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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

On the Market: Reflections of an Educated, Unemployed Twenty–Something

Hi all!  Here is a wonderfully insightful guest post by Michael Oghia (bio and links below).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Discount Beauty Queen

I had a flash of inspiration to write this post, as I was in the shower.  I felt I had to share some things I've learned this year about saving money on beauty and personal hygiene products.

So today I went shopping for some items I needed.  One of the things I needed was a shower gel (body wash).  A lot of women use three main products in the shower; a body wash (or soap), a shaving cream, and a "feminine hygiene wash".  My personal stance on beauty and personal care items is to purchase items which can multitask; one item to use for multiple purposes.  So let's say the three items mentioned cost you $5 each.  You'd be spending $15 for three items when you can use one for all three.  My secret?  Baby Wash.

A baby wash is an ultra gentle cleanser for babies.  But why should babies have all the good stuff?  My skin is sensitive and should be treated with TLC.  And as for your hoo-haa, duh that's something you need to treat with special care.  You gotta treat her like the queen she is.  In case you didn't know, you shouldn't be using regular soap down there.  Baby Wash is perfect because it has the keywords to look for: soap-free, gentle, sensitive, pH-balanced.  If you check the label of a Summer's Eve feminine wash, those are the same words used on the bottle.  Baby wash/baby soap is just as gentle AND yes it does lather so you can use it to shave too.  I just got two of the Rite-Aid brand because it was two for only $5!  So instead of spending $15 on three different items, I saved $10 AND got two items!  SCORE!

Next up, lotion.  I have sensitive skin so I don't like using creams and lotions with heavy fragrances (I get fragrance free).  If you really like perfumed creams and lotions you can add fragrance to them yourself and save money.  Just buy a fragrance-free lotion and add some scented oil to it, in whatever scent you like.  Now in terms of multitasking...the reason I buy fragrance free lotions and creams specifically for sensitive skin is because you can use them on both your body AND face.  Sure you can spend money on special serums, night creams, yada yada.  But I find that the less junk is on my face the less likely it'll react negatively on me.  Again I have sensitive skin so I like using products which are gentle and don't have a lot of extras in them.  But even if you don't have sensitive skin, if you just want to moisturize your face, why spend money on an extra bottle just for your face? One bottle can go for both. Or even if you just want one separate lotion for your face, you still save money with this method because if you haven't noticed those face creams come in teeny tiny bottles which don't last at all.  Let's do the math.  A bottle of a generic brand, fragrance-free lotion is about $5 and can last you about 3 months, whereas a tiny bottle of face lotion will be about $10 and last one month.

Finally, hair.  I spend more money on my hair than anything else.  I don't splurge on an item that's not staying in my hair.  Shampoos and Conditioners and meant to be washed out, so why spend $10 on a bottle?  It doesn't matter what kind of miracle it promises to do to your hair, it's gonna be WASHED OUT!  It's like throwing money down the drain. I can understand if you want to spend a little more on conditioners, but if your hair needs moisture better to invest in a leave-in conditioner which will go a longer way than a regular conditioner to wash out.

I'm sure there are a million plus ways to save money on your beauty routine, just do a little research before you go shopping next time.

What kind of beauty secrets do you have to share?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Make Money Online

There are tons of legitimate ways to make money online.  And I'm not talking about schemes or MLM business opportunities.  You can make a good amount of money working online by freelancing.

Market your skills and put them to use!  You can freelance full-time or part-time; it's up to you! When you freelance by working online (also known as working remotely, virtual jobs, and telecommuting) you can make your own schedule and be your own boss!

I am gonna list the websites I found to be the most helpful:

oDesk - you create a free profile, take some free skills tests (proof for employers), and then apply for gigs.  You set how much you want to get paid and they have a variety of jobs.  I'm currently working on a writing assignment through this website.  Again it's completely free to join and search for jobs.

Fiverr is one of my favorites.  You pretty much promote different skill sets you have in the form of jobs you'd be wiling to do for a minimum of $5.  For example you can offer to write a blog post for someone, for $5.  You can also offer extra services for more money.  I've used this site to hire freelancers.  If you're looking to hire someone for a gig, this is one of the best websites to do it from.  It's free to join and post for freelancers.

