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These Are the 7 Best Places to Live in the United States for 2017

For so many of us, relocating to a new city is a daunting experience. From finding new neighborhood favorites to maintaining sociability, moving has the power to leave you mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. But as you know the saying, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and it’s true in more ways than one.

The U.S. is a beautiful nation, full of vibrant cities that stand out on their own influence to attract visitors from around the world. But which of these is actually the best livable location for you and your family?

U.S. News & World Report released its list of the “Best Places to Live in America for 2017” after ranking the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. According to the report, these metro areas are evaluated by looking at five categories: desirability, value, job markets, quality of life and net migration.

Whether you plan on moving this year or are looking to visit a fresh, desirable city this spring, we look at the top seven best places to live in the United States for 2017 with help from U.S. News & World Report.

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8 Awe-Inspiring Instagram Travel Accounts to Follow

Whether you’re heading overseas on a romantic trip for two or hitting the road with friends, what good is traveling if you can’t find a creative and fun way to share the experience with others? Today, social media has created a trusty and inspired haven through Instagram for users all over the world to share memorable moments on their every trip, while sparking an inspired wanderlust that drives our deepest desires to explore.

The travel category of Instagram can be a bit overwhelming for some as you spend hours sifting through thousands of accounts through destinations and users. But it’s an exciting feat to undertake as it encourages you to head out and dive into an unknown world while leaving your comfort zone for a purposeful existence. If you are in the mood for travel this chilly winter, check out eight of our favorite Instagram travel accounts to follow.

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6 Apps to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Living in a culture inundated with the urge to change our ways once a new year hits can be incredibly intimidating. Not only is it hard to figure out our resolutions and work at them every single day, but it can be stressful seeing others start on goals, while you wonder how they truly do it.

From planning trips to the appeal of green juice cleanses, setting goals for a new year ahead can be hard and induce a heap load of anxiety that can often hinder productivity and dampen your spirits. But the truth is, resolutions can be scary, especially since researchers at the University of Scranton found only 8 percent of people successfully achieve resolutions every year. You know what that means? It means 92 percent fail. Ouch. Totally disheartening, right? But we’re not the type to stop at failure.

With the first week of the new year officially done, how are you doing with your resolutions? To help you stay on track this year and get more organized, use your trusty devices to hold you accountable and achieve your goals. What’s the point of technology if it can’t help us? Whether your resolution is to eat more healthy or budget wisely, we take a look at some amazing apps to help you be more productive and reach your goals by Dec. 31, 2017.

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Womanista: September 2016

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September has come and gone, but Womanista, the official authority on fabulous presented some amazing content that will definitely have you bookmarking articles to read now and later. From all the parenting and pregnancy advice you’ll need (complete with interviews with experts), to how to stay on fleek with your fashion, to the best recipes for your weekend in, to even tips and tricks for your home and garden — last month featured it all. Without further adieu, here is a complete list of my contributions to the women’s lifestyle website for the month of September.

Sept. 30, 2016: The Best Fall Flowers for Your Garden | Spring and summer aren’t the only seasons with pretty flowers! Though the leaves are changing color and the temperatures are perfect for that sweater weather, autumn… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 28, 2016: 6 Ways to Improve Battery Life on Your iPhone | If you own an iPhone, it’s safe to say that it might just be an essential extension of your active social circle. As an effective companion helping us accomplish tasks and stay updated, iPhones are… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 27, 2016: Creative DIY Wall Art Tutorials to Brighten Up Your Space | When it comes to decorating our homes, those big, blank, windowless walls are the absolute perfect canvas for creative décor ideas. {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 26, 2016: The 8 Most Haunted Spots to Check Out in Nashville | When we think of Nashville, we’re often thinking about delicious BBQ, the shopping on Broadway and of course, our favorite — country music! {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 24, 2016: 10 Delicious Weekend Breakfast Recipes You Must Try | Next to a healthy refreshing and Instagram-worthy smoothie bowl, avocado toast might just be our favorite breakfast ever. {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 23, 2016: 4 Benefits of Infant Massage Therapy | There’s nothing better than a massage to loosen up those tense muscles from a long, hard day. But if you think you’re the only one who benefits from the luxury of massages, think again. {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 20, 2016: 7 Tips for Eating Out With a Toddler | We’ve all witnessed that table at a restaurant — kids standing on chairs, refusing to use their indoor voices and exchanging bread rolls at each other’s faces. {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 19, 2016: 7 Foods in Your Pantry That Will Never Expire | Do you ever feel a little confused by the expiration dates on all your favorite foods? Well, you’re certainly not alone. Between the “best if used by” labels and sell-before recommended… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 16, 2016: The Hottest Hair Color Trends of Fall 2016 | Between the crunch of leaves and the aroma of pumpkin spice everything in the air, a new season is upon us that begs to brighten up our style… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 15, 2016: 5 Dream Vacation Destinations for Book Lovers | Considered a welcomed escape from the everyday life, reading is a magical experience. Like a blooming garden carried in our pocket or purse, reading unleashes a world we relate to through circumstances… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 9, 2016: Everything You Need to Know About Pregnancy Back Pain | While carrying your bundle of joy around for nine months is a welcomed part of motherhood, the back pain complete with stiffness, soreness and ache… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 6, 2016: Your Essential Fall Fun To-Do List | Fall is upon us, Womanistas! Synonymous with falling leaves, crisp air, pumpkins, football games, sweater weather, and of course the famed, Pumpkin Spice Latte… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 5, 2016: 6 Reasons to Delay Your Baby’s First Bath | When babies are born, they’re covered in a cheesy looking film that screams, “Clean me!” However, just like there are important procedures to consider in those initial hours of their birth, it’s important to…. {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 4, 2016: 7 of the Best Nuts for Your Skin and Health | Next to fruits and granola bars, nuts are the most underrated nutritious snack. Accounting for less than eight percent of our daily antioxidant intake, studies report… {CONTINUE READING…}

