The Mystery of Sales

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S.A.L.E. I love hearing and reading the word “sale,” because I know where there’s a sale, there is money to be saved. However, when it comes to finding deals in stores, it is important to understand the fine print. Sometimes, an item on sale ends up costing you the same amount, if not more, as the regularly priced item. Back in December, I read an article from The Washington Post titled “Why the money-conscious should beware the after-Christmas sale.” Writer Michelle Singletary states, “We have been brainwashed to see a sale as a thrilling event. It’s not. We’ve been bamboozled.” Later in the article, she says that the problem with sales is that we often don’t know whether or not the sale is truly a discount. As an example, two weeks before Christmas I noticed an item was “on sale” at the grocery store. Then, the week before Christmas, the same item was “on sale” again, but with a higher price. Why? Because retailers know you are going to pay the higher sale price, without noticing last week’s price, and still believe you have saved money. The end of the article gives readers a challenge, which is the same challenge I’m going to give you: be careful when it comes to sales and, before you fork over money, know whether or not it is actually going to put more money into your wallet. How do you do that? Continue reading and I’ll tell you.

  • As with any form of budgeting, it is important to plan and scope out the deals and sales ahead of time. It is also imperative to do the math and know the product’s regular price and exactly how much you’ll be saving with the purported sale. Retailers use psychological tricks to make shoppers think the closer it is to the holidays or on major sale days, such as Black Friday, the better the deal a person is getting. However, most of the time, sale prices go up as the days approach. To avoid this trap, try using apps, such as ShopAdvisor. This program alerts customers when products they want to purchase drop in price. If you are like me, you always wonder “Will the sale go any lower?” Think about what day you are shopping. Is it near a major holiday or sale day? If so, the answer is probably no and you should buy the item now. Is it an out of season purchase, such as Christmas wrapping paper at the beginning of January? It might decrease. This is the beauty of paying attention to apps to help you shop.
  • Another psychological trick that fools people is the “left-digit effect” or the difference of one cent in price. For example, more consumers will buy something if it is priced $x.99, instead of a whole number. In a 2009 study, researchers at Colorado State University and Washington State University ask participates to analyze two identical pens. The only variation between the two was their price – one was $2.00 and the other was $3.99. The study’s results showed that 44% of the participants chose the higher-priced pen, because they only noticed the 99 cents and not an even number.
  • Watch out for bulk bargains. There are times when items are placed on sale, but with a maximum limit. Research has found that having a limit makes sales jump, even if there is no discount. A person’s mind and the store’s marketing department cons one into thinking the product is on sale. So, the next time, ask if the “2 for $4” means if you are only purchasing one is it only $2.00 or regular price.
  • Lastly, notice the placement of certain items in a store. Normally, half-priced, pick-up purchases are at the entrance, because they get customers shopping immediately after walking into the shop. These products are known as “open-the-wallet” items and are displayed in an elaborate and random design. During the holidays, retailers began this ploy as early as October and hope it keeps consumers purchasing into November and December. Continue walking into the store if you are looking for the real deals. In addition, look at the position of products. For example, many stores will put two very similar, but different in price, items side by side, in hopes people will purchase the higher priced item. Be aware of the “compromise price effect” and look at the price tags. Also, keep in mind the quality of a product. Just because it is the lowest price or on sale, is it durable? Will it last a long time? Sometimes it pays off in the end to spend a little extra on quality purchases.

Shopping for items on sale is a great way to put extra cash in your wallet. However, it is important to shop smart and know whether or not the sale is actually worth it.

xoxo,

Megan

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To PyeongChang, South Korea We Go

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Last night, athletes from around the world will come together for the opening ceremony of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, more commonly referred to as the 2018 Winter Olympics. For the next 17 days, 90 countries will compete in over 100 events in 15 different sports, and will celebrate international camaraderie and sportsmanship, while promoting a sense of peace throughout the world. As a matter of fact, the official symbol of the games is five interlocking colored rings, representing the continents of North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia.

If you are like me, you might wish you were a pro in a winter or summer sport every two years when the Olympics are held. However, my athletic abilities are far from extraordinary. To satisfy my love for the Olympics, I learn all that I can about the games’ history, sports involved, and more. Read below to test your Olympic Winter Games knowledge, as well!

History of the Olympics 

According to historians, the Olympic Games date back to 776 B.C. in ancient Greece. The games were used as a tribute to the Olympian gods and took place in Olympia, which is known in Greek mythology as the island of Pelops. The city’s central part was decorated with a temple of Zeus and a temple of Hera. The Olympic Games had a religious connection to the cult of Zeus and took place during the Olympiad, the four-year period between the competitions. The games were used in religious festivals held in honor of the god and aimed to show off the physical qualities of the competitors. For the next 12 centuries, the Olympic Games were continued in Olympia until 393 A.D., when the Roman Empire conquered Greece and Emperor Theodosius passed a decree that all “pagan cults” should be banned and converted to Christianity.

