All posts by The Sparkle Page

NEW MAYOR: 26 Year Old in Stockton California

The election of councilman Michael Tubbs as Stockton, California’s first black mayor was one of the few silver linings in an otherwise horrific Tuesday night.

Just 26 years old, Tubbs will also serve as the city’s youngest mayor.

Tubbs is one of several people of color in politics to make history in the 2016 election, and he has been on a path to excellence since his coming-of-age in a struggling South Stockton neighborhood. A high-achieving student, he attended Stanford University after receiving a scholarship from the school.

Tubbs’ time at Stanford ― highlighted by internships with Google and the White House ― was interrupted by the 2010 killing of his cousin. But rather than being deterred from continuing his education, the incident inspired a change in Tubbs’ aspirations.

Stemming from a desire to affect change in his hometown, he began campaigning for councilman in Stockton’s 6th district just months prior to his graduation. Tubbs’ bid for councilman inspired the 2014 documentary “True Son.”

After four years of serving as a councilman, Tubbs is preparing to serve the city on a much wider scale, beginning with police reform. After Tuesday’s landslide victory against incumbent opponent Anthony Silva, he’s hoping to lead the city to a fruitful future.

Charlize Theron is calling out racism as the reason we haven’t managed to beat the AIDS epidemic

charlize_theron_SA_AIDSCharlize Theron is calling out racism as the reason we haven’t managed to beat the AIDS epidemic — despite having all of the necessary resources.

via Mic.com:

At the opening ceremonies of the 2016 International AIDS Conference, the actress, who founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project in 2007, asked the audience why so many people are still infected with HIV each year — and why so many still die of AIDS-related causes.

“The truth is, we have every tool we need to prevent the spread of HIV: condoms, PrEP, PEP, ART [antiretroviral therapy], awareness, education,” Theron said. “And yet 2.1 million people — 150,000 of them children — were infected with HIV last year. In South Africa alone, 180,000 people died of AIDS last year.” Theron’s figures align with those from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, or UNAIDS.

“The real reason we haven’t beaten this epidemic boils down to one simple fact: We value some lives more than others,” Theron said. “We value men more than women. Straight love more than gay love. White skin more than black skin. The rich more than the poor. And adults more than adolescents.”

“I know this because AIDS does not discriminate on its own,” Theron continued. “It has no biological preference for black bodies, for women’s bodies, for gay bodies, for youth or the poor. It doesn’t single out the vulnerable, the oppressed or the abused.

“We ignore them,” she said. “We let them suffer, and then we let them die.”

Glad to see celebrities using their influence on social issues such as this one.

Alicia Keys’ New Way of Getting Fans off Their Mobile Devices During Concert

It’s crystal clear! Alicia Keys doesn’t want to see you using your phone at her concerts anymore. But rather than ban phones from the venue, she’s turning to a Silicon Valley startup to keep her shows smartphone-free.

Yondr is a company dedicated to creating “phone-free spaces” at concerts, events and other places. To get into one of these spaces, cellphones need to be sealed in one of the company’s lockable pouches.

SEE ALSO: Jennifer Lopez looks nothing like her ‘Shades of Blue’ stunt double: See the funny pic!

The pouch stays locked inside the phone-free zone but unlocks once you leave it, so your phone is only a short dash away in an emergency.

Yondr founder Graham Dugoni told The Washington Post: “If you haven’t been to a phone-free show, you just don’t know what you’re missing. There’s something about living in real life that can’t be replicated.”

The company’s stated aim is to eliminate distractions at concerts and help people engage with the performance, something many artists want from their fans, too.

During a recent show, Adele told a fan who was filming the performance: “You can enjoy it in real life, rather than through your camera. … I’d really like you to enjoy my show because there’s lots of people outside that couldn’t come in.”
But phone-free zones also make it a lot easier for artists to keep their work from getting surreptitiously recorded and posted online. Dave Chappelle, an early supporter of Yondr, started using the service because concertgoers kept posting his material to YouTube against his wishes.

