Cheapskate Tendencies

June 30, 2014

my cheapskate ways are showing themselves more and more lately.  i guess i am my father's daughter after all (even though he won't use gift cards.  whaaat?  i live for gift cards...)  personally, i call this 'frugal' but there's a few things that might get me featured on extreme cheapskates soon:

i pick up change.  it makes john crazy, but i always do it.  that random change laying in the street?  i get it.  even pennies.  last week i made him hold the elevator doors open so i could get the 11 cents that was trapped in the doors' grates.  what?!  if i picked up 11 cents every day, that's over $40 in free money each year.  in blogger terms, that's a free urban decay naked palette every year.  (the cover image of extreme cheapskates on netflix is a guy picking up change...oh here, found it for you.)

i won't pay fees.  on anything, ever.  i won't get cash out of a non-chase bank atm.  i won't get a credit card with an annual fee no matter what rewards they offer.  i make sure the minimum balance is always in my checking so i don't have to pay a monthly fee and ensure i never overdraft.

i won't buy magazines or books.  library, yo.  same reason i won't buy movies or music, just go rent it at the library.  not only is it free and what your taxes are paying for, but it has the added bonus of not cluttering up your house because you have to return everything.

i think paying for water is crazy.  get a brita filter water bottle and carry it everywhere.

i flat out refuse to go anywhere that charges cover.  i do not pay cover to get into bars.  ever.  it makes my blood boil, especially if it's more than $5.  i promise to spend that money on liquor once inside your establishment, but no way i'm paying just to enter your doors.  i think this is because the owner of an unnamed bar in iowa (cough, one eyed jake's) would take the cash earned from door fees and just go to vegas.  and truth be told, i rarely enjoy any place that would charge a cover.  it sets off a douche vibe from the start.

i ask for discounts.  i got this one from my dad, he won't pay full price for anything.  i always ask for discounts.  i ask my favorite restaurants for a loyalty discount, neighborhood discount, or maybe free chips and salsa.  i ask my favorite bars for a free beer because hey we just bought 3 pitchers.  john's all 'omg i can pay for 1 beer.'  that's not the point.  i don't even care if it's $1 off, it's still saving money.  i don't do this everywhere, but if i'm a loyal customer, i appreciate you acknowledging my repeat business.  with a free bonus ;)

i ask for it for the blog.  if it's something i really really want to try, i ask for it for free or for a discount in exchange for reviewing it here and telling you all my feelings on it (and my reviews of planners are the highest viewed posts on here.)  just ask - what's the worst they can say, no?

and here's where i'm not cheap - i still pay $25 for a 5 lb bag of food for hawkeye.  princess does not eat grainy processed kibble.  i never skimp on pet care.

tell me some of your cheapskate tendencies!  perhaps i'll adopt those too.

The Poll Results

June 24, 2014

i'm not surprised by the poll results.  they fell where i thought they would, for the most part.  the humor posts (like those random tuesday lists) got the most votes.  which is good and it's also probably why you read here because if you don't have a sense of humor and can't appreciate totally random list making, i'm not sure how you found me and you're definitely in the wrong place.  they're my favorite to write and favorite to respond to comments on.  other humor related posts (mini rants, ways to avoid people) also got high marks.

also on the high end were posts about organizing, simplifying, and my debt free story/budgeting tips.  all of those go hand in hand if you ask me.  i'm definitely happy to post more tips in these areas - i love my clutter free lifestyle and i love being debt free even more.  and obviously, i organize like a madwoman.  i'm fine with that.

the lowest vote-getters were the party related posts, like top shot recipes, theme parties, cocktail cupcakes, and chicago posts.  i anticipated this because, since the name change last year, i've been doing less and less party posts and definitely less readers expect them anymore.  this is also good because it means i have to bake less cupcakes.  i really only like to make them for holidays anyway, not every month, so i'm happy!  and clearly lazy but whatever, cleanup is a pain and i like to keep my kitchen spotless.

