All posts by Susan

I founded the site many moons ago. The support we get and the good info from around the country keeps it going. My favorite thing is a piece of advice that we haven't heard - and it gets harder to come by after thousands of interviews. Have questions? Email me. I'm happy to answer them as soon as I can.

Post Tornado – Things You’ll Need

Here are good tips from tornado survivors – most of these come from the ‘wish I’d thought of these items before the tornado’ list.

Be sure to put this stuff in your home emergency kit just case. Depending on the level of destruction (your home, neighborhood or the entire town?) some of these things may not be easily accessible unless you have it stored ahead of time.

  1. Cash for purchases (Why? If there’s no electricity,  ATMs won’t work.)
  2. Cell phone, phone card, or quarters for land line.
  3. Clothing and personal items – Pretend you’re camping in the woods for two weeks – everyone in your family will need socks, good shoes (cover the ankles!) underwear, deodorant, meds, toothbrush/paste, short and long sleeved shirts/tops, shorts, long slacks/jeans, pajamas, hat (sun protection), diapers, formula, etc.
  4. Pets – Pet food, meds, leash, collar, ID. Also, consider nearby friends/boarders/pet care providers if needed.
  5. Notebook/pen and envelope for your Disaster Diary – track and all cash and credit card expenses, receipts and cash flow, names of disaster agencies, account numbers, phone numbers, and more.
  6. If your home is destroyed, you’ll need to think about temporary housing.  This may be a hotel, maybe a friend’s house?
  7. Finally – you’ll need to ask for help and aid longer than you think.

– Susan

Home Inspections – Good Idea

Having a home inspection every few years is a great idea and can save a homeowner a lot of money and headaches, says Jason R. Hanson, president of Primo Coach, LLC, based in the metropolitan Washington, DC area.

Hanson adds that finding a “qualified” home inspector is tricky. “There are organizations out there such as The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors and The American Society of Home Inspectors that are reputable but others only require that you take a class and pay a fee to be a ‘home inspector’.”

In a nutshell, inspect your home and your home inspector.

Good tip!


Birth Announcement Tips

Here’s some info on putting a birth announcement in the newspaper(s) of your choice.  Often, announcements aren’t printed without the signature of each parent listed, so sign what you send.

It is important to provide:

  1. Hospital (include city and state) where baby was born
  2. Parents
    • Mother’s name (Last, First, Middle Initial)
    • Father’s name (Last, First, Middle Initial)
    • Residence(s) (city/state)
  3. Baby’s name (Last, First, Middle Initial)
    • Gender: male or female
    • Date of Birth
    • Time of birth a.m. / p.m. (circle one)
    • Length (inches)
    • Weight (pounds) (ounces)
    • Is this the first child in the family? Yes or No
  4. Family
    • Brothers and sisters (first names and ages)
    • Mother’s parents name (include city and state)
    • Father’s parents name (include city and state)
    • Great-grandparents name (include city and state)
  5. Signatures
    • Mother’s and or father’s signature and date
  6. Questions to ask the newspaper(s) you’re putting the announcement in:
    • Is it free?
    • Is is charged by the line?
    • How much per line?
    • On average, how many words are there per line?
    • Is there a charge for photos?
    • How is that charged?
    • Are announcements included on the paper’s web site? If so, is that free? If not, how much? (If there is a fee, credit cards are often accepted over the phone.

And don’t forget to post the good news to your Facebook page!

Laid Off? Let’s Move Forward Together…

With everything changing, one of the most common questions we get is – what happens now that I’m laid off?

Luckily, we have terrific readers all over the country who are sharing their stories – how they are navigating the new world order, and advice they find helpful.

Here’s one reader’s advice on how to keep yourself moving forward:

Hi WhatHappensNow –

I have learned a few things that someone else in my situation might find helpful.

When friends, former colleagues and family reach out, don’t avoid them. They are the strongest support system you’ve got. They want the best for you and aren’t judging you. I had to make a conscious effort to accept their help.

  • Remember that this support group might actually be your link to a new job. They know you best and will look for opportunities that you are most closely suited to. Look into and you might be surprised at how helpful this network can be. It is highly recommended by experts in the recruiting world.
  • Another way to network is to join a group of people who share your interests. It is also a great way to have fun. Check out for lists of groups near you who gather to do everything from play cards to rock-climb. Registration is free and easy. You simply choose areas of interest, enter your zip code and the number of miles you are willing to travel. You will probably find a surprising number of groups who share your interests and who would welcome you as a new member. The only cost would occur if you choose a group that charges a fee. (See the site’s policy statement for complete information.)
  • Form letters/emails aren’t personal rejections (this is a tough one!). These companies don’t know what they are missing when they don’t interview me! It helps to view them that way instead of imagining the worst.
  • Exercise, eat well and laugh. Any one of these three things could go by the wayside and life is just too short to let that happen.
  • Don’t pay attention to economic news. Focus on the pieces that include information showing that there are still opportunities out there.
  • On a practical note, make a list of your current monthly expenses. Decide which items you can either do without or reduce immediately. If you have credit cards, reach the monthly statements carefully. Many of those companies have recently begun shortening the grace period from 30 to 25 or 21 days. Read every piece of correspondence from your credit card companies. If they have raised your interest rate, call them. They would rather reduce the rate than lose a customer. If at all possible, find a card with a special offer at 0% interest. We found a card that didn’t charge a balance transfer fee from our current card, plus the 0% interest rate applies for 15 months. Instead of credit cards, carry a specified amount of cash for the month, preferably in larger bills. We are all less likely to spend cash and are even more cautious about breaking a $50 bill.
  • At this point, make a conscious effort to give thanks for everything you have. Health, friends, family, lots of great experience on your resume and the knowledge you aren’t alone.

