Why Journaling on Vacation is a Life Changer

You can take plenty of photographs on your vacation, even a video off your phone these days is easy, but those things won’t help you record the little incidents that give meaning to your vacation.

A journal of your vacation is the place to keep notes of the small things that give color to your trip. It is also the place to keep the details of the big things that make a vacation memorable.

Keeping a Travel Journal is Easy

If you don’t usually keep a journal, that’s okay. There is just one rule in journaling: it’s your journal and nothing else matters. It isn’t necessary to go into great detail if you don’t want to. You shouldn’t worry about your spelling or grammar. The important thing is to record those things that will trigger the memories of the vacation.

Trigger Memories

It is your journal and that allows you to keep your thoughts on all of the things that are important just to you.

For example, what did you feel like when you found out that the gentleman who gave you directions in Washington, DC was the Ambassador from France.

The photograph of the outdoor food court in Singapore was nice, but what did the place smell like; what kind of food did you try and what was it like; and how did the locals react to seeing an American tourist away from the usual tourist places.

That is the kind of experience that everyone has at one time or another, but only those people who keep a travel journal will be able to savor the memory long after the trip is over.

Keeping a Journal is a Great Experience

The longer you keep the journal the more you will find yourself mentally noting the small things that should be recorded. A young girl’s eyes when she first sees the Grand Canyon can only be properly described by a parent who keeps a journal. The teen age boy, who considers himself too cool to be seen with his parents even on vacation, can’t stop talking to you about his first ride on the Powell Street cable car in San Francisco.

There is no way to keep that memory except in your travel journal.

The Best Journal Is…

Having the proper tools is important, of course. The journal can be just a few scraps of paper, but those are likely to get lost. A book of blank pages designed specifically as a journal is the best way to go.

You should look for the kind of book that you feel comfortable carrying and using. And you should look for a journal that can be used for many trips and will last for many years. After all, this is likely to be the book that you go back to regain the warmth of that trip that meant so much to you.

When the children are grown, and the grand parents have passed away, it will be your journal, there to remind you of the good times and the places you visited.

Lasting Pictures AND Now Words

Now that you have a journal be sure to have it with you at all times. Perhaps place the journal with your camera so that, just like the photographs you should be taking, you will have your journal handy to record the memories in a different way.

A vacation is a set of shared experiences between friends and family members. You may find that the memories of those experiences are quite different when you see them and now, read them back years later


15 Great Jobs That You Can do from Home

Looking for a good paying job?  Here are just 15 of the hundreds that you can start from your home.  In fact, some of these pay better than regular 9-5 ‘desk’ jobs.

1. Affiliate Marketer

For those unfamiliar with affiliate marketing, it’s simply referral marketing where you earn a commission. Let’s say that you have a website and refer a book on Amazon. When the visitor clicks the affiliate link and buys the books, Amazon will pay you a percentage of the sale.

2. Animator

Are you an artistic and creative individual who is able to create animation and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other types of media? Then you can work at home as freelance animator. We’ve seen animators make between $25 to $106 an hour on sites like Upwork.com

3. Baker/Caterer/Chef

If you have a knack for baking or cooking, then turn your passion into a side business. From your own kitchen you could start a catering or personal chef business. If you’re a baker, you could sell you goods to friends, neighbors, online, or at local farmer’s markets.

4. Blogger

Blogging is inexpensive and easy to start. It could be as simple as you just writing about your favorite music, food and even jobs you can do from home! Eventually, this hobby can start generating some money for you.

5. Bookkeeper

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a CPA to start bookkeeping. Just sign-up for a bookkeeping course at a community college or even online. Once completed you can start earning. The median salary is $34,000. There are some stay at home bookkeepers making upwards of $70,000.

6. Consulting

If you have experience and knowledge in a specific area, then share it with others. For example, if you’re an accountant or lawyer, then you can provide advice to small businesses for a pretty penny. You could also consult businesses on how to use a new software program or how to become more environmentally-friendly.

7. Direct Salesperson

This will require a little investment upfront, but you’ll receive all the tools and resources to get started. However, you’ll receive 20 percent to 35 percent of sales in commissions. And, you can find a direct sales opportunity to match your passion since there are companies that sell jewelry, coffee, wine, pet products, or gardening supplies.

8. Ecommerce Store Owner

There are different types of eCommerce business models; drop-shipping, wholesaling, manufacturing, white-labeling, and subscription. And, thanks to sites like Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce, you can quickly launch your own ecommerce store.

