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Composing Beauty

Ingenuity, I love that word! It has such a nice ring to it, and such a deep meaning (at least to me). I view ingenuity as an essential skill in creativity, and creativity/ingenuity an essential skill of surviving in this new, digital age. I find it fascinating that one can create a job or a career for themselves where there was nothing before. In today’s day and age the opportunities for money making are endless. One of my inspirations for this exact thing is Lin-Manuel Miranda, internationally famous composer of Hamilton, In The Heights, and a member of Freestyle Love Supreme (who, I’m sure, has many more credits, both famous and not, to his name).

I’m absolutely enthralled by his tenacity, skill, perseverance, and his genius. He literally put himself on the map in the entertainment world. He created something brilliant using just his brains, skills, experience, and a pencil and paper. Not only that, but it’s given other artists the opportunity to be a part of the beautiful, caring community that he’s created throughout this process. He’s even changing the world and peoples’ lives by using his works to support causes that he cares deeply about. That, to me, is ingenuity. It”s creativity. I could write many, MANY more paragraphs about my admiration for him as an artist and person, but I’ll get to that in a later post because I could write a novel on it with my ability to go off on tangents and daydream (although that is not a bad thing).

With technology we have the tools to create new things every day. Heck, this article is new right now. It is not a masterpiece of an article, but it’s being created now, in the moment, and shared. Nowadays we have all kinds of opportunities for financial success, we just have to use our ingenuity to build on them. For example, in the past we couldn’t write something and automatically earn money  within a moments’ notice. Now we can. We couldn’t write a book and have it published on amazon without going through the proper book publishers outside of the company and then selling it…but now we can self-publish books and sell them online. We couldn’t automatically create a video of ourselves performing and broadcast it to the world, thereby gaining fame. Now, we have stars who got their start doing just that on youtube. The opportunities are endless. When you think about it, once you open up your mind and heart to creativity so many ideas can come pouring in, and you just have to work tirelessly at them, with all your passion and heart, to create something that you truly stand by. You don’t even have to create for others. Create for yourself, and your passion, care, tenacity, strength, and genius will shine through and you will find your own success by using inginuity.

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RDP Monday: Note!

Note, that’s an interesting one! I’m curious to see what others write about when they think about the word note. I’m a musician and vocalist, so naturally the first thing that I think of is a musical note. I’ve always had an interest in playing around with music writing software, and recently a buddy of mine from my day job (thanks Michael!) told me about Note Flight, a free software for just that. Usually these things cost a large amount of money, but not in this case! You can always upgrade your subscription, but the ten scores that you get for free are enough for me right now. I’m having fun messing around with the program and you never know what sort of fun work may come of it. Music writing has always been on the back burner for me…and I don’t think it will ever become a profession for me, but…you never know…for some reason I always seem to come back to it…now, on that…note…haha, the traditional form of music writing has always been hard for me. There are quite a lot of rules that you should follow in order to write correctly (at least in a traditional music theory sense). As my music theory teacher from college has put it (rather hilariously) you should go by “What would Beethoven do?” If Beethoven wouldn’t do that, then neither should you for your school projects. Now, there’s one composer I seriously admire who uses the rules…and bends them knowledgeably…and I’m entranced by his work as a performer and an intellectual. I’d like to write like him some day if I do become a composer/lyricist. That composer is Stephen Sondheim, the genius. He has inspired so many artists to create what they have…Jonathan Larson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, these greats are my inspiration; all 3 of them. You can see Sondheim’s inspiration in their work, especially in Jonathan Larson’s musical “Tick, Tick…Boom,” with the song “Sunday” directly inspired by Sondheim’s song of the same name in “Sunday in the Park With George.” I could go on and on and on about the large and small nods to Sondheim in Larson’s and Miranda’s work, but that would turn in to a novel of a blog post. Perhaps I will revisit this exact topic later and continue with my thoughts on these 3 and my admiration for them and their work, but for now I’ll leave you with this: check out this recent interview by Lin-Manual Miranda with Stephen Sondheim. It’s entrancing. I’m almost never so enthralled for an entire article (ADD is tough), but these guys…they have and will always have my attention.

I can’t believe the simple word “note” inspired this whole post, but I’m glad that it got me going down the road of inspiration in the subject I have loved my whole life. I hope it does the same for you. 🙂

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RDP Monday: Note!

