Stumped for a gift for the would-be podcaster in your life? Thanks to RSS.com you can now give the gift of podcasting this holiday season!
The holidays are fast approaching, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve already browsed every aisle of every store in search of the perfect gift. But, finding something special for the aspiring podcaster in your life can be tricky. As a podcaster myself and brand ambassador for RSS.com, I’m thrilled to share that they’ve launched their new podcast gift cards – the perfect present I know many of my podcasting pals probably wish they could’ve received when starting out!
These nifty digital gift cards make it possible to help someone launch a podcast of their own this year (or next!) without breaking the bank. We all know high-quality podcasting equipment can be pricey, but an RSS.com gift card provides affordable access to a top-notch hosting platform. Now you can help that special someone in your life share their stories, ideas, and passions through their own podcast – no matter your budget.
I can think of so many people in my life who could benefit from an RSS.com gift card. From aspiring podcasters to experts looking to build their brand, these gift cards unlock the power of podcasting for anyone with a voice worth sharing.
Who Would Want an RSS.com Gift Card?
An RSS.com gift card makes a thoughtful gift for anyone in your life who aspires to start their own podcast. Here are some people who would probably love to receive one:
Your friend who keeps talking about starting a podcast
The person that won’t shut up about a topic and wants to share their passion
Wannabe Content Creators
Seniors that want to share their stories
Students that want real life experiences to use for their dream careers
Through podcasting, thoughts and perspectives can be conveyed through the intimacy of the human voice. Listeners can connect with hosts in a deep, personal way. Podcasters have the freedom to talk about what matters to them without limitation.
Podcasts can entertain, inform, inspire, educate, and spark movements. That’s honestly what fires me up so much about the medium. It’s democratizing the voices of the world. It’s giving a voice to everyone!
Hearing a diversity of voices benefits us all, and user-friendly platforms like RSS.com allow first-time podcasters to find their voice quickly.
When you give the gift of podcast hosting, you empower recipients to contribute their voices to people all over the world. You never know whose lives they may impact or what communities they may build.
How the RSS.com Podcast Gift Cards Work
Purchasing an RSS.com gift card is quick and easy. Just head to the company’s gift card page and select the denomination you’d like to give – 3, 5, 8, or 12 months ($20, $50, $75, or $100 respectively).
After entering the recipient’s name and email address along with your own details, choose the date you want the gift email to be delivered. You can also include a personalized message up to 280 characters.
Next, you’ll be directed to the company’s secure payment page to enter your payment information. Once the purchase is complete, you’ll receive a confirmation email and the gift card will be processed.
On the delivery date you selected, the recipient will get an email with a link to redeem their RSS.com gift card credit. They simply click the link, which will direct them to set up an RSS.com account if they don’t already have one.
Once their account is created, they can apply the gift card balance towards any of the paid RSS.com plans. For example, they could get 3 months free on the All in One Podcasting plan which gives them everything they need to launch and grow a podcast. And, if they want more months on the plan, they just pay the difference.
Your recipient can immediately get started creating their podcast, recording episodes, and publishing to RSS.com’s reliable podcasting platform. With the initial fees covered, they can focus on producing great content rather than worrying about costs.
So give the gift of podcasting this year with an RSS.com gift card! It’s an easy and affordable way to help that aspiring podcaster in your life finally launch their show.
Investing is often seen as a privilege reserved for those in high tax brackets. However, the notion that investing requires a large budget is no longer valid in today’s dynamic financial landscape. With the advent of technology and innovative investment platforms, there are now smart ways to invest even with a small budget. This opens up opportunities for individuals who may have limited funds but still aspire to grow their wealth and achieve their financial goals. In this article, we’ll explore some practical strategies and techniques that can empower you to make the most of your small budget and embark on a path of successful investing.
Set clear financial goals
Establishing specific and measurable financial goals when investing with a small budget is essential. Clearly define your objectives, whether saving for a down payment on a rental property or building an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. A clear focus allows you to align your investment decisions with your long-term goals. Take the time to break down your goals into smaller milestones, allowing you to track your progress and stay motivated toward your goals. Regularly reassess your objectives to ensure they remain relevant and adjust them as needed based on your evolving financial situation. Setting clear financial goals is the foundation for a successful investment strategy.
Start with an emergency fund
Building an emergency fund is a crucial first step in investing with a small budget. This fund provides a safety net for financial security during unexpected events such as job loss or medical emergencies. Aim to save at least three to six months of living expenses in a high-yield savings account or a liquid, low-risk investment. This fund helps protect your assets from being prematurely liquidated, ensuring you don’t incur unnecessary losses. Make it a priority to consistently contribute to your emergency fund until you reach your target amount, and avoid tapping into it for non-emergency purposes.
Utilize employer-sponsored retirement plans
If your employer offers a retirement plan like a 401(k) or a similar option, take advantage of it. These plans often provide attractive benefits, such as tax advantages and employer-matching contributions. Contribute to the plan, especially if your employer matches a portion of your contributions, as it’s free money. By starting early and consistently contributing to your retirement plan, even with a small budget, you can harness the power of compounding and build a substantial retirement nest egg over time.
Invest in low-cost index funds or ETFs
When investing with a limited budget, focusing on cost-effective options that provide broad market exposure is crucial. Low-cost index funds and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) fit this description. These funds track a specific market index, such as the S&P 500, and offer diversification by including various stocks within the index. They often have low expense ratios, meaning you pay minimal investment fees. By choosing reputable funds with a history of consistent performance and low costs, you can gain exposure to the stock market without a big initial investment.
Consider fractional shares and micro-investing apps
Fractional shares and micro-investing apps have made investing accessible to individuals with small budgets. Fractional shares allow you to invest in stocks or funds with a fraction of the share’s cost, making it easier to diversify your portfolio and invest in companies with higher-priced stocks. Many investment apps offer fractional shares and micro-investing features, enabling you to start investing with as little as a few dollars. These apps often provide educational resources, automated investing features, and user-friendly interfaces, making the investment process straightforward and convenient. Utilizing micro-investing tools allows you to gradually build your portfolio, even with limited funds.
Dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs)
Dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs) are a great way to maximize your small investment budget. Some companies offer DRIPs that allow you to automatically reinvest dividends received into purchasing additional shares of the company’s stock. This strategy permits you to harness the power of compounding by acquiring more shares over time. When dividends are reinvested, you benefit from the potential growth of both the stock price and the dividend payouts. Research and choose companies with a history of regular dividend payments and strong financial stability to maximize the benefits of DRIPs.
Peer-to-peer lending platforms provide an alternative investment opportunity if you have a small. These platforms allow you to lend money to individuals or businesses in exchange for interest payments. While this investment option carries some risks, it can also provide higher potential returns than traditional savings accounts. Research and carefully select reputable peer-to-peer lending platforms with strict borrower evaluation processes and offer robust risk management tools. Diversify your loans across different borrowers and loan types to mitigate risk. Regularly monitor your investments and reinvest the interest earned to compound your returns over time.
Education and personal development
Investing in your knowledge and skills can significantly impact your long-term financial success. By allocating resources to educational opportunities and personal development, you enhance your expertise, increase your job prospects, and potentially earn a higher income. Consider pursuing certifications, attending relevant workshops or conferences, or enrolling in courses that align with your investment interests and help improve your financial situation. For example, if you have poor credit invest in your credit management skills. The more you invest in yourself, the better equipped you’ll be to make informed financial decisions and grow your wealth over time.
Avoid high-cost investments
When investing with a small budget, be mindful of expenses that can erode your returns. High-cost investment products, such as actively managed funds or individual stocks with frequent trading fees, can significantly impact your investment performance. These expenses can eat into your returns, making it harder to achieve your financial goals. Instead, opt for low-cost investment options like index funds or ETFs, as mentioned earlier, as they typically have lower expense ratios. By minimizing costs, you keep more of your investment gains and increase your overall investment returns. If you want to invest in something with minimal upkeep and low risk, consider investing in precious metals.
Regularly review and adjust your portfolio
As your financial situation evolves, periodically review and adjust your investment portfolio. Regularly assess whether your portfolio allocation aligns with your goals and risk tolerance. Consider rebalancing your portfolio if certain investments have significantly deviated from your target allocation. Additionally, stay updated on market trends, economic conditions, and changes in investment regulations that may impact your portfolio. By actively managing and adjusting your investments, you can optimize your returns and stay on track toward achieving your financial objectives.
Investing is for everyone
In conclusion, investing with a small budget is no longer a barrier to building wealth and securing a prosperous future. Adopting intelligent strategies and leveraging technology allows individuals with limited funds can participate in the investment world. Whether it’s through fractional shares, robo-advisors, micro-investing apps, or diversified portfolios, there are various avenues to capitalize on. Remember, the key lies in starting early, educating yourself about different investment options, and staying consistent with your contributions. With patience, discipline, and a growth mindset, you can turn your small budget into a powerful tool for long-term financial success. So, don’t let the size of your budget deter you—take that first step and embark on your investment journey today.
About the Author – Ashley Nielsen
Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.
Living paycheck to paycheck can be stressful; you never know if you can cover all your bills. They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can help reduce stress. Financial freedom allows you to live a quality life without worrying about money. However, it doesn’t mean you’re necessarily wealthy. Instead, financial freedom allows you to pay your bills and have enough left to invest in savings.
The definition of financial freedom varies from person to person, but it will allow you to live comfortably without stressing over money too much. In addition, becoming financially free permits you to focus on more substantial parts of your life, such as saving for a home or retirement. But unfortunately, many people struggle to reach financial freedom because of their spending habits. If you’re wondering how to maximize your budget and reduce financial stress, here are a few strategies for managing your money:
Define Your Financial Goals
Having a goal to become financially free is one thing, but you need an attainable goal to work on. First, consider what financial freedom means to you and your financial goals. For instance, are you looking to save more money for retirement or a particular future goal, or are you simply trying to save more money and reduce your spending? Once you’ve determined what financial freedom means to you and have goals in mind, you can analyze your current financial situation.
Analyze Your Current Financial Habits
Before becoming financially independent, you must look hard at your finances to learn where your money goes. If you’re constantly wondering where your paycheck goes every month and why you’re left with very little after paying your bills, you should start tracking your spending immediately. Identifying all of your spending, including bills and entertainment, can help you find ways to reduce it. For example, you might find that you spend an excessive amount of money on streaming services you don’t even use.
Additionally, you should compare your spending to your income. For example, are you breaking even every month or paying too many bills with a credit card, leaving you in debt? Comparing your income versus expenses can help you determine how much you need to cut back to save more money.
Automating your savings account can help you put more money away in an account you’re less likely to use for non-essential expenses. After subtracting your expenses from your income, you can see how much you have left over and set up automatic deposits to send money from your checking to your savings account to ensure you save at least a little bit of income every month.
Start Paying Down Debt
Being financially free means having zero debt. If you have any debt, you probably receive monthly bills that prevent you from being able to spend your money exactly how you want. Of course, everyone has a little bit of debt throughout their lives. For example, homeowners have mortgage loans, while many college students take out loans to pay for their education. Additionally, many of us have credit cards because they come with benefits like improving your credit score and allowing you to purchase items without paying for them immediately.
However, if you’re not careful with how you use your debt, it can quickly become a burden. If you have substantial debt, start repaying it immediately to achieve financial freedom. You can use several debt repayment strategies to reduce your debt over time and help you stay on track, but consolidating your debt might be the easiest solution if you only want to pay one single bill every month.
Once you reduce your debt, you can have more free money for important savings goals like buying a home, purchasing a car, or saving for retirement.
What if you could grow your wealth without taking on an extra job or side gig? You can invest. Putting some of your money towards stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, and other types of investments can help you build wealth over time and help you earn more every year. If you’re considering investing, you can use a Robo-advisor to make all the hard decisions, or you can work directly with a human financial advisor to ensure you build a portfolio supporting your savings goals.
One way to save money is to build your credit score. Having a higher credit score can get you a lower interest rate on any loans you take out, including home loans. In addition, having a good credit score makes you a more trustworthy borrower, so you can get better terms when you take on debt.
Create a Budget
After understanding your income versus expenses, you can create a budget to help you understand where your money goes every month and how much you have left over. Having a budget can help you hold yourself accountable. You already know your regular monthly bills and how much they’ll cost. Knowing how much is left over and what you can use it on can help you make better decisions with your money. For example, do you need to purchase those expensive shoes you saw online? Probably not, but you can create a new savings goal and set aside a little bit of money every month to purchase them in the future.
A budget helps you make smarter spending decisions and will help you understand exactly how much money you have left over every month. Then, you can decide what to do with that money — whether it’s putting it into a savings or retirement account or spending it on entertainment.
Achieve Financial Freedom
Achieving financial freedom isn’t a direct route to wealth. Instead, it can help relieve some of the monthly stress of paying your bills. Financial freedom is easier for some than others, depending on how much they earn. Therefore, you may have to find more ways to earn money to increase your savings. However you go about it, constantly analyzing your financial situation can help you make better spending decisions.
About the Author Megan Isola
Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys attending concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.
Whether you’re shopping for friends, family, or your adoring partner, the pressure to find the perfect gift remains constant as the holiday season approaches. However, with the right approach, you can find the perfect gift for anyone on your list. If you hate shopping or want to avoid the surging holiday shopping crowd, check out these ideas that are sure to brighten anyone’s holiday season.
Subscription boxes have been making a major impact on eCommerce because there’s something to be found for everyone. You can pick a box tailored to your recipient’s interests with a wide range of options. From beauty product subscriptions to meal kit deliveries for the foodies in your life, books, fitness gear, and plenty of other niche hobbies
An added bonus is that subscription boxes are the gift that keeps on giving. Each box comes with an element of surprise that remains long after the holiday ends. They’re also convenient for both you and your recipient, as you can easily purchase and set up the subscription online without your recipient needing to do a thing.
If they appreciate the finer things in life, consider gifting them a bottle of champagne. A bottle of bubblies is something they’re sure to enjoy, especially if they’ve never said no to a mimosa. You can pair the bubblies with a nice set of champagne flutes so they can get a fully elegant experience.
Perfume or Cologne
Who doesn’t want to smell good? Perfume and cologne are the perfect luxury gifts to give this holiday season. Whether your recipient has a signature scent they love or enjoys switching it up depending on the day, scents are the perfect gift.
If you’re unsure what smells they like, consider gifting them a perfume subscription as an alternative. Perfume and cologne subscriptions are ideal for people who like to switch up their scent profiles. Plus, they get to try out new ones every month without you having to worry about picking out something they don’t like.
Pro tip: Opt for scents labeled as Eau de perfume instead of ones labeled Eau de toilette. Eau de perfumes contain a higher percentage of oils, meaning they’re of higher quality and will last longer.
If you’re looking for a gift that can last a lifetime, consider looking into customizable gifts. If you and your gift recipient have a favorite photo of you together, you can order a custom photo blanket with your image. A photo blanket is a sweet gift to keep them cozy this winter season.
You can virtually customize anything these days, from teddy bears with a voice message inside to picture books telling a story of your love and friendship. These keepsakes are what make the holidays special.
If your gift recipient is a major gamer or even a streamer, why not invest in their hobby? Whether they’re loyal to their Xbox, PlayStation, gaming computer, or more, there’s plenty of gear to purchase that can enhance their overall gaming experience. Consider what kinds of games they like to play. For example, if they enjoy flight simulation or racing games, you can buy them a flight simulator control system or a steering wheel and shifter bundle to take their gaming to the next level.
If they enjoy cozy gaming on their switch, you can buy them a case for their system to go in and accessories to decorate their Switch. By keeping in mind the kinds of systems they use as well as their style of play, you ensure you’re gifting them with something they’ll actually use and enjoy.
Do your friends and family enjoy their cozy time? If your recipient enjoys their cuddles or even struggles with anxiety, consider gifting a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are made of heavy materials and apply pressure to the body, helping your nervous system relax and reduce anxiety symptoms. Weighted blankets also don’t have to come with getting overheated. Some weighted blankets help insulate heat, which is beneficial if you live somewhere cold, and others include heat-wicking materials in case you’re a hot sleeper.
Sweets for your sweet
If you know your recipient has a major sweet tooth, desserts can take the holiday to the next level. Ditch the fruitcake and instead opt for a luxurious box of chocolates. If they’re more of a tart person, you can get them a basket of their favorite gummies and candies.
If you’re looking to make your desserts more of an experience, you can find a local bakery and order a bunch of different desserts for a sweet buffet. Paired with some other goodies they like, a dessert buffet is sure to be quite a sweet experience.
Spa day at home
If the person you’re shopping for enjoys spending their nights pampering, consider getting them everything they’ll need to have a self-care day at home. Depending on your budget, you can buy face masks, candles, massage oil, wine, and more to do some at-home self-care.
If you have the budget for it, you can also gift a certificate for massage therapists to come to their home. At-home spa services are great because they’ll bring everything needed with them, so all they have to do is sit back and relax.
Gift the love this holiday season
Whether you opt for a recurring gift through a subscription box or invest in your recipient’s interests, reduce the stress associated with holiday shopping. By shopping online and keeping your recipients interests in mind, you can cross everyone off your list without ever needing to leave your home. Remember, the holidays are approaching quickly, so get ahead of the curve and start shopping now to get the best deals and avoid the overwhelming crowd of holiday shoppers.
About the author:
Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration and Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.
What are SOPs for Bloggers? I interviewed Nadja Williamson to get the scoop. Read on to learn what she had to share!
Welcome back to another episode of the Bloggy Friends Show! In this episode, host Ashley Grant chats with operations expert Nadja Williamson about the importance of having standard operating procedures (SOPs) for your blogging business.
Episode 50 Show Notes – Jammin’ on SOPs for Bloggers with Nadja Williamson
Nadja shares how SOPs provide structure and peace of mind, allowing you to focus on the creative aspects of blogging instead of getting bogged down in the details. She outlines a simple system for creating SOPs:
1. Record yourself completing a task while narrating each step.
2. Have someone else try to follow your recording to do the task.
3. Ask them what information is missing from the instructions.
4. Use their feedback to create a clear written SOP.
Some key SOPs Nadja recommends starting with include:
– How to write and publish a blog post
– How to promote a blog post on social media
– A master checklist of everything that needs to be done for each blog post
Even if you’re a one person operation, SOPs help you stay organized, batch tasks efficiently, and make your business transferable should you get sick or want to scale up. They also provide continuity for your audience, ensuring your content and brand voice remain consistent.
Nadja emphasizes starting small and not getting discouraged. Building new habits takes time. Approach SOPs as “one less thing to worry about” rather than a chore. They’ll quickly become an indispensable part of your blogging toolkit.
Nadja Williamson is the Lead Strategist of Network Titan Solutions, a consulting agency that helps small business owners supercharge their operations by designing a custom mission control solution for their business.
She is a nerdy (recovering) people pleaser who is using her superpowers to help others capture the elusive work-life integration dream.
Though she grew up in the land down unda, she now calls Houston, Texas home with her equally nerdy husband, two sassy daughters, and a houseful of pets.
Who isn’t stressed out these days? There are so many people trying to juggle work and home. With all the never-ending tasks, notifications, meetings, and family stuff, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning. But practicing mindfulness at work is a secret weapon you can unleash whenever you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Here are seven ways to sneak mindfulness into your workday, and the best part is that you don’t need a special meditation room or equipment.
Wake up each morning and start your day with gratitude. It can be tempting to complain about how much you hate your job and dwell on all the negativity at work. Those thoughts are normal. It’s a negativity bias we all have, but you can turn off that kind of thinking by being grateful for everything that you have, including your job.
For example, if your salary isn’t what you want it to be, it’s better than no check at all, right? Maybe you don’t like your boss, but your co-workers are cool, and you enjoy hanging with them daily. Focus on that. Practicing gratitude regularly helps build resilience. Instead of getting anxious or down in the dumps about the stuff you don’t like at work, feed your brain some positive vibes.
Mindfulness exercises train your brain to be more aware, present, and non-judgmental. And guess what? You don’t need to set aside 30 minutes or even five minutes for these exercises. Just a quick one-minute exercise focusing on one of your senses can do the trick. Try out the quick 4-7-8 breathing exercise now.
1. Close your eyes or pick something to stare at.
2. Breathe in for a count of four.
3. Hold your breath for seven counts.
4. Exhale slowly for eight counts.
5. Breathe deep from your belly.
6. Stop whenever you feel inner peace and calm.
When work has you feeling on edge or stressed out, a short mindfulness exercise like the 4-7-8 method can help you find your zen. The end result? Even if you don’t live in one of the most relaxed cities in the U.S., you can find peace of mind in your own workspace or home office.
Be a Single-Tasker
Forget multi-tasking. What about single-tasking? The practice involves focusing on one thing at a time instead of trying to juggle a million things at once. Truthfully, nobody is good at multi-tasking, and it’s just more stressful trying to handle too many things.
Single-tasking allows you to delve deeper into your work and achieve higher levels of focus and creativity. Ultimately, you will accomplish tasks more efficiently while feeling less stressed. Instead of celebrating busyness with the rest of the world, be a single-tasker and create a more balanced and purposeful work environment.
It might be tempting to power through your day glued to your desk. But whether you work from home or in the office, take time to eat lunch, and more importantly, do nothing but eat during this time. Don’t read those emails or check your phone, and don’t even think about work.
Eating your lunch recharges your mind and gives you the energy you need to finish your day strong. As a bonus, your lunch break gives you time to socialize with your colleagues and strengthen your workplace relationships, which creates a more positive and mindful atmosphere.
Take Clarity Breaks
Clarity breaks are a great mindfulness tool to incorporate into your workday. A quick 15-minute walk will re-energize your thoughts while you’re on the clock. This is also a good time to pop in some earbuds and listen to a short podcast or your favorite jam.
Taking afternoon showers has become popular with the work-from-home crowd. People say taking a shower at midday refreshes them. Giving yourself a breather can seriously boost your concentration, raise your awareness, and zap that afternoon slump. It’s like a mental spa day for your brain.
Vow to be present while you’re at work. Take a few minutes before you dive into your tasks to give yourself a pep talk and set the day’s expectations. Mindfulness work requires giving your full attention to the task at hand while keeping your emotions in check.
If you’re writing a report, remain focused on that report and don’t think about anything else, including deadlines or other things happening at work. If those thoughts pop into your head, steer your mind back to the task at hand. Try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise or take a clarity break to reset your mind.
Most of us are in a “go, go, go” mentality and rest often takes a back seat. But rest isn’t a luxury. Prioritizing rest is necessary for our physical and mental health. If you have PTO at work, take it. It decreases your chance of burnout and increases your job satisfaction.
It is easy to overlook the importance of downtime, especially for remote workers. Oftentimes, you won’t take time off because you are already at home, but it is good to unplug from work. Use your paid time off to relax and rest your mind and maybe binge-watch that Netflix show parked in your queue.
Sometimes it may feel like work is a never-ending place of stress, but don’t despair. Follow these easy mindfulness tips and set yourself up to have a productive and good day on purpose.
Tammy has an extensive background in journalism, media relations, social media strategy, marketing, and brand management. She resides in Michigan with her family which includes her two sons and their Goldendoodle, Max. In her free time, she loves to read and travel.
Want to learn how to go car camping? Perfect! In this post, I’m sharing some tips and advice for doing just that.
Ideas for How to Go Car Camping
The open road is calling your name! There’s no better way to experience the freedom of the great outdoors than by going car camping. Whether you’re a seasoned road tripper or new to spending nights under the stars, it’s time to pack up your car, grab your pups (or kids) and partner and hit the road.
In this post, I’ll give you my top tips and tricks for how to go car camping like a pro. From choosing the best car camping gear to planning your ultimate camp cooking set-up, I’ve got all the information you need to make your car camping trips easy, affordable, and so much fun.
Get ready to soak in epic sunsets, gaze up at starry night skies, and create lifelong memories on your car camping adventures. Let’s hit the road!
Choosing a Car for Car Camping
When it comes to choosing a car for car camping, you’ll want to consider cargo space, gas mileage, ground clearance, and more. For my car camping trips, I’ve chosen to use my 2018 Chevy Equinox. This mid-size SUV has plenty of cargo volume with 63.9 cubic feet of space when the rear seats are folded down. The Equinox also gets decent gas mileage, averaging about 26 mpg combined city/highway. The 7.9 inches of ground clearance helps me navigate dirt roads leading to campsites too.
I’ve test driven my Equinox fully loaded with my tent, sleeping bags, cooler, and other gear to make sure everything fits nicely. If you’re borrowing or renting a car for camping, be sure to test out your set-up at home first before heading out on the road.
Car Camping Gear Essentials
Here are some of the key car camping gear essentials you might want to bring along:
– Tent – You might want to use a 5-person dome tent that packs down pretty small. Rooftop tents and attachable tent add-ons are also great options.
– Sleeping pads and sleeping bags rated for the expected weather. Don’t forget pillows!
– Camp kitchen supplies like a portable propane stove, pots/pans, utensils, plates, and cups.
– Headlamps or lanterns for lighting. Folding camp chairs and a rug for the site.
– Clothing layers and hiking shoes – be prepared for changing temps.
– First aid kit, fire extinguisher, bug spray, sunscreen
We Actually Slept in the Car In Lieu of Bringing a Tent
One of the best aspects of car camping is being able to sleep in your vehicle rather than pitch a tent. Here are some tips for getting good sleep:
– Measure your car’s interior dimensions and get a mattress that fits perfectly once the seats are folded down. Memory foam mattresses are ideal for comfort.
– Completely clear out the car and organize gear so you have maximal sleeping space. Consider adding window shades for privacy.
– Bring battery-operated fans or ventilation systems if it will be hot. In cold weather, use sleeping bags rated for low temps.
– To sleep level, place wooden blocks under the tires or inflatable camping pads under the mattress.
– Use curtains to block outside light and keep the car cool in sunny weather.
– Keep basic supplies like water, headlamp, and snacks within reach overnight.
– Park strategically – not directly under trees or too close to shrubs to avoid nature run-ins.
With a few modifications, you can transform your car into a cozy bedroom on wheels for peaceful camping nights! Sleeping in the car makes car camping even more convenient.
Meal Planning and Preparation Tips
– Make a menu in advance and prep ingredients/supplies at home before your trip. Non-perishable foods are ideal.
– Pack a high-quality cooler with ice and resealable containers for dairy, meats, produce.
– A portable propane camp stove makes cooking meals easy. You can also grill on a fire pit.
– Plan for simple camp meals like sandwiches, breakfast burritos, foil packet dinners. And snacks!
– Consider no-cook meal options too like wraps, salads, and fruits.
– Practice good food safety and hygiene, and cook meat thoroughly.
Finding Great Car Camping Locations
– Research national or state parks with campgrounds that allow car camping. Many are beautiful and affordable.
– Consider free dispersed camping on Bureau of Land Management or National Forest land.
– Use camping apps like The Dyrt or Campendium to find location reviews and amenities.
– Factor in things like restrooms, showers, hiking trails depending on your needs.
Setting Up Your Car Campsite
– Scout the site while there’s daylight and situate your vehicle appropriately.
– Set up sleeping tents, kitchen area, camp chairs in a logical way in relation to your car.
– Use a shade canopy or tarp for eating and hanging out area.
– Practice food storage safety – stow food away from the tent area overnight.
– Have emergency items like a first aid kit, flashlight, and fire extinguisher handy. Be fire safe.
Tools and Apps for How to Go Car Camping
Here are some helpful tools and apps to have on hand if you plan to go car camping across the United States:
– GPS Navigation Apps – Apps like Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps to help plan routes and navigate to campsites. Download maps offline.
– Camping Apps – The Dyrt, Campendium etc to find campsites and read reviews. ReserveAmerica for reservations.
– Roadside Assistance – AAA membership or roadside help through your insurance provider in case of car issues.
– GasBuddy App – Find cheap gas stations along your route.
– Utility Apps – Flashlight apps, compass app, weather radar app. First aid app.
– Charging Cords – Bring extra chargers and battery packs to keep devices powered.
– Emergency Communication – Satellite messenger, emergency beacon, or portable satellite device if in remote areas.
– Camp Cooking Aids – Apps with camp recipes and cooking tips. Campsite cooking gear.
– National Park Apps – For info, maps, alerts and hiking tips when visiting parks.
Being prepared with handy apps and tools will give you more confidence and freedom when embarking on a US car camping road trip!
Do’s and Don’ts for Car Camping
– Research camping regulations for where you plan to camp. Obtain permits if needed.
– Pack adequate food, water, first aid, and gear to be self-sufficient.
– Follow Leave No Trace principles – take trash with you, don’t damage vegetation.
– Extinguish fires completely before leaving a site.
– Keep food stored securely when not in use to avoid animal encounters.
– Choose established campsites whenever possible to minimize impact.
– Be considerate of noise, keep music low in shared camp areas.
– Don’t leave food out overnight – store securely in the car or bear-proof container.
– Don’t wait until after dark to pick a spot to camp or set up.
– Don’t camp too close to cliff edges, rivers, streams or on an uneven surface.
– Don’t leave trash behind or bury trash. Pack it out.
– Don’t cut down branches or damage vegetation to make a fire pit.
– Don’t feed or interact with wildlife – observe from a distance.
Following car camping do’s and don’ts helps protect the outdoors and your safety.
Tricks and Tips for Car Camping
Here are some handy tricks and tips for car camping:
– Use binder clips to secure towels, lanterns, etc to your car doors or tents.
– Store camp cooking tools like spatulas and tongs in old socks so they’re easy to find and pack.
– Freeze gallons of water to use as ice packs in your cooler – they last longer than just ice.
– Bring a cheap solar shower or utility shower to hang outside for a warm camp shower.
– Use magnetic hooks inside your car to hang and organize small items.
– Pack a multi-use piece of equipment like a camp shovel that can also chop or cut.
– Keep food storage simple with Ursack bear bags to hang food at night.
– Use a plastic tablecloth on picnic tables to keep clean and dry.
– Attach glow sticks to tent zippers to see at night. Use headlamp on red light mode.
– Pack clothespins to hang wet clothes or towels to dry at your site.
Ready to Go Car Camping?
Hitting the open road for a car camping adventure allows you to fully immerse yourself in the great outdoors. With the right gear, supplies, and camp location, you’ll be on your way to making lasting memories under the stars in no time.
Start by choosing a roomy, fuel-efficient vehicle like an SUV or minivan to transport you and all your camping necessities. Outfit your car with a foldable mattress that fits perfectly after laying the seats down, as well as your sleeping bags, pillows, and linens.
Pack your camp kitchen, safety equipment, and plenty of snacks. Meal prep and plan easy camp cooking menus before you go. The best part about sleeping in your car is avoiding the hassle of setting up a tent!
Use helpful camping apps and maps to pinpoint amazing car camping destinations near national parks, forests, and public lands. When you arrive, scout the perfect campsite spot and set up your foldable chairs, camp kitchen, and shade canopy.
Above all, embark on your car camping trips with a sense of adventure and wonder. Bond with your companions, unplug from technology, and revel in the beauty of nature. You’ll be so glad you took the time to hit the open road and enjoy a simpler way of life.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans working from home, you know the challenges it brings – increased distractions, overworking, and mental health issues, just to name a few. But there are ways to create a healthier and more productive workspace at home, and we’ll show you how.
Whether you work for yourself or a huge corporation, choosing the correct space at home can make the difference between a good day and a bad one. Don’t cram yourself into a corner or closet. Room to spread out lets you stretch or stand as needed.
If space limitations don’t allow this, turn your table into a desk (doing double duty!) and add shelves above for vertical office storage, again, saving space.
When it comes to lighting, natural is best. Try to set up your home workspace near a large window. If that’s not an option, warm LED lighting is the way to go.
While cool lights better mimic the outdoors, the blue in them may harm your eyes or throw off sleep patterns. Moderation is key when it comes to using blue lights. A smart table lamp may be your best bet, as it lets you switch between warm and cool lights.
A workspace that’s designed to provide efficiency and safety prioritizes ergonomics. For example, choose an office chair that supports your spine and has an adjustable height, so your feet can rest flat on the floor.
Sit at a desk or table instead of directly in front of drawers or cabinets. It’s important to be able to stretch out and move your legs and feet around to keep the blood flowing. Try putting a footstool underneath to allow more positions for your legs.
For your arms, consider a computer mouse that fits your hand and a cushioned keyboard. This allows you to rest your forearms comfortably and helps keep your wrists aligned.
If you’re lucky, your home office is in a room far from the other living spaces, but you may have roommates, children, or a partner at home while you’re on the job. To minimize noise and distractions, try putting acoustic panels on the walls. They come in many colors and designs to add to the beauty of your space while cutting down outside noise.
Most interior doors are hollow. Builders use them because they’re cheaper but they don’t keep sound out. Consider upgrading to a solid-core wood door. They have a wood frame but are coated in vinyl with a synthetic inner core. It weighs less than solid wood but still keeps out sound. It’s also less likely to fluctuate in size due to heat and humidity.
Hardwood floors are all the rage in home design but they don’t muffle sound. If you don’t have carpet, use throw rugs in rooms above and around your office space. And like the wall panels, you can add them to your interior design.
Add Plants and Flowers
Looking forward to going to work is good for your mental health, even if you’re just going down the hall, wearing pajamas. Adding vegetation and colorful blooms to your workspace helps with that.
Plants clean the air, increasing attention span, productivity, and creativity. Studies show they reduce anxiety and depression when you’re having a difficult day. Flowers and greenery also help minimize noise levels, as well as bring a sweet aroma to your home office.
Clean Up Each Day
You may be worn out at the end of the day but no matter how weary you are, tidy up your home workspace! Dirty spaces can create health problems. Dust and dirt can build up, creating issues for those with asthma or allergies. If you never wipe down your desk and equipment, bacteria and microorganisms may multiply, getting you sick.
If your workspace is in the kitchen, be aware of leaks or dampness. Mold, even if hidden, can spread through the air, causing respiratory problems. This can be a potential problem no matter where your desk is located in your home if you live in a very humid environment.
Home Sweet Home Office
The benefits of a sparkling office space include increased productivity. Clutter creates distractions that can send your mind racing. Organization makes it easier to focus on your tasks. When everything is in its place, your day begins and ends with the feeling of a job well done.
About the Author
Carmen Dexter is a journalist and teacher living in Texas. Her favorite activities include concerts, football games, and, of course, writing! On any given evening, you’ll find Carmen playing with her dogs, Rizzo and Rocky.
Seeing Wicked on Broadway exceeded my high expectations – the lavish production value and phenomenal cast made this Broadway experience truly magical. My review of seeing Wicked live in New York versus the touring show.
One short day, in the middle of the year – ok, well actually in the middle of August – I finally fulfilled my dream of seeing Wicked on Broadway. After being spellbound by the touring production in Tampa a few years ago, I could hardly wait to compare it to the magical original.
With excitement stirring up within me like I’d just ingested one of Elphaba’s potions, I bubbled to New York to see it at the Gershwin Theatre. From the first chords of the overture to the final notes of For Good, it was, well, a wickedly perfect experience.
The sensational story of how the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch came to be – it captivated me all over again, only this time in a more thrilling way.
The phenomenal music and costumes I adored from the tour came to life in a new way in the Broadway theater. Seeing it up close made me feel like I had been transported to the Emerald City myself. If you have the chance to see Wicked on Broadway, I highly recommend seizing that opportunity. It will exceed your expectations and leave you feeling Oz-some.
Before the trip, I bought some black, green, and purple beads and made a necklace to wear at the show. I put a potion bottle on the end of it filled with green beads to resemble green elixir. Then, I paired it with a black shirt and black pants, and was feeling themed enough to be ready to go!
