All posts by Laure

Do Binaural Beats to Improve Focus Work?

The past few weeks, I’ve been really struggling with focus, and the amount of work I’ve been able to produce has really suffered. I decided to try listening to some music with binaural beats to improve focus, and I wanted to pop in here and share a bit about it. (Music that’s got a beat but isn’t much to dance to… though a night out dancing to regular music has benefits, too.) After all, being productive is one huge thing that affects my sense of positivity and how I feel about – well – everything.

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Where I Found Free Music With Binaural Beats to Improve Focus

Since this is my first experiment with this technique, I wanted to explore some free options, and I found some on YouTube. I don’t have enough experience with this yet to recommend any specific binaural beats soundtracks or videos, but I will say I found the music and experience of listening to Super Intelligence: Memory Music, Improve Focus and Concentration With Binaural Beats Focus Music by Greenred Productions while working made me feel more at peace – which was in itself a very nice thing after a crazy-hectic few weeks.

Music With Binaural Beats as Part of a Meditation Session

I also listened to music with binaural beats as part of a couple meditation sessions, and I found these far more relaxing than my usual meditation sessions. I also found I was more deeply relaxed for several hours after the meditation sessions than normal.

What Binaural Beats Haven’t Help Me With Yet

So far, the jury is still out for me on whether binaural beats can help improve my focus and productivity, though I suspect with patience and continued use I may see a change for the positive. As of now, I haven’t noticed any real improvement in those areas. Where I have noticed improvements are in the depth of relaxation I’m able to achieve and the depth of meditation I’ve been able to achieve with these relaxing tones playing in the background while I work and meditate.

What the Experts Say About Binaural Beat Therapy

Binaural beat therapy might sound like a lot of silliness or like some new fad, but a bit of research reveals its long history and its effectiveness at treating some patients.

Binaural Beats were first discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, and it “has been used in clinical settings to research hearing and sleep cycles, to induce various brain wave states, and treat anxiety,” according to Psychology Today.

Almost ten years ago, around 2010, it was popular to say that kids listening to binaural beats were i-dosing – or that binaural beats music was a digital drug for teens – which was really not proven to be the case – but I wanted to include a mention of it here in case you remember reading about i-dosing from back then.

My Questions for You About Binaural Beats

I’m curious to hear if anyone reading this has tried listening to music with binaural beats to increase focus and productivity (and if it worked or not.)

I’m also curious – if it worked – did it work the first time or did it take multiple tries to notice a difference?

I’m thinking about picking up this CD of pure binaural beats on eBay, to make a personal self-guided meditation for myself, so if you’re interested in trying it for yourself, pop over to eBay and take a look.

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Four Ways AR and VR Will Shape Digital Marketing

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are rapidly shaping digital marketing, and there is more integration on the horizon. Customers are eager for new, ground-breaking ideas. To stay on trend and keep customers engaged, companies must begin to incorporate both AR and VR into their business plans. Below are four ways that AR and VR will shape digital marketing in the very near future.

Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing image courtesy of Pixabay

1) Advertisements via Virtual Reality

Google has already jumped on board the VR train, by announcing that they have already placed ads in virtual reality worlds. Users can merely gaze or stare at the ads to start playing them. Movie studios are also experimenting with this. Lionsgate also recently crafted a virtual world for their horror movie, Jigsaw.

While VR advertisements aren’t widespread at the moment, it doesn’t mean they aren’t working. In fact, they should increase in popularity over the next several years. Analysts are predicting that VR advertising will continue to surge, hitting $38 billion in annual revenue by 2026.

2) Simulated Customer Interaction

Businesses are also looking at marketing via simulated customer interaction. Clothing stores, such as Gap, have created dressing room apps. These apps allow customers to try on clothes without stepping into the store. Users simply input their measurements and are able to see how items will look on their bodies.

Similarly, home improvement stores, like Lowe’s, are allowing their customers to remodel their rooms without committing to any changes. Lowe’s also offers DIY classes in virtual reality. Users wear a VR headset and get to work on a project, without making costly mistakes or messes.

3) Innovative Brand Experiences

Some brands are offering their customers out-of-this-world experiences. The lack of chocolate canyons and milk rivers on Earth didn’t stop Oreo from making them a virtual reality. To promote their cupcake-filled flavor, Oreo created a VR film that scored over three million views and created plenty of buzz.

Coca-Cola also had similar results with an AR campaign earlier this year that had over six million views. The success and popularity of AR campaigns will increase the likelihood of more and more companies using these strategies.

4) Digital Packaging

Many companies have begun to use AR as digital packaging. In the past, Starbucks app users have been able to take a picture of their cup and see it come to life on their phone screen. Aside from being innovative, digital packaging allows companies to provide their customers with additional information. For instance, customers can scan the packaging and download more information about the product.

Conclusion

AR and VR are becoming very popular in the digital marketing world. By using these new ideas, companies are creating increased brand awareness, customer engagement, and customer experience. To stay popular, businesses should begin looking into content marketing services to strategize ways to use AR and VR in the future. With out-of-this-world brand experiences, simulated customer interaction, and more, AR and VR services will be in high demand.

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The Benefits of Enjoying a Night Out

The rigors of everyday life can get pretty tiresome, and when a traditional vacation getaway isn’t an option, a night out on the town, relaxing and having fun can leave you refreshed and ready to get back to your everyday routine.

Benefits of a Night Out
Benefits of a Night Out image courtesy of Pixabay

Why You Should Go Ahead and Enjoy a Night Out

There’s no denying that the time you spend doing normal things and taking care of everyday life is important and is time well spent, but it can take its toll after a while if you don’t get a break.

Everyone needs balance to be a happy, healthy person, and time out of the house, having a good time is a big part of achieving a healthy work-life balance.

“The challenge of work-life balance is without question one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man.” – Steven Covey

There are a lot of benefits of family time, including the strong emotional bonds it creates and better behavior in children. However, when you focus only on family time – or work – and don’t make some time for yourself to do things you enjoy, you can end up tired and angry and just plain frazzled.

Whether you opt for a night out alone, with your significant other, or a group of your best friends is (obviously) up to you – but making time for yourself and your friends is good for your psyche and for your health, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Suggestions of Things to Do on a Night Out in Scranton

If you’re in the Scranton area, why not plan a night out in Scranton, and enjoy the benefits of relaxing for an evening getaway?

The  Scranton PA nightlife scene includes a variety of entertaining and relaxing things to do, including:

  • Music lovers in The Electric City can enjoy concerts at indoor or outdoor venues.
  • Live performances also include things like poetry readings and plays.
  • The dinner and bar scene offers tasty things to eat and drink while chatting with friends or meeting new people.
  • Bowling (regular or cosmic) is a fun option if you enjoy active outings that let you burn a few calories while enjoying a night out.
  • Playing mini golf is another fun, active way to spend  a night out in the Scranton area.

Why not plan your next night out on the town now – it gives you something to look forward to, plus you may think of something you want to add to your itinerary in order to make the evening even more fun.

Thanks for visiting Intrinsic Vicissitude, comments are always welcome both here and on the Intrinsic Vicissitude Facebook page.

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Why You Can Feel Great About Preparing Your Dog’s Food From Scratch

When I adopted my little J-dog, I expected him to be a sweet little cuddler, and of course, he is. What I didn’t expect was his skin allergies making him and everyone else uncomfortable. Luckily, his skin cleared up when I started preparing his dog food from scratch.

Advantages of Preparing Your Own Dog Food
Advantages of Preparing Your Own Dog Food

Intrinsic Vicissitude is honored to partner with Dog Product Picker to bring you this post about helping your dog stay healthy with high quality food.

Why Home Made Dog Food Is Better for a Dog’s Skin (at Least Sometimes)

Using J-dog as an example, he has a grain allergy and if he starts eating grain-based dog food, he gets itchy and starts to lose his fur. I could pick up grain-free dog food at the store, but it often upsets his tummy, leading to “other” unpleasant problems – plus it gets pricey to get the really good brands.

The benefits of preparing your own dog food – for owners of dogs that have  allergies and skin problems – are that you get to feel good about helping your pet stay healthy, and you end up with lower vet bills as your pet grows healthier.

(Be sure to discuss anything regarding changing your pet’s diet with your vet before doing it – just to be safe – he or she may recommend a brand that you’re comfortable with.)

Now, I have to admit, this might be harder to maintain for a larger dog. Even with a small pooch, it can be a lot of extra planning. If I forget to plan ahead and get ingredients for his food, I have a backup supply of grain-free food to put in his feeder that I store in the freezer to keep fresh so he never has to go hungry.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Dog Food Recipe

I try to keep my recipes simple and not change things up too much in order to avoid giving J-dog an upset stomach. I do occasionally switch meat and carb sources, depending on what I can find on sale.

Ingredients for Chicken and Sweet Potato Dog Food

This recipe uses a 1:1 ratio of chicken and carbohydrates, but you can mix it up according to your vet’s recommendations – or experiment to come up with something your dog likes.

  • Raw cubed chicken (1-cup)
  • Raw cubed sweet potato (1-cup)
  • (Optional) Peas or diced carrots (1/8-cup)

Directions for Preparing Chicken and Sweet Potato Dog Food

I like to prepare this almost like a stir fry, though it also turns out nice if it’s steamed.

  • If stir-frying, spray a light layer of cooking oil in the pan to prevent sticking.
  • Put everything in the pan or steamer at the same time, and cook over medium to medium-high heat.
  • Let the food cook until the chicken is cooked through and sweet potato cubes get soft.
    • (It might seem a little bland to you, but  a lot of spices aren’t good for dogs, and bland is typically better for the canine digestive system.)
  • Let the food cool before serving it to your dog.
  • I like to cook up  a large batch ahead of time, so I don’t have to prepare a special meal for the dog every day.
    • (I don’t mind spoiling him a little because he gives us an immeasurable amount of love, but there are limits to how many extra meals I want to cook each week, you know what I mean?)

Since I put my little J-dog on a grain-free diet and started cooking the vast majority of his meals, he seems happier, healthier, (fuzzier) and he’s even put on some weight so I’ve had to shop for new dog care products, mainly a pretty new collar for his tags and a car seat harness for him to wear when we go out in the car.

If you have any questions or comments about my dog food recipe or this post, comments are welcome, and it would be great if you join the conversation on Facebook if you want to do that.

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Business Application Software Basics for Start-Ups

Starting a business is a scary thing, but it can change your life, and having access to the technology you need, like the right business application software, helps a lot. This applies whether you’re starting a small business or a large one, though of course, your software needs change with the type of enterprise you start.

Business Software for Start-Ups
Business Software for Start-Ups image courtesy of Pixabay

Business Software Systems

I wanted to share about business software systems and applications today because these programs can make life so much simpler for new business owners.

There are a lot of reasons for new businesses to take advantage of software that’s available, and almost all, at their core, come down to time saved.

Software helps business owners and employees tackle the heavy-lifting of things like payroll, accounts receivable, and inventory management.

Small Business Software

Some of the more popular options for small businesses include basic accounting software and even free business software, like FreshSales or EverNote.

This type of small business accounting software serves basic needs, and sometimes you can even find apps for your smartphone that provide this type of entry-level business software.

I even recently read an article about how to start and run a business entirely from your smartphone – and while that’s a whole other article in itself – it shows it’s possible to get the basic kind of software you need to operate a small business.

Software For Bigger Start-Ups

If you have the capital, ambition, and overall wherewithal to start big in your business endeavor, you’re going to need software that’s able to handle big tasks.

This typically involves picking up ERP accounting software and software that’s capable of running in cooperation with a large database.

For example, if you choose to start an energy brokerage, there’s actually energy broker software ready and available with the power to handle the needs of a huge energy start-up.

Whether you want to go big or start small, there’s software out there to help you meet your goals for starting a business and rewriting your life story as a business leader instead fo an employee.

Thanks for reading, and if you have experience with any of these types of business software, please feel free to share your story in the comments. 

By Laure Justice

 

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Back and Shoulder Workout to Reduce Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain makes it hard to do much of anything, and I’ve found that when my shoulders start to hurt, the ache moves up my neck and I end up with a full-blown migraine if I don’t get it quickly under control.

Shoulder Exercises to Reduce Pain
Shoulder Exercises to Reduce Pain image courtesy of Pixabay

Back And Shoulder Exercises to Cut Shoulder Pain

Trust your body when trying any new exercises, and consult your physician as a best practice to make sure it’s safe to do the exercises suggested here.

Pick Up Some Weights

The WebMD website suggests adding four resistance exercises to your back and shoulder workout to increase the strength of this muscle set. These four exercises are:

  1. Rowing: I used to have a rowing machine I used for this, and I loved it, but it took enough space I didn’t replace it when it wore out.
  2. Lateral pulldowns: I do a modified version of the traditional lat pulldown using a resistance band.
  3. One-arm dumbbell rows: When I do these, I use a five-pound dumbbell when I don’t have shoulder pain. If my shoulder is bothering me, I do it using no weights and I move slowly so it’s more like a stretch than a resistance exercise.
  4. Shoulder shrugs: These can also be done with or without extra weight, depending on your current physical state.

Yoga Stretches for Shoulder Pain

Yoga Stretches for Shoulder Pain Relief
Yoga Stretches for Shoulder Pain Relief image courtesy of Pixabay

Have you ever felt kind of tired and cramped through the neck and shoulder area, then stretched and that stretch felt SO amazing?

There’s a reason for that; it’s really common to slump forward when you’re working, and then the muscles tighten in the slumped position, leading to pain and stiffness in the upper back, shoulders, and neck.

Yoga International recommends stretching the upper chest, which may sound counter-intuitive at first, but it expands the muscles that shorten and starts the healing process at the core of the problem.

This is similar to performing abdominal exercises to strengthen the lower back, which relieves back pain.

There are several yoga poses that stretch this muscle set, such as Warrior 1, Warrior 2, and downward-facing dog.

The shoulder stand pose also stretches the upper chest muscles, but it’s an advanced pose that beginners should, in my opinion, avoid trying without some sort of coach or assistance.

When shoulder pain isn’t the result of posture problems, other things that can cause it are impacts from car accidents, falls, or even a physician’s error during a medical procedure. If the latter is the case, consider discussing medical malpractice Pittsburgh with an attorney to find out what help is available to you.

Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear about your experience with shoulder pain and what you do to ease it. 

By Laure Justice

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Turn your Summer Vacation Digs into a Home Away From Home

Summer vacation is your chance to get away and reset your stress levels, but it’s also nice to have some fo the comforts of home when you’re away.

Intrinsic Vicissitude is proud to partner with Chilewich to bring you these easy tips for adding some special touches that turn your summer vacation digs into a home away from home.

Turn Your Vacation Digs into a Home Away From Home
Turn Your Vacation Digs into a Home Away From Home image courtesy of Pixabay

Turn your Summer House into a Home Away From Home

This summer when you are vacationing at your beach house, timeshare or lake cabin, consider a few decor upgrades to enhance the beauty of your surroundings and add a warm touch.

Here are a few of our favorite picks for turning your summer house into a home the whole family will feel comfortable and relaxed in.

Bamboo Placemats

If you need a set of placemats that are simultaneously stylish and spill-proof, look no further. These indoor/outdoor placemats are constructed from a durable blend of bamboo and vinyl that give them a natural yet sturdy feel. These placemats are must-have for young kids. Use code BCJUNEGIFT to get a free set of six 100% linen ivory napkins with any purchase in June.

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Stripe Anchor-Print VelvetLoft Throw

For nights when hanging out on the beach gets a bit chilly, this nautical-inspired throw keeps everyone warm. Its 50”x60” dimensions make it a good size to take with you on your adventures or to keep at home on the couch. Grab one in red and navy to keep the whole family comfy all summer.

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Seas the Day Shadow Box

After a long day at the beach, your little seashell collectors will want to show off their finds. Instead of keeping them in a bucket all summer, this shadow box puts them on display for everyone to enjoy. This is sure to be a special piece that the whole family will remember for summers to come.

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Reasons You Should Be Enjoying a Hobby

I’ve been really thinking about why I started blogging and working on my own websites – because I enjoy it – and it’s become my hobby – or at least one of my hobbies – so I wanted to share a post that’s all about why hobbies are so important.

The Value of Having a Hobby
The Value of Having a Hobby image courtesy of Pixabay

Reasons to Have a Hobby You Enjoy

Did you know hobbies have a lot of positive benefits that can play a significant role in improving your quality of life? Read on for the details…

A Hobby Helps You Feel Enthusiastic

“Today is life – the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto.” – Dale Carnegie

Everyday life can get you down – working – chores – all of it. Having a hobby gives you something that’s uniquely your own to look forward to and to enjoy.

