all over the financial plannin’

I pulled the band aid off… Actually, it was more like I had run out of band aids and was forced to cover my imaginary wound with a roll of duct tape.  So yeah, I ripped that business off (with loads of trepidation mind you) with my first ever visit to a financial planner.

this sums up what I know about financial planning

Side note – when I say I talked with a financial planner, I feel transported to the 1960’s ultra rich country club scene.  You know, where I have a martini in one hand and there is some guy named Chet who is giving me shady stock tips and there is a game of cricket happening in front of me.  Oh and I’m rocking some retro sunglasses fo’ sho’.

Anyway, it’s been detailed how I love the blissful world of denial.  Well, this certainly extends to my future finances (ha! and some of my current ones!).  First of all, I knew I had some retirement.  When I started working at my current institution, part of the benefit package was they put 11% into my retirement.  My contribution – nada.  Yep, there is this magical 11% out there that was created by very nice wizards.  And I love it.  (Unfortunately for the poor souls who started work a few years ago, they don’t get this same benefit package – lucky me, I was grandfathered in!)  So, I wasn’t on as shaky ground but I also wasn’t sure what else we would be discussing and I was frightened.

this is probably what the magical wizards did to get me my 11%

But it was a good experience.  My friend’s beau is a new employee with Edward Jones so he is roughly my age and can explain the lingo.  I gave him a variety of panic attacks: 1. I have NEVER opened one of my retirement account statements.  My thought was, “I’m not going to understand it anyway, what’s the point?”.  2. When I divulged I keep my tax return in my car (well, I had been so any perspective robbers out there – it’s GONE!).  He asked me, “what if someone broke in and stole your identity?”  One part of me thought this would be a-okay since they could have my student loans.  But I explained no one breaks into orange bugs – they just aren’t burglar magnets

Please don’t say I just jinxed myself…

Anyway, we went through the types of investments and where I could put some of my funds if I so choose.  We also opened up the statement and *SURPRISE!* I have a nice little nest egg for when I retire.  He asked me when I wanted to retire and I decided 63 was a solid age.  Now, I need to figure out if I want to put some money in other types of investments or continue on my merry way.  Such decisions.

First a pot roast and now a financial planner – last week was a big adult week for me.

When I got back, I decided to figure out where my monies have been high-tailing it to.  Once upon a time, I was all, “I’m going to budget, ya, ya, ya” – for some reason I said this in a German accent.  No idea.  But a plan never came to fruition since I figured I could just do the math in my brain.  You know, because this works and all.  So, the next day, I printed out a budget sheet along with last month’s statement to see what I’ve been spending.

time to lock this sh*t UP!

I found some leaky pipes for sure so for this month, I’m tracking every purchase as I make ’em.  It’s kind of daunting so I have fine point colorful sharpies to help me through it.  Being Nov, I got to drop $517.00 on a plane ticket back to the great state of WA for the holidaze, so that will be an impressive blip on the budget radar.  Nevertheless, I’m sticking to it.  Must. Track. All. The. Budget. Things.

I’ll keep you posted.  In my mind, I’ve created this budget utopia (I don’t really know what this is) but I have quite the vivid imagination so we’ll see.  I’m committed though.

Like I said, it was a big adult week.

some wkend oopsies

This weekend I made a few mistakes.  I shall detail them for you in hopes I can help you all avoid them in the future.  Also, I’ve included a couple of things I actually got right so I don’t sound so grumpy.

1.  Running – the oopsie:

A) Way overdressed-I was wearing long sleeves & capris.  It was about 65*.  Not a smart plan.

I bet they were as toasty as I was

B) I didn’t bring any water.  I didn’t exactly hydrate all that well during the day so this kicked me in the bum.  Speaking of lack of water, I also did a crummy job with fueling.  For some reason, I didn’t eat much prior to leaving & I was extremely hungry during the run.  By the way, I repeated the hydration mistake on Sunday too and I didn’t have to use the restroom for 10 hours.  Yeah, ridiculous, I deserve to have a crappy run.

C) You know, it would have helped if I had done some decent running during the week.  I have some excuses (of course) but really, I could’ve pushed through on some of those days and I didn’t.  Lame.

2.  Watching lots of teen angst tv – the oopsie

A)  I found a CW series on Netflix & it seriously had some drama.  But I couldn’t pull myself away.  AND there is only one season so I am going to end up disappointed!  Did that stop me?  Nope.  I haven’t quite finished the first season and I’m committed; however it fed into my feeling all emo.  Excellent – this is what I refer to as not the best life choice.

3.  Spending a holiday weekend alone – the oopsie

A)  Ok, so this isn’t an abnormal thing for me but it did make me feel kind of blue.  Needless to say, number 2 didn’t really help with this.

4.  Going to the store when feeling said blueness – the oopsie

A)  I spent $30 on incidentals.  It started with some coconut oil mousse & it blossomed from there.  Then there was this candle warmer thing that I convinced myself I should purchase since it was Easter & I needed a giftie.

What did I do well?  LAUNDRY!  Yay!  Good gravy, my laundry situation was ridiculous!  It really is such an amazing feeling of accomplishment to get it done.  I seem to forget this…  Please feel free to remind me!

Going to the grocery store!  Yes, this does contradict my previous statement but I had two prescriptions to pick up & I really wanted to put off going-like I had for the last two days.  I’m terrible about just getting it done despite it meaning I’m out of meds.  So again, an “I’m proud” moment.

Running. While Saturday’s run was fairly miserable, I did get up & do it.  There was about a mile in there that was enjoyable & so at least there is that.  Then I ran yesterday as well.  Eh…  I started out wearing my old shoes since my Hokas are giving me blisters (more in another post).  Within the first few steps I knew this was a giant mistake and went back to change.  Different shoes helped despite my blisters getting worse.  I am attempting to give myself props despite the runs being lackluster.  Oh!  I did follow some Runner”s World advice!  I read an article about hills and pace. They advised not trying to keep the same pace rather keep the same effort.  It’s difficult for sure but I could feel the difference.

I guess that’s it.  I allowed the feeling sorry for myself-sometimes I think it’s important to just feel the emotions rather than pushing them away.  I also indulged in an alcoholic beverage which may or may not have helped but whatever.  AND I picked out my outfit for this morning.  Not sure why this is noteworthy but I going with it.

With that, I will spare you any further time commitment to my angst.  I hope you had a lovely holiday wkend (if this is your thing) & the beautiful weather that seemed to descend over everyone. I’m CONVINCED we have seen the last if the snow-enjoy!

so you want to run, eh? ha! nope

My body mocked me last week with regards to my intentions to run.  I’m fairly certain I could hear its “I’ll show you” day after day.  Needless to say, I didn’t prove it wrong.

Do others get all jacked up with the time change?  I think I am finally starting to feel more alert today and that’s probably because I already took a nap.  I will say, my exhaustion last week was a perfect storm of time change, health, a crazy busy week at work (worked through lunches and late almost every night) and a total lack of determination on my part made running a far off concept.

at least I kept trying, yeah?

I think during these times, it’s important to just go easy on myself (or yourself).  Absolutely, there were times when I said some harsh words in my head about my dedication and abilities but then I realized this wasn’t helping either.  I need to chalk it up to a tough week and move into this week with a fresh attitude.  So this is what I am going to do.

I also made a pot of chili today using the same Wendy’s recipe I used before.  It’s really good and an easy meal for weeknights.  Last week, I had a peanut butter sandwich almost every night so it will be a nice change!  I keep reading more and more about meal planning.  I haven’t quite found a system that will work for me but I’m not giving up.  One of my friends has a family of five (one kiddie is 4 months old) and she feeds her family on $350 A MONTH! Whaaa?  And, she just bumped this up from $300.  Wow!  I saw her in the grocery store the other day and I asked her how she does it.  Meal planning.

my attempts at meal planning look a bit like this

Meal planning vexes me!  I also find it so impressive!  The good thing is, I can eat leftovers for days.  I have no problem eating the same thing (sometimes for both lunch and dinner).  It comes down to it being easy.  Hmm… I just realized this – the whole “whatever is easy” part.  This is a good foundation…  I think…

Alright, I’ve wasted your time enough today.  I want to go running today, really, I do.  I’ll see – my couch is like quicksand… a really comfy quicksand…

reshuffling priorities

As I mentioned, my birthday was a couple of weeks ago.  Naturally, this means I get fairly introspective.  I am approaching this introspection differently this year, which is good – I’m not overanalyzing!  Or I’m not focusing on what I’m lacking in life rather what I feel is important and how to better focus on this.

I didn’t want to say but yeah… these are true, too!

I’ve been de-hoarding and reading some minimalist blogs.  MissMinimalist is a good one – I like how she says minimalism looks differently for each person.  This is nice to hear since I am never going to live in a 25 sq foot house.  Nevertheless, I know I want less stuff than I currently have.  Watching HGtv has driven this home even more.  Some participants say things like, “I need a bigger house for all of my stuff!” or “I need giant closets!”.  I’ve said these things too – in fact, in the last year even!  But I don’t want my belongings to dictate my future house/apt.

Then there are the larger life decisions – do I stay in MI?  Do I stay on my current career field?  I know, these are definitely the “biggie size” questions and I don’t focus on these everyday.  Although, I do keep them in the back of my mind.  I won’t make any of these changes for a year or so but since change is tough for me, it’s better that I think about these in advance!

My health is also my priority.  I made a lot of progress this past year and I’m looking forward to what I can accomplish/gain/learn this year.  Yes, running is included in this and getting a running coach was the first step in this area.  Also included is healthy eating and continuing to lower my anxiety.

Budget-smudget.  Why can’t I find budgeting exciting?!  While I do enjoy watching my bank account grow the urge to spend seems to hit once I see the progress.  Curses!  Many of my friends are very savvy with money.  Talking about money seems kind of taboo in our society but I’ve started asking friends how they do it.  I really do find it fascinating.  I also pin/read a lot of budget suggestions and tips.  Some of them definitely do not jive with my personality and others are decent ideas.  For me, setting these priorities is a great way to start.

friends and family! don’t thank me now but look what you’re getting for birthday/holiday gifts!

I feel good about these priorities.  They are spurring me into action!  Last weekend I realized my apt is completely lacking inspiration.  So, I’ve taken some action on this front – my home should be a place I enjoy not one I just exist in.  Not to mention, I have some nifty ideas that I can’t wait to share with you all!  And I dropped donations off, have the “sell” items in the car and have another “need to get rid of” pile started – yay!  Progress!

How do you go about setting priorities?  Do they change?

Are you good with a budget?  What are your secrets?!

cut my own hair? sure!

On Sunday, I wanted a haircut RIGHT NOW.  I was done.  It’s been about 4 months since my last cut, which is a lot considering I have shorter hair.  Typically, my style needs to kept up approximately every 6 weeks or so to keep its shape.  But I didn’t get around to it.

Then I wanted to be able to put my hair back for Dopey so I wanted to wait.  Suddenly, I couldn’t handle it any longer and I decided I was going to cut my hair myself.

enter ominous music

So yesterday, after working for a little while I went to Sally’s Beauty supply and bought a pair of hair scissors ($15.00), the clips to hold up my hair ($3.00), a handheld mirror ($5.00), a spray bottle ($2.50) and a comb ($1.00).  I told the women working the register what my plan was and they asked me if I had ever done it before.  I told them, “nope”.  That was the end of the conversation.  Oh, I could have purchased some scissors for $10.00 but I got the jazzy ones for $5.00 more.

haha, I was a bit apprehensive!
haha, I was a bit apprehensive!

I looked up tips and tricks online and found some good advice and not so good advice.  First of all, there were very few posts about how to cut/shape your shorter hair.  It was either long hair or pixie cuts.  This worried me slightly.  I found a youtube video that was okay and it was a woman cutting her long hair short.  But that was it.  Some of the solid tips were to cut it when it was wet (still doesn’t make sense to me), don’t cut a lot off at once, go slowly and practice.  Practice?  Basically, make sure you’ve cut your bangs or something a few times so you are comfortable.

yep, I’m beyond creative using an edward scissorhands gif!

Then I just went for it.  I got scissor happy at one point but after deeply cutting my finger, I slowed down.  One tip was to sketch out what you wanted your cut to look like.  I should have done this since I forgot I wanted to have some layers!  This meant I needed to cut the layers a bit shorter despite the fact I cut the bottom to the length I wanted.  So, my layers are a bit shorter than I first intentioned.

here is the before
here is the before

I sort of had an idea in my head about the final look but it wasn’t very concrete.  What did I want?  I wanted a cut where I could blow dry it and not have to use a curling iron to enhance the curls.  Or put some hair junk in it and go.  Seriously, this was my main motivation.  Lately, my hair was looking straggly and I wanted that gone too.

Here is what I came out with!  I’m proud of myself!

ta-da!  the after
ta-da! the after

Actually, I am really proud of myself!  I love the Bourne movies and in the first and third one the women have to change their appearance and just start hacking at their hair.  It always turns out really cute.  I felt I could do this too.  Yep, in my brain I know a stylist went back over it and made it look better but not my heart!

If you are thinking about cutting your own hair here are my tips:

1.  If you are nervous about doing stuff to your hair and/or are very particular don’t do it.

2.  I promise, your hair will not look like you just stepped out of a salon.  Thinking I could pull of something exactly or even similar too a salon visit would have set me up for disappointment.

3.  I knew I could get it fixed if need be.

4.  I’m pleased with my scissors – splurge on these if you go the diy route.

5.  Be careful!  The cut on my finger HURT.  I had to put the band-aid on tight to help the bleeding slow.  These little suckers are sharp.

6.  Take it slowly.  It was suggested to have a friend there too but I think this would be boring for a friend and again, I was impatient.

7.  Remember hair will grow back.  I’ve dyed my hair black, orange (strawberry blonde gone wrong) and blue – not all at once!  I’ve had some really bad haircuts and I permed my own hair once.  Since I’ve given my hair a workout I wasn’t too worried about messing up.

I have no idea if I could do it again.  I’ll try and it will probably end up with a bit different of a style!  While I didn’t set out to do this strictly for the money-saving piece, I’m taking the win.  I like the idea of going to my stylist once or twice a year and then keeping up the style on my own.  Yay!  My handiwork is pretty nifty.

Have or do you cut your own hair?

What other kinds of beauty routines to you do on your own?

ground sirloin taste on a ground chuck budget

Friday I went to the grocery store.  It was one of those trips where I needed toiletries along with food so the bill was heftier than I wanted.  That’s when I realized a) food is expensive – why do we have to eat?!  b) last week I bought two pairs of cords and two shirts for LESS than this grocery bill!  c) it’s quite possible I could have gone a bit cheaper on this trip.  Here is the rundown:

Non-food items: body wash, female products, cold cream – I didn’t NEED the cold cream.  I saw this commercial for Abaline and I thought, “hey, that’s cool!  Washing my face with cold cream, just like in the 50’s!”  I’m sure my decade is way off but I like the sound of it.  The cold cream was on clearance but was still $3.95

does the skin right!

Cat food:  Simon is one lucky and picky cat.  I stocked up on treats and cat food.  I also put down puppy training pads right outside of his litter box so he cleans his feet a bit.  It also stops him from tracking litter onto the carpet.

Regular food:  I’m making some white chicken chili this weekend and needed most of the ingredients for this.  Except for the chicken, which I already have, thankfully, as it wasn’t on sale.  Bacon, eggs, bananas, a frozen pizza (I despise cooking on Friday night), a jug of water and tomatoes.

Coffee:  I have a problem but we all knew this already.  I needed creamer (I bought 3 or 4 bottles) and coffee.  I finally found some coffee that I really like and is actually fairly cheap.  A bag is $5.00.  I really like grocery store blends/roasts and strongly recommend them.  All of my favorites are non-big coffee chains.

Kind Bars:  while these are so, so good they are not “kind” to my budget (ha!)!  They were on sale for $1.39 per bar.  Since I used to eat granola bars/breakfast bars for breakfast this is a great alternative.  It keeps me full a lot longer, it’s all natural and with a banana I’m good to go.

Chobani Flips:  yep, still in love with these!  My fridge is stocked and I eat this for breakfast or lunch.  These aren’t cheap either but my obsession controls my pocket-book!

