Nosey Neti

Nosey Neti Tis the season for sinus pressure, disgusting drainage, coughing, sneezing, and nights full of tossing and turning. Dry irritated sinus membranes and germs of all sorts floating about make it very difficult to keep a clear nostril. Once those pathways are clogged, it becomes a battle to clear them. For the most part, we take sinus medication and hope it works within a reasonable amount of time. We try to ignore the sife effects as best we can. The Neti pot offers an alternative.

Shaped to resemble a small one cup teapot made of either ceramic or glass, the Neti pot makes good use of nasal irrigation. Filled with saline, it is poured in one nostril with the head tilted forward. Saline should wash through the clogged cavities, breaking up the mucuous and flushing it out the opposite nostril. While a bit messy, it does provide instant relief.

While easy to use and with no foggy headed drowsiness to accompany it, it is very very important to clean and dry the Neti pot after each use and not to fill it with anything other than the saline solution when using it. All in all, a very natural and simple way to get through the cold and flu season.

The Many Benefits of Coconut Oil

moisturizerNearly everything we see has an advertisement for one wonder product or another. So many are directed at improving our appearance in one way, shape, or form, and every one promises a miracle. Walking down a beauty product aisle can make the mind reel, but have you ever looked at the ingredient lists for some of these products? Most are very long and require a chemistry degree to decipher. It can be quite alarming and off-putting.

Instead of using so many chemicals, why not try an all natural product that can be used in a myriad of ways: coconut oil. Coconut oil is well known as a natural moisturizer and skin care product. Its fat content and antioxidants can reduce skin irritation, redness, and can help to prevent wrinkles. Its great at repairing chapped skin due to winter’s icy touch and doubles as a very nourishing lip balm. When mixed with a little sugar, it can be used as a scrub to remove dead skin.

moisturizerEven heat styled hair can use a little coconut oil love and care. Heat styled hair can become very brittle and dry from the amount of stress its put under. Coconut oil’s fats soak into the hair follicle strengthening it and making it softer, silkier, and easier to manage. Its versatile enough to be used as a conditioner or a hot oil treatment.

As if all its moisturizing properties weren’t reason enough to take a gander at adding coconut oil to your beauty routine, it can also be used as a makeup remover. No more scrubbing at a sensitive eyelids with chemical laden pads. No more red and burning eyes. All in all, coconut oil is a must have for product conscious beauty gurus.

Yoga, Finding Your Center

As a mother of three with a full time job, I can easily attest to the fact that life can get out of hand. School, work, bath time, diapers, bedtime, and household chores all combine to form a hair-pulling, eye-twitching, stress fueled melt-down. I needed a bit of help unwinding, and after a little research, I found the perfect all natural solution that calls for nothing but an open mind and a small section of floor: yoga.

Yoga means union and is a mind and body practice that hinges on harmonizing the two. It has an expansive history that covers centuries as well as a multitude of countries. There were many different schools of thought under the large umbrella of “yoga”. Modernized yoga, however, gained popularity in the 1980’s and completely exploded in 2001 when its many physical and mental health benefits were made more widely known. It’s poses call for quiet and gentle movement, an awareness of the body that helps to still the mind and drain away the stress of daily life as well as helping to keep the body fit. The different movements and poses build the core, refine balance, and help with posture.

For me, a quiet living room and an instructional video that is only a search engine away combine to create the perfect scenario. I’m comfortable, content, and able to focus on what I’m doing. There’s no need for a baby sitter, and I can feel refreshed, relaxed, and recharged. For many others, a classroom environment with a knowledgeable instructor is preferred. Many gyms and fitness centers offer yoga classes at convenient times and affordable rates. Whichever environment helps you to rejuvenate, yoga is a wonderful way to relax. Namaste.

The Best Essential Oil Diffuser

Essential Oil DiffuserThere are plenty of options on the market for essential oil diffusers. This can make it pretty difficult to find the right one for you. When dealing with essential oils I have found that having a diffuser that is easy to use, reliable, and affordable is the best way to go.

There are some companies that are offering essential oil diffusers that go above the hundred dollar price mark, I find this crazy when there are perfectly good alternatives available that cost a fraction of that price. It is best to keep things simple when looking for an oil diffuser to make a part of your home.

I have tried multiple diffusers, and after testing them out, there is one that stands out from the rest. The VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser is reasonably priced, works every time without fail, looks great and modern, and most importantly it does a great job at diffusing oils.

