I remember having “Money noise” in college. For my first few years at school, I was working at the school paper, making a few dollars, but it was barely enough money to put gas in my car — shopping and pricy bar tabs were out of the question.
During my senior year in college, I started working 40 hours a week, in retail, to try and straighten my money situation. It helped, but working 40 hours and taking 15 hours of classes was a tough gig. I drank a lot of Red Bull.
When I graduated college, I was a bartender, which gave me nearly $300/shift — way more than I made at the mall. But my rent was a cool $900/month, plus food and other bills. I soon took a second job as a cocktail waitress.
I worked double shifts on Saturdays, and Sunday was my only day off. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the pain in my feet for those months. My cocktail job required high heels for the entire 8-hour shift.
About six months after graduating college, I landed a full-time job. It was a great job, with an impressive starting salary, and pretty amazing benefits. However, I stayed working at the bar for nearly a year into my job. It was freeing to have the extra money.
I still work at my same day job — I just hit my six year anniversary July 1. I don’t work at the bar anymore, or as a waitress, and I’m thankful for that.
However, I work for the state, and when you work for a school in the state that doesn’t really value education, your wallet doesn’t see much of a change. Over my six years, I’ve seen one raise.
So I’m a mere couple of digits from the salary I was making as a fresh college grad. It’s not something I particularly proud of. Because the cost of living keeps rising, the bills keep coming, and yet, my paycheck stays the same.
And so, I’ve done what I’ve always done — found extra work. As a writer and an editor, I’ve been lucky enough to find paying gigs every week, whether it’s editing someone’s book or helping a company with a press release — I’m able to pay my bills, eat, and have a little fun.
But truthfully, I spend a lot of my nights and weekends working. If I want to take a vacation, that means I’ve got to pick up extra gigs and sleep less.
My coworkers say, “You’re so driven,” but that’s how I have to be if the money in my bank account is getting low, right? And don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful that my writing is even good enough to supplement my income. I’ve been able to get a nice car, take trips, and do some things my paycheck wouldn’t normally afford.
But it’s not a position I pictured myself in at 29. I saw more security. A bigger savings account.
And truthfully, I go back and forth with my feelings about money. There are times when sure, I wish I had more of it. But I know that if I had more, I would spend more.
My wants are usually petty, after all, I’ve got a nice apartment, food in my fridge, and gas in my car. No, I don’t have money for a down payment on a home; but I’m not sure if that’s something I even want.
I suppose my relationship with money will change over time; after all, I’m kind of in a weird, transitional point in my career right now. so for now, I’ll just have to see where things go… and how the money stacks up.
Tomorrow marks the official start of summer, even though Baton Rouge has already been sitting in the 90-degree heat for awhile. When I lived in Indiana, I loved summer. Of course, I was in school, so that meant summers off from class, working shifts at the custard shop, cool night drives on winding country roads, and if I was lucky, a summer crush.
Since I work now, all year, summer isn’t quite the same. And I’m not sure this southern heat is made for bodies getting close. However, there’s still a few things I love about the summer months, so here they are…
With this heat, a pool is not even a luxury, it is a must-have. I am lucky enough to have access to pools, and often, this relaxation time includes refreshing cocktails, friends, and many hours on a raft — like the donut raft on the left (a great investment).
A day at the pool also means an entire day wearing no pants, and instead wearing a swimsuit. I know that, especially for women, swimsuit season can be stressful.
But when I’m at the pool with my best friends, I know they’re not going to judge me, no matter how I look, so I always try to find cute, fun swimsuits. I am loving the ruffled bandeau tops that are in style this season!
Ahh, the smell of coconut makes me think of the beach, and the beach makes me happy. So when summer comes ’round and I’ve got an excuse to wear/use coconut body products, I am all over that! Here are some of my favorites:
- Moroccainoil Moisture Repair shampoo & conditioner — Has a slight coconut scent and is gentle enough to use on color-treated hair (I’m a natural blonde, you know, so I’ve got to keep my chocolate waves intact).
- Softsoap Coconut Scrub — Nothing fancy here, just a simple bar of coconut soap that’s studded with sandy exfoliants. It softens the skin but is created for everyday use.
- St. Ives Coconut Milk & Orchid Extract Body Lotion — Again, nothing fancy here! I love the light scent of coconut, mixed with the floral nodes of the orchid. I use this lotion all year long, and during the summer months, I like to add a dime-sized drop of sunless tanner to a few pumps of regular lotion to give myself a light glow.
- Coconut Bay, by Yankee Candle — Okay, I know this isn’t a body product, but I love this candle! I even have the air freshener in my car, and it makes me feel like I’m right on the beach, even when I’m driving to work.
I know, it seems small, but each year, I look forward to when it’s socially acceptable to pull out my white jeans (and white white-leg trousers). White jeans, paired with a navy tank, and some gold jewelry makes me feel like a sailor, and nothing makes me happier than the thought of that. I especially love the destroyed, cropped white denim — am I stuck in the 80s? I just love this look!
Speaking of fashion, I also loved colored jeans, and am currently searching for the perfect pair of mint skinnies. A good denim vest is also on my personal wish list, as I think it’s the perfect thing to put over a maxi dress this season.
And finally, a summer outfit really isn’t complete without a great pair of sunglasses. Honestly, sunglasses really used to bother me in years passed, but lately, I can’t go anywhere without a pair. I’m not into designer shades, but I stocked up on a few cheap aviators (one has leopard print down the sides) and I love them!
Summer is the perfect season to get lost in a book (okay, so is winter), but I feel like the warmer months produce great beach reads and hot romance novels.
I can recall many great days, lounging in the sun with a good book in my hands. There’s just no better way to relax! Here are some of summer’s hottest (supposed) reads:
- Friendswood by Rene Steinke — A big, moving novel of one tight-knit Texas community and the events that alter its residents’ lives forever.
- The Last Magazine by Michael Hastings — The year is 2002. Weekly newsmagazines dominate the political agenda in New York and Washington. A young journalist named Michael M. Hastings is a twenty-two- year-old intern at The Magazine, wet behind the ears, the only one in the office who’s actually read his coworker’s books.
- Save the Date by Jen Doll — In Save the Date, Jen Doll charts the course of her own perennial wedding guesthood, from the ceremony of distant family members when she was eight to the recent nuptials of a new boyfriend’s friends.
- The Vacationers by Emma Straub — An irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca.
Not to push the issue, but Christian Dior is on point with this nail polish set for summer 2014 — that bright blue? Yes, please! And of course, each bottle comes complete with “CD” nail stickers, because branding your nails is completely necessary at this point.
Here are some other great nail lacquers for the upcoming season: Haute in the Heat by Essie, Life Gave Me Lemons by OPI, Fierce no Fear by Essie, Down to the Core-al by OPI, Strut Your Stuff by Essie, Marjorie by Julep, Roarrrrrange by Essie
I hope you’ve got a great summer planned! Let me know what some of your seasonal favorites are!
Last weekend, I was flipping channels, searching for something I could get lost in for awhile (one of my favorite hobbies), when I came across the movie, “Definitely, Maybe,” starring the one and only Hottie With A Body, Ryan Reynolds.
Good Lord, that man is fwwiiiinnne.
Aside from boy band crushes, Mr. Reynolds might just be my original celeb crush, as I loved watching him on the sitcom “Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place” (1998-2001).
I remember getting the Adidas sneakers, white with three patent orange stripes on the sides, because he had them. Because that would have totally made him fall in love with my 8th grade self, provided we ran into each other on the street.
I have always dreamt big.
Some other movies you might recognize him from include Green Lantern, Smokin’ Aces, Just Friends, Van Wilder, The Proposal, and Buried, among many others.
Many people do know that he’s currently married to the beautiful Blake Lively, but did you know that he was previously married to musical badass, Alanis Morissette, as well as large-lipped Scar-Jo?
People Magazine has a nice timeline with all the details, just for you.
I’ll leave you with another beautiful picture of Mr. Reynolds, looking fine as hell, and just because I love you (and him) — click the pic to watch episode one, from season one of “Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place.”
We might be too proud to admit it as guys, but we still need to learn how to manage responsibility, how to face our challenges.
Boy do I love curling up on my couch for a self-made marathon of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” built using my collections of seasons on DVD.
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” ran for seven seasons, beginning in 1970 — a time when America was going through political change, and women were beginning to experience economic freedom. Feminism was spreading, women were granted the right to vote, and in 1973, women were granted the right to an abortion.
But as the show premiered, the idea of women having freedom was new, so a show about a girl — a single girl — moving out on her own to establish a career was a fresh idea. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was the “Sex and the City” of its time.
Starring Mary Tyler Moore (obviously), Valerie Harper (Rhoda), Cloris Leachman (Phyllis), Ted Knight (Ted Baxter), Edward Asner (Lou), and Gavin MacLeod (Murray), the show is centered around Mary and her adventures in working and dating.
What I love about the show is that, aside from its already shocking plot (single woman on her own!!!), the show covers issues that are relevant today, even 40 years later, including equal pay for women, premarital sex, addiction, homosexuality, divorce, infidelity, prostitution, death, adoption, infertility, and heart health.
Here are a few things I’ve learned while watching “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”:
- Alcohol at work should totally be allowed. Mary’s boss, Lou Grant, is known to keep a bottle of scotch in his bottom desk drawer, and take a swig when times get stressful. That’s a smart man.
- Sleeping on a pullout sofa bed can be glamorous. Mary’s one-room apartment is cute with its tiny kitchen, dining table, and barely-there closet, leaving Mary to sleep on a pull out bed every night. Yet her place is never messy!
- Working in the news business is cool. Okay, so Mary’s office isn’t anything special, but at the time, a room full of typewriters and clocks, complete with a coffee pot? BAMF.
- You’re gonna make it after all. Although Mary dates a few people throughout the show’s entirety, she remains single. And you know what? I think it’s pretty badass. I need more single women role models in my life, and so what if one of them is on a TV show thats 40 years old.
If you want to check out the show for yourself, there’s a ton of episodes on YouTube. Click the pic to get started!
Well I just wanted to let you know that sometimes I get concerned about being a career woman. I get to thinking that my job is too important to me. And I tell myself that the people I work with are just the people I work with. But last night I thought what is family anyway? It’s the people who make you feel less alone and really loved.
—Mary Tyler Moore, as Mary Richards