When I write it out, it doesn’t seem like that much.  I do buy chocolate milk for after running and to take my meds with at night.  I didn’t buy a lot of snack foods although I did buy my current favorite chocolate, Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate and Caramel squares – oh so yummy

Still, where does all the money go?  My cart wasn’t even all the way full!  Sometimes when I am going through aisle and see families I don’t understand how they feed everyone!  Not to mention, our sales tax isn’t bad at all.  In WA it’s 8%.  While my budget could withstand some ground sirloin it better supports ground chucking it.  I’ve been thinking a lot about budget lately and how I use/spend my money.  There is something to be said for learning how to better manage my funds when I’m doing okay rather than when I’m financially pinched.  I’m almost completely out of credit card debt.  I’m ecstatic about this considering it will be the first time in 15 years where I won’t be dragging a credit card ball and chain.  Oddly enough, the other day when I went to buy my Hokas, the price tag made me a bit nervous at first (they were mega on sale so I bought two pairs)  so I almost put it on my credit card to make me feel better.  Thankfully, I realized this was silly.  It’s a habit.  I can fool myself into thinking I’m not really spending the money if I put it on the little 3.370 × 2.125 in piece of plastic with the magic black strip.

breaking the habit is hard – rejoice!

Then there is my running budget – absolutely a whole other post!

self esteem > budget

Saturday was friend get-together day!  Instead of swapping gifts, we meet up and do some kind of activity together.  It’s great since two of them live an hour and 15 mins away (in opposite directions of course!) and my other friend lives in town but our schedules don’t seem to match up all the time.  So a day devoted to our friendship and fun is fabulous!

well, this almost happened

M and I started the day with a run.  It was my first run since Dopey and M had a baby 8 weeks ago and it was her third or fourth run back.  Let me just say, she is a champ!  Check out her blog here for adorable baby pics and her post-baby fitness routine.  I really appreciate how M finds pockets of time to be active with snowpocalypse and a wee babe!

in case you forgot what we looked like
in case you forgot what we looked like – old pic but totally works, just add more snow

After 3.5 fridgid (seriously, it was 17* and with a feels like 4) we quickly changed and headed out to meet up with L at our new Baskin Robbins!  Yay!  Really quick, the run felt good.  I could feel it working out some racing kinks but yesterday my legs felt fairly fatigued.  My knee tweak was also annoying me.  Saturday night my feet hurt too and I am not sure if this was from the run or the mall-shopping extravaganza.

Coffee in hand we hit the mall.  Here’s the deal, it’s not exactly like I haven’t been spending some cash lately.  I’ve been wanting to build my reserves back up from the holidays and my vacation so I wasn’t planning on purchasing much.

I’m going to start calling my savings account the “banana stand”

HA!  I laid out some cash.  The economy should send me a thank you card.  Part of the catalyst for my change of heart/mind was Thursday I noticed my favorite pants are starting to get a hole in them.  Granted, I’ve had these pants for 6 or 7 years but I only have a couple of pairs that I feel look decent, i.e. aren’t summer capris, don’t make me look like a street walker because they are so tight, or gigantic from my much heavier days.  Yes, I’ve kept some of these clothes but this is a subject for a post on another day.

While I’ve been kicking up the fashion a bit lately by getting creative with my closet, having two pairs of pants in the middle of an arctic winter is difficult.  Considering what I just mentioned above about the state of my other pants, there is something to be said about feeling confident in what I am wearing.  Stuffing myself into a pair of pants so I have to stand in a certain way or suck in my tummy all day makes me feel really down on myself.  I don’t think about how I just ran 48.6 miles in four days.  I think about how I’m a failure and should be losing weight.  Boo.

body image quote 2So spending some money is worth it.  I’ve had this realization before but it took some talks with my friends to realize it again.  I’m worth it!  My body is worth it!  And feeling good about myself begets healthier habits – whether it’s to maintain weight and fitness or to improve it.  Dealing with depression has brought on approximately 15 lbs and I need to stop feeling ashamed of this and instead embrace the fact that I’ve made it to the other side of the depression.

Oh yeah and the SALES!  This definitely made it easier!  For instance?  I got two pairs of cords from Ann Taylor Loft for $40.  I bought four bras that were each $16.00 – and this was from Victoria.  Probably TMI but I think nice underlovlies equals higher self-worth (for me).  Why?  Because I’m even spending money on something the world doesn’t see!  Just my own theory/view.

this was the first time I’ve enjoyed shopping for regular clothes in at least a year!

All in all, it was a great day!

What do you do if you are having a low self-esteem day?

Do you love or loathe shopping?