7 Easy Ways to Get Into Ecotourism

Going on vacation is great, but what if you could take a break and do something good for the environment? Ecotourism has been getting a lot of attention lately, but some of us might not necessarily know how to be a responsible tourist. To understand more about this great concept, we asked Niamh Walsh, editor at HolidayPirates, to share her tips on how to become an ecotourist – and here’s what she had to say.

Look Around For Options

Finding the perfect vacation destination never is easy, and it can be even worse when you are an ecotourist. Niamh recommends to take the time to do your research: “Fortunately, if you do some digging around, you are guaranteed to find eco-friendly travel packages and providers who support local transporting companies and hotels, as well as other businesses. By researching what options are available, you can discover new locations and new ways of traveling.”

How to Get There

Flying, although stressful and not always very comfortable, is a very convenient way to travel. That being said, it can also be bad for the environment because of all the CO2 that is released into the atmosphere – did you know that a long-haul flight as a family could produce as much CO2 as a household does in a year? As explained by Niamh, “it’s important to remember that flying isn’t the only way to get to where you want to go – you can use ferries, cycle, drive your own car, or get the train.” And if flying is your only option, know that you can still do a bit for the environment by paying the voluntary carbon tax.

Pack Light

Packing is an art, and when it comes to going on vacation, we’re all about minimalism. Not only will it keep you from having to wait around for your luggage, but as Niamh explained, it’ll also be beneficial for the environment. “The lighter your bag, the more fuel-efficient your plane will be,” she said.

Live Like a Local

Booking a bed and breakfast or an Airbnb will help you be more environmentally friendly. “Not only does this provide you with a truly authentic travel experience and more interactions with the locals, but it also lets you support local businesses, which creates a waterfall effect, as they are likely to support each other as a result,” Niamh said.

Embrace the Outdoors

Camping (or glamping) shouldn’t be reserved for music festivals. “If you are feeling more adventurous,” Niamh said, “then immerse yourself in the great outdoors for a vacation with minimal carbon emissions. Grab a tent and your best pals, and head out to the wilderness, where you can enjoy nights under the stars, fresh air, and the delights of outdoor cuisine. Even if you want to travel in the colder months, you can now rent out a chic yurt or tree house, which will come with a wood stove, keeping you warm and cozy.”

Explore the Cuisine

Eating local cuisine is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in a new culture, and the good news is that, according to Niamh, being an eco-friendly tourist will require you to eat locally. “A few simple ways to do this are: Leave the tourist traps and head into the depths of wherever you are visiting to find hidden gems and local restaurants. If you are staying in an Airbnb and cooking for yourself, then make sure to take a trip to the local food market, where you can get fresh and locally sourced ingredients,” she explained. “Lastly, if you are vacationing by the sea, then eating the catch of the day or any of the locally caught fish is both delicious and supporting the local industry!”

Stay Responsible

Vacations should definitely be a time to relax, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be responsible. “For example, just as you would at home, make sure to separate your trash into recyclables and nonrecyclables,” Niamh said. “Remember to switch off the lights and the air-conditioning when you leave your room, and conserve water by closing off the taps when you aren’t using them.”

The 1 Shockingly Stylish Furniture Collection at Walmart

You can’t help but smile when you see a space designed by Bob and Cortney Novogratz. This husband-wife team is famous for their colorful aesthetic – think bold hues, graphic patterns, and quirky accessories – as well as the fact that they have seven (seven!) kids. They’ve designed unique and chic spaces all over the country, both private and commercial. You may not be able to afford the design services of the Novogratzes, but you can still bring their style home thanks to their product line at Walmart. Yes, you read that right: Walmart. 9 by Novogratz offers furniture, accessories, artwork, bedding, and bath. You won’t believe the prices, and more importantly, you won’t believe the amazing designer look of each piece! Take a look at our favorite products from their line, and then snatch them up quickly. No one has to know where you got them; your secret is safe with us.

11 Ingenious Uses For Vinegar Around the House

Keeping your house livable and clean is a tricky and sometimes expensive job. From the showers to the sinks, even to the microwave and dishwasher, there are multiple products you seemingly have to buy to keep it all tidy and together. But what if I told you there really was no need to invest in all of those fancy home cleaning products any longer? That’s right – you have a multipurpose product sitting in your pantry right now that you can use in all areas of your home: vinegar. Read on to learn just how many ways you can use vinegar around your house for a quick and simple fix.

The Stunning View You Get at Horseshoe Bend Is Unlike Any Other in the World

The Grand Canyon is a natural wonder that can literally take your breath away when you first lay eyes on it. It holds secrets you could spend a lifetime discovering, and travelers from around the world have it at the top of their bucket lists for good reason. One of the most unique – and photo-worthy – parts of the canyon is just seven miles north of mile zero. Horseshoe Bend, a rocky island-like formation of sandstone surrounded by the Colorado River, stuns in beauty.

You can walk to the edge of Horseshoe Bend and look down 1,000 feet of the sandstone to the river (and then take your fill of photos). Hiking to the edge is relatively easy; the trailhead is located just outside of Page, AZ. Check out the gorgeous images ahead.

50 Printable Adult Coloring Pages That Will Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

Life is hard. And sometimes the best thing you can do is put down your iPhone and . . . pick up a crayon! There are lots of benefits to unplugging and coloring, which is why it shouldn’t be surprising that coloring books are all the rage among adults looking for a creative way to de-stress. Whether you’ve already jumped on the coloring wagon or you’re just trying it out, at least one of these pages is bound to be just what you’re looking for – so get printing!

50 Ways to Feel Better About Yourself Right Now

When you’re feeling down, turn things around with a few tips and tricks for thinking about things differently. No need to wallow when there are quick and simple ways to feel better about yourself. Feeling down can be triggered by a bad hair day, not being able to get over a mistake, or waking up 10 minutes late. Stop beating yourself up and try one of these suggestions:

  1. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and visualize things working out.
  2. Give yourself a quick pep talk.
  3. Get in front of a mirror or your phone and smile. Take a minute to acknowledge your looks and appreciate your favorite part of your face. Selfies are a great form of self-care.
  4. Write down five things that you are proud of and stick the list in your wallet to pull out to remind yourself that you’re awesome.
  5. Call a friend and tell them you’re feeling down. Sometimes just admitting you’re not feeling great makes things better instantly.
  6. Watch a silly pet video.
  7. Give yourself an at-home manicure with a color you regularly wouldn’t wear and flaunt it.
  8. Make a coffee date with a good friend and ask them what they like about you.
  9. Take a deep breath, acknowledge things aren’t going your way, and move on with your day.
  10. Stop with negative self-talk. Switch the thoughts of negativity to positive mantras, such as “I am strong!”
  11. Write out a list of goals that are realistic and carry them with you.
  12. Put down your phone and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Just spending a few moments appreciating nature, unique faces, and the hustle and bustle gets your mind off things.
  13. Zen out and meditate. Close your eyes, take 10 deep breaths, and imagine something relaxing.
  14. Stop comparing yourself to others! By trying to be similar to someone else, you’re forgetting what’s awesome about you.
  15. You only get one body, so take care of it. Eat healthy, get some exercise, and you’ll feel better in no time. And working out is a distraction from being in the dumps.
  16. Arrange a personal shopping session at your favorite store and enjoy letting someone else dress you. There’s no pressure to purchase any of the clothes, unless you want to treat yourself to something new.
  17. Give yourself an at-home facial.
  18. Go ahead and cry it out.
  19. Write down what you’re thankful for.
  20. Take a walk by yourself. Stay in the moment, breathe in and out, and slow down.
  21. Invite your friends over for a night in.
  22. Sing like no one can hear you. Really, it will change your mood in no time.
  23. Talk to the person standing next to you in line. There’s nothing to be afraid of – just make a bit of small talk, which is a fun way to connect with strangers and enjoy a laugh.
  24. Clean your desk and start fresh.
  25. Go through your closet and make a collection of clothes to donate. You’ll feel better knowing your clothes will go to someone in need.
  26. Give flowers to a good friend. The simple act of giving always lifts spirits.
  27. Pet a dog or cat, which instantly calms nerves and lowers blood pressure.
  28. Relive a favorite memory and hold on to the feeling.
  29. Give someone a hug.
  30. Smile big at a stranger. Once you start, it’s hard to stop.
  31. Put your shoulders back and act like you’re walking the red carpet. Even though you’re faking it, you’ll help elevate your mood.
  32. Do something different and change up your routine.
  33. Grab your journal and write about what’s bothering you.
  34. Smell the flowers – or treat yourself to a stunning bouquet.
  35. Stop thinking about that person you’re crushing on and just ask them out!
  36. Turn that frown upside down. Literally. Push negative thoughts to the side and think about something positive.
  37. Plan the ultimate vacation, focusing on everything you want to do. Write down all the awesome places you’d like to explore and keep it handy when you need to focus on a better place.
  38. Create a power board filled with pictures of yourself with loved ones along with inspirational words and images.
  39. Forgive yourself. That’s right. Stop giving yourself a hard time over things you can’t control and give yourself a break.
  40. Stop with should-have-could-have scenarios. You can’t change the past, but you can put your best foot forward.
  41. Indulge in something you love and remind yourself why it’s one of your favorite things.
  42. Love yourself and practice kindness.
  43. Give up trying to be perfect and just be you.
  44. Reflect on your accomplishments and acknowledge that you are pretty awesome.
  45. Accomplish something on your to-do list.
  46. Pick up a hobby.
  47. Check out Positively Positive.
  48. Remember it’s OK to say “no” when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  49. Challenge yourself to try something new.
  50. Acknowledge your feelings. It’s totally natural to feel insecure, and admitting it is courageous.

25 Life Lessons Written by a 100-Year-Old Man

My great-grandfather is 100 years old, and living a century has taught him a thing or two. Andy Anderson’s life story is one for the big screen – he met my great-grandmother on a Saturday, and they married on the following Saturday. They stayed together until my grandma took her last breath 67 years later. In between those 67 years, they had two children, adopted another son, and were the greatest party throwers in the county (we have the pictures to prove it).

Without going to college, Andy worked his way to the top; he became the corporate manager of the dairy department of Safeway for the entire country. He earned the nickname Mr. Cheese, which eventually turned into Grandpa Cheese among the family – a name that has admittedly gotten a few brow raises. My point is, Grandpa Cheese has taught me a lot about life. I could think of no better person to give the world a few life lessons than him. Here’s what he has learned in his 100 years.

  1. Always maintain a good sense of humor.
  2. Never be too good to start at the bottom.
  3. Exercise every single day, even when you don’t feel like it.
  4. Don’t spend more money than you make.
  5. Drink orange juice every day.
  6. Love at first sight is not a fable.
  7. Having a bad job is better than having no job at all.
  8. Eat around the mold; don’t go wasting food.
  9. Your family is the most precious thing you will ever have in life.
  10. Eat sausage every day – it worked for me.
  11. Your life is delicate, and if you neglect yourself, you’ll spoil. That’s what cheese taught me.
  12. Don’t ever be afraid to be your true self.
  13. Everyone has too many clothes. Wear what you have and quit buying more.
  14. You must be able to forgive, even if it’s difficult to do.
  15. Save your money now and spend it later.
  16. Love is not always easy; sometimes you have to work at it.
  17. Find something comical in every single situation.
  18. If you’re faced with a problem, don’t delay trying to figure it out. But if there’s no way to figure it out, you have to forget about it.
  19. Make sure you’re doing what you love; don’t be afraid to follow those dreams you have for yourself.
  20. Education is important, but not necessary. Life can be an education in itself.
  21. Explore your world and stay curious.
  22. Try not to take yourself so seriously.
  23. My full name is William Bradford James Anderson, and my initials always remind me to ask myself, “Why be just anybody?”
  24. Have common sense. Think about the most reasonable answer to every situation. If you don’t have common sense, you’re a bust.
  25. Life is a gift that you must unwrap. It’s up to you to determine if what’s inside will lead you to happiness or dismay. You have the power to make that decision for yourself.

If you’re wondering what Grandpa Cheese is up to these days, he’s riding his motorized scooter around Benicia, CA, and “planning on what I’m going to do when I start to get old,” he says.

This post was originally published on August 20, 2015.

How to Stop Notifying Everyone When Updating Your LinkedIn

Do you know that every time you make a change on LinkedIn, your connections get an update of your tweaks? If you don’t want your every move watched by your network, turn the notifications off. After all, not only do you want to avoid spamming your LinkedIn friends every time you change your profile picture, but you might also want to keep the timing of the changes private. Here’s how to turn the notifications off:

  1. Log into your LinkedIn account.
  2. Hover over your name on the upper-right corner of your page, and a dropdown menu should appear. Click on the settings option.
  1. Scroll to the bottom of the page, go to the privacy controls section, and click “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts.” You’ll see a small pop-up that will let you check or uncheck a box that gives people updates. Uncheck the box, and save your changes.

6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Neglect Technology With Your Home’s Interior Design

Technology has a habit of forcing change in a swift fashion nowadays. It’s strange to think that just two decades ago cars needed outstretched antennas to receive a weak FM radio signal (as long as you weren’t anywhere near a tunnel). Today, not only are we in the midst of a race for tech companies to release the first competent self-driving cars onto the roads, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently launched a roadster hurtling towards Mars (traveling well above the national speed limit, too, we might add).

The winds of change have begun to permeate the interior design industry in recent years as well, with designers having to evolve and adapt to different demands and norms for homes and offices worldwide. So Darwinian is the battle for interior designers to adjust to technology that any negligence or complacency when it comes to accommodating modern advancements could risk leaving the very best of designers in the mire. Here are six of the biggest technological advancements that could lead to negligent practitioners being left in the dust.

1. Smart-Homes

There are many interpretations of the smart-home available on the market. Dedicated apps can control a room’s lighting, heating, and security at the touch of a button, while voice-activated services like Google Home and Amazon’s Echo have the ability to manage your house without users even needing to lift a finger.

The ramifications of this for interior designers are big. Designers will need to be mindful of allowing space for smart light switches, thermostats, and meters while making the technology that controls the room accessible by hand or voice.

Interior designers must also consider the implementation of smart objects. Integrated kitchen worktops like the Tulèr Kitchen have been designed to effortlessly encase oven hobs and sinks into a flat stone surface. It’s cutting-edge, revolutionary, and has the potential to dominate a design blueprint completely.

2. Tiny House Movement

Away from the burden of neglecting the array of advanced technology that can significantly improve the output of interior designers, we have the movement that could impact the way homes are designed in the future.

The tiny house movement has gained momentum in the wake of rising house prices and living costs, as well as for a recognizable need to be environmentally friendly.

With the movement generally resulting in smaller homes, commonly measuring less than 400 square feet, interior designers face a fresh challenge in overcoming the obstacle of creating a visually appealing, fully functioning space that’s compact to the extreme.

With such a small canvas and such a high emphasis on smart technology to keep the decreasing living spaces feeling as large as possible, the onus is on the designers to become even more creative with a distinct lack of space.

3. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is comfortably the best-known piece of technology that’s made our list. VR has been in the minds of gamers and dreamers for decades, and now it’s beginning to make the transition into interior design as well.

To neglect the potential that virtual reality brings would be a sizable faux pas because of the advantages interior designers can gain utilizing the technology.

The power that VR can hold in the interior design industry is almost unfathomable. Imagine walking a client through a digital room with your full design all around. You could point out individual nuances in your creation in an immersive way that gives you an edge over the other designers vying for attention.

VR is customizable, too, not only through the use of digital renderings but through the type of instruments used. Glasses and headsets create a fully interactive experience while handheld devices perform a similar, more understated role.

4. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is an excellent tool that helps designers visualize rooms thanks to 3D renderings of items and furnishings that can be embedded on top of an existing scene through a device’s camera.

Not only can it provide a visual aid during the design process but its accurate renderings – IKEA claims that their dedicated AR catalogue app contains 98 percent true-to-life 3D models – means that they’re a great tool for measuring out designated spaces for items with ease.

With the ever-increasing usability of AR, it would be a hindrance for interior designers to ignore the potential of digitally placing objects in their spaces to calculate fit and functionality.

5. 3D Printing

The cost-effective ease and superior intricacy of design offered by 3D printing have led some to believe that a new industrial revolution is just around the corner.

While we may be some time off from seeing 3D printers become the de facto leaders in furniture production, the innovations made possible by the medium can’t be ignored.

Interior designers are now able to use this technology to build fast prototypes of their designs for clients to sample and provide feedback, as well as producing wildly imaginative constructions that its dated counterparts couldn’t dream of piecing together.

3D printers are a dream item for interior designers. The convenience of their output means that custom designs are easy to design and produce, thus clients can get a room designed to their exact specifications, with no risk of compromises being made with the purchase of similar furnishings from a third party.

6. Green Homes

Rising environmental concerns coupled with developing technology supporting renewable energy has added an emphasis on creating interior designs with green homes in mind.

Having a home’s electrical connected to renewable energy sources will need to be accounted for, while natural light sources may command more attention as green families look to minimize the use of artificial lighting.

To accommodate the growing awareness further, higher emphasis may need to be placed on ecofriendly materials. Bamboo, for example, is very environmentally friendly, as is laminated wooden flooring.

Internal technologies like eco water heaters will need to be taken into account within designs, while external factors, like solar panels, will need to be linked to relevant devices seamlessly within a room’s design.

7 Must-Visit Beaches Maui Has to Offer

Among the eight main islands that make up Hawaii, Maui (aka the Valley Isle) is one of the best spots to visit if you’re looking for fewer tourists and abundant gorgeous beaches. In fact, the low-key island offers so many options that it was difficult to visit them all on my most recent five-day trip. The upside is that it forced me to choose between the best of the best. Ahead are a mix of local favorites and popular must sees you won’t want to miss if you’re ever in paradise.