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Easy Cash for Post Grads

17 Sep

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Struggling for money while looking for your first job? Well you are not alone. Since I have started my journey towards finding a full time job, I’ve also had a chance to compile some ideas to make fast cash while being unemployed. With help from some good friends along the way (god bless you all) here is what I have found successful so far.

SELL OLD STUFF


 Craigslist: My mom sold three dresses from high school dances (Homecoming, Snowcoming, and Prom). It was a lot of trial and error, but the most success came from hacking the price in half and then going just a bit under that price. You won’t get what you paid originally. Dress styles go in and out way too quick nowadays. Make some struggling parents day and sell your gorgeous $400 ball gown at an affordable rate.

Facebook Forums: Some university’s have different selling forums which including anything from furniture to books to clothes. Take nice pictures of what you are selling and be as professional and accessible as possible. College kids are lazy, so the easier the transaction, the better.

Cash for Gold: Any old out-of-date, or broken gold jewelry can be turned in for cash. Try and ask grandma or mom if there are any old pieces they won’t wear again and aren’t interested in keeping. Cash for Gold lets you do the whole transaction online.

Gazelle: Sell your old cell phone for money, as long as your old iPhone or Android was left in good condition. You can check how much money your phone is worth right on the Gazelle website!

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BABYSITTING

Go back to the basics, like when you were in elementary school trying to make money. (Leave the lemonade stands in the past). Reach out to relatives, friends, and especially neighbors to offer your services for babysitting. Even if they don’t need you at the moment, they may know somebody who does.

COIN COLLECTING


After cleaning out my old room, I found an ancient Winnie the Pooh piggy bank that was absolutely stacked with old coins I had collected over the years. I am currently in the process of wrapping them all up and turning them into the bank for cash. You can also do CoinStar, but the machine will charge you a significant service fee.

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PLATO’S CLOSET


One of the easiest ways I’ve made cash is collecting clothes and accessories to sell at Plato’s Closet. This is a good option for lightly worn, name brand clothes/accessories you have purchased to get a second chance with somebody else. You will end up giving them away to Good Will after 5 years of sitting in your closet anyways, put a little effort in and you could come out with some cash. I’ve made up to $40 using Plato’s.

 

FREELANCE WORK


A good amount of my friends and I have also found success in offering freelance work in our fields. One of my friends picked up a quick job using his journalism skills to film a small town documentary. Another has had success creates websites on the side for small companies. I have personally picked up choreography jobs with different dance studios in my area. Give it a shot and reach out to local small businesses who can’t necessarily afford the big time companies.

 

HUSTLE


Try a trip to the casino, invest in some scratch off cards, buy the 6.4 billion power ball ticket for $1, or visit a local pool hall like my dad did when he was in his 20’s. (He was sort of a pool shark growing up). Some people are just lucky, you know who I am talking about, and gosh do we hate them for it. A little gambling is fine, just as long as you always take my mother’s advice…and DON’T LOSE.

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Those are the quick money makers I’ve found successful so far. Shout out to my friends who gave me their input or inspiration. Do you have any good ideas for making quick money? Feel free to share below!

 

Till next time,

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The Brunette Abroad: Hangin’ Loose in Hawaii

13 Mar

Aloha Readers!

Now that my last college spring break is over, I wanted to take the time to reflect on my final experience abroad last summer. On our flight back from Australia, we decided to take a seven day pit stop in Hawaii. My mind is especially wandering to the beautiful white sand beaches while I am stuck in the stormy, snowy weather of the Midwest.

Our extensive amount of luggage was a comical sight to see. After 3 months living out of a suitcase in Australia, we were forced to lug all of this crap to our hostel. The cab driver was not very happy with us.

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We stayed in a hostel in Honolulu, Hawaii right off the coast of Waikiki Beach. Our group of five girls stayed in a room with various visitors from Norway, China, Germany and of course, the US. The second we got settled into our rooms, we headed right to the beach to catch up on our tans. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

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Afterwards we came inside from a long day of relaxation to major sun burns… YIKES. Let me just add we wore SPF 30 and still woke up the next day fried to a crisp.

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Our second day started out with a heavy dose of SPF 90 along with cotton t-shirts in order to hike Diamond Head National Park. Old volcano’s and ancient WWII bunkers kept us preoccupied until we reached the top. We caught a breathtaking sight of Honolulu making the sweltering hike 100% worth it..

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as well as goofing off with some other great sights along the way…

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Our next big adventure consisted of a night out with our hostel roommates, who happened to be from California. We decided to pub crawl 5 different bars downtown and it was a total blast! We spent the night meeting a ton of new friends from all over the world and dancing the night away. I am happy to call those roomies my friends still to this day! 🙂

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The next day was followed with a very special visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Site. My friend Cortney and I woke up early in order to pay our respects to all of the brave soldiers who gave their lives fighting for our freedom during WWII almost 72 years ago. I have to admit I cried like a baby after taking the charter out to the USS Arizona Memorial placed above one of the sunken battleships. The whole experience was mind-blowing and something I will never forget. It served as a great reminder of how proud I am to be American…

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To conclude our incredible stopover on the island of Oahu, we decided to attend a traditional Luau at Germiane’s. The crew got all dressed up for a night of hawaiian food and entertainment. Each of us was adorned with a beautiful shell lei upon our arrival and handed our drink tickets for the night. We enjoyed an extensive buffet of all you can eat Hawaiian foods including roast pig, pineapple, pu pu, coconut cake and much more. Once we settled back to our seats after piling on our plates with heaps of authentic foods, we watched a show full of impressive polynesian dancing. Each dance was from a different Pacific Island including Hawaii, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Samoa. We witnessed everything from traditional hula and fire dancing to combat dances with sticks. It was one of the coolest performances I have ever seen!

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The Hawaiian Islands are exactly what the media cracks them up to be. I’ve never seen a more naturally stunning environment like the beaches of Oahu. Most of the locals were friendly and absolutely glow with the passion they contain for their homeland. I would recommend visiting Hawaii to each and everyone of my friends, as it’s so full of beauty, serenity, excitement and relaxation.

This post concludes the last of my study abroad installment to my blog. Be sure to check out the rest of my posts featuring my experiences interning in Australia and feel free to post any comments/questions if you are curious about traveling abroad!

Mahalo,

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The Brunette Abroad: My Road Trip Through New Zealand

24 Nov

It has been three months since my amazing adventure abroad, and even to this day it feels like yesterday. As I am sitting on my cozy couch with my roommate in our college house, my heart yearns for the beautiful sights and experiences I had just last season. Although it feels like a dream, I cling onto these memories in hopes of returning one day. Until then, I write down everything I can think of from each of my mini adventures. Tonight I am excited to share my trip through the North Island of New Zealand with you.

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My friend and I decided to rent a car and make our way through as much as the island as we could, all in 3 days! We started by flying into Auckland, where we were greeted by a gorgeous display of the Maori indigenous culture. We checked into a hostel and prepared for our weekend journey.

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At 8 A.M. we were ready to pick up our rental and take to the road from the big city of Auckland to the remote area of Matamata (a.k.a Hobbiton).Thanks to my friends swift adaption of driving on the left side of the road (yikes!) and a straight hour of Mumford and Sons, we arrived to the original movie sight of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in a little over an hour. Both being fans of the movie series, we set out on a tour of the site. We learned fun facts about the movies, and got to walk the same paths as Gandalf the Grey and our favorite ring bearer, Frodo! Afterwards we relaxed with an original brew of our choice (created for the cast by Peter Jackson himself) within the Green Dragon Tavern, an exact replica of the one in the movie!

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After that we set off to the city of Tauranga. Sitting right off the coast of The Bay of Plenty, Tauranga is home the massive, extinct volcano of Mauao, (Mount Maunganui). This city was where my boss at my internship with Pretty Girl Fashion Group grew up, so I found it very cool I got to visit on my way down the north island. My friend and I stopped in time to hike to the top of the volcano for a quick workout and sight seeing. It was an awesome experience!

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The next day when we were driving to our next destination, Rotorua, we noticed a “rotten egg” smell in the air. Apparently the whole city reeks of it because of all the volcanic activity in the area. Once we got to driving, it was normal to see hot smoke rising from the ground in random places. This meant we were close to our next destination, the Wai-o-tapu Geothermal Wonderland. The park is New Zealand’s most colorful and diverse geothermal attraction revolved around the areas volcanic activity. We walked through naturally colored hot-and-cold pools, the world famous Champagne Pool, the amazing Lady Knox Geyser and the massive craters that are the hallmark of the Rotorua region’s volcanic heritage. It was like nothing I had ever seen before.

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Afterwards, we jumped in the car to head to the North Island’s biggest lake, Lake Taupo. After a quick lunch of PB&J by the water, we headed around the lake towards the mountains of Tongariro National Park, which made for a breathtaking view. The scenery throughout all of our car rides were lovely, but this one is one I will never forget. Not long after, we arrived at the base of Tongariro Crossing and Mt. Ruapehu (a.k.a Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings).

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We decided to hike to the closest attraction (2 hours), which proved to be quite a task! We didn’t have much hiking gear, and my nikes could only take me so far past rivers, snow, and massive mounds of rock. We made due long enough to reach a stunning waterfall where we took pictures and enjoyed the sights. Tongariro is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, and I recommend it to anyone if you are in New Zealand. This by far was one of the highlights of my entire summer. The mountain sights were absolutely incredible!

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After a long day of hiking, we drove to our closest hostel in sight of the mountains and prepared for our next adventure. The next day we drove our longest distance to reach the Waitomo caves, where we ventured to The Black Water Rafting Co. We experienced the adventure of a lifetime touring the glowworms in the famous Ruakuri Cave. We were guided by two experienced rafters as we took to the pitch black waters with our rafts. We floated in darkness with nothing but the tiny specs of light above us to guide our way to the end of the cave. It was scary and beautiful all at the same time. A very cool experience to add to the list!

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Finally, we headed back to Auckland for one last night to explore the big city before we flew back to Australia. I headed to the Sky Tower, the highest point of the city, for a cocktail and relaxing sight-seeing opportunity. I got to see the city all lit up at 1,076′ above the ground. The sky scrapers looked like shining beacons against the water. Such a great way to end a fabulous weekend adventure.

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If I ever get a chance to go back, I would do the South Island next! I loved the mountains and the South is known for its incredible, mountainous sights. (Look it up, seriously….stunning). New Zealand is one of the only countries where you can surf and snowboard in one day, so that would be another goal of mine as well.

I am so thankful for the chance to see such an amazing country. It was hands down one of the most exhilarating moments of my summer. A thanks goes out to my parents for helping me afford this trip (it was towards the end of my summer and bank account), Michigan State University for such an incredible study/intern abroad program (number one in the USA), and The Education Abroad Network for hooking us up with the coolest tour guide and arrangements while I was in Australia.

Cheers,

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The Brunette Abroad: Crazy in Cairns, Australia!

27 Sep

After getting home a little over a month ago, I took a break to spend time with my family and friends, and get settled back into college at MSU. Now that I am back in the good ole’ US of A, I am thrilled to share the rest of my amazing summer with you guys!

This post is about my trip to Cairns, Australia. Cairns is considered the tropical region of Australia which is located near one of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World, The Great Barrier Reef! After a good month of the cold and rain in Sydney, it’s safe to say we were ready for a mini vacation away from our internships to enjoy the 80 degree weather and amazing sights Cairns has to offer.

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We took off around 6 AM Friday to arrive in Cairns that afternoon. After arriving at easily one of the most fun hostels I have ever been to, Gilligans, we started to explore the area a bit. Cairns doesn’t actually have a functional beach because of all the swamp that surrounds it, so the city created a big “water hole” in the center to serve it’s residents and visitors. We made sure to check out the famous steel fish sculptures and pools the first day!

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That night us 4 girls went on a big pub crawl. We attended about 4 different bars surrounding the area, including SugarHut, PJ’s, Wool Shed, and Gilligans. There were easily over 100 people and we met amazing new friends, and had a blast dancing the night away. To my dismay, I did not sleep much that night and we had The Great Barrier Reef planned for early the next morning (yikes).

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Saturday morning on the reef was an experience to say in the least. I ended up a bit sea sick on the way out. Word of advice: ALWAYS take your ginger tablets! We had a day full of snorkeling, lunch on the boat, and great company. Unfortunately, my attempt to learn to dive 10 minutes beforehand didn’t go so well, but I still got a great view of 2 beautiful angelfish that swam right up to me in the middle of my unsuccessful dive training. After that I told myself one day I will go back and do it right. That means a full weekends worth of dive training, and then dive in the Great Barrier Reef more prepared.

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Sunday proved to be one of the best days of my entire summer. My good friend Cortney and I took a full day trip exploring the rainforests of Cairns. We got to experience some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen! We got to slide down a natural water slide in the middle of the forest, check out the world’s biggest fig tree, swim in the famous Millaa Millaa Falls (Herbal Essences Commercial ring any bells?), scout for platapi, swim in natural water holes, and relax in one of the Australia’s biggest crater lakes. My words can’t do this experience justice: so here are some pictures to give you a better idea of the beauty that is Australia…

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One heck of a weekend right? I was pretty upset to say goodbye to all the fun we had, but no where near as upset as when I found out I missed my flight back to Sydney!!! Cortney and I were stuck in the Cairns airport for 6 HOURS until we could catch another flight out, and boy was that a costly mistake! Lesson here kids: always be prepared, and check your itinerary regardless if you are “positive you leave at 12pm when the flight was really 10am”.

For more info on my experiences abroad in Australia, check out my posts for The Education Abroad Network!

Cheers,

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The Brunette Abroad: Traveling, Interning & Experiencing Australia

29 Jun

Hello fellow travelers, adventure seekers, study abroaders, fashionistas and/or curious ones!

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This is my first post since I have experienced life in Australia for a month and it’s about time I’ve shared the breathtaking beauty and amazing experiences I’ve had so far with all of you! For the newcomers, this is my first time in Australia and I am interning in Sydney for 3 months on my summer break at a company called Pretty Girl Fashion Group doing public relations and marketing.

IMG_1283My internship has proven to be everything I hoped and more. I work alongside a team of graphic designers, marketing executives, photographers, and artistic directors for 9 hours straight Mon-Fri. Each person is brilliant in their field and has a lot of knowledge to share. Everything I am learning is completely new to me, but refreshingly challenging and creatively stimulating.

I have had the pleasure of working on launching a new e-commerce site for one of our upcoming brands, BeMe. I’ve helped out with the creation and execution of our latest photo shoot with Rockmans. I am responsible for competitor reviews, “As Seen In” columns, communication with editors of magazines and marketing executives of our various shopping centers , as well as implementing and planning details of our events like store openings and charities.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my long days at the computer doing your average intern work as well. Anything from copying down written files into word documents, to recording lists from our ausblog2meetings is fair game as well. Nobody said intern life was going to be fabulous all the time, but it is totally worth it!

When I am not at work, I am taking in the sights as much as I possibly can! I have currently wandered all around the Sydney area including the Opera House, Bondi Beach, Darling Harbor, Manly Beach, Hunter Valley, and the Blue Mountains to name a few. What incredible trips they have been. From wine-tasting and surfing, to dancing with Aboriginals and hiking, my experience abroad has been one I will never forget. The other interns and I have had a blast getting to know some of the locals and enjoying the amazing variety of food and shopping the city has to offer. Sydney is absolutely stunning, and I am convinced I am exactly where I am suppose to be.

A few things I have learned since embracing the Aussie culture:

1. Learn to love face-fulls of salt water

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2. Get used to paying ridiculous amounts of money for minimal food

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3. Never take the beauty of your home for granted

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4. “No Worries Mate” is the motto to live by

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5. Prepare for random whale encounters, perhaps even 6 feet in front of you

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6. Drink like a fish, and then drink some more

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7. Public transport sucks, no matter how popular it is

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8. Live every moment like it could be your last!

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Stay tuned for more details of my experiences at work and my travels outside the city. I look forward to what is to come in these next 2 months and getting the opportunity to share it all with you!

Cheers,

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New York Fashion Week Spring Highlights

3 Mar

Hello fellow fashionistas, it has been too long!

I have been struggling to find the time to share some of my favorite looks from the runway during Spring’s New York Fashion Week. It is FINALLY spring break and instead of being on a beach sipping on a cocktail, I bring you the latest and greatest from my small town in Michigan (you’re welcome).

From the looks of things, bold colors, leather, and a frenzy of different patterns are going to be popular this season. I have never been a pattern person, but Kate Spade is giving me a serious reason to reconsider. Check out these looks:

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We have a mix of orange with navy and poka-dots, not your average “go to” colors I presume. However, because it is separated by a simple white graphic tee, I think it works! She is so talented at mixing prints with loud colors. I am especially loving the mint midi skirt with the bow print sweater, swoon!

If I ever want to feel instantly sexy, I find a way to incorporate leather into my wardrobe. Jason Wu has many note worthy pieces from his Spring 2013 runway collection that incorporates leather with a sexy summery feel. Think bustiers, tight bloomers, and lots of skin!

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High waisted shorts/skirts with a crop top is one of my favorite warm weather looks. Jason Wu nails it by adding lace, leather, and a pop of summery pink. A great way to show off your Spring Break tan!

I was pleasantly surprised by the Mara Hoffman collection this year. Her choice of fabrics were very eye popping and gave a sort of exotic vibe. How cute is the palm hair piece? Fun Fact: My aunt, Tracy Bocci, is one of the prime hairstylist’s for NYFW. She worked with a team of TIGI professionals in 7 different runway shows including Mara Hoffman for Fall’s NYFW. How cool is that? She described the experience as fantastic chaos, lots of pressure but very rewarding and such a wonderful opportunity!

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The center look is one of my favorites. The shorts are such a fabulous green color and they really pop with the tan safari jacket. The maxi  has a fabulous cut to it. A high neck with side cut outs AND slits? J’adore!

All of these looks are getting me so excited for spring! What new trend are you most looking forward to???

Tell me in a comment below!

Rachel, XoX

My Winter Wedding Ensemble

6 Feb

blog3A good friend of mine got married this past weekend and boy was it AMAZING! My fellow fashionistas would have been proud because it was so glam worthy. Everything from the bride’s shoes, to the glistening candles adorning the tables, all the way to the dessert table was decked out in rhinestones. Center pieces consisted of white chandeliers with boa feathers and hanging jewels. Love was in the air!

Some of you may be curious how to dress for a winter wedding, or maybe just need  some inspiration, so I thought I wouldblog2 share my ensemble choice with you. First, I decided on a long dress so my legs would not be freezing. I am glad I did because it was only about 10 degrees in good ole’ Michigan. The color was “salmon” and if you are old fashioned like my mother, you are probably cringing right now. Yes it’s true, I went with a pastel color….but c’mon, dark colors are so SAFE. The drama of the dress length was enough for me, so I made sure the bodice was simple with a modest back. After all, you don’t want to look too sexy and definitely DO NOT want to outshine the bride.

I decided to accessorize with swarvoski drop earrings and a mix of pearl and rhinestone bracelets. Then I loosely curled my hair with a 1″ curling iron and did the following hair style with an added braid for flair:hairSimple, easy, and the hairstyle did not take away from the dress. This way, I could play up my make-up a bit more. To top it off, I added my sky scraper nude heels, tan leather jacket, and my favorite fur scarf for the cold trip to and from the church/reception.

VOILA!

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