January 29, 2016

February Wallet Watch

February. I don't even have the words. How did this purgatory month get here so quickly? I mean no disrespect to the month of dead presidents and love but is it not the longest 28, or 29 in this case, days of the year?  I digress... 

As always I'm hoping that it flies by. Especially because I'll be trying my hardest to stick to my budget and watch my wallet. 

When I saw that Stephanie was doing a Wallet Watch for February I knew it was the perfect opportunity to join in, watch my spending, stick to my budget, and watch the benjamins pile up! Ok. They're not exactly piling up, but I'm making little stacks. 

There's no way I can handle an all out freeze right now, hence the watch. These are my rules (some are stolen from Steph):

1. Wallet Watch lasts from February 1 to February 29.
2. I will not be buying any clothing unless it's a clothing emergency... like last time. 
3. I will not be purchasing any books. 
4. Continue to use YNAB to track all spending/budgeting
5. Link up on March 4th (Friday) to share how I did. 

Approved spending:

1. Haircut on the 6th (~$120)
2. Yoga on the 14th ($TBD)
3. Pretty in Pink on the 17th (It's in theaters for it's 30th anniversary) (~$20)
4. Spa Day on the 20th (~$200)
5. My brother's show on the 21st ( ~$75. More on this later)
6. The Maltese Falcon on the 24th (~$20)
7. Any and all bridal shower expenses

It may not seem like the best time to do a wallet watch when your approved spending list is longer than your "rules". In reality, it is the best time to do it! February is going to be a costly month for me and this is a true challenge to not blow my budget and keep a handle on everything. 

Will you be joining in?? Let me know what your "rules" are. 

January 25, 2016

How to Survive a New York Winter

Given that I have dealt with both upstate and Manhattan winters I consider myself something of an expert. Upstate winters are typically marked with lots of snowfall and cold temperatures. Depending on the year it can be bearable or you will strongly consider leaving everything and hopping on the first plane to Mexico. Since winter storm Jonas made us his bitch this past weekend, here's a handy guide... for next time.

When you wake up in the morning and your stairs look like this, you should refer to these tips.

If you're like me, cold extremities are not an option. This is the fastest way for me to be the first one to kick over the snowman and stomp my frozen feet inside where I can bathe in hot chocolate. Having a good pair of boots makes all the difference. Personally, I vote for Sorels. I got my first pair last year and more than anything I'm annoyed that it took me so long to get them. 

Another absolute must is a parka. Up until last year I was barely making my way through winters with pea coats and scarves. Let's just clear something up right now. Pea coats are not for winter. I don't care how great your wool pea coat is when we enter the dead of winter you're going to be freezing your tail off why I'm all

Once I became a know-it-all teen I thought ear muffs were the dumbest things ever. There was no way you were going to get me to wear them. And with curly hair? Forget it. However, I've learned there's something to be said for having warm ears. Bonus, they keep your forehead warm which is pretty crucial when the wind blows, you're trying to walk to work, and you end up with brain freeze without the fun of ice cream.

And yet here I am, bundled to the hilt, prepped and ready to shovel my ass off. It's 1,522 calories burned for 3 hours of shoveling by the way. Which is perfect for the next important step.

Wine. Need I say more? It took me about 15 minutes to figure out which one of these to open on Saturday. Ultimately, I went with Glenora's Bobsled Red because snow.

You also need to make sure you have adequate snacks. I suggest wine {see above}, cheese, chips, pizza rolls, wine, and bagels. Basically, all the carbs and wine.

If for any reason you're not sure about the weather just ask your cat. Cats know everything. 

Oh, and you should probably have a shovel. You're gonna need it.


January 13, 2016

The Manual: Part II

Way back in the fall of  2013 I decided to do any potential suitors a favor and wrote them a manual to dealing with me. It covered the basics of sleep, food, and pet peeves. It's proved somewhat useful so much I thought a new chapter was in order. 

one// space
This is kind of a repeat of point five from Chapter 1 but it bears repeating because it's that important. Set up a date where you'll be MIA for almost 24 hours and we'll be golden. Space, not silence, is golden. 

two// have an opinion
I know for sure that I'm not the person to discuss politics with. Mainly because politics in general bore me. Regardless, you can bet that if I do have an opinion on a matter because I've formed my own thoughts and done my research. And if I don't have any idea what you're talking about, I'll say so. Be able to discuss things!

three// push me
I'm not exactly shy but there are times when I can use a little push out of my comfort zone. I like to be adventurous and try new things and I like those that I surround myself with to be the same way because always doing everything alone is boring.

four// be diverse
I have a LOT of interests and they vary drastically. I like spending time with people who have hobbies. Show me what you're into. Share it with me. You never know, I might find I enjoy it too and then - POOF! - we have something we each love to do that we can do together.

five// don't touch my hair
I'm not a prissy chick by any means, but don't touch my hair. Look at it, compliment it, but don't touch it. People without curly hair just don't understand curly hair. No, curls are a beast unto themselves and they do not appreciate being manhandled. And while you pull on them because ohmigawd they bounce like springs! I'm left to suffer their frizzy wrath.

six// take a joke
I'm not one to constantly pull practical jokes on people but sometimes I just can't help myself. Also, I will playfully crack jokes at your expense. It's called teasing and if you can give and take we'll be just fine.

seven// uggghhh
Look, I have a serious love/hate relationship with working out. The thing is, when I'm not doing it I'm thinking about how I should, and when I am doing it I'm cursing everything under the sun. But never have I regretted doing it. Having someone to be miserable with me just pushes me harder. Accountability is where it's at! Are you a gym-goer? Do you yoga? Do you even lift bro?

Really, I'm not that complicated. Food, fun, laughter, a little culture and I'm a happy camper. Share in some of those things and we'll be pals.

Some of you know me IRL - anything I left out? 

January 12, 2016

Booked Vol. 6

Being a real blogger means I love to read. Okay, that may or may not be backed by scientific research but I do know if there's one thing I love it's books.

Last Thursday I stayed in the city after work and found myself downtown. I was walking up 12th Ave and noticed carts with $1 books for sale out on the sidewalk. I stayed strong and barely glanced at them. As I rounded the corner onto Broadway my friend suggested we go in. it wasn't until I was in the store that  realized I was in Strand. The holy land of books in lower Manhattan.

A little background, this store was founded in 1927 and boasts 18 miles of new, used, rare, and out-of-print books. It's 4 floors packed top to bottom with books, book accessories, and gifts. You guys, I was so overwhelmed. When we left, I felt as though part of me was left behind. A horcrux if you will. It was a book lovers paradise and I plan to go back ASAP to spend an entire day browsing and falling in love.

I've been in a bit of a reading funk since we last sat down but I think it's wearing off. Finding the "right book" is a process and I wasn't there yet. These helped me move in the right direction though.

Still Alice / Lisa Genova
This was the last book I read for 2015. Admittedly, within the first 10 pages I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. However, it's been on my TBR list forever and I was determined to end my reading slump. This book broke my heart. As someone who has personally dealt with Alzheimer's it was both a true testament to the debilitating disease, and a heartbreaking reminder of what my family dealt with. This book should be read by everyone.Still Alice is a very accurate account of what it's like to live with someone with Alzheimer's.

365 Days of Happy / Karen Salmansohn
I have spent the better part of 2015 working on my happiness and really pinpointing the things I want in my life. This book is the perfect way to keep that energy going in 2016. I started this book on January 1st but to warm up I did read through the prompts and thumbed through the daily affirmations. If you're looking to find a little me-time, reflection, or just a way to find the happiness in your life, this book is a great tool. I received this from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review. 

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children / Ransom Riggs
I started this back in the fall but didn't get very far. What I did read, I liked so while at Target one day I gave in and just bought it. This time I committed to reading it and really enjoyed it. My only complaint was that the book didn't pull me in. I enjoyed it while was reading it, but I wasn't thinking about it when I wasn't.

Over the summer I grabbed 2 posters from the local library with a book challenge. Mom and I are going to do it and see who has read more by year end. My competitive streak says I must win but she reads way faster than I do, so we'll see. Here's a look at the books:

  1. an author you've never read before
  2. an author that you love 
  3. a book of short stories
  4. a book written by someone under 30
  5. a book with antonyms in the title
  6. a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't
  7. a book written by an author with your initials
  8. a play 
  9. a memoir
  10. a nonfiction book
  11. a book that might make you cry 
  12. a funny book 
  13. a book with magic
  14. a classic romance
  15. a graphic novel
  16. a banned book
  17. one word title
  18. a book that has a color in the title
  19. set during Christmas
  20. a book that scares you
  21. a book your mom/dad loves
  22. a book a friend recommended
  23. a book with a love triangle
  24. a book based entirely on its cover
  25. a Pulitzer prize winner
  26. a book you can finish fairly quick
  27. a book that was translated from a different language
  28. a book with a number in the title
  29. a trilogy
  30. a book with bad reviews
  31. a book published this year  I'm marking this because it's in progress
  32. a book by a female author
  33. a book more than 100 years old
  34. a mystery/thriller
  35. a book from your childhood
  36. a book set in a different country
  37. a book that became a movie
  38. a book set in high school
  39. a book based on a true story
  40. an author's first book              Miss Peregrine
  41. a book with more than 500 pages
  42. a book you never got to finish 
  43. a book you own but have never read
  44. a book set in the future
  45. a book with non-human characters
  46. a book about a TV show
  47. a book that takes place in your hometown
  48. a book at the bottom of your to-read list
On New Year's I set my Goodreads goal at 40 books. Last year I aimed for 50, and exceeded it, but this year I didn't want to pressure myself. Yet here I am starting this challenge, which, if I complete, means I'll have exceeded 2016's goal as well. Go big or go home right? I'm going to try to tackle most of my tangible TBR pile this year too. Basically, I've got my work cut out for me.

