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By Starshine Roshell | Friday, June 19, 2015

Opened Their First Restaurant—with SketchUp and lynda.com

designed restaurant with SketchUp

If you were building a restaurant from the ground up … you probably wouldn’t hire a cop to design it. But when you’re an entrepreneur on a budget, sometimes you just have to work with what you have.

And what Jason and Nirasha Rodriguez had was a dream, a can-do spirit—and a membership to lynda.com.

So when they decided to open their own restaurant where chef Nirasha could work her culinary magic, Jason—a former police officer and firefighter—designed the eatery’s layout, light fixtures, tables, and more using the SketchUp tutorials on lynda.com.

“It was the last thing I thought I’d ever be doing,” Jason says. “But you have that pride of ownership at the end: I did that! And the only reason I could design it is lynda.com.”

By Starshine Roshell | Friday, June 12, 2015

Crushing It in Wine Country — with lynda.com

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Jeanette Tan was a single mom looking for the ideal place to raise her teenagers.

Passionate about sunshine, food, and wine, she dreamed of making a new life for her family in Sonoma, California’s stunning coastal wine country.

“It’s beautiful,” she said. “I figured if there’s enough sun to grow grapes, there’s enough sun for me.”

So in 2009, she uprooted her brood and made the move—but work was hard to come by.

“I sent out resumes almost every week for two years,” says Jeanette, an accountant and QuickBooks whiz.

But thanks to her DIY spirit—and the inspiration and education of lynda.com—Jeanette now teaches wine-industry finances and accounting to lots of wineries. And soon she’ll be teaching many more.

By Starshine Roshell | Friday, May 15, 2015

Escaped from the Call Center—with our Excel Tutorials

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Lauren Kleist spent 11 years working in credit and collections for a Pittsburgh utility company.

“I’ve been trying to get out of the call center forever. Everybody wants out of the call center,” she says. “The noise—sometimes you go home and have such a headache.”

Then a job opened up in billing. Nice, quiet billing. But in order to get the job, she would have to pass an Excel test.

“I’m an artistic, creative person, so I let Excel get the best of me. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it.”

But she really wanted this job, and that meant building an Excel spreadsheet in a timed exam—and scoring a 70% or better.

“I looked on YouTube for a couple of videos, but it didn’t help me,” she says.I thought, This job is mine if I pass the test …”

By Starshine Roshell | Sunday, May 10, 2015

From Galloping to Gaga to lynda: A Life Learned Online

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Paulette Perhach can do a lot of things that most people can’t.

She can carry four full dinner plates at a time. She can gallop on a horse. She can split names into two columns in Excel, craft subplots in a fictional story, and do the dance from Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video. She can make quail traps, tie fancy bows on presents, and produce podcasts.

And she learned it all online.

Just how did she come to acquire this eclectic set of skills? And well … why?

Having graduated college only to realize that she possessed very few useful life skills, Paulette took to the Internet to fill in the sizeable gaps.

“Before I really took control of my own education, I felt like life was always coming at me: another late bill, another bounced check, another photo from a place I wished I could travel to,” says the Seattle resident. “So I started making it a practice to educate myself for 10 minutes a day.

“And life started getting better …”

By Starshine Roshell | Sunday, April 12, 2015

Coding for Kids: 7th Grader Follows in Dad's Coder Footsteps

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It all started with a Tweet:

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Suckers for a sweet father-son story, we checked in to see just what this coder kid is working on.

By Starshine Roshell | Sunday, March 22, 2015

Retired Nurse Loves Photography Again—Thanks to lynda.com

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Joyce Wells loves to learn. She earned as associate’s degree in her 20s, a bachelor’s degree in her 40s, and a master’s in nursing at age 60.

But there was one thing she didn’t care to learn: digital photography.

“I’ve been interested in photography for 35 years,” says Joyce, a former Cub Scout leader who taught her scouts photography. “But around 2000, I got so disgusted because everything was going digital. I like the darkroom. I like my black and whites. I just thought, this is fake photography.

“I put away my cameras and didn’t pick them up for four or five years.”

It was her grown son who changed her mind:

“He said, ‘Mom, your darkroom is just … inside your camera.’ So I went and got a digital camera.”

Actually, she got two—and a membership to lynda.com. Now she loves her Nikons, uses Photoshop, and takes photography trips with her son and friends from Panama to Nova Scotia.

By Starshine Roshell | Sunday, March 8, 2015

She Traded the Midwest for a Tropical Island — with lynda.com

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How does a Minnesota girl wind up living “on a rock” in the Caribbean?

With help from lynda.com, of course.

“I was doing the corporate thing in Minneapolis,” says Ashley Ladlie, “and I got bit by the ‘tropical-crazy’ bug.”

Now she lives in an indoor/outdoor bungalow surrounded by orchids on St. John in the Virgin Islands and supports her beachside lifestyle by doing freelance web design.

“People say I’m lucky but it really has nothing to do with luck,” she says. “Anybody has the opportunity to do what I did.”

Here’s how she made it work.

By Starshine Roshell | Sunday, February 22, 2015

3 Cheers for the Mixology App — Stirred up by a lynda.com Member

White Russian

Matt Hillebrand had almost everything he needed to create a killer cocktail recipe app.

First, he knew a thing or two about cocktails.

“I’ve been a big fan since college,” says the 37-year-old Seattle resident.

Second, he knew how to build a phone app.

“My dad got me into computers and mobile technology from childhood,” he says. “I’d been working on mobile phone apps even before the iPhone came out.”

But what he didn’t know was how to take great pictures. So he signed up for lynda.com, taught himself photography, and shot the hundreds of stunning images that illustrate his popular Mixology app —which Time Magazine called one of the 50 best iPhone apps.

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