Ted Talk Friday: An honest look at the personal finance crisis

I found this talk to be a fascinating look into the challenges of personal finance. This talk shares the new experience of aging, retirement, and financial security–with a dose of humility. I was lucky enough to take a personal finance class in high school, but no amount of education can address the challenges so many individuals face today. I live in the Bay Area, which is one of the most expensive areas in the US, and it is incredibly difficult to save–even as a young, unmarried professional with no dependents. I have actively tried to save for about a decade now, but it’s not easy…and it’s far from linear. Luckily, the younger you are, the more time you have to start saving–even if it’s putting 1% of your paycheck away each month. White breaks down the challenges we all face and provides action steps for those who are closer to retirement.

 

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What do you think of White’s talk? Do you think about personal finance regularly?

Sincerely Silver: building strength through stories

I was so excited to partner with Sincerely Silver and try a few of their amazing products. This brand is unique in that it not only sells high quality products, but it also has a powerful brand mission: feminism. Their website includes tons of great historical information, followed by how they incorporate feminism into their mission as a company. Here is a short description from their site:

“The people of Sincerely Silver believe that feminism is and should be a form of equality for all sexes, in which a person is free to be whoever they want to be without economic, political or social limitation. We believe that feminism is still relevant today, but not in the way it was understood in its inception and not in the way it is understood by its modern definition (third and fourth wave). Feminism is still important today because, individually, women are still in need. We believe that feminism was an important historical movement since it addressed the disadvantages of women as a group in society. However, we believe that feminism today should focus on the individual stories of women, and not on the idea that women as a group are oppressed. As a company, we are focused on building each other up through encouraging one another: we believe there is strength in every woman’s story.”

I love partnering with brands like this; brands that focus on a larger goal rooted in social justice and advocacy. Like this brand, I also believe in the immense power of personal stories/narratives. Now, on to the fun stuff: the goodies! I opted for a rose gold name necklace and a “Be Kind” necklace.

I almost never buy any rose gold jewelry because I typically lean towards silver, but I went out on a limb and ordered my name in rose gold. I’m so glad I did!

 

The rose gold is beautiful in this delicate personalized name necklace. It is made of sterling silver plated with 18k rose gold so it is very high quality–and you can tell.

The “Be Kind” necklace is made of sterling silver and comes on an 18” chain. It is such a beautiful, simple piece that brings me joy every time I look at it. This would be a fantastic gift for a friend or for Mother’s Day, which is coming up soon! I love jewelry that has a positive message; it serves as a simple, constant reminder throughout the day. Sincerely Silver has a number of necklaces like this with positive messages; my other favorite is “Be still.”

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I will definitely buy more jewelry from Sincerely Silver; they have some really unique products. I love the idea of their custom sound wave necklace–you can have a custom sound wave (from a song, poetry reading, etc.) imprinted on a necklace! I’ve never seen a necklace like this anywhere else. One more detail I forgot to mention: all of their products are very reasonably priced and they arrive quickly (huge plus in my book).

Use code SINCERELY15 for a discount when you order from https://www.sincerelysilver.co!

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Disclaimer: I received this product from Sincerely Silver, but all opinions, thoughts, and photos are my own and represent my own experience.

 

Book Review: The Deepest Well

I bounce back and forth between reading non-fiction related to my academic interests and more fun novels (like Where’d You Go, Bernadette). I’ve been on a non-fiction kick recently so I can keep up with the research I’m most interested in, and I wanted to share one of my recent reads with you.

I am passionate about adverse childhood experiences, particularly experiences of trauma, and The Deepest Well is all about how adverse experiences influences our lives in ways we never could’ve imagined. Not only does it lead to increased risk of a number of different mental illnesses, but it also leads to increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other diseases. It is not an issue that only effects those of low socioeconomic status, but it can effect anyone. If you had a parent with a mental illness or had a family member go to prison, your risk goes up.

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A higher ACE score means higher risk the board; it’s a dose-response effect. ACE scores don’t dictate your health, but those scores provide insight and can indicate you might be at higher risk.

The author, Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, describes her work on ACEs and her creation of a non-profit in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco. I live in San Francisco so Burke-Harris’ descriptions of the wealth disparities, and health disparities that accompany them, hit close to home. Two neighborhoods, defined by zip codes, in San Francisco can have an average life expectancy difference of 22 years. Twenty-two years.

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Facts like this blow me away and strengthen my dedication to research and making positive change. Change does not mean we can eliminate adverse experiences, but we can help build resilience, educate parents, and provide positive interventions to minimize the negative impact of those adverse experiences.

ACE scores do not tell the whole story, but it provides powerful evidence and a simple, tangible metric for us to understand how early experiences influence us for the rest of our lives–both mentally and physically. I highly recommend The Deepest Well if you’re interested in learning more about chronic stress, adverse experiences, and health outcomes.

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Have you heard of ACE scores? Does the correlation between ACE scores and heath outcomes surprise you?

 

 

Ted Talk Friday: What makes a superhero?

I have been learning more about superheroes and their general appeal in the past few months. I was never interested in superheroes growing up, but I’ve recently become more and more curious. I have never fully understood the dedication and love people have for these characters, but Lee’s talk drew me in and gave me a new perspective. I hope you enjoy!

 

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Does Stan Lee’s talk make you understand the mass appeal of superheroes?

Ted Talk Friday: America’s pursuit of happiness and why it’s gone wrong

This title caught my eye; Western culture is particularly obsessed with feeling happy and constant self-improvement so you can feel happier. Listening to this talk gave me a different perspective on how happiness is incorporated into our culture all the way down from the founding fathers, but not in the way we might think…watch the talk to learn how we’ve confused our country’s mission!

 

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Do you agree with Dr. Winterer?

 

Seeing My First Snow: South Lake Tahoe 2018

Since I’m from Nashville, seeing snow is a rare occurrence for me. Sure, every few years we would get a few inches on the ground for a few days, but nothing over six inches and nothing that would stick around for long. I moved to the Bay Area about a year and a half ago and have been dying to go to Lake Tahoe during the winter time. I don’t ski or snowboard, but I just wanted to see the beauty.

My boyfriend (J) and I decided to go for a nice weekend getaway to Lake Tahoe and we spent hours looking for the perfect Airbnb. We went in with few criteria, but quickly learned we were pickier than we thought! We ended up choosing a beautiful one-bedroom guest suite about ten minutes from downtown South Lake Tahoe (plus it had a hot tub!).

We left San Francisco on Friday evening around 5pm, with a quick Chik-Fil-A stop for dinner on the way. My favorite Chik-Fil-A pick: market salad–it’s full of flavorful grilled chicken, chopped fruit, nuts, and they have great dressing options.

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We spent about four and a half hours on the road, which is not bad considering the notorious Tahoe traffic we were told to expect. We arrived around 10:15pm and checked out the place before crashing into bed.

The next morning we both woke up around 6:30am just in time to make tea and coffee and watch the sun rise from our back porch.

We spent the morning relaxing and headed out to brunch around 10am. We ended up eating at A Cup of Cherries and the food was delicious; I might’ve eaten the best omelette I’ve ever had there (tomatoes, mushrooms, and basil). J ordered an egg plate with a side of French toast. We left feeling stuffed and ready to conquer the day.

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After buying gloves, which we both forgot, we headed off to go snow tubing. We arrived at Heavenly ski resort and learned that snow tubing was not available yet–they said it was too early in the season, which I found baffling given the amount of snow on the ground ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Even if we couldn’t go tubing, we decided to take the gondola up to the top of the mountain anyways to soak in the good views.

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Pretty unbelievable right? We thoroughly enjoyed the gondola right up to the top and explored the basecamp, saw skiers skate by, watched toddlers teeter on snowboards and then we headed back down. We walked around the shops in Heavenly village and went back to the Airbnb to recharge before dinner. I ended up napping, which is not something I normally do, but was much needed after our adventures.

South Lake Tahoe has dozens of BBQ restaurants so we picked one of the top rated places  (Sonney’s BBQ Shack Bar and Grill) and headed over at an astonishingly early hour–5:30! We enjoyed a great meal of pulled pork, ribs, and classic BBQ sides:

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I don’t eat pork very often, but this absolutely hit the spot and left us feeling exhausted (again)! After dinner, we made our way back to the Airbnb intending to use the hot tub, but we ended up watching “Chicken Run” and falling asleep early.

The next morning was low-key with a later wake up. We enjoyed our coffee and tea in the hot tub, which was a wonderful experience! I have never been in a hot tub in freezing weather, but it was a fascinating experience–getting in was the hardest part by far. We both read or worked on side projects for a few hours enjoying the cute mini fireplace and sipping hot cocoa. Around 11, we started packing up our bags to head home. We made a pit stop for lunch at Verde Mexican Rotisserie and the food was delicious:

Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Chicken Taco

 

Chicken Torta

My favorite was the cauliflower rice bowl I ordered–cauliflower sautéed with peppers, onions, greens, and tomatoes. Topped with organic spring mix, chimichuri, avocados, and grilled mahi-mahi. I could hardly finish the bowl!

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The ride home felt a little longer, but the four hours flew by with good music and conversation. We made it back to the Bay Area by 5pm with plenty of time to get organized for the work week ahead.

For the full video experience of our trip, click here.

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Have you ever been to South Lake Tahoe? Any tips on learning to ski?

Ted Talk Friday: Remember to say thank you

Since Thanksgiving was yesterday, I wanted to focus today’s talk on gratitude and the value of giving thanks and asking for a thank you when you need it. This talk relates back to two of my favorite relationship rules:

1) ask for what you need

2) express gratitude

I hope this short talk is helpful for you and I hope you had a great holiday!

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Do you always ask for what you need? Do you wish you asked for someone to express gratitude for your actions more often?

Ted Talk Friday: How to Let Go of Being a Good Person and Become a Better Person

This talk is especially important right now. I think there is immense pressure to stay on the moral high ground, that we often sacrifice how we could be better or think more deeply about our action out of fear of being perceived as bad, politically incorrect, etc. Chugh’s commentary on how we perceive goodness and how we can evolve to be better people.

 

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How do you think about being a “good” person? What was your favorite part of this talk?

Ted Talk Friday: A love letter to realism in a time of grief

I was not sure what to expect when I began watching this talk, but I was quickly drawn in by the obvious bravery and strength of both speakers. I enjoyed Pollock’s approach on realism over optimism; I find it a refreshing break from the usual story of struggle and resilience. I hope you enjoy!

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Do you consider yourself a realist or an optimist?

Coping with Loss: One Year Out

It’s been a little over a year since a dear friend of mine passed away. While certain songs still bring him to my mind, like any song by Jurassic 5 or Biggie Smalls–some of his favorites, they make me smile more often than they make me cry. I’ve been thinking a lot about this difficult period in my life and what it means to me a year later. Studies show that how we cope with difficult events helps us make meaning and come out a little wiser on the other side. We need social support to make that happen.

I’m so grateful for the many shoulders I’ve had to cry on, the friends who have listened to my stories, and the loved ones who’ve checked in on me. I’ve also found amazing community through sharing my grief on social media; over 30% of young adults know someone who has died of an overdose. That is a large portion of the population, and sharing our stories is one way to cope with our losses.

I was lucky that his parents and the Nashville community spoke so openly about his death. My friend had suffered with different addictions for years. I remember a call from him a few years ago and hearing fear in his voice. He asked me to hold him accountable, and I did. He went to rehab a few months later, spent more time with his family, graduated from college and had a job that let him be outdoors. I remember meeting up with him and his dad about six months before his passing; I went to one of his father’s graduate school lectures with my friend for fun. We reminisced and he told me some of his stories that inevitably cracked me up. He had a wonderful sense of humor, kindness, and genuine friendliness about him from the first day we met that always struck me.

We texted in the few weeks before his death; he seemed to be doing well and I told him I wanted to visit him in Colorado and finally learn to ski. Skiing was one of his many beloved outdoor hobbies. There was no hint that he was not ok, no signs that I detected. That is one of the scariest parts of addiction–it is an ongoing battle. As friends and supporters, we can only do so much. Addiction is not a choice we can prevent, but rather a disease well beyond the control of friends and family.

His death has prompted me to look deeply at the way I live my life. He was always carefree, calm, and in awe of nature. I’ve taken some amazing trips, hiked new trails, and taken chances with new challenges.  I’ve also started prioritizing my social ties–staying connected to those who matter most with phone calls, letters, and visits. Research shows that our social network actually heals after the loss of a friend. Friends are pulled closer together following a loss–helping to heal both the group and the individual.

While it will never be easy, I am starting to feel that it is getting easier.