the one thing that got just as many votes as humor posts - more personal posts.  which i kind of threw on the poll last minute to test it out.  i am surprised you want more personal posts.  not that you want them in general, because it's human nature to be nosy (sure sure, 'connect with the blogger' okay yeah... nosy.  polite terminology for nosy.  it's fine.) but surprised that you want them from me.  because i haven't offered many before (five?), so maybe they'll suck and also because my life and lack of deep thoughts aren't really all that interesting.  i work, i dream of leaving the law so i can just organize other people's things all day, i come home, i play with hawkeye (read: we watch netflix and people watch out the window), i spend a lot of time with john and a fair amount with my friends and my parents.  seems pretty boring when you write it out in black and white, but there it is.  so i'm thinking you all took 'more personal posts' to mean 'more photos of hawkeye' in which case, she says 'le duh' and i say 'you got it, dude.'

but, i'll give it a whirl.  stay tuned.

An Honest Outline of My Morning

June 23, 2014

6:30 a.m. - the first of a series of alarms set to go off every 15 minutes sounds.  i turn it off anywhere from 1 to 7 times, 8:30 being the absolute latest i can get out of bed and still make it to work by 9 while also being certain my clothes aren't inside out.

7:15 a.m. - assuming the more-often-than-not 7:15 wake up time, i turn the alarm off and sort of begin to move.  i text john back saying good morning, since he's already been at work for 1.5 hours.  (i think i remember saying bye when he left at 4:45, but i can't be sure.)  hawkeye now knows it's safe to jump up on the bed - she knows from experience that if she tries too early, mommy is an angry elf and she gets tossed back to the floor.

7:16 - 7:20 a.m. - a barrage of puppy kisses, designed to (a) let me know i'm loved and (b) force me out of bed so she can have my pillow.  she promptly goes back to sleep.

7:20 a.m. - 7:30 a.m. - general bathroom things, including washing my face and getting my contacts in even though i can only pry open one eye at a time.  wet my hair a bit, twist it up into a clip.

7:30 a.m. - make coffee in the keurig before someone gets murdered.  start to drink it and can finally open both eyes at the same time.  what?  i'm totally a morning person.

7:30 - 8:00 a.m. - putz around on the internet trying to delay the inevitable putting on of pants and a bra.  this usually means earning some swagbucks, putting on makeup, and checking e-mail.  the current netflix binge watch of the week plays in the background.  this week, it's house.  occasionally, cereal or yogurt is eaten.  hawkeye emerges to finish it off.

8:00 a.m. - pout about it but put the pants and bra on.  luckily getting dressed takes 42 seconds because i line up all my clothes for the week like this.

8:02 a.m. - get hawkeye a fresh glass of ice water and a chicken strip, tell her i love her because duh of course i talk to my dog and she understands.  put the gate up so she can't quite reach the front door, because someone can't handle the responsibility and barks at the neighbors if she's allowed to be less than 4 full feet from the door.  grab my purse and lunch and head out.  down the fire escape stairs because i only live two floors up and am irrationally fearful of elevators.

8:05 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. - walk to work.  try to text people and respond to emails, realize i can't text and walk, switch to listening to music via the 8tracks app on my phone and judging people for walking too slow, bikers for their general asshat tomfoolery, and tourists for being in the way because ehrmergerd the middle of the sidewalk is not an appropriate place to come to a dead stop.  get bored, call my mom.  she's the only one awake in the same time zone who isn't also at or on the way to work.  listen to gossip about my family and dad's office and stories about her dogs.

8:30 a.m. - 8:35 a.m. - get to the office building and begrudgingly suck it up and hit 36 on the freaky elevators because i hate 36 flights of stairs more than i fear elevators.  take my hair out of the clip and appreciate that my pretty thick hair is now dry and wavy and looks like i actually woke up and tried.  head into the office and pray the red light on my landline phone isn't lit up, because that equals voicemails, and not the kind i can ignore like on my cell phone.  start my computer, sigh dramatically because the red light is always lit up, put my lunch in the fridge and get a second cup of coffee and try to accept the fact that i must now begin the work day and actually turn my brain on.

and perhaps one day i'll tell you what happens next.  ahh the start of a new week.  is it 4th of july yet?

10 Best // Ways To Avoid People

June 19, 2014

1. netflix.  i'm lined up to watch approximately 74 nic cage movies that i somehow missed.  probably because they never made it to theaters.  but i must watch everything nic cage so stolen, seeking justice, and frozen ground are all up next.

2. laugh.  because you realize it could have been written about you...

3. organize.  your small spaces!  tons of cute ideas.  when i move in with megan in august, we'll be sure to implement some... probably the wine closet.

4. bake.  my cotton candy vodka cupcakes.  call it a practice round before the 4th of july.

5. lists!  so many lists.  i love lists.  it's pretty fun to see just how many ridiculous 90s shows you remember.  or track your reading with the rory gilmore reading challenge (which is going on my next 101 list.)  trust me, this site is addicting.

6. learn.  personal financial moves you should be making.  it says by age 30 but you're never too young or old to take control of your finances.

7. win.  $125 worth of stuff, either stubhub, victoria's secret, or both!  chances are, if you're reading this, you already have an entry.  go on now!

8. swagbucks.  sign up if you haven't yet and check back tomorrow for more tips to help you earn more free money even faster.

9. and if all that fails, nap.

10. and one last thing - if you have time (.... 35 seconds approximately) take this little poll for me?  tell me what you want to see more of and less of on this blog.  the poll is simple, it has all my topics listed.  you can pick as many or as few as you like.  topics with the highest votes stick around!  if you aren't sure what a topic is, you can check the drop down list at the top of the blog and see all the posts i've written in that category.  and feel free to let me know what you like or don't like in the comments too if you want.  i promise, you can't hurt my feelings.

What do you like reading about? free polls 
(all the topics will probably stay in some form, just getting a feel for how often!)

happy (people free) weekend!

Chicago // Summer Fun

June 18, 2014

sometimes, it seems like i'm a summer hater.  i'm not.  i do like the fun things it offers.... i just like winter better.  but, there are some great things chicago has to offer that can really only be taken advantage of in the summer.

(the view out my old window. just the usual wednesday night fireworks at navy pier.)

1. if you've never been, then by all means do the touristy things - taste of chicago, the air and water show, fireworks at navy pier.  they've lost their luster for me but as a newbie, i loved them.  you have to experience them at least once.  sorry you couldn't do it when i did back in the late 90s and was front row (taste = free concerts) for the wallflowers.

2. movies in the park.  they're totally free entertainment, short of what you decide to bring yourself like blankets, chairs, or snacks.  i happen to live directly next door to a movie in the park location, so i might be biased.  (i also watch it out my window because i know hawkeye pees in that park...)

3. street fests!  my favorite way to spend time, obviously.  you can find multiple street fest every single friday, saturday, and sunday from now until mid september.  of course, i suggest the ones 16 candles and stache play at.

4. watch a cubs game from a rooftop.  the surrounding buildings see into the field and have bleacher seats up top to sit and watch.  they also have indoor areas and your ticket includes food and beer.  and you better do it while it lasts, because proposed renovations to wrigley field could majorly if not totally block all the rooftops.  it's a big fight.

5. italian ice on taylor street.  (little italy)  it's mandatory, if you ask me.  there's nothing that compares so do yourself a favor and just trust me on this one.  go to taylor street.  it's a quick cab ride from the heart of downtown and totally worth it just for the italian ice alone.  but there's also amazing italian food and fun bars.  i'm partial to a little place called... hawkeye's.  (seriously.  it exists.)

i guess i better head out and check things off my own list.  it'll be winter here soon enough!

But Really, Who Would You Meet?

