Category Archives: Shopping

Making My Friend Try On Wedding Dresses (or I’m So Glad She Found The Perfect Dress!)

I’m sure that most single women don’t love when their friends get engaged and share all the wedding planning details. But that’s not me. I love hearing about plans and details and all of that! So every time a friend of mine gets engaged, I usually am always asking what’s happening, what they have picked out, and what they still need to do.

When my friend Jane got engaged, she shared about how she was a bit anxious about looking for a dress and I immediately told her I wanted to go shopping with her. She started shopping back east with her mom and didn’t find anything. And after that experience, I think she was a bit hesitant about trying it again. But because I can be bossy, I told her that we had to go check out dresses. We went to David’s Bridal a week ago without an appointment just to see if they could take a walk-in, but they couldn’t. But that gave us a chance to look around at dresses that she wanted to try and I think she was feeling a bit better about the options that were out there.

She got an appointment for this week and I think we were both pretty excited to check out the dresses we liked and to find out what she would like. She mentioned not being sure about certain silhouettes or wanting a veil, but she knew my job was to encourage her to try on things that she wouldn’t necessarily pick for herself because you never know what you will like.

When we had been there the other day, we picked a big variety of dresses for her to try on. Some were short dresses, some long, some were very simple, some were so heavily beaded that we wondered if it would feel too heavy, and most other options you could think of. There was one short dress that Jane thought could be the one and it happened to be at that store so we made sure it was on the list. And when we went back this week, we looked around a bit more and found a few other options that I thought could be nice.

When the consultant came out to meet us, she decided that we should do 5 dresses at first for Jane. 2 of them were ones that Jane loved, 2 were ones that I loved, and then the consultant picked one out on her own. Then we went back to the changing rooms where she took all of Jane’s measurements and I hung out in the waiting area super excited to see what Jane was going to like!

The first dress that Jane tried on was a fun dress with a high-low hem. It was a very plain dress, but that meant we got to have fun checking out options on how to customize it. She tried different belts, different sleeves, and mesh overlays. We found a combination that Jane really loved and I thought that maybe she would end up with the first dress that she tried on. She looked super happy about the dress and I could tell that some of the stress she felt going into the appointment was quickly gone.

The next dress that she tried on was one that I loved that Jane wasn’t sure about.  It wasn’t right because it was too low-cut and even with making a change to fix that wouldn’t make the dress right for her. But I’m glad she at least tried it on. The third dress was another one that I picked out and it was a gorgeous dress with lace and a longer train. Jane was nervous about a dress with a train, but I told her she needed to just try it. And when she walked out, it was such a magical moment!

She looked incredible in the dress! It fit her perfectly and it was just amazing! It wouldn’t be the dress I would expect her to wear, but it being unexpected made it even more perfect! She also tried a veil on with it and the veil made it complete! I was tearing up a bit because she looked like a bride out of a magazine! I had a good feeling that this would be her dress, but I tried to stay calm because I didn’t want to influence her choice.

The next dress was the short dress that Jane loved. It was a fun dress, but as soon as she had it on she knew it wasn’t right for her wedding. And it wasn’t able to beat the previous dress. And the last dress she tried on was one that the consultant picked that was similar to the dress I loved. And when Jane walked out in that one, I knew she was going to have a tough time picking a dress. It was beautiful and she looked amazing in it. She was so confused on which one to get so she decided to try the one we all loved again to see if she still loved it.

And when she got that dress back on, I knew that it was the dress for her! She was just glowing and couldn’t stop smiling. She looked like a bride and looked like herself which is exactly what you want. She mentioned how it was so funny that I picked her dress and how it wasn’t what she was planning on trying on and how it ended up being exactly what she wanted. I would have been happy with whatever dress she got as long as she loved it, but I feel so special that she got a dress that I picked out!

I don’t want to spoil the surprise of the dress (even though she said I could), so I’m only going to share a little bit of the detail on the train.

I wish I could share more of the dress without giving it away because it is just so amazing! And she looks amazing in it! It was so fun to get to watch her find her perfect dress and she kept saying after she picked it out how painless and easy it all was. I’m glad that that’s the experience she had because I am sure that wedding stuff can be insanely stressful and I wanted this to be fun for her.

