holidays diary – Day 6

My goodness – almost a week of the holidays vacation is over.

At least today was a little bit better. I went to office today and worked like 5-6 hours. It felt good. I love how my office looks now, clean, well organized, and full of beautiful plants. Honestly after 5 days at home, seeing the sky from my office window was also priceless. I felt “hopeful” :).

Then I took the donation items with me and went to a charity/thrift store. I am grateful that I was able to share my now-unneeded items with others – what a blessing. I also shopped there – I bought two blouses and two planters 🙂 One of the pots took my breath away when I saw it – again, I feel quite lucky. My new blouses are great-looking and, hey they were 50% off today 🙂 How lucky one can get sometime 🙂

I was also fortunate enough to purchase notebooks that I use so frequently. They were on sale as well. I had imagined them to be on sale and purchased during the holidays. My imagination turned to be reality today. I feel fortunate and very excited about all these positive experiences today.

On the way back home, I was thinking on the bus that I actually like my office, my work place, thrift stores, and the bus. Feeling joyful 🙂

I do not know whether it was getting out of home after 5 days, shopping and finding items that I loved, or some other mysterious thoughts that went through my mind on the way back home, but today I have felt grateful and excited about my life again. I am blessed.

Let’s remember that the new year is the year of Ease, Comfort, and Appreciation.

 

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shopping ban – items

Enough is enough.

Today I was re-potting a new plant I bought yesterday, and when I went thru my planting items I have seen how many planters (both plastic and porcelain) and plates to go underneath the pots I have had.

Way too many….

How am I going to use all of these?

I possibly will not.

Also, how many plants do I have?

50?

Sigh….Many of them succulents and in individual pots. I must be combining them together. Does that mean I need to buy new pots????

I am overwhelmed really……….

Time for a serious decluttering activity and a shopping ban list:

Shopping ban items:

  • plants
  • planters/pots/plates
  • soil/perlite

Decluttering:

will take some time, but here is the usual idea:

  • dump everything that do not work or is worn out
  • donate everything that I do not use (yes, these include the porcelain plates that I no longer use; small plastic pots that I have bought with great excitement but never used; the plates that I purchased for planters but never used; clothes that I no longer wear; any other kitchen/house item that I do not use)

Time to open space and save some money at the same time.

 

 

 

all the good things – check

  • getting my thooth filling fixed – check
  • walking during the day for 20 min – check
  • deciding to work tomorrow to clear some outstanding work – check

I am not very enthusiastic about this, but then it is good for me as I am behind many things nowadays. I can always take a rest later, especially on Sunday. Looking forward to it

  • sharing some plants with my colleagues – check

this always feels good 🙂 Some of my friends with whom I had shared plants expressed how positively the plants changed the feeling of their offices/home, and I believe in them. What a fantastic feeling to be able to help spread the power of plants to others. Today I was also given a couple of baby plants that I cherish 🙂 This also feels great 🙂

  • learning the importance of context dependency better with the help of a plate – check

a couple of weeks back I had purchased some second hand plates from thrift stores to be used to collect the water underneath the pots/planters I have. One of them, even though has this wonderful green colour, had not fit well any of my pots so I had decided to give it away. Today I tried it with the new pot I was gifted with a plant and to my cheerful surprise, it just fit so wonderfully – both in size and in colour. I almost got tearful with joy! I was about to get rid of it just because I did not have a use for it and I was feeling quite bad about purchasing/owning it 🙂 It is all fixed nice and easy now 🙂

  • having a strong and pain-free lower back and no physical problems at the time being – check

very grateful!

  • being gifted with some pastries by a friend this morning – check

this was a wonderful gesture on my friend’s side. They were delicious and I ate all of them in the morning. They absolutely lifted my energy levels up and made me feel good. I think this example showed me once again the importance of breakfast and the need to start having regular breakfast. It sure will help me go through the stress and heavy work much easier. I am of course highly appreciative of my friend for thinking about me and helping my body and mind nourish with her kind gesture

  • starting a new task that I have been delaying lately – check

I am behind many things, but once I start I often follow. So I was happy to start this work this evening – it is going to be finished 🙂 Yay!

  • not having any shopping plans this weekend – check

I am too busy to shop… I love shopping but it is not good for my purse. Plus, I appreciate it more when I have a break from it for a while. All is good 🙂

  • seeing my succulents props doing well – check

these plants are a bundle of joy 🙂 seeing that they grow roots and little plants out of mere leaves is a miraculous feeling. I may have killed a couple a long the way but generally speaking my succulents are doing well 🙂

  • getting good opinions on my quest to find out what is the best thing to do when you have two options both of which are the correct (or incorrect) roads to choose – check

thanking the blogger friend for her valuable comment. I sure am thinking like her and this gives me a sound base to work on.

 

 

 

 

shopping ban week

Gotta curb this spending habit I have been having lately (mostly cab and junk food expenses… yes, again… time to fix this).

What is the plan?

Well – I budget only $60 to consume till the next pay-day (12 days), including grocery and others. Should I walk in the morning and save the bus fare, this amount may as well increase a little bit. Then I can go buy some more pots from thrift store for my plants.

My choice now 🙂

I have everything I need; my fridge and pantry is full of food; and I have no urgent needs (except the physiotherapy and dental fees that I expect this week).

Let’s do it!

joy journal – June 1, 2018

It turns out that I have lots of things to be grateful for – so here is the list 🙂

  1. I am grateful for waking up early and hitting the road when it is quiet
  2. I am grateful for working really efficient and taking care of a couple of important things – this feels highly satisfactory and also increase my self-confidence
  3. I am grateful for my money making my life easier and comfortable
  4. I am grateful for the new cactus seedling appearing today, even though I am losing two others to mold (I have lost 3 so far – life)
  5. I am grateful for keeping calm today – how lovely! 🙂
  6. I am grateful for mowing the most of my yard this evening. Through the end, my mower got broken. At first I was kind of like sigh…., but then I realized this was an opportunity to buy a new and better one that can make this chore much easier for me. It can be more expensive but it will hopefully make my life easier as well
  7. I am grateful for all the food I have at home
  8. I am grateful for the opportunity to shop tomorrow – what is it about shopping and feeling good? 🙂
  9. I am grateful for keep working, although I have been working very intensely in the last one year and I am stressed. I am amazed by my boundaries and the way I function 🙂
  10. I am grateful for laughing a couple of minutes ago while watching a TV series 🙂
  11. I am grateful for staying away from a colleague/friend who makes me nervous
  12. I am grateful for the weekend, which will let me do some work and also give me time to recuperate
  13. I am grateful for my plants. I do not know how many I have right now; At the office I have the cacti seedlings and 4 pots of plants. I also have 2 plants rooting in water – I will plant them next week. At home is much more: I have 5 cacti; 4 succulents; a gollum jade, 4 haworthia, 4 jades, some leaves rooting including christmas cactus, a snake plant, a spider plant, a hoya; two palm-like plants, bambu, an earth star, lots of succulent props… Where am I going with all of these plants? 🙂 Sharing will feel awesome 🙂

 

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What do I appreciate about myself today?

  • I appreciate myself for trying to do right all the time
  • I appreciate myself for keep working
  • I appreciate myself for realizing that I can use my money to make my life comfortable, even though it may be expensive for now
  • I appreciate myself for keeping positive today
  • I appreciate myself for allowing myself to relax and enjoy tonite
  • I appreciate myself for having plans for the weekend
  • I appreciate myself for not thinking too much 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

joy journal – Jan 14, 2018

After an anxiety-filled and psychologically turbulent week, I am feeling a lot better now (and for now). This is a blessing and contributing factors are the followings:

1. I am grateful for my past experiences that helps me with understanding the causes of the anxiety and tackling it. 

2. I am grateful for my family and the blogging friends being supportive during this difficult time.

3. I am grateful for the warm weather that makes my life a little bit easier.

4. I am grateful for seeing some plants and flowers still being alive in the yard. It is amazing how resilient they are during winter. It gives me hope that despite the estimations that they would be dead now because of the snow and freezing conditions, some of them still survive. I shall too survive this time and the future ones to come.

5. I am grateful for eating better lately, which makes me feel like at least I am good at taking care of myself.

6. I am grateful for donating a number of items to a charity. I had had collected them from home in the last one year and now almost all of them are gone to be enjoyed by other less fortunate individuals. What a blessing.

7. I am grateful for buying drawer organizers yesterday and seeing that they do their job very well. Now my measuring cups and utensils are in different containers and my drawers are well organized. What a difference they make in how I feel about myself and my life!

8. I am grateful for treating myself with little indulgences; a small bar of chocolate yesterday and another two today. Knowing that I care about myself, try to release some of the pressure off my chest, and support myself is great. 

9. I am grateful for shopping yesterday and today. It gave me a much needed mental break from the issues. I also purchased lovely items that I would need, coffee being one of them 🙂

10. I am grateful for having the day to myself and so far having a more or less pleasant day and feelings.

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Things that I appreciate myself for today:

  1. I appreciate myself for caring myself.
  2. I appreciate myself seeing the positives after negative experiences.
  3. I appreciate myself for being open about my current anxiety and stress.
  4. I appreciate myself for constantly trying to do good and feel good.
  5. I appreciate myself for functioning well despite the mental clutter, stress, and feeling anxious.
  6. I appreciate myself for cooking and baking healthy food.
  7. I appreciate myself for surrounding myself items/furniture etc. that are all either useful and needed, or loved and appreciated.
  8. I appreciate the fact that I donate to charity whatever I am done with and in usable condition.
  9. I appreciate myself for not further pressurizing myself with my own expectations.
  10. I appreciate myself for keeping a clean and well organized home that gives me a sense of peace and accomplishment.
  11. I appreciate myself for taking time to reflect upon, identify, and write all of these great things here.

random thoughts

I woke up tired and with a puffy face, but the rest of the day moved on without much of a trouble between four meetings. I am done 4 out of 15 meetings scheduled this week and this feels good 🙂

Meetings are supposed to be beneficial. I always try to get at least one thing that will benefit the rest of the meeting attendees or myself. I have had it today as well. Hence, my consciousness is clear; I have done my best and exercised the regular practice of gaining something out of the meetings. But goodness knows, it would be much better if we did not have meetings for everything. Honestly this year meetings (on the average 13 hours a week and lately even 25 hours a week) got the best of me; I need time to do my work out of meetings as well. I know I am not the only one who thinks this way.

Two things that soothe my nerves are;

1) I decided to not focus on relaxing when I am stressed, and rather decided to focus on being smart. I know I have a hard time relaxing so imposing on myself to relax did not serve me well till now. I am shifting my perception and rather would like to try being smart; behave in a way that will work for everyone and keep the emotions out of things (so that I will not have my occasional bursts during the meetings if I am pressurized – it does not benefit anyone). The plus side is that I do not argue with myself whether I am smart or not. I am smart. So right away I feel like I have the necessary foundation to handle things well. This is quite a progress on my account. Hope I will be able to walk this talk.

2) We are getting close to the off time. From next Friday on, we will have a 10 days off with two days in between being a non-paid vacation time. I plan to work at that time and this is not a issue for me. I often benefit these quiet times at the office. For me, the most important thing is to be away from the pressing issues and my regular work routine. I will be happy to work during these two days. Other than this, you know I am looking forward to the last week of December; I will be shopping, cleaning my home, decluttering massively, and attending socials if the opportunity arises. Add on top of these being away from the work routine and you know that I will have a great time!

Looking forward to sharing my happy and excited experiences during the holidays. 

holidays wish list

I am getting excited about the prospect of having some time off and shopping during the last week of the month 🙂

Fall is usually a busy month for me in terms of shopping. I usually take advantage of the sales, whether in stores or online, and purchase things that I will need in the coming year.

My plans for this year are as follows:

1. Canning kit and stainless steel funnel. As part of my new interest on jamming, I figures I may make my life easy by getting a kit, including a stainless steel funnel that can be sterilized easily and is durable.

2. Sea salt. This will be nice for my pickle trials.

3. Jars, lids, and rings. I used to have a number of jars but since I give away pickles and jams, I am running out of them. My wish is to get 250 ml jars for jams (so that I can boil and can them), 1 liter jars with wide mouth (to be used in pickling and other adventures), and two 2-3 liters of pickling jars (so that I can make pickles in large amounts to consume over time). I am so excited! 🙂

4. Non-stick frying pan. I replace these very year. No matter how carefully I use them, they always scratch over time.

5. Garbage bags. I love having a number of durable items in stock and garbage bags are one of them. I have enough bags to last another year, but one can never get enough of these bags, right? 🙂

6. Steak knives. After 15-20 years one of my steak knives (I used them for all cutting purposes) got rusted last week. I am perplexed but I guess it is time that I look for a good deal on some sharp knives.

7. Trousers and leggings. I have a number of trousers stocked up, thanks to some sporadic sales. But the boxing day sales cannot be missed. If I can find a good sale, I would love to buy a couple more and also a pair of leggings so that I can start wearing dresses 🙂

8. Thrift store visits. I love these adventures 🙂 My wish list this time includes blouses/shirts, shopping tote, purse, back pack, a book or two on baking and canning, fabric and sewing items 🙂 Who knows, maybe I will also find other items that I need or cherish. 

What a wonderful list 🙂

 

Saturday noon musings

The beautiful day of Saturday has arrived 🙂

I have been to a short trip yesterday for work and it has gone well. I made new connections, made a great presentation, got people interested in what I was to say, and enjoyed a number of meals and long walks in a city that was surrounded by water. Island cities can be really magnificent.

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I was very tired physically prior to this trip but I returned back replenished. My mind particularly. This change has been great to my fried nerves. Hence, I woke up feeling better and with a shoother mind. Things look a lot positive and lovely now 🙂 The lesson learnt is to take breaks if we can and focus our minds to different things on the face of adversary. I know this very well theoretically; I am a difficult learner, but I hope one day practice will make it perfect 🙂

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Now I have a lovely day in front of me with no activity scheduled. I need to go shop a little bit, which would mean walking. I have neglected walking lately because of the pressing deadlines, but I will take this opportunity today to re-gain my love for walking. I am kind of reluctant right now, but I know I will find it great once I start, so as soon as I finish this post I will put on my walking shoes, grab my shopping tote, take myself out to street. I am sure the crisp air will make me delighted.

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Have a great Saturday everyone!

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Sunday night musings

Lots of great things happened this weekend 🙂

First of all; I have not worked this weekend 🙂 A first in the last 6 months or so. I am still tired but my spirit is high, so all is well 🙂

Second of all; I baked my first corn bread and it was delicious – that is so exciting! I can bake it of my guest as well 🙂 I feel like my baking and cooking skills are significantly improved by this dish… I love this feeling 🙂

Third of all; I thrifted today after a long time. I spent hours going through everything with excitement. I tried on maybe 30 pieces and bought three; one blouse that I was hoping to find (I have its exact same copy, which I love, love, love! I was hoping that I could find a similar one so that I could wear it for a longer time. Today my dreams came true 🙂 ). I also bought two good-looking cardigans that i am sure I will wear with love. A very good day indeed 🙂 I plan to thrift next weekend too.

Fourth of all; I cooked multiple meals for me this weekend, which is awesome. I usually would refrain from cooking or cook one meal to last 2-3 days, but not this weekend. How lovely is this? 🙂

Fifth of all; I found a great deal on my favorite french press and ordered it 🙂 It is expected within a week or so and I could not be happier 🙂 I literally got it 75% off.. WOW! It is good that I have waited so long. Jack pot!

Sixth of all; I re-started push ups and back exercises to help ease my back problems and strengthen my arms, chest, and abs. My muscles are aching – that means my exercises are effective. I am happy with this!! 🙂

Seventh of all; yesterday I used loyalty points for a large amount of shopping (like a hundred bucks) to purchase personal care and cleaning products. I found all items I was looking for and I only bought things that I will use or need. So every point/dime was used for a good purpose and no waste! 🙂

Eighth of all; I am feeling good and lucky with all these positive experiences and this makes me relaxed and happier 🙂

I could not ask for a better weekend!

Have a great Sunday night everyone 🙂

 

 

 

 

random thoughts

It was a strange day for me.

I went to work, got my usual 3-cups of coffee, and realized that my mind was not focused on work at all. So I decided to walk to a nearby shopping centre. I bought some much needed items that were on sale, bought myself a nice latte (with pumpkin spice; yummy) and two toasted bagels as breakfast, checked out two thrift stores nearby, and bought a lovely cardigan from one of them. I then had my hair cut somewhere on the way back to the office. I have short hair now and my gray hair is so easy to see. I think I am getting used to it more than I would like to admit. I do not like getting old and I will write about this later, but I think I actually am getting used to gray… Strange…..

Anyways, I had not realized that I had spent so much time out today – when I returned back to office, it was 4 pm already 🙂 I worked a little and walked back home.

It has been sometime that I lost myself like this, fully focusing on shopping or going around the stores, without thinking work too much…

What a beautiful experience.

 

Saturday morning musings

Listening to a piano piece, and drinking and enjoying my coffee on this quiet and sunny Saturday morning. What else would I need to feel grateful for this morning?

 

This is a day full of house chores, shopping, and interactions with family and friends. excpet the first one, you know, all is exciting 🙂

I am not sure why I do not enjoy house chores. But I kept thinking that I may not be the only one feeling this way. Shout out in the comments area if you are like me.

There is a beautiful , serene feeling coming after the house is cleaned and tidied a bit. It is brighter, more peaceful, and certainly more enjoyable. While I do start house chores out of necessity (one of my almost consistent house rules is to clean the house on Saturday mornings), but the positive feelings I experience after I see it cleaned, organized, and decluttered for the week is amazing 🙂

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As per shopping, I must visit a number of stores today. I plan to get some paint to help finish re-staining my porch, some dried food from a retailer, and yogurt from another nearby store. Thankfully all stores are close to each other and there is a bus stop close by. I am so grateful for the public transportation system that enables people like me to go around their lives easily and affordably. Many people assume that a professional like me would have a car. It is always interesting to see their reactions when I said this was not the case 🙂 I wonder how many of them see is as a limitation on my abilities or choices, rather than a good choice economically and practically….

That reminds me another memory where one of my colleagues was surprised that I had bought a house only after 5 years of moving here. He said he bought his house within two weeks after moving here. I had to tell him that I did not have a down payment at that time. While that was absolutely true, I did not mention that my main reason was that I was not interested in purchasing a house. I have never been and now I am a house owner (ahem…)…. I am still feeling a little bit sour about this; re; feeling the pressure to make an explanation……People can be very judgmental when comes to others. The same colleague was quite judgmental about our work yesterday, not knowing the importance and meticulous nature of it. That pisses me off.

Why do we speak up our minds and evaluate others’ situations without giving a thought on it first? There are so much to learn if we do reflect and think about possible reasons for choices made by others. If not, listening to others can help expand your thinking capabilities. Let’s reflect on this for a moment. I certainly do. I am not excellent about it either, but at least I constantly remind myself and get humble about things. That is one  more thing to be grateful for today.

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I am also grateful for my family, who were always there for me and mostly supportive. They did not get my circumstances and thus are not able to understand the reasons behind some of my choices, either, but at least they are trying after. This is priceless.

Go hug a family member today 🙂

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joy journal – September 15, 2017

I figured that if I have a positive mental state right before the sleep, then I wake up feeling positive! This is such a priceless experience. Thus, here comes today’s joy journal entry:

1. I am grateful for waking up around 4 am and getting up around 5 am. These are very early hours for me. I enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee and found a chance to work at peace. Lovely 🙂

2. I am grateful for sending out a report to other parties. We have been working very hard on it in the last few months and I am glad we are close to its final submission after the revisions.

3. I am grateful for taking the bus this morning. Weather was nice, cool, and dry, which made waiting for bus a possibility.

4. I am grateful for working quietly at the office.

5. I am grateful for for eating a pear and two apples at the office. Fruits is nice and healthy 🙂

6. I am grateful for sitting in an afternoon meeting for 4 hours and despite the lower back ache staying till the end. I wonder how we can do this.. Sitting for so long… How is this even possible to have the mental clarity to contribute to such a long meeting? I have some ideas to shorten this time, which I hope to propose next time.

7. I am grateful for walking back to the store close to my home and purchasing some items on sale. they are good for me on the long rem. Price was the lowest I have seen in that store and was very comparable to other sales in distant stores. I feel lucky to have found these items today.

8. I am grateful for eating a healthy meal with lots of iron in it (beef liver). My iron levels are down again, which worries me. I am not anemic and my energy levels are good, but I am worried about having a disease that can cause this. I hope it is just diet related. This makes sense to me because I keep eating the same things and rarely any meat, which is a good source of iron. I am making an effort now to eat more diverse than before. the trick is to aim high (more than 10 different food sources and at least one meal with red meat per week). I usually do not stick to this kind of plans, but I hope this time it will work out for me on the long run.

9. I am grateful for eating salad full of a variety of raw veggies and lemon juice. Yummy 🙂

10. I am grateful for trying to resurrect my sourdough again… This is the second time that I have forgotten to spare starter lately. I am feeling upset about this, but keep thinking that my mind is so focused on work that it can be normal to forget trivial things..

11. I am grateful for having my window open and letting fresh air in.

12. I am grateful for having plans to shop tomorrow! Yes, I plan to shop and get food. I also plan to have my hair cut tomorrow – let’s see how this will work out.

13. I am grateful for having the night to myself and enjoying the dark and quiet environment. It is so peaceful right now….

14. I am grateful for everything I have at home; furniture, clothes, shoes, kitchen items, light bulbs, comforter, my computer, and internet access that make my life easy safe, and comfortable.

15. I am grateful for making an effort to fill my mind with these beautiful experiences, rather than negative encounters 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

what the days bring, you take it

While I have had a relaxing weekend, the stress of work has already caught up with me. Since yesterday I have been running, running, running again. I can feel all the stress hormones rushing in my veins and my emotions fluctuating. I feel like emotionally unstable, and sometimes, just sometimes, I realize that I must do things differently.

When you work with others and dependent on their commitment, time, and efforts, you know that this kind of work takes more time and there are times that you need to “trust” that the other party will do their absolute best to finish the work with a level of quality required from you. You also know that this is not an optimistic expectation, because in reality a lot of things can go wrong. So, how do we get the best of the other parties? How do we involve them more, and make them do the things on time? Especially if they are your colleagues, or even worse, your superiors? 

I do not have the answer to this. If you have any opinions, please leave me a comment. I will seriously consider it.

Yevbel GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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I continue to work mostly at home this week, even though I am back to work (i.e. not vacation time). I do not know whether this is good or bad, but it seems to be working for me. I just wished I could do better. But then, who would not?

One of my colleagues could not believe today that I took vacation time to actually work. Is that so weird? I concur that it is weird, but at least please respect my wishes – I too know to just do things out of work and enjoy my life. But with the work-related congestion I have at my hand, finishing the work is going to give me peace of mind. I am so looking forward to the mornings when I wake up feeling good about life, not stressed by the work I must do. My quality of life is important.

Carbs too.

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Among all of these chaotic circumstances, there has been good things as well. First of, I managed to revive my sourdough from its dried flakes. Objectively though it is questionable that whatever is growing in the starter has come from my original starter (I have been feeding it the last four days); it is quite possible that this is in fact a new culture that I captured from flour, water, or air. It is so hard to know. I want to believe, though it is the original one so that I can brag about my sourdough starter lasting for years and years…What a childish but important wish for me. Unfortunately none of us will know the truth. I wish I could do DNA test or something to figure out :)))

Another good news is that with each wash, my highlights are getting more lighter and I am capable of seeing some light patches in my hair here and there. I am still pissed about the highlights not being strong enough, but considering it has been only 5 days since I have got my hair done, I am hopeful that in two weeks or so, I may get better-looking and stronger highlights. I want to believe…..

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Also, I finally chopped down the little trees shooting out of the trim of my house. Somebody told me that they can grow and start damaging the house/foundation. What!! I do not need that. I feel weird cutting little trees, one because they are little, and second, they are trees. Trees are magical and absolutely wonderful. Why do they show up where they do not belong? I made a mental note to plant one to my yard to ask forgiveness from nature.

Last, since I am not eating well during this stressful time, I seem to be losing weight. I am okay with that as long as I eat at least a vegetable and fruit at least once during the day.  However, it is strange that even planning for one of my weekly pleasures, grocery shopping, is not making me excited.

The situation, my friends, is that dire.

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thrifting becoming a second nature

That is right.

Today at noon I found myself wanting to take a break. So I walked to two thrift stores nearby. This was mostly because of the great treasures I hunted this past weekend – i can see how easily it can become addictive 🙂

Today I bought a couple of empty frames, a coffee press, two art work, and a blouse.

Both of the artwork are giving me delight and making me very excited and happy! They were the most expensive things I have ever bought from thrift stores (both over 25 bucks together), but I think this money is well spent.

I have lots of photos to post in the empty frames; I cannot wait to hang them on the wall 🙂 Together with the art works, these frames will help me turn my house into a home. With character. And beauty.

And the coffee press was a great deal; I bet it is new and never been used (i could not detect even a light coffee stain on it or on the filter) and it had the best deal: it was only 2 bucks. 

And last but not the least; the blouse I have bought is so cute, so lovable that I am in love once again! This is the 5th blouse I have purchased from thrift stores this year and I could not be happier with my choices.

Life is good my friends 🙂

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end of long weekend and thoughts on thrifting

The 3rd and the last day of the long weekend. It was so welcome and so refreshing – I am grateful for this long weekend.

Notable activities include the trips to the thrift stores and getting two blouses, a little and lovely decorative porcelain shoe, and some sewing thread 🙂 needless to say, they are all loved and the prices are incredibly good.

This being said, at one of the trips I have noticed the fiancee of a colleague of mine at another cashier. I did not know what to do first. I thought “this is what I always wondered – how would I take it to be known that I shop at thrift stores? I tried to convince myself that shopping at thrift stores is not only good for me, but for the thrift stores/charities, people work there, people benefiting from the charities, and the environment. Yet, I could not manage to not feel “cheap” and thus I left the cashier after 2-3 minutes and went around the store again to give this individual time to pay and leave the store so that the chances of them seeing me and them spreading the word to my colleagues first and then to others would reduce. I hope I could achieve this…

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It turns out interestingly that I am ashamed with shopping or being seen at thrift stores. That is very strange. It is also strange that I found shopping at thrift stores synonymous with “being cheap”. I should stop doing that, but….I cannot help it 😦

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I read in a blog yesterday that the lady explained using thrift stores and purchasing second hand items actually quite similar to staying at hotels and using their bed sheets, coffee mugs, and anything else they do offer you. Goodness know what happened in those hotel rooms and around those items…… That was the best explanation of why the second hand clothing or items are not worse than many other things we do at life. I even told my best friend about this and she too agreed. 

My best friend and I agree on a number of things; she like myself would not buy pants/shorts/pajamas, undies/socks/foot wear/shoes and anything else that might have a risk of risking hygiene. But we both are okay with shirts/jackets/blouses, purses, kitchen items, books, sewing notions, fabric, stationary items, and decorative stuff that can be cleaned/sterilized pretty easily. 

For me visits to thrift stores is a nice and exciting activity during the weekends. I happen to love old stuff and I like saving money – so it is a win-win situation. I read some inspiring blogs that find really unique and valuable items, like metallic vases and items, which I would like too. I wish I had discovered thrifting long time ago, but there is always a start 🙂 I know I need to work on this feeling of “being cheap” by being there and shopping there. Maybe I will never get over it, maybe I will over time – who knows? – but I am not giving up on this exciting activity yet.

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Sunday morning musings

Happy Sunday everyone 🙂 Wherever you are, I hope you are having a great day, joy, hope, safety, and anything else your heart may desire.

Happy father`s day too! Those fathers who have been great to their kids and families – you should be proud of yourself. Hope you are having a great day too.

I am having a rather quiet Sunday.

When compared to yesterday this is an excellent change I must say. So how was my Saturday? First of all, I prepared my first sourdough with beet and we shall see how that will develop this afternoon when I bake it (proving now). I also did quite a bit of shopping yesterday: as usual I went to a store 10 min away to purchase milk. And then to another one 25 min away (on foot) to purchase yogurt that was on sale; I consume them quite frequently so I was happy to get them yesterday. Also, weather was so nice (around 20C, which is Summer! for us here) that walking and being outside felt like I was on vacation somewhere exotic or something 🙂

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Then, as if all these walking was not enough, I decided to walk (~1 hour each way) to a shopping mall, having a hair cut along the way and checking two thrift stores for pitchers. Well, at the end I did not find anything I really needed, so I also checked a department store. I found a pitcher but honestly it did not give me any joy, so I decided to leave it there (even thought it was affordable and do the job). I am glad I have done this because I checked another nearby store and guess what? I found the loveliest pitcher just like I wanted: affordable (and on sale), large enough to take all the kefir I produce (around 3 liters – I plan to collect a couple of days’ produce and store in the fridge), with a large neck/lid (so that cleaning inside is easy – kefir usually leaves it fat marks on glass quite easily), and the lid is adjustable so that you can tighten it up or loose as you wish (which is critical while dealing with kefir, because grains produce gas which needs to escape the container otherwise it can explode)! How happy I was with that purchase? Very 🙂 That is a great feeling.

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When I reached back home it was already past 7 pm and my legs were just aching. I think I walked around 3 hours yesterday. I know I could stretch and relieve some of the muscle tension in my legs yesterday but I was too lazy to do this and rather I slept over it and now I am feeling much better. 

So, what are my plans for today? I am taking it light today. I have an interesting sourdough loaf to bake, family to talk to, some laundry to do, and some work to seriously think about. I can also work on the yard and clean the weed up.

And, I can always enjoy my coffee and reading 🙂

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Have a great Sunday friends 🙂

 

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joy journal – June 14, 2017

Lots of great things are happening, which deserve to be acknowledged and thanked for 🙂

1. I am grateful for a good sleep yesterday and waking up early.

2. I am grateful for walking in the morning to office. I am usually very absent minded during these walks and I hardly notice what I am up to, but that is not a problem – I feel relaxed as a result of these walks. I also know how useful walking for my bones, muscles, heart, vascular system, skin, and mind – so one activity in the morning does give these many benefits is amazing. I always feel excited and happy about walking in the morning throughout the day! 🙂

3. I am grateful for getting up early. I noticed that if I get up early, I am more inclined to walk. It is, I guess, because if I am late, I feel stressed and want to go to office as early as possible. So a reason to take the cab rather than walk. Being in the office early also gives me a chance to relax and start working early in the day. That means before noon I take care of quite a bit of work, which makes me feel efficient and I am not as stressed as I otherwise would. So, getting up early works very well for me 🙂

4. I am grateful for having a chat with a friend/colleague of mine where we both were frustrated with the toxic workplace environment and finally had realized that we were better than what we thought we were because surviving and striving in such an environment was not easy and not for everyone, but we were doing it. We should stop listening to others and go ahead with our work and plans to success. I also mentioned during this talk that how good I felt about my life, my daily routine, and everything else, except the toxicity of the work place and the feeling of “I am not god enough” that taxes my self-confidence. It felt awesome to be able to feel and say good about my life 🙂

5. I am grateful for walking in the nearby forest with two of my colleagues in the afternoon. It was refreshing and energizing – we all enjoyed it 🙂

6. I am grateful for my kefir grains! have I mentioned that for the first time since I have had the grains (the last 4-5 weeks) I had the milk fermented in 12 hours? I checked it this morning, as my usual habit and curiosity, and there it was! all thick and curdy! It was so exciting! I fed it this evening and cannot wait till tomorrow morning to check it out! I have so many plans; I would like to buy new and bigger jugs to preserve my kefir. I also would like to try kefir spread and cheese sometime. And tonite I also thought about fermenting my own yogurt! I had tried it last year and I was not successful, but I would like to give it a try again. Very exciting!

7. I m grateful for eating relatively healthy today. 

8. I am grateful for today being a no expense day 🙂

9. I am grateful for tomorrow being Thursday,which is usually my grocery shopping day! I really need to buy fresh produce and shopping makes me feel good. So, happy Thursday everyone! 🙂

10. I am grateful for relaxing the entire evening and night and enjoying my time by reading, writing, and watching movies 🙂

11. I am grateful for the rain that we have had for a short time today. Thanks to it, I did not have to water the seeds in the yard. So far I was not able to see any seed germinate (some of them were planted 10 days ago), which is discouraging. But at least, i think I have 6 potato plants! Yuppiiii!! 🙂 Something other than a sturdy stalk of mint, weed, and grass grew in my yard! 🙂

12. I am grateful for the work I have done today and moving things.

13. I am grateful for brewing my own coffee and enjoying it a lot today.

14. I am grateful for the weekend to come and all the shopping I can do then!

Have a great night everyone 🙂 

 

Sunday afternoon musings

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It has been a good day; I have planted a number of seeds and I hope that at least one or two of them will germinate and grow! Please! 🙂

Since my arm is still acting, I take it really easy with the yard. I still have some digging to do, but I guess it will be spread over the summer. I think the main problem is resolved, or almost resolved (which was an uneven surface at the back). I bought some flower seeds today and together with my mom’s seeds I have planted them in the yard. I also planted mint, basil, and parsley seeds today. It was fun to give them water this afternoon, thinking that water will help these little seeds start their lives.

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Did I mention that my potatoes indeed potated!!? Ahem – yes! I think I have 3-4 potato plants growing in the yard 🙂 Also two onions and 6-7 garlic sprung. These are so exciting for me 🙂  I read somewhere that the best time to plant the garlic is fall. I will do that this year. I also would like to plant tulips and other bulb flowers. Next year I hope to have a much decent looking and pretty yard. What an excitement 🙂

Other exciting activities of the day included baking sourdough bread, walking around 1 hour to a shopping mall, and shopping some canned food and other needs. I had not done this kind of shopping in the last 8 weeks or so, so it was the right time. And I was lucky and could catch the bus right on time on the way back, which is always pleasing (who wants to wait 30-40 min for the bus? No one 🙂

I have been eating better lately, which always pleases me. I can see that it has an effect on my scale so I would love to keep eating better (e.g. no peanut or peanut butter, or refined carbs like pasta). i do not know why I feel the need to share this info here – I guess it is just a mental note – so bear with me!

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Have a great Sunday evening and night everyone! 🙂

 

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keep going onward

It is a beautiful Saturday full of house chores (!) and freedom to do nothing and everything 🙂

It is not bad outside; it was rainy in the morning but right now we have a bright day. I worked a little bit on the yard. It bothers me that I am not done with it yet… Can I please finish it tomorrow and plant the seeds? I am so close, but my arm still hurts. Maybe I can make an effort tomorrow and hopefully cut the grass too. I meant to buy mulch and use it to make my yard look better/control weed. Alas…. The yard work was quite a progress this year, but honestly I am late to finish what I wanted to do, and may not be able to handle it all….. Oh, well 🙂

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I continue to be cranky about my job situation and considering changing it. Based on my past experience, once I put it in my mind, I will do it. But I try to be careful and play safe, too. I cannot lose a job that pays well and with some level of security for another job that does not excite me and does not give me what I already have. The best thing would be to keep an eye on job opportunities, apply if a great opportunity exists, keep going in the current job as if it is the best thing that occurred to me, and if something better is offered to me, consider it seriously. Until then, I will keep going. 

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My sister and mom gave me good information about kefir; while my kefir grains seem to be working in terms of the taste, I cannot get the texture right. I left it undisturbed for 48 hours last time and there was some clots, but nothing too much again. I now have it in a cupboard, the top part is wrapped loosely by a thick cloth, and hopefully it is feeling a little bit warmer, and the bacteria and yeast are feeling more active and alive! 🙂 My sister also suggested that I warm up the milk or the container a little bit to expedite the process. Sounds all great to me 🙂

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And I want to finish this post by stating that I have shopped and feeling better because of it 🙂 What is it with shopping and feeling better, friends? Why is this activity have such a great effect on us/me? 

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thrift store treasures

 I have not written in a while, have I? I feel like I must write, write, write 🙂

A couple of things;

1) I continue to get up at around 7 am… Never in my life have I done this consistently. and with no good reason, like a flight or something.

Is it the end of winter? Daylight? Or plain old age?

Huh… My friends, they say as we age we need less sleep. I guess I am experiencing this. It is a fact! 🙂

2) I made an effort to take the bus this week, rather than the cab. It is working. I still do not feel like walking because of low morale, but I will re-start this sometime in the future. It is gonna feel great – I know it 🙂

3) I have walked two hours again today to a shopping mall. This is, I believe, the 3rd Saturday straight that I have done this. I checked two thrift stores and found myself a nice blouse – just for 4 bucks 🙂 this is the 3rd blouse I have got in the last three weeks from thrift stores that excites me like this 🙂 It is a beautiful thing and I love it 🙂 I tried around 15 other blouses – one of them was really awesome! I wish it was a little bit larger 🙂 Oh, well. next time 🙂

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I found it very interesting today that I am getting more and more comfortable with the idea of buying clothes from thrift stores. I previously had bought books, sewing notions/fabric, purses, a jacket or two, and one or two shirts over many years. What can I say? Sometimes I can find really amazing stuff and they are very affordable. I also help others by shopping at these stores, I would like to think. So I should feel okay. But, see there is something still bothering me about shopping there. I guess I am worried about people recognizing me and then talking behind me. After all I am not poor, and I can afford new clothes, and I would not like to be called “cheap”. But I must admit it is so much fun to go around the thrift stores, look at all the interesting stuff (they have more diverse items than regular store, don’t they?), and find a lovely piece that I can love and use 🙂 

On a separate note, walking was very easy and fun today. I am really grateful for doing this. It is an healthy activity and it makes me realize how fine my body and stamina is. Especially when I compare this ability to before when I had low energy for years and would not want to walk even 5 minutes… To be able to do this now feels awesome 🙂

having energy and new projects feel fine

It has been a fine day today. I am kind of bored and anxious about something I care a lot, but other than that, it has been going well.

Today I got up around 9 am, had a light breakfast at home, and then walked all the way to one of the shopping mall’s area. There are a number of dollar and thrift stores in that region, which I really love to visit. I did not buy anything today, but it was so much fun to go around the shelves, look at items that are usually unique, browse the books, and checking the sewing items/notions.

I then walked back home. I estimate that I walked around 2 hours today. I think this is awesome 🙂  I feel strong, powerful, able, healthy, and lighter 🙂 Thanks to all vitamin D and iron supplements that I was prescribed two years ago.. What a difference they have made in my energy levels. 

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My interest to consume the food hoarded in the freezer and pantry is going strong. I have consumed quite a bit of the “old” items and have replaced some of them back with fresh ones (like minced beef, chicken, pasta, and legumes). I still have a number of food that I have not touched in the last year or so, including some frozen veggies, wild rice, bulghur, and dried veggies. So I would like to prioritize their consumption in the coming weeks. That is my mental note for today.

My interest in designing new projects continues. Now that I have had all bunch of different projects implemented in my life (decluttering, budgeting, saving money, being frugal, using coupons and discounts, shopping bans, baking bread, taking the bus or walking to go to work, etc.), I am naturally looking for new ones. It excites me, learning about this kind of things, planning, putting an effort to implement them, monitoring my progress, and then improving it if I am still interested in (remember the #superduperleanspendingmonth that I left in two weeks or so because it did not work out for me? 🙂 it is okay every once a while). 

I now am interested in reducing my waste. I have checked a couple of sites and it sounds like I have a lot of extra waste at my hand: I still use paper towel when needed (for cleaning the bathroom for example), wet-disposable clothes for cleaning the sinks and the floor, facial tissue/napkin after meals. I do not compost, though I do recycle paper and other items accepted by our city. I donate what I do not need/use anymore and shop from thrift or second-hand stores as appropriate. I re-use the plastic/nylon shopping bags as garbage liners. I reduced my food waste quite a bit by shopping small amounts (store is 5 min away from me – so it is easy to stop by more than once a week). But I still have waste (1 large garbage bag/week – not too much but it can be less).

So what do I do about it?

I think I should keep reading and continue to be inspired by others’ experience. I will also have a careful look at what my waste and garbage includes. I really want to compost but I will have to see whether I can do this inside the house (no worms or anything) – if I want it to be a continuous activity I must find the most practical way to do so even during our harsh winter.

So these are my new plans 🙂

Shoot a comment if you have ideas to help me reduce my waste/garbage!

weekly budget check

I continue to take the cab in the mornings this week – one gets used to comfort quite easily 🙂

I had forgotten what a blessing it was to get up whenever I want and not worrying about losing time by waiting for and taking the bus. Taking the cab in the morning sure does give me a warm feeling of being pampered.

Sadly, it also means that I am spending more than I would like to 🙂 

I know this is just temporary so I am not worried, but I wished I had started walking or taking the bus, rather than taking the cab, starting tomorrow. Let’s see how it will go.

Anyways, this week the spending is higher than before because of the extra cab expenses, but other than that I continue to spend consciously and keep saving.

Here is the week’s account:

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Weekly allowance: $120

Expenses related to the weekly allowance (grocery, breakfast, and a cab fares): $104

Fun funds saved this week: $120 – $104= $16

Fun funds expenses: $0

Total fun funds accumulated so far in 2017: $788.5 (🙂)

Other expenses: $84 (health-related and social expenses, in addition to personal care and cleaning product purchases)

Savings from would-be-expenses: $60.75 (these are the savings from expenses that I would normally make, but decided not to; such as having breakfast at home rather than at the local cafe, not picking up the bill for others at socials).

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Pantry/freezer treasures enjoyed: soup (x2) and bean meal from the freezer;  quinoa from the pantry 🙂 Thank goodness, I am done with quinoa…..

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Happy saving! 🙂

the 2nd snow day in a row

Wow! We have had today as the snow day as well!

This is the first time I have seen two snow days back to back.

Man, the old man winter this year is sure quite energetic. Or furious.

If I were a student, I for sure would be happy and excited about these snow days. Yet, I was rather bored being at home yesterday and today. I am sure I am not the only one who felt that way – I know because I have seen a couple of people on social media expressing similar feelings.

One can ask why we cannot even enjoy two extra days as paid holidays

Sadly, I have no answer to that…..

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Now back to my lovely hibiscus – rose hip tea with lemon juice and honey. Keep warm and enjoy your evening everyone! 🙂

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DAY 4 – #TheLeanSpendingMonth

I spent A LOOOOOOOOOT of money today 🙂

Say what!?

Yup!

$86.5.

I did it.

I spent all of it!

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I had to.

And no worries, all purchases made were clean.

That means i bought only what I would need and if they were at good price. 

This has been my monthly shopping at a big store where I purchase my office snacks and personal care and cleaning products. By purchasing these items at this store I do save a lot of money so my consciousness is clean.

I had not done this in January so incidentally this was done now in February, which is my  #TheLeanSpendingMonth. Oh, well.

No worries I made conscious choices and did not buy a couple of items that I would normally spend money on. Also, I proudly took the bus again and carried the purchased items back home in tote and back pack (hey, I could take the cab, but I did not – so I am proud of myself 🙂 ). I did not treat myself with a nice cup of coffee and bagel, either. So…. Did I do good?

I think so 🙂

On an additional positive side: I find peace in knowing that my good fellow-blogger Decluttering The Stuff is in this challenge with me and keeping an excellent company!

Hurrah to us 🙂

while waiting for the snow storm

We are waiting for a snow storm.

Well.. This is winter and snow storms happen all the time. So, I wonder whether you asked yourself what the big deal is and why I write a dramatically titled post about it? 🙂

I will tell you what the big deal is.

Everybody is shopping and there is nothing much left in major stores. It is as if we will never get food anymore.

I usually do my grocery shopping on Thursday. So yesterday I have been to my store. The store was filled with 3X more people than usual. And for the first time in my life I could not find milk.

Milk.

How can you not find milk in a store?

 

And how can this continue the next day; obviously some of my co-workers came in work late, stating that they were out shopping and their line was too long. I checked my store this evening to see whether I could get milk and it was the same (except that I found milk this time). The cashier and I were chatting. I told her what one of my co-workers had said this morning; people shop because for a couple of days the transportation (of food) is affected by the storm. So, it ensures that we will have food after the snow. Hmmmmm. The cashier said that this was not true (though I am not sure how independent her thoughts are)..

Anyways.

It is possible that there may be something really catastrophic  happening and we may not have access to external food and other basic needs for some time. But I am hoping the chances of having such a situation is quite slim. So, I am cool about the entire stuff and I am glad that I have food at my house, and I did not get crazy about the entire shopping thing.

 

The 14th and the last day of the staycation

I am spending the last day of my staycation for being grateful for this break and the experiences and lessons it brought to me.

For the last 14 days, my priority was not my work, but my home, sales/discounts/shopping, and my inner world. What a nice shift in mental focus...

The first week, if I remember correctly, was spent with cleaning my office and home. I had also planned to do decluttering – I have half-done this and donated a number of items, especially from my kitchen. I am glad they have found their new homes. I have not removed any of the old socks, shirts, or blouses yet, but I am sure I will handle it when their time comes. I also did not get into my storage area – it bothers me, but I know when the right time comes, I will handle that too. This one task is what is left from my to-do-list. And I am okay with that.

One of the lessons I have learnt during this staycation was it was not the end of the world if I had not done what I thought I must. I always have other choices. This is quite a change from my regular (and stiff) practice that if I have something in my mind, I should complete it right away. I learnt that I could be flexible and at the end, it does not feel horrible. So, I am good and slightly changed (which is interesting and quite welcome)….. 🙂

I also reinforced my opinion that I really crave for my own time; while I like being with others  and socializing if they are nice and kind people, I do not want it to be too frequent. I am okay as I am and I am okay being with myself. I knew that for a long time; there is no change in this. And that is okay. Of note; I went to two socials and hosted one during the last two weeks; more than enough for me 🙂

I shopped in four-five days of the staycation. The holiday sales are hard to miss and every year I take advantage of them. I had a list of items to purchase, the majority of which I have. The things I have not bothered buying this time were a tea pot, new socks to stock up, and new blouses/shirts. I know I can get these some other time, so there is no rush for buying them. I left them behind mostly because since November I shopped so many different times that even shopping has lost its attractiveness…. Anticipating to find them in the future is more exciting 🙂

The lesson reinforced is that even too much of an exciting activity can be boring after a while. Like shopping. Like staycation… 🙂 It is true that in the last few days I have been feeling bored at being home, or even away from the office. I am glad I have these feelings – now I will jump start my work at the office tomorrow. No resentment. No disappointment. It is a real balance indeed.

And the inner world; well, work is important, money/saving is important, rest is important, but nothing is as much important as family and people I love. Interacting with my family in a closer and natural way as in the past was the highlight of this staycation. I am grateful for every second I spend with them and I am grateful for their well-being, love, support, and time on this planet. May they all live a long, healthy, happy, and peaceful lives as their hearts wish to.

I hope you all have had a great time during the holidays/new year break and are ready to start a new work year with enthusiasm, determination, and energy 🙂

 

 

 

the plans for the holidays

I have 11 days till a two-weeks break during the holidays 🙂

I sure have a lot of things to do. One thing I do not want to is to work 🙂 I will have to do light work for a couple of days, but I am okay with this. I will mainly stay away from the office and this change will feel good 🙂

As per my other plans, here is a short snap-shot:

1. Cleaning the house: Yes, yes… The dreaded house cleaning will have to happen this year too 🙂 I plan to dust and wipe very corner at home; wash the shag rugs, pillows, and everything else; wipe the rugs; wipe the stairs’ carpet; and wipe the floors.

The last one will take some time; my floors are mostly laminate, which is hard to wipe. It needs to be wiped with a damp but not wet cloth and immediately dried by another cloth… I can do this the majority of the time without much of a trouble, but the attention it requires is boring… Nevertheless, i will do this and then forget for some time 🙂

I do not enjoy wiping the rugs either; my rugs are lovely but one of them is quite thin, making the wiping a little bit difficult. I must be careful about not applying too much water – that is all. It is gonna happen 🙂

2. Decluttering and re-organizing the house: I have been excited about this! 🙂 Yes, I love to declutter. I am amazed how much I have dumped, gave away, or donated; but there is still a lot to sort out and get rid of.

I am particularly aware of the shoes and the paperwork in my storage. Honestly I dread the idea of getting into my storage area but I must do this…. There are a bunch of stuff from the past that I kept, which I am determined to get rid of this time for sure. I must leave only those that are absolutely necessary and the rest should be dumped. A couple of months ago I had one attempt and thinned things out, including 8-9 containers of half-used paint (which I air-dried prior to dumping them in the garbage). So I have had quite a progress but it was not 100%. This time I should be done with it. When I am done with it, I would like to be not scared of thinking or going through it… Wish me luck 🙂

And the shoes: I do not know what I will do with them. Among everything else I have gotten rid off, shoes were an exception. I have some quite battered shoes that should be dumped and some lovely ones that I should be using… The fact that I have not opened those boxes in many years tells all… They should be donated so that somebody else can enjoy them…. This mentality helps but I still resist the idea of departing with them. Help!!

To declutter, I will star with the easiest part, which is the bathrooms. Then I will move on the bedroom closet; I am pretty sure I will retire some of the socks, pajamas, and shirts this time too… Apart from this, I have no other decluttering planned for the upstairs ( I had decluttered the rest of the rooms/closets a few months back).

On the first floor, I will have some time spent… The study/living room has some declutering needed – it is not too much (sort of mostly paper), so I am sure it will be okay in a few hours. I will sort out the bills for this year and put them in the storage area… This always feels good, opening space for new bills :)))

The kitchen on the other hand will take some time. I bought a new set of dining plates so what will I do with the previous ones? I am planning to donate a portion of the previous set but not everything.. This means I gotta pack or find a place to put them. I will also get rid of chipped plates and some plates that I bought with joy but hardly used.. There are a number of coffee mugs that have the same fate. But more than that I want to have a good look at my kitchen cabinets and re-organize the shelves. I hope to achieve a more lean and efficient system. I have a couple of stuff, like a juicer that I use once a year or two – I must decide what to do with it. The same thing with the waffle – maker; I have not used in 3 years and I just saw it last week while looking for something. I think nobody would miss it if it was gone, right?

3. Going through the pantry and freezer: I will do that not only to declutter but also to identify what I have (and hopefully to consume them without more delay) and to sock up new stuff 🙂 I believe I have frozen veggies I had blanched last year – man, these gotta be eaten..

4. Video-typing of the house and its contents: I have a habit of video-typing the outside and inside of my house for insurance purposes. I do that twice a year to document is condition and to update the record on my stuff. Nothing major, just needs to be done.

5. Shopping!!! 🙂 Yay!! well, I kind of shopped and bought the majority of the stuff I needed, but I still need a couple of things. First pants – I cannot miss the sales and I often catch good deals during the holidays. I cannot wait. I also need socks but nothing that cannot wait – only if I can find really good deals. I will visit the thrift stores a couple of times. After last Friday’s fabric haul, I cannot wait to excitement of checking them again 🙂

6. Sewing adventures. Ahem.. i still do not have a particular project at my hand and am still trying to figure out the tips and tricks of using a sewing machine, cutting fabric, using notions, and coming up with a piece that does not fall off places :))

I do not want to just do something that will not be useful…. Do you know this feeling? I just do not want to sew to sew.. That is strange because without practice how am I supposed to get better at it anyhow?

I think what I am feeling is like I just do not want to stitch the edges of a large piece of fabric and brag that now I have sewn a table cloth… I think what I want to try is fancier, more creative stuff.. Like, I have this wonderful fabric that can be a table cloth but I want to have something sewn around the edges so that it can look more than just a plain cloth. But then I am thinking maybe I can do something at the centre to give it a more character. But what will it be? Also I have like 6 table cloths – what is the point of making another one?

I am, however, for sure sewing a dish cloth for my kitchen. I have been playing with some fabric this afternoon, but decided that I needed more vibrant colours to give it a cheerful air. I also would like to sew a lady with a hat and nice clothes on it, but I have no idea how I will be able to turn it around. This will require some research on the net and figuring out a pattern that I can work on.

I also would like to re-try the blouse I sewed yesterday. It is gonna be so nice – I am excited 🙂

I have another nice fabric that would make an excellent and cozy blouse, yet I have no idea how to design it. I am not that good at modeling or taking measures. I am only at the stage where I can try basic and un-detailed work…

And then?

I do not know… Maybe it is time that I try a quilt?

weekly budget check

The minimal spending plan till the holidays is continuing. This was a great week in terms of spending my weekly allowance frugally (covering grocery, transportation, weekend breakfast, and other little daily expenses).

The additional shopping and taking advantage of the deals are also continuing, meaning money is spent now to save money over the long run (what an interesting thing to say….).

My fun funds are nowhere near being positive, which is bothering me. Hope to lift it up above $0 before the new year 🙂

—————————————

Expenses within the weekly allowance: $48.5

Fun funds (left-over from the weekly allowance): $120 – $48.5 = $71.5

Fun funds expenses (my discretionary spending): $80

Total fun funds accumulated to date: -$53 (yes, yes… it is a negative balance. no, no…. this is not great…)

Other expenses: a hefty $238.5, $100 of which is made for sewing supplies and notions

Savings from sales, transportation, and other expenses that I would normally do but have chosen not to this week : $222.5 (at least that is a good number; i could as well spend all of these. I am glad I have not..)

————–

Overall, I am benefiting from the “minimal spending plan” – it helps me to consume what I already have, which is awesome (also helping with limiting waste and food hoarding). Since I still have lots of fresh and dry/canned/frozen food to be consumed, I think I will be fine with continuing with this plan for some time.

I will slow down with my other expenses and am not planning to make any stocking up or additional shopping for personal care or cleaning products (other than for sewing-related needs) .

Let’s see how the next few weeks will go ahead 🙂

sleepless

I have submitted an important proposal today, and as usual immediately after that I felt beat….

That is a usual experience – I think it pressures and stresses me so much that when it is done, I get completely drained…. It is like being mentally exhausted and needing a refreshing break..

As a result, I came home early today and spent time with my lovely sewing machine:) I also cooked a healthy meal and enjoyed it very much.

Yet, now I cannot sleep. As a matter of fact I do not want to go work tomorrow. In my case, sleeping late almost always translates into getting up late anyways. Maybe I will take the morning off… I feel like I need that distance from the office….

Anyways, sewing is great, my machine does awesome, I have identified nice projects to start, and I am all excited about it. I just need stuff – like fabric, additional presser foot, threads, rotary cutter, cutting boards/mats etc. I finally ordered a portion of these just a few minutes ago and I plan to shop at the weekend for the rest.

Although it is expensive right now, I believe sewing will open new possibilities and excitements for me. So, it is all good (well.. it would be better if it was cheaper, but what can I do?).

I am kind of worried because I shopped quite a bit lately and I still aim to make an extra lump-sum contribution towards my mortgage before the new year. I am kind of feeling this plan will be difficult to implement, which further stresses me…. I want to convince myself that all expenses I have made lately were for good reasons and were required. Almost all were… Except the sewing stuff of course – but I must also be okay with gifting myself, especially considering how much I gift others, right?…

It is one of these times that focusing on saving money and living the life I want are contradicting each other.

Sigh….

Perhaps I should make that mortgage contribution right away so that I will have a better idea about how much money I have available to me. There is no point in waiting, is there?

With this little self-rant, now I am ready to give another try to sleep 🙂

Have a great night everyone!

joy journal – Nov 27, 2016

Tonite, I have find my mind going around negative thoughts and feelings- what better reason to write my joy journal? 🙂

1. I am grateful for sleeping well, having many dreams, and interpreting them. I am not an interpreter but among all three dreams, there was one common theme – that I was dwelling on/keeping the (negative) past memories and events too much. It is time to let these go and move on with a positive attitude, and create new memories…

2. I am grateful for the coffee I have had at home. I love brewing coffee at home 🙂 why did I not do that before? Until three weeks ago, I only brewed my coffee at the office and at the weekends I bought  myself coffee at coffee houses. As part of my minimal spending plan to finance my additional shopping during the holiday season, three weeks ago I started brewing it at home and this week I realized how much I actually enjoy this 🙂 I would love to make it a better experience by buying maybe better and aromatic beans for a change. I love vanilla and hazelnut – flavored coffee :). Otherwise honestly the coffee at the coffee houses are much better than mine! Time to change this 🙂

3. I am grateful for speaking with my family and having lots of laughs together.

4. I am grateful for catching the bus and going to the shopping mall. On the way back, I needed to wait around 40 min for the bus, but, hey, what can I do? In the past I would take the cab, but my conscious choice is to be able to save my money for more important things… So, even though it was a dump and rainy day, I was grateful for waiting for the bus inside the mall and keeping dry..

5. I am grateful for the french press coffee maker that I purchased – it was on sale and I have got an additional discount. It did not cost me too much and it looks really lovely. Upon my return I brewed coffee in it and I must say it is even better (lid is more solid and secure) than the presser at my office. I could not be happier for having this affordable, beautiful, and useful item 🙂

6. I am grateful for all other items I purchased today, which all will be useful in my life.

7. I am grateful for dying my hair 🙂 I am so not excited about this, yet I gotta do it every month or so 🙂 I am trying a new shade and it looks like the dye itself was better than the previous one. Thank you 🙂

8. I am grateful for being 190 pounds 🙂  I was heavier. In 2016 I lost around 15 pounds, very slowly. I am no sure about the exact reasons, but it is mostly because I do not eat late at night anymore (I used to eat a lot before I go to sleep…). I am very happy with this new habit and the positive outcome it brings to my life. My aim is to drop another 10-15 more pounds, maybe in a year or so and hopefully keep them off. The trick is to have this healthy eating pattern over time – a great trick 🙂

9. I am grateful for making conscious choice of letting negative things go off my mind and reminding myself to keep having a happy mental state. There are things that bother me… yet, I have been feeling so great lately that I will not let these thoughts/feelings ruin my overall mood. Feeling good is an amazing thing and I would love to keep it as much as I can.

10. I am grateful for making the better choice of buying and eating dried fruits than biscuits at the shopping mall 🙂

11. I am grateful for the big salad and the healthy meal I have had at home for dinner 🙂 They are healthy and good for my quest to lose fat.

12. I am grateful for having the night to myself and enjoying it as much as I can by watching movies and reading – what a blessing!

13. I am grateful for being safe and sound in this bad weather. We have had quite a rainy and windy day today and the wind is pounding everywhere. It is awesome that my home is standing tall and keeping me safe during this difficult weather.

14. I am grateful for having lots of food at my fridge. freezer, and pantry. I have a lot of things to consume in the coming months. The minimal shopping plan that I implemented in the last three weeks was very useful in consuming what I already possess, but I am thinking I can do better. For one, I have not eaten dry food lately and I may as well focus on consuming them this week. This will help me not only save from my current grocery bill, but also give me a chance to replace them with fresh ones.

15. I am grateful for my computer, internet connection, power, heating, appliances, furniture, clothes, books, TV, and all other items I have at home. They make my life easy, comfy, enjoyable, and safe.

16. I am grateful for my joy journal and taking time to note all the lovely, exciting, interesting, valuable, lovable, and appreciable things, people, and experiences 🙂

shopping spree continues :)

I have been shopping lately; I bought a new sewing machine, ordered plate sets, and yesterday and today I have been to shopping malls – yay! 🙂

Do not worry; I buy what I must and am absolutely taking advantage of the deals. I have done well with my sewing machine (almost 40% off), plate sets (50% off), and others I bought this weekend. I am also shopping to replace old and unhealthy pieces at my kitchen- whether or not they are on sale does not matter to me (my health is more important, right?).

For example; I have got rid of two non-stick frying pans that were now full of scratches. Honestly I do not like non-stick products at all (stainless steel is the healthiest, but it unfortunately sticks..). So I wrestled quite a bit with myself and only after I promised myself that I would take excellent care of this new one and never buy another one again in the next 5 years or so, I placed the new non-stick frying pan in my shopping cart.

Similarly, I had also noticed that the lids of some of my mason jars were blackened here and there. After all these years of faithful service, I thought it was time to replace them (I think it is rust…). So I have got covers and lids for the small and the large jars and am slowly replacing all that are in bad shape. For my health, that is one great investment and I am feeling very good about it.

And today, I have got myself a nice french presser (coffee maker) to use at home. It was on my shopping list for some time and when I saw today that one product was on sale and there was an additional 25%, I could not help but buy that beautiful rouge presser 🙂 I had decided to buy a french presser because of three reasons: when I host at home, I bring in the one at my office which is cumbersome; I now am getting my weekend coffee at home rather than at a coffee shop (and interestingly I very much enjoy this); and I thought that I could also brew tea in it (I also needed a new tea pot). With one product, many problems solved 🙂

And of course I am building, however slowly, my sewing supplies, like thread etc. It will take some time to get everything I need, but I am getting there. And it is very exciting 🙂

Overall, I have had a great weekend and I hope you all are enjoying your Sunday night 🙂

 

weekly budget check

Yay! The second week on minimal spending plan has been a success 🙂

————————

expenses related to weekly allowance: $38.25

funds left from weekly allowance (re; fun funds): $81.8

total fun funds accumulated to this day: -$44.5 (it is still on the negative side, but it is getting closer to $0 at least. Considering that just 2 months ago I had -$300 in this funds says a lot, does it not?… I hope to make it positive till new year and hopefully really use these funds for something I can really enjoy 🙂 )

other expenses: $203. This included a set of plates I ordered (I love them; the set I have has been with me for 15 years. It was time to retire it. I am not sorry for this expense; rather I am pretty much delighted…) and an expensive dinner I had had with my friends last weekend.

———

This “minimal spending” plan aims to limit my weekly allowance expenses (transportation, grocery, weekend breakfast etc.) till the holidays season so that I can save  funds to use during shopping during the holidays 🙂

As part of this plan, I walked everywhere this past week and saved my transportation funds. The number of days this week in which I did not spend any money was 4. I also am trying to consume what I already have, so my grocery expenses are pretty less than before and I had no breakfast-related expense this week. While I have lots of food and each week also buy fresh produce, I am not sure how long I can keep going like this (I am especially fond of my breakfast at the weekends), but I am making a great progress towards saving for my shopping plans 🙂

How to maximize the value of grocery funds


I am not an expert; but I have been making effort to save from grocery budget and limit food waste. These two goals together have helped me to try and find out ways that were useful in my journey. Here what I found are useful practices:

DO:

1. Follow the sales: Take advantage of the flyers that appear at your door steps. If that is not an option for you, do not despair – the majority of the stores have e-flyers that can make this exercise quite easy.

2. Shop at variety of places: I am not saying go travel 30 min to a store just to pick up a cartoon of milk. But if there are items that are on sale at different stores and if they are practical options to do so, you may want to consider visiting them. Often times, different stores have different items on weekly sales.

3. Buy bulk: Consider this if you are certain that you will consume the product. Dry food, like rice, pasta, legumes, and canned goods are good examples. Fresh produce usually does not last too long, unless they are dried, frozen, or canned.

4. Use coupons: Whether they come in the inserts, news papers, or apps, you can use coupons to save a dime or two.

5. Use loyalty cards: Many stores offer their own or main stream loyalty cards to their customers. The points accumulate and can give you a free item or two.

6. Freeze food: You can freeze almost any of the veggies or fruits with some practice. Blanching is a good way to preserve veggies, for example.

7. Freeze meals: Freeze extra portions of meals for future consumption.

8. Take an inventory of your fridge, freezer, and pantry: Know what you already have. This helps you to not only appreciate what you already have, but also to identify what you really need.

9. Make your own pickles, jams, peanut butter, sauces, etc.

10. Prepare meals from scratch

11. Bake your own bread: this may be intimidating to many, but it is a lot of fun! It is quite affordable and healthy too 🙂 Expand it to pizza and noodles

12. Opt for un-cut/unprepared meals, veggies, and fruits to save instantly

13. Use your own shopping bags/totes if your store charges for nylon bags

14. Have a meal plan and make an effort to stick to it

15. Take advantage of holiday sales

16. Use left-overs as lunch the next day or to prepare soups

17. Use bits and pieces of veggies or meat in hearty soups

18. Share what you have, especially if you think that you will not consume the food. Family, friends, neighbours, soup kitchen, and food banks are good examples

19. Buy frozen veggies

20. Keep a good stock of regularly used items so that you will not feel deprived

21. Know your coupons and their characteristics (e.g. expiry dates, brand/model they are eligible for)

22. Be grateful for what you have and try to appreciate your efforts

23. Shop when you need, not when you think you should shop

24. Check your bill at the cashier and correct or remove items if their price is not right

25. Change your habits; whether it is the food types, stores, or shopping habits, give a better habit a chance

26. Try new recipes and improvise

27. Learn from others: there are many blogs out there that gives good tips to reduce the grocery bill and the food waste.

28. Monitor your savings 🙂 whether you saved by following the sales, using coupons, or loyalty cards, once you realize how much you do save, it will make you feel great and motivated to keep going!

 

DON’T

1. Buy things only because they are on sale or you have coupons for

2. Care about peer pressure; rather focus on your own needs and goals

3. Get crazy about saving all the time; everyone deserves a nice treat every once a while

4. Buy suspicious food from dollar stores or from the stores’ sales rack

5. Sacrifice your health and well-being by under-nourishment or by consuming limited types of food

6. Forget to celebrate!

 

*In my experience using my credit card works for me (I pay the full balance at the end of each month and I do not buy things that I do not need) – so I cannot solely recommend using cash.

**I am not very familiar with price comparisons – if that works for you, go ahead.

***I am not into using food that are beyond their expiry dates

 

 

minimal spending plan till new year

Holiday season is coming. That means; a) I am socializing more often than usual, and b) shopping! In both cases, I will be spending money 🙂

I want to take advantage of the sales and the fact that I will be off for two weeks during the holidays means that I have time to go around and shop without rush. it is quite fun actually!

My plan is to purchase a new dining set, mixing bowl, sifter, french press for home, tea kettle, and other small stuff. I also would like to stock up my cleaning products, such as garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towel, dish detergent, and others. The regularly consumed food, such as canned food, are also in the list. Sure, I will also buy new pants and shirts when they are on sale. And socks.

The list was actually bigger than that, but I felt that I must trim it….Considering the fact that my biggest financial aim till new year is to make an additional payment to my mortgage, while I am excited about the idea of shopping and purchasing stuff that I will need, I am also aware that I may be financially strained if I am not careful and cut some of these expenses.

Since it is more beneficial to take advantage of the sales (and to socialize with great people), I have just decided I should implement a “minimal spending” plan. It is not as strict as “shopping ban“. It just aims to be more resourceful by using the food in the pantry, freezer, and fridge, and eliminating my weekend breakfast-related expenses till new year. I am not against occasional set-back, but I am determined to do my best.

I have been toying with this idea this past weekend (in order to save for my sewing machine) and it actually went okay. My grocery bill is lower, yet I have everything I need. I was okay brewing my own coffee and have breakfast at home. I also seem to have stocked up a lot of cleaning products/dry food/frozen food, so the timing is good. As a matter of fact, it is actually quite good that I will be consuming what I have; this will give me a chance to help replenish them with fresher ones.

I have 6 weeks to keep my weekly expenses low, to my best, and then leverage these funds to shop.

When it is a short period of time, I know it is doable. When I first had shopping ban on purchasing books, I was not sure how long I could keep up with it. But it did happen and is still continuing voluntarily. I hope that this minimal spending plan will work out just fine, too 🙂

weekly budget check

A good week in terms of saving from my weekly allowance (covering my weekend breakfast/coffee, grocery and other miscellaneous expenses):

Total weekly allowance spending: $77.5

Money left for fun funds: $120 – $77.5 = $42.5

Total fun funds accumulated (or, rather over-spent….) this year: -$211.5

Extra expenses (cleaning and personal care products) = $206.5 (ouch!)

 

Overall, I spent a lot of money this past week, that is for sure. None of the expenses were unnecessary, so I am perfectly fine with this. I know that I do not have to make another round of cleaning/personal care products shopping for some time.

 

Frugal encounters in the last one week:

I have saved $186 in the last week; $100 by walking to and from the work place (rather than taking the cab) and $86 by following the sales and using coupons ($13). I continue to be excited about these savings.

It is so easy to spend the money, but not so easy to save money, is it not? I must admit, though, saving money is quite exciting 🙂

 

Minimal spending week:

I have two important financial aims till the new year: a) to make an additional $4,000 payment to my mortgage, and b) to purchase a sewing machine.

Clearly, I must save more than what I have done so far…. That prompts me to look for ways to reduce my weekly expenses without reducing the safety or quality of my life. I decided this week was an excellent candidate to be a minimal spending week – I have lots of food in the fridge/freezer/pantry.. It is time that I consume them before they go bad. Hence, this week I will focus on consuming what I have, especially the dry food and the frozen veggies. I already purchased enough amount of fresh produce and fruits; so i will not focus on stocking up items, even they are on sale.

This is the week that I have a chance to actually save from my weekly allowance and even an extra $50 will make me feel excited! And, I am looking forward to that 🙂

joy journal, Nov 5, 2016

I meant to have a great weekend and so far it has been going well 🙂

1. I am grateful for the refreshing and easy sleep. For someone who has had sleeping problem in the past, it is such a wonderful thing to be able to get sleepy, fall asleep at night, and wake up rested and feeling well.

2. I am grateful for the coffee I treated myself with in the morning 🙂 One cup of coffee can sure make me feel pampered and energized 🙂

3. I am grateful for the bagel-like pastry I baked last week, freezing them during the week, thawing over-night, and then eating it this morning with my coffee 🙂 I decided that this was a great practice – I know what I am eating and I enjoy trying new recipes. So I decided to make a batch of bagels tomorrow (my first trial – so wish me luck 🙂 ) to consume at the weekends together with my morning coffee.

4. I am grateful for walking to a store 10-15 min away and purchasing the hair dye I would need soon. Using the coupons, both store’s and manufacturer’s, made it a great deal and an excited occasion for me 🙂

5. I am grateful for meeting with a friend of mine and visiting a shopping mall. We spent around 4 hours there, going around the stores, checking clothes and other items, chatting, and drinking coffee. It was a fine day 🙂

6. I am grateful for the left-over piece of cotton I found at a fabric store today. It costed me $2.30 for 1 meter of fabric. I have some cotton cloths that I us during baking (e.g. to rest or the shape the dough on), but I wanted to have extra ones so that I would not feel rushed to wash them every day. The today’s piece was enough for 4 pieces of cloths 🙂

7. I am grateful for the little battery-operated sewing machine my sister and my mom had bought me a year ago! It is like a kid’s toy but sure does the work! I used it for the first time today to sew around the cloths 🙂 I am not done sewing the baking cloths yet, but it was such a joy to be able to operate this little magical tool and fix my baking cloths 🙂

8. I am grateful for not spending on anything unnecessary today.

9. I am grateful for the meal I have had cooked yesterday, which made my dinner easy today.

10. I am grateful for the sourdough I am rising tonite. I am trying something new and I hope to bake something interesting tomorrow. We will see how that goes 🙂 exciting!

11. I am grateful for doing the laundry today; it is sometimes a chore that I dread a lot…. I am glad that I do not have to think about it for another week 🙂

12. I am grateful for the beautiful day today 🙂 it was warm and shinny and felt like early spring.

13. I am grateful for my plan to shop tomorrow at another mall. I am hoping that the weather will be nice (though the forecast says that it sill be chilly) so that I can walk to the mall. It will take around 30-40 min to do so, but I really am looking forward to this opportunity 🙂

14. I am grateful for having the night to myself.

15. I am grateful for the push ups (today’s set consisted of 30! Wohooo 🙂 ) and the other light weight lifting and lower back stretching exercises 🙂 I am getting stronger and that makes me feel a lot better about myself. This is a great feeling that I had missed for some time. I am very, very grateful for this feeling.

16. I am grateful for not getting bad news today.

17. I am grateful for my back being pain-free. I can turn around without too much of a problem and it does not bother me at all.

18. I am grateful for not getting crazy about gaining 2 pounds the last week. Okay… Okay… Maybe I am… I was losing weight and it was feeling great and then I stopped and then even put on two pounds back. I have not really eaten too much or too different this week, so I am not sure about the cause of this weight gain. I am still conscious about my eating and making really good choices. Sometimes it is what it is I guess. I hope that the next week things will turn alright.

19. I m grateful for the McIntosh apples I have got Thursday. They are my favorites and I had not had them for months 🙂 The sour/sweet and juicy texture of this apple is distinctive. I have been eating two of them per day since I have got them. I hope to buy another bag hopefully tomorrow 🙂

20. I am grateful for my computer, internet connection, house, job, salary, benefits, furniture, clothes, shoes, and everything else I have at home and in life that makes my life safe, comfortable, and easy.

21. I am grateful for being grateful and taking time to note these 🙂

coupons can be exciting sometimes

If you follow me, you know well that even though I am on a frugal journey, I am not interested in couponing, unless coupons show up at my doorsteps as inserts or are stuck on the items in the stores.

This week I have got 3 inserts and several coupons that I can use. Two of them were manufacturer coupons for my hair dye ($2 each), which I was planning to purchase this week (they are on sale on a store nearby). I went to the store this morning and found out, to my surprise, that the packets also had $3 store coupons on them. So I bought three packages and together with the sale price, I paid $20.5 and saved $21.

Can you imagine?

$21…..

This is the first time that I have got that lucky with coupons. Perhaps I should be paying more attention to them?

I honestly think that I can start a new project where I can donate the savings I got from coupons. It may not be too much, but even a small amount is helpful.

🙂

random thoughts

It has been a fine Fall day; a little bit cool but otherwise nice and shinny 🙂 I love this year’s Fall – from the scenery to nice weather, it has given its full potential to our enjoyment.

I have not worked too intense today; I rather left the office at noon and walked to a nearby shopping centre 🙂 It is very rare for me to go shop on a work day, so I loved the fact that I permitted myself a bout of spontaneity – talking about breaking the routine 🙂

My first stop was at a thrifty store, where I found a fine piece of art work for my office 🙂 It is a canvas painting with lots of natural colours, trees, and plants in front of a lovely house with great wooden doors and windows. Just looking at it makes me feel in the nature – loved it 🙂 Money well spent.

I then proceeded to check another store and was able to find two gifts for my neighbours and one of my good friends. I could not believe how affordable they were, which was quite a relief. One of the gifts I purchased was a product of my home country, which made me extra excited 🙂 I thought at first the gifts per se would not be enough but then I decided to supplement them with a freshly baked loaf of bread. The fact that there has been budgetary issues where I am and, lately, my organization increased our pension plan contributions, made me very aware of the limited purchasing power. I believe the gifts are just appropriate and the bread will just make them even better 🙂 So my consciousness is clear.

I also visited my favorite dollar store. Well, the majority of the items are not $1 anymore, but still things are quite affordable when compared to other stores. I am excited about the new oven mints (they are bright red and look so lovely 🙂 ) and the pens (they have been my favorite in the last one year or so) I purchased 🙂 I did not buy everything I wanted to, leaving the joy and excitement of shopping to some other time.

Tomorrow a friend of mine and I are going to a shopping centre again. We would like to put our hands and minds on some craft, so let’s hope we will be able to find those fabrics. I also have been meaning to get some left-over pieces of fabric, which I plan to use during baking/dough preparation. We will see how it goes 🙂

This weekend seems like a triple dose of shopping as I am also planning to go to another shopping centre on Sunday! I know, I know… You are thinking; what is she doing – talking about frugality and saving and then shopping three days in a row? See, sometimes you need to do what excites you. Shopping always does excite me…. I do not buy things that I do not need, so no worries about over-spending. I want to buy a couple of items which are on sale this week, like olive oil, as well as hair dye for which I have a coupon. I also need to buy another set of gifts for my friend, which I am happy to check for sales now rather than later.

So my friends, the holiday season is coming, the sales are on, and gifting is somehow both required and exciting. My past experience is that I spend more than average during the holiday season, but this is mostly to take advantage of the sales. I have a list of things that I hope to catch good sales for and this certainly excites me. I would like to buy new pairs of socks and pants, for example. In the past I was able to get really good deals during the holidays. Then I can forget about looking for them during the rest of the year. So that is what exactly I am planning to do this year too 🙂

Hope everyone will be able to get the exceptional deals and enjoy their purchases 🙂

joy journal – Oct 15, 2016

When was the last time I wrote my joy journal? Honestly I can not remember.. I believe it must be at least 3 weeks ago or so; first the work had gone crazy for a couple of weeks and then I was away for a trip to Europe. I am assuming I did not write during these times..

yet today I am joyful and cannot wait to write 🙂

1. I am grateful for getting up before 9 am! I never thought I would be grateful for this. It is partly because I have a little jet lag since my return from Europe and it makes me get up earlier than my usual 9 – 9.30 am routine. i note that there is something peaceful about mornings…. This is very surprising for this night owl 🙂

2. I am grateful for the public transportation! I took the bus to a nearby shopping centre this morning. How convenient and affordable is it? Are we not lucky that we have such a service available to us?

3. I am grateful for the coffee and bagel I have had this morning at the shopping centre. Man, they felt especially delicious today. I am so lucky to have these almost everywhere and they cost me only a few bucks.

4. I am grateful for the two pairs of fluffy slippers I have got today! They will keep my feet warm in our cold Canadian winter 🙂 I am so lucky that they were on sale 🙂

5. I am grateful for having a hair cut. Finally.. It has been 4-5 months that I have been meaning to have one. The cut itself is not great or special, but my hair sure looks way better than before 🙂

6. I am grateful for shopping today 🙂 Shopping always makes me feel great and excited! I bought lots of durable food and other items that I needed. I am feeling happy, excited, and abundant in my life right now 🙂

7. I am grateful for not waiting for the bus too long on the way back and having totes and a backpack to carry my shopping items to home. I felt like my life was very functional and easy today. very rare blessing 🙂

8. I am grateful for talking with my family and sharing laughs

9. I am grateful for the green bean meal I have cooked today. I had frozen the beans after cooking them lightly with tomato (my mom’s idea). They turned out to be incredibly delicious! I would love to get 10-15 bags frozen next summer.

10. I am grateful for the sourdough that turned out to be really good today 🙂 I am genuinely excited about it and would love to replicate the recipe next week.

11. I am grateful for relaxing the entire afternoon, watching movies and reading blogs. There is something so soothing coming out of this that I am awed. I think the stress of the last 3 weeks has lifted and now I am ready to roll again

12. I am grateful for today being Saturday; I can go to bed whenever I want and I can get up whenever I want. What a freedom.

13. I am grateful for my warm house, fluffy socks, and comfy couch that make this cold autumn night easier to bear.

14. I am grateful for being safe and sound, and having a shelter, and enough food and water.

15. I am grateful for my family, my house, my job, my salary, my benefits, my furniture, my clothes and shoes, my friends, my abilities, and all the food and other items I have in my life.

16. I am grateful for having dreams that put a smile on my face.

17. I am grateful for being grateful and having the excitement to write this journal.

 

weekly budget check

I have done well this week and stayed within my weekly allowance:

total expenses (within the allowance): $98

fun funds savings this week: $120 – $98: $22

total fun funds accumulated today: – $50 (sadly I spent more than I saved in this fund. Gotta be better soon….)

Savings from would-be-expenses (expenses that I was tempted to, but did not do, savings from discounts etc.): $145 (always feel good…)

Other expenses: $146; mostly a dinner with a friend of mine (well deserved) and cleaning products

———————————

Starting this month, I am increasing my mortgage payments a little bit. I am feeling great about this 🙂 This is mostly because I have got a little salary increase and decided to use it to pay off my mortgage earlier 🙂 Welcome September 🙂

Money risen for the animal shelter by selling stuff on kijiji: $40 so far. Even a little bit helps these innocent and beautiful animals.

Honestly, there has not been any day that I have not thought about re-adopting Jamie the cat…My little boy.. if only I had a little bit more courage and relaxed…

weekly budget check

save-wise not doing well….. argh…

I over-spent my weekly allowance this week too ($134 instead of the budgeted $120)

I absolutely have no fun funds. As a matter of fact, I have a negative account ( – $22)

I have had additional expenses (like a second second-hand rug, cat supplies, passport application fees etc.) in the amount of $344

In the last few weeks, the only savings I could do out of my salary was my regular TFSA and RRSP contributions.

I need to shop this weekend again for the cat, Jamie. But other than that I hope to keep it up.

Once I start not going over-board, I am more motivated to limit my expenses. I hope that will happen this week.

On the brighter side, I increased my biweekly mortgage payments starting September and I am feeling good about this 🙂

weekly budget check

seems like I am spending and spending… While shopping is a great feeling, constantly spending over my budget is not. I gotta come up with a strict budget for the next week to get back to track (this works for me).

weekly allowance expenses: $145.5 ($25.5 over my regular allowance…)

savings from would-be-expenses (expenses that I was tempted to do, but did not; discounts, etc.): $163

Other expenses (cleaning products, cat supplies, cab to the shelter, a second hand rug): $317.5.

Ah, come on…. this is a huge amount. Around $200 is for cat-supplies/cab fee to visit the shelter. $70 is for a lovely second-hand area rug which turned out to be perfect (new, good-looking, and fitting the living room well. I should not be sorry 🙂

fun funds saved this week: -$25.5

fun funds accumulated to date: -$8

 

So, for the first time since the new year, I have a negative balance in the fun funds, which means that I have no money left for extravaganza :). I am smiling but this situation is actually not great. I gotta tighten the belt this week. I need to purchase more cat supplies and also pay for the cat adoption fees. So, I probably am looking for another week with lots of expenses in the category of “other expenses”.

argh…

But, my fiends, life is good. I have hope that things will turn around  🙂

 

 

weekly budget check

I am almost back to my regular budget after my vacation two weeks ago.

Last week has been good, yet I am aware that I made extra expenses that did not enrich my life. They could have been avoided, but I preferred not to. My choice. Like any other choice in life, I am responsible for it and since the effects are not detrimental, I am also okay with it 🙂

Anyways, here is last week’s account:

expenses within the weekly allowance (grocery, breakfast/coffee etc): $108

savings from expenses that I was tempted to but did not: $204

weekly fun funds savings: $120 (my total weekly allowance) – $108 (this week’s total expense): $12

fun funds spending: $165 (these are the expenses I regret…But hey; fun funds are here to help me have this flexibility in my spending. I had fun making these expenses, so even though I may not feel the same excitement right now, I am sure at that time it was the right decision)

total fun funds accumulated so far/left: $18

Other expenses (such as cleaning and personal care products as well as clothes): $188


Overall, I am pleased with keeping up with the weekly budget; comparing prices at different stores or following the sales and shopping at thrifty stores (for clothes) to increase my savings; walking or taking the bus rather than taking the cab and saving a significant amount of money every week; cooking and baking at home rather than dining out (except weekend breakfast). This week has been a little bit expensive, but this does happen time to time, so all is well 🙂

joy journal – July 31, 2016

Here is another joyful entry! 🙂

1. I am grateful for sleeping in late. Man, have I been tired the last two days. A good night sleep has been the most welcome remedy 🙂

2. I am grateful for the coffee and bagel I have had this morning as a breakfast. Nice and easy. No complication. Always available. Always affordable. Always fresh. Always desired and always enjoyed 🙂

3. I am grateful for the cool day. Time to time it became hot and humid, but generally speaking today has been cooler than the rest of the week. I love cool weather 🙂

4. I am grateful for the bus, which did not let me wait too long at the bus stop and safely transported me to shopping mall this morning.

5. I am grateful for buying many useful and needed items today. What is it about shopping that makes us energized and excited? One thing I like about it is I feel like I am taking care of myself. Another reason is that I sometimes, only sometimes, I find something that I really love…. Today’s most exciting catch was a measuring cup set that I much needed! I checked two brands, one steel and the other plastic. The first one was expensive and the other one did not feel good. Plus, I did not like the colour, which was dark blue. I checked the aisle for the second time just before leaving the store and I find a third set; it is plastic too, but this time its color is green, which I liked. It would be nice if I had purchased the steel set, but honestly considering the fact that the cups will only transiently touch the flour, I opted out for the cheaper set, that is the plastic. I am fine with that decision.

6. I am grateful for the canned beans, yogurt, bread flour, whole wheat flour, raisins, the lipstick, eyeliner, and face moisturizer I bought. I will enjoy consuming the food and they were at very affordable prices. I am trying a new shade of eye liner this time (green), which I have not used since my youth. It is exciting 🙂

7. I am grateful for catching the bus back right at the last second. Since it is sunday, the bus schedule is particularly bad – buses are very infrequent. There was only one bus left at the station, which I had hoped was my bus. And it was! If I had missed it, I would have to wait another hour, or take a cab. I am happy that neither of these were required.

8. I am grateful for talking with my family. We are missing each other, but it is awesome that with technology we have the opportunity to speak and connect.

9. I am grateful for the bread I baked today! It is one of the best I have ever baked; tasty soft, and good looking 🙂 I have hope – I will manage to bake the perfect loaf one day 🙂

10. I am grateful for continuing to declutter today. Today, I dumped 3 pairs of old boots; an old pair of shoes; a couple of old jackets; and many small items forgotten here and there. I also noticed 4-5 nice jackets that I had ignored for many years! They are in good shapes and honestly look very pretty. I hanged them at the front to make sure I will see and wear them when the fall/winter comes.

11. I am grateful for the veggie meal I cooked this evening. It was healthy and tasty – good job 🙂

12. I am grateful for stopping working around 5pm and starting to relax and rest after that. The last few days have been quite productive but also tiring. I feel much better right now and ready to start the new week.

13. I am grateful for all the jars I have. because of the recent pest problem, I am keeping all my dry food and spices in jars. Those that are in large amounts, like rice and flour, are currently in the fridge. I looked for large jars today but could not find suitable ones. I guess I will just keep going as it is.

14. I am grateful for noticing my dry food yesterday and today. I have a lot of dry food, which I can lovingly consume. I will have one or two days this week designated to only cook with these food. I will be happy to replace them later with fresh batches.

15. I am grateful for the space I have created by decluttering and reshuffling stuff around. I used to think that my kitchen cabinets and pantry was not large enough, yet it turned out that this was not true 🙂

16. I am grateful for the rain this evening; hearing the droplets hit the asphalt was therapeutic 🙂 it also cooled it down a bit – I am looking for a temperature-wise comfortable night. What a delight 🙂

17. I am grateful for my t-shirts and pajamas that make summer heat bearable. We always complain about winter, yet summer, when hot and humid, is equally annoying. Proper clothes to cope with the temperature is essential. Since our winters are rather long and summers are short, I often times forgot the existence of summer-clothes. I am glad that while decluttering I found them in the drawers and gladly wear them. That also means that I better do two decluttering activity per year: one when the summer starts and another when the winter starts. This will help me not only to get rid of the old and unwanted items, but also to locate my seasonal clothes when they are most needed.

18. I am grateful for my internet connection and computer that make blogging, reading, writing, and learning possible – all exciting!

19. I am grateful for being grateful and taking time to note this list today.

a short synopsis of an exciting day

I got tired by shopping and working at home till late again, but many nice stuff happened, too.

Breaking the routine adventures: In the morning, I went to a shopping mall. I have got my regular weekend breakfast (coffee and toasted bagels) at a cafe over there. I found a chance to read the newspaper there, too. I appreciate this change of my routine 🙂

Baking adventures: I bought a  number of things, including some parchment papers that I would love to use while baking bread. Tomorrow I will give it a try!

You may want to ask why I am not baking a bread today… The reason is that the poolish I have prepared yesterday was too sour-smelling in the morning…. I bet I put in too much yeast…… Poor thing went to the garbage. Well, next time my friends 🙂

Tonite, I am preparing dough that I will keep at the fridge during the night. I have not kneaded it well, thinking that I would stretch and fold rather. Well, the dough is too sticky to stretch…. So, this attempt too seems to be failing, but I will see tomorrow. Who knows, maybe the dough will fix itself! :)))

Right, I will keep dreaming 🙂

Thrifty store adventure: Anyways, one of the most joyful purchases I have made today was a second-hand jacket I bought from a thrifty store. It is beautiful, my friends, with little white flower ornaments on a black fabric. There is little defects at the back, which I will fix by adding a lower-back strap. It is gonna be awesome! Cannot believe I have found such a delightful thing to wear 🙂 I feel really lucky :))

Decluttering adventure: Shopping was not the only thing that made me excited today. I continued to declutter my home, and this time I have done the bedroom. I do not have a lot of things, but I sure have more things than I use. I dumped all bunch of old socks and some stuff that I never liked but used anyways, like sports pants. They are now gone. I have also purged a big garbage bag full of usable shirts and pants, which I will donate. I am planning to use two old luggages to keep my old paperwork nicely tucked in. Win-win situation.

While going thru my stuff to declutter, I also found lovely items that I had forgotten I have had! A nice pair of gloves, with the tag still on! When did I buy it and forget it? It is beautiful. I also found much needed new socks in a drawer 🙂 And new sports-pants. I was planning to buy socks and sports-pants during my vacation, but did not have the opportunity to do so. It turns out I never really needed them. Also found 3 in good-shape purses, two of which I have bought from Rome with big excitement! Am I lucky or just forgetful?

Whatever it is, today I feel the same excitement that I felt while buying these items. I feel lucky.

I will continue to declutter tomorrow and possibly next week. This has always been an exciting activity for me, even though starting it is always hard. I not only get rid of unnecessary stuff, but also find a chance to donate. More than that, I get to find nice stuff that I forget I have and also notice how much space I actually have. These, my friends, are priceless.

I continue to highly recommend decluttering.

Cheers 🙂

Special joy journal – July 27, 2016: things that I have acquired while I was on vacation

IMG_9218
this is what my new throw looks like. Love the colour, softness, and the little pieces on it – all made with love 🙂
IMG_9221
this little piece is one of my favorites 🙂
IMG_9223
I love this one too 🙂

 

Every time I am home for vacation, I was showered by gifts by my family and friends. I also find a chance to shop as my homeland is not only affordable but also has a variety of items that I cannot find where I am.

This year too I was blessed with many gifts and purchased items. I have been feeling pretty excited about them, which prompted me to write this special entry 🙂

1. I am grateful for the soaps I have bought! They are the softest bath soaps I can ever imagine. The bright green color gives me peace; their softness and foam are incredibly soothing; and i am lucky to have had 6 of them. I feel like I do not have to think about buying another soap for quiet a long time. I am so excited 🙂

2. I am grateful for the blouse I found. It is soft to touch, has lovely little flowers along the fabric, and is a delight to wear. It is also much more girlish than the shirts that I usually wear at the office 🙂

3. I am grateful for the winter boots and the walking shoes I have bought. This is the third year that I have been buying the same brand of shoes/boots from the same store. The winter boots are awesome; sturdy and water proof, and I could not be happier to have them here where the winter is pretty harsh. I have been using the first pair I bought three years ago in the last two years and I believe they will be good to go for another year. I have two new pairs of winter boots now, which means that I do not have to think about buying winter boots for quite sometime. I have the same positive experience and feelings for my walking shoes; the one that I am wearing is 2 years old. It has been battered a little bit, so I am happy to replace it with the new pair I bought this year. They are comfy and pretty 🙂 What a peace of mind to have all of these ! 🙂

4. I am grateful for my new throw! I used to have a nice one for years, which I kind of burnt over the stove while I was trying to help my dough get risen 🙂 So my sister bought me a nice soft fabric, cut it out for me, and fixed the corners and trims with a lovely embroidery. For some reason, I wanted to make it colourful so I knitted around 20 different, little pieces and glued on the fabric. The end result is really cool! Each piece was improvised and I love looking at them. their shapes and colour gave me joy 🙂

5. I am grateful for the spices I bought or were given by my family members: crushed chilly peppers (thanks mom), dried mint (thank you aunt) 🙂 I sure will lovingly use and consume them 🙂

6. I am grateful for the sesame, nigella, and poppy seeds that I bought to be used during my bread-baking adventures 🙂

7. I am grateful for the corn flour that I bought. I have been meaning to try corn bread for sometime. This excitement cannot be missed now 🙂

8. I am grateful for the cat figurines that my sister gave me – they are so cute I do not know where in the house to display them 🙂

9. I am grateful for the little painting in a beautiful frame that my sister gave me. She has done an amazing job with the colours as well as the frame… I will cherish it for ever 🙂

10. I am grateful for the big tea glass that my sister-in-law has given me. It is one of a kind 🙂 I guess it holds around 500 ml of liquid so that means one glass of tea will be more than enough for the day 🙂

11. I am grateful for the purse that may sister made for me. My sister has been interested in this kind of stuff for some time and I must admit she has been doing an amazing job. She made maybe 20 purses, each of which are unique and improvised. The one that I have got has 40 different and unique embroidery-like pieces on the body and the strap. The colours are all nice and joyful, too. I am so lucky 🙂

12. I am grateful for getting two memorials from my dad’s house (he sadly passed away last winter): his cell phone and an old bowl that I remember was around for decades…. I am glad I have found this chance to keep his presence around me right here in my own home..

13. I am grateful for the black sweater and the dark-reddish jacket that my mom knitted for me 🙂

14. I am grateful for the basket that I bought to proof my loafs in! I made it! I found something to do this very important job. It is lovely and my mom and sister also made clothes to put in it to help prevent dough sticking to the basket. cannot wait to try all of these 🙂 I also bought a little sharp knife that I will use to score the surface of the dough prior to baking them in the oven. I am anything but excited about everything I have to help me with the bread-baking adventures 🙂

15. I am grateful for the freezer bags that my mom gave me. well.. here too we have freezer bags, yet these are so nice and easy to use thatI could not help but pack 5 packages with me 🙂

16. I am grateful for the rice. Its grains are bigger than what we can find here – just the type that I love!

joy journal – June 5, 2016

1. I am grateful for sleeping well and getting up to welcome the new day

2. I am grateful for buying myself an nice cup of coffee

3. I am grateful for talking with my family and having a good laugh 🙂

4. I am grateful for taking the bus and shopping at the mall. If I have not been on budget in the last one year, I would have taken the cab and paid of an additional $30 for the two cab rides (to and from the mall). I am so proud of myself not doing this anymore 🙂

5. I am grateful for the napkins, freezer bags, and jars I have bought for myself 🙂 One of the glass jars is red and the other is purple. They are the cutest jars I have ever seen 🙂  I am so lucky that I have found them 🙂

6. I am grateful for all the gifts I have bought today.

7. I am grateful for eating yogurt today. I have not been eating much lately even though I am usually a regular yogurt-consumer. I like the fact that I am back to eating this healthy food in the last two days 🙂

8. I am grateful for appreciating everything I have in my home. Everything works just fine and they are so nice to have around.

9. I am grateful for water!

10. I am grateful for flossing and brushing my teeth- good to help my body keep healthy 🙂

11. I am grateful for binge-watching a TV show today 🙂

12. I am grateful for being excited about an apple-cinnamon cake I am planning to bake next week 🙂

13. I am grateful for reading all the interesting and tasty recipes; especially about bread 🙂

14. I am grateful for my books, my pens and notebooks, my kitchen items, my food, my furniture, my TV, my computer, my cable and internet service that make my life safe, nourishing, and entertaining.

15. I am grateful for feeling better this weekend. Yesterday and today were really cool, with little attention given to work. I cleaned my home, cut the grass, aerated my home on both days, shopped, baked my first empanadas, and relaxed. It is as if I do not wish tonite to end, but that is not a realistic wish. Like anyone else, I will go to work tomorrow, take care of stuff, drink coffee, and return back to home in the evening. And at night, I will enjoy my life by reading blogs and watching TV. That sounds like a nice plan 🙂

16. I am grateful for being grateful and taking my time to note these.

 

coupons make me think

I do not coupon, even though I am interested in limiting my expenses and saving more. I mentioned this a couple of times before; I am not against couponing. I understand that a large portion of us rely on it to make the ends and put food on their tables. I also understand, as someone who likes this kind of “seek-and-find-and save” activities, that couponing (finding them from a variety of resources, using them and making significant savings or even getting items free) must be an exciting activity after all.

These being said – I, however rarely it may be, use coupons when they fall on my head (not literally). For example when they show up in my mail box together with weekly flyers, are posted on the shelves at stores, or placed on the product itself. In the last one year I think I have had something like 2-3 coupon usage adventure.

I think even though you do not need it, couponing can be an interesting activity. My main (theoretical) interest in couponing is the fact that coupons are available to everyone. If one person can get the same product at a discount price, why should not the others like me?  Do people like me who do not use the coupons feel like they are being taken advantage of by not getting items at discount prices?

I must say I feel silly  for not using the coupons – why should I pay more while I can pay less, like others? So, why do I not coupon?

A couple of reasons.

First, I have limited time to look for coupons.

Second, when compared to many people, I do not make a lot of purchases so purchasing a newspaper for its coupon insert does not make much sense to me. (I however follow the sales and compare prices among different stores on walking distance to my house – that I think is a continuous and practical strategy for my savings).

Third, I do live in a city where many stores with great coupons are not available.

And fourth, sometimes I read couponers’ tales where they buy multiple items by their coupons, which would take years for me to consume. I just read a blog where there were more than 20 rolls of paper towels purchased. The blogger claims that all was free, which is awesome. But I just thought that it would take me 2 – 3 years to consume those. That is not bad as paper towels are durable items so if they were free, I would get them too 🙂 But some tales and blog-pics are somehow horrifying to me; like buying 10 bottles of shampoo or 20 boxes of cereal, or 10 mascara, only because they are on sale or at hugely discounted prices with coupons. I cannot possibly buy these items and consume…

I believe both cases are fine – for some couponing works perfectly, for some like myself it does not.

I have read this post a few days ago and I loved it as this person very clearly demonstrates that frugality has multiple faces, multiple ways, and “one size does not fit all“. Its main message is that there is no one right way to save money or have a frugal life and I fully agree with this.

 

joy journal – May 21, 2016

I woke up cranky this morning too and I remembered that the best remedy for this feeling was to remember and note things/people/experiences that I was grateful for. I have not been writing my joy journal as frequently as before – will try to write more often 🙂

1. I am grateful for sleeping well and waking up right after 9 am – neither too early nor too late.

2. I am grateful for my morning coffee at the cafe. I did not buy anything to eat this time. I used to buy bagels or, lately, tea biscuits . I realized that I needed neither of them – I had decided not to eat bagels anymore because the bagels of that cafe are not great. I also decided today that my tea biscuits were much better than theirs. So i would either bake for myself or unless I was hungry, I would not put any of these products in my system.

3. I am grateful for spending time in my yard, cutting the grass and cleaning the pieces here and there. Do not get me wrong; I do not like cutting the grass at all. It makes me tired (my arms especially) and I do not enjoy the scent of cut grass. Yet, today was special as it showed me clearly that Spring was here! 🙂 I gotta do this chore for many months now every two weeks, but at least the weather is nice, I get to exercise, and I get exposed to sun. Plus, I get to feel great about seeing all the life forms blooming in my yard 🙂

4. I am grateful for getting motivated to plant some herb seeds tomorrow. I have a small part in my yard suitable for this purpose and I do hope that this year I will see some seeds germinate. Please, please, please! 🙂

5. I am grateful for checking the internet and seeing that I can use my cut grass as a mulch in my yard. i should be buying wood mulch to help shape around my trees and maybe cover an area in the yard where I have unwanted plants growing. I do not know when I can do that but until then, I will look for ways to make my yard look better and my soil nourished.

6. I am grateful for talking to my family and getting recipes. As a matter of fact, I tried a soup recipe by my mom and I must say it was great. I also did something unusual and cooked another healthy dish (very unusual for me to cook two different food at the same day…). I am very happy about these choices I have made today.

7. I am grateful for my first soda bread trial!  It did not look good at all, but, hey, it sure tasted awesome. I am very excited about this trial 🙂

8. I am grateful for trying my first poolish tonite. Poolish is a prefermenter used in baking. I hope it will work out well, as I am planning to try two other small breads tomorrow; one plain and the other with green olives+rosemary. Exciting 🙂

9. I am grateful for doing my laundry and airing the home today. Weather was awesome and warm so it made it an easy job (i.e. no need to adjust the temperatures of each room while the windows were open).

10. I am grateful for doing grocery shopping in the morning. I did not buy a lot of things, but shopping has always had a therapeutic effect on me 🙂

11. I am grateful for relaxing whole day and not thinking about work. It is great to have exciting hobbies such as baking or working in the yard that make me more connected to nature and life. I have been reading a blog today where the blogger defined making bread as helping him to get into a simple life mode….. It really clicked with me – the less commercial and dependent-on-others my daily life is, the better and simple life I feel like having. Do you not think?

12. I am grateful for my home for providing me a shelter, my furniture for giving me comfort, my kitchen items for allowing me to enjoy my life with baking and cooking, and my computer, internet, TV, and cable for making me learn and entertain.

13. I am grateful for being grateful 🙂

weekly budget check

A good week in terms of saving from my weekly allowance, though I have had extra expenses:

Weekly allowance spending (transportation, grocery, breakfasts, eating out etc.): $71

Fun funds collected this week: $120 – $71 = $49

Fun funds left/accumulated so far: $174 (yay!)

Extra expenses: $105; this money was spent to dine out with a good friend and for the cab fare to pick up a gift for someone, who well deserved it. I am aware that it is a significant amount of money, but believe me when I said the enjoyment of these activities is worth the every dollar. One of those times when I sincerely think that “money is not everything”.

Fun funds expenses: $0

Savings from would-be-expenses (expenses I was tempted to do but did not do, or the discounts I used): $171.5

Overall, I remain highly satisfied with my budget and spending habits.

A couple of things are worth noting;

Walking in the morning rather than taking the bus has highly positive effects on me. I am glad the weather is permissive. This morning I had to go to a meeting away from my office and I directly walked there from home. It is a longer route, maybe around 35 min on foot. And after the meeting, I walked to my office, too. This last part is around 20 min. My mood was pretty good during the rest of the day, which makes me excited about walking (I believe a somehow long walk that warms my body and makes me sweat a little bit is also long enough to improve my brain chemistry). Additionally, I felt very proud of myself for not being lazy and taking the cab. Considering the additional $20 saved by just walking these distances makes me even more proud of myself.

eggs, frugality, and walking

I am not an extreme frugal, but those who follow me know that I have been on budget (since last June), significantly eliminated unnecessary expenses (such as the annual fee for the credit card – one time opportunity but hey I have saved more than $100, or by changing the cable package – monthly savings are around $25, or by taking the bus rather than taking the cab to work – weekly savings around $40). I also started to freeze food and implemented a “no food waste” strategy. All has been working wonderful so far 🙂

I am not good with coupons (not that there is anything wrong with them – I just do not have time or interest to look for the coupons of items I regularly consume/use). I price-check and shop for items usually when they are on sale. I check the weekly flyers of three stores in close proximity to my home. One store is five minutes away; another one is 10 min away, and the third one is 15 min away.

After yesterday’s baking a bread saga :), I realized I was running out of eggs. I love eggs! They make easy meals (hard-boiled or poached) and can be used in many different dishes (I will post the recipe for an egg-onion-parsley-pasta sometime) and an absolute ingredient for baking. Anyways, so yesterday I checked the flyers and I identified that eggs were on sale at Shoppers. I walked there this morning (a total of 20 min of walking both ways; talking about the health benefits of being frugal), bought two dozens of eggs, and happily come back home.

I do not know how much I saved by this activity but to tell you the truth I do not think it is a lot (many be a couple of dollars), but I am more awed by the positive feelings associated with this; I walked and energized my body; it felt awesome, somehow meditative, to be walking and watching the rhythms of my legs as they walked 🙂 I got exposed to sunshine and got some Vitamin D I need :); and overall I felt satisfied by finding eggs to purchase (they run out of it pretty easily – past experience).

Who would know that such a small financial savings would create such, multiple and positive, feelings?

random thoughts

This has been a great week so far in terms of work. I am taking care of a large document and I have a great momentum. I hope to move it further tomorrow and almost end next week. I say almost as I am still waiting a part of it done by someone. Hopefully that part will go smoothly, too.

I have got a nice feedback today from a colleague. It was nice to get it in writing as in my workplace, this kind of “proofs” are considered significant in annual reviews. I am glad that I took the extra time (weeks) to prepare for a presentation that I delivered quite easily. Engagement by the participants was also great, which made it extremely useful and interesting. I like this kind of experiences and the positive feedback following them 🙂

Tomorrow is Friday, which always feels good. I hope to work really well and then do grocery shopping in the afternoon. This week I am likely not to spend too much. I am thinking apple, pears, chicken, trail mix, maybe yogurt, milk, some greens, and lemons as essential items to get this week. I have some veggies left from last week as I have not cooked lately; I must focus on consuming them before they go bad. Wasting food feels really awful.. There is no need for that.

I have been continuing my back exercises since they were first prescribed to me; it should be around 2-3 months now.. Sometimes I surprise myself 🙂 For someone who can get really `lazy`, the fact that I keep working to strengthen my back/abs and stretch the neighbouring areas mesmerizes me. In a good way, of course.

The truth is I feel a lot better when I do my exercises, it does take maybe around 10-15 min only, and I am very aware of the benefits to my body. For example, I have not had back problems since last time (for which I am extremely grateful!). My abs are tighter, so are my arms. My knees do not make that “cracking’ sound anymore and I feel like my hips are more flexible too.

This past week, I had noticed that my upper body was tight and my shoulders were not flexible. Starting today, I stretch my arms and upper back, too. Also, and I am very excited to say this, I started to do light weight-lifting, too 🙂 Nothing too much or heavy. Just 10 pounds dumbbell lifted up and down and moved side by side 10 times, both arms. That is it. It is great for now and if I feel like it, I can increase the training or the weight later. I am glad that I keep doing my exercises, I notice their benefits, my back is healthier, and I am motivated to do more 🙂

I have had an additional motivation to do arm exercises, though. This week I tried a nice shirt of mine that I had not worn for a year or so. I had a chance to see my arms when I wore it – they got chubby…. That made me sad. I knew I was struggling with my weight, but I was not aware that my arms had lost their muscular tone. I know from my past experience that my body easily is toned with little effort. So, from now on I will prioritize arm exercises, too.

I also noticed that my face looked tired and old… Not necessarily wrinkly or something but just not “glowing”. I used to have great skin, moisturized, and looking healthy. So, I am making facial care a priority from now on, too. I have night creams and daily moisturizers that are available already – why not to start using them again and maybe also initiate a daily cleansing routine?

Yep 🙂

weekly budget check

Overall, another good week though I have spend a little bit more of my weekly allowance than average this week. I am okay with that as the additional expenses were for stocking of some food that was on sale and for treating myself to a lunch today.

Weekly allowance spending (transportation, grocery, breakfasts, eating out etc.): $106

Fun funds collected this week: $120 – $106 = $14

Fun funds left/accumulated so far: $125

Extra expenses: $100 (a gift well deserved by someone I appreciate very much)

Fun funds expenses: $0

Savings from would-be-expenses (expenses I was tempted to do but did not do, or the discounts I used): $168

🙂

I have just read two posts by follow bloggers about budget and savings; I enjoyed reading them and I though you too would be interested in knowing their stories or ideas. They can be found here and here.

have a great night everyone 🙂

 

weekly budget check

Today is Thursday, the end of my weekly budget week. Here is how I have done within the last week:

Weekly allowance spending (transportation, grocery, breakfasts, eating out etc.): $62 (which is pretty awesome…)

Fun funds collected this week: $120 – $62 = $58

Fun funds left/accumulated so far: $94

Extra expenses: $65 (medication and donations)

Savings from would-be-expenses (expenses I was tempted to do but did not do, or the discounts I utilized): $145

Overall, feeling good 🙂

This budget really works for me, yet I should be eating better. I must aim for buying more grocery/food and cooking healthy meal at home. That is important. In the last 2 months or so, I am not cooking at all and the food I consume is usually not veggie-based. This cannot be too good. So time to eat better! 🙂

 

weekly budget check

I was complaining about not spending enough (!) in the last few weeks; so this past week I have done great spending money 🙂

Weekly allowance spendings (transportation, grocery, breakfasts, eating out etc.): $92

Fun funds collected this week: $120 – 92 = $28

Fun funds spending (I had quite a bit collected as of last week): $160. Ooops 🙂 See, I told ya; I can spend money 🙂 Hair cut and other stuff only for my leisure… felt good 🙂

Fun funds left/accumulated so far: $36.5

Extra expenses: $123; mostly cleaning products and some gits/donations.

Savings from would-be-expenses (expenses I was tempted to do but did not do, or the discounts I utilized): $195

 

Well, overall I am very happy to be saving by not throwing away money by taking the cab or by not purchasing and stocking up durable items when they are on sale.

I am also happy about the freedom fun funds gives me…. I can basically do whatever I want to do with these money that is left out of my weekly allowance.

I am done with spending a lot of money and now it is time to go back to being responsible 🙂

random thoughts

It is a windy day today. As a matter of fact some roads were closed in the morning because of wind damage to buildings/trees. It looks like we are having an usual weather. Hope it will return back to normal sometime soon.

Because of the wind, I decided to take the cab in the morning, which I now regret. Whenever I wake up with a negative morning mood, I rather prioritize un-stressing, which almost always means taking the cab. However, i always regret it afterwards. I must stop this – while I mend one negative feeling by taking the cab (e.g. morning stress), I create another negative feeling for later (i.e. regret for taking the cab rather than the bus).

Other than that, all is well. I worked nice and easy, though time is never enough. I still have a lot to do, but i also have time. I am glad that i did not leave my office after noon – I wanted to do that badly, but then decided not to. Working regular hours and taking care of work felt better.

I had reasonably good meals today. I even had a green salad for dinner (together with oven-baked battered fish). I like this meal. I can eat fish more frequently than chicken or beef. I find this interesting. Fish also makes me want to have salad with it. Win-win situation 🙂

This week I seem to spend more money than before. While it does feel good if I purchase items and products I need, after a while I start to regret that too. I do not want to regret necessary purchases. This aspect of having a budget and saving somehow bothers me -it should be okay to spend money on needs. I do not want to end being an extreme frugal, who no matters what, cannot spend money. I guess eventually I will find my emotional balance when comes to expenses and spending.

Cheers everyone 🙂

 

 

joy journal, April 2, 2016

1. I am grateful that I have had a relaxing night yesterday and had a good night sleep. I woke up with thoughts rushing to my mind again, which is quite annoying, but I am determined that to not ruin my life and my life choices.

2. I am grateful for taking the bus to and from the shopping mall in the morning. Always a great way to save. Considering it would cost me $16 one-way should I have taken the cab…  It is awesome that in both cases i did not have to wait longer than 5 min (waiting something/someone makes me crazy…).. Am I lucky or what? 🙂

3. I am grateful for the coffee and bagel I have had at the mall. It is the same brand of cafe that I regularly visit at the weekends. Yet, at least this time I have had the opportunity to enjoy a change in the environment.

4. I am grateful for the dollar store; I love buying the stationary items there. All bunch of colorful ones and so affordable. This time I bought 2 packs of dehydrated bread (awesome companion to soups), a cute gift bag, and several candies (all colorful, of course) for my office 🙂

5. I am grateful for having a hair cut! I finally did it and this time it is absolutely short. As I have wanted! Last time the hairdresser was hesitant (why, I should have asked to her) to shorten my hair by 2 inches – so she rather trimmed it and that was not what I wanted at all. This time I insistent and said that I wanted it short! And, short it got 🙂 This hair dresser too commented that I had healthy and thick hair, which is always great to hear. She also commented on the red colour (yes, I do have hair with bright red colour) and said that this tone would usually not suit many people, but it really was suiting my complexion. Awe… Thank you nice lady 🙂

6. I am grateful that a nice elderly lady complemented my hair while I was walking towards a store. I am not sure what prompted her to say that, but that is always a nice thing to hear. The truth is I had liked her hair more than mine, which was just a little bit longer than mine and all gray. She looked so awesome with that hair. I complemented her as well 🙂

7. I am grateful that I did not mind waiting 40 min at the hair salon to get my hair cut. Under different conditions I would hate to wait and probably leave after 5 minutes. But this time I convinced myself that today I was going to get this task done. I have been meaning to get my hair cut for a couple of weeks now and it was so hot today that it reminded me that the short hair was the best. Right on 🙂

8. I am grateful for purchasing some gifts for my family and some little indulgences for myself, all out of my fun funds that I accumulated lately. I also paid my hair cut by my fun funds. For those who are not familiar with the term fun funds; these are the money that I save from my weekly allowance to spend on items or services that help me feel good 🙂

9. I am grateful for finding my favorite yogurt on sale; $2/750 grs, which is the lowest I have seen so far. I eat a lot of yogurt. So naturally I stocked up 5 of them today. I am also excited about the peanuts and canned fish that I bought as snacks for my office and my favorite brand of hair dye, which was on sale. I am extra happy that I did not make any extra purchases – all was needed or will be needed in near future. All is well 🙂

10. I am grateful for speaking with my family and laughing quite a bit. It is great that our mood is getting lighter and happier (it has now been 5 weeks that we lost my dad..).

11. I am grateful for the warm weather, which prompted me to wear my trench-coat rather than the winter coat. Oh, the sweet lightness that I missed! Honestly, my winter coat is so heavy and whenever I switch to spring clothes, the relief I feel is more than awesome 🙂

12. I am grateful for opening the windows on both storeys of the house and letting fresh air in. Even in winter I try to do that at least every two weeks. The weather is really soft and warm, and today I let the windows open over 2 hours! Great feeling 🙂

13. I am grateful for doing my back exercises and stretches. I do them every day and every day I have to have a mental struggle to start doing them. While it is a constant struggle till I lie on my back on the floor and start stretching, after that all comes very easy and I feel overall much better than before. I also feel stronger muscles on my legs, arms, and abs (which I must strengthen, or use, to complete the exercises). I am feeling good about these 🙂

14. I am grateful for finally finishing the veggie pasta I had cooked three days ago. While it was tasty and lovely, eating the same thing for 3 consecutive days is never fun. Time for new dishes, please 🙂

15. I am grateful for doing the laundry. Did I mention that it is one these tasks that I find dreadful? But, then I do find many house chores as dreadful 🙂

16. I am grateful for having the day to myself. After the laundry is done, I will totally immerse myself in writing and reading. There is so much to learn, so many blogs and articles to read. I am certainly grateful for my computer and internet connection for making this possible.

17. I am grateful for being grateful 🙂

random thoughts

Finally it is Friday! 🙂

Man, this week felt so long and now it is completed. I am excited 🙂

I worked well today and then left in the afternoon to shop. I bought food that I hope to consume in the coming week. There were BOGO free deals – felt awesome to stock up shampoo 🙂 And I am glad I did not purchase too many of them as with this usage pattern, I predict that I will not need to buy another bottle before the new year.

By taking advantage of coming home early, I did my weekly house cleaning, too. This saves me time tomorrow, which I plan to spend at a mall shopping and getting my hair done. Again, I am excited.

These excitements feel good after a week that I spent mostly down.

We all deserve a break. Should you have had a similar experience, I hope you too will have opportunities to cheer yourself up this weekend.

cheers everyone 🙂

plans for Spring

Change of season is a great reminder of the continuity of the change in our lives. While I cannot control every change in my life (like aging), I can make some changes in areas that I need.

1. Decluttering again. It has been a while since my last decluttering activity. while stretching my back muscles this evening I noticed all the books that I will probably never read again. I love them but it may as well be the time to depart our ways. I hope they will get enjoyed by someone else.

Books are of course just a start. I am sure I have accumulated one or three glass jars here or there; some old cleaning cloths somewhere around the house; some old socks and shorts/pants that wait to be retired. I am sure this decluttering will not be as extensive as the previous one (it was a major effort) so I hope one weekend I will just start and complete it. Not this coming weekend, but sometime..

2. Eating better and hopefully losing weight at the same time. This has been a continuous wish that has not occurred yet. why is it so hard to lose weight at middle age? I used to easily lose weight if I wanted to when I was young, but my two latest trials ended up with gaining weight. what is happening? what should I do differently?

I know limiting bread and other refined carbs (like bagels and pasta) helps to lose weight. I also know that fruits like apples or pears as well as raw chewy veggies like cucumber  and daikon help me to lose weight. There is something about raw food – I can guarantee you… So, my aim is to eat at least one apple or pear and one chewy veggie everyday. wish me luck 🙂

One of the best ways is to bring fruit to the office. I often need snacks anyhow; why not to eat fruits? Hmmm.

3. Time for new shirts. I have not shopped for shirts in the last one year or so. I have exhausted my current ones, except a couple of nice ones that are kind of tight now… If I lose weight, they will be lovely to wear. Should I wait or buy now? Okay – maybe two shirts can be purchased, why not?

4. New hair? I have been meaning to have a hair cut for sometime but so far I have not done this. The last time I have had it (around two months ago), the hair dresser did not shorten it much. So now I have shoulder length hair. While it is not bad, I always have liked short hair. I really hope I will find in me the motivation to go to the hair dresser this weekend and I will find a great hairdresser this time. I also need coloring, but I will do this as usual.

timeline:

1: a future weekend

2: starting tomorrow

3: this weekend?

4: this weekend?; I can have the hair cut at the shopping mall when I can also buy the shirts. So this is quite doable if i do go to the mall this weekend.

 

 

 

gifts and treats for myself

Feeling down lately, I found myself missing in my life some of the things that make me excited.

deals: I missed to find a great deal. A nice shirt or a jacket with a great price. Bringing it home and feeling grateful for it. Feeling excited, too. It is so nice to have something that one can love. Mall time?

reading books: Reading mystery books or my “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of books. Man, the second book slowed me down – I have 0 motivation to read it. Why cannot I just go ahead and get the pleasure of reading it? I either will give a serious attempt to read this book, or go buy a nice book this week. I will read it, too.

hair cut? Now that I have a large fun funds at my disposal, I should be finding ways to spend it. For some reason, I have lost my interest in spending, too (go figure). I was supposed to have a hair cut last week, but I was lazy and did not do that. A nice haircut would be awesome – will I try it this week?

buying books: I sometime think that I get the same pleasure by buying a book as reading one. I may walk to the mall this week and look for sales. I may also visit the thrifty stores; they usually have a large used books section. I should be able to find some interesting mystery books, right? I hope.

art work/decorative items: I missed finding a nice art work/decorative item that I can use at home. When was the last time I have tried that? New year? Time to start looking. Who knows? I may be able to find something nice.

flowers: Shall I get a new plant? After the last experience (the plant’s soil turned out to be nest for tiny fruit flies; like 100 of them. I know because I killed them using sticky pads…), honestly I do not wish to get any. But, I have seen some flowers on a blog this evening; They were so nice. I may buy a nice, colorful flower.. Flowers remind me my dad – I guess I would like something. Maybe daisies. Maybe violets. But something colorful. Let’s keep this in my mind.

eating out: I may eat out as I am not spending my weekly allowance, so I have funds. In addition, I am not eating well and eating out may in fact be helpful. I may treat myself to a lunch this weekend. I would like it to be a nice one, not a food court type of food. I had it last week; while I was grateful it did not excite me.

What else?

Maybe I can get inspired by your selection – what gifts/treats you give to yourself?

 

weekly budget check

Today is the end of my weekly budget and here is how I have done:

 

weekly allowance expenses (grocery, eating out, and transportation): $47

funds left from the allowance for the “fun funds” account: $120 – $47 = $73

total fun funds: $123

savings from the would-be-expenses (expenses I was tempted to do, but did not such as cab, or discounts I cathched up): $149

 

I did not spend a lot of money this week, mostly because I did not do grocery shopping. If you follow my blog, you know that lately I have not been cooking or eating well (even though now I am making effort to turn this around). This is not intentional and I am not trying to deprive myself. I hope to take better care of myself next week.

Overall, this budget works for me, I am okay with taking the bus (which saves me a lot of money), and I continue to spend much less than before.

I like the fact that I have a nice sum of funds in the fun funds category. Hey, I guess it is time to get a nice hair cut.

That is lovely 🙂

 

delayed weekly budget check

I have not posted about my weekly budget and saving saga in the last 3 weeks. I felt weird about monitoring my expenses and writing about money while grieving the loss of my dad. I decided today that it was okay.

Overall, I am doing okay even though there has been extra expenses. I had dental care, medication, and physiotherapy expenses within that time frame. All are for great causes and as such I am glad I did make these expenses. I also did spent more right after the death of my dad, mostly for eating out (I still do not cook much at home since then) and for books on death, grief, and grieving (that helped me to go thru the grief in more or less a rational way). Needless to say, I spent much of the “fun funds” I have accumulated since the new year. Again, I am not sorry for that. In contrast, I am glad that I have had these funds at my disposal, which made my life easier during this difficult time.

Despite these extra expenses, generally I am spending much less in my weekly allowance category; my grocery do not cost more than $60/week and I changed the cafe I eat in at the weekends, which further reduced my weekly expenses (plus, coffee is much better!). I took the cab only occasionally and am doing really well with taking the bus in the morning. As a whole, I do not see much of an interest to spend money and I am okay with that. I lack nothing and my financial health is improving.

It has been 10 weeks since I started this new budget (with $120 weekly allowance); so far I could handle is really well and seems like I can keep doing this. Since new year I also made extra contributions to my RRSP account and despite this amount, I am still increasing my chequeing account every two weeks and I do not expect a below $0 chequeing account hopefully for quite sometime.

Next week I have an appointment with my bank and I will increase my biweekly RRSP contributions by a small amount ($50). This is mostly because I am getting a little salary increase and the fact that the market is more or less down; I believe it is the best time to buy stocks. This extra contributions will help me to pay back my HBP (home buyers plan) payments earlier (I had withdrawn money from my RRSP account for my down payment). Whether I like it or not, HBP payments are debts, too, and paying it soon is good for me.

random thoughts

A fine day. It is snowing lightly right now and it is a delight to look out of window. I am becoming more and more of a snow gal 🙂

I have finally got my tax filed this morning and I have got a tax refund. This feels good (in the past, it was not unusual for me to have a balance and send a cheque back to the taxman). I am relieved that this year I was on the positive balance side.

I, like many of us, plan to use this refund for saving purposes. My chequeing account will now be at a healthy level, and this is something I have been working very hard to achieve in the last few years. The satisfaction coming out of this is really cool.

I, of course, have also celebrated this achievement. Before you think that I spent my refund on a new TV or clothes or anything else that I do not need right now, please take a breath… Thanks. here is my account of celebration for the tax refund and knowing that my chequeing account is now above $0 and healthy:

  1. Chinese lunch: I walked all the way up to a shopping mall after I have got my taxes done. It takes around 40 min and I believe it is an healthy and lovely activity. I wanted to treat myself with a nice meal after I went thru some of the stores but not buying anything. I love Chinese food, but the restaurant there was about to close till dinner, so I opted for a food court restaurant. It was not the best I could eat, but I have and I enjoyed it. Cost: $11.50
  2. New socks and stuff: I desperately needed new socks. I do not know why but I happen to use up and damage socks pretty fast. That is okay. I also needed some other minor stuff. By taking advantage of a sale, now this issue is resolved. Cost: $35.0
  3. Candies for the office, dehydrated bread, and napkins: I happen to have candies or little chocolates in my office. I snack on them myself as well as anyone who comes over. I guess it is a nice gesture though one may argue they are not healthy. I hear you and I agree with you. That is why I now switched to a low sugar type of candy that comes in many different colors. They are cute and not as sugary as other products. I bought two packs today. I also bought paper napkins for a friend of my, who likes them and asks me to get some for her time to time. I also bought a pack of dry or dehydrated bread slices, which are awesome and crunchy companion for soups. Cost: $11.0

My total cost of shopping for needed items, little gifts for loved ones, and office treats today is $57.5.

And I am glad I have made these expenses. No regrets.

Now the rest of the tax refund will be used to do beef up my chequing account, which I will use for an annual personal retirement plan contribution in the coming months. Proud 🙂

what to do today?

Argh…

I am bored. Tomorrow is the work day and work day means I must make important decisions, particularly an unpleasant one. The right decision is the best one, yet what do we do when the right decision pisses other people and this may return back to me as an issue in future?

Stress is not something I like. But I do not like being wrong, either. All of us must have been at this corner time to time. So you understand me.

I know I have a great day in front me yet I do not know how to spend it. I have been watching a TV series; I guess it is time that I give it a break and try something else.

I considered buying myself a lunch, but decided against it. I may try reading a book, but it is not very appealing right now, either. I am in the mood of exploring things, whether it is the merchandise on the shelves of a store or an unknown part of the city. Honestly I have no interest in going somewhere just to explore this city (the curse of a small and unappealing city), so it looks like it is a store.

I need some excitement, something interesting to do this afternoon and it is a pity that one thing I can come up with is to possibly shop. So be it, but that also tells me how pathetic my daily routine may get.

Enjoy your Sunday and may you all find something nice, exciting, or lovely in this beautiful day.

#BreakingTheRoutine

 

today’s bits

The title may puzzle some of you; it is just an alternative to my regular “random thoughts” posts. For some reason, in this new year, I did not want to use that title anymore. So here we go “today’s bits” 🙂

It has been a nice week overall. Right after the holidays and right before our work schedule gets crazy (starting next week), I have had 4 days of peaceful work. I worked quite a bit, mostly with a team member of mine. I am glad we have had this time to fully focus on his project. I spent regular hours in the office, only to leave after 5pm, which felt good. Only exception was today, when I left my office to work at home around noon.

It was a kind of chilly day today, but i managed to walk back home. I also visited another grocery store, maybe 1 minute off my regular route. I am glad I have done that as the store has different products and somewhat different prices, too. I have bought more than I could carry comfortably, but it was worth it.

I took advantage of the sales and bought stuff that I would not usually consume. Like turkey legs. I in fact like turkey legs; turkey broth is  quite nourishing and smells nice. I particularly love cooking pasta in that broth – that is what I will try this weekend. I also bought a large bag of potatoes and am planning to try fish cakes this week. Hopefully I will not mess it up and it will turn out to be a delicious dish as I have been hearing here and there.

While I have gone to yoga for the last three nights, today and tomorrow, I plan not to. Not that I do not love the stretching classes. But because I wanted to “miss” being in there. In my case, no matter how awesome and well feeling something is, continuous exposure makes me get bored after a while. I need to “miss” such things by staying away for a while. Today this is what exactly I am feeling; missing being in those stretching classes. Sunday, I will resume my classes. Looks like 5 nights a week is a good plan. The remaining two nights, I can take a break, miss it, and do other stuff like reading my book “A Clash of Kings” by GRRM.

have a great Friday night friends 🙂

 

holiday plans :)

I have posted a similar post earlier, but hey, it is always exciting to think and plan for things to do during a 12 day holidays. So bear with me 🙂

1. I am excited that two days later I do not need to think about getting up early. That means I can stay up late at nights, my favorite time of the day – yay! 🙂

2. I can stay away from the office and the workplace for 12 days; while I like my office and work, this change is so welcomed 🙂

3. I will be able to work at my own pace without anyone interrupting me. I hope I will not get emails that will require me to work at the office. Murphy’s law though – there is always something that comes up during the holidays…

4. I will have breakfast every single morning 🙂 usually during the work days I do not have breakfast (not feeling hungry). I sure will try to visit different cafes, weather permitting.

5. I will find a chance to contemplate about my life, my needs, and priorities. The problem with being a work-oriented person is that I am so focused on work that I often times forget my out-of-work life. This holidays time is great for me to listen to myself and see which kind of life I would like for myself.

6. I will be able to shop! As a matter of fact, I have been on shopping freeze for many items/purchases in the last few months. The sales will be an awesome opportunity to buy stuff that I need (not necessarily the stuff that I want – I am still keen on being frugal, though I must confess I am less frugal this month. Not that I spend too much money on gifts, dinners, or travel; I just feel relaxed and opened the purse a little bit..)

7. I will be able to make plans for the new year – 2016. I always liked this; the planning part of it. Let’s see what has worked this past year (my budget certainly did work) and what did not (my healthy eating and weight loss attempts failed). Time to come up with better plans and new aims.

8. I have started compiling my financial situation in 2015; Thursday I will be able to calculate my net worth, how much I have spent, and how much I have saved. I am excited about this 🙂 I know that I have saved quite a bit, thanks to the budget I have implemented in June. I will be excited to know how well I have done. It is a great, motivating exercise. I also will categorize the expenses in 2016 in more categories. For example, purchases related to cleaning and personal products will be noted under a new category. This will help me to keep up with my weekly allowance, which I usually over-spend and which makes me feel not so good about myself (I used to count such expenses under the weekly allowance..).

9. Socialize! Yep, I will socialize with good friends of mine 🙂 looking forward to this.

10. Cook for myself. Yep, I will. I have a couple of dishes that I love but take time to prepare. Holidays have always been the time for me to cook them for myself. Good food = happiness 🙂

11. I will make myself some pasta. Yep. I will prepare the dough and cut it out in long and thin strips, and let them dry. It makes a great dish, especially with cheese. I plan to make around 2 pounds of this. I am assuming it will be enough for a couple of months.

 

random thoughts

What a beautiful Sunday; it is warm and relaxing, and the snow melted.

One thing about intensely working for a period of time (like my last 2-3 weeks) is that once you realize you have a whole day in front of you, you do not know what to do. There is no document to review, no correspondences to make, no work-related issues to figure out. All of a sudden, you end up with this one full day that you need to fill in. So what do you do?

That is an intriguing question for me as I seem to forget what I used to do when I had less work load. It prompts me to find out again.

Like today, I was not sure how to spend the day, so by taking advantage of the good weather, I decided to walk. I was not sure I would go at the beginning, but I ended up in one of my favorite streets. The houses on both sides are nice to look at, and although there is quite a bit of traffic and traffic lights for that matter, it is a relatively quiet area. I walked up till a Shoppers and lazily went around the shelves. I did not want to buy anything, which is interesting. I remembered years ago, shopping at that store was one of my most fun pass-time activities; I would mostly buy nice smelling candles or health products that would make me fell good.

This need or feeling now seems to have gone. I attribute it to my frugal life I have embraced in the last 6 months.

I, however, bought four boxes of facial tissue; they were on sale and honestly the best price I have seen in the last couple of years. My decision to buy them made me happy and excited.

Tomorrow a new week is starting. Considering the nice weather, I am planning to walk to the office tomorrow morning. If I can make it multiple times this week, I will be very happy.

have a great Sunday evening everyone.

joy journal, Dec 5, 2015

Looks like I have not written in my joy journal for a very long time….

Partly because I was busy with other useless posts (such as healthy life style journal, which I now happily ended) and partly because I was busy with reading all I can find about the Game of Thrones series 🙂

Time to re-start this wonderful experience.

 

1. I am grateful for sleeping well and getting up around 9.30 am. The night was restful and I have even seen a dream. I do not remember it now, but it was, like any dream, interesting.

2. I am grateful for the coffee and bagel I have had in the morning, while also checking my emails and social media sites – always a delight.

3. I am grateful it is not snowing today; after yesterday’s dump, the streets are cleaned but the sidewalks are still under snow banks. Walking is a challenge but at least we do not have ice yet.

4. I am grateful for cleaning my home and ventilating it by opening a window for an hour or so. I was not planning to clean my home this week as I have to work. But I did it anyhow once I started cleaning the kitchen and the bathrooms – I am feeling pretty good about this 🙂

5. I am grateful for working, for wanting to work, and for progressing my work.

6. I am grateful for shopping this afternoon; I have catched some sales at the grocery store and saved quite a bit.

7. I am grateful for the pumpkin pie I have purchased frozen today; I have baked and eaten it. It made my home smell great and it tasted just amazing.

8. I am grateful for my warm and safe house in this chilly day.

9. I am grateful for having the night to myself. The night times are the best; they relax me; I can read, watch, or write. Freedom..

10. I am grateful for my internet connection and computer that make this experience possible.

11. I am grateful for my interest in the Game of Thrones that makes my mind focused on things other than work itself; reading about this TV series/books has become my favorite past-time activity lately.

12. I am grateful for not being a racist, discriminative or stereotyping person, or a plain asshole.

13. I am grateful that no matter how much people annoy me with their discriminative behavior, racism, or horrible characters, I keep my cool and my mature behavior.

14. I am grateful that even though I am angry with some people because of their wrong behaviors, now I choose to enjoy my weekend.

 

 

 

 

weekly budget check

The end of the weekly budget and I am looking at huge numbers this week… argh… 🙂

My total expenses are $465, including my transportation (mostly cab fare), grocery, coffee and breakfast (these are my weekly allowance categories. They total $300 this week, way more than my usual $150 allowance…) as well as a big shopping at the weekend; the purchased items included gifts for three people and clothes that were on sale; I assumed by purchasing the clothes at a reduced price, I was saving.

I actually did save; when I combined all the savings, it was a hit this week, with a whopping amount of $208.5. This is a large sum of saving, but I am feeling really bad about the total spending….

I know that is not ending here and with the holidays and all the sales, I will make other purchases. That is kind of okay as I have been on shopping freeze for many items for a long time and was planning to end it during the holidays to take advantage of the sales.

Nevertheless, the expenses hurts a little bit…

Oh, well.

plans for the holiday time off

Each year, we have around 12 days off between the christmas eve and until after the new year.

It is a great time to look forward to. I love planning for stuff that I will do during these days. So here are what I am planning to do during these holidays:

clean the house: yep, it is a great opportunity to clean the house deeply now that I will have more time at my hand. I will clean every corner as well as the electric heaters; I am planning to use a hair dryer to remove dust, if ever, from inside the panels. I dust them with vacuum every week but I am sure there are some dust left inside.

wash the shag rugs, mats, blankets, and couch covers: This one will require me to visit a commercial laundry as some of them are quite heavy and I do not wish to harm my own washer while cleaning them.

shopping, shopping, and shopping: well, yes I will shop! 🙂 My current shopping freeze for clothes and books will end at that time. There are great sales during this time and I plan to take advantage of them. I will also visit the thrifty stores for items like jackets. cannot wait! very excited 🙂

additional shopping: I will also shop for cleaning products and bulk items during this time. the joy of shopping 🙂

visiting friends: I plan to visit a number of friends now that we all have no work but time off at our hands. This is a great time to socialize.

contemplating: I love the end of year assessment of the past year, and make plans or adjustments for the new year. I am not a fan of new year resolutions, but rather this contemplation helps me with what I have done (work and life) in the past, realize how well I have done, re-prioritize things in my life, and plan how I can do better. This is a very valuable exercise for me; each year I benefited from it.

relaxing without the stress of work: I will take this time to totally forget about the work I must do (though I aim this each year, this does not usually happen; I happen to work during these days sometime..) and have my days fulled with random activities, lots of reading, watching movies, and anything else that gives me a peace of mind.

I am sure you too have great plans for this time – may all of them happen with ease and happiness 🙂

 

 

joy journal – Sept 27, 2015

There is so much to be grateful about 🙂

I have been feeling the need to acknowledge them, which always make me feel great. So here they are:

1. I am grateful for being safe, alive, and healthy.

2. I am grateful for my family and friends, without whom this life would have been quite dry, unlovely, and unexciting.

3. I am grateful for sleeping late today; every once a while it is a good break for my body. No activity, no digestion, no unnecessary thoughts. It felt good.

4. I am grateful for having my coffee at the favorite cafe, browsing internet, and just relaxing this morning.

5. I am grateful for catching the bus and going to shop. I found a chance to chat with a lovely lady while waiting for the bus and the ride was pleasant.

6. I am grateful for buying the last bit of the stain to finish staining my deck. The person at the store said it was normal for the stain to lift off in our climate. So I have not done anything wrong with the stain last year; it was supposed to happen 🙂

7. I am grateful for walking around and checking a dollar store. It is one of my favorites as they have very nice stationary items (which I LOVE) and great gift bags. I bought a couple, just to make myself feel happy. That store also reminded me; when I was a student and when I was not making as much money as I am now, I had assigned myself $10/week just to spend in the dollar stores. There has been a great feeling coming out of forgetting myself in these stores while checking the items and then buying the things that will give me joy.

8. I am grateful for not buying myself a lunch while I was away from home while shopping.

9. I am grateful for the toilet papers I had needed and bought with a huge discount/coupon savings today. I am so excited about this, as I have been meaning to do this for sometime. I checked for months the stores, but was not able to identify such sales till today. Today was the day and it felt good. I do not have to think about it for a year or so.

10. I am grateful for the honey and rolled oats I have purchased today. I have not bought honey for years (I used to add it to my tea for its nourishing and relaxing effect). And this is possibly the second or the third time that I bought the oats. I bought these to make myself granola bars as snacks. I tried it this evening and I should say it is a very filling snack. Plus, it is sweet, which is nice. I am planning to try other types, such as with raisin and seeds/nuts, to have different snacks for myself.

11. I am grateful for the plant I have bought today. It was on sale and it is so beautiful. I need a nice pot and new soil for it, which I will buy in the coming weeks. I also am thinking about buying a plant fertilizer; I guess all of my plants would like some extra nutrient time to time.

12. I am grateful for finding my mascara in the store today; it is price is 50% of what it used to be in the past. I am not sure what the real reason for this is. Maybe new products showed up and it is not that popular anymore. I do not know, but I know that I am happy to have it 🙂

13. I am grateful for buying and drinking skim milk. I am not a milk person; but after realizing the nutrients in it, I cannot not have this nutritious drink anymore. I will make it a regular beverage for my daily life.

