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Finding a work life balance: Does it really exist?

work life balance

Good morning Loves.  My dad gave me some troubling news yesterday, he told me one of our oldest family friends filed for divorce.  This was a picture perfect couple, they have been married for over 30 years, they have two kids who recently graduated college and growing up they were always the first couple I would call when I was in trouble.  To say this news was shocking would be an understatement, but I guess we just never know what happens behind closed doors.

Is there such thing as a work/life balance?

The couple both had good jobs where they’ve worked for several years and the husband is close to retirement.  I thought to myself, if both kids are moved out they have time for themselves, if they have a house that’s mortgage free and if they are nearing retirement, what is there to fight about?  One word…money.  According to my dad his friend filed for divorce because he wife spends too much time at the office in the day and too much time working from home at night.

I guess that’s the catch 22 about money; you need to work hard to get it, but working too much takes time away from your relationship.  We need money to afford the nice things we want in life, but we have to work hard to earn our money.  So how do you find a work/life balance to maintain a happy marriage?

What if you had to choose just one?

There is a line by Nigel (Stanley Tucci) in the movie The Devil Wears Prada when his co-worker (Anne Hathaway) is complaining about her relationship troubles and he says “Let me know when your entire life goes up in smoke, that means it’s time for a promotion.”  As I watched this movie I wondered if this is true.  Maybe there is no such thing as a work/life balance – maybe we can’t have both, maybe we have to choose one over the other.

Find a balance between your work life and your relationship:

Your home is not  your office.  As one half of a long term couple and as a young professional I can tell you that climbing the corporate ladder is not easy.  You want to put in your hours at work, but you don’t want to neglect your sweetheart at home.  My advice to finding a balance is to stay late if you need to but leave your work at the office, don’t bring it home with you.

Limit your overtime.  The truth of the matter is your work will never be done, we always have work to do.  Don’t make working overtime a habit.  Your spouse will be more understanding about your long hours if working overtime is the exception, not the rule.  Unless you are on a tight deadline try not to stay at the office more than an hour every night and not on Fridays.  It’s important to reserve the weekends for your spouse.

Have something to look forward to at home.  Having plans with your spouse will give you an incentive to rush home after work.  If you have to work late try to coordinate with your spouse on the nights they have to work late and set a time to meet at home or at a restaurant for date night.  If you have somewhere to be or somewhere to go you are more likely to cut yourself off from the office than if you are just “going home”.

Photo from Flickr

Save money and your health with electronic cigarettes, say experts

e-cigs

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs as they’re also known, have soared in popularity in recent years as more people choose to use them as a smoking cessation aid.

According to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), there are over two million people in the UK using electronic cigarettes, the number having tripled over the past two years.

Of those vaping – the name given to the act of smoking an e-cig – 700,000 are ex-smokers and 1.3 million are using them alongside normal tobacco cigarettes. Just 1% of those using e-cigs have never smoked.

The rise in popularity has led to calls for the industry to be regulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, it has been reported by The Telegraph that public health specialists, including people that advise the NHS, are keen for WHO to hold off.

Save your health

Smoking regular tobacco cigarettes is bad for health. In fact, with 100,000 people dying from smoking every year, it’s one of the biggest causes of death in the UK. It’s also a major cause of illness, with smokers being more likely to develop 50 serious health conditions.

The NHS and the government have been working hard to reduce the number of smokers in the UK. Earlier this year it was reported by The Mirror that fewer than one in five people in England now smoke for the first time in 80 years.

One of the reasons that so many people have successfully quit smoking is by using e-cigarettes. A survey of almost 6,000 smokers found that around 20% had managed to kick the habit with the help of e-cigs.

The 50 researchers that are fighting WHO have sent a letter than says electronic cigarettes could be a “significant health innovation” and that they might save “hundreds of millions of lives”.

Professor John Britton, who leads the tobacco advisory group for the Royal College of Physicians, explained that nicotine is not a hazardous drug and that there are benefits to e-cigs.

He said: “If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e-cigarettes we would save 5 million deaths in people who are alive today. It’s a massive potential public health prize.”

Save your money

It’s not just your health that e-cigs can save – the cost of vaping is substantially lower than that of smoking tobacco.

Electronic cigarette starter kits can cost anywhere between £17 and £90, with the majority retailing somewhere in the middle of that price bracket. This kit provides a battery, charger and at least two replaceable cartridges; you can find out more about costs at www.vapestick.com

A four-pack of refills costs around £10-£17 and each cartridge provides the equivalent nicotine to between seven and 25 cigarettes. This is in comparison to the average price of £7.98 for a pack of 20 cigarettes.

It’s quite difficult to do a direct comparison as it depends on the e-cig in question, but it is well documented that they are better for your bank balance.

Robert West, professor of health psychology and director of tobacco studies at University College London, believes that they are at least 20% cheaper than cigarettes. However, he also estimated the price to fall further as uptake increases.

Should e-cigs end up being regulated as a medicine, they will also become VAT exempt, cutting the price further, and could even be prescribed on the NHS.

While there is still a lot of research to be done into the relatively new electronic cigarette industry, it is clear to see that many health and tobacco experts believe that vaping can help smokers save both money and their overall health. However, it remains to be seen what impact the licensing and regulations will have on the industry.

Fun (cheap) things to do in NYC

NYC BOATS

Good morning Loves.  I’m back from New York City and to be honest I’m going through total vacation withdrawal.  I visit NYC a couple times a year and every time my vacation ends I am sad for at least two weeks after I get home.  So how do I cure my vacation blues?  By talking about NYC as much as I can and looking through photos a million times.  So now you know how I’ve spent the last seven days…by missing NYC.

As you know my two friends joined me this time in the big apple and we had a great time.  It was definitely different from the last time we all travelled together…remember my story about our Howard Johnson motel in Queens six years ago?

NYC doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation

Now that we have all graduated and have full time jobs we were able to spend a little bit more money on our travel accommodations in New York.  With that being said we all do work in finance and we are all very careful, even safe, with our money.  That’s the hard thing about travelling, trying to find a balance between convenience and price.

We wanted to spend as much time as we could enjoying the city while spending as little money as possible.  We didn’t mind paying for fun, we just didn’t want to over pay.  We travelled for cheap thanks to Priceline and spent most of our money on food and shopping. This was great because the less money we spent on travel accommodations the more money we could spend on enjoying ourselves.  The truth is we had a great time in NYC and we didn’t have to spend that much money doing so.

Enjoy NYC on a dime by going to these places

Central Park. We spent a whole day walking through Central Park.  We found places in the park I didn’t even know existed.  This is a picture of the Alice in Wonderland statue in the middle of Central Park on the East Side.  When we found the statue we also found a nice surprise, the lake with the remote control boats (that you always see in the movies) is directly across from the statue.  That was great.

The American Museum of Natural History.  I have been to the museum twice and both times it was really interesting.  The thing about museums is the exhibits don’t change a lot so if you’ve been once you may want to wait a while before you go again.  However, the features at the AMNH do change every few months.

The first time I went (back in October) they were featuring films on whales and frogs, right now they are featuring a Great White Shark 3D film.  The best thing about visiting the AMNH is the admission is on a donation basis.  The first time I paid $20 and the second time I only paid $10.

Walk around neighborhoods and enjoy the city.  Despite being an island, NYC is huge and every neighborhood is full of unique shops, restaurants and of course people.  Some of my favorite places to walk around are the Upper West Side and downtown along the water near Battery Park.

Photo from Flickr

Friday Faves: Backpacking and Adventures

Friday

Happy Friday Loves.  We found some great reads to start off your weekend.  Enjoy!

Clever Dude – Warning: Inexpensive Adventures Are Hiding In Your Community!

Boogers Are Yucky – 5 Ways Backpacking Through Europe Cured My Broken Heart

Smart Money Chicks – 5 Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Premiums

Allyn Lewis Blog – How to Get a Grip On Your Inbox

Miss Melanie’s Journey to a Healthier Life – Breaking Wind in Yoga Class

Photo from Flickr