Hello Kitty Sewing Machine
If I Could Learn Anything, I Would Learn Sewing
There are at least a thousand things I would like to learn during my lifetime. A thousand may seem like an exaggeration, but I have a fascination with learning new things. I want to learn how to code a website, speak Dutch fluently, play ballads on a guitar, and many other things. However, if I was forced to pick just one new skill, I would choose sewing. What, sewing!?! Yes, I would choose sewing.

The major reason behind my decision is that for such a practical skill I can use every day, I received very limited exposure as a child. The first item I tried to sew myself was a pillow. It was so lump-sided and uneven, the perfectionist within me threw the pillow across the room and vowed to never sew again. However, as I got older and my passion for fashion evolved, I wished I would have continued to learn that craft correctly. Who knows if I could have saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars in clothing, but anyway it is never too late to learn something new, right?

So I’ll start by stating the obvious and mention that the first step to successfully learn something new is to spend some time researching how you will learn your new craft. For sewing, I know there are an assortment of references, books, workshops, and tutorials on YouTube that can serve as guides. After hours of careful deliberation and research, I found a website entitled: tillyandthebuttons.com that offers tutorials with visual aids, online and in-person workshops, and guides.

The second step for my quest to becoming a sewing maven is to invest in a sewing machine, and I knew I would need to spend time researching my choice on that as well. According to Ms. Tilly, the machine I will choose will depend on the use. For a first time buyer, it is recommended that I get a machine that is considered a mechanical model with knobs instead of a digital one. (I did not know that there were digital sewing machines until reading her post! I just accomplished one of my lifelong goals without knowing it: learn something new every day.) For the more experience “stitcher,” computerized sewing machines are recommended since there are variety of stitching options. Since I plan to make sewing a permanent hobby, I will likely use the Janome 2212 Sewing Machine as recommended, and then upgrade to a mid-range model in the future.

Now it is time to set up shop. Ms. Tilly has two entire posts dedicated to setting up and threading a sewing machine. The visuals she has are explanations in themselves, and each topic is formulated in no more than three steps. There is also a blog post on the essentials one needs for a sewing kit: fabric and small scissors, cutting mat, marking tools, tape measure, pins, a pin holder, seam ripper, needles, paper, pencil, ruler, tape, glue, steam iron, and ironing board. (For just getting started, that’s one heck of a grocery list!) Micheal’s and Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts, here I come.

After setting up, I can finally start sewing. Ms. Tilly recommends starting with simple designs like scarfs or bow belts. The key in mastering these designs is picking the right fabric and making the designs over and over again. I believe my first project will be scarfs, since I can find different ways to use it head to toe (well, head to torso anyways).

In my opinion, what makes a blog worthwhile is how interactive the author is when it comes to commenting. Ms. Tilly regularly answers user's questions and directs them to the solution they need. I am so impressed with this blog, that I am tempted to sign up for an online workshop or two, and also purchase her book. If I keep at it, I may be able to make my own clothes in no time. Brava, Ms. Tilly, brava!

Ok now that I have decided on something new to learn, it is your turn to decide. If you could learn anything, what would you choose?

Photo Credit: Cláudia*~Assad

Bartender job beer on tap bar dark pub London Mayfair District
Jobs Requiring no Experience for College Students
So you are a college student looking for a summer job. Well look at you, you’re finally swimming with all the other tuna, finally joined the poor-college-student trope that has consumed our lives for decades. From eating ramen noodles for dinner three days straight, to smuggling fruit under our hoodies out of the dining hall so we have snacks, to forgetting what Indian food tastes like because it’s been a whole semester since we have been awarded the luxury of creamy saag paneer, the poor-college-student-struggle has never ceased to amaze me.

Now you’ve come here to change your fate. To go from hotdogs-every-night to sushi-sometimes, you must put in grueling hours of work into jobs that require you to have absolutely zero experience, you can find ‘em in a couple fabulous locations. A lot of them pay minimum wage, a lucky and connecting few of us will climb to making $10 an hour, the rest of us will imagine the glory and save up for next year’s textbooks. So, without further ado, below is list of potential jobs you can be hired for as a college student with no previous work experience.

Work at a country club: Most of us don’t have memberships to these dolled up lands of high end food, “free” child care, and lawns that get mowed daily even when they already look perfect. Regardless, a lot of these country clubs thrive of low paid labor. Instead of hiring top waiters and event organizers, they have a few highly paid professional managers with a herd of college students that are good at listening and following directions. Sometimes who you know can give you a push into the system, so if you can pull some strings to get the job, that’d be an extra plus. Jobs vary greatly from working at the sports lounges to serving food in the restaurant. While job security isn’t one of their best attributes (basically they fire the weak and lazy because there’s a line waiting to get in), they’ll offer you a higher than average salary ($9-$10 an hour usually).

Get an internship: Paid and Unpaid internships are getting more and more popular among competitive companies who are looking to recruit semi-qualified students early in the game. Unpaid internships can usually get funding through your school (this might require more work on your end, maybe even an application *gasp*). These jobs sometimes require prerequisite classes or a major that matches the goals of the company, but if you can fit their mold you can receive a stipend or hourly wage that’s much higher than the minimum and experience to land a future career. Sometimes your school can get you connected with these internships, but otherwise a good couple of Google searches and snooping around on the internet with offer plenty of internship opportunities in your area and across the country.

Work as a bartender: Although semi-unconventional, I promise that the general trend is that drunk people tip well. They’re willing to throw money at beverages that make their heads spin and at the people who make that possible. Different states have different licensing requirements, but generally you’ll need to take an alcohol safety course and maybe attend a bartending school to learn how to serve drinks (safely) in style. Plus, bars are everywhere, even if there aren’t large metropolitan areas near you, I’m sure there is a bar.

Work where you don’t shop: If you’re looking to save money for the future, do not work where you shop. The discount is too enticing, and you’ll never save as much money as you had either hoped or counted for. Work at the grocery store (it’s hard to get a job at Trader Joes but if you can do it they pay their employees amazingly), CVS pharmacy or Walgreens, or a bowling alley; work somewhere you aren’t going to take advantage of your discount unless it's 100% or something you would buy without the discount. Most retail, and food service jobs require little previous work experience. It won’t exactly be the most engaging but, hey, if you’re looking for work that requires less brain power (like I am for a minimum wage, summer job) this might be your path.

Work as a tutor: So maybe you don’t have any work experience, so maybe you can’t get hired by the local bakery, you have taken classes haven’t you?? And if you’re in college you have obviously been in school for years. Take that previous experience and make it translate into an income. If you can’t build the connections yourself (say, with a neighborhood kid who’s trying to get ahead in math), post a free profile to find potential students in the area who are looking for someone who can teach what they are trying to learn, or work with a professional classroom setting type of company like Kumon.

It can not only be challenging but also extremely frustrating to find an engaging job that pays decently when you don’t have any previous work experience. The good news is that there are plenty of jobs that can meet your requirements—keep applying and keep connecting, send in a resume and an application and then follow up with the manager to ask if they need more information or references. You know you have the skills to do the job, now all you have to do is prove it.

Photo Credit: Kamal Hamid

Healthy homemade pizza
Buying Pizza vs. Making Your Own
A pizza is a delicious creation; a flat bread like base with savory tomato sauce, melted cheese and a variety of other toppings. It’s a favorite in households the world over. Pizza night is often highly anticipated, and one of the more affordable prepared foods options. With a pizza coupon family pizza night can be a weekly occurrence.

For people who love to cook, making a pizza themselves can be a rewarding activity. Making your own gives you full creative license. Your first choice is how thick on think you want your base. Do you love a pizza with a thin crust, or do you prefer the deep dish variety; the choice is yours. You aren’t stuck to a marinara base, but can choose Alfredo sauce, olive oil and herbs, pesto and anything else you’d like to experiment with. Toppings options are endless as well. Call over your friends and have a pizza party where each one creates their own pizza.

Another advantage to turning out a pizza from your own kitchen is that you can have more control over the nutrition factor. You can limit the less healthy ingredients, use organic ingredients, vegetarian, low fat or whole grain, and be sure all your ingredients are fresh. Many pizza restaurants offer these options, but preparing it yourself is more economical, usually.

Of course, it is a lot more work to create your own. Especially when you have a pizza coupon from your favorite pizza joint, the hassle free choice of an in home delivery is hard to pass up. You have to see what you have time for. Especially if it is your first attempt at making a pizza, allow yourself enough time. With practice you will become an expert at making the dough, rolling it out and creating the perfect pizza.

Photo Credit: Keram

internet domain names search
Buying Domain Names
As the internet has gotten bigger and personal websites more popular and prevalent, buying domain names has become a very popular option for many internet users who want to make their website look more professional. There are many different options for buying domain names, and there are also many things to think about before buying domain names.

The first step is to come up with ideas for your domain name. Don’t get your heart set on just one, because chances are that your first choice will not be available. Come up with a list of names that suite your site and then see if they are available in order of preference. The most popular websites for buying domain names, GoDaddy.com and networksolutions.com, make checking to see which of your choices are available before purchase easy.

Before you do this search, decide whether the domain name or the top level domain you want is more important. For example, if you want to buy the domain names mywebsite.com and myotherwebsite.com, are the “mywebsite” and “myotherwebsite” the most important to you, or is having the .com suffix more important? Once you’ve made this decision, it is time to go to GoDaddy.com or your preferred site for buying domain names. Enter mywebsite.com into the search, and the site will let you know if this domain name is still available. If the names you want are available, then the site will move you easily, step-by-step, through the process of buying domain names that you wanted.

If they are not available, the site will give you other options. If using “mywebsite” and “myotherwebsite” are the more important to you in buying domain names than having the .com, look through the other options of available top level domain suffixes. Most likely some version of .org, .net, or .co, etc, will be available for your name. Choose the ones that you like best, and complete the process of buying domain names you’ve picked. If having a .com is more important to you, the site will likely suggest similar names that are available. You can choose one of these, or you can go back to your list and try the search again.

Once you have chosen the domain name that you want to buy, buy it immediately. Buying domain names usually costs you about ten dollars per domain, so this is not a huge expense, and you never know how long that that name will still be available for you to buy. Nothing is worse than finding your perfect domain name is available, and then waiting to buy it only to find that that domain name is no longer available and has been taken.

If you are considering several different domain names, buy them all. As discussed above, they are not expensive, and you do not want the one that you eventually choose to be taken by the time you come back to buy. If you have so many ideas that it is not practical to buy them all, and you want advice on which domain name to use, do not ask for advice on your choices online. Ask people privately. Otherwise you run the risk of someone stealing the domain name you want, and trying to sell it back to you at a much higher price.

Photo Credit: Dennis Skley

white BMW X5 Stretch Limo parked
The Best Limo Driver
When it comes to limo drivers, there are as many types and personalities as there are people. So how do you find the right one for you? Have you ever noticed that in any vehicle, you can either get a pleasant and cheerful driver or one that is grumpy and unfriendly? You don't usually have to spend too much time with them, but an unfriendly limo driver can put a slight damper on even the best of times. Wouldn't it be nice if you could get a driver who matches your personality; someone you like and get along with? You should know that you can do just that if you look long enough for your own private hire limo driver.

Instead of contacting a company for a random driver in your limo, you can form a personal business relationship with a particular limo driver, and then have him or her drive you every time they are available. Call in advance, and remember not to give them a hard time if they are already booked (unless of course you are employing them full-time!). Having your own personal limo driver is a great option because you will know that you can have a wonderfully pleasant and relaxing trip every time you need to go somewhere. Eventually you will probably form a friendship of some sort and really get to know your limo driver.

When choosing a limo driver, you will have to do all the evaluations of the driver that a limousine company would. Give them an extensive interview before you agree to purchase their services. Ask them about their history of limo driving, any traffic accidents they may have had, and any certifications they have. They should be very familiar with the area where they will be driving, including where and at what times they will find the heaviest traffic areas.

The personal limo driver should also have some confidence yet tact when dealing with you – this shows that they are experienced and confident in their abilities and you are not their first customer, yet they will respect your wishes and preferences. Don't be afraid to ask for some references and actually follow up on them. If you can get a recommendation from someone you know, that can be a good start and very helpful. If you are not assured that they are a safe and reliable driver, you will want to try someone else.

To get a more detailed idea of the person, always investigate the criminal history of your potential limo driver using internet or other resources. For a small fee, you can check the criminal records of any person using People Smart.com. Making the effort to get to know your limo driver well before you hire him or her can save you a lot of time and money.

When you are interviewing your potential limo driver, remember that you are the employer and need to ask detailed questions. Make a list of the things you would like to discuss before the interview. By hiring your own private limo driver, you will ensure that your rides are always comfortable and pleasant. You will never need to find directions to a particular place or worry about a designated driver, and you can rest assured that you will always have a comfortable ride waiting with someone who is not only your employee, but also hopefully your respectful and loyal friend.

Photo Credit: Steven Tom

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