Life thru the haze of cat hair.

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Oh, hello! Come in. Have some tea. And I finally filled the candy dish again, so have at it.

I’m pretty sure that I have stated on here before that I SUCK at managing money. (I would go back and put a link to a previous post, but I’m too lazy. So, you can either look back, or just take my word for it. I suck.)

I have a few theories as to why it is that I suck at it so much, but I won’t go into those here. Suffice it to say, if I have cash in my wallet (or tossed in the bottom of the suitcase I call a purse), I will spend it. On what? It doesn’t matter. Anything. Everything. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what 2 days later. It’s really pathetic.

About a year ago, I cut up my credit cards. It was traumatic and scary and hard and horrible and the best thing I have done for myself in a long time. (I still had balances, mind, but at least I could no longer ADD to those balances. Just go with it.) Honestly, if I had to do it again, I would. But I would keep one card. Because it is really hard to live in this world with no plastic.

What that little exercise in self-control has taught me is that if I don’t have the $ in my checking account, I can’t buy it. Whatever “it” is – food, entertainment, whatever. I am not always successful at sticking to that rule, and the amount of money I have actually given to my bank in the form of overdraft fees is staggering, but I am learning and getting better at it as I go.

So, why this story of woe on a Friday morning? Well, last week, I think it was Wednesday, I discovered that, yet again, I was overdrawn. And I had $1 in my wallet. Literally, one dollar. Oh. My. Goat. What was I going to do?? I couldn’t buy a coffee, or lunch, or stamps, or groceries. I had 10 days before I got paid again. Have I mentioned how much I suck at money? S.U.C.K.

With no choice, I had to eat whatever I had in the cupboard/fridge/freezer. I had to resort to the free coffee at work (with that powdered creamer crap) (which, BTW, GROSS) or nothing at all. There were no snacks, no nips to the cafe downstairs for a muffin or scone or salad. So much for my new goal of eating more healthful foods and cutting down on carbs and starches. I lived with a hunger headache and a rumbly tum. I dug deep into the bottom of my suitcase purse for spare change for an emergency Hershey bar yesterday.

But I made it. Today, I was able to walk into the grocery store across the street to get something for breakfast and know that I had the cash to pay for it. It was exciting. But, do you know what? I didn’t want most of it. I had a new perspective on the overwhelming number of options. I still have to go grocery shopping tonight, to stock up on food, and to replenish my larder, but I think my choices will be much more carefully made.

There were some good things to come out of this inadvertent experiment:

  • I was finally able to clear out all the stuff in my freezer/cupboards that I had purchased, but didn’t feel like eating. You know the stuff. Pasta, rice, popcorn, whatever leftovers you may have frozen to “have later”.  CLEAN START!
  • I lost 9 pounds. That, right there, should tell you something. Clearly, I was eating too much.
  • I learned that I really didn’t have to eat if I was bored/sad/depressed/stressed/happy. I could really only eat 3 meals a day. No snacking. And? I DIDN’T DIE. I didn’t (couldn’t) use food to mask those feelings. I ate when I was really hungry (read: dizzy and headachey), and that was it.
  • I learned that I didn’t need to eat so much. I had to eat smaller portions in order to make the food last longer.
  • I learned that powdered coffee creamer? Just as gross as I remembered.
  • I learned that I don’t *have* to have dessert. But I just wanna.
  • I learned that I really can live, and do it maybe not well, but sufficiently, without spending every last cent. It’s okay to NOT go to the drug store and buy magazines or whatever. Or to turn on the Kindle and download the 36 books that I have seen recommended lately that I now want to read. I can read the books I already have (that I haven’t read before) and discover “Oh, yeah! That’s why I bought that!”
  • Oh, yeah, and I’m all set with carbs and starches for a while. Thanks.

So, I know this post started out about money and ended up about food. But, I found that the lack of one really impacts the other. This past 10 days has been hard and while I wouldn’t recommend anyone letting themselves get into the position I did, I would recommend trying to not spend money for a week on those little things that seem to so easily add up. And also, go through your stores of prepackaged foodstuffs and use that stuff up. Start over without all that stuff that really isn’t good for you. Maybe it would be better to just toss it, or to just NOT buy it in the first place, but you know what I mean.

And that cup of Chibani yogurt this morning? SO. FREAKING. GOOD!!!!! (If you haven’t tried this stuff? Holy crap. The best Greek yogurt out there, IMO. Seriously.) And it filled me up. I never thought I could be satisfied with just a yogurt, but I am. (If someone put a plate of bacon and eggs in front of my, I wouldn’t say no, mind. But I’m comfortable with just the yogurt for now.) This may be the start of something big for me. *fingers crossed*

Oh, and that dollar in my wallet? Yep. I still have it.

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Oh, hello! Come on in and have some tea.

So I’ve written about Meg and Ali here a couple of times. And I am going to write about them again today. I swear I should be getting paid for this. Or something. (I’m looking at you Mr. Meg…)

I work with Mr. Meg, and his wife and her friend started the company. You can read about that part of it on the website. I had written a post about how great their shirts were, with the complaint that the shirts are made for teeny people.  Seriously, an extra-large fits a size 10? WTF?

Since I shared that thought in a post, and with Mr. Meg, the info got filtered back to the ladies, and they researched new vendors – because big girls need peace signs too!! And guess what?? We can now buy these shirts!!! WOOHOO!!

They had an open house at their shop last night, and Mr. Meg “encouraged me to go. I hadn’t been to the shop, nor had I met Meg or Ali before. So before I gushed about them again, I wanted to see how things work. I put on my M&A hat, and went to see where the magic happened.

Turns out, the magic doesn’t happen at their shop any more. The good news is that they have grown to such a point that they have “people” for manufacture. (YAY!) I found out that while they still pick the fabric, local folks do the sewing and cutting, etc. So hooray to Meg and Ali for employing people close to home. It seems that it’s really quite a process to get these beautiful shirts made. The quality reflects that.

There are new products too. Don’t bother looking at the website for them yet. Their webmaster has yet to update that… (still looking at you, Mr. Meg. *stinkeye*) But look:

How cute are these??

 

I have a green one. It’s soft and really comfortable. Another new product is:

ADORABLE!!

ADORABLE!

 

The little leather piece that holds the ribbon between your toes is made locally too! YAY for local cows!!

There are belts too. And aprons. AND! When you buy something? They put it into a cloth bag. No plastic. Totally reusable. YAY for going green! (I tried to get a picture of that this morning too, but at 6:30 in the morning, in the semi-darkness, fighting off cats? Not so much.) (I bought a shirt. Coincidentally, it looks just like the one I put in the original post – brown with the blue peace sign.) (Yes, I had to pay for it…) (I KNOW!!)

OH! And about Meg and Ali, personally? ADORABLE!! But do you remember back in high school, there were those really pretty, thin, friendly girls who you REALLY wanted to hate, but couldn’t? Because they were nice and sweet and kind? So you just had to stand back in awe of them for their fabulousness? That’s Meg and Ali. They are petite, gorgeous, thin, friendly, and quite honestly, I find it a little annoying and not just a little unfair. No one should be able to have that much YAY going for them. Just kidding, ladies. You are wonderful. I wouldn’t keep going on about it if it weren’t true. Ask Mr. Meg. He’ll tell you.

Anyhoo. If you haven’t gone to the website, please stop by and check things out. I’ll keep on Mr. Meg to update the inventory list on the site (*stinkeye*) so that you can see. 

I’m sorry to keep posting about Meg and Ali. But to see a local business succeed? It gives me hope for the future. And if I have even a teeny part in helping them? That’s great too.