Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm Ba-ack! - October Warp Up & November Goals

Life for the paisley penguin has been pretty hectic and crazy lately. My supervisor was let go about a month ago and I have been an army of one at work. I met the final two candidates today and a decision will be made next week. One of them will be employed by Thanksgiving. I love that I was allowed to meet with them to give my impressions as that will be taken in to consideration for their decision.

This week has been even more hectic. Wednesday was the hubs birthday. The kids, a friend, the hubs and I went to Bucca di Beppo for family style Italian food. There are only two in the state of Washington and both are within easy driving distance of my home.

One of my favorite things about Bucca is their decor. All of the walls are filled with framed photos. The main theme is definately anything Italian. Photos of Sophia Loren are hung right next to random photos of everyday people. If you look long enough you will see other photos tucked in here and there of every shape, size and subject. Just above the table we ate at I saw photos of
  • a kitten
  • three priests
  • an Italian villa
  • several people eating spaghetti
  • Sophia Loren
  • a bunch of men that looked like gangsters
One of my favorite photos from Bucca is this woman in a wedding dress kicking a soccer ball.

The walls at Bucca are the inspiration for something I want to do in my dining room. I am in the planning stages of but will reveal soon.

Thursday night the hubs and I were lucky enough to go to the Sounders FC playoff game for free against the Houston Dynamo. It was a draw (in football speak that means tied at zero). The other team was super aggressive. I also thought the officiating was a little one sided and they were not siding with us. We had tons of shots on goal, spent a majority of time on their end of the field and actually got one in but it was denied due to an earlier penalty in the play. Total crap!

The month is almost over and I have not managed to post any photos of my Halloween decorations. I plan to do that tomorrow.

I thought I would do my wrap up for the month finance wise.
  • Income - $4,100.49 (paychecks)
  • Coffee - $68.73 (down $58.94 and $1.73 over budget - budget adjusted to include hubs b-day and day trip coffee spending)
  • Eating Out - $89.81 (up $53.16)
  • Groceries - $372.36 (down $25.55 and 172.36 over budget)
  • Gas - $217.16 (up $64.37 and $77.16 over budget - due to additional extra driving)
  • Save - $2609.20 (up $2459.20 due to sale of hubs massage table & car and cash back from condo refinance)
Goals for October were...
  • Reduce CC balances by $336 - $207.49 less than planned
  • Save $150 - oh yeah, and then some
  • Follow grocery ($200), coffee ($67) and gas ($140) budgets - good and bad here
  • Add one more workout day a week using Wii Fit or Jillian Michaels - NOT (does watching Biggest Loser count?)
  • Make better effort on drinking four glasses of water a day - can't really tell you as I need to define this with better metrics
  • Limit coffee (Starbucks) purchases to Sunday only - caved but not too badly (adjusted for day off and hubs birthday)
  • Continue on eating at least five servings of fruits/veggies a day - did really well bringing a large salad for lunch and pieces of fruit as well as at dinner
  • Actually take a multi vitamin - fail
  • Paint living room - fail
  • Install tile on hearth & possible mantle - started working on it
  • Start SS fingerless gloves - fail
  • Complete at least three knitted ornaments - almost done with one more (could finish that tomorrow
  • Finish refinancing condo - we closed on the 21st!!!
  • Blog at least fifteen times this month - yeehaw this post makes 18
I think I need to streamline my goals with better metrics to measure against. I also don't want to have a huge long list to measure against. Since we are headed in to the holiday season I want to keep things pretty focused on a few areas.

So, goals for November.
  • 6 days of Starbucks (5 Sundays and Thanksgiving day)
  • 9 workouts (5 walking Sundays and 4 workout Wednesdays)
  • $400 extra payment on car (decided to focus on that to pay it off)
  • $900 in savings (no mortage this month)
  • loose 10 pounds
  • knit SS fingerless gloves and three more ornaments (not inclduing the one I started)
  • buy Christmas gifts (need to define list)
  • either paint the living room or tile the hearth
There you have it - here's to another great month!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lazy Sunday

The third day of my three day weekend. I'm gearing up for month end at work and planning a pretty lazy day with the hubs at home.

