November Lookback

Here's where I am:

Listening to:

Germany VS USA the podcast! Some of my favorite YouTubers are back with their comparisons between Germany and the US. It's so interesting hearing how the two countries are handling the pandemic differently.


going leaf-looking in the past and how gorgeous the leaves can be.


Christmas. Gift shopping has been put into high gear as I prep for the holiday season. This year will be strange not seeing the majority of my family in person. I'm curious to know how overwhelmed the postal system will be. Am I already late in sending out gifts?

Anxious about:

covid-19. Will I get it? Will people I know get it?

Interested to Know:

– how Thanksgiving and Christmas will go this year.
– how my husband and I will spend his vacation time.
– whether or not I will get my photo book done in time.
– whether my friends and family will receive their gifts on time.

• Free People One Emily Lace Slip in ivory from Poshmark
• Brandy Melville Jada dress in light blue and black from Poshmark
• Brandy Melville strappy bralette in black from Poshmark
• Free People Turn It On Camisole in vetiver bloom from Nordstrom Rack
• Free People Against the Tide Knit Sweater in pink from Nordstrom Rack
• Free People Intimately FP Lace Bandeau Bralette in black from Nordstrom Rack
• Free People Adella Longline Bralette in olive from Nordstrom Rack
• Anthropologie Cerie Seamless Bandeau Bralette in poppy red and sea green
• Free People Butter Bandeau in powder blue

• 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Palette
• 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Luminizer


Nothing. I've been focusing my time on creating photo books. I got vouchers from two different companies. I've submitted my book with one company and now I need to finish my work and submit with the second company.

Quarantine Notes:

Now, 2 months out of quarantine:
• Drinking so much tea. And now on a spearmint gum kick.
• Still trying new recipes. This month it was a ramen soup and also a pork dish.
• Trying to pick healthier snacks: carrots, apples, pears.
• We've been ordering food almost every weekend from Costco. I'm a little surprised at how much of the same types of foods we eat every week.
• I've started eating cereal in the morning? The kids I watch introduced me to it. And I've been starving every morning for the past few, so .... cereal it is! 🤷‍♀️
• I've been spending more time doing the make-up thing.
• Wine is a treat! Last time we went to the liquor store we made sure to buy a variety. Also, there's no reason to hold off on drinking special wine! Every day is a special occasion!

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

IWSG 2020 #11

October Goals
Publish photobook with Saal Digital
Clean including washing sheets, cleaning the bathroom.
✗ Finish planning Christmas presents.

Additional Successes
• Tried a new shampoo/conditioner -- it made my hair super curly.
• followed Weight Watchers all month. Didn't lose any weight, but I learned more about eating healthier and my desire to eat for emotional reasons.
• reconnected with a friend <3 and celebrated a friendaversary! 1 year! woot!
• sold my old canon rebel. Super glad to clear out and clean up.
• Also went through some boxes in the basement.
• Listed a few items for sale on Poshmark.
• Voted!

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.

IWSG Question –– Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

I write to share my experiences, encourage, and influence others.

Or at least that's what I used to do.

Recently my focus has been my goals and staying positive. It's been a struggle this year. I'm trying not to be too hard myself.

Your Turn

For us Americans, Thanksgiving is coming up. It is mind-boggling to me that 1) the year is almost over and 2) the holidays will be so different than previous years due to coronavirus. How did so much of the year pass so quickly? And yet, how did so much of the year pass so slowly?

My husband and I are already working on plans for 2021 and the question is: should we? How much longer will corona slow everyone down?

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

Click here to learn more and
link up with IWSG!

Monthly Financial Update: October 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 #9 for 2020:


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

green = this year, yellow = last

Compared to Last Month –

green = this year, yellow = last

dotted line = last month, green line = this month

Where We Spent Our Money:

Top 10 Merchants:

1. Instacart (groceries)
2. Rent

3. Free People (Mandy clothes, need to make returns)
4. Anthropologie (hammock, Mandy clothes, need to make returns)
5. Amazon (kitchen supplies, groceries, car parts, sewing tape, use of windows system, Halloween candy)
6. Toco Giant (alcohol)
7. Nordstrom (Mandy clothes)
8. Haute Look (more Mandy clothes)
9. Saal Digital (photo book)
10. Dropbox

Top 10 Categories:
1. Shopping (clothing, photo book, photos, kitchen supplies, server supplies, ebay shipping)
2. Food & Dining (Instacart)

4. Rent
5. Bills & Utilities
6. Gifts & Donations (Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, donations)
7. Auto & Transportation
8. Fees & Charges (interest, Delta Amex renewal fee)
9. Life Insurance

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 August?
List 5 items on Poshmark or ebay.
 Check on my $500 check and find out where it is.
 Submit my work for a free photo book.

Von Maur
Forever 21
Bath & Body Works

* Loan Payoff Date 5/1/24 
* Credit Card Payoff Date 11/1/21 (+ 1 month)
* Emergency Funds: $6,720
• 401K $56,504.53
• investments $56,506
• Credit Scores: 757 (Justin, down), 774, 778 (me, up)

Overview of the Biggest Impacts This Month:
1. Buying clothes.
2. Using Instacart solely. We are still working out the kinks.
3. Corrected loans showing as duplicate in Mint, so now our finances look like they are supposed to there.
4. Paying rent for the year.
5. Buying stocks with Justin's company. (Big drop in savings.)

What went wrong this month?
1. Birthday gifts + shipping.
2. Kitchen supplies broke/got lost so we had to replace them.
3. Bath & Body Works return and sanitizer spilled all over a shirt we were going to return to Express. SO now I have to wash it and can't return it. :-/
4. Unexpected expenses.
5. Making a bigger photo book than my voucher would cover and having to pay out for it.

What went right this month?
1. A few items I bought at sale price went on further sale.
2. Finishing my book and getting to use my voucher.
3. Sold my camera and listed a few items on Poshmark.
4. I'm ahead on Christmas shopping.
5. My credit score went up! Yay!

Financial plans/goals for September
1. Make returns to Anthropologie, decide on returns for Free People/Nordstrom
2. Fix Amazon.
3. Decide on Mindspring. (Year or cancel?)
4. Spend less on groceries.
5. Finish Christmas shopping. Ship some gifts.

This past month most of my focus has been on creating a photo book, so I've spent less energy on finances. The biggest issues I'm seeing are my clothing purchases and grocery purchases. I've also been taking part in Weight Watchers which has me seeking out and trying new recipes; that's not always helpful when you are trying to watch your grocery budget.

November will be yet another month on Weight Watchers and creating a photo book with a second company + buying and shipping Christmas gifts. I suspect Thanksgiving will be a bit cheaper this year due to coronavirus, so maybe that will help with grocery expenses.

What do you expect for November? Do you expect higher or lower expenses due to corona?

Financial Resolution Goals 2020

Financial Resolution Goals 2019