Kid Couture

Kid CoutureThat kid looks like an effin’ hipster. Why can’t kids just look and dress like kids?

I don’t get it.

Is it just me or are kids and teenagers these days a hell of a lot more stylish and cool than back in the day? When I was a kid, there weren’t many clothing stores as there are now that catered to the tweens and/or teenagers. I wore the matching sweatshirt and sweatpants. I know that 80s fashion is currently in style, but even growing up in the 80s, I wasn’t very stylin.’ I was never a fashionista and nor do I think I will ever be. I am that person who will help boost that salesperson’s commission by asking them for help when trying on stuff, because I usually shop alone (I find I get shopping done faster and more efficient when I shop alone. I also don’t spend as much money). I also don’t know what the heck I’m doing when it comes to clothing. I have less clothes than my bf. He is no fashionisto (?) either, but when you have less clothes than your bf, that tells you something: I HATE shopping and I have a fashion IQ of -5.

Now that there are so many other choices for tweens and teenagers other than the usual department stores (I did a lot of back to school shopping at Sears and JC Penny whenever we went across the border). I often wonder just how obsessed the youth are with brand names. They have way too many choices nowadays. I know peer pressure and advertising have a lot to do with it, but to what extent does parental influence play a role? My mom was somewhat into fashion and is still into a few designer names, but I never felt a strong influence from her to display this on my body. I went to a Catholic high school so we had to wear uniforms, unless it was a designated day where the students could wear normal “civvies” clothing. I always felt so much more relaxed on those days because I was wearing what the public school kids got to wear everyday. I vaguely recall stressing out on what to wear, but never to the point where I was concerned whether or not my jeans were Guess jeans.

What I really don’t understand is why parents dress their babies and toddlers up in expensive get-ups. I thought this was something only celebrities did. It almost annoys me. Aside from the obvious fact that babies and toddlers can’t dress themselves, they also can’t think or speak for themselves. They have no idea they are wearing high-end clothing. They don’t know what’s in style and what’s not. It’s just another piece of fabric that they’ll outgrow and drool/spit up on. But hey, they look good and shouldn’t looking good matter when you’ve only been in this world for less than a couple of years? Kids are already expensive enough as it is. Buying them expensive clothing starting at age 0 won’t help your budget. I honestly think it is such a waste of money because you’ll go through clothing faster than you can say Michael Kors.

In an alternate reality, if I was to pro-create and bear offspring, I would dress my kids in second-hand clothing for as long as I could. I would gladly accept hand me downs or go shopping at Target. I don’t care about kid couture and neither should my hypothetical kids. A kid that makes fun of another kid because he doesn’t have the right brand of jeans probably inherited that superficial way of thinking from his parents. Either that or he’s just a plain sh** disturber. Sure parents want what’s best for their children and maybe they want to spoil them with things they never had growing up. But parents should also want their kids to not be so style-conscious as such as young age or be so judgemental and like people for who they are. Not what make and model their running shoe is.

So, would you buy your child that Lululemon hoodie? For me, it would be on two conditions: 1. They paid for a portion of it through their allowance or a part-time job. 2. It was a reward for getting on the honour roll.

(Kid couture is way overrated)

 

When Quitting is an Option and How It Cost Me About $400

Quit work

Since I work part-time at the gym, phrases such as “Don’t you dare quit” and “Quitting is not an option, but finishing is,” are part of my vocabulary. In this case, quitting is bad.

However, quitting can be good. Such as quitting bad habits like smoking, excessive drinking, spending, etc. Too much of something is never a good thing. Except when it comes to money, right? ;)

I think the most important part of quitting responsibly is knowing when to quit. Actually realizing that you’re at a loss and that it needs to be cut.

Yesterday was the day I decided to drop an online DE university course I was taking for work. Since it was almost a month into the winter semester, I would only be reimbursed half of the tuition, which would come out to about $400. Yikes! I would have to give that back, plus $400 of my own money to my work since they paid for it.  Although $400 will not be detrimental to my budget, it is still $400 taken out of my savings.

But it still bugs me, knowing that initially I did not want to take this course. I should have listened to my gut. I was DREADING taking this course, yet I registered for it anyway. I figured I would suck it up and then take a break during the summer. I took one last summer.

WORST IDEA EVER!!!

At least for me.  Although summer school exists and some universities even have summer semesters  because they’re a good way to catch up, get ahead or are mandatory, I still think they should be outlawed.  Students and teachers have summers off for a reason.

Why did I decide take this course? It’s part of a certificate that could be beneficial to my work and I like learning. I’m nerdy that way.

However, each and every time I have taken a course for this certificate, I have HATED it. It didn’t cost me anything financially because work would pay for it and reimburse me the cost of the textbook if I passed.  It cost me another precious part of my life.

MY TIME.

You would think that if it was an online DE course, it would be a breeze.  Uh, no. There was a LOT of work involved. Work that was done mostly on the weekends, because of my two jobs.  Working on my blog, which I enjoyed, took a seat on the back burner. :(

When it comes to taking courses for work, there should be some incentive. I guess the incentive was that work would pay for it, but after taking a couple of courses, I began to realize that it wasn’t enough for me. Why?

SEVERAL REASONS

  • It wasn’t required for my job
  •  It didn’t relate specifically to my current job too much. Nor would the courses really relate to any future jobs I would be interested in.
  • Completing the certificate wouldn’t guarantee me a pay raise or make more desirable as an applicant for future job postings
  • The fact that it was taking up so much of my time was a huge one. I felt this time could have been better spent trying to make more money, working more on my blog, spend more time with my family and friends, etc.
  • I didn’t find it that interesting.
  • I would have rather taken a non-academic, general interest course- one that I probably would have enjoyed more. I wouldn’t mind putting money towards that.
  • With every course I took, I was losing more and more motivation. It was like banging my head against the wall and dragging my feet at the same time.

There’s no deadline to complete the certificate, so if I really wanted to, I could always go back and do the rest of the courses. However, I don’t see that happening any time soon.  In terms of priorities, it seems like the least of them right now.  We’re also starting to do renos on the house, so I want to have time to plan and help out my partner whenever I can, which is usually during the weekends.

So quitting the course was the only best option.  I was kind of  on the fence initially and thought I could push through for another 2.5 months.  The more I thought about it though, the more I wanted to drop it.

I feel a lot better now.  As if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  I mentioned this to my mom earlier today in a phone conversation and she felt that it would help me in my career path. She and my dad are huge believers in focusing on education. In fact, they didn’t want me to get a job in high school and wanted me to focus on school.  They’re from a different time with a different mindset.

Education only gets you so far. Sometimes it can be a waste of money. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses.

It’s ok to drop courses if you feel they’re not working for you. Both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and look where they are now! They realized that school wasn’t working out for them and wanted to focus on something else.

Quitting can be an option and sometimes it may be the best option.

 

Have you ever had to quit something that you initially thought would help you out at first, but didn’t? Do you think I should have continued with the course?

 

Education as a Luxury Item

Just like food, shelter and clothing, I consider education to be one of the basic necessities in life. While there is the option of getting it for free, there is also the other option of paying a fortune to learn. Is it worth it? Find out my opinion in Suburban Finance.

 

Secondhand isn’t Second Class

First class, first place. When something is #1, it is considered to be the best.

With that being said, buying or owning secondhand clothing/items was almost never an option in my family. I grew up believing that  it had to be brand new in order to be the best.  Read more about it in Suburban Finance.

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3 Responses to Secondhand isn’t Second Class

  1. Many people feel that way but I have proudly always done the bulk of my clothing shopping at Goodwill and other thrift stores like it. I have even managed to find some collectibles over the years at Goodwill and sold them for a profit on ebay.
    zimmy recently posted…Freelance Writer? Earn Some Extra Money With DevtomeMy Profile

    • makinthebacon

      That’s pretty cool you were able to find some collectibles at Goldwill and sell them for a profit on eBay. I wonder if people who are getting rid of stuff realize that some of it may be worth something to someone on eBay.

      • Yep, they are. When you donate to Goodwill, the stuff gets sorted into three different categories. Website auction, in-store auction and floor sales. People donate high quality gold and silver jewelry as well as other collectibles so they can take the full value as a tax deduction. The really good stuff never makes it to any Goodwill store. It all goes to the website.

        It actually makes sense if you think about it. If they had gold and silver items worth several hundred dollars in the stores, they would have to have security guards, cameras, more expensive doors etc.

        http://www.shopgoodwill.com/
        Zimmy recently posted…Freelance Writer? Earn Some Extra Money With DevtomeMy Profile

         

 

Making Friends Is Like Dating

If you don’t believe me on this one, then you must be able to make friends easily and everywhere you go.

Just like dating, making friends is harder to do as you get older. I also find it’s harder to keep the ones you already have.  People get married, move away and have kids. We’re not on the same page anymore. Or the same schedule.  All of a sudden, last-minute get togethers become scarce and you have to plan weeks or even months in advance when you can all meet.

Quality vs. Quantity

Unfortunately along the way, and this probably happens to everyone at least one point in your life, your circle either gets smaller or people within the circle get swapped for others.  As of right now, I don’t have one specific circle of friends who I grew up with or went to school with. I have different groups of friends from different parts of my life. Collectively, this group isn’t very big. While in high school, somewhat superficial me, initially thought quantity of friends preceded the quality, I eventually came to my senses in my later high school years to realize it was the other way around. In my twenties, the quality became even more apparent as I slowly began to lose touch with most of my high school friends.  Let me make one thing clear though. It wasn’t that my high school friends were of great quality, it was more that they were of a DIFFERENT quality.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized we had little in common, except that some of us grew up together, knew the same people and happened to have several classes together.

My Half-Ass Attempts to Make New Friends in University

It really wasn’t until university that I met people I could better relate to and had more in common with.  These are the friends, along with a couple of childhood friends are the ones who I can still have a decent conversation with, no matter how much time has passed.  I have on several occasions tried to rekindle the friendship with a few from my past, only to find it wasn’t the same as before. The conversations didn’t seem to flow like they used to.   Like any relationship, friendship is a two-way street, or at least it should be. At times, it can seem like a one way or it can eventually reach a dead-end.

I am a shy and socially awkward person who doesn’t make friends easily. Unless I click with them right away, it can sometimes take forever to feel comfortable around them. I am that person who refuses to go to a party alone, where I only know the hostess.  The random person seated at the table with all the other random people.

The one great thing about university is that you can wipe the slate clean and are given a chance to reinvent yourself. I figured university would be my golden ticket to invent a more sociable version of myself.  I had joined social groups at several points in my university career with hopes of being able to make friends outside of my program and first year residence.  I failed. Horribly. It seemed everyone knew someone, if not everyone at each of these things. When everyone knows everyone and you know no one, well, it’s a socially awkward person’s worse nightmare come true.  I didn’t know if I should join in a conversation, how to start a conversation or wait for someone to come to me.   Needless to say, my commitment to these social groups was  very short-term.

A Friendship Needs Sparks

Just because I am socially awkward and seem to get slight panic attacks in social situations, doesn’t mean I don’t want to make new friends.

Even if I wanted to, how would I go about doing that as an adult? I know there are social meet ups and alumni events, but even at those events, I feel I would need a wing man/woman by my side.  They have speed dating. Why don’t they have speed friend making?

Let’s say you have a random conversation with someone at the gym or bookstore. These random conversations lead up to more frequent and even interesting conversations. You start to think to yourself; hey this person is very cool. I could totally see myself hanging out with him/her. You ask them to go for coffee and start hanging out with them more. First it’s only one on one. Then you start introducing them to your friends.  You call this person your friend.  This person then becomes friends with your friends as well.  This is when it all works out.

However, what if it doesn’t work out? What if you realize in  the”getting to know each other/seeing if you could be friends” phase becomes awkward for one? How do you break it off? Do you make excuses every time they call/msg you or don’t bother responding at all? Would you have the guts to meet them in person to break it off? Breaking up with someone you are dating is hard enough, but I think breaking up with someone you are friends with or thought you could be friends with is even harder. What exactly do you say? I don’t think there is a spark between us, so we should just stop being friends???! Just like  sparks in a relationship, there also has to be sparks in a friendship.

Call me crazy or over analytical, but these are the thoughts I have when I think about making new friends. :P

Do you feel the same way I feel when making new friends? Or does it come naturally to you?

 

Just Say No to Certain One Purpose Wonders

Cake pop makerDo you have one of these? It’s ok I won’t judge you too harshly. Or maybe I will.

Cake Pops are the latest baking gadget to hit the market, The machine saves you time and with minimal effort as it creates perfectly rounded cake pops, tasty treats for any occasion! You can bake up to 12 cake pops in under five minutes and the pop them onto sticks.  The fun comes when you  cover them with your choice of flavored icing and decorations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifestyles of the Frugal, but Extremely Wealthy

Frugal Billionaire.  

Yes, these people actually exist. 

Those two words don’t always go together. It sounds more like an oxymoron to me.  Why? When you think of billionaires, you almost always think of yachts, private jets, mansions, etc. Everything is high-end and very expensive. Money is not an issue for them. Why would it be?

Find out who’s a frugal billionaire aside from Warren Buffett in today’s post @ Suburban Finance.

 

 

She Ain’t Nothin But a Gold Digga (AND she admits it)

Gold DiggerWe all have dreams, big or small.  We aspire to get to them. We work hard and sacrifice a lot  to achieve those dreams.

However, would you let someone else finance your dreams if it was possible?

The following is an excerpt from Erin Wotherspoon,  author of the blog: A Penniless Girl, Bad dates and Plenty of Oysters:  “I’ve got a pretty face and a pretty extensive urban spoon wish list. ..we all know that getting what you want in life can be though, which is why I’ve decided to let someone else finance my dreams”.

Now why didn’t I think of that? Lots of people have other people finance their dreams! There’s the television shows such as Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and business models to venture capitalists.  There’s also Kickstarter, which is considered the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.  Unlike the television shows, Kickstarter isn’t involved with the project, it only funds it. It’s an all-or-nothing deal, but how cool would it be knowing that several hundred or thousand or hundred thousand people think your idea is awesome enough to invest it? On the other side, how cool is it knowing that you’re helping starting what could possibly be the next big thing?

Kickstarter is for everyone. Even big names such as Zach Braff  and  Spike Lee use it to fund their projects. Critics are quick to say that it takes away from the little guy, but Kickstarter claims it brings in more pledges for the artists. I’m going to have to agree with the critics on this one folks. These celebrities have money practically spilling out of their orifices, yet have the audacity to ask for MORE money.

For other people’s money.

People who make a mere fraction of what they make.

I’d rather fund the project of a starving, yet ambitious artist, than an artist who could afford to buy multiple restaurants in cash.

Sorry for side tracking, I tend to do that a lot in my writing  AND in my thoughts AND in my everyday life.

Back to Erin, the serial dater. She is an actress with champagne tastes when it comes to food, but a beer budget bank account. Her blog recounts her eating excursions in mainly fine dining establishments in Toronto (although the most recent episode is at the Mandarin) with guys who are willing to pick up the tab. I’m all for guys paying for the first date, but I’d feel bad if they paid for dinner every time. I’ve had a couple of boyfriends who did that.

Not going to lie. I miss that. ;)

This is a foodie’s dream and probably a nice guy’s nightmare. I’ve read a few of her entries on her blog (which is on Tumblr, which you have to sign up for to comment or follow her. I’m surprised with all the exposure she’s getting, she’s not on Twitter or has a free WordPress blog) and I can’t help but laugh.  I don’t have the balls to pull that kind of sh*t, but she does and I love her for that.  She’s getting free meals out of it! I feel bad for the  guys, but laugh at her entries.

Blunt. Honest. Funny. Love it. Her theme song  is probably, “I Don’t Care, I love it.”

People use other people to fulfill their desires. This is nothing new, but perhaps blogging about it is.

 

A Trip Down Media Memory Lane – Part II

I Have A Healthy Addiction: ReadingI Have A Healthy Addiction: Reading

Although from time to time, I wouldn’t mind watching a movie more than once, I could never do the same when it came to reading a book. Even if it was a book I hadn’t read in quite some time and couldn’t even remember most of the story or who the author was. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it. That’s just the way it is.

Most bibliophiles would agree with me, that the book is 99.9% better than the movie.  I would  read the book and see the movie to compare the two, only to be somewhat disappointed. Ideas for movies come from many sources, but I find the majority of ideas comes from books.

Non-bibliophiles, my common-law partner included, would always answer something along the lines of, “Is there a movie about it (meaning the book)?Then I’d rather watch the movie.” He reads to educate himself and prefers non-fiction over fiction.  While I read books on finance, investing and blogging to educate myself, I also love to read fiction.  Like many PF bloggers, I love reading, thus I love writing. The two past-times seem to go hand in hand. I enjoyed the many book fairs and read-a-thon fundraisers in school.  I loved going to the library and still do.

Books Are Here To Stay

Although it doesn’t strike us as an obvious choice, but books, magazines, and newspapers are a form of media. Print media, that is. Before we were able to bring ideas and dreams to real life in real-time, they were written and printed in text. It was up to our own imagination to visualize what the author was trying to say.

Everything was open to interpretation.

Despite the technology craze or boom, books, magazines and newspapers  have adapted in the form of e-books, e-readers and online versions. At the same time, they have still managed to stay in its original form.  When you set foot in a bookstore, there is a display of e-readers and e-reader covers, however the rest of the store is dominated by the hardcover and paperback books. People still cozy themselves in a corner of a bookstore, coffee shop or their own house and read a book. A real book.

The real thing seems  to grab hold of several of my senses. It’s the feel of the book, holding it in your hand. The sound of the page turning or closing the book shut after you’ve finished a reading session. The smell of it. The sight of the cover and the book itself. Being able to see the title  on its spine when placed on the bookshelf.

Of course, you don’t actually taste books.  But I hunger for the next best read to satisfy my literary appetite.

Are you a bibliophile? What are some of your favourite reads?

 

A Trip Down Media Memory Lane – Part 1

Once Upon a Time, There Was a Form of Media Called the Video Tape

I’d like to take two trips down memory lane. The first one involves renting videos from the video rental store. I remember going to the convenience store near my parents’ house and asking them if I could rent cartoon movies. A long, long time ago there were these devices called video tapes. In a way, they were similar to cassette tapes, but bigger and you had to press buttons to rewind and fast forward through the movie. Who could ever forget that message on the case: PLS BE KIND and REWIND.  You wouldn’t want the next renter to press play only to find out they have to rewind the entire thing (which at the time, seemed like an eternity).

New releases were always exciting and sometimes disappointing if all of the copies of the one new movie you wanted to watch were out. The rental period for old movies was a week, whereas new releases were 2-3 days.  One video rental store we went to even served popcorn.

Then Along Came the DVD

Then this fancy thing called digital video disc came out, which could be compared to a compact disc, the same way a cassette tape was compared to a video tape. It held movies. The awesome thing about DVDs was that rather that rewinding and fast forwarding to get to a certain scene, you could select a scene from the menu using your remote control. There were even additional features such as watching it in a different language,  director commentary and behind the scenes of filming the movie. Of course, the quality of the movie was much better too.

Soon video rental stores replaced their video cassettes with DVDs. Out with the old, in with the new or “new for now”.

I can’t pinpoint the exact year, but I think downloading movies off the internet became mainstream after DVDs. Soon people were able to get copies of the latest movies for free and watch them on their laptop.  Everyone was (and still is) burning movies  onto discs or adding them to their external hard drive.

People Will Still Pay for Movies

Just like how the cell phone became ubiquitous and the pay phone became almost extinct, downloading speed on the internet improved and movie rental stores became extinct. However, I have seen a vending machine in the grocery store where you can rent movies on DVD. I’ve also seen Blu-ray discs available for rental at my local convenience store.

As crazy as this may sound, people who buy movies  still exist.

So why bother going to the movies anymore? I certainly don’t. At least not as much as I used to. With their expensive admission prices and overpriced snacks, how do movie theaters still manage to survive? My guess is that there are still enough people willing to pay for that movie theater experience.  People like going out and seeing it on the big screen. It gets them out of the house and gives them something to do.

The published written word may be considered the oldest form of media. With the exception of the e-reader and audio books, the general format of books has managed to stay the same for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It still has its own place amongst all the other media moguls who have recently emerged.

 

Stay tuned for part 2: the other trip down the other memory lane