He Said/She Said with Robin and Shawn

Dear SSHS,
I’ve been dating my guy for nearly four years now and really think it’s time we moved the relationship forward. Any ideas on how I might politely let him know that this Valentine’s Day I’d love a ring instead of roses?                                                                      – Cupid’s Victim, Dublin, CA

She Said: You sound very direct—I’m sure he knows! Guys don’t like to be pushed on this stuff, so if you’ve dropped a few hints, let it go and see what happens. But here’s an idea: It’s Leap Year, which means we get a February 29. It’s tradition that on that day, the woman gets to ask the man to marry her. If there isn’t a little something gold peeking out from under the cherry cordial this Valentine’s Day, you’ve got two weeks to come up with your own proposal. I say, quit waiting and go for it!

He Said: A guy should never be coerced into making a proposal; he either wants to marry you or he doesn’t. Think about it, do you really want a guy to pop the question just because YOU are ready to say “yes?” It should be much more organic than that and happen because this is a big step that you both are ready for. That’s not to say that some guys don’t need a kick in the pants every now and then. Like Robin said, give him a chance to see if he makes his move this Valentine’s Day, otherwise you should just take matters into your own hands and see if it gets you the desired result.

Dear HSSS,
I own a couple of cars including a nice 4-wheel drive SUV that’s great for the snow. A friend has asked if she can borrow my SUV to go up to Tahoe for a few days. I’m happy to lend people a cup of sugar or a few bucks, but is this “favor” asking a bit much?                 -Wanting to be neighborly, but… Orinda, CA

He Said: There are favors and then there are FAVORS. Asking someone for a ride to the store is a favor, borrowing someone’s car for a vacation is a FAVOR. In this situation, it all depends on how much you trust your friend and how much you like your car. When you lend out a car, you’re far too liable for what someone else might do with it. My recommendation is you say “no” and you let them know you don’t lend out valuables such as your car. I’ve lent out cars in the past and almost always regretted it because the car always came back in a different condition than I lent it in. This is what rental car companies are for.

She Said: Shawn’s points are all good, but I’m sure you feel bad about saying “no,” otherwise you wouldn’t be asking. I would say yes to family and super close friends. But if they drive a jalopy and have a reputation for being a bad driver, I’d say no, regardless. And if they ask why, you simply point to their car and shrug. Now, if your friend drives a really cute sports car, and you’d like to suggest a trade, well then I think we have a solution.HeSaidSheSaidgraphic

Robin Fahr is a communications specialist and co-host with Shawn Shizzo on Conversations and He Said/She Said seen daily on Tri-Valley TV, Channel 30 and online at trivalleytv.org. You can also catch He Said/She Said on TheTalkPod.com. Send your questions to AskHeSaidSheSaid.com.

The Transcendent Trail

And so it is February—the month of Saint Valentine—when we think about the person we love most. It’s also a good time to reflect upon the very notion of love beyond its romantic form and expression, as the solitary force that transcends time.Walkway

Anyone who has lost a loved one knows what I mean—you never stop loving someone, even thoughthey’ve moved on from what is their physical period or phase within eternity. As it has been said, “We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a physical experience.”

This past December, my uncle, Stephen Corso—my “Uncle Steve”—passed away. He was ninety-four but still as sharp as a tack. I have written about him in the past; about the impact he had on my life and all the wonderful memories I have of him and my aunt and cousins.

At his memorial service, I was touched by how his daughter, grandson and great grandsons spoke about him; all obviously feeling the heartache of loss, while sharing how deeply they were touched by this man—my Uncle Steve—acknowledging the impact he had on their lives. In hearing their testimonials, I vividly recalled many of those fond memories of which he was a central figure.

Just a few days before he passed, I was fortunate in that I was able to spend some time with him. We both knew that it was likely to be the last time we would see each other in this life, so we agreed to drop any pretense of the inevitable. I asked him if he wanted to pray, and he nodded and whispered “yes.” We prayed and shared a few words. I then left, with what was to be one last, warm memory.

It’s something to think about in this month when the focus is on “love.” As we pass through this plane of physical existence, we cannot help but touch others with our actions and words. And if we choose to empower those words and actions with the one force we possess that transcends time, we can rest in knowing that when its our turn for the next part of our journey, we’ll be leaving a well traveled, clearly marked trail for our loved-ones to follow.

What Does the Volatility in the Market Mean?

As humans, investors are naturally inclined to follow tendencies dictated by psychology. We extrapolate recent events into the future, and we are scarred by prior traumas. Sometimes, the two go hand in hand. More specifically, we have gotten to expect that markets go straight up, as they have done since March 2009 – but the minute that we see any deviation from those expectations, we anticipate a market meltdown like 2008. The reality is, though, that the future doesn’t always follow such extreme examples. And indeed, “extreme” is a word that can be used to describe both the disaster of the financial crisis and the tremendous bull market that followed, both almost without parallel.

In reality, though, the market is more inclined to follow a pattern seen throughout much of history. And that is one with more volatility than we have seen in the past seven years, and one that might neither go straight up nor straight down. We must recognize the tradeoffs that dictate the fact that, with higher potential reward comes the necessity to undertake more potential risk. And risk often means losses from time to time, in a way that is neither extraordinary nor necessarily predictive of looming calamity.

Yes, there are problems in the world. However, we can instead offer a few questions for you to consider. And importantly, in order to help you answer these questions, your financial adviser has the tools you need to help you in your financial life journey.

What should you do? For our clients, a likely answer may be to simply make no changes at all, as their United Capital financial adviser may have already established the investment strategy most appropriate for them. It is important, or perhaps we might even say, imperative, that you recognize the instinct to “do something” ignores the most basic principal that we may be merely returning to an era of more “normal” volatility.

And more volatility is indeed normal. According to Ned Davis Research, stock market volatility over the last thirteen weeks through January 10this at the low end of the range of what is considered normal and typical. In fact, over the long span of time, the market experiences a decline of at least -10% once every 72 trading days on average. We haven’t experienced such a decline in a far longer period.

Might a Different Strategy Be Better for Me?
Consider discussing with your financial adviser. He or she can work with you, utilizing some of the industry’s innovative technologies to find where your portfolio should be positioned. If you do want a strategy that is designed to attempt to exit the market, or at least reduce risk exposure, during periods of substantial and sustained downturns, we do offer Tactical strategies. These are designed to help limit, but not avoid altogether, severe losses during a downturn. As we mentioned earlier, however, an increased focus on downside avoidance necessarily comes with decreased upside participation. As we at United Capital often say, “More of something often means less of something else.”

So have a conversation with your financial adviser. He or she is well equipped to help you handle market volatility. And above all else, a return to normal need not necessarily be feared.

Mr. Kelly Trevethan is a Certified Investment Management Analyst & Registered Financial Consultant. He is a Managing Director with United Capital Financial Advisers LLC, a national private wealth advisory firm with 79 offices across the nation. He can be reached at 415-418-2101. To obtain your free copy of the New York Times Bestselling book “The Money Code”, email him at Kelly.trevethan@unitedcp.com.

The information contained herein is intended for information only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered investment advice.  All data herein are obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. There are no investing strategies that guarantee a profit or protect against a loss. Tactical Asset allocation strategy is not for every investor due to its potential higher tax liabilities.

© 2015 United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC. All Rights Reserved

The Organic Coup

Okay friends, you have been with me long enough to know my love for “good food.” This is not just savory, sweet, spicy or even umami. This is food the way nature intended us to eat. Wholesome (organic) free of GMO and pesticides, ready to eat and ready to make a healthier you. With the rise of farmers’ markets and Super Markets with organic sections, the challenge has never been how to eat that way at home or even predominantly in your life, but rather the ability to get that type of food with trust and on the go. The wait is over.

The Organic Coup is the very first American USDA Certified Organic fast food restaurant. The very first—and they have done it right!

I met the restaurant’s founder, Erica Welton, when I wondered into the first location in Pleasanton behind Pick 6 Sports Bar. In conversation she quickly told of her epiphany while making her child’s baby food, that she and the rest of us were eating all wrong. Of course my love affair with her concept and food began right there, as my wife had the same epiphany that resulted in our forever- changed eating habits.

As with most business formed out of the passion to move masses to a better way of living, food was only the catalyst for Erica to spawn a movement of consumers she lovingly refers to as “Coup National Ambassadors.” Hence the name “Coup” (not coop), and yes, the chicken reference was intended. She believes her customers ”are changing the status quo by transforming the conventional and unsustainable food system through vision and action and the simple act of buying a certified organic sandwich makes you an agent of change.” It goes deeper than that. She believes in her staff and pays them a “livable wage” so they are free to speak about being part of the movement with natural passion.

Here is what struck me first about my times here: They kept it simple to start. Getting Certified Organic is no easy task, and once done, could (and often has) led to proprietors bombarding the public with 100 choices. This is counter-productive. When a patron wants to experience something new, the last thing they need, or want, is 100 choices of how to do it. Show us one way. Erica has done this. Same chicken, same slaw prepared as a sandwich, wrap or bowl. Perfect!

The soda fountain is stocked with all natural sodas and the various sauces, so your meal prep is lip smacking. The side dishes are as un-complex as the menu: Tenders (for the kids) or popcorn—again, perfect!

So what does it mean to be USDA Certified Organic? That means the food served has none of the following: GMO’s, antibiotics, added hormones, pesticides or chemicals. It means that the fuel for your body is clean and will result in maximum results.

Her expansion plans are huge; and mark my word: We will see The Organic Coup all across the nation soon—but for now, you must visit her in Pleasanton. Go now and be an agent of change. Your body will thank you and your taste buds will cheer for you!

4825 Hopyard Rd, Pleasanton, California 94588

Oscar Night: And the Winner is…

Well, it is Oscar season again. I have been around so long, I still think Jimmy Stewart was robbed in 1939 when he did not win the Oscar for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” So, instead of questions about the Oscar winners, how about the losers?
1. Some of our greatest actors never even got a nomination in stellar careers. One such should have been nominated for “Double Indemnity” and “Key Largo.” Who was he?

2. Another non-nominee was voted Queen of Hollywood the same time Clark Gable was named King. She played the wife of a sleuth in an outstanding detective series and was outstanding in “Best Years of our Lives.” Who was she?

3. Henry Fonda was one our most reliable actors, who finally won an Oscar in 1983, shortly before his death. He was nominated only one other time. What was the movie and year that he won?

4. Harrison Ford has had one of the most successful movie careers over the past 40 years, but has only been nominated once for an Oscar. For what movie?

5. Tom Hanks has won twice and been frequently nominated. He should have won again in 1999 for “Saving Private Ryan.” Who did he lose to and what was the movie?

6. Martin Scorcese should have won Best Director Oscars in 1980 for “Raging Bull” and in 1990 for “Goodfellas.” Both times he lost to actors turned directors. Who were the two directors and what were the movies?

Ten Simple Steps for Beautiful Skin

1) A New Level Of Lux
For refreshed, glowing healthy skin use products that contain superior peptides. You want products that include Neuropeptides. This peptide is finer than others and is the key to a beautiful complexion. It penetrates the surface of the skin, repairing the cells, while reducing fine lines and wrinkles, improving the surface of the skin. Use daily for maximum benefits.

2) Easy on the Eyes
The eye area is more delicate than the rest of the skin on the face, so be sure to use an eye cream that is specifically formulated for this area. Heavy creams can cause the eye area to dry out, causing unnecessary wrinkling. Lighter eye creams with nutrients are best. Our Ultra Firming Eye Cream by Ongrien is a helpful solution for dry, puffy, and dark circles around the eyes, furthermore, it smoothes fine lines and wrinkles, leaving the eyes looking youthful.

3) A Light Idea
With the colder months comes increased dryness. Switch to a more hydrated version of your favorite creams so skin doesn’t get dry and flakey. When skin gets dry it suffers and wrinkles appear. Using serums with peptides are essential for extra protection and hydration.

4) Screen Test
When you have sensitive skin you need to wear sunscreen every day. Look for sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. This type of sunscreen blocks harmful UV rays and won’t clog pores, plus it will not cause the skin to break out or bring about irritation.

5) Dare To Detox
Use a good clay mask to draw impurities out of the skin to detoxify the surface. A good masque will pull out debris from the skin and close the pores naturally. For optimum beauty everyone should detoxify the skin at least twice a month.

6) Get The Glow
Using a good exfoliant is part of an excellent beauty regime. Exfoliating the skin every day will help remove the top layer of the skin, irrigating topical layers and smoothing the surface. Moisturizers and creams can penetrate deeper into the skin for maximum hydration.

7) Here’s The Scoop
Antioxidants help protect the skin against free radicals. Free radicals cause havoc on the skin including fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. Protect your skin from free-radicals with a good topical cream with nutrients such as; Esther-C, Lipoic Acid, Q-10, and DMAE. By using these superb antioxidants they will help heal the skin and prevent further damage. Your skin will look years younger, smooth and beautifully youthful.

8) Skin Deep And A Youthful Complexion
Glycolic Acid is one of the most popular alpha hydroxy acids on the market. When applied to the skin it helps to exfoliate deeply, taking off dead cells, giving the skin a much younger appearance. What’s more, Glycolic Acid is a valuable addition to many of the super-antioxidant products on the market today.

9) Beauty Secrets
The secret to beautiful skin is all in the cleansing. If you use harsh products and do not cleanse the skin properly (nightly), your skin will suffer. Use cleansers and toners that are gentle, yet powerful enough to clean deep within the pores and the surface of the skin.

10) The Bottom Line
When cleansing the skin with superior products and using moisturizers with antioxidants and peptides, your skin will be able to repair itself. It’s never too late to start a good skin care program. Start this year with a positive outlook on your complexion, and take control of your skin’s future health. With all of the new technologies in skin care today… aging is optional!