Day 333 – Pay it Forward.

Money Spent: 0$

I currently have someone in my life who’s keen on helping others. In like ‘very’. For a minute, I thought it had just to do with me, and it made me feel immensely precious and special… but it’s just a way of being, really.

It made me think about my way of giving. Sure, I’ll hold the door for you – even when I don’t know you. I’ll helpfully try to keep the elevator doors from closing if I see you diving head first for the opening… but I’m not going to lose my arm over it. But chances are that if you have a ton of groceries to carry up to the 5th floor of the building, I’ll all of a sudden get a silent yet very important imaginary call that I absolutely have to take while making my own way up the stairs.

And yeah… I care for you. I will donate you a dollar if you come to brighten up my subway ride with a song. My heart will break when I see you making a cardboard camp for the night. But to offer you my shoulder to lean on through the hard times, my advice when you need a truthful answer to your problem and my help when you have to lift a heavy piece of furniture… I’d have to know you a little better. You know, just in case I need to ask for help one day, too.



Last night, as I carried a small garbage bag of the stairs, one of my elderly neighbors was making her way down too. The lady had a cart full of laundry that she carefully rolled off the steps. Step by step, it’s heaviness obvious, her age reflecting in the slow movements she made.

I smiled a polite hello while I passed her… to stop in my tracks instantly. I turned around and asked if she needed help, but she smiled at me, thanked me in Spanish and nodded that she had it covered.

I took five more steps and then stopped again… there were still 3 flights of stairs left. So I decided not to take no for an answer, and said: “you know what… no, please let me help you take this down.” And that is what I did.

I got a hug out of it.

And the feeling that I actually did something that mattered. Maybe not for the world, but definitely for this woman… and very definitely for me.

I never thought small things like this, small gestures of lending a helping hand – even when it’s unasked for – could brighten a night into day.

More of that.

Day 332 – Lazy Sunday Afternoon.

Money spent: 0$


It had been on my wish list ever since I got back from Belgium: a lazy – have-to-do-nothing-at-all – weekend. Two days of blissful ‘belle far niente’: sleeping in, cooking a little, eating a little more, hanging on the couch, moving as little as possible.




This weekend, it was finally here. Although Saturday morning welcomed me with a mild headache, I decided not to marvel in its pain and shook a dose of ibuprofen down my throat. And by the time I was able to open my eyes… there was coffee already.

There was a last minute plan for a bowling session Saturday night, but the line at the alley was a length that was discouraging and in shrill contrast with the absence of stress I had been dealing with for 24 hours already. That also thought me lesson I knew already: unless you made a reservation, Saturday Night’s in Manhattan are brutal. I’ll stick to partying during the week.

What I’m also sticking to – or trying to – is my goals…

  1. Zero Spending Week!Yeah, let’s do one of those again.

ALMOST SUCCESS – a minor slip here and there, but overall, I did very well!

  1. Forrest Gump!Not the movie, not the Frank Ocean song… the running. My legs still look like this… But let’s not have a bruise or two keep me from staying in shape.

FAIL! I didn’t get around to running this week, and I don’t really have a good excuse for that… see also below.

  1. Back to Juicing!It’s so weird how healthy habits are the first to get sacrificed when the daily routine is a little off. But let’s get back on the healthy wagon, ya’ll!

SUCCESS! I went for green juice this week: Kale, apple, cucumber and lime. Yummie in my tummy.

  1. Make that Bling come in!My apartment is officially ready! I took my DIY project to a stretch, and made this lovely piece of wall art in my bedroom with my jewelry… and now that that is all done, it’s time to throw it on Airbnb.

SUCCESS! I had a little technical issue with the website, but since tonight, my space is live and available!

  1. Adjust a little!My boss is coming to town, which means I’ll have to adjust to having someone around in the office that I bravely manned solo for a couple of weeks. It’s only for a week and a half, though.

SUCCESS! Although I have to admit that it’s not that easy to all of a sudden have someone sitting next to me, and I’m already behind on answering emails. We’re having a very busy week ahead, which is awesome, because my brother and sister-in-law arrive this Friday for their first time ever in New York! So excited!

It seems difficult to go back to running. I don’t really have a running route yet, the temperatures are dropping and I’m starting to make excuses to avoid getting out of the door at night.

With Winter coming and all, I’m already anticipating a work out solution – and one that doesn’t ruin my budget. I did calculate the cost of a Bikram Yoga membership in my monthly spendings, but with no bikram studio nearby, I know I’ll not spend that amount of money. Hence me looking into a gym membership.

The first time I heard about Planet Fitness was on a Buzzfeed – one that discouraging enough to stay far away from them. But I have some friends who are very happy with their 10$ a month membership… and that amount did have some shiny appeal to it.

With one of their gym’s two stations away from where I live, I might soon become one of their new members. But that will be after a tiny part of my family comes to town.

Apart from some major touristy planning, I couldn’t neglect a couple of goals to set…

  1. Last week, I brought Post It Mondays Back… more of that!
  2. Keep Calm and Meditate. There is something going on in my life that had me sit down on my meditation pillow faster than I can spell ‘pillow’. More of that, too.
  3. I’m so excited for my brother and sister-in-law to come visit!! I’m planning on giving them an ultimate NYC experience!
  4. Keep the spending on a low! I’m on a roll, and plan to stick to it!
  5. Prepare for Fall! It is happening people. I can already feel a shift in the night air. Fall is coming, and I will need new boots and a new winter coat. Save Up!

And that’s all. I’m going to put my new Time Warner deal to work, and watch True Detective tonight. Yeah, that is happening!

Day 332 – To Credit or Not to Credit.

I’ve been trying to get some information from my bank about how I’d best start to build a credit score for myself. Without any luck so far, I must say… to an extend where I’m actually thinking about changing banks – but wouldn’t that be a hassle?

The whole situation got me thinking whether it’s really worth the trouble. Truth is, I’m functioning perfectly fine without a credit card – and the only circumstance that actually got me thinking about the disadvantage of not having a score, was when I couldn’t put a credit report on the table when signing my lease, and I had to put in an extra deposit.

Other than that… I’m still a fan of not spending money I don’t have.

The other day, I had a conversation with someone who once had as much credit debt as I have debt – and was able to pay it all off. But, the person said, she swore off credit cards all together, and managed just perfectly without one. I nodded in agreement, keeping my balance to myself and watching my mind shift again from a credit state to a debit state.

I’m sure there’s advantages to having a credit card – especially when you actually have a pool of money to dig up from and pay for it. But now that I the apartment hunt is over and there’s still some money in my account, a card might ruin that still fragile progress in the blink of an eye – let’s be honest the here: it’s like being a recovering addict. Once an addict, always an addict, and as we say in Belgium: “don’t put the milk with the cat.”

So, I’ll forgive my bank for not offering me the advice I was seeking at the time, and see it as a blessing. And I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing: moving forward, climbing up, working my way out.


Day 330 – Mailbox Clearance.

Money spent: $124.63  at Trader Joe’s. A little splurge, but a full freezer.

Ever since I created an empty drawer in my former Upper East Side studio – and witnessing the drastic changes that brought in my life – I’m a fan of the Law of Vacuum.

The Universe apparently abhors an empty shelf in your life, because it will set all wheels in motion to fill it back up. In order to attract fun, positive and enjoyable experiences, people and circumstances, it’s best to set an intention when you start cleaning your life of the trash that has to go. So if you want my advise for a cleaning spree through your space: put some awesome music up, turn the volume up and shake while you toss. Great work out too.

I moved my empty drawer with me when moving – and was able to clear a couple more in this vintage dresser that I scored, so imagine what else might be on the way for me!

And with that idea in the back of my mind, I decided to tackle another stuffed and oversized “dresser”, and clear that of a whole lot of junk, too: my personal email inbox.

Over the years, I’ve collected subscriptions to newsletters in a quantity that in the real world would give the mailman a triple hernia. And the emails I actually should read, often get lost between the daily newspaper updates, deals from websites that couldn’t even get their stuff to the US and invitations to events that I couldn’t attend even if I wanted to.

So I unsubscribed. A lot.

A whole lot, and then some more.

It sounds simple and easy to do – and it is, it takes a click or two, and that’s that. For some wicked reason (laziness, probably) I never got around doing just that, but it’s done. And in the morning I no longer wake up to a mailbox that has over 20 mails in it, upping my stress level with 200%.

You’d think something as little as an inbox wouldn’t influence my mood or well being, but I swear I feel lighter already.

And so much better.

Day 329 – Trippin’ not Allowed.

Money Spent: 0$

Remember that time where I had to climb a 27 feet ladder? I’ve been going up and down that thing for two weeks in a row now.

Yesterday, I went to the top of the scaffolding on the sixth floor, where my heart dropped only slightly when I noticed the entire construction was actually moving to the movement of the other people doing far more important things than me taking some pictures of the view.

