Recession Mama











By Katy

happy-anniversary-balloon-bouquet

Six months ago, this week, Heather, Carla and I launched this site.  We had no idea what it would become.  We just wanted a place where we could talk about our experiences in this unusual economy.  We each had very different economic realities, as I am sure our readers do also.  In fact, I think each of us draw in the kinds of readers who are most like us…and sometimes, we also get readers who can’t understand what we’re going through and let us know it!  Money is a hard subject to talk about.  It’s also a hard subject to write about.  Money is so personal.  It’s definitely been hard for us, and we’re the Recession Mamas!  I’ve gotten criticized for how much I’m planning to spend on my wedding, and I haven’t even spent the money.  I was just writing about what various locations might cost us.  But that’s why it’s important to keep sharing each other’s stories.

I actually embrace the criticisms.  I address them, of course, in future posts.  But I love hearing the good and the bad.  This is what this site is for!  We should help each other through a period of time in our lives and in our country’s history that most of us have never lived through before.  We don’t always have to write about our money issues.  I think it makes for a better site if we actually don’t.  I think we are just here to document what this strange, new economic world is like…for us and for our guest writers.

I love when readers write to me and tell me how much they relate to what we’re writing about.  I love when I hear that someone has even used a tip or two from this site.  But what I love most is when someone says simply, thanks, for putting it out there!  We are going to try and keep putting it out there for all of you…and for ourselves.  Thank you so much for reading these last six months!  I hope you’ll continue to read and contribute.  Also stay tuned!  We’ll be rolling out a new look soon!!!

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{September 28, 2009}   Helping My Local Economy

By Katy

Friday night, I came out of a restaurant, and I noticed that my car was gone.  I scanned the street, hoping that I just had a senile moment and had forgotten where I parked my car.  Then, I noticed the sign.

“After 9 p.m., you will be towed!” It said.

towTruck

I looked at my watch.  It was 9:27 p.m.  Aw, crap!  I didn’t even notice that sign when I parked the car.  Why was I so careless?  It’s not like I have a lot of money to burn right now.  Luckily, my fiance had driven his car to the restaurant before me, so he took me to the tow yard.  The lady behind the cage wasn’t too friendly.  I wasn’t angry, but maybe she’s seen a lot of angry people.  She asked for my driver’s license and then told me to go through a gated door to get my car.

“I’ll give you your driver’s license back after you get your car.”  Oooo K…It’s not like I’m going to drive through all of the gates!  So after getting my car down (the tow truck had just dropped it off), I went back to the super friendly lady behind the cage to face my financial fears.

“$207.50.”  What?!?!  Did I hear that correctly?  $207.50?!?!?!  Less than an hour at the pound, and it costs me $207.50 to get my car out?  Wow!!!!  I really did it this time.  Then, when I got back to my car, I noticed I had also gotten a $60 parking ticket!!!  How in the world can they double charge me like this?  $100 already goes to the City of Los Angeles for a “vehicle release fee.”  The $107.50 goes to the tow company.  No wonder they were so eager to tow me!  They’re making over $100 an hour.

Since the weekend is almost over, I am trying my best to look at the bright side.  Otherwise, I might as well slit my wrists and kill myself now.  I’m helping the local L.A. economy.  The city is broke, right?  I’ve now done my part (wayyyy beyond my part, in my opinion) to boost the city’s coffers.  Here’s $160 of my hard-earned money.  You are very welcome.  Now, please don’t come asking me for any more.



{September 20, 2009}   Economical Emmy’s

By Katy

Kate Walsh at the 2009 Emmy Awards

Kate Walsh at the 2009 Emmy Awards

For last night’s Emmy Awards, “Private Practice” star Kate Walsh wore a strapless, flowy J. Mendel dress, Louis Vuitton shoes, jewelry from the Stephen Russell Contemporary Collection.  But what surprised me was when Kate showed E!’s Guiliana a $30 clutch and that she used SUAVE hair style products.  Now Suave…that was smart advertising!  It just got a major plug at the Emmy’s.  When would Suave ever get mentioned at an awards show?  Kate also mentioned that besides using Suave hair products, her look wasn’t her choice.  Instead, frugalistas voted for which hair style Kate would be wearing on television’s biggest night.

Here were their choices:

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Obviously, she chose the modern bob in the middle, and I think it looks sexy and fresh!  I also think it’s sexy and fresh to choose a high-low mix for an awards show.  It’s how real people dress anyway.  Well, maybe not that HIGH.  But I definitely like to mix a Chanel bag with American Apparel and J. Crew.  Before words like “recessionista” and “frugalista” came into our post-recession vocabulary, I think truly stylish, and of course, girls without trust funds, always dressed this way.  But now, it’s fashionable to be frugal.  I wonder who else dressed for the recession at last night’s Emmy Awards.  And what do you think of Kate’s economical elegance?



By Katy

lehman_brothers

Lehman's tower in NYC

One year ago, Lehman Brothers collapsed.  They filed for bankruptcy on Monday September 15, 2008 which created a domino effect that caused our current global economic crisis.  Today, the pundits say the recession is essentially over.   But is it?

According to CNN, only 59.2% of adults in the U.S. are currently employed.  So if I have 100 friends, almost half of them would not be working!  And you know what?  Although I am not consciously keeping track of whether my friends are working or not, I fear this statistic may be true.  On the other hand, even when we are working, some of us are not seeing the same amount of pay as before.  Now let me ask you, are companies scaling back with salaries and pay in order to survive during these hard, economic times or are they taking advantage of workers’ willingness to work under any circumstance?

I talked to a recent grad who just got a job.  Lucky right?  Well, she has to move to another city, and since the job is a government position, the hours and pay are less than what it should be in a “normal” economy.  A hotel employee told one of my relatives that he’s working three jobs these days!  Imagine that!  He has three jobs!  But he says it’s the only way to make ends meet and he barely sleeps.  As for me, I have worked this year, and I have not worked this year.  I have gotten paid less than my “normal” rate, but like the two people above, I am also not complaining because it’s absolutely better to work than to not work!

Happily ever after with my financial decision?

Happily ever after with my financial decision?

I have also postponed a wedding until 2010.  If you’ve been following this blog, you already know that.  You know that I just hired a wedding coordinator, and we’re looking at locations for a wedding next Summer.  What you don’t know…I’m still skeptical about paying for a wedding!  I have the entire amount saved up already, but I still think about whether or not I want to spend that money on one night.  My fiance and I think about putting that money into our retirement fund.  We think about paying down more of our mortgage and refinancing.  We think about buying the unsold unit next to my place, knocking down the wall, and building a bigger loft.  We think about starting a small business.  And sometimes, yes, we think about using the money for a wonderful party celebrating our union with our friends and family.  And no, that doesn’t have to cost the equivalent of annual private school tuitions.

I think this is what this recession has taught me.  You can have money or you can not have money…this recession is the BEST thing that’s happened to everyone…if you’re willing to learn and not repeat the same mistakes.  My recent lesson:  It’s important to think about our choices when it comes to money.  Just like it’s important to think about what we put into our bodies — healthy fruits and veggies or fattening fried foods and lots of sweets — the choices we make today will affect our health, physically and financially, later down the line.  Make healthy and wise choices today, and we’ll live better when we’re older.

When I was in my 20’s, I didn’t think about money.  I thought I had plenty of time to pay off the debts, to save up for retirement, etc.  And if I were to have a wedding in my 20’s, I would’ve done it without even thinking about it.  Now, I would’ve thought about whether I should be getting married or not.  But I wouldn’t have thought about the financial aspects so much.  Now that I’m in my mid-30’s, I don’t have as much time to save up for retirement.  And like most of you out there, I lost about 50% of my retirement account in the last year and a half.  Only this last quarter, did my 401K skip back into positive territory.  So I’ve been wrestling with this dilemma for awhile.  I thought postponing the wedding until next year would help ease my conscience.  It did for about one day.  But I’m taking this one day at a time.  Just like marriage, right?  Right?



{September 6, 2009}   Wedding Update Part 2

By Katy

Just in case you were wondering or even cared, I haven’t posted anything on my wedding lately.  That’s because the Fiance and I have not really been working on it.  My last wedding update already told you that we decided to put it off until next year so we can save more money for the wedding, on top of the emergency fund.

Well, we finally started working on it again this past month.

