September 30, 2016

Fri-Yay

Happy freaking Friday y'all! This week took it's sweet time passing by but at the same time it kind of flew by. 

We're going to keep it light and sweet today and I'm sharing four things that jumped out at me this week.

1| This Is Us
You guys!!!  This show is utterly amazing. I've only watched the pilot so far but I'm so in love with the concept and characters. If you're not watching this show - start! It hit me in the feels. 


2| Fitness
You know what's ridiculous? When I took these pictures (Stitch Fix try-ons) I felt fat and chose not to keep the pieces.  And yet I look at them now, and although they'd probably fit the same, I can't help but feel that they look fine. Why did I feel fat when I put them on?



All of that to say I made it back to the gym this week. I know I go through this two to three times a year but it always feels so good to get back after a long break. Last night I was so tired. I had zero interest in doing anything other than putting on sweats and hitting the couch. Instead, I immediately changed into my workout clothes and hopped in the car. It felt so amazing to get back on my mat.


3| Blast from the past
So I'm a procrastinator, as we all know. Last weekend I finally pulled out old rolls of film and dropped them off to be developed. Yes, film. I had 5 rolls of loose film and 2 disposable cameras that I've had for a long time but kept pushing to the back of the drawer. I have no idea what's on them, so that should be fun. The one disposable said "Jr. Prom" on it so I can only imagine what those will look like. Of course at the same time I forgot to drop off the underwater camera from vacation. Win some, lose some.


4| Help Wanted: Secretary 
I thought that fall being here would mean that my schedule would calm down and there'd be a lot of couch and wine time. So wrong. Every weekend in October is booked. Every weekend but one in November is booked. When did this happen!?

And on that note, I need to finish making my to-do list for before I go home tonight! 

Happy weekend everyone - October is here!!!

September 28, 2016

Financial Fitness

Today is a day for honesty. Not that other days aren’t, but this is one of those days where I’m going to get really real and just bare it all. 

I have money issues. 

I’m sure you’re thinking who doesn’t, right? And although I would agree with you, I’ll admit that mine are a constant struggle for me. 



No, I jest. It’s not about the world getting better. It’s because I want things I feel I deserve to have. Not an entitled deserve, of course, it’s more of a ‘treat yo’self’ kind of deserve. The thing is I end up nickel and diming myself. This book was only $3.99… this shirt was only $10. I only bought coffee for $2.50…. and before I know it I’ve spent close to $100 on nothing. This mis-allocation has never been more clear than it was last month. If you saw my confessions post then you know what I'm talking about. 

And while I am enjoying the shit out of my purchases, part of me feels irresponsible. Yes, it’s my money; no, I’m not missing bill payments, but I want more. I want to buy a condo. I want to leave the country once a year. I want_____. I’m old enough to realize that if I don’t spend wisely and safe that I’m going to find myself in financial trouble, similar to that which plagued my 20s. And that is NOT a chapter in life I ever care to revisit. 

So basically, all of that to say that I’ve pulled out my big girl pants, put my ducks in a row, and I’m ready to knock them down one at a time. Even since Stephanie introduced me to YNAB, I’ve been a huge fan. I’m still using it (which is how I know I’ve been off the rails) and it’s great for tracking expenses, but I’m ready for zero and I need something that will get me there. 

I had stumbled on Ready For Zero over the summer and signed up. After clicking around a bit and feeling it was like Mint, I deleted my account. This time around I actually read and paid attention to what I was reading. 



Rather than just looking at my balances and paying an extra $30 to each card (guilt) I now have a plan in place that will knock them out quickly, without hurting my budget.  It's similar to Dave Ramsay's snowball approach in that I pay off the card with the highest interest rate first, while paying the minimum on the others. Once that card is paid, I then move to the next highest rated card and then put all money that was going to the first card to the second.

Of course I've also put myself on a season no-spend, so that should help me out as well. No random shopping or spending until winter solstice is here.

I plan to check in through the end of the year to keep track of how I'm doing. Of course I'm always open to tips and tricks. So tell me, what do you do when it;s time to tighten the purse strings and pinch some pennies?



September 26, 2016

For the Love of Planning - Style

It's no secret that I'm a planner junkie. I'd say I've turned into one but that's not entirely true. Back in high school we were given agendas for the academic year. That thing was my bible. Needless to say, thanks to Etsy and the planner community, my obsession has been given new life. As there really is a lot to planning I've decided to do a 4-part mini series on all things planning for those of you who are new or if you're just looking for inspiration.


So you want to plan

Awesome! The first thing you'll need to figure out is which size works best for you. Do you want something larger (A5 or A6) or something smaller (personal or pocket)? Some planners, such as the spiral bounds tend to only come in one size. 

Next you'll need to pick your style. There are so many different planner types out there you're sure to find something for you. For me, it started with a spiral bound Do-It-All planner from Orange Circle Studio. I then took the plunge and moved into the Erin Condren Life Planner. Only this summer did I dip (okay, I dove) into the world of ring planners.

Planner Styles

Ring Bound

When most people think of a ring bound planner they automatically think of Filofax. As well they should! This company has been around for almost a century and they continue to make gorgeous, quality planners. 

Another popular ring bound system, and one I personally love, is Kikki-K. There is also the Color Crush line by Webster's Pages and the Recollections line by Michaels.




Spiral Bound


Erin Condren and Plum Paper are probably the two most popular spiral bound planners. They're semi-customizable and offer all the planning space you could ever want or need. 

Although it's not spiral bound and instead is known as a "disc bound" planner, the Happy Planner is king in this category. These planners are 100% customizable from the amount of inserts you put in to the stickers and embellishments that you can add to it.



Other


The Midori Travelers Notebook or Bullet Journal is perfect for those who want a notebook style of planning without having to worry about inserts. This is minimalism at its finest. The Bullet Journal even comes with it's own shorthand so you know just how to make it work for you.





Layouts

When it comes to your layout it's all a matter of preference. Do you want your week on one page (WO1P) or on two (WO2P)? Do you like to have a day on one page (DO1P)? Do you want your WO1P with a grid? Do you want a horizontal or vertical layout?  One look at Etsy and you'll realize that your possibilities are endless.

I'm a big fan of the WO2P layout as it gives me more room to write and decorate but there are TONS of ways to set up a planner.



The Plannerverse is vast and at times it can be overwhelming as there is so much to choose from. If you want to get started all you need to worry about is deciding what type of planner you want and which layout you like best. Stay tuned for Part 2!


September 23, 2016

Fall To-Do

I think I’m finally starting to get back into the swing of things just in time for fall. 


I kept my summer goals pretty lean because I didn’t want to overdo it. Here’s how they went:


  • Buy a fireproof safefail I’m not sure why I didn’t do this, but I haven’t. I’m going to take a look on Amazon around holiday time and see if I can find a good deal. Otherwise, I’ll just use the Walmart card. 
  • Hit the beach at least 5x pass This was kind of a cheat. I knew I’d be at the beach for a week this summer but I wanted to be sure I went more than just that trip. I did. 


  • Pay off remaining NJ taxfail Again with procrastination. See, this will automatically get paid when I file my 2016 taxes. Knowing that I’ve been lazy about taking care of this. However, if I do, more refund for me… 
  • Get through the magazines - pass I'm giving myself a pass on this because I tossed more than half the pile. As of right now I only have 12 to get through! Seriously progress!
  • Lose 5 lbs - fail I'm pretty sure I've gained weight since I made the post outlining these goals but who knows. I haven't stepped on a scale in months.

Now that fall is officially here (today!) I’m no longer guiltily thinking about all the fall things I plan to do. 

  • Attend NYC Planners meet in November – yup. 
  • Go to the Bloomsburg Fair – This was on my list last year and the weather failed us so we never went. I’m going this weekend. 
  • Halloween parties – I have a few invites this year and I’d like to hit as many as possible, you know, to get my money’s worth from my costume an all.
  • Finish the donut – This is a game we play at the party I go to every year. You have to eat a dry, powdered donut hanging from a string as fast as possible. Last year I had one bite left and someone beat me. 
  • Make something from scratch – Last year I made apple pie from scratch and it was delicious. This year I’m going to try something new. 
  • Seasonal ‘No spend’ – this one kind of worries me but I’m going to really effing try this time. I went overboard on stickers in August, then I was in Mexico and spent way to much in September so that means I need to rein it in. Winter solstice will be here before I know it! 
  • Closet purge – I’m a hoarder of hoodies, coats, and scarves. And we all know I rarely where most of them. I’m going to do a fall/winter closet purge to get ready for the rest of the year. 

