Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We bought a house

My life long dream has been realized!  We bought our cute little 3 bedroom bungalow on the Northwest side of Chicago on June 22nd....and boy have we been busy since then!

The house we bought we got a GREAT deal on, however it needed some work....most of the work was cosmetic, and stuff we knew we could do ourselves.

Check out our progress so far.

The house from the outside.  See the lovely lace panels in the window.

 Oh- and the lovely green carpet...
 new window coverings- stained glass applique from home depot!
 peel and stick tile from home depot---- what a difference!

Living room- white walls, carpet

dining room- same carpet- the molding was there, and they gave me the idea of the different color above the molding

My brother came to town and refinished the floors- we did a couple coats of paint, and voila- a whole new room.

More pics to come!  We are planning on moving in on July 21st!  Just shy of our one month of homeownership!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Music...makes the people...come together

Let's go back about 10 years...When I had the amazing experience of spending 4 months in the Dominican Republic with 14 other college students, one ultra cool mentor and one allergy and accident prone Jesuit Priest/ philosophy professor...

One of our first days there, we were sitting by the beach, just watching the fluctuation of the tide. And Jorge decided moving forward we would have a "Song of the day".  That day our song was "Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding.  From Jack Johnson and Ben Kweller, to the Beatles and Janis Joplin, I learned alot about music.  Throughout the highs and lows of our journey there, there are many songs that creep into my head and put me back on my island, where I knew what was right and what was wrong, and I found myself. 

So what does this lovely intro have to do with anything?  I have recently re-discovered my love for music.  I have always loved music, for anyone who really knows me, you know I was born to perform.  I love the spotlight, and for many years, it was me singing in the spotlight.  Now, I refuse to watch American Idol or any of the singing shows as that is not where my life took me and I get a bit melancholic...anyways--- wow is this post plagued with diversions---

I bought my Lollapalooza tickets after much coaxing from friends in St. Lucia (Caribbean islands= music), and have decided I need to get familiar with these new bands, and not the crap I hear on the radio 16 times a day.  So I have been spending money like crazy buying up all the itunes music I can.  I am in LOVE with some new female solo artists and band groups.  

So for anyone interested in expanding their music collection, may I recommend a few artists/bands:

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals- I bought her live album- they rock.  I can picture myself at their concert, for some reason, I see it as barefoot in the in hand, maybe something a big down and just dancing.   My favorite song thus far- "Paris (oh la la)"

Kate Voegele- shes a little bit country, a little bit rock and role.  Kate was a secondary character in One Tree Hill  for a few seasons playing Mia, who, funnily enough, was a singer/songwriter.Kate's songs are catchy, uplifting and just songs you want to belt out in the car.  My favorite is "Sunshine in my Sky" from the Gravity Happens album.

Kat Edmonson- I heard about Kat on an NPR episode, I guess she raised all the money herself to put together her new album "Way Down Low", which has a unique and coquettish femininity to it.  She is playful, and amusing.  My favorite on this album is titled "Champagne" and starts with an infamous lie that many of us have told ourselves at least once "I'm never gonna drink again".  I picture sipping cocktails, at a swanky piano bar while listening to this album.  A perfect cocktail hour CD.

As you can probably imagine, none of these bands is coming to Lollapalooza, so my musical search will continue.  But I hope you tune into some of these new artists and enjoy them as much as I have.

Friday, January 13, 2012

not an early adaptor

"Early Adaptor", Im not sure if this is a new term, or if it has come about with the constant changes in technology that seem to be driving adoption.  I guess there were probably people who first bought telephones after Bell's discovery.  Were these the same people who bought TV's and then color TV's? 

I have come to realize that I am generally a little late on the 8 ball.  Here are some of my late comings:
1.  I bought a palm pilot in 2006...when everyone else had already moved to "do it all machines", a phone that will give you your email, calendar, etc.  so for a while, I had a palm and a blackberry....which makes for a very heavy purse.
2.  I have never had an iphone, I still have a blackberry, that according to our companies mobile central office is "ancient"
3.  I just got an e-reader.  As someone who reads around 40 books a year, this may seem rediculos.  I just like the way pages feel, so I held out for a long time.
4.  I have only owned 1 of my "own computers", not owned by my company that I need to give back.  My computer broke, I never got it fixed.
5.  I use a MAP, not a GPS, a good old fashioned map.
6.  I just learned how to play angry birds
7.  Most importantly, I never watched Arrested Development....WHAT was I missing..  This show is HALARIOUS, I wish I had watched it when it was live.  I wish I had watched it wth everyone else, so when I quote lines people don't look at me like i have 5 heads.

So, I am going to try and make a solid decision to be a little bit more "early adaptive".  Take advise from people, listen, learn and embrace change....

Anyone have any new technologies I should try?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Are you happy?  If you are happy in one area of your life, but not others, where does that put you.  Should we strive for happiness in all area's of our life, or is that asking a bit too much.  Have I set my bar for happiness too high?  Should I really just be content, or is it ok to know that part of you isn't quite "there".

What is happiness to you?  I'm guessing that if I asked you what happiness was I would get all sorts of answers:

Charlie Brown told us that it's "finding a pencil", "two kinds of ice cream", "climbing a tree"
The Dalia Lama states that Happiness is a state of mind- well, that makes it individualistic, that's for sure.
I doubt that happiness is having all the money in the world, I know people who are poorer than many of us can imagine, yet their outsides shout "I am happy"...but who knows what their insides shout.  And the old saying goes that money CAN'T buy us happiness, or in other words "Mo' money, Mo' Problems".

As you can see, I have been thinking a lot about happiness, and mostly why I am "not".  I have a wonderful new husband who I love and adore and who loves and adores me.  I have several great friends and am not often "lonely". I have a job that pays well, for a wonderful company.  In this day and age, I don't have a lot to complain about.  But should we be happy by default?  Should we happy because the world tells us we should?

I have always had these grandiose dreams of what I am going to become, what I am destined to become and the truth job is just not that exciting....It that really just adulthood setting in?  I'm not going to be a writer/sewer/designer....I didn't go to school for any of these things, so i don't know what i thought it would be that way.  I am starting to learn that I really don't like people all that much (I don't mean YOU of course), but gee whiz, people are hard to manage...especially when I have such high expectations of myself and those around me.  As Bing Crosby so elegantly put it, if you put someone on a white horse "they are bound to fall off once in a while", and my knights on white horses fall off do I.  and when I fall off, that's when I really get lost.

So, are you sick of hearing me wallow...because I certainly am...and the way I see it, no one can fix this but me.  So, 2012 is the year of self help.  I just purchased "The Happiness Project" and I can't wait to start helping myself be the happy person I used to be.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"I am a money management genious"

This is what I was yelling on Friday as I was taking some web based e-learning training titled "finance for non-finance professionals".  Scott backed away from me for fear of lightening striking me down dead.  But it was true.  I got all the answers right on the course regarding managing money.  The points the course was making regarding cash flow, money in and out, etc. were very, well, basic.

You shouldn't spend more money than you have.  If you find yourself in a cash crunch because your invoices are not being paid timely, or because of unexpected emergencies, you need to prioritize what monies are going out, ensuring that what needs to get paid (any fixed expenses- rent, phone, salaries, etc) are getting paid.  If you see this being a regular occurance where your money out is always more than your money in...well, Houston...we have a problem.  More drastic measures need to be taken, whether that is across the board cuts, or getting more income.

So yes, on paper money management is easy.  However, this is probably one of my biggest flaws as a human.  I do really good for a couple of months (Jan/Feb/March---I did AMAZING).  April....I sucked!  and when I am stressing about financial issues you know what I do?  Shop...because of course, shopping cures everything.  I bought 4 new pairs of shoes in April, 3 new shirts from Victoria's Secret, I bought new throw pillows for the coach, new curtains for the living room, new fabric to make purses, not to mention a trip to Kansas City.  (oh- and the fact that I owe the dang government a million and a half dollars :(). 

So, now I have found myself cooking up "get rich quick" ideas.  Here are some of the ideas I've come up with this week:
1.  Sell stuff on ebay.  I have a billion books that are collecting dust on my shelf,  I have stacks and stacks of DVD's that I never do anything with.  I have clothes that no longer fit- this time in a good way!

2.  Sell things on Etsy....I mean, everyone is doing it.  I just made a super cute you think I could make purses and sell them on Etsy?  I mean I do have all this extra time where I am not doing anything;)

3.  I could actually be better at watching my spending...but what fun is that.

Do any of you have any "get rich quick" schemes?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oscar Fever

For the first time in...I don't know...ever, I felt REALLY prepared to watch the Oscar's this year.  I saw 7 of the 10 best picture award winners, was able to fill our a pretty confident ballot, and have been waiting to give my reviews of movies as I see them.

