Surrounded by Screens

How many screens are within your view at this very moment?

Remember, it didn’t used to be like this. Not too many years ago, you were hard-pressed to find a smartphone user in a crowd.

Now, look at all of the screens available. It feels like everyone is looking at screens all the time. They are both bigger (70″ LED TV’s, Phablet screens) and smaller (Tablets, smartphones, Wearable technology) and just more prevalent overall.

This trend will not be stopping anytime soon, either. More average Americans use computers while at work, as well as when they get home. That means we are also spending more time looking at all of these new screens.

Here’s some advice from a recovering tech junkie:

Matrix Screens

Found at a house Kristin and I were looking to purchase.

Watch your Time

In Financial Peace University the Marketing lesson, Dave Ramsey talks about having your “shields up” when tackling debt because there are so many businesses out there trying to take your money.

The same is true today with Time.

Time has become our most precious commodity. In a world of “Freemium” business models, companies now want your time more than ever. The more screens you have, the more you need to be aware of what you’re doing while on them.

Time is Money. It’s another currency. Extra screens mean more potential for spending time. How often have you lost track of time on a screen?

Giving your time & attention to a screen is saying “This is what’s important to me right now” whether you realize it or not. Well, is it important? 

You need to be able to answer that question consciously, or your sub-conscious will answer for you.

Be intentional

Financial experts say to watch the little purchases, they add up to a significant portion of money. The same is true with time. Pay attention to those little time payments, they could turn into huge time-sucks.

Be conscious of what you’re doing and don’t let someone else dictate your actions.

I make it a point to do this while watching movies. The director did not intend for me to watch this movie with one eye on my phone or laptop, so I’ll make it a point to keep anything out of reach that I may be tempted with, in order to enjoy the movie.

Just like with money & getting sidetracked, it’s easy to Facebook-check yourself to death too.

Remember that you can only really look at one at a time, anyway.

Take a Break

If you feel like your eyeballs are going to pop out of your head, walk away. Look at an object that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Make sure you are blinking correctly & regularly. There are even special glasses for those who look at screens for extended periods during the day.

It’s easy to center your life around your devices. Even as someone who loves checking out the latest gadgetry, I try not to make these things the center of my life. That happens by having my “shields up” and making conscious decisions with my time.


How do you feel about the prevalence of additional devices everywhere? Has it changed the way you consume content?



Hello, Apps! #3 Sounds like Good News!

Hello, Apps! #3                                                (This post contains affiliate links)

Go find that iTunes password, because it’s time for another round of Hello, Apps!

As always, we have featured apps broken into 3 categories. We focus on the iOS platform, and apps on this feature can range in price.

1. Escapism & Entertainment

Recommended by Ethan

Vevo Videos20140517-185017.jpg

screenshots from Vevo

Intended to be a Hulu for music videos, Vevo launched in 2009 and later partnered with Youtube, which is why you’ll see Vevo when you search on Youtube for music.

As a fan of all types of music during a trend for cord-cutting continues in the home, I am ecstatic that music videos shine once again on Vevo. Vevo has made great strides in offering new ways & features to view videos and stay updated on music trends, old and new.

Vevo TV, an-always on channel of blocks of videos, showcases different categories like new music, specific decades (like the ’80s), and lifetime most viewed. Vevo Lift features a new artist monthly with videos, interviews and special concerts. You can also find news, interviews, and Vevo Certified videos, surpassing 100 Million views.

If you are a music fan but miss the days of music videos, don’t worry, they are now on Vevo in high quality video and sound.

“I want my Vevo TV!”

2. Information & Utility

Recommended by Ethan

  Zite 3 Zite 2 Zite 1

screenshots from Zite

I like to call Zite a DJ for your news.

There are a few other choices available for this new space, but I find Zite to be the most simple and clean. It learns your interests and suggests articles that you would like. I find it an invaluable tool when catching up on the latest information.

I like Zite for its simplicity. It’s previous competitor, Flipboard, recently bought the company and has plans to eventually shut down Zite.

While I love Flipboard, too, I’m glad that I can still get the same Zite experience I got years ago when it was owned my CNN, at least for now. I’ll be sad to see it go, but for now I use it almost daily.

3. Social (People)

Recommended by Ethan & Kristin

Facebook 3Facebook 2Facebook 1

screenshots from Facebook

What can we say about Facebook that hasn’t already been said? Love it or hate it, it has cemented itself into our culture for the tech-savvy and not so tech-savvy, as well as young and old alike.

We recommend it mostly because it’s essential to understand what Facebook morphs into with each iteration. Understand that it’s Facebook’s goal for you to live within their walls as long as possible, too.

Before Facebook went public with an IPO, it struggled to figure out how to even make money before realizing its ad revenue potential, and that is why Facebook time for you means revenue for them.

We recommend you stay smart on Facebook. As with many things in life, Facebook is what you make of it. If you want a good experience, you must give a good experience. That means being careful what you surround yourself with while you are there.

It really is unlike any other tool when it comes to connecting with others, and that’s why we recommend it.

Got any other apps that you love? Leave them in the comments!

Be a Boring Eater

We have more choices now than ever before as a society. We can get whatever we want, whenever we want, in any color, size and flavor. That surely includes our food.

Boring Eater

Why not shun all of those choices and go back to basics?

I’ve been eating 2 eggs for breakfast for several years now. It’s become engrained in my body, and I’m happier and more productive when I start the day this way.

I’ve also recently switched to Kale salads exclusively for lunch, and I select between 5-7 common snacks that I will rotate throughout the week.

Being a boring eater for at least one meal will free up your time, give you more clarity with your food choices and simplify your life overall.

Research from the University of Vermont & University of Buffalo has also shown that those who ate the same meal consumed fewer calories by the fifth day of the experiment, so there is some definite health benefits of being boring, too.

Here are 6 reasons for being a boring eater:

1. Grocery visits are faster & cheaper

Because I get the same items at the grocery store, there is a lot less time spent at the grocery, as well as less time preparing a list.

I can do a mental inventory of what is needed for the week and buy only what is needed to refill my inventory, which saves me from wasting a lot of grocery items throughout the week or overspending when I’m not prepared.

2. Food is now nutrients

My body doesn’t care if I eat eggs, turkey or fish, it just knows I’m giving it protein, sodium & cholesterol.

When using the same basic foods, I’m able to gauge my nutrient intake better because I know I’m getting some daily requirements out of the way. I’m not worried if I’m getting the right nutrients because I didn’t grab what sounded good to me at the time.

3. Food tracking is easier

When you eat at least one common meal, it’s easier to use tracking software like MyFitnessPal (affiliate link) to manage your intake. You can input it once and it will save that info for a later time.

I also find that I even do a better job of self-regulating by eating common things.

For example, when I’ve strayed from my meal plan and I know something just doesn’t feel right in my body, I can usually trace it back to what I ate previously & make corrections going forward to get back on track.

4. Less decisions & more time

It takes a long time to figure out what you are going to eat in any given day if you are always making that choice.

When faced with too many choices, we become paralyzed and don’t make any decisions, opening up the chance for someone else (like marketers) to make the choice for us.

This is why there was a restaurant called “I Don’t Care”. (Hats off to the owner(s) of this establishment for having the most clever name in the restaurant business.)

You could use that time and effort spent deciding what to eat doing something better.

5. The special meals are more enjoyable

It’s not like Kristin and I eat the same thing for every meal, day in and day out. We still mix it up in the kitchen and go out to eat.

While my body is used to the same things, I still enjoy a fancy meal that is different. Being boring most of the time makes these meals that much more special when we’re preparing a fancy dinner at home or going out for a steak.

6. Life is no longer centered around meals

When I was fatter, I used to fantasize about where I was going to eat for lunch, and then in the afternoon I would get excited about what to eat for dinner.

An endless cycle of waiting for what food to eat next was not only no fun, but it was wasting my energy. My life was consumed with food and food opportunities.

I used to spend a lot of time planning my life around my meals, now they are an afterthought that give me more time to do better things.

Have you tried getting boring with food? What have you learned in the process?



A Bird’s Perseverance

There are things that we can accomplish in life so incredible that others marvel at.

Last week, I started out with the intent to grill up some chicken breasts when I come across this:

Bird's nest in grillNow I’m not a bird expert, but I would say this is a large nest. It was amazing the amount of work this little bird had accomplished in a short amount of time (I had used the grill about a week prior to this picture).

That bird had been a planner, and she was just doing what she felt was right.

She had a “Why” in place and set out to do whatever it took to make those goals come true.

After coming across this nest and making sure there were no eggs, I cleared out the grill and proceeded to make some chicken for my own family.

I took this bird’s home away. I was the hardship that devastated her world and tore down her dreams.

What did she do in this harrowing situation? I’m not sure if she cursed me and the rest of the world, but she certainly didn’t spend a lot of time complaining about her situation.

She buckled down and got to work again. Maybe she had a new sense of urgency with her goals.

She saw a threat to her dreams & fought for what was important. 

She put the past in the past, moved on, and STILL went on to accomplish great things. She had a reason for not giving up.

Bird's Second Nest

And what do you know, the next week she had defeated me, fair and square.

It’s hard to argue with perseverance like that.

Whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish right now, know that there is always someone out there who wants to cut you down. They want to tell you that you won’t succeed or that your goals aren’t worth the effort. Tell that to this bird.

As much as I wanted my grill, this bird worked harder than me to get it. Look who has the grill now.

You might think you’re not good enough, that there is no point in continuing and that your goal will be impossible. Not True.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”― Henry Ford

What has this bird inspired in you?


Creating a Workout Routine on Youtube

workout routine


Getting a good workout doesn’t mean you have to spend a bunch of money. You always hear fitness experts saying that getting a workout at home is just as good as heading to the gym and using giant equipment. But how?

I find that using Youtube is a simple solution to working out at home. You can find a variety of workout routines for absolutely free on Youtube. Below is a simple step by step tutorial on how to create a workout “playlist” on Youtube. Follow the black arrows (—>) and blue text below.

STEP 1: search for the video you are looking for. I’m searching for a morning stretch routine. 
youtube step 1

STEP 2: click on the video you want to add to your playlist to open the video. 

youtube step 2

STEP 3: Once in the video, click on “Add To.” You can add to an existing playlist you’ve already made, or type in a new Playlist name and click “Create Playlist.”

youtube step 3

STEP 4: To view all your playlists, click on your icon in the top right corner, and all your playlists will drop down. 

youtube step 4

STEP 5: Click on the playlist you want to see all of the videos you’ve added to that playlist. 

youtube step 5


There you have it! Creating playlists on youtube for workout routines is super simple! Do you have any youtube workouts that you recommend?

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