Reduce Stress Through These Simple Steps

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Hi there my beautiful lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. As promised I will share with you today some simple steps to reduce stress. One thing for sure, the current pandemic and brought out stresses in our lives that we never thought existed. It is also put havoc on our body and digestion. Read the entire blog and I have a bonus for you at the end. Don’t scroll down….

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Stress…what do we mean when to talk about stress?How do we describe stress. It’s our body’s fight or flight response. National Institution of Mental Health (NIMH) defines stress as the following:

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“Stress can be defined as the brain’s response to any demand. Many things can trigger this response, including change. Changes can be positive or negative, as well as real or perceived. They may be recurring, short-term, or long-term and may include things like commuting to and from school or work every day, traveling for a yearly vacation, or moving to another home. Changes can be mild and relatively harmless, such as winning a race, watching a scary movie, or riding a rollercoaster. Some changes are major, such as marriage or divorce, serious illness, or a car accident. Other changes are extreme, such as exposure to violence, and can lead to traumatic stress reactions.”

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Nevertheless, our exposure to stress might be it can have a big toll on our health, hence my today’s blog. I, like many of us have dealt with stress to the point that I always had palpitation, high heart rate (higher than my usual benign high heart rate), insomnia, and anxiety. However, all that changed when I decided to take the 8 week Mindful Based Stress Reduction class Dr. Gina L Sager. She is a retired board-certified general surgeon, named one of Baltimore’s Top Docs in October 2000. Gina taught us to be aware of the present and be in the moment. I am currently in the 7th week of the class and I have so much difference in the class. You can talk her class in Town for $500 or simply her CDs 10% of the proceed of which will go to HopeWell Cancer Support. I use her Yoga Nidra, a deed relaxing guided meditation CD every night help me fall asleep along with Melatonin. I have to say that has been a lifesaver for me. I also use her guided Sitting meditation CD during my one hour subway commute to work everyday that help feel focused and ready to take on the day with all my attention even with my ADD personality.

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During one my long morning commute to work in the past, a lady tapped my shoulder while I was on my meditation mode, and gave a local Washington Post Express newspaper pointing to a particular newspaper article, and saying “this is you”. What was interesting was that she observed it right. The lady in far left was like me. This is what I do everyday. So I am not alone. The article provided the following mindful commuting tips: 1) Focus on your surroundings: Focus you attention from when you will get to you destination to what you notice via your senses, like the sounds, the feel of you feet touching the ground, or places of your body that feel tense. 2) Focus on your breath: If you’re not riding a bike or driving take five slow, deep breaths, then return to normal breathing but try to notice each breath and the space between breaths. 3) Refuse your thoughts: you red lights or stops on a train or bus as a reminder notice whether you’re lost in though. Then refocus on your breathing or your senses.

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There are some great free apps with guided meditation. The one that I love that most is Calm. It’s free in both Google Play. This app can help you meditate, sleep, relax, focus and much more. Don’t let stress take over your health and life. Let’s start by focusing on the moment and being aware of the present. However, in on order to conquer stress to we have to be aware of our feeling.

Now I will share with a bonus video that I have created to help reduce step. Just follow this guided meditation everyday and improve your mental awareness and health, and reduce stress and anxiety in your life.

Please come back tomorrow to learn more about my short 7 days workout challenge toward a flatter stomach and healthier me. Also I will add a separate post on mindful eating (remember the side effect of eating fast?). Until next time, I leave you with the following quotes from Jerry Spinelli,

“Live Yesterday.
Not Yesterday.
Not tomorrow.
Just today.
Inhabit your moments.
Don’t rent them out to tomorrow.”
 

Hope you enjoyed my post as much I enjoyed writing it. What do you do to reduce stress. Did you find my video helpful. What more would you want do see. Please leave your comments.

In the meantime don’t forget to checkout my Facebook Page, YouTube channel, and bloglovin page, My Amazon recommendations. Please follow me.

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Healthy Life

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My Ultimate Fight Against Bloating and Water Retention:

Hi there my lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. Have started various diets and workout challenges just to stop and give up in the middle? Then you are not alone. I have probably now gone through several of this ‘so called’ diets and workouts just to give after few days.

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Before I talk about any workout and diet let me first give you a short background about my heath. I suffer from severe chronic pains, and being in few car accidents and a nasty fall aggravated such pains. Additionally, several gastrointestinal issues has not only restricted the diets I could get into, but also cause horrible bloating and water retention. After every meal, small or big, my stomach would bloat so much that I would look as if in my third trimester. I call is my gas baby, because that’s exactly what it is. It happens when large amounts of air or gas build up in the gastrointestinal tract. Eating is a common cause of bloating because when the body digests food, it produces gas. People also swallow air when eating or drinking, which then enters the gastrointestinal tract.

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As a public health and data driven person, I needed to find out what are the real culprit behind bloating and what happens if I eliminate one by one. So begins my search. Bloating can be caused by several culprits/

Common triggers of bloating:

  1. Stress
  2. Fizzy drinks
  3. Diet
  4. Lack of exercise
  5. Eating too quickly
  6. Dysbiosis
  7. IBS
  8. Food intolerances

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Stress: In order to address stress, I started relying a lot on Mindfulness Based Meditation (Look Out for My Repost Tomorrow). The main goal of mindfulness based meditation is living in the moment. My dear lovelies, if you are a regular to my blog you may already know about my struggle with generalized anxiety symptoms and ADD. I will post detail post about each later. One of my regular regiment for dealing with stress and anxiety is being present in the moment. I actually took part in a stress study, where biofeedback mechanism was used to control stress. It’s then I actually got a measurement of extremely high stress level. That what the beginning of my mindful meditation journey. Through techniques as deep breathing and guided meditation I have learned to control my stress and anxiety. There is a saying:

That’s exactly what I have learned from mindfulness based meditation. Through mindfulness yoga and my trusty guided tai chi app in my Occulus Quest. Do visit my blog tomorrow for more detail information about guided meditation and a bonus video.

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Frizzy Drinks:Any carbonated drink (yes, even sparking water) can cause bloating. The fizzing bubbles in carbonated drinks are actually gas, which can get trapped in your stomach and make you feel like you’ve been pumped with helium. I have eliminated fizzy drinks from my diet complete. Though I have seen some improvement but I have a long way to go.

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Diet: Certain food in your diet can increase bloating. Diets such as, beans, lentils, carbonated drinks, onion, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), diary, garlic, apple, wheat, rye, barley (commonly found in cereal), sugar alcohol (found in sugar free gums), and beer. If you have problems with bloating, then chances are that a food on this list is the culprit. That being said, there is no reason to avoid all of these foods, only the ones that cause you problems personally. If you find that a certain food consistently makes you bloated, then simply avoid it. No food is worth suffering for. That being said, don’t stop eating every, but opt for complex carbohydrates, such as quinoa and sweet potato wedges, over cous cous and regular chips. Opt for papaya instead of watermelon and drink nut milk as opposed to cow’s milk.

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Lack of Exercise: Gas is a normal part of digestion, but how much you have depends on many variables, including your diet, when and how fast you eat, and the efficiency of your digestive system. One way to ease bloating discomfort is to get moving. Although you might feel like taking a nap after a big meal, walk for 10 to 15 minutes instead. Walking, jogging, calisthenics, and other types of exercise can help stimulate the passage of gas through your digestive tract. Lack of exercise can cause constipation, so you may feel like taking a nap after a large meal but getting in 10-15 mins of exercise can be really beneficial. Whether it’s running or walking, most forms of physical activity will help expel gas that causes pain and get your digestion moving.

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Eating too quickly: Drinking or eating too quickly increases the amount of air a person swallows, which can lead to more gas building up in the gastrointestinal tract. For people who eat or drink quickly, this may be a cause of bloating; slowing down the rate at which they eat might help to reduce the problem. Hence, I have made it a habit of chewing my food at least 10-20 times before swallowing. Yeah I know, I have taken it from the book of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory.

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Dysbiosis: Dysbiosis means that the ecosystem of microbes living in your gut has become imbalanced or dysfunctional. When dysbiosis occurs and the environment of the gut changes, levels of microbial byproducts such as methane and hydrogen can ramp up. I myself have suffered from dysbiosis, and have been put on antibiotic for that. I really did see an improvement on bloating level. Additionally, I have also found low FOBMAP diet to be very helpful. I will add another post on that diet.

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IBS: Uncomfortable and unflattering bloating is one of the main symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), along with abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. All of the symptoms are frustrating, but bloating can really make you feel down. IBS is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. Some people can control their symptoms by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress. Others will need medication and counseling.

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Food Intolerance: A food intolerance, or a food sensitivity occurs when a person has difficulty digesting a particular food. This can lead to symptoms such as intestinal gas, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Food intolerance involve the digestive system. Food allergies involve the immune system. With a food allergy, even a microscopic amount of the food has the potential to lead to a serious or life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Whether you have lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, or even sucrose intolerance, it will effect your digestion. Talk to your physician or gastroenterologist you have any symptoms after eating certain food. I would suggest keeping a food diary and noting symptoms after each food.

My dear lovelies! I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed reading this post.  I wanted to share with you things I have gone through and learned from my experience. Hope this post allows you have to move towards a more healthy and less gassy journey.

In the meantime don’t forget to checkout my Facebook PageYouTube channel, and bloglovin page, My Amazon recommendations. Please follow me.

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A Virtual Tour of Our Organic Garden

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Hi there my lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. Today, I will give you a virtual tour of our organic garden. I want to start by giving a shout out to my amazing dad, who not only had to risk his life everyday during the stay-at-home order, to do his job, but also had to take care of my mom, who suffered through lingering pneumonia for 4 months, and aggravation of her interstitial lung disease.  During the past four months he wore the had of a heroic essential worker, a super dad, and home maker, and a loving and care husband. We love you Abbu (dad).

With everything going on, he also took care this our beautiful organic garden. He did not add any pesticides or artificial stuff, but only organic compost and soil, and organic food.  Today, I am very proud to share with your the fruit of this labor, and hard work. Hope you enjoy this garden. Please share and comment to give a shout out to my amazing dad, who not only rose up to the occasion when needed but also nurtured my mom to 85% better health.

Hope you enjoyed my post as much I enjoyed writing it. What kind of vegetables, fruits, and flowers are you planting in your garden? What tips can you provide for a vibrant garden? What did not work for you?

In the meantime don’t forget to checkout my Facebook PageYouTube channel, and bloglovin page, My Amazon recommendations. Please follow me.

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How to Boost Your Credit

Hi there my lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. Are new to credit and don’t know how to boost your credit, then you are in the right place. Today, I will talk to you about building credit.

What is credit?

According to Experian, credit is the ability to borrow money or access goods or services with the understanding that you’ll pay later. Lenders, merchants and service providers (known collectively as creditors) grant credit based on their confidence you can be trusted to pay back what you borrowed, along with any finance charges that may apply. Having a good credit is crucial in get home, auto loans, low interest personal, student loans and credit card.

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Your credit history is summarized in files known as credit reports, compiled by three independent credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Banks, credit unions, credit card issuers and other creditors voluntarily report your borrowing and repayment information to the credit bureaus. It is important to ensure that your credit report is showing accurate information. You are entitled to one free credit report every year. Just go to annualcreditreport.com and pull your credit report every year. It will also give you red flags on any potential fraudulent charges.

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How does credit work?

Nowadays, creditors typically look to your credit history—your record of borrowing and repaying funds—as a first step in determining whether to issue you credit. It is important to have a good credit history. The higher and positive your credit history, the better your credit score. Any delinquencies in your credit history will negatively negative effect your credit score.

Credit score is three-digit number that is used to narrow creditors’ lending decisions. It often used as the first step in deciding whether or not to issue credit. Your credit score provides the information on your credit reports to something that’s easy to interpret, and does so in a fair way that minimizes the possibility of bias. You can get your free credit score at Credit Karma.

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Why is credit important?

A good credit is needed in every steps of your adult life. Landlords may check your credit when deciding if they’ll rent you an apartment or determining how large a security deposit to require.  Insurance companies may use your credit scores as factors in determining your rates. As mentioned above, utilities companies may check your credit before deciding to let you open an account or borrow equipment. Credit is a tool that can help you buy things you need now and pay for them over time. If you want to apply for federal jobs, your credit will be pulled to verify your identity, and for other purposes defined by federal law.

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How to boost your credit?

In order to boost your credit, don’t expect results overnight. Credit restoration takes time, often six months or more. It’s never a bad idea to consult with a credit expert if you have questions. Moreover, dealing with debt goes hand-in-hand with taking a closer look at your spending habits. Don’t bite more than you can chew. Check out my post on my own current journey towards financial freedom. When you apply for job, your potential will pull your credit history as part of your background check and making a hiring decision. Credit is also important to buy phones, through money payment, or even get a credit increase.

a. Pay your bills on time:

Paying your bills on time is key to any attempt to improve a credit score. you don’t have to pay off your bill. You just have to make sure that you are at least making the minimum required payment on time. If you are having problem paying your bill, please explain the your current financial situation with your credit. They will often work with your to make a plan without negatively effecting your credit. However, if you just miss your payment that will have a negative effect on your credit and a pattern of doing it over the years can be quite long-lasting.

b. Balance your credit:

Another way to inch your credit score higher is by thoughtfully managing the type of accounts you have open, including limiting consumer credit accounts (credit cards, store cards, store lines of credit). Credit bureaus look for a nicely balanced credit portfolio of things like a mortgage, car loan, student loan, and consumer debt. However, one mistake you can have is having a lot of cards. If you have an account that you are not using, just close the account. When I close an account, I just make sure I am not closing my oldest card because having a long credit is important.

c. Credit history length.

Credit agencies like to see accounts that have been open for a more extended period of time and managed responsibly since the account opening. You can check the length of of your oldest credit in your credit report and then can help improve your score by closing some of the recent ones.  That’s why, before closing accounts, double-check how long they have been open. Accounts that have a more than 10-year credit history are actually helping your score.  Only close accounts that are only few years old.

d. Minimize hard inquiries:

Every time you apply for new line of credits or credit cards, your credit report if pulled, which is known as hard inquiries. That can have a negative impact on your credit score. Hence, if possible stop applying for knew credit cards. If your goal is to improve your credit score, then minimize the new credit application, even better if you stop applying for new line of credits. Before closing accounts, double-check how long they have been open. Accounts that have a more than 10-year credit history are actually helping your score.

e. Improve Your Debt Ratio:

This is very important. Credit agencies prefer to see consumers with a credit utilization ratio of less than 30 percent. Your credit utilization ratio is the total of your outstanding debt as a percent of all of your credit limits combined. Try to aim to keep the ratio below 5%. The lower the better. If all your credit cards have balances near the limit, your credit score will suffer, since your debt ratio will increase. A great, fast way to raise your credit score is to keep your credit utilization low. Additionally, in order to boost your credit score in under six months, pay off all of your credit card debt.

f. When paying of your credit balance – do so in steps:

If you are paying of your credit balance don’t pay off in one payment. The reason to do it this way is most credit card companies won’t reflect a paid-off account for a few months. So, just pay it down first, and they will report your account with a low balance, which will increase your scores. And then pay it off entirely. This is will have a more positive impact on your score. When I received my first credit card, I would always pay it off right away and did not see any improvement on my report. It’s during that time I dad told me about this, and before I knew it, I started to see boost in my credit score.

g. Ask for Credit Limit Increases: If you don’t have the financial ability to pay off your credit cards in order to get them below a 30% utilization ratio, ask for credit limit increases, which gives you more available credit and therefore boosts your score. The key here is to be responsible with the limit increase and not start spending more.

h. Choose one card and use it responsibly each month:

Select one credit card and use it every month for expenses that you would typically pay for with a debit card or cash. And then, be sure to pay this card in full every month. However, in order to boost your credit, be sure to get your statement first and then pay off the balance. This way you will have something reported to the credit bureau every month. In addition, not only is something being reported to the credit bureaus. The bureaus are seeing that you are paying a bill in its entirety, consistently.

My dear lovelies! With lots of patient and using your credit responsibly, you can boost to credit and have a sound financial health.

Hope you enjoyed my post as much I enjoyed writing it. What other steps have helped improve your credit score? Please leave your feedback. Let us work together to lead create a sound financial health for ourselves.

In the meantime don’t forget to checkout my Facebook PageYouTube channel, and bloglovin page, My Amazon recommendations. Please follow me.

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Nine Tips to Make Your First Time Home Buying Process Easier

Hi there my lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. Have you made a major decision in your life only to regret it later? You specially don’t want to do it when it comes to buying house for the first time. Trust me, I have been there. Home buying process for first time home buyers is already intimidating, full of uncertainty, painful, full of anxiety, and stress. Hence today, I will share with you five and more tips to make your first time home buying process much easier.

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  1. Know how much you can afford:
    This is a crucial step because going into the home buying process without knowing how much you can actually afford can lead to financial hardship down the road or even foreclosure. I have seen this happen. You don’t want to buy house for a price, which is higher than you can actually afford. You should be able to pay you monthly mortgage and have at least 3 to 6 months of payment reserved. The general rule of thumb is the monthly mortgage plus tax and insurance should not exceed 30% of your gross monthly income. The lower amount would be even better. This way you will have some buffer room. Moreover, always anticipate additional expenses outside your monthly mortgage payment. As a home owner, you are responsible for all repair cost. Most homes have home owner association (HOA) monthly fee, so do count that as part of your monthly mortgage payment plus taxes and insurance.
  1. Get Pre-qualified for home loan:
    Many sellers will not even let you make any offers on your home without been prequalified for home loan. This is actually a great way to have your ducks in row. You will know how much you can afford. Do shop around. It’s sometimes hard to get loans from big banks. Check out your local small banks and credit unions. Lending Tree is a great site where you can shop around for your loans.

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  1. Get your credits in order:
    Make sure that your credit is in order. I will add another post on how to boost your credit. You can check your credit for free at annualcreditreport.com. You should check your credit report every year to make sure your account in good shape and there are no discrepancies. Additionally, you should also know your credit score. Credit Karma is a great site where you can get your credit score for free. The higher your credit score, the better the interest rate you will qualify for. Not many lenders would not even consider your loan application below 620 score.
  1. Save for your down payment and closing cost:
    The amount of down payment will depend on the type of loan you are getting. There are various type of loans available:
    i. FHA Loan: FHA loan is issued by an FHA-approved lender and insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Designed for low-to-moderate-income borrowers, FHA loans require a lower minimum down payments and credit scores than many conventional loans. With FHA loans, your down payment can be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price. You’ll need a credit score of at least 580 to qualify. If your credit score falls between 500 and 579, you can still get an FHA loan provided you can make a 10% down payment. With FHA loans, your down payment can come from savings, a financial gift from a family member, or a grant for down-payment assistance. Majority of FHA loans require you to may a premium mortgage insurance (PMI) each month. This added expense can drive up the cost of your monthly mortgage payments and, overall, makes your loan more expensive. However, it’s almost unavoidable if you don’t have a 20% or more down payment saved up.
    ii. Conventional Loan: A conventional mortgage or conventional loan is any type of home buyer’s loan that is not offered or secured by a government entity. Instead, conventional mortgages are available through private lenders, such as banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies. Conventional mortgages typically have a fixed rate of interest, which means that the interest rate does not change throughout the life of the loan. Conventional mortgages or loans or not guaranteed by the federal government and as a result, typically have stricter lending requirements by banks and creditors. No property is ever 100% financed. In checking your assets and liabilities, a lender is looking to see not only if you can afford your monthly mortgage payments, which usually shouldn’t exceed 28% of your gross income. A credit score of at least 680 and, preferably, well over 700 can be required for approval. Also, the higher the score, the lower the interest rate on the loan, with the best terms being reserved for those over 740. Typically, adown payment of at least 20% of the home’s purchase price readily available. Lenders can and do accept less, but if they do, they often require that borrowers take out private mortgage insurance and pay its premiums monthly until they achieve at least 20% equity in the house.
    iii. VA Loan: A VA loan is a $0-down mortgage option issued by private lenders and partially backed, or guaranteed, by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Eligible borrowers can use a VA loan to purchase a property as their primary residence or refinance an existing mortgage. Service members with a history of bankruptcy or foreclosure can secure a VA loan. Even borrowers who have had a VA loan foreclosed on can still utilize their VA loan benefit. The VA’s guaranty eliminates the need for any mortgage insurance or mortgage insurance premium, helping borrowers save even more money each month. However, there is the VA Funding Fee. This fee helps the VA keep the program going and is required on both purchase and refinance loans. It can be rolled into the loan amount and waived entirely for those with service-connected disabilities. The VA funding fee is 2.3% of the amount borrowed on a VA home loan. The fee increases to 3.6% for borrowers who have already used the VA loan program in the past. However, the funding fee can be reduced by putting at least 5% down at the time of closing.
    iv. USDA Loans: USDA loans help moderate- to low-income borrowers buy homes in rural areas. You must purchase a home in a USDA-eligible area and meet certain income limits to qualify. Some USDA loans do not require a down payment for eligible borrowers with low incomes. Credit requirements are more relaxed in USDA loans, and you don’t need a large down payment. Nonetheless, you should expect to pay mandatory mortgage insurance premiums that cannot be canceled on some loans.
    Closing costs, also known as settlement costs, are the fees you pay when obtaining your loan. Closing costs are typically about 3-5% of your loan amount and are usually paid at closing. Typically the buyer pays closing costs, though sometimes negotiations between the buyer and the seller can lead to the seller paying some of the closing costs. However, don’t count on it.

5. Get a good real estate agent:
Having a knowledgeable real estate agent if crucial a good home buying experience. You can get an agent specializing in buying and selling, or someone who specializes just in buying homes. I would rather go with the later one since this way you will assured that the agent is not trying to get you to buy one of his/her listing. Ask your family and friends for recommendation and also do your homework. You would want agent who has sold many homes than some who sells 1 or 2 homes a month. My agent was horrible who did not want to do much research. He put a lot of pressure on us to buy soon. Don’t go with anyone, who is only interested in their commission and does not understand what you are looking for in a house.

6. Study the neighborhood:
This is very important. If you heard the phrase ‘location, location, location’, it is very true. Do your homework on the neighborhood you are interested in, it’s school district, walkability, and convenience to groceries and other stores. If you a city dweller and am looking to buy in suburb, make sure you know what you are getting into. I grew up in the city, never owned a car, and was used to walking everywhere, relying on public transportation and everything in walking distance. When I bought my first home, I went from a neighborhood with walk score of 98 to one with a walk score of 22, which meant I had to invest on a car after buying my house. It added additional monthly cost (both car payment and car insurance payment) to my monthly expense. Additionally, you don’t want to buy a house where there are mostly rental properties. Your house price will not rise much and it will be harder to resell.

7. Don’t invest on anything big:
Before buying your house, hold off on buying any big purchase, such as large furniture, car, because this may effect your credit score. Making any large purchases will increase your loan and will put a dent on your credit. Do take that info account.

8. Get your home and termite inspection done:
This is very important to get this done, because as a first time home buyer would not want to move into your first home and find one issues after another. When we had our home and termite inspection done, there were several issues, including broken washing machine and garbage disposal, mold and termite issue. That should have been a red flag for us. However, our agent negotiated with the seller to fix all those issues and assured us that all the issues were taken care of. However, down the road we found that there were issues with the dryer, and the seller patched up some termite damages on the stairs without fixing the issue. We had to end up replacing the entire stairs, which was expensive. You want to make sure that the major appliances are in great shape. This again when a good real estate agent can be of great help. Our agent told showed us that all appliances where brand new and we should be good for a long time. However, after buying the house we found out that the dishwasher was not connected to the waterline properly when meant that the dishes never dried. I should not rely completely on your agent but at the same time you want someone who is empathetic and understanding.

9. Get home warranty:
Make sure that you have home warranty before buying your house. One of the great thing is most sellers do offer some sort of home warranty. Our real estate agency paid of our first year home warranty. That was a life saver, because after we moved into the house during summer, our hvac and water heater stopped working. That was a big hassle because it was hot and painful to be in without working a/c. Thanks to the home warranty we got the issues fixed and just paid the deductible. The warranty was specially helpful when my hvac system died on me. My warranty helped to replace it for me. Now, home warranty is regular part of home payment.

My dear lovelies! I wish someone told me these tips before I bought my house. Home buying can be chaotic, painful, hassling, nerve-racking, and even hectic. However, the above tips will make the first-time home buying process much easier.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Have you recently bought you first home? I would love to hear about your experience and feedback. Please share your first time home buying experience and what tips would you provide to first time home buyers?

In the meantime don’t forget to checkout my Facebook PageYouTube channel, and bloglovin page. Please follow me.

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My Journey Towards Financial Freedom

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Hi there my lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. As we are all struggling to find some sort of normalcy, many are dealing with being laid off , due getting laid off, furloughed, and/are struggling to pay their rent/mortgage and bills.

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I am grateful and extremely thankful that I had and still have a full time job. However, due to the rising cost of everything and other issues, I have racked up a hefty credit card debt. on top of my student  and car loans, and mortgage. Me, from a year ago, would have been devastated with constant panic attacks. Nonetheless, one thing the pandemic has taught me is that life is too short and there is no point getting sick about all things though I have become an insomniac. I am still a human.  As someone with ADD, it’s very easy for me to loose track of things. Today, I will share with you my journey towards financial freedom by following few rules.

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  1. Hide Credit Card: The first thing that I did is put away all my credit cards away to a place where I don’t have easy access to .
  2. Create a Spreadsheet: As a  data person, I do much better if I can visualize where I am now and where I want to be. The spreadsheet showed me the credit card balance, student loan, car loan. I then subtract the amount I pay each month minus the interest charge to estimate of about the time frame when I can realistically pay off the my credit card debt.
  3. Look at the Spreadsheet Periodically: I periodically check the spreadsheet and compare it against the actual balance. Seeing the trends of lower balance acts a positive reinforcement for me. It encourages me to stay on the current path towards debt elimination.
  4. Staying on Budget: Finally having a written budge and sticking to that budget allows me to stay on track and avoid paying late fees.

My dear lovelies!  I am still int eh early phase of my journey towards financial freedom, but with your moral support, I hope to stay on track and reach the finish line. I would love to hear about your strategies in gaining financial freedom. Any advice I get will be of tremendous help to me.

One thing that  have learned for sure that loosing hope is not an option for me, because it’s contraindicated for someone living with ADD and generalized anxiety disorder.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did sharing my journey with you.

In the meantime don’t forget to checkout my Facebook PageYouTube channelTicktock and bloglovin page. Please follow me.

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The Ultimate Fashion Trends of 2020

Here there my lovelies! Hope you are doing well.  The pandemic may have bump on lots of our plan. However, one it cannot do is force how we feel. I for one feel great when I continue to style myself and follow my beauty regimen (The natural look). Hence, don’t give into the pandemic. Rise yourself and become the chic self you have always been. Today, I am going to share with you the fashion trends of Summer and Fall 2020.

Summer Fashion:

Linen: This fabric has always been an obvious choice for combating hot temperatures. This year retainer have been quick to offer a lot of variations of linen and mix. Clothing So, stay cool in the summer heat with because linen pieces.

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Linen Shorts: The floral and fruity prints brings out a chic tropical look that all want. In addition, we get the coolness from the linen fabric.

Linen Shirt:  Linen shirts can be worn multiple ways, from laying with a tank, to tucking the shirt into denim shorts or linen pants, and pairing with your favorite summer sandals.

Neon Colors: Neon colors will have a strong presence this summer. It’s the time to wear your brightest brights and choose poppy colors that reflect the clear change in weather. In other words, don’t be afraid to stand out.

Bucket Hats: These hats are another trend this season. It not only protects you from the elements of the weather but also adds a chick look to your ensemble. Think of the bucket hat as a must-have accessory like your favorite ring or chain neckline. You never want to leave home without it.

Puff Sleeves: This 80s-inspired silhouette has been around since last year. It’s the perfect easy-to-wear detail that takes any simple top from ordinary to exceptional.

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Black T-Shirts: If done right the black T-shirt is the most versatile piece in your wardrobe. Whether it’s a simple tee or a babydoll t-shirt dress, polka-dot top or a crop, you can get the most out of this versatile piece. It’s time to give your tees the attention they deserve by layering them under a flirty slip dress, pairing them with some leather hot pants and sexy stilettos, or sporting one with an unexpected detail to bring new life to a tried-and-true classic.

White Button-down Shirt: This piece adds a chic flare to your summer wardrobe. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Fall Trends:

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The Year-Round White Dress: A sheer, floaty, feminine white dress became the uniform for many women, inclement weather. Lingerie looks, all shades of nude, and some seriously interesting sleeve work are also at play.

The Glitz: Morphing into a human disco ball is the number one cure for situational sadness, according to experts.

The Big Fur: With our unpredictable weather patterns, we have no way of knowing if next season’s fall and winter will be all sunshine and heat spikes or blizzards and polar vortexes. But if it’s the latter, we’ll be well prepped in some seriously statement-making furs.

Metalic Flare: Metallic cloth will add a chic and bold statement to you Fall wardrobe.

Sequins Dress: Like metallic ensemble, sequence add chic and boldness to your wardrobe. Wear it with knee boots for night or  chunky sneakers of a bold daytime look.

My dear lovelies! Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I had writing it. We all have our fashion styles. However, if you are trendy person, this will well-prepare your for your chic and stylish ensemble.

What are some of your trendsetting wardrobe pieces for 2020. I would love to hear from you.

In the meantime don’t forget to checkout my Facebook PageYouTube channelTicktock and bloglovin page. Please follow me.

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Five Tips to Have a Fabulous Vacation without Breaking the Bank

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Here there my lovelies! Hope you are doing well. I know vacation is the last thing in our mind during pandemics, but is it? I for sure, can’t wait to things go back to a new normal, and travel is one such way to feel normal. Additionally, budget constraints may be put holiday thoughts in the back burner for you. However, it does not have to be the case. If you plan early you have a wonderful vacation without breaking the bank. I will share my own five tips to have a wonderful vacation without breaking the buck. Following these tips has allowed me to go on more vacations then the entire childhood.

