Confession: I may have forgotten the password to this site. And it may be that I originally registered with wordpress when I was in college and using an email to which I also don’t remember the password. I’d like that to explain my long absence, but the truth is, I have no real excuse. Offline life happened.
So, some big updates! This is a long one since it’s been almost two months since I’ve written anything.
Starting on Wednesday, I go back to work for Girl Scouts! I’m very, very excited about it, not least because they offered me full benefits which is the first time that I’ve ever had such things!!!!*
I went to D.C. with my grandmother and my incomparable sister (whose blog, by the way is katercanter.wordpress.com and she’s currently in 2nd place for fiction contest that, if she won, would allow her to pay of her student loans, so you should totally download her great story here. Go ahead. I’ll wait.) It was the trip of a lifetime and I’m so glad that we did it. I’m also so glad that I budgeted for it because I was able to spend whatever I wished to make sure we were comfortable and enjoying ourselves. It was already in the budget! I personally bought three books (plus the one I brought) and my mother gave me a fourth. All nonfiction and so far, all great. My total cost for the trip, including airfare and hotels, was $3,214.63 out of the $5,000 I had set aside for travel (as it turns out, I’ll be needing the rest sooner rather than later since the Boy will be giving a talk at a big fancy conference in Glasgow in August, and I will be tagging along!).
As a result of the trip and taxes, my April spending was fairly astronomical, but it was in the budget and fully planned for. Taxes took a big chunk of change, $4,714.00 to be exact, but I had a little bit more set aside, so I was able to pay it without flinching.
This is one of the things I love about having switched to YNAB from my own excel spreadsheet. Even though I spent more than I earned this month, I had budgeted for it in previous months, so it was no big deal. In the past, spending more than I earned in a month would always stress me out, but some months are just bigger than others. The best thing you can do is plan for it in advance and build up that pot of money over time for when expenses like taxes or once-in-a-lifetime trips come along.
One area I did not plan to spend money but did was clothes. I’ve been musing recently about wanting to look more like an adult. I don’t wear makeup often these days, and I don’t want to start, but I felt like my clothes didn’t fit how I wanted to present myself. (Funny side note: I’ve always wanted to dress for business and have never really had a reason to. In seventh grade, I bought all my new school clothes from the thrift store, mostly dress slacks, button downs and some sweaters. I was mistaken for a teacher at least once). So with my new job coming up, I decided I’d go look for some new work pants.
I started by going to the thrift stores on 5th Ave, but didn’t really find what I was looking for. I have a hard time shopping for pants, and the problem with thrift stores is they don’t always have exactly what you want. If I want some wild party gear or some lovely sundresses, I know where to go, but nothing had that extra veneer of “well-dressed professional” that I desired.
So I hit the mall. Specifically, Ann Taylor, which since we share a name (I don’t hold it against her that she spells it wrong, I pity her) and since in an alternate universe, I’d like to be an Ann Taylor mannequin in the store windows–that’s how much the clothes appeal to me. Of course, I found a good (and expensive) pair of pants. And then I went to Banana Republic and found two more. Realistically, this is the most I’ve spent on pants ever, possibly the most I’ve spent on clothes since the great sundress hunt my senior year of college. But, they are really nice pants.
And, as it happened, I needed some work appropriate flats, so I could stop wearing out the soles of the one pair of work shoes I wear. So I hit up Target, where I got two great pairs of shoes and three work appropriate blouses to go with my pants, and two belts to hold up said pants since someone doesn’t appreciate when I borrow his. More money gone! More clothes obtained!
The grand total was approximately $400, which is a lot of money for clothes especially given that I hadn’t really decided yesterday would be the day when I solved all my wardrobe problems. But then I went home, pulled everything out of my closet and tried each new piece on with each old piece in every conceivable combination with every conceivable shoe option from the very practical flats to the red stilettos that my mother calls “killer shoes.” Every. Single. Thing. Worked. Every new piece worked together with everything I already owned. Pieces I didn’t like much before looked smarter when paired with a new pair of pants or any of the new tops. Things I thought I’d want to send to Goodwill looked again! And most importantly for me, everything I put on made me feel like an adult. Which of course I am, even though I’m seeking validation through clothes. Girl Scouts better be ready because in the immortal words of Mark Ronson, “when we show up, we gon’ show out.”
In other news, my March goal was apparently writing related (not checking my own blog means I sometimes forget). I took a class on narrative nonfiction in March and April, which was enjoyable, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue to work on the piece I developed now that the class is over. In April, one of my poems was published in A Year In Ink: Vol 8 published by San Diego Writer’s Ink. It’s thrilling to see my name on the page, but it was a little scary to read it aloud at the release party. And now, I’m vaguely working on some fiction, which about is funny (to me) since I’m ready so much creative nonfiction right now.
One of the books I’ve been pouring through is Gretchen Rubin’s newest title, Better than Before on habits. I love it, of course, since I love to make resolutions and habits and all that good stuff. Right now, I’m working on sleep: going to bed by 9:30 p.m. every night if I’m at home and working toward waking up consistently at 5:30 every morning so I have some time to write. Fortunately, Hillary Kitten is very supportive of this habit.
Other habits I’m developing (because I can’t read a whole book on habits and stop at just one!) are daily exercise and daily writing. You know, the usual suspects.
I have the next couple of days off before I start work, so hopefully I won’t forget my password and maybe you’ll hear from me sometime sooner than two months from now. We’ll see!
*Clarification: I had health insurance at the law office where I worked but no retirement, and I had retirement when I worked for G.S. previously, but no health insurance. Now I’ll have both! If there are other work related benefits, my generation knows nothing of them.