Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nina Post

Something's been bothering me lately, and, if anyone out there is reading this and has an opinion on the matter, I would love to hear (or read) your thoughts.

When is it okay to split a dinner bill evenly, and when should every diner pay their own way?

This has come up for me twice recently with some of the same people. A few weeks ago, I went out to dinner with some friends in a party of eight. If you've been reading my blog, you know that financially, things are very tight for me, and I've been working very hard at saving my money. So with that in mind, I carefully selected my meal, and my order came to a total of about $17.00 with tax and tip. I did not drink any alcohol, while others in my party did. When the bill came, it was announced that it would be split evenly, bringing my $17.00 tab up another $10.00. I was a little put off by this, but didn't want to cause trouble-- and also kept in mind that I did have a couple bites of an appetizer that was ordered-- and forked over the $27.00.

Last night, Steve and I went out to dinner with two friends, both of whom were in the party of eight earlier this month. Again, I was careful about my dinner selection, and, as usual, stuck with water. My bill would be $15.00. This time, there was no sharing involved. But again, when the bill came, our friend announced that the bill will be split evenly, which meant that I was responsible for $25.00 of it. I said something, and it was worked out that I would pay less of the $50.00 Steve and I owed together (I neglected to notice if our meals added up to $50 or if the weight of the bill was in our friends' orders).

Some thoughts:
*I was worried that I was sounding cheap by bringing up the disparity, but it's really the people that ordered more expensive things that are getting off easy by using my frugal meal to bring down the average.
*By agreeing to dine with friends, am I understanding and accepting the possibility of an evenly-split bill?
*I think the bill should be split evenly when meals are 1) of comparable prices or 2) shared or served family-style.

What do you think?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back from The 'No

True to form, I have been sick this holiday, and feeling every bit of it.  Last night I went to bed, without the assistance of medication, at 7:30pm.  I awoke, fully and finally (as opposed to the times I thought I was waking up and then went back for more sleep and crazy-ass dreams) at 1:00pm.  You'd think that would mean a full recovery, but nooo: I feel worse now than I have all week.

And so, my year-end recap may have to be postponed until the year actually ends.  Probably better that way anyway.

In other news, Christmas was awesome.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And so it begins...

During what is going to be-- and already is (yikes!)-- a grueling process of growing my pixie haircut out, I'm going to be posting possible goal cuts for inspiration and motivation.  As my hair gets longer and I reach various hair length checkpoints, the pictures will feature longer hair, too!  (Wow, what a concept!)

So, without further ado, here are some short cuts (but longer than my current 'do) that I would consider as Checkpoint #1:




Right now, the important thing to do is to let the top grow out while still getting the neck trimmed so that I don't 1) grow a mullet and 2) go crazy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Extra, Extra!

Look at me, bloggin' up a storm! Some notable news:

I'm growing my hair out. I had been thinking about it, missing the variety, but wasn't really committed to the frustration that comes along with it. Then, on the day I was planning to get a trim (but couldn't because I got out of work late), Steve asked if I would be willing to grow it out. So that pretty much sealed the deal. In the next couple weeks I'm going to go to my salon to trim the baby mullet and reshape in preparation for something new.

Projected move-out date: September 1, 2009. Steve and I are planning to finish out our lease and then get our own place. I've been doing some preliminary searches to see what's out there, and the results have been very promising; especially in our current neighborhood, which is nice. I'm especially excited about furniture shopping at yard sales.

Sometime just after the year starts, I'm going to start taking either yoga or belly dancing classes with some friends. I'll add them to my current ballroom classes I take with Steve and another group of friends. The $10/lesson is worth it to me (and a great deal, I might add).

For the sake of saving room in our suitcases, Steve and I are exchanging Christmas gifts tomorrow night (our only night together before leaving for CA). I'm so excited to see the look on his face when he opens the masterpiece I made for him. I'll let you know how it goes (with pictures).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Soak it Up

In the spirit of giving, I'd like to share another website I fancy: Design*Sponge. It's a website that concentrates on home design in an offbeat, DIY kind of way. One of the sections, "sneak peeks," features pictures of designers' and artists' personal homes. So many of them shop at yard sales, thrift stores, and antique malls to get the look they're going for-- which is what I do and aspire to do more of (another money-related goal of mine). The site also has design guides by city, they suggest the coolest places to shop, along with the tastiest places to eat on the way.

photo from Design*Sponge, obviously


As of today, Design*Sponge will be in my Wothwhile Websites section. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

budget

Because of the nervous breakdown I'm currently having regarding finances, I hurried over to realsimple.com to see what kind of advice they could give. Most of it was the same old stuff I've always lived by (with exceptions in extreme circumstances, of course), except for one little gem that I have to share with everyone: mint.com.

A couple years ago I attempted to sync my banking accounts on Quicken, but the program was old and user-unfriendly. Mint.com is free, easy, and actually a little fun, despite the fact that it alerts me each and every time I go over budget on something (which is really frustrating). It keeps track of my stocks and IRA, my loans, even my PayPal account.

Despite the fact that I keep track of my spending each day, it's nice to have a website that makes pie charts to show you just how much you have to get your dining out spending in check. You can also compare your spending to the national average and people in your area.

So now it's time to set some goals (move out comfortably by the end of the lease, eat healthier...) and make some decisions about my spending and what cuts need to be made. Augh, adulthood.

...all dressed in white

Can I just say that I have had two wedding dreams in the past three weeks?

Well, I have.

It's probably because I read at least three different wedding-related blogs almost daily and I have all these ideas crammed into my head and I just want to put them into action already! Or maybe it's because after attending five weddings this year (and one in spirit)-- not to mention other fancy, catered events, I'm going through withdrawal since the next one isn't until late spring. Who knows?

What's interesting about these two dreams-- and another one I had maybe a year or two ago-- is that the overarching theme (besides a wedding, duh) is some sort of wardrobe malfunction. Two of them, actually, both featured me scrambling to find a dress only hours before the wedding.

Everyone knows I'm super organized and quite a planner, so it's unlikely that I'd be in that situation. But it also seems totally possible that I would somehow find a way to have four different dresses to choose from on the actually day-of and spend my time trying each one on until I was forced to make a decision. What can I say, I like my options!

Do you think these dresses are actually metaphors for my partner?

Eh, neither do I.

Photo credit unknown

Friday, December 12, 2008

What's New

A conversation I had with some students today:
"Miss Nina, I like your earrings! Are they from Hollister?"
"Thank you! I think I got them at Claire's."
"You should shop at Hollister."
"I don't really like Hollister actually...(GASP!)...they're so expensive!"
"Then ask your parents to buy you stuff from there."

Hahahahahaha.

Speaking of expensive things and having no money, EVERYTHING'S TOO EXPENSIVE AND I HAVE NO MONEY!!!

I was working on my budget today and discovered that I have absolutely NO money for "extras" like shopping and meals out (including meals at lunch), and hardly any dough to put into savings. I rounded up on everything without a set price (like gas), so this is worst case scenario, but there really aren't a lot of cuts I'm able to make. And I'm just too tired to work a second job. I wonder how much the majority of my wardrobe would go for on eBay...

So! To cheer me up...TILFT:
-My cookie swap! (It's supposed to be lame.) In a few hours.
-Holiday parties! Two this Sunday, next door and at Steve's bandmate's house.
-Winter break for the school district! It'll be a nice break from teaching.
-CALIFORNIA! I'll actually be home for Christmas this year! And with that...
-Family,
-Food, and
-PRESENTS!!! As usual though, I'm mostly curious about what I'm getting and super excited to give my awesome findings/creations to everyone.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Every day is like Sunday

Bobbie's been blogging up a storm lately, and I've been lazy, lazy, lazy-- blog-wise, at least. I've actually been quite busy in real life, so maybe that's my excuse.

I decorated the house yesterday!!! And by house, I mean living room, since it takes to decorations quite well, and because I don't have enough to decorate much more (which fine-- that means less cleanup). My only complaint: there aren't a lot of presents under the tree! I'm 90% done with my Christmas shopping, but only a few presents are under the tree because I have to take the rest to California with me, and I don't want to risk wrapping them and then being asked to unwrap them at bag check or security. Oh well!

My friend's birthday was yesterday, so there was a drag party held in her honor in the burbs at another friend's house (which was gorgeous). Everyone went all out with their outfits-- especially some of the guys. One wore fishnets, another had full makeup done (he looked beautiful), and they both even painted their nails (pretty well). Drag parties are so much more fun and interesting for guys, you know? There's just so much more involved. For us girls, it was mostly about whose facial hair was best (answer: the birthday girl's, though mine was pretty darn good). Pictures coming soon!

So I've been hopefully, hypothetically looking at apartment listings. I've been wanting it to be just me and Steve for quite some time, but since the blow-out with Rob (early happenings mentioned in a previous post; a nice-sized altercation came of it), I'm really, really, serious about moving out now. Problem is-- scratch that-- problems are:
1) It isn't clear to me that Steve is interested in leaving this situation. He likes having friends right here at home without having to give them a call and arranging to hang out.
2) He has two drum sets. We'd absolutely NEED a second bedroom, which costs more, and obviously narrows down neighborhoods we'd be able to afford.
3) He plays said drum sets. Drums are loud. Neighbors don't like loud. We need a place without really close neighbors (no row homes, no complexes).
4) Moving is difficult and expensive. We'd also need to find someone to take our room and portion of the rent.
5) We really like this house and neighborhood.

I can't say that the difficulties outweigh my desire to move out and be just the two of us. But Steve probably would. We haven't sat down and really talked about it yet, but he knows how I feel. Perhaps I should take him to dinner or something.


Hmm...

Monday, December 1, 2008

dark and stormy

Today was a strange day.

On the train on my way to work, a man violently and mysteriously collapsed only feet away from me. Fortunately, we had a doctor in our car and she was a great help. The man came to, and when he attempted to stand, he fainted again. Our train stayed put until an ambulance came for him. He was 43 years old, and today was his first day at a new job. I really hope that it was a fluke and that he's okay and will be okay. It was just so scary, watching him crash into the train door and slide down the way he did.

Later this morning, my coworker came into work saying that someone had just jumped from the 33rd floor of the Loews Philadelphia hotel, which is just blocks away from my office, and right across the street from my train station. It hasn't been released who he is (if they even know), but everyone's assuming suicide. What a way to go. And at 10am.

Yikes.

To Do (Holiday Edition)

1. Decorate for Christmas (hello metallic green tree!)
2. Buy presents for Steve's dad, Rob, and Gooch
3. Buy cards
4. Write messages in cards (see #3)
5. Mail out cards (see #s 3, 4)
6. Make more money with eBay, Etsy, and writing
7. Determine cookie recipe for upcoming Cookie Swap
8. Wrap presents
9. Donate bags of clothing to Goodwill
10. Bug Steve to try and find out what, if anything (yet), he got me for Christmas

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Movin' Out

I wish.

I go through phases with this living arrangement...sometimes I'm thrilled that I live in a beautiful, big house-- with parking-- that's convenient to everything; sometimes I'm at peace with the fact that I have to live here to accommodate my price range and Steve's loud (and clunky) lifestyle (drums and guitar amps); and sometimes I get so freakin' annoyed with everything that comes with having roommates and not living directly in the city.

I'm in that third place right now.

Let me explain my day so far:
I wake up (first, as always), and set up shop on the couch, since 1) I've been sick and 2) it's Sunday. I go to abc.com to watch the latest Pushing Daisies because I was traveling to Steve's parents' house while it was airing. I watch the first few minutes, but then my internet connection craps out. I go downstairs to fix it. When I come back, the couch has been usurped by Gooch, and he's watching TV. Fine, whatever. I move my laptop to the dining room and finish watching. It's not like he can move the TV.

So then, after the show, I go upstairs to relieve myself of liquid waste. When I return, Rob is on my computer. He looks up and says, "Oh, were you on this?" Well, all of my windows like gmail and abc were open.... After a few moments he leaves.

Now. I pay for utilities out of pocket, and when I've calculated what everyone owes, I text them their totals along with a due date (this month's was yesterday). We also agreed that late payments will have a 10% charge tacked on. Gooch kindly gave me his check before the holiday. Rob, however, delivers his check to me today (and both of us had been home since Friday). The following is our conversation:
Me: Did you add the 10%?
Rob: Yeah, right.
Me: A due date's a due date.
Rob: Well look at the date on the check-- it says yesterday.

Had I gotten it yesterday, I would have deposited all of the checks while I was out running errands. But nooooooo. Someone had to be late and inconsiderate.

I'm done.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

This Pleases Me

Bolded are things I've done.
Italicized are things I'd really like to do.
Things I wouldn't rule out are left plain.
Things I'm okay with never doing are crossed off. (EDIT: How do you do a strikethrough on this thing? I'll just underline them.)


1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (The Knur Bunnies!)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity (anytime I give to charity, it's more than I can afford)
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantid
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (effin' McDonald's)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (Been to the Louvre, but the her wing was closed)
20. Slept on an overnight train (It hit someone)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb (hmm....I think it was a goat)
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (oh HELL no)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (I'd like to bold this, but let's be honest)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (not painted, but drawn)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain (remember that song?!)
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (maybe a fish)
88. Had chickenpox (three times. I'm a freak)
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (no babies!)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (only if I win)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

quote, unquote

My trip to Boston was fantastic/hilarious/sweaty/food-filled fun. Some quotes:
"I think that fairies would eat smorbor...wait, I'm not speaking English anymore..."
"Searched far and wide, they did."
"ROLL BOAT!"
"Condom head!"
And my favorite:
Bobbie: What should I do with this headband?
Me: What?
Bobbie: Because I have bangs...and when I dance, they get sweaty, and I need to put them back with a headband. So what should I do with it?
Me: Umm...wear it?
Bobbie: Oh my god, that's genius!

I came back to Philly realizing that I have been so busy, and will continue to be busy through the holidays that I really need to buckle down and do some serious time management. It's one of the things I really love about this season, but at the same time, I am completely exhausted. I'm taking my vitamins because I can't afford to get sick before going to CALIFORNIA for Christmas (I have only one leftover hour of time off between now and the new year).

In other news, a student asked me if I was pregnant today. Helloooo gym!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

good tiiiiimes

Okay, I was missing for a while. This past week, I had at least one additional commitment (besides work)every day...which used to be par for the course, but nowadays is crazy, so I was a little frazzled. That is until I got food poisoning and was out of commission for about 30 hours. I'm fine now, thanks.

So things that happened during my crazy week:
+ The Obama/Biden ticket won the election!!! Thank-freakin-goodness. I like that the t-shirts and button floating around have changed from "Yes We Can" to "Yes We Did." I like the 'tude.
+ Some NJ friends tied the knot. The ceremony was long and Catholic (synonymous in terms of wedding ceremonies, I know), and the reception was lavish and amazing.
+ My good friend from home tied the knot too!* I was unable to attend, but we chatted the night before, and I'm excited to be debriefed tonight when I call my mom.
+ My place of employment had its annual fundraiser at a swanky art gallery. I volunteered, schmoozed, and even won a silent auction item! It was $50 in tattoo services from a specific artist. So ginkgo leaf, here I come!
+ Steve and I FINALLY went to the Mutter Museum today. It was really cool, and I highly recommended it for the strong-stomached and lovers of morbidity.

And now, for TILFT:
1. Dance class on Tuesday! Steve and I take ballroom with some other friends, and of course I love it.
2. BOSTON!!! This weekend, baby! Which means a GirlTalk show, actual girl talk with Hob Bobblin, and lots of catch-up (NOT ketchup) and drinky-poos with the gang.
3. Thanksgiving. Yum.
4. ..and general holidayness. Peppermint mochas, baked goods, tunes, presents, my sparkly neon green tree, and a trip home!!!

*Concluding the 7 weddings of 2008. Whew!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mmm, butter...flies.

As much as I dislike butterfly things like fabric with butterfly print, butterfly jewelry, and art with butterflies, I really do like butterflies on their own. They're gorgeous, and I feel like nothing else really does them justice.

Except this:

I wish it was my Halloween costume. No, I wish it was my work uniform.

Photo via A Dress A Day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Photomania

Turns out people besides Bobbie read my blog! Thank you!

As promised, here are some pictures of my fabulous flea market finds along with some shots from Key West:











Wild rooster



The Southernmost House in the Continental US


On a break from our bike ride





We found some ruins or something, and a bunch of rams!


GIANT American Gothic!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Walking Target Ad

Yes, I fell off the face of the planet. But I'm back! Not like I was getting any comments anyway...

After leaving a longish comment on Bobbie's blog about two items I purchased at Target yesterday, I thought I'd share with everyone else...which is, presumably, Bobbie again.

Anyway, I bought these boots:


But I haven't removed the tags yet for this reason: While the fit is perfect, there is absolutely NO ROOM for pants to be tucked inside the (heh) shaft. So I've been flirting with these (on eBay):

They flare! For the exact purpose of tucking pants into them! Nothing wrong with having two pairs of low/flat boots though...(well, three, counting the brown ones I already own and happen to be wearing right now)

Anyway, I had been wandering the aisles of Target, picking out sooo many different things to try on, like corduroy skirts and this adorable shawl collar pullover...

...but then I got a phone call from my good friend Cliff. Since we hadn't talked in so long and there was a lot to share (like his engagement!), I never made it into the dressing room. I ended up putting everything back on their respective racks and heading to the checkout line, when I spotted this cardigan:

I grabbed it and bought it, but now I'm having second thoughts. I mean look at it on the model-- not super flattering, is it? And is argyle a little too trendy right now? I mean, it's EVERYWHERE!!! I'm thinking that it might be a good idea to go back to Target and exchange the cardigan for other cool-weather options that might have more staying power (like the pullover, but it might be too casual for me now, if you can believe it). Bobbie, help me!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Say Yes to Key West!

Yes, to fill my honeys in, I am going to Key West this weekend. I'm leaving on Friday afternoon and returning Monday evening. Steve's band is playing at a club there every night all week (starting yesterday), and I'm joining them for the weekend. They have a condo and I paid for my flight mostly in my American Express Rewards Points (highly recommended), so my only expenses will be food, drinks, and souvenirs. (If I get any, and I may, because it's Fantasy Week down there, so there may be something I just have to have. Like what? I have no clue.) Pretty sweet, huh?

While that's awesome, can I just air a grievance for a second? Okay, so my computer is getting old, and it's going to have its problems and I understand that. But why is it that it was behaving so wonderfully (fast, quiet, didn't overheat) while Rob was off doing whatever it is he does when he pretends he doesn't live here, and it started making a continuous clicking noise since he's been back and has used it once (well, throughout a night)? This morning I shut it down, unplugged it, and took it up to my room, because all signs point to abuse on Rob's part. It was doing fine for about 30 minutes after restarting and doing my thing on it until it started making the clicking noise again. For the second time ever (that I know of). What did you do, Rob, WHAT DID YOU DO???

So, on a more positive note, let's do a TILFT...of seven:
1. FINALLY starting at my fourth and final school tomorrow.
2. A much-needed haircut, probably tomorrow evening.
3. The Project Runway Finale tomorrow night. I'm having some fans over to yell at the TV like it's a football game.
4. KEY WEST!
5. November 4th: ELECTION DAY. Good lord, can we all just vote already???
6. November 7th: The last wedding of the year (that I know of). Ooh, I still need to get a present for them.
7. November 14th-16th: BOSTON!!!

So now I'm off to the gym (gotta maintain the closest thing to a beach body I have). I've been very disciplined lately, and I can't start slacking now.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fantastic Flea Market Finds

The much-anticipated annual flea market was, in fact, yesterday, and my visit was quite victorious! See my finds below-- pictures to come.

Clothing: A vintage wool cardigan in green ($4).

Jewelry: Gold chain necklace with white enamel circles ($2); bronze(y) necklace with giant pseudo-jewels ($5); heavy, blue, beaded necklace that reminds me of Bomma ($5); black multi-strand stretchy bracelet ($2).

Housewares: Large blue and small gold carnival glass dishes (both for $10); COMPLETE SET of deep purple dishes ($15 for 8 cups, saucers, small plates, and large plates-- I just realized that bowls weren't included, which is okay because I'll put my energy into finding awesome mismatched ones that potentially have a theme).

The flea market was a great addition to a wonderful weekend that included work, long walks in the city, OutFest (like PRIDE), some delicious meals out, and juicy episodes of Lost.

This week: work, Project Runway finale, and a trip to Key West. That's right.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Innermost Thoughts

Bobbie tagged me to fill out this survey and publish it on my blog. And because I love blog interaction and Bobbie (even more), I am here to deliver. Enjoy!

1. How many songs are on your iPod?
However many is the maximum. It died months ago when I left it in my car on two of the hottest days of the year. But before it died, I remember not being able to load any more songs on it because it was full.

2. What music would you want played at your funeral?
Jeff Buckley is the first artist that came to mind. Maybe because I think his music is so touching...and yes, sexy.

3. What magazines do you have subscriptions to?
Travel + Leisure (thanks to American Express), and the Human Rights Campaign magazine. I also get the following catalogs: Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and J. Peterman.

4. What is your favorite scent?
Fires...like standing outside and being able to smell that someone has a fire in their fireplace.

5. If you had a million dollars that you could only spend on yourself, what would you do with it?
Pay back student loans, pay off my vehicle, and rent another several houses. I would buy, but I'd like to maximize the places I could live.

6. What is your theme song?
California girls? Because see, I'm both a hip east coast girl (dig those styles I wear), but don't you wish they all could be like me?

7. Do you trust easily?
Yes. I give people the benefit of the doubt until they make me feel I shouldn't.

8. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
Think before I act. What can I say, I'm a planner.


9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
Agreeing with Bobbie and Sandi, the state of our nation, and taking it a step further, the state of our planet as a whole, including conflict and environment. In a more superficial sense, the same things I'm constantly complaining about: money, my social situation, and doing nearly everything around the house.


10. Do you have a good body-image?
I don't hate it!

11. What is the last book you read?
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Right now I'm reading Bret Easton Ellis' Glamourama. Now that's a trip.


12. How do you spend your social networking (Facebook, etc.) time?
Facebook and Myspace only to read messages others have sent me. I'm usually on Yelp, Goodreads, or reading blogs.


13. What have you been seriously addicted to lately?
CROSSWORDS! I'm an old lady.


14. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Who has the time to write-- or read, for that matter-- about the wonders of my Hob Bobblin? A few though: intelligent, kind, warm, silly (PLAY with me!), inspiring, and loving.


15. What's the last song that got stuck in your head?
I've fortunately already forgotten it. It was a disco song though...we were singing it in our cubes at work.

16.What's your favorite item of clothing?
Perhaps my green and orange silk pajama bottoms. Comfort at its fanciest.

17. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy?
Sure, but they get soggy so quickly. I like the Rice Krispy-like pieces in my granola.

18. What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground?
Look around suspiciously, then pick it up quickly and stuff it in my pocket. Then, I would probably end up spending it on a few things I think should have gone on sale a long time ago, but apparently never will. Or a fancy dinner.

19. What items could you not go without during the day?
A bra for sure, a ring on my left middle finger and my right ring finger, my pajamas at some point, and two rounds of tooth-brushing.

20. What should you be doing right now?
Signing out at heading to my friend Sara's for dinner and a (free) movie. Bye!

I'm going to select Mom and Diana to do this next. Mom, just send me your answers in an email if you're up for it, Ms. NoBlog.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Debbie Downer

Oops. That flea market I listed as #1 in TILFT is actually on Sunday the 12th...not yesterday. My bad.

Instead, I went to Filene's Basement to return a sweater dress that I bought in a size too big for me but had to have because it was soooo cute. Well, things aren't so cute when they're too big. I don't need Stacey and Clinton to know that. I put the money I got back towards a bottle of Clinique Happy. I've always loved the scent and had sampled it from time to time, but never invested in a large amount. So now that I've run out of Ralph (which I admittedly feel a little guilty for leaving), I thought I'd give it a try.

The weather here has been so crisp and wonderful lately. It still gets warm enough for a t-shirt in the afternoons, but the mornings are jacket-worthy, and the evenings are throw-worthy. But because the weather is so nice, I feel extra bored and extra lame if I'm not doing anything. For example, Saturday night: I didn't have any plans, so I lied on my bed staring at the ceiling. Really. It seemed as though all of my friends were either out of town or I had seen them too recently to give them a call to hang out. My roomies had usurped both TV and internet access, and I wasn't really feeling my book. So instead of making something to do at 8:30pm on a Saturday night by myself, I stared at my ceiling. And I felt extra bad about it because it was my favorite kind of night, weather wise.

It's strange-- maybe I have a weird version of Seasonal Affective Disorder(appropriately, SAD), but instead of becoming depressed because the weather is turning colder, I get depressed because I'm not doing the joyous things I've married to colder weather like taking a walk and window shopping with a Pumpkin Spice Latte in hand, going apple picking or perfect pumpkin scavenging, taking drives to places I think might be pretty and getting lost, and generally enjoying time outside more because it's neither too hot nor too cold now.

Here's to hoping it will pass before the season does.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

TILFT

It seems as though I've taken to posting once a week. I do not like this. I want to tell the world (ahem, Bobbie) about what I've been up to, what I've been thinking, but I just can't seem to get myself to do it other than on my now-free Saturday mornings over a cup of coffee. I want to post regularly on a theme. The blogs I make sure to read every day all have some sort of theme, some sort of purpose. But then again, I like to say what's on my mind, and sometimes, my thoughts just don't fit in with a theme.

So, since I used to do this with some regularity, I'm going to bring back a certain list of mine: Things I'm Looking Forward To (also known as TILFT-- it's too bad it doesn't naturally become T-LIFT; that'd be pretty awesome, given the uses of the word lift. But TIFLT has a nice ring to it too, I guess). Anyway, getting to it (in chronological order)...

1. Tomorrow is the annual flea market sponsored by a tiny local newspaper. Last year I found some of my favorite household goods, and I'm hoping for a repeat this year. I'll be sure to post pictures of any amazing finds.

2. On Tuesday, another school gets added to my roster. I'll be teaching four classes there, and I get to go home when school's out, instead of back to the office, which makes for a kind of early dismissal for me (and built-in gym time).

3. Steve's birthday on the 14th! I haven't gotten him his present yet because he hasn't given me the specifics yet. Whatever man, I'll wait.

4. I start teaching five classes at my fourth and final school next Wednesday. Then I'll have a full, busy schedule!

5. Steve's band is playing for a week in Key West, and I'm going to join them for a long weekend! I've never been to any part of Florida (except for the Miami airport), and I'm excited to get my start in the Keys. And we'll be there during Fantasy Fest, so I'm prepared for a wild weekend!

I'm going to leave it at 5 for now, but know that I have a lot of items on deck for the next publication of TILFT.

Until next time! (Which hopefully is in less than a week.)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Can't Believe It's Saturday

Unlike two weeks ago, last week FLEW by, and that's because I'm teaching again! So far I've been to two schools to administer the curriculum's pre-test, and I have yet to start at two more schools not next week, but the next. 16 classes in all, maybe 17 due to a scheduling issue at one of the schools. Whew!

Today is my day to clean the house. I've done everything except whipped the vacuum around, so I deserve a break (especially after slaving over the DISGUSTING shower curtain. This is what happens when four people live together, the house gets cleaned by a different person every other week, and you're the only one that cares to bother with the shower curtain. Maybe we need to have a house meeting.).

What really inspired me to post was discovering this AMAZING dress on Etsy.com today:

It's by a designer in Modesto, CA who makes all of her stuff out of recycled, vintage materials. I waaaaaant it. But alas, it's too small and too expensive, which is actually a good thing for this girl that's all about saving money right now.

PS. Isn't that model's hair adorable?! Not a far cry from my own 'do right now...I'd just need some more length on top and to snip my 'burns way up high and then mold them just so.

Check out the dress and the store here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Can't Believe It's Not Saturday

This week has been crawling along. Maybe it's because I have my teaching schedule and am just waiting for it to start, sitting at my desk reading the news and searching for fun ice breakers in the meantime.

On a more positive note, though, the weather outside is delightful! Yesterday hit about 70 degrees, without dropping much lower in the morning and evening. When I stepped out for lunch, I could have sworn I was in San Diego. It was 55 when I left my house this morning in a 3/4 length sleeve oxford, wide leg pants, funky wedges, and a vintage scarf (as in lightweight decorative scarf-- not thick keep-warm scarf) around my neck. We're apparently not even reaching 70 today.

I absolutely love the transition from summer to fall, and I love fall even more. The problem with the change is determining what to wear. I was almost late for the train today because I was trying to figure it all out. I see people in sweaters and jackets, but I also see people in skirts and t-shirts. Part of the beauty of this weather is that you can wear almost anything and be comfortable, but then there's also a very good chance that you're going to end up either too hot or too cold. I'm sure that if I opened a fashion magazine right now, it'd feature the "bold new concept of layering" on almost every page. But layering requires many different pieces, which can only mean one thing: I need to go shopping.

So, my quest for the weekend is to find a few fabulous pieces that will guide me through the transition into fall, and stick with me through the transition into spring. Any must-haves I may not be aware of?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Keeping Track

A LOT has happened since my last post. I got very sick (presumably an upper respiratory thing), I had my Liberation and Libations party (which was great), I lived through my last day at old work, I took a day trip to NYC (Brooklyn, specifically-- and more like an afternoon trip because of my friend's extremely characteristic and extremely annoying late start), and I started my new job, and now have two days under my belt.

Day One at the new job was strange because I was still a little sick, on meds, didn't have any coffee, and was generally disoriented because it was a new place with new people and all that. Nevertheless, it was a good day, and I left feeling optimistic. Also, when I left, I went straight to Happy Hour at a wine bar with two new colleagues that I like very much (and $3 glasses!).

Day Two was, in a word, awesome. I actually got some sleep the night before (before my first day felt like Christmas Eve-- or, um, the day before the first day of school-- when you barely get a wink), and I had a bunch of trainings which were great because my colleagues facilitated them-- not my supervisors, which is a big difference from the old place, where power is definitely an issue. In fact, I only really deal with my supervisor in meetings or if I have questions, which is also quite a change my sometimes secretarial-like duties previously. Also, I took the train in instead of driving and paying a fortune to park my car.

Taking public transportation was something I had been missing since leaving Boston. I mean, taking the T wasn't just another part of my daily routine, it was part of a culture that I belonged to. I lived off the Red Line, Ashmont branch, and took the Red Line all the way to work (a 30 minute ride). I know people that wouldn't date people that lived off of their line-- it was considered long distance if they had to transfer. And I get it, because I would feel inconvenienced when I would have to transfer more than once. But of course I did it, because that's how you got where you were going in Boston.

