Sunday, January 31, 2010

Goodbye January.

Well I'm four days from departure for the Super Bowl. I've officially picked out 2 of the clothing items I'm going to wear. Sadly, they don't even go together. I allowed myself one new outfit...well, part of an outfit (aren't budgets the worst?) for the 'after party' which SHOULD be arriving via UPS tomorrow during the day. I may have to beg my boss to let me do drive bys of the condo every hour tomorrow until it comes. Is that wrong?

To say this weekend didn't go according to plan is a bit of an understatement. We planned to make it to the party early so we could be in bed early BUT Sarah didn't even get to Tampa til almost 9. So, after dinner and the party we finally flung ourself into bed at 12:30 (my idea of early is 10 by the way) for 6 hours of sleep before we had to be up for Gasparilla 2010! It was worth the sleeplessness however, since Gasparilla was WAY more fun this year than last. Last year we walked 10 miles, got sunburns and blisters, AND by the time we were done walking most of the parade was over.

This year we parked on the lawn of my friends house, hung out at their party until 30 minutes after the party started, walked 1 block to the parade and saw as much of the rainy debacle as we desired before walking back to grill out. It was a delish and entirely less tiring and stressful Gasparilla experience. Totally worth the lack of sleep which was made up for when we crawled into bed, well onto the air mattress that is pretending to be my couch for now, to 'watch a movie' and passed out by 8pm. I'm not as young as I used to be!

Oh yeah, you're wondering about the bull-riding huh? Sadly, by the time our business manager responded all the freebie tickets had been taken and our office didn't get any. Tear. So no bulls this year. But honestly, as fun as it would have been - my body is thankful that I let it recover last night from the 5 hour night before. Lame, I know...but so true.

Today was relaxing. I had to be at church early to work the table for Financial Peace which starts near the end of February. We got a great response after the service today and it looks like we'll be busting at the seams with new budgeters this 'term'. After a little recruiting I hit Brio for brunch with Aubs & Sarah before, sadly, Sarah had to return to Jville this afternoon.

I promised myself I would be productive today which apparently translated into vegging watching Criminal Minds, Millionaire Match Maker, and *drum roll* a lifetime movie! BUT in my defense I did fold 3 loads of laundry, change my sheets, balance my checkbook, work on my budget for Feb, workout, read, and pack two cardigans along the way. So today was not a total waste.

Without finishing my last book, I started 'Accidental It Girl' today during my workout. Don't judge me, I was craving some chick-lit in my life. At least it kept me on the bike for 8 miles of uphill riding!

Oh yeah, and did I mention I'm leaving for the Super Bowl in four days!?


Saturday, January 30, 2010

A little privacy please.

Social networking has made little Internet celebrities out of us all. All of the sudden people are paying attention to our dating lives, know where we are and what were doing, see pictures of us daily, etc. Those habits were once reserved for the Lindsay Lohan's and Brangelina's of the world. But facebook, myspace, twitter, linked in, and blogger have changed all that. Now we've come to expect that we can find out anything, about anyone, in 5 minutes or less...from our phones!

The tricky thing about this is finding a balance and keeping some semblance of boundaries on your personal life. Social networking can be an excellent way to keep up with friends from high school or college that you may not see regularly anymore. Or keep up with your family members and see pictures of your little nieces and nephews (I don't have those ...yet). BUT giving people unlimited access to your life certainly has repercussions.

When I determined I was going to start blogging, I had to determine if this was going to be a public or private blog. Did I want to be anonymous or let people know who I am? Just how much more access did people need than the 1500 people who know 'what's on my mind' from facebook or 'what I am doing' from twitter?

For the most part, I put it all out there for you. I don't blog every one of my inner most thoughts. But I'm up front and honest on my blog about what I've got going on in my life and the mistakes, flaws, and mishaps along the way. In my mind it has been worthwhile. I've grown to love sharing this blog with you all.

I do still reserve a few categories for myself though. One being my dating life. You'd be surprised how many facebook messages and e-mails I get about my hidden relationship status. Am I single? Am I dating? Am I in a relationship? Is it any of their business? Not really. I will say this, if I ever start seriously seeing only one person I promise to tell you. But I'm not going to publicize my dating life. I find that awkward and I think it could be problematic. So, that's a 'me only' category. People are only informed on a 'need to know' basis.

If I did get to blog anonymously, I think I would talk about dating. Because I have plenty of thoughts and funny stories about my 'dating life'. But since you all know who I am, where I'm from, and who I hangout with I'm afraid that's impossible. I'd sure hate to humiliate anyone by publicizing their faux pas (or mine) on a blog for you all to figure out who they may be.

In recent weeks I've been reconsidering the number of people who have access even to my limited profile on facebook. I mean, do that many people really need to see pictures of me on my birthday? Or know how I spend my Christmas vacation? Probably not. A friend of mine recently did a 'clean sweep' of their facebook friends and I'm feeling somewhat inspired. It may be time to make some cuts. No offense to all those lovely people I met once in a class at Purdue who friended me and I never defriended later.

