About your creative process

I’m walking at vegetable market and see a tasty sweet pepper for soup; I see a nice still life painting. Also, like the answer to the previous question, one may only see some cracks in the tiles, I may see a painting. So, my mission is to reveal the beauty there where no other eye sees it but the artist’s eye does.

Tell me about your creative process, from the beginning of a work to its completion:

Day after day, night after night, I keep ideas on the first support I may find when the inspiration strike. Most of time, the only available support is my own memory… which, unfortunately, is not my best support for the purpose. So that way many ideas are lost for good. Although, I have stored a lot of ideas on written notes or fast sketches.

Funny thing is that, so often I don’t use that pile of ideas to start a new painting but the most recent idea that struck me. This why an artist must be a monk if he want almost all his ideas transposed onto the canvas (or any other support… or else learn to paint much faster, not so slow like me. As I said before, ideas come from all over the place from the restroom or vegetable market, to the actual reality at dream reality.

When it is about realist paintings, I set down the model, I do the composition, and then I start painting. Quite simple. I don’t make multiple compositions to choose from as I’m confident on my first impulse. Painting process itself is a love / hate activity for me. Until 2006, all of my life, even as a kid, despite suggestions of that early mentor who gave me the first oils and who really hated abstract art, I loved abstractionism and I created accordingly. Well, there was such a joy to paint so! On good days (OK, nights) I had been painting 2, 3 or even 4 paintings! The main problem was that that joy was short lasting… like an energy drink… There’s only one painting from that period I still like – Solar Incandescence.


The Golden Greeks – The Romance of Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis


The career of Maria Callas had already begun its downward slide when she was introduced to Aristotle Onassis. It was 1957 and she was 35 years old. She had been married to the elderly, short, squat Giovanni Battista Meneghini for ten years.

Maria found some comfort for her diminishing artistic success in high society. Elsa Maxwell gave an elegant party for Maria in Venice. Before she knew it, Aristotle Onassis had managed to inveigle the seat next to hers at the dinner table. For the next seven days, wherever she was he appeared next to her as if by magic. She found it flattering and pleasant, but for the time being, nothing more.

Then the morning before a gala charity concert for a Legion d’Honneur in 1958, Maria received a huge bunch of red roses, with good wishes in Greek, signed Aristotle Onassis. Another huge bunch of red roses arrived at lunch, also with good wishes in Greek, signed Aristotle. And just as she was about to leave for the opera house came another bunch of roses, also with good wishes in Greek. This time there was no signature on it. Maria knew who had sent it…

On June 17, after a performance of MEDEA at Covent Garden, Maria and her husband attended a reception at the Dorchester where they met Aristotle Onassis again. This time Maria was ready….

Next he organized a party for her which literally left her gasping. The Meneghinis were millionaires, but compared to Onassis, they felt like a poor relatives. He invited forty people to come as his guests to the opera and then one hundred and sixty to a party at the Dorchester. It was more lavish than any ever given for Maria before, even by Elsa Maxwell. The ballroom was decorated entirely in orchid pink and overflowing with matching roses. She had often heard the expression, “Your wish is my command,” but this was the first time in her life she had seen it in action. Aristotle never left her side and no request of hers was too small for him to grant. When she casually mentioned she liked tangos, he rushed up to the bandleader with fifty pounds in his hand. After that nothing but tangos were played all evening. They didn’t leave the Dorchester until after 3 o’clock in the morning. In the foyer, the Meneghinis and Onassis were photographed in a hug, Aristotle on one side of Maria and Meneghini on the other. The shot turned out to be prophetic.

Ari kept inviting her all evening to come and cruise with him and Tina on the Christina. He was hard to resist and poor Meneghini didn’t offer much competition. For a little girl from a lower middle class neighborhood in Washington Heights, it was a fairy tale, a dream come true. In spite of Meneghini’s impassioned protests, they were going cruising on the Christina.

