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October 2, 2015

The 7 Habits Recent Grads Use to Manage Student Loan Debt

Borrowing money for education is a must for many, but after you graduate it may seem overwhelming to pay your loans off as you start out in your career. Managing student loan debt is much easier if you can follow in the footsteps of other borrowers like you who are trying to make ends meet.

Stay Connected to Debt

While it may be tempting to ignore a looming deadline, it is important to keep an eye on your outstanding loans and time limits. Many student loans have specific requirements for when you have to start paying them back, and even one missed or late payment can negatively impact your credit. This is something you want to avoid as you are getting into the world where credit matters for everything: mortgages, job opportunities, renting apartments, and buying cars. Along those same lines, avoid using credit cards for things you can’t afford, since the interest rates are typically pretty high.

Use Resources

Image via Flickr by Sebastian Kippe

With mobile devices so readily available, you can easily use technology to manage your debt. There are hundreds of financial management apps that make it easy to consolidate all accounts into one place, so you can check in regularly and see how you are doing on your budget and loan repayment. Specific banks and credit cards also have their own apps for simplified account management. With all of the apps readily available on innovative 4G LTE capable phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5, you can stay on top of due dates and outstanding loans.

Consider Repayment Alternatives

When you took out your first student loan, you probably had no idea what your starting salary would be in your new career. As a result, your repayment schedule might not be feasible once you have finished school and secured a job. Instead of missing payments or falling behind, talk to your lender. If you have federal loans, it may be harder to change the payment schedule, but it’s worth looking into if the monthly amount is impossible to pay. There are options for income-driven repayment plans that can alleviate the stress over making your payment each month.

Understand Postponement or Deferral Options

If you become ill or injured and are unable to work, there are ways to postpone or defer payments on your student loans. If this is your only choice, talk to your lender before making a decision since you may still accrue interest during this period. If possible, pay at least the interest while you aren’t working since this can decrease the overall amount owed once you are back to your job.

Make Extra Payments

Remember when you used to live on ramen noodles and frozen pizzas in college? It may be time to get back into the habit of living as frugally as possible so that you can make extra payments on your student loans. Anything you can put toward the debt will lower the principal and save interest. If you have multiple loans, pay off those with the highest interest rates first. You might also consider consolidating loans so you can make one payment each month without negatively impacting your credit.

Look Into Loan Forgiveness

If your career path has taken you into the world of non-profit, government, or other similar public service jobs, you might qualify for federal loan forgiveness programs. Even those working in education and healthcare can qualify if they meet criteria. These programs can help reduce or even forgive the amount you owe, depending on your position and employer.

Get in Good Habits

Even during the grace period after you finish school, get in the habit of setting aside your loan payment amount and pay it as a lump sum on the first due date. This will help you establish a budget with that amount coming out each month, so you won’t feel overwhelmed after the grace period ends.

Education is well worth the investment, since it can dramatically increase your earning potential over the course of your life. If you take out loans for school, prepare early for their repayment.



Top Chef All-Star Richard Blais will host the Halloween baking Championship which will air Monday, October 5th, 2015 at 9:00 pm ET/PT. See who will wow the judges Ron Ben-Israel, Sherry Yard, and Carla Hall by making the best cheesecake coffins. Get entertained while getting some great ideas how to turn your home into a Halloween Masterpiece, so that you can throw the freakiest party of the year. Or just watch for the excitement.


The winner with the scariest and most delicious spider cupcakes, witch finger cookies, and mummy macaroons will win the $ 25,000. Don’t miss a second of the creepy crawling mishaps and mayhem. The top bakers in the country will prove that they can create the scariest creations and the spookiest treats for everyone to try this Halloween.

Who will create the best Halloween cupcakes using the classics like candy corn and peanut butter cups? Who has what it takes to create a sweet creation inspired by the best costume? You will have to tune in to see who will be the ultimate championship.

Check out FoodNetwork.com/BakingChampionship for more information and inside interviews or joint the ongoing Twitter conversation using #BakingChampionship now.

This post was sponsored, but opinions are my own

Classic Clubs From the Past

Clubs have been around since music gave us a reason to get together and throw some shapes on the dancefloor. The technology may have changed, the cocktails may be slightly different  but the basics are exactly the same. A decent club needs great music, a great venue and a really great crowd to succeed. Check out these super clubs from the past, you’ll see they are not too far from the clubs you visit these days.

Kit Kat Club, London 1920’s

In the 1920’s the first super club evolved, bringing music and dancing to London. The Kit Cat Club was the place to be in the capital. It was innovative and very cool for it’s time. It attracted the hoi polloi, politicians and entertainers performed here from all over the world. Think of gold leaf and royal blue decor, supper tables in rows, a sweeping staircase down to the dancefloor and the crowd dressed in glamorous beaded dresses or tuxedos. The music was a big part of the club, with a resident orchestra belting out the top tunes of the era. The club really got busy after the theatres closed and there was always a buzz. The champagne flowed as the night kicked off and the atmosphere was amazing. It may have been nearly one hundred years ago but the Kit Kat Club showed how Londoners liked to party.

The Cavern Club, Liverpool

Liverpool was the birthplace of the Beatles and the Cavern was the club that launched them. set, obviously in a cavern like building, intimate and small, the Cavern Club had exquisite acoustics and became the place to see new bands. Initially it attracted jazz influenced groups but skiffle was welcomed. The Merseybeat sound proved popular not only in England but also around the world. Of course, on 9th February, 1961, a very cool looking and sounding band first played at the Cavern Club and history was made. The Beatles was the regular house band and it goes without saying, they didn’t do too badly from that start. The Cavern also nurtured other groups/acts that also took the world by storm. It was the place to watch Cilla Black, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy J Kramer. It’s still possible to witness a piece of Cavern magic as the club is still open for business.

Studio 54, New York

It was during the 1970’s that Studio 54 made a splash on the clubbing scene. This style of club had not been seen before. The key to it’s place in history was the antics of it’s customers. All the bright young things were to be found at Studio 24. What did it matter if Jade Jagger decided to ride a white horse through the club on her 30th birthday? The club wanted the famous clientele to return to his club so he made sure that they were treated like royalty when they came to the club. It was not unusual for the owner to make sure that the clubbers were presented with gifts and endless champagne. The club attracted all the superstars of the era. No one would think twice about spotting Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Michael Jackson or Woody Allen. The guests were glamorous and beautiful – the owner personally manned the doors, making sure that only the beautiful were allowed in his club. Studio 54 raised the bar for crazy nights and exclusivity that has never been matched since.

Cafe de Paris

This London stalwart has occupied a prime space in London since 1924 and it only gets better with age. If your idea of a club from the 1920’s included chandeliers, velvet curtains, a ballroom and a sweeping staircase then you are right. Cafe de Paris has kept all of the decor and feel of the original club but brought it up to date. This is the place to celeb spot, the place to catch a live band, the place to watch vintage burlesque acts and the place to have an unforgettable evening. The dress code remains as it always was – put your glad rags on and dress to impress.

The role of philanthropy in fighting global diseases

It is important for successful business leaders to give back to the worldwide community. Philanthropic efforts play a large role in combating the devastating effects of global diseases. Over the years, a lot more work has been accomplished towards disease eradication than perhaps would have been, thanks to the generous donations of corporate benefactors. Many business leaders dedicate themselves to treating and eradicating a specific disease, such as cancer or AIDS. In some cases, someone close to the philanthropist may have suffered from the disease. Here are a few of the highly successful philanthropists working towards a brighter and healthier future throughout the world:

Wesley and Lynn Edens


Milwaukee Buck’s owner Wesley Edens and his wife Lynn contributed $2 million to create an endowed professorship known as the Edens Professorship in Global Health, at Macalester College. The first professorship will concentrate on health and medical geography. This position will allow for a better analysis of the geography of infectious diseases all over the world. The Edens Professorship will help others meet the challenges of disease treatment and prevention for a better worldwide future.

Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill Gates is famous all over the world for being the head of Microsoft. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to give people all over the world the chance to rise from poverty. This includes better education and easier access to treatment of devastating medical conditions and diseases.

The Abbot Fund

The Abbott Fund has invested $337 million in healthcare programs around the world. Their recent projects include building a better healthcare system in Tanzania and improving services offered to uninsured Americans. They also make an effort to improve health education so the risk of contracting a disease is reduced as much as possible.

Small changes lead to larger ones

Even those with small businesses can help improve the health of others through philanthropy. A fund-raiser for the local children’s hospital or contributing to a scholarship fund for students wishing to pursue a medical degree can help fight infectious diseases. As your business grows in level of success, you can adjust how much you contribute to your favorite causes. Small contributions add up over time – no philanthropic effort is too small. Encourage those at your place of work or your business to volunteer time to nonprofit organizations, or suggest charity projects that everyone can get involved with.

April Showers Bring Driving Hazards

April showers bring May flowers but that’s not all it can bring. The spring months are filled with new growth, days of sunshine and warm rains. The warm rains and the hazardous driving conditions are what State Farm want to bring attention to. State Farm wants you to Drive into spring with wet weather wisdom! 74% of weather related accidents are due to wet roads – almost 60% more than roads with snow. In the spring there is a relaxing after the months of driving in blizzard conditions that can cause misjudgment of the seriousness of rainy weather driving. The most important thing you can do is do a thorough “spring clean” of your vehicle and be sure it is rainy road ready.

The tires need to be checked for wear, splitting and unsafe tire pressure. Bald, worn tires make stopping on wet pavement even harder and increase your chances of sliding or even a tire blow out. Your lights – brake, hazards, headlights and turn signals all need to be in perfect working order. In rainy weather your lights are what let other drivers know where you are and allows you to see them. The windshield wipers are often overlooked until needed. If they are brittle, dry and cracked, they will not properly clean your windshield which interferes with your visibility. State Farm has more insightful tips on their website at www.statefarm.com.   Check them out and have a safe and beautiful spring.

This post was sponsored, but opinions are my own

The worlds’ most valuable body parts

(image: Source)

When it comes to the worlds’ most valuable body parts, there are some surprising results. You’d expect celebrities and sport stars to be well-represented, but what if your job relies on an anatomical talent?

Sometimes the amazing insurance amounts for the bodies of the rich and famous cover bits you wouldn’t expect. And it runs from million dollar fingers to billion dollar legs, and absolutely everything in between. It’s no surprise the people on this list put a premium on their bodies, but would you agree with the valuations?

Some stars didn’t want to single out a body part. Actor Daniel Craig took out $9.5 million of insurance for his whole body before performing many of his own stunts in the James Bond franchise. Meanwhile UK TV presenters Ant & Dec decided to take out cover worth £2 million – on each other.


There aren’t many top premiums for brain power or genius. But comedian Rich Hall has insured his sense of humour for £1 million. So he’ll be laughing, even when we aren’t.

Australian cricketer Merv Hughes insured his trademark handlebar moustache for £200,000, but facial cover goes all the way back to the early entertainers. Silent film comedian Ben Turpin invested $25,000 in the 1920s against his trademark crossed eyes ever uncrossing. And amounts soon grew, with Jimmy ‘the Schnozzle’ Durante insuring his large nose for $140,000 in the 1930s.


The mouth is so important to many careers that it deserves a special mention. For singers, it makes sense to protect your most valuable asset. Bruce Springsteen insured his vocal chords for $6 million back in the 1980s, but recent stars have upped the ante. American Idol runner-up and Queen collaborator Adam Lambert has insured his vocal chords for $48.5 million. Rock Star Gene Simmons wasn’t known for his singing voice, but having been known for showing his tongue with the rock band KISS, he insured it for $1 million.

One of the most famous smiles in Hollywood belongs to ‘Pretty Woman’ Julia Roberts, who put a premium of $30 million on her smile lighting up cinema screens. But ‘Ugly Betty’ star America Ferrara also has a $10 million smile after she removed her braces to become the face of toothpaste brand Aquafresh. And at the other end of the smile spectrum is British comedian Ken Dodd, who actually insured his buck teeth for £4 million, including the risk of accidentally having them fixed.

But it’s not just celebrities with valuable mouths. In the 1960s, food critic Egon Ronay insured his taste buds for $330,000, and chef Anthony Worrall-Thompson followed suit for £500,000. But the otherwise ordinary tastes for big food and drink brands are the real stars. Tetley tea blender Sebastien Michaelis has tastebuds insured for £1 million, rather less than the $10 million for the tongue of Costa Coffee’s ‘Italian Master of Coffee’, Gennaro Pelliccia. Somerfield wine taster Angela Mount had her tastebuds insured for £10 million in 2003, after the chain of supermarkets attributed a growth in sales to her palate.


You’d expect female assets to top the list, and sadly there are question marks whether legendary Welsh singer Tom Jones ever insured his chest hair for $7 million. But it’s known that such policies have been drawn up on occasion for male models.

Female chests are bigger business, with Playboy model Holly Madison covering her assets for $1 million. Country music star Dolly Parton has protected herself since 1970 with a policy for $600,000. Meanwhile Madonna also insured her chest, for a sum of $2 million.


Musicians have a lot to lose, but Keith Richards apparently only valued his middle finger enough for a $1.6 million policy to play guitar and make rude gestures for the Rolling Stones.

Hand model Gemma Howorth sensibly covered all her digits with a £5 million premium. Her hands regularly feature in adverts for washing-up liquid, chocolate and make-up, justifying the investment.


Buttock coverage is a largely female dominated area of insurance. Children’s TV fox puppet Basil Brush had his trademark tail insured for £1 million, but the big money is insuring the bottoms of pop stars Kylie Minogue and Jennifer Lopez.

While Australian former soap star Kylie propelled her pop career back into the top ten with the help of gold hotpants, her backside is protected for just $5 million.  That compares to the curvier Jennifer Lopez, who values her bottom with $300 million of insurance.


It turns out men don’t value their sex appeal quite as much. Former Van Halen singer and rock star David Lee Roth made the headlines when he insured his sperm for $1 million to protect the future of 80’s rock.

That compares with British male stripper Frankie Jakeman, who insured his main asset in 1987 for £1.2 million.


Football is a big money game around the world. With big wages for the top players, it’s not surprising that former Man Utd and England star David Beckham has $70 million of insurance for his legs, or that Real Madrid and Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo has a $144 million policy.

Other famous male celebrities to have insured their fancy footwork include Charlie Chaplin, whose trademark walk was covered for £100,000. More recently, dancer Michael Flatley took out a $40 million policy following his success in Irish dance shows Riverdance and Lord of the Dance.

Since Betty Grable became the first woman to walk on ‘million dollar legs’ in the 1940s, it’s become fairly normal for actresses and models to take out insurance, such as Jamie Lee Curtis ($2.8 million) and Heidi Klum ($2 million)

But the most experience legs, and the worlds’ most valuable body parts belong to a singer. And it’s not an artist known for her dance moves, such as Rihanna ($1 million) or Tina Turner ($3.2 million).

In fact, the most expensive cover for part of the body belongs to Mariah Carey, who insured her legs for a whopping $1 billion after becoming the star of a shaving campaign.

All images licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Horse racing’s tales of the unexpected

It’s usually the stories behind the achievements that are the most interesting. And that’s certainly true in horse racing. Here are some of the events and personalities that have captured our imagination.

Frankie Dettori’s Magnificent Seven

Frankie Dettori’s odds-defying triumph in every single race on the Ascot card was his Magnificent Seven; a seemingly impossible achievement that catapulted him into sporting and celebrity legend.

Dettori’s record-breaking day in September 1996 has been likened to a racing car driver winning every Grand Prix or a golfer at The Open hitting birdies the entire round before finishing up with a hole in one.

The accumulative odds of 25,000/1 reflect just how extraordinary Dettori was that day. The BBC even delayed the scheduled Saturday news bulletin to capture history in the making.

But not everyone was cheering as Frankie’s now trademark flying dismounts began to stack up. Bookmakers were ruined with total losses on the day estimated at around £40 million. One lucky punter alone enjoyed a payout of £500,000.

Tony McCoy’s cold streak

Champion jump jockey Tony McCoy is best known for his insatiable hunger for winning and his incredible physical strength.

He turned to cryogenics after a serious fall in 2008 which should have taken four months to heal. But he was back in the saddle in half that time after enduring temperatures of -148C in an effort to speed up his recovery.

He’s won more than 4,000 races. And he’ll be trying to repeat his 2012 success at Cheltenham aboard Synchronised when he rides in this year’s Gold Cup in March. It’s likely he’ll ride for trainer Jonjo O’Neill, with the JP McManus-owned horse Shutthefrontdoor currently expected to be his likely mount.


by  Paolo Camera 

Grand National chaos

The 1993 Grand National has gone down in history as one of the greatest sporting shambles of all time.

An estimated 300 million people around the world were glued to their television sets to watch the race when 30 of the 39 riders headed off round the track unaware that a false start had been called.

The crowd at Aintree, where the race is run, frantically shouted and waved while officials tried to flag down the riders. But the oblivious jockeys carried on round the gruelling four-and-a-half mile Liverpool course. And punters could do nothing but watch in agony as the humiliating saga unfolded.

Esha Ness, a 50-1 outsider ridden by John White, crossed the line first. But the Jockey Club declared the Grand National void and White has become known as the winner of the race that never was.

Red Rum struts his stuff

The BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year has become known as something of a sporting Oscars. The country’s finest athletes gather on one glittering night every year to toast the best of the best.

In 1977 there was an unusual attendee. Red Rum, the three time Grand National winner, rocked up to the studio to massive applause and adulation.

He seemed to take the attention in his stride, despite suffering the indignity of being crammed into a lift to make it into the Sports Personality Studio at all.

Red Rum, like Desert Orchid, Kauto Star and Frankel, won the hearts of the nation. Earlier that year he was given the honour of switching on the illuminations in Blackpool and he became a media favourite with appearances on This is Your Life, The Generation Game and Blue Peter.

For the record, Red Rum won the Grand National in 1973, 1974 and 1977. And in ’75 and ’76 he came a not-too-shabby second.

Grand National – history on the hoof

The Grand National steeplechase is an annual horse race that takes place at the Aintree racecourse in Liverpool, England. The description ‘steeplechase’ derives from the historical racing of horses from one church (hence steeple) to another. In the process, competitors would be obliged to leap over countryside fences and hedges and, in recognition of this legacy, steeplechase events are run over jumps. The name Aintree owes its origins to ancient Saxon English where ‘Antree’ meant ‘lone tree’. Horse racing has been recorded in the Liverpool area from as early as 1576.

by  stacey.cavanagh 

First run in 1839 the Grand National is said to be the most famous horse race in the world. With a first prize fund of over £1 million, it is Europe’s most-valuable equine contest. The race distance is officially four miles and three-and-a-half furlongs. A furlong measures one eighth of a mile and takes its name from the Old English words furh (furrow) and lang (long). Dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, the measure originally referred to the mean length of a furrow in a ploughed open field.

In recent years, the race has been synonymous with misadventure. Repeated false starts, interruptions by protesters against animal cruelty and an enforced postponement as a result of an IRA bomb scare have all affected the race. The IRA are an Irish republican movement whose declared aim is to remove Northern Ireland from British administration. Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, they were responsible for a series of bombs across the British mainland.

The race attracted adverse publicity owing to the high casualty and fatality rate suffered by the horses involved. The unusually high attrition rate was explained in part by the extended distance of the race (see above) in combination with the height and spread of the jumps which were amongst the most challenging anywhere in British racing – The Chair and Beecher’s Brook being the most famous. Beecher’s Brook is said to be the most (in)famous, measuring 4ft 10 inches with a 5ft 6 inch brook (stream bed) on the landing side. The fence is named after one Captain Beecher who fell and died attempting the jump in 1839.

In recent years, the fences have been made smaller in the interests of safety, however, a consequent increase in the speed of the runners has largely mitigated against this attempt to make the race less dangerous.

It is customary to immediately put down racehorses if they suffer a serious injury from which they are unlikely to be able to recover. The riders or ‘jockeys’ are treated more humanely. The word ‘Jockey’ first attested use was in 1529. The word is said to derive from the Scottish Jock and was used as a generic term for a boy. Jockeys are famously small i.e. boyish in stature.

Red Rum is the most famous winner of the Grand National. Victor of the race in the years 1973, 1974 and 1977, the gelding also finished second in the two intervening years. A gelding is a male horse which has been neutered. The word derives from old Norse, gelda, ‘to castrate’. Red Rum remains a national icon and there is a life-size statue in his honour at the gates of the Aintree course.

The Grand National is one of the most bet on sporting events in the British sporting calendar. As much as £150 million is now regularly invested with bookmakers. The difficulty in completing the course safely means it is notoriously difficult to predict the winner. It is on this basis the race is held up as an opportunity for racing aficionados to compete with the ordinary public in a wholly democratic and egalitarian manner. The Grand National is widely televised around the world.

London’s housing crisis sees garage go for half a million

The shortage of housing in London appeared to reach new levels this week when a garage measuring just 11ft by 7ft was sold at auction for more than a half a million pounds.

The auctioneer responsible – bet he loved his commission – described the garage as being in “reasonable state, but there are quite a few cracks in the walls.”

The ‘property’ has no planning permission for any redevelopment but due to its location in the middle of Chelsea, one of London’s wealthiest areas, it was clearly viewed as a very desirable move for investment.

The garage had only been on the market for two weeks after being valued at £200k by the auctioneers.

To give some perspective, the buyer paid £7,143 per square foot and has just about enough space to park a car.

The London housing crisis means there are jackpots at the end of rainbows… or in this case an old garage!

by  August Brill 

Ways you could afford to spend £550k on a London garage

For most of us, the idea of spending more than half a million pounds on a dilapidated garage that you couldn’t swing a cat in is absurd. Some ideas to gather the funds…

  • 1: Play for Chelsea FC – if you’re going to buy a place in the area, why not work locally too. Stamford Bridge is just around the corner and if you can work your way into José Mourinho’s first team squad you will earn the sort of wages required to spend big.
  • 2: Become Prime Minister – David Cameron earns £142,000 per year, so by the time you’ve completed your term at No10 Downing Street you should have enough to partly finance a nice garage. You could always bring on board some fellow MPs to club together for the money – just don’t expect there to be enough living space for everyone at the new digs!
  • 3: Win the cash – try some online casino play at http://www.ziggycasino.com. Perhaps the progressive slots jackpots will land the $1m dollar prize needed for a London garage and enough cash left over for a nice holiday.
  • 4: Become a YouTube sensation – if you can become the star of the next internet sensation, the dollar signs will follow! YouTube advertisements will make you earn $2 per 1,000 views. If your YouTube channel becomes famous you can score endorsement deals and earn millions!

Get yourself a job playing for Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge and you could soon be affording some property in the area.

by  Matt From London 

Combining Two Guns Into One Awesome Gun

A gun is a normally tubular weapon or another device designed to discharge projectiles or other materials. The projectile may be solid, liquid, gas or energy and even may be free, as with bullets and artillery shells, or captive as with Taser probes and whaling harpoons.

The means of projection varies according to design but is usually affected by the action of gas pressure, either produced through the rapid combustion of a propellant or compressed and stored by mechanical means, operating on the projectile inside an open-ended tube in the fashion of a piston. The confined gas accelerates the projectile down the length of the tube imparting sufficient velocity to sustain the projectile’s travel once the action of the gas ceases at the end of the tube or muzzle. Alternatively, acceleration via electromagnetic field generation may be employed in which case the tube may be dispensed with and a guide rail substituted.

The first devices identified as guns appeared in China around 1000AD, and by the 12th century the technology was spreading through the rest of Asia, and into Europe by the 13th century. The origin of the English word gun is presently considered to derive from the name given to a particular historical weapon.

Domina Gunilda was the name given to a remarkably large ballista, a mechanical bolt throwing weapon of huge size, mounted at Windsor Castle during the 14th century. This name in turn may have derived from the Old Norse woman’s proper name Gunnhildr which combines two Norse words referring to battle.

In any case the term gonne or gunne was applied to early hand-held firearms by the late 14th century or early 15th century.

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