The weekend before the Oscar's, some friends and I decided that we want to try and go see movies.  After a "double feature" on Sunday, I was able to knock out The Fighter and The Black Swan.

The Fighter: Christian Bale....amazing.  The second I saw him on screen I thought...."what the heck is this guy on".  Christian was phenomenal in playing the drug addicted, fame seeking older brother of Micky Ward (Marky Mark).  He was believable, you shivered with him as he went through withdraw in jail, you hated him at at times for being so pompous, and your heart broke as you saw the reaction on his face when he realized that the documentary was really about.  I thought it was a great movie.  I was confident and Christian would win for best Support Actor....It was well deserved!

The Black Swan: Holy CRAP!  That was a mind twister.  That mother...OMG...I would have not been surprised if she was the person attacked at the end.  Natalie Portman was fantastic as always, Mila Kunas was great....I "almost" forgot her as the dim-witted Jackie from "That 70's Show".  Natalie's portrayal of a ballet dancer who just got the role of a lifetime in Swan Lake.  She is learning how to play the "black swan" the darker, more sinister twin sister of the white swan.  The role gets to her.  Seeing the world through Natalie's eyes, she starts to see people as her enemies, as her roadblocks and as watches her fame slip away.

I guess the "first" Oscar movie I saw was "Inception".  I think it was unfortunate for inception to come out when it did (last summer).  It was sooo long ago, I remember it being really well done.  I remember thinking "what the heck" when I walked out of there, I remember all the hype, talking about it at work, and recommending it to friends.  I remember saying I wanted to see it again so I could "figure it out"...but to be honest...I have forgotten a lot of the movie.  I know its about dreams, but I think it lost a lot of it's hype in the 8 months it's been out.

The Kids are Alright: I rented this on Monday.  I didn't have a whole lot of knowledge about what this movie was.  I knew it was about a lesbian couple and their kids, and their kids finding their sperm donor dad.  I did not know that I would see a lot of people naked.  I thought Juliana Moore had a stronger role than Anette Bening, I just thought she really made a great impression.  I thought it was a good movie...I don't know if I thought it was Oscar worthy, but good...(just don't watch it with your parents:))

The Kings Speech:  Now, I am a bit jaded.  I HEART HEART HEART Colin Firth.  I love him, I think he is the cutest.  I feel like he is the most wonderful man.  He is a little bit like my prince charming.  So, Colin had my vote for the moment he began stuttering.  At the end of the movie, it was clear that he would have my vote even if he was another silly Brittish actor.  The Kings Speech was wonderful.  It was heartfelt.  It was historic, timeless.  I know it's getting a lot of slack.  Many people think it shouldn't have gotten the Oscar.  (Now, I am with the folks that I don't think it should have gotten best original screen my opinion, a biography, or something based on historical events, isn't ORIGINAL....INCEPTION- now THAT's original.)  I thought Helena Carter was amazing.  It was so weird to see someone who generally plays a "whacadoo" play royalty.  Amazing, Gripping movie...LOVE IT.

Toy Story 3- Andy's grown up.  He no longer needs his toys, toys accidentely get donated.  Woody Saves the Day!  It's your typical Disney/Pixar Movie.  It was cute, it was clever.  It was well done.  I cried at the end...but it had some big time competitors.  I'm glad it was there.

The Social Network (AKA- the facebook movie).  Mark Z is a jerk face.  I spent the majority of the movie thinking this.  I spend 60% of the movie thinking I was going to disable my facebook account.  I spend several moments of the movie thinking, this guy stole this idea, passed it off as his own and has allienated anyone and everyone who cared for him.  I kind of despised Mark Z.  Until the last 3 seconds of the movie.  The last 3 seconds of the movie they showed a little "after line"....afterlines are my favorite parts of movies....when they tell you what happens after the movie ends....generally only happens in bio-pics or some sort of historical movie....(I also think afterlines are my term...don't google it, you wont find it).  The line said "Mark Zuckerburg is the youngest billionaire" and I thought, what a lonely life.  How lonely is it to know you have lost and ruined all of your friendships, you created something to get into a club and a life of inclusivity, and what you really did was alienate yourself even further.  To never know if someone likes you as a person, and not because you "invented" facebook.  For a quick second, I felt sorry for him....and then I remember how he did it all to himself.  I still have my facebook account....for now.

So all in all, I did a good job seeing these movies this year.  I will try to make it all 10 next year!