The Olympic Games were revived almost 1,500 years later by Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France. Coubertin wanted to increase awareness about physical education and had the idea to design a modern version of the Olympic Games. His inspiration came after visiting the site of ancient Olympia. In November 1892, the Baron discussed his plans of using the games as an international athletic competition to be held every four years at a Union des Sports Athletiques meeting in Paris. However, it wasn’t until two years later, he received the approval to found the International Olympic Committee. The committee still stands today and serves as the governing body of the games.

The first official modern Olympic Games took place in 1896 in Athens, Greece. Over 60,000 spectators and 280 participants from 13 nations competed in 43 events. The popularity of the games took over after the VIII Games in 1924 in Paris. Over 3,000 athletes from 44 nations competed and the first closing ceremony was held. Another huge moment in Olympic Games history also occurred in 1924, with the debut of the Winter Olympics.

Facts about the XXIII Olympic Winter Games 

PyeongChang was selected to be the host of the 2018 games back in July 2011. The last time Korea hosted the Olympic Games was in 1988 with the Seoul Games. There are five key objectives to the competitions: cultural games, environmental games, games for peace, economic games, and ICT (information and communication technologies) games. Together, these goals associate the games’ slogan: Passion. Connected. According to the official website of the Olympic Games, this phrase was created with the purpose of promoting “a world in which everyone is connected with shared passion for winter sports; a world open to any generation anywhere, anytime, to open new horizons in the continued growth of winter sports.” In addition, PyeongChang’s emblem symbolizes an open world and uses the images of ice and snow to portray the winter sports and athletes throughout the various countries.

As for the mascot of the Olympic Games, its name is Soohorang and it is based on the white tiger. This animal is considered Korea’s guardian animal and “Sooho” in Korean means protection. “Rang” comes from “Ho-rang-i,” which means tiger and is in “Jeong-seon-A-ri-rang,” a traditional folk song about the Gangwon Province, the location in PyeongChang where the games will take place. Together, this mascot portrays a sense of protection to the athletes, spectators, and attendees.

Sporting Events 

All of the Olympic Games sports are divided into three categories: snow sports, ice sports, and sliding sports. Some highlights of this year’s games include over 100 gold medals that will be awarded and six new sports that are offered. These sports are Snowboard Big Air (men and women), Speed Skating Mass Start (men and women), Curling Mixed Doubles, and Alpine Skiing Team Events. Other favorite sports that are returning this year are:

Snow Sports: Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Nordic Combined, Ski Jumping, and Snowboarding.

Ice Sports: Short Track Speed Skating, Speed Skating, Figure Skating, Ice Hockey, and Curling.

Sliding Sports: Bobsleigh, Luge, and Skelton.

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games are sure to be a fantastic event. From the parade of nations at the opening ceremony to the events at the closing ceremony and all the sporting events in between, these games have something for everyone. What event or events are you most excited about?

xoxo,

Megan

For more information about the XXIII Olympic Winter Games and for a schedule of sporting events, visit: olympic.org/pyeongchang-2018

Self-Defense 101: What You Should Know

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Almost every day, we read or hear a story about a woman getting attacked and assaulted. According to research, assault on women is a common crime, because many assailants assume women are more passive and won’t fight back. However, there is one way to change the facts and statistics. One of the most important things a woman should know is self-defense and how to protect themselves in case they are in a horrible situation. Don’t know where to start? Read below for five important tips.

  1. Have a plan: A woman will always hope that she will never get into a situation where she needs to protect herself from violence. But, if it does occur, be prepared and have a plan on what moves and actions you should take. Create and practice your steps at self-defense classes or even with videos online. There are many martial arts studios, gyms, and personal trainers who offer self-defense classes. In fact, some communities hold events for women, at no charge, to learn the various moves. You don’t have to take a full class to know what to do. Finding self-defense moves on Google and YouTube will give you the basics. Also, part of your plan should be mentally preparing yourself if an attack should happen.
  2. Be alert: If you are alone in a public place, especially at night or on vacation, be smart and pay attention to your surroundings. Put down your cell phone and anything else that takes away your attention. If you think someone is following you, cross the street or step into a crowded place, such as a store or restaurant. Attackers usually will give off clear signals that they want to harm you. Most don’t begin with brutal force. Instead, they try coaxing into secluded areas, using excessive charm to manipulate you, refusing to accept rejection, and giving unsolicited help while expecting something in return, whatever makes the victim give up control.
  3. Follow your sixth sense: Also known as intuition, human beings are born with survival instincts, such as fight or flight. You are built with the ability to use your judgment and not to brush off your gut feelings. Trust your intuition and learn the differences between real fear and worry. If you ever feel as if something isn’t right, don’t second guess yourself. It is better to be safe than sorry. Get help immediately.
  4. Know your strengths and where to hit: You know when you accidently push someone with your elbow or get hit with theirs, how bad it hurts? Well, that is because your elbow is the strongest point on your body and your best weapon. If you are close enough to your attacker, use your elbow to push them away and go for the four weakest points: eyes, throat, groin, and knees. If you are pulled to the ground, kick your attacker with your legs in one of the four spots. Grabbed at the waist from behind, pinch the person hard under their arm, in the triceps, or in the upper inner thigh. In these spots, muscle can be easily pulled away from the bone, creating more pain, giving the victim time to get away. Similar to your elbow, the knee is a powerful tool and can be utilized wherever the attacker is in relation to you. Kick the inside of your attacker’s knee and they’ll immediately fall to the ground.
  5. Being choked? Use this move: The choke defense is good to use if you are smaller than the attacker. If you are being choked, don’t try to grasp their hands and pull them from your neck. Instead, form your hands into a “C” shape, with your thumbs beside your pointer fingers, and try to pull your attacker’s thumbs away. Try to kick them at the same time, as well. Once you managed to disengage the attacker’s thumbs, you’ll have time to fight back. Remember you only have 3 to 8 seconds before you start to lose oxygen and pass out.

Don’t be afraid to fight. Be confident in what you have learned from self-defense. Third-degree black belt and self-defense instructor Kelly Campbell encourages women to memorize and use the Cobra Kai code, if attacked: “Strike first, strike hard, strike fast, no mercy!”

xoxo,

Megan

 

Simple Southern Hush Puppies

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Hush puppies – one of my favorite Southern foods! Now, you can make them yourself using this simple recipe!

Ingredients: 

3/4 cup self rising flour
1 cup self rising corn meal (not mix)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 small onion, finely minced 
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch onion powder
1 pinch old bay seasoning
1 Tbsp sugar
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
Canola oil for frying
Directions:
1. In large mixing bowl, mix together flour and cornmeal. Add egg, onion and spices. Add buttermilk and stir with fork just until blended. Mixture should be farily stiff. Add a little bit more buttermilk, if necessary.
2. Heat oil in deep fryer to 375 degrees. Drop dough by teaspoons into hot oil and fry until hush puppies rise to the top and are golden brown. Remove from fryer and drain on paper towels.
Enjoy!
xoxo,
Megan

Midweek Motivation

Happy Wednesday! If you are like me, you can sometimes fall into a midweek slump. This slump is composed of tiredness and stress. To overcome it, I recite inspirational quotes throughout the rest of the week. These affirmations give me the strength to press forward and stay strong. So, I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.

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xoxo,

Megan

 

11 Tips for Better Self-Care

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Recently, I have discovered the value of self-care. In the past few years, I did things that I considered to be self-care, but never truly understood the importance of taking care of yourself. Yes, I love to help others, but to effectively do so, I need to make sure I’m healthy and able first. Also, it is helpful for me to divide my self-care into “categories” of physical, mental, and emotional. That way, I can make sure all areas are covered. Below are some ways to fit self-care into your daily schedule:

Physical: 

  • Go for a walk
  • Dance
  • Swim
  • Play with a dog
  • Clean and reorganize a space in your home
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Drink water

Mental: 

  • Read a book
  • Journal
  • Turn your phone OFF
  • Do a DIY project
  • Color
  • Take pictures
  • Take a long, deep breath
  • Watch an old movie

Emotional: 

  • Meditate
  • Practice yoga or exercise
  • Light a candle
  • Talk with a friend
  • Write down a list of things you’re grateful for
  • Take a nap
  • Bake cookies for a family member or friend
  • Donate or volunteer

Whether it is an hour or only five minutes, take time for yourself every day. Sometimes you have to make yourself a priority, in order to be a better person for the ones you loved.

xoxo,

Megan

Give to January’s Charity of the Month

This year, I’m celebrating giving back to others in our local and national communities. Every month, I’ll be profiling a different nonprofit and the many ways YOU can help. Imagine how much we can change the world in 2018!

January – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital treats children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Founder Danny Thomas opened the hospital on February 4th, 1962. Since then, it has been a pioneer in groundbreaking research that has helped raise the rate of survival for children with cancer to 80%. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital provides comfort to children and their families during a stressful time in their lives. To donate, click on the logo above. To find out other ways to help, visit: Ways to Give 

Let’s change the world together!

xoxo,

Megan