I’m officially sick. No go on work today. Called the Kaiser advice nurse and she wanted me to come in to see the doctor. I’ve got either a bacterial or viral infection that’s affecting my eyes. There’s a steady flow of eye mucous that caused me to run to the bathroom and flush out my eyes every hour last night. When I did finally get some sleep, the mucous crusted my eyes shut. Yeah, it felt as creepy as that reads. So I’m a sick, sleep-deprived, over-worked person whose face is raw from doing hot/cold compresses.
With little else to do today besides rest, I went and got my hair hacked. Not Miley Cyrus hacked, but short enough. I’ve gotten tired of dealing with long hair. It’s kind of a pain. I feel so free now! I’ll post a pic when I start to feel bacteria-free. I’m sure at some point I’ll regret it. I always do, but hair grows. It’s not the end of the world.
I also started seeing a new acupuncturist. My previous acupuncturists couldn’t seem to solve my problem of irregular periods. Is it really that hard to regulate? I complained to my doctor and he handed me a business card of someone he recommends highly. Turns out, this acupuncturist is only 3 blocks away from where we live so I’m very hopeful. Especially since this one is doctor-approved. She gave me an herbal tincture that I’m thoroughly enjoying; it’s very soothing.
One quick addendum to my previous post on being racist. While watching the Masters, Dean looked at Jason Day, one of the front runners, and said, “He looks Filipino.”
I replied, “Maybe, or at least some kind of ethnic mix.” I googled him to find out that he certainly is half Filipino (from Australia) and from them on, we were rooting for him to win. Over any of the American players. Over anyone else. Again, totally racist, right?!
I’ve been under the weather lately and trying to rise from this cloud of fatigue that’s been plaguing me since Monday. The Boston Marathon bombings have only worsened my mood as I have to grab tissue every time I read an article or see pictures. My heart goes out to the victims.
When I received the 2 offers on my condo, I told my agent, “I hate to play the race card, but let’s just go with the Asian girl.” Granted her offer was higher than the other one, but even if they had been equal, I still would have given preference to her over the white male. Isn’t that totally racist? Don’t we naturally and instinctually prefer people who are similar to us? Which is why you are likely to see groups of Indians hanging out at District wine bar in SOMA. It’s the same reason you see circles of white people hanging out in the Marina. When our ancestors immigrated here, they didn’t choose some ho hum random destinations, they gravitated toward locations where other family members or friends went.
Merriam Webster dictionary defines racism as having a racial prejudice or preconceived opinion. When I favor someone who is Asian isn’t that akin to Hitler favoring the Arian race? If that is the case, then aren’t we all racist? Which brings me to the best song in the musical Avenue Q: Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.
The reason I thought about this post was because of the Masters. I want Tiger Woods to fail because he disgusts me to no end. But I heard about the 14-year-old prodigy Tianlang Guan from China and have been cheering him on ever since. Again, isn’t that totally racist?!
Back in the saddle. After a marathon work day and an exhausting work week (try working 12 days back-to-back in the office with no break), I slumped to sleep at 10:30pm last night after propping myself up by watching Zero Dark Thirty. While I can’t stand movies that go past the 2 hour mark, I didn’t seem to mind the 2:40 depiction of the Osama Bin Laden hunt. I was engrossed.
I still think Vanity Fair’s factual narrative on the Hunt for Geronimo was way more thrilling. If you haven’t read the article, I urge you to. Even better than watching a movie. In fact, I’m going to read it again, it’s THAT good.
Yesterday, my blog turned 8. Eight is certainly great. From a handful of readers to over 10,000 page views / 5,000 unique visitors a month. The blog has gone through a redesign with all the bells and whistles, and a couple expert guest posts. I’m hoping to feature more from my extensive network. Oh, can’t forget the revenue. Can’t say I’m turning a profit yet, but I’m certain that, along with more great things, are just on the horizon. I hope you’ll continue with me on this journey. Lots of ice-cream today to celebrate!
Now that I’ve lost my housing tax shelter, I’m scrambling to get our finances in order:
I had my tax exemptions set to 10 yet I still always ended up with a tax refund. Have now decreased my tax exemptions so more tax will be withheld.
Maxed out our 401k retirement plans with a contribution of $16,500 each to reduce taxable income.
Maxed out our health care flex spending accounts.
Contributed $5,000 each into a Roth IRA for me and Dean. You have until April 15th to do this for the 2012 tax year. For tax year 2013, the maximum contribution will increase to $5,500.
Any other tax or finance tips?
I have been bugging a friend and former coworker from our dot com startup days to give my readers some helpful advice on a topic I know nothing about…insurance!
Elena, who works for State Farm, is our go to agent for all our insurance needs. What I like about working with Elena is the personal touch. If ever I have a question or an issue, I know I can call her directly instead of waiting in the queue using some toll-free number. As an example, we needed insurance to host our rehearsal dinner at a private clubhouse and she made sure we were taken care of lickety-split. One less stress to deal with during our wedding planning.
