New Website

Please join me at my new website. I have upgraded from the free template to a hosted one at

See you there…and see what you have missed the past 2 months.

Thank you.

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A little bit of financial disclosure!


Since l said this blog was going to be a little bit about everything, l figured it was a good time to tell a little bit about my  situation. I have been reading a lot of financial blogs and now l know the net worths of most of the bloggers. I am not yet at that point. I don’t know if l will ever be. It’s not like it’s a huge amount of money, just my preference. I think it makes sense if you are trying to teach people to do things the way you are. I, however am not saying my way is good or bad, just the way l do it. Truthfully, the decision to stop working (I can’t bring myself to call it retirement yet, because who knows if l will ever get the urge to go back to work) was not based on how much l had accumulated and could withdraw safely. It was based on a rough calculation of how much money l have till l can collect early social security, which would be enough for us to live on. My situation is different because there are no kids involved in the equation. No saving for college, braces, and all that good stuff. This was planned from the get go. I consider myself selfish and would rather spend the money on myself and my family. The cool aunt is the role that fits me well. 

I have contributed to my 401k for many years, thanks to an old man l used to work with, but that’s a story for another day. I would always fluctuate between 10-15% savings, but most years l maxed out. I would rebalance my portfolio every couple of years or so. As you know, this year has been a good one for just about everyone, me included. Here is what my portfolio consisted of:

Moderate Growth 5%

Aggressive Growth 33%

Growth 15% (I’ll call it puny growth)

Large Cap 15%

International Equity 25%

Company Stock 7%

It was a 39.2% gain for the year.My dividends and interest for the year doubled 2012’s and came in at $119,846.93. The funny part is l only contributed $5,003 towards the 401k plan as l left in the beginning of the year. Last year l contributed $13,755.56 total, the dividend and interest was $52,017.00. I had rebalanced my portfolio last year, moving more into the aggressive fund from my company stock. Looking back, had l left it, l would have a slightly bigger gain because that stock was on fire!!!! I’m not greedy though..just happy. I left my 401k with my old company. Why? it suits me just fine right now. The dividends are reinvested. I like my positions. I know at my age (49), it is not recommended to have that much in aggressive stocks, but for a penny, in for a pound. After seeing how low the portfolio got back in 2008/2009, nothing scares me now. I will leave it as is until l feel able to do better.

One thing l am thinking about now is Roth IRA. I never bothered with it as l did not qualify, but thanks to blogs like and l realize that l can start one for me, and my husband could have had one for years! yikes! Better late than never..right..right?

And how was your net worth for the past year? Are you sitting on the upward trajectory arrow with me?

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My E.R visit in Malta

A few days ago, I started with what l thought was a cold/flu. I believed l was just unlucky as l also had the flu starting Christmas day and going almost into the new year. I wasn’t too worried and just took some liquid medication for the symptoms. It got progressively worse though, and l could barely get up from bed. When l started to shiver despite my many layers of clothing and my back started aching uncontrollably, l knew it was much worse. My teeth were chattering, not even the heater warmed me up. I knew it was more than likely a kidney infection. You see, the same thing had happened to me  2 years ago, but I waited so long to seek help, my kidneys almost shut down. I wasn’t going to let the same thing happen. Just past midnight, l told my husband to call a cab and head for the hospital. The cab was here in less than 10 minutes, and a short time later l was in a private hospital.

Image I had been there once for a mammogram. I didn’t want to go to the county hospital because everybody says there is always a long wait. Money was the least of my worries at this point so we decided on the private. Luckily, it was very quiet in there, and there was only one patient before me. The doctor was in to see me after about a 10 minute wait. She asked the usual questions and l told her what l suspected based on my past experience. She asked for a urine sample and came to the same conclusion based on the urinalysis. She told me she was going to give me antibiotics and an anti inflammatory. I told her the one l had been given previously and she gave me a prescription. My visit with her was about 25 minutes.

When we went to pay, I was asked if there was any insurance to bill, l said no. It would be a cash transaction and l would submit the bill myself (we’re still covered under our old insurance). Imagine my surprise when he handed me the bill. It was €30.65 ($41.75). The whole bill, a private hospital, the E.R, the starter med. It was that little. I can’t even submit it to my insurance as my E.R copay is $150!!!! My visit to the E.R 2 years ago had cost $2900. I paid $150 and the insurance picked up the rest. Pretty insane the difference!!!

The round trip cab fare cost €16

The visit €30.65

The 2 medications €22.87 (both are brand names. I didn’t want to wait till the next day for them to order the generic on one)

All said, this whole episode cost a total of €69.52 ($94.53). Still cheaper than my copay.


I am loving this heavenly haven. Thanks, St. James Hospital.

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Day Trip to Gozo

We have been on this lovely island for 8 months, but this is the first time we made the visit to our sister island of Gozo. It is more rural and green there. A lot of people from Malta visit there to get their green on as l like to call it. Malta itself is very built up and there is little green space, so when you feel a bit claustrophobic, you can take the 15 minute ferry ride over there, and voila! We had no destination in mind, we just wanted to check it out. At some point, we will spend a weekend there. A vacation in one’s backyard so to speak. Here are some images from our visit. For those of you who watch the “Game of Thrones”, Season 1 was filmed here around the Azure Window as well as in the walled ancient city of Mdina, which is a visit for another day.




gozo7 gozo8 gozo9 gozo10

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The Duomo in Florence..

How could l forget to post these pictures? Especially the mouthwatering gelato!!! Image





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Florence and San Gimignano, Italy

Our visit to Florence was a blast. We took the train from Rome’s Termini station and were in Florence about 3 hours later. It was a fun filled 3 days with good friends, good food and a lot of walking. Florence is an amazing city full of history. Lots of shopping too, if that’s your thing, not to mention the museums. Our day in the walled medieval city of San Gimignano was the highlight of the trip for me. It is located in the Siena region of Tuscany. We had originally planned to spend just a few hours, but once there, we were enchanted and spent the day meandering about , taking in all the architecture of the tower houses. It reminds of Malta in some ways. We finished our day there with a dinner of wild boar, florentine steak and lots of wine, for which the region is famous. Here are some photos from the trip.ImageImageImageImage






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Evidence that 2013 happened

So here we are, a freshly minted 2014. Since it’s a new year and a new blog, l figured it was a good time to reflect on the happenings of 2013.

We started the year in America and ended it in Europe, Malta to be specific. Yes, we did it! After 3 years of planning and saving, we accomplished our goal to slow down a bit and travel more. I will write a post soon about what gave us the final push.

I finally left my job. It was scary, very scary. I had been working for almost 30 years, most of them with the same company. I have kept my license active though, just in case! I’m not that crazy.

We got to travel some, apart from the big, life changing trip of course..

Rome, Italy…again! I never get tired of visiting this gorgeous historic city. It helps that my husband is from there. This cuts down a lot on the expenses as we have free lodging with his mum. Home cooked meals too, not that Amore isn’t an awesome cook. Our luggage back was full of fresh pasta!

Florence, Italy.. This was my second visit. We had some friends visiting from Texas. We met up with them in Rome and then took the train to Florence for a few days. It was fantastic. I will write a future post.

Marseilles, France. Oh! I could live here for sure. I will do a post on that too.

I started assisting Amore with his photography. He is a wedding and fashion photographer. We are hoping to make a go of it here. Wish us luck.

Here a picture of Malta, our little slice of heaven

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