Dear Diary, 12-18-2016

Dear Diary ….

Okay. No. This won’t be diary entry, but it will be informal (might not even proof read, not that I ever do anyhow) and kind of an update on my life in general.

Where to start …. well, Made by Chanel is doing pretty good. That is my wax tart and candle business. Well, right now it is solely such wax products. My limit on eBay has increase to 120 items. SO EXCITED. Last night I made 7 new bags. Three Lavender, one Rose, two Love Spell, two Chocolate Covered Cherries. Today, I am working on refining my eBay listings.

I have started training at a tax service office. Over the next few months, I will be preparing people’s tax returns. Oh, what fun. Actually, I kind of am excited about it. I am considering going back to school to earn my CPA. Just considering though. I also really want to earn my MS in Applied Economics.

The Economist has a GRE vocab study app thing. Downloaded it and now creating flashcards/study cards. I think the US might be a gerontocracy. Think about it. What is the average age of congress? It will also vary between localities, but… I think the US might be a gerontocracy. That in and of itself is not a bad thing, BUT it definitely has its pros and cons. I might write an article expanding on this idea.

For Christmas I have decided to make duck, kimchi mash potatoes, rice pudding, and sangria. Haven’t decided on what else to serve. Also, haven’t decided whether to have it Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Oh, and two more of my mice have cancer and will need to be put down sooner rather than later. Arrived in St Louis with 10 mice, currently have 5, about to have only three. This is sad. My husband has voted against attaining more mice and doesn’t want to get a cat yet. We have also decided I am not responsible enough or patient enough for a dog yet. Ugh! I want more animals!!!


Answering “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”

Applying for work is a daunting task. Especially if you are like me and have been at it for MONTHS. What’s also dreadful is the interviews. Personally, I hate interview questions. One question should be easy to answer though. That is, if you have already answered it.

“Why do you want to work here?”

Now, everyone’s situation is different. This outline is ideal for those who are in a situation where they can be picky about their next (or first) career move, but even if you aren’t there, try to incorporate as much pickiness as possible. Try to not just apply with anyone for anything. This will help with answering “why here?” Also, being picky now will lead to a happier, healthier, and stronger career. … or at least I hope it will for me.

Here is my process for looking for a job:

[Disclaimer: I currently have a seasonal position with a company that does not meet all the criteria below. However, this is a test position for me. It will answer the question of whether or not I will enjoy this kind of work and the industry. If I do, then I will pursue more related career opportunities.]

Create a list of potential employers

This step is pretty easy and there are several ways to go about it. One way is to open up yellow pages, yelp, really any business directory will work. Businesses hire people. That is a good place to start if you are completely lost. Next you have to narrow down that list because let’s be honest, you don’t want to work just ANYWHERE, nor are you qualified to do so.

There are a few ways to narrow down your search. A good place to start as any is the commute. It must be within X distance from your residence. Available parking when you get there, ei is there designated employee parking. Or, there is public transit reasonably near by.

Another way to narrow it down is by awards. Best Place to Work 2016. Safest Place to Work 2016. Fastest Growing Businesses in [the Area] 2016. You get the idea.

The last–and best–filter is industry, which will be covered later on in the article.

Choose a job function

You might be desperate for a job. Either you just graduated, are about to graduate, just got laid off, or maybe you quit suddenly. Do everything in your power to not allow this desperation to influence your application process if it can be helped. After all, an income will only make you happy for a while, and then you will start nitpicking the job and even the company. Pick a job function, or at least a short list of functions to start with. Do you enjoy cooking? Problem solving? Data entry? Do you thrive being around new people frequently?

My suggestion is that for this step, create a list of job responsibilities you would like to have. That can make it much easier to determine which listings to apply to.

For me, operations is more my thing. Manage the overall files and applications. Make sure that things get where they need to go, and people have what they need to have. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for me to apply for a sales — or “client management” — position.

