Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 121

Well, it's been a morning.  I'm sitting at home even though it's a work day, recovering.  This morning I got out of bed, tripped over the laundry basket, and fell nose first into the door frame.  It took over an hour for the bleeding to stop, yuck.  I'm pretty sure my nose isn't broken (it's still straight, and according to John it would hurt lower on the nose if it were broken) but now I have blood all over my pajamas, all over my bathroom sink, a scratched-up and swollen nose, and a cut toe.  Fantastic.

But moving on to the actual point of this post.

1.  We got a gift on Christmas that I forgot to mention, but will actually help me a lot with one of my goals.  A brand new wireless printer!  Why will this help?  It has a fax machine.  Goal 55, finish changing my name, has remained uncompleted in large part due to my lack of access to a good fax machine.  Basically, if a company required faxed notice that my name changed, they still are addressing me by my maiden name.  Yes, a year and a half later.  What can I say, I'm a bit lazy.  But not anymore!  Maybe this will be done by our second anniversary, haha.

2.  We also got Christmas money to buy ourselves some fun stuff.  So after I got the completely frivolous things I wanted (i.e. 3 bottles of OPI nail polish!) I started thinking about things I wanted that could help me finish my goals.  Yes, really.  Should I get Rosetta Stone (goal 12)?  What about saving the money to travel?  A cute duvet set (goal 44)?  A sewing machine?  Finally get my wedding gown cleaned, or put the money into my business?  Buy all released seasons of Bones (goal 95)?  All of these ended up being a no, because I ordered the only thing I got jealous over:  A Kindle!!!  My Kindle should be here between January 6-January 10, and I'm going to start off right away by ordering some classics.  Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Phantom of the Opera are on the top of my list.  Goal 2 will be done in no time!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go tend to my nose.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 117

Hello, hello everyone!  I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and is enjoying the remainder of the weekend.  Gift-giving/receiving went really well... our gifts to my grandmother and John's mom made them tear up (we gave Grandma a framed 11x14 photo of her and her 4 sons at our wedding, and Mom P two Willow Tree figurines).  My sister gave me a really cute sweater, and thanks to my parents I have my very own set of Spode Christmas dishes (yay!!!).  My brother will be seriously disappointed that we did not drink the Thunderbird he gave us at Christmas dinner (yes, seriously).  He also got us a nice bottle of wine, haha.  John's dad gave us a wine subscription that will send a case of wine to our house every month (soooo pumped about that). 

John gave me a new sweaterdress, a pink Express sweater, and a Vera Bradley wallet.  I gave him the stainless steel wallet he wanted and a new Kangol.  The puppies are thrilled with their new bed and blanket, and ran around all day showing off their new rawhides.

But on to the relevant stuff to this blog...

15. Host a holiday
46. Learn to make a perfect pot roast.

15. Host a holiday
46. Learn to make a perfect pot roast.

Christmas went really well all things considered.  We had 8 adults, 2 children and 2 dogs in our 817 square foot apartment (thank goodness it has an airy layout!).  We successfully fit all the adults at our dining room table, that John set up beautifully, intermingling my new Spode dishes and my great-grandmother's china.  We set up a kids' table in the living room.  Trevor and Darcy behaved surprisingly well... after some initial barking when everyone came in, they calmed down and pretty much behaved for the rest of the night (except for the whole trying to steal food thing, but hey, you can only ask for so much).

John and I woke up at 7:15 to work on cooking the pot roast and the Swedish meatballs... this after not going to bed until after 2 since we went to midnight Mass.  It was worth it though... the Swedish meatballs were a hit (as always, if anyone wants the recipe I'm willing to share!) and the pot roast really was perfect.  I used:

5 3/4 lbs of top round roast
1 bunch of celery (the term is stalk, but I just picture one of the stalks not the whole bunch when I say that)
3/4 bag of baby carrots
1 bag of pearl onions
a whole lot of small red potatoes, can't remember how many
1/4 of a bottle of Cabernet Franc

After browning the roast, I coated it in 1/4 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons of salt and a pinch of white pepper.  I then stuck it in the Crock Pot with all the veggies except the carrots (I only put a few of those in at first for flavor), poured in the wine, and cooked it on low starting at 8:00 AM.  At 5:00 PM, I added the carrots, so they wouldn't get soggy.  I took the roast out at around 7:15-7:30 PM, then thickened the remaining liquid for gravy with hot water and flour.  It was amazing.  The meat just fell apart, and was so flavorful.  Yum.  We also had sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes, peas and bread.  For dessert, my MIL made an apple pie, and I stuck a frozen cherry pie in the oven (hey, it was yummy).  My SIL helped me make whipped cream (thanks, Laura!).

All in all, I think it went really well!  And if you're keeping track, I've now finished more goals in December than I did in September, October and November combined.  Wow.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 115

"It's Christmas Eve Day!  Both an eve and a day.  It's a Christmas miracle!"  Seeley Booth

Christmas has given me a few opportunities to cross items off my list!

57. Clean the kitchen without John mentioning anything.

57. Clean the kitchen without John mentioning anything.

It was a long, long process (complicated by the need to start prepping for tomorrow's dinner!) but with the exception of some drying glasses, a few things that are currently being cleaned in the dishwasher, and the ingredients/cutting board that we left out, our kitchen is clean.  All I need to do is put away those glasses and dishes, and have John take out the trash :)

And in case I don't post tomorrow, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 114

"I get by with a little help from my friends."  -Ringo Starr

I'm sure Ringo included family in that.

26. Get 4 digits in our savings account

26. Get 4 digits in our savings account

This is one of the harder posts for me to write, because I'm pretty private about money.  However, I'm chronicalling my goals, and finances are part of those goals, so here goes.

Every year my mom's side of the family has a pre-Christmas celebration, usually about a week before Christmas.  We eat pizza and open gifts.  Although we always spent every Christmas with my mom's parents (we spent Christmas Eve with my dad's family), when my uncle got married splitting the holidays became a little more difficult.  Hence, the pre-Christmas celebration.  Chances are no one else was asking you to celebrate with them a week before.  We had our annual pre-Christmas celebration last night, and on top of generously giving us the bedsheets we asked for, my grandparents gave us a rather generous check.  Seems Patty decided she wanted to pay for Trevor and Darcy's kennelling... and then some.

Have I mentioned recently how awesome my grandmother is?  Because she's awesome.  This might be a good time to mention that she was also the person who took me to get my navel pierced.

But a little more on why it took so long to get here (because just now crossing this off is a little embarrassing).  Rewind to June... massive, massive car problems.  All our savings went to that.  Fast forward to about October.  I was looking at our savings account and realized that at our current savings rate, we'd get 4 digits by the beginning of November.  However, a good part of that was the money I was saving for John's birthday gift (I decided that since I was saving so long for it, I might as well earn interest on the money).  Once I took that money out, we'd be under 4 digits again.  So John and I talked about it, and decided that the money in our savings account only counted towards this goal if we had no intentions of spending it in the next 12 months.

