A woman's romance with motherhood, green living, finance, and this heady thing called life.
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Monday, March 12, 2007
Review: The Thinking Blog
I've been a fan of The Thinking Blog
since I first stumbled across it via MyBlogLog
The title is indicative of the blog's central topic of interest, the design is clean, layout pleasant to the eye, navigation logical and easy to use with categories lined up on the top bar, and the text is large for the perpetually eyestrained (me!) yet not screaming to the rest who have good eyesight.
Ilker's posts are thought-provoking and ponderous, and I have enjoyed every single word he has typed, in particular, A Shy Blogger's Avatar and MySpamLog
when I realised he was actually not the beautiful woman in the picture, yet was even more compelled to read about this shy blogger, and Safeguard the Web for Children
, which drove me quickly to write up one up for my own blog too.The Thinking Blog
is probably one of the most usable and useful sites I have ever visited and will definitely continue visiting. An excellently designed site with brilliant content - a real winning combination.Technorati: review
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Credit Cards - Bane or Boon?
Credit cards have been getting easier and easier to obtain in recent years. From pre-approvals to lowered minimum annual income, everyone is armed and ready to consume with their very own (or ten) credit cards
Most certainly it is a lucrative business for credit card companies. Defaulters pay an average of 24% per annum in interest and this starts compounding immediately after you sign the dotted line on a purchase. When you do pay your bill in full, you don't pay the interest. But if you pay just the minimum or worse, don't pay at all, the interest starts compounding.
The opportunistic, like myself, claim the free sign-up gifts, pay on time and in full, maximising the 21 days interest free credit (yay 21 days more interest on my money in my savings account), and don't hesitate to call and cancel the card after. Most companies will offer to waive the annual fee as it is easier and cheaper for them to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one.
If you have unfortunately sunk into debt, no worries. Have a plan and you'll eventually dig yourself out of it. Your goal is to pay your debt off as quickly as possible (remember the compounding interest growing exponentially daily?) and minimising the interest you're paying off at the moment.
In the meantime, use 0% credit cards
to pay your bills (check the terms and conditions on full repayment and cancellation of card) and utilise 0% balance transfers
to stop your debt from growing.
So are credit cards really a bane or boon? Well, it really depends on you.This post was kindly sponsored by Credit Cards 2 Go 4.Technorati: finance
, money matters
, credit cards
, eliminating debt
Protecting your eyes is one of the most critical things a mother should do. I can't imagine ever being unable to see, especially with a young son to care for. Hence the great admiration and respect I have for blind mothers who manage to bring up their children themselves.
While I have been religiously slathering sunblock everyday (Sunplay SPF130), I realise I have been neglecting my eyes. In the last few months, my eyesight has been failing. I am not sure why. It could be the excessive use of the computer but then again it's been no less than the days when I was working all day and then playing World of Warcraft all night (where did I find the stamina?).
Anyhow, tomorrow the first thing I'm going to do is to find a good pair of Polarized Sunglasses
. ADS Sports Eyewear
has some really cool designs, like the one on the model on the front page. It looks like the giant ones Katie and Posh have been wearing.
I sure love the Wiley-X Air Rage
LoudLaunch - Compensating bloggers for their unbiased opinions, reviews, and analysis. View the LoudLaunch campaign release this post was based on.Technorati: personal development
, protect your eyes
Friday, March 09, 2007
Come May, I'll be freelancing full-time as well as being a full-time Mom to Jack. As a freelance
writer, two things are important to me:
1. A company pays.
2. A company pays on time.
It is hard to gauge 1. and 2. from simply accepting jobs from referrals. In fact I had 2 clients who thought freelance meant free! Thankfully I stopped work after the first draft.
How to avoid this? Get everything in writing and signed. Have them to pay you in installments. One downpayment before starting work. One after the first draft is approved (maximum 2 rounds of amendments). And finally after the job is finished. Include penalties for late payment. Get them to sign it.
There will still be the people who won't pay or delay payment. In which case, make sure you have a lawyer friend who will happily send warning letters. One warning usually suffices.
Anyway I'll be looking for more writing work and perhaps some programming work as well.
Elance has a good source of freelance work in the fields of programming, design, writing, and business consulting. Programming and writing are definitely up my alley.
It is an interesting bidding concept and something I'll definitely try when I'm in the market for freelance work. I've bookmarked it for May. Technorati: freelance work
Okay, I wish. Actually we'd sat through 40 minutes of bad traffic and Jack howling to get there. Hubby was grumpy by then and dropped me 10 minutes away so I had to wend through traffic to get to the convention hall (he was cheery after when the security guard opened up the car park for him).
OMG... the crowd. I had a headache just fighting my way through slow-moving people. Jack had fallen asleep in the Ergo
and I had my hands out protecting him from being scratched by swinging cardboard boxes.
When I finally reached the fourth floor, I was going to faint at the sight of the crowd. I decided no trawling each aisle, as I would have usually done (even at 7 months I trawled and later got on my hands and knees and gleefully installed my and hubby's brand new DVD Writers).
