Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 153

This website making thing might drive me insane.  I've been trying to put my logo into the header... well, first it was enormous.  Seriously, you just saw white space because only the top corner showed.  So John downsizes it... and now it's a red x.  Yaaaay.  Anyway, if you want to see the new logo, it's on Infinite Joy Weddings' facebook page (link in this post from day 41).  Well, if it were all fun it wouldn't be work, now would it?

I also currently have fresh flowers in my home... aka goal 42!  I was admiring a bouquet that Patty had in her house and she gave me some of the flowers.  I love my Patty.  With V-Day coming up in 2 weeks, as long as I can get flowers in the apartment next week and the week after V-Day, I'll make a whole month!  I'm way over-thinking this.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 151

You know what's awesome and not at all overrated?  Vision.  I went to the optometrist today and remembered that there's nothing quite as good as having the right prescription for your contact lenses.  Ah, clarity.

I've been working on the Infinite Joy Weddings webpage.  I chose a host, and now I'm working on the content.  I thought it would be up in the next week, but then I hit a small snag.  The upgraded package I chose was either $50/year or $5/month.  The next package up was $100/year or $10/month.  I was going to go with the better package, since it included the domain name and a few custom email addresses.  Then I realized I only got that if I bought for a year, and since that would push things back, I opted for the monthly, smaller package.

That was when I thought buying the domain name was $20.  Haha, no.  After all the fun hidden fees, it was more like $43.  All the sudden, that upgraded 1 year package was awfully appealing.  So I'm saving my money, working on the website content, and upgrading next pay period.  Yay website.  I'm hoping to have it up and running by mid-February.

On the finances front, we made some good progress on paying off John's credit cards... between a lot of saving and using half of the insurance check on his cards, we've paid off his smallest card and took over half of the debt off of the second smallest.  We're feeling really good about this!  We're thinking the second smallest card, along with the card he pays on his exclusive account will be paid off before June, and then we'll focus on his bigger cards.  Yaaay for correcting stupid financial decisions!  Haha.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 150

Today I'm feeling rather grateful.  As most of you know a major storm hit the DC metro area on Wednesday.  My boss sent me home at 3, and it took almost an hour and a half for me to get home because of how fast the snow was falling.  I realized once I actually got home that my commute was one of the shorter ones... I knew a lot of people who had 4-6 hour drives.  I even heard of someone who had a 9 hour drive from Rockville, MD to Arlington, VA... and that's 22 miles.  It's shorter than my commute home.  Yikes.

We had 2 power surges Wednesday and 2 more Thursday, but we never lost power.  I stayed home from work on Thursday because I didn't think I could make the drive in (the tread on my tires is low, which made that commute all the scarier).  So my dogs got warm cuddles all day, and everyone was happy. 

John, fortunately, has great tires and a very short commute, all on back roads, so his drive home Wednesday took 40 minutes (he works less than 3 miles from home).  He was able to get in safely on Thursday.

So today I'm grateful for my steady little car that got me home, my boss who let me out early, and my nice warm apartment.  I'm also grateful to be back at work today.

Anyway, onto goals... half way through my 2nd hundred days and I'm doing great... 11 goals down since day 100!  Here's hoping for a very prosperous next 50 days :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 148

I am of course aware that this post is dwelling on goals that have already been completed, but when I finished Mansfield Park yesterday I finished all the Jane Austen novels, and I wanted to write a post ranking them, IMHO.

1. Northanger Abbey.  It was a hard choice between this and Pride and Prejudice, but I chose Northanger Abbey because it was funny and it was relatable.  Austen had an awesome sense of sarcasm in this book, and just pokes fun at everything popular in women's literature of the day.  Catherine's struggles are actually pretty relatable... finding out who your friends really are, the pain of discovering fake friends, dealing with people who are going behind your back, learning to control your imagination.  Welcome to high school.  Mr. Henry Tinley was awesome, and his behavior at the end of the book really showed how great his character was.  I also laughed at the fact that John Thorpe's exaggerations were the cause of everyone's problems.  All in all, I loved this book.  Plus, the main character was named Catherine.

2. Pride and Prejudice.  Loved this book.  Elizabeth Bennet was so spunky.  She stood up for herself, and didn't allow people to treat her poorly.  I think I developed a girl crush on her when she went off on Lady Catherine.  And Mr. Darcy.  "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."  Melt.  The characters were fantastic, and I loved how multi-dimensional they were.  They grew, they had faults, they had strengths.  The only issue is that the antagonist is named Catherine.  I see my name was a favorite for Jane Austen.

3. Emma.  I tried to read this book when I was like, 11, and failed.  Much easier this time around.  It really was a cute book.  I found Emma to be an adorable, if not misguided, character.  She really had everyone's best interests at heart, but was not very good about executing said interests.  She was sweet and friendly, took a lot of initiative, and was really independent.  I found it really difficult to dislike her.  The only real issue I ended up having with this book was that the age difference between Emma and Mr. Knightley kind of put me off.  She was 21, he was 37... kind of creepy.  And Mr. Woodhouse got on my nerves.

4. Sense and Sensibility.  This book was supposed to look at the differences between extreme sense and extreme emotion, and how too much of either wasn't a good thing, and it did just that.  Unfortunately, the extremes did start to wear on my nerves.  Marianne crying and wailing and refusing to eat (and her mother condoning all this!) vs. Elinor refusing to acknowledge any feelings of any form.  Admittedly though, I started to like them more in the last third to quarter of the book as they started to realize that both of their extremes were a bad thing, and there was merit in the other sister's methods.

5. Persuasion.  As I mentioned the first time, I had trouble engaging this book.  The catch moment, the one where you just get caught up in the book and start to feel like you're in their world, didn't really happen for this one.  Anne Elliot wasn't a bad character, I just couldn't really relate to her at all.  Her family drove me nuts, and unlike Elizabeth Bennet, she didn't stand up to them.  Actually, the whole book is about how she didn't stand up to them once and lived to regret it (they didn't like the man she was in love with, and so she left him).  It was a book about second chances, and it wasn't bad, it just wasn't for me.

6. Mansfield Park.  Wasn't wild about this one, and it was mostly because of Fanny Price.  Fanny was weak in every sense of the word.  She wouldn't stand up for herself, she couldn't walk for any amount of time, she was just so cowed by everyone around her that she cowered in people's presence and then seemed to pout when they ignored her.  She never expressed her emotions, to a point where literally no one understood that when she rejected Henry Crawford's marriage proposal she actually meant it.  She's really judgemental, and she only ends up with her man because everyone else has done something shameful at the end of the book.  Fanny was just annoying.

Anyway, there you go!  My quick ranking of Austen novels.  Now, looking forward! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 147

After a day of unpleasant surprises (like running out of gas, hubby losing his house keys, hitting traffic from Hell) I actually had the very pleasant surprise of completing a goal!

64. Trevor and Darcy lie quietly, not begging, during dinner.
64. Trevor and Darcy lie quietly, not begging, during dinner.

I decided that as an "Thank you for saving me on the side of Fairfax County Parkway/I'm sorry I dragged you out" gesture I'd make dinner (more on that in a bit).  We were sitting at the table, eating, talking, then all the sudden I realize that I don't hear the dogs.  I look down and they're lying very quietly in between our chairs, not whining, not begging, nothing!  They stayed that way until we completely finished our meals, and it was a very pleasant, very welcome surprise.

On another note of pleasant welcomed surprises, a lady complemented me on my coat at Wegmans.  We got to chatting and it turns out she has a bunch of friends who need a wedding planner, and she took my card.  Yay unexpected networking!

Back to dinner: I made a twist on chicken and rice.  I put a cup of rice and a cup and a half of water (probably should have used 2 cups) into our rice cooker.  I then shook in paprika and chili powder (not sure how much, I freehanded it) and about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  I cut up half an orange bell pepper into chunks, and put that into the rice cooker as well, then added an 8 oz can of drained peas.  I put that on to steam cook for 20 minutes.  In the meantime, I cut up 3 raw chicken strips into bite-sized pieces, rolled those in paprika and chili powder, and cooked them in olive oil on the stove.  The chicken finished at the same time as the rice, and I just mixed the chicken into the rice and served.  It served 2 and it was soooo good.

PS.  Hubby's house keys showed up this morning in the parking spot he was in yesterday.  Whew!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 146

So I'm making up for my bad morning (bad traffic and running out of gas, boooo) by blogging.  Yaaaay blogging.

Goal 73, help Nikki pick her major vendors took a good step forward yesterday when we went to the Washington Bridal Showcase at the Patriot Center.  Nikki already knows where the reception will be (she can't book it yet, but it's pretty much decided) and has a photographer and a baker.  This was to take a look around, bury ourselves in fun wedding stuff, and eat a lot of samples.  Success on all counts.

Our first trip around helped us discover who she will absolutely under no circumstances use.  She has a long engagement, and will be getting married in the fall of 2013.  I had a pretty long (over 2 years) engagement myself, so I get it.  One vendor looked at her and said "Wow, 2 years is a long engagement... a lot can happen in 2 years."  Um, your implication was pretty clear and REALLY offensive, dude.  Another one we ruled out pretty quickly was a videographer whose sample video had a really shaky camera.  It's not a good sign when that is what he's showing as his best work.

We did see some great vendors though... there was a nice jewelry place, a some great florists, a few great bakers (even though she's not in the market for one of those) and some really good caterers.  There was a harpist we liked, an awesome caterer who made AMAZING basil lemonade and is approved to work at Nikki's venue (it has a very limited list of caterers who can work there) and a pretty good set of DJs.

The BEST parts: 1.  one group of vendors, all located in the same area, had a 'bridal bingo' deal going on.  Basically, you got all of them to initial your card when you came by, and then you could spin this wheel to win free stuff.  Nikki got a $200 gift card to the aforementioned jewelry place for custom made wedding bands!  2. When you entered the showcase, you got numbers that you could give to vendors for raffles.  Nikki won 5 free hours of day of coordination!  Woohoo!  We actually had a really good feeling about those coordinators prior to winning, so it was incredibly exciting.  3.  She also locked in $40 off 2011 prices for the tuxes from Mens Wearhouse!

For me, I was pretty excited to find that one of the vendors I met at the last bridal showcase I went to remembered me.  Yaaay business contacts :)

So although there was no booking yesterday, there were a lot of selections/points in the right direction, and this will be very helpful come September when she can start booking!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 142

Not specifically goal related, but still big news: on Tuesday, I applied for and received my home occupation permit and my temporary business license!  After I file my trade name application, Infinite Joy Weddings will be an official, legal business!  So excited!  As such, I've started working on putting together a website.  I'm thinking I might host it on, does anyone have other suggestions?

I've also continued reading.  After hitting a few duds (as mentioned in my last post) I went back to what I'd enjoyed before, and hit pay dirt with The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.  I'm now working on Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and it's actually really, really funny.  Austen wrote it as a satire on the then-popular Gothic horrors, and you know a book will be good when it starts by stating that the main character's father wasn't at all addicted to locking his daughters in cellars.

Cleaning efforts are being resumed... sort of.  We took a bunch of clothes to the dry cleaner... which is good, because now I have my heavy winter coat again (just in time for another snow!).  We still need to take some more stuff though, and this will get expensive.  Sigh.

I'm working out, too.  I got lazy after I dropped my gym membership, but I've started going to the gym at our apartment complex (literally like, 100 yards from my building).  Kind of putting a personal goal of having my body at age 17 again.  This isn't really an easy goal, seeing as at 17 I had 12 years of dance under my belt and I was really toned.  Then I broke my right knee, had surgery, and muscle atrophy led to me having no muscle tone.  Yuck.  Oh well, the official goal is to have my flat abs back, which is a lot easier than a whole body goal, and I'm pretty determined to do it.

So readers... what all are you up to? :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 139

I kept on putting off today's post, and I'm glad I did... it was a very effective day for my goals!

2. Read 10 books in 3 months
2. Read 10 books in 3 months

I'm starting to think the only free contemporary fiction available on Amazon is Christian fiction.  I read 2 suspense novels, both Christian.  The first one wasn't so bad.  Against All Odds was about an FBI agent's relationship with his charge, the threatened daughter of a US diplomat.  Pretty well written suspense with some proselytizing (that was the word I was trying to find in my last post!) but not over the top.

I cannot, however, say the same thing about Danger in the Shadows.  This was the first book that really made this goal feel like a challenge.  The proselytizing was over the top (like, Sara was ashamed of her fear, wasn't her faith enough?  Um, Sara's being stalked by someone who once kidnapped her and murdered her twin.)

I can't stand the characters.  Sara is passive-aggressive, and Adam hides his stalkerish tendancies behind a "Man of God" exterior. I really hate how when Sara makes a decision he doesn't like (i.e. tells him no) he goes to her brother to have him change her mind.  His quote "You tell her if she doesn't agree to see me, she is intentionally choosing to put her entire security detail in harm's way" says a lot about him.  Ugh. 

This one is entirely unrealistic.  Adam doesn't understand why a photo of them kissing, taken by a stranger, was so bad?  Seriously?  A Super Bowl winning quarterback should understand papparazzi at the least.  And Sara and Kim's kidnapping, done in a public park where the kidnappers had to shove people over in order to get to them?  Not at all clandestine?  Yeah, right.  It was also a poorly written suspense... all scenes that could have actually been suspenseful only lasted a page and a half.

I finished the goal with Persuasion.  After reading Danger in the Shadows I knew I couldn't trust free contemporary books anymore, and I went back to Austen.  I had trouble getting engaged with this book, but the ending was very sweet.

This goal actually made me a little sad, and here's why: when I wrote that goal, I thought 3 months might be a little long, but that I'd probably need like, 2.5 months.  I did this in less than 2 weeks.  Granted, part of it was having books at my fingertips whenever I wanted them, but I've done so little reading for pleasure over the past few years that I'd forgotten how fast I read and how much I enjoyed reading.  I hope I don't forget again.

On a second note...

101. Receive chiropractic treatment that creates a noticeable and lasting effect on my well-being.
101. Receive chiropractic treatment that creates a noticeable and lasting effect on my well-being.

As you may recall, I changed this goal back in September from get 3 massages in a month because I'd figured out that this was the best way to fix my back.  Today I was told that I'm moving down to one appointment a week!  3 appointments a week was fixing the problem, 2 a week was rebuilding, and now I'm in maintenance!  Yay!

I also went to Goodwill and dropped off a bunch of shirts/blouses, a skirt, 2 dresses, and 3 pairs of shoes.  This clears my 2010 obligation!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 134

Since I promised to follow up on this, I'll start with the great news that came in the mail today: we got a check from the travel insurance company!  We're reimbursed for the cost of the replacement flights, which were the more expensive of the two!  I'm so excited!  I'll need to call tomorrow and see if I should cancel my reimbursement claim from Air Mexicana... not that I ever expect to see it either way.

On a not so bright note, John and I got our Roth IRA statements in the mail the other day, and due to an annual fee we didn't know about, we're both $6 and change in the red on that account.  Grr.  Maybe April will be the month.

On the book front, I've finished 3 books (yes, a book a day!).  Sense and Sensibility was first.  It took a while for me to get into it, and I didn't like it as much as my other Austen books, but it wasn't bad.  Then I moved onto The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen and The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson, both Christian romances.  Both got a little... preachy might not be the right word, but it's close.  Still, I definitely preferred The Healer's Apprentice, because the Christian romance thing seemed to flow a lot better in there.  It was odd in The Apothecary's Daughter how it seemed to go between extremes... like 'She admired Francis' well-muscled body and full lips.  And wasn't he the first to kneel and pray for God's intervention for Sir Henry?' (Not a direct quote.)  At least with The Healer's Apprentice it flowed better... it was a loose re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, except instead of dragons there were demons, and instead of magic there was Jesus.  Neither of them were bad, though.

Anyway, 7/10.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 131

I finished Emma.  I also finished Phantom of the Opera.  I love this goal.

Between Emma and Pride and Prejudice I think I preferred Pride and Prejudice, largely because I preferred Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy to Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley.  Though it did take a while for me to stop picturing Miss Georgiana Darcy as a rolly-polly min pin mix with a Georgia peach strapped to her head.  I'll have more Austen to compare soon, because my next book on my list is Sense and Sensibility.


I also complimented another stranger... engaged girls always love to hear about how lovely their engagement rings are :)  7/10

And while this isn't one of my goals per se, it makes me very hopeful: my quarterly 401K statement came in and I have gains!  Real gains!  The last time I got a statement I had gains on the quarter but they hadn't made up for the previous quarter's losses.  As of this statement, I have more money in my 401K than I put in.  This makes me pretty hopeful about what I'll see in a few days/weeks when our Roth quarterly statements come in.

On another close but no note, my puppies just lay very, very quietly, not begging, throughout the entirety of John's and my brunch (he made waffles, I made whipped cream).  Sadly, the goal was for dinner though, and they seem to behave differently during dinner.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 128

Ok, so maybe going under for a week was a bit of an exaggeration.  I've finished The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

I've also finished Pride and Prejudice.

I kind of love this goal.  I missed reading.


Next up: Emma.

Oh, and I also managed to slide in a compliment on a stranger in the elevator's boots.  So cute. 6/10.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 126

MY KINDLE CAME IN!!!!!!  I'm so excited.  I did the slowest (read: free) shipping, and it still got here less than a week after I ordered it!  Awesome job, Amazon :)  I am now burying myself in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and probably won't resurface for a week.

But before I go under...

51. Make a perfect Jack and Coke.

51. Make a perfect Jack and Coke.

I base perfection off of the opinion of my husband, who enjoys these (I don't like Jack Daniels).  Apparently the perfect ratio is 1 ounce of Jack for every 4 ounces of Coke.  It must also be cold.  I also tried this ratio with 1.5 ounces to 6 ounces, so it is perfect :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 124

As I mentioned in my last post, it's a new year, and a new dedication to my goals.  I started thinking about what I want to do in January.  I'm currently working on finding clothes in my closet that I want to give to charity.  This goal won't be crossed off my list for quite some time, as it's an ongoing goal, but I usually go through my closet and weed out clothes I don't wear twice a year... end of December/beginning of January and end of June/beginning of July (aka Christmas and my birthday).  Going through my closet does give me the opportunity to clean it, though.  I'm starting to work on that, though at the moment it's more of a quick tidying than a full-on clean.

John and I stayed in on NYE and I mixed him a few Jack and Cokes.  While I didn't find the exact perfect ratio, I think I'm onto something, so I think I can get that one done this month.

I have a few other goals in the works, mostly financial, but based on current timelines they can't finish in January.  Boooo.

As for the rest, I guess we'll have to see.  I'm pretty optimistic, though.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 123

Happy New Year!  I'm so excited that New Year's Day coincided with day 123.

Right now I'm typing because I drank a bottle of champagne all by myself, save the glass that John had at midnight.  I hate going to sleep drunk.  The spinning is so unpleasant.

Anyway, that embarrassing note said, I'd like to outline my one single New Year's resolution.  I've decided that after years of doing this, they're mostly a waste, but this year, with these goals set, I think I can do it.

36 goals.

101 things in 1001 days.  That equals to about a goal every 10 days.  As of right now, I'm on pace.  My goal for 2011 is to stay on pace.  I'd like nothing more than to have completed at least 48 goals by the end of 2011.

2010 was truly my best year yet.  I hope that 2011 is even better.

Happy New Year, my friends.