So THAT’S Victoria’s Secret!

For the past few year’s, Victoria’s Secret has been running their “Secret Rewards” promotion around the holidays. If you make a purchase in November, you’re given a card worth something between $10 and $500, except at the time you don’t KNOW how much is on the card. In December, you can find out the balance and basically use it as a gift card – you’re not required to spend a minimum amount when redeeming it.

Now, I’m not the type to win anything. Ever. Every time I’ve gotten a Secret Rewards card in the past, it’s been $10 which is great and all except that everything in the store costs more than $10. And I didn’t really NEED anything so I’d just go in a buy something and spend mostly my own money. Which is exactly what they want.

BUT NOT THIS TIME.

I nearly forgot about the Secret Rewards card I got last month. I was cleaning my apartment just DAYS before it expired when I saw it sitting on my desk. I wanted to see how much it was worth, but I didn’t feel like going to the store. I looked online to see if the different codes meant anything, but instead I found out that you could go on the site and put something in your shopping bag and then enter the code from your card to see how much it was worth. So I did just that. And found out that my card was worth $100.

$100 can actually buy you something at Victoria’s Secret. I’m super weird about gifts and I actually had a hard time picking things out. I still wound up adding a bit of my own money, but way less than in previous years! So what did I get? Check it out below!

This robe, but in pink!

This robe, but in pink!

This bra. It's from the Fashion Show. I'm that cool.

This bra. It’s from the Fashion Show. I’m that cool.

Advertisements

77. Go to a wedding.

(I swear I did not purposely make this #77!!)

Last month, I had the privilege of watching two of my friends from college get married to each other.

I don’t know exactly when I met either Steve or Steph. Steve was in Eight Beat Measure, an a cappella group at RIT. I know how I became friends with the group – Karl rescued me from a shopping cart in the tunnels – but I don’t have stories for how I became friends with each member individually (except for Mark and Brian). Steph was a photo major so I guess I just knew her from being around. She was also in Singers with me and we had some mutual friends.

Then, right at the end of our third year, Steve and Steph met each other. I remember the first party she was at. Steve and Steph began dating shortly after that and when we all returned for our fourth year, she was a regular in the Eight Beat apartment. I was really happy to have another girl around! Steve and Steph kept dating. After graduation, they both moved downstate and eventually got a place right outside the city. Best part? They frequently invite us to visit. [=

Time has flown by since graduation – something that feels like it just happened last year is actually three years behind us! So forgive me when I can’t remember the exact details anymore…first we were wondering when Steve was going to propose and then he did propose and the next thing we knew, we were counting down the DAYS until the wedding.

Steve and Steph’s wedding was just beautiful. I know, I know, all weddings are beautiful BUT THESE ARE MY FRIENDS AND THEY’RE AWESOME SO IT WAS MORE BEAUTIFUL. (My logic hasn’t changed much since graduation.) I could sit here and go on and on about the food and decorations but that’s what actual wedding blogs are for. So instead I will overwhelm all of you with pictures. Enjoy!

The happy couple!

The happy couple!

First Dance

First Dance

Hoskins saved me a dance.

Hoskins saved me a dance.

 

Dave and me

Dave and me

 

The closest thing I have to a group picture

The closest thing I have to a group picture

 

 

31. Get the balance of my student loans under their original amount.

The day I’ve been waiting for since 2009 is finally here…I can actually start paying my loans DOWN now.

At 17 when I was signing off on my first student loans, I understood that I was going to have to pay them back at some point in my life. I even understood that there was something called interest which meant I’d actually owe more than what I had borrowed. I just never realized how MUCH more I would owe. 6% tax on a $50 sweater isn’t much. 6% interest on loans on loans on loans IS.

When I first got out of college, I was working three (very) part time jobs. I couldn’t afford the original monthly payments, so they were lowered based on my income. Even though I was putting a little bit of money towards my loans each month, the amount I owed was going up because my loans were accruing more in interest than I was able to pay each month. Ouch. Now that I have a “real” (full time) job, I pay MORE than my minimum payments so I can pay these loans off faster. I know that I won’t always be able to do that – someday I hope to have a house and a family and if I wait until my loans are paid off to do so, that “house” will be a nursing home!

It was incredibly frustrating to feel like I was getting nowhere with my loans…hitting this point is like just being able to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The next milestone should come in a month or two – I will have paid off one loan in full!

IMG_1734

115. Throw away thirty things.

Earlier this month, I wrote about the cleaning spree that I went on during Thanksgiving Break. I had BAGS AND BAGS of clothes to donate but it was NOTHING compared to how much stuff I threw out.

Some stuff on its way out of my room.

Some stuff on its way out of my room.

While I was visiting my parents, I decided to tackle the closet in my room. Even though I don’t live there anymore, my closet and dresser are completely full with clothes (and other crap) from when I was in high school and college. Somewhere in the back of my head, I thought it was nice because if I forgot to pack something to wear, I had clothes to wear at home. Except. I didn’t. Most of the stuff in there was free t-shirts and pajama pants – I couldn’t make an outfit out of that! I realized that it was useless to keep all that stuff around…all it was doing was making my room look messy. I couldn’t put things away on longer trips home because there was nowhere to put them.

I didn’t throw out EVERYTHING that was in my room. I had to spend some time organizing the stuff that I was keeping – mostly craft supplies and some special shirts (including four RIT Springfest shirts). Some of the stuff that did go? Old electronics, a broken (fake) Coach purse, and a bunch of empty alcohol bottles that were hidden away in the closet. Classy.

I’ve been pretty determined to clean since Thanksgiving, but my apartment is much more overwhelming than my old room and my parents’ house. I know that I haven’t used the stuff in that closet for ages and ages. It was much easier to throw those things out. I also don’t have as much time (or energy) in my own apartment. After a long day at work, I just want to watch 50 episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress) do nothing. I did manage to make some progress in my craft corner – I cleared off the desktop and the middle drawer! It doesn’t sound like much, but it already looks a ton better.

Some helpful/inspirational sites during this cleaning spree? I Heart Organizing – this blog makes me want to go raid an Ikea. SO MUCH INSPIRATION!! Unf*** Your Habitat – while the other blog was inspiration, this blog was motivation. There are lots of little reminders and “Weekend Challenges”. They also have an app which I haven’t bought yet, but maybe it will be a post-Christmas present to myself. Oh, and last but not least – Netflix for marathons of hoarding shows.

Lilly Billy

On the first day of my last year of college, I wrote a small to do list. What was on it? “Write resume, get job, get apartment, get dog.” Those were my goals for the next year. I eventually did all of those things, although it might have taken me longer than a year.

This was the day I adopted Lilly.

This was the day I adopted Lilly.

My dog Lilly is turning three this month. She’s a dachshund mix and we’re pretty sure “mix” includes beagle and jack russell. She’s the absolute perfect size for apartment living and it makes me so happy to come home to her after a long day of work.

IMG_1598

Of course, Lilly herself isn’t perfect…but I will tell anybody who listens that she is! Lilly came from a shelter and was abused in the past so she’s not the best when she meets new people. Eventually she calms down if I hold her, but if she smells cigarette smoke, all bets are off. Honestly, I’m still learning new things about her every day. She’s scared of the weirdest things…including trash cans.

IMG_8789

Lilly also has Diabetes Insipidus. It’s not your run-of-the-mill Stacey-from-the-Baby-Sitters-Club diabetes. Lilly’s body doesn’t make the hormone/enzyme that processes water so she’ll drink and drink and drink and pee and pee and pee. Luckily they make a synthetic version that I give her twice a day that helps with it, but you can definitely tell when it starts to wear off! I have to be careful when I schedule things – if I don’t give her her medicine, she’ll drink all of the water from her cage bowl and pee in her cage. I’m always worried about if she’s getting dehydrated or if she’s uncomfortable.

IMG_9027

Even if Lilly didn’t have some rare disorder, having a dog is hard work! I keep hoping that one day Lilly will suddenly grasp the concept of the toilet, but she has not. Snowing? Gotta take the dog out. Pouring? Gotta take the dog out. There was just a mugging down the block? Still gotta take the dog out. Dogs can also cost quite a bit of money – just like a person she needs food and medicine and bedding. You should definitely take all of these things into consideration before you decide to get a dog! Remember – different breeds require different things!

IMG_9255

I absolutely love my little weirdo – coming home from work has gotten 10x better now that I have Lilly to greet me! Happy (early) 3rd Birthday Baby Girl!

74. Get a Pedicure

I don’t know why it’s taken me forever to write this post…probably because getting a pedicure isn’t all too interesting and it’s not like it was my first pedicure ever. I try to do my nails myself to save money, but before Disney I decided to treat myself and get a pedicure with one of my friends. We went to the place she goes since I don’t really have a “place” here yet.

My favorite part about getting a pedicure is the pampering. You’re in a massaging chair AND they rub your feet and calves during the pedicure. I probably should have gotten one when I returned from Disney…all that walking! But…like I said…I don’t get my nails done that often and I definitely wouldn’t spring for a pedicure in the winter unless I was going on some schmancy tropical vacation!

Pedi time!

Pedi time!

I have some other “pampering” items on my list…unfortunately I just found out that I missed FREE massages during Finals Week…ugh. I guess “soon” isn’t as I thought it was going to be…

34. Donate My Old Clothes

I have a very real fear of becoming a hoarder. I don’t want to wind up on some reality show, screaming at people that are throwing my trash out, so I actively try to clean and get rid of things on a regular basis. This was easier the past eight years because I was moving AT LEAST once a year. Now that I’ve got a “grown up job”, I’m staying in one place longer and it’s easier for things to pile up. Going through my list, I found that I’ve put a few things down that involve cleaning and getting rid of stuff.

There’s a fine line between having a lot of stuff and being a hoarder and I continually walk it. I have a lot of things in boxes at my parents’ house still – things from my room that were boxed up when I got “too old” for them, things boxed up from when my room was being painted, things boxed up from my first college apartment. I know what’s in some boxes – Beanie Babies, Baby Sitters Club books, pictures and mementos – but there are plenty of boxes that I don’t know what’s in them and I can only guess – clothes and homework most likely. My parents keep telling me to go through all this stuff but I’m only home for a few days at a time and looking through boxes in the basement isn’t what I want to spend my time doing. So then they ask if they can just throw them out but they can’t do that – I don’t know what’s in them and I need to see it before it gets thrown out!

I had a total hoarder-style breakdown once. I was thirteen or fourteen and yeah, I had a messy room, I was a teenager. My mom kept telling me to tidy up and go through my piles of stuff, but I hadn’t done anything. One day when my dad and I were out somewhere, my mom decided to do it herself. Her version of cleaning was to just throw everything out. When I came home and saw that my things were missing, I had what could only be described as a panic attack. I remember sitting on the floor of the garage, pulling things out of the trash. One of my friends had passed away a few months before and I was so scared that she had thrown out the binder we had drawn on and the notes we had passed in class. She did. I couldn’t find the notes, but I did manage to save the binder. It’s probably in my parents’ basement now.

I tend to keep things because of the memories associated with them. At some point in high school, I managed to get all of the smaller stuff into a shoebox. That’s completely fine. I have ticket stubs, a signed CD, and a hall pass written out at 8:46 am on September 11, 2001 in the box. My bigger issue is that I wind up hanging on to clothes and clothes take up space. I’m not just talking prom dresses and other important things – I have t-shirts, shorts, sweaters, and pants that no longer fit or I no longer wear that I keep just because of what I wore them to. My mom always questions why I still hang onto them – I have the memory, why do I need the items?

Earlier this month, I went through my dresser and closets and wound up with a pretty sizable pile of clothing that could be donated. I think I did my best to make decisions based on what I would wear. Another incentive was that a Plato’s Closet had just opened in Reading and I desperately needed money after my big Disney trip. I wound up bringing two huge bags to Plato’s, but they only bought a few things. That was the worst – I didn’t care about the money, but I wound up coming home with the stuff and it was hard to resist the urge to take things out of the bags!! Luckily, those bags made it over to Goodwill along with two others.

Clearly I have to work harder than the average person to make sure my living space is clean and organized, but in the past month I’ve made a lot of progress. I’m hoping to go through my clothes again and get rid of even MORE. Also, keep an eye out for a post about cleaning my closet and dresser at home!