Veterans growing as entrepreneurs

Veterans returning home face many challenges that weren’t present when they were serving in the armed forces. Between adapting to civilian life, reacquainting with family and friends, and finding employment, the adjustment can be a difficult process.

Unemployment numbers for veterans are dropping, but returning solders often struggle to compete for jobs due to lack of education, lack of experience or in some cases, the stigma of returning from overseas with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This is why programs like Sprigster’s Boost a Hero crowdfunding for military veterans and spouses are developed to help alleviate some of these career obstacles, like raising funds for entrepreneurial dreams. Crowdfunding provides an opportunity where friends, family and strangers can donate funds to support a cause online. The need is great. Nearly one in 10 small businesses are veteran-owned, the U.S. Small Business Administration reports.

Tom Perez used Boost a Hero to raise money to open a Meineke Car Care Center in Pensacola, Fla. He is a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, where he served as a police officer and also earned a business degree. He currently employs four veterans in his shop and will be looking to hire more as his business grows.

Perez decided to pursue owning his own business after he had applied, and been rejected for 100 jobs – even with his 10 years of experience in the Navy. Then, he approached Meineke Car Care Centers. Meineke’s Franchise Development team worked closely with him to get his business established. Between a discounted franchise fee and a low interest rate loan, Perez was close to having the money needed to start his business. Boost a Hero helped him raise the additional $10,000 he needed, and his shop opened in May. Now Perez works closely with his customers and employees in finding the right service for them, their car, and their budget. His shop was named one of the top five finalists in the national “Hiring Our Heroes” Award for Small Business Veteran and Military Spouse Employment by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The award cited Perez for addressing the challenges faced by veterans in finding employment and transitioning from military to civilian life.

“Veterans like Tom have served our country – giving so much of themselves in the process,” says John Vitagliano, vice president of marketing for Meineke Car Care Centers. “Offering career opportunities to veterans interested in entrepreneurship is a way of giving back – and crowdfunding opportunities like Boost a Hero provide veterans with the financial means to help make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.”

Courtesy of BPT

Myth and fact: What you need to know about credit scores

For all of the discussion around the importance of credit scores, it’s hard to know what’s true, what’s fiction, and what lies in between.

While there are misperceptions and misunderstandings still lingering in the marketplace, the good news is that overall knowledge about credit scoring is improving. A recent survey by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and VantageScore Solutions, one of the two primary companies that generate credit scores, shows that consumers know they have more than one credit score, have a better understanding about the factors that affect credit scores, and have increased familiarity with how different kinds of companies and entities use credit scores. Consumers also have a good handle on some recent additions to federal laws regarding when lenders are required to inform borrowers about their credit scores.  

“Increases in consumer knowledge probably reflect, in part, the increased public attention given to credit scores because of the new protections,” says Stephen Brobeck, executive director, CFA. “The improvements may also be related to increased efforts of financial educators, including our own educational website,, to inform consumers about credit reports and scores.”  

However, despite the positive developments, there’s room for improvement according to the CFA-VantageScore Solutions survey.

Myth: Low credit scores don’t greatly affect how much you pay over the life of the loan.

Fact: Low scores can be costly. Only 29 percent of survey respondents were aware that on a $20,000, 60-month auto loan, a borrower with a low credit score is likely to pay at least $5,000 more than a borrower with a high credit score.

Myth: Age and marital status are factors used in calculating credit scores.

Fact: Over 50 percent of survey respondents incorrectly believed their age and marital status were factors used to calculate their credit scores. The only factors credit score models use are related to your use of credit, especially whether you make payments on time.

Myth: Multiple inquiries when applying for a consumer or mortgage loan will have a negative effect on your score.

Fact: If multiple inquiries occur during a one-to two-week window, generally they will not lower your credit scores. Only 9 percent of respondents were aware of this, and 34 percent incorrectly believed that each inquiry will lower your score.

Understanding credit scoring can be complex, but it’s in your best interest to get the facts straight. With a clear view of what’s true and false, it’s easier to set the course for a sound financial future. For more information about the myths and facts of credit, visit,  and These websites are free, do not display any advertising and do not collect any personal data. Both the online quiz and a corresponding brochure are also available in Spanish at

Courtesy of BPT

How to choose furniture for a light color themed home

Light colored walls offer you so many different options in furniture and home decor. But, they also give you several advantages over dark walls. When used in small rooms light walls can make your room appear to be much larger than it is. They are an ideal way to make any room feel more open and airy. When used in a room that doesn’t get very much natural light, light walls add brightness. To get the exact look that you want, you need to know how to buy furniture for a light color themed home.

