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The Power of Words and a Wonderful Friend

I had dinner with my best friend Shari this week and I told her some of my frustrations lately, especially dealing with the absolutely crazy lady who won’t stop harassing me, I just needed to vent.

And granted, most of the time I am pretty calm and rational, but when I get on my soapbox I become an absolute drama-queen.

Right now, I feel like the stars are absolutely misaligned and I don’t know how to get it back in line.  I am a natural optimist, but lately it’s become much harder to be one.  In a perfect world, good things should happen to good people.  Being kind and being raised right should be praised and not considered a flaw.

But in reality it’s not.  The rules of life have changed and you have to learn to play the game to survive.  From what I observed, good people are the ones that suffer the most. They get thrown under the bus, walked on, taken advantage of, and hurt the most.  Those of us who are naturally good people tend to struggle in some form the most.

For those who know me, I’m an extremely loyal and amazing friend to those positive influences in my life. I am a good daughter. I don’t steal, lie (well, a little white lie here and there), and I work-hard for everything that I have in my life.  And some of you know the instances where I’ve done good, which back-fired and that’s when I say…I give up being a good person, I just have to stop caring, and I need to be like everyone else.

I told Shari that by doing good, good things should come. No, I haven’t seen that and if doing good things and getting obstacle after obstacle thrown at you is a way to prove yourself to get into heaven, well I don’t want to go.  Yes, here is where my dramatic self comes in. I’d rather have an easy-going life on earth and I’ll end up going to hell anyways.   With my luck, I’ll be in line to heaven and an Angel will say remember that time you didn’t pick up your friend at 2 AM because you were asleep. It doesn’t matter about your 15,000 other good deeds, we are sending you to hell.

10649025_10100218051924281_2673735449741477193_oShari stopped me and told me, you can’t be that person. We need more people like you.  She said, think of how many people’s lives you’ve touched without even knowing by being kind, by being you.  She said, it is much easier to be a good person and be kind.  You don’t want to change.

Then she put some guilt on me by saying, if you were a bad person, I wouldn’t be your friend.  Shari, you are absolutely one of the kindest and most patient person I know, you are wise beyond your years.

She should be a lawyer because to close the case, she decided to show me this video called the “Power of Words.”  It’s a very powerful commercial about how your words and actions can change someone else’s day.

You win Shari, case closed, I can’t be a bad person even if I wanted to. I care too much.  Thanks for making me remember why eventually everything will work out and thank you for listening to my dramatic soap opera and bringing me back to reality.

Whenever you have a bad day, watch this video and it will certainly change your mind.


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5 Reasons You Need a Living Will at Any Age

imagesDying is NEVER a fun thought, nor should it be, but as all of us get older, there comes a point where we have to look into creating a will.

Even if you think you are still young, it is important to put in writing what assets you have, who is the next of kin, how you would like to be buried, etc….

I always say, life is extremely short. You may be fine today, but tomorrow have your life changed by a sudden illness, car accident, or natural disaster.  You just never know, so before it’s too late, start preparing not for your sake, but for the sake of your family.

You are gone at that point, but your family are the ones left dealing with all the loose ends.  You can quickly write one using LegalZoom.

  1. Clarify your wishes. In your will, state whether you want to donate your organs, be kept on life support, buried in a specific place or be cremated and have your ashes scattered on your favorite beach.  Whatever your request may be, it will help provide them some guidance, especially when it comes to the harder decisions.  I am so paranoid about being buried alive, that I’ve told my parents if something happens, make sure to bury me with a fully charged, old school flip phone since the battery lasts longer in case I wake up.  They need to have it powered down as well.  I know, who thinks of these things?  Someone who watches way too many movies.
  2. Notify your next of kin all of your assets. For all your investments, your bank accounts, 401K, etc… a beneficiary should have been assigned, but that means all the paperwork had to have been signed.  Call and make sure that someone is assigned.  It is much easier to pick one person to be in charge of all your assets.  You can certainly divide out the responsibilities, but for me, everything goes to my dad.  If something happens to my dad, my mom gets it next, and then everything is split between my two sisters.  This will also help them determine how much money to pay for the funeral, medical bills, etc…
  3. Help close your digital footprint. Make a list of all of your accounts: Facebook, Instagram, Wal-Mart, Amazon, etc…  Literally list every account you have, so that all of them can be closed out.  Except, I am just going to admit, I’m totally vain, so I want my Facebook and IG account to be memorialized. Lisa has graciously agreed to keep it active for me if something happens.  Here is a previous article about your digital footprint.
  4. Consolidate your debt. The one thing people forget is that after you die, your family is still responsible for your debt.  They have to make sure to pay your credit card companies, utilities, mortgage, etc…  List all your credit cards, outstanding debt for anything else like the car, student loans, and even the utility companies.  Make it easy for them and have a list, so all they have to do is make a call versus doing some detective work beforehand.
  5. Say your peace. In your will, you can also make sure to use it as a way to thank all the important people in your life and how much they mean to you. You can use it as a way to let your family know how you want them to enjoy the money too. For example, I would wish my parents would take all the funds in my mutual fund and travel to all the spots I did not get a chance to go see. Lisa of course has the list of places.

Jokes aside, I do hope you start thinking about a living will. You never know what can happen after death and if it’s not clearly written, unclaimed assets can go to the state, people may fight over what you have.  When money is involved, all the crazies tend to come out of every corner expecting something.

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How to Determine to Leave a Salaried Position for and Hourly Position

I recently got a job offer with a very large corporation.  I felt like I had found the golden ticket, but the catch was that I would work as a contractor for an hourly wage until I got hired on.  My long-term position would be performance driven, which doesn’t bother me, it was mainly the instability of the job.

What happens if I don’t get hired on after the trial period?  Eventually, I did have to decline the position after three counters from the company.  Right now, I need a job that provides benefits, as I was discussing with my friends and family, if I was married and had insurance through him, I would have taken this job in a heart-beat.  It would have been a lot of money and as my friends call it “clean cash.”  As a contractor, you do not have anything taken out, so you walk away with a lot of money in your pocket.

I put together a quick Excel sheet to compare what you would be losing at the job with benefits versus the hourly job.  These are not the actual numbers I ran, but I ended up figuring out I would lose money if I took the job.

As an hourly employee, you don’t get Federal holidays, snow days, sick leave, paid time off, or if we are in a state of emergency, an hourly employee doesn’t get back-pay.

Here is my Hourly vs Salary Excel cheat sheet to use if you are ever in the predicament.


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Charleston, South Carolina

I took a quick weekend getaway to Charleston, South Carolina for a weekend as a Southern Belle.  I will fully admit I had preconceived notions of what Charleston would look like, a charming, cute, historic beach town with lots of handsome southern gentlemen, and a more built up city.

I may offend Charleston lovers, but I didn’t fall in love with the city.  To me is was very run-down and that’s just not my style.  It was also a different feeling there, you definitely felt like you were in the south with all the “Yes Ma’am” and “Sir” that you hear.

While there, I took pregnancy shots for Aline.  We went to several different locations, so I just posted some of the best shots that I edited.

Click on the picture to see the rest of the photo shoot.


Tourist Attractions:

Downtown Charleston

The main streets in the city were cute, but outside of the area was very run down.  The streets were filled with a lot of bars, restaurants, and small shops.


Hurricane Proof House

Since it does flood, a lot of homes are raised and don’t have basements in order to avoid damage.  This builder took it to the next level, he build an oddly shaped, hurricane proof house that looks like spaceship.

To read more on it, click here.


Newest Bridge


Boone Hall Plantation

This is one of the more popular plantations. The road to the plantation is gorgeous.  It’s $20 to get in and it was just interesting to see a little piece of history.

For information, click here

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Angel Tree

This tree is more than 1500 years old. It is gigantic!  Aline thinks it is ridiculous how much I wanted to see the tree, but it’s HUGE!  The roots are growing out of the ground.  It’s free to go see.