Essential Oil DiffuserMy official review of this diffuser is as follows: “I bought this as my first ever essential oil diffuser, so I was not really sure what to expect. I loved the modern design of this oil diffuser. Compared to the ones that I have seen in stores, it is superior in design. When it arrived I was a little surprised that it is all plastic, it looks like real wood, but is plastic. However, it is built well and functions perfectly. It was super easy to learn to use and has great safety features that turn it off when the water is all gone. It also looks better than in the images in my opinion. The images on here make it look dark and almost like a black colored wood pattern, however in actuality it is more brown. I will attach a photo to show what mine looks like. Overall, if you are looking for a great looking oil diffuser that does exactly what it claims to do, get this one!”

So to sum up, you don’t need an expensive diffuser to get the job done! Don’t fall for marketing tricks that some companies try to use. Based on my experience using essential oils, this is the one to go with! Click here to get a great deal on this diffuser!

Atman Tea Co. Relaxes The Body

I have the pleasure of smelling the relaxing aromas of the tea from Atman Tea Co. as I write this. The smell reminds me of a health spa and I find my mind drifting to scenes of zen gardens. In this day and age it is more important than ever to take a few moments to relax and enjoy life. The Atman Tea Co. promises a stress-free experience when you drink their teas.

The brand itself is focused on providing a product that is beneficial to the customer. I am also happy to report that their teas are completely all natural and organic. I drink a lot of tea and have found that more and more companies try to trick their customers into thinking that they are getting a wholesome product, but in truth they are tricking them into buying processed ingredients. The Atman Tea Co. is very transparent and honest with their customers, so you don’t have to worry about the quality of the ingredients.

They also take the frustration out of making a cup whole-leaf tea by packaging their teas in biodegradable pyramid tea bags. There is much to be said about a company that takes special care of their product and customers to provide an all-around unique experience. Their teas are hand blended, that means a machine isn’t preparing your blend for you, and their whole business is personable. If you are looking for a product to help you relax, look no further. I highly recommend checking out their website for more information.

Atman Tea Co. – Click here to learn more!

Instax Camera Buyers Guide

Instax Mini PhotoThere are quite a few choices in the world of instant photography. You might be asking yourself, “What is instant photography?” The short and most accurate answer would be that instant photography is a type of photography where the photo that you take is instantly and physically available. That’s right, you can take a photo and then hold that photo in a matter of seconds! If this sounds awesome to you, and it should unless you are a robot (no offense to robots), then you should keep reading to find out which instant camera is right for you.

The most popular type of instant camera on the market is known as the FujiFilm Instax. There are a variety of models and they all boast some pretty unique features, but it can make it hard to decide upon just one. There are two main types of Instax camera to choose from. The instax mini is the most common, but the instax wide is growing in popularity among those who want a more traditional “Polaroid” size for their photo.

Is the Instax Mini right for you? The main appeal of the instax mini is that it is extremely portable and takes a really high quality instant photo that develops in a matter of minutes. Most people go with the instax mini because they want to be able to take it everywhere that they go. This model will give you a business-card sized photo that looks cool, is the perfect size to give as a gift, and can easily fit in a wallet or puInstax Wide Photorse.

Is the Instax Wide right for you? Maybe you like instant photography, but you want a photo that is a little bit bigger. Currently, Fuji does not make a camera that will take a “Polaroid” sized photo, but the wide model will get you pretty close. The picture quality is fantastic and the size of the photo is about as good as it gets! The only downside is this camera’s size. It is significantly bigger and heavier than the mini.

In the end, it really is up to you and what you are looking for in an instant camera. If you’re ready to start capturing your memories instantly in a way that is unique and easy to share, the instax series of cameras is for you! Be sure to check out the Toast Pop Shop for a really great deal on one of these cameras. You can learn more or purchase one for yourself by clicking here.

Instax Camera Family

Falling and Staying in Love

Falling and Staying in LoveLove is a common word we hear every day. Love is equated to so many things. As you may have heard the famous cliché, we sometimes look for love in all the wrong places. What is love? What should I love? Is too much love a dangerous thing? Merriam-Webster defines love as a strong assurance of affection. I can say I love you, but if you’re not strongly affected in any way, love cannot be perceived from such words. Hugs, kisses, random talk, and spending time with someone all falls under the meaning of love.

