Friday, June 28, 2019

The Need For Hope In A World Gone Crazy, And Some Preparation

Do you know the saying: “expect the best, prepare for the worst”? In a world where nationalism is on the rise, the internet seems to be solely focused on selling your data to companies, where some even suggest we are living in a “post-truth” era, it might seem easier just to give up and despair. You don’t even have to go far to be confronted with the worst of humanity and existential threats that are looming over humankind. It’s people denying climate change when clearly the planet’s weather has become more erratic. It’s seeing politicians choosing for business and the wealthy, while the middle class gets decimated and the gap between the haves and have-nots keeps getting bigger. It’s everything you would consider just and fair, being hollowed out bit by bit.

Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

Now, you will have two options, either give up and let it all wash over you, or work through the pain. There is a lot to say for the power of hope in these examples. Hope is the belief that the circumstances will get better. It’s not just mere wishing, it’s an actual belief that things will turn out alright. It’s being faced with life-changing adversity but still knowing you will come out on the other side. It’s losing everything you hold dear at the age of 50 and still believe you can start all over again. It’s being told to have a life-altering disease, but still making the most of things.

But in the context of hope (or lack of), it’s not always about these tentpole events in life. It could also be just a lingering feeling. It could be the feeling of not mattering in the greater scheme of things. Think of people who go to work every day, clock in and out, but have been so disconnected from things because of a sense of futility. It could also just be the prospect of better things to come, such as a promotion. And hope or lack of has real-life impact. In a study of mechanical and electrical engineers at a Fortune 100 tech company, the high-hope engineers, on average, missed less than three days of work in twelve months.  The low-hope engineers missed, on average, more than ten days of work in that same period of time.

So hope plays a role when we are faced with significant setbacks in life, or it can be a lingering sense of being stuck somewhere. When dealing with adversity or the sense of “being stuck,” you can see people fall into two basic categories. One is the category of psychological victims. These individuals are passive, pessimistic, and look to the past. They ask, "Who will help me?" They despair and are all consumed by their loss, refusing to help themselves. The other category is one of the psychological survivors. These people are active, optimistic, and look to the future. They ask, "How can I help myself?" They grieve, which is healthy, but they continue to persevere and fight.

If you would apply this to yourself, when facing adversity, you should try to avoid being pushed into the victim role and switch your mindset to surviving. Some people would call this a fight or flight mechanic. If you see other dealing with adversity, let them grief, but also try to help them on their way again. The key to switching from victim to survivor is understanding that the initial step is the hardest one. When in a victim mindset, it will be harder to see silver linings, and when you are in a survivor mindset, you will automatically grasp at any opportunity to see glimmers of hope. This is a way is the hardest and most fascinating thing about a hope, how the momentum of hope accelerates people in, well, being more hopeful.

The positive physiological effects of hope are well-documented, most eloquently in Jerome Groopman's "The Anatomy of Hope," where he writes: “Belief and expectation -- the key elements of hope -- can block pain by releasing the brain's endorphins and enkephalins, mimicking the effects of morphine. In some cases, hope can also have important effects on fundamental physiological processes like respiration, circulation, and motor function.”

Groopman's research showed that during the course of illness, belief and expectation (two mental states associated with hope) have an impact on the nervous system which, in turn, sets off a chain reaction that makes improvement and recovery more likely. This process, he points out, is fundamental to the widely accepted "placebo effect," which is created by a hopeful outlook.

And as great hope is, it can’t be the only thing you rely on. There is no harm in preparing for the worst. This could mean having the right insurances in place, making you sure have savings or have a wrongful death attorneys at your service if the situation calls for it. It’s like general “Mad Dog” Mattis legendary quote on meeting new people: “be polite, professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” Of course, the context is a military one, but the sentiment is one that extends to regular life as well. Expect a positive attitude from everyone, but be prepared for the worst.

It’s hoping for a promotion at work, but also having alternatives if that doesn’t happen. It’s making sure the bills are paid before you go on a spending spree. It’s organizing a BBQ as the weather forecast is looking good, but have a plan B if the heavens open up. It’s fighting the good fight against climate change, but not be disheartened when you can’t change people’s minds. It’s trying to follow your dreams, persists but also know you can evolve if things don’t pan out.

And that’s where we are right now. It’s no longer the era of unlimited hope and the sky being the limit. It’s also not the time of doom and gloom. Being faced with existential threats, the disappearance of the middle ground and the public discussion being held from the extreme wings, the only way through is to keep the hope, but also don’t get taken for a fool.

Monday, June 17, 2019

How To Have A Great Date Night

Special occasion coming up? First date? Or a romantic celebration in order? Then you need to make sure that you can have a great date night. But what shall it be? Let’s take a look.

Do Something Active

First of all, if you’re looking for a different kind of date night to what you’re used to, then why not do something active? Sometimes, it’s really fun to be able to think outside the box and try something new. From go-karting to rock climbing, and everything else in between, this could be the perfect way to have some fun!

Enjoy A Delicious Meal

If you’re a foodie, or you want to be able to enjoy each other’s company and have a good conversation, then going to a restaurant is always a good idea. However, you are going to want to think about the kind of restaurant that you want to visit, as well as what sort of cuisine may go down well. Either way, if you book somewhere special, you’ll often know that you’re going to have a good time.

See A Show

Finally, you may also want to go and see a show too. Now, we all know that you could go to the cinema and see one of the latest films, but you do that regularly, it may not feel all that special. However, when you decide that you want to enjoy a nice date night, then going to the theatre is often perfect. However, what should you see? Take a look at the below infographic to help you to decide.
Infographic Design By theatre tickets

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Scary Vehicle Recalls you Should Know About

Disclosure:  This is a guest post.  This is important information that I think you need to know, so  I am more than happy to share this with you!