Are We Seeing Double: Jennifer Lopez Side by Side her ‘Shades of Blue’ Stunt Double

Are we seeing double? On Tuesday, Jennifer Lopez was spotted filming a scene for her cop drama, Shades of Blue, in Queens, New York.

The chart-topping stunner was joined by her stunt double, who — despite having a similar build – looked nothing like the Las Vegas performer.

The ladies stood side-by-side with matching wavy bobs, long-sleeved blouses and skinny jeans.

153954, Jennifer Lopez films the second season of her hit show Shades of Blue in Astoria, Queens. Jennifer had scratches on her face and was taking time in between takes to go over her script, while standing next to her stunt double in the backyard of a house. New York City, New York - Tuesday June 21, 2016. Photograph: © LGjr-RG, PacificCoastNews. Los Angeles Office (PCN): +1 310.822.0419 UK Office (Photoshot): +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 sales@pacificcoastnews.com FEE MUST BE AGREED PRIOR TO USAGE

153954, Jennifer Lopez films the second season of her hit show Shades of Blue in Astoria, Queens. Jennifer had scratches on her face and was taking time in between takes to go over her script, while standing next to her stunt double in the backyard of a house. New York City, New York – Tuesday June 21, 2016. Photograph: © LGjr-RG, PacificCoastNews. Los Angeles Office (PCN): +1 310.822.0419 UK Office (Photoshot): +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 sales@pacificcoastnews.com FEE MUST BE AGREED PRIOR TO USAGE

Lopez plays Harlee Santos, a cop who has been forced by the FBI to work as a double agent, on the hit show.

On June 16, the “Booty” singer took to Instagram to tease fans about the show’s second season, writing, “Harlee’s baaaaccck… #shadesofblue#season2 #HarleeSantos #NBC.”

Lopez has certainly been juggling lots of work these days, in addition to her Vegas residency and work on the NBC series, she’s also voicing a character in Ice Age: Collision Course all while raising her twins, Max and Emme.

Source: aol | ETWeekly

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Emails Are Read by A&Rs, Managers & Booking Agents

How to Make Sure Your Emails Are Read by A&R Guys, Managers and Booking Agents

Life as an unsigned musician is frustrating to say the least; hours on end rehearsing, months in the recording studio, every last penny on promotional material and yet when it’s time to send out those all-important emails to the industry you can bet that replies will be few and far between.

Industry folk receive hundreds of emails every week and whilst many emails are no doubt overlooked, there are certainly a few things to avoid if you want to make yourself heard. The first thing to remember is that A&R guys, managers, promoters and booking agents are all normal people like you and I, it’s part of their job to find new music and so if you contact them with a personable, non-salesy approach you stand a much better chance of starting up a conversation.

I’m not really in the music industry myself, I run a booking agency for function bands, but still, I think the principle is the same regardless. Every day we receive emails from new bands and musicians in the events industry looking to join our books, we check out every single act that approaches us but unfortunately very few are up to the standard we’re looking for. This article is more about making sure that your email is read and that your work is heard in the first place, most of it appears to be common sense and yet a lot of people aren’t following the basics.

Be Personable in Your Approach

Rule number one is to be personable and approach the right people.

Sending out a blanket email with hundreds of people blind copied in (or worse, CC’d in!) is definitely a big no-no, if you haven’t got the time to send out a personal email then why should anyone be bothered to read it.

Do your research, find people in the same field as your music and write to them on their level.

Try to avoid sending emails to generic addresses such as info@, you want to reach the individual and it isn’t usually too hard to find out what their email is, for example,firstname@domain.com or firstname.lastname@domain.com is probably a good starting point. Using social media to message can work but I still think email is an important first point of contact, after all, Facebook messages will end up in the “other” folder of death and Twitter is all too easy to ignore due to the sheer mass of information available.

Don’t be a Salesman

Nobody wants to read an email that kicks off with a long rant about how good your band is, what your inspirations are and why you’re the next big thing; be confident and friendly in your opening line and for goodness sake, be “normal.”

HTML or flyer emails are a massive no-no, it comes across as spammy and in my opinion is the completely wrong approach. If I receive an HTML email my finger is so quick to hit the delete button that it barely even registers – that’s if the spam filters don’t get to it first.

Use the recipients first name, open with a line to introduce yourself, perhaps even mentioning that you’ve supported one of their bands or that you were passed on their info by a fellow musician or associate – having a mutual contact will definitely go a long way. Include a brief paragraph about yourself and why you think they might be interested, that’s the most you can do at this stage. The longer an email is the less likely the chances of it being read. Finally, check your spelling and punctuation. (Queue comments about my punctuation.)

Link to Soundcloud and Youtube

Avoid large attachments such as mp3s, it clogs up the inbox, takes time to download and is a general annoyance in the age of the cloud. Instead, include a link to your Soundcloud or Youtube page, whilst your website may be awesome, people generally like familiarity and prefer to visit a page that they can quickly access without the need to actually engage their brains.

Create Great Demos and Promotional Material

Promotional material is the key, you are essentially a brand and in order to sell yourself you need high quality photos and fully-produced demos – whilst lots of musically-minded people like to think they don’t need the production to recognize a good band or well-written song, I beg to differ; a great song is a great song but sometimes a good song can turn into a great song with a little bit of help in the studio.

Think about your target audience and help an A&R guy to visualize exactly what it is you’re trying to be, whilst you may have the outlook of “we just do what we do,” you can bet that they will need a clear plan of action if they’re going to pitch you up the chain of command.

Don’t Be Disheartened When You Get No Response

When you get no response to your well thought out emails it’s easy to assume that they aren’t being read but the truth is that 99.9% of music that gets sent out simply isn’t what that particular person is looking for. My advice is to continue to write great music, build your fan base and ignore the industry, they will come to you when the time is right.

About the Author:
Written by Adam Mezzatesta, founder of UK music agency www.bandsforhire.net

Finding The Best Live Music Venues in Atlanta, GA

Atlanta is the ideal city to be outside in. With such comfortable temperatures, plenty of sidewalk space, and greenery all around, this city makes for a highly desirable open-air live music scene. Atlanta also has several impressive indoor theaters, and the city boasts one of the most architecturally unique premises nationwide with its historic Fox Theatre. Join us as we delve into and assess the best venues for live music the city has to offer.

Chastain Park Amphitheater

‘No ceilings’ describes both the venue as well as the talent it draws on a seasonal basis. Playing host to some of the most eloquent artists Atlanta has ever seen (Elton John; Hall & Oates; Earth, Wind, & Fire; Neil Young), this musical shrine provides unforgettable nights under the stars and can make for the perfect couples evening. The arena is comfortably nestled within the Chastain Park area of Buckhead, surrounded by a golf course, Horse Park, neighborhood housing, and local tennis courts. Find a parking spot next to the park and take a pre (or post) concert stroll – all of the aforementioned spots are well within walking distance of the amphitheater itself.

Chastain Park Amphitheater, 4469 Stella Drive, Atlanta, GA, USA,+ 1 404 233 2227

The Fox Theatre

On the edge of downtown, the Fox Theatre acts as midtown’s historic centerpiece for live performances. Once a vaudevillian movie palace, the Fox was nearly removed in the 1970s to make room for a corporate office. But, alas, the wondrous, Moorish-designed edifice was saved by native Atlantans keen on preserving the amazing décor and inner design, which boasts an organ consisting of 3,622 pipes (second only to Radio City Music Hall’s organ in New York) and an Arabian ceiling mural of the night sky. This venue is truly one-of-a-kind and is absolutely not to miss.

The Fox Theatre, 600 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA, USA, + 1 404 881 2100

Tabernacle

Formerly a Baptist Church, the Tabernacle building is shrouded in historical couth. Standing for over one hundred years, the 1910 building has seen renovations several times over to accommodate its sizable crowds. The venue now houses thousands on a nightly basis as famed artists take the stage in downtown Atlanta’s most popular musical scene. Allot time for parking, theater entry, and seating when arriving to a show here; the venue is known for its packed house events and much awaited shows.

