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7 Great Sites for Unique and Personalized Photo Gift Ideas

7 Great Sites for Unique and Personalized Photo Gift Ideas

Let’s face it, gift giving can be kind of nerve-wracking. You wouldn’t want to give someone something that could just end up collecting dust in their closet. Or –gasp! — giving clothing that they actually don’t like, but they’re too polite to say so. You could, however, play it safe and give a Hallmark greeting card with money in it, or a gift card. But, that doesn’t take much effort; and why would you want to give your loved ones something so impersonal?  So, why not give them something that they can cherish for years to come?

Photo gifts are simple and inexpensive, but don’t scream LAZY like a gift card. They’re personable and will have the gift recipient smiling from ear to ear knowing that this was personalized just for them. Listed below are some great sites to help create the perfect personalized photo gift.

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1. MPix.com

This site allows you to create a number of photo keepsakes such as photo books, wall art, holiday cards, and more! Besides traditional printable photos, MPix can even create wall decals, buttons, magnets, and ornaments all while using your most precious memories. You can choose from many different templates to match the occasion as well. If you want to create the perfect customized holiday photo keepsake, this site has it all.

2. Lulu.com

This publishing site is known for allowing writers to create and publish books with various book distributors, such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Nook, etc. But, did you know you can also create photo books and customized calendars? You can retire traditional photo albums and create photo books that allow each photo to shine on their own page. You can also create fun gifts like cookbooks and sports fan photo books. If you’re a graphic designer, you can display your portfolio and give them as gifts to your number one fans—your family and friends! Prices start at $14.95 for 20 9×7 inch pages, and go up depending on book dimensions and page count.

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3. CanvasDiscount.com

This photo site is unique because they don’t sell your traditional prints. Instead, you can have your photos printed on a canvas or forex—or, you can personalize a mug, phone case, mouse pad, puzzle, and even a cushion cover! Prices vary according to canvas and forex sizes, and mug types. The cushion cover comes in one size of 16×16 inches at $22.90, phone covers are at a set price of $16.90 for various types of phone models, the mousepad is one size priced at $12.90, and the photo puzzle comes with 110 pieces at $14.90.

4. Moo.com

Moo Print Ltd allows you to create personalized sticker books, mini cards, business cards, postcards, notecards, and greeting cards. This DIY-card publishing service allows you to upload photos from your own personal storage onto your Moo account, or pull images from Facebook, Flickr, and other photo services.

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5. SmileBox.com

This photo site allows you to download and build a digital scrapbook one page at a time. The pages can be customized using any of the template designs—there are hundreds to choose from. Because the site allows you to create one page at a time, you will be able to generate individual pages to print and slide into your scrapbook. You can print them at home or order professional prints. If you don’t want to print out your pages, you’re also able to share them through email or Facebook.

6. HazelMail.com

When you just can’t find the right postcard at the gift shop, why not turn your own personal vacation photos into a customized postcard instead? After uploading your photos, you can customize them onto a card by formatting it, and writing a personalized note. After addressing the postcard, Hazel Mail prints, stamps, and mails them out for you for $1.50.

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7. PinholePress.com

Like MPix, this photo site has many different kinds of keepsakes aside from your traditional framed photos. The New York Times says, “Pinhole’s clean layouts and fresh typography sets them apart,” and Living by Martha Stewart says, “…sophisticated and DIY at the same time!” You’re able to create traditional keepsakes such as cards, calendars, photo books, framed photos, and photo pads; along with not-so-traditional games, decals, magnets, labels, and décor; all while using your own personal photos.

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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