A few days ago I visited with my family the Great Smoky Mountains… or should it be Smokey? Keep reading, we’ll find out. It was an long overdue trip, but definitively we experienced a beautiful time going into the Smoky Mountains.
There’s an important clarification I need to make, because it made the trip even better.
The common thing to do is to stay in Gatlinburg, TN. However, when I tried to make the reservation for the log cabin we decided to stay in, the dates didn’t work out, and other cabins either weren’t secluded or didn’t match our budget.
I had to switch locations to Bryson City, NC, which in this case made us travel 90 extra minutes South and across the other side of the hills. Doing such adjustment was great.
But first, here’s why they are called Smoky Mountains…
Smoky Mountains, The Place of the Blue Smoke
The native Cherokee people traditionally called the Great Smoky Mountains Shaconage, which translates to “place of the blue smoke.” Euro-American settlers drew from this name in their own label of “Smoky Mountains,” with “Great” being added at some point or another to reflect the massiveness and grandeur of the range.
The Cherokee name is plain to see on one of the many long, mountain-upon-mountain vistas the Great Smokies serve up from such vantages as Newfound Gap, Clingmans Dome, or Charles Bunion. There’s a whitish-blue mistiness to the scenery, a beautiful kind of haze that slightly blurs the long ridges and rounded peaks.
That haze is the optical result of a natural photochemical process. The trees, shrubs, and other plants of the dense and diverse Southern Appalachian forests emit natural hydrocarbons called terpenes that react with ozone particles wafted down from the stratosphere. Moisture condenses on these aerosols, which then scatter the shorter wavelengths of light in the blue-violet spectrum to produce the signature haziness.
I was able to experience the haze effect, and it brought up on me the question regarding the name, because it gives the idea that is based on smoke. If it was smoke, it would look like California during a fire, not good. But in this case, going into the Smoky Mountains and seeing the haze is just… breathtaking.
Some pictures of our trip
Here are some images I captured during the trip. Not enough to make justice to the scenery, but is a nice glimpse to what can be enjoyed there.
A mandatory stop during this trip is the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, where the images, scale-size village representations, tools and clothing class with the modern world. Treasures from the ancient villagers are guarded by the descendants of the warrior tribe, and shared with us, to preserve their memory and legacy.
The town itself doesn’t resemble the old tribe’s way of living, but it’s museum helps the visitors catch a glimpse of the people who lived here in the past. I was in awe with all the knowledge I gathered in this short visit.
A place worth visiting again
We enjoyed all activities, city walking, train riding, trail hiking, and of course, eating 🙂
While driving towards Smoky Mountains we saw other cities with plenty of activities. We’ll definitively go back for more fun.
Our stay in Bryson City was very nice, because we didn’t get to experience the crowds in Gatlinburg. However, I have to say, we missed the experience that millions have enjoyed, and we have put it in our calendars for future vacations.
It’s been widely proven and documented that those who are successful in life didn’t do it alone. Success can be spiritual, financial, in happiness, or health. It can be seen very frequently in movies, but a lot of them are representations of real life events. The importance of having a mentor can’t be stressed enough when a person wants to accomplish critical goals in life.
And before you respond, “I don’t need anybody telling what to do”, let me clarify the definition of a mentor. Mentor is defined in the dictionary as “an experienced and trusted adviser.”
Adviser, not a ruler, not a commander, not an order-barking tyrant. A mentor cannot jump into your life and immediately suggest a path that you must walk. Both you and your mentor must embark in a discovery journey to unveil the qualities you have (and sometimes those that don’t know you have), and use them to your own advantage. By listening and asking the right questions, the mentor (or coach) provides insights that lead the mentee to make breakthroughs and get clarity about her intentions.
Having a mentor can result in better outcomes, better planning, clearly defined goals, and a constant sense of fulfillment throughout the process.
The benefits of having a mentor
Having a mentor provides a window to a well of experience that can help the mentee in numerous ways. This doesn’t mean that the mentor is always an older person. If a mature person needs help with new technology to increase his value, such person might need a younger mentor, to align his mind with the new generations and find a way to provide value.
A mentor can be a source of contacts with the same mindset that the mentee wants to reach and learn from. During this phase, the mentee might eventually turn herself into a mentor and develop that desire of sharing her own experiences with others who might need it.
