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Sunday, November 29, 2015

15 simple life hacks to help you look great every single day

I like the one where you fold your jeans in to wear your boots best.

Thanks Brightside

Clingy pants that stick to your legs, new shoes that don’t quite fit right, a t-shirt that shrank in the wash — now you can say goodbye to all of these problems. All you have to do is read this selection of 15 life hacks we’ve put together for you.

Getting rid of stains on leather

Just apply a mixture of water and vinegar and gently rub it over the stain.

Keeping jewellery clean

This applies only to the non-precious metal parts of your jewellery. Cover the inside part of a ring with clear nail polish. You’ll never have to worry about getting marks on your fingers again.

Getting rid of oily stains on your clothes

Use baby powder to get rid of the stain.

Rescuing a shrunken t-shirt

Put your shrunken item of clothing into water with some kids’ shampoo (one liter of water for every spoon of shampoo). Leave it to soak for half an hour. Squeeze out the water and place the t-shirt between two towels for ten minutes. Then stretch the item out to its original size, putting something heavy on the edges to keep it stretched, and leave it to dry.

Use a razor to get rid of fluff from your clothes

Stopping jeans from fading

Add half a glass of vinegar to the washing machine to stop dark jeans losing their colour when being washed.

To quickly iron a collar

Hair straighteners can help you to quickly iron the fabric around buttons and folds on shirts and skirts.

Removing scuff marks from suede shoes

Use an ordinary eraser to clean your suede shoes.

Cleaning the white part of your sneakers

Mix some cleaning solution with baking soda in a bowl, take an old tooth brush and use the solution to thoroughly clean the white rubber parts of your shoes.

How to fit the bottom of your jeans into your boots:

Removing sweat stains from your clothes

These stains can be cleaned using a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda.

Putting a chord through the hood of your hoodie

Use a straw to push the chords through the narrow holes.

Breaking in new shoes

Pour some water into sealable plastic packets, place them inside your shoes and put the shoes in the freezer. When the water freezes, it expands. Take the shoes out of the freezer, wait for the ice to melt a little and take the bags of water out. N.B: this method doesn’t work for patent leather shoes.

Getting rid of the static on your pants

To get rid of static, place a safety pin on the inside seem of each trouser leg.

To stop the zipper on your jeans from coming undone

Attach the ring from a key ring on the zipper and hook it over the button of your pants.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

8 Ways to Reclaim the Joy We Knew as Babies

And sometimes it's the little people that teaches us to appreciate the little things in life...

Thank you Tiny buddha

Happy Baby
“The soul is healed by being with children.” ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Last year, my husband and I became proud parents of a delicate little baby girl. And since then we have entered into a whole new world of unimaginable joy, love, and frustration.
As we embark on this lifelong journey of being parents, I am starting to appreciate some of the simple joys that our daughter has brought into our life. Here are some of the little life lessons our tiny Buddha is teaching us on our journey as newly minted parents:

1. Laugh.

I have discovered that my new favorite thing is listening to my daughter giggle. The first time we heard it, we thought she was crying, but in fact she was laughing uncontrollably. That should give you some idea of how deeply she must have been feeling the joy.
While these gurgling fits of laughter only come around every once in a while (for she can be quite a serious little baby), when they do arrive they give us such immense joy and we always end up laughing right along with her.
It’s a simple reminder of the power of a good laugh! As adults, we’re often too caught up in our myriad of worries or troubles and the most laughing we do these days is in an “Lol.”
Find the joy in your life, let it take over, and release that joy into the world through your smile or laugh.

2. Awaken your sense of wonder.

We discovered that being outdoors leaves her in awe. Her demeanor always turns to one of calm and quiet.
She is mesmerized by the way the sunlight filters through the tangle of tree limbs and leaves on the giant oaks in our back yard or will stop mid play and look out the window at the pouring rain. She is already meditating and she doesn’t even know it!
Everyday things that most of us overlook and take for granted are amazing to her because they are new and wonderful. It’s a gentle reminder of the soothing nature of nature. It is such a precious resource in this fast paced world.
While we are all turning to apps that promise to make us happier or calmer, this little Buddha has already figured it out. All you have to do is put your phone down and take a walk outside.

