Friday, January 29, 2010

What Fast?

Well, I'm not sure about an actual financial fast, but I have tried to not shop, unless it's a total necessity.  So what may seem like an absolute necessity to someone, may seem like a frivolous want to another.

What I've purchased this month:

1. Working Denim (as my friend calls them) Slacks - I've been wanting a pair since last pair I owned are super huge and the crotch hangs between my knees - not sexy. $5 resale
2. Socks.  At Christmas, I was given socks along with my new sneakers.  Nike socks (black) and no-names (white).  I love the socks, especially the no-namers. So I bought 6 pairs - $10
3. Workout pants. Needed. Really needed. 2 pair on clearance. $3/$5 respectively. Have to return the $5 pair since they're too small.
4. Car wash. Total waste of money, but I had a bunch of errands to do and not enough time to do them all - $17 (with tip).
5. Stretching and Toning - a book by Melissa Cosby.  I gave my copy to my fella (he really needs to stretch, which should ease his lower back pain). Since we don't live together, I wanted to replace the copy I gave him. $4 (includes shipping & was the same amount that I spent on the original purchase).

I've spent a total of $44 this month (not including the 1 lunch with a co-worker, 3 days of parking, 1 dinner with my guy).

So, I'm not completely on the no-shopping bandwagon and very far behind the 21-day financial fast. HOWEVER, I have curbed my spending (in my opinion) and that's a great feat for me. I did receive my tax refund and have caught up on my 2 major bills. I feel ready to start Feb off on the right foot using Dave Ramsey's envelope method.

Action plan:
1. Pull out old budget sheet, compare with new budget sheet.
2. Limit eating out to 1 monthly meal.
3. Use envelope method to curb spending

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Like Jill Scott says - Take a long walk

And that's what we did yesterday.  As a way of getting back our stride, my fella and I ambled through Hermann Park for a little exercise and a lot more conversation. We had a chance to see the finished Venet art installation. I like poking at my fella's brain to gain insight as to how he views things. He's not an arty-farty type and I like to just look at pretty pictures (I couldn't tell you the type of brush stroke, the mood, or any of that), so this installation was perfect - free forming (sorta) so the shapes end up being whatever you make them out to be. I saw onion slices, coke-bottle bottom glasses.

He thanked me for all the information I've been funneling his way on how to reduce stress, including Brook Noel's 8 Steps to Finding Joy. We talked more about the direction of our relationship. I am the "hurry-up and wait" type of person and he's the "take it as it develops" type. So I promised him that I would work on learning patience, which is something I need to do anyway. I am still apologizing for starting this whole thing during the party over the weekend, but as I explained to him - when we are together, it's like the rest of the world just disappears. He agreed - he mentioned that even on our walks, it's just the two of us. That's our Vulcan mind meld (more like the Borg, in my opinion) but either way - we're connected and reconnecting.

So today is a much better day and I'm looking forward to skipping my workout tonight to hang with my guy for drinks and nibbles.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Excuses are out of fashion

Really, I no longer have an excuse to not workout. There isn't a good one that can be used to deter me from the gym, unless I am on my death bed or the doctor has ordered it.

Over the past 3 weeks I have seen people in every manner of dress at the gym (most I would not recommend). I have seen women in slack and those ugly orthopedic shoes walking on the treadmill. I even saw one lady in a demin skirt and faux ugg boots using the elipitcal. So saying I have nothing to wear to the gym is out the window.

Last night I went straight from work to the gym (I was bad on the finance side because I overslept and had to pay $12 for parking - UGH! You best believe I got up this morning ON TIME and got my butt to the train). I hit the gym a half hour early to get in some treadmill time before my kickboxing class - worked up a great sweat and a great attitude (I so love the tunes on my iPod and the good looking guy on the stairclimber 2 rows in front was perfect eye canday).  Went to TKB and made it through both turbo sections but decided to check out afterward.  My excuse - my hair was sopping wet, slapping me in the face and I didn't have anything to pull it back. Plus, the CD was skipping and being off beat A LOT was annoying me as well. So, I used those two issues as an excuse to breakout.


As I was walking out, walking right past the WW meeting - I generally look over just to peek at what they're doing - listening to the meeting leader. However, something else caught my eye. I looked left and saw several very large women dressed and ready to workout while waiting on a tour of the gym.  Now, what the hell was my excuse for leaving the class early?

No more excuses!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A New Day With Lots of Coffee...

Happy Monday, Ya'll. 

This weekend actually didn't fly by for me, probably because I spent most of it sleeping. I'm not really sure why I was so dog tired - oh wait, yes I do. I took a turbo kickboxing class that was like hatha yoga on crack.  There were so many women in the room, it was becoming increasingly dangerous during the kick sections and all I could muster was 30 mins (through the 1st turbo) before feeling lightheaded.  My intention was to head home, take a nap before BF and I went to a b-day party for one of his football club buddies.

Last week, I boasted (or so it seemed) on our ability to talk with each other.  Well my blabbering mouth opened like a flood gate at the most inopportune time - during the party. I'm not sure if it was the pinot grigio that loosened my lips or what but I couldn't stop and the things that have been bugging me about "us" just came rolling out like a steam roller. I talked, he listened.  We went to the car - he talked, I listened. Not to bore you all with the details, but the end result is that he needs to figure out how to live for himself (versus always doing for everyone else) and find his "man pants" again and I need to learn to be patient, enjoy "dating", and keep my swagger (or "edge", as he likes to call it). Luckily, we didn't let my verbal diatribe ruin our evening (although we scraped our movie plans) and we're still working on "us".

Previously, I've never been a long-term dater and have never really wanted to expend a lot of energy with one person (I have a short attention span and loose interest very quickly). Now, I've been given the opportunity to enjoy BF's company, he's kept my interest and I devour our time together and constantly want more. This is the root of my issue.When we first started dating, I was working on my degree which took up a huge chunk of time. So I need to learn to temper and focus on other things.

My action plan (which is also one of my goals): Focus on studying for the GRE.  This will keep me busy so that I am not constantly harping on him for time.  This will also get me off the fence so I can work on completing this goal. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Finding Happiness

Thanks to sweet Kimmi and her wonderful words...she has passed this along to me along with several others. So in acceptance and with great pleasure, here is my list to Top Ten Things That Make Me Happy:

1. Spending quality time with my guy (we're working on moving past the "boring couple" phase). This is truly #1 (the rest are in random order).
2. Good jazz music and a great glass of wine.
3. TurboKick and Zumba - these classes are so much fun
4. Taking the curve on the highway at a nice speed, leaving all others in the dust
5. Seeing my flowers blooming in the backyard from my kitchen window
6. My crockpot - I'm finally learning how to cook (sorta)
7. Cookbooks
8. Reading
9. Hermann Park during the Spring/Summer seasons
10. My family - their a bit intense at times, but a load of fun!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The couple I hate...

Yes, "hate" is a strong word - but it's the exact emotion that surfaces when I see those couples - you know the ones - who go out to dinner and never utter a word to each other. The ones you see out don't even hold hands, never have anything interesting or even nice to say to each other or about one another...the boring, brooding, dull couple that you wonder "why the hell are they still together?".

I understand that relationships aren't all roses and rainbows. Well maybe most aren't, but ours has been. My fella and I have had 2 arguments since we've been dating. To me, that says a lot. But lately, we are becoming that boring couple.  We still hold hands, we still talk over dinner, we still have wonderful things to say to each other, but we've been dancing around some unspoken issues. Mainly, my guy's been depressed about his job situation. He talks about it, but only to a point.  I know it's a struggle for him and I am trying to be supportive. It's hard on us when he retreats into himself and it's becoming increasingly harder for me to keep playing cheerleader. But I carry on because that's what I'm supposed to do.

I don't want to lose hope/faith that things will get better. I know deep down that they will. But right now, I'm weary and miss the fella that I fell for 2 years ago. The smart alecky, fun-loving man with a kind heart and big spirit.  For the most part that personality is still there, we just have to work on keeping it on the surface and not letting the woes of the day drag him down deeper.

The good thing about us is that we communicate with each other.  Not just talk at each other, we listen. We are able to tell each other whats on our minds.  These past few months it's been very hard and it really came to a head this past Sunday. But we talk - he tells me what he wants and I tell him as well in plain English. We don't do subtleties because one of us will miss the undertone of the desire.

So now we have to develop an action plan that I'm sure will consist of more talks and more walks.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Too early to celebrate...

but I am patting myself on my back. I am down 5 lbs from the stress-gained weight!  Yeah, baby.  I've been good about keeping my food journal and yes, recording the BS like the piece of cake I had for breakfast this morning (damn you Mother Nature - should've cursed men with PMS and chocolate cravings). SparkPeople suggests giving yourself a 5 minute pep talk each day so my inner voice kicks in around 30mins into my workout: "come on girl, you can do it - just give it 5 for minutes". do you know what's so great about that 5 more minutes?  the song changes and I get totally pumped and ready for the next set of punches and kicks.

I am also proud that I haven't spent any money. Wait, that's not entirely true. I did donate $20 to Doctors Without Borders to assist securing medical supplies for crisis in Haiti. I now have $40 until next payday and I feel ok about it. I even received my consignment check in the mail a few days ago (a lot lower than I anticipated, but it's something) and I haven't even bothered to deposit it yet. I think I need to open an ING account and send it there so accessing the money will be extra difficult. hmm there's a thought.

ok - done primping and congratulating myself - back to work!

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's all about the baby steps...

So last week I was worried about how I was going to cover my 2 largest monthly bills because of my overspending. I had to borrow the money from my folks so that repayment will cut into my tax refund (but at least there's no interest charge). My Uncle also came through and made another payment on the car! My saving grace was that I didn't have any other high bills to pay so I was able to take $100 to cover my lights & gas. I even had $100 for groceries and gas.  But I'm not out of the woods yet - still playing catch up.

I am happy about the weekend. I was able to walk into thrift stores and not buy anything frivolous. I actually took items for consignment, didn't browse. I did spend $2 on books, $2 on belts (I need to keep my britches up), $2 on a lamp for my bedroom - desperately needed.  I know what you're thinking: You borrowed money from your folks so in order to pay bills, but yet you still shopped!!!  It's baby steps for me. I can't do it all cold turkey. So hopefully next weekend if I do go near a store I wont buy anything at all unless totally necessary (the belts were necessary).

Another good thing about this weekend I realized that I need to cut back on some negative folks in my life.  I'm sure this person contributes to my overspending. I noticed when I went alone, I didn't browse every single rack and I didn't blow a lot of money. Plus, I don't have the urge to go out to eat when I'm with this person.  There was a time I was used to hanging solo, but as of late I've felt this need for company. This need is also contributing to my overspending.  So I am working on this one too. Weaning myself off.

Good item #3 about the weekend is that my weight is back down to pre-stress levels. That's a good thing especially since the temps here dropped to the 20s in the evening which made it very difficult to get to the gym (no real excuse not to workout, however, since I have all the gym items at home as well) but I didn't workout past Tuesday - boo!  But I did do housework, so that accounts for expending some energy, right?

So action plan for this week:

1. Start going to places solo or with BF. He's off this weekend so hopefully we will get a chance to spend some time together. This will also help me wean off little Miss Negative.

2. Keep my gym appointments. I have them set in my calendar and the BF knows my schedule, so he's less liekly to tempt me with other options.

3. Continue recording in my food journal, but this time adding why and when I eat. Great tip from Merry.

The baby steps continue.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I'm Done!

It's Official....this is the last item I purchased in 2009. There will be no other purchases for 2010. But it's super cute, right?

Image: Forever 21

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This is a fine mess you've gotten us in...

I'm not really sure who I'm fooling - obviously no one but myself. I need to come to grips with reality and develop a plan of action to fix the mess I've created.

Mess # 1 - overspending and now I'm behind on major bills.

Mess # 2 - overeating and now my weight is up to 170lbs.

How did I get into mess # 1? I can give all the excuses under the sun: Christmas shopping, needing items for self, etc. etc. But honestly, it is pure and simple - poor budgeting & counting on money I didn't have in had (promised cash). Yeah, I've said it before but now I have no choice - I CAN NOT SHOP unless it's a total necessity and right now, the only necessary object I need is....NOTHING! I use restraint not visit with exBF, exFriends, not to drive too far over the speed limit. So why can't I use that same restraint not to shop? The better question is why am I shopping? Boredom, the desire to acquire crap, not very happy personally. These may be all valid reasons - but now I have to correct/overcome these issues and the only way to do that is DO WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY.

Plan of action for Mess # 1:

1. Do more reading. I'm actually reading Bob Harper's book, Are You Ready? which will work hand-in-hand with Mess # 2
2. Hang out at the museums, art galleries, and other artsy/fartsy events - I love attending gallery openings, even add them to my calendar but find an excuse not to go. I'm too young to act like a fuddy-duddy, so I'm going!
3. Learn. It's time to take the GRE. Not being in school, I have WAAAAAAY too much time on my hands - hence all the damn shopping. So it's time to take some CEU courses, online courses through MIT or even a grant writing course through work.
4. Pull out my budget and beginning in Feb return to using my envelope method. Why the late start you ask - because I have to play catch up on 2 major bills and it's going to take both paychecks this month to get back on track. This is actually # 1, but I don't feel like cutting and pasting to re-order.

Mess # 2 has come about because of Mess # 1. All my overspending has cause stress which equals stress eating. Yeah, so 8 lbs may not be a big deal to some but to me - it is. I went from 203 to 163 (give or take 2 lbs) and now I'm up to 170. I dont have any size 16s any longer and since I can't shop, I REFUSE to buy anything that goes up a size. I can't continue to comment on fitness blogs if my eating habits are out of whack. There's no point in working out if I'm gonna return home to a pint of cookies-n-cream. ARGH!!!!

Plan of Action for Mess # 2

1. Start my food journal (acutally I had this journal entry written on Sunday - it's now Tuesday and I've started my journal).
2. Plan/Pack my breakfast, lunch, snacks - measure/weigh each item and nothing goes in my mouth that's larger than my fist (1 serving only). No that doesn't mean I can cut up 1/2 a chicken so it's palm size and eat the entire thing!
3. Revamp my workout schedule. I've been hooked on Zumba for about 2 months now - haven't really seen any change in body - but the class is fun. Well guess what, Zumba is cut back to 2 days a week. TurboKick is back on the schedule for 3 days (man, my upper body is sore!), and I've pulled out some old weight training schedules I've used in the past - those are back in rotation. I've attempted that blasted Hundred Push-Up challenge twice - not gonna happen. However, I have incorporated push-ups (2 sets each) into my circuit training which is on Sunday.

Yes, I know it's only day 2 of my action plans, but I've already seen a 2 lb decrease and I've earned $20 toward my bills! Baby steps, baby steps.

So if I can get over these two messes (and I know I will), I can concentrate on my next round of goals: Save $300 and apply to graduate school. I just need to learn accountability. I've said it before but I'm trying it again - with the help of online journaling, my BF and my offline friends I should be able to dig myself out of this.

So the process begins (again).