Author Archives

Autumn Woods

January 2019

“Don’t settle: Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.”

Chris Brogan

Using Reusable Gift Bags

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Though I consider myself very far from where I’d want myself to be as far as green living goes I do feel I’m making some small progress, the example I’m giving now is of the reusable gift bags. I purchased 6 so far (three Christmas themed, one floral, one Alice in Wonderland, and one birthday), all from Etsy shops (from Not Paper Bags and Heirloom Gift Bags Plus). The first time I used the bags was for my sister’s birthday and now we’re using it for Christmas again. I told my mom that from now on we’d use the reusable gift bags and surprisingly she was perfectly happy to go along with it, the only problem is I’ve yet to buy enough bags still. It’s definitely made a difference though, as even with an incomplete stockpile of gift bags, the few I’ve purchased so far are able to go a long way. So it’s my hope that my family and I will grow and continue this newfound tradition and it’s my hope that you might consider trying it out in your own home with your family as well dear reader. Also might I add on a completely different tangent that I think my mom did a lovely job of decorating our tree this year with her ribbon arrangement, the gold tassels and the top of berries.

 

The Ultra Late Autumn Season Decor Post

I should have made this post much earlier, but other things were on my mind and procrastination is my specialty. Better late than never though and I still want to make this seeing as today is the last day of Autumn. My mother and I enjoy decorating for this season and I figured I’d share our decor for this year, plus it’ll give me the chance to delete some pictures from my phone seeing as posting them here will result in duplicates.

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December 2018

“The ultimate test of a man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”

~Gaylord Nelson

Dirtiest Places in the Home

I was just going through my phone and found some notes I made from an article on the dirtiest places in most homes. In my notes I referenced the article beforehand and I’ll place the link right here of the article titled “The 9 Dirtiest Spots in Your Home” by Deborah Weatherspoon. When I made these notes I made them to have a reference of places that I should focus to clean in order to best reduce germs in the home most efficiently so that my focus and energy is well directed. I mostly just copied off the lists provided in the article for my own reference, so I’ll just copy it off almost the same on here as a reference for myself. What I’m beginning to like about this blogging thing is that it helps me to organize everything in one place. Anyhow to the dirtiest places.

First off, take off shoes before entering the house…as far as the dirtiest places they are:

1.) Kitchen (disinfectants, bleach, heat, hand hygiene)

  • Dish Sponges and Rags***
  • Cutting boards
  • Coffee makers
  • Refrigerator
  • Kitchen sink and counters

2.) Knobs, handles, and switches (disinfecting wipes once each week-ideal to use a new wipe for every spot)

  • Restroom light switches
  • Refrigerator handles
  • Stove knobs
  • Microwave handles

3.) Makeup bag, makeup, and applicators

4.) Bathroom

  • Shower tub
  • Drains
  • Faucets
  • Floor area around toilet
  • Bath towels
  • Toothbrushes

5.) Laundry-if clothes sit in the washer for more than 30 minutes: rerun; if going to a laundry mat: clean washer with disinfecting wipes prior to using machines.

6.) Home office and Living room

  • Remote controls
  • Computer keyboards
  • Phones/tablets

7.) Pets

  • Pet bowls
  • Paws

8.) Personal items

  • Cell phone
  • Keys
  • Wallet
  • Money
  • Lunch boxes
  • Bottom of purses

 

Notes on The Intelligent Investor: Chapters 1 & 2

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I had been starting to read “The Intelligent Investor,” by Benjamin Graham with commentary by Jason Zweig for some time and had soon after also set it aside for a period of time. I’ve decided to pick it back up again, I’ve taken a degree of interest in stocks and investing and figured who better to take advice from than Warren Buffett himself? So I watched some videos and read some articles to see what recommendations he had for resources on stocks and investment, and it appears to be that of all the books and of all the resources this would be the holy grail based on his point of view (“this” being “The Intelligent Investor”) so certainly I’d take the advice from someone who is just about the most well learned in their field as is Warren Buffet in finance.

As I’ve read so far I put tabs on key points as I read and so far the chapters that I’ve covered are filled will hoards of multicolored tabs, I hope to get rid of these by taking notes on them instead through this blog. I’ll go straight to those notes for chapters 1 and 2 here now in this particular post:

The standard advice in this book, or the simplest version of the advice provided to the reader is to: “maintain a 50-50 proportion between [high grade bonds and leading common stocks]” (22). However, there’s room for variation based upon each individual, being that one can hold a minimum of 25% in leading common stocks and a maximum of 75% of leading common stocks in proportion to high grade bonds.

A situation that may call for a 25% proportion in leading common stocks would be in a “dangerously high” market, whereas a situation calling for 75% in leading common stocks would be during times when there’s a fall in stock prices (if I’ve understood the advice the I’ve read so far in this book, then I would venture that this would be in the case of a bear market, which would basically be a general fall in the stock market-the most extreme example of this being the Great Depression) (22).

In general I have many questions regarding buying silver and gold. Sometimes it seems like a trend for the old world, but on the other hand my gut tells me that no matter how it may be seen outwardly, silver and gold will always be worth owning. In this day and age the economy, at least the American one, is based on debt. There is essentially nothing backing the dollar, whereas in the past money had always been backed by gold.

I digress. The reason why I even turned to the topic of gold and silver is because in the book there is a footnote in the second chapter that touches on this subject that I’ll include here:

“The investment philosopher Peter L. Bernstein feels that Graham was “dead wrong” about precious metals, particularly gold, which (at least in the years after Graham wrote this chapter) has shown a robust ability to outpace inflation. Financial adviser William Bernstein agrees, pointing out that a tiny allocation to a precious-metals fund (say, 2% of your total assets) is too small to hurt your overall returns when gold does poorly. But, when gold does well, its returns are often so spectacular-sometimes exceeding 100% in a year-that it can, all by itself, set an otherwise lackluster portfolio glittering. However, the intelligent investor avoids investing in gold directly, with its high storage and insurance costs; instead, seek out a well-diversified mutual fund specializing in the stocks of precious-metal companies and charging below 1% in annual expenses. Limit your stake to 2% of your total financial assets (or perhaps 5% if you’re over the age of 65).” (55-56)

I also marked for myself some additional reading material that I might consider taking a look at at a later time of: “”Stanley Fisher, Ratna Sahay, and Carlos A. Vegh, “Modern Hyper-and High Inflations,” National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 8930, at https://www.nber.org/papers/w8930.” (60)

I also marked another source for myself about TIPS (treasury inflation-protected securities), which apparently is a safer option for investment during times of inflation and the book provides further reading in this specific topic on:
www.federalreserve.gov/Pubs/feds/2002/200232/200232pap.pdf.

Key Points from the Reading:

  • “maintain a 50-50 proportion between [high grade bonds and leading common stocks]” (22)
  • Allocate 2% of total investments to gold

 

Source:

Graham, B., Buffett, W. E., & Zweig, J. (2013). The intelligent investor: The definitive book on value investing. New York: Harper Collins.

Book Review of Uprooted by Naomi Novik

IMG_1812.jpgAutumn Wood’s late fall book recommendation.

I’m a little nervous about writing a book review because if I make a review of any books it must be because I like them and I could only hope to be able to give them some due justice; I likely won’t bother with a review of any books unless I either love the book or find it very useful. I don’t want to write about books otherwise. So if you ever find me reviewing a book I probably enjoyed reading it a great deal or found it quite useful.

Uprooted is in the really really enjoyed it, loved it category. I must say though that I read this book about a year ago, but it’s also how I came across a more recent book I read that I’ll review at a later time.

Reader I don’t know what your tastes in books are, so I have no idea if you’ll love the same books that I do, so if you end up disappointed with the way I make Uprooted sound to you or if you read it and it doesn’t meet your expectations then I apologize ahead of time for your wasted time, but reading this book wasn’t a waste of my time.

I’ll get on with the review now.

Hopefully I’ll have a strong enough of a remembrance of the book. I’m not saying I don’t remember it well necessarily, but it may not be fresh enough in my system for as good of a review as I’d like to give you. When I read this book I lived in it, I was looking at my own world through rose colored Uprooted glasses.

One of the reasons why I like this book is because it’s a fantasy book that involves magical powers and at this point in my life when I came across this book I was craving for the fantasy genre and this hit just the right spot.

What was very different about this book from other books I’d read in the past though was that it was the first book I’ve read with a Russian setting other than one children’s book from elementary school which I don’t count.

I don’t feel interested in revealing too much though because I enjoyed letting the story unfold for myself as I read and don’t want to take that from you if you end up choosing to read this book. I’ll just say a few things about it. The protagonist is Agnieszka who you get to see develop more as a character through the course of the book, there is a “dragon” in this story as well, and the villain of this story is the woods (one of the most interesting concepts to me of the story since the woods is it’s own entity that is trying to envelop the world around it in darkness). Overall it’s simply an enjoyable rollercoaster ride of a book with a setting that I didn’t ever want to leave. Anyhow, happy readings reader. I’ll be posting a new book review up soon.