Yesterday we headed out to the thrift stores. We found some bits and bobs to take apart and make some steampunk ray guns for our costumes. The hubs found a few DVD's he wanted. My greatest scores were some amber Mexican wine glasses and three bunches of dark purple grapes.

My mom loves amber Mexican glass and since St. Vinny's had them for so long I got four for $2 plus tax. I had been to Michaels for grapes a couple times and they never had the color I wanted. I got the three bunches of grapes for $1. Perfect for my dining table centerpiece.

I have my house about as decorated as it can get for Halloween. Stay tuned as I will post photos.

Last night we went to a party held by someone we both went to high school with . There were a few others from high school there. Not everyone could make it but it was so nice to meet up after all this time being as how neither the hubs nor I went to our ten or twenty year reunions.

It's crazy what time and space can do. It was so interesting hearing out their lives and people we knew and remiscing - looking through yearbooks and such.

The great thing about it is that I have probably made some new "old" friends.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Friday!

The hubs and I are taking the day off.

It's really nice to just take a day to do whatever we feel like. We are planning to go to a pumpkin patch and maybe carve pumpkins tonight. I want to hit some thrift stores and a few antique shops up north and my favorite tea shop as I am out of my chocolate tea.

If you still need some Halloween decorating ideas click on over to Eddie Ross. He brings sophistication to holiday decorating which is what I try to do. That is why I drag all my silver, crystal and glass out every year.

Here is a teaser.

Have a great day!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Check Something Else Off The List

Yesterday the hubs and I went and closed on our refinance for our condo. Pretty exciting stuff. We are not saving too much per month on the actual payment. However, we are getting a better interest rate, don't have to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) and are out from under our interest only loan so a lot of our monthly payment will actually go to pay down the balance.

Onwards to getting our car paid off!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Link Love

Could of been the extra glass of wine I had last night but I forgot a couple other bloggers I LOVE to read and look forward to a new post every day.

Crystal at Brunette On A Budget writes about personal finance, travel and her experience writing a novel. Her weekly dash of Rachel Zoe cracks me up. She's seriously a great read so head on over.

A creative mask maker, Tom Banwell creates one of a kind Steampunk inspired masks from everyday objects. His imagination is amazing!

You may or may not have heard of Rachel Ashwell. She is the creator of the Shabby Chic idea of decorating. At one time she had a TV show and several stores selling her line of furnishings. Now she has a blog and even though times are tight in this economy she is looking at the silver lining.

Someone who loves Halloween so much she is getting married that day, Wicked Bride has a lot of decorating ideas for the creepy month of October.

Hope you are having a great day!

Monday, October 19, 2009

We are $2525 richer!

OK, so the title of this blog doesn't have a whole lot to do about the actual subject matter. We (I mean the hubs) are indeed $2525 richer. The hubs sold his massage table for $125 and his 1987 BMW 325is for $2400 over the weekend (don't worry - the chin spoiler was attached when it went away).

The hubs bought this car about four years ago and has loved it. My dad made him an offer he couldn't refuse on his old Porsche (old meaning my dad bought a new one and well the old one is from 1987). Yes indeed I did marry my father (when it comes to cars). Suddenly the hubs got all the little projects done on his car that he had been meaning to do and sold it. The cash from the car will go towards the Porsche so I am not technically recognizing it in the savings account.

So, my blogging of late has been rather shoddy. I have not even uploaded photos of our Halloween decorating. Because.............

Life has been crazy! This is the start of week four of being an "army of one" as I am being called at work. My email accounts (yes I have TWO at work) are crazy! My supervisor has been gone for three weeks and I know they are looking for a replacement. I am SUPER busy at work and SUPER tired. This morning we had an acquisition announcement and now my life is going to get even more hectic in the next couple weeks.

A nervous breakdown is a great idea but I don't have room in my schedule. Can I get an assistant to manage that for me?

