Friday Faves: My mom is coming to town

(This is me and my mom)

Happy Friday Loves.  My mother is coming in to town tomorrow – well sort of.  She has a layover here and asked me to keep her company until she catches her connection.  So my question to you is, what fun things can you do (with your mom) if you have an hour to kill?

I’m thinking maybe lunch or a little bit of shopping.  What do you think?

Enjoy these posts from our personal finance friends:

Budget Blonde – If It’s Not Working, Change Your Methods

Yes, I Am Cheap – 8 Possible reasons Why You Didn’t Get the Job

Careful Cents – How to Deal With a Business That No Longer Inspires You

Money Crush – How to Recognize a Scam Before It’s Too Late

Club Thrifty – I Heart Baby Veg: An Ode to Gardening

Budget and the Beach – 15 Things to Stop Doing With Your Money

Is it OK to Binge Watch Netflix?


Good morning Loves.  As you know from my post on Monday I love being at home.  There is nothing better than waking up on a Sunday morning and just laying around my apartment in my pyjamas watching Netflix.  That’s OK right?

I absolutely love Netflix.  It has great classic as well as new movies, we can watch entire seasons of TV shows and it’s only $8 a month.  I mean seriously how great is that?  This past Sunday I watched Pretty Woman, Enough Said and Easy A.  Where else can you watch unlimited television and movies for a fixed monthly price? Nowhere that I know of.

There’s a difference between going on a binge and taking a break

I don’t feel very productive when I binge watch Netflix, but to tell you the truth I don’t really care.  I usually work long hours (until after 11 pm most nights) so sometimes instead of working I lay around in my pyjamas.  Do you ever do that?

I think the real question we have to ask ourselves is what is binge watching Netflix really doing to our health?  Binge behaviour of any kind can definitely be harmful to both our physical and mental health.  I think shutting yourself off from the world to stay in bed and watch movies is OK on an occasional Sunday, as long as it doesn’t become a habit.

Is binge watching part of a bigger problem?

Bad habits are hard to break.  Trust me I know.  I eat compulsively, or at least I used to.  I have an obsessive compulsive personality so when I like something I get fixated on it and do it in excess until I absolutely can’t stand it anymore.  Some may call it just a habit, but trust me it’s much more than that.

That’s why I don’t allow myself to turn on Netflix during the week, because I will literally drop everything I need to do and forget about all my obligations to lay in bed and watch movies.  That’s a very bad habit to break.

Of course I would love to come home from work and just relax all evening, but that’s just not my life.  There are rooms that need to be cleaned, work that needs to get done and blog posts that need to be created.

How to break a bad habit?

I like my routine and it’s very hard to break.  If I have an idea in my head I’m the type of person who won’t be able to concentrate on anything else until I accomplish it.  This is true for everything in my life from the little things like getting a bagel for breakfast to the bigger tasks such as planning a vacation.  I just get restless and completely distracted if I don’t get things done.

So how am I trying to overcome my shortcomings? By taking them (or should I say breaking them) one day at a time.  I used to be so focused on buying my morning bagel from this one place that I would get off the bus in the rain to avoid breaking my routine.

I find that bad habits are much more mental than they are physical.  I started by skipping my bagel one morning and after a couple of weeks I didn’t miss it anymore.  Then I added in an extra day and now I only stop there twice a week.  The key to breaking bad habits is to take them one step at a time, don’t try to change too much at once because that will just never work.

Photo from Flick

How Instagram and Twitter help me be a better person

better person


(This is a picture from my recent trip to NYC)

Good morning Loves.  Before you ask, yes the Justin Timberlake concert was amazing!

Ok moving on…I’m what you would call a loner – and you can call me that because it doesn’t bother me.  I wake up, go to work at my 9 to 5, come home, spend time with my boyfriend and then work on my freelance business.  That’s about it – welcome to my life.  Now before you think that I’m some type of closet freak let me explain…I just like to be alone.  It lets me do what I want when I want and I don’t have to explain it to anyone (except you of course).

I’m a good person, but I could be better

I do have friends, four friends to be exact and we do catch the occasional movie or concert (like Justin Timberlake on Saturday night) but other than that I pretty much keep to myself and I like it that way.  I don’t live near my family so that eliminates the need to attend family barbeques and birthday parties.   I like to keep to myself because I’m extremely busy working two jobs which doesn’t leave a lot of time for social engagements.

I am lucky that my boyfriend is the same way, we would prefer to order in than go out to a restaurant and we would rather lay out on our balcony reading a book than spend the day at an overcrowded beach.  But that’s just us.

On the weekends I leave my apartment for a few hours to run my weekly errands like grocery shopping and picking up a few things at the pharmacy then I come right back home and relax or work.

Social media helps me keep in touch

I spend a lot of time on social media, Twitter to be exact.  I am obsessed with Twitter and love catching up with friends all over the country.  I’ve made some great friends through blogging and we keep in touch via Twitter.  I also get my headlines from Twitter and love it because I don’t have to read all about a subject if I don’t want to, I can just get the overview.

I feel the same way about keeping in touch with my friends.  Twitter is an effortless way to keep in touch without being overly engaged in a huge conversation or committing to a long weekend.  It’s also a great way to share photos…or so I thought until I joined Instagram last week.

All things pretty are on Instagram

Last week I signed up for Instagram and I absolutely love it…maybe even more than Twitter.  I know it’s going to sound crazy but Instagram helped me become a better person – honestly.  I used to be so concerned with my schedule and so busy with work that I just never stopped to enjoy the beautiful things around me.

Now when I go out on Saturdays I walk with my head up and look around.  I appreciate everything our wonderful world has to offer because I’m eager to take a photo and share it on Instagram.  Is that weird?

If you want to follow me on Twitter or Instagram you can add me @TahnyaKristina – Send me your names so I can follow back.

Here are some of my recent Instagram posts:

The view from Belvedere Castle in Central Park, NYC

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Little Italy, NYC

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How to Score Luxury Items for Less

gold-earringsLooking to live the high life on a budget? Luxury goods don’t come cheap, but if you know how, you may be able to find it for less. Here are a few pointers for pinching those pennies.

Electronics – When T-Mobile did away with contracts for their service, their contract-dependent rebate incentives also became defunct. However, they introduced a new system of payment plans to allow customers the chance to own the latest smartphones for less up front by paying in installments as part of their monthly bill. Like phone carriers, electronics retailers offer payment plans for high-priced products like laptops and tablets. Find out if your desired technological trinket is available for payment by installment. Some stores can sell you the sales floor display item at a discount if it’s no longer needed.

Clothing and Jewelry – Online is one way to go for savings on luxury duds. The Internet is the best place to search for quality designer pieces at reasonable prices. Searching for haute jewelry or a signature new timepiece? ShopHQ.com houses an extensive collection of Italian gold jewelry unlike anything in stores. Meanwhile, retailers like BlueFly.com sell couture, brand name clothing and accessories at closeout prices.

Can’t find it online? Consider good old-fashioned layaway for gotta-have items. Cruise through stores like Ross and TJ Maxx, whose stock consists of items the high-end stores are trying to clear out to make way for new merchandise. Keep an eye out for special deals on your favorite brands, and use coupons and helpful phone apps to your advantage—find one that keeps track of offers or tells you when items go on sale.

Special Diet Foods – Looking to go vegan? Tempted to try eliminating gluten? Dietary alternatives are healthy for your stomach, but not for your bank account. Read up on what you want to add to your shopping list before visiting your local health food stores, and you may find that your local grocery store brand offers the same products for less. Stores like Aldi and Trader Joe’s usually have what you’re looking for, but shop around for a good deal. On that note, have you considered growing your own vegetables or spices? A small home garden can yield annual produce, cutting down on your spending with just a little TLC from your green thumb.

Cars – When it comes to luxury cars, you definitely get what you pay for. A lavish ride equates to dependability, not just class. If you’re in the market for a flashy new ride but your budget falls a bit short, you will find yourself in plenty of hot water in the future. All car owners end up paying a high price down the line with routine and specialty maintenance, as luxury vehicles usually require premium fuel and specialized parts.

Consider auctions as a place to find a great deal on a luxury car. You may find a BMW or a Lexus in fine condition for a low price if you’re willing to risk a bid. If you’re looking to test-drive it first, look into pre-owned models that are five to ten years older – if the previous owners have taken care of their cars, they are sure to last you in style.

Wine and Spirits – While the taste cannot be replaced by bottom dollar alternatives, high-quality liquor can be bought for a bargain. Did you know that Costco’s Kirkland Signature store brand spirits are manufactured by the same companies that make the top-shelf bottles? (Like Jim Beam and Grey Goose, to name a few.) Quality wine and spirits depend not on the brand but on palatability, so before you empty your wallet to fill up your mini-bar, try lesser known brands or new varieties. When in doubt, those mini bottles are great way to sample a spirit without splurging on something you might not like.

Entertainment – It’s possible to have a good time on a dime if you know where to look! Research your local happenings to find free admission days for museums, zoos and exhibits. Sign up for art gallery and theatre mailing lists — you’ll be the first to hear of any special invitations or promotions for reduced price tickets to special events.

Going out on the town? Check out your favorite hotspot’s weekly schedule for drink specials and no-cover nights. Finally, consider bottle service: while it can be pricey, it’s possible that a table composed of similarly thrifty friends could make chipping in for a bottle or two more fruitful than paying for individual drinks!

So long as you have a practical budget in place, you likely have a bit of wiggle room for nights out or non-essential items. A little indulgence every once in a while is not a bad thing, so long as you are keeping on target and in the black. Hopefully these tips help to stretch, allowing you the opportunity treat yourself while not compromising your finance goals!