In today’s society, it’s very easy to fall in love, but staying in love is where the game begins. Some fall in love at first sight while others fall in love as time progresses and they learn new things about the person or thing they admire. Love comes in categories. The four categories of love are Storge, Philia, Eros, and Agape. In order to reach an area in your life where you remain in love, you have to reach the agape level. Think about your favorite food or dessert for a moment. When I was young, I enjoyed candy apples. I would help my mother bake them and glaze them in the wee parts of the afternoon. Putting on the peanuts was my favorite part. It took a while for me to love candy apples. Once I gained an agape love for them, I began doing anything I could to obtain one or a few. I hope this blog post achieves the very same thing you are seeking for.

To begin, one must understand that “love” and “hurt” cannot mix just like light and darkness cannot. They are separate entities. Many times, people can accept hurt as a form of love. In my childhood years, they called it tough love; the child that got kicked out of his parent’s house and forced to live on his/her own. True love is not tough and it shouldn’t hurt. True love requires sacrifice, not hurt. If someone tells you about your actions and how you are hurting them, you’ll change or make progress to change if you love them. If not, you’ll continue hurting them. Love is sacrifice and will be discussed when I talk about agape love.

Secondly, you must love yourself. You cannot love anything or any person until you love yourself. Love what God created you to be from the inside out. Many times, we focus on the physical appearance and if we don’t look the part or fit in with the crowd, we feel we’re rejected and not loved. Loving you starts on the inside. Take a moment to sit down and write down all the things you like about yourself; your gifts, your smile, your skills, and so forth. There’s always something you can love about yourself if you try really hard to think about it; even if it’s small.

Falling and Staying in LoveThirdly, find a reason to love. When you find the reason to love, find out if it’s healthy or detrimental to your emotional health. Your joy and self-esteem interprets your view and mindset on the things around you. Ask yourself – why do I love this? How does loving this benefit me? Love is give and take. The giving is the sacrifice and the taking is the benefit you receive from loving. It’s a two-way street and if both parties aren’t making “love” work, it won’t be successful.

In closing, make the sacrifice to achieve love! Sometimes, you’ll be placed into circumstances where you have to agree to disagree and give up the right for the wrong. A mother’s birth is the best example. Though she didn’t agree with the pain and procedure to bring you into the world, she loved you so much that she was willing to sacrifice. What are you willing to give up today to show your love? Would you give up money and time? Would you give up some selfish ways and become selfless to others? Once you make the sacrifice to love, love yourself, and find a reason for loving, you can fall and remain in love with anybody and anything. It’s a process, but it’s worthwhile in the end!

Choosing Your Career (Career Choices)

Choosing Your Career (Career Choices)

Choosing a career, for the first time, can be scary and difficult! You’re walking into the unknown; not knowing if you would sink or swim. Many things come across your mind, such as “how much money would I make”, “is that type of business booming today”, and “how do I know if this is really the career for me”? In excitement and eagerness, you outline your SMART goals and begin looking for ways to accomplish those goals. Today, I want to encourage you about career placement and advancement.

Society teaches the average individual to seek booming careers, such as law, medicine, and IT. In these careers, you’ll always find a job because they’re expanding and becoming necessities to the world. The statement is true, but I caution you to choose wisely. A lot of people start out in one career and transition to another; not because they aren’t intelligent or capable of handling their responsibilities, but because they’ve learned that it doesn’t guarantee happiness and self-satisfaction.

When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be a school teacher because I loved the character of the teachers I had. Educating others seemed self-satisfying to me, so I started pursuing a career in Education. I wanted to help others as well as help myself. Teaching benefits the student and the teacher. As I got through the first two semesters, I began noticing how this career did not meet my expectations. Expectations tend to change as we get older and as we experience new things. I couldn’t cope with my studies, so I dropped out of the academy and started seeking all over again.

There are so many people today that have wasted months, even years, trying to find the career that fits them. They go from one career to another and one job to another. The truth is they haven’t taken the time to stop and think about what makes them happy. Happiness increases productivity. If you engage in a career that makes you happy, you’ll do great at it and always look for ways to improve. Computers, coding, and technical stuff makes me happy, so I don’t mind learning as much as I can about the IT field. Major and go into a career that makes you happy. Some of you may be saying, “what if I don’t know what makes me happy?”

