Stocks Update

Haven’t done a post on stocks in a while. Good news to all those who want to start investing in stocks. Stock prices are a bit cheap these days so it’s really the best time to buy.

I made the mistake of waiting too long again to sell some of the stocks I was holding. I could have earned a lot if I sold them a couple of weeks back. My instincts were telling me to sell them but I held back, doubted and procrastinated. But it’s alright, I can just ride the waves and wait for the next high. :)

I am still subscribing to TRC and follow their pieces of advice. It helps me a lot to focus on my job and worry less about my stocks.

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A piece of (unsolicited) advice to people like me who are just starting to invest in stocks: Don’t fret when you’re stock prices take a dip. It’s only temporary. Unless there’s a war or something worse than that – that’s when you start to worry. But during normal lows, just wait it out and keep calm. As long as you buy good stocks, they’ll always be able to bounce up. Never sell when you’re losing money unless necessary. Or if you know that there’s no other way for the stock but down.

Day 3: Driving lesson with Instructor from Drivers Ed

I am really determined to learn how to drive on the streets, not just around the parking lot. My husband allowed me to drive from the parking lot of ‘At Home’ to the gate of the apartment on our 2nd day of driving lessons. It was a smooth drive because there were no other vehicles and passersby. However Derek told me that I should really hire an instructor to teach me how to drive on the streets because he isn’t willing to do it for me. That’s also the same advice we got from his Mom – that if we want to avoid fighting and save our marriage, I should get someone else to teach me. Which, by the way, is a good advice (I hear it a lot from other people too)… but we’ll get to that later.

So I went online and searched for a reasonable price for a driving instructor and came across driversed.com. They offer different packages for adult driving lessons and I decided to try their 2-hour session, which cost me $111.

Jacob, my instructor, arrived on time, and I easily spotted him in the parking lot because the car had a big ‘driversed.com’ painted on it. He introduced himself and gave me a brief overview of our activities for the 2-hour driving session. He took me to a parking lot and asked me a few basic questions on driving – such as the meaning of the color and style of the lanes – white, yellow, broken lines, solid lines, etc. And then he made me do the usual routine before driving: adjust my seat, mirrors and calm down.. :)

So we spent the first hour and 30 mins to go around the parking lot and discuss about some driving basics. He also corrected the way I turn right. I was already doing good with my left turns but I was bad with my right turns. He also noticed a lot of other mistakes I often made:

1. not looking at my mirrors from time to time
2. not checking my blindspots
3. not slowing down before I make a turn
4. not staying in my lane
5. turning the wheel too much when making turns

I thought I was doing really bad that’s why I got surprised when he told me that I will be driving us home. I was happy, and excited, but most of all, I was nervous. I was driving on the street!!! With traffic lights, cars, and pedestrians all around me! Gosh… There was a time when I was really panicking because he asked me to change lanes and make sure to check my blind spots. I just couldn’t do 2 things at the same time! When I was looking behind me if there were oncoming cars, I stepped on the brake – which is a no-no! So, I made a batch of mistakes again:

1. not taking the window of opportunity at the right moment – he said I shouldn’t hesitate on my every move because that can put me and other people in danger
2. not pushing the gas/not maintaining the speed limit – he was wary when the speed limit was 55 and I was going somewhere around 30. He told me other cars will hit us if I don’t speed up
3. stepping on the brake unnecessarily – when I’m scared or doubtful, I step on the brake.
4. stopping too close to the car in front of me in traffic – he told me to keep a good distance from the car in front of me
5. not turning the signal lights on before making turns

He made me park when we finally reached my apartment building. I was just so relieved that we made it alive and safe. He told me I did well for someone who is just driving for the first time. Yeah, that was just my 3rd day or to be really accurate – my first 5 hours behind the wheel – ever! So kudos to me! I felt happy and proud of myself that day. Haha. It felt like the longest ride I ever had. :)

Planning for a Wedding

My husband and I had our civil wedding in Austin, Texas last November 8. We did most of the preparations ourselves, from the invitations, decor (my husband even climbed the tree to hang the paper lanterns 2 hours before the ceremony), flower arrangements, bouquet, and song selection. Our friends helped in taking pictures, his uncle took the video, my friends picked the food from the caterer, his dad cooked sausage and brisket, and his family helped clean up the place after the wedding. It was a really memorable event because everybody contributed and helped us with the planning, preparations, and execution.

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Four months from now, we will get married again in the Philippines. This time we won’t be as ‘stressed’ as we were during our civil wedding. Although it was a good experience to have our DIY wedding, it would be great to just relax, have a good time and let other people take care of everything. We are having this second wedding for my family and closest friends. I want to walk down the aisle with my Papa and Mama.