We did manage to actually get our Roku working on Friday. We got sucked in to Harper's Island over the weekend and watched all 13 episodes. As I type this I am listening to Vanity Fair. I have not really been paying attention so I will probably watch it again. For the uninitiated, Roku is a way to stream movies from Netflix to our TV. No waiting for a disc to arrive. If you don't like something you just stop watching it and watch something else. It's like a DVR for Netflix.

This is day number 16 for my espresso challenge. Check out my sidebar for the gorey details. I'm doing pretty good actually and I'm proud of myself. Oh yeah - and I have lost 14 pounds!

Yesterday I met a friend at Starbucks for a Stitch n Bitch. We are hoping to do this once a month. It was nice to sit down with a bunch of girls to knit while decaffeinated.

I don't do this often but I thought I would give you a little link love...

One of my all time favorite blogs to read is Crazy Aunt Purl. A woman who came home from work one day to be told her husband wanted a divorce and she turned that in to a blog and then a book. I discovered her the day after she was in Seattle on her book tour for her last book. Her next book comes out in February and she better come to Seattle again! She talks about knitting and life and she is a hysterical read!

Moneyopolis used to be Escape Booklyn. As you can probably guess from the title of her new blog she did indeed escape - Brooklyn that is. She is busy settling in to her life in Minneapolis (yes they got snow over the weekend) and remodeling her "mansion".

Now, someone who still lives in Brooklyn is Brooklyn Limestone who I found a couple weeks ago and proceeded to spend and ENTIRE SUNDAY reading her entire blog. Love, love, love her house and so want it!

Shameless plug for the hubs blog, A Kilted Travel Agent. He mostly talks about his deep love of the automobile (second only to madame paisley). If you are so mechanically inclined take a jaunt on over.

A local gal (by local I mean in the greater Seattle Tacoma area), Karla at It's the Little Things blogs about her amazing home remodels on a shoestring budget. Check out her post from today. Yummy chowder and cider recipies!

That's about it for me. Hope all is well and I promise I will be a better blogger!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Finally Success!

We are finally able to stream from Netflix. After ordering our Roku, having it get lost in the mail, buying a router, buying an external network card and having Comunistcast ping our modem - we are live and streaming!

I imagine I will be spending quite a bit of time glued to my TV!

Here is a photo of one of my bigger goals I am saving for. A Mini Cooper S hard top in Hot Chocolate.

Can you just picture the license plate holder with "Take life with a grain of chocolate"? Now THAT'S eye candy!

Guest Blogging at Mrs. B's!

Just a quick post today. I am a guest blogger today over at Mrs. B's Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom. So if you have not checked her out yet there are still a bunch of days left in the month and plenty of chances to win some great stuff! She's also got a haunted blog tour and other fun stuff!

Thanks Ellie and Wendy for stopping on by!

More Halloween blogging to continue tonight adfet the work week is behind me!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Small Things Accomplished

Last night I drug out a bag of clothing that needed repair in order for us to be able to wear it again. Two pair of pants hemmed, one top that needed part of the trim reattached and one shirt that needed buttons reattached. Done and are now back and hanging in the closet.

The rest of the bag consists of fabric that needs to find a home. Some of the fabric is yardage in prints that I like. I use it for table cloths and such. Then there is some fabric that needs to be made in to something. This part of the bag still needs to be sorted.

As I may have mentioned before, we live in a small 900 square foot condo. When the hubs kids come to visit on the weekends they share the second bedroom. So, we are really tight on storage. For the better part of several months I had bags lined up behind my couch. I was so sick of seeing them there that I moved the bags to my bedroom where they ended up lining the wall. I am desperate to get rid of the last of my visible clutter. Once that is done I can move on to the invisible clutter. You know the items stuffed in closets, drawers and under the bed. Out of site - out of mind.

