I've been asked to begin a blog that shows a "how-to" for the things that bring pleasure to my life. So, the intent of this blog is to share recipes, gardening, composting, sewing, crafts, art, everyday projects and even psychology tips to aid in healing wounds and living the life you're meant to live, a life with purpose!
Art PrintsArt Prints

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Five Ways to Torpedo Your Retirement

I thought so many people need to hear what this financial planner has to say. A certified FP states ways that you can destroy your chances of "not having to work through your retirement years". If you are not planning ahead, imagine yourself aged and possibly ill, having to still go to work to live. ;-)
I have to admit making a few of these mistakes, number two hit hard with me. I am learning that I should have held tighter on to my wallet while my kids were in college. Besides tuition, living expenses can be way under-estimated, because our kids are not as financially frugal with our money as we would be. This is partly because they have not learned how to handle money yet, and partly because they did not earn it. ;-)

Provided by Neal Frankle, 2011:
"Couples who work hard all their lives often eagerly look forward to retirement. But working for 30 or more years doesn't guarantee that you will be able to retire comfortably. Here are five common retirement planning errors that generally torpedo your ability to retire.
 1. Too much debt. Having debt is not the kiss of death for your retirement. But high interest debt such as credit card debt could be, especially if you can't figure out how to get out of debt and begin saving for the future. It's extremely difficult to invest for retirement when you are still paying off past purchases.
2. Spend your retirement savings on college. Some couples make it a financial priority to pay for their children's college so that they will not begin their careers with debt. However, when you tap your home equity, stop saving for retirement, or even raid your retirement accounts to pay for your children's college, you may be sacrificing your own retirement security. On top of that, you will be missing a golden opportunity to teach your kids about money. There are a variety of ways to finance college, but you can't take out loans for retirement.
3. No emergency plan. Most of us are completely dependent on the money we receive from a single job. Losing that job can easily exhaust your savings and jeopardize your entire financial plan. It's important to develop an emergency fund and plan before you hit those stormy waters. Consider taking on a second job or developing a side business to diversify your income streams in case a layoff should occur.
4. No long-term investment strategy. Some people change their investment allocation based on the latest financial news. This can be a huge mistake. If you pulled money out of equities when the market tumbled in 2008, you also didn't take advantage of the market recovery that has since occurred. Retirement savers need to accept that there will be fluctuations in mutual fund performance and invest for the long term. The only way to combat this type of emotional investing is to have a well thought out investment plan for retirement income that balances financial needs with emotional demands. Then you need to stick with that investment plan throughout financial storms.
5. No retirement plan. The most dangerous mistake individuals can make is having no retirement plan. Financial plans are not set in stone and you won't be able to foresee every contingency. But having an approximate roadmap you can follow is better than having no plan.
You can be smart, responsible, and hard-working and still end up without enough resources for a secure retirement. In order to make sure this doesn't happen to you, take the time to put together a plan, track your spending, and don't get into debt if you can help it. Think through your investment strategy and stick to it even when you feel tempted to change it."
Neal Frankle is a certified financial planner and runs Wealth Pilgrim, a personal finance blog that helps people make smart decisions about their money. As a start, he suggests that you strive to understand your credit score range.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ten Current Spring Fashion Trends & what to keep when Cleaning Out my Closet? : Shopping, Jewerly, Purse / bags, how to mix this season's patterns, and put together an outfit.

I'm preparing to work on my closet next. Do I really want to keep those pleated pants, and how about all the long suit coat jackets? I like to research most things, and current trends is included in that. Before I tackle the task of my closet, I am making a list of the current fashion trends, and what is still considered "in style" verses "out with the Salvation Army pick-up".
With my list, I can begin with an update of my closet.
Just what might be lurking in there? Hee...
1. Keep your classics, like essential plain or plaid button-down shirts, and never be afraid to stock up on more. They always look pulled together and can be paired w almost anything at any time of year.
Shirts like this one, I have at least three colors.

How comfy,... moccasins. A natural color or a "make a statement" color like a bolder green.

Throw one of these shirts on with a pair of jeans, moccasins and knockout statement jewelry and you’ll have a chic look without appearing like you’ve tried too hard.

Knock- Out Jewelry:
Statement jewelry pieces found at Bellamy's Boutique

 2. If you could only keep three items, hold onto a few black dresses to get you through any occasion. One should be short and chic, another long and breezy, and a third easy and casual. The lack of color makes accessorizing easy, plus they can all transition from winter to spring and back again.

3. It’s in the details. Let your accessories do the work. Keeping a closet full of monochrome staples and cleaning out the rest doesn’t mean that your outfits have to be boring or monotonous. Mix things up by interchanging accessories like delicate bags, unique scarves or dynamic jewels to give any outfit an instant boost.
Unique bags, clutches, & jewelry can be found: 
Kramer's Anything but Ordinary Art carries more than just jewelry and paintings; or just make up your own unique designs with patterns like Simplicity.  You can adjust the design to suit your needs for unique purses and scarves, let your imagination create one of a kind pieces that only you own. ;-)

Learn new ways to tie scarves. 
 Mix it up, even wearing a scarf tied differently each day can spice up your wardrobe!

Keep: white denim pants. They go with anything!

4. Bright Spot. Remember those three black dresses, button-downs and white denim basics that you’re meant to keep? Add one bright-hued accessory, like a pair of orange sandals, a green shoe, or a "bright statement bag", just something fun to give your outfit a nice kick up the fashion ladder from drab to fab. A bright spot is a big trend for spring, add to any of these key pieces and your outfit is complete without having to look for any more hanger or closet space.
5. Seventies-inspired style is once again big for spring, so if you didn’t clean out those jeans the last time around, you’re in luck! Hold onto your platform shoes or wedges from last season too as they are quintessential pieces to complete this look.  
6. Change it up. Choose versatile pieces to add to your wardrobe that can be dressed down for day and glammed up for night with pieces that you already own.
An embellished skirt can be worn with a plain white tee and a cool denim jacket or given a dressy makeover with.......................... a sleek black blazer.
How fun are these skirts?

A simple tee.Check out all these jean jacket trends. Have fun and mix it up, using a variation of these.

7. Keep white jeans and tees, as well as black cigarette pants or leggings, within arm’s reach for spring. They are essentially subtle pairings for those wild prints that are making a big statement this season. Or find wild skirts... to go with that simple Tee-shirt.
You can mix patterns, but it is a bit trickier. Simply remember to have one pattern smaller than the other. Like a bold large print (say on a dress) with a smaller one on (let us say a cardigan).

You can easily wear a small striped shirt with a bold flower pattered skirt, and a plain jacket. Or a bold striped shirt with a small flower printed skirt. ;-)

 You can even add a third if you like, just make sure each print is one-third the size of the other.

You can even do it with stripes.
Just remember one larger, bold pattern with the other print being smaller. (In the pictures: the vertical striped skirt is with a different and smaller printed top and an even smaller print in the jacket, and  in the second picture, the horizontal striped skirt is with a very different plaid pattern).
If in doubt, stay with one solid and one print together, like the pictures in #8. ;-)
8. Make use of winter cardigans and jackets. Store your coats and heavy slacks for the warmer months but be sure to keep those winter blazers and lightweight trousers handy. Layering is essential when the weather is still transitioning, not to mention air-conditioning can become too cold when dinning out. Pairing these pieces with a breezy top, like a floral cami, keeps the look seasonable.
Mix and match, blue, black, or khaki goes well with anything.
 Choose one print (like these tops), and pair with solids (like pants and jackets).

9. Go the long or short way. When it comes to skirt lengths this season, anything goes. While there’s no need to forgo your cute short skirts; however,

(Disclaimer: picture from Nomads) the maxi skirt is back in a big way and deserves some attention too. Try a wild style w a subtle top, or ease into the trend w a neutral shade that can be paired w anything.

10. Easy Elegance. Kaftan dresses and tunics are popping up everywhere. Timeless and versatile, these are key pieces to keep or add to your wardrobe. Tunics are travel musts as they can be gussied up at night or worn as beach cover-ups by day. Look for dresses that can be accessorized for a chic spring wedding ensemble or worn w sandals for a warm day in the city.
Such fun colors and patterns!

 How much fun are these new trends? I hope your inspired to tackle your closet too. ;-)