Driving can be dangerous enough with a perfectly safe (and perfectly working) vehicle. One thing that usually doesn’t even cross a motorist’s mind is a fear that their vehicle will suddenly malfunction causing a life-threatening traffic accident. Unfortunately, this is something that all people who own, lease, or just drive a vehicle need to think about. Cars are not perfect, and neither are the people – or machines – that build them.

Below, we will cover some of the biggest, scariest recalls that happened so far in 2019. Since many factors go into how deadly and far-reaching a recall can be, the below defects are not ranked, but rather listed in alphabetical order by brand.

#1 – Audi: Leaking Fuel

Number of Recalls: 75,000 Vehicles

Audi began notifying registered owners of the recalls in their 2015-2018 A8s and 2016-2018 A6s, A7 hatchbacks and Q7 SUVs. This defect, involving 75,000 vehicles in the U.S. alone, involved the left and right fuel rails which were found to leak fuel, which is extremely dangerous around any ignition source. The smallest spark, static, or even just a hot surface (like the pavement on a summer day) could cause this vehicle to catch on fire.

#2 – Chevrolet: Steering Problems 

Number of Recalls: 113,000 Vehicles

The smallest crossover from Chevy, the Trax, is experiencing a recall. It involves the Trax CUVs that were manufactured from July 1, 2017, to April 4, 2019. The reason for this recall is that the front lower control arms that connect the wheel to the chassis have been found to not be properly welded together. Therefore, these essential control arms can separate, making the driver unable to properly steer the vehicle.

#3 – Chrysler: Power Losses

Number of Recalls: 198,731 Vehicles

The popular family car, the Pacifica minivan, has a recall affecting the models that were manufactured between 2017 and 2019 due to an electrical issue. A portion of the battery assembly has been found to have faulty wiring, which can cause the vehicle to lose power. When this happens, the power steering will stop working and the engine can fully stall out.

#4 – Ford: Rolling Away

Number of Recalls: 822,500 Vehicles

In July of 2018, Ford recalled 550,000 Fusion and Escape vehicles built from 2013 to 2016 due to issues with the shifter cables. It turns out, Ford didn’t recall enough. They are adding 270,000 Fusions built those same years at the Flat Rock and Hermosillo Plants and 2,500 Rangers built in March 2019 at the Michigan Plant. All of these vehicles have the same major problem: a faulty gearshift that can cause the vehicle to spontaneously come out of park and roll away.

#5 – Honda: Deploying Airbags

Number of Recalls: 118,000 Vehicles

The 2019 Honda CR-V has already injured three passengers due to its airbags randomly blowing up in their faces. The manufacturer has explained this unexpected deployment to be caused by metal burrs in the steering wheel that makes the airbags overheat. Faulty Takata airbags inside Honda vehicles killed 13 people in the United States not too long ago, so it’s concerning to hear that the same deadly malfunction is happening again.

#6 – Mazda: Inoperable Wipers

Number of Recalls: 187,798 Vehicles

2016-2018 Mazda 3s are being recalled (106,756 are 2016s) because of windshield wipers that stop working due to loss of electricity to the motor. The worst part: Mazda was notified of this problem back in 2015. It wasn’t until April 2019 that a Quality Audit Committee got to the root of the problem. Owners of the affected vehicles will be notified by June 3, 2019—hopefully before one of them gets stuck in a rainstorm with wipers that won’t do their job.

#7 – Ram: Unlatching Tailgates

Number of Recalls: 410,351 Vehicles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is recalling 1500, 2500, and 3500 Ram pickup trucks with eight-foot cargo beds that were manufactured from 2015 through March 31, 2018. A portion of the power-locking mechanism in the tailgates has been found to break, which will cause the tailgate to unlatch. Whatever is in those huge eight-foot beds – probably the tailgate too –  would be sent flying out across the interstate Final Destination Two style.

#8 – Subaru: Faulty Brake Lights

Number of Recalls: 1.3 Million Vehicles

Yep, that’s right; this recall involves over one million vehicles. 2014-2016 Subaru Forester SUVs, 2008-2016 Impreza sedans, 2012-2016 Impreza wagons, 2008-2014 WRX and STI sedans, and 2013-2017 Crosstrek SUVs are all being recalled due to brake light switches malfunctioning. This defect not only prevents the brake lights from illuminating, but it also can prohibit the ignition from starting (in keyless-entry models), and it can prevent vehicles with automatic transmissions from shifting out of park.

#9 – Volkswagen: Fracturing Coils

Number of Recalls: 56,100 Vehicles

Certain Volkswagen vehicles are experiencing fractures in their rear coil springs. When this happens, the coil can puncture the back tires causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and risking a fatal traffic accident. The models affected are 2017-2019 Golf SportWagens, 2019 Jetta sedans, 2015-2019 Golf hatchbacks, and 2018-2019 Tiguan SUVs.

#10 – Volvo: Detaching Lift Arms

Number of Recalls: 46,000 Vehicles

This is another malfunction that is most treacherous for those driving behind the involved vehicles. With the 46,000 2018 and 2019, Volvo XC60 SUVs affected, in certain conditions and cold temperatures, the tailgate lifting arms and springs can detach. Volvo did the right thing and notified registered owners at the end of January 2019, but the problem is that the new parts aren’t available yet. So, Volvos sporting defective liftgates are most likely cruising all over U.S. roads.

Does your vehicle have a recall?

Deadly vehicle defects are much more common than most people realize. Manufacturers are required by law to notify vehicle owners of recalls—no matter how seemingly trivial, but there is always a significant delay between the first report of a problem and when you will get your letter, email, or phone call. It’s essential that you pay attention to recent recalls on the vehicle you and your loved ones drive. Check out the below websites with recall lookup tools and bookmark one of them so you can quickly run a search on your specific vehicle each month.

Safecar.org
Recalls.gov
NHTSA.gov
carfax.com

Sara Routhier is a Research Specialist and Staff Writer for AutoInsurance.org. In addition to obtaining a degree in Elementary Education, being a public school teacher, family nanny, and tutor, she has over four years experience in the auto insurance industry. Having lost a child herself, Sara is dedicated to spreading the word on traffic fatality causes, educating readers on dangers to avoid, and working towards preventing more unnecessary deaths in America.

Could You Run Your Own Small Business?


For many people, the very idea of running a business is enough to strike terror in their heart. You might feel that this is the kind of thing you can only do if you already have plenty of experience in a given field, or that you need to have a lot of money to get started in the first place. There might, in fact, be many issues that spring to mind when you are considering starting up your own business which can really get in the way of your desire to do so. However, the truth is that just about anyone can effectively run their own small business, and it is something that a lot of people do try their hand at some point in their lives.



The first thing to note is that you only have to go as far as you want to. If you start to do all that you need to in order to get your business started, and you decide that it is not for you and that you would rather do something else, then there is no obligation. You can simply step aside, and in most cases, you can do that before you have spent any serious money either. Knowing this should make you feel a little less worried, and that might mean that you start to think about this as a real opportunity.

So what are some of the things that you might need to think about if you are to run your own small business? As it happens, there are plenty of ways you might want to approach this. Let’s take a look at a range of the issues which you should focus on, to make sure that you are going to run your business as successful as you would hope.

Passion For The Idea

The thing that is likely to spur you on the most and ensure that you actually get things going is having a passion for the idea that gets the business up and running in the first place. Now, that idea can be anything. It could be a specific product that you know you can create or have made, which you feel would solve a problem for people. It might be that you want to provide some kind of a service that you feel is lacking, and you know is important in some way or another. Or you might be spurred on by the idea you have for the branding, and you just know that a business of that kind and flavor needs to exist. Whatever it is, you need to make sure that you have a real passion for the idea, as ultimately it is that which ensures that it is actually going to be successful. You also need to have that kind of passion if you hope that you are going to be able to enjoy it, which is obviously very important as well.



A Partner

Although you can, of course, start a business on your own, most people start up with a partner, and there are many good reasons for doing so which you might want to consider. First of all, you will find that when you work alone it is much harder to spur yourself on, whereas when you work with a partner you will be able to ensure that you are going to work as hard as necessary, and you will simply find yourselves encouraging each other to continue. That is hugely powerful and can provide you with the kind of sustenance you need to really get things done in the early days. Having a partner on board also means that you can bounce ideas off of each other, and that is something which you will find enormously valuable too, if only for the reason that you will soon discover what kinds of ideas are not actually going to work. This creative back and forth process is hugely rewarding and is the kind of thing which you will find is going to enable you to come up with some of the best ideas for your business. Having a partner, therefore, makes the quality of the ideas better, as well as making the process of creating them more enjoyable.

Your partner should be someone you can work well with, and who you trust. It is helpful if you are good friends, but there is also much to be said for having a partner who is simply all business and where there is no friendship at all. Whatever works for you. The main thing is that you are happy working with them and that you are both equally excited about the project in hand.



Compliance

From the very start, you need to be thinking about the law and making sure that you are doing all you need to in order to remain legal at all times. Having a decent compliance process is invaluable here, and the kind of thing that you are going to need to set up as early on as you can. Compliance is simply the process of having processes in place which keep your business legal, and it is something which you will find is likely to help you know what direction you are moving in. There are so many things to consider here, from ensuring that customers are approached properly to keeping your taxes in order. When it comes to keeping the customer safe, there are ways in which people are helping companies of all sizes achieve their KYC obligations, and you will need to look into that. And as for issues to do with tax and so on, you will have to make sure that you registering your business and keeping it above board from the very start.

As long as you focus on these elements, you should find that you can run your own small business, and you might hopefully have a lot of fun in doing so. Running a business can be enormously rewarding if you go about it in the right way, and the most valuable thing is that you are happy to put in the effort needed to make it work.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Empower Yourself: Taking Control Of Your Life’s Direction

Empower wall decor
(Image Source)

Everyone goes through times in life where it can feel hard to keep in control. With bosses being as difficult as ever, businesses pushing you to cover bills, and all of the other little things which make life hard bearing down on you, it’s no wonder that it can feel chaotic sometimes. To give you the inspiration you need to overcome this, this article will be exploring some of the simplest ways to empower yourself and take control of your life’s direction.

The Challenges

There are a lot of challenges which can come with normal living, and facing them can leave people feeling very alone. Problems can be embarrassing, with most people working hard to cultivate the idea that they are a very responsible person, who doesn’t make mistakes in life. Of course, though, some issues will be accidental, and others won’t be down to you at all. The most crucial part of this is that you have a method to get out of it.

Assess: The first part of this involves a little bit of assessment. You need to evaluate your problems, searching for the root cause. If you’re struggling to cover bills, for example, it could be that you’re spending huge amounts of money on something else which you don’t need, and only need to cut back a little to turn the tide. Getting to the very start of the problem is always one of the best ways to start solving it.

Find Some Support: While the problems you face in life may leave you feeling alone, getting help us a lot easier than most people think. In the case of money, there are loads of charities and other organizations out there which can give you free financial advice. You never have to let a challenge hold you back, especially when you have so many people waiting to support you with it.

Your Dreams & Aspirations

For some people, the biggest problem they face will be achieving their dreams and aspirations. Taking control of this side of your life doesn’t have to be as hard as a lot of people think, though, and you have a surprising amount of power behind you already. There are plenty of guides around the web which can push you through to the career of your dreams, but very few offer advice to help you to achieve other fantasies.

Set Out Your Plan: Achieving any goal will be impossible without the right sort of plan to go with it, especially if you’ve been struggling to reach your destination for a long time. Your plan should include the steps you will need to take, the timeframe you’d like to do it in, and the investment you’re willing to make along the way. Having this in place will give you a solid idea of where you’re going, enabling you to take control like never before.

Create Contingencies: Unfortunately, plans don’t always work out, and a lot of people don’t manage to reach their main life goals. When you find yourself unable to achieve what you’d like to, it can be hard to find a new path to follow, and this makes it worth having a couple of backup plans, just in case you need to start working towards something else. These don’t need to be as detailed as the original and should relate to the work you’ve already been doing. For example, if you can’t study to become a doctor, you could consider the idea of becoming a nurse.

Work, Work, Work: While it might seem as though the most successful out there have something to hide, the true secret to making it in life is work. If you’re able to dedicate and throw yourself into your goals, it will be far easier to take control of life. In some situations, working hard can enable you to achieve goals which wouldn’t be possible through traditional methods, like running your own business.

Find Inspiration: When you’ve been working for months on end and your dreams still seem very distant, it can be easy to let yourself feel down. A little bit of inspiration is all you need to turn this around, though, with people like Cynthia Telles having incredible stories to share. Cynthia has spent much of her life working to help others, achieving academic and social feats which most people will only dream of, and she managed it all on her own. This shows that any goal is within your grasp.

Keeping An Open Mind

While it may sound like a simple idea, keeping an open mind can be a surprisingly powerful tool when you’re unsure of your life’s direction. It can be easy to feel stressed or worried when your life is changing, and most people will want to hold onto the things they know. Some changes aren’t negative, though, even when they feel like they’re making life harder. For example, finding yourself in a new job is often a challenge, and adapting to your new schedule can often feel bad, but the benefits of your new role will make it all worth it.

Of course, this goes further than having an open mind about your current situation, and it’s also worth taking the same approach with your future. With most people struggling to find the life they dream about, making small compromises is often the best way to get into something you’ll like. It might be said that you haven’t managed to achieve exactly what you wanted to, but it will be far better than getting nowhere with your aspirations.


Taking control of your life is something which most people want to achieve. There are loads of guides, blogs, and other resources around the web offering advice to help with this, but you can often succeed by following a few simple steps. Life is full of challenges, but this is what makes it interesting and keeps you growing as a person. If everything were easy, life would be quite boring, and everyone would have the best jobs around.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

How To Deal with Your Long Term Health Challenges

If you are dealing with a health issue that is limiting your ability to live the life you are used to for a long time, it might be time to change your lifestyle and make some smart adjustments. They will allow you to make the most out of every moment, and overcome your limitations and live your life to the fullest, despite your health condition. Below you will find a few tips on improving your everyday life.

A Healthy Living Environment 

Image via Flickr

One of the things you will have to pay attention to is your living space. If you have a compromised immune system, you will need to reduce the irritants and things that can cause flare-ups and inflammations. You should get an advanced air purifier to get rid of the pollen and toxic materials, as well as pollution in the air. Getting a Pest Control company to check your home for infestation and droppings that can cause allergies is also important.

Staying Active 

Image via Pixabay

No matter how limiting your illness is, you will need to make the most out of your life, and stay active as much as you can. If you cannot jog or do cardio, you might want to try Tai Chi or yoga. These two types of ancient forms of exercise will not only help you get better physically but also mentally strong. Restore your energy levels and make the most out of your rehabilitation project.

Having a Support Network

Once you realize that your life has changed forever, you might feel alone in the world and don’t feel like you want to connect with others, as they will not understand you. The good news is that you can find people online and on social media who are experiencing the same life challenges as you. Having a supportive network will help you focus on the positives and keep engaged with others.

Setting Goals

To keep on moving forward, despite your health challenges, you will need to work on setting smart goals in life. If you have something to look forward to every day, you will stay more positive and focused and can avoid overthinking things. Whether your goals are related to your recovery and rehabilitation, or your personal life, they will keep you going during the most challenging times.

Reducing the Risk of Complications

You will need to take care of your health more than ever if your body’s defense system is already compromised. This means that you will probably need to switch to organic produce, reduce your intake of processed food, and stay on track with your health. Learn about the most common complications related to your condition, and find a way to avoid them by changing your lifestyle.

To make the most out of your health, you will need to address the risks and the changes. Create personal challenges and goals, and stay focused on overcoming your limitations. This will help you stay positive every day and make the most out of the rest of your life.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Starry Night Jar lamp

                                   Disclosure:  This is a guest post by Brock Ingham.**

DIY Starry Night Jar
What makes you sleep better than a night under the stars? There is something about staring into the bright lights galaxies away which can wipe away the day’s troubles.
Unfortunately, unless you’re camping or are lucky enough to be sleeping under a skylight this calming experience is limited to only a few times a year at best. Luckily we’re going to show you how to bring the stars and moon into your room to enjoy every night.
This is a great craft you can do with your little ones at any age. Watch as their imagination lights up with the delight of something you have created together. And when they grow up and no longer need (or want) their starry night you will always have this memory you shared together.
Better yet, you can create this star jar with only a few dollars’ worth of supplies. So bust out your craft table and get ready to make something special tonight.
    Here is a list of what you will need:
    • Newspaper or paint proof sheet
    • 1 small can of dark blue spray paint
    • Star stickers of any color or shape to your preference
    • 1 Large mason jar
    • 1 LED candle (can be found for $1-$2)
    First prep the area you plan to work within. Keep in mind you are working with paint so the area should be free of animals which might get into the mess… Yikes! Or somewhere the craft can be left alone to dry.
    Wipe off the jar with a dry towel to make sure there is no dust or dirt that could cause the stickers to fall off. Start by placing the star stickers around the jar in a pattern you like. This is the part the kids tend to enjoy the most. Let them have fun with it even if the stars look a little wonky ☺ Follow behind making sure they are well stuck to the jar.
    Set the jar on the newspaper or painting area you prepped. We went with a dark navy blue paint for the full effect but you can use any dark color you would like. Give it a good spray making sure there is no running paint going under or around the stickers. Set aside to dry.
    Once the jar is FULLY DRY (the paint is no longer sticky to the touch) carefully begin to remove the stickers.
    Turn on and pop your light in the jar and turn off the lights.
    Viola! You have now made your very own starlight lamp.
    Now that you have an idea how it is made you can imagine what other stickers could be used to create this night light effect. If you’re like me you enjoy any toy or decoration that inspires creativity and learning. While they may not know it its little things like this that get your little ones excited about nature and the outdoors. And with one craft may come many more. If you’re looking for something to feed that creativity check out our Levitating Moon Lamp which is sure to raise some questions in your lovely home from the hearts and minds of any age. If you’re looking for something a little more subtle check out the original moon lamp.
    **Author Bio: Brock is the founder of Levitatingmoon.com. His store is dedicated to offering out of this world gifts for those of all ages. When he’s not looking for the next big gift you can find him tending to his vegetable garden under the sun. **




    Pursuits To Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

    There are some common traits that all humans share, and activities they need in their life in order to feel thrived and happy. Work, believe it or not, is one of them -- under the right circumstances, which doesn’t always happen, work is a satisfying pursuit. As is creativity. While some people say that they’re not creative, this isn’t the case -- everyone is creative in one way or another! Now, it’s true that sometimes time isn’t on our side when it comes to getting a new hobby underway. It is, however, worth carving out the time to get something going. If you need some inspiration about what creative hobby to begin, take a read below, where we outline some common favorites.

    Source: Pexels.com

    Write it Out

    There’s much pleasure to be had in sitting down and writing. Whether it’s a story, non-fiction piece, poem, or anything else, you might just find that you’ve got a hidden talent once you’ve got a pen in your hand. You might not end up the bestseller list, but that’s not what you’re aiming for: the joy lies in the creation, not the success. If you’re looking for guidance, you can join a local writing group, or get involved with an online community. Expressing your thoughts and ideas on paper is an excellent way to spend an evening!

    Becoming a Star

    One of the best things about living in the modern world is that access to creativity is so much more open than in the past. If you wanted to make videos in the past, then, well, good luck -- you’d need to know people with cameras, specialized equipment, and so on. Now, anyone and everyone with a laptop, and especially a Mac, can get recording, and publish their videos once they’re finished. If you don’t know whether to begin, take a look at https://setapp.com/how-to/record-edit-share-videos-on-mac. You might make YouTube tutorials, reviews, animations, or anything else -- and who knows where it might lead to?

    Bringing Beauty

    We said earlier than humans have an inner drive to be creative, and they also have an inner desire to be outside. We belong to be in nature, not cooped up inside! Why not combine the creative and wild aspects of your being by getting into the garden, and creating something beautiful? There’s much pleasure to be had in designing your own backyard, one full of plants, trees, and water features.

    Building and Creating

    Using our hands to build was something we all used to do in the olden days. Not so much anymore! If you’re interested in getting crafty and creative, then take a look at building small objects with wood. It’s pretty cool to make even simple things like a bowl, especially if you make it a staple of your kitchenware afterward.

    Local Classes 

    Not yet inspired? Then take a look at any classes being offered in your local area. You’ll likely find there’s one for all kind of pursuits. You’ll meet people, and learn something new: nice!

    Tuesday, May 7, 2019

    Chonda Pierce Unashamed in Selected Theaters May 7th and May 9th @ 7PM

    Disclosure: I received this screener from Frontgate Media, free of charge, to facilitate my honest and unbiased review.  No other compensation has been received.

    This Mother’s Day week, May 7 & 9 at 7:00pm., you and your friends can enjoy a night of laughter and truth as only the top-selling female comedian, Chonda Pierce, can deliver.


    Chonda will make you laugh and think as she boldly proclaims the truth of the Gospel to a hurting world.  Chonda takes a journey into the hearts of the faithful as she engages some of the boldest believers in America. Mike Huckabee, Danny Gokey, the Benham Brothers, and others tell their stories of speaking truth to our culture…no matter the consequences. Don’t forget to bring your moms, grandmas and every mother in your church for a night to remember!

    Only Chonda can communicate deep and meaningful truth and make you laugh at the same time.  Chonda is unchained, unrestrained and UNASHAMED!

    My thoughts:

    I must admit that the first time I heard about Chonda Pierce was when I was offered the opportunity to view the screener and share with my readers.  If you have not heard about her, you have been missing something special.  I watched my screener one night after my husband had gone to bed.  I was sitting alone in our den with the laptop sitting on a pillow.  Right from the beginning, Chonda made me laugh.  I even caught myself responding to some of the things she said and laughed so loud one time that my hubby actually heard me, and asked if I was ok. 

    It was so nice to hear a comedian make jokes without any foul language, and most of these jokes were geared toward the women in the audience.  She talks about how at her age, her bladder has a mind of its' own, and about the horrible dating sites she has visited.  When she started talking about Plenty of Fish and a man sending her a photo of his fishing lure, I almost wet my pants!!  You have to hear the entire bit to get the full effect. 

    The best part of this to me was how she shared her testimony and the parts of the film where she is speaking with Mike Huckabee, Danny Gokey, the Benham Brothers and Michael Tait of the NewsBoys.  I learned their feelings about faith and how their faith has molded their lives.

    This is the ideal film to take your mom, grandma, sisters, and all your female friends to see.  It is entertaining and enlightening.  If you don't laugh while you listen to Chonda Pierce, you just don't get it!  Chonda is Unashamed, and so am I!  Yes, I am a Christian, and proud to proclaim that truth!

    Monday, April 15, 2019

    When Life Throws You A Curve Ball



    Life is full of surprises, and it has a funny way of springing things on you out of the blue. Good or bad, unexpected little surprises are all just part of the excitement of life. However, many of these things often have an impact financially, so whether it’s an unexpected pregnancy, a new job opportunity, the loss of your job, having an accident or getting sick, are you ready? Can you be prepared without turning into a paranoid wreck? And how can you stay positive while doing it?

    First of all, there are some instances where you could and should be prepared for something likely to happen. If you live somewhere where flooding, storms, earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes are common? If so, then you can plan for such a natural disaster. Have a look anywhere online, and if you search, you can find reports and evidence of the devastating effects these disasters can have. These disasters can also happen very suddenly with no warning signs meaning that having insurance in case of these events is a must. A decent emergency kit and five-day supply of food and water are also really recommended to have on hand in your home, car or office. An emergency kit doesn’t have to be anything large or elaborate, but being prepared in this way can make a difficult situation much easier to get through.

    The most important thing you can do for yourself in the event of an unexpected event is to have a substantial emergency fund that you can access should something happen. Your emergency fund should ideally cover 3-6 months of living expenses, but if you are a single-income family, you might want to consider building an emergency fund of up to a year, which can provide security for you and your family. If you lose your job and have a hard time finding another one, suffer an unexpected illness or have an accident which leads to a gap in your earnings, then you will need something to fall back on, a safety net to put you at ease whilst you try and deal with whatever else is going on. Luckily, in many cases, if you’ve had an accident, you could be entitled to compensation which can ease the loss in earnings. You can find out more about this from a personal injury lawyer as they can advise you of the process and how long it might take to see any compensation, that way you can factor it into your plan. 

    Having this emergency fund allows you more peace of mind while you are dealing with other issues such as a job loss, illness or anything that might affect your income but it is also vital that you have adequate life insurance for your family or your spouse if you are married, and especially if you have children. Depending on your circumstances of course, if your partner doesn’t work or doesn’t earn enough to support the family without you, they will also have to deal with the loss as well as other things, so will need time off work. You and they need to know that they are cared for and make the whole thing as smooth as possible.

    When the unexpected happens, it can be challenging to think clearly and not get caught up in the emotion surrounding the event. Make sure you take care of yourself as much as possible during these times and find ways to alleviate stress and calm yourself. Whether it’s taking long walks, drawing, or just spending time with family and friends, find the activities that will help you remain calm and centered so you can make the best decisions in difficult situations.
    Also, remember to ask for help. Your family and friends will want to help but might not always know what to do. If there’s something they can do for you, whether it’s cooking, childcare even just a chat - let them know what it is they can do to help you. Professionally and personally, who do you have in your life who will be willing and able to help you if you need them? Is there a good number of people you can count on? Have you helped people yourself in the past when they have needed it too? It doesn’t have to be financially, but do you know people who can give you coaching, or counseling? Every person you know will be able to offer you something, somehow; some people will be good at providing practical help like stopping by your home to home to help out, and others will have something different to offer. Having a support system can be invaluable in an emergency so make sure you have yours there and use them.

    Sunday, April 14, 2019

    6 Tips To Prep For Your Epic Easter + a GIVEAWAY #CatholicCentral #EasterTraditions

    Disclosure:  We received a picnic basket as a thank you for sharing our honest opinion.


    Easter is right around the corner, and if your family is anything like mine, you have lots of traditions.  One of the things I always looked forward to as a kid was going with Grandma to get the goodies to put our Easter baskets together.  My brother and I would get to pick out the types of candy we wanted and it was so much fun.  We never knew everything that would be included, because Grandma would put it together for us and give it to us on Easter.  Since I was never a big chocolate eater, I usually got a jump rope, paddleball, or bottle of bubbles, instead of the big chocolate bunny.  We never believed in the Easter Bunny, we understood that Easter was all about the Resurrection of Christ.

    We did have an Easter egg hunt with my cousins, after the huge meal we would have.  Since Easter is about renewal and resurrection, our family would have our yearly family reunion on Easter Sunday.  Our routine was going to church, eat with the family, and then the kids would have the egg hunt and play while the adults would sit and catch up on family news and gossip.  Those memories are still fresh in my mind, all these years later.




    Things are a little different now that I am a mom.  Most of our family has scattered to other states and the grandmas, great-aunts and older family members have passed.  We still view Easter as our time of renewal.  We attend church and have a family dinner.  Kids get Easter baskets, new outfits, and we have made it a tradition to get photos with the Easter Bunny, even though the kids do not believe in him. 

    Easter Traditions:

    Here are 6 tips to prep for your EPIC EASTER!

     photo Easter-_DL_zps2ivif4ms.png

    What did you think?  Did any of the tips stand out to you?


    This was provided courtesy of Catholic Central!   For more on Catholic Central, visit them at: http://www.catholiccentral.com and check out their YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2kkKDrNirE5VR9JoWbDyiA

     About CATHOLIC CENTRAL: You have questions about the Catholic faith and what it means to be Catholic. We have answers. Using a team of witty writers, appealing hosts, and even some learned theologians, we’ve created shareable, snackable videos that teach the timeless truths and deep history of the Church with humor and heart. Produced in the Family Theater Productions studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CATHOLIC CENTRAL entertains, enlightens and inspires.

    :

                                   Giveaway Time!!

    We are giving away a beautiful picnic basket to one of the wonderful Shelly's Bits and Pieces readers!  Simply enter on the rafflecopter form below and this picnic basket could be yours!




    Monday, April 8, 2019

    THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS Film Review & Giveaway #PilgrimsProgressL3 #spon

    Disclosure:



    Easter is will be here in under two weeks, and I have an idea for a wonderful way to spend the weekend with your family.  Why not go see an animated Christian film?  The Pilgrims Progress will be in theaters on 2 days only! April 18 & 20, Easter weekend! And I am giving away tickets (fandango e-codes).
    Thursday, April 18, 7:00p
    Saturday, April 20, 12:55p

    TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW!   Click here for more information or to purchase!

    Based on John Bunyan’s epic masterpiece, THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS is one of the most popular books of all time, and one of the most important stories of our faith! Second to the Bible in total copies and translations, the story was written by John Bunyan a pastor, imprisoned for sharing his faith. This powerful allegory helps families understand the spiritual journey is the most important journey in life, as well as the importance of sticking to the path, even when the journey gets difficult.

    When I was a child, I watched my grandma read The Pilgrim's Progress, and when I got old enough to read it, I had times when I struggled with the allegory.  It is not a book for some light reading!  I was about 10 or so before I really understood it.  The book is a classic and I truly feel that every Christian should at least be familiar with it.


    This film helps to introduce The Pilgrim's Progress to an entirely new generation of people.  If you have read the book, it refreshes the meaning behind it, and if it is new to you, you will go away with a better meaning about what a Christian life entails.  It reminds you that you should persevere and not give up, it reminds you to think for yourself and don't just follow others and what they tell you, and to continue to walk in the LIGHT, even though the road gets hard to navigate.  God never leaves you, even during your darkest hours.

    Parts of this movie might frighten younger children or even older kids who scare easily.  There are a few moments that I noticed the 7-year-old turn away from the movie.  She didn't like the "flying, scary mean guy", and she was promptly told by the 8-year-old that he was like the devil and that you are not supposed to like him.


    Want a chance to win tickets to go see The Pilgrim's Progress and win a Storybook too?  Simply enter on the rafflecopter form below!

    Thursday, April 4, 2019

    3 Ways To Decide On Your Career

    It’s safe to say that your career plays an important part in your life. We all spend such a long time working, so it’s always a nice idea to be able to do a job that you love. But how do you know what kind of job you might like to do? When there’s a lot of choices, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So let’s take a look at three methods that can help you to decide.

    1. Consider Your Passions

    First of all, make sure that you factor in your passions. Maybe you love to read or write or help others or sell things? Really consider what makes you happy, as you may want to incorporate this into your career choice.

    2. Work Out Your Strengths

    But then also, we all have natural talents. We all have strengths in certain areas and it’s always nice to decide on doing something that will feel right for you and that you will be good at. So consider what kind of work comes naturally to you.

    3. Look At Your Traits

    But then also, you could think about your own personality traits for clues on what you might like to do. One example of this is using your star sign! Because when you look to astrology, such as in the infographic below, you can figure out exactly what kinds of careers might be best suited to you. It’s easy to understand what will work for you when you look to astrology, so give this a go.


    Infographic Design By Ask Astrology

    Tuesday, April 2, 2019

    Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase Blu-ray Review & Giveaway! #NancyDrew #TheHiddenStaircase

    Disclosure:  Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.


    Based on the Bestselling Book! 

    The iconic mystery solving teenager from the classic Nancy Drew books is back with an all-new feature-length film that will keep you guessing until the very end! Executive Produced by Ellen DeGeneres, the film stars Sophia Lillis (IT and “Sharp Objects”), Sam Trammell (“True Blood” and “This is Us”), and Linda Lavin (“The Good Wife” and“Alice”) and follows Nancy Drew in her new town, making new friends and on a mission to solve the case! The film carries a suggested retail price of $19.99 for the Digital, $19.98 for the DVD and $28.98 for the Blu-ray Combo Pack. 

    After the death of his wife, Carson Drew decides to leave Chicago behind and make a fresh start with his daughter in River Heights. But for 16-year-old Nancy Drew, life in a small town is mighty dull. She longs for excitement, adventure, and the chance to make a difference. Nancy gets that opportunity when she is asked to help solve the ghostly activity at the Twin Elms mansion. Can she help explain the creaking footsteps, exploding lightbulbs, and the ominous creature? Is it the handiwork of high-school bully Derek Barnes? Or is it possible that the ghost of original owner Malcolm Colfax is back for revenge? Recruiting her best friends George and Bess, along with local “mean girl” Helen, Nancy Drew is on the case! 

    My Thoughts:
    Nancy Drew was a big part of my childhood.  I loved to read the mysteries and I would get so involved in solving the case.  My mom always swore I tried to make a mystery out of everything so I would be able to research, find clues, and solve the case.  This movie made me feel like a kid again.  The girls and I really enjoyed sitting down and watching this together.  We tried to figure out the mystery and kept guessing until the end.  The girls have requested more Nancy Drew books, so this mama is very happy!  My family and I really recommend this movie.  Girl Power rules!

    Check out the app below and solve the case.  How long did it take you to solve the case?


    Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase Escape Room & Mystery Match Blog App:

    • Welcome to the Interactive Nancy Drew Escape Room - to escape, you must solve riddles and find items to uncover the three numbers needed to open to door. Good Luck!

    • In the Mystery Match Video Puzzle, use your mouse to click + drag puzzle pieces to unlock clips from the film.

    Now for the GIVEAWAY!!

    Would you like to win a copy of Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase on Blu-ray?  Simply enter on the rafflecopter form below!

    Monday, April 1, 2019

    Get 300 bonus SB when you sign up for Swagbucks in April #ad

    Disclosure: I am posting to share Swagbucks earning possibilities with you. I am only compensated if someone joins under my link!



    Spring is here, and there's no better time to start earning free gift cards through Swagbucks! All throughout April, you can earn large bonuses when signing up as my referral on Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching the web, watching videos, shopping, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, or PayPal cash.

    When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus! Here's how:

    1. Sign up using this link

    2. Earn 300 SB total before May 1st, 2019. You'll get a 300 SB bonus for it!

    3. That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned over $2000 in  SB, and I was able to get Amazon gift cards and airline tickets!  I love it!

    Thursday, March 21, 2019

    When Your Life Changes Forever

                                                 When Your Life Changes Forever

    If you think about how many decisions you have to make every single day, your mind will be blown. From what you’re going to wear to work, to what you’re going to have for dinner. All of these little choices add up during the day, and at the end of it, we just don’t know what we want anymore. Because as well as all of these little choices that you have to make, you have to deal with all of the other rubbish that comes your way during the day. So, it’s no wonder that half of our lives we spend worrying, stressing, and wondering whether life is ever going to calm down. So with all of that going on, what are you going to do when your life changes forever? There are going to be so many different scenarios in your life where it could just change within minutes. Whether these changes are bad or not depends on the situation you’re in, and how ready you are to deal with them. So to ensure you’re ready to deal with some big life changes, we’re going to list a few today for you, in the hope that the outcome is a good life change for you. Deal with change in the wrong way, and it could turn your life on a downhill spiral forever. So, let’s take a look at a few changes, and how we think it can best be dealt with!



    Changes To Your Health

    Your health is something that you should hold very dear to your heart, but it most likely isn’t. Unless you’re someone who is a bit of a health nut, we’re sure you can all admit that keeping up with your health is pretty hard, and even eating a clean diet is a struggle. But this is all something that you’re taking for granted at the minute because if your body is snatched away from you and you don’t even have the opportunity to treat it right, you’ll regret every decision you ever made. There are so many things that could make this happen, and one of the most common at the minute is being involved in some form of accident. What seems to be super common are car accidents, simply because the roads are so crowded and dangerous at the minute. All you have to do is be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and your life could change for such a long time. Even if it’s something as simple as a broken arm, it could still all change. What you’d need is to hire the Derrick Law Firm if you're injured in a car accident, or someone similar, you’d be putting yourself ahead of the game. If you’re put out of action, your finances stop, but this is where a law firm comes into play. You could get the compensation you deserve, making it much easier to return to normal life!

    Changes To Your Family Situation

    Changes to your family situation might come thick and fast as you go through the years, but the biggest change by far that you’re going to face is the one where you find out you’re expecting. It’s no doubt going to bring you joy, but is this joy always instant? No! Should you feel bad about that? No! It’s so normal to feel in a panic when you find out you’re expecting a baby, yet it’s so easy to overcome that and for it to turn into joy. To deal with this in the best way possible, you need to start saving asap, and you need to think about getting your house ready. As soon as you become practical and start making changes to ready yourself for it, you’ll start to actually enjoy the pregnancy. It will all fly by, so try and make sure you take the time to enjoy being pregnant. You might not like it as much as you think, but when it’s all over you will wish for elements of it back!

    Changes To Your Job

    Changes to your job will either be at your own doing or the doing of your company. We’re going to talk about the change that will shock you the most, and that’s if you get let go from a job. If you do, you need to take a minute to compose and start applying for any job possible. The quicker you get any form of job to get the money in, the easier it’s going to be to deal with the fact that you have been made redundant. Once you’re settled with money coming in, you can then begin to think about what career you actually want to spend your time doing!

    The Pilgrim's Progress Trailer and Giveaway #PilgrimsProgressL3 #sponsored

    Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post with Lev3l Digital and Revelation Media.  All opinions are those of the Shelly's Bits and Pieces family.

    When I was a small child, I can remember watching my great grandma sit in her rocking chair reading The Pilgrim's Progress.  She was enthralled in the story she was reading, and when she passed, the book went to me.  I have read it a few times over the years, and I was very pleased to find out that an animated movie had been made.  This movie is perfect for the entire family.  Stay tuned for my review, coming in mid-April, and another great giveaway coming on April 1st!



    Based on John Bunyan’s epic masterpiece, THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS is one of the most popular books of all time, and one of the most important stories of our faith! Second to the Bible in total copies and translations, the story was written by John Bunyan a pastor, imprisoned for sharing his faith.  This powerful allegory helps families understand the spiritual journey is the most important journey in life, as well as the importance of sticking to the path, even when the journey gets difficult.

    Title: THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS
    Studio: Revelation Media

    Talent: John Rhys-Davies (THE LORD OF THE RINGS), Kristyn Getty, Ben Price

    This will be in theaters for 2 days only! April 18 & 20, Easter weekend!
    Thursday, April 18, 7:00p
    Saturday, April 20, 12:55p
    You can get tickets by clicking here.

    We are giving away a Digital Interactive Storybook (ARV $20) to three (3) different winners!  You can enter to win by entering on the rafflecopter form below!

    Saturday, March 16, 2019

    5 Ways to Have a Shamrockin’ St. Patrick’s Day & Giveaway #CatholicCentral #SaintPatricksDayTraditions Ends 3/26

    Disclosure:  We received product as compensation for our honest and unbiased opinion!

    Saint Patrick's Day is just around the corner.  Time for me to cook corned beef and cabbage and make shamrock cupcakes.  As a kid, I never really understood St. Patrick's Day.  All I really knew was that if you didn't remember to wear green, you would come home bruised from all the pinches you would receive.  As I got older, I learned that I was ¼ Irish, so I decided to embrace that and to make more out of my day!  It is not all about the leprechauns and the pots of gold, St. Patrick's Day is in honor of St. Patrick who is the patron saint of Ireland.  He helped introduce Ireland to Christianity.  The wonderful people at Catholic Central want to tell you more about what St. Patrick's Day is all about!



    About CATHOLIC CENTRAL:
    You have questions about the Catholic faith and what it means to be Catholic. We have answers. Using a team of witty writers, appealing hosts, and even some learned theologians, we’ve created shareable, snackable videos that teach the timeless truths and deep history of the Church with humor and heart. Produced in the Family Theater Productions studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CATHOLIC CENTRAL entertains, enlightens and inspires.

     photo shamrock_image_zps1pwdw1k4.png

    Now for the Giveaway!  Simply enter on the rafflecopter form below and you could win this Saint Patrick's Day FeastKit (ARV $20)! The kit includes 1- Bamboo Cheese Board with slide out drawer, 4 - Stainless steel cutting and serving knives, and more, from Catholic Central.


    Giveaway open to US entrants, 18 years and older. Giveaway runs from 3/16- 3/26/19 at 11:59pm EST.