offers a government-backed home loan. USDA loans are for lower-income earners in rural communities who want to become homeowners.  This home loan offers some great incentives like $0 down payments, competitive interest rates, and flexible credit score requirements. However, there are certain limitations to where these loans can be applied. For example, these loans are only applicable to modest single-family homes that are within an approved rural development area. 


  
The United States Government guarantees all these loans, and, as a result, they protect the lender from loss in case the borrower is unable to make their payments. This extra level of security allows lenders to be more willing to negotiate terms that are more adapted to the borrower’s specific needs and wants. 
Today, millennials are having a tough time entering the housing market. Especially since, according to a study by Student Loan Hero, homes have become 39% more expensive than they were 40 years ago. Hopefully, having information about government-guaranteed loans and their low costs can help in at least partially addressing the issue of homeownership.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Top 5 TV Shows Set In The South

A lot of folks think that down here in the south, things are a little slower and a little quieter. I mean, they are but a lot of people think that, too.




Having grown up in Virginia and North Carolina, I always have a healthy appreciation for when television gets the setting of the Southern United States correctly. I'm not kidding when I tell you that the humidity is a living, breathing organism down here. June, July, and August just sits directly on your shoulders, laughing as it whispers the cooling thoughts of September, October, and November directly into your ear. We have beautiful coastlines that welcome visitors to share our sea feasts and our trees, mountains, hollows, and fields are a green majesty to behold. Who could ask for a more beautiful setting? These are the five shows set in the south that definitely get it right:

 The Walking Dead

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead. Everyone in our family loves horror so we were always on the lookout for good horror movies and shows. My daughter had read the graphic novel when she was a teen and could NOT wait for the show to come out. We watched it from the very beginning and still do today! I love that the show moved between Georgia to Virginia so seamlessly and I was completely immersed into the world because the setting was so spot on. The characters are incredibly well-written and I have loved watching them evolve and change over the years. I am still sad about characters we have lost but still excited about the new ones we meet. 


A Different World

I was a teen in the 90's and one of the most popular shows at the time was A Different World. It tells the story of Denise Huxtable from The Cosby Show and her time at Hillman College. We never missed The Cosby Show in my house as I was growing up and I couldn't wait to see Denise Huxtable take on college as I was planning to go soon. That show gave me so many laughs and insight about what I might soon face in the future. It still holds a special place in my heart today. I loved seeing a lot of characters who seemed like they were taken right from my part of the world displayed on screen.





Reba

The country music fan in my house growing up was my mother. I am one of the anomalies of the south that does not enjoy country music. While it isn't my favorite, my mother and aunts made sure I got comfortable with what they considered the good ones: Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Mary Chapin Carpenter, to name just a few. The Reba show became a constant in my own family home during its run. My husband, son, daughter, and I watched it together and laughed and laughed. I loved how they made having a blended family so realistic and so funny at the same time. We lived in Texas during this time so the setting was exactly like what we saw around us every day. It was a great show with great laughs and all four of us make endless references to it in conversation still today.


The Golden Girls

When I was young, The Golden Girls was my grandmother's absolute favorite show on television. She did not watch a lot of TV but every time we went down to visit, we definitely watched The Golden Girls. I didn't get everything that was funny about it until later in life, but the things I did get made me laugh with her. It was absolutely true to form as to the different types of personalities you meet down in Florida! The good memories of my grandmother's enjoyment of the show along with the jokes that I did get when I got older makes this one of the best shows set in the south.




Since we are talking about good grandmother memories,  I want to give an honorable mention to the series, Dolly Parton's Heartstrings, produced by Sam Haskell, executive producer of Mississippi Rising, The Concert in Support of the Hurricane Katrina Recovery Efforts. Dolly Parton stars in a Netflix mini-series that tells the stories of her life, from her humble beginnings to her greatest successes! My grandmother told me a lot of the stories about her when I was younger, but it was great to see Dolly star in her own show and tell her own stories! 

American Horror Story: Roanoke

This is my number one choice for so many reasons. I have loved American Horror Story since the very first episode.  While American Horror Story: Coven absolutely nailed Louisiana, I actually think they got it the best for American Horror Story: Roanoke. When you are from Virginia and North Carolina, everyone has a theory about The Lost Colony. It is the biggest mystery in our area and I think everyone will endlessly wonder what happened to them. I was immediately struck by how much history and folklore they could jam into the show while getting the mood of this area perfectly! 




What are your favorite shows set in the south?

Monday, August 3, 2020

5 Easy Ways To Begin Investing In Real Estate

Deciding what to invest in can be a daunting task. With the economy and stock market on shaky ground in 2020, it's easy to feel a lot of insecurity right now. Two years ago, my husband and I bought our first home together. It has been one of the best decisions of my life and I am still floored by how easy the process was.

rural, rural life, rural home

In the tiny town we now live in, there is a small commercial garage that is up for sale and I can't stop my husband from talking about that every. single. day. He could put all of his cars there, it's in a very convenient spot to have a tower/wrecker, and he could finally finish his 394854757 projects in a dedicated space and not the driveway.

That last point is what sold me.

I began to research how to begin a commercial property purchase and fell down a rabbithole of the pros and cons of both residential and commercial real estate. I learned that there are five simple ways to get started investing in real estate:

Rent Out A Room

This doesn't quite seem like investing in real estate at first, but what it does is teach you about paperwork and what is required of you as a property owner. There is a lot of paperwork involved in real estate and it's in your best interest to know all of the laws/requirements of owning property. Renting out a room is what a lot of people start with instead of jumping into owning a rental property. However, many people do choose to begin with investing in a rental property.

Purchase A Rental Property

This is where many people's real estate investing journey actually begins. Whether you purchase the property or you are gifted the property, owning a rental property is a huge step. It's definitely exciting! I haven't taken that leap yet, but have considered it as an option in the future. You should definitely familiarize yourself with A Beginner's Guide To Real Estate Investing. It's available online here!

Consider Property Flipping

This is what drove me to seriously consider the commercial property purchase. If anything, after fixing it up, we can always flip it. It really is a great property for a garage so it seems like a great investment, either way! There is information everywhere on Google but I found the best tips on how to begin through the connected investors review here.

Attend Real Estate Auctions

Real Estate Auctions can be found all over America. I had attended vehicle auctions before but had not attended one for real estate. It always surprises me the deals you can find here and the cheapskate coupon mom in me LOVES the bargains. It's definitely one of the best places to find your first property!


Research, Research, Research

Use the resources you have at your disposal and read, read, and read even more to learn everything you can.

 Now that I think about it, this is my advice for everything in life!


Have you invested in real estate? Share your tips in the comments below!

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Hollow

In the

hollow

of your elbow

I bend
to
your will

In the

hollow

of the valley

I follow
the
wind to the

hollow

of your cheek
and lay
silently so I may catch every

hollow

word
that spills from your lips.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Always Eat After 7PM - Final Thoughts

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This post is sponsored by Always Eat After 7PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks-While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion. All opinions expressed are my own.  Click here for full disclosure.

I have come to the end of my review of Always Eat After 7PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks-While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion and I am incredibly happy with the results! (Click here for part one, part two, and part three)




Out of all of the diet programs I have tried in my 44 years of life, this one has been the easiest to follow, satisfying, and most of all, effective. With the most challenging times to curb hunger being just before bed and in the morning, by following the Always Eat After 7PM program, you have the most willpower to stay on the diet because you are eating during the hours when you are most hungry. This also puts you into both intermittent fasting increasing testosterone and your metabolism, while putting you into ketosis.  

The Always Eat After 7 PM plan consists of: The 14-day Acceleration Phase to kick-start the program and see rapid results, The Main Phase where you’ll learn exactly which foods to eat when in order to achieve your weight-loss goals, and The Lifestyle Phase to keep the weight off for good. After following the program for a month, I am happy to report that I have lost 19 pounds total!


Did I think I was going to be successful? Nope. Did I think I would be able to follow the program completely? Nope. Did it actually work for me? DEFINITELY.

I went into this skeptical, as I am with most things, but I really think that this is a program that anyone can follow. I had never tried intermittent fasting but it is incredibly effective for me and I never ever felt like I was depriving myself of anything. I could eat delicious food, it didn't interrupt my normal schedule, and I got closer to my goal than I had in the year I was trying my hardest! The most interesting part of the book for me was this:

     “Those who ate breakfast ended up eating about 260 calories more a day, the review found. Those who skipped breakfast were about one pound lighter than those who ate breakfast. These findings led the researchers to conclude that eating breakfast isn’t necessarily a good strategy for losing weight. The science isn’t really there. Breakfast could very well be the least important meal of the day." - Always Eat After 7PM by Joel Marion

I was practically FORCING myself to eat breakfast every day for years. I am 100% not even close to hungry when I first wake up in the morning and the thought of eating anything besides a giant cup of coffee made me physically nauseous. Of course, most diet programs require you to eat breakfast to "kickstart your metabolism" but that simply is not true! I cannot emphasize how happy I was to find out that I no longer had to stuff something down my throat when I was sure it was just going to come right back up. With this program, no more of that!

I am truly glad that I was able to participate in this program. It's absolutely something that I was easily able to incorporate into my daily life and I am positive that I will be following it for many years to come. Joel Marion’s Always Eat After 7PM program makes dieting easy and eliminates 90% of reasons for resistance!

Thank you for taking this journey with me. I'm so thankful for all of the encouragement and I hope you will check it out! Click here to learn more about the book and how to purchase here.
This post is sponsored by Always Eat After 7PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks-While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion. All opinions expressed are my own.  Click here for full disclosure.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Always Eat After 7PM - Update

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This post is sponsored by Always Eat After 7PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks-While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion. All opinions expressed are my own.  Click here for full disclosure.

It's been an interesting month, that's for sure. I have really enjoyed trying the Always Eat After 7PM diet program and I am amazed at the results I have seen! Most of all, I can't believe how delicious the recipes turned out to be!



The worst part for any diet for me is always, always the food. There are so many I have tried that I thought if I had to eat ANY more tuna, I was going to turn into sea life myself! There wasn't a lot of variety and I quickly got bored and turned right back to my terrible eating habits.

Not with this one, though!


There are so many delicious recipes that I don't feel like I am depriving myself of anything at all and that has been the key motivation for me. I am the world's worst cook (which is why I married a chef, ha!) so that was really the only challenge I faced. I am glad to report that I have jumped that hurdle and my family is MUCH happier about that than I am! Not only have I learned how to cook, I've learned how to cook better food for my family! We have all fully embraced intermittent fasting and it has worked out incredibly well for all of us:

     “Intermittent fasting really shines when it comes to improving the hormones that directly affect your hunger, blood sugar, and metabolism. One is insulin. IF combats insulin resistance, meaning that it helps your body use insulin more normally, thereby lowering your diabetes risk and boosting your metabolism. Your brain will release the neurotransmitters and hormones that will help you regulate your hormones and burn more stored fat each day. You don’t have to be burdened with trying to eat every few hours. With intermittent fasting, dieting becomes much easier to adhere to and the benefits are remarkable." - Joel Marion, Always Eat After 7PM

This one was my favorite!

I did not know anything about intermittent fasting at all until reading this book and I was definitely skeptical at first. Within the first week, I fell in love with it. It's so easy to follow and you truly don't feel like you are denying yourself anything. I cannot tell you enough how much this program has changed all of our eating habits for the better. I wish I had known about this much sooner, but I am so glad I know now! 

I'll be back next week with the last update! Click here for part one, and here for part two.
    This post is sponsored by Always Eat After 7PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks-While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion. All opinions expressed are my own.  Click here for full disclosure. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Traffic Secrets By Russell Brunson Is Perfect For Your Ecommerce Goals

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This is a sponsored post on behalf of Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Filling Your Websites and Funnels with Your Dream Customers. For full disclosure, please click here.

