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As a young adult, credit becomes crazy important.

You need it to help you with your first big grown-up purchases like a car, home, appliances, or education. A line of credit also allows you to buy everyday things you need like groceries and toiletries when your bank account drains between paydays. Having this small amount of temporary debt actually improves your credit rating, as long as you pay it back in a timely fashion. But a lot of us get bogged down with bills until our credit becomes crazy low.

This post is sponsored by Lexington Law. All opinions are 100% my own!

Luckily, you don’t have to get stuck with your bad credit score forever! This quick and painless method improves your credit to help you get approved for loans and credit cards in the future. In this post, I’ll help you understand everything you need to know about your credit score and how Lexington Law’s credit repair services can help you out fast!

Credit: 777546 via Pixabay What Is A Credit Score, Anyway?

So first thing’s first. Before we can talk about fixing your credit, we need to establish what a credit score is in the first place. This number comes from a history of your entire financial history. It’s sort of like your permanent record in school.

Because it doesn’t focus on just your recent transactions, it can be hard to fix credit quickly, but more on that later. Many different things go into calculating your credit score. The factor that affects your rating the most is your payment history, i.e. how good you are about paying your bills on time. The amount of debt you currently have is also pretty important.

Just like at a job, the amount of “experience” you have with financial transactions (determined by how long your financial history is) also factors into your credit rating. Lenders also look at how much new credit you are using, from opening new bank accounts to signing up for credit cards.

Finally, the type of credit you have affects your credit rating. Scores will be different for people with credit card debt versus a mortgage or student loans. If all of that sounded confusing and you want to leave, hear me out. Credit ratings are nothing more than a financial report card, but one that you can change over time.

How Do I Know If I Have Bad Credit?

The short answer is that if your credit rating is below 560, you have bad credit. But what does that even mean? Often people who have low credit scores simply have some financial habits that are considered undesirable to lenders. For instance, not paying your bills on time kills your rating because institutions want to get their money back in a timely manner. Even if you always pay on time, though, holding outstanding debt lowers your score.

Lenders fear you won’t be able to pay them back if you already owe a lot to someone else. While it’s okay to open a new credit card or account now and then, avoid starting lots of new forms of credit all at once. This can make you look desperate for fast money which turns lenders off.

Having a longer financial history improves your score because it shows you know how the game works and won’t get confused when it comes time to pay back your debts. Though it doesn’t hold a ton of weight in your credit score, the kind of credit you use plays a part.

Consistent forms of credit like car payments and student loans make you seem more stable than credit card debt that goes up and down each month. Lenders definitely prefer to give their money to people who seem stable and responsible.

Credit: Lexington Law Why Does Your Credit Rating Even Matter?

Here’s the thing.

Your credit score matters a lot more than you might think. The main purpose of a credit rating is to show lenders how much of a risk you are. That means if you need a mortgage to buy a house, a loan to buy a car, or even want to open a new credit card, the lender will make their decision based on your credit score.

If you have bad credit, they are more likely to charge you crazy interest rates to ensure they don’t lose money. They also might simply not approve your request at all. Bummer!

But that’s not all!

Credit ratings don’t just affect your financial transactions. Lots of other people in your life judge you by your credit score and you might not even know it. For instance, landlords often choose a tenant with a good credit score so they know they’ll get paid on time.

Insurance companies may view a low credit score as being a reckless person in general, leading to higher insurance premiums. Bad credit can even negatively affect your job search! Some employers see a low credit score as a reflection of your inability to be responsible and hard-working.

Bye-Bye Bad Credit Score!

Thankfully, credit scores are constantly changing. With every financial transaction you do, your rating changes slightly. The faster and more consistently you make payments on your current debt, the better your score will be. But what if you need a faster credit fix?

For those who are looking to take out a loan or open a new credit card, you need to improve your credit quickly. You can raise your credit rating almost instantly by engaging in credit disputes. This means that you feel parts of your financial history don’t accurately reflect your credit risk to lenders.

You can launch an investigation into certain items that affect your credit score and even get them permanently removed. This boosts your credit rating so it’s truer to your real credit habits. That’s where a credit repair service comes in.

Credit: Lexington Law Lexington Law Can Fix Your Credit Fast

One awesome example of a credit repair company is Lexington Law. With attorneys admitted to states all over the country, Lexington Law is one of the top credit repair companies that can help you start your journey to credit improvement.

They’ve helped get literally millions of unfair and inaccurate transactions from late payments to bankruptcies removed from people’s financial histories, which, if everything else stays the same, can boost their credit score.

The best part?

Lexington Law isn’t some fly-by-night operation that promises credit fixes that are too good to be true. They use real lawyers and legitimate, legal methods to challenge and dispute negative financial transactions on your history.

They know that you have the right to question any item on your credit history to verify that your report is fair, accurate, and substantiated. The legal team also knows that if it can’t be verified by the creditor, it legally has to be removed.

Working through the credit repair process on your own is time-consuming and confusing.. Instead, Lexington Law does the hard work for you so you can get on with your financial future!

Get Started Now!

Whether you are in tons of debt or just looking to take out a loan, you may find yourself thinking “How to fix my credit?” Turns out it’s a lot easier than you might think to engage Lexington Law and get started.

With Lexington Law’s credit repair services, you’ll see them working on your behalf as soon as possible. They can help you get rid of transactions that don’t reflect your financial reality so your credit rating shows the real you!

You can learn more about Lexington Law and their credit repair services here.

Resources:

Lexington Law

What Is a Credit Score?

What Is a Bad Credit Score?

Credit Repair Education

Fix Bad Credit

How Lexington Law’s Credit Repair Works

The post How To Improve Your Credit Today With Lexington Law appeared first on Miss Millennia Magazine - Big Sister Advice for Millennials.

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If you are good at your job, then you will be in an excellent position to keep it. If you are not good at your job, or if you don’t make an effort when it is required then you will only be setting yourself up for failure, and this is something that you will want to avoid. For this reason, if you want to excel at your job or if you want to do everything you can to get the best result out of your career then you can find out everything you need to know, below.

Make Sure You’re Adaptable

When you go to work, you have to make sure that you are adaptable. Your working environment is always going to be changing, and the way that you work may not be the same this year as it will be next year. For this reason, it’s a good idea that you not only maintain the quality of your work but that you try and improve it. When you do this, your boss will think highly of you, and it may even open you up to new career opportunities as well. If you are concerned that you are not going to advance in your job or if you don’t think that you can try harder than you already are then one way for you to get around this would be for you to talk to your boss.

This is something that you shouldn’t be afraid of doing, and you can even ask for pointers on how you can improve as well. When you do this, you can easily get a clear idea of where you’re going wrong, and even if you’re going wrong at all. You can also try and take an online training course to learn any new regulations, or even to meet any required training qualifications. An online RN MSN course is a great example here, and it is ideal if you work in the nursing/healthcare industry.

It helps to develop a relationship with the people who are seen as being authoritative in your chosen field. Think about it, who do you hang out with the most? What can you do to connect with other people? By doing this, you can have people in place if you ever need help and support and it is a great way for you to make the most out of your connections. If you know that there are people higher up in your job then try and follow them on Twitter, talk about points of interest and speak to them about your position. By showing an interest in other people, they will then start to show an interest in you, and this is a brilliant way for you to boost your job performance. You may find that they can help you to better your own working experience and they can also tell you any pointers you need to get that promotion. This will also help you with your job security as well.

Be Different

If you want to be seen as a thought leader in your industry, then you have to make sure that you are doing everything you can to be innovative. You also have to make sure that you don’t conform to the traditional way of thinking. Remember that it is okay to question any preconceived notions from time to time and that it is more than acceptable for you to go the extra mile when it comes to your company goals.

Remember that creativity is admired in the workplace, so try and volunteer and help out events. You can even try and contribute to any late evenings. If you know that your company has a blog, offer to write for it and become a spokesperson for your company. The main thing that you have to remember here is that you are a part of a team and that if you do everything you can to stand out, then you can be sure to go on and achieve great things.

Prioritise

You may feel overwhelmed when it comes to your workload, but if you are continually facing your concerns, then they will never get the better of you. If you are feeling like things are just getting too much then try and work out what the most important things for you to do are. Ask yourself, will do what you are doing now make your job better? Will it make you better at your job? Will you be able to make a difference if you pursue another objective?

