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How and When To Post on Social Media

Best Times To Post on Social Media

How and when you post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn can make a huge difference in the amount of traffic you are able to garner from these social platforms. While this may not be important to passive social media users, it certainly is to bloggers and businesses who leverage a social media marketing strategy to grow their reach, increase engagement, and encourage click-throughs.

Instead of sifting through multiple studies to piece together information on the different platforms, StartABlog123.com has created a useful infographic on the optimal times to post. Furthermore, the graphic also discusses the worst times to post, how to use hashtags, the ideal number of updates per day, and platform image sizes for each website.

Nevertheless, it is noteworthy to mention that results for your specific audience may differ depending on your target demographic and their online habits. While this may be a wonderful guide, bloggers and businesses should track and analyze their own traffic patterns to identify the ideal posting times for their readers.

How and When To Post on Social Media

Featured photo credit: The Best Times To Post on Social Media via StartABlog123.com

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7 Helpful Online Services That Make Your Life Easier

Online Services That Make Your Life Easier

There are so many things that we as a students, workers, business owners, freelancers or even housewives have to manage, and we are constantly looking for tools and services to make our lives easier. Whether that be a tool or service to cope with your workflow, to change your profile picture – or even something as basic as an online service that helps you write – finding the best and most useful services can be difficult.

I have listed some of the best tools and online services you can use to make your life easier trough the most useful websites that you may not know about.

1. IFTTT

Pronounced as “gift” without the “g,” IFTTT (free) is a very useful online service that simplifies many troubles of modern life. It enables you to synchronize your online experience without any programming knowledge. The service works with more than 100 channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn by involving actions called “receipts” that can be published and shared.

It’s an easy to use website that “makes the internet work for you” by synchronizing your channels, such as; inviting any new phone contact to connect on LinkedIn, updating your Twitter profile picture when your Facebook profile picture changes and saving Gmail messages to Evernote. If your favorite team scores a goal, have IFTTT send you a text alert so you can celebrate.

2. ManualsLib

Have you recently bought a product and lost it’s manual, or need to fix your washing machine but have misplaced the instruction book? Finding it online can be really easy with ManualsLib. This useful web application can save both time and effort for you by offering a massive collection of PDF files for all types of products. The service is quite easy-to-use with an option of entering your query in the search field. Search results include the product name, model number, description, date, size and the number of pages. It also gives you an option to either read it online or download it to your local system.

3. TED

Definitely, the most well-known addition to this list, the reputation, and fame of TED talks is astonishing in recent years, and they now invited some of the leading successful leaders in the world, including Bill Gates, Richard Dawkins and Elon Musk. TED hosts inspiring talks all over the world, covering pretty much every aspect of human experience and you can find all the videos of these talks on TED website. A useful place to gain more knowledge about any subject that grasps your attention.

4. Print Friendly

Does exactly what it says. Print Friendly styles any WebPage appropriate for perfect print experience, eliminating the need to formatting and tweaking sites to fit your office or home printer. This website does it all for you, without any stress. It also removes online Ads, website navigation and junk files, so you save paper and ink when you print. It’s free and easy to use.

6. Pikkup

Pikkup is an on-demand moving service that allows you to book a moving truck on-the-spot or schedule to move goods now or later. Users are able to make the background-check and select insured drivers to transport goods to a chosen drop-off spot at their leisure. The smartphone app camera feature helps users to share the size of the load to select the best driver and truck for the job and to give estimate pricing. A live GPS feed provides users with the facility to track the route taken for the destination.

5. Homestyler

A must visit free Web app intended for anyone in the midst of moving or shifting home, or anyone considering a home remodel. Homestyler is an interactive website that allows you to design a room layout by building it for you, without having the hassle of moving all the furniture multiple times in advance. Numerous other features such as printing the design or sharing it with others in Homestyler will make your life easier.

7. AdvancedWriters

It’s an online site that helps students, writers, teachers, and authors to get unique content, check plagiarism and offers freelance writing jobs. This online service helps people from academia by offering writing services for papers and assignments that students may need assistance with. It also has a messaging system that provides timely information on the jobs available for writers in their areas of knowledge and provides guidance to connect with customers on the go.

Featured photo credit: Stanley Zimny via flickr.com

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7 Lies They Told You About Making Money Online

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We hear a lot of things about the Internet in today’s world. Whether it’s your friend or sibling showing you a funny video or your uncle telling you about “that new MySpace thing”, the majority of people are connected to the Internet on a daily basis. Even though people are on the Internet more and more, it’s still very new to us as a society. The concept of buying items and doing business online is still foreign to a lot of people.

One thing that seems especially ridiculous is when you hear about people making tons of money online. It almost seems fake that people can make a living using the Internet while you’re using it to look at cat pictures while your homework piles up. How do they do it?

This article will help clear up some misconceptions about the Internet and give you some pointers about making money online.

Myth #1: The Internet is a dark scary place where people scam each other.

In 2016, the Internet is no long the obscure uncertainty that it once was. Almost everyone in today’s society is online in some way. When it comes to the money-making community, this means there are more and more people with the same level of experience as you.

Are there bad people online? Yes of course. There are people who will do whatever it takes to get their way, even if it means stealing from people. Due diligence and patience will help you sniff out a lot of potential bad situations.

Some tips to stay safe when handling money online:

  • Use a reputable service like Escrow to hold the money until the transaction is complete.
  • Only proceed with a deal if you’re 100% comfortable.
  • When buying something know exactly what you want and ask questions to assess the validity and knowledge of a seller.
  • When selling, keep a documented record of everything. Have set polices that you obey by when dealing with customers. Your return policy should be clear and fair.
  • “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Myth #2 : The Internet is great for business because you can quickly and easily make a ton of cash.

Anything worth doing takes hard work! Just because the Internet makes certain aspects of business easier or faster doesn’t mean the money will just start flowing in.

Depending on how you structure your online business, there is definitely the potential for a huge influx of cash. But if you ask most successful online entrepreneurs, they will tell you about a time in their life they spent struggling trying to figure out how to best use the internet for their business.

The Internet is a big toolbox, you need to search each website for the right tool for the job. One site may have a virtual assistant who writes articles for you, another that has a graphic designer that you work with and another that you sell certain products on. Your mission is to figure out how to effectively use your tools and take advantage of how lucrative the Internet is.

Myth #3: That any product or eBook will tell you all you need to know.

There’s no collection of information that will tell you everything you need to know in order to be successful online. No matter how much it seems like an eBook or manual might help you, it won’t give you the full picture.

Part of being able to generate income online is combining tactics that have already worked for other people and applying your own creative twist to it. EBooks, manuals, and guides can definitely be useful and help you get started but trial and error will be your best friend. Once you figure out what works for you personally, you can increase your efforts and your profits.

Myth #4 : If you figure out a secret set of steps, you can make a ton of money working four hours a week.

Part of the genius of working online is the ability to create passive income sources for yourself. Passive income means once you finish the work, you continue to receive profits from it down the road. For example, imagine that it takes you 30 hours to write an eBook. Imagine you spend 1200 hours writing over a few years and end up with 40 books.

You take all 40 of your books and take advantage of Amazon’s kindle program, where they promote your book for you. If your book is good you’ll start to see some sales. Possibly a lot of sales if people like one of your books and decide to buy your other ones.

With a setup like this it’s definitely possible to only work four hours a week as your business grows over time. But as you can see the work it takes to get there definitely isn’t easy or fast.

Myth #5: It’s all a scam! No one is making money online.Infographic9WaysToMakeMoney

This couldn’t be further from the truth! Plenty of entrepreneurs have figured out how to market their services online and work from home.

Even more and more offline businesses have figured out how to translate from traditional business models to developing an online presence.

The only scam is when people tell you that you can start making money overnight. Or that if you give them a certain amount they’ll flip it into more for you. Just like with offline ventures, you need to put in work and be of value to people to make money.

Myth #6: You can start with no investment.

No matter what type of project you decide to work online you will need to invest one of two things; time or money. Ideally you want to invest both, but only if you know what you’re doing. When you’re first starting out you’ll be spending more time than money learning and figuring out how to best make use of your skills.