Choose a Style for Your Home

Before you purchase furniture for a light colored room, decide what look you want for the room. Do you want a warm and inviting room? Do you want to create a bold contrast in the room? One of the best advantages of a light colored theme is that you can incorporate almost any color furniture and accessories into the room. But, a change in color will cause a dramatic effect on the rooms look.

Warm and Inviting

Light and neutral colors work well together and they are ideal for any size room. Using light colored furniture with light colored walls makes the room feel warm and inviting. It will also make the room seem cleaner and uncluttered. If you have white walls, choose furniture pieces in white, cream or light beige. You can add a little contrast with complimenting colors in a area rug, throw pillows or home decor.

Bold and Dramatic

You can create a really bold and dramatic feeling in a light colored room by choosing dark colored furniture. However, keep in mind that it’s best to use furniture that is just a few shades darker than your walls. If the difference is to dramatic the rooms decor can be to bold for the eye. To blend the colors together, balance them out by adding contrast to the rooms trim, baseboards and molding.


Using furniture colors such as black or red in a light color themed room not only adds a bold feeling to the theme, it also gives it a modern look. More and more homeowners are choosing to decorate their homes in a modern design. And, one of the most popular colors for modern furniture is black. Black furniture has a sleek feel and gives you the advantage of using numerous colors in your decor, pillows and area rugs.


If you have a country style home, choose furniture that carries that look over into your rooms. Choose furniture in natural or pastel colors. Furniture with light colored floral designs are an excellent way to compliment a country decor. If you don’t want a floral design on the furniture, use light or pastel colors and add a floral touch on your curtains, pillows or other accessories.

by: Oleg Oyfe 

2BR Townhome in Sharlo, Baton Rouge


A perfect
Sharlo townhome awaits! With fresh carpet, wood flooring, fresh paint, wonderful backyard for entertaining and pets, this townhome offers a perfect college retreat. A rental property for many years, it has been very well maintained and refreshed for the new buyer. No spiral staircase either! With 2 large bedrooms and baths, vaulted ceiling and fireplace, dining room and spacious kitchen, the college student will be at home immediately. Just a short walk to the bus stop on Brightside too. Sharlo continues to be a popular neighborhood for students and young professionals. In the heart of the LSU area, just minutes from River Road, Bluebonnet and downtown, it offers a superior location with a neighborhood feel. Take a look!! Call or text 225-335-5395 or
CLICK HERE for more info.

1557 Sharlo

Baton Rouge, LA 70820

Beautiful 6 Bedroom Home in Southdown Gardens

Deceptively spacious! You would never expect to find this much living area in this traditional French style home — including
6 bedrooms and 5 baths! Perfect for the growing family. Exceptionally appointed with exposed pine beams, 10-inch plank wood flooring throughout first floor, Carolina brick interior walls, slab granite, stainless appliances, stove and hood, surround sound and many other custom features. The den overlooks the community space in the backyard creating a refreshing view. Enter through the massive double-entry beveled glass doors to an open living and dining area overlooking the courtyard style patio area. (Pavilion remains for the lucky new homeowner!) Triple split floorplan encompasses the first floor – One bedroom and bath flank the foyer. The master is found off to the right, offering privacy, spacious bedroom and large bath with separate vanities, jetted tub and shower. The kitchen is anchored by a large center island with bar stools for visiting and casual dining, stainless oversized gas range, and open to the keeping area with fireplace! A kid's den is found off the keeping area which would also make a great office. Upstairs are three bedrooms, one of which could be used as a game/media room if you would prefer. Room for everyone to spread out and enjoy their own privacy! Located on a dead-end street in the exclusive Southside Gardens neighborhood off Hood, in the heart of the growing Southdowns corridor. Convenient to St. Aloysius, LSU, downtown, I-10 access, and all of the new dining and shopping along the Perkins Road corridor. A rare opportunity to find a home this spacious, only 8 years young, this convenient, and this beautiful! Call or text 225-335-5395 or
CLICK HERE for more info.

3818 Blakeridge

Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Newly Remodeled Home in Villa Del Rey, Baton Rouge

NEWLY remodeled home in
Villa del Rey!! Slab granite countertops, travertine backsplash, stainless appliances, new roof, ceramic tile floors and hardwood floors, crown molding, tile surrounds for tubs, new mirrors – fresh as new! With 2800 square feet of living area, it is spacious — open kitchen with bar and two pantries, breakfast area, separate sitting room, large den with masonry fireplace, new light fixtures too! The bedrooms are all large, with the master being 14×14. Located on a corner lot (and dead end), there is a double carport for covered parking, workshop with full bath, fenced in backyard, open and covered patio areas. Backing up to undeveloped land, you have no rear neighbors! With four bedrooms, 2 stylishly remodeled baths, new everything, this is a great home to spread out and enjoy. Call or text 225-335-5395 for more info or

1315 S. Alameda

Baton Rouge, LA 70815


Eight ways to help kids hone their homework habits

(BPT) – Helping children with their homework requires more than an understanding of the subject matter, whether it’s algebra or world literature. To help children succeed throughout the school year, it’s important for parents to nurture positive study habits and organizational skills, and provide kids with a home environment that fosters concentration.

“Whether your kids are just learning to read, write and spell, or they are studying for the SATs, we parents have an opportunity to help instill work and study habits that will stick with our children for life,” says education and parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba, who is the bestselling author of 22 parenting books and a frequent TODAY show contributor.

Borba offers parents some easy tips to help children of all ages develop skills that will help them reach their academic goals:

* Give them space – Create a dedicated space for homework and study. This underscores the importance of homework to kids. If you don’t have room for a homework desk, consider keeping all homework and study tools in a bin or box that children can take out and use every day. Keep all essentials in one place to help avoid time wasted looking for the dictionary, ruler, calculator or other tool.

* Create a routine – Choose a time that works best for your child to do homework, then stick to that time every day. A set and predictable schedule helps minimize homework battles. “Work before play” can motivate kids to get their homework done, but if your child plays sports or has other after-school commitments, doing homework after dinner may be the best option.

* Give them smart tools and study aids – Just as your mechanic can’t fix your car without the right tools, it’s hard for kids to do homework without the proper tools. Choose tools like the new Post-it Study collection (, which is designed to help students stay organized and use time efficiently. For example, Post-it Study Message Flags are restickable flags that feature helpful reminders like “Study,” “To Do” and “On Test” that help kids highlight material that needs additional attention. Note Tabs, Page Markers, Flags and other products in this collection by Post-it Brand stick securely to papers, notebooks, textbooks and more – yet remove cleanly – to help kids organize information during homework and study time.

* Avoid distractions – Establish a technology-free zone for homework and studying. Turn off TVs, ban text messaging and ensure kids are using their PC for research, rather than Facebook. This measure may seem obvious to you, but remember – kids are so tied to tech these days that they may be surprised to find out they can more efficiently use their time without the distractions of technology.

* Map out assignments – Help children plot homework on a schedule so they have simple reminders of daily, weekly or long-term assignments. Include other engagements like sports or music lessons to help kids have a clearer picture of their own schedules. This can help build basic time management skills, like working on a long-term project every day over time, or avoiding a late-night cramming session for a big test.

* Lessons in planning and prioritizing – Teach kids to make lists of what they need to do each night in order of priority. As your child accomplishes each item, have him cross it off the list. For children who had difficulty staying on task, breaking large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks can help. Encourage kids to do the hardest homework first to help relieve the pressure of a long to-do list.

* Emphasize the effort – Stressing perseverance and effort in a task helps children work longer and harder, because they recognize their success is based on how hard they work. Instead of asking “What score did you get?” ask “How hard are you working?”

* Effective study habits – Spreading out study sessions and practice testing were the two most-effective learning tactics, according to a recent report by the Association for Psychological Science. Both techniques involve strong time management skills. Help children think of study sessions or pieces of a larger project as daily to-dos, and just as important as the homework assignment that may be due tomorrow.

Courtesy of BPT

Pack a school lunch they won’t want to trade

Packing school lunches filled with healthy, appealing and creative foods is an excellent start to encouraging children to make sensible food choices now and in the future. But if lunch items you pack are less than appetizing, it could be the next item of trade in the cafeteria: a risk not worth taking in the age of nutrient-deficient and calorie-heavy school lunches.

Break up the mundane sandwich routine with well-rounded lunch combinations that will have kids eating well and growing strong with every bite. Here are some important components to a lunch they’ll think is worth keeping and eating:

* A main meal – Taste is important to children, and feeding the occasional “picky” eater can be quite a challenge. A tortilla roll-up with enticing ingredients like avocado, tomato or cucumbers with turkey, fish or chicken will show even the finickiest of eaters that there is more to lunch than the same old sandwich. Use the main meal as an opportunity to offer kids different textures and flavors and make a lasting impression about the many possibilities of food.

* A fun food – Making lunch food exciting is the first step to discourage trading and motivate kids to try something new. A well-thought-out presentation can inspire a healthy curiosity, and kids will naturally want to give it a taste. Cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls and fresh basil alternating on a toothpick is a fun and healthy salad-on-a-stick with easily-controlled portions. Sweet potato chips are another fun make-at-home option that are packed with vitamins A, B6, C and more. Bake up a batch on Sunday and pack them in lunches all week.

* Something that goes “crunch” – Carrots, apples and pretzels provide a lunch box with plenty of crunch to keep things fresh. Crunchy snacks are the secret to waking up your child’s brain before afternoon lessons begin, allowing them to finish off the day strong. Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels are available in more than three dozen shapes, flavors and gluten-free varieties so everyone can have their own favorite. Grab a 10-count of single 100-calorie snack packs in sticks, snaps or minis to change it up from day-to-day and keep kids wondering, “what’s next?”


* A thirst quencher – Many kid-friendly drinks are loaded with empty calories like sodas and sweetened iced tea. It’s important for a school lunch to include liquids that keep kids hydrated so they can think, move and perform at their best. Limit caffeinated and sugary beverages like sodas and iced teas, and instead encourage your children to get in the habit of drinking water, milk or real fruit juice.

* A love note – Lunchbox food is important, but so is a reminder that the menu was made with love. Encourage your children to do well in class by slipping a note inside their lunchboxes. Consider painting the inside of a lunch box with chalkboard paint so you can write and erase messages daily. Include a hand-written note or draw a picture for a sack lunch bag.

* After-school energy boosters – Kids experience the afternoon slump just as much as parents. With smaller stomachs, children are often in need of snacks to keep their energy levels going strong – especially after school. Keep some Snyder’s of Hanover 100 calorie packs handy. Kids can pair the snaps or minis with cheese or meat slices for an extra energy boost. With less fat and less sodium than many other salty snacks, these portion-controlled packs are the perfect snack that won’t spoil any appetites before dinner.

These essentials will have you thinking outside the (lunch) box and make your lunches the envy inside the cafeteria. Try planning a menu with your kids at the beginning of each week and let them choose what meals and snacks they want to eat on which day. Homemade lunches are an easy way to control what your children eat and you’ll know that they’re getting the healthy nutrition needed to perform well in school. Not only will they not want to trade it, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Courtesy of BPT

Real Estate Sells in the Winter Months

Yes, the winter season

a good time to put your house on the market. We have seen it year over year, with our January and February sales up last year by 20%.  Here is what we have discovered: 

1. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transfers cannot wait until Spring to buy, you need to be on the market during the Holidays to capture the market.

2. Some people, especially investors, must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.

3. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the Holidays than they do during a work week.

4. Houses show better when decorated for the Holidays.

4.  People have become convinced that "winter" is a dead time for real estate, when in fact it isn't.   Because of this misguided approach, the supply of listings will dramatically increase in the spring.  List today when you have less competition!  

And the number one reason why your should list during the Holidays …

5. People who look for homes during the Holidays are more serious buyers!

People are moving into the Greater Baton Rouge area today and need to find that perfect house NOW! 

The homeowners below aren't going to wait — showings are already scheduled!!



Just Listed  


5BR French Style Home

In Southdown Gardens
Newly Remodeled 4BR Home

In Villa Del Rey
3818 Blakeridge 1315 S. Alameda


Price Adjustment


Triple Split Floor Plan

In Highland Ridge

NOW $398,000

Sweet 3BR Home Off Jefferson

In Country Club Estates

NOW $147,500
114 Charter Ridge Ct. 8626 Barnett