Just about every family has a certified movie fanatic in their ranks. The kind that injects quotes from their favorite movies into each conversation. Whose eyes light up at the name “Kubrick” or “Lumet.” And who has a distinct opinion on the 70mm IMAX versus the 4K digital debate. What kind of gift would earn rave reviews from the cinephile? We have some contenders.
The Story of Film: An Odyssey, by Mark Cousins (amazon.com, about $36)
Irish film historian and critic Mark Cousins crafted this documentary on the history of cinema in 15 unique hour-long episodes. It debuted in 2011 on More4 and aired on Turner Classic Movies in September of 2013. It takes a decidedly personal approach to film history and includes loads of clips from classic movies as well as interviews with legendary filmmakers from around the world.
Netflix subscription (the gift that keeps on streaming, about $8/mo)
With a basic Netflix subscription, your film fan can watch some of their favorite films and television programs online or from their television. The Netflix services offers more than 2,500 films at your fingertips for a starting subscription price of $7.99/month.
X-Men Blu-ray Complete Collection + Cerebro Helmet (get it online here)
Who hasn’t suffered just a teensy bit of helmet envy when watching Cerebro in the X-Men films? Now your film fan can claim their very own with this complete collection of X-Men films and bonus Cerebro helmet.
Movie Night Snack Pack (prices vary)
No movie marathon is complete without a bucket full of your favorite snacks. Gift packs like the one shown here can be ordered for delivery from Amazon, but you can also easily pick up a ceramic or sturdy paper popcorn bucket (or two) from your local craft store and load it up with your fan’s go-to treats.
Mondo collectible movie posters (Mondotees.com)
Combine rock and roll concert posters with classic film posters and you have collectible artwork sure to hold a prized space in any movie fan’s living room. Mondo artists have made a name for themselves by re-imaging classic movie poster art in contemporary art style. These are limited-edition, numbered and signed pieces of art sure to give your movie buff something to applaud.
#Christmasgifts #giftideas #moviebuff
Spends more time in the gym than in their own living room
Has ever used the phrase “Ironman” in a sentence that didn’t describe a comic book character
Owns at least one piece of clothing made from something called “performance fabric”
…then you, my friend, will want to read our handy gift guide to shopping for the fitness fanatic.
The Sleeptracker (sleeptracker.com) ￼
Okay, so sleeping isn’t exactly an Olympic sport. But getting enough rest is arguably one of the most important things you can do to support your brain and body health. This little gem monitors your sleep habits and can set an alarm to wake you at the optimal time – so you rise refreshed and alert instead of groggy.
The Withings Body Fat Scale Oh, for the days when you could weigh yourself in the privacy of your own bathroom. The Withings Body Fat Scale partners with popular Android and iOS apps like LoseIt and MyFitnessPal (among others) to let you calculate your BMI, fat and lean mass, and share it with your social connections.
Bodylastics Resistance Bands ￼ For less than $30, you can add a durable, portable alternative to weights to your (or your friends’) work out. The basic kit comes with an assortment of bands, anchors, handles, ankle straps and a handy how-to guide.
Fitletic Ultimate Race Belt ￼
Back in the day, we called these “fanny packs” and you had to be at least 70 years old to wear one in public. Today, these sporty, water resistant belts are a must-have for serious runners. The Fitletic belts can carry nearly any size smart phone, plus they have a mini-pouch for your keys or MP3 player and an inner pocket for driver’s license or hotel keycard. Reflector strips are an added bonus for night time safety.
The FitDeck (fitdeck.com) ￼
Eat your heart out, Milton Bradley. The FitDeck combines the joy of card games with the love of exercise, and the end result is a game for those who cannot fathom any form of relaxation other than exercise. Instead of a regular playing card face, the FitDeck cards have exercise instructions. The exercises can be completed at three different difficulty levels (choose your own based on age and ability). There’s also ‘wild cards’ that can be played to kick things up a notch.
So tell us…would you like any of these for Christmas? What about someone you know?
We have four more posts coming with even more ideas. Stay tuned!
People with a college degree tend to have a better quality of life. Research conducted by the College Board, “Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society,” examines the broader payoffs of education.
Having a job and earning a higher wage is valuable. But there’s value in a college degree that extends far beyond unemployment and earnings potential.
But did you know that college graduates are also more likely to volunteer? Or that they’re more likely to vote? Would you believe they’re likely to be healthier?
The College Board study found that there is a relationship between educational attainment and better health at every age and income level.
More than two-thirds of college graduates ages 25-34 exercised moderately at least once each week compared to 49% of high school graduates. Although this age group showed the most dramatic difference, the College Board study data indicated that college graduates at all levels are more likely to exercise. The benefits from regular exercise are well documented.
For example, of the 20% of adults who smoke, 9% are college graduates. 69%of those who hold at least a bachelor’s degree have never smoked.
Taxes, Voting and Volunteering Increases
One measure of a higher quality of life is the extent to which members of a society are engaged in their civic duties. These are duties like voting, paying taxes, and volunteer service.
A college degree often means a higher salary – and a higher tax rate. The bright side is that when you pay Uncle Sam, local, state and federal governments provide important and valuable things like better roads, schools, and community services.
Perhaps paying more in taxes drives a sense of civic duty. Nearly half of all volunteers in 2006 held at least a bachelor’s degree. Forty-three percent of those who volunteered with an organization were college graduates; 19% were high school graduates.
Now are you ready for a surprise? The College Board study found that children of college graduates are better prepared for school and participate in more extracurricular activities, which means they will be more likely to attend college themselves.
Children of college graduates are:
More active in sports – 44% participated in sports activities, compared to 18% of children of high school graduates
30% more likely to participate in scouting and art related activities than children of high school graduates
To be fair, there may be other social and economic factors that play a part in this data. Regardless, there are a number of reasons why education is a positive investment. From better health to a bigger paycheck, a college degree is a smart investment.
Whether you graduated high school last May or finished TDY last Monday, if you’re starting an online education program this fall, there are some things you can do to make every semester a success.
Make a Degree Plan
Think of your degree plan as a map to graduation. Once you’ve chosen your major, you need to find out from your advisor how many credit hours are required to graduate. It’s up to you to sort out how many classes you can take each semester in order to graduate within your desired timeframe.
Make a Study Plan
If you’re like most online students, you’re keeping track of several schedules: work, family commitments, guard or reserve duties. Take time at the beginning of the semester to review your course syllabi and mark class times, test dates, homework assignments, study group meetings, and other projects on your calendar so there are fewer unpleasant surprises. You will also want to carve out time to take care of yourself – set dates and times for exercise, date nights, and relaxation time so you don’t get burned out. As a general rule, for every credit hour, you should plan on 3 hours of study time per week.
Show Up for Orientation and Class
At an online university, new student orientation is – you guessed it – online. It’s usually a zero credit or a one credit hour course that’s required of every new student. Orientation covers key things you need to know in order to function in the online learning community. These things include how to access your coursework, how to contact your instructors, where you can go for help, how to connect with study groups, how to submit homework and take exams, and how to make tuition payments.
You want to start off on the right foot. Orientation is the first step. The second step is to make sure you show up for class. Whether your class meets as a synchronous group each week, or once a month, it’s important to keep up with the work.
Similar to class on a traditional campus, the best way to meet people in an online campus environment is to get involved. Sure, there may not be pickup basketball games on the quad at an online university, but most quality online colleges and universities offer student portals where you can meet people who have interests similar to yours. You can browse through the various groups and join those that apply to you, for example: Army Veterans, USCG, Women in Law Enforcement, or Military Spouses.
Social Media is also a fantastic way to meet and connect with others. You can “like” your university’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages and follow their Twitter feeds to stay up-to-date on news and events.Stay the Course
Statistically speaking, a quarter of all college students drop out during their first year. Your chances of success are greater if you can get past the initial jitters of the first few weeks. It takes, on average, three weeks to develop a new behavior into a habit. Give yourself time to adjust to your new routine, get your bearings, and get into the amazing journey that is the online college experience.
Guest post written by Christine Shelly
Photo credit: Vito Drago
Summer is in its full glory. With all the sunshine and snow cones around, it hardly seems possible that college is right around the corner. When college starts, it can be a pretty big upheaval if you’re not ready for it. There’s a new routine to follow, new people to meet and new horizons to be explored.
This can be super exciting, or terrifying, or a combination of the two. Whether you’re about to start your first semester or your final year of college, make the transition from summer to fall by doing three things…
Read, read, and read some more. Your high school reading list may have been intense, but college level English literature will probably require more reading and more frequent assignments. Keep your brain nimble and prepare yourself for an increased workload by making reading a habit. Your local library may have reading lists that you can peruse for ideas. If you already have your class schedule, you could look for the syllabus or requirements and get a jump start on reading the course material.
Read the other 2 tips here and then give us your own tips in the comments!
Because There is No Crystal Ball:Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans
By Christine A. ShellyThe situation I’m about to describe is probably one you’ve heard before. It could resemble your own story, that of one of your children, or perhaps you have a friend or two that fits the bill. Reflecting on college graduation day as if it happened only yesterday – a bright, energetic 22-year-old with an enviable grade point average and a respectable job offer already accepted, the young lady accepted her hard-earned diploma the same way she earned it: With determination. She had the next two years of her life planned almost to the day, and was poised for an exceptional career in public relations. Her path was calculated, precise, and meticulously planned.
Then, the adventure really began. Funding cuts. Layoffs. New relationships. Car accidents. New jobs. Breakups. The tide of life that carries you ever forward, until one day you look back and the shoreline is gone. This young lady, who had once known exactly what she wanted and how to go about achieving it, became adrift in a sea of indecision and uncertainty. Ten years after graduation day, she decided to pursue her online MBA and now owns and operates a health spa.
Her story is not uncommon. In fact, it’s rare for a career path to be neat and tidy, and even the most organized and well-crafted career plans can quickly get sidetracked. More often, the enjoyable places that we land are a result of a messy combination of hard work, life situations and surprising timing.
Most of us at one point or another find our career paths in the middle of the mess. As you consider your future path, your answers to these five questions can help you find your way:
What types of jobs are available where I live now? Am I able to move?
Is it possible for me to work odd hours (if you want to start something new and work your way up) or take on new responsibilities (required for leadership positions)?
Are there degree or certification programs I will need, and are they well-suited for my financial/family/current employment situation?
Is it reasonable for me to leave any of my current employment benefits? (pay, seniority, schedule, medical/dental, or others?)
What would happen if I delayed making a change (either in career or educational pursuits)?
There’s no question that our life paths and career paths are intertwined, and that one can affect the other in numerous ways. The decisions that you make may require taking risks, but calculated risk and well informed decision making can lead to rewarding opportunities for success and accomplishing new goals.
What has helped you make life or career choices? Tell us in the comments below.
Students in the United States spend more on higher education than those in any other country. But something is wrong with our system when an overwhelming majority of graduating seniors are carrying significant debt and an equally overwhelming number of students don’t graduate at all.
In the graduating class of 2012, 70% carried student loan debt with an average of $29,400 per student. Two-thirds of all graduating seniors entered the workforce with hefty bills to pay right away.
But there are some resources and options available to students who need help paying for school. Students who are serving, have served, or are married to a member of the armed forces have tremendous education benefits to draw upon.
For those who haven’t finished getting a degree, there are options like online education that allow you the flexibility to work full or part time and go to school on your own schedule.
According to a study by Georgetown University, in 2012 employees with a Bachelor’s degree or higher earned twice as much as those with some college/associates degree or a high school education (or less). By the year 2020, it’s predicted that at least 65 percent of all jobs will require at least some college education.
And even though the job market can seem scary, an average four-year college graduate experiences less unemployment and earns a larger salary than someone with no degree or a two-year degree. In 2012, the unemployment rate for high school graduates was 17.9 percent – more than twice that of college graduates.
Earning power aside, there’s a lot to be said for learning: confidence, an expanded social circle, exposure to new and different ideas are all very positive things. It might be tempting to balk at the idea of spending or borrowing money to go to school, but an education is a far better investment than nearly anything else.
During your time in the military, you eat balanced meals in the chow hall. When you’re in the field, you get MREs. You don’t have to think about what you eat because you burn through every calorie through PT (and adrenalin).
But once you return to civilian life, it can be hard to keep a few extra pounds off even if you’ve kept up with a good PT regimen. Whether you’ve taken a desk job or you’ve decided to go back to school to help advance your career, you probably eat more and burn fewer calories than when you were on active duty. Why does that happen?
If you’ve become accustomed to having your meals prepared by someone else or ripping open an MRE, the freedome of eating out or starting to cook for yourself can be amazing. You can make the gravy exactly how you like it! You can tackle buffets! Just thinking about the food possibilities is enough to get your salavating and hungry.
The temptation to snack can be even greater if you’re going to school online and you’re within walking distance of the fridge and microwave in your own home while you study. Still, you wonder “What can I eat that’s healthy and not a Big Mac?” We have some tips!
In case you’ve been living under a stack of textbooks, the space-thriller Gravity opened in theaters nationwide in early October. It’s been praised as a filmmaking advance the likes of which we haven’t seen since King Kong climbed the Empire State Building. It’s also been panned as a flat, lifeless script. But love it or hate it, there are a few things we can learn from it. [Warning- mild spoilers ahead]
1. Sometimes, trouble just keeps flying at you.
The first conflict the heroes encounter in the film, in hindsight, is a small one: the mechanism Dr. Stone has created to solve a problem on the Hubble telescope doesn’t work properly. In fact, it doesn’t work at all. Then a radio communication from Houston signals the next, more ominous problem: a wave of debris is hurtling toward them. And the fun just continues from there.
It’s exhausting. But it’s also relatable. Because we’ve all had periods of time when it seems like challenges snowball into an avalanche of trouble. When one obstacle – whether it’s a test, a deadline, or a personal challenge passes, another is often lined up right behind it.
In the film, once the flying space trash of doom passes, the clock begins ticking. Since it’s orbiting the earth, it’s only a matter of time before it returns to wreak more havoc. And in the midst of the havoc-wreaking, the only thing anyone can do is to go through it the very best they can.
The message the film sends is one of patience and perseverance. When you’re in school or working, or both – those pieces of debris will hurtle toward you. Guaranteed. And, like the fated astronauts in “Gravity,” you can- and will – find a way to keep moving.
2. We can choose how we respond to catastrophe.
At one point in this film, for all intents and purposes, there is absolutely no hope whatsoever. None. Every possible route back to earth has been effectively nixed. Nothing doing.
The decision the astronaut has to make at this point is an important one, and a lesson for everyone who’s ever felt cut off from the rest of the world, backed into a corner, or in an otherwise crummy spot: You get to decide whether you blaze forward and make your own way or fizzle out.
Even when we feel at our most alone, we still have resources to call on, bounce ideas off of, and guide us back into orbit. That’s another important lesson from this film – the beauty of the human spirit’s resiliency and power to hope, even when the possible outcomes aren’t clear.
There are moments in Gravity when the camera shifts to first person point of view – we see what the astronaut sees. It’s breathtaking and awe-inspiring to say the least.
When you realize that there are astronauts occupying the ISS who see similar views of earth and space each day, it puts trivial problems like traffic, a late homework assignment or a ruined pair of khakis into perspective. It’s a good reminder that we earth-dwellers are a tiny part of the cosmos and whatever troubles we have – although they’re important to us – are temporary.
So if you were wondering how Military Authority relates to Gravity and its stars, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, hopefully we’ve answered your question. Whether you’re a soldier, student or spouse, there’s something to be said for an action-packed film that’s able to make hurtling through space a uniquely personal experience. It’s a space movie that grapples with the kind of human struggles you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand.
Have you seen Gravity yet? Did it speak to you? Are there other movies that resonated with you? Tell us in the comments.
I get it. College is expensive, finding a good job right now is challenging – even if you already have a degree. And the idea of investing a couple of years of your life and (unless you’re receiving employer or military education benefits) your money without some kind of guaranteed payoff at the end can be unsettling.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, education – a college education – is important. But why is education more valuable than certain luxuries?
We’ve answered this questionseveral waysbefore, but I wanted to frame it in a little different way today, just to help keep things in perspective. Here’s a list of things that lots of people spend money and time on that have far less impact on your future security than a college education.
1. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES
The average cost of a new luxury mid-size SUV is between $45,000 for a Lexus RX and $95,000 for a Range Rover. (US News & World Report 2013 Rankings).
According to the College Board, a “moderate” college budget for an in-state public college for the 2012–2013 academic year averaged $22,261. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $43,289.
Until the day arrives that a car can get you a job or pay for your groceries, hang on to your reliable, reasonably-priced vehicle (or take the bus).
Yes, coffee costs significantly less than an SUV, but still – how much does a cup of joe really contribute to your life? Can it get you an interview? Or a promotion? I think not.
A 2011 Consumerist report says the Average American spends about $1,100 each year on coffee. That’s a lot of money that could be put to better use. Like, say, on tuition, or textbook rental or a high-functioning laptop.
3. PET COSTUMES
The National Retail Federation estimates that 22 million people will dress up their pets for Halloween and spend an estimated $330 million on pet costumes alone. Pet. Costumes. $330 million. I’ll wait while that little factoid sinks in.
That works out to be an average of $150 per pet owner. You could rent three textbooks online for the price of Fido’s custom Darth Maul costume and accessories.
4. TEETH WHITENING
The average cost of dental-assisted whitening treatment is about $650 – and the 10 million people who bought over the counter whitening products spent about $140 each year for their shiny smile.
A shiny smile is a good asset to have, and according to the American Cosmetic Dentistry Association nearly 2/3rds of Americans believe an unattractive smile can hurt your social standing. But you know what can hurt your job standing? Not having an education.
5. TICKETS TO SPORTING EVENTS
College sports alone can cost at least $50 per ticket per game for students. In fact, according to a survey by ticket distributor TiQ, the average single ticket price to a college football game at one of the top 25 ranked football schools is $161.08. Multiply that by the number of games in a season and if you’re a sports fan, you’re shelling out a lot of cash that could be used toward your future employability.
It’s your future, and your financial investment. Before you plunk down your hard-earned dollars, think about what you’d rather have. Will you spend your money on discretionary “nice-to-have” items, or on where the real value is- your education and skills?