Archive for Fun Stuff

Wise Words to Live By

wise words

My husband recently forwarded me this great column that makes me feel better every time I read it.  So, why not share these wise words with my faithful readers?  The theme is life lessons the author wished he had learned by his 20s.

 

Click here for the full list, but here are my 5 favorites.

 

Don’t judge. You don’t know all the facts. That lady speeding down the road with her toddler unbuckled in the back seat may be panicked, heading for the hospital for an emergency that you can’t see. That “big kid” having a “tantrum” in the store may be on the autism spectrum, and is having a meltdown, which he/she hates as much as you do. The fat lady in the bikini may have lost 100 lbs so far, and she’s pretty darn proud of what she’s done. Don’t shame people for smoking, drinking, or being fat. We all have our faults and bad habits. As a pretty famous guy is alleged to have said, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

 

Don’t beat yourself up about stuff. Do what you can to fix your mistakes, then move on. Guilt is only good for pushing you toward making things right again. After that, it becomes shame, and shame is a toxic substance which will eat you up inside. Same for worry.

 

“Fitting in” is highly overrated. Be you. Confidence is sexy. Besides, great leaders didn’t get where they are by following the crowd.

 

You’re probably a lot smarter than you give yourself credit for being.

 

It’s just stuff. Sure, stuff gets broken—oftentimes accidentally by people you love—and that’s annoying. But your stuff can be replaced. You can never erase the hurtful words you say to the person you love, because they broke your stuff. Stuff is never, ever as important as those you love.

 

No boring personal finance stuff this week.  Consider it my gift to you, but next week we are back at it with financial tasks to do before year-end.

Christmas Gift Guide: One-Stop Shopping HERE

Christmas gift guide

Looking for something different to put under the tree this year?  How about these beauties?

 

  1. Don’t be bored with your old board games!  Give these adult versions of classic games from Hasbro a try!  Clue (lost in Vegas), Sorry, not Sorry (get embarrassing confessions from fellow players), and Life:  Quarter Life Crises (paying off soul-crushing debt and dealing with a phone dropped in the toilet).  Many other fun options in this link: https://www.scarymommy.com/hasbro-parody-versions-games/

 

  1. She’s got legs (sing ZZ Top now)!  This is more of a pre-Christmas gift, but my favorite holiday accessory is candy-cane striped tights.  So warm AND fun for the office holiday party.  https://www.amazon.com/Leg-Avenue-Womens-Candy-Pantyhose/dp/B0148KL8WG  S.  I do NOT wear these with the 5-inch high stripper shoes and tutu as shown.

 

  1. But seriously folks…Who really needs more stuff? How about the gift that keeps on giving, without cluttering up the house?  That’s right, I’m talking charitable gifting!  You can give a goat, cow, or sheep to a family in need without the need to scoop poop.  heifer.org.  How about being a source of safe funds for women starting or expanding a business in a developing company?  https://www.capitalsisters.org/  Or, closer to home, you can help feed people all year round with a donation to your city’s food bank.  For a list, go here:  https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank

 

See, all the fun of the holidays, without fighting the hoards on Black Friday.  You are welcome!

5 Conversation Starters for your Thanksgiving Table

5 Conversation Starters for your Thanksgiving Table

Let’s face it, even the most animated family and friends can have conversation lags during a whole day spent cooking, snacking, drinking, snacking, basting, mashing, snacking, yelling at the football game, moving things around frantically in the oven, and finally, eating!

 

So here are 5 Conversation Starters for your Thanksgiving Table:

 

Thanksgiving Mad Libs, available for $5 on Amazon is always a way bring people together for a laugh.

 

Find a corny Thanksgiving joke for each guest and put it at their place setting.  Go around the table and read them.  Let the groaning begin.

 

Do a Thanksgiving Festivus a-la Seinfeld and tell each person what has annoyed you about them this past year.  I’m totally kidding, DO NOT do that!

 

Have everyone say one thing in the room they are grateful for.  It could be food, another person, the extra napkins, comfy chairs, or whatever.  Kind of like I Spy with a twist.

 

Ask everyone what their favorite movie or book was this year.  What was their least favorite?  It’s your own Rotten Tomatoes!

 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

 

 

Rock Your Thanksgiving with This Recipe

thanksgiving recipe

I don’t mean to brag (well, of course I do – anyone starting a sentence like that is about to brag), but I have been making cornbread dressing for my family since my teens and it is really good.  I mean better than yours.  Or your mama’s. Or your Aunt Ethel’s.  And because I feel bad about you eating sub-par dressing on Thanksgiving, I am sharing my recipe with you.

 

First, you make the cornbread.  Bake cornbread 24-48 hours before making the dressing so it has a chance to dry out.  Break it into pieces so it dries out better.

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

 

Mix the following dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder

 

Combine the following 3 wet ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup water

 

½ cup melted vegetable oil (put this in your 9×13 pan while the oven is pre-heating)

 

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together.  Add the melted vegetable oil and mix.  Pour into your 9×13 pan and back for 25 minutes.  After it has cooled, cut the cornbread into chunks and let it dry for a day or two.

 

Okay, now for the dressing:

 

  • Brown 1 pound of Jimmy Dean Sage sausage in a LARGE (I use a pan that covers two burners) roasting pan over medium heat.
  • Add ½ – 1 whole stick of butter to the browned sausage.
  • Sautee with the sausage:  2 cups chopped white onion and 1 cup chopped celery.
  • After veggies are soft, add 2 cans Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup (warning, do NOT get the garlic flavored or low-fat kind.  It will ruin your dressing).
  • Add 4 Cups chicken stock.
  • Mix well and then add cornbread.  Stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Last, add ½ cup chopped green onions and ½ cup chopped parsley.  Stir well again.

 

Transfer dressing to pans for baking. I like to use several glass loaf pans, so you can pre-heat in the microwave and finish browning in the oven.  Efficient when oven space is at a premium on Thanksgiving Day.  Before serving, bake at 350 until warmed through and a little brown on top.

 

A couple of tips:

  1. If the dressing seems too dry for your taste, add more chicken stock.
  2. Cornbread dressing freezes well. I typically make a giant batch (double above) in early November.  I freeze in multiple smaller pans and have enough for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

Enjoy!

Scary Food Additives – A Guest Blog From Tam John

scary food additives

“Choosing real food is an investment in your health, offering improvement into the way you look and feel.”  (John, 2018) Well heck yes you say!  Of course, you want Real Food!  Letting labels proclaiming to be ‘natural’ and other health claims be your guide isn’t going to save you from laboratory made food your body and mind were never meant to consume.

 

Three of the scariest food additives:

 

Natural Flavoring

A catch all phrase that has more to do with flavoring than nutrition.  This is where MSG and the fluid from the sex glands from beavers (castoreum) are included in the ‘food’ along with other mysterious brain and body tricking additives and chemicals hide.

 

Carrageenan

It sounds natural as it is derived from seaweed.  Although Generally Recognized as Safe/GRAS by the FDA, the National Organics Standards Board has voted to remove it from organic food.  It has a lengthy and controversial reputation for causing damage to the digestive system.

 

Food Dyes/Coloring

These contain cancer causing chemicals also linked to hypersensitivity, hyperactivity, rashes and immune system issues.  Real food is beautiful without added coloring.  In Europe warning labels are required, but not in America.

 

Once you get the hang of it, it is easy to choose healthfully even with a modern busy life.  Tam will show you how to healthfully navigate the holidays and beyond while you live it up and love yourself more.  Work with Tam for a plan you and your being love!  Contact Tam for a complimentary 15-minute conversation to discuss your wellness goals and where you feel stuck.  Find out if her approach is a fit for you.

 

Tam’s title A Fresh Wellness Mindset is available at Tattered Cover Bookstores, Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.

 

Don’t let your holiday habits haunt you!  Arrive in 2019 feeling fantastic!!!

 

 

 

 

Reference:  John. T. 2018.  A Fresh Wellness Mindset:  Personalize Your Food Life & Find Your Truth about Gluten.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.  North Charleston, SC.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2018 EatRight-LiveWell ™ & Tam John

7 Hilarious Quotes about Halloween

halloween, denver financial planner

It can’t all be about financial education on this blog.  Even financial advisers need to laugh between appointments where they nag people to save more.  From Twitter, here are some great quotes about Halloween.

 

By the way, the correct grammar was all added by me.  You are welcome.

 

“The scariest Halloween costume I can think of is ‘regular adult who wants to show you how well they play piano’.” @paulbwelsh

 

“If I pay $40 for a haunted house I better die.” @hodgesboi15

 

“Love seeing the creative Halloween costumes like Cold Nurse, Cold Schoolgirl, Shivering Female Superhero, Uncomfortably Chilly Pirate.” @tarashoe

 

“Halloween is coming up and I still have no idea what I’m going to be for the rest of my life.” @9GAG

 

“My daughters used to wear inappropriately sexy costumes for Halloween but now that they’re 16 they only dress that way all the time.” @DannyZuker

 

Friend: “What should I be for Halloween?”
Me: “My designated driver.” @causewereguys

 

“Congrats to Monster Mash on winning the VMA for “Best Halloween Song” for the 52nd consecutive year.” @brendohare

 

Happy Halloween!

Annual Scary and Sweet Investment Column

investments, Denver financial planner

As I sit here and eat the Take 5 bars that I will not be giving to trick-or-treaters, it seemed appropriate to offer a quick market commentary about what has been scary and sweet so far in the 2018 investment world.

 

Scary:

 

International stocks, which have been hurt by the rising US dollar and trade tensions.  But, don’t bail out yet!  International was a strong performing asset class in late 2016 and 2017 and will have its day yet again.  If anything, lower short term returns could be a reason to buy on sale.

 

Old Bulls.  There is a general holding of the breath as investors, still scarred by the Great Recession, wait for the bottom to fall out of the current expansion.  I don’t know when or how or how severe it will happen, but worrying (and sitting all in cash) won’t help.  Make sure you are diversified and have risk that makes sense for your time horizon.  Then, turn OFF the financial news and eat some candy.

 

Expensive Chocolate.  Speaking of candy, will these trade wars initiated by the US increase the cost of imports from cars to cocoa?  That seems to be the worry as our trading partners prepare to retaliate against our policies.  So far the results have been mixed with some industries benefiting from the tariff talk and others suffering.  Time will tell how our consumer prices, economy, and investments are affected.  In the meantime, I am hoarding chocolate.

 

Sweet:

 

Tasty Opportunities for Job Seekers.  In June of 2018 the number of job openings in America surpassed the number of people looking for work. That should mean good mobility for workers who want to make a career change.  However, the low unemployment numbers reported are probably not taking into account the many underemployed millennials, gig economy workers, and baby boomers holding on for dear life to their jobs.

 

Consuming Consumers.  The US confidence survey in August reported the highest consumer confidence rates in 18 years.  People are on services and planning to buy homes and other big-ticket items.

 

Corporate Earnings are Up.  All that consuming is helping US companies to continue their earnings growth.  Even perpetual brick-and-mortar retailers saw gains last quarter.  So, even though investors seem to hate this bull market, US stocks have been on the rise without the love of the public.

 

Is our economy a treat to be enjoyed or a trick just waiting to happen?  I won’t predict, but just remind you that expansions last longer than recessions.  Keep enough in savings to cover 3-6 months living expenses, and let your investments do their long-term thing.

 

Important Days in October!

october, Denver financial planner

My brilliant social media guru, Catherine Tidd of Social Seed Marketing, recently made me aware of the many opportunities to celebrate just about anything with International fill-in-the-blank days.

 

Sadly, I missed National Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th, but don’t despair!  There are plenty more opportunities.  Here are a few examples for October and how to make these days great for your finances, too.

 

October 10th is World Mental Health Day (#WorldMentalHeathDay).  You know what’s good for your mental health? Knowing you are making smart decisions with your money.  Use this day to reach out to your financial adviser for a check-up appointment.

 

October 13th is National Train Your Brain Day (#TrainYourBrainDay).  If this doesn’t scream personal finance, what does?  Train your brain to do one thing better for your finances:  Eat out one less day per week, increase your 401(k) contribution, institute 1 week per month as a no-spend week, read a personal finance article.  He possibilities are endless.

 

October 17th is International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (#EndPoverty).  A great reminder to check your investments for appreciated stocks or mutual funds for tax efficient opportunities to give to your favorite charity.

 

October 18th is Get to Know Your Customers Day (#GetToKnowYourCustomersDay). Salespeople and small business owners, use this as an opportunity to create a customer event.  Better sales mean better income mean better savings!

 

October 20th is World Statistics Day (#StatisticsDay).  Blah, let’s skip that one and move to…

 

October 21st, which is Reptile Awareness Day (#ReptileAwarenessDay)!  Feel like your financial adviser might be a snake in the grass?  Contact me for a 15-minute consultation.  Assuming, that is, that I’m NOT the slithery adviser you are thinking of.

 

 

And finally, October 25th is Greasy Foods Day (#GreasyFoodsDay).  A financial tie-in is hard here, but just go get a burger and fries and think good thoughts about me, who made you aware of this important day.

 

Con or Pro Probiotics?

As my faithful readers know, sometimes I get tired of coming up with new blog content, so I arm wrestle other people into writing for me.  And sometimes the content has nothing to do with finance, just something I thought was interesting.

 

Today, I welcome nutritionist Maureen West to tell us all about probiotics.  “What does this have to do with finance?” you say.  Well, there are few things worse for the pocketbook than being sick!  Read on for tips from Maureen.

 

Feeling Less Than? Could Probiotics Help?

 

Probiotics – you’ve heard the term, but if you’re like most people I know, you aren’t too sure about the benefits, protocols or differences between the numerous brands, strains and strengths available.

 

Here’s a Probiotic 101 to get you started discovering if your body could use a boost.

 

What are probiotics?

 

Probiotics are the tiny friendly bugs that naturally live in your gut and help keep it healthy and balanced… a big job!  Because the GI tract is where 70% of your immune system resides, it’s incredibly important you have more of the good bugs than the bad ones.

 

Do I need probiotics?

 

Most people can benefit from probiotic supplementation, given our modern-day lifestyles of less-than-stellar eating habits, stress and antibiotic use (which wreaks havoc on the gut!); probiotics can increase the good bacteria, and help your body heal.  They also help the body manufacture and absorb important vitamins and minerals for energy, nerve and brain function.

 

 

How do I increase my probiotic intake?

 

There are both food and supplement sources of probiotics that can recolonize your gut with good bacteria, and then help it stay balanced.

 

  1.    Food sources include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, kimchi, kombucha, sparkling water kefir, coconut water probiotic drink, and organic miso. If you tolerate dairy, you can consider organic yogurt and kefir.

 

  1.    You may need more than what food can provide. It’s fairly common to need a therapeutic dose in supplement form, especially if you have taken an antibiotic, are constipated, or suffer from allergic rhinitis, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, acid reflux, or lactose intolerance.

 

How much should I take?

 

That depends on your specific needs. Probiotics have vastly different components, with different strains targeting and benefiting different parts of the body and affecting different health conditions. They come in a huge range of anywhere from 1 billion to 100 billion active probiotic cells. Like most things in health, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach.  It’s best to get advice.

 

probiotics, denver financial planner

 

Maureen West is a Certified Nutritionist based in Denver, CO. If you’d like to explore which probiotics would be most effective for you, making changes to your nutrition and/or improving your health, call, text or email Maureen at 407.921.9192 or Maureen@MaureenWest.net. Learn more at MaureenWest.net

 

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

 

Five Funny Quotes about Back-To-School

school, denver financial planner

Education can get you the only thing that really matters in today’s world — an assigned parking space.”

— Gene Perret

 

You know there is a problem with the education system when you realize that out of the 3 R’s only one begins with an R.

– Dennis Miller

 

As long as algebra is taught in school, there will be prayer in school.

– Cokie Roberts

 

If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.

– Edgar W. Howe

 

The human brain is special. It starts working as soon as you get up and it doesn’t stop until you get to school.

– Milton Berle

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