Guest Post By Leenna Naidoo: My Personal Quests Within A Quest

When Mliae invited me to write a guest post, I was a little daunted. You see, Mliae’s one of my best blogging friends and I’ve loved Lifexperiment since I first came across it back in 2015 or so when I was on my own quest to get into this awesome thing called Blogging. I didn’t want to disappoint Mliae, and I didn’t want to disappoint you, either. But, what to write about? I could talk about my new book, Quest For Wholly Pale, and how excited I’m to finally have a paperback available globally! But, I’ve been talking about that for a while and it didn’t quite feel right. Still, this got me thinking about Emrys, his quest and his travels…and that got me thinking about my quest to be a writer and how my own travels contributed to it—to me! So, now that I’ve done this long and probably pointless intro, let me get on with it.

Leenna’s Quest For…

My quest to be a writer began at an early age and (not sadly) continues till this day. In fact, I can see it continuing indefinitely, which is probably a good thing. After all, how can I fail at being the writer I want to be if I’m still questing for it, right? Right? Nevertheless, I’m very grateful to be on this journey and to have experienced so many places, people, events and magical situations I never dreamt I could. This may have been, in part, because of some of my more eccentric real-life quests. Take that time I went in search of fairy tales in Scotland…

Leenna’s Quest For A Sense Of Scottish Fairy Tales

Imagine the Borders of Scotland back in 2000-2001 (yes, during the Foot&Mouth disease outbreak, and may the Belties recover), when summer was late and cool. I’d decided to visit the land of Michael Scott (mysterious wizard and scientist), Tam Lin (dubious but very cute romantic hero stolen by fairies then rescued), and Thomas The Rhymer (less mysterious but more enigmatic, who either ran away to the fairy queen or vanished into an abbey). I quickly came to realise that Michael Scott research was better done in books and, perhaps, in Spain, so here I’ll share my quests for the two Toms or Tams.

Thomas The Rhymer/True Thomas

With a friend hailing from Rhymer’s home town, it was fairly easy to complete my quest to experience something of Thomas the Rhymer, Laird of Eirceldoune. It was a Saturday’s (or was it Sunday’s) adventure: bus from Edinburgh to Galashiels, remembering to jump off at the Earlston (modern name of Eirceldoune) bus-stop. Vicki had said there was no museum but that the best coffeehouse/cafe in town looked right onto the remains of Thomas’ pele-tower house. She recommended the shrimp sandwich.

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I followed Vicki’s word and wasn’t disappointed despite the drizzle. The sandwich was excellent, the location more so, and the ruins, though small, quite beautiful. There I discovered brilliant yellow daisies cling precariously to old stone and make for gorgeous photos. While I saw no white harts, it was still a peaceful, magical day.

My second Thomas The Rhymer quest was not so successful, having more in common with Emrys’ quest for the Wholly Pale.

It was a few months later—July 2001, that I spent a weekend in Melrose, Scotland. I walked confidently along the country road a mile or so out of town (but don’t take my word for it as I’m terrible at gauging distance without a speedometer) and turned up a winding road in search of the Eildon Tree where Thomas is said to have first met and fell in love with the Fairy Queen. My guidebook informed me the Tree was ancient even in Thomas’ time, and was protected by law. My confidence didn’t falter as I strode up the steep hill because I’d noted the tourist information sign at the turning which had an icon of a tree and the words ‘Eildon Tree ¼ mile’, and I was pretty sure that meant it was less than a kilometre’s walk. No prob, right? Right?

After what seemed like 20 minutes of walking but may have been less, I took a breather opposite a graveyard with a huge, beautiful yew tree standing royally at its centre. That must be the Eildon Tree, I thought, but what is it doing in a graveyard? Nevertheless, I tentatively took some steps into the cemetery. A family watched me quizzically but not unfriendly, probably wondering what a tourist was doing out there. I approached with hesitance as a man advanced in the same manner. I asked him, beginning to feel embarrassed, if the yew was the Eildon Tree. He smiled widely. “Ah, no! It’s aboot a quarter mile up the road!” He pointed further up the steepening hill. I thanked him and walked back to the tarmac to resume my climb.

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Ten minutes or more later and certain I’d come over that ¼ mile, the road curved dramatically around the hill. Quickening my steps, I thought with relief, It must be somewhere just around that corner.

If it does, I shall never know.

The road continued curving around, but my path was blocked by a chain-link fence right across the way with a construction site beyond. It was deserted. No friendly soul to ask if the Tree was another ¼ mile up that hill somewhere, or if the Fairy Queen had spirited it away just to annoy me. There was nothing to do but to retrace my steps: defeated, forlorn and longing for a good cuppa tea, and wondering if the Eildon Tree can only be seen by a few like True Thomas…

Tam Lin

In August (or was it September) 2001, I hired a little car (Peugeot) and spent a couple of days in Dumfries and Galloway (that’s the western side of the Scottish border with England, as opposed to the Eastern side of the Scottish border known as The Borders. Don’t ask. I tried, and…Just don’t.). I’d decided that it was time to discover more about Tam Lin, a figure I’d had a crush on ever since reading Diana Wynne Jone’s Fire And Hemlock, which is based on the traditional ballad and fairy tale of Tam Lin (Tamlane). Earlier that year, I’d journeyed to Lauriston in the Borders where his purported family, the Roxboroughs, have their estate open to the public (yes, like Rhymer, he was a real person). While an interesting visit, I couldn’t find any references to Tam Lin, and eventually asked a distinguished elderly woman (who, I’d like to think, was probably one of his descendants) for help. She was kind enough to direct me to another younger, enthusiastic scholarly woman who very kindly copied some references in an old book for me and who directed me to Abbotsford, but that’s another story.

So, on my D&G trip with the car handy, I was determined to visit Tam Lin’s well—the site where he met and fell in love with Fair Janet, or rather, she fell for him.

It was a long and hairy drive up the famous old pass on the Old Selkirk Road that leads from D&G into the Borders. Negotiating 80 degree bends (but don’t take my word for it) and bleating sheep was exhausting. I found Tam’s Well with little difficulty by following the road signs and indications in my guidebook, and…well!

They were right. It’s a very spooky place. I was glad it wasn’t yet Halloween.

But there is a well!

Which was kind of an anticlimax. No roses. No Tam Lin. No faint call of Fairy Land…or maybe there was. I stood there for a good ten minutes or so, just in case ol’ Tam wanted to turn up after all even though he had been rescued. I grew colder, uneasy, looking across the road to the trees and tangled undergrowth across the road, and trying not to shiver. When I’d had my fill of water (not from Tam’s well, I’m not that stupid!), I decided to call it a successful quest and head off for lunch and nice cuppa tea, which, in my humble opinion, is the best way to end all quests—or at least, quests within quests.

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Thank you for journeying through my Scottish quests with me. I hope you’ll join me in discovering Emrys Lailoken’s and friends’ in Quest For The Wholly Pale, and where my personal quest as a writer takes me next.

In the meantime, I wish you well, fortitude, and much wonderful magic in your own quests, be they personal or professional.

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About Quest For The Wholly Pale

A young wandman on a fool’s quest. A six-fingered former thief with a taste for a good brew. An animate parchment born of magic and a boy’s despair. The one’s Emrys Lailoken, the other his best friend and companion Dierder, and the third, naturally, is Parchment. Together they will learn what disaster spells like, how randomly love casts its nets, and just how far a bad old-fashioned pun can take you. Full of feint-hearted wizards, feared less young witches, and the occasional needling demon, this story will have you seeing stars…and the odd planet.

ISBN: 978-1-947655-31-7

Available At Most Regional and Online Book-stockist as well as specialist stores including:

Barnes and Noble

Waterstones

Carrefour Spain

Booktopia

Amazon

About Leenna

Leenna writes cross-genre suspense, romance, and dabbles in sci-fi/fantasy. She also reads the tarot. Her short stories have appeared in Mad Scientist Journal, SciPhi Journal, and Cosmic Roots And Eldritch Shores where she also serves as editor’s assistant to the Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales department. Her most recent attempts to channel Terry Pratchett-style fiction can be found in Quest For The Wholly Pale. When not writing, she often tries her hand at anything vaguely artistic. She blogs and shares updates on her writers blog and her creatives blog. Her tarot resources and videos are shared on her Patreon and her YouTube channel as Writerstarot With Leenna.

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Guest Post: Mentally Preparing For New Job Opportunities

Hello all,

I sometimes have the opportunity to share guest posts on this blog. Though written for those who are entering the job market, I thought that this would be a good post for all of us. As global unemployment rates are staggering and many are hesitant to search for more suitable workplaces, it can be intimidating to interview in any circumstance.  This post has some good ideas for generating ‘small talk’ (helpful for those of us who don’t quite see the need for it) and calming the nerves.

Enjoy!

-Mliae

Searching for a job does seem scary. Whether you are a student who has just graduated or just a person who did not like their previous job, this can be an overwhelming process. You need to be focused and choose the position and company that fits your needs. Do not be afraid to take some time off and think about what you want, and what makes you happy. Read about different companies and what they offer. You do not change jobs every month, so make sure to find the best company for you. Mentally preparing for new job opportunities is tough, but it can be done. Keep on reading to find some useful advice.

Know What You Want

Okay, you moved to another city in order to find a better job opportunity. However, it is not going to be that easy. The world is not black and white. Before you even start relocating and job seeking, make sure to know what your wishes are and what your possibilities are. If those two correspond, then you are a very lucky person. But, most of the time, things are not as simple as that. Having a dream job is important – it will make you feel happy, but bare in mind that not everybody can do what they dreamed about. So, take some time off, write a CV, and see what you can actually do.

Do a detailed research about the company you are interested in. Before applying, see if you can fit in there.

Prepare For a Job Interview

Do not freak out! It is not possible to learn everything about your new position and company. So, do not even try to do that. A job interview is not like a test in school. Even if you decide to learn everything possible and invest a lot of time and practice, maybe it will appear on your job interview, maybe it will not. The preparation is important, but maybe you should have a different approach. Be focused and learn just the most important things. Interview questions change from time to time and from interviewer to interviewer. But there are some common topics and questions that you can practice on. Also, do not forget to work on your skills and self-confidence. So, before you move to some of the cities that offer a lot of job opportunities, like NY, prepare for your move to NYC in advance.

Brush Up On Your Skills

Many of us know that our university does not always prepare us for what is coming. So, after you graduate, take some time off to work on your skills. It is quite possible that your new job will challenge you in ways you have never been challenged before. Because of this, make sure that you are prepared. Sometimes, you will not have to guess what is required of you at your new job because your employer has already let you know. Brushing up on your skills is a must. This applies to all job positions. Do not be afraid, everything that you forgot can be learned again if you start early. If possible, take some online courses to brush up on your skills. If you still have your books from college, do some light reading.

Do You Need Any New Clothes or Equipment?

New job, new you! Your new job is probably not like your previous one. So, think about the changes you need to make before your first day. Do you have suitable and professional clothes? Think of something simple and professional that you feel confident in. If you do not have something like that, go and buy it immediately. The last thing you want on your first day of work is to be limping around because of blisters or be distracted by an itchy sweater. Remember that it is all about the first impression. Moreover, think about the equipment that you will need. If your laptop does not work properly, or some things need updating, do that before your first day. Remember the stationary. Buy some notebooks to help you organize. If you come dressed professionally, the employers will take you more seriously.

Prepare Some Conversation Starters

Sometimes, people just get confused and scared. In those situations, the first reaction is being silent. You definitely do not want that. Try to be as sociable as possible. Force yourself to talk to employers, colleagues, or if you still do not have the job, try talking to random people. Preparing some light conversation in your head cannot do any harm, only save you from uncomfortable silence. For example, you can use some of these ice breakers:

· Weather over the past few days

· Traffic or the daily commute, especially in major cities · Funny or unusual news, like Yahoo’s Odd News

· Recent viral YouTube videos

· Local sporting events, especially if the team is having a good season

· Major television events like the Super Bowl, the Oscars, and the Grammys

· Recent movies, especially blockbusters

· Weekend plans

· Upcoming holiday plans

· Upcoming vacation plans

· Recent vacations

· Compliments on a new hairstyle, especially for women

Take it Easy

Remember not to stress out a lot. Of course, preparing for a job interview is overwhelming, but try to prepare better for it mentally. If you know what you are seeking for, then, it should not be that hard. Focus on your good sides, and try to work more on your bad ones. If you have some time between jobs, try to take care of all of your personal stuff. But do not get burnt out before you even start. Try to relax, read a good book or watch your favorite movie. If possible, take a short trip to recharge. Those are just some of the things you can do in order to mentally prepare for new job opportunities. Just remember to focus on the positive, and find what suits your needs the most.

Guest Post: Best US Cities for Europeans

Moving from Europe to the US usually feels like moving to a different planet. People who grew up in Europe have a specific lifestyle, and there are some things that will suit them in America, and some things that will not. Finding the perfect place across the ocean for people from the old continent is a real challenge. An ideal city would have to be just enough American to intrigue you, with a pinch of Europe so that it feels like home. We have done a research and tried to figure out which would be the best US cities for Europeans.

Before you hit the road

You should be really excited about this amazing new chapter of your life. Although culture shock will be big, moving to the US is an experience that will teach you so much. Not to mention a job market that is much wider than the one in Europe and really gives you an opportunity to build a carrier and make an impact. Before you hit the road, make sure that you have all the technical issues under control. You need dependable long distance movers to take care of your documents, regulations and safe transfer of your belongings. But try to travel light. You will certainly do a lot of shopping in your new city, so there is no need to bring your entire household. Try to find storage units in your area before you move so you can bring only the necessary things with you. This way, your relocation will be cheaper and you will have more space for the new things you will buy.

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The city of Pella in Iowa gives you the feeling you are in the Netherlands.

Kansas City – Spain in the middle of the US

Kansas City has that amazing Spanish ambiance. Along with a great number of amenities and job opportunities, Europeans can find a better life here without feeling homesick. Its residential neighborhood and shopping district were architecturally designed to mimic the city of Seville. You will enjoy its vivid architecture. The towers, ornate tile roofs, and sprawling courtyards give you the feeling that you are in Spain while having all the benefits Americans have. In your spare time, you can go for a romantic gondola ride on Brush Creek or take a horse and carriage ride, which feels a little like New York as well, so everyone will find something for themselves. Walking through Kansas City, you will see street performers and hear the music that will lend further authenticity to the place.

It’s a small town, but has a lot to offer. There is a wide variety of places where you can eat, drink, have fun and, of course, work. And don’t forget to go shopping and enjoy local January sales. You can actually order tapas plates basically everywhere you go. And when you are really hungry, remember you are in BBQ country.

Pella, Iowa, or maybe the Netherlands?

This beautiful city in Marion County, Iowa was founded by immigrants from the Netherlands, which explains its scenery. It sits forty miles southeast of Des Moines and it is the home of Central College, as well as several manufacturing companies, such as Pella Corporation and Vermeer Manufacturing Company. Not many people know about this hidden gem – one of the best US cities for Europeans. Its Dutch-style architecture lines the streets giving the impression you are in the middle of Amsterdam. The famous windmill called Vermeer Mill is located next to Central Park, and it’s the largest structure of its style in the United States. You can spend a night in the Royal Amsterdam Hotel, preferably in May, when their Tulip Time festival takes place. During this festival, the streets are flooded with traditional Dutch attire, food, dancing, parades, and, of course, dozens of tulips. Don’t miss to stop by the Vander Ploeg for a cream horn and some Dutch apple bread.

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Ride the famous San Francisco cable car.

San Francisco, the city Europeans will love

‘’If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair’’ says the song. Do you know why? It’s because San Francisco is where the hippie movement started back in the 1960’s. In many neighborhoods, such as Haight Ashbury, you can still feel that hippie atmosphere. And this is just one of the faces this city has. Its residents like to say that it has something for everybody. In some of the huge skyscrapers of its business downtown, called the Financial district, you can find some job opportunities for yourself. Silicon Valley is famous for its thriving tech industry and enormous companies that are growing and hiring more and more people every year. Do you like to walk or jog? You can do that for hours along the famous Embarcadero Street and enjoy the ocean view. And if you are a real outdoor enthusiast, you will be glad to hear that you can spend an entire day in Golden Gate Park, and still not see all of it.

Everybody’s favorite city

There are so many different neighborhoods that offer so much diversity that you get the impression they are small towns. China and Japan town, Castro district and Central Market, Marina, Fisherman’s Warf and North Beach are just some of San Francisco neighborhoods. And when you want to grab a bite, you can find anything from vegan sushi to burgers, from Indian to Italian food, and everything else you can imagine. I think you are starting to get why San Francisco is one of the best cities for Europeans. Most importantly, its diversity will make you feel at home in the blink of an eye.

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When in NYC, you can accomplish anything.

New York, one of the best US cities for Europeans

The main reason for moving to another city, country or continent is usually the desire to improve the quality of life. Therefore, when Europeans move to NYC, they are mostly looking for a better life. New York is a unique combination of the economic strength of the USA and the biggest ethnic diversity in the world. And here are some reasons that make NYC one of the best US cities for Europeans.

  • A huge job market – the best companies worldwide have their offices in NYC.
  • The most diverse cultural, sports and art scene.
  • Neighborhoods for all tastes – from peaceful to urban, with houses or condos.
  • An exceptional transportation system.
  • Lots of free ways to have fun.

But probably the most important reason why people come to NYC is the feeling that you can accomplish anything. And where everything is possible, dreams are coming true! Maybe the Big Apple is not just one of the best US cities for Europeans, maybe it’s the best for everybody.

 
UrbanStems

Guest Post by Alicia Sanchez: Managing Stress at Bedtime

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Nearly everyone struggles with stress. As humans, we tend to put that stress off until we’re so embroiled in it that we can’t function. Most often, our stress tends to manifest in sleeplessness, Which makes that stress harder to deal with during the day.

You might find yourself thinking about your stressful day instead of counting sheep when you are struggling to get to sleep at night

Build A Routine

Whenever possible, create a routine for yourself that involves relaxing activities. This can mean anything from reading a book to relaxing in the bathtub –  it’s going to be personal for you. What works for you might not work for me.

Make sure that it includes brushing your teeth and hair as well, to make sure that you wake up as clean as you can be.

Routines are helpful because it helps to train our brain to focus on that routine instead of our stress and help us to sleep at night.

Keep Stressors Out of The Bedroom

One of the best things you can do for yourself if you are having trouble sleeping is to keep your work and cell phone out of your bedroom, Especially if you work from home. The human body Is Keen on distractions, so the fewer distractions that you give your body, the better off you will be when it comes to your bedtime.

By taking your work and phone out of the bedroom, you will be less tempted to get up and start working when you can’t sleep. Instead, try putting an old-fashioned alarm clock on your bedside table to wake you up in the morning. That way, you won’t be able to work from bed in the middle of the night on your cell phone. This could help limit the stress that you feel while you are trying to sleep.

If you must keep your work in the room, put it somewhere out of sight so that you won’t is staring at them from bed.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

If you find yourself struggling to sleep  on a regular basis, try cutting out your use of caffeine and alcohol during the day. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for 6 to 8 hours after ingestion and can exacerbate anxiety and stress.

Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it causes you to be slightly more depressed. It can make you feel sleepy, but you’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night if you drink before bed. Since sleeping poorly means that you will react worse to stressors during the day, this is not ideal,

If you want something to drink to help you fall asleep, try chamomile tea or other teas that are brewed specifically for making you sleepy.

If you find that you are  constantly stressed out at bedtime, talk to your doctor or therapist.  there might be something that is causing the sudden onset of stressed feelings at that particular time that you need to work through or get treated.

Sleep well,

Alicia

Alicia Sanchez is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com with a specialty in health and wellness. A Nashville native, Alicia finds the sound of summer storms so soothing that she still sleeps with recorded rain on her white noise machine.

*Photo Source: CC

Guest post: Ten blasts from the past that are making a comeback

There are some things that fade in our memories, only to come back from time to time when we are reminded with a chuckle and a shake of the head. Then there are some things that come back in the kind of way that can’t be ignored – coming to real popularity once again. These ten things might send you deep down memory lane, but they’re also making a big comeback right now!

1. Resort shirts

Fashion right now is returning to the 80s and 90s, big style. Resort shirts are one of the select pieces that are coming back for the upcoming season, and they’re going to be everywhere really fast. Even if you haven’t been anywhere exciting, pick up one of these quirky, kitsch shirts to rock the style with straight-leg jeans and boots.

2. All-natural furniture

Wicker and rattan were materials you most likely associated with your granny’s house, but these days, you can expect to see them popping up in the homes of your peers instead. All-natural furniture is making a comeback, and that means these plant-sourced styles are going to be seen in a lot of modern homes.

3. Conversation pits

You might never have seen a conversation pit in person, as this 70s home design trend was short-lived – and quickly became so much of a turn-off that many homeowners did away with them in order to sell the house.  Now, they’re coming back: a recessed pit in the centre of your living area with connected couches facing one another, so you can’t do anything but chat.

4. Brutalist design

Brutalism came about after WWII in the first place, and uses the textures and colours of metal and concrete to make the home seem cold, stark, and even almost dirty. It’s a bit of a rebellious look, and it comes about for a second time now as homeowners go against the mid-century modernist trend we’ve been seeing in recent years.

5. Scarf dresses

Do you remember the scarf dress? Made from a mixture of textiles, often actually looking like pieces of cut-up scarves, the shape often includes a jagged hem that continues the theme. This style is back in for the season ahead, hitting on the gypsy trend as well as the current penchant for asymmetry in design.

6. Yellow

It’s funny to say it, but colours really do have a big rise and fall in the world of fashion. Sometimes they’re in, and sometimes they’re out. Rising hugely this season is yellow, coming on the coattails of the infamous Gen Z Yellow. For this trend, however, mellower tones are also acceptable.

7. 90s windbreakers

Those oh-so-stylish windbreakers that your mother made you wear in the 90s are actually now a thing again. It’s just a shame that your child-sized jacket will no longer fit!

8. Dad sneakers

Again, we have the 90s to thank for this one. Dad sneakers are so uncool that they’re cool again. Normally we’d tell you to avoid this type of shoe for looking so ungainly and unchic, but now they’re back in vogue for a while.

9. Crazy heels

Stick a few weird shapes into the heel of your shoe and you’re good to go with this trend. You saw those crazy heels in the 90s and again in the 2000s – and this decade’s turn has come at last.

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10. Western trends

We’re going all the way back to the Wild West for this trend: think cowboy-style boots, fringed jackets, and prairie chic with a vintage air.

All these trends are back in style, which really makes us wonder. Maybe we’d better hang on to everything we ever buy just in case it comes back!

Regards,

Anna

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AUTHOR BIO: Anna Ashmore is a woman of many talents. She is passionate about literature, sports, travel and education among many other things. She is also an amateur writer who hopes to make it big in the blog world. Professionally, Anna is a market research analyst at http://businesscheck.co.nz/ and loves her job.

*Photos sourced via Pexels & Anna’s own biographical photo

Guest Post by Sleephelp.org : Boost Your Productivity at Work by Napping

It’s mid-afternoon, and your eyelids are starting to droop, but you’ve still got a good three hours before the end of your workday. As much as you want to give your employer 100 percent for a full eight hours, mental and physical fatigue can get in the way. But, there’s a simple solution that’s been used to help humans get through a long day for centuries – a nap. A growing body of research suggests that naps aren’t just for children.
Nap for Alertness
Whether you work the day, swing, or night shift a quick nap can help you stay more alert while on the job. A study conductedamong air traffic controllers on the night shift found that a nap mid-shift let to quicker reaction times, better alertness, and fewer signs of sleepiness. While participants didn’t enter the most restorative stage of sleep, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, they still reaped benefits from a nap.
Nap for Improved Memory and Creativity
Naps not only keep you more alert, but they can also enhance your ability to learn and think creatively. A team of researchers explored the relationship between sleep and memory consolidation, which is essential for learning. Participants answered a series of questions first thing in the morning and then again later in the day. Those participants who did not have a nap showed a predictable deterioration in their answers. Participants who napped used information from the previous test to answer more creatively, with greater accuracy, and increased mental flexibility in their thinking. It was estimated that anywhere from 40 to 73 percent of the performance increases resulted from the memory enhancing effects of sleep.
Nap for Better Health
Naps also have a secondary effect that goes beyond work performance. Sleep deprivation, which is anytime you get less than seven hours of sleep, causes hormonal changes that lead to an increase in appetite, depressed immune system, and slowed mental acuity. But guess what? A 30-minute nap can counteract or even reverse some of the hormone changes caused by sleep deprivation. Nobody likes to get sick, but if you’re looking to convince your boss that a 30-minute nap is a great idea, you can use the evidence of fewer sick days due to better health.
Tips for Better Sleep at Night
Improving your productivity is important, but better sleep has an impact on more than just your professional life. It stabilizesmoods, metabolism, and helps your body heal and recover from stress and injury. While a nap is a quick solution when you’re running behind on sleep, the best thing you can do for yourself long term is to get better sleep at night.
Good sleep starts with a high-quality mattress. If your mattress has lumps and valleys, you wake up achy, or you’ve had it for over nine years, it’s probably time for a new one. Check your local store or online for mattress discounts or sales to save money, but make sure the mattress supports your sleep style and weight. A sleep trial may give you insight into how well a mattress suits your needs.
You can also enhance your sleep by:
  • Maintaining a regular sleep schedule on weekdays and weekends
  • Developing a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down from the day
  • Turning off screens and electronic devices two to three hours before bed
  • Stopping the consumption caffeine early in the afternoon
  • Keeping your naps under 60 minutes to prevent sleep problems at night
You don’t need to feel guilty about napping. In fact, if anyone asks, you can tell them you’re giving your creative juices a boost.
Have a nice nap! –

What Makes an Old House a Historic Home? Guestpost by Gary Ashton

I am very pleased to introduce you to Gary Ashton. He is the CEO and owner of The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage in Nashville, Tennessee and I am thrilled that he was willing to share some of his expertise with us!

As many of you know, I myself purchased an aging home so I think this piece is quite intriguing from the standpoint of an old home owner. Unfortunately, I realize that my place is not quite up to par to hope for a historical home status. But hey, who knows? Maybe in 20 or 30 years…right??

Without further a-do, ‘What Makes and Old House a Historic home’ ladies and gentleman!

-Mliae

What Makes a House a Historic Home

Existing homes make up the largest segment of today’s real estate market, by far. In fact, according to statistics released by the National Association of REALTORS® for 2015, there were more than ten times the number of existing homes sold as newly constructed homes. With 5.24 million of these homes sold and countless more in existence, it is a sure bet that there are a number of historic homes among them. If you are wondering what makes a home historic or why it even matters, the following information will help to answer your questions.

What Criteria Makes a Home Historic?

The definition of an historic home can vary. In most cases, these homes will fit one of the following examples:

  • a home that has been occupied by an historically famous person or where an historic event has occurred in the past
  • homes that are examples of architecture associated with a certain period of history, such as Victorian era homes or those built by an historically significant architect, such as Frank Lloyd Wright
  • homes that are more than 50 years of age are technically considered to be historic, although this is only one of the criteria needed for a home to receive an official designation as a historic home
  • farms that have been continuously operated by the same family for 100 years or more are recognized as historic in some states and officially designated as such

In most cases, homes that were occupied by historically significant people or were the site of an historically significant event have been turned into museums to help preserve their history. Homeowners who want to discover the history of their home should contact the The National Trust for Historic Preservation for more information. Homeowners who discover documentable historic facts about their home may be able to have it officially recognized and designated as an historic home.

Are Historic Homes More Valuable?

In general, homes that have some sort of proven historic significance can be more valuable than other homes, because of their unique historical significance. But there can also be additional costs and complications involved with owning this type of home.

For instance, homes located in some historic districts may require special permit processes for repairs and maintenance, as well as being required to use only approved materials when work on the home is needed.

What are the Best Ways to Market Historic Homes?

To start, any special marketing considerations for the type of property should be followed – e.g. if you’re selling a historic farm home, you’ll want to market it correctly as a farm first, and then figure out how its historical significance can help. Just the fact that there is a very limited supply of historic homes can be a strong selling point, but there are additional marketing tips that homeowners can use to enjoy higher offers on these homes.

The first is to make the home authentic to the reason for its historical significance. This might include making sure it is correctly staged and decorated to reflect its historical era and making sure that any improvements do not deter from its historical value.

If the home has received actual designations documenting its historical significance, these should be noted in all marketing materials and displayed during showings and open house events. Another good marketing tool is to find historical photos and information about the home and incorporate them into the marketing in both web and print media forms.

When selling a historic home, it is also important to understand that most buyers want the look of a historic home along with modern convenience, so it is important to also market these updates. Sustainable updates and green appliances are almost always a good idea.

In closing, make sure the home meets all criteria to be considered a historic home. Don’t just assume. Check the market and see exactly how many historic homes are available in the area. Look at prior sales as well, this might even give you ideas on how to market it more effectively. And above all else, consult a licensed real estate agent

 

Gary Ashton is the CEO and owner of The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage. His real estate team is #1 in Tennessee, Nashville and now #4 in the world.

(Inter)Networking for Authors: An Introduction

Dane Cobain, a UK author who has published 5 awesome books, has begun writing a series of posts to help his fellow authors gain a step-up. I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to publish this portion of his series as a guest post! I am a fan, you will have seen some of his works reviewed here on the site already. Without further a-do, Dane Cobain, everybody!

 

A lot of people think of writing as a lonely occupation, and in many ways that’s true. After all, authors have to put in hundreds of hours behind a computer screen before a novel’s ready for publication, and then they have to spend hundreds more trying to get the word out about their work. With so much time spent concentrating on a keyboard, it’s no surprise that most prefer to work alone, without distractions.

But that’s the funny thing about being a writer – a lot of the misconceptions are wrong, and it quickly becomes apparent that you can’t do everything on your own. You’ll need to work with editors, proofreaders and cover designers, as well as potentially with agents, publishers, marketers and more.

In fact, modern authors are finding that who they know is often as important as how talented they are, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If a talented writer can hook up with likeminded professionals, it can become a win/win situation for everyone. This is most clearly the case when business owners are looking for writers to create content on their behalf, where money changes hands in exchange for the written word. And it’s also the case when an author signs a deal with a publisher.

 

What is (Inter)Networking?

I’ll be honest, I made this up – but the concept seems to speak for itself. I’m talking about making new friends the millennial way, by reading their blogs, watching their YouTube videos, liking their Facebook pages and following them on Twitter.

The great thing about the book community is that it’s inherently full of well-read – and therefore more open-minded – people. It makes it one of the most welcoming communities on the net, even taming the notoriously evil comments section on YouTube and turning it into somewhere that people actually help each other.

That’s why it’s so easy to get involved, whether you’re an author, a publisher, a blogger or just a reader who wants to know a bit more about what’s going on behind the scenes. The key is to focus on the stuff that really interests you – don’t make friends with people because you want to get something out of them, make friends with them because you think that their work is amazing.

 

How to get started with (inter)networking

The first step is simple enough – just get started. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it. That’s part of the beauty of social networking and the internet age – I’m a firm believer that everyone knows how best to manage their presence because there’s nothing more authentic than simply being yourself.

That said, you can get started by liking the pages of the authors you read. Discover a few new blogs and leave comments to add your thoughts to the discussion. Follow a few new people on Twitter. Start discussions of your own about the books that you read. Consider sharing ratings and reviews on Goodreads or even starting a book blog of your own.

Remember that you should never ask what’s in it for you. Go out of your way to help other people and they’ll do the same – a bit like karma, except it’s more like taking part in a global community which makes the world a slightly better place.

 

(Inter)networking works!

The good news is that making friends and taking part in a community is reward enough in itself. Your life will be richer because you’ll have more friends and acquaintances and they’ll all love books and writing just as much as you do. Simply by befriending people and watching their achievements over time can bring a warm, fuzzy feeling inside – and if you get to work with them professionally then even better.

I have first-hand experience of the benefits of (inter)networking. That’s how I was offered a publishing deal with Booktrope, which kickstarted my career as an author. I’d worked with Booktrope a few times in the past, featuring their authors on my book blog – I loved the look and feel of their books, as well as the quality of their releases, and then I was asked to submit my work by their head of community.

Alas, Booktrope is no longer in business, but it was an important lesson for me in how making friends and keeping up to date with the industry can help in unexpected ways. That’s why I try to be as active in the community as I can be, and why I try to support indie authors by reading their books and posting reviews. You should try it sometime.

 

Over to you:

Do you network with other book-lovers online? Where are some of your favourite places to do so? Let me know with a comment or feel free to tweet me at @DaneCobain.

 

About the author

This post is written by Dane Cobain and sponsored by Publishing Addict, an organisation that specialises in building author websites to help writers to establish a brand, connect with their readers and to sell more books.

 

 

Guest Post: Doubt and Decisions

Hello everyone!

Today I am so pleased to introduce Brooke, from The Utopian Universe ! She is a fully qualified psychologist, life coach and performance consultant.I have been following her blog for awhile now and I really enjoy all her shared positivity and valuable life lessons. Do yourself a favour and check her out!

I was very happy when she agreed to write a guest post for us, because even though I discuss topics from here, there and everywhere – I am not qualified, nor am I in the know enough to write about such valuable topics concerning thought processes like she is. Brooke has a way of stripping bare all the clutter bugs in our minds, in order to show us the resolute simpleness of things that drive us absolutely mad. Such as – flopping back and forth during (or after) the decision making process.

Please everyone welcome Brooke and share with her the warmth and kindness that you so wonderfully share with me!

Enjoy!

-Mliae

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I am very honoured to bring you this post today, as a Guest Blog, for my friend Mliae, as you follow her fabulous blog, I hope you will enjoy this, it regards something that we all do, whoever we are. Brooke – The Utopian Universe

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Do you think that a decision and doubt are opposites ? And maybe that a decisive person would never doubt ? Well reality is very different, because the previous step is essential in the process of a decision. As we go through are reasoning it takes us to our decision, without a doubt!

Why do we wear those clothes and not another? Why do you eat that piece of cheese? It’s not an accident, all day long we make and take decisions, some are conscious and some are not, the majority are not, we dress, we choose our food, and we even decide to use one word instead of another. In most cases we just do it,we don’t doubt or decide, it’s just an action we take.

We have this doubt and decision, just like we breath, we don’t think about it, we are alive thankfully because we breathe, and by the same token we are responsible for our life, resolving doubts and making decisions.

In general, we think that doubt and decisions, are opposites ! This is where the saying, a decisive person never doubts and the day they do they don’t make a solid decision. In actual fact doubt and decision are complimentary, one follows the other, and are both essential parties in the process of a situation of resolution.

OUR INTERNAL CHIT CHAT

Doubt will usually come from an external factor, like, a professional or job option, although it comes from an external place,we then take it inside of us and the chit-chat starts, one part of each wants one thing and the other part of us wants something different, so what do we do ? We are made up of multiple aspects, afraid but brave, generous but cautious and above all confused…imagine if you could take an x-ray of ourselves in this moment.

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When we are in doubt, we start a mechanism inside of us, that could look a little like a theater production. We have the main characters, their images, their dialogue that in the end come together to form the final act, during this process hopefully we will have learned valuable information about how you work on the inside. The doubt is only provisional , as we always find a solution even if you think no, the person who says “No, you decide for me” they did reach a decision, they decided to let another decide! This is when decision is confused with action, however there are people who are passive,silent not moving when decisions are made.

Many years ago, a Chinese Warrior Sun Zu, said that the art of the great warrior, was to win the battle without going into combat….this type of decision , shows a person that does not doubt but knows how to evaluate well !!

DOUBT AND LEARNING

When we doubt, we get the opportunity to analyse and listen to our inner arguments, expect chit-chat it will help us with the learning process and for us to witness our personal transformation. It is important that you reach an agreement , after listening to your internal arguments and views to reach your decision, show respect to both internal conversations and accept the disagreement. Always leave a little space for a change of decision, change or cancellation of the same.(There is nothing wrong in changing your decision for valid reasons, not on a whim )

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LIVE THE UNCERTAINTY

There are situations that we become involved in but we don’t control, this is when we have uncertainty, uncertainty is not confusion, it is not doubt and it is not decision, it is simply a situation where we are passengers and not the driver, in these cases there is no doubt to have and no decision to be taken. Uncertainty is just lived and hopefully it is done in the best way possible.

When we have doubt, we should be able to discover, once we have gone through it, what true alternatives we have, if we manage to do this , we will be able to value what each option holds, this allows us to reduce are margin of error. Doubts are not cancelled or just forgotten, a doubt is resolved, when you do this you may form a new option that previously did not exist. For this reason to learn to doubt, is to learn to decide, and when we realise and understand this, you will decide in a conscious and responsible manner, and also above all else it gives us peace within ourselves.

-Brooke

Online training, a blogger experience

Hi all! I wanted to share my guest post that I wrote for Chape Personal Trainer. He’s got a great site, full of motivational posts and some super workouts! I recommend you give it a look-see, you’ll love it 🙂
I hope you enjoy his site as much as I do and I truly hope you enjoy the read!

Chape Fitness

Hello dears!

For those who haven´t met Mliae yet, she´s an awesome blogger from North Europe, who writes about her experiment, so called “life”. Fashion, recipes, travel, book & product reviews with her personal style. Take my advice and follow her, thank me later 😉

When we met, she was on a weight loss journey and she was having some issues to reach her goals.

Maybe you remember we reached her goals before summer. I´m delighted to have her here today, talking about her experience and how she keeps the results.

I hope you enjoy the reading as much as I did 🙂


I really must say that David has been a lifesaver for me! I was so frustrated with my weight and physique that I just didn’t know what to do.

Starting out at 76 kilos (168 lbs), my goal was to get under 60 kilos (132 lbs). Now…

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