Writing about Habits, Rituals, and Traditions

Writing about Habits, Rituals, and Traditions

Right now I’m planning for Sunday dinner. A new Tradition we are working on adopting. For some reason most of my new habits and traditions revolve around food.

I also have some new personal habits, like being active an hour a day, writing, and reading for at least 30 minutes a day. We also have our relationship goals, like celebrating accomplishments, new holidays, and planning out at least one meal a day for the whole week. 

I’ve been writing a lot this last week. I was attending a writers conference and trying to improve my ability to put pen to paper. I learned a lot from several very good writers, about their habits, and how they keep themselves productive. Haveing a routines like taking a walk befor and after working for several hours, making tea, or finding a inspiring place to work like your front poarch of writing cubby helps keep you motivated.

Makeing small adjustments has made it easy and seems more effortless to adopt these habits. I’ve also been careful about how I add or take way thing. I know I’m busy on Fridays and I kept out date night their so we wouldn’t have to worry about cooking on Friday which is usually a busy day for us both. Sunday dinner is also good because it give me a chance to shop for the week ahead and make a little extra for Lunch on Monday and Tuesday. 

Ms. Coco want to celebrate more holidays, so I’m talking it upon my self to learn more about the holidays and traditions associated with them. My family was never big on celebrations but I do enjoy them and I know she does too. I’m going to be learning a lot this week about June-teenth, wish me luck and you can help me out by commenting about June-teenth traditions.

Buses, bikes…and no cars.

Buses, bikes…and no cars.

So it’s roommate month, so far, all is good. Actually it’s great, great knowing that I’ll get to see Ms. Coco everyday. My only concern now is, how am I going to deal when this month ends (I feel like I’m sounding really needy right now!)

Anyway, what I really don’t understand is why people feel the desire to never change, learn, or try different things?

I feel like I’m at my best when I’m learning, experiencing, and deep into something I don’t understand or fear. 

Even during the tuffest periods in my life, I have tried to find the lesson in my struggle. This seems to make life so much more enjoyable when things are going well.

I’m looking forward to the rest of this month together. Next week, I’m at Ms. Coco’s place. So that means I’ll be commuting everyday, like she did last week. I know it was hard on her and I’m very grateful that she is willing to do that for me. 

We are learning a lot about each other.  I have faith that we will be better off for all of these challenges; even if they are self imposed.

Also this week Ms. Coco has my car. She misplaced her keys and I volunteered my car since she is commuting almost 60 miles to work every day, at 6am.
I’ve decided to bike more around town and  got a bus pass! The buses having bike racks on the front, has opened up a possibility for me to ride my bike around the city.
I’m also getting lot of exercise and sun, luckily Ms Coco keeps reminding me to put on sunscreen so I don’t burn up.

On a different note. What do you say to yourself when you are having a challenging day? 

I’ve been embracing the idea of self talk and mantras recently. “Relax, breath, you got this” is what I have been using recently. Or at the gym it’s “one more” when lifting or doing exercises. Or ride my bike “just make it to the top of this hill” is very common!

Roommates … who’s turn is it to do the dishes?

Roommates … who’s turn is it to do the dishes?

“Maybe we could live together now, that we’re grown. But that was the worst year of my life, you were so dirty!” This was what Ms. Coco’s twin sister told me when I asked about what it was like to live with Ms. Coco.

This might have made me a little worried if I didn’t have so much faith in Ms. Coco. 

I’m quite experienced at having a roommate. My first roommate when I was young was my brother. I don’t always fully appreciate what a good little brother he was growing up. 

Summer Camp for three months every year was a experiment in how many kids you could cram into a small dirty cabin, for three months, while not bathing or washing  anything properly, and see who could survive.

Boarding school was another experiment in how many kids you can cram into a small room and keep them alive till college. 

By college I had decided I had enough roommates and I wanted my own apartment off campus. Let’s just say that did not last long!

My roommates in college mostly came about by a friend asking if the could crash for a couple of days at my place. Three months later I would end up charging them rent. 

After college the same thing happened over and over again. I can safe say Ms. Coco is the only roommate I’ve ever planned on having, she the first one I’ve ever asked to move in. I think that’s a very good sign!

I try to make every day fun for us and jump at the chance to try new things to break up the routine (the routine is also important). So when I saw the figget cube and figget spinners I knew, I have to get one for Ms. Coco. 

We are off to family for the weekend. Next week is my turn to live at Ms. Coco’s place. I’m hoping, I’m as good of a roommate for her, as she is for me! 

Extreme Couponing and Acts of Service

Extreme Couponing and Acts of Service

Ten for ten dollars is my new jam! But free is even better. These are some of my new mottos.

The monthly challenge started out slow. I made it the first two weeks with only a few coupons, totaling about $30 in savings.

I managed to step my game up by using couponing apps like SnipSnap (good for non groceries items) and KrazyCouponLady (good for telling you what items are on sale at every store).

I could average savings from 20-30+% per shopping trip if I planned well and focused on building my weekly menu around sale items. This could be exciting at times when a new item I had never tried was on sale (I’m making pickled radishes! Radish bundles were 2 for $1), but mostly it was work.

Mailer coupons were the best! $10 off when spending $20 or free milk, eggs, chips, or bottled water were all easy to come by.

Acts of service was the other part of the challenge this month. I agreeded to help Ms. Coco teach a class at work. This made me a bit nervous since it’s been a while since I taught anything.

While Ms. Coco seems to have missed out on the deals this month she has been very good about acts of service!

She has helped landscape the entire front of the house. We have shoveled mulch for hours and have found ourselves covered head to toe in dirt most weekends.

After all the landscaping Ms. Coco still agrees to walk on my back even after a long day of shoveling. This might sound a bit weird, but for me, it’s the best massage I’ve ever had. Something about her perfect weight and feet kneading my back muscles! It’s the best!

Looks like next month will be roommate month. This should be fun!

We have three months without any challenges any suggestions on what we should do next?

Carolina on a Budget (kinda)

Carolina on a Budget (kinda)

We’ve been traveling this last week to Ms. Coco’s home state. I’ve been trying to keep my budget system going from last month while traveling, I’ve had mixed results.

Ms. Coco asked me to help her with a class on personal finances for adults. I’ve been thinking about what are the most important aspects of getting your finances in order. I’ve come up with three things.

1. Goals/Standards

So what are goals and standards? Goals help me define what I want. Standards for me are how I choose to live my life.

I didn’t think much about my standards until Ms. Coco’s uncle gave a very good speech recently at a ceremony where he was being honored. When asked why his track team has done so well winning titles for the last 20 years he said,

“Our kids succeed because we set high standards for them and hold them accountable” 

In the age of everyone gets a trophy and everything is special, where are the high standards? 

In the books I’ve read about success in business, sports, and life. The truely great set high standards for themselves and the people around them. This could be why like attracts like. People with high standards attract other with high standards. This helps bring up everyone’s performance. 

One of my favorite quotes is “A rising tide lifts all boats”. 

How does one be the rising tide? Could it be having higher standards for yourself and those you choose to spend your time with?

2. Systems

Are the steps you put in place to reach your goals. This saves time and makes decision making easier.

Last month I created an budget and system to help control my spending. It has been working pretty well but I’m sure it will need to adjust over time.

I’m trying to find a new system for fitness. I’ve been toying with some new apps and training systems but I need to find something that works wel for me.

Systems are great it gives you model to live by but you also need to know that it’s working for you.

3. Evaluation and Analysis 

Recently I’ve been taking a lot more notes. I’ve always enjoyed writing but my notes are to track different aspects of my life that I feel need improvement.

The data gives me information I can then look at over time to develop a picture of what works and what doesn’t. 

I’ve learned recently that increasing my weight training by more that 5lbs on any exercise can lead me to be sore or possible injured after my workout. So now I limit my increases in weight to no more than 5lbs on any workout. 

I wouldn’t have known this if I had not been tracking my workouts and the weight I’ve been lifting.

Monthly challenge. This month is all about acts of service and extreme couponing. I’m helping Ms. Coco with this personal finance class, I always try to open her door and carry her bags, and I cook us dinner every Sunday night. So I feel like I’ve got a decent handle on the acts of service. 

Extreme couponing is not going well. I have only one coupon that I’m planning on using at the moment. Hopefully I can pick it up in the second half of the month. If you have any tips please let me know in the comments! Where can I get some good deals?

Leaving home and looking for Lumberjacks. *Guest Post*

Leaving home and looking for Lumberjacks. *Guest Post*

I am honored Ms. Coco and the Gentleman Farmer asked me to write a guest post. I’ve been following their blog and I think it’s awesome.

Honestly, reading their posts gives me hope; hope that one day I’ll have someone to do crazy challenges with and who will be willing try new things to better our relationship.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m Ms. Coco’s friend and our favorite couple’s permanent third wheel. She hates when I call myself the latter, but hey I’m a realist.

I recently moved to Kentucky from North Carolina. Moving to Lexington was a great decision on my part and I have no regrets. Of course, I miss my family, but it’s only a seven-hour drive to travel home to small town America. Yes, I packed up my entire life and relocated to a city I only visited once; a city where the only people I know are the Gentleman Farmer and Ms. Coco. They both played a key role in my decision to move here.

Prior to my move, they assured me I wouldn’t be alone. Still, I honestly feared that once I got here things would change. However, they’ve been great and their friends have embraced my eccentric personality. I’m really enjoying it here, from games nights, to escape rooms, lots of dinners, and plenty of deep conversations. Truthfully, they are always inviting me to join in on their plans.

While I appreciate their efforts, I don’t plan on being the third wheel forever. Although the dating scene in Lexington is DRY! I joined Tinder my first month here and clearly, I was not successful. I guess my “problem” is I believe in certain gender roles, especially when it comes to relationships. I NEED, not want, to be courted. Men were put on this Earth for a reason. Lol. All jokes aside, I believe it’s man’s job to pursue a woman he likes. Thus, if we match on Tinder, you need to make the first move. Sadly, society doesn’t seem to agree with me, so after matching with over a dozen guys and only two percent making the first move, I had to delete Tinder. No loss there.

I guess Ms. Coco saw my plight and took pity on me, so she tried to hook me up with her cousin in Tennessee. Initially, I declined her offer. I have this rule about dating relatives of my friends. Been there, done that and it did not end pretty. After much convincing from Ms. Coco and company, I decided to give it a shot. Well that ship never sailed. Heck it never left the dock. Don’t ask.

Now I’m putting my energy into finding my lumberjack. Ever since I watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I’ve had this thing for lumberjacks. You really can’t blame a girl; Hugh Jackman as lumberjack Logan/Wolverine is EVERYTHING. I’m currently planning a trip to Wolverine, Michigan to attend a lumberjack festival this summer. Our favorite couple has agreed to come with me.

The clock is ticking for me. I’m 30 and I want children before 35, so wish me luck. If all else fails, there’s always Craigslist. Jk 😊

 

 

Empathy and Emotions 

Empathy and Emotions 

Listening is hard! Why would I want to listen to other people when I have so much to say?

I’m working on being more empathetic. It’s hard enough to understand my own emotions, let alone those of others.

Women have an advantage in this department. Ms. Coco is always talking about her feelings. I’m usually just trying to listen and not respond with something stupid or rude.

This is why she sometimes tells me “your not listening” or “why aren’t you listening to me?” I do hear the words coming out of her mouth. I just don’t always understand the underlying emotions that go along with the words.

So you might ask, what does this have to do with our monthly changes… nothing really. It’s just something I try to remind myself of sometimes.

So to recap the March changes.

Lent (give up alcohol and sugar) –  This went relatively well. I did end up drinking one beer and one shot during a basketball game with friends. The sugar thing, well the first week was a disaster! I have had much less sugar in my diet since then, but as I have found out, sugar is in everything!

Saving – This is where I exceeded my wildest expectations. I set a weekly budget.  I stayed under budget each week, and I ended up saving 20-30% of my budget each week. I did this by making cash only purchases. I had a envelopes system for my Food, Entertainment, and of course the Ms. Coco fund (which went mostly to ice from sonic, sour cream and cheddar chips, and Jones Blue Lemonade soda)!

This cash envelope system worked out really well. I did not feel restricted in what I could buy. Except for my daily coffee, that is going back into my budget. Grocery store sales and coupons helped a lot, in keeping me way under budget. Not drinking or buying junk food also contributed to keeping me well within budget.

So what am I doing with all my extra money? Well, I’m blowing it on a trip to….Cuba! Where I will hopefully be writing some posts and possibly doing a Podcast???