Digging

Here’s what I’m digging this week…

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$3 apothecary jar from Target!

Money Diaries: I’m obsessed with this feature from Refinery 29. They interview a huge variety of women (usually in their 20s or early 30s) living in different parts of the country (some are actually living abroad), with varying salaries, and have them list out everything they spend money on during a one-week period, diary style (they also have special editions where they document longer timespans). I think it’s fascinating to read how other women around my age spend their money – it also makes me feel a little better about the amount of money I spend on a weekly basis (sometimes I feel like I’m throwing fistfuls of cash out the window, when everyone else is stacking piles in savings). Plus, I’ve always been a major voyeur/snoop, so I love reading pretty much every detail of someone else’s day. What can I say, I love the mundane!

Halloween Candy – Especially the Reese’s Cups that have Reese’s Pieces in the center?!! I had never tried them before, and now my world has been changed. Ugh. Oh, I also bought the bulk of our candy to hand out from the dollar store this year like a goddamned genius – I rarely think to wander into the dollar store (I know, I know – it’s like a religion to some people), but this year for whatever reason I did and saved a TON of money. We hand out a combination of full-sized bars and snack sizes (for when the big boys run out), and I scored a huge variety by buying the full sized bars individually instead of in a variety pack this year (I usually buy a variety pack from Target that has Snickers, Reese’s, Twix, and Hershey bars) Last year has been the only year we’ve had a decent amount of trick or treaters (I blame the fact that we live across the street from a school’s soccer field, meaning there are no houses on the opposite side of my street – plus our house is set back from the road)…but last year, we ran out of candy, so it looks like word may have gotten out that we hand out the good stuff. My dreams of being the witch from Hansel and Gretel are coming true!!

Target’s The Dollar Spot – I’m not sure if they still call it that, but I’m talking about that little section by the entrance with a bunch of inexpensive odds and ends (I think everything used to literally be a dollar, but it’s not anymore). They’ve really stepped this section up recently. In the past few weeks, I’ve purchased a beautiful tan plaid blanket scarf (I don’t remember exactly how much I paid, but it was $5 at most), several brown apothecary bottles that I’ve been using as vases for $3 each, 3 mason jars with copper closures for (I think) $3 each (I use them to hold ground coffee and Jeff’s Stevia packets), and some chalkboard labels for like $1. This section used to be full of, basically, crap (little junky toys and candy, mostly), but now there’s tons of seasonal decor and crafty stuff…I never pass it by these days.

Jessica Seinfeld – Yep, Jerry Seinfeld’s wife. “Eh?” you say? Well…She. Is. Wonderful. She’s super cute and witty and self-deprecating, she seems like pretty much the nicest person on earth, you’d never know she has about 17 billion dollars (I do know that Jerry Seinfeld has always been described as one of the most down-to-Earth celebrities out there), she does tons and tons of charity work, and she just re-launched her website , which is full of delicious, beautiful, healthy, easy recipes. I’m so smitten that it’s causing me to write in insane run-on sentences.

Plantain chips – Yum.

This Is Us – This show was a bit of a slow start for me – I LIKED it at first, but it was just a tad bit too sappy for my taste. That said, I NEEDED something to fill the void in my TV viewing life left by Parenthood a couple years ago, so I kept watching, knowing that most shows start off a little slow and get better as characters and storylines develop. Well, boy was I right. This show is effing wonderful. Jeff’s even into it, and he is definitely not big into sap (although he weirdly tends to enjoy shows and movies made for teenage girls?) I’m also very into Divorce with SJP, which I thought was going to be a drama but is actually hysterical.

 

 

Digging

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Here’s what I’m digging lately…

Novels – I was a voracious reader growing up (and when I say “voracious,” I mean my parents literally had to pry the books out of my hands for fear I would ruin my eyes from constantly having my face shoved in a book). Since my early 20’s, I shamefully haven’t had the attention span to read as much…I blame the Internet. But, when I did read, I tended to gravitate towards non-fiction (quite a departure from my novel-loving younger days). I still do love a good memoir or comedy book (or even a well-written cookbook), but I’ve been getting more into fiction recently – I just devoured The Girl on the Train, among a few other thrillers, which has been my genre of choice of late. Jeff is overjoyed – he’s a huge reader himself, and almost exclusively reads fiction. He read The Girl on the Train immediately after I was finished, and we’re going to see the movie tonight – so excited!

Onion & Chive Cream Cheese – Random, I know. I’m a huge fan of breakfast in general – it’s probably my favorite meal of the day. I eat the same thing almost every day at work – oatmeal from my work cafe’s breakfast bar, topped with berries, toasted coconut, a little brown sugar, and a spoonful of granola. I usually stick to yogurt at home on the weekend, but yesterday on a whim I picked up a package of plain bagel thins and an assortment of whipped cream cheese spreads, mostly for Jeffrey. Let me tell you – that onion and chive cream cheese really hit the spot. My yogurt may just need to take a backseat for a while.

Wine – I know, #basic. But, after months of emails promising enticing deals, I joined a monthly wine subscription club (Bright Cellars) last month – at $38 for my first shipment of 5 bottles, it was just too good of a deal to pass up, plus I’ve been wanting to keep more wine on hand instead of just buying a bottle at a time. It’s normally $68 for four bottles, but they have a referral program where you get a free bottle for each person referred (I’ve referred two people so far, so I’m up to 2 free bottles)…plus my first shipment was delayed by some kind of vendor issue, so they gave me ANOTHER free bottle for that (their customer service has been top-notch so far – I emailed them just because I thought my shipment may have been lost in the mail…I wasn’t even complaining)! I figure I’ll keep it going until all of my free bottles are used up, and by that time I’ll have quite the wine collection and I’ll stop the shipments until I’m running low (Jeff doesn’t really drink wine, so I don’t go through it super quickly). When I signed up, I took a short test to determine my taste, and you can choose to have only whites, only reds, mostly reds with a white thrown in here and there, or a mix of both, and then you rate each bottle you receive to help them choose the best wines to send for your personal tastes. The first bottle I opened – a tempranillo, my favorite! – was on point, so I’m excited to try more. If you’d like to give it a shot, you can use this link to receive 50% off your first order.

Fall TV – I love this time of year, when all of our favorite shows come back (even though a lot of what we watch these days is on Netflix or another streaming channel). We’ve been enjoying New Girl, Superstore (SO funny), and of course SNL, and I’m loving a few new shows (The Good Place is super cute, and I’m determined for This Is Us to fill the void Parenthood left in my life). I’m also anxiously anticipating Sarah Jessica Parker’s return to television in Divorce.

Cooking – I always love cooking, but I tend to hit a slump during the summer – I’d just rather be out and about, and it’s not as fun to me to cook lighter summer dishes as it is to cook hearty fall meals like soups and braised dishes. As I previously mentioned, I love to put on a podcast and take my time cooking a yummy meal. Of course, I also love baking this time of year – last weekend I whipped up a batch of frosted pumpkin cookies, and I’m itching to go pick some apples and use them to make all kinds of goodies.

Shoes – I’ve always been more of a clothes girl than a shoes girl, but I’ve been developing a bit of an addiction recently. I’m kind of obsessed with sneakers – I want a pair of New Balance in basically every color (these are a crazy steal right now and I REALLY don’t need them, but I mean…an extra 40% off!), and I just added these classic black Nikes to my collection using a Zappos gift card I had laying around. I’m also really digging block heels – especially in cabernet or navy suede (like these and these).

Leggings – Ah, the most wonderful time of the year. Well, actually, let’s include all manner of slouchy, lounge-y pants – my favorite sweats I found on a random trip to Banana Republic outlet have been getting a lot of action these days as well. I ordered a pair of leggings from Girlfriend Collective a while ago – have you heard of them? It’s this startup that’s ethically manufacturing bomb-ass leggings, and they’re giving away one pair of leggings to each customer for the cost of shipping. I’m anxiously anticipating their arrival sometime in November.

Relaxing – I’m really soaking up the post-wedding life. I feels so great to not have anything to plan or decide or coordinate, and my weekends have been filled with a lot of lounging, tidying up, and catching up on blog reading. I want to get back into home projects soon – I have big plans for our master bedroom – but for now, I’m chillin’ out max and relaxing all cool.

On liking your job

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Bouquet I made during a company-sponsored networking event.

I’ve never been what I’d call an ambitious person. I’ve always had very good work ethic and it’s always been important to me that I excel in whatever I do, but I’ve never really had much in the way of career goals, or desired to “work my way to the top.” As shameful as it can feel these days, I’ve always felt that I’d be 100% fine with being a homemaker. But then again…I’ve always hated my job. Until recently.

To be fair, I didn’t hate the position I worked directly before my current position (I was previously responding to written communication from customers at a large bank, and I’m now working in social media for the same company). The position provided a good deal of freedom and flexibility (which is probably number one on my list of priorities), but it was pretty unfulfilling and tedious. I wouldn’t say that I’m working my dream job now…honestly, I’m not 100% sure that exists for me…but I also don’t dread going to work in the morning. My current position still provides a huge amount of freedom and autonomy, but it also requires a good amount of creativity and forces me out of my professional comfort zone on a regular basis.

It’s a weird feeling for me not to detest my job. Ever since I decided I wanted a family, I had dreamed of the day when my husband (still feels weird to say that!) would earn enough money to allow me to stay home with our hypothetical children…but now, I can see a future in which I continue to work after starting a family (maybe part-time, maybe full), a future in which we can provide our children a lifetime of experiences I never had growing up, a future in which our family is able to travel and see the world. Or, who knows – if children aren’t in the cards for us, a future in which my husband and I embark on great adventures together. I’ve realized that I value time at home so much more when I’m out and about all day, and while I always imagined myself running around once we have kids, I think I’d probably go a little stir-crazy being a full-time stay-at-home mom. I know that the women I know who stay home pretty much unanimously say that being a stay-at-home mom is a way harder job then whatever they previously did was, and I believe it.

Not only do I not hate the actual work I do, but my company’s perks are so good that it’s almost literally impossible to leave. We get a crazy amount of paid time off each year (with the option to buy more during benefit enrollment), our 401K match is pretty great, we have an employee stock purchase program that comes with a 15% discount off of our company’s stock, and they just improved our already above average family leave program – women now get EIGHTEEN WEEKS fully paid maternity leave with the option to take additional time either unpaid or using saved paid time off, and men get eight weeks with the option to split the time however they choose (my husband works for the same company, so that’s major). We get free, 100% confidential career counseling by a third party company who will help you achieve your goals either within our company or elsewhere. My position allows me to work from home basically whenever I choose within reason, and I pretty much make my own schedule.

I don’t know what the future holds, but for now it feels great not to spend all of Sunday with a sense of dread knowing that I have to go back to a job that I hate on Monday. I don’t think I’ll ever be a workaholic, and work-life balance will probably always be the most important aspect of my career for me, but it feels pretty damn good not to be miserable with my career (or lack thereof). I guess what I intended this to be is a professional “it gets better.” If you work hard, stay positive, and maintain a good attitude, you can end up with a career that doesn’t make to want to cry every Sunday evening.  Thumbs up.