Finance-Frugal Clothing Finds

When I was paying off my debt I spent little to no money on clothing. I was so focused on paying it off I didn’t spend hardly anything on extras.

This can be a struggle on your wardrobe, especially when you’re losing weight. Introducing the clothing swap.

The idea is all your friends (and their friends) purge their closets and bring their clothes to a mutual friends’ house. There’s usually food involved, but not necessary. Then everyone goes through the clothing and picks out items they’d like to take home.

This saved me through the last few years. I never really brought clothes because I was size huge and none of my friends were. As I was losing weight I started fitting into more and more clothes that my friends would bring. A few more inches and I’ll be able to fit into a ton.

For now I take a lot of good items away. We had a clothing swap this past weekend. To give you an example of what I took-this is a picture of me in a dress from White House Black Market. Very flattering if I do say so myself!

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It’s the perfect work dress because it has sleeves and as it gets warmer it’s long enough I don’t have to wear tights.

I am so glad I don’t have to go shopping for dresses. I grabbed three work worthy ones at the swap! I now have a weekly wardrobe-before I only had one or two I could wear in the summer.

It also helps having your friends’ opinions while you’re trying clothes on. I trust them to say yay or nay.

Remember, this dress was free!

I volunteered to take the leftover clothes to salvation army. 6 garbage bags worth! Oh, and you can bring jewelry, belts, and shoes. I grabbed a white belt to accent a new black dress I took!

Some of you may think it’s weird… but who cares?! I think 3/4 articles of clothing I have are from the clothing swap. No one knows the difference.

Faith-Accepting Reality

There was a time in my life I thought everything had to be perfect and if something went wrong I had to make it better immediately. When I couldn’t make it get better I’d lash out in anger.

I think this stems from my childhood. My brother died when I was 2, and I am sure I didn’t understand why my parents were always upset and why my love was never good enough to make it better. This conclusion has been reached after many discussions with close friends and not from therapy, so who knows if it’s accurate.

I’ve matured a lot in this area. My quick-to-anger personality has mellowed. I am able to accept reality and breathe and know that life moves on even when it’s not perfect and that I am loved anyway. Today, though, I was quick to anger at my friend and I knew immediately it stemmed from something I was going through that currently isn’t “perfect”.

I put “perfect” in quotations because my perfect is different from God’s perfect. God’s perfect is more tolerant of mistakes, diversity, and human fallibility. My perfect depends on if things are going according to my plan and everyone is perfectly happy.

Back in January one of my friends/mentors sent me a devotional. She suggested I read it and reflect for ten minutes and write whatever I want. I fell out of the habit because (insert stupid excuse here), but today when I snapped at my friend I knew I needed to work on my emotional stability again. So I didn’t wait until tomorrow, I opened it up today. God’s timing is perfect. Read this and tell me that isn’t true.

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Devotional here

Love and prayers,

Sarah

Finance- The wasted $2 avocado

I spent about 1.5 years of my life working my butt off and being financially frugal so I could pay off my $25,000 worth of student loan debt. I worked every extra shift, covered every spin class, never went to concerts, didn’t go on vacations or extra excursions, had my parents help me by buying food from Costco, I didn’t buy dunkin donuts or go out to eat often, I didn’t buy clothes unless it was a necessity. I was really extreme and I don’t apologize for it.

After I paid off my loans in August I went on a little splurge. I bought into a few kickstarter projects. I replaced my sports bras that would give me clothing burn after 3 miles running. I bought really nice sport tights made out of recycled plastic water bottles. I bought a trip to Europe. Then, in late August I also started my food study program.

The food study provided all my food for me for the next nine months of my life. So right when I allowed myself to go out to eat or even eat meals on the go, I started a program where I couldn’t do that.

That program ended three weeks ago. I now need to make my own food. I can sometimes (read: a lot of times) over pack my schedule. When all your food is made for you, this isn’t an issue. Last Monday was the first time I resorted to going to Panera in a pinch to buy dinner. I bought a $10 salad that was over rated. I felt guilty at the time. How could I spend that much on food? What about my other financial goals? Are they going down the drain? Seriously… could I be more dramatic?

My boyfriend pointed out to me that it was ok I bought the salad. It was sad that he had to even point that out to me in the first place. That’s what 1.5 years of frugality will leave imprinted on you.

Which leads me to the $2 avocado. For my lunches I buy ready made salad mixes  and add either an avocado or grilled chicken strips from Trader Joe’s. I have this natural talent of timing avocado ripening just right. Not sure how it happened, but I do. On Wednesday we had a power outage at work and we were told it would take two hours to come back. I have always wanted to do a spur of the moment lunch with my boyfriend, so while he’s still only a half hour away I texted him and we decided to meet up for Indian. My salad with avocado was in the kitchen, ready for me to eat and be healthy with a perfectly ripened avocado.

After planning something that I’ve always thought would be a fun thing, the thought in my mind was “what if my avocado is too ripe by tomorrow and I’ve wasted it? Avocados are expensive”.

Avocados are two dollars. TWO DOLLARS.

Sometimes  More often than I’d like to admit I have to remind myself that it’s ok to live life and not be perfect. To waste. To spend the $10 on a salad. As Ramit Sethi says, it’s not the $10 salad that’s going to be the deal breaker. It’s your financial systems and your income.

Fitness-Osteoperosis workout 2

Set 1:
10-12 reps
1. Squat with Bosu ball and arm extension (Bring the arms out and in at the bottom of the squat)
*To increase intensity, add more weight
*Add pause at top to increase intensity
**Slow and controlled movement
*Add hold in the down position
**She does it kneeling, but I think standing in a lunge position is better.
Set 2:
10-12 reps
*Use a weight for balance then eventually for strength and increasing difficulty
*Started with 6lbs
**Slow and steady
***Keep shoulders high on ball to help discomfort in neck area
*20 sec hold
**Start to make circles with your elbows as you advance
Replacement exercise for dead bug in Workout 1:
10-12 reps
She complained that dead bug gave her back problems so we switched it out.
I am the star of the video of chest press on Bosu ball!

Faith-Yume Wo Katare

A couple weeks ago I went out to dinner at a Ramen Restaurant in Central Square called Yume Wo Katare for my boyfriend’s birthday. Roughly translated from Japanese it means “Tell Your Dream”.

When I first looked at the menu I thought I was missing something. There are only two items. The second item is simply a larger portion size of the first. Regardless, I was open to whatever and I’m not a picky eater so I went with it.

This is a popular restaurant, but there wasn’t too much of a line at the time. After waiting about twenty minutes on a rainy Friday at 7pm, we were seated with four other people in line with us.

Before you enter the hostess has you do a quick hands in cheer with your group, whether you know them or not, usually “1-2-3 ramen!”. I thought this set the mood quite well! It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but I like the simpleness.

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Once inside there’s a great cheer from the cooks welcoming you. They take your order of either the smaller portion or the bigger portion of ramen and pork. I chose smaller and it was a great decision. Then the fun part- they ask you if you have a dream. Of course I do! They hand you a little placeholder stand with a note saying “I have a dream”. More on this later. Warning, they are cash only!

You’re then asked to grab a spoon, chop  sticks, and to grab a seat on a bench. We were right in front of the kitchen which made it interesting. The restaurant (essentially a room) was decorated with Japanese writing and notes of peoples’ dreams.

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Before I knew it I was being asked if I wanted garlic and my ramen was ready. It was DELICIOUS. It was plentiful.

When you’re finished your food the host asks you to stand up, say your name, and share your dream. Throughout our meal we heard things like “I want to make the world a better place when I graduate college” and “I want to move into my own apartment”. Everyone cheers for you and wishes you the best to accomplish your dream. Then they “grade your meal”. You get a “good job” if you’ve eaten most of it, and a “perfect” if you’ve eaten it all. Supposedly your dream only comes true if you’ve eaten it all.

There’s a “dream fund” at the front. If you donate to it the host announces it and everyone claps. I’m not sure what it’s funding, maybe a new location?

At the end of my meal I got a “good job” and my dream was to own a fitness center some day. I also announced it was John’s birthday so he had the whole room singing to him.

I would highly recommend this experience to everyone. It far exceeded my expectations and I would go back in a heartbeat with an emptier stomach.

This is in the faith category because, well, it may take a little more than finishing a bowl of ramen for your dream to come true. 😉