Insight News

May 29th


Save money - Buy less

Save money - Buy lessLast Night I stayed up too late watching the addicting cable television show, “Clean House”. Hosted by the quick-witted actress, comedienne, Miss Niecy Nash, the show sets out to rescue homeowners from overflowing clutter that has taken over their homes-and their lives. The families apparently struggle with buying and hoarding, regardless of whether or not they need it. Although your home may not be a candidate for the “Clean House” show (yet), most of us have been guilty of buying things we don’t really need or want. If left unchecked, this issue can turn your home into a dumping ground, and drain your bank account and your peace. Here are a few money-saving (and common sense) questions to ask yourself before hitting the stores and bringing more stuff into your living space.

Learning to Stay: The 12 Keys

Learning to Stay: The 12 Keys“Learning to Stay is a book of self-discovery, change, growth and transitions. It’s intended to restore your mind and relationships to wholeness, thus creating harmony and peace within your soul… Through personal development and mentorship, I’ve discovered ways to change my limiting beliefs that manifested through undesirable behaviors. .. My passion is to prove that anyone, no matter who you are, can change and be a whole person.” -- Excerpted from the Introduction (pgs. 1-3)

Over the past couple of years, I’ve literally been inundated with books offering dating advice to the African-American community. I suppose this cottage industry of love gurus has sprung up in response to a need for more stable relationships, evidenced by the fact that over 80% of black kids are currently being raised in single parent households. Some of the authors have been credentialed therapists, others simply self-appointed survivors of the battle-of-the-sexes now ready to recount how they found fulfillment in a lurid tell-all.

The public library-A great place for students to camp out

The public library-A great place for students to camp outIt seems unbelievable that we have only about a month of summer vacation left! Where has the time gone? If you have kids, you may already be dreaming of the day when they are back in school, rather than being home and complaining about boredom. If all of the scheduled summer camps are over and you are nearly out of ideas for keeping your young ones out of trouble and mentally stimulated, check out all of the wonderful, free offerings at your local library.

Cool Book Clubs: Throughout the entire year, the Hennepin county library system has book clubs available for all ages and all interests; Kids Book Club, Kids Jr. Book Clubs, Teen-Only Clubs, Girls-Only Clubs, etc. For instance, your son, in the 4th through 6th grade can join the Guys Read Books Club and discuss preselected books which capture the interest of boys in his age group. The same options are, of course, available for your girls. This is an excellent way to build their reading and communication skills.

Girls’ (budget) night out-$20 martini and mani

Girls’ (budget) night out-$20 martini and maniHave you been looking for a new idea for girls’ night out? If so, then look no further than the Minneapolis W Hotel. For only $20, you and your girls can receive a Martini and Manicure. I see you rolling your eyes and saying, “Can $20 really give me a girls’ night to remember at a swanky downtown hotel?” I too was a little skeptical, so of course I had to test it out. The girls and I went last Thursday and we had a great time! For several hours, we did just what girls of every age love to do-eat and drink, laugh and talk too much, share and solve each other’s minor personal challenges, and admire and encourage each other to be our personal best. If that sounds like your kind of night, then read this quickly because like all good deals, this fun and cheap offer is available for a limited time only!

The idea for this evening all started when my girlfriend opened an email about a $20 Martini and Manicure (or chair massage) Special happening at the Living Room Bar of the W Hotel. Knowing that we all could use a night out together, she emailed her group of girlfriends to see how many were interested and then made the reservation. In total, around 12 women showed up. We had such a great time that we’re already planning to go back next month!

Look and Feel Good at Aveda Institute

Look and Feel Good at Aveda Institute Right now, I am sitting in the reception area at Aveda Institute Minneapolis.  My ten-year-old daughter, Arianna, is having her hair washed, blow-dried, and flat-ironed.  No, I haven’t abandoned the straightening comb(s); they are all stored safely under my kitchen sink (exactly where my mama used to keep hers).  It’s just that sometimes this mama needs a break from doing all that hair, and at only $15 for the service-the price is right (you know that it’s always about getting that deal and I figure this was a good one).

Not familiar with Aveda Institute?   Briefly, it’s a high-end beauty school that offers hair care, facials, and massage treatments, using their own (really good) plant-based products.  Yes, their low-cost offering of the full salon and spa experience has only one small-ish catch: the stylists/students are practicing on you!  But wait; don’t let that tiny fact send you running in the other direction quite yet.  You just may find that (at least a few of) the students know their stuff!

A night on the Town-Unwinding with good Friends and Good Music

A night on the Town-Unwinding with good Friends and Good MusicDo you know Bruce Henry? Well you should-in the musical, sense, that is. I was just introduced to his talent about six months ago. He is this wonderfully versatile jazz singer who my husband and I --along with good friends-- had the pleasure of seeing a few Saturdays past at the Dakota Club. I wish you could have been there, too! It felt less like a performance and more like a party, where one of your dear friends just happened to be a world-class vocalist. There was so much excitement, anticipation, and love in the air as Henry had us singing, clapping and dancing in our seats right along with him. It was my idea of a perfect (and healthy) ending to a long and busy week; unwinding in the presence of soul-stirring live music, good food, and good friends.

Save $$ by Checking on your Sump Pump

Save $$ by Checking on your Sump PumpIt was late Monday morning and I was walking my husband outside to his car; he was headed to the airport for a business trip in St. Louis. I looked around the side of my house and noticed that someone had apparently left the outside water spigot on-all night. “I’m gonna get those kids!” I thought. I told my husband that we should go down to the basement to make sure no water had trickled in.

Before I got to the bottom of the stairs, it was clear that it was not just a trickle. The area rugs were floating in water. My mind could not figure out how this much water could be in our basement, but the only thing to do at that point was to grab a bucket and start bailing! Long story short, we found out that our sump pump in our less-than-two-year-old house was no longer working, which caused our basement to flood. Thankfully, we had not yet finished our basement, so our losses were not as great as they could have been. So here’s my question to you: have you checked your sump pump lately? If your answer is, “What’s a sump pump?” you probably need answers to the questions below; it could save you big bucks in the long run.
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