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4 Useful Tools No Inspirational Blogger Should Be Without

4 Useful Tools No Inspirational Blogger Should Be Without

Random Giant Hammer (and Good Dog) by Steph L..

    Photo by Steph L.

    Tools. We all have ’em. We all use ’em — or at least try to. It’s one thing to read a glossy list of “44 hot WordPress plugins!” or “25 ways to look for stock photos”, another thing to actually try them all. The best tools are delved into very deeply, and like Thor and his hammer, can at times be inseparable from their wielders. I’ve personally skimmed through 1,000s of tools over the years and regularly use a few dozen.

    But let’s focus further: what if you want to blog about inspirational, motivational, life-bettering stuff — like here on Lifehack? Over the past stretch of weeks, I’ve been refining what I use to craft my posts. Here’s my exceptional faves — only the best of the best — and I’ll share why they work for me. No offhand, brief mentions of “maybe you should try it out…”, just strong votes of confidence from firsthand experience.

    1. Compfight – Find heart-warming pictures faster

    Ah, ’tis a cliche to see radiant suns, wide-eyed babes (of both sorts), cute animals, and compulsory nature scenes preceding an inspirational post. But it isn’t without merit. Many of these pictures are sourced from Flickr’s wealth of Creative Commons-licensable material. What does that often mean? Great imagery for free as long as you provide proper attribution.

    I use Compfight. Why bother, since Flickr has a built-in search? Like the essence of many a “get it done” article, beauty in simplicity. Compfight is minimalist, lean, and search queries are more plentiful-per-page and easier to sort through than Flickr’s own search. As a result, I — and you — can easily click through a great image, drag-and-drop it into your blog editor (most support this), and with proper credit included, enhance your post in seconds.

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    Such as this match for “cat sun baby”, which isn’t quite what I had in mind, but would work well for one of those “How to deal with stress”-type posts:

    Joy Harjo Project with Poem by ittybittiesforyou.

      Photo by ittybittiesforyou

      One downside: Compfight doesn’t save search settings as reliably as I’d like. I asked Ryan (one of the creators) and he said it should, but I keep having to set the options.

      2. Windows Live Writer – Blog better

      That’s really at the core of WLW, you see. Maybe I should’ve posted this first because you can’t blog without a blog editor. Sure, there’s built-in stuff like the TinyMCE-based editor that WordPress uses, and many blog clients/platforms abound. What’s such a big win for WLW? It’s not singular, but I can think of several reasons why it comes ahead, which I’ve written about at length before. To sum up and save you time without bullet points:

      It’s free. It can use your blog’s style. Auto-links save you time. Rich media (videos!) is easy to embed without mangling code. Plug-ins add what you want but don’t have yet.

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      And surprisingly personal support for a Microsoft product — there’s a dev named Joe Cheng who frequently answers questions on the WLW board. He doesn’t seem to be as active recently, but he definitely helped solve some of my problems, enabling me to enjoy WLW more. A fine example of where incidental customer service has resulted in me singing praises many times over.

      Yes, I wish WLW were for Mac too. Yup, it’d benefit from custom fields support. Aye, I wish more blog themes (esp. some video-centric and magazine-format ones) were supported correctly. But WLW is one of those tools that, if it works for you, it works extremely well. And you don’t have to think about it — like they say about great software, it doesn’t get in your way. It lets you get your way. :)

      3. QuotationsBook – Notable quotables indeed

      Need some wisdom of the ages to prop you up? Support a point you’re making? Provide some much-wanted levity? Sound sage by referring to the old masters; there’s quotes all over the Internet and you just need to find them. QuotationsBook makes this very easy with a friendly interface. You can clip-and-save quotes for later retrieval, should you be dry for ideas.

      For example, a casual search for “inspiration” turns up this gem:

      “We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” -Frank Tibolt

      Also, while it’s not as elegantly-designed or eminently searchable, WikiQuote is popular with many. There are copious quote-sites on the web, and my point is: get at least 1 fave and keep it close, so you can refer to wise words in seconds as needed. (Just don’t take them out of context.)

      4. popurls – Keep your imagination tank full

      There’s no shortage of inspiration on the Internet — that’s part of what’s so daunting, finding focus amidst the many to create your unique take. popurls is one of the original single-page aggregators, and among the best designed: it does many things well, mostly highlighting notable headlines from many top social media sites (including visual content blocks for Flickr, YouTube, and others), enabling you to rapidly scan for stories to pick up on. Many of them are, of course, related to life improvement.

      popurls will help you discover favorite new feeds to subscribe to, get early dibs on Internet memes spreading like wildfire, and keep you entertained. What’s more, it’s got a fair degree of customization, and if you login, you’ll see Recommended stories for your tastes — it doesn’t work exceptionally well yet, but it’s promising.

      I surf popurls daily so I’m both well-informed and laughing a lot. If that isn’t inspiration in itself, I don’t know what is.

      What are your essential inspirational tools?

      Before we close today, here is a gratuitous picture of a girl wearing rainbow arm-socks and her cat. It’s the one opportunity I’ll have to do such a thing:

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        Photo by Hayley_Bouchard

        Was that purely devoid of meaning? Not quite. It generated an emotional reaction, didn’t it? Which brings me to this:

        As obvious as water is wet, each of us has our own style. But there are many shared tastes, and being a passionate advocate for the tools we hold dear — as I do for the above — can benefit others greatly, appropriately inspiring your fellow lifehack devotees in the process.

        If you haven’t heard of some or all of the above and I’ve introduced you to something new which is useful + fun, bravo! If you know all the names but haven’t tried them, I encourage you to — and I only say this from personal experience. My general philosophy with tools is to go through as many as you’re interested in, and the ones which are truly useful will stick with you in the long-term.

