On Budgeting

Happy September! Can you believe it? I keep hearing people say: “Where did the summer go?” When all I can think is, “Where has this entire YEAR gone?” I’m so looking forward to this month though. I have lots of family birthdays to celebrate, my sweet Danish family coming to visit, TWO brand new jobs starting (a full time position and an exciting work from home gig…more deets to come!), and ah…FALL! September might just be my favorite month.

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I opened joint checking and saving’s accounts. Eeeek! I joked before we walked in the bank that “This is it! No turning back!” He laughed…nervously (love you, my dear). But it’s really nothing to be afraid of! We’re celebrating three years together this month as well, (busy, busy month) and just decided it was time. We live together, so a lot of our bills are shared already. After discussing our options with my parents, they encouraged us to sign on the dotted line. We did, and feel great about the decision! 💸 💸 💸

I was pressured a bit by the man helping us to open a credit card with the bank. I firmly told him I wouldn’t be needing one. I have one credit card with a $500 limit, and that’s it. I can thank my mother for instilling good money management in me from a young age. However, I’m by no means perfect. I have always lived paycheck to paycheck, which is a cycle too many young people get comfortable with. I would argue that it’s really hard not to though…with student loans, car payments, rent, food, etc. etc. etc. on entry level salaries, it’s always something. But it comes down to priorities. Maybe you can “afford” to get a new pair of shoes, but not without maxing your budget (or whipping out your credit card). It’s my goal this fall to get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle, while remaining financially independent from my parents.

So say it with me now…MAKE. A. BUDGET. And I don’t mean just saying you have one. Write it down. Write down every single bill you owe each month, and what dates they are due. Then write down how much money you’re bringing in (accounting for tax deductions, insurance policies, etc.), and the dates the checks are deposited in your account (I like to underestimate that number so there’s a little cushion there). Add up all your bills and deduct that number from your monthly income. Then deduct how much you want to save each month from that remaining number. Whatever is left is what you have for all the ~fun stuff~. It might not be much, but I promise it feels better to know if an emergency happens, you’re covered. No need to call and cry to your parents, or anyone else, because you’ll be able to save your own A$$ (get it).

It seems like such a common sense thing…but I had never made a real budget before moving to New York and knew none of my friends had either. And man, it’s a game changer. You feel SO empowered knowing exactly where every penny is going. Make one. You won’t regret it.

Check out my friend over at Quarter Life Poetry, she illustrates the struggle hilariously and will make you smile!
Check out my friend over at Quarter Life Poetry, she illustrates the struggle hilariously and will make you smile!

My boyfriend and I are setting a specific amount that we’ll each deposit monthly in our joint savings, then our joint checking will be used for our bills, then we still have completely separate accounts that can be used for personal expenses (or gifts for each other without being caught!). Having multiple “pots” of money has made it easier for us to manage and budget. At our bank you can even go online and nickname your accounts so it’s easy to know what to put where. Purchasing a house is several years down the road for us, but it’s exciting to know we’re taking the right steps to be prepared for when that day comes. What once seemed impossible is looking a lot more manageable now!

Are you financially independent? Do you have any special tips or tricks to budgeting? Share in the comments! And for more advice (from someone who knows a LOT more than I do about this stuff) check out The Financial Diet. I have this site bookmarked and check it regularly for really informative articles.

Cheers! (but only buy wine if you can afford it),

E

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Hello Old Friend

What a year it has been. Whew. And it’s not over yet! So…I’m back in the South. I left New York and moved back to Asheville, NC, to live with my boyfriend again and I haven’t been this content in a really long time.

It’s funny that this time last year I was in the same place, but not the same place at all. I wasn’t settled. I needed to get away. So, I went- to New York EFFING city. All alone. And I did it for six months. Without a doubt, it was the biggest half-year of personal growth I’ve experienced in my life.

Before moving away I depended on my relationship for my happiness. And my sadness. My successes, my failures. My relationship was everything. And while I’m always going to be the co-dependent type in relationships (ahem, I’m a cancer after all), I’m more confident and independent than I’ve ever been. And I will always owe that to New York City.

People didn’t think I could do it. Hell, I didn’t really think I could do it. But I took a deep breath, jumped, AND I DID IT. There were tears. There were laughs. Late nights. Early mornings. Drunk rides on the subway. New friends. Old friends. I learned so much about myself…about life.

Coming back doesn’t mean I failed, or that New York “beat me” as New Yorkers love to say when people move on. Simply, I missed my people. So rather than staying and being miserable to prove some invisible point to myself or others…I left.

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I’ll look back on my months in New York City with a smile for the rest of my life. It was a moment in time that I had dreamed about for so long, and now it’s on my list of “did that” rather than “do that.” And I’m so damn proud.

I’m excited to be writing again in this city surrounded by so much love and inspiration (…I have a rekindled love of the color green #concretejungle). It might be the end of yet another chapter for me…but this is really just a new beginning. Look out.

Love,

E

Whatever Floats Your Boat

Hey y’all!

First of all, I’m so SORRY the blog hasn’t been as regular as it was before I moved to New York. Sometimes life gets in the way! Along that line, ~life~ has been on my mind lately…and how different it is for all of us. Specifically, mid-twentysomethings.

Being from the South, people are generally married pretty young. And having babies young. That’s what I always wanted. I dreamed of the white picket fence and the dog and the older son and younger daughter by the time I was 30. It’s all I knew.

But, things have changed…completely. I have a couple weddings I’m going home for this summer to watch people under 30 tie the knot in the “traditional” way. Which is amazing and beautiful and I wish them all the best. However…the idea of that in my own life right now honestly makes me want to run away and not come back. And I’m entitled to those feelings as much as they’re entitled to their wedding rings.

I had pretty strong views about the world before moving here, but they’ve certainly been heightened, and sometimes challenged, by the people I live with, the people I work with…the culture I’m completely surrounded by. Plenty of 30-year-olds in New York City are single and focused on themselves, maybe contemplating a marriage before 40. Maybe.

That is not to say those humans are “right” or that the humans at home are “right” and New Yorkers are wrong! We’re all allowed to live how we want to. That’s what’s so beautiful about being alive, right? You get to decide.

It’s OK to be 23 and questioning your sexuality. It’s OK to be 20 and a mother with a husband. It’s OK to be 40 and not want kids or a traditional marriage at all! It’s when people start to get judge-y or preachy about how their life is best and your life isn’t, that I have a problem.

We’re young. We don’t have it all figured out (despite those that project that as a facade). AND THAT’S OK. I’m embracing that uncertainty in my own life as best I can (it’s not easy) and I hope you can try, too. Don’t beat yourself up. And don’t think you have to try and be anything that you’re not.

Cheers to letting go of judgements and embracing your now. Wherever that is, it’s more than OK.

-E

On Being Present

Do you ever have one of those moments where you’re like… “I’m in my life. I’m LIVING this blank.” Admittedly, it happens to me most when I’m eating. Like, that’s apparently when I’m super ~present~. For example: “This pizza is the best pizza that I believe has ever entered my mouth. I am going to take a moment to appreciate it because it’s completely and truly magical.” Obviously that’s not anything I’ve ever thought though. Borrowed from a friend.

Or when eating Peruvian food in New Jersey with someone you love (highly recommend).

But, on a more serious note…sometimes it’s bigger. Sometimes there are moments where you look around and are like… “I’m living this. I created this life that’s all around me.” And, that’s pretty fucking cool.

Those moments have been hitting me lately, mixed with extreme doses of anxiety. Ahem:

“Like, wow, I’m living in New York (proud).”

And then, approximately 30 seconds later… “WOW I’M LIVING IN NEW YORK AND SOMETIMES IT’S LONELY AND IT’S WINDY AND I’VE BEEN DRINKING A LOT AND SOMETIMES I SMOKE TOO AND SOMETIMES I MISS MY MOM MORE THAN I CAN EVEN HANDLE AND I’M TIRED OF ONLY SEEING CEMENT AND I MISS YOGA BUT IT’S SO EXPENSIVE AND I WONDER WHERE I’LL BE WORKING IN A MONTH (anxiety).”

But, basically, ultimately, really…it’s so cool when you can take a step back and just be happy to be where you are. And maybe not even be happy about it…maybe just to even see it is what matters. Especially living in this extremely fast paced city, it’s so easy to never check in. I could probably hop on the subway and get to work on autopilot with my eyes closed at this point. Like, a robot.

But it’s New York! In the Spring! This is what dreams are made of (right?)!

So…I’m trying to be in the moment. I’m trying to stop and smell the roses (at the market…where they live…because there is no grass…) and I’m trying to be thankful for everything I’m learning. About life. About friendships. About love.

Everything isn’t easy. I would venture to say nothing is easy right now. But. I fucking moved to New York City in the dead of winter alone and I’m fucking still here and I’m fucking proud of myself. That single moment (and other great ones since) will always be mine. And sometimes, the internets.

“It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. Right? And this bag was just dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… I need to remember… Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.”

–Ricky Fitts, American Beauty

So, cheers to being present y’all- and seeing the beauty, wherever you may be.

–E

Rebirth

Last week was hard. It was like everything this city could do to test me, tested me. The subway, the MISERABLE weather, friends, work, homesickness, mentally unstable strangers on the street…everything was dramatic. I was stressed and tired and over it.

I had a conversation with one of my roomies about everything going on, and she said she “can see me being reborn in the spring.” Well, I think she just might be right.

I walked outside a bit ago (to get a bagel at my favorite place…heaven) and almost started singing in the streets. I DIDN’T NEED TO WEAR MY GLOVES! The sun was shining, and I was rejoicing. I am still rejoicing! I’ve decided today will finally be the first day I can safely go outside for a run. And the time changed today, so it will be light later too.

As many times as I feel beat up in this city, there are simple pleasures to outweigh the insanity- or at least try to balance it.

It happens at work too. I received the sweetest email from a BuzzFeed reader who saw that I had used one of her Instagram pictures in my post and it made all the energy that went into creating it so, so, SO worth it. I’m usually terrified to open emails from people outside the office, because often it’s threats to sue over something I’ve written (yep, that happened), or, more often, PR people wanting me to feature something in a post. To actually receive a genuine and supportive fan letter from a stranger almost made my heart burst. At the end of the day, if I can really touch one person with what I write, then I’m happy with the job I’ve done.

My boyfriend will be back to visit in 11 short days, I’m going to start an awesome work/study program at a yoga studio nearby, and I’ve got some exciting projects brewing at the office.

And as my stepdad reminded me, “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.”

I wouldn’t say I’ve made it yet…but things are only getting better.

Ps, Ansel Elgort stopping by made things a bit easier last week, too.

Ansel Elgort

One Month In The City

Y’all. I have been in this city for officially ONE MONTH today. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. I’ve been pretty homesick in moments, but it’s not as terrible as I was afraid it would be. I think mostly that’s because I’m more busy than I’ve ever been in my whole. entire. life.

The first three weeks at my job were such a whirlwind and there’s no sign of things slowing down. Here’s my super profesh headshot we all had taken on the first day, woo:

Frye,-Erin

Everyone I work with is super talented AND super hungry to get to the top. I’m not naturally a competitive person though, so that’s been an adjustment from the beginning. I realized pretty quickly that not only at BuzzFeed, but on the streets, on the subway, everywhere here…it’s eat or be eaten.

I’m exhausted. I’m cold. I’m jealous of literally anyone who gets to be around my boyfriend at home (like, even our dog), because I don’t get to be. Food is expensive. Rent is expensive. For every convenient thing, there’s something equally inconvenient. Work could be really great, but then the L train (the actual website I check daily to see if it’s going to be hell or not) is probably A. Messed up and not even running to my stop in Bushwick. B. So crowded you have to fight and shove your way on just to be smushed on all sides by strangers all trying to avert their eyes (or both). Something is always testing you.

Mostly though, more than anything on the list of complaints, I am so fully and completely thankful for where I am. Coming here was terrifying for so many reasons, but mostly because I was going to be alone, which I usually successfully avoid. I am the first to admit I enjoy being codependent. But, I chose to come here, and stay here, for myself. I’m being selfish. I’m doing this for my career, but equally, if not more, for wanting to grow as a person.

And I am.

