Sunday, November 17, 2013


I've been slowly integrating many small changes into my daily routines, hoping to make a large impact on my life and my lifestyle.

I decided that it might be easier to change if I only made one change a week. That way I can keep going with the things I have already changed and just make one small adjustment to my current routine. A good comparison? The snowball effect.

Four weeks ago, I decided to start keeping a daily log of everything I eat, everything I spend, and all of my exercise. A week later, I started using my lunch breaks to go for long power walks. I've slowly increased my mileage until I now have a few different solid 4 mile routes. I can't even tell you how much my days have improved now that I take the time to step away from my computer and enjoy some fresh air. I listen to NPR podcasts and unwind and get my heart-rate up a bit.

But seriously....who WOULDN'T love to walk around this?!

Ballantyne Corporate Park

The week after that, I stopped taking the elevator. Still keeping my log. Still doing my daily walks.

Last week, I started flossing my teeth every night.

This week, I am going to start moisturizing my hands and feet every night before bed (they are starting to get cracked -- probably from my lunch walks while wearing Toms and also from the change in weather).

I know those seem to be very minor changes, but if I keep adding them up and adding them up, my whole daily routine will evolve into me taking better care of myself and my body and making the most of my days!

This weekend was another experiment -- I wanted to have a whole weekend where I didn't spend any  money. I normally drop a hundred dollars or so  on dining and entertainment and it becomes SUCH a budget buster!

On Friday, I made crockpot dinner with food I already had and we had dinner with friends. I spent $0! On Saturday, we made breakfast with food we both had in the fridge. I went to the dog park with Nala and then headed home and did a workout.

Sleepy Nala after a romp at the park and a bath.

On Saturday evening we, went to Treehouse Vineyards with a Groupon I had purchased a while ago. Hellooo free wine samples and a nice bottle of wine! Dan then purchased dinner at a cool restaurant called Bibi's.

Some vines at Treehouse Vineyards in Monroe.

This morning we had coffee and looked at rentals. In the afternoon, we used leftover ingredients to make nachos and then he watched football while I watched "Bomb Girls." Then we both worked out and spent the evening with my roommate and her family.

All in all, I spent less than $30. I bought a few random things here and there (my damn dog is sooo spoiled!) but didn't spend ANY money on food or entertainment. I am definitely going to try to have more Free-kends, because I ended up being $119 under budget for the week -- and would have been $219 under budget for the week if I didn't have to pay a deductible for my car repair.

I am quite happy with my ongoing progress -- I definitely feel that I have turned my life around since I moved down to NC. I'm feeling good and know that good things are ahead :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Resolve Results

You may recall that I set quite a few goals for myself for this past week, and here are the results:

1) No grocery shopping: I did not spend a penny on groceries until we had to buy something for a party on Saturday and for Sunday breakfast. It was great to use a bunch of things I had hanging around in the cupboards and fridge! And I still have more to use up for this coming week!

2) No coffee: I did really well with this one. I drank a lot of tea this week (so obsessed with Market Spice Orange Cinnamon tea). When Saturday morning hit, I was jonesing for a Starbucks and got an iced coffee w/ creme brulee syrup and cream. YUM. 

3) No going out to eat: I only went out to eat for one meal this week (Friday night) for date night w/ my boo. I ate in for every other meal and brought a lunch every day this week.

4) Exercise every day: I walked/hiked 22 miles this week. I walked every work day during my lunch break and did  a 6 mile hike on Saturday. Today is Sunday and I haven't done anything yet...will maybe consider using the treadmill this evening.

5) Budget: I did spend $72 over my budget but there were  a few unusual expenses in there (having to fill up two tanks of gas, since I got a rental car that was on E the day after I dropped off my own car, which I had just filled) and a friend's 30th birthday that we obviously had to celebrate in style! 

I will say that keeping track of my budget has made me much more conscious of my decisions and how I try to rationalize a  lot of the things I want to buy to myself. I think it's important to recognize how so many small indulgences of things I tell myself I "need" add up. I am hoping to be under $350 for next week. We shall see!

I've been keeping a daily log of everything I spend, everything I eat, and my exercise for the day. I ordered a daily planner for 2014 so I can continue this tracking because I think it's important to track my behaviors so I can learn how to modify them and make better decisions in the future. 

This week's goals:

1) Spend under $350 for the week.
2) No going out to eat for the work week. Can go out to eat 1x over the weekend.
3) Exercise every day: a minimum of 30 mins/day -- okay to take one day off. Walk on lunch break (minimum of 2 miles) every work day (unless it's raining). Also, should do one hour of circuits at least three times this week.
4) No buying coffee.
5) Take the stairs every time.
6) Floss teeth every night.

Pretty similar to last week's goals, but also modified to account for the things I've learned this past week.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Slump & Resolve

I was in a major life slump last week. Minimal exercise -- totally pumped the brakes on my 30 day shred progress! -- terrible eating habits, and a bit of financial stress.

On Sunday, I looked at myself in the mirror and thought Self, these are ALL things that you can control. You have the materials and tools to build and sustain a wonderful life...why are you letting yourself live this way?!

The night was spent looking at mortgage rates, discussing the future, and taking a step back from myself to reassess myself.

Today marks exactly 5 months since I started working at Liberty in Charlotte and it is time for me to stabilize! I have taken care of all of the crazy abnormal expenses that come with moving and adjusting to a new lifestyle. Time for me to start making smarter decisions that will lead to a happier future for myself (and not to mention a happier day-to-day feeling!)

I woke up at 6 a.m. today. I was ready by quarter of 7....I'm normally not even out of bed by that time! But it felt good!

I made my breakfast/lunch, planned dinner, got gas and made it to work 30 minutes early.

Here are my resolutions:

For this week:

- No grocery shopping (except for produce). My cabinets are full of dry goods and I have a bunch of meat in the freezer. I don't need to spend money on groceries when I already have so many!
- No coffee. I will be drinking tea, instead. It's cheaper and less caloric.
- No going out to eat. This is an expensive and unhealthy habit. I should be making bigger dinners so I can have leftovers for lunch. I don't need to go out just to go out.
- Exercise every day. At least 30 minutes a day of walking and/or aerobic exercise. Need to get back into my videos for bigger impact and to maintain/strengthen the muscles I had built! And I need to keep doing my daily lunch walks to ensure that I'm stepping away from the computer and taking a breather.
- Budget. I should not be spending more than $350/wk. That is absurd for one person. I need to be saving and I need to not be dipping into my savings to pay off my credit card. This means I'm spending too much!!

Long term:

- Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day for a minimum of 5 days/wk.
- Maintain budget of spending under $350/wk every week. I should be saving $1000/month. If I'm not, I'm doing something wrong. I will be keeping a weekly log of all of the dollars I spend per week to ensure that I'm not going over budget or dipping into my savings.
- Limit going out to eat 2x/wk -- 1 lunch/wk and 1 dinner or breakfast/wk. That's it.
- Find more fun, free things to do. And creative ways to spend time w/ my boo that don't involve going out to eat or going out for drinks or spending money.