So, Association of Public Transporters, I'm back! And man-- am I going to get a lot of reading done.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hey Big Spender!

I don't know where this post is going, but I just feel like writing, so here I am, in my own little publishing house, ready crank something out.

Philadelphia was just ranked #1 in a list of cities that tip best, averaging 19.6%! That's pretty cool. Tipping has been a pretty popular subject lately-- maybe because of that list? I don't when it came out-- so I've been thinking about it a lot. I always tip 20%, and then increase it for extra fabulous service, or if my funds will allow it. I rarely go under 20%, even if the service is sub-par. But how do you get the message across to the server that they need to clean up their act? I usually leave it to the other, not so nice, diners.

But then the big question is this: should diners understand that servers can have bad days too? Or should servers suck it up and deliver with a smile because that's their job? Like most things, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle.

Although my new job is most likely going to be awesome, the pay is still very characteristic of non-profit pay, so I may be looking for a part-time job. I didn't end up getting one before because my schedule was so erratic that it was too difficult to be flexible for both. But now, with the new job, I won't be working any nights or weekends, so I'll be free to work a regularly scheduled part time job. And since this study about tippers came out, maybe I should look into getting something at a restaurant near work.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

week recap in reverse

Hoooo boy! I have been BUSY!

Before working a 13-hour day today (in the sun) and sitting through completely stopped traffic for a good 40 minutes (I parked and turned my car off on an inescapable on-ramp to a freeway), I worked a slightly shorter day, also in the sun on Saturday.

On Friday, I spent the day thriftin, and found some amazing things, including a bedspread (I think) of the most vibrant colors, I love it. I'm actually planning to use it as a party tablecloth instead though (don't worry, I washed the heck out of it). I also found a GREAT vintage winter coat with adorable detailing and faux fur for $6! Annnd some other cool stuff, like a ceramic baked potato (presumably for sour cream) that shattered into a million little pieces when I dropped it on the floor upon returning home. That evening, I went to Steve's gig and partied the night away with band members' spouses and friends.

On Thursday, Steve and I woke up at our friend Danielle's place at the beach, had some cereal, and headed home. I think I vegged out for the rest of the day.

Wednesday was awesome because Steve and I got up early and headed to North Jersey to hit up Six Flags. We went on a bunch of different coasters, and I gotta say, it was a Great Adventure (it's full name is Six Flags Great Adventure, for those of you that didn't realize I was making a bad joke). Then we went to the shore for the Long Beach Idol finals (a live karaoke competition), which was awesome, and then crashed at said friend Danielle's place that night.

On Tuesday, I went to work and resigned from my position. (Here's the story of me giving my notice, to which I alluded in my last post) I was being nice by giving just two days less than two weeks' notice, because two weeks would have brought me to September 2, and I didn't think it was fair to take the paid holiday of the first (and I'm scheduled to work the Saturday before). My boss tried to convince me that I was required to give FOUR WEEKS' NOTICE and eventually ordered my last day to be September 2nd, giving the full two weeks. I think she thinks she won, but really I won because I get paid for 2 extra days instead of just one. Anyway, I start my new job after one day of resetting myself, on September 4th.

I am officially having my Liberation and Libations party on Labor Day. Any food/drink/decor/fun suggestions?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Secrets...revealed!

If you've been keeping up with my posts, you know that I've had a couple secret obligations in the last two weeks. Well, it's time to reveal what they were and what came of them.

They were job interviews. With another Planned Parenthood affiliate. And I got the job. And I accepted. TA DA!!!

I delivered my 2 weeks' notice today, and after quite a bit of resistance on my supervisor's part (not flattery-- difficulty), it was altered a bit and accepted. I think she thinks she won. Anyway, I'm extremely pleased and excited with my decision to move on because of several factors, a few of which I'll list below:
+ Location...it's very convenient to many places and people of interest.
+ Schedule...no more nights and weekends! And getting out early often, because it's affiliated with schools' schedules.
+ The people...really, I don't know anything about my chemistry with my future coworkers yet, but I do know that I will no longer be working for someone I find [insert unprofessional adjectives here].

So, how am I going to celebrate?
+ Tonight, undecided. Maybe a nice dinner out. Or I could pick up a bottle of wine or bubbly.
+ Because I have to work all weekend, I have the rest of the workweek off. So Steve and I are going to Six Flags tomorrow!
+ The above outing will be followed by going to Steve's gig, staying at a friend's house, and going to the beach.
+ And then on Friday, I'm going thriftinnnnnn!
+ And finally, I'm planning a Liberation and Libations party...I'd like to have it on Labor Day. Get it? Labor?

In deciding to leave my current place of employment, I flip-flopped a lot because I would think about all of the good things that would make it worth it to stay, and all of the unknowns about the new place that could go horribly awry. But then I was watching The Sopranos, and Lady Soprano, Carmella, said,
"More is lost by indecision than wrong decision."

And that was that. How deep.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nina-as-a-Consumer Report

It's been a while since I've discussed the dreaded money-draining, yet totally therapeutic topic of shopping. Over the weekend I made a purchase that I had been meaning to make for months and months now, and I have been looking to make another specific purchase for even longer, but have been displeased with the selection the world has to offer. The items? A Ped Egg and black flats.

Let's begin the Ped Egg. Everyone I've spoken to that's tried this thing has loved it. I was a little frightened by the looks of it, because I thought it would scrape off even my healthy skin like a cheese grater. But it's really quite gentle! I've only used it once so far, but I'm really enjoying the soft results. And it's extremely reasonable, at $9.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond! ($8.00 with those mail coupons we love so much.)


And now, the black flats. They're a staple in every girl's wardrobe, yet I can somehow never find the perfect pair. On my all-day shopping trip with Bobbie in April, we found a great pair at J. Crew for a great price. The problem? The hardware on them just wasn't me. I ended up finding a holdover pair at Rainbow (how I love thee for a disposable wardrobe), but didn't think they would have to become THE pair due to lack of choices elsewhere (they are currently a mess, too). But now that fall is nearing, I really need to find a good pair.

So I found these at Urban Outfitters:


I love them because while they are (relatively) basic black flats, they also have some old fashioned charm like tap shoes. My only concern is the price ($30, which isn't bad, but I'm so horrible at spending more than $20 on anything), but because of my year-long black flats dilemma, I'm discovering that staple kicks such as these are actually worth so, so much more. Thoughts?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hop on my train of thought. Choo choo!

I disappeared! Some of the things aiding my disappearance:
-Work. Bah!
-Laziness.
-My family reunion in North Carolina last weekend!

But I'm back now. (I just finished catching up with Bobbie's blog. It's fabulous.)

So here are the things I've been working on:
-Letting go of my sense of responsibility around the house. Don't get me wrong, I still take care of and clean up after myself, but I am trying REALLY HARD not to get totally irritated with the messes the guys leave around. Just a couple days ago, I discovered that Rob didn't know where the Windex was. We've lived there for a year, and he's been responsible for cleaning the house who knows how many times, and he doesn't know where the Windex is? It's not like we don't have any windows or mirrors. ANYWAY, it's that kind of stuff that I'm talking about. Now that I'm more experienced with living with messy roommates, I'm discovering that meeting them halfway really isn't a far enough journey on my part, and I should be meeting them even closer to their side. It's not fair, no, but if I'm the only one conscious enough to notice a problem, then I'm really the only one that can work to make me happy.

-Diving into the new responsibilities I've been given at work. Because of funding and staffing issues, I ended up taking a different job at my organization along with picking up the slack that comes with being understaffed. I've officially had certain new duties since August 1st, and more just keep coming. It's nice to be so busy, but it's also exhausting when it seems like I'm responsible for everything and can't say no to anything.

-That secret thing from last Wednesday? I have another secret thing this afternoon. Tee hee.

-Fantasizing about business endeavors. Steve's been having issues with both of the music schools he teaches for, and in hearing all of the complications, I'm envisioning a well-run, innovative music school that we could start. It's all mapped out in my head, but the thing is that ultimately, Steve (and his musician friends) doesn't want to teach music. He wants to play music. Be a rock star. Hence the term "fantasizing." (Did you just think of the House Bunny preview here? "Yeah! Hence!")

-Thinking about future trips to take. Coming back from a trip, even a short one, I'm reminded of how important travel is to me, and I think about all of the places I've been hoping to visit. Keeping some short-term travel goals in mind, now more than ever, my desire to take a trip to Boston is in the forefront. Since I was not given permission from work to attend a training there in September, I don't have a plan (just yet) of how and when to go. Also on the list is going home for my friend's wedding in November, and again, of course, for Christmas (this one is definitely happening). Unfortunately, the barriers I face are money and schedule. But these will never go away, so I really just need to figure it all out and enjoy it!


I have a ton more distractions and ideas swimming around in my mind, but for this blogcoming (like homecoming...I guess?) post, that will be all for now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Snoozefest

My, my, what an uneventful weekend had I! And it was quite nice that way, actually. On Friday, a couple friends were going to come over but didn't because they didn't get enough done in preparation for their weekend trip to Connecticut. Oh well. I stayed home and read and went to bed early because I had to work the next day.

'Tis the season for working on Saturdays.

After work on Saturday, Steve and I went to the mall to get him new shoes (yes!!! I won't even go into detail about how badly he needed them...just know that I am a very happy girl). We then went to get sushi. This place was very organically decorated and the sushi was quite good, but the service in the restaurant made us feel like we were in the Twilight Zone-- and I don't think it was all language issues, though that had a lot to do with it too, I'm sure. Anyway, because of the weirdness of everything, our meal was double what it should have been (in size and, unfortunately, price) and we won't be going out to eat again for a while.

Saturday night, I cleaned the house with Harold and Kumar (and Neil Patrick Harris) in the background. After showering the cleaning products away, I watched Only You (1994 with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downer, Jr.), which was pretty great. I didn't know Billy Zane was funny!

On Sunday, I finally got my car's oil changed (with a free tire rotation!) at Pep Boys because let me tell you something: do NOT get regular service done at your dealership! It would have been at least 4 TIMES more expensive. Ridiculous.

ANYWAY (I do realize that this post is extremely boring. And if it's this boring for me, I can imagine how boring it is for you. My apologies.), this week should be good because I'm working today, tomorrow, and most of Wednesday (leaving early for my secret thing), and then Thursday morning, Steve and I are off to North Carolina for my family reunion! I'm driving there and he's driving back. Eek! It'll be the farthest I've driven all at once!

UPDATE: This week is going to be ridiculously long, despite it being short, because fun coworkers are out during the days I'm in, and I'm getting increasingly impatient to leave for NC!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lust? Oh yeah.

I thought my dear readers would appreciate some photos from last week's ebay store fashion shoot:

This dress is haute couture....ooh lala:




Yowza:




And I have to add these:

I want them soo badly, I would consider getting rid of the mugs that I'm emotionally attached to to make room for them.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Very Merry Half-Birthday to Me

Monday was my half-birthday (23.5, thank you), and since I worked on my actual birthday, and because I'm working all day this Saturday, I took the day off! On this special day, I went to the mall-- a place I haven't been in quite some time, to see what I could find.

And I found:
+ A pair of camel-colored, slightly pointy-toed leather pumps for $30!!! I have been looking for a pair of shoes JUST like these for over a year now (perhaps a year...and a half??), and it feels so amazing to have finally found them! They're very comfy Enzo Angiolini's. Oooh, ahhh.
+ A cute, button-up, slightly ruffly blue and white striped shirt from Ann Taylor Loft. (Surprisingly, the splurge of the afternoon.)
+ A half button-up tunic in a gorgeous red with roll-up sleeves that I can't wait to belt and work.
+ Two pairs of earrings with surgical steel posts. Black plastic hoops and gold and blue ornate danglies.

And all of this came to quite a bit under $100. Holla.

Also on Monday, Steve and I saw Batman (again for me), and went out to eat. We attempted to have sushi, but being a Monday night, the restaurant was closed, so we ended up steaking it at the Outback, mates. Yum.


In other news, I thought I broke my left index and middle fingers last night. I was in the living room stretching, watching The Sopranos, when I went to adjust, and SNAP! My fingers bent back to my wrists. It hurt soooo badly, and was the first time in a long, long while that I cried from physical pain. I spent the rest of the night with half a bag of frozen corn on my digits. They're feeling much better today though...but they are a bit weaker than their right-sided counterparts.


Changing subjects once again: work. I got a raise!!! And it's quite substantial (for me). I had to take a different position to get it, but it's one I would have applied for had I not already had my previous job anyway (in other words, it was my second choice when I was asked to choose a new position). So maybe less of my blog posts will be rants about my financial situation. Now wouldn't that be nice?


Well, that will just about do it for now. I'll end this with more things I'm looking forward to:
Tonight: Project Runway, Episode 3. Make it work!
Tomorrow: A Philadelphia Yelp open mic and art show at a historic theater.
Friday: My raise goes into effect!
Saturday: Although I have to work, I'll be at the Doubletree, which might mean COOKIES!!!
Sunday: A day off.
Wednesday: Shhhh! It's a secret...
Thursday: LEAVE FOR NORTH CAROLINA!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Business and Pleasure

I have been busy, busy, busy lately!

There's some change abound in my life, but-- you guessed it-- I'm not at liberty to discuss it in an open forum such as this one right now. Haha, doesn't that make me sound so mysterious and important. Well...I am.

Anyway, tonight I spent time with friends, enjoying girl-talk that has nothing to do with work and everything to do with more interesting subjects. Hopefully Steve will be home soon, since I'm ready to crash, but haven't seen him for more than a few minutes for the past few days (boo hoo).

I work tomorrow morning, and then the rest of the weekend is MINE to do:
-gym
-grocery store
-CVS
-Mary Kay stuff
-oil change?
-RELAX.

Alright, time for that aforementioned crash.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sigh.

Despite having a wonderful and productive weekend, I really don't have much to say at all (except go see Batman!). I just decided to post because I want to and also think I should.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Updizzle

Dear Readers,

A lot has been going down, speficially at work (no, it has nothing do to with the raise I've heard nothing about yet). For those of you that don't know, I soon will be updating you individually on my thoughts and plans. Something to look forward to, I'm sure.

In other news, and in keeping with tradition, some things I'm looking forward to:
+ My last day teaching at the detention center, tomorrow. This is bittersweet because I've really enjoyed going every week, but it will be nice to be out of work at 4:30 on Fridays instead of 7:45.
+ The new Batman movie!!! After leaving the detention center tomorrow, I will be driving into Philly to pick up my friend Sara, and then we're off to the IMAX theater because, if you're gonna do it, you gotta DO IT.
+ A summer, all-you-can-fit-into-a-bag-for-$10 sale at Plato's Closet on Saturday. I usually don't find much there, but most stuff is right around $10 anyway, so I'm willing to take my chances on getting a deal.
+ A Slip'n'Slide party at one of Steve's friend's houses. Apparently it's a tradition.
+ Having nothing on my plate for Sunday.
+ The family reunion in North Carolina in early August!!!

That will be all for now, my dears.

Love,
Nina

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Monday!

I thought I'd share a quick example to validate my previous post:

This morning, Steve came home and climbed into bed. Less than a minute later, my alarm clock sounded.

It's going to be a long summer.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Gift Horse

Sometimes I think, 'How would our relationship change if Steve and I didn't live together anymore? Maybe it would be kind of exciting, and seeing each other less often would make it feel like it did when we first started dating.' Things you think about when you've been living with your significant other for a while, I guess.

Well lately, I've been finding out what it's like. Steve and I still live together, but he has a gig nearly every night-- sometimes two gigs a day-- so since I stayed home sick on Tuesday, I have seen Steve a total of about four hours; only 3 of them in one clump.

I knew the summer would be difficult because his schedule's so full and mine is exactly opposite (meaning that I have a daytime/evening schedule and he has a late-night/morning schedule), but I didn't think it would be THIS opposite and that I'd see him for 4 hours...a week!

But I guess it is kind of exciting. We had lunch today and had so much to talk to about, and now it's fun to look forward to seeing each other again (not that I didn't look forward to seeing him before, but it's amplified now). So it's kind of cool.

It's not cool hanging out at home watching baseball with Rob, though. Haha.

Friday, July 11, 2008

GeePerS

I'm in the market for a GPS. I really should have gotten one a long time ago, when I discovered that I'd be driving all over the state of Delaware, a state that somehow does without street signs, but now's the time.

Oprah told me to get this one...
A Garmin Nuvi 250

...and I just might.

I put the funds aside and have decided that of I feel the need to dip into them before my next paycheck, then I can't afford it. Otherwise, it's online checkout for this girl!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

And girl? You better work.

While I still really want the shoes from my last post, I have decided to instead spend my clothing and accessories money on more work-friendly attire (for now).

Our new CEO is one strict mother-shut-yo-mouth when it comes to the dress code. In fact, she's even sent home certain higher-ups for supposedly showing too much cleavage! Now, the busty gals out there know that sometimes it is very difficult not to show a little bit of the jigglies, so I've been stressing out about my work wardrobe (which, to be honest, is pretty much my entire wardrobe since I just wear my pajamas when I'm at home) since a certain "dress code crackdown" email was sent to everyone in the organization.

Amy knows what's up:


So over the lovely, not-so-relaxing-but-very-fun holiday weekend, I was able to purchase a few new items. Since I was in Atlantic City, I hit the J. Crew outlet and came home with a couple tanks for under shirts (mine were really dingy), a nice solid, v-neck shirt, and an adorable, military-inspired swing coat in blue (a great alternative to a jean jacket!). I also visited the Claire's in AC, but their "Sensitive Solutions" options just aren't what they used to be. Then, in Seaside Heights, I headed straight for one of my new favorite boutiques (okay, my only favorite boutique because I don't shop at any others), Lucky Lady, and found a funky brown top that will take some getting used to, but is pretty darn cute. I also bought some bright blue Havaianas there (for under $10-- a first!), but those are clearly not for work. As a result of purchasing the new flip flops, I have retired my hemp Rainbows of two years. RIP, babies.



I'm still on the lookout for crisp button-ups that won't shrink or burst to the point of inappropriateness...if they exist, and anything else that's adorable and affordable. Any thoughts/tips?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Ow, my head

I had too much fun this weekend.

After having a rather short (but exhausting) day at work on Friday, I surprised myself by being antisocial (I played computer games and even some solitaire with REAL cards) and going to bed around (maybe even before) 11:00.

But then Saturday was my boss's wedding, which was lovely. All the little details actually came together quite nicely. The Officiant was one of the best I've seen, and the reception venue was GORGEOUS! Unfortunately, it wasn't air conditioned, so I sat sweating in my seat for the first half, before the sun went down and the fireflies came out to play.

Yesterday, I joined Steve and his band in Seaside Heights again. The guitarist's wife came along, and let's just say that good times were had by all. I'm going to need this 4-day workweek to prepare for the 4th of July weekend that will probably look a lot like yesterday.

Friday, June 27, 2008

bridesmaiding

Some pictures from Jenna's wedding are in! Here's one that I think is hilarious (click the image to see the other half of the bridesmaid on the right's face):

IMG_0333

Aren't we precious!

Control Freak

Two distressing things happened in my dreams last night.

1) Some girl moved in to our house and started rearranging everything!!! She opened the cupboard and was like, "Well, I'm going to put the bowls here. That's better." And it made me soooo angry! It wasn't just the fact that she changed everything, but that she did it so matter-of-factly, like she was positive she was making improvements and helping us. I think the dream has something to do with my control issues because right now I feel like I have no control over things at work and even at home. I've decided to let go about the messes all around the house because I'm no one's mother/housekeeper/nanny. Also, I'm trying to develop a system for when utilities are paid late, but I just get, "I have the money. You'll get it tomorrow." Instead of, "Yes, Nina, 10% DOES sound fair. Thanks for asking!"

2) In another dream, Steve and I decided to rent our own little house, just a couple blocks away from our current one, but also stay in this one. When I realized that I wasn't up for paying rent and utilities on two different properties, I freaked out, but Steve kept trying to convince me that it was a good idea. I woke up before anything was resolved. What does this one mean? Probably exactly how I'm feeling in real life: I want to move out of here and live with just Steve, but know it will mean spending more money (on rent, utilities, furniture, etc.) and I just can't bring myself to do it right now.

Sigh.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Weekly blog posts? Not good enough! My apologies. Things just aren't that interesting right now!

News at work is at a standstill while my boss gets married (on Saturday) and goes on her honeymoon, more funds are procured, we interview more people to round out our department, and I wait to grab hold of my new position (in August).

Steve and I won't be moving into our own place just yet (as hoped), since our landlord lowered our rent (What? That NEVER happens!), and I like Gooch and have decided to "eff it" regarding Rob. Right now it's more important to save money than be 100% satisfied with my living situation. Not quite survival mode, but something like it.

Speaking of modes, after a little over a month off, I'm getting back into gym mode. When working up the motivation to go, I just have to convince myself that I really do like it and feel better afterward (which I do, but it's so easy to forget). My first workout back was surprisingly not as hard as I thought it would be. Whoo!

Some bad news: My boss did not give me the OK to attend the conference in Boston this September. It looks like our glorious reunion will have to wait.

But...some things I'm looking forward to:
-My boss's wedding. After hearing about it and getting little previews for 8 months, I'm ready to see how everything comes together (and also get it over with).
-The 4th of July weekend! Steve is playing at the shore from Thursday through Sunday (maybe even Monday), so we're going to stay down there for the weekend. Not sure whose houses we'll be hopping to and from just yet, but we'll work it out. NO CAR SLEEPING!!!
-The new season of Project Runway starts on July 16th.
-The new batman movie on the 18th.
-My family reunion (mom's side) in early August!!!

I now leave you with a jarring image:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Last night, in pictures

Some pictures from last night's soiree!

That's my Elite Party Pose


He doesn't like acting normal.


That's better!

Who dat?

Wow, I must have been pretty busy for the past 11 days. Let's recap.

