Writer Tool Kit: Is Skillshare worth it?

Is Skillshare worth the cost? Let’s take a look the pro’s, con’s, and my personal experience.

Writers Took Kit: Skillshare Video

Skillshare is an online learning community where anyone can discover, take, or even teach a class. They have over 15000 classes, 2 million students and payout over 5 million to teachers. The classes are presented in video format. In most cases,  the instructor provides optional assignments. You can post your work and communicate with the teacher. They have  free classes and premium classes that you pay a monthly (auto debit) fee for and are able take as many classes as you can cram into your schedule

 

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My experience:

  I was instantly intrigued by Skilshare. I love suck up knowledge. On my first search  I didn’t find any free classes that appealed to me. So,  I decided to activate the free trial for access to a wider variety of classes. I wasn’t in the mood to enter my credit/debit card information at the time. I intended to do it later.

And I forgot about it.

When a fellow writer recommended it, I decided to give it another try.  I am glad that I did. I have been a premium (paid) member for two months. One month was a free trial. I have taken at least 15 classes and for me it is worth the cost. The knowledge gained has been immediately helpful to me. The classes I selected were focused on marketing, promotion, and building an audience. I have not taken any of the writing classes that they offer.

The Pros:

  • Wide variety of classes and instructors to choose from.
  • You can take as many classes as you like.
  • Work at your own pace.
  • Skip head in a lesson or go back.
  • You can retake the same class if you wish.
  • Community learning environment
  • New classes are constantly being added.

The Cons:

  • Sifting through the many classes to find the best one can be time consuming.
  • The quality of the videos and instruction varies from class to class. Most are well done but I have found a few that were not worth my time.
  • The monthly billing.  They will not forget but you might! Not only the impending charge but that you have a multitude of classes at your disposal.

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Skill Share might be worth it for you if

  • You enjoy video based classes.
  • You like the flexibility of working at your own pace.
  • You love learning enough to fully utilize the classes that are available. In other words, are you just going to sign up, take a class or two and then forget about it? If so, the free trial might be perfect for you, as long as you don’t forget to cancel it.
  • If you can remember to cancel your subscription if you are not using it enough to justify the cost.

 

Free 60 day trial

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Tips for using Skillshare

  • Watch the intro video to each class. It can be tempting to skip but this will give you a good idea if the instructor and content is worth your time.
  • Do the assignments. Yes, they are optional, but you will get more out of it if you put more into it.
  • Decide what you want to learn before browsing the classes. This will help you stay focused on taking classes that fit your personal goals instead of being tempted by other classes.

What are your thoughts on Skillshare? Have you used it? Do you have a favorite class or instructor?

Cup of Inspiration Tips: Relax, Refuel, & Recharge

Do you feel guilty about taking time for yourself? Do you find it difficult to find time to relax or to actually relax when you do find time? If so, today’s post and accompanying video is for you.

Video Link to the related video

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Let’s deal with the guilt issue and get it out of the way.  This is something I have dealt with since becoming a parent. It is built from an unrealistic expectation of myself that I need to be focused on everyone’s needs before my own.

The truth is that taking time for yourself is a benefit to others as well as yourself. It took me years to figure out that if I am in a good place it is easier to handle the needs of others. The opposite is also very true. If I have not taken time for myself I much more likely to be frustrated, rushed, and emotional. This is not good for me or anyone in my path.

No time to relax? We live in a society that praises busyness. We are often torn between so many obligations that we can’t catch our breath. It might surprise you to learn that you may have more time available than you think .

I recommend tracking your time for an entire week and charting it so that you can see exactly where your time is going. If you find wasted time you find a way to schedule in time for yourself in that spot.

If you don’t find a lot of gaps of time in your day or week it may be time to reevaluate some of your choices and commitments. I found  The Best Yes, By Lysa Turkeurst to be a great resourse for my own busy issues.  It focuses on helping you say yes to the best things and no to the things that work against the best things – even if they are good things.

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Make a list of what is relaxing to you. This is different for everyone. I love a hot bubble bath with book, candles and wine. Grabbing a good book, a glass of ice tea and heading outside to read is another way I relax. A great massage, lunch with friends, and yoga are other great options for me.  It is nice to have a list of what works for you in the event you end up with unexpected free time.

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Schedule it. That is right. Schedule that me time  into your life. I find it best to schedule my me time after I have completed the most pressing tasks. This allows me relax without feeling pressured by those tasks.

Can’t Relax?   Multitasking while you “relax” could be the culprit. If you are checking emails while you watch T.V., checking social media while your read, or answering phone calls during your massage you are not fully relaxed or focused.

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Multitasking can be a good thing but it doesnt promote relaxation. Make sure you are fully present in your me time. Take note of the things that tempt you to distraction and remove them. Silence your phone. Turn off the wi-fi. Put on some headphones. Do whatever it takes to remove the distractions. You will be better equipped to do all those tasks after you.

Do you have any relaxation or time management tips to share? What is your perfect idea of relaxation? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Check out the video – same topic but not the same content!

Book Love Review: The Sun Is Also A Star

This is my favorite YA contemporary EVER. And yes, I liked it better than EVERYTHING EVERYTHING. This was an audiobook selection and I highly recommend the audio version of this.

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What I loved about this book:

* Natasha. This girl is facts, science, and action. She is doing everything she can to avoid being deported. I love how we see another side of her character she falls for Daniel and her backstory is revealed. I feel like Natasha would have been a romantic dreamer if she had not been so heavily influenced by her father’s failures.

*Daniel: This boy is a romantic dreamer who is still trying to be person his family expects. He is so opposite of Natasha that they shouldn’t fall in love but they do. Falling in love with Natasha changes him but it also helps him embrace who he is and let go of some of the things he is planning to do to please his parents.

 

*The Insight into secondary characters: I love that reading this book you get an inside look at what is going on with the secondary characters that at first glance don’t seem to have much to do with the story. However, all of the stories tie together and so many lives are affected in ways that the main characters don’t see. Daniel’s father doesn’t go as far as to tell Daniel why he has the expectations for Daniel that he does but as the reader we are privy to that information. I can’t help but wonder how their relationship could have changed, if his father had simply shared that with him. I won’t say more about the secondary stories because I don’t want to give away a big spoiler. I will just stay, things come together in the end.

* Diversity: I loved the way you two different people from two different cultures are brought together. I think the cultural portrayals of Daniel, Natasha, and their families are beautifully and realistically done. I found myself pulling for them but at the same time understanding some of the reasons that there parents are against them because of the parents own cultural backstories.

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Overall, I adore this book. Yes, it is a bit of an Insta romance, but it works in this novel because it is about how two people with very different outlooks on life can fall in love and are changed by the romance, even if it doesn’t turn out the way they want. It is so much more than a romance because so many people are affected by characters and their choices.

You Should Read this if:

  • You are a romantic at heart.
  • You enjoy movies and books about seemingly unconnected people being connected. Think Love Actually or other movies that follow multi stories that are loosely related.
  • You enjoyed EVERYTHING EVERYTHING. The author’s style flows in both books.

This book gave me a ALL the feels. I laughed, I cried, and for a brief moment I wanted to throw the book at the wall. I was fully invested in these characters and it held my attention from start to finish.

 

June Owlcrate Unboxing: Make it Out Alive

Zombies? Check.

Survival Stickers? Check.

I am ready for this month’s Owlcrate unboxing… are you? This months theme is Make It Out Alive and it contains 2 complete books. Which makes it a winning box in my opinion.  Read on to find out what was in the box and my thoughts and then click the link below to check out the unboxing video. My kids assisted with the unboxing and they have a special request for you at the end of it.

Unboxing video

The complete contents of the box… except the magnet. I stuck it on my metal lamp and forgot to photograph it until later.

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My favorite non book item was bath bomb  from the Fizzy Fairy Apothecary. ( I adore that name!)  This bath bomb was created exclusively for Owlcrate.  It was amazing and  turned my bath water a fizzy DARK green. So dark  that it would have been easy to let the silver tree charm inside it go unnoticed if I had not an inkling that there was something inside it.

The box also included a bookmark, a magnet, the author letter, and the signed bookplate. Isn’t this magnet adorable? I love the quote.

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My daughters favorite item is the zombie sleep mask. It has already disappeared into her room along with the multi colored pen that came in last months box.

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Joshua liked this month’s button and the sleep mask as well.

The box also included survival themed stickers. Now that I have started reading the book the theme and related items are clicking into place. Although, I have not deciphered the meaning of the iron on patch that was included.

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On to the books. The featured book is The Sandcastle Empire. I am already on page 120 and it is keeping me interested, but as of right now I don’t think it will go on my list of favorite books for the year.

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The second book is a paperback called New World Rising and I am excited to start reading.

Next month’s theme is  wanderlust. The box will include a licensed product from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I get the feeling that I am going to have to fight to keep that item from my kids.

Get your own owlcrate box here

Which brings me to the challenge I mentioned at the beginning of the post.

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I made a deal with my kids and you get to help them out.  I told them that when we get 10 views of our video and 10 new subscribers to my YouTube channel I will order them there very own Owlcrate Jr and let them make there own unboxing video. They have been begging me for months to order them a box so let’s make it happen!

June Owlcrate Unboxing Video

 

 

 

 

Book Love Review: Scarlet By Marissa Meyer

I hate reading series books out of order. I avoid it at all costs but sometimes it happens and I have to make the best of a bad situation. That is exactly what happened with Scarlet, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

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Here is how it happened. Sometime, long ago, I read Cinder. Fast forward to a few months ago when I needed an audiobook for my travels. The library was out of titles that appealed to me. Having just read, Heartless, I snatched up Cress, The Lunar Chronicles.  I I couldn’t remember if I had read Scarlet or not.

(Don’t judge – I read a lot. It is easier than you think to forget about reading a book. The worst? Cover changes. Not only do I judge a book by it’s cover – I remember it by its cover. Well. Sometimes. In hindsight, I read Cinder in ebook form. I think I read a sample chapter of Scarlet, which lead to the confusion. )

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It didn’t take long for me to figure out I had not read the prior book but I was already on the road so I continued on with Cress. Once I finished it I had a great debate. Go back and read Scarlet or move on to Winter?

I loved Scarlet & Wolfe in Cress, so I decided to backtrack and I am glad I did. So, on to the review. I am going to pretend that I did not already know the outcome of this book when I read it.

What I loved:

  • Scarlet. She is feisty, loyal, and determined. She falls hard and fast for Wolfe.
  • The relationship. Okay, I don’t want to give any spoilers here, but I know this romance may be called unhealthy by some. To some degree, I understand but in the context of the story and what Wolfe is I like the romance and connection between them.
  • Wolfe. I love that in finding Scarlet he finds a part of himself that he did not know existed.
  • Iko. She is one of my favorite characters even if she is a ship in this book.
  • Following Cinder, Ki, and meeting Captain Thorne are also high points in the book for me.
  • The plot is well written and interesting. It would have been better I were experiencing it first hand, instead of reading with knowledge of what happens in the next book.

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Who should read this book:

  • If you enjoyed Cinder you will want to continue the story with this book. Don’t skip ahead. Just don’t do it. You will kick yourself like I did.
  • Fans of Fairy Tale retellings will adore this take on Little Red Riding Hood.
  • Fans of Marissa Meyer, but that really goes without saying.
  • If you love a blend of fairy tale, fantasy, sci-fi, with a good dose of Cyborg tossed in you should add this to your reading list.

On another note, If I find this book on Audio at the library or have an extra audible credit I will be checking it out. I felt that Cress was well done on audio and I would like to experience this book in that format. Which is staying a lot, because I don’t reread most books. That is reserved ONLY for book with a special place in my heart. At this point, I don’t know if I would re-read this book but I would listen.

What books do you love in audio format?

 

 

 

Unboxing: Ipsy Glam Bag

Guess what happens when you hug a book to your chest while recording the video review of it ?

Well, if you are clutching said book on top your microphone you get fuzzy audio. That brings me to today’s video. Rather, the video you are not getting today.

This not a review of Heartless. The book review video could not be saved though editing. Yes, it is the second time I have recorded it and failed. Let’s move on.

The last thing I want to do is skip uploading a video for you . Luckily, my daughter and I made this video of our Ipsy Glam Bag unboxing for fun. While it is not the normal sort of video I post it is free of fuzzy audio and that’s gotta count for something right?

My IPSY Glam Bag Unboxing Video

So,What is Ipsy?

If you love cosmetics and trying new products at a budget price you will love IPSY Glam Bags. They are a monthly subscription box that includes a make up bag, samples & full size cosmetic products that are picked for you based on the profile you fill out.

I love it because you can change your profile questionnaire and  the types of products you would like to receive at at any time.

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For $10 a month you will receive full size products and generous sample size products. I have found several new products that I love via my IPSY Glam bag. It gives me the opportunity to try out a wide variety of colors and products with out breaking the bank.

The samples are generous sizes. I pack my favorite sample when I travel. It saves me space and money.

Get your own Glam Bag HERE

Ipsy Glam Bag Vlog

POST VIDEO PRODUCT UPDATES:

I am happy with all of this months products.  

Eyeliner: It went on smooth and the color was nice.

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Lip Color:  Love the color. Love the feel. It is not long lasting but it is very moisturizing. I will buy this product when it runs out.

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Bag: Super cute. Great size.

Mask: Have not used yet.

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Mascara: Not bad. Not great. I will use it for travel.

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Blush: Nice color but it is a bit to red on me. I will use this shade in the winter when my skin tone is lighter. 

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Have a blessed & beautiful da

 

 

VLOG: Indie Spotlight – Prophecy of Three By Ashley Mcleo

Does this post look familiar? Having De-ja-vu? Never fear. It’s not you. It’s me.

If you have been reading my blog for a bit, let me assure that is not simply a repost of my prior review of this book.

Well, Not exactly.

Yes. I have already written a blog post about the Prophecy of Three.  But, that is not what I am sharing to today. What I have for you  today is the new video review. The original coordinating video review of this book was a big fat fail and I had to scrap it.

Why? I forgot to mic check. The audio was beyond terrible. I had no time to re-film and edit it.  This also happened with Heartless which will featured on Friday’s Vlog.

I refuse to let failure rule me. I re-filmed and edited new videos. Because I love you and I love talking about  books.  So get to clicking on the link below to check out my (almost) spoiler free review.

(Remember – my vlog & blog posts are rarely ever the same even if they are on the same book or topic.)

Prophecy of Three: The Starseed Trilogy by Ashley McLeo

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Click the link below to buy the book. It is available in ebook or paperback. If you have kindle unlimited you might be able to read it for free.

Amazon Link For the Book 

(Just an F.Y.I. I provide links to make it easy for you to find the book & support the author.)

Have a blessed & bookish day!