Archive for November, 2007

Money is hard to earn

Right now it’s just a bit past 5 AM. I got home about 20 minutes ago.

This reminds me, yet again, that making money is NOT THAT EASY. And thus I SHOULD NOT waste it on frivolous things.

Good thing that the shoes, the jeans, and the blouse that I purchased from Banana Republic didn’t fit well – so I can return them and get back $150. Maybe this is God’s way of having a sense of humor. Spending that goes against your financial goals? Let me give you a doozy of a day (and night) at work so you know what a dollar is worth!

Har har har (I’m not bitter, I swear).


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Stranger in a strange land

Almost every day I see this homeless man while driving to work. He is always leaning slightly to one side, weighed down by a backpack slung over right shoulder. He wears an olive-green jacket and blue jeans. He smokes. His hair is a little long. I imagine him to be 40 or 50, although if he cleaned up he could probably pass for the lower end of that range.

Even in his current state, I can tell that he can be handsome.. in a rugged sort of way – someone you’d see in an old western movie. Every time I pass him by, I wonder, where does he go at night? How did he end up here? Where’s his family? Friends? Wife? I hope he doesn’t go hungry or cold.

There’s a saying in Chinese, that “as long as I have rice to eat, you won’t starve.” (I’m sure there’s a more poetic translation somewhere, but the basic gist is there.) Why didn’t he have someone say that to him? As long as I have a place to live, you won’t be homeless.

After a while I began keeping an eye out for him on the commute to work, and it’d brighten my day a little when I’d see him. I have no idea why.

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A well-edited wardrobe

Last night I decided to embark upon the ambitious project of culling & re-organizing my wardrobe.

I have a lot of clothes – too much, Mom always said. Now I don’t feel as if I have too many clothes to wear, but perhaps I DO have too much stuff that I DON’T wear. To make this process fairly painless, I’ve broken it down into steps.

1. Separate clothes into piles (this is probably the hardest step):

(a) Keep pile: Pieces that fits well, that I like, and that I actually wear. Take note of which items need special care (i.e. dry-cleaning, loose buttons, whites that needs to be bleached, etc.)
(b) Want-to-keep-but-never-wear pile: Clothes that I want to keep for sentimental reasons (stained sweatshirt with a giant Winnie the Pooh on the front? You get the idea), or because it should work (yet never quite look the way that I imagine it would).
(c) Donate pile: clothes that are in good condition but that I don’t wear for various reasons: the fit isn’t right, the style’s not me, etc.

2. Go through the Want-to-keep-but-never-wear pile again -ruthlessly edit to 4 or 5 pieces that I like. Everything else? Donate!

3. Put the Donate pile into some paper bags, look up the nearest Goodwill Donation Center, and let my junk become someone else’s treasure.

4. Drop off Keep (special needs) pile at the dry-cleaner’s. Do laundry.

5. Organize closet: Hang jackets, coats, and skirts. Fold and store sweaters and pants. (Incidentally, I like to have hangers that all look the same – no plastic or wire hangers – they ruin the shape of clothes. My favorite hangers I got from Ross – sets of 10 foam padded hangers for $6.99).

*** I have a SMALL closet, so it’s even more important for me to keep my wardrobe well-organized. It also just nice to have a closet that’s neat & full of things that I love and wear. Might it even – just maybe – keep the shopping urge in check?

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Impulsively, mine

I first saw this pair of shoes this summer, tried them on and loved them. Unfortunately the store didn’t carry my size, so we had to part ways.


Today I found a site that had my size, so…I bought it. It’d be fair to say it was an impulse purchase. I love the pale gold color – very appropriately festive for the holidays. I did not love the price tag, also very festive (for the sellers!) at $85.

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Dear FutureMe

If you haven’t already, check out futureme.org. It’s a free website service that lets you send emails to yourself – up to 30 years in the future.

Tonight I wrote an email of the 25 things I want to do by the time I turn 25, then I sent it off. I’ll get an email from “PastMe” a little more than 2 years from now.

Anyhow, I realized that only 2 out of the 25 things are directly related to money: I wrote that I wanted to have a certain net worth and a certain salary by the time I’m 25. Everything else were experiences I wanted to have, not things I wanted to buy.

Some of the items on my list: adopt a dog, go see a show in Las Vegas, take Chinese classes, practice tai chi, throw a dinner party, visit Hawaii…

So while all of those things requires money, none of them are so outlandish that they can’t be done with careful planning and a dash of luck.

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3 books for $6

Today was my lucky day because I found three books that I’ve been meaning to buy – all in excellent condition – at the local library sale.

I got Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, Calvin Trillin’s About Alice, and Nathaniel Hawthrone’s The Scarlet Letter for $2 each.  🙂 And they were all in hardcovers too!

If you are looking for good books to read, I’d recommend all three. Calvin Trillin’s About Alice is very short (78 pages) and straight-forward, but there’s something about it that’s so good.

Calvin said that he got a lot of letters like the one from a young woman in New York who wrote that she sometimes looked at her boyfriend and thought, “But will he love me like Calvin loves Alice?” Sometimes it’s hard to express how you feel about someone else in writing, but Calvin does, with really simple words and phrases. It’s a love story, not a romance novel.

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Spendy spendy

I signed up for the gym (and actually went!)- hopefully this is one of many steps towards a happier, healthier me. The initiation, “towel fee” and the prorated fee for November added up to $115 – after that it’s $50 a month for the membership. The gym offers several classes that I want to take: yoga, ab workout, cycle intro, kickboxing… so I’m going to try my hardest to make time for workout.

I also purchased my first pair of workout shoes since… summer of 2005. It costs $95… SO PRICEY. But it was pretty difficult for me to find workout shoes in my size without going online (and I’m too impatient to wait for an online order), so I had to pay up.

I ALSO saw a pair of very cute black pumps with kitten heels on sale for $60 – but decided it against it. I need a new pair of running shoes much more than I need a pair of dress heels.

For Sephora, unfortunately I couldn’t cancel the order because the products already shipped this morning. But I called and confirmed that I can bring in the products to a Sephora store, return it, then re-purchase it on my gift card online. So that’s what I’ll do after I receive the stuff in the mail.

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I went online & ordered $68 worth of stuff from Sephora – that’s not the dumb part – I had a gift card that I’d planned to use.

The dumb-I-can’t-believe-I-just-did-that part is that I put it on my credit card. It was like reflex, filling out the shipping address, then the credit card info, then the billing address. The second after I clicked “send payment” I realized what I did.

But of course it was too late to call customer service tonight – I’m going to call them first thing tomorrow and hope that the products haven’t shipped yet. Then I plan to CANCEL the order, and then re-order it using my gift card. Not credit card. D’oh!

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Save 20% at Sephora

Just use the code FF2007 between November 3 and November 21st, and you’ll get 20% off your purchase. Also, purchases over $75 gets free shipping.

I recently cashed out my credit card rewards points for a $100 gift card to Sephora… this deal means that my gift card is worth $125 (i.e. I can spend $125, save 20% of that or $25, and only pay $100). I’m thinking of getting a new moisturizer (my weakness), face wash, or some makeup brushes.

Now I’m off to check out Sephora’s online selections… here’s to hoping they have a great sales section.

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