Friday, March 27, 2015

College Poor No More! 100 $avings Tips for College Students by Michelle Perry Higgins


College Poor No More! 100 $avings Tips for College Students 
by Michelle Perry Higgins

Genres: Non-Fiction / Self-Help / Money / Finance

I went to K-Mart during the beginning of my freshman year to buy a bike for campus. There were other students who were standing outside the discount department store with Huffy bikes. "We're poor college students," one of them remarked as she popped up the bike stand with her foot.

At about $70 a pop, Huffy bikes were still an investment. She was quoting an archetype of the college student, and she was not referring to the trust fund baby.

College students have the reputation of being broke (or buried in debt), but does it always have to be this way?

College Poor No More contains 100 different ways to save money, making it a great introduction and overview to saving money for the college student. 100% of Michelle's profits from this book will go to providing scholarships for deserving students.

The money-saving tips are divided into sections:
  • Managing Your Money (banking, credit)
  • Hitting the Shops  
  • Cooking, Eating, and Drinking 
  • Social Life
  • Day-to-Day Living
  • Housing
  • Travel
  • Life Hacks
  • Professional Matters (getting a job/internship)
  • Welcome to the Real World
Each tip takes up only one or two pages, so the book is overall a fast and easy read. I can flip through it whenever I have a few moments to myself. Every few pages, there is a comic or two about saving money. They're cute and the info is easy to digest, especially when so many budget books out there can come across as intimidating to the novice.

There are also genius tips that I wish I had come across while I was in college, especially #22: "Purchase School Supplies on an 'As Needed' Basis". I took an art class in which varying (and expensive) art supplies were listed on the syllabus. Ultimately, I ended up using about 30% of them and was stuck with a bunch of unused art supplies by the end of the quarter. 

Throughout the book, there are other resourceful tips that are brilliant and useful to a college student, such as ideas for saving money on printer ink and dorm decorations. 

College Poor No More would make a great gift to any college student. Even people who are normally can use a reminder every now and then, especially in the middle of so much advertisement and overpriced goods on campus. I have succumbed countless times to the overpriced temptations of convenience drinks and snacks. 

The book comes out on May 1st, but you can pre-order it online on Amazon.  

My Rating: 5/5

Find out more about College Poor No More! 100 $aving Tips for College Students by Michelle Perry Higgins on:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

DEFIANT: A Dystopian Trio of Novellas by Mara Li, Jen Minkman, and Lis Lucassen


Defiant. When the civilization you live in turns out to be a giant, messed-up deception, what do you do? Each of the teens in these three novellas (translated by Jen Minkman) rises up to defy the rigid social order of their worlds. 

The Defiant collection of three dystopian novellas comes out today on March 26, 2015! Woot!

Genre(s):

Young Adult / Dystopian / Action / Racism / Historical

Meet the Defiant


Meet Emma in The Red Messenger by Mara Li, whose twin sister Sophie recently died in a mysterious accident. She lives in an alternate reality in which the Nazis took over Germany. Think: a world with email, internet, and electricity coexisting with the continued torture of Jews tucked away in concentration camps and ghettos. Emma finds out that there was more to Sophie than she'd previously known...

Meet Leia in The Island by Jen Minkman, a strong-willed teenager who grows up in an isolated island society with rules and traditions based on one pre-apocalyptic book (Star Wars) that preached about the Force.  An aggressive young leader named Saul holds his power over the children using the doctrines of the Force. Leia must uncover the mystery behind that holy book...

Meet Justa in The Tribunal by Lis Lucassen, who lives in a post-World War IV society torn into two classes: Sectorals (the blond and light-colored ruling class) and Stateless (folks with more melanin, apparently). "Segregation is needed to maintain the established order. The Sectorate therefore upholds Inequality in order to prevent future uprisings...One exception only to Sectorial Segregation is acknowledged - before the Tribunal, all are equal." 

My Thoughts & Comments About Each Defiant Novella


The Red Messenger by Mara Li

I had learned about World War II concentration camps while I was in middle school, but I never imagined a dystopian world in which similar racism-induced horrors take place, but with modern and digital technology. This is a great concept, and I think it was well executed overall, with the exception of a few instances of plot-induced stupidity on the part of Emma that were used to push the story forward. The issues of racism and state-enforced athiesm are covered in this book. 

As an American, I was surprised at first about how directly this novella tackled the issue of the Jewish concentration camps, but then I realized that the Netherlands were deeply affected by the existence of Jewish death camps during the Second World War. 75% of the Jewish population was deported from the Netherlands to these concentration camps, and many Dutch authorities collaborated with the Nazis to achieve this. This is a painful part of the Netherlands' history, and I think this novel draws very well from the horrors of that era. The last part of the novella felt like it was straight from the 1940s. 

The Island by Jen Minkman

A wall divides the island, and there are rumors of the Other society living in it, called the Fools. When a mysterious guy washes up ashore one day, Leia's world is totally rocked as she comes to understand the truth behind her society. This is a civilization built by children after an epidemic wiped out most, if not all of the adults in the world. I didn't like the idea of a society built around a Star Wars book for kiddos, but I liked the novella explores how a society built by children would be like after a few generations. 

The Tribunal by Lis Lucassen

This one reads like a good courtroom drama. In light of Trayvon Martin's death and the 2014 Ferguson unrest in the United States, the theme of a lower-classed person being screwed over by a law system purports to be fair corresponds strongly with both historical and current events. The Tribunal explores the issues of racism, bias, and corruption in a law-based society which is segregated by color. 

Overall Rating for Defiant: 4/5



Find out more about Defiant, a collection of three novellas by Netherlands authors Mara Li, Jen Minkman, and Lis Lucassen:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Interview with Chef Stephanie Izard: The First Pinterest Cookbook

Chef Stephanie Izard

Bravo’s Top Chef Winner, Chef Stephanie Izard is helping to create the first-ever Pinterest cookbook, and you can help inspire which recipes will go into that cookbook.  

Chef Izard will create five scrumptious recipes from the 20 most-liked combinations featured on the “Lay’s Wavy Recipe Inspirations” Pinterest page. The cookbook will include 40 recipes determined by fans and inspired by different flavors of Lay’s Wavy potato chips. First 20 recipes available for download this May.  

Chef and partner of two award-winning Chicago restaurants Girl & the Goat and Little Goat, Stephanie Izard will be putting her unique twist on an array of everyday dishes for the Pinterest cookbook. 

Below is the interview on video, and also included is a transcript of the more relevant parts in the conversation.  

CNYou graduated with a degree in sociology before entering the culinary program at Le Cordon Bleu...I was wondering how you reached that decision to go into culinary school. Did you go right away or did you take some time of soul searching after you graduated? 

Chef: I actually ended up going just after college. I really enjoyed studying sociology, and I just had a lot of fun in college. I went to University of Michigan, so [there were] lots of football games and such. But what I really wanted to do, and I could really feel that I wanted to get into restaurant industry, so right after graduation, I left the cold of Michigan and I went down into Arizona where I went to Le Cordon Bleu where I went to culinary school. As soon as I got into school, I just felt like I had found something I was in love with. But I'm glad I went to college first and got all those experiences.  

CN: Since you started working after you won Top Chef, what are some of the craziest requests that you have received from guests, while working at the Girl & the Goat and the Little Goat?  

Chef: Crazy requests...I've had a couple of people ask me to propose for them, or alongside them, like bring a ring to them while they're proposing and that makes me so nervous. It's a wedding ring! I don't want to drop it. I'm happy to come over and say, "Congratulations!" and be part in that way, and not carrying the ring, that just makes me too nervous. [Laughs.]  

CN: [Laughs.] That's really special though, you get to take place in that important moment in their lives. What are some of your favorite parts of working as a chef? 

Chef: The different opportunities that I get, that I get to travel for events. For food and wine, I get to go to Aspen, and in Miami I get to hang out with other chefs, meet with them and get inspiration and such. And doing fun and different projects, partnering up with different folks for creating different recipes and things like that. Lots of things that just keep me on my toes all the time.  

CN: Cool. Traveling with different projects is really exciting.  

Chef: Yeah, it's great when I'm home, and restaurants, and running those, but getting to leave every once in a while and seeing what else is going on in the country is really important, and it's a lot of fun. 

CN: Absolutely. So those are the best parts about working as a chef. How about the most frustrating parts?
 

Chef: Working as a chef, the hours are a bit crazy, so finding that balance in life between working 12-15 hours a day and plus I'm eating all day, and time for my family and gym is always a challenge. When you find the career you really want to follow, you have to really love it to get into it.  

CN: It's a commitment. 

Chef: Exactly. 

CN: That's interesting that you mention that you're eating all day because you have to taste all day. 

Chef: Yeah. It isn't a bad thing, tasting everything I make. But I definitely have to balance it with going for a walk in the morning, or things like that.  

CN: That's true. Your cookbook, The Girl in the Kitchen, came out in 2011. What was your favorite part in the process of putting together that cookbook? 

Chef: For that cookbook, it was the fun of actually getting into the kitchen and creating the recipes. I had my co-author sit there while I was making the recipes and write down notes so that we could make sure every little step would translate into the book, and give tips to home cooks to make it a little simpler in the home kitchen.  

CN: Nice. Where do you get the creative inspiration for your recipes? 

Chef: I get creative inspiration from all over. Some of it's through traveling, which I mentioned that I get out there to travel a little bit. When I don't have time, I go through other cookbooks to flip through and going to the farmer's market, which I'm sure you have some amazing ones in San Diego, and looking online like on Pinterest, where there are so many recipes and so many food inspiration photos, where people can get inspiration for cooking at home too.  

CN: Absolutely, oh, god, Pinterest. So many...I dunno. The place is full of food porn, full of recipes. Can you tell us about your exciting new project to create the first ever Pinterest cookbook? 

Chef: I'm working with Lays Wavy to create the first ever Pinterest cookbook, so the best part of it is that fans get to participate and help me get inspiration for the recipes. So they just go to pinterest.com/layswavy. There are pictures from different dishes, from deviled eggs to doughnuts, to sushi--all partnered up with a different flavor of Lays Wavy, from Hickory BBQ to ranch to cheddar. Some of them might seem a little out there, a little obscure, and I think those are the best ones to pin. Fans get to pin their favorite combinations, and I'm going to take those as inspiration for recipes for the cookbook. So pick the crazy ones, give me a challenge, I think it will be so much fun. 

CN: Wow, that is really new. 

Chef: It's fun that the fans get to participate, whether they're going to pick the ones that look delicious, or the ones that look a little bit too crazy. 

CN: What's your favorite flavor of Lays chips? 

Chef: I'm a cheddar person all the way. I thought that I loved ranch, and I love ranch in almost everything, but there's something about the tanginess of the cheddar chips, and I chose them to make my first recipe in the book. I actually have in front of me a bowl of the crumbled topping that I made, and it's got a little bit of oats, a little bit of sweetness, so Chedder Lays Wavy baked right inside, so super crunch and a little sweet, a little savory, and it's good on just about anything, from pancakes to ice cream, to yogurt. 

CN: Ice cream and chips. Now that's creativity right there. I saw that recipe, I think I might actually try it because I love toppings in my ice cream.  

Chef: Yeah, it's really tasty. I think the little extra crunch makes all the difference.  

CN: I personally like the BBQ flavor of the Lays. And also the cheddar. I think it's hard to find a cheddar chip that I don't like.  

Chef: I agree. I think they have great BBQ ones because you can just slip them into your turkey sandwich and it tastes like you're eating bacon.  

CN: Thank you! And when will the cookbook be available? 

Chef: It's going to be available--the first 20 recipes in May, and then another 20 in the fall. So you can taste things from both seasons, spring and fall.  

***

This article and interview is also posted on College News Magazine.