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“Meet the Blogger” is a series where I interview blogging friends both new and old. If you’re interested in getting interviewed, drop me a line! I’ve been following SaverSpender (formerly Mochimac)’s blog si...
“Meet the Blogger” is a series where I interview blogging friends both new and old. If you’re interested in getting interviewed, drop me a line! I’ve been following SaverSpender (formerly Mochimac)’s blog since when she was known as FB @ Fabulously Broke! Admittedly, I only followed her blog on and off then, although obviously that isn’t the case anymore. She writes about spending, budgeting and everything else in life that can relate to those topics and more. Welcome, SaverSpender! What made you decide to start a blog? How long have you been blogging for? I originally started blogging to get out of $60,000 of student debt. I accomplished that goal in 18 months and from there, I just grew to love blogging as a hobby. It’s just so satisfying, and rather surprising that people are interested in what I call “ramblings”. I have been blogging since 2006, my original blog was called Fabulously Broke in the City, and later on in 2008 I started The Everyday Minimalist. There was a brief flirtation with a style blog called Style on a String, and a few others like What FB Wants, but frankly, style and shopping blogs are a lot more work than most people think. All that picture-taking, organizing, uploading, fixing, cropping, writing captions… it all takes a toll on you. In 2012, I sold both of the blogs listed above, and called it quits. I felt overwhelmed and relieved when they sold. I was determined to never blog again, because it started taking over my life and sucking up all my time. At that time, I really thought I’d quit and never deal with the hassle again, but it turns out blogging is in my blood and I couldn’t stay away. I realized that I honestly just needed a new, fresh start on a blog that would be more timeless (can’t be broke forever!), and to cut down my commitment on handling 2 full-fledged blogs at once, rather than just one with a myriad of interests. I also wanted to get away from that overwhelming popularity of my two blogs that I couldn’t handle at the time. Now I think I’m in a better place to handle such popularity, because I have to understand that the pressure I feel to be the best blogger EVER is really just in my head. I’m doing it to myself, and it’s no one else’s fault but mine. Now, I don’t plan on ever stopping. It’s just too much fun! What’s the best thing about blogging? Worst? The best thing are the readers. It sounds horribly cheesy but I have made a lot of connections and friends, learned a lot, and had myself challenged and criticized, which isn’t always an easy thing to accept but it made me grow into a different person. The readers and bloggers who have become friends, understand me and my obsession with personal finance, minimalism and a whole bunch of other topics. It sounds very strange to call people I have never met in my life, who exist only online to me, as inspirational, but as Seth Godin might say, they are in essence, my tribe. Online or offline, they get me in a way that my best childhood friends in life couldn’t, simply because they share the same passion as I do for money management, which is something many of my friends just don’t like talking about. The worst thing about blogging is having to deal with the administrative and technical stuff. Luckily, I have a lot of free time, so I can look for new plugins, and so on, but I have moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress to a Self-Hosted WordPress, and then from one URL to another. I have pretty much done all the mistakes and run the gamut of moving blogs from one to another, uploading photos, and wondering why my site doesn’t work; it is a headache I never want to re-live again (knock on wood). What’s something you wish you knew when you first started blogging? Yes. To pick a name that is timeless, and to start on self-hosted WordPress with a real URL. I couldn’t have r
about 5 hours ago
My fall into a Netflix black hole led me to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I had watched the first half of season one when I was maybe fourteen or fifteen. I didn’t remember much about the show other than the fact that I enjoyed watchin...
My fall into a Netflix black hole led me to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I had watched the first half of season one when I was maybe fourteen or fifteen. I didn’t remember much about the show other than the fact that I enjoyed watching it and that already, I was madly in love with the character of Angel. I guess at the age of fifteen it didn’t take much to impress me, considering that Angel’s main role in the early episodes was to lurk in the background looking all broody and stuff and occasionally helping Buffy out with her vampire slaying. Or maybe that was exactly why teenage me fell in love with him and his tall dark mysterious stranger-ness, seeing as that basically defines my type of fictional boyfriend. (I have/had several fictional boyfriends. None of those boyfriends have worked out well, seeing as most of them either break the heroine’s heart or die or get written out of the story or something equally tragic.) Even though I’m probably the last person on the planet that got around to watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the first season was in 1997!) I’m placing the rest of this entry behind a cut just in case people who want to watch the show don’t get spoiled. There’s something to be said for a love story that involves a girl falling in love with someone she has no future with, the boy turning evil after having sex, the girl having to kill the boy to save the world, the boy returning to the world for reasons not immediately known, and having a go at being together again before realizing that everyone just winds up even more hurt when together, so the option of not being as hurt apart is the lesser of two evils. And by “something to be said” I mean my God, the last time I was so emotionally invested in a fictional relationship was I don’t even know when. Perhaps it’s my thing for tall, dark, brooding and handsome strangers. (I have a very defined type. Turns out David Boreanaz fits it, although of course I’m more a fan of Angel as I know little about the actor. Perhaps Angel even defined my “type,” although I suppose we’ll never know.) But I also have a very soft spot in my heart for stories about first loves, fictional or not, and Angel was Buffy’s first love. Poor Buffy’s heart getting broken during the half season that Angel was Angelus was just more than my heart could take. But I think what gets me the most about their story is that they keep coming back to each other in one way or another. It might not be romantically, but there’s no getting around that they will always mean something incredibly important to each other. For a girl that believes in soulmates and fate and all that kind of stuff, I think that’s the part of the Buffy and Angel story that resonates with me the most. It’s why I love them so, and why their story will always tug at my heartstrings. The post Buffy and Angel appeared first on Break the Sky. Want to continue the conversation? Follow on Twitter and Facebook.
2 days ago
Friday evening, I went out for the first time in a while to a food truck festival with some good friends. I left the festival with my friends in tow, our bellies full of good food and drink. As much fun as the evening was, I couldn’...
Friday evening, I went out for the first time in a while to a food truck festival with some good friends. I left the festival with my friends in tow, our bellies full of good food and drink. As much fun as the evening was, I couldn’t help but notice that the best food trucks were the ones that (inevitably) had the longest lines. I waited in more than a few lines last night, both short and long, and while all the food was good of course it was the longer lines that yielded the better food. I feel like there’s a larger metaphor/life lesson at work here, and perhaps it’s another one of those instances where the universe is trying to speak with me. Nevertheless, my absolute favorite food last night came from a truck whose line was so long that a friend I recommended the truck too didn’t even have the time to wait in it before leaving the festival altogether! Last week I posted my monthly guest post on the wonderful group blog with the unfortunate name, Pooping Rainbows. My post was titled “When the World Falls Out from Underneath,” so pop over if you want to read! Beauty I haven’t been able to stop listening to Lorde’s song “Royals.” Both Jen and Shayna shared Lorde-inspired cat eye tutorials which I’m determined to conquer. “How to make yourself look so gorgeously unfriendly, no jerk would dare tell you to smile.” I loved this probably a little more than I should have… Life You are not defined exclusively by your relationships. Yes, yes, so much yes. Suzzie shares 10 things she should know by now, a list I found myself nodding along to. A is for “adversity.” (I love Olga’s ABC series.) What’s keeping you from living a passionate life? Erika asks. Online I loved Cece’s take on the benefits of being a small blog. Kaelah talks about the evolution of blogging. Travel As someone who thinks her time in her own city is gradually coming to a close, Melyssa’s post about saying goodbye to her life in Japan hit close to home. Marjorie’s solo trip to Seattle taught her about the art of acceptance. You are never too broke to travel, Jessica reminds us. The post Link Love, Vol. 34 appeared first on Break the Sky. Want to continue the conversation? Follow on Twitter and Facebook.
3 days ago
Months ago, The Asian Pear did a “what’s in my purse” post and I promised her I would follow suit. Never mind that I promised her in February and it’s now October… better late than never, right? I generally ...
Months ago, The Asian Pear did a “what’s in my purse” post and I promised her I would follow suit. Never mind that I promised her in February and it’s now October… better late than never, right? I generally have two purses: a purse I use for work and a purse for life outside the office. For this post, I’m going to just break down the contents of my work purse, as my outside-the-office purse generally only contains my wallet, keys, phone and lipstick. It’s pretty much the usual suspects, as you can see. That little brown bag is where I hold all of my lip balms/glosses/sticks as well as a small mirror compact I got as a Sephora VIB perk. The smaller patterned black bag was a freebie from Kotex that is the perfect size to hold tampons. Then I’ve got my wallet, planner, phone, iPod, keys, umbrella, sunglasses and Kindle. Nothing too exciting, as you can see! I do love my planner and umbrella, though. Both designs are very “me.” I also LOVE my wallet, but unfortunately it’s on its last legs. Still, I’m going to keep on using it till I absolutely can’t anymore because I don’t know if I’ll ever find another wallet I like as much! The post What’s In My Purse appeared first on Break the Sky. Want to continue the conversation? Follow on Twitter and Facebook.
4 days ago
My family and I are going to be going to Ireland and London (and possibly Scotland?) for Christmas and New Year’s! I am so incredibly excited. It will be a full year since my family and I were together when we meet again for the ho...
My family and I are going to be going to Ireland and London (and possibly Scotland?) for Christmas and New Year’s! I am so incredibly excited. It will be a full year since my family and I were together when we meet again for the holidays. Plus, I desperately need a change of scene and who doesn’t love to travel? We’re in the process of researching what to see/do/eat. Everything is pretty flexible right now, and we’re all pretty good travelers. So, this is my call for travel recommendations for the British Isles! (And Ireland. The Internet tells me “British Isles” includes Ireland, but I don’t want to step on any toes in case that’s incorrect. Please let me know if so!) What should we see? What should we do? What should we eat? More importantly, anyone living in the area interested in meeting up?! The post The British Isles Are Calling appeared first on Break the Sky. Want to continue the conversation? Follow on Twitter and Facebook.
6 days ago
Well, the title of this post is a little misleading. I don’t budget, exactly. I track my spending and contribute to my savings account and 401(k) every month, but other than that it’s a bit of a free-for-all when it comes to ...
Well, the title of this post is a little misleading. I don’t budget, exactly. I track my spending and contribute to my savings account and 401(k) every month, but other than that it’s a bit of a free-for-all when it comes to managing my money. However, The Asian Pear has (very kindly) nudged me to take on a bit more of active responsibility towards my finances. She sent me some information about how to budget, how much to be budgeting, etc. which was very helpful and informative. She also said, “Part of budgeting is knowing what you want. It’s an action plan of how to get there realized through daily financial actions.” So, this is me taking control of my finances. I do have specific financial goals, after all, not just the generic “save for a rainy day.” I have places I want to go and things I want to do and see! Without money, none of those things are going to happen (unfortunately). I’m not about to talk about how much I make or how much my bills are or anything like that, because no one cares about that kind of stuff. But I do need to start saving up more and/or budgeting better since the holiday season is fast approaching and nothing drains a bank account more than a gift-giving season (or a season of crazy sales). So, I’m trying out two approaches for October. I’ll check back in at the end of the month and report how well my efforts went. My first approach is to “forecast” expected expenses for the month. I’m salaried, so I know how much I’m bringing in each month. My bills are also the same amount every month, so automatically I know how much flex money I have to do with as I please. Some of this money just tends to leave my bank account of its own accord sometimes, so I want to better control these impulse buys and only be spending my money on things or experiences that are needs/worthwhile purchases. I’m forecasting set amounts for the following: groceries, alcohol, eating out, fun money with friends, miscellaneous household items. I’m avoiding all stereotypical “girly” purchases (hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, purses, etc). Things that fall under the “miscellaneous household items” category are things like dish soap and toilet paper. As I don’t anticipate any birthday presents or amazing deals that can’t be passed up, this shouldn’t be a problem. My second approach is to curb my impulse spending once and for all. I’ve actually gotten a lot better at managing my impulse purchases over the last couple months, but a weekend or two in September shot it all to hell and I picked up a few things that were most definitely obtained on impulse. I’m not sweating over it because if me buying some stuff that I do like and will use (but didn’t need) is the worst that happened, I’m more than happy with that. But that can’t happen again. So, if I’m in a position where I’m justifying an impulse purchase, I’m going to take the money that impulse purchase would cost me and add it to my savings. Two birds, one stone! Although in theory, this shouldn’t be a problem either if I stick with my forecasted expenses… So, here’s to a budget-iful October. Fingers crossed this endeavor will work out better than previous attempts at shopping bans and the like! The post Everyday I’m Budgetin’ appeared first on Break the Sky. Want to continue the conversation? Follow on Twitter and Facebook.
8 days ago
Remember how I mentioned yesterday that I was working on launching a Youtube beauty channel? (Yes, of course you do.) Well, today marks the day my first beauty-related video is uploaded to Youtube in the form of my September favorites! S...
Remember how I mentioned yesterday that I was working on launching a Youtube beauty channel? (Yes, of course you do.) Well, today marks the day my first beauty-related video is uploaded to Youtube in the form of my September favorites! September was a month of extremes for me in my personal life but it was a fairly stable month makeup wise. I fell victim to the hype that surrounds the Real Techniques brushes and the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette. Luckily, I’m happy to report that I 100% understand the hype surrounding both. I’d been debating whether or not to purchase the Naked Basics palette for months now, and I’m not quite sure what finally tipped me over the edge. I guess wandering around Sephora with the Naked Basics swatches on my arm is what did me in! As for the Real Techniques brushes, I can’t really understand why people purchase more expensive brushes by brands like MAC or Sigma when the RT brushes work so well and are at such a great price point. Perhaps that’s another secret of the universe that has yet to be revealed to me. Anyway, I ramble on about the Naked Basics palette, Real Techniques buffing brush, and several other products in the video below. As always, like the video / subscribe to my channel for more videos in the future. If you’ve got any video requests, just leave a comment with your suggestions! The post Beauty Favorites (September 2013) appeared first on Break the Sky. Want to continue the conversation? Follow on Twitter and Facebook.
9 days ago
Sometimes, the universe knows exactly what you need. Well, I’ll qualify that statement, actually. The universe throws you curveballs you never saw coming. I’m not the most forgiving person in the best of times, and recent eve...
Sometimes, the universe knows exactly what you need. Well, I’ll qualify that statement, actually. The universe throws you curveballs you never saw coming. I’m not the most forgiving person in the best of times, and recent events made me set on begrudging the universe till kingdom come. But then I realized that in its own way, the universe was also trying to tell that somehow, everything would be okay. I don’t know if I’m making any sense. But let’s just say that I was the girl who found this print at an arts/crafts show yesterday and bought it immediately because I knew it was what I needed to read in my living area every single day. I took it as a message from the universe. In the midst of all this upheaval, I knew I needed something to keep busy with. So, I decided to focus my energies on launching a Youtube beauty channel since my makeup obsession may as well help me learn to be a natural on camera and develop some basic video editing skills. I’m finally working on finishing that last-minute chapter rewrite of my ebook before I send it to my copy editor. I’m starting to research activities for my family’s Christmas vacation. I signed up for the Everyday Happy ecourse. And, of course, my day job will keep me busy for 40+ hours every week. All of the above will be elaborated in one way or another in separate blog posts. But they’re all providing me with very welcome distractions. Distraction is good; right now, it’s also necessary. Beauty Essie’s post about grey-toned purple eyeshadows may or may not have spurred me to impulse buy an eyeshadow palette of grey-toned purples. Ahem. Life Terra shares some great quotes. (I feel like I link to Terra’s stuff a lot, but her writing is always on point.) I loved everything in Stereo’s list of 50 things she would tell her younger self. There are (less than) 99 days left in 2013, as Sarah points out. What are you going to do with them? Relationships People aren’t static, I’ve learned. Terra’s post about the difference hits that home. Travel Rae writes a great post about travel, her heart and Portland. The post Link Love, Vol. 33 appeared first on Break the Sky. Want to continue the conversation? Follow on Twitter and Facebook.
10 days ago
Once upon a time, I was a talented ballet dancer. I studied the art for eleven years, and I wouldn’t have made it that far if I wasn’t good at it. I took classes weeknights and weekends all during the school year, and occasio...
Once upon a time, I was a talented ballet dancer. I studied the art for eleven years, and I wouldn’t have made it that far if I wasn’t good at it. I took classes weeknights and weekends all during the school year, and occasionally would take courses during the summer. During the summers that I didn’t study ballet, though, I wouldn’t practice on my own. I didn’t do any stretching exercises to maintain my flexibility, or even mentally go through my routines so that they would be fresh in my memory. I was lazy, I suppose, but I always knew that my training and skills would come back to me once I was back at the studio, hand on the barre, my legs turned out and toes pointed. Ballet class is where I first learned about the concept of muscle memory. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created and allows for the movement to be performed without conscious effort. After eleven years of study, the fundamentals of ballet were long ingrained into my muscle memory. Even now, I’m sure that if I were to step into a class after all these years of not studying, the steps would come back to me. It would hurt, yes, and I definitely am not as flexible as I once was, but I’d remember the techniques, the movement, the poise, the grace. By now, that’s embedded into my DNA. I’ve been thinking about muscle memory a lot lately. Different people have different movements, or reactions, embedded into their brains based on past experiences. I grew up moving all over the world, so I had the “new kid at school” routine down pat throughout my childhood. I spent hours upon hours upon hours studying Chinese, and even though I’m currently rusty I know once I start studying again it’ll be like greeting an old friend. A broken heart is easier to cope with, somehow, when that heart has been broken before by that person. I feel hollow when Chinese New Year rolls around and I’m all alone, but many a Chinese New Year has gone by where I’ve been without my family. Some routine responsibilities I’ve taken on have become so routine that I can practically do them without thinking. I’m an emotional, passionate creature by nature. I don’t like to rely on muscle memory as that makes me feel like I’m on autopilot. But recently, I’ve ricocheted from one situation to another, still reeling from the first as I tackle the second. I’m learning that there are times when it’s okay to rely on muscle memory and let yourself just go through the motions when it all gets to be too much. I might not have faith that my heart can cope with trying times where I revert to muscle memory, but on some level, my brain recognizes that the muscle memory exists and relies on it instead. And that, really, makes all the difference. The post Muscle Memory appeared first on Break the Sky. Want to continue the conversation? Follow on Twitter and Facebook.
12 days ago
Around the World is a travel guide series where readers share what they love about hometowns, favorite vacation spots, home away from homes and everything in between. If you want to learn more, see what places have been covered and/or su...
Around the World is a travel guide series where readers share what they love about hometowns, favorite vacation spots, home away from homes and everything in between. If you want to learn more, see what places have been covered and/or submit a travel guide of your own, check out the Around the World page. Today’s guide is brought to you by femmefrugality, a Pittsburgh native! Pittsburgh was recently dubbed the smartest city in the country. One of its suburbs, Wexford, has continually been listed as one of the top places to live in the country. It’s also been named the most veteran-friendly city. So it’s a pretty great place to live. But it’s also a great place to visit. As an umpteen year resident, let me share some of the best tourist spots and some of the best off-the-beaten-path experiences with you. Before we get started, let me tell you: if you haven’t been here since the 1970′s, the city’s changed. We no longer live under the haze of pollution from steel mills. In fact, we’re so green-forward that Obama chose to host the 2009 G-20 Summit here. Time of Year to Visit Any time but winter (unless you like snow), but fall is particularly pretty. Places to Go Mt. Washington One of the most beautiful city skyline views in the world is the city of Pittsburgh from it’s adjacent neighborhood, Mt. Washington. There’s more than a mile of vistas between and beyond the two inclines that can take you up and down the mountain. The first incline, the Duquesne, is more for tourists; there’s a viewing deck and tons of upscale dining at the top, but not much more than a parking lot at the bottom. The Monongahela incline is used as a form of public transportation, so at the bottom there is a trolley stop, shopping, and a bridge (vehicle with a pedestrian path) that goes straight into downtown. At the top there’s an ice cream shop and more low-key restaurants and bars on Shiloh street. Native Tip: Don’t try to drive by and look at the views; get out and walk. There’s plenty of free parking on some parts of Grandview Ave (the main stretch with the pretty views,) but if you can’t find one, there’s also a ton of free parking on abutting side streets. The whole area close to Grandview Avenue is extremely safe for blocks and blocks. North Park Allegheny county has some amazing county parks, but my favorite is North Park for it’s little quirks. Located on Kummer Rd. is a little stone seplechure built into the hill called ‘The Fountain of Youth.’ Inside is a tiny spring. You might also find a few beer cans some suburban teenagers left there over the weekend, but it doesn’t spoil the magic of this little local oddity. North Park is also host to Gravity Hill; put your car in neutral here and you’ll actually roll UP! (When I did it there were ghost stories involved at two in the morning, which takes me to the next cool thing in North Park.) You can also stroll down Blue Mist Road, which has been closed to vehicles for years and is supposedly haunted. I heard voices, but I’m also a huge wuss. Finally, North Park just added a zipline through the woods. Yes, a zip line. Best. Park. Ever. Point State Park Point State Park is also a great place to visit. Downtown Pittsburgh is shaped like a triangle formed by the two rivers on either side (the Allegheny and Monongahela) that join up to form the Ohio. At the tip of that triangle is where Fort Pitt used to stand, a key stronghold in the French and Indian War. While the fort is gone, it’s outline is marked along with what used to stand where. There’s even a museum on the grounds if a self-guided tour isn’t enough. At the very, very tip you can dip your feet into all three of the rivers, or into the beautiful fountain that was just recently restored. Things to Do Cultural District The Cultural District in downtown Pittsburgh performs the most shows a year, s
14 days ago