Week 3 of Budget 101

Part 3: Save on the Big Things

After spending the last week sorting out your budget and then recording all your purchases, you hopefully now have a fairly clear idea of where your money is going.  Over the next 6 weeks be sure to keep those worksheets handy–you will need to adjust your amounts as we work to lower expenses in the various categories.  Be sure to also continue recording all your purchases in the expense tracking worksheet too!
(NOTE: If you are new to “Through The Eyes Of I” or missed out last week, you might want to start at Week 1 of Budget 101 before starting this week’s assignment!)

This week we are going to tackle lowering the BIG 3:  Housing, Transportation, & Insurance.  I will readily admit that this is not my area of expertise.  Not even close. From this point forward it should be known that you are taking financial advice from a girl who thinks a cute pair of designer shoes or a great book is a perfectly reasonable investment, not just an impulse buy.

In other words, some of this stuff is a little over my head.

Since this kind of stuff overwhelms me, I’m guessing that it probably overwhelms many of you too. So let’s figure it out together and be better for it.  Luckily for us, the internet is a vast pool of knowledge.  This week, we’re going swimming.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to your finances and the money you’re spending is this premise: Everything is negotiable.  

The great thing about NOT being socialists is that we live in a country where companies have to compete for OUR business. This is something they don’t really want you to figure out.  Most companies would rather have you believe that they are doing you a favor by financing your home or car, or providing insurance, because if you believe that, you’ll pay whatever they tell you to.  The truth is that they NEED your business, and that if they are not willing to negotiate, there is probably someone else out there who will.

Knowledge is power; use it to your advantage!

When it comes to saving money on your housing costs there are a lot of factors that will come in to play, far too many to get into specifics here.  Do you rent or own?  Do you owe more on your house than it’s worth?  Are you looking to buy?  Are you in an apartment? Is your lease coming due soon?  Your individual circumstances will determine your course of action, or even whether there is a course of action possible.

As far as transportation costs go, unless your vehicle is constantly in need of repair or way more expensive than you can afford, it is almost always more cost effective to stick with the car you have than get a different vehicle. Thus, your current car payment is probably not going to change much.  That said, if you need a new car, it is almost always better to buy used than to lease or buy something brand new. Your auto insurance, on the other hand, can definitely be negotiated!

Likewise, health, life, & home insurance prices can also be negotiated and shopping around pays.  When my Husband and I needed health insurance last year, we took a lot of time to price things out.  When we took into consideration how little we actually go to the doctor, we discovered that it made a lot more sense financially to buy only catastrophic coverage with a high deductable, then to pay a huge premium each month for medical coverage we weren’t using.  As with most things, it is very important to do the math!

How to negotiate when chartering a gulet

Here is your assignment:

1. Research options for lowering your mortgage payment or rent

Once you’ve done your homework, decide if making some changes or re-negotiating your rent or mortgage would be the right solution for your family.  I found some awesome, super informative, and, most importantly, short articles to start with:

How to Lower Your Mortgage Payment Without Refinancing (homeowners)

How to Negotiate Low Mortgage Interest Rates [Video] (homeowners)

I Owe More Than My House Is Worth (homeowners underwater)

How to get the best mortgage rate (looking to buy a home)

How to negotiate lower rent (renters)

Tips for Reducing your Insurance Premium

2. Research options for lowering your insurance rates

If you haven’t shopped around for auto, homeowners, health, or life insurance lately (or ever) then you need to.  Do some due diligence to find out what options are available, then make some phone calls (or send some emails) and get new quotes.  You might be surprised at how much money you can save.

 Here are some great articles I recently wrote to get you going:

What Every Mom Needs to Know About Insurance

9 Smart Ways to Save on Car Insurance

12 Smart Ways to Save on Home Insurance

It’s only two tasks, but this should be plenty to keep you busy this week!  If it seems daunting, just remember that every dollar saved on your mortgage, rent, vehicle, or insurance is a dollar that can be spent on shoes.
Stay tuned for another riveting installment next Sunday and don’t forget to let me know how you’re doing! What big things do you want to save money on?  Do you think it will be possible?  What is something you know you can’t save on?
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Week 2 of Budget 101

PART TWO: MAKE A BUDGET

It’s been a week.  How’s that no-spending thing going? Well, here’s the good news:  You can start spending money again.  Of course the bad news is that after today’s assignment, you might not want to. Hopefully last week’s exercise started you thinking about the reasons WHY you’re spending and also got you to start making a serious distinction between the things you WANT and the things you NEED.

(NOTE: If you are new to “Through The Eyes Of I” or missed out last week, you might want to start at Budget 101 Part 1: STOP SPENDING before starting this week’s assignment!)

Before we go any further, I want to make a quick but important distinction that just because something is a “WANT” instead of a “NEED” doesn’t make it wrong or bad. It’s okay to want a pretty comfortable house with all the amenities, vacations or cute shoes. What’s not okay is to want all those things at the expense of your financial well-being,  your marriage, relationships, your children or anything else that we know is more important than stuff. It’s okay to WANT, but not to GET if you are not at a stable financial stance to do so. ***Don’t go on vacation, then come back and not pay your electric and gas bills. Don’t go out shopping with your friends and then go and tell your family you’re struggling*** If you are not struggling with your spending or find that you have plenty of money leftover for your savings, life & retirement accounts at the end of the month, have no trouble paying all your bills on time, know exactly where all your money is going, have great credit and don’t stress out over unforeseen expenses, then you probably don’t need to be reading this series.  In fact, you probably could write it better than me because you are obviously doing something right. I have multiple bills including a retirement and savings account, life, funeral and health insurances that I pay towards monthly, and I don’t have school or credit debt so I say I am pretty financially stable BUT…… most of us, including I struggle with money or budgeting, at least in some area. Believe me when I tell you there is plenty of room for improvement. This week’s assignment is going to require a little more effort.   The hard truth is that no one can fix your budget for you.  There are no magic solutions or ten-minute fixes that will have permanent results.  Improving your financial outlook will require change, and change is HARD.  Do it anyway.

As I tell my stepson, never neglect to do something just because it is hard, because it is the things you work hardest for that will reward you the most. Don’t let fear stop you either. It can be very scary to open up the Pandora’s box otherwise known as your finances, especially if you’ve been turning a blind eye.  In some ways, ignorance is bliss.  But if you’re still reading up to this point, you probably know, deep down, that this is something you need to do.  Take a deep breath, muster up your courage, and just do it.  You’ll be better for it. And now that the pep talk is over, it is time to get down to business:

HERE IS THIS WEEK’S ASSIGNMENT:

                      CLICK TO DOWNLOAD MY PERSONAL BUDGET WORKSHEET

1. Assess your income and fixed expenses

Print out the nifty budget worksheet above, then grab your bank statements, your bills, your check register, & any other financial information you can think of.  A calculator might come in handy too.  Then grab a glass of wine, sit down (with your spouse if your married), and start crunching the numbers.  Use worksheet number one to list all your sources of income, as well as all those key fixed payments you MUST make each month

Use worksheet #2 to add up all the subtotals of your fixed expense categories, then subtract that total from your income.  The remaining number is what you really have to work on creating a budget for.
In the coming weeks, we will work on finding ways to lower both your fixed AND variable expenses, but we need a place to start from, and this is it.

2.  Create a budget for your variable expenses

Use a pencil to fill in each category with what you are currently paying each month, then add up your subtotals and see how it compares to the number you are shooting for.  Then go back and lower different categories as necessary.  Obviously some things, like your water and electric, won’t be adjustable, but other things can probably be cut significantly.   Include SOMETHING in your savings budget, even if it is just a small amount.  If you have credit card payments, include those in your household expenses as well.

3. Take some time to self-reflect

This step may be the hardest, but it is also the most important.  Complete worksheet #4 and make some concrete decisions and goals based on what you’ve discovered through this budgeting exercise.

Maybe you’ve realized it is time to cut up your credit cards, or, at the very least, put them on ice. (Fill a bowl with water, put your credit cards in, and freeze.  If nothing else, it will slow you down!)  Maybe you’re ready to start packing a lunch instead of going out or to give up cable.  What you spend your money on is a very personal decision that only you can determine for yourself (or with your spouse.)

4. Track your spending

The last page of the PDF packet is an expense tracker.  Print out as many as you need, and use it to keep track of everything you spend.  At the end of each day, and then again at the end of each week, go over your expenses to make sure you are staying on track.  The more frequently you “check in,” the less likely you will be to let your spending get out of control.  Little things add up quickly!

