Birthday Wishes

This morning when Mr. O left for work he said, “Enjoy your last day as a 27-year-old.” See, my birthday is tomorrow. Tomorrow I turn 28, and enter into a whole new year of my life. I’m excited about 28. While this may sound ridiculous to some, I’m seem to really enjoy years when my age is even (like 28), but the actual year is odd (like 2013 will be). So there are a few months left to go until 2013, but I see good things coming.

I bet you’re wondering what to get me for my birthday. While there are clothes or books or random gadgets I’d like, the thing I would love most is a donation to Spry, my literary journal. We need to get the site professionally designed, pay for hosting, and many other fees here and there. We are a nonprofit journal, and every penny we’ve paid so far has come from our pockets. We put our goal for $500, but I’m sure we will need much more in the near future. If you’re interested in donating, click here to go to our Indigogo website. Anything will help: one dollar, five dollars, one hundred dollars. It would be the best birthday present ever, and I’d be happy to send you each a personalized thank you if you provide your email with the donation.

(Also, if you are interested in submitting your writing to Spry Literary Journal, you can do so here)

Thank you in advance for your donations.

Back to School Shopping!


This post is sponsored by Old Navy. Check out Old Navy’s Back to School Sale in stores or at oldnavy.com from August 2-15 & find out how to win a $100 Old Navy gift card, $50 OfficeMax gift card & a back pack.

It is almost time to go back to school. Well, it’s almost time for some people to go back to school. Graduating is a bittersweet experience. Anyway, while I won’t be heading to school this fall, I do know one little guy who will be. This year, Wolverine is going to be in first grade, and as many of you with little ones understand, kids grow fast. So the lucky little bugger will be getting some new outfits for school.

The school that Wolverine attends has a dress code, which I think is both good and bad. It is great because kids won’t be teased on what they are wearing. It is also great because it is easy to pick out what your child will wear to school the next morning. The only real reason I don’t like dress codes is because when I was a child I had to wear a uniform from Kindergarten all the way until I graduated 8th grade. I hated it. I had a horrible gray/yellow/blue plaid jumper and an Oxford shirt though. Luckily, Wolverine’s dress code is much looser than mine was. He has to wear solid color pants (in a few colors) and either a t-shirt or a polo (in a couple other colors).

So for the most part, the dress code is a good thing,  but last year, when we were shopping, we had to look all over the place to find matching articles of clothing in the school’s specific colors. That is, until we checked out Old Navy. Shopping for Wolverine at Old Navy last year was awesome. I cannot begin to describe how happy we were with all the clothes we bought there. The pants and the shirts fit him perfectly and the cost was great too. It is easy to overspend during the back to school season, so it was nice to stay within our budget at one place.

We will definitely be heading back to Old Navy to get Wolverine some clothes that will fit him for this school year. His outfits will actually look a lot like this, but only with a plain polo and full length pants. He’s going to be such a stud.

Boy's shirtBoy's shorts

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

A Million Dollars

Recently I’ve seen some type of this meme on Amy and Ashley and Gina’s blogs. I decided to play along too. What would you do if you suddenly received one million dollars to spend however you’d like?

If I had a million dollars (that I couldn’t invest or save in any way) I would…

…pay off my student debt.
…pay off the little I have left on my car.
…build my own house on a realistic-sized lot that isn’t ridiculously extravagant, but still pretty awesome.
… buy all the furniture, etc needed for the house.
…take a kick ass two to three-week vacation with Mr. O and Wolverine.
…send my parents on a kick ass vacation.
…hire the entire cast of avengers and Xmen to come hang out in costume for a weekend (Okay, I might not be able to afford this, but maybe just if Wolverine will come).
… gift whatever pennies I have left to my new business venture that will be announced soon.

a look back, a look forward

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Happy New Year Y’all!

I hope you had a safe and happy New Year’s Eve. The lovely Angela Noelle was kind enough to share these 1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Polar Bear Plunge on 1/1/11. Broke my foot. Traveled to PA and VT. Ate pho. Got my first real grown up tree. This list could go on an on and on.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t really make NY resolutions. I followed a Cuban tradition of eating 12 red grapes and making 12 goals or intentions as I like to call them. I think I did really great with my intentions. I did the same tradition again this year with Mr. O. Thank you Daisy for bring that into my life.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, actually, I don’t think so. But I do have two nieces who turned one this year, and now I have three close friends to me pregnant, and another real good friend too!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My sister-in-law’s grandfather. He was close to our family, and I do miss him when we have family gatherings. Plus, I didn’t like to see her hurt.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just the United States in 2011!

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you didn’t have in 2011?
I have everything I need. But one thing I will get in 2012 (well, unless something goes drastically wrong) is a DIPLOMA!! I’ll have my MFA 🙂

7. What dates from 2011 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
The day I first saw Mr. O, and then every day between that and the first time he told me he loved me. It was the perfect beginning to a relationship.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
My 3rd semester project. I also felt very proud when I was elected by my peers to be our graduation speaker. Losing a little weight (to a # I hadn’t seen on the scale in a decade) although, I haven’t checked my weight in the past few weeks, and god knows I’ve gained a few pounds.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Failure? Hmm. Nothing. If there was any time that I “failed” I definitely learned from those moments, and I can’t consider learning moments failures.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I broke my foot on 1/4/11.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Vacations? I like the iPhone, although I wish I didn’t drop my Droid in the ocean.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Mr. O. He is kind and loving.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Ha. I get appalled by people who are disrespectful. I sometimes feel sad FOR people when they act pathetically, but I’ve learned to not give any emotional response to people who don’t deserve it.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The house fund. Or: school, vacations, Christmas and birthdays

15. What did you get really excited about?
Being in a happy, healthy relationship. Surprise presents from my guy. Our vacations, especially when Wolverine came with us. Learning how to cook.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
A song I love from John Legend

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier
b) thinner or fatter? 
Thinner
c) richer or poorer? 
Richer. House money safely in the bank and no credit card debt (well, after I get paid this week to finish paying the damn Christmas gifts)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Write more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Care about other people’s actions/thoughts. I only want to care about my own actions, and those of the people who are vital in my life.

20. How will you spend Christmas?
I spent it with Mr. O, Wolverine and both our families.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
Oh, yes, yes I did. And if you couldn’t tell that from reading this blog, please get your vision checked.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I don’t like television that much, but surprisingly, I loved New Girl and XFactor.

23. What was the best book you read?
Oh goodness. I read so much for school, I honestly do not know. I think my favorite thing I read was an essay at school in a workshop. I’ll remember the name and edit the blog when I do.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
SAde and John Legend together in concert. YES!

25. What did you want and get?
Two fantastic guys: Mr. O and Wolverine.

26. What did you want and not get?
In 2011 I received more than I could possibly ask for.

27. What was your favorite film of 2011?
Tough one. Well, we went to the theaters to see Transformers and Hangover. Those were good.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 26 and went out with a bunch of great friends. Mr. O, my bestie and I went to lunch and the batting cages on my actual bday.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Buying a house is not as fun as it seems 😉

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2011?
Stop trying to look “pretty” and feel “pretty” in what you already own. I guess I’m learning to dress in my own style, and not feeling like I have to wear the same thing as everybody else? Does that make sense?

31. What kept you sane?
Having great people- especially Mr. O and Wolverine- around me.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
Osama Bin Ladin getting killed. After you have a friend die overseas, it is tough to understand the “War” as well as you thought you once did. Then to have the #1 Most Wanted person killed, it’s kind of like…What Now? Does his death justify my friend’s? And I personally can’t celebrate easily in another person being killed, so I had mixed emotions about that in general.

33. Who did you miss?
I missed Mr. O while I was away at school. And Wolverine, especially him this time around. People talk about the quirky things their kids say and do and it really makes me wonder what he is doing, and how school is and what books he is reading at night etc. I miss Poppa (my SIL’s grandfather) around the holidays and family parties. I miss Robert a bunch. I miss my dog Khiva here and there even though it has been 4 whole years since she has passed away.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Every single thing is a choice. Everything.

35. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
In this life, we all know
Friends may come, and they may go
Through the years I know
I will stay

thoughts, but mostly questions…

Days Until 2012: viaSo there have been a bunch of food, pictures and Christmas trees on the blog in the past two weeks. It’s time for some words.

  • I think I completed my goal this year in regards to buying all my presents before my brother’s birthday (12/13). I’ve got 6 important birthdays and Christmas all within one month. It is not easy financially. I’ve got to be organized when it comes to shopping.
  • I think I mentioned that I finished my 3rd Semester Project: The Story Behind the Status. I was so excited for it to be complete, but I felt so strange the next day. Like, “What now? What do I do now that is complete?” Well, I have quite a bit that I can do now, so I’m not concerned, but it is sad to see the project completed. I know I can do more with it in the future, I just need to buckle down and finish my thesis now.
  • Thesis? Ugh. What shall I write about in my thesis? Here are a bunch of possible ideas that I have: 1) I could have written a memoir if I didn’t spend my time doing ________. 2)The process of buying a house 3)The important of integrating grapefruit, yogurt and cookies and cream chocolate into your diet. I could really use suggestions. What would you guys like to see me write about?
  • There are a lot of blog related things I need to do, like redesign this blog, or launch my new self hosted 101 in 1001 goals blog. Who wants to help me?
  • Also, does anyone have any suggestions of things I can try cooking for dinner? How about a chicken or pork recipe? I haven’t cooked with those much, so send them my way!
  • Anyone have freelance writing opportunities they want to share with me? I need to beef up my income a little, so point me in the right direction guys.
  • My anniversary with Mr. O is next month. What should I get/do for that dreamboat?
  • I love the tv show The New Girl.
  • I miss me some Gray’s Anatomy. I haven’t watched it once this season.

i hope you’re feeling lucky!

Days until 2012:

Today is a big day on my blog! It is my very first giveaway! How excited are you? I’m pretty darn excited.

 I’ve been searching for cheap business cards for quite some time now. A year or two ago I purchased lovely cards for a networking event I was attending. They were beautifully designed but had minimal information, because I wanted them to still be applicable for all areas of my life. I’ve done a lot of event planning and floral design; I’m also a freelance writer, so instead of purchasing two sets, I figured I would just get one all-encompassing unspecific card. This plan worked for the most part. However, I got a lot of “Do you have a webpage with any of your designs?” or “where are you located?” (Note: I am still not “located” anywhere, but if someone wants to pay the rent for me to have a cute little boutique-like office, I am GAME). Plus, now that I am writing more often, I tend to hand my card out more often. So recently I’ve decided to purchase two sets of cards. I’m sure they will still be slightly nondescript, but they will hopefully seem more professional.

Here is my problem: I’m poor. I’m trying to buy a house, and I’ve recently found out how much my monthly repayment will be on my student loans (BARF!). Buying two sets of fantastically designed business cards really isn’t in the budget. I have champagne taste on a beer budget.

Cue the most awesome website ever! Overnight Prints! They have cheap business cards that are über professional and gorgeously designed. Cheap business cards! What could be better? (Hint: Not very much) Oh, and they are having a deal right now where you can buy 500 business cards for $15.45. I challenge you to find 500 business cards for that price that are printed on quality stock. Oh, and you can choose to gloss one or both sides for FREE! (Free is one of my favorite words.) There are so many great things about this company. It is called Overnight Prints because you can literally design something (by 8pm) and get it in the mail the VERY next day if you need to. Oh, and they have mini-business cards too, which are the type I have (and am running out of) right now. I get SO MANY COMPLIMENTS on these cards. They stand out so much more because people expect all business cards to look the same, and mine don’t. Plus, did I mention they are inexpensive?

What does this mean for you? Well, you can win a $25 gift card to use at Overnight Prints! Yes, you’ve read that correctly. Oh, and no, you do not need to purchase cheap business cards with this gift card. You can get whatever you’d like! I think it is the perfect time of the year to have a giveaway, because the winner will have the option of using the card to buy holiday gifts for other people or they can simply spoil themselves! Awesome, isn’t it? I do have ideas though if you’re thinking of using it on gifts. You can make a 2012 calendar or personalized stationary. Are you planning a wedding? You can make magnet save-the-dates to send to your guests. Have a business? There are lots of marketing materials you can customize.

Oh, most important part (duh)! Here is how you can win this great prize:

1) Mandatory: Leave a comment ON THIS POST ONLY telling me what you think you’d buy if you won. This will enter you in the giveaway.
2) For an extra entry, include a link to this post on your blog, then leave another comment ON THIS POST ONLY with the link to your post.
3) For a third entry you can share this link on your Facebook page (you’re going to have to leave another comment ON THIS POST ONLY letting me know you did)
4) And finally, for a fourth chance, tweet about the giveaway. If you tweet, make sure to include my handle (@reinventingerin).

The contest begins immediately, and you have until Thursday evening at 11:59pm EST to enter. So what’s that, like 5 whole days? Anyway, I will pick and announce a winner sometime before 5:00pm on Friday (I’m hoping to do it in the morning though). So you now officially have five days and four possible chances to win, folks. Get moving!

better not to know

So I decided to head on over to my student loan website today at lunch.

It was 100% not a good decision.

See, I’ve been on the website before when I first started graduate school. I wanted to make sure that everything was set up correctly, blah, blah, blah. But at the time, they didn’t have the loan repayment terms.

They do now.

It isn’t pretty.

Talk about depressing. Dang, it was definitely better not knowing anything about the loans. I guess the good thing was that when I talked to the customer service person, we figured out how much I should be paying monthly while in school (my repayment doesn’t even start until 01/2013) to completely ward off any upcoming interest and pay off the current interest on the loans. It isn’t too much, and I’m sure I can squish it into my budget, but it does not cheer me up any. Not one bit.

Moral of the story: Ignorance is bliss.

an offer has been made

For the record: I failed NaNoWriMo before I even started. I have not written one word towards NaNo this month. I know I kind of already posted about this, and how maybe I’d try to do it again next month, etc, but you know… just wanted to clear things up for the record. Also, on the same subject– and this I have yet to publicly acknowledge, even though I’m sure you’ve figured it out already– I failed NaBloPoMo as well. I did nine days straight (without even scheduling posts!!) but bailed on day 10. I didn’t even realize it. I was all ready to type up a post on day 11, and then I realized it. Dang. Failure all around. Oh, well. I will try again on both another day.

There is something I am dying to tell you about. I’ve gone back and forth in my mind about whether or not I would mention it on here. I don’t want to jinx anything, and at the same time, I don’t want to admit defeat if it falls through. But, in truth, I don’t keep much off my blog. When I started Reinventing Erin, I promised myself I would remain true to myself, and be honest and genuine about what is happening in my life. I mean, I want to make a career out of nonfiction writing. I’ve got to get used to sharing. So, basically. I don’t feel right keeping this a secret.

Mr. O and I put an offer in on a house.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Insert excited freakout here)

How exciting is that? This just happened a few hours ago (right before I went to sleep, seeing as how I just woke up), so there are a few more things we need to do. Technically it was a verbal offer, so today my realtor is going to bring us the forms to sign at work and then get those forms to the listing agent. Then the waiting begins. Will they accept our offer? Who knows. I hope so. I hope they just immediately accept it and we don’t have to go back and forth. There is a lot that needs to be done on the house (A LOT), so I’d rather spend my time trying to get that all sorted out then negotiate with the seller, but I’m resigned to the understanding that once those forms are signed everything is out of my control until I hear back from the listing agent. I really hope it is soon because I am a pretty obsessive person.

I’m just going to practice what I preach: think positive, live with intention and visualize what I want to create in my life. So that means, in my heart I will believe that THIS is our house. That we WILL get our offer accepted and that we WILL be able to fix everything that needs to be completed, and that things WILL go successfully. I believe this is absolutely the right decision. We’ve been waiting for this house to be ours, and now we have a chance that it will be…. Let me rephrase: it will be our house.

If things don’t work out the way I hope they will, then I understand that everything is meant to happen as it will happen. I am sure this will be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I understand that is a type of home ownership initiation. I’m just excited. I feel really, really positive and good about this. I have great ESP or intuition or whatever you want to call it, and my intuition says this is the right decision.

Now we’ve just got to sit down, relax and wait to hear back from the sellers.
Send positive thoughts our way!

living with intention

Last week I had a mini breakdown.

And by mini breakdown, I mean that I pretty much freaked the heck out from Thursday am to Friday night. This happened last month too, and while I very much wish I could pin it on PMS or something of the sort, I just can’t (although there was a full moon- just saying). I’m the type of person who likes to understand why things happen. I believe that there is a “reason” for everything, and it honestly makes me feel so much more comfortable and calm to know how things are related. For example, if I don’t take my vitamins or I start eating food with a lot of whey, my joints will begin to really hurt. So, when I feel like my world is crashing down, I like to understand why I feel like that.

The problem is… that there are no problems. I’m very, very fortunate to be as happy as I am in my life.

I am head over heels in love with my boyfriend and his son.  I love every single moment of our lives together, and cherish every single step we take towards our future, like buying a house with Mr.O or reading stories and bedtime kisses with Wolverine. Even more than that, I couldn’t ever thank Mr. O enough for the support he gives me in times like this. He is nonjudgemental and loving and kind. More importantly, he doesn’t make things easier for me (which drives me a bit crazy, but this might be the most important aspect). When I am sad, I want to immediate relief. I want Mr. O to play Prince Charming and have him swoop in and make everything better. But he won’t. This is what I’m grateful for. He is smart enough to understand that I need to fix my own emotions; he can support and encourage me; he can hug and kiss and hold me, but I am the only one who can change my life. This is what makes my heart flip and flop for him. He probably hurts to see me sad, but he doesn’t bandage over the sadness, he lets me experience it and move past it. He makes me feel confident enough to know he won’t leave me, and he firmly reminds me that I am absolutely not “crazy” when I claim that something is really wrong with me. This true love.

I am a student in the greatest creative writing graduate program ever. I am working with a kick ass, incredible mentor this semester and am very proud of my critical project I’ve created this semester (Side note: today is the last day to submit to The Story Behind the Status, so if you’re interested, get a move on!) I will be graduating in less than 8 months, and I’m kinda bummed about it. I wish I could get my MFA, but stay in the program forever (and not have to pay for it). Thank goodness for our Alumni Association!

I have some pretty amazing friends and family. I’m lucky to have people around me who support me and usually do not question my decisions, etc. It is nice to know you have people in your corner. I’m so glad to have friends that I can pick up with easily even if we haven’t spoken in a while. I went out last Friday night (which is what helped kick me out of my melt down) for my best friend’s birthday, and was able to spend time with a handful of other friends who mean so much to me. Plus, I had a FANTASTIC margarita.

I work for a great company in a job that I’m good at.
I changed jobs the month after I started graduate school I went from working in the HR field for 8+ years to a medical software company where I would be training clients. There was a pretty major pay increase and I love to teach, so I thought it would be perfect. There were a lot of people who didn’t think this was the best decision, and I do understand why. I needed to devote my brain to school, and by changing careers, I couldn’t give school the attention it needed. It felt like I went to school during the day (for work) and then came home and went right to school (for school). There was a LOT to learn in my company before I could start training clients, and by the time I got home, I felt mentally EXHAUSTED. The company is great, and the friends I made there are great, but it isn’t where I needed to be in my life right now.
However, I know now that going to work there was one of the best things that ever happened to me. In my time there, I completely paid off my credit card debt, and I met the man I will spend the rest of my life with.
But, I needed a change. So my “fairy godmother” (aka my current boss- who also happened to be my old HR boss) contacted me one day in May and presented a golden opportunity- a job that was the next city over from my house (meaning a daily commute of about 30-40 minutes total instead of the 3 hours daily at the medical software company), with a salary that I was very pleased with, a job that I’d be creating from the ground up and best of all, in a field where I KNEW MY STUFF. Did/do I have a lot to learn here? Absolutely! I’m actually working soley in one area of human resources that I was never involved in before, but I GET it. That is the amazing thing. I understand it all, and the things I need to learn, well I absorb them easily. It isn’t my dream job. I want to be standing in front of a college classroom challenging them to WRITE! But for now… it is exactly what I need. I feel safe and secure here. I love having my “fairy godmother” for a boss. She teaches me, pushes me, trusts me and is a really great friend too. Do things get hectic here? Every Single Day. Does it work for me right now? You betcha!

So why the meltdowns? Actually, why the multiple meltdowns? I had one last week, one in the end of September and then again a week later in the beginning of October, and umm, I think I had one in June. Why?

When I breakdown, I feel like my world is crashing around me. I know that it isn’t. I mean, I’m rational enough to understand that things are great, but then acknowledging that makes me feel even more nuts. If things are great, then what the F U C K is wrong? Am I crazy? Like legitimately, I mean that. Is something wrong with me? My thoughts are like a carousel and I obsess and I freak out and imagine all the bad things that could happen and then I imagine how I would feel if they would happen and then I think about all that is wrong with the world and then I think about how nuts I am being and then I think about how much I don’t like myself sometimes and then I just cry.

and cry…

and cry…

and do some more crying.

Mr. O made a very valuable point on Friday. When I get in freak out mode like that and cry like a nutjob, it is as if I’m a little kid who is inconsolable. You know when kids start to cry for whatever reason (they don’t want to eat their dinner, someone said something mean to them on the playground, it is bathtime, etc) and then they can’t stop crying. And the crying gets louder and the breathing gets all crazy and they get themselves to the point where they could almost throw up? Yeah, that is what happens to me. I was so interested when he said that. He is SO correct! Let me tell you one thing about Mr. O… he gets me to THINK sometimes. That is EXACTLY what I do. I get to the point where I am absolutely inconsolable, and because of this, even if I pull myself out of a crying fit, the sadness will linger for a good couple days.

Now, the freak out at the end of September was justified. I understand why I cried like a maniac. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the one in October was probably the remaining emotions from the September freak out. But I do not understand my freak outs last week and in June.

Do you think I’m being nuts writing an extremely long blog post about four crying incidents? Because if I didn’t make this clear enough, these incidents didn’t FEEL like temporary moments of sadness. They FELT like the end of my world as I knew it. Dramatic? Yes. But was that how it felt? Yes. I am extremely uncomfortable feeling like this (I’m also extremely uncomfortable with the amount of adverbs in this post). A few years ago I had a period of pretty severe depression that lasted almost a year I’d say. Obviously depression is unexplainable, and just happens. But it feels horrible and scary (actually terrifying is a better word) and unending. So, for the record, I never, ever, ever want to feel like that again, and take my mental health very seriously. These four mini breakdowns felt like that depression. And THAT is what terrifies me.

I don’t want to scare you guys. I feel remarkably better. I feel safe and normal. But I do feel cautious. Was it a mini bout of depression? I don’t know. Probably not. It was probably just an overwhelming moment. While my life is truly blessed, I do have a lot of stress. All of the blessings I noted above can be overwhelming. I’ve got deadlines for school and projects I’m behind with at work. I’ve got houses to look at and disappointments when my favorites go off the market. I’ve got friends I don’t see, things I don’t do.

It all adds up.

And then I usually break down.

Why the hell am I writing all of this? Who knows. I guess I just want to be real. I can’t do everything. I can’t be everything. I’ve got to take everything one day at a time. I just want you to know that this is who I am. I wrote a post a week or so inspired by Ashley of all the things I don’t do. I’m not Wonderwoman. To me, my life is perfect…it is everything I could have ever wanted. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get overwhelmed at times. Because I do.

I wish I could sum this up better– present you all with the key to managing life, paint a pretty picture– but I can’t. If there is anything that I have learned this whole year is that our life MUST be defined by ourselves. Am I crazy? Not by my standards. Am I happy? Yes, by my standards. Is my life where I want it to be? By my standards, you betcha. I’m still going to have tough days here and there. I won’t always understand why. But it’s a part of life I need to accept, acknowledge and experience. And once I learn how to do that…. I will feel better.

Oh, and side note. I want to thank you. My blog followers always amaze me. You guys are some of the most supportive, caring individuals. You too make my life better every day. I couldn’t do it without you.

themes

Okay, folks… I’ve been gone for quite some time. Now I’m back, refreshed from my little break and ready to start pumping some new material into this blog.

First, I really need to give a shot out to all the wonderful guest bloggers who wrote about moments of inspiration or times when they felt they reinvented themselves. Afraid you missed something? Well, Amanda kicked off the guest blogging by writing about greyhounds. The next four are all students in my MFA program at Fairfield University. Anne wrote the different names she goes by. Phil and Brooke wrote about when they realized they were writers. Reuben wrote about the time he spent in jail. Finally, Heidi talked about finding her calling and how every opportunity  is a new moment of reinvention. There are many more folks who have shown interest in writing guest posts for me, so expect to see some more wonderful writing on this blog in the coming weeks.

I bet you’re wondering what I’ve (finally) got to say. It’s been a while since I’ve been vocal around these parts. Truth is, I’m not sure. A couple of my favorite bloggers have recently began to “reinvent” themselves a bit on the web. Erin has moved her blog from Stylish Handwriting over to The Speckled Palate and her professional photography blog. Rachel stopped writing at Confessions of a Jersey Girl and now blogs at her own professional photography blog (both are amazing photographers by the way…check out their portfolios!). Now, I’m not going anywhere, and you can hold me to that. It has, however, really led me to question what my intentions are with Reinventing Erin.

When I started this blog, I had recently began graduate school. Now I’m officially halfway finished. (Just the thought of that makes me anxious. I’m not ready to graduate yet!) I had changed careers too. My life was just in a different place than it was when I blogged at my previous site. It was time to begin somewhere new. I didn’t’ know what would that meant for my writing. Looking through my previous pages, it seems as if the content on here has dealt mostly with graduate school, my friends and my relationship with Mr. O. Which is all fine and dandy in my opinion. My life really just consists of work (which I choose not to blog about) school (which is all I seem to write about on here), and the experiences I have with my friends, family and my love.

But how exactly does my theme of “reinvention” relate to all those subjects? I don’t want this blog to be considered a journal or a diary of any sorts, because well, it simply isn’t. However, I do want it to chronical the changes in my life, and in myself over a period of time. So, inspired by all my guest bloggers, Erin and Rachel, I’ve been thinking about trying to showcase my “reinvention” a bit more rather than popping up to write about my writer’s block or how in love I am. Because while I know I’ve got the greatest readers in the world, and you all care about what makes me happy and sad, who really wants to hear the same old stuff over and over again?

Like I said before, I don’t really know what this means for me… I don’t plan on changing anything (except maybe the blog design—I’m still looking for someone to help me with that!) or going anywhere. I do have a few ideas of what direction I’d like to take the topics I write about. With the help of Mr. O, I’ve been learning how to cook, and I think it would be fun to showcase some of the recipes I’ve tried. I also have done a lot of event planning in my life and love home design, so I think it would be fun to higlight some of the projects I’ve completed (or would like to complete). I’ve done an amazing job eliminating all the credit card debt from my life (I never thought that would happen), but am considering writing about my savings goals and ideas I have for budgeting. Besides getting in good financial shape, I really want to get in better physical shape, so maybe you’ll hear more about that journey on here. Oh, and I’m trying to majorly declutter my life, so maybe I’ll write about the process of donating and trashing my belongings.

Who knows?

But don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll hear more about my writing anxieties and how much I love being in a relationship 😉

 

poor, not poor: debt be gone, saving be done

So, I like to shop…. I also like to save. Let me share some tips (and back-story) with you.

I got hit by a drunk driver in March, totaling Jude, my Saturn Vue (sniffle, sniffle). This event forced me to car-shop, which is probably my least favorite thing in the world. Anyway, a little over a month after the accident, I purchased Bob, a Honda CRV. Now, of course I made sure that Bob was the best deal I could get for the money I was spending, but since I wasn’t planning on such a big purchase, I’ve been a bit anxious about money in the past week or so.


Bob makes his debut on the blog!

Something else you should know. I was 100% (for the most part) completely out of debt. I’ve had a bit of credit card debt pretty much since I graduated college. I just didn’t understand how credit works, and I made some silly decisions. (Never put stuff like laundry detergent and toothpaste on your credit card if you can afford to pay for it with cash or a debit card, because I have the feeling I just finished paying off some Tide I bought in 2006). Point is, I spent the past year and a half really trying to learn about credit and finances, pay off the debt I was carrying and choosing to never make a similar mistake again.

The thing is, I actually love my credit cards, especially Discover. I love the perks I get for using my cards. So far, I’ve earned two round trip tickets from Southwest by Chase, and so much cash back and other awards from my Discover card. I think I got over $200 cash back just by using my Discover card to purchase MacDaddy, aka William F*cking Shakespeare, my MacBook Pro. Now that is a great credit card. The trick is to pay off your balances in full every single month. If you cannot do that, then you should not be using credit. EVER. I’m serious. I never, ever, ever, ever want to be weighed down by unnecessary debt again.

So back to the story in hand. As of January 1, I had a credit card debt (only a small amount though because I was almost finished paying it off). I also had a car loan, and technically I have school loans. The reason I say technically, is because it is for graduate school, and since I’m currently in school right now, I’m pretending these loans do not exist. I will acknowledge them the day after I graduate. So lets pretend that as of January 1, 2011 I just had credit card debt and a car loan. I did not have a mortgage or any other type of loans or debt. I know that I was better off than many other 26-year-olds, but I still felt suffocated. I hated to make life decisions based on the hold money had on me.

So, I finished paying off my credit card debt 100% in March. Not only that, but my car insurance considered my car totaled, and then paid off the remainder of my loan (which by default checked an item off my 101 in 1001 goals list).  March was a great financial month for me, huh?

But, a girl can’t get to her job that’s 55 miles away by walking back and forth every day, so it was about time for me to buy a new SUV. Bob is wonderful; with gas prices so high, I really appreciate how great he has been. Even though the accident wiped out my car loan, Bob just created a new one for me. The deal I got on my CRV was great, and so are the loan terms. Technically I can pay Bob off in 4 years easily, but I am going to pinch every penny possible and keep my fingers crossed that Bob will be paid off by the time I graduate (per that my financial situation stays the same). This means that I will have paid the SUV off in approximately one year and eight months. If I choose to stay an extra semester in grad school (which seems like a possibility right now) that will add an extra six months to my timeline (it will also add money to my school loan though). I just want the car to be paid off in time for me to start paying for my graduate degree.

Good news though, folks. Don’t fret! By THAT time, I plan on being a best selling memoirist or columnist who gets overpaid on every word she not only writes, but thinks. Phew! I’ll just close my eyes and snap my fingers after I get handed my diploma and *poof* school loans be gone!

So yeah, that was a whole long explanation. All I wanted to do with this post was share some of the tips I’ve learned and link to a bunch of great websites I adore and use regularly. Instead, Bob made his debut on the blog for the very first time (Welcome, Bob!) I completely detailed my financial situation (Note to potential robbers: Please notice the fact that I never mentioned the thousands and thousands I have in savings or in goods, because it doesn’t exist. I might be out of debt, but I’m still poor.)

So what is a poor young lady who loves to shop do? Make good spending decisions. And I do that by looking for deals, using coupons and regularly keeping my eye on “deal” websites.

My all time favorite is probably Groupon. I don’t even want to bother trying to explain why. Here are the sorts of things I’ve purchased through the site: gift certificates to Subway, FTD.com (flowers), Vistaprint, Shutterfly, Barnes and Nobles, Love Stamped (who I highly recommend), got a few items like a tickets to a hockey game, a canvas stretched photo, and to a few places in my area like a cupcakery, a high-end liquor store and a bookstore. I honestly check the site daily. Well truthfully, I get updates in the morning on my cell phone, but you get the idea. Also, if you purchase a Groupon through the DiscoverCard store (which I do), you get 20% CASH BACK on your purchase. AWESOME! If you don’t use Groupon yet, I honestly feel a little sad for you.

Another site I keep my eye on is Jasmere. What I like most is that the more people who purchase the deal, the lower the price gets. Only when the deal is over is the price confirmed. Scenario: I go on and want to purchase something, lets say a $40 gift certificate for jewelry, and the advertised price is $19. (Now that I’m thinking about it, this is actually something that happened) Well, if a whole bunch of people purchase after me, the price could drop to $17 (which is what happened to me) or who knows, maybe even $15! Jasmere only has one deal every single day, which I like because sometimes GroupOn has too much stuff for me to sort through (am I really complaining about too many deals?) However, I don’t always love the deals on Jasmere. In fact, I probably only love about 40% of the deals. Don’t let that get you down though, because the stuff I’ve actually purchased through this site has been ahh-ma-zinggg and top notch quality. The last deal I bought was for Pangea Handmade, and I got two rings and a pair of earrings for only $17. (Yes, this is the deal I keep talking about.) So check it out and see for yourself.

Hmm, whats next? I think y’all are just going to have to wait for more. This post is far too long already, and I should probably do some homework now.