Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Holiday cards? Already?

Yes! It's that time of year and it looks like thanks to Shutterfly I'll be able to cross off another item on my list! #87 was to send out Christmas cards to friends and family.

With so many amazing photo cards, I could spend hours browsing and choosing. I have had amazing success with Shutterfly in the past. I have made several calendars with pics of my adorable pups and I made a photo book for the in-laws of our wedding. The site is so easy to work with and the service is great! I have ordered all of the photos I have framed in our house from Shutterfly. So affordable and the prints usually arrive within a couple of days!

This year I'm looking to get Photo Cards to send for our holiday greetings. Some of my favorites include:


There are so many to pick from. You can get folded or flat cards and have no pictures, or several. Everyone should be able to find something to tickle their fancy! 

I can't wait to shock everyone when I actually send out holiday cards!!!!!

****Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… sign up: ****

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the awful B word

 Gosh, I was on such a roll posting and then all of a sudden life got in the way. Since my last post we've spent our weekends on two separate wine tours. Virginia has an amazing wine country and I intend to check out each and every vineyard. Out of the six vineyards we visited in the past two weekends, five of them were new to me. We've had an the normal warm October, it's been in the 60's and 70's everyday so far, it might have even hit 80 today.

Since September I've been so excited thinking about a blog post about the amazing budget I created and how we were going to stick to it and beat not only our credit card debt, but also pay down our condo enough to sell it and save enough to put a downpayment on a house. As all budgets go, we had some emergencies come up, but I felt better prepared this time.

In the past my mindset was always "Pay bills first and then put every single extra dollar toward paying off debt." While this is a very sound way to tackle finances, it didn't work for us. Something would always come up or I would forget about a major expense for the month. My new mindset in creating this last budget was more along the lines of slow and steady wins the race. I tried to think of everything that throws us off course. It was usually car repairs, vet or our own health bills, or impulse purchases. These unexpected expenses would end up on a credit card since all of our extra cash had already been spent, towards paying credit cards off. The cycle was never ending and VERY frustrating. When I built this budget I put a percentage towards car repairs, medical, and clothes. I put a more modest amount towards credit cards and even upped our monthly savings.

I chose October to start our budgeting because Hubs got three paychecks this month. While I get paid bi monthly, he gets paid every other week, so about twice a year, three paychecks in one month. We had a couple planned expenses that we knew were coming that we would put that extra paycheck towards: car taxes and a couple various expenses we had put on the credit cards in September that we wanted to pay off.

So I put together a spreadsheet of expenses and percentages of our total budget. I did this in early September and would check it out and tweak it almost daily. I was honestly giddy on October 1st, ready to track every penny and see how much we would end up saving!!!!

Unfortunately I didn't plan for one of the dogs to get a strange bump on her stomach that would require a biopsy and rack up over $300 in vet bills. (She's ok, it was just an infection that ended disappearing in about two weeks, I was fine just letting it run it's course until it started bleeding, then I broke down and got it checked out). I also didn't plan for my car to start sounding like we were newlywed's again and dragging tin cans behind it. I checked for diet coke cans to be stuck under it before I took it in. $1,100 I finally got that 90k mile tune up as parts of that were the culprit of the noises.

BUT guess what? Neither of these went on the credit cards. Somehow we had enough cash to cover these unexpected expenses. I had budgeted 2% to go toward medical, so that helped us start the dent on the vet bill. The amount for car maintenance I budgeted fell FAR short of the car repairs, but it helped and that extra check covered the rest. 

So here is what I started with:
Housing would be 30% - This included our mortgage, storage unit, home insurance, and a small sum for home decor items.
Food is the next 20% - This is divided by groceries, dinners out, and happy hours
Transportation came in at 15% - We fit in gas, a car payment, car insurance, our parking costs, tolls, and maintenance.
Utilities are 10% of the budget - Cell phones, electricity, cable, gas, and water. I also included our condo fees in this category.
Medical came in at 2%
Clothing is 3%
Debt - 10% - Includes credit cards and putting a little extra towards the mortgage to get the condo selling price down
Entertainment - 5%
Savings - 5%

I figured we may not need the 2% in medical or the specified car maintenance every month. The alloted money would be put in an ingDirect sub account specified for it's own purpose. That way when a larger bill showed up, we would have the cash to cover it. I guess that will start next month since we were wiped clean in October.

Going into November we'll start fresh. We have one birthday to shop for and we'll have to start thinking about Christmas gifts for our families. We'll have one quick weekend trip, but we can drive and will keep costs down. I'm looking forward to reporting how well we did in November. I do feel so much more at ease knowing that the unexpected doesn't need to set us back on our debt goals and that we can take care of that without dipping into downpayment money or credit cards.

Have you had any success with budgeting?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday Funday

I had included Pick Fruit from an Orchard on my list of 101 in 1001. This weekend was BEAUTIFUL and somehow I convinced my dear husband that we needed to go apple picking. It turned out to be one of those perfect days that you hope you can repeat again and again. I think we have a new fall tradition!

I did a quick search online and found Marker Miller Orchards in Winchester, VA. It would be a bit of a drive, but on such a gorgeous day, it was nice to take a leisurely tour of RT 50. (On the way we also discovered some vineyards we have never been to, we'll be back to visit those next weekend!)

Once we got to the orchard we paid for our two bags, one big and one little. They handed us a map of what we could pick and we were off.

We picked Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Nittany, Granny Smith, and a couple other varieties. I had never heard of a Nittany apple, but I was sure it would be delish to share a namesake with my beloved Nittany Lion.

The fruit was plentiful and we has such a great time traipsing up and down the rows looking for the perfect pick. Once we returned to the Market we pleasantly discovered they were having a festival that day, complete with a blue grass band! We bought some BBQ and sat down to enjoy the music. After lunch we did some shopping in their market for some cider, a pie, and some jars of goodies.

Once we got home we started thinking of what we could make with all of these apples!

First up was apple sauce. This was a quick one to try:
Peel 4 apples, chop them up, throw them in a pot with 3/4 cup water, 1/4 sugar, and 2 tsp of cinnamon. Let cook on medium heat for about 20 mins. Once they cooled I ran them through the food processor to get them good and mushy.
The result was a little runny and a little sweet for me, the next batch may have less sugar and I might try substituting 1/2 cup cider for the water.

Tonight is apple butter, I'll let you know how that one turns out after we try it.

We'll also be snacking on apple and brie quesadillas tonight.

Do you have any suggestions of what else we should try with our apples? I'll try out a pie, but I'd also love a muffin or bread recipe as well. Let me know if you have any good ideas for me to try!!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book Club: Commencement, Part One

When this book was selected for our next read at I thought it would be a puff piece. From the description I thought it would be just a quick and easy read without to much depth. After finishing Part One I was convinced that there was a lot more to these girls and so much in their lives I could identify with.

Here are this week's questions:

1. Which girl do you identify the most with?
I think I identify with Celia the most. She ended up at Smith almost by default. I kinda chose Penn State for what it wasn't more than what it was. It wasn't too close to home, it wasn't where half my graduating class was going, and it wasn't anywhere anyone in my family had already been. I was excited to be going to college, but sad to leave my high school years behind. I had a great group of friends that was scattering across the East Coast. I was shy, but eager to meet the girls would I would be living with for the next four years.

2. If you're a college student or graduate, what similarities or differences do you see between this story to your own college experience?
I feel like my freshman year college experience was very similar to this. I bonded with the girls on my floor and made friends that would last my whole college career. We ate together, we studied together, we worked out together, and we partied together. Penn State is a HUGE school, so immediately bonding with these girls helped create our small niche and made it a little bit smaller and a little bit more like home.

3. Which girl do you think has changed the most since her time in college? In what ways has she changed?
I think that Sally has changed the most. She was so bent and determined to be a doctor and is now a lab assistant at Harvard with her priority now being her fiance'. I think a lot of people have hopes and dreams of what their life will be and where they believe they will end up. I think a lot of that is naive to think you can plan your entire life at 18. So often with a little world experience, your values change and your priorities shift.

When I was in high school and starting college I thought I would be working in politics, working on Capital Hill or for a lobbyist. Once I graduated and entered the real world I realized that a staffer job on Capital Hill probably wouldn't pay my bills, Law School wasn't happening and there needed to be a change in plans.  I jumped right into Corporate America to bide my time. Now I'm married with two dogs and my family is my priority.  I now dream about what to make for dinner and keeping a neat and tidy house instead of a career that would take over my entire life.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I Made It! Headboard Edition

So for my proudest project thus far I tackled making a headboard for our queen sized bed. Our bed is just a mattress set sitting on a metal bed frame. It is so plain and I thought it could be dressed up so easily. As I had posted here, I wanted to tackle some DIY projects when we have a bigger house. I wanted to make a headboard for a king sized bed once we move, so I thought, why not do a trial run for our current bed? I got the inspiration from a reader's post on Young House Love. Armed with the instructions on my iPhone, we went off to buy the needed supplies and tackle the project.

We chose a fabric that would be neutral, a white muslin type with flowers stitched on in black, brown, and gray. We got the 2" foam, batting, button covers, and upholstry needle and thread from JoAnn fabric. I purchased their monthly magazine for $3 for the coupons that were on the back cover. It saved me well over $30, so well worth the purchase.

We went to Home Depot to purchase the plywood, washers, and hanger. Home Depot made the cut for us, so one less thing for us to worry about. We had it cut 30" x 64" so it would hang a little longer than the width of the bed.

We started out by measuring to have two rows of three buttons each and drilled the holes in the plywood.

We then used spray adhesive to adhere the foam padding to the plywood.

Used a staple gun to wrap the batting over the foam and plywood. And then repeated with the selected fabric. (Note, we hemmed the fabric so that if it pulled at all over the years, it wouldn't fray and pull off of the headboard. We put staples on both sides and right along the hemmed sides.)

Next came the tufting part. We had bought a button set that allowed us to cover each button with the fabric we had selected. So armed with a set of three upholstry needles we thought it would be simple to shoot the needle through, thread the button and shoot it right back. It was impossible to find the hole in the plywood on the way back through the layers of fabric, batting, and foam. We ended up taking two needles, one threaded and another facing the opposite way, and shooting both through together. We left the unthreaded needle sticking through the layers. This way we pulled the first needle through, threaded the button, then switched the thread from the original needle to the one waiting to go back through. We tied both ends of the thread to a washer and pulled it tight so it would get the tufted look and then stapled the washer in place.

Once done, we were left with this:

We screwed one side of the French Cleat into the plywood and then took the headboard inside to hang on the wall. The french cleat has a level in the piece that hangs on the wall, so it's pretty simple to get that part right. (FYI, a French Cleat is considered a picture hanger when you are looking for it at the home improvement store)

The finished product:

I absolutely love it against our chocolate brown wall. It took about 3 hours, but was pretty simple to do. I couldn't be happier with the finished result. Hubs' first reaction was that it made our bedroom look so grown up. I can't stop looking at it.

Price Breakdown:
Plywood: $19.97
French Cleat: $14.97
Washers: $0.98
Fabric: $12.99 (after 50% off coupon)
Buttons: $6.06 (After 40% off coupon)
Batting: $5.99 (on sale)
Spray Adhesive: $3.99 (after 50% off coupon)
Needles: $2.99 (after 40% off coupon)
Thread: $1.49 (after 40% off coupon)
Foam: $35.19 (on sale)
Magazine with coupons: $2.99

Total: $107.61

Not too shabby! Gotta love the coupons. Got a whole lotta bang for your buck on this project. All in all, I'm excited to try this again. I think I would do a cut out pattern with a nail head border on the next.

What projects have you been working on?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

5 Years Ago...

This handsome man and I decided we would date!!!

It was all set in motion a week or so before that fateful day. He came in to visit his friend, Leslie, at work. Lucky for me Leslie was a mutual friend that I also happened to be working with that night. I was complaining that I needed a new love interest as the boy that currently had my attention was not as interested in me as I was in him. So he invited me out with his friends to see a comedy show the next week. He said "There are some great guys in the group, you'll find someone". 

Cue one week later, I'm out for a birthday dinner with my college bestie and had to leave early cause "some guy from Glory Days said I'd like his friends". I showed up to the comedy show and there he was offering me a chair and a drink immediately. Everyone was heading across the street to another bar with the comedians from the show, so I went with them. My gracious host and I ended up at a table by ourselves chatting it up for hours. When we were heading out for the night, we ended the night with a hug and he made the comment "we fit". 

The next day, I went into work thinking about my new crush. I gave Leslie a call to let her know we had hit it off, and asked if it would be weird if I pursued this crush (they had a brief stint dating but decided they would be better off as friends). She gave me the go ahead, phew.

I never did get to meet any of his friends. We ended up talking on the phone that night for about 7 hours. We'll call that Day One. 

Exactly three and a half years after that we would marry.

Photo Credits: 
First picture from our Engagement shoot with The Blonde Photographer 
Wedding picture courtesy of James Berglie

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Made It! Birthday Banner

So enough daydreaming about a house I don't have and wishing for things to just happen. It's time to actually do something! I'm starting a weekly series called I Made It! It will feature the current projects I'm working on around the house. I'm trying to ignite my creativity and try my hand at DIY projects.

My first project was a fairly simple one. My nephew is turning one in about two weeks. I wanted to make a birthday banner for him. It had to be something that can be stored easily and used for both of the boys. The older brother has his birthday out of town every year since it falls the week our family is in Barbados each year, so I wanted something that could be packed up small.

I've been loving the circle and flag paper banners that I've been seeing since wedding planning. Something like this is what I had in mind for my inspiration:

(From Martha Stewart Weddings)

I headed over to Michael's to pick up letter stencils and some blue and green cardstock. I used an Exacto Knife to cut out the letters. I then used a soup can and a margarita glass to trace the circles. After a lot of cutting, here's what I ended up with:

I was pretty pleased with the result!!! After trial and error, I realized it was better to have the ribbon run along the top of the letters rather than the middle. I can't wait to show my sister what I made for her boys!!!

Stay tuned for other projects coming up in the future!!! I'll try to post on Fridays or Saturdays so you still have time to try your own project over the weekend. 

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

30 Day FAIL

So I naively tried to do the 30 Items in 30 Days challenge. After 21 days, I'm calling it quits.

I had so excitedly picked out my items, snapped the pictures and proudly posted my challenge. I was excited about spicing up outfits that had become common repeats in my work wardrobe and hoped to dress up my weekend wear at the same time. I neglected to account for the fact that I don't own a single belt, it's not cool enough to rotate in some fun tights, and I generally stink at accessorizing. So all this has turned into is my wearing the same outfits again and again. Oh, and I forgot to account for lazy football weekends spent on the couch. I never felt like actually getting dressed just to sit at home with the dogs. All this along with the fact I forgot to take pictures most days.

Here are a couple of my outfits:

All black the first day, dressed it up with a glass necklace my mom snagged for me in Italy

Then purple silk top with a black shrug

Fun dress for my birthday and sitting in the car for our 7 1/2 hour drive up to New York

Dress I wore to Jil's wedding

Favorite cardigan with white top underneath

And photo proof that I'm a cheater. Today's outfit, brand new cardigan from Land's End Canvas. It's not my fault. They are selling LEC at my Sear's now. I had been able to resist for so long, but when I finally saw all of the lovely goods, I had to make a purchase...

So some things I can take away from this, I can't ever complain about having NOTHING to wear anymore. This past week I've been eyeing all of my non 30 in 30 items and counting down the days until October when I can wear them. Since I've called it quits, I'm wearing them tomorrow. I need to invest in some accessories. I need to find some good belts, some chunky jewelry, and just over all fun items to dress up my wardrobe when I'm feeling blah. And third, I especially learned that I seriously can't stick to anything...

Next challenge: Hubs and I try to stick to a budget. That one starts Oct 1, so I have plenty of time to figure out how to fudge that one too.

Are you as bad as I am to sticking to anything for more than a week?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Exciting Saturday Night

What are you guys up to tonight??? We're having a SUPER exciting Saturday.

We started out at 6AM waking up to head out to my sister's house for a yard sale. After making some money and unloading some goods, we packed up and headed out to watch Penn State shut out Kent State!

After returning home for nap time, I woke up and finally finished: 

The whole series was so good. I had a hard time getting into the first book, but about half way through that one I was hooked. I need to definitely check out the movie now!

Once I finished the book we headed to Harris Teeter for my favorite day of the month, Super Double Coupon week. We have to prepare for Super Double Coupons. You want to use up all your $1 and up coupons since they will double up to $1.98. We learned last time that there is a 20 coupon limit per VIC card, so we came prepared with my mom's number as well. There was a grand total of over $80 in savings. Amazing. (Proof for Mary below)

Then it was home to make some brownies. Really I just wanted to use the paddle attachment for my KitchenAid and test out some of my new baking goodies I got for my birthday (Thanks Bunnies!!!). Don't tell Martha or Ree, but I used a box mix.

While those are baking I'm cranking through some laundry.

Not the most exciting Saturday night, but being this productive definitely makes me smile! What are you up to this weekend????

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

30 items for 30 days

I've been trying to pare down the clutter in our house and one of the biggest offenders is the closet. I have clothes that I haven't worn in years. Clothes that I bought and have only worn once. I have about 10-12 things I wear pretty regularly and the rest gets passed over. I ran across six items or less a couple weeks ago and started thinking, could I live with only 6 items of clothing for 30 days? I started sifting through my clothes and trying to think what I could do with only 6 items. Yesterday I stumbled across the 30 for 30 challenge. 30 items, much more realistic. So I immediately crashed my closet in search of what my coveted 30 items would be.

I starting tomorrow (September 1) I will be wearing only the below 30 items*. It'll be a challenge to wear and re-wear these items in new and interesting ways. I've never felt very courageous in my fashion choices, so maybe this will force me out of my comfort zone and to come up with something new and original.

*Accessories (belts, jewelry, hats, etc.) not included in item count. Also not included, gym clothes and pajamas (which are often one in the same...).

So that's what I'll have to work with for the month of September.

A couple notes:
- The Jimmy Choo bag is in place of the black pumps I keep at my desk.
- Yes, you counted correctly, there are a total for 4 black pants included. Lamesauce for me, but those are all the work pants I currently fit in. We'll also be working to remedy that problem this month as well. 
- Attending a wedding this month, so dress, sweater, and shoes are included. Could be taking up space for valuable other items in the future....
- Might need to make a shoe change already. Might need to replace the Chucks with another pair of sandals, we're not quite out of summer yet and sneakers might not make it. I'll keep you updated.

I'm already thinking about what future month challenges will be. Fewer items for the month? Mandatory switching out of all items for new?

I'll try to take daily pictures and post on a weekly basis.

****this is my first attempt at editing photos and adding from Pictage...please bear with me as I learn...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I need some Bootie(s)!!!

With cooler temperatures right around the corner, I'm starting to think boots over flip flops will soon be necessary. I have been on a shoe buying hiatus recently with only maybe two or three purchases over the past 12 months, I think I deserve a new pair this year. I'm thinking I need a pair of ankle boots...

The ruffles! The color! I need (want)!!!!!

And because I need Black with ruffles as well....

I've been eyeing these beauts since last fall. By the time I was ready to pull the trigger, no more 6 1/2 or 7s. Looks like they haven't restocked since last year either. Someone needs to get these though so I can live vicariously through your stylin' feet.

And because I need Cherry Red booties as well. I am totally loving the ankle boots this year.

And one final pair, a little pricier than the previous, even with Banana reward cards and discounts. Still love the simple ruffle. 

What is on the top of your Fall shopping list?

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes - Bookclub Week 2

Another week of book club questions! I love the format last week, it was so fun popping from blog to blog seeing what everyone said and meeting new, fun people!

This week's reading was Chapter's 11 - 20:

1. Where do you think Tim and Marty are at this point in the story?
I think Tim and Marty hadn't really planned out what they would do at this point. They dropped of the Governor's wife with CeeCee and then just expected him to give in to their demands. I don't think they had any alternative plans and really thought it would be quick and easy.
2. What were your thoughts as CeeCee was helping Genevieve deliver her baby?
I was scared for Genevieve and the baby. Genevieve seemed so confident that they could do this, but without someone with experience there, things would go terribly wrong. 
3. After Genevieve died, what would you have done with her baby if you had been in CeeCee's shoes?
I would like to think I would turn the baby in. I would realize that making things right would get me in trouble immediately, but would be less harmful if continuing on with the charade. 
4. Why do you think CeeCee/Eve is still holding onto hope that Tim will come for her?
I think that CeeCee trusted Tim that he wouldn't have gotten her into this if it meant never seeing each other again. She believed that Tim was her true love and she was his, he wouldn't be able to live without her either. I think she believed that they would be on the run together and that he would find her eventually. 
5. How do you think Eve will establish her new identity in Virginia?
Eve has to pull herself together and move forward with her life. She has to assume that she will not be found and live her life now as Eve wholeheartedly. She won't be able to move on if she's always looking back. 
6. What do you think of CeeCee/Eve now after she has gone through with the kidnapping, the delivery of the baby, the escape, and the relocation?
 I think these events forced CeeCee to grow up and quick. Her new identity put her one year ahead already, but now she is on the run from the law and a mother. I'm sad for her that she got caught up in all of this and it has changed the course of her entire life. I want to like her and cheer her on, but that is so hard when she has made such bad decisions! 

Since I've already finished the book I'm so looking forward to the next couple of weeks and seeing everyone's reactions! I really loved this book and am enjoying sharing it with everyone! 

Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Olive To Sew - Giveaway!

Head on over to Olive To Sew to enter Kere's giveaway! You can stop by her shop to pick your own prize if you win! I personally could do with several of the items, but the Wine Tote was calling my name. I'm sure I'd get something super classy on it like "Drinks Well With others" or "How Merlot Can You Go?"

Of course there are other super cute things I would choose if I could win multiple times, how about a seersucker tote or a black with damask tote? Yes please!!!!

Check out the giveaway here!

***Images from Olive To Sew shop

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Who doesn't love free money?

I recently received my 4th BIG FAT CHECK in the mail. I signed up for Ebates a little over a year ago and basically get paid to shop!

Once you sign up you can navigate to see all of the online stores that they are affiliated with. You get anywhere from 1% - 6% back from stores based on your purchases.

They have over 1000 stores including Nordstrom, DSW, Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Victoria's Secret and There are travel sites such as Expedia, Hotwire, and Cheap Caribbean.

You simply click on the link to the store and it will open up a new window at the selected website and you shop like normal. When you've done this a ticket has been opened with Ebates and you will receive credit towards your account.

You then receive quarterly checks for whatever the balance in your account is. There are no strings attached. I've been paid out $38 dollars so far. Not a ton of cash, but it's better than nothing! They also have coupon codes for each store, so you save money right up front as well!

I was skeptical  at first, but after seeing articles on CNN and the BBB, I felt like it was a legit deal. I've had no problems cashing the checks and really get minimal emails from them.

The biggest problem I've had with them is forgetting to simply navigate to websites via Ebates. I could have probably earned bigger checks by now!

Are you ready to Ebates? Sign up here! Let me know if you have any questions about it!

****I have not been paid or contact by Ebates what so ever for this review. I just want to share a good thing!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes - Bookclub Discussion

I've recently joined an online/blogger book club. I've always wanted to find a fun book club to join and in the midst of my reading frenzy that has started once I got my Kindle, one of the bloggers I follow (Blue-Eyed Bride) announced that she was starting an online book club at Book Beginnings and Bookends. The first book we are reading is The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes.

The assignment this week was the first ten chapters, but the book was so good I could not put it down!

Our discussion questions for this week:

1. What was your first impression of Tim?
I really wanted Tim to be a good guy. I was weary of why a graduate student would be interested in a 16 year old waitress. Him studying Social Work made me want to like him, but I had such a hard time getting past the age difference and creapiness factor.
2. If you were in CeeCee’s position, would you be willing to help your boyfriend in the way that she is willing to help Tim? 
No, absolutely not. I hope that at 16 I wasn't that impressionable to be swept up into a plan as dangerous as that.
3. Why do you think CeeCee is so eager to please Tim? 
Tim is an older man who she has been eyeing for a while. Once her crush is no longer one sided, she is ecstatic about her new flame and ready to do whatever he wants/needs. Not to mention he is her first and all of the baggage that goes along with that. She is starry eyed and in lust.
4. Who do you think has it harder? Tim or CeeCee?
I think CeeCee has it hardest. She has been through some tough times, losing her mom at 12, foster care until 16 and then is out on her own. I can't imagine having to provide for myself at 16, living away from home and holding down a job. That is enough to deal with and on top of that she has Tim in her life influencing her to follow him down a dangerous path.
5. What character trait(s) about CeeCee stuck out the most to you in these first ten chapters? 
I thought she was awfully naive. She fell head over heals for this older guy, blindly thinking that he is the one for her and that she is the one for him. She will follow him wherever he asks, even against her better judgement. She is so eager to keep him in her life, she trusts that he also has her best interests in mind.
6. Do you think CeeCee is as mature as she seems? 
I was disappointed in the very childish decision she made to follow Tim. She seemed very young and small when she went against her better judgment. However, I think once she is embedded in the plan with Tim, she steps up to the plate. She is only 16 but has put herself in a very adult situation. It's either sink or swim and she is determined to survive although she doesn't know how that will be possible.

If you haven't read this book, check it out!!! Join the discussion at

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Woes of Craigslist

We bought a gorgeous new couch 1/2 off at Pottery Barn after a few too many bloody mary's at brunch last month. This has left us with our old oversized couch and chair plus the new couch all stuffed into our teeny tiny condo.

We've been trying to sell the old stuff on Craigslist, but that has been such a hassle. I can't fathom taking it to the dump as both pieces are in pretty good condition. For now, I'm trying not to give them away since they should be worth at least SOMETHING.

I've had some real characters contact me regarding the furniture. The majority of the emails I get are actually just one line "is this still available?" and I respond yes. They then reply with some sad story of why they cannot come in person to get the furniture. The stories have been anywhere from blindness to a death in the family that has called them out of town. They all lead to them asking for my address and bank information to send a certified check to cover the cost of the furniture and additional for moving costs. After a quick Google search I found what these scammers are doing. They send you a check, you cash it, you have to pay their movers with the extra they've included, and several days later, the check never clears their bank. You are now on the hook to your bank for the amount of the check AND are out your furniture.

These guys will usually reply to your ad from a gmail or AOL address, once you reply that the piece is still available, their sob story and offer for certified check come back from a totally different address.

Always insist that the person come IN PERSON with CASH ONLY. Also, never invite someone to your home if you're alone! I hate that a couple people have come to our house to see the furniture, any other type of sale I would meet them in a crowded public location. I don't give my address to potential buyers, I give them a general area and then meet them to bring them back to my house. My husband is always home with our two attack dogs present. If anything, folks would leave with bitten ankles if they try anything funny.

As of last night, we finally sold the chair to a super nice woman who seems like she has found a lot of gems on Craigslist. I continue to list the couch 2-3 times a day hoping for someone to bite. I even listed it for $50 less than I've been asking if they can get it this weekend. Fingers crossed!!!

Have you had any luck selling/buying on Craigslist?