4 Little Things I'm Splurging On Right Now

Last year I read lots of books (well two is kind of a lot right) on how to budget my money. My favorite and the one I've been recommending to everyone ever since is All Your Worth by the badass senator Elizabeth Warren. In it, she recommends setting aside 50% of your money for expenses, 20% for savings, and 30% for spending. Who doesn't love a budget that includes spending money on things worth splurging for? 

Now that I mostly have a handle on my finances, I no longer feel the guilt of buying something not knowing if I can actually afford it. The best part has really been the realization that buying a bunch of cheap things over time adds up. Well duh. But that means I can afford the more luxurious things I want if I save a little and stop buying crap. That's what I've been doing or trying to do and it's allowed me to splurge a little on the things below. P.S. you can read more about how I budget here.

haircuts

For the first time in my grown-up life, I have been getting my haircut every six weeks. In college, I couldn't really afford and by that I mean I didn't want to spend the limited money I had at the salon. I would go a few time a year and trim or cut my hair myself in between. Then I got a job with a paycheck and realized a good haircut is both something I could afford and wanted to splurge on. While I was living in Japan, I went to the salon down the street where a super cute Japanese woman cut my hair and trimmed my eyebrows. Now that I'm back in the states I was a little shocked to discover that haircuts cost a little more in the big city. But I found a reasonably affordable place and the lady I work with does an even better job with my hair. Total win. 

bras

I know every woman has a problem area to shop for, whether it's big feet, short legs, or tiny boobs. Sometimes the clothes we want and need just don't come in our size. When I embraced my small chest size a few years ago, I gave up my ill-fitting and gaping bras for lace and silk bralettes. When I decided it was again time for me to have at least one minimally padded and underwired bra, I splurged. I couldn't find anything my size in the big retail stores and began to wonder if bras were even made for women like me. Then I stopped in the upscale lingerie boutique in my hometown and discovered this is where all the little bras had been hiding. I went home with a lovely little number by Natori. I was out $64, but I've worn it nearly every day since. In my opinion, money well spent. In fact, I was so happy I blogged about it here.

my adorable teapot

my adorable teapot

tea + honey

I love tea, even more so in winter. In part, because colds are going around and nothing feels better for a sore throat then gobs of lemon and honey. My favorite is a black tea with fresh ginger and lemon juice and a healthy tablespoon of honey. I'm particular about my tea and honey. Ever since learning about the nasty pesticide residue on conventional tea, I've switched to organic. I also don't care for the plastic tea bags that have been increasing in popularity. I used to live in a small town with a terrific little herb boutique where loose leaf teas could be bought in bulk. I hope to find something like that again in the SF area. Honey is also a delicacy I love to splurge on. I simply love the smell and taste of a good honey and beekeepers are folks I'm happy to give my support.

giving

Giving takes so many forms and it's something I want to incorporate into my lifestyle. Most recently I started giving my time by volunteering at my local library bookstore. I've also been tipping the barista who makes my tea and coffee on the mornings I take the train into the city and yesterday I gave a dollar to the woman who is always singing and playing her guitar at the subway station. I'm also planning which books to donate to a holiday themed book drive for families in need. I'm leaning towards The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, and I Am Malala the young reader's edition. How do you give?

What are some of your seasonal splurges and how do you budget for them?

Some Book News + What I'm Reading

Book News

Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club

Looking for more places and people to chat about books? Anne Bogel, the author of the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog and podcast host of What Should I Read Next, started her own online book club. The selection for this month is Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. It costs $10/month to join, but if you love to read and talk about what you're reading then this is money well spent. I just signed up and I hope to see you on the discussion boards!

Litsy Newsletter

Are you on Litsy? It's a community for book lovers to share thoughts and pictures about what they're reading, but the best part is the email newsletter. Each features a behind the scenes look into the world of publishing called #BehindTheBook. If you've ever wondered how books get made or what it's like to work in the field, sign up now. Don't miss out. I usually send email newsletters to the junk folder, but this one I look forward to opening. 

 

What I'm Reading

In the Woods by Tana French

This book gets a thumbs up, despite alluding to a scary monster in the woods that never actually made an appearance. I was bummed, because I was rooting for a supernatural twist. It's the first in a series, so I might have to keep reading to see if it does. Overall, it's an excellent crime novel about a detective who gradually fucks up everything over the course of an investigation that hits a little to close to home. Despite no scary monsters, the story kept me engaged and I didn't see the end coming. 


The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

This is the second book in the Neapolitan Novel series. After awhile the story seemed to drag on one drama after another, but this is such good and well told drama that I'm going to have to go ahead and finish the series. I don't know if my heart can take it though. Half way through I was feeling quite literally sick to my stomach. This story hits hard, but it's just so good.


The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

I checked this one out from the library but finished it up on audio. I don't normally have issues with the narrators, but the voices were so different from what I had imagined. I could never really get used to the difference, I suppose that's why I shouldn't switch to audio part way through a book. It's like watching the movie after reading the book and never being able to imagine the characters in the same way. Still, I made it through to the end and I did not see the twist coming. This is a long book and if you're deciding whether or not to finish, keep going 'til the end!


Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

I'm about half way through this one. It's short and going quick. My boyfriend just finished it and recommended I read it next. He's on to the sequel. The creepy mushroom/plant in the mysterious Area X the research team is sent to investigate appeals to greatly to my interest in all things related to plants real or imaginary. I'm looking forward to finishing out the series.


Euphoria by Lily King

This one has been on my to-read list for ages. I finally checked out the audiobook on the overdrive app and I'm going to start it as soon as I finish Annihilation. I heard about it on the Science Friday podcast during one of their summer reading segments. It's about a team of "three young, gifted anthropologists of the 1930s caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives." 


A Muddied Murder by Wendy Tyson

If cozy garden mysteries are your cup of tea, this one is perfect for fall. I was hoping for something a little more sinister to happen, but books like this are the perfect pick me up after reading something more intense such as the Ferrante novels. It's about a big city lawyer who gives up her job to move back home and run the family farm. When a prominent local figure is found dead in her shed, she must navigate small town politics to sort out the crime.


What have you been reading lately?

Library of a Lifetime Prize + Which Book has Meant the Most to You

I was listening to the Book Riot podcast this morning when I heard them talk about the Library of a Lifetime Prize from the Heywood Hill bookstore in London. One lucky winner will receive a hardback book every month for life. To enter all you need to do is share which book that has meant the most to you. That's right. Only. One. Book.

Of course whatever you choose doesn't need to be the definitive answer. It's a competition not life or death, but asking any book lover to choose between their favorites it can certainly seem that way. So how do you decide, what criteria would you use to narrow down the options?

I listen to a lot of book podcasts and another favorite of mine is What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel. She has one guest on the show every week to talk about three books they love and one book they hate. I often think about what three books I would choose if I was ever on her show, and after weeks of listening I'm not any closer to picking my top three. How could I ever choose just one?

That's the position I found myself in while drinking my coffee this morning. I thought about choosing Elena Ferrante's neapolitan novels. They were the subject of the podcast since the person behind pen name was recently outed. Tsk tsk. I wish to respect their anonymity and I like how the podcasters handled this bit of bookish news. The novels are great though and a worthy choice for picking the book that has meant the most to me. 

Just to be sure I headed over to Goodreads to skim over the list of books I've read. My average rating is quite high at 4.25, so there was a lot of good material to choose from. I especially love Hitch Hiker's Guide by Douglas Adams, Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, and anything by Amy Stewart just to name a few and I can't imagine my life in this moment had I never read any of them.

That's when I started to think about the books that turned me into the reader I am today. After all wouldn't those be the books that have had the greatest impact on my life? My answer might be a little cliche, but I'm sure J.K. Rowling would be happy to hear that Harry Potter turned me along with a whole generation of kids into lifelong readers. 

I was a reader before, but Harry Potter was my transition from middle grade to young adult novels. It's what kept me going after I had outgrown the American Girl books. It was a classic case of reading the right book at the right time, but that kind of magic I found in Harry Potter is what I'm still hoping to find in the books I read today. 

So what book would choose, if you could only choose one, that has had the greatest impact on your life? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear what you pick!

p.s. Don't forget to enter to win, the prize draw closes at midnight Monday 31 October 2016.