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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Funny How Magazines Write Some of the Articles That Stick With You For Years

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I recently recalled an old story that Seventeen Magazine ran about a girl named Ashley Qualls who came from a struggling family who turned her social media layouts into big money. Eventually she created Whateverlife.com and made lots of money thanks to creative layouts and Google AdSense.

I’m guessing it stuck with me since it was a girl who took something that she liked doing and turned into her passion. And it led to her success as a young businesswoman who has made a powerful impact on her family’s lifestyle. At the same time, it did bring some tension between her, her family, and some friends who work for her. Some of her family expected her to pick up the tab all the time and she did take it to court in some cases.

While I can’t say that I’ve ever been in her shoes, I often wonder what life can be like for the people such the late Steve Jobs and legendary Coco Chanel. They had their successes and left lasting legacies but their history is colored with tension between people and fall outs. I was told by a teacher at a young age that not everyone is going to like you. But in success and business, it certainly becomes a test to see who really cares about you and who wants in because you have the ‘it’ factor now.

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Are They on Easy Street?

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I was sitting down to watch CBS shows like The Mentalist and The Big Bang Theory with my mom tonight when we decided to flip to ABC after both were over. Nightline covered a recent story about the recent phenomenon of young women my age getting their college educations paid for by wealthy, older men, dubbing this a case of Sugar Daddies and Sugar Babies, thanks to the Internet websites who offer wealthy men a chance to find younger mates who want to be spoiled and treated like a princess with the promise of money, expensive clothes, and other pampering.

Interestingly, both women interviewed had fit bodies and had plastic surgery for their breasts, thanks to their “sugar daddies” shelling out the money for the operation. Some call it prostitution while the men argue that in many of the cases, they are simply looking for a younger companion who keeps them company and whom they can provide for, aside from the lure of sexual acts.

This isn’t the first time this has happened and caused quite a stir. In the mid–late 1990s, young girls in Japan were looking for wealthy, older men who were secretly looking for someone to make them feel loved, even if it resulted in an expensive dinner and shopping for the girl after 1 encounter and no sexual relations. They were dubbed “kogals” which merged the terms for ‘child’ and ‘girl’ to describe the shocking behavior of these girls who made themselves purposely look as cute and innocent as possible to attract the lonely rich male who would spend money to attract these girls. According to one account in the book Japanese Schoolgirl Inferno, one girl declared about the older man she was seeing to be “nothing but a purse”; this girl was an 8th grader in 1996 and was earning $4,000 dating older men!

While I may not come from a wealthy background or have a super, high paying job, I would not want to fall into the lifestyles of these young women who are seeking “sugar daddies” because it seems to create an artificial bubble for a young adult growing up. Sure, when we were little girls and reading fairytales, we probably would have said yes to having someone take care of us forever and pamper us like the princesses we read about. Today, I’d choose to make my own life without relying on someone else’s money with strings attached.

Take a Leaf Out of This Girl’s Lessons Learned Book

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Always listen to the flight attendants when they come through the cabins with announcements. I made the mistake of rushing my laptop shut down process which in turn forced me to go to Apple to correct the problem. (Which became a 5.5 hour appointment to erase everything on my computer and discover that my back-up disk drive was encrypted.) Now, I’m forced to pay for a file recovery service to retrieve the files from the encrypted drive.

Lesson learned: Either shut down electronics before the flight attendants tell you personally or just entertain yourself on the plane without anything electronic. I know we all have some kind of tendency to assume we know better and ignore people who tell us otherwise but in this case, please just use common sense.

Calming the Anxious Ones

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I volunteer with Greyhound Adoption Center in Dehesa, CA which is a kennel-based rescue group that takes in retired racing greyhounds, bred greyhounds, and mixed greyhounds and helps them acclimate to living as a normal household pet.

Why rescue these majestic dogs? Approximately 20,000 dogs aged between ages 3–5, sometimes as young as 1 year, are put down after every racing season. Some for placing poorly in races, others for being too “old” to race any more, and others for track-related injuries. 20,000 dogs who will never have a home or loving family to call their own.

Every third Sunday of every month is an open house which allows potential adopters and volunteers to visit and meet some of the rescued dogs we have at our kennel. Today I spent time with Ruby pictured below.


Photo property of GAC

She is on the shy side and felt anxious as the open house came to a close and turnout began. (Turnout is when the dogs are put out in groups on gated concrete slab areas to relieve themselves and interact with other greyhounds.) She was whining and whipping her head around, unsure of everything happening so quickly in this transition period. I knelt by her crate and softly sang lines of Taylor Swift’s Safe and Sound while petting her. She calmed down and leaned against the door of her crate so I could pet her more easily.

It’s Easier to Complain Than to Write Something Thoughtful

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Like many consumers, I write reviews of places on Yelp to give people an idea of my experiences with certain businesses and the people I encountered who work for the said businesses. In the words of my dad, “It’s easier to write a nasty review on a site like Yelp than to take the time to write a thoughtful, positive review that gives customers the good and bad of a business so they can make their own decisions.” How right was he when I first started reviewing.

Most of the businesses I review are either restaurants or clothing places, both which contain a variety of glowing reviews that are short and to the point and others with reviews in all capitals with a hurried look to them. (As if they weren’t written in a moment of rage.) Sometimes these reviews are the first introduction to a brand that can color people’s attitude to a brand before they even set foot.

With my dad’s words burning in the back of my mind, I made myself promise to write detailed reviews of the businesses with helpful advice, recommendations, and with both the positives and negatives of the business so others could make their own judgment before going. The reviews haven’t gone unnoticed and many have applauded my take on reviewing, which makes me feel good that I’m offering some free advice to people before they invest the time, money, and energy in a place that can help them see both sides.

How do you offer advice about reviews to friends, family, or total strangers?

We All Came Together

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I’ve been helping my grandma with some summer cleaning and stumbled across bins and racks of vintage clothing that belonged to her, my mom, and my aunt from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. My mom claimed she didn’t remember owning or wearing a certain item when I found it but my grandma just replied that the item belonged to my mom and she distinctly recalls my mom wearing the said item in her teens to twenties.

Then I found my grandma’s favorite sundress. She couldn’t believe it was still in pristine condition and recalled that her good friend that recently passed away always admired the dress. Even though none of them would wear it now in their 80s, the friend, before she died, begged my grandma to give her the dress as a keepsake. Because the dress was buried in a bin in her basement, she never knew where it was and it never reached her friend. This resulted in Grandma making me try it on. When I came out, she was quiet for a moment before asking my mom to imagine when my grandma was my age and was wearing this dress over and over again. She insisted that I keep it, along with the other vintage clothes I’ve unearthed so far.

“That’s just barely scraping the surface,” she told me before I left for my hotel tonight. “There’s so much more down there.”