HealthSpotlightYouth Spotlight

We’ll admit that like almost everyone else with a smart phone, we are completely dependent on and obsessed with Instagram. That includes scrolling through the ‘Explore’ option for endless inspiration. One Instagrammer we always find ourselves gravitating toward is Steph Yu of @happyandhealthy96. Not only does Steph share gorgeous photos of the yummy meals she creates, but she encourages all people to find their own happiness and health in their own way.

On top of that, Steph has written an e-book and runs the website A Happy and Healthy Life where she shares recipes, thoughts, health tips, and even more stunning photographs. Oh, and did we mention that she’s only 19?

If you find yourself scrolling rapidly through this week’s Youth Spotlight to see all the beautiful images, don’t forget that there are words of wisdom snuck in between! But if you look first and read after, we won’t hold it against you.

Name: Stephanie Yu
Education: Studying business at the University of British Columbia
Follow: @happyandhealthy96 | A Happy and Healthy Life

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Steph Yu: To me, seizing my youth is defined by not waiting to live my life, but rather living for the now and not for my future. So often you hear “Oh I’ll do that one day, when I’m older.” But I believe that age isn’t a limitation but rather an opportunity. It’s an arbitrary definition that society tends to use as a barometer for maturity, success, and expectations, but I just like to do my own thing, and live according to my rules and my authentic passions.

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CJ: What school do you attend and what did you decide to study?

SY: I go to University of British Columbia, and I’m studying business at the Sauder School of Business.

CJ: What sort of living space do you live in and how do you maintain a vegan lifestyle there?

SY: I live in a single dorm room on campus. It’s actually extremely simple staying vegan and healthy. I have a minifridge and blender in my room that I use daily! I make smoothies, banana ice cream, bring fruit monomeals for lunch, etc. And for dinner I always go to the cafeteria and get a LARGE salad, with rice, or some more fruit!

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CJ: You’ve written an e-book called “Living A Healthy and Happy Life.” What was the process of writing that book like for you?

SY: The process of writing my e-book was both inspiring and difficult. I had to face all my fears, vulnerabilities, and mistakes, and open myself up to possible criticism. But when I started writing it, I promised that I would be genuine and authentically tell my story. I share a lot more than I expected I would, but I’m glad I did, I’ve gotten a lot of emails from people who can relate and that makes everything worthwhile!

CJ: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

SY: Follow your bliss.

CJ: To our readers out there wondering how they can take one tiny step towards becoming happier and healthier right now, what one piece of advice would you offer to them?

SY: I would say start with breakfast! That’s really the easiest meal to eat healthy. Have a large fruit smoothie or a fruit meal! Also WATER: drink enough water so that you’re peeing clear. And SLEEP! It’s so important to get enough sleep!

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CJ: You’ve experienced your own incredible health transformation. What were some of the difficulties you faced while beginning that process and how did you keep yourself motivated?

SY: It was really difficult for me to deal with social situations when I fist started. I would get a lot of questions that I wasn’t able to answer, and I really felt attacked. I realize now that most people were just curious, so I’d say don’t take things personally and do your research! Become informed about plant-based nutrition, and cover all the basic questions (where do you get your protein, calcium, iron etc).

CJ: As a self-starter you have to keep yourself on track with goals and deadlines. What tools and organizing methods do you use to keep everything running smoothly?

SY: I have a mac, and I use “Stickies” obsessively! I have daily to-do lists, and weekly agendas.

CJ: You have a huge Instagram following! What kinds of things do you do to engage with your community and how has that virtual growth impacted your real life?

SY: I love reaching out to local companies that support the message I do, and introducing them to my followers. I’ve also hosted fruit lucks, and gone to some vegan potlucks! It’s been incredible to find a community here in Vancouver of plant munching people! As for online, I love following and supporting other health foodies, and I’m constantly inspired by others on Instagram!

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CJ: What has been the most unexpected part of college so far?

SY: University has been just incredible. The inspiring atmosphere, incredible friends, and total freedom has made this year my favorite year yet.

CJ: You’re also great about making fitness a priority. How do you keep yourself energized throughout the day and especially throughout a workout?

SY: I workout in the mornings before breakfast. I love waking up, drinking a liter of water, and then getting my sweat sesh on! One of my favorite things to listen to during a workout is the Rich Roll podcast.

CJ: What is your go-to recipe for when you just don’t know what you feel like eating?

SY: DATE COCONUT ROLLS!

CJ: What advice would you give to your 14-year-old self?

SY: Your imperfections guide and shape your narrative, love them, embrace them, and accept them.

Steph Yu Qs

Images Courtesy of: Steph Yu

CultureWeekly Reads

reads 1

These are the articles #TeamCarpe read and loved this week. What did you enjoy reading?

Inspire

A great response to a bully? “I love what you’re wearing.” This is what a teenager from Oregon is teaching kids: how to battle bullying with kindness.

Save

Love being online? Being plugged-in for hours on end can cost you.

Sleep

Having trouble falling asleep? Use the 4-7-8 breathing trick.

Read

The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe by Dan Falk examines how Shakespeare was influenced by observational astronomy. Shakespeare and science? Looks like a fascinating read to us!

Innovate

This TED talk from Jack Andraka, a teenager who developed a promising early detection test for pancreatic cancer, is sure to inspire you.

Try

Try these seven habits of optimistic people. Who knows, you might just find yourself smiling more!

Image: Carpe Juvenis

Culture

The Internet is a wonderful thing; information at the click of a button, hours of entertainment, easy ways to connect with friends (old and new) around the world. The Internet, as it turns out, is also a terrible thing that can consume your entire day with mindless clicking around. As always, there are two sides to every story, and it’s important to hear both.

The pros of the Internet are pretty clear: with everything electronic, virtually any question can be answered with a few clicks on a keyboard. Also, with the Internet around, there is no way to be bored. Games, social networking sites, blogs, and many other sites are just as easily accessed as information, and often hold hours of engaging material for the casual browsers to dabble in. Sites such as YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other similar websites are excellent places to share and expand upon ideas – old and new – and with so many people only a computer screen away, it’s easy to carve out a little niche, and work on whatever inspirational thing is going on. Sharing ideas is easy and quick, and everyone with WiFi can have a voice.

The cons of the Internet come in when a person slips from casual browsing to full-on obsession. A few funny videos or a quick look at some pictures can easily devolve into hours of clicking on related topics, until suddenly you’re watching videos of some random cat, not exactly sure how you got there, but knowing it’s not at all related to what you originally intended to look at. Seemingly limitless content can also be a negative; while some of it can be insightful, it also has the potential to be offensive. Since wars of opinion on the Internet are not fought in person, some people forget that the person they’re talking to is just that; a person. It’s easy to forget yourself in the twists and turns of the Google searchbar, and once you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, it’s hard to get out.

The truth of the matter is, whether you like it or not, the Internet in all its glory is here to stay (and for me, that’s a positive thing). So be careful what you search, and use it to the fullest.

What do you like and dislike about the Internet?

Check out this article for inspiration on unplugging for a couple of days.

Image: Dennis Skley

CultureHealthSkills

The first thing I do when I get online is go straight to Facebook. Sometimes I don’t even notice I’m doing it. Next thing I know, I’m scrolling through my news feed clicking on links, reading statuses, and commenting on pictures. That entire process seems to take up a good chunk of my time. Why? Because the Internet is a black hole. It sucks away our life and we’re not even aware of it, until we shut down our laptops or tablets and look up to find that time passed us by while we read the latest celebrity gossip or watched the latest episode of our favorite TV show.

While the Internet can be an extremely wonderful place, the outside world has so much to offer. Don’t spend your entire break from school online because if you do, you will have missed out on your chance to get some fresh air or spend time with your family and friends.

I know what I’m about to say might be hard for some of you to do. This is why, before I put in my request, I just want to remind everyone that Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest will still be here tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that. Spending a few days away from social media and the Internet, in general, won’t make it to disappear into the cyberverse forever. That said (after you finish reading this article of of course), I want everyone to close out of their Internet browsers and shut down every electronic device. Those are two simple steps but it might prove to be really hard for some, especially if you’re the kind of person who loves to stay connected at all times.

I am that kind of person too. I like being able to read what’s going on in other countries and, guiltily, what’s going on in the lives of celebrities I like. But, at the end of the day, I make sure to remember my own life. I am young. I still have a lot to explore and a lot to experience. I can’t do any exploring or memory making if I am always sitting in front of a computer screen.

And neither can you.

Get out there! The world is your playground. If you can’t travel to far off places just yet, take a walk around your neighborhood. Check out that store you haven’t gone in yet or maybe try the new coffee shop that just opened. Call up a few of your friends and go see a movie. Do something that doesn’t involve the Internet or social media. Unplugging is seriously one of the best ways you can seize your life because, whether you remember it or not, there was a time when we didn’t have laptops and smartphones and tablets. When we were kids, we still were able to find ways to entertain ourselves that didn’t involve the latest app or Twitter.

Pick up a book from the library, rock out to your favorite song,  and maybe help around the house or clean your room. Do something that doesn’t involve plugging in to the Internet. Do anything that will allow you to seize your youth because you don’t want to look up one day and realize that you didn’t seize every moment of your life. This moment in our lives have the potential to be the greatest. All you have to do is get out there and do more with your time than just stare at a screen. I know unplugging isn’t exactly an easy thing to do, but once you do it I promise you won’t regret it.

Image: Nomadic Lass

Culture

Whether you are a self-professed media geek (guilty as charged) or are simply looking for a boost to your weekend party small talk, here is a roundup of the coolest, most innovative, creative, and significant videos we’ve seen on the Internet recently.

1. Actress and activist Eva Longoria’s recently released documentary, “Fair Food,” advocates for the rights of farmers in the U.S. The Fair Food Program, on which the documentary focuses, hopes to increase the price of produce in our country from 1 penny to 2 pennies per pound, which would double the salaries of farmers. You will be both entertained and informed by Longoria’s recent interview with Stephen Colbert. So far, McDonalds, Chipotle, and Burger King have pledged to join the Fair Food Program.

2. What do you get when you cross fashion, technology, and functionality? MICA: My Intelligent Communication Accessory. Fashion house Opening Ceremony teamed up with Intel to create a stylish and utilitarian wristwatch complete with a curved sapphire screen and built-in wireless radios. As a bonus, the promotional video stars the ultimate cool girl, Rashida Jones, as the Girl Boss we all want to work with.

3. Yes, we originally fell in love with Eva Chen during her tenure as Teen Vogue’s Beauty Director, but it’s her vibrant personality and obvious intelligence – not to mention her awesome #EvaChenPose daily Instagrams – that make us love her now! Even though this video is from July’s New York Internet Week, we recently discovered it, and loved every minute! Chen is charismatic and engaging as she discusses the impact of social media on the changing world of fashion.

4. This video is also sort of old news (it was delivered four weeks ago), but I would be remiss not to post it. Monica Lewinsky’s speech at the Forbes Under 30 Summit provides a jarring look into the effects of media scrutiny, bullying, and name-calling. We can all learn from Lewinsky’s experiences, from the power she gained through her vulnerabilities, and from the noble cause she is pursuing today.

5. Thirteen-year-old Ireland Hobert-Hoch of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, is making national headlines this week after refusing to be weighed in her junior high’s physical education class. Ireland declined to be weighed in front of her entire class, was sent to the office, and told school administrators she didn’t feel her weight was their business. Watch the De Moines Register’s interview with Ireland to get her perspective on the incident.

6. This newly released video from NASA tells the tale of a year in the life of global carbon emissions. The video is not only aesthetically beautiful, but it also provides some enlightening narrations that provide a glimpse into the interactions between the human community, the seasonal cycle, and C02. Most importantly, though, NASA scientists state that “we’re seeing higher concentrations of carbon dioxide accumulate in the atmosphere each year. This is contributing to the long-term trend of rising global temperatures.”

Image: Kristina Alexanderson

Culture

Have you ever scrolled through the comment section of a Youtube video, or looked at a blog post only to find negative remarks? The Internet has become a medium for many forms of communication. Whether people are sharing art or the news, venting exasperation through the comment section or posts has become a cultural norm. Unleashing frustration via these outlets has gone so far as to even have nicknames like “trolling,” and these negative notes are usually the ones most viewers gravitate towards. All of the attention being drawn to these comments only feeds to the negativity fostering in those discussion boxes and, although these comments breed some kind of conversation, this shows a lack of responsibility on the part of people today because some are not consciously reviewing their words in order to remain respectful of others online

Now, some might say that no one should ever filter their words in order to appease the public, but with such a strong power of instant communication over the Internet, we have to consider holding ourselves accountable for every move – the Internet is forever. An example I recently saw of this kind of behavior was on Facebook. A friend of mine from high school had posted an article and a comment about why he disagreed with it. After reading the following posts, I was intrigued to discover what caused this commotion. The article was essentially discussing the oddity that is the social norm where a thin figure is considered more acceptable, however, the author went about the piece in a rather insensitive way. Without any self-awareness, the writer shafted an entire demographic of females while trying to promote security for another; he did so by successfully praising the curvy lifestyle and shaming skinnier girls. One of the more well thought out comments beneath the Facebook post pointed out this discrimination in a manner that showed the importance of body confidence for all sizes. However, there were some people who clearly just wanted to add in their two cents without contemplating the ramifications. One post went so far as to completely disregard the meaning of the post and side with the author.

Another instance of rampant negativity comes in the form of famous Youtuber Felix Kjellberg, or Pewdiepie, removing access to the comment section of his videos. Now I have never watched a video of his, but another channel on Youtube known as The Young Turks discussed this action and expounded upon why the most subscribed to Youtube entertainer has taken such a drastic measure. Overall, he disabled the comment section because negative comments were consuming that part of the page, and Kjellberg wanted his videos to be a positive experience for his fans. The explanation The Young Turks gave for this issue was that the algorithm used by Youtube shows negative comments above all else, but if the most viewed and most popular comments are the negative ones, does that not still point out a problem in the way the Internet is being maneuvered? Yes, negativity is unavoidable at times, but why are there algorithms that place them at the top? And why are these becoming so popular in general?

The only plausible answer is that not enough personal responsibility is being taken in conjunction to the ever-expanding Internet. There are few tangible consequences to poor etiquette online because it is easy to create fake accounts or to even just comment and let the wave of constant media flush it away into a hidden state. For problems like these, we unfortunately must rely on others to be aware of their actions. So, when you log on to your favorite social media website or onto any part of the Internet, be consciously aware of what you are typing, because you have no idea who is on the receiving end. I know that I have probably made this same mistake before, but I find it important to remember that once you put something into the world, the reception you receive for such actions are not up to you. So the next time that you disagree with an article or video, tread the keyboard carefully.

Image: Gratisography

Skills

We’ve all got to face the facts. We live in a world where we cannot escape the constant buzzing and humming of phones, televisions, and computers. We may think that we control this technology, but how much influence do all of these devices have on our lives? Let’s take a quick test to find out. Answer the following the questions in the most honest manner, choosing the one you would most likely relate to:

tech table

Now, if most of your answers are A, you’re a little too dependent on technology. If most of your answers were B, you’re not dependent on technological gadgets to get your work done, and you’re self-reliant and you’re willing to talk to other people directly, without a medium of an electronic thingamajig.

In all honestly, I answered mostly B, and I’m happy about that because I abhor being dependent upon anything. But what if I were to answer mostly A? Would I need some sort of “digital detox?” Perhaps I would. Surely enough, technology is very important. I should point out here that without technology, man obviously would not have come thus far in civilization. Not to mention, technology has been around since humans have been around—tools such as wheels, spears, and maybe even fire are examples of innovations man has come up with to make human life easier and bearable. We do not recognize technology and all the forms it comes in immediately, but it does loom in every corner, trying to simplify and automate our lives every moment of the way.

I often catch myself admiring my elders who got their schoolwork done without the help of the Internet. I mean, how did they do it, after all? Our generation is so dependent upon the Internet for almost every single purpose in life: education, entertainment, networking, etc. The possibilities are endless with the Internet. Also, with living in a technologically developed country such as America, Internet access is replete. We go into malls, coffee shops, schools, and offices and receive the instant gratification of Internet connectivity. I’ve almost come to think “How can we survive without the Internet?” The web is just such an integral part of our lives now. I feel like people our age have almost become far too dependent on it, and maybe it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate our life decisions.

We do not need electronic gadgets to solve every single one of our problems. Maybe it’s time to start using other people for advice, books for knowledge, and the outdoors for relaxing. We need to get away from these digital screens that we are glued to and realize that there’s so much more to our lives, and we cannot waste our precious time in front of a synthetic screen with dancing figures.

Before you get me wrong, I am definitely and undoubtedly an avid user of technological products. I use my laptop to get most of my schoolwork and financing done, my phone to look up directions and text my friends, and my television to watch Pretty Little Liars and Discovery Channel. Technology such as this plays a pivotal role in my life. I am certainly not trying to bash technological inventions or those who routinely use them.

However, I have the simultaneous feeling that I waste each minute I spend in front of a computer or television. I feel I could better use my time…I could go outside and take a walk, read a book on my swing, or be volunteering in a local shelter. I have this perpetual fear that I am not going to get all my work done or my dreams accomplished each time I sit down in front of a screen. I want to travel around the world, meet new people, and try new cuisines.

What’s the point of having friends, an education, or even a backyard if you cannot use it, since you’re too busy staring at a pixellated surface? What are we if we do not utilize our knowledge and spend time with the people around us? What if we aren’t grasping all the opportunities which are present to us because we’re capsized by some electronic device?

The only advice and plea of freedom I can proffer is to step away from these gadgets, and maybe be artistic, passionate, athletic, or focused on other areas of life. Technology will not solve our problems, only we can. Perhaps it’s time to start doing that. Let’s not be a lame generation that always stares at our phone screens…let’s be exciting. Let’s innovate. Let’s capture every ounce of our youth and turn it into something special. After you’re done reading this on your computer or phone screen, what are you going to do?

Image: Symo0, Flickr 

Skills

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” There is no proof that Mahatma Gandhi ever said these exact words, but either way, you are familiar with this quote. It was used in the valedictorian’s graduation speech, a few of your professors paraphrased it in their lectures, someone retweeted it on Twitter, it was printed across a cute shirt on the bargain rack at the mall, or maybe you’re just the kind of person who likes to collect inspirational quotes.

Whatever your story may be, there is no doubt that you’ve encountered this quote at some point in your life. However, your familiarization isn’t what’s important. This is solely because nine times out of ten people will look at that quote, think it’s inspirational enough to share on social networks, and go on about their day smiling at all of the likes and retweets and favorites they get from their friends and followers.

I’m not saying everyone is like that but how many people do you think will actually be the change that they wish to see? Now, that quote is obviously open to interpretation because we all want to see different things. We all have our own definitions of change and what we’d like to see change. But if there is one thing we all have in common, it’s this: we all live in an imperfect world. It seems like every time I go on the internet or turn on the TV, something horrible is happening. Even if I’m not aware of it, I still know that somewhere in the world someone is living in poverty or trying to survive in a war-torn country.

If you’re reading this article, that means you have access to the internet, which means you have a computer (or a smartphone), and that already makes you a little more privileged than a lot of people around the world. This is not to say that we don’t all have our own life struggles or that we’re all well-off, but I am saying that we have a duty to fulfill. Because while we all might not live in war torn countries or have to deal with poverty, it doesn’t mean that those issues will go away if we don’t think about it. The horrible things in this world aren’t fairies. They won’t disappear just because we say we don’t believe in them or because we aren’t forced to encounter struggles in our everyday lives.

So what is the point of all of this? Well, to put it simply, as young people (it doesn’t matter if you’re in high school or in college), we owe it to future generations to set a good example for them and to be the change. All change is change, so if you wish to see less animal abuse in the world, volunteer at an animal shelter, help fundraise for organizations whose missions are to end animal abuse. Whatever cause you’re interested in, find a way to become a part of it, because chances are there is a way that you can contribute. If you’re not really into joining any causes, you can still volunteer and make a difference in your community.

Look for local chapters of Habitat for Humanity. Put in time helping restore or build a home for a family in need. Pick up trash around the neighborhood, clock in some hours at the community center or an afterschool program or anything your heart desires! I’m not saying that doing any of these things will put an end to all wars or get rid of poverty forever, but as I said before, we live in a world that is imperfect and bad things happen everyday. Why not try to do something good to counteract the bad?

Volunteering is important because not only will it impact your life, but it will ultimately have a positive impact on the lives of others. No act of service is too small or too great. Poverty will not go away in one day and neither will famine or sickness. I don’t expect it to but I do expect to try to work at doing what I can, as a young person, as a college student, to make sure that I do things that honor the change that I not only wish to see but the change I want to see as well.

You have the power to influence others in a positive way. If you start to volunteer for a cause or an organization, one of your peers or family members might be inspired to get involved or to tell other people about it. That’s how movements are started. That’s how change happens.

If you’re like the queen from Alice in Wonderland and you don’t want white roses, paint them the color that you want them to be. In other words, if you don’t like the way things are, do something about it. Paint all of the things that you want to change red!

Also, the next time you come across the quote “be the change you wish to see in the world,” forget about liking it or sharing it or retweeting it; choose to live by it instead.

Image: morguefile

EducationSkills

Technology (particularly the internet) is taking over our lives.

Regardless of our current or desired career paths, understanding basic coding can be an invaluable skill to bring to the workplace. Our bosses may want to start a company blog, spruce up the existing one, or add some features to the company website. If we can help with the task, we’ll set ourselves apart.

And for those of us who are unemployed, displaying our resumes, portfolios and/or industry knowledge cleanly and crisply with HTML and CSS styling will increase our chances at getting an interview.

We all know this, yet many of us still find it difficult to adapt our skillsets to meet the rapidly changing www landscape. Others of us worry that learning computer and web-related skills will be too costly and time-consuming. Even worse, there are so many different languages involved in coding and programming (CSS, Javascript, HTML, Python, Ruby, sheesh…) that things get real confusing, real fast.

As someone who knew absolutely zilch about coding and programming about a month ago (and still has a long way to go), I’ve compiled some tips that have helped make my journey in learning to code a little breezier:

1. To get started, you’ll want a canvas for practice (i.e. a blank web page). If you’re a college student, your school may offer free web space to its students to blog, post portfolios, etc. Email your IT department or technology help center to find out.

2. If this isn’t your case, use a free site like WordPress, Tumblr (although I believe Tumblr uses a different language), Weebly or Wix. These sites are “user-friendly” but offer options to go beyond the basics using code.

3. To begin practicing on your webpage, a very simple option is to Google search the code for different things you want to include. If you want to create a background image, you can search “code for background image.” This, of course, is hit or miss and your results may not be for the specific language you want. (HTML5 is the most updated language for typical HTML coding, which is the base language in web design.) I’ve found that w3schools.com generally has accurate results for various HTML5 coding values.

4. Use free online tools (a much easier option than #1-3). The following are the most popular and easy to use:

  • Dash: This is the tool I’m using, and it is outstanding. It provides step-by-step lessons and allows you to enter your code and see what it looks like on the actual test website in real time. It teaches general HTML, CSS and Javascript; enough to design pretty websites, blogs and even simple animations.
  • Codecademy: Offers interactive online tutorials for everything from the very basics to more advanced programming languages. It also allows you to take lessons with your friends. I’ve never used it, but it appears similar to Dash.
  • Khan Academy: Offers free programming and computer science tutorial videos, in a variety of world languages.

5. For Dummies books: There are lots of these books out there, including Beginning Programming for Dummies and more language-specific ones, like Beginning Programming with Java for Dummies. They cost money, but you can find them reasonably priced on Amazon, and you’ll always have pages and pages of information at your fingertips if you purchase one.

6. Want to really dig in and become a pro? It may be worth paid lessons:

  • Community colleges: They likely offer beginner courses that won’t totally break the bank. A great resource and will come with an instructor and, usually, in-person instruction.
  • Training programs: These are offered by companies like General Assembly, which is the company that offers Dash. Offerings include in-depth courses on a variety of design, programming and coding functions. The courses can get pricey (upwards of $10,000 for advanced, full-time) but there are slightly cheaper night and weekend courses (around $3,000), offered in many major cities. They also offer workshops and one-time classes starting around $100.

Do you have any tips or tools for learning to code and program? Share them below!

Image: infocux technologies, Flickr