Maria went shopping in Milan, where she spent millions of lire on bathing suits, vacation outfits, and lingerie. A sophisticated friend later told Maria that a woman always buys new lingerie when she is about to have an affair. She was right, but Maria didn’t know it yet; she told herself she just wanted to look nice on the trip.

On board the three million dollar sea palace as large as a football field were Winston Churchill and his wife and daughter, Gianni Agnelli and his wife, and many other well known Greek, American, and English personalities. Maria ran about the ship like a school girl, exclaiming at each new discovery, now the solid gold fixtures shaped like dolphins in each bathroom, now her enormous, beautifully decorated cabin and marble bathroom with adjoining boudoir and limitless closet space for all her beautiful new clothes (a suite, incidentally, which she never used later unless Ari and she had a fight), now the real El Greco in Ari’s study, the fabulous jeweled Buddha, the swimming pool decorated with a mosaic reproduction of a fresco from the Palace of Knossos, the huge oak paneled lounge with a majestic grand piano at one end and a lapis lazuli fireplace at the other, and Ari’s private bathroom that looked like a temple, and the bath, inlaid with flying fish and dolphins, which was an exact copy of the one in King Minos’s lost Palace of Knossos in Crete. Ari, who had fussed like a housewife over every detail, was in raptures over each of Maria’s enthusiastic outbursts. The ship boasted a crew of sixty, including two chefs, one French, one Greek. The guests were given a choice of menus, but Maria, who had lost a great deal of weight, was still eating mostly raw meat and salads. But since she had a habit of sneaking bits of food from everyone else’s plates, she got at least a sampling of the fine cuisine.

The trip was literally an eye opener for her, a staid Italian matron who believed in fidelity and monogamy. She was shocked to see many of the guests sunbathing without any clothes on, and some of them openly playing around with other people’s mates on deck. Aristotle was one of those walking around naked. He was very hairy, like a gorilla, Battista said. Maria’s reaction to his nudity was the second sign that she was becoming another person. She had always been a bit of a prude. She wouldn’t sing the Dance of the Seven Veils in Richard Strauss’s SALOME because she had to take off her clothes. But when she saw Ari walking around like that, she giggled like a school girl. She had never seen a nude man besides Battista.

For Maria, it was a magnificent three week voyage. Their plans were to stop first at Portofino, a toy port on the coast of Italy, and then go on to Capri for sight-seeing. Then they would sail from the Mediterranean through the Aegean Sea to the Gulf of Corinth. From there they planned a sight seeing trip of Delphi, sailing on to Izmir, the Turkish name for Ari’s boyhood home, and then on up to the Dardanelles to Istanbul and home again.



Asheville – Cosmopolitan City Meets Luxury Mountain Getaway

When planning a North Carolina getaway, Asheville is a must see on the travel-destination list. The allure of Western North Carolina’s largest city is becoming widespread and Asheville has been touted as the “Paris of the South.” The New York Times calls it a “surprisingly cosmopolitan city.”
What makes Asheville unique is that the sizzle of the city is within a stone’s throw of great outdoor adventure. Natural Geographic Adventure Magazine ranks Asheville the number one out of ten cities for popular outdoor sports in the region.

Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham and Atlanta’s close proximity to Asheville make it a perfect vacation destination when planning either a luxury-style mountain getaway or a family vacation.

Asheville boasts a vast array of accommodations. There is everything from luxury condominium rentals with 24-hour concierge service to more traditional mountain getaways. So, whether you are planning a corporate trip, romantic getaway, golf vacation, or fishing expedition, Asheville has something for everyone. Some accommodations are even pet friendly. Try booking during the weekdays to beat the weekend crowds and receive more discounts.

Asheville, North Carolina: Experience the Best in Mountain Travel

Downtown Asheville is a pedestrian-friendly city. Its unique skyline of art-deco style buildings are surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. The city has a year-round population of 74,000 and is home to America’s largest privately-owned home, the Biltmore Estate, and the historic Grove Park Inn. While accommodations are available at both, most people visit these urban legends and choose to enjoy other Asheville hotels and luxury mountain getaways.