Elena has crafted these helpful hints on reducing the cost of your car insurance. I look forward to hearing more tips and advice from her in the future.
9 Car Insurance Tips to Cut Cost
What is your car insurance actually insuring? Although you’re buying a single insurance policy covering a specific vehicle, a number of components make up the final cost. A policy review with your insurance agent can help to identify which coverage can be modified or removed.
While it is dangerous to be underinsured, having too much insurance can be an expensive mistake as well. Here are some pointers help reduce the cost of your car insurance:
1. Two costly coverages that may be either modified or removed on an insurance policy are the comprehensive and collision coverage. Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle when your vehicle collides with, or through your fault is hit by, another vehicle or another object. This coverage generally comes with a deductible. Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car from theft, vandalism, fire, wind, flood, and other non-accident causes. Comprehensive also carries a deductible.
Aging vehicles decrease in value. At some point, it may not be cost effective to carry comprehensive or collision insurance. Your vehicle may have lost so much value that the cost of the repairs are more than the actual cost of the vehicle. If your vehicle is worth less than $3000, it may be a good idea to drop your collision coverage. Another good idea is to review your policy and see what your annual premiums are. If the cost of the collision coverage is over 10 percent of what you would get for the vehicle in case it was totaled, it may be a good idea to consider dropping coverage.
2. Other coverages that may be removed or reduced are rental car reimbursement. If you have spare vehicles at home, you may consider removing the rental car coverage from your insurance policy.
3. If you purchased a new vehicle that comes with a warranty, the warranty typically includes emergency road service. If that’s the case, you can remove the emergency road service coverage from your insurance policy.
4. Remaining with the same company long-term may save you money. Some insurance companies offer loyalty discount based on the number of years that you’re insured with them. State Farm offers a loyalty discount program after just 1 year and that discount grows annually.
5. Consolidating insurance policies with the same company may save you money on each insurance policy. When combining auto with renters, homeowners, life or health insurance at State Farm, the discounts can amount to as much as 22% in savings on the auto insurance. In addition, when consolidating all car insurance policies within the same company, may qualify you for a multicar discount. This can be an additional 20% in savings on each vehicle. Bottom line, it saves you money to insure everything in one place.
6. If you got a traffic ticket, consider either doing traffic school. A ticket stays on your record for 6 years and impacts your insurance rates. Going to traffic school removes the ticket from your record so that your rates are not affected.
7. If you have young drivers at home there are several discounts that you can apply for to lower their cost of insurance. If the young driver has a clean driving record, they are eligible for a unique safe driver discount which would cut their insurance costs by 10%. If the young driver is a full-time student and has a GPA of 3.0 or above, they would be eligible for a good student discount. Combination of these two discounts could save you 20% on the car insurance. Newly licensed drivers who are married or single but with a child, will benefit from receiving a reduced rate on their car insurance as well.
8. Driving less mileage can save you money two ways; 1. If you drive under 7,500 miles/year, you may be eligible for a low mileage rating. 2. If you drive over 7,500 miles/year, State Farm offers a unique program where you pay only for the miles that you drive. Both of these programs are designed to save drivers money on their insurance.
9. Last but not least, choose a less expensive car to insure. Insurance premiums are based partly on the price of the vehicle, which affects the replacement cost if it is stolen or “totaled” in an accident. How expensive the vehicle is to repair — including parts and labor — can also affect the cost. In addition, surcharges may apply to vehicles that are frequently stolen or involved in accidents. According to statistics, the lowest injury claims are from large vehicles — cars, pickup trucks, and sport-utility vehicles. Small 2- and 4-door cars have the highest injury claims. Small cars also are among the highest in collision costs, along with sports cars.
Elena Sadur, Agent
State Farm Insurance
Well that was a downer. To watch Cal lose their lead, then ultimately lose the game was heart-breaking. Ugh.
Before I get entrenched with work this week, I wanted to quickly post that we definitively sold my condo. I mentioned previously that selling a home has to be one of the most stressful life events, ranking up there with losing a job, moving to another city, and getting married. Funny, I should probably count myself lucky since, comparatively, the process was actually really smooth since we took offers 10 days after it went on the market.
I had to give my tenants notice. They weren’t too happy.
We staged it ourselves, painting the whole place and moving furniture from Dean’s apartment into my condo. I bought a bed from Mancini’s Sleepworld for $200 which included delivery, then turned around and sold it for $100 on Craigslist. We also bought a head board (that we returned), bedding (that I carefully repackaged and returned), and San Francisco prints that I framed and hope to sell. So total we spent about $1,000 to get my place ready, primarily to cover the cost and labor for painting.
I paid $455,000 for my condo at the height of the market in 2005.
We listed it for $499,000.
Sold it for $525,000.
Frankly, I just wanted to break even. I’m very happy to have made a profit because I know other people who lost money, including the other original owners of the two other units in the building. They sold during the downturn while I held on.
I learned a couple lessons during this whole experience:
Do not buy during a frenzy. I feel like we’re currently experiencing an unsustainably hot real estate market.
Buy when others aren’t.
Next time you buy something (i.e., clothes, books, picture frames, toys, antiques), ask yourself if you really need it. It’s incredible how much unnecessary crap we accumulate.
With a guest: staff ratio of 2:1, a cruise on a Celebrity liner is like no other. Boasting incredible service, attractive decor and some top quality itineraries to choose from, when you book Celebrity cruises, the world will be your oyster.
Plenty of various destinations and ports exist within the Celebrity range, to suit all budgets as well as time constraints and personal preferences. Whether your dream is to visit various corners of the Mediterranean or you’d prefer to tread on the sandy beaches of a paradise island in the Caribbean, cruises on the Celebrity Solstice or any of her sister ships will make these dreams a reality.
Take your pick from these fantastic itinerary options or browse any of the other trips that Celebrity offers to ensure you choose the one that perfectly suits your individual taste and desires.
Australia onboard the Solstice
This year, the award winning Solstice is making her debut Down Under, offering the choice of numerous 12/13 night trips, including ones that take you between Sydney in New South Wales and Auckland in New Zealand.
Alternatively you could enjoy a 12 night cruise of the South Pacific, including Australia, Fiji and various stunningly beautiful islands of paradise in-between. If there’s one amazing way to visit the southern hemisphere, this is it.
Transpacific aboard the Millennium
Perfect if you know you want to visit as much of the world as possible within your 3 week time slot, a Transpacific cruise on the Millennium will take you between China, South Korea, Japan, Alaska and Vancouver in Canada as part of a 17 night cruise, giving you plenty of opportunity to tread on the soils of two huge continents.
Alternatively, a transpacific cruise on the Solstice can provide you with a cruise of your dreams between the South Pacific and Hawaii, stopping at some island paradises along the way.
The Celebrity fleet has introduced many new itineraries this year, giving a broader scope of destinations and ensuring that whatever your dreams, they will fulfill them.
Is anyone watching Cal dominate Louisville? Yowsers. The Bears are looking real good. Such an exciting game. GO BEARS!
I have been working all weekend so this is a very nice break. Yeehah. Have to be in the office at 7am tomorrow so all I’ve been doing is work, sleep, work. That’ll continue throughout this week so don’t expect much from me on the blog.
That said, next post is a sponsored post. So exciting, please have a read and consider patronizing my advertisers. Web site hosting and blog maintenance isn’t free, hence I’m very grateful for their financial support and their belief in my readership reach.
No, I’m not a hoarder. I’ve either had roommates or lived in a studio or 1-bedroom apartment ever since I left for college. So how much of a hoarder can I be? Well a lot. A lot for me.
Now that my condo is sold, it makes me nauseous looking at all the crap I amassed in the four years that I lived there. Like hundreds of books and thousands of pieces of paper in files and binders. Lightbulbs, picture frames, a heat dish, a panini maker, pillows, candles, suitcases, a tent, a sleeping bag, mugs, shot glasses, magnets, swiffers, fake flowers, bowls, a scanner, lamps, clothes, mirrors. I mean, it’s total crap. Last night I told Dean, “Seriously, let’s just put all this shit on the sidewalk.”
And fer realz, I may be one of the most minimalist people I know! That’s the irony of the situation. I am not a pack rat. I’m constantly purging. All my prized possessions (mainly jewelry and clothes) are neatly contained in a small walk-in closet at our apartment. And I still have plenty of room that I tell Dean he can put stuff in my closet anytime.
Are you possessed by material things?
Do you have a room in your home where the main purpose is to store junk? Or are you someone who has a Costco storage room?
Do you rent a storage space? A space you barely visit, a place you spend money on to store stuff you don’t even need.
Do your kids have a gazillion toys? Do they have rooms full of crap that they played with once, but don’t even care about anymore?
Dean and I are always joking with each other, “Well of course we need a big house. We need a bigger house so we can buy more shit!”
I’ve been inspired by this article I read in San Francisco magazine about a family that limits their possessions, challenging themselves to truly waste not. They spent a year itemizing their trash output (anything they could not recycle) which amounted to 2 grocery bags of stuff. Un-freaking-believable! The kids don’t have a lot of toys. The mom says, “People feel pressure that you need all this stuff with a new baby, but you really, really don’t.”
I’m always floored when I go to family homes and there’s a special trash for the diapers, night lights, swing sets, rocking chairs. They don’t have all this stuff in third world countries and kids born outside of the U.S. turn out just fine!
You may think having all this stuff is irrelevant, but dealing with extra crap actually occupies your mind. Let’s think about Obama who says that in order to be an efficient problem solver, he needs to minimize the number of decisions he makes. So he pretty much has a uniform that he wears every day, a black or blue suit. Easy. Think of your closet. Does your morning routine consist of an easy uniform-making decision? Or are you scouring through your clothes, pushing some shirts aside in favor of others, pulling out an outfit then deciding it doesn’t feel right. That’s a waste of time. Having unnecessary items in your life occupies precious brain activity and wastes your time.
It’s never too early to start your spring cleaning. Purge. It’ll make you feel good.