I’m realizing more every day that this Southern stigma about northern/big city people being rude just isn’t true. I’ve had locals hold doors open for me, I’ve heard “excuse me” and “sorry” murmured plenty of times on the subways and in restaurants, and a stranger even yelled across a platform that he liked my jacket! A COMPLIMENT? IN NEW YORK? FROM A STRANGER? Say it ain’t so. Now, I know that there is crime and not everyone is inherently good. But, if you have your wits about you and look for the best in what’s around- I think usually you find it.

So, I’m happy. I get anxious still most days over something, and I get discouraged at work more than I would like. But everyday I’m getting smarter and stronger. I’m no longer treading water.

Cheers New York. Let’s see what you have for me in March.

Goodbye Asheville

Tonight is my last night in Asheville. I leave for my parents house tomorrow, then I’ll be headed to Brooklyn on Saturday.

WUT.

I’ve lived in Asheville for five and a half years. I moved here my 18th summer for college at UNC Asheville so wide eyed (AKA relatively innocent/clueless) and have learned so much about myself and others from that time till now.

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My very first day of college classes. Hahah….hahah. Also, please note this is a 2009 SELFIE with my digital camera.

In my years in Asheville:

I made friends.

I lost friends.

I dealt with mean girls. Ahem, you know who you are, and this song has never rang more true.“Some day I’ll be livin’ in a big ole’ city, and all you’re ever gonna be is mean.” XOXO.

 

I fell in love with the wrong guy.

I fell in love with the right guy.

I changed my college major a million times and finally landed on the right one.

I changed my hair a million times. (Read: and probably will a million more!)

I took my first yoga class, and was instantly hooked.

I got (a few more) tattoos. Sorry Mom.

Really, I grew up.

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And now I officially have tears in my eyes! Cheers, Asheville. It’s been one hell of a ride.

House of Colour

Y’ALL. I have the COOLEST thing to share today! Yesterday, my mom, my sister and I took a little road trip to Charlotte to each have a “Colour Analysis” done by a couple House of Colour consultants, an adorable mother/daughter team! I turned out to be a “Jewel/Sultry Winter,” my mom a “Dark Blue Autumn” and my sis a “Dark Blue Autumn Leaf.”

Have I thoroughly confused you yet? Let me back up.

Several weeks ago my mom told us she was planning a little girls trip because at the end of the month (two weeks from now!) my sis Casey will be off to study abroad in Spain, and I will be moving to Brooklyn! She told us we were going to “have our colors done.” Of course, we had no idea what that meant. Side note- neither did my friends. My BFF asked: “Are you dyeing your hair again? Wait, are you having your aura read?” No…not at all.

Essentially, it’s a service that tells you which shades you should wear, and which ones you should probably avoid. To be honest, I was skeptical. I can just wear whatever I want right? Well, you can…but don’t you want to look your BEST?

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We discovered that some colors make you look younger, while others bring out wrinkles and imperfections. Some give you a magical facelift, while others make you look tired and totally flat. Some make you look healthy and vibrant, and some, well, they make you look sick (read: I can’t wear yellow. EVER, EVER again…). This all has to do with the undertones of your skin, your eye color, and hair color.

House of Color

The process goes a little deeper to discover which shades in your spectrum are “double star” which are “single star,” two checks, or one. Then those are ranked at 100%, 75%, 50%, or 25%. Here my mom is shown in one of her green shades that was best as a jacket or vest, rather than an all over head-to-toe look. It received a 50% single star.

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Your makeup is matched mid-way through the session, after your season is revealed. Did I mention you have to show up with zero makeup on? Casey was less than thrilled about this aspect…I rarely wear makeup though so I didn’t really mind. But we walked out wearing LIPSTICK tailored to our undertones- mine cool and deep and my mom’s and Casey’s warm and bright. We all ended up leaving with colors we never thought we could pull off.

House of Color

Shades of white were another huge surprise to me in this process. White is white is white, right? Absolutely wrong. While my mom and Casey look best in ivory shades (shown above) I look hideous in ivory because it’s yellow based. I should wear stark bright white, think- the basic Hanes white tee. I never imagined that would look best…but it’s blue based and it makes my face bright and clear. And as our consultants mentioned, “your white” is important to know for that big day many women have in their lives…

House of Color

House of Color

House of Color

The final step in the consultation is having all of your double star 100%’s draped across you in their pretty glory! These are by no means the ONLY colors you can wear, but the ones that are really your best of the bunch. Think: important days at work, your birthday, a first date. Much to my relief, black is one of my double star colors (!!!!!!!!!).