Flexjobs - they post all kinds of telecommuting and work from home jobs here.  The only thing is that you have to pay a fee to join the site, in order to search and apply for jobs.  I paid the fee last year, for 6 months, and while they had plenty of work from home job opportunities which were hard to find elsewhere, I was not able to successfully obtain work from this site.  So I personally do not feel it's worth it to spend money to look for work, especially if you're unemployed and can't afford it.  It's not super expensive but I'd rather spend my funds on necessary things.  If you have the money however, go for it.

Elance - you can also create a free profile to search for freelance opportunities.  I just started using this site so I don't have other feedback to provide other than it's free to use.

Which websites have you used to find work online?

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How to find a Job in a “Jobless” Market

A lot of people are unemployed and feeling down on their luck.  Many believe the situation with the economy and the job market is hopeless.  I've been there; I was unemployed and underemployed for about a year.  I got by on gigs on Craigslist and other side jobs, all the while going to job fairs and applying to jobs like a maniac.

First thing you have to do is change your attitude and outlook.  If you believe the situation is hopeless, then it will be.  Plus no one will want to hire you if you’re in “Debbie Downer” mode.

Use your resources: ask your friends, family, ex-coworkers and previous supervisors to help you with your job search; they may know someone who is hiring.  Also try buddying up with one of your unemployed friends and take turns helping each other apply for jobs, check each other’s resumes, etc…

Put yourself out there!  Emailing your resume a million times isn't enough.  Go to networking events, join Yahoo Groups, Meetup, LinkedIn, and join different groups of professionals in your area and/or your field.  Many times job postings are listed there (especially LinkedIn).  Also try reaching out to your school’s alumni network and get in contact with some alumni in your field. 

Post your resume and make it visible on websites like Monster, so that recruiters are able to get in contact with you.  Also join different temp and employment agencies.  Headhunters can provide a great deal of help with your job search.  Don’t sleep on temp jobs!  Many positions start out as temporary and may become permanent.  Plus the advantage of having a temp job is that if you don’t like it, the end will be near.

If you still can’t find a job, how about creating one?  Why not start your own business?  Don’t be scared; it’s very easy to start a business, especially a home business.  There are tons of resources at your disposal to get your business started. 

Lastly, don’t forget to take it easy once in a while.  Looking for a job is a job in itself.  You deserve a mental health break every so often, especially if you find yourself exhausted and overly stressed from the job search.  It’s OK to take a break!  Sometimes you need to replenish your energy to get back in the game.

Good luck with your job search and by the way, check out my post on Government Benefits for the Unemployed, to help you out during this time.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Short-term Housing in Downtown San Diego

This is a follow-up to my review on Old Town Place.  I'm currently staying at Newport Place, managed by the same company, which is located in the downtown section of San Diego.

I am staying in a huge room, which is almost like a studio except I share the bathroom and kitchen with someone else.  The room has a private entrance, is fully furnished, and even has a refrigerator and microwave.  Just like with Old Town Place, all utilities are included; there is a laundry facility and computer station on site, and it is in a central location.  Newport Place is perfect for anyone needing short-term housing in downtown San Diego, especially students of San Diego City College since it is about a block away.

Everything is pretty much within walking distance; supermarkets, shopping, post office, and more.  I highly recommend this place to anyone in need of housing in San Diego.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

20K For College Students!

College Students get your money on!  Here's a chance to win $20,000 from Fila USA!! Pimp your wallet!!

Free Classes and Tutorials!

Welcome to the School of Life, where you can learn pretty much anything for FREE!
Want to learn a new dance, a new language, how to make a dress out of old t-shirts? YOUTUBE might be the place for you. There are tons of videos up on just about everything you can think of; just try a search on what you’re looking for. Some helpful YouTube channels include: Expert Village, eHow, and ThreadBanger among others.

Do you dream of becoming the next J.K. Rowling?  If so, you may want to check out some of the free writing classes and seminars offered by, to brush up those writing skills. 

If computers are more your thing, check out some free classes offered by your local public library (NYPL), or from an amazing company called NobleDesktop which offers free seminars on some of the latest software (both online and at their NYC location).  If you need the software you are trying to learn, but can't afford to purchase it, try the free downloads at CNET.  CNET offers free downloads for both PC's and Macs. 

Another helpful website which lists all kinds of free stuff for New Yorkers (such as courses, events, concerts, etc...) is ClubFreeTime.  It's worth it to join just to get access to the wealth of resources offered.

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FREE Classes at Wellesley College!

Starting Fall 2013 Wellesley College will be offering FREE Online courses for both women and men!  Join their mailing list for updates on classes and schedules.  You better get your free education on!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Win passes to San Diego Comic Con 2013!

G4TV has a contest to win passes to San Diego Comic Con for this upcoming summer!  This is a great opportunity to win free passes, 4 nights at a hotel and much more!  Enter now!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Short-term Housing in San Diego

So I recently relocated from NYC to San Diego for various reasons, but before I moved I spent a number of hours researching short-term housing options in San Diego.  

Short-term housing is good if you are a student, or a professional on a business trip, or someone in transition from relocating.  I also think short-term housing can often times be more economical than hostels and/or traditional hotels.  Being that I was in the process of moving I did not feel comfortable signing a lease to an apartment that I was not able to physically view.  I was primarily dealing with people by phone or internet and was just paranoid of getting ripped off.  There are so many housing scams out there that you just don’t know who to trust.

In any case, I came across a couple of options: airbnb and Old Town Place.  With airbnb you can rent rooms and private homes directly from the owners, and the site also offers reviews on the location and host.  You can view pictures and descriptions; overall you feel comfortable reserving housing there.  I found some great options but you have to pay your entire stay up-front plus a fee for the service; I just found it to be a little pricey.  I came across Old Town Place (as well as Newport Place – a “sister site” where I’ll be staying at next - review coming soon!) which is promoted as short-term student housing, mainly for international students, but anyone can stay here as long as you stay the minimum of one month.  The staff is extremely helpful and courteous (I dealt directly with Kristy Ward who is the Business Manager), and the great thing is you can pay only a deposit to hold your room (and/or studio) and then pay your month’s rent upon arrival.  I thought this was a great option because you can pay your rent once you are physically there and are able to see the place.  All rooms and studios are fully furnished; the rent includes your typical utilities (such as electricity, water, etc…) as well as Wi-Fi, and cable.  They also have laundry facilities and a cleaning service for the common areas (such as the living room and kitchen). 

The pictures on the website don’t do this place justice!  I am staying in room 2B which is part of a 2 bedroom apartment.  This bedroom has a private entrance, as well as a door leading into the kitchen and bathroom area (two doors total in the room).  Both doors have locks and upon arrival you receive a set of keys for the front door and laundry room, as well as for your mailbox.  The room has a desk, mirror, wastepaper basket, television, night stand, lamps, alarm clock, and closet.  They also include fresh towels and linens.  The kitchen is fully equipped with a refrigerator, stove, table, utensils, pots, cups, and all kinds of appliances (such as a microwave, blender and coffee maker).  They also include cleaning supplies, an ironing board and iron, and plenty of shelf space.  Finally, the bathroom has a sink, toilet and shower, and is a decent size for two people to share. 

By the way, the outside is gorgeous!  They have a little patio area, which in front of my door is a table and chairs for those lovely sunny days.  And I have yet to explore the rest of the complex and area, but I’m sure it’s all beautiful. 

If you plan on staying in San Diego for a month or longer, I think this place would be your best bet.  I think you will find it to be the most economical and also the most convenient.  If you’re concerned about the privacy and/or noise level, you have nothing to worry about.  Everyone is respectful; you barely hear any outside noise.  Also all your doors can be locked and only accessed by you.  If you don’t drive the Trolley and Bus station is only a few blocks away (which by the way I highly suggest walking around Old Town, it’s definitely eye-gasmic!). 

I felt inspired to write about this place because I did not find much information in my initial online search for short-term housing in San Diego, so hopefully this review serves as a guide for you.