Tabernacle, 152 Luckie Street, Atlanta, GA, USA, + 1 404 659 9022

Variety Playhouse

When searching for a more intimate, lesser sized venue, look no further than Little Five Points prize, the Variety Playhouse. This inconspicuous pearl has showcased some of the indie scene’s biggest and best, years before their success on the mainstream scale. Artists like Vampire Weekend (back in 2008) often select Variety Playhouse as the perfect performance spot and thereby kindle long lasting fans from such shows. Located smack in the center of one of Atlanta’s most eccentric and unique areas (Little Five Points), the concert venue is much more than a local favorite – to many, it’s the best live music venue there is.

Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Avenue, Atlanta, GA, USA, + 1 404 524 7354

The EARL

Unquestionably an East Atlanta favorite, the EARL is another fantastic venue for alternative acts and an intimate live music experience. Serving hearty bar food and a wide range of cocktails and draft beers, the restaurant and bar has turned into more of a music club over the years, but it maintains its culinary acumen nonetheless. Interestingly enough, the actual bar top is constructed of a tree that fell on the property years ago. There’s never a dull moment here; the EARL is an ideal Atlanta spot for dinner and a show.

The EARL, 488 Flat Shoals Avenue, Atlanta, GA, USA, + 1 404 522 3950

Buckhead Theatre

Right in the backyard of Atlanta’s posh Buckhead bar area, Buckhead Theatre stands up to its surroundings quite well. The renovated structure has champion accommodations, including a stylish carpeted lobby and bar, impeccable lighting and sound specifications, and an elegant upper balcony inside the theater itself. The location is walking distance from a bustling bar district – a huge bonus for any thirsty attendees looking for some late night fun. Flush to the street, Buckhead Theatre has a tantalizing façade and an inviting feel. Make sure to stroll in for a show sometime soon.

Buckhead Theatre, 5110 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA, USA, + 1 404 843 2825

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

This highly versatile venue is home to a wide variety of the performing arts. Ballets, operas, and musical concerts – the Cobb Energy Centre has it all. Erected in 2007, the building is very new, and it’s easy to tell: the elaborate auditorium features an extensive seating arrangement, with a full orchestra pit and several protruding balcony areas. The acoustics have been mastered so that regardless of seating, you are sure to enjoy the audiovisual experience at hand. Admire the ballroom chandeliers and silken-carpeted entrance as you make your way inside.

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA, USA, + 1 770 916 2800

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By Richard Isaac Tulis

HOW TO USE SNAPCHAT FOR EVENT MARKETING

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Though it’s been out since 2011, Snapchat is still relatively unknown. That’s a shame because it’s a tool that can come in really handy especially for event planners. If used the right way, it can really foster engagement among followers and create some much needed hype.

More marketers, however, are beginning to catch on, as is the general public. As of May 2015, there are an estimated 100 million active daily users. Furthermore, roughly one in five social media users also use Snapchat.

Read more on how event professionals around the world are incorporating social media tips and trends into their event marketing and attendee engagement.

Snapchat Best Practices

  1. Provide a First Peek

Remember, Snapchat is distinguished for its “one-time view” feature. Once opened, content can be viewed only once and usually for a duration of only 10 seconds before it self-deletes. How might you be able to take advantage of such a concept? One way is to provide an insider’s look into a product or service.

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If your event is unveiling a new product, for example, then you can use Snapchat to provide a sneak peek of the product. Since viewers only get a one-time look, they’ll be debating about it on social media about what the new product is, how it works, how it differs from previous products, etc. This kind of gives the item an aura of mystery that encourages online discussions.

  1. Provide a Behind-the-Scenes Look

You can also take a page out of Hilton’s playbook and use Snapchat to provide a behind-the-scenes look. To promote its Live Nations concert series, which provides live entertainment to reward program members,Hilton used Snapchat to unveil behind-the-scenes snippets of some of its concerts.

This included one with Jason Derulo during his performance at San Diego’s Hilton Bayfront. The goal was to target millennials and get them to sign up for the company’s loyalty program, which is made up primarily of older members.

You can do the same. Granted, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get celebrities on board for your event. Nevertheless, you can still use Snapchat for providing a behind-the-scenes look, which can include a look at board meetings, venue scouting, or backstage happenings from a previous event.

  1. Make a Game Out of It

Find a way to make a game using Snapchat. Heineken did this to perfection. In collaboration with the Coachella festival, the beer company sent out cropped images on Snapchat, which included obscured photos of celebrity performers.

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Image courtesy of Event Marketer

The image revealed a surprise performer scheduled to perform at the Heineken House, the company’s performance stage for the festival. Snapchat users that were able to correctly decipher the image and identify the performer were rewarded with a confirmation of the star’s identity and details of the performance.

You can use Snapchat to create your own guessing game. Perhaps provide an image or emoji relating to a company product or service. Participants that guess correctly within a set number of tries will be rewarded with a small prize, such as a discount code.

  1. Incorporate It into a Contest

Social media contests are a tried-and-true strategy for encouraging consumer participation. Snapchat can be used in one way or another.

Here’s one example: create a word scramble game consisting of multiple rounds that progress in difficulty. For one of the later and more advanced rounds, the scrambled words can be sent via Snapchat, and participants only get a brief look before it automatically deletes.

Of course, players can cheat by taking a screenshot or snapping a photo of it with their mobile phone. That’s fine if they do that; what’s important is that you create some sort of contest that generates engagement. Those who successfully complete every word scramble round will, of course, be the winners and receive some sort of prize, such as a free event ticket.

  1. Take Advantage of the “Our Story” Feature

“Our Story” is a feature designed specifically for events. It allows planners to send live content right as their event is in progress. When you enable this feature, users present at the event can join in and submit their own image or short video from the event and share it with their own followers.

That is a lot of free marketing right there courtesy of your own guests. If you’re going to use Snapchat, then it doesn’t make sense not to milk this feature.

Don’t Ignore Snapchat

If you’re already using prominent social networks like Facebook and Twitter, then you might as well incorporate Snapchat while you’re at it. It’s just another tool in your arsenal that you can add for acquiring more publicity for your event.

Guest Author Bio: Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at JD Parties, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter@DanCarthy2.

The Heartbreaking Reality Of Raising Black Children In America

There are many more important topics that should be up for discussion right now, and I understand that. The topic of race seems to be a hot button issue in recent months, and though it can be uncomfortable, it can also be eye opening. A good friend of mine once asked why I chose to live in ignorant bliss. My answer was and is still simple; why choose to see all of the bad in the world or go look for it. I see ugly on a regular basis, I don’t have to search it out.

As a black mother of three, I have heard pretty awful things. I worry about things that other mothers don’t worry about. I also have a strength that is unmatched because of these awful things. I have been asked straight out, the following questions, and statements. They did not sugarcoat for me or my children, so I won’t sugarcoat for you. “Do they all have the same daddy?” “Why did you have so many kids?” This one is most recent, by my sons 1st grade teacher. “I know you have a bunch of other kids at home, so maybe one of them can help with his homework.” “It’s a shame black men don’t stick around. You could use some help.” You get my point. All I can say is people can be rude. I don’t condemn a whole race, because some people of that same color are ignorant.

As a black mother of three, these are some of the thing I have heard. “I don’t know why they have so many if they can’t afford them.” That was said while I walked through J.C. Penny. I have even heard “she has a Louis Vuitton, but I’m sure she has a food stamp card too” while I was in line to check out at Wal-Mart. People really should learn how to be better whisperers. Were my feelings hurt in these situations? Absolutely, and everything wanted to boil over. I wanted to yell and tell them how ignorant they were, but I didn’t. I pretended I heard nothing and went on about my way. As a black woman I often feel I don’t have the right to display my outrage in a very therapeutic yelling session at the wrongdoers. If I yell at them, it will only continue to perpetuate the stereotype as an angry black woman.

 

My kids are happy kids, but when in public, they are on their best behavior, so they don’t acquire the label of “that bad black kid.”

 When I was younger, I learned from the words my mother didn’t say. I learned from the actions I saw her taking. I learned from the conversations I overheard or the hushed comments between whomever she was speaking to. My mother demanded respect from us, inside and outside of the home and one phrase that she would repeat throughout my childhood was “y’all can’t be acting like these white kids in the store.” That may not be the exact phasing, but it was very close to that. When people see toddlers throwing fits in the store, the reactions from others are different between the races. If the child is white, people may giggle or smile, saying something along the lines of “she’s got her hands full.” When it’s a child of color throwing the tantrum, the reaction is markedly different and you get comments like I mentioned above.

As a mother of two black boys, I have to be extra vigilant in making sure they understand how their presence can make people feel threatened, while at the same time help them understand they have value. I have to have a conversation with them when they get a little taller about how they will “fit the description” most of the time, and how to react when they do. Sometimes the reason for being pulled over is because you’re brown and the sad truth is, if you don’t act in a manner that is completely compliant, you can get a jolt of a Taser or worse. As parents our goal should be raising a boy in America, not raising a black boy in America or a (fill in the blank) boy in America.

I know that racism is and always will be a sensitive topic and most of us like to pretend that it doesn’t exist anymore. It does exist. I myself like to live in my ignorantly bliss bubble and pretend that racism is something of the distant past, but if you would like to find out if it’s as dead as you believe it to be, take a moment to look up a couple of things. The first thing I would suggest, is looking up “sun down towns” take note of where these towns are, you may be surprised. Another thing to look up is “disproportionate representation” in the department of human services and department of corrections in your state. Black and Hispanic kids are more likely to be overly reported for abuse and/or neglect, less likely to be placed back in their homes and less likely to be adopted. This means, a large group of these kids are being removed from their homes to grow up in the foster care system. Sadly not all of the kids put in this system even go to foster homes. They are placed in group homes or other residential settings. These are things people should be educated on. Different cultures parent differently and the colored representation in the department of human services portion is unjustly skewed. This is something I witnessed with my own eyes and it broke my heart every time.

My kids are happy kids, but when in public, they are on their best behavior, so they don’t acquire the label of “that bad black kid.” My kids speak properly, because I don’t want them treated any differently because they “sound black.” I do everything in my power so they don’t acquire any negative stereotype, knowing no matter how hard I try they will still be labeled, because I am. I was raised in a white neighborhood, have a college education, was married to my children’s father for 14 years, but I am a black mother of three. The last thing I said is the first thing they see.

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A version of this post originally appeared at stopyellingatmeplease.com

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Jacalyn is the person behind the blog Stop Yelling at Me…please! She enjoys writing about life, current events and of course, parenting. Jacalyn is a mother of three and the wife of one supportive husband that is not being held against his will, really. She is also a contributing writer on the Today Parenting Team. You can check out more of her work at stopyellingatmeplease.com

Source: Jacalyn Wetzel Writer/blogger

Great Apps the Will Keep You Productive Morning, Noon & Night

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When I need to have a very productive day, I tell myself it’s going to be easy. I am really good at that part!

I’ll just wake up early, grab a big cup of coffee, and then begin powering through my to-do list. Maybe I’ll break for a meal, or a stretch, or a quick conversation with a coworker. But I’ll truck on, energy unwavering until bedtime, where I’ll promptly fall asleep for eight, wonderful, uninterrupted hours of sleep.

Cool fantasy, self. Real life rarely (if ever) is that picture-perfect. Our bodies aren’t designed to operate at a constant 100% efficiency level.

So if you want to be more productive throughout the day, you’re better off relegating certain activities to certain times, and devoting yourself to doing those activities at those times.

And to make sure you get the right things done at the right times of day, you can lean on a plethora of different free or relatively cheap apps and tools. (After all, some things are better together.)

Below, are some of the highest-rated and often-recommended productivity apps for each part of the day. Check ’em out, and find your “and.”

Great Apps That Will Keep You Productive Morning, Noon & Night

Morning

1) Headspace

Price: Free, with subscriptions available on iPhone, Android, Web

Starting your day off with a quick meditation session can be a great way to gear up for the day — even scientists say so. According to a 2012 study, people who mediated “stayed on tasks longer and made fewer task switches, as well as reporting less negative feedback after task performance.”

Sold … but not sure how to get started? I’d highly recommend downloading Headspace. It gives you 10 free guided meditation sessions, and if you end up getting hooked, you can sign up for a monthly subscription.

