Friday, July 22, 2016

For Budget or For Worse: Why I Groupon.

disclosure: this is a sponsored post. all opinions are mine.
Embarrassingly enough to admit, for me, with marriage came an actual strict budget. I know -- I should have been doing this well beforehand, but the fact is that I wasn't. And another fact is that budgeting has helped me tremendously. (I'm sure it doesn't hurt that I married an amazing numbers person, but balance is likely another post altogether.)
Thankfully, I knew about Groupon coupons long before meeting the Budgeter in my life. Whether I want to buy quality, high thread count sheets at a huge discount, or a manicure and pedicure at my favorite salon for half the normal cost, or a fantastic bargain from the greatest beauty retailer of all time, signing up for Groupon emails is the way to do it!
At first I was leery about getting yet another email in my inbox each day – is saving money really worth it? – but then I realized I could actually exercise some discipline and filter the emails coming through each day, just like I do with other company’s communications.
If I don’t need what’s being offered, I can delete the email. But if I’m in the market for candles, or a gift, or new workout clothes, or a 50% off deal to the best Thai restaurant in town, I can use my allotted budget for that and take Groupon up on their offer.
Maybe you want to, too? It's fun!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Things I Wish I Had Known

Always use sunscreen.    Eat more fruits and vegetables.    Easy on the sugar, sugar.    Exercise whether or not you need to, because how much more fun could you have than that?!

I suppose as I approach 40, the usual suspects should fall into my list of things I wish I had known throughout my life.

I can't blame anyone for not telling me the things I wish I'd known -- including those listed above -- because as with most life experiences, it's my own fault for not listening and having to learn lessons the hard way. But, thankfully, my life has my own imprint, and my steps are rebekah-sized and specific to my path.

With that in mind, here are the things I wish I had known throughout the past 40 years, give or take a few (years and things):

  • Everything isn't part of my charm.This one still stings, especially since I haven't even been married a year, so I'm adjusting to someone living with all my quirks. "What do you mean it's not cute and eclectic and an adorable expression of my creativity for me to leave my shoes by the couch?" 
    (I could go on, but you probably get the picture.)

  • Genetics don't get you everywhere.
    Even if you don't think you have great genes, you probably do. You may not be Jennifer Lawrence or Gigi Hadid, but you likely have something going for you. You know,
    I, much like JLaw, woke up like dis.
    that stuff you don't have to work for, but sometimes get compliments on? (LOVE those things.) A few exhibits A: High metabolism. Good skin. Quick wit. Easy hair. Pretty toes. (What. That's a legit thing.) Some of us -- no names named, obvs -- may not realize that these things could go away one day, or that even one of these things not being around could change our appearance. Then one day, bam, in your late 20s, you can't eat everything and not exercise, and what do you have? Ten extra pounds. Clearly not speaking from experience, of course. So still take care of things that you think your genes have covered, because whoa, Nellie. It's a harsh reality when you have to start three decades into life.

  • People aren't around forever. 
    I know, I know. Who isn't aware of this? I mean, we all are. But, not to be a buzzkill, but you don't exactly expect your favorite high school teacher to succumb to cancer before you can write that "how you changed my life" letter after you graduate from college. And, that BFF you think will always live less than a mile from you may decide to do summer missions in Australia, and your lives could go in kind of different directions from there. So if you have an intention, just follow through with it, already. Trust me.

  • Friends can be seasonal, and that's ok.
    It was about this point in my post that I realized exactly
    how depressing my advice is. Sorry, guys.
    If you're a people-pleaser like me and you're hearing this for the first time, you won't think this is ok at ALL. I get that. You may have to read it twice, or you may even just close out this post. I've been there. "I'm a good friend. My friends won't ever go away. And I would never do that to them!" And no, we don't want any of that to happen. The great philosopher Deep Blue Something crooned it best in Breakfast at Tiffany's: "I hate when things are over, there's so much left undone."

    However, sometimes it's best for our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual states of mind for things to be over. Sometimes we need the gifts someone can offer, but only for a season. And sometimes we can only do them good for a short period of time.

    I'm not gonna lie. This can hurt like the devil -- both sides of it. I know from experience. And there have to be more graceful ways to handle it than how I have in my life.

    But accepting that seasonal isn't just a section of greeting cards is probably a good start.

  • If something works, stick with it.Ok, so you should probably switch up your breakfast to add something else into the rotation, but I'm talking about important things. You know, lipstick. Hairstyles.* Colors that look good on you. Styles you constantly get complimented for wearing. Also, exercises you love! If you're like me, you feel like you should jump on the latest bandwagon and try out whatever is new and fun. There's nothing wrong with that, but you know, if Richard Simmons keeps you in shape, sweat to the oldies, my friend!
    * This does not apply to a Carol Brady-type fad style. Keep up with the times. Get a hairdresser you can trust. Perhaps that's another blog for another day.

  • If two or more people say it, it's probably true.This applies to everything from a bad haircut to the guy you're convinced you'll spend the rest of your life with. It's also important to note that these people shouldn't be related, or friends with each other. They need to be saying this to you independently. If that happens, BOOM. Sealed. You can either listen and fix the haircut, or blissfully ignore them and spend the next six -- count 'em, SIX -- years thinking that surely the guy you think is The One will exhibit appropriate behaviors. Up to you.
There you have it. All my wisdom.

Aren't you so freaking enlightened?! Don't you hope I'm still blogging at 80?!?!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Rebekah's General Warning: 
I drafted this in October or November of 2015, and am just coming back to it. While a lot of adjustment has been made, it's all still true. :-)

I remember (not that long ago, really, at ALL), thinking "Contentious wife? How could I possibly ever be contentious toward the man that I love?!"

Not to mention, "C'mon, y'all, if you love the guy, how hard can it really be to do him good and not evil all the days of your life?"

These things -- no joke -- seemed quite simple to me.

(Minor side note: I was not a wife yet.)

Though not necessarily deemed "young" by most (ahem -- almost 40 and counting) and certainly not wise by many (no offense taken!), I surely had read a few key Proverbs by now and had my instructions laid out. Right? Right.

So, Very. Wrong.

After a mere six and a half weeks of living with this beautiful gift God created just for me, it was clear that if there was one thing I've learned, it's that I have not one single clue about anything. At all.

For example:

  • What is laundry.
  • What is a meal.
  • How do I park.
  • Did I frown wrong? I'm not mad! Is your whole day ruined?
  • Did I react wrong? I don't think you're mad! My whole day is ruined.

I know how to do laundry.
I think I know how to do laundry.
I used to know how to do laundry.
Why am I even trying to do the laundry?

I'm just gonna go....oops. I no longer have an apartment to go back to for a second. I'm sorry, precious introvert of a husband. :-( I can't really give you any breathing room right now. It makes 100% sense to me that you need alone time to rejuvenate, but as an extrovert, I may or may not have my own tendencies to need some alone time, too.

Bottom line: No one ever said it was easy.

Adam and Eve had their issues. Right?

When our friends and family smiled and patted us on the back and wished us well and said, "It's work, but you're in love," we had NO IDEA. Did we? We did not.

It, indeed, is work.

It is roommate-hood, plus love. Which means we're invested a little more (thanks, county judge), and we're accountable to all the people we could afford to invite (thanks, limited budget), and we're even accountable to all the people who know through social media that we're married (sorry for my Facebook over-friending issues, sweet pea).

Those of you who are long married are dying laughing at me, I know. And you should be! One day I will be in your spot, and perhaps doing the same. Or maybe reaching out and saying, "You're not alone. It happens. This is pretty normal. Nothing prepares you for the roommate you love."

Fortunately for us, we have had parents and friends and relatives who have said that to us very recently, and it helps. A lot.

'Cause here's the thing: the worst ever is thinking you have it figured out, then realizing you don't, then having no one who gets it.

And the best ever, in any situation, is having someone who gets it -- whether you fully do or not.

So marriage? Maybe I will never fully grasp what it means (much to Michael's dismay), or maybe we'll both keep trying, and we'll one day breathe in and out while embracing this beautiful, hard work we've been tasked to do.

Either way, I hope we can keep laughing -- whether that's at ourselves, a silly video, or the cute puppy who entertains us.