Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eighty-five Goals for Minne. Me

I've added a page to my blog that is a list of goals I have set for myself. These goals have no time limit, so they aren't real goals. However, I do like to see my thoughts on the screen, and it will be fun striking them out.

I separated the goals into the following categories: Learn, Go, Home, Blog, Buy, Participate, Health and Me. This list can be found on my side bar above the blog post archive. It will be updated as things move along.

Link to list of goals.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Frugal Practices

One of my favorite financial blogs, Free By 50, published an article a few years back titled "What's My Frugal Limit?" I have decided to take his list and apply it to my life.

Here is my version of his list of things I do, might do and wouldn't want to do.

What I currently DO:
Share a car with my boyfriend
Live in a small apartment
Shop around for bargains
Use coupons
Do simple home improvement projects
Buy and wear used clothing
Buy used books or go to the library
Brown bag my lunch
Shop garage sales
Use compact florescent lights
Eat expired foods
Go without health, car, home or life insurance
Give up Cable TV
Use a lower speed Internet service
Give up landlines

What I DO NOT DO but will DO to save $:
Rely heavily on public transportation once I live in the city
Buy used cars instead of new
Stop eating out
Stop going out to movies (which we rarely go to anyways)

What I DO NOT DO because I think they are impractical:
Wash Ziploc bags to reuse

Basically, my life after we move is going to be very low cost. We'll be splitting the rent of a one bedroom apartment in a great neighborhood for $600.00 a month and that includes all utilities except electricity which is estimated at $25.00 a month. We don't have a car payment and rarely use our car. Jared wants to expect a monthly gas allowance of $200.00 a month. Right now we spend about $200 a month on food. We do eat out weekly which I estimate at $100.00 a month. We'll be signing up for economy Internet through Comcast for $29.99 a month. Our combined cell phone bill is about $80.00 a month. We do have a Netflix account which costs $7.99 a month. Given that estimate (which as Jared says is "high balling") we'll be spending $1242.98 a month combined. With our current savings, we're good for over six months. Which is all we needed.

Now, I have gone over this before. I know I talk about finances a little too readily, but I'm proud of being capable enough to create a budget and follow it.

Which brings me to a topic I haven't discussed with anyone other than Jared in passing and Ciera on occasion. I'm 22 years old and very ready to plan for retirement. The most ideal retirement would be to retire now for fifteen years and then work until I die or lose my mind (even then, I could do repetitive tasks). Well, my idea for retirement is to maintain a small, understated, frugal lifestyle.

Let's imagine that Jared and I have a combined income of $80,000.00 a year. Given previous estimates, we could be living quite well on $14,915.76 a year. For fun's sake I'm going to just round it up to $20,000.00 a year. Let's assume we lose 20% of our income to taxes. We would gross $64,000.00 a year and after our expenses would be able to save $44,000.00 a year. Jared would like to pay his parents back for his college education and I have $13,000.00 in student loans. After the first two years of saving, we will have paid all of that off and will be in the clear. If we could live small for a few years and avoid the big new house and flashy car of our American financial obligation... we could retire pretty damn early. It's a lot of speculation and a far off future. But, what I'm getting at is that by living small and avoiding financial obligations... life looks pretty easy.

Maybe I can talk Jared into retiring to Mexico... I have years to work in this idea.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blog Title

We are a wonderful 16 to 28 days (depending on when Jared's job ends) from no longer being Wisconsin Residents. Admittedly, I am nervous about the move and am using over-planning to soothe my nervousness. (I'm making tons of lists, Excel sheets, maps of our future apartment... you name it.) But, that's not what this post is about. This post is far more minimal and unimportant. It's only the future of my blog.

Once the Wisconsin to Minnesota transition is completed, having a blog titled "WI to MN" is no longer relevant. I've been ruminating on what my new blog will be called. Here is a list of all considerations thus far:
Holley Today
Holley Lately
A Typical Holley
Minnesota Ametuer
Holley Moly
Whittier Holley
Miss. Minn.
Frozen Hottie (Now, I'm just brainstorming.)
Urban Catfish
Holley Projects

That's all I have right now.

Also, I've been considering getting a tattoo. I'm always considering getting a tattoo. But, I have a hard time committing to a hairstyle or agreeing to a blog title (both of which can be changed at anytime). I seriously doubt a tattoo will be in the immediate future. What I've been considering lately is a tattoo of a catfish. At first I was considering a koi. Let's be a little honest here: I am not a koi. My Dad is from New Orleans, LA. My Mom is from Oneonta, AL. I grew up in sweltering heat and high humidity in the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village." I grew up poor in a rich neighborhood. I'm stoic in nature and take whatever I can get. I'm not saying that when I die from unnatural causes Donald "Ducky" Mallard is going to find a license plate in my stomach. I'm saying that if middle classed suburbanites are tilapia, upper-middle class are salmon and I'm a catfish. I certainly am not a koi. I suppose if I could choose, I'd be a pompano, but those fish are far less recognizable without color. End fish rant.

Please contact me with title suggestions. I don't think anyone is going to connect "Urban Catfish" with the young woman reviewing their restaurant then ranting about corgis on blogspot.
Photo Source

Friday, March 25, 2011

Top 5: Television Shows

This is a list of all the television shows (pulled from Wikipedia) I have seen every episode of. I will bold and increase to font size of the titles of the top five and give a brief description. I do want to add that I really like all of these shows, or I wouldn't have bothered watching them.

30 Rock (October 11, 2006–present), sitcom
Amazing Stories (1985–1987), science fiction
Arrested Development (2003–2006), sitcom
Fantastic series about an oddball family. Overall best part of the show was the "Next time on Arrested Development" preview that would never actually happen. Top moments include a niece/uncle and nephew/aunt singing Afternoon Delight, anything uttered by Will Arnett and the invention of the never-nude.
Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009), sci-fi/ drama
The Big Bang Theory (2007–present), sitcom
Big Love (2006–present), drama
Bones (2005–present), crime drama/ police procedural
Boston Legal (2004–2008), legal dramedy
Breaking Bad (2008–present), drama
Californication (2007–present), comedy/ drama
Chase (September 20, 2010–present), crime drama
Chuck (2007–present), action/ comedy
Clone High (2002–2003), animated
Community (2009-present), comedy
Daria (1997–2002), animated comedy
Dead Like Me (2003–2004), sci-fi/comedy-drama
Dexter (2006–present), psychological thriller/police procedural
Doctor Who (2005-present), sci-fi
BBC series based on an inter-dimensional time traveler and his travelling companions. This is best to begin viewing at the beginning. Favorite episodes include "The Empty Child," "The Girl in the Fireplace," and "Human Nature."
Eli Stone (2008–2009), musical dramedy
Eureka (2006–present), sci-fi
FlashForward (2009–2010), drama/sci-fi
Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School (2007), reality
The Flight of the Conchords (2007–2009), comedy
HBO comedy featuring two New Zealand performers living in New York. Excellent original songs. I frequently sing these songs aloud in mixed company when appropriate.
The Gates (2010), drama/ mystery/ supernatural
Glee (2009–present), musical comedy
The Good Guys (2010), comedy/drama
Happy Town (2010) mystery/ drama
Hell's Kitchen (2006–present), reality
Hot in Cleveland (2010–present), sitcom
House (2004–present), medical drama
How I Met Your Mother (2005–present), sitcom
Human Target (2010) (2010–present), drama
Hung (2009–present), comedy/ drama
I Love New York (2007–2008), reality
Invader Zim (2001–2006), animated comedy
Kid Nation (2007), reality
Lie to Me (2009–present), crime drama
Character driven series based on the idea of viewing micro-expressions and body language in order to determine truthfulness. I just love short, feisty British men telling people off. This years season finale was great.
Life (2007–2009), crime drama
Life on Mars (UK, 2006–2001), fantasy/ crime drama
The Listener (2009-present), crime drama
Lost (2004–2010), thriller/ sci-fi/ mystery
I know, I know, this is an expected show highlight. But, I really loved this drama. I feel the characters were built around being portrayed as bad ass. I do, however, choose to ignore the series finale which really ruined the show for me.
Mental (2009), medical drama
Mercy (2009–2010), medical drama
Modern Family (September 23, 2009–present), sitcom
NCIS (2003–present), police procedural
No Ordinary Family (September 28, 2010–present), science fiction
Nurse Jackie (2009–present), medical dramedy
The Office (US, 2005–present), comedy
Project Runway (2004-present), reality
Pushing Daisies (2007–2009), fantasy/ comedy
Reaper (2007–2009), supernatural/ comedy/ drama
Scrubs (2001–2010), comedy/ drama
Six Feet Under (2001–2005), drama
South Park (1997–present), animated sitcom
Torchwood (UK 2006-present), sci-fi
Ugly Betty (2006–2010), dramedy
United States of Tara (2009), comedy/drama
V (2009–present), science fiction
This show is not included in the top five. I just wanted to say, "Holy Crap, could you possibly kill some more main characters in the season finale?" V, you just closed so many doors on the Fifth Column I spent the majority of my time at the end of the episode saying "Really?!"
Weeds (2005–present), comedy-drama
White Collar (2009–present), crime drama

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.
Mark Caine

Preparation and Inspiration

I've been rained in for the past two days and haven't been able to work on painting my tables. What I have been doing instead is going through my closet (clothes and trinkets) and sorting out what goes, what stays and what will be stored. I've also done a fair amount of research on storage in a small apartment. Along the way I've found a lot of inspiring images from

When the decision was made that we would be moving to a city, I began a quest to read up on organization and diminishing clutter. Technically, this decision was made mid-2009. I have developed a system of determining what to keep and what to get rid of. If I don't love it or if I don't use it incessantly, it goes. It has to meet at least one of these claims or hold a ridiculous amount of history/sentimentality.

I took every article of clothing I own and put them into two piles: keep and donate/sell. (I toss damaged clothes after they're damaged. So, I don't have a "toss" pile.) Then I bag up the donate/sell pile and begin piling into the following categories of type: pants, jackets, sweaters, hoodies, short sleeved t-shirts, long sleeved t-shirts, tank tops, dress jackets, skirts, shorts, jeans, pj pants, pj shirts. I have so many sub-categories, because I have a very large amount of clothing. Then I went through each pile with Jared, who sees me everyday and knows what I wear. He told me what additionally I needed to donate/sell. (Of course I had veto power for my one plaid shirt.) The point of going through this with a close friend is that he helped me make tough decisions and justify my keeps. For example, I purchased a sweater on clearance that I love. However, by the time it was on clearance it was a size large, and in Jones New York I wear a small. Jared told me I've never worn that and told me that if I'm not going to wear it, get rid of it. Easy for him to say. In the end, I have two 13 gallon trash bags filled if items to take to a resale shop. Which leaves me with one large sized box, one large sized suitcase and one small sized suitcase of clothing to haul to Minneapolis.

Trinkets was much more difficult. Originally, I had two large plastic tubs filled with trinkets. I emptied both tubs into four piles: keep, toss, donate and store. I now have a plastic tub to storage and one medium/small box of trinkets that I Tetris-ed into place. Unfortunately, I only went through the trinkets upstairs in my closet that were already boxed up. I still have to go through the trinkets downstairs and in the upstairs bedroom. I also need to go through all of our kitchen items.

I need to go through all of the house by next Saturday. Jared and I are going to make a trip to his parents to drop off all items marked for storage. (Shouldn't be too much. Although, Jared has decided we aren't bringing my record player along.)

I've been researching the best way to add storage to a small kitchen and small bathroom. What I've landed on is that pegboard solves a lot of problems and when in doubt, use magnets. I want to install pegboard in the kitchen as well as above the end-table in the entryway. I've drawn up a diagram of where we'll be placing furniture in the apartment. I'm only having a problem with what to place the rabbit and the hamster. Parts of me wish we didn't have to worry about the pets and where they'll be living. We'll have to solve this issue when we get there. I have a hard time imagining three-dimensional space.

Here are some of those inspirational photos from

  1. The print on this chair from the Kindel Manufacturing Company is classic in a granny way but very fun and loud.
  2. I'm modeling our bedroom on this design. The layout of out room is a little larger with a larger window.
  3. Magnetic paint is being used on the back of this bathroom door to create storage.
  4. I'm really feeling accordion scissor lamps. 
  5. I can't get enough of this table set. I'll need to keep an eye out for one of my own.
  6. This wooden sewing storage would be good for all-purpose storage as well. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
Lewis B. Smedes

An Intense Storm

Some weeks of my life are slow moving, boring and uninformative unlike the colossal shit-storm that is this week. Here is my week in review.

We leased an apartment.
This is a positive outcome from a very stressful experience. I'm proud of myself for researching and finding a nice place to live in a nice city. However, moving can be very stressful when time is a factor. And, seeing that we move in 24 days, time is a nemesis.

Jared's parents aren't pleased.
Moving is made even more stressful knowing that we do not have the full support of Jared's family. My parents could care less where I'm living. I haven't needed their approval in my life since the day I left home, a month after my 18th birthday. Jared, however, isn't like that. He's blessed with a family that is an active part of his life. His mother definitely does not approve of our move, because we do not have jobs lined up waiting for us in Minneapolis. She isn't comforted by our savings. I don't know what she expected us to do after the house sold, but I get the feeling it involved moving into an apartment in Platteville so that Jared could continue his low paying, no room for promotion, intellectually unsatisfying job. Perhaps in this economy it's better to stick with a job you hate than be unemployed and living off savings. I've read otherwise. This disapproval makes me feel like a villain. It is hard to stay excited about something when someone is there to point out all the risks.

My dad might have cancer.
I haven't wanted to speak to my father in a very long time. I actively would avoid his calls. I don't enjoy being drunk dialed at noon. On Friday, I received a Facebook message from my Aunt Cathy, his sister, stating that Dad had cancer. I called my Aunt Leigh, also his sister, to get details. That night, at about 4 AM, I called Dad to hear the news first hand. He told me he might have cancer in a way that someone might announce getting a haircut. He has to have surgery to find out if the mass is benign or malignant. I'm calling him Wednesday to hear how the surgery went. I don't know how I feel about the possibility of my father having cancer. He has told my aunts and myself that he wants to die. He might not seek treatment.

I'm still sick.
I'm on week three of The Illness. My throat is still swollen; I'm out of breath; And, my joints ache. Viruses are a menace.

One of my best friends is getting a divorce.
The people I've grown to know over the years are very important to me. Even when we're hours or hundreds of miles apart, I don't stop caring about these people. My heart breaks for my friend who is going through the beginning motions of a divorce. I do not worry about her future. She can accomplish anything she puts her mind to. Right now life is hard for her. All of my thoughts and hopes are with her.

I struggle internally with my own disgust.
I purposely excluded part of our weekend in Minneapolis, because right now I'm not at my best when I try to provide an honest viewpoint. I've decided to share this seeing that I don't believe I'm going to be impartial about this particular nuisance for years. Jared returned a call from his best friend, Michael, on our way back to Platteville. During the call, Michael called Minneapolis a "shit hole." When this was told to me, I felt a rush of hatred. This feeling of such a strong dislike for another human being was alarming. I don't really believe that life should be filled with such strong, negative emotion. I understand that Jared will never purposely remove Michael as a part of his life. At the same time, I do not know how to tackle my own emotions. I'm disgusted by my own hatred.

It takes all my strength to keep smiling as the wind blows against me. The struggle is worth it though. Struggling to let the haters hate while the world does its worse is far better than giving into my own overwhelming sadness. I've been called "spineless" before by a simple minded person who perceived stoicism for weakness. I keep my head held high, just above the water and rely on the knowledge that I know how to swim. Or, at least I can float by until a sunny day. But, that's enough of a nautical storm analogy for one entry.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Whenever you attempt something great, there will always be those who seek to knock you down. Do not think about these people; they are a waste of your time.

Ready Set Go: Part III

After almost three weeks compiling three separate to-do lists that are color coded by importance and in order of necessary completion... my checklists are finally shrinking!

Pluck your eyebrows and deep condition your hair? No problem! Clean, sand and prime both tables? Check. Check. Check. Clean the upstairs and do the dishes? Yes, please. Call my most awesome Aunt Leigh. You bet! And, finally, create a moving binder and find an apartment? Done and done!

That is right, Jared and I have lucked out. We managed to find an apartment after one day of searching! This is fantastic news, because we don't have to travel another 12 hours for disappointment. Instead, we managed to find a terrific place at our last stop of our five hour tour. (Five hour tour.)

This apartment is so perfect I just spent a good chunk of time researching my future landlords. (Who also seem like kind, honorable people.) It's in the Whittier neighborhood and is a very moderate price. The apartment is a one bedroom with new fixtures, floors, windows and appliances. It even has a dishwasher and off-street parking. When we toured, it took me about two minutes to look and want to move in. Jared felt a little rushed with the decision. (Which he kind of, and I stress "kind of," was rushed.) But, this was the best apartment we'd seen all day and at the best price in the best neighborhood. I'm more than ecstatic. I really hope living there will be as great as I think it is going to be. Oh! And, they allow pets, so Eva, Pepper and Scoopie are welcome guests. They even allow dogs. But, we're not ready for a dog yet.

I saw a lot of now hiring signs around town and am not worried about job availability. I don't want to start applying until around the end of May or early June after my San Francisco trip and after a mini-Summer of exploring town.

When Jared and I were apartment viewing, we got lost in the city. I really didn't mind being lost, but I didn't like being late for an appointment. Minneapolis was beautiful. There are parks everywhere! The traffic isn't congested. I'm really excited, and I haven't even been shopping yet!

We also ate at a very cute diner called The Bad Waitress. It's a great combination of tattooed waitstaff, super hero references, organic (and vegan) food and really great atmosphere. I feel like it's going to be a regular stop for me. I feel like a lot of places in Minneapolis are going to be a regular stop for me.

I hope your weekend was as amazing and productive as mine. I have two lady dates this week to hangout with my friends. I'm pretty excited about that too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ready Set Go: Part II

I quit my job.

I've spent the last two weeks laid up with an annoying illness. I went into work for the first time in March today and I didn't make it an hour before my throat started swelling up. I asked to be put on emails. An hour later, I'm hot and disoriented. I can't remember anything and my fingers aren't doing what I tell them to. It takes four tries to type "CSR" onto a screen. On break, I put my hours on the give away board. Writing up the small slips of paper took four tries to write two tickets. I couldn't keep myself from writing "Tuesday" and "3/15" for Thursday 3/17. After break I asked to speak to my supervisor. We went into an office space and I told her how freaked out I am about being sick this long and about my frustrations with calling in sick all the time. She drafted up the paperwork for immediate layoff because of illness. All I had to do was sign on the Employee Signature line. Even that took unnecessary effort. There were too many lines to choose from. 

Jared and I got hamburgers after he picked me up from work. I wanted to sleep on the bar, and I was totally sober. We stopped over at Menard's to pick up spray paint for my new projects then came home, watched half of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and crashed at around 10:30 PM. I woke up at 12:18 AM hot as Hell. Now, I'm back to staying up very late feeling like it's August in Florida and our A/C is out again. 

Tomorrow I have a date with a welder to fix my metal end table. Jared said he could fix the leaves of my typewriter table with pliers. I need to make doctor's appointments both with my general and my podiatrist. 

I'm making appointments to view apartments on Saturday. I figure either I'll get over being sick or I'll die. And, if I die, apartment hunting won't be so important anymore.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ready Set Go: Part I

I am pretty excited to say that I am feeling much much better. I have my usual energy back and the headaches have dissipated. I am one happy camper about this. The only potential downside is that this makes me want to get a big move on a bunch of projects.

I've decided that if we're taking furniture along with us, it needs to be in excellent shape. I want to refinish my typewriter table that I love dearly. I want to refinish my metal end table. And, most of all, I want to find someone to refinish the arm chair. (Notice I didn't say "my;" technically this chair belongs to Jared.) I also would like to refinish the large dresser upstairs.

I really love these pieces, but the typewriter table is covered in paint (from my college years) and the end table hasn't been taken care of. It used to live in a basement, and I have no idea how old it is. The dresser is chipped up and needs to be sanded and painted. I love the chair, but it's very faded. I want the chair to be something we keep a long time. I'm searching for someone to professionally upholster the chair. I think this will be an excellent investment piece of furniture.

Jared wants to keep this small table that we refinished last summer, but it needs additional work. He might take this to his father for further tweaking.

Of course we are keeping our coffee table, end table and laptop table that I purchased from Swiss Colony this year. Also we're keeping the kitchen table and chairs from my old apartment.

Also, I need to clean the downstairs and start boxing up items. I want to inventory every item we own in order to narrow down what is coming with us. I will do this on an Excel chart broken up by room. This list can be used when we purchase renter's insurance once we do move.

I've used my Google calendar to schedule my days off to be devoted to a particular room in the house.
I've emailed three posters on Craigslist about viewing apartments this weekend.
I've made a list of short term goals for moving and a list of short term goals for everything else.
I've made a list of long term goals.

Now that I'm better I can get on all the stuff I've been sluggishly planning for the past two weeks. (Yay!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Holley's Shopping Rules

I love shopping, but I am poor. I have developed the ability to shop for hours on end, carefully choosing my purchases. If you have ever had to endure a shopping trip with me, you know that both your feet and your patience can be worn out by the end of the day. I own two closets of clothes; I like what I own and wear everything I own. I believe that MSRP is a suggested mark up, not a suggested price.

These are my rules for shopping:
Avoid Big Sales
A big sale can mean big price cuts with ample product. It can also mean hundreds of tired, frustrated people, staff included. Big sales with big crowds can make shopping an awful experience. Also, it puts your decision making skills in jeopardy, because of flash marketing. When someone says "limited time" offer to me, I inevitably hear "scam." I would suggest shopping the night before the sale. You might still get the markdowns advertised if they've been priced out early. Otherwise, shopping after the sale will vastly limit your available merchandise, but usually the discounts remain or become even greater.

A true sale shopper knows to peep into the store every once in a while and check for markdowns. This has been called "predatory shopping." I consider it a retail version of chicken. This is my most loved version of shopping. It's like the thrill of the hunt with delayed gratification.

Note: If you have to attend a huge sale, wear sensible, easily removable shoes and clothes. Every year, I attend Madison, WI Maxwell Street Days. I have gone with my aunt before. She wears a long, flowy skirt and a neutral colored tank top, so she can try on clothing without a dressing room. That woman is a master. Also, treat the sales people with respect. I have witnessed a sales clerk recoil after she turned down a coupon. She seemed to be expecting me to take a swing at her. Don't make someone's job more difficult, because you feel crowded and frustrated. She didn't make the coupon rules. Which reminds me, always have them at least scan in your coupon. Don't let them just guess it doesn't work.

It's Not On Sale Unless It's At Least 50% Off
Clothing and accessory markup is ridiculous. The prices you see on the tags can have up to a 300 percent markup. Here is a link to a short article on the subject. I don't really consider something on sale unless it is at least 50% off. For example: Buy One Get One 50% Off is not a sale. Do the simple math; that's 25% off, and marketing is forcing your hand into a second unnecessary, over-priced purchase.

It's a good idea to keep an eye out for when sales happen. Right now, Winter Coats are on sale. Here is a list from Lifehacker for the best times to find anything in 2011. On a closer to home note, I know that Younkers sale prices are stepped percentages off: 65%, 70%, 75%, 85%. After that they are price marked. I also keep an eye out around stores I frequent for an additional 50% off sale prices.

Predict Your Future Needs
My friend Ciera and I were wandering the mall yesterday. (And yes, I got so exhausted from the trek, I wanted to sleep in the car back home.) I lost my mind for a second and stopped right in the middle of asking her if she needed a winter coat to remember she was moving to North Carolina in May and will possibly never need a winter coat again.

Knowing what you'll need twelve months down the line is important when you're sale shopping. Usually, the best deals can be found right after the season is over. Buy swimsuits in September and winter coats in March. Then, hope and pray you stay the same size.

If It's Not Marked Down, It Isn't On Sale
This is a rule that isn't always a true. Sometimes I do find nice sales where entire racks of seasonal clothing have been price marked at say $49.99 for a winter coat that's MSRP is $240.00.

But, most of the time - especially at places like Kohl's - entire racks of items are "marked down" from absurd prices to almost acceptable prices. This once again is marketing; don't let yourself be fooled. Do the simple math and compare the numbers. If something seems steep, it probably is. (This is also why I don't like Kohl's.)

Try On Everything
When I comb the racks, I generally ignore sizes. I feel like a lot of what is available, that is marked down, that doesn't suck has been sized incorrectly. A lot of people shop by saying, "I am a size 6 and only a size 6." In that case, their stubbornness can be your gain.

Pick out everything you like the looks of and try it on. Don't be too obsessed with what doesn't fit you. Be more aware of what actually does. Standardized sizing in the clothing industry is a joke.

Always Search for Defects
The other likely reason that something is on sale that is acceptable looking is that the item in question has a defect. Search for poor sewing, weirdo darts, pulled threads and stains.

When I actually do go thrift shopping, I'm always looking at coats. I learned the hard way to always check the arm pits. The last thing you need is strange, floppy fabric annoying your under arms.

Buy What You Want
This is crucial, and possibly the most important advice I can give shoppers. Buy items you would buy at their MSRP. Do not convince yourself that you want something just because it is on sale. If it has weird darts, is incorrectly sized and is dyed the most heinous color imaginable... but it's 99% off, don't buy it unless it's cheaper than wash rags and your kitchen needs a good scrub. Knowing something was cheaply priced is not enough to make anyone want to wear something she hates. Plus, consider the space in one's closet valuable real estate. Don't lease space to something that doesn't work.

You Can't Choose What You Love
I do want to add that if you love something, and you can afford it, I say go for it. I still think about a soft leather, red pair of ballet slippers I hovered over for three months when I was a senior in high school.

You Can't Love Everything
At the same time, when you're sale shopping and have good enough body image, everything looks cute or at least is tolerable. Understand what you already have and recognize whether or not you would be filling a hole in your closet. Avoid duplicates if you can.

Wear Nude Undergarments
This one may seem a little silly, but it's important. A day of shopping can be ruined by a blue bra.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Bookmarks Bar

is a social networking website that has brought us words like "facebooking" and is nationally (internationally?) recognized by the shortened term "FB," which originally was associated with the Farming Bureau. Pros: Makes keeping up with three high schools' worth of friend easier. Cons: Ever increases my list of internet peeves. Rumored to be ideal for narcissists as well as kill your authenticity.

is a email brought to you by Google.  Pros: Ever expanding inbox, searchable mail, linked to other nifty websites. Cons: Glenn Beck hates Google... oh wait that's a pro.

is a website that streams television shows and movies. Pros: Pretty good selection of television, interesting selection of movies. Cons: House is a week behind and most television shows only have the last few episodes.

is self-explanatory if you are reading this blog that is brought to you by Blogger. Pros: Linked to my Gmail Account, easy interface. Cons: Has yet to invent a filter to stop me from posting things that I shouldn't.

Get Rich Slowly
is an excellent blog on personal finance. It gives tips from debt to stability as written by someone who was doing just that. Pros: Excellent articles, consistent and frequent updates, guest articles. Cons: Hard to find articles about saving for your future that don't involve being thousands of dollars in bad-debt.

is a website with links to articles as well as original articles that focus on tips and tricks on getting things done. It's very tech based. Pros: Interesting DYI articles. Cons: I feel that Lifehacker's general population is a slightly more grown up version of the anonymous entities that believe there are no women on the interweb.

is a website with links to articles as well a original articles that focus on women in the news and articles that women would be interested in. Pros: At times can be very feminist in viewpoints that express the power of women while including fluff pieces on celebrities and adorable bunnies. Cons: At times can be very feminist in viewpoints that express a general distaste for fluff pieces on celebrities and adorable bunnies.

The Mary Sue
is a website that just started up that focuses on geek girl culture. Pros: So far, everything it posts is awesome. Cons: You cannot create an account for commenting. If you want to comment, then you can log in under your Facebook account. I don't like mixing social networks. Favorite daily article: Thing We Saw Today.

is a website for geeks. Pros: Interesting links to articles. Cons: More difficult to navigate than Lifehacker or Jezebel. Favorite daily article: Geekolinks.

is a website that summarizes new articles into short paragraphs and links you to the full article. Pros: Provides photos, so I don't have to Google Image search celebrities. Cons: Allows readers to vote on their reaction to the article.

Three Panel Soul
is a webcomic that is the newest chapter in MacHall. I'm catching up after forgetting about it for a spell.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Review: Rango, I Love You Phillip Morris

Jared and I went to see Rango tonight. We actually paid to watch a movie and traveled to sit among strangers. It is hard to separate the experience of seeing the movie from the experience of watching the movie in a crowded theater. Sometimes this can be wonderful (all Twilight and Harry Potter opening nights) and sometimes it can be a daymare that you cannot escape (Rocky Horror in Dubuque, Legion).

We made two very crucial mistakes that effected this particular viewing of Rango. First off, Jared and I made the mistake of going to the theater on a Friday night. Second off, Jared and I made the mistake of going to a rated PG movie before 7 PM. (Hey, I'm sick. We wanted to make sure I could bear it.) A 6:40 PM showing on a Friday of a PG movie makes the crowd a mixture of college kids and young children with their guardians.

The movie itself was rather "meh." Johnny Depp was overacting per-usual, but his agrandized hand gestures and exagerated postures were less distracting, because Depp was a computer generated lizard. His voice acting was very similar to George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou? (fantastic movie, by the way). The highpoint (SPOILER ALERT) was the sweet action scene involving moles and bats... with tiny firearms. Actually the entire trip to find the bank robbers was visually stunning and the fight scenes were creative. I also enjoyed how the creators put together the town from household objects. However, I was bothered by the mix of regular size items (pocket watches for the clock tower) and miniature items (canning jars and glass bottles).

As for whether or not the movie kept me on the edge of my seat, the answer is no. Actually, the assumed college student sitting next to me fell asleep during the movie. Which is impressive considering there was a little girl running back and forth behind us trying to get her guardians' attention. The whole experience reminded me of the ethics question involving six people hiding from armed guards who would surely kill them if they were found and a crying baby that a mother in the group was carrying. If the mother suffocates the baby to save herself and the others, is it ethically right?

Sorry for going off topic, but I was thinking about silencing that child for an hour of the movie. Not that I'd have the courage to even ssh someone else's child. It is only the responsibility of the guardians to encourage or discourage the behavior of their younglings.

Rango, as a movie: B-
Rango, as the experience of seeing the movie: C

I Love You
Phillip Morris
Jared and I also watched I Love You Phillip Morris today... which was obtained through respectable, upright sources.

I really liked this movie and will be watching it again. Admittedly, I was put off from the beginning, because this movie stars Jim Carrey. I do not like Jim Carrey as a person. When The Truman Show was being filmed in a neighboring town, my mother's cab company provided transportation to Mr. Carrey as well as cast and crew of the movie. Not only did Mr. Carrey refuse an autograph to my mother, but the movie neglected to credit the cab company for their services. My dislike for Jim Carrey was neutralized by my adoration of Ewan McGregor.

The movie was wonderful with many twists and turns. The scriptwriting was brilliant, blunt and very funny. The movie was colorful in both cinematography and language. Jim Carrey's southern accent was high-pitched and ugly which reminded me of characterizations of serial killers in poorly shot made for TV movies. Ewan McGregor was adorable and seemed very sincere. Plus, he slapped Jim Carrey. Excellent.

I Love You Phillip Morris: A (Would be A+ if Carrey's accent wasn't so... sleazy?)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blogging in the Beginning

I was 15 years old when I made my first blog. It was a ujournal. Its primary purpose was to entertain me while I was stuck at home. It's filled with paint drawings, bad poetry, memes, online surveys, and names of people I don't even recognize. Six months after that I stopped blogging for a while. When I decided to hop back on the horse, I made a new name for myself and posted for another eight months. I still came off as angsty, angry and depressed. Then, I switch over to a different user name which I blog under for three years. Just to keep count:
First Blog: 201 Journal Entries
Second Blog: 92 Journal Entries
Third Blog: 808 Journal Entries

That is 1101 journal entries, which doesn't include the Diaryland account I once had nor the one time I deleted everything in my account.
Reading back entries of my first three blogs that are still intact, I am amazed at my own evolution, not as a writer, but as a person. I am far less angry and much more carefree. However, a lot of my abilities as a creative writer are no longer being tapped. I believe a big part of that is because I no longer need to escape from my real life.

Past blogs, for me, are embarrassing. I'm ashamed of how angry I was and how rudely I spoke of others/to others. Part of me wants to delete them all. I really don't see how that would be a bad idea. I'll chew on that for a while. I think it would be therapeutic to delete the past, very Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind.

For now, I would like to apologize to my long time readers for the crude words I have typed for years on end. I do not like making excuses for my actions, so all I can offer is my regards.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Et tu, Laryngitis?

When I was a senior in high school, I ate at Rocky Rocco's for the first and last time. I ate a salad, and made the near fatal mistake of topping with an all time favorite, hard boiled egg. I ate there with a friend for lunch on the night of my Gram's birthday dinner.

I woke around 3 AM to promptly evacuate my body of everything it held for the next two days without rest. It was my old friend, food poisoning. It was without doubt the worst I've ever suffered. (I get food poisoning about twice a year.)

After that I lost my voice and my throat was swollen to where I could not eat solids. I went to the doctor who said I had a "viral throat infection."

For the first time in my life I had to call in to work sick. The acting manager that day responded by telling me I was the only "party bear" on staff and asked if I could at least come in to work for the two parties. I just repeated "viral throat infection" and told her that if it wasn't for company policy against it... my mother would be making the call, my throat was in such disrepair.

Once I was over the viral throat infection, I then was given great news... nodules on my vocal chords.

Why am I posting this? Two reasons, to give the backstory of how I lost a thrilling forty or so pounds in under two months and to explain why I can go from shopping with a sore throat (no big deal) to holy crap I might have a viral throat infection so quickly.

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow morning to find out if my three day long smoker's rasp is just from throwing out my voice over my neato billiards filled long weekend... or if I have something contagious making my nodules freak out.

Heads or tails, viral throat infection? Your call.

Scrooge McMe

Smell that crisp, Christmas air. What you say? It's March 1st? I doubt that considering my inner Scrooge is now out... and in a vengeful Super Mutant form. Huzzah.

I went a little nuts with my tax refund and spent what I consider ... far too much. The good news is that since moving is priority uno, I still have over $5000.00 to move on. Congrats to me. But, that is no excuse for the amount of excess I have taken part in in the last nine days.

My solution? Old school: Don't spend money.

I did get some good deals... and a large, very large, sum of it all went to tax preparation fees and renewing my Badgercare. And, not that I needed any to begin with... I won't need to purchase shoes, clothes or a winter coat for a few years unless I drop or gain a significant amount of weight.

So discoveries from this nine day bender:

Billiards: Actually an interesting sport to watch.
Velvet: Back in style with fast fashion and grannies rockin' cue sticks.
Nike: Best place for shoes ever. (I bought some sweet hot pink high tops that even my Gram likes.)
Calvin Klein Winter Wear: Drastically reduced in price at a store near you.

Oh and Britt and I ate out a few times near Milwaukee, so here is the low down on Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Chili's and Culver's as I experienced them.

I have never eaten at a Five Guys Burgers and Fries before. My first experience was excellent. The hamburgers automatically come with two patties so you have to ask for just one. The meat is 100% beef and cooked well-done, but remains juicy and is well-seasoned. I ordered a cheeseburger with the works. Five Guys outlines what toppings are included when you say everything, so it's a lot more up front than a lot of other burger joints. Britt and I both got fries. That was a mistake. They take a 21 oz cup, fill it with fries then top off your bag with more fries. Let's skip to the end of story: we had a brown bag of fries left over. I'm not much for five star ratings; I'll just say I liked it and I will eat there again.

The last time I ate at a Chili's I was living in Florida, 4'11" and 16 years old. Here is the update/rude awakening of today's Chili's. They nixed the pentagram decor that served as my main entertainment, and they took my favorite entre/appetizer off the menu. I ordered it off menu anyways. Chicken and cheese quesadillas with guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo for the win. (I want to add here that Red Robin's quesadillas win out overall when you compare the two.) The positive add-on: two pint glass margaritas for $2.99 after 9 PM. I would suggest not having to be at a billiards match by 9:30 PM for our next visit.

Culver's is a regular staple in Wisconsin, but I wasn't feeling another cheeseburger. I got a kid's meal with chicken tenders. While eating these (totally sober) I declared that they were the best possible combination if we crossbred a chicken and a fish.

There we have it: Shopping, restaurants and billiards. It makes for a good week to live through... and a great way to drain the life out of my checking account.

Britt making her opponent cry.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...