As an employee of a bank offering a national student loan refinance and consolidation program, I often speak with recent graduates looking for guidance on questions regarding their student loans. So, for those of you who still don't fully understand how student loan refinancing works, let me help you out.
On the surface, there is absolutely no reason to update the classic Broadway show Annie, which was already adapted for the screen in 1982. But this multicultural cast redux adds a hip swag to the classic kid's story. This Annie is urban, emotional and fun. But far from perfect.
"I can't breathe" speaks from the grave and describes the circumstances faced by many who are being choked by a system that treats different races and classes of people unequally.
You've heard a lot of information about retirement planning basics: contribute regularly to tax-advantaged accounts like your 401(k) or IRA, choose the right mix of assets for your age and risk tolerance, and rebalance regularly. But you still can't help but wonder if you're missing something crucial.
Although everyone could probably benefit from a smart-spending lesson or two, today, we're talking to you 20-somethings. While you haven't had all that much time as an adult to establish your shopping routines and habits, you've had enough time to start developing some.
I honor the enthusiasm, the tenacity, vigilance of all who have marched, took rubber bulletts, made financial sacrifices, and found strength to go on anyhow. But as you assess where you are, and you find that this work is in your purpose, grab hold to your lane and stay in it with consistency and persistency.
All were willing to step up to make a difference, to lead when it could be dangerous, and to let their lives be shining examples for others. We should remember them when we face stormy and cloudy weather in our national life and become bright rainbows of hope like them.
The news media--people in our society who could play a pivotal role in creating a "dialogue" about such injustices as police killings of young black men--have fallen short.
We will not move forward as a society until we can bring ourselves to listen and respond to the cries of those whose spirits have been crushed by the chokehold of poverty and racism.
The only way to say the words and not fall to pieces under the crushing irony doled out by a double-talking justice system is to understand "Black lives matter" not as a slogan or a hashtag but as a meditation. A mantra. A prayer. Or...
We need to take a hard look at what is causing this income disparity. Is it prejudice? Is it lack of economic or educational opportunities? Is the system corrupt, and if so, where? And what questions need to be asked to change that?
Most of the news stories I've see about Ferguson market and sell fear, and many of the community reactions to the events focus on blame and retribution. This deeply concerns me because blame doesn't heal and revenge doesn't satisfy.
At the same time, events like the ones in Ferguson, Staten Island and Cleveland, and the responses to them dominate the news. All of these things remind us of the truth that anytime anyone is treated less than equal because of who they are, we are diminished as people.
I believe the revolution has begun and we are ready for change and soon no one will be able to mislead us and we will take advantage fully of the voice we have on a regular basis. Not just in extreme times, so if you want to be a part of this revolution, look on your phone or computer.
Wondering what story to tell when you preach on race? Tell the story of how your congregation came to be predominantly white in the first place.
I am not interested in using the unfortunate deaths of my black and brown sisters and brothers as a platform to advance myself or my "brand," rather I am much more interested in how I can lead from behind.
Be the one. At your family dinner table. In the bar at happy hour. At your job. In the cafeteria. In the classroom or at rehearsal. In the courtroom, in a chat room. In your church, in the choir, in your synagogue or in your mosque.
The experts of Full Circle Six have the answers to all of your lifestyle needs, one checklist at a time. Each week, one will answer questions in her respective area.
Q: I'm constantly late for everything. How do I break out of this vicious cycle?
Dina Farrugia, The Concierge, Full Circle Six: It's admirable that you recognize the need for change and want to take steps toward correcting it. Pat yourself on the back! Still, it's important to realize that change takes time, so introduce new changes gradually. Remember, just as bad habits develop over time, so do good ones. Below are some suggestions that will help you go from tardy to timely:
• Jump-start your morning by setting your alarm clock ahead at least 30 minutes earlier, and use that time to organize your day. Plot out what you need to get done so you can better manage your time.
• Decrease the amount of time you spend on a certain task. For example, learn how to put on your makeup in five minutes rather than the usual half hour; subscribe to an online news outlet that you can read when you have a few minutes instead of lingering over the newspaper in the morning.
• Prioritize tasks (a MUST!). Complete the important or necessary tasks first, even if they are the most difficult or boring. You'll thank yourself later.
Stick to your game plan and you will start to notice positive changes soon. Good luck!
Q: My boyfriend's family, whom I've never met, is visiting from out of town this weekend. HELP! Please recommend some activities we can enjoy together.
Dina, Full Circle Six: There are so many wonderful activities that you can do together to break the ice. To alleviate some of the stress, first find out if there is something special your boyfriend's family would like to do or if they have any particular interests. Here are some of my suggestions:
• Take an organized walking /bus trip around your city
• Visit local galleries and attend art show openings
• See a play at an independent theater company
• Watch a live music show (classical, jazz)
• Visit a museum
• Shopping (everyone's favorite!)
• Dine at one of your favorite neighborhood restaurants
• Have a picnic (weather permitting)
• Attend a sporting event
• Go bowling
Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that the family is probably just as nervous about meeting you as you are about meeting them. So relax, and have fun. Remember that you have your boyfriend there to support you.
Q: I'm going out of town for two weeks and I have to leave my dog behind. Who should get to take care of him while I'm away, and how much will it cost?
Dina, Full Circle Six: Of course you want to make sure that your lovable pooch will be left in the best hands. Here are few suggestions that will help you feel more at ease during your separation:
Your dog sitter should be responsible, caring and trustworthy and make you and your pooch feel comfortable! Start with a recommendation from a friend, neighbor, veterinarian or even a dog trainer. Ideally you want to find someone who loves dogs and has experience taking care of them. It's a bonus if they have a dog of their own!
A friend or family member may be a good candidate to take care of your pooch if you don't want to leave her with a stranger.
Contact the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (www.petsitters.org) for ideas on the best way to choose someone to watch your pet. Pet Sitters can also help you find a sitter.
Costs can vary depending on the service you choose. Prices range from $10-$25 per day or $40-$80 for an overnight stay. Whichever option you choose, remember to leave your emergency contact information with your dog's caretaker. Enjoy your trip!
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Full Circle Six is: Annie Tse (The Interior Designer), Vanessa K. Bush (The Chef), Dina Farrugia (The Concierge), Sharon Pendana (The Fashion Stylist), Jen M.R. Doman (The Organizer) and Lindsay Messina (The Wellness Expert). Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-783-2075 or http://fullcircle6.com.