- I'm a habitual line crosser that believes everything happens for a reason, but life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances, you just have to live life to the fullest. Laugh as much as you can, spend all your money, tell someone what they mean to you, tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone's hand, comfort a friend, love the ones who treat you right, forget about the ones who don't, pig out, smile until your face hurts, be a flirt, stay up late and fall asleep watching the sun come up, don't be aftraid to take chances or fall in love . . . and most of all live in the moment, If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. No one said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Nothing compares to actually getting on a plane and traveling to a foreign country to experience the culture. However, in between your international travels there are ways that you can continue to learn about other countries without even leaving your neighborhood. I have had the privilege of volunteering with a group call Education First that helps match foreign students with host families. Below is some information about the organization and how you can get involved:
What is EF Foundation for Foreign Study?
EF Foundation is a non-profit high school exchange organization that works with
30 different countries to bring students to the United States, as well as send
American students abroad. Our students come with their own spending money,
are fully-insured, and spend a semester or an academic year. The students live
with non-paid host families while they attend local American high schools.
What are the responsibilities of a host family?
Host families must provide room and board and a loving home environment for
the student. One or both host parents must be at least 25 years of age or older.
Our students don't have to have their own bedroom, but if they do share a room it
must be with a child of the same gender who is at least 12 years old. EF
Foundation places students in all types of families and communities - single
parent, empty-nesters, big cities and rural areas. We just ask that the student is
treated as a family member, rather than a guest in your home. Families who can
provide room, board, and a loving home for a student will qualify to host!
How old are the students? What nationalities are they? How are they
chosen for your program?
Our students are between the ages of 15 and 18. They attend your local high
school and fully participate in regular classes and extra-curricular activities as an
American student would. Our students come from all over the world - from South
America to Scandinavia, and as far away as Asia and Australia. We have EF
offices in each country from which we bring students.
Our students are thoroughly screened by our foreign offices prior to acceptance
onto the program. They must pass an interview in English and complete a
lengthy application including recommendations, a timed essay, academic
transcript, and short-answer questions related to their family life at home. Our
foreign offices also judge students based on academic motivation, maturity and
realistic program expectations.
Can we choose which student we would like to host?
Yes! You will have a local coordinator called an IEC (International Exchange
Coordinator) who will help match a student to your requests. If you're searching
for a particular nationality, hobby, or age for your student, your IEC will work with
the Recruitment and Placement Manager in the Boston office to find student
applications fitting your requests. You then will have the opportunity to read
through several applications to find which student best matches your family.
Are host families paid?
No. All of our host families are volunteers. They agree to host because they are
passionate about student exchange and they want to bring a different culture to
their home and community. However, host families are eligible for a $50.00 per
month tax deduction per student.
Do we have support if there is a problem?
Your local coordinator is there to support you and help you to work through any
potential problems. Our coordinators are experienced in counseling host families
and exchange students, and know how to handle problem situations. If your local
coordinator is unavailable and you or your student needs advice or support, the
Regional Coordinator is also available to help and counsel on a local level. The
Boston office is your final support option if your local support network is
unavailable. During regular working hours, you are always able to reach our
Boston staff at 1-800-44-SHARE. If there is an emergency situation that occurs
after working hours and you need immediate assistance, there is always a
Boston staff member on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help deal with the emergency.
If you are interested in hosting an exchange student or would like more information, Contact me today!
Monday, July 27, 2009
For Similar Stories visit and/or subscribe to Sake's Dog Blog http://saketini.blogspot.com/
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
. . .AND OF COURSE, CASH SPONSORS ARE ALWAYS NICE...A LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY
Austin Habitat for Humanity’s HYP group (Habitat Young Professionals) has raised approximately $40,000 of a $60,000 goal to build the 2009 HYP House (the 2nd HYP House in the history of Habitat for Humanity-the 1st was also an Austin HYP venture completed last fall). In partnership with sponsor TruWest Credit Union, this house will be an extra-special milestone, as it will also be Austin Habitat’s first-ever LEED-H certified green home. The build will begin in late summer 2009. Austin Habitat is inviting community partners to contribute to the balance needed to reach the build’s goal of $60,000. We are so close… and you can help us to get there! Contributions of cash are welcome, but we are also extending an invitation to members of Austin’s celebrated construction industry to participate as partners in the project. All In-Kind partners will be acknowledged as a sponsor of this milestone home for Austin Habitat, regularly acknowledged as a national leader in the construction and design of sustainable, green, affordable homes. Opportunities to participate in HYP House builds included.