2) Prompts or Writing Challenge

Price: Prompts is $2.99 on iPhone; Writing Challenge is $1.89 on Android

You may have heard about the benefits of writing something — anything — in the morning. But actually making morning freewriting a reality can be a challenge. How do you actually find something to write about when you’ve barely had time to make your coffee?

Why, by downloading a writing prompts app, of course. Prompts and Writing Challenge are both great options. They give you a jumping-off point for a piece, and then let you dive right into writing. Prompts is especially cool for folks who like to track their habits to stay motivated because it offers some basic analytics for you to analyze your writing habit progress.

3) Todoist

Price: Free, with premium subscriptions available on iPhone, Android, Web

You don’t have to actually write your to-do lists in the morning, but you should definitely take a look at them before you dive into your work. And if your to-do list is cluttered and confusing, you’ll end up losing precious time to reorganizing and reprioritizing it.

To prevent that from happening, I’d highly suggest a tool like Todoist. Lindsay Kolowich recently introduced it, and it’s completely transformed the way to keep track of what you need to accomplish. It allows you to add deadlines and labels to each list item, and then automatically sorts your whole to-do list by what you have to accomplish that day. This helps you keep you on top of what you need to accomplish in a given day, and prevents you from getting sidetracked by down-the-road projects.

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4) Jell

Price: Free, with premium subscriptions available on iPhone, Android, Web

After you set your own to-do list, chances are, you’ll need to check in with your teammates about what’s on their plate for the day. One super easy way to do this — especially when you have a remote team — is by using an app called Jell.

Instead of calling a 30-minute meeting to debrief on what everyone’s doing, you simply fill out a form in Jell and it gets sent to the rest of your team. (If you’re using Slack, it has a handy integration to have these messages posted in there, too.)

This way, you can quickly get on the same page with your team, and then move on tothe most important work of your day.

Afternoon

5) Do

Price: $10/month on iPhone and Web; Android coming soon

Fast-forward a few hours, and chances are, you’ll have a block of meetings on your plate. (That is, after all, the best time of day to have them.) But if you’re going to take time out of your day for meetings, they’d better be productive. There’s nothing worse than wasting a bunch of people’s time on something that could be handled over email.

Yep, a tool can help you with that too. Do can help you keep yours more organized and actionable — that way, no one’s wasting time sitting in unnecessary meetings. If you’re looking for a free option, Solid (available on Web only) is a great choice.

6) Stormboard

Price: Free, with premium subscriptions available on Web

When your attention starts to wane, it can be hard to get things done. For many people, that tends to happen in the afternoon.

Turns out, this can be a good thing: When you’re less focused, you have more room to be creative. So the afternoon is a great time for brainstorming, collaboration, and breaking through cognitive barriers.

If you and your team are feeling particularly creative one afternoon, a great tool to consider using is Stormboard. It allows everyone to easily brainstorm and collaborate — even if they aren’t in the same room. Then, you can prioritize the best ideas to be put in action at a later date.

7) Unstuck

Price: Free on iPhone, Android, Web

But what if you’re not focused or feeling creative? You’ve got to get work done, but you’re feeling … stuck.

Unstuck can help. It’s an app that acts like an in-the-moment personal coach. It’ll ask you a series of questions to unearth what exactly is blocking you, and then give you steps to get through that block. Having this “outside” perspective can be a game-changer to breaking through some seriously inhibiting time-sucks.

8) Quartz or Inside

Price: Quartz is free on iPhone; Inside is free on iPhone, Android, Web

When you’ve been in the weeds all day getting important projects done, it can be tempting to take some time to catch up on what you missed in the news.

The trouble is, those reading breaks can sometimes get unruly. That 15 minutes you thought would be enough turns into 45 minutes of reading, and you’re suddenly late for your train home.

To feel in-the-know about the day without breaking your productivity streak, try catching up via your favorite news summary app. Mine is from Quartz: It’s a chat-themed news summary app that’s quickly become a staple of my phone’s home screen. A few quick clicks, and I’m on my way to catching a ride home.

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Night

9) 7 Minute Workout

Price: Free on iPhone, Android

Everyone has their favorite time of day to work out, but science says that your lung function peaks around 5 p.m. So if you want to squeeze in a quick workout sometime in your day, right before dinner might be the trick.

If you don’t have a regular routine or are just trying to do something fast, I’d recommend checking out J&J’s 7 Minute Workout app. You can pick from their programs or design one of your own, and all can be done in less than 30 minutes.

10) Podcasts or Stitcher

Price: Podcasts is free on iPhone; Sticher is free on iPhone, Android, Web

Chances are, you’ll have spent most of your day looking at things. Reading on the computer. Watching slides on the projector. Scanning news on your phone. So when you leave work, you should strengthen one of your other senses, such as your listening comprehension. It’s an underdeveloped skill — especially in adults — but it can have huge a huge on our professional and personal lives.

If you want to strengthen your listening skills, try playing a few podcast episodes on your phone on your commute home. If you have an iPhone, you have a Podcasts app already built in. Otherwise, you can access them through Stitcher.

Want some show recommendations? Read this blog post for a few of our favorite business-related podcasts to listen to.

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11) Grid Diary or Journey

Price: Free with premium options on iPhone; Journey is Free on Android, Chrome App

Many might think that journaling is just a teenage pastime … but it has many benefits for people of any age.

If you don’t love the idea of actually penning your ideas and experiences to paper, you can use Grid Diary or Journey. Both allow you to not only capture written recaps of your day, but also add photos to your entries. Plus, they both have built-in prompts — so even on the most hectic of days, you can distill some insights for your future self.

12) Sleep Genius

Price: $4.99 on iPhone; Free with in-app purchases on Android

Finally. You’ve made it through the day and kept yourself productive all the way through. You take a moment to celebrate … but then realize that tomorrow’s to-do list is already jam-packed. You need a good night’s sleep, and you need it now.

Sleep Genius might be the cure. The app has built-in relaxation techniques and gentle alarms to wake you up at a natural moment in your sleep cycle, helping make sure you feel rested come morning.

After all, if you’re feeling sluggish the next day, even the best apps might not be effective. (But that cup of coffee might do the trick.)

What are your favorite productivity tools for different times of day? Share with us in the comments.

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Source: Ginny Soskey | @gsosk

The Genesis of Fathers

Over 6,000 years ago,
God seated majestically on His throne,
Became thoughtful,
T’ was a feeling of inadequacy,
‘I must have an heir to who can enjoy his own domain,
(Of course with my privileges at his disposal,
His continuous praise will be my delight)’,
God thought of man becoming the
Focus of their attention from heaven,
Like the first child of a young couple,
‘What’s my glory without man’, he wondered,
Then a casual walk he took,
Throughout the universe he had created,
Then at planet earth he made up his mind,
To transform the shapeless and void dark earth,
Into a place of life and light,
Then at last God spoke,
‘Let there be light’,
His man will be a product of light,
God paused, and named at work done,
The first day.

First days followed
God’s preparation for man continued,
Each day speaking the WORD to create,
The earth, He made,
The sun for day, season and yearly count,
The seas, rivers, sky and earth he filled,
With creatures, fishes birds and beasts,
Every creation capable of reproducing itself,
All for the comfort of man and to dominate,
Then came the 6th and most glamorous day,
The reason for all the works and expedition,
The day for God to reproduce Himself onto the earth,

And God spokes, this time to His son and spirit as well,
‘Let us make man in our image,
To commune with us daily’,
For this venture in particular,
They employed the use of their hands
Thus on the 6th day man came into being,
The 1st father entered the world to rule,
He named everything that was made,
‘Noun’ thus becoming synonymous to man,
Indeed all was very good
And on the seventh He rested.

O the depth of the riches both the wisdom and knowledge of
How unsearchable are His judgments and His
Manifestations beyond discovery
We give all the glory to our Almighty Father in Heaven,
He has made man heroes and we are proud to be His.
FOR crowned man with glory and honor,
As we celebrate all fathers today,
We dedicate today,
To the father of all fathers, Jehovah is His name.
Today thus also becomes ‘Happy our Heavenly father’s day!!!