College education has been increasingly important in today’s economy. A college degree gives more opportunities to an individual for personal growth and career development. Normally, a college graduate would have a higher chance of promotion than a high school graduate. Unlike in the past, many high school graduates today find it hard to land a high-paying job. Industrial jobs are now driven by technology that requires higher or specialized education.

college graduatesA recent survey shows that 2 out of 3 Americans believe that obtaining a higher education is vital to getting a good, well-paying job while 7 out of 10 Americans say it is important for financial security. However, a lot of Americans cite the high cost of education in the United States as the main hindrance in getting a college education.

In fact, the cost of education in public colleges is rising faster than in private colleges. There are a number of reasons for this including significantly reduced state funding which has been diverted to support Medicaid, elementary education and prisons. High administrative expenses, salary increases and campus renovations are partly to blame for rising costs of state colleges.

However, tuition fees alone do not determine the entire cost of a college education. Other expenses include house rental and food. Obviously, students can save a lot of money by living with their parents. However, this is not always feasible and most students prefer moving out to experience independence.

Campus housing can be dorms or apartments. The cost of house rental will depend on the type of housing chosen. Students living on campus are also usually required to pay for a meal plan per semester. The average cost of room and board ranges from $9,200 in public colleges to $10,400 in private colleges. Students can also live off campus and choose to have their meals on campus.

Other things you’ll be spending for during college are textbooks, reading materials and any other special equipment needed for certain courses. Students also need to factor in the cost of a laptop and school supplies which can all quickly add up. It is estimated that spending for college books and supplies cost around $1,200 a year.

Transportation, clothing, entertainment and personal items are other miscellaneous expenses to expect when going to college. It is estimated that average miscellaneous expenses ranges from $2,500 at public colleges to $3,200 at private colleges.

These expenses can be overwhelming but there are ways to help you keep them down. Financial aid can help you reduce college expenses. If you find a good college, try to apply first and see if your financial aid can help lower down the cost. Don’t be scared that getting an education will not be worth its price tag. Make the most out of your college

Guest post by Marilee Moss. Ms. Moss is a retired financial planner who provides information and advice on money matters for financial blogs and money management sites like this:

Architectures of the Americas

By mandy | Filed in Travel | No comments yet.


Any careful, or even careless, glance through the streets of any heavy urban area in the major cities of the U.S. can reveal a wide range of architectural styles.  Although most cities won’t begin to compare to the history and varied traditions in old cities in Europe, there are some changes to the architectural landscape that are arising from time and perseverance.  The styles of the cultures that inhabit the spaces are becoming more ingrained with the new designs, as are innovations that quote older traditions and styles.


Traveling through the cities of the Americas, one will surely notice that the trend is not a new one, and that there are places where many cultures meet, and have been meeting for a long time.  It is enough to make a curious architecture student want to learn Spanish.  Even though there are plenty of Latin influences in the large cities where the states border Mexico, as well as in any city with a large Latin population, the mix between the so-called old world and new worlds are much more visible in Latin America.  The place where four cultures come together in Mexico City is not only an aesthetically dizzying space, it also brings into focus just how long these uneasy conversations have been going on.


Although the ideas of cultural exchange and transculturation may be new to the academy, they are a part of everyday life in many places, and there are visual reminders of this on every corner.  The largest urban centers in the dozens of nations that make up the Americas are all visual maps that show various layers of Indigenous, Latin, and European influence.  All of these layers tend to walk over and paint on each other, and occasionally there are moments of breakthrough, when living roots are revealed, and a local history is told for the first time.  The new migrations add more levels of complexity, and traveling the Americas and looking at the architecture alone will take lifetimes.


One can certainly spend time exploring on their own, or make it formal and enroll in art and architecture programs.  Taking time to stop and notice the way this plays out in one’s own city is a very auspicious beginning however.  Looking at the everyday with a new lens can open up unimaginable doors, and lead to some startling observations.  It’s also never a bad idea to learn another language.  Being skilled at Spanish translation can be helpful in many fields, and it’s also often helpful to fellow travelers, trying to make sense of things.  As beginning architects, most students are themselves fellow travelers, marking the signs of culture and territory, and the great trajectories that lead from a here to a there.

Design in the Every Day

By mandy | Filed in Automotive | No comments yet.

When the day comes to a close, architecture is still essentially about buildings.  Their form and function work together, under ideal conditions, in order to create an experience for the people who inhabit them.  Some are designed for maximum comfort, some for a purely utilitarian affect, and some for aesthetic appeal.  It is very rare when theses facets all come together.  In a way, that’s terribly fortunate, because it helps us to learn to pay closer attention.  It’s easier to see problems when something isn’t working than when it’s absolutely successful and flawless.  It also helps to point out that the aesthetic elements are usually the last consideration.


Until recently, perhaps.  This is a time when attention to design has become vitally important, where styles of buildings and tires for trucks are looked at with equal interest and attention.  Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that there are moments in any historical period when focus on detail becomes important.  This attention to design in the every day can derive from a number of factors.  There are moments when detail becomes enormously important, such as in the baroque period, because the distinction between classes is severely marked.  Those who have wealth choose to display it with ornate detail.  There are also opposite conditions when this is the case.  In scarce times, there are also great innovations, especially when the attention shifts from the large picture to the smaller things.


This is demonstrated best in buildings, when the structures become very basic again, highlighting the utilitarian usefulness with solid and simple forms.  The small touches are what eventually come to define the styles of the times.  It is those small touches that are apparent in well-designed and useful objects.  Scanning through the selections at or taking a close look at neighborhoods in a contemporary city can both reveal care and consideration to the objects that make up the life of a city.  These small considerations can also speak about the sensibilities of the people, and their attention to design.  Details as well as larger frames can serve to illustrate the inner life of people.  It’s fascinating to consider how every era is characterized by distinctive tastes, and how this means that the present time is indeed one that will be distinctive itself.  There’s no way of knowing what will stand out, because that is something that’s entirely up to the tastes of the next generation, in order to put this one into sharper relief.



An appreciation of architecture is not the sole province of home owners. While it is expected that people seeking to buy a home will have a list of their favorite architectural features that are must haves before they will sign a mortgage, there are also many apartment renters who seek to surround themselves with specific architectural features. This is why real estate moguls like Daniel Drimmer make sure that their companies offer a range of apartment and condo rentals — cheaper, modern construction as well as more luxurious and historic properties.

A common request in contemporary apartment hunting is hardwood floors and high ceilings. These architectural features are usually equated with higher end apartments that are for sale, rather than rent. However, they can also be found in apartments in older sections of cities or in homes that have been converted into private apartments.

Another feature that attracts renters is crown moulding . Other renters look for ceramic tile in the bathroom and kitchen, instead of linoleum or modern materials. In some parts of the country saltillo tile floors can be found throughout apartments and townhomes.

Fireplaces are a popular feature, especially in colder climates. In Canada, Daniel Drimmer and Starlight Apartments can help renters locate apartments with stone, brick, or concrete fireplaces.

It is important to remember that architecture is a living and evolving field. It didn’t end with Art Deco. While the features from bygone eras are still sought after, some people prefer modern or contemporary architectural elements. They want homes with soft carpeting, sleek ceiling fans, and granite countertops.

Whatever style of architecture is preferred, there is usually an apartment to be had that will include the features sought by a renter. It may raise the rent a bit, but for a true architecture lover, it will be worth the added expense.


image courtesy Creative Commons License by Brian Moloney on Flickr

Beautiful Architecture on College Campuses

By mandy | Filed in Automotive | One comment

As recent high school graduates make their tours through college campuses, there are some standard elements that tend to draw their interests. While the soon to be co-eds are concerned about living quarters and local hangouts, their parents are interested in the beautiful and unique architecture found on campuses throughout the country. Some of the schools back east are well known for their amazing historic buildings, though most campuses have their own history and historic significance. As parents pack up the car and find great deals on tires an more with , the young graduates are loading their ipods, texting friends and dreaming about the future. And while it’s the parents who are first appreciating the beauty and significance of campus architecture, it will soon find its way into the hearts and nostalgic memories of the future students.

Some of the most popular, or well known state universities have their unique architectural elements. In addition, the geography of some of them, such as the University of Colorado Boulder, contributes to the overall beauty and attraction of the campus. In addition to its natural surroundings, the U of C is known for the Mackey Auditorium. This Neo Gothic styled building houses the performing arts programs and attracts tourists. The Bryn Mawr campus is known for its buildings like M. Carey Thomas Library. Much of this campus was designed by the famous team Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. The Great Hall building and Marjorie Walter Goodhart Theater are other popular attractions.

Duke University has that historic feel and is known for buildings such as the Duke Chapel and Perkins Library, in addition to its status as a top institution of advanced learning. Overlooking the beautiful Cayuga Lake, Cornell University also has some popular architectural landmarks and attractions. It features six buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Any discussion of the beautiful college campuses in this country wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Yale and of course Harvard, two of the most famous and revered campuses in the country. Princeton also deserves a place on the list, with its beautiful grey stone buildings. Other schools are known for their horticultural elements, in addition to the inspiring architecture of their buildings. Elon is a great example of this, and the list goes on and on. As your kid looks toward great schools in southwest, like Arizona State University , known as much for its social life as it is for its outstanding education, they can figure out where to find tires for sale , they might be doing a lot of driving in the next few years if they travel that far from home.

Any student of architecture, or any closet enthusiast of the history of building design, understands that the connections between form and function are very tight. This becomes particularly fascinating when looking at contemporary architecture, and discovering that it’s often the most decorative elements that have their origins in structural necessity. The little touches that educated designers make can turn a room from a useful space into a necessary space. It’s often these little touches that have the most elemental structural purposes in other times. Part of the unique appeal, then, to things like cornices, has to do with their role in house construction in the past.

In modern homes, the addition of wood shutters to any room can add a profoundly graceful and elegant touch to its interior and exterior. Wood does indeed have a very powerful effect, connecting the naturally introspective, urban sentiments of interior space to the outside elements. Just as the holiday tree has supposed origins in symbolizing nature in the middle of winter, wood inside of a house has a regenerative force on the inhabitants. Wood is at its most simple level a reminder or symbol of the tree, and the visual presence of wood is often enough to transport the viewer to an idyllic setting.

Wood shutters become even more complex when looking at the history of architecture in Tudor England . This period marked a shift in construction that allowed for a much wider use of wood shutters, and helped to make blinds in general a popular addition to homes in the modern era. Of course, the origins had very little to do with design, or at least design was a much lesser concern than function.

It’s probably no surprise that shutters do have a functional origin, considering how they are still useful. They can direct light in a startling way, creating dramatic and subtle effects that add a deeply resonant ambiance to any setting. In old England , on the other hand, they functioned in the same ways that glass functions today: to keep air out and allow light in. Glass was too expensive, and hard to find, so the common window covering was the shutter.

Today’s glass is a contemporary convenience, then, and one that most people couldn’t imagine living without. The shutter used to have the same functions, and also was used for security, but now it’s largely decorative. In a sense, decorative touches are essential for contemporary people, not because they are superfluous, but because they speak to a past as well as a perfectly elegant present.

Plan a Trip to Banff

By mandy | Filed in Travel | One comment

If you want to see true wilderness in a mostly undisturbed setting, then you should consider heading up to Canada and exploring the region around Banff in Alberta. In addition to unique shopping, historic sites, and fine dining, the region is home to multiple national parks that encompass lakes, mountains, glaciers and hundreds of species of wildlife.

