How I am choosing to spend Cyber Monday

How was your Thanksgiving everyone? Mine was lovely: quiet, with family, chill. I didn’t have to travel out of town, I didn’t have to cook a whole big meal, so I would say it was a huge success. My mom did cook most of the meal, and I was responsible for the mashed potatoes (that I think I can handle.) It was tasty and fun and nothing major happened. Just the way I like it.

please enjoy this picture of the adorable Charleston, which has absolutely nothing to do with frugality

Skip ahead to black Friday and SHOCKER, I stayed in and addressed holiday cards. I am sure there were deals in abundance out in the world, but I chose to stay in. Even if something is 60% off, that’s still money I don’t need to be spending right now. Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean you have to buy it.

I, like many people, am working on paying off some pretty hefty bills at the moment (I was in a car accident recently, and my dog had major surgery) so I have lots of bills and not exactly a lot of additional money coming in. So while it would be easy to spend money on things that I don’t need just because they are on sale, I decided to stay home. And the same goes for today, Cyber Monday. I opted to simply go to work. I took the train. I picked up books at the library. I drank the coffee provided at work. I packed my lunch. Nothing terribly exciting. And yet, all things getting me ever so slightly closer to my goal.

I will admit that I spent a decent chunk of change this weekend on a 70th birthday gift for my mother, but it was purely coincidence that it happened the weekend after Thanksgiving. I had been searching for MONTHS for the perfect gift, and it impossible to find the right thing. My brothers and I decided to go in on the gift together, so that we could get her something nicer, that she would really appreciate and wear on a regular basis. So after visiting basically every local jewelry shop in Portland (support small businesses people!) I finally found the right necklace. It suits her personality, her style, and it’s timeless. I think she will love it. And because we split the cost three ways, none of us were really hurting with this purchase.

What about you? Are you going to shop today or stay home?

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.

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.

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.

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(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!)

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-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!