Thank you Reader!! (She wanted to stay anonymous)


Also, if you’re interested, here are two other articles from readers and experts on coping with lay-offs

- Just Laid Off – First Steps

- Seven Steps to Surviving a Lay-Off in a Bad Economy

If you have advice – email us – susan (at)

Duluth, MN is Flooding

I grew up in Duluth, so news of the flooding reached me quickly.

Duluth is situated on a hill; this really shows flash flooding can happen anywhere at anytime. With 8+ inches of rain overnight (and more in other parts of the region), it’s no surprise the city is literally overflowing. The picture in this post shows a street I used to walk on to go to school, which is down a steep hill on the left.

Unfortunately, the Duluth Zoo was hard hit. The LA Times reported at least 14 animals didn’t survive the night. There is a good news Zoo story though –  two seals, Feisty and Helen, swam away in the flood waters and ended up on a street where very good Samaritans rescued them. The seals are safe, and probably telling the other animals about their adventures.

Check out some of the flood images here from the Mpls. Star Tribune, there’s a seal image at the end.

We’ll keep watching the news – there’s more rain forecasted for the area.  As with all disasters, our thoughts are with everyone impacted by the rain and flooding.

– Susan

9 Bicycle Safety Tips for Kids

Bicycling can be a great activity for children—if they know the basic safety routines. The following guidelines can make it easier for you to get your child into the bike safety habit.

1. Helmets and kids – It’s the safety connection that really matters

  • Let your child help pick out the helmet.
  • Always insist your child wear the helmet.
  • Begin the helmet habit with the first bicycle.
  • When you ride with your children, wear your own helmet.
  • Encourage the parents of your children’s friends to buy helmets.

2. Dress your child appropriately for dawn, dusk or bad weather biking

  • Children should avoid biking in the dark. If they must bike at night, make sure their clothing and helmet have reflective strips and that the lights and reflectors on the bike are in place.
  • ALWAYS make sure they wear shoes when riding a bicycle! One reader told us that she lost a toe when she was little because she wasn’t wearing shoes and got her toe caught in the bike chain (yowza).

3. Sidewalks and paths

  • Start with sidewalks and bike paths until you feel confident your child can handle a road with vehicle traffic.

4. Plan a safe cycling route with your children

  • Ride it at different times of the day—the amount of traffic can vary significantly.

5. Make sure schools provide cyclists with “safe areas”

  • Look to see where kids can lock their bikes and if it’s near the pick-up, drop-off area (which could have a lot of traffic).

6. Discourage kids from riding alone

  • Kids should always try to ride with a buddy (but not on the same bike) and know what to do in case of an accident or if they are followed or approached by a stranger on foot or in a car.

7. Don’t let them ride a borrowed bike

  • Make sure they are riding a bike that fits them and that it is in good working order.

8. Warn children of the dangers of using a bike to try stunts and tricks

  • ”Showing off” can lead to injuries for the cyclists and his friends.

9. Traffic

  • Remind children to stop and look for traffic at all intersections, including those where streets cross alleys and driveways.

– Susan

6 tips to hold off wedding day disasters

Good questions on weddings – how do you prevent wedding day disasters? While we can’t control the future, we can certainly put some things in place to mitigate. Here are some thoughts.

  1. Don’t create an unnecessary emergency!
    “I know we have a lot of brides who wear a size or two smaller because [they think] I’m going to lose weight,” says Megan Nolde, lead wedding consultant for “Don’t do that! It’s cheaper to try to take it in than to take it out.”
  2. Take time when choosing the right vendors.
    “When an emergency happens (I’m not thinking 911 here) – don’t panic,” says Amy Child Marella, owner of the Hidden Garden in Los Angeles and the contributing floral/wedding expert for Inside Weddings and Better TV. “As long as you have hired competent vendors they will handle the problem and 9 times out of 10 the bride/groom won’t even know that something happened (if you have the right vendors).”
  3. Mention your top priorities to the wedding planner.
    “I had a wedding where the cake was the most important thing,” says Samantha Goldberg, Wedding Event Designer based in NY-NJ and a regular featured host/planner on the Style Network’s “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway” and “Married Away”. “The maid of honor called me and said the cake is falling apart. But we made it work.” Let the planner know which areas of the wedding are most important to you for your big day so they can be sure to pay extra attention to make sure things run smoothly.
  4. Have extra people to help.
    “On your wedding day if you ask for someone for help it really helps you because you don’t want to worry about getting cards in alphabetical order this way you can really relax and enjoy the day,” says Nolde.
  5. Try to keep the bride calm.
    “The bride is already stressed,” says Nolde. “If something does go wrong, try to converse in a different room. Stay calm. If you make it a big deal, she’s gonna get panicky. Help out wherever you can. Chances are it’s not a big deal and can be solved.”

  6. Try to keep the bride calm.Wedding Day Emergency Kit
    Designed to meet the needs for every emergency, the wedding day emergency kit is great to have on hand…just in case! Here’s a list of what to choose from so you can make one for the bride here.
  7. There’s no such thing as a perfect wedding.
    “Perfect is a perception. What’s my perfect might not be your perfect,” says Goldberg. “Remember it’s just ONE day. Don’t worry about it going wrong – if the day goes wrong, it’s not a sign for a destroyed marriage.”

– Susan