I think it's time for a little privacy.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Meet Raf.

I met Rafael Smith my freshman year of college. He was living in the same dorm as several of my guy friends and we met in the hallway when I was chatting with his roommate. We'd both come to Purdue from the Indianapolis area and we were both practically living in the Art & Design building at the time. He was studying Industrial Design while I was pursuing my degree in Photography. We had classes together and started studying for several of them together.

We stayed friends and met up for 'catch up' lunches along the way, even after I'd left art school to pursue social work. We shared a heart for helping other people and we talked countless times about what that would look like in our chosen professions. Each of those conversations only served to make me wonder more, how a 20-something year old guy could care so much about people. Even people he doesn't know.

His heart for the poor and marginalized in other countries spoke to me, the girl who's never gone farther than Hawaii. Clearly smart and talented, he could have had his pick of design jobs anywhere in the world but I've never heard him say anything about money. He truly wants his work to better the world. A quality that more of us should adopted both personally and professionally.

In the year and a half since I graduated and moved away to sunny Florida, we've stayed in touch. Every time he calls me or I drop him a line, I'm fascinated by what he's up too. From spending time interning in GERMANY to trying to produce an affordable shelter for those in need...he's always got something big going on (I contribute somewhat less exciting updates).

So, this time his project is getting the attention it deserves and he has a chance to get it produced! In the wake of the Haiti disaster and the relief efforts happening there - I can't help but think that this is exactly what we need! I want to share it with you all so you can catch the vision & in case you want to show some support by spreading the word for donate $10.00 to the cause.

Check my boy out here.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wild wild weekend.

I've been anxiously awaiting my friend Sarah's first visit to Tampa since I bought the condo! In fact, she will be my first overnight guest since I moved in. We planned the trip a few weeks ago and then as the time as drawn closer I have been invited to one after another cool events for this weekend. Thankfully, Sarah is lots of fun and as excited as I am about each one.

So, I'm sharing with you in advance so that you all can be excited to see the pictures of this crazy weekend.

Friday Night were going to hit The Lodge for dinner, because it's our favorite. Then were going to head up to North Tampa to celebrate a very special friend of mine (and my small group leader)'s birthday party which has an 80s theme! I know you all will be disappointed but I don't think were dressing up. We didn't have anything to wear and with the Super Bowl next weekend, I'm on a strict budget.

We will be turning in pretty early Friday night to prepare for Saturday. Saturday we are going to Gasparilla for the invasion and probably staying for the parade. Some friends of mine who live right off the strip where all this will take place, are having a house party. So since Sarah has never experienced this chaotic Tampa tradition, I'm going to take her to scope the craziness. Yay!

I thought that was going to be a full weekend...but we determined that we are also going to hit up some Bull Riding at the St. Pete Times forum that evening. I mean, why not? I ended up getting offered free tickets through work and we couldn't help think that that would be a blast! So, always down for an adventure were going to head from Gasparilla to Bull Riding Saturday night.

Note to self: Charge my camera. This is one weekend that really MUST be documented.

Stay tuned. ; ]


Second Jobs.

I've been having countless conversations with friends these past few weeks about the pros and cons of getting a second job. Now that I've taken a financial class and am signed up to help facilitate a group for next term, my friends think I am now the expert. False. But I do have some opinions about this subject from both personal experience and from that of the results of my friends.

So, if you're considering a second job as a means of getting ahead financially, saving more, having more disposable income, or paying off your debt - lets chat. When I moved to Tampa I became obsessed with the idea of being debt free and financially responsibility. I was 2 days out of college and already feeling overwhelmed with all that was ahead of me. My solution? I got a second job.

Now, for me this was a great experience. I was making an extra 500 bucks per month in cash that I was chucking straight towards paying off my car. I was able to pay it off in less than a year, at which point I got rid of my second job. Because the goal was not to get rich by never having time or energy. The idea was to work hard for a period of time to get myself out of the hole. Once that was achieved I was ok to let go of my second income and live simply.

Here are my cautions about second jobs:

They will zap you of time and energy. This often times results in counter productivity. When you're tired and busy you are more likely to spend money eating our or doing takeout (bad for the wallet AND the waistline). You are more likely to impulse buy due to higher level of stress. It is easy to let your 'real job' suffer because you don't have as much left to give. This can really be a trap that keeps you from promotions or advancement. You do not want this to happen. Lastly,you are more likely to hate your life because you don't really get to have one...

But if you're going too...

Second jobs can be a great way to meet short term goals! Taking a 'seasonal job' to help fund Christmas shopping or a summer job to offset the cost of books for school are great examples. For me it was paying off my car because I hated the idea that really someone else owned my car because of debt. For quick fixes you can bear down, be serious, and really put 100% of your extra income towards your goal. But be willing to let it go when it's is too short to work around the clock.

