i’m guest post famous.

14 06 2010

i’ve always wanted to write a guest post. i didn’t have any idea where, or about what,  but the honor of being asked by another blogger to write for them just seemed like it would be totally awesome. as it turns out, i was correct! the very amazing chris over at part time vagabond recently gave me the honor of writing a little article about budget travel tips that made its debut this morning. what i love about PTV is that it’s grounded in reality. it isn’t all “let’s jetset to morocco for a long weekend”. it’s about the eternal struggle between wanting to aimlessly wander the globe while still tending to the responsibilities of things like jobs and pets and property ownership. chris is all about escaping when you can, and finding adventure in even the shortest jaunt. it’s everything that is amazing about travel, translated into real life. anyway chris, you rock, and thank you for letting me get my stink all over your kick ass website!

see a penny.

2 02 2010

i just wanted to thank everyone for the phenomenal response i’ve gotten from this month’s giveaway (especially you money saving maine-iac!). anyway, i thought it might be nice to do a follow up post that’s less about my story and more about what i learned during my year of change hunting. like a “how to” for aspiring hoarders.

top 5 places to find dropped cash:

1. parking meters. people in a hurry are always dropping change in the hunt for quarters. portland is especially great for this. plus, pennies blend into the bricks on the sidewalk.

2. in front of cash registers. basically, anywhere that people take money out, they’re likely to drop it.

3. couch cushions. i’ve had the best luck at bars & restaurants that have upholstered furniture and lots of traffic. once i found $3 in quarters in a wingback chair at a hotel bar. score!

4. in & around vending machines. the cardinal thing to remember here is that people are fundamentally lazy, and if it’s less than a quarter and requires bending at the waist to pick up, they’re leaving it behind. it’s your job to capitalize on this.

5. parking lots. when people are digging into their pockets to get their car keys, their loose bills and change are trying to escape. i found $4 in the CVS parking lot, and $1 at the st. john st. strip mall. it can happen to you.

so now you know where to get it, a few small things to keep in mind:

1. get yourself a sweet container that you can enjoy watching fill up. you don’t want your street change to mingle with your common pocket change (scandalous!). plus, it’s the best way to gauge your progress.

2. carry hand sanitizer. the hazard of picking up things off the ground is that they’re generally pretty unsanitary. i’m not particularly squeamish, but there was that time i picked up a handful of change that turned out to be covered in tiny green bugs. plus there’s always the surprise “sticky penny”. proceed with caution.

3. don’t be self conscious! nobody is paying attention. and even if they are, they’re probably just jealous that you saw that nickel first.

4. watch where you’re going! a lot of looking at the ground, means a lot of not looking in front of you. the world is filled with telephone poles and pedestrians. look out!

5. change walking is great exercise. when it’s not -10 wind chill, i spend most of my lunch breaks spiraling around the city streets on the change hunt.  the more time you spend out on the street, the more change you’re likely to pick up. plus, i hear that exercise is good for you or something.

get dressed.

12 01 2010

damn. so i had this business meeting today with a web developer who is at least 5 years younger than me- which isn’t really the problem, except that she looked AMAZING. she wasn’t wearing a suit, and she wasn’t perfectly coiffed, and she certainly wasn’t sporting crunk-ass dragon lady acrylic nails… but she had a good haircut, fabulous shoes- and looked interesting, and pretty, and creative- all while still being entirely appropriate and business-like (she also had the world’s most perfect short manicure). and i just wanted to crawl under the table and die. my hair is a mess, i’m wearing my fat pants (coincidentally the only pants i fit into right now), and a wrinkly sweater vest that makes me look like an extra from newsies. FUCK!!

clinton & stacy always say that you should dress for the career that you want, not necessarily the job that you have (i manage a small commercial real estate office). just because my officemates don’t mind if i look like a scrub- doesn’t mean that it’s ok for me to strut around the file room in  wrinkly sweaters and jeans. i’m 32 years old. maybe it’s time for me to start dressing like the person i want to be when i grow up.

i’m not talking rayon suits and pantyhose here (nobody needs that- NOBODY), but adding a light veneer of sophistication to my look is definitely along overdue. the punchline here is that i love fashion, i’m literally just too lazy to deal with the maintenance (dry cleaning- aaaaaaaah!). i’m also 30 lbs. heavier than i ever have been (thanks divorce!), and need to get myself out of the “no new clothes until you’re skinny” loop. dude, i might never be skinny again.

anyway, here is my 5-point plan to start to peel away the elastic waisted layers of my current self, and find the polished and professional adult underneath that i know (well, i hope) is in there:

1. get a decent haircut. what i have right now is more the absence of a haircut. mostly, it’s an ever present slightly messy ponytail. not good. i need something that doesn’t require a blowdryer (hate ’em), or any sort of product (no thank you). something simple that looks good out of the shower, or not out of the shower (i don’t like to get wet).  really, anything remotely resembling an intentional hairstyle would be a start.

2. get used to swapping shoes at the office. it’s winter in maine, and i walk everywhere. generally, this means i’m sneaker-clad or wearing my snow boots to work, and then wearing them all day… also not good. while i’m at it, i should probably buy some slightly more sophisticated shoes (the neon green chucks aren’t really cutting it).

3. learn how to give myself a manicure. a real manicure is like $35 bucks, but my jaggy gnarled little claws need to go! clean, short, and modern is the plan. but i’d be happy if people just stopped averting their eyes in torn cuticle terror.

4. buy infallible classic basics. a pair of well fitted denim trousers and the perfect white blouse might be a good place to start. i feel like i’m craving more navy in my wardrobe anyway. as much as it pains me to say it- i may need to shell out for this. fit is expensive– and fit is the absolute most important thing that makes you look put together.

5. buy beautiful bold accessories. i actually have a silk scarf with chainsaws all over it that i’ve never worn. why the hell not? the thing that makes those basics less… um… basic is dressing them up with pops of color and crazy vintage finds. since i will have spent all my money on that perfect white blouse, i should probably hit the goodwill on the hunt for bold jewelry, vintage cardigans, and silk scarves.

yeah, i know i’m hopeless… what else can i do?