Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Testing new signature color....

So What Wednesday

Once again, I'm joining up with Shannon for:

So What If:

* I don't join in the weekly meetings on Wednesday.  I work from home, in California, and they're scheduled for 7 am my time (9 am for everyone else).  That is not a part of my normal work day.  And we have yet to talk about anything useful that would justify my getting up an hour earlier than necessary.

*  We now have another new electronic in the house (see post about 3DS).  Hubs is happy and that makes me happy!

*  I am not the gamer Hubs wishes I was!  He's always asking if there are any games I want.  Nope, sorry, not my thing!  But feel free to take me to Barnes & Nobles and ask if there are any books I want.  I'll rack up a bill in 3 minutes or less!!  (clarification:  I do play a few games on the Wii.  But I usually lose quickly if it's Mario or something of the like.  I'm just not the gamer girl I'd like to be...and I'm ok with that.)

* I'm somewhat slightly obsessed with Dance Moms.  Those women have an extra dose of crazy to put up with each other, and a side of insanity to allow their little girls to be at that studio from 3 pm to 10 pm.  I'm all for dedication to something, but let your kids be kids for crying out loud!! (and as I type this I realize that if my someday child wants to do something like this and that is the schedule I will totally allow it...if it's what they truly want to do)

*  in my 30+ years of living I have yet to master the art of folding a fitted sheet.  Now I know why most hotels don't use them...too hard to fold for proper storage!

*  I am, once again, slacking on exercise/working out.  At least I'm doing better on the eating "right" part.  I just have no motivation to get this body moving past snails pace.

*  I was a little put out that hubs made plans for us with friends we haven't hung out with since before the wedding (November) this weekend after I expressed a desire to go someplace on our "bucket list".  Now that I have him on weekends I really don't like the idea of sharing him...even if I'm there.

And there you have it folks!  Have a great Leap Day!  Hugs...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Celebrity sightings

With the Oscars last night and all the awards shows that have been going on the last month, I thought it only fitting I end the awards season with my own celebrity encounter.

For those that don't know, I live in Southern California.  While I venture to Disneyland in Anaheim quite a bit and the San Diego area every once in a while, I very rarely find myself where the celebs hang most - Los Angeles and the surround areas (rarely as in I've lived here 3 years and only been to LA twice).  Despite that, I got to have a celebrity encounter last week.

Now, before I get into details I need to mention that my last celebrity encounter didn't go so great.  We'll call him EEW (yes, two of those letters are part of his initials and yes there is a pun intended).  I met EEW at a work function.  We had contracted with him to be in our booth and sign autographs and take pictures with adoring fans (trust me, he had them...much to my surprise).  I honestly thought it'd be great!  I was familiar with his show from watching when I was younger (he's old enough to be my dad) and was looking forward to meeting someone in "the industry".  Oh, how naive I was!  EEW is/was a complete womanizer and decided that I would be the object of his affection/adoration the two days we were around each other.  I could have filed a sexual harassment suit when it was over!  Needless to say, I've been a bit jaded/skeptical since then.

So before meeting this celebrity (again, arranged by work as a possible person for booth autographs at future events) I had my guard up.  Fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice, same on me.  I'd learned my lesson.

Here is a pic of myself, the celebrity, and my co-worker:

Does he look familiar?  He may not.  I'd honestly never heard of him before three weeks ago.  But, while we were at dinner, people in the fire industry (the show we'd been working was focused toward firefighters and such) started pointing and whispering.

Here's a more of a professional picture of him:

 And here's what got him his claim to fame:

Recognize him yet?  Michael Lombardi from FXs Rescue Me.  He is also the lead singer for Blood Moon Therapy (formerly known as Apache Stone).

Let me just say, this guy (and his manager/agent Rodney) were the nicest guys!!  We had dinner with them on Wednesday night and we just all sat around and chatted and laughed like we were old friends without a care in the world.  It was great!  (none of which I ever felt with EEW)  While I don't do many conferences like last week, I do have one on the schedule for August that Mike might be attending with us (that's right, we're on shorter name basis!). 

And there is my latest celebrity jealous.  Ok, not really...



Monday - a look at the week ahead

I'm still playing with a catching title for my Monday posts.  The plan is for the post to be a bit of a look at the weekend adventures that just occurred and a look at what the plan is for the coming days.  I'm open to suggestions!! 

