Done with 2021

Thursday, December 30, 2021

February 7th of 2021 was the beginning of my new life.

Needless to say, it was a really difficult year for me.  At the time, I was crying religiously, sleeping for hours on end (when not being able to sleep at all) and had nightmares for months. I'd wake up in such a panic that I'd blast my music through my airpods, throw on a baseball cap -Joe Goldberg style, and just ran on the track almost daily. Running away from my problems became one of the most positive things I've done LOL. Even on these brick fucking nights, I'll still do a lap or two- it's grown to be one of my  favorite places. So shoutout to the track.

This post is going to be a little different because it isn't going to be all about me, instead, it's going to be about the people that got me through this year:

Mom & Dad- you graciously took me in with no expiration date. While it's cost me my sanity every other day, I can't be more grateful to be in this position. It stresses me tf out knowing that you both aren't getting any younger, and that this is my last chance to be home and get more time with you both. So thanks for putting up with me and my hyper little hotdog.

To my sister Lavinia. You drove me to my driving lessons, gave me side work, and moved all my shit back home in one trip- all within a few hours. You checked in often, and still do. For the first time in years, this is the best bond we've ever had. Love you to your jesus and back- thank you.

To my best friend Ari. You were there for me every moment. You called, you texted, and sent endless memes to keep me laughing. You'd take me out, and invited me out, and checked in. You even let Bruss tag along too. From my quarter life crisis of wanting of tooth gems and just singing in your car, to day-to-day conversations that were solely memes and Tiktoks, there's no one else I'd want to be best friends with. I always say that the world is such a terrible place to be without a best friend- and it really would be without you. The best things in life you can't buy or replace- because to me you are absolutely fucking irreplaceable. Love you till the end of eternity. One day we will successfully make mochi that won't end up looking like soup.

To Zack- I'm so horribly sorry I never got a therapist but you listened to me vent for hours on end, and you did it for free haha. You're one of the few people I know who will always choose to make the right choices, move in silence, and to always be there. Even if its a random 2pm and I'm calling you fuming on the way to Central Park. We've had some really funny (and drunk) nights this year. I've told you every ounce of my personal life and never once have you looked down on me for it. You really are the realest and most raw person I know. Thanks for always taking the time out of your grind to chill and hear me blab for hours on end. Thanks for always being such a genuine and reliable friend. I'd be at a loss without you. Next round of shots at Duffy's is on me.

To all my girls- ugh don't hate me if I leave someone out because it's late and I'm tired as shit.

To my bb Rachel, you always invited me over to parties at your apartment, even if I wasn't the most social and awkwardly sat on your couch- it felt really nice to just be invited and to be around people. Thanks for listening, getting me to go out, and letting me model a few of your pieces for your brand. I cant wait to see your success Ms.CEO!!!

To Renee- I couldn't be more comfortable looking as ugly naturally as I do on facetime with you. Thanks for all the late night facetime sessions and being my soul sista. Work and life get in the way of seeing each other, but I can always expect a random call and just end up feeling so much better. Ironically enough I could never stay awake in Intro to Textiles, and now yarns and filaments are my life. I should have studied as much as you did lmfao. We need another international trip as it's deff time for one. Can't wait to be screaming Jesse McCartney songs with you in May.

To Andrea and Nina- while covid ruined our trio trip to Mexico- it hasn't ruined our friendship. You've been both here for me- states and countries away. I'm still so bummed we couldn't all be together, but it was one of the most exciting experiences of this year-also the most wild. Sometimes I wonder what my crazy airport husband is up too. I'm so proud of you both and am in complete awe of how easy you both make starting over in a new state and country look sooo damn seamless. You both inspire me to be more fearless and take some giant fucking life changes. I can't wait to visit NC & Sweden!

To my Kohls besties Kim and Jailynn. For us getting to reconnect and finally see each other since the beginning of the pandemic- thanks for always checking in , letting me vent, and even offering me a place to stay. Nobody can make a better charcoochie board or understand the aesthetics of the assignment. Love my insanely driven baddies- you both have hearts of gold- thank you.

To Adrienne, we really reconnected this year and got a lot closer. You've always been the smarter one, but now I know what an incredibly strong and independent woman that you are. Thanks for checking in, hanging out, and being a great friend. One of these jobs we will successfully be able to take a trip without having to worry about conflicting work calendar dates haha.

To Francis. I wrote about all the shitty guys of this summer, but I now I want to tell everyone about the best one- you. I absolutely love your energy, style, and how willing you always are to do and try something new with me. You are my favorite person of 2021. You've taken me on the best dates, have helped restore my confidence, and you're such a great fucking person. I always look forward to seeing you because the vibes are immaculate, you're positive, well-mannered, and funny. I hope every girl finds a guy like you. Thank you.

To my dapple boy Bruss. There has been so much drama this year because of you, and you literally have not the slightest clue. I'm so happy (and insanely fucking relieved) that you are with me forever, and nobody will EVER dare interfere with that again. I promise to do nothing but give you the best life, make sure you always have the best toys and cutest little outfits. I don't even cook for me but at 5am you're the only existing thing in the world I'd wake up for to cooked scrambled eggs with sausages. Thanks for being my little pain in the ass, the reason I wake up with neck pain because of how distorted I have to sleep, and for always giving me a reason to smile. Love you my hammy hammy. Thank you.

To my Coney Shop supporters- this is now year 2 in business. While I fell off for a while, ya'll still showed support and helped me make donations to the Coney Island Lighthouse Mission to help provide food for the needy and elderly here in Coney. Year 3 I hope to make even bigger contributions. So thanks for the ever present support<3

& Even to my old FS team. I managed to survive there as long as I did because I worked with you all. The fashion industry can be so incredibly intense and you guys were some of the hardest (and longest) working group I've ever worked with. You gave me a greater appreciation for footwear and footwear construction. While I barely wear shoes anymore (WFH perks) I can point out what's an insole binding, zipper gore, gum sole, and a whole bunch of other details I would have previously overlooked. So yes, thanks to you all too.

I can now say that I'm ending the year in a much more positive mindset than I started it. I feel so much better, have a clear sense of purpose and direction, and am really prioritizing all things that are important for me and my growth, and my happiness. To all the people I mentioned above, (and to all the people that were also in for the ride- shoutout to my lawyer-) thank you all for helping me navigate this really uncomfortable year. I'm so blessed to not only have you all in, but apart of my life, and it's something I will never take for granted.

& On that note- I'm done with 2021. 

Wishing everyone a healthy , positive, and successful 2022.


Financially Fit

Saturday, December 18, 2021

 Thanks to COVID I gained about 13 pounds, lost 7, and then gained back about 5 more. But I also dropped 130 pounds when I decided to end my 4 year relationship and start my life over back from my childhood bedroom. Depressed, unemployed, and with pennies to my name, shit was well...shitty. But my weight wasn't the only thing that wasn't fit- so were my finances.

I really can't explain it but once I moved back home I had this realization that I would never live in a luxury building again- especially on a fashion salary. Living is so much more affordable when you split rent. Ya girl isn't a people person and at 27 you wouldn't fucking catch me with a roommate unless its a boyfriend that I see a future with. And with a high energy hot dog , mini cooper insurance, and 17 THOUSAND DOLLARS in student loan debt and 3 thousand in credit card debt- I felt completely and utterly fucked. I felt like my childhood bedroom would become my life yet again for the next 25 years to come.

Maybe life decided to throw me a big bone because two weeks after my grand coney arrival- I had finally received a job offer. Consistent work and money! The thing with being an adult is that you have the freedom to spend as much as you want, and that's what makes it so easy and dangerous. Maybe it was due to a random TikTok I had scrolled across on my FYP, or my fear of living with my parents forever- something really told me I needed to start preparing for MY future- one that involved me and absolutely nobody else. With a mild shopping addiction and enjoying the "finer" things in life like natural lighting, washer/dryer in unit, gym in building, yearly international vacations, and a beautifully curated space; I really needed to make moves. So this is exactly what I did:

  • I read a fuck ton of books on finance and personal budgeting at the library. Yup, made use of free resources. You should too!
  • Started listening to money podcasts on the way to work (Financial Feminist was an N ride fave)
  • For the first time in my life, I grew a pair and asked for a 10k raise at my job ( I was so confident but got shot down two days later. It's all good though, I found a job that gave me a title promotion  that 10k increase,  AND IT'S MOSTLY WFH !!!!!! ) But here were some other really helpful things:

In the beginning, I tracked my spending.

Keyword here is tracked- not budgeted. Went on good ole Google Docs (something I haven't avidly used since college) and created a chart of the month, and tracked how much was spent per day, and what it was spent on. From there, I could see where I could cut corners in order to start saving better. Goodbye one-way $70 Ubers from Williamsberg on the weekends and daily $20 spent on breakfast/lunches.

Almost my entire paycheck went towards my student loans.

My loans were going to get paid off regardless of me moving back home, but being home put me in a situation that I had to use to my advantage- paying them off ASAP. As during COVID payments were put on hold for a year, likewise the interest- my personal goal was to pay them off completely before entering the repayment period. Let's say I made $4,768 bi-weekly, I would make a $4,700 payment for one check and live off of $68 for the next 13 days. (Note I do NOT make this amount- one day though, and more at that.) This sounds completely fucking crazy and unrealistic, but it worked. You'd really be surprised how well you can stretch your money this way. For months my checking was looking like a few sad Benjamins, but that loan amount was drastically dropping.

I only ate out on the weekends, but packed my lunch during the week.

Honestly, this was the hardest tip to incorporate. Like Cardi B, I also don't cook or clean- I don't enjoy either. Spending an hour cooking for something that will be devoured in 15 minutes is the biggest waste of my time, so buying food out and not having to meal prep and do dishes is a convenience I would gladly pay for. Working by Central Park was gorgeous and offered tonssssss of food options- shit was so expensive though. I really was spending $20 a day (I'm looking at you: fresh n co, Daiynobu, and Poke Spot.) $100 a week x 3 weeks? Not including brunch and eating out on the weekends? No longer an option.

Learned the difference between needs and wants.

Ugh once again, also really fucking hard. The "treat yourself" mentality had to go. I shopped when pieces I loved were on sale, hunted for promo codes, and just didn't buy clothes if some sort of good discount wasn't involved. Did I need a pair of $200 Jeffrey Campbell boots, or did I need to make a loan payment? Sometimes you just need to put yourself in check.

I joined random facebook groups about other ways women were improving their financial situations. I checked them daily. Women of all ages, life situations, and different career paths gave me intel of a life I wanted, life I wanted to steer clear from, and motivation to keep going.

And then it happened. In under half a year I successfully paid off my loans in full, eliminated my credit card debt, purchased my car in cash, and raised my credit score to be "excellent" (just a few points away from being 800!) I WAS 100% DEBT FREE. I still am. So here's what I did after becoming debt free.

Opened an HYSA.

This was a really good call. I had 3 savings accounts at my bank for 3 different reasons- checking, savings, and emergency savings. I was being charged $5 a month per account in order to have these! So I closed the two savings accounts and transferred everything into an HYSA. (Saved a nominal $10 a month and had a higher interest rate.) My absolute favorite part of my HYSA is that it has "buckets." You can name these buckets and save accordingly! I have 3 buckets- vacations, emergency fund, and condo downpayment. Money that I transfer to my savings I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TOUCH- merely just watch that number grow. It's been really difficult to not dip into that account, but I'm so happy to finally have savings to my name. 

My next step: Opened a Roth Ira

Every month I put money into my Roth IRA. You can either max it out at $6,500 a year (I do $500 a month) , or keep it sitting there until retirement. Or you can put in money to invest and grow. As I don't have a 401K (which I plan on maxing out my contribution once I'm eligible) this was my temporary backup for retirement. 

My next goal is my biggest one to date- saving a hefty amount for a downpayment on a condo. When I say I have 15 hour work days some days, I really do. I have my full time job, do remote work on the side, and freelance whenever the opportunity comes up. I write papers, flip clothes, sell coquito, make custom gifts and wedding sings- you name it. I have become so fixated , and safe to say even obsessed with making this happen. Especially with covid surging again- now's the time to be indoors and grind.

By May I hope to have a niceeee number saved, and at that point, will begin to window shop. (Granted it's something I do every night on Zillow as motivation to keep going.) One day in 2022, Bruss and me will be living  in a  gorgeous Condo somewhere in Brooklyn, and I can say I really fucking did that.

Now I just need to find a way to stop working multiple side jobs lol. But everything is a process.

Hope this was helpful to anyone! I am very fortunate to be living with my parents- which has allowed me to save and aggressively tackle all my debt. The goal is to leave the nest (for the third and final time) financially secure and ready to take on life on my own.

At some point in 2022 I will be getting a personal trainer. Just wait till I'm physically fit too ;)

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