Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weekly Money Check-Up


1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a membership to the Shedd Aquarium. Who wants to go with me? My pass is good for 2 adults!
2. Today I am thankful that my learning plan portfolio is done. Hard to believe I've been a dietitian for almost 6 years.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was hang out with my nephews!
4. I will consider this week a success if I get my poster done for Australia.
5. My pet peeves are gum smacking, nail biting, slow driving in the fast lane, whining over a few points on a grade, refusing to take responsibility for self, etc, etc, etc...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Coin Star: turns metal into plastic!

Image Credit
I've seen the CoinStar machines in various locations, but I never pay attention. I was under the impression that those machines take a percent of your money. Purdue Federal Credit Union has a coin machine that is free for members, so I just use that. If you want cash, then yes...the machine takes a cut. But...Turns out that you can cash in your change at a Coin Star machine and get gift cards and there's no fee! How fun is that?!? It gets better. Sometimes they have bonus deals. Right now, if you cash in at least $5 in coins, you get a $5 Borders book store bonus certificate. Recently, the bonus was iTunes. Other gift card options include Lowes, Amazon.com, Gap and their family of stores, Starbucks, CVS, etc. Looks like I have a new motivation to stash my pocket change. Maybe I can hold out for an Amazon.com, Starbucks or iTunes bonus.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The iPad2 race is on!

The race is on. Actually, it's been on for almost a week. Who can get me an iPad2 faster? Best Buy or Apple.

Best Buy: I put a $100 deposit down on the iPad over a month ago. Still.No.iPad. Super frustrating. I did this because it was going to help me save about $20 and I thought it wouldn't take forever. Blogged about it a while back with all the rational.Well, that rational has gone to pot. Luckily, I can get my deposit back. Unheard of, right? My guess is that so many people are ticked off and Best Buy can't make us wait forever.

Apple: The only real reason I wasn't buying through Apple was the $20 in coupons I had for Best Buy. I ordered on through Apple on Saturday. Supposedly it will ship in 1-2 week. I'll for sure get it by June 10th. The great thing is that I can cancel my order if one comes into Best Buy before Apple ships one to me! It's a win-win. The main thing is that I want my iPad before I leave for Australia. Now it's a sure fire thing! I still think I've waited way too long!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weekly Money Check-Up

Time for the weekly money check-up from My Pretty Pennies!

 1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on gas. This month has been a gas guzzling month. Not because I have a gas guzzler, but because I've been driving to Indianapolis a lot to spend time with friends! Totally worth it!
2. Today I am thankful for sunshine!
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was sit on the porch and knit and watch the storm blow in.
4. I will consider this week a success if I take a bag of clothes to a charity shop.
5. I am currently craving nothing. My tummy feels funny right now.

Weekly Money Check-Up is a fill-in-the blank post once a week. The first four questions are always the same each week and the fifth is always different. Care to participate? Fill in the blanks in the comments section or post it on your blog and link back to here! I usually post it on Mondays, but it can be posted any time of the week. Thanks for participating! :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

BlogBooster Lite initial review

For those of us who often blog from an iPhone (eh hem...Annie), this app could be for us! The only way I knew how to blog from my phone was to email a post to my blog. The problem with that is that only some of the text comes through if you add a lot of images. Additionally, there's no way to hyperlink, change the font size or color, and stuff like that. BlogBooster Lite free app allows all that! If you see my test post, you'll notice that the image is way big. I picked the biggest image to see what would happen. Obviously, it's too big! Other than that, I think the app has serious potential! BlogBooster has another app like this with more features for $2.99. I'm not willing to pay that right now. I think I'll get to know this one first. Oh and just FYI, this post was not written in BlogBooster.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Testing a new app: BlogBooster

I think this app called BlogBooster has potential. A free iPhone app that allows for more sophisticated blogging on the go. Mystery. you can change the font and text color. Underline. Strike. Bold. Italics. This is way too much good food! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Stayin' alive! Stayin' alive!

After all that apocalypse hooey-balooey, thought it would be nice to focus on life! Here's the garden update!
Two nice rows of bush beans! By far the most aggressive growers in the garden.
We planted all our vining veggies (all technically fruits, I know) the night it got super cold. All but 1 were pronounced dead. We have 4 confirmed survivors!
Another surviver. See those ity bity leaves growning?!?

The decorative corn is in the aggressive grower competition. Knee high by July? Maybe. 
Our herbs didn't look like they survived the cold snap, but they did!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Watch out P-Dub!

I had one crazy Texas weekend! Started to feel a little bit like Pioneer Woman. We hit up the local rodeo on Saturday and I cooked all day on Sunday. The rest of the weekend was super relaxing. Mostly spent time by the pool and read magazines.

Check out the fresh ingredients! My favorite place to shop is Central Market. They have the best produce section ever. In fact, I think their produce section is probably about the size of the Kroger I usually go to! Ok, maybe the Aldi.

Here's the picture of the recipe in Bon Appetit! Does that look delish or what? Chili-braised pork shoulder tacosPickeled onions,  and house recipe guacamole.

 Here are the beautiful ingredients.

Here are the spices that cost us next to nothing because we bought teeny tiny amounts in bulk. Total about $0.12 on spices! Yay for Central Market!

 Ancho chilis and some other kind. BEFORE "stemming and seeding."

 AFTER: "stemming and seeding." I was so careful not to touch my face. I know they were dried, but still...seemed risky to me!

Final glorious tacos. Only about 6 hours later. While the meat was soaking up the amazing flavors of the chili rub we actually went for a run. And we went cigar shopping. And we made guacamole. Actually...I didn't have anything to do with the guacamole, but it sure tasted good! 

Seriously worth every minute in the kitchen. The chili rub has a full flavor, but it's not spicy at all. I loved the pickled onions and the radishes. Added a nice, fresh zing. I need a dutch oven though. Meats just don't get tender enough in a skillet covered in foil. That said,  tacos were still the bomb. I ate 3! I would have eaten more but I didn't want to look like a complete pig. Thinking back I wish I had eaten one more.

Wait till you hear about the rodeo! Then you'll really think I'm a P-Dub wannabe!

So much to tell, so little time...

I promise I haven't fallen off the blog-wagon. I have a lot to tell and lots of pictures to post! This weekend was fabulous. Can't wait to sit down and tell you about it. In the mean time, here is my delayed weekly money check up from last week.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on Cubs tickets!
2. Today I am thankful that I can ride the City Bus for free with my student ID. My car battery is dead.
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was go for a run on Katy Trail. First run back after the half marathon and I felt pretty good!
4. I will consider this week a success if I get all my stuff ready for data entry.
5. My favorite magazines are SELF and Bon Appetit, but pretty much any magazine will make me happy!

Here's the blurb about the weekly money check-up from MyPrettyPennies.
Weekly Money Check-Up is a fill-in-the blank post once a week. The first four questions are always the same each week and the fifth is always different. Care to participate? Fill in the blanks in the comments section or post it on your blog and link back to here! I usually post it on Mondays, but it can be posted any time of the week. Thanks for participating! :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm horrible at packing

Despite the fact that I travel more than the average bear, I pretty much suck at packing. I just packed an entire suitcase that includes stuff for 3 days of conference plus a social weekend. Here's a list of thing I figure are not in the suitcase yet...makeup, flat iron, jewelry. Here's what I have too much of...EVERYTHING ELSE! I think I packed 4 pairs of shoes plus the pair I'll wear tomorrow. Alarm is set for 5:50am, because I know I'll just want to un-pack and re-pack in the morning. I wish I could go back to my Euro packing days. So long as I had a black fleece and a decent looking top and a rain coat I was good to go! I used to do weekend trips with a backpack. We're not talking a hike through the woods type of backpack. It was just big-ish school backpack. Now I have to worry about multiple scenarios. I need outfits for bumming around town, for going out on the town, for casual nights on the town, for pool parties, and for conferencing it up all in one suitcase. Easier said than done! I hate packing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This is for all the girls out there!

There are a few things that I need to tell ALL the girls out there. If there's one thing I hate, it's being called small, skinny, tiny, etc. Everyone seems to think that the grass is greener when you on the low end of normal when you calculate your BMI. Let me just tell you that it's not, and here's why...