I feel so lucky that Jane invited me to go shopping with her and that I got to see what her dress looks like! It was such a fun afternoon with her and I feel so special that I got to be a part of that day!

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Making My House Look Fancy (or Doing Some Upgrades For The New Year)

I’m not sure why, but for some reason I’ve been on a big cleaning and organizing spree. Maybe it’s because so many of my friends posted photos of their holiday decorations and I thought their homes looked much nicer and more grown-up than mine. Also, I know that things have gotten a bit cluttered lately and I know how easily that can get out of control. But mainly, I just wanted to upgrade some stuff around my house because it was time to do so.

Things started pretty basic with getting a new shower organizer (my old one was starting to rust) and I got some baskets I could hang off of towel racks in my bathroom (I have a serious lack of storage in there). I also wanted to do some better organizing in my kitchen. I had won a blender at Orangetheory a while ago but hadn’t organized my kitchen to fit it in there. I had my old blender still in there and I knew that it was time to get rid of that. So I started to clean and move things around in my kitchen to find a space for the new blender and that got me to move things around more.

And of course when I started moving things around I realized that I needed to do some more shopping and organizing. My parents gave me a set of knifes over 10 years ago that I never opened because I already had a knife set. But since I was doing so many upgrades I decided to switch knife sets. And since the new knife set didn’t have a knife block, I had to get one. I ended up finding a really compact one that didn’t have pre-cut slots so I could use it with any knife set. I also found a new dish drying rack that was much smaller than my old one. Since my kitchen counter space is limited, it’s nice to have more space now that I’ve switched things up.

And the most recent upgrade was inspired by my first one. The new shower organizer was nice but since I could put more things it in I wanted it to look nicer. The variety of bottles in there made things seem more cluttered than it really was and I wanted to fix that. I’ve used nicer containers for soap before since the giant bottles don’t fit where I use them. So I decided to look into new containers for my shampoo and conditioner. I ended up finding glass bottles that looked almost identical to the face wash bottle I already had. I got those (I realized that I could have just gotten more face wash bottles, but it was much cheaper to get the new bottles).

I also had learned from past mistakes about decanting one liquid into a new container and got some funnels too. And while it was a bit slower than I thought to move everything into the new containers, the end result looks so nice!

I’m thinking about maybe getting more containers like this for other things I have around my house like lotions or my body wash (which is still in the original bottle in my shower). It really does look so much nicer this way when the containers are out and I don’t have somewhere to store them away. And I can get the bigger sizes of things now and then pour them into the smaller containers (which should save me a little money).

Of course, all of these upgrades did cost me money which wasn’t the best. I really wanted to save money, but once I got started on these projects I wasn’t really able to stop. I’ve got a few more projects in mind that I want to do, but I’m hoping that I can do them without buying more stuff. A lot of this organization has been trying to minimize what I have in my house. I’m aware that I have too much stuff at times and I need to work on that. But when I’m getting rid of stuff, it helps to also make the stuff that I’m keeping in my house look nicer.

My organization and upgrade project is an ongoing thing. But it’s nice to know that I’m going to be starting 2018 in a much nicer looking place that feels much more grown-up to me.

I Guess I Am Doing Some Cutting Back (or My Willpower Is Coming Back)

I’ve been trying to work on getting my food back on track and it’s not going the way I was hoping. I want to get back to how things were last year but it seems like things are preventing me from doing that. Or at least that is the excuse I have been making to myself. I really want to work on this but it’s not easy and I know that the more frustrated I get about things the harder it will be.

Since this has been so difficult, I’ve wondered if I have lost the willpower I’ve had in the past. It’s never easy for me to have willpower and I know that it’s not something that I can get back easily. And of course, I know that willpower isn’t necessarily real, but it is nice when things are going easily for me and that I don’t have to think about food. I don’t think it will ever be easy for me and it’s been tough to understand that reality. But I think that knowing it is a step forward.

But while I’ve been in a bit of a funk about my lack of willpower about my food, I’ve realized that I haven’t totally lost my willpower. While I’m not a huge clothes shopper, I do like to shop and when I find things that fit and are a good price I usually get them. It’s not too often I find things that are right for me so I feel a need to get them if I do find them. I know that this is a problem and I’ve been trying to be better about not buying more stuff. I’m trying to go through my closet to see what I already own because I have rediscovered things that I forgot I owned. But there are still times that I can’t resist an amazing sale.

But yesterday I was looking at the Nordstrom Rack Clear The Rack sale online and found a bunch of things I’ve been thinking of getting in the sale. There are some dresses I’ve looked at that are down to almost $10 (they were $50 previously). I looked at a bunch of stuff and had a lot of tabs open with what I was thinking of buying. I was just trying to decide what I wanted and what I could skip on getting.

But the more I looked at what I was looking at, the less I wanted to get it. I have been wanting to get a lot of these things for months so I don’t know what changed. Maybe it was the money I didn’t want to spend (even though getting 6 things was going to only be about $60) or maybe I didn’t want to buy things until I lost more weight. But whatever the reason, I closed all the tabs with all the things I was looking at and didn’t buy anything.

It was a bit depressing for a minute thinking that I was no longer interested in things that I have been wanting for a while. But then I realized that not buying this stuff was a bit of willpower. Nothing I was looking at was something that I needed. It was all fun stuff that I liked but could live without. So by not getting them I was resisting spending money that I didn’t need to spend and getting clothes that I don’t need.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I wish my willpower could be transferred from one area of my life to another. I’m good at having willpower for things that aren’t too important, but when it comes to the big things it’s not always there. I don’t necessarily know how to find it again and it’s a mystery to me a lot when I do have it. But maybe being aware of having it in an area of my life that I’m not expecting it I can use that to try to find it where I need it.

I know that being on the right track with my food now is a tough thing. I have lots of things coming up that are going to make it easy to fall into bad habits that I’m trying to avoid. I have the holidays coming up and all the parties that happen this time of year. Again, I don’t want to use these as excuses, but I’m aware that allowing for things to not be as structured as I’d like will help in the long run. I don’t want to feel like I’ve screwed everything up and will try to start another time. I’m not putting off getting back on track because then I will never do it. But I need to find the balance I need to have in my life and the willpower that will help me not go off the rails like I have in the past.

Unexpected Birthday Present (or I Love Having Technology That Works!)

I was not planning on asking for anything for my birthday from my parents this year. They helped me get my car at the beginning of the year so I didn’t feel right asking for anything else. I still feel a bit guilty about my new car, but I know that they are happy to help me out. But there was no way I was going to tell my parents I wanted something for my birthday.

I usually get a check from my grandma for my birthday, so I was thinking about what I wanted to use it for (she prefers that I get something fun with it and not use it to pay bills). I was talking with my dad before my birthday and mentioned how my iPad was pretty much dead at that point. It was taking hours for it to turn on and for me to open an app could take close to 30 minutes. And that day, I couldn’t get it to turn on no matter what I did. I didn’t think my iPad was going to be usable anymore.

The iPad I had was about 5 years old, which is a pretty long time for a piece of technology. I used to use it much more often, but over the past 2 years I used it less because it was getting so slow and several apps that I like to use wouldn’t work anymore. But I didn’t want to get a new one because at that time I knew I’d spending a lot on a new laptop and technically my old one still worked.

I’m aware that this is totally a first world problem. I don’t need an iPad, but I like having it and it is something I do work on. But I think I also knew it wasn’t a necessity to get a new one so when my old one pretty much died on me I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get a new one for my birthday. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it would be the perfect thing to use my birthday check toward.

This call with my dad was just one of our usual phone calls and the iPad thing just happened to come up. And he agreed that getting one for my birthday would be a great thing to use my check for. I didn’t think much more about that conversation after we hung up. But then the next morning, I got an email from my dad with the subject “Birthday Surprise”. And my dad wrote that he and my mom had discussed it after he got off the phone with me and they wanted to get me my iPad for my birthday!

I was totally not expecting this and I even called my parents to tell them that I didn’t tell my dad about my old one dying to try to get them to buy me one. I kept asking if they were sure they wanted to get it for me because I was considering my car my birthday present (and I’m totally considering it my Hanukkah present for this year too). But my mom said that they wanted to do that for me and I couldn’t express how grateful I was for it!

