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My excessive energy, extreme narcissism, and intense love of neon-colored spandex is both managed and fueled by my addiction to fitness. I push myself to extremes and I push other people's buttons. Obviously I needed my own blog.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Budget Update May 2020

Where can you cut some fees?

The Budget Mom workbook has changed my life. It's been 5 months since I started the TBM method and I have not created any new debt. My budget hasn't matched up perfectly, but I have had the money to cover all of my purchases. Prior to COVID-19, I was making pretty good money with my babysitting jobs. If I wanted to go out to dinner or buy someone a present, I just picked up an extra job. I haven't babysat since the beginning of March and so I knew I had to further curtail my spending. I cancelled a couple of subscriptions I didn't use and changed my Amazon Prime Student account to a one-time fee annual account. This is saving me some cash each month.

My goal is to cut or lower as many fees as possible. I have a paid off American Express Delta Skymiles card. I've had this platinum card since 2015 and the benefits made a lot of sense when I was in an airport every single week. The free checked bag benefit paid for the annual fee within a month. AMEX raised the annual fee to $250 this year and my card renews in July. I considered cancelling the card but I feared for my credit score. I have a $29,000 line of credit and it drives my credit utilization way down. I've been fretting about this for a couple of months, when I see that The Budget Mom had shared her blog post on cancelling credit cards. I commented and someone suggested switching to the no annual fee AMEX Blue Delta Skymiles card. I didn't even know this thing existed!


A quick call to AMEX customer service today and now my account has been switched to the blue card. I will receive a prorated credit for my last annual fee, keep my current credit limit, and keep my skymiles. I lose the member benefits of the platinum card but I was rarely in the airport to use them.

I'm glad that I am keeping a Delta Skymiles card because Brad and I have been talking about taking an amazing trip to Australia and New Zealand after I graduate. Turns out that this has been a dream trip for both of us. It's kind of nuts that we have so much in common and still surprise each other with these similarities. I am so excited to plan and save for this bucket list of an adventure.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Running to Process

I wrote earlier this week about how I've gotten back into running. I've been running longer than my training plan requires because getting outside with my thoughts is one of the few things keeping me sane during this pandemic. I know many of us are struggling with our new reality. Going to the gym is my way to let off steam, work through tough emotions, and figure stuff out. I've been enjoying how running outside with no music is helping me to process some heavy feelings I've been trying to squash for a long time.


I'm not proud to admit it but I lost my mind over some Facebook posts the other day. I saw my ex-boyfriend in photos with his new girlfriend celebrating his birthday. I wasn't allowed to take photos of us together, and if I did, I was definitely not allowed to post them on social media. And if I did post them to social media, I couldn't tag him and he would untag himself if I did. And I was never allowed to spend his actual birthday with him because birthdays are to be celebrated with the guys, but I could take him out for birthday dinner after his birthday, but the food was never as good as it is somewhere not here in Atlanta.

I am tired of keeping this hidden like a shameful secret. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for three years. I was repeatedly put down, lied to, and convinced that I was imagining things. I became obsessed with winning back his affection and attention, to the detriment of all other aspects of my life. I now say that I was never as good a friend, child, sister, or employee as the day before I met him. For three long years, I engaged in a cycle of abuse and self-blame where I would tell him off and try to leave, only to be bombarded with calls, messages, in-person visits, and gifts until I gave in and agreed to be with him again. I recently learned that the term for this behavior is called love-bombing.

I regretfully decided to move into a new apartment with him last March. He had to travel for work almost immediately after the move and so I had several weeks of unpacking alone and getting settled. He returned one week and the arguments got worse than ever before. One night I was studying for a college algebra exam for my Maymester course. He told me he was going out with his friends so I could have the apartment to myself to study, which I appreciated. He came home around 8 PM, drunk, and proceeded to tell me what he really thought of me. He told that he couldn't stand me, didn't find me attractive, that he was the only person who could ever love me and even he didn't like me, that everyone we knew had told him that they hated me, and that my own family hated me because I was so awful. An epic argument ensued and continued until he took my two dogs into the bedroom, locked the door, and passed out. I was used to sleeping in the guest bedroom at this point because my presence in what was supposed to be our bedroom upset his sleep. I cried hysterically while trying to study until about 4 in the morning. My exam was at 11:30 AM and I figured I had enough time to catch some sleep before I had to leave for school. Just after 5 AM, he came into the guest bedroom and tried to touch me, telling me he was sorry that we had a fight but he forgave me. I told him to get the hell away from me and repeated all the awful things he had said to me. He alternated between denying it and apologizing it away by saying he had been so drunk he didn't remember any of that happening. Needless to say, I did not do well on that exam. That was the day that I decided that I hated him and that I could never forgive him. I emotionally checked out of the relationship. I started to drink more and go out often. Sometimes I stayed out all night just to be away from him. But I didn't leave.

I was financially and legally tied to him. Thank you apartment lease. I spent my entire adult life saying I wouldn't live with someone until we were married (no judgment, just a personal decision), and yet he convinced me to do otherwise. I was embarrassed to admit that I had made such a terrible mistake. And I was scared to ask my parents for more money to leave because they do help me financially so that I can attend school.

Only when he became physically abusive, did I speak up to my parents and ask for their help. A weekend trip that was his idea of fixing our relationship turned into a living nightmare. I had been drinking so I couldn't drive back to Atlanta, I didn't know anyone else in the city where we were staying, and he was drunk and very angry. I was terrified for my life.

It still took me two months to move out of the apartment we shared. He called into work sick repeatedly so that he could be home for 52 straight days. I had to be in Atlanta to attend class. He has a crash pad for work and an apartment in another southern city. I never got to be alone unless I was in the bathroom and sometimes he would follow me in there too.

I was so used to the way that he treated me that I rationalized his behavior. I justified the sketchy, rude, and cruel things he would do by blaming it on my bad attitude or the hurtful things I said during an argument. How dare I criticize his drinking when I was drinking too? Of course he's in a bad mood. He spent all day traveling home to see me and I didn't show my appreciation enough when he arrived. He's right, I did gain too much weight and that's why he won't touch me. I am so inconsiderate. I put ice in my coffee and he was trying to sleep.

Do those statements sound as effed up to you as they now do to me? But I was an addict who craved his attention, even if it was of the awful variety. I moved out at the end of December. Even after I moved out, all of my thoughts and actions were based around him. I own the washer/dryer and moved them to my new apartment. On the day of the move, I washed all of his towels and put them back into the old apartment so he would have clean towels when he got back from his trip. I even considered doing all of his laundry until I was explicitly called out about it by a loved one. Only recently have I recognized the truth of what happened. I am a victim of emotional abuse and now I'm working to process through the emotions I'm having. I'm really angry - at him and at myself. I know it's not my fault but it still feels like it is sometimes.

I share what happened to me because keeping it inside has been poisoning me. And maybe by sharing my story, someone who is reading this will recognize abuse in his or her life, and know he or she is not alone. If you are being abused, there is help. There are people who will believe you even if you don't have bruises or broken bones. I will believe you. If reading this makes you want to talk about emotional abuse with others, I think it's a conversation more of us need to have. There should not be a stigma and we shouldn't feel weak or stupid when people hurt us. But I do ask that you respect my decision to share on my blog and talk to me directly if you have questions about my story. Please don't speak with my family about this. They are very aware of what happened. I do not need you calling up my mom and telling her you read on the internet that her daughter got abused.

I will get through this. It's just going to take time. I am very thankful that I am able to run.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

10k Training Week 2

I'm training for a 10k and I'm going to look cute doing it.

Good morning folks! I hope everyone is surviving sheltering in place, both literally and figuratively. I'm trying to keep in shape and my mind in one piece (see what I did there?) so I've set two goals for myself this April:
  1. Move every day
  2. No alcohol
I'm defining movement as doing something active every day, may it be a home CrossFit workout, yoga, running, stretching, or walking. The weather is gorgeous in Georgia and I'm trying to get outside as much as possible. I have wanted to get back into running and this feels like a great time to do it. I found this 10k training plan from Snacking in Sneakers and I'm on week 2.




Monday's run was supposed to be 1.5 miles but it was so nice out that I kept going. That last mile was entirely uphill and it was a bit of a doozy.


My bedroom has turned into a home gym but this apartment is finally beginning to look and feel like home. There are no overhead lights in the bedroom (WTF I know), but I found these floor lamps at Walmart for $10 each and they make a huge difference.


Outfit:
  • Sports bra: Born Primitive Moxie sports bra. It is no longer available in this leopard print but you can get it in vibrant cheetah instead.
  • Shorts: Oiselle Roga shorts in brown. These are my favorite running shorts and the colors change each season. There are some BEAUTIFUL floral prints available right now. The Roga is available in this original inseam, as well as a long and short (Mac) inseams. You can also get a toolbelt version that are great for long runs.
  • Shoes: Brooks Ghost 8 leopard print have been out of stock for a while, but the Ghost 12 is for sale. I'm eyeing the all white pair. You can sign up for Brooks emails and they'll let you know when limited releases, like these sweet snow leopards, drop.
  • Sunglasses: Knockaround black on black polarized Classics. They appear to be out of stock, but the Premiums are basically the same pair, just a little heavier. I own several pairs of Knockarounds, including Classics, Premiums, and Mile Highs. They are the best because they are quality and inexpensive. You'll never cry if you lose them. Their customer service is the BEST.

