snow covered mountain during sunrise
Off Grid RV Living, positive mental health, solar energy

Top 5 Must Have Items for Off-Grid RV Living

If you are considering living off grid full time in your RV, we have compiled a great list of things that we could not live without. We live at least 75% off-grid so these items are really important for us to maintain a great quality of life. These are the brands that we chose and I will leave links to the same (or similar) products so you can do your own research and find what is best for you.

Large Septic Tote with Wheels

Camco Rhino Heavy Duty 36-Gallon Portable Waste Holding Hose and Accessories-Durable Leak Free and Odorless RV Tote Tank. This tank is fantastic. It can clip onto your back ladder for travelling. It hooks onto a quad for easy transport to a sani dump. It can get pretty heavy when full but overall, we love the versatility

Powerful Surge Protector

A surge protector is absolutely vital while travelling in your RV. You never know what type of power you are hooking into and you need to be sure to save your vehicle from any type of current that may be a little too much. When we hook up to the generator, it also protects the RV’s electrical system in case we run the generator out of fuel. The delay system on the protector tells you when it is safe to start using your power. We love ours and use it daily.

Solar Panels and Batteries

We currently run 2- 100 watt solar panels from the roof of our RV with a series of 4 golf cart batteries to keep us with power no matter where we are. On order are 2- 450 watt portable panels and these are going to be game changers. We love solar. It is free once you get them installed and moving the portables around will be easy with a built in mount system. I can run the computer, the tv, charge the phones and even use electrical to heat the water if I have to. The batteries hold and charge best when maintained often.

Water Filtration System

From creek water to yucky chlorinated city water, this is the most inexpensive and convenient way to have clean water without using any power. Big units that run on power are a great idea but when you can’t use them, they are useless. Keep lots of filters handy for fresh water everyday.

Backup Gas Generator

A generator will save your life. It has so many uses and the quietness of newer models makes them great if you live around others. With tons of outlets and usb charge ports, they are absolutely vital for off- grid living. Keep some full gas cans handy in case you run out of fuel. The higher the horsepower the better. So, we recommend going big right off the top. You will never have a problem with low HP when you buy the better unit.

You cannot live comfortably in all 4 seasons without these 5 items. We have tried and it is not fun.
After almost 4 years living on and off-grid in our RV ( in some of the most rugged BC climates and terrain) we realized the importance of having certain items easily accessible. What I have here is a list of the best and most valuable products to have for a comfortable lifestyle for months at a time.
We have done the research so you won’t have to. These are the items we have chosen but there are many sizes and options to fit everyone’s budget and size of living space. Prices will all vary and it is a great idea to check out all of the products available in your area.
What? There’s more? Yes! Here are another 5 things that we just had to have to make our lives so much better while we travel from location to location.
We currently live 5 km up on a logging block and the first item is vital for me to continue doing my online work.

Starlink-it is second to none on the market

Initially, the cost can hurt your feelings but in the end, this is the only way to go. We have never had a problem with our dish. I set it up, turn on the power and we are connected to the world. Worth every penny.

blue bright lights
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Gas cans (keep them full)

Always keep fuel handy. We need it for the chainsaw, the generator, the quad and even some diesel for the truck. You don’t want to run out on a mountain road. Safety first

fuel dispenser
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Larger propane tanks (30-100 lbs)

We run our fridge, stove and hot water tank on propane. If you don’t have it, you don’t get those little luxuries. I like to keep a block of ice handy in the freezer in case we do run out of propane. It can protect your meat while you run to the station for a refill.

black and blue gas stove
Photo by Honye Sanges on Pexels.com

Assorted flashlights and headlamps with tons of batteries (I buy bulk when they go on sale)

I learned in the beginning of this venture that light is the most important thing while living off grid. If you cannot see while working under the unit or if the power is low and you just want to read, a headlamp is awesome. I buy so many batteries, if the apocalypse comes, I will have some barter material. All sizes are a great idea to keep in a bucket.

person holding flashlight during nighttime
Photo by Wendelin Jacober on Pexels.com

5 gallon pails with lids that lock (fantastic for transporting fresh water).

The more, the better. When filling your water tank is a necessity and maybe you only have a creek or a stream, these 5 gallon pails are amazing. They have a handle. They don’t get too heavy. I couldn’t do this without lots of buckets.

water pump
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But wait! I had to add this 1 more thing as winter is just around the corner.

We are so excited to be ordering our wood stove this month. It will be another game changer. Not only will it heat our small space but it will provide moisture from a kettle and have a place for cooking on top. I am thrilled to be adding this addition to our little home.

food wood light love
Photo by Laython Photos on Pexels.com

A wood burning stove with room to cook on top

This little item will make our full-time (4 seasons) living completely enjoyable.
This year we are installing a wood stove into the unit. Permanent heating and cooking without using propane or power is the way to go. (make sure to grab an ax and chainsaw for your wood, if you live in a cold climate for a few months). We will be installing ourselves with the help of some fantastic YouTubers. Just follow the directions to make sure everything is up to code and safe.

Well, there you have it! If you are serious about off-grid living for 4 seasons in your RV or camper, you should definitely take a look at some or all of these products on the market.
We love to buy new and used so do not overlook any of these items on Kijiji or the FB marketplace. Just make sure things are up to code in your area. Never buy outdated propane tanks or poorly made wood stoves online. Go and see them for yourselves. When buying used solar panels, make sure they actually collect rays and have the proper connectors. Batteries have a lifespan so be sure yours are refreshed and not dangerous in any way.

I hope you get some use from this blog and it helps you make a decision to go out and live freely off the land. It was the best thing that Dave and I decided to do 4 years ago. The challenges are many but the regrets are none.
Enjoy off-grid living and have a wonderful day.
Shannon

Disclaimer

These are Shannon’s opinions. If you have any comments, feel free to contact me. I use affiliate advertisers to supplement my income. Thanks for looking at some of the great people I work with. When you take a look, I may get paid but it doesn’t affect your purchases. Thanks again. Shannon

shallow focus photo of white open sigange
create your own business, positive mental health

Start your own business now!

Do what you love and get paid! Answer these 5 thought- provoking questions and start a business of your own.

three assorted design ceramic mugs next to a pile of ceramic bowls
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No Limits

There are no limits to the types of paying occupations in the world today. Everything from creating a shampoo for dogs to using your pickup truck to haul people’s trash to the dump. If you have a skill and are passionate about it, you might have exactly the right thing for a particular customer. Once you realize there is a need, you can create your very own small business. This can be achieved with maximum effort and minimum money. Just use your imagination and see what can blossom from an idea. Here are some things to think about before starting your own small business.

5 Questions to ask before starting your own little business

  1. What am I truly passionate about? Do I love art, gardening, public speaking, cleaning, or even helping remove rubbish?
  2. Is there a customer base for you to sell your idea or service where you live?
  3. How much money do you have to invest? You may have none. It can still work just fine.
  4. Can you work around your regular job until you establish customers? Maybe work a few hours at night or on the weekend until you are ready to quit your day job.
  5. Do you want to get more education before you start? YouTube is the best! You don’t need to go to fancy schools anymore to gain knowledge. The internet is amazing for this. A short term trade school could also be an option.