On the espresso challenge update for October. I did cave and bought a coffee at Starbucks yesterday. You know, it just wasn't as good as I expected it to be. Up have updated my side bar and I'm at 41%. I thought this challenge was going to be really hard but it hasn't been all that bad.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy News To Report

So, we had a friend over last night for dinner who works in IT and diagnosed our computer woes. It was a double wammy. The brand new router we bought was bad. Kind of like a brand new faulty starter in a car. Also, our network card was indeed bad as well. We exchanged the router and our friend is getting us a network card today. Woo Hoo! Happy dance for no expensive computer repairs! It could almost be one of those priceless commercials!

This is day 11 of no Starbucks. I have 16 days left in the month and I am having a hard time keeping strong. I managed to get to work without going through the drive through but I know there is a Starbucks within walking distance. I have all these rationalizations going through my head like....
  • You could be like the Amish, they always leave one imperfection in all their handcrafted items because only God is perfect.
  • If I make it to 100% this month then I will have to do that every month and where is the challenge in that?
  • I tightened my belt a notch because I have lost 12 pounds. That is certainly deserving of a yummy coffee beverage to celebrate.
  • The hubs bought a coffee at work the other day (not Starbucks), I should be able to as well.
  • The hubs is going to buy our IT friend a coffee today (at Tully's) as payment for the network card, I should get one too.
  • I refrained from buying any Halloween decor items last weekend.

On and on ad nauseum. I have not updated my sidebar this morning to 40% which would reflect 11 days of no Starbucks. We shall see how the day progresses.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What I Did Today

I found a fabulous blog that I pretty much spent my ENTIRE DAY reading from the beginning. Stephanie and her husband bought a Brooklyn row house in December 06 and have renovated it. Now she is busy putting her personal stamp on the interior with carefully thought out furnishings and accessories.

Oddly enough my decorating style is exactly like hers as explained by as French Eclectic which is described as...

Parlez-vous français? Even if the answer is no, you can confidently say your home does! French Country, like its name, somehow manages to both be formal and casual, classy and unassuming at the same time. You like your spaces to feel inviting from the moment you (or your guest) opens the front door and this feeling should continue even after you've entered your most formal room. Even though there are French antiques here and gold details there, the rustic elements provide a balance and warmth that seems to say, "come in, relax and stay a while." Your love of antiques leads you to flea markets, garage sales and hours of eBay hunting.


The materials and pieces you are drawn to play on the mix of formal and casual. Many of the pieces look like they were passed down from your great-great-aunt (even if they are brand new!) and you managed to upholster them in a way that made that piece both then and now. Much of the furniture is wood-framed and the wood is either left natural (hey there rustic!), painted white (hey there country!) or even gold (hello refinement!). And many times there is a strong mixture of all of these. If you find yourself leaning much more towards the "country" side of things and away from the Parisian side, drop the gold details and replace them with wrought iron.


When it comes to color, you are drawn to bright and airy options. Thoughts of the French countryside are key - warm colors such as yellows, reds and oranges hinting at fields of gold. But the nice thing about French Eclectic is you can just as easily go in the opposite direction: pale blues and greens hinting at acres of lavender fields and expansive blue skies.

Space Planning

When you think about laying out your French Eclectic room the key is to invite people in and encourage them to stay. So furniture should be grouped nicely to encourage intimate conversation and the main pieces should be comfortable in both look and feel. There should be plenty of places to set drinks, prop feet and lean back. And yet the functionality of these pieces doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't beautiful antiques or replicas.

After perusing her blog for the better part of the day I encourage you to take a visit. I am now very motivated to get my home completed. I honestly don't have a lot to do as far as major projects go. I do have a few ideas I want to employ after I do some research but I feel now more than ever I have a direction in completing my condo.

Even though our condo was generic and bare boned I have always wanted for people to walk in and feel somewhat transported and aware they have found a gem among the paste so to speak.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Planning for a Different Future

I’m a planner. There is nothing I don’t love more than sitting in front of a big lined tablet and making lists. Or daydreaming about a future life not yet realized. The problem is I sometimes fall flat on the execution of a plan.

I have spent the better part of the last ten years in the planning stages for major life decisions. I got married and became a step parent. My husband and I bought a condo. We pulled ourselves out of consumer debt and then got ourselves back in.

