7 Practical Gifts for College Grads

Resume Service graduation cap
The first thing employers see is an applicant’s resume and cover letter. Unfortunately, the style of these documents has become more complex in recent years. Graduates won’t get noticed using the old method of simply listing experience by date. Cover letters are now approaching works of art, mentioning much more than that applicant is interested in the job and is a good team player, trustworthy and a hard worker.

A resume service will create updated documents so subsequent resumes and cover letters live up to modern standards. Costs run roughly $100 to $200, depending on the services you desire. It’s worth paying extra to have an expert explain the latest tricks and how graduates can alter these documents for each job. Sites like ResumeMyCareer can help you compile a professional and competitive resume at an affordable cost.

Home Furnishings
After living with cinder-block bookshelves and saggy mattresses for four years or, worse yet, being surrounded by their childhood furniture while living at home, graduates might appreciate an upgrade on everything from a couch to kitchen implements especially those moving into a new apartment to be closer to their new 9 to 5 job. You might also put together a basket of upscale bed and bath products so the grad can finally dump their dollar-store shampoo and soap.

Gift Cards
The 2011 crop of college graduates faces more debt than any other generation, so money is always a welcome gift especially to help them get through that first, unstable post-school year. Grads not comfortable with the idea of asking directly for money can create a gift card registry at CardAvenue.com to receive gift cards from hundreds of merchants in a variety of categories from apparel to food, gas and much more.

Job Interview Clothing
Suits can be overkill in some places, unless the graduate lives in a big city or is looking for a management position. Most employers will expect something a bit more casual these days. Men should have a dress shirt, pants and shoes with a matching tie and, perhaps, a sports coat. Women will need a demure outfit of skirt and blouse or dress with basic pumps. A coordinated jacket would nicely complete the outfit.

Foreign Language Lessons
College graduates face a tough job market and with high unemployment rates, that means more experienced competition. Given any opportunity to improve his or her skill set, grads can make themselves more marketable to potential employers depending on the position. Consider gifting Spanish lessons (Rosetta Stone is an effective and affordable option) or perhaps a GMAT review course for help towards MBA school admissions.

Backpacks and messenger bags are great for toting books and water bottles, but grads will have a better chance of securing a job when they show up looking sophisticated. A soft-sided briefcase with room for a laptop, resume binder and lunch will give any job seeker a more professional appearance.

With instant email access & GPS navigation, a smartphone will keep recent grads connected with potential employers & recruiters so they never miss an interview opportunity or an offer. Not to mention, the various apps that offer banking on-the-go, cheap dinner recipes and location-based drink specials to help make their lives a little easier.

By: Andrea Woroch, a consumer savings expert who has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, ABC News NOW and many more.


How Safe Are Sunscreen’s Ingredients?

Summer is quickly approaching and although, we should think about protecting our skin year round, these are the sunscreen bottlemonths we spend most of our time outdoors. I strongly believe in using sunscreen, but I always want to make sure what I am smothering on my family’s skin is not only effective, but safe. This guest article by Jamell Andrews helps inform you on what to look for when choosing a sunscreen for your family this summer!

How Safe Are Sunscreen’s Ingredients?

When people go to the store to buy sunscreen, they assume that the products they purchase are safe and effective. Whether you purchase sunscreen for trips to the beach, lounging poolside, or for everyday protection against the sun’s rays, you probably expect to be able to rely on your sunscreen to protect you from sun damage.

The reality, however, is that the majority of sunscreens in the United States offer inadequate protection from the sun. Many of them also contain ingredients that are harmful to our health.

Harmful Ingredients

When you consider the fact that many Americans rely on sunscreens to protect them from sunburns and skin cancer, it is a bit shocking to realize that some manufacturers use ingredients that are actually harmful to our health.

Approximately 1 out of every 9 brands of sunscreen does not offer protection from UVA radiation. UVA rays are the ones that are linked to immune system problems, skin damage and aging, and possibly skin cancer. Though the FDA does not currently require that manufacturers include protection from UVA radiation, the better sunscreens offer it anyway.

UVB rays cause sunburn, and while most sunscreens do provide at least some protection against these harmful rays, most of the products contain ingredients that break down in the sun. These chemical breakdowns can occur in minutes or hours, and when it happens, UV radiation gets through to our skin. In fact, some of the chemicals in sunscreens release free radicals in sunlight, causing damage to our DNA and cells. Others build up over time in our bodies or the environment.

Keeping this in mind, consumers would be wise to exercise caution when relying on sunscreen labels to determine how long their sunscreen is going to be effective, or if it is actually going to be effective at all.

Independent research has shown that there are more than 600 products on the market containing sunscreens that are unstable and break down in the sun. Some of these unstable ingredients are:

Octinoxate (Octyl methoxycinnamate)

Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3)

Avobenzone (Parsol 1789, Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane)

Nano titanium dioxide

How to find safe Sunscreens

If you want to find the safest sunscreens, you can check out the Environmental Working Group’s website. The EWG is a non-profit organization that provides information to help protect public health and the environment. They recommend several different brands of sunscreens that they have tested. They also provide complete breakdowns of the ingredients in each product tested so that consumers can clearly see which ingredients pose a certain risk and learn why they are hazardous.

It is difficult to guess at what the far-reaching health implications may be regarding our continuous exposure to the hazardous chemicals that are used in so many sunscreens. Companies are not required by the federal government to test the ingredients that they are putting into sunscreens before they put them on the market, so it is difficult to tell at this point just how damaging these products may wind up being.

To be safe, do your research before purchasing any products. Staying informed is the best way to keep your family, and yourself, safe and healthy.

Jamell Andrews is a regular contributor to the Parenting Journals and is a strong believer in healing naturally first, especially when it comes to infants.


Beka Cookware: Panwok Review

beka Cookware LogoGrowing up, I remember my dad making Asian inspired meals at home for our family. He used a wok to work his magic and the meals he prepared were delicious! Cooking in a wok has it’s benefits. Not only does it distributes the heat more evenly, but you can use less oil – a huge advantage in my books. I have always wanted to purchase a wok, but I was not sure what kind of wok I wanted.

beka panwok

Beka Cookware sent me their Panwok to review and after using it just once, I am loving it! I am familiar with Beka Cookware because I use their Non-Stick Pancake Pan a few times a week. And the more I use the Pancake Pan, the more I love it. I have a feeling I will have the same experience with the Panwok.

When I received the Pancake Pan, I knew that Beka’s Cookware is fabulous, but now after using the wok – I am certain.

I decided to stir fry some chicken with vegetables. Easy, healthy and simple. The chicken cooked quick and even, this is the pan after I used it. Food did not stick…

Beka Cookware

so the clean-up was a breeze. There was no scrubbing involved, just a thorough wipe of with a soapy sponge and the wok was perfectly clean. And I love when things are easy to clean!

clean wokpan

If you are looking to purchase a wok, I suggest trying out Beka’s Panwok – it works for me!

All opinions expressed are my own and were in no way persuaded by the sponsor. I did not receive monetary compensation for reviewing this product, however I did receive product to review.


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Friday Giveaway Linky – May 20th

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New Blog Design – Again!

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Being a Mother…

Being a mother is not only the most demanding role in my life, but it is also the most rewarding. As a mother, showers are always interrupted, magazines go unread, most of my time is spent in the kitchen because there is always someone who is hungry, the rest of my time is spent in the ...

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