Friday, November 28, 2008

Five Alarm Lessons

I was getting my bake on Wednesday night and I found out the hard way that the recommendation to put a cookie sheet under a spring form pan is really more than a recommendation. It's a necessity. Never before have I had a spring form leak before, but it did just that. I'd also never set the fire alarm off from baking before that night.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh Tannenbaum!

I was on a mission yesterday to find a white Christmas tree - for under $100. I went to lots of stores and ended up finding one at the place I least expected to. K-Mart. I never shop there! I guess I should more often. They had some of the cutest Martha Stewart decoration collections. My favorite was Festive Confections. I restrained from buying everything in the collection. I ended up getting a pink polka-dot tree skirt and green polka-dot ornaments. I also grabbed a few boxes of pink, blue and black glass bulbs.

Matt refuses to let me put it up before Thanksgiving. What a Scrooge.

Tres European

I couldn't take it anymore and I woke up early this morning to go to my parents' house for a hot shower. I got there and they had fresh towels, a new bar of soap and a cup of coffee waiting for me. Mom even gave me some lasagna for lunch. Remind me again why Matt and I don't live there???

I can only handle so many 45 second cold showers and this morning was the straw that froze the camel's back. I wasn't able to stand the water longer than a minute, so I hadn't washed my hair since Friday. Thanks to the Ojon or else it would have been gross. Turns out you can use that stuff three days in a row and it will keep working. My hair felt disgusting, but it only looked mildly bad. I felt very European going three days without proper hair washing. I've also read that French women take cold showers because it helps prevent against skin aging. Well, international woman of beauty right here! Those showers were cold enough to turn back the hands of time!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Getting My Bake On

My sister's baby shower was yesterday. I volunteered to bake for the occasion, and when I volunteer for such a task I deliver. And the only other person I know who likes to bake with the same ferocity as me is my mom, so I called her in to help. Cat's only request was a pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkin cheesecake is possibly the most delicious thing on the planet, but some people don't get down with pumpkin. So, I also baked a yellow cake and made some little cupcake bites.

The yellow cake was freaking delicious. I think I ate half of it in batter form before it found it's way to the pan. I used Bakeralla's moist yellow cake recipe. Ugh. It was so good. However... There was one major problem with it. I made three layers but only had two layer cake pans. I put the third layer in a spring form pan. When I tried to take the two layers out of the laying pans, they fell apart into a huge, delicious, crumbly mess. The spring form layer came out perfectly. So, if you're like me and you're not exactly skilled at removing things from tricky pans without wrecking them, you might want to opt for spring forms if you try out that recipe. I'm definitely investing in a couple more so I have them on hand.

When I got around to the cheesecake, my arm was so tired from making the yellow cake (lots of holding up a hand mixer) that I finally felt compelled to pull out the stand mixer we got for a wedding gift. I don't know what is wrong with me. I should have pulled out that baby months ago because it makes baking soooo much easier. It takes care of all the hard work!

I am in love.

I've made lots of pumpkin cheesecakes in the last few years, and I've never been 100% satisfied with them. They're always good, but never as good as I'd hoped. They're not "Cheesecake Factory" good. (I would murder for a slice of their carrot cake cheesecake.) I switched it up and tried this recipe. It. Was. Yummy. Much recommended. Next time I make it though, I'm doubling the recipe because I like my cheesecake really thick. This one was a little thin.

Last was making the cupcake bites. Again, I used a Bakerella post for these. Take a look at hers, and then check out mine.

Looks aside, they were really yummy.

In total, we spent five hours baking and had a cheesecake, 1/3 of a layer cake and sort of jacked looking cake bites to show for it.

Not exactly time well spent. I had to stop at the grocery store on the way to the shower and pick up a cake to stand in for the one that fell apart. I grabbed a German chocolate cake since white grocery store bakery cakes are horrible, horrible things. At the end of the shower only one piece had been eaten out of it and the cheesecake was completely gone. Cat's husband loves German choco though so she gladly took it home to him.

I didn't want the yellow cake to go to waste since it was so good, so I repurposed it into more cake bites for a birthday party last night. I mashed it up with cream cheese frosting and graham crackers then dipped it into chocolate bark. They were soooo tasty.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What do you mean there's no super?

You know what's awesome about waking up on a Friday morning for work and it's 12 degrees outside? Not a whole lot. You know what's even less awesome? Finding out the pilot light on the water heater went out some time in the middle of the night and you have no hot water for a shower. Doesn't that sound like a friggin blast?

My brave sweet husband went to the basement and re-lit it since I wouldn't go near the thing. I would take a cold shower any day of the week over having to introduce an open flame to a gas source. No thank you. I do not want to be the one responsible for blowing up our house. My solution was to call my dad. (That's my solution to most of life's problems.) Matt's solution was to be a man and face possible death. Turns out that all Matt had to do was sniff around for the smell of gas, and since he didn't smell it he flipped a switch and it lit itself. Unfortunately though, by midnight it had gone back out. So, Fire Starter lit it again before bed. And would you know what? The damn thing went back out overnight.

In the olden days I would call Steve the landlord and he'd send Craig the handyman over to fix it within twenty minutes. And if Craig couldn't fix it Steve would invite me over to his mansion around the corner to use his hot water and have milkshakes with him and his wife. He'd also wash my car and offer up the laundry room. (He was the best landlord ever.) But now we own and short of my father, there's no one to call when things go wrong except for people who will charge you for repair work. What a scam.

I begrudgingly called a plumber and scheduled a time for him to come out and fix it. Mr. Plumber informed me that he did not have Whirlpool parts and if I called Whirlpool directly they would hook me up with the parts for free since it's under warranty. So, that's what I did. The parts will be here on Tuesday. That means by Wednesday I should be able to take a hot shower in my own home. There's nothing like five days without warm water to really make you appreciate the fact that every time you turn on the faucet it just comes out. This is very much like the three days we spent this summer without electricity. It's sort of like the universe's way of reminding us to be thankful for what we have.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ugh. So happy it's Friday.

What a week!

Thank goodness this week went fast. I don't know what I would have done if it were a slow one. Work has been mind numbingly dull, Matt's work has been terrible, leading him to put in his two weeks. That has led to an immense amount of stress for him. I say screw it. We'll be fine. He's booked with shows for the next two months, so that gives him time to figure something out. Really, I'm jealous of him. He has the ability to quit his job and live off of his career as a musician for the time being. I only have one career - that of a disgruntled web designer - and have nothing substantial to lean on if I quit my 8-5. I'm really working on getting some more photography experience/training right now. I would love to work as a portrait and event photographer to support myself. I have a sketchy business plan and think I could make a living out of it given enough time.

Hey everyone! Call me if you want some pictures taken of your kids, pets, engagement. I'll do it for free and/or for beer! I need to practice and try to get a portfolio started. And if I don't eff up those to bad, maybe someone will trust me with the task of photographing their wedding! Although, I'm honestly not comfortable with that right now unless the bride wants "blurry and slightly yellow" as her theme.

I'm stalled on the scarves at the moment. I've been kinda busy this week. Housework was neglected big time so I had to catch up on that. I went to Cat's one night and worked on the mural. (Looking pretty good so far.) Tonight, I have some massive baking to do to for her baby shower tomorrow. Saturday afternoon though... pure crafty devotion.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vegas Part II - In Which I Gush

So, back to the LOVE show...

I don't know if I can adequately describe what the show meant to me, but I am going to try. In my house and family, John, Paul, George and Ringo are not people who happened to be in a band. The music that The Beatles brought into the world is a treasure that changed everything permanently. The planet is a better place for them being in it. They are the sum of everything we believe in and a way of life. I'm very serious here. Matt and I are essentially flower children. We try to be the peace keepers, neutral ground in things. We try to keep good karma and do right by the universe. We aren't religious but we believe in the collective spirit of the world and loving your neighbor. We love our friends and family dearly and we don't take them for granted. We enjoy art and creation and seeing the beauty in things. It's not easy to hold true to your ideals on a daily basis but we really try. You can almost smell the patchouli, can't you? I'm just trying to fill you in on us so you can appreciate why we loved this show so much.

