December Lookback

Here's where I am:

Listening to:

TV shows –
Succession: DARK, it's the kind of show you hate to love but it draws you in.
The Queen's Gambit: I'm obsessed with the main character's dresses. Very well done. Beautiful sets, phenomenal acting.
Pride & Prejudice (1995): super 1995. Feels like a soap opera. Dramatic. Overdone.
Disney Sing-Along: Fun to watch with kids.
The Wire: not a favorite of mine.

Movies –
The Night They Saved Christmas: my mom's favorite movie when I was a kid.
When Harry Met Sally: Because we bought pastrami from Katz's Deli. Feels like a good depiction of my relationship with a friend and our constant arguing.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey: recommended to me. It's a musical. It's ok. Well done but not a favorite.
Bridget Jones's Diary: After watching Pride & Prejudice, this felt like a logical choice.
The Polar Express: with one of the kids I'm watching.


homemade croissants
baked pears with honey and cinnamon
pastitsio (Greek lasagna)
Mariage Frères tea (in an advent calendar)
Katz's Deli pastrami + rye, mustard, pickles
pizza with fresh basil
chicken pot pie
freshly ground peanut butter!
Australian Anzac cookies

Trying new wines.


Previous years and travel during the holiday season. Snow in Canada, a gorgeous beach in Egypt, time with friends in DC, our attempt at travel last year....


Christmas gifts and when to ship them.

working on a photo book.

Anxious about:

a friend. Are we friends; are we not? I've almost decided to just cut my losses, which I've done so many times before. And yet this person always returns to my life. But we don't talk. Except when we do. Oh, complications!

Interested to Know:

what Christmas will be like this year.


• Anthropologie Adriana Lace Tunic in maroon and black
• Anthropologie Sara Pointelle Fringed Kimono in pink
• Anthropologie Pilcro Talia Corduroy Mini Skirt in navy
• Anthropologie Pilcro Devenne Pointelle Pullover in white
• Anthropologie Kieran Belt in honey
• Free People Sweet Pea Tank in ivory and polar from Nordstrom Rack
• Free People Prudence Pullover in red
• Free People Eclair cardi in mauve moon and neo mint
• Free People Lou Jean Babydoll Dress in rust
• Free People We the Free Sunny Side Mini Dress in black



Quarantine Notes:

Now, 3 months out of quarantine:
• It's rough deciding what counts as covid exposure and what doesn't. It's also frustrating going into a store where masks aren't required. Or dealing with family that aren't taking this seriously.
• I've needed lots of downtimes the past month which has resulted in lots of movies and tv shows. Relaxing and doing nothing.
• The people I work for just moved, so I'm getting tons of (what feels like) exercise breaking down their boxes and taking them to the street.
• Started doing yoga and stretching through the Weight Watchers program. The back stretches feel so good.
• Excited to ship Christmas gifts and make cookies for family!

Lookbacks from Earlier This Year:
Jan • Feb • Mar • Apr • May • Jun • Jul • Aug • Sep • Oct • Nov

IWSG 2020 #12

November Goals
work on a photobook with Album Epoca
get Christmas gifts finished and shipped
go more in depth with my Album Epoca book -- using page numbers and an index, possibly include a map or vector images.

Additional Successes
• Applied for my absentee ballot! (Runoff election in Georgia.)
• Edited a bunch of pictures. (They need the srgb color profile rather than the Adobe color profile I've been using +150dpi. I'm having to re-edit everything for my photo book.)
• Picked out creative and thoughtful gifts for family and friends. + Shipped a few. + wrapped a few others.
• I'm working on buying less food from the grocery store and eating what I buy, rather than trashing it. Trying to be more conscious of the impact my choices have on the world.
• Set up a new "garbage can" to collect recycling in the house and make it easier.
• Also, researched recycling to determine which plastics actually can be recycled and which are usually recycled but just end up in the landfill. YOUR RECYCLING BIN IS NOT A GARBAGE CAN. PLEASE DON'T TREAT IT AS SUCH.
• Helped the people I work for pack up their belongings to be moved.
• Also, helped my parents move their furniture so they could have new hardwood floors put in.
• Researched recipes in an effort to eat healthier. A favorite included a salad with fresh pairs, dried cherries, and walnuts. YUM! (And seasonal!)
• Made exchanges and returns to save money, while price-watching.
• ordered tea and caramel advent calendars.

