Last updated on October 28th, 2018 at 01:16 pm
Where Do you Get your Inspiration Online?
The terms motivation and inspiration can mean different things to different people. The motivational websites listed below represent a comprehensive list of websites where you can find inspiration or motivation to help keep you moving forward on your big dreams.
This inspirational website list is not in any particular order, but if you want to let 8WD know which ones you feel are the top 10–we can always rearrange the order or listed sites.
The Top 48 Most Motivational and Inspirational Websites on the Internet
1. TEDTalks – Ted.com/talks
TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading through their video website. It began (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.
TEDTalks is where you will find the best video talks and performances from TED conferences, TEDx and partner events–and the best talks of the web.
2. The Creativity Portal – Creativity-Portal.com
An inspirational how-to website for artists, writers, and creativity enthusiasts at all skill levels featuring free prompts, insightful articles, and hand-selected instructional Web resources on hundreds of topics to encourage the exploration of personal creativity.
Creativity Portal features the voices of today’s creativity leaders and has been named one of the 101 Best Websites for creativity for multiple years by Writer’s Digest magazine. When you need that extra boost of creativity, spend some time on this website.
3. SUCCESS – Success.com
Unlike any other time in human history, people need to continually keep up with expanding knowledge and perpetually develop new skills to stay relevant and sustain their lifestyles.
SUCCESS is a newsstand publication and website that serves as your guide for personal and professional development through inspiration, motivation, and training. SUCCESS readers understand and value the fact they’re responsible their own development, income and ultimately, success as they define it.
4. BeliefNet – Beliefnet.com
Beliefnet is the largest spiritual website. They are independent and not affiliated with any spiritual organization or movement. Their only agenda is to help people meet their spiritual needs with a wide variety of resources for anyone of any faith.
It’s a place to find great quotes, meditation help, and answers to questions about all religions. It is a reminder that by seeking first to understand all faiths that we can be understood ourselves.
5. John Wooden – CoachWooden.com
The website of John Wooden, who coached UCLA to a remarkable 10 national basketball championships in 12 years. Wooden was a man of great character, conviction, decency, and straightforwardness.
His pyramid for success is available on his website. He is so beloved that he was invited to speak at TED. It was such a loss when Jon Wooden left this world on June 4, 2010. He is remembered as one of the greatest coaches who ever lived.
6. Academy of Achievement – Achievement.org
The American Academy of Achievement’s website has an extensive collection of exclusive, first-person interviews with its honorees is available to parents, teachers, and students.
The online Virtual Museum also features a Gallery of Achievement that includes video footage of insightful discussions. Sometimes you may stumble onto someone you had no idea was doing so much for the world at large.
7. Jack Canfield – TheSuccessPrinciples.com
Jack Canfield is affectionately known as “America’s #1 Success Coach.” He has studied and reported on what makes successful people different.
In this is part of his website he offers free resources from his book, The Success Principles: How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be. You should also recognize him from “The Chicken Soup for the Soul“ series.
8. Jennifer Louden – JenniferLouden.com
This is the website of Jennifer Louden who is considered the contemporary voice of women’s comfort and best-selling author, personal coach, and speaker who provides women with the information, inspiration, and tools to create lives they love.
Follow her blog and get writing advice, and prompts, etc. and sign up for her newsletter. Jennifer is a reminder to stop every day and savor the moments.
9. Laughter Yoga University – LaughterYoga.org
Laughter Yoga is an exercise routine for a complete well-being workout. It was developed by Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, India.
A worldwide phenomenon with more than 6000 social Laughter Clubs in about 60 countries, this is their website full of ways to Laugh For No Reason. I promise you will laugh if you stop by and check out this website!
10. Mel Robbins – MelRobbins.com
Mel Robbins is a vlogger, serial entrepreneur, bestselling author, award-winning CNN Legal Analyst, and Contributing Editor to SUCCESS Magazine and an instructor at Creative Live.
Mel is best known for inventing the life-changing 5 Second Rule, and delivering one of the most-viewed TEDx Talks in the world. She is the go-to expert on change, confidence, and decision-making for the world’s leading brands. She’s also the most-booked female speaker in the world. (Source: Site)
11. Light A Candle – Gratefulness.org
Part of the Gratefulness website where you can light a candle for special someone and view candles left by others. Every day thousands of people from all over the world light virtual candles at this website.
Over 20 million candles have been lit from 194 countries. In many different traditions lighting candles is a sacred action. It expresses more than words can express. It has to do with gratefulness. From time immemorial, people have lit candles in sacred places. You may want to begin or end your day with the sacred ritual of lighting a candle on this website. Or you may want to light a birthday candle for a friend. Try it–it’s wonderful!
12. You Can Heal Your Life – HealYourLife.com
At Heal Your Life, the site encourages you to live the life of your dreams and enjoy their daily affirmations by Louise Hay, Doreen Virtue, Wayne Dyer and more. Change your life using the positive affirmations provided on the website any time of the day or night when you need to regroup, recharge and reconnect with your own magnificence.
Hay House was founded in 1984 by Louise Hay as a way to self-publish her first two books, Heal Your Body and You Can Heal Your Life, both of which became international bestsellers and established Louise as a leader in the transformational movement. Today, Hay House is committed to delivering products and services that empower and educate the individual, while helping to heal the planet. Louise Hay passed away on August 30, 2017, at the age of 90 with her websites and publications continuing in her honor. (Source: Site)
13. Storytellers for Good – StorytellersForGood.com
Storytellers for Good is a team of producers and cinematographers who PROMOTE GOODNESS and INSPIRE GREATNESS through the art of storytelling. Storytellers create compelling short films and provide one-of-a-kind storytelling education for people and organizations making a positive difference.
Recognizing that a culture can be defined by the types of stories it chooses to tell, Storytellers for Good hope to help shift narratives away from the fear and tragedy focused stories that have so influenced our world. Whenever possible, Storytellers seek to give voice to positivity over pessimism. (Source: Site)
14. Conservation International – Conservation.org
The website of Conservation International (CI) showcasing their tireless efforts to ensure a healthy and productive planet for us all. Their mission is to build upon a strong foundation of science, partnership, and field demonstration to empower societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity.
From their website: We help communities, countries, and societies protect tropical forests, lush grasslands, rivers, wetlands, abundant lakes, and the sea. Only through properly valuing the essential services these ecosystems provide can we create a sustainable development path that will benefit all people for generations to come. (Source: Site)
15. BrutalCut – ForJudges.global/BrutalCut
Three million girls in Africa are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) each year. The creators of BrutalCut needed to generate greater awareness in the UK, the first step to ending this brutal tradition. In the run-up to cutting season, BrutalCut would communicate this most brutal of cuts with a “brutal cut” of their own: a short video message from a Kenyan girl who faces FGM that could be cut into any video content our audience might be watching. Just like the FGM cut, its use would be sudden, unforgiving, and brutal.
#BrutalCut reached over 152 million, provoked thousands of conversations and exploded to become social and news currency, covered by the Independent, Teen Vogue, BBC Asian Network and Mashable. Awareness generated by the campaign helped win ActionAid over £2.6 million in lottery funding. This will enable the build of community safe centers to help protect girls from FGM–and support other anti-violence campaigns for women and girls. (Source: Site)
16. Meditation Oasis – MeditationOasis.com
Through the use of guided meditation and technology, Meditation Oasis has been able to bring meditation to thousands of people worldwide. Their guided meditations are recommended by doctors and therapists and are used in schools, businesses, hospitals, clinics, military settings and homes all over the world.
They’ve found there are innumerable ways to enter a meditative state and to experience the benefits of meditation. Their meditation course and guided meditations are based on universal principles that can be discovered in many traditions and practices. They help you to access a universal human ability–the ability of the mind to be at ease. (Source: Site)
17. Simon’s Cat – SimonsCat.com
Simon Tofield is an English animator, who has a great interest in British wildlife, painting, the great outdoors and the creator behind the wonderful website and hilarious “Simon’s Cat.”
Simon was inspired by cartoons on TV, and he used to create basic flip-books in an attempt to emulate the techniques he saw being used on screen. You can find out more about how he created Simon’s Cat in his film, “The Simon’s Cat Story”. (Source: Site)
18. UnSplash – UnSplash.com
Unsplash was created in 2013 by Montreal-based entrepreneur Mikael Cho as a simple tool for creators. The concept was born from the pain he had in finding great, usable imagery. It has since morphed into a leading site for free, beautiful images for public use.
Check out the site and enjoy the beautiful, free photos gifted to the world by the world’s most generous community of photographers. (Source: Site)
19. TOMS Shoes – Toms.com
TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. While competing on the second season of The Amazing Race with his sister, Tom’s Shoes owner, Blake Mycoskie visited Argentina. He returned there on vacation in January 2006 and had the idea to develop a shoe company where for every pair sold, a new pair would be donated to a child in need of shoes.
Blake had once said of his revelation, “I was sitting on a farm pondering life, and it occurred to me, ‘I’m going to start a shoe company, and for every pair that we sell, I’ll give a pair to someone who needs them.” Mycoskie took to wearing the local alpargata shoes. After Mycoskie noticed the numerous children without shoes in the poorer villages, he returned to the United States and sold his online driver education company to self-finance the shoe company. (Source: Wikipedia)
20. Design Inspiration – Designspiration.net
Designspiration was created by Shelby White as a tool for discovering great art, design, architecture, photography and web inspiration. Designspiration is the outcome of Shelby’s efforts to realize her idea, evolving into a site occupied by a diverse range of inspiration curated by its users.
Designspiration or DSPN for short focuses on the core principles of sharing inspiration and utilizes some great features; like a search function that works like a Swiss army knife. (Source: Site)
21. Motivational and Inspirational: Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations – SuperSoul.TV
Awaken, discover and connect to the deeper meaning of the world around you with Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations.
Hear Oprah’s personal selection of her interview with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. All designed to light you up, guide you through life’s big questions and help bring you one step closer to your best self. (Source: Site)
22. Soul Pancake – SoulPancake.com
This website is American actor Rainn Wilson’s media and production company. If you’ve ever watched Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, then you’ve probably watched a Soul Pancake short film.
SoulPancake’s mission is to open hearts and minds through smart and hopeful content that uplifts, inspires, and helps us all figure out what it means to be human. (Source: Site)
23. MasterClass – MasterClass.com
Masterclass.com is a San Francisco-based online education platform where students gain access to tutorials and lectures by industry experts. MasterClass offers online classes created for students of all skill levels. You can learn everything from photograph to comedy writing. They consider their famous instructors some of the best at what they do in the world.
A few of the more famous instructors and classes are: Annie Leibovitz teaches photography, Steve Martin teaches comedy, Stephen Curry teaches basketball, Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking, Aaron Sorkin teaches screenwriting, Helen Mirren teaches acting, Wolfgang Puck teaches cooking, and much more! (Source: Site)
24. The Big Picture – BostonGlobe.com/News/BigPicture
A website dedicated to the news stories in large photographs from the Boston Globe. Three times a week, Boston.com’s Alan Taylor posts a series of big, beautiful pictures depicting stories currently in the news. “Beautiful” doesn’t always do these photographs justice.
These photo-journalistic images from a variety of professional sources are frequently the best ways to illustrate stories as diverse as the destructive California wildfires and recent floods, the majesty of the surface of Mars, and the gory spectacle of the running of the bulls in Pamplona. (Source: PC Mag)
25. Where In the Heck Is Matt? – WhereTheHeckIsMatt.com
The website of Matt Harding, an Internet celebrity known as Dancing Matt for his viral videos that show him dancing in front of landmarks and street scenes in various international locations.
Harding was known by his friends for a particular dance, and while video recording each other in Vietnam, his travel companion suggested he add the dance. The videos were uploaded to his website for friends and family to enjoy. His first video was passed around by e-mail and eventually became viral, with his server getting 20,000 or more hits a day as it was discovered, generally country by country due to language barriers, before the launch of major video upload sites. (Source: Wikipedia).
26. MIT OpenCourseWare – OCW.MIT.edu
MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to put all of the educational materials from its undergraduate — and graduate-level courses online, partly free and openly available to anyone, anywhere.
MIT OpenCourseWare can be considered as a large-scale, web-based publication of MIT course materials. The project was announced in October 2002 and adopts Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. The initiative has inspired a number of other institutions to make their course materials available as open educational resources. (Source: Wikipedia)
27. Possibility of Change – PossibilityChange.com
Many people feel trapped in the life they are leading, unable to change course. They feel frustrated, lonely, stressed, discouraged, unfulfilled or just simply bored. Can you relate to any of these feelings? Peter Clemens, the founder of Possibility of Change can!
While the website initially focused on Peter Clemens’ change story, h soon realized there are so many people with their own stories of personal change that his blog shouldn’t be about him; it should be about us. That’s why Possibility Change has evolved into a community blog which publishes stories from people of all ages and backgrounds from across the globe. (Source: Site)
28. The Do Lectures – DoLectures.com
From the Do Lectures website: The idea is a simple one— that people who Do things can inspire the rest of us to go and Do things, too. So each year we invite a set of people down here to come and tell us what they Do. They can be small Dos or big Dos or just extraordinary Dos.
But when you listen to their stories, they light a fire in your belly to go and Do your thing, your passion, the thing that sits in the back of your head each day, just waiting and waiting for you to follow your heart. To go find your cause to fight, your company to start, your invention to invent, your book to write, your mountain to climb. The one thing the Doers of the world Do, apart from Do amazing things, is to inspire the rest of us to go and Do amazing things too. They are fire-starters. Make sure you check out their videos! (Source: Site)
29. Seth Godin – Sethgodin.com
Seth Godin is an American entrepreneur, author and public speaker. He popularized the topic of permission marketing. This is his website and blog–considered the go-to for business marketing information.
Seth Godin has written thirteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. (Seth) American Way Magazine calls him, “America’s Greatest Marketer,” and his blog is perhaps the most popular in the world written by a single individual. (Source: Site)
30. Forbes Woman – Forbes.com/ForbesWoman
Find inspiration and tools for success for the entrepreneurial, ambitious woman in you. The purpose of Women@Forbes is to help all women take their next steps forward in business. Forbes Media is a global media, branding and technology company, with a focus on news and information about business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and affluent lifestyles. (Source: Site)
31. Malala Fund – Malala.org
The Malala Fund is working for a world where every girl can learn and lead without fear. Founded in 2013, Malala Fund champions every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. We believe girls are the best investment in the future peace and prosperity of our world.
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani student and education activist who began speaking out for girls’ education at the age of 11. After surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban at 15, she co-founded Malala Fund with her father Ziauddin. She is the youngest ever Nobel Laureate. Malala currently lives in the U.K. with her family. (Source: Site)
32. Life – Time.com/Photography/Life
Life magazine online claims to have the largest, most amazing collection of professional photography on the Web at their website. These are the photos you won’t forget.
Taken by the world’s top photographers and curated by LIFE editors, they tell the story of our times our heroes, our stars, our celebrations and heartbreak, the events etched in our memory and the small moments that make life sweet. When you find a photo you like, you’ll be able to share it, print it, and sometimes even buy it. (Source: Site)
33. To Write Love On Her Arms – TWLOHA.com
Founder, Jamie Tworkowski, didn’t set out to start a nonprofit organization. All he wanted to do was help a friend and tell her story. When Jamie met Renee Yohe, she was struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts.
He wrote about the five days he spent with her before she entered a treatment center, and he sold T-shirts to help cover the cost. When she entered treatment, he posted the story on MySpace to give it a home. The name of the story was “To Write Love on Her Arms.” (Source: Site)
34. We Heart Trees – WeHeartTrees.org
Check out We Heart Trees, KNOCK’s 2013 campaign in celebration of Arbor Day, a site that asks visitors to design their own virtual trees while also pledging to be more conscious of their paper usage. For every pledge, KNOCK donates one tree to The Canopy Project, an organization that plants trees all over the world. (Source: Knock)
35. Jungles in Paris – JunglesInParis.com
Jungles in Paris tells stories about nature and culture. Brothers Oliver and Darrell Hartman, use a range of media to explore planet Earth in all its multi-colored diversity, with a special focus on roots and place. Spotlighting craft, culture, geography, and wildlife, their aim is to celebrate subjects—human and non-human alike—that are often at risk of extinction in a globalized, growth-driven 21st century.
They prioritize the local, the endemic, the time-honored, and the meaningful. Rather than pure advocacy, we practice purpose-driven media. They strive in their exquisite work to restore a sense of enchantment to the things that matter, employing creative nonfiction methods to propose a more enlightened way of engaging with the ecosystems and cultural possibilities around us. (Source: Site)
36. Culinary Backstreets – CulinaryBackstreets.com
Culinary Backstreet tell the stories of simple family-run restaurants–unsung heroes who are sometimes forgotten or taken for granted at home–through weekly restaurant reviews published on Culinary Backstreet, culinary walking tours, tailor-made Eatineraries, books, web design, and smartphone applications.
When they see the need, Culinary Backstreet also acts as a fundraiser for causes connected to protecting and promoting traditional culinary culture. (Source: Site)
37. National Geographic – NationalGeographic.com
The website of one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world.
National Geographic interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, the promotion of environmental and historical conservation, and the study of world culture and history. But the amazing images are what we really go there to see.
38. The Moth – TheMoth.org
The Moth features true stories, told live and without notes. The Moth celebrates the ability of stories to honor both the diversity and commonality of human experience and to satisfy a vital human need for connection. It seeks to present recognized storytellers among established and emerging writers, performers and artists and to encourage storytelling among communities whose stories often go unheard.
The Moth began on a back porch in small-town Georgia, where our founder—poet and best-selling novelist George Dawes Green—would spend sultry summer evenings swapping spellbinding tales with a small circle of friends. There was a hole in the screen, which let in moths that were attracted to the light, and the group started calling themselves “The Moths.” (Source: Site)
39. Becoming Minimalist – BecomingMinimalist.com
Becoming Minimalist™ is designed to inspire others to pursue their greatest passions by owning fewer possessions. Joshua Becker and his family decluttered their lives by donating, recycling, and removing all unnecessary personal possessions. They embarked on an intentional journey to own less stuff. As a result, they discovered more money, more time, more energy, more freedom, less stress, and more opportunity to pursue their greatest passions: faith, family, friends. And they decided to write about it.
Becoming Minimalist is dedicated to rational minimalism and discovering what that uniquely means. And the more who are introduced to this life-changing message, the better! Because everyone is just trying to make the most of this journey called life. (Source: Site)
40. Young At Heart Chorus – YoungAtHeartChorus.com
Time revises every taste and closes every gap. To observe the Young@Heart Chorus, a fluctuating group of about two dozen singers whose average age is 80, perform “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees in Stephen Walker’s documentary “Young@Heart” is to be uplifted, if slightly unsettled.
Sung by people approaching the end of their lives, the song is no longer about strutting through the urban jungle with your elbows out; it is a blunt survival anthem. These singers, most of them well- rehearsed amateurs, refuse to go gently into that good night. For them music is oxygen. Their website makes me want to be a better person … and I loved the movie about them.
41. UpLift – UpliftConnect.com
UPLIFT is a global media channel dedicated to sharing thought-provoking content that inspires positive change around the world. Their audience has access to free content on a range of topics, including–but not limited to–wellness, spirituality, science, and the earth.
Combining the gift of intimate live events with the power of the internet to reach the world, UPLIFT is a bridge of love and consciousness into real-world action, guided by a fundamental vision of Sarvodaya – Sanskrit meaning: “Upliftment for all”. UPLIFT stands for Unity, Peace, and Love in a Field of Transcendence. (Source: Site)
42. DuoLingo – DuoLingo.com
Learn a language for free. Forever. With over 200 million users, Duolingo is a free language-learning website that includes a language-learning app, as well as a digital language proficiency assessment exam. According to an independent study, 34 hours of Duolingo are equivalent to a full semester of language education at an average U.S. university! In 2013, the DuoLingo App was the iPhone app of the year. (Source: Site)
43. Lonely Planet – LonelyPlanet.com
Lonely Planet is the largest travel guide book and digital media publisher in the world. Originally called Lonely Planet Publications, the company changed its name to Lonely Planet in July 2009 to reflect its broad travel industry offering and the emphasis on digital products.
After Let’s Go Travel Guides, it was one of the first series of travel books aimed at backpackers and other low-cost travelers. Just staring at this travel website makes you want to pack your bags and go explore the world.
44. The Smithsonian Magazine – SmithsonianMag.com
Smithsonian magazine is a monthly magazine created for modern, well-rounded individuals with diverse interests. It chronicles the arts, history, sciences and popular culture of the times. The Smithsonian Magazine photos, articles, videos and slideshows take a dynamic and interactive approach to exploring your changing world. (Source: Site)
45. Earth Cam – EarthCam.com
The Earthcam website features locations around the world via webcam. If you are yearning to travel but don’t have the time or the budget, then you can search for your location and view it live via webcam. The award-winning website is viewed by fans in 192 countries and ranks among the top 1% of all websites.
Throughout the years, EarthCam.com has become famous for its Times Square Cams and various scenic destination cameras. The website continues to expand its exclusive network of webcams, adding new live cameras every month, which include views of the Abbey Road Crossing in London made famous by The Beatles, the glitz and glamor of Hollywood Boulevard in California and the World Trade Center Memorial at Ground Zero in New York City. (Source: Site)
46. Project Gutenberg – Gutenberg.org
The Project Gutenberg website is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books or e-books. Michael S. Hart, the founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and passed away in September 2011, however, his project continues to inspire the creation of eBooks and related technologies today.
Project Gutenberg offers over 36,000 free e-books to download to your PC, Kindle, Android, IOS or other portable devices. You can choose between ePub, Kindle, HTML and simple text formats. PG carries high-quality e-books. All their e-books were previously published by bona fide publishers.
47. The Marine Mammal Center – MarineMammalCenter.org
The Marine Mammal Center advances global ocean conservation through marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation, scientific research and education.Since 1975, the Center has been headquartered in the Marin Headlands, Sausalito, California, within the Golden Gate National Park and has rescued and treated more than 20,000 marine mammals along 600 miles of the California coastline.
In 2014, the Center opened Ke Kai Ola, a hospital for the rehabilitation of the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Due to the volume of animals theMarine Mammal Center rescues, they are the largest marine mammal hospital in the world. (Source: Site)
48. 8WomenDream – 8WomenDream.com
8WomenDream.com is a big dream achievement website founded by Catherine Hughes offering motivational and inspirational stories from women living around the world who wish to share what it is like to go after a big dream. The 8WomenDream Project began with 8 local California women in a kitchen in 8WD dreamer, Heather’s house. The premise was to challenge each other to go after something each of the 8 women never thought possible. The project has since morphed into an international sisterhood of women sharing their big dream stories and advice on 8WomenDream.com.
8WomenDream was born out of the idea of encouraging women who fear it’s too late to try for something big or don’t know how to begin the dreamer’s journey or think their big dream is silly. 8WomenDream wants the world to explore the dreamer’s journey and prove it is possible to find your greatest life purpose and fulfill your dream–regardless of your age or where you are in your dream journey.
Okay …come on! We had to put 8 Women Dream in here!
What motivational and inspirational websites do you frequent? Have we missed one?
Let me know and I’ll expand this list!
Catherine Hughes is the founder, content director and editor-at-large of 8WomenDream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead, but don’t hold that against her.
Note: Articles by Catherine may contain affiliate links and may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link.