LOVE is the closest that anyone will ever come to seeing the Beatles live again and let me tell you... It's damn close. It's more than a concert or a Cirque du Soleil show, it is the music of the Beatles come to life. It moves and breathes. It felt like they were in the room with us, telling us the story of their lives and music. It was so overwhelming, both sensory and emotionally that I cried for nearly half of the show. I was simply stunned. My jaw was on the floor and I had tears in my eyes. The imagery and costumes are so well thought out, nothing is arbitrary. Everything serves a definite purpose and is beautiful beyond belief. There are times when the performers are gone and the only thing on stage are silhouettes of The Beatles, and those moments are haunting. It ceases to be a show and it feels real.

We ended up extending our trip and seeing the show twice. We couldn't not see it again. That extra day cost us a lot of money but we would have regretted not doing it. I've always felt that life experiences are priceless and I'll pay any amount of money for an important one. We could have come home and spent $300 on a new TV rather than LOVE tickets, but what do you think I'm going to remember more when I'm sixty, that TV or that show? You think I'm going to sit around at Christmas and tell my grandkids about the day that I went to NFM and bought a 19 inch flat screen for the kitchen? Possessions won't get you far in life. You have to value your experiences and the moments that shape you because that's what life really is and that is what is worth every penny to your name. It's not the house you live in, the car you drive, the clothes you wear. Life is how you live and what you experience. Life is what the music of The Beatles is about.

The first time we saw LOVE, we were at about the top of the second tier of seats. The second time we saw it, we were nearly eye-level with the stage in the fifth row. Sitting back farther gives a better overall view of the show. You can take everything in as a whole. But sitting up close allows you to see the real acting and the story. Those performers do an amazing job. The theater is set up so the show essentially surrounds you. You can see and hear and feel it from every side of you.

Whether you're up close or farther back, the message remains the same. Love. Love will change the world. And you know what? I believe it. Why do you think the message that they shared with the world has stayed at the forefront of Western culture for over forty years? Because we want to believe in it, want our neighbors to believe in it. Peace, love and happiness. Why wouldn't you want to believe in that? I think it's a message we could all benefit from.

What happened in Vegas didn't stay in Vegas. We stayed in Vegas.

This is going to be part one of a two part series, just to alert you ahead of time...

Matt and I just got back from the Vegas trip today. We were supposed to get back yesterday, but drunk impulse-purchased a new return flight so we could stay one more night. (I'll get to that... ) The trip was a gift from Billy and Rach, who met us there via Mexico. Billy unfortunately was unable to make it to our wedding, so he wanted to do something very special for us to make up for the lost memory. He definitely delivered.

We arrived early Saturday morning, which may or may not be the beginning of the day in Vegas, depending on how you look at it. Of course we started off by pigging out at a buffet. We then went to Madam Tussaud's and posed with/groped as many wax celebrities as we could. Then lots of walking, a little gambling (I won $16 on my first slot machine!) and a trip to the Stratosphere. I wasn't even going to pretend that I have the balls to ride a scary ride on the roof of a building so I hung out on the observation deck while everyone else did the ride. We then drank some cocktails to ease the fear. I also encountered everclear for the first time this side of 21 and I was not impressed. Rach and I went hoe boot shopping and the guys went to get tattoos. Unfortunately, tattoos were going to cost way too much money and Rach is the only one who found her some hoehoes.

And then it was time for the reason we went to Vegas. LOVE.

That show quite possibly changed my life. I'm serious. It was beyond amazing. It was the most incredible thing I have ever seen in my life. I cried the entire time. There was just no getting over what I was witnessing. It completely and utterly blew my mind.

Matt and I were scheduled to go home Sunday night around 7:00, but after some noon time cocktails we got to waxing about the show and things changed. We started by wishing there was a matinee. And then we started planning our next trip back in the spring. And then that turned into us wondering, just out of curiosity, what it would cost to transfer our flights to the next morning because we could just stay in Billy and Rach's room for the night so it's not like it's that big of a deal.... Right? And then that turned into me and Billy in the business center with my credit card rationalizing the price of new plane tickets. It was probably the most impulsive moment of my life. The transfer wasn't exactly cheap, but I was so excited and a wee bit intoxicated so I just rolled with it. The general consensus of the night was that we only live once so we better enjoy it. We then ran across the street and bought tickets to the late LOVE show.

It was just as incredible the second time.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I can no longer hate you Sephora.

I discovered something last night that can almost be called a miracle. It permits me to spend even less time getting ready for work (or anything else that involves being seen outside of my home).

Dry Shampoo.

Two reasons why this is so great:
1. I can save my dye jobs by not washing my hair every morning.
2. I can save myself the torture of washing and blow-drying every morning.
2.a. That makes me feel sort of European.

Am I the last person on Earth to learn about dry shampoo, or is it a generally well kept secret that this stuff is awesome? I really wanted to order Bumble and Bumble's dry shampoo after reading about it, but it was $40. Not only do I hate spending time on my hair but I'm also cheap. So, I broke my solemn vow to never step foot inside a Sephora and I bought some from them. I think Sephora is kind of a B.S. store, a lot like Victoria's Secret. I dislike both of those places equally. I shouldn't have to have a reason why.

I found the "Dry Shampoo" aisle which reminded me a lot of the "Dirty Leper" aisle. Here's this bright and glossy store full of things to make you pretty, and I'm picking around in the aisle that's going to assist me in washing my hair less. The salesgirl seemed annoyed when I asked her which one I should by and she didn't really give me an answer. She said, "Well, people seem to like this one," and pointed at a brand called Ojon. Then she promptly walked away. So, I bought a travel size of the one she kind of pointed to in case it sucked and I hated it.

I was so excited to try it out this morning. I wasn't sure it was going to work since I own the greasiest head of hair you've ever seen in your life. But damn, if it isn't shiny. I sprayed some around the front (greasiest spot by far) and combed it though. And you know what? The greasiness vanished. I put it in a ponytail to avoid having to straighten it after rubbing my head on a pillow all night, and I took what might have been a 90 second shower. I was at work by 8:00 this morning for the first time in... ever.

I didn't put enough in though because I wasn't too sure what I was doing, so I'm getting a little slimy around my hairline. But you can bet I'm going home tonight and spraying more on. I wonder how long I can keep piling this stuff on? The benefits of integrating this stuff into my life could be endless. I can now add "not washing my hair" to the list of "not wearing makeup" and "refusing to shave more than once bi-weekly." I am such a babe. The only down side is that the spray kind of smells like an old lady. Not bad old lady, but like Aquanet and Chantilly perfume.

So, Ojon. Go buy some.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Progress Report!

Let's recap a couple projects I've been working on:

1. Nursery Mural - No progress to report. Its in the same state now as when I last saw it Saturday. I didn't get a whole lot done that day so needless to say I'm a little behind. In my defense though, I was a little hungover that afternoon so it's amazing that I even made it to her house. I wouldn't have gotten as far as I did if my dad hadn't shown up with some Heineken's.

2. Scarf Orders - I'm still working on Elisabeth's scarf order for her shop. I took a peek at it on Facebook and it is darn cute. I can't wait to send these guys off to her. I'm also making her an additional scarf for a silent auction during a benefit concert. I still owe Matt and Kate each a scarf, as well as Cols asking for one. So in all, 3 scarves down, 6 to go.

3. Mastering the Art of Photography - I bought a couple books and signed up to take the first in a series of digital SLR workshops. So far I haven't mastered it, but I'm finally learning things I should have learned nine years ago but never did. The only problem is that now, I want tons of equipment and crap that I'm reading about. Lenses, filters, tripods, flashes. It makes me drool.

4. Stop Spending MONEY You Fool! - Aside from the huge salon bill and groceries I haven't paid for anything this week. Not bad actually. Not. Bad. At. All. But we're going out of town this weekend so I'm sure that's not going to last.