9. Grant Writer

Universities, hospitals, and nonprofits are organizations that need to apply for grant money. Since these can be difficult to write, they turn to talented grant writers. As a grant writer you can make between $40,300 to $67,000 per year.

10. Graphic Designer

Businesses are in need of someone to design their logo, website, or visual ads. If you have a degree or certification in this area, you can make a comfortable salary or $45,000 annually. This is starting, the better you get, the more clients will refer other clients over to you. Here is a killer guide I put together on how to build a website that should help you get started.

11. Pet Groomer

Do love being around animals? Are you also patient enough to clean and style pets? If so, this is a perfect home-based business.

12. Programmer

Learning a programming language, such as Ruby, can make around $61 per hour. Not too shabby. If you’re interested, here’s a handy programmer guide to get you on your way.

13. Realtor

While you can run a reality business from your home, as long as you have your state’s real estate license, you still have to show potential buyers the home. And, don’t forget that you also have to prepare the home for showing too. However, thanks to technology, you can become a virtual realtor where you can show a property without having to physically be there.

14. Tax Preparer

And now with the new Tax law recently passed, you can be in high-demand if you understand the new laws. Even though this is a seasonal gig, you can make a salary of over $30,000. Don’t forget to register with the IRS before you start this home-based business.


Mighty Ginger & Its Amazing Benefits

Ginger root is one of the oldest and most popular natural remedies, and in our opinion also one of the most delicious. Ginger root is very easy to find in most places both in fresh and dried (and even pickled and candied) preparations.

This is one herb to always keep on hand

It is good for use in natural remedies for upset stomachs, respiratory issues, and even skin problems!

Ginger: Food or Medicine?

According to Mountain Rose Herbs, ginger root the most widely used and available herbal remedy on the planet, with billions of people using it every day as both food and medicine. It’s certainly spicy, but there are ways to adjust the taste for different palates.

Ginger is a root (a rhizome related to the turmeric root, to be exact). It grows as a tropical perennial with green shoots (they almost resemble bamboo, a related rhizome) with lance-shaped leaves and stalks of white or yellow flowers.

As the name “ginger root” suggests the part we use is the brown root system running underground between sprouts. This root when peeled contains a fibrous, juicy core that can be grated, chopped, minced, or ground.

So, why are billions of people a fan of this particular root?

Culinary and Medicinal Uses in History

Ginger root grows in many places today and is widely available in most grocery stores both as a fresh root and a dried and powdered spice. That wasn’t always the case, though.

Originally from southern Asia, ginger root was one of the first spices to be brought and traded from the Orient in ancient and medieval times. Arab spice traders would go to great lengths to protect their source and even made up stories of ginger fields stalked by a fierce people called “troglodytes” to do so.

In this way ginger gained quite a reputation as a sought-after commodity and even became woven into fables and literature. Even Shakespeare wrote in Love’s Labor Lost “had I but one penny in the world thou should’st have it to buy ginger-bread.”

While ginger is certainly delicious for culinary use in recipes like gingerbread, ginger tea, curry, and the like, Chinese and Japanese medicine practitioners learned early on just how beneficial ginger is for the health as well.

Health Benefits of Ginger Root

The best of East meets West in ginger, because current medical research agrees that ginger has a myriad of health benefits.

Ginger root (in dried or fresh forms) is said to help:

  • soothe digestive disturbances
  • alleviate nausea (great in early pregnancy)
  • reduce fever
  • calm coughing and respiratory troubles
  • stimulate the circulatory system
  • relieve muscle aches and pain
  • get rid of dandruff
  • lower cholesterol
  • lower blood pressure and cancer risk

Chinese or Japanese practitioners typically use fresh ginger medicinally to relieve dryness and heat, and dried to relieve dampness and chill.

Is Ginger Safe?

There are warnings in both traditional Chinese medicine and some medical texts about using ginger during pregnancy, though it is generally agreed that ginger can be used in moderation. Always check with a doctor or midwife to be sure. 

While in the right amount ginger helps digestive, excessive use may in fact cause gastrointestinal upset. As always, moderation and a varied diet is best.

Where to Get Ginger Root

Fresh organic ginger is available in many grocery stores. For ease of storage, dried ginger root is another great option.


5 Other Cryptocurrencies Besides Bitcoin You Can Cash in On

Unless you have been hiding under a rock these last few months, then you have certainly heard about Bitcoin, and its meteoric rise from just under $1,000 dollars for one Bitcoin a few months back to now over $18,000!

Going by the current trend, cryptocurrencies are here to stay but how many of them will emerge leaders amid the growing competition within the space will only be revealed with time.

Bitcoin – the granddaddy of them all - has not just been a trendsetter, ushering in a wave of cryptocurrencies built on decentralized peer-to-peer network, it’s become the de facto standard for cryptocurrencies​.

The currencies inspired by Bitcoin are collectively called altcoins and have tried to present themselves as modified or improved versions of Bitcoin. While some of these currencies are easier to mine than Bitcoin is, there are tradeoffs, including greater risk brought on by lesser liquidity, acceptance and value retention.

Since Bitcoin prices are soaring new highs, The Hub looked at six other cryptocurrencies.  Who knows which one will be the next Bitcoin?

Here they are in no order:

Litecoin (LTC)

Litecoin, launched in the year 2011, was among the initial cryptocurrencies following bitcoin and was often referred to as ‘silver to Bitcoin’s gold.’ It was created by Charlie Lee, a MIT graduate and former Google engineer. Litecoin is based on an open source global payment network that is not controlled by any central authority. Other than developers, there are a growing number of merchants who accept Litecoin.

Ethereum (ETH)

Launched in 2015, Ethereum is a decentralized software platform that enables Smart Contracts and Distributed Applications to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control or interference from a third party.

During 2014, Ethereum had launched a pre-sale for ether which had received an overwhelming response. The applications on Ethereum are run on its platform-specific cryptographic token, ether. Ether is like a vehicle for moving around on the Ethereum platform, and is sought by mostly developers looking to develop and run applications inside Ethereum. According to Ethereum, it can be used to “codify, decentralize, secure and trade just about anything.” Ethereum is second in market capitalization after Bitcoin among all cryptocurrencies. 

Zcash (ZEC)

Zcash, a decentralized and open-source cryptocurrency launched in the latter part of 2016. “If Bitcoin is like http for money, Zcash is https," is how Zcash defines itself. Zcash offers privacy and selective transparency of transactions. Thus, like https, Zcash claims to provide extra security or privacy where all transactions are recorded and published on a blockchain, but details such as the sender, recipient, and amount remain private. Zcash offers its users the choice of ‘shielded’ transactions, which allow for content to be encrypted using advanced cryptographic technique or zero-knowledge proof construction called a zk-SNARK developed by its team.

Dash

Dash (originally known as Darkcoin) is a more secretive version of Bitcoin. Dash offers more anonymity as it works on a decentralized mastercode network that makes transactions almost untraceably. Launched in January 2014, Dash experienced an increasing fan following in a short span of time. In March 2015, ‘Darkcoin’ was rebranded to Dash, which stands for Digital Cash and operates under the ticker – DASH.

Monero (XMR)

Monero is a secure, private and untraceable currency. This open source cryptocurrency was launched in April 2014 and soon spiked great interest among the cryptography community and enthusiasts. The development of this cryptocurrency is completely donation-based and community-driven. Monero has been launched with a strong focus on decentralization and scalability, and enables complete privacy by using a special technique called ‘ring signatures.’ With this technique, there appears a group of cryptographic signatures including at least one real participant – but since they all appear valid, the real one cannot be isolated.

The Bottom Line

Bitcoin continues to lead the pack of cryptocurrencies, in terms of market capitalization, user base and popularity. Nevertheless, virtual currencies such as Ethereum and Ripple which are being used more for enterprise solutions are becoming popular, while some altcoins are being endorsed for superior or advanced features vis-à-vis Bitcoins. Going by the current trend, cryptocurrencies are here to stay but how many of them will emerge leaders amid the growing competition within the space will only be revealed with time.


Here’s How to Get the Best Deal When Buying a New Car

No single consumer purchase causes more headaches, more irritation and leads to more buyer’s remorse than a car purchase. Nothing even comes close to it.

And with good reason: Car dealerships love fees and extras perhaps more than anyone else.

They rarely tell the entire truth about their prices, blurring the lines between the sticker price, invoice price and out-the-door price.

They try to upsell you on extras like window tinting, fabric protection, and extended warranties.

And they play games with you when you just want to buy a car, doing the “I’ll-talk-to-the-manager” while you stew in a cubicle for 15 minutes wasting your time.

The result can be up to 20 percent profits on some sales for the dealership. But it can leave you feeling ripped off.

Follow These 5 Financing Tips and Walk Away a Winner Everytime

Before setting foot in a dealership you should pre-arrange financing for your new car.  This will save you time, hassle and a lot of money. Then, ask the dealer to beat the best rate you have.  If they can – great!  If not, you can rest assured that you still have the best rate you can get, and the confidence to walk away.

You’ll be surprised how much more leverage you have to negotiate on a great price for your new baby.

Know Your Credit Score

You need to know what your credit score is, and you can get that from any of the three major credit reporting companies. Federal law guarantees you one free credit report each year.

Get Pre-Arranged Financing

Next, you want to walk into the dealership with pre-arranged financing. This means you need to shop around for the best loan rates. The car company might offer the best deal. Ask them to beat what you’ve already determined is your best deal on financing.

Check For The “True” Sale Price

There is the sale price and then there’s ‘the real sales price’. Use a service like TrueCar or Edmunds to determine a fair selling price for the new car you want. If your preferred dealership is not one of those guaranteeing a good price through these services, ask the sales manager at the dealership you’d like to use to match it.

Sell Your Current Car

Try not to make the deal more complex with a trade-in, especially if you owe more on the trade-in than the car is worth. You will always get more for your old car by selling it on your own. If you don’t want to do that, then you’ll need to accept less money for it in exchange for easy disposal.

Skip The ‘Extra’s’

As we said in the beginning of the article - don’t buy extras. Many dealerships load every car it sells with things like paint protection, anti-theft devices, window tinting, spoilers, service contracts, you name it. And people think they must pay for this stuff. Walk away from any dealership that posts what is called an “addendum sticker” next to the factory window sticker, listing fat-profit upgrades as though you have no choice in the matter.

When you have financing in place, dealerships will fall all over themselves to sell you a car.  Why?  Because they know they don’t have to be concerned about your credit, and you’re ready to buy.

You are now in the proverbial driver’s seat.  If you don’t like the deal or price, then just walk away and find the one you like.


9 Great Travelling Hacks to Make Your Journey Fun

Travelling is fun and exciting but let’s be honest… it can also be incredibly stressful!  And usually the most stressful part of the trip? 

The Airport. 

It’s not unusual to find yourself stuck with long lines, rude airport security officials, and even delayed flights.

But with these top travelling hacks – you’ll find your journey to be a fun and exciting experience.

We put together the top 9 tips, tricks and hacks so you don't have to!

So, pack your bags and let the journey begin!

Pick the Checkpoint Farthest to the Left

If you hate waiting in line or you're in a rush to make your flight, research shows that most people are right-handed and tend to turn right first, so do the opposite and go left. It sounds crazy, but trust us, left is usually least.

Bring Extra Ziploc Bags

Since customs requires you to separate your liquids into clear plastic bags, it is always a good idea to bring spare Ziploc bags in case you lose one or if you're buying tiny travel liquids last minute. However, Ziploc bags can also be used to organize items your in-flight bag, such as…

Wrap Cords, Headsets and Tablets into a Ziploc Bag

When you finally arrive at your seat the last thing you want to do is to start going through your travel case or backpack looking for the items you will want during your flight.  By the time you find them, the overhead compartment may be full.  This handy hack helps you pull out what you need and get into your seat quickly.

Bring an Empty Water Bottle

Like snacks, water usually costs a lot more at airports. The best way to save a few extra bucks is to bring an empty water bottle or canteen and fill it up once you get past security checkpoints.  Airports now have fountains that are designed to fill empty water bottles.

Pack Your Own Snacks

And it goes without saying, pack your own travel snacks like nuts, cereal bars, candy, and other goods things to munch on while on your flight. Buying snacks and drinks at airports is always way overpriced than what you would normally pay.

Personalize Your Luggage or Bag Handle

Which black bag is yours?  You can make your suitcase easily identifiable by tying brightly colored fabric or ribbon to the handles. This way you'll be able to spot it amid all the other black suitcases.  It will also deter a would be thief or an ‘innocent’ mistake from happening.

Always Bring a Light Jacket, Sweater or Blanket

Headed off to a tropical location?  It is still good advice to carry a light jacket.  Always expect an airport or plane to be cold. Bringing a light blanket or extra sweater, hoodie, or scarf to keep yourself warm before and during the flight is a great idea. Even if you don't wear it, you can use it as a pillow if you want to nap on your flight.

Bring Wet Wipes or Hand Sanitizer

Planes are one of the easiest places to catch germs and a cold. Pack wet wipes or a small bottle of hand sanitizer to use during the flight or while you're at the airport. They'll keep your hands clean and refresh your face after a flight.

Carry a Portable Battery Charger

To be on the safe side, carry around a small portable charger that you can pull out anytime.  If you use your phone to listen to music, the last thing you want to have happen is arriving to a destination with a dead phone.  Especially during a long flight.