Archive for April, 2007

Prepare to be amazed. Basically everything in the room is from thrift stores or flea markets.

Yes, I have now officially found my inspiration. (The guy’s a professional designer. He can probably make a burlap sack in the living room look like art). I’m not going to rush into anything in terms of furniture buying for my apartment.

I’ll get the bedding and duvet in a couple of months, right before I move in. But after that, I’ll just keep my eyes and ears open for Craigslist and local yard sales. When I run across the right piece, I’ll know.


Read Full Post »

The food life

One of the areas that I can never feel sorry about spending money on is food.

If I felt just a bit more guilty about that $20 sushi dinner or $15 tea, scones and finger sandwiches or $10 fajitas or $5 cream puffs or even $3 lattes that my credit card bills would be so much lower.

But I don’t. I place a high premium on the eating/restaurant-going experience. And given that the best dish I can make is scrambled eggs, I guess I’ll have to go on paying for delicious foods that can only be found at my favorite places.

I am pretty good at delayed gratification for a lot of things. Food is not one of them.

Sigh. Off to sushi I go!

Read Full Post »

I went to Target, picked up cards for Mom and Grandma for Mother’s Day. Originally I had in my hands $3.99 cards, but after a moment I replaced them with $2.99 cards.

Then I proceeded to feel guilty for the REST OF THE WAY HOME.

I hope I’m not too terrible a daughter (or granddaughter) for wanting to save $2 on cards. For Mother’s Day. To the woman who gave me LIFE and paid $100,000+ for my private college education and makes my favorite meal everytime I come home.

Wow. Looking at what I just typed, I DO feel pretty bad.

Maybe I should just go back and get the $3.99 cards.

Or maybe I can make it up by buying some seriously good gifts. (Which is difficult, to say the least, since Mom never tells me what she wants.)

Read Full Post »

Bank of America customers get free admission for themselves and a guest to selected museums during May 2007.

Just show your Bank of America ATM, check or credit card or MBNA card and get into more than 85 museums in the Northeast and California.

Here are a some museums that are part of the program (check the website for more!):

New York City: Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim, and NY Aquarium.
San Francisco: SF Museum of Modern Art and California Academy of Sciences.
Los Angeles: Huntington Library and Skirball Cultural Center.

Read Full Post »

…because fulfilling your wanderlust doesn’t come cheap.

Here are some great programs that offer free or paid travel, cultural, study, or work opportunities for students. In addition to the travel, you have the chance to make contacts, meet new people, and experience another culture and country as something other than just a tourist.

For high-schoolers:

1. Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange: American high-schoolers attend high school in Germany for a year and live with a German family. To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident, have a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale, and be between 15 and 18 years of age at the start of the program. Application deadline is in December.

2. Korea Society Project Bridge: Students in this cultural outreach program will participate in a yearlong series of bi-weekly meetings and a 10-day study tour to Korea in April. The tour includes visits to historical sites, the Demilitarized Zone and a home stay. High school juniors and seniors from New York City and Los Angeles are eligible.

For college students:

1. Humanity in Action: Program for students from U.S. and European countries to meet with human rights activists and authors, participate in seminars, and research minority issues in their host countries. Sophomores, juniors, or seniors at accredited 4-year colleges in the U.S. are eligible to apply. The program usually takes place in New York and the deadline is in February.

2. Freeman-ASIA: Awards of $3,000 to $7,000 (depending on length of program) are given to students for study abroad in East and Southeast Asia. Applicants must have little or no previous experience in the country in which he or she plans to study.

3. International Agricultural Internship Program: Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this internship (offered in Spring, Summer, and Fall) provides college seniors and graduate students the opportunity to work in trade offices around the world. Students earn an hourly salary at the GS-5 through GS-7 grade level. The salary level is based on education and work experience.

For twentysomethings and/or college graduates:

1. Delay the Real World: Not ready to put on a tie and do the 9-to-5? Just email your proposal and you can win $3,500 to go on your “gutsy and worthwhile” adventure. But if you want to apply for 2007, do so quickly. The deadline is April 27, 2007.

2. Watson Fellowship: A $25,000 stipend for one full year of independent travel and study outside the United States ($35,000 if you are accompanied by a spouse or a child). You take the money, then create, execute, and evaluate your own program. If you want to shoot a documentary about native plants of Latin America, this is the fellowship for you. Graduating seniors of these institutions may apply.

In addition, many universities offer fellowships to give financial assistance to students who do a project or take an internship abroad. Ask around. Make friends with the study abroad office. Some of the college-sponsored grants can be quite generous, and best of all, there is a smaller pool of competition than is found at these national scholarships.

For more opportunities, check out the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program, the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships, the Fulbright Program, the Marshall Scholarships, the Gates Cambridge Scholarships, and of course, the Rhodes Scholarships.

Read Full Post »

My very own ATM

Am I too old to buy this item?

I mean, it’s more of an educational product than a toy, right?

[Hat tip to Dimples]

Read Full Post »

A long walk to forever

Kurt Vonnegut,
b. November 11, 1922.
d. April 11, 2007.

I only read a few of his stories in Welcome to the Monkey House, but “Long Walk to Forever” was one of my favorites.

If you have a chance, read it. It’s short and simple, but, wow.

Here is an excerpt:

They had grown up next door to each other, on the fringe of a city, near fields and woods and orchards, within sight of a lovely bell tower that belonged to a school for the blind.

Now they were twenty, had not seen each other for nearly a year. There had always been playful, comfortable warmth between them, but never any talk of love.

His name was Newt. Her name was Catharine. In the early afternoon, Newt knocked on Catharine’s front door.

Catharine came to the door. She was carrying a fat,glossy magazine she had been reading. The magazine was devoted entirely to brides. “Newt!” she said. She was surprised to see him.

You can read the full text here.

Read Full Post »

You heard that right.

I just spoke to the student loan department. It turns out that because my loan was from a private foundation, they have subsized the interest for the duration of my college education (this I knew), and for the rest of the life of the loan (this I didn’t know and was VERY happy to find out).

So, I have an interest-free loan. Not just for six months or one year or two years, but for 10 years. As long as I stay current on payments, I will never pay interest. 🙂 Can you tell I’m excited? And here I was worrying about my interest rate. Ha!

Oh, and I also get a grace period of six months. My first payment is due in 2008. This is going to do wonders for my cash flow for the rest of 2007.

I wish I didn’t have a loan, but if I HAD to be in debt, this is probably the best deal I’ll ever get.

Read Full Post »

I got Phi Beta Kappa!

Today I got a letter of invitation to join the Phi Beta Kappa chapter of my college. 🙂 Almost four years of overcoming procrastination with desperate cramming fueled by extra large lattes have paid off.

In exchange for this honor, I wrote check for an one-time fee of $80. But it’s money that I am happy to spend.

I haven’t told my parents yet, but I think they’ll be happy. What Mom is most excited about, though, is that the next month will be the Last. Ever. Tuition. Check. She. Has. To. Write.

Read Full Post »

Life is expensive

Alternate title: Things you don’t think about paying for until you have to pay for them yourself.

While tinkering with PearBudget I had my first taste of the “sticker shock” of living. I understood the major expenses: rent, utilities, food, student loans, etc. Still, there are some things that I’ve never considered and now have to rework them into my spending plan.

1. Dry cleaning: Most of my business clothes (wool slacks, pencil skirts) are dry clean only. I once washed a pair of wool slacks by mistake… I know, I know, that is a laundry sin! Well, never again. Cost: $35-45/month. I’m getting Dryel so I don’t have to dry-clean every single week.

2. Internet access: I have an amazingly fast connection at college, without a thought as to how much it would cost in the “real world.” I still don’t know. So, question: what are my options for internet access in my apartment? Dial-up? Wireless? DSL? Cost: ???

3. Car insurance: Mom & Dad took care of it during breaks when I drove the car. Now I have to pay for it myself – although many twentysomethings are still on their parents’ policies, I don’t want my parents’ financial situation to be compromised if I’m in an accident. Cost: $1200/year?

Read Full Post »