Friday, March 30, 2012

Colorful Wedges (Cheap!)

Happy Weekend guys!  I just wanted to pop in and show you these awesome wedges I just found at Target for only $29.99!  And they are super comfortable!  I needed some retail therapy after how bad I've been feeling lately- thankfully, I'm on the mend:)

 I can't believe EASTER is next weekend already!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mr DeMarco, Would you consider a debt-equity swap?

From Bloomberg:

The U.S. government has spent $190 billion to shore up the companies since they were taken into federal conservatorship in 2008 after their investments in risky loans soured. DeMarco said adding to the firms’ costs would be a violation of his legal responsibility to restore them to financial health.
Using principal forbearance instead of forgiveness so far has been better for taxpayers, DeMarco said. Forbearance reduces monthly payments while requiring borrowers to pay back the full amount of the loan when they sell the house.
“If the borrower is successful on the modification, allows them to stay in their house and they stay in their house and start making mortgage payments, the taxpayer gets to share in the upside of that borrower’s success,” DeMarco said in the Bloomberg Television interview. “If we forgive the principal up front and the borrower is successful, that upside all goes to the borrower and is not shared with the taxpayer.”
There is another way to allow taxpayers to get the upside of borrowers' success--replace the debt they owe with a shared equity arrangement.  The taxpayer may be better off with principal forbearance for houses that are 10 percent underwater, because through amortization people can get themselves right-side up in a relatively short time (particularly if they can get a refinance at a low rate of interest).

But for places like Las Vegas and the Central Valley of California, where many people are 40-70 percent underwater,  it is hard to see how default and large losses aren't inevitable.  A debt-equity swap would allow people to move freely, which aligning incentives between lenders and borrowers.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Andrew Zimbalist on Frank McCourt's sale of the Dodgers

From ESPN:

"It's problematic," Zimbalist said. "He was looking for some kind of ongoing income stream and he got it. Here's a guy who borrowed practically all the money to buy the team for $430 million and now he's selling it for $2.15 billion and he's coming out with a healthy capital gain -- it's repulsive. This is someone who doesn't deserve to walk away with a healthy profit after eight years of running the Dodgers in the most egregious, the most inefficient, the most self-interested, and the most vainglorious, idiotic way possible. It really is repulsive that he will still be making a profit in some way."

If ever there were a parable about how some people can thumb their nose at the rules and make out like bandits, the story of McCourt's ownership of the Dodgers is it. 

GIVEAWAY {Little Doodahs}

Today, Tracy and Carol, the wonderful moms behind the adorable shop Little Doodahs are giving away a $40 credit to their shop!  Little Doodahs sells apparel, toys, and accessories for kids from toddler age on up!

They were kind enough to send a care package to James and he sure enjoyed playing with their goodies over the weekend.

I love the fabric and detailed trim on this crayon holder.  James started coloring with the crayons right away.

But he REALLY loved the bunny pen/pencil holder.

He insisted that the bunny accompany him to lunch.

And check out the cute bracelet.  We spelled "FUN" with it, but you could personalize it with other words. 

G I V E A W A Y 

Little Doodahs is giving away a $40 credit to their shop to one lucky reader! 

They are also providing a 30% discount for orders with
Discount Code:  MEGAN30
The discount code expires on April 28, 2012.

To Enter

*Visit Little Doodahs site and leave a comment with you favorite item 
*Follow Little Doodahs on Twitter (leave an additional comment)
*Like Little Doodahs on Facebook (leave an additional comment) 
*Tweet, Facebook, or Blog about this giveaway (leave an additional comment)
*Followers/Subscribers of HWH get an additional entry (leave an additional comment)

The WINNER will be chosen via and announced on Saturday April 7, 2012.

A poignant moment from a poor country

The laundry here "ruined" a couple of my shirts--whoever ironed tore the collars a bit from the bodies of the shirts. Being an American, I threw them in my trash basket. 

The man who cleans my room, upon discovering them in the trash, asked if he could have them. I said, "of course." 

He then asked me to write a note, saying that I had explicitly told him he could have them, lest anyone think he might have stolen them. Of course I did that as well. He seemed extremely happy to have the shirts.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When liberals undermine liberalism

I consider myself a liberal.  On social issues, I am very liberal; on economic issues, while in general I like markets, I think governments can and should correct large market failures (such as failures in private insurance markets and negative externalities), that the one percent (maybe even the ten percent) should pay higher taxes than they do now, and that there should be a floor on living standards.

It therefore drives me crazy when liberals embrace waste and hypocrisy.  So the following paragraph in the LA Times caught my eye:

Instead, the rail authority has agreed to run fewer trains at slower speeds on tracks shared with commuter rail systems, Amtrak and freight trains. In the early years, passengers will probably have to transfer trains to get from one end of the system to the other. The concept, known as the blended approach, was pushed last year by Bay Area politicians, who fought the original plan to run high-speed trains through the region on 60-foot high viaducts over local neighborhoods. The idea has attracted support in Southern California as well.

So places that will rail against the automobile are doing everything possible to make sure "bullet train" service (whose potential for success I am skeptical about anyway) cannot possibly be a competitive transport mode. The "blended" system will also make freight rail relatively less competitive with trucks, and will waste a lot of money that could be better spent on places California really needs to spend money, such as K-12 education and state universities (and no, I do not work at one).

The whole thing reminds me of perhaps my all time favorite Onion headline.

Little Aqua Vase

As much as I love fresh flowers, it seems I'm always putting them in clear glass vases.  I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me to use a colored or more interesting vase before.   A while back, I was drawn to this little aqua vase from Crate & Barrel that I usually keep in my home office.  It has a small neck, perfect for just a couple of stems.

And I thought the aqua was pretty with some yellow flowers. 

And even my bathroom counter looks cheerier with the pop of color. 

So excited about all the possibilities- especially with what a quick coat of spray paint can do to transform my boring clear vases!  Maybe a weekend project?!

Come back tomorrow for a great giveaway from Little Doodahs!  Here's a sneak peek:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thank You HOUZZ!

Hi guys!  Sorry for being a little MIA last week- I've been sick, but starting to finally feel better- allergies might be getting the best of me lately.

On the bright side, I was pleasantly surprised to find an email from HOUZZ last week letting me know that Honey We're Home was a winner in the Design category for Best Of Remodeling.  I think my closet was the room that garnered the award.

To read more about how my closet was designed and organized, and to see more pictures, go HERE.

Thank you Houzz and the Houzz community!

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mark Twain on Monetary Policy (h/t Patricia Harris)

First published in 1879 as "Mark Twain as a Presidential Candidate."

My financial views are of the most decided character, but they are not likely, perhaps, to increase my popularity with the advocates of inflation. I do not insist upon the special supremacy of rag money or hard money. The great fundamental principle of my life is to take any kind I can get.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Summer Vacation

Maybe it's because our temperatures are rising and the sun is shining more and longer these days, but lately I'm craving a summer vacation.  A summer vacation where all I need is: a bikini, hat, sunglasses, cocktail, straw bag, and flip flops.

Sound good to you, too? 

Monday, March 19, 2012

New data since I posted yesterday

From this morning's Economic Times (one of India's leading newspapers).

NEW DELHI: The number of India's poor fell to 29.8% of its population in 2009-10 from 37.2% in 2004-05, one of the sharpest falls ever. This suggests India has not only grown faster than the world economy, but that this growth has lifted millions out of poverty. 

In absolute terms, the number of poor in the country declined by around 13% to 354 million during the fiveyear period with rural poverty falling faster thanurban poverty. During the period, rural poverty declined by 8 percentage points to 33.8%, almost double the decline of urban poor by 4.8 percentage points to 20.9%. 

"This is not surprising. Such an outcome is on expected lines as this is the period when the government increased the expenditure on flagship programmes substantially. We gave money to the people and the result is a direct impact of that," said Mihir Shah, member, Planning Commission. 
The numbers also re-affirm the impact of the government's flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that entitles 100 days of work at a minimum rate of Rs 100 per day to all rural households. The scheme was launched in 2006 and has single-handedly transformed rural India. 
It is interesting that India started a war on poverty in 2006, and it seems to be winning.  Not that one thing necessarily caused the other, but it is some coincidence.

The Good Croissants

This post could also have been called, "Impromptu Pajama Party" but it was really all about the croissants.  Croissants so good that Oprah herself declared them one of her Favorite Things in 2009.

These are the croissants that I finally ordered from Williams Sonoma, waited for about a week for them to arrive, then promptly ate the following Saturday morning.  

They arrive at your door, frozen, packed in dry ice, 15 large croissants in a box. You let them rise overnight, apply an egg wash, then bake for about 15 minutes.  

They come out looking like this.  And are seriously delicious, buttery, flakey, light addictive things. 

On Friday night, having pulled out the frozen croissants to rise, I quickly texted a couple neighbors to invite them over to help us enjoy.  Originally planning on a pajama party at 9:00 a.m., once James woke us up at 6:30, we moved the party up to 8:00 a.m.  A casual, relaxed breakfast at home on the weekend is one of my favorite things.  Even better when sleepy friends and little kids come over. 

Don't mind that little curly-haired cutie on the bench! 

Kids played.  I have a "thing" for kids in glasses.  And chubby kids. My heart just melts. 

13 croissants didn't stand a chance.  Then the grown-ups drank coffee and watched Pioneer Woman:)  Kids played until the living room looked like this. 

10:00 a.m. on Saturday. 

Hope y'all had a great weekend!   

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What would Rawls say?

Since India liberalized its economy in 1991, PPP GDP per capita has increased from about 1400 in 1992 to about 3200 in 2009 (see Penn World Tables, I am using only two significant digits because the exact numbers depend on definition).  That is 5 percent per capita per year; by any standard this is an impressive performance.  Eyes, moreover, don't lie--I have been coming to India for eight years now, and one can see living standards improving.  This is gratifying.

But in an enormously important dimension, India has not improved at all.  According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the share of undernourished people in India moved from 20 percent in 1992 to 19 percent in 2008; the number of hungry rose from 177 million to 224 million. 

China has done much better, having cut the rate of hunger nearly in half over the same time period (from 18 to 10 percent), despite the fact that its GINI coefficient is higher. 



Today, I'm playing Blog Tag!  I was tagged by two fellow bloggers Amy (Eat. Sleep. Decorate)  & Carmel (Our Fifth House).  Read on to hear my responses to their questions and to see my questions for Shelli (A la Mode Maven).

You must post the rules.
Answer the 11 questions presented to you by your tagger.
Create 11 questions to ask the bloggers you plan to tag.
Tag the 11 people and link them in your post.
Let them know you've tagged them.

1. What is your favorite DIY project that you have accomplished?

One of my latest (and easiest) DIY projects was these little faux potted plants.  You can read about them here.

2. If you could have the skills of any designer or cook, who would it be?

One of my favorite designers is Nate Berkus.  Not only is he incredibly talented, but I can tell that he treats the people on his show so genuinely.

3. What is your favorite color scheme?

I'm still a "neutrals" girl at heart and love the look of an airy, white room.

4. One thing that we might not know about you is...

In my day job, I work as a lawyer.  

5. What do you miss most about being a child?

It was all so simple then:)  And maybe living in California- can't beat that weather.  

6. What does your ideal Friday Night look like? BE HONEST! 

Oh this one is easy, because we have the routine down pat!  Early dinner out with the family and sometimes another family will join us- usually Mexican food.  Come home, put James to bed, sit on the couch eating ice cream or drinking hot cocoa and catching up on Pinterest, blogs, and email. Rinse. Repeat. 

7. What is one beauty product you could never live without?

My eyelash curler.  And curling iron.  Okay, that's two. 

8. What is your favorite season and why?

Summer!  I love the long, sun-filled days.

9. If you could travel anywhere and money wasn't a factor, where would you go?

I've had a hankering lately to go somewhere beachy.  Hawaii comes to mind.

10. What is one design mess in your home?

Our media room.  It's still just being used as a storage space for unused furniture and things that need to go in the attic. 

11. One goal you have for your blog in 2012 is...

Respond to emails quicker and to comments more often.


Our Fifth House

1. If you had a time machine, where or rather when would you go?

I want to go to a year from now.  Am I pregnant?? 

2. Diamonds or Pearls?

Diamonds.  I really need to post my wedding ring.  It is seriously gorgeous.  My favorite piece of jewelry ever!

3. What's your favorite movie? 

For fun- Sex & The City.  

4. When you were a kid, what was your favorite television show?

Who's the Boss?

5. Let's pretend you found $50 in your couch cushions, what would you run out and buy?

I'm looking for a mirror for my guest room, so I'd take that $50 bucks to Homegoods and hope it was my lucky day.

6. What is your favorite color?


7. Why did you start your blog?

I had just quit my job and was a stay at home mom to my 4 month old son.  We also had just built a house and I was obsessed with the decorating process. 

8. What is your favorite home decor store?

Lately, Z Gallerie.  

9. Name one thing in your make-up bag you can not live without?

My Juicy Tubes lip gloss.  I probably apply it 20 times a day.

10. Do you watch Revenge?

What's that? :)

11. Will you still be my friend even though I made you suffer through this little game of tag? 

Of course!


I saw that most of my friends were already tagged by Carmel, so I'm tagging Shelli (A La Mode Maven).

1.  What does your morning routine look like? i.e. Do you make your bed and/or drink coffee?? 
2.  Do you cook or eat out most of the time?
3.  What's your favorite food?
4.  Who's your celebrity crush?
5.  What's your favorite room in your house and why?
6.  What have you been wanting to change up in your house lately?
7.  Where do you score most of your decor finds?
8.  How much time do you spend on Pinterest- if any at all? 
9.  Have you met any bloggers in real life?  If so, who?
10.  What's your signature drink?
11.  What blog post are you most proud of? 

Make it a great day!