Monday, August 30, 2010

The Decision

After much research and discussion, Hubby and I have made our choice.  We're staying here.  Putting off the house hunt for another year.  Saving money.  Finding a new apartment.  And, most importantly, getting a puppy.

The $300 deposit check has been mailed.  The first of thousands of dollars that will be spent on this little creature who will bring us joy for many years to come.  The hope is that there will be a perfect little girl in the Christmas litter, who will become a perfect little addition to our family.

In preparation, we hunt.  Not for a home this time, but for apartments.  And it's hard.  After months of sweeping kitchens with granite countertops and huge master suites, the standard little 70's one bedroom apartment is hard to stomach.  It's safe to say that the apartment kitchens are smaller than the walk in closets in some of the houses. 

But Hubby is so happy to stay here.  To not have to stress about finding a new job or having enough money to pay the bills.  To find a new little friend to run and play with.  And I am finding myself thrilled to have another year of being close to our friends.  To find a new, better apartment and make it home.  To have a little one to nurture and love and cuddle, but that will not consume my entire life.

So we will continue with our lives on this new path.  And we will hope that the right choice for us was also the right choice for any homebuyer in this economy.  But we will remember that, regardless, it is the right choice for us. Pin It

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Relax and Enjoy

Instead of going out for girls night, we decided to sit on the balcony, sip our cocktails, and enjoy the summer sunset...

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Flip Flop

A few days ago, I logged onto my iGoogle account (if you haven't set up your google to do this for you yet, do it now) and CNN.com was running a story about the faltering economy and the continued downturn of the housing market.  My mom had mentioned something similar to me last week.  So, in the wake of my failed attempt to buy yet another home, I did what I do best.  I researched

What I found was a number of articles warning of a "double dip" recession and continually dropping home prices and it got me thinking.  What's the point in sinking equity into a house if the value of the house continues to decrease? (Note: I'm kind of proud of the fact that I understand the sentence that I just wrote.  I've always kind of been an economic dummy and this house research has made me feel a bit less stupid in that arena)  I was starting to feel like I was pushing it with this whole house thing and that it just was not the right time.


I soon tired of the economic mumbo jumbo (see the above note) and decided to check on my regular websites.  After reading those and finding myself still bored and useless, I realized that I hadn't checked the breeder website for the puppies that we love in the last month.  Perfect.

I had to hold myself back from gasping as I read two perfect words on the screen.  Christmas.  Puppies.  Before I went all house crazy, the plan was always to find a new apartment and buy a puppy around the holidays.  This plan fell by the wayside.  But there it was on the screen.  The original plan.  Our Christmas puppy.  A new apartment, sans construction.  No more stress about the house or our jobs or how we were going to make this work.  And with it, a stretch of time to let everything else fall into place.

If you're ever having a bad day, do a google image search for "Christmas Puppy"
I had to hold myself back from squealing in the middle of the office.

It was perfect.  In that moment, I made up my mind.  Not too surprisingly, Hubby was totally on the same page.  We're still going to take a few days to think it over, but it looks like we're doing a serious flip flop on our recent plans. 

Our puppy's cousins...

And I'm pretty excited about it.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happiness Is

I feel like my posts recently have been a little grouchy.  I started to write another one today, but blogging has made me realize that I need to turn around this negative attitude and let it go. 

So instead of complaining about the construction on our apartment or the three inch blister on my foot from Friday that still renders me incapable of walking in heels or the fact that I'm definitely going to gain weight for Biggest Loser today (now you know the original post was going to be about...), I decided to list some of the things that I make me happy.

1) My wonderful, perfect hubby of seven months who loves me regardless of how crazy I am and spoils me to death (I forgot to mention that he bought me the Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses that I have literally wanted for four years this weekend)

Isn't he handsome?

2) My parents, who are always there to give me great advice, comfort me when I'm upset, and help me decide on the right thing to do.  They, and my sweet brother, love Hubby like he was born into our family.  My little brother thinks Hubby is the brother he never had (let's be honest, I wasn't the nicest older sister growing up)


3) My friends, especially my girlfriends; those who I have the pleasure of seeing every Wednesday and most weekends, those who I met through Hubby and have become close with, and those who I love enough to keep in touch with regardless of the fact that we are miles away from each other.

Classy bachelorette dinner photo

4) My job and the fact that I get to do what I love doing without it taking away from those things listed above.


5) The gorgeous, hot and sunny weather that has finally graced Southern California


6) The fact that I am lucky enough to belong to a gym that motivates me to work out and have an office full of coworkers who encourage me to live a healthy balanced lifestyle (even when I really don't feel like it)


7) I know this may sound silly, but from The Who to Kesha to Owl City, I appreciate all of the musicians out there that make the music that I enjoy.  A good song or an awesome Pandora station can cheer me up when nothing else can.

8) This blog and the opportunity that it gives me to write down my thoughts, think about these things, and realize that I need to have a more positive attitude.  I am also greatful for all of the other blogs that I read for their honesty and for the perspective that they give to me and the things I learn.

I know that this is only a partial list of many things and people that make me happy, but I am so thankful for all of them and every one that I did not list here. Pin It

Monday, August 23, 2010

Let Go

I don't think I have yet mentioned the construction on our apartment building, mostly because I was trying to convince myself that it wouldn't really happen.  Our manager came to us about a month ago and let us know that our windows were going to be replaced.  The glory of our shitty little apartment is that we have gorgeous floor to ceiling windows.  So they're basically replacing a whole wall.

The unobstructed evening view, preconstruction

Consequently, Hubby and I were asked to move all of our stuff at least six feet from the wall (did I mention how small our effing apartment is??) and to move into temporary housing for a week while our parking spot was taken away, our door code and garage code was changed (without giving us the new codes).  Oh and we have also been enjoying the 7am wake up calls courtesy of the hammers and drills of the construction team.  It has been a frustrating experience to say the least.

And yesterday, we went through our cozy little one bedroom and basically turned it upside down, unplugged everything, moved every piece of furniture, and covered everything with tarps and blankets.  I was going to take photos but it was just too depressing

The blinds are mostly closed now that there's
ugly scaffolding outside
But, ulimately, there is nothing that we can do about it.  So we settled into our even smaller temporary studio apartment, and I will grit my teeth through the next seven days and try not to think about the fact that strangers are tromping past my china cabinet and drilling next to my brand new bedframe.  And, although it is clearly not my strong point, I will try my best to let go. Pin It

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

Remember that house that we loved?  We've moved on.  Not just from the house, but from the entire area.  From the entire plan.  Hubby made the very grown up decision to voice his opinion that his commute would be too long.  Once we have babies, he wants to be able to hurry home from work to spend time with them.  Which I totally understand.

But.

I am not a naturally flexible person.  I am a planner.  This is difficult for me.  I have been planning for one thing for the last few months and now it's all for nothing.

So I breathe, and I move on.  Now Hubby is looking at new jobs in other companies.  Many of these companies happen to be right around where I grew up.  Only a 45 minute drive from where we live now.  The area is a great fit and I would be totally comfortable and blissful living there. 

But since it is such a fabulous area, we're no longer looking at almost-brand-new houses.  We're looking at townhouses or places that were built in the 80's.  We were both born in the 80's (or earlier).  I don't particularly want a house that's as old as I am.

This is what marriage is about.  This is what growing up is about.  Compromise.  Working together.  Loving each other.  Letting it go.  Making sacrifices. 

Growing up is hard.

But at least I am lucky enough to have the most wonderful Hubby in the world to do it with. Pin It

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Muffin Top

You've heard me mention before how much I love the Little Miss Momma blog.  She posted a recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffins a few months ago.  I read it and wanted to try it, but had no reason whatsoever to make them.  So I stalled. 

Then it came to me.  Hubby and I visited family friends this weekend for brunch and I would bring the muffins for them.  So began my foray into muffin making (which, with some self control, will not result in a muffin top).

Let me also mention that I am, in no way, shape or form, an excellent chef or baker.  But the muffins were deliciousquick and easy to make regardless of my cooking technique

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffins

Ingredients
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 or 3 ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 pecans or walnuts

First you mush up the bananas.  I had no idea what to use to do this.  I was looking through my kitchen and found the pastry blender and it worked just fine.


Then beat the butter and sugar (in a separate bowl) until light and fluffy.  I forgot to soften my butter and had to stick it in the microwave for a minute and that worked fine too.


Add the eggs and bananas to this mixture and mix well.


Add the flour, baking soda, brown sugar, salt and vanilla and mix until blended.


Add chocolate chips and nuts and mix in.  I may have used a few more chocolate chips than I was supposed to...


Try to spoon the batter into the muffin cups without getting any on the tray or in your mouth.  It was a bit of a struggle for me...

Please don't judge the dirty-ness of my oven

Bake at 375 for 20 - 30 minutes if you have a normal oven.  If your oven is old and awful like mine, bake at around 350 for 20 minutes, tops.  You'll know they're done when a toothpick comes out cleanly.

My muffins are all different sizes.  If you spoon in the batter evenly, yours won't be.

The instructions say to remove the muffins from the pan immediately and let them cool for about 15 minutes before enjoying!  I burned my fingers on the muffin tin trying to get them out, and then burned my mouth from eating them too early.  It was worth it.


Yummmmm success!

Tip 1: If you're going to serve them later, pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds or so.  They're much yummier when they're warm and the chocolate is gooey.

Tip 2: Give most of the muffins to the people that you're having brunch with and the rest to your mom to avoid having your own muffin top in your skinny jeans. Pin It

Monday, August 16, 2010

Our House, In the Middle of Our Street

Buying a house is stressful

We went to look at that little house that I found online this weekend.  I was hoping it wouldn't be as awesome as it looked.  It was.  So we brought my parents back the next day to come look at it and got their opinion.  They loved it.



And now I'm knee deep in emails to and from the realtor and the mortgage broker and Hubby and Hubby's parents and my parents.  And I love this house, but I find myself questioning if it's just perfect.  And then questioning whether anything will ever be just perfect. 

This house is awesome.  The curb appeal is precious.  The neighborhood is cozy and quiet. The kitchen is huge and new.  The living area is open.  The master bedroom is massive.  The school district is fantastic.  The price is perfect.  The backyard is undeveloped, so we can do whatever we want with it (pricey, but still a pro)But the formal dining room may be a little too small.  And although it has a fantastic view, it's on a slope over a busy street which can be difficult for resale. And the upstairs carpet is a bit dirty.


So how far do you go on the quest for the perfect home?  Do you settle for mostly perfect at a great price?  Or you sit back and keep looking until you find perfection?  And what if you never do? Pin It

Friday, August 13, 2010

Snuggle Up

There were some rad staff appreciation deals going on this week, one of which was $4 dorm lunch which we hit up this afternoon.  Half a salad (at least I tried to be healthy...), two tacos, tortilla chips, french fries, gooey brownie and fro yo to go later, I've gone into full on food coma.  Consequently, I am "reclining" as much as my office chair can handle and have been zoning out since we returned. 

One of my prized possessions...
except I'm usually drinking wine, not coffee...

As I zoned an scanned my usual list of websites, I came upon this article, which introduced me to possibly one of the most exciting products that I've seen lately.  This combines the amazingness that is the snuggy (Hubby bought me the Brookstone nap blanket version as a post-bachelorette hang over gift and adore it) with the comfort and wearability of a romper.  I love blankets and sweats and comfy clothes so this is right up my alley.


It's more like a bathrobe/romper than anything else, but I'm completely in love with the idea and will definitely be adding this to the list of I wants.  It just gets longer every day... Pin It

If My Heart Was A House, You'd Be Home

I've been mostly quiet on the search for the house lately because I was mandated by Hubby to take it down a notch.  They say that opposites attract, and that is certainly the case here.  If I had my way, I would have moved into a new house yesterday.  If Hubby had his way, he'd save up until he could pay cash before feeling entirely comfortable. 


My mom reminded me yesterday that I have been raised in a home with "impulse people."  My parents decide to go look for a new car and come home with one that afternoon.  I came back from college to find the bottom floor of our house completely redone, with a new couch, pool table and 65" television.  When they decide that the want something, they just go for it.  Hubby is not an impulse person. 

So instead of dragging Hubby out to look at houses every weekend, I've been quietly looking at them online. Which was working perfectly well.  Until yesterday

I found this house.  And from the photos, it looks perfect.  It's a great size, in a great neighborhood, and, shockingly, it should be right in our price range.  Because I'm a crazy researcher, I found the floorplan on a different website and now I'm a little obsessed with it.  I convinced Hubby to go see it this weekend, despite his initial concerns. 


So we have an appointment with the realtor tomorrow.  Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease let this house be awesome.  Or maybe not.  Because then the real negotiating begins. Pin It

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Party in the USA

Warning: Grouchy and boring post ahead.

We have a job opening coming up in my office.  And I am bracing myself.  Partly because I am definitely going to miss the person who is leaving.  But partly because I'm waiting for the emails to start rolling in.

"I saw that this position is open.  Don't you work in that office?  Omg that's great...can I send you my resume?"

All events are pretty and serene...
...right?

It's not that I don't love mentoring people about this industry.  I think it's kind of fascinating that I've become somewhat of an expert in the field and that people would come to me for advice.  But I hate it when people want me to specifically recommend them for the job, unless we're close friends. 

A half finished escort card table
(I'm scrambling to take a picture and finish setting it up at the same time) 

The thing that really gets to me is the people who *think* they want to be an event planner.  I mean they throw really great parties.  And they don't like their current boring job.  So why not?  It's so glamorous and fun!  And seriously they'd really be great at it.

An intimate dinner for 3,000 al fresco...no big deal
...practically plans itself 

So I remind them that event planners are working during the times when everyone else is enjoying the party.  About the nights.  And the weekends.  About the stress of making sure that everything is set and perfect by that not-so-arbitrary time on their invitation.  About the hours and days and weeks of work that go into it ahead of time and the immaculate level of organization that's required to make sure every little detail is perfect.  And the fact that, sometimes, you find yourself moving a trashcan or lugging around a table or sprinting across a ballroom in high heels because something comes up.  Not that I don't adore my job.  But it's definitely not right for everyone.

Fabulous cocktail party,
until the wind kicked up and blew everything over
Check out the balloon tower on its side next to the stage 

Then they start to lose their enthusiasm a little.  But they still submit their resumes.  And hopefully they don't expect me to work miracles to get them to the top of the mountainous pile.  Because times are tough and there are a lot of other people who think this job sounds fun too.  But some of them have experience. Pin It

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fried Cheese Melt!

So I was reading Perez Hilton today (like I do...every day) and I came across this lovely article about the latest and greatest in healthy foods.

No, but seriously, it's about a new Denny's grilled cheese sandwich with cheese sticks in it.  The only thing that would make me happier is if it had chicken fingers in it too. 



We all know that my favorite foods are horribly unhealthy.  I tried the KFC Double Down (now apparently discontinued after giving too many people heart attacks) and was dissapointed to find it was too salty

I have now mentally committed myself to finding someone who is as big of a fatty as I am, regardless of the Biggest Loser challenge, so that I can bring an awesome review of this awesomely bad sandwich to my blog.  I'm doing it for you people.  Seriously, you should thank me.

Edit: I just realized that this is the only blog post title that I have felt the need to follow with an exclamation point.  I am such a cow. Pin It

Sick and Tired

I hate being sick.  I used to get sick all the time as a kid, and I've managed to stay relatively healthy (probably out of necessity) since I graduated from college. 

But, when I felt a sore throat coming on Thursday, I ignored it to go to the baseball game with Hubby who had just gotten home.  And when it was worse on Friday, I still hit the gym and went to N's birthday party.  And even though I was starting to feel stuffy on Saturday, I couldn't miss E's baby shower (our first friend baby shower!) or M's birthday dinner and party (we shut down the bar and continued to dance in a cab on the way home...).

Drunk and haggard with Hubby

So on Sunday I hit a wall.  And going to bed early-ish on Sunday night did not help like I hoped it would.  Monday, I came to work and was harassed by my coworkers into going home early so I didn't get anyone sick.  I stayed home yesterday and watched daytime tv and was bored out of my mind (except for a fun call from C that I hacked my way through).  And now I'm back and work and still out of it

Best cough drops...Hubby even found me a sugar free version...

I would be totally miserable if it wasn't for my jasmine tea in my awesome single cup diffuser teacup (which I don't mean to downplay the awesomeness of by including it in this post...everyone fan of loose tea on the go needs to go out and buy one of these things) and Halls strawberry cough dropsThose are my favorite things today.

You put the tea in the basket and a little lever lowers it into the mug!  So awesome!
You can get this at Crate and Barrel...it was a little gift to myself with my post-wedding gift cards and
I use it at work literally every day.


At least my appetite is down so my biggest loser weigh in was lower than last week! Pin It

Friday, August 6, 2010

Long Dresses

Welcome to the latest addition to my favorite things list.  I have a self professed obsession with maxi dresses (which I like to call long dresses, because maxi dress sounds awkward)

I wear long dresses every time I can get away with it, be it on my honeymoon in Costa Rica...

Pre sunset cruise

In Vegas....

You can't see, but this one is a long dress too!     Lots of us rocking long dresses at my bachelorette










In Palm Springs...

Love this pic...and that orange dress too...

Or just hanging out at the bars...


I've built up a collection of six or seven of them, all of which go against my goal of buying clothes that are practical enough to wear on casual Fridays (unless we're talking party dresses for special occasions).

I love them, not only because they're super comfy, but because they are also really cute and totally work with my body type.  Listen up, all of my pear-shaped friends out there.  If you have decently toned arms and small boobies with unproportionately large hips and thighs, these are the dresses for you. 

Wine tasting in Paso

Especially when you've gained twenty pounds since your wedding and are desperately trying to lose it.

Best of all, places like Forever 21 and H&M (my favorite stores) usually have a really fabulous rotating selection of them, and I haven't spent more than $30 on any one of them. 

I'm just praying that they're still in style when I get pregnant, because all of them would rock as maternity dresses too. Pin It

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mrs. Lonely

Last week, Hubby informed me that he was going on a last minute business trip to Boston.  He left yesterday morning and is coming back tomorrow.  Not a long trip.  And my week was already packed with other plans.  No big deal.


Until I'm home alone.  In the shower.  And I think I hear a door slam.  Nevermind that it's probably just my neighbor.  These things freak me out.  Too many horror movies when I was a little girl. 

And until I sit down to watch tv and I don't have anyone to cuddle with.

Or I get in bed and don't have anyone to kiss goodnight.

(This is my sad face...from our last day of our honeymoon when I didn't want to leave...)

I miss Hubby like crazy.  And in the year that we've lived together, I've got so used to being with him all the time that I'm a little lost at home without him, even for just a few days.  Is it tomorrow yet? Pin It

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baby Bucket List

Remember when I mentioned that I wanted to look for more newlywed blogs?  Well I found a couple of good ones.  I've been reading Newlyweds Next Door, and I can definitely relate to her, from her most recent post about post-wedding weight gain (and effort for loss), to trips with the in-laws, to her exploration of the joys of cooking and redecorating.  She had the brilliant idea of making a baby bucket list of everything that she wants to do before getting pregnant (big thank you to her for the great idea and for some of my bucket list ideas of she ever reads this)

We all know I'm a little baby crazy.  But there are also a ton of things that Hubby and I want to accomplish before we have little ones.  So here's my first attempt at my baby bucket list...

Travel
(Hubby and I have done some of these separately, but we'd like to do them together)
Europe (including at least England, Ireland, Italy, France and Spain)
Africa (on safari)
Napa (for wine tasting, of course)
New York
Road trip from Los Angeles to Canada
Hawaii and/or Caribbean

Job
Work with my current employer for at least 5 years (I've got a year an a half to go)
Increase my work with wedding planners
Plan a few weddings by myself
Help my friends plan their weddings
Have Hubby get promoted a level at work



Home & Family
Buy a house (and decorate it!)
Start a garden (with fruits, vegetables and herbs in addition to flowers)
Hold a housewarming party
Have dinner parties for all of our friends
Host a 4th of July BBQ
Host Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter for our extended family
Cook dinner at least three times a week, every week
Create an earthquake kit for our home
Raise, train and love a puppy
Buy a new car
Purchase our wedding album
Create a will (a bit creepy, but necessary before a baby!)

Personal
Craft more often (learn to make beautiful things, on a budget)
Get a new camera and learn how to take beautiful photography (maybe take a class?)
Learn more about wine and wine tasting
Do something active at least three times a week
Go to at least one concert every year
Go to at least one play every year
Go skydiving
Train for a triathalon or a century ride

I'll update this post from time to time as old things are accomplished and new things come up.
Pin It

Monday, August 2, 2010

Zoom Zoom

My car is a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am.  It's bright red.  And it's falling apart.

I have been trying to resist the urge to whine about it, because the engine still runs and the battery is still good and I can still drive it.  That's the important thing, right?  I don't want car payments.  It's not worth it right?

Imagine this...with a few scratches...

But it's missing some pieces and knobs, so I can't switch the air conditioning to defrost the windshield.  So sometimes I can't really see.  No big deal.

And I think there's a crack in the windshield wiper fluid container so that doesn't really work.  So I wash the windows when I fill up my gas.

And the driver's side back window doesn't work.  It actually slides down when you go over bumps.  So then you have to manually push it back up.  It usually lets in water when it rains and smells musty for a few days.

And the air conditioning only comes on when it feels like it.  And the windows only work when the air conditioning does.  So if neither of them decide to work on a hot day on your drive home from the gym, it's a little extremely stifling.  Or (in the case of Saturday morning) if the window is down and then decides not to work, then there's nothing to stop someone from reaching in and taking whatever they'd like when you're at the gym or the grocery store.  Then you get to drive around for 15 minutes until it decides to work again.  I will not feel comfortable rolling down my window more than a crack anymore.

Oh and the check engine soon light came on this weekend. 

So do I spend the money to get these things fixed?  Especially when the car is only going to trade in for $1,000 at most? 

Or do I get one of these...

The sweet little Ford Fiesta...test driven this weekend...

Because it's just a matter of time before I'm going to have to anyway. Pin It

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