Monday, October 22, 2012


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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How to Get Yourself Out of Dumb Debt... I Hope

Confession: I am still a bit swamped in my dumb debt. I have not gotten myself out of it yet, but here I am, proclaiming to the world that I have been an idiot with my finances in the past (and present) and it is high time I gave myself a public shaming.

It would probably make sense if I first explained what I consider to be "dumb debt". I'll start by explaining what I consider to be debt that is (usually) reasonable (there are exceptions to every rule): student loans, car payments, medical bills, and your mortgage. Dumb debt is most everything else.

What Is My "Dumb Debt"?
For me, most of my dumb debt is still related to my early years of "independence" when I got my first credit cards and thought I could get away with paying for most everything with them, including occasional trips across the country with no real purpose. Other forms I've incurred are the "I thought I could afford to pay just that much more extra on this bill, but turns out I can't do math" debt that actually puts you further in the hole than you started. The shit that turns into a truly vicious circle.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Balancing Life and Work... Harder When You Actually Like Your Job!

Ignoring the fact that I even had a job!
I've never really had trouble separating my work and home lives. When I'm at work, I do my job... whatever it is... and when my hours are up or I'm off the clock, I just sort of forget about it all.

That's what I've done historically at least. But I think it's beginning to change, and there is a simple reason for it - I actually like my job now! When I head home after a day's work, I keep thinking about what I'm working on and sometimes even break out my laptop later in the day to continue my work. I'm writing, editing, and developing content (not to mention posting on and monitoring our Facebook page) for a living now. Not my dream job yet, but it's on the road!

(For those who are wondering, my ultimate dream job is to work as a full-time writer for That would be AMAZING. Just sayin'.)

The best part about it is that I am happy to keep thinking about work and doing my job beyond the typical 8 hours.

Ah! You see the paradox too, didn't you? If I like my job and am willing (and happy) to take my work home with me, how does my regular life fit into the equation?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I'm Back! (and) Am I a Jealous Lover? Discuss!

O! Hai thar!

I bet you thought I had left this blog to rot in its... not... being... uhm... posted in...ness.


BUT ALAS! You were fooled by my mere busy-ness with other aspects of life and blogging! To begin with, I've finally gotten Fun and FlirTea off the ground and begun posting there. This is where much of my writing time has disappeared to, so my personal blog has indeed fallen by the wayside for a brief time. Never fear, kind friends and readers! I am back and do intend to post with at least semi-regularity once more.

Other than the release of my tea blog, I have been quite busy in life and work as well! I've been spending more time with friends, going out dancing, attending an occasional concert, doing yoga more regularly, and... oh yeah. GETTING PROMOTED AT WORK! Success indeed!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here before or not, but I've been trying to get back into copywriting for quite a while and, after years of hard work and doing what I can in my company to get there... and suddenly I am! It took plenty of time and work, but I am the newest Copywriter (and Social Media Clerk) at Yay!

Naturally, to celebrate my new position, my body chose my first full week in the job to get stupidly sick with a gnarly cold! Fortunately, I am getting over it now, but I still have a dry throat and slight cough.

But enough of the updates! Part of what brought me back to this blog at this time is something I've been thinking about lately. Not long ago, I finally was able to establish a friendship with an old ex-boyfriend I had very little contact with over the past 3 years since our relationship ended. And this friendship is a real one, where we are comfortable around each other and can even make jokes about the years we were dating.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Things I Like

Today is Valentine's Day (shocker, I know). I can't say I have a lot of particularly strong emotions about it. I've had a grand total of 2 boyfriends on different V-Days, but it never really was one of those things I thought much about. I guess last year we went out for sushi at the last minute, but it wasn't a planned thing, so it was almost more of a regular "let's go out for sushi" sort of night than anything.

So, instead of waxing long about what V-Day means to me, I figured it would be more fun to write about things I like. Because when it comes down to it, V-Day is really just a day to celebrate someone you really care about. So why not make it a day to celebrate the things I care about instead?
  • Receiving actual letters in the mail
  • Sending things in the mail (part of this for me is that I get a sense of pride from it as well, since I'm a notorious procrastinator when sending things by post)
  • Working on projects that I legitimately care about
  • Travelling
  • Seeing friends and family that are far away
  • Watching ridiculous movies
  • Reading a good book that actively engages me
  • Watching thought-provoking movies
  • Discovering a new TV series that I turn out to like so much that I only watch it until I make it through all the existing episodes
  • A nice cup of tea
  • A nice gaiwan of tea (see what I did there?)
  • Travelling (yeah, this gets a double feature)
  • Enjoying a decent cigar with great company
  • A cold beer
  • A pint of cider in the local pub
  • Bulmers cider in the local pub
  • Going out dancing and just not caring what anyone thinks
  • Going out dancing and not having a single drop of alcohol, yet still not caring what anyone thinks
  • Sharing my personal interests with others
  • Teaching friends, family, and strangers about topics dear to my heart
  • Sleeping in (for me this means 8am)
  • Trying something new
  • Going on solo road trips
  • Exploring new places
  • Meeting new people
  • Indulging in a pint with good company at the end of a long day
  • That butterfly feeling you get in your stomach when you first begin to "crush" on someone and they're around
  • Completing a task I've been working on for a while
I'll leave it at this for now! But I definitely could go on listing things I like for a very long time!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Yowza! What a Family!

I'm pretty sure I've indicated as such in the past, but in case I haven't, I have a HUGE family. All added together, I have 8 brothers. Each of my parents came from families of 4 and 5 children, leading to a large number of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Plus, many of my cousins are married and having kids these days. 

I know some people who aren't particularly pleased with their families. Even through the first year or two of college, I always had extreme difficulty understanding people who would talk about how much they disliked their parents, siblings, etc. The way I was raised with the family I had, it just sort of blew my mind. And, in some ways, it still does!

I'm not going to pretend that I've always gotten on smashingly with my family. I grew up with 4 older brothers who would take time to torture their little sister from time to time. I went through my "disaffected youth" phase where I was semi-regularly at odds with each of my parents in turn. I was kind of a bitch to them on occasion and I still feel guilt over that some days. I'm also not going to pretend that they were perfect always. As any parent could tell you, it's a learning experience. You'll never be the perfect parent all the time, and you'll never do everything right in the eyes of your child (or other people, for that matter).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

In Which a Large Box of Tea Falls Into My Lap (Sorta)

I'm just so excited, I can't contain myself. As I've mentioned, my brother currently lives in China. Not long ago, he mentioned sending me a few samples of teas from one of the local tea shops he frequents in Wuhan. Expecting a small box, I was thrilled to find a large one handed to me at the Post Office when I went to pick it up.

I figured there was a good chance some of the box was sort of stuffed to prevent things from bumping around. But I was wrong! Every last inch was packed to the brim with tea (and a gorgeous set of tea cups)!

I unpacked it all on camera so I can send the video to Greg, so I won't necessarily get into the exact excitement as I opened each item. Besides, I'm pretty sure you can all get a good idea just from knowing me or reading my blog, oh... ever!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Holy Road Trip, Batman! (The Finale)

Now, for my final adventures on this 3 day road trip! I arrived in Las Vegas to visit with Laura. After much hugging and excitement, I let her know that I had done a little research into tea places in the Las Vegas area I wanted to check out. Happily for me, she was right on board with going on a tea adventure!

After some Google Mapping, we narrowed it down to 3 locations and determined the order in which to visit them. I grabbed my Garmin and away we went with Jessica, Laura's roommate. As we were on our way to the first location, I realized I had never named my Garmin, so we decided to call her Georgia. Georgia directed us and, all of a sudden, Laura yelled out, "A LAKE!" for we had, in fact, discovered a (man-made) lake in Las Vegas. It was in an area known as The Lakes, so it sort of made sense, but we were very excited! We found the address where the first tea shop was supposed to be and, instead, found an office. Yes, I know. Totally lame. But we did find a lake instead, so we called it a win.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Holy Road Trip, Batman! (Part 2)

One thing I failed to mention in the previous post is that, at the beginning of my 10 hour drive to Lake Havasu on Friday, I decided I would tackle another of my goals, 86. Drive patiently for a full day. If I drive impatiently at any point, I must start again the following day until I succeed. To say the least, this is not the simplest of tasks. I had only gotten 2 hours into my drive (just after I left the Apricot Tree Restaurant, actually) when I became impatient with another driver on the road and officially failed the day.

In any case, I eventually made it to Lake Havasu and met up with my dad and step mom for dinner at Chico's Tacos (which is pretty entertaining seeing as I just left Chico to head to Lake Havasu). The food reminded me in many ways of the Mexican food you can get a La Comida here in Chico. I spent some time catching up with them and discussing the fact that it was apparently the 2nd Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival in Lake Havasu that very weekend. I saw the last couple balloons landing as I drove into town (around sunset) and was looking forward to seeing them the following day.

From there, we went to the community theatre where my little brothers have been playing (see what I did there?) for the past few years. John (the older of the pair) was starring as Frederic in Pirates of Penzance Junior and Jake (the younger) was one of the pirates. To say the least, it was vastly entertaining to watch my little brother running around singing in tights and having 12 girls sing about how they like his butt and want to marry him. It was their opening night, so there was a hitch here and there, but the show was very fun and I enjoyed it quite a lot! Plus, my newest sister-in-law was directing, so naturally it was going to be solid.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Holy Road Trip, Batman! (Part 1)

This past weekend, I went on an epic, short, road trip. I left Thursday night and was home Sunday night. Every now and then, I just sort of get the bug to leave town. It's not a sort of situation where I'm "running" from anything, but I just like being out and about, visiting people, seeing new things. You get the drift. This desire has been niggling at me for the past few months, so I just sort of decided that I had to make it happen soon!

After discussion with the friends and family I was planning to visit, I realized I could get visits in with Christie and Laura (both are friends of mine from the Harry Potter and Wizard Rock scene) as well as finally get to see my little brother perform in a show (he played Frederic in Pirates of Penzance Junior). To top it off, I was able to knock off 3 of my goals in the planning (21. See Christie for a proper visit, 36. Visit Dad, Kim, and the boys, 83. Go for at least one road trip for the purpose of being on the road).

With as little time was dedicated to the trip, I ended up having a seriously awesome weekend filled with fun, excitement, and near-death (read: almost dangerous) driving experiences!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finding Mr. Darcy Didn't Work Out As Anticipated

I know I said my next post would be about my plans while I'm in the UK, but that will have to wait until next time. Right now I have something even more important to talk about - Mr. Darcy.

Oh yes! I'm referring to the glorious fictional hot piece of ass that is Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley. Before I get further into this, allow me to display a few samples of the modern actors who have portrayed Darcy and stolen so many modern hearts.
Colin Firth - See how nicely he glows here?
Eliot Cowan - Mmm...
Matthew Macfadyn doing Darcy justice!

Okay, I have a thing for Colin Firth and Eliot Cowan in wet shirts. The best part is that when Eliot Cowan's Darcy gets wet, it was 100% a reference to Colin Firth's wet shirt moments in the A&E mini-series that is one of the most watched versions of the Pride and Prejudice story. Mmm....

Ha! Sorry. Was drooling a little bit there.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Joy of Friends Falling in Love

Back in my high school years, I was a member of an online forum where I met some amazing and interesting people, two of whom have always stood out a little more than the rest (sorry, guys!). In addition to both of these individuals being considered close friends, what makes them so special to me is the courtship between them that I was able to witness from a separate continent entirely.

