Ta-Ta October

Get it…October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month…Ta-Ta…no? Ok.

October started out a bit rocky because I was stressed with the class I was taking and realized that this is actually the time of yeah that seasonal affective disorder kicks in for me. So I tried to spend October eating one vegetable per day and one fruit per day (yes, I realize that it shouldn’t be that challenging) and getting back into a regular gym routine. Though I didn’t list them like I did in September and August, those were my goals. Simple, easy, but could make a world of difference in how I’m feeling day to day.

But overall October was a fun month for me:

I had a weekend to myself and booked a personal trainer. Then Mike and I caught up with a night away in Virginia.

My family came to visit and I went to the National Zoo for the first time!

 

Mike went away for work again and I had a busy but fun/social weekend. Then Mike came back and we caught up.

Went to Dean and Deluca for the first time!

Last weekend was another friend-filled weekend with a visit from a college friend and a bachelorette party.

And this past weekend I went along on Mike’s work trip to Chicago! (more to come on that soon!)

Wow, when I go back and think about all the great things that happened this month, I remember how much fun I had this month. The wonderful things this month was filled with.  It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day grind and recall the mental challenges I’ve been facing, the sleepy mornings, lack of motivation, and boredom. I’m so glad I went back through the highlights of the month.  Because to be honest, this post only skims the surface and the things that made me smile this month.

So tell me:

How was your October?  What made you smile this month?

 

 

 

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Get Candy

Happy Halloween!  When I think of Halloween, I always remember this bit from Jerry Seinfeld. Enjoy!

So tell me…

What candy were you after as a kid?  I’m still after Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. And has anyone else noticed that the standard size are so much better than the smaller size? 

What was your best Halloween costume as a kid? Oh, you mean the years I wasn’t a cheerleader?  One year I was a rabbit in a hat.  That was before I had any shame.  Though to be honest, that’s the kind of Halloween costume that is cool at my age now.  It would be better than a slutty fill-in-the-blank, no? 

Off to Chicago

We’re off to Chicago after work today! Honestly, I can’t believe this trip is here. Chicago has been on the top of the list of cities we want to visit for a while now so when Mike was scheduled to travel there for a conference, I knew I had to tag along for the ride.  Though it’s been on the calendar for a little bit, we haven’t made many plans for the trip.

Usually when we travel (I mean, the few times we’ve traveled together before), we do tons of research, have a list of things we want to do, and a pretty set itinerary. We’re super planners. Not this time. I’m not sure why that is, I guess we’ve just been busy the last couple months and the trip has felt so far off.  Could also be that Mike doesn’t have much free time so our options for planning activities was limited.  That said, I have to figure out what I’m going to do while Mike’s working from 10-6:30 on Saturday. I’m thinking I’ll go to a yoga class, do some shopping, grab some lunch at a small coffee shop/cafe and blog, and explore Lincoln Park.

Tomorrow we’re planning to go on an architecture boat tour and have dinner at Gino’s East.  I’m also pretty excited to have a Chicago-style hot dog. I’m sure we’ll go to Millenium Park and do some exploring.

To be honest, until last night, I hadn’t done much research on the city, didn’t even know where we were staying. To be even more honest, I don’t even know what flight we’re on.  I know it leaves at 8 out of Reagan National.  What is with me? I’m an independent woman that likes to be in control and if not in control at least very aware of the plan.  But nope, I feel like I’m just along for the ride.

A similar thing happened with our honeymoon.  After we booked our honeymoon through the most amazing Living Social deal ever, Mike made all of our travel arrangements. I knew when we were leaving, that we were flying out of Philly International, and that we had multiple flights, but I didn’t know any of the other details about our travel.  I literally was just like “I’ll just follow my husband.” What??  I recognized that this was totally unlike me but you know what, it kind of felt good to just follow him. It was less stressful and it showed him and me that I do really trust him and I don’t need to micromanage.

So tonight, I will head to the airport after work, look for my husband, and let him get me on the right flight. In the meantime, I’m hoping the gate we’re at has Five Guys or Chipotle.

Married Money

Everyone has their own way with money and attitude toward money and they bring these feelings into their relationship. In a marriage, it’s important that both husband and wife are comfortable with the way money is handled. I know couples that have all of their money completely combined (like my parents did) and others that have no money combined and split everything. I don’t think there’s one right way to handle money in a marriage. As long as both parties are comfortable with the way financial decisions are made and are on the same page, that’s all that matters.

