Be True to Your School: 5 Ways to Give Back to Your Alma Mater

This weekend is Homecoming at Purdue University.
Homecoming is a time when alumni return to campus to reunite with friends and reminisce about their college days.

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Photo Credit: Trevor Mahlmann

Oh….and go to the football game

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Photo Credit: Trevor Mahlmann

 

You may be picturing alumni clubs and alumni donors as rich retirees, but recent grads – the truth is….It’s not too early to give back to your school. 

You can volunteer your time and make use of your connections to impact current students in the following ways:

  1. Job Shadow

  2. Mock Interviewer

  3. Resume Reviewer

  4. Guest Speaker or Mentor

  5. Monetary Donation

Job Shadow

Career exploration is important as some students are still figuring which industry would be the best choice for them. If your company will allow it, a job shadowing opportunity can help a student to experience a typical day in your role.

Resume Reviewer

The first step on the path to an internship or full-time career opportunity is creating a resume. As a resume reviewer, you can assist students in making sure their resumes are polished and professional.

Mock Interviewer

Resumes and interviews go hand in hand. You can help students prepare to make a good first impression by participating in a mock interviewing program. Using a list of standard behavioral interview questions, you can simulate a typical job interview so that students can practice communication skills.

Guest Speaker or Mentor

Student organizations are often looking for professionals to speak at various club meetings and conferences. If you are willing to talk about your company or share your success story, this is another great way to share your knowledge and experience.

 If you are willing to meet students one-on-one or in small groups for coffee or be contacted by phone or Skype, students who are looking for some direction and advice would be grateful to benefit from your mentorship.

Monetary Donation

Whether you can contribute a little or a lot, every dollar adds up. If you make  donation, most contributions are tax deductible and often you are given the option to designate whether you want your contribution to go to a specific student organization, program, or school within the university. To increase the impact of  your contribution, find out if your company offers a matching program.

Also, don’t forget to leverage your connections inside and outside of your workplace. Many corporations are involved in philanthropy and are willing to sponsor student organizations and university events. You can act as a liaison in helping to coordinate a company sponsorship.

For more information on how you can give back, contact your school’s alumni office or career center.

Ever Grateful, Ever True

Have a Happy Homecoming Week

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Style and Savings Reads: The Frugalista Files

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Photo credit: Goodreads

The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life by Natalie McNeal

This book was on my Summer Reading List , which I am proud to have completed in mid-August.

In general, I enjoyed this book, but to adjust the expectations of future readers, I want to give it a new title:

The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Transitioned from News Reporter to Freelance Blogger

The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Braved the Great Recession by Becoming a Blogger

The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Left a Desk Job and Built Her Brand

The original title is misleading –  if you had expectations of learning money saving tips and details about Ms. McNeal’s adoption of a drastically cost-cutting lifestyle, you would be disappointed. For those tips, you should visit her blog. My feelings reading this were similar to those I had reading Shonda Rimes’ Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person. I was expecting more of a self-help or advice book and felt that I was reading an autobiography or memoir.

This book is a collection of journal entries broken into a chapter for each month. Ms. McNeal did a great job of capturing the highs and lows of 2008 – the doom and gloom of the Great Recession’s massive layoffs and the excitement and hope surrounding the 2008 Presidential election. Each chapter starts with a summary of Ms. McNeal’s current debts. * Spoiler alert*: she does not have her debts paid to zero at the end of the year (which she addresses in the epilogue). She does recognize her debt is a problem and that her spending habits need to change. She makes an effort, but none of her lifestyle changes are something Style and Savings readers wouldn’t have thought of already! For example:

  • Cooking at home instead of getting take-out

  • Not heading to the mall every Saturday

  • Cutting back on hair and nail salon appointments

  • Attending free, local activities 

Once I realized that this book is about a transitional period in her career and her journey from an unfulfilling job covering local news at The Miami Herald to finding her passion in blogging, I appreciated this book for what it is.

 

 

Glossies Made Me Do It – The Bold Type

I look forward to receiving the latest issues of Redbook, Essence & Oprah each month. Glossy magazines are what I would call an affordable luxury. Picking up a magazine from the newsstand is an easy way to brighten your day, but if you find yourself buying the same magazine each month – becoming a subscriber offers huge savings compared to the cover price (Read more on this topic here ).

This month’s post is inspired by the fictional Scarlet magazine of The Bold Type, a new show on Freeform network.

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This scripted series follows best friends  Kat, Jane & Sutton who work at Scarlet magazine (a Cosmo type of publication) in New York City.

Just based on this, I was drawn in – how many of us bloggers  dreamed of a glamorous job at a magazine when we were younger? I’m sure some of this was fueled by rom-coms like 13 Going on 30 and  How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

In The Bold Type’s pilot episode, Jaqueline the editor in chief is introduced not face to face, but by an intimidating close up of her heels as she walks down the hall. I was expecting a Miranda Priestly character (I’m finally reading Revenge Wears Prada – The Devil Returns , sequel to The Devil Wears Prada). I was happily surprised to see that Jaqueline is not that way at all. From what I’ve seen in the first few episodes, she is authoritative but never mean, condescending or disrespectful. She is tough, but only in a way that pushes Jane to be a better (and bolder) writer.

In just the first 3 episodes, these young women face heavy issues, which is a reflection of how real-life glossy magazines like Cosmo and Teen Vogue are becoming more political and socially aware.

Women are multi-faceted and want to keep up with current fashion trends and current events.

A recent episode of the podcast on Stuff Mom Never Told You titled “How Teen Vogue Got Woke” credits the rise of Elaine Welteroth to the editor position as the main influence on Teen Vogue’s new content.

 

11:30 A.M.: "There's only about 45 minutes between events, so I have to make every second at my desk count. I shoot off a few priority emails, make edits to a story layout for an upcoming issue, and have a quick working lunch at my desk with my team to go over the day's to-do's."

Photo credit: TeenVogue.com

 

Although Freeform (formerly ABC Family) is known for teen programming, this show is edgy and doesn’t feel too young for viewers over 20. If you liked Lipstick Jungle or Sex And The City, you will like this show too.

The Bold Type has become my favorite show of the summer and I’m excited to keep watching as the three friends navigate their careers and romances while learning who they are & who they want to become.

 

Tips for New Travelers

As the title says, this post is intended for new travelers – if you’re a frequent flyer please add your tips in the comments!

  • Create an itinerary that includes your flight and hotel information to share with family and friends. If you have planned activities add them to your itinerary, so you can stay on schedule.

  • Print your flight booking confirmation and tickets for any activities you purchased in advance

  • Download and check the airline app to be aware of any gate changes or delays

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Style and Savings Reads: The Perfect Find by Tia Williams

I first read about this book in Essence magazine book reviews and added it to my Want to Read list on Goodreads.

When I got the email about the Goodreads giveaway, I entered the giveaway and won!! Now I always enter Goodreads giveaways – who knows, I could win again : )

#Goodreads drawing winner! Happy to have an autographed book for my collection! This should be a fun summer read 😎☀️📖

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Between wedding planning

Wedding day nails after a relaxing salon trip with @wandiitastic & wandiitastic'smommy #becomingmrsu👰🏽 #bridetobe #weddingday

A post shared by Style and Savings blog (@styleandsavings) on

and international travel

When in France, eat French Fries #france🇫🇷 #pommefrites #goldenarches

A post shared by Style and Savings blog (@styleandsavings) on

I was having a busy summer and didn’t get around to reading this book.

This summer, my plans were pretty open and I wanted to make sure I made the most of the summer by creating a Style and Savings Summer Fun List and a Style and Savings Summer Reading List.

Of course this book was on the list –

The Perfect Find was the perfect summer read

It was fun and romantic, and better than the usual rom-com because its plot is not predictable.

The main character Jenna, is in a similar situation as Liza of TV Land’s Younger, being a 40-something woman working in a youth – obsessed industry (although Jenna is honest about her age and experience), trying to keep up with millennial culture and falling in love with a younger man, Eric.

I liked that the story began with Jenna’s current situation but later covers the backstory of her college days, rising up in her career, and her previous long-term relationship with her college sweetheart Brian.

Unlike Younger

The Perfect Find has diverse characters!

If the book is made into a movie or TV show (I wish!) it would have a Shonda Rimes-esque cast. I can see Vanessa Williams as Jenna’s “queen of mean’ boss. The handsome leading men  chosen to play Brian and Eric must have looks, charm and personality worthy of attracting a beautiful, unique, and accomplished yet down-to-earth woman like Jenna (and worthy of being my new celebrity crush!)

The New York backdrop and fashion culture are both integral to the book and would translate well to the silver screen or flat screen.

Without giving away any spoilers, I was satisfied with the book’s ending. It ends with a five year jump into the future. It was a nice stopping point, but still leaves room to for follow up stories in the form of a sequel or series.

Thank you Tia Williams for writing such great book and allowing us to peek into your glamorous life!

 

Style and Savings Reads: 7: an experimental mutiny of excess (Part 2)

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Jen Hatmaker, the author of this book lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and 5 children (2 are adopted from Ethiopia). This book is categorized as Religion/Christian Life/Social Issues, so there are many references to church activities and Christian scripture. Jen defines 7 as “an exercise in simplicity” and for seven months, challenges herself to set limits in seven different categories.

