Sunday, December 21, 2014

SAD GOODBYES ON BALBOA ISLAND

WE ARE LOSING OUR MOM AND POP STORES ON BALBOA ISLAND AS THE STOREFRONTS ARE SOLD AND THE RENTS BECOME RIDICULOUS
Apparently the landlords don't realize that people are buying things to eat and window shopping -  not spending money on expensive items.  

These long - time Stores will be Missed!

1.  Family Ts - Howard - 30 years on Balboa Island.  Whenever and wherever I wear one of his t-shirts or Hoodies I get complimented!  Over and over.  They were great looking, funny, salient, and true to the nature of Balboa Island!  Howard was the last of many t-shirt entrepreneurs on Balboa Island.  Now the t-shirts are generic corporate types!

2.  Martha's Bookstore.  
     Here is my article from the Coastal Breeze -
     This fall we have seen tremendous changes on Balboa Island’s Marine Avenue.  Howard, 5Cs, Ornate, Shanghai Pine Garden are all gone.  And Martha’s Bookstore!  Many were Island Fixtures—but Martha’s was the one that resonated the most with me. 

Years  ago Kathy and Stephanie lived in Brea and Fullerton and came to Newport  to walk on the beach every weekend.  They loved the water and the sunshine!  Together they decided to open a Bookstore on Balboa Island, but they could not find a location.  Instead  they worked with Bob Teller and got a booth at the Orange County Fairgrounds selling books.  Kathy continued her job as a graphic designer and Stephanie worked hers at Delta Airlines

Muralist Holly Wojan occupied the space that was to become Martha's Bookstore.  Holly decided to take another avenue in her life—leaving the store vacant except for the beautiful murals she had painted on the walls of the store. You can still see remnants of Holly’s work on the walls of Martha’s.—f lowers and patterns that made an eclectic background for the books, cards and gifts.

Kathy and Stephanie opened Martha’s Bookstore on July 28, 1989.  Using the wire racks they had from the swap meet, their books, some cards and little else.  Kathy had three children—Sara, her youngest,  who is now an engineer—was only 3!

Named after Kathy and Stephanie’s mother—Martha’s Bookstore is the place like home on Balboa Island. When you walk in the door you are immediately offered wine or tea.  There are always treats to nibble on while you shop. And book recommendations.  Often the latest ‘book club’ book.  Many a friendship has been forged as the result of their book club!

Martha’s  has always been the spot to buy everything from the latest Bestsellers to harder to find inspirational books.  There has been a parade of local authors signing books on weekends.  Everyone from Mark Victor Hansen to T. Jefferson Parker.

I  remember the ’salad days’ for Kathy and Stephanie—when Beanie Babies were the rage.  Kathy placed an order for 10 dozen without telling Stephanie.  She was afraid they would not sell, but when she took them to a local school—they did!  And sell, and sell and sell!

 The Beanies allowed Steph to quit her job at Delta and for Kathy to move to a larger apartment and send Sara to St. Margaret’s private school in San Clemente for 7th and 8th grade.  It was there Sara discovered she was a genius at Math.  Kathy says, “This was life changing for Sara.  It came at a time when her study habits were forming and her classes there created a solid platform for the rest of her life.”

I asked Kathy what she planned to do when she left Martha’s—travel, row with her Rowing Club 4-5 days a week, continue the book club, read and indulge her passion in theatre arts.  “I don’t know if I ever went to classes when I was in college ,” she admitted, “I was always in the theatre.” Or singing—Kathy loves to sing!  I’ll bet there will be a lot of music and fun in their future!

3.   Beach Time Realty

When I moved to Balboa Island in 1990, Dottie and her son Terry Lewis owned Beach Time Realty.  They had started Beach Time in 1980 and had multiple rentals on Balboa Island, I had a cleaning service - we were a match made in heaven!  I cleaned their units for many summers and in between tenants. At that time there were a lot of winter rentals to students - so between summer and winter was a big clean-up!   I really enjoyed the work and the people!

Glenn, Dottie's husband, was the handyman who did all the repairs on their properties.  He was always running around between properties on his golf cart with tools and a ladder.  And always smiling!

Eventually Dottie retired and her daughter Anne and Anne's husband Bob inherited the business.  
We will miss Beach Time - but the landmark clock where their office was will always be there to remind us of these wonderful people - and to tell us what time it is!

4.  Even Sisters












 A fabulous independent, creative store - has been there for more years than I have.  Started by sisters Helen and Katie - born in the 'Even' years.  The cow was an Island favorite - always dressed for the season!   And marching along in our yearly parade in June!
They are mooooving their store online - but the bricks and mortar will be gone by January 11, 2015!!












4. Candlessence
Overhead or Grandkids….. ??
In the end it was an easy decision for us :)   Neil and I will be closing our Balboa Island store after the holiday season this year and moving closer to the family in San Diego County where it all started.
Don’t fret though, as our candles will still be available on Balboa Island at Laura Matthews Designs at 322 Marine Ave. We will keep the island stocked with all your favorites and seasonal choices as well as continue to take custom orders on the website.
Our candles will also be available for shipment on the website or by phone so feel free to call us. You will also still be able to see what candles are coming out of the molds, and undoubtedly some photos and videos of Oliver on our facebook page, so if you haven’t already, follow us to stay connected at www.facebook.com/CECandles
We will also be branching out to expand our corporate gift, custom labeling and wholesale services, so if you know a business that would benefit, please refer them to our website at www.CECandles.com  
Wishing you and yours the very best !
Neil, Stacey and Oliver











5.  Sculptures of Balboa - Great Gift Items - Inexpensive Creative, Souvenirs that represented the Island as it has been - not as it is becoming!  
And though the items were inexpensive - they were not 'cheap'! Something we don't find very often!

Other Stores - not so Long Term - That disappeared recently - Ornade, 5Cs

AND A FINAL SAD FAREWELL TO SHANGHAI PINE GARDEN - Gone but not forgotten are your individual pots of tea, your crunchy tid-bits with awesome sauce and your reasonable prices.  
None to be found at the new incarnation!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Soda Will Kill You - Sooner Than You Think

Los Angeles Times 11-7-2014
In celebration of the victory in Berkeley of the 'soda tax' I am posting this timely information.  Loved the article in which they interviewed the representative from the Beverage Association.  He said, "Berkeley is low hanging fruit."  Especially in light of the 'dubious regulations' that have emanated from that city.

Which regulations - oh, non-smoking sections in restaurants and curb cuts for wheel chairs.  Nope, their ideas never catch on!

Here is more fuel for that fire:

Bad news if you’re a soda drinker: according to a new study, downing just eight ounces of the bubbly stuff per day can age your cells by nearly an additional two years.
Researchers are the University of California San Francisco analyzed data from 5,309 adults by looking at numbers from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Specifically, researchers wanted to check the correlation between drinking soda and telomere length—which is the cap on every chromosome in the body, associated with shorter lifespan, higher stress, heart disease, diabetes and certain forms of cancer, among other issues. The researchers found drinking just eight ounces of soda a day increased cell age by 1.9 years. Drinking 20 ounces increased cell age by 4.6 years—which is the same aging effect smoking has on your telomeres.
Interestingly enough, the link between soda and cell aging only seems to exist for sugary, regular variety—not diet. “The extremely high dose of sugar that we can put into our body within seconds by drinking sugared beverages is uniquely toxic to metabolism,” says study author Elissa Epel, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Interestingly, there’s no link between cell aging and sugary fruit juices either. For now, soda seems to be the main culprit affecting our telomeres in the beverage department.
Luckily, soda drinking has been on the decline since the researchers pulled these numbers from the survey nearly 14 years ago. And while telomeres normally and naturally shorten with age, past studies have shown you can actual help grow your damaged telomeres up to 10 percent by eating a healthy diet (without sugary soda) and cutting stress from your life. So if you’re still popping the top on regular Pepsis and Sprites, it’s time to settle on a new drink of choice.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

HALLOWEEN, THIS FRIDAY,OCTOBER 31st, 8:00 pm to 11:30 pm
THE RICK SHERMAN DUO (Rick and Alan Remington)
Giving another "Monster Performance" at 
THE VILLAGE INN 
127 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island, 92662  (949) 675-8300Join us back at our old haunt for a fun night of Halloween revelry, with the ever-popular ANNUAL V.I. COSTUME CONTEST!!!
GREAT COSTUMES AND GREATPRIZES IN SIX (6!) CATEGORIES!
***************

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Artificial Sweeteners Disrupt Body's Blood Sugar Controls

Last week I had a conversation with a friend who said after she drinks her tea with artificial sweeteners her appetite becomes ravenous.

It probably is time given what is happening with GMO's, Antibiotics and other substances created by man - that we step back and start looking at plant-based solutions like the bioidentical hormones I have been taking for the last 30 years with no adverse effects.

This article also emphasizes how the American system - at almost all levels - is being held hostage by 'big food' and other large corporate entities.  They don't care about side effects or if a chemical will harm us - as long as it makes money for the bottom line.

I am hearing more and more about how far behind our country is in so many areas.  We are becoming a third world country.  A depository of harmful chemicals and hateful ideas.  Come on - let's become the country of the individual again!!

This article was published in the New York Times - for the complete article Google "Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body's Blood Sugar Controls".

Artificial sweeteners may disrupt the body's ability to regulate sugar, causing metabolic changes that can be a precursor to diabetes, researchers are reporting.

That is the "very same condition that we often aim to prevent" by consuming sweeteners instead of sugar, said Dr. Eran Ellinav, an immunologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, at a news conference to discuss the findings.

The scientists performed a multitude of experiments, mostly on mice, to back up their assertion that the sweeteners alter the microbiome, the population of bacteria that is in the digestive system.

The different mix of microbes, the researchers content, changes the metabolism of glucose, causing levels to rise higher after eating and to decline more slowly than they would otherwise.

The findings by Dr. Elinav and his collaborators in Israel, including Eran Segal, a professor of computer science and applied mathematics at Weizmann, are being published Wednesday by the journal Nature.

Cathryn R. Nagler, a professor of pathology at the University of Chicago, who was not involved with the research, but did write an accompanying commentary in Nature, called the results "very compelling."

She noted that many conditions, including obesity and diabetes, had been linked to changes in the microbiome.  "what the study suggest," she said, " is we should step back and reassess our extensive use of artificial sweeteners."

The rest of the Article talks about the exact implementation and results of various studies which led to their conclusions.

I am not willing to take a chance - never have been - I like t he products that nature has provided for me!

And don't forget that any sweetener - like Truvia - created by a corporation is more than suspect.  Thanks to a false-advertising job well-done, many health conscious consumers have been tricked into believing that Truvia is the same thing as Stevia. The (disappointing) truth is that, despite the fact that Truvia is marketed as a “stevia-based sugar substitute,” it is NOT equivalent to Stevia. Not even close, actually. Get this: the ingredient list for Truvia is as follows: Erythritol, Rebiana and Natural Flavors. Just three ingredients and Stevia isn’t even one of them. That right there should tell us something (for starters, not to trust the product manufacturer…which by the way is Coca-Cola teamed up with a company called Cargill…)

Stick with 100% Stevia and Sugar!!




Thursday, June 19, 2014

DUNES PROJECT RESURRECTED


The lease holders of the Dunes have proposed a project at PCH and the BackBay on a plot of land they own. They did an extensive PR outreach to the public. I saw it three times and originally supported the project, because it seemed like a moderate use of the space.

At a DS BOD meeting, a member asked how the project would appear when driving on PCH. We were told that such and image was not available. Before the City Council vote, I was able to get a copy of the EIR and was surprised.
1) “BAIT AND SWITCH” The images in the EIR appear massive. Not a small “landing” rather wall to wall and three stories high. The PCH images in the report are from the far side of the street and across the intersection. When you drive across the PCH bridge it will be more imposing. The upper bay and the green belt will be replaced with stucco.
2) “YOU HAVE TO PASS THE PROJECT TO FIND OUT WHAT IS IN THE PROJECT” We also had difficulties with the artist misconception drawings. They do not reflect the described project. It includes fork lift boat storage and a 65 ft tower. There are no assurances that the project will be as shown.
The STDH Pac filed suit seeking to have the environmental document accurately reflect the project. We also asked that they show the public the size of the project next to the PCH bridge with story poles. The city and developer did not agree. They used a process that would have increased our costs and would have eliminated our reserves. . Up against a unified front of Developer attorneys and City attorneys, we choose to preserve our funds.
Stop The Dunes Hotel (STDH) was founded in 2000 to ensure the lessee of the Dunes would abide to an agreed family inn. The leased Dunes property is on public tidelands designated for family use. They sought to expand the project into a large hotel and convention center. The structure would have 70’ high towers and would be funded with time shares they would build along the bay. Seems that they cannot sell public land but somehow sell timeshares.
STDH is concerned that the expanded Back Bay Landing project with and it’s 65’ tower and 49 new dwelling units with more to transfer is a stepping stone to an expanded project in our peaceful lagoon.
We have the Newport Center and the area around the airport for large structures. I hope that the people of Newport Beach recognize the beauty and value of the harbor before we turn into Huntington Beach and Marina Del Ray.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

If It Says 'Natural' on the Label it is Probably Processed

It’s only natural to get swept up by the allure of products marketed as “natural.” We resonate with that term for a number of reasons: it implies pure, unadulterated goodness. It sounds comforting. There’s an ease—a lightness implied to it. And above all else, we associate it with being healthy for us.
But when it comes to food, we know nothing is more “natural” than something growing in our backyard vegetable garden, yet we take solace and comfort in foods that appeal to our desire for “natural.” But nowadays we’re learning the consequences of that term all to well.
For starters, if a food is marketed as “natural” it probably isn’t. It’s more likely to have been processed—spending more time inside a factory than it ever did on a farm. Lawsuits have challenged the credibility of “natural” claims, and while that has put pressure on manufacturers to use the term more accurately (or not at all), it says nothing of the pressure on organic farmers.
Companies marketing “natural” products merely pay lip service to sustainability and eco-friendliness, while undercutting the truly committed organic companies that walk their talk by buying from farms that are managed organically, without synthetics and pesticides, non- therapeutic antibiotics and hormones, and sewage sludge.
Committed organic companies also have to compete with “natural” claims by companies (such as Annie’s Homegrown and Weetabix/Barbara’s Bakery®) that are reducing their organic options. These companies, too, are blurring the lines between organic and “natural,” apparently to ride the coattails of their established organic reputations while cashing in with cheaper conventional ingredients.
When food manufacturers shift their product ingredients from organic to “natural,” it means they buy conventional ingredients from chemical-intensive farms instead of buying from organic farmers. As a result, less demand means organic farmers receive lower prices for their grains. For the first time since the commercialization of organics, conventional farm production is probably more profitable than organic.
Since 2008, multiple manufacturers have switched a considerable share of their products from organic to “natural.” This is a reversal of a decades-long trend. Simultaneously, organic grain farmers have noticed a drop in demand for organic crops, accompanied by a drop in prices for these crops.
Many farmers who invested heavily in converting their land to organic production (a minimum three-year process) have converted back to conventional. If demand for organic crops had remained high, many more acres may have converted to or remained organic but now are back under chemical-intensive management. While there are certainly other factors to be considered, such as weather and higher conventional prices that lured some organic farmers back to conventional, the role of decreased demand for organic grain by companies that switched from organic to “natural” cannot be underestimated.
Organic farmers focus on building soil fertility using natural means, such as crop rotation and composted livestock manure, instead of using synthetics. Organic farmers also are prohibited from using municipal sewage sludge, which is allowed and used by conventional farmers producing crops for “natural” foods (sewage sludge is commonly contaminated with heavy metals and toxic chemicals). While petroleum- based fertilizers provide quick, short-term boosts to plant growth, organic farmers aim to nurture the long- term health of the soil, to ensure that the land will remain fertile for the next generation.
To manage pests, organic farmers seek a balanced farm system, using crop rotation, beneficial insects and birds that eat pest insects, and hands-on management instead of resorting to toxic, persistent pesticides. Pesticides that kill “pest” insects are known to be harmful to non-target species such as bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife. Pesticides used on a farm are not easily contained, and inevitably contaminate aquifers, streams and rivers, eventually finding their way into drinking water resources.
Thousands of cases of acute pesticide poisoning among farmers and farmworkers on conventional farms have been documented, and all easily would have been prevented with organic farming practices. Studies suggest that farming communities have higher rates of leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and soft tissue sarcoma, as well as cancers of the skin, lip, stomach, brain, and prostate.
According to the National Cancer Institute, these higher cancer rates “may be related to exposures that are common in their work environments” such as pesticide exposure. Research also links the use of common herbicides to higher rates of birth defects in farming communities.
Organic farming also benefits the environment in terms of global climate change, since organic farmers use fewer fossil-fuel-based inputs, and healthy organic soil sequesters carbon. According to the Rodale Institute, a Pennsylvania-based organic research and advocacy organization, converting 50% of U.S. agricultural farmlands to organic production would sequester 240 billion pounds of carbon per year, the equivalent of removing up to 42 million cars from the road.
In 2008, an intergovernmental panel, supported by organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations, reported that organic management of food production is the most sustainable way to feed the world.
While some food companies no longer pay a price premium to farmers for organic ingredients, they continue to charge price premiums to consumers in the marketplace for their “natural” products.
Consumers who buy certified organic foods support an ecologically sustainable food production system, which means they support wildlife conservation, the building of soil fertility, and the sustainability of our farmland. They also protect the farmers and farmworkers (and their families) who produce our food. Buying “natural” products, on the other hand, means supporting the environmentally destructive industrial model of agriculture.

From the Cornucopia Institute
May 24. 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

Newport Beach Police Warns of Water Scam

From the Newport Beach Police Department:

On May 15, 2014, a Newport Beach resident received a call from a friendly lady who said she was following up with the resident to see if she would be interested in receiving a FREE Water Quality Test. The caller claimed that her company was offering the testing FREE of charge and that the city of Newport Beach would be covering all costs.  The caller also mentioned that the resident might have seen this FREE offer in her last water billing statement. The caller informed the resident that the water analyst would only take about 15 minutes, and that the company currently had technicians in the area. The caller provided the resident with the technician’s number to schedule an appointment and the call ended.  A follow up call to the number provided by the “company” rang to a business not affiliated with water quality testing.
The resident followed up with the City’s Water Customer Service Supervisor, who verified that the City has not partnered with an outside company to conduct a FREE in-home water quality test and that the water billing insert never referenced the company or the FREE offer.  If you receive a similar call, please hang-up on the caller this is not a legitimate offer.
The following information is provided by the Federal Trade Commission to help prevent you from falling victim to a scam artist.
Avoid "free" home water tests. Offers to test the tap water in your home for free are almost always part of a sales promotion. More important, in-home testing does not provide the specific, in-depth analysis that is required to determine if your water needs treatment and what kind of system is suited to your needs.
Be wary of claims of government approval. The government does not endorse water tests or water treatment products. If you see an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number on a water treatment product label, it merely means that the manufacturer has registered its products with the EPA. A registration number does not mean the EPA has tested or approved the product. 
If your water really is contaminated, the next step is to determine what type of system you need to treat the water. A wide variety of water treatment devices are available, ranging from relatively simple, low-cost filter devices for faucets to sophisticated and expensive systems that treat water from its point of entry into your home. No water treatment device can solve every problem. Some systems only soften water by removing calcium and magnesium, while others eliminate virtually all minerals and foreign matter present in the water.
To learn more, contact the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or visitDrinking Water.
For more information on various scams, please click on the link below to be connected to theFTC’s SCAM ALERT page.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Supporting Women Owned Businesses in 2014

When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead. www.banbossy.com

I ran across an article in the Register's Current yesterday called "Gender Equality Calls for More than Banning 'Bossy'.  How true.    We have now fallen from #6 to #30 in the 2013 "state of the World Mother's Report"  http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.8585863/k.9F31/State_of_the_Worlds_Mothers.htm

The world has become less friendly to women as mothers and in business.  Nearly 45% of California companies have no women on the board or in highest paid positions with our own Orange County having the lowest rate in the state at 7.7%.

The financial impact of being inclusive and equitable is detailed in the recent Shriver Report (The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Pushes Back from the Brink." - Maria Shriver).  The report says, "Closing the wage gap would strengthen the economy, adding an additional $447.6 billion to DGDP and cut the poverty rate among working women and their families from 8.1 percent to 3.9 percent."  Less people on welfare who work for Walmart and McDonald's!  They are our current 'Welfare Queens'.

This has made my 'Yearly Intention' to patronize women-owned businesses tough.  But it does bring it back to the local level.  On Balboa Island I can name many, many businesses that are owned and operated very successfully by women.  Restaurnats and Apparel Stores. Small business allows more flexibility for families.  Time for our children. Time for our mates.  Less time commuting and polluting the planet.   The things that we hear touted so much in the male dominated media.  It really is JUST TALK!!

When I talk about women owned businesses I don't mean those with a token woman to point out or a woman to gain 'minority' status for bidding on federal contracts.  I mean actually conceived and run by a woman.  The thing that the feminist movement was supposed to change.  

Change always comes from the bottom up - in little steps.  Patronize your woman owned businesses and watch things change - Eventually!!

Thank you to Carolyn Bivens for a great article.  Must be in the name :)


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A NEW WASHER FOR ME and TIPS FOR YOU!

Sunday my long-suffering and barely working washing machine died.  It would not spin - tried everything - even re-booting (unplug and plug back in).  Nothing worked.  Luckily I was washing my cleaning rags on a half load cycle.  I rung them out and threw them in the still working dryer.  Then we bailed the water.

Craig's List is always my friend.  So off I went to peruse the offerings after first leaving a message for my wonderful repair person Woody at G&H Appliance Repair.  I found an LG front loader in my price range and called - several times - I talked to a nice woman who said they were exceptionally busy and would get back to me with a delivery time - Monday at 10 am.

Monday came and with it a call from Debbie - Woody's wife.  "DO NOT BUY THE LG", were her first words.  I then learned that there are no parts for LG and even though they are rated high in Consumer's Reports - they were not repairable.  No parts - no repairs!  Buy a Whirlpool - or maybe the newer Maytag manufactured by Whirlpool.

Back to Craig's List - and there I found a posting for Appliance World in Garden Grove.  They were very smart too.  Didn't actually post their phone number, but directed me to Yelp where they had numerous 5-Star Reviews!!  The phone number and the name of the contact person Shane was there.

I called - Sean answered. He was very polite and helpful to this persnickety older woman!   I told him my requirements per Woody - a direct drive machine by Whirlpool.  Preferentially one with a 4.0 capacity.  He
texted me pictures of the Model and Serial Number from several machines he had.  After several calls back and forth with Woody and Debbie - who were very helpful and patient - I decided to get a Maytag manufactured by Whirlpool for Sears.  Delivered and set up the cost would be a little over $300.00

IMPORTANT TIP:   Sean also explained to me why I always had a residue buildup just under the rim of the washer - from using the Softener Dispenser built into the machine.  He said put the softener directly into the water - no build up and softer clothes!  He gave me several other tips which will be in the Coastal Breeze next month.

My machine was delivered and my laundry done by 4 pm!  What a great experience!  And now my clothes feel cleaner and they are much drier when they emerge from the washing machine!

Thanks to Sean 714.530.9551 and to Debbie and Woody 714.839.1944 !   I recommend all of them for any appliance needs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

RISE GOT A RISE OUT OF ME!

Although they are improving at a rapid pace, financially things have been better than they have in the last few years.  The economy has affected all of us in the middle class - the 'peasants' to those on Wall Street as I used to tell my children.  We are the peasants - they are the royalty.

I have been reestablishing my credit recently and have gotten my first new credit card.  But there are others lurking on the sidelines waiting to take my money.

Yesterday I opened a solicitation  from a company called Rise.  There catchphrase is 'We are here to help you Rise."  "we have already approved you for $2600.00 which can be deposited to your account as soon as tomorrow.  The process of applying is easy, just complete an online application - We believe that good customers with a good payment history should get special treatment.: . . ." it continues on and on!  Don't wait.
And apparently don't read the fine print.  "The Annual Percentage Rage (APR) for an example installment loan of $2600 is $224.36%" !!!.  When you pay 36 payments bi-weekly of $236.67 you actually end up paying $8496.00  A profit for them of $5896.00!  This is not only outrageous, but a CRIME!  What happened to the usury laws in this country.  Why is it so easy to prey on people who already are down and out.  And imagine what happens to these poor peoples' bank accounts when these outrageous bi-weekly payments start coming out.  And to their credit history - which they are trying to rebuild!

Buried on the back is a warning that this is an expensive form of credit and should be used with care.  That people with credit problems should seek credit counseling, etc.  This warning should be on the FRONT of the Application at the TOP!!!

NO ONE NEEDS $2600 TO RUIN THEIR LIFE!!




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A FEW LITTLE TIPS FOR TUESDAY!!

Sitting here enjoying my view from Kamps Island Flooring I am reminded of a few little notes I have taken to make my life easier and more fun!

Do you crave sweets after you eat meat?  Not being a big meat eater, when ever I ate a hamburger or other red meat I noticed I craved sugar.  This wasn't normal for me.  Unlike me other half, sugar isn't one of the things I love.  I really thought I was imagining things.  Nope.
My friend Kim Kane, nutrition coach, told me that that was not unusual.  It meant I wasn't getting enough protein in my diet.  Guess I need to up the beans and other legumes.
I did find, however, that once I was aware of the cause - I could out wait the craving.  Since sugar at night means a headache for me in the morning - that was a fabulous piece of advice.

Thin cups keep your drinks hotter.  Several years ago we had a woman from England staying in our apartment on Balboa Island.  We had an electric tea kettle, but the one thing she wanted was a thinner china mug.  We had lots of the big heavy duty ones that everyone uses.  "Why thinner?" I asked.  "Because the heat from the liquid is not absorbed by the thick mug - my tea stays hotter much longer."  Lesson learned.  I love my thin tea mug that she left behind.  My coffee stays warm a lot longer.




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

WOMEN ARE LIVING LONGER - and PAYING FOR IT!

Nearly 70% of Americans ages 65 or older are expected to need long-term care—either at home or in a facility—at some point in their lives. But whether seniors need help recovering from surgery or a stroke—or simply require assistance with daily tasks like bathing and dressing as they age—the cost of such long-term care can be staggeringly expensive.

In 2013 the median cost of a private room in a nursing home for just one year came in at $83,950—that’s up from $67,575 just five years ago.
Medicare only covers a very small portion of long-term care costs. And since paying out of pocket could easily decimate many people’s retirement savings, an increasing number of Americans may need to protect their nest eggs by buying long-term care insurance, which can cover some or all of the costs of extended elder care.
However, the policies aren't cheap. The average, healthy, 55-year-old man can expect to pay a premium of around $2,000 a year. But that’s nothing compared to what women are being charged for identical coverage.
Last spring, two major providers of long-term care insurance—John Hancock and Genworth—hiked premiums on new policies for women by 20% to 40%, with other carriers following suit. The reason: Women are growing old for far longer.
An American woman who turned 65 last year is now expected to live to the average age of 87, compared to 85 for men. Women are also less likely to have a caregiver at home when they need it because they often outlive their spouses, making them more likely to end up in a nursing home or assisted-living facility—and more likely to rely on long-term care insurance to pay for that care.
From Carolyn O'Hara www.learnvest.com

Friday, April 4, 2014

TWEAK YOUR FACEBOOK ACCOUNT RIGHT NOW

BY KIM KOMANDO USA TODAY

Facebook has been in the news a lot recently. Mark Zuckerberg bought the What's App company in February for a staggering, mind-blowing, huge – I'm running out of adjectives here – $19 billion. Then the company bought a little-known virtual-reality headset maker, Oculus VR, for $2 billion.
Those high-profile deals shouldn't distract us from the fact that Facebook's main business is selling advertising based on the mountains of information it's got on its user base. And when I say "user base," I mean me and you.
The targeting practices going on behind the scenes are both deep and complex. We the consumers have to stay on our toes to protect ourselves. It's sad to say, but a lot of privacy violations occur just because people don't know how to protect themselves.
These are great tips for you - and for your family. If there are kids in the house, make sure they understand the importance of these privacy protections early. And if there are less tech-savvy folks around, go over these tips with them, too.
So let's get started.
First, you need to clear out your Facebook search history. Yes, it keeps track of all your searches. That's the reality of the world we're living in.
On your Facebook home page, click the down arrow in the upper right-hand corner, and select Activity Log. In the left-hand column where it lists Photos, Likes and Comments, click the More button below those. Then at the bottom of the list click Search.
Once you've clicked on that, you'll be able to see everything – and everyone – you've search for on the site. (It's kind of disturbing!) Up at the top of the page, click on Clear Searches, and then again in the dialog box to confirm.
The search area should now be empty. You can't turn this feature off, however, so you will have to come back and do this regularly.
Did you know Facebook's Graph Search system can expose your past posts to everyone? Learn how to keep strangers out of your posts.
Second, you want to make sure Facebook won't use your picture to endorse or sell products. Believe it or not, Facebook's terms of service allow your image to be automatically used if you've said you "liked" a particular product, or "checked in" at a particular store or restaurant.
To stop this, let's go back to the Activity Log page and, again on the left-hand side, click on the Likes link. You'll see all your likes listed.
It's smart to go down the list looking for companies that might advertise on Facebook. If you see one, go to the little pencil icon on the right, click on it, and select Unlike. Learn more settings to stop Facebook from using your name and face in ads.
Third, we need to dive into privacy settings. We all have to take responsibility for our online privacy.
I liken Facebook posts to a sign in front of your house. You think you live on a cul de sac, and the fact that the sign says, "Hey, we're on vacation," or "Hey, my daughter June just got an after-school job at the local Applebee's" really isn't that big of a deal.
We have to realize that with the wrong settings you're living on Main Street, and just about anyone can see your Facebook posts. Learn four ways burglars use what you post on social media to target you.
So go to the padlock icon in the upper right corner of your profile and under "Who can see my stuff?" set "Who can see my future posts?" to Friends. And if you're been loose about friending everyone who asks, you might think about weeding out your friends list.
You can also create a custom list of "Close Friends" - click here to learn how - and set your posts to be visible only to that list. The option to select a list is in the same place you select Friends.
Fourth, I have a tip for parents. Facebook originally didn't let the Facebook pages for kids be viewable by the general public – just their friends. That's changed. If your kids are minors, it's a good idea to go in and adjust their privacy settings to make sure they are set to "Friends."
You should also go to the down arrow in the upper corner, select Settings and in the left-hand column choose Privacy. Then click the Limit Past Posts link and set that to Friends as well.
And finally, this is a tiny bit sobering, but if Facebook and your Facebook profile is a big part of your life, you should start thinking about what you want to happen if you were to pass away.
Facebook rules decree that the status of your page will remain the way you had it in life; it will be "memorialized," as the company puts it, when they are presented with evidence of your passing.
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, newsletters and more, visitwww.komando.com. E-mail her at techcomments@usatoday.com

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Diet Soda Problems

You might think you're doing yourself a favor, opting for the diet version of your favorite soda or fruit drink. But sip a little too much and you could be setting yourself up for heart troubles later in life, researchers are saying.
Postmenopausal women who drink two or more diet drinks a day are more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, and a higher BMI than those who consume diet drinks in moderation or not at all. The Women's Health Initiative Observational Study looked at nearly 60,000 women with an average age of 62.8 years and found a relationship between diet drink consumption and a number of cardiovascular problems.
Women who consumed two or more diet drinks daily were not only 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes, they were 50 percent more likely to die from some sort of cardiovascular disease, when compared with women who never or rarely drank diet drinks.
The study, which is the largest study to look at the relationship between diet drinks and heart health, took into account various factors like participants BMI, physical activity levels, and other lifestyle choices.
A 2009-10 survey by the Centers for Disease Control found nearly one-in-five Americans drink diet sodas on any particular day and around half of those are drinking over two cups a day.
"Our findings are in line with and extend data from previous studies showing an association. We were interested in this research because there was a relative lack of data about diet drinks and cardiovascular outcomes and mortality," researcher Ankur Vyas of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics said in a release. "This could have major public health implications."
Other studies have also suggested diet drinks can be harmful for older women. One study showed colas, both diet and regular, are associated with lower bone density-- a major concern for older women, who are at risk for osteoporosis.
And while people may think "diet" means a healthier product, another study pointed to the artificial sweeteners in these low-calorie drinks as the cause of metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
But don't just pour your can down the drain. Researchers say there isn't enough evidence yet to make you want to give up these drinks entirely, but it is enough to make you think twice about what you're drinking.

From Huffington Post 50 3/29/2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

AirBnb vs Roomorama



VS





I have always loved renting through AirBnb.  They are a class act and we have met people from all over the United States and the World!  It is fun and puts a little extra money in our pockets.

When we signed up with AirBnb I originally posted some of my own photographs.  They weren't the best I knew but AirBnb graciously accepted them and then sent a professional photographer.  The woman they sent was professional and took fabulous pictures of the interior and exterior of our home and the room for rent.

Recently I received an e-mail from Smarter Living Travel.  They suggested there was a new game in town - Roomorama.  A competitor to AirBnb.  When I looked at the site and saw there were few listings in our area I was up for it.  Couldn't hurt.

Apparently it could. Roomorama is not even in the same ballpark as AirBnb.  After doing the same listing with my own pictures that I did with AirBnb they sent me an e-mail.  Seemed my pictures weren't enough and probably weren't good enough.  Duh!!  And something even more troubling - they wanted me to scan my Photo ID and a bill in my name to my address to 'verify' the listing.  

I am a fiend about Identity theft.  I shred everything with my name and address on it - I don't put my Social Security on ANY forms.  I don't send my Photo ID into Ether-space.  I offered to have them verity through my AirBnb listing or Facebook or even my website.  We'll see what happens.  

In the meantime Roomorama needs to hire some photographers who will 'verify' when they come to take pictures. And not have me 'pay' for them.  They are going to make money from me - they need to spend a little themselves!  Maybe that is why there are so many fewer listings!




Saturday, March 15, 2014

WHO OWNS THE FUTURE? IT COULD BE US!


I am a true believer in Technology - I love computers, Blackberries, E-Mail, Faxes, Facebook, 4-Square, Twitter, Houzz and all the rest.  I spend a lot of time in front of my computer or reading e-mail on my cell phones.  And yes, I have TWO cell phones.  One for my private use - a Blackberry.  The other for Kamps Island Flooring - an iPhone which is mainly a gadget for taking pictures and uploading to various Social Media Sites.  Great pictures - easy access to Social Media.  Not so much for e-mail.

I am just beginning a book called Who Owns the Future by Jaron Lanier.  Jaron talks about the destruction of the middle class and how it could become catastrophic in the future if huge networks are allowed to take over everything from transportation to medicine as they have done with music and newspapers.  He feels the starting point for a new discussion begins with, "Digital information is really just people in disguise."

I find that so true.  This is the reason that I subscribe to two physical newspapers to support the reporters and columnists.  Without them there would be no 'digital' news.  I am, however, discouraged with the New York Times.  I have the app on my IPhone and until recently could read 3 articles per day - now it is 10 per month.  Understandable.  However, I do have a problem which I explained to them.

I have had a stroke - it affected my right hand.  Often my phone thinks I have selected one of my 10 articles for reading when it has not.  Just an involuntary twitch.  My suggestion was that there be a 'confirmation' button to make sure the article selected was intentional.  I NEVER got a reply.  Too bad.  It is my generation that still loves the rustle of the newspaper and holding it in our hands.  The millennials could care less.  It is my generation that is a greater part of the monetary support for the New York Times.  The younger generations don't get that the phrase, "Digital information is really just people in disguise."

In response to the Times I just clear the history and cookies on Google - either on my computer or on the IPhone and read anything I want on their web page.  And I don't feel the guilt I might otherwise.  And I don't feel compelled to subscribe to them as soon as winter is over and my heating budget shrinks and I have the resources to subscribe.  Too Bad!  Survival in the digital age IS all about Customer Service.

And I cannot wait to report on the rest of my latest read!