Falling through the Looking Glass











{November 25, 2012}   Saving Money: Bedroom Style!

The two most complicated rooms in this series is out of the way: the kitchen and the bathroom. Now we get to the more fun and individualized part of the house, your bedrooms! This is the room that is supposed to be your haven and your zone, so this is the one place where personality and customization should mean the most!

Make a priority list!

Collect pictures and ideas and make a list over what you’d like to have in your room or for your room. Then order them in priority. Energy savings or ways to increase comfort go first. I know you may really want to replace that horrible wallpaper, but getting a more sturdy bed frame that isn’t going to separate as you change positions is more important. Sometimes just making more room in the space by exchanging unfeasible furniture is more important than updating the flooring. Do not base this list on pricing. Needs are worth saving for properly and responsibly.

Look for Solutions in the Nontraditional

My son needed a dresser. So I was looking around at thrift stores and what not for something affordable and I happened across a section of upright standing lockers. It was one large door with several small units across the top and side. It was in disgusting condition. The whole unit was six foot tall and almost four feet wide. She only wanted $20 for it! So I talked her down to $12 and dumped it in the back of my buddies truck. It was pretty dirty, but after a good scrubbing and fresh paint, white on the interior of the shelves and my son picked out the blue for the outside. Total Cost was $25 for a custom unit that has more than ample storage and also doubles as a magnetic board to hang pictures.

Other reuses I’ve done:

Fabric shower curtain as Window treatment

Wire Newspaper stand as shelving

Top Tier (1 shelf with 4 posts) of an adjustable plastic shelf as closet storage

Practical Decoration is Imperative

If it breaks the flow of your room, doesn’t suit your needs, or is more expensive than what you’re willing to pay, it’s not good for you. Decorations should always make your job easier or not effect your task at all. That also means you need to consider the cleaning cost of such decorations. If it will take extra time to dust or polish, then you need to be willing to attend to that.  I prefer a minimal look. I don’t like decorations for the sake of decorations. But that doesn’t mean decorations can’t be practical.

Beautiful and functional things I’ve accomplished:

Stretch mesh fabric or screening in a picture frame and hang your earrings on it.

Hand paint or spray paint boring shelves a new color. There is a paint that will adhere to any surface, metal or wood or plastic!

Use tablecloths or other folds of pretty fabric hung from lines attached to the ceiling as room dividers or makeshift dressing areas. This is really good when sharing a room.

Bed raisers are cheap and easy in making more room under the bed.

Improvements can add value!

Besides the traditional energy improvements such as ceiling fans, insulated windows, and energy sockets, decorative improvements can really pump up the value of such a selling point in a house! Most additions can be formulated really cheap if you’re willing to look at salvage yards and even craigslist.

Crown Molding

Fan Medallions

Cedar-lined closets

Hardwood flooring

Send me your challenges!

Send me a picture of your dream piece of furniture, fixture, or bedroom accessory and I am willing to bet I can help navigate a DIY Knock-off for you. I have experience building houses and furniture as well as one of my degrees being in art. So I am more than willing to help figure out a way to make your functional needs come true in as much quality with as little a price tag as possible! *smiles*

So here’s to you and helping you create the haven that you need!

Shared with Six Sisters’ Stuff, Elizabeth and Co., In the Old Road, Frugally Sustainable



{November 18, 2012}   Saving Money: Bathroom Style!

Second in the saving money room by room, we tackle the bathroom. (Check your kitchen in here.) Whether you are a guy or a girl there is always something you can do to make it easier on yourself and your wallet.

Cut your utilities!

  • If you don’t have a water saving toilet tank, then add a brick or a gallon/half gallon jug filled with water and a touch of bleach to your tank on the side. It’ll take up space and cut down how much water you use in each flush.
  • Cover your pipes, those behind the toilet and the water heater, with insulated foam. It’ll help keep your heat in and save some money for cheap.
  • Change out your lights if you can for more energy efficient units. And if you can’t change your light units, change out your bulbs. If you have a vanity light with multiple bulb spots, only fill a select amount. Heaters and vents are nice but are great energy pulls. Use sparingly if not at all.
  • Take shorter showers and adjust the shower head to disperse water smoothly. You can gradually train yourself to enjoy slightly cooler showers at gentler pressures if you make adjustments gradually. Just take it down a bit next shower. Even if you can’t handle different temperatures, at least take down the pressure some. That will save some money away from the drain and back into your wallet.

Furniture and storage!

  • Even at Walmart, an over the toilet shelve is at least $20 and it’s flimsy as all get out. Look at your favorite thrift stores or surplus outlets and look for a bookshelf that is wide enough and either has a back that can come off or doesn’t have one. All you have to do is remove the lower shelves and it’ll fit above it with more stability or a cheaper price in general. Crates stacked on top of each other on a side bar table can work too.
  • Look for nontraditional storage to fill the niches you need.CD towers with little cardboard inserts at strategic locations become a great cabinet in a tight space. Dressers, china cabinets, and bedside tables can be hacked and slashed to fit in some areas. If needed, look at a beauty supply store for special carts make to be only inches across but feet deep.
  • Don’t be afraid to hang something over the door for extra storage, regardless if it’s the bathroom door or possibly the shower door.

Accessories and Supplies

  • Do you really need five different hairsprays? Are you actually going to use all those hotel samples? I understand when it comes to bath and body there are many different factors to take in with personal hygiene. But there is also nothing wrong with throwing out or not using what doesn’t work. If you’re hording those sample size packs and you’re not going to use them, give them to a shelter. Try to pick products that are as versatile and multifaceted as possible. From bathroom cleaners to skincare, try and bundle your packages into more efficient products.
  • I don’t use sponges or paper towels on my bathroom. I use one multipurpose homemade cleaner on everything I have in there, including my floors. I use set aside washcloths on the floor and fixtures. I use old socks on the mirror. I just throw everything in the washer after I’m done and I can have a clean bathroom without the horrible chemical smells that seriously bother me. Clean your bathroom on a set schedule as much as possible and it’ll help in saving time and money in taking care of your things.
  • Bathmats are awesome, but only if they are actually rubberized on the bottom to help keep the water together and off of your floor. I know it may seem cheaper to just throw a towel down, but all it does it keep the water setting. This can lead to mold, rot if it’s against a baseboard or cabinet, and other problems. I found my bathmat not in the bathroom section, but the outdoor section for just $4. They are cheap, comfortable, hold up better, and can be washed easy while containing the water. Think outside the box to suit your needs!
  • I pour my mouthwashes in glass bottles. Not only does it look better, but it’s easier to open for my kid to use and even for myself when I’m only halfway awake in the morning. Don’t make changes for looks if it’s going to make your tasks harder. Decorative changes should either have no effect or improve your accessibility.

What are some of your favorite tips for keeping your bathroom from being a hassle?

Shared with The Alabaster Jar, Above Rubies, We Are That Family, Cornerstone Confessions , Simply Better, Growing Home, Frugally Sustainable



{November 18, 2012}   Saving Money: Kitchen Style!

I find that as I grow older, I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen more and more. But in order to do this, I have to make the jobs in the kitchen more accessible and comfortable. The kitchen is one of the most expensive rooms in the house so here are a few ways I try and make that expense a little more bearable.

1) If you buy food, you have already bought Tupperware.

  • Butter dishes, cottage cheese containers, spaghetti jars, peanut butter jars, and what not is how I store my foods. Frosting containers are excellent as well. If you have problems discerning what is what, a piece of clear tape with a dry erase marker acts as a reusable label.
  • Empty store-bought juice bottles just need their labels removed and washed out and can be refilled as needed with teas or water.
  • Bread bags or any plastic baggie is reused for food storage. Cereal box bags are saved and cleaned and can be used just like wax paper. Yes, I even reuse my aluminum foil unless it’s had raw meat in it. Bottles are great to make self serve juice boxes or teas (without sugar) that I can grab on the go or throw in my boy’s lunchbox.
  • The only time I have bought specific food storage containers was for my son’s lunchbox. I got him matching Spiderman containers from the Dollar Store. This is mainly because I didn’t want him teased at school. So making a good lunch in cool containers helps compensate for not being able to afford the name brand sneakers or the fancy toys. (He’s only in Kindergarten and this has already started…grr.)
  • Food containers also make good storage containers in general. My empty oatmeal canister is an awesome papertowel/napkin holder. A mini crate that used to hold clementine oranges now holds my recipe cards. I use a giant baggie to cover my knife block to protect against splashes and dust.

2) Why buy name brand?

  • I never buy name brand foods unless I have no other choice. Both Walmart and Kroger’s store brands have healthy knock offs of almost any food out there from whole grain noodles to preserves to juice. When I do buy name brands, like Mrs. Baird’s bread, it isn’t too bad because of the great difference I have saved buying the store brand on everything else.
  • If it’s not in a store brand, it’s amazing how I learned to do without. Spices are big like this. Different thrift or dollar store chains have different spices available, so there is every reason to know where you need to go for certain things. But most of what is restricted to a name brand can be made with a combination of store brand ingredients.

3) No paper in my kitchen!

  • One pack of basic washcloths is enough to handle all the needs of the kitchen from drying hands, mopping up messes, acting as a grease catcher, or a makeshift potholder. The only time I have paper in my kitchen is the paper napkins that I have brought home from the few moments that I actually work out. I have one roll of paper towels I got when I moved into my apartment back in March of 2012. It’s still not empty.

4) Make your own cleaners, and use them!

  • I make my own stuff. I make the citrus/vinegar mix that everyone seems to know. I use a paste of baking soda and lemon juice for more severe things like colored stains or heavier grease. But the key is to clean your kitchen and keep it clean as much as possible. As I am waiting for supper to simmer or cook, I’ll be putting away other dishes or loading the washer again.
  • If you keep your kitchen clean or clean as you go, you’ll not only save time but you’ll save money in wasted food, not having to fight set in stains, or having to fight possible pests that can be attracted like fruit flies or even mice.

5) Make from scratch as much as possible.

  • Not only will you have to keep basic staples that will allow for more variety in your cooking options, you will also save money on your grocery budget. A box of raw noodles has more flexibility in tastes then a box of premixed mac and cheese. You get more bang for your buck twice with not just the multi-tasking, but also with the fact most base staples are cheaper by the serving than a premixed store item.

6) Buy second hand or thrift items for some jobs.

  • The Dollar Tree has awesome utensils for cheap.that work brilliant. Why pay five dollars for one fancy wooden spoon when you can get a pack of 3-5 for a $1 at the local store? Do you really need ceramic mixing bowls or can that butter tub or a metal set at the local flea market be just as effective? Chances are you don’t need that expensive Pampered Chef spatula when there is a dollar version that will do the job. Now are these items nice? Yes. Do they work? Yes. But unless you are a semiprofessional, you probably don’t need a $20 cheese grater.

7) Know when you do need to spend money, lest you keep buying replacements.

  • I may have a whisk that was a dollar but my pots and pans set is a Faberware $80 set. That is cheap for some, but that’s expensive for me. It has all the pieces I need and it was worth it because it has held up far better than the previous aluminum set that fell apart on me.
  • I cannot speak from experience, but my friends say items like blenders or food processors are worth the extra expense if you use those items at least once a week average. If it’s only once a month or less, you can probably go without that extra level. But if it’s something you know you will use, invest in something that can handle the mileage.

8) Be open to creative compensations or adaptations.

  • I don’t have a rolling pin, and I don’t see the sense in buying one when an empty glass jelly jar works far more easily for me. I don’t have a steamer, but I do have a saucepan and a mesh strainer. Pour water in the pan, set it to boil, and put your veggies in the mesh strainer. Works brilliant on fresh or frozen! I don’t need a giant slow cooker when it’s just my son and myself. A simple, $9 gallon model is the perfect size for us. I don’t need a heavy duty drain rack when I have a oven where I can just set my heavy dishes. (Just don’t forget they’re in there before you preheat.) My toaster oven is a more practical tool then just buying a plain toaster.
  • I’m not opposed to buying a real rolling pin or a potato masher. But as it stands, I have other financial priorities that are more important. So if I come across a really good deal on something like that at a yard sale or something, I’ll get it. But it’s not worth worrying about because I have a suitable adaptation already. Something like that is what I will normally ask for on a birthday or Christmas request.

Feel free to leave your suggestions on how you save money in the kitchen below!

Shared with Frugally Sustainable



{November 18, 2012}   Be Practical Before Frugal

I understand that there is a big move for being green, recycling, and reusing. This is a movement I applaud and I try to encourage as much as possible. However, as with any good thing, too much or not applied correctly is sometimes more problematic than doing something the traditional way. But there are ways to work around that. The key elements needed to make a go green plan good for you and good for the environment.

Time

How much time do you have to devote to more frugal life changes. Making things from scratch takes more time. Using homemade cleaners takes more time to scrub or soak in some instances. Even taking the time to line dry clothes takes more time then the extra moments for the dryer. Some frugal activities take more time than others. I do not wash my dishes by hand, but I do line dry my clothes. It is what I have to balance with my schedule and with my capabilities. I am willing to compromise the dishes for the sake that I am willing to recycle, hand-stitch  and make homemade foods and cleaning supplies. I just don’t have time to hand-wash clothes, dishes, make soap, or some other situations.

If you don’t have the time to do some activities, lay out your most profitable frugal movements you can do. Let’s say you may not have time to make bread from scratch. Understandable. Maybe you have time to let things set like most homemade cleaners or use a crock pot for things. Do what is best for your schedule.

Resources

Do you have land for a garden? Do you have the space for a stocked pantry? Can you invest in a bigger freezer? Do you have the start up capital to invest in the materials needed for soap making or buying in bulk?

You have to consider what you do have. I have a sewing machine. I know how to sew. Therefore I can probably do most frugal sewing projects. I also live in a one bedroom apartment without a patio and am not allowed to have things in my window, so my gardening options are very limited.

Since I can’t buy in bulk, that doesn’t mean that I can’t be more careful with my grocery list and do what I can with what resources I have. Just because you can’t go as all out as you wish you can, doesn’t distract from the good you can do with what you have. Relax and enjoy what you can build. It’s amazing what simple steps and habits you can build with limited resources, so when your opportunities improve, you are already built up on a great foundation.

Desire

What are you willing to do? If you don’t want to plunge your own clothes, then why do it? If it’s going to be a hassle, put you in a bad attitude, or be a obligation, then consider that it’s not worth the extra problem. If you hate doing something, you’ll never so what you’re truly capable of. And this is supposed to be about enriching your life, not making it harder.

Being frugal and saving green is a very important thing for the environment and yourself. Just enjoy building better habits and doing the best to your abilities and in a way that caters  to your interests and is always best for you. If you get a plan that suits you and is within your means, you’re not only more likely to stick with it, but you’re more likely to enjoy it as well.

Shared with A Delightful Home, Frugally Sustainable, A Growing Home, Simply Better



{November 17, 2012}   Awesome Gifts =/= Awesome Prices!

I know this is sort of a cheesy phrase, but it is true. If there is one thing I have been consistently known for in my years of life is that I give awesome gifts. I have also spent my years dirt poor. So not only have I been able to make people go “Wow!” or even cry with my presents, I do so for often less than a dollar a gift. Here is how I do it:

1) Make a list. 

First, put everyone that you have to buy a gift for, spouses/partners, parents, siblings, children, best friends, or grandparents. Chances are anyone on this list should either share DNA with you or be so close that they might as well. Then make a list of everyone that you would like to give a gift to if it becomes available like teachers, co-workers, distant relatives, and other friends. That way you have a track record, this will come in handy in the next step.

2) Buy gifts throughout the year, not just the month before the event.

My son’s birthday is December 5th. If I wait until November to get my shopping done, I have backed myself into corner with sales and it’s just a big financial burden all at once. So I shop throughout the year as things that come on sale or become available.

For example, I like shopping at thrift stores and flea markets. If I find something really nifty or if something that I can alter is there really cheap, I grab it and stick it back in a closet for later. I have found plenty of hardback, first editions for my father that way. Or nice crystal glasses for fifty cents each that I can fill with candy and give to an aunt or my son’s teacher. Sales at big box stores are great too. I found some Lego sets really well priced in July at the end of the toy season. I grabbed a couple then at prices that I know I couldn’t go back in October and expect to have.

Clarence racks at any business are your friend. Every stock is seasonal and I am willing to bet that you can find something for anyone in these little sections. And don’t worry about if you buy a gift you know for sure is perfect for a certain person then find something even more suited for them later. Grab it. You’ve saved enough money on the first gift that you can afford the second and that just means you can pass that first gift onto someone on that secondary list. Nothing is lost in spending only dollars or cents a piece on a gift.

Another option is to buy in sets and then break the set up. For example, at Walmart I found a three pack of earrings, very nice ones, for only a dollar. Well, I snatched that sucker up because now I have three different pairs of earrings that all I need to do is package separate and now I have three different gifts.

3) Set a budget per gift, not overall.

I refuse to spend more than $10 a gift unless it is something that is not only assured to make the person happy or the discount is just that significant. I will also not spend more than a certain amount depending on what the actual gift is. And this is all based on your area, what’s around you and your budget. But if you freak out and say you only have $200 for gifts, it’s easy to blow that all at once and not get the better deals. If you are shopping gradually throughout the year and only spending increments at a time, then you will find that you’ll probably be under what overall budget you were hoping for with having more gift stockpiled with far less stress.

You can have an emergency expense that wipes out your emergency budget. But if you’re buying throughout the year at only dollars a gift tops, it’s much easier to recoup from a loss and you already have things stuck back should you not be able to get anything later.

4) Base gifts on what the person wants or needs, Not what YOU want or need for them.

This is a problem people do unintentionally. But the way I see it is if you care enough to give a gift, you should care enough to at least invest some time into figuring out what it is they can actually use or would like. And that doesn’t mean that you have to like that gift. It’s not about you it’s about them. I have seen this as a big problem from parents and partners doing this to their children and partners, respectively. If what they want is offensive or something you won’t allow, by all means don’t get it. But if it’s just a matter of conflicting tastes, it’s rather tacky to impress your wishes on them in a situation where it’s supposed to be about them.

And now my list of possible suggestions:

Food!

Whether in a gift bag or just outright, food is always good for either gender and all ages. How you package it depends on who you are giving it to.

A primary gift would probably entail a laundry basket filled with nonperishable foods  For my college aged brother’s birthday, I used a football Easter basket I bought for a dollar after the season and loaded it with his favorite sunflower seeds, peanuts, chili, and cornbread mix.

