Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Meet Josh Lieberman, Blogger

Josh Lieberman is 22, an iOS app developer, and in college. He loves to write and follow passions and procrastinate. Check out his blog at http://www.tonotmissthebliss.com.

1. What inspired you to launch your site, and how did you choose the name, "tonotmissthebliss"?

It all began a few years ago when I was about 50 pounds overweight and had this big idea for a project. The project was this huge, way over my head, ambitious goal to 1) get in shape, 2) lose weight, and 3) write about it all to become a book about the process. After a lot of writing, I began to share it with friends. But it becomes cumbersome to discuss the same bit of writing in three or four different full conversations. This is where the blog idea was born--as a place to write these musings and thoughts.

I've always had a fascination with the word "bliss." Somehow, I'm quite happy that "tonotmissthebliss" still resonates with me to this day. It took me a couple years to really build the momentum and energy to consistently post. But now that I've slowly reached this point, it feels amazing.

2. How did you first get interested in writing poetry?

Hah. I would say that listening to Eminem at a young age definitely influenced my mind to enjoy hearing rhymes. In high school, my friends and I would insult each other with rhymed blocks of text. Then in my early years of college, I would write long poems for gals I never dated. Only recently have I started directing my love of poems towards myself, the universe, and overarching ideas such as love and inspiration.

3. What do you find are your favorite times to write--and what are some topics or experiences that seem to motivate you to put your thoughts/feelings into words?

The favorite time to write is when the mind has something to write about. Thank goodness for Evernote--as long as I have my phone nearby, I can record the thought for later. I would say 40% of my rhymes are from the train, 35% are written at the park, 10% at work, and the other 15% anytime, anyplace.

The biggest motivation is my love of anime. There's a certain type of show I watch where a team comes together to overcome insurmountable odds. The feelings of inspiration, teamwork, and THEY DID IT!!!! create such positive visceral reactions that resonate with me. Upon figuring out that I can craft those same emotion with my rhymes, I became addicted to it.

But my content is inspired from nearly everything I come across. Whether it's hearing about wars in the Middle East, learning about the universe during an episode of Cosmos, or listening to the late thinker Alan Watts, anything and everything is inspiration. I'm merely retelling the pre-existing story from my perspective.

4. How would you compare the creative work of developing apps with the creative process of writing?

You know, I've never yet tried to make that comparison. I'll start by how they differ. For one, I could write a poem on the train into work and shape it into a blog post to share that evening. For apps, it takes months to get somewhere tangible. They operate on completely different time-scales.

However, at the core of both you find the same elements--human emotions. It's all about the emotion you aim to invoke in the reader or the user. How can you make them feel something positive and worth feeling again?

5. When you think about your life over the next few years, what do you imagine yourself doing?

Hmmm, I don't really know a specific destination. I just know I want to grow my talents and see where they take me.

If I were to imagine the current trajectory, I would continue writing poems to the point where they eventually start linking up with music. I would love to be a songwriter one day. Or a spoken word rapper.

I see myself having at least two more personal apps on the app store. I have a super mega dream app I want to make, but there's two (or even three) that have to come before it, and each one is at least a six-month project.

So if I'm at a point where I have those under my belt and in the next few years I can start that dream project, I'll be so happy.

Thanks, Josh!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Introducing M Models, a Talent Agency in Toronto

If you're interested in learning about how a talent agency works and the different jobs that clients find with the help of their agency, check out the blog for M Models, a talent agency in Toronto.

M Models helps models and actors find work in print advertising, principal acting, and more. They work with talent of all ages, including young children. They represent clients in Canada and North America as well as internationally.

What I like about the agency's blog is that you get a concrete idea of the kinds of jobs that models and actors find through the agency. You also get to see a lot of different headshots and photos, which can be useful if you're looking to update your own portfolio and want some ideas for effective portraits to accentuate your best attributes.

Recent blog posts feature talent represented by M Models who have landed jobs with TSN (The Sports Network), a music video for the band Royal Tusk, a TV commercial for an event called BuskerFest, and a commercial for a dating service called Lavalife. Another post gives a detailed profile of two new clients recently signed to M Models who had previously appeared on The Amazing Race Canada.

Check out M Models' blog if you want to keep up with the latest from a growing talent agency in Toronto.

Meet Luca Di Fonso, Fashion and Fitness Blogger

Luca Di Fonso is 24 years old and passionate about fashion, traveling, and fitness. After finding success on Instagram (www.instagram.com/lucadifonso), he started a blog to share his passions in a better way, hoping that people can find some useful tips and enjoy seeing the world through his eyes.

1. How did you first become interested in posting on Instagram?

I started because of a bet with a friend of mine. Then I saw that people were interested in seeing photos of what I do in my daily routine, so I continued to post.

2. What do you think made your Instagram feed so popular?

I think probably it gained followers because people can see a lot of different things rather than only selfies! I try to keep the attention of my followers by posting about different topics.

3. What do you find the most interesting--and the most challenging--when it comes to capturing fashion through photography?

I started just a few months ago, so I'm not an expert, but a lot of people asked me, "How can you be so serious during the shoots?". Believe me when I say that the first time, it was difficult. But when you see all the people around you who are working really hard--such as photographers, stylists, and so on--you understand that you have to be very professional, too.

Every shoot is different because you have to help the photographer to capture the right soul of the brand. You know, posing for a street style brand is different than posing for a tank top brand.

4. Why did you decide to start your own website, and what will visitors find there?

On my website, you can find fashion tips for men and women, and a section showcasing the most stylish people I've seen on the street. You can also find a section talking about fitness where you can find diet tips and gym schedules/routines for men and women, too. I also have a lifestyle section where I discuss topics like music, food, and restaurants. Finally, I have a travel section where I post pictures and videos of the places I visit.

5. In the next year or so, what projects do you hope to be working on?

I hope that everything goes well and that I can continue to work with a lot of fashion brands, lifestyle brands, and travel agencies in order to reach my goals. But who knows?

Please check out my site at www.lucadifonso.com. Thanks, Luca!

Introducing Sean Fargo's Blog

If you're interested in Buddhism and meditation practice, check out Sean Fargo's website. Sean is a former executive who left his career to spend two years becoming ordained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand. Today, Sean facilitates mindfulness classes at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and other locations, reaching out to a wide variety of people, from teenagers to men in prison.

His blog offers his reflections on various teachings--this can the form of book reviews, commentary on Buddhist talks, and more. There are guided meditations and other tools that allow the reader to engage in personal reflection. In short, there's a gentle emphasis on insight and mindful living.

You'll find a lot of audio and video content throughout Sean's posts. The video below is an example of the videos he frequently includes on his personal site.

Sean is dedicated to offering resources for people to find space to pause and reflect in their lives, and he has another site called MindfulnessExercises.com where he shares secular mindfulness exercises. His work online is a great example of how websites can be a resource for connection and meaningful exchanges.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Free Tax Calculator

Sometimes I think the only thing that makes me feel better about taxes is finding free tax tools online. Doesn't a freebie cheer you up, too? If you're planning ahead and looking for a tax refund calculator for 2015, it's nice to know that Turbo Tax has a calculator that they let you use for free, even if you aren't a paid user of their software.

Of course, many of us might wait until the last minute to figure out tax-related stuff, but the benefit of experimenting with a tax calculator right now is that you can make some adjustments ahead of time to avoid a hefty tax bill later. I know that I have adjusted my deductions in the past, and it's made a huge difference in terms of not owing taxes when April 15 rolls around.

For more information about the Turbo Tax free calculator and other tax tools and ideas, check out the Best IRS Tax Refund site.