Friday, June 29, 2007

The Week In Pictures

I so enjoy MSN's "The week in pictures". If you haven't seen it yet you should check it out. From what I understand: world-wide professional photographers (like those that work in journalism) are requested to submit interesting photos they've taken within the last week. (Hence the story airing once a week, and hence the title being "the week in pictures")

I enjoy marvelling at the amazing shots photographers have captured, case in point: the picture I've shared here with you. I love scrapbooking and photography, but there's no way I could ever get some of the action shots or touching artistic pieces that are submitted. This recurring news article also has a feature that allows readers to VOTE for their favorite image, for me I like to see if I can pick the most popular photo ... simple minds find simple pleasures. Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Three cheers for the Crystal Stick!

It is officially summer! and let me tell you my pits are telling me as much!

In our neck of the woods, we're looking at high 70's, low 80's ... which is not anything like Death Valley or anything, but it's hot enough that when you're outside in office attire, you're a little sticky.

My husband and I recently bought and started using a Crystal Stick for our underarms and let me tell you - it really works! But the cheering doesn't stop there, this little stick:
  • lasts a year (yes, one stick for one year! talk about price savings!)
  • doesn't have any aluminum in it (to get into your body)
  • doesn't leave any white marks on your shirts
  • and I tell ya, it fights the stink!

If you haven't tried one yet, and if you're tired of using Secret or Tom's of Maine ... I recommend it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Shanty for sale

In our neck of the woods (of the Bay Area) the median home price is 1.5M (yes, 1.5 MILLION for the typical 3 bedroom 2 bath, 1500 square foot home!). So Berilac (the hubby) and I are trying to figure out if we continue renting (at a monthly price greater than most American mortgages) or if we try to buy a shanty (Note: shan·ty1 [shan-tee] noun, 1. a crudely built hut, cabin, or house. 2. The biggest house your double income family can afford in the Bay Area, CA)

Now mind you, we are looking to move to a city that doesn't have that high of a median home price, (luckily, it’s only 1.2M) ... so we are trying to find a teeny, tiny cardboard box to live in for about half that.

So the questions we’ve been facing are:
-Do we rent or buy?
-Regardless of if we rent or buy - how much money should we spend?
-Do we choose a condo/townhouse or a house?
-How long will we live in this next place?
-Will the housing market go DOWN in the short term? (due to the upcoming flood of foreclosures that are occurring b/c people are facing their interest only adjustable rate mortgages they signed up for during the boom a couple of years ago)
-If we buy, do we buy a 2 bedroom, 1 bath (that is within our price range) and assume that we will build on it in the coming years as/if needed? or do we stretch now and buy a cheap (fixer-upper type) 3 bedroom, 2 bath that is family ready?

If you're reading this and you live outside of California you're probably thinking "Sheesh Polly you're crazy, you should high tail your behind outta there!" Trust me, we've been there, we've had that thought ... who's to say that someday we won't be those market-spiking, migrant Californians who've moved in to the mansions down the street? Sounds mighty nice. But for now, we're living in the land of the rich and we will be for at least the next three years ... so jumping ship is not an option.

Now, back to my decision making process. So these are some of the benefits I’ve seen for each option: (please feel free to suggest others if they are missing)

-cheaper than buying
-money goes further, you can get nicer quality place for less money
-not dependant upon two incomes
-little to no maintenance

-provides a much needed tax break
-potential equity
-more fulfilling nesting
-better for entertaining

If we choose to buy, we run into another whole slew of questions ... do we save money by going with a condo/townhouse? or do we go all out and pop for the full size?

Monday evening, Berilac and I submitted an offer for a 2 bedroom, 2 ½ bath 1140 square foot home on a bad street. I won’t say how much it was (as that’s scary) but our low-ball offer was not accepted. So with only 2 weeks left in our current rental lease, we are back to the drawing board … and obviously still not even sure WHAT direction we’re heading!!

Lord, help us to NOT try to answer all the big, future type of questions today. Help us to trust you in whatever option we pick, knowing you'll be there guiding us along our paths.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Guiding principles of my blog ...

1. TMI encouraged: I will give you TMI, I don't know how NOT to. (it's part of my charm)
2. Be Nice: Avoid throwing others under the bus, as they might read it one day.
3. Safety First: Protect people's identities
4. PG Rated: Make sure the content doesn't offend an older British woman friend I have who I won't name, (given rule number three) but if you know her, you know she loves fondly referring to people as "ducky"
5. This isn't English class: Don't get caught up in grammar or spelling, try to get it right, but don't obsess.
6. Grace: Feel free to delete, change, or correct anything at any time

Here we go ...

Welcome to my blog. I'm not sure this will be of interest to anyone, in the great wide world of the Internet, but it will provide a GREAT way for me to update my friends that are near to my heart but not near in proximity to me (as I've recently moved).

As well, I LOVE to tell everyone TMI about my life - what a better forum than a blog!!