When in doubt, Oprah

Let me say first and foremost, I love Oprah. Have always, and will always, admire her for her strength, courage, zest for life, passion, compassion, and honesty. She is a badass lady and we should all aspire to be badass babes! But I digress….

Let’s talk about gift giving. It can be tricky this time of year to decide who you will be buying (or making) gifts for. Immediate family only? Extended family? Which friends or acquaintances? Work folks? It can get tricky, and quickly! One thing you obviously need to consider is you budget. Maybe you can afford to spend money on everyone you have ever met, that’s up to you. I think I’ll save that breakdown for another post.

Today I want to talk about, holiday shopping for kids. I don’t have kids, but I am an aunt, and I take my job very seriously! He is one of the great joys of my life. So for holidays, I always want to spoil him! But how much is too much? Or how little is too little? So I always fall back on something Oprah said, many moons ago.

For holidays, I get my nephew: Something he wants, something he needs, something he can wear, and something he can read. This has gotten me through all holiday seasons since he was born. And it’s really fantastic when you think about it! Perhaps you can only afford to get them one thing this year, that is completely reasonable! However, I squirrel money away all year so that I can do my holiday shopping. If I’m careful in my planning, I can get him 4 things without hurting my budget.

Something he wants 

My squishy boy is really into Paw Patrol, so I am thinking I will get him something from the franchise. Perhaps a stuffy or a puzzle?

Something he needs

For this one I ask his parents. Wipes, socks, a backpack. Whatever they deem he NEEDS, I get. He will like it no matter what it is (oh the joy of two year olds!) an his parents will get something taken off their shopping list. Win win!

Something he can wear

For this category I usually go with PJ’s because, darn kids are adorable in jammies! But this year, I found an adorable puffer vest at a consignment shop that will look adorable on him! In a year or so. Hah, it’s too big for him! But I know his parents will agree that it’s a fabulous vest, and they will hang it in the closet until the time is right! It may not be perfect today, but it will be perfect one day!

Something he can read

This one may be my favorite, as I love reading with him. He has a lot of books, but because we read together often, I know what he has and what he doesn’t have. I plan to go to the library book sale to see if I can find some gems. Children’s books can be so expensive, and they don’t have a very long shelf life (hah! a book pun!) So I would rather get him books at less than full price.

I love this time of year, and having a little boy to celebrate with is really special to me. I don’t have children of my own, but I spend a lot of time with my two and a half year old nephew, and this time of year is simply magical. He is at such a great age for all the fun things!

What are you doing for the little ones in your life this holiday season?

Soup for days

Have I mentioned how much I love soup? I could eat soup every day. And this week, I intend to do just that!

For the past two weeks, I have been in the Midwest for work. I have a unique (and totally awesome) job that requires I travel, a lot. I typically am gone 10 to 14 days per month. I love my job with every ounce of me, but by the time I get home from deployment, I need a few days to decompress. I usually have a day or two of overwhelming energy, I’ll clean and do laundry and grocery shop, then I crash.  Today I am crashing. All the work and stress and lack of sleep catches up to me and I just need a break.

So today I will work on the blog (hello!) put the finishing touches on my planner for 2018, and probably do a little more house cleaning. In between those things, I’ll rest. I will cuddle the dogs, snuggle the cat, do some dishes, and catch up on my sanity. I’ll read my favorite blogs and maybe finish the book I started on the plane.

And I have no intention of cooking all week. (I don’t plan on takeout either, as I just spent two weeks eating entirely, out. I’ll get reimbursed for those expenses, but it still takes a toll on my wallet in the meantime).  Saturday, as soon as I got home, I put (frozen) chicken bones in the crock pot to make stock. I added some celery and carrots that were on their way out and set it for 12 hours. About as easy as it gets. The chicken was frozen from the last time I bought a whole chicken. Sometimes I’ll make stock right away, and sometimes I put it in the freezer for future use. Then yesterday I went to Costco and got a whole rotisserie chicken (for all of $5!) and made a giant pot of soup! Fresh stock, fresh rotisserie chicken, the house smelled AMAZING! I added some veggies that we had on hand and wam bam, a literal ton of soup is ready! I put it in individual mason jars for storage, that way it’s an individual serving, and thus no measuring/spilling! 4 of the jars made their way into the freezer after they cooled, and 4 more are in the fridge.

