Thursday, February 26, 2009

Job fair swamped by thousands: A scary sight

At first, I thought the news feed today was video of giant insects overtaking a building.
I had the sound on the TV turned down, and have a very active imagination. When I actually tuned in to the story, I realized the news was showing aerial footage of more than 2,000 people waiting for their turn to get into a job fair in South Florida.
Two thousand people. At a job fair. A frightening statement.
The job fair was in Davie, a town of about 85,000 in Broward County that's part of the greater South Florida metropolitan area. It only lasted a few hours, but by 3 p.m. it had drawn thousands of people. About thirty companies like Aflac, Home Depot and Amtrak took part, having various positions open. I never caught the final number on just how many people these companies need to hire, but I'm sure it wasn't anywhere close to 2,000, meaning a lot of folks went home disappointed.
I hate to be so doom and gloom about our economy, but it seems that everyday I hear at least one thing about our financial mess that scares the heck out of me. I have good employment (I don't think there will ever NOT be a need for paramedics) but am fully cognizant of the fact that I am one paycheck away from being one of these people. My police officer husband, too. Let's face it, public service is going to get shaved. We could all be laid off, and waiting in line at a job fair somewhere. It's a subject my other half and I avoid discussing, but it's there all the time, like a huge elephant in the room.
There has never been a better time to support our local businesses, and keep our money here. Shop, buy, spend locally. The more we make an effort, the better off we may be, especially when the federal stimulus money finally kicks in. If we make an effort to keep jobs here in Tampa Bay, we might just be able to avoid being on the live news feed ourselves. Waiting in line and broke.

Saving your makeup

Here are some tips from our friend Kelly Machbitz, certified image consultant.
You've probably seen Kelly on 10Connects, where she has a beauty makeover show!

For more beauty and fashion tips, go to Kelly's website at

Here are some quick fixes to salvage your precious (and expensive) makeup:
1. Broken Eyeshadow
Eyeshadow, blush or powder that comes pressed in a compact can be fixed by adding a little rubbing alcohol and smoothed back in place with a butter knife. Let dry completely before using. Another alternative is to transfer powder to a small sifter jar you can find at your local beauty supply store.
2. Dried Out Foundation
Liquid or cream foundation that has dried out can be re-hydrated with a dab of your favorite moisturizer...or olive oil. Be sure to stir or shake well before using.
3. Clumpy Mascara
To get the most out of mascara that has started to clump, take a tip from the pros and use a small fan brush to apply product to lashes instead of the traditional wand. Mascara will also go on smoother if you coat lashes with a small amount of Vaseline before applying.
4. Dull Eye Pencil
If you don't have a sharpener on hand and your eye pencil is too dull to get a nice clean line, use a small, blunt eye lining brush to apply. Simply run brush over end of pencil to pick up product, then run brush along lash line to apply. If your pencil has dried out (has a white-ish or flaky appearance), try soaking the end in a little olive oil for 30 minutes. It will soften and rehydrate for a smooth application.
5. Broken Lipstick
One of the messiest of makeup mishaps, broken lipstick can be salvaged. If it is a clean break, heat one end with a lighter and press broken halves together firmly. Place in refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to set. If it is too mangled or misshapen to go back in the tube smoothly, use a small knife to transfer lipstick to a palette you can find at your local beauty supply store for just a couple of bucks. Don't waste your money replacing damaged cosmetics. Get a little creative and save yourself a lot of dough.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shorter college path may equal big savings

I have followed with earnest the wave some colleges and universities are riding lately with their trend toward 3-year bachelor’s degrees. Europe has apparently done it for years; three years’ timespan is typical for a baccalaureate program there.
Higher education here is feeling the pinch of our recession of late, and some schools are now offering an abbreviated degree path in an effort to keep rising college costs down and appeal to a wider student body. Students applying to the schools that are trying this out have the opportunity to get a 4-year degree 12 months sooner and potentially save tens of thousands in tuition and fees.
Where was this when I was in college?!
I would have jumped at the chance to get out sooner and start my career, not to mention being able to shave that much more off my student loans. (Which, incidentally, I just paid off last year. Oooh, my achin’ checkbook.)
Word has it that there’s no savings on the workload, rather it’s the same 4 years of classes, studying and internships crammed into less time. A creative juggling of schedules.
Doesn’t matter to me, I still would have signed up for it. Even as a freshman, I knew I was going to have to get my master’s degree. With an extended educational road in front of me, finishing quicker would have had a huge appeal.
Of course, critics of this new trend are saying that it doesn’t benefit students who have no idea where they want to go in life career-wise, and need that extra cushion year to feel things out. And, there’s the whole issue of making our kids grow up too quick. It seems we are pushing them faster and faster into the adult world, with unknown retribution.
In my home state of Rhode Island, lawmakers are tossing around the idea of a bill creating a set of college-level classes available to high schools, so all students can have a chance to finish their higher education early.
What would have done with that extra year? God knows. Maybe nothing. But it would have been nice to have the extra money.