If you feel as though someone else can handle the less-important matters for you, then don’t be afraid to let them and always rely on others for support. Quite often, people try and handle everything themselves, and they struggle to take care of everything as a result. If you rely on other people, or if you delegate then you can go on to achieve even more in your position, and you will be recognized for it as well.

Keep Updated

Innovation is one of the most important factors when it comes to your company and

Therefore you have to do everything you can to thrive. You need to have a competitive advantage, and you also need to know exactly where your company stands at all times. Quite often, employees find themselves unemployed because they don’t know the situation with their company. The company could have been going under for months, so make it your business to know this information and do everything you can to offer support.

If you can think of a way to make things more efficient, then make sure that you voice this, try and go to meetings and always make sure that your co-workers are on-point. There is nothing worse than doing everything you can to help out your company, only to find that other people do not have the same passion that you do. Instead of getting frustrated by this, try and motivate them and get everybody in the same boat. This will show you as being a leader in your industry, and it is a great way for you to bring everybody together. Your boss will see this, and it will go in favor of you if the time to let people go comes along.

The post How To Excel at Work: Being Better at Your Job appeared first on Miss Millennia Magazine - Big Sister Advice for Millennials.

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Ugh, taxes. Literally one of my least favorite things to do. In fact, I can’t think of a single person who has enjoyed doing taxes. And rightfully so. We all have that dread that we will make that one wrong move or accidentally forgetting to add some information. BOOM! You are being audited. Ok maybe it’s not that dramatic but it can definitely be scary. It’s even scarier if it is your first time filing your taxes on your own. Well, you have nothing to fear. If millions of people do it every year, then you are perfectly capable of doing it as well. Plus, I have come up with a list of ways to make it through your first solo tax season and to file your taxes for the first time.

*This article contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated for any purchase made by clicking on them. Thank you for supporting Miss Millennia Magazine!*

Let Your Parents Know

I know this one seems silly but be sure to let your parents know you are filing your taxes this year. Unless your parents have told you enough is enough and it’s time you started doing your taxes, they may assume they are doing them. This can cause issue’s because you cannot claim tax exemptions if you are dependent. This gives you a better chance of getting a tax return. So it is imperative that you let your parents know you are filing as a dependent. My parents had already begun working on my taxes before I told them I would be flying the coup and doing it myself. Make this your first step!

Begin Early Pexels

Now I know what you are asking yourself after reading that subtitle. “Why would I want to start something early that I am already dreading doing?” Trust me on this one. It will be 10 times worst to prolong beginning your taxes and saving it to the last minute. I am a huge procrastinator; however, it is something I am working on this year. So when confronted with something as important as your taxes, it’s not something you want to procrastinate doing. You can make your life so much easier by starting to collect your papers now, versus late March. This way you can also ask any questions you may have. And trust, you will have plenty of questions.

What paperwork will you be needing? Well, you will need to collect all of your W2’s from every job you’ve worked in that past year. Be sure to think back to the very beginning of the year. I know that while I was in college, I had so many odd jobs that I would often forget some until the W2 showed up in my mailbox. So it will make it easier to recall any jobs if you look back through a planner or calendar and think of what you were doing each month. You can’t just rely on old employers to remember to send you your W2’s. There have been many times I have had to reach out to have them send it. What’s convenient is that most employers start sending them out at the beginning of the year.

Not only do you need W2’s but also 1098’s from your university if you’re still in school. Being in school can potentially help you to get a higher return. “If you’re going to school — and paying for it — you can opt for certain deductions when filing your tax return. A deduction reduces the amount of tax taken out of your paychecks, and education deductions can save you as much as $4,000” (Nerd Wallet). It is important that as a first-time tax filer you do not overlook anything that can help you out in the long run.

Do Some Research

Speaking of being on the lookout for helpful tips: do some research. “New taxpayers should make sure they do not leave money on the table by overlooking tax deductions” (Nerd Wallet). It’s understandable that having to file your taxes for the first time can be tricky and overwhelming to research. The IRS webpage does not incite feelings of excitement or joy. But there are so many little helpful articles and website that are made to help you out *cough* like this article *cough*.

TurboTax is Bae:

Now I’ve only given you some tips on how to get started and why you should start now. I haven’t really gone into depth on how you file your taxes for the first time. It’s a bit more complicated than just compiling your W2’s. For that, you will need a bit more help. I know there are thousands of companies out there that would help you file your taxes for the first time. Some cost a butt ton and others may be free. But you definitely want to work with someone that is guaranteed to help you and not charge an arm and a leg.

Well, let me tell you about the greatest tax software in the world. TurboTax. Just like the subheading says TurboTax is bae. If I could spend every article writing about them I would because they are amazing. TurboTax helps you do your own taxes but also has experts available for chat 24/7 to answer questions and provide advice so you can continue filing confidently. And I’m not talking about some robotic answers. No! You are getting live human help, on-demand so that you are not alone in this process. TurboTax empowers YOU to take control of your finances –starting with your taxes!

image c/o TurboTax

My parents have been using TurboTax for as long as I can remember so when the time came for me to do it, I figured I would keep the tradition going. I remember logging on and being so nervous to actually start. The first thing that popped up was something along the lines of “Hello! How do you feel about doing your taxes today?” and then there was 3 options of an excited, unfazed or nervous face. I, of course, chose the nervous face and a screen popped up saying “We understand but we’re here to help”. I immediately felt better about filing. Throughout the entire process, I felt that I was truly supported and no question would be scoffed at (because I definitely had some dumb ones). So when I say they empower you I truly mean it.

Tackling the Complex image c/o TurboTax

Usually, if you are a first-time filer, your taxes shouldn’t be too complicated. However, if you have your own business or have like an Etsy store, it can get a bit trickier. This is also another reason you should get a head start now. Waiting until the last second to handle a situation you have never dealt with before can be stressful. TurboTax offers features that can handle any complex situation. So for instance, if you do have your own business or something like that, there is a feature called TurboTax Self-Employed. This offers a year-round integrated tax preparation and expense tracking solution designed specifically for the unique needs of the self-employed workforce. You can connect with a credentialed tax expert who specializes in self-employment taxes to get answers to your questions whenever you need it, even if you have multiple sources of income. All of this at no additional cost!

How Much to Pay

As a first-time filer, I would suggest using some type of company to file with versus filing completely on your own. A company can catch any mistakes or things you would not have thought of. In fact, I would suggest using it for the first couple of times until you really get the hang of it. However, by that time you may be so in love with having someone else do it, you will never go to doing it on your own. Now as to what you should pay.

Here’s the deal.

You may think that because this is such an important ordeal, you will have to pay a huge amount to have your taxes filed properly. This is definitely not the case. There are many companies that will do it for free or a very low price. Now I know what may be going through your head. The age-old adage “you get what you pay for”. And while that may ring true for most things, there are still many companies that will not charge you much. One would be TurboTax (surprise surprise). You can actually file with them for free! It’s only if you have a more complex filing that they may charge a small fee. And even with that, you can choose to take the charge out of your refund money.

Accessibility Pexels

With all this talk of price and quality, you should also work with someone that is easily accessible and allow you to access your information at any given time in one place. I found myself getting up at 3 in the morning fretting over my taxes and wanting to ask pressing questions. So you want to find someone that is there for you for all the crazy questions. Hmm, what company could possibly offer you that? Surprise surprise I’m going to say TurboTax again.

Their level of accessibility is unreal. While also being able to access your tax information from your computer, you can also do it right from your phone. TurboTax has a mobile app – available for iOS/Android, on both phones and tablets – that offers the full line-up of TurboTax products – anytime, anywhere. The app has a virtual assistant to help you easily view and search FAQs, and ask questions on the go via a simple, conversational, text-like user experience so that you can get answers to your questions. You can even snap a picture of your W-2 with your phone or tablet, verify the data and TurboTax securely puts your information into the right tax forms without hassle or worry, regardless of whether you started from a phone, tablet or computer. Y’all, it doesn’t get any better than this!

That’s not all…

There is even a screen sharing option! Screen sharing capability allows the TurboTax expert to guide customers while answering questions by circling information and highlighting next steps right on the screen so they can file with confidence!

Double Check

By accessing companies like TurboTax to help you with your taxes, you are also given the chance to double check that everything is correct and in order before filing. This is an attribute you want any company you are working with to have. TurboTax’s is called CompleteCheck. It delivers a comprehensive and streamlined review of your return, checking for missing, incomplete or conflicting information and guiding you to easily fix errors before filing. CompleteCheck then lets you know your return is ready to file, giving you the confidence that your tax return is done right!