Last weekend, I traveled to Southern California for the wedding of my dear friend Jenna (pictures to come). Here's my itinerary:
Thursday, ass o'clock: wake up, go to the airport.
Fly to Atlanta.
Fly to LA and babysit the one year-old and two year-old I shared the row with. Land exhausted and hungry.
Get picked up by my mom, get lunch, and drive to our AWESOME hotel.
Take a walk on the beach (about 15 minutes).
Get dressed for the casual rehearsal dinner. Attendance: 40 (at least 15 of them children).
Be at the Newport Temple (Latter Day Saints) at 10:15 on Friday morning. Wait outside with the photographers and the groom's parents for about an hour, when everyone finally comes out for pictures. Jenna and Steve are now officially married.
After pictures, race back to the hotel where I change out of my dress and check out. My mom and I had 3 and a half hours to get to the reception site for a ring ceremony rehearsal, which was an hour and a half away without traffic.
Get on the road and eat lunch (at Mimi's, yay!).
Arrive at the reception site at 5:15 (an hour and 15 minutes late because of traffic, and, unfortunately, lunch).
Ring ceremony starts sometime after 6pm.
Walk the 1/8-mile aisle.
Enjoy the lovely ceremony.
Dine at the reception (I had beef. Mom had chicken.) Get hit on mercilessly by one of the waiters. "He did everything but kiss her!" -Jenna's mom
Head back to the hotel, have a drink with mom, and crash.
On Saturday, we drove to Matthew's in Culver City (West LA). We had lunch at an awesome restaurant, then said goodbye to our dearest mother. We then drove to Santa Monica, and walked from there to Venice Beach and back. He bought flip flops and I bought a ceramic Dia de los Muertos skull (pictures to come). Then we had sushi, went back to his place, watched Seinfeld (The Marine Biologist, The Dinner Party, and The Pie; all Season 5), and crashed.
Sunday, it was back to Philly. My flights were very relaxing (albeit long), and I was home at around midnight. Thank goodness I took Monday off.

This week is a bit more mellow, though playing catch-up at work has kept me on my toes.

Coming up:
I was planning to go to my aunt's/cousins' house in Long Island this weekend, but Steve's gig there was canceled, and I'm afraid to shell out the gas money (get it? Shell?)

Tonight there's a going-away dinner for our friend that works in China, which I may or may not attend (I weeded the yard yesterday then went to a dinner party and am sore and tired). I'm thinking about going to "Cocktails for a Cause: Sex (and Politics) in the City" sponsored by Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA on Tuesday in Philly. We shall see.

And finally, I'm entering to be an MTV News Correspondent at the 2008 International AIDS Conference Youth Summit in Mexico City later this summer. Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Amigos

This weekend was a turning point in my life down/over here (depending on if you're reading this in Boston or California).

Although Steve's friends have been very accepting of me from the start (even before I moved here), and even though I've lived here for over 9 months, I always felt like they were Steve's friends, not mine. This weekend, I spent both Friday and Saturday nights with Steve's friends, and Steve only made a couple cameos throughout. And now I feel like it's official: they're MY friends now, too.

On Friday, I had dinner and went bar-hopping with one group in downtown West Chester. Steve showed up for the last 10 minutes. On Saturday, I went to a jazz festival at a winery that some of *our* other friends own/work at and ended up staying over, Steve showing up and leaving with me, but disappearing for a good portion of the middle for a gig.

It was actually really liberating, getting to hang out with people without Steve. I've been doing this all along, but with people from work or ones that Steve doesn't know very well. Of course he was missed throughout both activities, but I'm not gonna lie: I had a BLAST.

Friday, June 6, 2008

80%

I am feeling A LOT better (projecting a 100% reading on/by Sunday)! Fridays are my sleep-in days (for now) because I work late, but I had completely forgotten about it last night when I set my alarm for regular wake-up time. The cathedral chimes went off and I was like, "what the...it's FRIDAY!"

I turned off my alarm clock and almost went straight back to sleep when I realized that next to me, the bed was empty. At almost 7am, it's possible that Steve was still on his way back from Atlantic City (if he stayed after his gig to hang out and play poker), but I knew that he was too exhausted yesterday to do that. I left my phone downstairs so I got up to see if he had called.

I got a text from him at about 4am saying he was staying at his parents' house for the night.

Exhale.

In other news: I'M GOING TO CALIFORNIA NEXT WEEK!!! I'm going to start working out my packing logistics this weekend. My goal: carry-on without getting my bridesmaid dress wrinkled.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

envy us.

I am so in love with the color green right now. I realized it first when I saw a commercial (IKEA, maybe?) that featured a hutchfull of green plates, bowls, and mugs. And then two days ago, I was sitting next to a green vase full of flowers in the living room eating chips and guacamole and soup out of my favorite green mugbowl. The three shades of green were very different, but went together so well. Like these:


Pretty, pretty greenies.

PP in the 617!!!

There's a Planned Parenthood conference in Boston in September!!!

I don't know if I'll get the OK to go, but I'm going to do everything in my power to.

Keep your fingers crossed, everybobbie.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ill fresh, roomies, and ebizzay

Well, Day 2 of being home sick. I really have to go back to work tomorrow because I need to prepare for a conference downstate on Thursday, but I don't know that I'm going to be feeling much better.

ANYWAY, our new (not Dan) roomie moved in over the weekend, and he and I are getting along very well. It's kind of funny that Dan was so bad that he made Rob seem like a good roommate, but now that Gooch (yes, Gooch) is here and doing great, Rob seems worse (read: like either a 9 or 90 year-old that needs taking care of, sulks about things, etc.). I mean, how hard is it to take the empty jar of spaghetti sauce the two steps from the counter to the recycling bin? Lots of little things, and a couple big ones, you know?

Oh! I sold two dresses and a purse on ebay! I didn't make a lot of money off of them, but it's not like they were making any money for me being unused in my closet. We'll see what I post in my next round of items.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Still Sick.

I was still pretty darn sick yesterday, but was able to keep my date with Steve and wander the Philadelphia Zoo. Today though, I'm feeling worse. But because I left work early on Friday and then had the weekend to recover, I didn't think I deserved a sick day. My boss got scared for her health and sent me home after half an hour of work. We'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow.

It's going to be over 80 degress today, but I am going to make soup.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I did it.

I saw Sex and the City last night. It was reeeally cheesy (but luckily for me, I love cheese), and way melodramatic (which I do not like much, but moments of the series were, too), but it was also pretty great.

Weighing in at over 2 hours long, I say it was a night well-spent. I even cried at one part because I'm a big baby.

It really made me love my loves even more.

Read my friend Bobby Hankinson of the Houston Chronicle's commentary on the movie here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Holy Bedhead, Batman!

I just slept from 5:50pm yesterday to 8:30am today. I must have been sicker than I thought.

Today I work from noon to 7:30ish. Hopefully my nap of doom gets me through.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hold the phone!!!

A two Carat White Topaz:


And a MASSIVE "aqua colored stone" in a great filigree settings. They don't say Aquamarine, but who cares?? Look at it!!!

Neil Topaz?

Alright. So. The deal at work is that basically all of our Educator positions are being dissolved/turned into other positions and I have to choose which new one I want. I'm tired and still don't have all of the information I want about each of the positions to make an informed decision, so that's all I'm going to say about that for now. I'll be sure to keep my readership (Bobbie) in the loop.

I've been trying all week to get to the gym, but I've had a cold since Monday and just can't bring myself to do it. Today would be perfect, but it feels like the worst day of the cold. I'm stretching and doing crunches at home though, so that's good.

Since Steve and (well, maybe just) I have been talking marriage, I've been scoping out rings. I've determined that my taste and our meager salaries are incongruous, so a diamond may not be possible. I'm thinking white topaz or white sapphire, or something else altogether. Here are my favorites so far:

White Topaz Solitaire

White Sapphire Stackables (there's an Aquamarine in there too)

Smoky Topaz

Hessonite Garnet with Diamonds (this is the most expensive one)

Another White Topaz


All of them are handmade by Etsy sellers, which I think is really great, but I'm also open to going antiquing for something vintage and fabulous. Steve said that he 1) would want me to pick out his band for him and 2) is nervous to pick something out for me because I clearly know what I want. And while it's nice to get what you want...isn't it supposed to be a joint activity?? Anyway, I like these for him...I guess..since he doesn't own a PIECE of jewelry and hence has no style preferences:
Hammered Oxidized Sterling

Sterling (this one is by the same artist that did the first White Topaz up there)

Dirty Titanium


I know I should probably just chill out on this subject for a while, but I'm bonkers for bling!!!