Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! 2013 is the Year of the Snake, also known as the Junior Dragon. The Snake is known for being polished and aristocratic, with a love of fine things. This year’s element is Water, so the Snake in question is the Water Snake, which affects preferred colors a tad – blues, greys, and bluish greens are most appropriate this year, as are Snake’s preferred tones of glittery golds and silvers. Snake is a go-getter, and this year is going to be good for racking up achievements, if we’re up to the task…which I believe I am.
I’m sorry I’ve been rather spotty in my writing as of late. It’s been a particularly difficult few months. My freelance business is going well, work-load wise, but not so well pay-wise (in comparison). I’ve got two clients who pay pretty well, and I did get a raise at my day job, but I’m also working for free for my personal trainer and getting rather stressed out in all at the amount of hours I work vs. how much money I make. Soon it will be time to seriously attack that imbalance and figure out how to fix it, but for right now I’m just trying to focus on the fact that I am not my job, and my debt does not have to dictate my life.
The first big accomplishment of the New Year (Gregorian and Chinese) just happened this morning, and it directly applies to my financial problems. I paid off a credit card (!!!!!), and am actually getting ready to pay off a second credit card tomorrow. Can you believe it? I’m having trouble believing it, but it’s sinking in that I’m finally getting closer to getting rid of the debt that I can comfortably attack (we’re just not going to think about student loan debt – ever). Hopefully I’ll be getting paid from some stocks that The Man and I are waiting to get bought out, and I’ll be able to pay off a third credit card, at which point I’ll only have one more to pay.
My plan moving forward is to put all resources toward paying down this debt, and pretty much refrain from spending on much else. My only two major areas of expenditure in this new period of my life are going to be food (going vegetarian again on Wednesday) and on beauty items – lotions, makeups, and other personal care things. I’ll wait on buying new clothes until I’ve at least got the third card paid off and have started paying down the last one. By then hopefully the vegan diet and lots and lots of gym going/personal training will make it possible for me to buy smaller sizes and make the purchases worthwhile. After I’m done paying the credit cards, I can save up for my next big goals – braces (again, ugh), Lasik, and my trip to Santiago de Compostela.
I’ve been reading this incredibly excellent book lately called How to Look Expensive, written by the beauty editor of Glamour magazine, Andrea Lustig. It’s full of simple but (for me) pretty earth-shattering tips on how to play up your best features and really take care of your appearance without breaking the bank. Best of all, she doesn’t just give basic tips – she gives the names of the best products to buy in every category. So far with the help of this book, I’ve started sleeping on satin pillows (to help my skin retain moisture), started using Burt’s Bees Radiance eye cream (which actually has worked to lessen my dark circles), picked up Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm (amazing! color AND moisture all the time!), and started using this cool tubing mascara from L’Oreal that gives my eyelashes incredible length and doesn’t smudge or smear at all. I’ve been using moisturizer twice a day, and also I just started using Furlesse strips at night for my frown line between my eyes. With all of these changes, my skin’s starting to look a little younger, which of course I love
In other news, since this is turning into the longest blog post ever, I officially signed up for witch school today! I’ll be attending the Seasons of Avalon school starting a couple of days from now, and am thinking that since it’s something I’m passionate about, I’ll use it as a really great excuse to start waking up earlier every morning to get an hour of study time in. We’ll see!
Other things that are flitting through my pea brain today:
1) Documentaries – I didn’t watch enough of them during January, but it’s still my goal to watch them regularly. Started watching another one yesterday about burlesque, so I’ll keep up with my “Documentary Days” posts throughout the year, I guess.
2) Origami – a friend of mine recently started doing origami again, which makes me want to get back in the groove with creating pieces more regularly. I want to make things that I can sell or give away as gifts, so that’s going to be on my schedule in the next little while. Maybe earrings, or holiday ornaments? Not sure yet, but I’ll figure it out and let you know. Any ideas for me?
3) Travel – one of my best friends invited me to come along with her family on a trip to Seattle in the summer. I’m stoked!
4) Mardi Gras – today is Lundi Gras, and I’m really just worn out from the entire experience. I hadn’t realized how little I drink and go out now, and I’m really just not interested in hanging out in crowds. Don’t get me wrong – I still love costuming and celebration, but going out til 3 in the morning is really not my cup of tea anymore. I don’t want more than a couple of drinks (if that) and I don’t really like going out just to drink or go from bar to bar. I yearn for deep conversation, lots of laughs, and maybe some hijinks, but there’s really no one around to put me into that mood these days, other than my coworkers, and I can’t hang out with them 24/7.
5) Crime – While standing around on Saturday night at the parades, I saw two fights, including watching someone get punched in the face. Later that night, there was a shooting on Bourbon Street. Last week, a 30 year old woman was abducted from in front of her house, driven around the city for a couple of hours, beaten and raped by a 15 year old, 16 year old, and 18 year old. She lived about 10 blocks from me. The Man bought me a taser to go with my pepper spray. As much as I love living in this city, the ever-present threat of violence is getting to be a bit much for me.
6) Fitness – Starting Wednesday, I’m back to a very strict diet and an even more strict workout schedule. I’ve been seeing a personal trainer three days a week and going to a fitness boot camp on Saturdays, but as of Wednesday I’ll also be going to yoga five days a week on top of the rest, plus running at least 2 to 3 miles every other day. My trainer says that my body is made to be around 135 lbs, and I intend to pursue that and get at least half way there by summer. So there.