7 Ways to Be More Frugal

i never realized that i was very good at saving money, because in my adult life it’s usually been necessary. being frugal feels normal, for me.

here’s a fact: i was financially independent starting at 17 and i put myself through college. i began living off campus and paying rent starting at 19, at dee’s house. a large portion of my tuition was covered by scholarships, but a good chunk of it wasn’t and in order to stay in school, i had to come up with $10Kish every year, in addition to living expenses. i never thought about it as a whole picture at the time – it was more a constant series of “i need $500 for this month’s rent”, “i need $300 for books”, “i need to put gas in my car”. so, i went about making the money i needed to, and cutting costs where i could. i developed some habits, and they’ve stuck with me over the years.

here are some of the things i do to save dollars:

1) i cut my own hair. i’m kind of lucky on this one, because i have curly hair and mistakes are easily forgiven. but fear not – there are a plethora of youtube tutorials on how to do this yourself, with good results. i think the last time i had a salon cut was three years ago – they’re insanely expensive in nyc, and i don’t miss them. also fancy environments make me feel weird and anxious, so i’m totally fine sticking to my bathroom. pro tip though: do order a pair of actual haircutting scissors. they’re not expensive and they do make a difference (spoken from experience).

2) i’m not fancy: i have bags from payless and clothes from target and old navy. i let myself buy things only when i actually need them – as in, when they are replacing something else that has worn out, or when i’ve noticed an emerging need over time (such as, “wow, self, it’s 60 degrees every day and you have tank tops. maybe it’s time for sweaters”). most of the time, i just tell myself no, and delete the email/click away from the tab that’s enticing me with something out of my price range. i refuse to put clothes on credit cards, and force myself to stick to the money i actually have. i’m an abstainer, not a moderator, so this works really well for me.

3) i cook: i know, some of you are totally averse to this, and I GET IT. there have been weeks on end where i relied on frozen pot pies and pizza delivery because LIFE. i know. that said, if you can make time for it (and you can), you’ll save a very huge amount of restaurant/delivery money. and start basic! roast a chicken (it’s actually really easy – here’s a great starter recipe), do rice+beans+veggies, or omelettes, or a simple pasta. you don’t need to martha stewart it out here. save that shit for the weekend. take one hour on a sunday and chop a bunch of veggies, and some lettuce for salads – most of that will keep in the fridge for the week, and you’ll save time when you’re tired after a workday.

4) i plan: so when you get to cooking level 2, you can do things like note when meat is on sale and dedicate a large portion of your grocery budget to it. then you have a lot of chicken (or beef, or whatever). you’ll get to the point where you always have something in the freezer, and you got it on sale because you are SMART. also in the food realm – plan ahead for your meals. even, like, two of them. this is where the sunday prep time comes in super handy. real life example – tonight, i made this butternut squash soup (and it’s pretty great, so i’ll recommend it). last night, i was lacking some of the ingredients, but i did have the squash and the sweet potatoes and the onions so i chopped them up and saved them in the fridge. once i picked up the stock and apple i needed tonight, throwing everything together was SO easy.

5) i use things until they’re done: look, I KNOW THIS SOUNDS INSANE, and you’re free to laugh at me in the comments. the comments are there for you, but this is for me, so here’s my freak flag. you know white stick deodorant? you know how when you’re done using it, there’s a little plastic grid left, with deodorant stuck in it’s squares? yes. i poke out the deodorant, put it in a plastic snack bag, and apply it with my fingers for as long as it lasts, which is usually another two weeks. something less insane: i try to apply this philosophy to as many consumable items as i can. and this goes perfectly with the next item…

6) i fix things: i have an ikea dresser that’s at least seven years old. it’s a lovely dresser and it’s in excellent cosmetic condition. except that thing happened where all the drawer bottoms started sagging. so i googled how to fix it (hint: it involves strong glue) and i fixed it, one drawer at a time, for a week. i have a cheap full length mirror. the mirror started to detach from the frame on the back. duct tape, guys. duct tape. it leans against the wall – the back doesn’t need to be pretty, and the mirror still works just fine. most of the things you own are reparable, with a little research and time. did you know you can fix a cracked eyeshadow or blush? do you know how to sew a basic tear on a clothing item, or replace a button? it’s totally worth learning.

7) i research: do yourself a favor right now and sign up for ebates and fatwallet. they are not scams – when you visit certain retailers through either of those sites and make a purchase, you will get a small percentage of cash back. is it huge? nope, not at all, but it’s something. ebates even has a chrome extension which will LIGHT UP when cash back is available. don’t ever make an online purchase without checking retailmenot. i actually don’t use these (YET!), but there are services that will track amazon items for you and let you know when the prices dip. camelcamelcamel is one, but there are others. also, just google the stuff you want and see if you find better prices somewhere else – i just saved $60 on a pair of awesome boots because i used google’s shopping search. i ended up buying them from a site called rogansshoes.com, but what do i care? spend five minutes with google, and your checking account will thank you.

8) i wait: this is a biggie. most of the time, when i want something that’s non-trivial, i wait a while to get it. either to make sure i really need it, or to make sure it’s worth the expense. sometimes this lands me in a spot where i feel sort of like a hobo (such as earlier this winter when none of my boots kept my feet dry), but hey, i’ve made sure that i’ve gotten as much use as i can out of a product. i wait until things i want go on sale. my advice is this – pick a dollar amount – let’s say it’s $30. the next time you want something that’s over $30, make yourself wait a week. do you still need or want it? how strong is that want? if it’s not quite strong enough, wait another week. usually you can wait out your own desires, or at least save them until your birthday or another gift-giving holiday.

how do you find ways to save some dollars here and there?

list #1: small joys

kim is working on a years worth of lists, and she got the idea from hulaseventy. i’m maybe giving it a shot as well. this year i’m looking inward, not outward. i’m finding the small happinesses that already exist in my world, and i am focusing on them and savoring them. let me tell you the things that have brought me joy.

tumblr: for the longest, i didn’t really get tumblr. i’m still not entirely sure i do. but i’ve made mine a place for pictures i find peaceful, calm, and inspiring in a way. i’m learning my style, what i like, what appeals to me. why i’ve avoided doing such a thing is a much longer story that i’m not sure i can properly articulate, but i love having this small piece of real estate that’s devoted to my own calm. you can follow me!

wantable: i gave up on birchbox a while back, and judging from various online reviews i’ve made the right decision. last year i got into julep, and i still love it but i’ve racked up SUPER MUCH nail polish so i’m going to slow down for a bit. wantable’s a little pricier than your average monthly makeup box ($36/mo.), however, you get a few full size products and i love how specific their quiz is to determine what’s good for you. bonus – there are also options for accessories and intimates boxes! (yes, i want to try them.)

outside time: because i bought my boyfriend a remote control quadcopter for christmas, we’ve been making a point to get outside to fly it. i love prospect park – it’s one of the main reasons i wanted to move to brooklyn. we had a really awesome day after it snowed hanging out by a frozen over lake and taking our dog, sophie, to play in the snow. that’s a video there, and you’re going to want to click it.

lord of the rings: i knew nothing of these stories until i was into my twenties, and even then, the actress couldn’t get me to fully pay attention for ten hours of the extended edition movies. fortunately for everyone, i learned over time, and because of her, i love to watch them around the holidays – she always watches them while doing all of the gift wrapping for her family. i was a little late this year, but we watched them last week and oh man, i had the most cathartic cry after (some of) our heroes sailed off to the undying lands.

my new teacups: i’ve been on the hunt for amazing teacups for a little while, and when i spotted these anthropologie teacups (you don’t even have to click because you know how amazing they are if i said anthro), i needed them. luckily, my boyfriend’s dad was on the hunt for a christmas gift for me, because i was absolutely not shelling out $12/cup for myself. now i have three beautiful teacups that bring me great joy. in addition to tea, they are the perfect size to make a microwave mug brownie.

my month of paleo.

towards the end of 2012, i knew i needed some kind of reset with my eating habits. my sugar consumption had gone kind of overboard, i was slowly realizing that i’m at least mildly lactose intolerant, and while i’m not typically a new year’s resolution maker, it was just an easy marker for making a change. i have never in my life been a thin person, and i’m working on accepting the idea that i never will be, so this wasn’t overtly about weight loss. i’ve also struggled with eating disorders and eating disordered thinking for a long time, so i try to be very careful with the idea of a diet, because chances are i’ll get really obsessive and unhealthy over it (although most of this country is obsessive and unhealthy about weight in general, but my body positivity rant is for another time). mostly, i knew i wasn’t doing it right and i wanted to hit the reset button. a month is an easy goal to try to stick to.

all of this in mind, sometime in december, i decided that for the month of january i was either going to go very low carb (which i’ve done before), or i was going to go paleo. for the uninitiated, paleo eating is meant to mimic that of our hunter gatherer ancestors, and you eliminate any and all grains, dairy, legumes, refined sugar and all of it’s cousins, and really, processed food. it’s meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. basically.

so here are the things i’ve learned along the way.

1. eating well is very expensive: the bouncer and i have typically spent approximately $100/week on food for the two of us for the house, and that’s with eating lunch out several days a week at work, and ordering takeout once a week-ish. we probably spent $650-$700 this month on food which is RIDICULOUS. that said, we bought lunch at work a lot less and have barely ordered takeout or eaten out at all. i also needed a bunch of paleo “supplies” like coconut oil – which i spent $30 on for the month, but i have a pretty huge jar now which will last me a while. eating produce and meat all of the time is very pricey, and it really highlights the problems with the politics that surround food in this country. again, a rant for another time. you’re supposed to eat as cleanly as possible on paleo – go organic as much as you can, do grass fed, antibiotic free, humanely raised meats – and i couldn’t do that all the way. i got a lot of nitrate and nitrite free bacon, and i’ve made a habit of buying hormone and antibiotic free chicken, but buying that kind of meat around my area of brooklyn is CRAZY expensive and i was already going way out of budget for this experiment.

2. you actually get used to it pretty quickly: the initial transition is kind of rough, but not for very long. the first week is fine – when you cut carbs in general your hunger cycles change within a few days, or mine did anyway (and usually do). i no longer got hungry quickly and intensely – it came on really slowly and i could go a lot longer between big meals. you can blame this on blood sugar and hormones like leptin, i think. it was about week two where i really craved things, and after that it was smooth sailing. i’d adjusted to my new foods, my new style of cooking, and the process of making sure i had snacks and lunch packed every day.

3. i haven’t really lost weight: this could come in time, or it could not. i know i’m definitely less bloaty and a tiny bit smaller, but for the most part i am the same. i have, however, not been skimping on nuts or fruit, or counting calories. i hate saying this because it feels like an excuse, but i’m pretty sure i have a difficult metabolism and i hold onto fat REALLY well. also, i’m not exercising (i think that’s a project for february). i did some research and i think if i wanted to truly focus on weight loss, i would need to watch my sugar and also start working out. i’m choosing not to be too concerned about it.

4. my energy levels haven’t changed: if you follow my life at all you know i struggle with low energy fairly consistently, and this was no different. i actually felt very, very tired during the middle of the month, but i think i was not eating enough veggies/protein/complete meals and too many nuts/fruits/snacky things. i’ve evened out, but i haven’t noticed a really significant uptick in energy or mental clarity.

5. you’ve got to do it the way that works for you: while i was intrigued by the idea of the whole 30, and it was pretty close to what i actually did, i can’t say i did one because i did knowingly go out of bounds. i had sushi twice, and frequently let myself have a square or two of dark chocolate in the evenings. i ate a few pieces of cheese. i did make sure to REALLY enjoy what i ate when i went off the plan, and i made a very conscious effort to make these small indulgences not in response to emotions. the concept of emotional eating actually makes me nauseous to think/talk about because it feels so deep, private, and shameful to me. what i learned is that i do have the power to treat or soothe myself in other ways, and there are very awesome ways to have tiny indulgences that are glorious and do not feel like derailment.

6. i drank: alcohol is off limits on paleo/whole 30, i think, but i drink pretty infrequently and i wasn’t concerned about it. i had a bunch of wine when i was out for alana’s birthday and i had the very best time, and, maybe not coincidentally, also drank some when i was out with alana and bob the other night. there are times when i unintentionally go months without drinking so, i’m not concerned.

7. this is totally do-able: on february first, i had a salad for lunch. i really don’t have a strong desire to go back to processed, shitty food that isn’t really food, and i’ve developed these habits so i’m of the mind that i’m going to stick with this as a lifestyle, for the most part. the bouncer decided to give himself 1-2 “cheat” meals a week and maybe i’ll follow that path, but i really enjoy the way i’m eating, and i feel like it’s become easier to make healthy food choices. i’m posting this after a week long vacation, and even though i was not at all strict when i was away, i found myself craving the good food i’d eaten throughout january (and i have some cauliflower rice on the stove right now).

8. i do want some modifications for the long term: i am really interested in beans. and cheese. i plan on not being so strict with my consumption of whole grains (quinoa, lentils, etc.) and while i intend to be more conservative with my dairy, i am not living without cheese. have i emphasized cheese enough?

more than anything, i’m proud of myself for making a decision and following through with it. i’m great at making grand, sweeping, declarations of What I Will Now Do with regards to food, exercise, and eating and i assign a lot of rules and i make shit really hard and i always fail. i wasn’t perfect with this, but i did an amazing job and shocked myself with what i am capable of.


gratitude, volume 1

i was asked by amanda a few weeks ago to participate in #30daysofthanks, which is a thing that goes around these grand interwebs every november. i didn’t answer, for a few reasons. the first is that i was traveling, which is not my natural state and not all that easy for me (so much worry, so many things to do and take care of). the second is that i’m pretty bad at gratitude (but that’s probably all the more reason why i should practice it). the third is that i have been really deep in the hole of feelings. i have a whole post written about that, and we’ll see if it sees the light of day.

today, however, has been a blessed reprieve. i have had a glorious brooklyn autumnal morning and early afternoon, and since we are ten days into the gratitude project, i can come up with 10 things i am grateful for. also, i like lists.

1. my king size memory foam bed. yep. this is shallow. i’m ok with that. every single time i travel, i am super grateful to come home to my bed which is made of pure awesome. the bouncer is bouncer sized and in order to avoid nightly smotherings i demanded a king size bed. when we came up with a memory foam for $500 on amazon, we were sold. at least three times a week, we audibly sigh with relief and joy while sinking into the bed at the end of the night.

2. my work, and my coworkers. i’m fortunate enough to have a job i really like, most days, with people who make me smile and laugh, all of the days. i love that i work for a cause, i love that my natural talents are involved in my work. there are days, especially recently, where it is astonishingly difficult to make myself get out of bed. it’s a little easier knowing i’m about to spend 8 hours at a place that i’m usually really fond of.

3. lessons and realizations, even if they are old news. most of the time, i’m pretty sure no one likes me. and you know, i’m kind of safe and comfortable in that place – i would open myself to disappointment if i did think that i was likable and then no one liked me, so it’s just much easier to presume the worst and get on with life. but i forget that we are not robots, i especially am not a robot, and that kind of life, it hurts all of the time. so when i step outside of a bar, where a very sweet and cool and nice person is hosting a meetup with lots of other sweet, cool, and nice people, and i look down at myself and think, “remember, you are not like them. you are different and they will never appreciate you, because you’re not worthy,” and i can reverse that and answer myself and say, “no. you are all living, breathing humans who work to earn money and laugh and have dreams, and you are not all that different, and you know, everyone’s been really nice to you so maybe your bullshit self talk is exactly that, bullshit.” this, this is a good moment, if i can believe this for a second or a minute or maybe even an hour.

