Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bonjour (Or the one in which I begin vacation planning)

I love to vacation, and have always been on one major vacation each year. However, 2009 became “The Year of the House” and all of our time and extra cash has gone into moving in and beginning minor renovations on our new home.

But 2010? 2010 is up for grabs. So, over a bottle of wine at a local winery during lunch on my birthday weekend, the Mister and I talked about our next vacation. Right there, with 3/4ths a bottle of white wine down, and the 90-degree sun beating down on us, we decided that there could be no better thing that France and Spain in March. Thus my planning mind began. (There are reasons I didn’t plan our honeymoon – you know, like the fact that I was planning the REST of the wedding at the time and the Mister offered to take this trip off my hands.)

A few days ago, Jo over at A Cup of Jo blogged about this
amazing apartment rental in Paris, and it piqued my interest. So, thinking there was NO WAY we could possibly afford it, I took a look around. To my surprise, not only are there chic 2 and 3-bedroom apartments for rent, but also a couple of tiny studio apartments, as well. So, continuing to satisfy my curiosity, I submitted a request for our dates. Lo and behold, they’re available! I’m currently in negotiations on price, but hope to be landing this apartment for our stay very soon. It’s very small – 215 square feet - but bigger than any hotel room we could afford in Paris. Not only that, but it also has a full kitchen, so I imagine the Mister and I will be doing some shopping at local markets and will prepare a few meals in our little “home.” And at only 595 Euro for a full week (which we only want to stay for 5 nights), it really is affordable. Maybe not as affordable as a hostel, but safer and certainly more comfortable when it comes to showering and using the toilet.

Once I book it, this trip will become real. The next stop will be plane tickets and car rentals. But with luck, we will be reserved to go very soon. Scary, but at the same time very exciting.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Money (That's What I Want)

While I had a brief respite from school, I got a little out of hand.

Okay, a LOT out of hand.

My spending habits have been pretty under control for the last few years. Well, for most of my life, if I’m being honest. I don’t spend a lot of money on a lot of silly things. But when I have an event or a friend’s birthday coming up, I splurge. And I really get myself in trouble.

Over the last week, between a charity gala and a trip to Oklahoma City to spend time helping my best friend plan her wedding, I am in shock at how much money has disappeared from my hands. It’s overwhelmingly awful. Most of it was well-spent, mind you. I bought a new pair of boots, which I plan on getting a lot of use out of. And I bought a birthday/wedding present for my friend, which she really loved and will be using during her wedding. (When she said she wanted silver goblets for their toast, I immediately thought of these pewter flutes
and knew it would be the perfect gift.) But there was a lot of money that just…slipped away.

As a result, my bank account is looking kind of scarce, I haven’t saved any money in a while, and I’m starting to feel a little nervous about this. The biggest eye-opener, though? The $400 balance on my credit card, which had been paid off monthly for nearly two years until this very month. Appalling.

So, with today being the first day of the new school year (for me), I figure it’s high time I did something about all this. Today marks my very own spending hiatus, a la Simply Lovely
. For the next two weeks, I will be shaving my “entertainment” budget down to nil. No clothes. No crafting supplies. No dinners out “just because.” (In fact, I’ll even be bringing my lunch to work to cut out unnecessary expense there, too.) This is a relatively short amount of time, but I want to start small. If these first two weeks go well, I will plan on extending the hiatus to my one-year anniversary celebration with the Mister. It will be a perfect way to celebrate my savings.

The internet is full of fun ideas of things you can do with the supplies I already have at home. Baking is such fun for me, and I have all the supplies I need to do that, too. And, with school back in full swing, I really won’t have time to be out gallivanting at the mall or other places. Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to hide my credit card from myself, put my check card in a hard-to-retrieve place in my wallet, and remind myself at every turn that I’m not buying things I need, but things that I want.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

One-Minute Musing

I was just using a pen advertising Good Shepard Hospice. It died. Self-fulfilling prophecy?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Baby Fever [aka NO - I'm not pregnant]

For being from Oklahoma, I got married late in life. So many Oklahoma girls see college as their chance to get married, and many are planning weddings during their junior/senior years or immediately after graduating. I, however, always had it in my head that 26 was the perfect age to marry. It was when my mother married. I thought, surely, waiting until this age would give me several years in my twenties with my husband, allowing us to run around and have fun, and then start having children just as we came up on our 30s.

The problem with this, however, is that since so many Oklahoma girls get married at 22 and 23, they have already enjoyed those couple of child-free years of marriage, and are now blissfully beginning the journey of parenthood. My high school friends’ facebooks have turned into a collage of binky-clad, boppy-loving children and pictures of beaming grandparents holding something looking amazingly like Yoda sans the Jedi robes.

So, here I am, freshly married and wanting desperately to enjoy the oneness of our duo, before we make it a trio. It’s so hard, though, when I look around me and everyone is pregnant or enjoying (aka struggling through) the first few months of having a new child. Some days it’s easy. I think about how great it is to decide to go out to dinner and not to have to worry about if they have booster chairs or if it’s kid friendly. I love being able to go to the gym after work without having to make arrangements for childcare. There’s a freedom of being childless that I know I’m not ready to give up.

But, in every woman (I think) there’s this urge to create a tiny person with the big person you love. I literally cannot wait to have my Mister’s children. To see him interact with a baby. To watch him teach a little boy all the secret talents he has. To see him stare at a little girl with complete confusion.

Today, I feel very strongly that I don’t want children for a while. That maybe in a year or two we could start “trying.” But yesterday, I was feeling pretty much the opposite. Between a baby shower and a visit to Babies R Us, I was ready to attack my Mister in the stroller aisle. I feel like I’m walking a tightrope – terrified I might fall, but thinking how fun it could be to land in the net below, even knowing I could never take that decision back again.

(Also, note to self: When you talk about learning to sew, baking weekly and embroidery in the same conversation that you mention going to Babies R Us, a rumor WILL blossom among work friends. Oops.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Oh La-la!

These days I’m more and more into anything French-inspired. Maybe it’s because it’s been all over the blogging circuit in the last year. Or maybe it’s because I met a French man at a party recently and we jointly serenaded the room with a rendition of the Marseilles which was slightly off-tune but from the heart. (I must thank my high school French teacher, Madame Smith for forcing all her students to learn this song. It is the second-best bar/party trick I have up my sleeve. The first being the fact that she also taught us to recite the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution in French. Jaws drop, I tell you.)

Regardless, all things French are making me happy these days. So, when I saw pictures from the
French General on I Suwannee’s blog, I was smitten.

Just look at these cards, those fabric squares, those notebooks! It’s enough to make a girl want to quilt and write letters and notes all day long.

And, I have been contemplating (thanks to a good friend) making banana bread mini-loaves for Christmas presents for the office. Wouldn't these be the perfect labels for the packages?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Best Salvation Army Ever

So, there's a Salvation Army in Tulsa that I've visited a few times to find Halloween costumes or random themed outfits. It's never failed me on either of those accounts. And they also have a huge furniture department, so yesterday - in search of a a small table for our breakfast nook, I went over there. After determining their furniture department didn't meet my needs, I thought I'd take a look around at the clothes.

Lately, I've been on a dress/skirt kick, and I thought I'd check out their dresses. Oh. My. Lord. I haven't seen so many great labels in one store in my life. There were, of course plenty of duds, but I was surprised at how many great finds there were. Many of them weren't in my size, but I ended up trying on about 20 items, and walking away with a few for myself. The grand total was $36. And my finds? Well, see for yourself.

A BCBG wrap dress, which was elegant enough that I wore it to the theater last night to see
Wicked with my Mister.

A poofy, Norma Kamali skirt (with pockets!), perfect for a swim coverup or Saturday lounging.

Harold's was an Oklahoma staple and opened in 1948. Their style was JCrew meets Talbots, with a little Ann Taylor thrown in for good measure. Their clothes were classy (and expensive) and I often sought them out for a good dress for an important event. Unfortunately, the economic downturn resulted in the store completely folding, a tragedy for Oklahomans. So, when I found this Harold's dress, I nearly flipped a lid. I probably would have bought it even if I hadn't thought the pattern was so funky and cool. And the style is so flattering, with the full skirt and body-hugging top.

You can hardly go wrong with an Old Navy, A-line, empire-waisted cotton dress.

This ISDA & Co dress ended up being too big, but for 3 dollars, the incredibly soft cotton dress will be perfect for lounging, and might even be okay with a wide belt and heels.

Today, I chose to wear my new skirt (Banana Republic) with my wedding day jellies. Again, this one has pockets (!!) which I love. It's linen and breezy, and I never shop at Banana, so it's a huge treat. I can walk around the house cleaning and cooking and still carry my iPod in my pocket, listening to an audio book.

My puppy, Tonks, was not at all impressed with my finds, however...

Needless to say, I'll go back weekly to check things out. Incredible!