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How to Crowdfund for College

Posted on . Filed under: College, Crowdfunding 101.

As college tuition costs continue to increase, college students are struggling to find ways to keep up with the demand. That’s where crowdfunding comes into play! Students and families have now begun to turn to crowdfunding to pay for their education. Here are some tips to help you alleviate that debt!

 

Piggy Bank

“Piggy Bank” by Photos of Money is licensed under CC by 2.0

 

Develop a Personal Platform

It’s important for you to create an online presence so much more beyond the initial campaign page. Crowdfunding is a social fundraising tool so social media is the best way to engage with other people! Share your campaign with friends, family, colleagues, alumni, and anyone else who would be willing to lend a helping hand! Engaging with your community increases your chances of getting the funds you need.

 

Set a Realistic Goal

Keep in mind about setting a realistic goal for your campaign. If the goal seems too far out of reach, people may not feel the need to contribute. Rather than crowdfund all 4 years of college which may be too high of a goal, think about funding a semester or 2. This way your tuition expenses won’t be as high and supporters may be willing to give more if they feel you aren’t asking for too much. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it!

 

Follow Up

Consistency is key, so when it comes to crowdfunding for your education be sure to follow up often with your supporters online. Be sure to track the progress of your campaign and share updates often to show how your supporters’ contributions are positively impacting your funding goal. The more reason you give people to make a point to return to your FB page or campaign, the more likely you’ll get them to contribute!

 

Create a Sense of Urgency

Make people feel as if it’s now or never to contribute. When you create a sense of urgency, this will cause potential supporters to become donors if they feel as though this is their only chance to help. Don’t have too long of a timeline or else some may procrastinate contributing if they feel like they have so much time left. Limit your campaign to about half the time of a semester, so about 6 weeks or so. This way you can give contributors a solid timeframe.

 

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Easy Activities To Do This Weekend

Posted on . Filed under: Family.

Need something fun to do with kids or friends this weekend, but don’t want to spend a lot of money or do a lot of planning? Here’s an easy list of things you can do with anyone, any weekend for a great time!

baking

Baking” by Andrea Goh is licensed by CC BY 2.0.

Bake

Try something new! If you’ve never baked, start easy. If you bake often, challenge yourself. Grab a friend, partner, or kid to help and keep you company in the kitchen. You’ll have something to do now and a delicious treat to enjoy later.

 

Go to the zoo

Fun for everyone! The zoo isn’t just for kids – who doesn’t love seeing cool animals? Getting outside with some nature and wildlife is a great outing. You can pack your own lunch to make it inexpensive and hopefully you’ll collect some memorable photos.

 

Have a movie marathon

Great for an all-day event, just at night, or if it’s raining. Depending on who you’re with and your interests, you can choose a classics marathon, a Harry Potter marathon, or a sappy romantic comedy marathon. It’s an excuse to spend some time together while pigging out on junk food and being a couch potato.

 

Volunteer

This is an activity that’s fun and rewarding, and one that you might not do often enough. There are a million things to do during the week, and giving back over the weekend with family or friends is the perfect way to center yourself and spend your free time doing something good. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or community center.

 

Go on a hike

No better way to spend your time than in nature. It’s usually easy to find a good hiking location in a relatively short drive, and there’s a range of easy to difficult trails depending on your experience. Make sure to pack food and water! If you’re not much of a hiker, try a bike ride or a jog through a new area.

 

Attend a community event

Your community probably has many interesting events to attend such as sports games, music festivals, local plays, and maybe events at the community center or library. This is the best way to meet new people and see some that you already know. These events are fun for families and especially great if you’re new in town.

 

Go on a picnic

If the weather’s great, pack a lunch and eat outside! Go traditional with a checkered blanket and picnic basket for an old-time feel that’s fun and easy. Fun to do with a friend or the whole family, or you can make it a romantic outing with your partner.

 

Have a bonfire

Everyone loves s’mores! Get outside with a toasty fire and snacks for some true family bonding. Invite over your family friends, relatives, and your kids’ friends for an easy and fun night that doesn’t require much planning.

 

Go bowling

How often do you go bowling? It’s a classic activity to do this weekend that gets the family up, out, and laughing – especially if you’re terrible at bowling. Spark up some energy with a little friendly competition. Name your teams and solicit your friends and family to go all out!

 

Garden

You can plant a whole garden outside, or a small herb garden that can even be stored indoors. This is a fun activity that will look great, smell great, and bring you closer to nature. It may even give you some food to enjoy!

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How To Raise Money Fast For Your Community!

Posted on . Filed under: How To.

Only have two weeks to raise money for your community? There’s no need to stress! By sticking to a 15 second pitch, utilizing the right friendships, and being tech savvy you won’t have a problem. Just follow these three tips on how to raise money in a timely fashion.

Cash

“cash” by Sean McMenemy is licensed under CC by 2.o

 

Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

With a time crunch, everything needs to be short, sweet and to the point. Make sure you have your elevator pitch ready and are able to share a compelling and emotional message about your campaign. There’s no time for people to stop and think about it! State your mission and your goal so you can convince people right at that moment to get involved. At this time, make yourself stand out and let them know why they should support your campaign over another one.

Make Use of Social Media

It’s called snail mail for a reason. Get your tech savvy friends on board or your children that somehow have 5,000 Instagram and Twitter followers. The utilization of social media is crucial because you can send messages out in a matter of seconds to a mass group of people. Organize those email addresses and phone numbers you have on hand so you can send out your campaign mission ASAP.

Utilize Special Relationships

Is your neighbor’s friend’s friend a big wig in your community? Don’t hesitate to reach out! It can’t hurt and more often than not will benefit you in a major way. In a short amount of time it’s important to utilize relationships, especially someone high up in your community who can get the word out to their friends. Here, being able to state your sense of urgency without being pushy is key because chances are they have a busy schedule. Establishing these relationships and retaining them will help for your current and future campaigns.

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Parent’s Day Activities

Posted on . Filed under: Holiday.

Although we’ve already celebrated both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year, why not celebrate both parents together? It’s only fitting to have another day to celebrate the people in our lives who do everything and anything for us, and family activities are endless in the summer. Here are some activities that you can do for and with your parents on Parent’s Day this year.

Family Bike Ride

“Playground Ride, Family Style” by Russ is licensed under CC by 2.0

 

Make A Meal

Thrill your parents by making them a meal that day, whether breakfast in bed or their favorite dinner. It’s bound to be an act that they’ll never forget (hopefully not due to the fire department making a visit!). You may even have them create the meal with you, which can involve shopping for the ingredients as a family then all enjoying something you created together.

Homemade Gift

We all know the endless homemade grade school gifts we’ve made for our parents, from the Christmas ornaments with our pictures, to the cards with horrible grammar stating what you love most about them. Regardless of how silly they may seem, I guarantee your parents still have a majority of the gifts you made for them throughout the years. It’s these little, sentimental gifts that mean the most. They can include anything from creating a scrapbook of family memories or something as simple as a homemade card.

Local Sporting Event

Enjoying a sporting event as a family doesn’t have to require hundreds of dollars. Consider a minor league Single, Double or Triple-A baseball game. Most tickets won’t exceed about $10 and the majority will have deals for little kids. Plus, who doesn’t love an excuse to stock up on ballpark food? Grab your ball caps and enjoy a fun day in the sun!

Family Bike Ride

We all know the age of rolling your eyes when dad mentions a family bike ride, but remember this day is about the parents! So, if the day grants you with beautiful July weather, propose a family bike ride. Whether riding through a local forest preserve or to grandma and grandpa’s house, it’s a great way to all be together while staying active and enjoying the summer weather. It may even be worth it just to see dad’s face light up when it’s all your idea.

Play Hometown Tourist

Keep it local by playing tourist in your hometown. Go to the local farmers market, forest preserve, or explore your town’s downtown attractions. The park district website as well as other various websites will have lists of your town’s hidden gems and daily events that you may have never known existed. This is a perfect way to incorporate that family bike ride as well while enjoying other summer festivities together!

Family Movie Night

End the day by watching a childhood classic that you would always watch as a family, whether you would watch it around the winter Holidays or on family vacations. This is also a perfect time to dust off those old home videos or even go to a drive in Movie Theater. The whole family is bound to enjoy any of these fun movie options.

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Small Things that Make Me Happy When I’m Stressed

Posted on . Filed under: Hobbies.

Life is more fun when the small things make you happy. It’s too easy to get caught up in daily stresses, but here are some small things that I’ll always appreciate no matter what mood I’m in.

happy dog

Happy.” by Britt Selvitelle is under license CC BY 2.0.

Calling a Friend

This is the best pick-me-up. Whether it’s calling just to say hi, to tell them a story, to vent, or to hear about their day to distract you from yours, a friend can always help. Even a ten minute conversation with a friend or relative will separate you from your stress for a moment long enough to give you some perspective, center you, and give you some human contact that’s sure to take you out of any rut, big or small. You might get some great advice or you might just get to have someone listen to you!

Getting a Postcard

This can’t be as planned as calling a friend, but there’s something about getting a postcard or any real snail mail that’s exciting. Nowadays, any real contact will be in person or digital, but it’s fun to get a postcard from a friend or family member who’s traveling or a letter from a friend away at school. It’s more personal and it usually comes as a fun surprise. Next time you go away, consider doing this yourself to help make someone else’s day!

Sitting on a Hammock

Anyone who knows me knows that I spend all of my free time at home sitting on my hammock if it’s not pouring rain. Huge bonus if it’s warm and sunny out, but even in cool cloudy weather, I love using my hammock for napping, reading, watching Netflix, or just sitting. Getting outside is known to be a healthy de-stressor. It’s a simple accessory to put outside and it’s incredibly relaxing. There are portable ones too that you can bring anywhere to set up between trees!

Wearing Sunglasses

I love wearing sunglasses. No, I don’t wear them indoors or when it’s raining. That means that when I’m wearing them, I’m outside and the weather’s great – lots of things to be happy about! There’s something about the small action of wearing sunglasses that makes me feel good about myself and about my life – when have I ever been wearing sunglasses and doing something unenjoyable? I’m picturing myself at the beach, adventuring with friends, or on a picnic!

Finishing my Laundry

This one seems silly, but don’t you feel great when the hamper is empty? Despite being a mundane task, needing to do your laundry can be a pressing and stressful activity because you need to be home to change loads. The worst feeling is when I want to wear a specific pair of jeans and they’re waiting to be washed. When I have what seems like a hundred things on my to-do list, checking off my laundry makes me feel accomplished and ready to tackle the others!

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Weddings Around the World: Russia

Posted on . Filed under: Travel, Weddings.

Next stop in our Weddings Around the World blog series – Russia! Learn about some cool traditions that Russians have to celebrate marriage.

St. Petersburg Russia

St. Petersburg, Russiaby haylee is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Holding the Bride for Ransom

Just the heading on this tradition may shock you if you’re unfamiliar with it, but Russians have a lot of fun with this tradition. The bride’s family and friends will kidnap the bride and hide her from the groom when he comes to pick her up for the wedding, only willing to budge for a ransom of money or jewelry. They might give him a fake bride with a veil covering her (or even his) face, only requiring a larger ransom for the real one. He may even have to complete a series of tasks such as singing a song for his bride or identifying her kiss on a napkin of multiple lipstick kisses. Families extend this as long as they please to have some fun with the groom!

Crowning

This is an old tradition of the Orthodox Church, in which placing crowns on the bride and groom serve as a sign of marriage and the sacrament rather than exchanging rings. Many weddings will do both, in separate ceremonies. In old times, brides and grooms had to wear their crowns for eight days! Imagine how royal of a bride you’d feel like if you got to wear a crown for over a week after your wedding.

Breaking the Glass

During a civil ceremony that takes place after the church ceremony, the couple is offered two crystal glasses. They’re wrapped in a napkin, placed on the ground, and jumped on by the bride and groom. Custom says that the more shards they create with the break, the happier the couple will be. It’s also traditional that guests throw their champagne glasses during the reception – even more luck for the couple if the glasses break!

Touring the City

After the civil ceremony, the bride and groom tour the city, accompanied by their witnesses (best man and maid of honor) and close relatives. They take wedding photos at historic sites in the city where the wedding takes place. This is an official part of the wedding preceding the actual reception!

Multiple Days

The celebration doesn’t stop after the ceremony and just one reception! The festivities continue on with singing, dancing, and drinking for an even more fun day than the first to honor the bride and groom and their marriage to come. Weddings are generally at least two days but often three.

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Top 5 Things People Crowdfund For

Posted on . Filed under: Crowdfunding 101.

With crowdfunding on the rise it’s no secret that people are turning to it now more than ever instead of traditional fundraising tactics. One of the best things about crowdfunding is that the options are endless for campaigns but here are some of the most popular things people crowdfund for:

Money

School Fundraisers

With schools constantly faced with the need to raise money and put on fundraisers to fund supplies, trips, and much, much more schools have turned to crowdfunding to do so! Schools are one of the biggest advocates for what many would consider traditional fundraising but the ease of crowdfunding has helped them throw away the candy bars and avoid having to sell coupons or magazines ever again!

In Times of Grief/Loss

Loosing a loved one is never easy but using crowdfunding to help during a difficult time is! Crowdfunding makes raising money for those in need easier than ever and takes the stress away from an already tough and strenuous time. It also allows others to reach out to show their love and support. Because of this, crowdfunding in spite of one’s passing or a difficult time has become one of the main reasons people turn to crowdfunding.

Traveling

It’s a no brainer that traveling, in particular plane tickets, can be very costly and out of the budget for most people. Because of that, crowdfunding offers the perfect solution and since it’s a mobile tool, it can be accessed at anytime and anywhere. Raising money for your next trip is the best way to get to where you want to go with the support of those around you! Especially for college students planning to study abroad or those wanting to participate in mission trips or help unprivileged people around the world, crowdfunding has become their go to fundraising method.

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses can become beyond expensive and lead to eating away at one’s savings and take a large toll on finances. The ease and convenience of using crowdfunding to help pay off someone’s medical bills or at least ease them of their financial burden due to built up medical bills are some of the main reasons people have turned to crowdfunding for help.

To Benefit Nonprofits

Nonprofits are always looking for donors and ways to raise money to help out their cause which has led them to turn to crowdfunding! Crowdfunding is the perfect outlet to help out nonprofits. It helps create campaigns that anyone can donate to, gets the word out, and gives people the chance to do a little good. Even if it just involves donating a few dollars!

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5 Healthiest Breakfast Cereals to Start Your Morning

Posted on . Filed under: Food.

Cereal – everyone’s favorite easy and quick breakfast option for the mornings when you’re running low on time or want to add a crunch to your meal. Cereal is a great way to start your day, but some cereals are deceptively unhealthy as they can be filled with preservatives and loaded with sugar. Read below to find some cereal options that won’t drag your day down with unhealthy ingredients.

Bowl of Cheerios

“middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy” by Rosemary is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

 

Peace Berry Cereals

The Peace brand cereals with berries mixed in are fairly low in sugar and the berries are packed with antioxidants that will jump start your day with lots of Vitamin C and E. Try the Peace blueberry pomegranate, blueberry walnut, raspberry ginger, goji berry, or wild berry cereals to add some fruity flavor to your morning!

Wheaties

There’s certainly a reason why Wheaties cereal is known around America as the “breakfast of Champions.” The cereal, known for its slogan and featuring famous athletes on its boxes, is actually quite a healthy breakfast option.

Fiber One Nutty Clusters and Almonds

The name of this cereal is not false advertising – just one bowl of fiber one nutty clusters and almonds cereal contains half the fiber you need in an entire day! Aside from the health benefits of the fiber, the nutty flavor of the cereal provides a hearty and satisfying breakfast.

Van’s Natural Foods Cinnamon Heaven

Are you a Cinnamon Toast Crunch fan but want to cut your sugar intake? Try Van’s Natural Foods Cinnamon Heaven cereal. This gluten-free cereal contains the same cinnamon flavor you crave, but with less sugar and more fiber to give you a healthier start to your day.

Cheerios

 This simple and iconic cereal beloved by people of all ages is actually quite a healthy breakfast option. Cheerios, whether you like to eat them in a bowl of milk or just plain, contain fiber, a multitude of vitamins, and iron. But watch out for Multi Grain Cheerios because this version of the cereal actually contains a lot of sugar!

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Best Flea Markets in America

Posted on . Filed under: Food.

Flea markets are known for their variety of vendors and merchandise. They’re a great opportunity to snag some rare items as well as spend time with friends and family. Here are some of the best flea markets in America!

Smorgasburg

“Smorgasburg – Porchetta” by Erin licensed under CC by 2.0

Smorgasburg
Smorgasburg, launched in 2011, features a large variety of food and beverages. Initially, it was a spin-off of the Brooklyn Flea Market. Now, Smorgasburg has over 10,000 visitors and has become one of the most popular attractions in Brooklyn. The market has 75-100 vendors each weekend! It’s located on the Williamsburg waterfront on Saturdays and at Prospect Park on Sundays from 11AM – 6PM.

 

Randolph Street Market
The Randolph Street Market is located in Chicago, Illinois. It features both the Chicago Antique Market and Indie Designer Market. The Randolph Street Market is family friendly and encourages people to both shop and socialize! The market is open for just one weekend each month so be sure to plan accordingly! People come to the three-level market for its variety of vintage clothing, ceramics, glass, paintings and jewelry. When the weather is nice, the Randolph Street Market extends its experience outdoors. You can find Chicago city blocks that are transformed into antique shopping with food and live music. You can purchase tickets online for $8 or at the door for $10.

 

Rose Bowl Flea Market
The Rose Bowl Flea Market is the perfect market to search for rare items. The market is located in Pasadena, California and costs only $8. It is held on the second Sunday of every month. Because it’s a market for many professional pickers, The Rose Bowl Flea Market opens as early as 5 in the morning for VIP admission. Early bird surely catches the worm! This VIP perk is available for those who are willing to pay $20. The market is unique because it has several miles of booths that are each grouped by categories. The booths are filled with furniture, local crafts, clothing and more. Celebrities such as Madonna, Cher and Clint Eastwood have been known to attend!

 

Treasure Mart
Looking for buried treasure? Be a pirate for the day and search for “gold” at this flea market. Treasure Mart is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in a historic building. At the flea market, you can find a variety of art, antiques, and collectibles. The three-level market has a wide range of vintage fabrics, picture frames and jewelry boxes. Locals love this flea market for its great selection of items and prime location.

 

Chelsea Market
This New York City flea market is complete with a food hall and shopping mall. The Chelsea Market has become one of the the best indoor markets in the world! They have more than thirty-five vendors. With more types of food than you can even imagine, the Chelsea Market is the perfect spot for lunch or a family weekend activity. You can find books, delicious food, knick-knacks, and clothing. The Market attracts 6 million national and international vendors a year! It is one of the most talked about destinations in New York City so you won’t want to miss out.

 

Check out these well known flea markets across the United States for some great food and interesting finds!

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Why I Make My Bed Every Morning

Posted on . Filed under: Organization.

My friends call me neurotic. While that may or may not be true, I make my bed every morning for much better reasons than routine and obsession. My room isn’t always in perfect condition and I certainly let my laundry pile up, but my bed is always made.

made bed

Comfort” by Jayme del Rosario is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

There are two main reasons for why I make my bed every morning and always have. The first is that it makes me feel more put together. By doing this first thing in the morning, I have already accomplished something. With my bed made, I can move on to my day and accomplish other feats. Additionally, it makes an entire room look neater, even if there are other things on the floor.

With a clean room, I feel more organized and more prepared. I can go through my whole day knowing that I will come back to a put together bedroom. If I had a great day, it will feel even better when I return to a made bed. If I had a bad day, it will feel good to return to a made bed that is waiting for me, reminding me that I successfully completed a task at the beginning of the day and that my bedroom is in order. One small task leads to another bigger task, and feeling on top of things inspires me to maintain that streak. As a college student who sets five alarms and snoozes every single one of them, I understand what it’s like to be in a rush in the morning. I also understand that making my bed takes about 30 seconds and it makes me feel a lot better, both when I leave for the day and when I return.

 

The second reason I make my bed is so that my every morning feels fresh, both physically and mentally. To me, sleeping in a made bed is just more comfortable. Sleeping on smooth sheets is a feeling unlike any other after a long and tiring day. And, metaphorically, I believe that everyone should sleep in a made bed so that no one takes the previous night and day’s tosses and turns with them. No matter how stressed I am the night before and no matter what surprises come at me during the day, I want my bed to only reflect an upcoming new start. A good night’s sleep can fix a lot of problems, and a freshly made bed might make that feel even better. Tomorrow will always be a new and opportunity-filled day, and making my bed every morning reminds me of this. If you’re skeptical or think I’m crazy, see how Admiral McRaven agreed with me in this inspiring commencement speech in 2014!

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