29 January 2014

Cozy Grocers

Recently I came across an article that spoke about the coziest cities in the USA.  I was flabbergasted that they were also some of the most expensive cities to live in.  I don't know but to me cozy also means affordable.  What's the point of having a friendly grocer if I can't afford their groceries?  The article was from the HUFFPOST (click here for the article).  Mind you they are beautiful and have an aura of bygone times but I don't think many Americans could afford to live there.  For example in Santa Fe, NM a house that's about 1600 sq ft would be in the $200K range and it would not be in great condition if old and would be more than that number if it were new.  Raise your hand if you could afford to live in the DC area.  No?  Perhaps in Boston?  No?  I know!  San Francisco!

Yeah.  No.  Doubt if 90% of Americans could afford to live in any of those cities.  Mind you there are cities on the list that seem livable - cost wise.  There is also the fact that most jobs would provide a pay increase when living there but I would say that it's not a step up.  Considering that many college graduates can't find work or have to move back home at the moment, how cozy can these cities truly be?  Friendly postman?  Yeah would be nice, but I'll take my less expensive housing and groceries over a friendly grocer any day.

 See because you have to be this:

To get this:
Because if you are this:
Or this:
This is what you get:
I'm just kidding you can't live there!  At least not on your measly white/blue collar salary!  Oh that made me laugh!
I'm not hating on California, same is happening to cities in Texas.  Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio have all seen a spike in the cost of living even though they now offer more activities and "culture".  In Texas, culture can mean different things from the rest of the world but we like it.  However, Texas cannot boast of a higher income despite the increase in cost of living.  The same can be said of NM, they have an extremely high cost of living but they also have some of the lowest wages in the country.  When I say that the cost of living is high, I don't mean taking awesome jetsetting vacations or chilling by the pool with some Dom, no I mean paying your rent, buying groceries, paying utilities, transportation, buying clothing, and maybe squeezing in a fast food dinner or a movie.  Quite honestly for some families fast food is sometimes equivalent to having a nice dinner out.  So yes I would like to live some where cozy but if I have to sacrifice a necessity, I'll pass.  Do I dislike those who can afford to live somewhere cozy?  No.  I have what I have and I am grateful for what I have.  That said I don't appreciate being told I don't live somewhere cozy just because you prefer your grocer to know your name.

12 January 2014

Work Ahead

I already wished everyone a new year, we've all gone through the "I hope this is your best year!" dance and now it's time to leave that behind and really work on the year.  Well wishing done.  Work to begin!

How to start 2014?  I think this needs a list, not numbered because that could mean that each goal would have more weight than others and I don't want to start the year by stressing on deadlines.

  • Less me-shaming.  Some of you know what I'm talking about, others will not.  Also known as fat-shaming.  Kellog's Special K website has an awesome video illustrating what fat-shaming is and how it's done when we do it ourselves.  A little ironic, many blogs, websites, media outlets, called Special K out on that but it doesn't make it any less true.  Thus, no more calling myself fat, comparing myself to friends/strangers, reading magazines that glorify thin over healthy, no more shame over an unrealistic image of what a woman should look like because I do not fit that image, and am not likely to.  Less me-shaming.
  • Giving the whole part-time vegetarian thing another go because lets face it eating pasta with veggies is not totally vegetarian.  I need to try actual vegetarian meals that don't have pasta in it, love pasta but there is a limit to the amount of carbs I should be eating.  This by no means entails me giving up cheese, might as well kill me if I had to give up cheese.  However, I will try more vegan recipes from the book I got 2 years ago, I tried 1 recipe when I received said book.  This year I will try 1 recipe per month - at least!  This is only part-time because I love meat, so yeah part-time only.
  • This year I am actually paying for the gym membership at work.  It is the gym that is associated with the university and I'll have to wade through young 20-somethings who are there for reasons other than exercise but that's where the less me-shaming is needed.  Remember no more comparing myself to others because I am not 20-anything anymore, I am just me.  Just exercise and the aforementioned diet changes.
  • Re-start the whole budgeting process again.  In 2012, I was extremely good about keeping a budget, watching where my money was going but last year that went down the drain.  I just stopped.  I always said to myself, "I'm busy!  Who has the time?!"  No more, back to basics!  Definitely going back to the budget, it was so helpful!
  • More gardening, less TV.  More reading, less TV.  More family time, less TV.  More knitting/crochet, less TV.  The point is LESS TV.  I have been watching several series for a long time and they take up a lot of time.  I didn't realize how much TV I was watching until I did a survey that asked me how much TV I was watching every week, the tally was not pretty.  Less TV.
  • Simplifying my life.  I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by the things in my life and sometimes the activities in my life.  This year I want to simplify that and feel a little more relaxed.  First I need to purge my home of things that I don't need.  Like the skirts from years ago that don't fit but I keep because every year I"m going to lose the weight and fit back into them.  Hasn't happened yet and I don't know that I'll ever be that small again, so moving on.  Goodwill will be receiving a lot of things this year, especially because all of that clothing is still in pretty good shape.  When or even if I lose the weight, I think new clothing would be better than hoarding things I don't use or need.  Shoes not included.  Simplify.
These are the things I want to concentrate on in 2014, if I did 2 of the things listed above I think 2014 will be a great year.