Those are my plans for the fall season. I’d say drink cider, eat a candy apple, carve a pumpkin but we all know I do those things every year – it’s tradition!

What are your plans for this fall?

September 13, 2016

What I Read Vol. 2


August was a bit rough on the reading front. I got through a few but not as many as I would have liked. Goodreads has gone from being 13 books ahead of schedule to being only one ahead. Looks like I better get on it if I plan to make my 60 book goal this year!

Here's what I got into in August...


The Things We Wish Were TrueThe Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought this was a perfect summer read, especially since that's when it takes place. I LOVED this book. I felt all the feels and the story flowed beautifully.

Sycamore Glen seems like an idyllic place to live with a neighborhood pool and friendly neighbors. Although bound by proximity, they're also bound by long-kept secrets. After a pool accident at the beginning of the summer starts the waves of change, it may be time for everyone to come clean.



Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader GinsburgNotorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know when you first meet someone and you want to know every little detail about them? That's kind of how I feel right now. I want to sit down with RBG and ask her opinion and point of view on anything and everything I can think of. I truly don't even have words. So many times while listening to this I wanted to cry. RBG is inspiring, considerate, dedicated, funny...

This woman is a ROCKSTAR! She has done so much for women's rights AND this country as a whole, and I have so much respect for her. Aside from my fangirling, it was a well-written biography of her life and work. I feel so behind about all the amazing things she’s said.


Every Frenchman Has One  by Olivia de Havilland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought this was a lighthearted, fun read. Detailing some of her encounters while first living in Paris, Olivia easily creates a rapport that you're friends having a chat over tea. I loved the way she stays classy throughout the book while still letting her sense of humor shine through.






Currently Reading: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


I've said it before and I will continue to say it - book day is my favorite. I love seeing what everyone is reading. The different genres, the authors. I really enjoy finding new books that I think I'll enjoy and adding them to my ever-growing TBR list. 

So... what was your favorite read this month?

September 12, 2016

Is It Too Late to Change Professions

I'm not sure when it happened but several years ago I fell in love with cooking.



I suppose it's a natural thing. I'm a big fan of food. Smelling it, looking at it... Eating it. The thing is, I had no idea how much I'd enjoy it. I always say I should have gone to culinary school. 

For now, I teach myself. I save recipes from magazines or play around in the kitchen, mixing things I know I like to create my own dishes. Lately, I've had a little help. 

For a while I've tossed around the idea of trying Blue Apron, Home Fresh, or any one of the food delivery services that have popped up. I finally decided to give Blue Apron a try. 

The way it works is you sign up by filling out the short questionnaire (how many people, vegetarian, etc.), pick your delivery date and then wait for your food to arrive. I opted for the personal box since I was cooking for me. Each week you're given 3 meals and all the ingredients to prepare them. Everything is fresh (no frozen foods) as if you went to the store and bought it yourself, and comes in a refrigerated box. 

In the first box, I was tasked with making Basil Fettuccine with sautéed cherry tomatoes and zucchini. It was very good! 


I also made Corn and Green Bean Empanadas with Cucumber Salad and Creamy Ajo dipping sauce. 


Everything has turned out so well. The dishes are things I never would have thought to make. 


I've made Brown Butter Cod with Corn, Shishito Peppers and Purple Potatoes.


What I enjoy the most is that all of the recipes I've had don't require any special ingredients. Everything can be bought at your local grocer or it's stuff you already buy regularly. To me, there's nothing more annoying than wanting to make something only to find that I need to go to three different stores to buy what I need. 

 
Lemongrass Chicken Burgers with Hoison Mayo and Roasted Potato Wedges

My only real complaint about Blue Apron is the cost. The personal box delivery is just under $60/month, which breaks down to about $10/meal. Not bad, but I can buy more at the store for $60 and make food for all 7 days. You can skip weeks when you don't want a delivery but then you need to remember to skip. Ultimately, I ended up cancelling as this was simply to test it out but I'd recommend it to anyone who hates grocery shopping but loves to cook and try new dishes. 

Have you ever used one of these services? 

September 09, 2016

TGIF to Infinity and Beyond

It's been a while since I've done an open letters post. And it's Friday so let's get to it shall we?

Dear summer, I'm ready for you to go. I'd tell you it's not you, it's me, but we both know at this point it would be a lie. What is with the September humidity? You do this to me every year and although I suppose I should expect it, I don't. And I don't like it.

Dear football, I love you. Never leave me. Although I'm sitting out for our fantasy trysts this year, you can believe I'll still be joining you on the pick 'me field.

Dear Little Miss, you are my sun, moon, and stars. And yet you've officially made me feel old. I can't believe we started pre-k this week. I'm so proud of the strong-willed, sassy, independent little human you are. Do me a favor though? Listen and do what you're told.



Dear movie challenge, we're off to a rocky start but I know we can do it. Let's get 'r done!

Dear iPhone 7, who let you out of R&D lookin' like that!  You're looking good. So much that I think I'm gonna have to make you mine. Sorry not sorry I did a background check on you. That 12MP camera with wide zoom is hot. And where did you get that extra battery life? I'll swipe right if you do.

Dear self, I just wanted to write you a little note and tell you I'm proud of you. You're starting to slay this faulting thing. I see you over there with your. Ew life insurance policy. Way to go, boo! Keep doing the damn thing!

Dear Mexico, I'm so excited to call you home for a little while. I know they're saying it's going to rain but I know you wouldn't do that to me on our first meeting.



Dear bank account, I feed you as often as I can but you're still looking a little lean. What can we do to fatten you up? We need to get our fat pants on - the holidays are coming.

Dear exercise (and your BFF the gym), I'm so sorry I've been neglecting you guys. I've been busy and out of sorts. No... I'm not "just saying that". I really have been all over the place. I promise we'll get together this weekend and do something fun.

Dear planner community, you make me the happiest clam in the sea! You always have something new and exciting to look at and make me smile. Part of me wishes I never met you (you're kind of expensive to maintain) and the other part wonders how I lived so long without you. Let's be BFFs for F!



Dear readers, thanks for sticking with me. This space has been operating on a skeleton crew lately and I want you to know I appreciate the continued reads and comments.

And on that note,


September 07, 2016

6 x 6

I'm not sure when or how it happened but yesterday was a BIG deal for this space. 



Six years (and a day). Excuse me while I sit here trying to wrap my mind around that. To put that into a little perspective for you, and this is probably not a good thing, I've been blogging for longer than I've ever worked at one company (the longest was 5 fyi). 

I also find it numerically interesting that I am turning 6... on the 6th of the month... in 2016. I was going to title this post '666' but figured that might freak some people out.  

I have no momentous plans to celebrate the occasion. I'm simply soaking in gratitude. 

* I'm grateful that I have this creative/venting/sharing outlet.
* I'm grateful that so many of you continuously show up to read my words.
* I'm grateful that although I needed to "change clothes" I had no intentions of quitting
* I'm grateful for the experiences and opportunities blogging has given me. 
* I'm grateful for the friends I've made.

I just want to say thank you to all of you. If there's one thing I'm sure of it's that this blog would not have made it this long without all of you. The comments, emails, meet ups, swaps.... it's all been so incredibly awesome and I wouldn't change anything.






September 05, 2016

The 411: August

I'm so glad I'm finally able to keep up with something! I really enjoy this link up because it gives me a chance to look back on the month and really pick out the highlights, even if they weren't a "major" happening.

HA!  I had to leave that in there. Obviously this post isn't on time since this link up took place last Thursday. Some day I'll get my blogging act together. Until then, let's discuss August!



+ I spent way too much on stickers at the beginning of the month. But they're pretty and I regret nothing!



+ I celebrated my BWBs 29th birthday. I sent her these in celebration. 





+ That same week I gave my notice at the studio. Getting home after 11 pm after being up at 5 am? Going from one desk straight to another? I just couldn't do it. Not to mention, I know me. Not even free yoga is not going to get me to stay in the city after work.

+ The following weekend I went on my shopping trip. Still happy about all I bought. The only regret I'm feeling is from buying a small Longchamp bag... for my lunch. I had a sale high and my judgment was impaired. Now I'm trying to rehome it. Any takers? 


+ On the last day of the month my alarm went off and for some reason I didn't immediately hit snooze. To my listening happiness I have now discovered Sam Hunt (love!) and Chase Rice (hot!)

And then all of a sudden it was September.