14. I am grateful for my clothes and shoes; I have more than enough for a couple of years and that feels good. I am abundant.

15. I am grateful for everything I have at my home and my home itself. When I look around, I can see that I lack nothing and I have everything. I am very thankful for this.

16. I am grateful for thinking about new budget categories, starting with the new year. I think I need a separate category for clothes+shoes as well as for cleaning products. Currently I am confused about whether to include them in my weekly allowance or not. If I do include them into the weekly allowance, then I end up over-spending time to time. I do not like this. I do not like over-spending 🙂

17. I am grateful for the salad I have had this evening; it was fresh, healthy, and tasty. I love salad! 🙂

18. I am grateful for my house, my jacket, and my blanket that keep me warm in this chilly night.

19. I am grateful for being grateful 🙂

random thoughts

It has been chilly today but they expect a warm Monday tomorrow 🙂

I like this about my city – the weather can change in such a short time.

My plan for tomorrow evening is to finish staining the deck and paint the woods close to the soil. They are in good condition, but I was advised to paint them every 3-4 years to protect them from the water damage. As tomorrow will be warm, it sounds like the right time to me.

I went to shop at noon to get the stain for the deck. I visited other stores around too. It is always an enjoyable activity for me (did I mention I loved shopping? 🙂 ).

Luckily, I catched some sales today; I bought a nice plant and toilet papers with discounts. It is interesting with the toilet papers that they were not only on sale, but there was also a coupon valued $3 on each pack. I have been hoping I would catch up something like that to stock them up for some time – so I felt happy :)) I bought 3 packs, enough for more than a year. My estimation is that the sale together with the coupons led me to have an 50% discount for each pack. That is not bad at all. I thank myself for noticing the coupons 🙂 I would feel silly otherwise – why to throw away money while the vendors let me keep it?

I contemplated about taking the cab, but then decided not to. I carried my plant around (together with other stuff I purchased), took the bus, and came home. I am seriously proud of myself :). Yet my back is aching 🙂 Maybe it was not the best idea.

I have decided not to hesitate to take the cab if I have many stuff to carry around – my health is more important than a cab fare.

have a great Sunday everyone 🙂

joy journal – Sept 20, 2015

joy…happiness… peace… joy…

I have no entry in this journal in the last few weeks – time to spill all the joy 🙂

1. I am grateful for getting up on time this morning – I was tired from yesterday but I did not sleep late. Good job 🙂

2. I am grateful for walking at the Terry Fox Run with my colleagues; we not only raised funds to help cancer research but also socialized and burned energy :).

3. I am grateful that I found a chance to extra walk today; the Terry Fox Run venue was 25 min away from my home, which I walked to and from. I am glad the weather was permissive (e.g. not raining) and I was not lazy or tired; so I could do all the walking 🙂

4. I am grateful that I saw myself walking at a pace that I used to 5-10 years ago; would that mean I am not that old after all! 🙂 I loved that feeling; walking, sweating, but not panting or running out of breath. Just like the old times! My body does an amazing job 🙂

5. I am grateful for checking a grocery store on the way back. It is one of the big stores. I used to shop there and then winter hit and I forgot to visit it. I made a mental note that it is a great store that I should check time to time. Walking to and from will be extra exercise, too 🙂

6. I am grateful for finding red cabbage in the store. Yuppi!!!… I have been craving for it for weeks now. I love red cabbage as a salad material! I bought 2 small ones (I must go back to that store time to time!)

7. I am grateful for talking to my family today – what would I do without them?

8. I am grateful for working on my computer and moving up with an important document. I still need to work on it, but tomorrow before noon I will have time to do so. Then I can submit it for review.

9. I am grateful that instead of working whole afternoon and night, I decided to take a break. the last few days I just has been running from one task to other. Stress is negatively affecting me. It is better that I take time for myself to recharge.

10. I am grateful for liking my work I did yesterday with the deck. Yep, the new stain is much lighter in color and the entire deck looks patchy; but hey I hopefully will finish it next week (right before the rain/winter) 🙂

11. I am grateful for, on the average, eating better. I think it has been 2-3 weeks now I did not eat bagels at my regular weekend breakfasts… what a change… I never thought I could do this, but looks like when the right time comes, it does happen.. Wishing this will extend to my other not-so-good habits soon 🙂

12. I am grateful for my home, power, TV, cable connection, computer, phone, and all the furniture, food, and items in it that make my life safe, comfortable, and delightful.

13. I am grateful for the soup I made this afternoon – warm and nourishing.

14. I am grateful for my plans for the next weekend! Yep; the week will be too rush-rush (too many stuff to take care), but the weekend I sure will take time to relax. I first will go get some more stain to finish the deck, will do shopping at a nearby more affordable store, visit two thrifty stores for anything interesting (not that I am planning to buy stuff unless they are great; but I so enjoy going thru stuff at those stores. Not sure why I do not have the same pleasure from going around other, regular stores. Could it be because I know that I can afford many of the nice stuff at the thrifty stores? Or is it because these stores have many interesting items from many different trends/seasons, but not necessarily only from the latest trends like other stores?)

15. I am grateful for being grateful 🙂

random thoughts

A misty morning turned into a warm and bright September day; could not be better 🙂

I broke my routine today bu doing the grocery shopping first thing in the morning. well, well, well.. It turns out there are many buy one get one free deals. Got extra apples, cucumber, and yogurt thanks to this deal. The receipt now shows how much I have saved in each transaction. It feels great to know that I saved around $25 today 🙂

I wonder why I have not noticed such deals previously. I do not thing it is the first ever one buy get one free deal at the store. I guess the more I am conscious about my spending and savings, the more I notice and take advantage of them. Good to know 🙂

I have a busy weekend and week ahead. Trying not to get stressed. I keep telling myself “I am doing it”. I did shopping, cleaned the house, doing the laundry, will work on my computer, and hopefully will also relax this evening. Tomorrow me and my colleagues are walking for the Terry Fox Run event, which aims to raise funds for cancer research. I am excited to be doing this and very proud of the people who sponsored our walk and made donations to the Terry Fox Foundation.

Although I did not think I would this week (due to enormous amount of stuff I need to do), I started staining the patches on my deck. Not sure why, by some regions of the stain has lifted. I am not finished yet, but I have done 2/3 of the work. I love myself when I do the things that I procrastinate about 🙂 In a couple of weeks, I am planning to finish the rest. Not bad for a non-handy person 🙂 This is however just a temporary solution; I think the stain will protect the wood, but the stain colorwise looks quite patchy. I guess in a couple of years I will have to strip off the stain and re-stain the deck. That is okay. I will take care of this later.

Have a great Saturday 🙂

random thoughts

A misty and rainy morning turned into a beautiful Sunday this afternoon – hope you are all enjoying today 🙂

I stained my deck and front stairs last year and when the winter was over there were some parts of the stain that lifted up. I finally went to a store today and bought additional stain. It is too bad that I did not keep a record of the last year’s stain; we could approximate the colour of the stain but I can tell you it is not the same. I re-stained my front stairs; it looks patchy and all. I am not sure how it will look when it dries up. Then I will move on the deck. I am afraid next year I will have to strip off all stain and then re-stain again; that sounds like the best solution for now.

The problem is our summers are short. August and September are the only times we have less than regular rain. I wish we had longer summers so that I would have the freedom to do these over time. Without stressing myself over the short time to finish everything. Oh, well.

Today was a shopping day. I have not enjoyed it as much as I usually would. No idea why that is 🙂 I always enjoyed shopping! Well, just not this time. I am proud to say that I took the bus again and despite the stuff I purchased was heavy and all, I carried them in my back pack and two large shopping totes. Taking the bus is good for my purse (rather than taking the cab) and carrying stuff around is good for my heart and bones. I cannot complain.

On top of that, I managed not to eat out at a restaurant (come to think about it, this one may be the reason behind me not enjoying my shopping today – what is better than a nice meal in between the visits to the stores?). Anyhow, I munched on some nuts rather, which was delicious.

One strategy I find efficient in limiting unnecessary purchases is to have a look at all items at the end and ask myself whether I really would need them and need them right now. I left a number of stuff at the cashier – I wonder whether that annoys them? I hope not. though I understand it must be extra work for the store staff.

Anyways, we still have the Sunday evening and night to relax. Enjoy your Sunday everybody 🙂

random thoughts

I feel like writing about small indulges that make me feel pampered 🙂

Considering that the only expenses bigger than $1,000 were my washer and dryer (excluding my flights to visit my family and my house), I guess I am doing good pampering myself while also looking after my funds.

So here is a list that I can come up with now:

1. Having breakfast: I love having breakfast at the weekends! there is something nourishing about it and the fact that I get to have it on the weekends only, it is my way of start celebrating the weekend. Breakfast does not need to be too expensive (though it  depends on your preferences. Nevertheless, breakfast and lunch are often times much cheaper than dinners).

2. A good book that captivates my interest. There is nothing like a great book that makes your day enjoyable, time frozen, and mind and heart filled with new knowledge, emotions, and empathy. 90% of my books are purchased from second hand bookstores or charity. The only book I have had pricey was a project management book I needed to study as part of a certificate program (time to sell it now). Borrowing books from libraries, of course, does not cost a dime – give it a try.

3. Chicken noodle soup: is there any other food that nourishes the body while also relaxes the mind? What is the cost of this? $3?

4. Taking photos: that is a really fun activity. Other than the cost of the camera and print outs, the cost of all the memories and lovely pictures recorded is basically $0. Plus, can we really put a price on recording memories?

5. A good cup of coffee every once a while. I love caramel or maple syrup added coffee every once a while. There is a cafe that do these in a shopping mall I go time to time. A great way to award myself.

6. Food: food is always a tricky material for indulges. I happen to reward myself a lot by food, especially pastries and bread (though I am trying to limit them lately). My new year eve meal is almost always some pastry I make at home with beef and pastry sheets. Even though I love this meal, I am glad that I do not bake it more than twice a year.

7. Movies: Although I have not done this in years, seeing a movie at a theater is a lovely experience.

8. Tea, apple cider, and hot chocolate: whether black, green, or herbal, tea has a calming effect. On cold winter days, in addition to tea, hot chocolate and apple cider are my favorite beverages.

9. Leisure walking: Although I do not do this as often as I wish to; when I do, I enjoy it very much. Especially those that occur spontaneously where I do not before hand plan for the route, take my time to enjoy and examine the scenery (even looking at different houses and their characteristics can be an interesting activity).

10. Going through the stores at the airport: One of my favorite activities! I love looking at the merchandise and the variety of items. This is particularly nice when the airport is in a different country. As you can guess, the books sold are the ones that get my most attention. but hey, they are great 🙂

11. Browsing the stores: I have a negligible habit of impulse buying thus I am not afraid of going thru an entire store, examining and exploring the items. It is one of the meditative experiences for me when I truly focus and thus get a mental break from daily thoughts and tiredness. Thanks to this activity, I have discovered many different food (e.g. savory I am so fond of) that were not a part of my regular diet.

12. Taking a road trip: I love it when we drive on a car together with friends or family. Have you noticed that the conversations are different, lovelier during road trips? Especially when we all are going to places that we have not explored before. Whenever I have a chance to suggest an activity, i suggest a road trip 🙂

13. Music: Music is… awesome! I listen to it while at home and office. The free music channels and youtube makes it basically free. Could not be happier 🙂

14. Writing my blog and reading other blogs: Very amusing, relaxing, informative, and affordable activity. Okay I need a computer and an internet connection to do so, but these two help with so many activities (listening to music, watching videos, doing research, learning, booking flights and hotels, etc.) that their cost comes really low. Plus writing helped me to learn a lot about myself – how about that as a great benefit?

15. Planning, planning, planning: I have a thing for planning for goals I would like to tackle. Coming up with a question and then designing a step-by-step strategy to reach the goal is always exciting for me. Yep I do mess up with executing the plans sometime (my recent healthy life-style plan that I blew is a good example), but eventually all go well.

16. Sleeping in: every once a while there comes a weekend morning that makes me sleep till noon. This does not happen to much, but I believe it happens when my body needs it. Often times, it is relaxing.

17. Sleeping late: there is something peaceful about late-nights, some kind of freedom… Friday and Saturday nights are my freedom nights when I can stay up till late, reading, writing, or watching TV. Serenity..

18. Spending time in my yard: I have a small yard with a couple of trees; lilacs are particularly my favorites. Seeing them in summer is a beautiful feeling. The same thing with just being in the yard and listening to the sound of trees – the soothing whoosh their leaves make with wind…..

19. Scents: I love my perfume but due to scent-free policy of my workplace, I only wear it at the weekends. Its scent is so lovable I am glad they produced it! The same thing with candles and soaps. I have a soap that leaves a nice scent after each hand-wash. I would not change it at all. When comes to candles, I did not buy lately but I make sure to check them at the stores. One of my favorite one has honey-cinnamon scent.

20. Wearing my best shoes: I am a person of habit, so I keep wear the same things weeks after weeks. Yet, every once a while wearing a different outfit or my favorite shoes makes a difference in my mood 🙂

21. Grocery shopping: I love grocery shopping. Finding fresh produce is a rare and often cheerful activity for me (where I live, fresh produces are hard to find).

22. Shopping after the holidays: this is the season for shopping!. The sales right after the Christmas are unprecedented. Boy, do I stock up? 🙂

23. Thrifty store visits: Even though I often end up not buying as much as I plan to, I love browsing through the shelves in thrifty stores, especially the kitchen items and the books. A good book I certainly will buy. The kitchen items are mostly an interest; to see all the old stuff… I have a thing for old things. They are different and very interesting for me.

24. Ethnic stores: There are so many different things in these stores that I make regular trip to one close to my house. It is a little food store where I can find the most interesting spices, hot sauces, and dried food. Plus, that store is incredibly cheap. I wonder why that is.

25. Soft facial towels: These are priceless; there is nothing nicer at the end of a busy day to come home, wash my hands and face, and feel the soft towel on my skin. I would highly recommend you to get a thick, slushy towels that is a delight to use.

26. Creams and moisturizers: my hands require hand cream throughout the day. In winter, it is almost essential to moisturize the rest of the body. I am grateful for these creams and lotions that not only nourish my body but also smell good 🙂

27. Time spent with family and friends: Do I have to talk about it? It is the favorite activity of many people. Are we not lucky?

I hope your list of things that make you feel pampered is longer than this.

Go pamper yourself in this beautiful Saturday! 🙂

breaking the routine – September 1, 2015

I have a peculiar preference for apples – I like Golden delicious and Mcintosh most. Others, I am not really into that much and would not even buy.

Or….. that is what  used to think.

I bought a nice bag of mcinstosh two weeks ago. It was delicious as usual but at the weekend I have found two small caterpillar-like things in the tray that holds the apples. I not only immediately dumped the apples (an the creatures), but also developed a dislike for mcintosh apples.

So this week I was shopping and there was no Golden delicious. Knowing how great is apple for me (makes me feel better, my gastrointestinal system is happy, it is a great snack at the office or at home, and once purchased it lasts for a week or so), I needed to buy a different kind of apple.

It was Gala apples. Honestly their colour does not appeal me and I did not think I would ever enjoyed them. But to my surprise they are actually tasty.

I welcome this change and I am glad that the mentioned circumstances helped break my routine.

shopping freeze items – August 2015

Going thru my stuff, both decluttering and taking an inventory, was a real eye-opener.

I have so many stuff that will be enough for at least a year that I gotta keep a list of them to have my conscious and unconscious minds taking notes and to apply a shopping freeze.

Here are the items for which I will apply a shopping freeze till the holiday season (I cannot miss the sales taking place during the holiday season :)):

1. Books: every once a while an interesting and affordable book is fine. Other than that, no regular purchases. Books, my ever-lasting love, have been the first items I have had on shopping freeze and it has been going well 🙂

2. Trousers: except I get really good deals. I have so many trousers that I have not even used yet that it is ridiculous to go buy another one.

3. Boots and shoes: I seem to have stocked up shoes and boots. I cannot believe I have so many of them sitting on my shoe shelf.

4. Shirts and jackets: I have more than enough to last another year. Unless I find something really nice and with a small price tag, none will be purchased.

5. Socks, t-shirts, sports pants, and others: Another category of items I seem to have well stocked up. Nope – will not buy one.

6. Cleaning products; laundry detergent, dish detergent, hand soap, shampoo, and other personal care products: I just need to purchase toilet papers, hair conditioner, and hair dye.

7. Stationary items: None needed – pens, notebooks, and paper are all stocked up.

8. Rice, dry food (beans, chickpeas), dried veggies, tomato paste, spices, tea, coffee, creamer: I just need turmeric and maybe creamer – others are more than I can consume off in a year.

9. Kitchen items, cleaning clothes, sponges, and others: Only need bleach – nothing else.

10. Furniture and home decor: Would like to buy 2-3 art-work. Things that will bring joy and excitement to me.

11. Bed linens, towels, and others: None needed.

The list seems great to me. I was first upset about having too many sponges, cleaning clothes, paper towels etc, but now I can see that was done well as I shop them when they are on sale. And they are durable – so I can keep using them for some time. I am thanking myself for making these purchases earlier.

And from the list I can see that I have a small list of items to purchase in the coming weeks, which is alright (I like shopping, right? 🙂 ).

These lists also tell me that the majority of my future expenses (at least till the new year) will be on food, mostly vegetables, fruits, yogurt, eggs, beef and chicken (aaaand maybe some bread please? :).

I should invest in the pressure cooker real soon to cook beans at home (getting rid of can will be a delight for me) and to make my overall cooking efforts easier and more accomplishable.

Let’s see how this plan will go 🙂

cheers everyone

breaking the routine – August 22-23, 2015

what a beautiful, peaceful Sunday – hope everyone is having a similar experience.

While I like the time spend out of office, I also get bored of doing the same things with the same routine at the weekends; clean the house, do the laundry, get breakfast at the same cafe, shop at the same grocery store, walk on the same streets. These are the times I really would like to move to a bigger city where there are more streets, more attractions, more stores, and more opportunities to experience difference in the daily life.

Anyways, I have broken my routine twice this weekend; first I went to shopping yesterday after cleaning the house. I needed to buy a couple of stuff for home maintenance that I kept delaying. It is done now. And as per today, I happened to notice a second-hand item market available on sunday one street below. I checked it out and bought a second hand purse, which I started using right away. It cost me 2 bucks but is in good quality. I made a mental note to check it every weekend.

Now back to my routine. hey, maybe reading some of the blogs will lift my boredom 🙂

cheers everyone

possessing versus feeling abundant

I have been shopping less items in the last few months as part of my “consciously spending” plan.  I was not necessarily limiting the goods I need; only that in order to minimize the waste and save some money along the way, I had decided to shop on a need-to-buy basis. That sometimes meant going to the store more than once a week, but overall worked wonders with me: I wasted much less fresh produce than I usually would. And that made me happy and proud. I also saved money.

This week I have taken a step further and purchased even less amount of food. I bought two tomatoes rather than four for example. And how did I feel while preparing and eating food at home? Very abundant. Every single food in my fridge is valuable. Every single one of them…

I think the point is not to have too many; but to be aware and appreciative of what I already have. Being aware of items is easy when they are visible (e.g. not behind many items in the fridge/pantry) and being appreciative is easy when we know that what we got are (limited and thus) valuable.

Many people said and many books written this I am sure. But it is by experience I remember this once again.

So I am voluntarily on a budget and rather than feeling restricted, I am feeling more abundant…. Life works in wondrous ways 🙂

I want to see whether I can get more aware and more appreciative of what I purchase next time; maybe I can try “the $21 challenge” I came across at https://growingsnowballs.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/the-21-challenge-achieved-well-almost-save-money-frugal-shopping/

Give it a try should you wish and share with us how it goes.

best,

joy journal – August 16, 2015

  1. I am grateful for getting up before 9 am. Days when I get up that early make me feel like there are so many stuff I can do within that day. I like this feeling. Often times though I have no idea how to fill the day…
  2. I am grateful for going to my favorite cafe and eating my favorite bagels and drinking coffee, while also surfing on the net. It was a delightful morning.
  3. I am grateful for doing grocery shopping this morning. I bought only a small amount of stuff, knowing that I can always visit the store should I need any items (it is 5 min away from my house). I felt abundant once I got some produce.
  4. I am grateful for yogurt. I time to time consume yogurt regularly and enjoy it highly. I had run out of it yesterday but was able to get two containers today. It is such a healthy food – I seriously think that it neutralize some of the toxins…
  5. I am grateful for eating an apple, salad and a healthy meal today.
  6. I am grateful for starting to declutter my home today. It is going well, I feel like I gotta declutter even harder, and am excited about the feeling it gives. Relief in so many different levels…
  7. I am grateful for finding items/clothes that I need while decluttering. It looks like I have forgotten what I have.. But then if they are not where I can see them, how can I remember every single item? Lessons learnt 🙂
  8. I am grateful for aerating my home today. Fresh air is awesome. It also cools down the upstairs, making sleeping easier and comfortable 🙂
  9. I am grateful for today being a sunday. I was free to do whatever I want to do and I enjoyed relaxing at home very much.
  10. I am grateful for turning the TV off. I am listening to the music rather. It is a first for me – in the last few days I was not paying much attention to the programs anyways; so why to keep it working for no reason? I am proud of myself for doing this (I always have had TV on to have a background noise – until this time; who said “never say never”? 🙂 )
  11. I am grateful for deciding to dump my VCRs and CDs as well.
  12. I am grateful for the little mat I have found today – it fit so well to is new place I am awed 🙂
  13. I am grateful for the trees in my yard. When they whoosh with the wind, it is so calming.. I would not buy a house that did not have a yard or no mature trees in it.
  14. I am grateful for flossing today 🙂
  15. I am grateful for living in a quite neighborhood.
  16. I am grateful for deciding to not throw a birthday party for myself. I want to, I really do. I want to have my friends around, eat, and laugh. But then the idea of shopping and cooking makes me highly hesitant. I made a deal with myself – I will not have the party but will give myself a gift. Something unique, original. something that will make me remember this beautiful age.
  17. I am grateful for all the books that I have at home but did not read. I thought about the books today extensively because I know I will purge them quite a bit too. But more than that I know that there a bunch of books that I have never read. These books excite me as I can grab any of them anytime and satisfy my need of reading without making new purchases. Very good 🙂 All I have to do is to continue my decluttering process and identify those books.
  18. I am grateful for the foods I eat, clothes I wear, furniture, laptop, internet, TV, cable I use, water I drink, and the air I breathe.
  19. I am grateful for reading a blog by a terminal cancer patient. She brings in a different vision to terminal disease; rather than resisting the idea of being terminal, she accepts it and sees the positive in every single moment. She sounds pretty sincere, refuse to be a victim of “why (i got this disease)”, and that is why I believe we need more patients like her providing their view. While I do not like cancer and deaths from cancer, if (and only if) it is inevitable having some kind of peace or acceptance around it very much lessens the “power” of cancer over us. That is what I thought after reading that post – that cancer had no power on that person. And I liked that. Very much indeed….

decluttering and weight loss – is there a connection?

Out of boredom, I opened the first book I have not read for some time. It is a book titled “Does This Clutter Make Butt Look Fat” by Peter Walsh that links the clutter in our environment with extra weight.

Made me think: one of my over-weight friends had told me that there must be a benefit of being over-weight: in sickness when eating may be problematic or not possible, certainly the extra weight helps to provide the body with the energy required for its functioning. As an over-weight person myself, I remember that very well. It also made sense to me biologically (we need a certain amount of energy everyday to keep going). Yet, I am also quite aware of the disease risks associated with being obese/over-weight. Nope, the extra fat needs to go..

This book also made me think my shopping habits: I have the habit of stocking durable items, such as cleaning products, canned or frozen food, stationary items. Sometimes without even using what I already have, I keep buying them. Where does this need come from? Why do I stock up stuff?

Because I feel comfortable and abundant if I have many items I regularly use. Because I may get lazy to go shopping when I need something. Because I like the convenience of not running out of anything. Because I save by doing so, as I usually purchase and stock when items are on sale. BUT would that mean that I also “save” my weight for the sick days? Feel “abundant” and “comfortable” with my weight? Possible. Sub-conscious mind works in a way that I will never understand fully.

Since a while ago, I decided to do the grocery shopping as I need, I will switch to the same with other items now. I will also continue with my decluttering activity at home and yard. Let’s see whether I will this time send the right message to my sub-conscious mind that I am abundant in any way, in sickness too my body will function just fine, and I will buy/eat as needed, not because it is convenient or saves me something.

wish me luck 🙂

joy journal – May 22, 2015

1. I am grateful for reading a post about gratefulness. It immediately lifted my mood 🙂

2. I am grateful for sleeping soundly and getting up easily this morning. I was energized and rested. That is, to me, a great feeling.

3. I am grateful for eating two apples today. I noticed that when I eat sliced apple, my chances of liking it is higher. No idea what causes this perception, but just to keep eating this healthy and hearty fruit, I will keep doing what works. By the way am I the only person noticing better digestion due to apple? Interesting…

4. I am grateful for shopping this afternoon. There were many fresh produce, all looking colourful and delicious. I am grateful for the vine tomato for smelling so good, the hot pepper for being so delicious, for zucchini being so plum, the canned lentils, beans, and corns being affordable and ready to consume.

5. I am grateful for walking back from the office. Today is the first day that it felt really like spring and thus I switched to my spring coat. No more winter coat! 🙂 I am so excited about this. I have so many different and nice coats/jackets that I would like to wear now. I feel abundant and i love the change 🙂

6. I am grateful for leaving my office early day and working at home. I did light work only; my next week schedule is pretty light, which excites and relaxes me.

7. I am grateful for telling to the interviewee this morning right away that I would not be interested in hiring him. I usually would like to be positive but this person was really not ready for an interview and did not have a professional attitude. Case closed. I will focus on other applicants now. Amazing how the info on the paper and the person in reality can be so different.

8. I am grateful for spending time at my yard in the morning and the evening. Just for a few minutes, just to look at the life forms in it, to see whether any of my seeds came to life. Nothing yet, but tomorrow is another day – who knows what will happen? Hope is the best remedy 🙂

9. I am grateful for getting an okay and support for an event I would like to organize within our unit. My boss is supportive and contacted admins to make sure they were okay with it. I have drafted a document to circulate to some of my colleagues who were interested in giving me a hand with it. Together we can move this idea and have a wonderful event.

10. I am grateful for three small trees in my yard. Last year they were small; this year I decided to remove them, but could not – one of them turned out to be quite difficult to get out, so I left them alone. This morning I noticed that they started to bloom and they look so healthy, so alive, so awesome! Seriously! 🙂 I have no idea which kind of trees they are but I am grateful they are in my yard and thriving in it!

11. I am grateful for the relaxing Friday night. I have two weekend days to enjoy without going to work. I can walk, I can shop, I can have breakfast, I can clean and declutter my home, and I can just relax reading and contemplating.

12. I am grateful for chatting on the phone with one of my colleagues in another city. We have known each other for more than a decade and have been collaborating about several projects. It is awesome that we can both talk seriously about the work and then have friendly conversations and laughters.

13. I am grateful for thinking about cancelling the cable and subscribing to netflix instead. Not sure whether it is possible to stream with my old TV, but a phone conversation can answer that question.

14. I am grateful for all the pens, papers, notebooks, and other stationary items I have. I love, love, love them. Buying them, seeing them, and using them. Writing and reading are so integral to my life-style anything that propels and helps them is appreciated.

15. I am grateful for being abundant, safe, sound, and healthy. I am grateful for all the furniture, items, clothes and shoes I have that make my life easy and going. I am grateful for all the cleaning products and other regularly used-up items which I have stocked up and available for use when needed.

16. I am grateful that I kept up with some of the challenges today; I drank a fabulous cup of tea at the office today; enjoyed looking at the yard and trees several times; ate relatively healthy, and walked for 30 min on a beautiful day.

17. I am grateful for being grateful and expressing it.

Joy journal – April 19, 2015

1. I am grateful for getting up not late this morning.

2. I am grateful for going to my favourite cafe for breakfast. It become an habit to pick my laptop with me and work there. I am not sure whether this is good or not. Today I just did some email correspondence but no serious work. The nice thing is that the person at the counter (who was not the regular staff that we chat time to time, who pours my coffee right away as soon as I enter the shop), had made my coffee ready, too! It is great to go to the same places which are run by the nice people. they get to know you well and surprise you with this kind of gestures. Awesome!

3. I am grateful for calling my family and then catching the bus to go to a shopping mall. I felt like not staying at home this weekend, which is something new. I am not sure whether it is the boredom (i.e. doing the same things over and over at home), or the fact that the days are brighter and livelier. I just feel like spending more time outside than inside. I think that is a lot better than sitting on my couch 🙂

4. I am grateful for the nice notebooks I found on sale today; I bought two of them at a reasonable price. they are so cute! I am planning to give them to people I love as a gift.

5. I am grateful for buying a nice colourful card and a nice frame for someone as an engagement gift. I guess she will love both of them. until today I had never bought a gift for engaged people. I kept wondering; what kind of presents are given when someone gets engaged? Is this an appropriate gift? I have no idea 🙂

6. I am grateful for buying a thin but large-enough mat to place under my chair in my new office. my new office has a carpet, which is all nice and shiny for now. but honestly i do think it is not suitable for the climate where I am. In winter, the entire office area will be dirty and wet with the snow/rain etc. I would like to cover my floor as much as possible with washable or easily replaceable items. I still need to get a runner, which I can get maybe next week.

7. I am grateful for buying nice vases today; I could not get plants for my office today, but the vases are ready! One is yellow and the other one is red. They will give colour and life to my new office. Exciting!

8. I am grateful for buying myself a lunch at the mall. I was not particularly hungry today (as yesterday) when I bought the meal. I know I do that to pamper myself… But perhaps I can stop doing this as when I am not hungry, the meal does not taste that well, either. better buy myself meal when I am hungry 🙂

9. I am grateful for the book I have bought today. It is one the books of my recent favourite author. I did not think it was as great as the other two books I have got, but that is okay.

10. I am grateful for the back-pack and totes that make carrying the items easy.

11. I am grateful for not buying anything that I would not use or give away as gifts. I am happy with the fact that all I bought will be used and none of them are extra items.

12. I am grateful for having a healthy meal at home.

13. I am grateful for feeling kinda allright today. time to time I get negative mood, but I guess that is what life is.

14. I am grateful today is a Sunday, which allows me to take a rest and enjoy my day.

15. I am grateful that my home is warm, my couch is comfy, my socks and blanket keep me warm, my water is filtered, and my TV is in good working condition.

16. I am grateful for taking responsibility for my financial situation and cutting unnecessary expenses, starting today. I also happily acknowledge the things I do well in terms of frugality.

17. I am grateful for internet and this blog site. I came to read the stories by many people that I only know through here. I am still hesitant to interact by writing comments and replies, but I guess I am getting used to it. there are really nice people out there.

18. I am grateful for walking in and between the stores and carrying my stuff. both of these activities are supposed to be good for my health.

19. I am grateful that I did wait for the bus on the way back from the mall – almost an half an hour… It was chilly but i did not even think about taking a cab, which is quite pleasing. I think taking the bus is becoming my “normal”.

20. I am grateful that I was not lazy or had low energy or something, and could do all of these activities today.

21. I am grateful for being grateful today 🙂

joy journal – April 18, 2015

It is a relatively nice day with nice activities and new excitements.

1. I am grateful that I got up early (9 am), but not later. That gave me a chance to find something different to do.

2. I am grateful I went to the shopping mall by taking the bus. I am extra grateful that I could wait 30 min at home to catch the bus :).

3. I am grateful that I took my time to go through the stores, enjoyed my latte and breakfast, checked the bookstore and other stores. Even though I have not purchased a lot of stuff, it felt really good.

4. I am grateful for walking around 20 min to a thrifty store from the mall. I generally am either lazy or have low energy and walking even 20 min seems like an extra work for me. Yet, the motivation to check the books at the thrifty store was strong enough to let me walk there.

5. I am grateful for the books I have purchased. One is about a cancer patients recovery from this disease and the other one is about decluttering and simplified life. Cannot wait to read these books.

6. I am grateful I bought myself a meal before I returned back to home.I was not particularly hungry but felt like I pampered myself, so well done 🙂

7. I am grateful for cleaning and aerating my home today; always a great feeling.

8. I am grateful for the healthy meal I have had at home for dinner.

9. I am grateful for three more books arriving on the mail yesterday. It is amazing that the package fit into the mail box. Otherwise, the package could not have been left and I would have to go to the post-office to get it. I have one more book to receive, hopefully in the next few weeks.

10. I am grateful for planning to go to another shopping mall tomorrow. I plan to buy a runner and maybe one or two plants for my new office. I am so excited!

11. I am grateful for it is being a saturday and a quiet and relaxing day. I have nothing to take care of, other than finishing my laundry and reading my new books.

12. I am grateful for my blanket that keeps me warm in this chilly evening.

13. I am grateful for today being a warm and bright day; I almost sweated with the coat on. Spring is almost here, I can feel it 🙂

14. I am grateful for my clothes, furniture, house, job, salary and benefits, food, TV, computer, cable and internet connection.

15. I am grateful that I am feeling alright today and I am hopeful about tomorrow (as I plan to shop again) and about monday (as it will be the first day at my new office) 🙂

a spontaneous day

While I had thought about sleeping in today, I got up at 9 am.

There is something both nice and not-so-nice thing about getting up early and having all this time to spend (unless I work, I find it difficult to pass time; go figure…).

Anyways, I did not go to the same cafe today so made the decision to go to a shopping mall by bus. yes, I have taken the bus again, not the cab! Plus, how come I was not lazy and in fact could go to the mall, I have no idea 🙂

I went there, first bought myself a nice latte and my usual toasted bagels with butter breakfast. I enjoyed it very much. Then, browsed the book store and another store. I got a gift for someone I love dearly and then went to the dollar store. I always have great time at the dollar store – especially with the stationary items 🙂 of course I have got a couple of stuff that put a smile on my face and warmness to my heart. Well done.

Then, I went to two thrifty stores. Especially for books, both of the stores are awesome. I bought two books, but most importantly I bought a simple painting for my new office! The colours are great (natural brown, red, and green) and it pictures a balcony with grass and other green plants with a nice beige coloured window/shade at the background. I fell in love with it immediately and I cannot wait till Monday to bring it into my office and hang on the wall. I have another art-work at home that I really love, which I guess will look great in my new office, too.

Tomorrow, I plan to get one or two plants for my new office. One I will put in front of the window and the other on my file cabinet. Today I also looked for runners for my office; I kinda liked one with brown/red colours. The length and the price were all right, but I think I need something a little bit larger. I will continue to look for something nice. My office will be great, fresh and lovely. I hope I will be able to keep it organized, as I have a tendency to have a lot of paperwork around 🙂

It was a great day. I am excited that tomorrow I can go to another shopping mall and perhaps find a nice runner.

joy journal – March 28, 2015

here are my joyful moments/thoughts today.

1. I am grateful for getting up early. In the last few weeks I have been sleeping in quite a bit. That seems to have lifted this week. That is good as sleeping long hours actually does not make me feel good. It also leaves time for things to do and gives a sense of freedom to do things without rushing. Awesome.

2. I am grateful for the breakfast and the little work I have done at the cafe. Taking care of work makes me feel good; I feel like now I have more “time” for next week.

3. I am grateful for chatting with a colleague at the cafe; that place seems to attract many people I know from work. Lovely.

4. I am grateful for understanding that it was me who has not drawn a new and better direction for my life. It was me that created this routine and more importantly who sticks with it.. Why do I keep sticking the same things, even though I am not happy with them? For example, it is better that I do not eat carbs, like bagels, in the morning, yet it is my favourite (of course) thing to have at my favourite cafe. I checked it today; there is no non-carb/sweet thing in that cafe. I gotta change my breakfast habit and possibly the cafe I go. It is possible that I can still go there to drink coffee, but do not want to eat bagels anymore..

5. I am grateful for cleaning my home, even though I do not like it; once it is cleaned, however, it feels great. Dilemma.. I am also grateful that I have aerated my home – it was not that cold today so opening the windows for some time was okay.

6. I am grateful for cooking a healthy vegetarian meal for lunch and enjoying it.

7. I am grateful for making the decision to go for shopping this afternoon. It is quite a change as I usually go early during the day. well done!

8. I am grateful for taking the bus to and from the shopping mall. I was lucky in both cases and did not have to wait for them for extended periods of time.

9. I am grateful for catching some sales; I bought a nice slipper for my self for such a low price. I am really excited about it. Its colour is awesome, giving me joy.

10. I am grateful for all the stationary items and others I bought at the dollar store. I always enjoy going there. Not everything is great, but some stuff is and they are affordable.

11. I am grateful for leaving a couple of extra items prior to checking out. See, I can spend smarter.

12. I am grateful for seeing the snow. The day was warm, but as soon as I went to the mall, it started to snow. It is actually a great sight…

13. I am grateful for my backpack that makes carrying the stuff easy and practical.

14. I am grateful for my house being close to the bus stop.

15. I am grateful for  my books – the one I am reading right now is a great book. Its every page is coloured with a different colour and contains positive images. It is a great feel-good book.

16. I am grateful for the healthy and tasty salad I have had this evening.

17. I am grateful for listening to beautiful music with beautiful, positive lyrics. I want to surround myself with positivity, positive thoughts, positive experiences, positive people. Positivity brings in a positive perspective. Life is lighter, brighter, and easier to handle in a positive environment.

18. I am grateful for having the night to myself and today being a Saturday.

breaking the routine – March 28, 2015

I cannot say I did break my routine for today yet, but at least it is a constant idea in my mind. I know since I have been focusing on it constantly for some weeks now, I will eventually take steps to change. I just do not know when, or how.

But, an exciting prospect for me is to go to shopping this evening. I used to shop during the day – all the time actually. However, as soon as my laundry is done in an hour, I will take the bus, go to a shopping mall, and look around and purchase the items I need. I kind of missed seeing the city in late afternoon/in dark (walking back from office to home in late afternoon or in dark does not count). I want to see people around, in a relaxing environment as a shopping mall, and look around and say “there is life”. yes, there is life in the form of human activities, without thinking about the day that much, and I can actually enjoy it.

I am excited about this 🙂

breaking the routine (or not) – March 10, 2015

I have had a weird day; yesterday night I took my time browsing the net, writing, reading, and enjoying my time ; I had great time actually 🙂 only because I had decided I would not go to office today.

OK – so I took my time getting up as well – got up after 10 am. then the moment I stepped in my living room, I got bored; I did not want to go to my favourite cafe for breakfast, and I did not want to go for shopping!!

What happened to me I have no idea; so I went to office.

Now; is being spontaneous, i.e. going to the office today even though I had planned not to, considered “a change” or not?

If not, I have done nothing to break my routine.

weird. weird. weird day….

holiday plans – the change is here

Here are my plans for the 12 days off till after the new year;

1. I will have breakfast every single morning – you got it right; every single morning I will go to my favourite cafe and order my favourite breakfast with coffee. That is my dream!

2. The delightful breakfast will be followed by a visit to my favourite book store close by; I can find beautiful books, buy or browse them as I please. Cannot think about a more lovely time spent.

3. I will walk around, maybe check the shops, see whether there is something interesting I may be interested in. Now that I will have spare time, I will take my time going through the stuff and fully engage my mind with whatever is at my hand. A great mental break – lovely.

4. I will call and visit some of my good friends – I am really looking forward to this! Everybody including me is so relaxed during the holidays that it is a perfect time to enjoy each others’ company and laughter.

5. I will go to the malls and check all the sales I can find – now that is one perfect time to find the best items at an affordable price. Since time is not an issue, I can explore in more detail and find and purchase those that I may like. I really would appreciate getting new shirts and trousers for winter.

6. I will visit the thrifty store, too. There are so many stuff that are interesting in such stores. Especially household items, such as old china or kitchen tools and furniture. I have been always fascinated by the fact that if I want to have a sense of the past of the city I am in, the old items, either at houses belonging to the people, or those who are dumped at the thrifty stores, are an excellent way to do so.

7. I would like to knit a nice toque this holiday season – based on my past experience if I can decide of what kind of toque to knit, I can produce it in a single day. I think it will be red and orange yes the colours that give energy during the winter. Great idea.

8. I will clean my house really well – starting the 2nd floor rooms which are much easier to clean. I will clean the floors well – they are in good condition but a little bit of deeper cleaning would be nice to protect them from permanent dust.

9. I will de-clutter the house – yes I will. I can keep things but not those which are not needed any more. That will help my house breathe better; it will refresh it, it will energize it. Together with the unwanted/unneeded items, I will also dump my old scars and painful memories. As I create space for new items at my house, I will also open space for new beginnings and memories. That is the most exciting of all the activities I plan to do during the holidays. This will lift my heart and my mind.

10. I will start implementing better and healthier life style. I am usually okay in terms of eating good and at least walking every single day, but I can do a lot better. I will start daily light weight exercises, I will stop eating refined carbs, and I will start breathing and relaxing with music more.

11. I will call my friends and family members to catch up with people important for me.

12. I will donate the books I am not reading any more.

13. I will clean my email inbox; ever year this is one of the best practices I follow – just delete the unnecessary/temporary emails, organize and store the others that are important. Open space for new emails, new developments, new important communications! Open space! Awesome – so exciting 🙂

14. I will shuffle the furniture around a little bit – I would like see my home a little bit different – just to have a mental stimulation, a fresh look, a statement of “change is here”. You would not believe how useful this kind of changes are in making more profound changes in our lives. Go ahead, change something and find in yourself the courage and wish to change other aspects, whether it is relationship, habit, life-style, or hobbies.

15. I will review my year and note all things that I have been grateful for. That is a great exercise not only to feel grateful, but also to appreciate the year that is ending and to welcome the new one with hope and positivity.

joy journal – Dec 13, 2014

today has been a mixture of exciting and worrying events and news. Nevertheless, I will keep it up and try to see the positive side of the things.

1. I am grateful for sleeping till late – I woke up at 11 am; too late for me but it was quite resting. I am happy that my mind and my body got to get a break.

2. I am grateful for the warm weather – it was rainy a little bit but not too much.

3. I am grateful for trying the new cafe house close to my house – it is fresh and nice. During winter when the roads are snowy or icy, I may as well just go there rather than my usual cafe that requires a little bit walking.

4. I am grateful for taking the bus and going to shop. I loved it – I bought a number of stuff I liked or needed, which made the entire afternoon well spent.

5. I am grateful for buying glass plates that I had liked so much a couple of weeks ago – I had two and now bought four; I can serve dinner in these plates.

6. I am grateful for the porcelain mid-size long and thin plates I bought today; I can serve stuff in them. As a matter of fact, I served myself some food in one of them. It makes a difference – felt like a good treat. well done.

7. I am grateful for the  gift bags and gifts I have bought today – one for a good friend of mine and the other for my neighbour. I am sure they will like the gifts. The gift bags are particularly nice – I should get more. It is a delight to use them.

8. I am grateful for the salad I have had this evening – greens and with lemon-olive oil dressing. Very healthy.

9. I am grateful for carrying my shopping items with me – they were heavy but I know carrying heavy stuff around (without hurting myself) is a good way to strengthen my bones.

10. I am grateful for catching up with three of my high school friends – we had not talked for a while; everyone is all right and all is good.

11. I am grateful for the Saturday night – it is quiet and peaceful. It is still young. I can spend it reading books or watching TV or talking to my friends. There is freedom in it.

12. I am grateful for the second coffee I had today – shopping and drinking coffee; yes, it feels good.

13. I am grateful for missing to go to the book store; I could not go today so I really want to go visit it tomorrow. Maybe I will find a great book to read.

14. I am grateful for not rushing to clean and tidy up my home after returning back from shopping. I rather decided to enjoy my evening by a fine dinner and chatting with my friends.

15. I am grateful for tomorrow being Sunday – I have one more day just for myself.

16. I am grateful for the backpack I have – it is so useful during shopping. It does take quite a bit of stuff and make it easy to carry especially heavy things.

17. I am grateful for my house being warm during this early winter day.

18. I am grateful for writing what I am grateful for – it does reinforce the positivity and positive memories.

I am really looking forward to the holidays

I am really looking forward to the holidays so that I can take a break from work and my routine. I have to work three days in between the Christmas and the new year but the rest of the time I will spend to sleep in, get my favourite breakfast in the mornings, shop, and to clean and de-clutter my house.

De-cluttering; my favourite holidays activity! I am joking – it is only a quarter true. I am one of these people who would keep things. Once a year I take my time to go through stuff, dumb those not usable any more, and open space for new stuff. It is quite liberating, but sometime despite my best intentions, I cannot throw away things. Certain things still pile up I am afraid. So be it; I am not going to get crazy about things that can wait.

I am looking forward to moving furniture around and changing the living space, too. I am a creature of habit; usually keep my daily routine, whether it is the sequence of events during the day or the restaurants I dine in. Some degree of routine is good; it makes my life easier. Yet, time to time a fresh look or furniture arrangement can stimulate my mind and make me enjoy my surroundings more. So, let’s do that.

Shopping will be fun, too; hoping to catch sales. I love drinking coffee and going around the stores to shop. It makes me feel free; that is weird I know. But once you realize that I drink coffee only on my desk or at the breakfast place all sitting, you can understand why drinking coffee while walking and shopping make a unique and pleasant activity for me.

And as usual, I will take time to reflect on the passing year and develop great hopes for the coming one.

I am getting old now; each passing year makes me realize my mortality a little bit more. Should I be sorry for the days, weeks, years passed or should I be more sensitive to the coming ones? Commit to make the best of them? Realize that there are more in life than the career? See people I like more often? Forget and forgive more?

See? Holidays are great time to grow and change.

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