August 2012 - Tony Astro - Advisor, Businessman, Consultant

Cross-Cultural Competency Test Part 2

Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Top 12 Promises and Legacy as Family - From Tony, Myla & Sam - Forever

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Our Top 12 Promises and Legacy as Family - From Tony, Myla & Sam - Forever

In this social media age of sharing every details of our life, it is hard to hide our personal life even if we choose to live the normal life - living in the social gadget modern lifestyle - that we enjoy. As everyone becomes more and more public figure, I would like to proclaim publicly our goals and promise to fulfill as family in living daily today and in the future.   I hope you consider to have your goals and share them too.  

I realized this is not all the goals and future intentions that we want to declare, we have tons more but hopefully here is a start to make us more accountable, we are making some of our goals blog-public - social media friendly - keeping up with the times.  Here is my family's Top 12 Goals, Promises and Legacy we would like to fulfill.  We (Sam, Myla & Tony) promise to:


1.  Live according to the will of God.    We will continue to do our devotion to our Lord daily through 6-10 minutes of alone time with God individually in the morning as we wake up.  During this moment we will seek for His guidance in obeying His rules and help us fulfill all these goals.  We will use our closet to either write in a journal or talk to God how we feel and how we want our day and weeks to go.

2.  Be conscious and aware of our savings & expenses.  We will not spend money in things we don't need or not help us develop a healthy life.  We will continue to buy and recycle our possessions from clothes to appliances to the maximum value.  We will always save more for the rainy days at least 6 months of salary.

3.  Enjoy the God-given playground once a week.  We will go out and explore the nature and blessings that God have given to us to visit, explore, photograph, remember and understand.

4.  Give 12% of all  our income to charity and church.  We will surrender everything we receive without any hesitation to others - not through capriciousness and wrongful desires of relatives and friends BUT to those who really have financial and material needs without feeling obligated but with our wholehearted desire.

5.  Exercise four hours a week at a minimum.  We will take care of our body through sports, aerobic exercise and daily workout as individual and as a family.  We will all be accountable to our daily routine to keep moving and maintain the required body fat and physical stamina.

6.  Eat healthier food with the right amount.  We will eat less and less processed foods, meat and eat more of greens and fruits daily.  We will cut down on rice, beef and other food considered healthy according to legitimate medical findings.

7.  Develop our minds and intelligence.  We will read more quality literature, maintain good health and exercise our brain visually and mentally to strengthen our minds.  We will cut back on television, internet and other passive entertainment and information overload.  (Practice:  2 hours of TV maximum - daily.  3 hours if watching informative shows like National Geographic, 60 minutes, Jeopardy.  4 hours Video game / week)

8.  Get more physically social and develop new friends.  We will attend more appropriate public events, go out and network with other people socially through coffee, party, BBQ, house visits and community services.  We will explore new relationship every week and expand our network and share our time and blessings to help others and develop pure, honest and loving relationship.  We would rather give more of ourselves than receive more of others. (Practice:  Join community service and national social clubs, House party or BBQ twice a month, entertain friends through visits, invite strangers for lunch & dinner)

9.  Reduce use of technology unless it is necessarily productive.  We will use social media, Internet, iPhone, TV and other gadgets less and limited to certain time.  We will stop using unnecessary electricity and passive entertainment but will only use this technology when needed.

10.  Strict discipline in school, work and business.  We will totally be focus and discipline in fulfilling our obligations as student, professional and business owner.  If in school, all homework will be completed during the week.  I will report to work 5 minutes before required time.  We will have an organize and professionally managed business and expand them daily (For Sam, homework will be done by 6pm. I will continue to improve work process and contribute to the success of the Navy or company that I work with.  Myla will attend business networking and hire employees & contribute to the national economy).

11.  Proper sleep and total rest.  We will not have any television and other things that will distract our sleep inside the bedroom and will have a minimum sleep of 8 hours per day.  (Practice:  Sleep no later than 1030 and wake up no later than 0630 every day including weekends)


12.  Improve and expand our goals by including others.  We will update this list as we improve ourselves and become better person everyday.  We will promise to be aware on the needs of other people around us and will share our love and this  personal legacy to others.


We pray and know that God will bring all these 12 goals to life and that He will use us by making our family better and as individual be a positive influence to many people whom we connect to daily. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Top 24 Apps I Could Not Live Without Nowadays (Well, Almost)

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Top 24 Apps I Could Not Live Without Nowadays (Well, Almost)
I am in the process of deleting some useless Apps I downloaded- I thought at first was useful and now I consider obsolete.  I just want to share on what I am keeping and so that you save time in using certain apps for your iPhone (usually available in Androids too).  Why did I pick 24 (well that is how long I am going to stay in the Navy) - just because.

I am an Android convert to iPhone and with the advent of Samsung (Android) being branded as a copy cat - slapped with $1 billion penalty, I have even better reason to stay an iPhone loyalist.  It is the only Apple product in my household, I am a PC & Windows user but I really find iPhone apps to be useful and fun to use daily as if they are things I could not live without nowadays.  Most of this apps were paid but there are times they give it free for 24 hours and that is when I download them using various free app reminders like Apps Gone Free. 


1.  Best in Browsing & Social Media:  Flipboard - this is an all in one to browse the news, social media (including Facebook so it doesn't look like you are in Facebook all the time) with easier way of using your thumb browsing the internet & vibrant pictures.  (Alternate apps I am keeping:  Facebook,G+, HootSuite, Pages by Facebook, MyPad, Messenger & Twitter)




2.  Best in Monitoring Credit:  Credit Karma - get your credit report for free - for real.  Compared to those advertise freecreditreport.com using websites, this one was so easy to use.  Just fill out some private information like you do for applying a credit.  In less than 15 minutes I found out my credit score and it gets updated daily.

3.  Best in Getting Paid Apps for Free:  Apps Gone Free - get some of those paid Apps for free on certain days.  Better than previous similar apps who offer useless & apps that deserves to be free. (Similar apps:  AppBzr, AppAdvice)

4.  Best in Reading Daily Devotions:  YouVersion Bible - get all versions of Bible including devotionals like Rick Warren's Daily.  (Also, what I use at church during sermon for notes:  Crossway ESV Bible)

5.  Best in Travel Search:  Kayak - this is how we shop for hotels and plane tickets.  Sorts all prices from other sites like Hotwire, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Airline & Hotel companies.  (Other Apps:  Hotels.com, AAA, TravelZoo)

6.  Best in Shopping:  Amazon - use this to scan or price check from stores before we buy them. Free shopping and usually the best deal still by far with Prime Amazon membership.  (Also:  Dealnews, Google's Shopper, eBay, Decide.com, Backpage & Craigslist)

7.  Best in Networking:  LinkedIn - this is how I build up my professional network - so fast & easy to build a network and resume and get your mark out there.  (G+, MyPad, Facebook, Pages, Twitter, Messenger)

8.  Best in Looking for What to Share or Browse Online:  StumbleUpon - this is the way to browse of majorities favorite videos (YouTube) and sites to share.   

9.  Best in Showing & Keeping Photographs:  Shutterfly - I was surprised that this is still free and no wonder Kodak Gallery got bankrupt who charges me to keep all my photos yet Shutterly kept my over 100GB photos for free.  No more crashed hard drive and lost memories. (Also Photobucket, Pic Stitch, Postcard, ColorEffects)

10.  Best in Work Out:  Runtastic Pro - help me during my workout & track my distance.

11.  Best in Health:  Healthy Habits - gives me daily tips and intake & outtake on what is good and bad for my body.  (Brain Trainer, Navy Fitness, Heart Rate)

12.  Best in Food:  Epicurious - all the recipes for cooking.

13.  Best in Education:  iTunes U - get free formal training in videos from major university.

14.  Best in News (Video):  Newsy - digested news report from various news agency.  Reports are quick and concise and no wasteful information.  (Also keeping & use once in awhile:  CNN)

15.  Best in News (Reading):  News 360 - selected news from selected news agency with easy to browse reading menu. (Also worth it:  Time Mobile, Mail Online, Huffington Post)

16.  Best in Tour Guides (Country/State):  Trip Advisor - get the top 10 or 20 best of many locations around the world to save you time and money when traveling.  Unbiased because the ranking is done by real travelers. (Other useful app:  Park Finder Oh Ranger,  History Here - details your current location if there is any historical site worth visiting)

17.  Best in Restaurant:  Yelp - real reviews from real people.  Never missed any of the best tip on where to dine and eat at the best deal and direction.

18.  Best in Music:  Pandora - my old time favorite since 2004 on my PC.  Picks the best.  Just don't like the advertising but it's still worth it.  (Other music apps:  Tune in Radio, Grammy's)

19.  Best in Overall Search:  Google - who else.  Tried the new ones like Ask, Bing & Yahoo but this is a long time keeper.  (Other:  USA.Gov for official government document search, White Pages)

20.  Best in Camera:  Facebook Camera -   Remember FB buying Instagram for $1 Billion, well this is the new Instagram.  I also like Snapseed which has the best photo editing features.  I am still surprise some of my friends still uses Instagram.

21.  Best in Photo Editing:  Snapseed - so easy to manipulate photos and so instant much better than Instagram with camera also that you can use straight.

22.  Best in Check-In:  Facebook - just because it's majority wins.

23.  Best in Military:  Military Travel - complete military base information, contacts (Also:  Take A Hop - best gadget to book for Space A Mac Flight around the world with timely & updated information)

24.  Best in Social Game: Family Feud - I just love the game and this keeps me educated on what majority like and what is the most popular opinion.  (Also:  Bejeweled Blitz)

Until next Blog, I will post my Top 20 iPhone Game Apps (what Sam and Dad Tony Likes)  List




Thursday, August 23, 2012

My 20 Years in the Navy & Why I Got Hitched & Reenlisted Again

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My 20 Years in the Navy & Why I Got Hitched & Reenlisted Again
Reenlisted at the CVW-11 Compound August 2012 with Myla, Sam & Lt Pirouznia

Over 20 years ago, my Navy adventures begin.  Will I do it over again.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But last week I did Reenlist for another 3 years. Midway through my Navy career I left and became a civilian for a few months but, it seems like the Navy blood is in my system and so I came back.  No regrets until.  Well that would be another blog.  Though this list may sound self-serving and all for my benefits and my family, I truly believe that "serving" my Sailors through my God given skills also shows in my motivation in doing this or else all this (no matter what motivation was) in the list is pointless.  Here are 20 reasons why I stayed active in the Navy.


1.  Steady pay.  With a family of 3, I need stability.  I did try my luck when I left the Navy 10 years ago and I thought I was not ready for this yet.  It maybe because I needed cushion, financially, to move on.

2.  Retirement pay at 20.  It is a no brainer, most military personnel stay past 20 for that reason alone but for me it is to guarantee food in my family's table.

3.  Travel.  I was fortunate to see over 20 different countries in just the first 15 years in the Navy.  I believe that travel is not only to enjoy for the moment but it enhances my understanding of the different sentiments of different culture or sensitive to the other people around me but really educate me in diversity.

4.  Camaraderie.  Becoming a part of a prestigious team cannot be underestimated.  I will always remember all the people from all culture in the Navy.

5.  Financial Benefits.  The discounts earned on quality shopping at the exchange and commissaries will continue even after the retirement from active duty.  Although in some cases, Walmart, Target & Amazon.com still offers the best deal.

6.  Housing Benefits.  The security and convenience of living on base with all the convenience of nothing to worry about the utilities.  We use the option of getting the allowance in our first few years and paying a mortgage but lately, our first experience, it was very convenient to live in housing.

7.  Health Benefits.  Not just the health insurance we get but the requirement and discipline to stay healthy through weekly exercise and strict monitoring of weight, we stay healthy and strong.

8.  Respect.  Being in the military, we feel the respect from civilians as they know how we contribute to the safety of the country against global enemies.

9.  Recognition.  The ribbons and advancement are form of tangible recognition that is almost guarantee if you work hard and do your best.

10.  Leadership.  Even at the beginning of bootcamp I was trained to lead and everyday is always a leadership in training session.

11. Diversity.  Where else can you work who came from all over the United States and in some cases from another country and at least every 3 or 4 years you work with different group of people.

12.  New Boss every 3 to 4 Years.  The longest time I work with the same environment and command is now at CVW-11 in Lemoore (4 years) and I was almost burnout, luckily my boss changes every 2 years.

13.  New Place every 3 to 4 Years.  Where else can you move at your employer's expense to move around the country at the state of your choice.  The excitement of moving to another place is almost an adventure.

14.  Best Food on Ship.  I know a lot of you may disagree but I learned how to appreciate how Navy Cooks were trained to be the world's best chef but those who complain about the Navy chow are probably disgruntled.  As a chief on deployment on ships or even at Seabee camps - it is delicious (after 20 years). 

15.  Network.  The vast network we develop around the world through deployments and most specially through Permanent Change of Station every 3 or 4 years, my family develop friends and contacts that we can keep forever (hopefully).

16.  Uniform.  The privilege of wearing the uniform daily (besides the savings and agony on buying working clothes) displays our dignified job and gives us pride whenever we wear them.

17.  Honor.  The sense of adulation from others and confidence we develop in our job.

18.  Courage.  The endurance and bravery that we develop in our entire adventure on 8 months of deployment away from our family.

19.  Commitment.  Our attention to detail and commitment was not only develop on this entire time but we continue to show how important every task we handle wherever we are.

20.  I will leave this open because I see more reasons I can add on what I have learned and develop in my 20 years in the Navy that I would not somewhere else including my Faith in God, my Love for my family and Endurance & Zeal to life.  I hope to pass this on to my son and so on.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Top 10 Reasons Why We Selected to Move Back to the Other Coast

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Top 10 Reasons Why We Selected to Move Back to the Other Coast
Last March I was penciled in for Navy orders for our next home station.  We have hold this information for 5 months now just to make sure our written orders don't get jinx before we finally move out of California to Virginia in 10 weeks.  Though I could Name Top 10 Reasons to Stay in California, I would like to highlight:

The Top 10 Reasons I Applied for this job in Virginia and Thanks to God my family was selected to move to Norfolk, Virginia in 10 weeks

1.  It has moderate climate for all 4 beautiful seasons.  We lived in Connecticut for almost 4 years after living in California for 10 years my family honestly enjoy the actual ambiance of fall, winter, spring and summer there.

2.  It's near the two major hub of the US:  New York & Washington D.C.  We enjoy all kinds of museum and enhancing our minds with just going out every weekend with different culture.

3.  It's full of history.  One of the oldest state with really strong values not only on educational tour for our minds but full of living history.

4.  In general better in education.  Everyone we have talked, this is the selling point for moving to Virginia.  In general, compared to California - it's better public education.  (Nevertheless, Sam went to the best school - Neutra in Lemoore Base).

5.  Better Job Market compared to Central California.  As possible last tour for me in the military and boost my 2nd career as businessman or civil servant, just browsing through USA Jobs, most of the jobs I get is from the DC / VA area versus the west coast area.

6.  Lots of states to visit.  It is all driving distance to almost 10 states vs. California:  Maryland, DC, NY, CT, MA, NC, SC, FL, GA, WV, etc. perfect for our weekend getaway family hobby.

7.  Near most of our friends & family.  Near my half sister and Myla's sister.

8.  AMC MacFlight to Europe.  We can take advantage of space "A" flight to many military air terminal in Spain, Germany or Italy.  Part of my benefit as active duty and retired veteran.

9.  Better business opportunity for MVOSS Creations.  Our promotional business did not do so well in Lemoore, California compared to how we did in Connecticut.  There is also more suppliers for our business in the east coast and better our chance to get contracts near the DC and Navy headquarters.

10.  Navy career opportunity.  The job description offered is for a higher ranking as Fleet Navy Counselor for Military Sealift Command with opportunity to travel and help Sailors of over 100 non-Navy ships around the world.

Besides the top ten, we wanted to live near the city (Norfolk), better tax incentives, also consider finding a better place and more affordable place for my mom, near many old friends from the Navy and possibly so much more.


Top 10 Reasons We are going to miss California:

1.  Friends and family in California (you know who you are!)
2.  The Navy Base facilities.
3.  Weather.
4.  Hollywood glamor & image.
5.  Beach.
6.  Sun.
7.  Mexican and Filipino community.
8.  San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Oregon, Seattle and other nearby city.
9.  South Valley Christian Church.
10. Theme parks.

We definitely will not miss:  the air quality, desert, long drive to good places, valley fever.

So friends and family, please pray for our transition back to the east coast.

We will be busy in the next 10 weeks in moving coast to coast again.  And you know it, we will be doing our next ROAD trip.  We will suspense you with the details.

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