Archive for September, 2011

Helping Your College Student Budget, Teaching Financial Responsibility

[ 0 ] September 28, 2011 |

College Student Budget–Reality Strikes

College-student-budget

What’s a college student budget?  Women over 45, your little darlings have probably headed off to college this year, right?  Well, when Junior and Miss Princess head off to college orientation with you, what’s the first thing they hear–“Study Abroad”, “Semester at Sea”, “Unpaid Internship”….  What’s the first thing you hear..oh wait…it’s the sound of the college vacuum machine siphoning away all your hard earned cash!  Right after you leave the college orientation is when most parents decide it’s a good time to discus the college student budget.

BACK UP! College Student Budget Education starts at Birth

In our home, we really started our children’s financial education for responsibility the minute they were born.  “Saving for College” should be a regular topic that your children hear and “Financial Responsibility” and “Budgeting” shouldn’t be foreign concepts to them either.  “Frugal” shopping, “Thrift Stores”, “Garage Sales” are all words that they should not be embarrassed to utter, but embrace with the sense of savings and adventure that can be achieved.  Once you have your children, yourself and your spouse in the right mindset..discussing a college student budget becomes easier.

Elements to Consider in a College Student Budget

1. Each Child is Different–One child has had a job since the 8th grade, the next has never had a job except one summer for a few weeks at a fast food restaurant, the next child works every summer doing hard labor for his coach, and the finally one is a pre-olympian of sorts and spends every summer in training..never having worked a summer job.  In college, one child can carry 17 credits, two jobs and balance a social life.  The next has a girlfriend, is studying a medical related subject and works 20 hours a week.  Another child finds 12 credit hours difficult to handle without even considering a job. Then another child carries a full class load, all the while working and planning for his master’s degree approach.  The key lesson here is each child is different and so must the approach to a college student budget for each child be different.

2.  Different people, Different expenses.  One child may need a bike, a gym membership, and a full meal plan to make college life work for them. The next may need to live at home for a few years to get themselves established.  For some, the Sky is the limit as they absorb all the different opportunities around them.  Or so they think…the budget my dictate differently.

3. Different Colleges, Different Majors, Different Expenses.  Some colleges will have many hidden fees, new editions of books, and outlandish trip related expenses that must be met in order to accomplish a degree.   Other colleges are simply in expensive locations rendering the room and board more expensive.  Other college majors may require a number of internships, often unpaid.

While the list of considerations can go on and on, the tools for helping your student budget and teaching financial responsibility have to start at home.  57% of the parents who have children in high school/college feel that schools deserve failing grades in teaching children financial responsibility, according to a recent American Express Survey. In my personal opinion, it’s not the schools responsibility to teach a child about home finances.  That job lies with the parents.

college girl budgets

What tools can you utilize when helping form a College Student Budget?

1) Pursue Scholarships.  Whenever there is an opportunity for awards, get your child applying!

2) Have the child get a job.  Studies have shown that children who work 12 hours/week during college have better grades then those who don’t. Encourage or require your child to get a job to pay part or all of their own way.  When a child invests in their education, I have observed they take everything more seriously.  For example, if you have the child pay for their own books…all of a sudden the child is an expert on text book buying sites like Amazon.com, textbooks.com, and the local discount used bookstore.

3) Consult the experts.  You don’t have to come up with all the ideas yourself.  There are many great reference sources out there to develop your college student budget.  For example, in order to better prepare parents with resources and tips to better educate their teens about responsible college spending, American Express, coupled with  financial expert Jean Chatzky and Mom Central Consulting’s Stacy DeBroff, decided to  launch the Safe Spend program. This program was conceived to help parents instruct  their kids in  how to “Practice Safe Spend , this financial awareness program offers great suggestions to make discussing the importance of money management a little easier. They offer smart solutions that you may not have considered like giving your college student an American Express Additional Card with Custom Limits. To read all of the “Practice Safe Spend” tips, please visit: Mom Central Consulting on behalf of American Express and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

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Halloween Recipes – Gopher Guts Stew

[ 6 ] September 26, 2011 |

Halloween Recipes – Gopher Guts Stew- with Avocados from Mexico

Halloween Recipes are just the Most Fun!  You take an  ordinary recipe and gross it up a bit, give it a spooky scary name, dim the lights, and you have a whole lot of silliness combined with some terror when you try to eat the food!  Today, Still Blonde after all these YEARS is bringing you Gopher Guts Stew for the “Spookamole” Blog tour via Avocados of Mexico! Get it…Spookamole  …as in Guacamole?  HAHAHA!

You remember the tune (sung to “I may never March in the Infantry”):

Great Green Globs of Greasy Grimey Gopher Guts, Mutilated Monkey Meat, tiny little birdie feet

Great Green Globs of Greasy Grimey Gopher Guts, that’s what this stew for Spookamole is…

Halloween Recipes–The Story to tell the Kiddies and the Easy-to-Scare Teens and Adults.

So essentially this Halloween recipe will remind you of a Wonderful Chicken Tortilla Stew with Avocados, but for our Halloween imaginations…we have Gopher Gut Stew!!!

halloween Recipe Gopher Guts Stew Spookamole

The peppers and onions are the gopher’s minced up muscles and ligaments;  rice  and cheese are the gopher’s ground up bones and toenails;  the cilantro, spice and seasonings are from the gopher’s nose and nose hair;   the Chicken is the gopher flesh;

Halloween Recipe Gopher Guts Stew Spookamole2

The chicken stock, tomato juice, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce form the gopher’s plasma and blood;

Halloween Recipe Gopher Guts stew Mexican Avacodo

The red and blue tortillas are the gopher’s veins; …and finally the CROWNING GLORY is the specially hand piped avocados from Mexico which are the GOPHER’S GUTS!!!  YUM-YUM!

 

Recipe developed by The Chief Blonde, Still Blonde after all these YEARS
Published: September 26, 2011

Halloween Recipes–Gopher Guts Stew with Avocados from Mexico for the Spookamole Blog tour


Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 30 min

Ingredients:


–Shredded skinless boneless Chicken breast:1 pound
Can use a roaster or canned chicken breast
Stock, Chicken:8 cups
Make your own or use Prepared.
Juice of limes:3
Tomato juice:1 cup
Chopped Red bell pepper:1/2 cups
Chopped and cleaned Jalapeno:(1)
Chopped cilantro:1/4 cups
Worcestershire sauce:4 tsp
Chopped green onions:(3)
Uncooked Rice:1/2 cups
–Per bowl, Avocados from Mexico: (1)
–Shredded Mexican Cheese: 1 cup
–Minced Garlic:1 tsp.
–Ground black pepper:1/2tsp
–Salt to Taste
–Tortilla Strips (Red and Blue If possible)
Yield: (4 servings)

Directions:


In a large soup pot, simmer the chicken stock, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, and lime juices with the jalapeno, cilantro for 45 minutes.While simmering; grill the chicken until cooked all of the way through, then shred  (optional–use canned chicken breast.)

Strain simmered stock mixture  and add green onion, chilies, red bell pepper, rice, corn, garlic to the remaining strained stock and simmer for 20 minutes. The mixture will  have the consistency of a soupy stew.

Mash up the avocados and then pipe them on top of the stew to create a “Gopher Gut” look, add a teeny bit of lime juice if not serving immediately to keep avocado from turning brown.  Artfully, place the tortilla strips and shredded cheese on top of the “Guts” .

Avocados from Mexico–Did you Know?

Avocados are grown on trees and Mexico is the ONLY place in the world where the trees bloom 4 times per year guaranteeing year round availability! An avocado is really a fruit because it does grow on trees but we often think of it as a  vegetable!

What makes Avocados from Mexico so perfect for Halloween Recipes?

Well, they are green…Duh? So they add a fun spooky color to any dish. Avocados are also really tasty..kinda like candy but a fruit..so they make any of your Halloween Recipes for Spookamole just taste that much better with their creamy natural appeal.

What do to know more about  Avocados from Mexico?

For recipes, fun facts, storage tips, purchasing tips, and more visit Avocados from Mexico to further your education.

Want to submit your own Halloween recipes for the Spookamole Blog Tour?

You can also submit your recipes to the official Spookamole contest page by September 30, 2011.  After the posting period ends,  the Avocados from Mexico team will review and test recipes and will select five (5) finalists to be entered into a public voting period from Monday, October 10 through Sunday, October 16. The winner of the public voting will receive $1,000 and four (4) runner-ups will receive $250.00 each.

See our other Halloween Recipes

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Blog Note:
“I wrote this review while participating in a Spookamole blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Avocados from Mexico and received avocado items to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”.

Rafflecopter Data: Helping PR firms to Justify giveaways and reviews!

[ 22 ] September 23, 2011 |

Rafflecopter DATA helps Public Relations Firms Jusitify Giveaways on Blogs

Rafflecopter-Data-Logo

USE YOUR RAFFLECOPETR DATA WISELY

Rafflecopter Data can be your friend! When letting your Sponsor know the winners of your Rafflecopter giveaway, many bloggers just remind the sponsor of their obligations and where to ship the winner the prize they won.

HOLD ON!  Why not use your Rafflecopter Data to show PR companies what you, as a blog and blogger,  did for them and the company they represent! This is a great way to endear yourself to them. USE YOUR RAFFLECOPTER DATA TO REPORT GREAT FACTS derived from the Rafflecopter Data List data list and then use your social icon info to supplement:

Our entries indicate 750  people entered your giveway that we achieved 55 (Fig. 5)  new fans for xxx on Facebook and 55 (fig.5)  new fans on Twitter. The Giveaway was tweeted 102 times (Fig. 6), Shared on FB 102 times (Fig. 6)  , and liked on Facebook 53 times (Fig. 6). There were 93 comments in the comment section on my post that detailed what aspects the fans liked about xxxx.

So how did I come up with that Data?  Can’t you imagine PR firms just being estatic with this data? Okay, here goes.  I’ll show you how it’s done.

Rafflecopter-Moderate

Fig. 1Moderate Button on Rafflecopter

Sign into Rafflecopter.  Go to “Your Giveaways” tab.  Choose the Giveaway that you want to get Data from, and click “Moderate”. (Fig. 1)

Rafflecopter-Show-list-image

Fig. 2 Show List

Choose “Show List” on the Moderate Entries Page (Fig. 2)

Rafflecopter-moderate-entries-image

Fig. 3 Options

On the “List”, You will see a box that says Options.

Rafflecopter-option-image

Fig. 4  Sort for the Option

If you want to find out a certain piece of Data, type it into the “Option” box.  In Fig. 4, above I typed in (or you can “Copy” and Crt V to paste in the entry)  “Like” stillblondeaferalltheseyears on Facebook.    You can now see all the entries  for that response.  How many are there?

Rafflecopter-count-image

Fig. 5 Response count

Look in the lower right hand portion of the page and you will see the number of responses to the query “Like” stillblondeaferalltheseyears on Facebook”.  55!  Gather other data from the Rafflecopter form in a similar manner.

Sharebar-image

Fig. 6 Sharebar

You can also find other relevant data to report to Public Relation firms via your social Icons.  I have a tool which is called Sharebar, which is a plug-in for WordPress.  It appends off the left side of my blog and provides a lot of goodies that Public Relations firms and Companies would love to know.  You can see the Sharebar on Still Blonde after all these YEARS.  From the Sharebar I can provide data like Facebook Shares and Likes, Tweets, Stumbles, and Google +1. Tell me that Companies and PR firms won’t love this Data! It helps them to validate the Value of blog giveaways and reviews!

What do you think?  Was this helpful to you?  Will it help you provide better data to Companies and PR firms?

Was this Post helpful to you?  Could you Stumble, tweet or share it so others can benefit?  And me too?  Thanks!

 

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Blog Note: This Post was provided to the readers of Still Blonde after all these Years as an editorial by the Chief Blonde. No compensation was involved.

 

Happy First Clothing Review

[ 174 ] September 21, 2011 |

Happy First, Then Make it Last

hemp survivor chick..pink happy chick cap sleeve..org butterfly tunic happy first..

Survivor Chick ($39) Happy Chick ($32) Butterfly Tunic ($48)

The Happy First line of clothing and accessories was created to make people smile, in so doing realize their potential within. Happy First also has a line for babies and toddlers. Happy First is providing our Rafflecopter Roundup giveaway today but they are also offering a discount during this giveaway for 25% off the entire Happy First site! Now that’s a whopping big coupon! Coupon code is Stillblonde at the checkout.

Happy First

The Happy First Ideology! Nice Right?

stillblonde3 small The Chief Blonde Remarks:

I adore Happy First for a variety of reasons. First they sent me this super cute shirt to sample.

happy go lucky happy first

Happy Go Lucky ($34)

It was love at first touch! The 100% jersey cotton and the bamboo inspired design made it the perfect choice to wear to my first yoga class. I could move comfortably  in the shirt through all my yoga poses but remained cool and focused due to the wearability and it fit like a glove! You will also like the fact that Happy First donates 10% of all sales to leukemia and lymphoma research. Why? Because Debbie Vinyard , the company’s owner, is a Hodgkin’s Disease survivor. I think its interesting that she employed happiness as both companion and antidote throughout her cancer battle. Another thing you’ll like about Happy First, is all the fun stuff you can do on their website..like grab some of the cutest background wallpaper you have ever laid eyes on or you can visit their blog which happens to be one of the most nicely designed blogs that I have seen recently (and I see a lot of blogs!). Oh, I also adore the models in their shop…all different ages and all look HAPPY in the clothes they are modeling…imagine that? If you want to discover a line of clothing that is cross generational, high quality, and just plain fun to exist in…Happy First is your Clothing Line.

THE CONTEST

Contest Runs From September 21, 9:00 am through September 25, 11:59 PM EST.

THE PRIZE

Each Winner may choose one shirt from the Happy First Website not to exceed $50. There will be 2 Winners!!
THE GIVEAWAY IS OVER. LINKY HOP CLOSED. THIS CONTEST HAD 1779 ENTRIES! SEE GIVEAWAY WINNERS!

Blog Notes

still Blonde after all these YEARS