Tuesday, February 6, 2018

6 Ways to Spend Valentine’s Day with Your BFFs

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Valentine’s Day can be all about romance, but it can also be about appreciating the love in your life, regardless of where it comes from. For many of us twentysomethings (even if we aren’t single), it’s the roommates, BFFs, parents and childhood friends who mean the most to us, and that’s a fantastic thing.

If your relationship status is single this Valentine’s Day, here are some ideas for spending time (and sharing the love!) with the people who mean the most in your life.

1. Plan a group outing

Valentine’s Day is a classic date night, so why not plan a fun date night, but with friends instead?

Megan Lawler, a 2014 Illinois State University grad, is spending this February 14 on a stereotypical date to dinner and the movies… with all of her single girlfriends. “We're going to get dinner at a sushi restaurant first, then going to see Fifty Shades of Grey together,” she says. “It’s super stereotypical, but we're all really excited!”

Stereotypical or not, surrounding yourself with your closest girlfriends for a fun evening out is a perfect way to ensure you don’t feel lonely without a boyfriend.

Planning one-on-one time with a close friend can be a great option as well. “My best friend and I went out to dinner together and then went to go see a cheesy rom-com in theatres together,” says Leta Stevens, a 2012 Purdue University graduate. “We went to one of the theatres that serve alcohol and had popcorn, candy, and wine, and it was so much fun!”

2. Stay in

Not so stoked about being out in public, surrounded by couples? We get it. If you’re up for playing host, there are a slew of different parties you can plan. Send an email out to all of your single girlfriends and encourage them to invite anyone they know who’s also single and without plans.

Here are some of our favorite ideas:
Girls’ night in: Invite all your friends over and encourage them to show up in yoga pants. Order in and consider letting your friends spend the night so everyone can drink that extra glass of wine. We’d vote for a Gilmore Girls marathon (the love between Rory and Lorelai is truly something to admire), but chick flicks and rom-coms starring your favorite celebrity crush do the trick as well!

Game night: Everyone loves an excuse to play their favorite board games! How will you choose between Taboo, Cards Against Humanity and Trivial Pursuit? Don’t forget about the classics either: Monopoly, Sorry!, Uno and Scrabble are great for smaller groups.

Beer or wine tasting: Ask all your friends to bring a few bottles of their favorite adult beverage, and then have everyone participate in blind taste tests. Guests can vote on their favorite in each category, and the winners get a fun prize. Did someone say, “10-pound Hershey bar”?

Potluck: Suggest a potluck dinner to your friends, or even just a potluck dessert. Everyone loves an excuse to try new, homemade foods, and you can even encourage everyone to bring their recipes so they can exchange them with your other guests!

Gift exchange: Secret admirers aren’t just for the holidays! Pick names out of a hat a week or two beforehand, and then exchange as a group so each person goes home with a slew of goodies. Or, plan a white elephant gift exchange—it’s the perfect way to get rid of odd holiday presents!

3. Shower your friends with love

There’s no better way to spread love than by treating and giving gifts to the people in your life who mean the most to you. It harkens back to the days when we had to hand write our names on pre-written Disney princess valentines and put them in everyone’s cubbies—and we kind of love it. Take Megan’s lead: “My friends and I don't necessarily exchange presents, but last year I made them little ‘Single Girls’ Valentine’s Day bags with chocolate and wine in them, and I'm planning on doing something similar this year,” she says. “It’s just a fun way to show you care!”

4. Pamper yourself

Love can also be about splurging on the number-one person in your life: yourself. What better way to pamper yourself than with a spa day? Solo or with a friend, set up an appointment for a massage or a facial.

Not feeling like you can spend the dough? “My roommate and I wanted to pamper ourselves for Valentine’s Day this year, but we didn’t want to splurge on expensive massages. Instead, we’re going to turn our apartment into a mini spa!” says Rebecca Silverman, a University of Arizona grad. “We’re going to light candles, put on relaxing music, do yoga and have a veg-out girls’ day in. We can’t wait!”

Like Rebecca, plan an at-home spa day with a friend! Do your nails and try different face masks, and start watching that show you’ve been meaning to binge-watch.

