Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ask and you shall receive

So as you all know a little bit ago I made a post about how I desperately wanted a desk for my apartment. I told my wonderful boss how I was looking for a desk and if she saw one to pick it up and I would pay her back. Well not even two weeks later she told me she found the perfect desk and she was going to fix it up for me. I had no idea just how wonderful it would turn out. It's still not ready as the paint is waiting to dry, but she brought in a couple of pictures today. If this desk doesn't scream Lauren Radigan I don't know what does.

Yes she made the chair too with a leopard print seat. Oh and yes those are leopard print knobs you see. 

I have essentially come to the conclusion that I have the most wonderful boss in the world. How many employers would go out of their way to re finish a desk for their an employee? I am just in shock that she did all this for me. I absolutely can not wait to set it up in my house and get it all set up for my organizational binders!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dear hormones please go away

I thought I had made it safely through my pregnancy with out those dreaded hormonal changes every body talks about. SURPRISE! I was very wrong; the past couple of weeks have been an absolute mess for me. My emotions have ranged from being insanely happy to extremely mad to more depressed than I have ever been.  I honestly have started to feel like a crazy person. Thankfully I have the most wonderful man in the world who, despite getting yelled at for every little thing, acts like everything is fine and has yet to to let it bother him.

I have also been stressing over everything from our financial situation to the fact that my house is a mess because I don't have the energy to clean. It's been really hard for me to handle and I've been trying to find ways to reduce my negative attitude, stress, and depressed feelings. Something that really helps is taking a Vitamin D supplement. This is something my mom has always recommended to me and as a kid I kind of blew it off, but now I am a huge supporter. More often than not taking it will instantly reduce my stress, but sometimes I need a little more help. Looking at funny and cute pictures online does help and also chocolate! I have been eating a lot of chocolate especially for some one who never ate much chocolate before becoming pregnant.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from today:

baby boots




Mother cat holding her kitten

haha so teddy!

Obviously the mother and baby ones have a very special place in my heart right now.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mariah's Room

Getting Mariah's room started and finding the things that I would need was not as easy as I originally thought.  First off I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted a changing table or if I should just use my bureau. I finally decided that I did want to get one as well as getting a bookcase. I searched high and low for finding these two pieces of furniture at relatively low prices and couldn't seem to find anything below $70. Even the simplest changing table was still over $100 and a teeny tiny bookcase was around $70. I finally decided that I would just find one on craigslist. I am a huge advocate for Craigslist as you can find incredible things at incredible prices, however, you do have to wait to find the perfect one because some people will try and overcharge you. For example I saw some one trying to sell a box of maybe 100 used crayons for $20, which is just ridiculous because they are like $6 brand new at wal-mart. Every morning and every afternoon I would search craigslist for a changing table and bookcase until I found what I wanted. I finally saw somebody advertising a used changing table that was only 12 years old and originally from Pottery Barn for only $25!! Needless to say I was beyond thrilled AND one of the coolest things about it was the family we bought it from knew little Annie. Apparently their daughter is really good friends with Annie and the changing table was hers when she was a baby so she was pretty excited Annie's new niece was going to be using her changing table.

I am absolutely in love with this; it's nice and big and it has a bookcase underneath so I essentially killed two birds with one stone. I was originally looking at buying a book case for $70 and a changing table for $100 and I got both for $25; so I saved $145 just by taking my time and keeping a good eye on craigslist posts.  The glider right next to it I spent only $25 on as well. My landlord's daughter had a baby several years ago and offered to sell it to me and I jumped at the opportunity. While I'm not thrilled with the color I'm pretty sure I can fix that and besides it's incredibly comfortable. 

I also got Mariah's bassinet from craigslist for only $20 which was an incredible deal. The blanket hanging over the side was free from a good friend. The moon mirror above I got from a garage sale for only $3. 

Including the $40 we spent on refinishing her dresser we have spent a total of $115 on all of her furniture. That is a price I am just not going to complain about. We still need to get decorations for the wall, but that's something that will come with time.

Like I said earlier I am a HUGE craigslist fan, but be ware when buying from there because people do try and overcharge you. When purchasing from craigslist it is definitely worth it to be patient and wait until you find exactly what you're looking for at the price you want to pay. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why I like to be organized

I actually love this little card, because in all honesty this is exactly why I chose to have a more organized lifestyle. I hate looking for things and far too often have I not taken advantage of warranties, discounts, or returned items, because I have no idea where the papers are and am frankly way too lazy to look. So yes I am organized because I am too lazy to look for my stuff and I am quite okay with that. I also love the way things look when they are organized, I always have. I remember being about 10 years old and visiting my  mom's school, she left me with the secretary for awhile who had all these beautiful organized files and that's when I decided I was going to be a secretary and the most organized person I know. While I have succeeded with becoming a secretary, I am still working on becoming organized but I am getting there. Now if you're wondering why is she a secretary when she has her bachelor's degree in business management. Well folks I like being a secretary/receptionist and it's what I'm good at. Someday soon I will become an office manager and be the ultimate secretary!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Baby Shower

Had such an amazing time at my baby shower in Albany, NY. My aunt's did such a wonderful job I can't thank them enough. Here are some of my favorite photos from the shower!

My cake was absolutely beautiful, pink and glittery!

Mariah's room is finally starting to come along! I've been researching decorating tips and organizing tips all day to find the best way to set it up. I would show you guys a picture of it, but I want it to be a surprise for Jack when he comes back from Texas in 5 days!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Getting rid of the inner criticism

Probably just like every body else I am very critical of myself and am always thinking "no one likes me" or "I'm not good enough" Today from my Oprah newsletter (gosh I feel like such a mother/middle aged woman saying that) there was an awesome article about getting rid of your inner critic that I actually enjoyed a great deal.

My favorite part of the article was the first paragraph which was just hilarious:

"Maybe you're one of those self-assured people who've never given a hoot what anyone thinks of them. If so, you also probably set fires and hurt small animals, because you are a psychopath. Please go away. No offense—it's not that I don't want you here. It's just...wait a second. Actually, it isthat I don't want you here! Go right ahead and take offense! Decide that I'm a priggish bitch! I can handle it, because I've internalized the wisdom phrased so cogently by Socrates, or maybe it was LL Cool J: How others judge me is none of my business."

Read more:

What really inspired me about this article though was the front picture, honestly I got more from that then I did the whole article.

Seeing these two jars gave me a brilliant idea. To get rid of negative thoughts about yourself and encourage more positive ones take these two jars, you can label them however you want to as long as there is one that means negative thoughts and one that is for positive thoughts. Whenever you think negatively about yourself you have to put money in the negative thought jar whether it be a quarter or a dollar. This means anything negative, if you think "I can't do this" or "I will never get to my goal weight" or "I'm a horrible person whatever it may be put money in the jar. Not only that, BUT also you have to write something positive about yourself and put it into the positive jar.  When I was a kid anytime I said something negative about somebody  or myself my mom would make me say 10 positive things, she still does this today. As much as I hate doing it it kinda works, which is why I think the jar idea may work. 

So very soon I am going to create these jars and let you know how it goes!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I'm sorry that I have not made any new posts recently I have sort of been on a little vacation. Jack has gone to Texas for 2 weeks for a sales training class so Bootsie and I packed our bags and headed over to grandmothers house. Besides missing Jack like crazy it's actually been quite the stress relief. When coming home from work I don't have to worry about my incredibly messy house or what to cook for dinner I can just relax.

I just wanted to give you guys a quick tip, after reading Oprah's debt diet I decided to sign up for several of her newsletters and I am in love with them. I get emails about money tips, decor tips, and product tips. I still have never seen and episode of Oprah, but I slightly regret not tuning in now I think I would've actually appreciated it.

I will probably make another post this Sunday about my babyshower in Albany, NY that I am sooo excited for so keep your eye out.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Budget Binder

I know I'm a little late, but as promised I want to show you all my budget binder. I was one day googling ways to save money and getting out of debt when I came upon Oprah's Debt Diet Action plan. Now, I have never been an Oprah fan meaning I have just never watched her show, but I may be her new biggest fan as I have fallen in love with this 8 step program. Here is the URL:

The plan has a lot of good information in there to let you know how much you should be spending monthly on things like housing and debt as well as some good templates for you to use. Going through it really motivated me to create a binder and have all my budget information in one place. I printed off the 8 steps and after work I went straight to wal-mart to pick up a binder, dividers, and pencils. Now mind you I have only just started on this binder so It will need some changes, but I am in love with it thus far.

The first thing I did was pick out the most adorable binder that I could find that way there would be at least a little excitement when it's time to look at the finances. I recommend doing something similar while you might not want a binder with a cute kitten on it you could get one and design your own. But alas, due to my strong love of cats I of course chose a binder with an adorable cat on it.

 At the very front of the binder I put the front page of Oprah's Debt Diet so I could see all eight steps listed out. I made tabs for each of the 8 steps, but I think I might change that because it just looks a little busy.

Step 1 has you calculate how much debt you really have and I really liked this step as it forces you to look at everything you owe on one page. I printed out the template and did everything in pencil that way as I paid things off I could erase them or easily make any other types of changes. I'm going to be completely honest this step was pretty depressing. 

Step 5 was my favorite step, because it lays out how much you really should be spending on each category. When I did the calculations I was not even close to the recommended amount. My other living expenses were $525 more than they should be and my transportation costs were $295 more. However, this step got me to realize how much I really am overspending on things.

This step also includes a monthly spending plan, that I do not have pictured, but basically I used the figures above to create an idea of what I should be spending each month. After doing this I was able to find an extra $484 each month which could be really useful if I can stick to my budget. One way I'm going to do this is by a recommendation given to me by my good friend Amanda she said when she was living with her husband and sister they would each put cash into a jar every week and that would be their grocery money. I plan on doing the same thing, but with grocery and eating out money.  

The next three tabs are my budget, spending, and bills. In the budget section i printed out my budget for October-Novemeber and added it in. I am still using the same template I showed you awhile ago and it is still working wonders.

In the spending section I just have a print out of my monthly spending since June that way I can see how much it has changed, what's gone up, what's gone down, etc. I also did an average/total of the past four months where I took the totals from each category from June-Sept calculated the averages, the totals, the highest, and the lowest. This was actually pretty interesting to see.

The last tab is the Bills tab, my least favorite tab. The first page is a print out of a calendar for the current month that I found online. I found all the due dates for all my bills and penciled in when each of them were due. I also penciled in when Jack and I get paid so that way I can easily calculate what paychecks will be designated for what bills. After I pay a bill I simply highlight it.

The last part is all my overdue bills. Bills that I may have just missed a month or medical bills that I just lost track of. I wrote down the total amount of each bill due and listed them in order of which ones need to be paid first. I then got a copy of each bill and put them in the binder. Every time I make a payment I write down the date and amount paid of the payment. 

I still have a long way to go with this binder, but I am impressed with the start of it. I will keep you update with any changes that I may make.

Friday, October 12, 2012

My new favorite blog

Since I have started my new being organized kick I have found and fallen in love with an organizing blog called Iheartorganizing. This woman is pure genius and has some amazingly brilliant ideas. She also has a lot of templates that she sells on her etsy shop for only $3 that I can't get enough of. I haven't gotten around to purchasing any of them, but once I get my home organizing binder started you better believe I will be getting as many as possible. Here is a link to her website:

She is seriously my new idol and the reason I started my budgeting binder which I still have not shown to your guy I know, I promise I will show you this weekend. Anyways I highly recommend all you organizing fanatics to check her out because she is just wonderful.

IHeart Organizing

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Next Project: a new desk!

Now that I'm really starting to get things organized in regards to my meal planning, budget, spending, and wedding planing I'm having a hard time finding a place to work on and store everything. Over the weekend I decided putting a desk in my home would be really beneficial. We don't have any extra bedrooms, but we do have some space in the corner of our dining room. Currently, our dining room is actually quite empty and looks a little awkward. We have a large table and a small wine rack and that's it, so I think adding in a desk will not only help me out, but also add a little to our empty dining room.

I specifically want a desk just like this:

It's small enough that it won't look too obnoxious in our small apartment but still provides me with everything I'm looking for. I like the drawers to hold post its, pens/pencils, and other nick nacks. I'm in love with the cork board on the back for hanging up a calendar and little notes. The storage up top is perfect size for binders and books. 

Finding a desk likes this is unfortunately not as easy as it seems and also it looks pretty expensive so I'm searching for ways to get something similar. I found some adorable desks on pottery barn and adorable chairs but there is no way on earth I will spend $800 on a desk and $300 on a chair. That's literal insanity. I think what I might do is find a cute corner desk like this on craigslist for under $100 and then have Jack build me a hutch to go on top. He might not love the idea, but our 2 year anniversary is coming up and that would be an awesome present!

