5 Easy Ways to Save Money

I’ve noticed that any blog posts I write related to saving money are always a hit – so here’s another one. Since becoming a home owner earlier this year, I’ve been thinking of small things I do (or could do) to save money here and there. Here’s five things that came to mind.

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Build Your Vocabulary: 5 Tips

Why do people long to learn new words? Some people want to sound smarter. Other people are simply lovers of the English language. I myself find it to be a fun and interesting challenge in day to day life. After all, there are over 171,000 words in the Oxford English Dictionary (yes I just looked that up) and have you ever wondered how many of those you actually use? If you enjoy learning new words as much as I do, here’s five tips for building your vocabulary day by day.

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Working with a Designer: Get the Results You Want!

Back in 2011 when I released my first solo jazz album (here it is if you’re curious), I hadn’t yet begun designing album artwork myself – so I hired a professional graphic designer to design it for me (her name is April Kuo and she did an amazing job by the way). But what I found most interesting about this experience was that for the first time, I was the client in a design project instead of the designer! It was quite enlightening, as you can imagine.

I know from my experience as a professional designer that there’s lots of things I can do to help make sure the client is totally happy with the outcome of the project. These things include: listening carefully to my clients’ wants and needs, being patience with them as they figure out what they like and don’t like, and communicating clearly (without any tech jargon) about matters related to websites, search engines, design, and many other topics. Being on the client side of a project made me think hard about what I could do as a client, to make sure I got the results I really wanted. Below are four tips that I believe will greatly help you to get the results you want from your project with a designer – whether it’s for a website, album, business card, or anything else.

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Interview Series: TubaJoe Exley

How do freelancing artists do it? How do they piece together work to create a sustaining and stable career?  Through this interview series, I aim to get to the heart of those questions by talking to various artists about how they make freelancing work for them.

In this ninth installment, Janelle Reichman at Continuum Design & Web spoke with tuba player TubaJoe Exley. An NYC resident for over fifteen years, Joe lived in Louisiana, Colorado, and Chicago before becoming a New Yorker in 2000. Joe has become one of the most in demand tuba players in the New York area due to not only his tremendous creativity but also his versatility among styles of music, as evident in his work with ensembles such as the high energy oom-pah band The Ja Ja Jas, the early hot jazz band The Gotham Easy, and the psycho mambo band Gato Loco. Additionally, Joe has recorded with Dillinger Escape Plan, worked as an arranger and music director for Zola Jesus, and even toured with JS Monk. How’s that for diversity! In this interview, Joe spoke to Continuum about odd jobs, Willie Nelson, the perfect day, and developing a personal brand – among other things.

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Networking for Introverts

The networking introvert. Now there’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one. If you’re an introvert like I am – or just someone who hates networking – you’ve come to the right place. Because while most introverts feel like networking is something they could never actually enjoy – my aim with this blog post is to show you that even if you’re not a raging extrovert, networking doesn’t have to be as bad as pulling teeth and can even be – gasp! – fun.

First of all, why don’t we stop using the word “networking” right here and now because let’s face it – nobody likes that word. I don’t know about you, but for me the word networking brings to mind an image of a highly awkward and forced conversation over really bad coffee in a cheesy hotel lounge. Not good. Instead, I’d like to suggest that we try using the word “connecting” in its place. After all, connecting is all that networking is when you really think about it. Connecting with people. Making new friends. Socializing. And letting people know what you do and how you help people. That’s it! So here’s five tips to get started connecting.

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The Hidden Treasures of Gmail

Most people who use Gmail love it, and for good reason. It has a clean user interface, it does an amazing job keeping spam at bay, and the mobile app is pretty great as well. But beyond all that, there are a collection of tools and add-ons at your disposal that lay just out of sight – hidden treasures if you will. These can be accessed through your Gmail settings, and in this blog post I’m going to show you the five add-ons I have found most beneficial, and how you can access them and start putting them to good use.

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10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Mac Could Do

If you’re a proud Mac owner, I’ve got some great news for you. You already know your computer is awesome – it can do all sorts of cool stuff like help you to surf the Internet, print out words or pictures, or even play a game of Snood once in awhile. But all jokes aside, there’s things your Mac can do that even you don’t know about yet. Read on dear Mac user, for your life is about to get a little bit easier. Here’s ten cool things your Mac can do that you might not have known about – until today.

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How Technology May Be Ruining Your Sleep

It’s true. I know you don’t want to believe it, but it’s true. While technology has improved our lives in countless ways, one of the ways in which it has become detrimental to us is how it affects both our quality and quantity of sleep. Read on to find out the three ways in which your devices might be having a negative impact on your sleep, and what you can do about it. And yes, some of the solutions require – you guessed it – technology.

1) Devices give off a light that suppress melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Chances are you’ve heard of melatonin, a supplement some people take before bedtime to help them sleep. What some people don’t realize is that melatonin is naturally produced by our bodies. Along with its wake-inducing counterpart cortisol, these two hormones are produced by our bodies to assist with waking up and going to sleep. How does our body know when to produce which hormone? Simple: daylight and darkness. The light that devices emit can actually trick out bodies into thinking it’s still daytime, affecting our melatonin and cortisol production. According to a 2015 study at The Lighting Research Center, using your device for two hours before bedtime can decrease your melatonin production by as much as 23%.

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The Great Payoff of Improving Your Typing Skills

So what is this big payoff? you might be wondering. Some people argue that it’s a time saver. For example, if you’re a slow typer who writes many emails throughout the day, doubling your typing speed could in theory cut the time you spend writing those emails in half. However, my reason for encouraging people to learn to type faster is slightly different. When your fingers can keep up with your thoughts, typing becomes a very different experience. It feels more like an extension of your voice rather than a hinderance. And once typing starts to feel like an extension of your voice, you might be more likely to use the computer to express your ideas, to communicate them, and to use written language to achieve whatever goals you seek in this world. After all, typing is the gateway to communicating online, and if you’re slow typer (or even a “hunter and pecker”), chances are your typing isn’t doing your thoughts justice.

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Be More Productive!

Ever notice how the hours in a day have a way of disappearing? Some days I have a long mental list of the things I’m going to accomplish between morning and night – but despite my efforts, at the end of the day I often feel as though I’ve barely scratched the surface. This week’s blog post is the result of brainstorming ways in which we can all be more productive. I’ve tried to make this post brief, so that you can read through it in a few minutes and get back to being your wildly productive self.

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