5. Get in some family time

If you’re in the same city as your family this year, consider spending the evening with them: the truly constant (and unconditional!) loves of your life. Cook dinner for your parents and siblings, they have a game night. Or, if you’re feeling really generous, offer to babysit.

“My aunt and uncle work so hard and they rarely get a night off or a chance to go out without their kids,” says Andrea Grobman, a University of California, Davis grad. “Since Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean a lot to me, I offered to babysit for them this year. They appreciated the gesture so much, and it’s a chance to bond with my cousins!”

6. Spend the day volunteering

Homeless puppies and kittens need love, too! Volunteer with a local shelter or find other ways to donate your time, such as spending the evening at a senior home. You won’t be alone or wallowing, and you’ll be giving back to the community—it’s a win-win!

Need ideas, or ways to find volunteer gigs? Check out VolunteerMatch.org, a site that lets you pick your interests and causes and helps match you with in-need organizations in your area.

Whether you choose to spend Valentine’s Day pampering yourself, going out with a group of girlfriends or giving back to the community, there are plenty of alternatives to staying cooped up inside your apartment feeling sorry for yourself on February 14. Just because you’re dateless doesn’t mean you’re any less fabulous—just let this Valentine’s Day be an excuse to celebrate all of the incredible love in your life!
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Monday, October 16, 2017

20 Health Tips to Create a Healthy Lifestyle

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Listed below are 20 tips from some of the top registered dietitian nutritionists in the field to help guide you to lead your healthiest life yet. Rest assured, if you pick one, two or all 20 of these to follow, you’ll be feeling great by the end of the month. Buh-bye diets, hello lifestyle!

Enjoy the experience.

The word “diet” comes from the Greek word “diaita,” meaning “a way of life.” It’s not just about the food you eat but rather about sharing it with friends and family and taking time to stop and enjoy the experience.

Save room for two more bites.

Practicing this simple habit has two great benefits: It’s a completely painless way to save calories from the extra food you’re not eating, which can lead to slow, steady weight loss over time. It also teaches you to pay more attention and listen to your body, which is one of the best ways to stay healthy and feel your best long term!

20 Health Tips to Create a Healthy Lifestyle

Start with breakfast.

Every morning, I start my day by fueling my body with nutrients it needs to stay healthy. (That’s called breakfast!) My favorites are an egg over easy on whole-grain toast with sliced tomato and Greek yogurt with berries. It helps me stay focused in the morning on getting my kids to school and start my workday off on the right foot.

Challenge yourself.

It may sound completely absurd, but try brushing your teeth with your opposite hand. Doing so will force you to think with a different part of your brain, helping to foster creative thinking. Within days, you’ll notice a cascade of new ideas that may just have you trying tofu next week, kickboxing next month or a half marathon by the end of the year!

Drink wine.

Every food (and beverage) can fit in a healthy diet. There’s no need to deny yourself of things you enjoy!

Be a fiber fanatic.

Eating more fiber allows you to feel more satisfied while stabilizing blood-sugar levels, helping to fight off hunger and cravings. Diets high in fiber have been linked back to lower bodyweight, decreased disease risk and improved longevity. Aim for a minimum of 25 grams per day.

Include more Peruvian superfoods.

Foods like maca powder, pichuberries and Starseed Sacha Inchi seeds are loaded with nutrients and a great addition to smoothies to boost your workout.

Increase your energy, naturally.

I know that sounds simple, but I read recently that only 6 percent of Americans get the recommended five to six servings of vegetables daily. Make it a goal to add at least one more vegetable into your day and just watch your energy levels soar.

Focus on self-care.

Every day, wake up and think, “What is one thing I can do today for ME that would make this day the BEST day ever.”

When you do things you enjoy, be it a run, mediation or other hobby, you become happier, which helps you make healthier choices throughout the day.

Take a TEA break.

This not only helps keep you centered but also helps keep you hydrated. Up to 60 percent of your body is made of water, and it’s important to replenish that supply throughout the day to keep your energy up!

Try new foods.

So many illnesses and health-related problems could be avoided if we just ate more produce. Replace one thing that you would normally eat with a new fruit or a vegetable. Not only does this keep healthy eating interesting, but you also may end up trying something that you didn’t know you liked.

