Archive for Fun Stuff

Elissa and Dave’s Live Big® Euro Trip

Fun Stuffon September 11th, 2014No Comments
Elissa and Dave on their Euro Trip

Elissa and Dave on their Euro Trip

One of the stops on Elissa and Dave’s recent two week trip to Europe was London, England. Visits to London are special for Elissa and Dave as Elissa’s mother was British and she still has many relatives in the area. They had lunch with one of Elissa’s London relatives at St. Pancras. The view from the dining room at St. Pancras Hotel can be seen in the first picture below.

view from dining room St Pancras Hotel

View from the St. Pancras Hotel dining room

D&E on staircase at St Pancras

Dave and Elissa on the St. Pancras staircase

Old Royal Naval College

Old Royal Naval College

Marcia Elissa Scott Old Royal Naval College

Marcia (Elissa’s sister-in-law), Elissa, and Scott (Elissa’s brother) at the Old Royal Naval College

Since the Queen was not in residence at the time, they had a rare opportunity to tour Buckingham Palace, but unfortunately, they didn’t allow pictures!

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

They also visited the Victoria and Albert Museum and otherwise spent time enjoying Greenwich, where they were staying.

Eissa and Dave at V&A

Elissa and Dave at the Victoria and Albert Musuem

Bodhisattva Guan Yin at V&A

Bodhisattva Guan Yin at the Victoria and Albert Museum

The Shard

The Shard


Big Ben and Parliament


The next stop on their trip was Barcelona, Spain. Their hotel was right next door to the Barcelona Cathedral.

D&E in front of Barcelona Cathedral

Dave and Elissa in front of the Barcelona Cathedral

Inside the Barcelona Cathedral

Inside the Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral moon

Barcelona Cathedral moon

Barcelona Street Scene

Barcelona Street Scene

Evening sky in Barcelona

Evening sky in Barcelona

Corner of Santa Maria del Mar

Corner of Santa Maria del Mar

They visited the Picasso Museum, and several of Antonio Gaudi’s famous structures.

Elissa at the Picasso Museum

Elissa at the Picasso Museum

Gaudi's Sagrada Familia

Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia

Elissa on the roof of Gaudi's Casa Mila

Elissa on the roof of Gaudi’s Casa Mila

Dave at Casa Mila

Dave at Casa Mila

Enjoying Barcelona

Enjoying Barcelona

September 11 is the big national holiday for Catalonia (of which Barcelona is the heart). Everyone would be on the street anyway for the holiday, but even more so because there’s a big independence vote coming up.

9-11 Catalonia

National Day for Catalunya (Catalonia) on 9/11

Sheppard Kominars: Portal Poems

Fun Stuffon August 14th, 2014No Comments

When we get the opportunity and permission, we like to highlight the projects our clients have worked on; we take pride in our clients and enjoy when they share personal successes with us!  Most recently we’ve explored Sheppard Kominars’ personal journey throughout the past couple decades of his life exploring transitioning to the next phase of life through a book called Portal Poems: Perspectives on Aging (available for purchase on Amazon, as well).  He has also written Write for Life: Healing Body, Mind, & Spirit Through Journal Writing (available for purchase on Amazon, as well), a book dedicated to educating readers on the immense benefits journaling can provide in every aspect of life.

As detailed in his biography in “Portal Poems”:

Sheppard Benet Kominars was born in Philadelphia in 1932, attended Central High School, and has lived in San Francisco for the past 27 years.  He has been writing poetry since 1943…. He has also written 5 novels, half-a-dozen plays.  He began writing journals in 1955…. In 1976, when he was Vice President at George Mason University, he sustained a life-threatening injury that resulted in a major career change… In 2000, he was diagnosed with cancer and is a grateful survivor…Poetry writing has been a vital source of expression for him over the years, through good times and bad…

Portal Poems

sheppardKominars explores the many facets of aging, all through his very own lens as he lives the experience.  As mentioned in his biography, Kominars uses poetry writing as a source of expression and healing; it supports him in times of need and in times of celebration.  We feel this excerpt, by Jesse James Johnson, poet and author of the introduction for Portal Poems, explains the book and its premise wonderfully:

He acknowledges the “the fragility of my tethered mortality.”  He looks directly at what we seem to fear most about old age – the certainty that it is followed by death.  Thus the title of this collection “Portal Poems.” In a Haiku entitled “Diagnosis” he writes “Sharp wisdom is there/In knowing the truth of one’s/Own mortality.’ This is the premise of this work: looking at old age truthfully; countering fear with wisdom; countering despair of death with a joy for life.

And Robert Harry Rovin, owner of WRITE ON!, explains his work: “Dr. Sheppard Kominars’ poetry is a hymn to the wonders of aging that sing in concert with the biological limitations which visit us all. Unflinchingly, he looks at the process with compassionately objective eyes that inspire the mind and open the heart.”

We thoroughly enjoyed many of the poems but wanted to share one of our favorites – “Otters Are Playing” – for all those who have been to California (specifically Monterey Bay, where Dave and Elissa were married!) or hope to travel there one day.

“Otters Are Playing”

Otters are playing out therein the swells of Monterey Bay

where they sport themselves

like impish elves in the cerulean 

waters surrounded by mountains 

and the sky, carefree and careless

of time and anyone’s agenda.

I watch them and applaud

their performance as if I had

attended their afternoon games

for centuries instead of now

for the first time – which it is.

California is an incomparable

experience of place and alsoof the mind, and no matter

where I may live after this,

or even if I will live at all,

I have known here the magic

of being where nature is always

waiting for me to be touched

by her and be filled with the

breath of wonder that helps

me find my way in this oh-so-

joyful world I might otherwise

forget that I inhabit.


Some others we enjoyed include:

–          “Seeking Serenity” (page 21)

–           “Certainty” (page 69)

–          “Connoisseur” (page 76)


Write for Life

write for lifeA work of healing; exploration of one’s own mind and spirit; discovery; restoration of health; storytelling.

“Storytelling is one of our most fundamental and enduring needs.  Our stories define us. We all consistently tell stories that shape virtually every human activity, from our emotions to our personal relationships and our politics.  Writing our stories introduces another dynamic: Most of us find that putting our thoughts and feelings down on paper helps to give us mental and emotional clarity (page vii).”

This book focuses on how journaling can be a window to healing and explores the directions in which you can choose to take your journaling – self-care, nourishment, travel, dreams, meditation, prayer, or the experience of joy, for example.  As the cover mentions, this book helps “discover the healing power of our own narratives.  When we express our pains, our aches, our illnesses in writing, it has the ability to mend – no just spiritually or emotionally but also physically.”

As someone who resisted journaling when it was originally suggested to him as a form of therapy, and as someone who journaled every single day for over 50 years, Kominars shares a wealth of information from how to begin journaling to the extensive mind/body/spirit/emotional benefits that can be gained by beginning a journaling practice to the best tips for how to continue your practice for the many years to come.

If you have ever been interested in journaling or are intrigued by this book, we highly recommend it.  Even if you have been journaling for years, you may be surprised what you can glean from the tools contained in these pages.

The Live Big® Chronicles – Live Big, Live Free

Fun Stuff, Yeske Buie Millennialon July 31st, 20141 Comment

In March of 2009, during the worst of the economic downturn, we asked friends, family, and clients to suggest ways that people could have rich, Live Big® experiences without spending a lot of money. We received a tremendous response and were able to compile the creative and inspiring Live Big List. We were recently inspired by that idea to create The Live Big Chronicles, a new list that chronicles some of the things you can do to Live Big in the DC/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) and San Francisco areas without spending any money at all. Below is a sampling of some of the fun outings available in a neighborhood near you. This is just the start of the list! Let us know if you have a fun idea or activity to add.

DMV Area

“Happenings at Mosaic”

Happenings at MosaicThe Mosaic District in Fairfax, VA is an up-and-coming area for people to go to shop, dine, and to have a good time. They offer a variety of free activities including the following (just to name a few):

Yoga in the Park – Improve your strength, flexibility, and balance through yoga with the extra incentive of being able to do it outdoors

Films in the Park – Watch free movies shown on the big outdoor screen on Friday nights

Summer Block Parties – Enjoy summertime with friends/family, great food, live music, and summer games

“DC Outdoor Films” DC Outdoor Films DC Outdoor Films hosts an impressive number of outdoor film screenings all around the DMV area. The movie options are numerous and the dates for the screenings are spread out along the calendar to give you a wide variety of options when deciding which movie you’d like to see and when. –Screen on the Green – Watch free movies shown on the historic National Mall –Jane Austen Outdoor Film Series 2014 – View Jane Austen’s classic novels come to life onscreen at the Dumbarton House –National Harbor Movies on the Potomac – In addition to watching a great flick, this film screening location boasts picturesque views on the National Harbor See the complete list of outdoor films all around the DMV area.

“DC by Foot”

DC By Foot

DC by Foot offers walking tours all around Washington D.C. Tours run an average of two hours and attendees are encouraged to tip for what you think the tour was worth or just what you could afford at the end (no obligation). A member of the Yeske Buie Team participated in a tour of Arlington Cemetery, and she really enjoyed learning about our nation’s history, getting exercise as the group walked around the city, and appreciating how cheap it was for such a great experience.



