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10 Beautiful Places on Earth You Must Discover

There are some places on earth that prove that God played favorites during creation – they simply steal your breath away with their sheer beauty and natural charm. Perhaps they were modeled on paradise, or perhaps they were meant to be teasers of what paradise could be; whatever the reason for their creation, it sure pays to visit them at least once in your lifetime:

  1. Machu Picchu, Peru: Featuring on almost every top ten list of beautiful places, this famed city of the ancient Incas takes your breath away. Located almost 8,000 ft above sea level, it is has both picturesque and historic value.
  2. Navagio Beach, Greece: One of Greece’s most famous attractions, this isolated strip of beach is accessible only through the sea because it is surrounded by steep cliffs on three sides.
  3. Sogndfiord, Norway: This fjord extends for over 300 miles, and is dominated by coasts and isles on the outside and steep and high mountains on the inside. Charming towns and settlements can be found along the length of the fjord and its branches.
  4. Mamanuca Islands, Fiji: One of the islands on this volcanic archipelago was the scenic setting for the runaway hit movie Cast Away. Popular with tourists from across the world, these 20 islands are a dream destination for a vacation.
  5. Iguazu Waterfalls: Located along the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, the sheer beauty of these falls makes Niagara look like a poor second cousin. The surrounding landscape too is of phenomenal beauty, and the view from each country is uniquely enjoyable.
  6. The Grand Canyon, Colorado: Nearly 300 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and with a depth of over a mile, this beautiful canyon shows you just what nature can achieve in the span of a million or more years. Formed by the Colorado river, the Grand Canyon overwhelms with its massive size and its intricate and colorful landscape.
  7. Blue Mountains, New South Wales: Miles of eucalyptus forest stretch across ridges and cliffs that surround deep gorges, and the area gets its name from the blue haze that hangs low over the valley.
  8. Blue Grotto Cave, Capri: This sea cave on the coast of Capri gets its name from the blue reflection that illuminates the cavern when sunlight passes through an underwater cavity and shines through the water. Access is through the sea, and visitors must lie flat on the boats to avoid hitting their heads when going through the entrance.
  9. Glacier Bay, Alaska: A popular cruise ship destination during the summer months, this bay has many branches, inlets and lagoons that are a visual treat and an explorer’s dream come true. Spanning over 1,375 square miles, Glacier Bay is also the world’s largest protected water area park.
  10. Isla Vieques, Puerto Rico: If you enjoy stretches of sandy beaches framed by rolling hills, old world charm and unspoiled natural beauty, then this is the place to be. Underdeveloped because of the US Navy’s presence till recent years, Isla Vieques is now marketed as the perfect eco-tourism destination.

How to Lead Without Managerial Authority

When we think leader, we think power as well; so the fact that leadership is possible without any kind of authority is somewhat an anomaly to most people. The thing with leadership is that we believe that titles and power are required to hold sway over people and that without either or both of these aspects, leadership does not work effectively. However, this myth became popular belief only because we don’t understand the concept of leadership – we assume that it is something that is intrinsically linked to a designation or a position of authority.

There was a time back in college when I played my first basketball game as a freshman. We had banded together as a team just a few days before the game, and so one person was picked as captain randomly. It was a friendly game with the sophomores, one that was arranged as a way to break the ice between us. Midway through the first quarter, I began to take over the role of the captain because our designated leader seemed to be lost. I directed the flow of the game, and by the third quarter, we had pulled ahead with a solid and unassailable lead.

The point I’m trying to make with this anecdote is that natural leaders don’t need designations and titles to take over command. They know what needs to be done in any situation, and if they see that they need to step in and take charge, they do so with authority. However, this may not work in most situations because the designated leader is most likely to take offense to being pushed out of the role. In such cases, leadership without authority has to be done subtly and without expecting any accolades or rewards in return.

When you assume leadership without overtly doing so and want it to work, you must be careful not to ruffle any feathers. Provide suggestions, but put them forward in ways that pander to the leader’s ego. It’s not going to be easy if the person with authority has a massive ego and if you don’t have the emotional maturity to put your organization before personal gain. However, there are some people who pull this off with great panache. They also do it in ways that make them noticeable to the big brass, and are promoted to positions of authority in due course of time.

Leadership without authority is not for people who are not naturally blessed with leadership capabilities and who are wallflowers who are shy and hesitant to put forward their ideas for fear of being rejected. It works well for people who aspire to be in positions of authority and who use their words wisely in order to achieve their goal.

5 Tips to Make Your Day Successful

Not many of us can sleep over the fact that we have lived the day as it should be lived, positively and proactively. Rather, we obsess over all the things that have gone wrong and we worry about the morrow and wonder what it will bring. We stress ourselves out because we are neither satisfied with the day that has gone by nor are we looking forward to the new day that will soon dawn. And since this cycle is repeated day after day, the quality of life in general begins to suck. The key to making each day successful lies not in fate or in luck, but in your hands, or should I say your head. You only have to think and focus on what you want out of the day, and even if you don’t achieve a 100 percent, well, 95 percent sure isn’t bad at all. It’s easy enough if you follow these tips:

  • Know what you want from the day: Even before you open your eyes every morning, you must know what you want out of the day. Unless you have a plan, you’re bound to drift like a rudderless boat in an ocean of tides. So decide what you want from the day, and find ways to work out your plan into your routine. There will be days when you want to simply relax and do nothing at all; that’s ok as long as that’s what you expect from the day. The point is, you need to know exactly what you want to do in that day, and you need to put your plan into action without wasting any time, be it work or leisure.
  • Learn how to deal with problems: Just because you’ve made plans, it doesn’t mean that everything is going to go according to them. You must remember Murphy’s law; if anything can go wrong, it will. So when you meet with obstacle after obstacle, you must know how to circumvent them rather than crumble and lose control when things don’t happen the way you would like them to. The best way to do this is to take a proactive stand rather than react to problems. Deal with them and see how they can be solved instead of worrying and stressing out that they have happened. When you start to put into motion steps to solve your problems, they stop being problems any more.
  • Have contingency plans: The basic rule for setting plans is to have backup plans. When your day does not go as planned, say you’re stuck in a traffic jam and get in to work late, take stock of your situation and change your plan accordingly. So if you had set yourself 10 tasks to do, evaluate and pick the most important ones, and get them done in the limited time you have left. If you do have time at the end of the day, then take care of the remaining tasks; if not, schedule them for the morrow.
  • Set reasonable goals: You may be extremely capable and hardworking, but unless you set reasonable goals, you’re going to end up burning out sooner than later. Your goals should be sustainable in the long term and achievable in the short. Only then do you achieve the right amount of satisfaction when you attain them.
  • Sleep on it: And finally, no matter what problems beset you, don’t carry them to bed with you. Learn to free your mind before you sleep so that your night is undisturbed and you wake up refreshed. If you can think of ways to solve your problem, then they’re within your control. And you’ll find that very often, time has a way of dealing with problems that are beyond your control. So focus on your sleep, and wake up to a brand new day.

5 Best Online Apps to Grow Your Small Business

The small businesses of today never had it so good – they have a plethora of tools at their disposal, and the best part is that most of them are free to use. However, not many people take advantage of these tools simply because they’re unaware of their existence and/or don’t realize the returns they could offer their business. There are tools to help with just about every aspect of a business, and all you have to do is sign up for them or download an application to your computer. Besides the usual accounting and money management software that are common and used regularly in any business, the web also offers the following tools that help collaboration, administration, and growth:

  • Basecamp: One of the best online project management tools in the business, Basecamp is easy to use and convenient when you have more than one person working on a project. It allows collaboration across locations and projects; a dashboard shows all people on the project a list of activities that have been assigned, that are on-going, and that have been completed. Basecamp allows you to assign responsibilities, upload files, check off tasks completed, and monitor performance across your organization using a single platform. You can try out a free version of Basecamp before deciding if you want to sign up – pricing starts from $49 a month and is flexible based on your company’s needs.
  • Veetro: If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that helps promote and manage your business, look no further than Veetro. It allows you to prepare and send invoices, manage your projects and schedules, provide customer support, and boost sales through advertising and marketing strategies. You can use email and other tools to advertise and market your business, track leads and client preferences, and pursue sales leads. When you set up shop with Veetro, you don’t have to manage and keep track of multiple tools to run your business.
  • Google Calendar: This tool is absolutely free and extremely easy to use – it links to your Gmail account and lets you schedule appointments and reminders for important events. You can not only set alerts to reach your mailbox or mobile phone (through text messages), you can also share your calendar with others and synchronize them with those who are attending the same events you have scheduled. It’s also possible to make your calendar public so your customers can keep track of your activities and events.
  • Twitter and Facebook: They’re not just forums to keep in touch with friends and family members, they’re also the best ways to advertise and promote your business. All you need to do is set up accounts on both these social networks and spend some time on each every day. Use Twitter to connect to both customers and others in the business, to inform your customers about events and promotions, and to monitor what the competition is doing. Use Facebook to connect to your fans, answer their queries and respond to their feedback. You get the most advantages from social networks by staying connected to your “followers” and “friends”, and keeping them informed about all that’s going on with your business.
  • Wazala: And finally, if you want to use your website to sell your products and services, Wazala is the easiest way to do so. It allows you to set up an online shop that links to your site; customers can pay with credit cards, Paypal accounts and Google Checkout. You have your own private online store, and all you need to do is paste a few lines of code into your website.

Online tools are only as good as the way you use them, so choose the ones that benefit your business and which generate the maximum returns for your company.

40 Blogs for the Cajun Enthusiast

With Cajun culture and history comes amazing music and even more amazing food. It isn’t every day that you get to nosh on gumbo or dance to the sounds of a fast-paced accordion, but with these Cajun enthusiast blogs, you’ll gain a better understanding of the culture and appreciate its quirks.

Top Cajun Food Blogs

If you aren’t familiar with Cajun cooking, you’re sadly missing out on decadent food that will stir the soul and leave you asking for seconds.

  1. RouxBDoo’s Cajun and Creole Food Blog
    Get authentic recipes that are surprisingly easy to follow and concoct in your own kitchen even if you’ve never tasted turkey gumbo (take word for it and try it out now!).
  2. The New Orleans Cajun and Creole Cuisine Blog
    This site is packed with incredibly unique Cajun dishes from a professional chef with an affinity for spicy sausage.
  3. New Orleans Cuisine
    These mouthwatering recipes for dishes like grilled pork chops, praline bacon and po’ boys will have you hitting the supermarket after a visit to this Cajun cooking blog.
  4. Cajun Chef Ryan
    This Cajun chef is kicking things up a notch with innovative recipes that put a new spin on classic Creole recipes. Some may say it’s messing with tradition, but we just call it delicious!
  5. The Cajun Foodie
    This Cajun blog puts other foodie sites to shame. The blogger visits an array of Cajun hot spots and restaurants, giving you the dish on cuisine tasted along the way.
  6. Cajun Foods
    Learn about the basics of Cajun cooking and how to shop for the delicacies like crawfish.
  7. Cajun Grocer Blog
    This is the online favorite of Cajun enthusiasts for sourcing hard-to-find ingredients when you aren’t shopping grocery stores in the South.
  8. Gumbo Pages
    Find gumbo recipes galore at this blog that’s dedicated to the hearty soup that will impress guests and keep them full for a decent price.
  9. Cajun Food Recipe
    This is the site when you want to peruse countless Cajun recipes to shake up your weekday dinners. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to pull them off with ease.
  10. Real Cajun Recipes
    From bisques and oyster crackers to fried turkey, this site is chock full of delectable Cajun recipes you’ll love to try at home.
  11. Boudin Link
    This Cajun food site reviews boudin throughout the United States and even has a map so you can track down the most delicious dose of boudin near you.
  12. Cooking New Orleans Style
    This site has food ideas for parties and get-togethers when you want to add some major flavor to the menu. Be sure to warn guests if you make a dish especially spicy!
  13. Gumbo City Blog
    Learn about the history of this delicious soup and how you can use the same technique for any veggies you have on hand.
  14. Real Cajun Cooking
    This Cajun enthusiast knows how to whip up a fabulous chili or stew out of nearly anything you already have in your fridge and pantry. It’s the perfect site to try your hand at a few recipes before tackling more difficult Cajun dishes.
  15. Cajun Delights
    Get recipes for various types of cornbread and unique Cajun desserts at this Cajun cooking site.

