April 2015

5 Best Sites for Staying Calm

The past week has been a little hectic. School is ramping up again, and spring is a busy time on campus. Many events happen during the bright and warm spring days here in California. Sometimes, through all this hustle and bustle, it’s a little difficult to stay focused and just take a few moments to calm down. Not doing anything for two minutes can really go a long way and centering back your mind. So here are a few of my favorite sites that help me de-stress in the middle of the night when all I want to do is finish my homework and go to bed!

calm1. Calm.com – this is undoubtedly my favorite site in helping keep my inner peace. You can set a meditation timer, or just take a moment to look at the tranquil scenes that loop to gentle music. Choose from a variety of scenes, from sunsets to beaches to abstract falling glitter.

rainymood2. Rainymood.com – Simple but effective. Rainymood plays rain, thunder and other nature noises. It’s something I listen to from time to time remind me of the Seattle rain that I miss here in dry California. Great for reading, writing or settling down before bed.

pinterest3. Pinterest – I’m not going to lie, scrolling aimlessly for a few minutes through Pinterest is often enough to help distract me from any stress I’m experiencing. Your mind relaxes, absorbing all kinds of random media content without searching for something in particular. Who knows, maybe you’ll even be inspired by something that catches your eye?

naturesounds4. naturesoundsfor.me – This site lets you mix your own nature sounds, to listen to while you work. Mixes of white noise, animal sounds and low beats may be all you need to de-stress and get you in a centered state of mind.

thoughtsroom5. The Thoughts Room (The Quiet Place Project) – This site lets you type in all your worries and fears into a little status bar. Once you type, the words fall off the screen, fading into nothingness. Something as simple as typing your frustrations and watching them melt away can be really satisfying.

Photo Management and Sharing

After my recent trip with friends to the East Coast, I’ve learned a thing or two about photo sharing. It’s great when everyone is taking pictures, but eventually everyone wants to see everyone else’s photos. It also makes documenting a whole trip easier when everyone is pitching in and taking their own perspectives (literally!) on what’s happening around you. I’m going to highlight a few photo services that might make the sharing process easier, amongst collaborators and viewers.

If you want everyone to share photos with each other and all your friends, and you’re not living under a rock, making a shared Facebook photo album is the way to go. One person can create the album, title it, and invite other users to collaborate so they can upload any photos they want. At the same time, all your friends can see the cumulative photos from your trip – pretty convenient!

If you don’t like the idea of Facebook, having a shared folder in Google Drive, OneDrive or DropBox can be a great way to share large, high quality photos amongst photo takers and select family and friends. This keeps your pictures a little more personal (you can share via a link that you send to specific people), and they’re backed up in the cloud – double win. Even better, most of these cloud services have mobile friendly backup options, so you can upload all your photos from your phone into these folders and the cloud!

If you’re looking to share you photos with a wide, public audience, photo sharing sites like Flickr may be the way to go. Your group can create a shared Flickr account and upload the best of the best to show off to the public.

For simple and seamless photo sharing, and if you all have Mac products, AirDrop is a great way to quickly share a few photos between your iPhones or iMacs. Simply enable AirDrop and Bluetooth on your respective devices, look for your friend’s device, and share selected photos. They’ll instantly transfer so you can both have copies living on your respective hard drives.

And in the end, there are still good old external hard drives and USB sticks to transfer large quantities of files and photos, and they’re a good source of external backup!