This time I checked the map and evaded the crowd by walking outside before heading straight for the Lenovo exhibition. After all, I just wanted to "touch test" the Lenovo 3000 V100
which I had already decided to bite the bullet and buy if it passed the test.
This nice guy called Gary helped me out and noted how brave I was to bring my son along. I mumbled something about no babysitter before I began gleefully molesting the keyboard of the V100
It was wonderfully light and the keyboard was heaven to touch. I did a cursory lookaround, drooled at the $2999 Thinkpad X (something) which was 1.65kg and oh, such a beauty. But it was way over my budget and... *okay stop thinking about it*.
Anyway, hubby caught up with us with my Mushroom Swiss burger and I told Gary okay after a little haggling. We went up to the special Lenovo area where they put together our package and freebies and paid $2148.
When we finally got home, I realised how much I've "lost it" when I remembered I forgot to ask Gary to throw in a mini Lenovo mouse. Ah well... my Mommy bear paw would probably be too big for it anyway *console self*.
Still, opening the freebies was sheer nirvana and the V100
runs like a dream. It's so beautiful I can't stop looking at it. Sigh... Technorati: technology
, Lenovo V100
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
My Favorite Baby Contest Winner!
Celebrity Baby Scoop
has just announced that I'm the winner of the "My Favorite Baby Contest" where readers choose their fave celebrity baby! :D I won a $25 Amazon voucher.
Here's my entry:
"Aside from the fact that she's a very beautiful baby (even more so than the much-touted Shiloh), she's bounced back from being ridiculed and taunted to a lovely elegant baby.
She's compelling to look at, with her unique features and lovely eyes. I can't stop looking at her. I think that makes her stand out as my favourite celebrity baby."
Huge thanks to Meghan and Celebrity Baby Scoop for this honour. :)Technorati: baby
, celebrity babies
, Suri Cruise
Useful Mortgage Calculator
Here's a really useful mortgage calculator
you should bookmark and refer to when necessary.
If you're wondering what mortgage calculators are, they're used to calculate an estimate of how much you'll need to pay monthly for the cost of a property (or any loan for that matter) with an estimated interest rate over the loan period.
Remember most loans come with a floating or fixed rate for the first few years and after that return to the board rate so when calculating a loan period of let's say 20 years, give an average amount of the first 5 years, assuming you plan to refinance your loan (which is generally a good idea if the economy is down or stable).
This particular loan calculator is especially useful because it allows you to take into account the property tax and PMI as well, which are often overlooked when calculating your budget for the year. Alternatively if you do not wish to use them, you can leave them as 0% and you'll get your monthly outlay for only the mortgage repayment.This post is kindly sponsored by Mortgage Calculator Plus.Technorati: finance
Gold is one of the safest investments around. It can withstand share market crashes, war, political strife, and even economic meltdowns. When all paper money is burnt and all electronic money deleted, gold
If you have a precious few, you can wear them or hide them away in your sock and later give them to your children. If you have a lot of it, thieves can't just cart it away (and neither can you, for that matter).
Of course, with all investments, the same rules apply. Buy low, sell high. Start following the prices to have an idea of when to go in. It is essential to know how the market is doing and how it relates to gold prices. In general, there is a direct relationship between war and gold prices. When there is a war, gold prices rise.
But if you prefer not to expend the time and energy, save your cash and wait for the papers to announce, "gold prices plunge" and then buy.
Extending your Life with Calorie Restriction
Calorie restriction without malnutrition is the only peer-reviewed proven method for extending your lifespan. In essence, you consume a diet that maximises the nutrients necessary for a healthy life from a minimal number of calories. Much research is ongoing to find out how it actually works.
I've been practicing calorie restriction for some years now, not as consistently as I would like, but I feel lighter, healthier, and spritelier (if there's actually such a word). Since I got pregnant I have stopped but will continue with it once Jack is weaned.
In a recent study, the researchers found that "to our knowledge for the first time, that in overweight nonobese humans, short-term calorie restriction lowers whole-body energy expenditure (metabolic adaptation), in parallel with an induction in mitochondrial biogenesis . . . and a decrease in DNA damage. We therefore propose that calorie restriction induces biogenesis of "efficient" mitochondria in human skeletal muscle as an adaptive mechanism, which in turn lowers oxidative stress."
Click here for the full study and citations: Calorie Restriction Increases Muscle Mitochondrial Biogenesis in Healthy Humans
For more information on calorie restriction, visit the The Calorie Restriction Society
, calorie restriction
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Organise Your Own Recycling Program
Ah this is a brilliant idea. I never know what to do with those cartridges from my laser printer, and I always end up keeping my old cell phones (maybe I might use them again - right). Now there's something useful that can be done with them.
Funding Factory is a great initiative to help schools and non-profit organisations organise recycling programs. You can even earn money from it and use the funds for your group or donate it to a charity. There's excellent support with custom flyers, promotional Microsoft Office templates, posters, and collection boxes for organisers to use.
When Jack is older, I'll certainly run one with him to teach him leadership and the importance of being environmentally conscious. Till then, if you have a group interested in organising a recycling program, stop by FundingFactory
.This post is sponsored by FundingFactory.