How To Live Your #bestlife This Holiday Season (While Also Sticking To Your Budget)

I pride myself on being an excellent gift giver, so the holidays are really my time to shine. Maybe my Leo sun is the reason I love finding the right gifts for my friends and family members, but there’s nothing better than hearing, “Wait, this is perfect! How did you think of this?!”

Budgets and high prices rarely stand in my way when I find the one thing that’s just so them (or when that “one thing” is actually two or three things). Unfortunately, that means I tend to overextend myself — financially and emotionally — on my quest to find the ideal present for everyone.

But I’m not the only one who spends a lot toward the end of the year. A recent survey on holiday spending found that in 2018, the average consumer planned to spend nearly $650 on gifts for friends, family, and coworkers for the holidays. No matter if that number feels comfortable or overwhelming for your budget, it’s worth following a few small-but-mighty ways to make sure you’re maintaining your financial health throughout the holiday season.

First Things First: Figure Out Why You’re Spending The Way You Are

Imcsike/Shutterstock

Spending habits can be hard to change. If you’ve always bought a gift for a friend in the past, it’s easy to get caught in a pattern of buying something for them every year, but experts suggest it may be helpful to take a step back and figure out why you’re compelled to buy them anything at all.

“Many of us don’t see our family and friends as often as we’d like (hello, life) and to make up for lost time, we give with tangible things like gifts,” says Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, a licensed master social worker and a financial therapist who helps people understand the psychology behind spending.

So when you’re planning holiday gifts, take time to evaluate who you’re buying for and why they’re on your list. Is it, as Bryan-Podvin suggests, about how you feel giving them a gift? (Um, guilty.) Or is it out of a sense of obligation?

As certified financial planner Liz Frazier says, “You are not Santa. Buy for the people you want to buy for, not because you feel obligated.”

Make Your Budget Your Best Friend

Building a budget can be fairly simple, but you have to be realistic about it — which means setting aside some time to plan it out earlier than December 1. Luckily, having that plan in place could help you avoid some common money mistakes.

According to money coach Emma Leigh Geiser, most money issues can be simplified into two main categories: underestimating and overspending. Many people try to set a budget using “mental math,” says Geiser, but they tend to underestimate how much things will actually add up. Then reality kicks in and they’re hit with sticker shock, and that’s when overspending happens.

To keep your money in a good place, set up your holiday spending plan before you start shopping. Between purchases, you can check in with your budget to make sure you’re staying on a productive track.

Think Outside The Gift-Giving Box

Personally, I make it a point to donate a portion of my holiday spending budget to a local organization that ensures children in their care network have gifts to open on Christmas morning. It’s an important line item in my budget, and I encourage everyone to do something similar around the holidays if you can.

But, as Bryan-Podvin points out, “Nonprofits need funding year-round, not just during the holiday rush.” Consider spacing your contributions out throughout the other 11 months of the year to make budgeting easier.

Plan Your Holiday Travel Sooner Than Later

Nomad_Soul/Shutterstock

For those of us who live far from family, going home for the holidays is often a lot more involved than simply dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh — and it’s usually more costly.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools that can help you find a solid deal on flights, like apps that show you if the most affordable time to book your trip is today, or maybe a couple of weeks from now. You can easily filter by number of stops, airline, and time of day to make sure you’re finding an option that suits your budget and your schedule.

That in mind, sometimes holiday deals book up too quickly for you to actually take advantage of them. If that’s the case, fear not! There are other budget-friendly ways to cash in on some quality time with your loved ones. “See if there is an off-season time you can visit, say for a relative’s big birthday or anniversary,” Bryan-Podvin suggests. “It allows you quality time with less competing demands and often results in cheaper travel. To double-up on this idea, send a holiday card with your tentative travel dates or flight receipt to the person you’ll be visiting. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!”

Try This Tip For Navigating Post-Holiday Sales

Who doesn’t love a sale? Sales are great — if you actually need whatever you’re buying. “Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you have to buy it,” Frazier says. After all, buying something (even if it’s on sale) is still spending money.

When it comes to spending any money you received over the holidays, Frazier suggests writing down a list of the things you want and need, then shopping the sales with a keen eye on those items only — a strategy that can help you overcome a common pitfall of impulse shopping.

 

 

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Woman Slams Surprisingly ‘Tiny’ & ‘Insulting’ Engagement Ring After 8 Years With Partner

I’m not the first person to say weddings have gotten out of control in America, but man does it bear repeating. The over-the-top engagement and bachelorette parties, the mile-long registries packed with pricey items you just know the couple will never use, and the wedding receptions themselves, which can cost upward of $50K … It’s MADNESS! Plus, before the wedding festivities even begin, the groom has to fork over some major bucks on the engagement ring — which he will definitely be silently judged for if it’s tiny. Such is the predicament one poor soul is in, after he got hardcore ring-shamed on Reddit this week.

The Reddit post, which was shared on Monday, has elicited a LOT of opinions so far from people who could hardly believe their eyes.

In it, the poster shares an image supposedly from a woman who recently became engaged after eight years with her partner. On her hand sits a diamond engagement ring, accompanied by a simple gold band.

Sounds pretty standard, right?

But you see, here’s the thing: The ring on her finger looks like less like a rock and more like … well, a pebble. Or glitter. Or, honestly, anything other than a diamond engagement ring. Because even to the untrained eye — and the least materialistic person out there — it’s pretty clear: The ring is small. And that’s precisely why the bride-to-be took to social media in the first place.

“This is the ring he said he saved up to buy me,” the woman wrote. “Am I being shady or materialistic if I tell this mf ion want this little a– ring?”

Reddit was pretty much unanimous: The ring is bad. Like, REAL bad. And mostly because of what they think it says about her fiance’s judgment.

“I’m not materialistic when it comes to things like this but if my man proposed with THAT I would be full on insulted,” wrote one woman. “There are nicer, more substantial rings than that for $200. He went out of his way to find the cheapest possible option; which to me says that he’s probably like that in every aspect of the relationship and will probably be like that in every aspect of their marriage. You can count on it.”

Yikes.

Plenty of others took turns guessing just how inexpensive the ring was, too, and many believe it to be no more than $200 to $300.

To be fair, $200 to $300 isn’t a drop in the bucket. But for an engagement ring? One you’ve been presumably saving up for for years?

To many, it says something about his saving skills …

“Not gonna lie,” wrote one person. “I’d be more concerned about his ‘saving up’ to buy something that little. Simply because it shows that a wedding is probably not in the budget.”

“I agree,” another person chimed in. “While I have no idea what this costs, it doesn’t look like a ring one would need to save up for. They have been talking about marriage for three years, but have they gone window shopping for engagement rings? Have they discussed style, size, and budget for the ring as well as a wedding?”

Plenty of Redditors said the woman should “gently” let her fiance know this isn’t her style, and ask to return to the jeweler to choose one she likes.

“This will hopefully lead to a budget discussion and set priorities,” one person explained.

“Exactly,” added another. “My husband has bought some jewelry for me that wasn’t my taste. I wanted to have an engagement ring I absolutely loved, so we picked it out together. We got engaged almost three years ago and I still stare at my ring every day because I absolutely adore it.”

“I used to think this was unromantic af, and then my then-bf made me do it and LET ME TELL YOU it’s amazing,” another woman said.

In fact, a lot of women chimed in about their involvement during the ring-shopping process, claiming that picking it out themselves — or at least steering their boyfriends in the right direction — wound up being for the best.

Even a few dudes commented that they were grateful for the help.

“I went so far as to make my then-gf pick out an engagement ring,” one man commented, “because I knew I wouldn’t get the one she wanted and I knew she’d be the one wearing it forever.”

Still, many warned that this might be a sign of things to come …

“Regardless of whether she likes the ring, if they’ve been talking about marriage for 3 years and this is what he was able to save for (possibly over the course of 3 years), unless her fiancé is living in poverty, it seems like this is a red flag regarding his ability to manage finances and save money, which is a major concern if you’re going to spend a lifetime with someone,” wrote one person.

At least a few people came to the guy’s defense, though. Well, sorta.

“I kinda like her ring,” wrote one person. “It’s very modern and sleek looking. I’d wear that in a heartbeat.”

“It’s totally the kind of ring that I’d wear,” added another.

But perhaps one person said it best when they dropped this little truth bomb: “When the ring is the issue, the ring is not the issue.”

Hmmm … FAIR. Very fair.

The thing is, the ring IS small. But is that really a reason to shame the person you supposedly love on the internet? Here’s hoping the woman works up the nerve to tell her fiance what she really wants in an engagement ring — and it leads to a bit more communication in the future.

 

 

Another Life – Chapter 49

 

https://lapetitemort17.wordpress.com/?p=463

 

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10 Signs You Are Being Needy

In my ten years of coaching men and women on the perils of dating and relationships, the one journey women tell me they never want to go on again is meeting and hanging out with the “needy and clingy” man. Nothing turns women off more than a guy who is really needy.

Now, I can practically hear men’s voices protesting from everywhere, saying “But David, there are a lot of needy women too!” This blog is not about them . . . it’s about YOU.

Below are ten signs that you are being needy. Remember you are trying to attract women, not turn them off. So if you suffer from any of these signs of neediness, you need to immediately stop those actions.

1. You just walked a woman to her door at the end of a date. Instead of kissing her, you ask her if she had a good time. Women are attracted to confident men. They don’t want to have to tell you that they had a good time on a date . . . they want you to be secure enough in yourself to assume that they had a good time.

2. You called a woman last night and she has not yet called you back, so you either email her or call her again to ask her if she received your message. If you want to push her away, this is one of the best ways to get her to quickly run away from you.

3. You start texting a woman you just began dating five or six times a day. You are over-texting her. You don’t need to be checking in every two hours. That’s a sign of neediness and clingy behavior that turns women off.

4. You miss a call on your cell phone from a phone number that you don’t recognize. You call the woman you’re dating, and to whom you talked just two hours before, and ask “Did you just call me?” This kind of behavior is going to push and scare her away.

5. You agree with everything the woman you’re dating says. Women are not looking for a man who agrees with everything they say. Women want a man who challenges them and from whom they can learn. When a man agrees with everything a woman says, he is telling her that he’ll do ANYTHING to have a relationship (which is another sign of being needy).

6. The woman you’re dating is out for the evening with her friends. She promised to call you when she got home. It’s getting late and you haven’t heard from her. You just can’t resist and you call her cell phone several times until she answers it. This is a sign of being needy and insecure. She’s out with her friends . . . not out with another guy. Let her have some personal space and she’ll respect you more.

7. You are too available. If you have plans with a friend, keep those plans even if the woman you’re dating asks you to do something that night. Women don’t want men who are like a 7-Eleven – convenient and ready 24/7.

8. You try to please a woman all the time. I’m all about men doing nice things for women, but she has to earn it. Some men will let a woman walk all over them, and then continue to be a sponge and allow it over and over again. Stand up for yourself and she’ll respect you more. Letting a woman walk all over you is a clear sign to her that you’re needy.

9. Don’t be afraid to challenge a woman. If you don’t agree with something a woman says, don’t just sit there and agree with her thinking it’s what she wants. Women are looking for someone who is going to stimulate their mind . . . not bore them. Women are not turned on by men they can completely control.

10. Be the man! Have a plan and stick with it. Women like men who plan out evenings of fun. Don’t always ask a woman what she wants to do. Listen to what she likes when you’re having conversations with her, then come up with a fun plan that you will already know she’ll like. A needy man will do whatever a woman wants. A man of action will create plans for what they will do. Being a man of action will lead her to find you a lot more attractive in the long run.

Women are attracted to men who are confident and real. Women want to feel like you need them . . . but only after you already have your own life, your own ambitions, and your own goals.

The moment a man starts getting too clingy, a woman will run for the hills. This is exactly like how you will pull back from a woman who becomes clingy and needy.

If any of the items on this list resonates with you, then I suggest you eliminate that behavior so women will no longer see you as needy. For more tips on becoming less needy, check out my Men’s Audio Mastery Series by clicking right here, or send me an email with the subject line “Needy Man In Need Of Help!”

 

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Signs A Girl Wants You To Make A Move

When I was in school, I went to the movies with a girl who clearly liked me, but I was clueless and hesitant. After giving me all sorts of hints in the dark theater, I still wouldn’t make a move.

Afterwards she was frustrated and told me that we should just be friends. I look back on that story and cringe, but, like many guys, I didn’t know the signs a girl wants you to make a move. You can learn from my mistake!

Even though we live in the age of independent women, guys are still expected to make the first move. So, typically she’s going to drop the hints and you’re going to have to make the first move.

However, you don’t have to be clueless like me. While there aren’t crystal clear guidelines, there will be strong signs a girl wants you to make a move. If you get the vibe, then by all means, make your move.

Body Language Signs

Women can be difficult to understand partly because they can play hard to get or want you to prove that you’re interested. So, she might be giving you mixed signals with her words. This is where body language can be helpful.

Body language is done mostly subconsciously so she might be testing you with her words, while her body tells the tale of attraction.

Open and Engaging

The first step of seeing if she likes you is to look at her behavior when she’s around you. If she’s open, as in open arms, uncrossed legs, and relaxed, then she’s clearly comfortable with you.

Look for a high level of open and engaging body language, like leaning in, making eye contact, and not slouching when you’re talking to her.

Pointing

When a girl likes you, she will orient her body towards you, a phenomenon called “pointing.” Typically girls will point with their navels, their legs, and their feet in this situation. Both men and women will point towards people they find attractive.

Pay attention to pointing when you’re in a large group. If she is pointing her hips and/or legs in your direction, even while engaging everyone else, then her subconscious body language is gravitating towards you.

Touching and Proximity

couple holding hands in a fieldIf she gets close to you a lot and touches you, that’s a major sign the girl wants you to make a move. Keep in mind the touching will be more subtle.

Does she touch your arm? Does she massage your shoulders for a few seconds? If you’re showing her something on your phone, does she lean in closely, getting almost inappropriately close?

These are all subtle, but clear indicators that she is interested in you in some capacity. If she comes out and kisses you then you don’t even need to make a move! She did it for you.

Remember something about body language, though. It often indicates comfort and liking which isn’t always romantic. You’ll have to make sure other signs line up before assuming she’s into you sexually.

Gives You Permission

When I was talking to the girl I took to the movies, she told me how a friend of hers wanted her to model for him. He joked that he wouldn’t mind her doing some clothes-free photos. She laughed it off, but told me she’d happily let me take those photos of her.

Yes, I was a total idiot. Even with that gigantic sign that she liked me, I still held back from making a move, second guessing myself!

You’re probably laughing at my cluelessness. But, you know that in the moment, it’s easy to doubt, overthink, and second guess yourself. Knowing the signs a girl wants you to make a move isn’t always easy in the moment.

If she drops hints that she could see herself doing something romantic and sexual with you, that’s a huge sign she wants you to actually do it. Yes, she’s basically giving you permission to make a move on her.

Flirting

Flirting is the silent language of sexual attraction. On a basic level, flirting is joking around and having fun with someone you find attractive. Women will typically smile a lot, giggle, touch their hair, and touch you when they’re flirting.

If your conversations are fun and flirty with sexual tension, then it’s a good indicator she is attracted to you. Keep in mind, however, that some women flirt with almost anyone just for attention. So, if she does it with everyone, you might not be special.

Time And Attention

Whenever my clients ask me if a girl likes them, I always ask the level of attention she gives them. If it’s a lot, the signs are good she likes them. If they get her scraps and leftovers, then not so much. We pay attention to what we like. It’s that simple.

Of course, giving you attention could simply be a sign of friendship. However, if you’re getting her best time and attention, then it probably means she likes you more. This not only includes attention in real life, but also social media.

For example, when you text her does she text right back? When you ask her out does she say “yes” instantly? Is she always laughing at your jokes and taking interest in your activities and hobbies? If you’re getting that level of attention, she almost certainly likes you as more than a friend…and wants you to make some kind of move.

Compare Yourself To Her Guy Friends

If you’re looking for signs she wants you to make a move, compare yourself to her guy friends. Look at how she interacts with them vs. how she treats you.

If she treats you and them the same, then there’s little chance she finds you romantically attractive. But, if she treats you differently, interacting with you in a more sexual, flirtatious manner, then you can be pretty sure she is after you…and wants you to take it to the next level.

One good sign is also that her guy friends seem jealous about you. They are clearly picking up on her feelings towards you at that point. It’s further confirmation.

Making the Move: What to do?

couple kissing in snowIf you see the signs she wants you to make a move, read the situation carefully. If you barely know her, your “move” might just be to put your arm around her or grab her hand. From that point, you can escalate to more, like kissing or making out.

Just remember, that some women will want to move more slowly. So, if she lets you hold your hand, but rejects your kiss, don’t get upset. Go back to holding her hand and get to know her better. Maybe later in the evening or at another time, she’ll let you kiss her or do even more.

The key is to build comfort with her never try to push yourself on her. If you’re attractive, she trusts you, and she gives you the signs, then you can make your move comfortably and securely knowing that you both clearly want it. Above all, if she says “no” then you have to respect that.

So, don’t be a fool like I was in university. If you’re getting the signs she likes you, then make that move! You’ll both be happier for it. And, if she rejects you, then get better at reading the signs. There are other fish in the sea who will like you.

 

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6 Essential Qualities of the Happiest Relationships

Linda: My husband Charlie and I studied the happiest couples we could find, interviewing more than 50 couples.

These couples were the voice of experience, having been married for an average of 30 years. They had all created exemplary relationships in the many different forms that great relationships can take. We expected that people who felt really happy and fulfilled wouldn’t have many differences and would have very infrequent conflict.

It turns out happy doesn’t necessarily mean tranquil.

Many of the “happy” couples were quite opinionated and could be volatile at times. Although it was true that overall there wasn’t much conflict, there were profound differences.

What distinguished these couples was that they were able to relate to those differences with appreciation and gratitude, rather than merely tolerating them or judging and being resistant.

They believed their differences added something rich to their relationship. Yet it was impossible not to notice that there were several themes that ran through nearly all of these relationships.

They include:

1. Enlightened self-interest

This has to do with the recognition that the happier my partner is, the happier I’m going to be. While this notion represents a belief that most people would agree with, few couples actually live in accordance with it. Many couples are primarily motivated by the impulse to pursue their own desires, even at the risk of causing distress or a sense of loss to their partner. Nearly all of the couples with whom we spoke claimed to experience a sense of pleasure and even delight in bringing greater fulfillment into the life of their partner and did not feel that they were sacrificing anything in the process of doing so. On the contrary, they claimed that the discovery of new ways to bring more happiness into their partner’s life was one of their greatest joys.

2. Intolerance to grudge-holding

The couples with whom we spoke, practically without exception, had an extreme intolerance to the accumulation of withheld resentments and consistently dealt with upsets and disappointments swiftly and effectively whenever they arose in the marriage.

3. A willingness to take personal responsibility for their part in any upsets or conflict

While it is natural and common for most people to become defensive and blaming when they find themselves in a situation which involves feelings of disappointment, frustration, anger or hurt, most of these couples were very willing to consider their part in the creation of the circumstances that led to the breakdown and could acknowledge their responsibility with a minimum of defensiveness. While there might often be an initial impulse to defend their position or actions, the amount of time that they would spend in a defensive mode was very brief, compared to most couples, before they became willing to recognize and acknowledge how they might have contributed to the situation.

4. Unconditional honesty

While most of us value honesty as a trait that is essential to the good character, it is all too easy to rationalize, justify, or excuse more subtle forms of dishonesty, such as white lies, justifications, or exaggerations. Most of these couples were not only scrupulously honest with each other but also were conscientious about expressing their thoughts and feelings in ways that were sensitive to their partner and rarely communicated their experiences in ways that could be characterized as being “brutally honest.” This combination of consistent honesty with high-level sensitivity led to a deep level of trust and respect in the marriage.

5. Integrating responsible self-care with care for the marriage

What may be perhaps the greatest challenge of any marriage is that of simultaneously addressing and fulfilling one’s own needs without neglecting those of the relationship. Nearly all of the couples that we spoke with were adept at both of these aspects of their lives and tended to see them as so inextricably linked that there was no apparent conflict or even difference between the two. They frequently tended to see their own well-being as inextricably linked to the health of their relationship and approached this responsibility with a sense of privilege, rather than a sense of duty or obligation.

6. Living in gratitude

For most of these people, the glass is always half-full. They are fundamentally optimistic, and that sense of optimism generally spills over to their marriage, as well as to other relationships in their lives. It is important to note that many of them hadn’t always had a natural temperament towards optimism, but had cultivated it in the course of their marriage. Many were influenced by an optimistic partner whose attitude supported them to cultivate a more positive worldview in their own lives. Consequently, there was a strong tendency to feel and express gratitude to each other and to others on an ongoing basis. This tendency to live in gratitude becomes a self-reinforcing experience that over time seems to permeate one’s overall quality of life experience.

 

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Jazmin – Guess Girl – Chapter 2

I’m folding towels when this lovely lady emerges from room seven.

“How’d you make out?”

“Great! I loved it!”

God. Her legs are exquisite. What an absolutely stunning young woman. Guess still uses photos of a young Sophia Loren in their ad campaigns. Lovely, young Jazmin clearly trumps her, and she’s a salesgirl.

What a beauty.

“You look great. When you come in next time just tell whoever is here your last name and they’ll know what you did, and where, and for how long and you can go again.”

“Thank you Charles. It was amazing just like you said. It was like I got to lie on a warm, sunny beach for 12 minutes but with no sand blowing and no flies!”

We both laugh and I see that Jazmin is even more beautiful when she laughs. All women are beautiful, but when they laugh I love them more.

Maybe that’s why I’m funny.

“Hey, technically we’re closed so let me get the door for you.”

“Oh, can I ask you one more thing?”

“Yea, sure. What’s up?”

“You close every night at eight right?”

“Yea. Here’s a card with all of our hours on it.”

“I saw you through the window, Charles. I’m glad I came to see you.”

“Yea, you said that. My partner Achilles will be happy that I’m pulling clients from just standing in front of the windows on Walnut Street. Thank you, Jazmin!”

“I saw you chatting with a girl one night in front of the windows.”

“Oh… Okay. That was probably Colleen. Tall. Brown hair. Great girl. She likes to come in and tan and then leaves her gear in the gym, and then goes out for a jog. We call her the fudge lady because she hooks us up with delicious treats from the candy store she works in once a month! (See: Colleen – Oh Fudge! – Part One, Two and Three) 

“No. I was selling a dress to a lady and I saw you chatting and laughing with a really tan Asian girl with of all things… blonde hair. It was curious.”

“Oh… because her hair was blonde and she was Chinese?”

“No. because you were both there laughing and happy and she was eating a banana and then I watched you do things to her.

 

I am having a panic attack at this point. A searing pain explodes in my heart because I’m suddenly so scared. (See: Kita – Chapter 39 – Reckoning – Part 2)

 

“Umm… what kind of stuff?”

“Things that I’ve never seen before. Things I don’t know. You kissing her in her private place between her legs.

 

There’s that moment in your mind when you feel like you’ve hit internet gold or when you’re going out for the last time because of your shitty behavior.

I’ve experienced this too many times in my life.

 

This was one of those critical moments.

 

“Can you imagine the Yelp review I write of what I saw you do to that to that girl?”

“That would destroy me, Jazmin. I’m so sorry you saw that. I was out of my head. I hadn’t seen her in an over a month and we just…happened.”

“Interesting. I never saw anything like that. The look on here face was unforgettable.”

“I’m so embarrassed and humiliated. I’m sorry, Please don’t tell anyone.”

“I don’t know what I want to do because I’ve never had this information before. You can understand my position.”

As hot as she was, I was sort of hating her power at this point, but still turned on in this moment…

“She looked very pleased to spend time with you.”

“Yea. I slipped.” (I knew I didn’t slip. I wanted Kita for months and anything from her would have been magic. Her body was a delicious snack that any man would cherish.)

“Is the salon closed?”

“Yes, Jazmin.”

“Then we need to have a conversation.”

 

I’m shitting bricks.

 

 

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