After sharing my word of the year for 2023 I’ve been doing more thinking. I’ve been jotting down notes and things to look at. While on a walk the other day it hit me that my Amazon subscription is coming due. Sure enough, it renews in February. Will I renew it?
Going back over my last few months of credit card statements, it’s full of Amazon purchases and returns. Looking over my wish lists I started asking if this item will bring me any added value or joy? If not it’s okay to stay there for now.
I use my credit card instead of my debit card for the sheer fact that returns can take days to process. Also, using my credit card was just easier. Sometimes that doesn’t feel like real money until you see the total for the month.
My Target purchases link to my debit card, and those are felt immediately. Amazon is not.
So, do I switch to my debit card? Do I cancel Amazon?
No and Yes.
Yes, it’s time to cancel Amazon. They changed the Amazon Music platform and it’s no longer enjoyable for me. Most of the additional things with a Prime Membership are not something I want to use. Plus, it’s just too easy to swipe and order.
I have Target and their shopping and brands have expanded over the last couple of years. Plus, I like their customer service so much better.
Will I still shop on Amazon…likely for some things, but I can pay to ship when necessary.
With Amazon out…what is in?
Libby – the app that connects to my library for audiobooks
Pinterest – it’s nice to help plan and dream.
Pinterest for me is about ideas, recipes, and design. It’s stimulating but doesn’t create FOMO. Everything on there is curated, hell I curate my pins on there. Like Instagram, we only see the positive. This platform feels differently for me. It’s a search engine, not social media.
Having a calendar printed out for accountability has helped. I can see how many days I’ve gone not purchasing anything that isn’t essential. I’m working to define what exactly is essential still.
Porter is doing soccer this spring and it’s his only sport. Some could argue it’s not essential, but in this house it is. He needs to be a part of an activity.
Most days have been easy to not spend anything. The weekends are really hard. It’s important to remind myself why I started this challenge, to break habits. So, even if I do spend, it’s okay. The goal is to get me to pause and think about it. It’s working.
I do still want to live my life and have fun. Maybe I don’t spend $40 for an activity. Instead, I opt for something cheaper.
We are a few days into 2023 and I’ve put my updated goals into place. I tend to have a focus for the year, not a resolution or a set goal.
For 2022 I focused on growing my savings and having a comfortable emergency savings account if needed. That was achieved. As I turned my focus to 2023 I started thinking about how can I build upon what I just worked on.
My word for 2023 is Content. Not making more content, but being happy with where I am and what I have.
Let me go back a couple of years and give some backstory.
In 2018 I got divorced and started really digging into my finances. Well, I had to in order to make everything work. I realized that money was tight but things were manageable. It was challenging to be in my mid 30’s and have $20 a week to spend on extras.
That felt like my college budget and it was not fun then. Watching my friends that were thriving, live their best lives sucked most days. I had some serious FOMO and was jealous.
Getting divorced makes you reprioritize things and assess what is more important. I spent most of 2019 figuring out if something was truly important, a want, a need, or just a trend I wanted to be a part of. Doing the work is no fun when you’re in the moment, but is gratifying later.
Early 2020 hits and we start hearing about Covid happening on the other side of the globe. As it hit the US and closed us down, I was actually ready. My work was already remote, using video platforms to connect with customers, and I had already prioritized what I really needed in my budget.
While others were struggling to adjust during that time, not much changed for me except for the kids being home all the time. Chick (my Plott Hound) and I were no longer ladies of leisure during the day. We snuggled while I worked. There was constant noise and disruptions. I digress.
I decided it was time to sell my house and start fresh. It sold quickly and left me in a good spot financially. I purchased my current home later that year while interest rates were LOW. The house has everything we had on our wishlist:
Cul de sac
We have been in this house for over 2 years and I’m still in love with it. There are some changes I want to work on this year, but they are aligned with my goals.
I took a new role with a startup a few months after moving. The decision to leave the job I had grown so much with was challenging. Looking back, it was the correct career move for me.
This new job allowed me to focus on savings in 2022.
New job, new house, and a blended family…things are so much different from where they were in 2018.
Change of Habits
With all of these changes, it’s encouraged me to pause and look at my habits. This started in 2016 when I gave myself a $100 Fabric Budget for the entire year. Since then I’m not as in a hurry to buy fabric and try to utilize what is in my stash. I love looking at all the new lines that come out and what trends are happening. Temptations get the best of me sometimes, but for the most part, my habits haven’t changed much after that exercise.
When I only had $20 per week to spend, it really made me look at what I could/should spend my money on. As I noted above this was hard and made me envious of what others were doing. However, it helped me realize they were not in my situation. To help I curated my social media to focus on things that brought me joy and removed those that fueled any envy.
Towards the end of 2022, it became apparent that impulse buys were becoming a challenge. Since I can spend more than $20 per week now, I have been. But why?
Has that instant gratification been worth it?
If I’m being honest…NOPE.
Goal for 2023 – Content
I can point to the moment in 2022 that set the course to work on being content in 2023. My husband and I both had the day off work. I had been pining over a blacked-out Range Rover. We went to test drive one and learn more. LOVED the car, but hated the financial side of it. It really put some numbers into perspective.
Is it paid off and has affordable maintenance? Yes
A Range Rover or a new car has been realistically moved into my LONG term goals. I can still appreciate what I enjoy about this car and not have the price tag hanging over me.
It’s time to look at what I already have. Enjoy it and try to not just add to it. I truly want to enjoy my home, my family, and not feel the pressure to keep getting more. It’s not a healthy place for me.
It’s hard when we have so many apps easily on our phones. With just a swipe you’ve placed an order and items can be here within hours.
Here are my actionable items to encourage me to be content with what I have:
Track my spending. I’m looking at days I didn’t spend money on non-essentials
Before buying, check what options I may have other options here at home (looking at you fabric stash)
Add items to my cart and wait 24-48 hours before completing checkout
Not reading sale emails from companies
Clean out my social media to those that inspire me (I try to keep this really curated)
Over the next few months, I plan to read more, get in more exercise, play in my studio, and enjoy time with my family. This puts the focus on what I have, where I am, and who I am instead of what could be.
Let’s circle back to who I am. As I was listening to The Financial Diet’s video on Being Radically Content, the speaker mentioned this.
Go and listen to this episode. Pay careful attention around the 12:33 mark. Chelsea notes that she has accepted no one can have it all and that the aspirational lifestyle is fake. You have to pick.
Jamie’s response really hit home.
My actions are for me. I’m sharing to help keep me accountable and tell my story. There is no shame if you and I are not on the same path.
With craft shows and businesses hosting events I have found some wonderful candle companies local to Indy. I have found three locally made candles that you have to try. We enjoy candles at this house.
These live in my home or have been given as gifts. Rave reviews all around.
Night Lights Company
Night Lights Company offers hand-poured candles designed with luxury in mind. The display she had at a local show was perfect for experiencing the smells of her candles. Chelsea covers her candles with a glass lid. It was not overwhelming when you lift the lid and you can have a pleasant smelling experience.
If you’re unsure which scent to select, a Discovery Scent collection is offered. Four 2-ounce samples are included in the set. If you’re opting for the gift set they can select their favorite scent and get a full-sized candle at no extra cost. This is a wonderfully innovative idea if you’re unsure.
I’m excited about the Holiday/Winter collection being back in stock so I can enjoy the Merry & Bright. The scent captures my favorite smells from winter. Honestly, I’ve kept the candle and frequently get wafts of my favorite scent even with just a tiny bit of wax in the jar.
Friends and family will probably get one of these in their stockings this year.
During an event at the nearby Indy Beauty Room, they had sample candles from Sage & Bloom. I brought home my Peony & Nectarine candle and instantly fell in love with the scent. Then, I started following them on Instagram. The aesthetic and overall look was lovely. I was hooked on this brand.
They have introduced an Artisan Candle Collection that includes a colorful floral wrap. I’m going to be adding one to my candle collection very soon.
After our wedding, we wanted a gift for those that were a part of our day. We had not found the perfect thing for our parents during our honeymoon. However, I did find a concrete Bigfoot my dad would have enjoyed.
I reached out about making custom labels. For my maid of honor, it was named Chokehold & Veil. That’s another story. For our parents, Love & Support. They got the Pink Pepper & Vetiver scent pictured above. Everyone has raved about this candle and loves it.
This exact candle is currently in my bathroom and I love the scent. It’s fresh and fruity. I met this brand, MDK Handcrafted, at one of the few vendor shows I’ve been to recently. Did you know they just launched their candles this year?
They offer a variety of bath products and I also bought a sugar scrub. The summer is coming, my skin needs some love. If your skin needs some love, be sure to check out their line of bath products. They use simple, natural ingredients in their products.
What truly drew me to this company was their packaging. The color palette, logo and their labeling was amazing. I even asked about it, that’s how much I loved it. Those little details always draw me in. Then, I learned this is a husband and wife team working together to build a business.
Happy Earth Day Sunshines. Are you thinking about your impact today? I am reflecting on how my hobby can full consumerism and waste. However, it does have to be with the right resources and knowledge.
Saving your scrap fabric and using those scraps for an upcoming project can give new life to your fabric. The key to scraps is storage. There is no right or wrong way to store your scraps. Find the method that works the best for you and encourages you to use scraps.
If you don’t want to keep your scraps, you can always sell them. Lots of quilters shop #thegreatfabricdestash on Instagram.
I make a number of scrap quilts so I keep scraps organized by size so I can quickly make pulls and sort fabric choices. If I’m ever stuck I check my Pinterest board for ideas.
Look for a number of new scrap quilts coming soon.
It finally feels like spring in Indianapolis. We did have freak snow on Monday, but I hope that is all past us know. Time to spend as many hours as possible outside.
We spent time with our families this weekend and it was amazing. It was a great reset after so long months at work and busy schedules that are coming our way. Hello, baseball and soccer mom duty.
There was a game of Uno that lasted at least 45 minutes with no winner. I got to thinking about the games I played as a kid. Tetris, Uno, and Yahtzee were my main go-to games. No wonder I’m a Project Manager.
In Tetris, you have to make everything fit especially as the game speeds up. With Uno, you have to be focused on what’s happening in the game so you know how your play will impact the next person. Yahtzee is all strategy on what’s your best bet for that hand. Thanks Mom & Dad.
I’m looking forward to more family time with the nice weather and being outside. It is the best reset button.
Hello Sunshines. Is it starting to feel like Spring near you? It is finally feeling spring-like in Indy. Weather today is sunny with low 60’s temperatures. Perfection.
Good thing as both boys are starting spring sports. Bring on the soccer and baseball games. Our schedule will be full.
Last week was brutal. Everyone was sick at this house and we are just kicking it. So many tissues were used to combat the runny noses and watery eyes. I’m glad we are healthier and back on track. They only thing I was enjoying last week was naps.
You Can’t Be Serious
I’m not the best at sitting down to read a book and it’s never been my style. Now, an audiobook I get behind. Especially with a great narrator. On a recent autobiography kick I came across Kel Penn’s book. You Can’t Be Serious walks you through is childhood, college days, breaking into Hollywood, his political work, and ever so briefly touches on his dating life.
How are we still treating people like he was in the 2000’s? Luckily he notes, it’s gotten better and newer generations are benefiting from his work.
What I enjoyed the most was Kel recounting his work with the Obama campaign and his time in the White House. He talks about election night and all the emotions he felt when Obama won. As someone who’s a sucker for sentimental moments, I got teary-eyed listening to it. No, it wasn’t me being sick, but I recall that night so well. It was historic and glad I was able to witness it.
Grab a copy or listen. It would be a great easy read for a pool or beach.
We used to have these wonderful craft upcycling stores in Indy. I loved to go in and grab something especially if I didn’t want to go all in as a hobby. I just wanted to dabble. Also great if I was looking for a unique fabric or trim and I wanted to keep costs low. This is where I went for homemade holiday decor too. I could get everything I needed at a fraction of the big store costs. Porter’s Slimer costume was all sourced from one of these stores.
They have unfortunately closed their doors.
Enter TikTok. I’m on there and have found some really great creators I had not found on Instagram. Enter Lexi. She is a creator that was sharing an entire series on buying fabric second hand online. She mentioned Swason Fabrics and I went to check it out.
This week you can read more about Swanson Fabrics on the Craft Alliance site. Yeah for second-hand options, yeah for online options, and yeah for promoting this.
Quiet on Social Media
I have intentionally taken a step back from posting as much on Social Media. It has been a nice break to not feel pressure to create. Instead, I have been quietly working away on a few things. Look for a quilt show soon as there is a stack slowly forming in my studio.
There have been so many conversations around comparing yourself to others or that FOMO feeling from social media. My Instagram following is curated around creators in sewing, quilting, DIY, and those that inspire me. I want it to be a fun experience if I take the time to get on there.
At one point I thought I would pursue being a creator more and in all transparency, I just don’t think it’s my thing. I love sharing the behind the scenes of a project. I love talking about a project, but I don’t love that inner feeling that comes from feeling like I HAVE to.
I make and create because I love to and want to. I share because I think it’s good for people to see that not just old ladies make quilts.
That’s mostly why I started this series on the blog. Sharing what I found this week, what I’m loving, and maybe something that inspires me in hopes that it can inspire others.
Hello Sunshines. The last month has been head down on work and taken a lot of time away from the things I typically enjoy. That’s the ebbs and flows of being at a startup.
It is no secret that I love supporting small businesses. One thing really irks me about others when they see a small business making something and/or their pricing.
“I can make that for less” or “I can buy it for less at X store”
Go right on ahead. Will the item be unique? Do you have all of the supplies to make this and make it well? Or will it end in disaster and supplies just crowding a closet? Are you really gonna make it? Would it really be “cheaper”?
Not everyone appreciates a small business and just want the best price. That’s okay. BUT…keep the comment to yourself! That vendor is gonna hear it tons of times that day. You should praise their work, putting themselves out there, and the artristy they have.
We are not ready for a dog yet. We recently dog sat for my in laws. It was wonderful having a dog in the house. It’s a long term commitment I’m not ready for yet.
Lulu was fun. She loved sleeping on Porter’s bed. She could see everything happening in the neighborhood.
So, we will continue to be a family without a dog.
We are ready for Spring
We woke up on Saturday to snow. What in the world? Our family is ready for the warm weather that spring brings to Indiana.
Warmer weather means flowers to me. My mom gave us a ton of seeds in 2020 for a flower garden. With the moves we opted not to plant them. On one of the nice days recently we freshened up the little garden bed out front. All of those seeds were dumped into this bed.
Let’s see what grows.
We may get nothing or this could bloom into something wonderful. Now we wait.