Monday, October 25, 2010

Master Baker Torrey?

So I've decided that one of the most exciting things about living by myself is the prospect of holiday baking. Not that I didn't bake while living with my parents, but it seems so much more domestic and fulfilling in my own house. I went through my cookbooks and the recipes I've been printing off the internet, and planned my fall and holiday baking. Since I live by myself and am trying to watch what I eat, I'll probably be sharing most of what I make with the people at work, and at Christmas, the people in PA. Here's what I'm planning at the moment and what y'all have to look forward to:

Fall Baking:
-Sweet Potato Brownies
-Vegan Zucchini Bread
-Vegan S'more Snack Cake
-Zucchini Crunch
-Pumpkin Bread Pudding
-Spiced Pumpkin Doughnuts
-Candy Corn Cookies
-Sweet Potato Cupcakes
-Great Grammy's Pumpkin Pie
-Vegan Brownies

Holiday Baking:
-Chocolate Chip Cookies (new recipe :-P)
-Snickerdoodle Pie
-Bourbon-Pecan Truffles
-Gingerbread with Apple Glaze
-Sweet Potato Cheesecake
-Angel Whispers
-Peppermint Kisses
-Wreath Cookies
-Mrs. Mele's Brown Sugar Cookies
-Creamy Mint Cocoa from scratch
-Peanut Butter Kisses

I've been trying lots of new recipes already, and expanding my knowledge, skills, and recipe collection. I'm hoping to keep building up my cooking and baking prowess as part of my self-betterment campaign.

Ha! I have to add, I've just now realized what I'm doing. I'm training myself to be a trophy wife. Making myself, my home, my cooking, and my domestic skills attractive, learning to manage money, becoming more pleasant. I'm totally turning Stepford.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


So I've been thinking a lot lately about financial responsibility. Mostly about how I don't have any. I like pretty things, and I have no willpower. That's a very dangerous combination when I'm trying to pay off debt and build up my savings. My parents have been amazing. Not that they're anywhere near loaded, but I'm so lucky that they're paying for my education (for the rest of their lives, probably) and they've been willing to shoulder my car payments whenever I'm off somewhere not making enough money.

As part of my plan to leave my internship a much better person than when I started, I would like to come up with some plan of action to get my finances in order. When I moved here, it ate up about half of my savings, so if my paychecks ever get straightened out (that's another, longer, more infuriating story), I'm going to start putting money into savings again every month. I'm hoping to get at least back to where it was before my move, possibly more, so when I move again I have that cushion to fall back on.

Also, I need to start digging myself out of debt. I know I won't be able to pay off my (rather staggering) credit card debt before I move again, but I can get started. While my pay has been askew, I've been relying fairly heavily on my credit card. That wouldn't be a bad thing if I hadn't already been relying fairly heavily on my credit card to fund my pretty things for the past couple of years.

So along with my credit card, the bulk of my debt lies in my car and the running tab I'm keeping of the money I owe my parents from missed car payments and housing from my summer in NYC. The good news is, my car should be paid off come April or May. The flip side of that is, I haven't been able to make car payments, so that's all going on my parental tab. Once the car is paid off, though, the parental tab will stop accumulating, and when I get a real job, I can work on that.

I also have a list of things to get or do when I reach certain goals along my weight loss path. I need to put some money aside for that, so when I reach a goal, I can do/get whatever it is I've been working towards. Along those lines, I need to put aside some money for Christmas, which is getting scarily close, and things that come up to which I would like to give money. This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and since half of the women in my family have had breast cancer, I feel like I should do/donate something for the cause. I can't give nearly as much as I'd like, though, because of the whole living paycheck-to-paycheck thing.

So for the most part, right now I just need to concentrate on cutting down on unnecessary expenses, making budgets and controlling my money better. It will also help when they fix whatever is wrong in the Clemson system and I'm actually getting paid what I'm supposed to be getting paid. So no more random purchases online, and no more going to the store and picking up whatever I want. I need to put thought into every dollar I spend, and think twice about whether I need what I'm buying.

Monday, October 18, 2010


So. It's been difficult to put into action many of the self-improvement plans that I've made in my previous posts. At first I felt like I've been failing, but I realized that I just need to reevaluate my plans of action. I still intend to make all of the improvements, but maybe not in the same way that I've mentioned. I haven't failed yet, just suffered some setbacks. The basic things that I would like to improve upon are:

1) My Health
2) My Appearance
3) My Home
4) My Social Life
5) My Interaction with Others
6) My Self Discipline
7) My Fiscal Situation

I think anything that I've mentioned falls into one of those categories, and there's more that I haven't mentioned yet that will fall into one of them.

Some of the plans that I've made just aren't working. The whole hour-by-hour schedule thing probably won't work out. Today, I ended up working 2 hours longer than I expected, so that schedule went out the door. Tomorrow, I have to work from 8AM to probably something like 4AM the next morning, so a schedule would be moot. I'm thinking maybe just a general schedule or To Do list would work better for me. Like, chores that I have to get done every week, how many workouts a week to do, etc.

I'm also reconsidering the whole gym thing. While I would like to get back into yoga/pilates, I would like to get more and different kinds of exercise than just that. A gym membership would let me get more cardio and strength training. I'll just try to go at odd hours when they're not so busy; and the campus gym comes out to something like $15/month for employees, so it's affordable. I just feel like the more resources at my disposal, the better I'll do. I'm even considering trying to fit my eliptical in my car to bring back after Christmas break!

Other than those couple of things, I think my plans are going well. I'm trying to go to bed at decent hours, so I get up at a decent hour and not sleep all day. I'm trying to cut out fast and junk foods. I'm using up the stuff in my fridge so I can start my cleanse without letting the food I have go to waste. I still plan to make all of the improvements to my house. Basically, I'm making little changes, and waiting until I'm at a good point to make the big ones. My goal is by the end of my time in South Carolina, I can look back at all the changes I've made and be proud.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Structured Mood Elevation

Hi, blog. Sorry it's been a few days, but my life got crazy! Today is my first day off in two weeks and I was going to be productive and/or do something fun, but I ended up sleeping and lazing around all day. Granted, I probably needed a day like that. I still want to get a crock pot of chili made to freeze, run to the store, and possibly do some laundry... but I'm sure most of you don't care about my errands. :-P

Since most of my other posts have been about improving myself/my life, I think I'm going to continue along that route. Lately, I've been trying to be a more pleasant person. I mean, sarcasm and speaking my mind are part of who I am, but I'd like to be less moody and confrontational. I work with some people who are pleasant all the time and rarely complain, and it's made me take a closer look at myself.

Now, I'm not saying I go around yelling at people all the time and hate everything around me. (Like a certain someone I met here once whose name rhymes with Schmelsea.) But when I get frustrated or tired, I bite people's heads off more than I should, and get defensive and cranky. I'm sure a lot of people do that, but I hate when I do and regret it later. I'm hoping other steps I'm taking to improve myself will help with this problem. Eating right and exercising, and getting myself balanced will, hopefully, help. If I like myself more, maybe it will reflect on the way I interact with others. I'm going to start making schedules for myself, like getting up, working out, eating, working, cleaning, going to bed, etc. I want to be able to make a fairly structured plan for my days, so I can eliminate getting nothing accomplished, sleeping all day, skipping exercise, and eating junk food.

Now this might be tough since I usually don't know until the day before if I'm going to have to work 1PM-5PM or 6AM-11PM, but I'm going to try. Even if I just take some time at night before I go to bed to make a schedule for the next day, I can take it a day at a time. Any suggestions for improving my mood (aside from drugs and alcohol :-P) would be much appreciated!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mi Casa

So the weekend of Halloween is Fall Break at Clemson. I should have Sat-Tues off. I think most of the people I know are going home. Since it would be pointless for me to go to PA for all of a day or two when Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I think I'll undertake a project. While I love my house, it still needs a little something, so I'm going to take the long weekend to put the finishing touches on everything. And the nice part is, I get three paychecks this month instead of two, so I'll have a little extra cash with which to purchase supplies. Here is my to-do list:

1) Throughout the whole house - vacuum, dust, scrub, mop, whatever needs done to make it sparkle and shine.

2) Paint the living room, my bedroom, the second bedroom, touch up the bathroom, and paint the cabinets in the kitchen a less-pukey green.

3) Create my "meditation room". Plants, pillows, art, candles, yoga mat, etc.

4) Clean up the yard. Trim the grass, get rid of the big branches that have fallen, clean off the porch roof, re-pot my big leafy plant, clean the cobwebs off everything.

5) Finish all my little decorating projects that are half-finished. Fill the rest of my picture frames, paint my comedy/tragedy masks a nicer color, find a shelf for the bathroom, and find some storage solutions for my bedroom.

I feel like if I make my house look as good as possible, I'll be happier; and a cleaner house will make me healthier. So this whole project really goes along with my bigger 'make me a better me' campaign. Maybe I'll even get up the nerve to ask some people over once my house is magnificent. :-)

Sunday, October 10, 2010


So. I've decided a few things while contemplating my want of change in my life.

1) I shall figure out a way to work out without spending any money. While I do love a good gym, and it would be easier to stick to a routine at a gym, there are plenty of ways to get in shape without spending money I don't have. First of all, I've decided to make my guest room into a yoga/meditation room. Yoga did good things for me in college, I have about a hundred podcast yoga workouts, and I need a use for that space anyway. I've been saving it as a "guest room", but the chances of my getting guests are pretty much nil, and if I would happen to, I can still pull out the air mattress. I will also start to walk/run. If I happen to be up, I can do it in the morning. If not, I can do it after work. I would feel safer running around campus than around my house, and there are showers at the theatre, so maybe I'll just start taking a gym bag to work with me. I also found this awesome little recreation area by the lake that I could take walks/jogs/bike rides around. Basically, I want to create a healthier, hotter, more physically and mentally sound me.

2) I will not sleep until mid-afternoon anymore. I'll sleep in, of course, but sleeping in should mean 10:00AM or 11:00AM, not 3:00PM. I've made a list of places I want to go and things I want to see within a few hours of here. If I actually get up and go instead of sitting around doing nothing all day, I'll feel much better about myself, and know I've made the most of my time here.

3) I need to be smarter about my diet. While I do make a fair amount of healthy meals, I need to cut down on the junk food, fast food, and overeating. I'm not saying I'll become a "my body is a temple" kind of person right away, but I can make little changes and work my way up to a healthy lifestyle. I'm thinking about doing a fruit and veggie cleanse in the next week or two. I was considering the Master Cleanse, but that's a little drastic and scary. A fruit and veggie cleanse would just detox me and prepare me for a healthier diet.

Now, I'm really good at making plans and talking big, but I rarely follow through. I would really like to stick to this plan, though, since a heart attack in the next few years doesn't sound like fun. So if anyone sees me with a bag of chips at the grocery store, take them away from me and punch me in the face. K, thanks.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


As I sit here, still in my pajamas at 3:30PM for the 4th day in a row, I have to wonder how different my life would be if I had a job with set hours. If I worked a 9AM-5PM job, I would have to get up every morning, be productive, and go to bed at a decent hour. Maybe I should try to do that anyway. I'm in a new part of the country, within 2 hours of several states I've never been to, tons of new things to see and experience, and I have yet to venture more than half an hour away from my house. On days like today when I don't have to work until 6:30PM, I could have done any number of things. I realize that any schedule I establish would be disrupted when I have to be at a load-out until 4AM, or I have to get up at 5AM for a load-in, but I think it might be worth it to try to get some kind of normalcy in my day-to-day routine.

Speaking of routines, I've decided that I really need to get back into a workout routine. I would like to join the campus gym, but it looks kind of small and crowded. All the gyms around town are too expensive for my salary. The only option left is to workout at home/outside. The problem there is that I'm too out-of-shape to run more than a few minutes at a time, and I don't want people watching me. I could get up at the crack of dawn when everyone is asleep, but we all know I'm not a morning person. I could run at night when everyone's curtains are drawn, but I don't know how safe my neighborhood is, really. (Although my midnight runs in Brooklyn probably weren't the safest. :-P)

So... I'm at a standstill right now on the exercise front, and I would sincerely like to stop lazing away my time in the south. I'm open to any suggestions or advice as to the establishment of routines, and I'll keep any readers I happen to have posted on my progress!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm a blogger!

Hi, all. I've decided that I should start a blog. Between my recent viewing of Julie & Julia, and my friend Josh's blog, I thought I'd give it a go.

I haven't decided on any one topic, so it will probably be a mishmash of anything I'm interested in... cooking, theatre, travel, my life, etc. To start off, if anyone besides my friends and family decide to follow me, here's some background info on me:
In 2009, I graduated from Gettysburg College and tried to get a job in the wonderful world of theatre. Many months and hundreds of resumes later, nothing panned out, so I entered the world of retail. I had been working in shoes and fine jewelry for almost exactly one year when the fine folks at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts at Clemson University in South Carolina decided to give me a shot.

I am now the Production Intern at the Brooks Center. I'm having a blast and learning a ton about technical theatre. I am the master electrician for the Brooks Theatre, and help with anything else that needs to be done. While I don't know that I want to make a career in electrics, this is a great learning experience, I'm having a great time, and I'm out of retail!

So for now, I'll mostly blog about my (mis)adventures in theatre, my search for a job after this internship ends, my experiments with cooking, my adventures around SC/GA/NC/TN, living on my own, and the people I meet along the way.