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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

insta 2

 

Little Italy, NYC

insta 3

 

 

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!

Friday Faves: I’m going to the Justin Timberlake concert

Justin Timberlake

Happy Friday.  Tomorrow I am off to the Justin Timberlake concert.  As a child of the 80s I am a huge New Kids On The Block fan and my sister, who is 3 years younger, was really into the Backstreet Boys.  I have to admit I wasn’t a huge Backstreet Boys fan back then but I’ve grown to love them.

So tomorrow night I will be spending the evening with Justin Timberlake and 15,000 other girls who paid $190 to see him.  I also have to tell you that this is the third time I’m seeing JT in concert.  Yep that’s right I’m a total groupie!

Enjoy your weekend.

Blonde on a Budget – Decluttering: Clothes, Shoes and Bags

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Being Zhenya – Twin Cities Travelin’ Como Zoo and St Paul

Science of Parenthood – What Makes Mommy “Scary”?

Broke Girl Rich – What You Can Learn From My Worst Summer Job

Mrs. A O.K. – And Then There Were Five

Photo from Flickr

Finding a work life balance: Does it really exist?

work life balance

Good morning Loves.  My dad gave me some troubling news yesterday, he told me one of our oldest family friends filed for divorce.  This was a picture perfect couple, they have been married for over 30 years, they have two kids who recently graduated college and growing up they were always the first couple I would call when I was in trouble.  To say this news was shocking would be an understatement, but I guess we just never know what happens behind closed doors.

Is there such thing as a work/life balance?

The couple both had good jobs where they’ve worked for several years and the husband is close to retirement.  I thought to myself, if both kids are moved out they have time for themselves, if they have a house that’s mortgage free and if they are nearing retirement, what is there to fight about?  One word…money.  According to my dad his friend filed for divorce because he wife spends too much time at the office in the day and too much time working from home at night.

I guess that’s the catch 22 about money; you need to work hard to get it, but working too much takes time away from your relationship.  We need money to afford the nice things we want in life, but we have to work hard to earn our money.  So how do you find a work/life balance to maintain a happy marriage?

What if you had to choose just one?

There is a line by Nigel (Stanley Tucci) in the movie The Devil Wears Prada when his co-worker (Anne Hathaway) is complaining about her relationship troubles and he says “Let me know when your entire life goes up in smoke, that means it’s time for a promotion.”  As I watched this movie I wondered if this is true.  Maybe there is no such thing as a work/life balance – maybe we can’t have both, maybe we have to choose one over the other.

Find a balance between your work life and your relationship:

Your home is not  your office.  As one half of a long term couple and as a young professional I can tell you that climbing the corporate ladder is not easy.  You want to put in your hours at work, but you don’t want to neglect your sweetheart at home.  My advice to finding a balance is to stay late if you need to but leave your work at the office, don’t bring it home with you.

Limit your overtime.  The truth of the matter is your work will never be done, we always have work to do.  Don’t make working overtime a habit.  Your spouse will be more understanding about your long hours if working overtime is the exception, not the rule.  Unless you are on a tight deadline try not to stay at the office more than an hour every night and not on Fridays.  It’s important to reserve the weekends for your spouse.

Have something to look forward to at home.  Having plans with your spouse will give you an incentive to rush home after work.  If you have to work late try to coordinate with your spouse on the nights they have to work late and set a time to meet at home or at a restaurant for date night.  If you have somewhere to be or somewhere to go you are more likely to cut yourself off from the office than if you are just “going home”.

Photo from Flickr