Awesome

Lifestyle

How to Cook the Perfect Steak: An Awesome Recipe

How to Cook the Perfect Steak: An Awesome Recipe


How to Cook the Perfect Steak: An Awesome Recipe

Each American eats around 220 pounds (or more) of beef every single year. It’s a delicious meat that we can’t have often enough, but a poorly cooked steak is easy to pass up. 

With such a beloved dish, it’s important to know how to treat your dinner guests to the perfect steak when they come over to your home. If your steaks never turn out the way you want, then now’s a good time to figure out what’s going wrong.

Listed down below are tips and tricks to help you learn how to cook the perfect steak. Plus, a recipe that’s great for beginners and masters alike!

Choosing the Right Steak

Even the best steak recipe won’t help if the steak itself isn’t the right one for the job. The first thing to look for in a steak is its grade level. The higher the grade, the better the steak, but it’s still possible to cook great steaks on a budget.

In the US, we have three types of grades:

  • Select – The lowest grade. These steaks are serviceable but the marbling and quality are not so good, making it tougher and less flavorful.
  • Choice – The medium grade. Choice grades have good marbling and flavor and are often the highest grade available in many supermarkets.
  • Prime – The highest grade. These are the top-quality steaks that we all dream about, but a lot of general supermarkets don’t even carry these beauties. Most often, you’ll need to go to a butcher for this grade.

Regardless of its USDA grade, always choose a steak that is firm with an even distribution of marbling. The color needs to be a bright pink color, and avoid anything that’s dark red.

Understanding Steak Temperatures

We all have different ideas as to what’s the perfect steak, but knowing how to cook each temperature is a huge asset. When a guest asks for a specific temperature, you want to serve them a steak they love.

While knowing the finger test is good for professionals, an instant thermometer is even better for accurate reads every time. Use the following list to help get the perfect doneness for all preferences:

  • Rare: 125º
  • Medium Rare: 135º
  • Medium: 145º
  • Medium Well: 150º
  • Well Done: 160º

Allow Time for Resting

It almost seems counter-intuitive to leave a hot steak covered to rest for any amount of time. The problem with skipping this step is that all of the natural juices that make for a flavorful steak are at the edges of the meat.

By allowing it to rest, you’re helping to redistribute those juices throughout the rest of the meat. This gives you the best flavor and texture every single time.

Always give your steak at least a few minutes of resting time before you dive in with high-quality cutlery, such as this modern knife set. It’s difficult to wait, but it’s well worth the effort!

Cater Your Seasonings

It’s easy to go overboard with seasonings. More seasoning seems like a good thing, at first, because it gives the steak more flavor.

For an even better result, it’s best to go with simple seasonings that allow the steak to speak for itself. You’re taking the time to cook a high-quality steak to perfection, why not have the flavor of the meat be the star of the meal?

Rubs and marinades are great for certain dishes, but most of the time, a simple seared steak is perfection, which is what our recipe is all about.

The Best Recipe for Simple Pan-Seared Steak

There are a lot of different ways to cook a steak that all result in a delicious meal. Before you dive into all of those different steak recipes, it’s a good idea to master the simplest version. The following is the best steak recipe to give you a lot of experience cooking steak while allowing you to experiment if you want.

Even if you never cook a steak in any other way, you’ll always have this method in your cooking toolbox. It’ll impress you (and your guests!) for many delicious years.

Ingredients:

  • Room temperature steak (1 to 1 ½ inch thick of your grade choice)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons garlic butter
  • Cast-iron skillet

Cooking Process:

  1. Make sure your steaks are at room temperature so that the outside cooks as soon as it touches the hot pan, creating a good sear. Take them out at least a half-hour before cooking.
  2. Start heating your skillet. A cast-iron skillet takes up to 10 minutes to heat up to the right temperature. Once it starts to smoke a little, it’s ready.
  3. Pat the steaks dry with some paper towels to get rid of excess moisture, then season with salt, coating both sides with a generous layer.
  4. Place the steaks into the hot pan, and leave them there for at least 1 minute or until a good crust forms. This is why there’s no oil in this recipe, as it’s not necessary and can hinder a proper sear.
  5. Once the crust is there, you’re able to flip the steak to the other side without it sticking. Cook the other side for 1 minute as well.
  6. Continue flipping between the two sides for another 4 minutes.
  7. Add in the garlic butter (use steak butter or regular butter if you prefer) and tilt your pan to one side to allow the melted butter to collect. Use a spoon to spread the buttery goodness over the steaks as it cooks, keeping the meat tender, juicy, and flavorful. Flip and repeat every minute or so.
  8. Continue cooking for another 6 minutes, at which time you’ll test for the doneness of the steak.
  9. Once it reaches your preferred temperature, take the steaks out, and allow them to rest for half the time they cooked.
  10. Enjoy with all of your favorite sides and sauces!

Cooking the Perfect Steak Only Takes a Little Practice

Trying to learn how to cook the perfect steak seems like a daunting task at first. Once you try it a few times, it becomes far easier and you’ll never worry about ruining an expensive piece of meat again.

Continue practicing and come back to this page whenever you need a refresher on tips and tricks. You’ll be a master at steaks in no time!

Getting ready for a night of entertaining your guests? Check out the rest of our blog for even more pointers on how to wow everyone at your dinner table!

Business

Popping on Camera: 5 Awesome Video Tips for Real Estate Marketing

Popping on Camera: 5 Awesome Video Tips for Real Estate


Popping on Camera: 5 Awesome Video Tips for Real Estate Marketing

Are you looking for new ways to spread the word about your real estate business?

Whether your real estate business is brand new or has been around for years, video marketing can help you expand your reach and bring in all kinds of new buyers and sellers.

Even if you’ve never made a video before in your life, you can benefit from video marketing.

Read on for some tips that will help you get the hang of using video for real estate marketing.

Benefits of Video for Real Estate Marketing

What makes video marketing so special? 

There are lots of reasons why real estate companies like Westbrook REI are turning to video marketing, including the following:

  • You can showcase houses in a new and interesting way
  • You can bring in new clients who might not be interested in reading content online
  • You can enhance your click-through and open rates
  • You can improve your online search engine rankings

Video can also help you to build trust with your audience and foster deeper connections.

Top Five Video Tips

As you can see, there are lots of reasons to use video as part of your real estate marketing efforts. If you’re new to the world of video, start by giving these tips a try:

1. Focus on Video Quality

When you’re putting together marketing videos, quality is key. Invest in some high-quality recording equipment so you can put out clear videos with great audio. You might even want to hire a part-time videographer to do the actual filming for you.

2. Plan Your Videos Ahead of Time

A good video marketing strategy takes some planning. If you want to have quality content to put out on a regular basis, you need to plan ahead. Take time to think about the types of videos you want to make and when you want to post them.

3. Tell a Story

It helps to get personal in your videos. Sure, you could post video tours of the houses you sell and leave it at that. If people feel a connection with you, personally, though, they’re going to be more inclined to think of your business when they’re buying or selling a house.

4. Use Testimonials

Testimonials are a powerful tool on their own, and video testimonials take things up a notch. Record short videos of your satisfied clients and display on your website and social media profiles.

5. Keep Your Videos Short

Finally, make sure your videos are kept short. Most video experts find that a video that lasts 2-3 minutes is optimal for holding people’s attention and getting your main points across. 

Looking for More Marketing Advice?

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll soon be an expert at using video for real estate marketing.

Are you interested in learning more marketing tips and tricks? If so, we have tons of articles that will teach you everything you need to know about promoting your business, both online and in person.

Start by checking out this article on real estate blog ideas. It’ll help you bust through writer’s block and start appealing to your audience in a brand new way!