Oh last word of caution...if you're trying to get a second job to get ahead do not choose somewhere in which you will spend as much as you make! Example: I once got a 'for fun' job at Coach (handbags). I loved that job. Everything about it. But I loved the discount the much so, that I'm pretty sure they MADE money off my working there. So friends, be smarter than the 18-year-old version of me.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Super Bowl Giveaway!

Well I said before and now I'm holding myself too it. I'm going to the Super Bowl and I'm giving you the chance to have a souvenir! My second ever giveaway here on my blog and it's going to come all the way from the MIA.

Now, I've been having a hard time coming up with a prize that will be equally desirable to all ages, races, genders, etc. So, I've decided to cross that bridge when I get to it. Or in other words, pick the prize after I pick the winner. That way I can make SURE that you get something that you would like! So...without further ado I would like to start the Super Bowl Giveaway contest.

To win, you must be a follwer of my blog. You can do this with an e-mail don't HAVE to have a blog of your own. Also, you must comment on this blog entry and give me a reason of some sort (it can be real, funny, sarcastic...whatev) as to why you should win.

That is all.

Let the games begin.


Food for Thought.

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. People who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them'. -- George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

'I'm so happy for you!'

A while back I wrote this entry about our desire to see others experience failure and misery. I want to return to that topic for a brief moment and talk about how success in your life brings 'friends' out of the wood work AND has a tendency to make frienememies out of the most surprising people.

I experienced this the last time Dad made the Super Bowl and less than 24 hours into our re-making it, I'm experiencing it again. Not only have I already fielded ABOUT 200 ticket requests (let's me honest people, not gonna happen. Check stub hub.)...but I've already fielded some nasty texts, facebook message, e-mails, texts, etc. Whether it be about the persons distaste for the Colts or Peyton Manning's ever growing popularity, people just can't seem to keep their lips zipped about their ill will. It's quite incredible to me. If the only thing you can think to say to me is that you hope my team (and therefore my family) lose, well then keep it to yourself.

The last time we made the Super Bowl, our opposing team was a dear friend of mine's Dad's team. Of all the people who were most gracious in the way they talked to me before, during, and after the Super Bowl he was certainly the best. It was incredible to me just how much class he and his family have that even as we were opponents in the biggest game of our Dad's lives - he wished me good luck, and he sincerely congratulated me afterwards. This people, is what we call good sportsmanship AND true friendship.

I have tried in my mind to find a way to justify these peoples behavior. Perhaps no one was ever taken a cheap shot at their father's career to them and so therefore, they do not understand? That could be possible...though in my mind I can't help but think it's common sense that people are going to be sensitive about their families. Also, I honestly believe that some people think they are being funny. They're 'joking' when they say 'the Colt's suck' or 'There's no way you'll win' and they just think they are hilarious. Again, I can't help but think if these people really thought about it for 5 seconds they would realize how completely un-funny and therefore unlaughable this really is. In other words: epic fail. I hope these people don't believe in Karma - sheesh.

I am choosing not to end this entry on a negative note. For every negative Nancy in my life I have an incredible friend who cheers their heart and soul out for me in everything I do. For my parents, my sisters, and my best friends who support me and are with me every step of the way - I am eternally grateful. For each and every person who has prayed us to this point, I hope that we can go to Miami and win this for you. The frienememies in my life only serve to make my real friends shine.

I leave you with these wise words...

The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend. ~Aristotle


Monday, January 25, 2010

I love...

New York & Company. They are the best stop for sundresses (I have over 50, so clearly this is a love of mine) and they have excellent sales (also a love of mine). If I'm looking for a dress or something fun to wear for an event I always hit up their sale racks. But last week I stopped in the Westshore Mall for a quick peak around the 60% off redlined items and found this little treasure for 15 bucks!

I also got a fun shortsleeved shirt with bows on the shoulder but I couldn't find a picture of it so I'll have to share that with you later.

I've REALLY been keeping the shopping to a minimum lately, BUT I think I'm going to have to scrounge up a little extra in that budget catagory this month to prepare for the SUPER BOWL the first weekend in Feb.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Once in a Lifetime...again.

Once in a lifetime opportunities may just come more than once in your lifetime. A few years ago my family made our first trip to Miami to play in the Super Bowl against the Chicago Bears. Our once in a lifetime was now a reality. The road to the Super Bowl had been a hard one and we had weathered it as a family. On our knees, in prayer. When you're in the NFL this is the 'end all be all' of the game and we would finally be IN one.

Not only did we make it to the Super Bowl that year but the Lord delivered us a victory and we returned with the trophy. It was one of the most exciting, emotional, and amazing experiences of my life to date. My whole family was there together through the whole experience. I can't even put it into words.

And now, we're going back! Only a few short years later we're returning to the Super Bowl and it's back in Miami. I'll head out a week from Friday to meet the parents, Rach, Ruth, and Chris to cheer on our boys to (hopefully) our second Super Bowl win! I can't even BEGIN to tell you how pumped I am.

I watched the game at home so I could be a crazy person (as I usually am during the playoffs). Two of my best girl friends here in Tampa came over and watched with me. Jess, Jen, & I camped out on my floor and an air mattress in my still fairly empty new condo and screamed, shrieked, and yelled (oh wait, that was just me) as the Colts delivered a W! We toasted the victory with my optimistically pre-cooked victory cake. If I couldn't be in Indy screaming my guts out live, this certainly eased the pain. Great friends, great food, and finally having cable in the new condo. I have fallen in love with making new, lasting memories in my home. My home...still feels weird to say it.

2010 is certainly shaping up to be an exciting year for me. And it's JUST getting started. Stay tuned for more talk about the Super Bowl and I will be in serious need of outfit advice.

Thanks for sharing in this special day with me.


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20

Ps: What should I do as a Super Bowl giveaway?!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Weddings have been on my mind this month. Not only am I prepping to be a bridesmaid in October of 2010 in the wedding of my best friend Candy but many of my friends are also in weddings this year. I had a funny conversation with my best this week in which after she answered with a proper, 'hello?' I immediately started off the conversation with, ' THANK YOU for not being a bridezilla!'.

I had heard earlier that day an absolute horror story about a wedding my friend was to be in coming up in a few months. I mean HORROR story. Claws, fangs, and finally a parting of wedding ways! Whew. I'm not one for girl drama and hearing stories like that makes my skin crawl. Candy and I are in absolute agreement that we will punch each other in the face if we ever get that bride crazy.

While your wedding should be one of the most exciting days of your life it is in fact one DAY. Therefore, chill out people. It should be beautiful, special, will not nor should you aspire to utter perfection. This is one day I say you throw the 'keeping up with the Jones' (Kardashians)' mentality right out the window and do what you want. There's so much performance pressure on weddings it's ridiculous. I say, forget's your day.

I love the part in the movie 27 Dresses where the main character says that she'll wear an ugly dress because it's their day and when her day comes she knows those same girls will be there for her. In the movie of course, that all comes true. Real life is slightly less perfect (but somehow still has plenty of ugly bridesmaids dresses for the claiming). Isn't that what being a bridesmaid is all about? Support.

I kept the letter my sister wrote me on the morning of her wedding of which I was the Maid of Honor. She said that she couldn't imagine anyone else she'd rather have closest to her as she made the biggest and most exciting commitment of her life. That's it. That is exactly what being a bridesmaid should be like. And let me tell you, the cut of that dress was NOT meant for my bod...made worse by the fact that my Mom (while I was away) sewed up the V that made the V neck because she said I have too much cleavage. This made my dress look a bit awkward and my torso look like that of a midget. Don't worry, that's been documented for life. Fabulous. She was worth every second, and every facebook documented picture.

I see the bridesmaid role in two ways. I consider it an honor that for the rest of their lives when they look at wedding photos or remember that day, I will be part of it. I also consider it somewhat of a gift or service on my part. You have to buy a dress, take PTO, travel (or so it always seems in my case), buy gifts, throw parties, etc. And you know what? For my best friends, I am delighted!

When Candy called me to ask me to be a bridesmaid I was elated. Secretly I'd been hoping since her now fiancee told me he was going to propose that she would want me to be part of it. Thankfully, she did! And I'd stand on my head in purple crush velvet if she really wanted...Heck I'd even be in a theme wedding. Her friendship means that much. But thankfully, she has excellent taste too (hince: we're friends).

Can I just say that I would LOVE to be in a wedding where there is a dancing entrance just once in my life? If you don't know what I'm talking about, YouTube it.

That is all.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Colts Apron.

I am playing Suzie Homemaker this evening and throwing a few snacks together for my poker playing buddies. Excuse the hot mess than is me at the moment but I finally and I do mean FINALLY unpacked my first 3 boxes since the official move. Score. Had to break out my Colts apron for the brownie baking event and thought I'd share a pic with you.

I'm at home STILL waiting on the brighthouse people to come reunited me with my love from Criminal Minds. Oh DVR how I have missed you.

Hope your weekend is off to a productive yet relaxing start as well...and cheer hard for my Colts on Sunday. My nerves are already a disaster.


The Gypsy Series....

To see me as a guest blogger over at Melissa's blog click here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I've been reading a great book called, 'In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day' by Mark Batterson. The interesting thing about this book is that I started it because I loved his writing style but thinking 'I don't really need this book'. The book is about fears. I've always been the fearless ring-leader type. I've never really thought of myself as someone who is afraid of anything.

