31-Day Blog Challenge: What’s in YOUR wallet?

Day 8/31

The prompt for today is “What’s in my handbag?”  Predictably, I don’t carry a handbag, but I do use a Kenneth Cole laptop bag (hey, I told you in a previous post that I was a brand whore) for work that I carry with me everyday except on weekends.  Plus, I have a wallet (again, this is breaking news). So, I guess that will have to work for the purposes of this post!  To make it more interesting, I’m giving away (for free!) part of my philosophy on shopping – spend smart, my friends!

In my laptop bag, I have the following…

  • 17” MacBook Pro (I love the big screen – not so much the weight or bulk…  #firstworldproblems)
  • Padfolio with notepad and various papers
  • Steno Notebook for various notes and lists and my antiquated budget that I never followed
  • iPad 3
  • Various chargers and cables (I’m an IT guy – you can’t get away from this stuff!)
  • Checkbook (rarely use – I don’t get miles for checks!)
  • Two external hard drives
  • Lots of pens (I hate pencils)
  • Moleskine Sketchbook with various pens, markers and a ruler (these are currently at home but are usually with me for when inspiration strikes)
  • Scientific calculator (I hate touch-screen calculators on phones)
  • SD Card Case
  • Travel-size Purell
  • Burt’s Bees Lip Balm (it works a lot better than other brands, at least for me)
  • Fiber One, Good n’ Natural and CLIF bars
  • Mi-Fi Personal Hotspot
  • Cinnamon Mints
  • Klipsch Noise-Isolating In-Ear Headphones (these were actually a steal at under $30 but work great!)

Coach Bleeker Wallet: Retail – $148.00; after a Coach Men’s Factory sale and an additional 30% off clearance… $49.00. Best part about it? If it needs repaired or replaced, it’s complimentary with Coach – holla!)

In my wallet, I have…

  • Various credit cards and my DL (I carry Citi’s AAdvantage card since American flies out of an airport close to me – I love miles and hate paying to check a bag – and an AmEx for all of the great perks and benefits that come with it, as well as my oldest student credit card so I have a longer length of credit history)
  • Casino Player’s Card (totally worthless because I have consistently lost the last two times I’ve gone and I’m pretty sure this is how they track you – scary!)
  • Library card (holla!)
  • Various gift cards
  • Various loyalty cards (although I’m starting to get rid of these as businesses can look up your info on the computer)
  • Business cards
  • Dining Etiquette Tips card (always good for quick reference on the way to a fancier restaurant or event)

Since we’re talking money and brands here, I should insert my philosophy – NEVER PAY RETAIL FOR ANYTHING.  Let me repeat…  NEVER PAY RETAIL FOR ANYTHING!  Outlet stores, sales, and sites like Brad’s Deals, Shop It To Me and Woot! can help you save (and, full disclosure, spend) a bundle.  Quality items don’t have to be expensive if you are on the lookout, because remember, long-lasting quality over quantity is one of my biggest rules of thumb.  If you have to replace it three times in the same time period as a nicer item, was it really worth buying the cheap version?  Usually, it isn’t.  Splurge, but be smart about it.  Specials, sales and coupons are your friends, friends, and it’s okay to use them!  I may be a brand whore, but I’m a smart and savvy brand whore!  #onlineshoppingforlife #maybeineedalife #okendingpostnow

What’s in your wallet?

31-Day Blog Challenge: Pet Peeves

Day 7/31

Pet peeves…  Do I have them?  Why, of course I do!  Read on…

  • When people throw others under the bus or don’t take blame for something they did wrong.  People, own your successes and your mistakes.  Loyalty doesn’t have to be a grand act, but it is a virtue.
  • When people have an inflated ego with absolutely nothing to back it up.  Actually, it doesn’t matter if they have something to back it up with.  I live in a dream world, yes, but I realize that others don’t share that same space.  Somedays I have to say “Earth to Luke!  Earth to Luke!”
  • People who are rude to others.  I just shake my head at this because I don’t see the point.
  • People who flip out over nothing (guilty!) or change the facts to fit their perspective.  Nuh-uh – not cool!
  • People who take out their anger or frustrations on others.  I pride myself in that I am usually able to separate what/who I’m actually angry with versus who I’m currently dealing with.  Channel your attitude more positively and try not to take your stresses out on others – they don’t deserve it.  Please.
  • When people think that just because someone doesn’t have a degree or formal education, that person is stupid or somehow “less” than they are.  Education comes in many forms, and many don’t take place in the classroom.
  • When people think they can dictate to you how you should lead your life.  If we didn’t have some of the negative societal pressures (not everyone wants to please you!!), we would all be better off.
  • When people present themselves as “professional this” or “professional that” and yet fail to truly succeed at doing the “this” or the “that.”  I’m thinking of professional photographers  here…  I cringe at some of the end products I see out there, knowing that people are paying good money for their services.  You pay for what you get, maybe…
  • People who don’t understand quality over quantity, or long-term quality over cheap crap you’ll just have to replace.  If you’re going to spend the same or more in the long run, doesn’t it make sense (barring financial hardship) to get the best thing first?  (This is less of a pet peeve and more of a “Why don’t you get it?!?!” type of thing.)
  • When people – for whatever motive – put you in between a rock and a hard place, or put you in a position where it is difficult for you to say no, even though you want to.
  • When people don’t take ownership of their lives or tasks they are working on.  If you want it done, eliminate the middle man and, you got it, get ‘er done.  Don’t pass off your work for someone to do unless you both know they can do it better.
  • When people cut me off on the road and then go slower than I am driving.  If you will be going faster – go for it.  Otherwise, prepare for my road rage (I’ve heard it isn’t pretty).
  • When adult friends think it’s okay for them to ask you to watch their child for them while they’re off doing something, putting you in a difficult place to say no (see above) and likely stranding you with a child who doesn’t know you very well.  Ugh, this is a huge pet peeve of mine!!  If it’s a minute or two, fine…  Any longer and it becomes unacceptable.
  • When fellow travelers in front of me recline their seat without first asking for permission.  Yes, I know, the seat is yours and it’s technically your right what you want to do with it.  However, common courtesy, in my most un-humble opinion, dictates that you ask the person behind you if it’s OK that you invade their already precious, limited space.  I won’t ever say no, I just want to be asked.  It actually brightens my day when I’m asked.
  • When people are bossy to me.  I do not get this.  If I have seniority over you or you are not my boss, guess what?  You don’t have the right to be bossy to me.  If you are my boss, be bossy in a nice way that doesn’t make you sound bossy.  Holla!!
  • When people are lazy.  We are all lazy at one point or another, but a life of laziness and lack of drive leads to an unfulfilling life for you and your role in your community.  Please get off your duff and do something with your life.
  • When people use the word “retard.”  People, it’s a mental condition, not a diss.  Find a dictionary and use something more appropriate.
  • When people judge others for their financial position in life.  Most everyone goes through a hardship, and you never know when it could happen to you.  No one is safe from this type of issue, and your judgments could negatively impact people who are already dealing with difficulties.
  • People who refuse to take “No” for an answer.  I mean what I say and I say what I mean, so leave me alone!
  • People who do not refill toilet paper or paper towels.  I would like to grab two rolls of paper towels and sandwich these people’s heads with them and make them wear paper towels (or, better yet, TP) all day with a sign that says, “Guess what I didn’t refill today?”  Public humiliation is effective, folks.
  • People who do not respond to emails or messages, leaving you hanging and keeping something from being checked off your to-do list.  See below for further information on the etiquette surrounding this “very important” issue.
  • People who are impatient.  For example, in the workplace, if you send me an email… Give me some time to read it.  Please do not call my office and page me within five minutes of sending it.  I will get to it when I have time (it will be “gotten to”), which would normally be the minute you call and interrupt me.  If it’s an emergency, please call and tell me to be on the lookout for an email or, goodness, just talk to me over the phone.

Holy moly!  I actually didn’t think I had that many pet peeves.  Yowza, I sound like a diva!  Oh well, if the shoe fits…  Wear the damn thing.

Do you have any pet peeves?  Please share in the comments!

“What do you see, Luke Bunker?”

Day 6/31

Today’s prompt was supposed to be “My five senses right now,” but I really didn’t care for that as I’m only sitting here at my dining room table, having just finished a Harry & David Royal Riviera Pear, listening to Rascal Flatts & the GoT Soundtrack (weird combo, I know – see previous post), smelling nothing and writing at my laptop off my iPhone’s portable hotspot because the Internet is down (= grumpy, GRUMPY Luke) and, as such, my normal writing space is not usable right now.  Whew!  So, anyway…  I didn’t care for the prompt (which I guess I sort of just answered), so I decided to reshare a poem I wrote in a creative writing class at college, inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem, “Salut au Monde!” and answer one of the following prompts – “What do you hear?” or “What do you see?”

Sacre Coeur Bell Tower

Sacre Coeur Bell Tower

“What do you see, Luke Bunker?”

What do you see, Luke Bunker?
I see the proud displays of chocolate-makers throughout the city.
I smell the dank and dirt of a place where being clean seems to be an afterthought.
I feel the intensity of sun rays beating on my weary body.
I hear the chatter of men and women going on about their daily lives.
I taste the world’s worst and most expensive coffee in a place where it feels just right.
I am alive in this moment.

31-Day Blog Challenge: 10 Songs I Love Right Now

Day 5/31


#TRUTH (Linked from “I think my mom’s gone crazy” on Facebook)

It’s interesting, because I thought this would be much easier than it was.  It turns out I only listen to about 6 songs at any given time!  These happen to be convenient because I’ve just purchased them, and I tend to listen to those fairly consistently until I find and buy new music, occasionally throwing the ol’ iDevice on shuffle for a surprise.  Before this, I went through a Band Perry phase – I love many of their songs and was fortunate to see them live in concert thanks to their addition as an opening act for a postponed Rascal Flatts show!  I’ve included links to Amazon and iTunes so you can give these songs a listen if you aren’t already familiar with them!

  1. Hey Brother / You Make Me / I Could Be the One / Avicii
  2. XO / Beyoncé
  3. Pretty Hurts / Beyoncé
  4. Story of My Life / One Direction
  5. Unconditionally / Tessanne Chin
  6. Carrickfergus / Charlotte Church
  7. Do What U Want / Lady Gaga & R. Kelly
  8. Run / Delta Rae
  9. Clarity / Jacquie Lee
  10. Compass / Lady Antebellum

31-Day Blog Challenge: What I’m Afraid Of

Day 4/31

Listening To:  Charlotte Church Radio on Pandora

Eating:  Theo Organic & Fair Trade Peppermint Stick 70% Dark Chocolate

Sipping On:  Plain Ol’ Water

Today was a great day!  I went to the public library’s monthly used book sale (only found two books – my lightest haul…. ever), visited a flea market where I took a few neat pictures with the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone, followed by a visit to the Salvation Army Thrift Store (found an “it’s hot cocoa season” mug and 4 milkshake glasses) and a consignment shop (where I found some neat cocktail-graphic dishes – fun!).

Big Fan Needs Motor

Big Fan Needs MotorGhost SwitchesGhost SwitchesBig SaveBig Save

Snow visited early this evening, followed by my brother and his family.  We set up my new Roku on the living room TV, watched some cooking shows, and because of the cooking shows, planned a lunch tomorrow – risotto with a delicious lemon sorbet liqueur-berry concoction.  Promises to delicious!  I’m really enjoying this extra time with family, and with the cold and flurries outside, it’s that much more special and cozy.

Snow + a 1-degree low tomorrow...  Ugh!

Snow + a 1-degree low tomorrow… Ugh!

So, the prompt today is what I’m afraid of (the prompt is a little scary, too).  I tried to think of some things, like spiders and snakes and things that creep in the night…  And, yes, I am afraid of them!  However, what I’m most afraid of is the loss of my parents.  They had me later in life, so they are are about 10 years older than most of my friends’ parents.  I feel like I take them for granted now, and this makes me realize that I need to appreciate them more.  Relating to this, I am deathly afraid of making those phone calls and making those arrangements – the thought actually keeps me up at night.

Other things I “fear” – driving in snow and ice (this is heightened when my brother is behind the wheel, aware of this fear, prompting an almost-immediate dry heave and panic attack), mealworms in pasta boxes, being pulled into a current in the ocean (hence why I only get ankle-deep in the stuff anymore unless I am near people who can save me – holla!!), and wreckless people.

Today’s prompt is kind of a tough one, as I prefer not to dwell on things I’m afraid of, although I worry often.  I think it’s most important to focus on one’s strengths, all the while being aware of weaknesses.  Tomorrow’s prompt is “10 Songs I Love Right Now” and I’m really looking forward to mulling that one over!  I already have several in mind!!

31-Day Blog Challenge: 20 Facts About Me

Day 2/31


  1. My favorite color is green – I don’t think there’s one category of “thing” I have that isn’t green.  Except for a scarf, now that I think about it.  This must be changed.
  2. I cannot, for the life of me, remember details from movies.  Unfortunately, this problem also leaches into many books I read anymore.  Gasp!!
  3. My attention span and need to multitask prevents me from paying attention to -bird!! – movies, during which I often fall asleep.  The same does NOT apply for TV shows, unless I am very, VERY tired.
  4. I love to travel and gallivant across the world, but my ideal evening is snuggling up with pillows and blankets on my bed with popcorn or some warm, delicious food and binge-watching TV series.  Netflix and Amazon Instant have ruined week-to-week television and any chance of a social life for me.
  5. I am sort of an idiot savant when it comes to knowing where landmarks, restaurants and stores are located when I visit a place.  When I travel, I soak up everything around me, so I can picture scenes and directions almost exactly.  Is this helpful?  Of course not – just because I can picture it doesn’t necessarily translate into my feet getting me there!
  6. Although I wear a confident face most of the time, I am actually very insecure about my future and my chosen path in life.  How can a person whose hippocampus hasn’t developed yet make these kinds of decisions??!  Can I get an Amen??!!!
  7. I went to Catholic school for 9 years – I received a great education and have great memories from that school.  Interestingly enough, though, I am only privately spiritual now and detest much about the Church.  Pope Francis is turning this around in some respects, however.  Overly-evangelical people of the pushy and judgmental variety turn me off.
  8. I am a brand whore.  There, I said it.  Whether it is clothing or electronics, I love to have the best (or perceived best).  However, I almost never pay retail – my mom taught me better than that!  Quality is so important and undervalued in our culture.  #truestory
  9. I have a bad potty mouth.  The intensity always depends on my company – I’m like a chameleon!
  10. My favorite city in the world is Paris, France – I’ve been there twice now…  It’s where I fell in love with Europe and I have so many wonderful memories from there that it holds a special place in my heart.  I will share more specifics and travel memories in later posts!
  11. I went to the Kansas State Spelling Bee when I was in 8th grade (??) and was eliminated in the 2nd round (seriously??) for misspelling the word “patina.”  I find this fascinating because I am now really into design, architecture and older things.
  12. As much as I want to have paternal feelings and experience those moments in life, I know in my heart I was meant to be single (which I embrace and am totally okay with, except it would be lovely to share travel expenses!).  That means I get to spoil my niece and see her grow up and share my experience and advice with her, whether she wants it or not.  🙂
  13. My dream house would be a fantastic and gorgeous home with shake shingles a safe distance from the beach in the Hamptons.  I would have an airy, bright library and a full-blown kitchen to entertain.  I could go on for days…  I would also love to have a secret escape route for my Range Rover (dream houses come with dream cars, right?) because I’ve always wanted to be a spy or be spied on (weird, I know).  Intrigue is too much fun.  Oh, or a loft in Manhattan!  (You’re starting to see the attention problems now, right?)
  14. I feel like I’ve lived many years beyond my age and get along much better with people from the generation before mine than those my own age.  As I meet similarly-minded people through work and college, this seems to be less of an issue now.
  15. I am freaking hilarious.  (#truestory)  I pretty much have this qualification as a litmus test for all my friends.
  16. I often feel the urge to start businesses where I feel there’s a niche or someone already out there who isn’t doing a good job.  For example, I have considered opening a photography business (some of the people out there who pass themselves off as decent photographers is a huge pet peeve I’ll discuss at greater length later!) or restaurant.  But who has the time??!
  17. I seem to be a social drinker – whether it is coffee or vino, company is always favored and makes me enjoy both more.
  18. For the longest time, I wanted to run for president.  I even had the year figured out – 2048!  I tend to get overly political and vocal around election time, which isn’t always a good thing.  I think the two-party system hurts America because people let their parties keep them from their true beliefs and values, and some people vote solely by label.  Anywho…  Another post, I suppose!
  19. If I was on a desert island and could only take one thing, that would be easy – a piloted private jet to get the hell out of there!!  For the most part, I don’t care for being surrounded completely by water unless I know I’ll be on dry land within a couple of hours.
  20. I am really enjoying this particular blog post and hope you have, too!  This 31-day challenge is just that – a challenge – but it’s a good one.