Technology

Get Sponsored to Travel: How to Land Awesome Sponsors for Your Travel Blog

Get Sponsored to Travel: How to Land Awesome Sponsors for


Get Sponsored to Travel: How to Land Awesome Sponsors for Your Travel Blog

You’ve always dreamed of being a successful travel writer.

You love combing through Instagram and checking out the most luxurious hotels, beautiful destinations, and seriously breathtaking scenery and landmarks.

The only thing standing in your way? 

Your lack of knowledge about how to get sponsored to travel as a blogger and influencer. 

Don’t worry — this post is here to help you to learn how to make it happen. Read on to start living your dream life.

Start with Brands You Know

If you want to learn how to get brands to sponsor your Instagram or blog, the best thing is to start with ones you know. 

After all, a cold pitch email to a company whose products or services you use as a part of your routine will sound much more genuine than reaching out to a company you know nothing about. 

Maybe you’ve traveled across the world with some seriously durable luggage, and want to feature your favorite suitcase and its ability to stand up to the elements in a post. 

Contact the marketing department, specifically the public relations manager, to find out how to make it happen. 

Network on Social Media

In your quest to become a travel influencer or travel photographer like David Highbloom, you’ll spend a lot of your time on social media. 

In-person networking is still important, but the truth is that most of your networking will take place on social media. 

Of course, make sure you follow other travel bloggers, brands you love, and popular hotels/resorts (and even airlines!) But also get active on popular travel hashtags. When you upload a photo of yourself, tag the companies whose products you’re wearing or showing off. 

You might be surprised by how many free travel opportunities within your niche come pouring in once you establish yourself on social media.

Publish on Travel Sites

When you’re trying to get sponsored to travel, you have to make sure that the biggest players and companies in the game know who you are. 

Yes, coming up with content for your own blog and your social media platforms is incredibly important. 

However, you also need to do what you can to get published on well-read travel blogs and sites. Become a contributor, and include links back to your own blog and social media handles in your content. 

This makes it much easier to connect with hotels that work with bloggers and other sponsorship opportunities. 

Are You Ready to Get Sponsored to Travel?

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand how to get sponsored to travel. 

Whether you’re connecting with powerful brands and other influencers on social media, or if you’re trying to make a name for yourself on travel sites, remember that things might take time. 

Our blog is here to help you to learn how to write interesting, informative travel content — that lands you tons of travel sponsors in the process. 

Keep checking back with us for more writing, SEO, and social media tips and tricks. 

Entertainment

Get Your Adventure On: 5 Awesome Outdoor Activities to Do in the Mountains

Get Your Adventure On: 5 Awesome Outdoor Activities to Do


Get Your Adventure On: 5 Awesome Outdoor Activities to Do in the Mountains

Taking a trip to the mountains may not be your idea of a vacation, but that’s because you haven’t thought of all the amazing activities you can do while you’re there. What if there was a slew of activities to choose from in the great outdoors that you weren’t aware of?

Whether you’re bringing the whole family or making it a romantic trip for two, we’ve laid out 5 awesome outdoor activities you need to do before you leave.

Continue reading below to see just how much fun you can have while visiting the mountains.

1. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hiking a mountain can only get you so far with limited views of the surrounding area depending on where you are. The solution? Taking a hot air balloon ride.

This is the perfect activity to do in the summer when this outdoor activity is most popular. You’ll get a birds-eye view of the mountains and landscape for miles around. Make sure to take your ride at sunset for the most romantic experience.

Not a fan of heights but still want something just as exhilarating? Zip lining could be a great substitute. Take time to learn more about it.

2. River Rafting

River rafting is a great activity the whole family can enjoy. And nothing beats rafting through canyons and valleys, which make for great travel stories.

Depending on which mountain area you’re visiting will determine what kind of rafting you’ll do. While some rivers have half-day adventures, others give you an overnight experience.

Pigeon River, for example, is the third most rafted river in America. It has two sections of rivers to choose from -Lower Pigeon River and Upper Pigeon River.

Lower Pigeon offers Class 1 and Class 2 rapids which aren’t too hard to navigate, making it perfect for families. You’ll still experience some mild falls, though!

If you’re a more experienced rafter, Upper Pigeon River is for you. This section of river features Class 3 and Class 4 rapids.

3. Horseback Riding

Certain mountain ranges like the Smoky Mountains have a lot of ground to cover, making it almost impossible to see everything in a few short days. The solution?

Take to the trails on horseback with no prior riding experience needed. You’ll cover more surface area in a quicker amount of time, and do it in a more unique way!

Most mountain ranges offering this activity have horses who are well-trained and familiar with the trails. This makes it another outdoor activity perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

4. Golfing

Not every outdoor adventure has to be just that – an adventure. If you’re looking for a more relaxing activity, why not take a day to go golfing?

Some mountain ranges have beautiful golf courses overlooking the mountains and beyond, making it the ultimate relaxing golf experience. Not a professional (or even semi-good) golfer?

Don’t worry – there are plenty of mini golf options available, too! Plus, some of these have indoor blacklight courses on rooftops, making it more fun and unique!

5. Clingmans Dome

Let’s go back to basics for our last outdoor adventure with some good ol’ hiking. If you’re staying in the Smoky Mountains, you have to take a day to hike to Clingmans Dome.

After hiking 6,643 miles up, you’ll arrive at the observation tower. This gives you spectacular 360-degree views of the Smokies at the highest point in the state of Tennessee.

If you’re lucky and go on a clear day you can see for over 100 miles!

The hike to the observation tower does get steep, though. While the tower is open all year, the road leading to it closes at the beginning of December.

Keep this in mind when planning your Smoky Mountain trip!

Outdoor Activities You Need to Try

We know these outdoor activities already have you packing your bag. Make sure to keep them in mind for your next mountain trip and pick at least one to put on your mountain bucket list. 

Can’t decide? Do all five and pick which was your favorite!

Want to break into writing about your travel adventures and beyond? Make sure to check out our website. We have tips on everything from content strategy to digital marketing!

Technology

Everything You Need to Know to Build an Awesome Author Website

Everything You Need to Know to Build an Awesome Author


Everything You Need to Know to Build an Awesome Author Website

Interested in building an author website? Good idea!

Whether you’re published or not, every author can benefit from having a professional website that functions as a landing page filled with information for interested parties.

The hardest part is building the site, but once it’s done, you’ll quickly realize the benefits in store. Wondering where to start? Here’s everything you need to know to build an awesome author website.

Select a Host

The first step in building your website is choosing a hosting company. This is the company you will pay a monthly or yearly fee to in order to keep your site up and running. There are different categories when it comes to hosting companies.

Some are advertised as free. This is great for managing a blog or for someone who is still building out their brand, but otherwise, it won’t allow you to really create a customized site. There will be significant limitations because you’re getting the service for free.

Next, there’s self-hosting which will involve a small fee to the hosting company. This option allows you to have complete creative control over the site you’re building, from the template to pages, images and more.

However, you’re responsible for the management of the site and will have to troubleshoot if something goes wrong. Sites like Weebly and Wix have both free and small fee self-hosting options.

Beyond that is a premium hosting option which is best for published authors who have a significant amount of information they want to convey to their audiences such as upcoming book releases, tour dates and more.

A premium option like Direction Inc. will involve a slightly higher monthly rate, but with it, comes security for your site, regular back-ups, and instant help if your site crashes.

Once you’ve determined your hosting company, you’ll be able to move forward with the creation of the rest of your site. If you’re planning to build the site yourself from start to finish, we suggest choosing a clear, intuitive and easy to navigate hosting service so you don’t get confused or stuck during the process.

Choose Your Domain Name

You may already have some ideas about what you’d like your domain name to be. If so, you’ll have to see if it’s available and then purchase it. You’ll pay a yearly fee to maintain ownership of the name.

We suggest keeping your domain simple and pretty obvious. Most authors choose to have their website URL be their full name with a .com or .org following, depending on what’s available. If your name is taken, try adding the word “author” or “books” to the end of your name and see if that option now becomes available.

You want to steer clear of selecting any kind of domain that wouldn’t be immediately associated with you or your work. If you make it too complex, people won’t remember it and it won’t necessarily come up in the search when people google your name.

You want your readers to easily find you online!

Decide on a Template

There’s a lot to consider when building the template or theme of your site and there’s no one right way to do it. The items you select to appear on your site should be relevant to what you’re working on now and drive users to the things you want them most to see.

The most important page is the homepage. But don’t forget about the rest of your site. Think about what you want the sidebar to look like, what’s included in it and how does it pop on the page? What about the banners, footers, and headers?

These are all choices you’ll be able to make in terms of style, font, and color, as well as functionality. When making these selections, keep in mind what keeps you moving smoothly through another website. How do you respond to different templates and themes and which do you prefer when on an internet search?

Include the Essentials

Once you’ve locked down your template, you know how your site will look but what about the contents? Now it’s time to decide what will actually appear on your site. Start by separating your information into categories; those will be the various pages on your site.

You’ll need to have some of the essentials like a home page that gives users some pertinent information so they can be sure they’ve searched the right person and landed on the correct site. You’ll want to have an “about” or “bio” page to share a bit about yourself along with a contact page.

The contact page can be set up so that users can email you directly or you can create a contact form they can fill out on the site that signals you on the backend. You’ll also want to include a page with information about any upcoming work and when they can expect it or what it’s about.

Lastly, you should have easily viewable and clickable icons that connect to your social media platforms. You can put this on your contact page but also consider having it in the footer or sidebar of every page they click so following you on the socials is always an option.

Other than these essentials, you have free reign to create a site that suits you. You can get creative with it as well. Consider having a preview page where users can read excerpts from your upcoming work, much like they could on Amazon when purchasing a book.

Get the Most out of Your New Site

So you’ve built a website and now you’re wondering how to get eyes on it. Well, you’re a writer so, write! Creating and upkeeping a blog that is part of your site is one of the easiest ways to attract more traffic to your page.

Your blog can be about anything! Topics can be relevant to your other existing work or you can even write a personal blog that chronicles the writing process and how it’s going for you. Other writers will be sure to connect and relate to that.

Keep your blogging consistent and use it as a way to promote your site. Don’t be shy on social media. Link your new blog post to Facebook or Twitter and give people even more of a reason to head to your page.

Create Your Author Website!

Follow the above steps and get your author website live within no time. It will help grow your audience and create buzz about you as a writer. If you want people to know who you are and read your work, they need to be able to find you!

Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more digital marketing and content strategy tips that can help easily grow your business.

Technology

How to Create an Awesome Blog for Charity

How to Create an Awesome Blog for Charity


How to Create an Awesome Blog for Charity

Did you know charitable giving rose by 5.4% to a record $358.4 billion in 2015, according to Giving U.S.A? With “Animals and the Environment” at the top with a rise of over 5% and religion had the lowest rise at just under 1%.

This means you’re coming into the charity game at the perfect time.

Let’s take a look at how you can create an awesome blog for charity.

1. Find a Free Blog Site

As with any charitable mission, it’s important to make sure to save money where you can. The saved money can go towards other areas of your organization.

There are many free blog sites available online. Do a little research and find out how each is different. This way you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which blogs offer what you need for your path.

2. Offer an A and B Style of Communication

Most all of the largest U.S. charities maintain a two-way communication style in the form of blogs.

Daily Functioning

Your blog should update on your daily functioning, long-term and short-term goals in a conversational manner. In other words, you probably won’t want to entitle a blog “Our Short-Term and Long-Term Goals.” Not very enticing.

But you’ll want to make sure your blog contains details of how your charity has used the funds that have been brought in. Why should donors continue to support your cause?

Supporter Involvement

Encourage your supporters to become involved, to share ideas and suggestions. Make the blog forum a brainstorming session.

Be sure to respond to questions and comments as soon as possible. The sooner the better. But just make sure it’s no longer than 24 hours.

3. Embrace the Power of Social Media

When you’re creating your awesome blog for charity, you’ll want to make social media your new best friend.

Use Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram. The more social media sites, the better reach.

Share Personal Stories

Don’t make your blog for charity only about charitable business. Share personal stories and struggles, as well. Create a relationship with your readers by showing your vulnerable human side.

Video Packs a Punch

Include high-quality video throughout your blogging. Video allows for two very valuable aspects of communication: eye contact and body language.

Both of these, your readers don’t get through the written word. And both of these are vitally important to establishing rapport and connection.

Use video of some of your projects and interviews from those you’re raising money for. This will help connect your target audience emotionally with the cause.

4. Educate Yourself on the Most Effective Fundraising Strategies

In order to learn more about effective fundraising, you’ll want to do your research and find out what’s worked for other organizations.

You want to be able to convince your patrons to support your charity even when finances are tight. Your charity should be a priority for your supporters to budget in each month.

Captivate them with pictures and quick daily updates of your charity’s achievements.

5. Connect the “Charity” Dots for Your Supporters

In your blog for charity, you’ll want to connect your supporter’s donations with the achievements made by your charity.

Let your readers see what their contributions have done for the cause they care so much for. You can do this by having individual fundraisers that outline each individual expense making up the entire amount requested.

Make it Tangible

For instance, if your charity is raising money for a child who needs an operation for an organ malfunction, break down the total costs into unique sections like:

  • Hospital stay
  • Anesthesia
  • Operation
  • Any additional doctor fees
  • Antibiotics

Another example would be to say something such as: “Your $10 per month makes it possible for one child to receive the dental care they need for a happy, cavity-free life.”

You can also use an online shop selling items where the customer has the option of donating extra to your cause.

6. Use Every Opportunity to Link Back to Your Blog for Charity

You want your blog for charity to have a wide and friendly reach. Remember to link back to your blog in comments you make on your personal social media sites, as well.

Ask friends, co-workers and family to spread the word and share links to your blogs on any websites they manage. Get the word out there about what your charity is doing to change lives.

7. Hire a Reputable Blog Writing Service

Not enough time to blog regularly? You can look into services or freelance writers who will do the work for you. Or you can recruit guest bloggers who jive with your vision and style.

Be sure to still be a presence on your blog for charity. Make time to respond to comments and questions. Ensure your donors know who you are and how to contact you if they need to.

Whether you write the blog post yourself or hire a writer, be sure that your charity’s message and mission are clearly communicated.

8. Provide Volunteer Opportunities and Donation of Time

It can’t be denied. Some people either don’t have the money to contribute or just don’t want to part with it. In these cases, you’ll want to have alternative ways they can give support for your cause.

Identify areas where people can donate their time and talents, as well as their money. You can hold fundraising events such as bake sales or music entertainment where volunteers can be useful.

9. Be Flexible and Open-Minded

We can’t all have the best ideas all of the time. A mark of emotional maturity is to be able to admit mistakes and roll with the down times.

Remain open-minded to others’ feedback and adapt the best you can. Keep any defensiveness or fear in check and embrace even the criticism as valuable feedback.

10. Express Gratitude to Your Donors

And last but not least, say thank you. Acknowledge the hard work, dedication and financial support your donors bring to the table.

When possible and with your supporters’ permission include their efforts in blog posts. If they worked a bake sale or car wash, include their name in recognition. Just always be sure to ask before you print or post any names or faces.

Creating an Awesome Blog for Charity

Blogging for charity can be such fun. With a few simple guidelines and a camera, you can transform your blog into something magical.

These are our tips on how to learn more about creating an awesome blog for charity. What would you add?