Category Archives: Quick Tips

The keys to confident and successful public speaking

Let your confidence shine!

Let your confidence shine!

Today I was debating with someone and someone sarcastically commented that I was sooo self-assured about what I was saying. Well, I was. I truly was. I wasn’t just throwing out theories, I was stating something that I know without a doubt is true and could easily be proven. It’s really easy to be self-assured in that case! I was confident about that situation and it’s easier to speak without fear when you are confident that you are right. It reminded me of something I learned in college and how I mastered my intense fear of public speaking.

When I was a kid, I used to hate giving presentations in school. Hated it. I was painfully shy and I would have rather failed a class than give a presentation. I couldn’t sleep and I worried for days, and dreaded the moment my turn came. I’d speak in a terrified, shaky voice and rush through what I had to say. I was normally so quiet at school, those forced presentations might have been the only time anyone heard me speak in class!

Years later, when I went to college for the second time in my mid 20’s, I gave myself a goal that I was going to leave with a 4.0. Well, in college, there are presentations. Gulp. But I wanted all A’s so bad, I knew I needed to master those presentations because they were just going to keep coming. I was still shy and quiet in class, and I remember one professor looking at me with sympathy when I got up to give a presentation on Charles de Gaulle, (fascinating hero, by the way!) Then I nailed that presentation so well that other students congratulated me and the professor told me how well I’d done. Honestly, she looked shocked and kept gushing over how good my presentation was. She looked at me differently after that and I became a favorite student. Whoa…me?!? Well, I wanted it bad enough and I knew I had to do it. That’s one thing I learned. I wanted that A so bad, I made it happen!

The next thing I learned is: Once you do it well, you realize, “hey, I can do this!” and the next time is not so scary. It just got easier and easier. I will always be a shy person, but I can say with confidence, that I can give a good presentation. Which leads to the third thing I learned….

It is easy to be confident when you know what you are talking about. I didn’t nail that presentation because I suddenly became a great public speaker. I succeeded because I went through the information over and over and over until I knew it extremely well and could have talked on and on about Charles de Gaulle. I didn’t even use note cards. I didn’t need to worry about something I’d learned so well it was second nature to me. I started using that pattern for all my presentations in college and later graduate school. Know your topic well!

If you have a fear of public speaking or even speaking your mind in front of smaller groups, just remember–if you know what you are talking about, it’s much easier to be confident. Don’t just memorize a speech. Know your subject so well that you could have a conversation about it. It comes more naturally and it’s less scary when you know that you know what you are doing. And you have to want to do it. When you speak successfully, save that feeling for the future and remind yourself you can do it again.

These days, I feel pretty good talking in front of people. 🙂

Get a 10% bonus on your tax refund

I did this last year and am excited to see it’s an option this year again!

I use Turbo Tax every year anyway because it’s much easier and faster for me, plus it catches a lot of credits I wouldn’t know to look for. Last year, they had an offer that gave you an extra 10% when you directed part of your refund directly to an Amazon gift card. Since I buy a lot on Amazon, from books to diapers to wipes, to household cleaning items, some groceries and more, I sent $500 of my tax refund directly to my Amazon account balance and got an extra $50 added on for doing that. Since I would have spent the money on Amazon eventually, I appreciated that I got an extra $50 to do it all at once. That balance last at least six months as my monthly Subscribe and Save orders came directly out of it. I think this is a great deal!

I have blogged about the benefits of Amazon in the past. I really save a lot of time and money with Subscribe and Save and this 10% bonus will come in handy. Here’s my previous blog about it.

A good survey site for earning gift cards

Legitimate ways to make money online!

Legitimate ways to make money online!

I’ve posted before about my experiences with using survey sites to make money. So far, my favorite is Inbox Dollars, (I’ve cashed out over $120 and have another $24 accumulated now!) I don’t follow very many survey sites because it’s hard to make enough money to cash out unless I’m more focused, so I stick with that one the most.
(Here are some links to my earlier posts about Inbox Dollars: one, two, three and four.) I also have a very small, (but hopefully growing,) Facebook group where I post some of the better surveys or incentives that come up. For example, I recently got $5 credit for ordering free business cards, and another $6.75 for ordering a very cheap double subscription to a magazine. Here’s that link: Making Money with Online Survey Sites

I also use Pinecone Research, but they don’t open for new members often, so you have to wait for that one. I’ve made $36 on that site. There aren’t a ton of surveys, but the ones you do get are well worth it and you can ask for a check any time.

Inbox Dollars sends a check and Pinecone Research has multiple options, including a check; however, this latest site offers gift cards. I’m a huge Amazon fan, and I use the site to buy books a necessities, (like diapers for my kids using Amazon Mom,) so this works well for me.

