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:

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Love the florals and white but it's probably too girly for our master . . . maybe our guest room?
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This one, despite having some floral accents, feels more masculine. I like the dark, tufted headboard and dark linens with green walls.
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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!
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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? 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Oh, how Pinteresting!

A quick house hunt update:

Last night we toured another house (tour #4). It went on the market Monday and the sellers are going to review offers tonight. By the time we saw it, they had already received two offers - crazy!  Because of the tight deadline we had to go view it last night after work.

Hubby and I were actually really excited about it. The 3 bed/2.5 bath 1650 sq. ft. townhouse is located in our number one choice neighborhood/city. Coastal with easy freeway access AND just a block from our best friends’ home! Great schools . . . a park just a five minute walk away!

But sometimes it’s not good enough to have the “location, location, location.” The home was previously owned by an elderly person who actually passed away of natural causes there. That fact didn’t bother me, surprisingly. What did bother me was that the place hadn’t been updated since the 1980s. It needed major TLC from the floors to the windows to the kitchen counters/appliances. And the lighting! Oh man, major issues with the awful lighting fixtures through out.

This is one reason why online photos of homes are not to be trusted!  Photographers are very good at adjusting the lighting, adding a soft glow, or cropping out the "ugly" to make everything appear so lovely.

Unfortunately we decided to walk away from the house even though we both died a little bit on the inside. Certainly if we had an extra $50K or if we were the roll-up-our-sleeves-and-get-in-there DIY types it would have been wonderful but neither of us were willing to do the work required to get it up to our standards.


Anyway, on that note:

This week I've been pinning a lot of home decor . . . dreaming of that perfect house I could have if money were no object:
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I just realized that I had this bathroom pinned twice - so I guess I really like it!  I love the crisp colors (black and white on gray with a pop of green) and the use of shelving over the toilet - a good use of space for a small powder room or guest bathroom.
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And this was another one that I accidentally pinned twice! I love just about everything this kitchen has to offer from the white cabinets to the slate gray counters to the aqua subway tile and pops of mustard yellow in the rug. That's what I love about using Pinterest for decorating inspiration - I would never think to combine those colors but it totally works!
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Here's another kitchen I adore. I guess you might say this is a mix of country chic with pops of more industrial pieces (like the stool in the foreground and the lighting). This is definitely my style but the Hubs would hate this. Too much going on for him - he would prefer something more sleek and modern.
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Oh man, I love this space. So bright and cheerful! A perfect place to sit down to pay a bill or two or write a thank you letter.  Those curtains, that rug, that chair! Love it all.
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I love that wash basin! The white/gray theme is so clean and refreshing.
It's fun to dream, right?! If only buying and decorating a house was as easy as pinning!
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 4, 2013

First home offer: rejected

This weekend our fledgling house hunt reached a milestone: we made our first official offer and we received our first official rejection.

Looks like I will have to wait a little longer before I can tie on my apron and get cooking in a kitchen that is all my own.  By the way, this kitchen looks eerily similar to the one that my mom had back in the 1980s, down to the yellow oven, counter tops and fridge! The only difference was that our wall paper was white with yellow flowers.

Offer Number One went to a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath townhouse in a great location. Even better was the price - nearly $40K below our lowest budget! We never thought we would find something "move-in ready" in that price range. There were SOME compromises: the patio was small and not very private. The square footage was only 1,450. The kitchen and bathrooms were basic and no "frills." But it had a lot that we DID like: hardwood floors on the bottom, a spacious bottom floor floor-plan, a playground and swimming pool just half a block away . . . and yes, the price was so amazing.  But apparently others thoughts so too.

The house was listed on Friday. By the time we viewed it on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. it had already received two offers. We decided to make an offer and went slightly above asking to be competitive. On Sunday we found out the townhouse went to someone who had $250K in cash and made a much large offer.

I guess it wasn't meant to be. We'll continue to look although as of today there is nothing on the market that looks at all like something I'd want to tour much less live in.  Hopefully more houses will become available as the year continues to unfold.  Ideally, we'd like to move by June when our apartment lease is up.  It's either that or go month-to-month starting in July and face a heft monthly penalty for not signing another lease.

We've heard that this is a process and we should be prepared to tour dozens of homes and make a handful if not dozens of offers. 

I'm really curious - do you remember how many homes you toured when you were house hunting? How many offers did you make before an offer was actually accepted?


Friday, February 1, 2013

Hello February!


I love January (it's my birthday month!) but I'm always sort of relieved when it's over and the year starts to really get going. After the holiday excitement and time-off in December, January just seems to be long and sort of boring. I'm looking forward to spring and summer (warm weather, picnics at the beach/park, cold beers, etc.) and February is a step in the right direction.
I do really well when I have lists and goals so I'm going to do that with my blog. I also have a 43things account for keeping track of my goals - if you are interested it is here. And yes, my nickname in real life (with some people anyway) is Margie May. I guess you can know that. (I'm still trying to figure out that balance of what to share or not share on the Internet. . . . any other bloggers have thoughts on that that you'd like to share? Just curious...).
So, back to February goals.  Here they are:
(Thank you to My Pretty Pennies for hosting - I am a long time reader of her blog, I love it.)

1. Bake and frost sugar cookies. This is something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I have these really lovely memories of the Christmas sugar cookies my grandmother used to make. They were something my entire family looked forward to each year. She passed away when I was in college but I often have thought that I'd like to try to become the resident sugar cookie expert in our family. Furthermore, for Christmas I received a package of Martha Stewart cookie cutters that represent every major holiday (I tried to find a picture online but Google failed me!). Yesterday I went online and found a recipe because I don't know what became of my grandma's recipe (sad face) and I watched a video on YouTube on how to frost with a paint brush. So now I just need to buy a few baking supplies and I'll be ready to go! 
2. Drink more water. This week I started bringing sliced lemon for my water cup at work and I've noticed that I drink so much more now.  I'd like to keep this up!
3. Stick to my budget. This means that I'll be on a very strict no/low spending challenge for the month. Luckily I am building off excellent momentum from January so I feel that this is going to be EASY. Yeah!
4. Have patience with the home buying process. I'm starting to feel frustrated because there aren't a lot of homes in our price range that I like . . . and those that I do love (at least online from what I can tell via photos and descriptions) are getting snapped up in days before we have a chance to even get out there and look at them. I know that I just need to have patience and the right home will come at the right time. It's just harder to practice that patience in reality. :(
5. Organize and declutter. I'm getting the bug to spring clean. And if we are going to move in a few months I might as well start thinking about getting things in order. My goal will be to organize/clean-out my closet and dresser drawers and my daughters'.
6. Romance my husband. It the month of love and his birthday month so this is a natural fit . . . but I've been consciously working on "romancing" him for about a week now.  By "romance" I just mean doing those little things that let him know how much I love and value him. I want to be more mindful of the looks I give, the words I use and the actions I make. We have very busy lives and often my attention is directed toward our 17-month-old daughter. I just don't want to look back 10 years from now and wonder what happened to our marriage. I want our connection to stay strong and that starts with me.
So, those are my goals for the month . . . what are yours?!