Sunday, November 29, 2009

tis the season

living room coffee table

this guy *insisted* on loading sideways ... sorry lol :-) soon that sleigh will be filled with a small holiday indulgence, lots of hershey's kisses! my parents have done it that way for years. i painted that sleigh that i once found at a craft store. fun ...

the new 'hood, fall

Hi, dear readers.

It's been so long since I've posted with pictures, but I have plenty that I just loaded onto my computer, so I'll try and illustrate some more :-) ... I guess it was just time for a break from all that, especially with my life in topsy-turvy mode over the last 2 months. All is moved in now, and things are more or less settled (there are a few small piles of junk to sift through...)

I wanted to share this very nice way to do laundry: my best friend got me these amazing soap nuts.

You stick a few of them into one of the 3 small canvas drawstring bags that comes with the nuts, and I like about 4 drops of peppermint essential oil. Your clothes will smell incredible! And it's all very eco-friendly ... no more plastic bottles for detergent. It also helps a second-world country (Brazil in this case, I believe). So I'd rather use these than make my own. The nuts can be reused several times, as well, and they compost, obviously. :-) Thank you, Sarah!!

I've been promising to let you in on my financial plans. Well ... basically, me being the non-type-A person I am .... it's very loosely organized, mainly in my head. And of course, being this horrible hole-in-pocket spender I've always been, I've stupidly plundered away most of my current student loan ... yep, the one I promised myself I'd save ... The good news is, I recently checked my credit score, and it had gone up 40 points!! My first goal is to have it get up 20 more points, then 50 more from there ... and then I'll be in GREAT shape. I'm not debt-free of credit cards at the moment, but that's due to moving and Christmas travel money I had to spend ... and for just a FEW christmas presents. I started an online savings account which has several hundred dollars in it. After the holidays, I'm going to put my holiday money and tax refund into it, too. And, now that I have my dream apartment and don't need any more furniture, paint, etc., I am going to squirrel away a few hundred dollars from each subsequent paycheck until my last one in May. I have this dream of buying a home in a few years ... but with all the current craziness and confusion surrounding homebuying I'm more than content to rent for now and let the nest egg build. Maybe it won't be for a home ... I have a few other lofty ideas, too ;-) ... But here I am, having just turned 30, with the squalor of my twenties behind me. If I don't begin to SERIOUSLY save now, I'm in big trouble even five years down the road.

It's taken me nearly two years to get to this point: living more simply by stockpiling foods in bulk and cooking everything in scratch (I still have the remnants of my bad restaurant-eating habit to deal with ...), learning how to knit and bake (and now, barely, to sew!) to offset the cost of gift-giving times, and being gentler on the earth (which also saves money at gift-giving times, such as using baskets from the goodwill, scrap yarn, and fabric instead of paper, these are just a handful of frugal ideas out of hundreds). I'm coming up on three years vegetarian, and am trying to eat mostly vegan. I'm in a good place, I've arrived where I'm feeling comfortable, now I just need to kick up my feet a bit more and reap the early rewards of this lifestyle.

Another thing I've decided to work on is my night-owl tendency. Mornings have NEVER been fun for me, I wake up 15 minutes before I need to dash from the house. I hate it, but I feel like my mind and body just can't get along when morning comes. Well, I read one guy's blog (he's some kind of lifestyle motivator person) and he suggested going to bed whenever you feel sleepy, whether that's 8 p.m. or 1 a.m. .... but ALWAYS waking up at the same time, no matter what. He adds up the extra time you'll get every day and it equals many many weeks a year ... or something like that. I've dreamed of being a morning person for years. While he says born night owls generally function on autopilot rather than being Mr./Ms. Cheerful as soon as they spring out of bed at 5 a.m., you WILL get used to getting up when the alarm is going off at the same time each day, and you won't just turn it off and go back to sleep. And your going-to-bed times will more or less even out. He suggests practicing getting up as soon as the alarm goes off during your waking hours by simulating your nighttime conditions ... doing this for a few days, twice a day, with 3 to 10 repetitions each so it becomes ingrained into your subconscious. Well, it's worth a try, I guess ....

With these things, finances and self-improvement, so much of it is literally sucking it up, setting your "best intentions" aside, and just finally, finally DOING what you know is going to make your life better. You have to supercede the mind, truly! Mind over matter...? Hm. We shall see where it brings me. I'm hoping a nice nest-egg buildup.

So this mini-break, as they say in Britain, has been absolutely wonderful. I've done much: walking, reading, knitting. Today I've made adzuki bean stew, oatmeal/raisin scones, and a simple dish of tofu, broccoli, and rice. I've seen a play, I've babysat, I've gotten (a little...grr) homework done, I've cleaned house. I've slept 8-9 hours a night. I've put up my Christmas decorations, and started packing to go home to New England in three weeks. It's a very busy, but good, time of year. Just 14more school days until vacation .... and a local performance of the Nutcracker ballet!

Hope you all are enjoying the start to the holiday season and not going too crazy at the shops. I plan on having a nice mix of locally bought presents/handmade, and being done with it. Christmas is about family and friends, and not much more than that, in my opinion.

Happy week, everyone. Here are some pictures of late:

hard at work, local "mighty kindness" festival

friend holly's sprouting demo

new vintage skirt, downtown coffeehouse with art on the walls and live music and specialty beer on tap

school leaf-raking

Peace and light,


1 comment:

  1. Hi Karen,

    Glad to see some photos of your home (which looks wonderful)and what you've been up too.