WAH: UserTesting.com

usertesting review

This past summer when I was looking for some summer income and was contemplating leaving my teaching job, a friend told me about UserTesting.com. She said she knew someone who was easily making a hundred or two per month by reviewing websites. I thought about it for a bit, but then forgot about it for a while.

This past winter, I decided to go ahead and try the site. Any little bit of additional income is welcome during this transition. I had also just gotten a great set of headphones with microphone for Christmas, which is absolutely necessary when working on a site like this.

How UserTesting.com Works

Basically, the way that it works is you have to take a screener survey for most of the opportunities. There may be a couple for which you are automatically qualified when they show up in your queue. Once you qualify for a test, or if it is an automatic one, you will want to make sure your headset is properly plugged in. You do a quick test to make sure everything is properly functioning and then the test begins.

You are led through a series of tasks. As you go through these tasks, you want to read the instructions out loud and then answer all of the questions. Give your thoughts and opinions. The point is to keep on talking. Say whatever is on your mind, no matter what your opinion is. The point is you are trying to shape the consumer experience. In fact, they sometimes say if you think you are talking too much, it is probably just right. Another thing to remember is that most tests will want you to interact for a full ten minutes. Keep an eye on your timer in the upper right corner by the instructions. Don’t use a bunch of filler when speaking, but give a lot of good opinions as you maximize your time.

I do UserTesting.com tests on my Windows-based computer. Note that it does not currently work on a Chromebook. You can also do them on a Mac. You do have to download their software so that the screen recorder can capture your voice and how you are interacting with the site. No worries about their downloads or having problems with any of this.

You do have the option of doing UserTesting.com on a mobile device. I have seen tests for tablets and both Android and iPhone. Unfortunately, when I tried to get my phone hooked up for these tests, the software didn’t seem to be compatible, though it should have been. I am hoping that when I eventually get a new phone, this will no longer be an issue. I always seem to have more mobile testing options than computer-based options!

How much money can you earn by doing tests on UserTesting.com? Well, most of the website tests are worth $10. Most of these tests will only take about ten minutes of your time. You can’t beat that hourly rate for sitting at home in your pajamas! Longer tests will sometimes offer more money. You may also qualify for moderated sessions where you interact in an online meeting environment to discuss websites and products. I did one that took an hour and was paid $70 for it.

The amount of money you are going to make, though, is completely dependent on how many tests you receive. I definitely do not qualify for significantly more tests than I do qualify for. I started out getting a test every ten days to two weeks. As I qualified for more, though, I found that I was qualifying for at least one a week. In recent weeks, I have had even more opportunities available. I have heard that the more quality tests you perform, the more that will come your way. There are also little extra qualifying tests that pop up at the top of your dashboard. I do recommend filling those out. That was how I got into a moderated study.

Another thing I do is to keep the UserTesting.com tab open at all times on my computer. The dashboard will automatically update any time there is a new test available. It makes a little dinging sound to alert you and then you can see what is available.

My only complaint is that it takes such a long time to upload the tests. I have had to wait anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours. That gets frustrating when you actually have a dashboard full of test options. They say it can be your internet, but I have high-speed internet and few issues on any other site. They also recommend using Ethernet, but does anyone really still have that? I don’t think any of my computers are even capable of connecting to an Ethernet wire.

UserTesting.com isn’t going to replace a full-time income, but it is a fun way to earn a little extra cash on the side. It is also fun to know that you are able to actually influence products and services that are out there. (Just remember you can’t talk specifics with anyone due to confidentiality reasons!)

Check it out and then let me know what your experience is like.

One Week Since Prince Left Us

One week ago, I came home from my part-time morning job in an office in a great mood. The sun was shining and the weather was finally warm enough for me to sit in my outdoor office and work on some other things. I had some captioning to finish and then launched into social media work. As soon as I logged on to Facebook, I saw a post from my manager that Prince had died.

Whaaaaaa?

“Holy $h!t” was my response and then I clicked, thinking it couldn’t possibly be true. More and more posts kept scrolling past, each one confirming something I couldn’t wrap my head around.

How could Prince be dead? At 57 (which didn’t seem like his possible age), he should still be raring to go. He never seemed like a druggie nor an excessive partier. I mean, I was devastated when Scott Weiland died a few months ago and wallowed for several days, but I wasn’t totally surprised. He had been a mess for years. But Prince?

2016 is going to go down as the infamous year where too many celebrities met an untimely passing. Too many beloved parts of my past have been leaving. Perhaps it is some kind of Armageddon that we didn’t know about? Weiland, Bowie, Rickman all shook me. But Prince rocked me to my core.