First of all, we kind of have a date.  Now, if you know the Chinese, you know that we’re kind of a superstitious group of people.  My friend (and one of my bridesmaids) had her mom look up our “lucky” days, and she told us that our lucky day would be in July of next year.  Next, we cut down the number of people we can invite.  We are now only inviting 150, instead of 200.  Finally, we hired a celebrity wedding coordinator!  OK so I could’ve saved some money by not hiring one, but I’m saving my sanity with this move.  Plus, she’s definitely in the know so hopefully she’s got some connections to help negotiate better deals.  And since hiring her (it’s only been days), we already think it’s a good move.  The fiance and I are HUGE procrastinators, and we know she’ll help kick our butts into gear…in a nice way of course.  Next, she recommended another location, which I have to share.

Ceremony set-up inside Figueroa Hotel

Ceremony set-up inside Figueroa Hotel

The Fiance and I could walk over to this location.  So on a hot, muggy, slightly smoke-tinged (the fires are still not out) afternoon, we checked out the Figueroa Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.  It’s decorated in a Moroccan theme.

Poolside at the Hotel Figueroa

Poolside at the Hotel Figueroa

It’s gorgeous, and it’s sooo reasonably priced.  I think we can get away with doing this wedding for $125/person, including everything.  And from what the staff at the hotel tells us, most people don’t even need to decorate with a lot of flowers because the hotel staff fill the space with candles and gorgeously ornate lanterns.  So I would only really have to pay for a photographer and a DJ.  And since this is in downtown Los Angeles, it would be close to our rehearsal dinner/wedding banquet location.  The only downside?  The Fiance and I are obviously not Moroccan, we are not familiar with Moroccan customs, and we’re not even big “Casablanca” fans.

Is this place above the beginning of a beautiful friendship?

Is this place above the beginning of a beautiful friendship?

Nothing about this place really screams us.  Does that matter?  Is the Figueroa Hotel the beginning of a beautiful friendship or just another beautiful location meant for some other engaged couple?



By Katy

2009_07_fashionwalk

Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of extremely innovative ways in which people are making money in this recession.  To borrow from some writer at Vogue — (I am paraphrasing) — shopping has become, these days, not just a guilty pleasure…but just plain guilty.  Not so last week when some very innovative fashion peeps decided to host the first ever Fashion Walk!

Sorry this is so small!  It says "Designer Pop Up Stores."

Sorry this is so small! It says "Designer Pop Up Stores."

Hundreds of designers, some known, some not so known, showed their goods in “pop up stores.”  Downtown is seeing a renaissance, of sorts, but in this down economy, there are still plenty of empty storefronts.  For one night, last week, those empty storefronts and spaces were transformed into clothing stores that were open late into the night.  Fashionistas, or shall I say, Recessionistas, flocked into these spur-of-the-moment store openings to check out deals, innovative designs, meet designers, and shop…totally without any guilt!  How can you feel guilty about buying designer clothes at 70% off, and help new and struggling ones, at the same time?

Fiance and I caught on camera

Fiance and I caught on camera

The fiance and I were caught on camera for a website called Racked LA.  You can check out bigger photos on that site.  For their own protection, I guess, I can’t make these photos any larger.  We walked into a couple of different “storefronts.”  At one giant loft space, I got two C&C California shirts (one for $3 and one for $5) and two Rock & Republic silk chiffon shirt dresses for $25 each!  They were all made right here in the USA!  And they retailed for a lot more.  And even if I had not scored with such great finds, it would’ve been a totally fun and free night out!  Some of the clothes looked more like art and some of the “stores” looked more like installations.  DJ’s spinned at some locales, while others brought in live musicians.  Bringing clothes to the masses, instead of relying on a high end department store to sell your clothes, is, to me, a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit that has made America what it is today.  The recession is not going to rock us.  We are going to rock this recession.



By Katy

A lot has happened this last week in the world — one of the worst typhoons in my native Taiwan’s history, hurricanes near Florida, North Korea releasing journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee… and while my fellow recession mamas were mourning the lay-offs of two veteran journalists, I was wrestling and wasting trivial thoughts on…clothes and shopping.

As a little girl, I loved shopping for back to school clothes.  When I turned 15, the ginormous annual September issue of Vogue would serve as my inspirational fashion bible.

Charlize Theron graces Sept 09 cover

Charlize Theron graces Sept 09 cover

I would earmark pages, memorize the new fall colors, and clip out anything I deemed to be too good to stay in the actual magazine.  Now, mind you, I grew up in Texas where most people think big hair is still synonymous with beauty.  But to me, Dallas is home to Neiman-Marcus, the most elegant department store in the world, well at least to my young, impressionable mind.

My obsession for style also came from my beautiful and fashionable mother.  She had a wardrobe that I had hoped to blossom into one day. (I later realized that although I love her style…I had my own distinct fashion sense.) My mother was also a champion shopper.  Not only could she negotiate anything with anybody, she also had exquisite taste.  Just by touch and sight, she can tell you where a particular dress was made and the exact fabrics used to make it.  Such a gift!

barneyssale

Well, last week, Barney’s held its semi-annual warehouse sale in my neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles.  This is a big deal because for the first time in its history, this venerable sales event came East!  The store in Los Angeles is in Beverly Hills, of course, and its annual warehouse sale was always, as far as I remember, held at a hangar at the Santa Monica airport.  And this year, I could actually walk to the warehouse sale, and that’s exactly what I did!  First day of the sale…I walked, OK practically skipped, the 12 or so blocks from my loft in the fashion district all the way to the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Once I got there, I started at the beginning.  I had all day, you see, so I really took my time.  I perused every rack, starting in the couture sections and found a delicious plum colored Prada cashmere v-neck sweater, a Dolce tan and black lingerie top, a Stella McCartney tan pencil skirt to match, and a colorful Pucci maxi dress.  I then scanned the tables for a pair of James Jeans in my size and made sure I didn’t need any of the shoes that were displayed in disarray.  If you’ve ever been to a sample sale, you’ll know what comes next.  I staked out a rack next to a full-length mirror.  I put all of my clothes on one side, and I started trying on everything over my thin t-shirt and shorts.  What didn’t fit or didn’t look right got discarded to the other side of the rack.  What I ended up with was the plum-colored Prada and the jeans.  I made a quick decision to discard the jeans.  I have a lot of designer jeans, and this one needed hemming.  I don’t have the time nor the money to hem jeans at this point.  Now, what to do about the Prada sweater?  It would go with everything!  It fit me like a glove.  It was so well made in Italy.  And isn’t purple THE color for this Fall?  Then, I looked the price tag.  Originally, the sweater costs $895.  It was on sale for $250.  Now, that’s quite a mark-down, and in better times…I would never have even hesitated.  But I did.  I thought about how many cashmere sweaters I’ve seen at J Crew or Banana Republic that were not even $250 at the regular price.  Why was I going to buy a sweater for $250?  Was it just because it was Prada?  That didn’t make any sense.  I’m not a label-whore.  I like clothes that are well made and that will last and not go out of style…so this did fit into those categories.  But $250 for a sweater?  In this recession?  No, thank you.  So I put everything back, and I walked out into the sunshine and bought myself a fat-free yogurt instead.

Now the story does not end there.

This week, my mom and I went to the Carolina Herrera Bridal Sample Sale.  Everything was marked down 30%-70%.  We didn’t find anything we loved, so we went to…where else?  Neiman’s in Beverly Hills.  While there, my mom found a Chanel bag she really, really liked.  I also thought it fit her perfectly.  It was $2870, and although I think that’s outrageous for a handbag, she told me that it was quite reasonable.  She checked out this bag for what seemed to be hours!  She dumped all of her personal belongings from her current Chanel bag to the new one.  She walked around with it.  She was on the verge of buying it.  And then, something miraculous happened.  After finding out that we were from Taiwan, the sales lady told us how sorry she was to hear about the typhoon and the deaths.  My mom said, “Oh I think that’s the very reason why I should not buy this purse.  It wouldn’t be right.”  She put the bag on hold (just in case, I guess), and we walked out without buying anything at all.

I also spent some time this week with a dear friend of mine.  She also loved to shop, and she was also great at finding deals.  And she told me, “This recession was the best thing to have happened to people like us.  Before this recession, we never thought something like this could happen.”  Oh so true.  Now, we think twice before buying something nice.  OK a bit corny, but I’ve been watching “Mad Men,” so give me a break if some of the 1950’s corn-ball sensibility rubbed off on me.  And yes, I’m completely obsessed with the clothes on this brilliant TV series!



