NYResolutions?!

Okay, so I saw New Year’s Eve last night.  It was a fun little date night.  I was concerned the movie was going to be a Valentine’s Day disaster, seeing as how it was the same director and concept, but it was fun and (mostly) happy and had me smiling the whole way through.

One of the plot lines is about a dowdy Michelle Pfeiffer spending the day trying to accomplish the resolutions she set for herself the year before so naturally, I started panicking about mine.  I don’t believe there’s been a year when I’ve actually accomplished everything I set out to do, which I might take into consideration as I think about my resolutions for next year!

Here’s what I wanted to do, what I did, didn’t do, what I still might have time to do and what I can’t believe I thought I wanted to do.

Read one fiction and one non-fiction book every month. I might have read 10 books in all?!  And definitely slacked on the nonfic.

Eat more veggies. Get creative and try new things. I think I did okay with this, but could have done better. 

Stick to a two-drink limit if I even want to drink at all. I can think of ONE instance in which I had a never again night this year, but I did well sticking to a limit as well as choosing to not drink out of habit or (sad to say at 27) peer pressure and just sticking to water if that’s what I wanted.

Downsize. Live simply. Donate things I don’t use (monthly) and don’t buy crap.  There was a definite spending freeze throughout the year and I didn’t buy too much crap.  I didn’t donate monthly, but did downsize and donate throughout the year.

Lose 10 pounds before the fall weddings.  Not sure where I was at when I made the resolution, but by October I was 115, which is about five under what I consider to be “my” weight and I was very happy with that.

Complete 60 things total on my 101 list.  I’m at 58 and have a few things I could maybe do in the next week and a half.

Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days. Totally did!

Earn $3000 side income, personal training, writing, whatever. Absolute fail.

Build a $1290 wedding fund for bridesmaid expenses (yes, I realize NOW that it’s a stupid number, but it’s what my twisted math came up with). Contribute $50 a month + gifts.  Saved it and spent it guilt free when I needed to!

Spend less time with social media and more time with society. I did unplug, but not necessarily to make more genuine connections unfortunately

Write six short stories. Another absolute fail.

Write girl side of dating book and begin collaboration.  Ugh.  Fail.

Contribute to a Roth IRA…and 401(k) if company restarts match program.  Not to the extent I’d like, but yes, I did these.

Complete my eight-month emergency fund and leave it untouched in my MMA.  Nope! But, I settled on a five-month fund and it’s waiting to be called up to do it’s job and I’m crossing my fingers my e-day doesn’t come!

Make and follow a budget each month (< $2000/month or $24000/year).  Hmm, not so much.  This was tough, but I did made budgets and kinda sorta stick to them monthly.

Make and follow a training schedule each month. Rocked this one for most of the year.  The times I didn’t have races to train for was a little more difficult, but I’m really happy with my motivation to workout, my effort during my workouts and the effects those have had on my body this year!

Honor my appointments with myself. Put myself first as often as I want.  Definitely did better with this this year too.

Overpay on student loans (by more than $5, smart girl) to get below $11000 before the end of the year.  I overpaid, but am not under $11k, although it’s less that $120 away!

Pay off my CC each month, if I use it at all.  Great at first, not so good recently.

Hang out in Starbucks and Barnes & Noble and look approachable so as to be hit on.  Nope.  I met all of one guy quasi-organically.

Look presentable anytime I leave the house.  Oh goodness no.  Anyone who says having a dog is a good way to meet attractive strangers was obviously never at the mercy of a tiny, little puppy’s tiny, little bladder.  I have left the house in very questionable get ups recently.

Don’t waste more than one date on a bad prospect. Future me says so.  Did better, but definitely let a few quasi-relationships go on past the point where I knew it should end (ahem Rebel and married guy).

Try a new dating site.  I did eHarmony and Match, both were new to me and marked my official entrance into the “paying for online dating” world.  My vote is for Match, but not a huge fan of the sites in general.

Leave the baggage in the past. Leave exes in the past. Look forward. Um…

Say yes more. Say no more.  Yes and yes.

Go all in. Finish hard, finish strong – fitness, life, love, everything. I did it pretty big this year and went all in way more than I ever have.

Holy crap, I had a lot of goals.  I’m a chronic resolution/goal/intention setter.  Can’t stop this train.  There’s always next year!

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Fire Up For Fall The End

My Fire Up For Fall goals and results:

1. Go to yoga in the park at least once.
1.2 Do one good thing (at least)!
2. Decorate two rooms.
2.2 Make at least two meals for the week type meals on Sundays. (1/2)
3. Do three 101 things. (3/3)
3.2 Read three books. (2/3)
4. Save $400. ($400/$400)
4.2 Do four friend things. (4/4)
5. Go for an evening walk at least five times. (5/5)
5.2 Spend five hours a week writing or working on my side business. (7 weeks/10 weeks)

Eek.  I got a 60%!  The last time I got a score that low was 9th grade geometry and I cried.  But, I’m not crying now.  I enjoyed the last ten weeks.  

I didn’t really throw anything new in the mix that I probably wouldn’t have done anyway, so I feel like I didn’t challenge myself enough.  However, the second question asked each week, what have you done to make yourself feel fabulous, was a nice weekly reminder that although the last few weeks have been tough, there were good things that deserved to be mentioned and celebrated.  Thanks, Rebecca, for hosting this challenge!

I’m a little sad the next challenge isn’t until 2012, but I still plan for the rest of my 2011 to be filled with doing good things, saving money, taking evening walks, spending time with friends and reading delicious books (after struggling with Chasing Harry Winston for most of the challenge, I threw up my white flag and switched to The Midwife’s Confession and OMG, Diane Chamberlain is my new fave).

Fire Up For Fall Week 9

My Fire Up For Fall goals and progress:

1. Go to yoga in the park at least once.
1.2 Do one good thing (at least)!
2. Decorate two rooms.
2.2 Make at least two meals for the week type meals on Sundays. (1/2)
3. Do three 101 things. (3/3)
3.2 Read three books. (1/3)
4. Save $400. ($400/$400)
4.2 Do four friend things. (4/4)
5. Go for an evening walk at least five times. (5/5)
5.2 Spend five hours a week writing or working on my side business. (7 weeks/10 weeks)

1. What have you done this week to help you achieve your goals?

I did a few good things this week…nothing huge, but those little acts of kindness that I’m normally too shy to step up and do. 

I read more than I have been, but am still struggling with finishing book #2.  Perhaps I need to read something NOT about relationships right now.

2. What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

I went out.  I don’t go out often, but I knew I needed a shake up in my weekend routine (of yoga and running and watching TV and going to bed at 9 and not really talking to human beings for the majority of it).  In an attempt to really do something different and unfunk, I straightened my hair.  I liked how it looked, but I liked even more that after two days, I was like, “this isn’t me” and am happy to be back to a curly girl.

3. What is the most positive thing you’ve taken away from this challenge?

This is going to sound shallow, but it hasn’t been a super life changing challenge, probably because of my goals, so I’m just going to say that I found out I really like the yoga in the park classes and kind of got over my fear of going to them, which is nice.

4. It’s your last week, the run to the finish, what is your priority?

I’d like to at least finish another book, so I’m going to be mindful of the stupid TV I watch and use the time to read instead.  I also want to finish my dinner goal.  Sunday is my mom’s birthday, so I might have to make a big dinner Saturday or something, but either way, I’ll make a point to make a meal with leftovers.

5. Fun Stuff: Desert Island, you can take 1 person, 1 famous person and 3 items besides food and water. Who and What do you take?

I guess I’d take Lucky because on a desert island, family issues wouldn’t matter.  I’d totally take Oprah and I’d take a notebook, a pen and sunscreen, haha.  Sounds like a lovely little vacay, actually…sign me up!