There is nothing like wandering through a national park and happening across bighorn sheep, deer, and elk. In more secluded areas you might catch a glimpse of a coyote, wolf, or bear in the distance. There are also numerous species of birds and reptiles as well as ground squirrels and marmots to spot. You can choose from various trails and scenic drives that will showcase the wildlife and stunning scenery of the area.

When planning the trip there are several things you need to remember. You will likely be flying into Calgary International Airport, so make sure you arrange for a car or shuttle to get you from Calgary to Banff . Depending on the season, the hotels and inns in Banff can be full, so be sure to book well in advance. You will also want to plan out which park or parks you plan to visit as there is no way you can hope to see it all in one visit.

contributed by Leslie James — popular travel writer and blogger who also works for real estate sites like this one:

DUI Cases Require Experienced Attorneys

By mandy | Filed in Legal | No comments yet.

The public service announcements make it sound cut and dried: anyone arrested of drunk driving will receive strict sentences and be taken off the streets so they can’t cause more accidents. This is a bit simplistic. DUI law, like any part of the legal system, is much more complex. This is why an experienced Knoxville DUI Attorney can mean the difference between jail time and a lesser sentence — or even keep a client from being convicted at all.

Each state has its own DUI laws that take into consideration all sorts of mitigating factors. The type of blood alcohol tests that can be administered, how soon they can be taken, and the behavior of the arresting officer can all play a part in determining guilt. A good lawyer is going to ask the right questions and get the proper documentation to identify if an arrest is even legal or should be dropped.

The longer an attorney has been handling DUI cases , the more familiar they will be with the ins and outs of local law, judges, and even the practices of local law enforcement and laboratories. They will have relationships with experts and know how to negotiate with prosecutors and district attorneys. They will be able to advise their client on all aspects of the deposition, hearing, and trial process, as needed. The best DUI attorneys will have taken additional training in DUI and will have excellent win-loss records with DUI cases.

Specialization is Key in Most Fields

By mandy | Filed in Career | No comments yet.

Career advancement is an important consideration in the lives of most adults. Even people who feel that they are stuck in dead end jobs that only serve to bring home a paycheck have dreams of someday moving up or moving on to a better and more challenging career opportunity. Individuals with clear career goals , such as those with five- and ten-year plans or with ambitions of rising to the very top of a given profession, will quickly recognize that they will need to specialize if they want to succeed.

There are two ways in which to achieve this specialization. Many people will walk into a company or career with a general degree and educational background that may or may not be obviously relevant. This works because a lot of entry level jobs provide specific training or simply require general skills. As workers build a career in a given field, they begin to acquire the knowledge and experience that will help them move into more specialized positions within a corporation or area.

The other route is to obtain specialized training. Some do this from the start, such as doctors who are forced to choose a specialty during medical school or their residency. Others will decide to get additional training or degrees while they continue working or leave the workforce for a few years to get a more specialized education. These options range from taking negotiation training to deciding to go to law school after several years working as a legal assistant.

Las Vegas: Getting Away to Golf

By mandy | Filed in Lifestyle | One comment

It’s sometimes a kind of a test of one’s inner serenity to engage in activities that challenge that pool of calm that is hard to attain. In a very busy world, it’s sometimes necessary to make certain changes, such as downsizing a life in some way, or simply changing habits. Interestingly, these habits are always in flux, and adding more flux is one way to make strides toward reaching another level of tranquility.

Anything can become a kind of meditation, as long as there is repetitive action, and space for contemplation. People have found ways of reaching inner peace at the workplace, in exercise, and in leisure activities like golf. The link between golf and meditation might seem at first to be a bit of an engagement in contraries, but those who have found calmness of mind while golfing will testify that there is nothing contradictory at all.

Adding a new location to one’s game is always an interesting challenge. And in a place like Las Vegas golf can seem to offer the opposite of inner clarity. However, deep meditations in the midst of distractions can be more fruitful than any other kind. Those who have experience in meditating have had the moments heightened when there was outside stimuli to take in. The courses in town, on the other hand, are rather idyllic, and after the first few holes, the link between serenity and the links becomes apparent.