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Whew, what a week!  I know this probably seems like a lot, but please don’t give up on me!  I promise it will be worth it in the end, and your bank account will thank you.  Stay tuned for another riveting installment next Sunday and remember, I want to hear from you!  How did your first week of the challenge go?  What did you learn about yourself or your budget?
Keep in mind, once again, that I am not a financial expert.  You are welcome to use these worksheets to help you–they are what make sense to me–but there are lots of other budgeting books, worksheets, & software available that might work for you better

Language Barriers Create Country Borders

Image result for language barrier

We all should learn a new language not just to communicate, but to be able to get a better understanding of others around us. We need to start the process for the generations to come to live life where we all get along and live in a world where we survive together instead of fighting one another. We should be able to live in a world without borders or barriers, but it begins with language……Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

我們都應該學習一種新的語言不只是溝通,但要能更好地理解我們周圍的人。我們需要啟動該進程為世世代代居住生活的地方,我們都相處和生活在一個世界裡,我們生存的戰鬥,而不是彼此在一起。我們應該能夠生活在一個沒有邊界或障礙,但它開始用語言。……Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Todos deberíamos aprender un nuevo idioma no sólo para comunicarse, sino ser capaz de obtener una mejor comprensión de los que nos rodean. Tenemos que empezar el proceso para las generaciones por venir a vivir la vida en el que todos llevamos y vivimos en un mundo donde sobrevivimos juntos en lugar de luchar entre sí. Debemos ser capaces de vivir en un mundo sin fronteras ni barreras, pero comienza con el lenguaje…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Мы все должны выучить новый язык не только для общения, но, чтобы иметь возможность получить лучшее понимание окружающих нас. Мы должны начать процесс для будущих поколений жить жизнью, где все мы вместе и жить в мире, где мы выживаем вместе, а не бороться друг с другом. Мы должны быть в состоянии жить в мире без границ и барьеров, но это начинается с языка…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Nous devrions tous apprendre une nouvelle langue et pas seulement de communiquer , mais pour être en mesure d’obtenir une meilleure compréhension des autres autour de nous . Nous devons commencer le processus pour les générations à venir de vivre la vie où nous entendons tous et nous vivons dans un monde où nous survivons ensemble au lieu de se battre les uns les autres . Nous devrions être en mesure de vivre dans un monde sans frontières ni barrières , mais il commence avec la langue…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

يجب علينا جميعا أن نتعلم لغة جديدة ليس فقط للتواصل، ولكن لتكون قادرة على الحصول على فهم أفضل من الآخرين من حولنا. نحن بحاجة للبدء في عملية للأجيال القادمة أن تعيش حياة حيث أننا جميعا الحصول على طول ونعيش في عالم حيث نعيش معا بدلا من محاربة بعضهم البعض. يجب أن نكون قادرين على العيش في عالم من دون حدود أو حواجز، ولكنها تبدأ مع اللغة…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Noi tutti dovremmo imparare una nuova lingua, non solo per comunicare, ma per essere in grado di ottenere una migliore comprensione di altri intorno a noi. Abbiamo bisogno di avviare il processo per le generazioni a venire a vivere la vita in cui siamo tutti d’accordo e viviamo in un mondo in cui sopravviviamo insieme invece di combattere l’un l’altro. Dovremmo essere in grado di vivere in un mondo senza confini o barriere, ma inizia con il linguaggio…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Tất cả chúng ta nên học một ngôn ngữ mới không chỉ để giao tiếp, nhưng để có thể có được một sự hiểu biết tốt hơn về những người khác xung quanh chúng ta. Chúng tôi cần phải bắt đầu quá trình cho các thế hệ mai để sống cuộc sống mà tất cả chúng ta được cùng sống trong một thế giới mà chúng ta tồn tại với nhau thay vì chiến đấu với nhau. Chúng tôi sẽ có thể sống trong một thế giới không biên giới hoặc các rào cản, nhưng nó bắt đầu với ngôn ngữ…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Dapat namin ang lahat ng malaman ng isang bagong wika ay hindi lamang upang makipag-usap, ngunit upang magagawang upang makakuha ng isang mas mahusay na pag-unawa ng iba sa paligid sa amin. Kailangan namin upang simulan ang proseso para sa mga darating na henerasyon sa live na buhay na kung saan namin ang lahat ng makakuha ng kasama at mabuhay sa isang mundo kung saan nagpapatuloy kami magkasama sa halip na labanan ang isa’t isa. Kami ay dapat ma upang mabuhay sa isang daigdig na walang hangganan o hadlang, ngunit ito ay nagsisimula sa wika…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Մենք բոլորս պետք է սովորել նոր լեզու է ոչ միայն շփվելու, այլեւ կարողանան ստանալ ավելի լավ հասկանալ, թե ուրիշների շրջապատում: Մենք պետք է սկսել գործընթացը, որ սերունդների է ապրել կյանքը, որտեղ մենք բոլորս միասին, եւ ապրել մի աշխարհում, որտեղ մենք գոյատեւել միասին, այլ ոչ թե պայքարում են մեկը մյուսին. Մենք պետք է կարողանանք ապրել մի աշխարհում, առանց սահմանների եւ արգելքների, բայց դա սկսվում լեզվով…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Wir alle sollten eine neue Sprache nicht nur zu kommunizieren, aber in der Lage, ein besseres Verständnis der anderen um uns herum zu sein zu lernen. Wir müssen den Prozess zu starten für die kommenden Generationen zu leben, wo wir alle zusammen zu bekommen und leben in einer Welt, wo wir zusammen statt gegeneinander kämpfen zu überleben leben. Wir sollten in der Lage, in einer Welt ohne Grenzen oder Barrieren zu leben, aber es beginnt mit der Sprache…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Ba chóir dúinn go léir teanga nua ní hamháin a chur in iúl, ach a bheith in ann a fháil tuiscint níos fearr ar dhaoine eile thart timpeall orainn a fhoghlaim. Ní mór dúinn chun tús a chur le próiseas do na glúine atá le teacht an saol nuair a fháil againn go léir chomh maith agus ag maireachtáil i ndomhan ina maireachtáil againn le chéile in ionad an troid a chéile chun maireachtáil. Ba cheart dúinn a bheith in ann maireachtáil i ndomhan gan teorainneacha nó bacainní, ach tosaíonn sé le teanga…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Waxaan oo dhan waa iney bartaan luqad cusub ma ahan oo keliya in ay la xiriiraan, laakiin si ay u awoodaan in ay helaan faham wanaagsan oo dadka nagu wareegsan. Waxaan u baahanahay si ay u bilaabaan habka loo jiilasha soosocda in ay ku noolaadaan nolol halka aan dhan u hesho iyo ku noolnahay adduun halkaas oo aan ku noolaan wada halkii ay dagaal midba midka kale. Waa in aan awoodin in ay ku noolaadaan dunida oo aan xuduudaha ama caqabadaha, laakiin waxay ka bilaabanaysaa afka…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Ние всички трябва да научат нов език не само да общуват, но за да бъде в състояние да получи по-добро разбиране на другите около нас. Ние трябва да започне процеса за идните поколения да живеят живот, където всички ние се разбираме и да живеем в един свят, където можем да оцелеят заедно, вместо да се биете един на друг. Трябва да можем да живеем в свят без граници или бариери, но тя започва с език…….Samantha E. Jonas-Rongo

Children and News

 
                 
Since my stepson was 3, he has been viewing the news on our local channels as well as NBC, MSNBC and CNN with me. At 9 years old, he now watches the news every morning before going to school, and at night during the evening broadcast. I am a current event and history fanatic, and see a major importance in both.  CNN, NBC and MSNBC not only take over my television screen, but my phone, including apps for breaking news notifications. I love to know what’s going on not only locally, but world wide. I believe children should be just as aware. Today’s news will be tomorrows history. Take my poll below and see what others believe and how you and I may agree or differ.

My Every Day Dillema

PROUD TO BE NATIVE AMERICAN, AFRICAN AMERICAN AND NIGERIAN

Genocide-Slavery

lol they don't start speaking spanish to me but they do assume I'm hispanic

Seriously my situation, no one ever guesses im black and white its always hispanic they think I am until they see my dad

Even after I explain my ethnicity, people still assume I speak Spanish. I have even been told that I should  because even “Puerto Ricans”, “Dominicans” and “Cubans” stem from African, European, Native American and Spanish roots and Spanish is their native language. Well, I’m not Puerto Rican, Cuban nor Dominican and neither is anyone in my bloodline of my ancestry. I do not have Spanish nor European roots and no one on my mothers Native American side speaks Spanish and neither does anyone from my father’s African American and Nigerian side, so I’m unable to speak Spanish to benefit your racist stereotypical expectations. I’m proud to be a Native, Nigerian and African American.

You want to fix racism, start in the mirror.

BASED UPON WHO BUILT THIS COUNTRY, LOOKS AS THOUGH I AM A TRUE AMERICAN.

-Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Choosing A Tie

 

If you take a step back, the whole idea of neckties seems pretty silly. It’s a piece of cloth that men tie around their necks.  It doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason, and men sometimes use this pretense to avoid wearing one.

Men in ancient times, from Rome to China to Egypt, couldn’t resist tying a piece of cloth around their necks. And it was the cravats worn by the Croatian mercenaries of the 30 Years War that really transformed the tie into a popular and widespread accessory. So while we may never be able to know the reason why, it’s indisputable that men have always felt a little manlier with something slung around their throat. There’s just something about neckties that make a man look powerful, assertive, and put together.

There is definitely an art to creating and picking out a proper necktie. A necktie can say a lot about you and convey your personality to others. When picking out a tie, consider the following factors to ensure you make a good purchase.

This guide is based upon personal preference, but may be used as your personal reference. For the larger man, I understand that finding a tie may be a difficult task, but if in need of one, visit the Long Tie Shop.

  •  A Tie Is the First Thing People Notice
    “Nice tie!” That’s always what people say. Their eyes can’t help but go there. So while you do want a tie that looks great all on its own, remember, it shouldn’t be a novelty piece. It’s meant to speak to the rest of your outfit, not stand apart from or clash with it.
  • Length Matters
    Whether you’re six feet four or five feet six, the tip of the tie should hit right at your beltline— not three inches below it, not two inches above it. That is, unless you’re doing the whole short-suit thing. And then, yes, let the tie hang tight above the navel.
  • And So Does Width

As many woman do, I prefer a skinny tie over a wide one. I buy my husband ties that are about two and a quarter to two and three-quarter inches at its widest point. Much wider than that and you start to look like a congressman. This thinner width works both at the office and on the town, syncing up with any modern-cut suit.

  • Keep It Solid
    I love a vibrantly striped repp tie or a boldly patterned club tie. But you’re not going to see much in the way of dizzying paisleys or loud wallpaper prints. I’m not into ties as conversation pieces. A tie should anchor an outfit, reaching for solid or subtly patterned ties. They ground a busy shirt like a plaid or a gingham, and they stand strong against a crisp white or pale pink. They’re fail-safe

  • The Essential Can’t-Go-Wrong Tie Wardrobe
    I’m not saying you shouldn’t own more than five ties, but if you owned only these, you’d be set for every outfit and every occasion.

See photo above: From left to right:

Wool
In the middle of winter, you’ll want a tie to pair with your heavier-weight suits.

Solid Black
For formalwear occasions, for a gray suit with a white shirt, or for a leather or jean jacket. Exceptionally versatile.

Pin-Dot
Like a polka-dot, but much smarter and more subtle.

Club
Any tie with a repeating logo. Once just for the Ivy League set, now for anyone with serious style.

Repp
Still a Capitol Hill staple, but now cut skinny for the cool kids, too.

  • Get All Accu-Weathery and Match Your Tie to the Seasons
    You should think of your tie as a way to fit in with the seasons, like wearing white jeans in the summer. So if you’re sporting a khaki or seersucker suit, pair it with a cotton tie. And come fall, if you’re wearing tweed or flannel, reach for a woolly tie. Tiemakers these days are offering a ton of options on both sides of the seasonal spectrum. These ties provide instant personality without feeling gimmicky.
  • The Cheat Sheet:
    Slim down. If you want a modern look, go for a tie that’s about two and a half inches wide.
  • The tip of your tie should reach exactly to your beltline.

• The four-in-hand is the only tie knot you need to know. It goes with every shirt and suit.

• If patterns and colors confuse you, don’t sweat it. A solid dark tie with a white or light-color shirt is a can’t-miss combo.

• Buy a slim black silk knit tie and wear it with everything you own.

• Match your ties to your suiting fabrics— cotton ties with cotton suits in summer, wool ties with wool suits in winter.

• It’s official: Bow ties are back, whether you want to wear one with your tux or with your cardigan. Buy one and learn to tie it.

How To Pick Out A Tie

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

My Fashion Apparel, Mixing Tips and Sketches

Fashion Apparel, Mixing Tips and Sketches
Samantha Jonas-Rongo
I haven’t met a woman who doesn’t like or appreciate good fashion, but then again, fashion is in the eye of the beholder as beauty is. So ones fashion sense may not be another’s pick of choice. For example, even though mixing print is trending, I rather keep my look more matching. I enjoy a more classy, patterns on minimum, soft tone colored and chic look for my wardrobe. I can put together and pull off a great outfit that is mixing and colorful, but I tend to see many mistakes that other woman make while attempting that creative trend.
 I personally don’t wear too busy of clothing so I can finish making a statement with my jewelry, scarf if wearing one, and especially with my shoes, but still have space to do extra work with my hair and makeup. I like to even out my style so I won’t look like a puzzle put together with 8 different puzzle’s pieces. I don’t want my outfit  to look disoriented and dysfunctional. Pairing together an outfit with pattern leggings can also be great, but when the whole outfit is properly pulled off. So again, be careful with the print and color.
how to wear tights
One person I know personally comes to mind when I think of all the mixing Don’ts, along with adding too much color and brightness. When she believes she looks great, I’m on the other end thinking, “Please don’t wear that again”, but since her and I don’t get along that great, and she had the audacity to speak upon my clothing after I had a traumatic fire that damaged all of my things except the clothes on my back, and any money I had earned from work I spent only towards my basic needs and housing, I don’t mind laughing inside and joking later of her fashion failure. It may sound cruel, but trust me, she deserves it. What woman, and one who’s a  mother, picks on a beautiful, talented, intelligent, achieved, and successful woman who just lost everything? Not just that, but whose priorities are straight enough to put getting a new home in a month, over living from house to house for months, buying clothing? Yes, she was the real joke. I may have not been the best dressed, but I rather have a new home, which I did in only a month.
Anyway,  I also see this individual over wearing leggings, creating almost every outfit wearing a pair, but wearing them very wrong at that. Not to be continuously picking on this gal, but her fashion sense, needs some sense. I’m actually still trying to figure out when did leggings stop being worn under skirts and dresses, or while working out or doing yoga, and becoming the next replacement for pants. Yes wearing them with a long shirt, long jacket/sweater or long button up looks great, but a t-shirt or short shirt or fleeces/ hoodie as an outfit not for working out……. NO!!! Please stop!!! Wearing leggings needs to be paired with either a dress, skirt, or shirts and jackets/sweaters whose lengths go NO HIGHER than 5-7 inches above your knees, anything shorter, must be for working out purposes ONLY!!! If wearing any shirt that’s shorter than 7 inches above your knees, and especially above your buttocks, save for regular pants or jeans. Based upon a survey of 100 men, 97 agreed that woman look desperate for attention and are not one to take home to their mother all simply because of how and where they wear their leggings, ….Interesting! So when thinking it is appealing for men, it is, but not in a good way.
Now enough about leggings, I am not a fan of many bright, multi colored and mixed patterned outfits because they can be too much clash and not enough class. It screams, “I’m here, hey can you see me?, good because thats the point, and I’m trying to make a statement”…. All attention isn’t good attention and how could you be missed? Imagine walking into a room where every piece of furniture was a different color and/or pattern.
 
Also, wearing only bright or light colors due to a lighter or darker skin tone does not change the color itself, its still the same. A soft cream orange rather than bright orange or soft pink rather than a hot pink compliments both dark and light toned complexions. Some people with paler skin don’t like to wear white or cream but that doesn’t mean wear all dark clothing and stay completely away from light colors. Some dark toned individuals, including a few in my family, don’t wear a lot of black or purple, but that doesn’t mean they go for bright. A softer color brings a softer tone. I’m tan complexioned, some may call it “honey”, “yellow” or “light skinned”, but it doesn’t mean I’m too light for yellow, but a soft yellow is such a better compliment for any skin tone rather than a bright, obnoxious yellow. Check the photo below for example: I personally love yellow!
 Color Me Courtney . - Kate Spade Lady Marmalade Bracelet, J. Crew Tipi Sweater, Kate Spade Necklace, Kenneth Jay Lane All Eyes On You Necklace, Kate Spade Recital Farrah, J. Crew Pave Link Bracelet, Tom Ford Nikita Glasses - Bee Bright
Don’t be confused, I like mixed patterns and brighter colors, but in variation. You don’t want to over do it. In my opinion, there is a such thing as having too much color and pattern in an outfit. When that is the case, or the colors are not matching, the outfit itself not only looks too busy and tacky, but also looks dysfunctional. Some may disagree, but as I said, fashion is in the eye of the beholder.
Mixing prints, much like mixing same or close colors and denims is possible, but must be done with caution. Just like mixing these pieces, it is important to note that you can’t just throw any combination together, there are methods to pulling this trend off. You could either come out looking fabulous or end up looking like the neighborhoods next wacky dresser.
 
My Tips for Mixing/Matching print:
 
If you are new to wearing bold choices and crazy colours, I recommend keeping it simple. Don’t go for a full head-to-toe print.

  Mix larger prints with smaller ones: A great way to remember this is to know that opposites attract. When you’re mixing print using this rule you don’t want to go overboard with the size of the print. Try wearing a combination of large and small print. The small print against the larger one creates a balance and gives a beautiful contrast. For example leopard print comes in different sizes; you could mix a large leopard skin print skirt or trouser with a smaller leopard skin print shirt or top. You would notice that people may not even know they are not the same because of the balancing illusion they create. A quick tip is if you decide to do this use the larger print at the bottom and the smaller print at the top. The large print tends to make parts of the body seem bigger and the smaller print makes parts look smaller. Blend prints that have the same color characteristics: Another great way to mix print is to make sure your prints have similar color  When they share one or two colors that are close or the same they look like they compliment each other. Vision automatically picks things that look alike and places them together. This way when someone takes a look at you, they see a well put together outfit instead of a bunch of mixing and matching. The common color pulls. In the photo, the yellow jacket compliments the gold on back of heel. Love that jacket! Not that warm but very chic! In the print universe stripes are just like one toned or white apparel; it goes with almost anything. When you are mixing print, treat the striped item you are incorporating  like a neutral toned print. Stripes are the easiest to mix with prints and go great with graphics, floral prints, polka dots, geometric prints, animal prints and much more. I understand mixing theses prints might be a little scary so you could start your mixing with a simple stripe and graphic print combination. You could do this in monochrome or ensure the stripes and the graphic print have colors in common. In the photo below, added accessories to a bland outfit showcased in a magazine worn by a professional model creates an even more stylish look. Accessories….my favorite wardrobe!!! Make sure print accessories contrast the outfit: This is print mixing 101. If you decide you want to start small by mixing printed accessories with other prints instead of going all out with the entire outfit, make sure the accessory stands out. Use members of the same color family:

Just like having similar colors when mixing prints, you could also go all out with the same colors. Great examples of this are monochrome prints, red & black prints etc. You could wear a black & white polka dot skirt and balance that with a floral print top or a white tank and a floral print jacket. This pattern creates a great sequence that make your outfit, even though has a variation of prints, look uniform and well put together.
Accessorize Your Style: Alternatively, you can use accessories such as shoes, belts and clutches with prints on them as your starter items before transitioning into clothing. Pair Items Together: Don’t get worried about how they match each other but instead, what pairs well with another. Look for one common denominator that ties the entire look together such as the spectrum of colours or an accessory. You don’t have to mix print garments. A print shoe will look amazing with a print bag or accessory. And remember, just because you’re mixing prints doesn’t mean you can’t have some solid colours in the mix. A solid red belt for instance will create a fabulous focal point for any outfit. Color Me Courtney: denim && dots
Check out these sketches. As any good designer knows, don’t expose or allow to show full detail until the product is done so these sketches are partially finished but I as well as others still like them and so I figured why not share what is done thus far.
These are really great, I hope to one day have a pair myself.
Animal print high heels fashion illustration, girls room décor, fashion wall art, animal print fashion sketch
 
 Pattern is good, just not too much
 
 Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Deadly Tragedy in Pakistan

PreK, then K-12 equals 14 years of guaranteed FREE education for every child in this country. It is not only our rights as Americans, but an opportunity camouflaged by law. Too many people are taking for granted our education system that many others would do anything to take advantage of. While too many Americans settle for a GED, refugees and immigrants are fleeing their countries and are earning the Masters and Doctoral available on our home land. It is by law we get an education. However, for many others around the world, it is only a hope and a dream.…..Samantha Jonas-Rongo

A soldier escorts schoolchildren from the Army Public School that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar

schoolchildren from the Army Public School that is under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar

Deadly Tragedy in Pakistan

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

The Pakistan Taliban shouted, “God is great” as they made their way rampant through Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar, Pakistan. They came in with enough ammunition and other supplies to last for days and were not expecting to come out alive, according to a Pakistani military official.

145 people, all mostly children were killed in the shootings. The schools principal was a victim of the tragedy along with a couple of teachers, including a teacher who was shot, then burned to death and the 7 Taliban extremist who all wore suicide bombs.

While children were in class at 10am in Pakistan,12am US (ET),  a car exploded behind the school. Pakistani education minister Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman explained to CNN that the blast was meant to divert the attention of the school’s security guards before the attack.

Policemen stand beside empty coffins at the hospital after an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School in Peshawar

DR. Aamir Bilal of Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, cited students that gunmen got over the walls and walked through where students in grades 8 through 10 were having classes and fired randomly.

14-year-old Ahmed Faraz who was shot in the attack told CNN that he and others were in an auditorium when 4 to 5 people swarmed through a backdoor, and started shooting rapidly.

As ninth-grader Ahmed and the other children hid in the auditorium, the gunman swarmed in and one of them told the others that a lot of the children were hiding under the benches.

“kill them”, he then said according to Ahmed.

The gunmen then climbed the benches and started firing at the children.

Shahrukh Khan, 17, said a gunman had entered his classroom and opened fire at random. As he hid under a desk, he saw his friends being shot, one in the head and one in the chest. Two teachers were also killed.

Other children who escaped say the militants went from one classroom to another, shooting indiscriminately.

Pakistani authorities spent Tuesday night inside Army Public School and Degree College looking for survivors, victims and improvised explosive devices planted to worsen the carnage.

Men move bodies of students, who were killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, in an ambulance outside a hospital in Peshawar

Men move bodies of students, who were killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, in an ambulance outside a hospital in Peshawar

Even Taliban militants in neighboring Afghanistan decried the killing spree, calling it “un-Islamic.”

This gruesome attack has been labeled as a response and revenge for the recent Nobel Peace Prize given to Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, and victim of the Taliban’s violence. (For those who haven’t read, “I am Malala”, you need too. I have and she is an amazing and inspiring young woman with such a great story and hope for the future all man kind. She is not only an exceptional role model, she is someone who we all need to know about and teach our children. I will actually attach a link at the bottom of this page so you can purchase her book.)

She was awarded for her work against the “suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”, and victim of the Taliban’s violence.

Malala_Yousafzai_at_Girl_Summit_2014

Malala Yousafzai 2014

“I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold-blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us,” Yousafzai said in a statement.

“Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this,” she continued. “I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable.”

She concluded: “I, along with millions of others around the world, mourn these children, my brothers and sisters – but we will never be defeated.”

On any typical day, the school is home to about 1,100 students and staff, most of them sons and daughters of army personnel from around Peshawar. A Taliban spokesman told BBC Urdu that the school, which is run by the army, had been targeted in response to military operations. Hundreds of Taliban fighters are thought to have died in a recent offensive in North Waziristan and the nearby Khyber.

If the Pakistani Taliban extremists had hoped the attack would cause the government to ease off its military offensive that began in June in the country’s tribal region, it appeared to have the opposite effect. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to step up the campaign, along with U.S. drone strikes; as targeted the militants.

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Rescue workers and family members carry the coffin of a student, who killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, in Peshawar

Rescue workers and family members carry the coffin of a student, who killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, in Peshawar

Click here to read the first 21 pages of “I Am Malala”

Click here to purchase “I Am Malala”