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Archive for June, 2009

Ohh, this is indulgence!

June 27th, 2009 at 06:52 pm

I do not normally go to expensive spas to get a massage.
I don't even crave it, because my husband gives the most amazing massages.

So I only pay for them when I go to countries like China or Vietnam, where you can get them for $5-$10 an hour - it is a great bargain.

But I am tempted to try this spa and this 4 hand massage treatment:









I have never tried a massage in a spa this luxurious. This is a spa in JW Marriott in Shanghai's Tomorrow Square.

And this is the description of the treatment I am interested in:

"Mandara Signature Massage
75 mins 990
A truly sublime and unforgettable spa experience, this four hand massage incorporates the exacting skills of two therapists working together in rhythmic harmony. The technique combines five different massage styles of Japanese Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, Swedish and Balinese. Performed using specially- blended massage essential oils of sandalwood, patchouli and ylang ylang, gentle and healing hands of our therapists will help to calm the nervous system, warm and relax muscle tissue and promote the growth of
healthy, new skin cells, ultimately resulting in total relaxation and suppleness of the skin."

It is extravagant, especially for China. But can it be justified in the spirit of "trying things once" and experiencing something new?

2 week mark - DH is sticking with it.

June 26th, 2009 at 08:20 pm

We have to make some lifestyle changes - DH was told by his doctor that his cholesterol is high. That sucks. He is not even 27 yet and is not overweight.

So we are now implementing changes that will be good for both of us. Nothing fried anymore, more healthy food, brown rice, whole wheat everything...

And working out. He has been running 4 times a week for 2 weeks now!
This whole week he stayed at the hotel and they have nice gym conveniently downstairs. But a week before he was running on his lunch break at work.
I am so proud and want to encourage it.
Seeing him do it so regularly makes me want to do it.

I wish we lived somewhere more green. Or had a house where we could put a treadmil. It is just not fun to run in an area of concreet boxes and asmost no trees, it gets really really hot and the air doesn't feel "fresh". I can't stand it. I hope we can get a place in a greener area where running would be more scenic. But we can't wait until that happens and have to do these things now.

Spent $260 on visa fees today

June 24th, 2009 at 08:33 pm

I don't have to actually pay until I go back to pick up next week. But it is spent already.

Not cheap for visas for just the 2 of us.

But it is based on reciprocity, and I imagine it takes citizens of many other countries longer to earn that amount of money to apply for visas(and they have a high chance of being denied).

So while it is annoying, I can understand why China is charging that much.

12 days left!

This time I hope to avoid starting to pack after midnight on the day of the flight. I do that every single time we go somewhere! I spend hours looking for things like batteries and chargers around the apartment and than I am quite tired on the day of the flight. NYC - Hong Kong is a 16 hour flight.

I love my Zojirushi!

June 17th, 2009 at 03:56 pm

So I finally broke down few days ago and bought it.
I looked at it for a long time and could not bring myself to spend $140 on a rice cooker, when I can buy one for $20.



I just kept thinking about it.
I read the reviews and everyone raved about it. And I really wanted a small - 3 cup one (since there are only 2 of us) and excellent rice cooker.

So it got delivered yesterday, and I used it twice. I made brown basmati rice for dinner - it was the best brown rice, just perfect. It takes 1 hour 40 minutes , but it really does it properly.

And I made oatmeal (on timer) for breakfast this morning. Also perfect - same consistency throughout, nothing burned, no crust (that almost never happens for me), nothing stuck to the pot. So much better than in a slow-cooker!

I finally bought it because DH wants steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast and the slow cooker we had kind of burned it if the portion was too small (the slow cooker is big). And DH burned my favorite pot recently when he had a day off and tried to cook oatmeal on stove top. Evidently it did not occur to him that he needed to stir it - he just left the it on the fire for 40 minutes and went to do something else. You can imagine the result.

Detailed spending for 2 wks-I kept track! It is like the financial diary of life

June 17th, 2009 at 02:56 am

We were both very careful to keep track this month.

I now think it is fun to be detailed - you can go back and see what you did weeks ago, where you went, were you shopped... I will keep it up. Maybe post the list every week.

1-Jun
rent $994
whole wheat bagel(breakfast) $0.65
watch (I had one, it broke) $95.37
lunch - ruben panini made in the office $4
snapple green tea $1.8
knee highs 3 pack $5.29
hand wipes $1.89
toothpaste $4.39
donaton at work $5
sushi lunch DH $17
dry cleaning $14.25
car break lights $4.32
1 lb of fresh baby spinach $7.99

2-Jun
whole wheat bagel $0.65
lunch DH $7.15
Lunch (Dosal masala) $7.04
gasoline $26.03
groceries $21.32
student loan $141

3-Jun
lemon/nuts muffin $2.64
farmers market:
cilantro $1.5
salad bowl $1.25
half dozen eggs $2.5
kale $2.5
butter $2.59
fresh sweet peas $5
other 3.74
lunch DH $12
coffee for the office DH $40

4-Jun
croissant $2.69
lunch me (Indian takeout) $5.5
moisturizer with SPF $38.4
lunch DH (Chipotle) $7.12
2 samosas (partial dinner) $3

5-Jun
breakfast $6
1 slice of cake $6.5
lunch - yogurt $2.75
rite aid, personal care $22
dinner (bbq) $38
gasoline $14
haircut DH $21

6-Jun
2 slices of pizza $5.5
groceries $26
dry cleaning $45
Roth autoinvest $100

7-Jun
gasoline $30
breakfast, Japanese café $18
green tea ice cream $3
Japanese store groceries $25
Japanese store beauty $16
haircut $21
water $6.5
Tory Burch blouse on sale $99

8-Jun
bagel $0.75
coffee $1.75
m&m (DH) $1.5
coffee (DH) $3.5
copay DH $20
parking $10

9-Jun
almond croissant $2.69
DH Lunch $6.69
dinner out (Mexican) $60.95

10-Jun
almond croissant $2.69
personal care - rite aid $11.79
groceries $21
car tow $194.25
gasoline $32
Panera bread- lunch DH $8.23
DH underwear $16

11-Jun
ice cream $4.49
car repair $250
DH lunch $6.96
2 slices of pizza (dinner) $5
groceries $10
skype $10
itunes $1.99
12-Jun
almond croissant $2.69
cream cheese for office $1.25
dinner Virgils $56
lunch DH $5.5
lunch me $7

13-Jun (weekend away)
breakfast out $38
parking ticket $35
gas $30
groceries in Catskills $55.25
toothbrushes $8.4
Ann Taylor pants, socks $26.52
Cole Haan dress shoes DH (need, old ones were falling apart) $198
wolford $16
Cheesecake Factory (1 slice to go, shared at BN) $8
starbucks at BN $4

14-Jun
local ice cream $3
dinner (Mexican place with great river view) $62
Zojirushi rice maker (3 cup) $146.3
detergent $7.53

15-Jun
cablevision bill $131
hot dog $7.47
gas $30
lunch $5
almond croissant $2.69
2 rye rolls and an onion - partial dinner $3
skype $10
ezpass $275
electric bill $104.96
Roth mutual funds $300

16-Jun
breakfast $1.4
lunch DH $6.15
lunch me - breaded shrimp over salad, made at the office $6
chicken tenders to cook for dinner and dessert $13
shampoo $19
Individual mutual fund $100

Back after a few hard weeks.

June 15th, 2009 at 09:39 pm

I had terrible luck lately - mostly involving my mom and her very long awaited vacation. It is too frustrating to even re-tell now without getting angry again. She was stuck for 3 days in Miami airport due to shocking incompetence of AA staff. So she lost precious days of vacation, non-refundable hotel and almost missed her boat to Galapagos ($7,500)

Besides that, we had some minor issues:

Car lost power on a highway ($200 just to tow) and than alternator had to be replaced!

My Dyson Animal vacuum broke (not fixed yet and it is not under warranty, so I am not sure if I should try fixing it or buy new)

parking ticket yesterday...

And last Friday was the last day at work of the most amazing boss I ever had.

But, I am back and trying to keep my head up.
I have put in another $300 into the mutual funds today, following my recent new tradition: every time DOW drops near 200 points in one day I put in some money before 2pm that day, so that I buy slightly more shares and feel less bad about it. Today I bought few shares of commodities since they declined the most. I believe if inflation hits they will go up strongly. If inflation won't become a problem, I'll be happy for that.

It was the craziest shopping experience I ever had!

June 1st, 2009 at 10:18 pm

This weekend, a friend who is working in the fasion industry suggested we go to the Tory Burch sample sale.

I thought it may be a cool experience and I may score some bargains, so I gladly agreed.

It was nothing like I expected.

When we I got there she was already on line at the end of it - that was one avenue and two streets long! I had to walk for 10 minutes to get to the end of the line!
I wanted to leave, but my friend wanted to stay. Since I felt that she could have invited someone who would not abandon here there, I felt I should stay.

It took almost 4 hours before we got in! There were a couple of physical fights(!) when people tried to cut in line. Many people tried, some even refused to leave when caught until being chased away by force.
Some people who were behind us and also waited for 4 hours did not even get in!

It was surreal. You know the pictures they used to print of people standing online for something in a former Soviet Union.... that could not even compare. You could not photograph this line in its entirety. Maybe only from the air. Someone could publish this with pictures as a story about US.

Anyway, I got 3 tops ($75, $75, $65 - each sells for around $200-$300 at the store they were really pretty) and a purse for $195 ($400 at the store, classical yet matches almost everything).
My friend got a tote and 2 dresses and paid about the same. This is a way to build a nice wardrobe at a reasonable price and look stylish. But I am not going to do this again!

Anyway, everybody in front of us in line were loading up. There were 3-4 registers and huge line to the register. So all day, the warehouse was selling about 2K of clothing per minute with line never slowing down.
And people say "recession, recession..."