Choose an industry

Some industries are just naturally more interesting to us, while others are naturally more daunting. What are your interests? Make a list of activities, products, services, and topics that interest you. Just about everything is a business and all industries are hiring. Like politics? You could join a political campaign, a media company to cover an election or politician, or a marketing company specialized in politics.

Maybe cats are more your thing. Again, join a company that is either directly involved with cats or a company that works with cat (animal) companies. You get it.

My thing is finance and economics. Therefore, I should apply with mutual funds, wealth management companies, risk management companies, banks, think tanks, or economic research companies.

You should probably also make a list of industries where you would not want to work. This will make it easier for you to not apply to those.

Identify the locations currently available and scheduled expansions.

This step can be a little difficult. Some companies make it really easy to see where they are located and others not so much. Go to the corporate website. Some companies have multiple websites. If the website looks like it is for clients or customers find the “careers” or “investors” link. Those are usually located in the footer of the page–the very bottom, in small font, and a hard to see color in contrast to the background.

This step will be beneficial to you in many ways. One, it will show you where local locations are. That gives you more options. Two, it will show you national and international locations. That gives you options later.

My spouse and I have no plans on “settling down” anytime soon. We are in a location for the duration of the opportunity. Right now we are in St Louis so he can earn his PhD. When he graduates, we will be looking across the nation and the world for our next opportunity because why not? Therefore, my preferred employer will have locations nationwide, or even more ideally worldwide. This way, when he graduates, he is not stuck looking only here, nor do I necessarily have to quit working for a company I enjoy. Overall, we are keeping our options open.

Choose other criteria that are meaningful to you, such as identifying current scandals

There are many other criteria that you can use to narrow down your shortlist from everyone to just who will benefit you. On my list includes “scandal free” or at least scandal light. It is important to know the company you where are working, or where you want to work. Google it. While you are at it, Google the leadership team. Especially the leader you will be directly, or indirectly, reporting your activities (meaning your boss, or boss’s boss’s boss’s boss, you get it).

There are scandals you can forgive, and those you cannot. Bluebell had the listeria outbreak. In general that can be forgivable, incidents happen. Research why it happened and the company’s responsible. Same with Chipotle. Find out to the best of your ability why and how it happened, and determine if leadership responded in such a way that meshes with your personal ethical code of conduct.

For me, the Wells Fargo scandal is unforgivable. Leadership should not have such strict criteria for keeping a job that an employee is tempted to break the law. If such pressures are unavoidable, the employees should be so closely watched that when they do cross the line, it is found out IMMEDIATELY. John Stumpf did not respond in a way that sits well with me. It took way too long for the company to announce that the toxic practices would be ended. As a result, even with him gone, I cannot trust anyone in leadership there, at least not for a while.

Once I worked for a call center that dealt with extremely sensitive information. Therefore we were watched like hawks. Accidental slip ups where strikes against you. Purposeful “slip ups” and you were terminated on the spot.

A banker’s fiduciary responsibility should NEVER be in question.


The easiest way to answer why do you want to work here is to answer it before applying.

Interviewer: “Why do you want to work here?”

You: “Aside from having the position and growth opportunities I am looking for in a company. I want to work here because this company is multinational. Life events and whims may lead me to want to live in London in five years and I would prefer working for a company that has a position there. It would make the idea more of a possibility and less of a dream. Also, you are on the list of Best Companies 2016 in the area. Which is what lead me here in the first place.”

Body Transformation – Entry 3 (Day 18)

Last week was Thanksgiving.

Good news? Only gain 1 lb between three Thanksgiving meals. GO ME!

Bad news. Basically, I did not workout last week. Mostly because I didn’t want to do so. My excuses include 1) we were traveling 8 hours and I didn’t want to be stiff during the drive thus not being able to contribute causing hubs to drive the entire 8 hours, 2) my body was hurting in bad ways. I was having joint issues with my hips, knees, and ankles. Also, apparently I am experiencing something called “shin splints.” That’s the name my Facebook friends are calling my aching shin that feels like it is going to break.

So what have I done since Sunday, November 20th, 2016? Sunday, I walked 3 miles. Then came up with the “forget about it” plan described above. Thursday I did have a short post Thanksgiving Day meal walk. That was a little over a mile, but my pace was horrible due to pain in my legs plus slow walking companions. Though I shouldn’t blame them. My legs hurt at the time, so I would have been slow with or without the company. The company was nice. Also, I walked a mile last night at an okay pace.

Over the course of last week, I thought about how I wanted to change up my routine. Walking the five miles a day was nice. Experiencing it and telling people “I walk five miles everyday” brought great joy in my life. The problem though was that I couldn’t do much after that. The walk had to take place in the morning or else I wouldn’t be able to move the next day. After the walk, it was painful to get up and make lunch, go to the bathroom, etc.

My biggest problem was that even though I was in pain, I would be energized to do more.  Frequently throughout the day, I would get the urge to do kickboxing or some other similar aerobic exercise, but be completely unable to do it.

From the get go I wanted to have other parts to my workout aside from the five miles. The five miles were preventing me from doing other things though. So, over the last week I convinced my self to drop the five miles down to one mile and add in a 20 minute workout. Today was my first day with this new workout.

My workout today in time (h:m:s):

Crunches 00:02:23
Leg Raises 00:05:01
Push Ups 00:01:26
Squats 00:01:13
Star Jumps 00:02:41
Arm Extensions (3 lb weight) 00:04:11
Arm Curls (3 lb weight) 00:04:09
One Mile 00:22:23

The whole workout was about 43 minutes 43 seconds. Now of course, each activity was not completed in one go. Each was performed in 15, 20, or 30 second reps depending on my capability. For example, one round was 30 seconds of crunches, 30 of leg raises (one leg at a time), 20 of push ups, 15 of squats, 30 of star jumps, 30 of arm extensions, 30 of arm curls (approximate times). Then I would start again. I did as many rounds as I needed to complete 20 minutes. Did an extra rep of crunches and leg raises because I was just short the 20 minutes.

Between the stopping and going of turning apps on and off for my workout, it took a total of about an hour. After the mile, I timed my shower and getting dressed. Took me 27 minutes 14 second to undress, shower, blow dry my hair, dress, brush teeth, and put on makeup.

Why did I did I make a point to record overall times? To see how long it would take me to do this in the mornings before work. What I have decided is that I need an hour and a half for the workout (showering is part of the workout because without it my colleagues and customers would hate me). In addition to needing about 30 minutes for breakfast.

Therefore, if I have to be at work at, say 9:00, and it only takes 30 minutes to get to work, adding 15 minute cushion for unexpected delays I would need to get up about 6:00 each morning. Totally doable because I am a morning person, for the most part.

This is supposed to be a life style change. I don’t want this weight loss to be a one time event. I want to lose it to be healthier and be able to do more. That means it has to be a part of who I am. Which means I need to make time for it, and my preferred workout time is in the mornings anyhow.

Remember, your weight is a life style. Some of it isn’t up to you, but some of it is. Take control of what you can control. Diet and exercise are in your control. Do what you can, and as always consult your physician before making diet and exercise changes.

Happy Holidays!

Body Transformation – Entry 2 (Day 4)

Just a short little blurb update. Don’t get too excited.

Thus far, I have walked at least 5 miles everyday four days in a row, in addition to living. GO ME! Sunday through today, I have walked 21.57 miles. … My legs hurt.

Right now, as I might have stated in Entry 1, my goal is consistency. Doing five miles every day. So far so good. What does that mean exactly? I can complete the five miles at any speed I feel like. I can break the workout up into chunks if I want or need to do so. Therefore, the running I did yesterday was just icing on the cake. GO ME!

Now I didn’t run much. My apartment complex has a slight decline towards my building. Several times yesterday I ran the decline stretch. It totaled at least half a mile, though it could have been more (no more than one mile). I am going to say that I ran half a mile yesterday.

Note: Sunday I ran a few times up the incline, but that couldn’t have been more than a 1/4 mile. 

Today, I went to Forest Park and walked the steps to and from the World’s Fair Pavilion.


It is not as daunting as it looks. In fact, there was only one stretch I hated.


This stretch of stairs was the horrible stretch, but … It wasn’t even this whole segment of stairs. As you can see, the stair case is broken into three segments. That top little stretch nearly killed me.

About the sixth time or so going up these, I contemplated giving up the stairs, going home, and finishing my five miles there later today. Shortly after, I crossed the two mile mark I felt better.

There is a routine to my thoughts during the five. Between the 1.5 mile mark and 2 mile mark, I contemplate giving up walking five miles a day all together. I imagine how I would feel giving up this part of my self. It feels horrible to think that.

In just a short time frame, I have already incorporated walking five miles every day into my psyche. When imagining giving it up, I feel a great loss. I feel like a failure. That feeling gets me past the two mile mark. At that point, my thoughts are more along the lines of “oh, this is almost over. Let’s keep going.” Until mile four ….

At my four, I am ready for it to be over with. I have to stop myself from looking at my phone every 30 seconds to see how much further is left. It feels so good to cross the five mile mark.

I walk five miles every day. I have been doing it for four days now at 204 pounds. You can do this too. Pick a physical activity. Pick a duration. Pick a frequency. Most of all, tell yourself this everyday. Several times a day.

Being fit is a life style. Diet and exercise don’t work if you stop doing it. Of course you are going to gain wait if you stop being physically active. This is a permanent change in your life, so pick something you ENJOY doing.

I enjoy walking and running. “I complete five miles everyday.” What do you do?

Body Transformation – Entry 1

Today I weigh 204 lbs. Two Hundred Four Pounds. Coincidentally, that is how much I spent on Christmas presents and a few groceries today at Walmart. This time next year, I want one of those number to be 100 units less and the other 100 units more. Guess which is which.

My other bodily measurements are as follows: arms 14 inches, bust 46 inches, waist 37 inches, “gut” 44 1/4 inches, hips 48 1/2 inches, thighs 30 1/3 inches, height 60 inches. … for a total of 204 lbs. You don’t know this but my husband is about 67 inches and 207 lbs. Seven inches taller 3 lbs heavier. In all other measurements, I am bigger. Boo!

I have diagnosed myself with body dimorphism. In the mirror, I look heavy but not really that over weight. Pictures are a different matter. In pictures, I can see how over weight I am.

Now, before you start saying the camera adds five pounds, this is not “five pounds.” I am talking about 50 or 70 pounds. I still see my self as mostly the 130 lb high school student. A little soft in places but not too bad. Pictures tell me the real story. They tell me that I have gained 70 lbs in the last six years.

Last January I married my sweetie pie — and gained 10 or 20 lbs since that time. By our 2nd year anniversary, I want to be about 100 lbs lighter. Based on my height and how I perceive my body structure under my fat layers, 104 lbs shouldn’t be unhealthy. Of course, I will re-evaluate as I approach my goal. After all, weight loss will be but one metric for measuring my success and efforts.

I will also me measuring my stamina and what not. My ultimate goal is to be health and capable. Shits given concerning my weight are almost zero. Almost. Today, we walked 1.24 mi in 28 minutes. Averaging something like 2.6 mph. Based off of this, it would take me around 2 hours to complete 5 miles. And that is my goal. Daily.

Yup. You read that right. FIVE miles EVER. SINGLE. DAY. It will take me about 2 hours at first to complete my daily goal, but that is part of my actual body transformation goal. Not to lose 100 lbs, but to be able to run five miles in the morning before work in a timely manner.

A quick Google search tells me that the average human can run about 8 mph. So, eventually, I should be able to do a quick 5 mile run in about 30 minutes. Get back home, shower, do the breakfast thing, and head to work. Easy peasy. Eventually.

Another reason I want to work out. Heart health. People can make me so angry my blood boils. Or, it feels that way. It is kind of sickening. It might actually just be my blood pressure rising. The sickening feeling might be my blood pressure rising too quickly. I don’t know, I am not a doctor, and I am doing a no-no by not consulting my doctor about my exercise routine.

My routine is going to be pretty light, so if I am not healthy enough for that I am in BIG trouble. Mostly, I am getting up off the couch for a little while during the day. See if that helps with the gut. Walking. Occasionally running. Twice a week going to the World’s Fair Pavilion at Forest Park to do my five miles going up and down those awful steps. Three times a week or so I will do arm movements with 3 to 5 lbs weights. Not sure that I would call that weight lifting as it is not much. Again, if I am not healthy enough to lift 5 lbs, I am in trouble.

Over the next several weeks, at least, exercise research will be part of my daily routine as well. My life style is obviously not physical, so it is best that I read about the different things I can do … and the proper technique to do them. This is to semi-replace hiring a personal coach. Semi because eventually, I would like a personal coach, but that will probably come about after I loss 20 lbs and hit a wall thus needing to figure out how to amp it up a level.

Also, it will be nice to have some else to hold me accountable. Until then I will rely on you and my Facebook followers to yell at me about doing things.

My Hobbies ….

I absolutely love trying new crafting hobbies.

My sewing machine is in its box on a shelf, seldom taken down. Tried my hand at embroidery… once. In college, I took an intro pottery class. That was fun. Occasionally, I buy paints, colored pencils, and crayons. Our wedding invites … made by me!

I love creating things. My go to hobby though is wax. I began making candles in high school, and sadly never actually got good at it. Today, I make wax melts and sell them on eBay.

I am hoping to get back into making candles. I would also like to embroider again, make my own clothes and such. The issue with crafting hobbies is that supplies take money (and space) and finished products take up space. Hence the eBay store.

Oh, and I like baking and cooking in general. Home made pudding, rolls, cookies, brownies. YUM!

What is your hobby?

Check out my eBay store here:

November 11, 2016 – After the Election

Donald Trump is now the President Elect. Many people are happy. Even more, not so much. What now? 

Some people are rioting. Some people are celebrating. Some people are burying their head in the sand. People are doing all kinds of crazy things… sane things… People are doing things. 

What should you do? I don’t know. Maybe you should do what you have always done. Maybe you should do what you have always dreamed of doing. Either way, do SOMETHING. 

Protest if you want. That is your right. Write to your Senators and your House Representatives. Believe it or not, elected officials do listen to you, at least to a degree. After all, they want to be reelected. 

What am I doing? Working on my hobby business, Made by Chanel. I make wax melts, candles, and body sprays. I love scented products and instead of paying a lot of money for various products and their many scents, I make my own. 

I am also a business consultant for Sweet Hollow Creations. SHC is a bath and body company. Handmade soaps, lotions, scrubs, all kinds of things. I love their products. It’s the only soap I use. Like, I bought a year plus supply. Partially to resale. Partially to use myself. 

I also breed mice. I love my little rodent family so much. 

I am also contemplating my career. Right now I am working on becoming a tax preparer and exploring that pathway. 

I am also thinking about my role in this society and what I want to contribute. Should I begin a career in public service or simply volunteer on the weekends? What steps should I take?

I implore you this: do something. Live your life. Build your life with a purpose.

“Supply and Demand” A Privileged Arguement

One of the first things you learn in any intro economics class is the theory of Supply and Demand. What you will be told is that the supple of a product and the demand of a product will impact the price of said product. When prices are higher, suppliers are willing to supply more. When prices are lower, demanders will demand more. The final price will fall where there will be not too much back order, nor too much surplus. In layman’s terms, that is the theory.

However! This theory is VERY simplistic. This theory only takes into account the price of the product and no other factor — such as the factors that go into determining price.

The phrase “supply and demand” arises frequently in discussions about wages — ESPECIALLY the minimum wage. You may hear arguments or comments similar to these:

Burger flippers shouldn’t make as much as an ambulance driver.

Nonskilled people shouldn’t be making more than our armed forces

They should go to college.

They should get a better job.

These are just a few off the top of my head that I have heard or read. The argument that is typically used to defend the person’s stance is … you guessed it! SUPPLY AND DEMAND! I would like to propose that as a privileged argument. Not everyone can be a CEO of fortune 500 company. Besides, if it REALLY was about supply and demand, our teachers and armed forces would be paid better.

The Other Factors

Some of the factors that go into accepting a wage or salary at an organization:

  • comparable wages and salaries
  • communication expenses
    • phone
    • internet
    • etc
  • type of work
    • is it entertaining/enjoyable?
    • does it come with well being risks?
    • is is prestigious?
    • etc
  • human capital (if you have more or less skills than your co-workers)
  • fixed expenses
    • car payments
    • debt
    • etc
  • cost of living in the area and surrounding areas
    • housing
    • food
    • entertainment
    • etc

Those are obvious. You may even be able to think of a few more. Yet, there are is one factor is not included in that list and is seldom thought of from those of privilege (for which there are many levels) — the alternative.

If a job is not obtained, what will happen? Will you have housing? Will you be able to eat? Will you have transportation? Will you be able to make your fixed and necessary expenses? The answer to these questions influence people’s wage demand and tolerance toward unemployment.

A person’s access to housing AND alternative housing will influence their ability to attain a higher paying job and thus the demand for such a job. For example, what if you are offered a well paying job, but it requires a move for which they won’t pay for. Before you accept, consider these:

  • You will need first and last months rent
  • Application fees
  • housing permit fee
  • down payment for electricity
  • moving van
  • gas for move
  • groceries between then and first check
  • transportation to work and errands between then and first check
  • mini trip before hand to scout out areas and apartments
    • hotel
    • travel expenses
    • food

Could you afford a hotel for a few weeks if you couldn’t get an apartment right away? Keep in mind, not everyone has family who can give them a few hundred dollars to get them by until EVENT X. Not everyone has family they can stay with until EVENT X.

Sometimes bad events happen, but you still need a roof over your head, a hot meal in your stomach, and bills to pay. Sometimes you can’t say “no, you must pay me more” because if they disagree then you have to look again which takes time–which you might not have much time. If you are in that situation, it can make it difficult to do the more that is needed for more. If you take that bad paying job, you may not have the money to get a better education — or you may not have the time or energy. You might not even be able to assist your child or dependents in getting educated or trained. Thus, a cycle is started. You can’t so you don’t so you can’t so you don’t so you can’t so you don’t ….


Any person who works what our society deems a full time job should be able to afford the necessities in life — and yes, a smart phone is a necessity in the 21st century, though it can be substituted by other technologies if needed.

An argument against raising the standard wage (minimum wage) is inflation. If the minimum wage is raised than the cost of goods and services will skyrocket … and that is the other issue we have as a society. You should not need an above average salary to afford decent housing, health care, etc. Slum lords shouldn’t be a thing.

To solve all our aliments as a society, we will need to tackle these issues from multiple points: regulation (because some people behave unethically whether it is legal or not) and from ethics education (because some people need to taught that whether an action is legal or not it is unethical).

Tell me what you think!

Deflating the Fed?

The Fed Is Swimming Dangerously In Uncharted Waters by Scott Minerd

Many people from all walks of life are terrified about what is happening at The Federal Reserve. The Fed’s balance sheet has dramatically increased over the last several years. The reason this has happened was because we have learned our lesson from the Great Depression — do nothing and things will get MUCH worse.

The author is right these are uncharted waters. Janet Yellen and the other central bank leaders have to be cautious about shrinking their respective balance sheets. The problem is that we don’t  have an example to go by. With the Great Depression we learned that an influx of capital can help stabilize the economy – even if just a little. We have not seen either a successful or unsuccessful reduction of capital. Therefore, all the concern is warranted.

With that in mind, you can’t live in fear. We might now have the direct experience to learn from, but we still have other lessons. Such as, care for the masses. Now granted our politicians don’t really do that for the most part, but … luckily not all of our officials are politicians. Keep that in mind. Some of our leaders do actually care and have morals.