Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Playing Catch-up: Life

Honestly, I've been neglectful at updating this blog for a few reasons.

1. I'm moving jobs in 2 weeks (from yesterday)

2. I'm moving house in a month (yay!)

3. I haven't really felt much like writing, even my novel and my articles have fallen by the wayside. (Sorry Matt & Chels)

Life is really crazy sometimes, and it just likes to throw things at you out of nowhere.

So this is just to advise you that I have not abandonned ship.

I plan to get back into the swing a bit more the next week or so.

Until then, read my other stuff, since it's fantastic.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chasing Dreams Step 1 Update #4 + Step 2

Sorry for the delay, yesterday was a busy day! I have a job interview this morning, and I also will no longer be dropping my daughter off at daycare in the mornings. The girl we babysit for in the evenings is willing to do a trade, so hopefully that will help my lateness become less of an issue, particularly in the winter when there is no sunlightl.

So anyways, here is my update from the last week about my dream chasing:

Thursday July 5: Done!
Friday July 6: Partially done (did 14 pushups, skipped the crunches, everything else done)
Saturday July 7: Nope
Sunday July 8: Done!
Monday July 9: Done (14 pushups)
Tuesday July 10: Nope, did some cardio though
Wednesday July 11: Done! (14 pushups)

4.5/7 this time. I figure I'm doing pretty good at managing 4-5 days a week, which is wicked. My goal is to do a 20 minute Zumba workout in the mornings, which may start next week or the week after. I have definitely noticed changes in the way my body feels and looks, and WW has also noticed that I look a bit trimmer. Woo! Progress!

Time to bump it up some more:

50 jumping jacks with Zumba toning sticks in hand
15 pushups (still working on making it all the way down for the full 10)
15 crunches/sit-ups
15 wide-legged squats

Now that I have a fairly good routine going on with step 1, on to step 2 of chasing dreams.

I want to be published in print. To do so, I need to write, and I need to put myself out there. First off, I want to finish my novel. So step 2 part 1 is: Work on the novel (whether it's writing, brainstorming, editing, etc) every single day for at least 15 minutes.

Then when I update here, I have to say what I was doing (whether it was writing, editing, etc).

Now, when I do my update next week, there will be two parts to it. The update for step 1 (health) and the update for step 2 (writing/publishing).

Hope you'll follow along and share your steps toward chasing down your dreams!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Monthly Budget Breakdown: June 2012

Budgeting for dummies... or something. Since I started keeping track of money (again) in June, I figured maybe I could do an update of sorts too. Keep things interesting. Everyone has money (or doesn't...), and everyone needs to use it to buy stuff they want.

Learning how to spend it smart is one of the best things that my mom ever taught me. It comes to my attention now and then that the general public has no idea how to determine the cost by weight/mass of an item in a store. They also tend to have no clue how to tell if something is a good price or not (hint: if the "sale" is 20 cents off... it's just publicity).

So, I'm going to update my monthly budget here.

June's budget was the following:

Rent: 1110.41
Rogers/Hydro/Telus: 131.08 (had to pay 2 months worth of Telus since I neglected to pay for it last month... thankfully I just pay my dad since the account is in his name and the payments are automatic)
Car payments: 212.62
Various insurance: 160.51 (car and life)
Daycare: 221.34
TFSA Savings: 200 (ING is great for keeping money out of sight and safe)
Entertainment: 30.53 (netflix and zip memberships... we don't have cable)
Groceries: 420.20 (was aiming for less than 400$ so I've got to get that under control)
Dining out: 294.86 (family came into town, so we happily took them out on our dime :) other than that, we spent less than 150$ on restaurant food)
Gas: 77.85 (way less than I thought it would be! maybe our car is more efficient than I thought!)
Smokes: 44.43 (I always budget 60, just in case)
Psych: 850 (some will be reimbursed, and switched providers as well to one less expensive)
Dental: 60
Car (other): 53.65
Other: 55.51

Total expenses: 4062.99

Salaries: 4648.87
Babysitting: 95
Total: 4743.87

Difference: 680.88

Now, you may be wondering why I wouldn't put that difference in a savings account or use it to pay off the car loan. For now, since my job situation is less than secure, we are working on increasing the amount we have in our general use account. Until we know if I will have a job in October, any difference in income versus expenses is going to be kept aside and not invested. That way, we will have a buffer of cash (kind of like an emergency fund) in the off-chance that I won't be able to find a job for a month or two. That way all of our expenses will still be covered, and we will not go into debt.

The number one way I save money in a month is by controlling grocery spending and not eating out. I know that sounds like two separate ways, but they are intrinsically connected. I always make sure I have a lot of cheap food in the house from groceries to minimize how often we resort to going to restaurants for eating. By cheap, I mean quality but inexpensive. Very few of the items in my pantry/fridge/freezer are no name or store brand. We are almost always able to get the name brands because we wait for them to be cheaper than e store brands. No crappy toilet paper (tehe... pun intended) in our home, and no off-brand ketchup to ruin sandwiches.

Once the job situation is sorted out, the extra float money in waiting will be applied to the car loan as a lump sum. Hopefully we'll be able to drop a few grand onto the balance, shortening our financing term a year or two. We shall see.

All it takes is patience and good money management. And of course, a wife (WonderWife, even) to keep her manic wife from spending all their money on fabric and beads. *grin*

Goal for next month (July): bring total expenses down unter 3500. Bring it on.

Got budgeting plans or ideas? Helpful hints or concerns with money? Share them here, bring finances out of the dark and into the light. Help can only be found when people know that it is needed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Weekly(ish) Know-It-All Wrap-Up June 15-July 6

Here's a wrap-up for the past few weeks.

I wrote one piece on Helium about How to help if someone has a panic attack in the middle of a crowd. I took this one kind of to heart, because I have had a panic attack in public, and it is very embarrassing. I also added one today on Total body workouts for beginners, since I am doing that for myself anyways!

On The Golden Vanguard, I started a new series called "Owning vs. Renting" and started with the pros of renting. Knowing all the sides to an important decision can make all the difference in how you end up, so I'm doing a separate piece for each pros of and cons of both renting and owning property.

Aside from that, I've done about 6 gigs on Fiverr, for a total of 24$. Seems like only a little money, but keep in mind that each gig takes about 5-10 minutes, so 24$ for about 60 minutes, is pretty darn good.

I also did some art in the past few weeks, and have since posted it on DeviantArt (because I'm awesome). Here is a beginning of one of the more intricate pieces I've started: Destruction. On a different note, this one was thrown together on a really bad day, emotionally. I called it: Inside Voices.

Other than that, I've been working at my novel slowly but surely. Plugging away at it. The characters are starting to develop deeper personalities and quirks, which I like. I never really know which way they're going to go until I start getting it out in writing. My main character seems really lame until you start reading, so maybe I'll find a way to make her more interesting in the beginning.

Thanks for reading, let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Movie Review: The Avengers

WW and I finally got to get out just the two of us for some "adult time" and so we went on a date! To the movies! And we saw:

The Avengers!

Yes! Absolute nerd-gasm going on just at the thought of seeing it, so despite the fact that it was released to theaters forever ago, I still got to see it on the big screen. Awesome.

Anyways, as for the actual movie, it was incredible.

1. Robert Downey Jr. IS Tony Stark. No one could ever play him better. The sass, the attitude, the natural looking facial expressions. Just such perfection for depicting the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.

2. Mark Ruffalo redeemed himself in my eyes. I despised his character in The Kids Are Alright, and he just seemed like a boring, lame, stupid-funny actor with no depth. But oh my god did he ever pull the Hulk off like a boss. Seriously. I love Edward Norton, but Mark Ruffalo is definitely a better Hulk, both in human form and Hulk form.

3. Hawkeye was not that boring, he actually had some depth and important moments. Not to mention he made Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) show off some of her humanity and backstory. Good stuff.

4. Loki. Oh my Marvel!

There were some sad moments as well, which I can't really share without screaming SPOILERS so I won't. But deep stuff, very well made.

The entire movie was chock full of quality one-liners and funny moments, while also showing the struggle and the depth of the plot. It was pulled off extremely well in my opinion, and I look forward to the next one. But they had better use the same actors/actresses. Seriously.

Have you seen the Avengers? What did you think? Share, share, share!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Chasing Dreams Step 1 Update #3

My god I am boring lately! Holy crap! I swear, hopefully soon I will start posting some more interesting diatribes... Maybe... Well I'll try.

So anyways, here is my update from the last week about my dream chasing:

Thursday June 28: Done!
Friday June 29: Partially done (skipped the crunches/situps)
Saturday June 30: Negative, but took a 20 minute walk
Sunday July 1: Nope, but took a 15 minute walk
Monday July 2: Holiday Monday, sheesh I didn't do anything!
Tuesday July 3: Done!
Wednesday July 4: Done!

3.5/7 isn't that like 50%? That's a PASS! WOO! Yeah... I'm reaching.

So, since I still have soreness going on with this routine, I'm going to continue it. I think that tracking it is ACTUALLY making me more accountable, because before I would say I was going to exercise more regularly... and didn't. But since I'm reporting it here (even though no one reads it) I feel more obligated.

This is the routine, in case you're too lazy to check the last update:

50 jumping jacks with Zumba toning sticks in hand
10 pushups (still working on making it all the way down for the full 10)
10 crunches/sit-ups
5 wide-legged squats

Work in progress!

I know I also haven't been writing like... anything lately, anywhere. My weekly wrap-ups haven't been happening... because I haven't really been writing. At least not outside of my novel, that I'm not posting because I would love to publish it when it's done. It will be awesome.

Still willing to share character write-ups though, if there's interest.

Anyone else chasing their dreams one step at a time? Chime in!