A secondary gift could be just a cute saucer or glass from a dollar or thrift store that is filled with cookies or candy then wrapped nice. For my son’s teachers I bought little saucers for fifty cents each and will put homemade cookies on them. For his after school teachers, who are college age, I bough different stemware glasses at twenty five cents each I’ll fill with colorful candies and will cover both in plastic wrap and tie with ribbons. This can be used for men as well, just get a beer stein or a heavier mug instead of a wine glass.

Personalized Items!

If it’s metal, it’s a potential present. I found some cheap metal compacts in the clearance rack of my local Hobby Lobby for just two dollars each. All I did was take them to my local engraver and for just seventy cents each had names engraved on the back of them. Instant class! For my guy friend, I got a men’s bracelet with five spaces and had his name and the name of his four sons engraved in each spot with their last initial in the middle.

Other items that are easy to find cheap and can be engraved: platters, cuff links, key chains, bracelets, glass either mirrors or cups, boxes, tie clips, hand mirrors, flasks, and even model cars or vases.

Feel free to look at nontraditional items. Talk to your local engraver and see what they are capable of doing and have fun with it!

Customize any cloth items like blankets, totes, backpacks, handkerchiefs, tshirts, scarves, hats, folding chairs, anything like that with either iron on patches or letters or if you cannot iron it look into the stick on patches or letters that don’t require an iron. Dying items with cheap fabric dye can help in making awesome presents. That white table cloth you got at a yard sale cheap only needs a $2 pack of dye to turn into a cool wall tapestry or curtains.

Necessities:

They may not be that fun, but every one needs socks, underwear, toilet paper, gas cards, or basic food items. One of the best stocking stuffers I ever got was a roll of duct tape. Yep, duct tape. Not only can I make anything out of duct tape, it’s just really handy to have around. Chapstick, bandaids, foot cream like Blue Goo, sticky notes, good pens, cooking tools, most of these items are very unisex.

One idea to make giving a needed item more fun is what I call the TP Bouquet. Take a roll of toilet paper, and use tape to cover the bottom hole while the roll is on it’s side. Fill it up with candy, straws, and goodies like a vase then tie a ribbon around the width of the actual role.

Homemade

Homemade treats are awesome, but homemade items are great too. Bead kits to make basic jewelry are cheap and a good way to make a whole lot of presents out of one basic kit. Homemade spice mixes, dry mixes, and jars are great for anyone. Basic crafts like ornaments, magnets, stationary, and pictures are super easy and very cost effective. Making collages or painting on mini canvases are fun and sentimental. Most of these items can be found easy at your local craft or big box store unfinished but ready to go.

One year I bought a six pack of nutcrackers from a store on sale for two dollars. I painted them up to correspond with my two grandfathers and four uncles. Both of my grandfathers were in different branches of the military, so I painted their pieces like their respective uniforms. For my uncles I just did their favorite colors except one that was painted like a hunter with a neon orange hat and camo body. For the ladies of the family I just painted ornaments individual to their tastes. For birthdays I often do little gift boxes or birdhouses.

Children!

Children are like kryptonite! No gift, no matter how silly, is voided if it comes with the touch of a child. If you don’t have children to assist in the gift items above, shanghai other people’s children. My sister stole my nephew in order to stamp his handprints on a card for me. It’s awesome! Framing or making a scrapbook of kid’s work for a parent or grandparent is sentimental and a treasure no one can replicate. Tracing silhouettes, hands, growth charts, or time capsules are great spoilings for presents. Even making video or an audio recording and giving that tape as a gift is nice. Most photo development places also can do cassette to cd or dvd burn.  Maybe pulling out those old family slides and having them converted to DVD will help. The munchkins can color a case for it!

Gift bags/bundles: Themes are your friend!

Automotive care items arranged in a bucket

A movie from the $5 bin at Walmart with candy, a bag of microwave popcorn in a bowl

Homemade cleaning supplies arranged in a bucket

Spices, basic cooking products, dishtowels arranged in a laundry basket

Roll kitchen utensils up in dishtowels tied off with ribbon

Bath products are okay so long as you know that the scent or whatever is going to be liked

Tackle box full of art supplies

Journal with pens and stationary in a filing box – don’t forget to include stamps!

Office supplies in a wastepaper basket

Pet gear like brushes, toys, food, or medication in a backpack

And don’t be afraid to use nontraditional storage situations. If it can hold something it can be used as wrapping: kitchen canisters, small trashcans, baskets, buckets, tins, bowls, purses, backpacks, wallets, hats turned upside down, tool boxes, bottles, jugs, and anything else you can think of would be fun and different!

Feel free to ask me for more specialized gifts for that hard to shop someone. I’ll be more than happy to bounce some probable items for you that will more than keep you in budget. Until then, happy hunting!

Shared with Your Green Resource, Frugally Sustainable



1) Don’t try to make them jealous.

Do not try to make it seem you are so better off without them. If you were better off without them, you wouldn’t be trying to get back with them.

 

2) Don’t beg.

Emotionally healthy people do not want supplicants, they want partners.This is not only personally demeaning, it’s not very impressive upon the former partner.

 

3) Don’t lie.

Seriously, they will find out. And it’s never healthy to try and rebuild a relationship on a falsehood.

 

4) Don’t tell them how much they missed out on.

Similar to number one, but at the same time it is condescending and hurtful in a very unique way. Don’t insult or disrespect people like this.

 

5) Don’t come without a game plan.

There is a reason why your relationship ended. Obviously something was not going the way it’s supposed to. So don’t come back unless you have productive and engaging ideas on how to not just rebuild the relationship, but surpassing it with something better. Why settle for something that obviously didn’t work before?

 

6) Don’t ask if they are seeing other people.

It’s none of your business. It’s not going to help anything. And it’s only a way to fish drama, not progress and rebuild into something new.

 

7) Don’t promise to change.

They probably won’t believe you. You probably don’t believe you. If you feel compelled to say this, you’re not really in a healthy recovery point yet.

 

8) Don’t try to bring up how the relationship was.

Something was done that started a breakup. Obviously while there must have been some positive things or else you wouldn’t want to reconnect with them, but there were also problems too. If you try to bring up something good, that leaves the door open to bring up the bad. Keep to your plan and work forward, not backward.

 

9) Don’t offer to fulfill past promises.

If it was a priority, then it should have been done then. Move on, move forward, It shouldn’t take loosing someone to try and work on something your should have done anyway.

 

10) Don’t resort to bribery.

Attempts to use offers or gifts to get someone back only trivializes your attempts to work on the relationship, unless the offer is for couple’s therapy or something like that. The former partner can’t help but judge the merit of the gift in comparison to how you value the relationship. This can also create false expectations for both of you.

 

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY!

 

11) Don’t forget that there are 7,000,000,000 people on this earth.

You will find someone else.

I promise.

Just don’t try and find that other person while trying to work things out with your ex. Just. Don’t.



{November 14, 2012}   Why you are still a single woman…

There are some significant differences in being a single man compared to being a single woman.  I don’t always understand women, even though I am one. But I do find women also have certain social habits that can be either a negative or a  positive in building healthy relationships.

1) You can’t change him. Don’t try.

This is very disrespectful. It’s very hurtful to have someone tell you they accepted everything about you but…  No one should change unless they feel compelled to change for themselves. And the best changes are the ones done for the individual. For example, if you want your partner to be more confident, unless they feel they should be more confident or express their confidence in a way that pleases them, then it will be harder for them to maintain their change. You should never expect anyone to change. It’s unfair and it’s cheating both of you.

2) Avoid double standards or accidental hypocrisy.

It’s not fair to be upset if your partner does something that annoys you when you do that action yourself. I know this is hard to accomplish, especially in emotional or mental matters. But it’s very difficult to engage with someone and ask things of them when you are not willing or capable of meeting those requests in yourself. Most of this is not done on purpose, but if you really want to help your partner understand your needs or work on their concerns, if you work on something they need, then you two can build something together that is more worthwhile and important.

3) COMMUNICATION!

This is very much in tune with the post I made for single men. If you haven’t explicitly told them, assume they don’t know. Are you making yourself clear? Do they understand what you mean by certain things? No hint dropping! Just talk. If you’re not sure if you’re going to come off right, just preface the discussion with how you’re still trying to figure out how to word your emotions and you would like their help working through it. Again, if you want the communication to have absolute security, then you have to be willing to accept what they say with the same compassion and empathy they are trying to accept yours.

5) Complaining how no one likes you makes no one like you.

Make a list of what you want in an ideal partner. Confidence? Sense of humor? Intelligence? Physique? Doesn’t really matter what qualities, but as long as they are multifaceted. Now, do you have these qualities in yourself?

If you embody the qualities you want in a partner, not only will it help you be a stronger individual, quality attracts quality. It gives you credibility and a good foundation in how you can and want to set your standards. It will also help you build your perspective to properly identify these qualities in potential partners and avoid more fraudulent personalities. In pursuing these qualities, you are more likely to be in more feasible situations and crowd to meet people more in tune with your goals.

If you think you are too fat, too poor, too stupid, too whatever for a relationship don’t cry in ice cream. Go do something for yourself. Attend a class, start a workout, begin a project, plan out an improvement to the trait you don’t like about yourself and do something for you.  Don’t worry about romance, take care of you and all will follow.

6) There is no such thing as a pretty, pretty princess.

If you are waiting for a man to save you, not only are you wasting time you could be saving yourself. Negative personalities, emotional vampires, assholes, whatever you want to call them have a knack for being able to hone in on people with confidence and emotional issues with the intention of exploiting them. It’s better to be single and working  for a healthier and happier you than to be in a relationship with such toxic people.



{November 11, 2012}   Why you are still a single man…

I am weary of seeing and experiencing certain problems and issues that men around me have been struggling with. I feel compelled to point out some of these problems and offer possible solutions to aid in improving these matters. And while I have been accused of being harsh sometimes, well, it’s because I care about your feelings guys. Yes. I care about your feelings. Please go dig them out of the closet and see if the warranty is still valid because they deserved to be used.

 

1) If you are in the friend zone, and you don’t want to be there then stop being her best friend.

Yes, I said it. Don’t move in with her and be her “bestest roomie”. Don’t be the on call shoulder that 24-7  answers with ice cream and a hug. Don’t always be the DD who promises not to let her leave with someone that holds her hair all night because she drank too much tequila.

I understand this can seem like a bit of exaggeration, but it is very easy for a guy who is really that close of a friend to be loved as a brother and not a partner. Stay friendly yes, be there yes, but within bounds of reason. The best bet would be to just ask her if she ever considered you as possibly more than friends. Then you can begin a conversation to help explore that.

 

2) Don’t ever lie to her, especially a lie of omission.

If she asks if you mind something and you honestly do, then say so!  If she asks if you like her and you do, then say so! I understand that you can be afraid of ruining your friendship, but a lie will always hurt a friendship. Either the pressure will build in you or she may be hurt later that you couldn’t tell her.

 

3) If you don’t tell her directly and clearly, then she doesn’t know.

It’s annoying as hell when girls drop those cryptic hints about what they want. It is just as annoying when guys do it too. If you are too scared to say something at the beginning of a hopeful romantic relationship and what is presumable a healthy friendship, then this isn’t a very strong precedent to set for the rest of your interaction. If you cannot talk to her with full freedom, respect, and safety, then your relationship doesn’t have the chance to be the dreamland you want it to be.

 

4) No guts; no glory.

There are 7 billion people on this world, with women outnumbering men by higher margins every day. If you don’t ask her out, someone else will. If you don’t follow through on the commitments your relationship is progressing to, someone else will. At least try to build a chance with her before someone else does.

And if you get shot down, the same logic applies. There are more women out there. And people will notice how you pursued the first one. Girls talk. If you have a reputation of handling rejection with class and confidence, that is seen as a sign of quality. No one likes a sore loser. And if you are emotional and whine, mope, or get angry that girl as well as all the others around you are watching you regardless if you realize it or not. No one is going to feel like they’ve missed out in a situation like that.

 

5) Stop picking incompatible people!

If you want a religious person, you’ll have more luck at your local house of worship than a nightclub. If you want a compassionate and caring person, you’re probably not going to have good luck at a dog fight. Now there are always exceptions, but that is exactly what they are: the one in a million exception. I’m sure you can find one bear in the city, but it would be a lot easier and have better variety if you go looking in the woods.

Don’t complain how the person you’re into isn’t how you want them to be when they aren’t into what you are. If you are a person who doesn’t want children and only wants to travel don’t try to build a relationship with the small town girl who wants five kids and doesn’t want to move. Don’t start something you can’t finish. Don’t ever expect people to change. EVER.

 

6) Get dating advice from reliable sources.

Lesbians are actually very good guides on how to talk to women. Happily married men of a similar or compatible generation are good. Your little sister/cousin/family member could be good. I stress family because you never know if that friend-that-might-as-well-be-family may have a crush on you. But if you know that’s clear, then ask them. And of course, you can always ask me. I will do what I can to help you out.

 

And in closing, I think I will leave you with the best pick up line ever!

“Hi, my name is _______. What’s your name?”



{November 11, 2012}   What a Woman Wants?

I  am by far, not the most feminine girl. In fact, I am very odd in my expressions of femininity  But when it comes to romance, I find myself very odd and out of place with both genders. However, being outside of this range also lets me see romance different and hopefully more constructively.

One issue I am having is with these silly lists one can find in a vastly forwarded email or posted in some forum of how to be the perfect man. We’ve all seen at least one and I am here to say that these are pathetic ways to attract or hold a woman. Doing these items are more likely to end in tears and restraining orders than actual fulfilling moments in a relationship.

Allow me to demonstrate:

 

1) When she walks away from you mad, follow her.

  • If I am mad and walking away, it is because I am so upset I have passed rational thinking and need to calm down. If a girl is that emotional she needs to walk away, chances are this is your chance to take a breather and calm it down. Maybe it’s best for her to walk away. Maybe it’s best for you to let her go. But take the time to calm down and figure that out.

2) When she stares at your mouth, kiss her!

  • Did you ever consider you have something in your teeth?

3) When she pushes you or hits you, grab her and don’t let her go.

  • NO! When a woman hits you, pushes you, swings on you in any way that is domestic abuse and you do not deserve to be treated like that! Get away from her and call the cops. Abuse is never the way to handle anger or frustration.

4) When she cusses at you, don’t cuss back and make her feel worse, just deal with it for the time being.

  • NO! Verbal abuse does not ever need to be “dealt with”.

5) When she’s quiet, ask her what’s wrong.

  • Why must something be wrong?

6) When she ignores you, give her your attention.

  • Why give attention to someone’s who ignoring you? Tell her that when she’s ready to talk you’ll be there, then get back to your life. That’s not worth it.

7) When she pulls away, pull her back.

  • No, let her go. Just let her go. You don’t want her to have problems with her accusing you with something wrong. Let her go.

8) When you see her at her worse, tell her she’s beautiful.

  • Guys, this is a set up. If you tell her she’s beautiful and she believes you-there’s a change that she’s keep looking like a slob because she thinks you like it. Then when her girlfriends tell her that you’re full of crap and she’s letting herself go then you’ll be blamed.
  • Another problem with telling her she’s beautiful is she just might get even more emo on you because she knows you’re just telling her to try and make her feel better and you don’t mean it.

Here is the proper solution, why does she look her worst? Did she fall in mud? Is it a bad bridesmaid’s dress? Is she in the hospital? Did her cat just die? Based on the reason for her looking bad depends on your reaction. None of which means layering a compliment. Better to ask her how she’s feeling and be supportive there then tell her she’s beautiful.

9) When you see her crying, just hold her and don’t say a word.

  • This is half true. When your girl is crying and you’re not sure how to handle it, go sit beside her and gently stroke her hair or touch her hand. If she wants you there, most likely she will move to hold you, give you some reassurance back, talk to you, or something productive. If she doesn’t want you, she’ll say “Not now” or gently move your hand. That’s fine, just tell her when she’s ready you guys can talk and go about your business.

10) When you see her walking, sneak up behind her and hug her waist from behind.

  • If this was done to me, you’d get a hit to the balls. So before you do something like this, make sure first that it’s your girl and not a random stranger and second that she would actually find this cute.

11) When she is scared, protect her.

  • I recommend a Hello Kitty nightlight.

12) When she steals your favorite shirt, let her keep it ans sleep in it for the night.

  • I highly doubt if you took something of hers, especially clothing, it would be called romantic or cute. Girls need to ask. If a guy doesn’t care, so be it. But I find this awkward.

13) When she doesn’t answer for a really long time, reassure her that everything is going to be fine.

  • Or that just means the call was dropped. Never make a promise that you can’t keep. All you can do is tell her your best options at the moment. No one ever knows if it’s going to be fine or not.

14) When she looks at you with doubt, back yourself up.

  • Or she can stand by you like you stand by her. Depending on what is being called to doubt and the context before hand, what’s the point? If you’re in a relationship with this person, you should be safe to express doubts with each other and communicate a plan to work with this.

15) When she says she likes you, she really does far more than you can understand.

  • Meh, no. And again no. Take her words for what they are. Do not assume. If you’re uncertain, just ask. There is no problems with that. And if there is a problem with that, then your relationship needs a communication overhaul.

16) When she tells you a secret, keep it safe and untold.

  • Unless it’s terrorist activities or something else that is pretty dangerous, then I thought this was a given?

17) When she misses you, she’s hurting inside.

  • This sounds like the girl this list keeps describing has dependency issues and major emotional insecurities. It’s okay to miss someone. But unless they are dead, it shouldn’t cause hurt or pain.

18) When you break her heart, the pain never really goes away.

  • Meh, I don’t like how people think that. You can heal from heartache. Men feel heartache too. But this fatalist attitude isn’t healthy and will hurt far more than it will help.

19) When she says it’s over, she still wants you.

  • No, no and again no. I don’t care if this is true. If you are not emotionally responsible to communicate what you need, maybe you shouldn’t be in a relationship.How are you supposed to trust men at their word if you don’t even say what you mean?

 

 

And what did we learn here? Communication is the key to building a great relationship. And if you are afraid of talking, well, you need to work on that, both as a couple and an individual. There are not ways around it. And if you or your partner has some sort of emotional or mental issue, then by all means work out a plan together so that both of you can support each other and build each other up.

And the first step to that? Throw out these silly lists and have some quality time!



{October 29, 2012}   in the beginning,

there seems to be a big trend in being a blogger, so i will try my hand at the madness and see what happens. unlike most bloggers, i will not pick a theme or a purpose to my blog. i hope to span the gambit with topics to cover simply because it suits me. i hope only that this leads to amusement, intrest, and possibly something intriguing as time goes on. 



et cetera