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Spend Your Money….Spend it Wisely

3 Nov

Via Andrew Magill

I’m terrible with money and the more I have of it the worse I am. I just wanted to point out a few great articles I’ve come across recently that speak to the topic of spending wisely.

Breaking the brand loyalty bond and save money. You willingly pay a premium as you return time and time again to the brands you know because you know them. There might be a good reason for it but it might just be because you just failed to consider alternative brand’s offerings. For me, these brands are Always (who wants to risk it with “feminine hygiene”?) and Heinz ketchup (no catsup for me). I’ve become less strident in my loyalty to many brands because I don’t want to be snob about things and just be happy with the stuff I can get my hands on. There’s a catch 22 here: by giving brands less attention and reassessing them constantly I may just be giving them more of my mental energy. What do you think?

Shop for groceries less frequently. I’ve been doing this and IT WORKS. Studies show that more frequent trips to the store mean you tend to spend more. You know how this works: you go out for tomatoes and you come back with higher priced items like cheese and packaged frozen foods that are “for later”. Because they’re convenient or perishable, they tend to be eaten first putting you back on the “there’s nothing to eat” cycle. Again, the art of making dinner just with what’s in the house is frugal and easier than I thought.

Beware products that count on your future dissatisfaction. This article on the software cycle updates on iPhones versus Android, brought this home for me. In a nutshell (and without the geekery), Android phones are built on different “flavours” of operating system software that are only supported (updated) for a window of time. This means your Android phone is likely to feel stale as newer applications don’t work on the phone and it’s still under contract so you’re stuck with an obsolete not-so-smart phone. This is a lesson that applies to phones as to other relatively cyclical goods like clothes. Buy things that will last and you’ll be happy with in the long run. For me, this means avoiding the siren call of H&M.

Lifehacker’s follow up post to the one above on brand loyalty deserves a final mention and a summary here.

Things ALWAYS to buy generic:

  • Over-the-Counter Medications
  • Cleaning Products
  • Pantry items like flour, sugar, and Spices:
  • Produce
  • Gasoline
  • Batteries
  • Makeup
  • Infant care

Things NEVER to buy generic:

  • Toilet paper and paper towels (!!!)
  • Garbage Bags
  • Paint
  • Diapers
  • ….feminine hygiene products <— I added this one to the list.



My Skin and the Mind-Body Connection

24 Oct

I was going through a tectonic shift in my life from identifying as a grad student to identifying as……person-with-a-9-to-5-job. I threw myself into work without putting too much conscious thought into identity. I didn’t have the time! However, this uncertainty was showing in my face.

I’m blessed to have pretty well behaved skin overall. It’s dry sometimes and prone to redness and blah blah blah. Whatever – it’s good skin. I get a pimple or two when overindulge in something truly awful, which is usually when I’m not living right. Same thing when I’m about to get my period. It’s a small price to pay for having a fully functioning endocrine system if you ask me.

But, suddenly, it wasn’t so good. I got a new pimple every day, not every month. They ranged from cystic pimples (those red angry pus geysers-in-waiting) to those ones that sat scattered on the surface for minor bathroom surgery. It wasn’t acne; it was centered around my t-zone and making me look unhappy…and this is what bothered me.

I wasn’t unhappy, I was uncertain. Uncertainty meant that I was wading forth in uncharted waters, not sure if it was about to get really deep, really quickly. I was proud of getting wet, actually, but it was stressful. I was in a transitional phase and it was written all over my face. I was trying to assume my new role and responsibilities and my face was telling the world that I had NO clue what I was doing. In short, I felt like an adolescent again.

Enter Perfect Skin, found at my local health food store. It’s a fish oil based supplement with a few added ingredients like chromium and selenium (what for, I don’t know). All I can say is that it worked. The nasty breakout phase passed after taking it for about 2 months and it hasn’t returned.

I don’t have any interest in this company except to say that it worked to settle one relatively minor problem in my life at an unsettled time. For this, I’m grateful.

Hair Perming 2.0

14 Oct

Equally burdened and blessed with straight and wiry hair, I’ve lately been of getting it PERMED. When I tell non-Asian girls, their eyes go wide as they recall fuzzball hot mess days in high school. (You thought you was all Mariah Carey but you looked more like Chucky, photos don’t lie). The words going through my head at the same moment: “Girl, did you really think I curl my hair every day?” No way, Jose. I have neither the skill nor the patience.

Perming is a completely ordinary procedure at Asian salons and they usually cost upwards of $100 but they take more than 3 hours of your day but don’t smell as bad as they once did. The good news is that they fry your hair far less than they used to; especially the “digital perm”. I’m not sure why it’s called this but I assume it’s because it looks like you’ve made little finger waves. Perming solution is applied to the hair and then rolled onto heated curlers and you look like a real freak but you get used to it:

A perm’s quality has as much to do with the skill of the hairdresser as the product itself so don’t skimp. It’s worth it for me because I’m wash-and-wear and it gives me volume even as the curls start dropping and growing out.

The downside is that no matter how well done the perm is, it’s a process that damages your hair to achieve those glorious locks. That means, breakage and split ends are way more common and you have to be extra vigilant about keeping it well trimmed. It also means you need a good hair regimen. You CANNOT wash more than twice a week (I’m down to 1-2 times) and you treat your hair.

Olive Oil Pack

Perming is the ultimate stress my hair so this olive oil pack is a must for me. It’s a little icky but great on those washing hair days especially if your hair is wiry like mine. Grab your hair in a ponytail and just about everything from the tail out needs to be covered in olive oil. You don’t need to put it on your scalp – this will give you scalp pimples. Sleep in a shower cap overnight and wash your hair twice with shampoo and condition the ends, if necessary. This has revived my hair after a particularly drying perm.


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