A whole week off

lazycat

I took the last week off work to regroup, reset and restart this blog! To my dismay, it hasn’t been a quiet week at all but I feel extremely productive. Here’s my week in review:

Saturday, Sunday, Monday – Studied for my Canadian Securities Course. Yoga X 2. Checked work email even though I promised myself I wouldn’t.

Tuesday – Passed the second exam for my Canadian Securities Course (YAY!). Finally tracked down Soup Nutsy in the downtown PATH system. Attended the cardio pump class at my yoga studio.

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Wednesday – Doctor’s appointment. Volunteered at the Pan Am Volunteer Recruitment Centre. Ran into Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Michael Coteau, MPP Don Valley East, during a Pan Am medal unveiling ceremony. Counted sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium with bf. Ate pies at McDonald’s until 1 a.m. because I felt too tired to sleep and quads still hurt from damn cardio class.

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Thursday – Brunch and shopping with my mom! Grabbed some much needed make-up refills.

Friday – Yoga with one of my fav instructors. He only teaches Friday mornings now so I can almost never take his class.

Saturday – More volunteering with Pan Am. Saw the contemporary opera Written on Skin performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the magnificent Barbara Hannigan at Roy Thompson Hall. Discovered the best Italian cream puff things ever at Forno Cultura (I think they are called zeppole). Bought books at TYPE bookstore.

Sunday – Volunteer leadership training for Pan Am games. Met football coach Pinball Clemons! Seems like the nicest guy ever. Laundry X 2. Wrote this blog post.

More details later!

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Buzz for It’s Your Money, Honey

A while back, I posted a review for It’s Your Money, Honey: A Girl’s Guide to Saving, Investing and Building Wealth at Every Age of Life Stage. I was happy to see that the authors, Laura McDonald and Susan Misner, were on the Marilyn Denis Show this week! They looked totally glam and dished out great financial advice for women — including ways to teach your kids about money. Check out the video.

I love the tip about buying one stock for kids in a company that they’d be interested in (i.e. Disney) so they can learn about the stock market. When I worked for the federal government, a few of my coworkers made it a tradition to buy Canadian Savings Bonds as very practical baby gifts!

It’s Your Money, Honey so learn how to use it

Update 3/7/2012: See the authors of It’s Your Money, Honey on The Marilyn Denis Show!

Thank you to Laura J. McDonald (GoldenGirlFinance.ca) and Deborah Guichelaar (John Wiley & Sons Canada) for sending me a copy of this awesome finance book. It’s Your Money, Honey is available February 20, 2012.

I’ve been a long time fan of Golden Girl Finance – a website that explains finance to women in a way that makes finance relevant to women. So when I found out that the ladies from Golden Girl Finance, Laura McDonald and Susan Misner were writing a book, I had to get my paws on it.

It’s Your Money, Honey: A Girl’s Guide to Saving, Investing and Building Wealth at Every Age and Life Stage is meant to be a reference book that’s there for you throughout all your most important financial decisions. The book doesn’t claim to offer original advice – in fact, it states outright that most of its advice is common sense and stuff your mom probably told you. The difference is how it dishes advice. McDonald and Misner are working women who know what makes working women tick.

The Brown/Saide Residence in the Hamptons

Using witty analogies and quirky anecdotes, this is probably the first finance book that looks out for your heart as much as your wallet. It’s careful to point out the financial realities for women because so many leave the big financial decisions to their husbands or partners. And the sad truth is, women can be left financially stranded should their partners leave or die before them (which is statistically very possible). Add children to that equation and suddenly the consequences of not taking care of your money seems very scary.

But It’s Your Money, Honey doesn’t use scare tactics. It explains to women the possibilities for complications but it also explains how easy it can be to take care of your money. I highly recommend this to any girl or woman who plans on retiring in the Hamptons (or maybe just comfortably).

The Brown/Saide Residence in the Hamptons

The Brown/Saide Residence in the Hamptons

Related Penguins: New & Hot February Reads & Waiting on Wednesday: It’s Your Money, Honey

Photo credits: loftlifemag.com

Malled by Caitlin Kelly explains why store associates are so surly

I love Lush Cosmetics because the sales people will listen to you whine about your skin and rub moisturizer on your hands. But face it, this kind of service is rare.

Enter Caitlin Kelly, a freelance journalist who finds herself out of work just prior to the recession. Out of options, she works at a high-end winter clothing store, The North Face. She thinks “something here isn’t right…”, works there for two years and writes “Malled”.

And while Kelly clearly did well in retail, this book makes me really glad she returned to writing. Better yet, The North Face should make her CEO after all the free (and good) advice she’s given them. Malled is eloquent, packed with interesting facts and anecdotes. Kelly is funny, dry and tough – the kind of girlfriend you’d love to grab coffee with.

If you don’t already know – retail workers get paid $hit! But Kelly goes beyond this fact by explaining how the North American economy simply doesn’t value the service employee. It’s counter-intuitive to not retain and reward your best associates because they drive sales. “Malled” shows us the systemic problems in almost every store. It has certainly helped me understand some of the puzzling practices I’ve seen at stores recently.

Kelly and her researchers do their homework. They interview small shop owners. They compile anecdotes from those who worked in retail for 30 years and those who worked for six months. They look into the Walmart employee who was trampled to death on Black Friday (#WTF). They even find success stories of high-end luxury stores who get it right. Oh and Costco also gets it right. Surprise!

The only thing I did not like is that Kelly reminds us over and over again that she grew up rich, white and successful. I know she’s trying of to show that she’s a fish out of water but she brings up her successful journalism career and her privileged past so many times, you can’t help but think she’s bragging.

Still, my favourite line in the book proves that we all eventually react the same way to bad jobs:

“One evening, I lost it. Totally decompensated. Went apeshit.”

Related Penguins: Library Finds: Malled & Paris to the Moon (Dec 5, 2010)

Photo credits: laurenconrad.comabandonedplaces.tumblr.com & ny.racked.com