3. Listen more than you speak.

Granted, baby talk is not exactly real speak. “Mama” and “baba” don’t turn into endless monologues about her diaper woes. But her mind is a sponge, and when you talk to her she is captivated. She hangs on to your every word and you have her full attention.
If we all adopt the attitude that we have more to learn from others than we have to teach them, we would probably find that the relationships in our lives improve.

4. Take risks and expect success.

She discovered crawling at eight months old, and since then she has been crawling, clambering, reaching, stretching, and scaling things like there are no limits to what she can do.
She has been on a mission to discover every nook and cranny in the house. No place is off limit. She fixes on a destination or object and she goes for it with gusto.
As adults, we see things from a different perspective and are more attuned to the dangers that she could face. We also tend to take a more cautious approach to our own lives. But there is something to be said for the confident way babies approach life at this stage.
Every once in a while, make a conscious decision to embrace the unknown, and trust that you have the capabilities within you to succeed.

5. Live in the present.

She has no concept of past or future at this stage. She feels joy fully, and feels pain fully. But just as quickly she is over the moment. If she hurts herself, she doesn’t dwell on the pain. A simple distraction will can get her back to her smiling self in a few seconds.
She also doesn’t lose sleep worrying about whether she will be having pureed spinach or pureed squash for lunch tomorrow or how many more thigh rolls she has than the next baby. She is perfectly content with everything that is in the now.

6. Love fiercely.

The love you receive from a child is a love like no other. You are hooked, from the very first heartbeat to the first time you feel those tiny chubby fingers grab onto your world-worn hands.
There is nothing like the comforting weight of their tiny head on your shoulder as they finally succumb to sleep, or the loving reach of their hands for any part of you just because they want to feel your touch. And you realize that this little person loves you with all their being.
If I could demonstrate that same level of love to all those I care about in my life, I would have fantastic relationships. At a minimum, I can practice loving my husband in the same way and we would make sure that our children grow up to see a happy and loving marriage.

7. Recognize that you don’t need “things” to be happy.

Find joy in the simple things. It is true what people say. Don’t bother buying expensive toys—just give your baby the box the toy came in.
She can dedicate a whole stretch of time to just staring at a label on an item of clothing or drumming on an empty Amazon box. Forget about what toy that Amazon box contained!
In a world where we show love and appreciation in the form of gifts, gift cards, checks, and “stuff,” we forget that the most meaningful gifts are usually those of time. To witness the sheer delight on your child’s face when you come back from any small absence is proof that they value nothing more than the simple pleasure of being in your company.

8. Move your body.

My daughter reminds me that we are born with amazing bodies that are capable of doing so much.
As someone who loves yoga and strives to be better at it, I am so envious of how limber and supple her body is at this age. She does a perfect downward dog and happy baby pose (with giggles to boot) and I am pretty sure if she were sleeping and I had to manipulate her body into every single yoga pose out there, she would be able to do it with ease.
Over time we let our bodies deteriorate. A common excuse I hear from my reluctant yogi of a husband is that he is just not flexible enough to do yoga. Our daughter is proof that anyone can do it. We just have to maintain and keep practicing and we too could be yogi buddhas! And if yoga isn’t your thing, maybe it’s running or playing tennis. The point is to get moving!
The skeptic in you will say, of course a baby can do all these things. They don’t know everything yet. They are still learning. They haven’t been hurt and worn down by real life.
And yes that is true. But then again, we as adults also don’t know everything yet either and we are also still learning.
Children are a great reminder to us as adults to keep rediscovering and growing. If we live our lives as if the world is new and everything in it is an opportunity to discover and grow, we might find ourselves on the path to a more joyous life.
Happy baby image via Shutterstock

Sunday, November 22, 2015

My Top 7 Sources of Plant-Based Protein

Sometimes we don't need to rely on meat or dairy to get our source of protein, just coz I find them 'heavy' and it takes a while to digest.

Try these plant base alternatives, they work just as well and surprisingly they are packed with high calories too so do take them in moderation!

Thanks mindbodyandgreen

I say it all the time. Contrary to popular belief, it's not only possible to optimize your health on a plant-based diet; when done right, I actually recommend it.
But where do you get your protein?
I field this question constantly. Despite deeply ingrained but misleading conventional wisdom, the truth is that you can survive without meat, eggs and dairy. Believe it or not, you can actually thrive, and never suffer a protein deficiency. Because no matter how active your lifestyle, a well-rounded whole food plant-based diet provides more than enough protein to satisfy the body's needs without all the artery-clogging saturated fats that dominate the typical American diet.
I speak from experience. As a vegan endurance athlete, I place a high tax on my body. And yet my plant-based diet has fueled me for years without any negative impact on building lean muscle mass or recovery. In fact, at age 45 I continue to improve and am as fit, healthy, and strong as I have ever been.
Here's a list of my top-7 plant-based foods high in protein:
1. Quinoa: 11g Protein / Cup
A grain like seed, quinoa is a high protein alternative to rice or pasta, served alone or over vegetables and greens. It provides a good base for a veggie burger and is also a fantastic breakfast cereal when served cold with almond or coconut milk and berries.
2. Lentils: 17.9g Protein / Cup
Delicious, nutritious and super easy to prepare. Trader Joe's sells them pre-cooked and I'm not afraid to just eat them cold right out of the package for lunch or a snack on the run.
3. Tempeh: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces
A fermented soybean-based food, tempeh is a healthy protein-packed alternative to it's non-fermented cousin tofu. It makes for a great veggie burger and doubles as a tasty meat alternative to meatballs in pasta, or over brown rice and vegetables.
4. Seitan: 24g Protein / 4 Ounces
An excellent substitute for beef, fish and soy products, one serving provides about 25% of your RDA of protein. But not for those with glutensensitivities, as it is made from wheat gluten.
5. Beans (Black, Kidney, Mung, Pinto): 12-15g Protein / Cup
I love beans. Great on a veggie burrito, in chili and soups, on salads or over rice with vegetables, beans of all varieties are a daily staple of my diet.
6. Spirulina: 6g Protein / 10 grams
A blue-green algae, spirulina is a highly bioavailable complete protein containing all essential amino acids. At 60% protein (the highest of any natural food), it's a plant-based protein powerhouse that finds it way into my Vitamix blends daily.
7. Hemp Seeds: 16g Protein / 3 Tbsp
With a perfect ration of omega-6 and omega-3 EFA's, hemp seeds are another bioavailable complete protein rivaled only by spirulina. A simple and great addition to a multitude of dishes, from breakfast cereal to salads to smoothies to vegetables and rice.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Regular Exercise before Getting Pregnant: KEY to minimizing common Pregnancy Pains

Well, not so much the pain side but the general 'discomfort' one gets when bearing a little being inside. I know I went a little crazy in doing weight training right up to the day before I was due (it really helps ease and distract myself against the difficulty of moving around), so I am not sure in my own experience whether this can be true. Personally, it helped me as it makes me move no matter how tired I was in general and fitness is all about moving the body isn't it? :)

Do note that the researcher admits the study is limited in the last paragraph below. It pretty much concludes the study.