It’s still hard to plan for everything because I don’t have a wedding coordinator. I rely only on connections, relatives and friends who are willing to help, and of course, Facebook. Just a little tip to people who owns businesses – especially wedding vendors: Get your business known worldwide by having a Web presence. It doesn’t have to be so sophisticated, all you need at the minimum is a Facebook page and you’ll have an opportunity to do business with practically anyone around the globe. In my experience, I found vendors through word of mouth (friends’ recommendations). They would tell me the name of the vendor, I search it online or in Facebook itself, and voila! Just a simple message opens up a good business relationship. :)

For those who are planning for their own wedding, this is my checklist:

1. Set the date. The date is really very important because you need to check if the venue is available and you need to make sure that your chosen vendors are available on the date. Most importantly, you need to make sure your guests can block their calendars for your event – especially for those who need to travel and book flights.

2. Set the budget. I could not stress this enough. There needs to be a budget. Once you and your partner have set a budget, you can then work around it and proceed with the planning. It will really help you choose your vendors. I know a lot of people splurge on their wedding. I have nothing against them. If they have the money, why not? But for ordinary people like me,  we need to set a budget – and stick to it! Don’t be easily swayed by vendors who just want you to spend more.

3. Choose and reserve the venue. Once you have carefully selected the venue, book it for your event in advance. Don’t wait until someone else reserves the date you have chosen because you will be forced to settle with a possibly more expensive venue or something that is just your second choice. You will end up regretting and wanting to kick yourself in the butt. :)

4. Do your gown shopping and fitting. Your gown doesn’t need to be expensive; nor does it need to be made by a well known designer. As long as you look beautiful, elegant, and comfortable in it, that’s great. You’ll know it when you see and feel it. :) Also one tip: ivory color is more classy and elegant than super white ones. Super white wedding gowns look cheap… Use Pinterest to look for styles, designs, and inspirations.

5. Decide on the food. Check if you guests have special preferences – cater to vegetarians and meat eaters alike. If possible, do food tasting so that you can guarantee  you will like the food.

6. Take care of the legal and church requirements. Okay, this is probably the most important step of all. Without these, your wedding won’t be legal and binding. Do your research. Find out what the requirements are and be diligent  enough to gather all your documents and your spouse’s. Take time to attend necessary seminars and learn from them.

Family Drama

Almost my entire life, I have struggled to give a better life to my family. I have always dreamt for my parents to live in a nice house, be debt-free, and just be comfortable. I also wanted my brothers and sister to finish school, get a job, and be independent. As an eldest child, I have always felt responsible for my family’s welfare.

But no matter how hard I try, no matter how much I support them financially and emotionally, I realized that I don’t really hold their future. I don’t make decisions for them and what they do with their lives is beyond my control. But sad to say, I am still affected by the consequences of their choices and actions.

When I learned that my sister got pregnant again for the 2nd time, not even a year after she gave birth to her eldest, I felt really disappointed and upset. She’s only 17 for crying out loud! I’m really mad and I can’t do anything about it.

Maybe it’s just because I have my period right now, that is why I feel so mad and have a hard time of letting it go. Argh. So disappointing.

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My Pick: Thrive by Arianna Huffington

I have started reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington and I am truly pleased with the book.

I got it right when I needed it. I was super stressed and have been feeling burnt out from work and life in general.

It helped a lot that I was given a 6-week course guide for the book. The guide gave me chapters to week for each week and some activities to help me remember the important topics of each lesson. I absolutely recommend this book!

I will be updating this post as I finish each weekly lesson.

Lesson 1: Sleep and Meditation

  • Key takeaways:
    • Take time to meditate to clear up your mind and improve your focus – keep your performance at optimal levels

    • Make an appointment with yourself to get enough sleep – mine is at least 7.5 hours
    • Dreams can help you connect to your innerself
  • Action Items:
    • Meditate for at least 15 minutes everyday – I still find this hard to incorporate in my daily routine but I find it really relaxing and energizing when I do
    • Sleep for at least 7.5 hours a day

Lesson 2: Disconnect and Walk

  • Key takeaways:
    • Take time to relax! Unwind and disconnect from electronics (phone, tablet, laptop) to connect to the people around you and more importantly, to connect with yourself

    • Walking helps
      • Make you more creative
      • De-stress

      • Make you healthy mentally and physically
      • You deal with depression
    • Don’t think while walking, notice everything around you
  • Action Items:
    • Walking as an alternate to my daily exercise
    • Make sure to disconnect and relax at least 30 minutes before going to bed
    • Turn off notifications from apps

Golf and Driving

My husband loves playing golf with his parents. Now that the weather is perfect to go outdoors and play under the sun, we are set to spend more weekends in the golf course.

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I can’t play golf though. The closest thing I can go with a golf club is at Top Golf, where they have those big ass holes and I am not under the sun. He he.