My newest one that I’ve found to be a good deal is MintVine. I haven’t done a whole lot on that site yet, but I’ve already earned a $10 gift card, (I used it for Amazon,) and I’m half way to the next one. I found that the points to cash out added up pretty quickly. I think it took maybe two weeks? You won’t get rich, but to click on a few surveys, it’s a pretty fair deal. There are incentives for referring people, for taking short surveys, for completing your profile and more. Plus, every time you are rejected for a survey, you get 5 points, (which equals 5 cents.) If nothing else, you could make 15 cents a day just to click on the daily poll and be rejected for a couple surveys.

Here is a referral link if you want to join MintVine. I think it’s definitely one of the better sites.

Five science-based ways to lift your mood quickly!



1. Take five minutes outside to exercise. This study found that just five minutes exercising outside helps lift your mood. It works even better if you are near water.





2. Listen to upbeat music. Many studies have shown that music can improve your mood.



3. Cuddle with your cat or dog. There are many health benefits to caring for a pet.



4. Take a bath…and wash your worries away according to this study.



5. Watch a funny movie, read some jokes, have some fun. Laughter is proven to reduce stress and improve your health.

Anticipation and Your Thoughts Can Bring Happiness

A while back, I read an article that claimed just planning a vacation could reduce stress and raise your mood even if you never actually took the vacation. I thought that was really interesting. I tried it. I surfed around the internet day-dreaming of where I’d love to go and what I’d do. I closed my eyes and imagined relaxing by a nice pool. Picturing those images in my mind really did feel nice!

Lately, my therapist has encouraged me to make a list of the things I want in life–no matter how big. She says to write them down using happy, descriptive words and to look at my list every morning and night. She told me that reading my list should make me feel good as well as inspired. I’ve read this advice in other places as well. Of course, there is also a theory that we attract the things we think about and many self-help authors have written about it. For example, Wayne Dyer, (one of my favorites,) often approaches this topic.
Click here to purchase The Power of Intention

Today I was thinking about this theory that just planning a vacation can bring happiness and I tried to find the original article I read. I didn’t find the same one, but I did find this one about the study that supported it. This article also claims that a person gets more peace and happiness from planning the vacation than they get from actually taking it! The study found that people get an average of 8 weeks of happier attitudes while anticipating a vacation, but the results quickly disappeared when the vacation was over.

While searching, I also found many articles about the connection between happiness and anticipation. One claimed that people get just as much happiness from thinking about watching a favorite movie as they did from actually watching the movie! There were several studies indicating that anticipation of good things is a mood-booster.

Just another reminder that we can control our happiness by directing our thoughts towards pleasant topics! I’m off to go think about good things now 🙂

Amazon Mom Review

When I find a company that offers me great service and great prices, I become a loyal customer…and I like to tell people how great the service is. I am constantly telling people how great is and I really mean it! I’m a Prime member, I use Amazon Mom and I use Subscribe and Save. It’s absolutely worth it to me!

As you can probably tell, I read a lot of books. I love that I can pick out a book on Amazon, get a good price and have free two-day delivery without having to drive around to a book store to find something in stock. Plus, right now they have a promotion where, if you skip your free two-day shipping, you can get a $1 credit on your next order. I’ve been taking advantage of that for things I don’t need right away, (and they still show up quickly anyway.) My son loves Prime because we can stream Thomas the Tank Engine videos for free, so we get a lot of use out of that feature as well. With Amazon Mom, I save 20% off on diapers each month…and they come right to my door. I like that so much more than lugging big boxes through stores to my car then into my house! Plus, when I buy in bulk through Amazon Mom, I save money. And if I set up more than 5 subscriptions a month using Subscribe and Save, (the diapers count towards the minimum of 5 items,) I get an extra 5% off of the normal subscribe and save prices. That’s easy! I just pick things I’d buy anyway and I save money on them too.

I keep my credit card on file, (and it’s even better if you get the Amazon credit card because you earn reward points,) and it’s a breeze to have the things I need show up at my door for lower prices than I’d pay in stores. That definitely makes my life easier!

If you are interested in joining Amazon Mom or reading more:
Try Amazon Mom for Free

Or if you don’t have kids or need to buy diapers, you can still take advantage of an Amazon Prime trial and Subscribe and Save:
Join Amazon Prime – Listen to Over a Million Songs – Start Free Trial Now

A whitening mouthwash that really works!

Okay, this isn’t a book review, but it is about a product that can help you make your life better!

Click here to purchase Colgate Optic White Mouthwash Sparkling, Fresh Mint, 16 Fluid Ounce

I sometimes buy products that claim to do wonderful things, and I’m often disappointed when they don’t actually work. (And yet I keep trying! I must be an optimist!) I bought this Colgate Optic White Mouthwash a few weeks ago because I decided I wanted to white my teeth and it looked promising. I wasn’t very dedicated to using it. The instructions say to use it twice a day, but I used it maybe every other day for about a week before I really looked in the mirror one day and realized my teeth definitely looked whiter–noticeably whiter! I’m always excited when things really work and work well, so I wanted to share this product. I can only imagine how well it works when you use it as often as it recommends! I just bought the matching toothpaste a few days ago. Put me down as a pleased customer 🙂


Reaching My Financial Goals Online

I started this blog to review all the self-help and life-improvement books I own, plus to add some helpful tips as I come across them. I’ve ended up posting about survey sites a few times. I guess that goes along with the “Life As You Make It” theme, though. I’m using the survey money as extra funding to reach my financial goals, so that’s definitely me making my life better, right? Anyway, I went out to the mailbox today to get my mail from Saturday and I found four checks! One was for $40 from Inbox Dollars, one was for $6 from Pinecone Research and the other two were from Nielsen Voice for $5 and $6. So…a total of $57 in my mailbox! All for little tasks I did from my laptop while eating a meal or to wind down before bed. I’m probably starting to sound like a fan girl, but I love that I can get this “easy” money to supplement my regular income. Even though it’s not a huge amount, it’s really going to make a difference for me. I’m using other sites as well, so I think $100 a month is a realistic expectation. $1200 a year from the comfort of my home? I’ll take it!

If you decide to sign up for Inbox Dollars, make sure to go to the “offers” page and sign up for Nielsen Voice. They are the same company that calculates TV ratings, except this is the online version. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, Inbox Dollars will give you $5, but you will also be able to earn incentives from Nielsen Voice as well, (I got $11 in checks from this week, but that’s definitely not the first time. All I did was participate in their program and answer a survey.)

There are a lot of survey sites out there, but I really like Inbox Dollars the most because it brings multiple options into one program. I expect to cash in my next $40 check in the next week!

Making Money Online with Inbox Dollars

So I’ve posted a couple times about using Inbox Dollars as a way to bring in a bit of extra money. I’m still doing it and I’m still pleased! I’m now up to about $70 just from this one site in just over a month. Plus, I’m a gold member now because I’ve cashed in my first payment. After you become a gold member, you get some extra perks and some of the tasks on the site pay a little more. Again, I’m not getting rich, but considering I’m doing random surveys and some offers at my kitchen table while I snack or eat dinner, I’m more than happy to get paid a few dollars a day!

On this site, you have to reach $30 to request a check. They charge you a $3 fee to send the check, but if  you wait until you hit $40, (which I did,) the fee is waived. So how can you get to that first $40? Well, I looked through the offers page and found over $20 you can earn just for signing up for newsletters or other survey sites. Not bad! Plus, you get $5 to join. If you decide to sign up for Inbox Dollars, I recommend going through their site to sign up for the Nielsen Voice offer which pays $5. I’ve received over $15 from Neilsen separately, (in addition to the Inbox Dollars reward!) just for participating in their program. So, just for joining Inbox Dollars and accepting their Neilsen offer, you’ve got $10, (plus you’ll get incentives from Neilsen!)

Once you’ve gone through and accepted or signed up for the various offers, you can still take daily surveys. For every survey you take, you get to spin their game wheel to win a prize. The other day, I won a $5 bonus!Just for spinning a virtual wheel! I frequently get 5-25 cent bonuses. Surveys usually pay 25-50 cents, but they are short and easy. Sometimes, they pay more. A few days ago, I took a survey that paid nearly $4. When you consider all the options for offers, surveys, bonuses and more, the pocket change you can make really adds up. You can also earn change for viewing their sponsored e-mails or using their search engine. In about five weeks, I’ve reached $40 and cashed out once, plus I’m currently 3/4 of the way to cashing out again. This is definitely a great site to look at for a few minutes a day to make a few dollars a day!

Making Money Online Update

So I’m still working with Inbox Dollars and I’m pleased!

I won’t pretend I’m getting rich or making a living, but I have made nearly $50 in three weeks doing very easy things with minimal time. That’s not bad! With this site, there are a variety of ways to make a few cents or dollars–including watching videos, playing games, making purchases through other sites, signing up for various offers and taking surveys. I have taken a lot of surveys, signed up for some freebie offers, played their Spin and Win game, used their search engine and more, but the surveys are the biggest part. I get e-mails throughout the day alerting me to make a few cents by verifying I read them. I can earn more if I accept the offers. I’m on a tight budget right now, so the few dollars I make each day on this site, (plus what I make on others,) is going right to bills. Every little bit helps!

There are a ton of survey sites out there and I simply don’t have time for all of them, so I’ve narrowed it down to the couple that pay off the most. The other one I really like is My Soap Box. I don’t get a bunch of surveys there, but the ones I do get have a better pay rate than other sites. This site pays in points that are redeemed for gift cards, (I’m going for the card!) I have earned the equivalent of over $5 in a week by doing just a few minutes’ worth of surveys and I’m also working on two larger projects that will pay me $10 and $25 for a few minutes of product testing. I do all of these while I’m eating a meal or to relax before bed, so it doesn’t take much time. I highly recommend both of these sites. I don’t think it would be unrealistic to make about $100 a month between the two of them if you put in a small amount of effort. It’s great for paying down debt, making extra pocket money, building savings and more!

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