It was also on top of that scaffolding that I – holding on to a pipe – pondered over my earlier climbing sessions. The ones where sweat was literally dripping of me, heart pounding so severely I would have died sooner of a heart attack than a fall down.

It is truly amazing what you can overcome if you set your mind to it… or if your job kinda demands you to do something you’d normally wouldn’t do.

I guess that’s how it goes with all things in life, whether it’s fear of commitment, a new relationship, a career change, speaking in public or spiders: you have to find that switch in your head to turn all rational thinking off, and just do it. Do it scared, even… do it very scared.

photo (9)

Just don’t trip.

Day 328 – Bringing Post It Mondays Back.

The list of resolutions I had set for this year, slowly seeped through the cracks of life with the rest of the lot. But the other day I got reminded about how much fun it was to stick a Post It to a New York surface with a quote on it, and I’ve decided it being time for a Post It Monday Revival.


It’s officially Tuesday, but I didn’t want to wait it out for a week and allow myself to forget about it, which is why, today, I shared a message with the world… or at least with whomever else took this elevator…

photo (8)

Yes, that’s right: Hooray!


I’m facing some hardcore writing sessions, as a lot of things are happening quite simultaneously: my boss is coming to town for a week and a half and my brother and sister in law arrive for a week the day he leaves. Then this weekend I have plans that I know will keep me far from this computer… and well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised that I miss a beat again.


To top it all off, now that summer is over the design scene comes to live again, and I have some events lined up that will test my organization skills… and I still didn’t get back to running – but I’m working on it.


What I did manage to do, though, is list my couch on Airbnb. Tonight, I put my camera to work and photographed all the best angles of what my apartment has become: a great home with – thus far – very good memories.


I’ll hooray to that, too.

Day 327 – Treats and Poems.

Oh glorious day.

Weeks and weeks ago, I had purchased a deal for an hour long Ayurvedic massage. I kept postponing the call to cash my money’s worth: I’ll go when I have a new job. I’ll go as soon as I reach a settlement. I’ll go after the move…

Since yesterday, my move is officially over, and the only thing that I’ll be bringing in to this apartment is stuff that I myself can carry with my two hands. Or someone able to walk himself in.

Anyway. The time had come to go lie down on a table, and have someone kneed the knobs out of my stressed and bruised body.

Except… you know: bruised body. When the girl saw my legs she carefully asked whether I’d maybe had an accident – while it was obvious that she really wanted to know who’d beat me up.

The experience was hardly as enjoyable as I imagined, but I do feel a little more loosened up, and that can’t be a bad thing.

Since a Full Moon is upon us, I’m a little out of my element, but I found a poem I wrote back in 2009 – a time where I was unaware of my full moon sensitivity, but already had some perspective to it.


Being Happy, Feeling Good.

I’ll be walking my walk, head held high
And though there’ll be times when you’ll see me sigh
You’ll learn that I just have a bad day
I live for the moment, and I believe in tomorrow
I met some defeat and I’ve had my sorrow
But I know that eventually that fades away

I may appear to be quiet, the silent one
But I don’t waste words to bore someone
And when I speak I want it to matter
Life and me, we’re in this relationship
Where I love it far more then it’ll ever get
For it presents me all opportunity on a silver platter

It’s not that we agree all of the time
and it taught me some lessons I had to define
in no other words then true blessings
I’m being happy, I’m feeling good
Sure there’ll be moments where I’ll be misunderstood
And why would I worry, as long as I’m progressing

What you think of me, is none of my business
And you’re opinion about me is quite harmless
If I choose to not let it affect me
I’ve got my dreams and my high goals set
I’m aiming for them and I won’t let
Anything keeping them from me

I’m into fashion and I’m fond of high heels
I fancy the labels and I love how it feels
to wear something designer
But don’t let my appearance be fooling you
Because what’s within me is far more true
It’s up to you to discover

I’m wearing a smile on my face quite frequently
Because I know where I’m going, where I want to be
And I’m enjoying this journey to the fullest
I might be alone, but I never feel lonely
I can embrace the silence when it surrounds me
And hear the truth at its loudest

I’m being happy, I’m feeling good
Sure there’ll be times where I’ll be misunderstood
Why would I give that any energy
What you think of me is none of my business
And you’re opinion about me is harmless
because it just will not affect me.

I’ll be walking my walk, head held high
yes, there’ll be a moment where you’ll see me sigh
and now you know I’m having one of my rare bad days.



PS: Just to be clear: not sighing today *wink*