5. Rehab the Living Room - Going great! Everything has been ordered and most of it has arrived. We finally hung up the curtains. FINALLY!!! It only took two hours, one argument and countless utterances of the eff bomb. It's just about ready to be photographed and shared with the world.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Has anyone ever had one of those allergy scratch tests? Basically, the doctor pokes you over and over again with various allergens and then waits fifteen minutes to see if any of them create a welt. Thanks modern medicine!

Well, I had one last week. I am allergic to something/somethings unknown and it drives me insane. It drives Matt insane too and it was at his consistent prompting that I made the appointment. According to the test, I'm not allergic to anything. Humm, that's mighty helpful. The tests ruled out dust mites, mold, dogs, cats, eggs, wheat and 21 other potential things that I can't remember. The doctor said that we could either do the test again, this time with higher concentrations (which I think involved needles), or he could write me a couple prescriptions to get me through the fall and I'd be on my way. I'll take the needle-less option, thank you.

I went to fill my prescription and it was going to cost me $50 for a month's worth of allergy pills. That. Is. Insane. $50 to prevent me from sneezing for a month? I'm not so sure about that... I talked to the pharmacist and she suggested I try an over the counter pill. Claratin doesn't work from past experience so I tried something else. I forget the name right now. Basically though, it's a little bit of antihistamine mixed with meth. I took it and it definitely cured me of my allergy symptoms. No doubt about that. But it also gave me a raging case of cotton mouth and completely spun me out on pseudoephedrine. The next day I tried taking half a pill instead and it did exactly nothing in the way of helping my allergies, but still managed to give me dry mouth.

Now I have the choice of continuing to take the meth pills (and learn to enjoy the three hours a day that my eyes spin around inside my head) or I drop $50 on designer allergy meds and just get over the fact that I'm paying for some drug rep's Christmas vacation.

Decisions, decisions.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Well, it cost $85 to correct my hair-don't.

That is an $85 lesson that I didn't need to learn.

I definitely got my money's worth both in color processing and lecturing from the poor girl who had to fix my mistake.

My hair isn't the bright, coppery red I wanted it to be. It's more of a dark auburn. Compared to yesterday's kool-aid colored tragedy, it's looking mighty fine. I figured it was better to let her go dark than to try and lift the freaky red out and fry myself silly. She also talked me into cutting off what she said would be "an inch, inch and a half" of dead ends. Really though, she took at least three or four from me. I understand that the hair needed to go. The ends were the remnants from last September's foray into bleach blonde-hood and they were seriously crispy. Add to that two days worth of processing and it was not a bad idea to let it go. But I really wish she had asked me before chopping it off. I've been trying for a year to grow it out.

Well, actually I tried for about two years to grow it out, then I spent a year gradually cutting it all off, then I decided a year ago to let it grow out again. It's currently still sitting above my shoulders if that indicates how much dedication to my hair I really have. (I'll just go ahead and tell you: Very little. That's why I thought it was okay to spend $8 on hair color and then apply it myself without any way of seeing the back of my head.)

In total, I spent more on my hair tonight than I spent on the utilities last month. I should have just shaved it all off with Matt's clippers and then taken us out to a fancy meal.

Vegas (The Dog)

But I will be in Vegas the city this weekend.

I was at my sister's house on Saturday to paint the nursery mural and I ended up taking some pictures of her doberman.

Cat- I know you want me to send you these but I already did you one better. :)

At least I managed to do something right yesterday...

After the hair debacle yesterday, I sat down and finished Tam's scarves.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

DIY Disaster!!!

Oh. No.

I have dyed my hair at home on many occasions and it always turns out fine. Sometimes it's awesome, sometimes it's just good. I dyed it today and the results are horrible! It looks like a blind kindergartner colored it for me. It's blotchy and essentially bright orange with some dirty blonde underneath.


I promptly called a salon in a total panic and had to confess my hair sins to the girl who answered. She laughed. Of course she laughed. It wasn't a mean laugh though, it was more of a "oh you poor amateur, you" laugh. She said that she would take me herself tomorrow and needed to know what I'd done to myself so she knew how much time to block off. I told her that I tried to dye it red and now my head looks like Ronald McDonald's left out in the sun too long.

