7 Websites You Need in Your Life Right Now

Feel like something’s been missing in your life? Check out these 7 must-see websites to add a little sparkle back into your internet experience.

LibraryThing – the Avid Reader’s E-Library


Are you having trouble tracking your vast selection of books, keeping up with your favorite authors, and are always on the hunt for something new, fresh, and interesting to read? Check out LibraryThing, the self-proclaimed “world’s largest book club” that uses your pre-existing lists from other world libraries (such as Amazon or the Library of Congress) and generates recommendations catered to you.

You can add your first 200 books for free, (it’s $10 for a year’s worth of unlimited cataloging, while a lifetime membership cost about $25), and in turn, your personal e-library is compared to the library of other users who have similar tastes. Their “Talk” forum enables you to jump into groups that allow you to discuss topics or selections that you may be interested in. It’s also a great way to get personal about the recommendations and suggestions you give each other for future references. It also has a mobile feature that allows you to check your recommendations and events anywhere and at any time.

More comfortable using your blog to express your thoughts on the latest books you’ve read? LibraryThing has a blog widget just for that. Want to take it further by getting involved in real (life) time? Its “Local” feature provides you with information on the actual libraries, author signings, bookstores, and book festivals in your area.

Our favorite thing about it is its free early reviewer option from publishers and authors. Just sign up and get free books by getting free pre-publication copies in exchange for your reviews of them.

Rouxbe – Tap Into Your Inner Chef


Pronounced “roo-bee”, this innovative culinary company provides its users with step-by-step in-depth video lessons and guided instructions. This is great for those who’ve felt unsure of vague cookbook instructions or can’t seem to get a hang of the exact methods stated on online recipes. It’s perfect for those who’ve always had a secret longing or wish to develop a better culinary prowess.

Simply decide what you want to learn and sign up for your course of choice. Since it is a web-based cooking school, you can watch and do the lessons at your own speed, leisure, and time. The world of food is broken down into smaller, more manageable units, which are subsequently divided into lessons, and the lessons themselves are comprised of a list of bite-sized tasks.

It functions pretty much like most learning institutions; it’s just on a different platform and format. Classes have required readings and visual assignments. Exercises include putting instructions of a recipe in proper order or putting the correct labels on diagrams and drawings as well. Be warned: these assignments require you to get a little more critical; they’ll even present you with recipes that ask you to figure out what went wrong with it!

Don’t worry if you get frustrated and a little confused. Rouxbe offers online assistance and help from professionals as well so you can ask them about any comments, questions, or concerns you may have. Plus, the overall bonus to all this rigorous hard work is that if you do well enough, you can get proper certification for completing the course.

Not sure if Rouxbe is for you? Sign up for a sample course on any culinary goal you may have or what you’d love to learn to cook. Check out their short introductory videos. Not only do they give you a feel and sense of the courses, but many come with great recipes that have step-by-step videos that are free for repeated and frequent viewings. Our favorite one is the Warm Salmon Salad Niçoise Recipe.

Grooveshark and Shiny Groove – Easy, Breezy Musical Fun


If you’re not familiar, Grooveshark is a completely free online streaming music service that has an impressively huge library of user-uploaded songs, mash-ups, remixes and the like. For the auditory-driven and intrigued, all you really need to do is type in the song you want to hear and voilà. No need for any sign ups, accounts, or payment plans. If you want to make playlists that you want just about any of your friends to easily access, Grooveshark is a safe bet to use.

Regular users can follow their favorite artists, see what their friends are currently tuning into, and check out what’s new or trending in any genre they like. You’d have to pay for the desktop player and the mobile app, but despite this, the readers of Lifehacker have surveyed it as their favorite streaming music service.

Its mini-me, Shiny Groove, is also worth taking a look at. Essentially Grooveshark without the browser, it’s jam-packed with features packaged in a great-looking mini-player. Shiny Groove is minimal in design, but lets you browse your playlists, listen to any song in your collection, or search and discover new music.

It has advanced artwork search, looking for the best quality artwork to use, and has an amusing “Shake to Hide” feature (you can use the menu bar to put it back into visibility). The mini-player also has features that allow multimedia keys and programmable keyboard shortcuts. Although it is still in beta form, advanced features such as control via headphones or Apple remotes are already functional.

Despite being tiny, it’s easy to use whether by media keys or remote controls, and also supports key commands. It also allows allows you to expand your player if you need to get to your playlists or catalogue of songs, then minimize back when you’re ready to give it a whirl, and subsequently changes the artwork with each song change.  It’s currently free as a beta service, so give it a try today.

ChicPost – For The Modern Blogger in You

Although launching in spring, we’re already hearing great things and buzz about ChicPost. It’s a blogging platform/social network for lifestyle bloggers and readers. The topics range from just about anything and everything you can think of: fashion, celebrity news, beauty, accessories, the arts, food, travel, technology, photography, fitness… really anything that modern women would find interesting.

Its front-page displays a collection of the best images, videos, links, updates, and other media collected by users, and also allows them to click on the post associated with each media element to get the context of why it’s interesting and why it’s featured as the best that day.

Bloggers will be particularly delighted as any and all elements can be easily posted and re-used0 in addition to being commented on, liked, or shared. Users can post blog entries that contain photos, videos, text, and quotes as well. If you have a pre-existing blog, worry not. You can connect your own sites and sync it with your ChicPost account.

What makes this so attractive is ChicPost lets you curate social networks by combining all your social posts, articles, links, blogs, and tweets, bringing it all together into one coherent narrative.

Think of it as streamlining your social media experience. You can still use your ChicPost updates and put them up on your other social media sites like WordPress, Drupal, Tumblr or Posterous, and tweet or update your Facebook accounts on an individual basis, but ChicPost allows you to combine all that into one seamless viewing experience.  All you have to do is create a profile and you’re set.

ChicPost has other features too, such as allowing you to follow fellow users, send them private messages, while the forum page lets you share your thoughts and the latest with other bloggers. You can make updates on your status message as well. Since a shopping site is in the works of also being integrated, these will no doubt be beneficial and come in handy for a better, overall shopping experience that you can immediately blog about before, during, and after.

Sign up today for updates about ChicPost, or follow them on Twitter or Facebook for more updates.

#UPDATE: Unfortunately, ChicPost disappeared from the Internet suddenly.

Duolingo and Memrise – Learning a Language as Easy as 1, 2, 3


Starting out as a project that aimed to transform language translation into language education, Duolingo is a great new educational tool in helping you learn a new language while helping translate the Internet at the same time. Completely free, it currently offers Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Italian, and English (for Spanish speakers), but will later come out with Chinese as well. It aims to teach you the fundamentals with a motivational point system.

Lessons start with users learning the basics and then are asked to translate websites and other online documents. Our first experience with it lead us to translate paragraphs from the Interpol website into French. Pretty cool.

The more advanced you get, the more complex the paragraphs given to you. To ensure quality is maintained, users also get their work rated by the community, and they also get to select which is the best translation among the bunch later on. You can earn points and see your daily progress.

You also get daily email reminders to give you that nudge to stay on track. It allows you to connect via Facebook, and not only lets you share updates on your language learning progress but also make posts on your chosen language, asks questions to the community, and then some.

If you’re not looking to learn a language, but you’re in need of some serious vocab to help you get by during your next holiday adventure, Memrise is just what you’re looking for. Joshua Foer of the Guardian narrates his experience in learning Lingala, (the lingua franca of the Congo basin):

“It goes without saying that memorising the 1,000 most common words in Lingala, French or Chinese is not going to make anyone a fluent speaker…[b]ut it turns out to be just enough vocabulary to let you it the ground running once you’re authentically immersed in a language. And, more importantly, that basic vocabulary gives you a scaffolding to which you can attach other words as you hear them…[A]s I packed my memory with more and more words, these connections started to make sense and I began to notice the same grammatical formulas elsewhere–-and could even pick them up in conversation. This sort of pattern recognition happens organically over time when a child learns a language, but giving myself all the data points to work with at once certainly made the job easier, and faster.”

For these 1,000 words, Foer used Memrise, a free language-learning site that has vocabulary lists that have memory cues along with the words. This gives you an edge in making it easier to remember the word itself.

Memrise works by using vivid images along with audio to help you remember, strengthens your learning with calibrated tests, and makes use of adaptive reminders that keep your newfound knowledge fresh and accessible. To make it more catered to your needs, you can also make your own interactive flashcards and study materials, which you can later share with family and friends. It currently offers more than 150 languages, and has over 200 categories ranging from a diverse vocabulary word selection that includes law, physics, film, fashion, board games, and even trivia.

We’d love to hear from you, so tell us what’s your favorite site on the list by hitting the reply button below, or tweet us at @YouQueenMag with your thoughts, recommendations, and comments! 

About the author

Niccole Somodio

Niccole is a blogger based in Madrid, but is frequently in America and Asia as well. She's owned a private catering company, been a private language tutor, and a personal assistant.

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