Last full week of April spiel

april!

April has not been a good month when it comes to finances.  My earnings through sales have been very low (almost non-existant) and my freelancing has taken a hit due to the fact I’ve been so busy and was on vacation for the first week of April.  Combine that with my car being in the shop and a dentist trip and my budget has looked better.  There are still eight days left in the month, so hopefully I can focus more on freelancing and make a couple more successful sales.  I’m currently contemplating if I want to go to a festival this weekend too since it’ll be a three hour drive and I’ve already broken my fuel budget (doubled!) this month.

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Finances aside, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching this month since I spent every weekend back home and the first full week back in my hometown.  It may just be another round of 20-something “I want to do everything” but part of my feels that God is trying to tell me something.  We’ll just see what this summer brings.  Despite overspending this month, it’s been a really good month, but I’m happy to see that May will involve less driving (especially with my old car!)  My favorite parts of the month so far have been;

-Seeing family and friends (several times!)

-Matsuri festival in DC

-Traveling around DC

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May is shaping up to be a great month and it looks like it’ll be less chaotic than April was.  June will pick things back up again since I already have at least two trips happening.  Maybe it’ll mean more progress on paying off debt and checking off things on my 2014 goals!

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Dragon Warrior II

Currently playing: Dragon Quest II

Currently reading: Rebel: A Tibetan Odyssey

Currently Watching: Doctor Who

Currently Loving: Dresses and spring apparel, Marvel, Dragon Quest II, Personality assessments and researching endangered animals

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Goals: March Update

 

Did March even happen?  It went by so fast, I have to wonder.  March was a great month, but it still felt like winter since we got not one, but two sizable snow falls along with 2 snow days and 2 two-hour delays.  Luckily April is proving to be our first real spring month and temperatures haven’t been below 40.  Finally!  As always when a new month starts, here’s an update on my 2014 goals for March.

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1. Earn $1500 in extra income (year)

Sales-$63.00

Writing-$101.83

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March earnings: $164.69

Total: $644.22

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2. Read 100 books in a year

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Radiance by Alyson Noel

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner

These Tangled Threads by Tracie Peterson

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: Third Summer by Ann Bashares

The Sisterhood of the Travling Pants: Fourth summer by Ann Bashares

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Bashares

 

March reads: 9

Total read: 17

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3. Beat 10 video games

Dragon Quest 1

 

March total: 1

Total: 2

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4. Complete 20 crafts

Magnus magnet

Settler of Catan magnet

April: 2

Total: 5/20

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5. Volunteer or donate for 10 causes

Library (regular volunteer)

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6. Pay off $10,000 on debt principal

($1657.09 /$10,000)

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7. Cavity fixed

I have the appointment in April, so this will be checked off soon.

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8. Get rid of 365 things

January (40/30)

February (35/30)

March (44/30)

Total: 129/365

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9. Clothing goal (replace and add!)

Keeping a personal record for this.

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10. Recycling goal

Went twice to the recycling center!

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11.Travel/event goal

  • Sakura festival
  • Out of town trip
  • Attend a convention

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12. Try 40 new recipes and update recipe book

Peanut butter reeses cheesecake

Apple cake

March: 2

Total: 11

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13.Fill bear bank and take to the bank

I barely put any change in my bear bank this month.  Oops.

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14.Get out there more

Does helping with church service and participating in meetings count?

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April is going to be a very busy month (traveling every weekend for instance!) so we’ll see how much progress I make on my goals…

 

Minor Pet Peeve I’ve developed

Simple Writing lesson -Lemon Lime Adventures #kbn #homeschool

Pet peeve: Poor commenters

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Is anyone else a freelance writer?  I do it on the side as a part time job to get extra money and while I love it, I have to make a small vent.  Sometimes when I write articles, people will comment on my articles with spam comments.  Now, these people are ALL fellow writers.  They should know that writing something like ‘nice post’ or some other generic comment that shows they just copied and pasted, is annoying.  It just gets worse from there.  Before I go further, I’ll be honest, I’m NOT the best writer nor will I ever be.  However, when it comes to comments, I always read and leave comments that show I read and in complete sentences.  My grammar is not perfect (I grew up in the rural south, so my language itself may sound ‘off’ to some).  Still…I have to rant about the things below.

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1-People who clearly didn’t read

It’s annoying when people will comment on a post and say something like “Happy Birthday” when there was no mention of birthdays (I kid not).  I get off-comments from time to time and it’s distressing to me as a writer.  Was it not interesting?  Or do you just not care?  I mean, it makes you look silly.

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2-Pointless comments

I write a lot of video game related articles, so it would make sense that the people reading them would have some idea about video games or at least be interested in them.  However, more than once, I’ve gotten someone who commented “I don’t play games”.  Erm…ok, why are you reading this then?  I kind of take some of them as passive aggressive.

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3-Off topic

I’ve had people who (this falls under spam too I guess) write things completely unrelated to the topic or anything in the article.  I’ve had people say “feel better soon” in a topic about video games and ONLY about a game.

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4-Bad English/other language

Again, I’m not perfect.  However, I DO understand most of the fundamentals of the English language!  I cannot stand text speech or people who write sentences with horrid grammar.  I’ve become a little bit of a grammar snob with this.  I have zero tolerance for text speech.  For heavens sake, you were lucky enough to be educated and have a computer to type on, use it!

Vent is done.

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In happier news, my birthday is this Tuesday and this past weekend I celebrated it with my family.  Hopefully our snowfall ends soon and my mom is still able to visit Tuesday since we have plans to have a girls day.  If not, we’ll reschedule for another day, but it’ll kind of stink to spend my birthday alone.  Over the years, I’ve spread my birthday celebrations over a longer stretch of time because family and friends live all over the place.  It feels kind of strange to think I’ll be entering into my official ‘late 20s’ phase, but I think I’m mentally ready.  I just don’t feel like I’ve gotten there already, how time flies!

February Progress on 2014 Goals

Thank goodness it’s March!  March is one of my favorite months because we start to see warmer temperatures, everything starts coming back to life and it’s my birthday month.  I have a lot of things coming up this month with a couple guests coming to stay and my birthday, so I’m excited for the things in the near future.  February was a bleak month due to overtime work, the cold and unexpected expenses, but March is shaping up to be a much better month.  I didn’t make quite as much progress on my goals as I would’ve liked, but with my tax refund coming this month, some things (i.e. debt) will see a big jump in progress.  Here’s how I did;

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1. Earn $1500 in extra income (year)

February earnings: 248.34

Total for 2014: $479.53

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2. Read 100 books in a year

Salem Falls

Second Summer of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Totto-chan: The Little girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi

Sea Star by Margret Henry

Total read: 10

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3. Beat 10 video games

Tom & Jerry (SNES)

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4. Complete 20 crafts

Chrono magnet

N magnet

Adipose

Magnus magnet

Total: 4/20

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5. Volunteer or donate for 10 causes

Library (regular volunteer)

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6. Pay off $10,000 on debt principal

($1126.71 /$10,000)

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7. Cavity fixed

Next month!

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8. Get rid of 365 things

January (40/30)

February (35/30)

Total:  75/365

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9. Clothing goal (replace and add!)

I did replace my old navy blue jacket that I’ve been trying to replace for a long time.  Once I transition from winter to spring clothes, a couple things are getting replaced/gotten rid of.

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10. Recycling goal

Took a huge load in the third week of February.  Hoping to start taking recycling twice a month or more.

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11.Travel/event goal

  • Sakura festival
  • Out of town trip
  • Attend a convention

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12. Try 40 new recipes and update recipe book

Red pepper risotto

Cauliflower crust pizza

Toaster pastries

New blueberry buckle recipe

February recipes: 4

Total: 9

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13.Fill bear bank and take to the bank

I’ve been adding a handful of change every week.  Hopefully that makes a difference since a light revealed I still have 20% of the bank to go.

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14.Get out there more

MTG pre-release was pretty much all I did outside of the usual hanging out with friends and board game club.  I gave into introvert tendencies this month.

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Not the greatest month, but March is looking better so far.  I’m hoping to get more on my student loans especially.  I’ve almost finished Dragon Quest (hope to beat today), so I’ve already made progress on some goals.  At least winter is starting to get behind us!

Dragon Quest 1....Just as good as Final Fantasy ever was (back in the day anyway)

Snow days are for crafts

The east coast was hit with another big snowstorm and this time around, we actually got it!  With the last couple of snows, the storm has went around us and we’ve only gotten one 3 inch storm so far.  This time around, we got almost a foot and a half, meaning two days off from school (we were calling it Wednesday!)  It did warm up a bit yesterday, so the snow did melt a little and my road was cleared.  The main roads are fine for the most part, but driving around is tricky in places since you can only pile up so much snow when there’s a 1 1/2 feet of it.

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I kept to my words on Wednesday about spending all day Thursday doing crafts.  I managed to finish the above Adipose (Doctor Who) and I finished a Magnus (Chrono Trigger) magnet.  Yesterday I spent the day going through things (de-cluttering time) and doing some general cleaning around the house.  I made it out in the early evening to do a few errands and got a giant bag of stuffing and bead eyes to finish my Adipose.  I plan on starting a new project this evening-a felt TARDIS for a quiet book and then I’ll attempt to do a non-geeky craft.

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In student loan land, I haven’t been doing as well as I’d have liked this month paying extra.  With my car in the shop last month and my heating bill uncomfortably high, I’ve found myself with less extra income.  I have spent the last two days doing extra freelance work and earned a couple extra bucks, but my online sales have been down this month.  I did sell some movies last week, but since then I’ve gotten low ballers and non-local craigslist buyers.  I post on Craigslist to avoid shipping costs, but I use another website to do online sales (not ebay).  Sales have been down there too, possibly because people have less money with heating so high everywhere.

Coriolanus♥! I cant wait until Feb 1!!!!!

In happier news, I’m making excellent progress on my 2014 goals!  It’s exciting to see them getting closer to completion.  Tomorrow a friend and I are going to a Ramen shop nearby and afterwards seeing Coriolanus at the local theater.  We’re both huge Tom Hiddleston fans and we’ve been counting down the days for the last two weeks!  It’s gotten pretty glowing reviews and it has Tom Hiddleston, so how could it be bad?  Speaking of, did anyone see the amazing British villain jaguar commercial?

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How is your weekend going so far?  Any fun plans?

January 2014 Goal Update

January has passed and it’s time for a goal update.  I did fairly well with all my goals this month and I hope to do even better this coming month.  I don’t have any big things planned for the rest of the month(next month will be the polar opposite of that), but it should hopefully start to show more warm weather (or give us snow days??)  We’ve only had one snow here, oddly(I swear there’s a bubble), so I would like one more snowstom before it starts to warm up.  Anyways, onto my goal progress review!

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Finances

1.Earn $1500 in extra income (year)   -$245.89

Total for the year: $245.89

I did pretty good this month on my extra earning goal!  I had a number of successful sales!  Freelancing was decent, but I really want to do more in February.

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2. Pay off $10,000 on debt principal   -$518.76/$10,000

Not nearly want I would ideally like to have taken off my debt, but you win some you lose some.  With a broken car and unexpected things, this didn’t get enough focus.  Now that I have a ‘low’ as far as principal taken off in a month, I’ll be shooting higher than the previous month every month this year.

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3.Fill bear bank and take to the bank

I’ve been adding a handful of change to my jar every week, which is adding up. I used a flashlight to check how full it is currently and saw that I had another 4-5 inches of free space before it’ll be full.  I’ll keep adding coins!

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Hobby related

1.. Read 100 books in a year

Clash of Kings by George R.R Martin

Teen Scene: 1001 tips for teens

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Bashares

Doctor Who: Winner Takes All by Jacqueline Rayner

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

With the Light Vol.6 by Keiko Tobe

Total read: 6

I didn’t do as much reading as I should’ve.  Game of Thrones books tend to take me the entire week.

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2. Beat 10 video games -1/10

Sly Cooper 3: Honor Among Thieves

I beat one game!  Sly Cooper 3 has been on my backlog as a game I got halfway through before putting down (for whatever reason).  I’m undecided on what game to play next.

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3. Complete 20 crafts -2/20

Chrono magnet

N magnet

I’m in a bit of a crafting rut at the moment.  I did finish two crafts and started on two others, but I haven’t been motivated to really do much.  I’m debating a new area to do crafts in, but until something really grabs me, I’m in a rut.

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Self-improvement

1. Volunteer or donate for 10 causes

Library (regular volunteer)

I kind of slacked off this month with my weekly volunteer ‘job’ at the library due to a broken car and life getting in the way.  I need to find more causes to help out with this month!

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2. Cavity fixed

No progress here, but I have my bi-annual cleaning in February, so I’ll schedule my cavity getting fixed then.

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3. Get rid of 365 things

January (40/30)

Total:  40/365

I put in extra focus on this goal this month.  I have things gone (but 5 more posessions), but as the weather warms and I start spring cleaning and make more sales, this number should jump!

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4. Recycling goal-Yesish

This is a harder goal to track due to its open-endedness.  I have been collecting more things to recycle, but I haven’t made my way over to the recycling center yet. I plan on making a big trip to one nearby this coming week though. I also ‘educated’ myself on things that can be recycled that you wouldn’t have expected such as vacuumsand crayons.

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5.Get out there more

I was told something interesting this month.  I had someone tell me I was outgoing (haha).  I’m not painfully shy or anything, but I’m moreso average in terms of outgoingness level.  I am outgoing at work, but shy until I get to know someone (most people are?)  I’m an introvert.  I love people, but I need time away from people.  That being said, I made an extra effort to get out there more this month and get outside my comfort zone.  I went to a German meet-up (my first meet-up!!) went to some parties and did the usual outs with friends. 

Other

1. Clothing goal (replace and add!)

  • Find a good coat
  • New black canvas shoes
  • New sandals
  • Swimsuit
  • Dark brown boots
  • Rainboots

I think this is the first month in a long time that I DIDN’T buy any new clothes!  All part of my new budget though.  I do plan on giving myself a shopping trip as a birthday gift in March. 

2.Travel/event goal

  • Sakura festival
  • Out of town trip
  • Attend a convention

I didn’t do any actual traveling this month (unless visiting friends out of town counts?)  Oh well, I have things in the next few months and summer to make up for it!

12. Try 40 new recipes and update recipe book

Quiche

Flax seed pancakes

Carrot Cake bread

Gumbo (vegetarian)

Cookie dough brownies

January total: 5

Not a whole lot of cooking and baking this month, but I did sample a couple new recipes.

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How did everyone do on their goals in January?

Minimalizing Stuff

One of my goals for this year is to get rid of 365 things, one for each day of the year.  I do this because I have a pile of, literally, over 100 books and a ton of other things sitting in my bedroom, waiting to be sold.  Not only that, I’ve often felt I have too much stuff.  It’s not all junk or me being a hoarder either.  However, I do have too much stuff and stuff is stuff, so some things must go (sorry for all the stuff uses in that sentence).  Ideally, I’ll be getting rid of a lot of stuff through sales (which have gone fairly well this month) and other things will be recycled or given away.

Marrakesh, Morocco: minimalist bedroom.

This morning I got rid of 31 things by taking a bag to goodwill.  The bag was full of things like books I couldn’t sell to the used bookstore, old CD’s not worth the hassle of selling and older clothes. It was a huge relief!  Now I’m anxious to get a couple more things together to sell and get rid of in the near future.  I’m also on the fence about making a list of things I do buy and saying that I have to get rid of an extra thing to make up for it.  It’d be a fun rule to have and keep me on track.  So far, my rules for this goal are;

  • Things that count:  books, movies, clothes, knick knacks
  • Things that don’t count: things that will be used up, things that get recycled (i.e. boxes)
  • Items thrown away do NOT count
  • I will go through one room a month and de-clutter everything that I have in it starting in February.  I plan on tackling my bedroom first
  • Items with important sentimental value stay as well as things I want or use stay.  Things like a newspaper article from college don’t.
  • Organize after de-cluttering

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Hopefully this goal does well and I get rid of a lot of ‘stuff’.  I feel that too much stuff clouds the soul and makes one too materialistic.  I don’t think I’ll ever be a pure minimalist, but I do recognize my stuff as stuff and I don’t really affix an emotional value on many things except gifts or handmade items.

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Do you ever try to minimize your possessions by donations or sales?