All posts by Danica LeBlanc

My Shopping Ban: Galentine’s Day

After my lapse into spending immediately after starting my ban, I’ve been pretty good.

Brandon and I have been making more attempts to view the movies we own, and we’ve turned a shelf into its own little “To Read” pile, so we know where to focus our efforts. We even took three boxes of books to trade at Wee Book Inn on Saturday. I’m still pushing him to go through his clothes, but that may take some time. As for my own closet, I have two cloth bags on the floor in there and am slowly filling them up. I’m planning to host another clothing swap at the store in April, so am using the time to really figure out what I don’t wear anymore.

Saturday was a fun day filled with friends and great conversation. I was working, but happy to see everyone come to the store. My friend Leah came by near the end of my shift and I invited her over for tea. She was game to go with Brandon and I to Wee Book Inn, and then back to our place where we watched old Sex and the City episodes(a Galentine’s Day fave!). Wee Book was a success – Brandon and I both acquired 3 new books, some store credit, and also a movie and television series. And now I have one less box of books in the apartment! Progress!

Books books books

I’ve been cleaning and tidying often, trying to get things out or at least pick things to go in the swap. Two months isn’t so far away, so after April, the apartment will feel more open and spacious.

As for my student loan? I’ve put $100 from the side income I made last week in and my normal withdrawal of $200 will go out at the end of the this month. That will put the amount owed under $1000!!!

My Shopping Ban: Surprise Expenses

When I wrote my shopping ban post last week, Beyoncè hadn’t released her new song yet. She hadn’t announced her world tour. Edmonton wasn’t one of only two Canadian tour dates, and I hadn’t worked myself up into a tizzy about going to what will be an amazing experience in May.

welp

IMG_0869

BUT NO REGRETS

So I skip the haircut and dye I was hoping to book until after the ban is up. Cool. I’m trying to grow my hair longer anyway. And I now realize it looks cute in a bun, so I can put it back any time I think I look like a shaggy dog.  IMG_0870
My standard withdrawal of $200 went out of my bank account last week, so this doesn’t affect February, it may affect the tail end of paying off the loan. I’ve been earning a bit of side money this week(around $250), but will wait to figure out by the end of the month whether to throw it at the loan or use it for my main expenses.

Let’s Start A Shopping Ban!

Aware that it is nearly mid-February, I’m putting myself on a shopping ban. (Basically, don’t wait until the 1st of a month to start something – or worse, NEXT January 1st) My end date is currently May 1, but I will readdress that date near the end of April.

My reason for this ban? I’m so close to paying off my student loans. Only around $1200. That’s both a lot of money, because I’m not making a lot of income right now, and barely anything at all, because that number was so much higher for the past 8 years or so I’ve been paying it off. I’m avoiding calculating how much I’ve paid in interest because it is likely a depressing number.

So this is me, being accountable to everyone who reads this.

I pledge:

– not to buy any new clothes – not even ModCloth when they have sales – not even Goodwill for a little “treat”

– not to buy any new nail polish(my go to purchase when I’ve had a bad day). I will use the colours I currently own.

– not to buy my comics from work – this will unfortunately mean creating a stack at the store for myself, but while the single issues will be fine to wait on, I will make a list of collections I want to possibly purchase later in the year. I’ve been more or less doing this already, but now I’m a bit stricter with myself.

– to declutter and purge any items I’m not using – I’m planning to host another clothing swap at Variant Edition in probably April, so will keep some things I plan to donate until then

– to have friends over for tea, conversation, and Netflix if we so desire, and generally attempt free experiences

–  to not worry about what the apartment looks like when said friends do come over – not technically part of the ban, but it is something I need to work on

– to make myself a reading pile to pick through so I can return the books I’ve borrowed from my parents sooner, and donate books I feel only need one read to the free little libraries around the neighbourhood

On or around May 1, I will check into how much left I owe, and consider whether or not I will extend the shopping ban. Once my student loan is paid off, I’ll go full force into paying down my credit card, but right now, I want this to be my main focus. I want to be able to celebrate this milestone in 2016, and then move onto to my next hurdle.

I want to thank my friends for being kind and understanding when I turned down their invites to events because I couldn’t afford it. I appreciate you, and hope we can spend some money-free time together this spring.

WWBD?

A quick aside – my January Cure project completely dropped off the map mid-month. I will not be completing it in February, but will attempt to keep the apartment tidy and decluttered, as usual. My list still exists as a reminder of my goals for the year. I hope everyone who was participating in the project completed it to their satisfaction.

~~~

January was the worst month I’ve experienced in a long time. There were extreme amounts of stress, my SADs kicked into high gear, Brandon and I fought. A lot. And yet, it wasn’t all bad. Somehow.

Brandon and I put each other through a bit of hell last month, but I feel as if we’re stronger because of it. To this day, it can still be a bit odd when yelling at each other creates a closeness instead of all our previous relationships where everything would have fallen apart. It’s in those toughest moments that I know we’re right for each other. Even if I can’t stand the sight of him that day, I know we’ll be together in the future.

Although I made some missteps on my personal journey, I have no regrets. I gave up on myself, and that wasn’t right. But through that, I found a new inner strength. I realized I had something to fight for, and surprisingly, that I wanted to. My talents and skills shine a bit brighter now.

Lately, I’ve read some blogs that suggest picking a one word goal instead of resolutions. Pick one word, and attempt to live your life in order to bring more of what you’ve picked into your life. I’m going to attempt this for February. My word?

Empowered.

Remembering Self-Care

I’ve been holding a lot of anger lately, and it came to a head last week. I should probably be surprised it didn’t happen sooner, what with owning a business and having a life together.

I was attempting to take control of my future, but Brandon didn’t see it that way at the time. We’ve since had multiple discussions, arguments, and screaming matches about what I want, what he wants, and what’s best for the store. Sometimes, those don’t overlap, and it’s easy to get bogged down in the muck and forget about the big picture.

Things are looking a lot brighter. I will be taking on the occasional side job for variety, extra income, and possibly my sanity. Some things, like owning a business or living in Edmonton, you must leave for a short time to really appreciate.

I’m proud of the work I do at the store, though it often doesn’t feel like enough. But I’m constantly figuring out where my balance lies, so I can give my full efforts to the store and my customers. This year, I’d like to establish a healthy work/life balance, and – this is a difficult part – be happy with what I can give the store and what I must keep for myself. I won’t let myself be shamed (whether by my inner voice or others) into working myself to the bone. Because, in the end, if I’m not healthy, the store will be affected.

Don’t Trust Men

Don’t trust men, ladies. Especially not when it comes to finances. 

Men are the reason I’m sitting in a Ricki’s on a Friday afternoon, a little drunk, and completely lost at what my next move should be. 

I put my trust in men, and I’m paying for it now. Literally and figuratively. I’ve no idea what to do next, and I’m pretty sure I’d be somewhere better than where I am now if I had made different choices over a year ago. 

I put my faith in someone who, for some strange reason, took it upon himself to completely destroy me. 

And now I’m left with nothing. No money, no power, no future. 

Pretty sure this will hurt me too, but I can’t stay quiet anymore. I can’t keep pretending that everything is fine, and everything isn’t falling apart all around me. 

What more do you have for me, world? How much more can you take from me? 

– Danica

January Cure Update

Didn’t realize over two weeks had gone by without having an update, but here we are now. I’m okay with this, because I was usually working on the Cure projects instead of writing about them. Also, I’m not a huge fan of writing, so it’s very easy for me to procrastinate on that type of work. Let’s see what I’ve been up to since I last posted.

Kitchen

Haven’t done a ton in the kitchen, other than clean parts of it when the assignments called for it. Hung some damn art, but the other wall is still bare. It’s not terrible, and I think it will be a while before I get to shopping for some type of bar cart. I do want to get somewhere with washi tape, but have been busy and broke maybe? *shrug*

  • Decorate with washi tape to brighten the cabinets
  • Change over the tin foil in the oven
  • Replace dining nook light bulb
  • Hang some damn art
  • Figure out a better bar situation

Pantry

The pantry needs a deep clean. This will be a job I devote an entire evening to, as I will have to empty it out, sweep and mop the floor, scrub the shelves, then decide what goes back in and if it’s in a workable place for me to efficiently use.

  • Remove most items
  • Reassess how they are used and if they’re on the correct shelf for their function

Living Room

I’ve done most of the work here. The space is redesigned(not on the list, but inspiration struck one night), I have the beginnings of an office, and the boxes will be dealt with over time. Some art is up, and my To Go box is full, with another to be created for more things. Brandon and I are planning to do another round of decluttering our media(movies, music, comics, books) in February. Now that we have some additional floor space to spread out, it should be easier to filter everything.

  • Go through, declutter, recycle papers in all random boxes
  • Hang more art
  • Set up office space
  • Declutter movies and music (pushed to February)

Bathroom

This is the final large weekend project for the January Cure, so admittedly I’ve been holding off because I know I’ll get to it. Along with decluttering, all surfaces will get a deep clean.

  • Declutter under sink and medicine cabinet

Bedroom

I have filled a bag with clothing and have requested Brandon go through his things to fill another. My bureau is cleaned off and my nail polish is on display in hopes I use it more often. Debating recycling the broken laundry basket because I can still use it to take down sheets and towels when the other one is full of dirty clothing. It’s a small thing to concern myself with, but I’m going to hold off until the end of the month on this one.

  • Declutter clothing
  • Clean and organize top of bureau
  • Recycle broken laundry basket

Who You Are, Not What You Think

I am awful at being mindful. Just awful. Do you know how hard it is to be in the present moment ALL THE DAMN TIME?

In any case, it’s a good thing to strive for, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll stress yourself out more if you try to live it.

But back to me. I am trying to be better about being mindful. Last year, I was doing really well. Focusing my on my current emotion, not getting too far into panicked thoughts about the future or what I did wrong in the past.

But then I started a business. A business that women aren’t really welcome in, no matter what values the store starts out with. I was immersed in micro aggressions, off-handed comments about murdering a female character simply because they preferred the original male character, comments about me being an employee and expressing doubt when I stated I was an owner of the store.

I stopped being mindful because I started to fall into depression. The odd thing was, I didn’t realize it until months later. I had put an air of everything being fine. I had begun to believe the lie myself. I lied to myself every day because I thought since I own a business, I can’t be a person any more. I can’t have bad days. Everything must be “Great! How are you? How are the kids? How was your holiday?” I gave more of myself than I ever had before, and ended up losing myself in this persona I created.

Ironically, last year was the year I realized I deserved respect. Not from myself, of course, that’s the longer road I have to travel. But from others. Random customers who barely recognize my existence to people I should be able to trust. It’s taken me a long time to realize I am really good at my job, and while I still pass people along to Brandon, now it is because I know he has specific information about a comic series I may not have read, instead of fear.

As I try to be the best I can be in my work, I will circle back to being mindful. I’ll see if I can actually appreciate the small moments, like when a 7-year old tells me I’m the reason she comes to the store, when a woman tells me I’ve made a safe space for her to shop, when a friend tells me I’m doing great things for the comics community. It can be really difficult with all the crappy moments and casual sexism I see literally every day, but I will try and focus more on the positive. The moments that don’t make me feel like I should just wither, give up, cry, and disappear. I’m sure there are a ton of people that wouldn’t even notice I was gone, but it’s not for those people that I stay(seriously though, fuck those people), it’s for everyone I mentioned previously, but mostly, for me. When this job is good, it’s amazing. It brings me such joy to see people happy to read.

I’m going to keep fighting. Even if it’s only with myself.

Danica LeBlanc // Twitter

Replay // Doctor Whooch and the Case of the Cry Face Ianto

We’ll be starting up Doctor Whooch’s 2016 new episodes next week, but first let’s go back and check out one of our favourite episodes of olde. It involves guest host James Leask (of Comics! The Blog, Moneyballas, and Twitter fame), Torchwood, ugly cry face Ianto, and an uncomfortably sexy Cyberwoman.

Please enjoy Episode 21, Ianto, No! and tune in for episode 77 on January 14. 

My 2016 January Cure

It’s my second year doing Apartment Therapy’s “January Cure“, and I wanted to share the process with you. If for nothing else then to keep myself accountable, I will try to give updates throughout the month about how it’s going.

There is a small project every day, except for the weekends, where the project is bigger and can be spread out over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Since we opened the year with a weekend, the apartment floor was swept as much as it could be with all the boxes laying about. (The boxes are on my list to deal with this month.) I won’t be buying flowers every weekend, as Max tries to eat any plant life I bring home, and they would just end up on top of the fridge.

My latest assignment was to make a list of tasks I’d like to get accomplished this month.

Kitchen

  • Decorate with washi tape to brighten the cabinets
  • Change over the tin foil in the oven
  • Replace dining nook light bulb
  • Hang some damn art
  • Figure out a better bar situation

Pantry

  • Remove most items
  • Reassess how they are used and if they’re on the correct shelf for their function

Living Room

  • Go through, declutter, recycle papers in all random boxes
  • Hang more art
  • Set up office space
  • Declutter movies and music

Bathroom

  • Declutter under sink and medicine cabinet

Bedroom

  • Declutter clothing
  • Clean and organize top of bureau
  • Recycle broken laundry basket

Tonight’s task is to clean the pantry. While I don’t have a traditional pantry, I will be emptying out the cabinet beside the stove, cleaning off the shelves, and making a list of what I have in there to make future dinners simpler.