Monday, March 3, 2014

Adding Fulfillment to My Days

Ever wonder whats's next in your life? I'm at that point in mine. As some may know, I'm now legally disabled and spend the majority of my time at home, both by choice and necessity. When I do go out and do things, I risk getting a migraine or putting myself into a bad flare. Granted, I can get a migraine or flare while sitting at home, there's really no rhyme or reason. Since I've stopped working, I've been in a holding pattern waiting on the decision for disability. Now that I have my answer and know that I'll likely never work in a job again, I need to figure out what the next part of my life will entail. I feel a lot like my old self has died. However, I haven't died, I just need to figure out what and how I'm going to spend the rest of my life, which is hopefully very long.
This makes me think about the things I enjoy doing, that don't involve leaving my home. I've always been a homebody, so being home a lot doesn't bother me. In fact, I rather prefer it. When I do enjoy going out, it's for fun things like running to my local antique mall, a trip to Whole Foods, or to eat out at my favorite Thai restaurant. However, those aren't daily activities, perhaps once a month, so I need to start focusing on things I can do at home that I enjoy. The longer I stay at home and not focus on the things that I enjoy, tends to make me lazy and feel useless. I want something to look forward to, even if it's something simple. Currently, my daily activity includes eating and watching a lot of TV. Granted, I love TV and have always been a TV junkie; I have 3 TV's and not ashamed to say it. However, I want my day to include more than just TV viewing. Obviously, some days all I feel like doing is watching TV, from bed. That's ok, but I want to try and push myself to do as much as I can, so that I don't become "lazy". But, I won't be mad at myself for not being able to do more, but I just want more fulfillment throughout my day.
The following are things I enjoy and I'd like to fill my day more frequently.
1. Writing. Whether it's blogging or writing a story, I definitely feel joy when I write. I get emails from Writer's Digest about short story contests. I'd like to submit a story for review by the end of this year.
2. I do enjoy watching TV, but I'd like to watch more meaningful programs, such as documentaries. I do watch them now, but I'd like to learn about new things by watching them more frequently.
3. Spiritual Studies. I have always wanted to read the Bible. Even though I consider myself spiritual, I have never fully read through the Bible. This is something I'd like to accomplish. I'd also like to get back to meditation and praying the Rosary. I always feel a calmness over me when I do these things.
4. I love watching court trials. I'd like to follow more trials and enjoy providing feedback on twitter and facebook.
5. I definitely need to increase my reading time. I love reading books, but sadly I've got myself out of this habit. Not reading is a very bad habit!

If I could bring these 5 things into my daily, monthly habits, I am almost positive it will make me a much happier person. It may not seem like much to some, but for me, it's everything!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Recycling Is Common Sense

I watched CBS Sunday Morning, as I always do on Sunday morning, and was struck by a story on recycling. Jeremy Irons has produced a documentary on the topic and I was appalled at the pictures of dump sites, one of which was in a river, which spilled into the ocean. He showed how those in India would just take their trash and dump it in the river, which then spills into the greater ocean; which not only pollutes and clogs the water, but kills ocean animals. I think everyone knows that they should recycle, but so few do. I think there are definitely more communities that lend themselves to recycling and make it easier; especially if the city offers curb side recycling pick-up. Because I live in an apartment, I don't have that luxury. We are given two large dumpsters, but neither are for recycling. So, If I want to recycle, I need to be organized and proactive. Which is what I plan on doing. 

I've perused the internet on ways to get started. My apartment kitchen is quite small, it's a galley style kitchen with just enough room for my dishwasher door to open all the way. Two people can stand in there, but three would be very tight. So, space isn't on our side, but there are only two of us in our apartment, so we can get by with less space. The key to recycling is getting organized and having some type of recycling center with labeled bins. Before putting anything into the bins, make sure you rinse and clean them off. This will save you time later having to clean up sticky residue from the bottom of the bin or floor. Let me back track, you'll need to find out what your city/town will accept for recycling. Since you live in an apartment and most likely don't get curbside pick up, you'll need to research your town's waste management and see if there is a drop off for recycled materials. Thankfully, a municipality roughly 10 minutes from me has a great set-up. You just drive up and empty each specific recycled item into the clearly labeled large bins. They will accept plastic, paper, cardboard and glass. I would recommend having a set day that you take the recycling to the drop off, that way you're not overwhelmed by having too much to take and won't be likely to get frustrated and give up. 

Recycling is great for the environment, but I know it's much easier to just throw everything in the trash. But imagine all of your trash just floating in the ocean. That image makes me sick and makes me want to do better. Yes, I'm embarrassed to say, I have not been recycling. I wish that recycling was taught in schools. That would be much more useful information versus calculus. As a former social worker, I never needed or used calculus. But, seriously, schools should have a class devoted to real life issues, such as balancing your checkbook, creating budgets, recycling and other basic life skills. I think that those classes would benefit everyone. For items that are not accepted, like furniture and tools, etc. You can check out a site called "Free Cycle". I recently had a bed donated to me, so we had to get rid of our "old" one. I joined free cycle and had 10 offers for it! It's a great "group" via yahoo, that allows you to donate, for free, any item and you can include a picture. The person wanting the item is responsible for picking it up, so it's a win-win. 

Recycling is common sense. There is no excuse for not recycling. Your trash doesn't just disappear when the trash man takes it from you. Sadly, most of the trash doesn't break down for years, if ever. Like Jeremy Irons said regarding his documentary, "this is curable". All of us can recycle. Recycling is a small step in doing your part for your community and the greater world. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Frugal Friday: Living Within Your Means

We all know that we have to "live within our means". I mean, this is basic economics, as well as common sense. But, it can be easier said than done. We live in an expensive world, especially when you're in debt. It's hard to dig yourself out of the pit, when your old debt and new expenses collide. It can feel like a landslide when you take one step forward and the mailman delivers new bills to your door. But the truth is, this is life. Any of us that haven't won the lottery or live rent-free, has to learn the rules of living within your means. I truly believe that having a class in basic life skills, such as writing checks, balancing the checkbook, creating a home budget and learning frugal spending habits, would be much more beneficial in high school besides advanced algebra!

Unfortunately, I have been in debt since I graduated high school. I worked at a store that required you to get their credit card and charge it in order to get your store discount. The biggest purchase was a couch that I bought for me and two roommates, but, I didn't get it in writing and I was left with the bill when they both moved out a month later. I was going to college, which accrued my student loan debt and was barely making ends meet with my part-time job. I learned a lot during those early years of struggling. I can't say I would do things differently. We all have to go through struggle to learn from it. Unfortunately, my debt has followed me into adulthood. I'm not really a big shopper, I mean I think I own maybe 4 shoes! I don't care about clothes and don't have an expensive hobby, I just don't always have enough income to cover my fixed expenses.

It's important to look at your bills to see what you can decrease. Since I am home most of the time due to disability, there are things that I enjoy that I would hate to lose, such as my cable and internet. But, you can still keep cable, just decrease the movie channels and get basic, until you can afford a higher package. I've also taken up to coupon cutting, which some months are better than others, but looking for an item on sale and using a coupon with it, is how you really save money. I recently read an article on "Apartment Therapy" that said you should not spend more than 30% of your income on your rent, including utilities. I am well over that amount, I think it's really difficult to live within that range. By reading the comments on that article, I can see that most people are unable to live within that range. It's really hard to do so when you live in a city, where rent is astronomical. Not all of us can afford to own, which I've seen mortgages that are half of what I spend in rent. However, there are a lot of expenses with owning that you don't have with renting.

The best advice is to do your best living within your means. If you're over, look at your expenses and see what you can cut back on. Take up couponing; you don't have to be an extreme couponer, but if you can save even $10 on each grocery trip, that's money that can go towards your bills/debt. I love anything that has to do with organization. I especially love budgeting and bill paying. There's something very cathartic about paying your bills and balancing the checkbook. Well, it's cathartic when there's money left over! But do your best. The more you save today, the less debt you'll have tomorrow!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hooked on Smoothies

Recently, my mom returned a blender that I had given to her several years ago. In fact, it was a wedding gift, so it's over 11 years old! But hey, it works. I like that it's a glass blender and since she rarely used it, it's practically new. I actually never used it prior to giving it to her, but I started thinking how cool it would be to make smoothies, so she brought it back to me. I am definitely not a juicer kind of girl. I don't find them appealing, granted, I've never tasted one, but I'm just not a fan of drinking green stuff. Now I love my veggies and will eat them raw or cooked, however they're made, I just don't want to drink them.
My husband is also a fan of the smoothies I've been making. Who can't love them, I mix strawberries, bananas, soy creamer, soy milk and chocolate sauce. It's a hit! They are so refreshing and tasty, it tastes more like a dessert than anything. I'd like to think it's healthy, minus the chocolate sauce, but I'm sure it would taste just as great without the chocolate, maybe I'll try it sans the chocolate, some day.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

#TVLineup is now on #TVFishBowl

I am now posting my nightly TV Lineup on the great blog, TVFishBowl! I am excited to include my nightly tv lineup on their site, that provides all the latest on TV and celebrity gossip, among other great topics.

I've included a link on the tabs at the top of the page that will direct you to the website. I hope you still come back here, but certainly, follow along there too! Happy Viewing!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

3.3.13 #TVLineup

The Amazing Race, Once Upon a Time, All Star Celebrity Apprentice, Amish Mafia, Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Oprah's Next Chapter: Wayans Brothers, Oprah's Master Class: Alicia Keys, Real Housewives of Atlanta, Shahs of Sunset, Watch What Happens Live, Gypsy Sisters, Welcome to Myrtle Manor, The Bible, Snapped, Jerseylicious, Big Rich Atlanta, Worst Cooks in America, Mob Wives, Girls, Enlightened, Shameless,

Once Upon a Time: The Queen is DeadGirls: It's Back
Mob Wives: LoveEnlightened: Agent of Change
Shameless: A Long Way From HomeWelcome to Myrtle Manor: Becky
All-Star Celebrity Apprentice Premiere

New Episodes of Shows I Don't Watch:

The Cleveland Show, The Simpsons, Dateline NBC, Red Widow, The Good Wife, The Mentalist, Bar Rescue, Storage Hunters, Wild West Alaska, Gator Boys, Finding Bigfoot, Vikings, Catch My Killer, On the Case with Paula Zahn, Wicked Tuna, Mudcats, I Survived...., I Solved a Murder, Iron Chef America, Cupcake Wars, You live in What?, Hawaii Life, A Bryk at a Time, The Vanilla Ice Project, House of Lies, Californication, The Walking Dead, Talking Dead, Car Lot Rescue

Friday, March 1, 2013

3.1.13 #TVLineup

Kitchen Nightmares, Shark Tank, 20/20, Say Yes to the Dress, Something Borrowed Something New, Auction Agent, House Hunters International, Funny or Die's Billy on the Street, Ex Wives of Rock

Shark Tank Season 4 Episode 18

New Episodes of Shows I Don't Watch:

Dateline NBC, Last Man Standing, Malibu Country, Nikita, Rock Center with Brian Williams, Touch, Yukon Men, Bering Sea Gold, WWE Smackdown, Belle's, Four Weddings, Ghost Adventures, America Unearthed, Who the Bleep, Alpha Dogs, Wild Justice, The Jenny McCarthy Show, Cock'd Gunns, Real Time with Bill Maher, Portlandia, Out There, Police Women of Dallas