When I share about great YouTube channels here on the blog, it’s usually something I’ve discovered fairly recently. Today I want to share about an old favorite. Kirsten Dirksen has been posting videos about simple living, self-sufficiency, small homes, backyard gardens, alternative transport, DIY, craftsmanship, and philosophies of life on her YouTube channel for over a decade. I’m pretty sure my discovery of her videos pre-dates this blog!
Dirksen’s videos are always calming, fascinating, and beautifully produced. She showcases what ordinary life is like in these extraordinary abodes and asks the inhabitants really insightful questions. Admittedly, I’m a big fan of any content about tiny homes or that offer home tours. But none that I’ve come across really dig into the philosophy behind the living spaces quite like this one.
Here are some great tours, if you’re down to watch —
And this tour of a 90-square-foot apartment in Manhattan was my introduction to this channel. A decade old and honestly…it holds up! 😉
What YouTube channels did you discover years ago and still love? Tell me in the comments below!
The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed everyone’s life in some way. Whether you or a loved one have battled through the virus or you’re just spending way more time at home, jobs and careers are the main parts of our lives that have been upturned.
25% of U.S. adults say that they, or someone in their household, have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak. That’s a massive statistic. Even if you haven’t lost your job, there’s no doubt that your career will have been affected somehow. Maybe you’re working from home. Maybe you’re working less because of restrictions. Or maybe, the pandemic has put your career into perspective, and you know it’s time to try something new.
However you’ve been affected, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The world is at your fingertips with an absolute plethora of learning options moving online. Now’s the time to embrace it! You can retrain, add to your arsenal or even explore working from home options that might not have been viable before.
Today, we’re going to look at a few ways that online learning can change your career for the better. There’s a possibility for everyone, no matter your skill level or the size of your wallet.
Retraining may be the most obvious way to make the most of online learning options. If you’ve lost your job, retraining can be a brilliant way to move your career forward. Especially if the pandemic has hit your field of work particularly hard. The best way to start is to use online guides that help you navigate degree options available to you. It can be a real minefield with a wide range of degrees and qualifications on offer. Utilizing these guides means you can identify the path you need to take to get to your desired end goal.
It’s also crucial to find out precisely what you want to do. Make a list of what you enjoy doing, what skills you already have, and what career path you’d fancy doing. Remember, don’t just think about the money you’ll make; enjoying your job sounds cliché but can change your life.
This comes from a place of privilege, though. Not all of us have the level of financial security that allows us to explore our dreams. If that’s the case, think about finding a balance between what you want to do and a good pay packet. Or, instead of retraining, think about bumping up your CV instead to make yourself more hireable. (Check out the “Add to your repertoire” section below.)
Once you know what you want to do and have figured out the path to take, you’ll want to choose the best course for you. Did you know the top Colleges in the U.S. now offer online versions of their classes and degrees? There’s a vast offering out there that’ll fit your budget and needs.
Add To Your Repertoire
Taking the time to retrain in a new work field isn’t always the best option available for us. Maybe you don’t have the freedom to take time away from family obligations to concentrate on courses. Or you might still be working and can’t commit that much time to learn.
If that’s the case, finding some simple, cheap, and quick courses that make your CV shine is a great place to start. If you’ve lost your job, then these courses will help you stand out from the crowd and help you get hired fast. If you want to go in a new direction, they can help you gain expertise in your new field without long term commitment. There’s a massive amount of these simple courses available, so try using a website that brings many of them together in one place. It saves you spending hours sifting through them on Google.
If you’re really squeezed for cash – thanks to the pandemic, who isn’t – some websites even offer free courses and financial aid. So you don’t have to feel like there isn’t anything you can do. You don’t have to stay trapped in a job you hate. Nor do you have to feel like your skills aren’t up to par.
Explore Unused Skills
Suppose you’re looking for something totally different or want to bump up your current pay. In that case, you can explore your unused talents! Pretty much everyone has some skill that they don’t use for money. Many of us like to keep them for personal hobbies, but if you decide you’d like to take that further, it couldn’t be easier.
Maybe you have an Arts degree or can write like Shakespeare; there are apps available to help you find freelance work. Try something like Fiverr for a quick way to sell your skills online.
If you’re unsure where to start, try an online course directed at creating your own business. It’ll help you navigate everything that’s involved; tax and accounting can be a special kind of nightmare that online courses can help relieve. Skillshare is an excellent place for hints and tips about becoming a freelancer. The classes aren’t accredited, so they won’t find a place on your CV, but they’ll give you some much-needed knowledge. If all else fails, make the most of Youtube. It’s true what they say, there’s a video about everything on there.
The pandemic has hit some of us more than others, and losing your job will only add to its stress. Use this guide to help you concentrate on yourself for a bit and what you want. Then, looking for a new job or career will be a little bit easier than before.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of what’s available – if it was, you’d be here for a very long time! Take the time to find out what’s best for you and your situation. We’re all dealing with different things right now, so all our experiences are individual.
Online learning really can change your career for the better. Now’s the perfect time to make the most of it – especially the free options!
As we make our way into 2021 it’s a great time to set some health goals that help us work towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s not always easy to put your health first, what with the distractions and stresses that come with modern life. But to give you some inspiration, consider these five ideas to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
1 . Spend more time outdoors
Looking for a really simple way to improve your health this year? Spend more time outside! The great outdoors can help us to reconnect with nature, raise endorphin levels, relax and destress, plus get more exercise. There are lots of ways to connect with nature, whether you try hiking, freshwater swimming, or foraging workshops.
2. Try a sleep app
Many of us have trouble sleeping, and over time this can start to have a negative impact on health. If you’re looking to improve your sleep this year, why not check out a sleep app, like one of these:
Calm: This application provides a range of sleep stories and sleep meditations, to help you drift off, and improve your quality of sleep. You’ll also find background ambiance tracks and mindfulness exercises.
Headspace: The Headspace app offers sleep audio guides and meditations to help you deal with stress and anxiety. The app also includes some great content to help users learn about mindfulness.
3. Take herbal supplements
To give your health a boost this year why not try adding a few herbal supplements to your diet? To reduce stress symptoms and improve sleep there are plenty of options like passionflower, chamomile, Ashwagandha, or CBD. To learn more about CBD products, from tinctures to vapes, take a look at bloomfarmscbd.com.
4. Learn new recipes
What better way to boost your health this year than by teaching yourself some brand new recipes. Focus on nutritious foods that prevent oxidative stress, boost your mood, and raise your immune system. Treat yourself to a few new cook books and apps, and experiment with some new dishes. For a few healthy eating apps to get you started try Green Kitchen, Superfoods, or Epicurious.
5. Take up Yoga
Yoga is a fantastic exercise activity that can help to improve your health in many different ways. With a regular yoga practice, you can improve your posture, increase your flexibility, and build up the strength in your muscles. Yoga is also a great activity to improve your mental health; it can help you to relax and practice mindfulness. Yoga can be practiced in many ways, whether it’s in the studio, using an online class, or YouTube video. Whatever way you practice, it’s important to get yourself a good quality yoga mat.
When setting health goals it can help to write them down, and track your progress. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, de-stress, or start a new sport, there are plenty of ways to supercharge your health this year.
It can be increasingly challenging to find fun things to do when you are stuck at home. However, as we continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important that we all do our part to take care of others – and that means staying at home when possible. However, that does not mean you can’t have fun – especially if you have to celebrate a birthday at home!
With that in mind, here are some great stay-at-home party ideas!
Start the day off by sleeping in
Getting out of bed in the morning is always difficult. So, a great way to start birthday celebrations at this time is to enjoy a few extra minutes in bed. Turn off your alarm clock and ensure you get all the rest you need!
Ordinarily, you may try to be careful about what you eat – especially after the holidays, which are full of delicious indulgences. However, your birthday (or the birthday of someone you live with) is a great excuse to indulge in some tasty treats. Don’t limit the good food until the evening – celebrate all day with a range of delicious meals. Cook your favorite breakfast, order take out for lunch, make the most of your extra time and bake a cake (or two) to enjoy!
You could even take baking to the next level by hosting a contest with your partner, kids, or housemates!
Schedule some calls
By now, you’ve probably attended your fair share of zoom parties. Although you might be getting a bit sick of them, this is a great way to connect with your friends and family if you cannot meet in person. If you can’t face yet another zoom quiz, there are plenty of fun alternatives that the whole family can get involved in. For example, you can turn popular games such as Pictionary or Bingo into virtual versions. Alternatively, there are a range of online games you can take part in – no matter where you are in the world.
Play some games
After your Zoom calls, you might want to play some in-person games with those that live in your home. Whether that means you dust off your favorite board game or download a new game – the choice is yours.
However, you could also go for something a little different and set up a themed cornhole game. Cornhole worldwide (https://www.cornholeworldwide.com/themed-cornhole-games/) have a variety of cornhole games for sale – and they are sure to bring a smile to your face. Remember, to take plenty of photos for your grid!
Dress fancy (or not)
This is your birthday – so how you celebrate it is truly up to you. If you like to dress fancy on your birthday and head out for a meal – why not don your favorite outfit as you head into the dining room? Just because you are indoors does not mean you can’t look fabulous. However, if you don’t fancy getting dressed and would rather have a pajama party – what’s stopping you?
Have you celebrated a birthday in lockdown? What activities were a slamdunk for you?
When you are on a tight budget, you have to think carefully about how every penny is spent. Once you have paid all of the bills and covered your essential expenses, you might not have a huge amount left. Ideally, you should be putting some money into savings, but have you thought about investing some as well?
Most people on a tight budget assume that they can’t afford to invest but that isn’t always the case. In fact, you can get started with a relatively small amount of money if you go for options like Forex Trading, for example. If you have a spare $100, you have enough to get started and as you earn more, you can increase your investments.
Investing can be one of the best things to do to improve your financial situation. Here’s why you need to find room in your budget for investing.
It Generates More Income
They say that you have to spend money to make money, and investing is a prime example of that. If you are able to make some sensible investment choices, you will eventually start generating income from those investments. That means that you have more money to play with each month, making it so much easier to stay on top of your finances. That extra money can go towards paying off debt or it can be put straight into your emergency fund, so you can avoid any difficult situations in the future. You should never underestimate how useful the extra income from your investments can be.
You Get Long Term Returns
Generating more income in the short term is beneficial, but you also need to consider the long term returns. Putting money into a savings account every month is a good way to prepare for the future, but investing is even better. All of that money you put into your investments will grow over time, so when you are older and you need to start thinking about retirement, you have money to fall back on. The earlier you get started, the more you will see your money grow. It’s better to start now with a small amount of money instead of waiting until you have lots of spare income.
You Can Beat Inflation
When you put money into a high interest savings account, you will see some growth. However, if the rate of inflation is higher than the interest that you get on your savings, your money actually loses value in real terms. Many people end up losing out because they put all their extra income in a savings account and let it sit there. Searching for the best interest rates and moving money around can sometimes be a good way to combat this, but investing your money can be an easier option. Your investments should grow faster than the rate of inflation, so your money never loses its value.
So many people make the mistake of waiting until they have more money before they start investing. But even if you are on a tight budget, you can start with a small amount and still see the benefits!
There’s no better way to start feeling festive than to decorate your home in beautiful colors, ornaments, and of course, your Christmas tree. Before you spend a lot of money on brand new decorations, why not consider getting a little crafty? To help you get inspired, you’ll want to take a look at these great DIY apps. With ideas like these, you’ll soon create some gorgeous crafts.
1 . DIY Christmas Decorations
With the DIY Christmas Decorations app, you’ll get your home looking holiday-ready in no time. The application has lots of different ideas, including detailed step-by-step guides. There are so many craft projects to choose from, whether you’re looking to make miniature Santas, ornamental trees, or festive candles. Crafts vary from easy to advanced, and there are plenty of kid-friendly options so that you can make things as a family. DIY festive decorations can make great holiday gifts, (plus they give you something fun and creative to do during the lockdown)!
Craftgawker is a great app that provides plenty of craft project ideas. You’ll find ample creative guides, along with lots of eco-friendly ideas. Craftgawker offers projects for various levels. Whether you’re a novice or an advanced crafter, you’ll find something to suit your needs. There are 41,000+ DIY projects and creative concepts, including lots of festive-themed projects. Craftgawker offers carefully curated content, so you’ll find high-quality work from the world’s best craft bloggers. Seen a craft project you like the look of? All you have to do is tap the picture, and you’ll find a handy craft tutorial.
Everyone’s old favorite, Pinterest is absolutely bursting with creative inspiration, including plenty of Christmas craft projects. All you need to do is perform a quick search for ‘homemade festive decorations’ and you’ll find plenty to get you started. Once you’ve finished your projects, you can upload them and get feedback from the craft community. Don’t forget to take advantage of the ‘Creator Chat’ board, where you can ask all your questions about creative projects. Whether it’s the Best wood for carving or finding earth-friendly materials, don’t be afraid to ask the creators for a few tips!
4. Crafts Ideas
Crafts Ideas is a free application that offers an extensive collection of the best DIY and craft ideas. Discover and save all your favorite crafts ideas, learn plenty of new things, and save money on your decorations. Lots of the materials used include old things that you’d usually throw out or recycle, whether that’s old papers, bottles, cardboard, or clothing. Want to turn the items you have laying around into something beautiful and functional? Then Crafts Ideas is the app for you. All instructions are detailed, and there are plenty of ideas for the whole family. These art crafts ideas include plenty of different themes, whether gardening, food, fashion, or home decor.
Once you’ve got into the swing of making your own decorations, you’ll improve your skills, and be inspired to attempt more advanced projects.
The pandemic has introduced new ways of approaching your spare time and thinking about your health. As a result, you’ve probably been looking at ways of making self-isolation productive! If we’re brutally honest, Netflix and Chill has become a new way of life in many households. What’s not to like about it? You can sit back on the sofa all in the name of staying safe and healthy.
But have you ever considered that Netflix could be a surprisingly effective source of inspiration? Don’t assume that your time spent watching TV has to be synonymous with laziness. In fact, you’d be pleased to discover that a lot of watchers are turning to the small screen for life inspiration, guidance, and a creative boost. Here are some shows to consider —
Lose yourself into the tidy world of Marie Kondo
Being at home for such an extended period, surrounded by all your stuff, can feel mentally exhausting. Clutter weighs on your mind, and it affects your mood dramatically. Did you know that sitting in a cluttered room can make you feel angry and sad? While if you were to sit in the same room in a decluttered environment, you are less likely to experience negative feelings. Nobody better than Marie Kondo can explain the joys of decluttering. If you are unsure how to start decluttering your home, watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo can provide plenty of positivity. Kondo’s approach sparks joy in the household, which is all the motivation you need to get started.
Discover the relatable Venus of Daegu
Oh My Venus is a romantic tv show from South Korea that follows the journey of a young woman from Daegu, aka our Venus of Daegu, through her weight loss challenge. The show reflects on health rather than weight loss when it comes to beauty. More importantly, it also highlights the need for self-healing, both mentally and physically through exercise and mindfulness. If you’ve fallen off the track in your fitness journey, this show could be your wake-up call as you meet Venus’s coach, the inspirational character who makes health a priority in her life. Perhaps if you already have a healthy approach to fitness, the show can help you understand how some people can develop unhealthy and harmful habits. And for any fitness enthusiasts, it could even be the show that makes you want to become a health coach yourself. After all, as Oh My Venus reveals, watching your clients get strong and fit is the best reward.
Bake your own creation
It came as a shock to fans when Netflix didn’t renew The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t dive into McConnell’s world of quirky creatures and mind-blowing creative baking. McConnell is a talented Instagram influencer who uses her creative skills in thematic baking and styling. There’s something oddly inspiring about her Halloween treats, from a realistic chocolate and peanut butter bone to the mesmerizing house-shaped cake. But, what’s more exciting about this marvelous little show is that it awakens your inner child. Sure, it’s too late for Halloween bakes, but you could certainly apply McConnell’s tips to make a Christmas village cake, too!
In short, it’s hard to understand why the phrase Netflix and Chill has become so popular when, in reality, it should be Netflix and Inspire. There’s so much to discover that you’ll be buzzing with new ideas after a few hours!
Hi friends! Today, I’d like to offer you a few more book recommendations in the form of “if you liked this book, then you might like this other book.” I love when folks on Booktube, Bookstagram, and Goodreads include comparisons to other books in their reviews! It’s one of my favorite ways to find new reads! So, I started a bookish series here on the blog to do just that for YOU. (Here’s part 1!Here’s part 2! Here’s part 3!)
In each post, I recommend books that are similar to very popular books that are more well-known. Let’s get into it, shall we?!
If you loved Ruth Ware’s ability to concoct a setting so compelling it started to feel like it’s own character, you should check out The Winters which transports readers to the Asherley estate. The Winters is a creepy and spooky modern retelling of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca set amongst the wealthy elite in the Hamptons. Much like The Death of Mrs. Westaway, Lisa Gabriele writes an enjoyable psychological thriller that plays out inside a grand house and includes all the twists and turns that go along with strange family dynamics, inheritances, and – of course – murder.
After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter—a wealthy politician and recent widower—and a life of luxury she’s never known. But all is not as it appears at the Asherley estate. The house is steeped in the memory of Max’s beautiful first wife Rebekah, who haunts the young woman’s imagination and feeds her uncertainties, while his very alive teenage daughter Dani makes her life a living hell. She soon realizes there is no clear place for her in this twisted little family: Max and Dani circle each other like cats, a dynamic that both repels and fascinates her, and he harbors political ambitions with which he will allow no woman—alive or dead—to interfere.
If you tore your way through Suzanne Collins’s dystopian young adult novel about a group of teens representing their districts by fighting to the death on live TV, you should pick up Ryan Graudin’s historical reimagining in which the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan commemorate their Great Victory by hosting a motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. Wolf by Wolf includes everything you loved about The Hunger Games and throws in a dash of The Man in the High Castle for good measure — asking, “What if the Nazis won the war?”
Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the Axis Tour and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.
Ok, if you’ve read both of these books you may think this is a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. Anthony Doerr and Dane Huckelbridge are both incredible writers. The prose in both these books is so beautiful and breath-taking, without ever feeling heavy handed. While the plots are quite different, they are similar in that they constantly come up against odds — whether at the hands of war or a plane crash — and yet humanity flourishes. Not to mention there’s a lot of French language interwoven throughout Castle of Water, and that, combined with the writing style and haunting passages about a short-wave radio, made for a reading experience that gave me some serious All the Light We Cannot See vibes. If you liked one, I’m confident that you’d like the other!
For Sophie Ducel, her honeymoon in French Polynesia was intended as a celebration of life. For Barry Bleecker, the same trip was meant to mark a new beginning. Turning away from his dreary existence in Manhattan finance, Barry had set his sights on fine art, seeking creative inspiration on the other side of the world. But when their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another’s strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.
Both of these books are expertly researched, sociological looks at the lives of real teenagers in America. Robbins’s book covers popularity and psychology, while Younge explores gun violence. Quite different subject matter but the execution is similar in it’s careful reporting, meticulous interviews, and thought-provoking conclusions. If you are an educator of or advocate for teens, both of these books are must-reads.
On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, on street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lives lost.
I hope you enjoyed these new recommendations and I’m excited to bring you more posts in this series in the future! Do you have any book recommendations for me based on the eight books above? POP ‘EM BELOW!! xoxo
We all have people in our life that are difficult, if not impossible to buy for. If this sounds familiar, then you could already be dreading the Christmas shopping season. Whether you’re looking to find a gift for a family member or people in your friend circle, let’s explore some of the best options for people who are an absolute nightmare to purchase a present for.
A Gift Card
If you’re truly stuck for ideas and you have no idea what to purchase your friend or family member, then you could simply opt for a gift card. The big benefit of this choice is that you just need to find out what shop they tend to buy from. With so many small businesses struggling, now is the perfect time to support local cafes, book stores, and mom and pop shops. So it’s really a win-win as a purchase for that tough-to-shop-for mate. You’ll find that there are often festive spins on these gift cards that will be perfect for the season.
When shopping for someone who is difficult to buy for it is best to stay away from both jewelry and clothing. It’s possible that they only like specific jewelry whereas with clothing you have the added hurdle of finding the right size. Palettes can be a fun alternative and if you shop Dose of Colors you’ll find some fantastic choices. The benefit of palettes is that recipients likely will find at least a couple colors they are certain to love.
Another possibility would be to purchase a gift basket for a difficult to buy for friend or loved one. A big benefit of a gift basket is that they’ll have a variety of consumable items to enjoy. This is also a great choice for the minimalists in your life who don’t want to clutter their home for years. You just need to make sure to know if the person you’re gifting to is gluten, dairy or alcohol-free.
Or finally, if you want to be a little cheeky, you can consider purchasing a ticket to an event as a gift for someone. Events might not be running in the near-term, but there is still plenty to choose from down the line. Or look into virtual events!
Hopefully this gives you a little inspiration as we enter the holiday shopping season! What do you usually buy for the folks who are hardest to shop for? Leave your ideas below!