How lovely it is to have someone that has got your back and double checking your work to make sure you file correctly and maximize your refund. This is something you can not/ should not let slip by you as a first-time filer. You are almost guaranteed to miss something or forget some detail as it is your first time. That’s ok and perfectly normal. But it is extra comforting to know that a company is there to ensure those mistakes do not cost you in the end.

Get Return Early Pexels

The best part?

If you follow all of these steps and, as mentioned before, get an early start on it, then you are guaranteed an early refund check. Now I don’t know about you, but I love getting money! Especially ahead of schedule. As a first-time filer, this will feel like a treat for all the stress you went through with filing your taxes for the first time. When I first started doing my taxes, I was under the impression that if you did your taxes early, you still had to wait until the deadline to get your refund. But no. You can be rewarded even sooner!

All in all, I know that I’ve talked up TurboTax a lot and you may feel that I am just shoving them down your throat. But I honestly put everything behind them because they are that great. I would want you to have nothing but the best experience like I did. However, with that said you can, of course, choose to work with any company you feel fits your needs. I just highly suggest you choose to work with someone versus on your own as a first-time filer. This way you can have a successful first filing. But check out this video on some other helpful tips for first-time tax filing.

How do I file taxes for the first time? - YouTube

Get out there and get filing!

Resources:

Youtube

Nerd Wallet

TurboTax

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Dating can be hella stressful, but it’s mostly tons of fun. One of the biggest stresses that comes with dating, whether you are meeting someone for the first time or have been together forever, is budget. Of course everyone wants to treat their boo to a romantic candlelit dinner with expensive food and champagne. But that’s just not doable for most of us, especially not all the time!

Luckily there are loads of awesome activities you can do with your date that won’t break the bank. You just have to get creative! In this post, you’ll find 8 cheap date ideas that go way beyond dinner and a movie. Keep reading for fun ways to spend time with bae for Valentine’s Day or any time of year!

***This article contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated for any purchase made by clicking on them. Thank you for supporting Miss Millennia Magazine!***

1. Get Competitive With Bowling

Bowling has always been one of my all-time favorite leisure activities. There is something about that weird, greasy smell that’s a combination of pizza and lane oil, the crashing sound of pins, and the garish colors of the balls and decor that I love. It’s an assault on the senses in the best possible way.

Taking your partner bowling is a great option whether you are on your first date or your 50th. You can definitely chat between turns or over a beer after the game, but there’s enough action and noise that you won’t feel too awkward if you don’t click. This date lets you show off your skills and drum up a little friendly competition. Betting a drink, hot dog, or smooch makes it even more fun.

While bowling is one of the pricier options I discuss, don’t knock it off your cheap date ideas list just yet. Groupon can help! Many bowling alleys offer crazy discounts on games that will save you even more money on an already inexpensive date option. Some even bundle the bowling with shoe rental, drinks, or snacks to make your date complete.

Check out the Groupon deals on bowling in your area here.

2. Cozy Up With A Picnic

One of my favorite warm-weather dates with my husband is a casual picnic. It’s super romantic and very laid-back. We used to live next door to a massive park, so we would pack up some snacks, books, and maybe some secret wine and spend the afternoon outdoors. This is an especially good date idea for couples who have been together for awhile. You can just cuddle up on your picnic blanket and read, never having to say a word. Of course, there’s tons more you can do on a picnic date!

Pack up your favorite sandwiches, fruits, and other goodies for a romantic meal that’s WAY cheaper than going out to a restaurant. Plus food you make for each other always tastes better, right? If you’re an active couple, bring a Frisbee, football, or yoga mats to help you make the most of the sunshine. You’ll get your hearts pumping from activity and from how fine your date looks 😉.

Looking for a more chill picnic?

Add playing cards, a crossword puzzle book, or a trivia game to your picnic bag. You can even just lie on your picnic blanket and look for shapes in the clouds. For even more fun and affordable picnic ideas, check out the video below.

DIY The Perfect Picnic Date! | LaurDIY - YouTube
 3. Wax Nostalgic At An Antique Store

Sometimes you plan to meet up with the person you like but never actually decide what you’re going to do. Then the day comes and you both awkwardly sit around in your house or car trying to come up with an idea. When it comes to last minute date ideas, going antiquing tops the list.

Strolling around your neighborhood thrift store or antique shop hand-in-hand feels super intimate because there often aren’t many other people. You can browse the rows together or split up and compare funky finds at the end.

The best part?

You don’t have to spend a single cent. This is a great way to find out things about your date’s past, too. For instance, they might find their favorite childhood toy or a tea set their deceased grandma had. Antiquing brings up lots of nostalgia and memories that you can share with each other.

You never know what random item might act as a conversation starter! And forming new memories together while shopping is even better. You and your S.O. are sure to add this to your list of top creative and cheap date ideas for a rainy day.

4. Keep It Sweet With Desserts

Going out to a nice dinner with your S.O. can be super romantic, but also crazy expensive. But here’s the deal. You can still go out to a fancy restaurant without spending your entire paycheck!

I introduce to you the dessert date.

This is one of my and my husband’s personal favorite cheap date ideas. Simply choose your favorite high-end (or dessert specific) restaurant and hit them up just before they close for desserts and drinks. It’ll be much easier to get a table and your bill will be much lower. To make it even cheaper, you can share one dessert and swap your alcohol for coffee or tea. Sharing is more romantic anyway!

Planning a dessert outing as the second part of a date also makes the whole day feel more special. For instance, if you spent the day at the beach or in the park, treating your partner to a fancy dessert makes your time together feel more like “a date.”

If fancy restaurants aren’t your thing, pick up some yummy desserts to go on your way home from work. It will surprise bae and you can enjoy your sweets in your PJs from the comfort of your own couch.

Credit: RitaE via Pixabay 5. Enjoy Nature On A Hike

Outdoorsy couples shouldn’t feel trapped inside when they want to spend time together. Stuffy dinners and dark movie theaters aren’t for everyone! If you and your partner are the active types, hikes will soon become one of your favorite cheap date ideas.

Hitting up your favorite nature trail gets you away from the hustle and bustle, perfect for setting your focus just on each other. While fancy nights out are awesome, quiet moments together with nothing else around but the beauty of nature feel super intimate. If just plain hiking sounds boring to you, use the time to work on your nature photography or try your hand at bird watching.

Whether you want to check out a new hiking trail on a sunny spring day or snowshoe in the dead of winter, getting some fresh air together can really bring you and bae closer. According to The Huffington Post, hiking packs loads of health benefits, from a stronger heart to reduced anxiety to better breathing. The better your mind and body feel, the happier you will be with your date. Good vibes equal a strong, awesome relationship!

6. Tap Into Your Creative Side

There is no clearer window into someone’s personality than their art. That’s why getting creative together is the perfect way to get to know your partner better. Plus it’s crazy cheap! Round up art supplies you already have for a zero-cost date.

If you don’t have anything (or want to try something new), grab your date and head to the art store together. Get steamy a la Ghost by throwing some pottery together or take turns sketching each other in charcoal. If you’re more competitive, set up a still life for you both to paint and judge each others’ work. The winner gets a kiss!

For those who love creating but aren’t super good at it (like my husband and me), grab some colored pencils and adult coloring books for less intimidating art-making.

This is one of my favorite cheap date ideas for winter because you never need to step foot outside. Just put on some soothing music, pour some hot cocoa or wine, and art it up with your boo! But it’s also an amazing summertime date, too.

Take your sketchpads or canvas outside and recreate a pretty beach or forest scene in your town. You’ll get to enjoy the beauty of nature, art, and your partner all at once. Year-round cheap date ideas for the win!

7. Take In An Outdoor Movie

Outdoor movies are the queens of cheap date ideas. They are often free or accept donations, so this is perfect for when you are flat broke. All you need is a cozy blanket and some pillows! You could always spring for some snacks to munch on during the show if you have a few bucks.

One of the key perks of outdoor movies is all the snuggling. Watching a movie under the stars, cuddled up on a blanket together in the dark just screams romance.

The movies won’t be new releases like those shown at the theater, but that can be a good thing! My city often shows animated favorites from our childhood, hosts movie musical singalongs, and brings out feel-good films everyone loves. You and your date can quote along with a classic or you can introduce them to a favorite of yours that they have never seen.

Search social media or your town’s website to find out when and where you can enjoy outdoor movie screenings with your boo. While this is obviously an activity for warmer times of the year, it’s something you can look forward to doing when it’s cold outside!

Credit: 3dman_eu via Pixabay 8. Educate Yourselves At A Museum

Some people might think museums are just for school children or rich old people, but I’m here to tell you, they’re wrong. Dead wrong! Museums are working harder than ever to create cool new programming and exhibits that appeal to people our age. That’s why a museum visit is one of my favorite creative date ideas.

You just have to decide which type of museum is right for you and your date! If you love hands-on learning, try a science center. They’re so fun and not just for kids. Art galleries are perfect for quietly pondering famous pieces and starting deep conversations with your bae.

For those who don’t like traditional museums, head to a lighthouse, zoo, aquarium, or historic site. Learning something new together is a great way to grow your bond and get to know each other.

Here’s the deal.

I know that museums aren’t exactly the first things you think of when you hear “cheap date ideas.” Admission for two can be kind of pricey, especially for larger institutions. It’s how they make their money! But there are definitely ways to discover cool new things without breaking the bank. Many museums offer free or discounted nights once a week to ensure people of all financial means have access. They also might knock a few bucks off if you’re a student, veteran, or teacher. You just have to ask!

If you want an even easier way to save some cash on your museum date, check out Groupon. Tons of museums list deals of 50 percent off or more on admission just to get more visitors in the door. This way, you can enjoy world-class art, cool science, or unique historical artifacts for next to nothing. Your partner will be super impressed and your purse won’t be empty . . . win win!

Discover Groupon’s amazing offers in your city here.

Next time you want to treat your boo to a date but your wallet is empty, fear not! We’ve got you covered with these 8 cheap date ideas that are sure to blow them away. Whether the two of you like spending time outdoors, enjoying delicious food, getting creative, or learning new things, these unique date night ideas are sure to be a fun time. Bookmark this post for later when you are bored with the same old routine. What is your favorite way to spend time with your S.O. on the cheap?

Let us know in the comments below!

Resources:

50 Fun, Cheap Dates (That Aren’t Netflix)

DIY The Perfect Picnic Date! LaurDIY

Proof That Hiking Makes You Happier And Healthier

Groupon

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We love talking finance here at Miss Millennia and what better person to talk to about finances than a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional? Meet Brittney Castro. She is the Founder and CEO of Financially Wise Women and is all about helping people make better financial decisions so that they can live better lives. I had a great time talking to Brittney and learned so much in our short convo. I am sure you will feel the same after hearing her story!

This post is brought to you on behalf of the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning in support of the “I am a CFP® Pro” campaign. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of CFP Board or the Center for Financial Planning.

This article contains affiliate links.

Jasmine Watts (JW): Tell me a little about yourself.

Brittney Castro (BC): I’m Brittney Castro, I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and the Founder and CEO of Financially Wise Women. I started the company about 5 years ago. It is a financial firm for women offering fee-only financial planning, online courses, and workshops. I have some other partnerships with Chase, Entrepreneur, and CFP Board. I live a full life running the company. I live near Los Angeles; I have a dog and a very busy social life. I like to dance, travel, and just enjoy life to the fullest.

JW: That’s awesome! Congrats to you! I know it can be difficult to balance work and a personal life and it seems like you are doing that!

BC: It’s a work in progress! But I have a good flow right now.

JW: What inspired you to become a CFP® professional?

BC: When I first started in the industry after college, I didn’t even know I wanted to be a financial planner. I took a job as a financial advisor. I was 22 years old, so I wanted to get extra credentials and knowledge so when I was working with clients they trusted me and respected me.

A few years into my career, I heard about the CFP® certification, and I started to study for it and go for it. When I was at my first company, they really did promote financial planning. I saw a lot of other people get their CFP® certification, and I was inspired to do it myself.

JW: How has being a CFP® professional opened doors for you?

BC: It’s helped me a lot regarding feeling confident and credible. When I got the CFP® certification, I was 26 years old. I was really young, and it made me feel like I know what I’m doing. When I am talking with people I could exude a little more confidence. And since then it’s opened so many doors for me and continues to do so in ways I didn’t know at the time.

I am able to get clients and market myself so much stronger. I’m a woman, I’m a CFP® professional, and I’ve led partnerships with CFP Board and helped with their campaign. It’s fun because I feel like it’s helped me become a thought leader and pioneer in this industry. That was a part of my overall ambition and vision way back when. But it has also offered more opportunities to help people and educate them on what it means to be a CFP® professional.

JW: I know that is something that we as women struggle with. Getting that confidence to say we know what we are doing in our career and we care more about being good at what we do as opposed to people liking us. That’s huge, and I am glad to see that this has helped you in that regard.

JW: What are you most proud of, and why? Photo Credit: Kofa Boyah

BC: I am most proud of starting my company. It was not easy like you mentioned! I was 28 years old, and I was sick of corporate restriction with regards to marketing. I wanted to have more freedom with how I operated with clients and how I marketed myself. At the time, you know it’s going to take a lot of work, but you don’t have a clue how much work it takes. Because not only was I starting a company, but a financial company. There’s a lot of compliance and legal hurdles in the beginning. I learned so much about myself, about life, and how to live and have a business, but not get lost in it. It’s been an incredible milestone in my life and career to start Financially Wise Women and see what it’s become today. It is a lot more than what I envisioned when I first started it.

JW: Who has impacted you most in your career and how?

BC: So many people! Honestly, there are a lot of people outside of my business world who have impacted me. Family, friends, and mentors who believed in me, and supported me, and helped me become the woman I am today. Someone who can be a leader, be confident and talk to people about their money.

When it comes to my career, I would say that one woman, Eleanor Blayney, impacted me. She is a CFP® professional and the Special Adviser on Gender Diversity for the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning. Before I started Financially Wise Women, actually right after I got my CFP® certification, I read her book called Women’s Worth, and I spent time following her. She’s a big advocate for women in the financial planning industry.

There was this mentorship program at the time, and she was my mentor for about six months. This was before my company, and I was telling her what I wanted to do, how my pricing model worked, and how it would be different. She was so encouraging and sweet and lovely with me. She helped me a lot because she understood being a woman in financial planning. She understood the hurdles you may face, and she really believed in my new approach and the way I would do it. That was paramount and incredibly impactful.

JW: That whole story is amazing. If you could see me right now, I am touching my heart. I love hearing that. Just women helping other women, and I know what that feels like to read a book about someone and then meet them in person. That has to be one of the most incredible things ever. To me, books are like my mentors, too.

BC: It’s funny that you say that! I always tell people, look, I’ve had a lot of mentors, but most of them don’t know. They’re virtual. I read so many books, and they are my mentors.

JW: I am very curious to hear more about how you do things differently than in your corporate environment. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

BC: Basically, I wanted to become more of a media personality and launch online courses to teach women about money. I wanted to become a speaker, like a brand ambassador, and use my voice to help more people than I could just with the individual services.

I looked a lot to a Suze Orman model and thought, okay, she’s built a company out of being a speaker for women in money {editor’s note: Orman is a CFP® professional}I’ve been a financial planner, so I wanted to merge the two sides of me and my experience to create what Financially Wise Women is today, which I feel is a really cool financial and media company. And I think that is unique because there are a few companies out there that do it but it’s still very divided. You are either a financial planner or a media personality and author.

JW: So, in a way, you are kind of like a coach.

BC: Kind of. I am not a certified coach by any means, but I’ve worked with so many people these past 12 years now that I bring all of those client situations and knowledge and experience to the table and help people understand money in a more holistic way. Which I feel is like a coach. Not just a budget and a plan but everything else.

JW: What is your personal mission statement?

BC: I’ll tell you my purpose. It’s actually written on my wall behind me.  My purpose is to see life as an adventure. Fearlessly embrace who I am. Create moments of bliss by being awake, aware, and in the moment, and extend my endless love to everyone I meet. That is my personal mission and purpose in life. And it relates to my business because I really do feel like I care a lot about the people I encounter. I bring my all to everything I do. And you know my mission is to use the gift and knowledge I have to help as many people and connect with as many people as I can. And the form that I do that in this lifetime is with financial planning.

JW: What would be your inspirational message to young women who are struggling to fulfill their dream?