Any suggestions?

January 11, 2016

$2 Dreams

Unless you've been living under a rock at the bottom of the ocean then you're completely aware that the Powerball drawing is at an all time record jackpot.

Like anyone who wasn't born with a silver spoon in there mouth, I found myself fantasizing about winning all those Benjamins. I'm not sure how much $806 million is other than the fact that are a shit-ton of zeros at the end of 806. Here's an idea about where I'd start spending my winnings.

A car would be one of the absolute first things I purchased. A brand new, straight from the factory SUV with a sunroof. I'd had to decide whether I want stick or automatic. Stick is more fun to drive and it's better in the snow. 

Goodbye student loans, credit cards, and outstanding debts. I'm gonna make it rain so I never have to deal with you ever again. 

Hello 3 bedroom house all to myself, shore condo, and well, maybe a house in the Hamptons because I can. I go back and forth about whether I want a full house or a townhouse someday, now I don't have to be choosy. 

I'd be applying for my second passport because the first one will be filled within 6 months. Travel plans to Prague, Budapest, Paris, Italy, Germany, Greece, Antarctica, Australia, Thailand, Japan, and China are some of the first places I'd go to. 

Mom would have a new house, car, and bank account. My brothers and Little Miss would all finally get to be the trust fund kids I always wish I could have been. I'd also gift money to the rest of my family.

The 5 best friends (and their spouses) would each receive those really large checks that you only see on Publisher's Clearing House commercials because a) they're super fun, and b) that would be hilarious.

I wish I could do this with my present bank account, but alas, it disagrees with my charitable heart. Once I win the lottery it's $200K to the ASPCA, St. Jude's, MS Society, Alzheimer's Association, and Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Those are the five charities that are near and dear to me. 

I decided that this year I want to start investing in the stock market and I've already started buying a few shares. But the stocks on my watch list? I could finally afford them. Also, someone tell me why Chipotle stock is $413 dollhairs. Is this why guacamole is extra?

I'd buy tickets to every single DMB show for this summer's tour and would live out the ultimate groupie fantasy following them around the country. Why? Because DMB is life. 

Books on Books on Books
That personal library I've always dreamed of?  MINE! I'd love to build my own of all my favorite books but reality says I don't have the space to store them, and God help me if/when I need to move them. But when I'm Oprah rich, the library Beast gives Belle will be mine. Also, there will be a lot of this happening because fun. 

That's just a glimpse of where I'd start spending my millies. Seeing as how the next drawing isn't until Wednesday I'd say there's still time to spend $2 to make my dreams come true! Did I forget anything? What would you spend it on?

January 04, 2016

Mindy Kaling is my Spirit Animal

For the longest time I didn't understand the whole 'spirit animal' thing. I mean, I've taken a quiz and my spirit animal is the bear. The results are fairly accurate. But then everyone kept talking about how Amy Poehler was their spirit animal, or Nene, and I was all what the what. 

It wasn't until I was reading Dani's life lessons post that I understood the point of these celebrity spirit animals {always late to the party} and realized that Mindy was mine. Don't think so? Here's proof.

On most days

but then,

Sometimes I try to trick myself into working out and I'm all, 

Because how else am I going to find my soulmate?

But then I give up because I realize 

And most interactions I have with people leave me like,

And when it comes to dating, forget it! 

Occasionally there's a bad day when I need to remind myself that, 

And most importantly, 

Sometimes I have first world problems 

which results in a lot of

But when all else fails, I just dance it out

Who's your spirit animal?

January 01, 2016

Hello 2016!

We've made it to another year! I'll be taking the day off to enjoy the spoils that are Netflix.

However, I do have one small favor to ask of you. If you haven't done so already, would you please fill out this short survey? It would be greatly  appreciated!

Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday!