Like most students, I graduated with thousands of dollars of student loan debts. Six months after graduation, all of those student loans came due and I had to start making several hundreds of dollars in payments every month. Luckily, I had already planned on a way to deal with all of the debt.
Low Bills, High Pay
The first thing I did to deal with my debt is something a lot of recent graduates are doing: moving abroad. I moved to Taiwan to teach English. Living on six hundred dollars or less a month meant that my income-around twenty thousand a year- stretched extremely far. Although twenty thousand is almost poverty level in America, in Asia it meant a good quality of life and a great deal of savings. I was able to put around five thousand dollars towards my student loan debt in my year of work and still save a little bit of money as an emergency fund so that I would never default.
Leaving the Island
Taiwan was not intended to be a permanent option, however. When I left to the island, I left a boyfriend behind and had to endure a year of talking on-line with the occasional phone call. After my return from Taiwan, I had to find a means of making my student loan payments. Student loans initially halted my plans to return home. Without a means of making my student loan payments, I would still be stuck working in Taiwan. Looking on-line, I started to research career options that I could do on my return to America. I discovered by chance Bright Hub.
Writing for Income
I started writing for income in November of 2010 and then joined with Bright Hub at the end of December 2010. Originally, my writing was just intended to create a side income to pay off student loans. As the income from on-line writing grew, I started considering just writing full time. I had the savings built up to ensure that I could write for six months without it being profitable and rent in America had gotten cheaper because of extra roommates. Currently, I am paying for my cheap rent-150 a month- and making my student loan payments through freelance writing. This option may not work for everyone (how many people can find rent that cheap?), but for me, it works. It means that I can live closer to my fiancé and work at my dream job.
The next step in my plan for making my student loan payments on time is to start teaching private English lessons again. Prior to my departure from Taiwan, I was teaching English lessons on the side for an extra four hundred dollars of income a month. Although I doubt I will be able to charge the same per hour in America, the side income would still be decent. The area I live in is populated by a population of migrant workers- one third of the county speaks Spanish as their primary language. Experienced teachers are in demand. Making my student loan payments on time and in advance is possible provided I plan ahead and consider where my next source of income comes from.
Everyone knows that shoes are the finishing touch to any outfit. This season in particular, shoes will be making a bigger statement than ever. Keep reading to find out the trendy shoe styles for fall/winter 2008/09:
It’s not really a question of how high or how low of a heel this season. We definitely have a wide array of choices. Ballet flats are still hot, mid heeled boots are a great choice and sky high strappy sandals are great for evening wear.
Croc is everywhere this season and it looks great on strappy heels and pumps, especially. If it’s patent croc, even better. Leather is a staple, but it’s coming back with a vengeance for boots this season. Also, ankle boots look great in suede.
Booties (also known as ankle boots) are still a hot commodity, so be sure to keep any you bought last season. This season, it’s the open toed bootie that will be seen on the most fashion forward women who aren’t afraid to push the envelope. I actually think this look comes across as a bit more tame when it’s done as a slingback, like the Lahdidah shoes by Nine West. The ideal way to wear open toe booties this season is with a pair of skinny jeans or with a miniskirt and black opaque tights.
Of course, boots with a high shaft are always a must have. Over the past couple of years fashion has gone back and forth between preferring a flat boot and a high heeled boot. Both still work, but a mid heel height is the most trendy choice, and the soles of our feet will be thankful for that! A pair of leather or suede boots with a bit of slouch or a touch of fringe gives your outfit extra points.
A chunky heeled pump is great for any wardrobe; not only are they in style, but they’re totally practical for work or just out and about. Mixing it up with contrasting colors this season is a hot way to make your pumps stand out. Look for a pair with a different colored heel or even better, a strip of mirrored gold or silver right around the base of the heel which can be found throughout Tory Burch’s fall range of shoes. Another way to kick it up a notch is to find a pump with a button right above the toe, which is a super cute and still professional look.
The weather may be getting cooler but chances are you’ll need a strappy high heeled sandal for evening wear. Yves St. Laurent has set off a trend for super high criss cross platform sandals, which can be seen on starlets like Lauren Conrad and Victoria Beckham. If that’s a bit high for your balance, go for high heeled gladiator; Gwen Stefani’s LAMB has several edgy styles out right now, as does Steve Madden, for something more reasonably priced.
Overall, this seasons hot shoe trends are wild, daring and most importantly fun. Be sure to play around with different colors and textures and don’t be afraid to wear a pair of shoes that pop; it’s the best way to dress up a basic outfit.
Almost everyone owns a black dress. It is always chic and looks great, but some of us may get tired of wearing this same old dress to event after event. Instead of just buying another dress, you should consider revitalizing it with simple accessories!
Sprucing up even the plainest black dress should be no problem after reading some of these tips!
Low on accessories? Try this!
If you don’t have too many accessories, try doing something creative with your hair! Braids are beautiful and in this year. You can take this as far as you want. To keep it simple, just add a little braid at the beginning of a hair line of a side part, or two braids on a middle part, then either leave it or pull it back in a bun. You could also crimp your hair or do unusual waves. My all time favorite thing to do is simply to put a flower behind the ear. It could be a fresh flower or a fake attached to a bobby pin (try this site http://store.latebloomerboutique.com) everyone will be focusing on your hair, they will forget that you are wearing a simple black dress!
Try a Belt!
The belt is the most under-estimated accessory, but it changes everything! A very plain dress that looks okay can turn into sultry and sexy outfit! Belts define the waist and give a woman a nice shape. Adding a belt is the easiest and best way to update a dress while becoming even more flattering. If you tend to be on the heavier side or have an undefined waistline, try a wide belt; otherwise, any would work. Try a belt that is not black to look shapelier. A red, silver or a white belt would be wonderful. You could even try to match your belt to your shoes if so desired.
Shoes, Shoes, Shoes
Another way to go from boring to stylish is to get some amazing shoes. Shoes with interesting details and preferably some color besides black (though black could work with the right design). Strappy sandals, mules, or lace up heels would bring life and style to your look. To take it further, look for details such as feathers, gems, buckles, or bows. Look for colors and patterns such as stripes and checkers.
Shawls, Scarves, and Cardigans
Try a shawl, a scarf or a small cardigan to transform a bland black dress into something much fancier. Shawls always add elegance and sophistication to any outfit. It is important that shawls and scarves should be of high quality. A beautiful silk or woven shawl/scarf with a bold color or interesting pattern would be perfect for that black dress.
If you want low maintenance style, wear a lightweight short-sleeved (or long-sleeved if it is cold) cardigan, preferably cashmere, cotton or lace. There are many styles to choose form including a wrap shirt. The wrap tops are especially beautiful with a dress!
Jewelry and Bags
Last but not least, add earrings, necklace, bracelet and a beautiful bag to a dress to transform it to fabulous! If the dress has a high neckline, skip the necklace and wear earrings with as much detail as you want. Chandelier earrings are always great with a black dress! If you do wear a necklace, try wearing colorful stones such as coral and turquoise. Pearls are ok, but it is too expected; try something new!
If you want more jewelry try a bracelet or even an arm band. I like cuff bracelets but you definitely can do much subtler ones. Adding Color is refreshing.
To top it all off, choose an evening purse/bag or a clutch. I love ethnic prints like these bags by Coleccion Luna (www.coleccionluna.com). Details such as hand paintings, stones, crocheting, and beads are a must and pay attention to the fabric! If you do opt for a simple bag, get high quality fabric such as satin and silk.
With these simple adjustments, you will look fresh and gorgeous!
The Royal Rumble Pay-Per-Views were some of my favorites to come from the WWE. The true precursor to Wrestlemania, the Royal Rumble match hosted 30 WWE superstars (20 in the case of the first) going against one another in a lottery-themed over-the-top battle royal, with the final remaining man in the ring winning a title match at that year’s Wrestlemania. It always garnished positive energy from the crowd and made for some memorable moments, as well as some interesting statistics. It also made a lot of new stars and even had some great singles matches mixed in.
WWE has finally released an anthology of every single Royal Rumble in its entirety in a 20-disc collector’s set. The appropriately-named Royal Rumble: The Complete Anthology spans two complete decades of World Wrestling Entertainment’s third-biggest yearly PPV (Summer Slam is a close 2nd) for those who are willing to shell out between $180-$260 in the stores for this mammoth boxed-set. For what you’re getting, however, it’s definitely well worth the price tag.
Only a handful of Royal Rumbles have U.S. releases to DVD, while the rest can be found on VHS, that is, if you’re willing to pay a pretty penny on Amazon or Ebay. This is the first time you’ll find most of these Rumbles on DVD, which would be reason alone to own this collection. If that’s not enough, the packaging of this set is AWESOME (although some people have made complaints about it being flimsy and delicate, it really just depends on how you handle opening and closing it). Every detail to the packaging is so well-done I still find myself scared to get my fingerprints on it. The box itself is a pristine white and opens with two gold ribbons. Inside the box are four smaller boxes that contain the discs, much like the Wrestlemania boxed sets. Every disc is complemented with a cardboard enclosure of statistics, including match listings and entry numbers for each superstar involved in the Rumble match itself. You also get four collector’s photo cards of classic moments from the Rumble matches, such as Ric Flair’s legendary 1992 victory and the infamous 1995 Rumble ending involving Shawn Michaels and the British Bulldog. In terms of what you’re buying, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.
The Royal Rumble PPV’s themselves range from apocalyptic to stellar. After re-watching it I can’t believe how awful the very first Royal Rumble was (especially the unending Dino Bravo weight-lifting segment). Although it receives a lot of praise from fans and historians alike, I’ve always felt that the 1995 Rumble match was like a roll-call of horrible gimmick wrestlers and jobbers, despite great performances by Bulldog and Michaels, as well as a **** title match between Diesel and Bret Hart. The 2003 Royal Rumble is host to one of the best title matches (Angle vs. Benoit) and one of the worst (HHH vs. Scott Steiner) of this decade.
The arguably best Royal Rumble matches already have U.S. DVD releases, but are still a treat to watch again in this collection. The 1992 Royal Rumble match already saw release on the awesome 3-disc Ric Flair collection, and is probably the most well-known match in Rumble history. Bobby Heenan’s color commentary throughout is laugh-out-loud comical, and complemented with a ***** performance by Flair makes this a mandatory viewing.
The 2004 Rumble match is my personal favorite and perhaps the most inspirational, seeing Chris Benoit overcome the odds of coming in as the #1 entry and making it to the very end. Everything about this Rumble is meticulously crafted into a ***** show, especially during the last ten minutes when the final 5 competitors gang up on The Big Show with their finishers. Benoit’s performance is emotional and is only outshone by his winning the title at Wrestlemania XX.
Another Royal Rumble that perhaps didn’t get the attention it deserved would be the 1993 PPV. The Shawn Michaels/Marty Jannetty match for the Intercontinental Title is easily **** and one of my personal favorite feuds to come from the early 90’s. The Rumble match, despite having a most ridiculous ending, gave us some really cool moments, such as the Yokozuna/Earthquake match-up, as well as the pop Bob Backlund gets as one of the three remaining men at the end.
Beyond the aforementioned instances, most of the footage on the anthology is hit/miss with viewers. The back-to-back title matches involving Mick Foley (1999 and 2000) are exceptional, while the casket match from 1994 between Undertaker and Yokozuna is an abortion to this business. The latest Royal Rumble (2007) had an average card, but an intense, well-done finish between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels.
Much like the Wrestlemania collection, the Royal Rumbles have their share of duds. When you buy Royal Rumble: The Complete Anthology you’re buying some of the best and worst of WWE history. This will probably be your only chance to own all of the Royal Rumble PPVs for a long time, so it will prove to be a mandatory purchase for fans of this unique stipulation-themed show. The high price tag is bound to scare most casual fans away, though.
I never imagined there would be a chick flick that I did not absolutely hate. Yes, Imagine You and Me is something that could also spark a male’s fancy. The reason? Well, it is about two very lovely lesbians that find love.
Rachel (Piper Perabo) is a recently married lady who becomes good friends with her flower arranger, Luce, of whom was also at the wedding. Luce has always been a comfortable lesbian, and naturally finds Rachel attractive, but Luce does not want to interfere in a married couple’s life.
The married couple invites the flower lady on a somewhat informal double date. Rachel was still oblivious to Luce’s homosexuality, and hoped to fix her up with a friend known for his promiscuity. Rachel was eager to hook the flower girl up with a friend. She wanted to make her happy in such a way she only knew.
A little too happy.
Much to the gentleman-caller’s regret, Luce’s lesbianism is revealed.
So another date occurs. A girl’s night. They have their own night out on the town which leads to Rachel having fantasies about the flower girl. These thoughts arouse Rachel, but when she attempts to stimulate similar feelings with lesbian pornography, nothing seems to happen. It is only when she is around Luce, does she lust for a pink center.
Unfortunately, the male protagonist is devastated after Rachel confesses her homoerotic urges while the man is in a drunken stupor. The next day he leaves Rachel to pursue her lesbian interest. Though he seems to be a little bit too willing to leave. It’s as though he’s not even too mad that his wife had been lying for so long about her confusing sexuality.
Not to mention the fact that the actor breaks the third wall by staring devilishly into the camera after being pursued by a possible future love-interest.
What I did find admirable in this flick is that it wasn’t too wacky. That is to say that the comedy is not outrageously unrealistic and unfunny because of it. Most romantic comedies have a tendency of trying too hard to be funny. This was just witty.
In conjunction with this, the parts that are comedic are for the most part, believable. Mostly because the comedic elements are forged in witty dialogue. The dim-witted father was my favorite. The promiscuous gentleman-caller was also great, with his unsympathetic urge to plant his seed while avoiding the standard relationship ceremonies that often come with it. Overall it was a most tolerable movie and I did indeed find myself chuckling at parts. Not to mention that it’s a great way to break the oppressive trends of homophobia by creating a romance that starts out in a standard hetero marriage that eventually forms into a lesbian love story. And I shall not lie; using actresses as ravishing as these to play lesbians that fall in love helps soften the barrier of homophobia. It just seems something that is more eye pleasing. That is not to say that gay male relations are disgusting, but as a straight male, it is much preferable to witness a couple of lady’s get it on. And unfortunately it is the straight male gender that has the largest percentage of people encompassed in homophobia.