Did you come up with some great answers? If so, let’s get ready to create a business you love.

colorful open signage
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7 cool business ideas and how to get started

Personal shopper

Do you just love to shop? How about organize things? A personal shopper might be your ideal job. Wouldn’t it be great to get up every day, go shopping AND get a paycheck? When your job is to visit retail outlets and make purchases for others, it is bound to be exciting. There are many reasons why someone might hire a personal shopper. Your client may need advice or guidance when purchasing certain things like fashion. They may have little time to do these types of purchases so you would be a trusting partner in helping them look and feel good. You may have to buy gifts for family members or business partners as your client is busy doing their job. You should have fantastic customer service, excellent communication skills and be able to do any type of online ordering and merchandise returns. You can freelance yourself out and have multiple clients. This article from the Washington Post is quite interesting- You can work for a CEO of a business or even be a shopper for a senior citizen, making sure to get the proper medications and groceries to your client. The salary of a personal shopper varies with each client and with your overall experience.

woman fixing clothes on the rack
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House cleaner

Grab your mop and bucket and let’s go clean! Do you have a thing for keeping a really tidy house and you think you could improve someone else’s life by helping them with their daily or weekly chores? If so, being a residential house cleaner might be perfect for you. If you specialize in a particular area like floors or wall cleaning, you can specify as such. Regular house cleaning usually involves dusting, vacuuming, mopping etc… if you specialize in deep cleaning carpets, curtains or washing big windows, you can add that to your charges. You have 2 options when deciding to clean houses, you can purchase your own equipment and cleaning products or sometimes utilize the client’s items if they have a particular allergy to certain things or would rather you use their stuff. You can choose to work part time, full time, hourly, daily or weekly. It is all up to you and the clients. If you decide to take on a bunch of clients then maybe a partner to help with the bigger jobs, can also be beneficial. You can do more houses and in turn, make more income.

Post Construction or Office Cleaning

Post construction or office cleaning is a valuable resource when builders are getting ready to sell new homes or open up new businesses. These types of jobs require heavy duty equipment so it may cost a little more to start up but will be well worth it once you get out there, do a fantastic job and make a name for yourself. If a construction crew or office staff are required to do a big clean up themselves, it takes them away from the work that they need to be doing for their business. If you do an incredible job, your name gets passed around and people will call. If you don’t pay attention to details, your name could also be passed around in a more negative way. So, learn what needs to be done and practice! Office cleaning can be done at night when everyone has gone home. It is important to be bonded when doing jobs like this. Being bonded means you have a liability insurance that protects you and the company if anything goes wrong or you have an accident on the premises.

Instantly organize and clean house!
Great books available right here!
Dashcams in tons of styles

Lawncare maintenance

Do you own a truck, a used lawnmower, your dad’s old weed trimmer and some pruning shears? If so, you can start mowing lawns today! You just need to create a business card or flyer and go door to door advertising what you do. If you take your tools with you and have your boots on , some people have odd jobs you can start on right away. Get to know your neighbors and charge accordingly. If a senior couple is having difficulties keeping their yard tidy, maybe offer to do it at no cost and watch how much they share your kindness with others. If you love sunshine and beautifying yards, you can make a great living in lawn care maintenance.

Organic Lawn care

Planting a food garden for another

Do you have a little extra knowledge about gardening? If flowers are your thing, you can create beautiful flowerbeds around someone’s home and come by once a week to maintain them. They may require special attention or fertilizer a few times a year. If vegetable or fruit gardens are your specialty, maybe you can help a busy family or a group home to create and maintain a bountiful garden that supplies plenty of good food. I know a few assisted living spaces that had the senior clients work the garden during the week as therapy and it was wonderful to see. Everybody benefits in this case. I think creating a wage depending on who you are working for will vary among clients. Make sure you get paid fairly for your time and supplies.

Cake baking and decorating

Do you absolutely love to bake cakes, cupcakes or pies? Are you talented with icing and decorations? Why not advertise that you do this specialty job and make cakes for a living? You may be known by your friends and family for creating divine wedding or birthday cakes so they may love testing your products and spreading the word about your new business. Making special cakes, breads or beautifully wrapped cookies for workplace birthdays and staff parties is also a great idea. Use your imagination and see where it can take you.

Selling your art on assorted merchandise

Do you want to see your art on t-shirts, mugs, journals, calendars and more? With the help of some very simple printing websites that offer this service like Vistaprint, Cafe press and Zazzle, you can do this. You can also create at home if you have a good printer. T-shirt art is really popular and transfers come right out of your printer to be ironed on. If you are more interested in selling at the market, you can gather a bunch of cool items and set up a table and show off your talent. Nowadays, it is a great idea to also have an online selling platform to serve a more broader audience. You do have to ship stuff so keep that in mind. Some companies offer great shipping of your product as well.

Sell your beautiful arts, crafts and delicacies at your local market

In Conclusion

Remember that you can invest lots of time or just a little depending on how far you want to take this new venture. It really is up to you. It is surprising how many people have branched out and created a job that is not only unique but needed in the world. This could be the best thing you ever did. If not, it is a fantastic way to learn and gain experience. Not every job works out and sometimes a different path and job are on the horizon. You have to give it a try. We all can do something well and there are people out there that need what you have to offer. Let’s go!

Disclaimer: My blog contains some ads and I get monetization for this. It does not effect your purchase or experience with these awesome companies. Thanks for taking a minute to check them out. Shannon

lake and mountain
Drug free relief for your psoriasis, positive mental health

A drug free way to eliminate Psoriasis

I want to uncover the mystery behind this frustrating skin disease and why it is so prevalent

(I’ll also introduce you to some things that may help clear it up. All natural and drug free).

(Reader discretion: please be aware that I have some graphic photos and equally graphic information in this blog)

animal bee bloom blooming
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Are you living with psoriasis?

If you are one of the unlucky people out there that has this skin condition, maybe there is something I can do to enlighten you about its origin and the underlying reasons why you have it. Read on and let’s see if we can get your psoriasis under control (or at least more manageable). Life is about living and not about feeling self conscious about your skin.


What is Psoriasis?

At a basic level, psoriasis is a disorder of the immune system. It occurs when skin cells are replaced more rapidly than usual. White blood cells become overactive, producing excess amounts of cytokines and other chemicals. These chemicals trigger inflammation in the skin and other organs. It’s not known exactly why this happens, but research suggests that the root cause is problems with the immune system.

What does psoriasis look like?

Plaque psoriasis- lesions on the back and arms. Photo from Wikipedia

Psoriasis is an auto immune skin disease that shows as patches of thick scaly skin, redness and inflammation. It can occur in anybody and anywhere on the body. It can be painful and especially frustrating. So far, there is no cure for it.

Hormones and psoriasis

The rush of hormones can cause or worsen skin problems, including teenage acne and psoriasis. In girls and women, high levels of estrogen after your first period may cause certain skin cells to reproduce too quickly. Since hormone levels go up and down during your menstrual cycle, so can your psoriasis symptoms. In boys and men, low testosterone was associated with clinical symptoms of testosterone deficiencySevere psoriasis is associated with low serum testosterone.

What does eczema look like?

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) can occur in adults and children- Photo from Wikipedia

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that makes your skin itchy, red and inflamed. It is common in children but can occur in anybody at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare periodically. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever. No cure has been found for atopic dermatitis. Eczema and psoriasis are not the same.

The social stigma around skin disorders

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

Some people think that people with this disease are not caring for themselves, that they are not clean. This is so far from the truth and probably the opposite. The sufferers are constantly trying to wash the scales away every time they shower. No, psoriasis is not a hygienic issue. No amount of fancy, expensive body wash is going to fix your psoriasis. You cannot cleanse it away or coat it in creams made for hygienic purposes. It goes much deeper than that. It is an effect of the immune system and should be treated as such. Healing the outside is one step. Working on the inside is another.

crop woman with foam in hands
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

The myths about skin disorders

There appears to be a link between psoriasis and much larger and more complex diseases and disorders like diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, celiac disease, sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. Check in with your doctor and get a few answers. There may be a larger underlying reason why you have psoriasis.

close up photo of a stethoscope
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Mental health and psoriasis

If you live with somebody that suffers from this disease, it can be heart wrenching. Not being able to take off your shirt in public or showing off your legs in a skirt are just two examples of the limits that comes with psoriasis. Sometimes, it takes a great deal of confidence to just put on a short sleeve shirt. People afflicted with this disease need compassion from others. It takes a toll on your mental health and this should not be a thing in 2022. We are so far along in medical technology, I mean, we go to space. Why can’t we cure psoriasis? C’mon now.

man in eyeglasses standing behind green leaves
Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com

A common complication of psoriasis

Aside from the visual aspect of large flaking scales and red skin, psoriasis can also create other problems that when not treated can lead to bigger issues…infection. If your skin is opened up due to friction or picking at the area, you can create an open wound. Any open wound is a recipe for disaster if not taken care of. If you have any open spots, once the bleeding has stopped, rinse the wound with warm water or saline solution. Remove any debris, like clothing lint, dirt, or make-up from the sore. Gently clean the area with warm, soapy water and pat dry with a clean cloth. Close the sore or fissure with medical tape, an adhesive bandage, or liquid bandage. Keep an eye on the wound to make sure it is healing. The incessant itchiness of psoriasis is a problem so keep your hands off (if possible).

blue and yellow globe
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Parts of the world that experience higher levels of skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema

Did you know that there are an estimated 125 million cases of psoriasis in the world today…and that is just the reported numbers. What is going on here? The UK has over a million and Norway’s population has 11.9% suffering with this disease. I think there may be a direct correlation of these big diseases, psoriasis and diet. Let’s look at that for a bit. If changing your diet is a cure, why aren’t they telling us this? Well, the short answer is that you can’t sell boxes of sugary junk and alcohol to people that are educated about their disease, can you? I believe profits over people may be an issue and getting us to buy all the garbage that they are selling is more important than a cure. That goes for every disease today.

Diet and psoriasis

Because psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, it’s important to maintain your overall health to limit inflammatory triggers. Vitamins are not proven to effectively combat psoriasis but taking vitamins like B-12 and biotin for healthy cell growth and mental health would probably be beneficial to improve your mind state. Monitoring the variety and dosage of vitamins in your diet is a good way to understand your overall health. It can’t hurt.

beer filled mug on table
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Alcohol

There is no conclusive evidence about whether alcohol consumption increases flare-ups in psoriasis, but we all know that alcohol may disrupt your immune system. This is a fact. An increase of inflammation will almost always follow an non-light beer fueled binge. Beer seems to be more of an issue as it contains grains and starch. Light beer, wine and hard liquor do not have enough research done and don’t show a significant association. If you have lived with psoriasis for a long time, only you will know how alcohol effects your body. I would just skip the heavy beer and use booze in moderation. Don’t make the problem worse when you can make it better.

Gluten

There is a link between beer and a psoriasis flare-ups and it is gluten. As you may already know, celiac disease—like psoriasis—is also an autoimmune response. It isn’t shocking to see people with psoriasis that also have a gluten sensitivity. Maybe, following a gluten-free diet can help avoid flare-ups with your psoriasis.

close up shot of tomatoes and peppers on a wooden surface
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Nightshades

All of the nightshades contain toxins that want us to not eat them. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos and tobacco are all members of the nightshade family—and are all are linked to psoriasis flare-ups. Researchers think that nightshades may aggravate the intestinal lining and exacerbate immune-related disorders.

Sugar

This is an obvious one but cutting sugar out of your diet helps in a plethora of ways. One of them is decreasing flare ups and issues with your psoriasis. Give it a try if you seriously want to feel and look better.

a bag of cereal on the counter top
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Processed Foods

White flour products (which is everything in a box nowadays) like crackers, cookies, cake mixes, cereals and more are typically loaded with sugar, palm oil and chemicals. These things contribute to obesity. Being overweight is shown to make psoriasis worsen. A diet high in processed foods can also lead you down a road to cardiovascular disease. I would recommend trying to avoid these packaged “goodies” and opt for some fruit or one of the many alternatives to flour and sugar. There are hundreds of options out there.

man holding pizza putty with a raw pizza
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Raw honey is nice and doesn’t effect blood sugar levels. If you are a good cook or a baker, there are plenty of recipes online that use more acceptable ingredients that won’t exacerbate your condition.

persons doing a thumbs down
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Treatments that “doctors” recommend and why I don’t agree

I have been using products on patients with psoriasis for over 15 years and the ones that don’t make any sense to me are usually prescribed by a doctor (supporting big pharma). Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of great doctors out there but I think some of their treatments are archaic. I mean, Vaseline is a petroleum product. Why put that on your skin? Not much to say but “Yuck”. Some coal tars that are recommended are disgusting, dirty and don’t work on everybody.

woman applying lotion on hand
Photo by Linda Prebreza on Pexels.com

Other products like steroid creams just mask the problem and don’t get deep enough to be effective. I have seen conditions get worse and create a counter intuitive reaction that we would have to care for. That is a bit backwards. Some products are too greasy and smelly and just downright inconvenient. Some even sting like a son-of-a-gun or have nasty side effects. Why exacerbate an already horrific problem?

bowl being poured with yellow liquid
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This year, I created something that smells amazing, is from mother nature and has lasting results and will cost pennies compared to over the counter medications and creams. Try this first and if it doesn’t work, go back to the conventional methods. Honestly, I think it will work because of the results we have seen.

My at home remedy that truly eliminates scaling and heals the skin.

I have created something that my husband (who suffers with psoriasis) calls a “miracle salve”. Not only does it completely eliminate his scaling but he says it smells great and feels amazing on his skin. It’s even healing the new skin underneath. He’s happy. This gets me excited.

We decided that we don’t want money for this product, we want to see results and give the recipe to anyone that needs it. Sort of like an open source recipe. I know there are many similar things out there that work but the cost is outrageous and frankly, unfair. Who can afford $100 or more a month for creams nowadays? Not me.

person s holds brown gift box
Photo by Kim Stiver on Pexels.com

So, as our gift to the world, here is the recipe. Results may vary but we have been testing for 6 months on severe plaque psoriasis and it works incredibly well for us. I want to know how your skin reacts to this treatment so please send me a message or comment. I would love to see some of your positive results. If you have a bee or pollen allergy, this may not be for you. I wish you nothing but success in your treatment.

honey on white bowl
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Creating your own salve at home

Shannon’s disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am not a scientist. I am a loving wife that felt very sad that my husband had to deal with the pain and frustration of this disease. Results may vary depending on your lifestyle. We eat well and balanced. We don’t drink too much or smoke tobacco. We apply the salve after the shower and it is working so well that after six months, I just had to share. I wish I had created it back when I was nursing. I could have relieved so much pain in my clients. Good luck and be patient when melting the wax. It is a slow process.

close up of person applying cream from bottle
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Shannon’s Psoriasis Salve

It takes just 3 ingredients to make my salve. This is a tester amount and you can create more if it works for you by doubling or quadrupling the recipe. I experimented with many different quantities until I found the right mix. You can too.


  • 2 tablespoons of organic easy melting beeswax (I like those teeny little drops because they melt evenly. Remember not to buy the cheap dollar store stuff).
  • 1 tablespoon of raw, unprocessed honey
  • Cold pressed, organic extra virgin olive oil (enough to create a smooth consistency)

Steps

  1. In a double boiler on very low heat, melt the beeswax, stirring constantly
  2. Once melted, remove from heat as it may start to create a gritty texture if overheated
  3. Stir in the honey until evenly dispersed.
  4. Add enough olive oil to create a smooth product and I find whipping it a bit emulsifies all of the ingredients so that it will glide over the skin. If it is too runny, you can repeat step 1 and add a bit of melted beeswax to the mix
  5. Pour into a clean container with a lid.
  6. After bathing, test a spot on your body to make sure you don’t have a reaction to bee stuff.
  7. Let me know how it goes. Use it every time you shower or bath and watch what happens.
  8. We noticed an improvement almost immediately. Within a few days, all of the scales had come away from the skin and underneath was healthy.
  9. I use this product on my lips and on cuts and so far, it works better than anything from the drugstore.

In Conclusion

I sure hope some of this information is helpful to you or a loved one. Nobody should suffer the frustration of a skin disorder without at least giving a few of these ideas a try. Whether you change your diet, get on a weight loss routine for overall better health, or try the salve, there are ways to move through life without pain and suffering. I wish you nothing but success in your journey to go out and thrive and have a great life. Maybe even psoriasis free! Love ya. Shannon

photo of river with calm waters
positive mental health, Your Health

Nine ways to bring calm into your life-right now

Want to trade in your chaotic life for the peace and serenity that you deserve?

a person sitting on wooden planks across the lake scenery
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Let’s talk about ways to trade in your chaotic life and make your world more beautiful…one small step at a time.

You can find peace among the chaos-start inside first

How many times have you walked into a beautiful space and thought “This is no good, I can’t stand this peace and serenity“? I’m betting; never. In the past few years we have all lived through the chaos and nightmare that has been unfolding around us. The lockdowns, war, political unrest, and absolute fear-mongering from our media makes me certain that most people are ready for some peace. Why not trade in your chaotic life for one of calmness and peace?

anxious young woman cover wing ears with hands sitting on chair
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We cannot continue to feel anxiety and panic for long periods and think that it is going to be okay. It isn’t okay to always be living full of adrenalin and fear. We have extreme mental health issues among all groups of people today and we must make positive changes to ourselves and to environment to start experiencing the joy that we truly deserve.

faceless woman in calm ocean water
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Now, I understand that some people may be living in circumstances that are very difficult to change and if you are on the edge of a breakdown or feeling too overwhelmed, I suggest seeking help from professionals.


I believe that we do have control of our own thoughts and actions. We should start our journey by working on our self first and foremost. Address any underlying physical or mental health concerns. Get real with your health. It can effect your life tremendously when we push our own health issues under the rug. Sometimes, anxiety, panic or depression can come from a much deeper place. Take care of you.

crop ethnic client discussing problems with anonymous psychologist
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Here are nine FREE things to do that can bring calm into your life right now.

pexels-photo-2249528.jpeg
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

Positive self talk this is probably the easiest and most important way to turn your life around in a matter of days. Simply speaking to yourself in a way that is dignified, kind and loving will start to sound normal and become a regular routine. Maybe, you didn’t hear many kind words as a child and it may be hard at first. Just keep practicing. Look in the mirror each day and give yourself a pat on the back by saying things like “great job”, “I knew you could do it”, and “you look great today”. If you do this each time you feel like judging yourself, you will change that negative habit into a positive one. Great job, by the way.

photo of woman looking at the mirror
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gray steel chain on orange surface
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Be around people that make you feel good – make a conscious decision to surround yourself with people that care about you and lift you up. If someone doesn’t do this, just walk away. We choose to stay around people that are nasty because we can sometimes feel bad about making a decision that might hurt someone else’s feelings. Take your feelings into account and create some space from that negative person. You will be happier. I promise.

four person standing at top of grassy mountain
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Start moving your body – when we decide to move our body in a way that we normally wouldn’t move, it can be kind of terrifying. If you have spent months sitting around watching TV or playing video games due to the lockdown, life got a little bit too comfortable. You have to shake it up! Any type of movement will do. I like to incorporate little things into my day. Dancing is my favorite. It takes little effort but creates the most amazing feeling and is an actual workout. Maybe learn to juggle or get a pedal bike and ride around the block. It doesn’t have to be much. Just move.

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Eat the best diet you can eat – we all know how easy it is to just grab something and go. We live in a world of junk food, fast food and energy drinks (including coffee). I think the best thing we can do is have some self awareness and look at how we feel after we eat certain foods. Do you want a nap after a big cheeseburger and shake? Who doesn’t? Some foods just don’t do good things to our bodies. We owe it to ourselves to look at what we put into our mouths. Sometimes we eat comfort foods and that’s okay. Everything in moderation. I am not suggesting any particular diet. Pick one that feels good to you. There are a million choices out there. Choose the foods that make you feel good inside. Start cooking at home more too. Have a positive relationship with your food and enjoy every bite.

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Be careful what media, books, movies and music you consume – we consume far too much junk on TV, the radio and the computer. I wouldn’t waste another minute on this stuff especially if it puts you in a bad mood, turns you into a vegetable for hours or contributes to bad habits like eating an entire tray of brownies. If you were born in the 70’s, like me, we grew up absolutely loving whatever was coming on the TV because it was a novelty. You had one hour a few times a week where there was real quality stuff on the tube. Just kidding. 🙂 M*A*S*H, All in the Family, Happy Days and Gilligan’s Island were some of our family favorites. When I think about it, the shows weren’t that good but the commercials were awesome! We bought into all the hype that TV was selling us. Fast forward to today where everything can be paused, skipped and deleted and you never need to watch another commercial again. I feel like we have the best options today as there are a million YouTube channels with quality content that improve your life. This is a great idea. Instead of sitting around watching other people live out there ridiculous lives, why not learn something? I don’t know if cooking is your thing or art is a passion but focus on stuff that matters and don’t get sucked into the ads or the BS. Shut that stuff off. Oh, and the news is so skewed that I would skip that crap, too. They are lying to you anyways.

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Surround your space with things you love – have you ever come across a thrift store painting that just made you smile? How about that little plant you have on the window sill in the cutest painted pot? Maybe you love those beaded hippie curtains from the neighbor or a floral wallpaper your grandma handed down to you? Whatever makes you smile and keeps you feeling calm and warm and fuzzy should be surrounding you in your home. I am an artist and I absolutely love collecting fellow artist’s work. We always barter art. I am currently looking at my favorite pieces given to me by two glorious artists. They have some of my stuff too. It feels good to stare at these paintings and think of those friends. Take some time to create a lovely space that makes you feel good.

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Be in nature as much as you can – nowadays, even in most cities, there is a refuge for you to spend a few minutes in nature everyday. You can take a walk down a path in the forest. Maybe check out a local blooming flower garden. How about sitting by a creek, a pond, a lake or a river and watch the water rush by? Spend as much time as you can outside in the sun. You need vitamin D. You need fresh air. You need to breath and relax. Turn off the headphones and listen to the birds. Keep your phone at home and just walk without interruption. A few minutes a day will change you. If you can meditate or do some tai chi in the park, even better. Take time to be in a natural space just for you. No distractions. Maybe even enjoy a silent walk with someone you love. A rainy day can also be beautiful ( if you want it to be). Get outside and thrive.

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Drink water – in many countries (and some areas here in Canada) water is scarce and very hard to obtain. Water is vital. It is so important to hydrate and many people never really get hydrated fully. If you have a chance to drink clean water, do it. We are made up of water. Where I am living, water is abundant and I feel blessed but sad at the same time. I wish I could send rivers to the people that currently do not get enough to drink. Watch out for the chlorine and fluoride in the water too. This stuff is bad news.

