Friday, November 19, 2021

4 Ways to Develop A Balanced Workout Plan For Beginners

 Everyone knows that they should be in better shape. But even though fitness is more accessible than ever, with YouTube videos, apps, and as much advice as you could ever need online, some still avoid it. Often, this is because of gym intimidation (or even gymtimidation, perhaps?) where they are too nervous to make the first step. Other times, it’s a lack of time or even a lack of motivation. So how can beginners develop a plan that works for them? Here are four tips to create something balanced and effective. 


Know Which Foods Are Beneficial

It isn’t just about what you do or how much you lift, but also what you eat. Knowing the best foods to consume will make it easier to build muscle or cut weight, depending on your fitness goals. It is a good idea to eat at a time that is beneficial for you, which is usually after the workout to encourage the muscle fibers to repair themselves and grow stronger. Eating after your workout also prevents discomfort when pushing yourself too hard, which will make your experience more enjoyable and productive. 

Focus On a Range of Muscle Groups 

You should remember to work out several muscle groups. Otherwise, you risk building muscle in one area, whether this is your back, arms, or legs. While this makes this part of your body look good, it can also make you look a little weird, as you don’t have consistency across your body. Exercises such as pull workouts can target numerous muscles at once, but you can’t do this every day. You need to give your muscles time to repair, so use alternate days to work on other muscle groups, as this allows you to target everything throughout the week. 

Do Enough and Do It Often

You also won’t see any results if you are not consistent. This means you must do enough every time you go to the gym and do it often so you do not give your muscles or your conditioning levels the chance to go back to normal. Even when you don’t feel up to a workout, it’s still important to do something, as this will motivate you and maintain a baseline of activity. 

Don’t Forget to Stretch 

Aches and pains are something that everyone encounters after their first, second, and even their fiftieth workout. You shouldn't exercise when sore, so make sure you know the benefits of cooling down after each session. Stretching prevents lactic acid buildup and minimizes the risk of post-workout aches. If you feel good enough the next day, you can focus on the next part of your routine without encountering any problems that could affect your workout and put you at risk of injury. 


Getting started is tough. There will be days when you are too sore or lack motivation. But, as long as you remember that everyone begins this way, you can find the drive and the discipline to improve your fitness. You don’t need to expect big things immediately, so take gradual but effective steps, and you’ll see a difference soon enough. 

Do you have any tips for a beginner's workout plan? Please share below!

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Is Your Marketing Strategy A Mess?

 Marketing is essential for attracting customers. Most companies understand the basics, however when implementing a marketing strategy it can often be a bit of a mess. Below are a few signs that your marketing strategy could need some improvement.



You Don’t Do Any Research

Don’t just base your marketing off of your own intuition - especially if you don’t have any experience in marketing. There are tricks to things like social media marketing, email marketing and SEO that require research. Take the time to research marketing tactics at blogs such as this one owned by Joey Armstrong. This could prevent you from making rookie mistakes.

Make sure that you’ve also researched exactly who your audience are and what types of marketing tactics appeal to them. Consider consumer surveys, focus groups and competitor research.

You Don’t Plan Ahead For Your Marketing

It’s worth planning your marketing ahead rather than being spontaneous with marketing ideas. For example, you may have a great idea for a social media post or a great idea for a blog post - before you post it, consider whether now is the best time to publish it. You could get more leads by scheduling your post for a specific day and time when more people are likely to be online.

Planning ahead isn’t just good for targeting key times - it can also give you time to research and prepare. Whether you’re creating a video advert or putting on a marketing event, it’s useful to have lots of time to prepare so that you can make it as successful as possible. If you only give yourself a couple weeks - or worse a couple days - your marketing strategy will be rushed.

You’re Not Tracking Performance

It’s important that you take time to assess the performance of your marketing strategies. If you’ve launched a PPC advertising campaign, you ideally want to be able to tell who clicked on your ad and how many of them converted into leads. This can help you to determine whether or not to run the advert again and what improvements you may want to make to your next campaign. 

Analytics can be used to track the performance of many digital marketing strategies. When it comes to offline marketing strategies, there may be other ways of tracking performance such as using follow-up surveys (such as asking people who attended your marketing conference to give feedback via email).

