packing it in.

10 02 2012

i packed my first box today.

13 actually. 13 paper boxes full of books, dvds, and things that will probably get broken in transit despite their many layered protective newspaper cocoons. theoretically, this should be good news (especially for my breakables). but really, i’ve got 4 days until my movers show up, and i’ve only packed about 1/8 of everything i own. and that was the easy bit. unfortunately, the rest of my apartment is far less square and regular than my book and dvd collections.

and now, here i am, watching netflix and writing instead of playing through the pain and packing up my kitchen implements before i have time to forget that i’m moving and accidentally get them all dirty again.

thing is, i don’t want to move. Read the rest of this entry »

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the edge of extinction.

3 04 2011

ok folks, it’s time for us to have a serious sit down discussion about the ikea bus.

the first week of ticket sales was exciting. after the first few days, i had 13 people already and it seemed like things were all systems go.

and then, they stopped going.

i  was stuck at 13 tickets for almost an entire week. and the worst part was that people kept asking me how it was going…

i’m a firm believer that it’s never good for business to tell people that things aren’t going well. so i would say things like “it’s going, but i wanna sell that shit out!” or “it’s coming along, but there’s still room!”. it’s a little awkward. and i’ve been feeling a lot of shame about the fact that it’s not going better. both because i don’t like failing at things, and because i really really do want it to happen.

i sold a few more tickets last week, but just a few. and sadly, my attempts at getting some press coverage turned out to be completely balls. so here i am, stalled out at at 16 tickets (i made the boyfriend promise to buy one, so i could say  17 and not totally be lying).

i’m not sure what happened. 58 people liked my press release on facebook. the eventbrite page has almost 600 page views! and everyone and their grandma keeps telling me what an awesome idea it is. so what gives?

bad timing? no money? not the right time to buy a couch after all? i have no idea.

the truth is that i’m scared. if i can’t get up to at least 25 (preferably 30) by the 7th (that’s THIS THURSDAY), i’m gonna have to cancel. the problem is that the money is mine, and if i don’t get the bus filled , that money still disappears. and i have student loans and a mortgage that can’t let that happen.

i don’t want to beg you. begging isn’t classy. more than anything, i’d like to gently remind you to buy your ticket now if you’re planning on going- or at least send me an email telling me that you’re definitely coming. and i’d also like to warn all the fabulous folks that did buy tickets, that there is currently a high likelihood that the trip will be canceled. so, spread the world to your friends and neighbors if you want it to be on. and if anyone knows a media outlet that might give the ikea bus a little lovin… now is the time to call in some favors!





minty fresh.

20 04 2010

it’s freaky sometimes how the posting stars align. this weekend i was going through an old all you, and i ripped out an article about a free budgeting website called mint.com. then of course there was yesterday’s meltdown about how out of control my spending has been lately. then this morning, i read an article on mashable about how mint.com is now offering expanded services. perhaps the universe is trying to tell me that it’s time to go for a minty test drive?

i decided to screw the research portion of the evening, and go straight to the sign up phase. oh, did i mention that it’s free? it actually felt really bad at first, entering in all my account numbers and passwords. i am aware that mint is a highly respected and secure site, but it’s still a little scary to think how much damage someone could do with all that info just hangin out in one place. but again, i decided to give the anxiety phase the finger and try to get to the good stuff. i was able to plug in both my credit cards, my bank account, and one of my two student loans (bummer that the lender for the larger of the two wasn’t available). i still haven’t sorted out importing my mortgage, but that’s more the fault of me using a small local bank (i do think it’s possible in time though).

regardless of the 2 unimportable  accounts, and the vague uneasiness about dishing out my data, everything was quite simple and smooth. it initially took a little finagling to make sure that all my checking account transactions were appropriately classified so they fell into the right categories.  although there’s a really nice function that lets you apply a classification across a group of transactions, and i found the whole setup to be super-intuitive.

now that mint knew all my secrets, what mysteries would be revealed?  well, as it turns out (as evidenced by the above pie chart), i actually spent more money on eating out this month than i did on my mortgage. those 5 pairs of shoes certainly put an unfortunate dent in there as well. even when i’m balancing my checkbook, even when i’m paying attention, i’m never quite vigilant enough to catch everything that flies through my accounts. i’ve been keeping an excel budget for YEARS that to me seemed fair and reasonable. but when mint made me set up a budget for coffee and movies and restaurants and clothes… it made me realize how insufficient and quasi-delusional my budget really is.  no wonder i was always short at the end of the month (always borrowing from the next paycheck down the line). shame!

because mint looks at all incoming deposits and expenditures and throws them automatically into budget buckets over the course of the month, i no longer need to waste time trying corral my finances into a woefully ineffective excel spreadsheet. instead, i can spend my energy monitoring my spending and trying to keep it under control.  i’m pretty positive that if i keep up with it, mint will keep me honest. it will now be entirely impossible for me to be in denial about where my money is really going. $38 on coffee- check. $235 on shoes- double check. all laid out beautifully in cheerfully colored pie charts and bar graphs.

the only feature i wasn’t particularly impressed with was the “ways to save” tab. really, it’s just a place to get online quotes for loans and credit cards and so on… i’m assuming that’s how they make their money. i know that i can get better rates on pretty much all of their offered services via local banks and credit unions, and i also know that it will be pretty easy for me to avoid that tab all together.

all in all, mint is a lot cooler than i thought it was going to be, and if you’re having a hard time getting your hands around your finances (and don’t mind giving out some personal data), it’s a must try. and no, they didn’t pay me to say that. as always, nobody pays me shit to do shit (except of course my actual employer). although also as always, i would love to whore out my opinion for cash. mint.com of all people should know at this point how much i need it.