4. saying fuck it, and moving on. some things are not worth your time. some actions are inexplicable, some cruelties will never be explained. we all experience this world differently, and sometimes you just won’t get why person x did thing y. and you know what? when that thing is mean, when it hurts you, when you even suspect that you aren’t worthy of that treatment, when you try to handle it the mature way with communication and openness and vulnerability and it just doesn’t work, you are so allowed to say fuck it and move along. as a matter of fact, i encourage you to do so. it’s freeing.

5. tea. what the hell did i do before i was a tea drinker?

6. the circumstances that conspired to have me in a 2,500 square foot mansion in beverly hills for a week. i mean, it took a lot to make this happen. one of the bouncer’s friends was getting married near LA. he was a groomsman, and so were many of his/our friends. hotels nearer to the wedding were pricey. blahblity blah. at the end of the day, seven of us booked this giant, five bedroom, four bathroom, fancy ass house for a week. there was a pool and a hot tub and a full set of wine glasses and truly, this was all i needed. LA would never have been on my “places i need to go” list, and i can think of more desirable to me vacations to take with the money i spent on this trip, but really, i had an amazing time in a new and fascinating place with people i knew but had never gotten to bond with. really, that’s pretty awesome.

7. my boyfriend. this is sappy and you can feel free to skip it, and i will not blame you because other people’s sap is usually boring. i am never going to be accused of being the easiest person to love or live with or hell, spend more than an hour with. in the past three weeks, he has held me when i’ve been sobbing, probably past the point when his arms fell asleep. he’s dealt with me going from fine to really not fine in less than five seconds (i am not exaggerating). he has managed my intense and irrational frustration and anger with grace. he has never even raised his voice, at me. he tries every single day to let me know how much he cares, he asks me every morning how i am feeling, and that means how i am really feeling, and he pets my head every night until i fall asleep. we are not perfect and we have our hurdles but god, i can’t imagine how my heart would fare without him. i can’t. (and this is not an easy thing for me to admit to myself or you, so).


9. new york bagels. and maybe bacon cream cheese.

10. the internet.  fairly self explanatory, no? where else can i find new friends, buy household supplies and groceries, and look at cat videos?


how to manage your weekly foodstuffs

starting at the end of last year i made a fairly significant change in my food habits. i mean, i am not anywhere near perfect (as my foursquare checkins at wafels and dinges will tell you), but nearly every day, i eat a salad for lunch. and i bring it from home. and i pack one for the bouncer too. i also usually have a home cooked dinner – the bouncer’s idea of “dinner” is “pick up my phone and see what’s close by on grubhub” – and i am wise enough to know this is far from economical or healthy.

when we first moved in here i was a little obsessed with the idea of domesticity and i was trying to make magazine and pinterest meals every night. guys, this doesn’t work when you have a full time job. it just doesn’t. i’ve narrowed it down to a rotating standard of 4-5 easy and healthy things (including keeping salad ingredients at the ready), and if i want to do something fancier i’m saving it for a weekend. some of our faves are crockpot pulled pork, fajita night (i put mine in…you guessed it, a salad), roast chicken with veggies, whole wheat ravioli with chicken sausage. the theme to follow for these dinners is quick – i was burning out, walking in the door, hunkering down to prepare a meal, and scrubbing dishes until 10pm (because the bouncer is really poor at division of household labor and i don’t like having to ask for things). i’m open to other suggestions if you’ve got them too!

amy, a long time ago, gave us the hint of precutting your veggies and storing them for the week. oh, she was so right. do you know lettuce is pretty hearty? do you know you can chop it and store it in a bag for like, days? you can. as a matter of fact, you can cook chicken strips (seasoned with homemade fajita seasoning) and black beans (seasoned with s+p, garlic powder, and a freaking ton of cumin. cumin is the answer), precut lots of lettuce, red pepper, tomato, and other veggies of your choosing, and then it will only take you five minutes at night to make your salads. bonus points: packing blueberries, blackberries, raspberries in little baggies for grab and go purposes for snacks.

another thing i love to do for breakfast is make these pinterest egg muffins. jesus, what did i even do with my life before pinterest? i don’t know. anyway, if you make these in jumbo muffin tins, just one is a decent breakfast (i use 12 eggs for 10 “muffins”, with a hearty spoonful of sausage and peppers at the bottom of the tin). they keep for the full week in a tupperware in the fridge.

as i mentioned, i had this crazy cooking schedule going on, and i simplified it significantly. bonus to this is that i’ve pretty much memorized my grocery list. i’m lucky enough to have a grocery store right at the end of my block, a five minute walk, and i can be back to my house in 40 minutes having acquired everything i need for the week. mostly.

because i use a LOT of produce, and not everything keeps, and i have a two room apartment in nyc, i do sometimes need more than i have room to get on my first shot – even though lettuce keeps well, i do not have room for five heads of romaine. i am the kind of person who does not leave home after i’ve gotten home. as a matter of fact, once i come home, it is bra off and pajama pants on, and that is how it is until showertime the next morning. i used to be exhausted by simply THINKING that i would need to leave the house after i got home BUT i have found a solution. i have sort of a fruit stand/mini grocery store that is on my walk home and feels entirely less stressy than an entire grocery store. i often stop there mid-week and stock up on some fresh fruits and veggies. i make sure to carry my canvas bags with me that day, and i am set.

all of this frees me up to watch bunheads and fondly reminisce about stereo watching it at my house and declaring the dog (a husky/corgi mix) the cutest thing she’d ever seen and vowing she’ll get one and name it doughnut.

tips and tricks, friends? time and money saving maneuvers? hand’em over!

still tired, but now there’s food.

so, i talked about being really worn out, and i am addressing that by spending a lot of time at home, resting. usually in bed. bed is my favorite place in the house – our living room/kitchen (yes, it is all one room) only contains kitchen chairs and a futon that doesn’t lend itself to comfortable sofa time, whereas my bed is a king size memory foam wonder of science. 80% of the time i am in bed, i am on my computer, and with ALL of that time, i find myself drifting back to pinterest.

i was super into pinterest when it first emerged, and then it opened up to the world and GAH, all of the bad pinning. cell phone pictures of children, unstyled and poorly lit pictures of food, ALL OF THOSE FUCKING QUOTES, and the offensive thinspo. pinterest got overrun, in my estimation, and became a land of anxiety to me. but still, when i have time on my hinds, moth to a flame.

Movie night treat: Marshmallow Caramel Popcorn.  1/2 c. brown sugar  1/2 c. butter  9-10 marshmallows  12 c. popcorn.   Microwave brown sugar and butter for 2 minutes. Add marshmallows. Microwave until melted, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Pour over popcorn.

even though i was to be resting, i got really inspired by some food pins. saturday night, chris and i settled in to watch studio 60 on the sunset strip, because i am taking him on a grant tour of aaron sorkin and he is loving every second. i decided to make this (decadent and very unhealthy) marshmallow popcorn. you could follow the link, or i could just tell you that it’s melted butter, brown sugar, and marshmallow, mixed up and dumped over some popcorn, and then mixed again. guys, it is the salty/sweet fat kid treat of the CENTURY. loved.

