Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Italian Honeymoon, part X: Tuscan Villages

After the run in with my MIL, we finished up seeing Siena


Remember the square we were in just a few hours earlier? It got packed out!



This view never gets old.

We enjoyed a fat italian sandwich


with a bittle of Chianti guessed it--Chianti!


Then we spent the afternoon in San Gimignano


SG is the definiteion of a medieval town. Originally this city boasted dozens of towers (a legend claims 72!), now only 13 remain standing of this heartbreakingly charming former fortress of a city.
I loooooved being here and peeked around every corner to see if King Arthur and his knights were around any corners*

*yes, I know it's the wrong country for King Arthur, and also that King Arthur is a legend :-)







See why I want to go back there, like, yesterday?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Money in the bank

In an effort to begin the transition from wedding blogging (which will always be a big part of this site!) and sharing some of our newlywed life--today is a newlywed post.

The other day I asked my hubby to deposit his meager internship check at the bank ASAP, since we live paycheck-to-paycheck [that's what one non-profit income and graduate school in Southern California does to ya].

When he came back and dumped the receipt on my desk I gasped in amazement. Our account balance had tripled! Overnight!

After coming to my senses at our good fortune I suddenly realized that the week of late nights with statements and W4s and 1040s in February had come full circle and we'd gotten our tax refund. But I couldn't make up the difference in my head....the refund was still almost double what I had anticipated.
A little bit of research led me to the discovery that we qualified for the Making Work Pay tax credit, which essentially refunded us $400 each in fica taxes.
If you're really interested, here's how the IRS explains Schedule M.
If you are vaguely interested and don't understand the IRS, here's an MSN money simpler explanation.

Alls I know is we got a bigger tax return that I planned on, and we aren't complaining!
I'm currently working on a spreadsheet to divvy up the cash responsibly.
I'll share our final decision on how we plan to spend the money using percentages.

I have to say, I actually enjoyed filing my taxes [mostly*] on my own this year. It was interesting to gather all the information and see how and where our money went and how the system works--although I can totally understand that for people with more money/more complicated situations, taxes can be a stressful time. But for us broke newlyweds, it was really pretty simple!

*I said mostly because I still consulted my dad by phone on a couple of confusing section on my taxes. He has done them for me since I've been working, and is a CPA!

Were you pleasantly surprised with your tax return this year? Do you dread tax season and suffer through it, or hire it out to avoid the pain?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Wedding Season has begun!

A couple of weeks ago, my little sister went from this:

to this:

And I couldn't be happier for her and my new brother-in-law!

The wedding wasn't perfect[one major glitch, which White Choc handled with total poise], but it was simple and sweet and loaded with emotion. My sister is very social and has tons of friends, but I didn't even imagine how many people were going to be there to wish her and her new hubby well!

My trip home was extended because of some work I needed to do in the midwest, but it allowed a couple of days where I could catch up with old friends, and I made the most of my time--staying up too late and starting my days too early.

When I got home last Sunday I crashed hard and then nursed a 3 day long recovery migraine which really decimated my week.

I'm finally getting back to the swing of things, with a promise to myself to blog every day this week! I've really been slacking in the blog department and now everything I want to share is becoming old news! So here's to a renewed commitment!

Hope you're all having a lovely, springy Monday!

*a little taste from the personal shower!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's time!

Well, the weekend is already here. My sister is getting married on Saturday! I'm flying out this morning, and we have every moment packed from this afternoon on.

But I have exciting news to hold you over until then--I have a new blog design! So if you're a google reader/blogger reader, please do me a favor and hop over to the blog address here!

...and then leave a little comment for the incredibly talented Joy of How Joyful! and Weddingbee, and visit her new Etsy store!

I'm so thrilled with this new identity for my blog as I continue on this blogging adventure :-) Joy did a fantastic job (don't you think?)

Hope you have a happy [early] weekend!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Italian Honeymoon, part IXb: Tuscan Villages (and how we honeymooned with my mother in law)

Missed the first part of this story? Check it out here.

I was doing my best to forget that we were traveling basically one day behind my MIL and her friend (M) during our honeymoon, but occasionally Eric would tease that he saw them in the villages we toured. I laughed it off as a total impossibility--what were the chances? We hadn't coordinated our schedules any further than a general location and had no idea which days we'd be in which cities.

So when half-way through our day in Siena E was convinced he saw his mom's friend I slapped him and told him to stop kidding around and just enjoy the day.
But walked up closer to the steps at the baptistery to get a closer look. Sure enough, there was M and my MIL on an audio walking tour not 100 feet in front of us.

I was anxious and would have probably rather just pretended not to see them, when Eric got this idea to go surprise her. And not in a good way.

He told me to get out my camera and started creeping up behind MIL. Here's the scene:


and he goes for it


Let's take a look at that a little closer, shall we?


Yes, my husband snatched his mother's purse in a busy town in Italy. But before she realized who her purse snatcher was, she screamed bloody murder, and afterwards was so shook up (from surprise at seeing us as well as being 'robbed') I felt really bad! I don't think E did, though.
Because they were on a guided tour, we had only enough time to ask how things were going, take a photo together, and be on our way.


italy_1 (2)

We didn't see them again after that, but I have to admit it was strange to come home and compare pictures of the exact same places on the same days--our honeymoon vs. their vacation.

But from now on, we're calling travel 'dibs' first!

If you went on your honeymoon to the same location at the Inlaw's vacation, would you change your plans? Ask them to change theirs?
Was I overreacting?


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