So in other words, I could have (and I'm making up numbers here) $1500 in savings, but if $200 is marked towards a gift and $350 is marked towards a future vacation, only $950 would count towards the goal.  Thus, the money I've been putting aside for our 2012 vacation (to be booked in mid to late 2011) didn't count towards the goal, either.

But let me just say, it's a huge weight off my shoulders to be able to cross off the first financial goal on my list.

Oh and PS... people are getting their Christmas cards :)  WIN.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 112

Well, holy crap.  I was wrong.  I did it.

56. Mail Christmas cards before Christmas

56. Mail Christmas cards before Christmas

30 Christmas cards went into the mail today, plus the two we hand delivered.  Now, I'm aware that many of my cards won't make it to their destinations by Christmas, but that wasn't the goal, now was it? :)  This actually is an improvement over last year, when I think the Christmas cards went out in January.  I'll strive to do better next year (i.e. Mail Christmas cards so they arrive before Christmas) but I accomplished another goal!  We made a list of the people that we needed to send cards to, and got addresses of everyone on that list.  We also had a list of people who we'd like to send cards to, but not everyone on that list gave me their address.  Oh well.  All the necessary ones are out prior to Christmas :)

I also shipped out our travel insurance claim.  That thing was 40 pages long!  Ok, to be fair, I think closer to 20 pages were actually relevant.  I printed a lot of emails (booking confirmations) and a few press releases from Mexicana, and the pages were numbered.  In a bunch of cases, only a few of the pages were relevant, but I was really worried about only including like, page 3 of 4, even though pages 1-2 were ads that didn't format right and page 4 was a privacy notice.  I'd rather send irrelevant pages than have the person looking at my claim go "Page 3 of 4.  What happened to pages 1, 2 and 4?  Is she hiding something?"  So I think my work there is done... we'll see.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 109

And trip recaps!!  Sorry for the hugeness of the pictures, but the one size was too small and the next was too large... no just right, sigh.

Ok, John and I stayed at the Crown Paradise Club Cancun from 12/11-12/15, in the Crown Club rooms.  We left early early early Saturday morning (our flight departed at 5:45 AM) so we were really tired/hungry by the time we got to Mexico.  The good news was that because we left so early, we had all day at the resort (we got to our room at just past 11 AM local time).  The place was stunning.  This was the view from our room:

And here's a little more of the resort.

The place was stunning.  We spent most of Saturday relaxing... sunning on the beach, swimming a little in the Caribbean, making tour arrangements.  We went to the resort's Mexican restaurant the first night, which was really, really good (no surprises).  They had a Mariachi band serenading the customers.

On Sunday we woke up around 6:45 because we didn't close our curtains, but there's nothing like sunlight to make you feel awake.  Sunday was also John's 25th birthday, so I gave him his gift... a Bulova watch.  He LOVES it.  And he really had no idea it was coming!  So after I gave him his gift we went to breakfast.  Like I mentioned earlier, we stayed in the Crown Club rooms, which were an upgraded adults only area.  This gave us access to a bar that served a really nice breakfast, and free internet :)

So we spent most of Sunday just hanging out at the pool bar (also adults only) drinking Miami Vices.  Yum.  We had reservations at the French restaurant on the resort that night, and they made him a birthday cake :)  The food was ok, but no real complaints.  Anyway, here's us looking cute on John's 25th birthday.

The other half of my birthday gift to John was an excursion while in Mexico.  We went to Xel-Ha and Tulum.  Xel-Ha is a really, really pretty natural aquarium.  We snorkeled for a little, but it was 20 C (about 68 F) and windy, so it felt pretty cold.  So we got lunch.  Xel-Ha had this AMAZING indigenous buffet and the best margaritas I've ever tasted.  And let me say, I'm not a margarita person, but I loved these.  After that, we went and hung out on the hammocks, then rode bicycles around the park for a bit.  One of my favorite parts was the floating bridge.  Fish just swim right up.  The guy in this picture is right next to a huge school of fish:

Yeah, all the dark stuff in front of him?  Fish.  Anyway, here's another stunning pic of the place:

So at 2:30 we left Xel-Ha to go to the ruins at Tulum.  This was a major port for the Mayans, as well as their astrological temple.  You can't go into the buildings anymore because people would vandalize them (freakin people) but you can still walk around the city.  It's built on a cliff right next to the sea.  I found it kind of funny that there were ropes around the buildings, but you could literally walk right up to the edge of the cliff.  John and I explored that for about an hour and a half, then it was time to go back to the resort!

 Tuesday we spent almost the entire day in the hot tub next to the swim up bar... it was the only heated pool in the entire resort.  Yay for free-flowing Miami Vices.  Wednesday we got up early, went down to the sea for the last time, and then had one last Miami Vice before leaving the resort at 11 AM.

So my travel advice since I've taken this trip:

1. They take dollars in Mexico, but it's really best to get pesos instead.

2. Knowing some Spanish is a good thing.

3. Know what you want in a vacation before you pick a resort.  This really was a nice resort, but we probably won't go back until we have kids.  It's not that the kids weren't well-behaved (we really didn't see any bad behavior, just kids being kids, and there's a huge difference) but resorts aimed at families typically only have a few adult-only things (largely 'mommy and daddy's get-away').  So if you're looking for a quiet, romantic vacation, this would not be the place.  If you're looking for a family vacation, GO THERE.  We spent a lot of time thinking "Oh, this would be great if we had kids!"  (In a good way, not in a 'but it sucks now' way).

4.  Once again, travel insurance.  We're starting into the process of filing a claim, I'll keep you updated on that.

5. If you're going to Xel-Ha, bring either cash or a credit card.  It says all-inclusive, and technically it is, but you need a deposit to rent snorkel gear.  No one tells you this at the resorts.  We had no idea, and lucked out that we had our card.  We saw another family that was having a lot of trouble because they didn't know either, but they didn't have a card on them.  Once again, the $20 deposit per person is returned, but no one tells you about it until you're there.

6.  Seeing Christmas trees in 70 degree weather is the wierdest thing.

So all in all we had a good time, and it's a great place for a family vacation.  As for romantic couples vacations... well, I'm still giving that title to Couples Negril :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 107

And... back!  With not one, but TWO completed goals (yes, this is equal to October and November combined).

84. Go to Mexico
21. Truly surprise John with a gift/event.  Just once.

84. Go to Mexico
21. Truly surprise John with a gift/event.  Just once.

John and I stayed at the Crown Paradise resort in Cancun, Mexico.  It was a really, really nice, clean, pretty place, and we'll probably go back again once we have kids.  It was a family friendly resort, and I felt like it was more aimed towards that than towards adult couples, but we still had a really good time.  I'll post a full vacation recap later.

As for the surprise, I gave John a watch for his birthday, which he celebrated while we were on vacation.  All he'd figured out prior to his birthday was that his gift wasn't something we needed to declare (as he put it "So it's not a horse") and that it fit in my carry-on luggage (we didn't check any baggage).  He thought he was getting something else entirely, and honestly had no idea whatsoever about what his birthday gift was.  Normally, by that point I've either given the surprise away, or he's deduced what it is.  So this is a huge accomplishment for me!

I also ordered our Christmas cards... hopefully we'll put a few out in the next few days.  We have some addresses from cards people sent us (phew!).

So, in recap: 2 goals crossed off, recap when I upload our pictures!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 101

One up, one down.

I emailed Kristi to follow up on the interview from a few weeks back.  The bride decided to look elsewhere.  I'm trying not to take it personally, but it's kind of hard.  I've also been trying to get in touch with a bride who said she wanted to work with me at the beginning of the year (her wedding is this coming July) to no avail.  So I'm not sure if she still wants to work with me... we hadn't drawn up a contract.  I'm going to have to get used to these things, but they kind of hurt.

On the other hand, I had a bride I talked to last month call me today to book my services, so that feels pretty nice :)  And I get to travel to Bethany Beach for that one!

So 3/7 for the weddings.

Final post before vacation :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 100

Triple digits!  I think that on every hundredth (is that how you spell the word?) day, I'm going to look back at what I've done in the last hundred days, and look forward to the next hundred.

So my first 100 days.

I completed 5 goals in my first hundred days.  Goal 37, I finished furnishing the apartment.  Goal 58, Trevor and Darcy went on a walk and didn't bark at people.  Goal 59, Trevor and Darcy graduated from beginner obedience training and were recommended for intermediate.  Goal 63, Darcy didn't bark at a stranger.  Goal 74, I got 100 fans for Infinite Joy Weddings on facebook.  I also worked on my 'numbered' goals... Goal 8, I've complimented 5 strangers (out of 10) and Goal 70, I've booked 2 weddings (out of 7).

I'm actually pretty pleased with how it's going, even though I would be thrilled to have more goals crossed off.  I've been working on it, and that's a huge start for me.  The list has made it through 100 days without being abandoned, and it's something that I now think about on a semi-regular basis, especially before I take a leap.

I'm proud that I've made a good start on the 'dogs' area.  I love my dogs, and I really want people to get the right impression of them.  This has helped.  I'm also really glad that I put down the 100 fans goal... it's really pushed me to spread the word about my business, and I think it's working (as is evidenced by the 2 booked weddings).  I also LOVE that my apartment is done... it really makes me feel less transient.  Like the apartment is our home, not just a place we're living for now.  It's a good feeling.

So looking forward to the next hundred days.  Last night John and I offered to host Christmas for the Posey family, and if that offer is taken, goal 15 (host a holiday) is done.  I might even make the perfect pot roast for that, haha (goal 46).  We're leaving for Cancun in less than 48 hours (eeeek!!!!) so good-bye goal 84!  And believe it or not, we might actually make goal 38... our apartment has been clean for 4 days.  That's kind of huge for us, and knowing that we'll be having people over (plus the fact that we'll be out of town!) adds a lot of incentive to keep the place clean.  I'll probably take the Christmas opportunity to get the Posey side filled in on our family tree, and then bring my grandparents over later to talk about their sides (goals 5, 19, 22, 23).

I think we might get Trevor to shake hands soon, too (goal 62).  He'll lift his paw when he's given the 'shake' command but he's still iffy about letting you take his paw.  I think he's worried people are trying to trick him into having his nails clipped.  That's Trevor's least favorite thing.  I know we'll hit 4 digits in savings (goal 26).  I'm also going to try to launch a website and start advertising for Infinite Joy Weddings on Craigs List (goals 68, 69).  I have a re-evaluation on my back today, and I'll get the results next week... if Dr. Nick bumps me down to one visit per week, I'm declaring goal 101 completed.

The next hundred days look ambitious.  I'm up to it.

100 down, 901 to go.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 98

I'm now certain that our Christmas cards will not be out before Christmas this year.  Damn it.  I had all my addresses on the knot guest list.  I really should have backed it up, but I didn't (and even if I had, my dad recently cleared all my stuff from the computer at my parents house, with my permission).  Well, I guess they had an upgrade or something and all my information there was lost.  I'm pretty upset about that.

Sigh.  Now I guess I need to start hunting down addresses :(

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 97

My husband is awesome.  Just sayin'.

I organized a Zeta event on Sunday (more on that in a bit) and he cleaned our apartment while I was gone!  We still need to work on the bathroom and the bedroom, but it looks so good in the main rooms.  I'm thrilled.  Pictures soon, especially because we're planning on taking our Christmas picture in front of our tree any day now!

As for the Zeta event, I'm kind of disappointed about how it turned out.  I really (really, really) wanted to do a holiday tea, fought for the event/date, our VP of programming sent out the evite about 2 weeks in advance, and as of Friday I had 5 yeses.  Small, but manageable.  Cool.  I'd reserved a table for 6 at the Ritz, so it was fine.  Late Saturday night one person changed their RSVP to a no.  Ok, life happens.  Then 2 more just didn't show up.  So it was just me and one other person :(  I was pretty disappointed.  Granted, I had a great time with that sister, the tea/food was delicious, and they moved us to this cute little table with big cushy seats next to the fire place, so it worked out, but I was still disappointed about the turn out.  Anyway, Heather, if you're reading this, thank you, thank you, thank you for coming out :)

That did, however, lead to me being convinced that hosting a tea party in my home (goal 50) would be completely amazing.

Six days til vacation!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 94

Today is a big day: It's the day we finished saving for/paying ourselves back* for our vacation!  (More on that asterisk in a bit).  As such, I thought I'd write a post on my new vacation knowledge that I've gained prior to the vacation.  BTW, as much as parts of this might sound like an ad, it's not.  I highly doubt these companies would pay me to advertise lol.

First, how to afford a trip.  John and I booked this trip back at the beginning of February.  We sat down and figured out what we could afford to put away weekly (because at the time I was still temping, and therefore getting weekly paychecks).  We also looked forward at how our bills would be changing, and figured out a battle plan.  $27/week, adding $25 at the end of the month after May, when our rent dropped.  Our Virtual Wallet helped with that a lot.  It's one of the best features: you can save for specific things within the account.  We set up 2 savings areas: the money we paid out right away (deposit and flights) and the money we hadn't paid yet (the balance).  It made it really easy to track how much we still needed to save.  We paid the balance on the trip back in August, and today we finished paying ourselves back for the money we paid out right away.  Woohoo!

Part 2 of that was finding a good deal.  We're Costco members, and on top of the awesome warehouse deals, they have a great travel section on their webpage.  We found a deal that was only like, $700 for 5 days, 4 nights at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun.  It didn't include flights, but we jumped on it.  We then scoured the internet to find flights on our own, and found 2 roundtrip, non-stop tickets for only like, $600.  WOW!

*Lesson 2.  Luckily, only learned in the mildly difficult way, not the hard way, period.  And yes, now we're getting back to that asterisk.  Always, always, ALWAYS buy travel insurance.  As I mentioned, we bought our great deal plane tickets right away (February 9), and so Costco included them in the trip insurance.  On August 27, the airline ceased operations indefinitely.  Yes, they're still grounded.  We had to buy a second set of tickets (luckily, we were only out an extra $70).  We also immediately applied for a refund from the airline.  The airline said they'd "let people know" about the refund by 12/15.  By that, they mean you'll either have a refund or you won't on 12/15.  As of right now, we haven't been refunded.  Our credit card company won't help us because it's been more than 60 days since we purchased the tickets, and they won't dispute charges over 60 days old.  The insurance has been a saving grace... if there isn't a refund in our account on 12/16, they'll cover the refund for us.

I'll let you all know how that saga finishes, including with the insurance, but let me say one more time: ALWAYS BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE.  As of right now, it's looking like the best $54 purchase I ever made.

Lesson 3: Also think about the other expenses.  This is where things are actually getting really expensive for us: kenneling the dogs.  We started saving for that a couple weeks back, but between all the pre-emptive medical stuff (like vaccines we don't normally have to give our dogs, and the shockingly expensive fecal exam) and the cost of the kennel, it's actually one of our larger expenses as far as this trip is concerned.  I wish I'd thought of it a little sooner.

Lesson 4: Alert your bank early to your travel plans.  I didn't know (prior to yesterday, when I called) that it took 48 hours for the note that you're traveling to appear on your bank account.  Luckily since I did it early it wasn't an issue, but I just thought I'd let readers know in case you didn't :)

Ok, so there are all of my travel lessons prior to my trip!  I can't wait to write my trip recap!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 93

I changed my mind.  We will not be fully contributing to our 401K as of January.  I've thought this out, I swear!

HR re-sent the paperwork (I can enroll now, but they destroyed my paperwork 2 days ago, awesome).  I looked at the quarter dates, and looked at the calendar, and realized that there would only be one paycheck in between my anniversary date and the second quarter start.  In other words, only one paycheck with the match on 6%.  I'm already enrolled in the 401K program (contributing 2%) so it's not like I'm not saving for retirement.

Anyway, here's why I decided to change.  As I mentioned, we'll be hitting 4 digits in savings this month.  Yuck.  I think we actually have more in our retirement savings than we do in our savings account.  And that worries me.  It's not that I don't feel that we should be saving for retirement... I had too many people tell me when I graduated from college that they wished they'd started saving earlier for retirement so they weren't scrambling as it got closer.  But I don't like the fact that if we have car trouble, if one of our pets has an accident, or if one of us makes a math error in the checkbook (that was a fun recent experience) we're screwed.  We need to have savings we can use if we need, not wait 40 years to touch.

I want to have at least 10K saved up before having a baby, and at our current savings rates, that will push back our current plans by four years.  FOUR YEARS.  That's not ok.  So if putting that 4% into my 401K isn't the best way to save it this quarter (and I don't believe it is) I want to put it into our savings.  Hence, this goal won't be completed until at earliest, April 1.  But I'm at peace with that.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 92

Happy December!  I can't believe I've been working on this for 3 months already (and admittedly not doing as well as I would have hoped, but oh well).  I'm hoping to get my apartment clean so I can show off our (ok, mainly John's) decorating job for the holidays!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 91

So a follow-up from yesterday's 401K stuff.  I sent my paperwork to HR, but since it's not open enrollment, they destroyed it :(  Why would you send enrollment forms when it wasn't time for open enrollment?  Makes no sense.

And it turns out John's company doesn't match 401K contributions.  I'll keep my thoughts to myself.

So what this means for us is that come open enrollment, I'll re-submit my paperwork (*rolls eyes a little*) and I'll be putting 6% of my income into my 401K.  As of March 15 (my 1 year point with my company) they'll add 3%, since my company matches $.50 for every $1 up to 6% after a year.  John won't be utilizing his 401K.

We saw a financial planner a few months back who told us that the best idea as far as saving for retirement (at least for us right now) was to only put as much in your 401K as your company would match.  It's free money.  The rest of your retirement savings should be put into an after-tax IRA, since you don't have to pay taxes on anything you withdraw from those (I think that included the interest, but I could be wrong).  So basically we'll just push more money into John's Roth, and use my Roth and 401K.

This whole post made me feel ridiculously grown-up.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 90

Posting again!  I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving.  John and I spent the holiday with my family (my mom's parents, her brother and SIL and nephews, my parents and siblings).  During the meal John leaned over and goes "It's not the same."  I just responded "That's how I felt last year!"  It's one of the harder parts of being married... splitting the holidays between families.  But as long as I'm with my husband on those days, I'll make it work :)

So November (clearly) has not gone as well as I would have hoped as far as the list is concerned.  Ah, well.  I met with the client Kristi set me up with.  Although the contract will be signed with Glow, I've decided that if she does book, I'm counting it.  The meeting I had with the bride was just me and the bride, and it seems I'll be the DOC on my own (I'm not even sure if Kristi's doing full planning on this one).  I'm basically looking at it as a final exam... proving that I can do this on my own.

I also submitted my paperwork to fully contribute to my 401K today!  That will take effect on 1/1/11, so it's not crossed off yet.  My definition of 'full contribution' is to contribute the largest amount that my company will match.  John still needs to look into what his company does for 401K.  He's under the impression that they don't match, and if that's the case, then we're fufilled in this goal as of 1/1/11.

I do have a few definite goals that I'll be meeting in December, and a few I hope to meet.  On the list of definites:

84. Travel to Mexico.  Cancun-bound on December 11!!!

26. Get 4 digits in our savings account.  Technically we have this now, but I've also been saving for John's b-day gift in our savings account so a bunch of the money is coming back out.  Yeah, I'm slightly embarrassed by our lack of savings, but oh well.

14. Contribute to charity 2x/year.  This one won't be crossed off, as it's ongoing throughout the course of my 1001 days, but I typically do donations twice a year: after Christmas and after my birthday.  So December and June.

And hope springs eternal:

38.  Maybe being gone for a week will help us keep our place clean for a month.  Maybe.

56. Mail the Christmas cards before Christmas.  We'll see!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 76

So my first paid wedding was Saturday.  It went sooooo well.  I was so happy with it.  Literally the only thing I would have changed would have been the DJ... but sadly I find that's a pretty common thing for me.  Thank goodness I found one I could stand for John's and my wedding :)

And Kristi booked me as a DOC (day-of-coordinator) for a wedding in May.  She's doing planning for that one, but she can't actually do day of.  I'm not sure if I should count that one or not... I mean, I'm doing a wedding solo, I'm getting paid, but the bride didn't come to me.  IDK.  I'll think about it :)

And the VA B&B deal from Living Social travel sold out... sad face!  Oh well... maybe next time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 73

To my complete and utter non-shock, the apartment is a disaster.  Again.  this post on Hyperbole and a Half is my life.  Particularly this:

Thank you, Allie, for summing up my life.

On a bright, not fail-y note, I now have booked 2 weddings this month!  Granted, one is for next year, but I have the contracts and we're good to go!  I think that this one merits celebration :)

And Living Social started a travel page... first deal, a VA B&B!  I'll be watching our budget, but these deals last a week instead of the normal one day buy period.  So yes, I fail a little bit, but I think I'm generally ok.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 64

So in Day 62 I said I might be visiting my sister for a JMU game, which would also successfully cross off goal 16 (visit Carlin at college).  Well, that's a no go, but for a really good reason... I booked a wedding!  This wedding is huge for me, for 3 reasons:

1. I told John back in July that it would be a really big deal for me the first time I did a wedding where I didn't know anyone.  Where I was just hired.  Why?  Because in my own neurotic way, it assures me that I'm actually good at this, it's not just that my friends are humoring me.  This isn't to say that I don't want to do friends' weddings... I love doing those, but it's also nice to be hired just because, you know?  And that's exactly what happened here.  I was checking in at my chiropractor appointment like, 2 weeks ago, and the receptionist, who knows I'm a wedding coordinator, introduced me to the client who was leaving, who just happened to be getting married in a few weeks.  I gave her my card, and she just emailed me last night to say she wanted to hire me!

2. At the Oct. 16 wedding I did with Kristi (fondly remembered as the fire wedding) she told me that she might have a wedding Nov. 6.  I was thinking at the time how cool it would be to be at a point where even if I wasn't booked for a weekend, it was more of a 'yet' thing than a definite open weekend.  So booking my first really-really close wedding is exciting.

3. I'm getting paid for this one, woohoo!!

But now that I think about it, this does have to do with a goal... once I have a signed contract on this one, it will be wedding 1.  Once I send contracts to my 2011 brides, it will be 2&3.  So I'm seriously almost halfway to booking 7 in a year!  And this will be number 10 this year, I feel so accomplished!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 62 - Update

Well that didn't take long...

74. Get 100 fans on facebook

74. Get 100 fans on facebook

Thank you to everyone who has liked my page so far, especially Derek who was number 100, haha.

Triple digits, yay!  We are definitely spreading the word about Infinite Joy Weddings :)

Day 62

Welcome to November!  I hope everyone had a happy Halloween.  I had a great time being a Pink Lady all weekend... and I think I might have been born in the wrong decade, because I had multiple people tell me that it took them a couple minutes to realize that I was in costume.

Anyway, I'm a bit disappointed that I was only able to cross one item off my list in October, but I'm pretty optimistic about November.  We cleaned the apartment in preparation for our friend J coming up, and I think we might be able to keep it there (hope, hope!)  Keeping the apartment clean gives me a chance to do some unsolicited kitchen cleaning.  John did it this time around so no such luck for me.

Depending on how things go, I might be visiting my sister in about 2 weeks for a JMU game (it depends on if I have a wedding that weekend or not).  I also fully expect to hit 100 fans on facebook this month, as I'm currently sitting at 96 97.  Only four three to go!!!  (Just looked at my page and there was a new fan!!)

Here's hoping for a productive November!

Incidentally, I also added one more stranger compliment onto the list.  Yesterday we took J to our favorite winery (Sunset Hills!) and some of the other patrons brought their Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy.  She was soooo cute and so well behaved.  I think I just love complimenting people on their dogs, haha!  (I totally just wrote Norwegian Ridgeback at first.  That might be a sign I've read Harry Potter one time too many).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 57


Groupon offered a deal for a VA B&B near Charlottesville.  Super pretty, includes dinner and breakfast, and is one of my 101 things (number 87).  Going to a VA B&B is something I would really like to do, and this is a great deal.

So why the grrr?

We don't have $150 right now.  And these are one day only deals.  I really cannot justify buying this on our current budget.  Being a grown-up sucks sometimes.

I guess there will always be another deal...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 53

My first completion of October, and the first completion that isn't about my dogs!

With the addition of this:

3-Shelf Folding Bookcase, Mahogany - Cost Plus World Market
Source ($59.99 at World Market, $39.99 after an in-store promotion and a coupon)


Source (IKEA, $19.99)


DIMPA Recyclying bag with stand gray Width: 23 ½ " Depth: 15 " Height: 28 ¾ " Max. load: 66 lb Volume: 32 gallon  Width: 60 cm Depth: 38 cm Height: 73 cm Max. load: 30 kg Volume: 122 l
Source (IKEA, $9.99)

And two of these:

GRUNDTAL Hanger with 6 knobs  Width: 5 " Height: 23 ½ "  Width: 12.5 cm Height: 60.0 cm
Source (IKEA, $7.99)

37. Finish furnishing the apartment

37. Finish furnishing the apartment

We're done!  Pictures of the stuff actually in our home once we finish cleaning.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 46

This doesn't really pertain to my list, but it was so stunning that I had to blog about it.  I stomped out a fire at a wedding today.  In my flip-flops.

The reception was about to start, and almost everything was set up.  The venue turned the AC fans on, which blew a table number into a lit candle.  By the time a catering staff member pointed it out to me, it was already past  the point where it could be blown out.  I had to stomp the thing out in my flip-flops.  Wow.

Luckily the bride does not yet know, I don't think any guests saw, nothing was damaged (save the table number!), clean up was quick, and no one was hurt.

So if you want a wedding coordinator who has and will go so far as to stamp out a fire at your wedding while wearing flip-flops, I'm your girl.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 45

Yesterday was a great day to work on goal 8 (compliment 10 strangers).  Why?  Because it was the inter-chapter celebration of ZTA's 112th Founders' Day!  Yay Zeta <3  And Happy Founders' Day to all my sisters :-)

Anyway, due to the fact that there were multiple chapters in attendance I saw a lot of strangers (strangers just seems so inappropriate here, so let's say Zetas I didn't know), and found 2 opportunities to compliment my sisters on their awesome turquoise attire.  One had the most enviable turquoise cardigan, the other was wearing a turquoise and gray argyle sweater... I was a little jealous.  So that's 2 more "people I didn't know before" complimented.

It was also a really good opportunity to work on actually getting to know my sisters (Goal 83).  I kind of regret not working harder to be closer to my sisters in college, and I'm trying to rectify that in my alumnae chapter.  Being social chair doesn't hurt my cause, and neither does being a wedding planner around engaged friends :-)

And if you haven't done this yet... go to facebook (specifically right here) and "like" Infinite Joy Weddings!  I'm trying to get 100 fans by Sunday and I need your help... yes, yours!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 42

I'm having a few "close but not quite" moments this week.

{Goal 32} Turn a profit on our Roths.  I got our quarterly statements for both of our Roths and for my 401K.  All 3 had profit this quarter!  ($.80 on my Roth lol).  Unfortunately, my Roth is $14 in the red, John's is $13, and my 401K is $43.  So I'll be crossing my fingers for better gains this period, and maybe I'll be reporting good news on that front in January.

{Goal 70} Book 7 weddings in a year.  I'm doing my 7th wedding this coming weekend... but I didn't book 5/7 of the weddings I've done this year.  On a positive note though, I've booked 2 weddings for 2011, so if you have engaged friends in the DC Metro area, or even in the Hampton Roads area, pass my name their way!

{Goal 81} Completely organize an inter-chapter event.  Founders Day is this week, and I'm helping out with that.  Key word helping... this isn't my event so it doesn't count.  Sigh.

But hey... progress is progress, right?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 41 - I need your help.

Readers, I need your help with one of my goals.  Specifically, goal 74 - Get 100 fans on facebook.  I'm a bit stumped.  I've invited all my friends and capped out around 67.  I don't have a lot of posts to make right now since I'm focusing on the internship instead of my business, but I'd like to move ahead with this goal.  So I'm going to start with this...

If you read my blog and haven't done this yet, please go here and "like" Infinite Joy Weddings! 

And please recommend it to your friends :-)

Beyond that, I'd like to do something that encourages people to like my page, but I'm not entirely sure what to do.  I like a lot of photography pages and they do give-aways, but I'm not sure what I can give away when I'm an event planner.

Any thoughts??  Thank you all in advance :-)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 40

I'm guest blogging at Faith and Deployments!  Check it out!


Dear IKEA,

You are making Goal 37 both much, much easier and much, much harder. Please cut down on all your cute, inexpensive products.  Or don't... that's ok, too.


Today John and I ventured out to IKEA in Woodbridge.  Due to the fact that they were having a sale involving lunch, we ate lunch.  If you spent more than $100 in the store, you got the cost of your lunch off your total bill.  Awesome.  So John had a chicken caesar salad and I had Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes... $10!  Yum.  We then went to get curtains. 

While spending $100 is really stretching our budget right now, we know that the temperature will be dropping soon, and we have really drafty windows.  I mean -really- drafty windows.  The number one complaint on apartment ratings about our complex is the windows and what it does to your power bill.  After having a $207 bill for an 817 square foot apartment we knew we had to do something, and the $100 will be coming back to us this winter.

Anyway, back to curtains.  We bought 4 sets of these curtains, and 4 curtain rods.  We might add some shears to give some pizzaz to the big windows, but I'm really happy about it.  And rounding out the $100...

So cute!  2 of them, $3.99 each.  We think we might hang them on our balcony.  So in the end, 4 sets of curtains, 4 rods, and 2 lanterns for $93.

However, I saw a ton of cute things I wanted in the catalog... 3 prong hooks for clothes, rugs, bookshelves, and an awesome recycling system.  So I foresee another drive to Woodbridge in our future.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 38

I know I've been really quiet here for the last week and that's because... I'm lazy. :(  I've been going to chiropractor appointments (3/week) and doing weddings and my 101 just hasn't made any real progress.

I've been working on shaking hands with Trevor.  I chose to put that one on there because Trevor is VERY touchy about his paws.  I mean, he'll let me do pretty much whatever, check his ears, move him while he's sleeping, grab things out of his mouth... but he hates it when I touch his paws.  So far he'll lift his paw, but still gets antsy when I actually take the paw.  I'll be happy when he lets me hold his paw... and when he can do a cute trick :)

We've also been working on figuring out kennels for our trip to Mexico in December.  We've narrowed it down to two, and we'll be checking them out soon.

So hopefully I can get my busy life out of the way in a few days so I can start accomplishing items on the list :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 31

No real updates, I just wanted to say that today is the first day of my challenge where the day of the challenge doesn't line up with the day of the month.  So I guess this is where titling gets complicated :-)

And welcome to Breast Cancer Awareness month! Yay!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 29

So after yesterday's post I started thinking.  I did what I always do when I need to make a decision: I googled it, and I talked to John (yeah, I google things when I'm faced with a decision).

The only real thing I could find on google was from Day Zero Project, which just said the goal was to complete 101 preset tasks in 1001 days.  Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).  Changing wasn't addressed.

So I talked to John, who felt that I should be able to change things.  So I'm setting up a list of rules for changing my goals.

1. The new goal must always be in the spirit of the old goal.  Example: Wedding Wire goes under, so I can't be one of their bride's choice vendors.  I can't change my goal to "Swim with the dolphins" but I could change it to "Become a little black book vendor for Style Me Pretty."

2. For one reason or another, the old goal must now be irrelevant.  Ok, maybe irrelevant is a slightly strong term, but it must be clear that the old goal no longer accomplishes the ends I wanted.  Using the last example, Wedding Wire isn't the goal, achieving recognition is.  But as long as Wedding Wire is around, that's the goal.  A caveat: If being on Wedding Wire was the point of the goal, as opposed to being recognized, then Wedding Wire going under prior to me appearing would be a failure in the goal.

3. Goals can never be removed because they're too hard.  Self-explanatory.

4. I have to explain exactly why this change is being made.

So with that, I'd like to fully explain why Goal 101, Get three professional massages in one month is changing to Receive chiropractic treatment that creates a noticeable and lasting effect on my well-being.  Yesterday I said "When I wrote that goal, it wasn't a luxury, it was a plea to fix myself in the best way I could think of."  This is entirely true.  For one reason or another, I hadn't thought of chiropractics as a way to fix the pain in my neck and back.  I defaulted to the method that made the most sense to me.

Now that I've found a way to treat the cause of my pain instead of the symptoms, my goal as written no longer meshes with my goal as intended.  It's gone from a plan to help to an over-the-top luxury.  Changing my goal allows me to keep the spirit of the goal without adding anything unneccessary.  I'm now in the active process of completing goal 101, and I hope that my doctor will tell me soon that I can move to well-patient adjustments because I'm in shape again.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 28

Or what I said vs. what I meant.  I've already had to clarify a few times, like on Number 59, Number 57, and Number 70.  Each time, I said one thing but meant something slightly different.  In all these cases, the goal itself was shortened for clarity ("Trevor and Darcy master beginner training" sounds better than "Trevor and Darcy are encouraged to move on to intermediate obedience training").

But what happens when what I said and what I meant don't really line up at all?  Specifically, I'm thinking of goal 101: Get 3 professional massages in a month.  What I meant was: fix my back, neck, and shoulders.

For about 5 years now I've been dealing with some nasty muscle knots.  They don't massage out and they hurt like the dickens.  One time I actually did get a massage, and the masseuse just looks at me and goes: "The tension in your back is amazing.  It normally takes people 60 years to amass the tension you have at age 20."  Ouch.

I thought if I made it a goal to get 3 massages, I might actually fix the knots.  But then a few weeks back, plans got tweaked.  I went to the Washington Bridal Showcase, and one of the exhibitors was a local chiropractor.  They did a nerve scan on my neck, and EVERY SINGLE VERTEBRA was out of alignment.  They encouraged me to come in.  I agreed.

Last week I had a preliminary appointment where they watched how I stood and how I walked, took x-rays, and did a full nerve scan on my spine.  Last night was my follow up.  Long story made short, I'm a bit of a mess but I'm fixable.  My one hip is 13 millimeters higher than the other, my neck is like, 16 degrees less arched than it should be, and my muscles are all sore and knotted because my spine isn't aligned.  However, there's no permanent damage done to my nerves, ligaments or bones yet.

I also had my first adjustment while I was there.  It felt weird, but I'd had this headache that felt like a pinched nerve at the base of my skull, and it immediately went away.  My muscles loosened instantly... seriously, the muscles at the base of my neck/shoulders are constantly tense, and the knot went away for the first time in over a year.  It was incredible.

So yeah, I'll be going to the chiropractor for a while, but I'm on the road to being healthy again.  And this still doesn't deal with goal 101.  When I wrote that goal, it wasn't a luxury, it was a plea to fix myself in the best way I could think of.  Now it seems a little over the top, I think.

So what do you do when your circumstances change and a goal doesn't really fit anymore?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 27

Today is my beloved Trevor's 2nd birthday, so I thought it would be a good day to tell his story and make a small plug for a charity that is now very close to my heart.

Trevor's story starts in mid-June, 2009, as an unnamed dog in Charlottesville.  All of this story, as improbable as parts may seem, is true.

Amanda was a foster for the Internet Miniature Pinscher Service (IMPS) a nationwide miniature pinscher rescue.  One morning she heard scratching as she walked past her door.  She'd always joked that her home seemed to have a 'bacon signal' because random dogs would always show up at her house.  That morning, however, when she opened her door she found two miniature pinschers who weren't wearing collars.  She let them inside, called the local shelter to let them know that two untagged dogs had appeared at her house, and that she would foster them until someone came looking for them.  She then called IMPS to let them know she was now unexpectedly fostering two dogs.

After inspecting the dogs, she came to a few conclusions.  The dogs had been out for a while.  The male was a puppy.  The female had recently weaned a litter, and the male was most likely part of that litter.  She then gave them temporary names: the female was the mom, so she would be Mama.  The male... well, The Hangover had just come out, and Carlos was the first name that came to mind.

A week and a half went by, and Carlos and Mama were making themselves at home with the other dogs at Amanda's house.  Then she finally got a call from the local shelter.  A man had called asking if any min pins had shown up.  The shelter passed his phone number along, and Amanda quickly called.  A woman answered the phone.

Amanda: "Hi, I heard that you lost some min pins.  How many are you missing?"
Woman: "Oh, those must be my son's!  I don't know how many, he keeps them all out in a pen in the woods."

Amanda was horrified.  However, luck and the law were on Carlos and Mama's side.  It turns out that in Charlottesville you forfeit the rights to your pets if they go missing for 11 days and you don't look for them.  It also turns out that this was the owner's first attempt to find his dogs, and they had been with Amanda for 11 days already.  They were no longer his dogs, and were now up for adoption by IMPS.  As the end of June and the beginning of July rolled in, she began working on getting Carlos and Mama adopted.  Unfortunately, at least 1 adoption fell through.

Meanwhile, John and I had been having a whirlwind of a month.  At the end of June we had a successful home inspection, and IMPS approved us to adopt.  We decided we'd start looking for a dog when we came back from our honeymoon.  On Saturday, July 11, 2009, we came back from Jamaica, and on Sunday, July 12 I started emailing about dogs.  I saw an adorable black and tan female pup, about 9 months old, and asked if she was available.  Sadly for me, she had just been adopted.  However...

"Have you two looked at Carlos and Mama?"

We hadn't.  We took a look at their posting, and John thought that Carlos was the cutest thing.  We had a few questions though... well, one big one.  Were they a pair?  We were not prepared for 2 dogs.  It turned out that they were available to adopt separately, so we agreed to meet Carlos and Mama on Wednesday and find out who we connected with better.

On Tuesday Mama found her forever home, so it became clear that we would just be meeting Carlos, and if things worked out we'd be taking him home right away.  We got to the park where we were supposed to meet, and Amanda walked up with about 5 leashed dogs. 

And we saw those ears.

Game over.

We only had one question before we took him home: How attached is he to his name?  "Not at all.  He's had it for a month and hasn't responded once."

This was good, because we weren't a fan of 'Carlos.'  Our top choice was Gibbs (like this guy).  Carlos didn't want to be Gibbs.  It was alright though... we had a long, long list of potential names, and a long drive home.

As we drove, we tried names.  Constant, Julian, Henry Jordan Wintringham IV (he actually cried when we tried that name, sorry J).  Then I remembered the song that had been stuck in my head recently: Magical Trevor.

"Trevor?"  He looked up.  This had happened before, but he'd quickly lost interest.
"Trevor?" He twisted.  This was the first time he'd responded more than once!
"Trevor?" He got up in John's lap and...
"Trevor?" ...jumped into mine.  This was bad because I was driving.  We pulled over so I could give him back to John, but after four responses it was pretty clear that we had a name.

Once we got Trevor home, we set up a vet visit to get him up to date on any shots he didn't have, and found out from the vet that the age estimation IMPS had given us was correct.  Trevor was between 9 and 10 months old.  We chose a date about 9.5 months prior to be his birthday.  September 27, 2008.

So now we've had our sweet little guy for a little over a year.  He's the best dog I ever could have asked for, despite his early chewing/housetraining issues.  He's sweet and funny, cuddly, and oh-so-loving.  He's an awesome footwarmer at the end of the bed on cold nights and the best walking partner a girl could ask for.

Now my charity plug:  IMPS is a fantastic organization.  I know a lot of people want to adopt a pure-bred puppy and think that this is impossible through a rescue.  This is untrue: Trevor is pure min pin, and we adopted him as a puppy.  (Darcy's a mutt, but we adopted her as a puppy too).  They aren't that uncommon either... I've seen a lot of dogs under a year old on the IMPS webpage.  The rescue fee helps allay not only the cost of your dog (remember, this dog has been living in someone's home at their expense for a while) but other dogs that have health issues in foster care.

So please help this fantastic organization: Go to The Animal Rescue Site, enter shelter name: IMPS, and state KY.  The votes will help bring valuable funds to IMPS, which will not only help dogs like Trevor, who was picked up off the street by IMPS, and Darcy, who was taken from a shelter, but dogs like Prince, who has been in IMPS care for almost year and suffers from chronic dry eye.  He will need eye drops for the rest of his life, and IMPS has been funding his care for a while now.

Anyway, all of that to say: Happy 2nd birthday to my sweet little boy.  I couldn't have asked for a better dog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 23

Goal 59: It happened!  Trevor and Darcy have been deemed ready to move on to intermediate education!

59. Trevor and Darcy master beginner obedience training.

Well, as far as actual mastery is concerned technically it's just Trevor, but Darcy's greatly improved since we started.  Our trainer said that Trevor was completely done with beginner education, and we did not want to put him back into this class again.  If we wanted to keep them together, she recommended moving Darcy up with the understanding that she'd be a little behind the curve.  But it was still a recommendation to move on, ergo, mastery!  They also ran the agility course, and did really well!  I tried to upload videos, but it didn't work :(  If you're facebook friends with me, the videos are up there!

I am one proud doggie mama today.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 18

More mini-updates!

I complimented another stranger today (goal 8).  While at Swedenburg Estates Winery (btw, wasn't impressed) a man came in with his Golden Retriever.  The dog was being so good.  Very quiet, sat when told, etc.  I told the man that his dog was really well behaved, and that I was impressed.  So 2/10.

I also made an advance on goal 37 (finish furnishing the apartment).  Our outdoor rug came in! 

I told you we had a really ugly patio.  That stain pre-dates us.  Let's take a closer look:


Then we added the rug and we went to this:
So much better!

A close up!

It actually makes our patio seem larger.  It now looks like an extra room as opposed to dead space.  I love it, and I'm really excited to finish the apartment!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 17

Goal updates!  I'm now at 1/10 in goal 8 (compliment 10 strangers).  I saw a guy on the elevator this morning wearing a Redskins shirt, and I told him I liked it.  So one stranger down, 9 to go!  Incidentally, I'm really hoping we can pull victory off two weeks in a row, as my mother-in-law is taking me to the game Sunday!  INCREDIBLE seats, too.

And while I'm not ready to cross this goal off my list yet, number 59 has been accomplished!  Beginner obedience training through PetSmart goes for 8 weeks, and week 8 is largely just graduation and agility course fun.  Last night, we finished week 7.  Trevor and Darcy worked on a few intermediate level training areas, and did pretty well, actually.  I've seen such a huge difference since we started.  Darcy ignored the dog coming out of PetSmart when we went in for class, both dogs lay quietly on their blanket while the instructor was showing us how to groom our dogs, and they've stopped pulling on their leashes during walks.  I'm really proud of them, and I'm really proud of John and myself for being more vigilant in their training.

I'll actually be crossing goal 59 off the list after next week's class.  I want to have graduation pictures, and actually have the instructor tell me that my dogs are ready to move on.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 13

A bit disappointed right now, as I can't cross another one off my list.  My bestie rushed this weekend, and got to preference with two chapters (go Nikki!).  One of them was my sorority, but that didn't work out.  Sigh.  So goal 78 (refer a PNM who becomes a ZTA) waits for another day.

That said, I'm really happy for Nikki and GPhi, and I hope my bestie has as wonderful a Greek experience as I did.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 12

As far as I know, I have no new goals accomplished (we'll talk about that cryptic phrase later!) but John started a blog on his 101 in 1001, so I thought I'd share!

You should check it out.  He's pretty cool.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 10

Random things you remember from high school: in Journalism 1, we were told that when writing an article, for the most part (I can't remember specific rules) you wrote out one through nine, and then did digits for 10 on.  I know there were cases to use digits for 1-9, listing was one of them, but I can't remember the rest.  Anyway, all that randomness to say I've hit day 10.

Last night I accomplished another goal.

58. Trevor and Darcy go on a walk and bark at no one, even though they see people.

58. Trevor and Darcy go on a walk and bark at no one, even though they see people.

Words cannot describe how happy I was about that one.  It's progress!  On our evening walk we saw:

1. A guy loading stuff into his car
2. A lady getting her mail
3. Someone riding a bike
4 & 5. A couple going to their car
6 & 7. Friends waiting near their car
8. Someone dumping their trash at the dumpster
9, 10, 11. People playing basketball on the basketball court
12. A guy walking to his car.

Twelve people, zero barks!  Not even a growl!  Throw in the fact that a neighbor's dog was barking at them from the window when we passed and they ignored it... I was one proud doggie mama last night.

We also moved ahead with decorating the apartment (goal 37), and bought this rug:

Only $65 from Costco (down from $80!), but the sale only goes until Sunday.  I'll be thrilled when it comes in and covers our ugly patio!

And after looking through this post, I've determined that I don't think ANY of the numbers rules stuck with me after I graduated from high school.  Sad times.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day Nine

Or, as I like to call this post, why goal 38 is impossible.

Do you read Hyperbole and a Half?  If not, you should.  Because it's completely hilarious.  I frequently see posts there that make me go "OMG Allie is living inside my head."  Especially this one.  Now, I don't think John and I have had that oatmeal disaster, but the "HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN??" thing is my life.  I started on goal 57 on Saturday (Clean the kitchen without John mentioning anything).  After noticing that I was cleaning, John offered to do the dishes*, which was really kind of him, so I let him.  I scrubbed surfaces, put stuff away, organized... basically I lived the "maniacal cleaning" phase.

Before everything was finished, I wanted some water.  And John and I drank some wine and had dinner.  And oh hey look at that... dishes.  But it was late, and we spent all day cleaning, and we were tired so... they got left to soak.  The downhill cycle begins.  Goal 57 was never officially finished.

John went on another cleaning binge last night, so our apartment is starting to actually look pretty good.  But we operate exactly like Allie and boyfriend... we decide to clean, the place looks great, then we get a little lazy, and the next thing we know, our place is a disaster zone again.

Keeping the apartment clean for an entire month was actually the only goal that John just looked at me and said "Are you serious??" when he saw it.  Yeah, we're that bad.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that maybe we'll actually finish cleaning this weekend, then I'll be able to post pictures and keep myself accountable.


*Quick note on this goal: When I say clean the kitchen without John mentioning anything, I mean starting the cleaning of my own initiative, not cleaning without him noticing/offering to help.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day Seven... I'm tagged!

Nothing new to report on the goal front (though I'm hoping that the clean kitchen post will be coming soon!) but I got tagged by my sorority sister Lauren to answer these questions!

1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

Hmmm... probably the ability to fly.  I mean, who doesn't want to be able to fly?

2. Who is your style icon?

Good question (and now I'm hearing John's response whenever I say that: "Bad answer!")  I love Reese Witherspoon's style... I kind of have a girl crush on her.
3. What is your favorite quote?

Ok, here's where I get all talky.  Because I have 2, and one is really long. 

"If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart.. I’ll always be with you."  (Christopher Robin always knew the right thing to say)

And one that I feel really sums up love:

"Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called “being in love” usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending “They lived happily ever after” is taken to mean “They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,” then it says what probably never was nor ever could be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships?
But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense–love as distinct from “being in love”–is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else.

“Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.

It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it."


4. What is the best compliment you've ever received?

Recently?  Probably being told by our obedience trainer that while we'd taken on a lot with our dogs, we were making a lot of progress with them and we should be proud of ourselves.

5. What playlist/cd is in your CD player/iPod right now?

Whatever John's listening to!

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

I'm a night person.  I try and try and try to get to sleep earlier knowing that I get up at 6, and I still can't get myself to bed before 11!

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

I love dogs.  Love them.  When I was younger, I always wanted a dog.  Within a year of being married, I had two.  Cats are ok but... dogs.

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

Well, my blog is Catherine's 101... so a blog about my 101 goals!

And now I don't have enough readers to tag lol.  Thanks for thinking of me, Lauren! :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day Four: An Update!

63. Darcy doesn’t bark at a stranger.

63. Darcy doesn’t bark at a stranger.


In my last post I mentioned that Darcy growls at everything.  You might have thought I was exaggerating when I said she growls at logs and car batteries.  I wasn't.  Little girl is a creature of habit.  One time we were walking the nature trail around our apartment complex and some trees had been cut down and taken apart.  She barked at the logs.  Another time a neighbor had been working on his car, and left the battery out.  She barked at the battery.  The neighbor was gone, it was just the battery.  She growls and barks at everything she doesn't expect.  Not fun.

Back to now.  I was taking Trevor and Darcy on a long walk since John was cleaning the carpets.  We went down to a large koi pond about a block from our neighborhood.  By the time we got there, Darcy had already barked at one stranger.  Sigh.  We started rounding a corner, and I heard voices.  Then I saw them... a small family.  A couple and a baby.  Oh no.

I put both pups on a short leash, and told Darcy "no."  As we got closer, she started breathing harder and the fur on her back went up... uh oh.  I stroked the fur down and told her "no" again.  We walked past the family... not a peep!  Back to the long leash, praise like she cured cancer.

She then proceeded to not bark at a jogger with a stroller, and three people going to get their mail!  Good girl, Darcy!

Now to make this a habit.