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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Free DesignEvo Logo Maker {Review}

I was recently introduced to DesignEvo, a free online logo creator that helps you create unique and professional logos.  No creative experience necessary.


I decided to try it out for fun and see what I've come up with. It was easy to use and I was able to resize and place my text wherever I like.

KEY FEATURES:

* 3000+ fully customizable logo templates.
* Over one million icons available to search through.
* Hundreds of text fonts and shapes to choose from.
* Freely customize a logo with powerful editing tools.





It's not completely free, but it is only free to download low resolution of the file.  If you really like the logo you've made and seriously decide to use it for high quality prints, you have an option to choose between two package fees: Basic or Plus. See the chart below:


If you want to just have fun trying it out, go to www.designevo.com and let me know what you've come up with. Comment below and describe which designs are your favorite.
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Monday, January 15, 2018

Motivational Monday: Don't Give Up


It's Motivational Monday! Think positive. Have faith in yourself. You got this!

Artwork credit to chibird.com
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Monday, January 8, 2018

January Swago with Spin & Win (Intl)


The digital rewards site Swagbucks is offering big payouts during their January "Swago" promotion starting Monday, January 8th at 9am PT and running until Monday, January 15th! Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you're filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you're thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it, meaning you can get more gift cards faster. Here are a few tips:  

  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores!  
     
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.  
     
  • You have until 12pm PT on Monday, January 15th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.  
     
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value. Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.  
  • Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you'll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!

The Spin & Win Wheel will be available all throughout Swago and you have until 11:59pm PT on Monday, January 15th to use all your spins.  

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points - if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus, which is enough for a $5 gift card from the retailer of your choice.   

Click here right now and click "Join" to get started! If you don't already have a Swagbucks account, you'll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if you earn 300 SB before the first of January, you'll get a bonus 300 SB!
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How to Make New Year’s Resolutions that Stick


Every year we begin a new year resolving to do (or quit doing) something and expect to be the game changer in our lives. For some it’s to workout, lose weight, cut out all carbs and sweets. For others, it’s a promise to save more money and get finances on track. Regardless of what you resolve to do, according to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, there is a way to set yourself up for failure or success. The mindset we are in when deciding on a resolution determines it's stickiness. Below Dr. Hafeez, a New York based neuropsychologist affiliated with Columbia University, shares key insights on how to make New Year’s Resolutions that stick.

1. Envision the end result and reverse engineer it.

According to Dr. Hafeez, neural pathways in the brain can be changed through a combination of visualization and aligned action. She encourages people to journal about what it is they want. Write it all out. “How would life improve? What would all the benefits be? Cut pictures out of magazines of what you want and post them to a wall (or if appropriate, the refrigerator). Get very clear on what you think you will feel like once you see results,” she recommends.

2. Get clear on your triggers.

Set yourself up for success by understanding what may potentially get you off track. “Sticky resolutions come with planning. If you want to lose weight then begin with clearing out your fridge and cupboards of junk food. That in itself is an action that will tell your brain that you are serious. Get recipes and write out a new grocery shopping list. Writing plans, micro goals and ideas that serve the greater accomplishment you're reaching for creates “buy in” from your brain, says Hafeez.”

For the people resolving to save more money Dr. Hafeez says to evaluate when and why you spend. If you notice you spend $40 a week on coffee, think of alternatives. “You don’t want to cut yourself off from anything cold-turkey. The brain doesn’t respond well to deprivation. It sends brain chemicals that signal displeasure which is what makes resolutions lose their stickiness. Shift to a possibility or curiosity mindset. Asking yourself, what can I do to save $5 per day invites in inspired thoughts and creative ideas,” explains Hafeez.

3. Pace yourself.

“The reason why resolutions don’t stick is because people set the bar way too high and expect achievement way too fast. Think of every week as a win! Break it down into weekly chunks and train the brain to value quick accomplishments,” she advises. The people who resolve to lose weight and get more exercise won’t stick to it if they don’t celebrate small milestones and try to do too much too soon. Resolve to lose 1 to 3 pounds per week. Do this by cutting out soft drinks or juices and drinking water instead. After 10 weeks you''ll be 20 pounds lighter with great skin just because you did one thing week by week until it became your new normal.

4. Trick your brain by making it fun.

“Our language and self-talk is everything and determines if our resolution will fade or will become something we’re still doing in June,” says Dr. Hafeez. “When someone resolves to change their diet, exercise and lose weight they already envision how difficult it is going to be so they are already dreading it before they started. However, shifting the brain to doing something fun that is in line with the goal gets you more committed," she adds. Create a playlist of great music to work out to. Look up recipes on Pinterest to build your new shopping list. When you do the advance preparation that is more fun, and take small steps towards building the new lifestyle to support your resolution, you’re setting yourself up for a win.

5. Fuel your resolution with greater purpose worth committing to.

If you want to resolve to save more money, it’s is helpful to have a clear purpose for the money you plan to save. Resolving to save more money is vague making it hard to remain on track. Saving more money to take an amazing vacation or to purchase a home or car is something tangible you can stick to. “It’s common for people to commit to doing something when they connect it to a greater purpose beyond them or an experience they want to have. This explains why lifetime smokers can instantly quit when they learn they are pregnant. It’s not about them anymore. We see the man who is 75 pounds overweight lose weight when his daughter gets engaged. Whenever we can connect resolutions to a bigger purpose our minds get on board, and when the mind is all in, resolutions stick,” explains Dr. Hafeez.



About Dr. Hafeez:

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens.

Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.

Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or www.comprehendthemind.com
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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Recipe: Jerk Chicken Fried Rice


We love having jerk chicken dinner here at home. I was recently introduced to some delicious jerk marinade and jerk sauce by Grace Foods. What is Jerk? It refers to a traditional Jamaican method of seasoning for cooking meats or vegetables. It has a blend of exotic and fragrant spices and with a little bit of heat.

Here's me getting ready to make this delicious recipe to share with you all. I was also sent this beautiful red apron with front pockets and featuring the company's logo.


This is a simple recipe that you'll sure to love. This Jerk Chicken Fried Rice is tangy and it's savoury. Because there are so many Jerk Chicken Thigh recipes out there, I decide to come up with something a little different to add to a rice dish. These succulent chicken thighs, covered with Grace Foods Jerk Sauce, are easy to make and I just simply roasted them in the oven.

Jerk Chicken Fried Rice
Serves 4-6


INGREDIENTS:

4 chicken thighs, skin and bone in
2 tbsp Grace Foods Jerk BBQ Sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks green onions, chopped
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
1-1/2 cups of uncooked rice
2 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste


PREPARATION:

For maximum flavor, marinate the chicken thighs overnight with Grace Jerk Marinade. If you forget to marinade overnight, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This marinade combines all the spices and flavors to give meat an extra burst of flavor. It's fast and easy.


1. Preheat oven at 350F.

2. Bake the chicken for about 30 minutes. Prepare the rice in a rice cooker while the chicken is baking. Once the chicken is done, remove from oven, and cut into bite-sized cubes.


3. In a large pan, heat the oil and cook the onions until caramelized. Add frozen peas and carrots and set aside.

4. Pour the beaten eggs and scramble until full cooked. Mix in the cooked vegetables and the chicken.

5. Add in the cooked rice into vegetable and chicken mixture and combine. Add the soy sauce and Jerk BBQ Sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.



Compliment your meal with a refreshing glass of 100% Pure Coconut Water by Grace Foods. There is no sugar nor pulp added. Beverage is best served chilled.



In the spirit of giving back, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of any Grace Foods jerk products for the month of December will support the Canadian Red Cross Hurricane Irma appeal up to $10,000. Follow the link below to receive a $1 off coupon (valid in Canada only):

Save $1 off any Grace Foods jerk products




Disclosure: I received samples of the above product(s) from the PR Firm/Company for my review in this post. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of other consumers. No other compensation was given.


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Book Review: Full Service Blonde - A Copper Black Mystery


One of the youngest and most popular cities in America, Las Vegas stands as a desert metropolis built on gambling and entertainment at the core. Drawing in millions of visitors and trillions of dollars to southern Nevada, its brief century existence saw many different changes over this time. Enchanted by this unlikely city locale, author Megan Edwards continues to set 'Sin City' as the backdrop in her prequel to the successful debut novel "Getting Off on Frank Sinatra".

This new book, Full Service Blonde (released November 7, 2017 by Imbrifex Books) is similar to Veronica Mars murder/mystery book.   Prior to reading this book, I didn't know much about Copper Black. I got to learn a bit more about her character and her personal life. With twists and turns revealing more into Copper Black’s background and own journey toward self-discovery, Full Service Blonde offers readers the chance to dive further into the dark side of Sin City.

Description:

A working girl is found dead in the desert. Can a calendar girl uncover the truth?

In this prequel to "Getting Off on Frank Sinatra", it’s Christmastime in Sin City. Set in Las Vegas, Full Service Blonde follows aspiring journalist Copper Black who meets Victoria McKimber, an outspoken prostitute at one of Nevada’s legal brothels. She offers Copper the exclusive right to tell her story. Not only will the Las Vegas Light's "calendar girl" get a byline, but she can also impress her boyfriend and parents when they arrive for the holidays.

Copper is busy with work, Christmas shopping, and fantasizing about a whole week with her long-distance boyfriend, whom she hasn't seen in six months. She’s also helping her brother, a civic-minded pastor who is spearheading plans for a new center to serve the homeless. Things are hectic but under control when shocking news breaks. Victoria McKimber has been found dead in a muddy ditch on the outskirts of town.

As she investigates the violent death, Copper evades enemies, juggles boyfriend, work, and family, and races against time to save her brother from a sinister plot. Unless she can expose the truth about Victoria McKimber, somebody just might get away with murder.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Megan Edwards is the author of the travel memoir “Roads from the Ashes,” the humor book “Caution: Funny Signs Ahead,” a Copper Black novel “Getting off on Frank Sinatra” and a romantic novel “Strings.” She has lived and traveled extensively in Europe and spent nearly seven years "on the road" all over North America. Now at home in Las Vegas, Nevada, she is working on her next novel.

Connect with Megan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.





Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the mentioned book from the PR firm or publisher in exchange of my review. Any expressed opinions are my own and personal thoughts. No other compensation was given.
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Disney Announces Casting for "Artemis Fowl"


BURBANK, Calif. (December 20, 2017) — Disney announced today initial casting for the live-action adaptation of “Artemis Fowl,” which will be directed by Kenneth Branagh and produced by Branagh and Judy Hofflund.

The search for an actor to play Artemis Fowl was extensive, with casting director Lucy Bevan seeing over 1200 candidates for the part. Branagh chose Irish newcomer Ferdia Shaw, who will make his onscreen debut in the title role. Descended from a long line of criminal masterminds, 12-year-old genius Artemis Fowl finds himself in a battle of strength and cunning against a powerful, hidden race of fairies who may be behind his father’s disappearance.

Josh Gad (“Murder on the Orient Express,” “Marshall,” “Beauty and the Beast”) has signed on for the role of Mulch Diggums, a kleptomaniacal dwarf who works for the fairies—and himself.

Academy Award® winner Judi Dench (“Victoria & Abdul,” “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” “Skyfall”) takes on the role of Commander Root, the steely leader of the fairy police force (LEPrecon).

Lara McDonnell (“The Delinquent Season,” “Love, Rosie,” “The Walk Invisible”) has been cast in the role of Captain Holly Short, the elf hero.

Nonso Anozie (“Cinderella,” “The Grey,” “Ender’s Game”) will play Butler, Artemis Fowl’s formidable bodyguard.

Based on the bestselling book series by Eoin Colfer and with a screenplay by award-winning playwright Conor McPherson, “Artemis Fowl” is slated to release in theatres on August 9, 2019. Production will begin early next year in the U.K.
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