In a way, that makes sense as he rocked me to my core when I was a young girl. I was only 7 when Purple Rain, the movie, was released. Technically, I was too young to watch the movie. But my cousin, who is three years older, brought it over for us to watch one day. I was immediately transfixed, and didn’t fully appreciate why until last week.

Prince bared his soul to us in that movie. If I remember correctly, it was somewhat based on his life, or at least that was the impression that I had. He had some struggles finding himself and his music, getting lost along the way, as many musicians do. This was the first time that I saw someone who had mixed race parents, though that was lost on me at the time. He had to deal with abuse and protecting his mother. Then there was all of the politics involved with being a musician back then, landing your gig and finding your voice and making an impact on the fans. How do you stay true to your own craft while embracing the talents of others around you? That anguish of being so deep in love and wanting the other person to also be successful in his or her own ventures.

And then the music. With Prince, it was always the music. I couldn’t possibly fathom at the time the greatness that I saw on the screen before me. I just knew that I felt something in every single song that he sang. I couldn’t comprehend the power between his lyrics and the masterful musician behind the captivating music. I just knew that I loved all of the songs, but Purple Rain got to me every time. Yes, part of my young mind was probably entranced by the fact that Prince loved the color purple and wrote a song about purple rain. I was, and still am, totally attracted to the color purple. I am penning this post while wearing purple pajamas and sitting in my bed of purple bedding. I even had a purple car through the majority of adulthood. But there was so much more than that.

Take a look at this clip from the movie.

Watching it as an adult and really paying attention, there is so much more going on here. I knew that this was the point in the movie where he made amends for his missteps. He is apologizing to Appollonia and to Wendy and Lisa, his bandmates. This is the performance that redeems him in the eyes of the promoters and fans. That much I was able to figure out, even at a young age. But now I notice the emotion. That man wasn’t acting at that point. He is exuding raw, heartfelt emotion and love for those in his life, and is seeking repentance for his mistakes. When he sings, you can feel the power of his penance and cry inwardly for him. Or, maybe you are crying outwardly. I know I can’t watch it now without getting teary, though for me that is nothing particularly new.

Looking back now, this was perhaps the song that taught me that even pop music could have feeling. This was likely one of those moments that helped to shape who I am today, though I wouldn’t have realized it at the time. This song is often stuck in my head for one reason or another. In fact, I was just singing it to myself within a few days of Prince passing away. Once I got the news, it started to play in a loop in my head and just won’t stop. When I finally hear it on the radio or online, I get super emotional all over again.

Lately I have been seeing posts on social media complaining about people focusing more on the loss of Prince and other celebrities, instead of focusing on “real heroes” like those who gave their lives fighting for this country. Here are my thoughts on that.

Yes, we need to mourn those who give their lives to protect our rights. Yes, the media circus has been kind of crazy. I mean, I heard a ton of Prince-related conversation on NPR this week, which I was not expecting. But the thing is, celebrities like Prince are significantly more personal to us than a soldier, unless that soldier is a personal acquaintance. It sounds shallow, but it is reality. Music is the soundtrack of our lives. Songs will elicit memories, sometimes good and sometimes bad. Those memories are a part of our core being. So when one of those celebrities dies, we feel like a part of ourselves has died. You don’t have the active and live reminders of things that you cherish about yourself. It hurts.

This is not to say that I do not feel sad when soldiers die. This does not mean that I am not concerned about the flooding in Houston, which was another complaint that I saw floating around. The difference is I do not know those soldiers who have died. I may have a few acquaintances and friends who live in Houston, but I am not the one who is living there. But I do have numerous personal connections to Prince and his music.

Watching Purple Rain was one of the ways that I could pretend to be cool around my cousin, to whom I looked up because she was older, and therefore, cooler. My childhood best friend sent me a message on Facebook reminding me that the first time she had ever seen the movie was over at my house. It was one of our bonding moments and something that we alluded to for years. When Prince released Diamonds and Pearls, one of my friends was lucky enough to get her hands on the tape and dubbed a copy for me. I was over the moon when she gave it to me. When 1999 rolled around, you can bet your arse we were dancing to that all night long. (I would post a few pics from that night, but some of my college friends may not be too happy with that.)

Prince’s voice was unique, his musical stylings unable to be truly replicated. His face became as familiar to me as a personal friend or a member of my family would be. While watching videos that fateful night after I heard he had died, it was reminiscent of looking at photos of my father or grandmother, who both died five years ago. It’s that familiar face that you have memorized but want to memorize even more because you know you won’t see it anew ever again.

A week later, it still hurts. There is still a hole left inside of me and millions of his fans. We have bonded over our love and memories for a man who was the most talented musician of our lifetimes. I was never fortunate enough to see him perform live, though it was always a goal of mine some day. Instead, I will just revel in the videos that have been left behind and will still try to make sense out of all of this while reminiscing my childhood and jamming to some amazing music.

Strawberry and Peach Moscato Mimosas

I think we have already established that I love mimosas. I am always eager to try out something new in that category. I am also kind of cheap, especially right now when money is a little tight. A couple of weeks ago, my friends asked me to housesit and petsit for them while they took the kids away on Spring Break. When Sunday rolled around, I was craving my mimosas, but wasn’t in my neighborhood for my usual brunch stop. I decided to treat myself while I was there and discovered the joys of moscato mimosas. Continue reading “Strawberry and Peach Moscato Mimosas”

#ReleaseDay Enchanted: The Fairy Revels Collection with #Giveaway

fae cover

 

Do you love fairies? This brand new collection that releases today is chock full of them, in all kinds of genres. Find fairy stories for adults and young adults, romance, urban fantasy, and more. Nine best-selling authors got together to share their own new stories within the fairy world. You can grab your Kindle copy today for an amazing low price and then enter the giveaway at the end of the post to win your own paperback collection!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through my link I may earn a small commission to help support this blog.

 

Enchanted: The Fairy Revels Collection

9 Faerie Romance & Fantasy Fairy Tales; Urban Fantasy, YA Fairies, Fractured Fairy Tales, Sweet Fae Romance, and Paranormal Boxed Set

One spellbound night, nine award-winning and Amazon best-selling authors joined together to bring you an enchanting collection of tales featuring our favorite otherworldly creatures, fairies.

Enchanted: The Fairy Revels Collection will seduce you into the wondrous world of the fae with magic, romance, fantasy, adventure, fairy tales, and folklore. Get ready to be beguiled by a unique boxed set with fractured fairy tales, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, sci-fi adventure, and more. This captivating collection is certain to please anyone who loves magical realism and fairy stories.

Books & Authors

THE BEE CHARMER by Poppy Lawless

Rayne moved to Chancellor on a mission to help Alice find true love. That is, after all, his job as her fairy godfather. What Rayne didn’t expect was to find a love of his own. All Viola wants is to pursue her dream of becoming a perfumer. She doesn’t have time to fall in love. Viola and Rayne will soon find that when your heart makes a wish, even impossible dreams can come true.

I DO BELIEVE IN FAERIES by Erin Hayes

Even though she grew up in a family of witches, Abby is normal. When faeries offer her a wish, she wishes for magick of her own, without realizing the consequences. Now she has to travel to the land of faeries to save her friend’s baby and undo the wish, even if it means losing her magick forever.

WOE FOR A FAERIE by B. Brumley

When I chose retribution, it got me got kicked out of the spiritual realm and banished to mortality. Now I’ve got to choose between Jason, the priest who’s hiding something, and Arún, the handsome off-world Fae that believes I’m his prophesied queen… But first, I’ve got to survive New York City.

FLIGHTLESS by Margo Bond Collins

Josh Bevington doesn’t know how to survive living in Fairy, Texas without his wings; Laney Harris doesn’t know how to survive without Josh. When Laney’s biological father shows up in Fairy, determined to steal his daughter’s newfound powers, Josh and Laney will have to overcome work together—or risk losing everything they care about.

ROSE PETAL GRAVES by Olivia Wildenstein

I thought losing my mother would be the greatest shock of my life, but the real surprise came after her death. Dad said she suffered a stroke after she dug up one of the ancient graves in our backyard, which happens to be the town cemetery. Creepy, I know. Creepier still, there was no corpse inside the old coffin, only fresh rose petals.

FAIRLY NORMAL by Carrie L. Wells

Violet Abernathy has spent more than 20 years in the human realm, but this is the year that everything changes. Potentially her last stint among the humans, her “senior” year in high school teaches her more than she ever guessed it would about friendship, love, and support. Maybe what they say is true, change is the only thing that ever stays the same.

FAE CAME ON THE PLANE! by Elizabeth Watasin

At Jifk Spaceport, something every creature and person feared came in on a plane: faeries. When the spaceport goes down, it’s any survivor of the fae incursion on her or his own, and Nico’s not going to let Darqueworld’s most feared boogeymen, the faerie kind, stop her from getting to her lover’s arrival gate.

THE FAE AND THE FARMGIRL by Pauline Creeden

A Fae princess in jeans and paddock shoes–could any of this be real? Daisy Adams was an orphan raised on her uncle’s farm, but a tractor accident suddenly forces her uncle to reveal the lie she’s been living. Her mother’s still alive and she’s a queen of the Fae… and to make matters worse, Daisy is hunted and the center of a war that is just beginning.

THE FAIRY BARGAIN by Blaire Edens

When FayeLynn Roberts finds herself pregnant by Drake, The Folk’s most dangerous man, she relies on Alvin Fairchild, the exiled prince of The Folk to carry her back to The Realm in order to save her child. Alvin wants to protect the child and save The Realm, but can the two of them band together and defeat Drake without losing their hearts?

 

Get your copy on Amazon today!

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bdRtbD

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fallingindeepcollection/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29387416-enchanted

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Happy National Puppy Day!

I don’t think I realized there was a National Puppy Day. Or if I did, I had put it out of my mind, because I am currently canine-less. *sniffles* The closest I have right now is a cat who used to think she was a dog back when I still had a dog. She would always follow him around, curl up with him, and even play fetch with him. Here are a couple of my favorite pictures.

fiona with julio

fiona on julio 2

Sorry about the crappy lighting. It’s an old picture taken with my old phone. But anyway, Fiona is the Siamese cat and Julio is the brown and white shih-tzu in desperate need of a hair cut. He always hated having his hair cut.

But he was great with her. In fact, the day I brought her home as a poor abandoned kitten, he came right up to her and started sniffing her. I was telling him how she was going to be his new sister, and he started licking the top of her head. Then BAM! He smacked her on top of the head. I guess the big brother was just letting the baby know that he had been there first. Plus, he was always getting crap from the older sister, my other cat Cassie.

cassie snuggling at computer

Sorry, couldn’t leave her out. This is one of my favorite pictures of her. But, this is supposed to be National Puppy Day and not National Cat Day. I digress.

Julio really was the sweetest puppy I could have ever wanted. Even as he grew older, he still remained what I like to call a perma-puppy, always playful and snuggly, especially after getting a haircut. He was just so damn cute! As you know, dogs give unconditional love, so we were very dependent on each other. Nothing turned a day around more than getting a lick on the face from this darling.

julio sleeping

My sister had his brother. After we moved in together, she wanted to get a shih-tzu and found a local breeder. The woman was getting out of the business and had two darlings left. My sister didn’t know which one to choose, so we ended up adopting them both, which was fine by me! They were the best of friends and double-trouble, totally legendary in our neighborhood. They would chase and play all day long, protected us and our turf, and charmed everyone who came over to see them. I was heartbroken when my sister moved and took Jefferson with her.

jeffey

I think the dogs were also heartbroken. In fact, Julio used to mope a lot around the house until Fiona came along.

Julio and I were rarely separated. In fact, I usually planned vacations around places where I knew I could take him. I am not a fan of kennels and it was often hard to find someone to be willing to come over to take care of him. In fact, I only had one long trip that was over a week where he didn’t come with me, but he stayed with one of my best friends. I knew he was absolutely fine.

julio sweater

Then, a couple of years ago, he got very sick and very rapidly. I had to go to the emergency vet in the middle of the night on a Sunday at the beginning of the school year. Alas, there was nothing they could do for him, so I had to put down my baby. I don’t know if you have ever had to go through something like that, but it is horrible. The worst was when I was bawling and apologizing to him and saying goodbye, and he just kept licking my tears away. It was truly as difficult as being there with my father when he passed away. I just kept telling myself that Dad would be there to greet him, as would my other dog, Snowball, who had died a few years before at the ripe old age of 16 (pictured below). Julio was 12.

snowball

I haven’t had another dog since Julio. It’s the longest stretch in my life without a dog, as I had one from about the seventh grade on. I visit the shelters on occasion, but just haven’t yet connected with another dog. Then there’s also the fact that Cassie is now 18 years old and wouldn’t likely do well with another animal coming into the mix at this point. I don’t want to shock the poor girl over the Rainbow Bridge any earlier than I have to.

Some day, I will have another puppy, whether that puppy is truly a baby or a big, older one. Until then, I do still mourn my beloved Julio. I wish he were still here with me, but I know that isn’t possible. Instead, he lives on in my heart and my memories. I just borrow my friends’ dogs on occasion when I need some canine loving, or need to live vicariously through them for days like National Puppy Day.

julio face

Tell me about your precious babies for National Puppy Day! I would love to see them!