You’re Trying To Target Too Many Marketing Channels

While it can be worth dabbling in different types of marketing, you should try to keep a focus on a few specific types of marketing so that you’re not spreading your time and resources too thin. When getting involved in social media marketing, don’t try to conquer every social media platform unless you’ve got dedicated staff members that can do it for you. Instead, use your time to focus on specific social media sites that are likely to have the best results. For example, if you run a cake making business, it might make sense to focus on image-heavy sites like Instagram and Facebook.

These tips should keep your marketing strategy optimized and organized leading to much better results!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

The Ultimate Home Maintenance Toolkit

 Do you find it challenging to maintain your home? If so, then this blog post is for you. I have compiled a list of the best equipment to own as a homeowner for easy and cost-effective maintenance. These items will make handling your household chores much more manageable.

Image Credit: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


A Toolbox for Repairs

A toolbox will have all the tools you need to work on various projects in your home and is also perfect when helping friends or family with their DIY tasks too! In addition, it is essential for repairs, so you'll be able to fix anything on the spot.

A Lawnmower

A lawn mower will make the job of cutting your grass much more effortless. Additionally, a gas engine powers the mower, and it has a rotating blade to cut the grass efficiently - saving you time and effort! If you combine it with the best electric weed eaters, your lawn will be immaculate. 

Leaf Rake

A leaf rake will help you clean up fallen leaves and debris from your lawn quickly and efficiently for the autumn months.

Stepladder

Whether you're painting a wall or putting up holiday decorations, a stepladder helps you reach those hard-to-reach places in the house.

Extension Cord

An extension cord is perfect for when you need to plug in a power tool. It gives the electric current more reach, which will make your tasks much easier and faster.

A Tool Belt

A tool belt will make carrying and storing your tools much easier so that when you need them, they're right there on hand! It also helps protect from injury as well as saves time looking around for a specific item.

Pressure Washer

You can use a pressure washer at any time of year - whether to get rid of moss on your driveway or wash your car- therefore; it is an excellent tool for any home. It is a cost-effective way of maintaining your home.

A Shovel

You can use a shovel for all sorts of tasks at home like digging in dirt or snow - making it super handy! But, of course, you'll never know when you might need one, so make sure you have one at home.

A Hose Reel

Keeping an unused length of hose on hand can be helpful for many different tasks in your yard, like washing a car or watering the garden. But it can also be dangerous if left lying around! That's why using a hose reel is preferable because it keeps the water safely stored away after use, so you don't have to worry about tripping over and hurting yourself.

A Power Drill

You will need a power drill for drilling holes in various surfaces, applying sealants and even tightening screws! A cordless model is perfect if space isn't an issue. However, if this doesn't suit your needs, a corded model can be plugged in and is more powerful.


In conclusion, these are some of the best home maintenance items to have in your home for tackling all the usual household chores. As time passes, I am sure you will add many more!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Parasites

 I fall a little out of 
love
with the world

more and more
each day

The noise
pollution
static
it gets in the way

it's right there
below us
seething and turning
while we
pretend
it's not happening

There is no change
you say

While she screams
and moans
beneath you 

The agony 
of
the host
being murdered slowly by these

parasites

the muted hum
has become an alarm

But convenience
outweighs the 
life of
mother

I fall a little out of
love
with the world
every day

I have to

It will make it 
easier
to watch
it go 
away.



Wednesday, May 5, 2021

6 Tips For A Stress Free Home Purchase

 Moving and buying a home does not have to be a stressful situation! If you put together a plan to make it a bit more stress-free instead, the process can even be pretty fun. Here are 6 tips for a stress free home purchase.



Hire A Great Real Estate Agent

Your first step is to hire a great real estate agent that knows your area well. They can provide recommendations for other vendors that you will need along the way, as well, which is really handy and can help make the process stress-free. A great real estate agent will help provide accurate pricing on your home that you are selling, they can help negotiate on your behalf, and they can also help walk you through the process and answer any questions along the way, which is priceless. As a buyer, you do not even have to pay them. The seller pays for the agent! But, if you are selling your home too, do keep in mind that you will have to pay them, which I think is very worth it. A great real estate agent will be a complete game changer in your entire home buying and selling process.

Get Pre-Approved

Next step: get pre-approved so that you know what you can afford (and what homes you should not be looking at). Your real estate agent can help recommend a person that can help you get a pre-approval going. When you get pre-approved, this is a huge step, because you will then know how much you can and cannot afford, like I mentioned. This makes it easier to view homes within your budget, while not getting your hopes up on larger and more expensive homes. 

Measure Your New Home

Once you are tentatively buying a home and are working your way towards the closing table, you will have a few appointments like the inspection and the appraisal. You can ask for another date (if warranted) if you need to measure the floorplan, or have contractors come to measure in order to give you estimates on renovations. If you want to save yourself and the current homeowner time, try to have contractors come out during the inspection. It will make things much easier and less time consuming that way!

Trust Your Inspector

Always trust your home inspector, as long as you have done your due diligence and have made sure that they come with great reviews (again - your real estate agent can probably recommend someone!). Your inspection will probably have a long list of needed improvements, but listen to your inspector and see what is necessary (to ask of the current homeowner) and what is not really that big of a deal. Some items on there will probably be door stops that are missing and small broken items. Other items may be bigger issues, such as fire hazards, issue(s) with the foundation, etc. These large ticketed items are the ones that your inspector will probably focus on, so trust them!

Hire Movers

The thing none of us look forward to is moving once we have decided on our home. I found a great local service: College Dudes Help U Move. They are Charlotte NC based pool table movers, residential movers, and commercial movers. They can help you with packing, storage solutions, and more. They are licensed and insured, aim to give you a stress-free moving experience, and they have great reviews, too! They give free in-home estimates, provide same day services in some cases, and offer the best rates on moves within 150 miles of Charlotte, NC. You’ll work one-on-one with your very own move coordinator, a point of contact who will help you plan and organize your move. Choose from a premier a la carte and concierge services to craft the perfect moving plan suited to your local or long distance moving needs. Check out some of the benefits and services you can receive when you choose these local Charlotte movers:

  • Low $89/hour local moving rate!
  • Trained & Uniformed Charlotte Moving Professionals
  • Fully Licensed, Insured, & Bonded Moving service
  • No Hidden Fees or Charges
  • Packing & Unpacking
  • Clean Trucks & New Moving Equipment
  • Scheduling for your Convenience
  • A+ BBB Accreditation
  • A La Carte, Concierge, and 3rd Party Services
College Dudes Help U Move, is a leader in luxury, premium moving services in Charlotte NC and surrounding areas at prices that can accommodate any budget. As an A+ BBB accredited business, they proudly provide local moving services that are unparalleled in the industry. You can call to learn more or schedule your free moving estimate by filling out an online form here.

Set Aside Extra Time

One of the things that makes any process more stressful? Running out of time. This is exactly why I believe that it’s essential to set aside extra time - more than you’ll think you need! If you think the moving process will take you 4 days, add an extra day or 2 to play it safe. Think you need 4 hours to clean? Add an extra 2 hours for flexibility. Expect to close in an hour? Add an additional hour, just in case.


These tips should help guide you through a successful and stress free home purchase. Feel free to add any tips you would like to share!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Why You Should Sell On The GCP Marketplace

 The Google Cloud Platform Marketplace is quickly becoming the easiest way to sell your SaaS. More and more developers are turning to this solution to share their SaaS with an ever widening market. The GCP Marketplace is the quickest way to present production ready stacks, datasets, solutions, and services to aid in development of any product you are offering. The growing advancement of SaaS has changed the marketing needs of many developers. Here are 3 reasons why you should sell your SaaS on the GCP Marketplace:


It's The Fastest Way To Get Your Customers Acclimated To Google Cloud Solutions

In today's instantaneous business world, we are finding that Cloud solutions are becoming more and more important for developers and customers. After an entire year now of a pandemic, being able to access information from one centralized location has been paramount. COVID has changed a lot of ways that people are doing business these days and not for the worse. The most innovative and progressive inventions come by necessity and the GCP Marketplace is the perfect innovation for this pandemic roadblock. By offering your SaaS through the GCP Marketplace, you can also guide your customers on the usefulness of Google Cloud Solutions. This will likely make them more aware of more solutions and practical products for them. The more you can help your customers, the more trust they will have in your product.

The GCP Marketplace Has The Most Convenient Billing Options

Your customers will receive one bill for their usual Google services as well as your SaaS. It's that simple. You can offer the usual features like pay-as-you-go, subscriptions, and even custom pricing in a format that is familiar to your customers and clients. You also have the option to receive reports on what features your customers are enjoying or disliking about your software. You and your customers will appreciate the ease of accessibility and no-hassle billing. 

The GCP Marketplace Offers World Class Security 

Cybersecurity has been a significant issue for SaaS as well as the entire internet recently. By using the Google Cloud Platform Marketplace, you are putting your SaaS into safe hands as you have the safest and newest defense against any threat. Customers overwhelmingly prefer knowing that their SaaS is secure and will appreciate your attention to this detail. You will also have the comfort of knowing that your SaaS is safe, secure, and backed up by Google. 

Using the GCP Marketplace gets your SaaS into your customer's  hands quickly, easily, and conveniently! There are many guides, training, and tutorials on how to get started on the GCP Marketplace should you find yourself stuck in any way navigating this valuable marketplace. Once you are comfortable with this innovative platform marketplace, you will find that it is an invaluable resource for the development and sale of your SaaS.

Have you sold your SaaS on the Google Cloud Platform Marketplace? 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Why SEO Strategies Are For Writers, Too

 What are some of the questions people ask when they read your work? What are some of the phrases or questions in those keywords? 

That’s SEO- or search engine optimization- the very thing that is used to evaluate the keywords and make sure that your work is the answer to the question, while determining where your website will rank from these keywords. 

You can look at the keywords that best fit your work, and that are the closest to the front page of search results. This goes beyond the broad, basic keywords, but also highly specific, hyper local keywords. The basic keywords have a much higher search volume, but achieving a high rank on these keywords is very difficult. It is reminiscent of the social media strategy that targets everyone in a way that relies on high reach to yield a fraction of the potential return.

This is why it’s important to think about some of the most recent questions you’ve asked via search. You can think about what you read and what you learnt as a result of reading that. What websites did you discover? Which of those did you begin to trust and return to? Those answers all started with a particular question, and there are specific ways in which you can benefit from an SEO return on investment and you can become the answer to the questions asked. 

Some keywords have a lower search volume, so it’s easier to rank highly on them. And they are much more likely to be keywords searched by people in need of services and close enough to take advantage of what you have to offer- so if your published work is particularly niche, you can still be the answer to some very specific questions! 

Invest In Keywords

You may have identified the keywords you wish to own, and now SEO experts can help you build rank on those websites through using those keywords in your work as it is published online. The keywords may be used for inline links on the page which lead to other pages on your website. 

SEO experts can help to optimize your online presence, but there are some ways in which you could do it yourself. This includes writing blog posts that contain keywords within them and that answer the questions commonly asked about the subject you’re writing about. 

However, sometimes SEO expertise is absolutely necessary if you want more people to visit your website and read what you have to say. Some search keywords rank differently with slight variations of words or phrases. For example, if a word is at the beginning of the question rather than the end, for example, the ranking for the results can be completely different than if it is the other way around. 

Strong optimization positions a website to rank highly for as many of those keywords as possible.

Good SEO does a lot of the work for you. It steers you into the path of the people with whom you wish to engage with and when. 

How do you make the most of SEO when writing online?

Monday, January 11, 2021

Why You Should Learn The Piano As An Adult

 When asked about regrets from younger years, many adults will list ‘I wish I learned how to play piano’ as one of them.

 The good news is that whether you’re 10, or 60, you can always do something you’ve always wanted to do. 

Learning to play the piano as an adult should be fun and challenging. Unlike learning when you’re a child, you don’t have to force yourself to play if you no longer find you want to. 


Why should I learn the piano as an adult? 

As an adult wanting to learn the piano, the most important thing for you is to have the enthusiasm and enjoyment to want to stick to it. Discipline and talent will come later. 

There are a number of reasons you should learn to play the piano, or indeed any instrument you want to as an adult. 


