Monday, October 31, 2011

October Wrap-up and November Goals

Sad but true
Remember last month when I said that I was going to run 100 miles in the month of October?  Well, it was a good month.  I smashed my goal of 100 miles and actually ran 114, which is an average of 28.5 per month--the most I've ever run!  Like a fine wine, I am getting better with age.

In addition to being awesome at sport, I was also pretty awesome about not buying clothes, despite encountering temptation seemingly every day.  I stuck it out (except for those pants)!  I feel good, either way.

I kind of failed at my weekly remixing, but I'll keep that up on a semi regular basis--I promise.  I feel like the remixing is making me a bit aware of how bland my wardrobe is, and it makes me anxious that I'm going to subliminally use that as an excuse to shop.  My life and the lives of those who have to look at me would all be greatly improved by the addition of new skirts and colorful tights to my wardrobe, no?  Then I remind myself that I'm running out of hangers, which brings me to a November and life goal.

Goal 1: One in/ one out.

I am not buying any more hangers.  I am not.  Presently, I don't actually know if I have enough for the clothes I own, because through the wearing/ washing rotation things get moved around.  So I'm putting my foot down to myself that I may not buy anything new unless I'm prepared to get rid of something else.  If I don't have anything I want to get rid of, then I must have all I need, right?  Note: I'm not going to count all the closet culling as an excuse to go buy new duds--promise!

I just got notice that my car insurance is due in December (why do I always forget!?!?!), so I have to spend more money than I would like on that.

Goal 2: Scrabble together enough money for six months of car insurance.

If you pay them twice a year instead of every month, you save money.  In my case, about $60.  That's enough for a cute dress from Modcloth, which makes the twice-a-year pain totally worth it.

Goal 3: Put any and all extra cash toward student loans and IRA.

I'm never going to pay off my student loans, because even if I gave them everything I could, the amount is just too high.  Plus, I have the added bonus that when I finally find a full time job, it will be at a qualified non-profit which entitles me to loan forgiveness after ten years.  What I would like, however, is to pay off as much of that stupid interest as I can.  Every dollar I pay toward interest is also a dollar that is tax-deductible, so this can be my end-of-year push for a nice-sized tax deduction.

For the IRA, since it's a Roth IRA, I can only put in $5000 per year at most.  I'm nowhere near that, but should get as close as I comfortably can so I can take advantage of that compound interest!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spooky Link Love

  • I'm craptastic at coming up with Halloween costume ideas, but the lovely Annabelle at Shopping Detox is a master!  She's clearly been thinking about this for a long time, while I hastily borrowed a nun costume from a friend simply because it was free, comfortable and warm.  That's all I care about, man.  But if you're not like me, then spend some time with Annabelle.
  • I think I found my new source for kick-ass recipes!  Peas and Thank You has scads of delicious recipes, and they're all vegetarian!!!!  This is terribly exciting for me, and I'll let you know how this turns out: 
Curried Sweet Tater Tot Casserole
OMG, I salivate just looking at that.

Here is a story about why I'm extra excited to eat this: Where I'm from, we call casserole Hotdish.  Scoff if you want, but no other word so perfectly sums up what you're eating than the word Hotdish.  Hotdish comes in a plethora of flavors--indeed it's among the most versatile foods, but one of my all time favorites has always been Tator Tot Hotdish.
Each family has a different version of this  dish,
and ours did not include french fried onions,
but you get the gist of it.
Trouble is, Tator Tot Hotdish, or Totdish as I prefer to call it, is made with ground beef, which I stopped eating when I was 15!  I tried, last year, to make a Totdish with the fake beef substitute, but it was just not quite right (though I did eat it all).  This curried sweet potato variety is just different enough and just delicious enough sounding, that I think my longing will all go away!  I'll let you know!

  • By now you're probably sick of hearing me ramble on about the American Midwest, so here's the perspective of a recent transplant on the blog Becoming Midwestern.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My New Obsession

I invented a recipe two days ago that I can't stop thinking about.

It's officially fall here in New England, which means that the foliage is off the chain, and all I want to do is eat soup, sip tea and gaze longingly out a window while reading a Gothic novel.
I took this when I was out for a run the other day--gorgeous!
Naturally, the window of my office overlooks a parking lot and the back of a sushi restaurant, so I haven't been indulging this longing--but I will!  I'll just find another window.  What I have been doing, however, is coming up with new ways to eat barley, as I often do, and I've hit upon a winner--big time.

I made up a batch of barley in the crock pot the other day (1c pearl barley, 2c water, heat on high for ~3 hours), and I needed something to do with it.  Enter: Frozen vegetables.  BF and I eat a lot of those pre-made frozen vegetable bags because 
  1. He can't cook and refuses to learn (he's a scientist, says he has to keep his mind uncluttered so he can focus on science).
  2. I work 50 hours a week plus commuting and want to spend my limited downtime squeezing my cat and/or watching Friday Night Lights instead of chopping vegetables.
  3. These bags allow you to get a variety of vegetables without having to buy like seven different kinds and then stress yourself out trying to figure out what to do with them.
What I did, was take the cooked barley and mixed it with Steamfresh Asian Vegetable Blend:
So good!
Add a wee bit of olive oil, a dash of salt and a few small squirts of sriracha sauce and you have a delicious lunch and dinner that I've been eating for the last two days and will be having again just as soon as I'm hungry.

It cost about $2 for a big bag of barley, so I guess I used about $.20 worth, and the bag of veg was $2.  This makes about three servings at $.75 each.  So awesome.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Foodstuffs Challenge

A friend posted on her blog recently that she's dismayed that she and her husband spend $120 per month on groceries.  This figure absolutely blew me away and all I could respond with was something along the lines of "I wish we only spend $120 a month!" Prior to the implementation of the shared household credit card, I had budgeted for $200 a month for food.  That did include eating out, but as I rarely do that, it wasn't much of a factor.  Now that we have the shared card, I've noticed that we're consistently going up to and sometimes over (though a lot of that had to do with replacing a fridge worth of food) that $300 a month.  It seems completely bonkers that we're spending that much, but the credit card statement doesn't lie--I checked.

Since losing all our dry goods to the pantry moths and all our fridge and freezer goods to Tropical Storm Irene, I feel like I've really reigned in the grocery shopping.  We don't have a huge backstock of items, the freezer is emptier than ever before and the fridge is mostly full of good, home-made leftovers--so where the hell is all my money going?

I use coupons for the items I purchase frequently--yogurt, some frozen pizza; I buy store brands far more frequently than name brands and I don't buy soda (except bf has a ginger ale habit), and I spend a fair amount of time at the discount/remaindered stores i.e. Big Lots and Ocean State Job Lot (where I just got a great deal on almonds!).  For the month of November, I'm going to pay closer attention to where exactly the money is going.  I'm going to scrutinize the receipts, and try to trim the fat, so to speak.  According to my records, I went to the grocery October 6 and October 21 and spent ~$120 each time plus there was a $63 trip to Trader Joe's that was mostly coffee.  Maybe this month is an anomaly?  I certainly don't buy coffee every month and I'm set for the next three, so maybe November will not be so bad.

Either way, I'm not getting down to $120 any time soon, but if I really analyze my bills, maybe I can figure out a  way to save on the items that are putting me over the edge.  Should be fun, right?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shoes, But Not The Fun Kind

That's exactly what I look like when I run!
Just kidding, Kara Goucher is super speedy and
much hotter than I.
I've never really been a shoe-gal.  I like shoes, obviously, but I'm super picky about them and would much rather spend the money on clothes or other accessories.  My goal is to have one pair of black shoes, one of brown, black and brown boots, blue sneakers, and black and brown sandals.  That's really all I need to be happy, but today I was reminded of that other type of shoe that seems to eat up all my money i.e. running shoes.

When I started running, five years ago, I did not have proper running shoes and gave myself a stress fracture in my right foot.  It was incredibly painful, very inconvenient, and not something I'd ever like to do again.  Since that time, I've spent thousands on good quality running shoes so I can avoid wrecking my feet, back, knees--everything.  The trouble is, the makers of quality running shoes know that people like me have a real need for their product, and they try to squeeze as many pennies out of runners as they can.

My brand of choice is Nike.  I'm not saying that they're the best and I'm certainly aware of the fact that their business practices are often unethical, but they are the only brand I've tested (it costs a lot to test out shoes!) that have provided a shoe that works for my foot, so I'm stuck with them.  Nike knows that I'm going to need to keep buying their shoes, so they keep changing things.  I replace my running shoes every six months or so--depending on how many miles I put into them--so every time I go back to Nike, my old variety of shoes is gone and now I have to try to figure out a whole new shoe, which takes up a lot of time and money.

But I've figured out a way around that.

In a kicky shade of red!
Two years ago, I found a shoe that I really liked: the Nike Air Max + Moto 6.  I then waited until the shoe had been around a little while, and bought up all the pairs I could find on clearance.  That means I got two years' worth of shoes that I like for about half price.  Now, I'm down to my last box, which means in six months time, I will need another new pair. Nike is already up to Max + Moto 9, so I'm going to try out the Moto 8 and see how those work for me.  If they do, then I'm going to grab a closet's worth and stash them away til I need them.  Not only does this system save me the hassle of going to the store or interrupting my running routine while I wait for shipping, but it also saves me money!

What else could be bought in bulk and hoarded like this?  I've tried it with food and that was a mistake, but there must be other things that people need to acquire semi-regularly that don't go bad that can be bought in large chunks.  Does anyone else have a system like this?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kind of Amazing

I don't know why, but every time I really focus on paying down my credit cards, I'm always amazed how simply spending less and making larger payments seems to decimate those huge numbers.  Of course, when I say huge number, I mean something like $1,000 as opposed to $10,000, but I've been in that boat too (and it took waaaaay longer to pay that off, but I was still buying lots of stuff, so I think we've found our pattern).

For example, this month, the month of No Clothes Buying, I started out with an uncomfortably high balance on my Amex and on my Old Navy Card.  I'm pleased to say that I just authorized a payment to Old Navy that will pay that card off in full, and leave me a little $10 cushion for when I need a little clothing pick-me-up.  It's like a built-in coupon.  I know it's kind of stupid to keep a credit balance in an account that doesn't earn interest, but it's such a paltry amount that it doesn't really matter anyway.

Also, and this may just be me, but my brain sees that extra $10 as a kind of gift card, which means that it's something I don't want to squander, which means I tend to think twice as hard about what to spend it on.  It's bizarre, but it works.  I suggest you try it.

For my Amex, I started out the month with a $1,000+ balance due to all of those electronics I had to buy in a short amount of time.  After closing my smartypig account and redirecting those funds to Amex, plus using a bit more money from savings plus paychecks, I'm pleased to report that that balance is shrinking rapidly as well, despite the fact that I'm still using that card to buy gas and other necessities.

So yes, the month of October is working out quite well, but I am saddened that I won't be able to add more to my IRA and send an extra payment to my student loan folks--next month!

I have one confession to make RE: Not Buying Clothes.  I did buy a pair of pants from Target---BUT--- let me explain myself.

  1. These are pants that I already own in another color, and I've had those for about six months.  Therefore, I know that they're going to last, and that I like the way they fit over time--that's worth jumping on when the opportunity presents itself.
  2. I got them hella on sale.  They were the Target Daily Deal, already marked down to $15 and I had a $5 coupon, plus I got free shipping.  That means I got $10 pants that I know I'm going to like and wear often.  
  3. I returned a skirt to ModCloth that I had paid $55 for, so technically I un-spent money on clothes this month despite buying the pants.  I know that's not in keeping with the spirit of not buying, but I couldn't pass up such a swell deal on clothes that I know fit well, hold up, and match a lot of my wardrobe.
I feel slight shame, but I'm still pretty please with how I've resisted (most) temptation.  I also went to Target the other day and discovered that they have a cardigan in the most perfect shade of red that I've been looking for for years!  Plus purple!  But I walked away!  Look at how strong I am!

Nine days left....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Food Waste Friday: A Forest of Dill

I sent BF out to buy dill a few weeks back because I was making tzatziki sauce.  I've never bought dill, which is kind of amazing to me, so I don't know if what he returned with is the standard amount, or if the market that he went to is just one where you get a lot of dill for your buck, but holy crap--I got a lot of dill.  I tried to use it up, I made dill roasted potatoes, tzatziki sauce, I feel like I added it to everything I could, and in fact, everything in my crisper started to taste like it.  It's been a very dilly month.  Sadly, even with my valient effort, I just couldn't eat it up.

I ended up throwing away about 3/4 of the bunch, which pains me greatly.  I should have realized right away that I couldn't consume that much dill and just dried it, but I also don't really know how to dry dill....  Instead, it went into the trash--damnit.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Remix Round Five: Wrap Dress

I almost went two weeks without a remix!  Argh!  So sorry about that; I've been feeling a bit sluggish and fat these days and didn't really want to try on or photograph any clothes--I'm sure you understand.  It's that odd weather time of year where it looks like fall, but occasionally still gets pretty warm.  I'm yearning to wear nothing but sweaters, but then I'd sweat constantly.  Basically, this is a tough time for me, wardrobewise.

I came up with an experimental outfit that I'm quite on the fence about, so would appreciate any and all feedback my lovely readers have for me.

Back Story:
I hate wearing button-down shirts.  I find them uncomfortable because the collars always seem to sit really high on me, they gap in the front, they always ride up my waist, and it always seems like small is slightly too small, but medium is huge and shapeless.  The problem is, I love to wear sweatervests, and I love the way a button-down looks under a v-neck sweater, and I feel like if I'm going to be "professional" I have to own some of these damn shirts, so I keep buying the damn things and then never wear them.

This morning, I was rooting through my closet and I espied these two, short-sleeved button down shirts I bought last year.
Another problem is that I always get really excited and buy two
of everything, and then when I discover the item is imperfect for me
I have two of it.

When I wear these shirts (which is rarely--I think I've worn each once), I usually put a cami underneath and leave the top button undone.  This solves the collar and the gaping problem, but may look a bit sexier than I want to at the public library.  So I thought I might try putting one of these shirts under a basic black wrap dress that I have.

Here's how I usually wear the wrap dress:
Nude or fun-colored cami underneath--easy peasy
Here it is with the silver button-down:
Gah! That collar is grazing my ears--so uncomfortable!
It looks a bit like a romper, which I don't mind, but I also feel like it makes me look a bit fat, though that may be the pizza I had last night and not the outfit.

What's the verdict on this one?  Weird?  Good?  I should just stop trying with the button-downs and let the dream die?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cheaper to Buy Quality?

For a couple years, I've been operating on the principle that by paying a little more for clothes that last upfront, you actually do better than by buying a bunch of cheap clothes that don't wear well. My wardrobe is "classic" enough that my clothes don't (or shouldn't) go out of style, and I'm constantly trying to practice the art of accessorizing. The problem is, I'm still broke enough that even when I invest in good quality pieces, it seems like they still don't last.

I fear I'm being duped by the price tag, and am paying more for equally shoddy clothes.  Perhaps I'm just too fickle to not replace my wardrobe seasonally, but I keep going into the store thinking I need to get a pair of classic dark gray pants, and then the next year, I need new grey pants again.

I do have clothes that I've had for years. The pair of jeans I recently discovered have a hole in the crotch, I've been wearing those for years--long enough to wear a hole in the crotch. So I don't feel like those were a waste of money, I actually wore them out, but there are so many other clothes that I either wear once, then wash and they fit weird, or that just don't hold up like good clothes should, that I feel like I'd be better off just not thinking of clothes as investments.

For example, I do a lot of shopping at Old Navy, and Old Navy clothes have become much better made over the years, but when I became a professional (read: grownup, I guess), I decided to invest in what I thought were good quality clothes that would build my professional wardrobe and I upgraded to Banana Republic. I have very little patience for shopping, and this seemed like a logical next step. Trouble is, these clothes really are not holding up well at all.  Most are dry-clean only, so I haven't even washed them, but they just start to pill and stretch out funny and just don't look as good as something I paid that much for should look.

My new beef is with Victoria's Secret, however, and I am legitimately curious how often other gals replace their bras.  I feel like if I spend $60 for a Biofit® bra, it should last me at least three years.  Turns out, not so much.  Am I just paying for the name?  Does all that space age, NASA technology not really mean anything?  It seems like by the end of a year, the straps are completely stretched out, in fact everything's stretched out.  If my modest chest can wreck a bra in a year, what are the poor, bustier ladies dealing with !?!?!?

Yesterday I went to Target and bought two new bras.  I know I'm not supposed to be spending money on clothes, but I don't count this as clothes.  I got two bras for $30 as opposed to one for $60 and I'm pleased as can be.  In fact, I'm wearing one as I write this and it's the most comfortable bra I've worn recently--and it only cost $14.99!

I'm legitimately torn about this.  Even when shopping at cheaper stores, I do examine the material, seams and other construction elements to see if the item will fall apart after one wearing, but sometimes it's just impossible to know.  Then again, I could be using this as an excuse to buy new things all the time, but I don't think I am.  Has anyone else found a high-end brand that seems to hold up well?  Am I just not going high enough?

Saturday, October 15, 2011


A mere FOUR DAYS after my triumphant 10 days without buying clothes post, I faced a wicked temptation that all began in the strangest way.

 I was at work, at the public library, wearing a rather plain but exquisitely comfortable outfit when an old man told me that I looked like a nun.  A nun.  Aside from Maria in the Sound of Music, I don't even know what nuns looks like, but I know that that's not what I was going for.

I wasn't even wearing black!
Naturally, my shock prompted me to take to facebook and exclaim:
An old man just told me that he thought I was a nun. Umm, this skirt is from American Apparel, guy, that's not nun-wear. Harrumph
This prompted a comment-debate between my friends finally culminating in me showing them the outfit I was wearing and getting feedback on its level of nun-ness.

This Skirt

With this V-Neck Tee, except mine is lighter blue

And, of course, I was wearing a cardigan, because it gets chilly in the library. 

Certainly this was not my most colorful or interesting outfit, but I hardly think it's nun-like.  What do you guys think?

The part where the temptation comes in, is when I went online to find a picture of the skirt I was wearing, and realized that American Apparel is having a sale-- a really good sale.  On sale, along with dozens of other things I want to wear are: brightly colored tights (which I've already mentioned I need to wear more of), solid colored sweater vests (which I've been looking for for years!), and the magical skirt pictured above.  I already own that skirt in navy, black and brown because it's sensible to buy a lot of neutral colors, but it's on sale for $16 and for that price I'd be a fool not to get red and green and possibly white and then I could dye it!

So last night, I spent a significant amount of time adding things to my shopping basket, feeling horribly guilty as I pictured that angry red line on my account that says I have overspent on my clothes budget.  So I stopped.  The clothes are still in my shopping basket, but I will not purchase them.

For the rest of the month, this blog may read a bit like a clothes AA meeting, but I'm trying to stay strong!  I've reached the halfway point--15 more days to go.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This is Fantastic

This actually makes me with I had accounts with a stupid bank that is going to start charging fees just so I could break up with them in grand fashion.  Instead, I'm pretty happy with the banks I have, but encourage everyone else to dump their big bank, open an account with a credit union or ING.  Save yourself $60/year and spend it on something you want instead of making rich people richer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gah! Electronics!

I'm not a gadget girl, not by a long shot.  I see the newest, shiniest thing out on the market that all the people are salivating over and I think something like do I need that?  I wouldn't use that and then I don't buy it.  It's actually one of the things I like best about myself.  Obviously, because of the world we live in, there are a few things one needs to be more comfortable/ reachable by others.

  • Cell Phone
  • Computer + Internet (the better to blog to you, my dears)
  • Some kind of music device
I don't know, did I miss anything?  These are my big three, and they don't really cost much at all, except, like in recent months when all needed to be replaced pretty much one after the other.

Exhibit A: The iPod
I mentioned a while back that I needed a new iPod.  My old one was full, and I didn't want to delete anything. As I have had it for about six years, and paid for it with the money earned by selling my CDs (I had a LOT of CDs) this is a justifiable purchase.  As regular readers will recall, I started a savings account, and saved up nearly all I needed to pay for this item before I purchased it.  So really, the iPod is the least of my concerns right now because it's paid for.

Exhibit B: The Computer
My laptop is about four years old, and it's served me well.  I don't need a super-fancy computer, my needs are pretty basic, but I ran into a few problems with this item in the past year.

1. I got a virus.  I got a virus so bad that I had to give my laptop to a friend, and he had to restore it and rebuild it.  Thankfully, I have a friend who can do that and doesn't charge me for it, but it kind of freaked me out.  Then, after the restore, I started having issues with my wireless internet.  My friend had upgraded me to Windows 7, which apparently does not play nicely with the particular laptop I have.  I re-installed drivers, did everything the internet told me to do, and it just would not work right.  BF then bought me a little gadget that you can plug in, and it makes the wireless work!  I was very content with that until...

2. The whole thing just seized.  I installed Skype (one of my best friends lives in Indonesia--long story), and Spotify (as stated above, I enjoy good tunes) and these two programs just overwhelmed my poor machine.  I deleted as much as I could from the hard drive, but to no avail.  Once I reach the point where it takes five minutes+ to open firefox, I go shopping.

3. I bought a new laptop.  I got a good price on a good machine that has all the bells and whistles I desire, plus a few I haven't figured out yet.  Problem is, it was a nearly $600 unexpected expense, and that has sent me into a bit of a budgetary tailspin even though, that's a damn good price for what I got.

Exhibit C: Storage
In an effort to back up my stuff, and keep new laptop from being overloaded, I bought an external harddrive.  "What's that?" you ask, "You didn't already know you should have one of those in case your computer crashes like it did last year?"  Answer: "Yes, damnit, I knew!"  But I hadn't acted.  Buying a storage device is simply not fun, but now I can say awesome things like, "I have a terrabyte of backup space--yeah!"

So in the past month, I have spent approximately $1000 on gadgetry.  The good news, I won't spend anything on gadgets for probably five years.  The bad news is, of course, the outstanding balance on my Amex.  But, silver lining, I took old laptop back to awesome computer-fixing friend, and he will get it ready to sell on to the next person, and I will recoup some of my spending.  And the other good news, is that now that I have two iPods, I can use one in the car, and I won't be burning CDs / listening to the same music all the time i.e. my friends won't have to listen to nothing but Madonna, but they'll still be able to choose to.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day Ten!

I did a search for ugly clothes--don't want to be tempted!
I don't want to get ahead of myself, but it is officially Day 10 of the month of October, which means it's also Day 10 of me not buying any clothes!  I'm doing it, people!  Just 21 more days to go.

I have to say, what really did it for me was that trip to the mall the day before this challenge started.  Not only did I have a run in with an ugly human being at New York & Company, but I went to Old Navy--with a $10 gift certificate-- and just didn't see anything I wanted at all.  All of the knits looked cheap and 80's (not in a good way), and it seems that cropped sweaters are coming back? Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew--not a fan.

In keeping with my stated guidelines for this challenge, I have stopped checking modcloth daily (and just leaving it open and hitting refresh), I unsubscribed from all emails that want to sell me clothes, and I unliked Old Navy on facebook.

I honestly feel really good--kind of how I imagine a colon cleanse would feel.  I keep going into my closet and discovering new clothes as well.  Just a minute ago, I was culling out some of the free race t-shirts I've gotten over the years but never/ rarely worn, and I found two long sleeved white layering t's that are so old they're discoloring and rotting at the seams.  Why do I have those?  Why keep them?!?!?!  Probably the poor don't even want them, but I'll throw them in the donation bag anyway.  Woot woot!

And now for something completely different.  Today is Columbus Day, which is  ridiculous holiday that I didn't even realize people still celebrated until I moved to Rhode Island.  Apparently, instead of Columbus Day, South Dakotans celebrate Native American day--good job SD.  But because of this horribly offensive and ill-informed day, I get a wee bit o holiday pay, and a day off, so I can't complain about that.

What a dick

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Podcast Link Love

  • A friend of mine has been doing a podcast--The Past Forward Podcast-- for a few months, and he asked me to contribute!  If you want to hear Nate and I talk about our convoluted friendship, the Midwest, travel, librarianship and much more!--check it out.
  • Color Me Katie breathes some new, and cute, life into an old pair of shoes.
  • I love Serendipity's "Why Should I Tip?" series
  • Making Sense of Cents posted a link to a super-handy budget calculator.  I have my budget categories all sorted (kinda), but it's always handy to revisit and tweak the numbers, especially since I would like to save more and be less frivolous.
  • One of my favorite blogs--There, I Fixed it--does Historical Thursday posts where they reexamine some of the hilarious and brilliant innovations of the past.  This one, Crazy Cookery Creations is the most interesting thing I've seen in quite a while.

This is a machine that allows you to dunk your donut in a cup of coffee and then take a bite of it without having to get your hands dirty--Genius!
  • Need to dump your bank now that the fees are coming?  Here's a list of a few big banks and what their fees are.  My opinion--just go to ING.  On a personal note, I'd just like to add:  Bank of America, you are an asshole, and these new fees are just going to make people stop using you.  My two banks don't charge me any fees, one gives me free check blanks and $.10 every time I use my debit card, and the other actually has one of the best rates on my savings account.  Since tax dollars saved you from going under, it's really, really in poor form to turn around and add on a bunch of extra fees just so your shareholders can continue to earn a tidy profit.  This is going to cost you in the long run.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Food Waste Friday: Nothing!

Admittedly, I have some dill that's looking kind of peaked, but it's still technically useable, so doesn't count!  I was right on the edge this time around.  I had roasted some potatoes the other day and was TERRIFIED that no one would eat them before thy went bad.  Then BF needed a quick meal before Irish language class last night--potatoes it is!

Also, for dinner last night, I made a mini pizza with creamed spinach from the night before, tomatoes and feta on a pita pocket.  That certainly wasn't planned, but it was magnificent!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Remix: Round Four

This is not quite a full remix, more a tribute to the power of accessories.
This is one of my favorite outfits.  I'm obsessed with horizontal stripes lately, and I think this is a lovely, classic, slightly Parisian look that I am in very real danger of overdoing.  Usually, I pair this emsemble with a red cardigan and call it good, this time I decided to work in an accessory that I've had for a while but haven't worn yet.

Fabulous blue tights!
Every damn morning I go for a run and I see Brown University and RISD students walking around in kick-ass bright tights.  I've had these blue tights for a while, but could just not figure out how to make them work.  I'd try them on with various outfits, but it always ended up looking silly.  Then I worried that I'm too old for bright tights and that this trend has passed me by!  Then I calm down, and try to figure something else out (it's a process)  I'm pretty pleased with the way this turned out, I have to say.

Once I get to work, I'll need to cover up since it's always cold there, so I jettisoned my bright red cardigan for a more subdued gunmetal and added a kicky scarf:

What do you think?  Also, anyone have any other ideas for the bright blue tights, or am I just completely overthinking things?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Taking Steps

As stated in my monthly goals post, I am not going to buy new clothes for the month of October.  Long time readers of this blog may remember that when I make blanket statements like, for instance, February is a No-Buy month, I fail miserably and quickly.  No why bother making these grand pronouncements?  I've got plans, people.

Like any addiction, I'm taking this one day at a time and implementing rules:
  1. No checking Modcloth's website several times a day like it's a gossip blog.
  2. Unsubscribe from Old Navy emails
  3. Whenever I feel the urge to purchase, I will turn instead to my closet FULL of clothes, and remix an outfit.
  4. Whenever I feel the urge to approach a store, I will remember "The Ugly Incident" from this past Sunday when I went to the mall to return something to Old Navy (return!), and oh so innocently went into New York & Company just to see what was up.
The Ugly Incident:
New York & Company had a giant sign up in their doorway pronouncing that every shopper who entered the store on that day would get a scratch off card.  Scratching off the card reveals the percentage of savings you get on one item--up to 60%.  I was having a chat with the girl handing out cards when an older woman approached, and completely interrupted us.

"So if this is already 60% off and I get 60% off from you, then this is basically free?"

The sales associate reminded her that she could save up to 60% off, but would have to scratch off the card to find out her savings.

"Oh, so you lied then."

The woman went right from interrupting us, to accusing this poor girl of lying in less than 30 seconds--and she's obviously stupid if she thinks two 60% off coupons means you get 120% off.  I wanted to yell at her, but it wasn't my fight (and the sales associate was doing pretty well without me---go you!).

For the rest of the month, I will remember that stores are full of ugly people and I don't want to be around them.  I purposely went to the mall on a Sunday because I hoped that I would come out irritated and turned off--and it worked!

This also fits in well with my other two goals.  In order to run 100 miles this month, I have to do a lot of running which renders me too tired to shop.  Also, goal number two, Don't be such a spaz, means that I'll be using my downtime in rewarding  and fulfilling ways and will not need to shop to fill a void.  Win/win, everyone's a winner.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October Goals

I think October is my favorite month.  My favorite month, when I lived in the Midwest was September, but since winter starts later here, let's bump that back to October, shall we?  Not only is the air crisp, cool and refreshing, but we are slowly approaching------     FOLIAGE TIME!
I am officially a total foliage nerd.  Last year, I was snapping pictures out of my car window on my way to work (not recommended), and I reveled in my long commutes because it meant I could spend more time ogling leaves.  Ogling leaves is free, so you can see why I'm so excited.

For a bit of perspective, this is where I grew up:
Gorgeous as well, but a bit more spare
Not right here, this is a picture I took while driving down the interstate (not recommended), but I grew up on the prairie where we get about two days of foliage before all the leaves fall off and it starts blizzarding, plus, there are just fewer trees.

Foliage, y'all.  I'm pumped!

But enough about that, it's time to decide how to be responsible with my money for this lovely, foliagetastic month.

Presently, I am about two months over on my clothes budget.  What I mean by that, is that my account will not get rid of the angry, red "you went over budget!" line until November--if I don't buy any clothes in October, but I have a balance due on my Old Navy card, so even that's not going to happen.  The outfit remixing is going well, so I'm just going to stay on task, and really, really try not to buy anything new.  Plus, I get to break into my sweater collection again, which is very exciting.

October challenge: No New Clothes!

It's not all bad though.  I'm back to my two days off a month work schedule, which bums me out, but I have been doing better at not frivoling away my downtime.  I bribed myself into running errands the other day by promising myself a Salted Caramel Mocha at Starbucks, and it totally worked!  I got not only a feeling of accomplishment, but also a delicious beverage in my tummy.  So I need to remember not to be so extreme.  I don't have to get everything done in one day, just chip away at the list bit-by-bit.

October Challenge: Don't be such a spaz!

This month, and the month of May, I came within four miles of my uber monthly goal of running 100 miles (my regular goal is an average of 62 miles a month to meet my annual goal of 750--I like spreadsheets, ok?).  This month, I'm going to nail that goal to the wall.  I have a half marathon and a five mile run coming up, and I've been logging a lot of miles and feeling fantastic.  Plus, I have this adorable running jacket to wear once the days start getting a little chilly.

October Challenge: 100 Miles!

I'm ready, and a little bit excited.  I've been feeling erratic and frenzied, but now I've got that calm, zen thing going on, probably because I'm not sweating all the time (I can't handle the heat--can't).  What does everyone else have planned for the magical month of October?