For Part 1 of my Review (chapters 1 – 3) click here

4 Media

Jen’s Lessons: During the Media month, Jen and her family significantly cut down their screen time

TV • Gaming • iPhone • Apps • Radio • Limited texting • Limited internet

Just for practical purposes of safety and school they did not completely cease texting and internet usage, but it made them a lot more mindful as to how often and for what purpose they were using technology (eg. research for a homework assignment vs. a Facebook status update)

Of course this was challenging at first, but they filled their new found free time with more imaginative games, family time, cleaning, and cooking meals together

My Take: It would be challenging for me to not read blogs online, scroll through social media posts, or watch TV after work. If I did choose to accept this challenge, I would read more, spend more time outdoors, and meet up with friends in person

5 Waste

Jen’s Lesson’s: Jen’s family focused on reducing their reducing, reusing, and recycling during this month by taking the following actions:

Gardening • Composting • Conserving Energy & Water • Recycling • Sharing 1 car • Shopping Thrift & Second-hand • Buying local

There were several ways that reducing waste tied back to previous months’ challenges:

  • Just as Food month, made Jen appreciate the variety and abundance of food in the U.S., gardening gave her an appreciation of the skill and effort it takes to grow your own produce

  • Continuing the habits of Media month’s goal of cutting back TV and computer usage helped with energy conservation

  • Wearing a limited number of clothing items during Clothing month, and participating in the clothing swap prepared Jen for shopping thrift & second hand

This month coincided with back to school season, and Jen realized that buying lunch size packages of snacks is not as economical as purchasing full size or bulk. Basically you pay extra for the convenience.

What stood out to me most was that Jen called attention to a wide-spread issue: buying organic food is not cheap!

During this challenge she felt conflicted between wanting to buy organic food and locally grown produce and wanting to reduce spending. For many people, this isn’t even a choice – they must choose the lowest cost option.

My Take: I have been good about recycling lately, but I know I could do better as far as conserving electricity. Thrift shopping was the inspiration this blog and I still believe that buying pre-owned is a great way to save money and support sustainability by reusing products that already exist rather than using resources to create new items

6 Spending

Jen’s Lessons: During the Spending month of Seven, Jen’s family limited their spending to only 7 Vendors/categories

Farmers Market• Target • Gas • Limited travel • Emergency medical • Bills • School

The most memorable part of this chapter was the realization that her son was in need of a haircut. With Great Clips not being one of the Seven vendors he was subjected to the embarrassment of an at-home haircut gone wrong. Jen also struggled with once again limited food options as fast food and restaurants were also off limits.

This chapter also had some eye opening statistics about the amount of U.S. spending on things like cosmetics and perfume vs. the cost of global clean water and education.

My take: Target was on Jen’s list because it’s a one-stop shop that would cover all of her family’s necessities – but I could really do some damage shopping at Target. I don’t think leaving Target as one of the seven vendors would help me cut spending. Restaurants and fast food do make up a significant chunk of our monthly budget so there would be material cost savings there, but it would be a challenge to prepare dinner and lunch every day.

7 Stress

Jen’s lessons: During the final month of Seven, Jen planned to pause for prayer 7 times daily and for her family to observe Sunday as a day of rest and a Sabbath dinner. Two of the seven prayer times were midnight and dawn and it was challenging for her to be awake at those times. She also set an alarm to as a reminder to observe the scheduled prayers.

My take: It was during our last vacation that I  realized the need to build pauses into a busy schedule. I like to have action packed sight-seeing trips, but this time I was feeling tired and jet-lagged. Next time, I make a travel itinerary, I will be sure to leave time for napping.

 

Overall, I enjoyed reading 7: an experimental mutiny of excess. In each month of Jen’s journey, I was able to see habits that I could also adopt in order to simplify my life.

Glossies Made Me Do It – July 2017

It’s time for another edition of “Glossies Made Me Do It”.  Link up with Happy Pretty Sweet or Shooting Stars Mag to join the fun.

Oprah

Oprah’s puppy pictures made me say “awwwww”

“A home without dogs is like a library without books”


This quote from Oprah made me smile because dogs and books are both close to my heart ❤️ too.

Essence

The July issue of Essence featured the new movie Girls Trip starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall & Tiffany Haddish. The movie (and Essence Fest) takes place in New Orleans which made me remember how much I enjoyed our trip to NOLA

Redbook

Redbook’s July cover model is the beautiful Tracee Ellis Ross. She has a 2 page interview and I would love to find a dress like the striped one she wears on page 87.

“Make Some Amazing Memories” on pages 88- 94 has ideas for fun things to do in the summertime – also  check out the Style and Savings Summer Fun List

Better Homes & Gardens

Page 124 has simple recipes for refreshing mixed drinks! I decided to try the Watermelon- Berry Limeade

To make two drinks, I doubled the recipe

If you have no space in your budget or kitchen for yet another gadget, use a drinking straw as a strawberry huller!

I substituted coconut water for 4 shots of Malibu and added a splash of lime juice

After blending and pouring, I really enjoyed this tasty & tropical drink

That’s all until next month – click here for previous glossy posts