Enthusiasm is the first thing. As an adult you already have the power of choice. You can stop or start playing the piano whenever you want to, without being told otherwise. Many kids are encouraged by the adults in their lives to learn, and stick to playing any instrument, and even when they grow up, can no longer hear certain tunes they had to play over and over again… 

You Can Learn any Song You Like

No more ‘Mary had a little lamb’ or ‘Old Macdonald’ around if you don’t want to learn to play. As an adult who has been exposed to more music (note- heard more tunes that you will recognize as an adult) you can start by learning the songs you want to right away. 

You can start with the classical favorite, ‘Fur Elise’ if you want to. If you’re confident in reading music, you can search online for titles such as the Lumineers song Ophelia piano sheet music with both vocal and piano parts. This is a great way of learning to either accompany yourself or others. 

You Have a Choice of How You Learn 

As an adult, you can choose how you learn how to play the piano. There are many options of how you can learn the piano; by ear, apps, or by getting a teacher. 

Digital pianos have inbuilt learning technology- which is a good way to learn, but may limit you with how many songs you can learn. 

Teachers are a good option as they can build bespoke lessons depending on what you want to learn, They also offer a range of ways to teach. One-to-one in person, or via video call. 

You Can Learn At Your Own Pace 

When learning as an adult, there’s no pressure to learn at a particular pace in order to get a place in the school orchestra. Learning at your own place can make you feel relaxed and keeps the enjoyment element in your piano playing that will likely make you want to keep playing for years to come. 


Monday, December 28, 2020

My Top 5 Favorite Products Recommended by Amanda Jo of Organic Bunny

2020 is finally coming to a close and I could not be happier about it! It's been quite the year and I know it was rough on all of us. My Treat Yourself Tuesday series definitely took a hit as most of us were much more concerned with paying our bills than frivolities!


What I did have a lot of in 2020 was time so I made good use of it! I decided that it was about time that I gave a few things recommended by Amanda Jo of Organic Bunny a try and I am so glad I did. I am often reminding everyone to practice self care, yet I found I wasn't following my own advice. So, I got a little splurgy and decided I was going to focus on me for once and not feel an ounce of guilt about it. I came across some great products and wanted to share them with you as an end of the year-that-wasn't Treat Yourself TODAY post!



Now that I have reached my forties, I have retired foundation. It doesn't matter what brand it is or if it has anti-aging properties...it will end up caked up in weird places. I fell in love with BB cream, however, the first time I used it. I have tried many different kinds since it became available and I think I have finally found my favorite in Suntegrity's Impeccable BB Cream. It's very light and I love that it has SPF30 and blue light protection. It leaves my skin so soft and the coverage is exactly the kind I am looking for. You can even buy samples here



As I am sure I have mentioned, I am obsessed with my hair. I am constantly looking for new hair products that will nourish, revive, and renew these old, tired strands. This Earth Harbor Sunstone Hair Revive Elixir is my favorite find. It smells like heaven and it is actually taming my fly-aways and damaged ends. My hair is softer than it has ever been! 


Another hair product, of course! I am always a little skeptical of hair masks as I have tried many that leave my hair heavy and a little more oily than I would like. This rosewater, vitamin B, coconut, silk proteins and jojoba infused mask leaves my hair essentially moisturized and revitalized without that "Did I wash this all of the way out?" feeling. I finally believe in hair masks again!

My mother was always of the opinion that a nice, long, hot bath could fix anything. Mom was definitely right about this! All of my troubles seem to float away with the steam of a hot bath and I come out of the bath feeling refreshed and ready. The Shiva Rose Moon Sea Salts soothe with rose crystal salts from the peaks of the Andes, mineral rich salts from the Dead Sea and the Himalayan peaks, rose oil, frankincense, and grounding cedar. Absolutely lovely. Your body will thank you!


I know, I said I was going to focus on SELF care but I can not stop myself from spoiling my very first granddaughter, even if I try. This calming baby lotion leaves baby super soft but not greasy. It absorbs so rapidly and smells divine. Made with French Lavender, Chamomile, and Meadowsweet oil, it is the perfect calming lotion for baby (or you)! I admit, I have used it as well and absolutely love it. 


Did you treat yourself today? 

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 in 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. I found some great mortgage calculator tools online, specifically MortgageCalculator.info. Using that tool it was easy to see where I could start. 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!