After doing some more research I think another good idea is to buy a couple wall shelves from ikea or similar store like these ones:

and placing them above a small corner desk like this one:
BORGSJÖ Corner desk IKEA Built-in cable management for collecting cables and cords out of sight but close at hand.
I can add this to the other side:

VÄGGIS Noticeboard IKEA Can be hung horizontally or vertically to fit into the space available.

Making the grand total $135. This is much cheaper than the original I'm sure, however, it doesn't look as nice and I honestly think I might be able to do the whole thing for even cheaper I just got to rack my brain a little bit or wait for a really nice one to come up on craigslist for dirt cheap.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekly meal planning

I'm really excited about this new meal planning template I found online. I was using an excel spreadsheet, but it was kind of hard to keep track of it that way and I had to print out a whole bunch of copies one for home and one for the office. It was just getting a little complicated. Today I finally decided to google a weekly meal planning template and found this awesome one on a blog called Here is the URL to download the template

I love this, because it's cute and easy to use. I printed off a copy looked up some recipes and penciled in what meals I wanted to cook for the week. I want to emphasize the penciling in, I like to use a pencil because sometimes things change and I have to rearrange the meal schedule so I want to be able to erase it. I use Hannaford's online website to create a grocery list of the items I will need and staple it to the back of the planner. I definitely recommend checking to see if your local grocery store allows you to create online shopping lists, it helps me know roughly how much money I will spend before I get to the register. Also, stapled to the back are the recipes of the new meals I am trying out for the week. 

I have been really into organizing blogs recently and especially the templates they provide. I plan on soon making a home binder that will have these meal templates, calendar, and other things I feel I will need. I have a budget binder which I will tell you guys all about another time, but it's been really helpful.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Subs

I have been consistently craving thanksgiving day subs and today was a whole new level I had to have one. Several of my favorite sandwich shops do sell them and they are quite delicious, however they are also quite pricey. Two sandwiches from Portland House of Pizza cost us a little over $20 including drinks. Since I have been trying to not spend money on eating out Jack and I decided to head to Hannaford and create our own!

Obviously we weren't going to cook a whole turkey (even though I would have loved too just very expensive) we decided we could pick up a rotisserie chicken and make stove top stuffing. To our great surprise they actually had rotisserie turkey breast, which I had never known about. We picked up one of those, some rye bread, cranberry sauce, and stove top turkey stuffing (the hannaford brand). We also picked up brownie mix and mint chocolate chip ice cream for mint chocolate chip brownie sundaes and two muffins for the morning. The whole list only cost us $24 just $4 more than Portland House BUT we get dessert , breakfast, and enough left overs to have them tomorrow as well. I'll take paying $24 for four meals over paying $20 for one meal any day.

I also will not lie these were the best thanksgiving day subs I've ever had in my entire life. Even better than the ones I've made the day after Thanksgiving. Something about the fresh stuffing and turkey just made it heavenly. Needless to say I was beyond pleased and anytime a pregnant woman is pleased is a good day.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wonderful quote

I love these motivational quotes I find online. They are so good to read and actually consider taking into your everyday thinking.They really are quotes you can live by.

The story of Ollie the cat

I wanted to share with you guys the most adorable cat story I've ever heard. When I was first interviewed for my job at The Pam Dodd Agency I noticed a litter box in the basement and asked "Do you guys have a cat?" Pam responded with "Yes, there is a neighborhood cat that stops by almost everyday and hangs out for several hours." I didn't know at the time and neither did Pam how special this cat really was.

Ollie first showed up at the Pam Dodd Agency about a year before I started. Pam was working in her office when she heard a little scratch at the door she got up to check and there was Ollie waiting patiently for her to open up so he could come in. She let him in and he stayed at the office for several hours. Sure enough the next day he returned and kept coming back every day to stop by and say "hello!" (and get kitty treats). They decided to give their new kitty friend a name and named him Ollie for Allstate.

After months of him visiting everyday he suddenly stopped and didn't come back for a week. Pam got very nervous and decided to go out and search for him she went to the house next door and explained that there was a black and white cat who stopped by her office everyday and he hasn't been in a while. The couple, who recently had a baby, said "Oh! that's our cat Ollie, we've been wondering where he's been going to everyday" Pam looked at the woman and said "His name is Ollie? We named him Ollie for Allstate" They laughed about the strange coincidence and the woman informed Pam that she had not seen Ollie in awhile and have been distracted by the new baby. A little distraught Pam left worried about her little kitty friend. One day a month later Ollie came back as if nothing had ever happened.

Ollie continued to show up at our door everyday and would sit on my desk while I answered the phones and did my work. He was such a friendly cat, but it was very obvious he was getting a little old. About 6 months after I started Ollie disappeared again, but this time only for a week. Just when we were starting to get nervous Ollie came scratching at the back door so we let him in. This time he had a collar around his neck with a brand new name tag that said "Ollie". There was a note on the name tag with a phone number and address that said "if you know this cat give us a call" Intrigued by the fact that the phone number and address did not match the owner's we gave them a call. Sure enough a woman named Jeremy answered the phone who explained that they found Ollie who would come by their house everyday crawling on their fence and scratching on the door. After a couple of days they decided to let him in and take care of him. Jeremy came by our office and we asked her "So you must know the owners of Ollie huh?" She responded with "no we have no idea who they are that's why we gave him a collar and this note." In shock we asked her how she knew his name was Ollie? She said she had no idea his name was Ollie and had tried coming up with several names, but the only one that ever fit was Ollie. Our mouths dropped and we explained to her the strange coincidence that three different families all named the same cat Ollie with out any one knowing that was his name.

Jeremy ended up talking to the owners who explained they didn't have enough time to care for the cat with their new baby and happily let Jeremy keep little Ollie. She brought him to the vet where we discovered he was almost 14 years old. We were shocked by this as Ollie was always so energetic and lively. We certainly knew he was old, but not that old.

A year later Ollie got a very large tumor on his face and, unfortunately, he passed away a couple months later. We were all very saddened by this news and we still miss our little Ollie to this day. However, the day after he passed something amazing happened. I was sitting at my desk in the back office and I heard a little scratch at the door I looked up and sure enough there was a little kitty scratching at the door begging to be let in. We let him in and he followed Ollie's exact footsteps as if he knew the place, running up to Pam's door and meowing for treats. That cat stayed for a little while before leaving and as soon as he left another cat showed up and did the exact same thing. The next day another cat showed up and repeated the same thing! Two of the kitties continued to come for quite some time and one still shows up today. Their names are Elvis and Presley.


Presley (the one on the right) still comes in and happily sits on the chair in front my desk and watches me while I work just like Ollie used too. We secretly believe that Ollie was a very old soul who connected with the other neighborhood cats to let them know that in this office on Washington Ave there are good people, lots of love, and most of all treats!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Budget Results

Now that we have started a new month I can go back and look at my September budget and see how much it differs from my August budget:

Last month we spent a total of $4,033 and this month we only spent $3,271 down $762!! This also had to do with the fact that we had missed a lot of July's bills and had to pay double in August so our bills made up $2,284 of that in August and they were only $1,428 in the month of September. We did manage to save quite a bit in some places and spent more in another, unfortunately.

Gas: In August we spent $365 and in September we spent $340 down $25
Groceries: In August we spent $391 and in September we spent $275 down $116
Necessities: In August we spent $142 and in September we spent $115 down $27
Eating out: In August we spent $372 and in September we spent $602 Up $231 (yikes!!)

It's very obvious that the decrease in our bills is the main reason we were able to spend so much less. Bringing down our grocery budget was due to a great idea brought to me by my good friend Sarah who suggested going to the store more frequently and only purchasing the things that you need for that night's dinner and maybe the next night that way you don't end up throwing away half your food.

The Increase in eating out is definitely due to my insane cravings and needing to go out at 9pm to grab a chicken salad sandwich. At least I am able to look and see that we are spending way too much on eating out and cut that out significantly. The best part about tracking my spending habits is seeing where my money is going and where I need to cut back. Hopefully we will be able to bring down our monthly spending even more in October!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Never Give Up

This quote really inspired me today and it couldn't have come at a better time. I have been feeling really down the past couple of days thinking how am I going to afford to raise a child, save for a wedding, and save for a house, when I can hardly keep track of paying my bills. This morning I woke up threw my hands in the air and tried to give up. After some kind words from my father and loving support from Jack I am going to push through this. It can only get better from here on out and I need to look forward to the wonderful things the future has in store for me rather than all the negativity that currently surrounds me.


My dad sent this to me today to cheer me up. Did a pretty good job.