I'm sure you noticed (all 8 of you) that I was MIA last week with postings.  That's what happens when a crazy work schedule (aka, conference) interferes with normal crazy schedule (aka, general travel).  I was in San Diego for three days last week for a conference that the university I work for was a vendor at.  The days weren't as long as some others I've participated in, but when I'm around other co-workers and my boss it kind of throws the days for a scheduling loop.  The conference itself is pretty schedule friendly:  11-5 for two days and 10-2 for the last day.  It's the after hours events that wreck havoc!  But it's always so much fun!  I get to see people I normally only see once a year (I work out of my apartment here in sometimes-sunny SoCal and the main office is in South Alabama).  Depending on who it is, there is usually a good time to be had by all.  This time around was no different.  Tuesday I went to dinner with two ladies I work with and we had a great time.  Wednesday I was at dinner with my booth co-worker, our boss, the manager of our special programs team, and two famous people (more on that in a another post later).  And then Thursday the conference ended, so I headed home after break-down of the booth space.  We met about 10 of our students.  I met a lot of people I've had email contact with over the last three months, so it was nice to finally put a face to a name/email address.  And we met some great new folks too. 

After that, the Mr and I kept the weekend pretty low key.  These events tend to wear me out, so I usually take the weekend to recoup.  This weekend was no exception.  Saturday we ventured out and went to eat at Lazy Dog Cafe then took a loop or two around the mall.  I drug Mr S in to Charming Charlies and found some great ideas for hair clips to make my long do dolled up (I'm trying to decide if I want to try to make them from scratch or just buy them).  While we were at the mall, we also ventured into Game Stop.  The hubs began toying with the idea of getting a Nintendo 3DS.  While we mulled it over, we went to see "This Means War" (funny stuff).  After the movie we decided to find out what Game Stop would give us for our old DS and some old Apple electronics (my iPod Touch 2nd Gen and his iPhone 3G).  The decision to trade was made and we ventured home to gather our old electronics, reset them to factory settings, make sure they work, then head back and make the trade.  We ended up with a Nintendo 3DS and a new game (sonic generations, I think) and only paid about $50 out of pocket!  And we got rid of stuff taking up space we didn't use anymore!

Sunday was another low key day for me, but Mr S went to play volleyball.  After we went to eat at Yard House, took a lap around the mall, and then went home.  Knowing we needed to get groceries (fridge/freezer were looking might bare) we ventured out for that later and it paid off - not many people at the store and we were in and out in under an hour!  VICTORY!! 

Since I'm in office this week, I'm back on a fairly regular schedule.  I'm really trying my hardest to keep to the laundry/cleaning/cooking schedule I start a couple weeks ago.  Obviously, being gone most of last week, it wasn't hard to keep to it as there really wasn't much of one.  We'll see how it goes this week.  And working out and dieting/eating right - total fail last week!!  I seriously need to start planning my snacks better for when I'm out all day.  Here's hoping for a great week on exercise, healthy food choices, and all around greatness!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Debt Reduction

I love to see my "available balance" grow when looking at my credit accounts!  It gives me hope and makes me not want to use plastic for things anymore!

Honesty:  I am that girl.  I have debt and it is MAXED out!  And it has been maxed out for as long as I remember.  I would pay it down, then use it up again.  Debt has seriously been a revolving door with my wallet.  Whenever I would get a large amount of money (like tax refund or Christmas bonus), I would pay off something small or split it between two larger ones.  And within a couple months (sometimes less) I would have used that card again and run up the balance.

Where did this get me?  Living paycheck to paycheck just because of my debt payments!  I mean, how ridiculous!?  I made more than enough money to buy the things I needed/wanted (or save for the more expensive ones).  But because the majority of my paycheck (after the basics:  rent, utilities, gas, groceries) went to debt, I never had any money for fun.  Talk about ridiculous! 

"So why didn't you just budget?" you ask.  Oh, I did!  Honey, I could do up a budget that would BLOW YOUR MIND!!!  But I never had the will power to stick to it.  I hated being the person saying I can't go cause I can't afford it.  Or sitting there watching all my friends eat while I drink water.  I should have...but I didn't.

And now, as a 30+ married woman, I'm having to be responsible.  Something I should have done 5-10 years ago!  But I am loving this!  Because I've paid off two store credit cards (the ones with the ridiculously high interest rates) and I'm watching the available balance of two MasterCards and a loan slowly become bigger and bigger.  It is one of the best feelings in the world!!

How did I do it?  I made a conscious decision, along with my husband, that we were going to focus on debt reduction in 2012.   (We actually started last year, but we paid for our wedding so all extra money went to that for 8 months.)  We locked up our cards in the fireproof box.  The only plastic in our wallets are the debit cards.  They only time one of them has come out was when the black car broke down last month.  All extra money has gone towards debt and savings.  Whenever we've seen a big ticket item we wanted when we had extra money, we would discuss why and if we really needed it right this very moment.  And if we decided it could wait we put $100 in savings.  When I got my tax return I split it between my two smaller balanced cards and got them paid off.  This month I get three checks; the middle check will focus on debt and get another card almost paid off.   I've also taken from the "snowball effect" from Dave Ramsey's teachings.  Once you pay off one card, put that money toward the next card along with what you were already paying.  At the rate I'm going, provided there are no hiccups (aka, car issues), I will have the credit cards paid off before the end of the year and the loan will be paid off in 2013. 

And that thrills me to no end! :)

Happy Sunday, folks!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday's look back

So this week didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to in a couple places.  However, my biggest achievement was that my Thank You Cards got mailed on Monday.

The biggest thing I'm working lately is myself = diet and exercise.  Let me just say that it didn't happen this week.  AT. ALL!  I think the healthiest things I ate this week were the fruit cups, clementines, and diet Pepsi.  And my exercise consisted of walking up and down the stairs a couple times when I left the apartment twice this week.  Yeah...twice!

I'm also working at being a little more organized when it comes to cleaning and meal planning.  I created this great little worksheet from different ideas I found around the web.  I have a space for our daily cleaning schedule, meals for the week, what laundry gets done when (so I'm not doing 4 loads on one day), important things for the current week (birthdays, events, etc), and a look ahead to next week's events (like the fact that I'm out of town three of the five work days).  It went great the first two days (I'm not counting Sunday because we were out all day Sunday).  I did the laundry load, cleaned what needed to be cleaned, and kept to the meal plan.  And then it kind of exploded after that.  My biggest reason is I am lazy.  There, I said it!  I'm a lazy procrastinator and it is my undoing!!  I know what needs to be done and I have great intentions of doing it, but I just want to sit on my bum and watch TV.  And there's really nothing on TV that needs to be watched!

I did, however, cook up a couple of pretty spectacular meals on Tuesday and Wednesday night (I'll post them later).

So, despite being gone two nights and three days this coming week, my plan is to get back on the schedule and do what needs to be done.  I hate scrambling at the last minute for dinner.  I despise cleaning the entire house in one day and then doing 4 loads of laundry in one day.  I think the best way to handle it all is to develop this plan to fit our needs and stick to it!

My other project is finishing my degree.  I'm currently enrolled in an online program and working towards my Bachelor's in Psychology.  And I'm enrolled in a class this term.  But, again, procrastination and laziness have taken over and it's a sheer miracle I'm pulling a B in this class!  But I have to get my work done early this weekend because I'll be at a work function the night it's all due for this week's assignments.  Maybe it's a good thing the hubby is sick this weekend...we won't be going anywhere and I'll have no excuse not to do it!

And that's the final episode of this week.  Mr S came home early from work Thursday night sick.  And he stayed home yesterday in misery.  I think he's finally on upward climb after his fever broke last night sometime (he was running 102 at 11 pm last night).  But we were contemplating the ER to figure out what was going on...he just doesn't get sick like that.  So this weekend has no plans but grocery shopping and school work for me why Mr S gets his health back.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday's Thru The Lense

Here is this week's edition. 

I'll start with the original:


Another shopped version:

The original was taken in New Orleans three years ago.  I played around with the settings when I got home (I have no idea what I did) and came up with the other two.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

So What Wednesday

It's that time of the week!!  

If you want to join, head on over to Life After I "Dew" and join in the fun!!

So What If:
* we celebrated V'day early (Sunday).  Mr S has to work Mon-Fri till 10 pm.  I much prefer that than him having random week days off while I have weekends off.
* the hubs didn't get me flowers for V'day!  I got something that will last longer:  a new charm for my Pandora bracelet!
* I didn't want to save any dinner for the hubs last night.  I made a new tilapia recipe that was DELISH and it was very hard to save any for him for when he got home.  But I managed...barely!
* once again, I have fallen off the diet/exercise wagon this week.  It actually started last week with my trip to Vegas for work.  The crazy hotel/casino wanted to charge $15 a day to use their fitness facilities!!  No way the company was gonna pay for that and I don't have $45 to spare to use the treadmill for 30 min a day!  And let's not even talk about the food, cause it was good and I don't regret a single calorie!  But seriously, I HAVE GOT TO GET BACK ON THIS!!
* I'm a day late in getting my assignments in for class.  I'll do them tonight! 

And that's what's going on in my "So What World".  Hope everyone has a great Wednesday!


Monday, February 13, 2012

I did it!!!

I have FINALLY sent out my thank you notes!!  HOORAY!!!  Today is 3 months, to the day, of our wedding.  And those nasty lovely TY cards are gone!!

I have a love/hate relationship with TY cards.  I love getting gifts (who doesn't).  And I love getting a Thank You when I send a gift for a momentous occasion (again, who doesn't).  And to be honest, I really don't mind sending out a little personal note to someone (birthday card, letter, just because, etc).  But for whatever reason, Thank You Cards are my nemesis!  I remember my mom trying to get me to do them for birthday and Christmas when I was younger (think middle/high school).  That didn't go so well for her.  I did knuckle down and do them for graduation.  And I knocked them out quickly for my shower back in October.  But these were just so much harder to do...and I know they would have been much easier had I done them right away.

But, regardless, they are gone.  Done!  No more!  And I couldn't be more thrilled!!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Monday

A few exciting things going on in the S&S house this weekend and this coming week.

First, and most exciting, Mr S now has weekends off!  HOORAY!!!!  It's been a little hard the last year to plan to do stuff together when he has Tues & Weds off and I have weekends.  Now we're able to actually do things on weekends together (with or without friends) and it's so nice!

Saturday Mr S & I ventured to Disneyland!!  We love this has so many amazing memories for us!  He took me there for one of our first dates almost three years ago.  We became an official couple that day and we'll be celebrating three years of togetherness on the 13th of this month!  (sigh)  In Sleeping Beauty's Castle is where the Mr first said those amazing three words to me!  (sigh)  And, the best one of all, on March 15 last year in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle is where the Mr got down on one knee and asked me to spend forever with him!!  (huge sigh followed by big cheesy grin)  In February of 2010, in celebration of our one year together, Mr S purchased annual passes for us and we've had them ever since.  For those of you that live close enough to venture to Disneyland Resort (Disneyland and California Adventure) four or more times a year should really consider investing in them, especially if you go more than four times a year.  By the fourth visit, now that one-day park hopper passes have gone up, they more than pay for themselves!  Mr S has parking on his, so that's $15 less a visit to pay.  And we get a 10% discount on all purchases in the parks and the Downtown Disney stores and restaurants.  Again, something else that is a nice little benefit!

Sunday, as we all know, was Super Bowl Sunday.  We spent the afternoon with the in-laws watching the game and chowing down.  Ok, so that wasn't as exciting an update as I thought it would be.  I am, however, very thrilled that the Giants won.  I am not a fan of Brady (or Manning, for that matter, but he was the lesser of two evils).

In other news and updates, I have maintained my weight from last weekend's weigh in.  Which is really good news since I was not a very good girl when it came to eating right last week.  I did get in two exercise events (Zumba on Monday and stationary bike and elliptical on Wednesday) along with 7 hours of walking around the parks on Saturday.  For those that don't know, I'm doing Weight Watchers.  I went over my points allowance every single day last week.  It was not one of my finer moments.  So on the way home last night, the Mr and I stopped at Target and I snagged some stuff I needed to keep me on track with food this week.  Here's hoping it works! 

I also got my CA State Tax refund, so I finished paying off the 2nd store credit card!!  That gets rid of the lowest balances and highest interest rates.  I'm so excited about this progress!  Mr S and I have locked all of our credit cards away in the safe.  They are only to be used in EXTREME (as in car or medical) emergencies.  The only plastic in our wallets are our bank/debit cards.  When I travel I take one of mine with me in case something happens or I end up somewhere that doesn't take my work card (which is an AMEX), but aside from that, those babies aren't seeing any use!

This week I venture out to Vegas for a conference.  I've been in office the last two weeks, so it'll be nice to get out and interact with people for a change. While I love being an office worker, it gets a little monotonous after a while.  And I'm a travel rep, so it's nice to be able to get out and do what I'm getting paid to do.

Well, that's all I've got to update you on.  Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and a great week!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Resolutions update

Just wanted to give you an update on one of the resolutions from January.

I'm one credit card closer to paying off my debt!!!  I did my taxes last week and determined that my state and federal refunds would go strictly towards debt reduction.  Believe me, I would LOVE to use that money towards other things.  But I'd still be where I am when it's gone - making payments and not really feeling like I'm making progress.  So debt reduction it is!

I got my federal refund today.  It paid off all of one card and 75% of another.  When my state refund comes in, that second card will be paid off.  And, by the end of the month, a third card will have a quarter of the debt off it as well.  I am so excited!!!  I even made a little spreadsheet so I could track my expected payments and balances and such.  It's so nice to have a visual of what I'm doing.  And it keeps me motivated to do it.  And while I won't get everything paid off by the end of the year (I have a loan that has a pretty significant amount on it), I will get most of it paid off.  If everything goes right and there are no financial hiccups (hey, I can dream) along the way, my loan will be the only debt left at the end of the year and that will have been reduced to less than half left to pay off.

Now I'm sure some of you are wondering about the fact that I'm now married and all that.  Well, right now, we're keeping things separate to pay off our own stuff.  We plan to combine in a month or two and we'll still, both, be on track for pay off of some major debt this year.  I think all Mr. S will have left is his school loan at the end of the year as well.

And, to top it all off, we're also able to put into savings while we pay stuff off.  Which is another one of my favorite parts about all of this!!

Happy Friday folks!!

PS...tomorrow is the first trip of the year to Disneyland!  Just one more thing to add to my excitement for the day! 



Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday's Thru The Lense

I thought I'd do a little before and after for you today.  We recently rearranged our living area.

Here is the before:

Don't get me wrong...this worked for us really well.  Where the vacuum is we had the tree for Christmas.  And there is so much open space!  But it's been this way for a year and it was time for a change!

Here's the after shots:

It's more closed in.  And, if we're not careful with the desk chair, not much walk way into it.  But we both really like it!  We're a little further from the TV, which is great when doing work out videos/Wii Fit.  We're planning for a DVD/Game/Blu-Ray storage device of some sort between the TV and Desk.  And I want a shelf or something on the other wall under the photo.  We'll see what happens.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

So What Wednesday

Here's what I'm saying "SO WHAT" to this week!

So What If:

* I didn't work out at all last week.  I didn't gain and that's all I care about on this weight LOSS journey!

* Once again, I waited to last minute last night to do my school work and turn it in.  One of these days I'll actually get it done on time!

* I'm a little frustrated with my job right now.  Don't get me wrong...I LOVE my job, my boss, and my co-workers and I am so blessed that I even have a job, especially in today's world.  I really couldn't ask for a better group.  My peeve comes with almost 9 years of service loyalty and no say in decisions.  Not even a consult.  Especially when something directly affects me!  No, I don't expect to be a decision maker or really consulted on every thing that goes on.  I really don't want that.  But, with the exception of three, all of my previous and current bosses/managers have been here less time than me.  And the kicker, I really don't want to be a's just an emotion I'm going through right now.  *negative comments to this particular bullet will not be tolerated...I'm venting, deal with it.

* The office/guest room bed that I just slaved over cleaned last week is slowly becoming messy again.  I told you it's my dumping ground for all things to be filed/reviewed/put away.  It's actually at a very manageable level right now, so I'm not too worried about it.

* I sent a birthday card to a friend before I sent the thank you card for my wedding gifts.  She'll get the TY later this month.  Hers has been written and sealed.  It just needs to be addressed, stamped, and mailed.  I'm half way done with these little boogers!!

* I really don't care who wins the Super Bowl this weekend.  I despise both teams and I'm only watching for the commercials this year.

And that's all I've got!  Hugs...