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Talk to someone that you trust when you are feeling overwhelmed – if life gets completely overwhelming, you are scared or feeling sad, you have to find someone that you can trust to talk to. It may be a relative, a teacher, a pastor, a friend, a nurse, or even an operator on 911. Try not to remain in a dark place for too long before reaching out and asking someone to listen. Many people sit alone day in and day out in sadness and depression and never reach out for anybody. Sometimes, the simple act of heading to the store (to talk to that cute guy that always makes you blush), or to see a specific person that cracks corny jokes and makes you laugh ( the funny lady from the gas station) can shake you out of your funk and sadness. If you need to talk, you have to reach out. If you are feeling completely hopeless, you may want to speak with a nurse so you won’t be alone in your journey. Nobody likes being depressed and we all deserve to live a life of joy. Take good care of your self and open up to someone. You can do this.

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Suicide is no joke. If you need some help, please call these hotlines or google the nearest hotline in your area. Talk Suicide in Canada, 988Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in the USA , UK Sane Hotline , Australian Suicide Hotline, New Zealand Hotline, South African Hotline

In Conclusion

I hope you can use any or all of these nine tools to help you create a more peaceful and unchaotic life. You deserve to be happy, to be thriving, and to be healthy. If you can think of anything else I could add to this blog, please let me know. I think if we surround ourselves with like-minded individuals, we will start creating a world that is more loving and supportive and trade in our chaotic life for one of peace and tranquility. We don’t need division. We need each other. It does start with you first and foremost. Go out there and enjoy all of the simple things in life that make you smile. Be well. Take good care. Shannon

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Your Health

Does your spine ache? There is help out there

Tips on how to manage your spine and neck

Let’s look at ways that we can improve our lives with this frustrating condition called degenerative disc disease

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What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease. It is a condition of the spine and neck where the discs between vertebrae lose cushioning, begin to fragment and herniate related to aging. There may be no symptoms. In some cases, the spine loses flexibility and bone spurs may pinch a nerve root, causing pain or weakness. Frankly, some days, it sucks. I was just recently diagnosed and it can be so painful.

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There are many reasons why DDD effects us

Approximately 40% of adults over age 40 have at least one degenerated vertebral disc. By age 80, 80% of us can have disc issues. Because the body breaks down as we age, this is a normal condition of getting older. Disc deterioration can start developing in your 30s or 40s, and then progressively worsen. The condition can also be caused by injury and overuse, which may result from sports or repetitive activities. Once a disc is damaged, it can’t repair itself. The good news is that you can do things to improve your quality of life.

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Some people develop osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. It is associated with a breakdown of cartilage in joints and can occur in almost any joint in the body. It most commonly occurs in the weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees, and spine. You can have degenerative discs and not be arthritic or be arthritic without broken down discs. They are not the same thing.

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What is the best treatment for degenerative disc disease?

The silver lining is that you can live with this disorder if you make some key changes to your life. Treatment can include exercise, hot and cold therapy, weight loss, quitting smoking and physical therapy. Four key changes that can immediately start effecting your body in a positive way are to quit smoking, lose some weight, improve your posture and use a correct chair or stand up desk while working.

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  1. Smoking: According to a recent study by the Association of Academic Physiatrists, smoking damages the small blood vessels that feed nutrition to your spinal discs.
  2. Weight loss: being just 10 pounds lighter will benefit the spine.
  3. Posture: Checking in on your posture regularly throughout your day will be beneficial and reduce inflammation around the discs.
  4. Sitting for prolonged periods: Maybe you are at a desk all day in an uncomfortable chair. Look for a more ergonomic style that supports your spine. It is suggested to use a standing desk, also called a stand-up desk. They basically allow you to stand up comfortably while working.

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Movements to avoid

If you have degenerative disc disease, exercises to avoid are any exercise that causes pain and discomfort. The old adage “No pain, no gain” can be chucked out the window. If it hurts, stop doing it. If you continue to push your spine and contort it, you can worsen your condition which can lead to long term dysfunction. It is typically not a good idea to continue heavy lifting when you have upper or lower back pain. Some yoga positions can exacerbate your condition so be careful when pushing the spine too much. The key is to listen to your body. If it hurts, stop.


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Are you sleeping in the correct position?

How should you sleep when you have degenerative disc disease?

Sleeping on your back is the most supportive and comfortable position to sleep in if you have DDD. However, it’s best if you use supports to keep your spine neutral all night long. Back sleepers: Sleep with a pillow under your knees to maintain your spine’s natural lower back curve. Side sleepers: get a body pillow to place between your knees to keep your spine curving naturally.


Getting started on a new and beneficial routine will help

A diagnosis of degenerative disc disease could be just the motivation you need to lose extra weight, become more physically active, stop smoking, and or make other lifestyle changes to benefit your spine and general health.

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Get moving! Just don’t lift crazy amounts of weight and really focus on your posture.

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Seek a professional for help

Physiatrists are physicians who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation, a medical specialty that deals with the evaluation and treatment of patients whose functional abilities have been impaired.

Physical therapist is a doctor that can help stretch and strengthen the right muscles to help the back heal and reduce the frequency of painful flare-ups.

Massage Therapists can help improve the symptoms associated with disc disorders for a prolonged duration of time as long as you continue to follow the maintenance schedule that your massage therapist lays out for you. Massage therapy will typically reduce muscle strain, improves flexibility, and mitigates pain


A few at-home remedies for back and neck pain

Ice Application: applying ice to muscles that are painful after activity or exercise will help control pain and inflammation. Using ice packs on the lower back for 10 minutes can be a cost-effective, easy approach to take at home.

Heat Application Using heat from a heating pad, adhesive wrap, warm bath or other heat source can relax the surrounding muscles and reduce tension and spasms, a significant contributor to degenerative disc pain.


Medications

Sometimes the pain is unbearable and over the counter meds may be necessary. I don’t recommend ANY of them due to the plethora of side effects. See your doctor for this part.


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In Conclusion

After doing my research, I feel a sense of hope that this diagnosis is just that… a diagnosis. It isn’t the worst news I could have received. I know that with hard work and some determination, I can alleviate my pain and calm down the inflammation with diet changes and an exercise routine. Never give up. Never give in. Until you are six feet under, there is still a chance to fix things. The pain is there and that is inevitable but with some of the remedies contained in this blog, I hope you can find some relief and get on with living your best life. Take care. Shannon

vision therapy

Can you benefit from Vision Therapy?

Amblyopia (lazy eye) in adults is correctable. Let’s look into this and correct your vision today.


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What is Amblyopia?

I find this subject quite captivating as I believed that for many years this disorder was not correctable in adults. I am excited to say that things have changed and we are seeing an insurgence of optometrists utilizing the techniques I am presenting below to correct adult eye issues. During childhood, when the eyes are developing, nerve pathways between the brain and an eye might not be properly stimulated and the brain will favor the other eye creating a disorder of sight called Amblyopia. Some symptoms include a wandering eye, eyes that may not appear to work together, or poor depth perception. In some cases, both eyes may be affected. The good news is you can correct your vision today, regardless of your age. There is a treatment to improve your eye’s ability to work correctly. This is called vision therapy.


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What is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy was developed in the 1800’s as an extension of the traditional practice of optometry. It is fairly common to see a doctor working with children to correct some of the eye disorders but until not long ago, adults were overlooked. Knowing more about neuroplasticity has given adults a chance to correct lazy eye, crossed eyes and a range of other sight disorders.

Oculomotor integration with the head, neck, limbs, and overall body with information from the other sensory modalities producing temporally efficient, coordinated behavior within a context of harmonious spatial sense under a variety of external and internal conditions and states.”

Kenneth Ciuffreda, PhD of Optometry from State University of New York College of Optometry

Phew! Those are some big words. What this means is that an optometrist can introduce different tools and therapies to help the brain and eyes work together more efficiently.


This type of therapy helps the patient develop the visual skills necessary for good vision. Optical devices and exercises are used to improve the eye-brain connection in order to make eye movements easier. The patient learns how to correctly process the visual information that the brain receives from the eyes.

Because of the fascinating phenomenon of neuroplasticity, doctors have realized that correcting vision can be done at any age. The myth of not being able to correct a lazy eye (or many other visual disorders) as an adult, has been shattered. You can seek help and try to get your eyes to behave in a way that improves them. Correct your vision today.


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How long does it take to correct the eye?

Although there is some push back from ophthalmologists about vision therapy, some optometrists find it a valuable part of vision care and it should not be overlooked. Vision therapy can range from one session to 2-3 years. It involves office visits combined with at-home activities. Most programs last from 6-9 months. If your eyes are important to you and you think this would be a beneficial therapy, I would start now.

Who can benefit from vision therapy?

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Patients who could benefit from vision therapy are generally dealing with the following visual challenges:

Stress-induced vision problems:  Many of us do a large volume of work in front of a computer screen, thus there is an increasing number of people who experience eyestrain, headaches, and other visual-related difficulties.

visual problems during learning: conditions such as poor eye teaming, focusing, tracking, and visualization skills can all negatively affect learning.

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Lazy eye (Amblyopia) or crossed eyes: treating crossed eyes or lazy eyes can be accomplished with vision therapy instead of conventional surgery, glasses, or patching. Vision therapy is very effective for these conditions at an early age, but can yield results for patients of any age.

Visual rehabilitation for special populations (brain injuries, stroke, developmental delays, multiple sclerosis, etc.): A trauma or neurological disorder to the nervous system can affect a person’s vision. This includes people who have developmental delays, strokes, cerebral palsy, whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological ailments.

Sports vision improvement: Even good vision can become better. Athletes often use vision therapy to improve eye teaming, focusing, tracking and visualization skills, eye-hand coordination, visual reaction time, and peripheral awareness.

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What types of things are included in vision therapy?

  • Use of therapeutic lenses
  • Prisms
  • Filters
  • Occluders or patches
  • Electronic targets with timing mechanisms
  • Balance boards
  • A variety of special tools designed for specific and unique vision therapy activities

In-office vision therapy is conducted under the supervision of an optometrist and supported by ongoing, evidence-based scientific research. It is important to see your optometrist for a more comprehensive experience to acquire good results. There are many places on the internet that claim to be a visual therapy program but you should see your doctor to make sure the exercises are actually correcting the problem.

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Steps to get started

  1. Locate a doctor of optometry near you.
  2. Book a comprehensive eye exam. Binocular vision evaluation can identify conditions that would benefit from treatment with vision therapy.
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In Conclusion

Imagine the benefits of improved vision. It is possible, at any age, to seek an optometrist and start visual therapy. Correct a lazy eye, get some depth perception, reduce headaches. This is a good idea and now, you know that it is not just a therapy for children. Anybody at any age can look into this type of therapy. Hope it helps. Shannon

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Trade School

Create your dream life now by heading to trade school

Can you go from education to career in just a year or less?

From small engine repair to commercial truck driving, small trade schools are the way to go

Is trade school a fantastic option?

The short answer is absolutely!   Attending a 3 month, 6 month, 1 or 2 year course is one of the many benefits of enrolling in a trade school .  Not only can you get your foot in the door to your dream job quickly but it can also give you a great chance at more hands-on apprenticeship experience compared to a traditional college or university course.  You can really pinpoint your education needs by focusing on the intended industry and only paying for the education you want. Cost is extremely important in making a decision about any post secondary education. You may as well get more bang for your buck!

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Why I love trade schools

As a graduate of university, community college and trade school, I can attest to the amount of money I spent on courses that did not take me very far in my career.  When I turned 22, after attending college for over a year, I decided I would start attending smaller schools as a way to quickly expedite my education and move rapidly into the work force and save money.  I was able to complete my education with tons of knowledge as well as work experience before I even completed my final exams.

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Hands-on experience

This is how trade schools work.  You can have a smaller group of students per class giving you lots of hands-on experience. Some students have the ability to do paid work or apprentice during the whole process. I did it and I appreciated the extra education I attained while working. Who wouldn’t want to be paid to learn? When potential employers allow someone that is “green” to come to work for them with the hopes of snagging that perfect student fresh out of school, it is a win-win.   When I was attending horticulture in college, I would supplement my income by doing work for the horticulture department.  I got paid a small wage and it felt great to be making some money while I got my education.  The best part was staying on point, doing jobs that were very relatable to my schooling.


A long apprenticeship is the most logical way to success. The only alternative is overnight stardom, but I can’t give you a formula for that.

Chet Atkins

Mr. Wonderful agrees that trade schools should not be overlooked

Check out more from Tamron Hall and Kevin O Leary
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The cost of education

If you could imagine trudging through over 4 years of education and financial burden just to acquire a job in an industry that may be disappearing (example: healthcare) then you might need to step back and take a serious look at trade schools.  I remember while attending my care nurse program back in 1992, my full year of education costs were under ten thousand and I was pretty excited.  To imagine taking the 4 year RN course would have put me into bankruptcy.  In my local college, and in a little over a year, I had acquired the necessary skills, first aid courses and practicum experience and was ready to join the workforce.

What is trade school anyways?

trade school is any post-secondary educational institution that offers in depth and hands-on training for a specific job. Students will attend a trade school program to learn the skills needed for their chosen career path, such as being an electrician, a dental assistant, or water treatment specialist. Trade schools are focused on preparing students in a concentrated and more expedited way to enter the workforce in a skilled trade.


The Benefits of Trade Schools

One of the real benefits to trade schools is that they offer 1-year programs that jump into an apprenticeship in the first 3 months! This cannot be overlooked.  During a time when the cost of university education is way beyond the means of our young people, it is time to factor in the trade schools that teach skills that are the backbone of society.  We need plumbers, electricians, highway flaggers, dental assistants, HVAC professionals, equipment operators, water treatment specialists, lab technicians and more to keep things running smoothly in society.

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Are you seeking more out of life?

If you are a recent graduate of high school or you are seeking a career that is more fulfilling than your current job, maybe heading off to a trade school is what you need.  We are currently in a time where there are many jobs available because, during the lockdown, so many people chose to opt-out of working for others as working from home was completely possible and the better choice for some.  Now, we see so many empty positions that are not being filled, even with a high wage offered.  


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There isn’t a job shortage, there is a shift in what people want to trade their time for. 


Are you ready to make the change?

Money is a very necessary asset. The past 2 years showed us that we can survive with a little less (some were forced into this). This new attitude towards working for others for little pay is changing the landscape of the job market.  If you have a few minutes to spare each day, why not go online and obtain a few credits that you may need in order to start in trade school? The coolest part is that this can be done in your pajamas, in your own home, anytime.


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During the 2 years at home in lockdown, some of us made huge changes in our lives to maintain our income and our sanity.  Now that the dust is settled and we are seeing a major increase in prices of all things, we have to consider creating a more lucrative income.  Some people work 2 jobs and cannot afford rent, gas, food, and medications.  It isn’t easy.  I think it is time for a change.


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Just dive in head first

I was a care nurse for 16 years and I made the change in 2020 to go out on my own and make money my way.  Doing this has been one of the best things I could have done for my positive mental health and to boost my confidence.  I thought as I was entering my 50s, I would be doing my nursing career until I retired.  I have to say that I am really happy with my choice to go in a different direction.  The thing I noticed immediately after leaving my career was the doors that were opening around me. All of this started with just 1 online course.


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What dream career would you love?

Maybe you have a dream to be a welder, a plumber, an electrician, or a mechanic. One thing to remember is that the trade industries should not be overlooked.  In most cases, you can get your foot in the door of a fascinating career in just 1 year of education.  The best part about starting in a trade is the ability to get to work quickly as a paid apprentice.   If you haven’t looked into the many trades offered by local universities, community colleges, or private trade schools, then you may be missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime. 