December Goals

IWSG Question –– Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?

YES, absolutely! When I'm at work, I get a lot less done. When I'm dealing with emotions or arguing with friends and family, I get less done. At the end of the year, I get stressed out due to the holidays; at the beginning of the year, I feel like I have a fresh start.

Your Turn

Only one month left to go in 2020 and I'm baffled. How will I handle 2021? What will be different? What will be the same? In a strange and eerie way, despite corona, life just keeps moving forward. So you have to continue to make plans, but you have to also be open to those plans falling through. Is 2020 making me more flexible? Are there things I'm not doing that I should be doing? ... Plans I should be making for the potential but as of yet unknown?

... As an aside, I've been thinking a lot about my blog. The comments section is broken. I'm too embarrassed to share my blog with people that ask. It needs a makeover. And I've considered starting fresh. But right now my focus is on my photo book and getting Christmas gifts out. I don't really want feedback, I just wanted to put those feelings out there. I'm hoping 2021 will give me a chance to improve and do better.

How are things going for you? Has 2020 pushed you to your limit? Are you, like me, overwhelmed and needing a break? Or do you find yourself bored with too much time on your hands? If the comment section is actually working for you, leave me a comment and let me know I'm not alone. Message me on Facebook or Twitter. I'd love to hear from you.

I wish you all a merry Christmas and a joyous new year!

IWSG posts: #1 #2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10, #11

Click here to learn more and
link up with IWSG!

Monthly Financial Update: November 2020

When reviewing my finances for 2018, I mentioned my desire to look at them on a monthly basis in 2019. Justin and I spent a little too much in 2018 and let our finances get the best of us. Maybe by looking at our finances monthly (and let you guys/gals keep me in check), we will do better this year.

That's the goal anyway.

Here's month #11 for 2020:


Compared to Last Year –
green = this year, yellow = last year

green = this year, yellow = last

Compared to Last Month –

green = this year, yellow = last

green line = this month, dotted line = last month

Where We Spent Our Money:

Top 10 Merchants:
1. Taxes/Rent
2. Instacart (groceries)
3. Free People (Mandy clothes)

4. Toco Giant (alcohol, gifts)
5. Amazon (kitchen supplies, groceries)
6. Anthropologie (Mandy clothes)
7. Nordstrom Rack (Mandy clothes)
8. Market Hall Foods (tea, balsamic vinegar, advent calendars)
9. Costco (groceries, camera cards)
10. Maine Lobster (gift)

Top 10 Categories:
1. Food & Dining
2. Shopping

4. Taxes/Rent
5. Gifts
6. Auto
7. Bills & Utilities
8. Insurance
9. Interest Charges

Gas & Fuel under
Groceries – over
Restaurants under
Hair Appointments - under
Everything Else – over

Net Income:


student loans

credit cards

How Did I Do On My Financial Goals for November?
Make returns to Anthropologie,
decide on returns for Free People
Fix Amazon.
Decide on Mindspring. (Year or cancel?)
Spend less on groceries.
Finish Christmas shopping.
Ship some gifts.

* Loan Payoff Date 6/1/24 (+1 mo)
* Credit Card Payoff Date 12/1/21 (+ 1 mo)
* Emergency Funds: $8,305
• 401K $60,796.55
• Credit Scores: 760 (Justin, up), 783, 781 (me, up)

Overview of the Biggest Impacts This Month:
1. Shopping for gifts and clothes.
2. taxes due.
3. Stocking up on wine.
4. Tried variations of makeup and haircare options to see what works best for my skin and scalp.
5. Having an unpaid week off of work.

What went wrong this month?
1. Spent too much on groceries.
2. Spent too much on clothes.
3. Didn't accomplish many of my goals.
4. Losing focus on finances and putting that focus elsewhere.
5. Gift buying always hurts a little, especially in large quantities for Christmas.

What went right this month?
1. Spent less on gas.
2. Calling to get a fee reduction for my Chase Sapphire Reserve.
3. Credit scores improving.
4. Debt going down.
5. Making returns.

Financial plans/goals for December
1. Fix Amazon.
2. Coming up with a good gift for my parents that doesn't break the bank.
3. Explore options for sending gifts cheaply.
4. Look at the year's finances.
5. Look at Capital One bonus offer.

Financial Resolution Goals 2020

Financial Resolution Goals 2019