Sausage Breakfast Cups

the next morning, i saw these sausage and egg biscuit cups. again, you could follow the link, or i could tell you that it’s a grands biscuit pressed into a muffin tin and filled with scrambled egg and sausage, then baked so it’s all those goodies in a happy little biscuit cup. here’s a thing about me. i have Feelings about, well, i never know the right word for it, but let’s go with authenticity. i like taking something (especially with cooking) back to it’s most basic form, doing as much from scratch as possible, and i don’t like to use premade things (like grands biscuits). so i whipped up some buttermilk biscuit dough (a longtime goal) and used that instead. this turned it into a breakfast that took way too long to make on a sunday morning, but it WAS delicious. it also introduced me to sausage gravy (“why are they having me put flour and milk in the saus…ohhhhhh look at that, GRAVY”), which is a joy and delight.

Pinned Image

i did some formal menu planning this week, and i had my eye on this chicken with sundried tomato and basil sauce. for work nights, i try to keep things quick and pretty easy, and this fit the bill. i mean, my mind is still blown that delicious cream sauce is just flour, butter, and milk or cream, but whatever, i will take it. the whole thing took me less than a half an hour and it was delicious. (please reference my tweet about eating the cream sauce out of the pan, thus negating any calories i may have saved by eating a side salad instead of the pasta)

No Bake Energy Bites...sounds pretty tasty.

also on the week’s bill was the no bake energy bites that traversed the paleo/pinterest world a while back, and i finally wrote on my grocery list to get ground flaxseed, so i whipped them up after dinner. they’re still chilling and waiting to be rolled into balls, but i tried a bit and WOW YUM YAY. they’re not calorically amazing, however, it’s awesome to have a snack or dessert treat that doesn’t involve white sugar and flour, so i’ll take it.

Date night jar

bonus pinterest project: the date night jar. i didn’t find this on pinterest, germana kindly linked to it from the twitters, but it was a pin. the bouncer and i were doing well at having a regular date night for a few months, then life got busy and we fell off. also, we were getting bored with just dinner and the occasional movie. so now we have this clever little jar with color coded sticks for expensive dates, cheap dates, and at home dates. i am actually really excited to get started on attacking them, because we have thought of some fun shit.

and now, i’m coming up on five days of vacation (!!!), and my pinspiration (baby jesus, did i really just say that) list only grows.

august break, revisited.

so i got me a pretty (and fancy, by my standards) camera for christmas. i am a lucky girl, in many ways.

it’s a fuji finepix. it has all sorts of neat settings regarding aperture and shutter speed. so, i present to you, a brooklyn christmas.

hey look, i have a camera! here is my bedroom!
(funny note: the ladder is in the hallway because i roasted a chicken in an aluminum pan. i also have a crappy oven and i do a bunch of cooking, so i also have an oven thermometer that hangs from the rack. the oven thermometer poked a hole in the bottom of the chicken roasting pan and i had chicken drippings making frighteningly smoky conditions and the smoke alarm was going off every six minutes. ah, holidays.)

snowflakes were my theme this year.

what was left after making nutella brownies. it did not last long.

this was a sweet potato souffle. it was damned delicious.

this was the end of a steak pinwheel. it was also damned delicious.

this is the door of a tattoo shop around the corner from me. i keep intending to get my nose repierced there one of these weekends.

cheap decorations at the local discount store. why yes, i did look like a fool walking around my neighborhood with a camera on my neck.

abita beer in the grocery store. the actress really likes abita. i don’t drink beer (or anything with bubbles), but i try to know these things about my friends.

my block, slightly overexposed. i am fond of too much light in pictures, i find.

also on my block. also overexposed. also, yes, those are really lots of shoes on a power line and yes, i think that is the most pointless thing ever and no, i don’t know if it means a drug dealer lives here. i haven’t met any so far.

this is a wee wizard candle. they were very popular when i was a teenager and people had collections. now, i can barely find them. i love this little dude.

a bell ornament.

a snowflake ornament. i said that was the theme, remember?

i am digging my camera. one of my goals for 2012 is to foster creativity and i plan on incorporating photography into that and incorporating that into my blog/the internet somehow, so we’ll see how it comes out. i think a project 365 will be a bit much for me – let me know if you have any ideas (and yes, i am already thinking of copying the deep old desk’s photo fridays…)