Basics about the FAFSA

Need help with your FAFSA and don’t know where to start? You can complete your FAFSA by printing out the PDF version, or do it directly online with their website: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa

With filling out your FAFSA, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Tax information from 2-3 years ago
  • Records of all income
  • Records of any untaxed income (child support, interest incomes, pensions)
  • Records of your checking and savings account balances, or other assets
  • Your drivers license if you own one
  • List of each school you did or are going to apply to

If you are a student being claimed as a dependent, your parent’s information will also be needed, even if they aren’t assisting you in paying. To be considered a dependent, you must be under 24 years of age, attending an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program, unmarried with no children or dependents of your own.

For being considered an independent, you must be 24 years of age or older, attending a masters or doctorate degree program, married or separated but not divorced, if you have children or dependents of your own, if you’re a veteran in the US army or is currently serving, and if you’re an emancipated minor.

For online applications, you’ll just enter your basic information that they ask of you. Have all of the files you need with you so you can just quickly look at them and not have to waste time searching for them. After you fill in what they ask you to, your parents will also have to fill in their information if/as needed.

After filling out all the required information, you can then put in the list of schools you are applying to, or are interested in. Each school has a code, and you can find the code for the school online.

If you don’t plan to finish your FAFSA in one go, you can make a temporary password to log in later when continuing the application.

FAFSA deadline for this year will be on June 30th, if your lastest academic year is 2018-2019.

For more information, you can visit: https://www.moneyunder30.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-fafsa-but-were-too-afraid-to-ask

Holiday recipes

Holiday break is one of the most favorite school breaks in high school history. You got Christmas Day, and a full 13 days of break to do whatever you want.

Some people have their entire break planned out, but others don’t have a clue. Here’s an idea! Create and bake some holiday treats to get you in the mood for the holidays! Here’s a list of 3 holiday foods to make on break.

  1. GingerBread House

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light molasses or dark corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda together until the mixture is smooth. Blend in the flour and water to make a stiff dough.
  • Chill at least 30 minutes or until firm.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Cut out the paper patterns for the gingerbread house template:
  • Roll gingerbread dough out to edges on a large, rimless cookie sheet. Place paper patterns onto the rolled out dough. With a sharp, straight edged knife, cut around each of the pieces, but leave pieces in place.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes until dough feels firm.
  • Place patterns on top of the gingerbread again and trim shapes, cutting edges with a straight-edged sharp knife. Leave to cool on baking sheet.
  • Place royal icing into pastry bag with a writing tip and press out to decorate individual parts of house, piping on decorations, windows, door, etc., as desired. Let dry until hardened.
  • Glue sides, front and back of house together at corners using royal icing.
    Glue the two roof pieces to the pitched roofline of the house. Then, similarly, glue the sides and roof of the entryway together with icing. Attach the entryway to the front of the house.
  • Continue decorating the house, gluing on gumdrops, licorice and peppermint, as desired. 
  1.  Peppermint Lollipops

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil
  • Red and/or green paste food coloring
  • 10 lollipop sticks
  • Crushed peppermint candies, optional

Directions

  • Butter 10 assorted metal cookie cutters and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; set aside.
  • In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup and cream of tartar. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 300° (hard-crack stage).
  • Remove from the heat. Stir in oil, keeping face away from mixture as odor is very strong.
  • For each color of candy swirls, pour 1/4 cup sugar mixture into a ramekin or custard cup; tint red or green.
  • Immediately pour remaining sugar mixture into prepared cookie cutters.
  • Drizzle with colored mixtures as desired; cut through with a toothpick to swirl.
  • Remove cutters just before lollipops are set; firmly press a lollipop stick into each.
  • Sprinkle peppermint candies over tops if desired.