101 Check In

So, I did my math wrong and was convinced today was the halfway point of my 101 in 1001 challenge. Close, but no cigar. Either way, I’m doing an update.

According to my official checklist at the Day Zero Project, I have 506 days left and…drumroll please…I have completed 55% of the items on my list!  I scanned through it this morning and here are some highlights:

Things that are intimidating me even though I have 506 days left to complete them:
Travel out of the country.
Write a novel.
Sing karaoke.
Vlog.
Learn conversational Spanish.

Things I want to do again:
Have sex in public.
Complete a triathlon

Things I did just because they were on the list:
Become a personal trainer.
Make bread pudding.
Eat at Pizzeria Bianco.

Things that I thought I could pull off for 1001 days but that I  suck at:
Don’t text while driving.
Don’t dye my hair.
Find a job I love.
Build an eight-month emergency fund.
Make a photo album of pics taken during the 1001 days.

Things on the list that make me sad:
Plan a great bachelorette party/wedding shower/pre-wedding day for my sister.
Share a magical NYE kiss.
Go to a shooting range with my family.
Go to the driving range with my dad.

Things I am super excited about:
Make sushi.
Learn to surf.
Take a pole dancing class.
Go to a gay bar.

Things that are most likely to remain un-crossed-off:
Tie between Go to the driving range with my dad and Help someone achieve their weight loss goal.

Things that will very likely happen before the end of the year:
Adopt a pet.
Learn to SUP.
Go to a gay bar.
Play hooky.

So much has changed in the last 495 days.  It’s hard to even remember who I was when I made the list.  I guess it’s a nice reminder that this too shall pass.

Do you have a list?  Did you have the same excitement when you started it but feel your enthusiasm wane a bit as the days moved forward?

Fire Up For Fall Week 5

My Fire Up For Fall goals and progress:

1. Go to yoga in the park at least once.
1.2 Do one good thing (at least)!
2. Decorate two rooms.
2.2 Make at least two meals for the week type meals on Sundays. (1/2)
3. Do three 101 things. (3/3)
3.2 Read three books.
4. Save $400. ($250/$400)
4.2 Do four friend things. (3/4)
5. Go for an evening walk at least five times. (2/5)
5.2 Spend five hours a week writing or working on my side business. (5 weeks/10 weeks)

1. What have you done this week to help you achieve your goals?

I got paid and put $50 into savings right away.

I did quite a few social, friend things last week around the wedding, but I’m counting it as one.

I went for a night time walk last week with my two favorite guys – Lucky and his pup!

I worked on Lucky’s website early last week to get it out of the way before the madness.

2. What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

I made time to work out amidst the wedding mania.

3. It’s half way through the challenge, you can change 1 or more of your goals (max of 3) if you want to….what are you going to do and why?

I’m going to not expect myself to decorate two rooms.  Since moving in about a month ago, I ate up my house budget and it’s very exciting to get everything done, but I’d rather be responsible about it and save some more “home money” before spending it.

4. What’s your worst bad habit and have you ever tried to tackle it? Do you want to?

I switched from biting my nails to ripping at my cuticles, specifically on my right thumb.  It always looks bad and I’d love to stop, but I haven’t quite tackled it yet.

Fire Up For Fall Week 3

My Fire Up For Fall goals and progress:

1. Go to yoga in the park at least once.
1.2 Do one good thing (at least)!
2. Decorate two rooms.
2.2 Make at least two meals for the week type meals on Sundays. (1/2)
3. Do three 101 things. (1/3)
3.2 Read three books.
4. Save $400. ($200/$400)
4.2 Do four friend things. (1/4)
5. Go for an evening walk at least five times. (1/5)
5.2 Spend five hours a week writing or working on my side business. (3 weeks/10 weeks)

1. What have you done this week to help you achieve your goals?

I made dinner on Sunday, with enough leftovers for a few more meals during the week.