“Admission-Free Museums”

American IndianThe national museums in Washington D.C., unlike San Francisco museums, are nearly all admission-free. Below is a list of some of the free museums you can visit throughout the year.

Air and Space Museum | Independence Ave. at 6th St., SW | 202-633-1000 | 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily |

American History Museum 1400 Constitution Ave., NW | 202-633-1000 | 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily |

American Indian Museum (picture on the left) 4th St. and Independence Ave., SW | 202-633-1000 | 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily |

National Gallery of Art | 4th and Constitution Avenue NW | (202) 737-4215 | Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. |

National History Museum 10th St. and Constitution Ave., NW | 202-633-1000 | 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily |

National Portrait Gallery 8th and F Sts., NW | 202-633-1000 | 11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m. daily |

National Postal Museum 2 Massachusetts Ave., NE | 202-633-1000 | 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily |

National Zoo3001 Connecticut Ave., NW | 202-633-4888 |


San Francisco Area

“Opera in the Park”

The San Francisco Opera will be hosting a free concert at Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, September 7 at 1:30 pm. This free, public event will celebrate the opening of the SF Opera’s 92nd season. Bring your picnic blanket, food, and beverages, and enjoy music from the SF Opera Orchestra led by Music Director Nicola Luisotti.



“Top of the Mark Movie Nights”

Top of the MarkThe Top of the Mark is one of the most iconic buildings in San Francisco. It is part of the Big Four, the four hotels at the top of Nob Hill that were an integral part of San Francisco’s emergence as one of the nation’s great cities. At the highest level of the hotel, there is a stunning room with a 360 degree view of the entire city with a dance floor and tables set up in the main area. On Tuesday nights, this space is converted into a theatre to host movie nights at the Top of the Mark. They offer free wine tasting from 5:30 to 7:30 pm and a free movie thereafter.


“Stern Grove Festival”

Stern Grove FestivalThe Stern Grove Festival provides the Bay Area with admission-free access to diverse performing arts over the summer each Sunday at 2:00 pm at a beautiful outdoor amphitheater at 19th Avenue and Sloat Blvd. Bring a picnic blanket, snacks, and drinks, and enjoy the free concerts at Stern Grove.

“Watch the San Francisco Giants at the Knothole”

AT&T Park has one of the best free viewing areas in major league baseball, a section in the stadium called the “Knothole” where you can view at least part if not all of a Giants game for free. There is a tight knit community of people who take advantage of this perk, particularly for games leading to the World Series or even World Series games themselves. The catch is that your viewing time will depend on the number of people who show up as the organizers will shift people in and out every three innings unless demand is low, in which case you can view an entire game for free.

“Museum Free Days”

Unlike the DMV area, San Francisco museums are not admission-free EXCEPT on certain days. Below is a list of those days at some of the most popular museums and a couple of additional honorable mentions.

Asian Art Museum | 200 Larkin St. | Free: Target First Free Sundays; children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult | 415-581-3500 |

California Academy of Sciences | 55 Concourse Dr., Golden Gate Park | Free: Third Wednesday of the month; children six and under free | 415-379-8000 |

De Young Museum (picture on the left) | 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. | Free: First Tuesday of the month; children 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult | 415-750-3600 |

Exploratorium | Pier 15, | Free: five (5) select days each year; children 5 and under free | (415) 528-4360 |

Legion of Honor | Lincoln Park, 34th Avenue and Clement Street | Free: First Tuesday of the month; children 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult | 415-750-3600 |

Museum of the African Diaspora | 685 Mission St. | Free: Children 12 and under, visit website for additional free days | 415-358-7200 |

Conservatory of Flowers | 100 John F. Kennedy Dr., Golden Gate Park | Free: First Tuesday of every month; ages four and under | 415-666-7001 |

San Francisco Zoo | One Zoo Road | Free: First Wednesday of every month; ages 2 and younger free for San Francisco residents only; ages three and under free | 415-753-7080 |

World Cup Fever

Fun Stuff, Yeske Buie Millennialon July 2nd, 2014No Comments

Brazil 2014Are you checking your phone/the internet/TV for the latest soccer news? Or does that describe your family and friends recently? Chances are, at least one of the answers to those questions is YES. There’s no denying that the epidemic is here, the world is captivated by the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ taking place June 12 – July 13. It’s World Cup fever!

The Yeske Buie team is participating in a firm bracket challenge, a great way to have fun with your co-workers and an excellent excuse to exchange friendly trash talk through the office messaging system. Just as when we play fantasy football or prepare our brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament, we find that no amount of research can overcome the random nature of sports.  It’s a lot like stock picking, where all the research in the world still leaves your hot stock subject to the whims of fate.  News enters the market randomly, causing stock prices to follow what economists call a “random walk” day-to-day and month-to-month.  Our World Cup brackets seem to have followed a random walk as well.  Who would have thought that Spain and Italy would go out in the first round, or that the U.S. would advance as far as it did? Fortunately for our clients, we don’t build portfolios the way we build FIFA brackets.

About the FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is the largest single-event sporting competition in the world, which has taken place every four years since it first started in 1930 (except during WWII). It is the crowning event of FIFA’s objectives to, “…touch the world, develop the game, and build a better future through a variety of ways.”

The Preliminary Competition takes place during the three years leading up to the World Cup, where approximately 200 entries across six continents compete for 31 available spots (the host country receives an automatic spot). The Final Competition is the World Cup, which takes place at a host nation where the 32 teams compete over one month until a World Champion is crowned. The ‘group stage’ puts teams together in groups of four that compete against each other (each team plays three games). A win (3), tie (1), or loss (0) will decide a team’s points. The overall winner and runner-up for each group will proceed to the ‘Round of 16.’ From there, the games are single elimination until a victor wins in the final match.

So, who’s going to win? Will economics or animal oracles make the best prediction?

Based on past precedent, the animal oracles have the better shot.

According to Max Ehrenfreund of The Washington Post, there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between the economics of a country and how successful they are in the World Cup. This is a departure from other sporting events such as basketball or the Olympics where, “wealthy owners…and national income can often be used to forecast medal counts.”

Of the most economically powerful nations e.g. the U.S., China, and India, only the U.S. is in the tournament and they are not considered a favorite to win.

Meanwhile the pool of favored champions includes Brazil, Argentina, and Spain. Brazil, despite being the host country, is undergoing protests from their recession and perceived government corruption. Argentina experienced a 28% hike in prices last year, and Spain’s labor force faces an unemployment rate of nearly 25%.

“For now, soccer remains a game of luck – and of good players making their own luck, and in turn, of good programs creating good players. That depends on facilities, infrastructure and, of course, on less tangible factors like tradition and know-how.”

Since economic measures are not reliable at determining World Cup dominance, who can?

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Paul the Octopus correctly guessed all of Germany’s matches and predicted Spain’s ultimate victory against the Netherlands (sadly, Paul passed away months after his famous predictions). The animal craze continues on however, with host country Brazil selecting a 25-year-old sea turtle as it ‘animal oracle’, whose predictions are made by eating the fish under one of the team flags or the ball in between if it will be a tie. Project Tamar, an organization working to save sea turtles in Brazil, capitalized on the oracle craze by raising awareness of their mission to help the endangered sea turtles after the World Cup predictions were made.

Australia is relying on Flopsy the kangaroo to hop to and eat out of one of two bowls marked with a different team card, and Germany is turning to an elephant in Hanover’s Serengeti Park to make its predictions by kicking a soccer ball into one of two goals, each with a different team card. See more of the animal oracles.

Don’t care about the World Cup but do care about sustainability?

If the World Cup is something you’d don’t care too much about, but sustainability is important to you, the FIFA folks have implemented the 2014 FIFA World Cup Sustainability Strategy to, “…guide their efforts towards staging a sustainable event and, ultimately, contributing to building a better future.”

A few examples of their sustainability practices include:

• Green buildings: Many stadiums in Brazil are planning to achieve LEED certification for green buildings and many are installing solar panels on their roofs to generate renewable energy. In addition, FIFA and the LOC will organize certified training courses on sustainable management for stadium managers.

• Community support: 
Numerous local organizations in Brazil are tackling social challenges in their communities with the aid of football. FIFA and the LOC will support such organizations with funding and know-how, through FIFA’s well-established Football for Hope initiative.

• Climate Change: Global warming is one of the most pressing issues of our time. One of the main factors in the change in temperature is the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that is released into the atmosphere through human activities. FIFA and the LOC will estimate the carbon footprint of the tournament and develop measures to avoid, reduce and offset its emissions.

Learn more about the additional sustainability practices FIFA plans to implement.

Take a Seat – Make a Friend?

Fun Stuffon June 19th, 2014No Comments

Our good friend and fellow financial planner, Guy Cumbie, has incorporated into his email signature a quote from poet David Whyte:

“The conversation is not about the relationship. The conversation is the relationship.”

 Whyte is notable for his 1994 book, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, which became a national bestseller in the U.S. We share our friend Guy’s commitment to the idea that conversation, true dialogue, is at the heart of every quality relationship.  At Yeske Buie, we believe we do our best work when we know our clients well and that’s a thing that only arises from quality conversations. The folks at Soul Pancake have conducted another interesting experiment illustrating how powerful a seemingly random encounter can be if the participants are given a chance to slow down and really connect.

Put two strangers in a ball pit and have them talk to each other. What can happen? Soul Pancake sought the answer to this question by setting up a makeshift ball pit on the street. See what comes of it…

Video: The Wisdom of Crowds

Economy and Investing, Fun Stuff, Videos, Webinarson January 29th, 20142 Comments

We conducted an experiment testing the “wisdom of crowds”, the proposition that, in many situations, the collective wisdom of a group will surpass that of even its smartest individual members.

The Adventures Of #SFBatkid

Fun Stuff, Yeske Buie Millennialon November 21st, 2013No Comments

On Friday, November 15, thousands in San Francisco and millions around the country through news stations and social media, got to experience a real-life superhero, 5-year-old Miles who is in remission after being diagnosed with leukemia at 20-months-old, have his dream come true of becoming his favorite superhero.

Dubbed ‘Batkid’, Miles was treated by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the City of San Francisco to an all-day cape crusading adventure around the streets of San Francisco. Together with Batman, Batkid took to the Batmobile to save a woman stuck on the cable car tracks, to apprehend The Riddler who was robbing a vault in the Financial District, and to rescue the Giants mascot Lou Seal from The Penguin before finishing the day at City Hall where Batkid was handed a chocolate key to the city. Good Morning America created a comprehensive timeline of Batkid’s adventures.

The San Francisco Chronicle created a video to capture Miles’ incredible story…

Batkid from San Francisco Chronicle on Vimeo.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s about that time to reflect on what we are thankful for and the Yeske Buie Team is thankful that one of the two cities we call home  can pull it together to have kids like Miles have their wishes come true. Besides, you’re the real superhero Miles. Happy Thanksgiving Batkid!

Update (January 19, 2013): Many of the newspaper and magazine articles originally reporting on Batkid’s day of adventure focused on the fact that it cost the City of San Francisco $105,000.  As Matier and Ross reported in the San Francisco Chronicle today, philanthropists John and Marcia Goldman, long-standing supporters of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, have stepped in and reimbursed the City.

Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon

Fun Stuffon November 8th, 20131 Comment
Half Marathon - Wine Glass - W
After months of training, Elissa and Dave accomplished their goal of walking 13.1 miles and completing the Healdsburg Half Marathon in Sonoma’s Wine Country on October 20 (Dave ditched the jeans this time around).

The course in Healdsburg started on Lytton Springs Road then proceeded up West Dry Creek Road. The three-mile marker was right by Mazzocco Winery, the five-mile marker was at Passalacqua Winery, and the six-mile marker was at Quivira Vineyards. The race route merged back onto Dry Creek Road, passing by the Ferrari-Carano Winery before finishing right by the Warm Springs Dam.

Elissa and Dave completed the course in 3:37:08. Together with their close family and friends, they celebrated the achievement by using their complimentary wine glasses to taste the wares of the Russian River Valley wineries represented at the finish line.

Half Marathon - Map

Half Marathon Race Map

2 Miles

Two Miles Down


Scenery Along the Way

12 Miles

Twelve Miles Down

Finish Line

They Did It!

Elissa, Roger, Barbara, Dave, Jillian, and Karen after the race

Elissa, Roger, Barbara, Dave, Jillian, and Karen after the race

Half Marathon - Dave and Elissa

Dave and Elissa enjoying their wine and race medals

The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude

Fun Stuff, Yeske Buie Millennialon September 26th, 2013No Comments

We’ve spent some time lately looking into the “science of happiness” as explained by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener (Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth) and Rick Hanson (Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence and Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time). One of the many findings of formal research into this human emotion is that the happiness that arises from experiences is more enduring than the happiness we experience as a result of acquiring material things. So that trip to Disneyland with your kids or grandkids will likely be a more enduring source of happiness than taking title to that new Tesla you’ve been lusting after.

More recent research suggests that consciously expressing gratitude can powerfully enhance your happiness. We think you’ll find this entertaining and sometimes moving video on the subject well worth seven minutes of your time. Enjoy!


A Pep Talk From Kid President To You

Fun Stuff, Yeske Buie Millennialon August 29th, 20131 Comment

Kid President says it is time to wake up and “create something that will make the world awesome.” The following video from SoulPancake features Robby Novak, 9, who delivers an inspiring pep talk about how boring is easy and that the world needs more…from all of us.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson