Thursday, January 20, 2011

With the latest mass shooting in the United States gun laws are all the buzz. I have to put my two cents in. I would rather our country adopt gun laws similar to the UK, Japan, Sweden, Singapore, Malaysia, Greece and Germany. Having lived in Sweden for many years I came to realize how safe it is to live there. Not only do they have one of the strictest gun policies, but it is so safe you can leave your baby to sleep outside in a stroller while you sit in a cafe and have lunch. I never worried about anyone kidnapping my children, nor did I worry about anyone shooting me!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Beauty of a Leaf

To multitudes a leaf is perhaps just a backdrop. Others might view it to be nature's version of white noise.

To me it encompasses all that is exquisite and wondrous in our natural surroundings. Each part of a leaf has its specific function, artfully woven together to form an ecological masterpiece.

To various tiny creatures a leaf is home, nourishment and shelter.

Let a leaf prompt you to stop and smell the roses.

Let a leaf encourage you to gaze at a cloudy sky and see the splendor in each cottony cloud.

Innumerable people have lost sight of the cost-free pleasures in life… Let this be a reminder to anyone who has, stop… take a deep breath soak it all in.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Before You Buy

Ask yourself "Is this a good buy?" "Can I live without it?" and finally "How does the quality of the product vs. the price stand up?"

When I am looking to purchase a product or service I first do my research then I ask myself these three simple questions.

Without a doubt the most time consuming is conducting the research. Allow me to assist you in that journey. As it can be a very simple and quick process with the right tools.

There are a plethora of consumer goods and services rating websites as well as online product ratings by real consumers.

See the list below to find the best product and/or service.

Product Reviews/Ratings -


Cosmetic Database

Cosmetic Cop




Service Reviews/Ratings -




These websites will get you started on your way to spending your hard earned money wisely. Avoid impulse buying.

Happy shopping,

Mara :)

Daily Quote

"It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent providence, and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be." - Sigmund Freud

Monday, January 3, 2011

Did you know...? The difference between Maternity/Paternity leave in America vs Europe?

Maternity & Paternity Leave in Europe vs United States

- European Union (recommended minimum under EU Social Charter): At least three months per employee, available up until a child's eighth birthday. Payment left to the discretion of member states; partners may each claim the entitlement, but not at the same time.

- Sweden: 16 months on 80 percent of salary, until child reaches eight years old. Can be shared between father and mother, with an incentive specifying at least two months for father. Similar systems exist in the other Nordic countries. Swedes enjoy one of the most generous /maternity paternity leave policies in the world.

- Germany: 12 months, up until age of three. Paid 67 percent of salary, to a limit of 1,800 euros (2,730 dollars) a month; incentive for fathers to take at least two months.

- France: 12 months, renewable twice up to child's third birthday. Some parents can claim a basic monthly allowance, currently €536 ($815) per month. No incentive for fathers.

- Denmark: 1 year. To be shared between the parents as they see fit.

- Norway: 12.5 months (80%) or 44 weeks (10 months) (100%) - mother must take at least 3 weeks immediately before birth and 6 weeks immediately after birth, father must take at least 6 weeks - the rest can be shared between mother and father.

- United States: A federal law provides for up to 12 weeks a year, unpaid, to look after a newborn child or meet certain other family contingencies. Only applies to firms employing over 50 people, and companies can claim exemptions. Both parents can claim, but no incentive for fathers.

Daily Quote

"When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called Religion" - Robert M. Pirsig

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Income Disparity in the United States

I often ponder the fact that the monetary gap between the rich and everyone else continues to grow broader every year. Since 1985 the number of super-rich has gone from 13 to over a 1000. Not to mention the number of Nouveau riche multimillionaires. The economic downturn has barely touched them. While many of us are struggling to own yet one home or hold on the ones we have they acquire multiple homes complete with staff members to pamper them night and day.

The widespread fraud and blatant embezzlement of Americans is in no small way part and parcel to more than a few individuals exorbitant prosperity. The Tim Durham’s and Bernard Madoff's of the world demonstrate that many times over.

As an American populous we seemingly live in oblivion to the length with which we are being pillaged.

One could only hope Ponzi schemes and the like would vanish, but alas one scheme will be discovered while yet another percolates behind closed doors.

Gluttony is in full swing.

My advice, check the internet for the latest scams. See if you are indeed a victim of one, scams such as “cramming”. Secondly, don’t invest your money if it sounds too good to be true. Visit sites like RipOff Report if you feel a company isn't on the up and up. Trust your instincts, don't be greedy in looking for a quick buck.

Stay tuned for my next post: "Did you know.."