Saturday, March 31, 2012
I was discussing this with Candy the other day. And here's what I've pinpointed in my own life. I'm a blogger with an active facebook and twitter account. I share my flaws, every silly, ridiculous thing I do, even occasionally my make-up-less face but somehow people still don't really think I'm being honest...or maybe it's not that people think I'm lying so much as that I have this additional, secret life.
For the past four years I have lived my life as an open book. I've shared about my struggle with IBS, the hardship of enduring the public criticisms of my Dad's job, my financial downfalls and successes, my weight loss journey, and a slew of personal moments. All of that and at the end of the day people still want to read between the lines.
Who am I secretly dating? What's REALLY going on with my Dad's job? Where was I actually at on Friday night? Which friend was which blog post about? Is every tweet or facebook status I write really about someone else? When I post song lyrics are they really about my secret love life?
I hate to disappoint you all with my epic failure at being that kind of interesting...but this is it. What you see and read here IS me. I'm quirky and clumsy. I'm passionate. I'm more than a little whiney, totally OCD, and extremely goal oriented. When I say I want to be single right now I don't actually mean I'm on a husband hunt and naming my future children. When I say that I love living in Tampa but want to see the world - that's what I mean. When I write about my adventures or misadventures that is the way I see them.
I reserve the right to withhold info on two things: my dating life and details that aren't mine to give. Things are always crazy with my family and the football world and I can't always give you the intimate details of that. I go on dates - some good, some bad ...but it's rarely fair to expose the innocent or not-so-innocent young gentlemen who take me out. I wrote perhaps too openly about my last serious relationship and since then I've taken a big step back. Some things belong to me.
I keep very few secrets because in my experience, they're hard too keep. If you choose to keep secrets choose your secret keepers with care. For me, I find it's easier not to have them. Then when people talk about you (and we all know that's unavoidable) at least they aren't revealing anything you wouldn't have shared yourself. While I think it's fair to reserve the right to say 'that's not your business' on certain issues, I've saved myself a lot of headaches by not trying to block people from my life.
This is me. I've never pretended to be perfect. I don't want to be on anyone's pedestal. I don't want to be your hero or savior. I don't desire to be in the spotlight or to be the talk of the town. What I want is to be open and honest.
There's a catch to this though. When people ask me about blogging this is where I take the time to caution them. When you're real about your life it welcomes people's opinions, good or bad. People will take this opportunity to love you or judge you as often as they like. I've been fortunate enough that I've made far more friends than enemies and while people like to make the occasional anon post about the fact that I've read Harry Potter and I call myself a Christian - for the most part my experience with blogging has been positive.
I'd be lying if I said I don't care what people think, because I do. Naturally, I want people to be pleased with me and I enjoy the encouraging words more than the criticisms. But you take the good with the bad. When you share your life with other people you'll get a whole range of responses. At the end of the day you have to filter them and remember who's opinions matter most.
So for all my fellow bloggers who are putting themselves out there on a regular basis - you have my respect as well as my love. It's tough to be honest these days and it's not always rewarded. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be part of your worlds and to know you. I also commit to believe that you are who you say you are and not to make up whole alternate lives for you.
Friday, March 30, 2012
I haven't linked up for Book Club Friday in a hot minute so I thought this week, while I will be out of town on Friday anyway, would be the perfect opportunity!
The Paris Wife was book number 24 for me in 2012 and a refreshing break from the 1-2 star Kindle reads of late. I marked it a 4 star read on Goodreads after finishing it before work on Wednesday morning (I hate when library due dates are looming over my head going into a vacation).
This fictitious story about Ernest Hemingway and his first (of four) wives, Hadley, fascinated me. I've read about half of Ernest Hemingway's published work including: The Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and I believe the Sun Also Rises (sounds familiar but I'm not positive I've read it). Having read his work I would have pictured his personality almost exactly as author Paula McClain writes him - dramatic, dark, selfish, and brooding.
Well written and strikingly realistic for that time period, in Paris, I found this book really enjoyable. Not a light, summery beach read by any means but a true literary work of art. I found is refreshing she didn't try to paint Hemingway as a favorable light but rather played into what we know of his dark, alcoholic lifestyle. Also, the way she carries you from his first wife towards who will later be his second wife is believable and gracefully composed.
A story of life, love, betrayal, infidility, alcoholism, and the artist plight - McClain really impressed me with this one. I also enjoyed the inclusion of other writers I admire from Fitzgerald (of The Great Gatsby) to Gertrude Stein.
Amazon describe it this way:
A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.
Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.
A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
...to be really excited for pedicures tonight.
...to be sure that the ladies at the pedi shop are talking about me when they speak in other languages. Fine, my feet are awful - say your worst.
...to be getting pedi's and eating sushi tonight instead of preparing for my trip, la di da.
...to be unable to leave a dirty or messy house because you'll spend the whole trip thinking about coming back to it.
...to want to be away, with your best friend, pretending everything hard in your life doesn't exist.
...to be glad you have another trip next weekend, so you won't cry as hard when this one ends.
...to care more about which books you're going to pack then what you're wearing.
...to think it's really odd you quit dying your hair in December and it's been growing out the same color you use to dye it. I feel like that's probably unhealthy in some way.
...to refuse to spend more than 20 bucks on a haircut.
...to feel really good about yourself every time you update your progress on Goodreads.
...to hate laundry, the dentist, and getting other people's pet's hair on you. (random list, I know but this is MY it's ok Thursday and I'll do what I want!)
...to fail. Sometimes we all fail at this, that or the other thing and that's ok.
...to forgive without being able to forget. Forgiving is sometimes a process and a series of choices to continue to let go.
...to crave change. Sometimes we all just want a change of pace.
...to take medicine when you need it. It doesn't make you weak. (this is really just for me because I'm a freak).
...to buy yourself fresh flowers from time to time.
...to want a maxi dress even though you're too short to look good in one.
...to wish you didn't have a big head because then you could look cute in a fedora. I'm wearing one anyway in Haiti. Watch out!
...to call your (male) neighbor to break into your house because you're worried your straightner is on.
...to be misunderstood.
...to care what other people think (we all do).
...to feel honored when people tell you, you look like your parents - my parents are good lookin folks!
...to miss your family every day but be thankful for a life you love, far away.
...to need therapy and a support group to survive the departure of your best friend to another state (tear).
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
I committed and shared here that one of my goals for 2012 is to get through some of the books I've been putting off. I've been checking those off book by book on both my Kindle and at home bookshelves. But perhaps the most fun has been passing them along. A week ago now I finished the book 'American Wife' and after seeing via Goodreads that Amber was wanting to read it, I dropped it in the mail to her.
There are very few books that once read I will ever read again. With so many books available and more being written every day I just don't find that I want to go back and cover the same territory. I already feel like I will never have enough days in a year or years in my life to cover all the literary ground I desire. So, swapping books is a great way to get fun, fresh reads and keep your shelves from going stale.
In my mailbox in the last week I've gotten this book from Amber:
In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child.
CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she also knows what happened to the missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make. Tell the truth, and destroy her family. Or let an innocent man die in order to protect a lifetime of lies…
Um, let me guess - you want to read it next? ; ]
And this one from MK:
In his 14th book, bestselling author Nicholas Sparks tells the unforgettable story of a man whose brushes with death lead him to the love of his life. After U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman buried in the dirt during his tour of duty in Iraq, he experiences a sudden streak of luck -- winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph -- his lucky charm.
Back home in Colorado, Thibault can't seem to get the woman in the photograph out of his mind and he sets out on a journey across the country to find her. But Thibault is caught off guard by the strong attraction he feels for the woman he encounters in North Carolina - Elizabeth, a divorced mother -- and he keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate love affair, his secret soon threatens to tear them apart -- destroying not only their love, but also their lives. Filled with tender romance and terrific suspense, THE LUCKY ONE is an unforgettable story about the surprising paths our lives often take and the power of fate to guide us to true and everlasting love.
I'm SO excited because after reading reviews and seeing the stars pop up on Goodreads I can't wait to read both. Also they seem like perfect vacation reads. So as I was packing, I added these to my carry on. Hoping for some quality reading time on both of my upcoming trips.
Who's in favor of putting together a summer reading list and/or doing a summer book swap? I know I'm not the first to come up with the idea but I've loved each one I've participated in AND I've found some of my favorite bloggers through swaps. If I put one together would any of you be interested?
Ps: If you have a Goodreads account and we're not friends yet, add me. I love seeing what people are reading and if I own something you're interested in, you might just get mail!
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I also did a little babysitting Saturday, and I'm getting SO close to having all the money for both of my home projects. I'm so proud, I've done it in about half the time I planned on and even that was ambitious! So exciting. May 1st can't come quick enough....I'm ready for fresh painted walls and new countertops.
Sunday after church Jess and I went to see the Hunger Games. I'm of course on team Peeta, but will happily kiss Gail any day of the week. You know, to comfort him and all.
(image from Vanity Fair)
I had heard mixed reviews from people who had read the books but Jess and I were in full agreement, the movie was great! I was most impressed with the casting - I thought they did an amazing job of picking characters and I was grateful the acting was well done (not Twilight like, as I had feared).
I would LOVE to be a made up extra in the capitol in the future films, please. The makeup and outfits were really fun. If I could do eye makeup like that I might actually spend money on eyeshadows.
I was home a total of about 3 waking hours this weekend but I while I was there I was trying to determine what I'll be wearing this weekend AND I purchased a few new things while Jess and I were having our girls day on Sunday. I wanted to share a few items/ideas (hince my picture warning)...
I snagged this shirt at the Nordstrom Rack during triple points week (it was March 14-18th) - planning to pair it with skinny jeans and boots or wedges (it's long, although you can't hardly tell here).
Since it's already 90 degrees daily in Tampa, I figured it was time to add some fun springy color to my wardrobe for the year. Jess helped me pick out this fun scarf at TJMaxx (please excuse my early morning, very tired looking face).
I need a new bag like a hole in my head but I couldn't resist this inexpensive flash of color:
I still need to invest in a few pairs of fun wedges for spring. What's on your shopping list this spring? What plans are you looking forward to this weekend?
Monday, March 26, 2012
For the meet up I made Cookies & Creme Brownies & Cherry Chip Cookies (Aubs gave me the mix and I was crying into the mixing bowl about her departure while I made them):
I happily spent all week (well bits and pieces of everyday, really) preparing the house for the girls to come over. Isn't it funny how all the sudden you become self conscious about what everyone will think of your house when in all likelihood they don't care if you dusted or not? Or maybe that's just me.
Friday was a crazy day. Lucky for me, I got to have lunch with Toni and Pat @ Wrights. If you live in Tampa and haven't had Wrights you're clearly insane and you should go eat a piece of cake ASAP. I spent all week looking forward to great fellowship and good food with theses ladies. Actually it was more like a month of looking forward to it since we scheduled it weeks in advance.
It was everything I'd dreamt of. Those ladies are incredible and my time with them left me feeling uplifted and positive, while I recovered from a few good belly laughs. I hope we'll be able to make it a VERY regular date. Good food and good friends are the perfect combo, don't you think?
My work had 'fro yo Friday' and we went to my all time favorite place in South Tampa: Yogurtology. Of course I'd just had Wrights so I was far from starving but I managed to make a little room for yogurt anyway (my hips are probably not thanking me now). It was fun to get out of the office and catch up with coworkers about life, family, and let's be honest - The Hunger Games.
So anyway, back to the blogger meetup... I also really wanted my new table to look cute so I put a lantern complete with a lit candle on the table:
(if you're my friend on facebook and your officially sick of pictures of my table already - sorry!)
I was talking aloud about all of the things I want to do to or buy for my home with my Mom a week or so ago. A couple days later I got a text from her that she would happily buy me a table for my balcony as a gift. This is the one I picked up and brought home a few days later (from the 3rd HomeGoods I went too). I'm so pleased with it. I sent my Mom this picture to which she responded: 'Becca it's beautiful!!! Love it!! ESP the candle!' (yes, with that much excitement in her overuse of exclamation points). I have the most amazing parents!
Everyone did a great job of bringing food and it was delicious! I grazed all night (which won't surprise many of you). Nichole made amazing meatballs (which I'm still eating leftovers of). I could have single handedly eaten all of Jlo's dip. I had 2 (smallish) plates of desserts so I managed to try pretty much everything! So thank you ladies for bringing such delicious food. Turns out I wasn't the only one to use pinterest to pick what I cooked!
Lauren & I
Me, Nichole, and Jess
My love, Jess & I (I still adore that dress on you slash might need to borrow it)
Lane & Jess
Sunday, March 25, 2012
I'm all for wearing yourself for a cause. I've been working tons of extra hours to pay for a few big projects on my townhome. It will all be worth it when it comes together in the beginning of May. In the meantime, I also recognize that it's important to take a timeout from killing yourself (even for a legit purpose) to recover, rest, and enjoy yourself with some down time or with friends.
Thursday night I was supposed to work late but it ended up being cancelled. Normally I'm not a fan of cancelled plans but after many nights in a row of working late, I jumped at the chance to give myself a little mental and phyical TLC. I printed off this at home facial guide from About.com. It was full of great ideas for ways to give yourself a facial with products you have around the house. Sugar as an exfoliant? Oatmeal for calming? Perfection.
My sister use to have a client who worked for Burt's Bees and while she was working with him she got be TONS of great products that I have fallen in love with. So every once in a while when I've had a week from you-know-where I pull down the box of em and go to town. I always feel better afterwards.
So my suddenly-free-and-clear Thursday ended up being an at home spa night for me followed by watching 27 dresses, in bed, and turning out the lights before 9pm! Of course, before that I had to put the finishing touches on the house for Friday night's festivities with the Tampa Blogger Gals (more on that very soon).
In the spirit of taking care of yourself, few weeks ago Amazonlocal had a deal for $10 pedicures a few streets down from me. I quickly shot a text message to my friend Jessica and asked her to buy one too. It's time to get our toes ready for spring. Ok fine, this is Florida and our toes never really get put away, but you get the idea. It's a fun, inexpensive way for us to spend time together and get pampered! We both love pedi's (and sushi - which I later texted her to see if we could add to the docket) so it was a win-win.
With 2 trips coming up I'm excited about, I decided they were a worthwhile reason to pamper myself (mostly so I don't arrive looking dead). I got my eyebrows threaded yesterday (Saturday afternoon), one of my favorite splurges. It's the best 10 bucks a girl with eyebrows like mine (or my lack of tweezing skills) can spend. It also keeps me from having to spend time and energy on them for 4-6 weeks at a time. One less thing to worry about it.
So, Thursday Jessica and I are cashing in our amazon coupons for pedis at Classic Nails (on Neptune). I splurged on two OPI colors from Nordstrom Rack a few weeks ago also, so, I might even take my own color, for the first time ever. Afterwards we get to indulge in some sushi ( we LOVE Soho Sushi) before I head home to pack for a Friday morning departure for the burg!
What do you do when you need to take care of yourself? What's your go-to pampering? And if you're going to splurge on yourself, what do you pick?
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
I read a blog post by author Jen Hatmaker the other day called, 'On Empty'. This quote jumped right off the page at me:
God isn’t going to magically restore healthy rhythms and boundaries in my life without my cooperation. He never asked me to spread too thin or nurture unhealthy habits or try to live up to some reputation. He didn’t say, “Do more. Do everything.” Those are on me. I did that. That’s my pride and selfishness and ego and ambition rising up, trampling down the beloved things, the necessary things.
I finished the post and had to smile at what Leslee, my bible study leader, describes as that moment when you feel like 'God is reading your mail'...
I am a doer. I go hard all day, every day. I challenge myself to do more, know more, to learn more, to write more, to love more...always more. But what I needed reminding of is that it's ME who puts this pressure on, not the Lord. God doesn't expect perfection. He doesn't expect that I can achieve 10 times what everyone else does, while going on less sleep and being a better friend. I put those unrealistic expectations on myself.
Hard work is important. Working with excellence is important. Making time for what matters should be a priority. Somewhere among seeking to do all of these well, I lost sight of the Lord's desire for me to do everything as unto HIM and started making it about me.
During a small group discussion a few weeks back (our group is studying Romans currently) we were discussing things that we sometimes miss as being sin, or make sinful. It was out of my mouth before I realized what I was about to confess...I work hard, which is a great biblical trait...but for who? The sin isn't my hard work, the sin is where my motivation lies. I like the praise, I like the glory, and often times I lose sight of who my work is to honor.
I have taken good, godly things and made them 'me things'. This is where the error lies. After reading Jen's blog post and considering how 'on empty' I've been feeling lately I'm actually pleased to realize yet again, that the problem is me. Time to take a time out from my over achieving ways and refocus.
I share this in hope that if you've been running on empty lately, maybe you're getting in your own way as well. Maybe it's time to step back and realize that the Lord didn't call us to wear ourselves out completing tasks. Be diligent with your time but make time to just be still and know that He is God. Now, I supposed I best get off here and practice my preaching.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
...to take your parents up on their generous offers to help you, with just about anything.
...to go to bed before 9pm some nights.
...to wear entirely too much black (I recently got a spam e-mail about being a goth that made me think someone has reported me for all the black I wear)
...to keep a 3 deep stash of everything from shampoo to hand soap to candles and books. I do not like to be caught unprepared.
...to be proud of yourself for getting rid of cable because it's inspiring you to use your time and money wisely.
...to clean for company with 5 minutes here and there, some weeks are that way.
...to double fist your caffeine some mornings.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
One of these days when I'm not so tearful I will write more about my sweet Auburn, but I'm just not there yet. For now, I've determined that in an effort to 'get over myself' I need to put my energy into other people. Moping around the house feeling sorry for myself just isn't doing anyone, including me, any good. It's fair that I'm sad, obviously. But it's not ok to be a useless, crying blob. And so...
After crying all night in my bathrobe cleaning my house (if you feel the need, you can white glove my room right now) after saying bye to her last night, I woke up this morning with a renewed sense of purpose. I set out to be a thoughtful friend this year and it's time to throw even more effort into that. I started two projects this morning for a friend who's also going through a challenging time right now, of a different sort. I put one in the mail over lunch and the next will go out in thew next few days (with input on the project from several friends and a coworker).
Since I didn't get to see my cousin this weekend, I've determined I will send him the present I got him at school (I don't think he reads this so I should be safe sharing that). I was really bummed that our hangout time was cut off by unavoidable circumstances - but I hope that my gift will brighten his week and get him excited to see me in DC in a few months.
I took the time over the last few weeks to finish up a few books and pass them on to friends (mostly blog world friends) to freshen up their reading collections as well. Swapping books is so fun and motivating to those of us trying to hit goals this year.
And so, I apologize for those of you who have been dealing with my funk but be encouraged - the end is in sight.
Monday, March 19, 2012
How were your weekends?
Mine was busy as usual but not what I expected. Through a series of unfortunate events my family didn't end up coming to Tally this weekend so I stayed here, in Tampa. That was a bummer but I'm seeing them in May in DC, so not too much longer to wait.
Instead I got a few things done around the here...
After going to three seperate HomeGoods stores I finally found a table and chairs for my balcony. Ta da:
(this is clearly taken in my garage, please excuse the not awesomeness of that)
Sunday I got to enjoy a game night (well, day) with my friends and I won at both spades and poker. Everything's more fun when you win, right?
Saturday, March 17, 2012
I attribute a large portion of this success to making goals. I'm intense about anything I set my mind too and so, if I focus that energy it's a powerful beast. That is the point of goal making, for me. It helps me stay focus my energy and efforts for the maximum results.
So, let's celebrate that I have finished 21 books towards my 50 book goal. That's an incredible start to a promising year, don't you think? I'm almost halfway to a lofty reading goal in MARCH! I'd also like to share I'm loving it. I realized the other day when I logged into my DVR to see how many shoes I need to watch and delete before I turn in my cable box next week and realized I haven't watched TV since February 27th. And I don't miss it. Another great reason to ditch cable and use that $85 a month towards something greater.
Plans for Haiti are going better than I could have hoped or planned. I depart April 21st, so this goal has a deadline. But my passport and shorts are done, my bills are paid, and I've even started laying out a few things to pack. I'm grateful to my friends who have rallied with money and supplies for my trip to help get me ready!...you are truly a blessing to me.
My DC plans are coming together and my spending money is already put aside so that I can take the city be storm! And while I'm there I get to meet one of my favorite bloggers - Leanna!
My secret goal #8 is in the works and I feel great about it...maybe I'll be able to share more about that soon.
I have been writing up a STORM including letters - so that is a go.
I need to be more diligent in my weight loss goal (I'm down over 5 lbs but I'm kind of plodding along lately) and I haven't been working on my book. Gr. Must get on track with that.
I'm killing my budgeting/savings goals and expect that this year will really improve my standings all around in that area. Feeling great about it. And it's allowing me to do some big things.
How are your goals for 2012 coming along and is there some way I can help encourage you?
Friday, March 16, 2012
“The silly marketing America fall for has resulted in this: We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.”
- Dave Ramsey
One of my favorite 'davisms' is 'Act your Wage'. If you read blogs (other than and including mine) and you social network at all than you have witnessed firsthand that we are not a society that acts our wage. American's are constantly buying things they can't afford. Arguably you can't afford anything you can't pay for. I will go ahead and say that I consider houses to be the exception. Many of us will not be able to buy a house in cash in our lifetimes, even if we are financially responsible. That's not to say it's impossible, however.
Cars are a prime example of people not acting their wage. If you buy a $28,000 (which amazingly, isn't uncommon) and you make less than that in a year, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure your car is outside your means. Now, I realize many people don't buy into saving and paying cash for cars but as Dave says, most people are broke.
Here's what I've really come to terms with in the last few years - I don't want to be normal. I don't want to drown in student loans (even though I want an MBA badly). I don't want to pay for anything multiple times over by paying interest on it. I'd rather do without then set myself for financial failure.
I have learned that this will mean people don't understand you, criticize you, tease you, and be annoyed by you. I've had to say no to certain things, in order to say yes to more important ones. I've had to wait for what I want. I've had to stop spending when the money in that catagory runs out. I have had to sacrifice...but it's for a purpose.
I own my car, my clothes, and my education. I no longer owe anyone a single cent for them, so they are really, truly mine. I'm on track to pay my house off around the time I turn 40 which sounds far away but would actually be quite young. I have an emergency fund which does not include a credit card or borrowing from my parents. And I will be able to buy my next car in cash (since paying off my last car, I have been saving a 'car payment' every month to ensure this).
Let me pause here to say that I do not make a ton of money. You will not see my name on any 100 richest 20-somethings lists. What I do is tell my money where to go. And I pay the Lord and then myself, always. Dave calls it 'paying yourself first' (savings) but I'm a firm believer in paying myself second. I give the first portion of my money away (called: tithe) and then I pay myself. After that I pay my bills and later I get to spend.
Learning and living discipline isn't easy but it is rewarding. I budget for what I want and I save. I keep a travel fund so I can see my family, friends, and a little of the world from time to time. I budget for clothes because lets be honest, I'm going to buy them. I budget to constantly be doing little things around my house, because I love it. But I am very much acting my wage.
I love, love, love this quote:
“You must walk to the beat of a different drummer. The same beat that the wealthy hear. If the beat sounds normal, evacuate the dance floor immediately! The goal is to not be normal, because as my radio listeners know, normal is broke.” - Dave Ramsey
I have committed to not be normal. Normal is lazy. Normal is broke. Normal demands things it hasn't earned and can't pay for. So if you're eating Ramen noodles to carry $500 handbags, I've been there, but do yourself a favor and look long and hard at where that lifestyle is getting you. Your friends may be jealous of your pricey pieces or extravagant vacations but you'll be jealous of them when you're paying for your mistakes (usually, at least twice).
I will leave you with this sobering fact: 60% of bankruptcies filed are by people under the age of 30. (source) I'd say that's proof enough it's time to start acting our wage.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
This one might be a little all over the place....
...if your friends mock you for working too hard and spending too little.
...to always be planning ahead for your life.
...to constantly be studying, even if you're not a student. Budgets, taxes, real estate, investments, plumbing....ya know.
...to take pictures of yourself sometimes, when there's no one else around to do it.
...to read more than one book at once.
...to unfollow people on twitter. Some people live in fear of this...but if people shamelessly self promote or never say anything of substance, I unfollow them. (and if you think I do the same and you unfollow me, I promise not to be offended)
...to miss football season.
...to turn your phone on silent and ignore it from time to time (let's be real, I don't actually turn it off)
...to ask for a to go cup at resturants after a meal.
...to overtip in an attempt to make someones day.
...to have the best parents in the world.
...to have made the giant faux pas of calling .08%, 8 percent to your Dad and made him think you put your money in some sketchy fund.
...to forfeit clothes for home improvements.
...to sell stuff on craigslist to fund said home projects.
...to be glad the Batchelor is over because you don't watch it and your sick and tired of hearing about it.
Hey, it's ok.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I'm so blessed by an incredible family, immediate and extended. I'm so thankful I'm close to cousins - Wes and Whit are amazing. Thankfully, Wes as well as my Aunt Julie and my Uncle David will all be in Florida starting Saturday! I am SO excited. I thought you guys would like to see a few pictures....
Wesley & I on the front porch swing of my 'meme and poppop's' house - where we've spent many a holiday and summer growing up.
This is my and my Aunt Ju last spring in Winter Haven, FL where I went to see Wesley play baseball for Hamilton College (in upstate New York)
Me and my Uncle David, same tourney weekend.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Well, one thing I determined I would do in 2012 is work through the books on my shelves. This hasn't meant that I don't buy books along the way as well (afterall, I'm 18 books into 2012 already) BUT it does mean I've read and either given away or sold off the books as I go. Some I have kept as 'resources' or because the author has signed them and I want them as keepsakes but for the most part, I'm working on clearing my shelves (and drawers...and kindle...)
If you have an ereader this can become equally bogged down with good intentions of reading. I'm also working on reading and archiving those, to clear room for new. There's something refreshing about clearing off shelves, real and virtual.
Probably the most fun I've had with it so far was reading the cupcake book and promptly mailing it to MK from Blonde Out Loud - she's currently reading it and we're chit chatting about it on Twitter as she goes. I'm jealous she's already made some of the cupcakes shared in the book (there's a cupcake recipe at the end of every chapter - amazing).
Right now I'm working through a signed, free copy of Dave Ramsey's - Total Money Makeover I acquired after I saw him speak at my works banquet two years ago. After reading it though, I must confess I bought these 2 books (one was recommended in the money makeover):
I'm probably a few weeks away from actually reading these but I'm proud that for every library book or new book I bring in I'm also tackling one from my shelves. Currently two, actually. I hope to finish up a few this week so that I can move on. American Wife has been good but slow and the print is incredibly small - boo. Maybe I will link up for book club Friday when I finish, though, since I'm enjoying the actual story (just not the workout it's been for my eyeballs).
Anyone else reading the books they haven't gotten around too in oh, 5 years or so? What do you do with your books when you're finished?
Monday, March 12, 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
I know there’s some controversy around guy/girl friendships and what motivates them or where they’re headed. I will speak for myself but some of my closest friends are guys. I don’t want to over generalize but guys tend to be honest, low drama, and let’s be real…fun! What I appreciate most about being friends with this particular guy is that I feel more myself in my friendship with him than with people I’ve known for 10 years. Maybe that’s the test of a friendship, does it fit like your favorite pair jeans? I’m honest, open, and comfortable within the friendship and I love that feeling.
I should take this time to say that honesty may be the best policy but it can sting. This friend called me out recently on a rather petty ‘girl’ thing I was feeling and literally called me 'pathetic'. I did a bit of a double take (especially that dreadful word - pathetic) but in the end, he was right. I enjoy people who will give it to me straight, even when I don’t want to hear it. It reminds me of the movie ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ where it finally takes a guy telling her what no woman will, the guys she likes just aren’t that into her. They didn’t lose her number, or die in a fire – they didn’t call because they didn’t want too.
Friendships that fit aren’t always opposite sex by any means. I have some great fitting friendships with my girls as well, in particular Candy and Auburn. The idea really is that when you find friendships where your friend loves the you, you love, hang on to them. Appreciate the people who really see you (or through you when necessary) and love you anyway. Be thankful for honestly, even when it has a touch of brutal in it. The friends that will risk making you mad or hurting your feelings to grow you as a person in the end? Those are the winners.
I continue to be grateful for great friendships.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Whew, I need an it's ok Thursday this week more than usual. Let's get down to business.
...to listen to Adele on repeat and cry when you're sad (even though I've been forbidden to do this by Aubs).
...to waste a little gas taking a drive when you need to clear your head....to have a guilty pleasure show (or shows for some of you TV junkies). I've been watching the Vampire Diaries on Netflix....to want the bad guy to get the girl when he looks like this:
(Damon from Vampire Diaries)
...to wave your nerd flag. I just finished a book about being a landlord and I'm working on one about budgeting.
...to be obsessed with selling things on ebay. I figure that's better than being obsessed with buying them, right?
...to have a few TV show crushes. Like this guy:
Dang, I always like the bad ones, huh? Oh well...
...to take a few days off from social networking from time to time.
...to occasionally wear a trend that doesn't look good on you.
...to obsessively use chapstick.
...to go in public without makeup on the regular.
...to eat fro yo for a meal more than once per week, every week.
...to not play by anyone else's rules.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
I'm a firm believer that sometimes it's healthy to run away. In honor of this I keep a healthy sized travel budget and when life gets really ecky, I buy a flight to some place else. Don't worry, I always come back to Tampa. This is home. No matter what people say about where your heart and your family are - Tampa is my home, even if I live here alone. But sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side and you just have to go.
I got some hard news on Monday. Hard not necessarily meaning bad, but difficult all the same. As you grow up your life is always changing and people are coming and going as they pursue their own dreams. As the one who's always moved before now, it's a new phenom for me to be left behind. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I have the kind of friends who will change the world and you can quote me on it.
I was feeling especially blue yesterday after a tearful night on Monday. And so, in an attempt to bounce back, I have booked a flight 24 days away to go spend a weekend in my favorite small town - Scottsburg, Indiana. Time to go see my best friend, get away, clear my head and focus on the future and all that it holds for me and the people I love.
The next few weeks are heavily travel laden so be prepared for many updates from afar (and probably some picture overkill). First up: Tallahassee, followed by the burg, Raleigh, Haiti, and Washington DC.
Monday, March 5, 2012
On Friday my shoes for Haiti arrived and I spent some of the weekend breaking them in. We needed 'hiking' boots for our trip and I orded these from The North Face, they're water proof, light weight, and built like sneakers which I love. They're super comfortable and I'm thankful to my Aunt who supplied them. The countdown is on...we are fast approaching Haiti departure.
My poor little bulb I felt sorry for at Target after Christmas has now grown to this:
Someday it may actually grow flowers, as it's supposed too. For now I'm just glad it's alive.
Jen and I did a little post brunch shopping as well. I managed not to spend too much money but we had a great time and each found a few special things. Love love shopping with her.