Tag Archives: friend

Featured: Emily Cardella

When I was thinking about what of my friends I would interview for money management, Emily didn’t initially come up. Yes, she’s been known to teach me money-saving tricks, like getting day-old loafs of bread from Jimmy Johns and a pound of cheese to snack on, but it always seemed to me we were never depriving ourselves, just being resourceful or adventurous. Truly, I should be putting her interview under a project about exercise (perhaps you’ve seen her out running with her basset hound); or travel (besides one awesome trip I took with her to Colorado, she’s also been to Australia, and most recently, biking along the West coast and visiting me); or baking (ask her to make frosting or cookies, she can do it off the top of her head); or compassion (when you meet her, it’s incredibly obvious how much her friends, family (including her dog), boyfriend and patients are to her). Alas, her well-rounded nature has put her here.

EF (Me): What was your upbringing like in respects to how it affected your money management?

EC (Emily Cardella): I was brought up in a family without extra money, and I think it allows me to be able to keep calm and find other things to do when I’m nearly broke, but it also makes me want to succeed that much more, to see what its like to have money and be able to buy things when I want them. Also, I’m deathly afraid of spending more money than what I have, which I’ve only done once, when I went to Australia. It was easy when we were in college and no one had money, but I find the more mature my friends get, money wise, the harder it is to keep up with the things they want to do, consequently I am constantly looking for ways to save money and get by with less so I can do things with friends when they are around.

EF: If you won the lottery, what would you buy?

EC: First I would pay off my Australia loan, then I would give a lot of it to my parents, because I know my school was a huge financial burden to them, and they haven’t had a decent vacation in a long time. If I had any money left over I would help [my sister] Danielle pay for school (and probably [my boyfriend] Josh), then hope I got into PA school soon so I could just pay that off too. I’d visit all my friends in their crazy faraway places, buy them things (make them love me more). Then if any money was left over I’d start looking for my dream house. I’d probably buy another dog in there somewhere too. Unfortunately I never even buy lottery tickets, so this is never going to happen.

EF: What are some elements that were involved in choosing your career?

EC: I think at the core I just like helping people. Even when I wanted to be a vet I just wanted to help the animals and their owners. I get satisfaction out of making other people feel better, relieved. I hate seeing people struggling and hurting.

EF: What will you be doing after you retire?

EC: IF I retire, (it sounds kind of boring, and I’m just trying to start my career, so I have a few years before I’ll start thinking about retiring) I’ll probably be hanging out with my cows, training dogs, and snowboarding.

EF: What was the best thing you recently saved money on?

EC: Unfortunately, no matter how much I “save” when buying things I always see it as spending money. I really want these $100 pillows from Younkers, they were 50% off last week, and with the 15% coupon I could have gotten them for pretty cheap, but my mom works there too, and I didn’t have her with me to get another 23% off, so I didn’t buy them. I could have potentially “saved” a lot of money on those pillows, but not buying them at all saved me money too! (Probably just going to ask for them for my birthday)

EF: What was your last splurge on?

EC: Haha, probably that big trip around the US. :S

EF: What do you spend most your money on?

EC: Traveling. Almost every time I save up a big enough portion of money it gets spent on a trip somewhere. I may have to quit doing this for awhile, sadly.

EF: Who is better at saving money, you or Josh?

EC: Hard to say at this point, mostly because one of us has always been in school not making money while the other one has a full time job. We’re both pretty equally good at saving, which is one of the reasons I like him.

EF: What is something people would be surprised that you buy on a regular basis?

EC: The only things I repetitively purchase are food items, the next thing I’m buying is the Jim Croce album, Photographs and Memories, ($8), and yesterday I bought the Carpenters Christmas album for $0.50, both are incredible albums. I’m really excited to get a record player.

EF: What are things we can do on a daily basis to live a good life?

EC: Help others, but don’t scare them with your weirdness. Run (and/or exercise). Brush your teeth. Call your friends. Reflect. Be thankful. Have fun with whatever you’re doing. Get to know yourself. Bake. Build. Grow. Share. Relax.

EF: Do you have someone you look to for inspiration in your life?

EC: Everyone, I’ve found that if you get to know people, almost everyone has an inspiring story. My mom, and Riven. Really all my friends inspire me, I put you all on pedestals.

EF: What activity makes you most happy?

EC: Being outside. And playing with Tucker. Simplicity is the key.

EF: What would be your last meal?

EC: Something my mom cooked, anything really, as long as she made it.

EF: Who do you admire most in the area of music?

EC: Any of the small-time artists struggling at local coffee shops and bars. For some reason they always sound amazing to me, I love live music.

EF: In the area of sports?

EC: All the runners. Seriously, I’ve been trying to get myself running on a regular basis, it takes so much dedication. I succeed about 2 out of every 7 days.

EF: In the area of design?

EC: Love Sac. I really wish I had enough money to get the Sactionals. Brilliant.

EF: Where do you want to be right now?

EC:I think I’d like to be climbing a mountain. Or making another attempt  at snowboarding. However, I don’t mind where I’m at right now either. I have the day off and it’s beautiful outside, perfect temperature and the leaves are changing colors!

EF: If you could give someone advice, what would it be?

EC: Don’t stop believin’


Featured: Anne Heun

Anne and I met the first day in college. Her room was next to mine, and within a month, I was sleeping in her room more than my own. The next year we lived together again, and then later we moved into the stereotypical, (slightly) shady, post-college neighborhood in Minneapolis. What amazed me about her, is that she’s always keeping others in mind. The perfect ying, to my over-bearing yang. In college she dealt with my home-sickness, gave blood at every drive, remembered every birthday and volunteered for the local woman’s abuse organization. Luckily, she’s as smart as she is generous, because now she’s going to grad school to provide support to families coping with the possibility of genetic disorders in their babies.

EF: Is generosity a nature or nurture trait?

AH: Both.  I would say that it is mostly cultural.  Going to other parts of the country than the Midwest, I feel that growing up it always mattered to be nice and friendly, whereas in other parts of the country keeping to yourself is a matter of safety.  I think that generosity stems from the safety of the Midwest and our corresponding belief system – that everyone deserves respect and kindness.

EF: What are the downfalls of being considerate to others?

AH: Consideration is not always returned, and generosity can be abused.  But, I don’t know that there truly is a downfall to being considerate. I absolutely hate laying awake at night and knowing that I treated someone badly.  My biggest regrets in life come from being inconsiderate of the feelings and mindset of others.

EF: The most frustrated I’ve ever seen you was after continuously trying to donate, but being denied because you’re iron was too low. Why is it so important to give blood?

AH: Part of that was pride – I hate failing.  I also feel that it’s my duty to give blood because it’s something I can give freely that may actually make a difference.

EF: Do you have someone you look to for inspiration?

AH: When I think about my friends, and I’m sure it’s the same for you, you know how angry you get when they are mistreated.  I think that’s an inspiration.  Everyone is loved by or loves someone.  I also think of my grandma.  She is the sweetest, most selfless person that I know, and she really does make the world a better place and always puts others first.

EF: What is the place of compassion in your philosophical ideals?
AH: At the forefront.  I can’t believe how fortunate I am, and who my parents are and who I was allowed to become.  I seriously feel that something crappy has to be coming along because of how lucky I have been in my life.  Why isn’t everyone as lucky?  Why do some people lose everyone they love, have horrible diseases, or become physically disabled?  People get dealt a lot of crap, and compassion is central to my notion of humanity.

EF: If you had extra money for charity, how would you donate?

AH: To EVERYTHING!  It would be hard to choose.  The animal cruelty commericals with the sad Sarah McLaughlan song playing make me want to rip my eyeballs out.  A lot of money would go there.  I also feel like as a country we need to treat our elders far better.  They deserve to live their final years in peace, comfort, and love, and should have as much independence as possible.  I would want to build places where age is celebrated and people could live out their final years happily, instead of horrible nursing homes (although there are nice ones, too).  Losing my grandpa was hard because I saw what hospice was like, and it can be awful.  It needs to change.
EF: My family dealt with that this year too, and I saw how it took a toll on everyone. The hospice was like a breathe of fresh air compared to the nursing homes down here.
What are some things we can do on a daily basis to live a compassionate life?
AH: Small things.  When someone smiles at me in a hallway, I feel better.  When a door is held for me, I smile.  People just need to cut the crap and act decently to each other.  If you see someone who needs a hand, give it.  I saw a man on the sidewalk today who asked me a question, and I didn’t realize that he was asking for money until I was down the street.  It would be easier if we didn’t care what people think, and I wish I would have been brave enough to have gone back and given him a couple bucks.

EF: What is the biggest injustice you’ve ever seen?

AH: I see tons of injustice because it’s the nature of our world.  I hate it.  I think of my grandma.  She took care of my grandpa for the last 5 years of her life and sacrificed herself and her loves for him.  It’s not that she didn’t love him with her whole heart and didn’t want to help him – it’s just that she lost a piece of herself.  After he died, she was able to reclaim her life…until her cancer returned.  She had been diagnosed about two months before he died, but they surgically removed it and told her that it was all gone.  Then, she wasn’t feeling well, and it turns out the cancer had spread throughout her abdomen and lungs.  She wants so badly to live, and now she knows that her time left is pretty limited.  I absolutely can’t bear the thought of losing anyone I love, and it kills me.  I’m angry at the doctors, but mostly I’m angry for her.  She’s been through enough.
EF: You seem to have a knack for being there for your friends, most especially for me when I was going to go to my uncle’s funeral and you surprised me with a care package of all my favorite foods. Perfect, since I had barely eaten all week. What are other ways you’re mindful of your friends and their needs?

AH: I try to remember that everyone has deep feelings, hopes, and dreams, and I try to attend to those.  I think small things matter.  Listening is powerful.

EF: What activity makes you most happy?

AH: Spending time with my family and friends.  I miss everyone all the time.

EF: Who do you admire most in the area of music?

AH:Dave Grohl!

EF: Who do you admire the most in the area of design?

AH: EVERYONE.  I can’t design worth a crap, and anyone who makes the world a more beautiful place is truly appreciated.

EF: Where do you want to be right now?

AH: In Ames, as a 17 year old girl.

EF: If you could give someone advice, what would it be?

AH: Be kind.

Less Controlling, More Selfless

The major element of stress in my life is the dichotomy between finding joy in planning things in my life meticulously, and the realization I can not control people to create my ideal scenarios. Since realizing this character flaw, I have spent years creating some tactics to manage events I’m looking forward to (and tend to over-hype in my head until no one can live up): I plan things like my outfit, because it’s something I can control; I act like the event is no big deal and don’t allow myself to think about it (but then I don’t get the high from planning); I try to be casual as I check in with most everyone involved to see what their expectations are so I can predict a plan. But if you’ve ever read the book The Hours–a personal favorite of mine–you know that picking out the perfect flowers doesn’t mean everyone is going to cooperate with your perfect party.

I’ve also been getting this “bad daughter/friend/sister” vibe since I’ve moved down to Florida. I really enjoy seeing the people I love when I come to MN, but there’s also this gross feeling I get when I realize that whenever I come to town I’m asking people to drop what their doing and abide by my schedule. I tell myself that I would do the same when they come to visit me (and I do try), but I visit MN far more frequently than my close friends are able to visit me. I am the type of person who will drop everything if you ask me to, but I’m not quick to realize you need me to.

With this in mind, I want to not be so controlling of situations, and instead be a supportive role in my friends, family and acquaintance’s lives.I’m going to try to be more selfless this next couple weeks. Here’s the plan:

  • This blog aside, using the word “I” less, and using the word “you” more.
  • Be supportive of other people. Most especially at my friend Angie’s wedding next weekend, but also by doing small things like asking if people need help around the office, giving blood, opening doors, etc.
  • Remembering that everyone is doing their best, and they’re not doing it “wrong” if it differs from how I would do it. This includes not judging Logan on his unique schedule of work and play.
  • Acknowledge others. This includes giving thanks to people who deserve appreciation, and asking what people think more (without rushing to tell my story or opinion).
  • Go with the group. I wont try to control what plan the people around me want to do.

Carried over from other projects:

  • Gluten-free diet.
  • More fresh veggies and fruits.
  • More hobbies and activities, less TV.
  • Avoid things that insult my soul
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Maintain a positive attitude

Featured: Linh Tran

The story goes that a 3rd grader named Linh sat with a 2nd grader (me) and a 1st grader (my friend) on the bus. Years later we recount the story of how cool we thought we were having someone older grace us with their presence, but in Linh’s version she just didn’t have any friends to sit with. That’s Linh though, she never dwells in any negativity, she makes herself busy with something else and moves on. Not only that, but she rarely let’s me wallow in my self-negativity either. After a particularly hard break-up, she (super-woman-like) busted in to my parents home and peeled me off my place in front of the TV. Then she set up an obstacle course complete with egg balancing and twirling around a baseball bat. By the end of the day we couldn’t stop laughing. Linh’s friendship has always been the main conqueror of  my self-pity, so I thought for sure I’d need to interview her.

EF (Me): How do you keep an optimistic attitude?

LT (Linh Tran): I always ask myself, how important is this right now and try to see things in a larger perspective rather than just my own.

EF: What activity makes you most happy?

LT: Being involved, staying busy.

EF: When you’re feeling down, how do you cheer yourself up?

LT: Me time. Regrouping and re-focusing on what is important like family, work, friends, my faith.

EF: Is there something that you thought would make you happy but it didn’t?

LT: Being away from the people I love.

EF: I agree with you there. How about something you thought would make you upset but actually put you in a better mood?

LT: Stress.

EF: How do you cheer your friends up when they’re upset?

LT: Sarcasm works wonders.

EF: What was the happiest moment of your life?

LT: Every time someone tells me they love me and I know they meant it.

EF: What are your observations on what makes other people happy or unhappy?

LT: People choose to make themselves happy or unhappy, it takes a conscious effort to tell yourself you are happy or not.

EF: What’s something you do regularly that get’s in the way of your happiness?

LT: Not saying how I feel when it matters the most.

EF: If you were going to the electric chair, what would be your final meal?

LT:Spaghetti with meat sauce.

EF: What would you have even done to receive such a punishment? I feel like I’m getting too dark for an interview on positivity.

LT: Covering for someone who committed a crime and I believed they had a purpose here and was truly a good person.

EF:What would you tell the 12-year-old you?

LT:You will be challenged, things will be tough, but you will be successful and you will be happy in your own shoes.

EF: Who do you admire most in the area of music?

LT: Beyonce.

EF: In the area of sports?

LT: Joe Mauer.

EF: What’s your dream job?

LT: To be it all; a career woman, a wife, a mom, but to be good at all three.

EF: That sounds exactly like an interview I just read with Beyonce… If you could give someone advice, what would it be?

LT: You can do whatever you set your heart to, and I believe in you.

Featured: Stephen Nemora

One of my best friends, Stephen Nemora, gave up gluten a couple of years ago, and I’m fascinated with how he’s been able to regulate himself without starving. For this reason (and that he’s easily one of the top 5 most interesting people I know) I’ve decided to highlight him in today’s post.

EF (Me): What are your current dietary restrictions?

SN (Stephen): Current Dietary Restrictions are (1) Gluten / Wheat Free (with the exception of trace amounts & the occasional beer/whiskey) and (2) Low sugar

EF: Why did you choose to give them up?

SN: I went gluten/wheat free winter break 2009. I’d had some form of chronic fatigue syndrome for a couple of years; I’d often be so tired by 9:30 AM that I’d be forced to take a nap. Other days I’d be fine or I’d pass out at like noon or in the afternoon. My energy was totally random. I had blood work done and that came back all clear, so I was convinced it was my diet, maybe a food allergy. Previous to pulling gluten from my diet, I tried eliminating nuts, dairy, eggs, and restricting sodium. When I pulled gluten, my energy stabilized. In addition, after about 2 months, I started feeling another effect. It’s hard to  describe the feeling, but it’s like my insides have more clarity or something. Also, my digestion seems more regular. It’s nice.

My acne recently flared up after being relatively clear for over a year. I’m not sure why this happened, but I’m pretty sure it had to do with the artificial sweeteners in a protein powder I was using (Gold Standard Whey). I’ve seen correlations between my sugar intake and clearness of skin in the past, so I think this might work.

EF: What’s the hardest part of having these restrictions?

SN: The hardest part about being gluten-free is that it’s often inconvenient. I can’t just grab a sandwich, or a slice of pizza, or some pasta, or even a bowl of soup (most have flour). Also, I have to read the labels of most processed foods. That being said, inconvenience is the worst of it; I don’t experience cravings, which are common with many diets. Oh, and not drinking beer. That’s kind of hard. I really like beer.

EF: What’s your favorite food?

SN: Samgyeopsal (Korean Grilling) with a big bottle of Soju (Korean booze). It’s amazing. Imagine gorging yourself on big 1/4 thick slabs of bacon, pieces of which you wrap in lettuce then top with a myriad of colorful condiments. Now imagine it drunk. Thankfully, there is no gluten and almost no sugar in this meal.

EF: I have a habit of eating the same things, do you have something you eat way too much of?

SN: Rice, Eggs, Corn Chips, Salsa, Hummus, Kimchi.

EF: Describe what happens when you go to restaurants with people where they don’t have options/very many options for you.

SN: I scream until the chef makes me a custom dish to my liking. But really, I have yet to find a restaurant I couldn’t eat at, you just have to be creative. Remember when I substituted out noodles for grilled veggies at that Italian place? That was delicious.

EF: The restaurant where I ate a 2 person lasagna by myself and made myself sick? Yes. OK, bonus round. What’s something you struggle with?

SN: High Level: Finding Things I’m Passionate About, Finding Compatible Girls, Knowing When to Let Go. Low Level: Acne, Finding Clothes that Fit, I Scowl Too Much

EF: Who inspires you style-wise?

SN: Mid/Late 20-somethings in Asia = youthful creativity + adult sophistication. People/styles that draw attention without using loud colors or anything ridiculous. The principles/elements of design.

EF: What couldn’t you live without in your kitchen?

SN: Frying pan. I invested in a really nice frying pan after being hired at Bridgevine and I have to say it’s one of my favorite possessions. Number 2 is my rice cooker. Number 3 would be sharp knives. I haven’t bought a really nice set of knives yet though because I’m still learning about knives. I think everyone should learn on cheap equipment so they can appreciate the really nice

EF: Any last words of advice?

SN: I drink a gallon of water everyday and so should everyone.