June 16, 2014

have you ever given an answer to the 'if you could meet anyone, dead or alive?' question?  i think you're supposed to have answers like jesus and ghandi.  i don't.  sure, i have some questions for jesus.  but maybe it's better to remain a mystery.  even so, he wouldn't be top of my list.  my list is way more superficial than that.  so if you could pick the people you wanted to meet without all the pressure of trying to sound sophisticated, who would you really pick?  my top 7 are:

-the queen of england.  she judges people so hard and i just love it.  kate is cool i guess, but i'd rather befriend the queen.  and then move in, because hawkeye was meant to be royalty.  she'll show those corgis what's up, i'm sure they don't even know.

-joshua jackson.  the mighty ducks, dawson's creek, ronnie & julie, fringe, cruel intentions, the skulls, i mean - we have a lot to discuss.  i need insider details on emilio estevez and katie holmes.  and tear, paul walker.  from someone who's nice to look at, obviously.

-ronald reagan.  my favorite president ever.  (sorry washington.)  i love that man, he'd be at the top of my list.

-john denver.  i need more songs from him and therefore i'd like to meet him just for a minute to say 'don't get on the plane man!'

what, can't i want to be friends with fictional characters?

-brink.  i mean, i could put erik von detten and his fabulous hair in the living category, but if he didn't have the personality of brink in real life then i'd be sorely disappointed.

-dexter.  i've got a list for him.  we'd be buds, i'm certain of it.  and i'm way less judgmental and more emotionally stable than deb, so i think it would work out.

but mostly, i just want to meet christopher walken.  i can't explain my adoration of christopher walken.  it just exists.  oh wait, right, i remember.  because this.

10 Best // Life Lately

June 12, 2014

1. street fest season is back!  i'm so glad, i've missed it.

2. date day at navy pier.  he did not let me win at mini golf.

3. pinterest - my pin boards are beautiful.  i went through and majorly overhauled everything and deleted 200 pins so now everything has the correct link and is on the right board and the board covers make sense and it's all in alphabetical order.  #ocd.  i don't care, i love when everything is organized!

4. netflix - did anyone else binge the new oitnb?  oh right, everyone.  i love that show.  i guess my real question is, did anyone not binge watch it?  is anyone actually spacing them out, taking it one at a time?  because that would be the ultimate test in willpower right there.  which i would fail, obviously.

5. simplifying - i promise i'm alive, for those of you who've asked (and yes, people have actually been concerned or at least noticed my slowed down pace of posts.  that's cool.)  i call this 'summer hours,' where i'm really only posting 3 times a week instead of 4.  ok, sometimes it's been 2 times a week.  i claim street fest busy-ness and a myriad of other things (oitnb, for example) but it also has to do with simplifying.  i think the blog should reflect my more minimalist life, so i'm phasing out 4/5 days a week posts and also sponsors.  1 more month, then bye bye!  ahhh simplicity.  it's good for you too, less to read and also the quality of each post goes up the more time i have to work on it (novel concept, i know.)

6. surprise, no reason flowers - they also came with chocolates and bath salts.  love that man.

7. giveaway - if you haven't entered yet, i posted a giveaway yesterday for $35 to starbucks.

8. swagbucks - safe to say, i'm obsessed.  i love free money.  i cashed in $100 to amazon and bought john a blackhawks beer pong table for his birthday (july 5, he already knows though.)  i've almost got christmas 2014 paid for.  i started swagbucks on april 10 of this year and so far my earned, cashed in total is $325.  yes, in 2 months.  over $300 in free money.  if you're not signed up yet, quit waiting.  if anyone is interested, i can definitely do more posts on how i earn or answer any questions.

9. 101 in 1001 list progress - i'm at 68/101!  i think the ones i checked off since the last update were regularly getting my nails done (i alternate each month either getting them done or doing them myself), setting up a hawkeye savings account for vet bills, and going to see a psychic, which my friend julie and i randomly decided was a good plan while we were at happy hour at rush and division and saw a sign above a subway.  seemed legit.  she was dead on with julie but way off for me.  it was still really fun though!

10. "you can't sit with us."

happy weekend!

