Tuesday, September 09, 2014

life improvements / investing in myself.

I often think that if I had my move to Beijing to do over, I would make more of an effort to "settle in" at the very beginning. I wouldn't worry so much about saving money. Wouldn't think, Ehh, I might only be here a year so what's the point? when thinking of buying lamps, bedding, or even good coffee!

It's true, I didn't know how long I would be here for. And I am trying to pay off my student loan. But the thing is, none of us really know how long we're here for, do we? (Did you get that I'm not just talking about living abroad there?) And we can make smart financial decisions but still invest in our lives, our selves.

So. Here's a list of improvements that I/we have made and of ways that I am investing in myself:

+ We bought a mattress pad for our bed. And now every time I lay (lie?) down, I think, Why didn't we buy this sooner? Even Tony, who snapped at me in IKEA, You didn't have one for TWO years! Do you really need it now?! agrees that the money spent was well worth it.

+ We bought new curtains. Curtains are provided in our apartment, but they are heavy, beige, blah. I finally convinced Tony that lighter, different coloured curtains would make me happier, which would make him happier. Win-win. We went with green in the living room and gray in the bedroom.

+ We bought new bedding. All white. Simple. My dream. Now if only we could get double sinks in our bathroom. Ha!

+ We bought a new TV. That's a lie. We haven't bought a new TV yet. But we're going to. This weekend. Using Carrefour gift cards given to us by our employer. So a brand new 40" TV that we can connect our laptops to will only cost us 700RMB out of our own pockets. (As we stood in Carrefour discussing options yesterday, I waved my arm in front of one of the huge TVs and exclaimed, Imagine! It will be like C.J. Cregg is performing "The Jackal" right in front of us! (Tony's probably more excited about watching soccer.)) (And yes, that was just a parentheses within a parentheses. Can you do that? I just did.)

+ I bought a new hair dryer. Because the 1600W one I've been using for the past two years just isn't cutting it anymore. And again, we have those Carrefour gift cards. So a 2200W, ionic, "Pro Care" hair dryer came home with me.

+ I am currently planning an order from Lush. A friend gave me a bath bomb to try and I fell in love. Another friend gave me a sample of a facial cleanser and I'm amazed. I found out there's Lush in Hong Kong and they ship to China. Bye bye, money. Hello, better skin and a happier, more relaxed Amanda.

+ I'm also planning an order from David's Tea. No, they don't ship to China, but I have a mom who sends me birthday and Christmas presents/care packages. So I will place an order, they will ship it to my mom, and she will ship it to me. Thanks, Mom! P.S. Their Caramel Corn tea is my newly-discovered favourite and I can't get it online, so if you get some and love me, you could send it to me ;)

Okay, yes, that's a lot of buying. But we don't make big purchases very often. And gift cards. And investing in ourselves. And come on! Now I can watch President Bartlet run for re-election on a bigger screen! Woot! (How dorky do you think I am now?)

P.S. That image at the top only kinda relates to what I've written here, but it is the current wallpaper on my phone and it's made me happy every time I've seen it today. Thank you, Kara, for making it.


  1. This is what I'm talking about. Settling. Not settling in the way of settling down. Just making yourself more...I don't know how to say it...here. Living your life in the way that makes you happiest. That's why I want to be more involved in the city I'm living in. That's why I want to make new friends outside of my work friends. That's why I bought a new shower head (with no clogs and amazing water pressure) with MY gift cards. That's why I'm joining a book club (thanks!). That's why when I go to IKEA next week on my list is throw pillows for the living, new BIG wine glasses, new MATCHING dinner plates and bowls, and a bookshelf. That's why I splurge and by the wine I LIKE at April's and not the cheap stuff they sell in the Chinese grocery store (not that there's anything wrong with it). Thank you for writing this post. It helped me to not feel guilty about my spending habits but to remind myself these are things that make me a happier Melissa, because your right, "none of us really know how long we're here for." I love ya!

  2. I hear ya! We've made our new apartment really feel like home this year! And the year has got off to such a good start with great social events and outside work things- so I'm feeling pretty happy about the upcoming year in Beijing. And you just blew my mind by telling me that Lush can deliver here! I have loved Lush for years and I know they won't open here because of the animal testing thing- can't wait to put in an order!


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