Wednesday, November 7, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

I decide to do a photo a day challenge that a friend posted on Instagram (I'm beckles85 if you'd like to follow me!) by Fat Mum Slim Here's what I've had going on so far.We'll see how often I forget to do it. So far so good!

Day 1: Starts with C. I went with cash because it was late and that's what I had handy.

Photo by beckles85 

Day 2: Color. Yarn!
Photo by beckles85

Day 3: Breakfast. I had cinnamon raisin toast.
Photo by beckles85

Day 4: TV-catching up on Ben&Kate
Photo by beckles85

Day 5: 5:00pm. Watching Downton Abbey.
Photo by beckles85

Day 6: A favorite thing. Blackberry sage tea. Yum.
Photo by beckles85

Day 7: Reflection. My iPhone cover.

Photo by beckles85

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Brain is Running Away with Ideas

Ever since I made the decision to get myself financially in order to buy a house-or more likely a condo-my brain has been running rampant how I'd like to decorate. Jump the gun much, self?

I have a bunch of house items already-including a love seat, dishes, and one bedroom set-most of which are hand-me-downs. So I made a decision to buy myself a new bedroom. The furniture I have now will go in my guest room after some refinishing. I’m dying to pick out my own mattress since I’ve always had someone’s old one. I already have a bed in mind. It’s a gray upholstered beauty from World Market. At the moment I want to combine it with navy walls, white furniture, and yellow accents. Navy & gray and gray & yellow are both very hot right now according to Apartment Therapy.
I've even priced out chest freezers. Because I'm insane.
On the bright side, he imaginary decorating help ease the anxiety of OH MY GOD I’M SAVING FOR A PLACE—I’M A GROWN UP and everything that goes along with it. And it's an excuse to comb the far reaches of pinterest and the rest of the internet for stuff I like.
I do need to stop looking at realtor pictures of pretty places online because I get sad when they’re sold. I do need to keep current on the cost in my area, though. Don’t I? Perhaps I should set up a parental control to help.

And now to end on a completely different note-how is next week November?!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We're Off to See the Wizard...

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies. I've watched it so many times that not only do I know all the words to all of the songs, but most of the dialogue as well.

Sidenote: have you ever wondered where the red-bricked road out of Munchkin Land goes? It's one my great unanswered movie questions.

Anyway... My favorite exchange between Dorothy and the Scarecrow is just before she lets him down off of his pole.

Dorothy asks: ...can't you make up your mind?

Scarecrow: I can't make my mind. I haven't got a brain--only straw.

Dorothy: How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?

Scarecrow: I don't know. But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?

So. Effing. True.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Money/Work Blahs

I'm having one of those days where my brain is going around and around in this vortex of BLAH and all I want to do is go home. I'm feeling very stuck. This feeling comes and goes for me, but today it seems especially bad. This time it's centered around money and my work situation.

A couple of weeks ago my aunt got new furniture, so I asked for the old stuff as I was planning on moving out and finding an apartment in the new year. To which my uncle says, "Why not look into buying?" So I said "why not?" and contacted my friend's mom who's a realtor. She sent her finance guy my way and though I can't buy now, told me what I need to do to get into a position to do so.

I need to reduce my fixed monthly payments-ie other loan debt like my car and student loans, make more money, and/or get a cosigner.

I refuse to get a cosigner for a mortgage. I'm not buying a place with someone and I can't ask a family member to take on that responsibility for me. It seems unfair to ask for someone to take on that kind of responsibility when they wouldn't even be living in the house.

So right now I'm waiting to hear back from the bank about whether or not I'm approved to consolidate my private student loans. If that happens (I should hear later this week), then my monthly payments will decrease and I can pay off my federal student and car loans faster, plus save for a down payment. Luckily, for a first time home buyer you only need 3.5%, so it won't take me the next 5 years to make this happen.

The make more money part is getting tricky for me. I'm really really really hating my second job right now. It's getting harder and harder justifying having the extra cash for how tired and frustrated I'm becoming. Job number one is a great company, but as a not-for-profit I know I won't be making what I'm worth here. But I'm also afraid to go somewhere else and 1) Hate a more corporate environment or 2) fail.

So that leaves me with either finding a new primary job which would enable me to quit job number two (even though it's scary) or toughing it out. I also really want to start free lancing, but between the two jobs and getting my yoga teacher certification I'm so zapped of energy I don't enough concentration to work on it.

I'll figure it out. I always do. Just had to get some of this out of my head.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Faves (Plus Some Not-So-Faves)

Happy Friday!  It's rainy and gross here in PA and I wish I was in bed instead of at my desk, but c'est la vie, mes amis!

  • It's soup weather! I had some tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner last night, and it was awesome.
  • Chocolate covered/cocoa dusted almonds. Because it's the perfect snack at 9:30 in the morning.
  • Spending time with my half sister, Amber! Even though we didn't grow up together and we havne't seen each other face-to-face in 10 years we're so much alike that we have a great time when we DO get to see each other.
  • The Phillies game last Saturday. Even though they lost. Horribly.
  • Having a short week.
  • Talking to my friend's mom who's a realtor and figuring out what I need to do in order to be able to buy. Can't do it yet-but I have the direction and goals I need to get the ball rolling.
  • Being sick on my birthday. Waking up at 4 am to what I think was a touch of the stomach flu was NOT FUN. Especially on a day normally reserved for celebrating. I did not get to have my birthday dinner.
  • The psychic I saw with Amber in Philly who told me she'd clear up my murky aura for $50.
  • Job number two. It kind of feel like it's eating away at my soul. I need to get a side hustle figured out, pronto. Especially since I've decided to save for a house.
How's your week been?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Faves

Kristen has done her Friday faves for the last couple of weeks, so I'm stealing her idea following her example and putting a few of mine out there this week.

  • The lovely crispness in the air the last few mornings. I love this time, espcially since I know that it will turn a little too chilly all too soon.
  • It's my birthday weekend! I'm heading to Phillies game tomorrow-maybe they'll win and continue making their way up in the wild card standings.
  • Seeing my biffle and her baby after work today.
  • All the yoga! I did my first Vinyasa class last Saturday after a far too long break. I forgot how hard it is to jump back into those.
  • The dress I bought for my friend's wedding in November arrived last night.
And last but certainly not least....

My sister is visiting from Texas on Monday and Tuesday.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Win a 12-day Trip to Europe? Yes, please!

No, I'm not giving you a 12-day trip to Europe, but have you heard about the giveaway that Nomadic Matt is doing? He’s handing out an amazing trip that includes airfare. What? Who does that? Awesome people, that’s who.

The trip includes Vienna, Prague, and Budapest. All super old cities with awesome old buildings, castles, and hopefully still have some cobbled roads. I basically want this trip because every single photo I’ve seen of each of these cities is awe-inspiring. And I’ve been dying to get to Europe. Plus, my birthday is later this month and wouldn't this be the BEST birthday present ever? I think so.

I want to go to Vienna so I can try Vienna sausage, Viennese waltz, and sing while running through the Alps like Maria. Oh wait, that was Salzburg, not Vienna. Are they close? No? Might have to take a little detour. My aunt visited Vienna and the photos were ah-maze-ing. I want to see those gorgeous palaces and learn what I can about the history of the city and its effect on music. I love classical music and being in the City of Music would be indescribable. This is really the middle city on the trip, but I thought I’d lead off with it because I’ve had the Sound of Music soundtrack in my head since I started thinking about going to Austria. Edelweiss and all that.

Prague is the reason that I don’t even care that the travel time is in the winter. PRAGUE IN THE SNOW? YES, PLEASE! I’m not even a student of architecture and holy beautiful buildings! I didn’t think much about Prague until I saw some photos a couple of years ago. And the buildings, oh the buildings. The rooftop views make me ache to see them for myself. Seriously-Google it. I’ll try to find some good sausage there, too. I love sausage-not those little links you get at iHop either. Hey, I’m Polish (mmm kielbasa) and German (all the wursts!), what do you expect?

Budapest is the last stop (and departing city). I don’t really know much about the city other than it’s on the Danube and it will probably be too cold to swim in it. Plus I just googled Hungarian sausages and they look delicious, so I’m sold. (What is with the sausages? This is what starting a diet does to you! Or just me.)  

One of the biggest reasons for entering this giveaway is that I have a goal to travel solo. It’s been on my list for the last two years, but I haven’t been able to accomplish it because of money and time constraints. Plus, trying to survive alone in 3 countries where I don’t speak any of the languages would be a hoot and a half (this is not sarcastic, I really think it’d be fun and interesting). Eastern European languages are hard though, so we’ll see how that goes. I do know that “prost” is “cheers” in German. All I need to learn now is “bathroom” and I’ll be set.

 Would this trip be scary? For someone who’s only been out of the country once when I was 11-probably a little bit terrifying. Is pepper spray included? You know, just in case?
Want to enter for yourself? All the instructions can be found here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Wow, I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I’ve written. I’ve been to trying to figure out my direction. For my life, this blog, and everything. And boy have I been busy. So what have I been up to the last few months? It’s been a lot of getting my shit together.

I’ve visited Mom in Florida twice. The first one over Memorial Day was a fun visit. Brother went too and we had a lot of quality family time and got to hang out with our step-sister and her friends a lot. I also go to experience getting a pedicure with my step-dad. That was interesting to say the least. The second visit was to help out after Mom had surgery on her neck-her second spinal surgery this year. They went in through the front (her incision looked like something out of a slasher movie) and rebuilt three disks. It was nice to hang out and not have her be cooped up while my step-dad had to work. The looks she got on that first trip to CVS were hilarious.

After the first visit I also realized how much I miss Mom and Papa Steve. Visiting two or three times a year just is not going to cut it anymore. So I want to build a life that enables me to be in Florida for part of the year (5 months or so) and in PA the rest of the time. I’m still figuring out the details, but I think teaching yoga can be a way to do this. So I’ve started a teacher training program. It’s a year-long course and there is A LOT of information. It’s also keeping me busier than I thought it would, but I’m finishing my second month and it’s totally worth it. I’m also currently obsessed with the new Wegman’s that’s on my way to the yoga studio. They have an awesome prepared food area that is pretty inexpensive and delicious.

I did the Color Run in July with Katie and it was a BLAST. I can’t wait to do it again next year and I want to get a bigger group together. We didn’t run the whole thing-but for a super humid day in July I think we did a pretty good job.

 I also asked for a raise at job #1 and hope to quit job #2 by the end of the year. Asking for a raise was one of the scariest things I’ve done-but I’m glad I did it. My boss was 100% with me on it, which makes me respect him a lot more (even if he does still get on my nerves). We also updated my official job description. 

I’m also figuring out my budget for moving out on my own (either alone or with a roommate) in the new year. I’m so ready. Even though I’m so grateful that my aunt is willing to help me, I need to know that I can be independent. Call it self-validation, it’s just really important to me.

I guess that’s all the big stuff. I’d definitely like to get back on some kind of posting schedule. I miss writing and my journey through yoga teacher training is pretty interesting-at least to me. What have you guys been up to?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nerd Alert

If you know me, then you know I’m a huge Big Bang Theory fan. Sheldon is my homeboy. In fact, I’m now 2 degrees away from Jim Parson, which I’m unreasonably excited about. I was three degrees away when I found out a coworker went to college with John Ross Bowie who plays Kripke (the guy with the speech impediment) on the show. So I, of course, tweeted my excitement. And John Ross Bowie answered out of curiosity. (This is why he’s awesome-follow him @johnrossbowie).

Anyway. I’ve always leaned slightly to the nerd side of things, but I think it’s starting to get out of control. Because of references on Big Bang Theory and a few posts by the Bloggess- I’ve been watching Dr. Who.

I know. Don’t judge. For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Who is a BBC show about a time traveling alien (Time Lord) who’s the last of his kind who goes on all sorts of adventures through space and time with a female companion. The new episodes (the show originally ran from 1963-1989, but I haven’t watched any of these) are free on Amazon Instant Video if you have Amazon Prime, so I figured what the hell? I’ll watch the first episode and see what it’s all about.

They make references to Britney Spears “Toxic”, Harry Potter (super nerd moment), and some other things that I assume I’d understand if I were British (I’d love to live over there for a year-it’s on my life list). I just love the accents and they’re humor. I LOVE Downton Abbey (please don’t go, Maggie Smith!), and used to watch Are You Being Served? as a kid (my grandparents didn’t have cable and we liked to see what color Mrs. Slocum’s hair was going to be), and have watched 2 seasons of The Tudors-which might technically be American, but it has Henry Cavill. Whoa, off topic again.

I’ve started season five of Dr. Who now. And they’ve switched Doctors again. I know that I’m really into the show by the fact that this upsets me. Even more so than when Rose left. David Tennant was a fantastic Doctor. Matt Smith is ok-he’s different, but his disappearing eyebrows kind of freak me out and I’m finding it difficult to get passed it. Plus, his hair is bordering on Criss Angel, and that’s just not what I look for in a Time Lord. Have I lost you? Sorry.

David Tennant/ via
Matt Smith/ via

The short and short of it is that I’m now guilty of waiting for a mad man in a blue box. Oy.

I promise I won’t start watching Star Trek. Probably. Someone stop me if I do. But I can’t promise to never play “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock”.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Zoo, a Book Cover and OMG BABY DUCKS!

I gave myself a four-day weekend. I was finished work Wednesday night at 4:00, went to power yoga that evening (hot power yoga, mind you) and woke up Thursday ready. I met up with a friend who moved to Delaware at the Philadelphia Zoo. Try to have a bad day at the zoo, I dare you. I borrowed my work camera in the hopes of getting some shots I could be proud of. I think I succeeded. Here are a few of my favorites:

I LOVE peacocks.

He was in the rare animal conservatory. I love his face and coloring.

My sister is writing a book about our mom and what it was like trying to find her. She asked me to do the cover for her. It'll be an e-book, available soon. She currently has a book of her poetry available for kindle called The Color of Dawn. She's an excellent writer, and I can't wait to read the novel.

Coconuts just bought a house, so I went to see it (it's super cute, btw) and we ventured over to Zern's-a big farmer's/flea/food market. A local pet store has a shop in there where they bring some of their animals. Friday it happened to be BABY DUCKS! And baby chicks. I totally could have had a Friends moment--but I didn't.
This is Alphonse. I should have bought him.

I hope everyone had a great weekend.