Brunch Doubleheader

I like to mix things up when I create the jewelry purges in order to stretch out the turquoise offerings and keep customers guessing. This week, I decided to offer some of the pieces which either have multiple stones or non-turquoise stones. Pieces like these are more challenging to sell because all turquoise is definitely the number one favorite but I was very pleased with the results. The turquoise and orange spiny oyster shell jacla necklace, the charoite and amethyst pendant, the onyx earrings and the little necklace are all that remain.

Kuochun helped me seal the deal with the gorgeous lapis cuff bracelet by Navajo artist Rick Martinez by modeling it for the customer. It was just a tad too small for me. As soon as she saw the photo she said "Love it on! Sold!" Kuochun is really a good sport about helping me model the jewelry when I need it.

I still have not fully decided if I will do the impromptu pop-up sale at home base the weekend of August 18 but I am leaning towards doing it. The Oak Park consignment jewelry collection was massive (Adam estimated it weighed 300 pounds!) and Mother is nearly finished pricing it. I have sent portions of the collection out to a few estate sales and it has been extremely popular so far. However even though we still have all the extra furniture in the garage, I was able to get Kuochun's car back in and space is at a premium. There is an entire 6-foot table on and below loaded with this jewelry on the other side of the garage and it is taking up a good chunk of real estate. I could use the space and offering the collection all at once would be a big help in having many of these pieces find new homes.

I also have been pricing lots of sterling silver and costume jewelry so there will be much to see should I do the pop-up. I will have the final decision next week!

We actually visited two restaurants for the first time last week, both brunch places. On Monday Kuochun had his follow-up appointment at the urologist's office in Park Ridge. I was definitely nervous to hear the results but very hopeful at the same time. Kuochun was tested for retention and although the bladder is supposed to be completely empty, he only retained 17 milliliters which is nearly empty. This is a massive improvement from the half liter he was retaining before! We were both so relieved. The next follow-up is in October, which is good because I am hoping everyone can get their medical appointments in before we leave for Scottsdale.

We decided to go to Brunch Cafe in Niles afterwards, we had been hearing good things about it and it was on our short list of places to try. Even though it was late on a Monday morning, the restaurant was hopping! We did not have to wait though and were seated right away. I selected the encrusted ham and cheese omelet with a side of pancakes and Kuochun ordered the salmon BLT. We both really enjoyed our food. The hash browns are so delicate, I loved them and the combo with the ham and cheese omelet was great. The pancakes were not the best ever but were pretty good. Kuochun enjoyed his sandwich, I thought the presentation was nice. I tried some of his homemade chips and thought they were right up there with the best I have ever had. Mother loves chips so this would be a good place to take her.

On Wednesday morning the three of us had a meeting in Oak Brook with Mother's financial advisor. Mother started working with him about four years ago when she moved to Arlington Heights on the recommendation of a good friend who is a very smart cookie. He has done great for Mother, working with what she had and her funds are invested to give her a monthly payment into her 90s. It has been in my mind to switch my IRA over from Fidelity but I never got around to it. When I left the corporate world, I had to convert my 401(k) to a rollover IRA and when I could I made contributions to it but overall it has pretty much flatlined over time. I also took a COVID loan on the last day of 2020 which I need to pay back by the end of 2023 in order to avoid a penalty. I also would be able to amend my tax return and receive the tax back. I was not sure if I could transfer my account out of Fidelity with this outstanding issue.

However, Kuochun who turns 72 in October is now being required to take minimum withdrawals from his IRA starting this year. It was the perfect time for him to reevaluate his account with Fidelity and get assistance with what he needs to do to comply with this requirement. Mother came as well to get some insight on her account. All of the discussions took a while so Kuochun and I needed to schedule another appointment which will be next week. Kuochun is good to go for sure and Mother understands what is going on with her account so that leaves me to find out what my options are. Kuochun "hired" Fidelity to manage his account a couple of years ago but they basically have done nothing but put his money into a few different buckets, none of which have great results. He also has a large position in our former company's stock which has done fantastic over these past 25+ years for him but now seems to have topped out. It is also very risky to have so many eggs in one basket and he says he is risk averse.

We are grateful to have expert help with this! I have a Finance degree and an MBA but I do not live and breathe finance every day, nor do I want to! I am a big believer in having experts help with what they do best. I see the experience Mother has had and the entire staff from A to Z is fantastic to work with. The communication is great and when the advisor feels it is time to make a change, he explains what he would like to do and asks for approval. I totally trust the process so we approve it every time. Mother just has one request - to keep a gold and silver position because she thinks it is fun! I cannot go back in time but I can go forward and do better in the future. The big difference with me as opposed to most everyone else is I have no plan to retire. I do not want to work as much as I do now eventually but I enjoy the challenge of working and will always do so as long as my health allows.

When Rachel was in the Roller Derby World Cup in Dallas back in 2014, Mother and I wanted to investigate Native American jewelry stores in the area. We found a great one and this was my official introduction to the Native American jewelry arena. I was so impressed that the owner, who was 94 at the time, worked in the store every day. I joined the e-mail list and kept up with the store, also purchasing items online over the years. I had just ordered some more of my go-to Navajo pearls from them several months ago because of course I needed more sizes and lengths!

I was really saddened to hear that the owner passed away last month at the age of 102. A tribute e-mail was sent out this past week. She worked in the store daily until she was 100 and I am sure the interactions with the customers contributed to her great longevity. She was a really cool lady and I was glad to have met her. What an inspiration! She said she knew the store would be in good hands when she was gone and I am sure she is right.

After the meeting with the financial advisor, we decided to go across the street to Honey-Jam Cafe for lunch. Kuochun chose these potato skins with scrambled eggs and avocado and he cleaned his plate. I ordered a make your own skillet with chorizo, cheddar cheese and onions since I had to choose three ingredients. Mother selected a BLT. We all thought it was a solid choice for brunch, there were a couple of mishaps which did not involve us but greatly contributed to the noise and stress level in the restaurant. I am not sure what happened exactly but a server dumped an entire tray of food on one of her guests' booths. Mother said she noticed the poor girl was shaking trying to get the food there and unfortunately she did not make it. Then a bit later there was a huge crash in the kitchen, it sounded like 100 plates broke. Overall it was a fine experience but next week we will choose another restaurant. Kuochun has been talking about it already! It is not great for my waistline but it warms my heart to see Kuochun passionate about food again.

On the jewelry horizon, I look forward to being able to continue to price new jewelry and retag existing pieces. It is definitely rewarding to see the hard work pay off as well as getting my inventory under control. See you next time!