Monthly Archives: March 2018

How to Cope with Investment Anxiety

For most people, their investments are a significant source of stress. This is especially true during economically turbulent times when the value of your portfolio can drop substantially. Stressing out about your investments can lead to poor decision making and cause a strain on your health and family relationships. Here are some tips that can help you cope with investment anxiety during periods of high volatility.

Remind yourself of the facts. Take a look at your portfolio, and remind yourself why you are invested in these positions. Perhaps it is because the corporation has a solid reputation and history of consistent earnings, or maybe it is a position that has done well for you in the past. It may help to re-evaluate your reasoning behind owning each investment. If your argument is still valid, then there’s no reason to make any changes. Even the safest of stocks can decline over a short-term; that is simply the nature of the markets. Reminding yourself of the facts can prevent you from doing something irrational, like selling a good investment at a loss.

Stay invested. When times get tough, you may be tempted to cash out your investments and cut your losses. Chart Westcott, the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Ikarian Capital, LLC

agrees this is probably the worst mistake you can make during a market downturn. By pulling out of the market, not only will your paper losses be realized, but you will miss the opportunity to recover these losses when the markets inevitably recover. “Remind yourself of your financial goals and focus on the big picture. The best defense against a volatile market is to stay invested and weather the storm,” says Chart Westcott.  

Pay down your debts. Investing in the market is not the only way to earn a return on your money. If the markets are too volatile for you, consider paying down your debts instead. The return you earn is effectively the interest rate that you avoid paying on the principal. Paying down debt is a guaranteed return on your money and can help ease your mind during turbulent times.

Turn down the noise. Most investors find themselves overwhelmed with the amount of information available. The truth is most of this information is irrelevant to you, and this is doubly true during financial crises. Reading news reports and predictions every day on how the markets will come crashing down will do little to relieve your anxiety. Focus only on what’s necessary for your investments and ignore the rest.

Speak to a financial advisor. If you’re anxious about your investments, speak to a qualified financial advisor. Every person’s financial situation is different, and having a good investment plan that you can stick to is essential during tough times. If you find the market volatility overwhelming, your portfolio may be too aggressive. Review your asset allocation and ensure that it is compatible with your risk tolerance.

Investing over the long term is difficult, and you will undoubtedly experience multiple market downturns during this time. The markets are inherently volatile, and no one can reliably predict when and where the next financial crisis will happen. Spending your nights worrying about your investments won’t make it grow any faster. Instead, educate yourself and focus on the long-term and your anxiety will diminish over time.

Spring BBQ Tips

One of the best ways to celebrate the arrival of spring is to fire up your grill and get to cooking outside. However, before you do that, it’s important that you see if everything is working well. Here are some tips that will help you throw excellent barbecues this year.

Safety First

Before you fire up the grill, it’s important that you pay attention to safety. In case you see that any tubing or hoses are damaged, then it would be best to replace them. It’s also a good idea to check the ignition parts and scrape off any grease. On top of that, you can put soapy water on the valves, regulator, and hoses to perform a leak test. If you start seeing bubbles after you turn on the propane tank, it means that gas is leaking out.

If you tighten all the connections and still see bubbles, then you should consider replacing your tank or the hoses. In case there are a lot of things wrong with your grill and it breaks down often, then maybe it’s time to get a new one. No matter what type of grill you currently have, if you’re searching for a new one, your best bet would be to purchase a gas grill. They are perfect for anyone who wants to prepare a meal quickly and doesn’t want to think about cleaning up charcoal.

Clean It

Now that you’ve carefully examined your grill and know that everything is working fine, it’s time to do some cleaning. The first thing that you should do is put all of your grilling tools in the dishwasher.

Having a dirty grill leave a bad flavor on your food. In order to avoid this problem, you should turn your grill on high for about 15 minutes before each use. Although this will definitely help you burn off much of the grease, you will still need to clean your grill thoroughly every once in a while. In order to do this, you’ll need to take out the grates and burner covers and give them a nice scrub down.

If you want to clean your grill properly, you will need to have the proper tools. Even though you will be able to accomplish a lot with water, soap, and a sponge, you will need stronger tools for cleaning certain parts of your grill. For example, you should use a wire-bristle grill brush to clean your grates, since this tool is so strong that it can remove anything, even rust.

Give Your Grill a Test Run

Before you start cooking, it’s important that you turn on the grill for a few minutes. This way, you will be absolutely sure that all burners and firing. After giving it a test run, it’s time to start grilling.

Check the Temperature

Now that you’ve made sure that your grill is clean and safe to use, you should think about the type of meat you will grill for your first barbecue this year. No matter the type of meat you choose, you will need to do everything that you can to ensure that you prepare it perfectly. One of the best ways to do this is by using a meat thermometer. By checking the temperature of meat, you will know exactly when it’s time to remove it from the grill.

Never Cook Cold Meat

Before you start cooking the meat, it’s important that you bring it to room temperature. Keep in mind that by putting cold meat on the grill, you will end up burning the surface before the heat reaches the surface of the meat.

Marinade Tougher Cuts of Meat

If you want the meat to be softer, then you will need to marinate it. The acid in a marinade is what will help make the meat become softer.

Gardening Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Gardening can be an excellent hobby. It gets you out into nature, taking care of the garden burns calories, and you’ll see tangible results for your efforts. If you’ve never gardened before, or if you believe you have a black thumb instead of a green one, you might feel like it’s more than you can handle. With these tips and tricks for beginners, however, you’ll find that gardening is easier than you think.

Start small

Instead of worrying about finding a large plot in your yard and going all out, start small. Grow a few plants or veggies in containers. This will make them easier to take care of, especially when it comes to limiting weeds, and it also allows you to put the garden wherever you’re more likely to see it and remember to take care of it. Leave the containers right outside your door, or in a corner of your patio.

Timing, type, and location

To have a healthy, successful garden, timing, type, and location are critical factors. Planting the right plants, at the right time, and in the right locations will help ensure that your fruits, veggies, herbs, or flowers grow large, lush, and plentiful. A site like can provide you with information about what to plant, when to plant it, and which plants can be planted together and which ones should be kept apart.

Make a portfolio

As you begin your gardening journey, and continuing throughuot it, keep a portfolio of your garden. Use a cheap photo album and include the tags for your plants from the season. Add information such as where you bought the plants, where you planted them, and whether or not they grew successfully. You can add sketches or photos if you like. The main purpose of this is to help you see what works and what doesn’t. You may discover that certain plants just don’t do well in your yard, or that buying them from a particular store results in lower quality plants that don’t grow well.

Make a long-handled tool do double-duty

When plants need a specific amount of distance between them, you have to bring out a yardstick along with all the other tools you need for gardening. Instead, grab a shovel, rake, or hoe that has a long handle, lay the yardstick next to it and use a permanent marker to mark the inches and feet on the handle. Now when you need to measure distance, you can use your tool instead of going to get the yardstick.

Sun or shade

Pay attention to the descriptions of the plants you intend to put in your garden. Whether they need plenty of sun or a shady location is of particular importance. Consider not just how much sun or shade your yard gets, but whether you might need more than one garden plot if you want a mix of plants. More than one plot means more work, but allows you more flexibility in what you plant.

Start with easy-to-grow plants

Some plants are just naturally easier to grow than others, and will give you a leg up when it comes to being a successful gardener. Consider veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, chard, basil, bush beans, and onions. Flowers like dahlias, clematis, sunflowers, roses, or petunias also thrive easily. You can also ask for suggestions at the nursery or home improvement store where you buy your plants.

Start with plants, not seeds

A plant that is already growing a bit gives you a bit of a head start and is often easier to care for than planting seeds and trying to make sure they sprout. They’re also visible, which makes it harder to forget about them, and gives you more confidence that you’re taking care of them properly. As you are more successful with your garden, you can move on to planting seeds.

Planting a garden can be fun, save you money on groceries, and provide a beautiful patch of nature that you can feel proud to call your own. By starting simple, you build your confidence, ease into it, and find your sweet spot.

Best Vacation Spots for Relaxing

Even though stress is a natural response in a wide variety of situations, too much stress can cause adverse effects to your health. Modern life is fast-paced and stressful. Planning activities that reduce stress should be one of your top priorities. Spending time with friends and family, exercising, and setting aside time for hobbies or other activities are some of the things you can do.

But you can also make sure you use your vacation time in the best and most relaxing way possible. Or, if you have very little to no vacation time like most Americans do, you need to carve out some more of it for yourself so that you can travel, see new places, meet new people, and relax. Here are some places you might consider visiting.

Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany is a region in Italy where you can craft your own perfectly relaxing vacation. The region has a rich cultural history, so if enjoying art is an activity you find relaxing, you can do it. Tuscany is also known for its simple yet delicious cuisine. Gastro-tourism is another option for you. It has access to the sea, and sun and fun are always near. But it also has plenty of opportunities for a rural vacation experience, if that is what you like.

