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 Overstock.com. 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 http://bookendbloggers.blogspot.com/

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?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Missing Vacation

I just realized that today is my 7th day in at work so far in August. That is more time than I spent at work the ENTIRE month of July.

Can I go back to July and vacation? It's uber hot in Northern Virginia right now and I could really use a ride around the most amazing lazy river ever. Except it's in the Bahamas. Booo.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm out of room for my hobbies

At least for the hobbies that I think I'd take up, if only I had the room to work in and a house to decorate. I hope that I can become super DIYer once we move. I imagine creating my own headboard using some of these tricks, inspired by this guy at Urban Outfitters:

When I can't find that perfect chair, I can just turn some oldies into goodies, inspired by these before and afters on Design*Sponge.

Some favs that just take my breath away:

I can figure out ways to create the perfect oversized ottoman that just doesn't seem to exist anywhere but in my head by again using DIY tricks from Young House Love to get something like this:

Le sigh. I can't wait to try my hand at these beauties.

Remember when I said neither hubs or I are handy? Looks like we're going to have to learn how to use some power tools after all....

Do you have any hobbies or projects that you are just itching to get started on?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Movin' on up (one day)

It's no secret that husband and I are desperately trying to get out of our one bedroom condo. I bought the condo when I was 22 and in all of my wisdom, I thought 731 sq feet would be adequate living space. At the time I had just started dating this great guy, but it had only been four months, so probably not the real deal, right? well almost 4 1/2 years later we're married and have two dogs. In 731 sq feet (that includes the balcony).

Now that I'm at the ripe age of 26 (and 11 months) I've learned that this may not have been the best purchase. We bought at the height of the real estate market and have lost about 1/3 of the value. Who seriously thought $270k was a bargain for 731 sq feet?

So now we're looking at townhouses for our next home purchase. There is a new development popping up in the absolute BEST location that we've been eyeing for a while. The homes are a little pricey, but they come fully loaded with whatever we've picked out. We've been hitting the open houses every weekend looking to see what else is on the market, but each house we found either leaves us making concessions, or having to do work to improve it right away. We're not exactly weekend warriors, so home improvement projects are not ideal. Giving up things like location or garages are also not high on our list.

We keep going back to the new construction houses and will hopefully end up there. Our only challenge is dumping the condo somehow. If we sold right now we'd be out about 30k which is not so appealing. We're saving and waiting and crossing our fingers that as soon as the lot is available that we want, we can simultaneously sell the condo to break even.

So in the meantime I've been daydreaming about how I'll decorate each room when the time comes. I'm going to work on some mood boards to share with everyone.

Do you have a future home you mentally decorate? Are you ready to move to a bigger space?

Do you have an easy way to create mood boards?

Monday, August 2, 2010

back to reality

So I'm back from my month of vacations. I'm having a hard time coping with a full month of work and no more trips until Labor Day.

Since the end of June I've spent 12 days in Barbados, 4 days in Indianapolis, and 6 days in the Bahamas. I have literally eaten/drank my way through the month of July. Time to get my butt back in gear and back on the straight and narrow.

Hubs and I had an official weigh in this morning and it was not pretty. Since the wedding we have put on some serious lbs. Time to get back to our wedding shape!!!

We are going to really cut back on the eating out and find healthy options at home. Hopefully we can find some delicious dishes to add to our usual meals. Just eating at home will cut back on the portion sizes and save tons of cash as well! I think we'll also be trying to cut out the booze. Empty calories going in and not enough exercise to even the scales.

In addition to ramping up our healthy eating, I would like to try taking some evening walks with the pups after dinner and ease back into running. I started the Couch 2 5K training this summer but got off course when it was topping 100+ degrees outside. I see a week of 80's coming up next week, so maybe time to strap on the sneaks and hit the pavement. Depending on how good we do with regular exercise, it might be time to bite the bullet and sign up for a gym membership where we can benefit for legit equipment, trainers, and even a pool. Right now we have access to our Condo gym and work gym, both with equipment as old as I am that does more harm than good.

Anyone else trying to get back on track before the end of summer? How do you get back into the healthy habits and kick the bad ones? Any good (easy) recipes I need to be making?