I went to the library and picked up the first (Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger) of the three books I’m going to read…and I did start reading at the pool at the bach party!

I ended the month actually having spent less than I earned, so I saved $200 to my e-fund.

On Saturday, I went to my sister’s bachelorette party.  When we were little she would have hated me calling her friends my friends, but I really enjoy hanging out with them.

I went for my first evening walk last Tuesday.  It was windy and cooler than it has been and kind of a really neat fall-type night, so I went out to explore my new community (it’s big!) and find my mailbox and the pool and fitness center.

I worked on Lucky’s website and also starting working out the logistics of my side business (you know, for when I expand it beyond men I’m sleeping with) for more than five hours last week.

2.  What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

September was a huge rush around month for me and everything was leading up to the weekend of the 24/25 when I moved into my new place fully and did my triathlon, so in the week since I’ve tried to slow down and breath.  There’s still stuff to do around the house, but I took normal-length showers, actually shaved, painted my nails, took time to read…just the little things I’ve been missing.

  3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What are your goals? Ambitions?

I’ve actually been working on revising these lately! It’s a constantly changing plan.  I’ll be 32.  I see myself working at a marketing agency, having traveled and kept up with my athletic lifestyle and ready to start a family if I don’t have one already.  By then, I’d love to have found a way to have a summer house somewhere like Idaho.

  4. Give us a tip or a fact. About anything, what is something great you’ve  heard that everyone should know?

Putting  everything you can into your 401K isn’t the best way to save for your future.  Definitely max out your company match and then contribute to a Roth IRA. It’s a pre-tax/post-tax thing and also helps diversify your investments.  If you’re fortunate enough to STILL have money left to tuck away after maxing out your 401K and reaching the Roth IRA limit ($5,000 a year for a young person in a “low” income bracket), then get a financial planner, because that’s about as far as I know, but I’ll tell it to anyone who mentions retirement savings!

  5. Fun Question: What was your most recent dream that you can remember?

I had a dream last night that someone else was complaining that they had the same song stuck in their head that I’ve had in my head for a while (Take a Back Road by Rodney Atkins).

Positive Picture

I’ve been struggling to get back on track with working out since my triathlon and feeling guilty with taking the time off, so I choose this as a reminder that every day this week I have the chance to start again and get it right.

From Pinterest.

Fire Up For Fall Week 2

My Fire Up For Fall goals and progress:

1. Go to yoga in the park at least once.
1.2 Do one good thing (at least)!
2. Decorate two rooms.
2.2 Make at least two meals for the week type meals on Sundays.
3. Do three 101 things. (1/3)
3.2 Read three books.
4. Save $400.
4.2 Do four friend things.
5. Go for an evening walk at least five times.
5.2 Spend five hours a week writing or working on my side business. (2 weeks/10 weeks)

1. What have you done this week to help you achieve your goals?

I made small talk with strangers.  Doesn’t count as a “nice thing,” but it’s helping me get over shyness and connect with strangers just for the sake of sharing a smile.

I fully moved into my new place, so the decorating has begun.  My friends helped me, but I won’t consider the forced friend fun of hauling my furniture to be a “friend thing.”

I competed in my first triathlon, which was one of my 101 things!

I worked on marketing for Lucky (my first client of my side business) for more than five hours.

2. What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

Pretty sure nothing this week can top the feeling of finishing my tri!

3. What is your talent? What are you good at? {Genuinely, EVERYONE has something big or small}

Ugh!  This is hard.  TWSS.  Speaking of…do blow jobs count?  I feel like all guys really like them and would then, of course, praise the woman giving them to him to encourage this behavior, but I feel like I’ve gotten an awkward amount of compliments over the years.  Yeah, that was for sure TMI.

4. What’s been the highlight of your week, toot your horn, what are you proud of!

Again…the tri!

5. Fun Question: What’s your guilty pleasure TV?

Oh my goodness, in my new place, the HOA includes cable, which is a step up from the five channels I’ve had for the past two years, so I get to delight in all my guilty pleasure TV shows…Teen Mom, Jersey Shore, Say Yes to the Dress and I recently discovered Sister Wives.  What can I say? I’m a voyeur!

Sorry, being out of the challenge for the summer, I completely forgot that Mondays are for posting, so this was a little rushed and I didn’t even have time to think about a positive pic.  I’ll find one for next week!

Fire Up For Fall

After taking the summer off, I’m joining up with Rebecca for the Fall Challenge!  It starts today!

1. What are your goals for the Fall Challenge? 

1.  Go to yoga in the park at least once.
1.2  Do one good thing (at least)!
2.  Decorate two rooms.
2.2  Make at least two meals for the week type meals on Sundays.
3.  Do three 101 things.
3.2  Read three books.
4.  Save $400.
4.2  Do four friend things.
5.  Go for an evening walk at least five times.
5.2  Spend five hours a week writing or working on my side business.

2. Why have you chosen those goals?

I struggled to come up with goals.  I guess that’s all the more reason to focus in and put a little direction in my fall. I like SMART goals, but just making a to-do list wasn’t speaking to me, especially if it contained stuff I was planning on doing anyway. 

They’re things I WANT to do, but might not get around to without this challenge and other participants to keep me accountable.  Some of them are things that are going to take a little bit of conscious effort and stepping outside of my comfort zone.

Somehow the list just developed with a numbers theme, so I decided to just go with it!

3. What have you done this week that’s made you feel fabulous? 

I had a tough, busy week.  Sometimes I feel great just being busy and I feel good about everything I accomplished.

4. What do you think will be your biggest challenge in reaching your goals?

Making time and making these things a priority.  Most of them are things to do that I’ll enjoy, but old habits die hard and while I’d love for a lot of these things to be my new routine, it’s hard to break from my old one.

  5. Fun Question! Where in  the World do you live? What’s amazing about it?

I live in Scottsdale, Arizona! It’s amazing because it has amazing weather most of the year and great opportunities to do active things outside and there are a ton of community events and great dining options.

Priorities

Lucky and I had a talk about priorities last night. It wasn’t a great talk, but it was an important talk. It was a “good for you, bad for us” talk. Basically I want more than he can give right now and he knows that and doesn’t want to disappoint me, so we’re…well, who knows what we’re doing? We’re going to make it up as we go I guess.

He’s entwined in my life in many different ways right now, so we’re definitely entering a learning phase of this relationship.

While his priorities are elsewhere, mine are too. For the next month or so, my priorities are:

  • Closing on my condo, moving and decorating.  Remember when I mentioned that Lucky is my realtor? Yeah, entwined.
  • Tanning. I got a good base at the beginning of the summer, but since then, Arizona broke some kind of heat record so going outside wasn’t really an option, let alone LAYING around outside. It’s cooling down (low 100s!) and with a few weekends left until my sister’s wedding – and my new, darker hair that’s giving me a Snow White complex – I would like to build that tan back up.
  • Getting skinny(er). Okay, so my goals for the wedding are to be skinnier and more tan than my sister. There, I said it.  One of us gets to be the married sister and one of us gets to be the hot sister.  Both goals are pretty much slam dunks at this point since she stayed in her I’m-in-a-happy-relationship-so-it-doesn’t-matter-what-I-look-like frame of mind and never achieved full bridezillaness with any crash diets or crazy workouts.  If anything, she might go fake-bake and we would have an orange situation on our hands, but that would just be funny.  
  • Avoiding wedding talk. T-minus 37 days.  Can it just be over already?  It really is at a critical level at this point and I have had about enough. My feelings were legitimately hurt when I went to brunch at my parents’ house this weekend and my future bro-in-law was the only one to actually ask me anything about what is going on in my life. He’s my new favorite. I usually feel guilt when I avoid FFF, but I feel worse when I have to listen to them talk about that shit for hours. Luckily, my move gives me a nice excuse to stay on my side of town (if they ever thought to ask anyway).
  • Reading. I need a good, distracting book to lose myself in. I just finished one and am going to the library today for my next few victims.
  • Catching up with my favorite TV shows when they return for the fall season and scope out some of the new stuff that is, thank goodness, not reality TV!
  • Avoiding exes. I think I successfully offended #2 when I congratulated him on achieving the lifestyle he always wanted to rub my face in (yes, he literally said that to me once), but letting him know I was still unimpressed without mentioning new boyfriend’s(?) lifestyle and all the cool things I’ve got going on (not that he asked either…good thing I’ve got my blog, I’d have no outlet to talk about myself incessantly otherwise). See ya!

I promise there’s some legit shit going on as well, my life is actually fulfilling with a small part devoted to this fluff, but I save that for my other blog.  For you?  I let it all hang out.  Gosh, you’re welcome 😉

How do you save money?

I just wrapped up tracking my spending for August. Notice I said tracking my spending NOT my budget because even though I tried to make the switch from knowing what I spend to following a budget late last year, it lasted all of a few months.

I’m embarrassed to say that my spending has been OVER my earning for the last six months. Yep, I only successfully didn’t spend more than I earned for the first two months this year. Don’t get me wrong, the first two months were big savings months and the last six haven’t been radically over what I earned, so I’m actually still in the black for the year. Barely.

Naturally, with my spending raging out of control, I decided to buy a house. Makes sense, yeah? The idea was that I’d save money by owning (thank you, plummeting housing market) and in the first place I would have.  I got my good faith estimate for my new place last night and it pretty much matches my housing costs right now, but the HOA gives me more plus I’ll save on gas for many reasons, so don’t worry that I’m going to end up as a short sale or foreclosure!

Trying to save anything during the month I’m closing escrow and moving doesn’t make much sense and if all those upfront costs were included, of course I’d be spending over what I make, but that money is coming from a separate fund and I am not counting those costs in my monthly expenses.

So, taking those out of the picture, I have given myself the goal to save $200 of my regular monthly income based on my regular monthly expenses.

Which led me to the question of “how do you save money?”

Today I really wanted a Whole Foods sammie from their sandwich bar (turkey on focaccia – legit focaccia, something I have only found in ONE of their stores and sadly not the one I work by anyway – with Muenster, sun-dried tomato ai0li, pesto aioli, lettuce, tomato, roasted red peppers, panini style…it’s heaven in your mouth and you’re welcome), BUT it was only because I was driving by after running some errands and I knew I had salad and soup at work and wouldn’t, in fact, die if I didn’t get my beloved sammie. Did I just save $8? I don’t really think so. It’s more like I didn’t spend it and I’ll find out in 30 days if it paid off in the amount of $200.

Being that I decided house-buying expenses don’t count, I guess this next point moot, but with the holiday weekend coming up (and no holiday in sight for me thanks to Bridezilla my sis) I thought it would be a good time to buy the three missing appliances for my new place to “save” a little money.

Spending money to save money has never made much sense to me, but I’m still a sucker for the advertising ploy. Again, doesn’t really count as saving. That money I would have spent on full-priced appliances will stay in my house fund for the next thing I need want to buy.

I follow some bloggers who are going on spending fasts this September, but I’m not quite ready to go there yet, although it might be the kick in the pants I need. The challenge I’m setting for myself here is simply end the month having NOT spent $200 of what I’ve earned. That’s how I save money.

And…because I like goals, my other goal for the month is to leave my anxiety in August.  August, being my birthday month, is one of my favorites, so it’s kind of a terrible place to leave anxiety, but there’s no need for it in September.  I cried it out a bit last night in one of those “what am I crying over?” moments where you realize you just need to cry over nothing and everything.  Today, with the fresh start of September, I will run and do yoga, two great stress relievers for me.  I think that’s a great start. 

So, how do you save money?  What are your goals for September?