Mealtime is a constant struggle for our cat, Leo. He’s definitely a cutey, and he knows it. But I don’t think he’s quite figured out that no amount of purring, meowing, or general rubbernecking is going to get him a bit of our food. Even though we’re pretty strict about not feeding him from the table, he doesn’t give up on trying to get our attention.
I snapped these at breakfast today. Yes, he sits at a chair with us. And yes, this took place in the span of oh… 15 seconds? It’s always dramatic with Leo…
I made it a recent goal to work on some of my own creative projects in the evenings instead of watching crappy television on my computer. I haven’t touched many of my art supplies in… months. *Gulp* I feel a little bit guilty, but I’m also feeling an itch to just buckle down and make something.
Pete gifted me some canvases for Valentine’s Day last year and I have yet to make anything with them. As for what I’ll do, I think I’d like to create some artwork for my living room, probably in the realm of mixed media – my favorite way to create. Give me some scissors, some good tunes, and I’ll get to work. Quirky and colorful is kinda my MO, if you couldn’t tell.
I came across this video of Phil Dunphy from the TV show Modern Family and seriously couldn’t stop laughing. Phil Dunphy is basically MY dad. And they even look alike, too. My dad is a pretty quiet guy sometimes, but when he unleashes the funny, my sisters and I are rolling on the floor laughing.
The stairs? My dad trips up them at least once a day. Can’t believe he’s lived in the same house with those stairs for 27 years. Anyway, this stupid humor reminded me of my pops and brought a smile to my face. Enjoy!
This weather. I can’t really take it anymore. The sub-zero cold snap has really got me down. I’m cold to my bones most days, and even my wool socks aren’t able to protect my toes from feeling frostbitten. Everyone seems a little on edge that there’s currently no end in sight for this arctic air.
I’m trying my best to be positive, despite the weather. After going back through my blog, I realized that my 2013 goals post was a little downer for my tastes – full of stress and agitation. I am keeping my nose to the grindstone on my goals, and so far, I’m trudging through the cold and accomplishing a lot while maintaining a positive attitude.
Fitness: I quit my gym! Even though it was only $10 a month, I just didn’t see the value anymore. The last time I went was over a month ago, and I left feeling… icky. Not because of my workout, but because of the atmosphere. Even before the New Year’s resolution-ers came in I was getting bad vibes. I feel like I’ve hit my stride with yoga classes (going 3-6 times a week), lifting weights at home, and once it’s nice out I’d love to get back into walking more. I’ve also been good about drinking more water and tea – I’ve been hooked on Yogi “Bedtime” Tea and making my own apple cider vinegar “tea” a couple times a day.
Financial:I paid off my credit card, contributed to a 401K for the first time (With a 9% match! Holy buckets!), AND opened up a Roth IRA account. I have my sub-savings accounts all set up for automatic withdrawal, and charted on my Excel spreadsheet for the entire year. I feel solid in my financial house. I’m so lucky! Not sure I’m in any position to purchase a couch, but I’ll just keep waiting and saving.
Relationships: Pete and I went on a date to see jazz legend Dave Holland and his quintet last night. Pete cooked us a delicious stir fry for dinner, I made cookies for dessert, we got all dressed up and enjoyed amazing music from some of the most talented jazz musicians playing and touring today. Today I’m going on a girl’s day-date with my mom, auntie, sister, and cousin. I’m looking forward to thrifting and catching up with some of my favorite people.
Home and Hobbies: Well, I’m definitely blogging more regularly(three days off will do that to a person), and lighting candles every night. I’m going to brainstorm a few DIY projects, because I’m feeling a creative itch. I’m going to make it a goal to either read or create something over the next two weeks instead of watching Netflix every night.
Work Life: I’m getting caught up at work after feeling like I was falling behind. I really hated feeling so down on myself. I was anxious and SUPER stressed out about work both before and after the holidays. I resented going into work and not accomplishing a single thing on my to-do list. I’ve since voiced my concern with my supervisors, sorted out my project priorities, and talked through a plan of attack. I feel much more calm and in control. I’m actually looking forward to quite a few of these projects, like our upcoming brochure design.
I hope you’re having a good weekend. Mine’s been in progress since Wednesday night, and I feel awfully lucky and pretty darn happy about it!
Thanks for all of the kind words about my new (consumer) debt free life. I’ve gotta admit that it’s a pretty nice feeling. I went back through my PocketMoney app the other day and saw that this is the first time in a LONG time that I’ve gone over a month without putting some kind of purchase on my credit card. Even during times of massive debt-repayment, I’d get a little too ahead of myself and pay down more than my budget could handle. Which meant I’d go back to putting purchases on my card because I didn’t have the cash in my checking account to cover it. Crazy, right? Yikes I’m glad that is over (for now).
But now that I have some spare cash that would’ve normally gone toward debt, I’m a bit tempted to acquire a few things for around the house that I’ve been putting off. Mainly, a new couch and some other pretty decorative things. The couch isn’t a SUPER serious need, but we’re currently living with a loveseat I inherited from my parents’ basement. It’s a nice piece of furniture, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a little cramped – me and my 6’1″ boyfriend can’t even sit on it together. Bummertown.
So to combat my restless ways until I can actually afford some of these wants, I’ve been pinning. Lots. It never hurts to look, right?*All of these pictures came from my Pin board
The couches in this collage are gorgeous. They’re from Thrive Furniture, and are kind of my dream mid-century style couches. However, they’re a little bit out of my budget (like $1000 over). I showed them to Pete, and although he thinks they’re spendy, he agrees that they’re pretty sweet looking and seem to be nice quality. However, I’m still hemming-and-hawwing (sp?) over them. I probably won’t go through with a purchase, even though I have some fabric samples being sent to me in the mail, not to mention a 15% off coupon code from the manufacturer. Oh well. Good things come to those who wait. I’ll just keep waiting, pinning, thrift store shopping, and DIY-ing projects in the meantime.
This week I reached a really big milestone: I paid off my credit card!
It might not seem like such a big deal, and to tell you the truth, my card didn’t have that much racked up on it in the grand scheme of things (and the fact that I had over 40K in student loans at graduation). And amazingly, my interest rate was only at 1.25%, or what I used to call “free money.” But it made me feel sick to see I was on my way to 80% of the credit limit for the card. So I buckled down and decided to pay off the last portion of consumer debt I had under my belt.
Paying down debt wasn’t particularly easy over the holidays. But I made a SUPER helpful move last year and started contributing $20 per paycheck to a Christmas savings account so I wouldn’t be tempted to go into credit card debt when the time came to start buying presents. Sticking to my budget and not setting foot into my temptation stores (Goodwill, thrift stores, and Target) helped massively, too. My parents and sister also had my back. They recently completed Financial Peace University, and their thrifty new skills and habits helped reinforce how important debt repayment is.
Another tool that helped me was signing up for ReadyForZero.com. I’ve always been an Excel spreadsheet kind of girl, but seeing the graphs and playing with the debt-repayment sliding scale helped put things into a visual perspective for me. Although I didn’t pay down the highest interest debt like they suggested, I’m still going to use their website to start knocking away at my students loans. I currently have 30% of those loans paid off and what feels like a LONG road ahead of me until they are completely paid down.
I feel all kinds of energized about having actual cash-flow in the next few months and trying to decide where I’ll put the hundreds of dollars I WAS socking to my credit card. One portion of the money will go into my newly-started 401K account, which I just became eligible for a couple of months ago. Another portion will go toward bumping up my emergency fund. And another part is going to an account for non-tuition related grad school expenses.
Basically, I’m feeling all kinds of adult. I admit there’s a bit of trepidation about money and my future, but not having consumer debt for a while is okay with me.
Yes, that is my face buried in a gigantic scarf. And yes, I am alive and kicking in 2013. Were you worried? I think most people who read this have probably seen me in person in the last two weeks with the holidays and all, but I can’t always be too sure because I’ve been working a LOT in the past few months what with two jobs, the holidays, and coworkers out on paternity leave to boot.
Anyway, I see here that I haven’t posted since October. Can that be true? I do know I avoided blogging because I just didn’t feel that I had very much to say. Even now I’m still not sure I have much to write down. That good old “joie de vivre” about thrift store shopping, decorating my house, or doing DIY projects – all things I tended to rant on and on about has recently escaped me. Don’t know if I’m in a rut, I’ve run out of ideas, or if I’m just feeling defeatist.
I’m also feeling sheepish about blogging because I did not complete many of my 26 Before 26 goals this year. Yes, my December birthday came and went, and now I’m on the other side of my 20s, another thing I’m feeling contemplative and a bit angsty about. And with the new age and new year I have not yet come up with a New Year’s Resolution or a new 27 Before 27 list. Again, can’t tell if I’m just not up for it, not interested, or feeling defeatist again.
But now that I’m actually thinking and typing about it, I guess I do have some more general goals for myself, but with no real specific timeline for them:
Fitness: quit my gym (yes, it’s only $10/month but I NEVER GO and I always leave feeling bad about myself), attend more yoga classes and workshops, keep up with my healthy eating habits, continue to drink more water, more tea, and less booze
Financial: pay off the credit card (will be done in February), contribute to my 401K, open an IRA, save for grad school non-tuition related expenses, pay for big ticket items (new couch, travel, etc) with cash
Relationships: Go on more dates with my mister, hang out with my gals more, reach out to people more often and in more meaningful ways, be silly with people, be kind to people, and ask for help from people
Home and Hobbies: I’d love to have our fireplace inspected and cleaned before winter is over, buy a new couch, plant a garden this summer, keep up my composting habits, paint a picture every once in a while, blog regularly, light more candles, buy more original art, only thrift things that are uber-special or uber-functional
Work Life: Keep a more organized editorial calendar, reach out to my student employees more often, design a beautiful brochure for 13-14, write compelling grant applications, do a better job at revisiting and working on my professional development goals
Well there’s a lot more ground I could cover, but I’m not going to write a novel (or use up all of my blogging ideas) in one post. Just wanted to stop in, say hello, put down a little bit of my life, and hopefully come back for more.
Watching: I started re-watching the show ALIAS, now streaming on Netflix. Pete and I don’t have television (not even 5 basic channels that come with rabbit ears). We just stream everything and rent the occasional movie. We’re pretty okay with our set-up. Anyway, ALIAS was a favorite of mine in high school. I’m a big fan of kick-ass spy type movies and books, and Sydney was a great female protagonist. I watched the entire 5 seasons pretty religiously and always got so mad at the cliffhangers that forced me to anxiously await the next week’s episode. Now, I can just click “next” on my Wii-mote and find out what happens to Sydney within 30 seconds. It’s the best way to watch, although it’s been eating up a bunch of my time!
Listening To: The new Cat Power album “Sun.” I have been waiting and waiting for a new Cat Power album. After something like um… 5 years, she came out with a new one. It’s a lot more upbeat that her other stuff, which is refreshing. I’m also getting into the new Bat for Lashes album “The Haunted Man.” Her first video for the song All Your Gold is really gorgeous.
Thinking About: Baking banana bread and the busy week/end ahead. I’ve been wanting to bake all weekend, but with so much work and other chores on my plate, it fell by the wayside. I have some canned pumpkin and some ripe bananas in my freezer that could really be put to some good use. Also, THIS RECIPE for pumpkin french toast bake looks insanely good. I think I might make it on Sunday morning! But yes, between my two jobs, I have an incredibly busy week of grant writing and working events. Wish me luck!
Loving: My new yoga practice. I’ve done about 22 classes in the past 30 days. I know I’ve been meaning to write more about it, but I haven’t really thought of a good way to put down everything I feel I’m getting out of it. But I love love love the rush of getting into a pose I never thought I could do. Did you know that I’m bendy? That I can do beautiful backbends and pick my leg up over my shoulder without batting an eyelash? Apart from the bendiness, I feel clarity on the days I practice. It’s just plain good stuff.
Reading: On the recommendation of a coworker, I picked up Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver from the library. I’m really enjoying her family’s foray into eating locally and organically. It’s beautifully written and isn’t preachy at all, which I appreciate. It has given me a lot to think about in regards to how I buy food – produce especially. I think we could all stand to do better.
Making Me Happy: Pete’s recipes. He’s made chicken tikka masala (Indian curry), chicken tortilla soup, spicy Asian noodles and lots of other yummy, comforting food lately. I have a few go-to recipes, but Pete is really the talented chef in the house. I’ll bake treats every once in a while, but he is the one who whips up big batches of food for us to eat throughout the week. When I’m on my own I eat a lot of oatmeal and peanut butter toast. So yes, delicious home cooked meals make me VERY happy!
You guys. I haven’t had a haircut since AUGUST 27th. AUGUST!!! Seven weeks between haircuts for a pixie-cut length gal is absolutely unheard of. I am embarrassed for my hair. Tuesday afternoon cannot come soon enough. This “duck tail” thing going on at the nape of my neck is driving me CRAZY.
So what should I do? It’s in that weird stage of regrowth. Long enough to earnestly start growing it out into an asymmetrical thing or a short bob. Short enough to easily convert back into a super cropped pixie. I just don’t know.
All pictures from my (mostly short) hair Pinboard. There are lots more to choose from there, if you want to go look and/or advise me on something else!
Longer, asymmetrical, funky. No, my hair is not that curly, so not sure if it’d work.
Short. Shorty short. This would mean a huge chop, which I’m okay with.
LONGER. This girl is adorable (click HERE to visit her blog).
Long front fringe. I could totally make this work. My bangs are very long.
I guess this one is like #4, just not as drastically short.
So what’s the verdict? I get my hair cut on Tuesday. Let me know!!
Apparently, I tweeted the word “Woof” on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Absolutely no recollection of doing so, which kind of sums up at least part of my night out with the girls. What I DO remember (prior to 3am) is catching up on gossip, delicious Thai food, drink drinks drinks, creeper dude at the bar, great show, talking with the band afterward, and wandering the streets looking for our lost car. Fun times!
Here’s the band we saw: Woods at the Turf Club. Really good vibes.
What wasn’t really fun times was waking up and being sick. Really sick. I definitely learned my lesson (seems to happen about once a year). But after a bit of toast and a nice long nap, I felt mucho better. Now the only side-effect is wanting to eat everything in sight. Oh well. I can deal.
I'm an Arts Admin girl living, working, and creating things in Central MN. I like to blog about my love of thrifty good deals, granny-chic home decor, and my cat Leo.
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