Choosing Your Career (Career Choices)Sometimes, people take Undecided majors because they really don’t know what makes them happy and self-satisfied. One thing I’ve learned to do is watch and analyze those already in the career field. There’s no harm in reaching out to professionals in your desired career field and asking them questions about their experiences. Perform an informational interview with them and after reviewing their experiences, make sure it’s something you would be willing to handle. The second thing I’ve learned to do is job tours. Certain companies will allow you to tour the facility and speak to professionals in the company about their day-to-day duties. Google is a good example. They put videos on YouTube of their employees; showing you how they enjoy working for the company. If this doesn’t suffice, you can schedule a tour to meet Google employees; giving you the opportunity to ask as many questions as you like. Some people need visuals and if that’s you, seek job tours. Besides job tours and informational interviews, you can test out the career for 90 days. Your career today doesn’t have to be your permanent career. Get a feel of things and take in variety from different companies.

All in all, invest in and pick a career that brings you happiness and self-satisfaction. If you do, you’ll find yourself active in the career for a long time rather than becoming burned out after five to ten years. Once you’re placed in your career, be respectful, obedient, and mannerly towards leadership. Take the “baby” approach and learn as much as you can about the business’ overall objectives as well as your annual to-dos from management. Over-accomplish and don’t worry about rewards and compensation at first. It’ll find their way to your lap after a while. Be the sparkle, example, and role-model your team and its members need.

Book Publishing 101

Book Publishing 1011. Grammar & Editing – As you are constructing your book, make sure you do a Spell Check on the final manuscript. Check the sentence fragments and word tense. Make sure your document has 1-inch margins (Top, Bottom, Left, and Right). Set your manuscript size to the book size you desire (i.e. 5×7, 6×10, 8×10).

2. ISBN – In order to effectively market your book without being rejected from bookstores and online agents, you will need to purchase an ISBN. Bowker ISBN Agency handles the regulation of ISBNs. If you decide to purchase one through them, it will cost $125. Book publishers may offer you a discounted rate. If so, take the advantage.

3. Copyrights – No author is prone or vulnerable to theft. Protect your works by registering your claim/title with the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington, D.C. You can purchase your copyright for $35 online through ECO or by printing out the forms under their local repository. Inside your book, do include a copyright page informing readers of copyright protection and infringement if they decide to steal your works.

4. Book Binding – The type of binding you choice for your book is very important. If you decide to choose paperback plastic cover, the cost will be cheaper. However, there is an advantage to hardcover. The binding doesn’t rip the pages and the book doesn’t become damaged by water, sunlight, or dust. Some authors choose to add the dust jacket inside and this also protects the pages inside of the book. One has to keep in mind that books are shipped and you never know what the machines could do to your books if they are plastic covers.

5. Cover Images – The front and back cover of your book is worth a thousand! Just one look could give the reader the wrong look. Personally, I choose to pick images that deal with the morale and main idea of the book. Get creative with your cover images and not have them plain. Make your book so appealing that when a person scrolls down the aisle, they stop to look at your book.

6. Wording on Back Cover – Many interested readers want a synopsis of your book and it’s important that you persuade them with the things written on the back. Place some testimonials of your book on the back cover and main quotes that are enticing.

7. Number of Pages – When I first started writing books, I did not take this into consideration. The amount of pages draws readers as well as repels them. If your book is too huge, a person may disregard it because of their busy schedule. Adversely, a person may enjoy a book of small amount of pages because they can read it in one setting. If you write poetry, consider the format of your book. Should it be done in volumes and collections? If you write fiction and creative stories, should they be split into characters or segregated by topical categories? Should there be a plot with suspense or a dry-cut informative message from the story?

8. Marketing – You are never in the business just to publish a book! You’re in the business to market your book! It’s an accomplishment to publish your book and receive the self-satisfaction of doing so. Yet, you want to sell your book and make royalties. You want money for your hard work and labor! It’s an expectation for authors and readers are also aware. Get into the habit of marketing your book and requesting your readers to rate and review it. Ratings and reviews carry the author a long way and establishes a fine connection between buying a book of worth and a plain old book.

FREE Marketing Channels for Authors

FREE Marketing Channels for AuthorsI strongly believe one of the top failures for new, emerging authors is the marketing techniques they use in promoting their book. Typically, many authors purchase press kits with their publisher to help get their book recognized. Press kits are a good start point, but one should not fully rely on them. When I wrote my first three books, I did not use a press kit. I did “personal marketing.” Personal marketing and know how to do it well causes your book to be globally and locally recognized. I want to share some of the tactics and tools I have personally used in promoting my books. I also had help designing a website from Web Chimpy, they did a great job.