Get Organized // Pets

June 10, 2014

ahh the kryptonite to my perfectly clean and organized apartment - hawkeye.  god knows i love that little furball but home girl is a mess.  food scattered around the bowl, crumbs on my kitchen floor, toys laying all around.  i haven't counted, but i'm quite sure she has more things than i do.  one day, i will get that little bugger totally organized.  she'll probably need her own room... anyway, until that day, i'm always on the hunt for ways to organize pet products!  so in addition to the hand vacuum for her crumbs, here's what i recommend so far for keeping the pet clutter under control:

have a designated pet station.  currently, the hawkeye pet station is her own cupboard in the kitchen.  it has her monthly meds, her treats, stuff to groom her should she decide to let me, her leash and collar, her elf costume.

it's not the prettiest set up but i love that everything is in one spot and all together.  although i fear that i'm one of those people that will ultimately have this:

hrh would be pleased.

don't forget the paper trail.  for a dog who has never been seriously sick or injured (knock on wood), princess sure does have a paper trail.  i keep no papers on myself, but i keep all her shot records, prescriptions, even a list of instructions when she has to go to boarding (they don't seem to understand that she really won't drink water for 2 days if you don't give it to her in a cup.  bowls are for peasants.)  i write everything in the pet.doc notebook but you can easily make a binder with your own printables.

have a toy box.  i love this thing.  it's from petsmart, it's made by the martha stewart line.  it's soft sided and collapsible and one side has the dip so they can stick their heads in and pull out what they want.  there may or may not even be a video on instagram of hawkeye pulling out a chunk of chicken she had buried in there.  (there is.)  hoarder.

true story - i have now taught hawkeye to put the toys away into the toy box.  she gets treats when she does so now i think she takes them out just to put them away again and get fed.  hey, whatever works, my friends.  whatever works.

so tell me fellow animal and organization lovers, what do you do to control the pet mess?

Things I Actually Feel Guilty About

June 9, 2014

i've confessed some stuff here on the blog before, but it's been things i really don't mind doing.  does it count as a confession if i'm more like 'eh, yeah i do this, what of it?!'  so today you get my real confessions.  at least, the things i do that i actually feel really guilty about.

-i quickly change the channel when aspca commercials come on (who doesn't?) and not only that, if i see what i already know is or can tell is going to be a sad pin on pinterest about animal abuse, animal cruelty, or a just plain sob story about something sweet and heroic a dog did, i skip past it as fast as possible.  same goes for articles, videos, news stories, anything that i know is going to make me cry.  because they all make me cry.  i know i should be supportive and if i could throw all my dollars at saving animals, i would.  but i can't watch it or read about it.  i already know it's going on and i already know it breaks my heart that i can't save them all.  sitting through more is just torture, but i still feel guilty when i try to get it off my screen as fast as possible.

-i sometimes skip reading blog posts.  sometimes i forget to read on fridays so when i come back to my bloglovin on monday morning, it's on major overload.  i have a tendency to hit 'mark all as read.'  i feel bad that i can't read everything i would want to, but i just don't have the time and i don't like the stress.

-occasionally, 'i just don't have the time' means 'i've been scrolling through pinterest for an hour.'

-i rarely waste money on gossip magazines, but if there's a teen mom on the cover, i'll generally buy it.  (unless i have time to read it in the aisle of walgreens on my lunch break, of course.)  i'm almost 30 so yes, i feel guilty caring about and encouraging terrible teen mom updates because let me assure you, they are never ever good.

-i feel guilty wasting money on a smartphone.  i text, i take photos occasionally, i check email.  i use the chase app and play evil apples.  oh and i set my alarm.  clearly, i do not need a smartphone.  even more so due to the fact that if it's after 5:30 on a weeknight, good luck getting my attention on it, it's in the charger in another room.  i never check it.

-i pin awesome recipes and love saving money, but i would rather eat out or order in any day of the week.  grocery shopping and cooking will just never be my thing.

-my other money pit is candles.  i feel the guilt pangs every time i buy (yet another) new one.  i don't know why i can't stop.  damn you bath and body works.  damn you.

-i overuse the mute button on twitter.  oh wait, i don't actually feel guilty about that.

well that was cathartic.  maybe i can let go of the guilt now.  let me go mark everything as read on bloglovin and i'll report back.