BC: Go for it! Honestly, just go for it! Those moments in my life where I was so scared to death and almost sick to my stomach, those were the most pivotal times in my life. And they are not over by any means.

For example, I remember when I left that first company, and I went to an independent company. I was so scared, but I went for it. And then I trusted this intuition, this burning desire in me to pursue this dream and idea I had. And no matter how many people are behind you and rooting you on, you have to believe in yourself. Because I’ll tell you, there are still moments of self-doubt and insecurity, but I’ve lived a life where I always pursue the unknown and go after the unknown. You just have to go for it because otherwise, you’re going to always wonder and maybe have a regret. I’m just not that person to live that way. I think that, even if it doesn’t work out, even if I fail a million times, at least I tried. At least I went for it. And if I look back at my life at the age of 80, I won’t have any regrets or moments where I’ll wish I would’ve done something or I wish I would’ve done something better – because I did it. That’s how I live my life.

JW: Do you find yourself having to explain your career to people very often? And, if so, explain that in a sentence or two?

BC: I say I am a financial planner. I help people create a budget and a plan and teach people about money so they can use the money to live a life that they love. I usually say I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Most people kind of know what that is, but some people don’t. So, I’ll explain that means I took extra courses and took a board exam to get more knowledge and expertise to be a financial planner. That I really know how to give you holistic advice and look at the big picture to get the right products and solutions in place. Obviously, I am a CFP® professional and I am biased, but you should work with a CFP® professional because I know what it takes to become one and less than 30% of financial advisors have the designation.  If you have a choice between a doctor who is average vs. a doctor who is excellent at his craft, which one would you choose? You would probably want the one who is excellent. I think that is the thing with any professional that we hire. Work with the best. The ones who are at the top of their game. You deserve to. And when you work with the best, you become the best.

JW: What advice would you give to women interested in becoming CFP® professionals?

BC: I would say, go for it. Find a mentor in the industry.  And look at your options. Do you want to start at a firm like I did and learn what you need to – then possibly create your own company? There are many options regarding how you work as a CFP® professional, and you have to learn what will be best for you at this stage of your life. What type of work-life balance are you looking for? There is such a great opportunity for more women to become CFP® professionals because it gives you the three things that I ultimately wanted when I first started at a job out of college which was:

The ability to help people. The ability to make good money – unlimited money really – and flexibility. As a woman, those things are still very important for me in my work. I think this is such a great field for women because we help people and naturally we are the planners and the ones to take care of people. This is just taking care of them in the money department.

JW: Tell us about a mistake you made in your job and how you handled it.

BC: I still make mistakes. Communication is important. So, if I had to think of times when there were errors made or mistakes made it was probably my lack of communication. Lack of asking enough questions. Lack of getting people what they needed to feel good. Or not asking my clients if they have any more questions. Making sure people are not wondering or guessing. I always want my clients to think I am doing a good service for them so if I don’t ask those right questions they may not be telling me what I need to know.

Another mistake I would say is taking on clients I knew were not a good fit just because I wanted a client on so early in my company. Sometimes you need to do that because you need the money and you need to make your business profitable, but not listening to my intuition is usually when those mistakes happen. I’ve really tried over the years to let my intuition be the guide always. I’ve always gotten what I need and want when I listen. Especially as a working woman, that has to be one of our biggest strengths. Just trusting our intuition. Usually, the short-term decisions that we thought were good could lead to long-term headaches, so don’t be quick to make decisions that are not true to you and what you want.

JW: Where do you see yourself five years from now in your industry?

BC: Still doing something like what I am doing now. Being a thought leader in the industry, helping clients with money, maybe more regarding a scalable platform so we are building a lot more online courses on my website. Working with big brands and probably working more with financial companies to teach them how to market to women and use the experience I’ve gotten over the past 12 years, and working on bigger projects within this industry.

JW: Anything else you would like us to add?

BC: I am thinking about a woman who wants to be a CFP® professional. Go for it and ask for help. Always ask for help. I didn’t do it alone; I’m still not doing it alone. And it’s a lot more fun when you have a whole team of cheerleaders and a whole support group around you. I know that has been the leading factor in my success over the years.

Resources

Financially Wise Women

Brittney Castro on Instagram

Financially Wise Women on Facebook

Brittney Castro on Twitter

The Center for Financial Planning

The post Managing Money #LikeaGirl: Interview With CFP® Pro Brittney Castro appeared first on Miss Millennia Magazine - Big Sister Advice for Millennials.

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If you’re like me, you take your free time seriously. And by seriously, I mean you like it to actually be, well, free. Not full of a bunch of activities or commitments that cause just as much stress as your job, but easy, breezy, and enjoyable.

But now that I’ve reached the ripe old age of 27, I’m finding that there just isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish everything on my to-do list if I blow every minute of my free time scrolling through social media. That’s why now is the best time to start putting those lazy parts of the day to good use! Rather than turning your brain into mush, you could learn a new skill, discover new places, or give back to your community. Keep reading for 7 of the best ways to fill your free time (that are both fun and practical!).

*This article contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated for any purchase made by clicking on them. Thank you for supporting Miss Millennia Magazine!*

1. Master the Art of Cooking

Here’s a secret:

Everybody eats, so everyone should know how to cook. I know that sounds harsh, but hear me out. Don’t get scared; nobody is expecting some Pinterest-worthy dinner spread complete with dessert. But you should learn how to make at least a few simple and healthy dishes that will sustain you. Being able to feed yourself without resorting to frozen or restaurant food will make your body feel great, plus you’ll feel like you are #adulting hard.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed about starting to cook for yourself. Open up any random cookbook or online recipe and you’ll be bombarded with tons of techniques, equipment, and ingredients. How do chefs remember it all?! To get started without pulling your hair out, try searching for “easy recipes” or “one-pot recipes” online. These usually have simple instructions and only a few (staple) ingredients. Perfect for beginners or gals who are crazy busy! After you’ve gotten the hang of it, try your hand at more challenging recipes to really knock the socks off party guests or a date. Let Gordon Ramsay show you the ropes with the video below.

How To Master 5 Basic Cooking Skills - Gordon Ramsay - YouTube

2. Reconnect With Loved Ones

You already spend lots of time each day scrolling through social media. You probably hit “like” and occasionally comment on old friends’ posts, but why not take it a step further? Take a few minutes to craft a nice message to a friend or family member you haven’t connected with in awhile. Catching up with loved ones feels amazing! Whether it’s your Grandma, a long-lost roommate, or your childhood BFF, her heart will swell when she sees that you want to have a real chat. Even better? Suggest meeting up for coffee or plan a Skype date if you live far apart. You can even write a good old-fashioned letter! February 7th is “Send a Card to a Friend Day,” so use the occasion as a way to kick-start a lifetime of better communication.

In a private conversation, you will get the real scoop on what’s going on in their life instead of just the highlights they put on Instagram. I recently did a group video chat with my high school group of friends and it gave me the warm fuzzies. Talking about the struggles we’re all facing as young adults made me feel less alone. It’s easy to feel less-than when all you hear about only the milestones of someone’s life. Sharing both the good and the bad made me feel closer to my friends and better about myself. Plus you will get to hear about all the little everyday things you’d never post about like her favorite new podcast or a weird thing she saw happen while grocery shopping. Of all my free time activities, I like this one the best. It’s just so darn heartwarming!

Credit: monika1607 via Pixabay 3. Learn A New Language

There are so many reasons to learn a new language (or brush up on one you already kind of know) in your free time. Being bilingual is key if you work in customer service, retail, or another job where you communicate with the public. Even if you don’t live in a place where there are a lot of non-English speakers, having another language under your belt is a definite resume boost. Knowing a 2nd language isn’t just for public-facing jobs! This skill could help you interpret art and literature from other cultures, chat with business contacts from other countries, and broaden your work opportunities to other places in the world.

That’s not all. Learning a new language has been shown to have major positive impacts on your brain. Studies show that because thinking in two different languages keeps your brain active, being bilingual could help reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing another language also improves your memory, makes you more perceptive, and even helps you get better at English. Sounds like a pretty good way to spend your free time to me!

One way to make it hella easy is to invest in Rosetta Stone. This awesome program lets you listen to real native speakers instead of automated voices. That’s the best way to learn what a language should sound like! With lessons on all levels, Rosetta Stone is perfect whether you’re almost fluent or just starting out. They have tons of games and challenges to help you learn. Every feature is accessible on any device so you can learn at home, on the bus, or in the airport. Grab your Rosetta Stone here subscription here and start talking!

4. Volunteer For A Cause You Care About

It sounds cheesy, but giving back is really one of the best feelings in the world. You get to help others and you get some benefits too. According to Psychology Today, volunteering can give you a sense of purpose, boost your career, and help you form lasting friendships. The best part? You don’t have to donate thousands of dollars to contribute to a cause you’re passionate about. If you’re like me, you probably don’t have a ton of extra cash kicking around, so giving money to charity may be off the table. But you do have free time. That is often more valuable to charities than money anyway!

First, decide on your cause. Are you great with kids? Do you like animals more than people? Is there a medical condition that affected your family? These are all great starting points for choosing where to volunteer. If you don’t feel very strongly about any certain cause, think about the kind of work you would like to do. Handywomen are a great fit for Habitat for Humanity or helping a community theater build sets. Social butterflies make awesome museum docents and can work booths at events. And basically every charity and nonprofit have administrative tasks they’d love to hand off! Do some research in your city and start giving back. You’ll feel amazing, I promise.

Credit: StockSnap via Pixabay 5. Catch Up On Your Reading

This is one I really need to work on, personally. As a kid, I read voraciously. I would read on weekends, after dinner, during my free period at school. I didn’t find the work very hard so I always had time to fit some pleasure reading in. But then, in late high school, the internet got better and I got a cell phone. Soon I was filling my time chatting with my friends online or playing games instead of having my nose in a book. And it’s only gotten harder for me! That’s why one of my goals for the year is to get back into reading. I spend so much of my free time scrolling mindlessly through my phone when I could be in some awesome fictional universe or actually learning something.

Lots of people think they don’t like to read, but I’m here to call you out on that. You just haven’t found the right books! Not everyone is going to love the classics we were assigned in school or the titles on the best-sellers list. First, figure out your genre. Once you know what kind of books will keep your interest, browse the library or ask friends for suggestions. If pleasure reading feels like a waste of time to you, hit up the non-fiction section of the library or bookstore. Here you can find books on anything you want to learn more about. This is a great way to teach yourself a new skill, learn more about parts of history that interest you, or better yourself in some way.

If the idea of scouring rows and rows of books at the bookstore or library sounds daunting to you, let the Book of the Month Club help you out. Each month, you get to choose from 5 cool new titles, usually somehow related to the time of year. For example, February’s selections highlight Black History Month. If you’re a faster reader (or you can’t choose just one!), you can grab additional books for a small extra fee. There’s no easier way to keep up with hot new titles, plus the books are delivered right to your house. Get your Book of the Month subscription here.

6. Be A Tourist In Your Own City

A super fun way to spend a free afternoon is to play tourist in your own town. Whether you have lived there your whole life or just moved in, there is always something new to explore! If you’re a foodie, try out the coolest new bar or restaurant in town. Or rekindle your love for your city’s signature cuisine like pizza in New York or Cuban sandwiches in Florida. For those more into nature, re-discover your favorite hiking trail or explore a new one. This is even more fun with a friend! One of my favorite ways to be a tourist in my own town is to hit up the attractions everyone travels here to see. Even if you have visited a million times, go again on a day when you have lots of free time. Most tourist sites are constantly adding new things to see and do to keep their attraction fresh, so every experience will be slightly different. Try taking a pal from out of town along with you so you can experience these activities with new eyes through her.

Need more suggestions? Seek out a blog or section of your city’s website that features new businesses or events. You will get the inside scoop on the newest openings and the hidden gems. You might be surprised by how many festivals, markets, and other fun activities happen right in your own backyard. Many people think that their town is boring, especially if it is small, but try to see it through fresh eyes. Who knows when you will find a new favorite spot! Learn more about being a tourist in your town in the video below.

How To Be A Tourist in Your Own Town - Wild, Precious NOW - YouTube

7. Satisfy Your Wanderlust

Have a little more money to burn? Plan a trip to your dream destination! If I’m being honest, traveling with my husband is my favorite leisure time activity. While I love to be home where everything is familiar, I love that pleasant stress that comes with exploring a new place. Whether you want to sightsee alone, with a group, or with your boo, this is the perfect time in your life to travel! There is no better way to learn about other cultures than to physically immerse yourself in them. You can read about Thailand or Belize or Iceland all you want, but nothing compares to breathing their air, eating their food, and enjoying their pastimes.

If you plan on adventuring to another country, spend a bit of your free time learning phrases in the native language. Even if you are terrible at it, the locals will appreciate your efforts. This is especially important if you plan on going to a less touristy area or will spend a long time abroad. Rosetta Stone subscriptions come in 3- to 24-month packages. So if you just want to learn a bit of Italian for your Roman holiday, you aren’t stuck paying for more lessons than you need. Plus you can even download lessons to access offline, perfect for when you are lost or need a bathroom STAT. Get your Rosetta Stone subscription here.

I’ll be honest:

I don’t always spend my free time as productively as I should. But I will be taking my own advice from this post and try to do a little more with my weekends than just lay around on the couch. Whether you want to learn something new, discover the world, or just read more, try out just one of these ideas and go from there. Soon you’ll be the master of spending your leisure time wisely! What’s your favorite way to fill your free time? Which of these ideas is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

References:

Rosetta Stone

Book of the Month Club

Why learn a foreign language? Benefits of bilingualism

Psychology Today

Reconnect With Loved Ones on Send a Card to a Friend Day

The post Got Some Free Time? Fill It With These 7 Activities appeared first on Miss Millennia Magazine - Big Sister Advice for Millennials.

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The hunt for the perfect engagement ring can be a stressful occasion when men (or women) try to do it alone. It feels like a significant test of how well they know they’re intended. There are so many different styles of diamond cuts, settings, and colors to choose from. Then there’s the band to think about: should it be simple or complex? Gold or silver? Small or large? With multiple diamonds or just one?

Some women have a very particular idea of what they want their ring to look like and would rather look for it on their own. If this is the case, she’ll probably be very forthcoming about her expectation.

Otherwise, it’s time to trust yourself to do some research and to make some excellent decisions.

Engagement Ring and Wedding Ring: Are They the Same?

One way to take some of the stress off yourself is to buy two separate rings. Of course, this is a more expensive option, but you can buy a slightly-less-flashy engagement ring to keep your proposal a surprise, and then let your bride-to-be pick out her perfect wedding ring. Don’t forget that you’ll need to pick out a wedding band for yourself as well.

An engagement ring can often be worn underneath the wedding ring for some extra flash, so it does help to have an idea of what she would eventually like for her wedding ring. Does she seem like she’d like a traditional ring or one that is a little eccentric and unique? Other couples choose to do the opposite: get a flashy engagement ring and then choose a pair of simpler bands for their wedding ceremony. It’s up to you to decide.

The quality of the engagement ring also somewhat depends on whether you plan to get a second wedding ring. Because these rings can be an investment, some people spend less money on the engagement ring than they plan to spend on the wedding ring. You can still find gorgeous engagement rings for a reasonable price, but it may not have a diamond of exceptional size or quality, like a wedding ring.

Modern Alternatives

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available, but this can be a blessing in disguise: you can get a ring that is as unique as your girlfriend. In fact, getting a modern engagement ring shows that you put a lot of thought into getting something truly unique and one-of-a-kind. You see your girlfriend as someone special and unique, so get a ring that embodies those same qualities to make a great impression on her.

You can even fully customize a ring, which does not have to be as expensive as it sounds. Here are just a few ways to make a ring unique:

1. The color of the band

Browse through a ring catalog, and you’ll see rings that look like their bands are silver, gold, and copper. In fact, these are typically all gold, but are called yellow gold (which looks like a “traditional gold color”), rose gold (looks like a shiny copper penny) and white gold (looks like silver).

2. The material of the band

You can also get additional colors based on what the band is made of. For example, platinum, titanium, tungsten, cobalt chrome, ceramic, and even wooden bands are available.

3. The shape of the band

This is where things start to get fun. The band can be a single circle, can swirl intricately around the diamond, can be composed of three different bands that twist around each other, can be daintily thin or chunky, and more.

4. The jewel

Diamonds are, of course, the traditional jewel for engagement and wedding rings. But if your lady marches to the beat of her drum, she might be far more excited to have a show-stopping sapphire, ruby or emerald, to name just a few. These gemstones add a beautiful splash of color.

5. The shape of the diamond (or another gem)

Round cuts are very traditional, but there are square or rectangle options known as a princess, radiant, cushion, Asscher or emerald cuts. You can also opt for a pear shape (which looks like a teardrop), oval, marquise, heart or triangle.

If that’s not enough to capture your love, you could go the fully-customized route and commission a ring designed precisely with your significant other in mind. Fine, curling branches could form the band, for example, for a nature-lover. The symbolism of marriage is still preserved in such unique rings.

It’s Worth Getting Excited About the Ring

If you love and care about your girlfriend enough to pop the question, you owe it to yourself to take the search for a fantastic ring seriously. Your passion should be evident in the ring, but that doesn’t mean it has to be enormous or gaudy. You also want to be able to be genuinely proud of your efforts, because it will help give you confidence in the proposal.

And finally: save the receipt! Don’t take it personally if your fiancée would like to make some changes.

The post 5 Modern Engagement Ring Elements You Need to Know About appeared first on Miss Millennia Magazine - Big Sister Advice for Millennials.

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You’ve dined together at a swanky restaurant, paid an extortionate amount to feast on pan-fried scallops with lime and coriander, followed by Wagyu beef, pear and horseradish sauce (you fancied desert, but your wallet and waistline were already stretched to capacity). You’ve both quaffed rather fine wine, chatted happily over a flickering candle and even left hand in hand. Now you’re home, and the excellent wine, food and romantic atmosphere have left you in the mood for more than coffee and thin and crispy chocolate mint.

The perfect way to finish an evening of loved-up coupledom would be with explosive sex. You start in the hallway with a full-on snog against the wall and progress to the stairs where you half climb, half fall-up. One shoe is left teetering precariously on the edge of a step, Cinderella style. The other ends up outside your bedroom door. Clothes come off, and things are heating up….. bodies entwined….. exploring hands….. the perfect end to the perfect night…. unfortunately ends before it gets going (for you).

An Uncoiled Spring

If you’ve been there, you will understand the frustration of a disappointing sexual encounter, especially when you’re both wound up like coiled springs and just want to “boing” the night away, now his spring has uncoiled prematurely. What’s a girl to do?

Dealing with unfortunate situations in the sack requires careful handling. How well do you know your partner? Are you in bed with a guy you’ve been married to for several years and adore with all your heart? A boyfriend who you’ve been dating for a year or so and feel a real connection to? A bloke you like and have dated on and off for a few months, but you’re not sure where it’s going? Or is this a new someone who you don’t know loads about (but you fancy the pants off). Whoever you’ve been getting up close and personal with, dealing with a problem in the bedroom can be a tricky matter.

An Ego Thing

Men don’t like underperforming, most like to think of themselves as good in bed. It’s an ego thing, and a man who is experiencing difficulties getting or keeping an erection is going to be feeling a little self-conscious about it. A flaccid penis can be a cause for concern if it won’t rise to the occasion. The idea of combatting erectile dysfunction is an issue for many men, yet it is much more common than many of us realize. There’s still a stigma related to having problems “getting it up,” even though a high percentage of men will experience some level of impotence at one time or another.

Ask yourself what went wrong (but don’t blame yourself), has your partner drunk too much? Alcohol can cause problems in the erection department. Is your partner suffering from stress or feeling anxious? If you know your partner well you should be able to tell if he is worried or tense.

A problem at work, tiredness or even something playing on your partner’s mind can have an impact on his sexual performance. If this is a new relationship or even just a casual thing then a little sensitivity is advised, most of us are delicate souls at heart and shouting the odds about your lack of fulfillment will do nothing to build a rapport if you’re hoping to carry on seeing one another! Put it down to an unfortunate experience and go for round two (maybe in the morning or next time you see each other).

A Long-Term Problem

If you are with a long-term partner and he seems to be regularly struggling to get and keep an erection, then it’s time to “talk” with him. Make sure both acknowledging there’s a problem; burying your heads in the sand won’t help you to recapture that sizzling passion you used to enjoy. Encourage your partner to seek help from his GP. Doctors have seen it all before, so you can assure your fella that his doctor won’t be fazed by talk of a flaccid penis that refuses to stand up and be counted. His erection problems could be related to a psychological issue, a physical problem such as an underlying illness, or a combination of both. His GP will check if any medical issues may be cause for concern and talk through the problem sensitively. He or she might prescribe medication or perhaps suggest a healthier lifestyle.

Moving Forward

Dealing with sexual problems might be difficult for a man, but it isn’t necessarily any more comfortable for a woman. A man might feel “less of a man,” and embarrassed or uncomfortable by his inability to get and stay hard. As a woman, you might feel undesirable and unloved. It’s important to keep things in perspective; issues in the bedroom do not necessarily equal the end of a relationship. Do you want to make it work with this man? Then work with him to solve the problem. In the meantime, remember there’s more than one way to reach the big “O.” Enjoy experimenting!

The post Everything’s Great Except the Sex: Here’s How to Fix It appeared first on Miss Millennia Magazine - Big Sister Advice for Millennials.

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You can’t take it away; there are always tough times that could come your way. And there is nothing pleasant about it. The strength you have is in your mind and how you can deal with it. No matter how negative things may seem all around you, there is always a way out. There is always a way to thrive and rise above the waters. I have been there, so I know what I am talking about.

For some, it seems difficult to be on top of a situation when they are faced with negativity. However, you may not always be able to control those things that happen to you, yet you can respond appropriately to them. And trust me you don’t have to be saturated with negativity in the process.

It is time to get motivated and push for happiness. Here are seven ways to retain a healthy attitude when you are faced with tough times.

1. Read and listen to positive information

What you read and digest could be what improves your outlook on life. You should fill your mind with inspiring and uplifting information that will get you refreshed and propelled to get those things you desire. Perhaps you need to visit the bookstore, or go to a library or visit an online retailer of books, finding a book that contains positive and heartwarming messages could lift your spirit and stir you to achieving more rewarding goals in life after all.

2. Surround yourself with positive people

Of course, there is a lot positive people can do for you when you are going through tough times. They certainly would keep you focused on the right things that would push you towards your goals. When you are around positive people be sure to be affirmative about those decisions you want to take. Say things like, “I have a project I need to get done.” “I am sure things would work out for the best.” Certainly, confident people are there to help you grow and attain new heights.

3. Have a plan

Nothing beats a plan and proper execution. The thing is that when you plan you are willing to think them through the process for success and attain more productivity. So identify your strengths and look at how you can use this to an effective outcome. Write down your plan and make it a to-do list. This will re-energize you and help you see possibilities rather than shortcomings.

4. Learn from your mistakes

You would make mistakes. But you have to learn to keep on moving. Of course, you should evaluate your actions and know what you would have done right or wrong. The future will always give you a chance to take action once again and see if you have learned from those mistakes made. Would you be able to handle better? Scrutinize your actions and know how differently you could have handled a situation. There is no way you are going to retain a healthy attitude during tough times when you keep repeating mistakes.

5. Celebrate your wins

Having a healthy attitude means you can appreciate those accomplishments that you make down the road. It is not about how big or small they are. It is time to show gratitude and reward yourself with the effort you have made. You don’t have to do something big. The essence is about rewarding yourself and feeling motivated from it. So go out there get some hair extensions or get a good haircut. Make yourself feel good. You should focus on your recent accomplishments even amidst the tough times and show gratitude by celebrating it as soon as possible.

6. Speak positively to yourself

Let yourself know about the accomplishments you are going to make! Words have a positive force. And whatever is going on around you shouldn’t be an obstacle. Be positive. And write an affirmation that you can say daily or remind yourself of. Put those words somewhere, it could be in the refrigerator, your bedside table or on your bathroom mirror.

7. Take control and be in charge

There are things within your control. It could be your attitude or character; it could be your demeanor or personality. Not everything is. But you have to be in control of those things that matter and be in charge of who you are. You don’t have to be emotionally entangled in any drama that may paralyze your progress. Be in charge, and refuse to be a victim of those circumstances that are beyond your control.

Even when things are not working out the way you want, you can realize your shortcomings and get over them. Your failures do not define you but you are willing to move on to your next victory instead. Learn to control your reactions and how you respond to your shortcomings. 

The post 7 Ways to Retain a Healthy Attitude When You Face Tough Times appeared first on Miss Millennia Magazine - Big Sister Advice for Millennials.

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Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and with it means trying to figure out the best gift for your significant other. It can be so hard to pick the perfect way to celebrate. Plus, you don’t want to have some hum and drum boring celebration. This is the one day of the year that you have to go all out with showing your love. And it doesn’t have to be that hard to spice up your Valentine’s Day.

One of my favorite recollections is Claire and Phil from Modern Family who try to spice up their Valentine’s Day every year. They try something exciting (which usually ends up going wrong) but they have fun in the process. And on that note, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to show your love for your significant other on Valentine’s Day. Check out these 6 easy ways you can spice up your Valentine’s Day this year and make it affordable.

*This article contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated for any purchase made by clicking on them. Thank you for supporting Miss Millennia Magazine!*

1. Lovers Spa Kit Pexels

Everybody loves a good spa day. Young, old, male, female or anywhere in between. We all enjoy being pampered and someone catering to our needs. Why not do that with your significant other? This Valentine’s Day, take turns being each other’s personal masseuse and catering to each other’s needs. And the way you can present this to your partner could be exciting as well. Prepare a massage basket with little bits of hot oil, bath salts, and many other items you know would bring them pleasure.

Or you could make it a full day event and present them with a different spa treat each hour. A great idea right?

You can go as big or as little as you want without necessarily breaking the bank. If you truly can’t think of anything to put together for the lover’s spa kit, you could always just purchase one. Of course, it will be a much more thoughtful gift if you put it together.

However, I do understand that it can be a lot of pressure to put that together or you may just not have time. Well, you can always just purchase one. Amazon has a whole host of great lover’s spa kit that ranges from a traveler’s kit to a deluxe package. The Lover’s Choice Romantic Spa Kit (image above) includes edible passionfruit massage oil, scented bubble bath, coconut water scrub, and a handheld massager.  You could make this a treat that solely focuses on them or is a treat for the both of you. But I mean it is called a lovers spa kit so you could take as far as you both want. That’ll definitely spice up your Valentine’s Day *wink wink*.

2. Steamy Date Ideas Pexels

Why stop at just one day of romance? Instead, you could gift them with a host of preplanned steamy dates. You could plan it out for the whole month of February or one a month for the whole year. Your first (or steamiest) date could take place on Valentine’s Day. Doing this guarantees you will not only spice up your Valentine’s Day but also the romance in your relationship. Each date could have just that special little extra spice to it to excite things. Your significant other will always be looking forward to the next date.

What could these steamy dates be you ask? Well, I would say cater to partner’s fantasies or things they’ve always wanted to try. Or you may want to even just cater it to how long the two of you have been together. If you have been together for many years, maybe try getting super dressed up and going to a really nice restaurant and maybe a hotel room for the night. Or go out dancing for the evening. There truly is something erotic about being able to go out with your partner all dressed up and dancing the night away. If you want to take it up a notch, try something you have never done before like skinny dipping or read some erotica together. You can just take a normal date and add that extra level of spice to it *wink wink* (just go ahead and expect a wink-wink at the end of each section).

3. Romantic Homemade Gifts

You can never go wrong with a homemade gift. People love receiving gifts that were handmade because it shows that you put that extra thought into with them gift recipient in mind. Now when I say homemade gift, I’m not talking about some little arts and craft. I’m saying create something that you know your significant other would appreciate. You might think this sounds like a lame gift and could not possibly be a way to spice up your Valentine’s Day and I would maybe be skeptical as well. But stay with me here. If I came home to my significant other building me a custom-made bookshelf, I would immediately strip their clothes off. Without hesitation. It shows that they have been listening to my needs and went out of their way to make it themselves.

Or picture that you’ve come home and your partner has made a shoe rack for you or something that you have been needing for a while. You can’t tell me you would not automatically be turned on. You may be also questioning if that is considered romantic. Well, what could be more romantic than you creating your partner something that you know they’ve been wanting or needing and will actually use? That’s the thing with Valentine’s Day. Everyone is purchasing gifts that will only last a few days. However, by creating something like this will last them a lifetime and will win you some brownie points later that night *wink wink*.

DIY Valentines Day Gift Ideas | Pinterest Inspired ♡ - YouTube

If you can’t think of something that they may have needed, you can still create a gift that they will love and enjoy for days to come. Youtuber Lauren Jane made a video on DIY Valentine’s Day gift ideas you could give your significant other. So if all else fails, give that a shot because it is still created by you and still a thoughtful gift.

4. Hotel Room Date

Now while we’re speaking about spicing things up, there is no better spice than getting a hotel room. There is just something about staying in a place that is neutral territory for the both of you can be such a turn on. It is also a definite plus that no matter how much of a mess you make, there will be someone else to clean it up. That is definitely exciting. Getting a hotel room though for the both of you can be a great way to spice up your Valentine’s Day. And just having a room does not have to be the most exciting part, you can also get some romantic decorations for hotel rooms.

Pexels

Get some candles to set the mood, turn on romantic music, order some room service and see where the night takes you. Hell, you could even bring along that lover’s spa kit to the room for you to both enjoy.

Just being able to relax with no expectations of having to clean or anything is one of the best parts. Now you may be fearful of this idea because hotel rooms can be very expensive, and you are right.

If you look with Hotels.com, you can find a great hotel room for an affordable price. In fact, if you book up to 10 nights with Hotel.com, you get your 11th night free.

It gets better.

They are always having great sales and sending you secret prices if you sign up with Hotels.com Rewards. So you can be comforted by knowing that you’re saving money and giving your significant other a good time *wink wink* (there it is again).

5. Try Something New

While we’re talking about hotel rooms and the excitement it can bring, why not try something new with your partner. You can definitely spice up your Valentine’s Day by trying something new neither one of you have done. This can be something sexual or something out of the box. You could try a new position or go skydiving together. Either way, trying something new is a guaranteed way to bring the two of you closer together. Plus, depending on the activity, it can be an adrenaline boost which can release endorphins and provide excitement for the both of you.

Pexels

The key to it though is to try something that neither one of you have done. It lacks its excitement if one of you have done it before and the other has not. This way you are both stepping out of your comfort zone. Whether you chose something sexual or not, it’s so exciting because you and your partner are like explorers taking on some new frontier.

The best part?

If you’re not up for trying something new, just doing something unexpected can have the same results. Being to shake things up and break from the norm will be such a turn on for the both of you. Go have sex on the kitchen table instead of the bedroom or go to the drive-in instead of the movie theater. Those are two extremes I just threw at you but that’s what you need, something extreme that break from routine. Trust me. You two will come to see how much you enjoy a change in routine every now and then  *wink wink*.

6. Game Night…with a Sexy Twist

Why not take something you usually do and a twist to it? You and your significant other have probably had a game night together but why not give it a sexy spin. Just like in college when you were able to turn any game into a drinking game, you can do the same with a game night. Make it strip Uno. Or maybe you would prefer a steamy truth or dare. There could even be sexual favors Monopoly.

Just take one of your favorite games the two of you enjoy playing and add a sexy spin to it. This is a perfect way to spice up your Valentine’s Day if you are unable to go out to celebrate or on a really tight budget. So instead of spending money to add a bit of spice to your Valentine’s Day, just take something you already have and make it hot for the two of you.

Here’s the deal though.

If you want to take it a step up from just your usual board games, you can create your own. And with some pieces you may have around the house. One great one is Sexy Task Box which the Huffington Post talks about and can take place over a longer amount of time than just a day. Each person in the couple is to write down 5-15 things they would like to try. They fold up the paper, throw it in a hat and then set up a schedule for how often you would try them (Huffington Post).

If you do want to try some games that are specifically created with couples in mind, there are some great ones on Amazon. The Cosmo’s Steamy Sex Games is a collection of couple’s activities in the bedroom or outside of it *wink wink*. This could be a great treat for the two of you to try out on Valentine’s Day.

So Go For It!

Let’s squash all of the boring past Valentine’s Day celebrations. No longer do you and your significant other have to have a hum and drum day again. Nor do you need to spend a fortune again on Valentine’s gifts that will only last a few days (if even that). With these 6 ideas, you can create something that means more and will last much longer. You two will get to really spice up your Valentine’s Day and make some memories to remember *wink wink* (last one I promise).

Resources:

Lover’s Choice Romantic Spa Kit

Hotels.com

Sexy Task Box

Cosmo’s Steamy Sex Games

DIY Valentines Day Gift Ideas | Pinterest Inspired ♡

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