A mentee needs to be cheered along the success journey. Having a mentor who helps you see the issue in front of you from a different perspective might help when the result is not what you expected. Making adjustments based on a third party that is non-biased makes a lot of sense, and of course, when a small win happens, receiving good comments keep the fire alive and the momentum going.
Many times, we see the issues on other people, but not the issues we drag every day. Effective communication is the result of constant feedback from someone else. People might not remember your name, or what you said to them, but they will always remember how you make them feel. When a person performs an audit of his communication methods and forms of expressions, the opportunity to improve can present itself, and the constant search for delivering the right message will keep the mentee on track to become a better communicator.
On the other hand…
What if you want to become a mentor? Here are some things that mentors stand to gain from guiding others in their success path:
Reinforce your knowledge
Improve your communication skills
Increase your network
Sense of fulfillment
When it comes to being a mentor, the most critical skill is to listen. The mentor needs to be a sound board for the mentee’s ideas and then he can provide insights and suggestions that will help the mentee make important decisions.
The relationship mentor-mentee must be one based on trust, honesty, learning, hard work, accountability, while always keeping an open mind.
How do you know if you need a mentor?
The answer is based on a honest and thorough self-assessment, which can include a third party opinion, to decide if your current path is leading to the destination you have as your life or career goal. If you are in the right path, maybe you want to go faster, or to add more value to your journey. Truth is, anybody who is committed to a life of continuous improvement and making a difference usually has a mentor to run his ideas by and to make sure the decisions taken have the best possible outcome.
If your life or career goals don’t scare you, then they are not worth it! The importance of having a mentor to assess your own goals can make a huge difference.
I wish you the best of success in your journey. Keep learning because that’s how we keep improving!
I can’t complain when it comes to summer weather. I was born and raised in Acapulco, in the South of Mexico, where it’s easy to figure out how to have fun during summer all year long!
If you fly to Mexico City, it’s a 4-hour drive to a nice warm and breezy strip of ocean that offers different kinds of settings for all styles. For the simple and calm-seeking tourist, you can find tranquil beaches that cuddle you and give you a nice time.
Or you can go will and find high-wave beaches that will cause you to get sand everywhere! Or you can surf, paddle, sail, or even dive.
Acapulco, Mexico – Click in the image for Vacation Trip Deals!
This year I’m not going to the beach. The Summer of Me will take me to this weekend to Smokey Mountains.
Some facts about Acapulco
Acapulco in the South end of Mexico, on the Pacific Ocean. It’s enclosed bay offers a magnificent variety of beaches and scenic views due to the hills surrounding it. The name Acapulco comes from the ancient native dialect (nahuatl) “Aca-petl”, which means “place surrounded by hills”.
Acapulco is similar to New York City, in the sense that it never sleeps. You can find fun places that open in the early evening, and then you can move on to others that open late and close early next morning. Sunglasses are recommended if you plan to party all night, so you don’t suffer the “vampire” effect when leaving the place.
But there also a lot of other activities like the divers at La Roqueta, which is a very high rocky cliff where the local divers put on a show every couple of hours by defying the ocean tide that hits the rocks, and then bravely flying into the shallow shore.
Live Feed – Can’t deny it’s summer fun
And if you want to check the weather right now, here’s a link to take a peek…
If you can’t see the video, click this image and select the different beaches available. You will see how in Acapulco you can gave fun during summer all year long.
Webcams de Mexico
And other amazing summer stuff…
The best thing about Acapulco is that the weather is excellent all year long, with the exception of one or two hurricanes every year, the rest is a daily opportunity to enjoy the beach, along with your favorite drinks. Here are some of them:
Beer (straight, or prepared as “michelada”, which contains lemon juice and salt on the edge of the glass, sometimes can also have chili powder, for an extra kick)
Margaritas (you know…)
Coco brujo (coconut water in the shell with gin)
Tequila in all its presentations and possible combinations
I’m dizzy already…
Although is hot all year long, the local people affirm that sometimes gets cold in Acapulco, when the temperature reaches 75 degrees Fahrenheit! Now that I live in Ohio where sometimes we face -18 degrees in the winter, I have a different perspective.
Independence Day Deals – Click the image for amazing deals!
Other summer destinations all year long
Of course, we cannot leave out the American beach destinations. Maybe the temperature can go down sometime in the winter, but the amount of days of sunny and warm weather in Florida is something to look forward to.
Miami, Florida – Summer fun for all!
Florida offers a long list of activities like Day Cruises, Sailing, Sunset Cruises, and Dinner Cruises.
Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa. Take your pick! Enough sun and ocean waves for everybody. Heck, even the architecture in Miami is something admirable!
And yes, I know, I’m biased… can’t help it.
Enjoy the summer, and if you’re going to the beach this year, make sure you have fun responsibly, because that never disappoints.
WordPress websites – click the link to start your own blog!
Here I continue with some recommendations about new things you can learn, have fun, and even possibly get rewarded. It doesn’t matter your background, education, or age. These are meant for everyone because education is a beautiful thing to have. And remember that the more you learn the more you live. You live in your own terms thanks to the knowledge and wisdom found in the courses and training.
Knowledge liberates us from fears and uncertainty when we gather facts and get clarity about a specific subject. It also helps us understand other people’s point of view when we see a topic from their perspective, but such thing can only happen if we do our due diligence.
Hopefully one or more of these options will appeal to you, or someone you know. In any case, getting smarter is always beneficial for you and me.
Some people like to play video games, and some like to go further. This site allows you trade players, cards and do other transactions that, if you get good deals, you start earning coins, which can be used for other purposes. If you have soccer fever, this might be cool for to check out. It uses artificial intelligence to find the best deals possible, and it can work while you sleep. Pretty intriguing for gamers!
This is for those who struggle with their dog behavior. Sometimes the easy thing to to is to take them to “school” to learn, but with resources like this, you can do it yourself.
The Brain Training for Dogs member’s area is jam-packed with information owners can use to train their dog in the most effective way. It includes a puppy training section, two online training courses to boost intelligence, obedience, and behavior, over 100 articles tackling a huge range of behavior problems (as well as doggy behavior and psychology), and a private forum frequented by Adrienne, the course creator.
It’s worth checking it out, you might learn a thing or two about your dawg.
Those who like to build their own furniture will love this. TedsWoodworking provides thousands of projects that can help you have everything your need at home. This is a very demanded product that can offer either big challenges for newbies, or additional variety of designs for those with experience. Either way, it helps to keep sharpening the saw!
If you’re interested specifically in building your own shed, this is a good choice. Ryan Henderson offers a step-by-step instructions with easy-to-follow plans that include the complete materials list. Some examples are below. It’s like following Lego instructions.
This is the quintessential search for early learning. We all want to help our little ones to be smart, and this website provides great tools for that. Check the video and see if this can be useful. Some of the facts shown in the video might surprise you, but as long as you keep an open mind there will be more rewards that risk by trying it.
Reading Head Start
Learning is fun, when we focus on the things we love. Have an amazing learning experience! And don’t forget, the more you learn the more you live.
There are many ways to live a happy live. You can show love, forgiveness, or you can say no to toxic behaviors. Learning to find meaningful activities helps us find better paths in our journey. And it’s true, the more you learn the more you live.
More life can be manifested either in years of age, or in quality of life. Sometimes suffering an excruciating illness or living a life with no purpose can expose similar feelings.
Keeping the brain busy has become the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to engage in a rewarding learning exercise that regenerates the neurons and fills the day with exciting new discoveries. In some cases, the learning sessions will uncover abilities that the person never thought possible, due to some horrible paradigms like “I have no talent” or “nobody supported me”.
Once the mental barriers are conquered, we can pursue any… yes, any kind of learning.
Regardless of the results, regardless of the level of learning achieved, the act of thinking and trying to execute the new ability will be of great benefit. Embracing the struggles and celebrating the small victories is the name of the game.
And remember, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Some things to learn
Here I provide some ideas you can try in order to keep busy and get smarter. All the basic learning can be done online, but the application is the key to make it work.
Reading the lessons or watching the videos will create new braincells for you, but implementing those lessons will create the foundation to increase your knowledge and will give you motivation to keep learning. This is how you realize that the more you learn the more you live, searching for more knowledge and never being bored.
WordPress websites – You can start yours right away and get $25 in credits.
1 – Learn to play the piano
Pianoforall is one of the most popular and respected piano courses on the web. Online since 2006 it is always amongst the first choices of anyone wanting to learn piano.
Pianoforall – Online Piano Lessons
All-in-one package. eBooks, Videos and audios
Works with all devices – PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and phones
All styles of piano covered – pop, blues, jazz, ballads, improvisation, classical.
Play-by-ear and learn to read music at the same time
Filled with tricks, tips and formulas to help people sound great right from the start
Easy to follow yet comprehensive
10 clearly laid out eBooks – 600 pages in total
200 videos – over 10 hours in total
500 audio lessons
Below are some excerpts from the hundreds of testimonials on the Pianoforall site. You may want to include some or all of these on your site. Remember to point out that ALL these testimonials are VERIFIABLE (you can request the email of the person who wrote the testimonial) – No other website has this feature! This is why so many people trust that Pianoforall is the REAL DEAL.
“I’m amazed! Once you get the rhythms down, you really can sound like a pro! Great fun! Thanks for making this available at such a reasonable price. Anyone who doesn’t grab this up is going to go the long way home!” T. Dwight Kidd, Alabama, USA
“This course is exactly what I have been looking for with all the shortcuts that have been such a mystery to me for years. Well done Robin an excellent product. Kind regards. Paul” Paul Saxon , UK
“It is simple, straight forward yet very effective. It makes the complex understandable and for those of us who don’t want to master music theory, it gets us playing quite well in a short time. I can’t say enough good about your program. Thanks again and keep up the good work!” Ed Doran, Muskogee, OK
“Hey Robin, Just wanted to say thanks for this course. This is a great way to get up and running fast for song writing on the piano. I feel like I owe you more money.” Mike, Nashville Tennessee
Check the sample video below.
Most people don’t really want to ‘learn’ to play the piano or ‘practice’ the piano, they just want to ‘play’ piano. ‘Play’ sounds like fun, ‘practice’ sounds like a chore. We get this image from childhood – some kid stuck indoors ‘practicing’ scales while all the other kids are outside the window ‘playing’.
So, first thing we need to do is to see our piano practice in a new light. See it as a way of accelerating the learning process so that SOON you’ll be able to ‘play’ piano and play it well. If you don’t practice and you just play old familiar tunes you move rather slowly. Yes, you’ll get better at playing those old familiar tunes but technically you won’t be pushing yourself to greater heights.
Proper, structured piano practice helps you stride forwards. I say ‘proper’ because a lot of people have an idea that practice IS just playing songs over and over. Practice needs to involve unchartered territory. The golden rule is – ‘practice what you CAN’T play, not what you CAN play’.
2 – Sing, sing, sing!
Wouldn’t it be great to shock those around you with a new singing voice?
Have you ever found yourself alone, singing a song… maybe out of tune… only to realize a co-worker or family member listening and making fun of your ability? Singorama can help you with that.
You can train your voice and become a brilliant singer! Unfortunately, most folks think great singing is a ‘gift that you are born with’ so they don’t bother trying to improve or move past their self-perceived limitations.
Many have cheated themselves out of the satisfaction and joy of singing beautifully.
They have missed out on a rich life experience.
Learn to sing like a professional – Click the image to learn more.
Why? Because they tried it a few times in their life, and because they weren’t amazing at it straight away, they decided they were terrible.
You too can maximize your singing range with, vocal agility and resonance – with FAST results.
With some simple daily vocal exercises, you’ll notice a stronger voice with greater agility in no time!
3 – Learn to Draw like a Master Artist
I am always on the lookout for ways to improve my drawing skills. I do this by hunting around the Internet to see if I can find new tutorials. Yesterday I stumbled across a cool pencil drawing site that I think is going to make a HUGE difference, especially if you want to draw realistically.
It is a pencil drawing course that specializes in taking beginners and teaching them how to draw in a realistic style. The course itself is online video, so you can access it from anywhere in the world – the videos worked perfectly on my tablet and phone.
Each class is two hours long so you can even draw with which watching the video, nothing is left to the imagination. The course starts off by showing you all the equipment you need and the basic strokes. Even in this video I picked up a cool tip for erasing.
What I like is that each lesson builds on the previous so you are never thrown into the deep. Each class has it’s own concept or technique that you need to master, for example, in the second class you learn how to spot the different tonal values. In this class Nolan (the instructor) uses different styrofoam objects to show you the light affects the tonal values. The way he explains it makes it so easy to understand, like theory being explained in a practical way.
Learn to Draw like a Master Artist – Click the image to learn more.
With each class you get a downloadable template which you can print out and use that to transfer to your drawing paper. You then also get a high quality photo of the reference and the final drawing. They are laid out in the pdf in such a way that when you print it out, each are exactly the same size. This makes it easy to judge sizes while drawing.
