Intentions

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I’m in such a happy place.

It’s not often that I say that – more out of fear of exaggeration than out of accuracy – but I am so currently happy.

It’s 65 degrees outside for the second time since October. As I type this it’s 6:48 p.m. on a Wednesday, and the sun is STILL OUT, and I’m sitting in a coffee shop because I’m done with work for the day and I almost risked being bored tonight, which is also HAPPY. Let the record show there is room to breathe as myself. 

Also, hi again. Let’s be friends, shall we?

I’ve been wanting to share my intentions for this year with you. Continue reading

Photo Review – 2.8.2015

Evanston Beach

Hey there, from the other side of Chicago’s 5th largest blizzard. A week ago today, on Super Bowl Sunday, we got a hefty 19 inches of snowfall, and somehow… magically… that snow didn’t dominate my week. Maybe it was the friends who still swarmed our apartment Sunday evening, ready for football and beer. Or the new work project that meant I had to get through the heaps of snow, no matter that everything else was shut down. Or most likely, it was our beautiful 39-and-sunny end to the week that got Michael and I out of the house yesterday. Either way, my week was (you know it) goodIn photos… Continue reading

Hey there, from Chicago

Boots in Snow

I feel like I should be bracing myself for winter: That’s what everyone else told me to do. Brace myself for the times I won’t be able to leave the apartment and for the times I’ll be so miserable, I’ll wish I hadn’t moved here. Better yet! Brace myself for the months everyone gets fat under their floppy winter clothes. I wonder when these things will happen, because things here so far have been… good.

I know, I know. I hesitate using that word: good. Good is reserved for something you don’t like, but are being polite about. Good is often meaningless, said when you’d rather get through the conversation than truly be heard.

And despite that, good is how Chicago has been. Happy? I’m not bursting. Terrible? Certainly not. Not sad and not joyous, although I’ve felt all of these descriptors at one point or another. Moving has been… good.

And rather than provide a catch-up essay on the details (though highlights include Michael and I moved in together!; We live in the suburbs :/; Finding girlfriends is like dating! and I’ve got some pretty sweet resolutions for 2015), here’s the visual version… Continue reading

Leaving for Chi-Town and other updates

Hey! I know it’s been a minute. How are you? Here’s what I’ve been up to, and why you haven’t been hearing from me:

Blue Eyes Messy Hair will be relaunching soon. I’ve got myself a new design and even a new URL (to be announced), but there’s a lot of work to be done around transferring the old content from this website to the new one. So far, it sounds like this has to be done manually, which means… I need a nice chunk of time to get it done. But this is exciting! More details to come, but until that launch, expect content on here to be a little haphazard. :/

The Chicago move is just days away. We are really getting ready. In fact, Michael is officially moved out of his place, and last week we signed a lease on an apartment. Then yesterday we had a going-away party, which was just oodles of fun. Michael will be moving our stuff up (thank you, best boyfriend) in mid-August while I stick around Houston to keep working. Then we’ll meet up in Austin for a good friend’s wedding, blow it out that night, and fly to Chicago the next day. Peace out, Houston!…ish. I just found out I’ll then be working here until early October. Ah, the consulting life.

We got robbed. Actually, home invaded – the difference being that a “home invasion” happens when the robber enters your house while your’e in there. In our case, this meant while we were sleeping on a Wednesday night. Long story short, WE’RE OKAY and that’s what matters. And he took a lot of gadgets, which can all be replaced. Weirdest of these is that some of these gadgets (cell phones, iPad, etc.) were sitting right next to us while we slept. Yes, it was crazy. Yes, I’ve been able to sleep through the night since. At this point (a week and a half out) it mostly feels like a dream.

I’ve been launching myself into extra-curriculars, and it’s been stressing me out. I generally like stacking my plate a little too high, but lately it’s been too much. It started when I committed to a new workout schedule, which has been incredible. It ramped up when I signed up for a certification test for work, thinking I could just knock it out after a few week’s of study. (Wrong.) It escalated from there with a short but intense writing class (that I highly recommend!), which ended just as a photography class got going. Yikes! I’m actually a little mad at myself for committing to so much in such a short time, while I’m supposed to be moving and also, you know, doing a good job at work. I’m honestly ready for everything to be over. Get me to Chicago, let things calm down.

I hope you have a great rest of the summer! I’ll write again when things are a little calmer and hopefully will do so on the new site!!

Defining a Workout Schedule

I always reminisce about the height of my health. It was senior year of college, and that year I decided to make health a priority. I cooked all my meals, I didn’t procrastinate when it came to studying, and I kept a really regular workout schedule. Four days a week, the same classes every time. I felt great, and I got good at them. I got in great shape, and I had energy to spare.

Then I moved to New York, which threw my schedule off. Then I became a teacher, and suddenly working out took a back seat to lesson planning, grading and commiserating with my coworkers after hours. Cut to five years later, and with the exception of marathon training, I haven’t nailed down a reliable workout schedule… Continue reading

Cheap versus Frugal Living

When I first started this blog, I caught a lot of flack for my seemingly conflicted new year’s resolutions. I had goals for myself that included, among other things, adhering to a strict budget and eating more quality foods.

“I guess Whole Foods is off limits!” people would smirk. Because I was putting myself on a budget, they assumed there was no way I would be able to meet my food goal, which admittedly would require me to spend a little more on my sustenance. (Even in my own family, Whole Foods is sometimes referred to as “Whole Paycheck.”)

But it didn’t have to be that way: My goal of sticking to my budget and eating quality were not mutually exclusive. You see, the people who made comments about my inability to buy quality foods were overlooking something really important: the difference between being frugal and being cheap. Continue reading

Investing 101: Buy Low, Sell High {via The Rich Life}

Investing 101My favorite finance professor in college once gave me the sagest of advice: When it comes to investing, buy low and sell high.

So there you go – that’s it!

Okay, I’m just kidding… kind of.  Let’s talk about that. People get really nervous when it comes to investing. They think to themselves, “I don’t know anything about the market – I can’t invest! That’s for professionals.” And while it’s true that there are plenty of professionals out there to help you (for a nice fee), it’s not true that you can’t do it for yourself. I’m looking at you, Ms. English Major: You’re perfectly capable of doing this for yourself.

Whether you choose to get help or not, investing is a must. It’s the only way your money has the chance to grow significantly. We’re not talking just keeping up with inflation, we’re talking making a return that will give you a healthy and stable financial future.

And yes, there is risk. The greater the risk, the greater the potential reward. That’s life, and that’s also why any money you invest should be money you’re comfortable not seeing for at least a few years – my general rule is five. (For a recap on your option for investing in the short term, revisit this post.) And now, the rules… Continue reading

When Life Happens: Reassessing Your Budget {via The Rich Life}

When Life Happens Reassessing Your Budget

*Each month I contribute a personal finance column to The Rich Life, an online community for the practice of living a rich life with less stuff. Here is this May’s contribution.

Moving is a funny thing. There’s the excitement – that’s real. And the determination to make the most of it: new friends, new bucket list, new brunch spots… sign me up. Then there’s this cool thing I hear the river does in March, when it turns green to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, and city-dwellers come out en masse, crossing their fingers for an ease into spring. All right, Chicago, I’m in.

But there’s also the anxiety: Will I make friends? Is rent in the Windy City sky high? What exactly is a “down” jacket?

And, of course, the logistics. Little stuff, like changing your address with the bank, and larger, looming tasks, like packing up your kitchen.

Fortunately, it’s taking care of this logistical stuff that eases my anxiety around all things down jacket. There’s nothing like taking care of what’s in my control to feel like the rest will fall into place, and one of my largest tasks over the next few months will be to accurately reassess my budget.

Budget reassessment is the process of taking a good, hard look at my spending so far this year, project the expenses I expect, and changing my budget if need be. This is an excellent tool for someone undergoing a big change, like me, but really important in general as a way to stay on track.

So, whip out your budget , and let’s get going!  Here’s how: