Financial Term Du Jour: Passive Income

Ahhhh, how I love this concept!

I mean, seriously, what could possibly be better than making money while you sleep so that you can serve people by doing things that you truly love instead of working a j.o.b. doing something you’re kind of meh about for taxable income that doesn’t always seem to go as far as you’d like?

This is what makes passive income one of my favorite financial terms and the first one to be explored in my blog!

One thing I appreciate about passive income is its simplicity.  Passive.  Income.  Money you make without expending energy for it.  Boom.

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Now, don’t get me wrong, you will need to spend time and energy investing in things that can create passive income streams for you, like-wait for it-Real Estate!! Other forms include royalties from books, movie scripts, music, etc.  Could be income from a blog or from an online store.  Once you set up the product, the money gets generated while you sleep and move on to doing something else you enjoy.

There are also cryptocurrency mining companies that pay investors back on a weekly basis that provide passive income as well.  I have been looking into these and having taken the plunge yet but I am considering investing a small amount to see how it goes.  Maybe I’ll do it just to write about the experience…

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I highly recommend you read Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki to gain more insight about terms like this, as there is a lot more to it than just simply buying a property.

“Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.”

-Zig Ziglar

I think it’s good to remember that money can’t buy you everything-but it can buy many things, including options and the freedom to choose what you do with your time.

Time is the purest and most valuable currency.

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Time, in my opinion, is the purest and most valuable currency and I am working every day to free mine up to do more of the things I love and serve more and more people with my gifts.  This is what brings me tons of joy, and I want the same for everyone.

I hope that all who read this will be inspired to look into how passive income may help make life’s dreams come true and take steps to make it happen.

As Captain Planet would say, “the power is yours!”

Freedom Fuel-Free Budgeting Tool

I am a long-time fan of budgeting.  Practicing the art and science of budgeting is very useful in helping you get real with your financial habits and provide you a baseline from which to measure and modify your spending and saving/investing energy.  This is something that my mother instilled in me, along with the belief that all debt is bad and should be avoided at all costs.  I am eternally grateful to her for imparting her wisdom as it has allowed me to live debt-free to this day.

Now that I have explored the world of financial education by feeding my brain with such delightful reads as Rich Dad Poor Dad and Retire Young Retire Rich, I no longer look at debt the same way.  While I still avoid acquiring “bad debt” (debt accrued on credit cards or by taking out auto or home loans), I am an OPM convert.  OPM stands for Other People’s Money, and if becoming financially free is your goal, as it is mine, then OPM is what you want to leverage to build your real estate investments upon.

So! This is barely scratching the surface of investing that I highly recommend everyone look into.  More on investing later!

Today I want to share my new and improved budgeting tool that I created to help keep my spending in line so that I can invest more of my income in investments that pay me. 

I am reminded of a dialysis nursing preceptor who told me: “if you are working then you want your equipment to be working also.”

I am upgrading this sentiment to: “if you are working you want your money to be working also…so that eventually you can stop working and your money will work for you!”

So far I have been using this tool for the better part of December and it has really helped to keep me in line with my spending, in spite of the holiday shopping season.

I designed this spreadsheet on Google Sheets-for free!! And I am really excited to share it because I think that others may find this a helpful tool as well.

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I’ve created formulas that do all the calculations for you, all you need to do is input the amounts coming in/going out.  One thing I’d like to share is how to create a sum equation within a cell.  This is useful when you make more than one purchase in one category per day.

Let’s say that you buy groceries at 3 different places on one day.  You spend $25 at your local farmer’s market, $13.56 at Trader Joe’s and $20 at a local fish market.

Within the cell (B2 in the photo below) you will click your mouse and type:

  1. =
  2. SUM(
  3. Then enter the amounts followed by “+” sign
  4. End the equation with )
  5. Hit enter
Place your equation of “=SUM(x+x+x)”
Once you hit enter the total amount will be displayed in the cell.

If you want to see the full equation you can click inside the cell and the formula will be displayed in the “fx” box (see 2nd photo above).

Try it out by following the link to the Google Sheet here.******

******Note: Please do not edit the sheet itself, if you do, your information will be visible to anyone in the world who accesses the link!! Instead, make a COPY of the spreadsheet and save it to your Google docs account  by going to File and select Make a Copy. 

You can also download it onto your computer in Excel format to edit, PDF format to save for your records, etc.  I personally like to keep the spreadsheet in my Google account so that I can access it from any computer/my phone any time I want to add anything to it.

I really hope you find this useful.  To your financial freedom!!

Questions? Suggestions? Leave a comment!

Attitude of Gratitude: Yes, Thank You!

With the holiday season in full swing, I have been getting excited about sharing some tips on fueling your life with even more positivity, more blessings and more joy.  The secret? Gratitude!​

Gratitude seems to have an undeniably positive, albeit difficult to explain, effect on they who practice it.  While the study of gratitude is in its infancy, there already exists a body of research with mostly positive evidence in support of the tie between practicing gratitude and an overall sense of well-being (Sansone & Sansone, 2010).  Results of a study by leading scientific researcher on gratitude Robert Emmons and co-author Michael McCullough (2003) found that gratitude listing participants reported more satisfaction with their lives as a whole, felt more connected with others and had greater optimism for the coming week than did participants in the control group.​

Positive psychology research studies have shown that there is a strong, consistent association between gratitude and greater happiness (Harvard University, 2011).​

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Researchers at Berekely have found that gratitude:​

  • Unshackles us from toxic emotions​
  • Helps even if you don’t share it​
  • Benefits take time (study showed difference after 4 weeks’ practice writing gratitude letters)​
  • Has lasting effects on the brain (Wong & Brown, 2017)​

Practicing gratitude can lead to positive health benefits and greater satisfaction in life so why not take the opportunity today to start? ​

Writing thank you cards or thanking sending a wish of thanks to someone mentally is a great practice!

Harvard University (2011) gives some fantastic suggestions on how to make gratitude practice a simple part of your life:​

-Write a thank-you note

-Thank someone mentally​

-Keep a gratitude journal​

-Pray​

-Meditate​

-Count your blessing​s


Ohm-my, meditation is divine!

I am particularly a fan of gratitude journaling.  It is a great activity for right when you wake up and/or right before bed.  What better way to start and end your day than with sending out vibrations of gratitude that are bound to attract more of the same to you?​


References:

Emmons, R.A. & McCullough, M.E. (2003).  Counting blessings vs. burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389​.

Harvard University (2011).  In praise of gratitude. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude

Wong, J. & Brown, J. (2017).  How gratitude changes you and your brain.  Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain

 

Enjoy Holiday Feasting with “Crowding Out”

How do we enjoy the holidays without overeating and gaining weight?​

If you’ve worked in healthcare as long as I have, you come to see first-hand the dangers of consuming sugary food products for too long.​  Diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, the list goes on…

Sugar=Poison?

Sugar is not a friend of our bodies.  So what does it have to do with gaining weight around the holidays?​

Insulin is in charge of feeding or building fat cells (Kahn & Flier, 2000).  Sugar triggers insulin production and insulin stimulates fat cells to take in energy and grow (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010).  This means all the cakes, pies, cookies, sweet alcoholic mixed beverages-even mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce are all causing blood sugar and insulin levels to spike, leading to weight gain.​  Yikes!

The good news: you can partake in cheer and eat as much as you want!​

The caveat: you’re going to want to “crowd out” the unhealthy foods with the healthier ones (Rosenthal, 2018).​

Crowding out means the more healthy food you eat, the less unhealthy food you will consume-I can attest this really works! Crowding out is a way to enjoy an ongoing non-diet lifestyle by increasing the intake of healthy foods and decreasing non-healthy foods (Rosenthal, 2018).​

Where to start? Look for low-sugar or sugar-free recipes for holiday dishes online.   There is a plethora of them out there.  Substitute delicious fruits in place of sweet snacks.  Have something healthy, like a handful of almonds or a fresh green smoothie made with coconut milk, spinach and banana before going to a holiday party so you won’t feel as hungry. Hunger will tempt you to eat the unhealthy stuff.​

Remember to drink plenty of water, it guides us to know if we are truly hungry or just thirsty.  And get in as much physical activity as you can.  I find a simple routine like a 20-minute cardio session every morning has an incredible effect on my energy, mood and productivity.  Getting enough sleep, relaxation, and self-care time aids in keeping stress levels down, which can keep cortisol levels from increasing- causing us to crave sugar.​

 20 minutes a day for increased energy, improved mood, and better overall health-works for me!

By being mindful of what goes into our bodies and crowding out the unhealthy foods, we can enjoy a healthy weight, not only during the holidays but the whole year round!​  Happy holidays and healthy feasting!

References:

Kahn, B.B. & Flier, J.S. (2000).  Obesity and insulin resistance. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 106(4), 473-481.​​

Rosenthal, J. (2018).  Integrative nutrition: A whole-life approach.  New York, NY: Integrative Nutrition, Inc.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2010).  NIH study shows how insulin stimulates fat cells to take in glucose.  Retrieved from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-study-shows-how-insulin-stimulates-fat-cells-take-glucose

Avocado Toast

A recent Saturday found me at one of my favorite La Jolla haunts-Pannikin! Truly one of SoCal’s coffee shop gems, it is a cozy spot to hang out, study, have some excellent coffee and food, or simply bask in the glory of San Diego’s weather.

On this gorgeous day, I accompanied my boyfriend to Pannikin for the purpose of enjoying some of their delicious coffee while doing some homework.  Although, I must say that calling what I do “work” is a bit of stretch. I am stoked to be in an awesome holistic health coaching program through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) learning about things that I love, like whole foods, self-care and being an all-around healthier, happier person-yay!

The sun was beaming from the clear blue sky above as we took our places at the porch bar facing the sunny patio and the sidewalks.  I placed my unopened book in front of me and had a seat on the bar stool. Sipping my steaming mug of coffee, I happily watched as friends, lovers and family members engaged in fun activities in the space below.  Of particular note, a young father was having breakfast at a small table with his two young daughters and a baby in a buggy. The two girls were munching their food as they watched with rapt attention the production that their father was giving.  Clearly an avid story-teller, the man had leaned down to be closer to their eye level and spoke animatedly to each girl in turn, making demonstrative hand gestures and facial expressions. The girls watched him intently and the looks on their faces oscillated between wonderment and joyful surprise.  The baby seemed content to repose in the buggy and watch passersby or up into the sky, oblivious to the tale that was unfolding mere feet away.

I observed with delight the healthy passionfruit vine that was growing up the side column of the patio and above the bar, noting the solitary small green fruit that was hanging from the vine directly in front of my right foot.  Looking up, I witnessed the impressively constant influx of customers from the bustling sidewalk. Though the small gate, in-between the rows of patio tables and up the stairs into the tiny building they went, placidly taking their place at the end of the line, which stretched from the counter to the cozily lit fireplace, patiently waiting their turn.

 

One of the best things about people watching at a cafe is seeing what kind of goodies people choose.  Here a cinnamon bun, there a very seedy-grainy looking muffin, now a bowl of fruit, then a massive breakfast burrito.  Delicious and inspiring!

 

On this occasion, the most inspiring culinary moment for me was when a couple of girls sat down at a picnic table near the far left corner of the patio.  Set down on the table between them was a lovely plate of avocado toast.

 

The seed was planted…

 

When I got home later that day, the first thing I did when I walked in the front door was to head to the kitchen and forage for the ingredients to make the perfect avocado toast!

Ingredients:

 

1-2 slices of bread

1 small-medium avocado

1 organic tomato

1 red onion

½ tsp live oil

¼ pink Himalayan sea salt

Juice of ¼ an organic lime (optional)

Steps:

  1. Place bread in toaster oven
  2. Rinse and dry produce
  3. Slice avocado in half and slice avocado into chunks (still in skin)
  4. Thinly slice a few slices of tomato and onion
  5. Place toast on a plate and, using a blunt knife, spread avocado on toast
  6. Sprinkle sea salt, lime juice and drizzle olive oil on avocado
  7. Place onion and tomato slices on top

  

Enjoy!

 

Love Our Oceans

I just watched an episode of Blue Planet II and it was utterly incredible! The amazing colors and close up footage of the creatures that inhabit the deep were a wonder to behold.

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I did have to run upstairs to have a cry after a heartbreaking story was shared about a pilot whale calf that died due to plastic/toxins in the water.  Approximately 10 million tons-not pounds, TONS-of plastic waste are dumped into our planet’s oceans every year. That’s like driving 20 million Ford F-150s into the sea except, instead of driving around lifting heavy loads they clog up the ocean’s surface.

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Sea life-like sea turtles and birds-get entangled in the waste and drown.  Like the calf in the show I watched, babies of mammals like whales and dolphins can be poisoned just from drinking their mothers’ milk.

I am not writing about this to be a “Debby downer.” I’m sharing this information in the hopes that by having healthy, open conversations about what is happening to our planet-our home-we can make a shift in our mindset and create new, better habits to reduce the amount of waste we produce and throw away and increase our reuse and recycling of such products.

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Photo by Luka Siemionov on Pexels.com

Not only will this have amazing benefits to the incredible creatures of the oceans, it will ensure that we will be able to eat the bounty that we pull from the waters every year.  Foods like sushi, fish, scallops and muscles could be rendered inedible if poisons continue to accumulate in them. Already there are advisories against eating too much of certain kinds of fish due to mercury build up.  In case you are wondering what happens if a human ingests mercury on an ongoing basis, it can cause fun side effects such as:

-nervousness or anxiety

-irritability or mood changes

-numbness

-memory problems

-depression

-physical tremors

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Fun stuff! No?

The good news is-it’s never too late to make a change.  Today-right now! We cannot wait until tomorrow to take better care of ourselves and the planet.

 

Want even better news?

 

It’s super easy!

 

One of the biggest things we can do is use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic ones at the grocery store.  There are more than one TRILLION of these puppies used every year from shopping!! Imagine if, instead of choosing plastic bags, every individual used a reusable bag to carry their groceries-wouldn’t that be incredible??

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Other things that we can do that are very simple include recycling.  Don’t live in an area that recycles? Look for ways to recycle by using the internet as a resource.

 

We can also reuse our products: a glass salsa jar is perfect for storing leftovers after it has been cleaned.  A plastic egg carton can be an excellent seed sprouting container. And let’s remember to always cut up our aluminum can and bottle holders (think six pack rings) before recycling them so that in case, God forbid, they wind up somewhere in nature they will not get lodged around a living being, plant or animal.

 

It’s so good to love this planet that is our home! I believe that the better care we take care of ourselves and our planet, the better life will be for all!

 

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The Importance of Self-Care: Morning Pages

This past week I have been focusing on the art of self-care.  It came to my attention through my studies to become a holistic health coach and I am very grateful for it.

I had no idea how badly I needed to make self-care a daily practice.  I was giving a lot of energy to projects, my j.o.b., travel, studying and other people and it took me a while to notice that my energy was waning.

Through my curriculum I learned about a wonderful lady named Julia Cameron, author of the book The Artist’s Way.  This book was recommended to me by a friend within the last couple of years, and I purchased the book but still have yet to read it!

Luckily, I watched a lecture given by Cameron in which she describes the practice of writing what she calls Morning Pages.  This is the gift of writing freehand first thing in the morning and filling 3 pages with thoughts, feelings, dreams and anything else that is on one’s mind.

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I have only been doing this for about a week, and I am amazed at the difference it has made in my life.  I am calmer and more grounded and able to live outside of my own head and be more present with my loved ones.  I feel less needy of other people’s attention because I have given myself the loving attention of honestly sharing my thoughts and feelings on a daily basis.

There really is something magical about validating yourself through writing.  Not only is it an actively healing and cathartic experience, it allows the exercising of creativity, something that I now remember is incredibly important.

I’m so grateful to Julia Cameron and the Morning Pages activity that has helped me to nourish myself emotionally and mentally and to inspire me to get back in touch with my creative side.

You can learning more about Morning Pages and Julia Cameron’s beautiful gifts here.

 

Celebrate Friendship

You ever have those moments when you connect with a great friend at just the right moment in your life?

 

I had one of those this past week.  One of my dear friends and I got to share stories, memories and laughs as well as encourage each other to enhance our lives in some way.  We talked for the better part of an hour and I had a smile on my face that lasted after the call.  Over the next couple of days I connected with 4 of my best friends and I experienced healing, joy, gratitude, love and peace from those simple yet profound conversations.

That is the beauty of friendship.

I am so thankful for the deep, meaningful friendships that I have in my life.  Their love reminds me that God and the universe truly loves me and is moving things in a positive flow to aid me in my intentions to create the life I desire.

I encourage you to reflect on your relationships this moment.  Is there someone who stands out as being a truly amazing, supportive and loving friend at all times? If so, I encourage you to take a moment right NOW to pick up the phone and call them and tell them what they mean to you (texts and emails are nice, too-but a call is so much more powerful because we can hear each other’s voice and feel the energy and emotion there).

I appreciate your presence on this site right now and I hope that reading these words will remind you of the beauty, light and power that lives in you.

Super Simple Raw Pitaya “Bowls”

Today I stumbled across  a comment by someone who found it challenging to find a place that makes a really good pitaya bowl.  This inspired me to run home on my lunch break and make use of some special fruits that have been camping out in my fridge.

For those who are new to the term pitaya (like I was when I moved to California) it is one of the more common names for dragon fruit.  Dragon fruit is an amazing specimen.  First of all, it grows from a cactus of all things! Second, it is one of the coolest-looking fruits out there-it really resembles what I imagine a dragon’s egg might look like.  Third, it comes in different, beautiful colors and is packed with vitamin-rich, hydrating nourishment.  It’s even said to be potentially preventative of cancer.  (You can check out a scholarly article written by Brazilian researchers on the subject here!)

One interesting thing about dragon fruit is that you never know what color you’re going to get until you open it up-at least I don’t know if there is a trick, I just enjoy the surprise every time.  🙂 Typically they come in white, red, magenta or yellow.  Last month I opened my first magenta-I mean, magenTA! Unfortunately I did not take a picture of it-next time!

This time I opened one that I got at an Asian market (hands down best place to find dragon fruit + best price) and the most common color greeted me.

My idea to make the bowl started with 3 simple ingredients: the dragon fruit, a kiwi and some shredded coconut.  It might be fun to add another color like red with some nice strawberries or raspberries, or some banana slices to make it more tropical.  Today, however, I am hoarding my bananas to make some of the best banana bread I’ve ever made so I’m sticking with these 3 selections.  🙂 I also made the decision to not process the pitaya at all, which is what I mean by “raw.” This is the healthy option that I prefer, as most commercially-made pitaya bowls are mixed with sweeteners like orange juice or apple juice during the blending process.  Personally, I don’t think those bowls do the fruit justice as the delicate dragon fruit flavor is easily overpowered by added fruit juices.

Here’s what I did and how it turned out so that you can enjoy some amazing refreshing deliciousness in a great pitaya bowl anytime in the comfort of your own home (and for about 1/4 of the price!)

Raw Unprocessed Pitaya “Bowl” (Serves 2 with leftovers!)

Ingredients:

  • Medium-sized dragon fruit
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/2-1 tsp of coconut flakes (toasted, if desired)

Steps

  1. Rinse produce and place on cutting board
  2. Cut each fruit in half
  3. Scoop out the fruit by running a spoon between where the skin and the fruit meet
  4. Cut off bottoms of the dragon fruit shell so that each half can sit upright like a bowl (this may be easier to do before cutting the fruit/scooping it out)
  5. Place second half of dragon fruit in an airtight container to enjoy later
  6. Dice the kiwi and dragon fruit and arrange in “bowls”
  7. Sprinkle with coconut and enjoy!

Goodbye Squarespace, hello WordPress!

I’m very excited to get started on my WordPress journey and am looking forward to developing this site and transferring my posts from my old blog into this new one.

Out with the old blog, in with the new!

I know there will be a learning curve and an exercise in patience and I am thankful that I have a great team available to support me.

I’m looking forward to taking my blogging to the next level and I hope that what I put into this blog is multiplied and blesses others.  To all who read these words, thank you for being present with me in these moments.

I believe that this is the beginning to something great and I am excited for what develops