The DMS Gift Guide

While we hope most of your yuletide gifting is complete, there are few people on the planet who understand procrastination better than writers! So in celebration of buying those last minute gifts we polled our editorial team to see what their “favorite things” this holiday season are! Here’s what we came up with:

Credit: jamesedition.com

Credit: jamesedition.com

Tim, Fitness & Nutrition Editor

Tim is dreaming big this holiday season. Topping his list is the Eurocopter SA 315B LAMA. Do we know what this is? No we sure don’t, but Tim is jazzed. He says that, “With a new bubble window and KT 76 A transponder, this German luxury helicopter is the perfect gift for little Johan or Marie.” 

 

Credit: macworld.com

Credit: macworld.com

Joe Crosby, Business & Finance Editor

An office robot for the remote employee is topping Joe’s list since he works from our Seattle-area office, while his team is based in Santa Monica. This Segway-like, remote-controlled contraption with an iPad “head” would allow him to be in on all the action, even when he isn’t physically present. Extra bonus: It would really freak out coworkers to have these things speeding down the halls.

 

Credit: neatoshop.com

Credit: neatoshop.com

Jessica Noah, Culture, Home Decor, Parenting, & Travel

Maybe Jessica has been editing too many articles about children… But this unique unicorn pencil sharpener is her go-to gift. Why we asked Jessica? “It makes me laugh,” she says. Who can argue with that!

Credit: hammacher.com

Credit: hammacher.com

Richard Lally, Education & Careers Editor 

If you have loved ones who enjoy being inconspicuous, this just might be the gift for you. Kidding. Richard Lally knows a good automobile when he sees one — and a good deal. He explains that this, “Authentic 1966 Batmobile, as it appeared in the hit TV series, “Batman,” comes with a propane afterburner that shoots sparks as you race down the road, a Batphone, a bright red, rotating beacon that warns passersby to swerve out of the way when you’re hotly pursuing the Joker, and a Batbeam ray for committing who knows what sort of mayhem. A steal at $200,000.” 

 

Credit: scientificsonline.com

Credit: scientificsonline.com

Eve Lederman, Family & Relationships, Pets & Real Estate

Got a smarty-pants on your list? Make them prove it by hooking them up to the NeuroSky MindWave — a gadget that interprets brain activity on your very own home computer. Eve Lederman hopes her gift will allow her cronies to, “Digitize their brain waves and play a game of bend a spoon… or something.”

We hope these ideas have been helpful! So

tell us, what will you be gifting this year?!

Thank You from an Ace Writer

Every once in a while, we get an email from a contributor that we just have to share with the rest of the community. This time, that email came from Ace Writer William McCoy.

WilliamMcCoyWilliam has been writing with us since 2010, but we had no idea what writing for DMS was giving him the opportunity to do. Here’s what he had to say.

Dear DMS Team,

This email is long overdue, but with the holiday break just around the corner, I wanted to take a minute to send you a quick note.

The first reason for my email is to thank you for the opportunities DMS provides and how appreciative I am of some of the programs that are in place. When I wrote for the Studio in 2010 and 2011, I occasionally felt anonymous, but the introduction of the Ace Writers Club earlier this year completely changed that. I love not only the generous bonuses, but also the expanded queues, swag bags, recognition and general feeling that being a member provides. I’ve always tried to generate high-quality content, but this club has consistently been extra motivation to not only provide lots of content, but ensure it’s up to snuff.

Secondly, I wanted to briefly share how working for DMS has enabled me to work toward my dream of visiting every major league and minor league stadium across the continent. So far, I’ve been to 53 stadiums and have had a number of wonderful experiences. If not for my work with the Studio, I wouldn’t be able to travel nearly as much for this passion of mine. Each summer, I spend a few weeks on the road and combine writing for the Studio in the day with going to games at night. In my mind, it’s an ideal example of a key benefit of working for DMS.

All the best to you and your family for the holidays,

William McCoy

You can also see William and a few of his fellow outstanding Ace Writers on our 2013 Outstanding Contributor Awards page.

Putting Off Procrastination

Writer Douglas Adams, a notorious procrastinator, once said that he loved deadlines, "I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Credit: The Daily Beast

Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and  a notorious procrastinator, once said that he loved deadlines: “I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Credit: The Daily Beast

With the holidays fast approaching, there are so many distractions worthy of your attention. You may find it very difficult this week to check off those to-do-list items and stay on task. And yet (especially with the upcoming Studio holiday), there is no better time to hunker down and get that last bit of quality work done before your holiday plans begin. To help inspire us to stay on task, we turn to these 7 Tips for Battling Procrastination.

Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Set an alarm on your phone when you feel yourself slipping into an endless Internet-searching black hole. Allow yourself some time to peruse the latest on social media sites, but when the alarm goes off, make the commitment to get down to business.
  • Create a low-energy to-do list. Keeping a list of simple, easy-to-execute activities can help you feel productive when you hit a wall of procrastination. These tasks could include reading industry magazines or organizing folders on your desktop.
  • If that big project seems daunting, break it down into smaller tasks. Then, start chipping away at the little things. Before you know it, you’ll have made a dent in that project instead of a dent in the shows on your DVR.

If you still find yourself searching for every activity but the one you’re supposed to be doing, just know you’re not alone. Check out The Daily Beast’s list of famous procrastinators throughout history. You’re in good company.

Have any tips to fight off the urge to delay? Please share them below.

Pen to Paper

Credit: 2020site.org

Credit: 2020site.org

It’s hard to remember the last time I wrote anything longer than a grocery list by hand — excepting my Christmas list that is! With all of the gadgets modern day life has allotted us, it’s a rarity to actually put pen to paper. But, scientists are saying that might be a big mistake for our minds and deteriorating penmanship. Here are the highlights, but if you’d like to check out the whole article, click here.

1. You learn better…

Writing notes by hand apparently activates part of the brain called the Reticular Activating Center (RAS), which filters information for your brain to process. And wouldn’t you just know that handwritten material moves to the front to of the line for processing?

2. You’ll probably win a Pulitzer…

Some of the best writers ever wrote by hand — and not only the ones that had to (Emily Dickinson, Shakespeare etc.). I’m talking Susan Sontag and Truman Capote, who both prefer writing by hand prior to typing up their masterful works.

3. Quick look over there!

If you were writing something by hand you would NOT have just looked to your right or left. Putting pencil or pen to paper forces you to focus on one letter, sentence and paragraph at a time instead of being perpetually distracted by blinking chat screens, email pop-ups and well… Facebook.com.

4. Stay smart

Mental fitness is important — many of us do crosswords or subscribe to brain-training sites like lumosity.com — but one easy way to keep your brain firing on all cylinders is to write longhand every now and again. Writing engages your motor skills, memory and even your ability to pick up new language skills.

10 Things My Studio Bio Won’t Tell You

Holly in her element.

Holly in her element.

Name:  Holly Del Rosso

Location: Santa Monica

Years in the Studio: 1

Sections I provide talent for: Livestrong.com and EHow.com

1. I’m usually working hard, but when I’m hardly working, you can find me…

Doing something active, probably salsa dancing.

2. If I had to describe my work in three words, they would be….

Transforming, Uplifting and Shaking!

3. My favorite websites to waste time on are…

Podcasts on everynationnyc.org to be uplifted by the best! Also, I get caught on Oh She Glows blog, full of amazing vegan foods packed with flavor.

4. The one thing I wish I could do well, but can’t is…

Sing! I wish I sounded like Mariah Carey but I don’t.

Credit: keep-calm-omatic.co.uk

Credit: keep-calm-omatic.co.uk

5. If I ruled the world for a day I would…

Make it illegal to feed children junk food, remove all pesticides and preservatives from our food and also show people what it means to live in freedom!

6. I couldn’t make it through the day without…

Speaking to my friends and family.

7. The greatest risk I ever took was…

Moving to NYC to start my fitness brand.

8. I am saving up for…

Opening a gym in Santa Monica filled with inspirational quotes and positive reinforcement.

Credit: Fanpop.com

Credit: Fanpop.com

9. What is your theme song for life?

New York, New York. Have been singing it through my 3 years in NYC as an energy pump up!

10. My favorite movie of all time is…

Any Disney movie, Cinderella is my favorite.

Know Your Rank

Following our discussion about establishing yourself on Google Authorship, wouldn’t you like to know if your profile is paying off? Well, now you can. We found this nifty tool that will quantify your internet presence on a scale of 1 to 10. Virante’s Author Rank measures the average search engine strength of the content linked to your Google+ Authorship account, and offers additional metrics to help you figure out where you stand in the ranking.

All you need to get started is a Google Authorship account, and links to your content in the “Contributor To” section. Once you’ve got that, simply enter your Google+ ID, which can either be a 21-digit number sequence or a name you’ve customized, into the rank tool. While it’s not the definitive word on the quality of your work, it is fun to take for a spin. You can also try to track down the profiles for other writers/bloggers you like and see how you stack up.

Check out this report we pulled on Washington Post reporter Ezra Klein:

Credit: Authorrank.org

Credit: Authorrank.org

Virante say the numbers beyond the rank score can mean different things. Here’s a brief breakdown of what these numbers are telling you about your content:

  • Low AuthorTrust: You need to attract better links. Meaning, write for sites with higher quality links, or lure better ones to your own site.
  • Low AuthorExternalRank: You might need to get your content shared on more social networks.
  • Low Avg Page Authority or Low Avg Domain Authority: Publish more on better sites.

For more on how Authorship Rank generates these numbers and what they mean, see the FAQ page. Have thoughts about Author Rank? Please share them below!

Congratulations November Ace Writers!

It’s that time again! Time for us to congratulate the newest batch of Ace Writers Club members. For those of you who don’t know, Aces are our all-star writers who we reward for consistently submitting some of the best articles we see in the Studio. Find out more about how to qualify for the club here.

Congrats to this month’s Ace Writers!

  • Alan Sembera
  • Ben Team
  • Beth Greenwood
  • Beverly Bird
  • Brian Barth
  • C. Taylor
  • Chris Deziel
  • Danielle Fernandez
  • David Weedmark
  • Elizabeth Mott
  • Eric Bank
  • Forest Time
  • Fred Decker
  • Heather Frances
  • Jane Meggitt
  • Jenny Harrington
  • Jessica Mahoney
  • Jon Mohrman
  • Julie Christensen
  • Kristine Tucker
  • Laurel Storm
  • Linda Ray
  • M.H. Dyer
  • M.L. Rose
  • Melodie Anne Coffman
  • Mike Samuels
  • Nicole Vulcan
  • Paige Turner
  • Ruth Mayhew
  • Sara Ipatenco
  • Solomon Poretsky
  • Teo Spengler
  • William McCoy

Please note that we will not be offering Ace Writer bonuses for work done in the month of December, but we look forward to welcoming the newest bunch of Aces for work done in January. Happy holidays!

10 Things My Studio Bio Won’t Tell You

Ava's adorable dog, Susie.

Ava’s adorable dog, Susie.

Name: Ava Lee

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Years in the Studio: Four in May

Sections I write for: Parenting, Travel

Sections I edit for:  Home Decor, Travel, Food and Drink, Family and Reltionships

Credit: Matthewcharlesdavis.com

Credit: Matthewcharlesdavis.com

1. I’m usually working hard, but when I’m hardly working, you can find me…

Running – and listening to books as I run. I run so slowly I get in a lot of reading!

2. If I had to describe my work in three words, they would be….

Maybe: overANALyzes work

3. My favorite websites to waste time on are…

NYT, Imgur, Buzzfeed, Reddit.

4. The one thing I wish I could do well, but can’t is…

play an instrument – the cello or the violin. 

5. If I ruled the world for a day I would…

find a home for every homeless person or animal, and while I’m at it, I’d throw in world peace, beginning with families, friends, co-workers and working outward.

6. I couldn’t make it through the day without…

my 18-year-old son Lucas and lots of water.

7. You’ll catch me saying this phrase far too often …           

Credit: Kimberlysnyder.net

Credit: Kimberlysnyder.net

“Turn that down, please.” (I’ve turned into my mother.)

8. I am saving up for…

college for my son.

9. What is your theme song for life?

“Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley –even though I live in “Music City,” I don’t like today’s “country” music except for the holy trinity: Johnny, George and Merle.

10. My favorite movie of all time is…

“Pulp Fiction,” “Do the Right Thing,” Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Castle in the Sky.”

I

Welcome Back… Time to Focus?

Credit: Z-Issue.com

Credit: Z-Issue.com

Most of us sit in front of our computers all day; however, the likelihood that we’re working diligently this entire time in favor of perusing the web for the latest pet memes is quite unrealistic — even according to science. A recent study conducted by the LondonOffices.com says that there are distinct points in our day when we as a species are most and least productive.

10:26 a.m.

Look out world. It’s 10:26 a.m. and productivity is the name of our game as humans. It’s not totally surprising that this mid-morning moment won out; after all the coffee has kicked in and the Today Show is reaching that somewhat snooze-worthy lull prior to Kathie Lee & Hoda taking over, giving your mind a moment to snap into pressing matters. But alas, this ferocity of mind can’t last forever…

2:55 p.m.

Your internet tabs, once organized neatly are now an agglomeration of haphazard tabs and windows linking to cat memes, Buzzfeed.com lists and a barrage of e-commerce sites offering holiday deals. It’s 2:55 p.m. and you’re officially at your least productive.

So there you have it. To read more, click here.