Monday, February 15, 2016

Crisis in Louisiana

Here's a snip of my latest post at DaTechGuy blog: 

 When news broke this past Thursday that John Bel Edwards had halted all payments to the enormously popular college scholarship program, you could feel the panic and desperation throughout the state.  
 Thursday afternoon, February 11, word came down about the program via NOLA:  
Gov. John Bel Edwards' budget chief, Jay Dardenne, said the state will have to leave TOPS approximately $28 million short of what it would take to fully fund the program through the end of the semester. He said all public universities will be informed that they would not receive all their TOPS payment this spring. 
Dardenne added that TOPS could only be fully funded this year if the Legislature agreed to raise taxes a lot -- over a half a billion dollars -- in the next couple of months. Even then, the Edwards administration would likely prioritize filling a shortfall in the Medicaid program before the college scholarship program would receive the money it needs.
The TOPS program began in 1989 and, in brief, it pays college tuition to in-state universities for Louisiana students who score a certain percentage on the ACT and who maintain a certain GPA. The intent was to keep our kids here in the state. Through the years the requirements have been tweaked with the GPA requirement now at 2.5 and the ACT score now at 20. You can read more specifics here.  
Now, there are a couple of things to look at in those two paragraphs from NOLA: first, Dardenne said basically that those students already enrolled in the spring semester are on the hook for the balance of the tuition they had been told would be paid through their scholarship. Literally what he said was that the colleges would “absorb” the cost of the unpaid balance. Recall that higher education throughout the state has already been decimated by Bobby Jindal and there is no room to “absorb” anything.  
Students across the state went to bed Thursday night anticipating bills for the balances to hit their mailboxes any moment. 
The second thing to note from that NOLA quote is that Dardenne indicated that even if the money to fund TOPS was found, it would instead go toward funding Medicaid rather than satisfying the promised TOPS debt.

Go to DaTechGuy to read the whole thing.

Everywhere I've been over the past few days you can hear worried, subdued conversations about the tax increases and the proposed cuts. Edwards has the entire state under emotional blackmail.

And now we have the race card. Can we just stop already with the racial division?

The Special Session has begun and it is already contentious.  Whatever lawmakers ultimately decide to do, you can be certain that you'll be paying higher taxes on everything, and new taxes on things you don't pay taxes on now, and that the TOPS program will be decimated with cuts up to 80%.

Dark days ahead.


It gets worse.

And worse. The deficit has grown an additional $17 million.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Stitch Fix Box Number Two Review: Another 5/5!

Fix number two is another 5/5!

I'm addicted!

When I scheduled this Fix I updated my note to my stylist and requested some black slacks appropriate for work. My profile indicates that I teach school so I sit on the floor and I scrape against file cabinets and things.  I needed something comfortable. Also, I had updated my Pinterest board and pinned a necklace I loved that I'd seen on a Stitch Fix Facebook board.

This, I think, is the key to getting what you love, or at least improving your chances of getting something you love in your box.  

I've been following a couple of Stitch Fix boards on Facebook: Stitch Fix B/S/T and discussion and Stitch Fix Jewelry and Accessories.  Sometimes people get on there and just complain about how ugly this or that piece is, but I like the boards because I can see pictures of the clothes that people post which helps me get ideas for my Pinterest board, which in turn helps my stylist send things that I like. If I get something I don't like, it's probably because it just isn't a good fit.  

Yes, I've only had two boxes, but they were both 5/5's!

Okay so here's box two:

First item was one I pinned and specifically requested.  The Brixon Ivy Pinson Drape Cardigan:

Brixon Ivy Pinson Drape Cardigan

It is absolutely perfect for spring and even for summer in air conditioned buildings.  It's hard to tell in this photo how pretty it is.  This is the photo I pinned on Pinterest:

This is not me.
I used to be that skinny....

It is lightweight.  It's a sort of heather gray color with a lovely pale pinkish drape. The sleeves are 3/4 length.  It is soft and it is super comfy.  I love it.  Love!

I have pinned a lot of orange things -- I suddenly have a love for orange.  So, my stylist sent me this fabulous Papermoon Shurman Pullover Sweater.  

Papermoon Shurman Pullover Sweater

It is 55% cotton, 45% acrylic and is hand wash. It's hi-low which means it's longer in the back.  I like this.  

The sweater is fabulous with the infinity scarf I got in Box No. 1:

Perfect match.

In that first sweater photo above, I'm wearing the black slacks that came too.  Black slacks don't photograph well, at least not for me, but they are fabulous.  I'm going to live in them.  The slacks are the Lysse Izzie Straight Leg Pant and are pull on.  I pulled them out of the box and figured I would look like a stuffed sausage in them, but no.  And they are uber comfortable!  I can wear them with everything.

I also requested and received this necklace:

Zad Nayeli Mixed Beaded Necklace

I saw it on the Facebook board and pinned it. The turquoise isn't as dark as in the picture I pinned, but I love it nonetheless.  

The last item in my box today was this blouse:

41Hawthorn McQue Solid Lace Sleeve Blouse

I had asked for something purple and had pinned a couple of sweaters.  If I was to send anything back, I guess it would be this.  I love the color, but I don't love the lace sleeves.

Sleeve detail

But, it looks amazing with that drape cardigan, and with the turquoise necklace, plus it's cheaper to keep it and get my 25% five-item discount.  I'll simply note that I'd like to avoid lace sleeves on my feedback note when I check out.  But, again, it's beautiful with the cardigan and I can also wear it with the cardigan I got last Fix.  And I might grow to love lace sleeves (but I doubt it).  I can see that I will need to request a yellow cardigan and perhaps a fabulous yellow tote in a future fix!

I'm addicted.  Two 5/5 fixes right off the bat?  Yes, please!

If you're still waiting to try it, go ahead and give it a shot. Your $20 styling fee goes toward whatever you buy and even if you only like one thing, that's a great deal!

Here's the usual blurb:

Go to the Stitch Fix site and fill out a personal profile. You can schedule a "Fix" at any time or set up a recurring date if you wish. You pay a $20 "styling fee" for each box which applies to your purchase should you keep anything in the box. If you buy all five items in the box you also get a 25-percent discount on the total. 

 The box includes a pre-paid bag for you to return what you don't want to keep. 

For each referral, or friend you get to sign up, you also get a $25 credit to your account once their "Fix" ships. 

 The service uses your profile that you fill out as well as access to a Pinterest board you give them (optional) where you have pinned styles and clothes you like. If you Google "Stitch Fix Review" you'll find lots of blogs with lots of women sharing photos and reviews of their boxes. There are also multiple Facebook pages/groups where people buy/sell/trade and discuss their boxes.