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Laura Williams
Laura Williams holds a master's degree in exercise and sport science and enjoys breaking up her day by running her dogs, hitting the gym, and watching TV. Having been in charge of her own finances since the early age of 12, she knows how to save and when to spend, and she loves sharing these tips with others. Laura ditched her career as a fitness center manager for the relative freedom of home-based writing and editing work. She stays busy by working on her own website, GirlsGoneSporty, a website designed to help the sporty woman live the sporty life.

How to Make Custom Wall Art Out of Reclaimed Wood

By Laura Williams

add spice kitchen wood signIf the multitude of projects on Pinterest and Etsy are any indication, reclaimed wall art is definitely a growing trend. While I appreciate the rustic feel of wood pallet signs, I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the price tag. Some pieces cost more than $100 for what amounts to nothing more than some old wood and paint.

After a recent barn renovation, I was inspired to make my own wall sign out of some of the old wood left lying around. The project was very easy and took only about a day to complete. Best of all, the end result is exactly what I was hoping for – and it cost me only a fraction of the price of purchasing a similar sign.

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How to Increase Your Instagram Followers – 5 Crucial Tips

By Laura Williams

instagramIf you’re looking for the “new Facebook,” look no further than Instagram. After displaying year-over-year growth of more than 900% two years in a row – booming from a million active users to more than 100 million active users, according to a compilation of Instagram statistics by TOTEMS – Instagram was actually bought out by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion. And then it kept growing. As of December 2014, the social network has more than 200 million active users, with 20 billion photos shared – averaging roughly 60 million photos per day. That’s a lot of sharing.

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What Are Online Virtual Conferences – Pros & Cons, How to Benefit

By Laura Williams

online conferenceThe online world is a mecca for learning, with a seemingly unlimited number of opportunities to expand your knowledge base. One online trend that’s starting to gain some real traction is that of the web-based conference. In addition to an education component, these typically feature opportunities for networking and, in some cases, online vendor “booths” and sponsors.

Designed as an alternative to professional conferences, some online conferences are held 100% over the Internet – often termed “summits” – while others are held online in conjunction with a live, in-person component. For instance, the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference will be held live in Indianapolis, Indiana, but you can also attend online.

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5 Easy Ways to Add Green Leafy Vegetables to Your Diet

By Laura Williams

green vegetablesGiven the choice between ice cream and spinach salad, many people would reach for the sweet stuff. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no-profit health partner, Fruits & Veggies More Matters, only 6% of Americans eat the recommended number of vegetable servings each day – and of those veggies, not many of them are green.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), starchy potatoes are the most frequently consumed vegetable, at roughly 52 pounds per person, per year, with tomatoes (31 pounds) and onions (8 pounds) rounding out the top three. Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, didn’t even make the list. Considering the USDA suggests adults consume at least 1.5 to 2 cups of leafy greens per week, it’s clear most people come up short.

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What Is a Twitter Chat – 5 Reasons to Participate in a Tweetchat

By Laura Williams

twitterI remember the first time I logged onto Twitter. I was like a groundhog on Groundhog’s Day that popped up and saw its shadow – I was overwhelmed by the platform, confused by its purpose, and felt the immediate need to dive back into my Facebook hidey-hole and hibernate for another six weeks of winter.

Granted, that was a long time ago, and I have since come to understand the benefits the platform offers – namely, Twitter’s real-time ability to engage with any other user, anytime, anywhere, regardless of “friend” status.

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8 Best Flash Sale Sites to Buy Gifts

By Laura Williams

online shoppingGift giving on a holiday budget is never easy, but it’s far from impossible. The advent of online shopping brought with it many new and exciting ways to save money on gifts, including daily deal websites (such as Groupon), auction sites (such as eBay), and flash sale sites (such as Gilt and The Clymb).

If you’re not familiar with flash sale sites, the concept is derived from in-person flash sales common in fashion meccas, such as New York and Los Angeles. The idea is that for a limited time – usually just a few hours or days – shoppers score deep discounts on brand-name items.

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16 Tips for Better Online Video Chatting – Improve Quality & Appearance

By Laura Williams

video chatAs a freshman in college in the year 2000, I remember struggling mightily to pay my 400-minute monthly cell phone bill. I was trying to maintain a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend, but our time to talk was limited due to his packed baseball schedule, my two jobs, and, most of all, the fact that we’d only dated for a month before heading to separate schools. He’s my husband now – so it all worked out – but back then we needed to be able to get to know one another in a world that seemed stacked against us.

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4 Cheap & Healthy Specialty Foods You Can Make at Home (Recipes)

By Laura Williams

hummusI spend a ridiculous amount of money at the grocery store. This is partly because my husband and I almost never eat out (but we do eat a lot), and it’s partly because we buy an abundance of organic, high-quality food.

Over the last few years I’ve started trying new things in the kitchen, looking for ways to control our food costs. What I’ve discovered is that it’s actually very easy to make some of those high-dollar “specialty” foods at home – even the ones that people generally assume can only be bought at a store.

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10 Tips to Choose the Right Sneakers or Athletic Shoes

By Laura Williams

athletic shoesJohn Wooden, the acclaimed UCLA basketball coach who won 10 NCAA championships in a 12-year span, used to start each season by teaching his players the right way to put on their socks and shoes. Now, you’d think that young men would know how to do this by the time they got to college, but the point was actually to drive home a very important fact: Executing the fundamentals makes finding success in all things a lot easier.

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How to Dye Concrete Floors in Your Home

By Laura Williams

staining concreteMy husband and I recently undertook a barn renovation, or a “barnovation,” as we’ve taken to calling it. What was, quite literally, a horse barn – manure and all – was renovated into a 900-square foot live-work studio. While we paid contractors to run the electrical and plumbing, frame and drywall the interior, and lay the first coat of paint, all the finishing work was up to us. And, if you’ve ever walked around on unfinished concrete – oh, the dust – you know that finishing the floors was one of our first items of business.

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5 Creative Storage Ideas for Small Spaces

By Laura Williams

organizedThe last three years have resulted in significant downsizing for my husband and me. We started in a 1,260-square-foot house with significant storage space, a storage shed, an attic, a utility room, and an additional 750-square-foot garage. We then downsized to 1,100 square feet with lots of closet space, and access to a garage and shed for additional storage. We are now moving into a 900-square-foot barn renovation with no closet space, no garage, and no cabinets (yet).

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6 Easy Recipes for Healthy Holiday Desserts – How to Moderate Your Eating Habits

By Laura Williams

holiday treatsThe holidays are always filled with fun, family, and food. However, just because every event comes paired with a decadent seasonal treat, you don’t need to fill your plate with pie, cake, and cookies.

It also doesn’t mean you need to teetotal sweets entirely. Believe it or not, there is a happy medium, and if you show up with some healthy and delicious treats in-hand, you won’t be labeled the “weird holiday dieter.”

Check out a few easy ways to enjoy the holiday season and still avoid holiday weight gain.

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5 Health & Fitness Benefits of Boxing Workouts – How to Get Started

By Laura Williams

boxingBoxing is one of those fitness trends that’s almost always in the periphery – never completely fading out of sight, but never taking the world by storm (à la Zumba). And while Billy Blanks helped introduce the world to a more aerobics-friendly version of kickboxing when he developed Tae Bo in the ’90s, cardio kickboxing’s harder, tougher cousin – boxing – remained mostly out of sight.

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7 Home Remedies & Treatment for Chronic Back Pain Relief

By Laura Williams

back painI’m a long-time sufferer of chronic and acute back pain. The first time I experienced pain was as a 20-year-old college student – I was lifting weights, and an inconsiderate gym-goer bumped into me as I was lifting a barbell over my head. I had to move awkwardly to maintain my balance, and just like that, my back tweaked.

For a long time my pain was relatively low – it was there, but it was never serious enough to seek treatment. Plus I was in good shape, which made the pain more manageable.

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4 Health Benefits of Trampoline Exercises – How to Choose the Right One

By Laura Williams

trampolineTrampolines aren’t just for kids. The repetitive bouncing motion of trampolining actually has many health benefits that make it appropriate for people of all ages and almost all health statuses.

The trick to getting the most out of a trampoline is choosing – and using – a trampoline that’s most appropriate for your needs and living situation. Consider the health benefits of trampolining as well as your goals, budget, and space to find (and get inspired to use) the right one.

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