Thursday, June 26, 2014

(almost) 6 months of (almost) no shopping

It all started with a January spending freeze to recover from a brutal holiday budget hangover. The experience was super positive and empowering. In addition to being kind of astonished by how much extra dough I had at the beginning of February, it allowed me to really hone in on the categories that were my biggest money sucks.

Aside from car and food, my guiltiest pleasure apparently is shopping... specifically for clothing and accessories. I am a huge secondhand and bargain shopper, but despite that, it's death from 1,000 small cuts. $50 here and $100 there add up in no time.


I also realized the extent to which I was suffering from another unfortunate side effect of this habit: the accumulation of stuff... a LOT of stuff. My historic home's tiny closet was overflowing with clothes I hadn't worn in months (or ever) because I realized I didn't like wearing them that much or they had just gotten hidden among all the other stuff. It was ridiculous.

I didn't really set out to go on a wearables shopping fast in 2014... Around mid-February, I just realized that I had stepped outside my regular routine of shopping out of boredom and decided to keep it up. I have found these tenets to be very helpful in keeping me (mostly) on track:

Don't go "window shopping." There will come a time when this is a realistic expectation and a pleasurable experience, but it took me a few months of purging the habit of shopping from my system. I have a weird pull to online browsing... and sometimes I just need to step away, slowly and calmly, from the Rue La La.

Don't get caught up in the details. OK... so, I bought stuff. More on that later. I'm still counting it a huge success.

Share the love. I've been so impressed by the support of my friends and family when I casually share that I've only bought 3 4 5 items in 2014. Everyone thinks it's great. Nobody thinks I'm weird. At least not any weirder.

Get a buddy. If anyone is crazy enough to come along for the ride, it's super helpful to have that extra level of support.

Feeling encouraged and empowered, I came across this very timely article last week from the Denver Post: "Minimalist clothing challenge spurs closet clean-outs". Maybe I'll try Project 333 next...

Friday, June 13, 2014

things I've learned as a liberal arts undergrad in an MBA program

Not too long ago, I decided I needed to stop bingeing on Netflix when I get home from work and think instead about being productive. After about a year of thinking about it (while bingeing on Netflix... multitasking), I applied to an evening MBA program, was accepted, and embarked on this adventure.

I work at a nonprofit, so I sometimes feel like a bit of an odd duck in a sea of engineers, accountants, project managers, business analysists...

But I'm enjoying it, meeting different people, and learning a lot through formal coursework and beyond.

Compound interest. Seriously, guys, this is something that, if you were a foolish awesome undergraduate English major like me, you need to get a handle on before you even think about it. Not for the sake of your Finance requirements; for your own well-being. Because it is not a cheap undertaking, and student loans are no joke.

Shark Tank. It's a thing. Everyone is talking about it. MBAs and aspiring MBAs love Shark Tank like middle-aged ladies love Dancing with the Stars.
By the way, it airs on ABC on Friday nights. Nerds.*
Until a few months ago, I thought everybody was talking about Shark Week. It turns out, the two are unrelated.

What "supply chain management" means. I sometimes wonder what this area has been previously called, and how it came to be known in its current iteration. There has to be something better to call it.
Got it.
Got it.
"Supply Chain"?
The other day, I learned there's a debate over the difference between "supply chain" and "operations" management. I didn't realize that was a thing either, but it all hurts my brain.

"Triple bottom line" is a fancy way of saying you have retained your humanity. People, planet, profit.

Speak up. Be the alternative voice. Surprise: you're well-rounded and smart. But... don't get crazy. You also don't win any friends or change any minds when you try to discuss how McDonalds' sustainability efforts are a farce because it is the U.S.'s largest consumer of industrial beef, which is really bad for the environment.
Easy, tiger.

"Networking" and "work" can be fun if you enjoy the company you are in. It can also be miserable if you do not, but you gotta take the good with the bad, ya dig?

Don't talk about taxes. Unless you are talking about the injustice of them.

Free food. On the first day of a quarter, a free** dinner, no matter how mediocre or lukewarm, brings me life-affirming joy.

Probably to be continued...

*My latest Netflix binge is Star Trek: TNG, so there's that.

**Considering the program fees, these are really more like the most expensive meals I've ever eaten... But they just feel so right.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

OGs, NBD, and Wedding in SD

This past weekend in San Diego, I had the great honor and pleasure of attending the wedding of one of my "Original Gs"... That's "Original Girlfriends," of course, from the friendship-bracelet-making, awkward elementary school years. It was an intimate, personal, so special ceremony and celebration. We don't see each other often, because our lives have made us different people than we were 20 years ago - as they should have - but despite that, we have shared some memorable events in the years since third grade.

Anyway, so the bridal shower was a few weeks ago, and another OG looks at my right knee and says (in an appropriate way; it's cool), "I can't believe you still have that scar!"

I didn't learn to ride a bike until college, really, and even then I never got confident enough to not fall off and gash my knee open to the point of needing several stitches... a few weeks before a trip to Vegas we had planned in honor of OG #2's university graduation... in May.

Blood. Loss of consciousness. Dad and brother freaking out. It was not a pretty sight.

Even after I was patched up and bandaged, I was so embarrassed by my war wound that I insisted on long pants to hide and almost bailed on the trip. I didn't, (looking back, it mustn't have been THAT bad) but it was MAY in VEGAS. So I got sick of sweltering in jeans and finally embraced my frankenleg.

Back to the bridal shower: I begin to affirm that yes, I do, and yes it was atrocious, and yes it's still pretty bad... when she says "You ROCKED those stitches!"

Um, what's that you say? Because all I remember is the shame.


Anyway, the moral is: Rock the stitches and the bandage and the scar that follows. It's not a big deal. Or maybe it is, but honestly who cares, let alone in six years.

Or the moral is: Teach your kids to ride bikes when they're young. Even if they're stubbornly resistant and hopelessly clumsy.


Ps. It should be noted that we rented and rode bikes all around Pacific/Mission Beach on Saturday. I did not crash once.
Like. A. Boss.
Pps. What an awesome couple and beautiful wedding. I'm still shining from the gratitude and joy at having been included in such a special occasion.

Are you serious with this view, cocktail hour?
"We go together like..."
Cute details abound.
We clean up OK.
Bonus: I managed to spend a weekend in San Diego without completely blowing my budget, so... great success.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I still exist!

Hey there!

I still exist!

Meh, these things happen. It's the circle of life, and it moves us all... away from our constructive internet endeavors and onto Buzzfeed or whatever.

Inspired in large part by a couple friends who are carving out time in their days to create conversation on the internet, I am going to try to update this more often. For now...


So much.

First, a recap: when I haven't been looking at gifs of the cutest animal bffs or other top (#) lists of the (superlative) (adjective) (category), I have been working my way halfway through an MBA program. I'm already halfway there! Because I hate myself love to learn, I'm taking summer school, just for funsies. But seriously, a supply chain elective popped up over the summer: Sustainability and Social Responsibility, and I couldn't pass that up. So...

1. a bunch of HBR cases.
2. just finished volume one of Saga. Volume two is on hold at the library. Since I started this MBA program, it's been hard to get into and finish novels. I've found that this sporadic and unpredictable time is a great opportunity to pick up graphic novels and comic series I've been meaning to look into but always take a back seat to the mile-long list of novels I want to read. Though by no means superficial or childish, they're easier for me to digest (#3 below is an exception...), and the lengths of chapters are more standardized than novels' chapters. I can read a novel and finish a 5-page chapter, then unwittingly commit to a 35-page chapter. I know what I'm getting into here.
3. just finished The Watchmen. I can now believe the hype. Super complex and overlapping story lines, really poignant and interesting social insights delivered and philosophical questions raised. My only complaint is that the female characters are a) few and far between and b) kind of one-dimensional.
4. Lean In. I multitask books pretty hard.
5. the first book in a fantasy series on one of the aforementioned "# superlative adjective category" lists of what I should read while waiting for the next A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones book. Acacia: the War with the Mein. Which reminds me: GRRM, I'm talking to you:


Smoothies for breakfast every day this week. Thank you, beautiful bf.


The Mind of a Chef (aforementioned beautiful bf's fault). It's (pretty intentionally and unabashedly) a younger version of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations; it's even narrated by Mr. Bourdain. I enjoy the travel and culture aspect, but they cut up a lot of meat on camera, of which I can only take so much.

Props to...

The Phoenix Public Library system for having everything I want and keeping this town on the map in this area with the best of them. Seriously, I can't say enough good things about Phoenix's library system. A major reason I live where I live is because of proximity to the central branch, which is awesome.

Can't wait for...

San Diego so soon for a wedding, a long weekend (!!!), and maybe even a surfing session. My arms hurt just thinking about it.