Get enough sleep.

Make a special effort to get enough sleep and to sleep well on a regular basis. Sleep impacts energy levels, ability to make good decisions and to put your best face forward — all of which can impact self-confidence and more.

Make a “me” list.

What makes you happy? Running, grocery shopping solo, hot coffee with a friend, etc. Find a way to do at least three things on that list every week. It makes me feel like I can still have a bit of me when everyone else in my life seems to need 100 percent of me, too.

Eat foods you enjoy.

Instead of worrying about what you “should” or “shouldn’t” eat, choose foods you find satisfying. Deprivation, both physical from not eating enough and psychological from restricting foods or food groups, leads to overeating, binging and usually eating more of the foods you’re trying to restrict.

Jazz up your meals.

Add some pizazz to your food (and life) by adding herbs, spices and citrus zest to your meals, snacks and smoothies. They not only instantly transform even the most mundane food, but they also dampen inflammation and prevent free-radical damage.

Know your limits.

The healthiest version of ourselves lies somewhere between giving ourselves grace while still having challenging goals. A good place to start is by being honest with yourself about what works for you and what doesn’t.

Connect with YOU.

We cannot be our best physically if we are not feeling our best mentally and emotionally, as well. Taking time to connect with what makes you happiest in life and taking time to evaluate and remove the things that are making you unhappy open up the doors to allow you to take better care of yourself in a holistic and compassionate way.

Eat more plants.

If you just make one major change in your diet for optimal health and weight management, switch the emphasis of your food choices to mostly whole plant foods, such as whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in their whole form. By making this major change, you will increase your fiber, vitamin, mineral, phytochemical and healthy fat intake, which helps defend the body from disease.

Eat good mood food.

Rather than focusing on weight, I focus on happiness! I always strive to eat for a good mood since food and mood go hand in hand. Science shows us that eating fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, legumes, whole grains, foods with probiotics, tea and even dark chocolate all play roles in brain health and good mood. Eating for health AND happiness is a win-win!

Set boundaries and stick to them.

I find that most people know they “should” incorporate more self-care, but their lives are moving so fast that it’s challenging to slow down. Carve out an hour of alone time to make two lists: things in your life that give you energy and are life-giving and things in your life that drain you. Figure out which draining activities you have control over and start making an action plan of how you will reduce time spent on these activities — set boundaries, say NO.
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Friday, September 1, 2017

Here’s Exactly How Many Calories You Add When You Trick Out Your Coffee

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Jeans a little tighter than usual? Your morning coffee might be to blame.

If you depend on coffee to wake you up in the morning or keep you going throughout the day, don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone. A recent study conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that more than 160 million people in America drink coffee on a regular basis—and most don’t take it black. Instead, roughly two-thirds of java lovers add cream, sugar, or other flavorings to their cup ‘o Joe without considering the possible health impact.

Here’s Exactly How Many Calories You Add When You Trick Out Your Coffee
But come on, a dash of cream never hurt anyone, right? Wrong. “These add-in items are often dense in energy and fat but low in nutritional value,” says Ruopeng An, the University of Illinois Kinesiology and Community Health professor who conducted the study.

If you take your coffee black, you don’t have much to worry about in terms of calorie intake. But if you enjoy sprucing up your coffee with a bit of sweetness (and we can’t exactly blame you), you’re likely consuming an extra 69 unnecessary calories each time. “More than 60 percent of those calories come from sugar, with fat accounting for most of the rest of the extra calories consumed,” Dr. An found. (Find out 100 easy ways to cut 50 calories.)

That’s right, you’re actually drinking calories from sugar and fat in your morning coffee. (Especially if you’re guilty of frequenting Starbucks.) “These daily intakes may seem small, but the extra calories every day can add up to extra pounds,” Dr. An says. This is particularly true for anyone who drinks multiple cups per day, most (if not all) days of the week.

If you absolutely must sweeten your coffee, one of the best natural sweeteners you can use as a powder or liquid made from the green, leafy Stevia plant. This sweetener doesn’t just add sugar-like sweetness (it’s actually 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar), it also miraculously offers numerous health benefits, including lowering high cholesterol, potentially preventing heart disease, and having anti-inflammatory properties.

The good news: Once you’ve switched to a zero calorie sweetener like Stevia, you can use your leftover calorie budget to eat a banana (89 calories), a 100-calorie pack of snack pack, or a handful of pistachio nuts (83 calories). Unlike artificial sweeteners and creamers that leave you drinking on the pounds, these snacks are calories that are worth it.
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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Weekend Workout: Why It’s OK to Work Out Only on Weekends

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Weekend warriors, rejoice! Science has some great news about your exercise regimen. If you’re tight on time during the week and can hit the gym only on Saturdays and Sundays, you’ll welcome the results of a new survey published by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Weekend Workout: Why It’s OK to Work Out Only on Weekends
After crunching the numbers on 63,591 adults, a team of researchers from Harvard University School of Public Health and universities in England and Australia, found that when compared with sedentary adults, weekend warriors who performed the recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity in one or two sessions per week had a 30 percent lower risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease (40 percent lower) and cancer (18 percent lower). That means 8,802 fewer deaths from all causes, including 2,780 from heart disease and 2,526 from cancer.

These findings suggest that when it comes to exercise, quality trumps quantity. “One all-encompassing workout is worth more than several poorly planned workouts,” says New York Health & Racquet Club Personal Trainer, Greg Peck. And perhaps more significant is the evidence that some exercise is better than none. “There is no such thing as dangerous use,” Peck adds.

If your sweat sessions are limited, Peck suggests enlisting the services of a personal trainer even for a few sessions, because he or she can show you how to maximize your time and also use the proper form, so you don’t get hurt. If personal training sessions aren’t in the budget, Peck recommends doing least 30 minutes of cardio such as jumping rope, walking on a treadmill, cycling, or using the elliptical machine, followed by weight-bearing exercises: Try doing three sets of 12 to 15 reps of weighted squats, chest presses, deadlifts, bicep curls, triceps kickbacks and ab crunches. If you can’t get to the gym, go for a brisk walk or run, and do three sets of 12 to 15 pushups, body weight squats, leg raises, sit-ups, triceps dips, and lunges. Get the most out of each session by concentrating on upper body with cardio one day and lower body with cardio the next. (Here are more home workouts to try.)

And per the study findings, it’s also a good idea to crank up the physical activity during your leisure time as well. Maybe go bowling with friends bowling instead of happy hour, or going on a hike with your family instead of parking it in front of Netflix. In case you need them, here are some exercise motivation tricks you haven’t tried.
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10 Healthy Tips to Live By

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Eating healthily is all about balance. Every now and then it’s perfectly OK to have pie for dinner or a nice slice of cake at teatime – treats are a part of life – but it's also important to recognize when we're pushing things too far. Indulgent food should be enjoyed and savored, but only occasionally – it's important to remember that the majority of our diet should be made up of balanced, nutritious everyday foods. Make healthy food a priority in your life and allow it to bring your family and friends together. Learn to love how it makes you feel, how delicious it is and remember that a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise are the keys to a healthy lifestyle.


This is one of the most valuable life skills you can learn. It allows you to have complete control of what goes into your food.

10 Healthy Tips to Live By


Aim to eat a balanced diet that contains each of the food groups in the correct proportions.


Fill your diet with a broad range of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts, seeds, whole grains and naturally low-fat dairy foods. When it comes to fruit and veg, different colors provide your body with the various nutrients it needs to stay active and healthy – it's not just greens that are good for you!


Make an effort to learn about the food you're eating – we all need to know where food comes from and how it affects our bodies.


Make sure the majority of your energy intake comes from nutritious calories that also provide your body with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and healthy fats. Avoid empty calories.


Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and helps you to be alert and awake throughout the day. Make sure you always eat a nutritious breakfast. Make it wholesome and make it count.


It's important to read packaging correctly. Be aware of the recommended portion sizes, and the sugar, salt, and saturated fat contents. Remember that not all E-numbers are bad, but too many is often a bad sign.


Water is an essential part of your diet. Drink plenty of water and avoid empty calories from things such as fizzy drinks, energy drinks or juices with added sugar. Eat your calories don't drink them.


Exercise is a significant factor in staying healthy so try to be as active as you can.


Make sure you get enough sleep – it's an essential part of being healthy and directly affects how well we are able to learn, grow and act in life. While we're asleep, our bodies have that all-important time to repair.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

20 Best Smartphone Apps That Pay You Money

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Incredibly, there are genuine, real ways to make money online without getting scammed. All you need is a smartphone, some (lots) free time and a relaxed attitude to constantly being bombarded by adverts.

These apps might not swell your bank account, but they might buy you a beer or two. Which, if you're honest with yourself, is the only reason you go to work. Right?

Earn Free Mobile Recharge and Gift Cards

The all-in-one messaging app lets you call for free, earn credit and redeem for recharge mobile anywhere in the world. It's simple to earn free credit in Vodi app. Simply send text, make a call to get rewards. 
Use Promo code "FHM" to earn 50 Bonus credits.


BitMaker is a money making app that’s only available for Android devices. Earn cash by simply leaving the app open on your phone. Since you don’t have to do anything, you’re essentially earning passive income.

A great way to earn with this app is to leave it open when you’re charging your phone or when you’re sleeping. Instead of earning directly with cash, you earn in BitCoin or Satoshi (a smaller unit of BitCoin).

When you enter the promo code KIEV9L you get a 2,500 Satoshi bonus. You also get the same amount when you refer a friend

20 Best Smartphone Apps That Pay You Money

Google Opinion Rewards (Only for Google Play)

Google’s Opinion Rewards app sends you quick surveys to your smartphone. You’ll get paid with Google Play credits, which you can redeem for anything in the Google Play store.


This is the app we use most, but it’s pretty difficult to sign up to, unfortunately. You need to be invited to download the app which is available on Android and iOS.

We got accepted by searching “Roamler invite” on Twitter and asking someone for an invite, so it's not impossible.
There are almost always tasks available and they tend to pay out between £2-£6 each.
Tasks we’ve completed in the past have included taking photos of plant pots in a garden center and reporting which teas are on sale in the supermarket.

Perk TV

Perk TV has been featured multiple times on Frugal For Less, mostly because it’s such a great earner. However, Perk TV has been constantly changing their earnings structure, and unfortunately for the worse.

Where you could once leave the app running 24/7 for a complete passive income, now you’re required to press a button every 1 – 2 hours to show that you’re actually watching videos.

With that said, you can still earn some decent cash. If you install the app on a maximum of 5 devices, expect to earn around $50 – $75 per month with Perk. It used to be the case that you could earn $150 or more, but these days are far from over.


Viggle is one of the most popular streaming apps that lets you earn points for watching TV. Check into your favorite shows, and earn more points the longer you watch. You can trade in your points for one of over 800 gift cards. Or, opt for cash by transferring your earnings to Perk Plastik.

Smart Panel

The Smart Panel app starts off great by giving you a $5 bonus. You’ll need to first determine your eligibility by taking a short survey. As long as you have a smartphone, you shouldn’t have any troubles getting approved.

Smart Panel gives you bonuses along the way for keeping the app installed. For example, leave it installed for 1 year to earn a total of $110, but leave it installed for 2 years for a total of $230.

Users report a 1% – 5% reduction in battery life and data usage of anywhere between 2MB – 5MB per month. In short, the drag in phone performance is almost negligible. Before you can cash out for that $5 bonus, you must leave the app installed for a minimum of 30 days.
Go to Smart Panel website


One of the busier tasking apps out there – both in terms of jobs available and a number of registered users.

This also means the jobs are quite varied, too. So if you get bored easily, this one's probably a good shout!

Swagbucks Watch 

Swagbucks Watch is an app that lets you earn Swagbucks for watching videos, just like you would on the website. Link your account and watch your SB pile up, which you can then redeem for PayPal cash and other gift cards.


SavvyConnect is a branch off of the popular survey site Survey Savvy. For every month that you leave the app installed, you can earn up to $5/month for a total of $60/year. Install the app on a maximum of 3 devices to earn a total of $180/year.

When you become a member of SavvyConnect, you’ll be given exclusive access to the higher-paying surveys on the SurveySavvy website. Simply complete your profile to get these surveys sent to your inbox.

One of the best ways to earn with SavvyConnect is to invite your friends. For each friend that you invite that completes their first project, you earn anywhere between $5 – $15. And it doesn’t stop there. For any friends that your friends refer, you can earn anywhere between $2 – $6. Unfortunately, they only pay by check.


Tasks are a lot less frequent on Streetbees but tend to be a fair bit higher paid – we’ve seen a lot of tasks available with a £10+ payout!

Therefore, even if just one job pops up a month, that could be the equivalent of one job per week on some of the other apps.

Media Insiders Panel

The Media Insiders app is supported on iOS, Android and Kindle Fire HD devices. They collect data by tracking which ads you watch, your social media activity as well as what web pages you visit.

The app can be installed on a maximum of 3 devices, with each device earning $2 per month. In total, you can earn $6 per month or $72 per year. You can increase your earnings a bit further with the use of the VPN. However, as mentioned above, other rewards apps on your phone might not permit the use of a VPN.

Keep in mind that you will need to wait a minimum of 48 hours after signing-up before your account is verified. When active, you’ll notice a green check and a statement that states that your phones are currently earning cash.


Upload your best photos to the Clashot app, and clients using the app can buy them! You’ll earn commission on every photo sold.


Stockimo is a mobile stock photo app, which lets you sell your favorite photos easily to those in search of beautiful stock photos.


TaskRabbit merely serves as a tool to help you find work in your area. Help others complete tasks such as delivering groceries, building furniture from IKEA, waiting in line and more.

Keep in mind that all those who wish to work as task workers must complete a background check. The amount you earn per task depends on how much the person who’s looking for help is willing to pay.

TaskRabbit is available in 19 major cities across the US.

Bing Search

Bing Search is another money making app that pays you to surf the web. Each time you surf the web, you have a chance of earning points that can be exchanged for gift cards.

You can also earn cash on your desktop by installing their browser toolbar. We estimate that you can earn about $20 – $25 a month. While it’s not much, surfing the web is something you’d probably be doing anyhow.

You can cash out once your account reaches 525 points for a $5 gift card. Refer your friends to earn points more quickly.


All-in-one messaging app to text, call translate, send eGifts and more.

Vodi is a mobile messaging app that lets you text, call, translate, send eGifts, and more—all from one place. Over 68% of American adults have a smartphone in their pocket and more and more smartphone users are turning to free messaging apps as their main form of communication. Vodi makes it easier for smartphone users to save time, money and data on their phone–no matter where you are. Vodi is so easy to use that we already have a million downloads from 160 different countries worldwide.


Read texts from advertisers through the FreeEats app, and earn 25 cents or more for each text. You also get $1 when you join.


Registration Bonus: $10 (promo codeRU3N2Ra)
NiceTalk is a money making app that pays you to teach English. This app was was originally created in order to help Chinese students learn English.

The only requirement to join is to be a fluent English speaker. Expect to earn $10 for every hour that you teach.

What I really love about this app is that they pay you by the minute. This means that if you only want to do a short 15-minute lesson, you’re still going to get paid 15 minutes. Use promo code RU3N2Ra to get the $10 bonus upon registration.


Bitwalking is a new app that lets you earn Bitwalking dollars (BW$) simply for going about your daily routine.

Launched in September last year, it’s still in a private beta phase – but you’re free to request an invite to the platform.

Once you get in, all you have to do is keep moving to start earning. You will need to do rather a lot of walking though – somewhere around 10,000 steps for 1 BW$. If you spend all day wandering around for your job anyway, however, what is there to lose?

At launch, the company said you’d be able to redeem your earnings against items offered through its own store, or transfer the cash to your bank account. The service is still being tested though, so could be subject to change in the future.
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Monday, August 28, 2017

7 Lies That Are Holding You Back From Your Best Life

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They usually mean well, but your family, your career advisers, college counselors, and anyone else who follows the "traditional path" to success has been lying to you your whole life. They tell you what they know: the recipe for a fulfilling life is going to college, getting a job, buying a house, getting married, and having children.

Now, if this is actually what you want — go for it. But if you're not sure — if you never realized you have the right and the ability to question these expectations — today's the day you learn you do.

7 Lies That Are Holding You Back From Your Best Life

Ask yourself, are you doing what you do because you want to do it, or because it's expected of you?

Here are seven of the most common lies we're told about how we should live. Challenge yourself to contrast these rules with your innate needs and desires, then make it your mission to align your external path with the hopes, ambitions, and truths you hold most dear. It's a lifelong process, but you only ever have to worry about the very next step.

1. The Lie: Professional success starts with a college (and maybe graduate school) and ends with an office job.

You can't get a good job without a college degree, and if you don't get a good job, how will you buy a house and provide for your family? You want to be a musician? An artist? Hope you like your parents' basement.

Real talk: It isn't black and white.

There are creative office jobs, and many successful people don't have college degrees. Start by asking yourself how you define "success." You may not care if you have a large income or even consistent work. You may be happiest as a freelance designer or session musician.

If the security of the office environment appeals to you, it's not only possible but necessary that you pursue your passions regardless. Engaging in projects that energize you and harness your creative talents is not only possible. It's necessary to your well-being. 

2. The Lie: Marriage and kids are integral to success and happiness.

The end of all the fairy tales is "they lived happily ever after." Your life will be meaningless if you don't find a partner, and pass on your beliefs, your genes, your wisdom.

Real Talk: No one can know what you want or need except you.
But does the idea of spending your life with one person excite you? Does the idea of spending 18 years devoting your life to raising another human being seem fulfilling? You might feel the pressure mounting with every wedding invitation and birth announcement, but a long-term partner and family life is just one way to live.

If you don't want to be a parent, you will not be a good one. Drown out the noise and advice and figure out what you want. The path that makes you happiest, most excited, engaged, and fulfilled is the right one.

3. The Lie: You're not respectable until you own a house.

It's the best investment you can make.You can't live in the city, in an apartment forever. You need room for your family, a dog, a garden!

Real Talk: It's a huge commitment that should only be made if you're committing to something you actually want.

Owning house forces you to live in one place for quite some time, often sacrificing a lot of your income to mortgage. There are so many things you could do with all that money, all that freedom. If you don't have so many financial obligations, you have more flexibility. You can leave a job that doesn't make you happy. You can travel to Nepal. Don't invest in someone else's ideals. Invest in your dream life.

4. The Lie: Other people have it figured out.

If people look like they have their lives together, they probably do. You should replicate their choices to find your own fulfillment.

Real Talk: The approval of others isn't a good reason to do anything, ever.

What are your values? What do you care for and what do you want to accomplish in your life? Visualize what you want your life to look like — without other people's opinions factoring in at all — and begin to take steps toward creating that. Just because a certain lifestyle or career makes someone else happy doesn’t mean it will make you happy. 

5. The Lie: Happiness is something you earn after years of slogging through life.

You'll get to enjoy yourself when you retire. The first sixty years of your life are preparing you for that eventual relaxation.

Real Talk: We're not promised a tomorrow. Not even a today. Happiness is not something to postpone.

You can find joy in every moment. Be mindful, be present, and look for things in your life to be grateful for. If you’re unhappy with something, change it. Happiness is not the result of fulfilling other people's expectations. It's the result of listening to your heart and following it.

6. The Lie: Job security, relationship security, real estate security are worth more than taking a risk to find something you love.

You'd give up all this to pursue underwater basketweaving? That's crazy. You'll lose everything.

Real Talk: If you're living a life you're not absolutely in love with, anything you lose will be a small price to pay for unearthing your true path.

Listen to your intuition. Do some research, prepare, and take calculated risks. If you’re going to quit your job, know what you’ll be doing next. If you’re going to start a business, have some capital saved up. If you succeed, you win. If you fail, you learn. 

7. The Lie: The more stuff you have, the happier you'll be. 

If it doesn't look like an episode of MTV Cribs, you're wasting your life.

Real Talk: Cars, TVs, real estate, clothes — it's all just frosting. In fact, it might be distracting you from what you really want.

If you get rid of the junk, you'll simplify your life, and start to live more consciously. Recognize that success doesn’t come from external achievement; it comes from internal growth and fulfillment. It doesn't matter what it looks like to anyone else. It only matters what it feels like to you.

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