Dangers Associated with Caffeine

Jittery! Jolted! Bouncin’ off the Walls!

Sound familiar? If you’re anything like me you love getting your morning caffeine fix, even if it makes you feel a little…loopy. But c’mon, jittery vibes aside coffee is liquefied happiness in a cup (at least that’s what I tell myself). However, after consuming my third cup the other day before noon, and following that up with several shots of Red Bull around 2pm, I began to wonder what the implications of caffeine are. The question on my mind: Exactly how much caffeine is considered too much?

Caffeine Informer, an all-encompassing website for everything caffeine, sets the sweet spot at 300-400mg, “for healthy adults with no medical history.” Which begs the next question, how much caffeine is in the beverages I consume? I decided to break it down. In the graphic below you’ll find the more popular caffeine-inducing beverages, including an assortment of coffees, sodas, and energy drinks.


You know what they say, right? “Knowledge is power,” and “knowing is half the battle.” Hopefully the image above supplies you with some helpful information when it comes to caffeine. Furthermore, If you’d like more information on the safety limitations of caffeine, including figures/stats for children and/or anyone in the age bracket of 13-18, I encourage you to visit Caffeine Informer’s handy breakdown article: here. It even has information for pregnant women, and the risks associated with caffeine consumption during pregnancy.

Lastly, because who doesn’t like stats, here are some crazy facts about caffeine consumption, and the risks associated with the drug.

  • 40 Seagulls died from caffeine overdose in Canada after eating used coffee grinds found in a landfill/dump.
  • It would take roughly 149 cans of Red Bull, in one sitting, to actually kill an adult male from overexposure of caffeine–though in all honesty you’d throw up before that ever happened.
  • The FDA is investigating 5 deaths, one heart attack, linked to Monster Energy Drink.

In Memoriam: Maya Angelou

Photo by Stephen Matteson Jr/New York Times Co./Getty Images)

Photo by Stephen Matteson Jr/New York Times Co./Getty Images)

Last night esteemed  poet, author, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou passed away. She was 86 and it’s safe to say that in her time, she not only lived life to the fullest, but left a legacy of words enabling others to do the same. Whether inspired by her works of fiction and prose, or by her own stirring sentiments on life — Angelou’s words are what she leaves behind. So today, we’ll celebrate this heck of a lady by sharing a few of our favorite phrases.

“A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.”
“Let the brain go to work let it meet the heart and you will be able to forgive.”
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but will never forget how you made them feel.”
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”

How To: Make an Animated GIF from a YouTube Video

Ever find yourself wishing you could easily make an animated gif from something you saw on YouTube? Well, now you can. Best of all it’s free, relatively painless, and only takes a few short minutes.

After you’ve scoured YouTube for that copyright-free video you want to make into a gif (I chose a Monster Truck fail montage), visit: makeagif.com. Once you’ve opened makeagif.com in a new tab, simply follow the instructions I’ve outlined below.

pro tip: create an account (free) at makeagif.com for quality gifs and no watermarks.
blog01 blog02 blog03

What’s the point of a “clean” URL? It makes sharing the image much easier, since it won’t link to a website, and instead directs users to the image itself. This way you can upload it to Twitter, Facebook, attach in an email, or even post in the Studio’s Forums minus the headache of sending anyone to a website.

Here we have the final product…

Huge success! (for us, not so much the driver of the truck)

Put a Pin in it! DMS invades Pinterest


I make it my business to regularly visit several websites every day. Force of habit? I like to think of it more like smart surfin’–a one stop shop for news, resources, and entertainment. Without divulging too much into my browser history (it’s private, OK?) I have news.google.com locked down for what’s happening in the World, Reddit.com for community news/pictures of cats, and DMS’ very own Photo Lab on Pinterest.


Bacon, puppies, men’s style, happy hour…do I really need to go on? As of this writing there’s currently 23 boards, each equipped with its own unique visual splendor. But that’s not all–the hand-selected boards provide insight, as well as helpful tips on all facets of photography, home decor, cooking, and more! Basically you’re getting all the Photo Editor’s favorite photos/articles in one convenient place.

Quite frankly if you’re looking for inspiration on what/how to shoot, you needn’t look any further than DMS’ Pinterest. Still need convincing? How about some mouthwatering pictures from the Tasty Treats board (recipes are included, so be sure to check ’em out).



It’s not all about food, either (though if it were, that’d be A-OK in my book). Outside of Tasty Treats and Food Photography you’ll find…

  • Pets & Animals
  • Kids & Family
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Beauty
  • Costume Ideas
  • Babies

And plenty more! So get out there and check it out for yourself. Besides, you’d be hard-pressed finding someone who doesn’t like Pinterest. To be honest I was a little hesitant at first, but after seeing my wife utilize the site’s full potential–not to mention hearing her loudly proclaim “check this out” well over a dozen times–I finally caved. Sure, my boards are all geek-related, but DMS’ page has broadened my Pinterest board horizons.

Format Frenzy: Quiz Edition


Image credit: Huffingtonpost.com

Quiz time! For our next installment of Format Frenzy, I’m going to show you a few things we’re cookin’ up with quizzes. If you have yet to take an online quiz, such as Buzzfeed’s viral “Which ‘Game of Thrones’ Character Are You?” quiz, you’re missing out on a fun online phenomenon. Take a coffee break and click through one. You might find yourself becoming addicted to seeing that verdict pop up (we know we are), and millions of online readers feel the same way. Here’s a little sneak peek at what we’ve been working on to bring our Studio expertise to the quiz format.

What is a quiz?

It’s essentially a series of about 8-10 questions to test a user’s knowledge in a lighthearted yet informative way. Quizzes offer readers an entertaining snapshot of a specific topic while testing their knowledge.  A great quiz should be a fun, engaging experience allowing readers to feel validated and possibly gain some personal insight. The insight should act as a springboard for social conversations and further exploration.

How are we using quizzes?

Right now we’re still testing the waters in sections that are visually driven, like travel and home decor, and we hope to make this format a part of many more sections. Stay tuned.

What makes a great quiz?

The results! You know you’ve got a great quiz when the reader wants to share the results on social media (maybe because they did well or were surprised by the outcome). A great quiz usually comes from a writer/editor who really knows the topic and lets the reader know how they measure up. A reader should also walk away from a great quiz with a few “aha” facts they may not have known before.

What will a quiz look like?

Well, that’s still in development, but here’s a mock up of a travel quiz. It’s going to be a super visual and interactive experience for the user, so we’re very excited about them becoming live soon. For now, feast your eyes on these:
usat quiz stagingQuiz question

(Note: If you answered “Maintain core body temp” on this sample question, give yourself a pat on the back camper!)

Ok, now it’s our turn. Post your questions about quizzes below (I hope we pass).

A Dictionary for Every Scenario


Dictionaries aren’t just for Scrabble, or propping up that broken leg of that coffee table. On the contrary, a dictionary is a brilliant tool for every writer–a simple fact we often neglect. Case in point: when I was writing news stories for a prestigious .com, my editor insisted I make it a habit to look up any uncertainties–new writer who thought bigger words meant better articles (not always the case.)

But before you go thinking this is a ho-hum dictionary post (I assure you it isn’t), here’s an interesting dictionary fact: the longest word in the English dictionary is (drum roll)…


“Numa..mo..no..ah, forget it” It’s not the most recognized word out there–the 45 characters that make up this monstrosity were noted with a red a squiggle underneath. Well, -1 to you spellcheck, it is a word. Oh, and as an added bonus you must have the automated robot voice read the word out loud to you. Click on the link, then click on that little gray speaker icon to the right of the word. Future! Sometimes I go to dictionary.com just to hear words pronounced by the robot.

OK, chances are you clearly know when/how/why to use a dictionary. However, I wanted to take a moment and introduce a few other useful dictionary-like resources I’ve grown accustomed to using as a writer.

0011) Rhymezone.com

Rhymezone is ideal for the Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss in all of us. Basically it’s a poets dream come true since you can quickly locate a rhyme for almost any word–save for “orange.” Plus any search you perform yields results with rhymes broken into syllables, so you can get crackin’ on those limericks.


2) Urbandictionary.com

Ever wonder what the “kids these days” are saying? Urban dictionary lets you quickly identify words you won’t always find in the dictionary, such as harrasenger, or possimpible. Fair warning: urban dictionary does contain vulgar language (at times) because it is written by the community, although it tends to be lighthearted and humorous.



3) Thesaurus.com  

Although not as exciting as Rhymezone or Urban, a thesaurus can be particularly useful for writers. However, a thesaurus shouldn’t become a tool you grow to rely on. Why? Over-saturating your article/assignment with too many words pulled from a thesaurus can make the writing seem amateurish. – Source


4) YourDictionary.com Word Finder (Scrabble)

I couldn’t resist including a word finder. Cheaters, you know who you are! If you’re going to bend the rules while playing Scrabble, or Words with Friends, at least do it stealthily (i.e. play online, and keep another tab open on Word Finder.) But remember, cheaters never prosper, they gloat.

Claire & Jenny’s Format Frenzy: The Listicle

It’s full speed ahead here at the offices–we’re finally starting to see renovated content populate eHow! (cue the applause). While you’re busy evaluating, editing, and writing we’ve been cooking up a few ideas behind-closed-doors.

One way we’re adding a wow factor to these renovated works is by exploring new types of engaging content formats. Claire and I are so excited about these formats that we decided to embrace our fandom and produce a series of posts dedicated to everything formats — we’ve dubbed it “Format Frenzy.” In these posts, we’ll outline one of the new formats you might see (if all goes according to plan), and provide examples of some great work!

So without further ado, may I introduce THE LISTICLE.

What is a Listicle?

A listicle is an engaging format that takes ONE central idea and expands said idea into a “list” of related content. So, instead of producing one article on, “How to Make Garland,” a listicle would address the title with, “How to Make Garland: 7 Unforgettable Garland Ideas.”

What sections utilize the listicle format?

We’re hoping to bring listicles to sections like Arts & Crafts, Food, Garden, and Home Decor. We’ll let you know if more sections get the green light.

Who came up with name “listicle”?

It’s hard to believe, but this is a real industry term. Don’t trust me? Check this out!

What does an eHow listicle look like?

Here’s a mock-up of what our listicle content will potentially look like! Gorgeous, right?



Now Arriving: eHow Renovation Assignments

UPDATE: 6/17/2014

Good news everyone, as of this morning every Section is officially Now Boarding. That’s right, each Section is set and ready to go, meaning you’ll be able to view/claim renovated eHow assignments! Please note that you’ll have to first be approved for a Section(s) before being able to view/claim.

Also, please note that we’re releasing assignments as fast as we can. If you log in, click on Find Assignments, and see little to nothing it’s most likely because assignments have been claimed by other writers. If you feel this might be an error you can always reach us at the Help Desk via EditorialTeam@DemandStudios.com.

Thank you! 


Again, keep in mind we’re constantly adding new assignments. If you’re part of an active section, and you don’t see anything in “Find Assignments,” don’t lose hope. We recommend you get in the habit of checking back regularly, as assignments tend to drop when they’re available.

Bite-Size Writing Tips via Twitter

Do you Tweet? Have you spent many a fortnight perusing the tweetosphere? If you answered no, maybe it’s about time you head over to Twitter, and sign up for an account. Why you ask? Twitter is an alternative way to access the vast surplus of knowledge circulating through cyberspace. You can find whatever it is you’re looking for using a simple hashtag (at least most of the time). For example #howtofreelance, or #taxes, or for the purpose of today’s blog post: #writingtips.

The beauty of Twitter is that all posts are limited to a mere 140 characters, which equates to bite-size tidbits of information–great for those of us with ADD. Fair warning: you can attach a picture, or even a link, however it chips away at those 140 characters. So choose wisely.

I quickly found the following 8 helpful writing tips using the hashtag #writingtips. Not only did I remind myself of some of the more common writing errors out there, I learned a few valuable tips! Thought I’d share.

Breakfast: Why you Shouldn’t Skimp on it

You don’t have to be a certified nutritionist to know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But just to be on the safe side I decided to ask our resident nutrition expert, Tim (see below).


Disclaimer: Tim did NOT know I was quoting him. He wishes to inform the reader he apologizes for his grammar. His IM name has been blurred for his protection.

The story checks out!

Did you know that after 8 hours of beauty sleep that first bite of cereal/muffin/leftover pizza means you’re literally ‘breaking’ your overnight ‘fast’? (hence the breakfast). Not only does a morning meal help curb your appetite throughout the day (i.e you won’t feel the constant need to snack), it replenishes vital mind & body operating sustenance. Science!

However in our fast-paced, technology driven world we don’t always give ourselves enough time in the morning to eat. We aim to recuperate the loss during lunch, but by noon the damage might already be done—your withdrawn brain has gone hours without nourishing vitamins/minerals, resulting in a sluggish zombie-like state (we all know the feeling). Coffee might offer that quick jolted fix, but ultimately it’s just that, a fix. According to WebMD when you skimp out on a nutritious breakfast you’re basically kicking your brain right in the productive mojo–a bad idea for us writers/editors out there—I sincerely hope that’s not you! 

By eating a healthy breakfast it ensures proper brain functionality; which is key to staying alert, productive, and most importantly, “improved concentration and performance.” I hope I’m not speaking for myself when I say I could certainly use more of that…um…concentration. 

When it comes to my most beloved meal of the day, I have to ask: what gets your motor going? I’ve put together a few of my favorites in the pics below, but feel free to share your own ideas/recipes/whatever in the comments.




pancakes tropical-fruit-smoothie breakfastsandwichdonutsron-swanson


Now, I know coffee doesn’t substitute as a meal. However it’s a writer/editors staple beverage, and it’s a great compliment to a meal—it just doesn’t suffice on its own. And would you look at those donuts? They’re from Voodoo’s bakery in Portland, OR. The zombie/ghost looking doughnut features a pretzel stick stabbed into its ‘heart,’ and it’s also filled with raspberry jelly (yum).

For my money I love cold cereal, especially with a banana on the side. On the weekends, when I have more flexibility, I spring for a more loaded breakfast. Then again I’m usually particularly active on the weekends, and the extra oomph is necessary.