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my frugality limits March 6, 2009

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Dating/Relationships, Frugal Living.
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I’m cutting corners, recession-style. Everyone is keeping a closer eye on their money these days. Those of us with jobs are thankful to have them and are mindfully scrimping and hopefully saving. Recently I’ve cut my cable service back down to basic (without the upper channels for the first time in six years: farewell E!, MTV, VH1, Bravo, Lifetime, TBS, HGTV, TLC, Food, Travel…wait, did I make a mistake canceling that?!), as well as drastically reduced my discretionary spending (music, books, movie outings, bars & booze, takeaway coffee, going to restaurants, clothing, etc.) in order to more efficiently funnel my cash. Like many others, my main priority is to reduce my debt and grow my capital as much as possible. Because who knows how bad things can get?

Even so, there are just a few things I refuse to cut out entirely. I was inspired by this post at Being Frugal.

Netflix.
I personally don’t consider this a splurge at only $17 a month, but it’s something I’d never cut out. I’m a big fan of watching TV shows on DVD this way (buying seasons is expensive, and who wants to see the same thing that many times), and you can get pretty much any movie out there. If it sucks, send it back. I’ve almost always enjoyed their smart recommendations as well. I think you’d basically have to be crazy to waste $9/a person on movie tickets (forget the inflated-priced snacks!) these days when you can just curl up at home.

Gym membership.
Mine is only $10 a month, so it’s practically painless to begin with. I just joined about a month ago, and it’s become a fun activity my boyfriend and I do together. We enjoy it and we reap the physical benefits of exercise. In short, it makes everything better and it’s worth the effort and the little bit of money spent.

Philadelphia cream cheese.
I tend to choose the store brand or the cheapest name brand on most things, but Philly cream cheese is just by far better than anything else. The same goes for Thomas’ bagels, and the two were obviously made for each other.

Pets.
It makes me sad to hear that animal shelters all over the country are seeing an influx of abandoned animals due to the fact that the owners can no longer afford to care for their pets, largely because they lost their job. While I know that the combined costs of veterinary care, food and supplies for pets (I have two cats) can most certainly add up, I love my kitties and would do just about anything I could to keep them. In the past, no matter how hard up I’ve been, there’s always been enough money for food and litter to keep them going. The reward is always greater than what I pay, anyway.

Music.
There’s nothing wrong with a few music downloads now and then, and cover fees to support local bands. My love of music is far too great for a bad economy to suppress. However, I do look for deals on amazon.com and iTunes for cheap(er) MP3 albums and buy used CDs and rip them to my iPod. Don’t underestimate the potential in sharing music with your friends and lover(s). Chances are they like similar stuff as you, can introduce you to great new music, you can expand each other’s collections, and it’s a bonding experience to boot. What could be better?

There are probably a few other luxuries and splurges I’ll be indulging in as the economy worsens, but for the majority I’m embracing frugality as more of a personal challenge than a no-fun sentence. My boyfriend and I both have limited cashflows and have found many satisfying ways to pass the time without ever being bored. It’s good to find a balance, that way you can focus on what really matters.

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glory of retrospect July 13, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Dating/Relationships, Notes, Personal.
1 comment so far

It’s true that we are the sum of our experiences. If I’ve learned anything in the past couple of years, it’s that life’s too short to live the same day twice. I’ve been to extreme highs and lows. I’ve swollen with arrogance and I’ve sunk with depression. Either way, it’s a thrilling feeling just to be alive. I find it hard to be overly bitter when cutting my losses. I’ve got some fond memories of some fantastic people who have all had a hand in sculpting the me I am, and the me I hope to someday be.

This goes out to countless people in specific, but no one in particular: Thank you…for teaching me not to get attached…for seeing the beauty in the unexpected…for learning how to let things go…for wining and dining me…for being a best friend…for holding me the way that you did…for duct tape…for mending me…for bruising me…for the song…for the dance…for picking me up…for the yellow balloon…for the best advice I ever received…for camping in…for the hit…for the journey…for showing me your world.

Fucking up is part of the beauty, because in the end it all works out. I look back and I think “ah. I get it now.” I’m a puzzle that even I can’t solve sometimes, but I know immediately when I like something/someone or not. Takes time to get good. I have had to maintain my strength even when it kills…but you absolutely can’t give up. I’ll always get back up, I’ll never dwell in failure or fear. “I fight every day.” (Thank you.)

me, myself, and Carrie Bradshaw May 24, 2008

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Culture, Dating/Relationships, Personal, Television, Uncategorized.
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10 comments

My personal love affair with a fictional icon

Her name has become synonymous with style and the chic, single-girl lifestyle. She represents the new woman’s funny, sharp, likable everygirl. She’s Carrie Bradshaw, possibly one of the most influential fictional characters to ever influence a generation. Sex and the City played a huge role in revolutionizing the way America views single women; presenting the idea that we do not have to be programmed primarily to achieve the cookie-cutter life targets we’ve been told we should reach for so long (marriage, house, baby, etc). Instead, the bachelorette cherishes single life, independence and freedom. The major storylines in the show, however, do center on not whether or not the characters do in fact marry, have children, or even serious relationships, but how they do it–without losing their sense of self. Being single is not the key, a sense of self is, and Carrie Bradshaw leads the way.

Along with many other women around the world, I have always identified with Carrie. She’s all about opening your heart and your mind at the same time. She’s witty, she’s sharp, she’s sexy–but all in a very accessible, believable way. Mine and Carrie’s “storylines” have coincided as I have watched and re-watched the show and begun to experience my single life as a young woman. While I’m not near my thirties yet, I still feel the inevitable pull from older influences–and society in general–to “settle down,” whatever that means. For Carrie and I, marriage and “happily ever after” is not the be-all, end-all in life. And just like Carrie, I’m a career-focused girl but not necessarily as schooled or as driven as the other three women on the show.

I feel akin to Carrie in many ways. She smokes and drinks and has had a fair helping of casual dating and one-night-stands, but at the end of the day, she’s an old-fashioned girl. She believes in the One, she believes in romance, and most of all, she believes in love. She’s sentimental and reflective. All women are complex, but I relate to Carrie a lot in this way too–her needs and feelings are often conflicted and result in charged and sometimes difficult relationships with men. She’s had to know when to walk away, and it’s bittersweet; especially in her second breakup with Aidan, whom she truly loved and respected, but it just didn’t work, and she couldn’t be what he wanted her to be. It’s never easy to strike a balance. Not just anyone will do. Mischiko Kakutani accused Carrie of “disposing” of men when she reviewed her book in Season Five; I’ve had many of my older friends and colleagues say the same thing to me. But I digress: When searching for a soulmate, one can never be too picky. And so continues the endless search. Carrie was looking for love, real love. “Ridiculous, consuming, can’t live without each other love.” And she found it, as we all hoped and predicted–in Mr. Big.

It’s easy to make a sweeping judgment of the carefree single girl–Carrie and myself included–and throw out terms like “promiscuous” and the like. Aside from the ludicrous societal double-standard, I like to believe that I’ve maintained a moral compass. You can’t look back, you can only learn. Carrie is flawed. I am flawed. We trip over things, we can’t (don’t?) cook, have messy apartments and high credit card bills due to an unshakable shopping addiction. But she’s real–still fictional–but that’s what makes the show so amazing. The writers really, really made Carrie real and relatable to all of us. We can look at her and say: “I’m her.”

creampies and dealbreakers November 12, 2007

Posted by Victoria Fredericks in Dating/Relationships, Writing.
2 comments

Creampie (used as verb not noun): Reference to director Michael Patrick King’s commentary on Sex and the City: The term “creampie” is a metaphor for when a character builds up great hopes/expectations only to be brought down by reality or some kind of letdown or disappointment.

I do believe that the creampie is the inevitable climax to most dating experiences. Sooner or later, we all get creampied. Someone is too clingy/needy/insecure. Someone is unappealingly broke. Someone has a record. Someone is an asshole. Someone is (gasp) bad in bed. You get the idea. I think life is great before the creampie. You can imagine how things will be so great, walking on the beach holding hands and all of that lovely stuff. But sooner or later, my friends:

SPLAT. You will get creampied, for sure. The more excited you get, true to form–the messier the creampie will be.

This leads into my next order of business which is dealbreakers (at least for me). Everyone has them, it’s just whether or not they elect to make them known, but I think I’m brave enough. And maybe it will make dudes think twice before they pull these atrocities on one of their dates, thus resulting in the aforementioned creampie situation.

-Not springing for a soda at the movies. Come on, man. I know it’s five bucks and it’s an insane markup, but you look oh-so-cheap cruising by that refreshment stand without offering.

-Having literally no money. I’m not shallow or superficial, or maybe I am, and I know “love don’t cost a thing,” but money is kind of the lifeblood of dating, so you can go out and experience things outside your own apartments to get to know each other. Call me old-fashioned…but being at least somewhat financially secure is right up there.

-Money talk. Okay, so whether you have money or not, I don’t want to hear about it unless we’re serious. It’s boring to me to hear about your financial woes or listen to you brag about your salary, and it’s invasive to ask me what I pay for rent, car payment, heat, or my shoes, because who the fuck really cares?

-Clingy, needy, etcetera. It’s not that I’m a bitch, it’s just that I don’t really need you or want to talk to you 24/7. Constant availability doesn’t make anyone sexy; this should be common knowledge.

-Incessant pawing/trying to get laid. But guys will be guys, so expected and tolerated to a point.

-Strange sexual surprises…?!

-Calling me any of the following: Cutie, hun, mami, ma, sweet-cheeks, good-lookin’ or any other ridiculous name. Please!

All in good fun. I don’t take anything too seriously and neither should you–life is too short! If worse comes to worst, we can always just say “next!”