A. Attached or Single? My husband never wants to leave my side, so yeah, attached.
B. Best Friend? See above.
C. Cake or pie? Ice-cream cake
D. Day of choice? Thursdays have always been big party nights (Thursday Night Drinking Club or TNDC in grad school, now called Liquidity Preference Function)
E. Essential Item? Tempurpedic bed
F. Favorite color? Baby pink or rose gold if we’re talking jewelry!
G. Gummy bears or worms? Neither
H. Hometown? Born in Oaktown, raised in Alameda, schooled in Berkeley and Chicago, live in San Francisco
I. Favorite Indulgence? Steam rooms
J. January or July? Can’t go wrong with a summer month, so July.
K. Kids? Miracle baby in heaven
L. Life isn’t complete without? Food and wine
M. Marriage date?
Thursday June 3, 2010 at St. Dominic’s in San Francisco
Saturday June 12, 2010 at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs
N. Number of brothers/sisters? Older sister Therese who looks like my twin
O. Oranges or Apples. I’m not really a fan of either, but I’ll take oranges.
P. Phobias? Mess, dirt, germs, bacteria, people who cough on the bus
Q. Quotes? Anything by Ayn Rand: The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, the Romantic Manifesto. She is genius.
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.”
R. Reasons to smile? Too many to count.
S. Season of choice? There’s so much fun to be had in every season.
T. Tag 5 People.
Ferly at Gifts We Use
Jeanine at A Fabulous Life in Jamaica
Charlotte at My Pixie Blog
Dana at Kiss My List
Melanie at She’s Write
Amy at The Bloom-Print Project
Rachel at The Tao of Poop
U. Unknown fact about me? I’m an ex-Republican who went independent to campaign for Hillary Clinton. Hope to do it again in 2016.
V. Vegetable? Brussel sprouts!
W. Worst habit? I have a very bad temper and if you are unlucky enough to experience my wrath, watch out! I don’t take kindly to being taken advantage of.
X. Xray or Ultrasound? Ultrasounds bring painful memories so I’ll take Xrays.
Y. Your favorite food? Pork belly
Z. Zodiac sign? I’m kinda schizo (see U above) hence a Gemini.
My friend Affinity chided me for looking outside of the Bay Area and away from family, when I can very well retire here at home. She was totally right. She wrote a guest blog post on retiring early here. It was one of my most highly-trafficked posts.
I spent some time on Zillow and found the following places. There are some serious deals to be had.
$250,000 – 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in Vallejo, CA – 30 minutes to wine country, 40 minutes to SF by car
It’s like a cheap version of Falcon Crest or Dallas, right? Clearly a little dated, but definitely has character. A retired couple like me and Dean have no need for 3 bedrooms, but just wanted to showcase the breadth of what’s available.
$169,000 – 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in Hayward, CA – 1 hour to wine country, 30 minutes to SF by car
This is perfect! 1 bathroom for me, 1 bathroom for Dean. 1 bedroom for me, 1 bedroom for Dean. Haha! This place is a score at the price. I might have to buy it now. Rent this place out and have it completely paid for by the time we retire. Who I am kidding? We can write a check for the list price, forego the mortgage, save 4% on interest, and rent to college students since Cal State Hayward is across the street! I’m seriously going to ponder this investment.
$155,000 – 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath home in Concord, CA – 45 minutes to wine country, 35 minutes to SF by car
This price is a steal. I am tasting retirement! 55 here we come.
Unless you’re hosting the movie viewing, there’s zero preparation involved. All you have to do is show up with a bottle of wine. And even if you’re hosting, all you have to do is order take-out or delivery from one of the gazillion amazing restaurants in San Francisco. It’s that simple. Our movie club meets a minimum of once a month. It’s fun, easy, and no last minute cramming to finish the book. It’s kind of hard to discuss a book that not everyone reads, whereas it’s easy to discuss a movie when you’re all sitting there watching it together.
Here’s what our movie club has watched so far. Please comment and make recommendations. I’m up next!
Spoorloos (The Vanishing)
Here are pictures of us post-dinner, post-movie, post-wine, rushing to an ice-creamery before it closed.
“And then when the bill came, he said we should split!” Gasps followed in the nail salon as a woman relayed to her friends her date gone wrong.
I had no right to speak, but I so wanted to tell that self-righteous woman to shut it.
One of the most important mantras I try to live by is, imagine yourself in that person’s shoes. All you single ladies, please imagine shelling out dollar after dollar and footing the bill both for yourself and your date for every single date that you go on. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like fun at all.
I remember a male friend of mine in business school telling me he just couldn’t afford to date anymore because women expected to be paid for. Mind you, we were all accruing a crapload of debt in order to get our MBAs. He figured he’d take a break from dating and take it up again once he had a full-time job.
I mean, that’s pretty sad. In fact, I think it’s pretty pathetic.
Yes, I am all for romance. And yes, if your future husband is asking you out on a first date and maybe a second or third, sure, it’s splendid if he pays.
But when it’s clear there is no future, I feel there is absolutely nothing wrong with a man asking the woman to split the friggin bill. Not only is it honest, but it is an absolute death knell for single women who often times can be clueless. I say this because I’ve been there. How many times did I wonder why he wasn’t calling. I was sure he was too busy with work. He must have gotten into an accident. But if the guy had only said, “Let’s split,” then I would have stopped pretending that there was potential. I would have known immediately and properly that there were no romantic intentions.
In this day and age when women expect to be treated fairly, when they are scratching their heads as to why there aren’t more of them in the board room, I say, work hard and pay your fair share. There wasn’t a time when a man paid for me, where on the second date, I didn’t offer to pay the full amount. That’s what’s right and morale. You wouldn’t ask a friend to keep paying for every single dinner, why should you expect that of a date? It’s called self respect. Take care of yourself and only then will a man take care of you.
RIP Robert Fogel, Nobel Prize winner and revered professor at my grad school alma mater University of Chicago. In his most recent book published last year, Explaining Long-Term Trends in Health and Longevity, Fogel writes that the “abstention from caloric gluttony” increased the Japanese life expectancy by 13 years, whereas the “more gluttonous Americans” increased their life expectancy by only 7 years.
Study finds that consolidating your bank accounts leads to move savings.
There is building evidence that extreme sports (i.e., endurance running) are bad for you. An article in the WSJ states, “…recent studies suggest the significant mortality benefits of running may diminish or disappear at mileage exceeding 30 miles a week…yet sports-medicine specialists are sharply divided over whether any warning sign is warranted. For every American who exercises to extreme after all, there are thousands who don’t exercise at all.”
Interesting fact: Patty Hearst was a student at UC Berkeley when she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974.
According to a Kiplinger survey, SF is one of the most expensive U.S. cities. Ummm, no duh. Memphis is one of the least expensive. Never been. Should we all retire in Memphis?
Purisima Creek Redwoods, an hour south of San Francisco, is the Mt. Tam of the Peninsula. The parking lot is full, the open space preserve is busy, but as soon as you put in some mileage and hike toward the summit, you only see ripped mountain bikers with true grit. Can’t say I’d go again, I was rather bored with the redwood scenery that never changed despite the several hour hike. But the centipede and banana slug were pretty awesome.
I was contacted to provide an honest review of the Flips Audio headphones in return for the product. The unique feature of the Flips Audio is that the headphones can flip out, turning into built-in speakers.
Ever since the headphones arrived in the mail, we’ve been obsessed. These are the best headphones I’ve ever owned. I use them every day in the office to tune out coworkers having loud conversations or to listen to work-related videos and podcasts. The earcups comfortably fit around my ears and I don’t have a problem wearing them for long periods of time.
The headphones have become a traveling staple for our household. I own a dented 1998 Honda Civic with a basic stereo (i.e., the radio). Sure I can go out and buy all the bells and whistles of an expensive new stereo, but why when Dean and I can now plug the headphones into his iPhone, flip them out, and listen to our favorite music with the speakers. We tested the sound quality of the iPhone speakers versus the Flips Audio, and the Flips Audio headphones/speakers combo definitely won out.
Dean brought these to movie club, and shared the music he was listening to by flipping the headphones out. In the future, I can see us bringing these to a picnic or pool party, flipping out, and dancing wildly! So fun.
Here is a special offer for my readers. The Flips are really well-priced for the sound quality alone; it is an added perk to have convenient, traveling speakers at your fingertips.
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You know how I’ve been yapping on and on about how I’m determined to retire when I’m 50? Looks like I have to tack on another 5 years. Take a look at this list of retirement milestones that I put together. 55 or bust! Who’s with me? I have 17 years to go. Not that I’m counting!
Age 55: You can quit your job and withdraw money from your 401k penalty-free.
Age 59.5: Withdraw funds from any of your retirement accounts penalty-free.
Age 60: Take social security benefits if you are widowed.
Age 62: You can elect to collect Social Security at a reduced benefit. 75% of what you would have gotten had you waited until 66 or 67.
Age 65: You’re eligible for Medicare.
Age 67: You qualify for full Social Security benefits.
Age 70.5: Withdrawals are now mandatory from tax-deferred retirement accounts.
I’ve been reading other bloggers post their 10 Things of Thankful which made me so happy to read. I am thankful for all the typical things you are thankful for: health, my husband, my family and friends, my job, and freedom. Here are different things that I’m grateful for.
I remember being sick right after college when I had a full-time job. The job paid little so when I went to the drug store to buy medicine, I distinctly remember having to buy the generic cold medication because I could not afford the premium brands. I felt very defeated at that moment, having worked my ass off and knowing that I deserved better. And I vowed never to be in that position again. It took me some time to get here, but I want for nothing because I fought and continue to fight to be compensated for my true worth. Takeaway: Don’t ever settle!
I’m thankful I never owned a TV nor am I a couch potato because watching TV is mindless, when you could be educating yourself or being productive. I grew up in libraries. Books were my best friend when I felt alone. Books were my ice-cream when I felt depressed. Books inform and educate, and will make you better. Takeaway: Ditch the TVs!
No or Low Technology
I am glad I grew up in an age where we didn’t have cell phones. I reminisce on the days when we were beholden to our word and meeting up at a certain time meant meeting up at that time! No texting that we were running 15 minutes late. It makes me sad that we can no longer enjoy each others’ company, that iPhones and iPads are so prevalent, that it’s now more important to capture the moment than to experience it fully. Takeaway: Live for the moment, not for the picture!
I used to think I had a great college experience, but that was because I didn’t have anything to compare it to. In retrospect, going to Cal was brutal. Organic Chemistry, Physics, Physiology. And don’t think it was just the hard sciences. My English courses (#1 English Department in the country) were just as challenging. Oh how I cried! My college experience taught me a lot about competition and persistence. After I graduated I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to. And I wear the scars with pride. Takeaway: Subject yourself to challenge and competition. It makes you stronger.
700 square feet
I feel very liberated living in a cheap (comparatively for San Francisco) 1-bedroom apartment with my husband. We don’t have a lot of stuff, nor are we emotionally tied to any of it. I’m actually very grateful that we currently don’t have mortgage payments. It’s very freeing to know that you can just pick up and go, and not have to worry about material things or finances. Takeaway: Stop buying more shit. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Here are some interesting tidbits I’ve found journeying along the interweb.
This is a math formula that will aid you in making decisions. When house hunting or apartment scouring, divide the total number of expected viewings by 2.71. In other words, if you expect to attend 25 open houses, then 25/2.71 = 9.23. Right off the bat, dismiss the first 9 homes that you see, then put an offer on the first one that you really like after that. There’s some real academic research behind this formula! After seeing 9 homes, you are attuned to what really works for you and are able to make a decision after that. I presume the formula would apply to dating too
Speaking of dating, check out this super cute geeky couple who met as teenagers at an arcade. They’re engaged now, hence the NYTimes article. But seriously, they do not look a day over 16 years old. Arcades = fountain of youth
I am one of the few people who has a Blackberry instead of an iPhone or Samsung. I know, it’s sad, it’s a work thing. But Eric Schmidt, the Chairman of Google, raved about his Blackberry and it made me see my device in a whole new light. It’s true that I can easily crank out lengthy emails using its qwerty keyboard. Are people with iPhones able to do the same? Thanks Eric for making me feel like less of a loser for carrying a BB.
Finally, make sure to scratch India off your travel plans or bucket list. More and more reports of attacks on women.