I mean sure, there are things I'd rather not experience like drowning or being robbed. But I don't spend much time considering them so they're not real fears, just unpleasantries. So why read a book that tells me how to overcome my fears? Honestly, I really did just buy it because I loved Mark Batterson's other book 'Wild Goose Chase'. I'm a weird reader in that sense. I fall in love with writing styles more than authors or story lines. If I love the way in which you write, I'll read pretty much anything.

The funny thing about thinking you already know yourself is when reality smacks you in the face. I may not have known to acknowledge my fears but it turns out I do have some. I have three main fears that I have had for so long, I didn't realize they were fears. Let me preface what is coming next by saying that I determined these for myself and that I chose names for them...those didn't come from the book. I'm going to be bold here and tell you about them...

1. The Fear of Failure. I worry that I will fail at a job. That if I lost my job I'd lose my house. Or that I will try to go to grad school and fail at getting in, or graduating. I am afraid of failure. Not the small things like asking for a discount on my car insurance and not getting it...but the big things. The ones that stay with you for life. I'm afraid of those kind of failures and I can pinpoint times in my life where this has kept me from being able to really try at something.

2. The Fear of the Unknown. I have a somewhat irrational fear of 'what is to come'. I don't like surprises. When given the chance I would always rather know beyond a shadow of a doubt what it coming next in my life. I absolutely hate the idea of the unknown and in some ways I've allowed that to become a fear. If you boil it down it is certainly the cause of my OCD and control freakish tendencies.

3. Fear of Disappointing my Parents. I am truly afraid of disappointing my parents. I know that sounds childish and that by 24 I should probably be over this or at least able to manage it. But after reading this book I realize that I make decisions keeping in mind how my parents will think of me afterwards. If they'll approve or disapprove. What they'll say or think. Should I even tell them? And I know now that this is a fear.

So where do I go from here? I started this book thinking I was in control of my thought life and unafraid. Now having recognized that there is fear in my life that does have some control, what next? I'm a fixer. I'm the friend you never ask to just be moopey with you because even if I try not too, I'll be thinking of a solution in my head.

I was laying in bed last night praying about how to overcome my fears. The answer hasn't been revealed to me just yet but I've accomplished step one which to me is, identify them. I've figured them out and addressed them by name. I've even shared them with you here. Awareness is a beginning but now I have to conquer them...somehow.


Quote of the Week.

'A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read,' - Mark Twain

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guest Blogging...

I've always been amused by guest blogging. There's something special about being asked to share your thoughts on someone else's 'space'. I had invited one girl in particular to share on my blog as a guest but sadly, after a 25 year fight with cystic fibrosis, she went home to be with the Lord. Her life was a testament of the tangibility of life and how important it is to make every one of our days here count. Since her passing I haven't been able to bring myself to invite anyone else to write here on my blog. I think eventually I will....but not yet.

I did recently get an e-mail from Melissa, a fellow blogger who is posting a series of stories written by her readers about their lives. She invite me to write my story to be posted as part of her series and I accepted. I finished my story Sunday and sent it her way. It will be posted on this coming Friday and I will have a link up here on my site for those of you who want to check me out as a guest blogger.

I hope you all are having a great start to this week.


Monday, January 18, 2010

To be Teachable.

I was driving home from my finance class last night chatting on my blackberry (yeah, I decided to keep it) with my Momma. She asked me if I feel like the 16 weeks of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University have made a huge difference in peoples lives or if it's just been 'another class'. The answer that came to mind and that I shared with her is the inspiration for this blog entry.

A social worker by degree, I'm abnormally self-aware. My job in a nutshell (or the one I was trained for at least) is to analyze peoples behaviors, habits, and decisions and make behavior modifications that will enable them to better their lives. The blessing and curse of that is that I am constantly analyzing myself as well. Why do I think the way I do? Why do I behave the way I do? How would changing my habits affect my results? In what ways could I better my relations with a person, place, organization, etc. My mind is always swirling with these questions and searching for answers.

With my fancy degree from Purdue I should be more eloquent in explaining this concept but I have found that the inability to be teachable is the biggest hindrance in helping someone help them self. Whether on a professional basis or when I'm trying to guide a friend through a tough time, I have learned to steer clear of people who are unteachable. What do I mean by this? I mean that it is impossible to help someone who thinks they already have all the answers.

People are either going to make excuses for their circumstances or own them. I will admit to having come from a bit of a 'tude of being a know-it-all myself. My Dad use to tell me that no one wanted to help me because I couldn't hear good advice. Yeah, I was that girl. My infinitely wise parents tried countless times to guide me on higher ground but I just wanted to do everything my own way. Opposite of however anyone else told me too.

I thought I was independent. Now I realize I which just arrogant...and more than a little stupid. But you know, that was the past. Since college I have changed my ways and I have been hungry for advice. I use to make lists of questions to ask my Dad about things I read about real estate or budgeting. I beg my Mom to e-mail me recipes or pick me out the best pots and pans. I have realized the value in others experiences and wisdom to keep me from falling on my butt (which I think has been fallen on enough for a while).

