Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Future Fund: $0.04
Other People's Weddings Fund: $0.02
Misc. ING Funds: $0.22
Roth IRA: $7,925.59 (out of the $7,810 I've invested so far)
Sharebuilder: $42.27 (out of $50 initial investment)
Total Positive: $18,357.94
Credit cards: $574.71
Student Loan I: $7,150.22 (from over $19k)
Student Loan II: $0
Total Negative: $8,007.93
Net Worth: $10,350.01
Monday, July 5, 2010
Emergency Fund: $5,004.56
Future Fund: $0.79
Other People's Weddings Fund: $122.89
Misc. ING Funds: $1.00
Roth IRA: $7,244.87 (out of the $7,710 I've invested so far)
Sharebuilder: $34.27 (out of $50 initial investment)
Total Positive: $16,947.67
Credit cards: $1,169.83
Student Loan I: $7,231.16 (from over $19k)
Student Loan II: $0
Total Negative: $8,638.99
Net Worth: $8,308.68
This month was horrible in terms of shopping. I was doing fine in that area for a while, but then I realized I had no summer clothes. I have long been on a search for my holy grail of shirts. I could never find shirts that weren't some or all of the following: (i) too thin, (ii) too short, (iii) too long, (iv) too skanky, (v) too stretchy, or alternatively, (vi) shapeless. The trend at all major retailers hawking clothes to Gen-Y women has been to make really long, very close-fitting, paper-thin tops. Not to play the "back in my day card", but when I worked at the Gap about 9 years ago, the tops were still a nice gauge and fit (I still WEAR some of these nigh decade-old tops, because they've held up!). You definitely only needed to wear one shirt at a time, which sounds ridiculous, but now, even after layering a couple shirts, I still kinda feel naked.
Enter Land's End. I had never purchased anything from Land's End before because I thought it was frumpy, but I was game after looking over a recent catalogue. It took me a couple orders to figure out fit and size, but I can tell you that I am thrilled with their "original" fit tops. The fabric is mostly cotton. It's not see-through, and it has some give, but not too much; the length is right, the sleeves are perfect, the v-necks aren't too deeply cut, and the sizing doesn't skew on the small side. What more could I ask for? Oh yeah, colors. And they have MILLIONS of colors. To sum it up without going into too much detail, I went a little overboard. Everything is well-priced, and sure, I've made returns, but the 15 or so articles of clothing I kept really add up. But if shopping at Land's End makes me frumpy, so be it.
Probably my most overdue purchase was a belt. I've only ever owned 1 belt, and it was back in middle school when everyone wore baby tees. I literally have not touched a belt since. Isn't that strange? How did I keep my pants up, especially now that the only kind of jeans out there now are the kind that get super baggy after 1 wear? I didn't. I was a serial tugger. So I am now the proud owner of the "Heritage Leather Belt", which I am happy to report does a wonderful job keeping my pants up without incessant tugging.
So that's where most of my money went. Hopefully by next month I will be better behaved.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Wedding Fund: $0.79
Other People's Weddings Fund: $100.71
Misc. ING Funds: $67.14
Roth IRA: $7,380.11 (out of the $7,600 I've invested so far)
Sharebuilder: $37.60 (out of $50 initial investment)
Total Positive: $16,938.11
Credit cards: $1,055.25
Student Loan I: $7,349.16 (from over $19k)
Student Loan II: $0
Total Negative: $8,414.41
Net Worth: $8,523.70
Ouch. Explanation to follow.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Wedding Fund: $930.00
Other People's Weddings Fund: $420.07
Misc. ING Funds: $150.66
Roth IRA: $8,100.41 (out of the $7,600 I've invested so far)
Sharebuilder: $41.52 (out of $50 initial investment)
Amex Gift Card: $12.00
Total Positive: $20,125.08
Credit cards: $528.62
Student Loan I: $7,468.02 (from over $19k)
Student Loan II: $0
Total Negative: $8,656.64
Net Worth: $11,468.44
My wedding is TOMORROW, so no time for chit-chat. I'll do a more thorough update after the dust has settled. Btw. I got acrylic nails, which is so not me. They feel like talons. I look like I'm from New Jersey or like...Texas... which I am.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
2. Grocery store bagger/cashier
3. Sales associate at the Gap
4. File clerk temp at phone company
5. Instrument sterilizer at dental office
6. Junior dental assistant
7. File clerk at law firm
8. Slide projectionist for an art history class (work-study)
9. Server at seafood restaurant
10. Intern at a an art museum (unpaid, does this count?)
12. Front desk at a dental office
Totally predictable. My job history looks sort of like a circle. Not only have I not been making any large leaps forward, but my latest job, especially in this context, appears to be a step back. I'm approaching it more as a momentary pause, but it's still annoying to it see laid out like this.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
You might say that I have been blessed with perfect skin my entire life... or as close to perfect as human skin can get before it dips into the uncanny valley.
As a pre-teen, my first brush with "blemishes" occurred when I developed an acne-like rash on one cheek. My mother, bless her heart, has always wanted to give me/make me the best, so I was immediately taken to the dermatologist, where I was diagnosed with the vague catch-all that is "dermatitis" (I'm sort of prone to sensitive skin ailments, like rashes - gross). I came away from that appointment armed with a tube of Differin, plus instructions to throw away my Seabreeze cooling bar facial soap, and replace it with a bar of Cetaphil, along with a PM application of Curel body lotion to my face.
Since that day (probably more than 14 years ago) my routine hasn't changed much. Sure, I've experimented with weird and fancy products, but I always find myself reaching for my basics. No combination of products I've tried works more gently or consistently.
Now, before you think I'm peddling anything, let me say that I know plenty of people for whom Differin didn't work - to each her own. For instance, Proactiv works like hell. No, really, you can feel it working in a really hellasciously effective, burning way. Retin-A definitely works, but in a really visible, peely sort of way. I tried Rx-only sulfur-based lotions and washes (Klaron, Plexion), but they were so stanky, the twice daily application nixed any aesthetic gain.
So, without further ado, this is what works for me:
Wash face with a little bit of Cetaphil bar soap after brushing teeth (a lot of toothpastes have ingredients that can cause perioral dermatitis, so I like to wash after brushing, just in case). Pat dry with washcloth set aside exclusively for facial use, and quickly apply moisturizer before face dries completely. Frequently, especially in the winter when my skin is hurty and dry, I'll just use my Curel fragrance-free body lotion. I know, SPF=0 - I'm terrible. In the summer, I for sure use an high SPF lotion like La Roche-Posey Anthelios 40.
Wash face with Cetaphil again after brushing teeth and flossing. Pat dry. This time, I let my skin dry completely. I apply Differin almost all over the face, minus the eye/nose/mouth area. Afterward, about every other night - and here's where it gets a little scandalous - I pat some Retin-A under my eyes (not too close) and along the top of my cheek bones. You know that tell-tale shiny look Retin A gives you? I think it looks terrible when it affects the entire face, but wonderful when it's confined to the cheekbone area. Plus, I'm not getting any younger in the eyes, and this is definitely keeping the fine lines at bay. Then I answer a couple emails and wait a while for everything to sink in, wash and dry my hands, then moisturize my dry areas with Curel.
It's relatively inexpensive (with insurance for the Rx's), effective, and an efficient use of my time an energy, because I know it works.
Remember the sulfur products I mentioned? Instead of using them daily, I use a sulfur mask when I feel like it. I used to use the Proactiv mask like FB, but now I use Serious Skin Care's Continuously Clear "Unmasked". I prefer the texture and the tub (vs. tube) packaging, but they're essentially the same product. Occasionally I'll use the glycolic acid mask from the same line if I'm in the mood for some exfoliation.
As for makeup, I don't wear much. About once a year, I wear Bare Minerals foundation to appease my mother. About half the week I can't be bothered with makeup, and the other half I wear some under-eye concealer, blush, mascara (+eyelash curler), and chapstick. It takes less than 5 minutes, and I do admit I look far more rested with it than without it.
So that's that! Basically, when you've got some work-horse basics like Differin or any other kind of retinoid (Retin-A, Tazorac, etc), the best thing to do is to keep whatever else you put on your face simple and pared down, and be consistent with your routine.
Oh yeah, and drink water and eat food. The end. ;)
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
As good as I felt about logging those extra hours, after a few weeks in a row, my new employer was not amused. Apparently, they don't "do" overtime. Uh oh.
My first beef is that it's incredibly hard to even come close to completing all the work that needs to be done in any given day, even when I work overtime. I've only ever held a salaried job before, wherein I would work until the work was completed. Yes, at times I felt that I was being taken advantage of, but at least shit got done. Now, there is a completely different kind of pressure in the form of the office manager needling me out of the door as I approach 40 hours. What to do in this situation? Sure, I'll get better and faster as time goes by, but in reality, this job probably requires 2 people. We're looking for some part-time help, but until then, do I just let my stacks grow and hope that they recognize that I'm working my ass off, NOT slacking off?
My second beef really isn't on-topic at all, but is necessary for me to vent before it crushes my soul. So I work at the front desk. I understand the front desk needs to look presentable, and that it's semi-shared territory, as someone may need to sit there to check people out in my absence. I am completely fine with that, and I am not one of those people who latches onto the THIS IS MY DESK notion. ...HOWEVER, I do work there everyday, and 99% of time time, I am the only person using that desk, and yet I don't even get ANY drawer-space. I have one box of tea and a chapstick, yet there is no room to be had!
And don't even get me started on the TOP of the desk. When I leave 2 neat, staggered stacks of papers at the end of the day as a reminder for myself, the next morning it inevitably has transformed to 1 solid stack in the file tray in the corner. When I leave a few post-its in a neat row in front of my phone as a reminder to call certain people in the morning, they are moved to the corner, stuck one on top of the other, right next to the to-do stack. The office manager's fascist tendencies are going to drive me insane.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Wedding Fund: $686.55
Other People's Weddings Fund: $170.01
Misc. ING Funds: $51.01
Roth IRA: $7,782.05 (out of the $7,500 I've invested so far)
Sharebuilder: $40.29 (out of $50 initial investment)
Amex Gift Card: $23.00
Total Positive: $17,511.51
Subway Pass: $30
Credit cards: $156.56
Student Loan I: $7,556.94 (from over $19k)
Student Loan II: $0
Total Negative: $7,743.50
Total Net Worth: +$9,768.01
I made some pretty nice gains this month, despite my cut in pay, mostly due to the following:
- I got my final paycheck from my old job this month (we were paid every 2 weeks, with a 1 week delay, I think?), on top of the money I was making at the new job (paid weekly, with hardly any delay).
- My fiance and I are now each paying a percentage of the rent, instead of 50/50, so my share is about $200 less now.
- Retirement fund gains.
My expenses for next month will be through the roof with all the plane tickets alone. Starting the week after my own wedding in May, all my extra income (about $2k) will be earmarked for "Other People's Weddings". I have 3 weddings in the next few months, and all of them require travel. And one of them requires me to plan/pay the bulk of bridal shower/bachelorette party stuff. Woo? It's possible that I could not be any less enthusiastic ever, about anything, than I am at the moment.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I should say now that my main beef with street shoes is that the comfortable ones are few and far between, and when you find one, they're not "smart" (as your nana probably says), and all the cute or professional-looking shoes have heels that are ridiculous. I am not a small girl. I do not want to perch all [XXX] pounds of me on top of two tiny spindles. I need a sturdy mid-height heel. I know some of you reading this might see "mid-height" and think 2.5", but I'm talking 1.75" max. This type of shoe is almost impossible to find. Welcome to my search for the holy-grail shoe.
My most recent scouting was into oxford-shoe territory, but I couldn't find a nice women's oxford shoe with a mid-height heel. Once again, I was struck by the 1/4", 3" split. So In the interest of comfort and economy, I've been looking at... wait for it... dance shoes. Dance shoes are generally heeled shoes with leather soles made for movement (duh). Enter these Latin dance practice shoes:
I got them in khaki.
Hear me out. First of all, do these shoes not scream summer? That is perforated leather, my friends, for ventilation. The heel is just under 1 1/2 inches, which is just enough to add some polish and shape to the foot while still allowing maximum comfort while using your feet for the purpose they were intended. Plus, I know for a fact that leather-soled shoes can be resoled. As in, when I wear holes through the soles, I can take them to be replaced. I know they're not great for wet or icy weather, but I'm going to try these out for the summer, and if I like them, I'm going back for the non-perforated black variety for fall. And there are some 1 3/4" choir pumps calling my name, too.
What are some of your shoe solutions?
And because nobody says it better than Kelly, a brief video from ye olde days of 2006:
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
- Two-block commute. Literally.
- Normal bosses. So far, so good.
- Possibly every other Friday off.
- Free dental.
- MUCH more interaction with actual people, instead of the usual basement-dwellers. (Yes, we work in a basement.)
Monday, February 15, 2010
-1/4 cup (dry) toasted buckwheat (aka kasha), salted
-2 slices of turkey bacon
-1 white grapefruit
Make kasha, fry turkey bacon, chop up, and add to kasha. Eat grapefruit separately (der). Did you know that buckwheat really isn't a wheat product at all, but is closely related to rhubarb and sorrel instead? Plus, it's got lots of protein and fiber. The more you know.
-1/2 cup (dry) steel-cut oatmeal, salted
-1 oz reduced-fat white cheddar cheese (Cracker Barrel is the best)
-liberal splash of Tabasco (regular)
-can of tomato juice
Make oatmeal, turn off heat, add cheese and Tabasco. Drink tomato juice separately.
You'll notice a pattern here. I'm of the savory school of breakfast. I like my oatmeal like I like my grits: cheesy and Tabascoy. I put Tabasco on everything, by the way. It's a sickness.
-Fiber One cereal with skim milk
-2 hard-boiled eggs
Now, this one doesn't taste the best, and it could use some fruit or veg, but it's quick. I think Fiber One would win a lot more fans if it removed the aspartame from the recipe. As for the eggs, I could eat hard-boiled eggs all day. With Tabasco.
You'll notice I didn't include any breads here. I love Ezekiel bread, toasted of course, but no matter what I slather on it - peanut butter, almond butter, butter butter - it never sticks around past 9:30, so it's just not a great breakfast idea for me.
What are some of your favorite hearty breakfasts?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
When I said I had no interests of which to speak, I wasn't kidding. It was never that I was too afraid to pursue my interests -- I just never had any. Personal finance, sure. I like numbers, but only in theory; I'm terrible at math. I love jewelry, but I think the amount/kind of interest I have in it is unhealthy, and it has more to do with consumption than with appreciation. I used to like drawing in middle school, but I don't feel compelled to do it anymore. I've mentioned painting before, but it never felt quite right.
Anyway, at some point during all the initial wedding planning (December, probably?), I was scouring the internet for a wedding photography. My mind must've been silently plotting without my knowledge, because all of the sudden, out of nowhere, on a random day in January, I said to myself, "I SHOULD DO THAT." And by "THAT", I don't necessarily mean wedding photography, but I would be remiss if I didn't follow this urge to see where it goes. Then I remembered how much I enjoyed my first little digital point-and-shoot, and I wonder why I hadn't thought of this before. I've never felt so compelled to do something before, so not following it isn't an option. I'm buying a camera this month.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Or more accurately, we've canceled the wedding we were planning. We're still getting married, but sooner, and in front of fewer people. In light of my decision to give notice with or without anything in my back pocket, we could not rationally have a "normalish" wedding.
The event we were originally planning was for 75 or so people in October with a reception and minimal catering. We didn't think we could make that happen for less than about $10k, all told. I haven't toiled at a hateful job since I graduated just to throw it all away on a party. I was sick over it. So we made our small wedding even smaller. We canceled our original venue and ate the loss on our deposit (the jury's still out though on how "non-refundable" it is, we'll see).
You may have noticed that our new wedding date hovers suspiciously close to my last day of work. We're sensible people, and since I've had some health issues in the past, I know it's nearly impossible for me to find fair (or ANY) health insurance coverage, so we're going to add me to his plan he has through his employer. Not cheap, for sure, but probably the best way to go for now.
And don't even get me started on the name-change question.
Item 3 tomorrow!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Item 1. I'm quitting my job.
No, I didn't get another job. I've been sending out resumes, yes, but I haven't gotten one bite. And no, I'm not in the most comfortable position financially, but no matter how much uncertainty I'm barrelling toward (head on, in fact), nothing would be more detrimental to my career and my heath than staying in my current job. That's the truth.
I've learned things from my first real job -- mostly what NOT to do, so I am grateful for that. However, I have also become so jaded, apathetic and STUPID, and I cannot allow it to continue poisoning myself and others (figuratively, of course) another day. Well, another day past my 26th birthday, which I've decided should be my very last day.
I'm giving notice on March 12. I'm still applying for jobs, but I will give notice whether or not I've received another offer.
I'm scared. I'm exhilarated.
More tomorrow -- same time, same place.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Despite the fact that my retirement accounts were pummeled last month, I still managed a small increase in my net worth. It's no time for celebration though, because I need more, and faster, please.
I've decided to sell a few more pieces of jewelry on ebay. I spent yesterday morning making 6 listings. Not only is it a huge pain in the ass, but unless you're a super established seller or selling a big-name item, it's difficult to find buyers, even if you've got great pictures and a tiny starting price. For that reason I've only put up a few things that I think have a good chance of selling, and I'm going to bring the rest to my mom who will sell them for me at the consignment shop she frequents. I'll only see half the sales proceeds, but people expect to pay more in person than online anyway.
I have a couple things to report, so I'll be back soon to spill. Hope everyone has as happy (ha!) Monday.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
1. I received a 3% employer match this year in July of 2009 for the 2008 tax year. This is the first distribution I've been qualified to receive, I haven't received any kind of related tax form, and I've go no idea how to report it. Also - reinvested dividends? Where do I report those?
2. Once again - Roth IRA dividends - reinvested. I understand it's "non-taxable" and I didn't receive anything but a year-end statement of accounts, but TurboTax is telling me I still need to report it? But only if I've got the 1099-DIV? But Vanguard says I'm not getting one? Basically, it's a head-scratcher.
3. Remember that bonus I received this year? My employer gave me a 1099-MISC with item 7 ("Non employee income") filled. In prior years, it had always been in box 3 ("Other income"). And just to rub it in, they used my OLD address. Anyway, I'm clearly an employee, so shouldn't it be box 3, or an entirely different thing all together?
My finances are INCREDIBLY simple at this point in my life, so why the hell am I having such a hard time?
Monday, January 18, 2010
- I've disliked my job from the very first day I set foot in the office more than 3 years ago -- the atmosphere as well as the subject matter. I've stayed because (i) I agreed to stay for at least 2 years, and I wanted to prove I could do it no matter how tough it was, (ii) I'm paid well for what I do, and I the health benefits are generous, (iii) the economy, and (iv) I can't think of anything I would actually like to do instead;
- I am relatively isolated. The only person I see outside of work is my fiance, and the only other people I regularly keep in contact with are my parents (I don't have any siblings). I've never been very sociable, and I find that making (and keeping) friends is sort of exhausting and difficult. However, now that I work in a tiny office, and I'm not in school, I find myself missing a little bit of companionship. And sadly, I find it especially difficult to make friends and identify with other women.
- I have no solid interests. This is either the cause or the result of my tendency toward consumption-based addictions (see: FOOD and SHOPPING), I haven't decided. I don't really do many things that could be considered "hobbies". I've tried things like knitting, but it feels pointless. I read sometimes. I tried a silver-smithing class. I've signed up for a sewing class. Nothing really sticks, and I spend most of my time doing what amounts to nothing, which produces more anxiety. It also makes things like "interest inventories" difficult, since I can see myself enjoying each option equally, which makes picking a direction that much harder.
- I haven't worked out a purpose. Now, I don't mean some big Come to Jesus moment where I attain spiritual enlightenment. I'm talking about something that I can get passionate about. It doesn't have to be something I do for a living right now; it doesn't have to be philanthropic or IMPORTANT; it just need something fulfilling that excites me -- something that I can nurture and develop that makes my heart pound -- something I want to stay up all night working on until I can't keep my eyes open. Items 3 and 4 are subtly different. 3 can serve as fodder for some light conversation. 4 gets me out of bed in the morning. Ideally (eventually), a career could be derived from or based on 4, but should at least be related tangentially to 3. 3 is broad, 4 is deep. I don't think I need to say it, but knitting doesn't fall into this category either. I painted for a while in college, and that was the closest I ever felt to feeling "flow" (except for maybe my philosophy course), but its such a big, tortured process, and I don't think it was THE THING for me.
I'm aware that these are all big elements of life, and a lot of people would argue that, outside of the things I've included in this list, there's not much else to it. These are really basic things that make up a personality -- likes, dislikes, friends -- that make up a person, and as such, they're things that I shouldn't even have to consciously address, which makes their absence even more perplexing.
I'd be interested to hear from anyone who finds him or herself in similar circumstances, or someone who has successfully fixed what needed fixin'.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
Misc. ING Funds: $27.00
Roth IRA: $7,189.01 (out of the $7,200 I've invested so far)
401k: $4,376.67 (from the $3,790.24 invested so far)
Sharebuilder: $38.62 (out of $50 initial investment)
Total Positive: $15,319.96
Subway Pass: $PAID
Credit cards: $668.50
Student Loan I: $7,954.72 (from over $19k)
Student Loan II: $0
Total Negative: $8,798.22
Total Net Worth: +$6,521.74
What made this month great:
- $100 for Hanukkah from Nana;
- $100 joint-gift from 2 attorneys at the office;
- $1,500 bonus from work; AAAND
- January is a 3-paycheck month.