Wednesday's run was also supposed to be 1.5 miles. There's a house we're interested in 1.6 miles away from my apartment so my plan was to run to it and check it out before having the realtor meet me there this week. Loved the house and the weather was great so I ran back. I knew I shouldn't run so close to eating lunch but I did it anyway and I got some cramps so I was running slow



Sometimes a run that is almost identical in route, weather, and gear to another can feel drastically different. I went to sleep really late on Tuesday night because I had been up taking an organic chemistry exam. I turned off my iPhone alarms but forgot about my Fitbit alarms and only got 4.5 hours of sleep. I felt like garbage all day. Just getting outside made me feel better and then I was able to get a great night's sleep last night. TEN HOURS AND 57 MINUTES! I have to remind myself that my workouts don't have to be perfect. Getting them done makes me feel better and pays off in other ways, such as better sleep.


Outfit:

Sports bra: DYI Elevate bra
Shorts: Oiselle New Lori shorts in Denim
Top: DYI The one I'm wearing isn't on the website but they have cute similar styles. My mom bought these for me at her Pure Barre studio. BTW, it is silly to name your company DYI because Google wants to correct it to DIY. 



As we know, I love tracking things to keep me motivated. I use a Garmin Forerunner 630 paired with Strava to record my runs, but that's all digital and so it doesn't do it for me. I wrote my training plan out on my calendar and I put a running sticker on it when I complete my run.


Getalong Dachshund Rescue releases a new calendar every year in time for Christmas. Daisy Mae was Miss February, and Frank and DM are featured in July.

These stickers are from FayeCreates on Etsy. She makes the BEST stickers and can do custom designs if you want.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Get Your Ducks in a Row

If you're going to be trapped inside your house for the foreseeable future, you might as well make some life improvements.

I really want to get pet ducks!

I'm REALLY over social-distancing, sheltering in place, and not being able to get my freaking nails done, but I don't want your nana to die, so I'm complying. No promises that I won't start a riot on May 1. Since I'm stuck inside my house, I have been finding ways to work towards my physical, academic, and financial goals.

Online Sinking Funds
One of the coolest things I started using this year is SoFi Money. It's a money management account that had a pretty high interest rate (1.60% APY) before the world ended but it's still higher than a regular savings account at 0.20% APY. I love The Budget Mom but I'm not keeping a bunch of cash in my apartment. Instead I have SoFi vaults for my sinking funds because I can get the money out of my checking account where I might accidentally spend it and into a designated account that earns interest. SoFi sends you a debit card you can use as payment or at the ATM. Or you can transfer the money back to your primary account. For example, I have been transferring money to my tattoo sinking fund for months. I used my SoFi debit card at the ATM (transaction fees are refundable) to take out the cash I needed to tip my tattoo artist. I transferred the remaining balance back to my Bank of America checking account. I paid for my tattoo using my cash rewards credit card and then paid the card with the money I had transferred to the BofA checking account. Are there easier ways to pay for things? Sure, but these extra steps earned me interest and cash back. Here is a referral link to SoFi Money.

These are my current vaults. I take annual expenses and divide them by 12 and transfer a small amount into the sinking fund each month. My executive Costco membership is $120 a year so $12 goes into the vault. I also use vaults to save money that I didn't spend. I had $77 left in my dogs monthly spending category so I transferred the amount here to put towards larger future purchases, such as heartworm medicine or vet visits. If coronavirus taught us anything, it's that we need adequate emergency funds. We have to start somewhere so I've got $50 in mine.



Tidy Your Space
I cleaned my desk and I feel so much better. I am obsessed with this Wayfair desk and chair in my home office, but I started stacking a bunch of stuff all over it in March. My productivity took a hit because I kept getting distracted by things when I would start digging through the mess to work on an assignment. Take 30 minutes to organize and disinfect your workspace.



Trackers
Back when I was an elementary school teacher, I learned that I am motivated by displayed trackers. I use Canva to create trackers for just about everything, including studying, exercising, and paying off debt. There are some sweet existing templates that you can tweak to fit your needs. I used one to make this organic chemistry study tracker. I pay myself a dollar for each action completed and I'm going to use that money for something fun this summer.


Workbooks
Writing in a notebook with pretty pens brings me joy. I invested in these workbooks and I'm more likely to use them consistently because it makes me feel good. I'm loving my new Gym Gypsy journal and will post about it soon.



Read Something Interesting
I use the Libby app to checkout digital library loans for my Kindle. I finished Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining last week and loved it. Last night I read about optimizing protein intake in adults because that's the kind of thing that gets me all jazzed up. 


Find Community in Fitness
I rejoined my CrossFit gym, CrossFit Identity, because they have been slaying online community and accountability since this nightmare began. I have felt connected more than I have in the past year and I get excited to do the workout. I usually film us and post to Instagram and I fill out the daily workout from home competition survey. CFID has started offering Zoom classes four times a day but I haven't attended one yet. Lots of places are offering online fitness, but I think the key component is finding one that makes you feel connected in this time of isolation. Dancing Dogs Yoga is also doing this well if that's more your speed.

I gave Brad a pair of Nanos for his birthday. We do CrossFit in the apartment parking lot.


Let me know what has been working for you during this bizarre time. I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Semi-Homemade Ramen

I don't have a problem, I have priorities. 

In case you are not addicted to Fleo and perhaps live without Instagram, the Katie Crewe x Fleo collaboration dropped tonight at 9 PM ET. As of 9:39 PM, the scuba blue El Toros are still available but those beautiful babies have garnered so much hype, we should expect to see them sell out shortly.

I'm driving home from chem lab tonight and construction leads me to take the road that forces me to pass all of my favorite take out places. I tried to hold it together but then then I see the sign for Thaicoon Sushi Bar and I start crossing lanes of traffic. But then the voice of reason (my boyfriend Brad) comes over the car speaker telling me to be strong. So I get back in my lane and drive on home, proud in my decision to order more Fleo and make dinner at home. Then I pass Pig and Chick and decided I need to find a new way to my house.

Daisy Mae-approved meal

I'm in the mood for noodles, meat, veggies, and Asian flavors. I have thawed Costco chicken tenderloins in the fridge so I cut them into 1-2 in pieces. I start a pan on medium heat with a little oil (not olive because I've noticed I can taste it in my Asian-flavor inspired dishes) and diced white onion. I season the chicken cubes with salt and pepper before adding them into the pan. Keep it moving around to avoid burning but it basically takes care of itself. Sprinkle with sesame seeds while cooking to get that roasted flavor.


Now I start trying to teach myself to make ramen soft boiled eggs. Since I didn't marinate eggs in mirin and soy sauce last night, I settled for regular soft boiled eggs. Only two out of my attempted 6 came out edible. Next time I'm really on the Instant Pot. I've been told it makes foolproof eggs. 

As I get increasingly frustrated with egg gate, I add some sesame green beans I prepared earlier in the day during bulk food prep to the chicken and onions. I've got the heat on low just to keep everything warm and ensure everything got cooked through.

Give up on the eggs and hope for the best, because now it's time to reboil your water for the noodles. I found these tasty packets at Costco up in Duluth, which has inventory we basic bitches inside of the perimeter can only dream of. I get my car serviced in Duluth and always add a Costco run after. The noodles cook for about 2 minutes, then you drain them, and then add the sauce. The sauce definitely passes my picking sauce standards. 


Combine the noodles, sauce, chicken, and vegetables together. Arrange soft boiled egg on top. Hide the one you broke but still looks totally edible underneath the noodles so it doesn't show in photos. Season egg with salt, pepper, and more sesame seeds. Add fish sauce liberally. Viola!

I put fish sauce and sesame seeds on pretty much everything these days. You can see that my fish sauce is almost empty. The salty and roasted nutty deliciousness glams up a basic rice, protein, veg meal instantly.


I had time to prepare, cook, and eat this meal and clean up my whole kitchen before the release dropped. I'm now the proud owner of the scuba blue El Toros and the aqua splash reinette bra.

This story has a happy ending because my Reinette and El Toros are secured!

If you enjoying reading about how I experiment with making my favorite takeout meals at home, let me know. It's my current kitchen passion. And remember, if I could teach myself to cook in 2015, there's nothing holding you back.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

January 2020 Goals Update

I managed to not spend all my money on UberEats last month!

January was a successful month. For the first time in what feels like forever, I budgeted my money for the entire month and didn't overspend. I took steps to minimize the amount of interest I pay on debt. I used this debt reduction calculator to figure out the best way to pay of my loans and cards with the least amount of interest. I also opened a new credit card and initiated a balance transfer on my existing credit card debt so I can now pay it off without paying interest. I got a Citi Simplicity card and have 0% APR for 21 months. If you've got debt and your paying high interest fees, look into this option.


