Monday, February 28, 2011


Another item checked off my list.  I went the entire month of February without shopping.  Although I technically have roughly 7+ odd hours until the month is officially over, most stores will be closed in about 4, and quite honestly, I will likely be asleep in about 3.5, I'm going to call this one officially complete.

Of course, there were a couple of things that I did differently than I expected, but since I make the rules around here, I decided that was okay.  First, I came to the conclusion that food didn't count as shopping.  Seriously?  What was I thinking.  And so I did go to the cafeteria for the occasional breakfast sandwich (why do I love them so?), I also thought twice before I went and got one.  Second, I cheated...sort of.  I was invited to two baby showers in February, and just because I was doing a month of no shopping didn't mean that I could show up to the showers empty handed.  So although it would be nice to go an entire month without spending ANY money, truthfully, this was about not spending money on myself.  And that is what I did.

One thing that surprised me was that I wasn't tempted to spend - even a gift card.  And I even went to the mall and to Target at various times during the month (where bargains usually trip me up).  Overall I felt like the month was pretty easy, and although at this time I don't plan to extend one month into two, I could definitely see challenging myself with this again.
You may remember that Byron offered to do this challenge with me.  He barely lasted a day.  No offense honey, but you just didn't share my convictions, and I knew that would be the case.  It's okay - I still love him.

Ultimately, there was a big lesson that I learned.  And that is to question what I really think I need.  It really isn't that much.  So between the no shopping month, the purging that continues, and the resolution to get more organized, I'm hoping that these are all ways I am training myself to simplify.  And THAT is something I truly desire...for the long term!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


That is not an is an acronym:  Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.
If you have checked in on the blog in the past few days and noticed that there were some missing pictures, that would be completely my fault.  I think the only excuse is that I was not really paying attention to what I was doing.  Then I paid attention, realized what I was doing wrong, and now the problem is fixed.  Sorry about that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

This year's valentines celebration was pretty low key for us, mostly because I've still been fighting this killer cold.  It makes me not so eager to make a big deal out of the holiday.  Basically when I'm sick I get really selfish.  I had originally planned to make a *romantic* dinner complete with pink and white heart shaped pasta, but when my mom mentioned she was making potato soup, I saw an opportunity to get out of cooking and invited us over.  We can have the heart pasta tomorrow, I guess.
We were not total haters, though.  My valentine did wake me up with a sweet surprise of something that I had wanted for a while...this print from Persimmon and Pink.

The funny thing is, I almost bought that for him.  Wouldn't that have been something?  But since I've got budget on the brain, I had to get creative for his present.  But back to this.  I already had the perfect frame for it - a wedding present that we had never used - and the perfect spot.  I wanted to hang it in our bathroom so that it would be the first thing we saw as we walked in.  And this is what it looks like in place.
I love it.  It makes the [bland] space much cheerier.
When I thought of what to get Byron, I got creative.  I downloaded two of these prints, which were a freebie.  I uploaded them to my account at Walgreens and had them printed and mailed to me for under $5.  I could have done it for even cheaper, but I decided to enlarge them a bit and I also ordered them with a matte finish.  But really, I was pleased with how they turned out.
After a week of birthday and valentines presents, we now have 4 new prints for the house, 1 of which is actually framed and hung the same day we got it!  Not bad!
I hope you all have a fantastic Valentine's Day, whether it was low key like ours was or something super special.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Last Birthday...Ever

If I title my post The Last Birthday...Ever, do you know what I mean?  I'm sure some of you women do.  29.  That's me today.  Today I turned the last age I will ever admit to.
The day was in some ways off to a great start, and in others, not so good.  At 4:57 AM, I awoke with a sore throat, a stuffy nose, and a puppy intruding on my sleeping space.  First of all, that is way too early.  Times that start with a 4 should be off limits for waking up.  The other things were just 'icing on the cake', shall we say?  When the alarm went off at 5:25, I was welcomed to my 29th year by presents from Byron.  He did very well.  He gave me a yoga video that I had been wanting, a really cool book by one of my favorite fabric designers, Amy Butler, and this really cool print we had seen on Etsy.

I love it so much.  (It can be found here if anyone is curious.)  I can't wait to find a frame for it and find a wall to hang it on.  I have the perfect place in mind.
At work, my coworker made two pans of brownies for me.  Since I don't care too much for cake, this was so awesome.  And the two pans left one for me and one for me to share.  Kidding.  Sort of.
And now a little Chinese take out and relaxing to end the night is just what makes the perfect birthday.  I was hoping to go out to a nice restaurant, but since I'm feeling so crappy, we'll just save that for another day.  And for anyone who read my recent post, birthdays don't count as shopping.
I am a little sad to be hitting the big 2-9.  Mostly because I just don't want to be 30.  I want to be young forever.  Too bad I didn't ask for the fountain of youth for my birthday this year!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Purge #2

Another purge.  I'm patting myself on the back right now.  This purge claimed victim to another 23 items.  For those keeping score, that's 24 + 2 + 23 for a total of 49 items so far.  I had said that I would like to purge 100 things in the first few months of the year.  To give myself a firm deadline, I have actually chosen the 100th day of the year, which, by my calculation, is April 10.  (If I'm wrong, just go with it.)  So anyway, I am almost halfway there on the item count and I know there hasn't been 50 days yet in 2011, so I'm feeling pretty good.  Hence, the aforementioned back-patting.
This time it wasn't just clothing that fell to my clutter busting hand, but a random slew of things.  Let me break the photo down.

  • 1 candle - love it, but can't get it to burn.
  • 4 old magazines
  • 2 pairs of jeans - one with grease stains and another I'm pretty sure I'll NEVER fit into again.
  • 1 old bra
  • 1 pair of character shoes - from show high school...enough said
  • 1 picture frame
  • 1 Christmas ornament
  • 1 package of paper wine coasters
  • 7 used gift bags/boxes
  • 4 tank tops
I can't say I'll miss any of it, either.  Which begs me to ask the question, why keep this around in the first place?  I have no idea.  It's a problem, folks.  Some of us are just more cluttery than the next.  Some of these items are getting put in the Goodwill pile, but the rest are getting recycled or tossed.  Somewhere in this house there are 51 more items just waiting to fall to my decluttering mission.  What do you think they will be?  You're guess is as good as mine.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

February is the month of...

Remember my 30 before 30 list?  I think I only have one item crossed off so far (hey - several more are in progress!), and this month I turn 29.  So...basically time is ticking away and I need to start making progress.  So here goes one.  February is the month of NO SHOPPING!
What this means to each person could be different, so here is what it means to me.  Expenses like gas, groceries, bills, and other necessities are not included.  I need to live people.  Although we say we are going "grocery shopping" it is not quite the same as a Target run, just to pick up a few things...then you end up with 20 in your cart.  Can anyone relate?  One thing I will try to do this month is to focus on real, healthy food, and not some of those extras we don't need but sometimes come home with.  What else does no shopping mean to me?  No breakfast runs to the cafeteria at work or mid-afternoon runs to the vending machine.  And absolutely no spending at the mall, the craft store, the home improvement store, etc.  I will admit, I haven't exactly figured out if this means no going out to eat.  If it were just me, I would say that absolutely is out, but my that means my poor husband is stuck at home for an entire month.  So we'll see.  I also have a few gift cards from Christmas, and I haven't decided if those are off limits, either.  I am leaning toward just not going there.  Although I wouldn't be spending real money, I would still be shopping, so those will likely stay tucked in my wallet for at least another month.
Another question I ask myself when doing this is what am I trying to accomplish?  Well, I guess I have two main reasons.  The first is an issue of discipline.  I just want to tell myself that I can do it, and then prove to myself that I was right.  The second reason is that I'm already a pretty frugal person in general.  But I love to talk about budgeting and saving money.  Sometimes I read articles and books for fun about how to save for the future or get out of debt, and the strategies are usually talking about cutting expenses that I don't generally have.  So I just want to use this as an exercise to see where the excess is in my life, and if I had to cut something out, I would know that I could.
That seemed like a long explanation.  So far, I am 5 days in, and although the smell of a breakfast sandwich tempts me every morning, I am surviving the challenge.  I have just over 3 weeks left.  Sometimes that seems like eternity, and sometimes it is no big deal.  I will check back in when the month is over to report on how I did.  Until then, wish me luck!
Note:  I know that money and spending habits are extremely personal and I am in no way trying to impose my beliefs and habits on anyone else.  Please read this with a grain of salt and know that this is just something I wanted to do for myself.