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But I am excited to drive the golf cart. Derek promised to teach me how to drive in reverse using the golf cart. :) So it doesn’t really bother me much that I’ll be spending about 4 hours under the sun. So, everybody happy this Saturday! ;)

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How do I get blogging back into my system?

I have tried many times to get blogging back into my system. But obviously, I failed.
I’ve had so few posts since I’ve been here in Austin. Life just got so busy.
Especially now that I am married. It’s hard to find a personal time and to be alone with my thoughts.

First, the question should be why? Why should I blog? Why is it important to me?
Well, blogging is my way of untangling the thoughts in my brain. It helps me reflect and figure out what are the areas that I need to focus on in life. It helps me stay grounded and in touch with my inner, true self. It helps me silence out the noise of the world.

So how do I get blogging into my system?
1. I am thinking of setting aside a regular time to blog such as Friday and Sunday evenings.
2. Blog from my phone instead of my tablet or my laptop. It is the most accessible device and I have it with me all the time.
3. Start right now.

Kickstarting Monday – our usual weekday

I woke up an hour and a half early today. Hubby’s alarm went off earlier than usual. He forgot to move it back to the usual 5am alarm. As usual, we would hug and say our ‘I love you’s’ before he leaves. I love our morning ritual. But I hate it when he leaves. Oh well, we gotta work to pay the bills and prepare for our future. I wanted to go back to sleep so bad but after an hour of trying, I gave up.

As usual, I had my early series of meetings with our Offshore team. I did code reviews, answered questions, followed up on their tasks. By 8:30, Arvin picked me up and we continued working at the office. It was an OK-day. I found the bug in my code and finally tested it end to end. I’m back on schedule.

I went home to my husband at 5:30. He was playing on his Xbox and looked happy. I thought I could get away with not doing my workout but nope, he noticed and went to the bedroom to remind me to get my butt working out. I dragged my feet and reluctantly worked out for 20 minutes. Derek was cooking while was working out so when I was done and took my shower, food was ready. At 9pm, we are ready to go to bed. Recharging for yet another working day.

Day 1: Driving Lessons – Basics

I had my very first driving lesson today. My husband agreed to teach me the basics. I was a little doubtful at first. I didn’t think it was a good idea to let him teach me how to drive because I was afraid I’d get into his nerves and he would be impatient and agitated with me. I reminded him several times before our session to have more patience when teaching me.

So we went to get the rental car from my projectmate, Arvin at IMT Apartments and went to the parking lot of the nearby store, At Home (formerly Garden Ridge). I was happy to see that there wasn’t a single car parked. A great day for my first day of driving lesson.

My husband, Derek, first taught me how to:
1. adjust my seat so I am comfortable to move my feet and turn the steering wheel
2. adjust the mirrors so I can see the cars at the back, at my right, and at my left
3. step on the gas and keep it on a steady state (this was the hardest for me). The car was still parked when he was trying to teach me this so the car didn’t move when I stepped on the gas.
4. step on the brake
5. turn the steering wheel to the right, left, and straight ahead

Finally when I was comfortable with stepping on the gas and keeping it at 1.5, he allowed me to switch to Drive. When he told me to release the brake, I got a little startled that the car started to move. Well, you can’t blame me, after 31 years of existence on Earth, it was my very first time to be on the wheel of a car (ATV didn’t count). So I told him I wasn’t ready yet. But he told me I had to calm myself down and relax. I was shaking! I could hardly hold my feet steady because they were shaking and my hands were cold as ice. I was so nervous. Excited. Scared. I didn’t want to hurt my husband nor the car nor anybody else.

But Derek told me we will be fine. The car is moving slowly. Anyone can walk faster than the car. Lol. We were moving at 5MPH.

So I trusted myself and my instructor and released the brake. I turned the wheel left and right when he told me to. I was doing pretty well, doing left turns, right turns, and going straight ahead. Finally he trusted me enough to allow me to hit on the gas but just a little bit. Fifteen minutes before our first session was over, I was a little bit more confident. It was a good day. My dear husband, the love of my life was patient enough to teach me. Someday I’m going to look back at this day and smile. :) This is how I started to drive.

Pre-32 Post 31: Looking back at the year that was

This is it! I’m officially out of the calendar in one week! I’m turning 32 next week! I can’t believe it. Time flies. So fast.

Dated. Said Yes. Got Married. Now Living Happily with the Love of My Life.

Joined project. Learned. Batch. Interface. Team. Friends. Offshore.

Miss -> Mrs. :)

Austin. Houston. Arlington. Waco. San Antonio. Texas.

Want to blog. Words. Short. Back. Blog. Short. Sweet.

i.am.mylene: Living & Loving Life!

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