Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Visitor

This week E's best friend (and best man) is out to visit.


He spends most of his time at an Ive League law school on the east coast, so we're pretty excited to see him!

The schedule for this week involves lots of local eats, the San Diego Wild Animal Park, Summer Shakespeare festival, a wine & cheese party/game night, and hiking.

E and Alex are two peas in a pod and it's a riot hanging out with them.
Alex is one of the only people in the world that can make me laugh this hard.


I love when people visit us out here in SoCal, because it's the perfect excuse to enjoy all the local attractions and restaurants that we don't normally get to enjoy.

I'll share a few of our adventures next week :-)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Money Honey

In our house, I manage the finances: the day-to-day bookkeeping, bills, budgets, etc.
This works out well for the both of us, because I married an academically-minded guy who hates nothing more than thinking and worrying about money.

We generally have two types of conversations about money:

E: Can I go out to lunch today?
Me: Ok, but you have a total of $30 left for fast food this month
E: Awwww....
Me: and don't forget to bring me the receipt


Me: honey, what is this $37 Amazon charge on our credit card?
E: (sheepish grin) ummmm, ok. don't get mad, but I needed a couple of books.
(he spends more money on books that on anything else)
Me: *rolls eyes* this means I get to buy a new pair of shoes

We covered "money" as a topic in our pre-marital counseling, but I certainly had no idea how challenging it could be for two people to manage a shared income with completely different priorities on how it should be spent.
I'm definitely the more spendy of the two of us. I like to make continual small purchases(online shopping...ugh!), and E usually likes to have the best of the big purchases (an HDTV we bought after Christmas...and the MAC he is dying to have once his computer konks out)

We're getting a little better at planning and spending with a tiny discretionary income, but in general we've done a poor job at sticking to our budget--particularly for food and clothes. I blame this partly on the fact that we created our budget before marriage, and it needs some updating. But I also think it can be traced back to the fact that I grew up thinking I was poor, because I have parents who were thrifty to the extreme, and almost never bought anything brand new, and often sacrificed quality for savings.
In college when I met E, I started to search for a balance--learning that spending wisely sometimes (often) meant spending more.

After a couple years, I also have learned we need some self-control. Despite our small income in Southern California, I know we can and should be living on less, paying off loans and saving--at least for emergencies. We pay our credit card bill in full every month, so our only debt is student loans, but there are months when I have to draw out of savings, and it kills me.

I recently started following this blog, written by 3 wives (a mother and 2 daughters) with helpful, every-day, money-saving tips

I was really motivated by the debt recovery progress of Katie & Ryan on Bless This Nest

It's taken me a while to think less selfishly about money, and make some sacrifices, but I hope to much more diligent about our spending in our second year of marriage.

Who handles the money in your family? Do you follow any other great money-saving blogs? (please share!)

ps. is a great resource for managing your accounts, bill payments, budget and savings/debt goals. Best of's free!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


A picture from our wedding was featured on Classic Bride earlier this week.

Sarah is sponsoring a "Return the Love" series to feature some of her readers' wedding/engagement photos, while she and her husband move to Germany.
I was excited to be chosen!

Go here to check it out!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Shabby Apple

I've been lusting after Shabby Apple dresses since I first saw them on The Rockstar Diaries, so i was psyched when Christiana posted about the awesome Groupon yesterday.

I immediately snatched up the deal, went back to all of my bookmarked dresses, and then browsed their new lines, and added a few more favs. How will I ever decide? I want them all!

Something flirty






I'm a little nervous to try dresses like Fifth Ave or La Tour Eiffel that are more form fitting in the hip and thigh area, because I am pear shaped with pretty wide hips and a big booty. (which has only grown since the wedding)

Coney Island was my first favorite, but Shabby Apple has increased their offerings a lot in the last year, and there are so many more great style!
I'd love one that is fun, but also that I could wear to work at my job (business attire, borderline business casual)

Can you help me choose? Or did you also get word of the Shabby Apple Groupon and are too busy picking out a dress of your own?

Home Project: envelope pillow covers

When we moved into the house we're renting, it was partly furnished. And on our very meager one-income-in-southern-california budget, we have had to make use of all of the free stuff we can get.

But finally, I got really sick of the ugly pillows that came on our couch, so last week I used my lunch break to pick up some on-sale fabric (In reality, I was there to buy an emergency sewing kit to fix a giant hole in my shirt before a meeting that afternoon, and got distracted by the pretty colors)
(but let's pretend I wasn't)

I took the fabric home and with my fingers crossed began haphazardly cutting it with my kitchen scissors and a 12 inch ruler .
I don't need to tell you it was a bit of a disaster.

So I searched online for a tutorial and found this

brilliant. A cover that can be made without ruining current ugly pillows (just in case our landlord ever wants them back), and doesn't involve hand-stitching or stuffing--
I was sold.

Here is one of the old ugly pillows

I began by ironing the fabric heavily because it was so thick, tried to measure carefully on my kitchen table using the leaf indents as measurements (the closes I had to straight lines) and hemmed the edges.

the pillows I was covering was 18 inches, so my 3 pieces of fabric were
19x 11.5

Then I pinned the three pieces together (one front, two back pieces)


Then stitched the edges, all the way around, at a half inch and snipped the corners.


Flipped it inside out and pushed out the corners


When it was completely right-sided, it looked like this

I was SO thrilled.


I stuffed the ugly pillow inside and breathed a sigh of relief


this project is relatively simple and easy, but it took me a total of probably 4 hours for 4 pillows, including ironing sewing and stuffing.
I haven't used a machine in probably 5+ years and don't own any of the equipment I should have. (I would love some sewing equipment like this!)
I do own a pair of sewing scissors, three colors of thread, and I borrowed a 30-year-old sewing machine from my mother-in-law.

But if you have the right supplies, this is a simple enough project, so I hope you try it too!

(unfortunately there's very little that can be done for our well-worn couch.)

I need a new cheap home project to work on next--any suggestions?

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I decided a few weeks ago to get away for a few days to my hometown this weekend.

It coincides with a few works things that I was able to do out here in the Chicago area, and a friend's wedding, but I also needed to see my 'people'. Every few months I get a little homesick and lonely for them--especially my best girls.


Even though I love seeing family and friends, I feel less and less attached to the midwest. I'll always love 'my city' but it doesn't feel nearly as much like home.

(my parents' country road looks exactly the same, though!)

SO, I guess it's true, "Home is where the heart is"

I definitely find my home where E is (...and it doesn't hurt that he is currently in SoCal!)


I wish all my favorite people could live in my favorite place at once!

ps. In my rush out the door for this trip, I never grabbed my camera battery that was charging on the wall. I am one bummed latte.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Latte Love story

I succumbed to this adorable little trend (also seen at Kinzie Says, Ambergontrail, and Geek in Heels), and made a Google Search love story too:

It is pretty abbreviated because they only allow 7 searches, but still so sweet!

ps. you can read our whole engagement story (it was amazing!)


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