College Survival Checklist for Parents

by & filed under Portraiture.

college survival checklist
Next month my eldest heads off to school in Europe. While this sounds complex the sheer enormity of this undertaking has forced me to plan far in advance to ensure that the bases are all covered. It’s a very exciting time and as many of my friends are also going through the process of getting their children out the door to college I thought a checklist might be of help to keep the insanity at reasonable levels.

Tuition, Room and Board


Right after your son or daughter accepts an invitation to a college or university, you should establish several online accounts:

  • Open an online “parent” account with the college to pay for tuition and fees.
  • Open a joint bank account at a local bank in your kid’s college town, and make sure you have online access.
  • See if the town or college offers “College Cash” — it’s easy to budget and usually has discounts.
  • Get a debit and credit card for your child. The debit card should be for regular expenses from their checking account and the credit card should be for occasional use to build a good credit history/score.
  • Talk to your kid about his or her credit report (FICO score). Emphasize the importance of paying bills on time and avoiding interest charges for late payments.
  • Establish a monthly budget with your kid, determining personal expenses versus parent-covered-expenses ahead of time.
  • Research the school’s meal plan to determine its flexibility.
  • Remember to start using your Education IRA and 529 College Savings Plan monies.

There’s a LOT to buy

Shopping for school supplies can be time consuming and stressful, especially when your child is attending an out-of-state school or (gasp) overseas. How does one get all the bedroom supplies to school? Interestingly enough, Bed, Bath and Beyond has a program called Pack and Hold.      You simply scan all the items you want at your local store, order them there (or order online), and then pick them up at your destination; with no shipping costs or hassles! For those children headed to college in the States this is a godsend.

  • Make sure you know what size bed the dorm room has (most are Twin XL).
  • Research buying versus renting books. If a new version comes out, the sell back value will be very low, so you may save money renting.
  • If you decide to buy books from a store, wait until after the first day of class. Not all professors use the books on their lists, so you might be able to skip a few. Furthermore, the library might have copies.
  • Are there any e-book options for text books?
  • Can you buy/sell books with other students to save the cost of a retail markup?
  • Find out what kind of laptop your child will need and consider buying it from a reliable source that includes repair and maintenance services.
  • See if the school has a computer store with student discounts.
  • Do you hope to Skype with your child?  Be sure the laptop has a camera or buy them a webcam.

Setting Up The Room

  • Take a small tool kit for assembling furniture, hanging pictures, connecting cables and cords, etc. And don’t forget to include duct tape and scissors!
  • Buy a lock for your student’s computer, desk drawer, and bike.
  • Bring extra extension cords and power strips.
  • Coordinate with your child’s roommates on shared items (who will bring what).


  • Make sure your new adult is covered under your health insurance program and find out where they can go for care, especially if they are attending an out of state school. Are urgent care visits covered?
  • Contact your car insurance agent, and let them know if your student’s car will be at home or college. You might get a discount on your current rate if the car will be parked at home for the school year.
  • If your student is taking a car, find out how the coverage works if they let a roommate drive it.
  • Buy insurance on your child’s laptop and cell phone; you’d be surprised how often something gets spilled on a laptop or a cell phone gets dropped.
  • Ask your homeowners insurance carrier if your policy covers any of the items your child will take to college.
  • If your child is living off campus, you may need to get a renter’s policy.

Travel, Study Overseas, and Scholarships

  • If your kids are going to an out-of-state college or university, look for good airfares now. Shop early for flights on Southwest or another airline that allows you to bank your miles for future trips (in case you have to suddenly cancel a flight).
  • Book hotel rooms now for popular events like parent’s weekend or sporting and cultural activities.
  • Find out the deadline for requesting football and basketball tickets (and other popular events). It may be a lottery-type process that students need to enter during the summer.
  • Investigate study abroad opportunities early — you may need to apply a year in advance for the more popular programs.
  • Always be on the lookout for scholarship opportunities, as there is often little competition.
  • Look for grants if your son or daughter will be volunteering on a philanthropic trip.

Basic Life Skills

As silly as this might seem, don’t assume your kid knows how to perform some basic life activities, particularly if they’ve never actually done it.