Havana, Cuba

Cuba’s reputation as a vacationing gem among Europeans and Canadians is well established. The land of sun, rum, and excellent music gives you plenty of things you can enjoy. Tourism is an important industry in Cuba, and you can spend a perfect holiday without venturing far from your hotel. But if you want to soak in all the beauty, a walking tour in Havana would be your best bet for maximum relaxation.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

You do not have to escape to seaside or countryside retreats if you want to have a relaxing vacation. It is possible to have a relaxing yet urban vacation. You just need to pick a city with a reputation for its laid-back attitude and general happiness of its residents. Amsterdam is a city like that, and it is the capital of a country that is a staple on top ten lists of countries with the happiest citizens. There is plenty to see and do in Amsterdam, but there is never a need to rush it. Just grab a bike, and take it slow.

The Maldives

For many people, the most relaxing vacation is a complete getaway from everything. If you want miles of water between you and every worry in your life, the Maldives are the ideal spot. They are among the more upscale travel destinations, but the 26 atolls that make up the Maldives are worth it. They have beautiful resorts with spas and everything else you need to feel completely pampered. And there are enough opportunities for marine sports if you want to be more active.


Thailand is a country you have to come back to over and over again if you want to experience everything it has to offer. Bangkok alone will eat up your vacation time before you know it with its hectic, urban energy. That is just one side of Thailand. The other, more serene side of Thailand is seen in its Buddhist temples, luxurious spas, pretty beaches, and islands. There is nothing you will lack while in Thailand, whether you need excitement or relaxation.

The world is full of places where you can go to escape from your everyday stress. The places and countries listed here have a reputation for the relaxation they offer. However, chances are you don’t have to look far from where you live to find a place where you can relax. So even if you cannot go to France, Italy, or Thailand, you should still find your own getaway place where you can escape the stress in your life. It will be good for you.

How Relationships Have Changed Due to Technology

It has been a long while since people had to break up with their partners face-to-face. Every new technological advance that enabled people to communicate was, at some point in time, used to avoid the confrontation of having to break up in person. People broke up using letters, phone calls, and probably the telegraph. But they never had the number of options we have today. And people use those tools a lot — almost six out of ten Americans broke up with someone using a text message. Seven out of ten Millennials were broken up with in the same way.

Taking Dating Online

It is not just the endings of relationships that are being facilitated by new technologies. The beginnings also have their own set of specialized digital tools. Online dating is a growing trend. People use applications and websites to meet, spark a conversation, or simply look for short-term fulfillment of needs. The online dating options are still not as popular as many would believe they are — only 15% of Americans have used them. The way people often approach online dating and the way these apps are sometimes built, it is obvious that they had an effect on the crucial early part of relationships.

“Online dating has watered down courtship and the experience of dating,” says Amber Kelleher-Andrews, CEO of Kelleher International. “There’s an illusion of a bottomless pool of singles to choose from so swipe-happy singles don’t invest much effort – if any – in getting to know someone before they’re onto the next.” The fact that online dating is convenient cannot take away that it is often, and for some people always, a very superficial experience.

The Isolation-Connectedness Duality

When talking about relationships and technology, it is easy to get too focused on the world of romantic relationships and forget that people crave for other types of relationships as well. Having close friends is important, to the point that it comes with a variety of health benefits. It seems that in the digital era, those benefits are harder to come by.

We have an abundance of tools we can use to connect with other people. But there is also a paradox happening — people are becoming lonelier. Studies show that people are having fewer close friends than they had a couple of decades ago. The worst part of it is that the number of people who say they do not have anyone they can confide in has tripled since the mid-’80s.

Many factors could influence the rise of loneliness in the age of connectedness. There is the fact that technology-enabled communication lacks very important components of face-to-face communication, such as visual and verbal cues, not to mention physical contact. There is also the fact that spending time with friends, as an important way to pass time and find enjoyment, now has to compete with hours upon hours of readily available entertainment. And at times, the technology might help. These points of contact can provide short-term relief from the feelings of loneliness. In the long run, however, they don’t matter that much.

Long Distance in the World of Tech

Still, if there is one subsection of relationships that should benefit immensely from the technological connectedness, it would be the long-distance relationships. There are a thousand and one ways to stay in touch with loved ones who are miles away. People can text, instant message, even play video games together, and soon enough they will be able to meet in virtual reality.

Even in long-distance relationships, however, tech has a duality. The fact that people can connect at all times can put pressure on them to do so even if they would rather not. And tech does not do away with the sudden changes people in long distance relationships sometimes perceive in each other. So for the “glass half-full” people, technology has made relationships easier. For those who are more pessimistic, it has made them impossible. And both camps are correct in their beliefs.