Saturday, March 22, 2008

Amazing Craft Site

I just Stumbled upon the coolest craft site. It's so useful and personal. Everyone needs to check it out. I can't rave about this thing enough. Posting your projects is so easy and your profile and projects then are so manageable, it's easy to become an addict. Also really neat is that the community is so sweet and helpful. Everyone must check it out...

Cut Out + Keep

8 Reasons you should not go (or send your child) to a Residential College.

A Residential College means that they have the right to force you to live on campus for the entire 4 years and you must check with them if you want to live off campus. They can and probably will deny you permission to leave and charge you automatically.

  1. You will never learn how to pay rent. Finding an apartment, signing a decent lease, budgeting for rent. Forget about that if you live in a dorm room for four years. Where will that money go? Beer. Maybe new purses. Don’t expect people to be responsible if they’re never trusted with responsibility.
  1. You will have to move 4 times a year. Most resident halls don’t stay open during the long Christmas break. This means you have to move everything you will need for an entire month home for Christmas break and then back to school after break is over. This is on top of moving home for summer break.
  1. You will never learn how to cook. Yes, you can always microwave ramen, and you will be able to have one of those cute little refrigerators in your room, but living off Easy Mac will get old after four years. When you finally get to the real world, you will learn embarrassingly how to cook.
  1. You will be locked into paying a high room and board rate. What if your enterprising student finds a cheap apartment? What if you don’t mind living on Ramen and eggs, and don’t need all that cafeteria food? Forget it. You must pay for room and board. Basically you pay to feed unlimited chicken fingers to 250 lb freshman linebackers.
  1. You will not be able to keep a job. As noted above you must move out of the odds of you having a job that will let you leave for a month is slim. Good luck finding a prime University job. Those are very competitive and probably don’t pay that well to begin with.
  1. You will have to move in with your parents again. What happens once you graduate? My school kicked us out of our campus apartment THE VERY DAY of graduation. There was my father dressed in a suit helping tote my dirty laundry to his Jeep. We had little time to look for jobs or new apartments during the finals, so where did I end up? Back at home.
  1. You will be going to graduate school. What happens to people who don’t have the social skills to live on their own? More school! YAY!
  1. You will never learn the responsibility needed to become a functioning human being. All of these skills are life skills are things you should learn throughout a couple of years

Please, help us out and share any experiences you have had with residential housing and moving off campus.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Embroidered Heart Ornaments

Today’s entry is a craft project inspired by some very cute crafts I Stumbled Upon and decided that I could make them cuter. abounds with hand sewn ornaments and sachets. All of these are very cute, but with a little effort, you can make your own, and not have to pay $30 for someone else to do them.

Supplies (JoAnn Fabric):

½ Yard Brown Felt

½ Yard Red Felt

3 Pre-Cut Quilting Fabric Patches with Funky Patterns

2 Pkgs Sequins (Gold and Red)

2 Pkgs Beads (Gold and Red)

2 Spools Thread (Pink and Brown)

1 Bag Stuffing

2 Spools Funky Scrapbooking Ribbon

Taking the felt, I cut out a large heart using the old fold in half method. Next I took a matching piece of funky patterned paper and cut out a medium shaped heart. Using large rather grotesque stitching, I sewed the medium sized heart to the felt background. I think the amateur stitching adds to the homemade feel of it. Here is where I decided how to further decorate my little heart. Do it now before you try to sew things together or it’ll just end up being a big pain in the butt. In some of the ornaments I added small hearts that I had previously decorated with sequins. These little hearts I just glued down. Then in the extra background space, I further decorated with
sequins. Once I was done decorating, I sewed a backing felt heart to the front one using a end* stitch. To attach the ribbon to the top of the heart, I just sewed the ribbon in to the closing stitches. When I had only a little space left, I then stuffed the stuffing in as well as any lavender or scents that someone would want. Finally I sewed it up the rest of the way and hung it on a
rack. Here are some pictures of the results, I have a few I will post as soon as I go the lucky recipients and borrow them back for a picture!

I will post soon the patterns that I used for this project. While they started out perfectly symmetrical, I did trim more off one side because they look must better the less perfect they are. Also, here are some pictures of the completed one. I spared you the first mistake or two.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

7 Financial Habits to Pick Up

Everyone’s always telling you what not to do with your finances. Don’t use payday loans. Don’t buy coffee. Don’t pay the minimum on your credit cards.

1. Check your account everyday. Before you start your work at the office, open up your online bank account and look at it. It is impossible to stick your head in the sand if you are forced to look at your finances everyday.

2. Make your coffee at home. Invest in a coffee maker on a timer and some travel mugs.

3. Keep your receipts. Make a weekly envelope and keep the receipts for everything you purchase. Not only will this force you to notice your spending habits, but it’s a great place to hang on to receipts for refunds.

4. Take your lunch to work. Make your lunch the night before or right when you cook, section some out in a little container for lunch tomorrow. If you get lonely, get a buddy to do it with you. Create a critical mass and you’ll have all of your office friends taking lunch to work.

5. Make one ATM withdrawal (at your bank ATM) once a week. Do it on Monday and swear not to get more money out. Even take your ATM card out of your wallet. You won’t be tempted to use it when you’re running low, and you’ll be reminded what money spent really looks like. Also, you get rid of those nasty out of bank fees.

6. Put your credit cards in a sealed envelope and hide them. I’ve heard about freezing them, so that you can’t use them unless you melt them out. It’s a great idea because you have them in case of an emergency, but can’t use them when it’s not. If you can, define the emergency you may need them for. Write them on the envelope. Try to think of some ways ahead of time to solve these financial crises without using the credit card and prepare for them. Example: Your car may break down. Create a car fund of $300 in a separate bank account. Ignore it, leave it, forget the account number but know that it’s there (collecting money) to get you over the worst of the hump.

7. Go to AA. No it isn’t for the free donuts. Alcohol is the most expensive and flexible expense you have. If you can, stop drinking. Or bring $20 and leave your cards at home. You won’t be tempted when you’re most susceptible to over spend.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Solving Clutter Problems

Today’s blog is a practical exercise in solving clutter problems. Your house may be clean, but if you have a few random things lying around on every surface, it doesn’t look clean. People often ignore things lying around because they don’t have a place for them or aren’t sure what to do with them.

Step 1: Clear off a large space to put all of your clutter. Pull out the trash can, get a bag for donations, a laundry basket, and get a box for miscellaneous items. Set out the trash bags and plastic bags.

Step 2: Walk around your home and pick up the little bits of clutter lying around. Set it all on a table or in one location in the middle of the floor. Mail, lotions, clothes, random projects are all lying around my place.

Step 3: Start piling like things together. Make a pile for dirty laundry, or for trash, one for items to donate. If you have random things, make a pile for each room and even each area they go in. Create a pile for things you have no idea where they should go.

Step 4: Once you have sorted everything, put the groups of items away in each room one at a time. Take out the trash, put the donation items in the car.

Step 5: Take a look at the miscellaneous items you can’t find a home for. Determine if you really need them in the first place. Maybe you don’t need 18 Yankee Candles out at a time and you can put some in a space the cupboard. If you need a break, put the miscellaneous items in a box, just don’t leave everything out indefinitely.

Step 6: Schedule a time to sort through the miscellaneous box. Schedule a time to deliver donations if you cannot deliver them immediately. Do not shove it in the corner. On your appointment time, go through the miscellaneous box. Don’t be afraid to throw away things if you find you really don’t use or need them.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

15 Reasons You should wait go to Graduate School

1. You are already in debt. So you’re in debt from undergrad, students loans, private loans, and particularly credit card bills, and you want to go to Graduate School. While you can get a deferment for the student loans, you will still have to pay them some day, and they will be worse once you’ve graduated from Graduate School. Take the time and at least get those credit cards taken care of. You won’t be able to afford the payments while you are in school.

2. You’ve never worked in your field. You think you want to be an archeologist, but you’ve never been on a dig. Well then you don’t really know if you can hack it or if you even like it. You need to get to know what you’re going to be doing so you can find out if all the work is really worth it. This shouldn’t be a random day dream but something you KNOW you want. Experience is VITAL in graduate school. The people with more experience get the best projects and positions and have more to talk about in class. If you can’t find a paying job in your field, try to job shadow or volunteer if you can afford it.

3. You want to meet someone. You graduated from college and suddenly it’s impossible to meet anyone new. You miss the constant mixers and the intra-gender library bonding/flirting. Grad school is significantly more expensive than e-harmony. If you want a college atmosphere, get a job in a college town, in the university if you can. The coffee shops and bars will be teaming with grad students anyway. Besides, what happens when you meet someone in grad School and then get successful new jobs…on opposite sides of the country.

4. You want to write. There are thousands of students pouring into creative writing and English programs hoping to be novelists, even though most experts advise against this. Instead think about working joining a writing group for a year, getting together a portfolio and maybe some printed work. You will get to write what you love, instead of a dissertation on the gender implications of Jack and Jill going up a hill.

5. You STILL don’t know what you want to do with your life. If you’ve graduated college still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, first of all don’t feel too bad. (If you went to a Liberal Arts School like I did, I’m impressed you managed to choose a major.) There are better ways to figure it out than spending massive amounts of time and money on another degree that might not help you anyway. Take a year off and try a few temporary jobs, if you have the money, travel. Dropping out after a semester of grad school is a huge waste of time and money. Don’t stress out, a lot of us are still figuring it out.

6. You can’t find a decent job. A graduate degree isn’t a golden ticket. You still don’t have any real life experience. And the job market may actually be worse when you graduate and you will have even more debt to pay off on your measly still starting salary.

7. You don’t have the proper Language Skills

8. You just want a degree. You want that extra piece of paper. You don’t care what field it’s in and you haven’t thought what you’ll do with it. A Graduate Degree is not an End in and of itself. It is a Means to an End. If you really need a title, call yourself Master of the Universe.

9. You have no savings. You must, I repeat MUST have some savings before you try to go to graduate school. It should be at least enough for you to be able to live on for at least year. Most of the time you can get another job while you are going to school, but if you think you’ll be able to totally support yourself without credit cards or loans you are mistaken. The last thing you want to do is miss out on projects or networking opportunities because you have to deliver pizzas after class. Your grades and your work will suffer and the debt you will have after will be astonishing. Figure out the cost of living at the place you want to go to. Overestimate. You may be able to make a little money on the side, and you can probably use some loans, but don’t cripple yourself before you even start your career.

10. Someone told you to. You’re getting too old to do what others tell you to do. If you’re not mature enough to assert yourself, you’re not mature enough to go to Graduate School.

11. You want to do some extensive traveling. Do you seriously think you will be able to afford travel after pouring tens of thousands of dollars in to a degree? Do you think you’ll have the energy to do it?

12. If you wait someone might help you pay for it. A lot of companies are now offering to help pay at least part of the cost of getting another degree. Most of the time this has to relate to your position, but many times you can get some partially relevant classes. Just make sure that what you do will transfer when you do choose to go to school.

13. You still drink like you are and extra in the movie Animal House

14. You don’t think that you will never go back if you don’t do it now. I heard this one a lot when I was deciding on graduate school and I soon learned it is not true at all. You may not want to wait till you have a mortgage and a little of children, but I was the youngest in my program at the age of 23. Plenty of people go back, and it is actually easier for them.

15. You’re afraid of going into the real world. There are much cheaper ways to stick your head in the sand, and if you get a degree you don’t need or want, you might as well have spent the time working at a pool side bar for a year or two.

Monday, March 03, 2008

5 Quickie Dinners made with Tortillas

Making dinner during the week can be difficult. Working takes up enough time, but what if you want to work out or meet with friends. Here are a few ideas for dinners that are quick and easy and are made of ingredients you can easily have on hand.

Chicken Enchiladas

  • 1 Brick cream cheese (I use 1/3 fat)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 8 fajita sized tortillas (I use the whole wheat)
  • 1 cup shredded taco cheese
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • Two cooked Chicken breasts chopped into small pieces * For vegetarian just add another can of drained pinto beans instead
  • Cayenne pepper and powdered garlic to taste

Melt the cream cheese and salsa on medium heat. Stir till blended, then add the cooked chicken, drained pinto beans, cayenne pepper, garlic, tomatoes and stir until blended. Fill the tortillas, roll into tubes, and lay side by side in an oven safe/lightly oiled pan. Chop up the onions. Pour sauce over rolled enchiladas. Sprinkle on chopped onions and shredded cheese over the top. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Mexican Pizzas

  • 1 Bag tortillas
  • 1 can refried beans
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Salsa
  • Chopped Onions

Toast one tortilla spread refried beans and salsa on top. Layer with next tortilla spread onions and green peppers, salsa and then toss shredded cheese. Toast in toaster oven or in oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.


  • Tortillas
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Chopped Onions
  • Chopped Green Peppers
  • Baby Spinach
  • Oil

Toast one tortilla. Layer cheese, and chopped vegetables between two tortillas. In a lightly greased pan toast until light brown and cheese is melted.

Taco Salad

  • 1 Can pinto beans
  • Salad
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Salsa
  • Tortillas

Make a salad with all of your favorite veggies. Toast a tortilla in a toaster or in the oven. Toss shredded cheese, drained pinto beans, salsa, and crumbled tortilla over the top.


  • Turkey Swiss, Baby Spinach, and mustard
  • Turkey, Mexican Shredded Cheese, Onions, Green Pepper, and Salsa
  • Hummus, Green Peppers, Onions and tomatoes

Quickie Tips

  • Keep chopped up onions and green pepper on hand for speedy use
  • Buy pre-chopped salads/lettuce
  • Keep cans of pinto beans and chopped tomatoes on hand

Grocery List

  • 1 Bag of Tortillas
  • 2 Bags of Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • 1 can of Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 Can of Tomatoes
  • 2 Can of Pinto Beans
  • 1 Jar of Salsa
  • Baby Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Green Peppers
  • 1 Can of Refried Beans
  • Turkey Lunchmeat
  • Humus