{August 3, 2009}   The Best Cheap Week Ever

By Katy

I’m starting work again in two weeks.  I’m very excited about it.  In the meantime, what’s a recession mama gonna do when she’s not pulling in a regular paycheck?  Well, I’ve discovered that I can work out for FREE and dine cheaply by going to all the happy hours I miss when I do work.

Matthew McConaughey running at Runyon

Matthew McConaughey running at Runyon

On Monday, I attended a free yoga class at Runyon Canyon…where the beautiful and famous people in L.A. go to work out…or find a date?!?  It’s quite the meat market during the week.  Guys usually hike the trails without a shirt on, and girls wear tiny bikini tops and short shorts.  My hiking buddy tells me she’s gotten hit on many times while hiking alone.

los-angeles-yoga

Well, besides hiking trails high above Hollywood, yoga instructors teach 3 classes…for FREE…during the week!  And two classes for FREE on the weekends.  It was a hot day in Hollywood, but besides the little gophers popping their heads up from giant holes in the ground, it was a lovely class.  The yoga instructor was a sweet girl with a soft voice who made it just challenging enough that I want to go back today.  In the evening, I hit up a Recession Mondays happy hour in downtown Los Angeles.  It’s $3 for well drinks, beers, wine, and appetizers!  I tried all of the appetizers — cheese plate, butcher’s plate, hummus plate, and guac and chips, and I washed it all down with a yummy Cabernet Sauvignon.  Final tab?  $15.

On Tuesday, I found out about a free pilates class at The Grove — an outdoor shopping mall, for those of you who don’t live in Los Angeles.  But unfortunately, they canceled last week’s class.  Hopefully, they’ll be back this week!  Tuesday night, a friend won a free room at the Westin Bonaventure hotel in downtown Los Angeles, so I met her and another friend for happy hour at the Brewery inside the hotel.  A real burger and sweet potato fries for just $4!

Westin Bonaventure in downtown L.A.

Westin Bonaventure in downtown L.A.

On Wednesday, I hit up a free work out class in my own loft community.  Mondays and Wednesdays, there are free workout classes downstairs.  It’s a combo cardio kickboxing and strength training class, taught by a super nice and energetic guy.  I only discovered these classes recently.  And since I’ve been going to Recession Monday happy hours, I haven’t attended the Monday classes.  But I have now gone to the Wednesday ones 3 weeks in a row.  I get my butt kicked, and I like it!  That night, I decided to have dinner at home.

Someone hiking at Runyon

Someone hiking at Runyon

Thursday, I went hiking at Runyon.  Yes, the same one that has free yoga classes.  In the evening, I went to my new favorite restaurant, Bottega Louie.  They serve small plates at reasonable prices.  On Friday, I rested from working out.  Instead, I took the 12 year old girl I am mentoring to the aquarium.  The tickets are a bit pricey, but I got discounts online through a work perks card.  That night, the Fiance and I splurged at dinner.  My neighbors and I went to Cole’s for French dipped sandwiches, and afterwards, a few people came over for poker.  Too bad we weren’t playing for money because I cleaned up.

A cheap but nice week, wouldn’t you say?



{July 27, 2009}   My Freelance Cycle

By Katy

I have my next gig lined up.  Whew!  R-E-L-I-E-F.  If you are a freelancer, you totally understand where I am coming from.  Now, I must say I actually LOVE freelancing.  It is very liberating.

Let me steal the pirate’s theme song for a minute.  Yo! Ho! Ho!  The freelancer’s life’s for me!

Freelancing like a pirate?!

Freelancing like a pirate?!

Really!  I love the life of a freelancer.  I jump from project to project, so I am never bored.  (Great for those of us with undiagnosed ADD.)  I am also blessed; I do work pretty regularly.  And it really is just as exciting as a movie pirate’s life, including the occasional spotting of Johnny Depp.

Capt Jack Sparrow was a free-booter!

Capt Jack Sparrow was a free-booter!

On the other hand, a pirate’s life has its drawbacks.  Try making your own plans, and you’ll most likely be staring down the plank.  Also, since I am seldom on land, having a stable life which includes seeing my Fiance, family, or friends regularly just doesn’t happen.  I’ve had to change course many times.  (Thanks for all the understanding.  You know who you are.)

The other drawback is the emotional rollercoaster (or waves, if we’re still using the pirate metaphor) you go through when you’re not working.  Usually, after I wrap a show, I make plans.  I write down a list of everything I’d like to do while I’m not working.  It always includes things like writing, cleaning the house, organizing stuff, exercising more, traveling, and seeing all the friends and family members I’ve canceled on many times before.  Let’s say my last day on a show is a Friday.  I’m writing up my list on Saturday.  Sunday, I file for unemployment.  By Monday, I’m completely unmotivated.  I sleep in.  I try to exercise, half-heartedly, but I really just end up watching TV.  A lot of TV.  The next day, this lethargic cycle starts all over again.  By Wednesday, I try to “snap out of it,” and I finally call, e-mail or facebook some friends.  Usually, the ones who have jobs are busy.  The ones who don’t have jobs are eager to go out, but they don’t have any money.  By Thursday, I am depressed, and I think I should go to therapy…but who has money to see a therapist when you’re not working?  By Friday, I think I’m never going to find a job again.

OK, I may have exaggerated the timeline a bit.  But as Spock would say, it is not logical.  I know.  I KNOW.  I KNOW!!!  But somewhere in the back of my brain, a little voice will keep telling me that I will…not…find…a…job…ever…again.  Not that I’ve even tried to find a job.  I just find myself thinking this.  I also think…maybe I need to change careers or why don’t I just find something more stable or why can’t I just win the lottery (hence last week’s post).  I know a lot of my fellow freelancers go through this self-defeating, self-absorbed cycle-babble every single time they’re unemployed too.  So, why am I even telling you all this?

Well, now that I have my next gig lined up, I am not in the worry phase anymore.  I can see more clearly now, and I hope that by writing down my crazy thought cycle, that maybe, just maybe, I won’t repeat them the next time around.  Because there will be a next time.  I’m a freelancer.  Shows end.  And I, for the most part, happily, move on.  I am also writing down my cycle of work withdrawal to help those of you who are freelancers or who are looking to freelance.  I want you to know that I’m here for you.  And hopefully, you’ll be there for me.  We’re all in this together.  I’m sure we all go through this, and I would love to hear more people admit it.  So, what do you do when you are unemployed?  Is there a cycle you go through?  Are you first in denial?  Then, after you get angry, do you start to grieve?  Finally, do you heal, move on, and realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that you will, eventually, find a job and not die lonely, poor, homeless, or end up in any other (semi to dramatic) life or death scenario?

I want to learn to enjoy my time off, finish that to-do list finally, and go on vacation.  Because eventually when I do start working, I will wish I had more time to excercise, travel, and see friends and family.



{July 19, 2009}   Winning the Lottery

By Katy

If I won the lottery...

If I won the lottery...

Do you fantasize about winning the lottery?  Of course you do.  You and everybody else.  I do it a lot when I’m not working.  It’s actually a bit like Prozac to me, and I like to take my anti-depressant with a little game.  Sometimes I give myself an imaginary amount, and I think up all the things I’d like to do with that money.  Sometimes, I just write down everything I would do, if I had money, and the grand total is what I pretend I have won.  I’m sure everyone’s done this, right?  Well, here’s a little insight into what I like to do if I won the lottery (and after the Tax Man has gotten his share):

  • pay off mortgage & any debts I may have

  • pay off my parents’ mortgage and give them a set amount every month

  • buy my dream house

  • give half to my church and charities, maybe start up a scholarship fund at my alma mater – NYU

  • up my insurance (this may be imaginary, but I will still be well protected)

  • pay for my dream wedding (pay to fly people in and set them up at a nice hotel)

  • travel around the world for the honeymoon

  • buy my grandma her own place (or build a great guest house behind my house for her to live in)

  • give my brother a chunk of money to invest (because he’s good at these things)

  • start my own company (so I can employ others and give them job security and satisfaction)

My brother tells me that in business school, a professor told him that buying a lottery ticket is the equivalent of an idiot’s tax.  And we’ve all heard the pitfalls of those people who win the lottery and then end up broke the next year.  I’ve also kept in mind that on the ABC hit drama, “Lost,” Hugo blamed winning the lottery on his bad luck and the plane crash.  Despite the warning, name calling, and TV show reference…I still do want to win the lottery, and I know you do too.  So, what would you do with the money if you won the lottery?



et cetera