Sept. 2, 2016: Get to Know Forbes’ 10 Most Powerful Women in Business | We are continually inspired by the rise of the girl boss movement. From media to technology, to automotive and publications, more and more women today are confidently climbing… {CONTINUE READING…}

Living is easy with eyes closed

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So it’s been fairly cloudy today with temps hitting the high 80s F, but I can finally rest a little easier. With the summer semester over, I can enjoy the remainder of summer and hit up all the fun spots in this gorgeous city! I’m super excited to inject some excitement into the rest of these dog days, but will really miss both of my classes. While they were incredibly challenging, I feel these 10 weeks went by really quickly. One class in particular taught me so much about the shifting landscape of our emerging social technologies through theory, philosophy, human behavior, and the meaningful interactions we construct through these mediums. It was pretty fantastic and made me reflect so much more about what networks we use, our motivations and how we use them.

Through this particular field of study, I have found great value and a newfound appreciation for some of these networks because of the meaningful connections fortunately forged. The internet has fast became a tool in connecting with people of like minds in a participatory kind of culture that embeds a broad set of connections through the scientific progress of a Web 2.0 experience.

One such aspect of social media I love using more than others is instant messenger, also known as IM. Not only does it offer so many advantages over e-mail, SMS or traditional networks like quick and effective communication without delay, but it’s cost effective, discreet and opens up conversation to a more clear and concise dialogue when you really need answers as it reduces the chances of a misunderstanding. I often find you can have a better conversation with the people you need to connect with thanks to instant messenger’s ease.

Don’t get me wrong, I love texting with my friends and conversing in short bits on Twitter and Facebook, but IM has always been my favorite form of online communication. After all, I’ve had some of the best conversations with my best friends on this medium—especially in these last few months, when I needed it most (and of course, them too).

There are some people who don’t use social media—like, at all. And I mean, they are on not a single network. (I’m not talking email either.) Some of these folks go so far to say, “social media sucks,” or “it’s fake,” but that’s just because they don’t understand it or realize its incredible benefit to our social and digital ecosystem. A recent study deemed those without social media as “suspicious,” while an in-class lecture brought up how such a behavior of a “self-imposed exclusion” is indicative of a greater problem and presents an untrustworthy aspect of character. The latter might seem a little extreme, but I do see how cutting yourself off from every network when you were once an active user, whether deleting or deactivating from any form of communication with the outside world as a validation to your own limitations in growing, expanding and gaining a better perspective of life outside your norm. It’s not a defiance of the times at all. I think, if you’re headstrong, confident and self-aware with a strong spine of your motivations of being online, social media can be an incredible accent to strengthening relationships, an effective method in understanding others, gaining perspective on this beautiful world, and the connections we make through conversation.

But alas, as The Beatles sang, “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.”

Do you deem it “suspicious” when someone doesn’t have ANY form of social media to connect with friends? What social networks do you use to connect?

{Title inspired by The Beatles, “Strawberry Fields”}

How To Deal with Being Ghosted

Though it may seem like a new phenomenon, “ghosting” is quite possibly the most earth-shattering way to break up with someone and has become a huge part of our growing culture. Regarded as a way of cutting off all communication with an individual without any valid explanation, ghosting is not only the most disrespectful and pusillanimous way to get out of a relationship, but sadly the worst and fastest way millennials break up in the 21st century.

With the integration of social media and the profiles we build online, ghosting is a behavior heavily driven by technology and convenience, making it harder for one to understand or come to terms with. It brings along anxiety, low self-esteem, and severe mental pain. In a study from the 1980s, it was discovered when one person ends a relationship through avoidance, it is likely to generate anger and hurt for the recipient. However, unexpectedly, it affects the ghost with long-term repercussions as the recipient often confronts the ghost, creating an awkward and uncontrollable situation.

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The Kosta Doin’ Comedy: Breaking Down “The Comment Section” with Michael Kosta

With the rapid expansion of social media, there’s a new type of user crawling out from the deep, dark, and murky pits of the Internet’s basement, turning the web into the “Wild West” for belligerent and often impudent dialogue through the comments section found on articles of news sites.

Feeling like the closest thing to hell the Internet has ever seen, the comments section is truly an increasing cesspool of new-age stupidity and poorly spelled monologues, unleashing mindlessness and vitriol. But it’s more of a goldmine for E!’s newest star, the hilarious and affable Michael Kosta.

Finding amusement and humor in such discourse with his new show, The Comment Section, the 36 year-old comedian finds people just don’t care what they say online.

“There’s no consequence, you know? You post and nothing really happens,” he says. “There’s just no stakes.”

Having just landed in a somewhat snazzy hotel in the suburbs of Minneapolis before heading to his standup set, the Michigan native is a smart, sensible, and laid-back guy, who genuinely enjoys his newfound gig.

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“Got Your Six” – Civilians backing officers across the States

In light of the fatal August 28 shooting of Texas Deputy, Darren Goforth, there has been an influx of civilians across the country reaching out to help officers in times of need. Earlier this month, three officers from three different states met with the kindest gestures by civilians who chose to watch out and get the backs  (or the “6”) of those who patrol the streets day-in and day-out.

An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Facebook post from earlier this month is going viral after a little girl offered “backup” to an officer refueling his patrol car. IMPD Officer Dustin Keedy was refueling his patrol car on Emerson Avenue in southeast Indianapolis when a little girl and her mother stopped him.

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