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Song of the day #159

I won’t be late for this, late for that, late for the love of my life
And when I die alone, when I die alone, die I’ll be on time, ah

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Pandemic snowy-rainy day

These past few days, I’ve awoken to the sound of raindrops. They just kept falling from the sky, sometimes mixed with snow, sometimes plain, as if the sky was mourning. I can’t recall waking up and walking outside these days because that doesn’t happen very often with working remotely.

I summoned the courage to go out and meet my colleague on Friday. It was snowing heavily, and it was one of those days before the weekend where you just want to crawl into bed and sleep for a few more minutes before chores and work.

Despite her hesitation, I insisted on meeting because she had to offer a gift for my mother. I considered it a good day to go out, hoping for the snow to stop falling from the sky and the weather to change. I got ready quickly, didn’t pay much attention to the weather, and just dressed up plainly, with a spring coat and had light makeup.

It was Friday, and I was just a simple girl in another city forgotten by time. I sprinkled at the door, bid farewell to the cat, and skipped my chores for a few minutes, so I could get out and have some rough polluted air. And meet my friend.

Dashing through the sleet…

Under the curtain, the snow did not look so intense, but outside there was a different story. The small town traffic became mundane by sleet and snow. The cars appeared to be a collection of toys, driven by small children with attitude and no patience or consideration for pedestrians.

I was a little early for the meeting, so I took the opportunity to order two cappuccinos from a new local coffee shop. The waitresses didn’t bother to express their surprise at my spring outfit in the middle of winter, in March.

Needless to say, I was already drenched and had dirt on my shoes. But who cared? I was just another girl who left the house during a pandemic dressed for the coming season, full of hope and good vibes.

I met a friend at the bus station and we drank cappuccinos while walking through the heavy rain and shivering. We swapped our goods and said our goodbyes soon after. I then ran to my station and caught a micro-bus back to my house.

It’s incredible how people can judge and analyze you with a single glance despite not knowing you very well. I was escaping my everyday routine by going out to see a friend on an ugly-snowy-wet day, wearing only a short coat and forgetting to bring my umbrella. What a horrendous crime!

I could almost hear their mutterings: ‘Ahh, poor girl, look at her!’ She’s dressed shabbily and is drenched,’ while I’m listening to my favorite song through my earphones and enjoying a lovely Friday outside.

Instead, I wanted to concentrate on the bus window while leaning against the walls and listening to music. Life can be wonderful if you choose to ignore the curious, judgmental looks of others; it motivates you to attain your purpose and enjoy your time.

Home at last 😊

The bus eventually came to a halt, and I proceeded on my way home. At the traffic light, I noticed an older woman dressed beautifully, wearing colorful eyeshadow and carrying a red umbrella.

I could feel her gaze running through me; it had to be my mascara that decided to bleed and give me panda eyes. But there she was, serious-looking at me, and there I was, laughing and enjoying every drop of rain that was now falling on me.

I felt like a little kid, walking out in the snowy-rainy weather and forgetting to bring my umbrella, not wearing my usual winter coat or office shirt. It’s lovely to break the rules now and then, to get out, meet with a colleague, dance in the rain, and glow.

At the end of the day, snowy rain can be just confetti from the sky. In those days, meet a friend, have a sweet cappuccino, and allow yourself to play in the puddles and get soaking wet.

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Song of the day #158

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Pandemic events

Yesterday, I had to attend a baby shower party for one of our friends. It was the first event after a long period of pandemic and concern. One thing I really couldn’t get over was the clumsiness and social awkwardness that exacerbated it all. We were there for a special occasion, but because of all the rules and Pandemic hysteria, I remember that we weren’t able to fully enjoy ourselves or cheer for the birth of that child.

We were 50 guests, with 6 people at the table, spread at a visible distance. I recall light music in the background, curious stares, and a feeling of confusion and disorder. Though the organizers did their hardest to keep us entertained and present at the activity, I could read in the guest’s eyes the fear of attending such an event after a long time of stagnation. The food offered was delicious and I could tell that the people present were nice and warm, although we couldn’t interact that much.

Also, as with any event that took place during the pandemic, we had police coming by to make sure that the activity was in compliance with the laws and that no one was dancing or bending the law. It looked as though we were committing a crime and like we were suspects, albeit following laws. As kids at home in our early years, playing some silly games when our parents came and criticized our lack of sense and morality.

We didn’t shake hands, hug, or kissed on our cheeks, as it was against the rules. We simply fist-bumped and smiled, acknowledging the present situation.

Cruel reality

This pandemic has turned our world upside down, and it’s difficult to tell if we’re ever going to be able to get back to the way it used to be. There’s no perfect day for the baby shower, wedding, or any other occasion with people gathering. It’s just an event that needs to be handled according to tradition, with fewer people and more restrictions.

This Pandemic made us realize the amount of things we take for granted in life, not to mention, life itself. These occurrences are just a small reminder that our life is precious and that we should cherish it with all that we have and honor it, even though it means having to adhere to regulations.

At the end of the day, it’s important to mark the date, be thankful that we’ve been able to see our loved ones, and have a quiet sit down, appreciating the amount of things that we are still left with.

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Useful WordPress Key Shortcuts

If you’re a multi-tasker like me, you want to be productive and get tasks done quickly and efficiently. The best thing is that WordPress also provides key shortcuts in the WordPress Block Editor that can be both useful and necessary.

You may be familiar with many of these WordPress Editor key shortcuts as they also apply to Windows and Microsoft Word. These key shortcuts work with both the WordPress Gutenberg Block Editor and the Classic Editor.

WordPress Key Basic Shortcuts:

  • CTRL + C = Copy
  • CTRL + V = Paste
  • CTRL + B = Bold
  • CTRL + I = Italic
  • CTRL + X = Cut
  • CTRL + A = Select all
  • CTRL + Z = Undo
  • CTRL + S = Save changes
  • CTRL + P = Print
  • CTRL + U = Underline the selected text
  • CTRL + K = Convert the selected text into a link
  • SHIFT + LEFT/RIGHT = Select one letter to the right/ left
  • SHIFT + HOME = Select all the text until the beginning of the current line
  • SHIFT + END = Select all the text until the end of the current line

Gutenberg Key Shortcuts for Windows users:

  • Enter = Add a new block; Can also be combined with / to quickly insert multiple blocks
  • CTRL + SHIFT + D = Duplicate the selected bloc’s
  • ALT + SHIFT + Z = Remove the selected blocks
  • ALT + SHIFT + D = Strike through
  • ALT + SHIFT + Q = Insert block quote
  • ALT + SHIFT + X = Add/remove code tag
  • CTRL + ALT + T = Insert a new block before the selected blocks
  • CTRL + ALT + Y = Insert a new block after the selected blocks
  • / = change the block type after adding a paragraph
  • ESC = Exit selection
  • CTRL + SHIFT + Z = Redo your last undo
  • CTRL + SHIFT + , = Show or hide the settings bar
  • ALT + SHIFT + O = Open the block navigation menu
  • ALT + SHIFT + M = Insert Image
  • ALT + SHIFT + N = Navigate to the next part of the editor
  • ALT + SHIFT + P = Navigate to the previous part of the editor
  • ALT + F10 = Navigate to the nearest toolbar

Although these shortcuts can be intimidating at the beginning, you’ll get used to them in time and speed up the article or page writing process. At the end of the day, productivity doesn’t appear by magic, you can’t expect great results without preparing for them.

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Song of the day #157

‘Like an echo in the forest
The day will come back around
As if nothing happened
Yeah, life goes on (Oh, woah)
Like an arrow in the blue sky
Another day flies by (Flies by)’

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WordPress Block Editor

Hello, dear readers! I am writing on this topic today to provide insights about the WordPress Block editor and to address one of my follower’s questions about the Block Editor. Sorry, Kevin, it was just too much to write in a comment! 😅

As you might tell, WordPress is ongoing a lot of updates lately. Safety reasons are on the top of the list, as we don’t want to leave or website pray to hackers. Apart from that, we get to experience new updates and upgrades along with a new version of WordPress.

WordPress Block Editor

I started writing on WordPress a long time ago, so my first experience was with the WordPress Classic Editor. However, not long ago the Classic Editor got replaced with the new Gutenberg Block editor.

If you are accustomed to writing to the Classic Editor, details may seem confusing and hard to comprehend at the start. I recall my first interaction with the Gutenberg Block editor (the website did let me know that an upgrade was done), needless to say, I went back to the Classic Editor after just a few posts.

I have to recognize that I feel uneasy and not understanding how this latest block editor worked altogether, it was a challenge. In time, using the Gutenberg block editor and going back to the Classic one made me discover the importance of the latest update, and took some time to study it.

Gutenberg Block Editor

Gutenberg and Classic are two separate editors for content development in WordPress. While the Classic Editor was a text editor with formatting buttons identical to Microsoft Word, Gutenberg uses an entirely different method called ‘Blocks’. Blocks are primarily content components that you can apply to the edit screen to create content layouts. Thus, each item attached to your post and page is a block.

This is how the Gutenberg Block Editor looks like (the language displayed is Romanian, my primary language):

Gutenberg Block Editor, WordPress example

Blocks can be added for each paragraph, images, videos, galleries, audio lists, and more. For the WordPress Free and Premium Plans, these blocks are based primarily on the theme used, as we cannot include WordPress Plugins.

What do I love about the Gutenberg Block Editor?

  1. Creating a new post anytime I feel like doing it, either by selecting the top bar to write a new post or by going to ‘Posts » Add new’ to my WordPress admin menu. If I am writing a new page, then I can use the ‘Pages » Add New’ menu.
  2. As the new Block Editor helps me to write my title and then move on to the first paragraph, I can start writing immediately.
  3. Functionality. I love that I can move content elements up and down, edit them as individual blocks and create my posts faster and more efficiently.
Gutenberg Block Editor, WordPress example, functionality

Also, each block comes with its own toolbar, which displays at the top of it, and the buttons in the toolbar can change based on what I’m editing.

4. By clicking the ‘add new block’ button present in several sections of the page, I can add any block I want:

Gutenberg Block Editor, WordPress example, functionality

5. Key Words. Apart from clicking on the tabs to search the block, I can also use keywords to make my work easier. TIP: To enable the keyboard shortcut, type / to search and add a block:

Gutenberg Block Editor, WordPress example, functionality

6. Drag and drop. I love this feature because I can drag and drop any picture I want to insert into my post, and it will instantly create a block for me.

7. Pexels. I can add any free image on ‘Pexels’ by simply selecting an image block and clicking on the ‘Pexels Free Photos’ option. Here I can type any keyword for the preferred image, type on search, and Voila:

Gutenberg Block Editor, WordPress example, Pexels

I don’t like the Gutenberg Block Editor, can I go back to the Classic one?

You can still change to the Classic Editor via WP Admin if you like. However, the Classic Editor will be supported until 2022, which means that if you don’t have the chance to switch to the Gutenberg Block Editor, there is yet time to learn.

WordPress offers free courses and if you want to learn even more, their Blogging U. offers free courses: https://en.support.wordpress.com/blogging-u and also free webinars: https://wordpress.com/webinars/.

Conclusion

In my view, the update to the Gutenberg Block Editor is a successful one. Not only does it deliver quick and simple handling, but it also offers a fantastic experience as a blogger. Taking time to read and understand this new upgrade is certainly going to benefit you, and it’s a step ahead in the future.

What about me?

Most people would think that if I work from home, I am fortunate and that I should be glad. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful and can’t be appreciative enough for having a job during a world pandemic, without having to suffer through traffic, office long hours, and risks. However, working at home isn’t that comfortable either.

Especially because you tend to become a robot and sunk into a routine. If you were like me, you would wake up in the morning, make your bed, brew coffee, wash the dishes, change from pajamas, take the breakfast in a rush if not a quick coffee, and then start working.

During the day you would take little breaks to either wash the laundry, cook dinner, or fold clothes that might be needed for the week. I am not including the unexpected guests that might come out of nowhere while you’re either in a meeting or deep concentrating into a client’s case.

People don’t understand that you are working because they don’t see you struggle physically, and don’t realize that you need to concentrate your energy on your assignments to be effective and get positive performance.

I observed that working at home doesn’t give you any form of empathy from your family or loved ones. They like to pull your attention away or talk with you, and then they get offended if you’re not completely there or at least involved in the conversation when you have to work.

I’ve had long talks with my partner and family and requested silence and understanding when working, I need my space. They started to somehow realize that and cope with it, but at the end of the day, I often feel exhausted because of my list of chores and work.

‘Me’ Time

Yesterday, after a long week at work, I took the liberty of zooming out. I wanted to forget about my duties at work, blogging, my chores at home, just about anything that could harden my mind and body. I just paused the disturbing routine.

I went to the fridge, took a slice of cake and I’ve thrown the phone aside, not even peaking at the television or laptop, simply needing to enjoy the sweetness without being distracted by any noise or person. Then, I took a hot bath, pampered myself, and played a game on my phone while embracing the bed fresh covers.

Today, I managed to work out and had a mini spa day, taking care of my skin and health. These things may sound blunt or dull, but to me, they are the absolute delight after a long week of work from home and worries. I finally felt like I was retrieving my good vibes and that I was overflowing with positive energy.

I was joking with a friend that we need a complete break away from routine and familiar faces, someplace to get lost and be ourselves. The ‘me’ time is so critical that we fail to recognize it and typically end up overworked, exhausted, and sick.

“Self-love is an ocean and your heart is a vessel. Make it full, and any excess will spill over into the lives of the people you hold dear. But you must come first.”- Beau Taplin

(Imagine source, Hassan OUAJBIR at Pexels.com)

WordPress Plugins

In today’s post I will delve into WordPress Plugins basics and why are they important for our blog growth.

When we release a new WordPress Website we can choose from approximately 55,000 available plugins to add to our blog. WordPress offers a broad variety of plugins, whether we are referring to photography plugins, newsletters, or some other plugins that can provide the required functionality and features for our site.

In simpler terms, plugins are the features that will turn our page from a simplistic blog to a dynamic one with advanced functionality, according to our preference, providing a better experience to our website guests.

Plugins are pieces of software (pre-coded apps that integrate with our WordPress site) that are designed to perform a specific set of functions or add a specific kind of feature, to any self-hosted WordPress site.

Sadly, these plugins function only for self-hosted websites, and not hosted versions such as WordPress.com. Hosted websites typically provide theme options for customizing plugins so it isn’t possible to add plugins freely and customize sites on these platforms.

Many of these plugins can be discovered on the WordPress Plugin Page, but as previously mentioned, they work only for self-hosted websites (WordPress.org platform). In this case, if we own a self-hosted website, we can download the plugin .zip file, and then upload it on the plugin page of our WordPress Page.

What Plugin experience does the WordPress Premium Plan offers?

Sadly, the WordPress Premium or Free Plan does not offer the possibility to install plugins from third-party vendors. To install plugins, bloggers like us require to purchase the WordPress Business Plan which costs about $299 per year.

WordPress.com hosts a collection of about 200 homemade and partner themes so we can style our site with a layout at our preference. Thanks to the Premium plan, we’ll be able to install any of these themes for free, even the paid ones.

(Image Source – Pexels, Markus Winkler)

I’m not sorry

I’ve been wondering about it lately, are we cowards? What makes us so fearful of the unexpected, and how can we conquer the harsh moments of anxiety and uncertainty? What are we going to do in the middle? We have two choices. We can either be terrified to the end and find a timid way to retreat, or step up the game and embrace the challenge of reality.

Why apologize? Why act like a victim when there’s nothing you’ve done to change the present?

Like anything in life that is too much, apologizing can have detrimental consequences of its own. Excessive apologies will impact our confidence and consciousness. When the time comes, before saying sorry, we have to ask ourselves, are we guilty for what happened, should we be sorry?

Let’s take some simple examples:

1.We’re in the grocery store, enjoying the good background music without disturbing anybody, while another person appears out of nowhere and crashes into us. We’re sorry and apologize instantly. For what? It’s not like we’ve invited that random person to act like it did, he/she needs to apologize to us.

2. There are days when we’re either overworked, feeling ill, or have a bad hair day. There sure is no reason to excuse, we are who we are and we are people at the end of the day. We should own our look and be happy with us, even if it is not a fantastic day.

3. Moments when we’re invited to birthday parties, clubbing, or going out, but we don’t feel like it or need more time for ourselves. We should be truthful, and instead of lying to ourselves, we should just be honest and let those people who invite us know the truth.

4. Asking a question. We’ve all had those moments when we don’t know a problem and need more explanations. We’re not supposed to care for others who roll their eyes to our lack of knowledge, they’re probably projecting their insecurities. Be the one that stands out from the crowd and questions if that’s how you feel.

5. Not responding to messages/phone calls. This is hard to avoid, considering that many people tend to call or give a message during our work schedule, meetings and even in our spare time spent exercising, relaxing, or busy enjoying what we love. It’s important to realize that we’re humans, too, and just like the person who’s calling/messaging us, we have needs.

Conclusion

Apologizing is necessary in our everyday lives, but it is crucial to keep ourselves in line and identify the times when we can genuinely apologize and when not. Saying sorry for something we haven’t done will carry low self-esteem, and make people believe we’re less worthy.

It’s not easy to change our actions immediately, but withholding excuses can be empowering, according to recent research. Instead of apologizing right away, we should take a deep breath and ask ourselves if we are to blame for this.

At the end of this post, I’m leaving a couple of inspirational quotations about why we shouldn’t be sorry:

  • “Never apologize for how you feel. No one can control how they feel. The sun doesn’t apologize for being the sun. The rain doesn’t say sorry for falling. Feelings just are” Iain S. Thomas, Intentional Dissonance;
  • “The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses.” Bob Moawad;
  • “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” D.H. Lawrence, The Complete Poems;
  • “Sorry wastes time. You have to live your life like you’ll never be sorry. It’s easier just to do the right thing from the start so there’s nothing to apologize for.” Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places;

(Image source – Pexels, Malcolm Garret)

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WordPress premium

2021 started with new emotions and hopes for me, one of which was moving to a new WordPress plan. For a couple of years now, I’ve been using this platform and decided to take a new approach in using this tool. Today, after a long pause, I’m going to delve into whether we should or should not use the WordPress Premium Plan.

Since I’m mainly interested and enthusiastic about this new WordPress Premium adventure, I’ll start with a one-day post to understand and get engaged with the pros of this package and how it can help me and you, dear blogger, keep progressing with blogging.

WordPress Premium Benefits

Unlimited support

One of the advantages is the direct help via email and chat, in every time zone, whether you’re writing from Africa or Romania. Worldwide writers can be helped by the WordPress Team to address any problems relevant to the blogging activity on their platform.

Free Domain

The WordPress Premium Plan includes a free custom domain name for one year. While WordPress offers two different versions WordPress.com and WordPress.org. As you may know, on WordPress.com you obtain a free domain and website without the need of signing up or hosting a domain.

In comparison with WordPress.org that allows you to self-host your WordPress site, WordPress.com uses a subdomain, in my case ‘katespage23.wordpress.com‘. The Premium Plan changes everything and allows us to grow a popular site without using a subdomain or being limited to the requirements of a free blog.

Premium Themes

While the WordPress unpaid plan didn’t offer that many themes and control, the Premium plan not only offers a wide range of themes but also allows the users to customize their themes, colors, fonts, and styles. 

WordPress offers a range of 200 themes-even paid themes, and these can be customized using directly the CSS Code. Having your blog stand out in the crowd, using exclusive, responsive themes that adhere to the present-day standards should be a priority.

Security

One of the important features of this plan is security. If due to any reason you want to download a free WordPress theme from a 3rd party website, there is a huge possibility for the theme to be corrupted with malicious code that may infect and steal essential information from your website.

Monetization 

One of the advantages of this package is the possibility to monetize your WordPress Site. While the Free Version of WordPress showed commercials without any reimbursement, the Premium Plan allows you to earn money by clicking on these ads, that are further tracked by WordPress using the Word Ads program. Also, you can make money using embeddable payment buttons.

Updates

Along with WordPress updates, the Premium Themes are updated to be compatible with the latest WordPress version available. Moreover, these updates offer perfect compatibility with a wide range of plugins and true responsiveness. Sadly, this doesn’t apply to free themes, that may bring security concerns to your website, making it highly vulnerable to cyber threats.

13 GB of storage space

Most of the time, writers require photos, audio, and video files and in time, you may reach a point where the media library gets full. Then, you may think of a solution to resolve this, with WordPress Premium you are given additional storage space along with the ability to upload more types of files and media.

Conclusion

In my view, choosing WordPress Premium will provide resources and ways to expand and improve both you and your blog, whether we’re talking about a personal blog or a business-oriented one. Better support, reliable updates, and functionality should be made available to any effective blogger who wishes to make a career or just enjoy a flawless WordPress experience.

Song of the day #156

Maybe we can
Find a place to feel good
And we can treat people with kindness

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