Ragtag Daily Prompt Sunday: Surprise

Surprise! I love surprises! Do you? I’m curious! Just this weekend I received a wonderful gift from a very special love in my life! You see, I’m an artist living in NYC and loving it, but I miss my roots, too! I grew up in the mountains of Colorado, so I’m an outdoors girl, too! It’s so beautiful there…and here, too, in different ways. Well…recently it was my birthday…and he surprised me with the BEST gift of all…a trail ride in the Shenandoah Valley!!!!!!!!! I haven’t been on a horse in over a decade. I’m not even a regular rider, or anything, but I LOVE them. I LOVED IT! IT WAS MAGICAL! HE WON MAJOR POINTS FOR THAT ONE! The horse was amazing, so gentle and responsive to my commands. The guides were incredible (seriously, River’s Bend Ranch, they’re awesome), and the experience was excellent! We took a ride by the river, through the forest, and loved every minute of it! He won major boyfriend points with that one. The sweetest thing: he’s not an outdoorsy guy himself, but he knows how much I love the air, the mountains, the animals, etc., so he planned this whole day trip (zipcar, lunch) and everything and then surprised me with the bday gift! Such a lovely guy, and I feel so blessed to have him. Plus…this isn’t the first time he’s surprised me with something I wanted so badly…he surprised me with Hamilton tickets for our anniversary…so he’s definitely amazing!

 

RDP Monday: Dazzle

“Give em’ the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle em”. Any “Chicago” fans out there? That lyric was literally the first thing that came to mind when I thought about the word dazzle. Dazzle sounds sparkly, doesn’t it? It sounds glitzy, like the 20’s, at least in my opinion. It reminds me of themed 20’s parties, songs, dances, movies, singing, and general stuff of that era. It also makes me think about how I can dazzle people…or at least “dazzle” my own life. You see, I’m an entrepreneur, so I’m always thinking of ways to dazzle my customers at all of my jobs (yes, you read that correctly, I have several jobs). I’m a waitress, dog walker, house sitter, e-commerce store owner, and aspiring actress/singer. There’s a lot of room to dazzle there!

Thinking about the e-commerce store, though (millennialpets.org), I’m always learning and growing. I’m not particularly technically inclined, and that is an uphill climb for me…but I’m always learning and achieving and acquiring new skills. I’ve learned more about how the internet/tech works in the last few months than I have in a lifetime, and it really is a whole other world. All in all, I hope to dazzle my clients every day with awesome customer service, speed, accuracy, and products that provide tons of incredible memories! I also hope to have the skills of Broadway stars so that I can literally dazzle entire audiences every night one day. It will happen. In the meantime, keep on being you, you fabulous ragtagdailyprompt’ers! Have a wonderful Monday!

Let’s Talk About Finances…

I can hear the collective groan now…do we, as artists really have to think about finances? Well, first of all, we’re still people, too, so the answer is: yup (unfortunately). I know that money and art don’t necessarily go hand in hand (I’m there with ya). I would like to share some information and tips that I have learned in the last year or more to help my fellow artists (and anyone who’d like assistance) to better their lives by improving their financial portfolio. Now, I am not a financial advisor or a guru of some sort, so please get professional help if need be and look at your finances with an advisor. These are simply the musings of an artist trying to get by!

About two years ago I was financially flailing. My credit score was about 1-200 points lower than it is now, and I came to the realization that a low credit score was really harming my ability to pay off a credit card that I’d gotten when I was young (and how that debt got there: that’s another story filled with me having no idea about the repercussions, aka interest, of my actions when I was younger). This debt has followed me around for years. Since I had such a high interest rate that was forcing me to throw money down the toilet every month, I decided that I needed to start working on improving my credit so that I could better my situation gradually. I also knew that I’d be moving out on my own at some point and that my credit would need to be elevated. Ah, being an adult. IT WAS DAUNTING. So…I started researching ways to slowly incorporate better financial strategy in my life.

The first step…is the hardest one: grabbing the bull by the horns and combing through your statements to see where you can begin to curb your spending. For me it’s been my Starbucks habit (I now only go once a week and I’ve cut my spending down from about $200+ to $50-$60 per month, at most). So yay! I get a special date with myself once a week and I get to keep more money, too! I know, it’s painful, but you can do it, as well! Think about it this way: for me that’s about $1,680 in savings per year…that could definitely pay a few monthly bills! What do you do that slowly demolishes your pay? The second step: still pretty daunting, but very liberating once you face it.

The 2nd step is to find out if you’re eligible for a credit card. I recommend applying for a secured credit card if you’re ready because they are designed to help those of us who are re-building our credit health. The way they accomplish this is by only having a very small credit limit (mine with Capital One was $200) so you don’t go overboard with your spending. It’s a great way to practice changing your habits while having a safer system than a regular credit card. There are lots of offers out there, but I recommend using Capital One because it comes with an easy to use set of tracking tools. The app allows you to see exactly how much credit you have and have used. It also informs you about your financial health by consistently showing you your credit score, providing information about the factors effecting your credit, and giving you tips on how to improve your score. By following the steps suggested, you can start to build your confidence in your financial setup. I have come to find out through my own experience how important and beneficial this is. In the last two years I have grown financially and I’ve realized many things, but one of the most important things I came to realize is that it is very expensive to not have money. Having a great credit score means that you will be offered better deals on financial products, especially interest rates. Interest rates are where the bank gets your money. With high interest rates you end up paying the bank more money in the long run because you have a low credit score. With a higher credit score the bank gives you a lower interest rate, and you end up paying less money in the long run than you would have otherwise. Weird, right? It seems backwards, but I hope to inspire you to think outside the box and turn the cycle back in your favor as I am trying to do on my end as well.

These ideas are just scratching the surface and there is more to come. Stay tuned and have a great day!

 

Disclaimer: please do what is best for you financially. My tips and ideas have worked well for me, but each situation is different. For personal advice please go to a financial advisor and find out your options.