FYI- The tree was closed by the time we got there, so I only got to enjoy it from afar and took pictures through the fence.

For the location, click here.


Saveurs Du Monde Café

This is a cute little French café. It is very cute and the food is delicious. I had breakfast here.  The atmosphere was nice, the staff was very friendly, and the food portions were very large for the price.  When I got a crepe, I expected a something small and folded, oh no, I got something so large, I could only finish half.  I got the East Coast crepe, very fitting right?


Here is Aline’s dad being very French with his cappuccino and baguette.


Here is the menu.


The restaurant made you feel like you stepped back in time. There was a swing teacher and it was fun to watch the students and the host was in a simple flapper outfit. The downfall was the selection of food on the menu. It was very limited and most of the foods were fried, which you know is not my cup of tea. A+ on atmosphere, but C on the food selection.




Here is the menu.  Below is the crab roll. It was very tasty, but again, very fatty.



This is a very cute place with a great selection of food. I got the Sol Salad and it was delicious.  The ambiance was nice and the price was very reasonable.

Here is the menu.


Memorable Moments:

  • I wanted a new profile picture for the header of my blog and when I saw Aline’s white bed, I got the idea to do it there.  I wanted something light, fun, bright, and happy similar to my personality.  So I staged the place and had Aline take the pictures.  She is a very good photographer and it was fun to be the model for once.  Here are some of the pictures.
  • Alvaro, the grandpa happened to be in town at the same time as me.  He is such a wonderful and kind man and I am always happy to see him.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t speak a lot of English and I hardly speak any Portuguese.  Actually, I tend to combine a little Portuguese and Spanish when I speak.  So how did we talk the whole weekend?  Thank heaven for Google Translate!  Aline laughed because it would be dead silent as we wrote back and forth to each other.


  • Ramin surprised Aline with an actual baby shower while I was there.  Our MBA class had a virtual baby shower for her before, but he communicated mostly through Alvaro, which caused a slight confusion.  We got Aline out of the house to go out shopping and to see the gym. Ramin meant the clubhouse gym, but Aline thought her gym and even said why does my dad want to see it so badly?  Oh well.  The surprise turned out great and I happen to be the only one who attended both the virtual baby shower and the actual baby shower!

Virtual Baby Shower

Best group call EVER

Live Baby Shower

  • One the photo shoot, we saw turtles on a dead fish.  Ramin took like 5 million pictures of them.  We make fun of him because he loves nature shots, he hates people shots.  He’s a very good photographer and very serious.  While I use two lenses, look how many he owns. This is a legit photographer.


  • Alvaro made us fish. We actually got the fish fresh from the fish market.  While cooking, he had a slight accident, but he’s still happy!



Other Items for Discussion:


The airport was TINY.  There is one bathroom, one gate, one entrance, and the worst…No Wi-Fi.  It is going through a revamp, so hopefully it will be much nicer the next time I’m visiting.  This is our good-bye picture.


United Flying Fiasco

I was supposed to board at 7 PM, so I arrived at the airport at 6 PM.  They kept saying there was mechanical issues and that once the passengers boarded, we would be ok. I had a feeling it might be cancelled as the flight kept getting delayed, I even asked the United agent if I could switch my flight and if they are sure this flight was still happening.

They assured me yes.  Finally they announced the plane was boarding and would arrive at 11 PM, but that our flight was cancelled because the pilot “timed out.”  Yes, timed out, what does that mean?  He reached his maximum flying time for the day and could not fly.

After that it was a mad rush to the ticket line to get everything resolved. I ended up getting on a 5:30 AM flight with Delta.  On top of that, they put us in the wrong hotel, so after a long game of shuffle board, I was at the hotel at midnight only to go back to the airport at 4 AM.


Other people were getting rebooked on United, but I refused to go again, so I told them I want them to switch me and it was a lucky thing I did.  In the morning, I went to the airport, every flight was on-time, actually Delta got us there early, but the 6 AM flight for United was cancelled.

Before, I was indifferent to United. I’ve always been loyal to Delta, but after this, I hate United even more that words can say.  Delta is still my #1 choice and look, they serve Starbucks now.  It’s a sealed deal.


Pay It Forward

After landing at IAD, I went to see if I could take a super shuttle. The guy told me to take the Fairfax Connector to Reston and then catch the shuttle home to save money. No, it would have been so much better to pay the extra cash or a straight shot home. Since it was in the daytime, the buses don’t run as often, so it took much longer than expected.

When I got there, the shuttle just left and the next one was going to be 40 minutes late.

I met Tanya also going my same way, so we wanted to split a cab.  Unfortunately, during that time, there were no cabs, so she booked an Uber, the Uber driver never arrived.  So it was time to go back to the bus.  When I got in, there was a little old lady who was lost and confused. She got on the wrong bus and needed to go to a location about 15 minutes from my house.

I looked at her flustered as the bus driver really didn’t help. She said, she can’t go to another location because the person picking her up doesn’t really speak English or know the area well enough.

She just reminded me of my mom and how confused my mom would be in the same situation.  I told her to come with me and we’d have to walk to my house to get my car, but I can take her to where she needed.

After Tanya, me, and Lisa (the old lady) got off the bus, we all trekked it to the location.  I got my car and as I was driving her, she told me she doesn’t have any family here. She works in the area and doesn’t drive, so she is meeting a friend to go to the outlets for her birthday.

I told Aline, I guess all the issues were meant to happen, so I could help this sweet little lady out.  All things happen for a reason and it really taught me never to stop being nice. I really did this because I felt bad for her, but this small deed ended up making it possible for her to celebrate her birthday.


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5 Reasons to See a Financial Planner

downloadWhen you hear the words “Financial Planner,” I think it is evenly split that some people have positive thoughts while others have negative thoughts.

You hear that all financial planners do is take fees or some people are scared that they are embezzlers.  And truthfully, it can definitely happen, but there are different types of financial planners.

Some that have total control over your accounts and others who do not.  I personally never thought I would never go to a financial planner until I met Abe through a mutual friend.

I live in the financial world and I work in budgets. If I can budget a portfolio of over $20 million, I can certainly do my measly paycheck right?  Well, not necessarily.

I was introduced to Abe with Abich Financial through my best friend Moon, I thought it was worth a shot to get his opinion on my savings plan or who knows, maybe lack of.  I think I’m doing a good job, but this is his expertise: Help people save for retirement and in my hopes and early (1)

With an open mind and nothing to lose-since he is free, I made an appointment to see him.  I learned a great deal from him about how I have been saving.

Overall, my portfolio is fantastic for someone my age and I’m on target for all my goals.  He did help me consolidate some of the avenues I’ve been using to save: Mutual funds, 401K, Roth IRA, and a bare bones savings accounts.

Abe goes through each one of your accounts to see what you have and the growth rate.  He will honestly tell you to move certain funds if he doesn’t see that it is worth it.

He has also helped me out with any type of financial questions, including if it’s smart to move from my current job to another one.

He is absolutely fantastic to work with, so feel free to contact him. His contact information is  on his website: Abich Financial. Tell him you heard about him through me.  It’s definitely worth an appointment to make sure you have all your bases covered.

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Aline and Ramin-Expected May 2015- Baby Kiara

Aline wanted me to do pictures for her since Ramin really feels comfortable with me.  I did their photos in a few locations.  This is their first baby and I can’t wait to see what she looks like. Ramin has been waiting for this day for as long as I’ve known him.  You will see that Aline is all about profile shots. She is particular about her arms and a straight shot of her face right now, so I did my best to please her.

This is my first time doing a pregnancy shoot and I learned a few things:

  • Pregnant women have very limited poses
  • It is hard to get good angles
  • It’s much easier to do them in several sessions

Here are some of the photos below:

Kiara’s Room


Aline and Ramin

Aline and Grandpa (Vovo)

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