Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wow, Really? How the month of March passed me by...

In the past, when I've attempted to get into blogging, this is about the time that I would give up. I've got about a dozen posts in the can and a month long hiatus. But I will. not. let. this. die! Especially because I have so much content in my head that I WANT to write about. I think my downfall is the lack of time.

Anyway, so much for March . . . let's celebrate APRIL (Sure, we are already 1/3 of the way through but....better late than never!)


But first, how about a quick round of March?

In March we . . .

- Made progress on buying our house! A VA appraisal took place and the house was valued over our loan amount which is amazing! I heard on the radio this morning that home values went up 5% last month in San Diego so this may have contributed to the high appraisal. Apparently the average home price in the County is $430K . . . ours is slightly higher than that but I do wish that we lived in areas where homes were priced in the $100Ks! When I watch House Hunters and people say their budget is $120K I shake my fist in jealousy. But I wouldn't want to live anywhere that has snow . . . so I guess that's part of the trade off!

Other things that happened with regard to the house: general inspection (everything looks great), pest inspection, loan approval, lots of paperwork and signatures. We have our closing date now . . . the home is ours as of April 30 at 5 p.m.! I'm so excited!

- Flew to the Big Island of Hawai'i for a four-day whirlwind weekend for my brother's wedding. It was beautiful and relaxing and so much more than I expected. I wish we had more time to spend there but the few days that we had were perfect. One of the highlights was the villa that we stayed at - which was gorgeous. It had an outdoor shower and I took every opportunity to shower out there (it was very private - no chance of anyone seeing me in my birthday suit. :-) But probably what I loved most - aside from sharing in the love of happiness of the beautiful marriage - was remembering my own wedding to my husband. We had a great time dancing together at the reception - it brought back so many wonderful memories for us. I love weddings!

As for my goals in March - I guess I'd say I did OK. Not great . . . but okay. Could have drank more water . . . could have been more sweet and loving to my hubby in general . . . could have been better at spending. I feel like I got derailed about mid-month and never got back on track. I unexpectedly got a flat tire and had to spend $100 on a new one (it was too damaged to fix).I spent way too much on eating out and convenience foods at work. I also spent too much on groceries.

But I already feel really great about April. My spending feels very controlled and I am thinking outside of the box for new solutions to problems that previously I would have just thrown money at.

-Keep the TV off in the mornings before work and bring peacefulness back into my routine. We'll be canceling cable when we move and I'm actually looking forward to it.
-Read more
-Blog more
-Minimize spending on breakfast and lunch foods during the work week.
-Make it through the month without touching my credit cards.
-File our taxes.
-Romance my husband.
-Begin decluttering and minimizing unneeded and unwanted items in our apartment in anticipation of our move.
-Begin preparing for moving into our new house: successfully close escrow, select a move date, hire movers, schedule estimates for flooring, purchase appliances, switch over utilities, etc., etc., etc. Oh there is so much to do!!

If there is anyone out there actually reading, thank you for sticking with me!

Friday, March 1, 2013

March Goals



Yay for March! So many good things are happening this month.  Good things like . . . my brother is getting married!  In Hawaii! And the whole family is going! Whoot!

Also . . . as of today, my car is paid OFF!  I'm so excited not to be living with a car payment anymore. Buying my car was probably one of the dumbest things I ever did. I didn't "need" a car and I certainly couldn't really afford the $507/mo payment. Further more, at the time (2007) that I bought my car I had terrible credit so my interest rate was sky high. I definitely paid my share of stupid tax on this car. But now it's ALL mine.

Beginning next month, I'll be dividing that payment between paying off additional consumer debt and savings.


And now for my goals for March:

1. Clean out my pantry and take inventory of what we have. "Shop" the pantry and meal plan around it prior to going to the grocery store.

2. Romance my husband - continue to be sweet, flirty, thoughtful and positive with him.

3. Drink more water.

4. Be patient and positive about the home buying process.

5. Finish "Game of Thrones" book 4 - I'm 55% of the way through right now.

6. Succeed with my March no/low spending challenge

What about you - what's on your list for this month? 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Goals Update and Recap


I feel like February just went by so fast but, at the same time, I also feel like the beginning of February was so long ago!  It feels like more than just 28 days since I made my list of goals for the month.

Looking back, I did so-so. I think it would have helped if I had reminded myself weekly what my goals were so I could really stay accountable. Next month I'm going to set reminders to pop up on my calendar!

1. Bake sugar cookies. Yes!  I used this recipe from and they turned out really yummy. I baked so many that I had enough to share with my co-workers.

2. Drink more water. Meh. I started strong on this in February but lost momentum as the month went on. Definitely need to focus on this again in March!

3. Stick to my budget. I did pretty good . . . but there is definitely room for improvement. I went over budget on groceries, gas, and dining/eating out however I'm going to cut myself some slack in the grocery and gas department. I really think that I underestimated how much I should be budgeting for groceries and decided moving forward to bump it up $100. As for gas, I filled up the same number of times as January (four times - approximately once a week) and yet I spent $35 more - about $8.75 more per fill-up. Some of that is likely due to rising fuel costs. The average in my town is now $4.45/gal!

I also did great in that I remained committed to not buying any "fluff" purchases in February aside as planned for Valentine's Day and Hubby's birthday.

4. Have patience with the home buying process. Heck no. I have NOT been patient. In fact, at times I've felt down right negative about it. This month we put in two offers, both of which were rejected. We also considered putting in another offer in on a house only to find out it has foundation issues. Gah. This is definitely much more of an emotional process that I had anticipated!

5. Organize/declutter. Eh. I did organize my daughter's dresser drawers but never made it into my closet to do anything. Definitely on my to-do list for March.

6. Romance my husband. Again, I started strong this month but fell off toward the end. I have to even admit that we had a bit of a heated discussion last week and it reminded me of why it's so important that I let my husband know how much I do appreciate him.

Overall?  I give February a 7.5 out of 10.  Did you stick to your February goals? How did you do!?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oh, How Pinteresting: Master Bedrooms

The update on the house hunt as of today is that there is no update. We put in another offer over the weekend but the house received a total of 11 offers and obviously we weren't selected. It's a little discouraging to say the least. A the moment, there is nothing on the market in our price range that looks at all appealing. Are we destined to live in our tiny apartment forever? I know the answer is no . . .  but sometimes it feels that way!

On Pinterest, I've been pinning a lot of master bedrooms. One of my goals is to make our bedroom a serene and beautiful place to be.  Right now it's a collection of old/cheap furniture and old linens that don't really match. Our mattress is actually on the floor (no frame). We want to upgrade our bed from a queen to a CA king and buy a brand new bed frame/head board, dresser, night stands, etc. but it doesn't make sense to do that until we buy a house and move in. So, in the meantime, I've been drooling over these gorgeous, cozy rooms:

Pinned Image
Love the florals and white but it's probably too girly for our master . . . maybe our guest room?
Pinned Image
This one, despite having some floral accents, feels more masculine. I like the dark, tufted headboard and dark linens with green walls.
Pinned Image
This room also feels like it has a good balance of feminine and masculine with the light grey and blue. I also love the small sofa at the foot of the bed. I decided I definitely need some seating like that in our room!
Pinned Image
What I love about this room is the desk/night stand combo. This seems like a great use of space! And I also love the bench.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Happies and Crappies: Update Post!

I've fallen a bit behind in posting this month.  I thought that I'd do a bulleted list to update on everything that's been going on but then I stumbled upon this blogger and her "Happies and Crappies" link up and thought it was the perfect solution!


  • Hubby and I had a great time celebrating his birthday this month. We drove up to Irvine to see friends - it's so awesome to get our families together and watch our kids play!  We stayed the night in a hotel and had a great breakfast at Pipe's Cafe in San Clemente. One of Hubs' favorite spots. I bought him a new pair of Hurley board shorts that he was  super pleased with!
  • Valentine's Day was low-key but nice. I bought Hubs a coffee to-go mug and personalized it with a photo of our daughter. We bought a Keurig coffee maker last December and now he can take his hot beverages to go!
  • Hubs totally surprised me with a Kindle Fire! I already had a Kindle - one of the much cheaper versions. I've been wanting a tablet but couldn't afford an iPad. This was so sweet of him to splurge on for me!
  • I went to a conference for work that involved being out of town for 36 hours. This was the first time I ever left my daughter over night and I was dreading it. Fortunately, her time with daddy was a success. Hubby even texted me, "this is a two person job!" which I had to laugh at. Yes, yes it is my dear . . . and yet as mothers we tend to (almost) do it all!
  • Last Saturday we put an offer in on a house that was rejected. It was a beautiful house and so "perfect" inside. It's a major bummer.
  • We received major sticker shock on what we owe in taxes this year. Holy crap! We need to figure out how to prevent this from happening next year!
  • And now money that I was hoping to save for other purposes is going to pay our taxes. This almost makes me want to become a Republican! No more taxes! Sheesh! I'm not made of money here, people!
  • Our realtor is out of the country and hasn't been able to confirm if his back-up realtor friend will be able to show us any homes this weekend.
  • I'm feeling very unproductive at work. I need to make things happen.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Super Mom - Yup, that's me!


I was going to post about Valentine's Day but I just have to share my morning - hoping that other moms can commiserate!
My daughter has been sitting in a rear-facing car seat since she was born but last weekend we realized she had surpassed the weight-limit for that configuration by five pounds. So my hubby went out and switched the seat around so that now she sits forward-facing.
I have to admit I like it this way so much more! I can see her face, what she's doing . . .  and I can hand things to her (sippy cup, snacks, books/toys that drops) so much easier from the driver's seat. However, an unfortunate side-effect is that she's been getting car sick!
This morning on the way to work/daycare (I'm lucky that her daycare is located at my work - makes it SO easy!) we were just five minutes away when I looked back and I saw that she looked a little funny. I thought at first that she was getting drowsy since she was up early (5:15 a.m.) and sometimes she'll fall asleep on the ride.
I pulled into the parking lot, got her out of her seat, turned away to grab some items in the front passenger seat . . . and then I heard it. She was puking! Poor baby! Another mother headed back to her car even screeched, "Oh, she's throwing up!!" Yeah, thanks, lady, I hadn't noticed!! 
Luckily the majority of it landed on her shoes or the asphalt and I was able to clean her up really fast.
So here's where the Mom of the Year Award comes in . . . once she was cleaned up I took her into daycare anyway!  Although the center has a policy where children can't come to school if they have thrown up in the last 24 hours, I felt pretty certain that she wasn't suffering from a contagious  flu bug or virus.
However I still felt so, so guilty . . . Another moment when I wished I didn't work full-time even though there are a plethora of reasons that I choose to work and do so joyfully.
Luckily, when I checked on her via the web cam (so awesome, I LOVE that I can have the web cam running in the background all day while I work) it appeared that she was doing just fine - eating breakfast and then (just now) hanging off some play equipment.
I think I need to look into ways to prevent car sickness in the future . . . perhaps moving the seat into the center of the back seat would help . . . keeping the air cooler . . . offering her more water.  Any moms out there have tips for combatting car sickness? And can does anyone care to share some Mom of the Year moments to help me feel a little better? Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Going Green: Make-Up


I think one thing that I would love to change about myself is that I have bad habits when it comes to being "green" or environmentally conscious. I want to recycle more, bring my own shopping bags to the store, cut down on plastic waste, stop using chemicals to clean with and start using "green" make-up.
Now I have to admit that my make-up routine has DRASTICALLY changed since becoming a mom. While I work in a professional environment and feel that some make-up is still necessary, I don't spend nearly the same amount of time on it that I did before my daughter was born.  Okay, I will be honest. Most days my face "routine" involves slathering on some lotion with SPF and a couple coats of mascara.
I'm a drugstore make-up kind of girl.  I used to be MAC loyal to the core but these days it's too spendy for my blood. I was happily using CoverGirl's LashBlastFushion but when I ran low I decided to try Physicians Formula Organic Wear mascara which claims to be 100 percent natural.
I've worn it all week and would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  I really like the wand - it seems to apply the mascara evenly while separating/lengthening each lash. The mascara itself is a good consistency - not too thick or clumpy.  The only problem I've found is that it smudges like crazy.  I don't know if I have particularly oily skin or what but I have never had this much of a smudging issue before.
I'll think I'll finish out the tube but definitely try some other brands - I think Almay has an organic/natural mascara as well.
Have you tried "green" make-up?  Any brands that are worth trying?