February 1, 2011

ALL OURS – Do couples do best when they pool all their money, old-fashioned as it may seem?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marriedmillions @ 12:26 PM

Whenever my husband, Mike, and I talk about merging all our money, I flash to the purchases I don’t want him to know about. For instance: I don’t want him to know I blew $400 on a Rachel Comey blouse to wear to his birthday party. I imagine what he would say if he saw the receipt. “Is it made of gold?” or “I like you just as much in a T-shirt.” I can justify the expense to myself. I can afford occasional fripperies; it’s important to me to feel attractive at big events. But that’s me, not him. As for his habits, do I really want to know how much he spends on DVDs, when most of them are sitting in the corner of our living room, still in their plastic wrapping? The question recalls for me Elizabeth Weil’s quip in the New York Times Magazine about her foodie husband’s predilection for purchasing haute staples like Blue Bottle coffee at $18 a pound: “We spent far more money on food than we did on our mortgage.

In our quest for a system of financial management, my fear that Mike and I will judge each other is one of my hang-ups about the Common Pot method, my name for putting all our money in joint accounts. Another worry is that I’d lose some fundamental, hard-won autonomy.

Later this week, I’ll explore what I call the Sometime Sharer method for couple finance, a combination of joint and individual accounts; and the Independent Operator system, which entails strict financial separation. Today, I’m focusing on the Common Pot, and what I have to report comes largely as a happy surprise for me. The Common Potters I spoke to, drawn from the survey I posted on Slate last fall, were largely accepting of each others’ spending habits. And rather than feeling confined by old-fashioned mores, many couples said that sharing all their resources is a tangible demonstration of their bond to each other. At the same time, my reporting didn’t assuage all my concerns that this method stifles individual freedom—particularly for women.

I’ll start with Tamara, 28, a lawyer, and her husband Peter, 27, a paralegal. (I’ve changed their names at their request.) Tamara and Peter met as trumpet players in their high-school marching band, which means they’ve been together since before they had driver’s licenses. They started pooling their money when they moved in together during college. They continue to pool all their earnings and savings, and though at the moment Tamara makes nearly four times what Peter does, she does not begrudge any of his spending. “I can’t see myself getting mad at him for splurging on a little something,” she says. This is Peter’s last month at his job: He just quit so he can figure out his true calling, and Tamara says her attitude toward his spending will not change even when he’s not bringing in a salary. “All money is our money,” she explains. When she was in law school, Peter supported her—now it’s his turn.

And yet, some of Tamara’s friends from law school are not so comfortable with her financial arrangement. They tell Tamara she’s a “fool” for becoming the sole breadwinner and make comments like, “I couldn’t be with anybody who didn’t work as hard as I do.” The peanut gallery didn’t say a word when Peter was working and Tamara was in school. So why does the couple’s Common Pot bother them now?

Perhaps Tamara’s friends got messages like the one I got from my grandmother—women should have their own money—and, like me, they hadn’t thought through the way advice like this actually applies to their modern lives. My grandmother had a Common Pot by default, not by choice, because she never earned her own money. If she and my grandfather had divorced, she would have been in major financial trouble. She was living the norm for the time: only 32 percent of wives in 1960 were in the labor force.

Even though circumstances are different now, many women have internalized the message. Like Jill, 29, who wrote to tell me that her mother was left with nothing when her parents split and drilled into her, “Keep some money separate so if the ‘spit’ hits the fan you’ll have a little something to fall back on.”

Click here to read the rest of the article

The original article was written by Jessica Grose for



December 6, 2010 – Kimberly Rock & Eric Haggard

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marriedmillions @ 1:30 PM

Real Memories was founded by Eric Haggard & Kimberly Rock, a former NYC graphic design firm owner and former advertising executive who now live in a restored farmhouse in rural NW Connecticut with their two daughters, Jessy, 5 and Jordan, 3. Since 1997, Eric & Kimberly have also owned Pulp Paper Products, Inc., a successful wholesale and retail manufacturer of high-end photo related products sold online and in stores nationwide. Our design philosophy has always been to develop elegant, artful, and affordable products using the highest quality materials possible.