Courtesy of ACE

Women who are hoping to get pregnant generally have a wide range of questions and concerns, including how to give themselves the best possible chances for a smooth pregnancy and delivery. It is, of course, well established that women who continue their exercise programs while pregnant typically have less pain and an easier delivery. And now a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that exercise before a woman even gets pregnant may help minimize or even prevent common physical pains among moms-to-be.
Specifically, researchers concluded that exercising up to five times weekly before pregnancy may help to stave off pelvic girdle pain—an umbrella term for any type of pain associated with the joint and ligament changes prompted by pregnancy.
Pelvic girdle pain affects 2 to 3 percent of women and may last up to a year after delivery. It includes pain in the rear part of the pelvis and at the joint where the pubic bones meet at the front of the pelvis (the symphysis pubis), and has been linked to reduced physical activity during pregnancy, which itself is a risk factor for complications of pregnancy.
Researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health looked at whether regular exercise before pregnancy might affect the risk of developing pelvic girdle pain in more than 39,000 women who were expecting their first child between 2000 and 2009. All the women were part of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, which has been tracking the health and well-being of a cross-section of Norwegian women, recruited between 1999 and 2008, and their children. The average age of the women was 38, but ranged from 14 to 46.
During their 17th week of pregnancy, when the women attended clinic for their routine ultrasound scan, they were asked about the type and frequency of the exercise they performed in the three months before becoming pregnant. In their 30th week of pregnancy, they were asked about the frequency and intensity of pelvic girdle pain.
The frequency of exercise was scored from zero (never) up to 3 (at least three times a week) and added up across 13 different types of exercise: brisk walking; jogging or orienteering; cycling; training in a fitness facility; swimming; low-impact, high-impact, or prenatal aerobics; dancing; cross-country skiing; ball games; and horseback riding.
More than half (56.5 percent) of the women said they had exercised at least three times a week before they became pregnant, while 7 percent said they had not exercised during this period. It is significant to note that 90 percent of those who exercised before pregnancy were still exercising at week 17.
Overall, about one in 10 women said they had experienced pelvic girdle pain by their 30th week of pregnancy. That number rose to around one in eight among those who said they didn't exercise prior to getting pregnant.
What type of exercise proved to be most beneficial? Among the women who exercised regularly, researchers discovered that those who engaged in high-impact exercise, such as jogging, high-impact aerobics and ball games were the least likely to report pelvic girdle pain.
In fact, after accounting for influential factors, including age, weight (body mass index), educational attainment, smoking and a previous history of back pain, high-impact exercising between three and five times a week was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of developing pelvic girdle pain by week 30 of pregnancy.
No additional benefit emerged for an exercise frequency of more than five times a week, the findings showed.
The research team, led by Katrine Mari Owe, Ph.D., acknowledges the limitations of their study. Because it was an observational study, no definitive conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn. However, they do point to the well-known analgesic effects of exercise among people who are not pregnant or who have chronic pain, as a result of the “feel-good” endorphins produced.
“Acknowledging the limitations of our study, these results emphasize the importance of promoting regular exercise among women of childbearing age,” they conclude.
Source: Owe, K.M. et al. (2015). Exercise level before pregnancy and engaging in high-impact sports reduce the risk of pelvic girdle pain: A population-based cohort study of 39 184 women.British Journal of Sports Medicine, DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-094921

Sunday, November 15, 2015

10 Signs You're Gluten Intolerant

And I finally clicked. I am intolerant!! Nooooooooooooooooo...I thought that Keratosis Pilaris is a natural thing but at least I found the cause to it.

Thanks mindbodygreen!

More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It's estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or celiac disease are never diagnosed.
It is also estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant. Could you be one of them?
If you have any of the following symptoms it could be a sign that you have gluten intolerance:
1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation. I see the constipation particularly in children after eating gluten.
2. Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as 'chicken skin' on the back of your arms). This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.
3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.
5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.
6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.
9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.
10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.
How to test for gluten intolerance?
I have found the single best ways to determine if you have an issue with gluten is to do an elimination diet and take it out of your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. Please note that gluten is a very large protein and it can take months and even years to clear from your system so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better.
The best advice that I share with my patients is that if they feel significantly better off of gluten or feel worse when they reintroduce it, then gluten is likely a problem for them. In order to get accurate results from this testing method you must eliminate 100% of the gluten from your diet.
How to treat gluten intolerance?
Eliminating gluten 100% from your diet means 100%. Even trace amounts of gluten from cross contamination or medications or supplements can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your body.
The 80/20 rule or "we don't eat it in our house, just when we eat out" is a complete misconception. An article published in 2001 states that for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eating gluten just once a month increased the relative risk of death by 600%.
Still unsure?
Seek out an integrative practitioner or functional medicine physician to help to guide you, or check out my Guide to Gluten-Free Living.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

10 Health Myths Debunked

Wow, I didn't know that sugar isn't bad for kids~ ! hahaha

Courtesy of WebMD

1. Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day

water glasses

No need to count cups. Research shows people who gulp a glass of H2O when they’re thirsty get enough to stay healthy and hydrated. Water-rich foods like soup, fruit, and vegetables and drinks like juice, tea, and coffee all help you get your fill. You might need to drink more water if your urine is dark yellow, you don’t go regularly, you're very active, or you live in a hot climate.

2.Eggs Are Bad for Your Heart

fried egg

Omelet lovers, rejoice. Eating an egg or two a day doesn’t raise the risk of heart disease in healthy people. Yes, the yolks have cholesterol, but for most of us, the amount found in any one food isn’t as bad for you as the mix of fats from everything you eat. What’s more, eggs have nutrients, like omega-3s, that may lower the risk of heart disease.

3.Antiperspirant Causes Breast Cancer


Don’t sweat it! Some scientists think the chemicals found in antiperspirants and deodorants can be absorbed through your underarm. The idea is they end up in breast tissue and make tumors more likely. But the National Cancer Institute says there’s no evidence connecting either product with breast cancer.

4.Being Cold Gives You a Cold


No matter what your grandma might've told you, spending too much time in the cold air doesn’t make you sick. One study found that healthy men who spent several hours in temperatures just above freezing had an increase in healthy, virus-fighting activity in their immune systems. In fact, you’re more likely to get sick indoors, where germs are easily passed.

5.You Need a Daily Multivitamins

taking pill

ou may have heard that a multivitamin can make up for nutrients that aren't in your diet. Researchers don’t all agree on that point. But if your doctor tells you to take vitamin, do it. And if you’re pregnant, you need to take folic acid to lower the risk of birth defects. Still, the best way to get your nutrients is to eat a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and healthy oils.

6.Eat Breakfast to Lose Weight

late man

Eating breakfast does help some people lose weight. It can stave off hunger, and it might prevent random eating later in the day. If you’re not a breakfast fan, you can still slim down. A Cornell University study found that the non-breakfast crowd didn’t overeat at lunch and dinner, and they ate about 400 fewer calories a day. The bottom line: Skipping breakfast may help some healthy people shed pounds.

7.Green Mucus Means Infection

blowing nose

The contents of your tissue can’t take the place of a lab test. Studies show that green or yellow mucus is slightly more common in certain bacterial infections. But it’s not a sure sign that you have one or that you need antibiotics. A sinus infection can cause clear mucus, and a common cold can turn it green.

8.Sugar Makes Kids Hyper

lollipop kids

Sugar isn’t good for kids, but research shows the sweet stuff won’t cause them to act out, hurt their schoolwork, or make them unable to focus. Since many parents believe there’s a link, though, they expect their kids to behave badly after eating sugary food. So, they’re primed to notice it if it happens.

9.A Toilet Seat Can Make You Sick


Don’t stress if you can’t cover the seat. Toilet seats are usually pretty clean -- it’s bathroom doors, door handles, and floors that tend to be covered with bugs like E. coli, norovirus (a.k.a. “stomach flu”), and the flu. Cover your hand with a paper towel before you touch doors or handles, and use hand sanitizer or wash afterward.

10.Cracking Joints Causes Arthritis

cracking knuckles

The sound might annoy people around you, but that’s about all the harm it does. You may think bones or joints rub together to cause the noise, but that’s not so. It results from a gas bubble that forms between the bones and “pops.” If you enjoy doing it, keep on. Studies show it doesn’t cause or play a role in arthritis. If you feel regular or severe pain when you do it, see your doctor.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

5 Ways to Meet the Right People

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
―Ana├»s Nin
Positive relationships form the foundation of a happy, rewarding life.
If your time and energy is misspent on the wrong relationships, or on too many activities that force you to neglect your good relationships, you can end up in a tedious cycle of fleeting friendships, superficial romances that are as thrilling as they are meaningless, and a general sense of wondering why you always seem to be running in place, chasing affection.
How do you building healthy, lasting relationships?  How do you find friends that lift you higher?  How do you meet a significant other that belongs at your family reunions?
How do you meet the right people?
Final Reminder:  We recently released the Audio Book for 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.  And we also have a limited time bundle of our eBook, audio book and bonus material on sale for a big discount.  Click here to check it out!

1.  Learn to enjoy your own company.

Ironically, the prerequisite to building healthy relationships is being comfortable when you’re all by yourself.  If you’re starting fresh, with a minimal number of friends in your immediate vicinity, the reason for this is obvious: spending time alone is your only option.  Likewise, if you have friends that have been dragging you down and negatively impacting your life, withdrawing from them and starting anew will likely require a bit more alone time.
Appreciating solitude starts with the conscious awareness of the freedom it brings.  When you enjoy your own company you don’t need others around for the sake of having others around.  You can be flexible about who you choose to spend time with, instead of letting your fear of being alone suck you into social situations and relationships that aren’t right for you.
It’s also important to note that being desperate for the company of others will hinder your ability to authentically interact and communicate.  You’ll be more worried about achieving external validation instead of just letting your truth flow and being open to establishing honest human connections.
Try to spend some time alone every day on a solo project that interests you – reading, writing, painting, coding, etc.  The goals is to get to the point where you are just as happy staying in as going out, as long as you keep a healthy balance between the two.  (Read The Mastery of Love.)

