What's The Diff?

The things Quicken Loans team members care about and want to share with the world

Tricia Cervenan

Changing Thanksgiving Holiday Traditions

I don’t really celebrate holidays. There are many reasons, but having just passed Thanksgiving, let’s focus on this one – the food. Now, I am not a food snob, but I am also not one of those people that will eat something just because someone I love cooked it.  Thus, I have become the person who skips holidays so that a) I don’t have to hurt anyone’s feelings and b) I don’t have to subject my tongue to the (insert not very nice description of food here) in which is set before me.

But this year marked a change in tradition. First, I didn’t skip Thanksgiving. One of the main reasons why?  I made the turkey. Now, this is not about me and any skills I do or do not have. This is about the juicy, moist, unbelievably flavorful poultry that was served. And for that I thank Alton Brown.

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Sometimes Graffiti is Beautiful

Banksy.co.uk Parking Photo

So over here at the DIFF we're pretty big fans of our hometown of Detroit.  Thus, we write about it a lot.  Its really just that we have so much pride in our city we can't seem to help ourselves. 

But let's be honest here for a second.  Detroit needs a bit of sprucing.  And like most cities that need some work, we have a lot of graffiti.  Now, I've always been a fan of graffiti – so long as its done with taste and art in mind.  Senseless tagging is just vandalism.  Anyway, I was reading an article from the Detroit News about this pretty famous street artist who, low and behold, made his way to our fine city.  As it turns out, Banksy (the famous street artist) gave us one of his creations on a wall of a building about to be torn down.  Unfortunately, there are some not so happy things going on as a result of that, but I'll let you read the detnews.com article to find all that out.

What I think is more interesting is the artist himself.  Banksy is apparently a very under the radar street artist from London whose works sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Pretty nice living, eh?  He paints meticulous depictions of people and adds in some social commentary to go along with it.  I went on over to his website and I must say, his work is kind of amazing.  What's even more cool, is that he lets you print out his work from his website to make your own BanksyGear. What?!?  Artists giving away their art?  With all of the arguments out there about sharing music and movies and fear of copywrite infringement, I was really surprised.  Not to mention, for us little people who can't imagine buying art for $100,000 or more, that's kind of a cool gift to pass on. 

So mosey on over to the banksy.co.uk website and take a peek.  Even if you aren't a fan of graffiti, you'll be impressed.  I especially like the one he did in Detroit.

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Volunteer From the Comfort of Your Own Phone

Be Extraordinary

There are a lot of iPhone apps out there, some being more useful then others.  Some apps help with productivity, some let you be creative, others are games, and many help you get from place to place.  But the other day I came upon a completely different kind of app.  It’s an app that lets me volunteer, right from my phone! 

The Extraordinaries is an app that gives people an opportunity to help others while they’re going about their daily lives.  While you’re riding the subway to work, help AmeriCorps by tagging images in their archives.  Look at the photo and describe what you see.  Or when you’re walking with your kids in the park, take a photo of litter to help DoSomething.org raise awareness about pollution.  The Natural Area Preservation in Ann Arbor, Michigan just needs people to turn GPS on through the app when they walk down a trail in Ann Arbor.  And with the recent earthquake in Haiti, there are a lot of missing and displaced people.  You can look at some photos and describe the people in them so their loved ones can find them.

From the BeExtra.org website: “The Extraordinaries allows people to complete micro-tasks for organizations, causes or people they're passionate about, using a mobile phone or web browser, in a few minutes of spare time.”

We’re really busy people.  We have work and school and football games.  We spend time with our friends and our families.  We clean our houses and mow our lawns.  We want to help others and do more than just give money, but where do we find the time?  Luckily the guys over at BeExtra.org make it easy for us with the Extraordinaries iPhone app.  Of all the cool apps out there, I think this is one of the coolest.  And these guys are certainly doing something extraordinary. 

For more ideas on "ways to make a DIFFerence", check out this article on Time.com.

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Jill and Kevin take the wedding march to a whole new level!

WeddingDanceI’ve never been a fan of weddings. They’ve just always seemed so stuffy to me.  Everything is so organized and planned and predictable. 

But last month Jill and Kevin of St. Paul, MN decided to step out of box and do something different (which we, of course, love).  You have to figure if a couple can have this much fun on their way up to the alter, they’ve got to have pretty good odds that the rest of their marriage will be amazing. 

If you haven’t seen the video yet (over a eleven million views on YouTube in just over a week!), you can hop on over to YouTube and check them out. 

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Favorpals, a world without money

Favor Pals is The DIFFSo I was perusing the lovely World Wide Web and came across this site that in the current state of the economy appears to be genius: Favorpals, a world without money.  It’s a website that allows people across the country or across town to trade their skills.  Instead of paying for things you need with cash, you can pay with a favor. 

Right now a guy in Massachusetts without health insurance needs a dentist.  So he’s offering his skills as an organic landscaper as payment. 

An avid reader and internet usability pro (someone who tests how functional websites are) in San Francisco traded skills for books.

Need a handyman?  Well, can you clean or cut hair or teach someone computer skills?  Then offer up a trade!  And if you think that there’s nothing you can offer for the things you want, Favorpals offers a great list of ideas.  Help move furniture, set up for a party, drop someone off at the airport, or offer a sympathetic ear.

You can browse favors by location, category or how recently they were posted.  The site also has a section where you can trade your skills with charity organizations for “good karma”.   

So the next time you start thinking about the things you might need and how you’re going to pay for them, think about offering up a trade instead and imagine a DIFFerent kind of world, one without money. 

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Today's Date:
Saturday, December 16, 2017