Avengers: Infinity War – Tears, Laughter, Hope and Heartbreak

So I just home of from a screening of Infinity War – and to be honest, I am at loss for words. So lets start with a quick synopsis of what Infinity War is all about.

The Avengers, (along with Guardians of the Galaxy, Spiderman, Doctor Strange, the people of Wakanda, and more) unite to fight the powerful evil Thanos. Thanos plans to collect all six Infinity Stones and use them to change the fate of the world to his own twisted plan. So the fate of the planet and humanity itself is up to the Avengers (and friends) – and it’s quite a fight.

So without giving any spoilers – here’s what I will say.

If you love Avengers (or even just specific Avengers) you MUST go see this movie. When I say tears, laughter, hope and heartbreak – I mean it. Like the emotions I went through sitting through this two and a half hour movie – let’s just say I am ready for bed. It exhausted me.

As far as if it’s appropriate for children – if your kids have watched all the other super hero movies, I think you are fine. It is a bit more action packed, maybe a bit more blood/death than other super hero movies, and I did notice a few more curse words than in previous Avenger movies, but my 9 year old son and 7 year old nephew will definitely be seeing it this weekend. If your child is a bit younger and more sensitive, you may be better off waiting until it’s on DVD and not seeing it in surround sound. I did warn the boys to bring tissues! EVERYONE TAKE TISSUES!

Now everyone knows there is death in this movie the rumors have been going around from one Avenger dying, to only one being left; and the movie is very heartbreaking, like I-just-might-have-been-crying-into-my-hoodie-crying, however, I have my theories that maybe everything isn’t what it seems; or that there is a way to reverse what’s happened (??) or Marvel shot themselves in the foot and if that’s the case I think I may retire my Marvel power mindset and move on to  D.C. heroes.

Avengers: Infinity War opens in theaters April 27th! 

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Hands-On Fun at Newport Aquarium

I received complimentary tickets in exchange for my honest opinion.

Living where we do, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by a ton of fun (and educational) places to visit. One of my kids favorite spots to go is the Newport Aquarium located in Newport Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati.  Newport has a lot to offer as a whole (tons of restaurants, stores, and entertainment) but the aquarium  definitely takes center stage.

My favorite part about the aquarium (besides the shark bridge of course) is all the hands-on fun that everyone can have! They’ve always had starfish and some small sharks that you could reach in and touch (which is actually really hilarious to watch other people sometimes – ones who have never had experience with aquatic wildlife – they totally freak and its quite entertaining!) My kids always pull their sleeves up and dive right in. They love the water (we love the ocean) , so this is like a remembrance of a boat trip on vacation.

Recently however, they’ve added the Stingray Hideaway which I could hardly get my kids to leave! It was actually a really amazing area to hang out in, with a 17,000 gallon pool to home all the friendly stingrays!

  I think we spent the majority of our time just playing with the stingrays – they are super friendly, and everyone had such a good time touching them (though they are a little slimy!)

I think right now this is probably the most popular area at the aquarium – for good reason! It’s also nice and tropical, plenty of sunshine, and just a lot of fun to hang out in.

They also have some new creatures to watch – like the Ring of Fire: World of the Octopus – (which was by the way, totally awesome as well)

The Newport Aquarium 9 a.m. to 6 p.m most days – with special shows and presentations throughout the day (check the schedule here so you don’t miss anything!)

Purchase tickets – or even look into buying a season pass – online to avoid the lines (so you can spend more time exploring!)

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What is Cost of Attendance (COA) in College Education?

Cost of attending college, or COA, is the total sum you will spend on your college education, including tuition, room and boarding, books and supplies, travel costs, personal expenses and miscellaneous fees and charges. Understanding what’s included in the yearly cost of attending a particular college is the right way to go when in the planning phase.

As tuition is only a part of your college costs, you need to take into account all other additional expenses when estimating the total sum you’ll need to pay for college. If you’re applying for a loan, whether federal or private, having an estimate at hand will help you make the right decision so you don’t end up short of funds midway through school. While federal loans have certain advantages, they may cover only your tuition and not the entire cost of attending school, in which case you may need to explore a Federal PLUS loan or a private student loan.

Figuring out the Cost of Attendance

If you’re coming across varying information online about the yearly fees of a particular school, it could be because of the way those sources are calculating the fees. Of course, one of the best sources to get an idea of the average COA is the school’s website; however, do consider if the portal has been updated recently, and connect with existing and past students to know about costs that may not all included in the school’s list.

While all of the items listed under COA are not to be paid to your college, by providing this information they try to give you a fair estimate of all possible costs you will incur during your time at school. Typically, a college will include a detailed list of the costs (given below) included to arrive at the average yearly COA. If you applied for financial aid, your award letter will provide estimates specific to your admission.

Standard Inclusions in Cost of Attendance

Tuition: This is the cost of accessing education at a college, or, in simpler terms, the sum you will pay to study at the institution.

Administrative fees: These include specific expenses you will need to incur in addition to tuition, such as admission processing fees, fees toward student activities, event-related fees, club access fees, and so on.

Room & board: You will pay this sumif you choose to live and have meals on campus, which may be a good idea in your freshman year, or at least the first semester. Once you have become accustomed to your new surroundings and have made friends, you can choose to move out to live off campus, which will likely save you a significant amount on yearly accommodation and meals.

Do note that, one, most colleges do not give freshmen the option to forego on-campus room and dining, and, two, your college will offer housing and meal plans at various prices so you can choose one that you can afford. Also consider that living off campus may increase your daily travel costs. So compare both and then take a decision.

Books & supplies: Textbooks, notebooks, and materials will be an ongoing expense. While the college won’t bill this cost to you, including this item in your COA ensures you won’t overlook this important cost when planning your finances.

Transportation: If you’re going to a college in your city, you’ll incur a daily travel expense, which you can cut down by using any student discounts available on public transport. In preparing the cost of attendance colleges generally include the cost of travel home on mandatory breaks. Recreational travel is not included in this estimate.

Miscellaneous living expenses: These generally include living and other expenses not covered under above heads, such as personal care, clothing, items purchased for personal use (a study lamp or a speaker, for instance), leisure and entertainment, and other activity-related costs. This, of course, is a fluid cost and one component of your COA that you can control.

Fines, if any: These will not find a place in the cost of attendance estimate provided by your college, but they should be taken into account nonetheless. Library fines and any other fines accrued during a term make up this component; again, these are costs you can eliminate by following the school’s guidelines with regard to penalties and fines.

If you’ve maxed out your federal loans, explore private student loans to cover the variable costs associated with your university education. Private loans are particularly worth exploring if you’re going to take up a graduate course and if you have a steady income and good credit history.

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5 Affordable Metals Used for Crafting Expensive-Looking Jewelry

People are often led to believe that when it comes to buying jewelry expensive equates to better-looking pieces. However, that’s always not the case. One of the major factors that drive the price up is the rarity of the metal used to craft the jewelry. To help you find great looking pieces without burning a hole in your pocket, here’re 5 affordable metal options that can be used to create amazing jewelry.

9ct Gold: People often forget that they can buy gold jewelry without paying the premium price. By simply selecting a jewelry with a lower carat value, buyers can score a significant discount. Some would also argue, that 9ct gold looks more expensive than something like a 22ct item because of its subtle golden shade. Thanks to gold’s malleable nature, jewelry made from 9ct gold can have intricate designs. For example, when ordering 9ct gold bracelet online you would find everything from simple looped-chain designs to gem-fitted masterpieces.

Sterling Silver: With nearly double the durability of pure silver, sterling silver is both timeless and classy. Sterling silver is made from 92.5% silver and the rest is other metals. While this alloy is susceptible to oxidation, what’s great about sterling silver is that it can be polished and cleaned pretty easily. Muck like gold, sterling silver can be easily shaped to form different designs. This is why it’s not hard to find intricately crafted cufflinks, bracelets, and rings made from this affordable metal.

Tungsten: Thanks to its vibranium-like durability, tungsten jewelry can easily last generations. Unlike silver, tungsten is resistant to tarnishing and thus doesn’t require frequent polishing. The metal is also highly scratch resistant and it has a natural sheen that closely mimics the luster of silver jewelry. However, the hardness of the metal prevents jewelry makers to create intricate designs. This is means if you are going to buy tungsten jewelry you might have to settle for simple rings with subtle etched designs.

Titanium: Titanium is like the cooler brother of platinum. No one takes titanium seriously but it has a lot in common with its more expensive sibling. Titanium has a silvery gleam, which looks almost identical to platinum. Both platinum and titanium are natural metals and they are both extremely durable. Among the advantages, titanium is more durable and lightweight than platinum. Titanium can also be polished at home while polishing a platinum item demands a trip to the jewelers. Why is platinum more expensive than titanium? Well, titanium is abundantly available while platinum is not. If paying more just for rarity is not your thing then definitely check out titanium rings, earrings, and cufflinks available in the market.

Rose Gold: Bored of silvery and gold shades? Then watch out for rose gold. This gold alloy has a beautiful copper tinge which grants it a unique yet luxurious look.  Rose gold is made by mixing pure gold with metals such as copper and zinc. It often comes with a carat label to indicate the percentage of pure gold. Lower the gold percentage the more coppery, reddish color the jewelry has. Among other jewelry types, rose gold rings are probably the most popular.  

 

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3 Serious Problems To Watch Out For In Your Home

 

Owning a home is a lot more stressful than you think! There are lots of different issues and problems that you need to be aware of. As a result, you’re constantly monitoring your home. Speaking of which, here are three of the most serious home problems you need to be on the lookout for:

Drainage Problems

Your house will have multiple drains all connected via pipes. Problems with the drainage in your home are very common. Whether it’s a blocked toilet or an overflowing kitchen sink, they all come down to the drainage system. It’s very important that you keep an eye on all the many potential problem areas in your home. The toilet is a number one source of issues, and the key thing to do is ensure no one puts anything stupid down there. When I was younger, one of my siblings flushed their toys down the toilet. As you can imagine, problems ensued! Most issues can be solved by a plumber, but it’s best to avoid the cost of calling one out by simply being more careful and stopping these issues before they start.

Water Damage

Water damage comes in all shapes and sizes, and you’ll be surprised at how many homes suffer from it. Most people have water damage on the walls or ceiling of their bathroom. This is caused by the excess moisture in the air, which makes the surfaces wet. Why is this bad? Because water damage can turn to mould, which rots your walls. You’ll need to get a restoration company in to fix the damage, as most water damage can’t be cleared away by hand. Other instances where water damage occurs is in floods or bouts of bad weather. If there’s ever torrential rain, then always check in your loft to ensure nothing has leaked through the roof. If it has, then it can very easily damage your wooden structures in the loft.

Rotting Wood

Every house will end up with various bits and pieces made out of wood. Doors can be made from the stuff, as can doorways, along with beams in your roof. Over time, the wooden structures in your home can rot away. This may happen naturally, or be the result of termites and other things. It’s very important to keep an eye out for rotting wood as it could cause serious issues in your home. Again, going up to your roof, a rotting beat that completely rots away may have consequences for the stability of your roof. At a less serious level, rotting wood is gross and ruins the interior design of your home. Get the specialists in if you have this issue, and keep a close eye on all the wooden bits and pieces in your home to make sure you spot rot right away.

 

Keep a lookout for these problems as they pose many issues for the modern homeowner. The good news is, all of the issues can be solved if you call in some help. However, the earlier you spot them, the easier it is to sort them out.

 

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