There were many companies offering this same service in the US in the 1980’s, one of which my mom visited. Back then, it was all the rage. Why oh why is it no longer popular? It is the most informative session to invest in for your future purchases. I promise y’all, it will revolutionize the way you shop, and the way you get ready in the morning.

Wanna know more? Feel free to leave any questions in the comment section below. If I can’t answer it, I can refer you to one of our awesome consultants! And if you want to reach out to them directly to schedule your own session- email Maggie at maggie.ricardo@houseofcolour.com.

Ps, there are delicious snacks.

Have a colorful week! Muah!

Stop Complaining

Happy (belated) New Year! I didn’t make any concrete resolutions for the year, I’m just living by the rule that I always try to subscribe to- being the best me I can be.

Along that line, I choose to be positive. I get mad, sad, annoyed and jealous like any other human being…but I pride myself on being able to snap back from that. I have a 24 hour rule with myself that I can wallow in whatever is happening for a day. Call it a personal day- but then I come back to reality and just STOP COMPLAINING. Because really whatever it is, it probably isn’t that bad when put into perspective.

People are using social media as an outlet to complain:

They aren’t appreciated enough in their careers.

They aren’t appreciated enough by their partners.

Food is too expensive.

Gas is too expensive.

It’s too cold.

It’s too hot.

They had to wake up too early.

They overslept and are now late.

Shutup.

Really, just shutup. For starters, negativity breeds negativity. It brings others down, and it continually brings you down. No one wants to be friends/lovers/coworkers with someone who is always upset about something. Look outside, is the sun shining? Yes? Great!

So you have eyeballs that allow you to see, you have a window- which means you have shelter, and you see the sun, so you’re alive on this amazing planet.

See what I mean? Perspective is everything.

Do yourself and everyone around you a favor this year by putting your problems in perspective and stop complaining. There really is so much to be happy about.

Going For It

Hiiii my angels! December has been a total blur but I couldn’t start the new year without wrapping things up here (ahem, digital wrapping > gift wrapping).

If you’re connected with me on other social outlets you’ve probably heard…I’M MOVING TO NEW YORK CITY FOR A POSITION AT BUZZFEED!

 

This. Is. My. Dream.

I applied twice at the company, once for an editor position that I just wasn’t quite qualified for, and then for the Fellowship that I ultimately landed. I was highly recommended by one of the editors I had interviewed with to try for the Fellowship, and after debating it with a bruised ego from the first attempt- I applied. That single decision has changed the world as I know it.

I’ve been called “a writer” a few times since the news broke and I get the goofiest smile on my face and all the butterflies when I hear it. It’s a hard feeling to describe…really you just know it when it happens. The whole, this is what I’m on this earth to do feeling. Pretty cool.

But then in other moments, I’m freaking out. I have to find a place to live. I have to buy a massive winter coat. And boots. I have to find friends. I have to navigate the subway. I have to leave my boyfriend…

In short, I’m scared. But I’m more scared to stay.

I went on a hike with my step-dad this weekend, and not shockingly, he turned it into a life lesson. There were lots of different trails to choose from and he let me lead. When I hesitated on a direction, he said: “It’s your decision, I’ll be here to support you either way you go.” BAM, best dad award. If you’re lost in the woods and just sit still because you don’t know where you’re going…you’re never going to find your way out.

Really, the hike just reminded me to go for it. If it ends up being the wrong path, I’ll find a different one- or go back the way I came. But it’s better than sitting still and wondering which direction is right. I’m making this move with my whole heart.

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If you’ve just graduated recently and are wondering what the hell to do…all I can say is to jump in. It’s scary. And not everyone says yes (read: I was FIRED more than once this year. Fired!!!). But with persistence and passion, you’ll figure it out. And you’ll eventually get a yes! Remember, it’s much scarier to just sit in the woods and not do anything. Go for it!

What’s on your agenda for 2015?

Muah!