My Most Annoying Traits

June 3, 2014

i write posts fairly often about things other people do that annoy me.  (and they annoy everyone else in the world, let's be honest, people should stop committing all of my pet peeves.)  but you can't laugh at others if you can't laugh at yourself, right?  so here's the truth - i do things that annoy the crap out of myself.  or at least, i can realize that they annoy other people.

- i fall asleep in cars almost immediately.  my mom says she used to put me in my car seat and i'd be asleep by the time she got to the driver's side door.  so i guiltily admit that i have to be the worst person ever to road trip with.  i guess no one has really driven very far with me besides tara and natalie, and i stayed awake those times.  natalie because we jammed to 90s music the whole way and tara because we filmed most of it for our previous website/show, the steph and tara show.  but the drive megan and i are going to make to nashville?  i'm lucky it's my birthday or she'd probably whack me awake 14 different times.

- i lose my keys or lock myself out at least monthly.  my door automatically locks behind me and somehow i leave my keys sitting inside more often than i care to admit.  i did it in my dorm, annoying my floormates.  i did it in my sorority house, annoying my roommate.  said roommate and i then moved into an apartment together, she hid a key for me outside.  i did it senior year, annoying my other roommate.  and since moving to chicago, i have done it in every. single. apartment. making the poor door and maintenance staff unlock it for me - but i feel less bad because if it's not business hours they charge me $50.  you think i'm locking myself out at 3 pm?  no folks, try 3 am.

sorry, former roommates

- i say like too much.  all the time.  even in blog posts and tweets.  i've tried to stop in the past but i've totally given up because i can't seem to stop.  i annoy myself with it, so i'm certain it annoys everyone around me.

- i am completely intolerant of any sound coming from a child.  screaming kids in restaurants, sure, pet peeve of everyone.  but i'm talking like... an extra loud laugh.  anywhere outside disney world, i will shoot the parent the dirtiest look ever.  i just cannot stand children.  i'm sure those parents get annoyed with me and my heavy sighs and pointed stares but... i'm actually not at all sorry about this one.  kids suck, yes even yours.  dogs forever.

- the number of times i burn myself with a curling iron.  you'd think i'd have it down by now.  and the number of times (hint: it's equal) that i complain tirelessly of said burns.  so i'm a dumb ass, and an annoying one.

- i have to remind myself constantly to like photos on instagram besides those of pets.  i can't help it, i just scroll until i find a pet photo!

- and one more about my pet love - i talk about hawkeye constantly.  pretty much anything you're talking about, i can bring hawkeye into the conversation.  i know, i know:

what about you?  what annoying traits can you recognize in yourself?

Nope, Not a Good Idea

June 2, 2014

ah monday night once again, and checking things off my to do list that seemed much more manageable and potentially enjoyable while i was a work.  now that i'm actually home... not so much.  i don't know why i always fall for my mind's sneaky tricks.  housework isn't the only thing either.  i'm constantly thinking something is a really great idea only to be let down minutes later.  and no matter how often this happens, i keep giving those things 1000 chances.  for example, take my (incomplete) list of things i always think are going to be much better than they actually are:

leftover chipotle.  or leftover taco bell.  or leftover mcdonalds mcflurries.  you get the idea.

tuesday at 2 a.m. and 'just one more episode.'

clothes from forever 21.

cutting hawkeye's nails by myself.

touristy places in chicago, particularly on the weekend.

pay per view wrestling that isn't wrestlemania or royal rumble.

shots.  really, any kind ever but especially the ones that you think you really want after 6 beers and that smell suspiciously like jameson.

high heels.

shots while wearing high heels.

high end mascaras.

jillian michaels workouts.

life updates on any of the teen moms.

new seasons of real world.

pretty much anything on mtv besides awkward.

and the project i took on yet again today that i thought would be easy and actually resulted in deleting a good 200 pins, organizing my pinterest.

just me?  i doubt it.  what's on your list?

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