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I’ve compiled a list of skilled trades and the estimate time of each course (these will vary depending on which country you live in). There are many more trades available. This is just a few.

Electrical Technology – 6 months to a year or a 2 year degree

Welding Technology – 7 months to a year or a 2 year degree

Dental Assisting –  9 months to 1 year or a 2 years degree

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Commercial Truck Driving – commercial truck driving training can take as little as 1 month and up to about 3 months. It may take a little longer if you study for extra endorsements.

Medical Assisting – 1 to 6 months and up to 2 years for an associate degree.

Cosmetology – between 10 months and 1 year. Associate degrees in cosmetology take up to 2 years

Auto Mechanics –  9 months to about 1 year – full time. A diesel truck mechanic course takes about 1 year.

Massage Therapy – 6 to 9 months and up to 2 years for an associate degree.

Aircraft Mechanic and Maintenance – about a year and a half to 2 years to complete.

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Culinary Arts –  6 months to 1 year.  An associate degree in culinary arts will take about 2 years and a bachelor’s degree will take an average of 4 years.

HVAC Technology – (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) takes 6 months to one year for full time students. Associate degrees in HVAC technology, take about 18 months to two years to finish.


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There are a few things to consider before kicking your dream career into high gear. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your school of choice in order to make a conscientious decision. Be honest with yourself, too. It is your future.

Questions to ask myself before choosing trade school

  • What interests me?
  • What type of wage does my trade industry offer?
  • What are the hours and days of my course?
  • Am I physically capable of doing the trade I choose?
  • Can I afford the course?
  • What are my short term goals after completing the course?
  • What are my long term goals after completing the course?
  • Where would I like to live and work once I complete my course?

Questions to ask the trade school

  • How long is my course?
  • Is the school accredited?
  • What is the course load?
  • Do I need any prerequisites?
  • Can any of the education be done online, remotely or through zoom/skype?
  • Does the school offer financial assistance?
  • Does the school offer an apprenticeship program?

In Conclusion

I hope that you found this information useful. I think if you are looking to improve your life and career without going into horrendous debt, a trade school is a great option. If you need more information about courses and prices, check your local area schools as many courses will vary in length and price. Check online if you are looking to build up some credits to get into a particular course. Have fun creating your dream career.

Disclaimer: Your education and success is entirely up to you so I cannot guarantee anything. I have attended post secondary school many times and the information in this blog is my own experience. I wish you nothing but success in whatever you do. Go out there and get that dream career. Dream big, do bigger. Shannon

I use affiliate links that give me monetization. This does not affect you or any purchase you make with these companies. Thanks for taking a look.

solar energy

Solar Power – 19 Things you need to know about Solar Power

Why solar power is a hot topic right now. 19 things you need to know.

photo by Shannon Braybrook

Why is solar power a hot topic right now?

In my opinion, at the rate humans use energy today, we are going to need to get away from coal. It’s old fashioned and it’s dirty. We need an energy alternative that is sustainable. This is why solar power is so important as a viable option.

What is the sun and how does it create energy?

Why can the sun create energy? The sun is a huge ball of gas, creating hydrogen and helium. Through nuclear fusion created at the core, any matter lost during this fusion is emitted into space as radiant energy. About 15% of this energy hits our earth and what isn’t sent back out, is used in our atmosphere. It’s hard to imagine that humans have been harnessing solar energy for centuries and that it is not a new way to create power. I think we have to get back to basics and harness it more frequently to supply our energy needs.

What is a solar panel?

A solar panel is a device used to attract radiant energy from the sun to be used for generating heat or electricity.

What are the main components of a solar panel?

I won’t get too scientific here but this is how a solar panel is created and this diagram shows you the main components. You have an aluminum frame that holds 3 to 3.5 mm glass, EVA (encapsulant), the solar cells, EVA, and a polymer back sheet. The solar panel junction box completes the panel. Here is a diagram.

All credit for this image to www.electricaltechnology.org

Do solar panels need direct sunlight?

Do you actually need direct sunlight to operate a solar panel? The short answer is “no”. Solar panels function best when in direct sun exposure but can also be used with ambient sun as well. Solar panels still can produce energy when they are shaded and on cloudy days.

Where do the components of solar panels come from?

You probably already guessed the answer to this one but China creates the most solar panels and the components needed to build them. Canada and the USA are climbing the ranks in manufacturing panels.

The top 10 solar manufacturers

Based on solar panel shipment capacity in gigawatts (GW), here are the top 10 solar panel manufacturers in the world according to Energy Sage

  1. LONGi Solar
  2. Tongwei Solar
  3. JA Solar
  4. Aiko Solar
  5. Trina Solar
  6. JinkoSolar
  7. Canadian Solar
  8. Zhongli
  9. SunTech
  10. First Solar

Who buys the most solar panels?

As of Jan 2022, globally, China buys and creates the most solar panels. It also uses the most solar power. They generate over 224 GWh of electricity using just solar, with a projected 370 kWh of installed solar by the year, 2024. 224 GWh is enough power to run 168,000,000 homes!!! Wow! That is some forward thinking. Could you imagine harnessing that much solar energy? Elon Musk states that if the USA put a 100 mile square of solar panels and 1 square mile of batteries in the sunniest state, it could take care of the entire US population’s energy consumption. What is the problem with this? I think that the oil industry is hanging on tight and suppressing solar as much as they can. It’s time to make some changes. Don’t you think?

What is Perovskite?

Perovskite is a yellow, brown, or black mineral consisting largely of calcium titanite. A perovskite crystal lattice is defined as a network of corner-sharing BX6 octahedra that crystallize with a general ABX3 (or equivalent) stoichiometry. This little mineral is the latest innovation in solar. It can be created by a lab and will create a new way to harness solar power on the earth once it is fully into production. I am so excited about this prospect and feel that this video is perfect to explain how incredible this technology is. Well worth the watch. Thank you to the team at Electric Future for this informative video.

Innovative Technology from

Why use silicon for solar cells?

Using silicon for solar cells is very efficient. Crystalline silicon cells are made of silicon atoms that when connected to one another create a crystal lattice. This lattice provides an effective and organized structure that makes conversion of light into electricity more efficient.

What is a photovoltaic cell?

A photovoltaic cell is an electrical device (semiconductor diode) that converts the energy of sunlight directly into a useable electricity (DC or direct current). Photo = light, voltaic = electricity formed through chemical reaction).  

How much CO2 is produced in the making of solar panels?

Do you ever wonder how much CO2 is produced from solar panels? Well, during the manufacturing of the panels, caustic chemicals like sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid are produced. Water is also used in the production. It is inevitable that greenhouse gasses are emitted from this process. Solar panels produce around 50g of CO2 per kilowatt hour during their initial years of operation. This is about 20 times less than the carbon output of coal-powered electricity sources. Solar panels do not produce greenhouse gasses or air pollution when operating.

Solar cell paint?

Can you believe that they already have a solar cell paint on the market? It is so exciting to know that solar paint is a reality and it’s application could change the world. Imagine driving a fully solar powered car with a photovoltaic paint job? Yes, please. Keep the top up and grab some sun! There are a few companies making this product now and I think the future will determine how far we can go with this revolutionary idea. Planes? Ships? All running on solar paint. Yes!

Vehicles that use strictly solar

The only 2 vehicles I could find that run strictly on solar power are the futuristic Aptera (we want one) and the Lightyear 0 (this one is pricey). The Aptera is one of the most advanced vehicles in the world today with 3 wheels, roll proof body, a cockpit style cabin and the look of a mini airplane. Running strictly on the sun’s power. This is such a cool vehicle at only $25 k. The Lightyear is a just a wee bit more money at around $169 k (US). Ouch! These vehicles are both in the production stage but I foresee the Aptera (which already has pre-orders) to be on the market pretty quick! Sign me up!

Best batteries for use with solar?

The lithium ion battery is the best option for use with a solar system. They are made with lead acid, lithium ion and saltwater. It you are creating a “bank” of batteries ( the result of joining two or more batteries together for a single application) this is a higher priced option but well worth the money. These batteries are deep cycle batteries that are used to store energy for later. Unlike a car battery that is only used to spark your ignition, the deep cycle powers with a steady current. Here is a great resource to check out. Unbound Solar

What is a solar inverter?

A solar inverter converts the direct current (DC) energy from your solar panels into an alternating current (AC) for use in commercial applications for home and electrical networks or grids.

Which type of inverter is the best for certain applications?

The grid-tied string inverter is the most common for home and commercial use. It uses an oscillator to ensure that it does not produce a voltage greater than what the power grid can allow. The frequency is important so it matches the grid. Typically, 50 or 60 Hertz.

How solar works when used on your home’s roof?

When sunlight is collected into the solar panels, it is then converted with the inverter and stored in the battery bank. The batteries are connected to your electrical box which runs your home.

The future of solar – is it worth it?

There are a few things to consider when wanting to install solar panels in your home. The main factors to think about are the initial cost, the climate where you live, how much power you need to run your home or vehicle, the installation process and whether you can find someone qualified, and your initial cost of energy being on-grid and if it’s worth it, if there are rebates, whether you rent or own (is it feasible to take the system with you or not) if you sell your house. There is some maintenance to the batteries and the panels that you must consider as well.

Our Solar System

We currently have a 2 panel system on the roof of our fifth wheel and it enables us to be off-grid anytime we want. This is very useful as we live in our unit full-time and move from city to city for work. We have 3 deep cycle lithium batteries that sustain us even in the winter. More importantly, when we want to use a bunch of devices, we can. We carry a small portable solar panel to charge our quad or motorcycles too. Very handy! I definitely can see recreational vehicles becoming either fully solar or utilizing some solar and some fuel power. That is promising.

To Summarize

In conclusion, I realize that we have such an incredible resource at our fingertips and it really isn’t being utilized to its maximum potential. The sun is there for us to harness its energy. It’s thrilling to see that solar paint is a thing and that the incredible perovskite products created in labs will be coming down the pike. These companies are extremely forward thinking proving that solar energy is here to stay. There will be so many ways that we can tap into nature for unlimited power. Now that you know, get ready to collect some sunshine. Shannon

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Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency for Beginners

Cryptocurrency for Beginners

A brief and general outline to get you started

The future is Crypto


What is cryptocurrency?

We’ve all heard this term before, but what is this stuff? I will give you a basic rundown of what it is in my own words and with the help of some great resources. If you feel compelled, please go deeper and learn the nuances of this type of currency. There is a plethora of information on the web and all of your questions will be answered if not answered here.


Cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which transactions can be verified and records are maintained by a decentralized system. We call this system a blockchain. Blockchain is really cool because there is nobody “at the top” who is in charge. Many, many millions of users run the blockchain and the neat part is that Bitcoins cannot be faked, hacked or double spent – so there is a level of trust in this currency and exchange system. Cryptocurrency uses cryptography, a secure method of protecting information, communications, and now, currency through the use of complex computer codes. The only person that will see the currency you share with them is the person it is intended for thus creating next-level protection. This is the opposite of our current structure of a centralized authority. This is where one person at the top makes all the decisions and has complete control over the information, communication or currency. A good example of centralized authority is a financial institution (a bank).


A diagram of blockchain

Crypto is a digital asset that is not stopping or slowing down anytime soon. When my husband and I first purchased crypto, we understood that it was volatile and that holding onto it is the most important thing. Cryptocurrency is a digital payment system that doesn’t rely on banks to verify transactions and this is a main reason we love it! As we watch fiat currency starting to nosedive because of forced inflation, the reckless printing of money by our governments and not having the gold standard to prop the money, we should be looking at alternative currencies for the future. Cryptocurrency is that alternative.

You probably are not a kid but the video below from Hey! Guess What is a fantastic summary of Crypto explained to kids. It is highly effective in making this subject a little more understandable for beginners. Check out the other informative videos they create on YouTube for kids. Fun stuff!



Types of Cryptocurrency

5 Popular Cryptocurrencies (in no particular order, although Bitcoin is top dog!)

  1. Bitcoin – a digital currency created for use in peer-to-peer online transactions. Introduced in 2008 by a person or group using the name Satoshi NakamotoBitcoin is the most prominent of a group of virtual currencies-money that exists mainly as computer code and has no central issuing authority. Source: Carter Dougherty
  2. Bitcoin Cash – Bitcoin Cash is a cryptocurrency that is a fork of Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash is a spin-off or altcoin that was created in 2017. In November 2018, Bitcoin Cash split further into two cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV.  Source: Wikipedia
  3. Ethereum– Ethereum is a decentralized global software platform powered by blockchain technology. It is most commonly known for its native cryptocurrency, ether, or ETH. Ethereum can be used by anyone to create any secured digital technology they can think of. It has a token designed for use in the blockchain network, but it can also be used by participants as a method to pay for work done on the blockchain. Authors: Frankenfield, Anderson, Perez
  4. Litecoin – Litecoin (LTC) is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that was set up by Charlie Lee (a former Google employee) in 2011. It is a fork of Bitcoin and shares many similarities with it. It is based on bitcoin’s original source code. Litecoin was designed to be used for cheaper transactions, and to be more efficient for everyday use. Source: Google
  5. Ripple – (XRP) is a real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system, which is a specialist money transfer network, currency exchange and remittance network. Useful for transferring most other currencies without bank wait times. It was created by Ripple Labs and released in 2012.

Bitcoin Mining is a term used when creating cryptocurrency with computer hardware. This website here sums it up very nicely. How many Bitcoins are in existence? Check this out.


Start investing in Crypto

Here’s how I have been purchasing my cryptocurrency since 2019

I have always chosen Bitbuy as my go-to for buying cryptocurrency as it is one of the easiest ways to buy and sell 25 different currencies quickly and painlessly (even on my cellphone). It is safe, secure and they are really knowledgeable about all things related to crypto.

Trader! Trader! Trader!

How to Buy and Sell Bitcoin with Bitbuy

Follow these simple steps to get started on your crypto journey. Here is how it works:

  • Sign up for Bitbuy by creating an account, providing your email address and phone number, and confirming your identity.
  • Fund your account to begin buying and selling your digital currency of choice. There are a couple of ways to insert Canadian dollars into your Bitbuy account; either Interac e-Transfer or with a bank wire.
  • Once the funds have been deposited, choose which digital currency(ies) you want to purchase or sell by navigating to the “Express Trade” section of your account. The dollar value of the quantity of bitcoin (or any other digital currency) that you are purchasing or selling will appear in your “Transaction Summary” prior to completing the process.

As a buyer of Bitcoin, I just got excited today when I received word that a new way to purchase our crypto became available and we can now buy BTC, ETH and USDC with our credit card! It was already easy but they are now making it even more convenient.

Buying crypto cannot be any easier!

So, there you have it! My very basic and simple explanation about cryptocurrency. Much of it can go over my head but after almost 5 years of learning, it is starting to resonate. It is shaping our future and it is very interesting once you get involved and start understanding the lingo. I love knowing that our financial portfolio contains gold, cash, IRA’s and now, cryptocurrency. The ups and downs are part of the journey. Just hang on. It’s taking us to the future. Thanks for reading. Shannon

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