The one thing I have not accomplished is getting my degree. I woke up a few months ago and realized I was 38 years old and my life was not exactly as I thought it would be at this age. Problem was, I never planned on how my life was going to be. I just woke up every day and went to work and spent my money and lived my life one day at a time with little thought to the future. I thought I had more time.

I know part of my problem is putting things off until I was skinnier, we were in less debt, we owned a home, etc. [Insert excuse here].

The heart of the matter is that I am not satisfied with my job. What I spend more than 40 hours a week doing is mind numbingly boring and not fulfilling what so ever. The pay is enough but just enough. It has been this way for a long time. I don’t have a career plan. I have a job for the simple reason I need to keep paying silly things like my mortgage, my bills and my debt.

That’s right, it’s a JOB – not a career. I did go to college but I did not graduate. I was not certain when I was there what I wanted to do so I decided on Fashion Design. You see, I wanted to design costumes for film and theater. I wanted a career that would be creative and exciting and different every day of my life. I ended up in accounting and have been working in that field for the better part of the last fifteen years.

Sometimes I feel trapped in my life. I have a husband who I love dearly. He has two kids we help support. We have a condo and debt and I have no idea how I would even go about going back to school and paying for it and choosing what it is I would want to study all the while working full time.

Then there is the ticking clock of my age. To most people I am still young, easily able to change from a job to a career of my choosing. Even if I had no college classes under my belt and started today I would be 42 when I graduated. That is still not unreasonable to start a new career. I still would have over twenty years of working life left to live.

My fear is that I will go through all this extra schooling that I will have to borrow money to pay for and I will have to start out making less than I make now. My fear is that I decide on something and then I end up not liking it. My fear is that I might not be good enough.

Even though I have those fears I am going to do it. I have given myself just under two years to prepare. At the ripe old age of 40 I plan to go back to school and finish a degree so I can change careers and do something I enjoy. I'm certain my plan will change as I go along and find out more information but it's a plan and you have to start with something.

Do any of you know of people who have started over in their 30's?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Apartment Therapy

I don't know if you have every heard of Apartment Therapy. It's a great site for decorating ideas. Especially for small places.

Fellow blogger Karla entered her bedroom on over at Apartment Therapy so go on over and have a look. I love what she did with her TV in the bedroom. I had a similar idea in mind and this just gives me more of an idea ofwhat to do. Just have to figure out what to do with the cords.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Computer Update and Other News

So after unplugging the modem for 24 hours we were able to get back online last night. Still no Roku action which is very frustrating. A friend who works in IT is going to come over tomorrow night and look at it. We are hopeful this will be a relatively inexpensive fix and our Roku issues will be resolved by the weekend.

Cross fingers for me!

In other news, this is day 6 of no Starbucks for the month. Just 21 days to go to meet this goal. This is amazing for me and I am pretty darn proud of myself.

It goes to show that when you put your mind to something you can do it. A few years ago I would pay for lunch nearly every day. It's been a couple years now and I rarely eat lunch out. Just something I put my mind to.

If you have not checked her out yet, Mrs. B is having a month long Halloween celebration over at her blog Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom. She has giveaways every day and guest bloggers. Click on over and check her out!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our Computer Died

Last night I turned on the computer to warm it up since its a little slow and takes a bit in otder to get online. After stopping at my neighbors to get my dog and chatting for a bit I came back down to see that I still could not get online.

Everything works on the stupid computer but it is unable to get online due to some network card. The computer is 3 1/2 years old and I was hoping to keep it a little longer before needing to replace it. This is also probably why we are unable to use our Roku to stream from Netflix to our TV.

The hubs and I have been wanting to get two laptops and eliminate the computer all together since we don't have a lot of room in our place we had to reserve one corner of our dining room for the computer. With laptops we can get rid of the temporary setup we have there and just put a cabinet to store things like the external drive, printer, etc.

We are shopping around and will end up buying some sort of laptop by the weekend. My husband is selling a car (hopefully tonight) so a portion of that money will be used for the laptop purchase.

Until then we can't get online unless we go to our neighbors or I do it at work.

Ug! So very inconvenient.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Espresso Challenge

So, I made a pledge of sorts that I would not go to Starbucks this month with the exception of Sunday after walking with my friend. I'm calling it the Espresso Challenge.

We are on day five of the new month and I have not gone to Starbucks with the exception of yesterday which was one of my four Sundays.

I'm getting along OK. I had a ceffaine headache last Friday and I have international coffees stashed in my drawer at work. The hubs brought a french press to his office so he could make coffee for himself. I might invest in one for myself at work too.
27 days for the challenge
4 days down
23 days to go
I even added this to my sidebar.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Halloween Inspirations

A few images that are inspiring me for Halloween. Could be a fun costume but I don't think I would want to put green makeup all over my body.

These curtains are actually outside the front door of this home. I love the noose and skeleton arm as tie backs. The rug on the porch is so great. I love to do and see things that are out of their element so to speak. We have a regular fogger but would need a ground fogger for this effect so it could be hidden behind the curtain for added spookiness.

Archie McFees is a great store to find all kinds of stuff. Fake bugs galore for really reasonable prices. An easy way to create this centipede and rotten egg centerpiece.

I'm keeping my eye out for apothecary type glass jars. I love the way they look. So old fashioned and you can store so many lovely treats in them!

I love candles. During the colder fall and winter months I often have then burning along with my fireplace. This is surrounded by figs and blackberries. I don't think they should be eaten though as the roaches have made a meal of them.

More ideas can be seen here from a post I did last year at this time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

September Wrap Up and October Goals

I don't know about you but when we turn the corner in to September I am ready for my "New Year". A change in the weather and one of my favorite holidays is in October.

Income - $4116.19 (paychecks)
Coffee - $127.67 (up $26.98 and $77.67 over budget)
Eating Out - $36.65 (down $100.65)
Groceries - $397.91 (down $8.81 and $197.91 over budget)
Gas - $152.79 (down $60.30 and $12.79 over budget)
Save $50 ($150 under budget)

The goals we had for September were...
  • Pay off major CC's from August usage - epic failure
  • Save $200 - nope 1/4 of that
  • Follow grocery ($200), coffee ($50) and gas ($140) budget - epic fail
  • Start working out two more days a week with Wii fit and Jillian Michaels - epic fail
  • Drink at least four glasses of water a day - fail
  • Continue on eating at least five servings of fruits/veggies a day - check
  • Start taking a multi vitimin - fail
  • Finish baseboard molding in main part of house (purchased without using CC's) - check (and I used power tools to install it too!)
  • Paint living room - fail
  • Install tile on hearth - fail
  • Finish SD's Tabi Socks for Christmas - check
  • Complete at least five knitted ornaments - completed one
  • Refinance condo - in process
So goals for October....
  • Reduce CC balances by $336 (minimums plus extra)
  • Save $150
  • Follow grocery ($200), coffee ($50) and gas ($140) budget
  • Add one more workout day a week using Wii fit or Jillian Michaels DVD
  • Make better effort on drinking four glasses of water a day
  • Limit coffee (Starbucks) purchases to Sundays only
  • Continue on eating at least five servings of fruits/veggies a day
  • Actually take a daily multi vitimin
  • Paint living room
  • Install tile on hearth & possible mantle
  • Start SS's fingerless gloves
  • Complete at least three knitted ornaments
  • Finish refinancing condo
  • Blog at least fifteen times this month
What I have discovered with goal setting is that if you don't have your goals in front of you it's so easy NOT to achieve them. Every day when I head out to work I have a couple instances when I am tempted to swing in to a Starbucks. Its such a habit I have to make a conscious effort NOT to go. Even when I get to work I can easily walk to a Starbucks for my coffee. I know that if I make it past 11 o'clock I am probably good.

I admit it. I am a coffee snob and I am not a fan of drip which we have in endless supply at work. I do have a couple canisters of flavored international coffees in my desk that I just need to add water too and I have been trying to stick to that instead. Today was the first day of a new month and NO STARBUCKS WAS HAD!