Since I’m always fascinated by the ways people manage their money, I thought I’d share what we do.

After our wedding, I was excited for us to combine our money.  We’ve had a joint checking account since moving in together. We used it for bills only and would transfer the exact amount for our monthly bills each month. This worked great for bills but often left us wondering who was going to pay for what/whose turn it was to pay for things like meals out or gas for our car.  I was excited for us to move to a more combined model and start working towards some bigger savings goals.  I was also excited to have a clearer snapshot of my available “fun” money at all times 🙂

Here’s how we combined our money:

Joint checking account–the majority of our direct deposits go here.  From this account we pay our monthly bills: rent, my student loans, cable, car insurance, groceries, etc. We also have a set amount of joint “fun” money each month for dates, meals out, etc.

Joint savings account–Ideally we’d have two joint savings accounts, one for short-term savings (emergencies, travel, big life events) and one high-yield account for long-term savings (house).  But for now we just have one. We have a set amount deposited here each month.

Individual checking accounts–We each have a set amount direct deposited here each pay period.  We use this for social things: happy hours, trivia night. And other individual things: lunches out, clothes, haircuts, hobbies, etc.

Individual savings accounts–I’ll use mine to save for a big surprise for mike (planned for a few years down the line), larger social events (friends’ bridal parties, bachelorette parties, girls weekends, etc), and some bigger fun purchases (a coach bag,  a mac desktop, etc).  Not sure what Mike will use his for.

Individual American Express cards–We each had these coming into our marriage and we’ve kept them separate. We use these for bigger individual purchases.

Joint credit card–for bigger joint purchases or emergencies.

When we combined our money, I thought it was important for us to still maintain individual accounts for spending money, or fun money. Part of me–the romantic–wanted to have separate accounts so that we can surprise each other with gifts and last-minute weekend getaways (I’m such a dreamer). And another part of me–the realist–wanted us to have our own accounts so that we can maintain some independence. Mike didn’t feel as strongly about the independence aspect of this but he agreed that surprises are nice.

This system is working out nicely for both of us.  I think we both enjoy having the freedom of separate spending accounts, and having an account purely for “fun” money. We’re still finessing our monthly budget, working to find the right balance of saving and spending.

Now tell me:

What do you and your spouse do?  If you don’t have a spouse, what did your parents do or what do you think you’d like to do?

Happy Birthday, Boo!

This is my youngest sister Becca.

Our dad would sit her on his lap and lift her up in the air saying Becca. Boo! It didn’t take long for her to become Becca-boo, then Boo, and sometimes even Booey. We all call her this and so frequently that some of my high school friends called her that too.

I have a vivid memory of standing back by the washer, bundling her up to go play in the snow.  She had an emerald green jacket, magenta mittens on a string, and a purple hat under her hood. She was so happy and excited to go out in the snow and she was bundled up tight.  So tight that she looked like a marshmallow and could hardly walk. This is one of the most precious moments from my childhood. Just typing this makes me misty. I will always think of her as a sweet innocent little girl with a big smile.

Now Becca-boo is in college.  COLLEGE.  She’s studying math and physics.

But she’s always been smart: when we were younger she spilled my bottle of perfume and filled it up with water so I wouldn’t know (she was probably 6). I couldn’t even be mad when I found out because I thought it was genius.

And she’s an RA.

But she’s always been chatty:  when we shared a room growing up, I used to have to sing “my favorite things” from The Sound of Music so that she would fall asleep.

And she’s a good listener and gives good advice: once I got in a fight with Mike and said I didn’t want to tell my mom to which Becca responded “yeah, I read somewhere that you shouldn’t tell your mom about fights with your boyfriend because though you can get out your frustration in the bedroom, she never will.”  Haha. So true but also so funny coming from the little girl in the emerald coat.

And she’s 19 today!

Though I wanted her to be 5 years old forever, she keeps having birthdays. But instead of protesting her growing up, I’ll just admire her for the beautiful, strong, caring woman she’s grown to be and wish her a very happy birthday.

Happy Birthday, Boo! I love you!

PS–Check your mail for a belated b-day gift at the end of the week!

Coupons and security

I felt like a little kid yesterday. Remember when there was “nothing to do” and you’d whine “i’m bored,” stretching bored out into two syllables?  Yeah, that’s how I felt yesterday.  I think it’s one thing to be bored as a kid and a completely different thing to be bored as an adult.  How can you be bored as an adult? You’re in control of your life, you can go find something to do. But I couldn’t think of something that would make me not bored. I think this is part of seasonal affective disorder, which actually hasn’t been that bad for me in recent weeks so that’s good.  But it’s 6:33 am and I already feel bored today.  Ugh, I hate this.

