The Emerald Girl

The Emerald Girl

casual. classic. curious.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

About Saving Money

It's recently come to my attention that I need to be saving for known future expenses.

This humors me and here's why: in my family I'm the money kid. The one who was always finding ways to make money, count money and save money. It's an interest of mine I would say; money is.

I digress. It has recently come to my attention that I need to be saving money for known future expenses.

Known future expenses include things like auto insurance, vacations, season tickets to sporting events, auto expenses, medical/dental procedures etc. While auto insurance can be paid in monthly payments throughout the year, you can usually save a few bucks by paying in one or two lump sums. So right now I'm putting X amount of dollars into a separate "Auto" savings account. In this account I'm also putting X more dollars into this account for the future cost of car maintenance and the eventual buying of a new car. Cars require maintenance, this I know, so it makes sense to put some money aside so that when my auto maintenance minder turns on I don't have to make a big "unexpected" payment. I can go about my usual business and keep spending my discretionary funds on what I want instead of an oil change or new tires. Someone reading this is thinking 'duh!' among other things but this idea was ground breaking for me.

The same is true for vacations. It has been Matt and I's habit to use Christmas bonuses and tax returns to fund our annual SoCal trip. This year we'll be better able to enjoy that bonus because every month we set aside X dollars into a savings account called "Vacation - Entertainment". Mind blowing, I know. This account is also used for season tickets to the Sounders. And in the hypothetical future, could be used for expensive furniture or tech items. (Or really whatever I want because I make up the rules).

I have four savings accounts right now. Each with a different name. Every time I log on to my bank, I can see exactly where my money is at and where it's going as opposed to having a single savings account with no real meaning. There's a save to save account, save for car, save for house and save for entertainment. This also helps me from overspending in certain areas when I would normally pay no mind. For example, right now mid-June, I'm not buying clothing. I'm already capped on random shopping and I know if I spend more it means I can't put that money into one of my savings accounts. Let’s be honest here though, if I overspend on shopping, my vacation fund is never sacrificed. Never.

Creating and maintaining budgets is something of a hobby for me and now I'll just add creating savings accounts for known future expenses to that list. I'd love to talk money organization strategies with anyone needing advice - send me a message if you'd like.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Year, New Routine

Truthfully, this has nothing to do with the fact that it's a new year and everything to do with the fact that I visited my doctor in mid-December. I learned nothing new at the visit, as usual. It's always the same old things and I know exactly what I need to do.
I just never end up doing it.

My doctor told me her number one recommendation was exercise. For more energy and more positive vibes, exercise.

Well, it wasn't anything I didn't know that I needed to be doing but it was just the push I needed to make a change. I had been trying to incorporate more exercise into my life for the past two years. Ever since I started working from home and moved to a neighborhood with a lower walk score, my physical activity plummeted. Before it was just a part of how I lived my life. I walked everywhere I went, up hill, down hill, hilltop. Work, grocery store, parks. I literally didn't drive my car unless I was visiting my family on the weekends. It was the most ideal...but...I digress, my life looks different now.

The reason I made the check-up appointment in the first place was because I was tired of feeling down and out. Losing weight alone wasn't enough of a motivator for me to start exercising BUTTTTTTTTTTT feeling positive, healthy and inspired has been working like a charm so far.

Now, when I tell you what I do to exercise, you may laugh. I certainly do every day. And every lap. That I make running around the inside of my little home. That's right, I jog for 20 minutes inside of my 1000 sqft, lower level of a house, apartment. I have way too many excuses (some good and some bad) as to why I can't at least go outside, run around the lake, or join a gym and for the life of me, I cannot keep up the habit of YouTube exercise videos.

So I jog inside. To shake things up a bit, every ten minutes I do some laps jogging with high knees. As I acclimate more and more, I'm sure I will add in more activity to challenge myself whilst jogging inside. I have no excuse to not run inside. The interior of my home is circular so I just keep going in circles. I wear whatever I'm wearing at the time, including jeans, sometimes slippers or just plain, ol' bare feet. Admittedly and inevitably I end up unbuttoning the jeans for better movement.

It's been almost 3 weeks; I'm keeping the momentum going every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I'm feeling quite happy about it. Using what I have with where I'm at and working it well.

Any tips on fancy tricks to add in while I'm running (in circles around my house 😜)?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

About Time

Jord Cora Watch

Jord Cora Watch
Jord Cora Watch
Jord Cora Watch
Jord Cora Watch
Jord Cora Watch
Coat: J.Crew (similar) | Top: Nordstrom | Pants: Anthropologie | Watch: Jord c/o | Boots: Hunter

When I was 12, I saved all of my babysitting money to buy my first watch. Even at such a young age, I knew wearing a beautiful accessory had the power to transform not only the way I looked but also how I felt about myself. The weight of fitted time around my wrist made me feel polished and poised. Like someone who knows what they want and how to get it. A watch is the kind of accessory that you can pair with practically anything in any location.

Today, I'm wearing a gorgeous Jord wood watch composed of zebrawood. Swarovski crystals mark the hours which is exactly the kind of unexpected detail that makes me smile every time I look at it. Sapphire crystal glass covers the turquoise blue face that pairs perfectly with my lavender colored wool winter coat. (We all know I'm obsessed with color!) On a side note, the other thing I love about this watch is that it's automatic so it doesn't need batteries. The more you wear it, the better it keeps time.

Jord has an exquisite collection of women's watches and unique men's wooden watches. Matt's got his eye on a couple that I've tucked away on my list for gifting ideas in the future. Speaking of gifting, Jord is offering a special coupon for 25% off all wooden watches on their site. Follow this link - you will be emailed the code. This offer will expire on December 19th, 2017 so make sure you get yours before then.

Wooden Wristwatch

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

About Feeding the Hungry

Living in the city provides the greatest opportunity for living in a diverse environment. I drool over the mansions that I'll never own and fantasize about who lives there and what they do. On the flip side of that I see people sleeping on the streets and digging through trash cans. My heart has always ached a little but I've never quite known what to do. This blog is not a post about the perfect answer but I'll continue.

Homelessness is a problem that I know very little about. I have personally known two people who reached were homeless at one point in their life and know of a third I went to high school with. One person was choosing tent city as a rebellion against modern day society. Another person lived in shelters due to mental health issues. The last was battling a drug addiction. To my knowledge all three of these people are back in their own home of some kind and working. I'm not saying that these three cases are a good enough sample base to really draw informed conclusions from but that's what I do because that's what all people do to try and understand.

Regardless of my personal belief that people need to go after the change they want and are responsible for their actions, I still have compassion. I think my own battle with drug addiction gives me greater empathy for those whose bodies have become zombies and while I definitely think they need to grow up and push themselves to change, I know it's not easy and hungry people still need to eat.

OK, so this leads to what I'm doing today. We are blessed to be a blessing. My heart was being tugged but didn't know what to do. Finally, I landed on an easy solution. What me and my kids now refer to as "food kits". We keep a few food kits in the car so that if we are stopped in the car next to someone in need, we can easily roll down the window and offer the kit. So far, we've only handed out 3 or 4. Not a lot. But I'm glad to have the kits because you just never know when there will be an opportunity to serve someone and I'm satisfied knowing that I'm ready to be used for a greater cause (or for anyone who shares my belief in God, I'm satisfied knowing I'm available to be used by God to serve others).

This always happens to me: one bum spoils the whole lot. Someone rejected the bottle of water in the food kit and now I feel completely insecure about offering water, like it's not what homeless people want??? I'm going to do some more research. Maybe water is not a priority? Of course, it should be is all I can think.

The food kit is comprised of the following:
Bottled water (40 pack from Costco is only $2.99! Less than 8 cents a bottle.)
Bag of chips (30 pack from Costco $8.99. Roughly 30 cents a bag.)
Beef Jerky (20 pack from Costco $16.99. I'm looking for alternative options but I wanted to give something that would actually be filling.)

If you're doing the math, that's about $1.23 for each kit. As you can see, it's such a small sacrifice (if you can even call it a sacrifice) but I like to believe the gift of food & water can make someone's day and perhaps give them the energy to think a little more clearly and make a different choice. That's a long shot, I know, but you never know the ripple effect your actions have in the world.

I know we all feel differently about the homeless population so I'm not suggesting that everyone go out and do this. What I am suggesting is that when you feel that little tug on your heart, that you listen to it. In whatever area that may be. It's good if we all help where we feel compelled to help and don't condemn others for not supporting the same causes. Whether that's supporting animals, refugees, orphans, neighbors, victims, homeless, etc. the list goes on.
Spread love.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Fall Leaves in the Park

Preppy Fall Style
Preppy Fall Style
Preppy Fall Style in Seattle
Preppy Fall Style in Seattle
Preppy Fall Style in Seattle
Preppy Fall Style in Seattle

Summer was hard to let go of. The transition from total freedom to driving to and from school and working again has been, how shall I say, exhausting. It's been eight weeks and I think I'm ready to finally admit that I need an earlier bedtime. Truly, a drag but let me try to convince myself here. I can't do it all well if I'm so freaking tired all of the time. Choosing to be intentional with my time means I can do the things I really want to do and do them well. Most of the time it's too easy to convince myself that I need to do all the things but I'm not doing them well, I'm tired and, this time of year, I'm always one germ away from being sick.

I digress. The weather here has been absolutely perfect. Yesterday it was sunny and 60 degrees! Winter is my least favorite season and I hate being cold so I rely heavily on layers. And layers and layers and layers. On another note, I'm loving my Madewell loafers. They were on the tight side and i almost returned them since the next size up was too big but I gave it a shot, wore them around the house a bit and they loosened up to perfection. I've had this problem with J.Crew shoes and never tried this technique so now I'm hopeful maybe I can wear shiny ponys after all.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In Which | I Write About I

You know what? I was starting to question my writing. Starting to question how self-absorbed my writing is. How many times I say 'I' in a single post. It's a lot. If 'I' were the word of the night on Watch What Happens Live for my blog, people would be completely shit faced down in a bathroom or worse.

Then I remembered, this is my blog, my journal and as such it's where I contemplate the many thoughts in my head. And I like it.

I haven't been writing. I haven't been photographing. I haven't been creating anything! It is frustrating.

Between bustling back and forth for one kid's school, taking care of the other kid and balancing in a part time job, I'm completely spent by the end of the day. It sucks. I want to hustle and it seems as though if I'm not spending every extra second I have working on my ultimate project (which by the way is undefined and unknown to me) then I'm never going to reach any level of success and it's daunting. And haunting. Perturbing. In fact my brain is so fried as I write this at 8:22pm that I pause in between every few words because I'm just tired and I don't know what to do but I must prove to myself that one day I am going to be creatively successful and this sloppy post is proof that I will push even when I'm tired at the end of a long day (because every day is long when you're juggling kids/home/job).

That's all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Plaid and Pumpkins

I bought this pair of pumpkin mugs during my last days as a Starbucks barista. It's the perfect pumpkin to share a warm, seasonal drink with the love of your life in. It embodies tradition. Too bad for the burn ban or a fire would have really cozy'd up the place!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

In Which I Ramble About My Creative Journey

I think it's just my personality. I don't reinvent the wheel whenever necessary. I don't step in when I don't need to. I figured one of my greatest assets in life is being able to curate everything I need from everything that has already been made. I don't need to write a how-to blog. I don't particularly like teaching although I enjoy conversation and learning/sharing. I don't want to contribute to a topic when there are so many resources already available and to that end I don't enjoy reading about the same topic all over the internet. I like to find my one person or, maybe, two and everything else is just clutter. Of course, I realize that most people are probably like this. We all gravitate towards others for whatever reasons but, mostly, if we can relate and if we can trust. I do like to share my own stories and experiences so if I write that's usually what it is (or just whatever I'm thinking about like right now cause God knows my hands like to tell the Internet everything, well not everything everything). Now that I'm such an old and wise 33 year old, I feel like I have more to offer. I also pride myself on holding myself to a high standard and value system (and apparently, on how many sentences I can start with the letter I), which means I'm constantly pushing myself and not looking to cut corners - in relationships or life, though I do when I need to because obviously, all life is a balancing act and sometimes corners need to be cut in order to maximize efficiency and overall excellency. Blah.

On another note.

I think any creative content producer that uses their name especially feels that eeery feeling about whether or not their target audience thinks they're just one of those people portraying their life in perfect pictures. BUT let me be LOUD and C L E A R. That is not what I am doing. I am in no way shape or form implying I have a really perfect life. Personally, I don't even think my work is that good yet. I am a photographer. I am a creative being making my art in whatever suits me at the time. It has always, since I was a child, been a dream of mine to be in advertising in some way shape or form and now, just now, at the ripe age of 33, I am beginning to put some of those pieces together. Inspired life and created worlds have always captivated my imagination. Realizing that I could be one of those photographers shooting for the magazines and catalogs that drew me in was amazing! Realizing even more so that I could create my own storyboard with which to create in and interact with brands and people is even more amazing. To be a photographer with complete creative control over my image is like why a person does photography. So I'm not faking perfectionism. I am a photographer with lifestyle advertising dreams showing you my created world.

Right now, I'm the main face in my images but I really want make it more than just me. My created world includes friends and family but I haven't figured out how best to incorporate. I'm not comfortable hawking my kids on the interwebs, though an occasional appearance is to be expected because I love them and naturally photograph them a lot. My blog name is The Emerald Girl which I love because I'm born and raised right here in the Evergreen State next to and in the Emerald City - it's unfortunate and comical that when you Google The Emerald Girl it leads you to some sort of female sexy model group or something which is totally not me at all. I guess I could do the KJP thing and change my name to something more suitable for my created world. Although I once had Matt call my Whitney for a few months, I think Jen is perfect so I would just need a fake new last name. Hahhahahahahahaha never say never! On that note, I am thinking of separating my journal from my photography.

Alright, well that about sums that up.

To Sarah, because she said she wanted to read something real and personal. 😜

Monday, September 25, 2017

Dinner Table Dahlias

It's no surprise that I love fresh flowers. They are truly my fav and such an affordable way to add life, color and a big statement to any room or setting. For $10 a dozen, I swooped up 36 of these long stemmed dahlias. Brining fresh flowers on our weekend trip to the coast just sprinkled specialness all over and the colors were a bright pop against the evergreen, grey skies and gritty pathways. The exterior, enclosed courtyard of the house was amazing, especially when you have 6 kids running around. The dining area, sitting area and fireplace cooking area really would have made this the main living area were it not for the all day rain we experienced. Next time we hope to visit in the summer in hopes of slightly better weather.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sister, Sister

Top: J.Crew | Jacket: J.Crew | Jeans: Levi's | Shoes: Madewell | Bag: Dooney & Bourke (old)

Each summer my parents like to take the whole family on a weekend getaway. While I have four sisters in total, this year only myself and my older sister's family could make it. We had really wanted to visit Seabrook as the town itself looks so charming and quaint. It rained throughout the day Saturday but that didn't stop us from walking the streets admiring the picture perfect homes. The weekend always flies by so quickly but we vowed to return again next year, maybe earlier in the summer.