9.28.2011

Call me the Queen of Frugality

You always hear about the broke college student who lives on ramen noodles and alternates between the same three tshirts. That was never me. And honestly, I don't think that's many college kids lately. Perhaps I have a skewed perception since I went to school with a bunch of people who drive Mercedes and wear Jimmy Choos, but I think most college students live pretty fabulous lives for four years.

There are these things called "parents" who often offer assistance in the form of financial support during college. I pranced through my college days going on random shopping trips and eating out when TCU's food seemed lackluster (which was pretty much all the time). Then I went halfway across the globe and gallivanted around Australia. Tra la la la la. I spent plenty of my own money along the way, but daddy helped. He helped A LOT.

Guess what? He's not helping anymore. Rightfully so, because I am an adult! (Much to my delight and my demise.) I have a job! I cook! I don't study! I read Real Simple! I ... pay bills. That last one is the not-so-fun part.

While I now have more money coming in on a bi-monthly basis than I've ever had before, that money has the tendency to disappear faster than I've ever seen before. Rent, utilities, car insurance, car payments, student loans, groceries ...

WHERE DID ALL THESE MONEY VACUUMS COME FROM?

Turn a blind eye to college students. They're fine. The recent college graduates are the ones whose stories need to be told. Some of us can't find jobs and have to move home and continue to depend on mommy and daddy for an allowance. Others find jobs, but these jobs pay recent-college-graduate salaries. Making such a salary is a right of passage. There's no denying that we have less experience than other seasoned experts in the field. The main thing we have to offer is that we're cheap. And while we are grateful for a paycheck and the opportunity to learn and gain experience, we have to make certain adjustments to our previous spending habits.

I have an excel document saved on my MacBook that is titled "Budget." Shiver.

Since I have less flex cash than I'm used to, I've had to get creative about cutting corners so I can put some money toward important things. (Hello, boot season is coming up. Purchase(s) will need to be made.)

My current money-saving tactics:

1. Leftovers are my best friend. This week I made the compilation of two dishes of leftover pasta into five meals. Thank you, American restaurants, for serving Hercules-sized portions!


2. If there is a way to get a free or discounted meal, I will find out about it. Free Chick-fil-a breakfast: check. Free Chipotle burrito bowl: Check. Free Chili's queso: check. Are you jealous you aren't as in-the-know with free food options as I am?

I have plans to dress up as a burrito this Halloween. All in the name of a free meal.

3. I'm not as coupon-crazy as the wackos on Extreme Couponing, but any brand loyalty I have will be tossed out the window if I have a coupon. Last week I got Advil for a cheaper price than the generic knock-off all thanks to a coupon! Ah, the satisfaction of a good coupon purchase.


4. I know exactly where the  cheapest gas prices are, and I will make an extra detour on my way home just to save six cents per gallon. My secret: the QuikTrip on Alta Mere. Always busy, but always worth it. They also have extremely cheap prices on wine, if you're looking for the double whammy.


5. I cook. This is the most genius of money-saving plans. It's especially genius because when I say "I cook" I really mean "Suzie cooks while I watch and occasionally stir something." Thanks for keeping me well fed, Suz!

In this situation, Suzie is usually the one cooking and I'm the one supervising with a glass of wine.

I'm not cheap. I'm frugal. And I've got this real-world thing figured out (ish).

Next step: Lola.

9.23.2011

Puppy Fever

Someone please help. I keep seeing these little faces everywhere (mostly because I'm searching for them on Google) and getting ideas in my head that I can't live without a dachshund puppy. LOOK AT THEM.

It's official. I'm in love.

My dachshund love was only further intensified last weekend when I went to Oktoberfest. (Yes, this particular celebration of October was held in September. I was confused, too.) Dachshunds are, after all, German dogs. Reason #35602308134 I need a dachshund: they are the only animals allowed inside Oktoberfest celebrations. You have a golden retriever or a chihuahua? Too bad so sad. You have a dachshund? You're in the club.

Not only do dachshunds get to come into Oktoberfest, they get to take part in "Dachshund Dash." 80 little dogs running on legs that are .0007 the length of their bodies? Um...YES PLEASE. I. Was. Fascinated. During heat three, I picked out the dog I wanted: Beatrice. The dachshund gods must have been smiling down on me, because while Beatrice and her owner were walking by after the race they stopped for a chat. I oogled and googled over Miss B's cuteness. Then these words graced my ears:

"Do you want to hold on to her for a bit while I go talk to these people?"

Is this stranger seriously handing over his dog to me? YES HE IS. Be still my heart. I was tempted to bolt and take Beatrice with me, but somehow I managed to practice some self control. Unfortunately it didn't take long before Beatrice lost interest in sitting around and being petted and wanted to explore, so I had to return her to her owner. But still. The moments we spent together were magical. Sigh.

This is kind of what Beatrice looked like, except she was even cuter (if that's possible)
I'm going to find my own version of Beatrice except her name will be Lola and she will be perfect. And she will be perfect because she will have all of these qualities:

She will have excellent taste in music.


Her cuteness will be so overpowering that any living thing in her vicinity will look ugly and silly.

She will hate waking up and instead want to snuggle with me all morning.

She will be a diva.

She will be able to play catch with balls the size of her head.

She will patiently wait for me to get home every day like this.

She will sing along with me to the all my favorite jams.

She will be best friends with her cousin Brinkley and her sister EllieFran.

She will be nosy and always want to know what's going on.

She will love cuddling.

She will be a genius.

Instead of running, she will fly.

When she tilts her little head like this at me I will most likely pass out because the cuteness is too much to handle.

Fine, go ahead and judge me for being obsessed with a non-existent dog.

For  those of you who are wondering, my birthday is November 25. I accept all gifts, especially those in the form of dachshund puppies named Lola.

9.07.2011

Wardrobe Malfunction

Remember this?

The year was 2004. I was 15 years old. As per usual, I was not even slightly interested in the football game going on but insisted that the adults call me into the room for every commercial break. I watched the halftime show because my future husband, Justin Timberlake, was set to perform. The only person who shared my interest in the show was Ricky, but really he was only half-heartedly watching. Until...dun dun duuuuuuuun...the wardrobe malfunction.

I stared blankly at the screen for a few seconds then had the following conversation with myself in my head
 "What the...was that...no...shame on your for thinking..."
(Make eye contact with father and look away)
"...I think it was..."
Then I broke the silence
Becky: "Did you just see...?"
Ricky: "Uh, yeah. Yeah I did."
Becky: (to other people in the room) "Did you guys just see that?"
General consensus from everyone else in the room who wasn't paying attention: "See what?"
Becky: (turning back to Ricky) "I didn't imagine that, right?"
Ricky: "No, I don't think so. No."
Silence between Ricky and I followed as everyone else in the room continued ignorantly chattering. I wasn't 100% sure that Janet Jackson had flashed me until the next morning when it was all over the news.

I'm sure all of you can agree with me that the JJ incident was no "wardrobe malfunction." You don't decorate your body parts with little trinkets unless you're planning on showing those trinkets off, either to a special someone or to the entire world in the case of Ms. Jackson.

This long lead-in is actually leading somewhere. Yesterday I had a Janet Jackson moment, and it reminded me that I have had consistent Janet Jackson moments for the past year and a half due to one article of clothing.

Before I move forward, I'd like to clarify that my moments are not completely JJ-esque because my flashing is always unintentional. This is a legitimate case of wardrobe malfunction. The culprits: windy gusts combined with a cheap skirt. I can tell you from personal experience, those two things do not mix well.

I bought my super cute but super cheap (the $10 price tag should have warned me that it was trouble) skirt in Sydney where the wind blows like this:


The skirt's inaugural journey was a St. Patrick's Day cocktail cruise with two of my friends who were visiting from Tulsa. Present on the boat were about thirty people between the ages of 50 and 99...and three 21-year-olds. We already stood out, and within three minutes of our relaxing cruise I had already drawn even more attention to us.


My initial thought after claiming a prime table near the front of the boat was to go outside and take in the gorgeous view. BAD IDEA. Since I was the first brave soul to venture outside, I was not expecting the huge gust of wind that greeted me upon opening the door. Now I've had skirts flounce in the wind before, but never have I had a skirt blow up over my head and result in temporary blindness due to fabric covering my eyes. That changed on March 17, 2010.

HORROR. ABSOLUTE HORROR AND DISGRACE.

That's what I was feeling as I fell to the ground and battled my skirt down from my face while my onlookers stood by, equally horrified (with the exception of my two friends who were convulsing in laughter). My knee actually started bleeding because I fell to the ground with such force. I don't think I can call it a battle wound. More like a shame wound. And since this all occurred three minutes into the cruise, I had to sail around the harbor for the next two hours with a boat full of people who had seen my panties. When people ask me to name my most embarrassing moment ever, I pinpoint those two hours.

Shame wound
Please note the death grip I have on my skirt in hopes of warding off further incident
I tried to retire the skirt after my harbor cruise debacle, but it's just too cute to go to waste. So I kept wearing it. And I kept having flashing issues. No incidences were of the caliber that I just described, but they were still filled with shame and disgrace. Every time I tempt fate and put on my skirt, it is a calm non-windy morning. Every time I walk outside, the winds gust and I cling to the fabric for dear life. Mother Nature obviously enjoys toying with me.

The most recent occurrence was yesterday at the gas station. I had made it through an entire work day without a flashing hitch. I was congratulating myself on this accomplishment when I remembered that I hadn't closed the little door to my gas tank. So I stepped out of my car and...

BAM. Wind gust.

Luckily I'm somewhat experienced at this point and reacted in time to shield the world behind me (aka rush hour traffic on I-30 and the surrounding access roads) from the horror, but the car driving in front of me got a little show. Fabulous. I checked my gas tank, and the door was closed anyway. Even more fabulous. I scurried into my car and pulled into the car wash to shield myself from the world. And the wind.

HORROR AND DISGRACE.

Thank goodness fall is just around the corner and I won't be tempted to wear my flasher skirt for at least another eight months. But a warning to you all, if you see me wearing my little flowery skirt please do the following:
1. Ask if I'm wearing shorts underneath it.
2. Run away.