Top Zydeco Music Blogs

Almost any time you’re chowing down on authentic Cajun food, there’s zydeco music blasting in the background. These zydeco blogs show you the history of the music.

  1. Cajun and Zydeco
    This has tons of zydeco music news and fun posts like the Cajun 12 Days of Christmas song.
  2. Zydeco Music Radio
    Here, zydeco musicians from around the globe can posts podcasts and video clips of their performances.
  3. KRVS
    This site is for an Acadie radio station in Louisiana, allowing you to stream the zydeco segments. Check the station’s schedule for a complete listing of when they’re in zydeco mode.
  4. KBON
    This radio station has plenty of zydeco music to stream online, if you’re willing to pay the $60 a year fee. For those who can’t get their fill of zydeco from local stations, it may be worth the price.
  5. Crawfish Net – Cajun Life Blog
    This site is all Cajun, all of the time and boasts extensive posts over zydeco music and when it’s featured on TV shows or in films.
  6. MSN Entertainment – Know Your Zydeco
    This MSN article has the history of zydeco music so you can learn a few tidbits about the genre you enjoy moving to.
  7. Cajun Music Network
    At this site you’ll learn about some of the major players in the world of zydeco music and get links to bands’ sites for keeping up with tour dates and album releases.
  8. CajunWeb – Cajun and Zydeco Info
    Think zydeco music is only in the South? This site shows you links to zydeco music sources worldwide, including many parts of Europe.
  9. Cajun UK
    This site gives you UK zydeco bands and where they’ll be playing throughout the year.
  10. Cajun SqueezeBox
    This site no longer updates, but it has a plenty of archives for you to dig through to learn about the big names in zydeco music.
  11. ARNB Cajun
    Learn about zydeco and Cajun culture events at this blog that’s packed with all things Louisiana.
  12. OffBeat Louisiana
    This site keeps you in-the-loop on zydeco events and concerts happening in Louisiana.
  13. Zydeco Online
    This zydeco site is streaming zydeco tunes 24/7, plus they update frequently with zydeco music news.
  14. Cajun Radio
    Get updates on zydeco artists at this site, which collections information on zydeco radio shows. It’s a must-read for zydeco aficionados who want to listen to interviews and live bands.

Cajun Event Blogs

There’s an endless array of Cajun events going on in the South throughout the spring and summer. Learn the hot spots for snagging crawfish and jamming to zydeco at these Cajun event blogs.

  1. Zydeco and Cajun Events
    This site is packed with event info on happenings in Louisiana, Washington D.C. and New York just to name a few.
  2. Louisiana Cajun Calendar
    This site has a formal breakdown of Cajun holidays and celebrations so you never miss a chance to party.
  3. Cajun Fun
    Each day, this site is updated with Cajun events going on throughout Louisiana. You can also submit any Cajun event your company or organization is hosting.
  4. Cajun Country Events
    This site is the online home of a venue that exclusively hosts Cajun parties and events, complete with music and food to get you in the mood to party.
  5. Chicago Cajuns
    Those in the Chicago area can depend on this site for to keep track of Cajun events and zydeco artists that are headed to town.
  6. Louisiana and Cajun Websites
    This site leads you to sources around the web that will show you Cajun happenings going on in your area.
  7. Cajun Forums
    At this site you’ll learn about events going on throughout the world focuses on Cajun music or food (or both) and see how the culture has influences many regions.
  8. Big Cajun Triathlon
    Stay posted on the big triathlon that takes place in Louisiana with a Cajun flair.

Cajun Dialect Blogs

Want to learn to chat in Cajun? Learn the origin of the unique dialect that’s still used in parts of the South.

  1. Louisiana Cajun Slang
    This is probably the best place for those who are new to Cajun dialect and want to learn a few fun phrases to throw out at Cajun parties.
  2. Boodrow – Cajun Dictionary
    Hooked on phonics is the way to go when it comes to reading Cajun words, which can be difficult to master if you put an English slant on some phrases.
  3. PBS – Cajun
    Learn where the Cajun language comes from and what words have derived from standard French and English over the course of decades.

Learning about Cajun culture is fun and now easy, thanks to the Internet. If it’s a subject you’ve just stumbled upon, it’s worth taking a closer look to learn about the unique food and non-stop cheery music that’s played in Cajun homes and restaurants in Louisiana.