Real Memories simplifies the traditional framing process by combining high quality digital photo printing and custom framing. You can upload a digital photo, choose a frame, personalize a mat and see your entire creation before buying it (even hanging it on a virtual wall to match your home or office). Real Memories frames cost less and deliver faster than a traditional frame shop, allowing you to custom frame your photos without ever leaving home.

The latest online technology and a simple, intuitive design make the Real Memories site easy to navigate and use. You can create your own custom frame and personalize it with a caption – in less than 5 minutes. Plus, the “My Address Book” feature allows you to save multiple addresses so that you can send gifts to as many friends & family as you like with just a few clicks.

Gone are the days of the standard 4″x 6″, 5″x7″ or 8″x10″ frame! Real Memories provides an extensive choice of custom frame sizes, shapes and mat configurations as well as digital photo editing for enlarging, cropping and photo enhancement. You can also beautifully emboss any mat with a personal message to mark a special occasion, enhance a memory or create a truly meaningful gift. All this gives you the ability to own a frame that is uniquely yours.

Click here to visit the company’s website

November 25, 2010

Professional House Sitters -Alicia Shea & Kevin Shea

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marriedmillions @ 1:15 PM

We are a semi-retired, mature couple currently residing in Belmont, Massachusetts, a quiet bedroom community about ten miles west of Boston. We are in our late fifties and have been married for almost 40 years. We have no children, and we are each other’s best friends. We have been non-smokers for our entire lives.

We are both retired from our professional careers, Kevin from management consulting and Alicia from technical work and executive management in high-tech software companies. We each have a very strong focus on, and commitment to, customer service. We continue to do some part-time work and can work from virtually anywhere, as long as there is a high-speed internet connection.

We have the wisdom to understand what needs to be done to take care of your home while you are away. We’ve been homeowners for over 30 years, and we understand that issues do arise that need to be addressed quickly. We have the common sense skills needed to look after your home, pets and gardens.

We have travelled extensively and have had many exciting adventures, and we have collected many good friends along the way. We are outdoors people who enjoy the mountains, skiing, biking, hiking, fly-fishing, snorkeling and windsurfing, and we have enjoyed these activities across the United States and in the Caribbean and Europe. We enjoy taking on new projects, learning new things and continuing to challenge ourselves.

In 1996, at the ripe old ages of 46, we pedalled our bicycles 3500 miles across the country in 58 days, completely self-supported. We prefer to immerse ourselves in a new area and to get to know its people and culture.

The days of five cities in five days are well behind us. We are equally happy dining out at the finest restaurant or camping out under the stars in a remote wilderness.

Kevin is very handy around the house, having renovated our 1900 home. He is an accomplished gardener, restores antique automobiles, and is a natural around pets, especially dogs. He can undertake small projects of carpentry, electrical or plumbing, or direct larger ones if you need someone to oversee a construction project while you are away. He recently organized and directed about forty people to paint a cancer-stricken friend’s house in a single day. Kevin likes to work with his hands and get them dirty and always enjoys the rewards of a job well done.

Alicia’s passion is cooking, and she loves to entertain. She has prepared everything from casual menus for a few friends to formal five-course sit-down dinners for 30 to an outdoor wedding reception for 80. She is also the creator of the popular and comprehensive cooking website Alicia is also a self-professed “geek” with very strong technical skills. She is the creator of this and other websites. In her “spare” time she likes to knit and sells her elegant and fashionable accessories on another of her websites,

Read a complete New York Times article about how the Shea’s run their business here.

November 18, 2010

Nikaya Handcrafted – Andrea Ross & Brandon Ross

Nikaya is an ancient Buddhist word for ‘community’ and our community is who we support. Started in Cambodia in 2008 by Brandon and Andrea Ross Nikaya is a true labor of love.

