Quick Guide: Renting vs. Buying

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Are you thinking moving and not sure which route to take? To rent or own?

There are a few things to consider when trying to decide what works best for you and your family…

Are you financially ready?

If you’re buying, you’ll need a down payment to pay upfront that will fund the equity in the property that proves to lenders you’ve got skin in the homeowner game. The amount you’ll need varies, but the standard preferred amount is 20% and that often gets you the best rates.

When renting – in most cases – there’s no need for a hefty down payment. You may have to come up with a deposit, but it’s generally a lot less than the 20% usually required for buying.

Are you ready for monthly mortgage payments?

If you’re buying, this is the amount you’ll pay each month, which in most cases includes principal, interest (both of which are…

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The Miniatures of Joshua Smith 

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Joshua Smith is a miniaturist and former stencil artist based in Norwood, South Australia. With a career spanning 17 years he has showcased his work in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Japan and all over Australia in over 100 exhibitions. Formerly a self taught stencil artist Josh refocused his career to establishing Espionage Gallery, an Art Gallery based in Adelaide, South Australia showcasing both emerging and well established local, interstate and international artists. For 4 years he showcased over 600 artists from over 20 countries.

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In 2015 after the closure of Espionage Gallery Josh refocused back onto his own career this time as a self taught miniaturist. His miniature works primarily focus on the often overlooked aspects of the urban environment such as grime, rust, decay to discarded cigarettes and graffiti perfectly recreated in 1:20 scale miniatures.

miniature-urban-architecture-joshua-smith-7See more of his work here.

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Diary of a Pseudo – Broke Girl

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There are times in a girl’s life, when the shopaholic brat, inside of her, blinds her choices and rules her actions. As a fashion lover, I can’t deny it, that part of me, wants to get its way more times than I can recall, but I tend to be very rational about it. Nevertheless, I am still only human.

When I opened my latest bank statement it felt like a punch to my gut. It left me panting for air. I was walking on Rebecca Bloomwood’s fuchsia furry boots, and it didn’t feel good. My eyes scrolled down the stiff paper trying to take in every number. There was no mistake. I could account for every figure on the statement.

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Artsy Fartsy – Wall Street’s ‘Fearless Girl’ statue – What are your thoughts?

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According  to CNN, “Fearless Girl” was installed Tuesday by State Street Global Advisors as part of the asset-manager’s campaign to increase the number of women on their clients’ corporate boards. 

A group of women who work together also came to the financial district to see the statue on International Women’s Day. “We really like the little girl standing up to the bull,” one said. 

A man who works nearby said, “I have two daughters and I thought it was pretty impressive that they have this up here.”

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“Fearless Girl” wasn’t the only one overwhelmed by attention. The woman who created her, artist Kristen Visbal, says she’s been inundated with calls and emails from fans. 

Visbal said that team behind the campaign,which includes the advertising agency McCann NY, approached her to design a statue of a young girl. “We were focusing on making a statement about the future of Wall Street,” she said. “We wanted this wonderful contrast,” she said, between the delicate child and the aggressive bull. 

“I think the fact that she’s a child makes the figure much more endearing.” 

Visbal was particularly moved by an image of young girl wearing a cape and posing beside the statue. 

“The whole project is about girl power,” she said. “I love that phrase, because it makes us a lot stronger if we are in unison.” 

Anne McNally, SSGA’s head of public relations for North America, told CNNMoney that the group has a permit that allows the statue to remain in place for one week, but that they are seeking an extension that would keep “Fearless Girl” in place for a month. 

“After that, it’s up to the city,” she said. “We would be very supportive of a permanent installation as a piece of art.”

What are your thoughts on the statue?

Happy Small Business Saturday!!! – Support local business stores around your community

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Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after US Thanksgivingduring one of the busiest shopping periods of the year

First observed on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and localSmall Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express corporation.

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In 2010 the holiday was conceived and promoted by American Express via a nationwide radio and television advertising campaign. That year Amex bought advertising inventory on Facebook, which it in turn gave to its small merchant account holders, and also gave rebates to new customers to promote the event.

American Express publicized the initiative using social media, advertising, and public relations. Many local politicians and small business groups in the United States issued proclamations concerning the campaign, which generated more than one million Facebook “like” registrations and nearly 30,000 tweets under the Twitter hashtags #smallbusinesssaturday and #smallbizsaturday

Artsy Fartsy – Freedom from want by Norman Rockwell

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Freedom from Want, also known as The Thanksgiving Picture or I’ll Be Home for Christmas, is the third of the Four Freedoms series of four oil paintings by American artist Norman Rockwell. The works were inspired by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s 1941 State of the Union Address, known as Four Freedoms.

The painting was created in November 1942 and published in the March 6, 1943 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. All of the people in the picture were friends and family of Rockwell in ArlingtonVermont, who were photographed individually and painted into the scene. The work depicts a group of people gathered around a dinner table for a holiday meal. Having been partially created on Thanksgiving Day to depict the celebration, it has become an iconic representation of the Thanksgiving holiday and family holiday gatherings in general.

Three generations circle the food—a nuclear family more rarely seen today, but still existing in some hearts and minds as an ideal. (If Rockwell were painting now in 2013, what might that modern American family look like racially or even in terms of sexual orientation?) From the lower right corner, in the finest Renaissance tradition of painting, a young man looks out at you directly—the classic challenge to the viewer posed by the painter and his painting. His smile asks you to join in with the wonder at the bounty set before them, but is that all it asks? After more than a decade of overseas wars draining of us blood and treasure and an economic downturn further depleting our reserves of good will and thankfulness, that young man’s smile reminds us that the Thanksgiving thanks are not necessarily for abundant protein and four kinds of vegetables. Instead, the thankfulness is for having each other and the enduring capacity of people to free one another from all kinds of want—physical, emotional, and even spiritual.

Credit: Wikipedia

Inside the Agora – The Power of Belief

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Artsy Fartsy – Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth – What are your thoughts on the piece?

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Christina’s World is a 1948 painting by American painter Andrew Wyeth, and one of the best-known American paintings of the middle 20th century. It depicts a woman lying on the ground in a treeless, mostly tawny field, looking up at a gray house on the horizon; a barn and various other small outbuildings are adjacent to the house.

This tempera work, done in a realist style called magic realism, is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as a part of its permanent collection.

Many people think it is a story of pain and struggle. I chose to believe she is looking for hope trying to get up and carry on.

What are your thoughts on the piece?

Fun Facts:

1. THERE WAS A REAL CHRISTINA. 

The 31-year-old Wyeth modeled the painting’s frail-looking brunette after his neighbor in South Cushing, Maine. Anna Christina Olson suffered from a degenerative muscular disorder that prevented her from walking. Rather than using a wheelchair, Olson crawled around her home and the surrounding grounds, as seen in Christina’s World

2. OLSON’S SPIRIT INSPIRED WYETH’S MOST POPULAR PIECE. 

The neighbors first met in 1939 when Wyeth was just 22 and courting 17-year-old Betsy James, who would later become his wife and muse. It was James who introduced to Wyeth to the 45-year-old Olson, kicking off a friendship that would last the rest of their lives. The sight of Olson picking blueberries while crawling through her fields “like a crab on a New England shore” inspired Wyeth to paint Christina’s World

“The challenge to me was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless,” he wrote. “If in some small way I have been able in paint to make the viewer sense that her world may be limited physically but by no means spiritually, then I have achieved what I set out to do.” 

Credit: Mental Floss

Inside the Agora – Is there virture in being nothing?

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Happy Halloween Friends & Family!!! – Please be safe & don’t drive drunk!

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Winona Ryder . Jump In The Line