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I am officially in the 3 day countdown until vacation.  I’m going to Columbus, Chicago, and Harrisburg over the next 2 weekends!

I biked into work and got to the offices at 8:58am, thankful that I got there right on time and was already armed to the gills with iced coffee and WeightWatchers baked goods for breakfast.

The lady already at the office peers around her too-large screen and informed me that someone had called 5 minutes ago and was going to call my cell phone.  Sure enough, she had called while I was locking up the bike and trudging in.

This caller is an inspirational woman that is teaching me how to lead and run a large fundraiser and after we were done talking business I said “Try to have a good Monday!” and she said something along the lines of “I always have a good Monday.  I cannot choose the situations I’m put in, but I can choose how I let them affect me.”

Man, I wish I had really listened to that this morning instead of letting the remains of my work day spiral into an angry, frustrated vortex of suck.  An angry frustrated vortex of suck that even volunteered to stay late a half hour because I hate myself.  This, coupled with the stress of having too much to do and not enough time both in work and life before I take off Thursday morning.

Inspirational Caller’s words didn’t really sink in until I was walking my dog at 6:30pm….I need to stop letting external forces affect me so greatly.  I need to get better about choosing to just push forward and stop stewing in my own pot of frustration and anxiety.  I’m going to do a good job and everything will get done so stop stressing, Self.

So unless you’re living under a rock in the middle of the woods with no cell phone reception or wifi….you have probably heard of the #icebucketchallenge for the ALS Association.  And while nobody can argue that it’s amazing that this marketing plan boomed larger than could have ever been anticipated….it raises many interesting questions.  How will the ALS Association handle such an increase?  How is the affecting the rest of the nonprofit sector?  How many of these people are personally touched by ALS in some way and how many just wanted to be cool (or cheap) on Facebook?

Mike Rowe (the dirty jobs guy) had a lot to say that just spoke to me.

I’d like to take a moment to list a few organizations that I personally believe in and have donated…and often more than just cash.  I’m not trying to gloat about that by any means….but more to let you know that you can support organizations that matter to you and if you are concerned of doing that financially…there are other ways to support.

American Red Cross – http://www.redcross.org/
This one is easy.  I have been really bad about keeping up since I moved to Philly, but when I lived in Maryland I was at the donation place everytime that I could.  I donated at ever drive at my college and I’m waiting patiently for a drive to come close enough to work.  Apparently my blood is special in some way which is why they hound me like they do….but I’m not so sure if that’s true or if that’s what they tell all the donors.

American Cancer Society – http://www.cancer.org/
My mother had Hodghkin’s lymphoma before I was born and passed away from lung cancer in 2011.  My dad suffered from bladder cancer when I was a kid.  ACS does not cater to a specific cancer and contributes to the well-being of patients and their families.  Not gonna lie – their Relay for Life fundraisers are a TOTAL BLAST.

Operation Ava No-Kill Shelter – http://operationava.org/
This one is fairly new to my repertoire but I kind of owe them right now.  This is where I adopted Wally, my new best friend last month.  Sadly, Wally was very sick with pneumonia when I got him and it has been a long month of recovery.  Unfortunately, I learned that people often get sick dogs from shelters because they just don’t have the means to take care of all of them.  I helped by making room for one more animal to wait for their forever home….and when I bounce back from these astronomical vet bills I hope to make monetary donations.

Spend Fast Day 9

The beginning of this week was pretty rough….I did end up ordering pizza when I didn’t get around to preparing my next round of meals. The next day, I went to the Save-A-Lot and got groceries and cooked a bunch of shit and made new iced coffee! BACK ON TRACK. I need to keep on top of my planning so I can feed myself.

My grocery shopping put me a bit over-budget when you factor in my CVS stuff and the pizzaganza. But that’s okay! I still haven’t spent any money this month on Starbucks or stupid lunches. And I’ve made an extra $280.

Sooo I was a little rough on the 4th of July. I went and bought a few grocery-type things to make pulled pork and chicken salad, which I still had money for….but I feel a bit bad about buying a $3 ice cream when out with friends. However, I did make $18 for a sidegig I picked up.

But that’s okay! Onward and upward.

Today I did not have time to spend money…because I was making it! I’ve made $120 helping a family pack and move so far and plan to make another $18-$36 tonight on aforementioned sidegig.

Tomorrow, I’m going to be packing and moving some more. I’ve got plenty of iced coffee on-hand. I’ve got chicken salad. I’mma be okay.

Day 4!

Well Day 3 was pretty rough…I had to spend $16 at CVS for some health-related things that just couldn’t wait. However, I did give myself $30 for groceries so I will just take it out of that.

Today, I am crockpotting some BBQ pulled pork and going to a cookout at a friend’s house. All of my friends are also supporting my spend freeze and taking strides to be cheap with me. I also have a few beers in my fridge from get-togethers past so it’s going to be a good 4th!

Saturday and Sunday, I will be working from 10 till whenever packing up a family’s loft and helping them move to the suburbs. It’s going to be a long weekend but I will be making a decent amount of money. Today i am also meeting with another person I do odd jobs for and will be getting an assignment to make some huge spreadsheet. That will keep me busy all next week! Excited about the cash flow coming in for July. Also, pay day is next week.

Hooray.

Day 2: Work Costs Me

So…Day 2. Here we are.

One thing that I may have failed to mention is that I have booked up several side gigs to fill my evenings and weekends in the next two weeks! I’m doing some packing/cleaning gigs this coming weekend and then an inventory next Saturday. One lady that I do random things for asked if I can make a spreadsheet for her that will take about 10 hours….yes I will totally accept that and work on it in the evenings instead of going out.

Tonight I’m running our book club that pays me a decent amount of money. The catch: I have to pay for a few things and then get reimbursed. I had to purchase a $10 Amazon Gift Card, but I couldn’t find just one $10 card so I had to buy a pack of 3- $10 Gift Cards for $30. I will see if my boss will buy me a coffee…but otherwise I will feel compelled to purchase one. It would be rude not to, I feel like I need to lead by example for the group to patronize (in the original definition of the word) the place that is so nice and accommodating to us. Either way…I will make $50 and be re-reimbursed for the $10 Amazon card (and for the other two down the road as we need one for each monthly meeting) I will still come out making about $45 if I get a coffee.

Last night I made chicken salad for the next two days or so and, if I have the energy after book club, make some pasta with the leftover chicken stuff I have to bring me through 4th of July. I think I’ll be crockpotting some pulled pork from my freezer so that I have something to take anywhere i may end up!

Day 1!

So, today was the first day of my spend fast.  I am happy to report that I have not spent money and I am now home for the night.  HOLLLLLLERRRRRR.

Many beers and foods were consumed.  A lot of sitting and laying down happened.  Just the perfect amount of hanging happened.  I used my vacation time wisely!  Today I got back to work with gusto and am ready to tackle all the things!

Preparing for The Fast:
Yes, I’m still doing that.  I even posted about it on Facebook today to hold myself super accountable.

In Delaware over the past weekend I managed to stock up on everything I need – most of which will last beyond July 15th.  I discovered that HomeGoods is a good place to get cheap seeds, oils, seasonings, etc. to amp up my meals!  I made an awesome oatmeal this morning with flax seeds, chia seeds, coconut, and PB2.  Yum.

I’m currently cooking some mexican chicken for the rest of the week.  Om nom tacos. 

First Day of Vacation

I took off this weekend intending to go to Ohio for PRIDE….but then my free flight plans fell through.  So I’m splitting the time up between my two favorite men: Delaware with dad and Baltimore with boo.

Today I got up around 7am, packed everything, and drove down to Delaware before Firefly traffic hit.  I have watched a Cops marathon for 7 hours.  I have drank lots of beer.  I ate fried chicken.  I did NOT go to Starbucks.  

So far, so good.

Oh, hey!  Two blogs in a week and the first in 2014.  I guess I’m trying to get myself back to a normal routine…and this silly little blog did help me keep focused…and I need that.  What better time than right before a vacation where I will jack my routine up once more?

One of my big issues: Money.  It’s not so bad that I’m getting phone calls or can’t make the nut every month…but my non-student loan debt has gone up a bit in the last few months.  I really like Starbucks now.  And am in a long distance-ish relationship which means not only am I spending more on travel…but I’m going out more because I want to share all the amazing things Philly has to offer!  

So I gotta knock it off.  And I’m gonna do that with a two-week spending fast.  I will be going to Delaware this week on vacation so I can stock up on some pantry staples and other toiletries.  July 1st: I’m done for 2 whole weeks that my calendar is currently empty so I will be loading that up with work.  This doesn’t mean I get to spend willy-nilly until then and I’m already doing better for that since my fridge is already stocked with this week’s lunches and dinners.  My hardest task will be kicking the Starbucks.  I guess it’s time to learn how to coldbrew!

I would love to hear any comments or tips people have from spending fasts!

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