Bri’s Favorite Things 2018

It’s that time again! For the 5th year in a row I’m publishing Bri’s Favorite Things, which can also be used a Holiday Gift Guide for your friends and loved ones. (See also: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014).

Because it’s year FIVE, I’m going BIGGER and BETTER and offering you TONS of options, so…. BUCKLE UP!

BOOKS & WRITING

Becoming , Crazy Rich Asians, Make Your Bed, The Four Agreements, NotebookMildliner

TECH

AirPods, White Marble iPhone Case,*Tortoiseshell iPhone Case, HP Sprocket (case, paper), Marshall Bluetooth Speaker,*Popsocket, iPad Mini

BEAUTY

FARMACY Green Clean Makeup Meltaway, Benefit Brow Pencil, Travel Size CologneLipstickBloom Perfume

ACESSORIES

Double G Brooch,*Crystal Alphabet Charm, Supreme Backpack, Mini Pochette,*Gold Diamond Initial Necklace (Silver)

TV

Outlander (STARZ), Woman in White (PBS), The Crown (Netflix), Greenleaf (OWN)

CLOTHING & SHOES

Quarter-Zip Sharpa,*Houndstooth Tweed Jacket, Adidas Trefoil Tee,*Vogue Sweatshirt, Slippers, Rain Boots, Alabama Sweatshirt

Happy Shopping!

*items I do not own

 

RWA Series – Subscriptions

Vector subscription business model concept in flat style – pricing plan for app or website service

A few weeks ago I started an adulting series called RWA (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic). The first post focused on Writing using a technique called Bullet Journaling. Today’s post is the second in that series, focused on Arithmetic and Subscriptions.

Subscriptions are those things you sign up and are automatically billed for each month. You don’t even have to think about renewing the service because the company automatically does it for you (by way of an invoice or more frequently an automatic payment from your bank account or credit card). Items that fit this category are: Spotify (music), Netflix (movies), Audible (books), iCloud Storage and the recently popular subscription boxes (wine clubs, book of the month, beauty products). Just about every company has a Subscription model these days and why not, it’s easy cash for them!

The subscription model is a booming field. In recent years, this market has grown by more than 100% a year, increasing from $57 million in sales in 2011 to $2.6 billion in 2016. This is from a recent article in Stanford Business Journal that also predicts that, “Everything you purchase — from transportation to entertainment to groceries — will soon come with a monthly plan.”

Sure, the costs are nominal; but, this discussion is not about being able to afford the service or not. I’m sure most people reading this could sign up for 10 or more of these monthly services and still be ok financially. I say JustSayNo because once you get sucked in, it’s hard to get out. Gym membership anyone? 🏋🏽‍♀️🏋🏽‍♀️🏋🏽‍♀️

Do you remember that infomercial from back in the day about a popular cooking device that had the popular slogan, “Set it and Forget It.” That’s EXACTLY how I think about subscriptions. Often times we sign up for products/services and either use it VERY SPARINGLY or completely forget about it altogether!

When it comes to expenses, they can of course be need vs want; but, the actual payments themselves can also be PUSH vs PULL. When expenses are PUSHED, you consciously send your money somewhere for something you decide you want. For example, I saw Michelle Obama on the Today Show and decided I would like to read her new book, Becoming. As are result of that conscious decision, I purchased her book. Under this scenario, I have just given my money to someone for a product I chose.  Conversely, when expenses are PULLED you unconsciously send money to someone for something you may or may not want to experience/enjoy or chose. Sure, the monthly charge appears small (i.e. $9.99/month for Spotify); but, the real question is are you using the service and getting value from it or do you keep it around as a nice-to-have or because of a “just-in-case” philosophy.  As in, just in case there’s a new movie, book or album I want to partake in this month…

For needs (rent/mortgage, long term disability insurance, student loans, car insurance), I’m completely ok with the PULL technique – it saves me time and energy on things I know I have to pay anyway; however, when it comes to wants (entertainment, luxuries) I prefer to PUSH at intervals I consciously choose.

Didn’t there used to be a time when people wanted to decide where their money went and for what? Now, we’re ok letting complete strangers decide for us?? 🤔 Are they smarter or more in tune with our actual needs, wants and desires than we are? A popular finance blog, MoneyCrashers lists the cons of popular product-based subscription boxes this way:

  • Overbuying – While a subscription box usually costs less than buying all the items in it separately, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t buy all those items if they didn’t come in your box.
  • Unclear value – You get a different assortment of products every month, and you don’t even know what they’re going to be.
  • Problems With Returns – Sometimes companies won’t return/exchange items you don’t use. Most often people just don’t bother.
  • Difficulty of Quitting – As long as the fee is low enough to make it seem like a good deal, it won’t seem worthwhile to cancel the service.

There is a such thing as a subscription hoarder. According to GQ magazine, people spend more than twice as much on subscriptions as they think they do. The average initial estimate was $79.74 per month. The actual average was a whopping $237.33 per month. When companies uncouple your payment from your enjoyment of their product, it’s easy to forget you ever paid.

I currently have one monthly subscription- Netflix – and that’s because we actually use it. On everything else, I consciously choose to pass. Don’t get me wrong, all subscriptions are not bad; however, the adulting tip of the day in this RWA series is that when it comes to subscriptions, choose wisely!!!

What are you paying for every month?

#girlboss

It’s a term I absolutely love! According to a popular Netflix movie, a #girlboss is strong, smart, resilient, opinionated, confident and feisty! Do you agree? If not, no worries! Everyone has a different definition. While the point is to define what being a #girlboss means FOR YOU, the more important thing is to BE THAT. In your personal life, work life or however else you define your life.

BE. THE. BOSS. OF. YOUR. OWN. LIFE.

Not someone else’s. Live your best life. Stay in your lane and mind your own business. 🙋🏽 If you need to find (or re-find) inspiration you can listen to a #girlboss playlist (Spotify), read a #girlboss book, check out #girlboss quotes on Pinterest, set up a #girlboss lockscreen on your phone or take a #girlboss trip. #whateverworks

LIVE. THE. LIFE. YOU. WANT. MAKE. IT. HAPPEN.

You can be 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 100+! Just know that while you are doing all those things, so are others and it’s okay! For me, being a #girlboss means protecting my space and my peace. I guard that very closely because most times I just CANNOT!!!! 🚫

FIND. YOUR. PASSION. AND. DO. THAT.

FACT: I like writing and paper. And guess what? So do A LOT of other people. As normal, we take the things we love whole new #levels! See also: Planner Situation, my current favorite pen (there’s nothing wrong with a little bling!) or Shop PaperSource. Another one of my personal #girlboss criteria is to have order in my life – in written form of course – (and to look the part 😉)! The essential item I use to do this is an agenda. Mine is currently being repaired and I feel SO VERY stifled. 😩

You may have noticed I underlined a few words above: FIND, BE, DO, LIVE. They are all verbs because at the heart of being a #girlboss is to take ACTION.

GO. GET. IT. 🖤

The 13th

The 13th… as in the 13th Amendment. Have you ever read the exact text? I admit that I have not. Sure, I link to think that I generally know what it is about – it’s what freed slaves. Ava DuBernay, director of Selma, is bringing a history lesson to us all in the form of a Netflix documentary:

via Netlix: The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary 13TH refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads:

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”

Netflix further writes: The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis. On Netflix October 7.

Pay very close attention to the text in bold. Slavery is indeed LEGAL, IF it is being used as punishment for a crime. Did you know that? I certainly did not. One thing is for sure – on Friday, October 7th I will be glued to my iPad watching this documentary! You can check out the trailer below.

Stay woke people!

13th

Mixtape for Netflix

It’s July and I already have the perfect low-cost, tech-savvy gift idea for teens, adults and everyone in between! The gift idea comes courtesy of Netflix.

Flixtape is a short playlist of Netflix titles based around a theme, a mood, or message. It’s like a mixtape, but for Netflix! If you’re a fan of a few shows you think your pal would like, create a Flixtape and share it with your bestie! No shipping is required AND you can gift the SAME Flixtape to multiple people. How cool is that? If you need some inspiration for what to include, use Bri’s Commandments and Google “best netflix series”. Here’s what my search results turned up:

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I can tell you straight away that I’m all over the first two series shown above: Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. In fact, I only spend $20 on Netflix per year. That gets me 2 months of viewing (the subscription costs $9.99 per month). When new seasons of OITB or HOC come out, I simply buy a month, binge watch the episodes and use the remaining time to catch up on anything else that has caught my eye. #dontjudgeme You can also view new Titles on Netflix here.

NOW, BACK TO MY FABULOUS GIFT IDEA. All that is required is a Netflix subscription and a little elbow finger grease to set up the playlist flixtape. If you purchase a $30 subscription your pal will get 3 months free. It’s the gift that keeps on giving long after the holidays! You can also EMAIL the subscription the day of! This is absolutely perfect for me because I’m thinking about taking a Christmas vacation this year. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of gifting via email you can also apply the same concept to music with Spotify (my fav) and Apple Music.

#giftcardsgonewild #everybodygetsgiftcardsthisyear #happyegifting

BONUS: For tips on how to find the best Spotify playlists, click here

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