I used to have regular conversations via instant messenger with both Matthew and Esmee at different times. I remember once, within 24 hours of each other, I had a conversation with each in which they confided in me their feelings toward the other. Naturally, I wanted them to share with one another, which they ended up doing not long later. I got to hear about the first times they spoke on the phone, met in person, and when they got engaged. So these two have a special place in my heart after all of that!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Walking Around Naked Not the Best Part of Living Alone... Who Knew?

I have spent my entire life living with other people. I was born the youngest of 5, so always had my older siblings in addition to parents. When I went away for college, my first "roommate" was my grandma while I hunted for a job and alternative living situation.

The first house I moved into was with 3 other girls. I lived in that house with 4 occupants for a year and a half, then was in an apartment with 1 roommate (who had a boyfriend over regularly, so was more like 2 roommates), then in a house with 2 roommates, and two more places with a single roommate each. This made up the first 24 years of my life.

I have always had at least one roommate - most of the time I had more than one. I never wanted to buy anything too nice, because it would just be used and abused by my roommates, no matter how careful they were. Not to mention that, when we would separate ways, some of the items I had purchased or owned would inextricably be lost to the roommate for one reason or other (sometimes by accident, sometimes they would steal things, and other times they believed so fervently they owned the items that I just gave in rather than fight it out). In addition to the woes of losing property, I've even had roommates wreak havoc with my finances and, if you'll believe it, credit report. Those stories, however, are best kept close to home.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Personal Goals to

Just over a year ago, I wrote a post about a list of 101 things I wanted to accomplish in the following 365 days (this original list can be found here). The website for this was originally called, but has since been renamed I actually quite like the new name! In any case, I did not complete all 101 items, but did knock out exactly 51 of them. A number were also in progress and partially completed, but others were not at all.

Before continuing, I'd like to give you a little bit of insight into this project. Before the name change, the tagline for the site was, "Avoiding mediocrity one to-do list at a time", which I found brilliant. Jenn, the creator, has brought it into a slightly different realm. Instead of limiting users to lists of 101 exclusively, she allows you to set the length of your list and lock it at whatever size you desire. In Jenn's words, " harnesses the power of the social web to support personal growth. Its mission is to create a place where you can develop, track and share your goals over the course of the next 365 days and beyond by providing the tools, network and support you need to accomplish great things!" I loved the concept of 101 to-do items, so when I built my new list, I made sure to come up with that number once more.

In creating a new list, I had to take a hard look at my original list and think about why the items that were not completed were left in that state. Some of them were very simple and I should have been able to accomplish them in no time, for example, "98. Post reviews of books I've read on Goodreads". This maybe would have taken me an hour. I could have taken more time and posted even more than a few or reviews of the books already in my Goodreads account. But it would have taken little time. Unfortunately for me, I was lazy. And that sucks. Because I know I could have done this easily.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

In Which Dinah Talks About Her Cat While Mildly Inebriated

It has been quite some time since I imbibed a bit more than I should and made a public address during such an hour. I'm sure I've sent random texts, perhaps one to Twitter (on which I have fewer than 50 followers), so it hasn't been much of a ride. The last notable event I can recall was a particular YouTube video I made, what? 3 years ago? (Oh god, how time flies by!)

In any case, I think it shall be fun to once again indulge in the experience!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Moving Life into Hi-Def

In the not too distant past, there was no point in using the words "Standard Definition" to describe the quality of pretty much all televisions and the shows and movies we had available to watch on them. It was just the norm for us. We didn't realize what kinds of details were missed until the (now typical) HD options came out.

Most people can remember the first time they watched an old favorite in HD and realized what a difference it made. Suddenly, the trees and bushes had defined leaves, the outlines of the characters' faces were clear cut.

Today, I experienced, for the second time in my life, a transition from Standard Def to HD - I got my first ever pair of glasses!