Featured

2 Brain Chemicals That Dictate Your Mood

Brandon Moses
Brandon Moses

World Traveler. Investor. Blogger. Visionary.

In today’s age, we literally have the world at our fingertips. We have the ability to search for answers to our homework, receive likes on pictures we post, even hit the snooze button on our phones to delay waking up for nine more minutes. These acts enlight instant gratification and addictive pleasure. 

We also experience things in life that make us feel happy for a longer period of time. The act of exercising, eating healthy meals, getting an hour of sunlight a day; all can immensely boost one’s mood.

Here’s a question to ponder:

Which is easier: Working hard for something you want or instantly being rewarded by doing nothing? I think most of us would go with the latter. 

Your response to that question is why we must strive to understand two main brain chemicals: Dopamine and Serotonin. These brain chemicals are associated with mood regulation and stimulation. They dictate our emotions, mood, and overall brain function. Without them, our brain and bodily functions would be severely altered.

Let’s breakdown the difference between the two neurotransmitters:

Dopamine (C8H11NO2)

Do you know why you feel good when you win a video game or eat dessert after dinner? It is because your brain releases a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is the “feel good” neurotransmitter that your body craves. It is released by pleasurable situations and leaves your body wanting more. With our present world being filled with dopamine releasing activities, your body can become flooded with dopamine chemicals. Too much dopamine can lead to addictive tendencies, such as drug abuse, alcoholism, excessive gambling, comfort eating, etc. These tendencies can result in fatigue, forgetfulness, obesity, brain fog, limited motivation, and other health detriments. 

Even though dopamine has its downsides, it cannot go unstated that there are some benefits of the chemical. First off, dopamine improves memory and is imperative to central nervous system functions. Dopamine release can also be a natural way to avoid burnout in everyday life activities. Finally, dopamine can be a motivating factor. Rewarding yourself with watching a movie after completing a project can help your brain and body relax. 

As you can see, dopamine has both positive and negative effects. That is why it is vital to balance your dopamine levels. Keyword here is BALANCE. *A full list of dopamine decreasing activities can be found below.

Serotonin (C10H12N2O)

Serotonin is another neurotransmitter that deals with a wide range of brain functions, specifically stabilizing your emotions and mood. The neurotransmitter is produced in the brain, however the majority of your body’s serotonin is located in your digestive tract. This brain chemical is often affiliated with “true happiness” instead of instant gratification. Serotonin improves clarity of thought, intensifies social behavior, regulates mood and anxiety, and balances appetite. 

There are many ways that you can boost your serotonin levels. Learning new skills, perfecting your physique, having good relationships with people, eating healthy, being exposed to sunlight, and even getting a massage all result in serotonin release. As a brain chemical, serotonin can be impacted by other factors, which can result in a deficiency. 

Things that decrease serotonin levels: anxiousness, panic, pain, depression, anger, compulsiveness, etc. If you are experiencing any of these, strive to get your serotonin levels up. You will naturally start feeling better without taking any medication. 

Just like dopamine, it is important to regulate your serotonin levels. *A full list of serotonin boosting activities can be found below.

My Take:

I think indulging in too much dopamine releasing activities is definitely a problem that many of us experience. If you agree with this, I recommend taking some of the steps below to decrease dopamine release and increase serotonin levels.

7 Quick Tips For Decreasing Dopamine Stimulation:

  • Put time limits on visiting social media websites and apps.
  • Take hiatuses from high dopamine releasing activities like drinking and smoking.
  • Stay away from high sugar and saturated fat foods. Places like McDonald’s and Wendy’s are often associated with excess carbohydrates, saturated fats, and sugar. Keep away from these places to decrease dopamine release. 
  • Consume probiotic pills. Gut bacteria has the capability of producing dopamine and releasing it throughout your body. Probiotic pills clear this bacteria out. 
  • Take a dopamine detox day! More details here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QiE-M1LrZk
  • Stay off your phone at least 30 minutes before bed. Let your melatonin kick in. 
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Make sure you’re staying on a sleep schedule.

7 Quick Tips For Boosting Serotonin Levels:

  • Sleep with your blinds slightly open to allow the sunlight to awaken you. This natural way of waking up will make it easier to get out of bed instead of waking to a blaring alarm. 
  • Workout before dinner, 4-5pm (if possible). You’ll feel accomplished after you complete your workout and eat dinner. You will also get rid of the brain fog that builds up during the day.
  • Laugh at things that normally make you mad or embarrassed. This limits anger outbreaks and anxious tendencies.
  • Eat healthy! Foods that boost serotonin include: salmon, nuts & seeds, eggs, pineapple, tofu, and a plethora of vegetables. 
  • Cut down on comfort foods and bored eating. If you eat a healthy meal, it can be ruined by indulging in bad snacks throughout the day. Strive to replace bored eating with serotonin building activities. 
  • Settle any fights/conflicts you are having with friends or family. Having solid relationships in your life relieves stress and loneliness.
  • Do a task right when you wake up. For example: making your bed or cleaning your house.

Liked This Article? Share It:

Featured

Schools Need To Teach More Of These Subjects

~From U.S History to English Composition, you learn a lot in the classroom. Elementary school through college is essentially a period of constant learning. Even though school does teach you a ton of information, I feel four life subjects need to be emphasized more. If these four things are focused on, we have the potential to decrease many problems we face in the U.S today.~

Brandon Moses
Brandon Moses

World Traveler. Investor. Blogger. Visionary

1. Mental and Physical Health

Teach physical health in school
  • “46 percent of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, and half of those people will develop conditions by the age of 14 (Mental Health America, 2020).” 
  • Nearly 40% of American adults aged 20 and over are obese. 71.6% of adults aged 20 and over are overweight, including obesity. (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2020).  
  • About 80 percent of U.S. adults and children aren’t getting enough exercise for optimal health (Heart Health, 2018).”

Physical and mental health are the most important things on this earth. You can argue with me about this, but it’s true. Money, happiness, religion, family, education, all are extremely important in someone’s life. However, without your health, how can you put your full effort towards those things?

Given that both mental and physical health affect the way you live your life, I think it should be a priority to understand them. 

Mental health has impacted millions and millions of people all around the world. In U.S colleges, it often takes 2-3 weeks to get an appointment with the counseling center. 2-3 weeks of chronic depression and anxiety can feel like a lifetime to many. Mental health issues are not determined by age/sex/race either. They are recurrent throughout individuals’ lives no matter what their gender or skin color is. You can be the richest and most educated person in the world but still suffer from depression. You hear it all the time. Famous athletes like Michael Phelps, Kevin Love, Serena Williams all struggled with depression at some point in their lives. It is a hard subject to talk about, but it is needed in our society today.

In addition to understanding mental health, I believe people need to learn how to talk about it. Being quick to judge almost always results in the situation being worse. I feel like people use the excuse of “someone has it a lot worse than me”, even if that is true, that doesn’t stop pain. It is false positive reassurance that is only temporary. We need to be taught at a young age how to talk to people experiencing depressive symptoms, and what we can do to make the situation better.

Course Examples: Meditation and Journaling, Understanding Anxiety and Depression, How To Talk To People Experiencing A Mental Illness, Recognizing Depressive Symptoms, How To Genuinely Think Positive. 

Physical health, aka what keeps you alive, should also get more recognition in schools. After graduating college, many individuals get wrapped up in a 9-5 job. They have little time to workout and cook for themselves. This leads to poor decisions, like eating fast food and never going to the gym. Putting more emphasis on how to live a healthy lifestyle is very much needed in our classrooms. It should be consistent and take place as early as elementary school. A half semester of health in high school will not do much.

Learning how to cook a healthy meal, how to find time in your day to hit the gym, and even learning types of diets that give positive results. All of these can be taught in the classroom! Eating healthy and working out aren’t always easy at times, however I think they are priorities that individuals need to focus on to ensure a life free of preventable diseases. When you workout, you feel good about yourself…this is because your brain releases serotonin throughout your body (full explanation here). There are a ton of benefits associated with eating well and working out. We must place a heavy emphasis on these benefits in order to prioritize them in our lives. 

Course Examples: The Impact of Working Out Six Days A Week, The Negative Effects Fast Food Has on Your Body, Prioritizing Good Habits, Meal Preparation and Cooking Basics, Exercising Without Weights or a Gym.

2. Financial Literacy

Teach financial literary in school
  • “According to Experian’s 2019 Consumer Debt Study, total consumer debt in the U.S. is at $14.1 trillion, with Americans carrying an average personal debt of $90,460 (Calonia, 2020).” 
  • “Among the Class of 2019, 69% of college students took out student loans, and they graduated with an average debt of $29,900 (Student Loans Hero, 2020).” 
  • Almost 20% of people earning between $30,000 and $100,000 said they spent more than they earned — an increase of more than 4 percentage points from last year (Picchi, 2019).”

I learned more about money through two books than any other class I ever took in school. The first book is called Rich Dad Poor Dad, written by Robert Kiyosaki. The book teaches its readers that many are stuck in this so-called “rat race”. The rat race is essentially a continuous cycle of buying liabilities. Liabilities can be labeled as a house, cars, loans, and so on. When people get a promotion at work or start making more money on their freelance projects, they tend to increase their spending. You’ll owe more money when you upgrade to a bigger house, nicer car, faster computer, etc.

Kiyosaki urges individuals to invest in assets rather than liabilities. For example, Roth IRA’s, stocks, bonds, savings accounts, target date funds… basically anything that grows in value over an extended period of time. If you don’t, you’ll wind up paying 25% of your income to the government, and the rest of it to life necessities and wants. 

The second book I read is called FU Money by Dan Lok. This book focuses more on the perceptions that people have about money. Lok says that money gives you the freedom to pursue things in life that you aspire to achieve. However, you should not seek money, you should seek financial freedom. He says that the majority of people around the world believe “money is evil” and “the rich are greedy”. Lok says this has been taught to us from a young age. Truth is, some of the richest people in the world are the most selfless people you’ll ever meet. “Money makes good people better and bad people worse.” Remember that statement! If you want to be rich, don’t let people with negative perceptions about money hold you back. 

I firmly believe that if more financial literacy classes are taught in school, debt will be lowered and people will invest in assets. In addition, students will have a better idea of how to pay back their student loans, and assess their living expenses on an entry level salary. Filing taxes is just another example of something that young adults struggle with. You don’t need to be a finance major to manage your money properly. However, I do think you need to be taught good money habits in school. 

Something to keep in mind: Making money should not be the end goal. It is a tool that you use to help you achieve freedom in specific areas of life. If you want to become a millionaire and donate 98% to cure COVID-19, it is your choice! That is the beauty of financial freedom.

Course Examples: Budgeting On A Low Salary, Filing Taxes, Interest and Loans, Why Lottery Winners Go Broke, The Perceptions About Money. 

3. Independent Thinking

learning about finance in schools
  • “The Pew Research Center’s report also found that nine-in-ten (88%) of Americans also recognized that social media companies now have at least some control over the mix of the news that people see each day (Suciu, 2019).”  
  • The second most crucial skill to have in 2020 is critical thinking (Philosophy.HK, 2020).  
  • “Forty-one percent of young adults who identify strongly with a political party will use their favorite news source to make decisions about candidates, and 49 percent of these young adults will do the same when making decisions about policies to support (Knight Foundation, 2019).”

The stories you hear on the news are dividing us into what we pledged to not be, two nations. Dramatized news stories are intended to cause panic and fear within our society. Now we even have social media, which the majority of Gen Zers get their information from. Almost every current event is now political. It is hard for young individuals to decide which side to take. 

As we grow older, we develop life experiences that shape what we believe. Progressive vs Conservative. Republican vs Democrat. Green vs Libertarian. 

One thing I like to stress is that you do not need to affiliate with a political party to feel included. You believe what you choose to believe. I think schools do a bad job of emphasizing independent thought. Being a political science major in college, almost everything was about division. Republicans did this, democrats did that, you were forced to consume information on a daily basis about the wrong decisions that people have made. It’s hard to stay a centrist when the professors themselves are politically biased. Therefore I think schools need to focus on developing independent thinking without being ridiculed. 