I LOVE soup. And could literally eat it all day every day. So that’s kind of the plan. I have 3 kinds of soup currently in the freezer, so that’ll easily get me through the week. I also have (now 3) jars that are fresh in the fridge. I wanted easy and quick and cheap this week, so that’s exactly what I’m doing!

On a similar note, what is your opinion on chest freezers? Our freezer (attached to the fridge) is so small and is a wacky size, so it makes freezing anything in bulk rather difficult. Upon doing some research, Rachel (roommate) and I decided it would in fact save us money in the long run to have a chest freezer. I had been price comparing for a few months, and took the opportunity this weekend (excellent sales) to finally scoop one up. It will be arriving in about 5 days and we are so excited. Though dropping $170 is never enjoyable, I am confident that it’ll save us money on food. I always want to make a double batch of things like lasagne, soup, and casseroles, but as it stands right now we have nowhere to put them! So, in five days, we will! (I’m kind of a dork about these things so I am over the moon excited about our new chest freezer! My roommate just smiles and supports me. She isn’t big on cooking, but the idea of a place to store all those berries for smoothies is appealing to her!)

I’m excited about the prospect of a freezer full of soup. It’s cheap, filling, healthy, a total win/win/win situation in my book! Do you bulk freeze? What is your favorite soup?

Black Friday, or, the day I did no more shopping than usual

So today is the day retailers shove down our throats all the amazing sales and deals on shit we (probably) don’t need!

But how do I really feel, you ask? Let’s discuss.

I saw some meme on Facebook that said something like “save 100% if you just stay home”. I mean, it’s true. If you don’t open those emails, if you don’t go to the mall, you are already saving way more than anyone who swiped their credit card today.

My mom used to send me links “Just in case there was something I needed”. But did I really need anything? Probably not.

How do I avoid falling for these sale traps? I keep a list of things that I need/want and keep an eye out for those things year round. If it goes on sale or I find a good deal, I’ll buy it then. For example, right now I have black Doc Martens on my list, as well as a pair of wooden clog sandals. One is appropriate for this season, the other is not. But, I am more likely to find sandals on sale during the winter, so I keep my eyes open. I may not find either of them for months, but I know to keep looking. Then, when I do finally purchase them, they will be at the very best price.

Of course there are so many things on sale, it might be to your advantage to look up whatever is on your list. Are you in need of new bedding, towels, or perhaps tires? All of these things tend to go on sale today (and this time of year) as well. So it would probably be in your best interest to do some research.

Can you get towels/bedding second hand at a thrift store? If you don’t care about everything matching perfectly this would be my first suggestion. People will often donate a whole set of something at once. Perhaps there are 3 of the same towel with matching face and hand towels, but not a full set. As long as you launder these items before use, there is no reason you can’t snag these deals! Comforters are another great deal at second hand shops, as they don’t get a lot of wear and tear (usually) so you can often get a great deal on new looking bedding!  As someone who doesn’t particularly love matchy-matchy bedding in the first place, this is a great resource for me.

Last year on black Friday I got new snow tires for my Prius. I had been desperately needing some as we have been getting some nasty storms in the Pacific Northwest and NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO DRIVE IN THE SNOW. Additionally, we don’t salt or de-ice the roads in Portland. So snow tires or weather tires are really important to me in my tiny, slippery Prius. I got tires for 20% off which is a great deal when you’re spending close to $600!

For this year, I don’t plan on buying anything today. I may see if my underwear is on sale (did you know that apparently you are supposed to replace underwear yearly? I didn’t) as I am in the market for a few new pairs of undies. But if there isn’t a deal of them, I’ll continue to wait it out until they do go on sale.

What about you? Are you planning on getting anything in particular this black Friday?


I am thankful, today and every day

As a little kid, I was extraordinarily lucky to live across the street from Ed and Shirley Meyers. They were my mentors, my friends, my confidants, my family. I love them, and still do love them, with all my heart. Ed passed away in 2003 and Shirley passed away in 2008, but I still think about them every single day.

I bring this up because they taught me something extremely valuable at a very young age: always be thankful. At the end of every day, Ed and Shirley would sit on the deck and watch the sun go down. As the last blip of sun disappeared behind the horizon, they would list of what they were thankful for that day. It usually went something like this “thank you God for another beautiful day. Thank you for the kids, thank you for your health, and the beautiful ocean that lays before us.” It changed a little every day, but they each always listed for what they were thankful for. On afternoons I was lucky enough to watch the sunset with them, they would ask me what I was thankful for. It’s a little thing but it has stuck with me all this time.

Now, I don’t need to know whether or not you choose to thank God or the universe or what not, it honestly doesn’t matter. But every day I list off the things I am thankful for, and it’s become a wonderful part of my evening. It reminds me to slow down and enjoy each day and each moment, because we aren’t guaranteed anything.

I typically say my list to myself each evening, but seeing as tomorrow is Thanksgiving I thought I would come up with a list of things I am grateful for today (tomorrow is busy, ya’ll gonna be cooking and cleaning and hopefully spending time with those you love!)

I am thankful for:

The obvious ones: friends, family, my pets

The maybe less obvious ones:

-Coworkers who have become friends, and then became family. We work in a weird world, one where we spend more time working in far away places with neglected and abused animals than we spend at home. We work at all hours, in all kinds of conditions. It is rarely comfortable and it is never glamorous. But I bet if you asked any one of us, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We may be an odd bunch, but I love my work family with all my heart. We have been through it all together and we are all so thankful to have one another.


(That’s Lois, Jess and I eating Jeni’s ice cream last night. I prefer Graeter’s, but it’s still damn good ice cream!)

-My health. Many of you right now are going “but, you have Crohn’s Disease, you aren’t healthy!” True dat. But you know what? I am so lucky to be alive. I am lucky that I know how to manage my illness and that I am able to live the life I want to lead. Is it always perfect? Absolutely not. It’s messy and painful and tiring and horrible at times. But you know what? When I have a good day I relish it. When I wake up after a good sleep I am so happy and appreciative of the energy I have. When I eat cheese! I am thrilled that I can eat some of the things I love without paying for it later (definitely can’t eat anything I want, but I’ll take cheese!)

-The internet. Ever thing about it? Most of our lives revolve around internet. Blogging, facebook, Amazing or other shopping sites, research, WebMd, where would we be without the internet!? I spend almost my entire working day at my computer, on the internet. Sending emails and responding to them. Coordinating flights and hotels for responders, looking up how much 5.11 tactical pants cost. Trust me, I am so thankful for the internet.

-Warm clothing. We are currently operating out of a building with no central heat, at an undisclosed location in the midwest. Let me tell you, IT’S COLD! Today the high is I think 39. So, definitely not the coldest but definitely chilly! I have a Carhartt jacket, fuzzy socks, a beanie that I love, and a scarf adorning my tactical pants and boots today. Plus my work issued hoodie, gotta represent!

-Fall in the Pacific Northwest. I mean, the colors! It’s just stunning. I great up in Southern California and it was nothing like where I live now. It’s truly breathtaking. Nor to mention apple picking, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and everything else that comes with fall (NO pumpkin spice lattes for this lady!)


-My stellar amazeballs roommate. Ya’ll, you have no idea how lucky I am here. Not only do we get along, we agree on most things, like the same foods, like the same movies and tv, laugh at each other, and she loves my critters. I’m gone so much, and Holden gets to stay with her and Reddington because the boys are BFFs. When I called and said “Hey honey is it ok if I bring home a foster dog? He is from one of our fighting cases…” She said yes, as long as I thought he would get along with our boys. I literally am beyond thankful for her. She let me bring my whole menagerie of critters to live in her home. And she hasn’t killed me yet! I’m calling it a win.

I could go on, but I think you see that we all have things we need to be thankful for. I try to practice what I preach and thank the universe every day that I am alive. It’s a beautiful thing you know, waking up each morning.

What are you thankful for today and every day?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, from my family to yours!

One more thought on feminism

Let me just say first and foremost LOUD AND PROUD I am a feminist. And you should be too. But that is a whole other post!

Today, I’d like to discuss the way we can be a feminist without “buying into” everything feminism. Literally buying. You can Google “feminist apparel and accessories” and come up with thousands, hundreds of thousands of sites and Etsy shops solely dedicated to cute feminist proud stuff. Shirts? Yup. Bags? You bet. Shoes, keychains, jewelry, lunch pails? Literally anything can show the world what a proud feminist you are.

But, at what cost? Is it really necessary? Let’s talk about that for a minute.

Sometimes I see a shirt that I decide I ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE. It’s adorable and perfect and everything I have ever wanted in a shirt. Stop, take a breath. Let’s talk about it, lady (that’s me). Who makes this shirt you are suddenly coveting? Is it an enormous corporation or a small independently run shop? Is it an online retail giant or perhaps the adorable little shop down the road that supports local female artists? Do a little research. Because, though there is nothing wrong with supporting a national retailer, I am (almost) always in favor of shopping local.

There is a shop in Portland that I absolutely LOVE called Project Object and let me tell you, I love all of it. The strong/powerful/badass WOMAN owner is kind, thoughtful, creative, and as previously mentioned, a badass business woman! The about us section of the website doesn’t even mention the owner, because her sole focus is empowering and helping those in her community. A portion of all sales go to Bradley Angle, a non-profit that focuses on placing women and anyone facing domestic violence with support and services. She also supports local artists, does features, and is generally an awesome human being.

That is the kind of shop and community engagement that I am all for supporting. So I take my time. I will buy a “girls support girls” shirt from this shop any damn day (or Daisy Natives the female run company that makes the shirts).

I am so happy that you are a feminist! And I think that we can all go a little farther with it. Wear that shirt/hat/keychain/backpack loud and proud. But consider getting it from a female run organization. Make it yourself! You don’t have to BUY all the pro-feminist swag just to look cool. Feminism is trending after all, but don’t get me started.

Support your friends. Stand up together. Be the amazing woman I know you are. Be the amazing man I know you are! Be the amazing individual that I know you are, regardless of gender or what the world thinks of you. If you are going to spend your hard earned money showing the world what you think, support others who feel the same. Shop local. Shop female. Shop like a badass (and be mindful of the prices compared to your budget! this is a frugality blog after all *wink wink*)

Self care (or actually taking care of yourself)

How many instagram posts have you seen where someone is sitting in a tub with a bath bomb, glass of wine, soft lighting, expensive candles, and a fancy hardback book? Ya, it’s a little annoying and pretty unrealistic. First of all, my drain is broken so I can’t take a bath (as much as I’d LOVE to). Secondly, there is no way I’m spending $8 to make my bath water green or pink or whatever weird color the bath bomb is. Maybe you love bath bombs or salts, ok fine, not my thing. And most annoying, who actually reads in the tub!? Maybe I’m just too clumsy, but absolutely not. That is never going to be my reality.

Self care should be just that, SELF-care. It’s about what is going to make you happy. What is going to reinvigorate your soul. Who gives a crap what it looks like to other people. To me, self care means fuzzy socks, dogs piled on the couch with me, laptop close in hand, cup after cup of tea, avocado toast, and lots of trashy tv. It’s not cute, it’s definitely not instagram worthy. But you know what, at the end of the day I feel better.

Self care also means setting yourself up for success. Have an emergency fund. Don’t over spend. Drink plenty of water. Don’t agree to things you don’t actually want to do. I know that the likelihood of me wanting to go out on a Friday night when it’s cold and raining is slim to none. So you know what? I don’t make Friday evening plans. I plan to stay home with my fur kids and watch a movie.

Similarly, my roommate would prefer to spend all weekend painting. If it were up to her, she would paint from sun up til sun down every single day. So self care to her means taking the day to hole up in her office and paint. I will bring down some mac ‘n cheese to her sometime midday, and other than that she hardly comes up for air. That is what does her soul good.

Mid-afternoon nap while it rains? Yes! Making a giant pot of soup to enjoy now and later (freezing jars for days that I don’t feel like cooking)? Yes! Getting the perfect lighting to take a picture of said soup? Not likely.

Our whole lives don’t need to revolve around the image we want to portray to the world. We need to actually take care of ourselves! Go for a run if that’s your thing. Snuggle the cat. Linger over a cup of coffee and a crossword puzzle. It really doesn’t matter to me (nor should it!) what you do, just please take care of yourself. Life is so short and moments are precious. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. So please do what you need to do to take care of yourself. And do it now. Life isn’t going to wait for anything.



A few thoughts on pet ownership

First and foremost let me say, my animals are my family. I can’t imagine living a life without them. That being said, it’s not cheap and it’s not for everyone.

I was that “kid” in college that had a dog. I had to leave all the parties early. I couldn’t just take off and go away for the weekend. I had to be the responsible one. But really, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I have never lived alone, not really.

I adopted Holden a little over 9 years ago (!!!) He lived with me for two years when I lived without roommates in college. He kept me sane. At times he drove me insane. But I was never alone.


He’s kinda hard to photograph as he’s mostly black, and never sits still. So that’s the best image I have for now. But honestly, it speaks to his character. He is my little (medium sized) shadow. He is literally always underfoot. When I’m out of town, my roommate frequently texts me “I always forget how clingy Holden is! I have tripped over him twice today! When you’re home he just follows you but when you’re gone, he’s all over me!” Yep, that sounds about right.

I never worry about walking him at night, he will snarl and growl at any and all strangers (human and animal alike). In my house however, as long as I’m happy to have you he’s happy to have you. I think if I ever really freaked out about someone in my house (stranger, burglar etc) Holden would lose his shit and go after them. And I’m not complaining. Holden keeps me safe. He is definitely MY dog.

Jethro is my current foster dog, who will be staying when we get legal custody of him. I am madly in love with this dog. First of all, he has no idea how to dog. When we first brought him home he had no idea how to do the stairs, get in or out of the car, play with a toy, go through doorways, take treats, walk on a leash, or literally a hundred other normal dog things. Currently 5 months in and he is worlds better. Still has no idea he’s a  dog, but we’re getting there.


(You can kinda see my roommate’s golden in the background)

Fostering animals is one of the most rewarding experiences I think a person can have. It’s extraordinarily tough at times, but entirely worth it. You are giving an animal time, time to come out of their shell and show their true colors.

Many animals do not thrive in a shelter environment. Some are too fearful and lash out. Some are just shut down. But letting that animal in your home allows them to settle and show their personality. It’s really magical! Jethro may be a foster, but only in the legal sense. He is my dog through and through. I love every ounce of his squishy, wiggly, goofy self.

For the record I have a cat too, but I think I will keep this post just about the pups and give George his very own post soon. George is my soul-cat, he deserves his own post (he certainly thinks so!)

Now that you all know my general thoughts on my critters, I think I should call it a day, don’t want to be that crazy person who never strops talking about their pets…….! But next time I think I will cover the general cost of pet ownership. Again, owning pets is definitely not for everybody but I wouldn’t trade my boys for the world.


Fall expenses (so far…)

Fall is typically a fairly expensive time of year for me. (Lots of birthdays, Halloween, cooler weather accessories…..) Though I always try to do my best, sometimes life just gets away from me. Here are some things I spent money on over the past few months (and how I feel about it)

IMG_20171104_145727_714.jpgBaby gift. My beautiful friend Sarah is having a baby next month and we recently celebrated her baby shower. It was a lovely afternoon spent with friends and family where we all ate a little too much and imbibed just enough. I will never regret a baby gift for someone I love so this was money well spent! (And I can’t post what I bought here just in case she reads this! Hi Sarah!)


Dog sweater. Meet Jethro. My perpetually chilly velvet hippo (pit bull). He is freaking adorable, lovable, and cold. He has a really short coat and literally zero percent body fat so he needs a sweater! I will not for a second regret keeping this sweet boy comfortable. He came from a terrible background and I promised I would always take care of him. So that’s exactly what I am doing! And a $9 on sale at Target fit the bill perfectly! (I have since ordered him another sweater, custom made so hopefully it will fit better as unfortunately this one was a little stretchy!)


A day at the pumpkin patch. I believe I purchased some locally made cheese, two tiny pumpkins, an a few pounds of local apples and pears. Oh and a coffee. Absolutely worth it. My bestie’s sister Katie was in town, and her husband Geoff able to take the day off work. So the five of us headed off for a foggy morning at the pumpkin patch. It was perfect. Lizzi was having a good morning and felt up to wandering the field looking at pumpkins, and Wayne (the wee one) had a great time picking out his pumpkins! Going to the farm and spending time as a family (I have included myself in their family) is always worth it to me. We had a fantastic time and were able to forget about a few things for a couple of hours.

IMG_20171029_121633_047.jpg I spent all of $4 on this skirt so I could be the Unipiper for Halloween this year. My friend Brian (left) is the actual Unipiper and I thought he would get a kick out of me dressing as him for Halloween. Fun fact, he thought it was great! He even let me borrow his Darth Vader mask and I posed with his unicycle. I am confident I would have killed myself, and possibly everyone else, had I actually tried riding it. So, posing with it had to suffice.

The list of things I am less than thrilled to have spent money on (and because I’m not pleased with myself, I will not include photos!)

-checked bag fee (my company reimburses me for this but still, gah!)

-unnecessary holiday decorations

-Jethro’s first sweater (I was happy about it at the time but when I discovered how ill-fitted it was I became disenfranchised with it. oh well)

-frilly spending at Target (you know what I mean. Socks, nail polish. A couple of little things that totaled maybe $15 but still! I did not need to spend that money!)

Overall I’d say I’m doing pretty well so far this fall. I like everyone have a harder time holding onto my money this time of year. Parties and gatherings and holidays just snatch it right out of my pocket! Some of it is totally worth it (baby showers galore!)

New to WordPress

Ok guys, I finally pulled on my big girl britches and upgraded to WordPress, Yay me!

I don’t know what I’m doing, literally at all. But I’m all about trial by fire and I will make it work!

I have been reading blogs about frugality and the like for years. I love them, all of them. I love reading how other people tackle life while trying to save money and have less of an impact on our planet. It just lifts me up, it’s hard to explain!

So from here on out, I will continue to try my very best to share what I learn, and hopefully we can all grow together. Sound good? Great! Let’s get started!

Coy Jones is the best kind of feminist

Let me say this, loud and clear, COY JONES IS THE BEST KIND OF FEMINIST.

“Do you want me to drive you to the market?” he asked.
“I can drive the van!”
“I know you can, but if I drive you can keep working on those labels on the way.”
“…good point. Thanks Coy”

Coy knows I can drive the enormous sprinter van. He knows I have a lot of work to do. Like, never ending work to do. So he offers to help. I’m no damsel. We are equals.

Coy Jones is the best kind of feminist.

Coy is one of the kindest people I have ever encountered. He isn’t fussy. He isn’t pretentious. He just opens the door. Or helps you carry the heavy load. He says please and thank you. He remembers how you take your coffee in the morning. He will sharpen your knife for you (in the weird world we live in, we carry knives for our job.) He always has a pen. He sends his emails on time.

Coy Jones is the best kind of feminist. 

Speaking of emails, yesterday Coy couldn’t figure out how to send an email. He asked our coworker Hailey, then he asked me. We fiddled around on the computer until we got the email to work for him. And we teased him when he thought it was any different than exactly how he sent an email the day before. He asked Hailey for help. He asked me for help.

Coy Jones is the best kind of feminist. 

Coy and I have the same Carhartt jacket (granted mine is probably a few sizes smaller). He loves that we have matching jackets. I earned that jacket getting snowed in in Wyoming with a friend last May (with a 65 point pit bull along for the ride). We also have matching tactical boots and pocket knives. We may have the same multi-tool.

Coy Jones is the best kind of feminist. 

Coy is one of my favorite people on earth. You see, we work in animal welfare. It is messy, complicated, awful, draining, frustrating, and difficult. It is also beautiful, rewarding, magical, exceptional. We are all in this together. We are a family. Coy is my family.

This afternoon I am going to ask Coy to teach me to drive the forklift, and I’m pretty sure I know what his answer will be. Thanks for being the best kind of feminist.

Ladies and gentlemen, Coy Jones