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Brown Bagging It: The Struggle Continues

27 Jan

Doesn’t it look so boring?  When I see one, I immediately think of some smashed mediocre sandwich cut down the middle, a Washington Red, and a bag of baby carrots.

While so many people plan to diet and lose weight every year, I unsuccessfully go on a spending diet.  But I’m never discouraged to take a stab it every year.  Without a doubt, my plan is thwarted by food, wine and spirit infused fun times and escapades.  So here I am, once again, making plans to brown bag it in 2012.  Here is what my lunch week looks like most times:

Monday

Tuesday[1]

Wednesday

Thursday[2]

Friday

Total

10.00

4.00

10.00

5.00

15.00

$44.00

10.00

4.00

10.00

5.00

15.00

$44.00

Grand Total

$88.00

[1]

Taco Tuesday at Café Rio

[2]

Costco food (Cheap!)

How much I spend on lunch every week fluctuates.  This is lighter than what I used to spend weekly, minimum $50.

Let’s say you make $40,000 a year.  This means you make $19.23 an hour [(40,000/52(weeks)=$769.23, $769.23/40(hours/week)] before taxes, benefits, and retirement.   I am going to go ahead and take 25% for those miscellaneous items.  So every hour you’re making about $14.42, which is $576.80 per week.  At this rate, you’re spending 8% (44/576.80) of your weekly earnings in one hour; you’ve almost spent what you make in an hour after taxes on lunch.  I know this is extreme with the numbers, but it is what I do.

On a higher level, think about what you make every week, two weeks or a month and know that you’ve spent $50 in a week, $100 in two weeks, or $200 in a month alone on lunch.  Now, I am not going to lie.  It’s so difficult for me to bring my lunch to work.  Really difficult, so this is what I have done this week.

Monday [1]

Tuesday[2]

Wednesday [3]

Thursday

Friday

Total

5.99

7.83

2.16

4.99

4.99

$25.96

Grand Total

$25.96

[1]

Fresh & Easy lunch

[2]

In & Out

[3]

Costco food (Cheap!)

Although cutting the expense completely would be most beneficial, I have found a way to reduce how much I spend.  I spent $18.04 (44-25.96) less than what I normally spend a week.  Woohooooo!!!

By purchasing my lunch from the grocery store daily, I get to enjoy the great outdoors and choose my lunch.  I have commitment issues and hate the lunch room and eating at my desk; my lunch needs to be different EVERYday.

Grocery stores are the best places to buy lunches; they don’t charge tax on food!  Fresh & Easy sell little meals you can just pop in the microwave and they are BAMB.  Monday, I had the Butternut Squash Risotto (s/o @sooelite), Tuesday, In & Out, Wednesday, Pepperoni pizza, Thursday, Southwest Salad and lentil soup, and tomorrow, I will have a Baby Spinach Salad with lentil soup (I didn’t say I am a healthy eater). Never buy a drink for lunch, unless it’s Veggie Grill’s Strawberry Lemonade and iced tea.  You don’t need the sugar and sodium anyhow.  Next time you’re out, look at how much a drink costs, it’s practically half the cost of your meal.  No gracias.  Water, please.

I hope those calculations above help you figure out how much you are being paid per hour.  It’s helpful in negotiating and changing jobs.  When going from hourly to salary, people get confused because a job will throw a seemingly large figure at you, but when you reduce it to the hour, it’s not much.  Don’t get bamboozled.  Know how to calculate your salary to the hour and PTO.

You’d be surprised how often companies cheat their employees on their PTO because people do not don’t take the time to monitor it.  First, you need to speak with your HR department to figure out the accrual rate for PTO.  My job accrues PTO at a rate of 4.62 hours per pay period, so every pay period I should see my PTO account increase 4.62 hours, unless I’ve used some off it.  Then, I have to net what I’ve used with what I earned.  Don’t you hate looking at it?  For every 80 hours I work, I only get 4.62 hours of PTO.  Such is life!

I hope something in this post can be of use to you.

Kitchen Necessities

13 Oct

How many times have you gone over your bf’s and maybe your gf’s house and there is only a box of baking soda and Country Crock in the fridge?  At lunch on Sunday, someone added that there’s a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s, too (LoL).

Meg and I have cooked for our friends multiple times and to our dismay, they never have the bare necessities in their kitchens.  We have to scavenge and invent pans to cook something.  So to you guys that ask women to cook for you and for the women who agree to, here is a list of the bare minimum.  You may get a pass on some, but for the most part, pleassseeeee get it together.

The List

Red/Yellow Onion · Garlic · Oil · Flour · Sugar · Bellpepper · Milk · Eggs · Can Opener · Cork Screw · Bottle Opener • Chicken Broth · Rice · Butter · Cream of _______ soup · A good chopping knife · Cutting board · Salt · Pepper · Creole Seasoning · Can Opener A decent set of pots and pans · Baking Sheet · Large Mixing Bowl · Storage Containers for leftovers · Plastic Wrap · Foil · Cheese · Peanut Butter (only because I have an obsession) · Dishtowels · Large Serving Utensils · Silverware · Plates and Bowls · Paper towels · Broom · Mop · Sponges/Rags for cleaning · All purpose cleaner · Trash bags Dishwashing liquid

 

Cooking is, at the least, a skill, not a gender role.  Try your skills out in the kitchen.  Practice makes perfect.

Friends of the Opposite Sex

11 Oct

I have held friendships with the opposite sex for years and they are close dear friendships, probably inappropriately close at times.  I never saw it as a problem, until I got older.  Rather others pointed out that it can be a problem and could reasonably make someone I am dating uncomfortable.  Nothing has ever happened between my male friends and me; they have all been platonic friendships, but I cannot circumvent the question asking when I begin dating someone.  The questions worsen as the dating continues, but I am open to answering any and all questions about my friendships.

I will admit that I have done some disrespectful things. I never intended to be disrespectful.  I thought I was just being me and functioning amongst everyone as I always do.  I had previously summed it up to the guys I was dating being insecure. However, once my friends, the same ones that were brought into question, confirmed that it could make someone uncomfortable, I started to make a few tweaks.  In addition, I might be a little too free-loving.

The Lines Seem Blurred?

Here are some pointers from WikiHow.

  1. How do you feel about them and how do they feel about you?
  2. Make sure both people understand it is a friendship
  3. Tell the person you’re dating about them and the type of friendship it is
  4. Bring the friend and person you’re dating around each other
  5. No “touchy feely” with your friend, no matter how affectionate you are (Eek!)
  6. Don’t give people reason to think you’re more than friends by doing seemingly romantic things
  7. If the “friend” does not know how to be a friend, “x” the friendship.
  8. Go to lunch instead of dinner

Take this short questionnaire, here.  I have done some of these things and some I have not. Obviously, I created the survey before reading the WikiHow article, which confirms that I’ve done some eyebrow raising things

Thrifting, but for Furniture

4 Oct

I don’t like thrifting, not because it’s second-hand shopping.  I don’t like thrifting because it requires a lot of patience. Even though I am pretty much ready to leave once I walk through the door, thrifting for furniture is an AWESOME idea, guaranteed cost cutter.  In addition, it tests your creative ability to pull together a look with what you have at hand rather than just finding and buying what your imagination came up with brand new (that’s what I did below. Shhhh).

My beloved Sugar found these while he was out thrifting and I fell in love with them.  This was taken with a camera phone, but they were in really good condition. The nailhead trim and feminine vintage print on the chairs made me think Shabby Chic. *swoon*

I’m thinking…a crisp white round pedestal table, a honey brown or walnut stained sideboard with clean lines, this wooden chandelier I found on www.apartmenttherapy.com, a collection of 3 clear vases as the centerpiece (one large round, one that looks like a carafe, and a short fat cylinder).  For a rug, I’m thinking round woven natural.

Let’s see how this pulls together as a collage…

I used the old and new, which is not a crime.  Begin with what inspires.

Furniture auctions and flea markets are also another means to buy furniture at a great price.  So don’t be afraid to visit your local Goodwill.  I haven’t been to the Pasadena Flea in a while, but there are so many options.  Just Google your city’s name and flea or ride the streets for yard sales and such.  Something should come up because there are so many options.  Don’t be afraid to refinish something or pay someone to to save money, time, and get that one of kind piece.

Dear Diary,

21 Sep

Today, I worked out.  “I’m so cold.  I think I see Blue.  He looks glorious.”

The last time I worked out on a regular basis was 2008, 2 years ago.  I had a little bit of a burn and muscle ache, then.  Now, that I am working out again, my body hurt so bad I thought I was doing a lift, run, punch, something terribly wrong.  Those Mountain Climbers, jumping rope, jumping jacks, lunges, and squats had every muscle of my body hurting, even my back.  Legs were shaking on the last rep and all. I am surprised I have not been cramping at night. I had to take breaks at work to walk around outside to ease the pain; this is suspicious activity where I work.

My hair and body have been casualties of this effort, but I didn’t let it stop me.  I stuck with it and now I am practically pain-free.  I manage my hair during the week and do it for the weekend.  The motivations for exercising are: 1) Run/Walk in November 2) I should probably start working out again for my health’s sake.

EXERCISING

I do an intense 30-minute cardio video (woohoooo On Demand!) that turns my pores into faucets.  Gross, I know.  I did not know how to feel about sweating like that.  The video keeps you going the ENTIRE 30 minutes.  Break time is jogging in place. LoL.  After I complete the video, I run, jog, and finish walking.  There is a reason for the cool down.  If you do not slow the heart rate down progressively, you will look and feel like death.

FOOD

While my other-half has tackled the eating, I will be honest, I am having the hardest time with that. Working out increases the metabolism, which also increases your appetite.  I have been eating like krazzeeee.  And…I made crepes with Nutella, strawberries, and whipped cream last night.  You’ll just have to excuse me *puts church index finger up*. Yet, what I do know, from past experience, is that eating habits are probably about 80% or more of losing and maintaining weight.

Please, commit to a LIFESTYLE CHANGE, not a diet.  Diets make me think of calorie counting and specific meals on specific days.  I always ask people “could you eat like that for the rest of your life?” If not, then don’t do it.  Change habits first. Your food preference will change naturally. I hope.

My Do’s and Don’t’s

  • No sodas
  • Cut out most juices, unless they are freshly squeezed with no added sugar
  • No Sweetened Iced Tea, either
  • Eat all three meals with snacks in between
  • Make breakfast count.

Breakfast is easier to control.  Buy some almonds, fruit fiber bars, steel cut oatmeal, high fiber cereal, soy milk/almond milk (for the lactose intolerant) and put it in your desk or wherever you will be in the morning.

  • Lay off the bread a little bit.

I’m not really a bread or chip eater, unless it is a burger/hotdog bun, so this was easy.  I bought neither when I lived alone.  However, some restaurants do offer lettuce wrapped burgers as an option.  I think In-N-Out calls it a Protein Style.

  • Don’t double or super size anything
  • Cut your portions in half.
  • Don’t eat after 8 p.m

Unless you will be up for several more hours.  I’m sorry I do not believe the hour and a half thing.

  • Eat ONLY healthy snacks

Fruit, Vegetables, Nuts, some protein/fiber bar. If you don’t like any of the above you will be less inclined to eat so much, which is a good deterrent

  • Look at the Sodium and Sugar on the food you eat

Aim to eat less than 1500mg of sodium per day, according to the American Heart Association.  For sugar, find no added sugar products, if you can.  Eliminating and cutting back on portions should help in reducing Sodium and Sugar.

  • Drink Water

6 – 8 glasses a day is fine.  Start off with 4 and increase.

This does not have to be hardcore and drastic; it is a learned behavior.  Some people prefer strict regimens because they do not think they can achieve the same results.  I obviously do not agree.

If you have health issues, please consult your doctor.  Don’t over do it!

If you would like to motivate yourself via a Run/Walk, check out www.laraces.com.  They also have a nationwide search. Remember that you can pretty much Google any cause to see how you can contribute.

The LA Marathon is in March of 2011.  You can start training now!

Wake Upppppppp!!!! Be Informed About Your Health

14 Sep

I was thinking Laurence Fishburne in School Daze with that title, but on to the post…

I did not grow up with a fear of the doctor, probably because I was at the hospital a lot with asthma, hearing issues, sprained ankles and wrist, broken fingers, etc.  I had fun and perhaps took it too far, as a child.  My dad just shook his head, as he does now but for different reasons.  I hated the dentist, on the other hand.  It seemed that every time I went, they needed to do something, but I grew up and tears no longer puddle in the ducts of my eyes, although I still feel I am due a lollipop for good behavior. 

I scheduled a doctor’s appointment yesterday and after talking to a friend and recalling conversations with other friends, I realized that my age group does not visit the doctor.  For some reason, when our parents no longer escorted us to the doctor’s and held us in the waiting room before glorious light surrounded the door when our name was called, we rarely visit.  For some people, they are “too busy.”  For others, I guess there is still fear.  Then, there is a group that simply does not have any health insurance and to you I say “Obamacade is on the way!” 

Both men and women should be concerned about their health, but women who are sexually active and intend on having children need to be regulars and have a great relationship with their OBGYN. Scratch that! If you are breathing, you should be concerned about your health. Yeast infections, UTI’s, HPV, and The Big C (Showtime series that I now watch) are huge concerns, not to mention STI’s. 

Quick information:

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are curable, but SERIOUS.  Chlamydia is a “silent,” few symptoms, infection that leads to serious reproductive problems.

Gonorrhea is the “burn.”  It also causes reproductive problems, pronouncedly, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which can lead to infertility and internal pus-filled pockets that are difficult to cure. 

Herpes is “the outbreak,” sores.  The sores are painful nuisances.  Herpes CAN NOT be cured. Medication can be taken to lessen the outbreaks and heal them faster.  The infection can be transmitted to the baby.  However, there are few cases that a child is infected and harmed. 

HIV/AIDS – the “killer.” HIV progressively turns your body on itself, breaking down the immune system.  Then, once the immune system is severely damaged, you have AIDS and the person typically dies due to a common illness. 

Last but not least, if you are carrying a STI, you are more susceptible to contracting another. 

WOMEN
A Pap Smear tests the cervix and uterus for cancer.  It does NOT test for any STI’s, but is very important.  When you go to the doctor, ask for a FULL STI screening, not just Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.  Depending on your test results, you may need to visit more often than other women. That’s okay.  Accept the responsibility.  Over half the women diagnosed with an invasive cancer NEVER had a Pap Smear.  Yep, *scare tactic* if it gets you through the door. 

For more information on STI, visit http://www.cdc.gov 

Planned Parenthood is more than abortion shop and it is national.  They offer low costs or no costs for Pap Smears, testing, birth control and all REGARDLESS OF INCOME via a government funded program PACT.  Payment is based upon income and some private insurance is accepted.  I’m not saying anything, but they don’t do a background check on that income.  All you need is your ID.  I called them and did the research. Now, you need to call them at (800) 230 – PLAN or visit their website http://www.plannedparenthood.org for more information.  MEN YOU CAN ALSO GO for testing.

You can make appointments online and access their forms to have them completed before arrival.  You may have to wait, but this is important.  “Wake everybody…no more backward thinking, time for thinking ahead.”

– Mischthegwc

Is there a “too soon”?

9 Sep

I’m doing my morning routine: arrive about 15 minutes late, apparently my start time is 8:45, log-in to my comp after 2 attempts because I forgot I changed my password, open Outlook to see more about nothing (Wale’s mixtape needs to be on your ipod), check a couple of reports for imbalances, sign into Gtalk and cascade all my convo windows, and then read all my fav blogs and the news.  However, this morning, while discovering the Kindle will be sold at Best Buy soon and agreeing that Roger Federer is one of the best to ever play tennis, I had the convo below: 

Me: So how was your date? Awesome?
N: Yeah. It was, but I think she gave it up to soon.
Me: Gave up what? How long have you guys been talking?
N: You know what I’m talking about.  For like a week, but it feels like a month.
Me: So a week…you did not feel challenged enough? I do not understand. (reason why I don’t is because he told me he really liked her)
N: Well. I don’t know. I still like her.  I guess she know what she want out of life. LoL
Me:  LoL. That’s what I’m thinking, Andre (in response to his Andre 3000 The Morning After reference)
N: LoL.  Yea. But I’m def feeling myself tho. Veni, vedi, vici 

I forget which comedian made the joke about women knowing upon meeting a guy whether or not she will sleep with him.  Was it Chris Rock? Anyways…this much is true!  It’s only a matter of time, if she really really likes you.  Women quarrel with the idea that “he won’t like me/respect me once I give it up” or “if I hold out (pretend I’m uninterested), he will like me more.” This thinking is foolishness.  The idea of preserving yourself is not foolish and even abstinence or celibacy.  Women should NOT be promiscuous.  There is a double standard that I agree with.  

This Gtalk convo made my antennas stand straight up because he told me he really liked her, but he made a judgment about her after having sex with her. For this reason, I asked him how long they had been talking, so I could ask the title of this post.  So then, I began thinking ‘maybe you didn’t really like her. Maybe it was just lust.’ This happens sometimes, a pump fake; you think this person is amazing and then the feelings evaporate The Morning After.   If you read my The Morning After post, you know how I feel about sex; it is not a tool to build a relationship with someone and it is not a huge player in the depth of a relationship.  Yes, emotions can arise making it a different experience, but in seeking something more with someone, we have to look outside of it.  But what happened that *poof*, nothing The Morning After?  I do not believe in watching the clock, but is there a “too soon,” when you truly like someone?  Or maybe you really didn’t like them as much as you thought? You loved the idea of liking them and wrote a Disney fairytale?

– mischthegw