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1. Air fare and hotels rentals to your favorite vacation spot: This may sound like a far-fetched idea, but it can within your reach. I had same thought process for years until I learned about this rewards point tip for a friend. My friends, there are various credit card companies that will give you hefty rewards for using their cards. Many cards have this introductory bonus available if you spend certain amount during the first three month. This might seem unattainable but if you think about it, it’s very much within reach. Check out the following rewards program:

a. Hilton Honors American Express Card: Here, not only there is no annual membership but you can 75,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months of the card membership. Additionally, there are no foreign transaction fees. Furthermore, for each dollar of eligible purchases on your card at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, you get 5x Hilton honors points, 3x points for other eligible purchase.
b. United Explorer Card Through this card you get 40,000 bonus miles if you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months of the card membership. Additionally, there is no annual fee for the first year, but you have to pay $95 annual membership fee after the first year. One perks that I really like about this card is that I get two check-in luggage free. Knowing how much the airlines charge for check-in bags, it’s a good perks to have.
c. Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card: Through the Bonvoy Bold Card you earn 50,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months of the card membership. Additionally, there is not annual fee involve. You can choose to apply for the Bonvoy Boundless Card for a $95 annual fee, and you earn 100,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of the card membership. 100,000 points will give you 15 days free stay at the vast list of Marriott hotels.
d. Capital One Venture Card: With this card you are eligible for 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of activating the card, and you receive unlimited 2x miles for every $1 spent. If the spending requirement sounds intimidating just remember one thing. I was in the same boat but I have decided to pay my phone, utility, cable, car insurance bills, groceries through the reward cards and pay it right away as I would do through my bank. Before I knew, I have enough points to have a free vacation to Hawaii with my family, which was in my bucket list for a very long time.

2. Plan ahead: Planning ahead is a great way to make your amazing vacation dream come true without breaking the bank. I have planned each of the vacation that I have taken a year ahead. This allows you to have time to shop around for the best deals and save up for the vacation.

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3. Take Advantage of the Various Travel Booking Sites: There are various sites available for great travel deals. Site such as Kayak, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Priceline, Orbits, CheapOAir, Google Travel, Trivago, Hotels.com (for hotels), and app such as hopper to find the best flight and hotel deals for your travel destination. Often when you shop around early you can often get the best deal available.

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4. Sign Up for the Free Loyalty Programs: Hotels such as Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, and airlines such as Jetblue, Southwest, American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines all have free rewards program so that you can earn mileage and rewards points for every time you book through them. If you need to travel for business, signing up for the loyalty programs will really come to your advantage. For example, my cousin who constantly travels for work has accumulated a lot of mileage and hotel points to use for dream vacations. If you have to travel for work, use that to your advantage. Additionally, being part of the travel reward programs allowed me to receive emails about various deals, such as Southwest and Jetblue’s one-day deals starting at $49.

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5. Save your changes: Every day we spend money to pay for bills, groceries, and other miscellaneous expenses. If you set up to automatics changes for each of your expenses, before you know you will have enough money for your vacation. The money that you would not have paid attention to anyway will help to have your dream vacation. I have also saved for my vacations for setting aside the changes from the cash I spent and before I knew it, I had few hundred dollars to use during my vacation.

My dear lovelies! I am not trying to promote one site over another, but merely sharing from my own experience so that you can have your own vacation without breaking the bank. I grew up seeing vacation as a privilege. However, with cheaper flights and hotel deals along with the above tips have put vacation within my reach. They have allowed me to travel to places like Canada, Bahamas, Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta, Minnesota, and my favorite Hawaii.

Hope these tips help to prepare for your dream vacation without breaking the bank. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. I would love to hear about the tactics you use to prepare for your dream vacation frugally. I would love to hear about your ideas.

In the meantime don’t forget to checkout my Facebook PageYouTube channelTicktock and bloglovin page. Please follow me.

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The Easiest Way to Invest for Your Future

Hi there my lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and being safe. Have you thought about investing but don’t know where to start. The past decade I have been struggling to figure out a way to invest outside my 401k. To be honest, the word invest intimidated the heck out me. Where do I even start? I can’t afford invest a lot of money. That is when I found out about Robinhood. It’s a free investment platform, where you can buy fraction of a stock like google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Netflix for as low as $1.

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There are several companies that provide free investment opportunities. Firms including Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Square, SoFi and Stash all allow investors to buy fractional shares of individual stocks and, in some cases, ETFs, for $1 or more. I ended up choosing Robinhood. The process of signing up was quite simple and easy to follow. I am not investing outside of my 401k for retirement. I am investing to use three to five years down the road.

My dear lovelies, if you are putting off investment because it’s intimidating, or you don’t think you have enough to invest then check out the above firms. Hopefully, the investment process will be simple and smooth for you and you will well on your way to a better future. If you don’t know where to invest consider the following recommended by Motley Fool: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Chewy, Fastly, Zoom, Shopify, Square, Oka.  Motley also highly recommends their “FAZER stocks”.  (F-Fastly, A-Appian, Z-Zoom, E-Elastic, R-Roku.  I am in no way a stock expert. I have a novice. But doing some research and following expert recommendations, my stocks increased between 0.85% to 286.26%. Don’t get me wrong I have dozens of stocks which decreased from 0.07% to as high as 55.13% since I started investing in late January. However, the one thing that I have learned is in order to succeed you have be in for a long run. Hence, I am patiently waiting. I have learned not to look at my stocks everyday and mini anxiety attacks.

Ups and downs are the name of the investment game. However, if you sell your stock every time it goes down, you will not succeed. Your goal for investment should be at least 3 to 5 years.  Trust me, it’s a learning curve but with patients and doing your homework will lead you to success. As for me, before deciding to panic about my stocks, I try avoiding looking at my stocks everyday and just keep my eye on the finish line and l know that it will be all worth it at the end. I have sold some stock based on my homework, but those were exceptions based on expert recommendations.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post as much I enjoyed writing this post. During this time of uncertainty, it’s very easy to lose hope. Trust me, I am sleepless thinking about the amount of debt I have. However, if we stay focused and stay on our path, we will overcome. I would love to hear your feedback about investment: what worked for you and what didn’t. Wish you the best on your investment journey. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me. I will be honored to share my experience, as a novice myself.

In the meantime don’t forget to checkout my Facebook PageYouTube channelTicktock and bloglovin page. Please follow me.

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How I got into public health!

Good morning my lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. I have been blogging on an off for few years now. I thought, since I have not shared much about myself with you, why don’t do that. Today, I will tell you the story of how I got into Public Health. It was definitely not my first choice, but I am glad that I am in Public Health.

Growing up, I had a clear plan about my future and what I wanted from life. I had a notebook planning the detail intricate of my future. Why? Isn’t it obvious? I was a control freak, who wanted to control every part of my life. I wanted to be a doctor since I can remember, and I had every goals planned. I wanted to go to college with full scholarship (since my parents couldn’t afford to pay my tuition) and then go to medical school. So simply…but is it?

I almost fulfilled the first part of my goal. I did get 90% scholarship to attend George Washington University. I had full scholarship to other universities but GW was my first choice. In college, not have I learned about the typical educational lessons but some great practical lessons as well. It taught me that live can’t be under my control. I will need to let go of things in order to succeed. Struggling with that gave rise to the beginning of my generalized anxiety disorder (Stay tuned for a separate post about that), which led to so many panic attacks.

My dear lovelies! Each time my life did not go account to my plan, I had a major panic attack. I graduated with honors in Biology, a typical premed major. Little did I know that it will really limit my career choice if I didn’t go to medical school. Well, my dad did tell me to consider other major, but at that time my crazy teenager self thought my dad was against me. To tell you the truth, I had quite a decent MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) school but could have led to acceptance to any in-state schools, but the problem that I faced was that I was a Washington DC resident, and there were no DC in-state medical school. Hence, the competition was already tougher for me.

After graduation, I was put on wait list to medical school and what threw me out. I did not apply for work because my plan was to go to medical school, the fall after my college education. Hence, I was unemployed after graduation. When I applied for job I did not get any job offers because all potential employers believed I will leave either for grad school or other further education.

They were right. Frustrated and angry, I decided to apply for a dual masters and medical school program. One thing I knew at that time is Biology will not take me anywhere. This was the very first time in my life I did not have an answer. I decided to do some research and dig deep and hard into my soul. Those were some very long months. My research led me to realize how much I loved taking this public health course in college. I told myself may be that would be a bonus to have as a background. Well, it will add to my medical degree. Hence, I started to apply to dual MD/MPH programs.

Of course, I heard back from graduate school first. So, I started my Master is Public Health Program in Epidemiology that fall. Boy, this program opened my eyes. While being a full time student again, I was working part time at Children’s National as a research assistant. I worked as a research assistant before but they were all lab job. This was the very first time I was working in clinical research. My work and school made me release how much I liked public health, that looks at the overall big picture. In medicine I would have only been looking at individuals. That was the very first time I realized I did not know what I wanted to do in life. I ended up getting into medical school but by then I realized that medical school after all, was not for me.

Dear lovelies, it was at time I realized that things will happen to us when we are ready for it, not before or after. I graduated with a MPH is epidemiology. I graduated with a full time job offer in my hand to work in clinical research at Children’s National. I graduated and became a full time clinical research professional. I ended up working at Children’s for 10+ years with a second graduate degree for free. I am working in clinical research as an analyst and I could not have asked for me.

What the past decade has taught me is ‘to always live in the moment’. I know it’s very easy to say but very heard to do. Those very words have set me free. I remember when I first started my training in Public Health I used to be addressed as Poop Inspect. I was not taken seriously. Even when I talk about how little we are prepared for an eminent pandemic, all of us public health professionals were laughed at. Now, I am longer called a poop doctor, but at what cost?

My lovelies! I still leave every moment in the moment and l love working in the public health program. I am so glad I have grown from my experience, which has led me to being who I am today. I still have anxiety disorder but have learned to manage it quite easily. Once thing life has taught me is that live in the moment and be happy with the way things are. Well, it could have been worse. I see the world as glass half full and “Miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep”.

My dear lovelies! That’s a small glimpse in my life. I would love to hear how you came to be who you are now. Hope will love reading this post as much as I loved writing it.

In the meantime don’t forget to checkout my Facebook PageYouTube channelTicktock and bloglovin page. Please follow me and like my content.

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