Unfortunately, I have to go to work looking like this tomorrow. Luckily, I work with a bunch of male IT nerds so they probably won't even notice.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Aww. One more reason to love J.Crew.

I think it is so adorable that Michelle Obama shops at J.Crew. Maybe it just excites me because I have a recent crazy fondness for the Crew and now I too can have First Lady Style.

It's a little pricey for us average folks, but it's not insanely expensive. I wonder if she shops the clearance rack?

I also saw a picture of her coming from parent-teacher conferences wearing a baseball cap and I made an audible, "Awww" noise.

Wii Fit!

Buying a Wii Fit = AWESOME!!!

Buying a Wii Fit and paying your tuition in the same afternoon = BUMMER!!!

But the Fit was on hold for me at Game Stop and I've been trying like a crack addict to score one of these things for months. What was I supposed to do? Pass it up? Come on. No way. It'll come out of our redecorating money. One less table lamp isn't going to hurt anything. Everyone will be too busy faux hula-hooping to notice how dim it is.

What was that I was saying the other day about spending too much money on crap... Humm. Don't remember! Let's go play!

I found that it's hard to get work done at home when you spend all night standing on a plastic board, doing yoga with a hot digi-instructor, but worth it.

Seriously awesome piece of technology! Everyone should go buy one.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One More Piece of Politics and Then I'll Try to Stop

I have a serious problem with the opposition to gay rights in America. A huge, serious problem. This is a family joint, so I will keep it clean. But go here if you want to see exactly what I think of Proposition 8 and what I think of those who are trying to deny basic civil rights to homosexual Americans.

It's ridiculous that gay rights were left up to a vote on a ballot. I really don't think that this is a matter of public opinion. I honestly believe that this is a right that the American government has a duty to protect for all people.

What other segment of tax-paying American citizens face this kind of legal injustice on a daily basis? And you don't even want to hear my thoughts on the states that are banning gays and lesbians from adopting. I have nothing ladylike to say about that. Nothing.

I read on someone else's blog, "If you want to protect marriage, ban divorce."

I'm very sorry if you disagree with me. You see, my best friend is a gay man and I love him dearly. Unendingly. It breaks my heart to see his rights be denied in this wonderful country and for him to be treated like a second class citizen. I stood up with him at his commitment ceremony this summer and promised to help promote his rights as well as the rights of everyone in the GLBT community.

And I intend to do just that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Look at me go!

Guess what I just did?

I placed the order for our wedding photos 10 days before the deadline.

Can you believe that? I almost can't.

That means that my pictures will be here 10 days sooner than if I'd waited to order until the last minute! Yay! The photographer guaranteed them in time for Christmas. Sweet. That's like what... another seven weeks? I can't seriously wait another seven weeks. All I've seen this far are thumbnails and low res pictures with giant watermarks on them.


Thank god that's over!

I am, of course, speaking of our thank you notes from the wedding. We did about ten a couple weeks ago and then never mailed them, never finished the stack. Just pushed it aside and forgot about it. Last night I cracked down and finished them while watching election coverage.

I was so happy to be done with it! (the cards and the election) Now all of our friends and family won't think we're ungrateful jerks. Eight weeks isn't completely obscene to get out thank you notes... is it? I was so worried about finishing the notes that I forgot to get stamps. I had exactly thirteen at home. So, a lucky thirteen will be getting their thank you cards in the next day or two. The others will have to wait a few days longer until I drag myself to the post office.

I put off working on some scarves to finish those thankyas, so I will be returning to that tonight along with praying for the band rehearsal in the basement to stop. It is sooooo loud in the house when they play. I need to find my ear plugs...

Come here it for yourselves:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jeans? On Election Day?

Maybe I am alone in this thinking. Forgive me if I am...

I have a raging addiction and I've been checking the news today like a freak. There have been pictures posted of the candidates voting this morning. Photos of McCain, Biden and Obama showed them dressed up in suits. A picture of Palin showed her wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. Perhaps her attire is a testament to her "Main Street" appeal, but don't you think she would want to look professional and like a world leader on the most important day of her life? Is this really the last impression she wants to make on the American public before they potentially vote her into office?

Even I (not running for an office today) managed to clean myself up this morning and put on some pin stripe pants and a blazer before heading to the poles and off to work. She couldn't do the same?

She essentially showed up at her job interview with the American public wearing jeans. That doesn't sit well with me.


Total OMG moment. I was wrong about the sweatshirt. It was actually a Carhart jacket.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Tam's Scarf - #2

I've finished the stitching on another scarf that Tam ordered from me, but I don't know how I feel about it.

I think it's missing something, but I'm not sure what...

Market Failure = Buyer's Remorse

Soooooo... I'm bumming hard right now. Because of the drop in home values, the neighborhood we wanted to buy a house in is now affordable. We rented in our old neighborhood and didn't want to leave when we decided to buy, but we couldn't afford to do so. Everything in our price range fell into the "fixer-upper" category, otherwise known as the "total crap" category.

Now however, houses on the very BLOCK we wanted have fallen into our range and are sitting there with their for sale signs mocking us for buying a house mere months before the market bottomed out. I just found a beautiful house that's bigger than ours and all pretty on the inside and it's listed at the very price we paid for our house.

The house we ended up with is wonderful and I love it, but come on!!! Give me a break! I would have cut off my left hand for that house six months ago.

Disposable Income Goes Where?

I think it's time to devise an honest to goodness savings plan. We share a bank account so we have the habit of paying all our bills first and then buying/spending whatever we want after that. It's not very conducive to *saving* anything. At all. I have a percent being pulled into a 401K and I save my freelance money, but nothing out of our paychecks gets saved.

I really have no idea where our money even goes! I did the budget calculator on The Nest and according to them we should have $1100 a month left to save after bills and going out to eat/drink. Huh? What? Are you serious?

That is a very depressing revelation. I wanted to set a goal to save $200 a month and they're telling me I should be saving $1100? I must have missed a major bill or something in there because that just seems outrageous on our part. There's no way we spend that much a month on miscellaneous crap. Oh god, do we? I think I severely underestimated the amount of money we spend at the grocery store. And I didn't budget in my Target addiction. In all honesty, we could probably save nearly $400 a month if we just kept a better eye on what we buy and where we go. Yet we don't...

That is a sad, sad slice of reality on a Monday morning.


Ok, so some of the fields I filled in ended up blank and didn't get included in the monthly expenses. The total to save should have been $618, not $1300. That is not nearly as gut wrenchingly awful. It's still not good though.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A sign of things to come.

I finally decided to order some furniture online that I wanted and discovered that shipping was going to cost an arm and a leg and then another arm. (Do you know that it costs $288 to ship a $279 ottoman from Ikea? Doesn't that seem completely outrageous?) So, I scrapped the online ordering idea and we went out today to hunt furniture.

We went downtown and cruised some boutique furniture stores looking for some things for the living room. We ended up finding a chair we both freaked out over and ordered the matching ottoman. Matt showed sincere interest in this chair so I felt it was necessary that we purchased it immediately. He does not share my interest in home furnishings so any interest from him is a sign that I should buy whatever thing he likes NOW. We also didn't mind spending the money on it because it was going to a small business and not Nebraska Furniture Mart, the store that sells a million dollars worth of crap a day. That's not an exaggeration.

Am I the only person who gets a rush from buying furniture? I hate spending money on toiletries and groceries. I don't understand spending lots of money on electronics. I enjoy clothes shopping but it feels way too self-indulgent to actually spend too much time and money on it. (I just look and drool mainly.) But furniture. Wow. I felt like I needed a cigarette after buying that chair. It was so much fun. Is that weird? This is the first piece of furniture I've ever bought that wasn't out of necessity. It was thrilling!

Cupcake Scarf

Phew! I finished a second scarf today. I also smashed my finger with a hammer putting on a grommet. Word of advice: Don't try to watch a trashy MTV show while hammering something you're holding on to with your bare hands. It will not end well. Take it from me.

Here it is:

Does that cupcake look familiar?

It's almost gross it's so cute.

I've seen lots of people doing cupcakes lately. Like this person. And her too. So I joined in.

Makes me hungry...