Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blogs I Read Every Day ... And You Should Too

Today is "link love day" here on Todd's tips

link love

If you're anything like me, you probably have literally hundreds of blog posts in your feed reader still waiting to be scanned through. When I find a blog I like, it's usually not a hard decision to subscribe via RSS.

But just because I've subscribed, doesn't necessarily make me a "regular reader".

That being said, every morning when I get up, I check google reader before I go to work. There are a couple of blogs, that I definitely go read right away if I see they have new posts.

Following is a small sample of from my list of

Must Read Blogs





  • Tellin It Like It Is - Lin Burress has been one of my better blogging friends for several months now. Hers is always one of the first blogs I read, and one of the few I try to comment on regularly. She writes about Relationships, Marriage and Parenting. And as you can probably guess from the title of her blog, she definitely "tells it like it is".


  • Seth's Blog - Ok, I know many of you are probably already well aware of Seth Godin. This isn't the only "A list" blog I subscribe to, but it one of only two that I'm going to link to here ... because I do try to read it every day. For anybody who wants to learn how to be a better marketer, this should be on your list too. I had planned to link to a few posts, but honestly I can't choose. I'd say just head on over and subscribe ... if you're not already.


  • Zen Habits - This is the other "A-List" blog that I would definitely recommend reading every day. And just like Seth's blog above, I'm not going to try to pick out just 2 or 3 of Leo's posts ... they are All worth reading. But just to give you an idea, here's a recent posts that I enjoyed: 7 Little Habits that can Change Your Life , and if you've never been to Zen Habits before, there is a post from July that serves as a guided tour to Zen Habits


  • Belief Busters - I've followed John Milton Fogg for a lot of years now. I was a member of his Greatest Networker Community back when it was just an email list. If there's one thing you can say about JMF, it's that he always seems to be giving more than he expects in return. This post from last week is a great example: 67 Self-Help Success classics FREE. Head on over and sign up for the BeliefBusters report ... you'll be glad you did.


  • FiveThirtyEight.com - In addition to all the other things I'm interested in, I'm a bit of a political junkie (although I don't really write about it on this blog). Five Thirty Eight is by far my favorite political blog. The premise is that 538 is the number of delegates needed to win the Presidency in the electoral college. The site/blog is mainly about interpreting polls, based on a complex, and continually updated computer model. In addition to the polling information, they also offer some relatively balanced commentary, although for the most part, they seem to be a little tilted towards Obama (which doesn't really bother me).




Well, it looks like my list is getting a little long, so I think I'm going to cut it off here. Obviously, there are also a few marketing related blogs on my daily reading list. I'll make a new post about those resources next Sunday.

Until then ... keep havin FuN!
Todd
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Eats Poop and Sleeps

Ever seen that book with the panda on the cover?

EatsShootsLeaves

Well, I had one of those moments the other day ...

My step-son Johnathan brought one of his friends in the house, and for some reason their first stop is always over at the crib to look at his new little sister Jaiden.

As they walked away from the crib, they asked "how come whenever we come in the house, she's never awake?"

Well, me wanting to be the knowledgeable and informative dad, proceed to tell them ...

"She's only a couple of days old, pretty much all she does is eat poop and sleep."

Now, I'm pretty sure Jeff wasn't serious, but his timing sure was pretty good. He immediately scrunched up his face, looked straight at me, and in a dead serious tone of voice said ...

"Ewwww ... she eats poop????"

baby scrunch face

lol, ugh, kids.

So that was my lesson in punctuation. From now on, I know that when describing a typical day for my 5 day old daughter, I will be sure to clearly states that she Eats (comma) Poops & Sleeps.

Keep havin FuN!
[todd-sig]

p.s. I hope you enjoyed my attempt at humor writing.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Smile Therapy

Did you know that it's virtually impossible to hold a negative thought while you're smiling?

big smile

Go ahead, try it ...

Put a big ole smile on your face (even it's one of those fake ones); then try to think about something that really upsets or worries you.

It wasn't easy, was it ?

"Ok, Todd, that's interesting, but why is this something I should know?", you may be asking yourself.

Because, if in our little experiment, you had a hard time holding a negative thought while smiling; do you think it's possible that smiling might help to change your thoughts at times when that negativity is already there?

... letting you get back to using your brain for more productive activities.

Give it a go next time you're upset, angry or worried. Force yourself to put a big grin on your face, and don't stop until you're thinking about something happy. (or at least not unhappy).

Have fun with it :-D

Todd

p.s. what are some other good ways that you've found to change your negative thoughts?
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

How To Make An Online Dream Board

online dream board A few months back I wrote a new post called Do You Have a Dream Board? It turned out to be one of the most popular articles on the entire blog.

Quite a few people have used that post as inspiration for building their own online dream board. However, since I wrote that blog post, I've learned a bit more about wordpress, and about dream boards. My thinking on the best way to do this has evolved slightly.

I also wanted to make it easier for people who are part of my candle business to have a dream board of their own. So, I bought the domain name OnlineDreamBoard.net
(front page still under developement) and set up a new site from scratch. For anybody who is a member of my team, I will set up, and host a dream board for you on that domain. For everybody else, here are ...

Step by step instructions for setting up your own online Dream Board



First, I'm going to make a few basic assumptions:

  • You have your own web hosting account.

