Learning to stop and smell the roses

I love my mother dearly, but I have always been kind of terrified of growing up to be exactly like her. Some things I have no control over, like the ever-so-delightful combination of anxiety and perfectionism. It also never ceases to amaze me how much looking at old photos of my mom is like looking in a mirror. But there are other things I have control over—my reluctant struggles with minimalism (lite), for one, since I’ve got maximalist and pack rat tendencies in my blood. I think it’s pretty normal to look at traits present in immediate and extended family members and vow to yourself you’re not going to do that thing or think that way, so I’m hardly alone here.

But it turns out being my mother’s daughter is not always a bad thing. Let me tell you about two things my mom does that I used to be embarrassed about. Continue reading “Learning to stop and smell the roses”

Revisiting trade-offs and consciously consuming time

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the ever-present trade-offs in my life; this latest round of soul-searching was prompted by the fact that I spent multiple days last week too exhausted to do anything. Everyone needs a day off here and there, but half a week spent on the couch? That’s obviously an opportunity to start questioning the choices that led me there (although to be fair I got a lot of reading done!).

I’ll be the first to admit I’m still not great with time management on a day-to-day basis. That’s a constant work in progress. But I’m starting to think that there are two big things I’ve been doing with my time that aren’t necessarily worth it. Curious what they are? Let’s dive right in. Continue reading “Revisiting trade-offs and consciously consuming time”

In defense of kid lit and rereading

So I went to CampFI two weekends ago. And then, instead of having time to recover from that (#introvertproblems), I jumped right in to chorus concert week where I spent multiple evenings at rehearsal (remember my plan to go to bed at 11? Impossible when you get home at 11, assuming you’re lucky and don’t have to wait 20-25 minutes in the metro station for a train home so it’s even later) and had to dedicate my entire weekend to it. So to say I’m exhausted is a bit of an understatement.

I was adventurous and went to barre Tuesday night for the first time in the better part of three weeks (yes, that’s how busy I’ve been); I am very consciously making the choice to skip it tonight in the hopes that that’ll allow me to finish up this post and go to bed more or less on time. But other than that, I spent Monday and Tuesday evenings in an exhausted stupor on the couch, too tired to do things that’ll make my life easier, like putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher (my roommate isn’t currently home so I’m not forced to clean for her sake), or to work on the things I want to get done. My impending car insurance renewal isn’t going to research itself, after all.

That’s made it hard to figure out what to write about lately. It’s hard to pull money lessons out of sheer exhaustion, and even harder to dedicate the time to sit down and write a post. Hell, I haven’t even spent any money so far this week thanks to the seriously well-stocked fridge (again, good thing my roommate isn’t here because it wasn’t just my half of the fridge that was full!) my mom left when she departed my apartment on Monday morning. Bless her for that, especially because this is a week I’ve been too tired to think about making food for myself, let alone grocery shopping and actually making it. I may have spent the bulk of the last two evenings on the couch but at least I had healthy food to eat while I was there!

So let’s talk something a bit different today. And let’s start off by revisiting my bookshelf. Continue reading “In defense of kid lit and rereading”

A Maximalist’s Guide to Minimalist Packing (guest post at Tiny Ambitions)

Remember that time I bought a 38 liter carry-on backpack right before my trip to the Azores? In the year since that purchase I’ve been experimenting with carry-on packing. And that’s been an interesting experience, especially given that I am very much not a minimalist (if you need a reminder of that, let me direct you to that photo of my desk!). Continue reading “A Maximalist’s Guide to Minimalist Packing (guest post at Tiny Ambitions)”

Financial lessons from Les Misérables

I drove home two weekends ago and, as often happens when I’m there, my mother and I had a culture weekend.

I love musicals and I love ballets (and I did plenty of both in years gone by[*]), but, as odd as it sounds to say this, honestly I could afford to see so many more shows back when student tickets were an option. It’s just a fact of life that buying tickets to the Kennedy Center doesn’t fit in my budget at the moment. But since my mother and I both love them, she’ll usually buy a ballet or musical (or sometimes both) ticket to bribe me to come home as inducement for some mother-daughter bonding time.

This time, as an early birthday present to me, we saw the Carolina Ballet perform Romeo and Juliet and then saw Les Misérables that evening.

I’ve seen both shows before (Les Mis is one of those that gets me every time), so I could better appreciate that essentially the theme of the day was “love at first sight” followed by “everyone dies.” It was dramatic, to say the least.

Obviously the ballet had no words, so even if I could pull some brilliant personal finance-related things out of a tale of two very young star-crossed lovers, they would be hard to narrate, given that ballet is a visual art. (Yes, of course I’ve read and seen the play. I’m still not dissecting Romeo and Juliet.)

Communicate with your partner might be one—and one that has financial implications for those of you who are partnered up. Honestly there would be no need for the entire story if they could just text each other:

“hey so imma appear dead when u see me but don’t worry it’s only fake so I can get out of marrying that totally lame other dude my parents want to hook me up with UGH lol”
“ok cool lol then i def won’t bring the poison that’ll come in handy when i think ur for REAL dead hahaha love u see u in the crypt!”

BUT ANYWAY. It’s hard to write a post about a ballet, but a musical? That’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.[**] Especially because almost two weeks later and I’ve still got Les Mis songs in my head on constant repeat.

It all started with that fateful song, “I Dreamed a Dream.” Continue reading “Financial lessons from Les Misérables”

What are your trade-offs?

Essentially all of life is a trade-off: when we say yes to something, we’re saying no to something else. We trade our time and energy 40 hours a week at our jobs in exchange for a paycheck, which means saying no to the myriad of other things we could or would rather be doing during that time.

When we say yes to an evening in reading a book or watching tv, we say no to an evening out somewhere or spending time with friends. And vice versa.

When we stay up late writing blog posts, we say no to getting more sleep. Ahem, I digress. Continue reading “What are your trade-offs?”

The intersection of money and mental health

While this is ostensibly a personal finance/financial independence blog, I don’t want it to be strictly about money. I tell a lot of stories about my life to illustrate points, that yes, are related to personal finance, but I want to continue talking about travel, food, privilege, mindsets, habits, and my ridiculous collection of brightly-colored flats. This blog is about my journey, which involves way more than the cold, hard numbers of grocery price comparisons.

Here’s a big thing I haven’t talked about yet: I deal with depression and anxiety. Continue reading “The intersection of money and mental health”

Some of the things I’ve bought over the years

(aka Amazon is sometimes a dangerous game)

I’ve talked before about how I’m a natural spender. I’ve been noticing a tendency lately to want to buy things—and I succumbed and bought two prints the other day. At some point I’m going to run out of wall space for those, but I suspect it’ll be that event that makes me finally stop, not some act of self control on my part.

I had a tab open earlier today for a pine-scented candle. It took me a few minutes to blink, take a second look at that tab, and close it out. I’ve got a bunch of candles. Hell, I have the supplies to make my own. I don’t need an expensive holiday-scented candle, as fantastic as that would smell. I’ve got better things to do with my money. But I still had that tab open. Continue reading “Some of the things I’ve bought over the years”

Everything you never wanted to know about my shoes

When this goes up, I’ll likely be in the midst of trying to get an hour or two of sleep in between my red eye flight back from Portland and dragging my sorry, jetlagged self to work (boooooo). Actually, I’m hoping I’m asleep at the moment and not dealing with a delayed flight/still trying to get home from Dulles, which might as well be in Canada for how far away from DC it is.

(I’ve learned a lot from this trip: mainly, Frontier sucks and will change your flights 12+ hours on you just a few days after you book them; it’s a good thing I have family in Denver since I didn’t originally have an overnight layover there; and also, the limit of how long it takes to get out to the suburb wasteland that is the Dulles airport does not exist. I already knew this but it was reinforced in the process of trying to figure out just how many hours I needed to leave before my flight on Thursday evening. The answer was four, for anyone wondering.)

So light, frivolous post it is! Continue reading “Everything you never wanted to know about my shoes”