Sunday, February 28, 2010

February Edition of the Better Life Blog Carnival

Welcome to the February Edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival. This is the first edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival in 2010. This edition includes 15 articles all aimed at helping you live a Better Life. If you have any topics that you'd like to see covered in the next edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival or any other blog carnivals we run here, future post ideas, or just comments in general, feel free to add them to the comments below. Submission links can be found towards the end of this post. Without further adieu here is the February Edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival....

DIY (Do It Yourself)

ICH presents .018 DIY your own t-shirt scarf
posted at Insert Catchphrase Here, saying, "How to make your own great t-shirt scarf a la Necklush!"

Tabitha Mcivers
presents Top 10 Hilarious DIY Home Projects Gone Terribly Wrong posted at Construction management degree. Who hasn't had a do it yourself nightmare?

Learning And Teaching

mrrob presents 20 Awesome Web Tools For Teachers & Professors posted at Teaching degree online.

Kristie Lewis
presents Beyond CliffsNotes: 100 Free & Useful Tools for When Time’s Running Out posted at Online


presents When they Say Extreme Deals They're Not Kidding posted at Wisebread.

Matthew Paulson
presents New Regulations for Gift Card Holders posted at American Consumer News.

Mark Aucamp presents Freecycle is like eBay but it's FREE posted at Money Saving Tips.

Money & Income

Another Somebody
presents 8 REAL ways to make extra money in 2010 posted at Another Somebody.

Time & Stress Management

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Contending With Time posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog. Madeleine gives you her advise with a laugh and a smile!

JL 4 Media
presents 55 Ways to Deal With Stress and Annoying People posted at Live Life to the Fullest, saying, "To help you ease the burden and cope in such hell of scenario, here’s a list you can laugh on or take into consideration. It may not solve all your stress away, but I guarantee that after reading, you’d be smiling."


Nissim Ziv presents Career Aspirations: Examples of Career Aspirations posted at Job Interview Guide, saying, "This article provides sample of career aspirations for people who want to set up their career road-map. People’s career aspirations can be categorized into limited number of types."

Life & Relationships

Debbie Dragon
presents Get Some Gratitude in Your Attitude posted at Empowering Mom.

Wren Caulfield presents The fence that makes good neighbors needs a gate to make good friends posted at True Adventures in Money Hacking. Do you know your neighbors?


Tyler Tervooren
presents Multiple Intelligences: Why You?re A Green Rock Star but Suck at Saving Money posted at Frugally Green, saying, "Ever wondered why you're a natural at one thing, but a complete dunce at another? According to the theory of multiple intelligences, it makes perfect sense. You see, there are actually 8 different ways that anyone can express the intelligence that they possess and the commonly accepted ones, well, aren't necessarily all that common. Find out how you can identify what your natural learning styles and intelligences are and how you can use them to teach yourself better personal finance habits even if you hate numbers and suck at math by following my own case study."

Billeater presents Technology Keeps You Safe and Keeps You at Risk posted at Billeater. Some good ideas to keep you safe in your various online activities.

That concludes the February edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival. You can submit your blog article to the next edition of The Better Life Blog Carnival using our "Submit an entry to “The Better Life Carnival” carnival submission form. Past posts and future editions can be found on our "Blog Carnival index for “The Better Life Carnival”blog
carnival index page
Look for the Family Life Blog Carnival coming in March as well as our our other regular posts.

Photo credit: First light courtesy of timobalk.

Technorati tags:

, .

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Are You Using Tumblr?

Are you using Tumblr? I've been using Tumblr for a few years now and recently have become more interested in it as a Social Media tool and medium.

What is Tumblr? Tumblr is a Social Media tool that some people would classify as micro blogging (see wikipedia entry on blogs). Micro blogs are characterized as blogs with posts that are typically shorter than many blogs. Operating a microblog allows you to be creative and express yourself without all the maintenance and set up associated with some of the more formal blogs. With Tumblr it is easy to post text, share links, quotes, pictures, videos, and so on and you generally don't need to be a coding expert to use it! In the picture below you can see some of the things that you can post and you can do it by just pushing the icon pictured of what you want to do.

Dashboard View of Tumblr

I first discovered Tumblr via Zenhabits. I tried to find the article that I first read about it there, but my search resulted in too many returns to locate it. Leo Babauta was (and still is using it) as a way to share links and other interesting things with his readers. I decided to use it in a similar fashion. In fact in the second picture you even see a picture of Leo Babauta next to something he posted on Tumblr that was in my dashboard view when I did the screen capture recently.

Readers can subscribe to your RSS Feed

One thing that I find interesting about Tumblr is that it allows you to "follow" other tumblrs. If you look at my dashboard screen shot (the second picture) you can see that I'm following 8 other "Tumblrs", so whenever I sign in I can see what they have published recently. If you find something interesting you can easily "reblog it" maybe adding a comment or two or an explanation of why you found that particular item interesting. I also like that there is an RSS feed that people can subscribe to (middle bottom of the third screen shot)

Archive View

I also really like the Archive view that you and your readers can have of what you've posted (see forth screen shot above). Months where something was posted are in bold and can be clicked on. You get a picture of all the things posted in the period selected, allowing you to quick scan or find something that you're looking for. Tumblr can also be linked to Twitter and you can post to it via

If you've been thinking about starting up a blog, maybe you can set up a tumblr and see how you like that before taking the plunge with the usual blogging platforms.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do You Want People To Follow You On Twitter?

Over the last few months I've been looking at websites and blogs a little differently. If I happen to run across something that I like, then I wonder if that author or website is on twitter or some of the other social media sites that I use. The question then becomes do you want people to follow you on twitter?

As I've been reviewing submissions to the blog carnivals published at Systems-Overload the last few months, I've been looking at the websites of those people submitting articles to see if they were on Twitter. I've been surprised at how many websites I've been to that don't provide any buttons or links to their social media profiles. You might have reasons for not wanting the public in general to know what social media or network sites you're using, which is understandable, but if you don't make this information readily available, you might be missing a good chance to market your website or blog and do some networking as well. I'd think that if you go to the trouble of setting up a blog or website that you'd want to be able to interact with your readers. Maybe you've been so busy that the thought didn't occur to you to set this up?

I'm not a web-designer and I get annoyed when I have to play around with html code, so I can understand if you've put off making this change to your website or blog. I did a couple of searches for buttons/badges, first Twitter, then Facebook, and finally social media buttons. Here are a few websites that you can use to make buttons to link to your social media profiles.

If you'd prefer not to use buttons or badges, how about simple links to some of your social media/network profiles that you'd like to connect with your readers at? While you can place them anywhere on your website or blog, I'd suggest that you put them near the top your website, in a sidebar, at the bottom of your site, within your "about us/me" or your "contact us/me" sections. Ideally you want this to be something that people see right away or can easily find. Since most people don't feel that they that that much time, if they have to hunt too hard for it, they won't, and they're less likely to find you at Twitter, Facebook, or any other profiles that you might like to connect with people at.

There are probably millions of reasons why people want to be "social" on the web or maybe it boils down to only a few, but why not let the visitors and readers of your website or blog know where they can find you and connect with you online? If you know of a good site for social media buttons or badges feel free to mention it in the comments.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. To those that have found love, to those that have lost love, to those looking for love, to us all. Love and relationships can be such simple things and yet so complicated, they can lift you to to the highest mountain and make you sadder than you've ever known. How many songs can you name that have love in the title or that are about love, I'd almost guess that it is 90% if not more. Certainly love is universal within humankind, and to a certain degree it makes the world go round.

I wanted to originally write an article with reader suggests for the romantically challenged, much like I did last year, but it just wasn't meant to be this year. So while I have deviated from my original concept, I hope that you'll find this article worth reading and that you might find a nugget or two that you can use to make today brighter.

Hugh Grant, as the narrator, has the line in "Love Actually" to the effect that if you really look around love is actually all around us. In the movie one of the story lines is about a has-been rock star that remakes the famous song "Love Is All Around Us". Hugh Grant as the narrator mentions that he likes to see the arrivals area at the airport because you notice how much love is all around us. In the arrivals area you see all kinds of people that have missed their loved ones and are so happy to see them again. You see parents and kids that are happy to each other. Grandparents see their grandkids again. Brothers and sisters are happy to be reunited. Friends of all shapes and sizes are happy to see each other again. And of course, couples, married and not married, young and old, at various stages of their relationships are happy to see each other again after some absence. This sight when viewed in this fashion can redeem your faith in humankind and give us all hope. Do you have a favorite Valentine's Day movie? Do you have a favorite Valentine's Day song?

A tip for all of us that are romantically challenged, and who isn't from time to time. The key to a successful Valentine's Day gift is not the price tag or many of the other things that you might first think it is. The key thing to keep in mind is that your gift shows that you care about the person you're giving it to. Some of the best gifts carry small price tags, if any at all. Most people on Valentine's Day want to be reassured that someone cares about them. There are millions of ways to do this, one of the best is to get yourself into a creative mind set and do some brainstorming. One thing that you don't want to do is to give your sweetie something that you want, thinking that they'll enjoy it (or at least you'll enjoy it) unless it is truly something that you think they'll enjoy. Most women don't really think getting power tools is a romantic idea and you're likely to get into trouble for doing such a thing! Women should also keep in mind that the same holds true for men, that gift that you'd likely give your best girlfriend is probably not a good gift for your sweetheart.

Unfortunately, Valentine's Day has become over commercialized and there is too much emphasis on spending lots of money on Valentine's gifts and the true meaning is often lost. Some of the fairy tales that we grow up with make people think that there has to be a perfect prince in shining armour and that everything needs to be perfect and so many other things that make it hard for real life to live up to our expectations. The truth is that we're all human with our own faults. While I'm not saying that Mr or Miss Right doesn't exist for each and everyone out their, you might have set your standards to the point that even true royalty won't meet your selection criteria. This can leave you lonely on many Saturday Nights (and many Valentine's Days).

Lots of people will get engaged today. Of course there is also lots of pressure on people to get engaged today. How many people are expecting to get proposed to today? Sure it can be very romantic to get engaged today, but I hope that this is not one of those line in the sand kind of things that your significant other doesn't have a clue about. It the expectation is that you'll be getting engaged today, I hope that it is because your relationship is at the point where it makes sense, not because it is a day on the calendar. Of course, proposing on Valentine's Day can really give your relationship a boost and lots of people would love to be proposed to on Valentine's Day. For married couples, maybe today is good day to think back to your proposal, every married couple has a story what is yours? If you have an interesting story about how your proposal, I'd love to hear it.

Lastly, I like Valentine's Day because it is an excuse to let people you care about know how you feel. While we shouldn't need an excuse, it doesn't hurt to have one. Everyone likes to know that they're valued by someone. I remember as a kid how we bought those prepackaged boxed with 20-30 little cards asking other kids to be your Valentine and I remember my mother doing various special things to let us know that we were loved. Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

Photo credit: Heart Burst courtesy of ba1969.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


The article that I had planned to write up an before Valentine's Day didn't quite go as I had planned. Have a look tomorrow to see what direction it took me.


Monday, February 8, 2010

What Are Your Valentine Tips For The Romantically Challenged?

Valentine's Day is fast approaching. There lots of guys our there that would like to make this a memorable Valentine's Day for their loved one and I thought that we could put together some Valentine's suggestions for the romantically challenged.

Last year I ran a similar campaign and was pretty pleased with the results. The idea is that lots of us guys just aren't very romantic and we don't wish to disappoint our girlfriends, wives, and lovers by getting them some awful gift or doing something to embarrass ourselves. Feel free to post your suggestions in the comment section below by Thursday at 6 pm Eastern Standard Time, so that I can publish your ideas on Friday, giving all the Romantically challenged time to organize what they'll do for Valentine's Day this year. I'm looking forward to your suggestions.

Photo credit: Beautiful Vector Love Plant courtesy of adspark.