I find that you should always give yourself room to fail. Those who never fail, also never achieve greatness. Don't be afraid to try things without knowing the result in advance. BUT if you have things in your life you could be doing better (and we all do!) than seek wise counsel. Save yourself some time, money, resources, embarrassment, and mistakes by listening to advice.

On that note I'd like also to point out what makes 'wise counsel'. We have been discussing wisdom at my church this month and I was so struck by my pastors words. He said that wise people ask for the advice they need while fools ask those who will tell them what they want to hear. Haven't we all done that? Asked our hot-mess-of-a-friend for advice knowing they'll tell us were doing GREAT (because compared to them we might be!). I rarely ask people my own age for advice anymore. My best friends are fabulous and they encourage me daily and talk me through any crisis I may have. But people my parents age tend to have the experience to back their ideas up! Find someone who's doing it better than you and ask THEM how to get to where you want to be.

The important thing about seeking the wisdom of others, is that you go about it with the right attitude. Be teachable. There is much knowledge to be gained from others but it is easy to miss out because of your own pride. Just remember, pride goes before the fall. And if you're tired of falling on your face (or butt), quit tripping over your own pride.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Quote of the Week.

'I could prove God statistically. Take the human body alone- the chances that all the functions of an individual would jus thappen is a statistical monstrosity' -- George H Gallup

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Adventures and Misadventures.

Inspiration I find comes in the oddest of places. I have a tendency to justify my actions. So in my mission to be more financially responsible (if you're new here, you can find plenty of past entries about this journey) I kept justifying hanging on to my one credit card, because I was keeping it paid off. I figured, as long as I wasn't paying interest I was ahead of oh, 99% of Americans. But the point isn't everyone else. The point isn't even the interest. The point is that I was spending more money, because my credit card doesn't have fine lines or cutoffs.

The point of a budget is that when you're spending let's say, $30 for the week on gas - you have none left. So if you get low on gas you better quit driving til Monday. With a credit card it's easy to swipe and pump $33 dollars of gas and then just keep driving until you need more, knowing you'll always be able to swipe again. This to me is a false sense of security. Just because I can scrounge around at the end of the month to make ends meet, doesn't mean that I'm being successful. It means I'm getting by - not getting ahead.

So, in a 90% black ensemble, I am morning the death of my credit card. Yep, that's right...she's gone. I fought tooth and nail for quite a while to justify just keeping her around in my wallet, ' just in case'. But you know what, I've got to quit making 'just in case's' become purchases. So, my wallet is a little lighter today folks!

Despite my drama of using terms like 'mourning' I actually feel great about the decision. It was time to give my budget a kick in the pants. Now that I'm a homeowner with quite a few years of debt ahead of me before I'll be able to proudly claim my 'debt free' status again, it was time to kick it into high gear. And this means that not even a couple dollars is going to slide through the cracks anymore. If it's not in the budget, it's not happening.

For me, the new year has renewed my resolve to stop making excuses for myself and grow. In all areas of life. So, no more justifying. No more comparing myself to people who 'are worse off than me' to make myself feel better about hanging on to bad choices. Just forging ahead with faith.

So, enjoy a moment of silence on my credit cards behalf...


2010 Reading List (completed)

1. The Sweet By & By - Sara Evans
2. Two Little Girls in Blue - Mary Higgins Clark

I will be adding to this hopefully on an almost weekly basis. So I will repost it as I go.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Learning to Cook.

I've promised myself that in 2010 I will learn to cook. For a handful of reasons but mostly because I need more relaxing activities in my life and because I have a sweet new kitchen to do it in. As you can now see.

I decided when I determined I wanted a house that was black and white all over to pick accent colors for each room. Since my living room, kitchen, and dining room are attached, I'm keeping red throughout.

I went on a huge hunt for red appliances and as you can see found a few. I also hit the jackpot with red KitchenAid at Marshall's. I'm obsessed with Marshalls, TJMaxx, and Homegoods. By the time this adventure is over I'd say 90% of my condo will have some from one of those 3 stores.

Putting together my kitchen has inspired my to commit to learning a new recipe per week. But that is beginning after I get moved in. : ] Maybe I'll cook something on a video blog soon. Or at least post a recipe.


Quote of the Week.

'What you are today is the sum total of the choices you have made' - Church Bulletin, Grace Family Church

Friday, January 8, 2010

Carpet 180.

So when I bought the BP condo, the only part about the condo I just couldn't stand was the carpet.  Clearly the people who owned my condo before me did not have a very well trained pet.  Hince these puppies (pun intended)...

Oh yeah and the bottom staircase had this lovely basementish carpet...

But have no fear!  All of that filth has been removed and replace with...

Well I feel better, don't you? :] I LOVE it.  More pics to come soon.  My stuff is finally joining me at the condo in less than a week.  Can't wait to be sleeping in my real bed again.


The Accent Wall.

I figured it was about time I showed you what color we painted the accent wall in my bedroom.  This is it!  Fabulous isn't it?  Esp. with my black furniture and my zebra bedding.


Enter: the Crackberry.

Over Christmas my sister (the baby one) & I both joined the world of the Crackberry. I learned this charming term from the Verizon rep who told me (and my stunned mother) to visit to learn all the crazy tips, tricks, and read about crazies with their blackberries. My Mom was mortified and whispered to me, 'Does he mean crack like the drug?!'. Lord help me.

Now, I should go ahead and admit that until I sing songed a little Beyonce 'upgrade me' to the Verizon reps, I didn't even have internet on my phone. That's right kids, I, Becca Christensen, was about 3 years behind the technilogical times. Have no fear though, I WILL catch up. So as I toted my macbook, my kindle, and my voyeger (my previous phone) around looking somewhat techy chic - I did not (insert shock and horror here) have internet on my cell.

So I'm two weeks in and while I wouldn't expect to find my picture on just yet, I do like having the internet. Being able to look up the phone number to Sam's Club and check their hours when I needed one last kitchen item was amazing. Checking my e-mails from the condo while my laptop is at my rental? Also helpful. Never having to say 'I'll look when I get home' - life changing.

Biggest drawback? It doesn't get good reception! I'm not sure if it's because the blackberry is like a forcefield all it's own or what but mine lacks reception in areas my old phone seemed to handle just fine. This could prove to be problematic as my new home in 'the C' as I fondly call it, does not have enough reception for a good length chat. Booo.

One other noteworthy drawback... did you know that Bath & Body works sends those crazy ad e-mails at 4:00am? Yeah, me neither until they starting haunting my sleeping hours. Eck. I unsubcribed from every e-mail list my online shopping had found me upon in the last oh, 24 years. No more middle of the night e-mails. No more junkmail to my phone. I say no no no!
A few days after the great unsubscribing of 2010, I practically shreiked at the girl at Bath & Body when she asked for my e-mail address. I promise I didn't mean too but before I could catch myself I practically leapt down her throat about their e-mailing habits. Oops. Don't worry I calmed and righted the situation. Without, however, re-giving them my e-mail. Boundaries are the spice of my shopping life.

Just wanted to share my thoughts with you all as I pioneer this new worth of a phone that is smarter than I.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Start of my Reading for 2010.

So, as previously mentioned I have set a goal to read 50 books in 2010. I do not want to pick them all in advanced. That's just boring. So, here are my first 5.

The Sweet By & By - Sara Evans (read & reviewed)
In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day - Mark Batterson
The Last Dickens - Matthew Pearl
My Enemy's Cradle - Sara Young
Basic Black - Kathy Black

Thank you to Karen Code, Krystal Whitten, and Krista Knable for 3 of these first 5 reads. And if you wrote me to suggest books, I have them written down. I'm just taking it little by little.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let's Talk about Homeownership!

I've been a homeowner since December 21st of 2009. And let me just share with you (especially those of you close to my age) that the actual buying of the house was considerably easier than I had expected. I owe this in large part to having a great realtor, one Ms. Nancy Huhta of Keller Williams. One would think (and possibly hope) that spending such a large amount of money would take more time. But no, the closing process was actually short, sweet, and painless! Hoorah.

That being said, what has followed has been chaos, hardwork, blunders, more chaos, more work. Help! I'm up at 6am every morning working on packing or something else at one house, to drive to work for an 8 hour day, spend 3 hours at the condo (house #2 of the day) doing cooking, cleaning, unpacking what I spent an hour packing, then drive back up north and crash. Repeat. Yes, this is my life. When I'm not doing those tasks (which is rare) I'm stalking the mailman because my mail was being rejected from my new address, or trying to track down my new drivers license which appears to be lost in transit somewhere in Florida, having countless 'check ups' done to make sure my place is in tip top shape, painting accent walls, or putting together furniture.

Homeownership is a fulltime job! Can I apply for a job as a stay at home homeowner? That should exist. Whew.

I'm happy to report my AC and Heat are in tip top shape and are finally running. This is lovely since my condo has been a whopping 59 degrees this week, in which we were painting with the windows open! I would like to take a breif moment to thank my dear friend, Jess Corbin, for enduring the freezing weather with fans blowing to help me paint!

My magenta colored accent wall is fabulous! Pictures coming soon.

New carpet goes in on Saturday and I plan to post before and after pictures but not until I have after pictures. The before pictures will gross you out so I need to follow them with the lovely new carpet that will be present soon. I'm pleased with my selection of both a company (Bob's Carpet Mart) and my selection of Carpet (called: Cheval in the color: Dahl).

The only fully functioning room in the condo thus far is the kitchen, but they, that's all the you need right? Food. My fridge is well stocked with: milk, eggs, leftover soup, and diet cheerwine. You know, the essentials.

My furniture is now finally set to join me in beach park on Jan. 16th. I cannot wait.

Much much much more to come about the condo, homeownership, and the chaos that is my current life. Thanks for your thoughts, prayers, suggestions, recommendations, and support. My condos 2ish weeks old now and it keeps getting better with time.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Book Review: The Sweet By & By.

I just finished reading multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans, book The Sweet By & By. The book is coauthored by Rachel Hauck. A fictitious story of a girl named Jade with a lifetime of regret, secrets, and heartbreak, she captures your heart and your sympathy. As the date of her wedding to Max Benson is fast approaching she must face her past in order to move forward and have a chance at a future.

Twists and turns keep the story moving. This book will cause you to experience a multitude of emotions. A bit too predictable with your typical 'happy ending', the book has a certain 'feel good' element. Evans' attempt to put into words experiencing Christ for the first time has a bit of a fairy tale feel that's lacking believability. However, the grace, peace, and joy of redemption that Jade experienced from the freedom she finds in Christ is believable and relatable for those of us who have accepted grace for ourselves.

A good read for young, Christian girls and fans of Sara Evans alike. It was certainly worth the time and an easy read.


If you'd like to review books visit Thomas Nelson Publishing on the web for details.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Books of 2010

1. In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day - Mark Batterson
2. The Sweet By & By - Sara Evans
3. Two Little Girls in Blue - Mary Higgins Clark
4. New Moon - Stephanie Meyer
5. Accidental It Girl - Libby Street
6. The 10th Circle - Jodi Picoult
7. Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane
8. Midnight Sun - Stephanie Meyer
9. Maneater - Gigi Lavangie Grazer
10. Sundays at Tiffanys - James Patterson
11. Forget Me Not - Vicki Hinze
12. The Blind Side - Michael Lewis
13. A Bride Most Begrudging - Deeanne Gist
14. Bridegrooms - Allison Pittman
15. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
16. Radical - David Platt
17. Songs of the Humpback Whales - Jodi Picoult
18. Indivisible - Kristen Heitzmann
19. Eclipse - Stephanie Meyer
20. Bitter is the New Black - Jen Lancaster
21. The Carrie Diaries - Candace Bushnell
22. How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World - Jordan Christy
23. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World - Joanna Weaver
24. Hide - Lisa Gardner
25. The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
26. Sweet Ruin - Cathi Hanauer
27. The Candidate - Susan Wales & Robin Shope
28. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephanie Meyer
29. Breaking Dawn - Stephanie Meyer
30. The Ivy Chronicles - Karen Quinn
31. House Rules - Jodi Picoult
32. Holes - Louis Sachar
33. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott - Kelly O'Conner
34. The Passage - Justin Cronan
35. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything - Janelle Brown
36. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving
37. The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls
38. Vanishing Act - Liz Johnson
39. Bridget Jone's Diary - Helen Fielding
40. Vision in White - Nora Roberts
41. The Giver - Lois Lowry
42. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake - Aimee Bender
43. Kings of the Earth - Jon Clinch
44. Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild - Mary Kassian
45. King Takes Queen - Gigi Lavangie Grazer
46. How to be Single - Liz Tuccillo
47. The Ocean Inside - Janna McMahan
48. Last Night at Chateau Marmont - Lauren Weisberger
49. You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know - Heather Sellers
50. A Million Little Pieces - James Frey

From Florida...

- Keep God first. It so easy to let my priorities get out of whack. This year I want God to stay at the center of all I do. I want Him to be first and foremost.

- Open my heart to people. Forgetting past hurts or disappoints I want to fully love the people in my life, even when they're undeserving.

- Pray for my family daily. While this has been more of a weekly thing in 2009, in 2010 I want to make time every morning to pray for my family members.

- I will cut the crap. And I mean in my schedule. I will get rid of the unimportant, distracting things in my daily life and use the time for what's important.

- I will take time to enjoy, reflect, and be still. We miss so much when we don't stop moving.

- I will read 50 new books with my friend Joy.

- I will be quicker to listen, and slower to speak (and judge).

- I will get out of my comfort zone, on purpose!

- I will fill my new condo...with furniture, with love, and I hope on a few occasions - with people!

- I will be forgiving of others and of myself.

- I will love my job.

- I will write. Often.

- I will be a great sharer. Of my time, my talents, my affections, and my things.

- I will reevaluate and add to this list regularly.

- I will grow up, with as much grace as I can muster.

Becca Christensen of Tampa, FL


Quote of the Week.

'Wealth consists not in having great possessions but in having few wants' - Esther De Waal, Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict

Taken from Real Simple Magazine, January 2010 Issue.