2.  Get in touch.

A big part of meeting the right people is reacquainting yourself with the good people you already know.  It’s all about initiating friendly interactions, instead of waiting for others to make the first move.  I bet you can think of several people that you have been terrible at keeping in touch with.  These might be extended family members, old college friends, previous coworkers who you enjoyed spending time with, or even current friends whom you rarely talk to.
Dig back into your past and make a list of people you wish you had stayed in better touch with.  Then contact them.  An email or text message might work best to break the ice if you’re contacting someone you haven’t talked to in a while.  If you have lost a person’s contact information, Google them, or look them up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.  Or perhaps you have a mutual friend or acquaintance who can put you in touch.
This practice might sound overly simple, or even a bit silly, but taking the initiative and reaching out to relationships is almost always appreciated.  The return on investment for the short amount of time it takes you to send some emails and texts, and hopefully make a few phone calls and lunch dates, is huge: HEALTHIER RELATIONSHIPS.  You’ll be left asking yourself: “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

3.  Be generous and help others.

You have two hands, one to help yourself and the second to help those around you.
It’s one thing to take the initiative with people you already know, but what about all the people around you whom you barely know?
Be friendly and introduce yourself to someone nearby.  When you’re connecting with someone new always start with generosity.  Focus on how you can help the other person.  Do you have information that could benefit them?  Do you have a skill that could assist them through their current situation?  Do you know someone who they should meet?
One of the best investments you can make in yourself is to take a genuine interest in other people.  The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.  Love and kindness begets love and kindness.  And so on and so forth… (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the Relationships chapter of 1000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

4.  Join an active community of likeminded people.

The best places to plant new seeds of friendship are at local, organized meet-ups on a particular topic that interests you.  A meet-up might be a professional association, a community focus group, a fitness class, a weekly group meditation hour, or any other gathering of people who share a common passion.
The easiest way to find a community to join is to make a list of your core passions and keywords that represent them.  Think about everything you enjoy and every issue that has meaning to you.  For example:
  • personal development
  • spirituality
  • blogging
  • software development
  • graphic design
  • acoustic guitar
  • meditation
  • yoga
  • cooking
  • etc.
Just let loose, open your mind and do a brain dump onto a piece of paper.  When you’re finished, head to Meetup.com, type in your keywords and see what you can find.  Alternatively, add the name of your city to your keywords and use them as a Google search query (for example: “cooking class Austin”).  This will help you find local meet-ups, social groups, bloggers, businesses, and events related to these topics.
What if you can’t find a meet-up group that fits your needs?  Start one.  Of course, the disadvantage of being a founder and organizer is that it takes a little more time and energy.  The upside, however, is everything else.
Finding the right group of people that share your passions and interests may require some dedicated research, but it’s worth it.  A shared passion is the most effective component in building positive, lasting relationships.  (Read Never Eat Alone.)

5.  Reach out to leaders and mentors.

About six months ago, Angel and I were in the process of mind mapping ideas for launching our book, 1,000 Little Things, and researching ways to take our blog to the next level.  We started reading and watching material from Derek HalpernRamit Sethi, and Lewis Howes, three down-to-earth guys that are masters in the ‘blogging as a business’ space.  We took inspiration from each of them and gradually implemented their ideas for our book launch.
Then I thought:  “Why not email them?”  So I did.
And they all replied.
Next thing you know, we’re exchanging emails and tweets, and then when Angel and I were visiting New York City last month (where they all live), we got in touch and we all got together for a fun Sunday brunch.
The lesson here is: don’t limit yourself.  Take a look at the blogs you have bookmarked, the email lists you subscribe to, or even your bookshelf, for example, and ask yourself:  Which of these bloggers, authors, and entrepreneurs might I like to get to know?  And then reach out to them.
Bloggers, authors and Internet entrepreneurs in particular seem to be more easily accessible by email and social media than other public figures.  Obviously, you may never meet or even get a personal response from some of the people you contact this way, but it’s still fun to make an attempt, and you never know what will happen.  You just might make a solid connection with someone that inspires you.
Nowadays Angel and I make it a point to email at least one person every month whom we would love to know more about, and whom we might normally consider out of reach.  More than half of these people have replied back to us.

Final Thoughts

If you feel like you could use some help in the social arena, why not make today the day you choose to break out of your shell and reach out to the wonderful people around you?

The floor is yours…