        Let me know what your inspiration indispensables are in da comments!

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        Last Updated on July 15, 2019

        41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About

        41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About

        Some things in life are hard to describe, yet we can recognize them when we see them.

        Love is one of those things.

        True love comes in many different forms, but here are some that many of us know well.

        True love means supporting those who can’t support themselves

        supportive couple

          A young man comforts his date in Times Square, New York City. Image by mbtrama

          strong hug

            A young man holds his significant other close to him. Image by Brad Fults

            running help

              A young track competitor helps one of her injured opponents over the finish line. Image from ViralNova.com

              feeding kitten

                A soldier in the Korean War takes time to feed a baby kitten. Image from US Naval Insititute

                It’s having the perfect selfie partner

                mom and daughter selfie

                  A mother and her daughter take a selfie together. Image by Andrew Fysh

                  girlfriends

                    Two young girls pose for the camera. Image by Rolands Lakis

                    selfies

                      A happy couple takes a picture together. Image by Kayla Heineman

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                      selfie

                        Two best friends take a selfie together. Image by Jason Wahido

                        dude selfie

                          Friends take a selfie together. Image by Glenn Scofield Williams

                          It’s all the warm fuzzies

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                            A young man spends time with his dog on a beach. Image by Magdalena Roeseler

                            DSC06952

                              A pet owner hugs his dog while on a day trip in San Francisco. Image by Taro the Shiba Inu

                              It means having a friend to photobomb you

                              photobomb

                                A boy makes a funny face as he poses for a picture with his brother. Image by Michael Bentley

                                old man photobomb

                                  A man photobombs his wife while their grandson snaps a picture. Image by Frank

                                  family photobomb

                                    Family members photobomb their relatives’ Thanksgiving day family photo. Image by Beth Scupham

                                    boyfriend photobomb

                                      A friend photobombs the photographer and their friend, the woman in the foreground of this photo. Image by Lachlan Hardy

                                      True love means being there even when life gets unbearably hard

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                                      shoulder to cry on

                                        A family watches the Vermont National Guard depart for Afghanistan. Image by The U.S. Army

                                        flood dog

                                          During a monsoon in the Philippines, a boy carries his dog to safety. Image by Romeo Ranoco

                                          A woman is rescued from flood waters by a resident standing on top of her car during heavy rain in Chalandri suburb north of Athens

                                            A man helps a woman out of her vehicle during a flood in Chalandri, Greece. Image by John Kolesidis

                                            lunch

                                              A woman has lunch with her husband every day, even after he’s passed away. Image from ViralNova.com

                                              hug

                                                A woman hugs the mother of 6-year-old Noah Ponzer, who was one of the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings. Image by Spencer Platt

                                                rubble

                                                  An Oklahoma couple pauses while trying to salvage belongings from a family member’s home after a tornado. Image by Adrees Latif

                                                  sister and brother

                                                    A girl puts her arm around her little brother as they wait outside of Sandy Hook Elementary after gunshots are fired. Image by Reuters.

                                                    headstone

                                                      A woman sits at her husband’s grave the day before their wedding anniversary. Image from NBC news

                                                      It means taking the time for long goodbyes

                                                      110321-N-BT887-100

                                                        A man says goodbye to his son before deploying. Image by Official U.S. Navy Page

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                                                        national guard goodbye

                                                          A South Carolina man says goodbye to his son before deploying for Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard

                                                          saying goodbye

                                                            A Sergeant hugs both of his sons before being deployed to Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard

                                                            And cherishing reunions

                                                            husband home

                                                              A woman hugs her husband as she sees him for the first time since his deployment to Iraq. Image by The U.S. Army

                                                              boyfriend home

                                                                A young  woman hugs her significant other as he returns home for Kuwait. Image by The National Guard

                                                                mother hug

                                                                  A mother drops to her knees as she hugs her son on her return home from the Persian Gulf. Image by The National Guard

                                                                  True love is letting yourself feel young when they’re around

                                                                  elderly women

                                                                    Two friends on their smartphones. Image by Robert Neff

                                                                    feeling young

                                                                      A young couple getting their picture taken. Image by db Photograph

                                                                      sprinkler dad

                                                                        A father plays in a sprinkler with his daughter at Millennium Park in Chicago. Image by Ben Forsberg

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                                                                        subway couple

                                                                          A young couple on a subway enjoys sharing time together, while the girlfriend’s father sneaks a photo of them. Image by Gareth Williams

                                                                          wheelchairs

                                                                            A couple holds hands on a fall day. Image by David Amsler

                                                                            It’s letting yourself be silly… just because they’ll enjoy it

                                                                            silly faces

                                                                              A grandfather makes faces at the camera with his granddaughters. Image by Tim Pierce

                                                                              vote for pedro

                                                                                A woman’s father wears a Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt to make his daughter laugh. Image by emdot

                                                                                True love is allowing yourself to show how you really feel

                                                                                date night

                                                                                  A young couple kisses in the back of a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Image by Derek Key

                                                                                  playing violin

                                                                                    Violinist Nancy Dinovo plays at a memorial service for the victims of 9/11. Image by Christopher Morris

                                                                                    True love is timeless

                                                                                    old friends

                                                                                      Friends spending some time together. Image by Cristian Bortes

                                                                                      sitting around a fire

                                                                                        A group of friends sits around a campfire eating. Image by New Old Stock

                                                                                        elderly couple

                                                                                          An elderly couple walks down a street together. Image by Matteo Paciotti

                                                                                          Featured photo credit: Matteo Paciotti via flickr.com

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