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Monthly Archives: July 2018
2018 What’s Ne[x]t Scholarship Winners
Congratulations to the 2018 What’s Ne[x]t Scholarship winners! A total of $15,000 was given away to three deserving students to help them pursue a higher education. Open to Georgia’s Own members 25 and under, students submitted applications along with a video telling us about their passions, their future, or what they plan to accomplish. From more than 100 applications received, our judges selected the following winners:
$8,000 Scholarship Winner
Anna Steltenpohl (Roswell) – Georgia State University
$5,000 Scholarship Winner
Justin Bell (Douglasville) – Georgia State University
$2,000 Scholarship Winner
Shara Chico (Lilburn) – Gwinnett Technical College
Congratulations to Anna, Justin, and Shara – we can’t wait to see all of your accomplishments in the near future! Thank you to each and every one of our members who entered this year’s scholarship contest. Listening to all of your stories was a treat.
High Fashion, Low Budget: 7 Tips for Frugal Fashionistas
Style is a funny thing…one day it’s in, and the next day it’s out. Pulling off chic and trendy can be expensive, especially if you’re keeping up with the Kardashians. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be.
If you want to be a fashionista but still need to pay your rent, read on. We’re giving you tips that will help you fill your wardrobe with affordable styles that are nothing short of fabulous.
1. Visit consignment, thrift, and vintage clothing shops
Consignment shops are popping up faster than Starbucks coffee houses these days and for a good reason: there’s a big market for pre-owned, well- cared for clothing and accessories that are still current. Shop early and often in the more affluent areas and you might just find those to-die-for leopard print mules you drooled over last winter. In terms of quality and condition, consignment shop owners can be quite selective when choosing which items to accept, but you should always inspect items for imperfections.
Thrift store shopping is en vogue right now and a goldmine for the bargain fashionista. But, you have to be a person who enjoys the thrill of the hunt. From t-shirts to designer handbags, from chinos to ball gowns, they have it all. Items arrive in various conditions, so inspect your purchases carefully.
Vintage shops are trending lately, especially because the look is really timeless. Vintage clothing is unique and often one-of-a-kind. Fancy buttons, interesting fabric combinations, and hand-sewn embellishments are their trademark, which is what makes them so fabulous. Sometimes the clothing can take you back to another time or, combined with a modern look, it can add that pop of interest that ultimately makes the outfit.
2. Don’t discount the resale sites
Poshmark, Depop, eBay, ThredUp, Swap…they all offer pre-owned stylish pieces at deeply discounted prices. The secret, though, is to be specific about what you’re looking for. Search NWT (new with tags) or EUC (excellent used condition) and don’t be shy about asking the seller to post more pictures. Look for tried-and-true brands that always fit you well. Before you make a purchase, be sure to review the site’s return policy since you’re basing your purchase on how you imagine it will look. Accessories are a less risky purchase since they always fit!
3. Connect on social media
If you thought Facebook was just for catching up with old classmates and posting pictures of little Johnny’s first birthday party, you’re living a sheltered life. Facebook Marketplace sells everything from futons to fur coats, clothing to crock pots, all at rock-bottom prices. Usually, clothing items are those that sellers think could earn them a few extra bucks, especially the ones with designer labels. Join your local Facebook garage sale groups and you never know what you might find.
Love the Stitch-Fix personal shopper concept, but not crazy about their prices? There’s a Facebook group that resells new and gently worn items from the Stitch-Fix family of labels, and another that finds the same or comparable styles on sale at local stores. Are Anthropology, Free People, and Urban Outfitters some of your faves? Yup, they’re there, too! Go ahead. Use that search button and go wild.
4. Shop discount stores
Discount stores like TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, and Saks off Fifth are ideal for the savvy, designer-minded shopper who doesn’t want to pay full price. Generally, these stores negotiate the lowest price on overstock and end-of-season inventory from other companies and then sell it at 20-60% below retail prices.
Discount stores are less concerned with purging last season’s inventory with end-of-season sales but they’ll usually markdown items twice a year, in January and July. At TJ Maxx, a price tag with a red dot means the item has been discounted only once, and a yellow dot means it’s been marked down to its lowest price. You might have to buy your winter coat in July, but it’ll be a steal!
Head to your favorite discount store and find out which days of the week they receive new inventory or when the next clearance sweep is scheduled. There’s no big secret; all you need to do is ask. Plan ahead and get there early for the biggest selection.
5. Plan a swap party
If you have friends that are the same size and have similar tastes in style, host a clothing swap party. Each season, head to your closet and choose items you haven’t worn, are bored with, or don’t fit your shape quite right. Swapping clothes with your friends can boost your wardrobe and bring new life to unloved and neglected pieces that are perfect…for someone else.
6. Take on the department stores
Department stores are not the worst places to find your style, but don’t buy anything without a coupon. Macy’s will price match Macys.com and you can still couple it with a discount code. They’ll also honor online prices for the same item from a list of competitors like Belk, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Lord & Taylor.
Love the superior customer service of Nordstrom? Join their rewards club and earn points for every purchase. When you reach 2,000, they’ll send you a $20 Nordstrom note to use on a future purchase. While their sales may be few and far between, they offer free personal styling and free alterations. Price matching is standard policy as are ten-day price adjustments.
7. Love it or leave it
We all have our favorite stores and brands. The key to scoring the best deals is to know the opportune time to shop–when shipments arrive, at the end of a season, before your coupon expires, or during a promotional event. It’s also important to buy pieces that you love when you see them, not merely when you need them. Ever try to find a dress to wear to a holiday party during your lunch break? You’d pay double for one that simply doesn’t make you look like you’re wearing a trash bag just to get out of there.
Your wardrobe should also be versatile, lend itself to be easily mixed-and- matched, and include enough neutrals to balance the other colors and patterns. Wear a vintage embroidered blazer with a pair boyfriend jeans, or change it up and pair it with a pencil skirt. Match that navy tunic with a pair of white capris and a shabby chic denim jacket. Replace the tunic with a striped t-shirt and grab some tennis shoes for a whole new look. Maximize the possibilities and it’ll seem as if your outfits are endless.
Road Trip: Asheville, NC – All the best activities, restaurants and family activities
If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway that’s only a few hours’ drive from Atlanta, head north to Asheville and escape into the carefree, laid-back culture that’s come to define this unique Appalachian Mountain city. It boasts an eclectic and thriving artistic community and world-class culinary experiences that are uniquely delivered with genuine down-home southern hospitality. Whether you want to sightsee like tourists or blend in with the locals, here are some things you won’t want to miss!
1. Visit the Biltmore
Since it’s considered the crown jewel of Asheville architecture and America’s largest private home, the two-hour, self-guided tour of George W. Vanderbilt’s winter chateaux is high on the list of touristy to-dos. The four-acre, 250-room house is still filled with its original furnishings and will quickly deliver you back to 1895 when it first opened. Once you finish the complete two-floor tour, take time to stroll through the century-old gardens, horseback or bike along the beautiful trails, and enjoy the awe-inspiring views.
If you’re looking for a guided tour, opt for the rooftop tour, the behind-the-scenes tour, or a tour of the extended property.
Located right outside the entrance, Biltmore Village was formerly a neighborhood for estate workers. Now home to art galleries, boutiques, shops, stores, and fabulous restaurants, it’s the perfect complement to your Biltmore visit.
You might also consider visiting the Biltmore winery, which offers a tour of the cellars, a glimpse into the winemaking process, and a free wine tasting.
2. Shop ‘til you drop
Asheville is ideal for finding interesting and unique art, crafts, vintage-style clothing, and jewelry. Local designers fill the chic boutiques with their wares, each one more interesting than the last. Go find your style as you wander through the open-air market at Grove Arcade, Historic Lexington Park, Biltmore Park, or the West Asheville neighborhoods.
If you’re a book lover, be sure to check out Asheville’s local independent bookstores, like The Captain’s Bookshelf or Malaprop’s, where you’ll find rare editions, best sellers, and regional authors. You might even consider spending the afternoon relaxing with a fine wine and a good book at Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar.
3. Enjoy the street performers
In downtown Asheville, you’ll see some of the freshest talent performing in the streets. Buskers, or street performers, are part of Asheville’s everyday entertainment and what makes every visit more interesting.
From jug-style to jazz to rock band, you’ll see it all; just follow the sound. Performers are there most days from late morning until 9 p.m. If you’re looking for them specifically, try the Flat Iron statue on Battery Park, by the Grove Arcade, near Pack Square, or along Haywood Street. It’s always a great experience for the music-minded tourist. If you stop to listen, then leave a tip, per busking etiquette, and know that performers move locations at least every two hours in order to give others the opportunity to entertain.
4. Join the Friday night tradition
If you hear drumming, follow it to the downtown Drum Circle. It’s a long-standing Friday night tradition (April through October) that joins hundreds of people together to play the drums, dance, or just relax and listen to the show. Held in the outdoor amphitheater in Prichard Park, is a free event that promotes harmony in music — and with others. Everyone is welcome, so if you’re interested in playing, bring your own drum and arrive between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. The show will last until about 10 p.m.
5. Get ready for some history
If you’re a serious history buff, you might want to ride through Asheville on one of the hop-on-hop-off trolley tours. Guided by local storytellers, you’ll enjoy the fully narrated ride that highlights the history, churches, buildings, restaurants, and trendy hotspots of this great city.
If you prefer to take in the magic at your own pace, opt for the 2-hour, self-guided walking tour along the Urban Trail. There’s also Asheville by Foot, which features the history surrounding Asheville’s incredible Art Deco buildings, like the Basilica of St. Lawrence.
6. Explore the great outdoors
The beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains is breathtaking, and one of the simple and spectacular features of visiting Asheville. If you love the great outdoors, exploring the national forests and state parks, like Pisgah, Nantahala, Chimney Rock, and DuPont should be at the top of your list.
Blue Ridge Parkway’s 469-mile scenic drive is the road to your outdoor travels. You can hike the many well-worn trails, Bike the Blue Ridge, and, since hundreds of birds call Asheville home, stop to bird-see along the way. You might also happen upon some native wildlife in the forests—anything from foraging bears to herds of elk, so be cautious. Don’t forget your hiking shoes and binoculars because they’re a must to tackle this adventure.
Waterfall hunting is another way to enjoy the forests’ beauty. There are hundreds scattered about the region. You can also fly-fish for smallmouth bass or trout in the mountain streams, zip line across hundreds of feet of towering trees, or cruise down a 60-foot natural water slide. For a slightly less adrenaline rush, you might try floating, kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddle boarding.
7. Indulge in Foodtopia
Asheville’s culinary scene is full of amazing, artistically inspired restaurants and world-renowned chefs. From Mediterranean to vegetarian, you’ll find everything from four-star cuisine to good ol’ down home southern cooking.
Everyone has their favorites, but some of ours are Bouchon, the ultimate in French comfort food and Tupelo Honey for their divine sweet potato pancakes. Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack has the best Tennessee-style hot chicken and soul food outside of Tennessee, The Blackbird‘s world-class desserts are heavenly, and STORM Ruhm Bar and Bistro’s classic food is expertly and elegantly prepared with a new-world twist.
This culinary mecca attracts innovative chefs and food artisans from around the world, many of whom insist on sourcing their ingredients from local farmers. Surely your most difficult decision of the day will be where to dine.
If you’re an adventurous eater, you could sign up for a food tour and enjoy a taste of everything. What better way to find your favorite?
8. Check out the River Arts District
Once industrial warehouses, the now 200+ active artist studios make up the colorful neighborhood of the River Arts District (RAD). Along the one-mile stretch of the French Broad River and in 25 buildings, you can visit artists at work, stroll through galleries, purchase a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, take an impromptu class, or sign up for a week-long workshop. Whether you’re an artist, and art collector, or just an art lover, a day in the River Arts District can be a full day of treasure-hunting fun!
Many of the artists are open during the week, although more are open on Fridays and Saturdays. You’ll find additional events, like demos, openings, live music, and classes, on each Second Saturday of the month.
9. Feel the beat
When you think of Music City, Nashville is likely the first city that comes to mind, but Asheville’s live music scene is not far behind. Neighborhood bars, intimate music halls, and street corners host some of the most talented, innovative musicians and their sound is gaining more national attention. They keep the city alive with a beat that is undeniably unique to Asheville.
If it’s the music that speaks to you, check out one of Asheville’s music festivals, like Downtown After 5, LEAF Festival, Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, and Brewgrass. Shindig on the Green is also always a good time and a popular choice, too.
Asheville’s The Orange Peel is one of its many iconic music venues and hailed as one of the best by Rolling Stone Magazine. Grey Eagle, and ISIS Music Hallaren’t too shabby, either, and are great places to see and hear live music.
If you’re in a touring mood, head over to the Moog Music Factory. Catch a performance by the Asheville Symphony Orchestra or theAsheville Lyric Opera. During each season they perform a blend of timeless compositions and contemporary arrangements.
10. Dive into the Asheville beer scene
If you’re a craft-brew enthusiast, you’ve arrived in the Promised Land. The mountain-filtered water is what makes for some of the Southeasts’ most sought-after ales, stouts, and sour beers. Asheville has more breweries per capita than any other city so exploring the beer scene could take a while. Walking to the downtown breweries is your best choice, but for the more remote ones, there’s the Brews Cruise. Funny and knowledgeable guides explain the art and science of brewing, and the history of each brewery as they lead you on a behind-the-scenes tour. Included are generous samples of fresh, hand-crafted beers.