“The Biltmore Estate and the Grove Park Inn are great places to visit,” Marge Nusser of New York, NY said, “but I prefer to seek out accommodations that are a bit more intimate, yet still upscale in their services.” Many accommodations offer discounted or complementary tickets to such attractions as the Biltmore Estate.

A fun way to kick start your mountain travel experience is to stroll through the Asheville Urban Trail. This 1.7 mile, self-guided tour stops at over 30 stations throughout the downtown area. “This trail gave me a handle on the downtown sites in less than one hour,” Howard Fortune, an Atlanta resident, explained. “I came here for the great outdoor activities, but quickly learned my way around the city.”

Downtown Asheville is primarily comprised of independent businesses. In today’s age of super-sized malls, the change is refreshing. Eclectic art galleries, micro-breweries and cozy cafes can be found at every turn. Asheville is also a food lover’s paradise and culinary offerings range from traditional southern comfort food to four-star cuisine. Bill Dykeman, a retired chef from Raleigh said, “Asheville has food from around the globe.”

Discover the Outdoors: Plan the Perfect North Carolina Mountain Getaway

When leaving downtown, choices still abound. The mountains that surround Asheville and the four major rivers that encompass the area make this an outdoor enthusiast’s dream mountain getaway. Take advantage of the travel concierge services at one of Asheville’s luxurious hotels. They can make dinner reservations, arrange for tee times, schedule outdoor events, and more.

In summer, whitewater rafting, hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail and fly fishing one of the hundreds of trout streams for native brook trout, rainbow or trophy brown trout are some of the more popular activities. Karl Danielson, a Charlotte native, avid golfer and fly fisherman explains that he can stay at a luxury condominium rental with concierge services that directs him to the some of the best trout streams east of the Mississippi. “And, the next morning I have a tee time at a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course within minutes from my room,” he added.

Nearby excursions include Chimney Rock State Park and Lake Lure to the south. To the west, there is Great Smoky National Park, and to the east, Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Rockies. Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain sit to the north and are filled with natural wonders that promise to enhance any romantic mountain getaway or family vacation plan.

Asheville is a year-round playground. The holiday season abounds with light festivals, Inn tours, dazzling sites at the Biltmore House, exceptional shopping and the famous Gingerbread House competition at the Grove Park Inn. Winter brings skiers and snowboarders to the area and spring is a wonderful time to explore the beautiful gardens at the North Carolina Arboretum.



How Healthcare Is Being Reinvented Through Digital Transformation

The digital healthcare market is expected to touch $206 billion by 2020, as a joint study by SAP and Oxford Economics concluded that nearly 70% healthcare companies are planning to digitally transform their operations, while nearly 61% believe that this will increase patient satisfaction.

Most healthcare providers today have strong plans for digital transformation, and their efforts are changing the way they deliver healthcare through new and innovative methods. Hospitals today deliver ambulatory, inpatient, outpatient and day surgery services; patient record access; and telemedicine in different ways through their revamped processes and technology-enabled execution. Even as the providers are creating and delivering new digital products and services to improve clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction, they are also finding wholly new business models capable of value generation through new business models. Players like Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple are also trying hard to carve out a market share for themselves, with varying levels of success.

As the healthcare sector turns compulsively to adopt a digital strategy, let’s look at how they are reinventing the way they perform through digitalization:
Using healthcare interoperability to enable the sharing of patient data across the care continuum of healthcare providers and stakeholders to provide coordinated collaborative care to one and all.
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is here, in a confluence of IoT, telemedicine and Telehealth technologies, bringing wearable devices like ECG and EKG monitors into use and playing a critical role in tracking vital medical stats to prevent or manage chronic illnesses and to provide virtual care to patients, increasing customer satisfaction in the process.
Wearable devices are making it possible to monitor patients in real time, obviating the need to physically admit them to the hospital. Virtual caregiving is set to allow aging people to stay home, even as their health status gets monitored for any signs of decline.
Countries with large populations with limited access to providers are turning to telemedicine, even as physician appointment wait times and Medicaid acceptance rates keep increasing year-on-year. Telemedicine is an important tool which enables even remotely located patients to access specialists as technology make it possible to match the right healthcare professional with the right patient, whether face-to-face or through virtual care portals.
Automation, AI and chatbots are making it possible for patients to reduce costs as they avoid visiting a doctor and obtain self-care instructions, as we use healthcare data and analytics to enable better treatment plans and patient outcomes.
Chatbots are making it possible to handle routine medical queries using AI-backed messaging and voice systems, while machine learning improves the abilities of the chatbot with each interaction. They also make appointments, prove prescriptions, run lab tests, provide a smooth billing procedure and track health data.
AI can replicate the capabilities of a human in processing information and making decisions, increasing the speed and accuracy of diagnosis. AI-enabled body scans spot cancer early, saving lives. AI is being used to explore chemical and biological interactions and to improve the formulations of old drugs and test the efficacy of new drugs without the need for expensive clinical trials.
Big data analytics is leveraging health data and tracking epidemics by merging population data, health and migration statistics to help prevent epidemics, reduce costs and cure diseases. It’s also being used to detect identity thefts and healthcare frauds.
Robots which assist a surgeon or perform surgeries themselves are now a reality, while others provide support to people with sensory, cognitive and motor impairments (comprising of nearly 20% of the world’s population) or their caregivers. Humanoid AI-enabled robots are helping lonely humans to  Newsrooms remain independent longer with their company and conversations.

To enable healthcare providers and patients the required access to sensitive patient data in compliance with the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the industry is turning to cloud computing rapidly.

The digital healthcare industry is also working to improve its digital marketing strategies by focusing on the quality of its content and its ability to convert visitors into patients as it increases engagement and provides the vital and relevant information it needs to share with the consumer.



5 Effective Ways To Save Your Gas And Money

5 Effective Ways To Save Your Gas And Money

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Controlling a family budget could be a more challenging task than planning it. It turns out to be even harder when gas price goes up unpredictably and it really strangles your neck, both yours and your partner’s.

Living without gas is nearly impossible. However, saving your money through gas is not. How? These 5 great tips below will help you save gas…. and money.

1. Save Gas Money Through Fuel

Learning to conserve gas can save you a great deal of money. You should a…


Article Body:
Controlling a family budget could be a more challenging task than planning it. It turns out to be even harder when gas price goes up unpredictably and it really strangles your neck, both yours and your partner’s.

Living without gas is nearly impossible. However, saving your money through gas is not. How? These 5 great tips below will help you save gas…. and money.

1. Save Gas Money Through Fuel

Learning to conserve gas can save you a great deal of money. You should avoid aggressive driving, such as speeding and reviving the engine and breaking the pedal too fast. These actually waste gas. Indeed, slamming the breaks is also an example of wasting gas. So, if you want to save your money, try to eliminate those forceful actions. If you happen to wait for something while you’re in the car, it’s best to turn off the engine. This will lessen your gas spending, thus lessen your costs, too.

2. Save Gas Money by Taking Good Care of Your Car

You need to take more attention on your car. Good maintenance leads to spending lesser amount of money. You’d better have a regular tune up and do not fail in emission test. Keeping an eye on the tires is also beneficial. Don’t let them get over or under inflated. If you can fix those problems earlier, it will save your money up to about 3 percent of your fuel.

3. Get a Gas Membership Card

You should get a credit card that you will use particularly for your gas purchases. Some of the credit cards provide excellent gas savings when you use the card. To bring you there, all you need to do is to get a gas membership card. Some gas stations offer some pretty good incentives with their memberships.

4. Get a Hybrid Vehicle

If SUVs are your great desire, it’s too bad, because that’s absolutely not a good choice of saving your gas and money. Sedans may be more economical than SUVs, but still they are probably not your preference. So, a better option for it is to get a Hybrid SUV. This will not cause you to pay for the extra gas. However, you know that SUV is pricey, so it’s best if you think about deciding it if it is really worth it.

5. Improve Your Fuel System

You know previously that it’s easier when you take good care of your vehicle. Using a quality fuel additive, such as a fuel system cleaner or conditioner is a great attempt. A fuel system cleaner is able to clean up harmful deposits, which can cause a problem for the fuel injectors. It can also stop them before they get there in the first place. In the meantime, a fuel conditioner can also keep residue from forming in your car’s fuel system, prevent varnish or gum from building up in the engine, and throws away the moisture that may have developed from condensation.


3 Things To Look For In A California Mortgage Lender Online

3 Things To Look For In A California Mortgage Lender Online

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Want to buy a home in California? If so, chances are you’ll need a California Mortgage Lender to help finance your new house. Fortunately, the Internet has made the mortgage process easy. You can even find a lender online with very little hassle! Here’s how to find a reputable California Mortgage Lender online:

Ask friends, family and neighbors

If you already live in California, some of the people you know in the state may have used a California Mortgage Lender online w…

Mortgage loan, California Mortgage loan, home loan

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Want to buy a home in California? If so, chances are you’ll need a California Mortgage Lender to help finance your new house. Fortunately, the Internet has made the mortgage process easy. You can even find a lender online with very little hassle! Here’s how to find a reputable California Mortgage Lender online:

Ask friends, family and neighbors

If you already live in California, some of the people you know in the state may have used a California Mortgage Lender online when they financed their home. Ask around among close friends and acquaintances to see if anyone can make a personal recommendation. Check with co-workers, family members and neighbors, too. A referral like this is often a good way to hear about the good–and bad–experiences people have had with various online mortgage lenders.

Watch out for predators

“Predatory lending” is a term generally used to describe any lender that is trying to take advantage of the borrower. Examples include charging high, unnecessary fees, pushing borrowers into a loan they can’t afford, or using lies and deception to obtain clients. Carefully review all fees and charges–your lender is required to give you a “good faith estimate”–plus the fine print, like loan terms and prepayment penalties. Be on the lookout for any false or misleading information, or any terms that are vague and unspecific. If the fees seem too high or too numerous, look for a different lender.

Check with officials

All California Mortgage Lenders and Brokers should be licensed with either The California Department of Real Estate or The California Department of Corporations. To help ensure your California Mortgage Lender is legitimate and reputable, check with these agencies to see if your lender is licensed. Avoid any lending company that is not licensed or has allowed its license to expire.

Be sure to check with your city’s Better Business Bureau office, as well. They’ll have a record of any complaints that may have been filed against your California Mortgage Lender.


“Renting Back” After Your Home Is Sold

“Renting Back” After Your Home Is Sold

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Sometimes it’s helpful to sell your home before you really want to move. This often happens when you are having a new home built, but aren’t sure of the completion date. Is there any way you can sell your home so you’re sure of the funds available for the new purchase, but continue to live in your old home until construction of the new one is complete. Yes, there is with the renting back strategy.

rent back, renting back

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Sometimes it’s helpful to sell your home before you really want to move. This often happens when you are having a new home built, but aren’t sure of the completion date. Is there any way you can sell your home so you’re sure of the funds available for the new purchase, but continue to live in your old home until construction of the new one is complete. Yes, there is with the renting back strategy.

Enter the Lease-Back or Rent-Back Agreement

The particulars of this strategy vary from state to state, but in the strong seller’s market we’re experiencing, buyers will often agree to let the seller stay in the home for a period of time as long as rent is paid. In a competitive situation, the buyer willing to do this will often have the winning bid even though there is another offer as high as his.

The agreement covering the situation states the length of time the seller will remain. It can be done with a specific date named or wording that allows the seller to remain up to a specific date with the possibility of her moving sooner. The amount can be a fixed figure paid out of the proceeds of settlement or a monthly amount, or a daily amount. It is usually, but not always, tied to the amount of the mortgage payment under the buyer’s new loan. Sometimes there is a deposit against damage, sometimes not. There is usually a clause saying the seller will hold the buyer harmless for any damage to himself or his property which occurs after the sale is consummated and before the seller moves.

The attorney who draws up your contract offer can create such an agreement. If you’re using online forms, you should be able to find one for this situation. If you’re working with a real estate broker, he or she can handle it for you.

An Example

I’ve recently seen a very pleasant example of this idea in action. An elderly widow contracted to have a one level condo unit built in a new community which provides all exterior maintenance. She had had hip replacement surgery and wanted to get away from the drawbacks of the home in which she’d reared her children. The home was large, had stairs and was located on a large, partially wooded lot with many mature perennials and shrubs. Both the home and garden were beautiful, but high maintenance.

Her contract to purchase required a series of deposits and a firm indication as to her source of funds well before settlement on her new condo. The widow put her home on the market. A young couple with two sons was very anxious to buy it. The situation was competitive. They made the widow an offer. She countered their original offer. She did not raise their offer price, which was slightly below her asking price. She did not believe the young couple would qualify for a larger loan. Instead, she did something rather creative.

The widow countered with a proposal that she “rent back” for a period of “up to” a certain date (a date beyond her scheduled competition date on the condo) in exchange for a modest flat sum to be paid to the buyer at settlement. The total rent back period was less than two months. The flat fee was less than the amount of the new mortgage payment for the buyers. However, since they made no payment on their new mortgage the first month, it wasn’t too far out of line. The couple really wanted the home, so they accepted the counter offer.

Another win, win situation was created. The widow only had to move one time and the young couple got a house they probably wouldn’t have in a straight bidding war. If you find yourself in a situation similar to either the widow or the young couple, perhaps you can work out a similar solution.


Playing Bingo Online – A New Way to Play

Bingo is possibly the worlds most popular game, played in many countries in different languages around the world. The move to online bingo is however a leap of faith to some. The major stumbling block for players is trusting the system. How do we know the numbers are random and not faked by the computer?

Gala bingo says that the order the bingo balls are drawn is determined by their Random Number Generator (RNG for short). The RNG Gala bingo uses has been developed by market leader Sun Microsystems. Sun says their Virtue Fusion software ensures the outcome of each game is absolutely random.

The Virtue Fusion network is used by several other bingo sites. The advantage for this for players is that each game will have a depth of players and a prize big enough worth playing for.

Players can mingle in online chat rooms before playing but when the game starts the chat ends and the serious stuff begins. The numbers are called out by the host and the numbers are automatically crossed off your bingo card for you. So there’s no need to be fast on your clicks to dab your numbers. The chat panel is constantly feeding updates to you on who has only two or one number left so you can tell where you are in the game.

Bingo games vary and some may already be familiar with variations to the traditional 90 ball bingo. Variations such as 75 ball bingo and 80 ball bingo are self descriptive. Games with more of a twist are such as The Money Ladder Deal or No Deal where the house winner has to choose to take an offer from the ‘banker’ or take a prize in a chosen box at the start of the game.

There has never been so many online bingo sites to choose from. Most are based offshore and many players would not have heard of these except for some of the big names. Paddypower and William Hill have an online bingo presence as well as some other high street brands. The smaller bingo houses are however proving popular such as 32Red and Gala Bingo. Competition in this sector means that players can get sign up deals that are so good it would be enough to tempt anyone. Free money to play with being the most desirable. 32Red for example give away £10 to each new player, no deposit required.

New player welcome offers are such as:

– No deposit sign up bonuses
– 100%, 200%, or even 300% welcome bonuses
– Loyalty bonuses
– Monthly Bingo offers

Bingo can even be played on your mobile. William Hill bingo have an app that can download to any device and you can play while your on the move, or even on the beach. William Hill will even give you £2.50 to play with just for trying their new games.

Bingo will never be the same again but that’s progress. The variety of games and the easy to use systems mean that anyone can play. The auto blotting of the cards mean that you don’t need to be fast with your pen to play. Play as many cards as you can and increase your chances of winning.



Mortgage Options for Active Duty Military Personnel and Veterans

If you are an active duty military member or veteran and are interested in buying a home, are having trouble meeting your mortgage payments or are interested in refinancing your current mortgage, there are numerous options at your disposal. Outlined below are some mortgage programs that cater to homebuyers and homeowners in the military.

VA Home Loan Program

Run by the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the VA home loan program is a guaranteed loan program for veterans and active duty personnel. Although you get the loan from a private lender, the VA backs the loan with that lender. That means if you ever have trouble making the payments, the VA covers any losses that the lender may incur. Essentially, a VA loan guaranty is like insurance that the VA provides to the lender. Advantages of the VA home loan program include low or no down payment, no private mortgage insurance, a limit on closing costs, and no penalty fee if you pay your mortgage off early.

Cal Vet Home Loan Program

Specifically designed for military veterans who want to buy homes in California, the Cal Vet home loan program boasts low or no down payment and low interest rates. It is also easier to qualify for a Cal Vet home loan. Cal Vet home loans are offered in amounts of up to $521,250. The program is available at no cost to California taxpayers. Interest rates are “locked in” from the date that you apply. The Cal Vet home loan program obtains the loan guaranty from the VA. Eligibility for the Cal Vet home loan program has been expanded, so most veterans buying a home in California are now eligible. There are no prior residency requirements.

Military Forbearance Option

If you’re facing financial hardship because of an injury you incurred during active duty, military forbearance might be an option. Military forbearance is an agreement between you and the lender that temporarily suspends or reduces your monthly mortgage payments during the forbearance period. The forbearance period may last for up to six months.

The military forbearance program enables you to overcome short-term financial problems and receive the help you need to get back on your feet. After the forbearance period is over, you are responsible for repaying the amount that was reduced or suspended. You can either pay it back by lengthening the term of your mortgage and moving those payments to the end, making a one-time payment or adding a specific amount to your monthly payments until it is paid back.

Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan

The Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan (IRRRL), also known as the Streamline or “VA to VA” loan, is a refinancing loan that offers current VA mortgage holders the opportunity to take advantage of low interest rates. To qualify for an IRRRL, the new interest rate must be lower than the existing rate. For an IRRRL to be worthwhile, your interest rate should be at least 1% lower than your existing rate. If you’re refinancing from an adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage, however, the interest rate may increase.

Advantages of the VA home loan program include low or no down payment, no private mortgage insurance, a limit on closing costs, and no penalty fee if you pay your mortgage off early. Eligibility for the Cal Vet home loan program has been expanded, so most veterans buying a home in California are now eligible. There are no prior residency requirements.



Happiness Busters and How You Can Banish Them!

Happiness buster 1: Focusing on the future too much

Focusing on the future too much can lead to anxiety about it. We start to worry about what might happen. Our brain fills up with negativity and worse case scenarios. In reality, the things that we worry about the most do not end up manifesting; things never turn out the way we think they will. As Baz Luhrmann once said ‘Worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum’. bazinga Worrying is pointless. Instead, focus on what is taking place in the present. Mindfulness is an excellent technique that allows us to do this. It requires us to focus on the present eliminating any other thoughts that are not part of the moment. This helps calm the nerves and stops us from focusing on things that are unlikely to occur, giving us the ability to think clearly.

Happiness buster 2: Comparing yourself to others

When we compare ourselves to others we are assuming we know everything else about that person’s life, the good things in their life and the bad things. The problem with this is that very often, we only know the positive things and very little about what is really going on in that person’s life. We base a comparison on an incomplete picture; and give it the power to let us feel negative and disheartened about our own selves. This only damages our self-esteem and demotivates us. It does not help us and distracts us from focusing on the things that are really important. It is unhelpful and unnecessarily damaging.

Comparing yourself to others is a low value activity. It creates a competitive environment instead of a collaborative one where you and the other person could help each other to achieve a mutually positive outcome. Instead comparison, results in negativity towards somebody who could actually help you.

Rather than engaging in jealousy, focus on yourself and your own goals. Admire what the other person has to offer. If that is what you want, put it on your vision board. By being positive about it you are more likely to attract it into your own life.

Appreciate your own strengths and qualities. Write them down somewhere safe so that you can refer to them when you find yourself doubting your own abilities or value. Find inspiration in your differences and celebrate the wonderful things in your own life.

Happiness buster 3: Excessive exposures to the news and the media

Whilst the news and media help to keep you abreast with current affairs, they can leave you feeling negative and sad about the world. It can lead to fear about the future causing anxiety and stress.

News has limited benefit and adds little value to your life. Instead watch or read it in moderation. Take it with a pinch of salt and do not take any of it as gospel truth. There are always two sides if not more to a story and sometimes we will never know the full picture.

Happiness buster 4: Ruminating on the past

Sometimes we find it hard to shake off events that have happened to us in the past. We find it hard to let go of grudges or forgive. By holding on to the past though, we are not living in the present moment. We are not allowing ourselves to move forward and experience joy. We are punishing ourselves over and over again every time we dwell on the past. Holding on to this anger can lead to feelings of depression, if not expressed and released. As Dalai Lama eloquently said: “Anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Instead focus on learning from the past event or experience and move forward. Do not have any regrets. We all make mistakes – however that is how we learn. An expert is someone who has made every single mistake in the book. Develop resilience: it will help you become stronger and allow you to bounce back from any negative experience.

Happiness buster 5: Engaging in negative thinking

We all find ourselves engaging in negative self-talk with ourselves from time to time. However the more self-aware we are of this, the easier it is to catch ourselves when we do it. Negative thinking can lead to anxiety about the future. The power of our imagination means that we can create a heightened state of fear or stress; unnecessarily, particularly as things never turn out the way we think they will. Negative thinking results in anger, depression, sadness and a whole host of other negative emotions. If we are not careful, this can become a habit and we push any chance of happiness further away.

Instead catch yourself in these moments, acknowledge the negative thought and respond with a positive action. For example smile or jump up in the air for joy. This small action has a powerful impact – it changes our body language to a more positive one which in turn sends a positive signal to the brain and results in positive feelings. In an instant we have converted negativity to positivity.

Practice positive thinking every day through mindfulness, meditation or by performing an activity that you love and are fully engaged in (such as, singing, reading, playing the piano, listening to music or meeting up with a close friend). This creates positive experiences in your life which result in positive habits and ultimately a positive, happy mindset.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Winston Churchill

Happiness buster 6: Hanging out with negative people

Negativity is contagious. Consistently negative people leave us deflated and drain our energy. Eventually we will start avoiding the negative person. (This is different to people who genuinely need our help or are having a bad day.) Understand what it is that this person is getting from you – is it the constant sympathy that they are feeding off on? Are you allowing them to consistently live in a ‘victim’ mode. This is not helping them. They need to get out of ‘victim’ mode and help themselves. If you keep feeding them with sympathy they will not move forward.

Also understand what you are getting from the relationship. Is it fulfilling a subconscious desire to be needed? Would changing things change your friendship?

Create the space you need from a negative person and think what is the best thing you can do for them and for yourself. Set a positive boundary and protect your energy – there are only so many hours in the day – why not fill them with happy, positive and productive moments. Remember once you let go of negative people, positive ones will appear.

What are your happiness busters? We all have things that leave us feeling deflated. Tell us yours!

Other ways to banish your happiness busters are found in my book, The Happiness Mindset published on Amazon