Ask Away Blog: April 2022

How to Get Started with a New Hobby the Right Way

Thursday, April 28, 2022

 
Do you want to try something new this year? A new hobby can be a great way to learn new things, meet new people, and have some fun. But where do you start? How do you choose the right hobby for you? This blog post will provide some tips on how to get started with a new hobby and also give you some ideas on different hobbies to try out!

via Pexels

1) Do some research

Talk to friends and family about their hobbies, look online for articles and blog posts about different hobbies, and read books about hobby options. There are many ways to get started with a new hobby. The most important thing is to find something that interests you and that you can see yourself doing on a regular basis.

Once you have an idea of what you might like to do, the next step is to do some research. This will help you narrow down your choices and figure out what kind of commitment (in terms of time, money, etc.) you are willing to make.

If you are still stuck, don't worry! There are plenty of other ways to find inspiration for a new hobby. For example, try attending a community event or workshop related to something you are interested in, go on vacation and try something new, or take a class at your local community center.

2) Make a plan

Once you have an idea of what you would like to do, it's time to make a plan. This will help you figure out what kind of commitment (in terms of time, money, etc.) you are willing to make. For example, if you want to learn how to knit, you will need to purchase some supplies and set aside some time each week to practice.

If you are interested in starting a blog, you will need to come up with content ideas, design your blog, and promote it. No matter what hobby you choose, be realistic about what you can accomplish, given your current lifestyle and schedule.

If you want to make sure that your new hobby is something that you will stick with, it's essential to choose something that aligns with your interests and values. For example, if you love spending time outdoors, then a hiking or gardening club might be a good fit. If you enjoy being creative, then painting or scrapbooking could be perfect for you. And if you like being active, then signing up for dance classes or joining a sports team could be the right choice.

3) Get started

Once you have done your research and made a plan, it's time to get started! Gather your supplies, sign up for classes, or join a club. If you are starting a new hobby on your own, there are plenty of resources available online to help you get started. If you really want to invest in your hobby, you can even purchase some extra equipment that will allow you to explore it even further. For example, if you wanted to get into music, researching things like the Best Looper Pedal would get you on the right track to committing to making music!

Don't be afraid to ask for help from friends or family members who are already involved in the hobby that you're interested in. They can provide valuable insights and advice as you get started. But, most importantly, have fun and enjoy trying something new! A new hobby can be a great way to add some excitement to your life. Who knows? You might even find a new passion.

The benefits of having a hobby

The list of benefits that come with having a hobby is a long one. Some of the most notable ones include:

Hobbies can help reduce stress and anxiety

They can improve your mood and mental well-being

Hobbies can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride

They can boost your self-confidence and self-esteem

Hobbies can give you a creative outlet

They can help you meet new people and make new friends

All of these benefits are important, but one that is often overlooked is how hobbies can improve your physical health. That's right - hobbies aren't just good for your mental health, they're good for your physical health too! Studies have shown that regular involvement in leisure activities like a hobby can lead to a decrease in health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. So not only can hobbies make you happier and less stressed, but they can also improve your physical health!

There are endless possibilities when it comes to choosing a hobby. Whether you're looking for something that is creative, active, or just plain fun, there is sure to be a hobby out there that is perfect for you. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring! Who knows - you might just find your new favorite pastime.





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How To Make Your Vacation Memorable

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

 
Being in a position where you get to travel to a new destination is a privileged one. It’s a chance to learn new things, to rejuvenate and to let go of your stress. When you go on vacation, you are going to get away from the boring chores of daily life and let go for a while, and this can be the best medicine that anyone could ever need. Traveling to a new place? That’s half the excitement, but you need to do all that you can to make your vacation as memorable as possible.

Your vacation is going to be a life changer for you, and you have to make sure that you can remember it forever. From planning out a personalized postcard template to post to others while you’re away that reflects your vacation time, to planning souvenirs, you need to make this trip one that you will always remember. You have to make your trip - any trip - one that you will love to remember, too, and the memories have to be fond ones! Below, we’ve got some of the tips that will help you to make it a memorable one!

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Bring things home. Souvenirs, postcards, pictures - they all count toward helping you to make amazing memories. Embracing the culture and the environment of a new place will help you to make your vacation one that you will always remember no matter what. You need to be able to experience the way that other people live, and when you do, bring a piece of it home with you.

Don't travel in the peak seasons. Tourists and travelers such as yourself tend to pack out a place and a specific destination. If you make a point of avoiding traveling during the peak seasons, you’re going to enjoy the landscape and all of the restaurants and tourist spots better. You need to make memories not be crushed out by crowds.

Look with your eyes, not with your phone camera. We’re in a digital age and everywhere you go, people whip out their phones to take pictures and videos. You don't have to look at everything through your phone. By all means, snap a picture of a beautiful landscape, but then concentrate on looking with your eyes and not with your phone so that you can really see things! You’ll make memories and while Facebook won’t see them, you’ll remember it, which is what counts.

Choose to go into the unknown. If you want to really make memories on your vacation, you need to make sure that you deep dive into the unknown. Throw a dart at a map or choose to scroll a list of vacation spots that you haven't been before. Make your travel memorable and explore the less popular places out there. You’ll never regret the time you spend in a new place.

Memorable vacations are not always easy to come by, but with the right planning you can ensure that you are the best possible tourist you can be!



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7 Tips for Organizing Your Laptop

 

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Many of us spend a lot of time and effort cleaning and organizing our homes to ensure they look good and are much easier for us to live in. However, we spend very little time doing the same for our laptops and devices.

This is strange because many of us spend so much time on our laptops working and checking Facebook or playing games or doing our accounts as we do that having a more organized device would certainly benefit us just as much as having a more organized home.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the simplest things you can do to organize your laptop or computer today:

1. Remove duplicate files

Just as you would remove physical clutter from your home environment it is a good idea to clean digital clutter from your laptop or device too. The easiest place to start is by removing duplicate content which will not be missed.

Many of us have multiple copies of our resume or our favorite songs or the same photos on our devices, and by getting rid of all but one (backing that file up on the cloud is a good idea) you can speed up your laptop and make it much easier to find the files you are looking for.

2. Remove junk files

Once you have done that, you should use a tool like clean my mac to remove any junk files and apps that you have downloaded onto your system, but which you do not use, from your laptop. This is really easy to do with a cleaning app, and it will free up lots of RAM which will speed up your system, and make your laptop much less cluttered, so you can do what you need to do without anything unnecessary getting in the way.

3. Create master folders

If you want your laptop to be as organized as possible, then instead of having hundreds of separate files which you need to wade through every time you need to find something specific, it is a good idea to create a number of master folders that you can then file everything on your laptop into.

For example, you could have a master folder for mp3s and music, a master file for ebooks, one for work-related files like your resume or current work projects, one for family photos, and well you get the picture.

By doing this, not only will your laptop be less cluttered, but you will spend far less time tracking down the information you are looking for on your computer too.

4. Then create subfolders

Once you have your master folders in place, it is a good idea to create subfolders within those master folders too, just to simplify things even further.

Taking the example of your master folder for music, you could then create a subfolder for pop music, one for rock, one for country, and so on, or you could create a subfolder for each artist you have on your laptop or you could arrange alphabetically too. It doesn’t matter how you organize your subfolders as long as they make sense to you and make it easier for you to find what you need when you need it.

5. Upload to the cloud

If you really want to clean up your laptop and ensure that not only is it not cluttered but also that it runs fast and simple, then one thing you can do is to stop storing files on your physical device altogether, instead uploading them to the cloud.

You will still be able to access them directly from your laptop, but they will not be cluttering up your physical hardware with their presence.

6. Name your files more efficiently

You’d be surprised at how many people simply call their filed document1, document2, document3, and so on. This can cause a huge problem when it comes to finding that work project or printing off your child’s homework file.

If your files are all generically names, and you want to be better organized, then you need to go through them and start changing the file names to something that very clearly tells you what those files contain. This may take some time to do if you have a lot of files, but once it’s done, you will be able to use your laptop way more efficiently, which means it will almost certainly be worth it, and you don’t have to rename all of your files in one sitting - so a few whenever you have a few spare moments and eventually you will get them all organized.

Oh, and while you’re renaming, weed out any files you no longer need and delete them from your system too.

7. Get rid of folders on your display

Just like being in a cluttered room can cause your brain to be more cluttered and stressed out, so can digital clutter do the same. That is why it is never a bad idea to get rid of all those files that show up on the screen when you turn your laptop on. You can delete these from the background by simply dragging them to one of your subfolders, and this will mean that all you see when you log on is the background you have chosen.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of your laptop’s background image, it is never a bad idea to choose a simple image that uplifts you every time you see it. After all, you will probably spend a lot of time looking at that background image and the nicer it looks to you, the happier you will be. It might seem like a small thing, but it can really make a difference.

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to clean and organize your laptop once you know how, and if you put these tips into action every month or so, you can bet that your laptop will always be in good working order, and more importantly, much easier for you to use effectively.


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Tips For Moving From A Small Town To A Big City

Monday, April 25, 2022

 

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Thinking of moving from a small town to a big city? Before making your move, you may want to prepare yourself for some of the challenges of city life. While there can be many benefits to living in a city including great work opportunities and greater social opportunities, there can also be drawbacks like the added cost of living. This guide offers a few tips on how you can adjust to city living if you’ve previously lived in a small town your whole life.

Be prepared to downsize

If you already own or rent a home, don’t be surprised if you can’t afford the same sized property in a city. In fact, in some cities like New York, you may even struggle to find properties beyond a certain size due to the lack of space - apartments and townhouses may be the only feasible option.

Downsizing isn’t easy as it often means getting rid of possessions. You may have to sell large furniture and buy smaller furniture, as well as parting with items like excess clothes. Alternatively, if it’s a temporary city move, there could be the option of self storage - you could try looking into self storage deals and renting somewhere cheap to place your possessions until you move back.

Keep a tight monthly budget

It’s not just property mortgages and rent that are likely to be more expensive in a city. Groceries, meals out, drinks out, clothes and insurance are all likely to be more expensive.

To fund all these expenses, you’ll need to keep a tight monthly budget. In fact, it could be worth researching all these expenses beforehand so that you can get a good idea as to how much you’ll be spending.

Take advantage of public transport

Getting around by car in some cities is slow and expensive. Fortunately, many cities have good public transport systems that are cheaper and faster.

Know when to use this public transport instead of taking a car. It’s worth looking into any public transport discount systems that may be in place so that you can save money further.

Plan ways to meet people

In a small town, it can be easy to get to know people because you’re constantly bumping into the same people. In a city, there are more people, but you’re less likely to see the same faces as frequently. People in cities can also keep to themselves more. As a result, it’s worth planning ways of meeting people rather than hoping to make friends.

A great way to build connections is to join social clubs. This could include anything from sports clubs to activist groups. You can also try meeting people online through meetup sites. Consider connecting with people before you move.

Look into free activities

Not everything costs money in a city. When looking for activities, try looking into free activities. Examples include free museums, events and walking tours. It’s also worth spending time scoping out cheap restaurants, stores and bars which may only be known to the locals.



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3 Peace Of Mind Tips For Nervous Drivers

 

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When you’re in a car traveling pretty much anywhere, it’s often interesting to observe the way that others drive. Some motorists drive like they own the road, hogging the lane and getting impatient when others don’t drive the way they want. Others may drive erratically for one reason or another, causing you and other motorists to need to drive a little more carefully to lessen the chance of accidents. A lot of people, meanwhile, are nervous behind the wheel, driving tentatively and often being victimised by less considerate drivers.

It is the latter of those groups that we want to talk to today. It’s understandable that you would be nervous in a car - they’re complex machines and capable of doing damage in the wrong hands. But get too nervous while driving and you can end up having more problems than you ought to - so it is sensible to follow some tips to make sure you’re driving with a bit of peace of mind, and will therefore be able to enjoy your driving more.

Make yourself comfortable

When driving a car, it is important to put yourself in the best possible environment for the task. The less comfortable you are, the more distracted you are likely to be, and the harder it will be to make yourself feel confident about your road use. Make sure your driver’s seat is adjusted to your needs, so you don’t need to strain to reach the pedals, the steering wheel doesn’t feel like it’s invading your personal space, and you can see the road easily.

Also have a no-clutter rule in the car; internal distractions will make driving harder and you more anxious. As for whether you have music on or not, it all depends on what makes you feel more at ease. Some experts advise against it, while others say it’s fine and even advisable. Go with what works for you.

Get covered

A lot of people’s nervousness behind the wheel comes back to one specific cause - the fear of causing damage and danger. A lot of this anxiety can be dissipated by making sure you have the right insurance coverage - dinging someone else’s car or clipping a gate while parking isn’t as big a deal if you have the right liability coverage, and when you’re less worried by every potential movement, your overall driving will benefit. It’s a positive that you don’t want to cause harm to pedestrians and other people - but things can always be replaced.

Plan in advance

It’s generally the job of a GPS to get you where you need to go once you’re in the car, so the days of needing to read a map or print off directions are largely gone. You do, however, need to allow enough time for the journey and plan in any stops you need to make. Do this the night before you need to go somewhere new; this way you can set off with time to spare and make the journey in a leisurely way without needing to make crucial decisions while on the move. The more prepared you are for your journey, the simpler and less anxious it will be.



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Decorate Your Porch for Spring

 


If you're one of those lucky people with any kind of porch on their home, and you enjoy spending time there, then don't forget to decorate these areas! Spring is a great reason to decorate and it's a great way to make the place you enjoy spending so much time more enjoyable. Here's some ways to decorate for Spring in your outdoor living areas.



5 Things to Avoid when Redecorating Your Home

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

 

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Some people love to decorate, others hate it. Whether you pay someone to do it or DIY it, it can get messy. So here are some things to avoid when redecorating your home.
 
Leaving Surfaces Unprotected

Sometimes it's impossible to take things out when you redecorate. For instance, if you want to remodel your bathroom, you can't remove the facilities. Bathroom items are strong and sturdily built, but they aren't resistant to dried paint. As a result, you'll have difficulty removing paint, paste, and grout once it's dried. And that means your shiny marble or porcelain will be ruined. So, when painting your house around surfaces, cover everything up as much as you can. This simple act will prevent additional costs from avoidable mistakes that could affect your budget.
 
Expensive Stuff in the Work Area

As well as protecting surfaces, make sure you remove expensive items safely before redecorating. A couple of examples are your costly electronics and investment pieces of art. If you can't put them back in your home right away, put them in a reputable storage unit for a while until the paint dries or contractors are gone. You risk expensive items being splattered with paint or irreparably damaged if you don't. If you can't remove something you value entirely, you should buy some plastic covers to protect it while you paint or paste.
 
Exposing Yourself to Hazardous Materials

When you decorate, you need to protect yourself as well. Solvents and paints often give off toxic fumes that you shouldn't breathe in. You should open windows all the time to ventilate properly. Ventilation can reduce fumes a lot, meaning you can work relatively safely. Furthermore, if you wear a face mask, you can breathe easier and protect your eyes. Last but not least, it's best not to wear your designer clothes when decorating. Coveralls from DIY stores might look silly, but you will prevent getting paint stains on your clothes that just won't come out.
 
A Cluttered Work Area

A confined space makes it difficult to work, especially when decorating. If a room isn't cleared, there's a good chance you'll bump into things or trip over. So clear your work area completely before you begin. You can do things like move, disassemble, or throw things away when you decorate. And hiring a skip is a great way to get rid of things that you don't need anymore. Then you can focus on what needs to be done when the room is cleared, and the stuff is gone.
 
Not Planning Your Paint Work

You've got to protect your stuff from paint and other stuff. But it's just the first part. As soon as you've removed and secured items, you can focus on protecting walls, floors, and ceilings. Especially when you're painting, you should cover any areas you don't want to be damaged. For instance, if you're painting walls, tape the ceilings. That'll stop specific spots from getting painted. Additionally, taping and planning allow for a clean cut-in when applying colors. Or you might end up with smears of different colors on areas you don't want them.
 
Summary

You can damage your stuff when decorating your home. Avoid costly mistakes by covering surfaces, storing expensive items away, and making sure you protect yourself.





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5 Reasons to Start Getting Up Earlier

 


I am an early bird, but it wasn't always like this.  In my teens and twenties it was all about sleeping in as long as I could and staying up late.  As soon as my thirties hit, and the fact that I have 4 needy chihuahuas, waking up early and going to bed at a decent time has ruled my world.  Of course everyone is different, but if you are looking to make a change and start getting up earlier, here's some great reasons to!



How To Choose The Right Materials For Your Home Renovation Project

 
Every home requires some remodeling or renovation to maintain or improve it. An essential part of getting any home renovation project done properly is selecting the right materials. Whether working with a contractor or carrying out a DIY project, it’s important to identify the materials that will affect your renovation’s bottom line and ensure structural integrity and safety. So, are you considering remodeling or renovating any part of your home? Here’s how to choose the right materials for your project.

Get professional insight

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If you’re taking on a home renovation project for the first time, it’s important to speak with a professional about the right materials to use. These experts have experience and can advise you on what to invest in or stay away from. Or, better still, you can allow the experts to handle these projects. For example, if you’re thinking about renovating your home after a natural disaster, a disaster restoration company can help you bring your damaged property back to life. Such experts can also guide you to choose the right renovation materials to prevent future damage.

Prepare a list

With the help of a professional, you can prepare a list of every material you’ll need for your project. If you’re preparing the list without professional assistance, it’s important to go from top to bottom. For example, if you’re planning to renovate your kitchen, your list should start from the materials you’ll need for the kitchen ceiling down to the walls, then your countertops, and finally your kitchen floor. Creating your list haphazardly makes it easy to miss out on important things.

Consider durability and maintenance

Durability and maintenance are essential factors to consider when choosing your preferred materials. Generally, you want to use materials that require less maintenance and are durable enough to last a long time without needing to replace them. This is particularly important when picking materials for your floors. Hardwood, for example, requires regular maintenance than a tiled floor. Likewise, some materials require extra cost to maintain.

Think about the cost

Even if money is not an issue for you, you should think about the cost of the materials you need. If you have budget restraints, it is understandable that you’ll limit yourself to materials that will fall within your budget. It is also important to remember that the value of the materials you choose can indicate the quality you’re getting. That means cost, in this sense, may guide you to finding quality materials.

Consider your design style

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You want to invest in materials to enhance your home’s current design instead of detracting from it. Therefore, the materials you use should impact a level of aesthetic appeal to your house. The right materials to use will depend on your home’s design or style you want to pull off. When considering your home’s design, don’t forget about your decor pieces and the dominant colors they come in. This way, you can choose materials or finishes that’ll flow perfectly with them.






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