  • You have the ability to install WordPress either through Fantastico, or via FTP.

  • You know how to upload and active plugins

  • You can navigate the wordpress dashboard, and write new posts


If any of the above sounds scary, feel free to shoot me a note. Or, you can head over to iThemes to read their free wordpress tutorials.

Ok, now that we've got that out of the way, Let's Build a Dream Board ...

Step Number One is to log into your cPanel and install WordPress through Fantastico.
fantastico

Step Two will be setting up our WordPress blog. Since, in most cases, this blog will be primarily for your own consumption (ie, we don't expect visitors), I think the default theme will work very nicely for an Online Dream Board.

We're going to start with two things unders Settings, which is located all the way to the right on your dashboard.



Under the Privacy tab, we're going to click on the radial button that blocks search engines. Normal visitors will still be allowed, but strangers from search engines will not find your posts. If you want total privacy, you can even password protect the whole directory (but we'll save that for another post).
wordpress

For pretty much the same reasons that we blocked search engines, under the Discussion tab, we're also going to turn off comments. Just unclick all the boxes at the top of the page. This step is optional. If you expect to invite others to read your dream board, you may want to leave comments on. (but if you do, I would make sure to activate the akismet plugin).
wordpress


Next we'll head for the Manage tab to take care of a little quick housekeeping.



Under Posts we're going to delete the "Hello World" that came with the install.
wordpress

Then we're going to set up our blog's Categories.
wordpress
For our dream board, we want to set up 4 categories:

  • Daily

  • Inpiration

  • Pictures

  • Videos



The next stop will be to take care of a few things under the Design tab.



First we are going to click on Widgets, and add Categories and Recent Posts to Sidebar1.
wordpress

Then we're going to pretty up our header a little under Header Image and Color
wordpress
Choose a from the pallet for Upper Color, and a different one for Lower Color, then click Update Header.


Finally, we are going to install a few Plugins.


wordpress
For your dream board, I recommend that you upload and install these 3 plugins:


The first two plugins are pretty much self explanatory, and have good instructions on the plugin home page. I do have a few more screenshots to share with you about setting up and using the Post Template plugin.

Setting up a new template for our daily posts is fairly straightforward. Just go to the Write tab, and click on Post Template.
wordpress
Name the template "Daily", under categories click "daily", then in the content area make 3 bolded sections:

  • Today I am Thankful for …

  • Things I like about myself today …

  • My Goals and Intentions …


I plan to do more posts later about exactly what/how to write in these sections. But for now, this is my suggestion.

Posting to the videos, pictures, and inspirational entries is done just like writing any normal blog post. However, using our Daily Posts Template is just a tad bit trickier ... but in the long run will save you time and a bit of typing.

Instead of using the Write tab, instead go to the Manage tab. Find and click on Templates. Once the new screen comes up, locate "daily" and click on the button labled "New Post from template".
wordpress post from template
Write your daily entry, and post as normal. I would suggestion naming these posts by date. ie, "Thursday 22 July 2008".

One Final Suggestion ...



Writing down your goals is vitally important ... which is the purpose of this online dream board. However, it's even better if you also read your goals daily, and sometimes even look back and re-read your previous goals.

You can read these straight from your blog. But you might also want to subscribe to your own feed. Just type in http://yourwebhostname.com/feed choose your favorite reader. Even better than that, if you want to get your post sent to your email (will usually show up a couple of hours to a day after you post them) you can go over to Feedblitz, sign up for a free account, and enter that same feed.

Well, that's about all I have to say for today. But, I do plan to write more on this subject in the future. Hope to see you back then. If you have any immediate questions, feel free to drop me a line directly.

Keep havin FuN!
Todd
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hiking The Manana Trail

Manana Hiking Trail

It’s Statehood day here in Hawaii, which meant there was no flying up at Wheeler. It wouldn’t have been right to totally take the day off, so instead we organized a group PT session hiking up the Manana trail.

Eight weather people showed up bright and early at 0830 with water, bug spray, granola bars and cameras. Well, six of them showed up at 0830, two of us don’t read directions very well, and initially went to a different trail a couple of mile up the road. But after a quick phone call, we made it to the right place.

Of course I brought my camera, so I have a few pictures to share, along with a bit of narration.

Obligatory signs at the bottom of the trail:

grafiti sign at bottom of manana trail


Obviously some people a bit younger than us come here from time to time.

After a couple hundred yards of paved trail, we came around a corner, and started our climb.

up the manana trail


I’m an “old” guy with a bad knee at the moment. But even for me, this wasn’t a bad hike. Some parts of the climb were a little bit steep, and I would imaging that it might be a little slippery when wet … thankfully it wasn’t raining today.

We were treated to some great views on the way up.

wainae mountain range


This photo has sunlit trees in the valley, with the Wainae mountain range and Mililani in the distance.

The just on the other side of the trail we could look down and see the ships in Pearl Harbor.

pearl harbor ships from above



After about 2 hours on the hill, we stopped for a quick rest near the top.

rest with a view



… then started back down.

hiking back down Manana trail



It was a decent workout, a lot of nice scenery, and fun to hang out with my workmates. All-in-all, not a bad way to spend a morning “at work”.

I took a few more pictures than just what I posted here. You can see the rest of them over on my flickr page.

Aloha til next time …

Todd
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