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Prepping for month #2: Finances

15 Nov

I’m still struggling through the “Boost Energy” month 1 of my Happiness Project (after a false start in Nov.), but since I’m getting married (yay) and probably buying a house and starting to have kids (yay and yikes) within a year after that, I need to deal with my finances. My fiance (ooooOOOOOoooo) and I agreed that although our finances are in nowhere near as bad shape as Greece or Italy, we need to start an austerity plan.

I got a bit of a head start on that today, by following step 1: Remove temptation. Doing all this helps put me in the mindset of not spending, which, for me, is the first step toward saving, and it’s the only reliable way to help me get started on a budget.

  • Unsubscribe from all Living Social, Groupon, and other daily deal sites.
  • Unsubscribe from mailers, catalogs, etc.
  • If you get any catalogs, throw them out right away.
  • Unsubscribe from any other email from any store I might want to shop in. The hardest ones were Ambiance‘s Twitter feed and ModCloth‘s emails. (OK, I didn’t unsubscribe from ModCloth. They have lots of styling tips…)
  • Don’t visit online shops. Not even when you think you’re Christmas shopping.
  • Avoid going into stores. (Starting a workout plan is a good way to do this. If you have to head home right after work and exercise, you will stay out of cute boutiques.)

There is much, much more I need to do for finance month. But I’m still focused on “Boost energy” month, so I need to take some melatonin and get to bed.

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The secret to a great hug: just breathe

25 Oct
Stormtrooper hug

On The Happiness Project blog, this week’s resolution is to “hug more, kiss more, touch more.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot today.

Last night, ignoring my friend Jenn’s very smart advice that you should never work late on a Monday night (it sets the whole week off on the wrong foot), I stayed up until midnight finishing up some work. And of course, I burned myself out. By 2 pm (since I had also skipped lunch), my mind was a mess. I came home early, as my neighbor Pat was out back having a smoke.

Pat, a former hospice nurse, is a great neighbor and human being — he’s amazingly empathetic and very much in tune with the people around him. As we wrapped up the conversation, he gave me a big hug. We talked about hugs, and he said, “What I like to do is not hug too tight, but just to wrap your arms around someone” — he wrapped his arms around me — “And just breathe. I used to do that to my patients.” We took three deep breaths, then let go.

His hug reminded me of Fr. Andy, a Jesuit who worked at a retreat house along the Oregon coast and who was the best hugger I have ever met. Fr. Andy was tall, and his arms would encircle you. He’d hold you close and safe but not too tight — and then just breathe.

Photo: Some rights reserved by Kalexanderson

I should really study this

18 Jul

How to take amazing food pictures.

This one tip would probably make a huge difference:

Stabilize your camera. Use a tripod, or prop your camera on a high-back chair to help reduce the photo’s blurriness. This will eliminate the camera shake, you can also use a timer on the camera to be sure.

So, THAT’s what the timer is for.