  • Make sure they’re comfortable grocery shopping, and know where to find the best prices and how to use coupons. They’ll also need to know where to pick up toiletries, and where they’ll get any medicine prescriptions filled.
  • Does your child know how to clean a living area, run a dishwasher, and do laundry?
  • Does he or she know to check a car’s oil and fluid levels, and where and when to get it serviced. If your child won’t be bringing a car, does he or she know how to use public transportation? And how familiar is your young adult with the airport (particularly important if they’ll be flying home periodically)?


Once all the practical details are covered you can enjoy the insanity of getting your child settled into their new phase of life and you can have a cocktail while contemplating yours!

A Quality Frame of Mind

by & filed under Portraiture.

quality frame

Years ago I decided that a service we would offer clients was framing. (some examples from our newest collection are pictured above). I really wanted to make the process of bringing art into a home a simple, one-stop process. Even more, to offer a level of framing that matched the quality of our images. Over time many of our clients have asked about framing- why should we do your frames instead of a local framer or store-bought, off the shelf solution? We’ve put together a list of what we look for in a quality frame and what Hartshorn does to ensure that your artwork is not only displayed beautifully but that the art and the memories, will be protected for years to come.

What’s a framing session like?

Our primary goal is to help you choose a frame that becomes an extension of your art without ever distracting from that art. That solution will be something that we co-create and resulting in an end product that you will absolutely love. We take into consideration the style and feel of your home to create a perfect match with the frames and your home

Framing Components


I work with clients to select moulding that will enhance your art rather than overshadow it. We have curated a beautiful selection of moulding styles for you to choose from. Working with the world’s top manufacturers, we are able to present the highest quality traditional, contemporary and transitional styles available. We even have styles that resemble reclaimed framing materials like patinaed metal, welded steel or old barn wood.

The primary goal of matting is to protect artwork, creating a cushion of preservation inside the frame. Also important is that a mat provides visual focus, drawing the eye to the artwork and enhancing the overall design based on the color and texture. From a practical perspective, if art is simply placed in a frame, the lip of the frame can cover up as much as 1/2″ of the artwork. Our mats are fabricated from 8 ply stock for a thicker more luxe look and fee. Using a mat allows more of the art to show and creates visual relief between the art and the frame. Not all artwork requires a mat but for some images and homes, matting can add a singular finishing touch.

No matter what type of frame or conservation products used will preserve your art if we simply use regular glass on the project. Non-glare glass is now standard in all our frames for a clearer view of the art beneath. Nothing is more quickly damaging to printed art than UV rays, whether from the sun or interior lighting. Your best choice for protecting the art from the elements is museum glass-conservation grade, UV protective glass. While regular glass is available for the price-sensitive framing it is not recommended for art being displayed in bright, direct sunlight or high traffic areas.

The quality of the workmanship and the materials used to frame your precious art allows us to offer a guarantee for the lifetime of the piece. Should the art or frame have any issue (other than damage from external issues, accidents, fires etc.) we will repair the piece at no charge.

Please feel free to reach out regarding setting an appointment to choose frames for your prints. I will certainly make mention of framing in your presentation and am happy to arrange a time to choose the perfect frames to enhance and display your treasured family images.



Orange You Glad Granola

by & filed under Portraiture.

I first tried this granola at a yoga retreat and was so impressed with it that I had to get the recipe from its maker. Homemade granola is relatively easy to make, stores well (in a mason jar or other air tight container) and unlike the commercial product is low in fat and sugar. You can also tweak the ingredients to change up sweetener (honey or maple syrup) seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia) or nuts/no nuts. If you are avoiding gluten you can use GF oats. Here’s a tip-don’t over-bake your granola! Properly baked granola will still be a bit soft to the touch right out of the oven, but it will continue crisping up as it cools. If you wait until the granola is dark and crispy before pulling it out, your granola will be dry and taste more toasty than anything else. You’ll lose the nuanced flavors of the spices, nuts and honey or maple syrup. Also use the bit of sugar mentioned here. If you were just mixing orange zest into the other ingredients without first mixing it with sugar, you would need a lot more orange zest and you would end up with a lot more bald oranges