On I Don't Get Las Vegas

@Josh Michtom@facebook This is very true, I also love New Orleans (though admittedly have only been there during Mardi Gras, I had a friend at Tulane and took advantage of his floor while we were both in college), and need to get back there. A lot of what people like about Vegas exists similarly in New Orleans, namely the open container law and incredible, incredible food, and New Orleans has farrrr more interesting history (although Vegas history is pretty great too!). This reminds me that I should plan a trip to New Orleans stat.

Posted on October 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm 0

On I Don't Get Las Vegas

If you are really into fine dining experiences and are willing to pay for it, Vegas can't be beat. So many amazing restaurants! And also some really great restaurants off strip as well, including what has been called the best Thai restaurant in America. You can eat really, really well in Vegas. But I love love love love love the fakeness of it all, I just love it. I love it for the same reason I love Disney World. I am just fascinated by the human impulse to recreate things that actually exist elsewhere, and then the impulse that follows to, you know, gawk at it. The psychology of it fascinates me. And Vegas (and Disney) are such fascinating studies in marketing, and the human brain. I simultaneously love the spectacle of it while also geeking out about how perfectly manufactured everything is to make you spend money. Agree with @garli above for her points on gambling being fun if you have a limit and stick to it, especially social games (I'm a blackjack fan myself), the nice pools, the fantastic shows (I never get tired of seeing "O"), and the people watching. But also need to add, as I said above, the food (if you are into food). Also shopping. My parents own a time share in Vegas and go for a week every year, they just unwind and relax and play. They, however, are very affluent (they're both lawyers), and can afford to spend their disposable income however they want, so that might have something to do with their enjoyment of Vegas. I have taken my husband and he got hooked (he likes blackjack too). We had a really fun long weekend there, eating and walking around and gawking at people and things, and managing to not spend too too much money because, again, you can set limits for yourself on what you spend (and if you are aware that everything is manipulating you, it is pretty easy to not overspend, there is plenty to do in Vegas for free after all). Also, that open container rule is pretty amazing. I am by no means a big drinker but the novelty of carrying my like, first and only drink of the day outside with me and wandering around the streets with it, well, that's pretty crazy. But also agree with Josh that Vegas is not for everyone.

Posted on October 22, 2014 at 11:46 am 1

On Sympathy Flowers

Just FYI - If the person to whom you are sending these flowers has pets (in particular cats), NEVER sent anything with lilies in it. Lilies are REALLY toxic to cats, they can get incredibly sick if they just lick a petal or encounter some pollen, so keep that in mind when buying flowers for people.

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 11:16 am 0

On Amazon vs Target, and How "Transparent" Changes Things

@Ester Bloom Damn and blast indeed but I read a lot of epic fantasy series and there is nothing better than finishing a book of the series in bed and having the next book DELIVERED IMMEDIATELY into my greedy little hands. I am also trying to cut down on clutter in my life, and books are such a HUGE cause of that. We moved recently and, even though I had just done a book purge a few months earlier, I still ended up purging 4-5 more boxes of books. I've really culled it down my collection to books I look at *a lot* or books that really need to be, you know, physical books (big art books, graphic novels, etc.), so I'm feeling a lot better about that. Also, fewer paper products/waste/etc.!

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm 0

On Amazon vs Target, and How "Transparent" Changes Things

I started watching Transparent this weekend and it is great! The family is sooooo Jewish, it is almost like the show-writers were listening in on my family's conversations (shtetl people!). My husband has a Prime subscription; I guess convenience, in this case, is outweighing my ethics. (I also have, and love, a first-edition Kindle, no lights no gadgets, just a simple e-reader, that I've had since, like, 2010 or 2011, and is still chugging along wonderfully, thank you Kindle).

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 11:23 am 0

On To Pay Back Loans Faster, Go West, Young Man

@ThatJenn Sarasota is my hometown so yeah, it is pretty much the best and by far my favorite part of Florida, hands down, no question. And you are right, you can't wear shorts in all of Florida in December, but that is like, for a 3 or 4 week period tops.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 10:37 pm 0

On To Pay Back Loans Faster, Go West, Young Man

@garli Um, I was born and raised in Florida and it is great and all you people are just jealous because half the year your weather is awful. Florida has beautiful beaches, wonderful seafood, quaint old Southern towns, cool wildlife, and incredible history in terms of architecture, art, circus, etc. Also, Disney World and theme parks and roller coasters, right in the middle of the state! I left Florida for grad school a few years ago and haven't moved back because life and jobs and whatnot, and every winter/every time I go visit my parents I am like "why did I leave?!" Sadly I probably won't be moving back anytime soon because the opportunities for what I do are somewhat limited in Florida. As stated above, I am pretty convinced that Florida haters just hate on Florida so much because Florida has beautiful weather year-round and you can wear shorts in December and that makes everyone not in Florida super jealous. Yes, Florida's state government has some cray people, and yes, Florida has a lot of cray things going on, but it is a pretty fun place to live and also not cold.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 11:54 am 1

On Twin Peaks: Fire Blog With Me

Hahaha the pie tag, amazing.

Posted on October 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm 1

On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: September 2014 Check-in

Okay, joining this again because many things in life have changed, namely I have a husband now vs. a fiance, and the husband is no longer a student but instead a working man, and we moved two weeks ago to a place where our rent is SIGNIFICANTLY lower. So we are now a two-income household with low rent, but a lot of debt from school and wedding and having to buy a second car because our new home is very far away from downtown and transportation and our workplaces are nowhere near each other. The car loan can't be helped, but we're going to use the opportunity of cheap rent to aggressively pay down our CC bills and start saving. Husband has his own debts with which he is dealing, both student and credit card, so I'm just going to track mine here: Visa Amazon Rewards Card August Debt: $4,002. This is a big combination of necessary wedding costs (ring, Ketubah, other things I didn't want my parents to pay for), filling in the gaps from my husband not working, and miscellaneous other expenses, some necessary, some not. The goal is to put no less than $500 a month here until it is gone. 2014 Ford Focus: We have $19,103.44 on a brand new car we bought in early August. APR is 5.7%, with monthly payments of around $300. Just going to pay this one slow and steady. Going to focus on paying the Visa down and then will be using surplus money to help husband with student loans and school-incurred credit card debt. And once we pay our credit cards off we hope to start saving for a house. Life is expensive.

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 9:32 pm 0

On How People Do Money: The High Holidays

Oh Ester, this is so timely for me. This morning while at shul, I picked up a membership packet at the synagogue I go to in my area. This synagogue, which is primarily a Conservative congregation that has an Orthodox Kehillah as well, thankfully does not ticket non-members on the High Holidays (a perk of living in the South, where there are not many Jews, and where a lot of the Jews go to Reform synagogues). But, I've been to this synagogue enough times that I was thinking I might want to get a membership. But when I saw the membership costs -- yikes!!! If you are in an adult household and one of you is under 30 (which will be me until March), it is $730 a year. But if you are over 30, eesh...nearly $2,000 for a household of two (which we are, although my husband is not Jewish so maybe I should only sign up for a household of one). Oi vey. I will give the synagogue props though for having a very cheap ($100 for the year) student rate, which makes sense because it is two blocks from a major university. Additionally, there was a note in the membership packet that if you can't pay the full fee, the synagogue is willing to work with you. As someone who works for an arts non-profit, I appreciate that. So, is it worth it? I am looking to build a stronger Jewish life for myself now that I have been in this area awhile, but I usually spend at least one of the High Holidays (both if my work schedule permits) with my family because my dad, who is a lawyer in his real life, is also a registered cantorial soloist with the Conservative movement and so travels around the country during the High Holidays to sing at synagogues that don't have a full-time cantor. For nearly a decade he's been at a lovely congregation in Pittsburgh which is quite pleasant to visit and, as the cantor's family, we don't have to get tickets (because, duh, but we're getting flights and hotel rooms, so, wash, I guess). I primarily attend the synagogue in my area for major holidays and the occasional Shabbat. When I'm feeling really Jew-y I'll actually participate, I've read Torah, and I read from the Megillah for them a few Purims ago, that is one *crunk* congregation on Purim. But--I don't have kids right now, so I don't care about the Hebrew School perks, and since the husband is not Jewish I'm really only at the synagogue a handful of times a year. So what do I do?!?! Continue to freebie it up while I can/am still childless/continue to attend a synagogue that awesomely doesn't charge for tickets on the High Holidays, or submit to my Jewish guilt and pay some membership fees. Or maybe just send a small donation to the synagogue around the High Holidays to thank them for not actually charging me anything to attend? Life is hard and being an adult is hard. Shanah Tova by the way.

Posted on September 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm 1