Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm still here!

I'm still here teen friends - I've been focusing on promoting my new children's book. Once I get it on the way then I will get back to updating Learning Life and increasing my followers here.

Please visit www.BarrettsBears.com

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Where do you plan to live?


Have you decided where you are going to live when you move out on your own? If you go to college, are you interested in the social aspects of a sorority or fraternity, or would you rather live more independently in a dorm or an apartment? Each choice has pros and cons that should be carefully weighed.

At some point in your late teen years or early twenties, you will probably choose to rent a home or apartment before purchasing one. Renting is smart because it gives you the flexibility to move out free and clear, and most young adults need that flexibility. When you own a home and then want to move away, you have to deal with the hassles of selling your house.

However, there is a point where buying is the better choice because your payments go toward your mortgage – which means they go towards your ownership of the house. Whereas, monthly rent payments just go straight to the person or company renting out your home or apartment. The key point is to start organizing your life, your finances and your credit so you are able to buy a home, condo or property when you are ready!

We’ll focus on renting first! There are many considerations to renting. Please fill out the following worksheets to answer the questions to help you meet your renting needs.


1. Where do you want to live?

2. How much can you afford to spend on rent?

3. Will you have a roommate(s)?

4. Do you have special needs that must be met? For example, do you need wheel chair ramps; do you have or want to get a pet(s); is the location close to your work, school, or bus stop?

These questions will help you start your search.

Next, look online or in your local newspaper to find apartments or houses for rent. There are numerous sites available to assist you in this research. Visit the Learning Life ‘members only’ website to find valuable website links. Otherwise you can look in the classifieds section of your local newspaper. Or you can look under “apartments” in your telephone book. If you are interested in renting a house you can check with property management companies and find out if there are any houses within your price range. Young adults usually have roommate(s) in order to afford a 2 or 3 bedroom house.

Be sure you understand the approximate location before going to view the property. Most importantly, be sure it is within your price range before you take the time to go view it.

While looking at the places you are interested in, document the following information so you can compare them. Bring a folder or a bag of some kind to keep your information organized. Many rental offices will give you brochures and other information to take home.




Number of Bedrooms

Number of Bathrooms

Square Footage

Are Utilities Included

Monthly Rent

Money due at move-in

Is it first and last month’s rent?

(Be sure to understand the terms.)


Appropriate bedroom size

Appropriate bathroom size

Air conditioning


Type of flooring (linoleum, carpet, wood, etc.)

Living room only

Living room/dining room





Garbage disposal



Security alarm


Apartment building or house

Pets allowed

Designated parking spot

Covered parking

Garage for parking

Parking surveillance

Laundry facilities on location



Neighborhood watch/ safety

Distance to work or school

Distance to necessary shopping

Distance to friends/family


  • What does your instinct say about the place?
  • What do the neighbors seem like?
  • Is there any reason to think it will be too loud or that there will be loud pets disturbing you? If this is a concern, drive by the apartments on a Friday or Saturday night and see if it is much different than during the daytime.

(There are many factors that you won’t be able to know unless you live there, but it doesn’t hurt to try and get an accurate feel for the place before moving in!)

  • How long is the lease?
  • Can you stay for this length of time?
  • Is it long enough?

You can usually renew your lease quite easily. Let’s say you only signed a six month lease and you’d like to stay for another six months. The apartment will let you make that decision – they will not kick you out to get someone else in there if you want to stay. However, you must be upholding your end of the contract at this point: Do neighbors complain about you? Do you pay your rent on time? Have you snuck a pet in that isn’t allowed? As long as you are a good resident, they will usually allow you to extend the lease.

There’s something very important to consider when you choose a short lease, such as six months or nine months. The leasing company can raise the rent while you are living there; but they won’t impose the new price until you choose to renew your lease. If you still choose to renew, you will have to sign a new contract and agree to pay the new rent price. This is a very common reason for residents to move out of their apartment complex at the end of their lease, even though they are otherwise very happy living there.

Well this is plenty of information to get your apartment search started! Please read Part 2 to learn about signing a lease....

Bye for now curious cats!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Time & Stress Management - Part 1 - Information Overload

Hello! It's been a while! I'll make it a point to write a new post every week now that I'm getting the word out there and collecting a few followers.

Time and Stress Management is a broad phrase. Let's start with some time management techniques. First ask yourself this: Do you feel like you are suffering a painful case of information overload at times? Is this overload directly related to the computer or to non-electronic sources?

Don't dump the Internet yet! Try these organizational techniques:

Make folders and sub-folders in your email Inbox.
  • Keep emails that have important information you may refer to later.
  • DELETE emails that you are certain will be of no value to you.
  • Title and sort these folders in a way that is realistic to your typical thought process. I have a folder called "Dailies" for emails that have information I review on a regular basis.
Email Time Management
  • If you are a social networking guru or you belong to email groups, designate a folder for this. When the email notifications come into your Inbox, you can immediately move them to this sub-folder. Keep them bold or marked "unread" and go back to them later when you want to focus on them. These notification emails can be your worst enemy for time management.
  • This technique is a life saver for Forwards! I almost never read a forwarded email right away. I put them in my sub-folder titled "Fwds" and I read them when I feel like it and usually that's when I'm too tired to be doing anything more productive.
  • Leave all emails that require an action in your Inbox until you've done that action. The action might be moving them to their appropriate sub-folder, it might be to reply to them, print them or research something pertaining to them.


I have not started using RSS Feeds yet but I plan to soon. I keep my bookmarked web pages very organized by again, using folders and sub-folders for everything I don't look at on a daily basis.

Caution: Try not to get so organized that you are over-organized and can't find anything! Remember to use your personal logic and thought process when you title your sub-folders! For example, I have two sub-folders for recipes. This might not sound logical but I've found that I'm either looking for one of my mom's recipes specifically, or I'm looking for "any' recipe. I have a recipe sub-folder under the folder titled "Mamma" (which is a sub-folder of "Family"...which is a sub-folder of "Social"). My other "recipe" sub-folder comes from Parents Magazine as is located under a folder titled "Personal Business".
Now this would drive some people (like my husband) absolutely insane, but it works for me.

Well now you have some helpful tips to keep your electronic folders manageable. It's not the most serious advice Learning Life has to offer, but it is an ingredient to Time Management which happens to be a huge factor in Stress Management. We'll talk more about information overload coming from non-electronic sources soon! (Hint: you don't have to answer your phone or your door.)

Bye for now curious cats.

Friday, February 19, 2010

In my last post, I offered you a lot of questions to ask yourself about your career goals and the steps you can take toward those goals. Based on some responses for more information, I'm going to break down these questions into more detail. Maybe you should start a journal?

Keep in mind though - life changes! Our minds, our bodies, our circumstances - everything or anything can change by the time you're 30 years old or older (if you can imagine that)! Life is usually a lot different than we imagined when we're in high school daydreaming about our great escape during math class.

But for now, when you think about what you want to do for a living, consider the questions listed in this post. Don't get frustrated if your answers don't correspond with what your career goal(s) are, because sometimes you just need to shift your thinking (as I mentioned in the last post when I referred to the example about playing ball vs. coaching ball vs. writing a book about ball).

- Do you want to work inside or outside? A little of both?
- Do want variety in your day to day job?
- Do you want to work in an office setting?
- Do you want to work in or near the water - or work doing something in regards to the water? (Ocean, lake, river?)
- What type of weather do you want to wake up to every day?
- What country, state or city do you want to live in?
- Do you want to travel for work?

- Do you want to work with any specific type of people? (Kids, elderly, people with disabilities, etc.)
- Do you want to work with animals?
- Do you like to be around a lot of people, few people, no people...or animals only?

- Do you want the benefits of a government job? Military job? Corporate job?
- Do you have to be your own boss?
- Do you feel you have to work your way up any organization to be the boss, or are you happier being led by a leader or supervisor?

- Do you want to work with machines? Some ideas are: equipment, transportation, computers, heavy equipment, factory equipment, farm equipment, lab equipment, astrology equipment...this could go on for pages.

- Do you want to learn a second language to open your job possibilities?
- Do you want to work to save the environment?
- Do you want to work with numbers? literature? art? music?

I could do this all day, so for now you can review this list. If you are interested, each of these questions can be broken down into even more questions. You can cross-reference this list first and see what things can go together. For example, you can work with computers doing things for the environment, specifically the ocean, while also traveling between offices in multiple countries where you use the languages you became fluent in.

See how that works? It's fun - give it a try.

Bye for now curious cats,


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jobs, Careers & Success - Part 1




At your age it is easy to dream big! It's so exciting! And sadly for some kids, it is easier to not dream - to feel lost and have low expectations. The hardest part of being a teen is to dream realistic, while still dreaming of success and reaching for greatness.

People often end up working for jobs they didn’t plan for and didn’t enjoy, but later they discover the experiences were beneficial – professionally or socially. So be patient if your first, second or third job feels like a dead-end because it may get you where you need to be to fulfill your dreams. (Never underestimate the power of networking in any situation!)


Mistake Number 1: Having goals that don't align and that don't actually lead TO YOUR DREAM!

What are your goals for age 25 or 30? Where do you want to live? Is owning a house important to you? Or do you want the city life with an apartment and lots of lights and activity around you? (Don't worry, this isn't a total commitment. What you want at 30 may change dramatically but the point right now is to align your goals.)

What type of career do you want to have by age 25 or 30? Does this career make sense with where you want to live? If not, you may need to be flexible and move to where you're most likely to find the path to your career? (For example, does the career you want require you to live by the ocean, or by a University, or in the countryside?)

Do you have an artistic or athletic hobby that you might turn into a career? What do you need to do so that you might be successful with your hobby? Maybe that should be your career back-up plan? Is it something you can nurture and earn a living from? Do you think you'd grow to dislike it if it were a 'career' and no longer a casual hobby?

What are your career back-up plans A, B & C? Are they related to your first career choice or completely different?


Write down the steps it would take to make your number 1 career choice happen. Next, do the same for back-up plans A, B & C. And finally, do the same thing for your hobby.

Hint - Do some research! Get on the Internet or ask around - are your ideas about these career choices realistic? Do you think you'd enjoy the steps required to reach these goals? Do you think you'd enjoy the actual work once you've reached these goals?

Do the steps to each of these goals align with one another? Do any of the goals require the same step(s)? For example, do they all require you to go to a four year college? A trade school? Private training? What type of internships or activities can you do to gain experience that will help you achieve these steps? Do any of the steps contradict the other?

Mistake Number 2: Are you being honest about your personality when dreaming of these goals?

  • Do you want to be a doctor but you faint at the site of blood?
  • Do you want to be a psychiatrist but you have no patience for listening to others drone on about their problems?
  • Do you want to work with animals but your heart would break into pieces if you lost an animal to disease or abuse?

Don't be discouraged if you're falling into the traps of Mistake Number 2! You may still find a way to these goals, but you might need to shift your ideas around a little. Maybe you would love to be a professional football player but you can't meet the physical demands, well are you a good leader? Would you want to coach instead? Or maybe you should research and interview pro ball players and then write books about them!

There are always choices! You just have to be creative and persistent. More on that soon -

Bye for now curious cats,


Introduction Learning Life - Tools for Teens

Hey there young friends! Welcome to my new blog designed to mentor you through both the serious and lightweight questions you may have as you're pushing your way through high school and preparing for the exciting but intimidating real world - a world where you will become an adult!

Below are some topics I'll cover through these blogs. The title will be relevant to the topic so if you're not interested then just breeze on past, but please stay tuned for topics that do interest you!

First, you (and most definitely your parents) might want to know who I am. My name is Wendy and I won't write a biography right here but you can learn more by visiting my two business websites: www.LearningLifeTools.com, and www.DeLuciaScript.com

Here's a snapshot: I am 33 years old, married since 2007 and we have an amazing little boy who will be ONE in a few weeks...wow time flies. And that should be life lesson number one: TIME FLIES!

I am a professional writer and an entrepreneur. I am crazy about animals, including our two huge dogs, Mo & Panda.

I've had many, many, jobs (but never fired) so needless to say I can't wait to talk to you about career paths, preparing yourself to do what you love - and having a back up plan that is realistic. Anyway, until then, feel free to email me directly at: wendy@LearningLifeTools.com

I hope I can be your mentor and friend as you're asking yourself, "How is my life going to turn out?"

Bye for now curious cats,


What are life skills?

Personal finances: checking & savings accounts
Credit management
How to invest
How to rent or buy a home
How to lease or buy a car

Life skills are also...

Street smarts, including self defense, anti-drugs and anti-smoking
The basics of college: Where do I go? How do I apply? How do I pay for it?
Finding a career path that makes sense and having back up plans
The basics of entrepreneurship
Managing a home and automobile
Stress and time management