Sunday, February 28, 2010

Read and Recommended

Just finished reading "Bitter is the New Black" by Jen Lancaster ( and I have to recommend it to one and all.  Females will be initially drawn to it by the cover and title, but it is a fitting book for the current state of disaster that is the American economy and all that has fallen apart in connection to it.  This details the downward spiral she and Fletch (her fiance-turned-husband) faced when she lost her job, and he followed suit, and surprisingly, this was published in 2006, so their troubles preceded the financial collapse of 2008.  I think this is a must-read for anyone who is (A) suffering under the burden of unemployment/the bad housing market/the crappy economy or (B) thinks they are ABOVE the effects of unemployment/the bad housing market/the crappy economy, because for those under section (A) it will get better, and this is a great way to have a laugh during the toughest times, and for those who are under section (B) hop down off that throne of high and mighty, lest you get knocked from it with the wave of a pink slip. Capice?  Altogether entertaining and a great insight to the evolution she and Fletch underwent, it will make you rethink your situation regardless of where you stand.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Adding to the pile

I already have a huge stash of library books at home, but with my new "Life Diet" goal in mind when I got to work today, I have dug out several titles that I think will suit my intentions of writing more, eating better, etc. (one is even a 'writing diet' or something). One I found that is of particular interest is about decluttering your life so you can be in better health. I've only skimmed it at this point, but it's by the guy that does the hoarder shows on Oprah, so at least in regard to clutter, I know he knows his stuff.

The basic idea seems to be 'if you get rid of the excess junk that is clogging up your physical space, it will impact your mentality, which will in turn impact how you regard what you do to take care of yourself (food, exercise). And I'm hardly a hoarder, but I do tend to have little odd piles (books, mail...) so while I don't think reading the book in its entirety will be necessary, I do plan to at least give it a half-hearted once over and follow his suggestion by ridding my home of all my little piles, and go from there.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Trimming the fat

I think I need to go on a "Life Diet," trim the fat from a lot of things. The easiest example is the concept of dieting with regard to what I eat. Adding to this, I want to put myself on a diet with my finances, with my time, etc. (getting in an exercise routine will be part of my 'time diet').  Since finishing grad school, I could have paid off a significant chunk of my debt by now (excluding student loans) and have not even saved any  money, much less paid off any debt. I have about a five-hour gap between the time I get off work and the time I go to bed (and it takes me all of five minutes to get home after work), and yet my personal goals are being achieved at a snail's pace. Sometimes a snail's pace is even an overstatement of the reality. Add to this that I am not married and I have no children, and I work seven hours one Saturday each month, so my free time is fairly open (even when you subtract time spent tutoring). I need to trim the fat off my food intake, off my time wasted, my money wasted, and whatever else I am fortunate enough to have more of than I actually need (and therefore need to better manage).

That said, I plan to copy forms out of Dave Ramsey's book and set up a budget to save and start paying off debt. I plan to structure a shopping list that will accommodate better eating habits rather than tossing into the buggy whatever catches my eye. I plan to better manage my free time (meaning stopping TV almost entirely--save Grey's Anatomy--and spend most free time writing and/or reading) as well as requiring of myself at least 30 minutes of daily exercise at least five days a week.

So I will take this week to get my budget together and determine how quickly I should be able to pay off my debt (excluding the student loans). I will return to a goal of writing at least a page a day (about something...anything), in lieu of mindless TV watching. I will set an overall weight loss goal (pounds lost and target BMI), then set a weekly goal. And at least once a week I will blog about what I've done to contribute to all of these goals (or what I've done to sabotage them) and see how my self-imposed "Life Diet" is coming along.

And, of course, throw in random unrelated opinions and observations about life in general, too.  This is, after all, my own personal soapbox you've stumbled upon.

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