Newest Blog Entries


The Tipping Point or ‘Click’: When You Know It’s Time for Change

September 27, 2019 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

You know it’s time to make a change when you hear the “click” in your head, a term that was coined for Gregory Peck in the movie, “Gentleman’s Agreement.” He is assigned to do a magazine piece on anti-Semitism but with a new twist. After weeks of gathering stats, a series of false starts and several eye-opening incidents, he finally develops an angle. He shouts to his mother: Ma…this is it. That click just happened inside of me. The click can be the moment of critical mass, threshold or boiling point that writer Malcolm Gladwell dubbed “the tipping point” and...


Does Buying That Latte Really Matter in Our Financial Scheme of Things?

September 20, 2019 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

We all treat ourselves whether it’s a $4.15 Venti (large) latte at a favorite coffee place, a $3.50 pecan oatmeal cookie at a neighborhood pastry shop, our favorite chocolates or a special $30 tinted moisturizer at the makeup counter of a department store.   Are these non-essential items or “tiny wants” (a term used by New York Times financial writer Tim Herrera in an interview, “Go Ahead, Just Buy the Cup of Coffee,” June 24, 2019) really going to make a dent in our budgets long-term? We say no. In fact, we feel that trying to curb these small cravings...


The Big Move to the Big Apple: Should This Go or Stay?

September 13, 2019 Margaret Crane

We are forever recycling the past with our possessions. They surround us in our homes. Many represent a special memory. For me there are so many but the most important are the Chinoiserie lamps and black lacquer bar we bought in San Francisco on our honeymoon, the thousands of vinyl records my late husband accumulated over his 68 years, the first painting we purchased from a local St. Louis art gallery, the early 20th-century Gramophone my husband found for sale at a farmhouse, the sheet music our two sons used to learn their various instruments, the carefully framed newspaper and...


Name Dropping Can Be a Drag: When & Why We Do It

September 06, 2019 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

In an age of narcissism and one-upmanship, name dropping might be getting worse. It may also be because we are all so visible and many crave being noticed. With name dropping, people toss out names of people, colleges, designers, restaurants, clubs, addresses, cities and friends—like the first pitch at a baseball game. But there’s a difference. With the first pitch, the ball gets thrown and that’s it. Most name droppers tend to go on and on with this type of conversational narcissism. Many think the name dropper is trying to impress. But that’s not always the case, and we’d like...


False Positive: Listening and Compassion are the Best Medicine

August 30, 2019 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

“Don’t worry, it’s really a nothing procedure.” Or, “The problem with your house is really no big deal; a few thousand dollars will correct it.” Or, here’s another, “Your mother is having an operation? I’m sure she’ll be fine.” We consider these mostly inane comments. They are not helpful in any way, shape or form. Someone typically says a variation of these types of responses trying to comfort you when something is awry, but the reality can be quite the opposite. Any of them might make you feel a tad--or maybe--greatly annoyed. The fact is that they’re not walking in...