The Class Systems of OWS

I wish I could take credit for this incredible find, but unfortunately those honors go to Matt.

Today those occupying Wall Street left the comfort of their park and took to the streets. At 3pm, a few hundred people marched up Broadway to Union Square. It served as a good break for those of us at work, to walk over to the window and peer down to those below. After a few minutes, we all returned to our desks to get some work done. Apparently after hanging around in the park and beating their drum, they plan to march back down to their park at 5pm.

Now that is a powerful movement!

How to be a Good Wife During a Financial Melt Down

 

Wall Street is having a serious case of financial crisis déjà vu: wild triple-digit swings in the Dow, massive volatility and headline-to-headline driven trading are now just part of the average day. Wall Streeters are trading in their morning cup of coffee for a daily dose of pepto bismo.

I received a phone call from my loving husband today. He typically calls me during the day to see how my work day is going and report on anything interesting. Well, today his message was simple: “our fidelity account is taking a nose dive and stop spending money.”

Well that is just a ridiculous request. Let’s be realistic, I need to spend some money to survive. But I decided to make an effort to spend as little money as possible. So today, on my trip to CVS I saved more than 10 dollars through coupons and my extra care card. Go me! And everything I purchased, from the paper towels to the new amazing teal nail polish, was 100% necessary to survive.

Between the constant stream of homemade cookies coming out of our kitchen, my daily use of our new steam mop, and now my coupon cutting abilities, I think I am going to be in the running for “Wife of the Year, 2011.”

Be Your Own Boss – Cupcake Kids!

When I was in college, I had a friend, Jessi Walter, who was a few years older than me, that I looked up to like a sister. She was one of the nicest people I had ever met, extremely smart, and would give me advice whenever I asked for it (which was probably too often!) I loved hanging around her room – it was clean and organized and she had the most amazing hand-painted furniture.  I always felt like I was in a real house, as opposed to a dorm room when I went over there. Whenever I was there, I just felt happy.

I am so glad that we have reminded friends over the years. She is still one of the nicest people I have ever met, extremely smart, and she still gives me advice on life. Now, instead of hanging out in her dorm room,  we hang out in the Cupcake Kids! kitchen.  Every time I walk into the space, I feel that same sense of happiness, that I felt when I walked into her dorm room many years ago.

The idea for Cupcake Kids! was born when Jessi Walter decided to combine her love of kids and food in a practical way. Jessi set out to create a company that would provide students with hands-on cooking experiences designed to provide them with the opportunity to have fun in the kitchen while learning about food and nutrition. Jessi believes that creativity and education in the kitchen play an important role in a child’s development and help kids to build self-confidence and independence. For 4 years, she has been giving this experience to the kids of NYC.

Formerly a Vice President on Wall Street, Jessi’s passion for kids and food and her entrepreneurial spirit have taken her on a new adventure. Jessi graduated from Harvard in 2003, where she earned an economics degree and was a member of the Women’s Swim Team. As one of the oldest of 23 cousins, she has a passion for kids and their development. In her previous life as a swimmer, Jessi started a company offering technique lessons for young swimmers and brought the same enthusiasm and fundamentals to the pool as she brings to the kitchen today.

What sets Jessi and Cupcake Kids! apart from other child-centered companies is the pride that Jessi takes in her work and ultimately in her company. I’ve had the pleasure of helping out with Cupcake Kids! for the past 2 years. Jessi’s focus is on coming up with lessons that entertain, as well as educate, the “budding chefs” who visit her kitchen. She wants them to walk out of the kitchen with a smile on their face and a new appreciation for food and a sense of accomplishment. They gain confidence through measuring, mixing and baking. By combining ingredients to make a delicious treat, these children are able to see their successes right before their eyes, and taste them too! The excitement that Jessi, and her teachers, have for cooking and food is passed on to the children.

 I am so proud of Jessi for all that she has accomplished. I am also honored to have been a part of it  and I can not wait to see what the future holds for Cupcake Kids!

Please visit the Cupcake Kids! website to learn more about classes and birthday parties and, visit Facebook to become a fan of Cupcake Kids!

Drinking the Investing Kool Aid

When I was in 3rd grade, my class studied the stock market. We each got to choose three different companies that we wanted to invest in and then follow them for a given length of time. We read the Wall Street Journal daily, looking up the price of our stocks and put together a line graph that displayed their continued growth (clearly, it was a much better time for the economy back then.) I enjoyed this activity so much that I continued to follow my three stocks (Kellogg’s, Hershey’s & Disney) for some time after we completed the unit in school. I didn’t really understand how the stock market worked, nor did I really care; I really just liked drawing the graphs.

We received the Wall Street Journal at school but when I was at home we only received a local New Hampshire paper and the Boston Globe. So, one day when my mom sent me in to the grocery store to pick up a few things, I decided to grab a copy of the Wall Street Journal, so I could “check up” on my stocks (yes, I was a hardcore investor at the time). I had seen my mom grab our town paper off the shelf many times and not pay for it, since they were free. I figured the same was true with the Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, I learned this was not the case when I climbed back into the car with my “reading” for the car ride home. My mom made me run back into the store, completely humiliated and embarrassed that I stole something, and made me pay the $1.25 that I owed for the newspaper. That was the first, and last time, I ever stole anything.

My interest in the stock market has slowly declined since my inital investing days. Since Matt is a “professional financer” I decided to make an effort to better understand the work that he does by reading “The Intelligent Investor.” What a mistake that was! I got about half way through the book (twice) before I quit for something more interesting (like the Shopaholic series!)

 

As much as I would like to leave the past behind me and forget about all of this investing nonsense, it doesn’t seem like that is a real possibility unless Matt decides to change careers.

Last night, when Matt came home around 10:30, I was already in bed. He came into the room and we talked for a little about our days. I honestly love how Matt’s version of “pillow talk” is to tell me about the investments that he researched or news from the stock market. Last night, he was all fired up from the craziness that took place on Wall Street.

As per usual, I didn’t really understand what he was talking about. Basically, the take away points I got were that the stock market had a mini “crash.” Specifically, people were saying that a trader might have accidentally sold 16 billion dollars worth of stock, instead of 16 million, because he accidentally hit the wrong key (fat finger). As a result, P & G’s stock dropped over 35% in a matter of minutes, setting off a state of panic and a market free-fall. Early this morning, Nasdaq announced it will cancel all trades of stocks at prices that were 60% above or below the last price at 2:40 p.m., or immediately prior in an attempt to set things straight.

On my walk to work this morning, I was stunned when I came upon the New York Stock Exchange building. As I have blogged about before, many companies will put banners up along the building to promote their company. This was the site that I came upon this morning.

Now isn’t that ironic?