Cash sponsors are fantastic, but equally valued are In-Kind donations of materials and/or labor for which are greatest needs are as follows:
- Foundation (materials and labor)
- Electrical (materials and labor)
- Plumbing (materials and labor)
- HVAC (materials and labor)
- Insulation (materials)
- Drywall (materials)
- Driveway/sidewalk (materials)
So say you want to help… but you don’t have lots of cash… and you don’t have access to construction materials. All you really need is the desire to help HYP Change Lives. We have created a brief fundraising guide [attached!] designed to give an office, an organization, a church group or just a group of friends some simple ways to raise money for Austin Habitat and HYP. The little bits add up… $20 per person in a 60-person office will pay for the insulation in the HYP House.
IN SUMMARY, HERE ARE THREE WAYS TO HELP CHANGE LIVES
1. GIVE gift a cash gift here - every little bit helps. Choose "HYP Build 2009" in the drop down menu
2. MOTIVATE get your office or organization to help sponsor the house through one of the simple attached fundraising
3. CONNECT put us in touch with your In-Kind materials or labor contacts (home builders, contractors, retail establishments, etc)
Please contact Brooke Rogers or Julie Smith with Austin Habitat – firstname.lastname@example.org / 512.472.8788 x 417 with questions or interest.
2009 HYP Chair
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
When I stand up for
myself and my beliefs,
they call me a
When I stand up for
those I love,
they call me a
When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts
or do things my own way, they call me a
Being a bitch
means I won't
in my heart.
It means I live my life MY way.
It means I won't allow anyone to step on me.
When I refuse to
tolerate injustice and
speak against it, I am
defined as a
The same thing happens when I take time for
myself instead of being everyone's maid, or when I act a little selfish.
It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won't become anyone else's idea of what they think I 'should' be.
I am outspoken, opinionated and determined. I want what I want and there is nothing wrong with that!
So try to stomp on me, just try to douse my inner flame, try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me.
You won't succeed.
And if that makes me a bitch ,so be it.
I embrace the title and am proud to bear it.
B - Babe
I - In
T - Total
C - Control of
H - Herself
B = Beautiful
I = Intelligent
T = Talented
C = Charming
H = Hell of a Woman
B = Beautiful
I = Individual
T = That
C = Can
H = Handle 'anything'
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Spec's President John Rydman has tasted the most expensive wines in the world, but he says it is possible to find wine that's as good, or better, for just a few dollars per bottle.
"A lot of these people are drinking the label," he said, "and we're more about the juice than we are about the label."
His advice? Look for lesser known wines from the same region as their pricier counterparts.
A Chateau Margaux Bordeaux sells for $270 per bottle, but the wine from its neighboring vineyard is $30.
"It's the same grapes, the same soil," Rydman said.
Another stunner were some Italian Pinot Grigios that were almost identical -- the Santa Margherita is $19 while the Monte Campo is about $7, $12 less.
"If you want to buy the label, it's there," Rydman said. "If you want to buy the flavor, you buy Monte Campo."
A Ruffino Chianti costs $21, but for just $6, even self-proclaimed wine snobs love a wine by Levata.
Overall, it really does pay to ask an expert. There are some wines that are practically identical to another, but they can be cheaper because they're bottled in a different Italian town.
"Most people would never know the difference," Rydman said.
In a blind taste test conducted at Whole Foods, a $6 "365" Brand Merlot was compared to a $15 Keltie Brook. Also, a $5 Harthill Farm Chardonnay was compared to a $15 La Crema.
"They're both very similar in their taste," Whole Foods wine expert Cody Lincicone said.
All three taste-tasters chose the $6 Merlot over the $15 one.
"I preferred the cheaper of the red?" taste-tester Gerda Gomez said. "I'm surprised!"
Taste-tester Anna Gray was of a similar sentiment.
"Wow, I was tricked!" she said.
Two out of the three taste-testers chose the $5 Harthill Farm over the $15 La Crema.
"It's amazing," taste-tester Melodi Weinberg said. "I like it so much better."
Taste-tester Gomez, who picked the expensive wine, said the two were similar.
"If I knew the price," she said, "I'd go with the cheaper one because it was close!"