Being a thinker, ideas are my friends. I love to ponder things and figure out how they do or do not fit into the big picture of my life. It is not surprising, then, that my favorite blogs are those that give me food for thought.
But sometimes, I want to get to know the bloggers behind those deep thoughts. I want to know a little about the ins and outs of their lives and what makes them who they are. I want to be able to relate to them more casually and personally than a formal essay post allows.
I’m not sure if you feel the same way, but I am going to provide that for you here at Simply for Real. There is no need to thank me. 🙂
If you do not really care about the details of my life, feel free to skip these posts. They are more for fun than anything else.
With that introduction, let me just tell you that I am the queen of practicality. I know I have mentioned that before, but it does play into the way that I view and spend money. I tend to look more at needs than wants, but we all splurge on a few things, right?
These things are currently on the top of my splurge list:
I grew up shopping at Payless because that was the only place we could find shoes big enough to fit my huge feet. And even then, there were only a few pairs to choose from at any given time. Women’s size 12 wide shoes (13 in athletic shoes) are hard to come by, you know.
The Internet has solved my shoe shopping nightmare, thanks to Zappos. Oh, how I love that place and their seemingly endless selection of shoes. Endless compared to Payless, that is.
But, most of the time, the cute shoes that fit my feet do not come with a small price tag. That just goes with the territory. I am willing to pay for good shoes, however, because I spent too many years trying to shove my feet into uncomfortable ones that never fit quite right.
Because they are expensive, I only own a few pairs of shoes. I alternate between a couple of pairs of sandals all summer long, and winter brings ballet flats and Ugg boots. I am saving to buy a pair of brightly colored Tieks (that go up to size 13) when the weather cools down. But that does not happen until November around here, so I have some time.
2. Fresh Produce
Yes, fresh produce is expensive, especially when we are talking about feeding a family of seven (with three teenagers), but it is a price that I am more than willing to pay. I am not a fan of processed food with ingredient labels that look like something you would use in a science experiment. I cook almost everything (well, dinner anyway) from scratch with lots of fresh ingredients, so produce is a big deal.
This is what my grocery cart typically looks like on any given week:
There is something about a basket full of fresh ingredients that makes my heart sing. Have I told you that I want to go to culinary school, just for fun? That is my next big goal.
Maybe soap should not be a big deal, but it has become so in my home. For years, I bought soap almost exclusively from Bath and Body Works because I love all the fun seasonal scents.
I recently decided to save a little money by purchasing peppermint castile soap from Costco and diluting it to use as hand soap. I only used half of a $9 bottle in seven months, but I grew so tired of it (and Greg thought it smelled horrible) that I went back to my good smelling favorites. I know it is more expensive than other soap, but I love it too much to give it up.
4. Personal Training
This is a new thing that I swore I would never do. Why would I want to pay someone a boatload of money to torture me? And I would prefer to be outside hiking than in a sweaty gym any day.
But then I realized that my desire to exercise was almost entirely dependent upon accountability. If I met a friend, I would go. If not, I would find a reason to stay home.
Elise, who is not a huge fan of exercise either, agreed to go to the gym with me if I bought a membership. The problem was that we had no idea what to do there. The classes were good, but not always at convenient times. And I would rather eat dirt than get on a treadmill or elliptical for an hour.
We went to a free personal training session that was included with our new membership, and they somehow convinced me to sign up for more of this torment. Elise and I do two sessions a week together and, while it is hard, I love it because we do something different every time, and I never get bored. Plus, we are working muscles that I believe have been dormant for some time, maybe since birth.
Our trainer is super kind and patient when we are not very coordinated. (Have you ever tried to do squats on a balance board??) And the accountability makes all the difference.
5. Food for Teenage Gatherings
As I already mentioned, I am not much of a junk food person. Except if you are talking about chocolate or ice cream; then all bets are off. But when it comes to facilitating teenager gatherings, I am happy to spring for pizza, chips, candy, soda, ice cream, and whatever else it takes to make those kids comfortable and encourage them to come back.
I selfishly want my house to become the gathering place. I live for the opportunity to be a fly on the wall and observe their interactions from a distance. Teenagers are so much fun!
While our home is not laid out in a way that is especially conducive to hosting groups of teens, we are currently putting plans in play to redesign and make use of our spacious backyard for such occasions. (Picture an outdoor living room…) I cannot wait!
Everybody’s budget does not allow for the same kinds of splurges, but I would sure love to hear what little extravagances currently define you. Let me know in the comments section below.