The world of ecommerce is highly competitive. Many business owners have their work cut out for them on the world wide web. The easiest part of a business these days is thinking of your product and getting it manufactured. The hardest part is making your presence known on the web. Every year, tens of thousands of businesses start and fail because the entrepreneurs don’t understand one essential skill: the art and science of getting consumers to find you.

I will say that again: the hardest part of getting your product out to the public is making your presence known on the web.

As a blogger, I have seen this for myself. There are millions of guides out there that will walk you through how to bring more traffic to your blog/website. I have read quite a few of them but wondered how Traffic Secrets could work for my blog. I decided to try it out and see!


In Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Filling Your Websites and Funnels with Your Dream Customers, entrepreneur Russell Brunson reveals the classic foundational direct marketing techniques that will allow you to be the first to recognize new trends and see the opportunities that are invisible to everyone else. This guide shows how to master traffic strategies in order to fill your website and funnels with your dream customers. By completing the 30-day challenge, you'll learn key strategies to increase your site traffic. I began the 30 day challenge at the end of May and am just about done. I cannot even begin to tell you every single thing I have learned because we will be here all day. Even for blog traffic alone, it has been invaluable to me so I can only imagine how useful it can be to those beginning their ecommerce journey!
The chapters I found to be most useful were in Section II of the book, which goes into Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube traffic secrets. I really started to see progress in those places, minus YouTube as I am not a vlogger, just a blogger. However, even those YouTube tips proved helpful in surprising ways for me and I have been able to implement them as well!


What I liked the most about this book is that these secrets are not mired in the trendy or faddish ways to build your traffic, but focuses on time-tested strategies that never change. It's easy to follow trends and such but once those trends die, how will you still bring traffic? By focusing on what will work no matter what the "hot" fad of the moment, you can be confident that your traffic will be consistent and will bring more eyes (and wallets!) to your product. The strategy is simple:
  • Start with identifying your dream customers
  • Focus on where your dream customers are congregating online
  • Learn how to "work" your way in
  • Understand how to "buy" your way in
  • Create your own publishing platform
  • Build your own distribution lists
With the workbook exercises included, the traffic secrets become even more clear. I spend a lot of time on these exercises as I am doing the 30 days challenge and am constantly shocked at how simple it is. I was expecting this to be something that I would have trouble understanding or implementing into my own blog growth strategy, but I was very, very wrong. In less than a month, I have received more traffic to my blog than I EVER have. As you can guess, it's quite motivating and liberating to know that I now have the perfect strategy in my hands that actually works!


I am in the middle of the 30 day challenge and the information I have learned so far is invaluable. I am looking forward to what I will learn during the rest of the challenge and am so thankful for what I have learned so far. If you are struggling with building traffic for your ecommerce shop, blog, or website, this book is perfect for you! 

Will you take the challenge?




This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Filling Your Websites and Funnels with Your Dream Customers. For full disclosure, please click here.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Always Eat After 7PM - Author Interview

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This post is sponsored by Always Eat After 7PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks-While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion. All opinions expressed are my own.  Click here for full disclosure.

It's been a couple weeks now and I am off to a great start with the Always Eat After 7PM diet. (For my first post in this series, please click here). Everything is going pretty well, I'm enjoying the recipes and doing much better at adding more exercise in different ways to my daily goals. I am happy to report that I have lost 7 pounds! I wasn't expecting to lose anything as I hit the dreaded plateau months ago. I tried everything I could think of and still wasn't able to get past it. I had almost given up but was content with the weight loss I had achieved anyway. This program, however, has given me new hope. I think I will FINALLY hit my weight loss goal. I'm still motivated for a few reasons. The most important reason:  I am pretty sure that this diet might even finally teach me how to cook.



I was able to interview the best selling author, Joel Marion, who is a fitness expert and nutritionist debunking the myths underlying traditional dieting while offering a simple, highly effective weight loss program. Joel Marion’s Always Eat After 7PM program makes dieting easy and eliminates 90% of reasons for resistance.  It was really interesting to learn more about the book and program so I am ecstatic to share this interview with you today!



 What inspired you to write the book?

After authoring six best-selling books, it was glaringly obvious there were two huge misconceptions about dieting that needed to be exposed. The first is that you can't eat late at night or before bed, which science now shows is NOT true. And second, you can't eat large portions that satisfy your natural instinct. This book solves both these problems by providing an evidence-based, enjoyable approach to dieting that can be used by any person to quickly achieve their weight loss goals.

 How long did it take for you to develop the diet?

It actually took several years of researching for me to discover the real science of eating late night. After a few years of tweaking and refining, I finally came up with a rapid fat loss solution that overcomes all the pitfalls of traditional diets.

 What was the most surprising discovery when you were researching scientific data for the diet?

That almost everything my college education and certifications taught me was NOT grounded in published scientific research.

 You’re a six-time best selling author, what is different about this book compared to your others?

Although many of the concepts are similar, the biggest difference is that you don't have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods. You don't have to deal with the burden of eating every few hours. And you don't have to skip the carbs at dinnertime or avoid eating before bed.

 How difficult is the Always Eat After 7 PM plan to follow?

It's not. And that's exactly why I wrote the book. While any diet is never truly easy, it can be more enjoyable and much easier to adhere to when you understand how Always Eat After 7pm works because it caters to our body's natural instincts.

 If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Born to impact!

I hope you enjoyed this interview. I'll be back next week with another update 💖



Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion is now available to purchase. Learn more about the book and how to purchase here.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Turning Your Blog Writing Into A Professional Career

fountain pen on spiral book


When most people start something like a blog, they won’t be imagining that they will be able to make a living out of it. People tend to go down this sort of route for fun, with the idea that they will have the chance to write about things they love being a good enough reason to get started. Of course, though, as time goes on and your audience grows, you will have the opportunity to start making money out of your blog. There are a few different paths you can take with this, and some of them can land you in a professional career.

News & Journalism

Becoming a journalist can be much trickier than you might expect. While you don’t need to speak perfect English for this sort of role anymore, there is a lot of competition, and this means that those who start out on their own blog can often give themselves a head start. It will be a challenge, but you need to make sure that you’re following the same strict standards that large publications will follow to ensure that people respect and value your content. It’s usually best to choose a niche topic when you’re doing this, or you may struggle to cover enough on your own.

Copywriting & Creative Writing

Writing exquisite copy and crafting intricate stories can be a lot harder than a lot of people realize. This has opened a huge market for writing services on the web, making it easy to pick up roles that will enable you to write. Of course, though, you need to make sure that you have the right skills before you can take on a role like this one. Copywriting workshops have been becoming increasingly popular over the last few years, and you can find loads of great options with a quick search around the web. This will be an incredibly satisfying role to have, while also giving you a lot of freedom.

Reviews & Opinion Pieces

Finally, as the last type of content to consider, it’s time to think about reviews and opinion pieces. Much like news and journalism, you have to be careful to make sure that the content you’re writing in this category is well-informed. You can write reviews for products and services, music and movies, and just about anything else that people have to spend money on. Writing a piece like this can be tricky, and it’s always worth spending some time reading other reviews before you get started, ensuring that you know exactly how to format your work. Of course, though, this doesn’t mean that you should copy other people.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to start making your blog into a professional career. A lot of people like the idea of making money from their blog, but it can be hard to know what sort of content to make when you’re doing this. Each of the roles above can be taken on as a professional career, but you will need to get some practice in your free time before you can get started.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Always Eat After 7PM: Challenge Accepted

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This post is sponsored by Always Eat After 7PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks-While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion. All opinions expressed are my own.  Click here for full disclosure.

For the past few years (ok, my entire life), I have been on a mission to get healthy. I say "get healthy" instead of lose weight because while losing weight is always the best part, I started to have too many health scares pile up that I began to get concerned. My husband suffered a non-fatal heart attack a few years ago at just 36 and it ramped up my resolve to get better.

I began fairly simply and made a few small changes that ended up being the biggest changes. I decided that I was going to stop being my couch's best friend and get up and move more and I was only going to drink diet soda, if I drank any at all. THAT was hard only because I think I have more soda running through my veins than actual blood. I fully admit to being a full blown sodaholic. Since those seemed like the biggest hurdles to overtake, I wanted to start with them. That first month, just by doing that alone, I dropped 14 pounds!

As you can imagine, this rocketed my motivation straight up into deepest space and I can not even begin to tell you the new life it breathed into my soul! I began to really look into different diets and fitness routines and successfully shed 68 pounds. Not only did I lose that weight, I've kept it off for three years now.

Now that I am stuck just 20 pounds from my goal weight, I wanted to get a little tougher and push myself a little further and see if I can accomplish that goal I set for myself three years ago. I began looking into all sorts of different ways to do that and happened to come across the book Always Eat After 7PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, And Indulgent Snacks-While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion.


This caught my attention because if there is one thing that I have always heard about dieting, it is that by no means do you feed your gremlin belly at night. This never worked for me as I am a notorious insomniac night owl so you can imagine my excitement when I came across this in the book:

       “A research paper published in Sports Medicine in 2014 showed that people who eat the majority of their carbs at dinner actually sleep better. Carb-induced, quality sleep decreases cortisol (a fat-storing hormone) and ramps up the production of your sleep hormones, serotonin and melatonin. Restorative sleep increases fat-burning hormones—the main one being growth hormone—overnight.” - Always Eat After 7PM, Joel Marion

It's like tackling two issues at once for me! So far, I have already learned that although we have been traditionally taught to avoid carbs, have an early dinner, and never eat before bed, the fact is, the latest scientific research shows us this earlier model is not the most ideal. Based on this surprising science, Always Eat After 7 PM debunks popular diet myths and offers an easy-to-follow diet that accelerates fat-burning and allows you to indulge in your most intense food cravings: Eating the majority of your calories at night. 

It's incredibly interesting so far and I am more than ready to get started! Once a week, I will be posting updates on how I'm progressing and I would love if you would join in with me! Here is a short video that can tell you more and I will see you next week!

Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion is now available to purchase. 


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Personal Finance Tips For A Pandemic

This current coronavirus pandemic has really made me stop and think about my financial situation. There are people protesting to go back to work as I type because everyone's finances are on such a tight string these days that they can't survive without going to work, even if it costs them the very lives they are trying to save.


Now that we are beginning May, I am starting to see through the cracks and I am not liking what I see. NBC reported that the chairman of Tyson Foods has said that the food supply chain is breaking due to the coronavirus.  We still don't know if there will be rent and/or mortgage relief in the United States. An economic stimulus/coronavirus relief bill passed but most people still haven't received the checks yet, and will still be waiting as website outages and technical errors have slowed down distribution.

It's enough to make anyone nervous.



I am trying to stay positive and hopeful for all of us, though so I decided to take a moment in a whirlwind of panic to pass on these personal finance tips for a pandemic:

  • Hey, you know that toddler book, Everybody Poops? Yeah, everybody does that so stop buying up all of the toilet paper. I know, I know. Your first instinct is to rush right out and buy it all up but don't do that. Maybe only 2 loaves of bread instead of 12? Possibly one case of bottled water? Buy what you need and smile over all of the money you just saved. That way, supply chains don't break and we won't have people robbing commercial establishments.
  • Do not pull all of your money out of the bank and bury it in the backyard. You're going to forget about it in your old age and someone is going to find it in 2145 (but it will be useless because the Xytron overlords will feed on fear and not money). Also, it can crash the (already super fragile) economy.
  • You can make your own masks. It's incredibly easy and you can find infinite resources online on how to make one. I made a crazy soft black one because I am the night.


Now, those are obvious common sense financial tips for regular life as well. It's easy to get caught up in the present and not worry about the future in a crisis like this, I understand the panic. However, other countries are slowly beginning to economically recover and return to normal.

Well, this new normal, whatever that may be until we find a vaccine.

Being forced to assess my finances to make sure my family could survive this pandemic got me thinking about finding better personal finance tips for every day. I found two websites that have helped me immensely: the Calculator.me website and Pigly. I discovered so many resources on both of these sites! I spent a lot of time working on making a frugal living budget plan and I already feel a lot better about the future.



Do you have your own personal finance tips to share? 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

How To Convey Your Lifestyle Through Your Blog

I hope everyone is staying home and safe during this quarantine! I have been slacking on posting lately so my apologies to you, dear readers. It's certainly been crazy times here so I have a guest post for you today from Gabrielle Sinacola of NeoReach. Gabrielle Sinacola is a digital marketing consultant and content writer at NeoReach. She has a background in computer science and business, merging technical and creative skills to drive impact for companies. Gabrielle is dedicated to propelling strategic marketing initiatives forward with innovative thinking and detailed execution. Enjoy!


How to Convey Your Lifestyle Through Your Blog

Just as you would furnish and decorate your home to reflect your taste and personality, so should you adorn your blog. It is much more complicated to not convey your lifestyle through your blog, that is to hide your lifestyle, than it is to share it. That’s because we inherently speak to what we know and love. This comes across in all forms of content you publish, from words to images to sponsorships. If something does not fit with your lifestyle, your audience will be able to tell. The ability to gain and engage a loyal following is accomplished through a natural flow of information. Information that matches who you are and what you stand for.

Read Between the Lines


I am sure you have heard the saying that it’s not what you say but how you say it. Commonly applied to situations arising in arguments, this idea also feeds into the written word as well. Beyond the words on the page, it is important to understand the unspoken component of your content. Your lifestyle comes through in the connotation of the blog posts. Think about how your posts answer questions such as:

  • How does your audience feel when reading your blog?
  • Am I speaking to a specific demographic (working mothers, varsity athletes, etc.)?
  • How formal or informal is the language I am using?


As an author, your tone is vitally important to how your content is received by a reader. This is brought about through word choice– use of slang, industry jargon– and any anecdotes you include. If you are talking to busy mothers, you want to keep posts concise, informative and relatable. You would opt for everyday language as opposed to long explanations. To tell a fellow mother why a skincare product is safe for her children, you want to include easily digestible statements that get a bigger message across like “BPA free” or “no chemical additives.” You are not, however, going to start talking about the organic compounds used in the product and their reaction with the skin cells. Not only is that boring, but it is unnecessary to your audience.


You may share your own experience with dealing with eczema for your son/daughter and how it impacted your product selection. This additional personal touch adds to your credibility. By sharing little parts of your own life, you are providing windows into your lifestyle. Usually, these things come to mind when you are writing a blog post, but you ignore them or deem them unimportant to your reader. Those details that are specific to you and your blog will attract the audience most benefiting from your content and eager to consume it!

It Is All in the Details


I just talked about how it goes deeper than what you write, and I am going to keep building on that idea. Think about the nonverbal elements of your blog. Visuals.


There are a hundreds of ways to capture the same image with a camera that can differ in:

  • Composition
  • Focus
  • Lighting
  • Camera angle
  • Filters & Editing
  • And so many more...


Not only photographed images, but also computer generated images. You have a whole host of media forms to choose to include (or not include) that play into portraying your lifestyle:

  • Video
  • Animation
  • Illustrations


With all of this, the overall color scheme and layout of your blog convey your lifestyle too. You can go all white with a very clean, geometric format. Or, you can choose to go with bold colors and odd angles to keep it interesting at every click. An easy way to get inspiration for this is to look at other blogs in your niche or who you would attribute to having a similar lifestyle as yourself. Look at how they organize their content and how that affects what you gain from it and how you perceive the blogger. Use different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to find different juxtapositions of written content and graphics that fit best with what you are trying to achieve.

You Do You


Chances are you already have a pretty good idea of what and how you want to share your life with your blog audience. As the expert on your lifestyle, you have the best intuition on what is and isn’t going to work for your readers, and yourself. Write it out as a draft if you are really struggling and read it all the way through aloud. Pay attention to the inflections in your voice, the emotions that arise as you read, and the feeling you have once you have finished. These are all great indicators of whether or not you are properly portraying your lifestyle through your blog.


Looking to work with brands that are aligned with who you are and what your blog stands for? Get in touch with NeoReach’s influencer community to match with brands that fit your lifestyle!