Having lived in Southeast Asia for five years the Ross’ wanted to find a way to bring the traditional crafts they so admired to a wider audience while at the same time ensuring the survival of these ancient skills and empowering local artisans.

Taking the community involvement one step further proceeds from Nikaya benefit local based projects with 10% of all profit going to Journey’s Within Our Community, a non profit organization working in poverty reduction and education throughout Southeast Asia. Nikaya also features a Giving Back page where 100% of proceeds of all products go to support these community initiatives.

The Ross’ moved to Cambodia five years ago and started Journeys Within Our Tour Company, running custom tours to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar. Having traveled extensively in the region they set up Journeys Within B&B and Bungalows, a boutique resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia, moments from the Angkor Wat temples. After living in Cambodia a few months they saw the overwhelming need for grass roots community based projects and Journeys Within Our Communitywas born. Now registered as a 501c, Journeys Within Our Community has many projects throughout Southeast Asia and has become a huge support for the local communities, offering scholorships, language schools, clean water programs and microfinance. Brandon and Andrea have two children, both born in Bangkok, Callie and Couper. The family now splits their time between Cambodia and California, where they have a home in Truckee.

Click here to visit Nikaya Handcrafted’s website

November 10, 2010 – Dr. Bill Magee & Kathy Magee

n 1982, Dr. Bill Magee and Kathy Magee, his wife, traveled to the Philippines with a group of medical volunteers to repair children’s cleft lips and cleft palates. They discovered hundreds of children ravaged by deformities, and although they helped many children, the volunteers were forced to turn away the majority of those who sought help. The Magees saw the need and Operation Smile was born.

Operation Smile is a charity organization healing children’s smiles, making the world a better place.

As a children’s charity, they measure themselves by the joy they see on all of the faces they help. Operation Smile is more than a charity organization. More than an NGO (Non Governmental Organization). They are a mobilized force of medical professionals and caring hearts who provide safe, effective reconstructive surgery for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate.

More than 200,000 children are born with a severe cleft condition each year — often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile. In some places these children are shunned and rejected. And in too many cases, their parents can’t afford to give them the surgeries they need to live a normal life.

That’s where Operation Smile comes in as an international charity providing much needed surgical services. Since 1982, Operation Smile — through the help of dedicated medical volunteers — has provided free surgeries to children around the world. As one of the most prominent children’s charities in the world and with a presence in over 50 countries, they are able to heal children’s smiles and bring hope for a better future.

Thanks to the generosity and spirit of volunteerism shown by their supporters, they heal thousands of children per year and, today, more than 150,000 girls and boys have a new chance at a new life because of the organizations work. With your help, how many lives can Operation Smile change tomorrow?

To make a donation, click here

November 4, 2010

NovaSim – Kerrie Paige & Jaret Hauge

Kerrie Paige and Jaret Hauge

A mathematical couple find one thing indispensable to their love-and-work relationship: walls.

When couples move in together, disagreements inevitably arise, and a 40-hour-plus work week normally offers a respite. But that wasn’t the case for Kerrie Paige, a Ph.D. in mathematical analysis, who with her partner, Jaret Hauge, launched their simulation-software business, NovaSim, in January 2000 – she from her house in Bellingham, Wash., and he from his base in Toronto. When they started the company, they were both undergoing separations, and romance was the furthest thing from their mind.

Perfect business partners, they earned profits early on, and Hauge decided to move to Bellingham that summer. By year’s end, the two realized they were a great romantic match as well. He eventually moved into Paige’s home and office – which were one and the same. And so, they shared a work space. More than disputes over the décor or laundry or Paige’s kids (who live with her and were 5, 9, and 12 when he first arrived), it was the business calls that drove them a little crazy.

“We had to be on the phone with clients a lot, and our work is technically difficult so it requires concentration,” said Paige. “It got distracting for one of us to be on the phone while the other was trying to concentrate. We’d have to lower our voices when speaking with clients or put on headphones to drown out the other person’s conversation.”

They married in 2003 even though the office layout, says Paige, “just wasn’t working out.”

For a while they worked from separate floors of the house, but last fall they moved into a separate office building, where they hired a contractor to put up a soundproof wall between them. “We’re much more productive this way,” says Paige.

With their office space revamped, they turned their attention last year to restructuring their roles in their company. In the past, each would shepherd his or her projects from beginning to end, and whoever had spare time would pick up the administrative tasks.

“We soon realized that we needed to define our roles more clearly,” says Hauge. They’ve now carved out their duties by function, with Paige overseeing sales and management and Hauge making sure their products and services are delivered smoothly. Results soon followed: In 2007 they earned $357,000 in revenues, a 17 percent jump over 2006.

Profits aside, the company has inspired Paige’s 16-year-old son Alex, who has lived with Nova-Sim since grade school.

“I think it would be fun to start my own business, choose what I’m interested in, and have my own hours,” he says. “And if I got married, I definitely wouldn’t mind starting something with a spouse – we’d spend more time together that way. And that would be pretty cool.”

Original article written by Phaedra Hise, with additional reporting by Ingrid Tharasook for





October 9, 2010

ModCloth – Eric & Susan Gregg Koger

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marriedmillions @ 3:52 AM

Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger took a love of vintage clothing and some tech know-how and built a popular online retail site. The husband-wife team is expected to bring in $15 million this year.

When Susan Gregg Koger and her then-boyfriend, Eric Koger, were about to start Carnegie Mellon in 2002, the Florida natives set out on a search for cold-weather gear to help them survive those harsh Pittsburgh winters. Susan, who always loved vintage wears, led them to thrift stores, where she enjoyed browsing so much, she even bought clothes she couldn’t wear because they weren’t quite her size or style. One day, Eric convinced her to set up a site to sell some of her finds. Today, that site, ModCloth, is on track to sell $15 million of women’s clothing and accessories this year.

The Kogers launched ModCloth in January 2003, during their winter break. The site operated out of Susan’s dorm room, and she personally fulfilled all orders while maintaining a full course load. “I’d get phone calls in the library,” she says. Eric, who had experience hosting and designing websites for retailers back home, provided technical support for the site.

As Susan approached graduation in 2006, she and Eric decided to run the site full-time. They realized, however, that it would be difficult to sustain ModCloth as a business selling only one-of-a-kind frocks. So they decided to offer retro-inspired pieces from independent designers in addition to actual vintage clothing. That year, Susan traveled to the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas to buy inventory that fit the site’s new concept.

She and Eric married later that year and moved into a house in Pittsburgh, which they initially used as ModCloth’s headquarters — until the company outgrew it. “When we moved out, we had 16 people working out of there,” Eric says. “The living room was our conference room. We had to get a second fridge for the kitchen.” After receiving his MBA from Carnegie Mellon in 2007, he joined ModCloth full-time as CEO. The next year, the company moved into a converted steel mill in Pittsburgh’s Strip district.

Since then, ModCloth has only continued to grow. The site now offers fashions from more than 300 designers. The Kogers have ramped up their staff, which totals 92. In the past year, to keep up with demand, they have added nearly 60 positions — from fashion writers and stylists to Web developers and fulfillment staff.

ModCloth sets itself apart from other online clothing retailers, Susan says, through its authenticity. She and most of the company’s employees are women in their 20s — the company’s target demographic. Susan, in consultation with ModCloth’s buyers, still handpicks each piece sold through the site. The site also holds regular contests through Twitter, Facebook, and its own blog in which visitors submit names for new items and photos of their fashion ensembles. “We really want the customers to be truly involved,” Susan says. “We’re not some big retailer telling you, ‘This is what you should be wearing.” ModCloth has also succeeded in extending its online visibility. In the beginning, Susan swapped links with mom-and-pop vintage retailers in order to spread the word across the Web and increase ModCloth’s page rank. The site is now one of the first results on Google for both the terms “vintage clothing” and “clothes.”

But the Kogers have a larger vision for the site. Ultimately, Eric says, they aim for ModCloth to emulate the feel of combing through racks in a boutique. ModCloth has taken a small step toward that goal by allowing visitors to browse through ensembles worn by its models, similarly to how a brick-and-mortar shopper might browse mannequins’ outfits. “The way that fashion is purchased is dramatically different than how books and electronics are purchased,” he says. “Apparel is much more about the browsing experience. But every single e-commerce site is built with a books and electronics mindset.”

That concept has helped ModCloth gain some impressive backers. In March, the company closed a $3 million round of funding led by Maples Investments, which has also invested in Digg and Twitter, and First Round Capital, a seed-stage venture firm led by Josh Kopelman, the founder of

Developing that technology, the Kogers say, will help them build upon their strong rapport with their customers, which remains their top priority. “I think we’re very unique in that there aren’t many other retailers with a specific point of view,” Susan says. “I’d much rather buy from a company where the founders are similar to me.”

Orginal article written by April Joyner for


September 6, 2010

The Body Evolution – Jason & Heather Hansen

The Body Evolution Jason and Heather Hansen

The Body Evolution was founded by two fitness and supplement gurus. Jason and Heather Hansen.  After competing and winning the 2000 Mrs. Utah America pageant, Heather ( who was on a strict diet) tried to continue drinking protein shakes but could not stand it anymore. She would complain to her husband Jason about the thick, hard to mix what she called ”Sugar filled mudshakes.”

After her competition, she challenged Jason to lose some weight. Being an athlete his whole life, Jason paid attention to the physical aspect of running, lifting etc. in his sports, but never focused on the nutritional side. He took Heathers challenge and had no problem with the workout side of losing weight, but could not stand the taste of the shakes and supplements he was taking.

Jason decided to begin his quest in formulating a great tasting Meal Replacement Protein Shake that would have an 85% absorption rate with no artificial flavors, colors, sugars, unnecessary fats, hydrogenated oils or lactose in the product. He thought it was ridiculous that he had to take a protein shake, amino acid supplement, glutamine supplement for muscle recovery and a multivitamin pill, instead of just drinking one shake. He told Heather he was going to come up with the first ever complete MRP product. What he never expected was he was about to develop a David amongst Goliaths.

Jason visited with over 10 manufactures and suppliers of nutritional supplements. The majority told Jason that there is no way to place all of those ingredients in a shake and make it taste good and mix easy. Jason, didn’t give up.

After much research, Jason found a bio-chemist formulator that has created some of the best selling supplements and cleanest supplements found in America today. With Jason’s insight and vision of providing such a profile in a protein shake, Evolve was born.

Initially, Jason bought the supplement himself and began to take it to the gym with him. It was at the gym, that many people would ask about the unlabeled white bottle he would carry around in his gym bag. Jason began to give people samples and no one could believe that this was a protein shake. It tasted way too good and mixed way too easy!  Even Jason’s world known trainer and Professional Powerlifter, David Edgell had a hard time believing the product was for real.

Jason achieved fantastic results and competed in the Utah Natural Mountain States Bodybuilding show that year. He put on an amazing 20lbs of lean muscle for that show! The supplements had worked. Jason went from a mere 162lbs to 182lbs of pure muscle in just one year.

After six months of trial and error, Jason sold his first bottle of protein to a small Health Shop in Utah and opened The Body Evolution. Over one million shakes later, Jason and Heather Hansen still believe in providing the highest quality lineup of products at a reasonable price. As food costs and protein costs have soared, Jason and Heather have remained steady and constant in providing the same level of protein that they have for the last eight years at almost the exact same price. They are continually approached to dumb down their product and make more money.  But, have stood steady in providing a product that really works!

Jason enjoys competing as an Open Natural competitor in bodybuilding. He has competed in over 8 shows and has never placed lower than fourth in his class. He also has competed in a National Strongman competition where he placed sixth out of 56 competitors and weighed in as one of the lightest competitors at the competition. He consistently powerlifts and supports the sport of powerlifting. He also has consulted and helped hundreds of athletes and everyday people achieve their high level dreams. He also loves to snow ski, waterski, hunt, fish and play with his 3 beautiful kids.  He is extremely active in his community, church and neighborhood.

Jason believes in his products more than anyone else. He drinks two MRPs a day and two blended whey shakes each day. He also is an avid believer and user of both Creatine Power Plus and glutamine empowered products.

But, his favorite thing in life by far is his beautiful wife Heather. When you see them together, you know they are in love.

Heather enjoys an active lifestyle with her family, scuba diving, powerlifting, pageant consulting, figure fitness training, snow and water skiing, cycling and is a great Mom! She is a friend to all and also has consulted with hundreds of people to help them lose weight and feel good about life. She competed in pageants for years and won the most esteemed pageant in Utah the Mrs. Utah America pageant in 2000. She is very active in her community, church and family.  Her favorite thing in life is laying by a pool with Jason and reading a good book. When you see her, you will know. It is hard to not stare at her, because she is so beautiful!!

Heather is a firm believer in food that tastes good. She loves the shakes mostly because they taste good mix easy and have all of the RDA for her daily vitamins and minerals.

For more information visit

August 1, 2010 – mendi + keith obadike

Filed under: Uncategorized — marriedmillions @ 11:17 AM

Mendi + Keith Obadike make music, art and literature.

Their works include The Sour Thunder, an Internet opera (Bridge Records), Crosstalk : American Speech Music (Bridge Records), a suite of new media artworks, Black.Net.Art Actions (published in re : skin on M.I.T Press), Big House / Disclosure, a 200 hour public sound installation (Northwestern University), and a poetry collection, Armor and Flesh (Lotus Press).

Their intermedia work has been commissioned by, exhibited at, and performed at the New Museum, The NY African Film Festival and Electronic Arts Intermix, The Yale Cabaret, Whitechapel Art Gallery (London), The Gene Siskel Film Center, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and The Whitney Museum of Art, among other institutions.

Their projects have been featured on New York and Chicago public radio, as well as on Juniradio (104.5) in Berlin.

Keith received a BA in Art from North Carolina Central University and an MFA in Sound Design from Yale University. He is an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Communication at William Paterson University.

Mendi received a BA in English from Spelman College and a PhD in Literature from Duke University. She was a Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Media Studies at Pratt Institute.

They are currently developing a new series of performance works including Four Electric Ghosts, an opera-masquerade (mmanwu) commissioned by the Kitchen NYC (2009), and TaRonda Who Wore White Gloves (agbogho mmwo), as artists in residence at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center.

For more information visit

July 11, 2010

They Open Their Motel To The Homeless – Tim & Nancy Nicolai

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marriedmillions @ 2:15 AM

Click to enlarge

Sioux Falls, S.Dak.

Retired steelworker Tim Nicolai envisioned a quiet second act for himself and wife Nancy when they bought the Arena Motel in 2004. But just a few months later, on a frigid winter day, a woman and her daughter showed up at the front desk, with no money and nowhere else to go. “I had empty rooms,” recalls Tim, 48, “and they didn’t have a roof over their heads.”

Four years later, after converting four of the motel’s 26 rooms to family-friendly setups with hot plates and cribs, Tim and Nancy, 47, have provided free shelter to more than 100 homeless people. Staying anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year, these guests have morning coffee with Tim, who helps them comb “help wanted” ads and has hooked up several with work from friends. “I’d be on the streets if it wasn’t for them,” says 27-year-old Heather, a mom of four young children, who now works as the motel housekeeper. “They’re such caring people.”

Original story can be found at


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