You can be pro-choice but also want a flat tax system. Or you can be a supporter of environmental regulations but also an advocate of capitalism. You formulate your own thoughts. It is great to pay attention to the news and read opinion posts, however I think people need to strive to understand both sides. Of course there will be some things that you feel super passionate about, and that is totally understandable. However, I disagree with individuals labeling and generalizing political parties without actually engaging in necessary conversations.   

Fun fact: according to Gallup polling, 40% of Americans describe themselves as independent. However, third party candidates only received a combined 5% of general election votes in 2016. This seems somewhat illogical to me. American confusion or party dominance? Comment below your thoughts. 

Students also need to be taught the impact of social media. If you say something on Instagram, realize that people WILL react. A lot of things over text can be taken out of context. Therefore it is very possible to grow an image on social media that people will dislike you for.! Assessing what you put on social media is part of critical thinking. I think Newton said it best, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” If schools taught how to manage social media decisions, I think there would be less negative stigma surrounding these apps.

Course Examples: Managing Social Media, Introduction To Independent Thinking, Filtering Information, The Two Party System, Agenda Pushing.

4. Professional Development

learn about interviewing in schools
  • “[A] telephone survey of 1,002 employed adults found that 92% of Americans are stressed by at least one thing about the job interview process (Corinthian Colleges, 2013).” 
  • Executive applicants do not understand the dynamics of the job search process, from knowing their value, to their inability to connect their relevant accomplishments with the employer’s needs (Self, John. 2018).” 
  • “Learning to interview [in high school] builds a range of communication skills (Edutopia. 2020).”

In my senior year of college, I completed 28 interviews. 28! Was this due to a lack of certainty on my part? Of course. However, I was also extremely underprepared for my first couple of interviews. I didn’t know how to talk about myself, apply my past experiences to the job description, explain how I would benefit the company, what my strengths and weaknesses were, etc. 

You go to college to learn and get a job. In order to get a job, you must interview. I was taught nothing about interviewing in high school. Even in college, I had no way to consistently practice for interviews. Therefore, I think it should be part of a curriculum to study interviewing, learn how to properly write a resume, and know how to network with company recruiters and managers. I personally think if I was taught more about professional development in my classes, I would not have had to do 28 interviews to finally find a job that I wanted. 

In addition, I think applicants need to know when to accept and when to deny a job offer. A lot of college students hop on the first job offer they get out of college, which they wind up quitting within two years. A lot of these students realize too late that there are opportunities that would’ve been a lot better fit for them. Students should be taught about entry level salaries, relocation assistance, employee benefits, qualifications, expectations, and much more. This will help them assess if an entry level job is worth accepting depending on their circumstances. 

Students also need to be prepared for, “I got a job offer in New York City, now what?” The ability to answer career oriented questions before your career actually begins is important. Given that many “entry level jobs” require years of experience, gaining an upperhand in any way possible is essential. 

Something to keep in mind: Everybody can interview well if they practice. Interviewing is one of those things where you become better and better at it over time. Try not to get discouraged if you get denied from a job, keep improving and practicing. Think about your circumstances before you accept a job offer. 

Course Examples: How To Talk About Yourself, Assessing Your Strengths and Weaknesses, Evaluating Whether To Accept a Job Offer, The Importance of Networking, The Art of Negotiation. 

Liked This Article? Share With Friends:

Featured

TikTok Haters Cannot Ignore These Facts

~“THEY ARE SPYING ON YOU!” “THE APP NEGATIVELY IMPACTS TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS!” “TIKTOK CANNOT BE TRUSTED”~

You hear it all nowadays.

Brandon Moses
Brandon Moses

World Traveler. Investor. Blogger. Visionary.

Growing up as a Vine lover, I was actually not a huge fan of TikTok when it first launched. I thought it was extremely overrated and was just another viral trend. The privacy issues furthered my concerns about the app. 

However, I have come to realize I have been searching for the wrong answers. My perspective on TikTok has started to change recently. Instead of hating on TikTok for its “possible” negative impacts, I turned my head and looked at it as for what it really is for Generation Z. Beneficial!

Here’s Why:

1. It Helps Your Wallet

In quarantine, Zoomers have resorted to TikTok to fill their free time. According to Craig Levitt and Grocery Business, 62% of Gen Zers prefer to spend money on experiences rather than materialistic goods.

Given that TikTok is an experience in itself, most Gen Zers do not have the urge to go out and spend money. Zoomers are satisfied with the free experience that TikTok and social media provides for them.

2. It Boots Confidence

Photo by Nicole De Khors

Posting a video of yourself isn’t always the easiest thing to do. A lot of the time, individuals get somewhat anxious when they are on camera. 

However, we are now in the age of Zoom, where high school and college students are forced to sit in front of a camera. In addition- interviews, networking events, and large gatherings are now all held on camera. What better way is there to be more comfortable on camera than posting an original TikTok? Just a thought. 

3. It Fosters Creativity

Photo by Sarah Pflug

Today, you are constantly seeing the same old repetitive pictures on Instagram. Who really cares about that anymore? Rather, TikTok gives you the ability to create anything you want.

TikTok also gives a different perspective than what we currently have on social media. For example, recording yourself with a tweet in the background. Seems dumb right? Maybe so, but people are more inclined to read the tweet on TikTok than on Twitter. TikTok essentially pulls out the good tweets and features them in a video. You don’t have to scroll through hundreds of boring tweets to finally find a good one anymore. 

4. It Relieves Stress

Photo by Brodie Vissers

Given that many of us have been out of school/work for an extended time, a good laugh is essential. TikTok is fun and family friendly (most of the time). Try making a TikTok with your family members and see how it turns out!

Finding stress relief is honestly one of the most important things to do when you’re in high school or college. The pressure from exams and finals creates panic and brain fuzz. If you get enjoyment out of TikTok, why not spend a few minutes per day watching them or creating one?

5. It is Relatable

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio 

In our current political climate, a lot of people feel misunderstood. They do not know how to express their feelings and/or feel lost at times. TikTok uncovers individuals who you can personally relate to. 

Another benefit that TikTok provides is its ability to feature real people. In my opinion, I feel individuals don’t relate much with Instagram or Facebook due to the “fake nature”. A video recording social media network feels much more “real” and personable. Do you agree or disagree?

6. It Provides An Opportunity To Grow A Business

Photo by Terje Sollie 

You see regular people like Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio go from nothing to a household Gen Z name. How? Because of TikTok. Their reputation and fame has led both of them to sign advertising contracts worth millions at a young age. This can be achieved by anybody who is super creative, with a bit of luck.

In addition, TikTok provides an opportunity to market your business to individuals to ages 16-25. Are you looking to sell something that high school and college students need? How about something they want? You know where to find them! Thanks TikTok.

How TikTok Needs To Improve:

  • Come forward with its security process or sell the app to an American company.
  • Do away with likes: people stress too much about how many likes they get. I think just displaying the view count would significantly heighten people’s enjoyment on the app, without discrediting it too much. 
  • Dancing trends will fade out. TikTok creators need to find a new trend that will keep watchers engaged and entertained. 
  • Compete with Instagram reels. This new feature on Instagram is basically a copycat of TikTok. How are they going to compete with this?

Comment your thoughts below! Do you like the app, or is it overrated?

Share This Article:

Thanks for reading!!

Featured

Living Environmentally-Friendly

~All over the world, people are aspiring to live more sustainably. For the past year I’ve attempted to transition into a zero waste lifestyle. Simply put, it has been one of the most difficult, but also worthwhile adventures I have done.~

Lily Byer
Lily Byer

Environmentalist. Engineer. Animal Lover. Volunteer

Diet Transition:

Since birth I have always felt compassion and sympathy for mistreated animals. After watching Food, Inc when I was eight years old, my attachment to animals heightened. Only two minutes into the brutally honest documentary, my perspective on life began to shift. After the film, I decided I no longer wanted to eat meat. I made it my goal to become a vegetarian!

Back in the day, I was an avid meat lover; transitioning into a vegetarian diet was a rocky road. However, it was the road I wanted to take. After three years of going back and forth between meat and vegetables, I finally became a full-on vegetarian. At first, I was doing it for the animals, but I slowly came to realize how impactful my diet was for the environment and my health.

Agriculture plays a huge role in climate change. As the United Nations has said, livestock produces more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined! (UN, 2006). 

According to Down To Earth’s Article “Top 10 Reasons To Go Veggie”, there are some major benefits for transitioning into a vegetarian diet (full list on their website): 

  1. Reduce risk of Heart Disease
  2. Lose excess weight
  3. Reduce global warming
  4. End world hunger
  5. Live longer!

Recently, in my sophomore year of college, I switched to a vegan diet. This was a brand new challenge because I now had to give up something I loved even more, eggs. For those who can relate, nothing compares to scrambled or fried eggs. So delicious! Even though I have struggled with being a vegan, I think it’s important to emphasize the benefits of transitioning into an environmentally friendly lifestyle. It definitely is hard to start in the beginning, but if you stick with it, you will be making the world a better place. 

Plastic Elimination:

It is so easy to get wrapped up in society and not even realize how impactful your everyday choices can be. Next time you are in a grocery store, take a look around… Practically everything is packaged in plastic! When people think of plastic, usually the words “recycle”, “easy”, and “cheap” come to mind. Two out of these three words are true, however the word “recycle” does not always apply. 

As some of you know, there are seven different types of plastics used in everyday essential products. I won’t go into great detail about it, but I would like to mention that there are very strict specifications for whether or not the plastic products you use are recyclable. Most of the time, people don’t give bottles or plastic bags a second thought after throwing them in the garbage or recycle. 

From recent studies, it is clear that only about 9% of the objects that are put into recycling actually get recycled, with only 14% of global plastic packaging actually being put in the recycling bin. That means that the rest ends up in our natural ecosystems and also our landfills.  It is so easy to forget and dispose of these plastics since it does not directly impact individuals in developed countries. However, the hidden effects are starting to rise.

It can take 450-1000 years for plastic to break down, but even in its smaller form, it is still present as a microplastic. These microplastics can be found practically everywhere. Microplastics are absorbed and eaten by fish and plankton in the ocean and then travel up the food chain and negatively affect the entire ecosystem. Also, the chemicals used to make most plastics can be absorbed into the soil, and later into our water sources! Imagine life with contaminated water… it just wouldn’t work!

I hope that this article has changed your outlook on vegetarianism, veganism, and a zero-waste lifestyle in a new way! I hope this will encourage you to take a few steps to reduce your carbon footprint! I’ve included some tips down below to help you out with your journey. 

Essential Tips:

Like What You Read? Share This Article:

Subscribe For New Posts!

Welcome To Wine Country!

~From its wonderful climate to its rolling hills, Virginia is a special place for wine lovers.~

<strong>Andrew Young</strong>
Andrew Young

Blogger. Hokie. Musician. People Person.

History

The Commonwealth of Virginia is widely known for all sorts of identities. It has been recognized as the birthplace of our nation, but also the main grounds of the bloody war waged to keep that nation intact. Virginia is known for its bustling northern metropolis, but also the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You find all kinds of people in Virginia too; from the small-town heartland and blue collar workers, to the D.C. urbanites and government folk. It is a beautiful, historically-rooted and dynamic place.

With all of the most prominent features of this state, it is pretty easy for one of its best kept secrets to be swept under the rug: its booming and dynamic wine industry.

Winemaking

Winemaking in Virginia has been documented as early as the Jamestown settlement in the early 1600’s, as settlers were often required to grow wine grapes to be exported back to England. Virginia also had another notable moment in its early winemaking history, as President Thomas Jefferson attempted to grow wine grapes of his own on his Monticello Estate, after being inspired by his time as a diplomat in Europe. While his vineyard never had a successful harvest due to disease, his attempt was incredibly consequential. The Charlottesville-centered Monticello wine region is regarded today as the premier winemaking region of Virginia.

Today’s Virginia wine scene really began to take shape in the 1970’s, and has subsequently boomed to over 250 wineries throughout the Commonwealth. In its early days, the Virginia wine industry focused very heavily on French Bordeaux varietals, as the climate here almost mirrored that of France. To this day, this French influence still remains and has a strong force, as the French grapes Viognier, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc are among the most grown in the state.

Wine Diversity

Virginia has now expanded massively beyond where it began. We are at a point in time where there truly is something for everyone to enjoy. There has been such a massive increase in the number of wineries and diversity amongst the wines produced that it shows off the versatility of the state as a grounds for growing grapes. If you want to enjoy sweet Riesling-style wine, Virginia is known for fruity and refreshing Vidal Blanc. If you’re looking for a full-bodied but fruit forward red wine, Petit Verdot and the indigenous Norton are amongst the most notable in the state. Say you like spicy wine, Chambourcin is super popular at wineries across the Commonwealth. If you like buttery, but smooth wine, Chardonnay is the most popularly grown grape in Virginia, and Viognier is perhaps the best-adapted grape to our climate here.

Wineries

Virginia is also such a nice place to get into and explore wine if you’re new to it. Wineries are down to Earth, with friendly staff and patrons. Many are small businesses that are supported by local customers. Wines are affordable, but of great quality and diversity.

If you’re looking to get into wine and figure out what you like, you can go to most any winery in Virginia, and you will find a diverse menu of options. If you are looking for a more quaint and quiet winery to go spend a day at, you can find those easily. Say you are looking for a family-friendly, pet-friendly winery with slushies and live music, we have those too! What is so special about the cultivation of wine in Virginia is that there is something here for anyone, both in palate and atmosphere: from the sweet and juicy wine drinker, to the religious Bordeaux blend aficionado, we have it. Simply put, there is so much out there to be tried and enjoyed.

Notable Virginia Wineries and Wines:

Barboursville Vineyards: Octagon, Nebbiolo

Barrel Oak Winery: Peanut’s Petite Cuvee

Beliveau Farm Winery: Trailblazer Merlot, Chardonnay

Bluemont Vineyards: Chambourcin

Chateau Morrisette Winery: Sweet and Fruit Wines

Chrysalis Vineyards: Norton Schitz and Giggels, Locksley Reserve Norton

Horton Vineyards: Viognier, Vidal Blanc

Jefferson Vineyards: Viognier, Chardonnay

New Kent Winery: White Merlot, White Norton

New River Vineyard: Colonel Luze Raspberry, Mulled Wine

Paradise Springs of Clifton: Norton, Meritage

Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards: Viognier, Petit Verdot

RdV Vineyards: Rendezvous

Rockbridge Vineyards: Jeremiah’s Rose, Lexington & Concord, Vd’Or

The Winery at Bull Run: Reconciliation

The Winery at La Grange: The General Red Blend, Petite Sirah

Trump Winery: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, New World Reserve

Veritas Winery: Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier

This is just a few of many!

Like What You Read? Share This Article:

Subscribe For New Posts!

Why I Started A Blogging Website

After graduating in May, I had never written a blog in my life. The most writing I had ever done was in college, formulating essays for Political Science seminars. Simply put, I never wrote for fun. However, after realizing how powerful writing can be, I decided to create my blogging website and begin my journey. Welcome to The Blogging Zoomer!

Brandon Moses
Brandon Moses

Investor. World Traveler. Blogger. Visionary.

Reasons why I started a blogging website –

1. Personal Branding:

resume checklist

Personal branding can simply be defined as elevating your credibility and differentiating yourself from the rest. Oftentimes you hear people say “Build your own brand”. Why? Because originality is extremely important in our world today.

I did not want to be another number when being considered for jobs. I wanted to stand out. So I figured elevating my personal brand could help me accomplish that. After months of content writing and website development, I finally started getting my blog to where I felt comfortable sharing it. I can now label myself as the founder and creator of a niche blogging platform. 

Personal branding not only opens you up to more job opportunities, but also networking opportunities. I have interacted with numerous bloggers who have been writing for years. Their expertise is simply amazing! Learning and growing from them is a privilege that was made available to me by starting my own blog. 

2. Filling My Free Time:

holding clock free time

I’ve told this story a few times, but I’ll tell it again. Back in March, I spent most of my time watching tv and playing video games. Think of the popular shows on Netflix – I probably watched the majority of them. This was not a proper way of living my best life. Even though I was stuck in quarantine, I was determined to find an activity that I would be proud to work on each day. When I stumbled upon blogging, I saw it as an opportunity to grow my creativity and write about my past experiences.

I now try to spend the bulk of my free time writing, editing, and revising my website and blogs. This ensures productivity and allows me to work on something rather than wasting away my time. 

If you are a person who has limited free time, I would not recommend starting a blogging website right off the bat. Write a few articles when you have some time for yourself. This could be done on Medium, LinkedIn, or simply Google Docs. Once you complete this, you’ll get a better feel if you want to pursue creating your own website. 

3. Build SEO Knowledge

Creating a blogging website, SEO

What’s SEO? I asked this question back in November when I was working on a project with a classmate. Formally known as “Search Engine Optimization”, SEO basically is the act of improving your website’s ranking on search engines like Google and Bing. Building SEO knowledge is essential and highly demanded in today’s age, as everything is transitioning online There will be heightened competition, and therefore it is extremely beneficial to improve your SEO knowledge if you have your own business. 

Since creating and editing my website, I see how specific keywords and layouts help maximize my exposure. There are multiple things that go into Search Engine Optimization: readability, page speed, mobile friendliness, text length, alt attributes for images, credibility, backlinks, etc. It is very difficult to learn all of these in one day. It took me quite a while to get to the point where I feel comfortable with SEO (I’m still not even close to being an expert). However, I now know tips and tricks that allow me to gain the upper hand on select competition. 

4. Develop Writing Skills:

Creating a blogging website, Writing

Back in high school I used to dislike writing. As I stated before, I used to just write for grades, not for the enjoyment of it. As many of you know, in school you are often forced to write things you don’t want to. This often deters people from enjoying writing. I personally used to look at writing as a chore that I needed to do to get good grades. 

Fast forward a few years later, I pulled up Google and searched “best skills to build in your 20’s”. One of the first skills listed was writing. Even though I used to hate writing, I was immediately intrigued by the benefits writing can provide. In fact, “copywriting” or selling something through writing, is one of the most highly demanded skills in the market right now. Developing my creative writing skills has been one of the best decisions I have made, opening up the door to personal growth and success. Now instead of writing for an A-F, I am writing for fun. 

5. Share Ideas and Experiences With The World:

Creating a blogging website, Presentation

I’m not really a person that likes to share, as I generally keep my ideas and goals to myself. “Let the results speak for itself” is often my mentality. However, sharing my blogs has facilitated quicker and more meaningful results. 

A piece of advice I have for Generation Z is to not be scared to share your thoughts and experiences. Inaction creates regret and stresses the mind. Go out and make your voice heard! If it’s blogging that’s great, start writing! If it’s something else, go for it! Don’t let doubt hold you back. 

Thanks to blogging, I personally feel I am not more comfortable sharing my opinions and thoughts with individuals I do not know. I think this is a great skill for individuals everywhere to develop. Having an open-mind while simultaneously being able to articulate my thoughts is something that I think more individuals should strive to achieve!

Summary For Zoomers:

Blogging is a great way to build your creative writing skills and SEO knowledge. In addition, you will spend your free time more wisely and share your expertise with the world. If that is something that you find attractive, then you should pursue a blogging website! Comment below or email me if you want to talk about specific details on creating a blogging website or writing articles.

Like What You Read? Share This Article:

Subscribe For New Posts

Flying On Delta and Frontier During COVID-19

Delta vs. Frontier

How are these two airlines dealing with the coronavirus?

Written By: Brandon Moses
Written By: Brandon Moses

World Traveler. Investor. Blogger. Visionary.

I flew on the best and worst airlines during COVID-19, Frontier and Delta. The differences are as clear as day.

Out of 10 airlines, Delta is ranked #1, Frontier is Ranked #9 – according to the points guy.

Blocking the Middle Seat?

Both Frontier and Delta have blocked the middle seat. Unless you’re traveling with a party of 2+ people, a middle seat will not be assigned to you. 

Pro Tip: It is not worth paying extra for choosing your seat on either of these airlines. Unless you really prefer an aisle seat over the window (or vice versa), save the money for your destination. 

Mask Policy?

You are required to wear a mask when you are traveling with either of these airlines. Unless you’re drinking water or eating a snack, a facial covering MUST be worn at all times. 

The flight attendants will remind you to keep your face covered if you take it off to talk, sleep, or sneeze. On my Frontier flight to Vegas, a flight attendant had to make an announcement due to an argument with another passenger when boarding – “All passengers are required to keep their facemask on at all times. If you do not comply, you will be removed from the flight and reported to the FAA.” I made sure to keep my mask on at all times!

Pro Tip: Bring multiple masks. You do not want to drop/lose your mask in the airport and not be allowed to board. In adittion, make sure you are putting on your mask properly

Drink and Food Service?

Frontier did not serve anything, aside from water which you had to pay $2.95 for a bottle. Delta distributed “goody bags” to all passengers. Inside the bag: a mini water bottle, a bag of almonds, a pouch of pretzels, a disinfectant wipe, and a napkin. Delta flight attendants distributed the bags at a distance and with gloves on. 

Pro Tip: Eat before you board. This limits the germs being scattered throughout the cabin. In addition, you are not going to be able to order anything off of the menu. 

Sanitation?

Fresh air was vented every three minutes throughout the cabin using High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestors. Each flight was disinfected and fully scrubbed down before boarding.

Delta handed out sanitation wipes when I boarded, Frontier did not. Every ten minutes, trash was collected.

Pro Tip: Bring your own sanitation wipes if you are paranoid about the germs on the flight. Another precaution you can take it to wear two masks simultaneously to ensure your nose and mouth are fully covered. Also, do not forget hand sanitizer! A durable fanny pack allowed me to carry all of this during my trip!

Safety Measures?

Delta boarded from the back of the plane to the front. Rows 30-35 boarded first, 25-29 second, 20-24 third, and so on. Frontier called passengers by boarding class. I personally loved how Delta completed the boarding process; it made it more efficient and less time consuming.  

Delta and Frontier both urged social distancing. However, a decent amount of passengers did not want to listen. People stood up immediately after the plane landed and crowded the walkway. Delta asked passengers to sit down until the row before them exited the flight, Frontier did not urge passengers to wait. 

Frontier tested all passengers’s temperature before boarding the flight. If you had a temperature above 100.6 degrees you would not be allowed to board. Delta did not check my temperature. 

Pro Tip: If you are in a rush to catch a connecting flight, alert one of the flight attendants. It makes it easier and safer for everyone on the flight. 

Summary for Zoomers:

In total, I felt that Delta did a great job altering their way of functioning during this pandemic. Frontier has some work to do, however I would still say they are taking safety precautions. I felt relatively safe on all four of my flights and would fly again if I needed to. Check the pro tips above to ensure safety.

Do You Know Anybody Flying Soon? Share This Article:

Like what you read? Subscribe here!!

Any Questions? Ask below and I’ll answer!!

Frontier Flight 777

My African Safari Experience

~Looking over the picturesque landscape, I couldn’t help but smile. I was on my first African safari! As a kid, I had always loved observing animals. A dream of mine was finally coming true. Reminiscing~

Back in November 2018, I was able to travel to Akagera National Park. Sharing a border with Tanzania, Akagera is located in NorthEast Rwanda. It takes up an area of 433 square miles. Almost completely destroyed in 1994, Akagera has started to get back to what it was meant to be. 

History of Akagera:

Poachers and the Rwanda Genocide destroyed a lot of wildlife in Akagera. Poachers used to kill lions because they were a threat to their villages, and were killing their cattle. Akagera was also a battleground for the Rwanda Genocide, and later named a relocation zone. A National Park that used to be a natural home to lions and rhinos, saw their disappearance in the 90s. As time went on, more Rwandans put in an effort to rebuild the park. Going from nearly destroyed, to reintroducing lions and rhinos back into the park was a major accomplishment. Fencing, anti-poaching laws, and better management have helped the park thrive. Akagera is now a major tourist attraction that brings in people from all over the world, and is regarded as a 5-star African safari experience.

Getting There:

I went on the Safari with 16 other individuals, 14 from Virginia Tech and 2 of our brilliant translators. We started our journey from a small hotel, about an hour outside of the park. Three beige safari trucks picked us up early in the morning. “Hills in the Mist Travel Tours” was labeled on the back. When we got to the entrance, myself, my translator Kim, and my friend Farrell took a picture in front of the Akagera sign (pictured below). We were extremely excited and wanted to get into the park as soon as possible, but of course pictures come first! 

Arriving:

In a thick Rwandan accent: “Keep your hands inside the vehicle, do not be stupid and jump out. Or else the lions may get you.” One of the park managers jokingly told us. Was I scared? No. But I wasn’t planning on getting out of the truck!

The First Half:

To begin we drove down a bumpy dirt road. The road was small, giving off the feeling that it was only one way. “Giraffes” someone screamed in a truck in front of mine. I looked up and was amazed. I saw a plethora of giraffes feeding on green leafy trees. To say the least, they were massive! I knew giraffes were giant creatures, but it took me by surprise to see a lot of them in a small area. Fun fact: A giraffe’s neck is too short to reach the ground when standing straight up. If you want to see a funny picture, google a giraffe drinking water. 

We continued down the road, passing several small ponds. Herons and other large bird species surrounded the waterholes. The ponds were mainly dried up, as they didn’t look like they had been exposed to rain for a bit of time. 

Next we stumbled upon a large plain filled with Zebras, Buffalo, and Antelope. If you can picture a wide open flat field with a bunch of different animals grazing, that is basically what we saw. Zebras were probably the most abundant of animals across the plain. We saw elephants way out in the distance, but couldn’t get close enough to take pictures. 

The Second Half:

After some time of driving around, I saw some of the most extraordinary views I’d have ever seen in my life. An overlook of famed Lake Ihema, and a landscape of green rolling hills and spaced-out trees. I would recommend visiting Akagera just for this view! For a lack of better words, it was simply unbelievable (sadly pictures or words don’t do it justice).

We made our way down to Lake Ihema, weaving through large bushes. When we finally reached the bottom, we hopped out of the lifted truck and ate lunch. The tour guides gave us bananas, sandwiches, and chips. When we were eating we were surrounded by hippos and crocs the whole time. Honestly I thought the predators were a little too close for comfort, however the tour guides made sure we remained at a safe distance. If you saw how big those hippos were you probably would have felt the same.


After a few minutes we got back into the truck, looking ahead to the last part of the trip. It wasn’t until the last five minutes of the safari that we saw an up close view of the one-and-only, African Elephant. Almost everybody on the trip made it a priority to see the elephant (except for me). Sadly we did not see any leopards, which was my number one. One of the tour guides told me they were nocturnal, so you rarely see them during the day.

Wrapping-Up:

When we finished the tour we went inside the Akagera National Park gift shop. I bought a t-shirt and a sticker from the shop, as I thought it would be a good idea to have for the mems. Sadly, I think the lost the shirt when I got back to the U.S.

Heading Home:

Our tour guide dropped us off at our hotel. We were all exhausted from the trip. The safari was over eight hours long. Even though we were tired, we were all still talking about how amazing the African safari was. It really is a must-add to a traveler’s bucket list. 

African Safari Tips:

  1. Bring a nice camera with a high zoom range: most of the time you cannot get too close to the animals without spooking them. Having a digital camera with a lens zoom of at least 250 is ideal.
  2. Make sure you put on a lot of bug spray. If you want to go the extra mile, try pemetherin. You spray this on your clothes – it is highly effective for repelling mosquitoes. I used it during my trip to Rwanda, it definitely works (and not very expensive). Spray bottles can be found here.
  3. Don’t forget your water! Unless you want to stop for a drink with the hippos and crocodiles, I’d recommend bringing 2-3 bottles of water for yourself.
  4. Get a tour guide. If I had to navigate the bush of Rwanda by myself, I may not be writing this blog right now. Kidding of course. But seriously, you see a lot of people struggling on their own, and oftentimes wind up lost or break down. Don’t be “that person”, play it safe and hire a fun tour guide!
  5. Have fun (and don’t jump out of the truck)!

Summary For Zoomers:

Located in Rwanda, Akagera National Park is a must visit location! The safari was an unbelievable experience that allowed me to see animals up close and not locked in a cage. If you get the opportunity to go on an African Safari in the future, be sure to write down the tips listed above. They definitely would’ve benefited me!

Like What You Read? Share This Article:

Subscribe For New Posts

One Second Every Day For A Year

~Day after day, I felt like I was wasting my time. Time was flying by and I was barely remembering it.~

Brandon Moses
Brandon Moses

Investor. World Traveler. Blogger. Visionary

A few years back, I was sitting on my couch flipping through a list of tv channels. I was extremely bored and wanted to find something productive to do. I started to research ways on how to overcome boredom. 

A few hours after starting my research, I stumbled upon Cesar Kuriyma’s “One Second A Day” Ted Talk. During the video, Cesar explained that he was always busy and never had time for himself. After being inspired by a mentor, he decided to take a year off of work and travel around the United States. The goal was simple – take a one second video that encapsulated his day. 

I was instantly inspired by Cesar’s idea. I figured it was something that would push me to go out and do something with my day. Sitting on the couch and flipping through tv channels would not make an interesting video! I started the project on January 1, 2018, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. 

Three things I learned from completing one second every day for a year:

1. Appreciate every day. 

  • As Robin Sharma says, “A great life is nothing more than a series of well lived days strung together like a necklace of pearls.” A powerful quote that is 100% true. If you waste your days, you’ll live an unfilled life. It is as simple as that. 
  • Live each day to the fullest. Get up early, exercise, improve yourself, and find something that makes your day interesting. Even though not every day is going to be exciting, each day provides some sort of unique aspect to it that differs from the rest. Make the most out of each day and your life will be extraordinary!

2. Stop constantly using your phone.

  • You may question “don’t you have to use your phone for this project?”, the answer is yes. However, I’m not saying not to use your phone, I’m saying do not let your phone dictate your day. Use if for things that contribute to your overall happiness. Aside from work, a lot of us waste so much time on our phones going on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. Stop spending so much time idolizing celebrities on these platforms. Rather go out and achieve your dreams! The only person that is holding you back is yourself. One you realize that, you’ll break away from the epidemic of digital dementia. 
  • Caesar Kuriyama pointed out that too many people in this day in age are using their phones constantly. For example, recording a whole concert or sporting event on their phone. People are living these events through the lens of a camera instead of their own eyes. If you take only a one second video of your favorite song at a concert, or an exciting part of a sporting event, it will trigger a ton of memories from that day when you watch it. And guess what? You’ll remember a heck of a lot more now you are not distracted by your phone. **I know a lot of people are not going to concerts right now, but it’s something to keep in mind once things start getting back to normal!

3. A video is much more powerful than a picture.

  • This one is a hot take, but I believe in it wholeheartedly. A video has a unique aspect to it where you can evaluate someone’s body language, hear background noises, or assess other qualities. Simply put, a video triggers a greater sense of memory than a picture does. I love the idea of “a picture a day” but I do not get the same satisfaction from a picture as I do for a video.
  • A video also enhances personal reflection. When I completed the project, I watched the video back over 20 times. I had a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. It was almost if my way of thinking about life changed. I realized I had become more adventurous, less bored, and overall remembered each and every day. I loved getting up each morning and asking myself “what’s going to be my one second today?”. 

Summary For Zoomers:

This project was personally super impactful to me. I learned a ton about myself and it made my life more interesting and memorable. I traveled to 11 countries in three different continents, saw some awesome sights, met genuine people, and made 2018 the best year of my life. This trend would be awesome to continue for many years! Remember to keep three things in mind: Appreciate every day, stop constantly using your phone, a video is more memorable than a photo.

Has anybody else done One Second Every Day?? Comment below!

I attached my one second a day video below, give it a watch if you’re interested! I decided to do it in reverse order to change things up a bit. Once again, I recommend everybody to take on this project. It may be hard at first, but if you can overcome the difficulties, you’ll have an amazing six minute video of your year to watch. Start now! (or whenever quarantine is over).

**In late August, I dropped my phone at a summer job and it shattered the front screen. Luckily I was still able to get the pictures off of my broken phone and upload them to my computer. The new phone I purchased had audio issues, which you can hear at the first few minutes of the video.

Like What You Read? Share This Article:

 

Popular Stock Trading Platforms in 2020

Have you ever thought about opening a stock trading account? Or perhaps you are looking for another platform to trade on? This blog is intended to compare and contrast three popular stock trading platforms. 

I have had experience and currently use all three brokers : ETrade, Robinhood, and Webull. I first started on Robinhood back in March, while I took over ETrade and Webull accounts in May. 

In general each broker offers:

  • Free commission trading (no fees). 
  • High-speed execution.
  • Instant deposits. 
  • Face ID to get into your mobile account. 
  • $0 account minimums.

From the outside looking in, there are a ton of similarities between the three companies. However, each site has unique qualities that are worth noting: 

Robinhood

  • Best Mobile App: 
    • User-friendly interface, customizable portfolio and watch list, straightforward and simplistic.  
  • Most Popular Stock Broker: 
    • 13 million users, continuously growing, lots of groups on Facebook geared towards Robinhood traders. 
  • Best for Beginners: 
    • Easy to grasp, fractional shares, free cash management debit card. 
  • Easy Access to Trade Cryptocurrency and Low-Cap Stocks:
    • Whether you’re looking to buy Bitcoin or an up-and-coming company, Robinhood can provide it.  

Robinhood’s Worst Features: Bad Customer Service, Low Priority Ranking for Users, Cannot Short-Sell (only options), Often Labeled as “Too Simplistic”. 

ETrade

  • Best Research/ Stock Advice:
    • Robo Advisor, analysts provide price targets and buy/sell ratings, up-to-date news stories regarding specific stocks. 
  • Best Customer Service:
    • 24 hour phone support line, online texting/email option, offices around the nation. 
  • Best for Advanced Traders:
    • Shortselling, trailing stop/ limit orders, ETrade named as the #1 online broker by Kiplinger in 2019. 
  • Longest Active Stock Broker: 
    • Trustworthy, reputable, regularly featured on the news. 

ETrade’s Worst Features: Does Not Have the Best Mobile App, IRA Fees, Slow Account Verification, Limited Currency Trading. 

Webull

  • Most Generous:
    • 2 free stocks for signing-up & funding your account with $100, always doing raffles where you can win free stocks, has a great referral program. 
  • Best for Technical Analysis:
    • Graphs are impeccable and interactive, statistics are widely provided, and gives you the ability to analyze a lot of numbers. 
  • Most Versatile:
    • Can invest in both IRAs and Crypto, access to stock screeners, stock lending income program. 
  • Best for Paper Trading:
    • Robinhood does not offer trading simulators and ETrade is not as user-friendly. Personally I use Investopedia’s trading simulator, however Webull offers a similar platform for those that like fake money trading.  

Webull’s Worst Features: Poor Customer Service, Slow On Getting You Your Free Stocks, Flawed Options Trading, Sub-Par Reputation. 

For me, Robinhood is my favor broker. I wrote about my first three months on Robinhood (here). It’s combination of simplicity and user-friendliness is the reason for its rapid growth. I can see Robinhood expanding even more in the future, eventually being the biggest stock trading platform in the world. Do you agree?

**Something to note: The rankings of these popular stock trading platforms above are a combination of personal opinion and online research. I am not a financial advisor, and urge for you to do your own research before trading on these platforms! 

Comment below and I’ll be happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability.