styled: high waisted denim + 10 things about me

I love denim, but properly fitting jeans are hard for me to come by–I claim to be five-foot-zero, but I might be a smidge shorter than that. So often I find myself in the dressing room thrilled to have found an otherwise perfect pair only to realize that the hem is scrunched at my ankles, a full 10 inches too long. And so, never did I think I would come across a pair of high waisters that didn’t come up to my eyeballs and still cover my entire foot. But I did and I love them. The jeans pictured here? Yep, those are of which I speak. You should get some, too.

These are from Charlotte Russe, but ModCloth has a few pairs I’m in love with (here & here). My pair is a snip or two away from being the perfect length, but will do just fine for a $20 pair of jeans.

If you’re just not sure if you’ve got the right top to go with a pair of high waisted jeans, I suggest trying to buy one at the same time. You’ll probably be surprised as how easy they are to style. I love doing a half tuck with a black t-shirt, adding some edgy black flats, and jazzing up the whole casual look with a fun, unexpected item, like my vintage blue jacket.

OH YES! And here’s 10 things you might not know about me.

1. I like math.

2. When I was a teenager my dream was to move to New York City and work for Seventeen Magazine.

3. I love to style interiors.

4. I don’t know how to fix the Internet when it “breaks”. I just flick switches on and off and hope for the best.

5. My favorite perfume is rose water and jasmine.

6. I have a desk but I never use it. I think I just love the idea of one, but I tend to do homework or blogging at the kitchen table or in front of the television.

7. My favorite movie of all time is Now and Then.

8. I played the flute all throughout junior high and high school but can’t even remember the B flat scale now.

9. I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was 24. These days I don’t even know how I graduated college without it!

10. I was a Resident Assistant for three years at Drury University.

Okay! Do we have anything in common? Do share, and tell me what you think about the high waisted jean trend.

–Cat

 

reasons why you should get up early

Because coffee is delicious and early bird parking spots are the best.

But if you need a more elaborate argument, read on. This is coming from a night owl who finally learned how to wake up before afternoon o’clock.

…because there is nothing better than sipping a morning beverage in peace and quiet. I do coffee. You might do tea. A hot chocolate definitely has a place here. Brew, sip, think. Letting the day start slowly rather than harried has done wonders for my mental health.

…because you’ll have an endless supply of with-it-ness. Did you know that while studying education, I’ve actually seen the term “with-it-ness” appear in the academic literature? Teachers just have to have it. Have to be on the ball. Be able to multitask. Manage a professional and personal life without missing a beat. So do most professionals. So get up, get organized, and get out the door on time.

…because it allows for more free time in your day. I spend about 30 minutes browsing Instagram, Bloglovin’, and Twitter in the morning, usually while lounging in my covers. It feels lazy but I have time for it because I get up early. Building in the amount of free time that I want helps me choose to do more important things later in the day, like writing this blog post instead of marathoning three Parks and Rec reruns between class.

…because you just get more done. Like making your bed, slashing through your to do list, updating your blog, killing it at work, a coffee break with a good friend, and a quick living room spruce.  Sleep the day away or achieve your dreams. Do it to it!

P.S. On a related note, Joy the Baker and Tracy Shutterbean shared their number one tip for waking up early on the Joy The Baker Podcast. Love those girls!

sundays no. 2

Sunday is here. I try to be particularly intentional about how I spend the laziest–yet somehow, the busiest–of weekdays. Items on the to-do list include a fall fashion photoshoot for Goodbye Bernadette, whipping up some healthy food to last through the week, and stretching every last minute in the day before school starts tomorrow.  In addition, I am…

…Juicing for the first time in a long time! My go-to basic juice is lots of cucumbers, green apples, and lemon juice. I find that if  I’m not in the habit of drinking fresh veggie juice on the regular, things with kale or bok choy or beet just freak my taste buds out too much. Here’s some interesting recipes to try.

…Practicing photography with a handful of new-to-me photography apps, including TimerCam, & Pic Tap Go. I’m so glad to have found an easy-to-use timer–much needed because today it will just be moi taking photos of moi! Pretty much any photo you see on Goodbye Bernadette is taken and edited exclusively on my phone, so I’m always looking for better and easier apps. Any suggestions?

…Relaxing. Or at least attempting to. It seems like there’s still so much I need to do to have a good fresh start to the school year, like cleaning out my car and getting all the laundry folded. But! I did get my inbox and mobile office spruced up, so a little R & R should still be had. Definitely reading the latest issue of this magazine, browsing this fun Instagram account,  and drinking copious amounts of coffee while obsessing over this mug. Also, mega-laughing, as usual, whilst reading Gemma Correll’s misfit inspired comics.

Oh! Also, check this t-shirt out. Is it just me or is the everyone’s motto when they get home from a long day?

sundays no. 1

Sunday is here. I try to be particularly intentional about how I spend the laziest–yet somehow, the busiest–of weekdays. Items on the to-do list include buying textbooks, deep cleaning the house, and thrifting something to create a small vanity in my bedroom. In addition, I am…

…wishing I was still in Colorado (above ^^) during these last few days of summer. So much adventure and beauty there. Although sometimes I forget that the Ozarks are beautiful (and outdoorsy) too!

…making this grapefruit “soda” from The Skinny Confidential. I bought far too many ruby reds last week. They were just too pretty to pass up.

…detoxing with this charcoal face mask from Bioré. It just goes so well with the pore strips!

…watching episode after episode of Luther. The BBC just knows what’s up.

…trying a new Barre workout. Have any of you taken a class before?

…sipping on the most delicious chai tea I’ve tasted yet, as recommended by my dear cousin Carrie.

…dreaming about trying this Peach and Cardamom Lemonade from my favorite online lady, Joy the Baker.

…baking my new go-to dinner: The Londoner’s Lemon and Garlic Chicken. So good, and so easy.

…listening to my current favorite podcast, The Lively Show. Jess Lively chats with successful bloggers about career, wellness, relationships, inspiriation–it’s a great one!

 

What are you up to today?

–Catherine

i do adore: back to school edition

I’ve blinked, and summer is basically over. Yesterday I was rather verklempt about the whole thing, but today I’ve started thinking about school supplies. School supplies, office supplies, organizational supplies–they always lift my mood!

For me, the most necessary of school supplies include a new pair of shoes, a new pair of jeans, and the fattest and brightest Sharpie highlighters I can find. And of course, a free reading book. I loved free reading time in elementary school. On my first day of college, I remember sticking a book in my bag out of habit–as if professors gave you time to do your vocabulary worksheet in class and spend the rest of the hour reading Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself. To this day it takes me eons to finish a good book–“free” reading time seems to be impossible to find in this adult world of mine!

Regardless, I still try to take a book along with me wherever I go. Vintage Agatha Christie mystery novels tuck nicely inside a small purse, but these days I’m on a Philippa Gregory kick. The White Queen is first on my reading list for this fall. I sincerely hope to finish it before the leaves fall. We shall see.

This is my second-to-last-semester. In the Spring, I will be student teaching. When that time comes, I will probably not spend much on back-to-school things. I’ll have to save all of my money for the nine billion Starbucks runs I hear are necessary to get you through! For now, though, see below for my favorite picks for this semester.

1// pencil case 2// notebook 3// high waisted denim 4// sticky notes 5// mint tote 6// The White Queen 7// leopard flats 8// planner

What does fall look like for you? What’s on your fall agenda? Do share!

xoxo Catherine

five ways to be frugal (and still have fun)

If you’ve been reading Goodbye Bernadette lately, you know Wes  and I have embarked on a year long journey to pay off as much of our debt as possible. We are using And Then We Saved as an inspiration and guide. I first blogged about the why’s and wherefore’s here, and this is just a little update about our progress.

The first month was challenging. We quickly learned that curbing our spending would take a lot of conscious effort, a lot of communication, and the ability to move on if we spent a little too much on something we didn’t need. I’ll be the first to admit that I spent every single penny in my coin purse that’s designated for metered parking on coffee from Starbucks! Oops. And when that ran out, I turned to bartering with my sis: one small coffee in exchange for me cleaning her bathroom? Done deal.

As January wore on, however, I got a little more creative and stopped searching the house for nickels and dimes. Here’s four things I’ve been doing to eliminate spending and still enjoy my free time.

1. Find a way to maintain a costly ritual that you truly enjoy. 

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I really (and I mean really) love to grocery shop. I like to go by myself. I like to drive the same route to and from. I like to methodically weave through each aisle. And I really, really  like to buy a small Caribou Coffee to fuel my grocery inspired therapy session. Unfortunately, a weekly $3 is not on the needs list. So, I decided to use  a Starbucks gift card that I got for Christmas to invest in a to-go mug. Now, instead of purchasing coffee, brewing a small pot of my own at home has become a part of my grocery shopping ritual. It doesn’t take long–I just brew while I’m writing my shopping list. Sipping on my coffee while I grocery shop has helped me reframe the chore into something really look forward to each week, and it was important to me that I continued this ritual without spending money!

2. Turn something you consider a need into a luxury.

For me, this was changing up the type of conditioner I buy. Is it just me, or do you also go through your shampoo a million times faster than your conditioner?  It takes me up to six months to use up a full bottle, but I find myself purchasing a new bottle to match my shampoo every month.  (Am I  falling for some sort of sneaky marketing scheme? You bet!) I’ll usually stash the half empty bottle in the bathroom closet, but sometimes, I  throw it away. This is a shameful habit, and I decided to use my new found frugality to try and battle it. So, instead of buying a matching brand of conditioner with every new bottle of shampoo, I’ve decided to opt for a brand or a scent that I find particularly luxurious. Something that’s just a few dollars more. Now, instead of spending $4 every month on conditioner I just waste, I’ll be spending about $8 every six months and feel much more compelled to use it all up. The math works out in my favor, and I feel like I’m treating myself.

3. Discover all of the good and free things your city has to offer.

Springfield’s art museum has tons of exhibits, and there’s no admission fee. Try finding a small history or art museum in your town that’s also free. Seek out festivals and multicultural events–these are great events that are often zero cost. I also like to window shop at flea markets and antique stores, and one thing I’m really looking forward to is browsing the farmer’s market when it reopens! There’s always opportunities to volunteer, and Wes replied “Heck yes! They have free snacks!” when I suggested donating blood for our next date night. And don’t forget about your local library! Besides it’s obvious use, the library usually has a good magazine collection, which helps me curb my habit of purchasing two or three magazines every month. A cheaper habit, and a greener one, too! And although it’s impractical for us right now, the library could deliver on your internet needs if you can manage with about an hour a day. A technology fast and a spending fast at the same time? Go you!

4. Perfect a new skill instead of paying for someone else to do it.

I’ve never had a professional mani or a pedi in my life, but I recently decided to keep my fingers and toes a little more polished and a little less Where The Wild Things Are. Spending money at a nail salon was not in the budget, so I’ve been learning more about nail shapes, cuticle health, and painting techniques. I’ve gotten a lot better at doing my own nails and now it’s something I enjoy doing while watching SNL. Before this journey, I would’ve just gone out and payed for a service, but know I stop and think–can I do that myself? This is a great opportunity to learn something new, practice something you’re not good at, and find new hobbies. Maybe next you’ll see me changing my own oil. (But probably not.)

5. Catch up on all those projects you bought supplies for.

Not allowing myself to spend money on things like hot  yoga or shopping sprees to entertain myself has forced me to tackle some creative to-do lists. When I decided I wanted to learn how to sew nearly two years ago, I quickly started stockpiling fabric for an endless list of sewing projects. Last month I made six couch pillows (too much?) and new covers for my mid-century chairs, projects that were a part of my 2013 goals but never got started. As each project nears completion, I feel less and less guilt for filling up a closet full of craft supplies and never actually using them. And my living room is looking a lot cuter now, too! Next up? I’m diving into the 8 Dresses project I outlined a while ago. I was afraid to take a seam ripper to a lot of the dresses, but there is no time like the present. I’m currently deconstructing the Samantha Dress and will be rebuilding the bodice soon! Wish me luck.

What creative ways have you found that help you spice up life when money is tight?

P.S. Becca says hello! She has been ridiculously busy with homework–I mean, “homeplay,” as they call it at Paul Mitchell. She’ll be back soon! In the meantime, read about her journeys in the world of cosmetology at The Teacher and The Stylist!

embrace your failures

I am a planner, a dreamer, and thinker upper. I love nothing more than to settle into a little nook on the couch with a notebook and plan things–vacations, semester schedules, weddings, science lessons, website layouts. I keep mini clipboards stationed all around–in my purse, on my bedside table, in my car–for planning purposes only. I research, I outline, I draft, I brainstorm, all the time. It’s what I do best and it’s how I solve problems.

Do you have a problem with keeping your closet organized? I can make a plan for that.

Do you have trouble eating enough vegetables? I can make a plan for that.

Do you want to learn Spanish in seven months? I can make a plan for that.

I can plan until the cows come home.  The planning comes easy, but the doing takes practice. And when the stars align and the planning actually becomes doing, there is a hard truth that I have to try and accept: eventually, my plan will fail.

Plans are tidy. Plans are square. Plans are black and white (unless you use fancy pens to write them).

Life is unpredictable. Life is messy. Life does not always ever go according to plan.

So. Let’s talk about fitness plans. Do you have one? I did. I’m working on a new one. From August to December, my fitness goals were threefold: eat something green at every meal, drink at least  5 bottles of water a day, and do at least 30 minutes of HIIT or strength training.

I made a list of things I could eat for breakfast that included something green, because I usually default to oatmeal or cereal. I washed my Brita and bought a 24 pack of water to keep in my car in case I ever left my water bottle at home. I  made coordinating fitness and  cleaning schedules to make sure that the living room was always tidy on a day I needed the TV for a DVD workout.

My goals had plans and my plans became actions. I lost 7 pounds and earned the ability to actually do ten pushups in a row. I maintained through Christmas’ roast beasts and chocolate feasts. And then a cold, aimless winter set in. My plan, which had centered on a busy school schedule, quickly gave way to sleeping in and eating awesome sandwich concoctions made from left overs. A new semester started, and panic set in. My plan had run its course. What if life had finally gotten the best of me?

So what did I do? Did I settle? Nope. I made a plan for when plans fail. (I like to make Inception jokes at times like these, when I find myself making plans for plans or checking my to-do lists of a to-do list To-Do List. But I’ll spare you.) Here are the steps I’m taking right now to get my fitness goals back on course:

1. Identify why the old plan stopped working.

Is it a matter of motivation? Did the plan lose relevance? Can a tweak here or there put the plan back into motion? If you’ve noticed your eating habits have become a little more “fast” and a little less “fresh,” but you’re plumb fed up with spinach salads, you might just need to up your creativity when it comes to planning lunch. And definitely don’t include spinach salads as your go-to when you devise your next healthy eating manifesto.

Why did my fitness plan stop working? Simply put, it became a matter of the winter blues, blahs, and blargs. And while I tried to keep up with the program, my lack of motivation totally derailed my success. It was time to embrace a physical and mental break.

2. Let go of your feelings of failure.

In case you’re familiar with the if-you-fail-to-plan-you-plan-to-fail adage, let’s reflect. Making a plan does not eliminate the possibility of failure. Planning is important, doing is necessary, and readjusting and adapting is crucial. So when you plan, plan to fail. Get comfortable with it. When a ball comes at you curvaceously, plan to catch it. But when it hits you square in the nose instead, readjust and adapt. You aren’t failing. You’re learning. If you’re in a failure funk, reflect on why and just trust that you’ll find your groove thang again.

Letting go of failure–real or perceived–is especially hard for me to do. It’s January 26th and I’m still a little angry at myself for taking what has now become a 30 day respite from all things gymnasium. But a new plan is in the works, and I’m focusing on mini successes, like making it to the gym once a week and tackling Insanity here and there. Did I tell you I finally made it  through the entire first week with Shaun T? For the first time ever?! I’m raising the roof over here.

3. Give yourself time to determine the best course of action.

If your plan isn’t working anymore, it’s probably because your life is different. How have your circumstances changed? How have YOU changed? What are your current struggles? What is inspiring you? Have your goals evolved? Answer these questions and forge a new path, but realize that finding what works best again might take a long time. Usually just long enough for your life to change again. C’est la vie!

What is my new plan? My general goals still include daily workouts and maintaining a healthy diet, but my schedule for this semester is, in a word, wonky. Morning classes here, night classes there, and long stretches of time that could easily be filled with reruns of Parks and Recreation. January has been a month of trials and errors. I tried getting up at the crack of dawn to work out, but the temptation to sleep in was just too great. I tried working out in the middle of the day, but the temptation to just schlep around in sweaty workout clothes all day long was just too great.  My next work out move? Nighttime workouts. Typically, my drive to sweat it out after a day of classes is not remarkably high, but I think this might be the ticket–for now, anyway!

This week’s fitness highlights…

Addicted to: Lime flavored Greek yogurt. My favorite is Oikos. I eat it everyday for breakfast–it’s delicious and portable. Eating this for breakfast is one holdover from the old fitness plan of last semester!

Something new I learned: Definitely check out this series on beginning weightlifting. I’m trying to learn as much as possible to boost my confidence and frequency with the free weights.

Confession of the week: I definitely admit to fast forwarding through any instance of globe jumps during Insanity. I hate them. Do you ever allow yourself to point at the TV and yell “NOPE, NOT DOING THAT, YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” Because I do!

Don’t forget to pay Samantha a visit and see how her fitness journey/Insanity marathon is going!

–Catherine

To read each post in this series, click the links below.

Embrace the Uncomfortable

sewing tips for true beginners

Today I am going to share with you the most wisdom-y sewing wisdom I know. I am not a beginning sewer, but I am also no expert. Therefore, I remember the days when sewing was filled with frustration…confusion…math…

Okay, so it’s still filled with math–not my favorite thing–but I have learned some lessons here and there that either my mom taught me  and I ignored or I painfully discovered on my own. More importantly, my sister just began sewing some serious projects and she doesn’t really know what she’s doing. This post is for her and anyone else who has punched their sewing machine.

Here are 5 tips that might make your next project a little less stressful. Keep these basics in mind as you progress from novice to tricked out seamstress!

1. Find the sewing machine manual

Totally obvious, but still worth mentioning. Dig out the instruction booklet that came with your machine, even if you think you remember how to thread your machine. Because you maybe…don’t remember at all. And theres a lot of helpful information about tension, stitch spacing, zig zagging…just get familiar will all those knobs and be-bobs. If your manual is long gone, Google your model number and you’ll probably find it online.

2. Take material prep seriously

When selecting material, try to fall in love with prints that are a little more forgiving and textures that are easy to work with. Maybe avoid stripes for now, and lean towards cotton. Then before you even start imagining your finished project, wash and press your material. Washing in warm water and then giving it a tumble dry preshrinks your fabric, which is important if you want to launder your fancy new dress or blanket. Just make sure you account for a little shrinkage when you get your material cut. Also, press the bejeezus out of your material. Cutting over a mess of wrinkles makes for funky shapes and inaccurate measurements!

3. Be precise when you measure but don’t flip out over human error

Sometimes you have a pattern to trace, but if you’re free handing something–like a rectangle– don’t fret if some things are a little off here and there. Like less than 1/16 of an inch off. That’s not too much. An 1/8 of an inch here and there? That adds up pretty fast, especially if your seam allowance is only 1/4 of an inch. If you’re cutting out strips for a quilt and your rectangles are 1/2 an inch wider and one end, you will definitely run into some problems later on. Take your time and double check your measurements!

4. Never try to cut more than 2 layers of material at a time

Shortcuts are not your friend right now. If you have 18 triangles to cut out, do not fold your material in half a bagillion times and expect all of your triangles to be the same. Your material will bunch and stretch and morph  and you will not have 18 beautiful, congruent triangles afterwards. Instead, fold your material in half one time, draw 9 triangles, and go from there. Two at a time is about as quick as you can go.

5. Don’t underestimate the problems of over-pinning

My sister is an over-pinner. She was sewing together two squares for a pillow yesterday and had a straight pin every 1/2 inch. Ultimately, this creates a very cumbersome pin cushion to try and shove under your presser foot, not to mention changes the shape of your material a lot. And you can only sew, like, a centimeter before stopping. A few pins can go a long way.

And now for a bonus tip–know when to walk away. My mom is a nice lady and an expert seamstress and still runs into snafus that test her mettle. When you start to feel like lighting a match under your machine, just turn it off and go do something else. It is my personal belief that your frustration leaks out of your fingertips onto your machine and makes everything go wrong. Thread breaks, bobbins jam, the feed dog marathons your material through even though your foot is a mile away from the pedal…just stop. Fix yourself a stiff lemon water. Then resume when you feel excited about your project again!

Happy sewing,

Becca

embrace the uncomfortable

On Sunday, January 5th, 2014 I began my fourth attempt at Insanity.

I don’t know what it is about this program. I can’t seem to get into the groove yet can’t seem to stay away from it. So time and time again, I start over with stars in my eyes, imagining a Memorial Day beach romp in a teeny bikini sixty days in the making.

I get through the fit test. I get through Day 1. And then, I quit, formally parting  ways with Shaun T by yelling expletives at the screen and stomping through the house yelling about how much I hate working out.

Well, here’s the thing. After taking an enormous break from any physical activity and generally eating a little more and little worse than usual during the Holidays, I began Insanity (again) with the wrong intentions. This is my Insanity mantra:

“I don’t want to do this. This is uncomfortable.”

And lo and behold, I never get past Day 1.

But I will forge on. I just want to get it done. Maybe so I can high five myself for finishing something I currently associate with failure. Definitely for the physical benefits. So I will pick up Day 2’s workout come tomorrow and move forward from there. I think the most important thing for me to remember is that Insanity (or any other workout program) is not a bullet train to achieving some fitness goal. I look at the 60 day calendar and mentally check off each workout and imagine that any and all health and body image problems will be solved forever. That is not a sustainable mindset.

Instead, I’m trying to keep the following  things in mind:

1. I am physically capable of doing anything.

2. I am content to work out even if I knew my body would look the same day in and day out.

3. I can embrace the discomfort.

4. I can integrate Insanity into my fitness plan any way I want–it’s not all or nothing.

My overall goal will be to just move–and move hardcore–everyday, whether its Insanity or not. So maybe it will take me four months to finish. Or maybe I will hit my stride–Samantha promises I will find a  groove. And you know what? I think I believe her. I think that maybe if I can just get past Day 1 and  positively align my mentality, I could maybe, possibly learn to love Insanity. We shall see.

Regardless, here’s some fitness tidbits from this week:

Favorite (fitness) article: This one reminded me that the only person I need to compete with is myself.

Goal for next workout: To battle the bore by practicing mindfulness during my workout.

Biggest mini-success: Doubling the number of switch kicks since my October Fit Test.

Workout saboteurs: Insanity is loud and my poor neighbor let me know in the middle of my first workout. Well, at least I think that’s what she was going to tell me. I quickly shied away from the peephole and hid until she went away, and then moved the workout upstairs. Thank goodness we have a loft. (Also, I know, I’m very mature for not answering the door).

Favorite pin: This is definitely my mantra for next week!

Sorest muscle:I hardly moved my bod at all this week. But dang. My calves feel like a monster truck ran over them.

I will be back next Saturday with an update. Please send good vibes my way!

Catherine

goodbye debt: the needs vs. wants list

On our way home from family Christmas festivities up north, Wes and I talked about our goals for 2014. I mentioned the things on my 25 before 26 list, of course, and thought about the goals that might be declared as New Year’s Resolutions. I saw no purpose in making another list of goals that included things like tackling baking challenges or mass closet organizations. So, Wes and I decided to tackle something together for 2014: our debt.

In our relationship, Wes manages the money much more than I do. When we got married I had this idea that I couldn’t relinquish any of that control over to Wes. I might have some trust issues–definitely working on those. The truth is, he is better at budgeting, investing, and generally keeping track of passwords, and the busier I became with school and work, the more he just took over. And thank goodness for that–someone has to keep track of it all!

Unfortunately, because I don’t pay attention to our finances, I tend to overspend. You know how they say most committed couples tend to fight about money most often? It’s true. We often argue about where our money is going and who spent what and why. It’s not fun to talk about money when you aren’t swimming in it, and when you’re the frivolous spender in the relationship (me) those discussions are often filled with a lot of guilt and “you’re not my mom!” accusations towards the other person.

Last year we tried to tackle our spending habits, but it’s very hard for us to find the time to evaluate our spending together. We did set a budget, and tried meeting once a month to discuss where we overspent, and establish small goals for the next month. Truth be told, we just didn’t find the time to have these discussions, and both of us continued to overspend in various areas at various times.

This year, we have decided to force ourselves to budget by tackling a very concrete thing: the mountain of debt we have accumulated as students. To begin, we started researching tools that both of us were interested in using to help us with our task. Things like Mint.com and online billing became buzzwords, and we started reading And Then We Saved, a blog about eliminating large amounts of debt in a short amount of time. As of January 1, 2014, we will be embarking on The Spending Fast ® and plan to eliminate 20K+ in debt in about a year and a half.

We recently put together our Needs vs. Wants list, and in an effort to remain accountable, I am sharing it with you today!

We thought making this list would be pretty challenging, but it developed pretty quickly. The hardest things to justify on either list were gifts and Hulu/video games. We’re having a hard time putting the kibosh on any birthday gifts, baby shower gifts, Christmas gifts. So while we’ve added it to the WANTS list, we decided it would be okay to reevaluate this decision on a case by case basis. Perhaps we’ll have spending room around one birthday and not another, or will be able to budget $10 a gift around Christmas instead of the usual $20. We also had a hard time justifying our Hulu subscription and the occasional video game purchase from Steam.com, but on the NEEDS list it remains. TV is my default form of entertainment and Wes games more than anything. We realize that it might be desirable to use this opportunity to diversify the way we spend our time, but also see that as an entirely different kind of challenge, and maybe one we’re not willing to tackle right now. So I suppose we’ll remain sedentary in our hobbies and selfish in the fact that we didn’t swap gift giving with our entertainment subscriptions.

There you have it. I’m getting ready to go print that list and then spend every last penny we have before I’m allowed to spend no more. (Kidding!)

Catherine