Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It's Another Walgreens Week!

Free after rebate this week:
* Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Foundation
* L'Oreal Natural Match Hair Color
* Mitchum Smart Solid Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant

Free after rebate this month:
* Polident Fresh Cleanse
* Fructis Shampoo or Conditioner
* Orajel Bleeding Gum or Sore Mouth Rinse
* No Time for Colds Lozenges
* Viactiv Multi-Vitamin
* Lamisil AT for Athlete's Foot

My New Favorite Toy



A few weeks ago, this rotary trimmer was on sale for $9.99 at Staples. I used three ink coupons and got it for $1 and change. Did I need it? No. Does it make cutting through cardstock SO MUCH FUN??? Yes. Yes, it does.

Embarrassing

Lately, I find myself trying to get into cars that aren't mine. And they aren't necessarily similar cars, either. I drive a two-door Chevy Cavalier; today I tried to unlock (with my remote, thankfully) a four-door Ford Taurus. At least they are both white.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Weird Posting Schedule

I just started a new school term last week, and so posting will be a little weird until I figure out my schedule. The main thing that is throwing me off is that I am gone on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8am until 10pm. Don't worry: this term is only 9 weeks long. I can handle it for that long. I don't like taking a break in the middle of the week like that, but I'm not yet sure what to do. Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I've Been Nominated!


I noticed that I had some site traffic, so I went to see where it was from. Turns out I was nominated for "Blogger You'd Most Like to Meet" at the Share the Love Blog Awards! I don't expect to win since I am up against so many kick-butt ladies, but it really is an honor just to be nominated. ;) And to know that my crazies are so appealing that someone would like to see them in action. So who nominated me (Liz?)? Thank you!

Hideous, Hideous Accountability



(I'm not sure who to credit this photo to since I saved it a long time ago. When I searched for it, it came up in several places. I think it may have been from onemorebite.com).

So. That picture is disgusting, no? People often incorrectly say that muscle weighs more than fat. This is obviously impossible. However, muscle is noticeably more compact than fat, as you can see above.

I decided on my last birthday that I would be in proper shape by my 25th birthday (June 4). Being the procrastinator that I am, I started in January. The lowdown: I need to lose fat, and I need to gain muscle. I also need to start incorporating more fruits and veggies into my diet as well as establishing a consistent work out routine.

I am not setting an amount of fat that I would like to lose. I am just going with whatever my body does. Medically speaking, I am overweight, but I do not appear so visually. I think this is because I am tall and evenly proportioned. Or perhaps I have a reverse body dysmorphia where I think that I look better than I really do? Either way, it's time to get it done. I am simply not healthy.

As a future health psychologist, guess what I tell my patients with depression, anxiety, and pretty much every other disorder to do? That's right. Exercise. Exercise has been clinically proven to be as effective as a mild antidepressant. It also increases stress tolerance. I can no longer be a hypocrite when I tell them to get healthy and I haven't done it myself. Further, there is a history of heart disease in my family. Being a Type A personality, I need as much help as I can get to reduce the incidence of a myocardial infarction.

So far, things are actually going really well. I am staying within my daily caloric limits and am adding fruits and veggies to my diet. I am also exercising, although I want to do more. I have an accountability partner, and now I have you guys to be accountable to as well.

If you need to get healthy but haven't, now is a good time to start. I'll keep you all updated!

Tessa is Going to Attempt to Sew





(Someday I will learn to take better pictures with my digital camera. I will also learn to properly use a photo-editing program. That day is not today.)

I am going to attempt to sew two dresses out of Simplicity 4265, pictured above. The only modification I will make is that I will add wider straps because A) they're more flattering on my square shoulders, and B) I want to wear a regular bra with it. I loathe strapless bras with the fire of a thousand suns. But I digress.

I have sewn before. In high school, I took a "Creative Clothing" class and sewed a gorgeous skirt that was about two sizes too small. It even had a zipper. One year ago, I decided to get back to sewing and I made a skirt. Except I never finished the hem. You see where this is going. My mom is a top-notch seamstress and made most of my clothes when I was little. Since I am unable to convince her to become my personal seamstress, I am going to learn to do it. And enjoy it. And be good at it.

Don't you love the fabrics??? I like vintage-y prints and odd prints. Both are 100% cotton and bought for $2 a yard. I will have to line the white print since I don't do slips, either.

So in a couple of months, ASK ME HOW THIS PROJECT IS GOING. For accountability's sake.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

What I Thought About the Internship Sites in Under 500 Words

Local Site
Pros:
* I won't have to move far.
* I would get my foot in the door at a major healthcare institution.
* I would be starting my local career rather than putting it off for a year.

Cons:
* I would have to work every other weekend and alternating holidays. Ugh.
* It is not exactly the training that I need or want and there is little opportunity to expand the current training.

Iowa Site
Pros:
* I would get my foot in the door at a major government site.
* It is exactly the training I would want.
* It is APA approved and is a site that would look great on my vitae.

Cons:
* I would have to move 6.5 hours away.
* I would have to do a lot of commuting between two locations.
* I don't know if I would ever actually work for said major government sites.
* I don't think I could live on the stipend given and would likely have to take out more loans (although I guess this is a concern in both places).

So there you have it. I don't know who I'm ranking first yet. And I may not wind up with either site if I don't "match". Stay tuned until the end of February for this exciting news! :P

Thursday, January 25, 2007

An Internship Application Story

Thanks to all you kind ladies who wondered where I was! Things are *much* better now that the lights are back on! ;)

Before I tell you how the interviews went, I need to go back to early December to fill you in on the application process. At the end of November/beginning of December, my classmates were starting to hear from sites they had applied to. They were getting rejection letters, but also some invitations to interview. I had nothing. The days crept by- I started to get rejections, but no interviews. There came a point where I was one of only a few who still had no interviews. My school is very small and junior-high-ish in some ways, and people were talking about me. One such comment was "Tessa doesn't have any interviews? I thought she was smart." You get the picture: it was not a fun time.

I am a decent applicant, but I had a few things against me: I am from a Psy.D. program, not Ph.D.; I am doing my academic work in 3 years rather than 4-5 which gives me less client contact hours; and my concentration area (integrated healthcare) is new. This means that I will have no problem finding a job, but that there are few internship sites set up for IHC. All in all, a very frustrating process.

Since I was about 16, God has been dealing with me on the matter of patience. For the record, I *do* have more of it now than I did then. A tiny bit more. I began to realize that this was one of those "dealing with" times. While unhappy about my situation, I soon felt peace about it as I realized that God would provide something for me even if it meant going straight to the dreaded Clearinghouse process to get it (Clearinghouse is when unmatched interns-to-be and unmatched sites try to find each other. It is unpleasant at best.).

On December 11th, I read an email that said that a local site (a hospital) had just been accepted for the 2007-2008 year. The next day I called around like a mad woman trying to locate the director of training. I finally got ahold of him, and he told me to email him my application materials. For most sites, you were to find out by December 15th if you would get an interview. This site would let me know on the 20th one way or another.

On December 15th, I still did not have any interviews. I was saddened by this, but once again felt God's peace. My friend H. and I went on our mini trip and got home on Saturday night. I checked my email on Sunday and found that a site in Iowa had offered me an interview!! I could not believe it!! Then, on the 20th, I was also offered the local interview!!

I was amazed at God's provision. Moreover, I was amazed at how things worked out even though they seemed to be very last minute. This patience stuff really works. ;)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Destruction





We now have power (for the moment at least) after eight days without.
Friday, January 12:
I arrive home safely from my travel in Iowa. The weather is starting to do ice/sleeting rain, but I am just happy that I arrived home before it started. I go to the library for some books and videos in case we are snowed in. Later that night, I hear trees breaking off and transformers catching on fire.
Saturday, January 13:
I wake up to the pictures above. 80% of the trees in my neighborhood are ruined because they have been snapped into pieces or uprooted. Still, the power is on and I blissfully go about my day.
Sunday, January 14:
We don't go to church since the weather is bad. Later that evening, I am watching a show on PBS. The portion that I really wanted to see is coming up when...the lights go out. I am bummed, but think nothing of it.
Monday, January 15:
I decide to think of it as an adventure. After all, surely the power will come back on soon. My mom tries to round up wood to burn in the fireplace. I spend the day reading library books and The Tightwad Gazette. The roads are cleared, so we go to another town to get gasoline and eat (my own town is completely out of power). I am still able to sleep in my own room by using tons of blankets and a sleeping bag.
Tuesday, January 16:
I am starting to lose it. How long can this go on??? I am supposed to be at the medical clinic today to counsel people. I call in and tell them that I'm not coming. Mom boils water so that I can wash my hair and take a sponge bath. We drag my mattress into the kitchen to sleep on since it is about 40 degrees in my room.
Wednesday, January 17:
I wash my hair and take a sponge bath and go in to the medical clinic. Only a few patients show up. I call my friend H. and she tells me to come over and stay with her. Her sister is out of town and I can have her bedroom. I race home, pack the suitcase that was never put away from the Iowa trip, and leave. My mom does not want to go, but I must if I plan on keeping my sanity.
Thursday, January 18:
Sadness. Shopping (apparently I stress shop. Who knew?). I want to go home, but I cannot. That night, H. and I get to go stay in a swanky hotel because one of her friends got a free room. At dinner, Mom calls to tell me the power is finally back on!!!!!
Friday, January 19:
The power is back off, but I decide to go home anyway. After all, how long can it be?
Saturday, January 20:
Nothing.
Sunday, January, 21:
Nothing. I must figure out what to do with myself since class starts this week.
Monday, January 22:
I go to stay with H. again. Mom calls to say the power is back on. I don't trust it.
Tuesday, January 23:
I am at the medical clinic and then in class until 7:30. I call, and the lights are still on. I go home!
I never realized how much I take ELECTRICITY for granted. It was so, so horrible without it. Dark and very cold. And hopeless. Southwest Missouri was declared a "National Disaster Area", whatever that means. I hope I can catch up on sleep and get back to normal. I have quite a few posts in me that will go up in the next couple of days.

Monday, January 22, 2007

NO POWER!

In case you are wondering why I haven't updated, it is because we have been without electricity for over a week. I will update as soon as possible!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blogging on Hold

Well, I am off to the big ol' state of Iowa for my last internship interview. I would appreciate any and all prayers! I will post on this interview process when I get back, but there won't be any new posts until at least Saturday. See you soon!

Run To Walgreens!

If you've never done any of the Walgreens rebates before, this is the month to start. Scratch that, this is the week to start. Rebates and their weekly loss leaders are where this store really shines. At the front of the store pick up a copy of the Walgreens EasySaver Catalog. That is where you fill out the rebate form. Purchase your products, circle the items on your receipt and write the offer number next to the price, mail it in, and get your money back! I opt to get the money loaded back onto my Walgreens giftcard so that I can get the 10% bonus and do the same shopping next month.

*FREE after rebate this week: 2 packs of Stayfree, Carefree, or O.B. products (they are 2/$10 this week and the rebate is for $10 worth) and Excedrin Pain Reliever 24 pack ($3 before rebate and I had a coupon for $1 off so I made $1 on this transaction). Note: I think this $10 rebate will come in the form of a separate gift card and will not be eligible for the 10% bonus.

*FREE after rebate this month: Finesse Shampoo, Conditioner, or Stylers 7-15 oz ($3.99 before rebate), Chloraseptic Defense Strips 40 pack ($2.99 before rebate), Oral-B Cross Action Toothbrush ($4.49 before rebate), and Joint Juice Dietary Supplement 6 pack 8 oz cans ($7.99 before rebate).

*Really good deal this week: Buy $10 of select Kraft/Nabisco, get $5 back. The Post cereals are on sale for 5/$10 this week and I had a $1 off of two coupon. After rebate, I will have 5 cereals for $4, or .80 per box. The only cold cereal I eat is Grape Nuts, although I eat Honey Bunches of Oats dry as a snack. I also got some Shredded Wheat for my mom. I have never paid under $2 a box for Grape Nuts (even the generic is higher!), so .80 each is a screamin' deal!

Now go! Run!

You Know You're Frugal When...

* You accept a bottle of water at an interview even though you're not thirsty just because it's free and you can drink it later.

* You sit beside the mom-to-be at a baby shower and have to physically restrain yourself from pulling all the BRAND NEW patterned and pretty tissue paper from out of the trash bag (The trash bag only had wrapping paper in it. I'm not *that* gross. Or am I?).

Monday, January 08, 2007

5 Things You Didn't Know About Me

The sassy and very stylish Rebecca tagged me for this one! If you have any fashion questions or concerns, go and see her. She has an amazing blog/website.

5 Things You Didn't Know About Me

1) I live at home with my mom. Yes, I am 24. :P She very graciously offered to put me up (or put up with me) while I am doing the school thing. Luckily, we get along great and are good pals.

2) I was the drum majorette in high school and I led the band at the Cotton Bowl and the Cotton Bowl parade in Dallas. It was very cool.

3) I am 5'8.5". I am very bitter because I *thought* I was 5'9".

4) I have two internship interviews this week. One is local and tomorrow, the other is in Iowa and on Thursday. Prayers please!

5) My favorite current television shows are Bones and The Office.

Tupperware!


Here is my first piece of vintage Tupperware, gifted to me by my mom. It is so cute!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Financial Reflections: 2006

Prepare yourself for a long post.

I have been a good shopper all of my life. Learning to shop for clothing on an allowance as a youth made me become like a bloodhound for good deals. From 8th grade on, I purchased about 70% of my wardrobe on an allowance of about $25-30 a month. The rest was filled in by Mom. I chose to do this because I *loved* fashion. I started working when I was sixteen, and I blew all of that money on clothes and other various things as well, but you would be astonished at how much I got for my money.

I was never taught anything about money, budgeting, or finance. I didn't know that you were supposed to tithe 10% until I was a teen. I was okay with knowing nothing about money until last year when my spending had begun to spiral out of control. No, I did not have credit card debt. I have only carried CC debt for brief periods in between receiving loan or grant checks from school, and now I don't even do that. At that time, I found that I was wanting more and more expensive items to fit my "professional" image. I reasoned that within a few years I would be working as a psychologist, and I wanted to look the part (nevermind that most psychologists are, shall we say, not the best dressers!). Suddenly $400 handbags did not seem extravagant. I had forgotten my roots and how to get a good bargain. I felt out of control and I resolved to do something about it.

I felt that there must be a better and cheaper way to live. Looking back, I truly feel it was God's prompting that led me to a life where I feel so much more fulfilled. I feel so much more freedom now that I involve God in my finances. In June of 2006, I began by doing internet searches on frugal living. I found message boards, blogs, and informational websites that amazed me. I learned how to live on very little and the importance of doing so. Reading all of this information led me to read finance and frugal living books. In the last six months of last year I read: Your Money or Your Life, The Millionaire Next Door, Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Complete Tightwad Gazette, Living Well on a Shoestring, and several others. I began to modify my behavior in the following ways:

1) I kept track of spending to see where it went.
2) I began using coupons on products that I normally purchase.
3) I began looking for printable or regular coupons every time I knew I was going to eat out or visit certain retailers.
4) I tracked how much money I had earned in my lifetime. This was *very* depressing since I had nothing to show for it.
5) I began to go for weeks without needing to shop. Or wanting to shop.
6) I found cheaper resources for things I normally purchased (e.g. the library bookstore, using Staples ink coupons for school supplies and ink cartridge purchases, J.C. Penney end of season clearance sales )
7) I saved $1000 for a baby emergency fund. I still haven't read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover since I'm too cheap to buy it, but I follow many of his principles and visit a messageboard about his steps regularly.
8) I began using rebates to get free products.
9) I learned to view frugality as a game or competition rather than as something hideous that I had to do. It truly is fun to me.

I have done well in the six months of last year, but I also need to do some improvements. The reality of my schooling is that I will have about $130,000 in debt when I graduate. Thankfully, that will be my ONLY debt. I have plans to pay it off in under ten years, and this is not a negotiable thing for me. I will not have that much debt (plus compound interest!) hanging over my head for thirty years. There are loan repayment programs that give you $20,000-$25,000 a year towards loan payments if you work in "underserved" areas. I plan on enrolling in such a program if they are still funded when I graduate. However, I am confident that with the skills I am learning that I will be able to get out of this debt completely on my own if need be. On one messageboard that I read, a couple got out of $70,000 in debt in three years by working as much as possible and throwing all their extra money at it. This is very encouraging to me!

I also wrote down some financial goals for 2007. If you are not in the habit of writing down your goals, whatever they may be, I encourage you to do so. Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are far more likely to achieve them. I won't bore you with all of them, but here are a few:

1) Establish a budget when I begin internship and have steady income. There is a great online calculator for this at Crown Financial Ministries.
2) Save all windfalls rather than frittering them away on stupid stuff (rebate money, consignment shop checks, anything extra).
3) Shop less. Shop secondhand when possible.
4) Make do with what you have rather than buying new.
5) Pay off car early (in April) and continue to save car payment amount so that I can purchase my next car with cash.
6) When I begin internship, pay whatever I can on my student loans even though I am not yet in repayment.
7) Live below your means!
8) Continue to thank God for His provision and learn to see His hand in everything. He provides me with everything, both financial and "things"-wise. All that I have is His.

Happy New Financial Year. :P

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Baby Gift, Part Deux


I really hope 'deux' is french for two. I took Spanish. :P Anyway, it's time once again for another baby shower. Price breakdown:
* Toy wagon: $2.50
* Pink flowered onesie and doctor doll that teaches snapping, tying bows, etc.: $1.58 total (used $10 coupon at J.C. Penney)
* Clothes hangers: $1.00
* Green Eggs and Ham book: FREE from purchasing 2 Dr. Seuss Aquafresh toothpastes (which I used in my shoebox gifts at Christmas)
* Courteous Kids books: $1.57 each, for a total of $3.14
* Baby softball: FREE
* Outlet protectors: FREE (and I might point out that they are wrapped in cellophane that I salvaged from a Christmas gift)
GRAND TOTAL: $8.22
I tried to wrap ribbon around the entire gift, but I had some serious bow drama. I wound up just shoving it in the front (it's that blue thing). For $8.22 I am very pleased. :)

A Problem???

I wonder if it is considered "having a shopping problem" or "a fashion addiction" when one emails a local news correspondent to ask her where she got the adorable retro-looking one buttoned orange jacket with the scooped neckline. Hmm. And if said news correspondent emailed a person back with buying details, would it be considered "a problem" if one were to track the adorable jacket down at a boutique in California?

Nah. Sounds normal to me.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

20 Weeks

Twenty weeks, y'all. I have twenty weeks of classes left. And then I will be done with course work FOREVER. My classes don't begin until the 22nd of this month, and I also have a week or so of a between-term break in there, but it still boils down to twenty weeks of class. At the end of June I will be done. Done. DONE. And then I will be on internship somewhere for a year actually doing what I have spent so many years learning. I have been in school since I was five. I have not had more than two weeks off of school since I graduated college in May of 2004 since I go to school year round. But now, it is all suddenly worth it. And for the first time in years, I feel really happy about school.

Twenty weeks.

Monday, January 01, 2007

More Shopping!!





Last year, I noticed that the time to shop for fall/winter clothing lines is after Christmas through the end of February since prices are dramatically reduced at that time. That is a time when I am typically low on money, so I don't always get to do all of the shopping that I would like to do. Since becoming more frugal and financially responsible back in June, I was able to make sure that I did have some money to shop now. :) I have wanted these Target flats since they first came out, but the price was never low enough for me. They are now 50% off, meaning they are $12.49 for leather flats! I decided to get both. I am not one of those people who refuse to have duplicates of things in their wardrobe. Rather, I find that duplicates can often be a very practical purchase. I walk around a lot when I am at the clinic, so practical shoes are a must for that environment.

I also got a tote bag marked down to $2.74 to use as part of a birthday gift for a friend. Target had free shipping on women's clearance on orders $25+. I also used a 10% off coupon code, which took care of the tax. Finally, I went through Ebates for 4% of my total purchase back. I paid $25 and some change for two pair of shoes and a tote bag (and I'll get ~$1 back through Ebates!). I'm almost done shopping for this season, but I would like to get some Ann Taylor cashmere if the price goes low enough for me. :P

Excuse My Bitterness

I have been sick for nearly a week with some kind of raging cold/flu hybrid. I found out that most of the cold and flu meds over the counter now are NOT EFFECTIVE. That is because they are missing the wondrous ingredient pseudoephedrine. Yesterday I was at Wal-Mart with my mom grocery shopping and getting some more meds. I had hoped to get some Sudafed (the good kind), but the pharmacy was locked up tight, keeping the good drugs away from poor Tessa. I realize meth production is a problem, particularly in my state. I have evaluated/tested many former meth users, and the side effects are long-term and pervasive. They are very poor historians and have memory problems. Some have also been paranoid. General cognitive functioning is lowered. These side effects will never go away as meth use permanently alters the brain. But SERIOUSLY, I need my pseudoephedrine when I am sick. Moral of this story: don't do drugs, kids.