I was originally going to get the new one before my birthday, but there were a few delays in me getting it. But the delays worked out well because I was able to make a decision on which one I wanted to get (after getting input from a friend who works for Apple and from my parents) and I realized that they had a back to school special for their educational discount (which I get for being a substitute teacher). Not only would I get the normal discount, which is about $20 off, I would get a free pair of wireless Beats headphones! So this past week, I headed over to the Apple Store near me to buy my new iPad!

It was a pretty fast purchase since I knew exactly what I wanted to get. I just had to decide on what color I wanted (I went with gray to match my laptop). And I’ve spent the past few days making sure I get everything set up on it before I try to erase all the data off of my old one (if I can get it to turn back on again). Just like with my laptop, it’s a crazy difference between the old one and the new one. Things are working again, I can get work done so much faster, and I know that it is going to make me more productive.

If I could figure out how to do all of my day job work from my iPad, I’d do that when I go out-of-town. But for right now, that’s not possible due to the phone calls I have to do for my box office job. But I think I might actually be able to run everything else from it which is a nice idea. The iPad can use a keyboard so if I figure out how to do it all (or if I don’t have to take phone calls for my box office job), I think it will be pretty easy to work with it and I think that will be a nice feature for me when I get to travel again.

This present was so unexpected but beyond appreciated. I am so grateful to my parents for wanting to get me this because they easily could have just gotten me nothing for my birthday which is exactly what I was expecting. And I love that now whenever I use my iPad I’m going to think about this awesome birthday this year and how amazing my parents are!

Working On Money (or A Prosperous Heart Update)

I wrote before about how the podcast I work for was going to do the 12 week journey in “The Prosperous Heart”. We just got to the end of the 12 weeks and I figured it was time to do an update.

I’ll admit that I did not follow the 12 weeks as strictly as I did with “The Artist’s Way”. The main thing I did do was the morning pages. I struggled with the morning pages when I did “The Artist’s Way” and I really didn’t enjoy them. They became something that annoyed me at the end of that journey and I really was not enjoying having my mornings start off on such a negative note. So I decided that for me, doing the morning pages wasn’t going to benefit me the way that it should so I didn’t do them.

I know that some people will argue that I didn’t really do the 12 week journey this time if I left out doing the morning pages, but that’s ok with me. I have to do what is right for me and I would rather try to do the journey the best that I can instead of not doing it at all. I did do the weekly reading and the questions at the end of the chapters, so I feel like I did a majority of the journey.

The biggest thing about this 12 week journey is to track every single penny that you spend. Since I already do that with YNAB, I figured it would be pretty easy for me to keep doing it. And fortunately it was pretty easy for me. The only annoying this was with credit card spending. I track it in YNAB and it was a bit weird to have to track it in a second location as well (for “The Prosperous Heart”, I tracked everything in a little notebook). I didn’t like having to do everything twice, but it was a minor issue.

But while I track all my credit card spending, tracking cash was a new thing for me. I was looking forward to seeing how being extra aware of my cash spending would help me out. And for the most part, I got much better about being more cautious on what I was buying. There were a few times I forgot to track my cash spending (mainly laundry money or parking meters), but I would say I tracked all but maybe 10 times I used cash. It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with being close to perfect.

I think that many people in our group weren’t as into this 12 week journey as they were with the other one. Some of us felt like the book didn’t speak to us the same way. Some people felt that the chapters were repetitive and a bit disconnected. It was not easy for us to admit that we didn’t enjoy this journey as much as the other one since we all felt so great after finishing “The Artist’s Way”. But it’s important to admit to yourself when you don’t feel like you are getting what you want out of a book/class/lecture.

We tried to encourage each other to stay on top of the weekly chapters and the lessons, but this time the group online wasn’t as active and sometimes it felt like we were each on our own journeys instead of doing it as a group. It’s not bad to do it alone, but it was different. And I don’t know if I preferred the group version or being a bit more on my own. Each journey was so different because of what was in it, so it’s not easy to compare them to each other.

Now that this is done, I’m going to keep some of the lessons and challenges going but I’m not going to keep all of them. I might continue to track cash spending, but I think just having the extra awareness I have now will be helping me so much. And for credit card spending, I already track that and I have noticed that I haven’t been charging as much stuff as I did before. So it’s nice to know that I did learn something and that I’m not spending as much as I did before. I’m not saving as much as I’d like, but it’s baby steps toward that.

Overall, I’m glad that I took this journey. Even if I didn’t do everything that was supposed to be done, I feel like I have made a change and I’ve learned new things about myself. I’m hoping that I can continue to spend less and focus less on things that cost money and look for things that are free that I like to do. I know that I need to get my credit card debt paid off and I really want to get it done soon. I just need to buckle down and work harder toward that. And hopefully the lessons I learned from “The Prosperous Heart” will help me over the next weeks and months to accomplish that.

Time For Some Refocusing (or I Need To Do Some Follow Through)

My life has been getting a bit crazy lately, but crazy in a good way. I’m back to my normal routine without the worry about medical issues in my head. I’m back in the dating game and while I’ve had some negative experiences I’m having fun. I’m going out with my friends and doing so much stuff that I love. Honestly, this is close to the happiest I’ve been as an adult. I think a lot of it is because I don’t care as much about what other’s think, but I also think I’m just making an effort to make me happy.

Not everything in my life is going great, but it’s pretty awesome right now. I’m taking more time to focus on the positives in my life than the negatives that might come up. But because I’m not focusing on the negatives, I’m slacking off on some things and I know that I need to work on that balance.

Some of the slacking off has been cleaning and organizing. This has been something on my to-do list for a while and I’m just not taking the time out to do the work that I need to do. And looking at my calendar for the coming days, I honestly don’t know when I’ll have the chance to do it. And because I want to do more than just a basic cleaning, I know that this is something I need to set aside the time to do.

My desk has been getting a bit out of control because I’m sitting at it so many hours a day. When I start working on stuff and don’t get to finish, I just set it to the side on my desk thinking I’ll pick it up later. But later doesn’t seem to come and some of these things have been on my desk for too long. One of the things that’s been on my desk forever has been the dry erase board that I used for my Oscars costume. When I got it, I assumed that I would be using it at my desk or somewhere else. But I haven’t done anything with it and I don’t know now if I will be using it. I just need to make a decision and do something with it.

My closet is another trap right now for me. I really need to go through all my clothes and figure out what I want to keep and what I need to toss. There are several things in my closet that are now too big for me and I don’t want to keep them around anymore. But sometimes it’s hard to let those things go because I justify in my head that maybe I could get it tailored smaller or that I might wear it baggy. But I know I won’t and I just have to let it go. There are also things that have gotten torn or just not my style anymore and I need to get rid of it. But again, this is a major cleaning and I know I’ll need to set aside lots of time to do it. I probably will need to try on a lot of stuff from my closet to do this and when I do this cleaning I also am looking at making a list of what I own so I don’t feel like I’m missing something in my closet and go out and buy it (I’ve done that before and have had to make trips to return duplicates).

And as always, I just want to clean up some of the clutter that is in my house. I keep a lot of stuff for sentiment value and I know that I don’t need to do that. I want to work on digitizing more stuff that I keep and finding new and clever ways to organize and store what I want to have. It’s a bit overwhelming to think about how much I want to get done, but I also know in the long run that this will be an awesome thing for me to do and I will probably be really happy when I feel like I have a cleaner, more organized, and happier space.

I know a lot of people who have gone through major cleanings like this have been inspired by the book “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up”. I actually have this book. I bought it almost 2 years ago and for some reason I haven’t really started to read it. I know that I always get distracted by other books that I have, but now that I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the work I want to get done I think this might be a good time to start reading it. I’m in the middle of one book right now so I probably won’t be able to read it until next week, but I honestly forgot that I owned the book until I started to feel as overwhelmed as I am now.

I’m tired of setting a goal to work on cleaning my space and not following through with it. I need to just get my butt in gear and do it. But it’s not always easy to make a change like this when you’ve been putting it off. But hopefully soon I will find the motivation and time to get this done and I can feel calmer in my space so that my home will make me as happy as my social life is making me.