Though I’m bored, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking about things to share with you all.  I actually have a bunch of things I want to share.  Here are a few of them:

coupons

On Saturday morning I sat down at the kitchen table with some breakfast and the newspaper.  I started with Washington Post Magazine and an interesting restaurant review but before long found myself pulling out the coupon section and getting a pair of scissors. I cut between 8-10 coupons for things like paper towels and things I can’t remember right now. I enjoy clipping coupons.  There’s something relaxing about it. But I think I like clipping them more than I like using them:  I totally forgot to take them to the store with me on Tuesday.  And that’s how it always goes.  I cut a bunch and then forget to use them.

Do you use coupons? What’s your thought on couponing? I think coupons are great, who doesn’t want to save money.  I do wish that I could find more coupons for things I actually buy regularly like fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, Arnold Bread, etc., instead of processed foods.

Oh and is it coo-pon or cue-pon?

security questions

When it comes to security questions, I choose questions whose answers are fact: what city were you born in, what was your high school mascot, mother’s maiden name, maternal grandmother’s name, etc. I never choose questions like “what is your favorite movie” or “what is your favorite icecream flavor” whose answers may vary and I’m left sitting at the computer wondering “what would I have written for that?” Apparently, this might not be the best strategy.

I signed us up for Mint.com this weekend and asked Mike for the passwords to our joint credit card. Each time you log in, the site asks one of three security questions so he gave me the answers to those too. When I looked at the answers, they were one of either a) in code, b) not true–at least not yet, or c) variable. I thought his answers were really funny but he said he read somewhere that the answers to these questions don’t have to be true, just something you remember.  That if someone really wanted access to your banking info, they could find out the answers to fact-based questions.  Hmm, I thought.  This definitely makes sense. After all these are called security questions, there for added security.

what types of security questions do you choose? when it asks the name of your childhood best friend, do you type her real name or the name of your favorite Babysitter’s Club character? 

 

Song Love

I am absolutely loving this song right now.  I’ve heard it a bunch recently and have wanted to share it with you all.  It just came on the radio and I said, I have to post this.

Ah, that chorus.  Melts my heart.  And makes me want to belt it out.

 

catch up at kitchen

mike was out of town for work this weekend so to catch up we went to kitchen 2404 for mac and chicken and a couple beers when he got home last night.

kitchen is one of our favorite restaurants in the neighborhood and one of the few restaurants we went back to after having a living social deal. it’s a small, comfortable restaurant serving delicious southern comfort foods at super reasonable prices. we’ve been a bunch of times and have really enjoyed almost everything we’ve had: the BBQ gulf shrimp, the crabmeat + corn chowder, the ribs, the hushpuppies, and the fried pickles.  but last night, we were there for the mac and chicken.

we had been talking about going to kitchen for beers and mac and chicken for a while. it’s the kind of place that’s perfect for comfort food and conversation on a crisp fall night. luckily there wasn’t a need for comfort food but it was a nice fall night and we wanted to catch up. i find that sometimes if we stay home, i get easily distracted and don’t give mike my full attention. so when mike texted early in the day “beer and mac and chicken tonight?” i replied “yes! great idea!”

we started off with some beers and fries

and then shared the mac and chicken.

everything was great.  my favorite beer–magic hat #9–was nice and cold, and the mac and chicken was hot and creamy.  it was a great way to catch up after a few days apart.

so tell me

what’s your favorite way to catch up with someone?

i lasted 5 minutes

i lasted 5 minutes on the stairmill this morning.  well it was more like 2.5 and i pushed myself to get through 5 before i got off. i’d been kind of eyeing this machine for a little while now, wanting to give it a whirl and when i walked in this morning with a plan to zone out on the elliptical, i thought eh, why not?  holy cow did my butt and legs hurt and my heart was pumping.  which is a good thing.  i do love a good cardio session in the morning–when you can really feel your heart working and get to the point of breathless.  i didn’t love the burn enough to continue for the 20 mins i set originally so i jumped off after 5 mins and moved to the elliptical. i’m glad i challenged myself a little bit this morning.  i now have a new fitness goal: work my way up to 10 mins on the stairmill.

tell me:

is there a machine at the gym that really gets your heart pumping?  is there a machine that is super tough for you?