Thursday, December 27, 2012

Debt (Dec. 2012)


Checking in!

$2,500 (Credit Card)
$5,853.04 (C Car Loan)
$7,357.78 (J Car Loan)
$791.66 (J Previous Car Loan)
$867.58 (J Personal Loan)
$2,518.88 (J Gov't Loan)


Result: Decreased debt by $1,419.37 this month.

I was hoping to be a little more aggressive, but we went big on Christmas gifts for each other this year. We don't usually do huge gifts for every occassion but when we do, we go big.

We got a stipend for student loans through his program and he thought I used it to pay bills. Instead, that man is now the proud owner of his very own Snap-on tool box.
These things are a necessity for mechanics and they are (along with all the tools he'll be needing) extremely expensive. He got me several items I love including jewelry, perfume, and a sweet SkyPen.

I have been wanting one of these for a while! It is a pen that records audio as well as whatever it is you are writing and then can display it as a video online. I'm not quite sure how everything works yet, but I really want to figure out a way to use it in the classroom. Pumped!

It was basically the biggest Christmas ever. Again, in years past we haven't given each other gifts at all. In fact, his birthday was in December and we had decided no gifts. We don't do anything on our anniversary, either. This was just the year, apparently, that we went for the splurge.

Also, I'll be flying to visit my friend in a couple weeks and we paid for the ticket this month as well. All in all, I think we did ok with the debt considering how many other details came into play this month. Plus, the world was supposed to end, so I was probably a little lax. Ya know.

 Pay off everything except J's car loan by June 2013!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

20th Century Christmas

Care Bears and My Little Pony!

Image source: MoneySupermarket;

Friday, November 30, 2012

Debt (November Check-in)

In the interest of my sanity and well-being, I think I'll skip the student loans since they're horrific. Instead, here's where we're at on our other debt.

$2,490 (Credit Card)
$6,560 (C Car Loan)
$7,793 (J Car Loan)
$879 (J Previous Car Loan on a Lemon- so no car, but still got the payment)
$1,050 (J Personal Loan)
$2,697(J Gov't Loan)

TOTAL: (roughly) $21,469

Result: Decreased debt by $1,312 this month.

Woo-hoo! Honestly, any decrease is good. I'm aiming to pay down $2000 per month against our debt. This month I focused in on J's previous car loan because it drives me insane to pay on a vehicle that is no good to us. It only lasted a few months before it fell apart and we're still left with a payment. (Note for the future: Never buy anything from a family member; it muddies the waters.)

I'm hopeful that by the end of the summer we'll have the pretty much all of this paid off so we can decrease our monthly bills. I am always worried about our financial future and want to wittle down this number so if either of us lost our jobs we would be a little less screwed.

Speaking of jobs, J recently got a new job! He made some great connections through his school and was pulled into a meeting of the institute board and offered a position from a major company. I'm so proud of him! Now he goes to school from 6:30am - 12:30pm, drives straight to work, and doesn't clock out until 9pm or so. He has a tough schedule and is exhausted, but he will graduate this summer and has a very promising career at the company.

ALSO, I was offered a full-time teaching job! I just gave my notice at my current school and at my babysitting job. I am SO happy to be going back into a classroom! It's so competitive to get a job in education in this area and the school seems like such a perfect fit for me. I can't wait!

So, all in all, things are going really well. The problem for me is that, ever since returning to my hometown, I have put immense pressure on myself to finally get my act together. Before, I always felt like I was still adventuring and living a temporary life. On top of that, we never made any kind of money that would allow us to save or make plans; we lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Now that we're starting to "settle down" I'm crazy about getting out from under this debt, specifically my student loans. I feel guilty and can feel them constantly weighing me down. I'm like these guys:

(Marley Brothers from The Muppets' Christmas Carol- one of my holiday favorites!)
If and when J and I ever have children, and if and when those children decide to go to college, I'm packing them off to Canada to become residents and get college for free/cheap.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ya Filthy Animal

One of my closest friends, Miss Nanselle, has, for as long as I've known her, wanted to be a part of a hijinks-laden crime duo. She wants to be a part of Home Alone's "Wet Bandits", Part Deux.
Which is why I REALLY want to get her this for Christmas.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


My husband and I are lying around on the couch today watching terrible science fiction/conspiracy shows. We have built a nest out of our duvet and blankets and J, me, and the dog are all nuzzled up together.

Thanksgiving was wonderful, and now we're exhausted and taking a holiday after the holiday.

As we were lying here, he blurted, "You know what I'm thankful for? That we will never eat from black and yellow cans."

J remembers eating from these cans, which were the cheapest options available. (He calls it "welfare food".) They also had friends with farms who allowed him to come and pick food since they knew he couldn't afford it. He will say he had a great childhood and, in the same breath, talk about being poor.

I'm thankful for my husband, who humbles me and makes me stop, get my head out of the rat race, and appreciate our life.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Playing possibilities.

My husband and I got into a brawl yesterday over whether or not we should have a Saigon-inspired party in our future home in our future life.
Sometimes we really have the most ridiculous fights.
It started when we went to see Skyfall (I'm new to James Bond movies, but I definitely recommend). Of course, being James Bond, the main character ends up in all these exotic locations during wonderfully exotic things. At one point he has a chat with a vamp (Berenice Marlohe) in an old-world Chinese casino.
(I want to be this woman. Beautiful, no?)
So anyway, this is the inspiration:
Wouldn't it be ridiculously fun to have a dinner party with this theme? I would post paper lanterns at different heights around our (someday) yard, serve Asian-inspired hors d'oevres, play mandolin music in the background, etc.

He was already getting annoyed with this because he's more of a barbecue/tailgate kind of guy. What really pushed him over the edge is when I mulled over the idea of making one of those homemade shallow pools that people do here in the winter so it'll freeze and their kids can skate. Instead of the skating rink, I basically wanted a rigged up puddle where we could float lanterns.

Like this, but a puddle instead of an ocean.

He yelled that he doesn't want to have to create a faux ice skating rink on his one day off to "have other people come over to enjoy all our stuff" and suggested we save money on a couple of these parties and just go to China ourselves.

Honestly, I'm not opposed to any argument that ends up with my husband suggesting international travel.

Someday, we are either going on a hypothetical trip or having a possible party.

I will let you know how this turns out in, I'm guessing, 5 years.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Very Pinterest Thanksgiving

I am totally late to the Pinterest thing, but now that I've really sat down with it over a cup of tea, I LOVE it and have decided that it will inspire a lifestyle change.

For example, Warm Apple Pie Pots look delicious and are such a different twist on one of my brother's favorites! I am not the greatest cook in the world, but I love baking and would like to get more into it. Plus, no one in my extended family enjoys baking (that I know of), so it would be fun to bring in some different ideas to the standard I-just-pulled-this-pie-out-of-the-box dessert table.

Source: via She on Pinterest


 My husband would really like to see something like this little number. Doesn't this Peach and Cinnamon Cobbler look freakin' amazing? 


Out of any possible dessert to make, I really, really want Pumpkin Parfaits.

Can't wait!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Artist: Jenny Packham

You know what I like about Jenny Packham designs?
The fabric is soft and flowy...

and the hardware and gems give a tough, sharp edge.
Fashion chainmail.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Artist: Penille Andersen of Just Female


Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's a Love Thing

A few nights ago, J and I were lying in bed with our laptops: he was looking up car parts, I was drooling over hammered gold jewelry. We're so typical.

Out of nowhere, he asks if I know "It's a Love Thing" by Keith Urban. I say no, so he plays it.

Mid-way through, I asked him if he liked it.

He said it reminded him of us.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Artist: Emilia Wickstead

Polished, structured, formal.
Elegant, feminine, modest.
Well-played, Duchess.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Guilty Pleasures

To Tame A Highland Warrior (Highlander #2)To Tame A Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I will admit it- I read romance novels. I would say it's maybe once or twice a year I get in this mood, but when I do, I basically hunker down for two days straight and read two back-to-back. Then I crawl out from under my covers, brush my teeth, and rejoin the civilized world.

I really liked this one for two reasons: I love when historical fiction romance authors actually put in some leg work, and this chick actually researched Berserkers / Viking ancestry. I'm fascinated by Norse mythology and history, so of course that made me happy.

Secondly, the hero reminded me of my husband, right down to the coloring of his features.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"The irony is, they're going to get blood on their clothes."

Sometimes I play this game with one of my best friends. We write what are basically sound bites or pieces of conversation we hear and text/message them at random to one another, forcing each other to try and guess where they're from.

Let's play.

"Ohh, he found my dead hooker storage room."

"They hittin' that fat dude like he's a piƱata."

"Listen to me you crazy b*tch! We ain't got no nuggets!"

"he meditates, and he dodges cars at busy intersections."

"I'm gonna knock the dentures right outta your mouth!"

"Who knew there was racial tension in the duck world?"

* Answer: "World's Dumbest: Brawlers 6" as seen on TruTV. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Geography of Bliss

I just finished The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. Basically, a jaded journalist travels to ten different countries, the happiest and the least happy, to try and discover the recipe for bliss.

After traipsing across the globe, from Iceland to Bhutan, he says there are very few clear-cut pieces that determine one's happiness. Iceland, for example, is plunged into darkness half of the year and yet they still rate themselves towards the top of the scale. Qatar, a country of sunshine, heat, and wealth, has a resentful population who never seem satisfied.

At the end of the book, he finds only a few solid conclusions.

“Money matters but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.” 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Debt. Damn you.

So, I have debt.

A LOT of debt.

I'm taking advantage of a rare day off and reading stupid articles about rich people taking "only 7 months" to pay off their loans from their Harvard MBA programs and having to stop payments to their multiple retirement funds to do it.


In the spirit of Newlyweds...on a Budget, I'm just going to lay it all down here. I'd say brace yourself, but I'm too busy bracing myself.

$2,500 (Credit Card)
$6,500 (C Car Loan)
$8,000 (J Car Loan)
$2,000 (J Previous Car Loan on a Lemon- so no car, but still got the payment)
$1,000 (J Personal Loan)
$3,000 (J Gov't Loan)

Take a deep breath.

I'm warning you.

$94,000 (C School Loans)


TOTAL: $117,000

The plus side is, we've paid off  a lot of the debt he brought, and now we're getting into mine. The down side is, this is a lot of freakin' debt.

Here's how I figure it- they say marriages can really suffer under financial strain, but we're still good. In fact, we've been broke and in love since day one. We are trial by fire, and we are totally winning.

Well, this was fun. Let's check in on those numbers again sometime next month.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Moved again.

I'm pretty sure I left off in Oklahoma.

Once again, major changes. Or, maybe I just avoid calling anything a "change", since moving actually seems to be something of a habit or a lifestyle choice at this point. I'm not sure if this is how the rest of my life is going to go, but honestly, I didn't expect basically anything from the past five years. I got out of college and, without a linear path of schooling as a guideline, I feel like I've turned gypsy / nomadic.

J is done with the military. Actually, let me rephrase. He's no longer an active-duty military man, but he IS taking advantage of the GI Bill and is now going to school and getting training on diesel mechanics. He is so much happier and comes home to tell me all about hydraulics and argue a Craftsman v. Snap-On debate. Needless to say, he's pleased as punch to be a civilian again and I'm happy to not have any more deployments.

I finished out my school year, he finished up his paperwork, and we packed a trailer and the pup and left for New England. My parents had a large basement they morphed into an in-law apartment for us and now "The Bunker" is what we call home. We pay rent, but nothing like we would have to face if we lived in apartments around here. We're lucky and grateful, but for anyone who has ever had to move back, you know it can be a tricky living situation.

He goes to school and also works part-time in a shop. He comes home smelling like oil or grease and he absolutely loves it. He's talking about getting more tattoo work done, which is fine by me because I think it's sexy as hell.

In the meantime, I am working in the Special Ed department of a local school, hoping to make a good name for myself to be able to land my own classroom next year. It's pretty competitive in general up here, and cracking into the education field can be a tough. (For example, I applied for a teaching job at the school my cousin works at- she let me know they received 500 applications.) I'm also taking care of two girls everyday after school, about 20 hours a week.

We both have really busy schedules and, for the most part, we're ok. Here's my major worry, though: I do not want to become my parents, or their parents, or my cousins or aunts and uncles. J has told me that it seems that everyone in this area kills themselves to be homeowners and spend the rest of their lives trying to fix up a home they struggle to afford. I never thought about it, because I had always thought that was the way everyone lived. After visiting and getting to know his family, I now know that's not the case. Some people do not devote their health and happiness in order to have a home.

I feel like we're entering the rat race, just like all my family before me, and I don't want to watch my husband work 80+ grueling hours per week like my father did. I don't want to be spending time constantly worrying over budget spreadsheets like my mother.

But I do that, like she does. And he works a lot of hours, like my father still does. We need an Escape Plan.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Artist: Reem Acra

When Olivia Wilde goes to parties and people ask her what she does for a living, instead of actress, she should reply, "Reem Acra."
(Obviously these cocktail people have been living under a rock. Maybe they're obscure European royalty. Let's go with the latter.)


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Artist: Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

This is where I would like to live:

I would like to stroll up and down the staircase, the centerpiece of my gorgeous new home.

I would like to welcome everyone to my new residence, aka the new Ralph Lauren store in Manhattan. I plan on becoming a squatter, hoping they'll just ignore my presence if I'm just persistently there all the time.