I took all of the food delivery apps off of my phone. I can obviously still order delivery if I want to but deleting the apps and unsubscribing from their emails has changed my behavior. We didn't order food at all in the entire month. We did go out a few times because I'd probably die if I couldn't eat La Parrilla. La Parrilla has THE BEST margaritas and I consider myself an expert on the topic. I started making hard boiled egg avocado toast and chicken caprese salads. Very tasty and not that difficult to eat in the car.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

New Nails

It only took 6 years but I've found a way to have my bling nails and still hook grip!

Weightlifting has been a real pain in the ass for my nails. Prior to finding CrossFit, I sported a French manicure of decent length and this was before I regularly used gel polish. It took serious effort to keep a regular polish French manicure chip-free. I carried around a little polish pen because I am neurotic and extra. I kept my nails short because longer nails hurt in a hook grip and I had an unfortunate incident where I missed a lift and my thumbnail got lifted by the barbell but the gel manicure didn't have much give and it was really really painful.



My friend and fabulous manicurist Kayla has patiently polished my short nails for like 3 or 4 years now. We upgraded to dip powder but I was still hesitant to grow my nails out because I like to hook grip. I felt like the edges of my nails were digging into my skin whenever I would lift. But Kayla has finally convinced me to try a new nail shape and these almond nails are a game changer. Not even the God awful power snatch and thruster workout last Saturday bothered my fingers. :: insert praise hands emoji ::


Kayla's new salon MOD Nails and Beauty is located at 736 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306 in the same shopping center as Bookhouse Pub. It shares a parking lot with Southern Star Tattoo, MJQ, and the Drunken Unicorn. Kayla is also pretty dang amazing at home decor so this salon is gorgeous.

Monday, January 6, 2020

2020 Goals

Can getting your financial shit together help you reach your nutrition and fitness goals? I'm going to find out.

Happy New Year! My priority in 2020 is financial health. One of my favorite Instagram accounts @thechubbycrossfitter introduced me to The Budget Mom in December. Miko, aka The Budget Mom, offers free and for sale resources that I have found really helpful and I was fortunate to receive her Budget by Paycheck planner for Christmas.



Right now I am in school and fortunate to have financial support from my family to make that possible. (Let's take a moment to thank my sister for getting her doctorate straight out of undergrad and my dad for deciding that I should also have the opportunity to spend several extra years on the family payroll.) I haven't always been responsible with money and I do have some debt. Using the knowledge I have learned from The Budget Mom, I can pay off that debt before I graduate and start my new career as a registered dietitian in 2022. Most likely I will be able to pay it off and set aside emergency savings well before.

I am interested in seeing how achieving financial health can help improve my health in other areas of my life. The most obvious is lowering my stress if I'm no longer stressing about money. Less stress should hopefully transfer to better sleep. I also think creating and sticking to a budget will help with my nutrition, physical, and mental health. For example, I am going to need to prepare the majority of my meals at home in order to keep my grocery spending under budget. This should result in less fast food and bar food (I am a sucker for chicken wings!), and I am less likely to open a bottle of wine to have with dinner but I almost always order wine if I eat out. 

I have allocated $0 to clothing purchases this month. I just moved to a new apartment and I am disgusted by the amount of clothing I have because I don't have enough closet racks to hold all of it. Instead of ordering my millionth pair of Fleo shorts, I need to ask myself why I feel compelled to order new clothes even though I don't wear what I already own. Am I unhappy? Am I trying to fill some void with instant gratification? I used to order 3 pairs of Fleos a week when I was miserable at work and traveling all of the time. I made decent money so I didn't really think about it but I've since realized that I've got about 3 months rent worth of shorts.

Sinking funds are a new-to-me concept that I am excited to utilize. Basically you choose something you want or need (semi-annual car insurance payment, a vacation, a massage, really anything) and you figure out how much money you need to fund it. Then you allocate a certain amount of money each month or pay period to fund it. One glass of wine with tip cost me $14.20 at Lingering Shade last night. I enjoyed it, but normally I would have at least two. Realizing that I would be able to take leftover money in my "fun budget" and put it towards my sinking fund for a body work session with Brian Fox was the incentive I needed to limit myself to one glass.

I never considered myself to be bad with money, but I was definitely not good with it either. I look forward to prioritizing my health and happiness goals by getting my finances in order.

What are your 2020 goals? Are they health and fitness related? Financial? As cheesy as it sounds, it's a new decade and I want to make the 20s my best decade yet.
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