Monday, January 1, 2018

Travel Ideas? Find the Right Travel Card ~ Ode to a New Year

For most of us, the New Year is a day of mixed emotions. The things we failed at last year, what we had hoped for--the joy that things happened, things were able to accomplish. Or the random things that make a year interesting. It was definitely a mixed year for me, as most of you would know. But it was a full one, and it put me on the path I needed to be. I'm much happier, and in a much better place. I have a lot to look forward to this year.

  I'm already on track with getting out of debt, (very happy about that--should be out of credit card debt by the end of April, if not March--and will have paid off my online classes by end of June!!) and I should be able to hit my car payments hard after that--get at least much of it paid off. And on top of that...I'm endeavoring to save for a cruise at the end of the year with my friend Kenia. So that is exciting!
via wikipedia

Which made for good timing when Ashley from U.S. News and World Report reached out to me about a topic that I've actually been studying about for awhile. I LOVE to travel, so anytime I get to visit someplace new (which isn't often) or anything, I take the chance. If I can feasibly make it work, I will find a way.

  Around the end of August or early September my friend Kenia asked if I'd be interested in going a cruise. Well YEAH. If we can pull it off, sign me up! So after figuring out what this year was going to look like, I told her that we needed to start making concrete plans and setting savings goals. I'm so excited. Which puts us on the subject of money....

  Honestly, this is something that differs with people. I, however, am a fan of having a reliable card/cards that will enable me to travel and enjoy myself hassle free. (And if you travel abroad DO NOT forget to tell your bank!!! Don't don't don't forget!) It is better to have a travel-oriented card that has less transaction fees, good security, and overall a good rating among customers. I've been planning on applying for one in particular--the Chase Sapphire Preferred--because I have heard so many good things about it for years. (First from Nomadic Matt, years ago--and it is especially covered in his book How to Travel the World on $50 a Day--LOVED that book)!! And this article from U.S. News and World Report covers a lot of the questions/issues that are still being raised about the best cards to look for. We still live in a time where most people think that only the rich can travel, although that's changing. Whenever I mention travel, almost always someone says, "Oh my gosh it is SO EXPENSIVE to travel. You better save up a lot of money." Sure, I like savings. I do that. But these people forget that there's a lot of information out there, and a lot of opportunities offered because more and more people want to get out and discover. Perhaps if these types of articles were shared more socially, more people would have an open mind about travel. (And would get so grouchy about being home, haha).

  You see, it is so much safer to use a credit card abroad, and then use the money you saved to pay it off. If something happens to your card, it's not coming out of your bank account. No one is stealing that particular info. And a lot of credit cards--the really good ones--have stellar security attached to them.

  If your dream is to travel--even if it's just here and there--then do your research. Save yourself that hassle of making a possibly costly mistake. I've inherited my credit card sense from my parents, because they taught me well, and I've furthered my own experience. This article from U.S. News and World Report covers so many bases when choosing a card. Check it out!


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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Paperless Post Review ~ Good Thanksgiving Wishes

  I was contacted recently by Paperless Post, with the offer that I try out there digital print cards. Of course I'm always excited at the idea of working with someone new, and I took a look at their card designs. So cute! And so many of them are customizable. At first I thought I'd have the option of printing the ones I liked--no, the offer I had from the company was for emailed cards. Which was definitely still cool--at first I was going to print Christmas cards and send them off--but when I realized it was an emailed card, I was like, "Hey, instead I'll just send off Thanksgiving cards for like the first time ever. Omg this one is so cute and funny!!"

I was very happy. Not only did I find a card that was both vintage-y and humorous, it was super easy to send it to everyone, within the time frame I needed. It was just a matter of getting all the addresses, listing them, and then hitting the send button. Mass mail. For cutesy holidays or birthdays, or just to say hi, I think these cards are a great idea. I love getting physical cards for Christmas, especially since this year is the first year that I'll do an annual letter. I LIKE sending mail. I love the art of letterwriting. And sending cards. I love receiving them--that thought, that someone thought of me enough to write me a personal note.

  Paperless Post has print options as well, with many designers cards. It is definitely worth the look guys! Next year I might choose my favorite Christmas design that is customizable with a personal photo. I love the ivy trim around it. I just don't have the photo right now, I'm too freaking busy with work and cramming time with friends and family. The ONE time I scheduled a photoshoot I got sick the day before, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Rudolph's nose is cute, but not when it's on my face and it hurts. And I looked like trash. So needless to say I canceled my appointment. Perhaps next year!

  If you try it, please let me know what you think of your experience! I really enjoyed the ease of Paperless Post.

  ~ Nikki

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Taking on the Credit Beast ~ Imma Cut Ya

Well I finally did it! I cut my first credit card! Well, with scissors. Not the first time I've canceled one--not that I'm canceling this one. I don't have a ton of credit cards, and I know that the amount of credit available to me--not necessarily the number of cards I have--effect my credit score as well. So I want to stick to the amount I have now, and just pay them down.

  However, this is the first time I've cut one. I need to remove the temptation of swiping it at work. Because even those vending machine snacks, those awesome gardening deals, don't help me reach my goals. I need it to be out of my wallet until I get my spending and debt under control. If I so wish I'll get it reissued after I reach that goal. My idea though, is that I'll keep it as it is, and just run my basic bills through it, so that I have a payable balance each month, but usable for nothing else. Not using your credit card doens't really do much either--using it responsibly does.

  I have to say though--cutting that card in half felt SUPER GOOD. I couldn't help but smile. Because I had finally done what needed to be done. Goals come first--and I need to remember that.

  And now I'm watching Confessions of a Shopaholic. I thought it was fitting.

  Here's to a better year next year. And please forget the corny blog title.


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Thursday, October 5, 2017

When Autumn Comes In Life

There are days when Autumn comes, normally or just in a time of your life, and it can feel like just a season of change. It's good, it's refreshing. And then there are the days where you don't want to get out of bed for two hours, because you don't want to do anything. Nothing but lie there, and think. Be inside you head while the morning moves on grey and dripping. It's relaxing, but it won't move your your soul to action. Only necessity does. It's a mixture of a grey serenity, and your own depression. And with us women, our emotional spectrum is always off the charts. One day we can hop out of bed feeling we can take on the world. Then the next, we miss so many things, and we're overwhelmed by so many things, we can't bring ourselves to get out of bed.

  Until the meowing of the cat or the fact that your fish's bowl is dirty makes you. The fact that you have to eat makes you. And the fact that you have to go to work, or you won't make rent, makes you.

  And the biggest thing of all--your own future needs you to. You still have plans, you're hanging on to what life can be. You're fighting for its possibility.

  Currently I'm (again!) going to have to work two jobs. I need the extra cash to pay for bills that got out of hand, and I don't like asking for help unless it's really necessary. I need to get out of credit card debt, pay off my car, and find a way to provide for film school. I don't know how it will all work. I do know that I have to start at the beginning (again--I always feel like life is sending me back to the beginning on things, and it's incredibly frustrating. One doesn't live forever, or have all the time in the world to keep starting over) and just fight for each step. I honestly don't know what else to do with my day.

  I can just keep getting out of bed, and going to work. Finding moments to really enjoy. Fight for each step towards my goals. It's a reason to keep going anyway. What else is there, except our goals, our hopes? You never know where life will take you. What your day will look like. But at least we can picture what it can be, even on the days we can barely make it out of bed.


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Sunday, September 17, 2017

True Identity ~ What Is Truly Uniquely You

powerful identity quotes
~ Bhimrao Rhamji Ambedkar

  You know I was just looking at this custom fragrance that I was able to create on I'm not sure if I'll get it, as things are still financially tight. (I do love my perfumes, and get one every other year or so--I don't go through them quick enough). But I was just thinking about what they're really selling--it's something that is uniquely you. What you like. How you want to create yourself. The idea that you can have this modern, beautiful bottle of scent with your name on it. It can signify what you are. Someone can walk into your bathroom and think, "Oh wow she even has her own personal scent! How very posh and confident...I wish I could do that."

  I just sat and thought for a minute. I had only created the scent because of a link I saw on facebook, and thought it might be interesting. But after thinking about all that--the allure of having something uniquely mine, saying "This is me," I couldn't help but think of the minor, materialistic mindset of that. Sure, there is something genuinely alluring and great about the ability to create your own scent. But I was also recognizing that I tend to use too many "things" to define me. From the fantasy swords on my wall, to the vintage furniture, to the movie posters--to anything and everything. All these things are good--and should be a reflection of who I am. But not so much that I want to get them to feel like I'm defining myself. My real definition is in what I do. What I make. It's all about perspective....

  It's cool that I can make my own perfume. Maybe I'll get it, and love it. I'll have a lovely bottle on the shelf with my name on it, my quota. It'll be beautiful because it came from a confident woman who knows herself, not because the scent makes the woman though. And people say this all the time, but every truth, individually experienced, is still nonetheless potent and incredibly real. And the way we experience them effects our individual viewpoint, and can also effect others.

  I want everything in my life to be a reflection of my confident self. Come from a place of self-knowledge, and celebration. Not materialism, or a crutch of expression. Because sometimes I get things for the wrong reasons. They can be good things. If I need reminded of who I am, getting a book, or a perfume, is not going to remind me. Building a fortress with a label on it, so I can sit in there amongst all my "defining things" will never satisfy me.

  I think that is one of the hardest things though. To know yourself. Honestly that is the journey of life, and sometimes at the end we still don't completely know. We are our own greatest mystery. But their is beauty in the times of discovery.

  Just wanted to share that.


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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Finding a Way Forward ~ Bare Naked Letters

  I was still quite young when my mom told me that for her, getting her heart broken literally felt like her heart was breaking. It hurt so much. It took her a long time to get over her ex. That's not how it felt for me, although awhile after it started to. My chest hurt all the time. I'd wake up and my heart would ache, quite literally, and that ache would just spread through the course of the day. At least I didn't cry like I did, those first three days. I have never had such a breakdown before. Cried so much that the moment I finished a task, I'd just start bawling again--and then stare into space, thinking, wondering how it all went wrong. How I didn't see it coming. That first day was awful. Sometimes my chest still hurts, but I'm in a much better place.

  Having this happen, and certain things with my family, has pushed me to focus on my goals more. I need to get on with my own endgame. Refocusing has been a big help with keeping me grounded. I have things to do, and honestly, I have let a lot of things get in the way. Perhaps this is God's way of pushing me in the right direction. I don't know. I do know that I took the leap and applied to Film Connection again, and have been talking to them about possible mentors in locations at least within a 4-hour radius. Because I've looked for places in Amarillo. That's isn't going to happen.And Albuquerque looks way more promising. Albuquerque Studios has actually done some pretty impressive work--I'm in talks with my Head of Admissions about getting them on board with the Film Connection Program. We'll see what happens.

  In the interim, I have been writing. So much. Whether it's my new book, my journal, poetry--I've picked up my pen again and there is ink everywhere, metaphorically speaking. Change, in that aspect, has never felt so good. It is high time that I delve more deeply into my writing again, and get things going. I can't wait to share this new book. Bare Naked Letters. It will cover Letters to a Lover, Letters to a Absent Sister, and Letters to a Mother. All the words I never spilled, on paper. One invaluable thing I have learned--true honesty. Spilling everything on paper, as if speaking to them--every aspect including my love, my bitterness, my hopes, my frustrations, my anger--everything. Man. I can't wait until it's finished.

  I'm ready to write my way to hell and back. (Hell meaning that invariably difficulties will arise and they can be the best and WORST thing to happen to a writer trying to get to the end).

  And by the way, I'm on a new journal. My 20th. I'll have a library of journals by time I'm dead. I'm actually looking forward to what this one will hold.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

There is No Victory Walk for Lost Love

lost love, love quotes

 A week ago today my boyfriend broke up with me. It feels like it's at least been two weeks, if not a month--not just one week. Time has no meaning for it. My life has just upended in a way that I never saw coming. In the space of one week I've lost someone I love, or rather it feels like they've set me aside, as if I was unwanted. But I know it's not the whole story. It's very weird. We're still friends, because the only thing that would be worse would be losing his friendship too. We began as friends, and honestly, in a way he is still my best friend. I just want to scream at him and hit him with a bat for being so...cowardly and dishonest for so long. Even though, in a roundabout way, I suppose it was because he loved me as a friend. And I desperately, desperately want him to come back.

  Whoever said that sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you--must never have been in love. Because, like a knife, they can slide beneath your skin, through sinew and bone, through the doorway of your heart into your shattering soul--and all in the force of a lightening strike. That's what it felt like for me. Like my whole being was in the middle of an earthquake. Your soul moves. You can feel it screaming, moving, turning over in the wretchedness that it feels. Part of me wondered something. You hear people say that when you make love, the souls meet. I wondered if it was just a part of his ripping itself back out. But if he never loved me that way, how could that even be. There were moments I could barely breathe. It felt like my soul was being sucked out, forced from my body by some storm. How is it that you can fall for someone that does not feel the same way? And be so blind, to not see it? Perhaps I wanted to just believe, on some intuitive level. I was still new to everything. So was he. But he is a damn fool, in a lot of ways, because we had a wonderful thing going, even just as friends. Plenty of people are not so lucky.

  I lost my lover, and I'm going to lose my apartment, because it's already rented out. I can't afford that house all by myself. Fortunately my complex offered me another apartment--a bigger, more expensive one, but I think I'll be happier there, even if it stretches my budget. My life has been upended like never before. I'm curious to see where I'll be next year, considering what a wild train this is turning out to be.

  I want to forgive him. I want to get to the point where I just feel joy at being with my friend again, not hurt and desperately wanting to hold him like I did, or kiss him, or just be allowed to love him. Be held in return. I don't know how long it's going to take. I have really no idea...some days it feels like it will never go away. Other days, I believe it has to. Time changes everything, even if it doesn't erase it. Some days I wonder if I should just walk away, for a time. I don't know. Like I tell everyone, I have my moments. And it's long from over. It's only been a week. It did give me some wisdom though, something I will remember my entire life. There is no victory walk for lost love. If it was good, even one-sided, you will always mourn it. You don't walk away saying, "His loss, I have better things to do." Because loving him was one of the best things you ever did. But I do have things to do. I have a life to live, and I'm finding a way forward, in the small things. The only victory is surviving it, as you mourn it. And God help me.


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