Category Archives: MONEY

Maid Culture & Chore Makeover

February 26, 2014

MONEY / Uncategorized


I’m still getting the hang of being a stay-at-home-wife. (I know, WAH). I want to be good at it and not burn out or get desperate-y. When I was working like a madwoman, Saturdays (let’s be honest, many Friday nights too with a glass of wine and cleaning gloves on) were the day/night for massive cleaning while 800 loads of laundry were going….sheets, dog beds etc.

There were periods where I worked (and did not work) and DID have maid service.

If you are not from or do not live in California, please know that here, especially in Southern California, it is perfectly socially acceptable to have a maid. You’re not a snobby or lazy person here. You’re basically celebrated because you know the value of your time: more time surfing and tanning, less time scrubbing and polishing. I know people who do not make necessarily “tons” of money but they have “people.” I’m saying this because where my family is from in Pennsylvania, I don’t remember being raised with the idea of maids being “normal.” On the other hand, my mother grew up in Korea and she had a live-in maid all of her life. Anyhow.

When I shared/rented a 4 bedroom house by the beach with a roommate it cost us $100 and we did it every 2 weeks. When I owned a 2 bedroom condo it cost $75 per time (I did it like once every 2 months). The more often/regular you are, the less it costs. Personally I see HUGE value in having a cleaning service…unless I’m not working and have plenty of time to save the money by doing it myself.

P.S.I hope to hire someone and spoil myself after the baby is born in June for a little house help…at least until I transition a bit. 

So what I’ve been doing for the last year or so hasn’t been working for me. What I have been doing is going manic on Mondays, cleaning the house from top to bottom while the 10,000 loads of laundry go.

This week, I decided to do the downstairs on Monday and the upstairs on Tuesday. This still works for my brain because I can be in an area and see cleanliness all around me. Breaking up the cleaning further is my next attempt but I’m not sure how I’m going to tackle this! 

After the baby, 4-6 hours of straight cleaning is NOT going to be realistic. 🙂 Please share some of your domestic charms with me!!! 

Sidenote: Does anyone have an air filter that is reasonably priced and works well?


If They Lose Your Bags…Go Shopping

December 17, 2013

MONEY / TMI / Uncategorized

Has the airline ever lost your luggage? We had a crazy experience on this trip to Seattle. Chris’ folding suitcase didn’t show up on the baggage claim carresal. Doh! When we went to the lost luggage desk, they “found” our bag. It had our name and destination on the tag but it was not our bag. The woman at LAX (where we originated) said she was having problems with her printer when she was checking us in. Well…Chris’ bag was no where to be found and he needed his suit for my dad’s retirement the next afternoon. 

We took a trip to Nordstrom Rack that evening and racked up about $400 worth of clothes/underwear/socks for Chris. EEK! When the airline finally found his bag, our trip was almost to an end. His bag ended up in Mexico!! Bahahaha. We picked up the bag on our way home and the airline asked for our receipts for anything we needed to buy. They totally wrote us a check for $400! 

We kept joking about things that might be in the bag from Mexico…tacos, a sombrero…

Alaska Airlines has been my favorite airline but I had no idea they would cover us like that! Incredible customer service is so wonderful. So, the moral of the story is…instead of freaking out about someone losing your luggage, go shopping.

It’s ok, my mom has tons of back-up pajamas for anyone, any size. Remember the “fertility” pajamas she got for Chris?



Do You Ask People How Much They Paid For Something?

November 12, 2013

MONEY / Uncategorized


What do you think about asking people what they paid for something? Their car, hotel, engagement ring? I’m often one of those who compulsively announces the brand, store location and price tag of what I’m wearing as my follow up to a complement. I like to include when I bought the item-in case it is still in stores and available. If it’s not, I’ll suggest things like or eBay. My dad would crack up when my mom would do this. She would “show off” to us about how “no one would ever know this item cost so little,” and then spill the beans immediately when someone would compliment her on it. 

This white Patagonia jacket is basically a second skin on me. I can attest to the Patagonia brand quality because this thing should be in shreds based on the number of wears and washes it’s had. I consider it to be “expensive” for a “sweatshirt.” It was $149 (plus crazy Washington state sales tax). You can find it HERE. It is one of the best $149 I’ve spent on a single item though. I could quickly add up $149 of shirts I don’t wear that are sitting in my dresser.

So something like this jacket is pretty easy to look up as far as price but sometimes people ask me directly what I paid for something. If it is an item that is “inexpensive” to me or something that is a good value (this jacket above) I have no problem spilling the beans. If it is something “frivolous/expensive” AKA something I probably thought about buying for 2 years, saved for it and then felt dizzyingly guilty and happy about buying, then I’m really hesitant to share! 

If I’m the kind of person who spent X on something crazy, will it be OK with my friends if I “can’t” go on an expensive trip with them, buy them expensive gifts, want to have separate checks, donate to a friend’s charity? These are the considerations I have before unleashing a big price tag on someone. When I hear a “crazy” price tag from someone else, of course it comes with some kind of judgement and questioning: wow, where did that money come from, can they afford that? In the end though I see the separation between them buying something and how it affects me-ie. spending money with me.

Someone Asks You: How Much Money Do You Make?

September 26, 2013



I have a humiliating professional confession to make. Years ago, when I worked for a headhunting firm, I was at a job fair with some colleagues. This was my first week on the job. It was my first job right out of the military. In the military, you are paid by your ranking. Your ranking is given based on years served, qualifications etc. Each rank has a base pay and there are monthly “bonus” type pays added onto that for reasons like-speaks another language, was away from family for 30 days etc. All of these pay scales are published and accessible by anyone. So, you know exactly what your stateroom mate makes as well as what your commanding officer makes. Men and women make the same amount. Very transparent.

This headhunting job was my first job after the Navy and it was composed of former military people who helped other former military people find Fortune 500 jobs. Well, as I was interviewing for this job, I had negotiated a higher pay than had been offered to me. I had also been offered an amount (unbeknownst to me) that was higher than some other people who had a similar position.


At the job fair, the two other recruiters were warming up to me and we were getting to know each other. Surprisingly, one of them asked me what I was getting paid. I brushed it off, instinctively knowing it wasn’t a good idea to discuss it but then both of them kept pushing me and eventually wore me down, telling me it was no big deal (they were confident that it was less than their paychecks). When I told them the amount, the look on their faces told me I had made a HUGE mistake. “WHAT?” The other two had been with the company for a while and told me their pay. It was very different.

Now as the week goes on, all of a sudden, these two guys are nowhere to be found and do not answer their phones when I am supposed to attend meetings with them. I miss out on an event we were supposed to attend together (they had all the info and offered to give me a ride but disappeared without me). They begin to compete with me in strange ways at work. If we were grabbing lunch somewhere between meetings they told me I should pay for theirs.

Luckily, it had no effect on my actual performance but it felt TERRIBLE. Of course that isn’t a good idea. I am so happy that I had that experience though. If it had been the other way around and I had found out I made less than someone, I would have just thought to work harder and get a raise or quit because I wasn’t being compensated appropriately.

If I knew how much this pictured Turkish rug weaver made, would I want to buy that rug for the price they are asking for it?

Have you ever run into this situation? What happened?

Do You Have Enough?

September 25, 2013

HAPPINESS / MONEY / Uncategorized


Do you think Paris Hilton looks at expensive over-the-knee-boots the way I look at panties at Target? You know, if I want a few pairs I don’t think twice about throwing them into the shopping cart. I’m not SUPER excited about them but it’s great to have new ones and it feels nice to be able to buy that kind of stuff without a second thought. Now, when it comes to more expensive items, my mentality totally shifts into…

I can’t afford that.

I don’t need that.

Do I deserve that????

…and then I HAVE TO HAVE THAT.

I’ve read about people who have a deep feeling of not having enough (from money to food to sex) and it encourages them to take more than they need. I TOTALLY have this! It used to be sugar. Let’s get real. It still is sugar. Work in progress.


So what is the solution? When it comes to food (sugar) I will sometimes surround myself with it or mentally tell myself that I can have it all day long if I want. When I feel there is a lot of it available, I don’t always need it as much. When I can have little binges, it can hold me over instead of daily blowouts!

How do you work with your “not enoughs?”

Can We Afford The Ghetto In LA?

September 19, 2013



Now here is a photo of a very nice apartment building in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. This area is very expensive and even this building is pretty compared to many others in the area. The truth is, of all the places I have lived, Los Angeles has the least curb appeal for the price. There are some hideous apartment buildings on the outside but inside they can be charming with very well taken care of original wood floors and tiled bathrooms. Our last home in West Seattle was a CUTE 2 bedroom, one bath, one car garage on a hill with a view of the Puget Sound, a gorgeous private garden in a quaint neighborhood, walking distance to cafes and shops with plenty of street parking for $2000. Here in Los Angeles, a comparable house would cost over $4000.

We were joking after viewing some real eyesores with bars on the windows or backed up next to a Baptist Church (no offence but I like to sleep in on Sunday mornings), or a garage that is accessible via an alley that you share with a bunch of fast food shops…that we can’t even afford to live in the ghetto. It is funny how you learn to decipher Craigslist rental ads and photos depending on the city. The things to look out for here are assigned parking spots and as with anywhere-laundry on premises vs in-unit. MANY apartments in LA do not have in-unit laundry.

We’ve opted for a company called Westside Rentals. Today we looked at one place and although it was more space and beauty than we need (standards have quickly plummeted in the past 4 days of searching), it was AWESOME. Of course it is a zillion dollars so we’re in the process of negotiating. It is SUPER close to Chris’ work and he’s suggested that we may only need one car now. NOOOOOOO! 🙂 The place we saw has a rooftop deck with a jacuzzi! It is a condo but compared to the places Chris and I have lived in the past year, it’s a mansion! I feel like a New Yorker or something.

Let’s see what happens.