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing gives an author the opportunity to convert the manuscript of their book into an e-Book version. If you’re an author that is limited on funds, this is your first source for marketing. Try to sell your book electronically and see how well it goes. If you make good ebook sales, begin transitioning into print copies through Amazon Marketplace.

Amazon Advantage Program

Amazon Advantage Program offers the opportunity for authors to send in print copies of their book to the warehouse. It’s imperative that I state you should make sure you send the exact amount of print copies you requested in your purchase order. When you submit your purchase order, Amazon will give you a shipping label and packaging label to make sure the correct personnel receives your book.

Personal Author Website

No matter what genre of writing you choose to pursue, every author needs a personal website that displays their book and how to go about purchasing it. Preferably, use your name as the web domain. If it’s not available, use the title of your book. Start with a .com domain and then search for available domains, if these options are not available.

Do not overdo your website. My very first website I created had too much information on it. The basic components should consist of an intro/welcome to your site, the author’s bio (keep it brief), the marketing outlets that have your book(s) available for purchase, and a way readers and visitors can contact you for more information. It’s imperative to have an email address correspondent to your website. For instance, my email is carl@carlmckever.com. If you feel your works will be huge, it’s wise to set up separate email addresses for each entity. Entities could be copyrights, book purchases, book reviews, ratings, interviews, endorsement letters, and author appearances (bookings).

Google SEO/ Google Analytics

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. I didn’t take advantage of Google Analytics or SEO until I wrote my fourth book. This software, patented by Google, shows you the location of the visitors on your website. You can get hit counts, web statistics, and pull up reports for your website. SEO is setup in your website within your metatags, to help Google easily locate your website. When someone searches your name on Google, your website should be the first link to show up.

Google Authorship

After your author website is established and you have SEO generated in the background, you can enroll into Google Authorship. This tool simply verifies your rights as an author and places your name to the right when someone searches for you. In order to use this, you have to embed code, from Google, into a website that includes your name as an author. You can even do this for newspaper articles, blogs, and journal entries.

FREE Marketing Channels for AuthorsNOOK Press

NOOK Press is an online self-publishing tool created by Barnes & Noble. The online software allows you to upload your manuscript and book cover, and then sell it as an email on a NOOK device. Barnes & Noble is just as reputable as Amazon and I encourage every author to use both platforms. I see many authors on Kindle and not on NOOK; as if NOOK is phasing away.

Amazon Author Central

Amazon Author Central is a platform that allows authors to create a profile and claim their books already being sold on Amazon. With Amazon Central, you can set up your upcoming events, embed an RSS feed or blog, upload pictures of yourself, and display videos about you and/or your book(s).

Amazon AudioBook Exchange (ACX)

Audiobooks are becoming a new thing in today’s publishing era. Once your books are available for sale on either Kindle or print, you can get an auditor to record your book. Royalties and contracts are setup and those that cannot read or see your book, can listen to your book through Audible.

Goodreads

When I first joined Goodreads, I freaked out because I didn’t understand why I could not create an author page. Before establishing an author page, you must recommend, read, and rate so many books. You begin by searching for your book. If Goodreads does not pull up anything, a button will appear that says “manually add my book(s)”. As I began to get ratings and reviews on my book, I added friends and joined different communities. This opened up my understanding and I began setting up critique groups, writing blog posts, include my works of writing, and uploading pictures.

One great feature, as a Goodreads author, I encourage is book giveaways. Setting up quizzes and trivia on your book sounds great, but to gain exposure you have to give away something for free. Even if you give away 1 copy, you can gain a lot of readers. When I did my first book giveaway, I only gave away 1 free copy of my book. The amount of contestants I had was 992 at the closeout. Take advantage of the giveaways.

LibraryThing

LibraryThing is a cataloging platform where librarians catalog books in their library and books of interest. You can still create an author page, upload photo(s), and contribute to the Common Knowledge placed on your books. Your readings and events can be added on LibraryThing and to find people of similar interest, you can join the Hobnob with Authors group.

Twitter/FaceBook/GooglePlus

All three of these social media platforms are free. If you have written multiple works, I suggest only creating one author page and displaying all of your works there. If you are concerned with privacy, block unwanted users and set your profile to private. Keep in mind that a private profile is harder to find than a public one.