Why Did My FICO® Score Decrease by 12 Points In One Month?

 

A Stable FICO® Score

I check my credit scores everytime I check my credit card balances. The scores are stable, fairly consistent and fluctuate a few points at most. The chart below is a clear illustration of that stability.

stable FICO® score
I usually have a consistent FICO® score as illustrated by the Transunion chart here
An Untypical FICO® Score Situation

So when I got a notification last month that my best score had dropped 12 points, I was shocked. The charts below mentions the 12 pt decrease in red.

stable fico® score
My credit score has decreased by 12 points. Why did it change so much?

Because I pay such careful attention to my score, I usually have a pretty good idea why it might change and by how much. As I mentioned, I usually have a fairly stable FICO® score. Therefore a decrease of 12 points was a red flag to me. Something was wrong. But I had no idea what it was. It was time to investigate.

Five FICO® Score Factors System

There are five or six main categories that go into determining a credit score. They are illustrated in the three examples below.

stable FICO® score
Five FICO® Score Factors
Six FICO® Score Factors System
stable FICO® score
Six FICO® factors
Primary Credit Factors

The wording may vary slightly and the scoring may as well. But it comes down to basically the same thing. Scoring may be based on a letter system like A, B, C, D or words like, Excellent, Good, Average, Below Average. In my case, my monthly grades have enough excellents that my score remains around 800 for these six categories:
• Payment history (On-time Payments)
• Credit Utilization (Credit Used)
• Age of Credit (Oldest Credit Line)
• Credit Inquiries (Recent Inquiries)(New Accounts)
• Total Accounts (Available Credit)
• Negative Marks

stable FICO® score
What Impacts Your Credit from Capital One
Searching for the FICO® Score Factor Red Flag

The above grades are good enough to rank me around an 800 FICO® score each month. Previous to last month, no action I took lowered my score by 12 points. But I knew that once I found what category was off and why this had happened, my decrease would be explained. In fact, what it was turned out to be kind of humorous.

The Solution Turned Out To Be in the Credit Utilization Category

On an average, I use between 1% and 2% of my credit utilization category. This means that if I have a $100,000 credit limit on all my credit cards, I only charge $1000 to $2000 dollar a month total. Two months ago, I had gotten a new promotional credit card. It offered a cash back reward of $200 if I charged $1,000 on it within three months. I was so excited about the cash reward that I charged the full amount within two months. That reflected a very unusual credit utilization percentage for me. It was much more than normal.

stable FICO® score
Credit Utilization Flagged

Glancing at the chart above, one can see that my normal credit utilization is 2%. But the new card that I purposely charged a large amount on had a credit utilization rate of 22%. Here’s the irony. In order to fulfill the requirements for the promotion, I charged much more in a month than normal. It did not significantly damage my credit. But it did throw both the credit rating company and me for a bit of a loop at first. I am sure that by next month everything will be back to normal since that kind of utilization is atypical for me. In addition, I will have a statement credit or a cash reward of $200. to ease the pain. Not a bad FICO® score lesson in my book!

Conclusion

I was fortunate in this case that nothing serious had happened to my credit. I did not need to contact any of the credit reporting agencies. They are Transunion®, Experian®, and Equifax®. If there is a situation that does not seem right and that you cannot figure out on your own, do not hesitate to call the particular credit card or one of the three agencies. We live in a time when we have easy access to these agencies and we should be careful as well as protect ourselves from errors and fraud.

stable FICO® score
Two published eBooks and a third on the way in the 3 eBook series about ‘The Former Middle Class’
Sources and Resources

Transunion®
Experian®
Equifax®
Using Credit Cards for Survival and Profit

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Worm Compost Tea

 

worm compost tea
Worm Compost Tea from Popular Science

Making Compost from Red Wiggler Worms

Worms and dirt are antithetical to tea, worm compost tea especially for many people. But for someone like me, who squealed with joy when my first order of worms arrived, it has been quite an exciting adventure. Everything about embarking on having an indoor farm has been thrilling and educational.

Indoor Farming

It all started when I decided to grow an indoor farm. I initially called it tabletop farming since I actually began my adventure on a regular round dining table. The reason I decided to become an indoor farmer were circumstantial.
1. I had no place to grow food outside.
2. I needed to have access to local, organic produce for both health and frugality.

Seed Mama Indoor Farming

So I began what became known as, Seed Mama Indoor Farming. The first few months were devoted completely to growing my crops of microgreens in soil. Black gold, or worm castings are the best fertilizer known to man. When they are used directly or made into worm compost tea, the provide super nutrients to anything that grows.

worm compost tea
Seed Mama Indoor Farming
Soil Is Not A Dirty Word

For a time I switched my growing method to soil-less or hydroponic growing. I didn’t focus as much on fertilizer for that process. But I missed putting my hands in the dirt. So I resumed my original passion. That really made it necessary and desirable for me to learn more about composting. Most important was for me to learn now to make worm compost tea.

worm compost tea
Soil Is Not A Dirty Word Facebook Group Cover Photo
Making Worm Compost Tea

Compost tea is not just the liquid run off from worm castings. It has to be ‘brewed’ according to the many recipes I found. So I am just starting to learn this black gold alchemy. I will keep you posted on my progress and let my readers see how magical this potion is meant to be. For now here is a list of posts about making worm compost tea.

Sources and Resources

Is Worm Compost Tea Worth the Hype?

A Simple Way to Make Worm Tea

How To Make Worm Compost Tea with Worm Castings

How To Make Worm Castings Tea

Worm Casting Tea

Best Worm Tea

Worm Compost Tea
Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm Worm Compost Tea
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Branding Part Two: “Just Call Us Dunkin’®”

 

Just Call Us Dunkin’®

Back in 2011 when I wrote a blog post about Dunkin’ Donuts entitled, Design by Dunkin’, little did I know how prescient that title would be. Back in September of this year, Tony Weisman, Chief Marketing Officer, Dunkin’ U.S. announced, “We’re Changing Our Name to Dunkin’”.

rebranding dunkin donuts
The New Dunkin’ Logo
From ‘Branding, Part One: Design by Dunkin’’
This short video tour of my local Dunkin’ Donuts store illustrates the excellence of the use of the Dunkin’ Donuts brand. Notice all the visual information that reinforces their brand and their message, America Runs on Dunkin’. Watch this short video to see how well my local Dunkin’ Donuts illustrates the brand and their message, ‘America Runs On Dunkin’®.

The blog post I originally wrote was very positive about their branding. I loved it. In fact, I also made a video to illustrate my passion for their brand. Their recently announced re-branding program is very exciting for me. I can hardly wait to see what it includes. They’ve done such a good job in the past. My curiosity is peaked to see what they will come up with now.

rebranding Dunkin' Donuts
Business Insider Visits the New Dunkin’ in NYC. This is what they find. There are iced drinks on tap.
The Dunkin’ Rebrand

I’ve already seen a few hints of what the visuals are going to look like. They are very creative. The lively color scheme of bright orange and hot pink will stay. Their official tagline will also remain the same, ‘America Runs on Dunkin’. Here are some examples of their new graphics from their Blog Post, What’s New, September 25, 2018, A Letter from Dunkin’ CMO Tony Weisman: We’re Changing Our Name to Dunkin’ By Tony Weisman, Chief Marketing Officer, Dunkin’ U.S.

rebranding dunkin donuts
Out with the Old Dunkin’ Donuts and in with the new Dunkin’.
Post It On The Building Walls

Here are some building wall visuals I came across in researching this exciting transformation. They are from The News Releases Section of their Website, What’s New, September 25, 2018
Welcome to Dunkin’: Dunkin’ Donuts Reveals New Brand Identity

rebranding dunkin donuts
Just Call Us Dunkin’
rebranding dunkin' donuts
Examples of Dunkin’ Branding
Print It on the Packaging

Of course all the packaging has to be updated. Here’s what it will look like.

rebranding dunkin donuts
Examples of new packaging for Dunkin’

Shout It Out on Social Media

Rebranding is a bold, expensive and risky move. Why is the company doing it? Here’s what they are saying on twitter. They seem calm, comfortable, confident and very approachable about their rebranding Dunkin Donuts to just, Dunkin’! Enough said?

rebranding dunkin donuts
What Dunkin’ has to say on twitter
rebranding Dunkin Donuts
What Dunkin’ Has to Say on Facebook
rebranding Dunkin Donuts
Indicate on Instagram that Dunkin Donuts is going Dunkin’
rebranding Dunkin Donuts
Let Everyone Know It on LinkedIn
Conclusion

I could not say it as well so I would like to quote from the press release of September 25, 2018 on why Dunkin’ Donuts is going Dunkin’. ‘According to Dunkin’ Brands’ CEO and Dunkin’ U.S. President David Hoffmann, “Our new branding is one of many things we are doing as part of our blueprint for growth to modernize the Dunkin’ experience for our customers. From our next generation restaurants, to our menu innovation, on-the-go ordering and value offerings, all delivered at the speed of Dunkin’, we are working to provide our guests with great beverages, delicious food and unparalleled convenience. We believe our efforts to transform Dunkin’, while still embracing our incredible heritage, will keep our brand relevant for generations to come.”

“By simplifying and modernizing our name, while still paying homage to our heritage, we have an opportunity to create an incredible new energy for Dunkin’, both in and outside our stores,” said Tony Weisman, Chief Marketing Officer, Dunkin’ U.S. “We are bringing the iconic name Dunkin’ to the forefront in a bold way that brings to life how we refill optimism with each cup and bring fun, joy and delight to our customers each and every day.”’

rebranding dunkin donuts
YUM from HelloMattStevens.com on Pinterest
Sources and Resources

A Letter from Dunkin’ CMO Tony Weisman: We’re Changing Our Name to Dunkin’ By Tony Weisman, Chief Marketing Officer, Dunkin’ U.S. Sept 25, 2018

The News Releases Section of their Website, What’s New, September 25, 2018
Welcome to Dunkin’: Dunkin’ Donuts Reveals New Brand Identity

We visited Dunkin’ Donuts’ ‘store of the future’ in NYC — here’s what it was like

Dunkin’ Donuts Set to Rebrand as Simply Dunkin’

Dunkin’ Donuts considers rebranding as just Dunkin’

Design by Dunkin’®: The Dunkin’ Donuts Brand

Branding Part Two: “Just Call Us Dunkin®”

Branding Part One: Design by Dunkin®

under Consideration: Brand New (A Special Project)

April Fools: Dunkie Drinks Dunkin’s Coffee

Dunkin’ Brands: Extraordinary Brands. Extraordinary People.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which will officially be Dunkin’ as of January 2019, can be found on:
It’s website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest

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Design by Dunkin’®: The Dunkin’ Donuts Brand

 
dunkin' donuts brandThis blog post about the Dunkin’ Donuts brand, Branding Part One: Design by Dunkin’ is based on a post that appeared June 4, 2011 on the DBMEi Website by Basil Puglisi Blog. It was in the Marketing & Branding Category. I wrote the original as a DBMEi freelance blogger Alison D. Gilbert, The Entrepreneur.

Branding, Part One: Design by Dunkin’
This short video tour of my local Dunkin’ Donuts store illustrates the excellence of the use of the Dunkin’ Donuts brand. Notice all the visual information that reinforces their brand and their message, America Runs on Dunkin’. Watch this short video to see how well my local Dunkin’ Donuts illustrates the brand and their message, ‘America Runs On Dunkin’®.

We’ll explore the fascinating story of the Dunkin’ donuts brand going forward. But for now, let’s take a look back at branding in general throughout history. Here’s how it appears to have been meaningful a few thousand years ago up through the ages.

A Brief History of Branding: Ancient Times

Surprisingly, the branding industry has been around for thousands of years. There are examples of oxen hieroglyphics depicted on Egyptians tombs. They are supposed to indicate ownership by the deceased.

Dunkin' Donuts brand
Ancient Egyptian oxen Hieroglyphics illustration the importance of this animal to their deceased owners
The History of Tartans

In the 1500’s, woven woolen cloth, known as tartans, are believed to be derived from the French word ‘tiretaine’. They identified the geographic area from which a person came. Later, these fabric patterns became affiliated with families or clans, which is how we primarily know them today. Tartans are attributed to Scotland but also existed and still exist in Britain, Ireland, North America and in numerous other countries around the world. Some tartans were even created as late as the 20th Century. Societies, institutions, philanthropists and organizations inspired these.

dunkin' donuts brand

Livestock Branding

The original intent of livestock branding was to identify ownership, to be ‘a visible and permanent mark’ to distinguish between what was yours and what was mine. It was a clear-cut way to prevent theft as well as a simple way to identify animals and return lost livestock to their proper owner. Branding of cattle is still used in the same way today.

dunkin' donuts brand

Branding and Marketing in the Food Industry: Three Phases

Over time, branding has evolved into an indispensable marketing and advertising tool applied to a great extent, but not exclusively, to the food industry. As such, it has existed since the late 1800’s, a mere sliver of the total time line pie in branding history.

Culinary Ephemera

dunkin' donuts brand

Commercial food brands have gone through three phases. For the purposes of this article, they will not be described briefly to distinguish their periods, “the fragmentation phase (before 1870–1880), the unification phase (1880–1950), and the segmentation phase (1950 and later).” These are referred to with the source credit below. In addition, the ‘4P’ marketing theory is listed below.

History of Food Production

The History of Modern Food Production credited in the sources below.

Dunkin' Donuts Brand

I Want It and I Want It Now!

Present day branding has brought the science of marketing and the art of branding full circle. A brand with the proper marketing can now be known for instant product recognition. The goal of this immediate recognition is the advent of instantaneous acquisition and consumption. The Dunkin’ Donuts brand is working towards this goal of immediate delivery.

dunkin' donuts brand
Seamless Retail Experience
The Seamless Digital Retail Experience. Credit unknown.
The Seamless Digital Retail Experience

The purpose of the type of branding that identifies livestock is called, ‘what’s mine is mine’. But in retail, it is now ‘what’s yours is mine’ and ‘make it mine now’. This is becoming imperative and possible. Recognition through branding and acquisition through digital technology and online marketing make this process closer to seamless on a daily basis. In Part Two, we will see how the Dunkin’ Donuts brand is becoming part of this evolution.

With the evolving technologies of near field communication, local mobile fusion, radio frequency identification, QR code generation and identification, retailers are becoming able to make us offers we can no longer refuse. There is almost no time to reconsider offers as they become digitally seamless and irresistible.

dunkin' donuts brand
I Want It and I Want It Now. Credit Flickr jpg.
In Conclusion

When a brand is done well, the recognition factor is immediate. In today’s digital economy, we are now approaching ‘0’ time between seeing, wanting, purchasing (or consuming). With the continued addition of new technology, this process is getting even faster. The gap is lessening so much that our wishes will become the digital genie’s immediate command. See it. Want it. Get it. Just like that!

Sources and Resources

Ancient Egyptian Oxen Hieroglyphics
World Tartans by Iain Zaczek
A Brief History of Cattle Branding
Culinary Ephemera, An Illustrated History
A Brief History of Branding
A Visual History of Cookery

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Decorative Art & Crafts Revisited

 

Decorative Art & Crafts

Part of Decorative Art, a Bird's eye maple table with colorful legs. © Decorative Painting by Alison Gilbert
Bird’s eye maple table with colorful legs. © Decorative Painting by Alison Gilbert

Decorative Art & Crafts was a division of Art & Design was one of a hand full of major disciplines I was immersed in as an entrepreneur. I thought that this creative endeavour had come to an end. I discovered otherwise.

As a matter of fact, this venture spanned about a decade and included numerous aspects. Included were also:
Decorative Painting by Alison Gilbert
Recycled with Love Collectables
Little Bytes of Art, Wearable & Shareable Art
The Five Step Decorative Painting System
The Five Step Decorative Painting Manual
Painting & Illustration

Begun in the early 1990’s, Decorative Art & Crafts lasted until very early in the 21st Century. Several other ventures intervenes. Then about 3 months ago, in the beginning of the scorching summer of 2018, I resumed indulging in this passion. Since it was too hot for me to engage in outdoor activities, this was the perfect hobby for indoors. I took of like a rocket bound to experience the heavens. And I have been doing just that.
 

Decorative Art with A Twist

Originally Decorative Painting by Alison Gilbert, my decorative tools were primer, paint and a protective coating. In revisiting this discipline, I introduced some new tools, duck tape and contact paper.

decorative art can include Floor cloth and matching cabinet decorated with duck tape and contact paper.
Floor cloth and matching cabinet decorated with duck tape and contact paper. The tool box is an Original Pink Box®.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Recycled with Love Collectibles’ Revived

The One-of-a-kind 'Crazy Coffee Pot @Alison D. Gilbert
From Recycled with Love Collectables, The One-of-a-kind ‘Crazy Coffee Pot @Alison D. Gilbert

The decorative tools are the same and then some. Previous collectables only had primer, paint and a protective coating. Now, I have introduced all different kinds of trinkets and accessories. So far these have included:
• buttons
• pins
• ribbon
• cloth flowers
• glitter medium
• contact paper
• broken jewelry pieces

Making them is really fun and the results are very exciting. Look below for the results. There will be more to show here as pieces are completed.

hobby, vocation,
‘The Button Bottle’ is the result of revisiting the “Recycled with Love’ Collectables philosophy, techniques and then some.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Savvy Shopping Savings

 

INTRODUCTION: OUR WEEKLY SAVVY SHOPPING SAVINGS ROUTINE

Being seniors enhances our opportunities for savvy shopping savings. As a senior, if you like travelling locally by car to go shopping, these suggestions should be appealing. The following examples are where we shop. But these days, I suspect that many suburban areas would have these or similar ways to take advantage of saving shopping savings.

savvy savings shopper
Long Island Cares, Inc. The Harry Chapin Food Bank is a major supplier of free food to those in need on Long Island
Tuesday

This is the Long Island Cares, Inc. ‘Veterans only’ food pantry day. We start our food shopping here in Freeport, LI then head over to Gala Fresh Farms where it is 10% off for seniors.

savvy shopper savings
Our local Gala Fresh Farms is in Baldwin, Long Island
Wednesday

Compare is another terrific supermarket that has a lot of Latino foods to cater to the demographics of the immediate neighborhood. The prices are good and I love the variety of foods. Seniors get 10% off today.

savvy shopping savings
Our local Compare Foods Direct is in Freeport, Long Island
Thursday

Target offers 5% off everyday with their credit or debit card. Since we are in the neighborhood on Thursdays, this is the day to go here. Staples is also right nearby so this is a good day to go here too. We get 5% off with their credit card everyday.

savvy shopping savings
Target recently opened a store in our radius of local shopping in Freeport, Long Island
Everyday

There are many other local savvy shopping savings opportunities everyday. Besides Target, here are a few of them:
CVS offers 30 to 40% off on a regular basis. This is one of the few stores that I pay attention to coupons. It really pays off. They email me and send me postcards to notify me of sales. It makes it very easy to shop and save here.
Staples offers us 5% off with every purchase made with our Staples credit card.
Wild by Nature offers 10% off to seniors. If I shop here often enough, I get another quarterly coupon.
Michaels Stores, Art Supplies, Crafts and Framing has coupons every week. We actually get notification of them by email. Even though this store is not on our regular shopping route, my husband likes to take a short trip to Michaels for his week art supply needs.

savvy shopping savings
CVS is much more than a pharmacy. It’s a quasi department store that always has sales. There are five CVS stores in our shopping route.

We will either include these everyday savings stores into our shopping routine near their location(s) or make a fun trip on another day or the weekend. In the case of CVS, there are five stores in the areas where we do our other shopping. Therefore, we have the luxury of going to any one of them no matter where else we need to shop.

savvy shopper savings
A Mapquest map of our weekly shopping route in Nassau County on Long Island. The area is traversed by two local parkways, Meadowbrook and Southern State, indicated in orange. We use them only when necessary. We can usually accomplish all our shopping on the road indicated in yellow. It is the ‘original’ Sunrise Highway
CONCLUSION: CONVENIENCE BUT CONFLICT AS WELL
I like to shop local and am a supporter of small local shops. But our financial circumstances require that we save money and shop frugally. It is very difficult to find a balance between the two systems, supporting small local businesses and shopping where we can get savvy shopping savings.

With the exception of Long Island Cares, Inc. which is a food bank that supports us, it seems that our finances dictate our choices. But they do not dictate our values. In addition, the direction that business has gone in makes it difficult to shop primarily at small local stores. So it would seem that practicing savvy shopper savings is in direct conflict with shopping small local stores. Or is it? Has anyone found their situation to be otherwise? Here’s what’s been in the media about this issue.

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Savvy Savings Shopper Blog Post

Local Businesses vs. Big Business

Savvy Suburban Survivalism Facebook Group

How Small Businesses Can Compete With Big Box Stores

Savvy Saving Survivalism Facebook Group

The Impact of Chain Stores on Community

The Savvy Saving Survivalist Facebook Page

Study proves it: Walmart super-stores kill off local small businesses

Why You Need to Support Small Businesses

One, Two, Three, Four . . . We Don’t Want Your Superstore

7 WAYS A SENIOR GROCERY DELIVERY SERVICE CAN IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

A Pickup Line You’ll Love: 30 stores that let you shop online and pick up in the store

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Your Credit Card Account Has Been Closed

 

INTRODUCTION

The other day I got an email from one of the credit card related websites I subscribe to notifying me of a credit card cancellation. I was shocked and in disbelief. What account was this referring to and why, I wondered? It referred to an account with CBNA which meant nothing to me. In fact, I am not even sure how I uncovered what account it was. The next step was figuring out why it had been cancelled due to my unblemished credit report.

Uncovering the Mystery

The email I received had two links which allowed me to figure out what was going on. The first link was the highlighted words, ‘contact your creditor or file a dispute’. The second link was a button, verify the details.

credit card cancellation
The credit card cancellation email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First Clue

The first link in the email led me to this post, Why Is My Account Reported As Closed?

credit card cancellation
Post about an account being closed from Credit Karma
Scanning the post, I noticed only one possible reason for an account being closed, inactivity. The next thing was to find out which account.

credit card cancellation
Why Your Account Is Reported As Closed
The Second Clue

The second link, the verify the details button revealed the issue. It showed me the accounts I had that had been closed. Only one applied, the CBNA Account closed on March 23, 2018. This still did not make sense to me. Therefore I decided I needed to speak with the bank that closed my account. Consequently, that was my next move.

credit card cancellation
Closed accounts

The Phone Call to CBNA

It was confirmed that due to my inactivity my account had been closed. I had not received any of the warnings the bank swore they had sent. As a result, I became rather annoyed. But because it was written in the original contract of terms I had with them, they were not obligated to do anything besides close the account, They refused to reopen it or contact Transunion so that my credit score would be be affected negatively.

The Lesson

From this credit card cancellation experience, I learned three crucial things, about the process, the reasons behind it and how to avoid it in the future:
• Banks have to pay to notify the credit reporting agencies of your status on open accounts whether you are using them or not.
• If you are not using your account, the credit line the bank has extended to you is wasted. The bank would rather give it to someone else who will use it.
• When I make up My Credit Card Maintenance System Spreadsheet, I need to include this detail of the usage terms contract.
 

CONCLUSION
Had I known this detail about my account, I would have simply made a small charge to keep my account open. This is especially relevant because I did not know it. An account was closed on me. But in the end, I learned a very valuable lesson. Read the terms of my credit card contracts and know how often I need to use a credit card to keep the account open.

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Teacup Microgreens

 

MICROGREENS CONTAINERS

Containers for growing and display microgreens are limited only by one’s imagination. This post will focus primarily on two types, teacup microgreens and decorative containers microgreens.

TEACUP MICROGREENS
Teacup microgreen containers remind me of teacup breeds of dogs. They are tiny and adorable. They are a great way to display and introduce microgreens as gifts.
teacup microgreens
Amaranth Teacup Microgreens by Alison D. Gilbert

DECORATIVE CONTAINERS MICROGREENS
Microgreens in a decorative container make a really nice gift and are very decorative just to grow at home. The below photos are from Maggie’s Microgreens, a company that offers this kind of product with all the items you need.
teacup microgreen
The Teacup Microgreen Kit from Maggies Microgreens on Etsy.com

You can get a fair idea of how to grow microgreens from this kit. It has everything you need to start small. If you appetite for them grows, and it will, then you will want to move on to something much bigger. In the meantime, this is a good place to start.

teacup microgreens
Flower Pot for Teacup Microgreens from Maggies Microgreens on Etsy.com

I love the flower pot that Maggie’s Microgreens supplies. When you go on her Etsy.com site, you will find other decorative containers in addition to the adorable purple flower pot.

teacup microgreens
Microgreens in a flower pot from Maggies Microgreens on Etsy.com

Once all the steps are completed, you have an adorable, edible mini garden. After you have eaten them or given them as a gift, you will want to move on to move flavors of and bigger containers for your own use. In addition, this type of item is a great gift to introduce this teacup sized portion of microgreen to others.

LEARNING MORE ABOUT MICROGREENS

Because these edible superfoods are so easy to grow and healthy to eat, I want to guide you to additional information. Because microgreens have become so popular, there is an abundance of information online. As a result, I want to mention a few sources that have been especially helpful to me. Most noteworthy is The Micro Gardener.

teacup microgreens
The Micro Gardener Facebook Page

Another amazing gardener is the Microgreens Farmer.

teacup microgreens
The Microgreens Farmer Facebook Page

Probably the most educational route I have found is joining groups that share my interest. Especially relevant is Sprouts and Microgreens!

teacup microgreens
Sprouts and Microgreens! Growing Living Food!The Facebook Group

CONCLUSION

Consequently, there are many paths to the same goal, growing microgreens. From creating a teacup microgreen splash to start to digging into large trays as a daily consumer, it is almost a certainty that this is only this information is only the beginning. Therefore, learn as much as you can. Experiment as much as possible by getting your hands in the soil. In conclusion, have fun because this is a great hobby, healthy food and most of all, you never know where you can go with it.

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Microgreens on Etsy.com
Decorative Container Microgreens on Etsy.com
Maggies Microgreens on Etsy.com
The Micro Gardener
The Microgreens Farmer
Seed Mama Micro Farming

teacup microgreens
Seed Mama Table Top Microgreen Farming
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Green Heroes

 

green heroes
The Incredible Hulk®

INTRODUCTION

Green heroes loom large in the world of animation. First of all, middle aged people will remember The Incredible Hulk® as one of the more popular ones. Furthermore, younger folks will easily relate to the loveable, animated Shrek® as one of today’s best known characters. Consequently, both are beloved, admired and influential green heroes.

GREEN HEROES

Less well known are the real world influential green heroes. Most noteworthy are people who have started sustainable projects and created productive, profitable businesses. Some are green in familiar ways. Others follow my broader definition developed in the upcoming ebook, Mastering the Art of Green. Hence including:
• a focus for individual survival and profitabiity
• an inventive and untraditional successful enterprise
• something for community well being
• solutions to world hunger and poverty
 

As a result, with growing green consciousness, poverty and scarcity will decrease. This will be due to the tangible results from green thinking and green resources. Most of all, the global crisis of hunger can be impacted in a positive way. Here lies the area of my greatest concern.

Consequently, we want to pay close attention to such green thinking and the results of these green heroes. Ideas and people like them will mold our future and probably change our world for the better. Towards this end, I have included several green heroes from a variety of venues in this post. In addition, it is my hope that their projects, the snapshots of their work and the details about them in the Sources & Resources section at the end of the post will serve to inspire all of us.
 

FROM CLEARANCE TO CASH: RYAN GRANT

green heroes
Grant says quitting his job to start his own business was the best decision he’s ever made

 

FARMERS CUT PILOT PROGRAM: MARK KORZILIUS

green heroes
Hyper local. Farm to Fork. Delicious. Healthy.
“You can probably guess by now, that we’re not an ordinary farm. Originally a farm was a place where people celebrated nature, enjoyed pure, good food. All around the world harvesting was a special occasion where people came together as a community to enjoy their gratitude for good food.

green heroes
Farmers Cut Pilot Farm

“Now, imagine a world of not just one harvest cycle, but many. We are talking of up to 20. Imagine the many pleasant occasions we can come together and enjoy pure good food! Together, we will bring back the joy of food and our farm will be home to that feeling and a place for you – the avid food lover.” Mark Korzilius, Farmers Cut
 

 

GOTHAM GREENS: URBAN ROOFTOP GREENHOUSES

Viraj Puri, Co-Founder and CEO
Eric Haley, Co-Founder and CFO
Jennifer Nelkin Frymark, Chief Agriculture Officer

green heroes
Gotham Greens was founded in Brooklyn.

“‘Gotham Greens’ pesticide-free produce is grown using ecologically sustainable methods in technologically-sophisticated, 100% clean energy powered, climate-controlled urban rooftop greenhouses. Gotham Greens provides its diverse retail, restaurant, and institutional customers with reliable, year-round, local supply of produce grown under the highest standards of food safety and environmental sustainability. The company has built and operates over 170,000 square feet of technologically advanced, urban rooftop greenhouses across 4 facilities in New York City and Chicago. Gotham Greens was founded in 2009 in Brooklyn, New York and is privately held.” Gotham Greens
 

green heroes
Extraordinarily fresh produce, grown in extraordinarily fresh places.

 

GROWING CITIES MOVIE: URBAN FARMING IN AMERICA

A documentary that examines the role of urban farming in America and asks how much power it has to revitalize our cities and change the way we eat. This film is based on a 13,000 mile trip around the United States researching answers to this question.

“In their search for answers, filmmakers Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette take a road trip and meet the men and women who are challenging the way this country grows and distributes its food, one vacant city lot, rooftop garden, and backyard chicken coop at a time. Join them as they discover that good food isn’t the only crop these urban visionaries are harvesting. They’re producing stronger and more vibrant communities, too.” From their website

 

green heroes
Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks
JIM WANG: WALLET HACKS

First of all, Wallet Hacks is an internet encyclopedia of financially green ideas. Jim Wang writes about untraditional tools to save money, from everyday items to phenomenal travel tips.

He is constantly amazing me with his suggestions and data. As a result, I cannot applaud him enough as a green hero whose research is invaluable and needs to be studied. Almost any area of life that you want to save money on can be found in his writings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KATHY TERRILL: I LOVE SELLING ON EBAY


A master ebay seller, Kathy Terrill presents all kinds of useful and fascinating information about selling on ebay. The inspiration for this video was a presentation for members of Sarah Mueller’s Declutter My Home, Facebook group.

 

PASCAL BAUDAR: URBAN OUTDOOR SKILLS

This man is a wild foods artisan. I am in awe of the delicacies he makes from foraged as well as commercial ingredients.

green heroes
Vegan cheeses made by Pascal Baudar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE TOP FARMING: INDOOR FARM TO TABLE FOOD
green heroes
The Table Top Farming icon

“Wish you had the space to grow your own food? Wish you could be in your garden even in winter? Table top farming is your solution for both. You can grow healthy greens, herbs, sprouts, vegetables and even fruit indoors, all year round.

“As a result of using growing techniques like microgreens, hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics, you can do your own ‘table top farming’ indoor and out. This page shares my experience doing ‘Table Top Farming’ for fun and a source of nutritious, fresh food.” From the Facebook page

 

 

 

 

SOURCES AND RESOURCES

Ryan Grant
Mark Korzilius
Farmers Cut
Gotham Greens
Growing Cities Movie, The film
Pascal Bauder
Kathy Terrill, selling on eBay
Table Top Farming
100+ Restuarant Where Kids Eat Free
Anne Gibson – The Micro Gardener

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The Former Middle Class Trilogy

mastering green
The Former Middle Class eBook Series Available at Amazon.com

INTRODUCTION
There are three ebooks in The Former Middle Class Trilogy.The first ebook is called, The Poor Middle Class Crisis and the second ebook is, Using Credit Cards for Survival and Profit. The ebooks are available on Amazon.com. Mastering the Art of Green is my third ebook in the Former Middle Class trilogy.
 

The Former Middle Class Trilogy
The Poor Middle Class Crisis eBook © 2017 Alison D. Gilbert

THE POOR MIDDLE CLASS CRISIS
The Former Middle Class.The Poor Middle Class Crisis chronicles our history as people who were devastated by the 2008 stock market crash. My husband lost his job the same week as the crash. He was 62 at the time. I became very ill from all the stress.

We had become part of The Former Middle Class and did not know how we were going to survive. Our low point was when we faced the possibility of having no place to live and were, One Day From Homeless.

Our journey became one of survival. That became our priority. We had to learn to live all over again under very different financial circumstances. We explored many different avenues and began to build our financial survival tool kit.

The Former Middle Class
The Financial Survival Toolkit for Living a Consciously Frugal Life from the Viper Tool Storage Company
 
OUR FINANCIAL SURVIVAL TOOL KIT
Building our kit involved many lifestyle changes. We went from a two bedroom apartment to subsidized senior housing. Access to food was a big challenge. Instead of the opportunity to purchase expensive, organic foods and eat out on occasion, we had to depend on the generosity of others and the government. Food pantries and food stamps are crucial financial survival tools. But they may be hard to swallow.

We went from middle class comfort to former middle class frugal living. It was a huge adjustment. We explored many tools that didn’t work for us. Things like couponing and taking surveys. Many more thrifty tools are mentioned in the first ebook. Eventually we found one tool that not only helped us survive but also became profitable. That tool is credit cards.
 

former middle class trilogy
Using Credit Cards for Survival & Profit eBook © 2017 Alison D. Gilbert
USING CREDIT CARDS FOR SURVIVAL AND PROFIT
Let me make very clear right from the start that our use of credit cards has involved a very responsible set of guidelines. We pay all our bills on time and in full. Our credit rating fluctuates between 775 and 800 depending upon which credit reporting agency you ask.

Credit cards have given us a financial cushion between sign up promotional bonuses and monthly cash rewards. My refinement of credit cards as a financial survival tool lasted about eight months. What I have learned, and continue to learn about credit cards is fascinating and extremely informative. I have my accounts charted with spreadsheets for each month. Read My Credit Card Accounts Maintenance System for the details of my system.
 

Former Middle Class Trilogy
Part of My Credit Cards Accounts Maintenance System

In less than a year, I had become sophisticated in the financially lucrative use of the credit card benefits tools. All of a sudden, the additional hefty promotional signup bonus credit card memberships applications began receiving denial letters. My stellar tool of acquiring credit cards with promotional sign up bonuses of $100-$200 had lost its winning streak. Clearly, it was time to rest that tool, re-examine some of the other financial survival tools that I had discarded in the past and to research additional new tools. I was at a loss and needed new financial fertilizer.
 

Former Middle Class Trilogy
Mastering the Art of Green, The Third ebook in the Former Middle Class Trilogy @2018 Alison D. Gilbert
MASTERING THE ART OF GREEN
Mastering the art of green is a process. For me, it has involved taking stepping backwards to get a different, larger view on what ‘green’ means. It can refer to money. It can refer to food, lush grassy fields, innocence and inexperience.

Sure enough, once I stepped back and started to look at green in a new way, as fertility and productivity, new tools started to sprout. I started growing food indoors calling it, Table Top Farming. I am growing microgreen in soil and hydroponics in water.

This project is of major importance to us since healthy, live food sources can be scarce for seniors on fixed incomes. Food pantries tend to offer the lowest quality packaged/processed food. The SNAP (food stamp) program provides a miniscule amount of money to supplement nutritious food. So growing one’s own live, local greens can be better than money in one’s pocket.
 

RECONSIDERING COUPONS, STORE SALES AND SELLING SITES
Coupons and other money saving programs do have their value. They are not as lucrative as credit card sign up promotional bonuses. But what is? There again, when I took a step back to get a better perspective on what made sense for me to pursue, I found many options.

Former Middle Class Trilogy
A great savings of 50% at Michael’s Art & Craft Supplies in store and online

Some coupons like the specials CVS Pharmacy and Michaels Stores-Art Supplies, Crafts and Framing offer can be as high as 40-70%. A Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% coupon get help a lot on a $100 plus purchase. Target, Walmart and Amazon vie for top savings. In addition, there are programs that will automatically check to see if there is a savings special when an online purchase is made. These include Ebates, honey, and cently and piggy. Other apps exist that I have not yet had a chance to explore. Two of the most popular are ibotta and Groupon.

Decluttering, Sarah Mueller style can provide lots of potential items you no longer need and want to sell. The above video is from a workshop she did with an expert at selling stuff. Two of the most popular selling sites are Ebay and Etsy. I have not sold on Ebay. I do have an Etsy store, Tin Can Ali. It displays some of my painted items for fun. I have not really tried to sell anything. But Ebay can be a great place to sell things especially if you watch the Kathy Terrill videos from I Love To Be Selling.
 

CONCLUSION
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Prioritize your options. Find what is most beneficial and takes the least time to execute it. New savings hacks are invented all the time. Be resourceful. Do the research. Continue to read my and other blog posts for the latest information.
 

SOURCES AND RESOURCES
Wallet Hack’s article Target’s Store Shopping Hacks
Wallet Hack’s Article 10 Sites That Pay You Money for Things You’re Already Doing For Free
Ann Gibson The Micro Gardener
Sarah Mueller Decluttering Club
Kathy Terrill I Love To Be Selling – Kathy Terrill
Alison Gilbert’s Facebook pages and groups:
Table Top Farming
Survival Comes First
Savvy Saving Survivalism

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