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Author Archives: Juliet Elizabeth Petersen

How to Make Friends with a Stranger 101

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I met a nice man the other day while I was out sketching some farm animals. It was kind of fun since I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone while doodling in the street. Anyways, he drives up, parks close, and pulls out a small stem of bean pods.

“I hope I’m not going to ruin your sketches.”

“Oh no, you’re fine.”

He walks past me and all the goats I was previously drawing bleat and race over. In my head I’m going, “This is perfect. They’re never this close!” But then he proceeds to walk down a little ways and all the animals gallop to where he is. “Oh, well… Never mind lol.”

So I proceed to sketch the horses, but he attracts them over with some alfalfa… At which point I’m ready to put away my sketchbook but I wait and draw a tree instead. In the process, he comes over and watches the animals for a couple minutes and I start to talk to him.

We end up having a thirty minute conversation about his goats and I ask him some advice. (I’ve been considering getting some goats for myself and was excited to find out they were his.) Turns out, he’s trying to get rid of some because he can’t keep up with the amount that he has.

“If you’re still around in August, I can just give you one.” (I’m planning on moving to Utah, but hoping that I’ll be back in the summer time.)

“Really?”

“Oh sure, no problem.”

So he gives me his phone number and information. He also tells me that in the future I can walk further up the fence line to get some better sketches. (How awesome is that?!) Then we part ways. Who knew I’d make a friend by going for a walk and making an outdoor sketch?

And it just made me think, you really can meet some nice people in Arizona. Now, contrast that with the frustrated cart finder barking at everyone at Fry’s and you soon see that you meet all sorts of people no matter where you go 🙂

Anyways, this led me to think about today’s topic.

Making Friends with Strangers for Beginners

If you’re an introvert like me, it’s not always easy talking to random people that you come across. Especially at places like the doctor’s office or the airplane. Sometimes I like to just put in some earphones and pull out a book.

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But occasionally, I’ll strike up a conversation. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Start with something you notice about them.

I bet if you’re an introvert you’re good at noticing things about people. Peek on over and see.

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It could be that they’re wearing a nice watch. For Scott, I asked him if those goats belonged to him and he said yes. It could be something like a book that they’re reading, a shirt that they’re wearing.

It really just comes down to anything that you notice about them that they may find appealing. And sometimes it takes a little bit of Q&A before you can figure out what they enjoy talking about.

2. Ask them lots of question.

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Now, don’t interrogate them. That’s just awkward 🙂 But ask questions like where they’re from, what do they enjoy doing, do they have a family etc. etc. Sometimes the conversation teeters out, but other times you may find yourself a new friend. Also, giving them a compliment about something that they’re wearing or doing is a good idea too.

3. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself.

Of course, don’t gab their ear off.

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If you notice that they’re really not that interested in the conversation, then leave it. It could be that they’re having a bad day. But don’t be afraid to share some details about yourself too if they ask! A conversation is a give and take.

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Share a story. Look them in the eyes. Smile.

4. Speaking of Which, Smile.

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Smiling is one of the best things that you can do while talking with a stranger. (At least here in America, I don’t know if it’s always socially acceptable in other places. But here in the states, definitely smile!)

Smiling makes you more attractive and lightens your tone. It takes far less muscles than frowning. Also, it’s kind of funny, but once you start smiling, it’s kind of hard for the other person to resist reciprocating.

 5. Practice

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It takes practice to get good at this (And sometimes, it takes lots of practice 🙂 If you’re not great at first, that’s okay. You’ll never get good at something until you practice. If you need to make a script and talk to yourself in the mirror, then go for it! My first few attempts at this were definitely awkward at best, and downright unbearable at worst. However, now that I’ve done it for a few years, it’s gotten a lot easier!

That’s It!

If you follow those simple steps, you’re well on your way to becoming friends with complete strangers. It doesn’t always work, (not everyone is in the mood to talk) but in most cases I’ve found that it does.

I hope this article helped you out! If you’ve got any fun stories about talking with strangers, mention them in the comments below! Thanks and have a blessed day 🙂

 

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Social Media Platforms

This week in my business class I learned about how to use Social Media in order to promote my website! I’m definitely not an expert and I need to learn more, but I’m excited to get started and share with you some of the things I’ve learned.

Facebook:

Probably one of the easiest platforms you can use to get your name out there. Most people have a Facebook profile and what’s great for businesses is that you can build a Facebook page to promote yourself! It’s a really nifty feature where you can invite your friends to become fans and you don’t have to worry about accepting them as friends or them accepting you.

One of the things that I think I will do with Facebook is add interesting questions every week and see what people respond with. Since my website is all about dragons then my questions will revolve around the beasts. Like, if you could be any elemental dragon what kind of element would you be? Who’s your favorite dragon from books and why? Is it different for movies? And so on 🙂

Pinterest:

Pinterest is another great social media platform to get started on. I personally don’t get on Pinterest all that much, but there are a lot of people who do. Some of the most popular things you’ll find there are recipes, fashion, and home decorating. If your website promotes any of that, then you’ve got a sure way into Pinterest!

Youtube:

I have always wanted to create my own Youtube page for the longest time. I’m excited to get started using it 🙂 Lots of people enjoy watching movies. If you’ve got a creative idea that’s exciting and fun, post it on YouTube. The best thing about this social media platform is that it’s so versatile. You can post videos on most other media sites which will help you get more traffic onto your YouTube page which will draw into your website.

Twitter:

Twitter is the platform that I’m the least familiar with. In fact, if you have any suggestions for using Twitter to promote a website or business, I’d love to hear it! The little that I do know is that Twitter is growing to be extremely popular and businesses use it all the time. For example, a yogurt place near my apartment promotes their business by saying a customer can get a discount if they post about their yogurt on Twitter.

There are many other platforms that you can use to help your business name get out there. Instagram, Google+ and Linkedin are just a few. The best thing that you can do is just do a little research into what people are getting themselves involved in. One of the best things that you can do for your business is to learn how to listen and then respond to the feedback that you get 🙂

Thanks for visiting! Have a blessed day!

Time to Focus

Time to Focus

Finals. Essays. It’s that time of year again and boy am I ready to be done with school. I’ve got a ten page paper I have to finish by Monday and then another ten page paper I have to get done by Thursday, not to mention a twenty page paper that I also need to get finished by the end of the semester. Woot…

I don’t know if this happens to you, but I always find it that when I’m supposed to work on an assignment I get so distracted. Especially when I’m listening to some really great epic music. This current song that I’ve got playing “Vishnu” by E.S. Posthumus makes me want to write some epic short story or something. But I’ve got to get this done first ;P

Focus Lessons

What are some things that you do to help you focus?

Lock and Key

  • I’m finding that I have to basically lock myself in my room (with snacks of course 😉 in order to actually concentrate. Love my roommates, but when it’s essay time, I’ve got to have my space.
    • But I wouldn’t recommend working on your bed. Done it, and I almost always get the strongest urge to fall asleep. Not like that really changes when I work on the floor, but it’s a little less tempting.

Music!

  • Music can always be helpful (Again if it’s not too distracting. I probably ought to change this song haha). There are some great playlists on Youtube (so long as you don’t go off into Youtube wonderland in the process). To counter that, I’ve got a whole playlist on my ITunes that’s dedicated completely to homework so that usually helps me out too.
    • Then again, sometimes working in silence is the best thing you can do. Even if you have to go to the library in order to avoid roommates, it’s better to get things done as early as possible than have everything pile on top of you by the end. Trust me, I’m not excited about these essays :/

Get Rid of Distractions

  • I also usually have to fight any and all urges to stay away from Facebook and other Internet distractions (Netflix). But taking a break every once in a while isn’t a bad thing. (However, what would be an even better practice would be to get up and do some jumping jacks or pushups! It helps me wake up and deal with tenseness)
  • Sometimes even turning off the cellphone becomes a necessity so I’m not distracted. Just let your family and friends know that you’ve got finals you’ve got to worry about. They’ll understand 🙂

Have you got any suggestions on what I could do better? I’d love to hear it!

Well, time to get back to work. Good luck to you!

Choose to Live

 

I feel like Life is one gigantic staircase.

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Each day we can choose to take the next step or stay on our same level. We can look back and perhaps take a step down (maybe many steps), but the staircase always moves forward as time ticks by.

Some points on the staircase level off to a platform, a goal we’ve set or a mile marker. For a moment, we can choose to bask in our accomplishment and glance back to see how far we’ve come. Then we realize there are more stairs to climb and we can choose to take our next step and climb higher than ever before to reach new horizons.

Sometimes the steps grow steep and dangerous. We slip and fall down, maybe even back to our last platform. At those times, it’s easy to choose to lie down and watch others pass us by while despair tears our insides apart.

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We can choose to give up or fight back. It’s always our choice even if it feels like a rock has pinned us down or people have tied us back.

Choose to Be Yourself

It’s easy to see how far others have climbed. It’s easy to feel disgusted with our efforts and yearn to be someone else. I love this quote: “Be yourself, somebody else is already taken.” Wanting to be someone else puts a limit on our own capabilities.

We can choose to break those limitations. We can choose to be our best selves.

Choose to see the sunrise

There will always be more stairs to climb until our clocks stop. Then we’ll embark on another grand adventure where I believe these stairs will become the dream and we’ll awaken to a grand new vista.

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Until then, we choose where to take our next step. We choose to climb and learn. It seems monotonous, and sometimes life’s like that, but each platform brings a new surprise. Sometimes we turn a corner and experience the marvel of a waterfall or a shooting star.

We can choose to give up or we can choose to pursue our highest aspirations. No one can do it for us. We must choose.

Just One Step

All it takes is one small step. Sometimes that’s lifting the rock weighing us down or reaching out to another for help. Because, contrary to what we may think, we’re not alone on this staircase.

It takes one little step and then another. Each tiny step, no matter how slow or insignificant it may seem, gets us closer to our destination. Closer to nothing we can imagine, except that it’s glorious.

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Choose to take that step. Choose to live. You can do it.

Just Believe 🙂

 

Finding Gratitude

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls” ~ Aesop.

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Gratitude has been on my mind lately. Two of the simplest words, thank you, can bring the greatest peace to a soul.

A Grateful Heart

It’s interesting. It’s a lot harder to have gratitude when things are going easy in my life. I have so many things to be grateful for, and yet how often do I take the time to say “thank you?” When I should be praising God, I get caught up in all my daily affairs and forget about what’s important.

Here’s a question for you: How often do you show gratitude towards yourself? How often do you stop and say “thank you for doing such a good job today?” I don’t think I ever have now that I think about it. Sure, I’ve been proud of my accomplishments. I’ve given praise, but I don’t think I’ve ever said thank you. I wonder if that would change my attitude?

Appreciating the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I discovered something about myself the other day. I don’t like hard things. In fact, I hate them! Hard things make me so angry and frustrated and ungrateful. Yet, how would my life change if I felt gratitude for the hard things in my life?

Some of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced have been my greatest teachers. And yet, I still harbor some negative feelings for those hardships. For example: I participated in a swim team my sophomore year in high school.

It HURT.

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Yet, it taught me to work hard and push through pain. It taught me that I can accomplish something great. Even though I got a C in my Chemistry class because of swim team (well, Chem has never been my best subject…) I survived the semester. And that’s something to be grateful for.

I wonder how my life would change if I changed my attitude towards challenges. I don’t know, but I’m curious to find out.

The Gratitude Challenge

I have a challenge for you. I want you to stop what you’re doing right now and find three things that you’re grateful for. I’m serious, stop. Think for a minute. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant.

I picked: My laptop, my blanket, and my pillow 🙂 What did you pick?

What would happen if each day we stopped for a minute and just thought about three things that we’re grateful for? Perhaps instead of getting trapped staring at the path in front of us, we’ll begin to see the sky.

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Do you think that would change the world? I think it’s possible.

Here’s a quote from one of my favorite Shakespearean villains, Iago, for my last thoughts: “Poor and content is rich, and rich enough; / but riches fineless (infinite) is as poor as winter / To him that ever fears he shall be poor” (3.3.172-174).

When we learn to be content with what we have, we begin to see all the rich blessings around us. I hope that both of us can find more gratitude in our hearts and that we can find a way to change the world.

Have a blessed day 🙂

Finding the Motivation

So, I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but sometimes I feel like my motivation is a fickle creature. Sometimes it will rage inside my chest and beat its drum with all the power of an elephant. Other times it changes into a mouse and disappears into a dark corner. No matter how I try to coax, it won’t budge.

All my desire to finish a project I’ve started vanishes and it feels impossible to move forward.the-cat-toy-1515154

 

While creating a website in my class, I found a page where we can post our URL so that our classmates can check and critique them. Well, I decided to investigate some of my classmate’s work.

I was blown away by what everyone had done and when I looked back at my own website, I sighed. So much work to do… I felt so behind. And my motivation shriveled and scurried away.

What do you do when your motivation dies?

Well… after working on this post, here are some of the ideas I’ve come up with.

Looking at pictures:

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Looking at peaceful pictures helps me to calm down and relax. I love reading motivational quotes that get me pumped to try something new or keeping moving forward on my projects.

Listening to Good Music:

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Music inspires me. “Where words fail, music speaks” Hans Christian Anderson. I couldn’t agree more 🙂

Looking at something silly:

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And then I realize that everything will work out. I can laugh off my frustrations and continue moving forward.

My website may not be as good as the others, but that’s okay. I’m doing the best that I can and that’s all that matters!

I think that this quote can fit my situation well 🙂

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others” Ayn Rand.

If all that motivates me circles around beating others, than what’s the point? There’s always going to be someone who’s better than I am and worse than I am. I can’t compare myself like that. I wanted to build my website in order to work at home. If I stop now, that dream will die! I can’t give up now! I’ve only just begun.

I think so long as I’m doing my best, the rest will come in time. My website may not look as modern and up to date as others, but that will come in time. The one thing that I need to focus on right now is building content. That’s all that matters.

Anyways, thanks for letting me ramble. I hope that this post might help motivate you to go out and accomplish something great! Good luck to you on all of your dreams and endeavors! You can do it!

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Thanks for stopping by!

Four Tips for Website Building

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This week in class we discussed how ad words help build traffic to your site. Basically, what I learned is that you need to make them specific and targeted towards your audience.

So, for example, if you’re selling yoga pants, don’t let one of your ad words be “yoga”. Put “Yoga pants discount” or something along those lines. Because yoga would be too broad and bring in people who may not necessarily want to buy from your site.

However, for the purpose of this blog post, I wanted to talk about something a little bit different. I wanted to talk about some of the things that I’ve been learning as I’ve been working on my website. So, are you Ready? Set? GO!

Website Building 101:

1. Got Questions? Use the internet!

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It’s pretty obvious, but it’s a good reminder. More often than not, if you’re struggling with something with your website, someone else has struggled with the same thing.

2. Pictures say a thousand words

If you feel like your website is missing some pizzazz, then download a few pictures and spruce up your site!

3. Beware of the Copyright

Be careful where you get your images or you could face a lot of potential problems.

Places you can get photos for free without worrying about copyright:

Stock.xchng
Morgue file
Photos8
Flickr Creative Commons

Just make sure to read the agreements and policies before downloading the images.

4. Utilizing Key words

Now, I’m not an expert on this, but using keywords are everything. I need to do some more research, but you’re going to want to have a certain amount of keywords spread throughout your website. That way search engines are more able to pick up your website.

Even if you have a cute catchy title, if you don’t use any words that people put in search engines, your site is going to remain in the cold dark corners of the internet world.

5. Use links within links.

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Links are a great way for your viewers to navigate throughout your website! Make sure to have links that help travelers make smooth transitions through your site so no one gets lost.

A few essential links: Home, About, Privacy Policy

Conclusion:
Building a website can be lots of fun, but it does take a lot of work! The deeper and deeper I dig into website building, the more that I realize that I don’t know all that much. But that’s okay, I’ve got plenty of time to learn some fun new skills! Good luck on your website building ventures! And thank you for stopping by!