 

  1.  Mini Apple Crisps

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1 cup crushed raw almonds
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
    FILLING:
  • 3 unpeeled medium apples, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • Vanilla ice cream, optional

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Mix the first four ingredients. In a large bowl, combine almonds and oats; toss with butter mixture until well coated. Press 2 tablespoons onto bottoms of six greased 6-ounce ramekins.
  • For filling, combine apples, sugar, lemon juice and pie spice. Spoon filling evenly into ramekins.
  • Top with remaining oat mixture.
  • Bake until topping is dark golden brown and fruit is tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm; if desired, top with ice cream. 

Decorative plants

Want to add a touch of green to a room? Here are some plants that you can easily grow indoors.

Air Plants-

Air plants are cute, simple, and mess free! Air plants are not grown in soil, and can be placed in any open container. That means that they can easily decorate any surface in any container! They are most commonly kept in glass terrariums. An air lantern can be placed directly on the container, or you can add rocks on the bottom of the container.

Your air plant should be watered every two weeks, and lightly misted one week after watering. Water your air plant by placing it in room temperature water. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes, then allow it to sit upside down to get rid of excess water. It should be dry in less than three hours. Never skip this step! Allowing your plant to air out after watering prevents rot.

Pineapple Plants-

Pineapple plants require a bit more work at first, but once you plant them they are very easy to care for. And if you like eating pineapple, you’re in luck! To get this plant, twist the top leaves off of a pineapple and peel back some of the fruit from the bottom to reveal some of the tiny roots.

Soak your little plant in a shallow bowl of water until you begin to see the roots develop. When soaking your pineapple plant, try to keep the water shallow so that the leaves do not get soaked. Just like with the air plants, soaking the leaves can cause them to rot.

Once the roots have developed, plant your pineapple plant in a pot. Water your plant whenever the soil dries. Your pineapple plant can be kept outside during the summer, but should be kept inside for the rest of the year.

 

Succulents and Cacti-

Succulents and cacti are beautiful plants that have many subspecies. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Succulents either come planted in a disposable plastic pot or already planted in a permanent pot. If they come in a plastic pot, replant it into a cute pot of your choice, making sure to add any extra solid you may need to fill the space.

Your succulents should be kept in a sunny place, and watered when the soil is dry. Be extra careful not to overwater your succulent- they are quite sensitive and adapted to live in environments with little water.

 

How to put on a full face

When preparing your face for your next make up look, the first thing that needs to be done is to start on a clean face. Remove any makeup, cleanse your face, and make sure you prime your face as well; primer is really great at enhancing makeup and making it last longer.

Next, add on foundation. Make sure it’s the right color that matches your skin tone, more so your neck. You could apply foundation with a beauty blender, or a brush, making sure to pat it on, not dragging it.

After the foundation, you want to apply concealer. The purpose of concealer is to brighten and conceal (covering up any dark marks or scars). Apply concealer underneath your eyes, on your forehead, and also on your chin. Concealer is suppose to blend in with your foundation.

Next, you want to do your eyebrows. Fill them in and shape it to your liking with a brow pencil or powder. Set your eyebrows with a jel.

You want to set your face next. If you want long lasting, crease free makeup, set your face with a translucent powder, or a powder that matches your skin tone. It’s better to use a brush to apply your powder.

These next things are pretty optional:

Get some lotion, before they start roasting

Winter is now approaching, weather is changing, and skin is getting dry. Walking outside is a constant struggle for people with sensative skin. As the weather temperature drops, the water in your skin starts to evaporat, and this leaves your skin feeling dry and tight, giving your skin a white flaky look.

Although having dry skin can be a hasssle, there are ways around having it and giving you that sensation of smooth skin again. If you are dealing with dry skin, bring moisturizing lotion to school. Some lotions that will keep your skin moisturized during the day include brands such as: Palmers Cocoa Butter, Tree Hut Cocoanut Lime Shea Body Butter, and Cetaphil Moistirizing Cream. These brands are great for hydrating and shining your skin. If you have dry lips try Carmex; it always does the job.

Never be embarrassed for having dry skin or asking someone for lotion – everyone deals with dry skin during the winter. Being in Minnesota, a very cold climate does not make things easy for anyone. To find reasonably priced moisturizers you can go to your local Dollar Tree, Walgreens, Cub Foods, and Bath and Body Works. They have great deals and more for your bank.

Let’s start off to a good winter feeling moisturized and soft.

Holiday life hacks

The holidays can be crazy- but don’t worry! These life hacks will help your holidays go right, and add some extra pizzazz!

#1- Holiday light storage

Sick of tangled lights? All you need to store them right is some clothing hangers. When you’re done with your lights for the season, simply wrap them on the hanger and hang them in the closet until next year.

#2- Tree sap remover

When handling a real tree, things can get pretty sticky. If you get tree sap on your hands, you can actually use toothpaste to remove it. Minty!

#3- Fluff up your fake tree

Alternatively, you can also use green tinsel to fill out your fake tree. If live greenery isn’t your thing, and your fake tree isn’t up to par, grab some green tinsel and wrap it around the inside of your artificial tree to make it a little more bushy.

#4- Gift card balance

If you’ve ever received a gift card as a present, you know that it can be a struggle trying to keep track of how much money is left on it. To fix this problem, just put a file label sticker on the gift card (not over the barcode!) and write the amount left on the card in pencil. That way, you can erase the pencil whenever you use the gift card.

#5- Wrapping paper scraps

Got small wrapping paper pieces? Instead of trying to wrap them all back on the big roll, store small bits of wrapping paper on an old toilet paper roll to keep them organized.

#6- Gift wrapping pro

This last hack is super easy, but will make your gifts look professionally wrapped. Instead of using normal tape to wrap your gifts, use double-sided tape. It will make the presents look seamless!

How to prepare yourself for the cold weather

By: Maggie Alarcon

Getting ready for the long winter, and adjusting to it, can be hard. That’s why you should prepare yourself. Here are a few tips to stay warm.

Dress appropriately:

Layer up, although you might think that big winter jumpers are the way to go, wearing layers of thin clothes will keep you warmer as they trap body heat. Another simple thing you can do is wear gloves and hats and scarfs. Don’t leave the house without being all covered up.

Drink hot drinks:

Drinks like coffee, hot chocolate, and hot tea will also help keep you warm, especially if you are outside at an event or walking. You want be drinking something hot. Clothing only helps trap the heat your body produces and that is what keeps you warm.

Anytime you get cold, the single best strategy for rewarming is to start moving or increase your pace. Just be prepared and always check the weather before going out.

Morphe grand opening

Morphe (a brand of makeup) just had its biggest in-store launch at the Mall of America on Nov. 3rd. To celebrate the grand opening, makeup artist and beauty blogger, James Charles, made an appearance at the ribbon cutting, and also announced his first collaboration with the beauty brand.

There was also a meet and greet, on a first come first serve basis, and only the first 250 people received a wristband allowing them to join the festivities.

Some of the festivities included getting autographs, taking pictures with Charles, and getting some makeup advice from him.

The store in the Mall of America is the first brick and mortar mall store for Morphe. They started as an online company, and had one stand alone location in California. So the opening of this store was kind of a big deal.

Charles, is well known as the first male cover model, and he has used that fame to start a Youtube channel with over 5 million subscribers. He is known for his makeup tips and tutorials.

 

Halloween tips

Halloween is one of the more spooky days of the year, but do you want to know what the real threat during Halloween is? It’s not ghosts or killer clowns, it’s being unsafe. 

It’s believed that Halloween started as a Celtic holiday with pagan origins. People believed that on one night of the year, the veil between the spirit world and our’s lifted, allowing spirits to visit us. People would leave food and drink offerings, and would wear masks so the ghouls would believe that they were also a spirit. It was also believed that deceased family members would come and visit their family.

But now that you know a little bit about the history, you should also know that safety on Halloween isn’t just for little kids. So, here are some ways you can be safe on Halloween.

Crime rates spike up on three holidays; New Year’s Eve, Independence Day, and Halloween. In Boston and Canada, they had a 50% increase in crime on October 31st. Drinking rates don’t go up during Halloween, definitely not as much as on Saint Patrick’s Day, but even then don’t go out late at night in all black.

That being said, make sure you don’t get distracted while driving if you plan on going out on Halloween. Most kids are instructed to wear reflective gear, but you never know. Just follow basic safe driving tips like don’t text and drive, and don’t get distracted in general.

Also, if you’re getting candy, make sure it’s safe for you to eat. Especially, make sure it’s free of any allergens that you might want to be aware of.

If you’re wearing a costume, make sure you can see clearly, that you can breathe, and that you won’t overheat easily.

If you’re going to a haunted house, make sure you don’t assault the workers, or ruin the decorations. If you’re a jumpy person, and you think if someone jumps out at you that you’ll bop them right in the nose, maybe don’t go to a haunted house. Don’t even punch a worker or break the spooky decorations just for fun.

Lastly, know your limits. Don’t do anything if it makes you too scared. It’s totally okay to stay inside during the night of Hallow’s Eve, and not do anything remotely spooky.

But the most important thing is to have fun. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing if you’re not having fun.

Have a fun Halloween!

 

 

Cheap online clothing stores: Are they a scam?

By: Alivia Arredondo, Piper Gallivan, and Alani Bayon

There are many online stores out there, whether it’s for toys, mechanical parts, or something else, but most people shop online for clothes. There are a some websites that a few people have questions about how trustworthy they are. Since the prices are very inexpensive on these sites, many worry about the brands being scams, whether or not the quality of the clothes is good, and much more. We put two of the many available stores to the test: Shein and Romwe. Here are our results.

Clothes ordered from Shein:

*Note: The blue shirt we ordered is no longer available, so there is no picture for that

 

 

 

 

 

Images taken from: http://m.shein.com/us/?ref=www&rep=dir&ret=mus

Clothes Ordered from Romwe: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images taken from: https://us.romwe.com/user/orders/detail/RWAZP34519

Shipping

Shein

The shipping time for Shein’s products can be a little deceiving. When you first add things to your cart and look how long it will take, it says 6-8 days. This seems like a reasonable time frame, and I gave it a little wiggle room so that it would come in time for my upcoming trip to New York. I got a link to track my package and I checked that every few days. After about a week, it still had not left the first processing facility, so I became suspicious and checked their shipping FAQ area, on a separate website, for information about their company. It turns out that the 6-8 days were for the processing time frame, and shipping would take another 3-7. I went back to my cart and realized it said 6-8 days to ship, which technically isn’t wrong. This was very annoying because they had laid out the information to make it seem like a much better process, and I bought into it. Even taking into account the 15 maximum days it should have taken to arrive, it still took about 20 days to arrive, a few days after I had already gotten back from the trip I originally ordered the clothes for.

Romwe

Shipping for Romwe surprised me, and actually came on time. My order was processed within the 4-5 days, as the website said it would be, and arrived one week later, which was the latest the website said it would arrive. However, once you purchased the item and it said it was being shipped, there was no way to track where your order was, so you had no idea whether or not your order was close to arriving. On some websites, you have the option to return certain items but on Romwe you cannot return swimsuits and other items listed on their website such as underwear.

Prices

Shein

The prices on Shein seemed very hard to beat, especially considering how cute and trendy the clothes looked. I would compare it to the lower side of the prices you can get at Forever 21. Most tops, pants, and accessories were under $10, and outerwear and shoes were under $20. I ordered a windbreaker jacket, 2 t-shirts, and 2 nicer tops; one cutout suede short sleeve, and a short sleeve with mesh and embroidered flowers at the top. All of this was $39 including tax, which is very cheap especially considering I got 2 tops on the fancier side.

Romwe

Prices on Romwe were very cheap compared to other stores. A normal cute swimsuit at any other store from, Target, PacSun, or Aerie, can range from $20-40 for just one part of a swimsuit like a top or bottom. At Romwe, you could purchase the whole swimsuit (top and bottom or one piece) from anywhere between $5-12. These prices were unbelievably cheap compared to regular suit prices. Also, the cost of shipping was free if you paid over $50 on that website. In general, buying one full swimsuit, from a traditional store, could cost you up to $60; on Romwe I purchased 6 suits for $60.

Fit

Shein

The reviews on the items I ordered usually suggested to order the clothes a few sizes up, so I did that for every item. The first shirt I ordered was a normal light blue T-shirt one size up from what I would usually get. It fit fine, but the only issue was that it was very cropped which I was not expecting. It was not a shirt I was going to be able to wear anytime soon in Minnesota, and maybe never because you could basically see the underwire of the bra I was wearing. I checked back at the website and there was no indication that it would be cropped, and no pictures on an actual model to see for reference.

Romwe

The swimsuits themselves really weren’t consistent with their sizes online. When you are purchasing an item on Romwe you can see the size chart and use that to help determine what size you are. However, this size chart didn’t prove to be accurate. All of the bottoms I ordered fit perfectly fine. The tops are another story. Some of the tops I ordered were way too big, to the point where I could wrap it around by body twice, and some were way too small. Two out of the 6 tops I ordered actually fit right. As for the others, they didn’t fit well and looked frumpy. Since you can’t return swimsuits, I was unable to return them and get my money back.

Quality

Shein

The quality wasn’t terrible. For getting each thing for under $10 dollars I was pretty surprised on how they turned out. Obviously, it isn’t the same quality as more expensive brands like PacSun or American Eagle. I would again say Shein is most similar to Forever 21 quality. Nothing was actually see through, which is always a risk when ordering things that cheap. The only thing I had issues with was the windbreaker. The material was something similar to a tent, and did not seem like it would protect against the cold. Overall, you get what you pay for, and you can’t expect great quality, but for what it is, Shein did a pretty good job.

Romwe

The quality of the swimsuits weren’t bad. Obviously, since they are so cheap, they aren’t amazing quality. None of the bottoms or tops were see through, and the stitching was well intact. However, there was no way to adjust the straps. On most suits you can adjust the straps to better fit your body but the swimsuits from Romwe did not have this option. Also, on many of the swimsuits, the clip in the back was very strangely placed so that once you had it on, it would ride all the way up your back and look really weird. The quality of the bottoms were all just fine. They weren’t uncomfortable to wear and didn’t feel cheap, so overall the quality was mediocre.

Appearance

Shein

The actual appearance of the items was pretty varied on what I ordered. Two of my items, the flower mesh top and the windbreaker, looked just like the pictures, but the blue T-shirt and the suede top were a different story. Like I previously said, the blue T-shirt was actually a crop top, so that did not follow the description on the website. The suede shirt was a completely different color than the rusty pink on the website, it was more just a light brown color. So, none of the items were completely different than what I had ordered, but it didn’t always completely match the description.

Romwe

Compared to their online images, the swimsuits all looked the same. They were all the right colors and patterns as they looked on Romwe. However, unlike normal online websites, there was no model or a picture of a person with the swimsuit, which would have been nice to have. For example, online the suit looked perfectly fine but when tried on, it turned out the swimsuit was much more revealing then it seemed to be, which was a problem. In general, the swimsuits had the right colors and patterns as promised but not necessarily the fit.

All-in-all, you should be cautious about how your online clothes might turn out. They may sugarcoat on how their products are. You should take these experiences into consideration before you order from Shein or Romwe. Order at your own risk, and keep in mind what measurements are listed, and that it might not turn out as you planned it to.