Making money online is basically being an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur you have to have a strong belief in yourself. This belief needs to show itself by a constant desire to learn and try new things. Knowledge is power in this realm.

Myth #7: You need to be an expert to make money.

Just like in the “real world”, people buy online based on a need that they have. If you can fulfill a need people have or target people who have a specific need, then you can generate income.

One of the most important things about working in an evolving arena like the Internet is to always stay learning. You may start out with no knowledge but as you progress you’ll slowly becomes extremely knowledgeable. You don’t need to be an expert to start out but knowledge is definitely what will help you move forward.

The golden rule

When it comes to creating opportunities for yourself online or trying to close a deal with someone via Skype always remember the golden rule: if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Patience and common sense will save you a ton of headaches during your online journey.

Don’t be so desperate to make money that you ignore obvious warning signs. Take your time and process each deal by taking close look at details. You should have a good feeling about the person you’re dealing with, the parameters of the deal and the agreed upon payment method. If you’re always critical about the different situations you get into online, you’ll come out on top more often than not. Don’t be afraid to ask questions until you’re satisfied.

So what are some alternatives to explore that will help you make money online?

How-Teachers-Can-Earn-Extra-Money-Infographic-550x575Making money online is all about finding people you can be of value to

Making money is similar to the life of a farmer. If the farmer can’t provide the ground with value by planting, watering, and caring for it properly, the ground will not reward him with crops that he can use to make a living. No matter what you’re offering, the Internet just makes it easier to reach people who may be interested. If you put value and helping people first in any strategy, you will be successful.

Once you know what you want to do, explore all the avenues available for you to find potential buyers. Niche forums, blogs, social networks, and video sites are all places where you can let people know what it is you offer and to be of value to them.

Upwork.com, Freelancer.com etc.

Job board sites like Upwork and Freelancer.com are good options for people starting their freelancing journey. You can get clients fairly easily, build a portfolio while getting paid and get reviews that you can refer to for future projects.

Local freelancing

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give people in your community a call. As said before, you want to find ways to be of use to people. If you learned a specific skill online, try and find some people locally that you can be of value to.  

Craigslist/Kijiji

Classified sites are great ways to make some extra cash while cleaning out your garage or attic. This is a quick and easy way to use the Internet to get in contact with people who have a need that you can fulfill. You can sell items you no longer want or check the wanted section and see if people are looking for something you may have.

Try and think about an item that would be popular in your area. If you can find it at a low price on a different site, you can import it and make a profit on the margins.

Turning your hobbies into money

As always, making money is about being of value to people. Think about what you enjoy and what people like you would find useful. You can create a product or service within your niche and be of value to people.

Doing things like setting up a website, making YouTube videos, or sharing what you’re doing via social networks are great ways to draw attention from other people. You can use these tactics to build an audience, generate interest, and eventually start to sell whatever product or service you come up with.

When it comes to making money online be prepared to put in a lot of hours of work. Having a clear plan of action is a big help but a consistent desire to learn new things will be your best friend during your online journey. This article has addressed some common misconceptions that should help change how look at working with the Internet. If you’re willing to put in the work, there’s no telling where you’ll end up!

Featured photo credit: How Your Favorite Internet Companies Make Money via mashable.com

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Achieve Your Goals: Research Reveals a Simple Trick That Doubles Your Chances for Success

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We all have goals. And what’s the first thing most of us think about when we consider how to achieve them? “I need to get motivated.” The surprising thing? Motivation is exactly what you don’t need. Today, I’m going to share a surprising research study that reveals why motivation isn’t the key to achieving your goals and offers a simple strategy that actually works. The best part? This highly practical strategy has been scientifically proven to double or even triple your chances for success.

Here’s what you need to know and how you can apply it to your life…

How to Make Exercise a Habit

Let’s say that – like many people – you want to make a habit of exercising consistently. Researchers have discovered that while many people are motivated to workout (i.e. they have the desire to workout and get fit), the people who actually stick to their goals do one thing very differently from everyone else. Here’s how researchers discovered the “one thing” that makes it more likely for you to stick to your goals.

In a study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, researchers measured how frequently people exercised over a two week period. The researchers started by randomly assigning 248 adults to one of three groups.

Group 1 was the control group. They were asked to keep track of how frequently they exercised over the next two weeks. Before they left, each person was asked to read the opening three paragraphs of an unrelated novel.

Group 2 was the motivation group. They were also asked to keep track of how frequently they exercised over the next two weeks. Then, each person was asked to read a pamphlet on the benefits of exercise for reducing the risk of heart disease. Participants in Group 2 were also told, “Most young adults who have stuck to a regular exercise program have found it to be very effective in reducing their chances of developing coronary heart disease.”

The goal of these actions was to motivate Group 2 to exercise regularly.

Group 3 was the intention group. After being told to track their exercise, they also read the motivational pamphlet and got the same speech as Group 2. This was done to ensure that Group 2 and Group 3 were equally motivated.

Unlike Group 2, however, they were also asked to formulate a plan for when and where they would exercise over the following week. Specifically, each person in Group 3 was asked to explicitly state their intention to exercise by completing the following statement…

“During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME OF DAY] at/in [PLACE].”

After receiving these instructions, all three groups left.

The Surprising Results: Motivation vs. Intention

Two weeks later, the researchers were surprised by what had happened in the three groups.

  • In the control group, 38% of participants exercised at least once per week.
  • In the motivation group, 35% of participants exercised at least once per week.
  • In the intention group, an incredible 91% of participants exercised at least once per week.

Simply by writing down a plan that said exactly when and where they intended to exercise, the participants in Group 3 were much more likely to actually follow through.

exercise-intention

The study in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that 91% people who planned their intention to exercise by writing down when and where they would exercise each week ended up following through. Meanwhile, people who read motivational material about exercise, but did not plan when and where they would exercise, showed no increase compared to the control group. (Graphic by James Clear.)

Perhaps even more surprising was the fact that having a specific plan worked really well, but motivation didn’t work at all. Group 1 (the control group) and Group 2 (the motivation group) performed essentially the same levels of exercise.

Or, as the researchers put it, “Motivation … had no significant effects on exercise behavior.”

Compare these results to how most people talk about making change and achieving goals. Words like motivation, willpower, and desire get tossed around a lot. But the truth is, we all have these things to some degree. If you want to make a change at all, then you have some level of “desire.”

The researchers discovered that what pulls that desire out of you and turns it into real–world action isn’t your level of motivation, but rather your plan for implementation.

How to Follow Through With Your Goals

“Deciding in advance when and where you will take specific actions to reach your goal can double or triple your chances for success.” – Heidi Grant Halvorson, Columbia University professor

This business about planning your actions and achieving your goals isn’t a random, one. For example, similar studies have found that…

  • Women who stated when and where they would perform a breast self–examination, did it 100% of the time. Meanwhile, those who didn’t state when and where only performed the exam 53% of the time. (1)
  • Dieters who formulated a plan for when and how they would eat healthier were significantly more likely to eat healthy than those who did not. (2)
  • People who wrote down when and where they would take their vitamins each day were less likely to miss a day over a five week span than those who did not. (3)

In fact, over 100 separate studies in a wide range of experimental situations have come to the same conclusion: people who explicitly state when and where their new behaviors are going to happen are much more likely to stick to their goals.

You can apply this strategy to almost any goal you can think of, and certainly to most health goals. For example, if you want to start a daily meditation habit this month, then you’ll be more likely to stick to your goal if you plan out when and where you’ll meditate each day.

What to Do When Plans Fall Apart

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” – Robert Burns

Sometimes you won’t be able to implement a new behavior – no matter how perfect your plan is. In situations like these, it’s great to use the “if–then” version of this strategy. You’re still stating your intention to perform a particular behavior, so the basic idea is the same. This time, however, you simply plan for unexpected situations by using the phrase, “If ____, then ____.”

For example…

  • If I eat fast food for lunch, then I’ll stop by the store and buy some vegetables for dinner.
  • If I haven’t called my mom back by 7pm, then I won’t turn on the TV until I do.
  • If my meeting runs over and I don’t have time to workout this afternoon, then I’ll wake up early tomorrow and run.

The “if–then” strategy gives you a clear plan for overcoming the unexpected stuff, which means it’s less likely that you’ll be swept away by the urgencies of life. You can’t control when little emergencies happen to you, but you don’t have to be a victim of them either.

Use This Strategy to Achieve Your Goals

If you don’t plan out your behaviors, then you rely on your willpower and motivation to inspire you to act. But if you do plan out when and where you are going to perform a new behavior, your goal has a time and a space to live in the real world. This shift in perspective allows your environment to act as a cue for your new behavior.

To put it simply: planning out when and where you will perform a specific behavior turns your environment into a trigger for action. The time and place triggers your behavior, not your level of motivation.

This strategy ties in nicely with the research I’ve shared about how habits work, why you need to schedule your goals, and the difference between professionals and amateurs. (For a complete discussion on habit formation, check out this free guide I put together on transforming your habits.)

So what’s the moral of this story? Motivation is short lived and doesn’t lead to consistent action. If you want to achieve your goals, then you need a plan for exactly when and how you’re going to execute on them.

This article was originally published on JamesClear.com.
References:
(1) Breast self–examination study.
(2) Healthy diet study.
(3) Vitamin study.
(4) If you’re interested, you can find an analysis of 94 “implementation intention” studies here.

Featured photo credit: Efrén via flickr.com

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6 Gifts For Outdoorsmen

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We all have at least one friend who would be happy being outside all day, every day—regardless of the weather. For the rugged outdoorsman who usually shuns newfangled technology and gizmos, there are still some awesome gadgets out there that add to the wilderness experience while not being considered cheating. If you’ve ever had trouble thinking of the perfect gift for someone who would be content to venture into the woods with just the clothes on their back, check out some of the following.

Pocket Knife

If you’re about to go on an outdoor adventure without a pocket knife handy, you’re doing it wrong. Whether your friend enjoys fishing, hunting, or camping, there are a variety of pocket knives available that will serve many different purposes throughout their day. A pocket knife can be used for protection from wild animals, to cut through brambles, or to prepare first aid bandages if necessary. Make sure your outdoorsy pal is well-prepared for their next excursion.

Sportsman Accessories

Though they can be found outside at any time of the year, your friend likely has one outdoor hobby that they tend to favor. You may want to get your hunting friend a scope for their rifle, hunting glasses, or a clay throwing set for target practice during the offseason. Your fishing buddy, believe it or not, would likely be content receiving the basics: hooks, lines, sinkers, and lures. Just make sure you know exactly what type to get—fishermen are particular like that.

Compass

I know, I know—most cell phones have a compass built into them nowadays. But so much can go wrong when relying on cell phones. With a steady, non-battery-reliant compass, you can be sure your outdoorsy friend will always know which direction they’re headed. They won’t have to fumble with their phone while wearing gloves, and can clip the compass right to their belt loop. And, if it’s raining or snowing, they won’t have to risk the safety of their electronics to figure out which way to go. Sometimes, simpler is better.

Refreshment Accessories

Anyone who spends more than a couple hours in the woods is going to need some refreshment at some point. For the camper who loves waking up in the middle of nowhere, but still needs their morning cup of coffee, there’s the Aeropress coffee maker. All they’ll need is ground coffee beans, hot water, and an insulated mug, and they’ve got it made.

For those who choose not to rely on store-bought water while out in the woods, you should at least make sure they have a Lifestraw with them. This portable filter makes water from any source drinkable, regardless of how murky it is. It’s a necessary gadget for anyone entering the woods; you can never be too safe when it comes to staying hydrated.

Clothing

Like I said before, some people prefer to head into the woods with only the clothes on their backs. You can at least make sure the clothes they have will protect them from the elements, especially in the winter. Heavy duty hiking boots will keep their feet nice and warm, and protect them from ticks and other disease-carrying bugs. Flannel shirts and flannel-lined jeans might seem a little cumbersome, but will be an absolute necessity after spending a few hours in the cold. If you’re buying them gloves, make sure they’re Gore-Tex—waterproof, weather-proof, and durable.

Rest and Relaxation

Outdoorsmen may be active, but they also use the woods to relax as well. A durable, hangable hammock will give your pal a chance to recharge in peace before they head back to the real world for the week. If you know they’d rather spend a week camping than in a beach house in the summer, you could give them some camping chairs or sleeping bags that will stand the test of time and weather. Give the gift of R&R to a buddy, and you’ll have a friend for life.

Featured photo credit: Quiet Fishermanm, Lake Alpine, California / Moonjazz via farm5.staticflickr.com

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Science Confirms: Women With Tattoos Have Higher Self Esteem

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When we change our hair or get a new outfit or finish a great workout, we feel good about ourselves. Self-esteem comes from many things, and of course can be tied to anything from other people’s opinions, what we’re wearing, what the media is saying, and more. But mostly, self-esteem comes from within. When we feel good about ourselves, we are more confident, and confidence is the best and sexiest accessory a person can wear.

In recent decades, tattooed women are becoming more and more common. Studies, such as this survey from Fox News, suggest women have grown rapidly more comfortable with tattoos in recent decades. According to their results, 47% of women under 35 are tattooed, while only 4% of women over 65 have tattoos, showing a rapid growth in the number of women who have adorned their bodies with art in the last few decades.

That’s what a tattoo is, art and the ultimate message for self-expression. When you choose to put something meaningful on your body forever, you are expressing yourself in yet another way. The same way some people carry specific purses or wear a type of shoes, tattoos are just an extension of ourselves. While some stigma of tattoos linger, the truth is that as tattoos have become more common on both men and women and they are also becoming more socially acceptable as well.

Tattoos and Self Esteem

According to an article in Psychology Today by Kirby Farrell, Ph.D, humans have been tattooing their skin, filing their teeth, and festooning themselves with ornaments since prehistoric times: sometimes to stand out, sometimes to blend into a group. Farrell explains that while reasons behind getting them are varied, all tattoos modify self-esteem as well as the bodies they’re on. Like cosmetics, tattoos are prosthetic, and like an artificial limb, they make up for something felt to be missing or inadequate. We’re always devising ways to enhance parts of our bodies, from diets and wigs to cosmetic surgeries and more.

“As a symbol and a behavior, the tattoo has power. The quest to be better than ordinary is an appetite for more life, more good feeling about yourself and more response from others. [sic] They counter anxiety about aging and death. Many symbols, including hearts and ancient Egyptian ankhs, are comforting. And this is no surprise, since terror management experiments in social psychology show that people unconsciously honor the potency of immortality symbols such as the cross and the flag.”

Tattoos often attract attention, which can also affect the wearer’s self esteem. We want to be original and interesting and not normal or ordinary. As a tattooed woman myself, every tattoo I have has a meaning to me. Even if that moment was 10 years ago, seeing the tattoo today brings back the feelings that the tattoo represents.

Each of my tattoos is a snapshot of a time in my life I need to remember, be it good or bad. The bad must be remembered so I can continue to learn and grow from it, and the good should always be remembered and commemorated. Tattoos are a personal self expression that we paint on our bodies not for the judgment of others, but for ourselves.

Tattoos and Empowerment

A recent study by Texas Tech University’s Jerome Koch, a sociology professor, found that college-aged women with multiple tattoos reported higher levels of self-esteem than anyone else in the study.

Koch discusses this saying, “I think women, especially, are more aware of their bodies through, among other things, fat shaming, the cosmetics and plastic surgery industry and hyper-sexualized imagery in media, what we may be seeing is women translating that awareness into empowerment. We know women sometimes replace a surgically removed breast, for example, with elegant body art. We wonder if more tattoos might be a way of reclaiming a sense of self in the wake of an emotional loss [sic].”

An article on YourTango eloquently stated “It’s empowering to turn something that pains you or that you feel is ugly (like a scar) into art, and even if you’re not someone with tattoos, they are indeed an art form. Some people use tattoos as a way of remembering a death; either of a relationship or a loved one, as tattoos can be a map of a person’s emotional life. They’re a coping mechanism — something that gives them strength.”

My tattoos are empowering to me. They are reminders, they are snapshots, they are a piece of who I am at every stage of my adult life. The outward symbol makes me feel empowered and happy, and since they are for me and not for anyone else, these are the only reasons I need.

Featured photo credit: Denise Krebs via flickr.com

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