lifestyle post about changing behavior

For better and for worse I'm the eldest of my 3 siblings, aka the experimental child. Because I was my parent's first child, they tried their best to do everything perfectly. To prevent me from getting cavities I wasn't allowed to eat too much candy, to stop me from growing up too fast I couldn't wear red because that was a color for grown folks, and to make sure that I was respectful it was important that I was considerate and courteous to others.

My parents did a good job as I avoided many pitfalls that I may have lived to regret. With that said, the importance of being courteous and considerate caused me to have the tendency to consider other's feelings ahead of my own. Well, 2017 is the year I stop all that, also known as I stop babysitting other people's feelings.

That statement sounds so gangsta / so savage, but it is what it is. It's not that I don't care about how others feel, but I no longer care about their feelings before my own. Especially because a lot of times I was considering the feelings of others without them asking me to do so. I was automatically saying to myself, "I don't want to hurt their feelings" or "I don't want them to think negatively of me."

I've had enough! via GIPHY

In business, if I were doing a transaction with an acquaintance I would automatically give them a discount, but sometimes this involved me being inconvenienced and left irritated. The situation could have been alleviated if I had thought logically and not emotionally by giving them options that I was comfortable with.

I have found that it's best to determine what will benefit me first and the other person second. That way I'm not left annoyed by a decision no one asked me to make. I am still courteous by stating what will and what won't work for me as that way we both have clear expectations, and I'm not left regretting any decision.

It's not always easy changing a pattern of behavior, but it's well worth it in the long run if you have found a better way of walking through life and dealing with troublesome situations.

What are you doing differently in 2017?

*Before you go stick around and see what I wrote about last week - Finding Joy Exploring Your Hometown
Explore your city

I assume you're like the rest of my friends and me, in that you share a love of travel. And by travel, I mean going anywhere that requires a plan ride. Personally, I have a particular affinity for the island or tropical life, national or international, they both work for me. 

For a while, I lived vicariously through HGTV. I was obsessed with the plethora of house hunting shows. Whether it was Beachfront Bargain Hunt, Hawaii Life, Mexico Life, House Hunters International, Island Life, Mexico Life, Caribbean Life, you name it, if it had to do with travel I was watching it. I longed to sit on a beach sipping Pina Coladas. 

Because we tend to be intrigued with leaving our local area, we forget about what's unique in our backyard. Thankfully, I've had the pleasure of exploring the area around me. My #travellocal project started when I purchased the Passport 2 History at a nearby museum which is a guide book to 85 historic sites in 7 counties in Central and Southern California.

back of adobe
The Rancho Los Cerritos Adobe

I've meant to visit Rancho Los Alamitos Adobe (Long Beach, CA) for years now, and literally, I mean years. I would pass the historical landmark signs all the time as the Adobe is only 10 minutes from me, so I have always been curious. Finally, one day on a whim I decided to venture in.

Long Beach historical landmark
Selfie in front of Rancho Los Cerritos

On that visit, I learned about the history of the Adobe, the family that lived there, and the history of Long Beach. At the end of the tour, I purchased Passport 2 History for $5, and I left with a determination to visit more local destinations. 

Since that visit, I've been to 4 locations in the book. I have also gained a greater appreciation for the history and beauty of Southern California. Now when I visit surrounding cities, I make sure to do a Yelp search for museums and landmarks in the area so be on the lookout for more #travellocal posts.

What are your favorite local landmarks to visit?

Top apps to make graphics

In 2017 it seems like everyone wants to make a living online. The minute the Huffington Post publishes a story about a carefree couple that travels the world while blogging hundreds of new blogs appear to pop up overnight. 

What the story fails to share is the tremendous amount of work that blogging demands. Blogging requires you to be an expert photographer, social media manager, writer, and graphic designer. Gone are the days where you can publish low-quality photos and still manage to get thousands of pageviews. Beauty attracts, and readers today expect a certain level of quality.

Thankfully, technology has blessed us with apps and websites to make creating print-worthy graphics much easier without the need to learn Photoshop. Now you if you have the time and desire to learn Photoshop then be my guest, but I leave that kind of stuff to graphic designers.

Because I have a tendency to be a collector of apps, I have more than a few photo/graphic apps on my phone, but today I will narrow it down to the best of the best.

Great designs made with WordSwag
WordSwag Design

WordSwag is my boo. I love WordSwag because it makes me look great with minimal effort. All I do is open the app, choose a picture or upload one, determine the type of graphic I want to create, whether it's for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, ect., then add my own text or choose from one of their many quotes. I love that it's super easy and that they have over 30 font styles to choose from with hundreds of color combinations. 

Typorama makes creating graphics a breeze. It shares many similarities with WordSwag with some additional capabilities like the ability to adjust the opacity of the picture, they are more filters, and they have overlays which are absent from WordSwag. Typorama also makes it more convenient to add watermarks.

Typorama makes design easy
Sample Typorama Design

Spark Post from Adobe is totally free! Both WordSwag and Typorama are free to use, but they have paid upgrades whereas my next favorite Spark Post, is entirely free! The great things about this app are that you can remix one of their designs and you can animate it which is an excellent option. Spark Post also saves your designs, so you are always able to go back and edit or reuse a design.

Spark Post is a free design app
Spark Post Album

Canva is my blog's BFF. Because they're awesome Canva has a website and an app to make life easier. You can create a look from scratch with your own design or redesign one of theirs. Your designs are always saved and if you upgrade to their paid plan, Canva for Work, you have access to their Magic Resize which automatically resizes your artwork to fit any of the popular social media platforms and more. They have automatic resizing for YouTube covers, business cards, posters, flyers, etc. You are even able to upload your own fonts and brand identity settings that allow for continuity in your creations. I design on my laptop, but I like having access to my designs through the app.

Canva is one of the top design softwares
Canva App

And there you have it! I've spilled all my graphic design secrets. WordSwag, Typorama, Spark Post, and Canva are top notch in my design arsenal.

What's your favorite graphic design software?

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