Your Hobby Can Also Be Your Work

“I remember times of anxiety, ups and downs, and times of unexpected windfalls. But my parents loved what they did. And because their work was also their hobby, it taught me that work could be fulfilling.” – Rosamund Pike

You can make a career from your hobby. It has advantages and drawbacks. The main advantage is, even cruddy days doing something you love are better than the best day doing something you hate. The biggest disadvantage, in my opinion, is when you need a break, it’s a lot harder to step away because your livelihood is tied to your hobby.

A New Hobby Opens the Door to the Unknown

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” – Albert Einstein

When you approach a new hobby, you normally do it with your mind open to learning about something that interests you, but you don’t know a lot about.  That makes taking up a hobby a great way to experience the air of mystery and the blossoming experience that’s the root of all beauty.

A Hobby Increases Brain Efficiency

According to Prevention Magazine, hobbies that involve learning can change the brain’s structure and help keep your brain functioning properly, even if other age-related factors called neuropathies are negatively impacting you otherwise.

Thanks for reading, and tell me, if you want to, what are your favorite hobbies?

By: Laure Justice

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3 Great Backyard BBQ Styles for Men

Since I just shared a post on cute fitness apparel for women, I thought I should share some fun, summery clothes for guys, too.

Intrinsic Vicissitude is proud to partner with Old Navy to bring you this short list of great guy’s backyard BBQ styles for men.

3 Great Backyard BBQ Styles for Men

For the man who wants to show some patriotism in his outfit this 4th of July, but still stay stylish, we’ve found a few simple fashion upgrades.

Here are a few of our favorite styles for him to show his American pride at this year’s festivities.

The Commando Sunglasses

Whether he’s manning the grill or tossing horseshoes with buddies, these Commando sunglasses are up for anything this 4th of July. The polarized lenses are made with triacetate cellulose to provide clarity and 100% UV protection, so no matter how sunny the day is, these shades keep him looking cool.

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Dip-Dye Pocket Tank for Men

Stripes on the 4th are a given, so why not mix things up with this dip-dye tank? This tank features a soft cotton jersey blend for a relaxed fit that keep him looking and feeling chill and laidback. Pair with medium wash denim for classic American style.

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Built-in Flex Drawstring Jogger Shorts for Men

These nautical jogger shorts are sure to be on heavy rotation this summer. They feature an elasticized waistband for ultimate comfort between devouring hot dogs and hamburgers and playing a round of croquet. Soft, lightweight double-weave twill keeps him cool on even the hottest of summer days.

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3 Easy-to-Pack Pieces of Fitness Apparel for Women

Since it’s summer and it’s vacation time for so many people, and packing can be a challenge, I wanted to share this short list of easily-packed fitness apparel for women.

When you want to maintain the level of fitness you’ve been working for, you need to keep your fitness gear handy, and these are items that don’t take much space in your overnight bag so you can enjoy your regular fitness routine wherever you go.

So, I wanted to share these fun (and cute) ideas for easy-to-pack fitness apparel for women.

The information and pictures below are brought to you as part of an ad campaign from Puma that Intrinsic Vicissitude is participating in today.

Easy-to-pack Fitness Apparel for Women

Even though you’re on vacation, you still want to keep on track with your health and fitness goals. But, with limited packing space, it can be difficult deciding what to bring. That’s why we’ve compiled a few of our favorite travel-friendly apparel items that you can have on hand wherever the summer takes you.

PUMA Classics Logo Women’s Tank Top

Get sporty this summer in this performance tank. Its large peekaboo armholes add both style and comfort, perfect for extra sweaty workout sessions. This tank is perfect for storage; simply roll up and pop in your bag. Grab all three colors to keep in rotation this summer.

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Nike Women’s Free Run Flyknit Running Sneaker

These knit sneakers are a welcome change from traditionally clunkier options. Specifically designed to be lightweight, they feature a breathable, foot-hugging Flyknit upper that keep you cool on even the hottest runs. Even though they’re lightweight, their performance is anything but.

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Lululemon Speed Up Short Long 4”

From the moment you put on these running shorts, you won’t want to take them off. Made from lightweight, sweat-wicking Swift fabric, these shorts are ideal for runs on the coast. You’ll appreciate the gel pockets to store keys and the Lycra Fibre for shape retention (no wrinkled shorts here!).

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Thanks for reading and checking out these cute, easy-packing fitness apparel garments and footwear for women.

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