Published on 19 September 2020 by Kyla R.

Note: This blog post will be one in a part of a series. From time to time when I feel like something I experience as an author needs to be shared, I will post and share it on my Instagram. Until then, enjoy!

I’ve had enough people in my Instagram direct messages asking me the same question thousands of times to the point where I’ve wondered if they realize that I’m even human. Instead of going on my page, looking at the Q&A posts I make, or glancing through my highlights, I have to get disappointed from seeing another message that I get daily. But as an author, I knew I had signed up for this.

The hate. Oh god, the hate. That was one thing I was not completely prepared for. Especially for stories that have been completed or stories I wouldn’t take another glance at for another year. Readers are readers, and authors are authors. We are different for good reasons. If every reader could be an author, we probably wouldn’t have that many readers out there in the first place.

I don’t only receive hate mail through my fan mail, but on other platforms such as the Episode forums or Reddit. Sometimes someone will have the audacity to direct message me their complaints. I wonder if these people even realize that I also have other things to worry about? That I don’t usually get riled up because of a fictional story with a fictional story line? But instead I get about a message or two a week that is paragraphs long as they explain their distaste for my story or my work. The work that I put my heart and soul into for so many hours, only to create around one-hundred chapters of online content.

If anyone reading this knows me personally, you’d know that I am a total Slytherin. Slytherin all the way. I don’t think softies could make it as an Episode Interactive author. Being an author for a public story making application instead of writing articles online or getting paid to write something is different. No one there has the need to let you know they disagree and dislike your line. But instead, episode authors have to deal with hate on every platform possible. You, as an author, are just expected to deal with it. The truth is, if you can’t handle the repetitive questions, the annoying rude remarks, or the threats, you probably shouldn’t be on social media. Don’t make a public writing account if you’re not prepared for these things.

The other day, I had a little bit of an argument with someone in the Episode community about the types of messages authors gets about updates. God, trust me. I know it’s so annoying, and it is annoying for sure. The Episode Interactive app audience spans from children in their pre-teens (around 11-12 years old) to ladies in their late thirties or above. You’d think only the younger children would be the ones causing problems, but you couldn’t be more wrong. There are plenty of older ladies who love to cause drama for seemingly no reason and attack even those younger kids. I understand wanting to teach the children how to properly act, but let’s face it, children don’t really have the mental capacity to understand how to be mature just yet. Great if you did when you were their age, but not everyone is you.

Us authors (at least me) get Instagram accounts to be part of the community and so that we can spread out story reach to new readers. It can also be partly to get that feedback we want—hoping that is it good, of course. Be prepared to get feedback you don’t like. And if you aren’t, think about if social media is a good idea for you and your brand.

Thanks for reading this week! This is a bit of a rant and something I wanted to share for some readers to better understand what us authors go through, but also for some authors. Remember to be kind to your readers and readers, please be kind to your authors. I hope you guys have an awesome week! 🙂

Photo by Andrea P. Coan

Published on 25 May, 2020 by Kyla R.

So… This has been requested a whole bunch. Not only through direct messages but basically four times every Instagram live I do. So I thought it was best to make a list of my tips so that I could send everyone who asked to this post. Let’s get started!

Don’t Compare Yourself, At Least Not Too Much

This is harder said than done. We all do it whether we want to or not. And I’m in no way saying you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people at all. Sometimes, that’s what gives you an extra push. If you realize someone else has more reads and started at the same time as you, see what they’re doing that you aren’t. See if you want to do that same thing! And if not, stick to what you’re doing and you’ll improve to that level in no time.

Remember that even if someone started at the same time as you, they may have had more practice, focus on a different genre, posted more often, posted in chunks, etc. There are so many reasons that make certain people more popular because all of us are different. Even if you copied someone’s exact update schedule and did everything in a similar manner, it doesn’t guarantee you anything.

This is one of the reasons why I don’t celebrate many milestones. For me, hitting one million was crazy. It took a really long time and was really slow after 600,000. And then in no time, I hit 2 million, and then 2.5 million. It goes up all the time too. And I’m not saying this to brag and I don’t hide it to “be humble,” but rather I don’t mention it so that people can like me for me or a story, not the fact that I have “lots of reads”. Even when people say that I do, I remember how many others have that amount and even more. While I am extremely fortunate and have more reads than many, I’m not the best, and I will always acknowledge that!

Practice, Practice, Practice

Remember to be kind to critics. I haven’t always been the best with this one. Not necessarily because I disagree with things they say, but because some people say it so rudely. So try to stick with the type of author you wish to be when you get criticism.

I know that so many people bring up the importance of practice in basically everything, but it’s especially relevant for writing in the Episode community! The portal is challenging to use, the coding is difficult to get the hang of, and finding backgrounds, customization, and all that jazz is even more irritating. There’s a lot more to writing an Episode story that many people don’t understand. If you are lucky enough to be part of the payment program one day, the money is nice, but the hours that it took to get there were not all sunshine and rainbows, I promise.

Invest in Your Story/Career

One thing I always mention to new authors is being willing to invest in your stories. Whether that be art for your cover, working on updating your social media, whatever. In particular, I always recommend saving money so that you’re able to buy a decent cover for you story. You can get some for free from artists you may not like as much or just an edit as well. I’m not saying these are bad, because they aren’t. But I myself didn’t like the art I was seeing when it came to free art. And it’s extra unlikely someone skilled will give you art for free, especially if you don’t have a following or monetary incentive.

My advice is slightly discouraging for those younger authors. I get why, but it doesn’t change my advice! I am here to tell you guys the truth. You need to be eighteen (I believe) to be part of the payment program. If you don’t have a bank account, debit card, or a job, I’m not sure if this is for you. When I was sixteen, I already had all three of these things. So when I was eighteen and first started writing on Episode, I was able to make an investment in my future as a writer and I will always stand behind it. There are many authors on Episode that didn’t stick around long enough to get the reads they wanted, and I don’t want that to be you.

Make Your Brand

How do you want to be recognized? There are many authors known for so many different things, and you need to keep this in mind when starting. Do you want to be the author who hates on other authors? The one who only writes stories about pregnant teenagers? Only romantic comedies? This is your choice! And it’s important that you keep it in mind.

This is where Instagram plays a large role. Being friends (and finding friends) in the community not only makes being in the community more fun, but also allows you to network quite a bit. It’s likely that your friends will try to read your story and share it, just like you would hopefully do for those friends. And the more shares your story gets, the more likely people will read it! Readers love recommendations from authors and other readers.

Hate is Everywhere

Note: The top one is for sure one of my rudest and most irritating fanmail. If something like this spread (just a btw) it would be considered libel!

It’s true. Especially if you’re younger, and even if you’re not, if you aren’t good with handling hate and criticism (whether warranted or not) then this career/hobby may not be it for you. It takes some getting used to, but I was lucky enough to write on Wattpad and a site named Quotev far before Episode. I was accustomed to hate mail and responding to it (if necessarily) or ignoring it. I don’t want to recommend that you write in the Episode community if you don’t think you can handle it, because even though who think they can, can’t handle it very well (including me).

I want you to know what you’re getting into and prepare for it. For example, short chapters or writing about basically anything. You can and likely will get backlash (especially as your story gets higher and more popular in the ranks) for anything and everything. Just be prepared! But don’t let it discourage you either. 🙂

Also! Check out my Ko-Fi link on the welcome page or HERE! I have opened up donations for those of you able and willing to donate. I’m a regular university student taking on a good amount of debt, so truly anything helps!

Remember, if you ever have any questions and requests, feel free to send me a DM on Instagram or leave a comment down below. If you have requests, follow my Instagram and submit it when I ask for requests on my story!  Not all my article posts are to be Episode Interactive related.

As always, I recommend all of Joseph Evan’s tutorials and DaraMarie’s templates for starting help. As I always mention, the forums are your best friend! Unless your question specifically asks for help regarding this article, please do not contact me about it!

Published on 25 April 2020 by Kyla R.

Whether you feel as if you’re dependent on your parents, friends, or partner(s)…Sometimes we all feel as if we aren’t contributing much to the pile. So that’s where the recurring question of, “How do I change this?” comes in.

I’ve always been the kind of person who tries to keep a positive and optimistic outlook on life and all the crazy events and scenarios that comes with it. Especially when you’re younger (early teens, late teens, early twenties) it’s hard to feel independent if you’re anything like me. If you’re part of the typical family, you go off to college and continue mooching off your family or end up taking loans for schooling. In some cases, you do both (like me). So how can you be more independent with the help of others? Here are some things that have helped me.

Consider Your Future. Seriously.

So many younger adults don’t actually plan for the future. If you’re anything like me, that kinda sounds insane. (Once you get into the planning mindset, you can never get out. It’s like a stressful maze sometimes!) I’m not telling you to get a job with a retirement fund and start working full time now or buy yourself a house (well, maybe. You’ll see)!

We have all fantasized about our futures. If you’ve ever had any serious relationship, you’ve probably thought “hey, I wonder where this will go,” and if not, hopefully you do at one point or another! But there’s a point where dreaming of your future and actually acting on your dreams and communicating them to others needs to be a serious consideration.

Communication is Key! Always!

People always told me this when I was younger… But why? I feel like many people say so much about communication and how important it is, while most of them are horrendous communicators (no offense…okay maybe a little). Learning to understand non-verbal cues and truly understanding your family or partner takes time because it’s hard to break out of your habits. I used to be terrible with yelling, and I still am. Especially when it comes to feeling as if I’m dependent, I sometimes will have a hard time admitting how I’m feeling, which is a big no-no.

The best way to get the independence and a feeling of being “independent” and not tied down is by expressing your discomfort in a constructive way. Constructive is the key word here. Yelling, accusing, and in general harassing someone because you don’t like how you feel in a situation does not fix things! You’re way more likely to fix issues if you stay calm and address the situation at hand.

One key note I would definitely like to bring up is this, “Just because you are calm, doesn’t mean the other person will be.” I’ve learned this from arguments between me and my boyfriend. It’s oftentimes very very hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, especially in the heat of the moment. But even explaining that you’re trying can oftentimes help and help them realize that you are trying. And that’s the best thing that you can do during tense conversations!

Real Independence v. Wanted

We are all human. And most times, it feels like an incredible privilege (if you’re like me, again)! Other times, not so much. We make mistakes and that happens, but it’s how you fix them that matters to you and your future. Being independent is great, but we all should learn how to depend on others as well. There’s a difference in being “independent” and being truly independent, where you are disconnected from everyone else. Knowing the difference really helps put your life in perspective.

Being independent and more of a mind state than literal most times. Independence implies that you do not depend on anyone or anything but yourself. In theory, it’s a great way to be. But at the end of the day, most of us want to be loved and cared for too. It’s a human thing!

Next week you can look forward to some Episode tips again, TBA. If you are not following for episode, next week’s article may not be for you. Thank you for all the support I’ve been receiving on Instagram as well! I hope you’re enjoying both halves of me through my writing. Till then! ❤

Published on 20 April 2020 by Kyla R.

Keep in mind that I do not own the Episode Interactive portal and the screenshots, while my own personal work, are not necessarily my property. They are used for educational purposes only.

Hey everyone! This week’s top request was the point system! This will be a bit of a short post, but remember that I’m always here to help if you want to send in a message or comment below.

Remember that no one just hopped onto Episode and got the hang of this! I have only just recently become acquainted with the point system, and I don’t typically use gains. The point system is similar to gains and can, in a way, be used as a substitute, which I will explain later in another post where I talk about gains! Now, let’s get started!

What is the Point System?

Long story short, the point system is a system inside of the episode interactive portal that pulls on a set number of points that you, as the author, decide on through choices and such! Ever wondered how you got points with your favorite love interest or supposedly got “points” for different actions?

Fun fact, this was originally to be better implemented in Filthy Royals. I decided against it because many of my readers were taken aback when I said they would not choose their ending love interest. If you have read Filthy Royals, an example of this system was when you were told if you were a good queen or not by the people in season 2. Based on your previous actions (which I sneakily did not mention were using the system), you were told a specific outcome.

Why would I want to use the Point System?

Lots of readers enjoy more complex coding and not necessarily always advanced directing. A point system allows for a better-customized feel for your readers as their own choices make a difference.

Using it or not, of course, is your choice. Lots of stories do not use this system or the gains system, but it does help your story get something extra cool in it!

How is this System like Gains?

Most simply before actually discussing the code, the coding between the coding system remembers the reader’s choices in a remarkably similar fashion to the point system, just without needing an individual character that the points are attached to.
I personally make characters with names that I don’t even use, such as “ALEXANDERSHEALTH” instead of making gains, but gains are an extra step more natural.

How do I Implement this System Initially?

First, you will need characters that exist in your story. Feel free to make new ones so long as they don’t give you any coding error codes.

Below are the general templates for the point system with the name YOU.

@YOU =0
@YOU =1
@YOU +1
@YOU -1

The templates above show ways of either adding points or already setting points. All numbers such as 1 and 0 can be changed to any number, positive or negative! Within a certain choice that you decide on, you will need to add in the code needed to add the points to the system (on its own line as well).

How do I Pull on the Point System for More Interactivity?

Now that you know how to add points… Now what? Now you can recall the points! There’s a reason we implemented the system… Right? If you’re smart (unlike me initially), you will keep a note of how many points you made possible for each character. This will be necessary if you ever decide to put coding at the end of your chapters to let people know how many points they have!

If you want to use your points, you will need to use if-then format! Let’s say you want to have the reader obtain a prize if they obtained over 4 points. How would you use the point system for this? Easy! But be careful and be specific.

CHARACTER>1 means only if they have over 1 point. The same goes for CHARACTER<1, meaning only under 1 point. CHARACTER=1 means they have exactly 1 point. Be careful with your coding and try it out yourself before hitting publish! Now, back to the example!

if (YOU>4) {
Congratulations, you get a prize!
} else {
You didn’t get the prize!

OR if you want it to lead to a certain label…

if (YOU>4) {
goto WINS
} else {
goto LOSES

In this case, we can make individual points to let them know how many points they have. Let’s say you’ve only offered 3 points up to that point in the story.

if (YOU=0) {
You have zero points.
} elif (YOU=1) {
You have one point.
} elif (YOU=2) {
You have two points.
} elif (YOU=3) {
You have three points.

That’s how you would show the number of points they have amassed!

An example of how I used the point system myself is shown below, with more points being added to Liliac after being told you were good or bad!

Note: When authors put “Calculating Points…” this is a manual addition! Points are always in the system, and this is actually just a cute preference to let people know that they’re about to be told their points or to raise suspicion!

Remember, if you ever have any questions and requests, feel free to send me a DM on Instagram or leave a comment down below. If you have requests, follow my Instagram and submit it when I ask for requests on my story!  Not all my article posts are to be Episode Interactive related.

As always, I recommend all of Joseph Evan’s tutorials and DaraMarie’s templates for starting help. As I always mention, the forums are your best friend! Read more about gains and the point system if you’re still confused.  Unless your question specifically asks for help regarding this article, please do not contact me about it!

Published on 11 April 2020 by Kyla R.

Oh, the opportunities that will arise for you. Today, I’ve decided to write about the importance of not taking every deal or pouncing on every opportunity that passes your way.

Recently, I was offered an opportunity to write for a newer platform that I found interesting with a higher pay, but less exposure. It was to continue a previously written story, something I had never had experience with. Today’s post will explain why I decided to decline it.

There will be so many opportunities.

The opportunities you will receive may not always come in groups. Sometimes, it feels like the right job at the wrong time. Often times, people will take the opportunity because of how incredible it is, only to be miserable with the outcome.

Many people, especially those who are younger, don’t realize how long of a road we have ahead of us. Yes, it’ll go by quick. But just because you decline one that just doesn’t sit right with you, doesn’t mean no one else will ever give you one again!

Wait until the timing is right and it’s just that…right. You will know when it is and it’ll make you so much happier in the long run!

Is it something you’d like, or something that would look good?

As a premed, answering this question specifically is something I struggle with a lot. College, high school, and life in general will give you many choices. Some of the opportunities you take can lead to greater things such as internships and future job offers. But ask yourself one word…why?

Take a step back and make a pros and cons list. Money at the expense of discomfort, happiness, and time that could be used for activities you love is not worth it. Understand the difference between you truly being excited for the opportunity not because what it can give you in terms of resumes, but rather how it will allow you to improve on yourself and your skills.

What if I need the opportunity?

Don’t get me wrong. If you need a job, take it. But if you are comfortable where you’re at, learn how to be content with what you already have enough to keep pushing, but not to the point where you are unhappy with your own progress.

Being content and lazy are two different things. It is up to you to learn the difference! If you are happy where you are and don’t necessary need to opportunity with the feeling it may overwhelm you, don’t try pushing for it. You know yourself best, so you know what’s right for you.

I tried asking my boyfriend and other friends for advice. Regardless of all the variety advice I was given, I decided to go with my gut and decline the job. Now I will get to focus on the things that may not make me as much money, but make my heart skip a beat. I can say that I am generally happy with my decision. This is how you know you made the right choice. Guilt will surround you for a while, but in the end it will blow over.

Know What’s Necessary.

And what’s not. Not every opportunity will cater to your needs and what you want from it. If the opportunity seems too good to be true or not good enough, trust your gut to make your decision for you.

Having too many activities or interests may not seem overwhelming at first. It’s always possible to do it. But what are you sacrificing to do all the things you want or have agreed to? Don’t sacrifice your word and not such up places. Don’t sacrifice sleep, family, or friends. Don’t sacrifice doing the other things you love. Be sure to prioritize your activities and in turn, any new opportunities that may arise.

Next week you can look forward to some Episode tips again, TBA. If you are not following for episode, next week’s article may not be for you. Thank you for all the support I’ve been receiving on Instagram as well! I hope you’re enjoying both halves of me through my writing. Till then! ❤

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Published on 6 April 2020 by Kyla R.

Keep in mind that I do not own the Episode Interactive portal and the screenshots, while my own personal work, are not necessarily my property. They are used for educational purposes only.

Hey everyone! My first request for Episode Interactive help series was to explain how to use overlays and what they are! So here we go!

What are overlays?

Overlays work somewhat like characters in the way that they can cover other characters and overlays and must be added into a scene! You can either provide your own through the episode portal.

How do I pick out overlays?

Episode already has a large variety to choose from when it comes to both backgrounds and overlays, even though it’s something not exactly what you were looking for. All you need to do is log onto the episode interactive portal, hit “Art Catalog” and then “Overlays.” That’s it! You can search for specific overlays if you are searching for something specific, otherwise you can look through them all! Tags are also available for organization purposes.

Can I get/choose my own?

To provide your own personal overlay, be sure that it has no background (if that’s what’s desired). Just go to the art catalog, overlays, and then uploaded to your account.

From here, you will have the image below shown.

From here, you can hit the blue “Select Image” button and choose the overlay from your computer! I recommend having PDFs or PNGs because jpgs and jpegs do not work for the upload. “Your image must be PNG and below 1MB.” You can, however, change the type of file through converters online as well as the size if necessary!

The size, once already appeared on your screen doesn’t matter since you can scale it up or down in the actual portal. Just be sure it looks like you wanted it to! All you need to do from there is name it something, check the box that says you agree that the content is original to you (there cannot be any names or labels or else it will be denied!) and hit the red upload button! That’s it!

Okay but…how do I introduce them in my story?

Don’t fret! This is basically the easiest part…once you get used to coding. So listen carefully and always troubleshoot before asking questions! In this example, I will be showing a screenshot image of my own work. Below is a screenshot of my simple intro before every episode with the use of a cover background and overlays.

Key Notes: The only overlay I am using in this code is the one labeled “FILTHYROYALSNEW”. INT.NEWCOVER3 is simply a background.

You can introduce an overlay in several ways. First, I will go over the way I typically do it.

My way: When you are starting a scene that will be utilizing overlays, add it in the form of INT./EXT. BACKGROUNDNAME with OVERLAYNAME

An example of this is shown in the image above where it says “INT.NEWCOVER3 with FILTHYROYALSNEW” where FILTHYROYALSNEW is the overlay name and INT.NEWCOVER3 is my background name.

Another way: At any point of your coding simply write in the template of “@overlay OVERLAYNAME create” that’s it! Your overlay is now set in the scene.

Great! Now it’s introduced. Let’s continue onto the fun stuff!

What’s Opacity?

Opacity is the transparency of your overlay. Want it barely visible? You want your value closer to 0. Completely visible? You want the value at 1. The opacity scale ranges from 0-1. That’s it!

When I write in my overlays, I typically want them to already be set in the scene at full opacity or I will introduce them later. If I decide to introduce them later, I typically code @overlay OVERLAYNAME opacity 0 in 0, which tells the coding mechanism to make sure the overlay is invisible from the second it appears in the background. This is shown in my screenshot at &overlay FILTHYROYALSNEW opacity 0 in 0.

If you want the overlay to fade in from seemingly “nothing,” you may code @overlay OVERLAYNAME opacity 1 in 3, which will show up as the overlay fading in from nothing to the full opacity in 3 seconds. You can do the same for fade away as @overlay OVERLAYNAME opacity 0 in 3.

What about if I want to change the size? Where is it?

Want to change the size of your overlay? Is it too large or too small? My best tip is to use and utilize your preview screen to its maximum potential. The preview screen can be brought up by clicking on the “Preview” orange/yellow button on the top right of any episode chapter you open up, given that it has no errors.

See that “@overlay FILTHYROYALSNEW shifts to x y in zone 1”? Ignore all those funky numbers before my overlay name, it’s just due to the preview!

After selecting preview, your screen should appear. What now? On the right side you have several “buttons.” Click on spot directing! Next, be sure that you are focusing on the overlay by pressing “change overlay.” Below the preview screen, there should be some coding you are able to copy below, which should say your overlay name!

After this, the left bottom will have many different buttons. In regards to scaling, the top button from the bottom left should say Switch Tool: Move. This will be shown when you are scaling things. You can drag and drop on your actual overlay in this case, which for me was this table! It will get smaller and larger depending on which way you move your mouse.

Similarly, tap on the switch tool button and click it. It should now display, Switch Tool: Scale. Move your overlay around with your mouse!

Note: Be careful and be sure that your overlay is in the correct zone that you want it to be. If not, you may not see it and may have to watch the coding given under your preview screen to find it. Make sure that your characters are behind or in front of the layer you have placed your overlay in as well, as this will affect your scenes.

Remember, if you ever have any questions and requests, feel free to send me a DM on Instagram or leave a comment down below. Not all my article posts are to be Episode Interactive related.

As always, I recommend all of Joseph Evan’s tutorials and DaraMarie’s templates for starting help. Unless your question specifically asks for help regarding this article, please do not contact me about it!

Published on 4 April, 2020 by Kyla R.

During times like these where it seems like we would be the happiest will all of our extra time, its hardening when the sad reality sets in. Being busy oftentimes distracts us from realizing how unhappy we may be with ourselves and our lack of hobbies or activities. So today, we are going to discuss how we can all keep ourselves happiest during a time where we typically stuck all on our own, even when surrounded by others.

Try New Hobbies

Never knock it, til’ you try it, guys. There are so many hobbies and activities you may have judged too harshly at one point that may have been your perfect match. You have all the time now! Other than allotted work or school hours, of course.

Even though you have a hobby already, have you tried some others? I myself feel like I’m all hobbied up already, so I wouldn’t dare to find another at this point. But that’s likely since I have more than one at this point! If you don’t and have been feeling like you have too much down time, try something new!

When I was young, I was sent to so many lessons. I tried guitar, ballet, other dancing lessons like salsa and hip-hop, drawing, painting, piano, etc. It’s sad to say that I never actually stuck with any of them. It wasn’t until I hit highschool when I began doing things more independently that I began playing the Trumpet (which I no longer do, but 7 years of playing, IMO, is plenty enough) and writing online. But if it wasn’t for my background in about twenty other activities, I would never have become so easily adaptable and easy to talk to as I am now.

Not sure where to start? Take a look at this list and pick something that calls out to you! Maybe it’ll stick around for a few years like mine did.

Start a New Project

Have you been wanting to fix up your backyard and get rid of all the nasty weeds? Wanting to spruce up your bedroom and house? Now is the time! Some project may be limited, but lots of things can be purchased on amazon and other online retailers to progress with a new project while you’re stuck at home.

Deep cleaning is always an option as well, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t already have the supplies. When I went to the store the other day, they were completely out of all cleaning supplies, even Swiffer Sweeper wet refills! Apparently people think that mopping their floors excessively will keep the virus away. Tip: If no one leaves or enters your house, nothing that is not already there will suddenly appear!

Had some furniture sitting in the garage collecting dust day after day? Is there some paint you’ve had sitting around months on end because you haven’t had the time to get to painting? Now is a great time to refresh your project ideas and get some old ones out of the way. Plus, new furniture or a new paint job always makes the place feel new again.

This down time has given me the inspiration to bring my old elliptical standing bike from outside and wipe down all the pollen from it so that I could begin using it indoors! Being at home all day and having the chance to eat everytime you want it, isn’t exactly amazing for your body at the end of the day sometimes.

Get Out of the House

No, no. I do not mean go to the store unnecessarily and/or visit others and get close to everyone you see, if anyone, on the streets. All I mean is that sitting on your butt in your bedroom all day is NOT good for you, I promise. It’s proven that staying sedentary actually decreases your chances of feeling productive at the end of the day. So get off your but and take in a deep breath of the nice air the outdoors has to offer you. Unless there’s a lot of pollen and you’re severely allergic. Then, it may be a slight problem.

Have a dog? He/She probably needs a walk anyways. Take him/her out, but stay away from people. Have a patio? Drink your coffee out there. Have a good sized front yard area? Take a seat and enjoy the sun. It is still out there, guys.

Learn Boundaries

There may have never been enough time or need to make clear boundaries with those around you, if there are any. But this counts, even if you’re living alone. Creating boundaries can be split into two seperate categories, which we can define as used with others and yoruself.

Your Own Boundaries: These count for all living situations. It’s easy to slack off, and if you don’t make clear boundaries with yourself and don’t have discipline, you will end up going down the rabbit hole of procrastination, which neither of us want. Set boundaries of what you have to have done before spending idle time doing other things!

Boundaries with Others: If you are living with your family or roomates of any sort, it’s important that you establish boundaries with them! Remember to respect their boundaries in hopes that they will do the same to you. In my home, my bedroom is a loft and my boyfriend stays in a bedroom with a door downstairs. One clear boundary I have is for him to keep his door closed, especially if he’s making a lot of noise since I don’t have my own door. If you have work or meetings where you’re required to be attentive, be sure to communicate this to your roomates. It’s hard to respect boundaries when they have not been set!

Learn About Yourself

Have you really ever had the time before to sit down and devote some time to learning more about yourself? This is by far my favorite tip for keeping yourself happy, especially now that you have the time! Learning more about yourself guarantees better control over your emotions and yourself, as well as a chance to better understand the things you feel and do.

Whether this is through meditation, spending time on hobbies, or taking personality quizzes, anything is right so long as it feels right! My favorites are taking personality quizzes to find your specific personality type with lots of extra information on your type and asking yourself questions to better learn about yourself. I wrote my answers to all these questions on a paper a few years back, and time to time, I like to revisit it and see how things may have changed.

What are some things you have begun doing since the quarantine and being stuck at home, if you are at all? Have you been enjoying your time or does it feel like it’s the same as it was before? Let me know in the comments!

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Published on 1 April, 2020 by Kyla R.

Don’t get me wrong…I understand that not everybody enjoys playing video games. And I know better than most that many people do absolutely adore playing video games during the time of the pandemic and not. But today, I’m going to recommend some games I’ve played in the past that I’ve loved playing again during my COVID-19 lockdown.

During hard times and the immense amount of people losing their jobs, it’s not ideal for spending money on console games, or any games at all. But if it passes the time quickly and makes you happy, I find that it’s something that can really bring you joy. You can find the Nintendo Switch console here and at other retailers at well. I would recommend looking into the differences for the Switch and the Switch Lite and save you money if one is too much for you!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Yes, I have hopped onto the hype-train for this new switch game. I had played Animal Crossing: New Leaf on my Nintendo 3DS (when it was the most popular thing, of course) and loved it then. I knew it was time to try this one when I saw all the hype it was receiving on all my Snapchat and Instagram friends’ stories.

But why is it such a big deal? Why would anyone want to live in a virtual world with a character that barely looks like you and chop wood all day, talking to funky looking animals? This is why.

Playing with Friends

Playing with friends who I can’t have physical contact with has really helped me feel less lonely! And flaunting my beautiful home and the fact that I have all but one type of fruit on my island to my pals makes it all the better.

Visiting friends (and stealing their fruit) can make you a ton of money, which is always helpful. You can take a look at their museum, their home, and their friendly island villagers/residents.

You can chat, but I prefer texting them and calling instead since it doesn’t stop you from continuing exploring their island.

See how to have your friends visit your island here!

It’s Time to Grind

Animal Crossing is easily understood as a grinding game, meaning that it requires time and effort, not skill to succeed. Personally, these are my favorite types of games. There is no competition, and your villagers encourage you to actually chill on your island and take your time. It’s an island! There’s no rush for anything.

There are so many things to do just in one day. For me, I wake up and play a few hours before going on my day if I have the day off. I start with shaking all my trees (to get fruit, coins, or furniture), fish when I see fish around and catch insects when I see them, get wood from trees, hit all the rocks, etc. It’s more work than you’d think, but it’s so gratifying when you’re able to make new furniture, expand your house, or getting new residents to your island.


Overall this game is currently my favorite and is incredible! It’s very kid-friendly for those of you with children who can’t seem to leave you alone when you’re working from home as well.

Learn more about the game or purchase it here.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem games have been my favorite since a few years back when I got my first fire emblem, Fire Emblem: Awakening, for my Nintendo 3DS. This is why we should all be trying it this year.

With ratings of 4.8/5 from GameStop, 4.9/5 from BestBuy, and 9.5/10 from IGN, you know that the game must be pretty amazing. Luckily, I already know this, so I know for a fact that…

It Makes You Think!

If you are anything like me, it feels like my brain has depleted since I’ve been staying at home. And before Fire Emblem, I never had an interest in any strategy games…but this one is different. Fire Emblem doesn’t use strategy is an old timey game kind of way, and yet it does at the same time. The characters are relatable and having plenty of personality, the color scheme isn’t focused on the color brown, and you can create actual relationships between characters. There’s a lot more than a simple “this character goes here” to the general game mechanic. The developers know this too, and it shows. There’s a reason why it was voted Best Strategy Game at the Game Awards, people.

You’re a Leader.

Have you ever wanted to lead an entire army without the possibility of real people dying? Guess what? Now you can, even if you never thought you wanted to. You are the decision-maker, and you get to make the hard calls. And if you can’t take losing your virtual army, play in a more comfortable mode, it’s all up to you!

There are plenty of options.

Are you the kind of person who likes making choices and personalizing your Are you the kind of person who likes making choices and personalizing your game? Then this game may just be perfect for you. Don’t like someone in the game? Think a character is too weak? You don’t have to use them in your army. You have total control in Fire Emblem. Don’t you like one house? Well great! You’ll be fighting against the others anyways.

Learn more about the game or purchase it here.

Published on 27 March 2020 by Kyla R.

Yes, most of the world’s working population has either been sent home already, or are on the verge of being send back. But no worries! While working from home for most can feel daunting and troublesome, it does not need to be! After my first official week home, I’ve learned to adjust accordingly and truly find what works best for me… and I hope you get that too!

1. Set up a work/study space.

Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong! A work space is not as simple as just sitting down wherever you wish and bringing your laptop. Just like making your bed is the first step to making your room seem cleaner, creating a designated work space is what makes your mind feel in the right mind-space.

For me, personally, all I need is my laptop, some paper, pens or pencils, and my laptop charger plugged into an outlet. It’s pretty simple! And yours should be too! You don’t need an unnecessary fancy desk space that’s decked out in decorations and thousands of post-its. Unless that’s your style and that keeps you focused. If that’s your case...go for it!

2. Keep a routine and set a schedule.

You would think this is pretty self-explanatory, but it seems not! It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of waking up every morning without an alarm clock and not brushing your teeth because you live alone and won’t be seeing anybody for the next…however long you’ll be quarantined. But trust me… your brain and your pearly white teeth will be thanking you and the end of all of this.

Keeping a set schedule also helps your body run on auto-pilot mode, just as it would at work! It’s easier to work and focus when that’s all you can remember, and doing just that at a similar pace and schedule without distractions can help with that!

And that brings me to my next point…

3. Let your roomates/family know your schedule and have them stick to it.

Make sure your family/roomates/dog/cat know what your schedule is! And make sure they understand how important it is that they let you stick to it is. It’s all too distracting when you’re trying to finish a report and your roomate begins playing the television on the highest volume in the next room.

If they respect you and your time, the silence will help you focus…seriously. There’s nothing better than some silence, and maybe some music from time to time. I always recommend some good ole’ Lofi Hip Hop music to get you in the mood! And if I’m being honest, I hated those songs at first. My brain, however, has finally got the idea! When this music is playing, it’s focus time.

4. Leave your house!

For the love of all that is good… please get out of your home! Trust me when I tell you that staying home for days on end, whether it be alone or with others, it will drive you insane! I’m not telling you to go to a restaurant (which is likely open to just drive through, if at all) or go have a party or anything like that. Take a walk! Walk your dog (or an imaginary one), take a jog, sit outside your front door! Anything just to get yourself outside and breathing some fresh air instead of being stuck inside.

For real though… Have you ever noticed how often we go outside of our house on a typical work day? You go to work, you come back. That’s already leaving a building twice, given you work in a building at all. If I had to count, I leave a building about ten times a day! Why do some people think staying inside will do anything? Get some fresh air people! And lastly…

5. Be positive.

I’ve heard all too many people freaking out about all that is going on in our world right now. And trust me, I get it. I do. But what can you personally do about it? If you have a job that doesn’t personally help patients, all you can really do is stay at home and stay away from people via social distancing. That’s all you can do, and if you can do more (sewing face masks for hospitals, online volunteering, etc.) and want to, go for it! Nobody will be stopping you!

But for any of you out there who find all that’s happening as “no big deal…” please reconsider. You can believe whatever you wish, but please protect those who cannot protect themselves. Whether it be for them or for the fact that you can feel like a better person, please be safe.

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Published on 28 December 2019 by Kyla R.

As an adult, your credit score can either help your future…or harm it. Especially as young adults, many of us fall into the credit card trap where we max them out and then ruin our credit in the first few months. Here is an overview of what credit is, how to keep it high, and what it can do for you.

What is a credit score and how does it help me?

A credit score is a scoring of all the credit you’ve accumulated, how long you’ve had open accounts, and several other credit factors.

Your score can do many things for you, however. If it’s good, it will do good for you. If it’s bad, it’ll likely only pull you down.

Let’s get an example. If you have a low score, you’re likely to pay thousands of dollars extra on a mortgage, auto loans, and other loans that refer to your credit score.

Reasons to have a high credit score:

  • Security Deposits may be waived
  • Savings on interest rates and loans
  • Access to credit cards with lower rates and more savings
  • Lower insurance premiums

Why do you need a good credit score?

What is the likelihood that you will save up hundreds of thousands of dollars for a house, and then pay it off in full? Unless you are planning on renting places for the rest of your life or saving until you have enough, a home mortgage is likely your best bet. In order to get a fair deal, however, you will need to boost your credit score and keep it as high as possible or else you may be paying thousands of dollars more than someone else.

You don’t have only one credit score.

There are three main credit bureaus who hold the information that create your score. You are allowed to get one free score once a year from all three, but websites such as CreditKarma help formulate one several times a month and will alert you of any changes, as well as offer cards that you can look into.

How to grow good credit:

Paying your bills on time is one of the most important aspects. Not only will your payments increase if you don’t due to interest, but it will be bringing down your score.

Your total accounts. Every card you open and every loan you take out will add to your number of total accounts. Too many accounts can look poor, but having a good mix always helps.

Length of credit. This part of your score considers both the age of your oldest account and newest, as well as the average. The shorter the amount of time, the more it will weigh down on your score.

Inquiries. If you are constantly making hard inquiries (meaning you are applying for new credit cards or loans) your credit score may reflect it. They typically score this based on the last 12 months.

Revolving Utilization. What is that fancy phrase? Simply put, it’s how much you owe on your accounts. This is calculated as a percent of how much you owe based on your total credit limit. So if you have a limit of $3,000 for example and are maxing it out every month, it will poorly reflect on your score.

As a young adult, my first decision was to apply for a credit card on my eighteenth birthday. For many, this is where the problem begins. I, however, was responsible with my card and actually formulated a high score! The only thing bringing me down now is my length of credit and my student loans. Here’s to high credit scores!

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