Surgery Shopping (or How To Prep For The Unexpected)

I know I’ve posted a lot about my liver surgery lately (and I will be posting more about it over the next few weeks). I’m now 2 weeks away from surgery and there is so much that I’ve been trying to get done or need to do. I’m still trying to have a lot of fun, but surgery stuff is taking up a lot of my time.

I have the stuff I expected like various doctor appointments and tests. I’ve already done some blood work and today is my MRI. I’ve got my official pre-op appointment next week and that will consist of multiple doctor appointments at one time so I can meet with the surgeon, the anesthesia team, and possibly the inpatient team. I’ve also been working more than normal because I’m banking hours at work. I can’t afford to take time off (I don’t get paid time off at any of my jobs), so I’ve been working extra hours unpaid to cover the time I won’t be working coming up. I’ve got all the hours banked that I think I’ll need, but that has taken a lot of time in the mornings that I usually do other work.

I’ve also been trying to get things ready to be in the hospital for a while. I’ve been getting ideas of things to have with me from friends who have been in the hospital for a while before. I’m hoping the hospital has decent wifi because I have a feeling I’ll be watching a lot of Netflix or Hulu there (also, if I feel up for it then I could even work from the hospital). I’ve also gotten some dresses that are easy to put on and are cheap to wear after surgery. There’s a chance that things with waistbands won’t work for a little bit for me so dresses seemed to be the easiest solution. I also know I might have surgical drains when I go home, so I found these awesome sticky pockets to put in my clothes if I need them.

I still have a pretty decent list of things I still need to get for my time in the hospital and while I’m recovering with my parents. Some things I expected to be easy, like getting some slippers to have with me, but somehow they haven’t been easy to find in stores. I’m guessing I’ll be doing a big Amazon order soon. I might wait until after my pre-op appointment so I know what else I might need. Thank goodness for fast shipping with Amazon Prime! I’ve been told I might get a list when I go in for the pre-op appointment, but if any of you have been through any type of abdominal surgery and have suggestions for things I should have please let me know!

And then of course there is getting my house ready for this all. I will be doing some big cleaning because I don’t want things cluttered when my parents are here and I don’t want things to feel dirty when I am back home. After I’m out of the hospital, I will be recovering with my parents so they can help me out with things or buy things I forgot about. But I still want to try to get as much done now as I can. One thing I was trying to do but have been slacking on is getting some food made and frozen so it’s easy for me to eat at home even if I’m tired. I don’t want to go back to ordering delivery food (plus I’m guessing I’ll be on a restricted diet so I want to have food that I made and know what’s in it).

I know it sounds like I’ve got a handle on things and seem really prepared, but I don’t feel that way at all. There are still so many unknowns with this entire thing and a lot of the answers won’t be things I can really know in advance. I have no idea how my body will react to this all and I can’t prepare for what I don’t know will happen. It has been giving me a pretty steady level of anxiety lately, but nothing as bad as a regular panic attack. And I have had a few minor attacks but fortunately my friends and family have been able to calm me down.

When things were 2 months away or even 1 month away it seemed like I had unlimited time to get ready and that it wasn’t going to be soon. I think it really hit me when I had 3 weeks left how soon this was all going to be. I’m very lucky that I’ve had time to prep for this and it wasn’t an emergency surgery where nothing could be done ahead of time. But sometimes having prep time is the worst because I can analyze things to death. I’m trying to stay as calm as I can be which is why I set my monthly challenge to be being calm and taking more deep breaths.

Over the next 2 weeks, there will be posts about preparing for surgery but I will also have some fun posts in there too. And I am hoping to keep this blog going regularly while I’m recovering, but of course I don’t know how I’ll feel. But I do promise that if there are some days I can’t blog I will get back to writing regularly. I’ve been doing this every weekday for so long, and the idea that I might miss a day does stress me out a bit. But I hope that you all will stick with me while I get through all of this and hopefully I can find some fun things to write about while I’m recovering!

Working On Being A Warrior (or Something To Remind Me)

I had set my word for the year to be warrior. I’m really proud of choosing that to be my word. It has a really strong meaning to me and there is a good visual in my head when I think about being a warrior. And it has a lot of different meanings as well so I can apply it to so many parts of my life. I know I’ve been a warrior in the past, but I really wanted to focus on it this year because I know I have a couple of tough things coming up. And being a warrior will help me get through it all.

As I have each year that I’ve picked a word of the year, I made the word the background on my computer. I also have set the background to my phone and iPad to be a similar pattern so it reminds me of the word as well. But even though I have those as reminders on a daily basis, I don’t think I’ve been applying myself to be a warrior as much as I could be. I don’t always see the background of my computer since I’m working so much. I usually have a ton of windows open so I’m not getting the reminder as often as I have in the past.

When I’ve been going through tough times, I’ve been starting to look at myself as a victim which I really want to try to avoid. I know I’m not a victim. I’m very lucky with so many things in my life. When things are bad, I do need to focus on the good and to remember how hard I’ve been working for everything that I have. And that is a big part of what a warrior is all about.

In the membership group for the Inside Acting Podcast, we have a forum about our words of the year and someone had sent me a link to some necklaces that had some words I was considering but didn’t pick for this year. I liked them, but it got me thinking that I should find something that says warrior on it to remind me of what I am trying to be this year.

And that search got me to the Mantra Band website and seeing their warrior bracelet! It’s a pretty simple bracelet and will go nicely with the jewelry that I wear on a regular basis (which is a necklace and a watch). I got the bracelet in silver which matches my other jewelry, but I love so many of the other sayings on other bracelets that I might get one of the other ones in rose gold.

It is such a simple and beautiful bracelet and I know that I will remember to try to be a warrior at all times when I’m wearing it. It will be a nice reminder for me to work on what I set out to do this year and to not let myself feel too down about things when there are so many other things going my way. I’ve had one other motivational bracelet before (it says positivity on it), but this one has a very strong meaning to me.

I’m really glad that I found this bracelet and ordered it (and it got to me 2 days after I ordered it online!). I’ve needed something to remind me more often of my word for the year, and this is the perfect way to do it!

I’m sure this sounds like I was paid to say all these nice things about Mantra Band, but I really did just randomly find them online and placed an order. I didn’t get my bracelet for free or with any discount and they didn’t ask me to write a blog post about them. But when I find a company I love, I have to share all about them!

If you want to order a warrior bracelet or one of their other items, you can go to this link to get 5% off an order (full disclosure, I get points towards earning discounts in the future if you use my link). Hopefully you can find something that motivates you to be the best, most positive, and most productive person! I know that my warrior bracelet has given me that boost and I am so grateful for that!

Adding Gadgets To My House (or Tools To Help Me Out)

While I’m trying to cut back on my spending and bringing more things into my house, sometimes you need to break that rule to make things better. It’s a hard balance to figure out because I’m sure I can justify spending for stuff I really don’t need. So I’m trying to be very picky and making sure that it’s something that I really need and not just something that I want. But there were two gadgets that fit into that rule that I ended up buying this week.

The first thing I got was a lamination machine for my house. Usually when I need to laminate stuff, I go to Staples and pay to get it done. I normally only need one thing or one page so it never seemed worth it to me to have my own lamination machine. But my mom has had one for a while and loved it, so when I was thinking about getting stuff laminated this week I looked into buying one for myself.

I did manage to find one that was heavily discounted on Amazon that would arrive that day at my house (thanks Amazon Prime)! And it was perfect because I have been working on my meal planning and wanted to create a nice reusable meal planning guide.

The machine I got is really easy to use and it came with a bunch of the laminating pages so I don’t need to buy any for a little bit. And I have been able to use the meal planning page I created each day (although I’m still trying to figure out how I can write on this without ruining it). And it’s small enough that it fits into a shelf on my desk so it is out of the way when I am not going to be using it.

The other new gadget I got this week also has to do a bit with my challenge to work on meal planning. I’ve thought for a long time that my kitchen was perfectly set up for me to cook, but I’m aware that I set it up based on what most people need and not what I need. I’m a pretty decent cook and my knife skills are ok, but when I have to cut up a bunch of stuff I’m not so great at it. So I have been looking casually at ideas to make chopping stuff easier and decided I needed to invest in a new cooking gadget. So I went out and got the Vidalia Chop Wizard.

I got it yesterday and used it last night to cook dinner. I made meatloaf muffins and this was perfect for chopping the onions and mushrooms I use it in. It was so much easier than chopping things by hand and everything was uniform so I didn’t bit into a huge piece of onion while eating dinner. I know that this can be used for a ton of stuff and I have a feeling that I will be discovering ways to use it on a regular basis.

And besides the new stuff I bought this week, I’ve been rediscovering stuff in my kitchen to help me with my food goals. I’ve been using my slow cooker (and I found my slow cooker liners so I don’t have to do much cleanup) to make easy meals and I’ve found recipes that don’t require browning food or getting another pan dirty to make the meal (my slow cooker pet peeve). And I’ve been using my food processor regularly the last few weeks and have started to think that maybe I need to buy another food processor bowl and blade so it will be easier to use it multiple times a day.

I know that I can do a lot of the work I’ve been using these gadgets for by hand, but why should I? This is making cooking easier and seems like I could be more likely to keep things up in the long run. The only downside is that I do need to go through my kitchen now and figure out what I really want to keep and what I can give to others because my kitchen is super tiny and lacking storage space. I don’t know where to put everything just yet (there are things all over my house that could live in the kitchen if there was space), but that will be something else I need to work on with organizing my house.

But for now, I’m just so glad that I was ok spending a bit of money to try to make things better for me with figuring other things out in my life.

Working On Cleaning (or Time To Declutter)

I try not to clutter up my house since I live in such a small place, but somehow it seems like all of a sudden from time to time that I feel like my space is too cluttered. I seem to acquire new things in batches, so it quickly feels like I have too much stuff in my house. For some reason, even though I didn’t really buy too much for myself during the holidays, it started to feel like I needed to do a big cleaning after the holidays. But for some reason, this time I’m struggling with getting rid of stuff.

A lot of the stuff I want to get rid of are clothes. I have a lot of clothes that I don’t wear anymore. Most of it is due to it being too large on me now (a good problem to have) but some stuff I just don’t like or it has started to show wear and tear. But despite the clothes not being worn that often, for some reason I don’t want to let go of them. Even the clothes that are too big are tough to bring to donate. All of the clothes I needed to get rid of still fit in my closet, but I wanted them gone. So I ended up taking out everything that I’m not wearing and putting them into bags. I haven’t been able to get rid of the bags yet, so they are just living in my utility room for now. I don’t know what the struggle with letting them go is, but I guess baby steps are better than nothing.

I also seemed to get a ton of new stuff on my desk. Part of it was when I got my new computer and I had to work on the transfer between the computers. Since the cables for the new computer are different from the old computer, I do need to buy some converters to make everything work the way I want it to. But my desk has also become a catchall for things that I need to deal with. I’m starting to organize my 2016 taxes and that’s all over my desk. I also have cards and paperwork that needs to be finished on my printer. My desk drawers are full, but not unbearable so. My focus is just cleaning the desk since that’s what looks cluttered. I want to get this done, but I also know that this stuff is still in process so I can’t just get rid of them.

And finally, I feel like I just have too much stuff in general around the house. I don’t have a ton of things, but the space has felt smaller to me lately. I do only have about 400 square feet, but it never felt too small before. And I haven’t really added too much that takes up floor space (I did get a robot vacuum during a flash sale on Amazon that is on the floor). I’m wondering if I’m feeling this way because things have been organized the same way in my house for years and I haven’t moved around furniture or switched things up in a while. My last big change was when I got a new couch. And that was over 2 years ago. Maybe I just need to rearrange things and it will feel better.

I don’t keep a dirty or cluttered house, but for some reason it’s just been getting to me. I know I need to do something to fix this or it’s just going to keep bugging me. I’m trying to take steps where I can to make things better but I know I need to do more. I do have motivation to do more this weekend because I’m supposed to be having people over on Sunday (having people come over is always a good motivation to do a major cleaning). But just cleaning might not be good enough because I don’t just want to move things around or hide them in drawers. I do want to get things out of the house that aren’t useful to me so that I can make sure my space is as functional and productive for me as possible.