On Sharing Time: How Much Did You Spend on Presents This Year?

Here is what my husband and I have spent (or are planning to spend) for the holidays. This includes gifts for our parents, gifts for each other, our siblings and spouses if they have any, his grandparents (who we will see at Christmas which is not a regular thing, so a gift will be purchased), handmade gifts for my coworkers, holiday cards (I love Papyrus cards so sue me), and any shipping that has happened as a result of gift giving. 1. In total I believe we spent, and this is probably not 100% exact but I would say it is 90% exact: $1,066.82. 2. Most expensive gifts are to our parents: $200 for each set of parents. Typically a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant or hotel, something so they can have an enjoyable and luxurious experience. Our parents (mine in particular) have really spoiled us, so this is a really small way we can thank them for being well, awesome parents. 3. I made twelve sets of homemade hot chocolate mix (using the Smitten Kitchen's recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/12/decadent-hot-chocolate-mix/) to give to my coworkers and also to have as hostess gifts for holiday parties. The jars were around $22.00 on Amazon, with free shipping thanks to Prime. I had most of the ingredients in my pantry but had to buy cocoa powder and chocolate, which I think added up to around $20 thanks to grocery store sales. So $44.00 divided by 12 and rounding up is like, $4. This was a really good idea, didn't take too long, and had the nice "handmade" touch. People really liked them. 4. For our family members, yes. Not so much the incidentals like shipping, cards, and the hot chocolate. 5. Well, we stayed within the gift range for our families but, again, other things add up. I'd say we did okay though, and we could afford it. 6. Anything we ordered from Amazon, since we have an Amazon credit card, but the gifts were paid off immediately, so technically, no! Which is pretty great! 7. I do! I wish we could afford to get our parents an even more lavish gift--I'd love to treat mine to a full vacation one day--but for now, this will suffice. Everything else we bought was pretty specific to the recipient--something they wanted, needed, or had asked for, so I'm feeling pretty good! Now we just need to wrap!

Posted on December 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm 1

On Cara Ellison on Beyonce and the Economics of Dating

Is this the modern day version of sponge worthy? But seriously, when it feels right all thoughts of deadlines and sitting alone in the bath watching Netflix and anything else will go away and you'll just roll with it and not overthink it. At least, that's what my dating experience was.

Posted on December 18, 2014 at 2:49 pm 3

On How Wizards Do Money: Anthony Goldstein

Oh Nicole, how timely and wonderful, a Chanukah Miracle (yes I saw your tag, well done). When JKR announced that yes, Jewish wizards existed, I just about spit, it cracked me up. And of course the Jewish Wizard was in Ravenclaw! The soundbites are perfect, as is the almost-trolling about Chanukah/Hannukah etc. being "the most important Jewish holiday." People are always so shocked to find that it *isn't* the biggest holiday and that Judaism's most important holidays tend to emphasize family time and/or sitting in synagogue all day and not spending money--especially because you aren't allowed to spend money on most major Jewish holidays, including the weekly Shabbat! Unrelated--my Catholic (this is relevant) mother in law texted me a photo of her holiday card. It is a ton of photos from my wedding (my husband and I were married this year, so that makes sense), and on the back is a series of well wishes including "Happy Channukah," which is incredibly touching considering her family is not Jewish. But she was all worried that she had spelled Channukah wrong, which, Chanukah/Hannukah etc. has about 10 different spellings so I had to reassure her that no, she was fine, and no one would be offended, and it was a lovely card, and thank you. At least she was fact checking! Silly Daily Prophet.

Posted on December 18, 2014 at 12:11 pm 0

On A Cautionary Tale About Generation Gig

Yeeeahhh I don’t think I could freelance either. I like it in theory, but honestly I also really like the idea of having a set place to go everyday and people with whom I interact on the regular, a regular salary that I can expect in my bank account on regimented days, health insurance, a retirement plan, and, you know, general stability. Of course I love my coworkers and I really enjoy my job (most of the time!), so I might be a little biased? Regardless, good luck to you and David, none of that sounds fun. I hope you guys find your job *and* financial stability!

Posted on December 18, 2014 at 11:40 am 1

On Getting Cold Feet About Your Wedding ... Dress

@Allison @honey cowl Seconding this. If the dress isn't going to disappear take some time to think and/or reevaluate your budget. I also agree with what @andnowlights said-if it isn't going to destroy your budget and you cannot find anything else that you LOVE then buy the dress. You can always resell it later if you want. You only get one wedding dress and it will be in a gazillion pictures that will follow you the rest of your life. I know there has been this backlash against wedding excess because weddings have gone crazy and it is just one day of your life but, again, it is just ONE DAY OF YOUR LIFE. And you only get one wedding (well, hopefully!) and you want to feel as beautiful and happy as possible and part of that is wearing something that makes you feel beautiful, comfortable, and most of all HAPPY. It is OKAY to splurge on some of your wedding if you can afford it, because it is never going to happen again (again, hopefully).

Posted on December 12, 2014 at 3:05 pm 0

On Madison Is A Great Small City, Unless You're Black

@chic noir I think she meant "unusual" hair in that she mentioned a friend with very, very red hair. So, my guess is that she meant hair that isn't straight or straight-ish and in a typical color like blonde or brown.

Posted on December 11, 2014 at 9:18 pm 1

On Madison Is A Great Small City, Unless You're Black

@garli The girl I referenced above who liked having her hair played with had FIERY red hair. I am talking like Ariel in The Little Mermaid hair. And it was 110% natural. Must be a thing.

Posted on December 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm 0

On Madison Is A Great Small City, Unless You're Black

@sheistolerable Yes, I agree that touching black people's hair is more likely to have racist undertones then just, touching someone's hair period... ...but I wouldn't call everyone who tries to touch a black person's hair racist because they are probably just ignorant/rude, not intentionally malicious, and also probably don't even realize that a) they are being rude as hell and b) they are doing something that has some gross historical undertones. If they are a decent human being and a not-white person said to them "hey person please don't touch my hair because a) it is rude and b) what you are doing has a long history of being super racist" then I am guessing that that person would feel pretty damn shitty, because most people are not monsters. They are just ignorant. ...but it is still hella rude to touch someone's hair without permission so how about we all just keep our hands to ourselves?

Posted on December 11, 2014 at 4:14 pm 0

On Madison Is A Great Small City, Unless You're Black

This was great, but one thing I always wonder when I read articles like this that reference the hair touching... ...when is it acceptable to ever ask to touch anyone's hair, black or white? I just find that to be rude and invasive, period. I would never, ever touch anyone's hair unless they were a very close friend or family member or I had been invited to touch that person's hair (I had a friend who really like it when people would play with her hair. I guess she found it relaxing). So, all these crazy people touching other people's hair without permission or asking to touch someone's hair are probably not racist, they're just really, really rude. Aside from that...I am as white as white comes, but I am Jewish, so (to a much lesser extent because, obviously) I get where the author is coming from and applaud her eloquence. I grew up in Florida, and while I was not on the East Coast of Florida (where there are tons of Jews) there were plenty of Jewish people in my town and in my school. Moving to NC was the first time I ever met people who had never met a Jew, which was...new to me, to say the least. And I always found it comforting to go to NYC where there are tons of Jews and where many restaurants do things like put boxes of matzo on the table during Passover. You don't really see that in small towns because, for obvious reasons, smaller towns have much less diversity.

Posted on December 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm 0

On In Defense of Small Cheap Cities

@andnowlights You can live mostly car-free if you live and work in a city center (downtown Durham or downtown Raleigh primarily, or anywhere around UNC/Franklin Street in Chapel Hill). But even so, you will still likely need to drive to the grocery store and other errand-like places. And, of course, the rent is much higher in the central downtown areas vs. 10-15 minutes out. And then of course you have to drive if you want to do something in another city in the region, like my uncles who live in Orange County and have symphony tickets in Raleigh. That's a 45-50 minute drive for them whenever the symphony is playing. There is some mass transit, but it is slow. This is a *very* car-centric area.

Posted on December 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm 0