Should I Choose Real Estate or 401K Investment?

Thursday, March 21, 2019
401K or Real Estate investing? Credit to

To answer this question is depend very much on who you are, in this case, whether you are:
- risk avoided or risk taker, since real estate and 401K are two different types of business or investing.

401K is retirement plan (benefits) provided by employers in the USA with certain requirements such as full employment status and length of service.

Employee may contribute a percentage of her or his income (deduced per-pay check), and employers match with some percentage, usually around 5%.

This investment is a kind of saving for future use (when retired).

Real estate investing is a pure business where the risks depend on several factors, few of them are:
- a location
- a population
- financial perks
- market trending
- a long term appreciation.

A property for sale

We observed many success stories and create many millionaires of real estate investing, but, some investors faced bankruptcy as well.

Moreover, advantages of 401K:
# Capital gain tax
# Doing nothing for financial security when retirement.
# Protected from creditors when we have financial troubles.

Dis-advantages of 401K
# No flexibility. We can’t use leverage to use “mortgage” to buy homes or loan to buy equipment and hiring employees.

# Government set up a lot of rules about 401K: how much contribution, what investments types in 401K and when to take money out of 401K

Finally, it is up to you to decide whether to invest in real estate or 401K. What do you think? 

Why Will Sumatran Elephants Extinct?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
A Sumatra Elephant

Decades ago, Sumatran elephants, Elephas maximus with sub-species called Sumatranus, can be found in deep jungle of Sumatra, Indonesia only. Their population more than ten thousands, categorized as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Currently estimated, elephant number is less than 2 thousands, depleted around 85%. Then, IUCN has changed the status from “endangered” to “critically endangered” species. The main caused is a habitat loss due to human activities.

An elephant’s poop

Human activities that destroyed rain forest as elephant’s habitat included deforestation for timber and palm plantation. Rain forest is a place for elephants for feeding, nurturing and breeding ground.

Another cause of elephant population decreasing is illegal hunting for commercial ivory and mystic use of elephant organs for traditional medicine.

No serious efforts by community to protect Sumatran elephants. Population continue to decrease day by day. There is highly possibility that Sumatran elephants will extinct in near future.

What should we do?

Have You Seen and Tasted Pink Salt?

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Himalayan pink salts

We just saw interesting salt when we visited Walmart super center a few days ago, the pink salt, it is said from Himalaya. The pink salt contains more minerals and trace elements, up to 84. I think this number is quite a lot compare to regular salts (table salt or sea salt).

The advantages of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium that these minerals could counter negative effects of sodium by helping the body to push out the excessive need of  sodium in the system (our body).

Grinder and fine of pink salts

Regular salts contain higher sodium than pink one. Consume sodium in greater quantity could promote high blood pressure. However, consume proper amount of sodium (less than 2,300 mg or one tea spoon) promotes good conditions of muscle functions, control fluid balance and nerve impulses.

In fact, the regular salt has more iodine than pink salt which is an important nutrient to take care an excellent condition of thyroid. Around two billion people is iodine deficiency world wide. Salt is crucial as source of iodine even in industry countries such as USA.

Millennial generations favor to pink salt. How about you? Have you seen and tasted pink salt?

When is the Proper Time to Cut Trees Down?

Thursday, March 14, 2019
Ready to cut it down

Our trees getting old and some are infected by diseases, include fungi and possibly bacteria. We cut down many medium high trees, with size 2 meter (6.6 feet) or less height. We ourselves cut down these trees size, quite easy and no risky than taller and bigger ones.

Chopping into pieces

Our tree which will be cutting down is quite old, tall and big, more than 10 meter (33 feet). We are not able to cut this kind of tree, and in addition, we need permit from city council to do it. So complicated for us.

Hence we call professionals to cut it down. Everything from cutting to chopping to cleaning to getting permit are done by a company. We just pay it.

We did ask to cut our taller tree in the winter (last January), it is the good time. The trees are not growing (dormant) during winter to early spring in the northern hemisphere like we are living now.

Can a Storage be Remodeled as a Nice Home?

Monday, March 11, 2019
A Storage sold at Home Depot

We just visit a “home depot,” the American retail to sell construction products (tools and any home improvement supplies) and services. We saw the retail sells several type of barns, storage and small mobiles home.

The prices range from US$ 3 thousands to US$ 8 thousands, depend on sizes, materials and models. We just “window shopping,” since we have a small storage that in a good condition in our backyard, hence, we have no plan to buy a new one in near future. 

A model of storage,(credit to “About Home Improvement”)

In addition to normal function as a storage (to store a lot of things), many people re-model or design the barn or a storage room to serve as a multi-functional room. They install the storage with such as kitchen set, toilet and bed. This is a kind of “mini house.” The remodel could cost from several hundreds up to thousands dollars.

Then put the remodeled storage in the corner of backyard. Look so nice in the corner. Guests or even when their children growing up could use this “mini house” as a temporary home.

Do we need permit to put a storage in our backyard in the USA? Generally speaking, no need for a storage or a barn with size less than 8 x 10 feet. There is a restriction for bigger storage by local administrations (states governments).

Do you have a storage? Is it a multi-purpose storage?

What is Painting Stylistic of Rococo?

Thursday, March 7, 2019
Sample of Rococo painting, Vladimir Hozatski
Rococo is style of late Baroque which emerged in Paris, France in 18th century. The Rococo style was result of responding to grandeur, symmetry, and strict regulations of Baroque art.
The word Rococo came from word “rocaille” of French to do decoration by “shell-covered rock.” The Rococo was characterized by curving lines and lightness. It always depicts love, nature and youth.
Then, Rococo influenced other arts such as interior design, decoration, literature, music, theater, painting, sculpture and architecture. The style was spreading from France to Germany, Austria and all over the Europe.

La Surprise,” painted by Jean Antoine Watteau (Source: Trapasso, 2013)
As suggested by Trapasso (2013) that the father of Rococo style in painting was Jean Antoine Watteau (French, 1684–1721). His painting depicted the daily life of Flanders and the Netherlands. His painting called “La Surprise” could be seen at above Figure.
The style emerged due to many factors, they are including corrections to former restricted styles; respond to another religious reform; challenge to backdrop of social and political stabilities; and follow to development in science and technology.
The three prominent styles that had been emerged in art history, namely Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo. These styles had their own uniqueness and characters. Many well-known artists come from this period whom contributed to world painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, music, design interior, theater and philosophy.
Trapasso, E. 2013. A Brief History of Rococo Art. Retrieved from

Is Bitter Melon Good for Health?

Monday, March 4, 2019
Bitter melon on the plate

Bitter melon is quite abundant in South East Asian countries, It is believed from India originally. The melons also grow well in regions of:
- Africa
- South America
- some parts of Asia
- South East Asia
- The Caribbeans.

The shape and green color look like a cucumber:
- slender
- a little bit long.

Actually, cucumber and bitter melon are the same family, Cucurbitaceae. But, the scientific name for bitter melon is Momordica charantia

Bitter melons are sold in the market

The color will change to orange or yellow when ripen. One of bitter, and might be even most bitter vegetable eaten by human.

The ripen the melon the bitter it taste. It is harvested a year round.

Some ethnic shops such as Asian shops and Mexican shops sell the bitter melon in the USA market

Cuts of a bitter melon

The melon was eaten (cook) as vegetable and sometimes drink as juice. Nutritional values are good for health.

Just for comparison, bitter melon contains:
- more calcium than spinach
- more potassium than banana
- more beta-carotene than broccoli.

Ready to cook

In addition that bitter melon also rich of:
- vitamin
- magnesium
- iron.

Some people in Asia and other developing country are using bitter melon as traditional medicines for:

- fever
- cough
- improve skin health
- prevent malaria
- chicken fox
- measles.

Moreover, researchers from industry countries are studying possibility to extract bitter melon to preven growing and spreading of breast cancer cells.

But be careful, since bitter taste, thus might problem for some people stomachs. After a while, their stomach might be adjust to bitterness of this vegetable.

Have you tried it?