On this New Year’s Eve

It’s the last day of 2017. How crazy is that? Where did this year go? I feel like I say that every year though. Even though SO MUCH happened this year, it still feels likes like it flew by.

I thought I would share with you some of my favorite moments of this year, and look forward to some of the things I am seeing for the new year.

February – I moved in with my good friend Rachel. It was a good move for both of us, and our dogs love each other! It is so nice to have a roommate that I adore, because we spend so much time together. We binge watch Buffy, talk about what’s bothering us, compare notes on our dates.  It really is so nice to have amazing women in my life that I get to spend time with.

May – I took an epic road trip across the country with my friend Sue to bring my sweet foster boy Jethro home. He was from a case we handled at work and I was in love. Still am. I knew the day I met him that I wanted to bring him home. He deserves the best life, far from where he came. Sue and I packed up and drove from Ohio all the way to Oregon. It should have taken 4 days, but it took 6 because we got stuck in a snow storm in Wyoming! Jethro got a new home with us and we are so happy to have him! It may have taken one of our dogs a little while to adjust, but he is well settled now.

October – I left one of my jobs. I know that may not be a positive for everyone, but for me this was a good move. I was in need of something more in my life, and I needed my schedule to be more accommodating to my needs. My other job involves a lot of travel but I can pretty much pick when I want to be gone and when I want to be home. I also work from home but that is so much more conducive to my lifestyle. It allows me to be home with my animals more, as well as spend time with loved ones . My job now is rewarding, engaging, fulfilling, supportive. My coworkers are my family, my chosen family. We choose to be away from home for holidays, birthdays, milestones. We wake up at the crack of dawn to do really difficult work, heartbreaking work. But it’s worth it. It fills me with such joy to know I am making a difference in this world, and I am so lucky to have found these people and this job.

December – Two of my good friends welcomed little babies into their lives. I am so excited to get to be Auntie to these two adorable little ones. I take my job as Aunt very seriously and I intend to love, snuggle, kiss, coo, and generally fawn over them for as long as they’ll let me.

What I am looking forward to in 2018:

May – My family and I will be taking a trip to London and Amsterdam. I haven’t travelled abroad in a while so I am really looking forward to this trip!

In general, I am looking forward to spending time with my family and friends, working with my dogs, snuggling my kitty, and trying to move forward with my life. We can so easily get stuck in one place and I think it’s important to keep trying. Keep trying new things, keep seeing new places, keep opening your eyes to new experiences.

I look forward to having my boots on the ground more, and working my ass off as much as I can. I look forward to long days and long nights. I look forward to all the experiences that may present themselves. I look forward to falling in love. Happy New Year everyone.

January spending freeze

If you are anything like me, you PROBABLY over spent during December. Now, I am sure some of you were totally on point with your budgets and didn’t go a cent over (Go You!!) I am not one of those people. So for the new month and the new year, I need a fresh start. This is what brings me to the January spending freeze!

Now, I’m not going to cut out all spending entirely. So here is my list of do’s and don’t’s for my upcoming challenge month!

What I CAN spend money on:

Food – Nothing fancy, just good ole groceries. I am planning to budget about $70 a week for food but that is pretty reasonable for me. I know many folks can do it way cheaper than I can, but my health being what it is, I need to be very careful with what I eat. So I am willing to pay a little more to put good food in my body.

Gas – You know, to keep my car running safely.

Pet food/supplies/medication – I have three pets. Two medium sized dogs and one tiny geriatric cat (my #soulmate). I buy the dog food from Costco and it costs me I think $37 a bag which lasts about 3-4 weeks (when I’m out of town I board one of my dogs, and they provide food). Which reminds me to include boarding fees in this. My sweet oafish pit bull is a total love, but he still is 65 solid pounds of strength which is a lot for most people to handle. So I board him at the vet when I travel for work. The cat gets wet and dry food, three medications, fluids, and frequent vet visits. He isn’t cheap but I would do ANYTHING for my sweet old man.

Rent/Utilities – ’nuff said

Medical – Doctor visits, medicine, appointments etc. As someone with Crohn’s Disease, it is very important for em to see my doctor regularly and do as I’m instructed. This also includes any costs associated with prep for appointments (Yuck!!)

What I CAN’T spend money on:

EXTRA food – ie fun groceries/eating out/coffee out/you get the picture. Do I really NEED the fancy cheese? No. Do I really NEED another kind of smoked salmon? No. I will work on getting back to basics and cooking what I know, and doing so cheaply.

Booze – I am not a big drinker, but I definitely enjoy a drink in the evening a couple of nights a week (I prefer cider over beer or wine) and I certainly don’t need to be spending that money.  It won’t be a huge amount of money, but every bit adds up.

Concerts – Holy moly I way over did this part of my budget this holiday season. No concerts for me! (with the small exception of the Foo Fighters tickets whenever they go on sale!)

Clothing/shoes/accessories – Fun fact, I love clothes. I love clothe shopping and window browsing, all of it. And I certainly don’t need anymore clothes. So it seems like a great way to save more would be to spend less in this BIG category. I will not browse the Madewell sale page. I will not wander into Nordstrom just for fun. Nope, none of it. (This will likely be the hardest one of all but I am determined!)

Extras – you know that extra piece of chocolate at the grocery store, that pair of socks, a new toy for the pup, all those things that in the moment seem like such a good idea, but really they aren’t. I will do my very best to stay away from traps (I’m looking at you Target and Costco!) but even these can sometimes not be avoided. I go to Costco for dog food and I go to Target when I need things like laundry soap and Kleenex (or some other equally odd combination of items).

Some people do a fabulous job of accomplishing their goals long term, but for me I need short, attainable goals. I need one week, one month. Those are goals  I can get behind. It is easier for me that way to build up to the bigger goals. So I’m starting with no extemporaneous spending for January, I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes. Do you have any new years resolutions !?




































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Christmas Eve eve

This morning I took holiday gifts to my nephew, his Mom and Dad. Seeing his tiny little eyes light up when I walked in the door with a bag full of gifts, my heart just exploded. I don’t have kids, but I love my little nephew with everything I am. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a little one is really magical. You see, Christmas isn’t really all about the gifts and presents. It’s about spending time with those your love. And yes I do love giving him gifts, but I think I already mentioned how Oprah helped me out with that one. Each year he gets something he wants, something he needs, something he can wear and something he can read.

So this morning I decided he should open his book present, so that we could read it on Christmas. So we opened the Charlie Brown Christmas book, and read it together. That time together, snuggled on the couch, was worth more than any money could buy.

There will be many gifts under many trees this holiday season, but which ones will we really remember? The time with family and friends, that’s what is really important this time of year.

Yesterday my mom and I made cookies and fudge, wrapped presents, and decorated the tree. We spent time together, we ordered Chinese food, it was perfect. No gift is better than that. Time with her was all I wanted, and it was wonderful.

So if I may make a suggestion, don’t  buy all the stuff. People don’t need stuff, they need YOU. Just show up, that’s what people really want. I don’t need any more socks, trust me! I’d much rather have dinner with a friend, time with my nephew. So, because it’s Christmas, let’s remember to give our time, not just things. Happy Christmas.


Halibut for days

I love halibut, it’s my favorite fish by far. Since moving to the pacific northwest, we have a wealth of fresh fish available to us. I don’t think I ate any fish growing up, and if I did I certainly didn’t like it.

But now, holy balls I LOVE halibut. Lucky for me, my father has taken up fishing lately. He fishes all the damn time. And one of the perks is her bring home fish (rarely). But I now have a freezer full of freshly caught seafood to enjoy. I try to spread it out and enjoy it sparingly, as I don’t have an unlimited supply, but I do cherish what I have been given.


That’s my daddy, proud fisherman! Isn’t he cute.

Now, clearly the fish he is holding is not a halibut. Or at least, that’s what I discovered upon looking it up.

Fish is usually quite expensive, especially when it’s out of season. But local, fresh caught fish can be inexpensive when it’s on sale, and if you buy the whole fish. So typically that’s what I do. I buy a whole fish and have the person behind the counter fillet it for me. So I typically buy fish only 3ish times a year. I portion it out and freeze it individually. Then it lasts us longer. Additionally, as mentioned, my dad brings home fish occasionally. On those occasions where he does catch something he can keep, he will share with me. He and mom can only eat so much fish after all. And my father has other friends who fish as well, so we are never lacking.

By shopping locally, and seasonally, it saves me a great amount of money. I have friends all over the country and we are rarely eating the same thing at the same time. What is in season in Portland varies from what is in season in Missouri. What are you eating this season?

My favorite blogs

Like many of you, I have my favorite blogs that I read on a regular basis. Most of them, have to do with frugality, and most of them I have been reading for years! I may not know these people personally, but I feel like I know them from reading about their lives for this long. I hope you will check them out (alright I have the feeling most of you know them too!)

The Financial Diet is a great place to start. It has a whole group of contributors with different, interesting points of view. Multiple articles published daily share all kinds of experiences. From dating frugally, to inexpensive grocery ideas, it’s a great well rounded financial picture.

Frugalwoods is one of my very favorite blogs ever! Mr and Mrs Frugalwoods bought a homestead in Vermont not too long ago, and it is such a cool perspective! She genuinely makes me want to move to the middle of no where on a farm. They grow their own fruits and vegetables, heat their home with wood her husband has chopped, it’s amazing! They lived in Boston for a few years prior and I found that life interesting to read about as well! They have one little girl and another on the way so I am curious to see how this affects their life on the homestead.

The Non Consumer Advocate  is written by an awesome gal named Katy who also happens to live in Portland. I have been reading this blog longest of all. She works as a nurse and has two boys in college. She writes about her life, how she saves money creatively, and her side hustle of selling items she has purchased at local Goodwill stores. It’s a very relatable blog. (fun story, once I saw Katy walking down the street to the local grocery store and I made my dad turn the car around so I could say hi)

The Frugal Girl is another one I adore. Kristen lives with her husband and four kids and writes about daily life. She writes about grocery shopping, what they eat for dinner, what the kids do for fun, and family outings. I love it. She is kind and compassionate, and speaks with such heart. Because of Kristen I subscribe to Mighty Nest which I absolutely love. It’s a monthly subscription box, which sends you something that is eco friendly for the home. I have gotten glass water bottles, Tupperware, glass cleaner, sponges and dish clothes. It costs $10 a month and each thing you receive is worth at least $10. If you are looking for a cool gift for something this holiday season, I highly recommend it.

What about you? What blogs do you guys read?? Which awesome blogs am I missing out on?

Imperfect Produce

I have always wanted to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). You pay a monthly cost to buy into the farm, and weekly, or bi weekly, you get a box of fresh produce delivered to your house. Such a cool idea, and a great way to be more involved in your community. But here’s the thing, I can’t really eat raw vegetables. They wreck havoc on my body (one of the joys of Crohn’s disease). So the cost of it has never been feasible to me unfortunately. It’s still cheaper for me to go to the farmer’s market and buy the single had of lettuce I need for the week, and my two apples and 6 carrots, or whatever it is.

But then I heard of a program called Imperfect Produce. It was started in the Bay Area as a way of rescuing produce that would otherwise be thrown away. Grapefruits that are too small, lumpy potatoes, misshapen pears, no one likes to buy cosmetically imperfect items at the grocery store, so it often gets passed up if it ever makes it to the market in the first place. Enter, Imperfect Produce. They collect the produce and deliver it to homes of people (such as myself) who would happily eat it. I don’t particularly care the size of my kiwi!

You can customize the size of the box, and the contents of the box. Don’t like parsnips? You can request never to receive any. Have six growing teenagers? Get the biggest box every week. In our house, there are only two adults and no children, so we get the smallest box, every other week. And it’s the perfect amount for us. It typically costs me about $12 for each box, which is definitely less than all the produce I would pick up at the store. I get to see online the weekend before the box is delivered what it’s contents will be. I can choose to discard any items that wouldn’t get eaten and we can add any extras. Boxes are delivered in the evening so that they stay cool.

Last night we received our box, which we receive every other week. It contained:

8 small funny shaped carrots, 6 small oranges, 2 pears, 3 kiwis, 2 apples, a lot of broccoli, 3 avocados, and 5 oddly shaped grapefruit. And I think I was charged $13. Oh, and an artichoke. Fantastic! Getting this produce delivered makes me especially eager to go through it, as it was already discarded once. Here’s the link Imperfect Produce Feel free to check it out and see for yourself! They aren’t available in all areas yet, but they are expanding.

There are other other organizations across the hungry who offer a similar community service. Hungry Harvest is another one. If you have any interest in learning more, I recommend doing your research. Different communities have different options. How do you save money on produce?


A new tradition

I love traditions. Watching the Rockettes with my Dad on Thanksgiving (they always perform during the parade), all of the parade actually, lasagna on New Years Eve and lox and bagels on New Years Day, watching Love Actually while eating Chinese food with my friend Lindsey to ring in the holiday season, all some of my very favorite traditions (and almost all involving food apparently!)

I think I like traditions so much, because I am at my core a creature of habit. Having something to look forward to, that I know I love, makes me happy. For the same reason, I adore my routine. I get up at the same time each morning to walk and feed the dogs. Then I move to my desk to check emails and get started on my work. And so on and on it goes.

Weekends are a bit different, a bit slower. We (hopefully) wake a little later, put on the kettle, and walk the dogs a little more leisurely. I still check my emails and do my work, but I might not get started on the weekends until (gasp!) 8am. This time of year, when our house is full of twinkling lights and garland, I am especially grateful for my slow mornings. I’ll enjoy two cups of tea, browse the headlines, write something.

Which is where I find myself now. Curled up on the couch with my boys, writing to all of you. And I think, I like the idea of writing something a little different on the weekends. So I think I’m going to make that a new tradition. Weekends will be for writing whatever is on my mind. And lucky you, if you so choose, you get to read it!


What I’ve been watching lately

We don’t have cable. You probably see it on literally every single “how to save money” list, lose cable. But we do subscribe to Netflix and Hulu which suits us just fine. We have access to everything we could want, and can watch it from anywhere. Seeing as the most basic cable package still costs at least $40 a month, $10 for Netflix and $7 for Hulu is definitely a bargain.  My roommate pays for Netflix and I for Hulu, so it ends up being really reasonable for both of us.

So I was thinking, what are some of the shows we have enjoyed recently that you might be interested in?

On Hulu, if you haven’t seen the Handmaid’s Tale yet, GO WATCH IT NOW!!! It is so good and so relevant, it’ll blow your mind. It’s shocking, but not at all gory. It’s graphic in what it does to your mind, but it isn’t what you think of in terms of typical creepy fashion.

On Netflix I’ve been watching a string of cheesy holiday movies. A friend of mine started a tradition a few years ago, of watching all the horrible holiday movies she could get her hands on. So I decided to follow her lead. I have watched, a lot, of terrible holiday movies. And let me tell you, it’s a fabulous tradition. They’re hoaky, silly, and fantastic.

Silly holiday movies at home, with my dogs, is a great way to celebrate and feel festive without spending a ton of money. It’s fun to go out and see all the things your town has to offer for the holiday season, but it is never cheap. So instead, this year I decided to stay in more. We are watching movies and making cookies and decorating with what we have. And let me tell you, it has been awesome!

Take advantage of those subscriptions! Watch all the free holiday movies you can get your hands on. And stay warm while cuddling up to your furry friends, or your significant other, and enjoy a warm cup of tea or coffee. It is possible to enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank.