10 New Skills You Can Learn at Home

Ridofranz/ iStock via Getty Images Plus
Ridofranz/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

Whether you're looking to give your career a boost or simply want to enrich your life a bit, the easiest place to start is by learning a new skill. And with the recent boom in online courses, it's never been easier to add a new line to your resume without even leaving your home. Check out these convenient courses you can take from Rosetta Stone, Udemy, Coursera, and edX.

1. The Science of Well-Being; $49/month

Taught by Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos, this course is all about building up productive habits that can lead to positive changes in life, while pointing out the self-sabotaging thoughts that can sometimes get in the way. By learning about the science behind how we perceive happiness and our own well-being, this course aims to build a better, more informed mindset to help you reach your goals. The individual courses are technically free, but if you want a certificate at the end, you'll have to pay for Coursera's $49-per-month plan.

Buy it: Coursera

2. Writing Short Stories: The Essential Guide; $19-$95

Writing a short story is about more than just coming up with a plot and some characters—if you want to sell it, you need to understand the literary marketplace and how to properly pitch to an editor. The on-demand videos and downloadable resources offered by this course guide you through writing fundamentals like tone, tense, and proper endings, as well as the realities of the business, such as payments and, perhaps most importantly, dealing with rejection.

Buy it: Udemy

3. Complete Guitar System: Beginner to Advanced; $30-$200

This course is led by Erich Andreas, who has over 30 years of experience teaching guitar lessons. The class features over 300 lectures, 34 hours of video, and over 100 downloadable resources to help you learn step-by-step methods for mastering chords, songs, scales, and much more.

Buy it: Udemy

4. Introduction to Python Programming; $396

Python is one of the world's most widely used computer programming languages, and this self-paced certification will teach the basics with no experience required. Estimated to take about five months, these classes cover the fundamentals of the Python world, like code writing and revisions. As the classes grow more complex, you'll learn about advanced control structures, data structures, and algorithms. It's the most intense certificate on this list, but with the robust job market available to computer programmers, these skills may prove to be invaluable.

Buy it: edX

5. Learn a New Language; $79-$300

Rosetta Stone's language-learning software allows you to take classes in Spanish, German, Italian, and plenty more, on your own time and on whatever device you want. With interactive exercises, games, and stories to read, this is a great way to take language classes while still keeping your busy work and social schedule intact. The cost varies based on your subscription preference, and you can check out the updated pricing options here.

Buy it: Rosetta Stone

6. Introduction to Self-Determination Theory; $49/month

Like anything else, self-determination is a skill that you can learn and perfect with the right practice. This course will go into the science of motivation and psychological development and explore how both of those aspects are influenced by those around you. From there, you’ll learn how to practically apply self-determination to your education, work, and much more.

Buy it: Coursera

7. G Suite Administrator Fundamentals; $49/month

Google's cloud technology and digital services are becoming a vital tool in business, and with this course, you'll learn how to manage the complete offerings of the company's G Suite, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Drive, and more. But you'll learn more than just how to use each one; this certificate is all about becoming a G Suite administrator for large groups. So you'll learn how to create and delete accounts on custom domains, how to manage those accounts, how to spot potential security breaches, and the best way to use all of these tools for your particular business or project. The course itself is offered by Google, and you can take it at your own pace on whatever device you wish. With four classes total, as well as a hands-on project, the G Suite Administrator Fundamentals certificate should take around a month or so to complete.

Buy it: Coursera

8. Essential Cooking Skills; $19-$45

Cooking at home helps save money and can lead to better nutritional choices, but first, you'll need the right set of skills. In this series of courses, you'll get instructions on culinary foundations, like blanching vegetables, making stock, perfecting an omelet, and more. Once you've built up this body of basic knowledge, you can combine it all to give your homemade dinners a bit more flair.

Buy it: Udemy

9. Fundamentals of Graphic Design; Free

Taught by Michael Worthington, a founding partner of Counterspace and a graphic design professor at the California Institute of the Arts, this course is a deep dive into the fundamentals of design. Students will cover concepts like patterns, colors, and typography over the four weeks that it typically takes to complete the course. When you’re finished, you’ll walk away with a new set of skills for your own future projects. It’s free to enroll, but if you want to be able to share the certificate at the end, you’ll have to join Coursera’s $49/month plan.

Buy it: Coursera

10. Learning How to Learn; Free

In this course, you'll learn about, well, learning, in order to actually understand how the brain takes in “chunks” of information in a variety of subjects like art, music, math, and many more. It also covers the misconceptions we have about memory, the best practices to master particularly difficult subjects, and even gives you tips for dealing with procrastination. It’s free to enroll, but you’ll need to sign up for the $49/month plan for a shareable certificate.

Buy it: Coursera

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10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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11 Gifts Your Wife Will Love

Apple/GrowlerWerks/Amazon
Apple/GrowlerWerks/Amazon

Finding the perfect gift for your wife can be a challenge. Although you can always settle with a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates, a unique gift—one that speaks to her personality and hobbies—is always the better way to go. To make your search as stress-free as possible, we’ve compiled a cheat sheet of versatile gifts to bring the wow factor this holiday season. None of these are as great a gift as your wife, of course…but they’re pretty darn close.

1. Growlight Frame Shelf; $139-$189

Uncommon Goods

Instead of getting a framed photo of you and your wife, try something a little outside the box. This nifty frame from Uncommon Goods has a built-in LED light for providing virtual sun to a variety of plants, which can be set on a timer to give plants the exact amount of light they need. If your wife isn’t exactly blessed with a green thumb, this Mini Terrarium DIY Kit—which consists of constructible felt succulents, faux moss, and decorative accents—will help her craft a set of plants that are (almost) indestructible.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

2. Personalized Wine Serving Tray; $85

Uncommon Goods

Your wife will feel just as special as her dinner party guests with this personalized wine tray. Made from birch wood and decorated with delicate floral accents, the tray fits four standard stemmed wine glasses and one standard 750mL wine bottle, making it easy for guests to keep their glasses full. The tray can be customized with a name and year, so it’s just as meaningful for wine lovers as it is useful.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

3. Votes for Women Puzzle; $20

Uncommon Goods

History buffs can celebrate suffrage—and the accomplishment of completing a 500-piece puzzle—with this colorful gift. Featuring voting rights champions like Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Frederick Douglass, the puzzle celebrates 42 of the suffrage movement’s iconic historical figures (although, of course, many voting rights activists are still fighting the good fight today). The puzzle comes with a bonus pamphlet about the 19th Amendment, so your wife can quiz you on it during puzzle breaks.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

4. Intelex Warmies Slippers; $20

Intelex/Amazon

Even if your wife doesn’t get to relax as often as she’d like, she should still have a spa-like experience every day. Give her the gift she deserves with these microwave-safe slippers from Intelex. The slippers are packed with natural grain and French lavender, which provides a therapeutic scent after just a few seconds in the microwave. Now, whether your wife is shuffling off to an early-morning Zoom or to get some extra work done, she can pretend she’s heading off to the spa instead.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Amazon Fire Tablet 10; $150

Amazon

Bookworms should be able to carry their library with them at all times…and now, they can! The Amazon Fire Tablet 10 not only stores a wealth of eBooks and audiobooks, but it also provides instant access to the web, streaming services, music, and more. It’s Alexa-enabled, allowing Alexa to start reading your wife’s audiobook if she has her hands full. The Fire Tablet 10 comes in variety of colors and has an ad-free version, so you can choose the best option for your partner.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Apple Watch SE; $270

Apple/Amazon

You can’t go wrong with an Apple Watch. This smart device tracks sleep patterns, heart rate, and a variety of workouts, helping your wife better understand her performance whether she’s a yogi or a HIIT fiend. With the ability to make calls and reply to texts on the go, the watch can even replace a smartphone during runs outside or to the store. Bonus: it’s swimproof, so it’s able to travel from the gym to the pool and back again.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Living Composter; $200

Uncommon Goods

Give the gift of sustainability with this living composter from Uncommon Goods. The modern-looking composter doubles as an art piece for a kitchen counter or a backyard patio. Once a few worms are added to the soil inside, the composter can process over two pounds of food scraps each week—enough to keep up with a small household, according to the manufacturer. Include the Zero Waste Cookbook or these reusable beeswax food wraps as an additional gift to assist your wife (and the rest of your household) with going green.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

8. Growlerwerks Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker; $200

GrowlerWerks/Amazon

There’s nothing better than a cup of coffee to start the day, and with GrowlerWerks's Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker, your wife can enjoy the taste of café-quality cold brew without the café-quality price. The set comes with everything you need for great cold brew—filter bags, nitrogen cartridges, a funnel, and a serving mat for presentation. Just fill one of the filter bags with coarsely ground coffee, add cold water, and let the brewer soak overnight. Now your wife will have a barista that’s more local than her closest neighborhood joint.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Molecular Gastronomy Kit; $50

Uncommon Goods

Experimenting in the kitchen is always fun, but adding a little food science will allow your partner to take it to the next level. This kit includes 20 additive sachets (aka scientific ingredients) to turn various dishes into yummy science experiments. Your wife will have the ability to turn liquids into solids, produce into beads, and melted chocolate into powder by following the included recipe booklet. And, with a host of science-based cooking tools to work with, she’ll never feel bored in the kitchen again.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

10. Literature Rock Glasses; $30

Uncommon Goods

As the first line of Pride & Prejudice goes, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Acknowledge your amazing wife—and your good fortune—by gifting her these Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë-inspired rock glasses. Each glass features its author’s signature and the opening lines of one of their iconic novels (Pride and Prejudice for Austen; Jane Eyre for Brontë). The other side of the glass includes an excerpt from the novel’s first edition inside cover.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

11. Backpack Cooler Chair; $42

One Savvy Girl/Amazon

This innovative backpack is built with plenty of storage space for bringing water bottles, snacks, and extra gear on the road, and it unfolds into a portable chair when it’s time for a well-deserved break. It’s extra lightweight and compact, too, so your wife can keep it in her car to have on hand when adventure calls.

Buy it: Amazon

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