One of the things I love most about the holidays is that even ordinary outings feel special. The holidays are the time to dress up and put your best face forward, so it’s unlikely your everyday cosmetics and beauty routine are up to snuff. While you don’t need to run out and purchase a whole new makeup palette, make a few inexpensive tweaks to your beauty routine and up your game for holiday parties and time with friends and family.
By Jacqueline Curtis
As the holiday season quickly approaches, so too does the biggest shopping day of the year: Black Friday! I was introduced to Black Friday years ago when I first moved to the States, and I immediately embraced the 4am battle over deep discounts and holiday deals.
But I also understand that the Black Friday hustle isn’t for everyone. In fact, some people downright hate the idea of shopping the morning after Thanksgiving. And while there’s something to be said for staying home in your pajamas, there are ways to make Black Friday shopping a little less painful and ensure you score stellar deals. Use these tips to tackle your holiday shopping like a pro and to get the best deals with the least amount of stress.
By Jacqueline Curtis
When you’re interested in a topic but don’t have the time or money to take a college course, it’s time to consider MOOCs – massive open online courses. MOOCs are available to the general public regardless of geographic location, education level, or previous schooling. The result is a meeting of the minds with serious benefits, including everything from college credit to an enhanced resume.
While it’s true that online education has come a long way in recent years, it still has a way to go before it’s considered a viable replacement for traditional college. As of now, there are no MOOC programs that provide a full online degree; rather, accredited MOOCs – those affiliated with a brick-and-mortar university – can help you gather some of the credits required toward a formal degree.
As a Canadian living in the United States, I score the benefit of two Thanksgivings: I celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving the second weekend in October, and then again when American Thanksgiving rolls around in November. And to be honest, while Canadian and American Thanksgivings both have different heritage, they ultimately have the same traditions: turkey, football, apple pie, and family.
While in Canada for the first Thanksgiving of the year, I make sure to do all of the traditional things with extended family. We go apple picking, bake pies, and eat a ton of food, which usually culminates in a communal nap.
Getting a raise is probably one of the best feelings in the world. After all, it boils down to your boss essentially saying, “You’ve done an excellent job and deserve to be compensated.”
However, it can also be a double-edged sword. Sure, you’re going to make more money, but that feeling of financial well-being could also go to your head and lead to some poor financial habits. The trick to getting a salary increase to really pay off is to make the right choices in the days, weeks, and months following it.
Toys seem to have a way of multiplying over time, so when you try to clean your toy room, kids’ room, or living room, there’s often not enough room to store them all. I might be the only one who thinks my kids’ toys have an agenda, but I know I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by toy clutter. Whether it’s mismatched pieces from various LEGO sets, the furniture from a dollhouse, or a mountain of stuffed animals, toys can seriously cramp your living quarters.
The family vacation is practically an American institution. Whether it’s a trip to Grandma’s house or a long-anticipated vacation to a Disney theme park, vacations allow you to spend quality time with your family as you make lifelong memories.
Of course, vacationing with a large brood also means shelling out more for everything: food, lodging, entertainment, and attraction tickets, to name a few. But just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you need to skip the family vacation.
Like many modern parents, I rely on my tablet computer, smartphone, and other gadgets to keep my kids occupied. Unfortunately, however, children don’t always care for pricey items the way their parents do. That’s why when I first get a new electronic device, I take steps to ensure that it’s sufficiently kid-proofed before I hand it over to the little ones.
If you appreciate the convenience of educational apps for your kids or games and music on-the-go, don’t take unnecessary chances – kid-proof your devices first.
As one of five kids, allowance meant everything to me as a child. My mom bought everything we needed, so it was only through allowance that I was able to purchase the things I really wanted.
While I earned my allowance by doing chores, I was given little instruction on how to responsibly spend my money. The vast majority of what I saved in my piggy bank eventually found its way to the neighborhood store, where I blew it on clothes and CDs. Ultimately, the experience taught me little about financial responsibility
As a total beauty product junky, I make it my business to test-drive just about every new item on the market. That means my bathroom vanity is always covered with products and potions, much to my husband’s dismay. Although I love trying out new things and having a huge beauty arsenal on-hand, I also recognize the importance of makeup minimalism. After all, I’m not going to put on a full face every time I go to the grocery store.
If you’re like me, you hear the words “maxi skirt” and automatically think summer – after all, a maxi skirt and t-shirt are practically my warm-day uniform. And why not? Maxi skirts are easy pieces to wear, keeping you cool on a hot day.
However, before you put away your maxi skirts for the fall and winter months, consider maximizing this summer staple with a few fresh pairings and some warmer footwear. Simply return your flip-flops securely to your closet, then seamlessly transition your maxi dresses into fall favorites, preventing the need to overspend on a new fall wardrobe.
Tell me if this sounds familiar to you: You’re in the drugstore waiting for a prescription, and you find yourself drifting over to the beauty section. There, you see bright displays with the latest products, and you reach for that cherry red lipstick you’ve never had the guts to try. You decide to splurge on it because this just may be the color that can finally make you look more like Gwen Stefani. Sure enough, though, you later discover that what you hoped would be a lush, glamorous red is actually more orange, and the drugstore lighting fooled you. The lipstick gets unceremoniously tossed into your bathroom drawer, never to be seen again – just like the $8 you spent.
I often bemoan the fact that I was married just before digital photography became common. While modern brides get to share their wedded bliss on Facebook, my wedding prints are stuck in a drawer somewhere. The real disadvantage of getting married back in 2003, however, is the fact that my nuptials happened long before the creation of what may be the greatest wedding idea machine of all time: Pinterest.
When I started flying regularly as a teenager, an airline ticket included everything you needed to fly – there were no additional fees for checked bags, meals, or in-flight entertainment. Nowadays, that type of treatment would be considered downright luxurious.
When the economy dips, so does the service of the aviation industry, as fewer people are likely to shell out cash for pricey plane tickets. Many airlines have responded by offering tickets at a lower upfront cost, while making up the difference by charging fees for perks and services. While some of these fees are worth the extra cost, others should absolutely be avoided.
It’s hard not to get a serious case of celebrity envy whenever I glance at a tabloid magazine. Is it me, or do celebrities seem like professional vacationers in addition to being singers, actors, and TV personalities? Whether lounging on a sun-drenched beach on the coast of Hawaii or skiing on the perfect snow in Colorado, celebs have a lock on luxurious vacation hot spots that we mere mortals can only dream about.