In each class you complete a drawing project. Like in the second class you draw a realistic spoon. At the beginning of the class I though it was going to be difficult, but after watching the explanations at the start of the class and the practical demo, it turned out to be quite easy.
The next four lessons are also still life drawings. There is an onion and garlic still life, transparent wine glass, rose and an apple drawing. In each of these you learn all about creating texture and depth in your drawings as well as drawing negatively and how to draw reflective objects.
From there you start drawing portraits. Nolan shows you how to draw all the major features like the eyes and mouth. What I liked was that he shows you what to look out for with each one. Once you have completed say the ear class, you will be able to draw any ear and not just the one from the class itself.
What really makes this course stand out from the rest is that it goes much deeper than any of the other courses I have seen. There are even classes on how to draw material textures and hands.
You will be amazed at how quickly you progress! – Click the image to learn more.
I am still busy with the course myself – it’s massive (there is over 32 hours worth of video in this course), but I know that my drawings are going to move up a few levels when I’m done. It’s totally worth it. Another slam dunk! Definitively another great example that the more you learn the more you live!
The course is brand new, so is currently on a launch special at less than half price. Why don’t you go and check it out for yourself, you may be able to still bag yourself this bargain as well.
4 – Learn to Cook Healthy
You can get a free book that explains some hard truths about the foods we eat. Also,
Book – The Fat Burning Kitchen – Click the image to learn more.
learning about how our digestive system works plays a key role in selecting the best food and the way to cook it.
This book can be an excellent way to both know how your body processes foods, and the right way to define a healthy way of eating.
Not only you will learn how to nourish your body properly, you might end up improving your cooking skills and your health.
The Fat Burning Kitchen book is a great resource in your library. It will affect your life positively, and that of your loved ones too.
It goes without saying that this is a great example of how to improve your life by eating healthy. Literally, in this case, the more you learn the more you live!
5 – Learn How to Sell Tour Photos
This is the kicker. You can turn your photos into a side hustle that makes you money while you sleep. Photojobz is a website that allows you to take your photographic skills to the next level.
Learn to Sell Your Photos – Click the image to learn more.
Your smartphone is capable of producing high quality images that can be used by others who need them. You might need to check the documentation for your specific device so you can take advantage of its features and generate breath-taking pictures.
So, grab your camera and start taking photos!
Where Do I Work? You work online as a freelancer. Be your own boss! Work when and where you want!
Upload and instantly sell to millions of potential buyers. Check the video below.
Learning during the Summer is different that normal school life. School can be fun for some kids. For others it can be exhausting. Everybody has different ways to learn. Either kids or adults can face challenges when trying to learn or master a subject. And a lot of times in school for students is the teacher’s way or the highway. As parents we can face the issue of not having enough activities for our kids during summer, but if we create amazing experiences, that’s a way of learning. You can support your kids’ learning during the Summer by planning some ways to learn while having fun, and also by challenging them to read and learn about subjects that they don’t get to learn at school.
Technology and the internet have made possible to learn anything with practically no investment and with the speed of light to get started. A few years back, reading a book could not happen for days due to the time waiting for paper books to be delivered. We had to go to the bookstore, sometimes to find out they were out of stock and on to the next place. Today, the online versions allow you to immediately support your kids’ learning during Summer or any other season.
Monthly unlimited subscriptions are a great deal for avid young readers or multiple siblings. Hey, even parents can benefit from this too!
Kindle for Kids
Personally, I love Kindle from Amazon. Whenever I’m listening to a podcast or a webinar, and the speaker mentions a book that is helpful, I immediately look for it and buy it with 1-click. The best part is when there are promotions going on, because I can buy several 99-cent books!
In all fairness, not all books are excellent, but bumping into a bad book can also teach us a lesson about the author, the topic or the audience. I’m using those lessons and applying them to the book I’m writing. And guess what… the desire of writing a book always comes from absorbing those stories and experiences found in the written letter. And it’s there, waiting for you kid to read so he can let his imagination fly and become creative, ingenious, amazing!
A World of Content for Kids to Explore
But Summer Time is Vacation Time! -you might think.
Yes, it is true. It’s fun time. There are a lot of activities and fun trips available to experiences great vacations. I wrote an article about that entitled The Summer of Me! about the subject.
But it’s also true that learning and having fun can be a great combination. Parent can also create a reward system, just like the one available at your local library. But in this case based on the online learning experiences, which can be by reading, listening or both.
My kids have had great experiences using online resources. I’m sure your kids will have them too!