Willow

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I enjoy keeping track of this stuff and it just seems natural to me to get an idea of what I need when I am going to do something. This can be simple, but when it is more complicated I tend to make lists. Lists are a lifesaver and a great way to keep track.

They also give you an idea of where you can make adjustments.

My friend and her husband have two children, for reference my family is the same size and age.

When we go shopping things look very different.

I make a plan for the meals for the week. I know what I need to buy and how much things will cost. My friend will just wonder the store and throw things in her cart. She usually has to go shopping more than once a week because she hasn't bougt everything she needs to prepare the meals.

For example, I sit down every Sunday evening and make a rundown of what I will need. Shopping is done on Saturday so I have a whole week to adjust or add to the list. Her grocery bill is easily $400 or more a week.

Mine, well take a look for yourself, this week I will be making:

  1. Pizza, veggies & dip: $1.94/person
  2. Hamburger night (half veggie burgers) & veggie cheese stuffed potatoes: $2.42/person
  3. Tacos & burritos: $1.75/person
  4. Curried chickpeas, coconut-spinach dal, naan & hummus: $1.07/person
  5. Pork chops, mashed potatoes, peas & carrots: $2.10/person
  6. Vegetable and Lasagne and garlic bread: $2.44/person
  7. Sunday dinner, roast beef, yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes & mixed veggies: $2.43/person

Dinner will cost us less than $60 for the week. These are all wholesome home cooked meals. I am not pinching pennies. In fact I try to get higher quality bio veggies and the works. So many people want to save on everything possible there's a point where your quality of life starts to go down so you can have money for when your old.

My friend tells me that I am frugal. Well, I don't spend $150 a week on drinks. The biggest budget breaker I have found is drinks, milk, oj, really anything other than water easily costs $0.50-$1.00 per 16oz glass (technically 2 servings).

People need to realize that being frugal isn't just about saving money. It's also about how much value you can add if you're willing to make an effort and plan well. For me adding a lot of expensive drinks is not adding value. And my family is a big cranberry juice fan and I can get two gallon containers for a reasonable price.

Willow

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I do a five-week meal plan for our dinners, and prep our lunches for Monday - Thursday on Sunday.

In the beginning our slow cooker was a life saver! On days I knew we were going to be out all day, I threw something together in the crock pot.

Since then I have evolved and now my meals are planned out ahead of time.

Now the way I do the meal plan is pick seven meals, then draw up a rotation list of four meals per week (the other three are leftovers, restaurant, or throw something together on a whim).

Each meal is only repeated three times, so you're not having exactly the same thing week after week.

Figure out what you can do ahead (mix chicken and marinade ingredients together and freeze, make huge batch of pork taco filling in the crockpot and freeze in smaller packets) and which ingredients will stay good the whole month. Calculate out your shopping list for all the things you can buy ahead of time.

Shopping and prepping are a huge day, but a lot of your prep is done! Then week to week, all you have to do is purchase your fresh ingredients and get things out of the freezer.

I got started with a book called "A New Way To Dinner".

It teaches you that with a little prep on the weekend there is minimal cooking during the week - just combine ingredients.

They feel like fancy/sophisticated recipes but they are easy to throw together (e.g., cook pasta, stir in the tomatoes you roasted on Sunday and corn and basil and you've got "Penne Pasta with Blistered tomatoes and corn".

My daughters love it.

Willow

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I tend to use lots of checklists and todo lists to a make sure things get done, and offload having to think about, and worry about them constantly.

Which lets me get straight to work.

Recently I've been just having coffee first thing in the morning and then making breakfast later or going out.

Yet, for me personally I try not to fall into a routine, otherwise I'll expect it and rely on it too much. Like if I always make coffee every morning, then I suddenly run out, or am too busy, I feel kinda shitty for the rest of the day. For me, every morning is a little bit different, mostly depending on how late I was working last night, who's still at home when I wake, where I wake, etc.

I know I'll use any little interruption as an excuse to procrastinate so I have worked out a routine. It goes like this: I start my morning with meditation, the doing some exercises, breakfast while listening audio book, after breakfast and then I will start working.

  • Set an alarm for 9:40pm. This alarm is a "heads up -- it's getting close to bedtime" alarm. I've got 10 minutes to finish up my digital activities. Then brush teeth and prep for bed. Looking at a screen right before bed contributes to insomnia, so I spend the next 15 minutes reading a book. Not a kindle... an actual book. Also on my laptop I've got f.lux installed, so the screen temperature matches the time of day (apparently helps with sleep transition as well).
  • Lights out at 10:15pm
  • Alarm wakes me up at 5:50am. I snooze for 5 minutes, using those 5 minutes to let the morning light wake me up gently, sitting up to let blood flow from my head.
  • Meditate for 15 minutes. Skipping morning meditation is like a surgeon skipping his hand-washing before surgery: he's likely to infect the next person he touches.
  • 10 minutes of core and aerobic exercises, to music.
  • Grab a protein shake and breakfast quinoa I made the night before. Munch and shower.
  • I prioritize my day in Workflowy: what are the most valuable tasks I can get done today? Usually small effort / big impact tasks top the list. Stretch goals? What's on my todo-list but I'm NOT gonna get to today? Call that stuff out.
Willow

I know people that don't eat breakfast. It just isn't that important to them. BUT it is the best way to jump start your body. Even when I was less healthy, didn't care, and wasn't taking care of myself (I'm a former smoker) I would smoke my first after breakfast, it was always breakfast and a cup of tea before having a cigarette. If I didn't then I'd usually feel a little light headed.

Now I believe in taking care of myself, and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine.

Some people I know will just throw in a protine shake and call it finished. Real food sources are always better than supplements, so if you can eat a good breakfast, I would do that over drinking a shake. Because it does more than add an energy source, it provides you will a lot of different benefits. And natural food sources are almost always better than artificial ones.

My morning routine also includes personal care.

In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I'll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now.

After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, I use a water activated gel cleanser. Then a honey almond body scrub. And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then apply an herb mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine.

Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion.

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Willow

I looked at some wedding trends for 2017, it is sort of a hobby of mine, but I am also in the process of helping organize a bridal shower so it is also research. Should I have been surprised when Vogue criticized a rustic trends? I mean I guess if you live in NYC then you are too good for it, but there way of shunning it was totally uncalled for.

Please read the article. I feel like I am being too critical, but at the same time Vogue sounds like they're taking a picking on anyone using the boho/rustic aesthetic. This mentally t sort of reminds me of that episode of "Say Yes to the Dress." The show is mostly cute and funny and sometimes touching. But it really does remind me of the way Randy reacted when the bride wanted to wear wedge sneakers. Who cares it is her wedding.

I did the same thing. It's not so much a fashion statement as it was about comfortable. My dress was long enough that nobody saw them and I do NOT wear heels, ever. I wear flats almost everywhere. Both in private and professional so the fact that I wore anything was a miracle. I almost just said the heck with it and bought these but my future husband wanted me in "heels!"

Everybody has a different taste and that it was I find the Vogue article was, too harsh. If you don't agree, don't, but there is no reason to be so cruel. I think what bothered me the most is that it made me really sad actually. They reminded me of the girls in school.

My sister is having a food truck (along with a catered buffet), a flower crown and whatever else she feels like. And I doubt her barn wedding is original (I know it's not) but she wants the "rustic romantic" look, who cares that it is the current fad right now. She holds a degree in equine science. And the plan of getting married at a barn makes sense to her.

And you would just have something like that sold to you if you had a wedding planner. Sure they would doll it all up. Make it sound original, but they would just sell you the same thing that they have sold to other people. Another things is that I felt that the people quoted were party planners for the rich and beautiful.

So what if it is the "it" wedding right now.

People will say things like "you don't want to look dated in your photos."

But your photos capture a point in time. When you look back at them they will look dated, because they are, and that's ok!

Willow

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So does your pool of friends.

In college I never had a problem with too few friends. In fact it was the opposite for me. I hd too many friends and not enough time.

Well the time thing is still there, but the friends have become fewer. One thing that made a big difference was that the bulk of my friends were in my same program.

So I would hang out with them to do homework and study.

Maybe not the most exciting thing, but doing homework with your friends is an easy way to spend time together. I didn’t see the friends outside of my major quite as much, but would usually find time to go out with them on weekends. I essentially just lived on campus. I would get to campus around 7 in the morning and bring all my crap with me for the day. I’d dump it in a locker at the gym and do class, work, and the gym all day, then go home sometime between 5 pm and 2 am, depending on the day.

If you can, get a job on campus. This makes things so much easier. And it is better than commuting to a crappy job. You only have so much energy.

I'm not going to have time, energy, or desire for everything in my life all the time. The first step was to accept that.

There will not always be a balance. What helped me the most was to plan and schedule absolutely everything, schedule time to nap, grocery shop, etc.

One of my college friends told me once that being an adult, it's just too hard. "How do people do it," she asked me. Trust me, college is the easy part. Life is much harder, and you don't graduate to life until after you get your diploma.