Archives for posts with tag: shameless consumerism

After our Cape Town adventures, Feller and I headed off to London for about two weeks for some business related stuff. Not MY business, obviously, since I was still an unrepentant bum at this point and happy to just enjoy London with no agenda or any real plan. Which was great, but also meant that I didn’t DO very much. There were quite a few days of snoozing and drinking and not doing much else, which was okay! But sometimes I do feel like I should have more to show for this portion of the trip, like there should been Stuff! To Do! Everyday! But you know what?! I had a great time and did most of what I wanted to do, though I would have liked to make it to the Victoria & Albert Museum. They have two exhibits that I wish I could have seen, but OH WELL.

I spent an afternoon wandering down Oxford ST and Regent ST, stopping in Hamleys (I only visited one of it’s SIX FLOORS; that was a time suck I did NOT need) and my first REAL LIFE Lush. This same afternoon I spent an ungodly amount of time wandering around Forbidden Planet, this monstrously large comic book and sci-fi/fantasy store and HOLY GOD, IT WAS DELICIOUS. I was really glad I didn’t have any extra money because I could have spent IT ALL in that store. There was cool comic book memorabilia and Dr Who stuff and Star Wars stuff and an entire floor of BOOKS. Signed books, new books, comic books, Dr Who and Torchwood spin off books. It was amazing. AMAZING.

One day, Feller came with me to climb the St. Paul’s Cathedral dome. We wandered around the crypt and saw various famous British people’s tombs and sarcophagi, like Admiral Nelson and … someone else … Wellington, maybe? Some of the plaques were really beautiful and there was a lot of history down there, but the main attraction for me was the dome.

St. Paul’s has three levels to which one can climb: the Whispering Gallery, the Stone Gallery and the Golden Gallery at the very top. We decided to go all the way, which involved climbing up a total of 528 steps (and then climbing back DOWN those 528 steps).

London Skyline

The view was GLORIOUS. It was one of the few overcast days in London while we were there, but you can see so much from the Stone and especially the Golden Gallery that it didn’t matter. (The view from the Whispering Gallery is the INSIDE of the dome and allows one to see the amazing artwork up close, but they didn’t allow any pictures, so we only briefly paused there to make sure we only needed to climb an additional 271 steps to the very top rather than 376 to the Stone Gallery and 528 MORE to the Golden Gallery.)

St. Paul's Cathedral - Stone Gallery

The Golden Gallery viewing platform was TEENY TINY, and I have a touch of the Afraid of Heights, which made climbing the second half of holey metal steps interesting, so there was a lot of cringing behind my hands and making Feller take pictures because I couldn’t bear to hold my camera out over the ledge in order to get the shot I wanted. I can always just imagine fumbling my precious electronics and helplessly watching them plummet 528 steps down to the ground, so I can’t actually stand the thought of sticking my hand over the abyss. But he got some great pictures.

View from the Golden Gallery

After that bit of fun was over, my legs were jelly. I was standing waiting while Feller used the toilet, and I kind of thought I was going to collapse. Apparently my legs aren’t so into the idea of climbing 528 up and then back down. WHO KNEW.

And, OH GOD, THE WALKING. SO MUCH WALKING. AND STANDING. AND BEING ON MY FEET. My poor little feets were just NOT prepared. It had been a VERY LONG TIME since I’d spent more than an hour or two on my feet, and HOLY COW. OUCHIES. I felt like a jackass complaining about my feet so much, but they HURT, and I couldn’t help myself. I’ll suffer through all kinds of pain, but you better believe Imma bitch about it. But I figure all that walking balanced out all that drinking and all that eating that we did.

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I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about money and spending and ways to save. Between the Hawaii trip, student loan payments that are going to kick in soon, a possible rent increase when my lease is up on October, and now possibly a flight to South Africa in March? I really need to look hard at how I spend money and where I can cut back. Part of this is making a budget and actually sticking to it, which involves me pulling the cash out of the bank for my grocery and gas (which is cheaper when you pay in cash anyways!) so that I know exactly how much I have and how much I can spend, and I think more about what I actually NEED to get through the week.

My best friend and our moms are doing a read along of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, but I’m totally slacking about it OF COURSE. But like Pam has said, “the print is large and it’s going to help get my finances in order”, help me learn to relate to money in a different way, and I’ve read a few blogs about how this book helped revitalize people’s finances, including one woman who lived super frugally and was able to save the cash to buy a house in a couple of years on one salary! A WHOLE HOUSE while making (probably) less than $50K a year. I don’t really want to go as extreme as living on rice & beans and never going out with friends or doing anything fun, nor do I want to give up Netflix, but I can find ways to be more frugal and get rid of debt and save money. I don’t want to be paying for school loans for the next 30 years.

Today, I read a post at Get Rich Slowly which linked to a NY Times article about money and happiness. It talks about how buying stuff doesn’t make people as happy as they think it might, and they link to a woman who pared down her belongings to 100 items and now lives in a 400 sq ft apartment with her husband. Again, I don’t really want to go that drastic, but I have SO MUCH stuff I can get rid of: my bookshelves are full of books I’ll likely never read, my closest is full of clothes and shoes I don’t wear, my underwear drawer is practically overflowing! Who needs that much underwear?! Not that I’m planning on giving my underroos to Goodwill, but I DEFINITELY need to cut back.

That article also suggests buying “experiences” rather than stuff and thinking and waiting and creating antici….pation before purchasing anything to increase it’s happy making qualities, and I was glad to know that I’m already doing this to a degree. My trip to Hawaii is going to be full of experiences: scuba diving all over, snorkeling, hanging out with a good friend, eating amazing food and having a really wonderful relaxing vacation with my feller. I’m hoping to keep extra spending as low as possible while we’re there, but I know I will want to bring home souvenirs (MMMM KONA COFFEE), but I also know that, for the most part, my memories and the pictures we take will end up being what I enjoy having the most. As for creating anticipation, I feel like I’ve been waiting FOREVER to get my Hobbit Feet. I’ve set aside money for them every week to save up, and I think having that slow build before I finally get them (tomorrow, hopefully!!) is going to allow me to enjoy them even more, especially since I’m able to buy them free and clear and not have to feel guilty about about putting another charge on my credit card.

Unfortunately, a lot of things live in the “someday, eventually” category, like “when I get my Christmas bonus, I’ll…” or “when I (hopefully!) get a tax refund…” or “When I’m splitting rent, I can save SO MUCH MONEY”, and it’ll be great when all those things happen, but until they do, I’ve got to focus on frugality and saving dollars wherever I can. I’ll just keep on keepin’ on, and trust God that he’ll provide like he’s always done, even when it seems like there’s NO WAY.

Brought to you by Irrational Irritation to remind myself that not EVERYTHING is fucking annoying:

  • It’s Friday
  • I picked up my bridesmaid dress. The color is lovely and looks great against my skin and with my newly dark hair. I need to get it taken in because I’m a tiny bit smaller than when I bought it mid-February
  • The ridiculously hot shoes I’m going to buy for the wedding: black close toed platform stilettos. I just need to find the perfect pair.
  • It’s Friday
  • Bourbon
  • Sherlock Holmes (and possibly Terminator)
  • One of our crew members calling me Amy [His Last Name]. I love our guys.
  • Quiet day in the office (that could be due to my phone not working)
  • Going home in two weeks
  • My car passed emissions
  • Getting a bunch of overdue errands finished yesterday
  • Spinach & Goat Cheese frozen pizza from Target
  • My new camera should be waiting for me when I get home! (Unfortunately, I was a dumbass & didn’t order a memory card. GRR)
  • Knowing there’s a new tattoo in my soonish future; once I get a solid one, I don’t sit on tattoo ideas very long
  • 30% off Urban Decay.com (Imma get me this (in Binge/Bourbon), this (in Stereophonic), and this (in Flipside). I also kind of want eyeshadow; my momma says the colors are awesome & intense.
  • I work for an amazing company. And it amazes me, even now, the way it worked out. In July 2008, I was working for Starbucks, and I was crushing HARD on one of my regulars. One day he pulled me to the side, and I was SURE he was going to ask me out. Instead, he asked me if I wanted a job. About a month and a half after I started, he was gone, but my new bosses liked me enough and believed in me enough to keep me around and make sure I got the training I needed to succeed and be happy. And things have pretty much only gotten better from there. God really had my back when he brought my SBux crush into my store.

    Our president is an amazing, generous man, who loves God and his company and the people who work for him, and every year, he throws a really wonderful, lavish Christmas party for all of us. The company pays for all the employees and their families to spend the night in the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, provides an amazing 4 course dinner and open bar(I wish I had taken pictures of the food!), and has drawings for really awesome prizes (a 12 mega pixel camera! a laptop! a Wii! a $5000 vacation!), plus a dj and games for the kids. It’s awesome, and this year’s party was amazing. I took my very good friend, Mariam, and we had a blast. We danced all night with the guys I work with and played on the beach and enjoyed the most amazingly beautiful Southern California day.

    I love being a part of this company, and I love when we all get together for manager’s meetings or the Christmas party because at those times, I am reminded of how blessed I am. My company is awesome. When the president calls us a Brotherhood, you know he means it. He cares about his employees and has integrity in the work we do, and the company is SUCCESSFUL. In these crappy economic times, the president is still able to throw a huge party and give out crazy bonuses. God loves my president and has blessed the work he put his hands to, and the blessings trickle down (thank you, Reaganomics!) to everyone in the company.

    And with my bonus, I’m being WILDLY consumeristic (is that a word? Firefox tells me it isn’t) and buying myself fancy electronics. Surround sound! Blu Ray! HDTV! I CAN’T WAIT MOVIES ARE GOING TO BE SO AWESOME. TERMINATOR IN HD! Can life get any better than that? I THINK NOT. Well, a man to appreciate my sweet setup would be better, but that’ll come. For now? As good as it gets. :)