Monday, January 30, 2006

6th Annual Weblog Awards

Thank you to all my faithful readers of this blog but you haven't seen nothing yet! Check out the 6th Annual Weblog Awards and vote for the 2006 bloggies nominees!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

First Week of Class

This is the first week of classes at UNLV which marks the start of the Spring 2006 semester (and me closer to achieving my degree in Finance). I have never liked going to the first day of class--it's nothing but a barrage of parental lecture sessions. I thought now that I am finally working on my major, we can get into the nitty-gritty of the subject and I will be spared the condescending address on class etiquette which is so obviously simple common sense to those who have even a bone of decency in their body.

But I was painfully mistaken, each and every instructor had to go over cell phone etiquette, coming to class late or leaving class early, ditching exams--and as I'm listening to their diatribe, I'm thinking 'as if we were still high school students'. Not only did I have have to listen to one long pompous speech, I had to listen to four!

I know of some undergrads that are deserving of this belittling talk but I believe the majority of the students in my classes are more responsible than the typical undergrad student.

Even though I know I'm not deserving of the first-day-of-class treatment, I hopelessly know I must endure the rest of this week for it will soon be all over!! Besides, I have a wedding to look forward to.

My first day of classes was not completely a waste. I had an interesting exchange with a transvestite. At first I was not aware that he/she was a cross dresser. I had only noticed out of the corner of my eye, this tall gentleman in a blue flower-patterned one piece dress strutting across the lawn in high heels. I was impressed by how well he handled himself in the black pumps he wore so I said, "How do you do that so well?"

At this point, I had not looked directly at his face. Maybe the sun was in my eye and my oversized sunglasses clouded my vision. Angeliqua (as he later introduced himself) openly responded to my inquiry, "It's simple. You practice by balancing a book on your head", as he demonstrated. I had to turn my head and look at him. Only then did I realize this was not a smarty college student playing a joke because Angeliqua had make-up on.

..."It's not in your feet at all. Then you'll build strong legs!" I admit I had stopped listening to his advice because I was more surprised by my first encounter with a transvestite and I wasn't even in Venice Beach!

We chatted until we had to part ways as onlookers gawked at the sight of him. I had to return to work from class. He, on the other hand, was headed to see his psychologist in the Student Health Center.


I must thank Angeliqua for the advice on how to walk in heels. I will need to refer to his...uhm--her advice when I walk down that aisle several months from now.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Six dollars and ninety-seven cents

$6.97

That's all I'm worth as a 28-year old, 5'6" female weighing 130 lbs. (first thing in the morning and dry to the bone). Surely I must be worth more right? I mean--I can cook, clean, scrapbook, and do cartwheels. I've even perfected the art of ignoring my husband-to-be.

Maybe this value is not the what I'm worth by the hour but by the minute--or second (Johnny will agree with that and tell you I'm a high maintenance princess).

This number, according to barcodeart.com, is what I'm worth. At barcodeart.com, one can enter their personal info, their country, and viola!--based upon some stats, you get a personal bar code. Yep. Six dollars and ninety-seven cents.

I fiddled with the figures, making my age younger, older, weight lighter and heavier but still could not quite figure it out. Maybe with one less beer, I might be sober and it will become clear to me. Heck, I think I'll just get a tattoo of this barcode on my shoulder. I've been wanting one since I was a teen but could never decide on a design that I would want permanently. This way, if I was ever unconscience, a scan of my barcode would give some 411. (No, I'm not serious)

Well, I guess it's not so bad when compared to the what I'd be worth if I was in my native country. There, I would only be worth $0.16. That's not a typo. You got it--sixteen cents. Laos is such a third world country and hasn't changed much since the Vietnam War. I left that country when I was three and haven't been back since. Meanwhile, my parents and sisters have. They've brought back videos, photos, and stories to share. I remember my dad talked of when he visited his mother in country where there was no plumbing, running water, or electricity. My parents slept on rocks for pillows and this gal would walk miles each day to and from the nearest well in order to get water for my parents to wash and bathe with.

Back to the barcode--my sweetie, on the other hand is worth $9.57

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Living Room - Revamped

Our first project for the house was to make some improvements to the living room. We had already purchased a new sectional couch with the striped ottoman pictured here but the couch looked out of place in contrast with the not-so-hip living room.

The plan was to paint the institutional white walls, take down the dreary curtains and, most definitely, replace the cold slabs of yucky white tiles around the fireplace.

The chiseled look of the walls could not be appreciated because of the flat white paint. We wanted the living room to feel like a family room and not an apartment. The poopy beige color on the mantel above the fireplace did nothing for that space and the t.v. was especially dwarfed by the larger cubby space it sat in.

As I started to paint, Johnny began chipping away at the plain white tiles which muted the fireplace.


He then replaced them with these deep, rich natural stone tiles which came in a variety of patterns.


Our living room was quite a mess for a while as we waited for the tiles to set and paint to dry.



Our hard work finally paid off. Johnny had the idea to paint the area above the mantel a flat black, which did so much more for that area than the poopy beige color. The new tiles framed the fireplace beautifully.


This living room now looks more cohesive. We actually switched our t.v. twice...LOL!! If you look in the pictures above, we had a DLP set but after a month, the bulb burnt out. Not wanting to take the chance on another defective product, we splurged on a plasma and have never been happier.

You can't tell Johnny is stoked at all!


We have since made some additions to the living room with accents like this lamp with a raffia shade...

(I love the little pineapple on top of the shade!)

...and softer lighting using a couple ORGEL pendant light shades hung in tandem (and JoJo, the tikki sitting in the corner).

Feels much more like home now! Our next project will be the lounge.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Mortgage News Daily


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Mortgage News Daily - Mortgage and Real Estate News
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MortgageNewsDaily.com provides up to the minute news for the mortgage and real estate industries.
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Mon, 25 Sep 2006 18:43:11 EDT
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Mortgage and Real Estate News
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/
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Federal Reserve Report Highlights Lending Concentration and Other Loan Patterns
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9212006_Lending_Report.asp

The Federal Reserve Board recently released the latest in a series of occasional reports on mortgage lending based on data collected under the 1975 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). The law, broadly amended in 1989 and several times since, requires most mortgage lending institutions with offices in metropolitan areas to disclose information about the geographic location, the income, sex, and race or ethnicity of individuals applying for credit...

Read More Now

Thu, 21 Sep 2006 12:08:15 EST
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9212006_Lending_Report.asp

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Mortgage Rates Resume Slow Decline - Application Volume Increases
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9202006_Mortgage_Rates.asp

After a single "up" week, long term interest rates have resumed the slow downward pattern that began the week ending July 20.

Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ended September recorded an average rate of 6.43 percent for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. This is...

Read More Now

Wed, 20 Sep 2006 13:11:02 EST
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9202006_Mortgage_Rates.asp

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Housing Bubble Watch: New Home Construction Reports
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9192006_Housing_Market.asp

Two monthly housing market indicators have been released so far this week, both relating broadly to home construction and showing a continued slowing of the housing sector and a related loss of builder confidence.

Read More Now

Tue, 19 Sep 2006 12:08:10 EST
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9192006_Housing_Market.asp

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National Delinquency Study Is Just A Bit Disquieting
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9152006_Mortgage_Delinquency.asp

The results are too subtle (and also presented in an incredibly confusing format) to determine if rate shock is starting to take its toll on American homeowners, but, looking beyond the cheerful lead paragraph, "The delinquency rates for mortgage loans ...were down 2 basis points from the first quarter..." The National Delinquency Study (NDS) released by The Mortgage Bankers Association this week is a little disquieting.

Read More Now

Fri, 15 Sep 2006 08:32:58 EST
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9152006_Mortgage_Delinquency.asp

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Freddie Mac September Housing Outlook Partially Frosty
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9122006_Housing_Cooling.asp

"A Cooling Trend" was the title given to Freddie Mac's September 2006 Economic Outlook released recently. In keeping with the seasonal theme, the report, issued by the Office of the Chief Economist, projected a cooling trend for the balance of the year, "with occasional frost and warmer conditions as we move into next spring."

Too cute by half, but the report goes on to emphasize the importance the housing sector has been to the overall economy during the recovery from the 2001 recession. In fact...

Read More Now

Tue, 12 Sep 2006 11:44:54 EST
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9122006_Housing_Cooling.asp

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Analysts Are Looking Hard At Rate Shock and The Possible Fallout
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9112006_Option_ARM_Mortgage.asp

The concept of rate shock is getting a lot of press and a portion of it is pretty scary. BusinessWeek.com has just published a stunning article that postulates that the fallout from "exotic" mortgages - i.e. interest only and option mortgages - will reach far beyond homeowners who took on these obligations either not understanding the ramifications or thinking they could game the system. According to the article Nightmare Mortgages...

Read More Now

Mon, 11 Sep 2006 08:55:29 EST
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9112006_Option_ARM_Mortgage.asp

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Home Price Increases Seen Slowing In OFHEO Report
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/972006_Housing_Report.asp

We have often said that the quarterly Office of Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) Home Price Index (HPI) report is one of the most interesting of the dozens of surveys and measures of the housing market that come out every month, quarter, or year.

...The unknown report "is probably the best overall indicator of what is happening overall to home values. We think it is the most important number coming out next week," said David Berson, chief economist at Fannie Mae.

Read More Now

Thu, 7 Sep 2006 12:04:56 EST
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/972006_Housing_Report.asp

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Candidate For Rate Shock? Some Suggestions, Maybe Some Comfort
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/952006_Refinance_Mortgage.asp

Now that the housing bubble has officially started to deflate we can turn our worries to the newest wiggle: Rate Shock.

At least three of the major television and cable networks have run stories in the past week about the danger confronting homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages when those rates adjust. Experts estimate that 25 percent of all loans are adjustable rate mortgages and billions of dollars worth of these will adjust in the next year. Because of compounding factors such as rising energy costs, static wages, and a softening housing market, these adjustments may just price many people out of their own homes.

Read More Now

Tue, 5 Sep 2006 13:32:49 EST
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/952006_Refinance_Mortgage.asp

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Mortgage Rates Up For First Time In Seven Weeks
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9132006_Mortgage_Rates.asp

Mortgage rates reversed a six week downward trend, increasing slightly during the week ended September 7 according to the Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey released by Freddie Mac.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist said "We expect that mortgage rates will continue to fluctuate as new economic data are released, but...

Read More Now

Wed, 13 Sep 2006 08:44:36 EST
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/9132006_Mortgage_Rates.asp

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Mortgage Rates Down Nearly 40 Basis Points From Year High
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/962006_Mortgage_Rates.asp

Once again Freddie Mac is reporting that mortgage rates are down from the preceding week and have now reached levels not seen since late March and early April.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist said, "Mortgage rates continued to drift lower this week in large part because of the cooling in the housing market and in consumer confidence, thus giving financial markets reason to believe that...

Read More Now

Wed, 6 Sep 2006 10:55:58 EST
http://www.MortgageNewsDaily.com/962006_Mortgage_Rates.asp