Note, that’s an interesting one! I’m curious to see what others write about when they think about the word note. I’m a musician and vocalist, so naturally the first thing that I think of is a musical note. I’ve always had an interest in playing around with music writing software, and recently a buddy of mine from my day job (thanks Michael!) told me about Note Flight, a free software for just that. Usually these things cost a large amount of money, but not in this case! You can always upgrade your subscription, but the ten scores that you get for free are enough for me right now. I’m having fun messing around with the program and you never know what sort of fun work may come of it. Music writing has always been on the back burner for me…and I don’t think it will ever become a profession for me, but…you never know…for some reason I always seem to come back to it…now, on that…note…haha, the traditional form of music writing has always been hard for me. There are quite a lot of rules that you should follow in order to write correctly (at least in a traditional music theory sense). As my music theory teacher from college has put it (rather hilariously) you should go by “What would Beethoven do?” If Beethoven wouldn’t do that, then neither should you for your school projects. Now, there’s one composer I seriously admire who uses the rules…and bends them knowledgeably…and I’m entranced by his work as a performer and an intellectual. I’d like to write like him some day if I do become a composer/lyricist. That composer is Stephen Sondheim, the genius. He has inspired so many artists to create what they have…Jonathan Larson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, these greats are my inspiration; all 3 of them. You can see Sondheim’s inspiration in their work, especially in Jonathan Larson’s musical “Tick, Tick…Boom,” with the song “Sunday” directly inspired by Sondheim’s song of the same name in “Sunday in the Park With George.” I could go on and on and on about the large and small nods to Sondheim in Larson’s and Miranda’s work, but that would turn in to a novel of a blog post. Perhaps I will revisit this exact topic later and continue with my thoughts on these 3 and my admiration for them and their work, but for now I’ll leave you with this: check out this recent interview by Lin-Manual Miranda with Stephen Sondheim. It’s entrancing. I’m almost never so enthralled for an entire article (ADD is tough), but these guys…they have and will always have my attention.

I can’t believe the simple word “note” inspired this whole post, but I’m glad that it got me going down the road of inspiration in the subject I have loved my whole life. I hope it does the same for you. 🙂

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Designing Your Money

Piggybacking on my last blog entry about how you compartmentalize your money…how do you design your money to work FOR you? There are so many ways you can get the most out of your dollar. I don’t mean to sound like a penny pincher, but how you use your money and where you place it can have a big impact in the long-term on whether it makes money for you or whether it stays the same amount. Think about it: do you really want to continue to trade your time for money for your whole life? Or do you want to put your money to work while you work, or while you’re on vacation, or while you’re at your kids’ baseball game, etc.? I like making money while I sleep. Soooo….that begs the question…how do you do that? There are a multitude of ways!

Banks have designed a system that really works for them. They loan you money or give you credit to use, and you get the assistance you need to pay whatever bill it is that you owe with that money, whether it’s groceries, school loans, you name it. They also must fund their own business, so they make it work for them by giving you the money in return for extra money on top, aka interest. If you’re able to pay your bill back in a super timely manner, the interest you pay would be lower than if you take a long time to pay back the money. Now that’s a smart transaction for them. You get something from them, and they get something from you. They’re making money in their sleep. They’re not spending time working for the interest, but they’re making money regardless. You can use that model, too. You can, in a way, be your own bank! It’s called peer to peer lending.

I had no idea about peer to peer lending until about a year ago. There are many platforms that you can choose from, but the two most popular ones are Lending Club and Prosper. As an investor with peer to peer lending you can log on to the platform and search through the available loans. They are graded in slightly different fashions on each site, but mostly some form of A,B,C,D,E, and HR, with A being the lowest interest rates but the customers with the best concoction of information (credit score, income, percentage of credit used, rating, etc.) and HR being the highest interest, but considered the more risky loans to invest in. In my next blog I will go into more detail about how this process works and what strategy (so far) has worked for me.

This is what I consider designing your money. Instead of simply earning it, you’re creating a system in which your earnings make you more earnings without trading your time. It’s a gradual process, but it’s interesting. I highly encourage you to think about how YOU think about your money, and how you utilize it to its full value. Keep following my blog for more information weekly, and enjoy your day!

Ciao for now, and as always, please consult a certified financial professional for all of your big financial decisions. I’m simply here to enlighten and help, but I’m not a financial advisor.

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Let’s Talk About Love

Love is not a fairytale…it’s so much better than that! It is such a beautiful sentiment to be shared between beings. I used to envision exactly what my love life would be like…and boy was I wrong. I wanted the typical fairytale. I wanted the knight in shining armor. I didn’t envision how that knight in shining armor would show me his love when I’m crying on his shoulder; or how he’d smile when I said something kooky that only the two of us understand because of our shared language; or how he’d cuddle with me at the end of a long day in complete silence, our eyes closed, and I could feel home and safe with him. I never dreamed that my favorite thing to do on a Saturday night would be to curl up in my Broadway themed pj’s (that he gave me) with Chinese food, a movie, and my awesome guy. The small moments are the best; the cute smile shared from across a crowded room just at the exact same moment; the eyes filled with love that are only for you, and even the middle of the night when you’re sick and at your worst…there’s that love who sits up with you and ruins their sleep to make you feel cared for. It doesn’t get any better than that! So…I say that love is in the small moments that build a lifetime of togetherness. I hope I never forget this, because real love is so much more exciting than the fairytale.

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Let’s Talk About…Finances and the Different Internet Options Available…

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Hello everyone! It’s that time of year again, where we are all recovering from the holiday season energy-wise and financially as well. I hope that everyone had a wonderful time celebrating their respective holidays and traditions, as did I! Now for the nitty gritty: what are you going to do to make back the money you spent on the holidays…that can be quite daunting!

Personally, I have several options in mind, 3 of which I am actively engaged in. I’ve told you about Prosper and how you can be your own bank, but what if you don’t have the money to put up to start an account? Well, luckily enough, the online world is buzzing with opportunities to make money in ways many people never dreamed of, whether it’s a few bucks or an entire income.

Option #1: Put that iPhone to good use (other than beating all of the levels of gummy drop, that is, lol). Many folks are making a side income by becoming couriers. At this point delivery services like Instacart, Postmates, Seamless, etc., are so popular and in such high demand that you can literally apply right from your phone, and sign up in minutes. I decided to try this and I signed up with Postmates just to make a few dollars on the side. I’ve only done a few deliveries so far (I usually do one or two after work a couple of times per week), and that has helped solve the post gift buying blues by adding to my bottom line little by little, without much extra effort. It won’t buy me a shiny, new apartment, but it’s helping with the occasional bill, and I certainly appreciate that! Depending on the order size, I’ve averaged about $7-12 dollars per order, and you can do multiple orders at the same time. Different companies have different requirements to be a courier, but with Postmates you can be a walker, a bicyclist, or a driver! Check it out here, click on the link below, and give it a shot if you’d like to make a few dollars and get some exercise at the same time. Plus, you could make money and save it up to invest in Prosper, and then your small earnings turn into more without doing more work! https://fleet.postmates.com/

Unfortunately, my computer battery is now telling me that I have to go…but stay tuned here for more info about my other two ideas as well…Ciao for now and happy reading!

 

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Let’s Talk About Prosper…

While researching different p2p (peer to peer) lending platforms, I learned that the two most popular and mainstream options are Lending Club and Prosper. They have similar set-ups and goals, but they certainly differ in their requirements to be a lender. They’re both great, it just depends on how much money that you have to start off with. Lending Club requires a starting amount of $1,000.00. That also means that you could start to make a decent monthly return (don’t forget that return includes BOTH principal payment and interest together, not just interest). My financial situation does not allow for me to have a free $1,000.00 hanging around…yet. I’ll get there eventually. Patience is key in the financial improvement world when you have little to start with. In comes Prosper. Honestly, I know more about Prosper than Lending Club simply because I am able to invest with them. Prosper only requires a first deposit of $25 and the minimum to invest in a loan is $25.

So yay! You’ve ready to invest your first $25 into a loan! Where do you start? What’s your game-plan going to be? Don’t know yet? Neither did I, and I’m still learning and growing. Bear in mind this one awesome detail: you don’t have to fun an entire loan by yourself (and in my opinion you probably shouldn’t). You can put in as little as $25 per loan. These loans are funded by a large group of investors, not just one, so it’s less risky if you invest in many loans with smaller amounts, than one loan with a larger amount. How do you choose which ones to invest in? It’s tempting when you get on the list of available loans and you see that D grade loan with a 23% interest rate that looks so attractive…soooooo attractive. Then you see the A grade loan next to it that looks…not quite as attractive. You think to yourself: really? 7%? Ugh. But there’s something important about the difference between these two loans and it’s a huge deal when you can’t afford to lose any money. As attractive as that high interest loan might seem…it may not be the best option for you…or it could the be that the A grade loan isn’t right. I’ll tell you why.

 

When Prosper vets’ borrowers they have a multi-step process. Borrowers enter information about their finances including their income, what the loan is for, etc. Prosper also tells the individuals funding the loan valuable information that could sway an investor one way or another. Prosper rates each loan based on historical statistics of loans of its kind. The ratings go from 1-11, with 11 being the more secure loan to invest in, and 1 being the riskiest (according to Prospers algorithm). Personally, I know that people make mistakes just like I have, so I give a little wiggle room when it comes to the grade and I generally accept 7 or higher. I think about it like this: on paper I did not look that great in the past, but I’d not default on paying a private loan to anyone, as I know that people work very hard for their money just like me. Therefore, I know that Prospers number grade may not encompass the entirety of that borrower. Even with their advanced systems they can’t avoid a borrower who may default on their loan who may have a great numbered grade. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Then I look further because I need more info to decide, but Prospers grade is a good starting point. I’ll let that info sink in for now.

I know it’s a whole world of financial possibility that I’ve introduced you to, and we’ll talk about the next steps in my consequent posts. Remember, you can always message me questions and I’ll get back to you asap!

 

P.S. Also, please remember to consult a certified financial advisor when it comes to the big decisions that you need help with. Although I have knowledge in this area, I would not pretend to be an expert. Happy financial improving! 😊Holding-Hundred-Dollar-Bills_4460x4460

Monsoon-RDP Sunday: Sheets

Sheets. Man, what a weird thing this word made me think, at first!  You’d think that the first idea that would’ve come to mind is bed sheets…but no, my weird brain has to come up with sheets of New York City summer rain. I never thought that when I moved to New York City I’d be sent running for the nearest building because of the torrent of water coming from the sky pretty often! When I say torrent, I mean heavy, drenching to the bone, heavy, flood-like rain…quite often. I will say this: there was one time when I was inspired by people who were effected by…your guessed it: the rain. I went to see Troilus and Cressida at Shakespeare in the Park, and the actors continued on in the pouring rain as if nothing had happened. They had to be drenched down to their shoes, but you’d never know it by their acting. I was crazy inspired!

RDP Thursday: Farm

long-horse-faceFarm, that’s an interesting one. Farm? It’s been a really long time since I’ve been to a farm. The last time I spent much time on one was when I was in third grade. We took a week long trip and lived in yurts while we worked on and learned about living on a farm. It was interesting. We learned about milking the cows, making butter, and many other things, I’m sure. We did a lot of interesting things at my school, a Waldorf school. Waldorf schools generally teach by doing/experiencing, so we saw and did many exciting things throughout the years. In 4th grade we studied all about the history of our state, and therefore we took our class trip to a ranch in the mountains, where we hiked, learned about the mountain men, made items by hand, and stayed in an old style bunkhouse!

 

All of those things aside, the very first thought that popped into my mind when I read the word farm on the rdp site, was thinking about when my boyfriend and I went trail riding. He had never been before, and I hadn’t been in over a decade, but I loved it. It was magical! I want to do it more and more often. My horse, Smoke, was so sweet and responsive. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The other horses in the corral may have gotten a little jealous because I gave him lots of pets and love. In fact, the horses that hadn’t been on the ride immediately trotted over, happily, when they saw the post ride nose rubs that he got. It was such a special experience! I could truly go on and on and on about the whole experience and how much it meant to me, but I won’t bore you with all of the details. I will say this: the serenity, the green grass, the quiet, the wide open spaces, the beauty of the forest, the space to breathe, to think, and to just be, was incredible. Whenever I get stressed now, I think back about how it felt to have the room to be with these majestic animals out under the beautiful sky, while enjoying the experience with my love made me feel liberated on the inside. I’ll never forget it. It was life changing, and I recommend that everyone should have the chance to experience this.

RDP Wednesday: Sibling

Today’s word…sibling…what to say about sibling? I didn’t expect that this word would be something I’d be writing about. I guess I would start by saying that family comes in many forms. Although sibling means that you are connected by blood as a brother or a sister (and I have 4 that I love dearly), I think that friends are also family that you’ve chosen. My best friend, for example, is more than a best friend to me.I call her my sister from another mister, and her daughter calls me her aunt. We talk for hours on end, probably even more so than I talk with my actual family. She and I are so tight-knit, I couldn’t ask for a better best friend. She’s been there for me through all of my ups and downs, my happiest moments, and the darkest times. She will be a part of my entire life. I love her so much! So yes, by definition siblings are biologically related to you, but in my opinion family is what you make of it. She is part of my family even though I only met her when I was 20. Here’s to hoping that each any every one of you gets to have a best friend and confidant as fabulous as mine (raises glass and cheers’s the daylights out of yours, too)!