Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You Never Know: A Follow-Up

Back at the end of July, I blogged about the you never know concept as it pertained to my job. I asked my boss about a potential salary increase and your encouraging comments were fantastic!

It's been two months... and I've got nothing to report back. My boss never followed up with me like she said she would in August. We also had an employee quit at the beginning of September so myself and the other associate have split his responsibilities. This week, there was a relevant conference up in San Francisco... but the other associate got to go, not me. Even though I'd been promised a conference for the past two years in my job since everyone else has been to at least one!

Needless to say: I'm frustrated. Very much so. I thought about bringing up the salary issue again with my boss, but didn't want to be a pest. My monthly meeting today was rushed and by the time she asked if I "had anything else" to discuss, she was already standing up near the door because she had another meeting. Of course, I didn't have the guts to bring it up right then!

So, I've made a decision. I'm going to start looking for another job. To see what's out there and test the waters. I spent the weekend re-writing my resume and searching for jobs. I figure this could go a few different ways:

  1. I find nothing and have to hang on to what I have,
  2. I find some jobs and can move onto something with better pay/opportunities, or
  3. I find some jobs and can use them as leverage for an increase at my current position.
I figure a little over two years' experience is a reasonable time to do this! Plus, to be honest, my department cannot afford to lose me right now as we just lost someone else and cannot replace them due to a hiring freeze so that should afford me some leverage. (I hope.)

Any thoughts/suggestions? What would you do?

[image via]

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Favorite Sweater

My Mom recently went on a girl's weekend to Vancouver, Canada. While she was there, I asked if she could see if there was anything that I would like at my favorite store, Le Chateau. I told her I would pay her back for whatever she was able to find me. Their size XXS runs very small so I own a few items (which I bought at their NYC store) like basic tank tops and some belts.

This time, my Mom hit the jackpot... and told me to consider the clothing an early Christmas present! She's the best :) My favorite item was the below absolutely fabulous sweater! It's an acrylic/angora blend that's incredibly soft and I love the color. Dare I say this is now my favorite item of clothing?? I paired it with white jeans and one of my pairs of boots. I love the tunic style, especially that it's a bit longer at the back.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Money Check Up

Courtesy of My Pretty Pennies! I'm a few days late, but it's fun to do.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on clothes! I spent $91.02 at H&M :)

2. Today I feel good towards money.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was continue watching S4 of Dexter with friends.

4. I will consider this week a success if I don't spend too much on groceries! They are my vice.

5. My first job was the ticket seller at a go-karting track... other than babysitting. It was really fun and really easy! I think that's what started my interest in customer service. (Even though that's not currently what I do.)

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The New Young Investor: Shunning Stocks

The other day, I read this article on the Money section of CNN's website, entitled The New Young Investor: Shunning Stocks.

To be honest, the article didn't surprise me that much. Investing is very emotional for everyone. I can see how those of us in our 20s and early 30s might be confused/scared/nervous after seeing many of our parents and elders lose a lot of money in the stock market over the last decade.

However, I in no-way-shape-or-form believe that Generations X and Y should be pulling all of our money out of the stock market. It's a tried-and-true form of income, especially if you are investing for the long-haul of 35-40+ more years. Sure, even I've been slightly skeptical at times. But then again, I've only been investing for two years come this October! Of course the market is going to fluctuate during that short time frame, especially given the economic situation/recession we are in. 100% of my Roth IRA and 401k investments are in pure stocks. No bond funds for me! Of course, I do have a sizeable chunk of money is savings... but those are just for rainy days and I expect to deplete/replenish those accounts as life happens. My retirement funds are for the LONG haul!

I have faith in the stock market. I won't stop having faith in the stock market unless it completely implodes and disappears all together one day. I'm going to continue to invest and have a bit more money than those who have decided to pull out for the time being and who are trying to "time the market"... it's impossible to do!

What are your thoughts on the article?

Monday, September 6, 2010

An H&M Haul

Yesterday, after putzing around the apartment until noon, I finally got ready and headed out to do some shopping! It's been a while since I spent an entire afternoon popping into a bunch of stores, not looking for anything in particular so I had a blast. I tried on things at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and Bebe to no avail... and then hit up H&M. Now, I'm not usually a fan of H&M due to the low quality and the fact that most of the clothing doesn't fit me since I'm really petite. I think I own 1 sweater and 1 belt from there, both of which were lucky finds. Plus, the store completely overwhelms me because it's huge and always crowded! The lines for the dressing rooms and registers are ridiculously long, and today was no exception.

However, today was a different story, at least in terms of finding clothes! I spent $91.02 after tax for 6 items. I rarely have big hauls of clothing like this, especially at only one store so I was really excited! :) Here's what I bought:

2 t-shirts for $5.95 each. I swear by multiples! Here's one of them in navy with pink stripes. The other is navy with white stripes. I definitely needed some more basic items in my wardrobe.

I bought this dress and belt! Semi-casual on it's own or I could easily dress it up with tights/leggings and boots. Dress: $19.95. Belt: $6.95.

Leopard-print cardigan for $24.95. Same belt as above. Something fun for work, to be worn with black slacks or a black skirt. It's slightly wide on me, but I love the print so I couldn't say no!

Cream colored hoodie with navy stripes for $19.95. Really surprised that this fit so well! I absolutely love hoodies to just hang out in and for weekend wear. :)

Did you go shopping this weekend? What did you buy?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Dinner Party

I hosted my first dinner party on Friday night! Due to a slight mis-communication between my roommate and I, it ended up just being myself and two of my friends. However, just having the two of them over turned out to be absolutely great! After a half-day at work, I stopped by some grocery stores to pick up food and alcohol because I wanted to make some fun cocktails.

Trader Joe's, $18.72

  • Mango & Sticky Rice Dessert (forgot about dessert, so didn't eat this yet)
  • Pita Crackers
  • Cilantro & Jalapeno Hummus (delicious... my new favorite hummus! The center tastes like chutney)
  • Bacardi White Rum (I had a $2-off coupon)
Ralph's, $13.29
  • Orange Juice
  • Pineapple Juice
  • 3 Chicken Kabob Skewers with Vegetables
For vegetables, I already had all the ingredients. I marinated two sliced zucchini with about 1/2 cup of Italian dressing and a few teaspoons of oregano, thyme and basil for 5 hours in my fridge. It's from this awesome recipe and I grilled them up on one side of the grill while the chicken kabobs grilled on the other. Pre-grilled zucchini:

[my own image via Blackberry]

We had the hummus and pita chips while we waited for the grilled items to finish, and I made some brown rice in my rice cooker as well. The food was delicious and so were the Mai Tai's that we made! Dark rum (already had), light rum, pineapple juice and orange juice. I might've enjoyed them a bit too much! ;)

My friends stayed until midnight and we just sat around the small dining room table eating and talking. It was a great night, even if it was a bit more elaborate and expensive since I bought everything... but they had hosted me for the final World Cup game so I was more than happy to return the favor! Plus it gave me a reason to try a new recipe and the grilled zucchini is definitely a keeper, and I was able to work on some hostess skills.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Larabar Contest

I won a Larabar giveaway last week! I was recently introduced to the bars by my Mom who sent me a few in a care package. I had heard a lot about them but find them a bit pricey ($1.25+/bar) but they are really healthy with only 2-5 ingredients per bar. Perfect for a pre- or post-workout snack!

While I was browsing the website, I saw they were doing a giveaway because one of their flavors (Cocoa Mole) is being retired. I entered my information on a whim (who doesn't love contests?!) and was notified via e-mail that I won! My prize pack will arrive in a few weeks and supposedly includes a t-shirt and some of the now-expired Cocoa Mole Larabars! I love free stuff...especially when it has to do with food. :) Thank you, Larabar!

Friday, September 3, 2010


So, I bit the bullet tonight and signed up for eHarmony! I haven't been on a date since May or seriously dated someone since last October and it's been bugging me, much like what me in millions posted about recently. Over the past month, I've been hearing a lot more about eHarmony from two girlfriends in NYC who are using it and friends of friends who have had success with it. I decided to go for it since it's the one popular dating site I haven't tried yet, and I'm paying attention to the signs that keep pointing me towards eHarmony... including two coworkers who met their spouses using it!

Over Labor Day they are offering one of their occasional "free communication" weekends... aka their awesome marketing ploy at getting people to sign up and pay! I know there are decent discounts around, so I'll test it out and see if I decide to go all-in. I'm ready for a relationship!

[images via & via]

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Renter's Insurance and Car Insurance

I posted last month about getting renter's insurance. I lived in my previous apartment for 2 years without having it (!) and knew that had to change! It's been on my to-do list for way too long.

When I tried to get renter's insurance through my current car insurance company (AAA) to see if I could bundle and get a discount... I was told that I "live with too many additional roommates." Uhh, what? Even if I just want to insure myself, 3 people in an apt is too many? That's not right.

So, I got some quotes online from GEICO, State Farm and All-State. In the end, State Farm was the cheapest so yesterday I went to a nearby office and set up a policy! It ended being $180 for a year to insure $20K worth of stuff. Expensive but worth it and I'm so glad I finally have renter's insurance because you just never know.

While I was there, the (really nice) agent I was talking to asked me about my car insurance. I thought I was paying a decent amount through AAA, which is the company my parents have used for YEARS and where I went to get my insurance through last year when my car was officially titled over to me from my Dad. Well, after going back to the office today with my AAA policy coverage and amounts, State Farm matched the same coverages for $300 less per year! Plus, they don't charge interest if you pay monthly (just a flat debit fee each month, $1 or $2) and you pay in 6 month installments instead of annually. Oh, and then they immediately gave me a multi-policy discount due to my renter's insurance so I'll be receiving a check for $39 soon because it dropped from $180 to $141. Awesome!

It was a bit of an effort, but in the end it's saving me $300 per year... plus there are no more forms to fill out (everything's online) and there was hardly any paperwork. Hooray for State Farm and saving money! :)

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