Kuma the Shiba Inu’s Birthday 

Collage of three dogs’ pictures Yesterday was very special. We remembered our Veterans in the US, and it was also Kuma’s 12th birthday. He invited Riley and Tofu to his party, even though their energy is a little much for him. 

Riley and Tofu, playing with a ball

Riley and Tofu, fighting over a ball


Kuma’s dad brought him over, along with extra gifts. I made him his silly hat. He enjoyed his doggie churro! 

Kuma having a snack
I am so lucky to get to celebrate with such a special dog! He was my first Shiba, and will always be my baby. 

Kuma in his birthday hat
Does anyone else throw their dog a birthday party? 

Jillian 

Simplify Sunday- Annual Goals Update 

  birthday drinks 
I cannot believe it’s been seven weeks since I started my new annual goals. I have no idea how that happened. Counting the weeks has made me feel pretty guilty about how little I’ve done. Still, I have done a couple of things that are important to me. 

As pictured here, I went out for dinner and drinks in a joint birthday celebration with my beautiful friend, M. Our birthdays are five days apart, and we usually buy each other gifts. We do often go out for happy hour as well, but not always. I know that she is big into experiences instead of stuff, so I thought she would be the perfect person to start working on that goal with. 

It helped that it was my birthday, too. It’s a lot easier to say to someone, “Hey, let’s go out and try something fun together to celebrate our birthdays instead of buying tangible gifts” than it is to say “You know how I usually take you out for happy hour and give you a present for your birthday? Well, I know you probably don’t even remember what I gave you last year (and hey, neither do I), so let’s just skip that part and spend a little more money on the experience”. The second way you just sound like a cheapass. I haven’t quite figured out to spin that yet. 

M and I had so much fun hanging out. That’s what sucks about growing up- the more responsibilities you have, the more rare that time with your friends is. We used to hang out a few times a week, and now we’re lucky if it’s a few times a month. I loved going the experience instead of stuff route, and I definitely want to keep that going. 

I automated my emergency fund deposits for each month. I’ve had two go in so far, which is awesome. I have really not saved anything over the last year in my emergency fund, because everything I’ve put in has come out at some point. Last year was super expensive! I also checked my credit, and didn’t see any red flags. My score is the highest it’s ever been, which was exciting!

Maybe I find strange things exciting, but I think those are my biggest accomplishments so far on my list. Simplifying gift giving and saving, but in totally different ways. Anyone else trying anything new this year that they’ve managed to stick to?

Jillian 

My 35 Project- Update

img_2781-1Last year on my birthday, I started a project- 35 things to do before I turned 35. It was a mixed bag. I did have to make some alterations to the list after a big life change, but for the most part it remained the same throughout the year.

Things that went well:

The only category that I accomplished every single item was house/minimalism. I guess I should have seen that coming. I love to see clean, simple spaces. I also obsessively organize and discard things when I am stressed or anxious. Sometimes I see this as a bad thing, as I know it’s one of my biggest coping mechanisms. However, the fact is that I love the results. Until I started blogging, I didn’t really realize that minimalism was such a trend. This is probably the first time in my entire life that I have been trendy.

I loved having it be a priority to see people that I love and send mail. Sure, I wasn’t 100% successful on these, but it felt good to flat out tell myself that I “had” to do these things. Investing in relationships is the best thing that I can do for myself. My loved ones make life worth living. Sometimes it feels indulgent to be spending time being happy instead of doing chores. Could this philosophy be more dumb? Now that I have realized I feel that way, I can remind myself what I really want my life to be about. I also got to take a trip to Vermont to see a friend and meet her new baby, and spent time with my puppy taking her to classes.

Paying off my student loans was an incredible feeling. I literally cannot remember the time when I didn’t have this debt hanging over my head. It’s been so long. I feel like the world is at my fingertips. I’ve been putting so much money toward debt for so long, and this feels great! My goal for the next year is to save this money and build a “grown-up” emergency fund. The one I’ve had while paying off debt has never been very much. It has been able to cover my true emergencies, which I am very proud of, but I would like it to be enough to give me peace of mind.

I went to yoga less than half as much as I had intended. However, I’m still counting this as a win because I did find a yoga studio that I love. I also got a great deal on a membership ($29 a month, unlimited- normally $99). If I go once a week, my membership is still cheaper than paying per visit; and now I have no excuse not to go more. I can’t do yoga at home. I love the idea, but I will end up with two dogs on my head and then giving up and taking a nap.

Things that I learned:

I learned that I actually visit my grandparents more than I realized. There is a lot of guilt in my family about visiting grandparents, but meeting my goal of once a month was not hard at all. Most months it was more often. Tracking this made me feel like I’m not such a bad person, after all.

My blog energy definitely ebbs and flows more than I thought. My initial posting schedule (at least once a day) was just insane and definitely did not pan out. I didn’t want to post just to post, of course. Next year my goal will be once a week. If I do more, that’s great, but I don’t want to pressure myself.

I went to therapy for several months. Therapy is something that is brutally hard for me, because I am not good at opening up on a deep level. I do see the irony of this, given my blog and all. This helped me make some very tough decisions, and I am grateful that I pushed myself to be introspective. It hurts, but sometimes life does. Ya know?

Things that didn’t go so well:

Weight loss was a total fail, no way around it. I actually weigh more than when I started. I wish I could change my thinking to remember that this truly is a health and quality of life issue.

My exercise goals completely tanked. I managed to work out four times a week… well. It’s just embarrassing. You can check for yourself if you want. I lowered my goal to twice a week for next year. I feel like that’s so low it’s not worth doing, but I know that is a defeatist attitude and one that I don’t want to have. If I feel I can’t reach the entire goal, I tend to do nothing. I want to learn that doing something in a less extreme manner is still okay and worth doing.

I am going to be doing a list of 36 things to do before I turn 36. This list will be more oriented toward things that I enjoyed this year, and experiences that I want to have. Is anyone else doing a list?

Jillian

How To Make Fancy Hair Ties and Headbands

  

I’m guessing that if you have longish hair, you may have heard of this crazy phenomenon. Normally, elastic hair ties come in bags of approximately eight million (okay, 30ish) for maybe $3.99 at most. Sure, it sucks because you eventually lose all the good colors and in the end are stuck with only some kind of hideous day glow orange and maybe a few almost broken random greens, but certainly nothing you want to use at work. Still, you’re only out four bucks to go buy new ones, so no harm no foul. Several years ago some teenagers girls started selling fold over elastic hair ties, which will run you about $2 EACH. For one. I’m not one to hate on an entrepreneurial spirit, especially from a woman, but come on. The price gap here is just absurd. 

I did the obvious thing. 

I bought two packages. 

Isn’t that what any self respecting woman would do? Spend $12 on nine hair ties (see, I got a DEAL)? 

The thing is, the marketing got to me. They promise to not leave a pony tail bump or pull out your hair, and they’re soooooo pretty. I ended up loving the thin ones I got, but the thick ones are absurd for my fine hair and I use them for things like holding together markers. I am addicted and I wanted more, but I knew this was absurd and I wasn’t buying them. There are so many guides for this online, but here is my quick version anyway. 

Step 1: decide if you have thin or thick hair. I’m positive you already know this. Most people seem to use the 5/8″ fold over elastic, but that doesn’t work for my hair at all. I get the 3/8″. I’ve also given these as gifts to many people, and they seem to work pretty well for them, too. 

Step 2: buy fold over elastic. You can buy it at a craft store like Joann’s, but I haven’t had luck finding the 3/8″- or anything not in a kiddie pattern. I buy mine on Etsy wherever I can find the best deal. Five yards will make about 20 hair ties. 

Step 3: cut the elastic. The great thing about making them yourself is you can make them exactly the size you want, but standard is nine inches for a hair tie and 18 inches for a headband (use these at the gym, they don’t slip too much and keep bangs out of your face!). Don’t pull the elastic when you’re measuring, just lay it flat. 

Step 4: tie a simple knot at the end, then pull it until it’s tight. You can either stop here or finish the ends. 

Step 5: I like to cut the ends at a slant so they look cuter, and touch them to a flame (carefully, with a lighter) so that they don’t unravel. People will tell you they don’t unravel anyway, but I am OCD and I respectfully disagree. 

Bam, you’re done! I paid $8.95 including shipping for 20 yards of fold over elastic. I had four different colors of five yards each, and made 14 hair ties and three headbands with each color. So, I spent $.11 per hair tie and $.22 per headband! 

These would make a great stocking stuffer or birthday gift. Everyone I give them to loves them (or is too nice to tell me differently), and it’s fun to give something useful and handmade. You can put them in a cute tiny pouch, or cut a small piece of cardboard and wrap it in wrapping paper, then put the hair ties around it.

Have fun! Let me know if you try it!

💛 Jillian

Riley the Shiba’s First Birthday 

August 31st was Riley’s first birthday. I can’t believe she is already one! She got a few presents and has been having so much fun playing with her new toys.

I forced her to wear the new dress that I bought her, and she actually tolerated it pretty well.

Riley having a little snack from her pile of loot, and Kuma looking on in jealousy.

Sitting like a good girl

Sleepy one year old!
sleepy Shiba

Does anyone else celebrate their pets’ birthdays? I just can’t help it, she’s so precious.

❤ Jillian


Weekend Update- Staycation

My dear friend and bear, K, came to visit last weekend. She arrived Thursday night and we ran all over the place. We did way too much shopping and had so many delicious snacks.

Our Snickertinis at Bartini– my new favorite happy hour. $4 martinis and a huge menu of food, including fondue. snickertinis

I hate beer, I really do. However, a nice guy was handing out samples of this at Cost Plus and umm I just can’t even tell you. It really tastes like cherries. It’s amazing. cherry beer 

This one actually happened last weekend. J and I went to a picnic to benefit Shiba Inu rescue, and he won an awesome gift basket in the auction. On Saturday he gave me this super cool clock by Modern Moose from the basket! 

Desserts from the awesome Papa Hadyn on NW 23rd. K got the bourbon ball and sparkling wine, and I got baked Alaska. I had always wanted to try it, and it did not disappoint!desserts

We spent some time Sunday afternoon at Powell’s, the world’s best bookstore. I bought three books, but this was the one that got away. Next time!     powell's 

My grandma turned 90 today, so we had a party yesterday to celebrate.  grandma gladys
K’s survival kit for the train. Whipped cream vodka, gummy bears, and 7-Up. Nice ending to the weekend!emergency kit 

Something else I tried that I had always heard was great was Sizzle Pie. They had three vegan options out for slices. I could not believe it. They also do half slices, so I got to try two flavors. No picture because it disappeared in a flash! The flavors I tried were crazy- one had marinara, sweet onion, and nutritional yeast. The other had tofu, hashbrowns, chiles, fake bacon, and olive oil. I am probably missing some toppings, but it was nuts. Go try it if there is one near you!

❤️ Jillian