Asheville is an amazing city with so many things to do and places to explore. If your looking for even more ideas, be sure to visit the Asheville Visitor Center for more recommendations. Enjoy!
Befriend Your Budget: Stick to your budget without sticking it to your social life
As the single one of my friend group, I know how hard it can be living the #strongindependentwoman lifestyle while all of my friends are living it up as double-income households. Relationship status aside, it can be tough managing your social life when you’re on a budget. Even if you make good money, you may have it earmarked for other financial goals, such as knocking out those pesky student loans or saving for a big vacation and don’t want to blow it on social activities. So, how do you balance your budget without becoming a hermit and alienating your friends? Fear not, we’ve got a few tips to help you out.
Be the first to suggest an activity, not the last.
It’s common to fall back on the norm of dining out at restaurants when it seems like there’s nothing else to do. If you take it upon yourself to suggest alternatives, you can decide on an activity that fits your budget. Living in a city like Atlanta, there’s always something going on that’s either cheap or free, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Once you offer up a few new and fun ideas, you’ll become the go-to planner for your squad, and you won’t feel as much pressure to overspend.
Get comfortable with saying “no.”
You don’t have to decline every invite, but you should get used to saying “no” when an outing is out of your budget, such as a weekend-long music festival or a spur-of-the-moment road trip. You don’t always have to say “no” outright; offer up a more wallet-friendly alternative if you can. If you do have to pass on an outing with friends, be honest about why you can’t make it – true friends will be understanding about your financial situation.
Focus on your long-term goals.
Paying off your student loans, buying a house, or saving for retirement might not be as glamorous or fun as backpacking through Europe with your friends, but that doesn’t make it any less important. How much does the cost of eating out with your friends every week set you back in terms of reaching your larger goals? Sure, 50 bucks here or there may not seem like a big deal at the moment, but your small “splurges” add up over time. We’ve all heard the example that a $5 cup of coffee at work each day will cost you $100 a month – the same concept applies when spending money just to hang out with your friends. Think about where those dollars could be better put to use and focus on that to keep your #FOMO in check.
Coffee & Canines: Q&A with Aaron Fisher of Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe
Ne[x]t Magazine spent a few minutes getting to know one of Georgia’s Own, Aaron Fisher. Aaron is not only a pet-lover and educator; he’s also the Founder and CEO of the Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe, an animal welfare organization with a unique mission. Keep reading to learn more about Aaron’s work in the community and how you can get involved.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m originally from New Jersey, but I’ve lived in Atlanta three separate times over 24 years. I first came here to attend Emory University, and something just kept calling me back. The changes I’ve seen over that time have been incredible.
What’s your favorite thing about the Atlanta area?
The food, art, and music scenes. The creativity of the residents. The individual character and charm of the neighborhoods. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing.
Could you tell us about the Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe?
The idea behind Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe (ARDC) has been in the works for the past 12 years, but it wasn’t officially brought to fruition until last November. I taught elementary school for seven years and spent more than 12 years volunteering and working in animal welfare. ARDC was born from these experiences. My students were often too young to volunteer with animals (but really wanted to learn more about pets), yet no single organization was dedicated to educating the community about animal welfare. Our programs reach nearly 500 Atlanta students per month.
Despite so much good being accomplished for Atlanta’s pets, the number of animals entering area shelters continues to increase, as does the incidence of animal cruelty. Few local rescue groups have the personnel to offer the educational resources to prevent animals from entering shelters in the first place. Simply put, we’re not going to spay/neuter, shelter, or adopt our way out of the pet overpopulation problem. ARDC addresses the cause of these issues by offering programs that emphasize empathy, responsibility, education, and prevention.
Is the Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe an actual dog cafe?
The word “cafe” is in the name for two reasons: 1) A cafe is where conversation happens, and we’re trying to generate conversation on what we, as a community, can do to promote positive human-pet relationships and prevent animals from entering shelters. 2) Our three-year goal is to have a non-profit coffee shop with a dedicated educational space for programs on animal welfare issues, and a senior dog sanctuary co-located on the premises.
What makes the ARDC different than other animal welfare organizations in the area?
We focus on the front-end (prevention side) of rescue so that we can—through education and outreach—help prevent pets from ever entering shelters. Imagine how great it would be if someone opened an animal shelter and there were no homeless pets to be turned in. That’s our goal.
What are some of the ways individuals can get involved with the ARDC?
We wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for the amazing support we receive from the community. There are so many ways for people to get involved with us: Teachers, scout leaders, librarians, youth group leaders, etc., can invite us to lead programs with their schools and organizations. Local businesses and companies can host us for team-building exercises, presentations, etc. Individuals and families can volunteer with us when we do outreach events. Invite us to lead a leash-making activity (our ‘One Leash Project’) with your group. The leashes get donated to police officers, rescue organizations, and are available for donations. Help us with fundraising campaigns and donation drives. The more money we raise, the more programs we can offer to more Atlantans.
What are some of the challenges you face running a non-profit? What keeps you motivated and makes it all worth it in the end?
There are many challenges, but that’s what also makes it fun. I’m learning something new every day. One day the focus could be on developing more programs, the next day I might have to concentrate on marketing and social media, and another day the focus might be on legal or financial issues. You have to become a mini-expert on multiple topics.
The important thing is to recognize that you don’t have to know everything. Seek out people who know more than you do. Reach out to them and ask for their advice and ideas. I’ve been lucky to have amazing support from family, friends, local businesses, and the community.
What is the biggest takeaway you hope people get from working with the Atlanta Rescue Dog Cafe?
That participants in our programs feel more comfortable, confident, and safer around animals; that they know how to avoid getting bitten, and understand what they can do with their pets, such as microchipping, spaying/neutering, vaccinating, and making sure their pets always have collars with proper identification—all of which help prevent animals from winding up in shelters.
What advice do you have for readers who have similar dreams of establishing and running their own organizations?
Spend time volunteering or working in the field you want to go into. Learn as much as you can and ask lots of questions. Ask yourself, “Is there already an organization doing what I want to do?” If so, why are you looking to start a new one? Make sure that what you’re doing has something unique to offer. And don’t ever think that just because something doesn’t exist that there isn’t a need for it or that it’s already been tried. Finally, no one does anything alone. You’ll need the experience, expertise, and support of others.
Georgia’s Own and Ne[x]t Magazine are all about helping our members make smart financial decisions. With running a non-profit, you have to be disciplined about managing money. Any advice you’d like to share with our readers?
You have to be organized and stay on top of your finances. I quantify everything, not just our income and expenditures, but how many students our programs have reached, the number of volunteers we have, hours they’ve donated, the amount of climbing rope we’ve received for our ‘One Leash Project,’ etc. Finally, even though we’re a non-profit, we manage our finances wisely, as any good business should.
If we’re not taking in enough to cover our expenses, we can’t have the maximum impact, and our shelf life will be pretty short. We run it like a business, but as a non-profit, our mission drives what we do.
Learn how you can help at AtlantaRescueDogCafe.org
Your donation goes directly toward educational programs to help improve human-animal interactions, reduce the incidence of animal cruelty, and relieve the strain on overrun animal shelters.
Tips for a Successful Interview
Congratulations! You did it – your resume wowed a potential employer, and you landed an interview. Now it’s time to focus on how to make that interview a success. Keep reading for some tips on how to make that happen.
Before the Interview
The first steps to having a successful interview come way before the interview even begins.
It takes preparation and a big chunk of time researching your future employer. Be sure to clean up your social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) to ensure that everything posted is something that you’d want your employer to see. There are many resources on the internet for practice questions and even sample answers to turn a negative question into a positive response.
It’s important to feel comfortable, so dress for the part. Try to find photographs of employees to see how they dress and get a feel for the company’s culture. If you’re unsure of the company’s dress code, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Once you have a feel for what you’re going to wear, lay your clothes out the night before, along with a copy of your resume and a portfolio, if necessary.
During the Interview
Bring a notepad and pen to the interview, along with questions that you want to ask the interviewer at the end. Arrive early, and if you’re nervous, try listening to some music or walking around the block.
So, now it’s finally time! Walk into the interview with confidence, give a firm handshake, and formally introduce yourself. Answer each question calmly and just be yourself. Make good eye contact throughout the entire interview and write down any questions you may think of to ask after the interview. If a question catches you off guard, stay calm and don’t use any fillers like “um, uh, hmm…” Simply take your time and think through each question.
Here are a few example questions to ask your interviewer:
- What is the biggest challenge someone in this position will face?
- What does an average day look like?
- What do you think the difference is between someone who has excelled in this position and someone who has not excelled?
Don’t forget to ask about next steps and the company’s timeline for filling the position – not only does this further convey your interest, but it can help quell any of that “why haven’t I heard anything yet?” anxiety.
After the Interview
Everyone loves to be appreciated, so write a thank you letter and mail it to your interviewer. If you’re working with a tight timeline, an email works, too. Thank the interviewer for his/her time for meeting with you, and let them know that you hope to be working with them in the future. This will also help them remember you even more, increasing your chances of getting the job.