If We Were Having Coffee (I Mean, Wine) Together Right Now…

Haute chocolate styled stock photography relax 11 final

I’ve written about the Instagram effect before — of feeling like your life doesn’t measure up to someone else’s because they (and most of us, really) just post the highlights on social media.

I’m going through some real-life lowlights right now (and no, not the “make me a little less blonde for fall” kind) that I’m not ready to write about publicly (though I’m journaling about it in case I ever do). I’m not going to pretend things are “normal” right now, but I’m going to try to keep this space as normal as possible for now.

So in that spirit, here’s some random stuff on my mind lately:

Off the shoulder tops — yay/nay? I kind of like this one but I still don’t get the cold-shoulder top trend.

I desperately need to do a closet clean, and am planning on listing a bunch of stuff on Poshmark. (If you use this link, we each get $5.) Unsurprisingly, there will be a bunch of Lilly.

LOVE this post from Jess about taking time to reflect — alone. I’m great at sharing my feelings in therapy or with friends, but spending time alone reflecting is different and, frankly, scary. I say I treasure my alone time — and I do — but I either spend most of it still busy (I make to-do lists for home before I leave work that, realistically, I could never get through) or completely depleted on the couch. Like Jess, I love baths, but I’m usually bringing something to read in there…or, my phone, despite knowing really well that I shouldn’t be doing that.

I need to get my cashmoney flow in order. Asking you: how do you budget? Paper and pencil? Excel? Some fancy program?

I’ve had some complaints from my neighbors (one cranky neighbor?) about Bailey barking. I just bought him a ThunderShirt to try/swaddle — any of you have experience with these helping your dogs?

I saw Boston: The Documentary, a documentary on (yeah you guessed it) the Boston Marathon, tonight in the theater. The movie examines the history of the storied race, weaving it in with the story of the 2013 bombings and the 2014 redemption year.

Boston Marathon Shalane Flanagan

The movie is directed by Jon Dunham, who also directed the Spirit of the Marathon movies, narrated by Matt Damon, and the score is recorded by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. All this to say: it was exceptionally well done. Even though we all knew Meb won the 2014 running, we were on the edges of our seats.

It’s a good thing I stalk IG stories, because last night I saw that Iliza Schlesinger, one of my favorite comics, was playing at Gotham Comedy Club, just blocks away from me. (She’s who I saw for my birthday at Foxwoods!) She will have her own show, starting next month, which I’m really excited for. 

13 comments on “If We Were Having Coffee (I Mean, Wine) Together Right Now…

  1. meredith (The Cookie ChRUNicles)

    I actually find based upon my own friends, the ones who post THE MOST about OMG I am so happy and life is grand with big smiles and family photos, are the most unhappy. I always remind one of my friends who does this that she was just crying to me a minute ago so why the omg life is great smiling photo on facebook? I do like the off shoulder tops! I bought a few from forever 21 and a cute dress from Abercrombie. I think some are too out there but ive been seeking out the cute styles that work for me.

  2. Ellen

    You Need A Budget for budgeting! It was life-changing for me. I use the on-line version most often. It takes a little while to get the hang of the app, especially if you get paid in weekly or bi-weekly installments, but it’s easy once you do. Basically I allocate money to different categories when I get paid and then manually enter all of my expenses. You can download directly from your bank but I like the discipline of manual reconciliation. It took me awhile to realize tools that are unique to me, like I need to set aside some money for the latter half of each week for unforeseen expenses. Otherwise I would spend it all in the first two days and then put the rest of the week on a credit card.

    Seriously, this was the tool that finally got my financial house in order. It gave me the insight and discipline to pay off my credit cards and student loan debt in a year.

    1. Rachel


      Long time, reader, first time commenter, coming out of the shadows to 100% Agree with You Need A Budget! Helped me figure out where my money was going and make sure I was prioritizing the things that were important to me, without making me feel bad about spending on things that I want to do (eating out, vacation, gym etc). I use the feature where it auto links to my cards which makes budgeting really easy. And you can try it for free for awhile (maybe a month?) to see if it’s for you. I know this sounds like I work for them or something, but I don’t, I just really like YNAB!

      1. Meghan

        @Rachel: I also want to chime in on YNAB. It changed our life. For a long time I’d set a budget and look at it at the end of the month and feel like I failed bc I couldn’t stick to it. YNAB is all about rolling with the punches and changing your budget throughout the month as you need to. If something comes up and you use more than allotted for in one category you can pull it from another and still be on budget for the month. It syncs with your bank accounts and credit cards so where you spend the money from doesn’t matter which was big for us. We like to put everything on a rewards card and pay it in full at the end of the month and YNAB enables you to look at your category balances not your bank account balances to know how much money you really have to spend. It takes a couple months to get used to it and get your budget figured out but it’s worth the effort. They have a bunch of startup videos too that are really helpful as you’re getting setup.

  3. Skye

    I’m so sorry you are having a hard time. I hope that everything is ok, or at least will be. So hugs from a complete stranger.

    I use a thunder shirt on my cattle dog for thunder storms. It does work, but he still barks only less frantically. I’m not sure if the thunder shirt would work as an all day thing. We have two dogs and find their barking escalates when they are bored or haven’t seen us enough. Not sure on your daily routine as I remember you once said you go see him at lunch but it generally seems like you are on the go a lot. Could one or two days of doggy day care give bailey some doggy interaction? Otherwise I’m sure New York would have a dog behaviouralist that could maybe work out what is up with Bailey. We’ve had good experiences with them in the past. We’ve had really cranky complaining neighbours in the past so I know how they can get! 🙂

  4. Nancy

    I’m sorry for your hard time. It sounds trite, but I have found it sometimes helps to remember that the basis for intense sorrow is love. There is a sweetness to the sadness that is just love. I was caught completely by surprise the first time I felt that for myself. Wishing you peace.

  5. Maggie

    Chiming in to say that I saw the recs for You Need a Budget above and I have to say I was not a fan of it. Maybe if I had a lot of time in my life to figure it out it would be good, but I work full time, go to grad school full time, and do an internship for 10 hours/week (plus, LIFE!) and after probably 5 or so hours trying to figure it out I gave up. Maybe one day I’ll come back to it and love it, but if I don’t that’s ok.

    I do want to recommend a budgeting worksheet that I’ve been using for the last 4 months and have loved. It’s from Liz at One Twenty Five (http://one-twenty-five.tumblr.com/post/138685497504/my-budget-template) and it’s super simple, but has worked so well for me. I just have it saved in a Google Sheet so I can access it any where and any time I spend money I just enter it in. I drastically cut down on her categories and I insert a column to the left of each month to budget specifically for that month (for instance I’ll be on vacation the last 8 days of May so May’s budget will look really different than April when I’ve been home all month). I also like that I can use a debit card, credit card, Venmo, cash, etc. and track it all in the same way. I always thought something like Mint or You Need a Budget would be better, but it turns out I just like simple!

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having some rough times lately. I know it can be so hard (in the last 20 months I moved away from everyone I knew to go to grad school and start over in a 2nd career, both my grandmas passed away, my grandpa was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, my cousin went to jail, my mom has had some health problems, and my parents sold my childhood home and moved to a totally new state), but one of the bright lights that has come from my tough time is learning to prioritize what keeps me sane. For me that’s reading for fun, being outdoors, and sleeping. I hope you can find some peace and sanity when you’re able.

  6. Heidi

    Sorry to hear you are going through a rough time, all the best to you in this difficult stage. When it comes to budgets, I like something simple so I just use a spreadsheet. I know people recommend fancy software (that you have to pay for which I find kind of ironic) but I don’t think that most people with relatively simple financial situations need to go that far. Everyone is different but I find just planning more realistically & keeping track of where my money goes really helps me to be more sensible. I also really dislike those cold shoulder tops, but then I really don’t like Lily either so what do I know : )

  7. Aubrie

    I like LearnVest for budgeting. That said, I’m still convinced the best tactic is to keep only the funds you want to spend in a month in an everyday checking account, and to squirrel the rest of it away in a linked savings account or a checking account at another bank. That way, if you’re going over budget you have to make an active decision and go through the hassle of moving the funds. One of my colleagues in the financial coaching world recommended Qapital, but I haven’t tried it out yet.

    Side note: I’ve been following and loving your blog for awhile now. Thanks for building a lovely, but real corner of the internet for your readers. Wishing you a speedy trip through the hard times and lots of joy ahead!


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