The night before I was already feeling magical because we had driven into New Jersey to catch BlackPink in concert. Friday was all about K-Pop, and Saturday was all about the Emerald City – well New York City anyway.
I was over the moon with excitement, and it was the perfect way to celebrate the last birthday of my 30s. Yep, I turned 39 that weekend, and basically was planning to celebrate as much as humanly possible.
I’m thinking when I do turn 40 I will celebrate for 40 days and 40 nights, but more on that in a few months.
The Day Of – Seeing Wicked on Broadway
We hopped off the bus from New Jersey to New York and then strolled down the yellow brick road to the world famous Times Square. I was instantly transported back to the last time I had been there – only that time it was much colder and somehow bigger too.
I visited in 2005 and watched the ball drop on New Year’s Eve…as I was looking up at the confetti, my hubby pulled out a ring and proposed. We married in July 2006. So coming back all these years later had me quite emotional.
Excitedly, we scrambled about looking for lunch, and then ultimately made our way towards the theater for their afternoon showing of the musical. Stepping into the grand Gershwin Theatre on Broadway felt like entering the doors to Oz itself.
I could barely contain my excitement as I found my seat and eagerly awaited the start of the show. When the lights dimmed and the first chords of the overture began, I was instantly mesmerized. The set design was even more intricate and dazzling up close, with gears, lights, and set pieces moving seamlessly to transition between scenes. The costumes were absolutely spellbinding, from Glinda’s poofy pink dress to Elphaba’s black hat and cape. I was amazed to see the vibrant colors and tiny details up close.
The Broadway cast brought an energy and authenticity that differentiated them from the touring company. The performances felt sharper and more nuanced in the characters’ original theater.
When Elphaba belted the iconic line “I’m wicked through and through” my arms were covered in goosebumps. The deeper emotional resonance the actors brought to this theater amplified the power of the storytelling. Hearing beloved songs like “Defying Gravity” and “For Good” performed live on the Gershwin stage gave them new life.
And yes, I cry every time I hear “Defying Gravity!”
The orchestration sounded fuller and the vocals more crisp and affecting within the perfect acoustics of the theater. Every lyrical crescendo soared.
By the end of the show, I knew this was an unmatched experience. Seeing Wicked on Broadway elevated a story I already loved to new heights. Being there, in the midst of the magic, exceeded all my high expectations.
While I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Wicked touring production, and am so incredibly grateful I got that experience, the Broadway show was more breathtaking than I ever could have prepared myself for. The production value of the Broadway show was markedly richer and more polished. The sets felt grander, with more advanced scenic transitions and special effects. The Time Dragon Clock and Wizard’s giant mechanical head provided an unbelievably immersive and exciting viewing experience on the Broadway stage.
Additionally, the costumes felt more lavish, accentuating the contrast between Glinda’s frilly gowns and Elphaba’s Gothic garb. Even the lighting design was superior, using color and intensity to heighten the drama and transport the audience deeper into the land of Oz. The overall spectacle felt more magical seeing it in the gorgeous Gershwin Theatre.
Most notable was the Broadway cast’s phenomenal performances. Their emotional depth and vocal talents brought a new power to the show’s beloved score. Subtle acting choices made the characters more engaging. For example, the terror in Glinda’s eyes as the Wizard flew into a rage was palpable up close – we got to sit much closer in this production than where I sat watching it in Tampa.
I do need to take a moment and say the touring cast was talented in their own right. They truly were! And, I’m so glad that tours like theirs exist so you can get the Broadway feel in your own backyard. But, there’s something to be said about the Broadway stars that belt out these numbers and do these dances every night. The cast brings something intangibly special to the production and their connection to the material was evident.
In the end, the Broadway production made the world of Wicked more transportive and vivid. Every element, from sets to acting, was amplified in the show’s original home. It proved that no matter how good a touring company is, nothing rivals seeing a show on Broadway. And, it makes me want to see every play I possibly can on Broadway.
Planning to See Wicked on Broadway? These Tips Might Help!
Wicked often sells out months in advance for the best seats. Don’t wait until the last minute! We bought our tickets in May for an August viewing, and even that felt like we waited too long. We got decent seats, but I can’t help feeling like we could have done just a bit better.
Splurge on great seats if you can
Sitting closer to the stage enhances the experience and allows you to see details you might miss farther away. I’m so glad we chose to sit as close to the stage as we did. Though we weren’t as close as I would have liked, it was much closer than we were when I watched the touring production.
Keep an eye out for ticket lotteries or rush tickets
Many Broadway shows, including Wicked, offer discounted last minute tickets if you don’t mind not having reserved seats. But, be forewarned – if you get these tickets, you might not be able to sit with everyone in your party. And, there are no guarantees with rush tickets. To me, paying in advance was worth it to make sure we could actually see the show.
Dress up and make an evening of it
Treat it as a special night out and wear something that makes you feel fabulous. I certainly did! Then, after the show we strolled Central Park and finished the night off by taking the subway to Little Italy for dinner at a highly recommended spot.
Arrive early to check out the theater
Soak in the atmosphere and admire the architecture of historic Broadway theaters like the Gershwin. I’m so glad we did this because we got to look around at all the fun details of the theater and immerse ourselves in the story more.
Limit bathroom breaks
Lines get crazy during intermission, and you don’t want to miss any of the magic. I personally refrained from having much to drink before the show because I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t have to miss anything.
Let yourself get swept up in it all
Some people sang along, some laughed, some cried – I totally cried. Let yourself be transported into the Wicked world and really feel immersed.
Stage door after if you can
You may be able to meet the cast and get autographs at the stage door. Unfortunately, we didn’t see the evening production of the show, and we didn’t really have time to stick around because we had dinner plans. However, if we get the chance to go again, I will totally do an evening watch and try to get over to the stage door.
Capture moments outside
Take photos all around the theater to remember your Broadway night.
Savor every minute
The show flies by so be present and take it all in. You’ll want to relive it again later! I recommend watching all of the social media videos and YouTube clips that the Wicked production team put online. It’s a great way to revisit Shiz and Oz anytime you want.
My Broadway Wicked Experience: Pure Magic Over the Rainbow
Seeing Wicked on Broadway was a dream come true that far surpassed my already high expectations. While I loved the touring production, everything about the Broadway show felt more magical and transportive. Being in the historic Gershwin Theatre, hearing the iconic score performed flawlessly, and seeing the spectacular costumes and sets up close made it an unparalleled theatrical experience. The indescribable energy and talent of the original Broadway cast took the storytelling to the next level.
Attending the Broadway production of this beloved musical was worth every penny. If you have the opportunity to see Wicked on Broadway rather than on tour, take it! You will not regret experiencing the show in its original home, with the stellar production value and world-class performances that only Broadway can deliver. Your trip over the rainbow to Broadway will leave you grinning as wildly as the Wizard himself. Just like Elphaba and Glinda, you’re sure to become friends with the Broadway version of Wicked for good!
In this post, we’re discussing live streaming’s explosive growth in content creation. Is live streaming right for you?
The creation, sharing, and consumption of content are revolutionized by live streaming in the rapidly changing digital ecosystem. Live streaming is a crucial component of contemporary content development, from fascinating game broadcasts to interesting live events and interactive Q&A sessions. Creators, influencers, and companies now have more options to interact in real time with their audiences around the world thanks to the exploding rise of live-streaming platforms. Get ready to explore the expansion of live streaming, its effects on numerous industries, and its potential to reshape the future of communication and entertainment.
The widespread availability of high-speed internet connections and the proliferation of mobile devices have made live streaming accessible to a global audience. People can now easily stream and consume live content from anywhere, anytime, using their smartphones, tablets, or computers, making it a popular form of entertainment.
Interactive and Real-time Engagement
Live streaming provides a unique opportunity for real-time interaction between content creators and their audiences. Viewers can engage with streamers through live chat, comments, gifting, and social media, fostering a sense of community and connection. This interactivity distinguishes live streaming from traditional forms of media and enhances the overall experience for both creators and viewers.
Live streaming encompasses a wide range of content genres, catering to various interests and preferences. From gaming streams and esports complete with dual monitors and microphones to music performances, talk shows, tutorials, cooking demonstrations, and even everyday life vlogs, there is something for everyone to enjoy. This diversity allows individuals to find and connect with content that resonates with them.
The rise of live streaming has opened up new avenues for content creators to monetize their work. Platforms often provide features like channel subscriptions, virtual gifts, sponsorships, and ad revenue sharing. Additionally, creators can leverage brand partnerships, merchandise sales, and crowdfunding to generate income. As a result, many individuals have turned live streaming into a full-time profession.
Social Media Integration
Live streaming has seamlessly integrated with popular social media platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch. This integration has significantly expanded the reach of live content, allowing creators to tap into their existing follower base and attract new audiences.
Authenticity and Unfiltered Content
Live streaming offers a raw and unfiltered form of content creation. Unlike pre-recorded videos, live streams often capture genuine reactions, spontaneity, and authenticity. This real-time element creates a unique bond between creators and viewers, fostering a sense of trust and relatability.
Rise of Influencer Culture
The rise of influencer culture has also played a crucial role in the growth of live streaming. Influencers, who often have large online followings, leverage live streaming to connect with their fans on a more personal level. This direct interaction enhances their influence and further fuels the growth of live streaming.
Technological advancements have significantly improved the quality and accessibility of live streaming. Higher internet speeds, improved video compression algorithms, and better streaming infrastructure have led to smoother and higher-quality live streams. Additionally, the integration of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and other interactive elements has enhanced the viewer’s experience.
Collaboration and Co-creation
Live streaming has facilitated collaboration and co-creation among content creators. They can come together to host joint streams, participate in interviews, or collaborate on creative projects. This not only expands their reach but also allows for unique and engaging content that combines the talents and expertise of multiple creators.
Event Coverage and Breaking News
Live streaming has become a go-to platform for event coverage and breaking news. News outlets, journalists, and citizen reporters often use live streams to share real-time updates, on-the-ground reporting, and interviews. This immediacy and unfiltered nature of live streaming provide a fresh perspective and allow viewers to experience events as they unfold.
Live streaming has the power to build strong communities around content creators. Viewers often develop a sense of belonging and form connections with like-minded individuals who share their interests. Creators can foster this sense of community by engaging with their audience during streams, hosting dedicated community events, and establishing fan clubs or memberships.
Education and Skill Sharing
Live streaming platforms have become popular spaces for educational content and skill sharing. Creators can offer live tutorials, workshops, or Q&A sessions, providing valuable knowledge and expertise in real time. This has democratized education and allowed individuals to learn from industry experts and professionals regardless of their geographical location.
Charity and Fundraising
Live streaming has also emerged as a powerful tool for charitable causes and fundraising efforts. Content creators often host charity streams where viewers can donate money to support a specific cause or organization. The interactive nature of live streaming allows for immediate engagement and real-time updates on donation goals, creating a sense of collective impact.
Personal Branding and Entrepreneurship
Live streaming offers a platform for individuals to build their brands and explore entrepreneurship. Content creators can showcase their unique skills, personalities, and expertise, establishing themselves as influencers or experts in their respective fields. This personal branding can open doors to collaborations, sponsorships, and other business opportunities.
Cultural Exchange and Global Reach
Live streaming transcends geographical boundaries and enables cultural exchange on a global scale. Creators from different countries and backgrounds can connect with audiences worldwide, sharing their perspectives, traditions, and experiences. This fosters understanding, appreciation, and a sense of global community.
Evolution of the Entertainment Industry
Live streaming has disrupted the traditional entertainment industry by offering alternative forms of entertainment. Platforms like Twitch have propelled esports and gaming into the mainstream, while musicians and performers have found new avenues to reach audiences through live concerts and performances. This shift has challenged traditional media and forced established entities to adapt to changing consumer preferences.
Live streams are taking over
In this new era of content creation, live streaming has cemented its place as a captivating and transformative force. Embracing its potential can empower creators, businesses, and audiences alike to be part of a global conversation that enriches, educates, and entertains in real time. Let us embrace this new era with curiosity, responsibility, and creativity as we shape the future of content creation through the magic of live streaming.