1. Jeans aren't made to fit anyone. You may perceive that shopping for jeans would be easier if you wore a size 2, but trust me when I say that it's not easier. I've had shopping trips in which I tried on 16 pairs of jeans and none of them fit right. Evidently my thighs need jeans that are about a size bigger than the jeans made for my waist. Does that make me voluptuous? Never mind.

2. No matter what size you are, you need a pair of Spanx. If you're going to wear form fitting clothes, trust me...you need Spanx underneath. 'Nugh said.

3. Training for a half marathon isn't easier just because you weigh less. This is stemming from some crazy lady next to me in coral T. She kept going on and on with things like, "Must have been so much easier for you to train for the mini because you're mini." Um...no! I was out of shape when I started training and those training runs were crazy hard. Out of shape is out of shape no matter what your size.  Might be easier on joints, but not exactly easier to get into shape again.

4. If you're going to run 13.1 miles, you're probably going to chafe. Even BodyGlide didn't do all it claims to do for the insides of my thighs! Was that too personal?

I think I'll just leave on that note!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

I ran 13.1 miles!

Saturday was quite the day! I ran the half marathon in 1 hour oops!, 2 hours 16 minutes and 34 seconds. I got 13,977th place.  I'm still de-compressing everything that happened. We woke up at 5am to get ready and head down town. Here's the short version:

Mile by mile emotions:

This shows my pace during the race.
Red zones are water stations.
Coral T: I was way back in coral T. That means I was towards the back of the pack! My main though was, "Wow. In a nation that is suffering an obesity epidemic, I'm in a crowd of 35,000 people who are walking or running 13.1 miles today! How cool is that?!?"

Miles 1-3: Crowded. Crowded. Crowded. I was totally jazzed though.
Miles 4-6: Really? Does every 12 year old in Indy have a rock band?
Mile 7: Running onto the Indy 500 track was pretty cool. Running around the track was just ok. It's just a really long lap.
Mile 8: At least I was heading back to the finish line!
Mile 9: Oh, this kind of hurts. 

This is the t-shirt I wore
during the race.
Mile 10: Officially the longest I've ever run. Didn't know if I could make it that far, but I did. I felt good and almost wondered if I was experiencing "runner's high."
Mile 11: Not so bad. Maybe I could do this again.
Mile 12. Are we there yet? This hurts pretty bad. I want to be done.
Mile 13. Really? It has to start pouring rain now? This sucks.
Mile 13.1 I just want to be done. Where is that dang finish line?
Finish line: Whoa. I did it. I ran 13.1 miles!!!!!!!!!

Signs I loved:
"Go Amy Go! Running this half marathon has to be easier than being married to me!"
"Way to go random person!"
"Do it for the girls who got picked last in recess!"

T-shirts I loved:
This was pretty much how I was feeling before the race.
There were lots of t-shirts with the following 2 Bible verses
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
I totally memorized Hebrews 12:1 "Run with endurance the course set out for us." Both those t-shirts were encouraging!

Other t-shirts were inspiring because they advertised personal accomplishments. My favorite two were
"I'm down 80 pounds and still have more to go. Read about it on my blog."
"8 months ago I had open heart surgery. Today I'm running a half marathon!" The guy wearing that t-shirt was running with his 2 daughters. They ran on either side of him. Their t-shirts said, "I'm running with my dad," and had arrows pointing to him. 

I read the book Marathoning for Mortals when I first started training. One of the quotes from the book is, "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." I think that pretty much sums up my experience. Now I can relax and train just to stay in shape. It's pretty awesome to know I'm capable of running 13.1 miles though. 

Special thanks go to 

John for being incredibly supportive from start to finish. Might not get the boots, but the incentive got me going! The flowers were a great surprise!

Rebecca for being our sherpa! It was so good to have a friend there for moral support the day before and immediately after.You're the best!

Marsha, Kristen and Mel for being my training buddies. Especially Marsha! Your discipline and cheerful spirit inspires me every day! Everyone should read Marsha's blog!

Marsha's Aunt and Uncle and adorable little cousins for letting us crash at their place! Thanks for the encouragement, hugs, food and my morning coffee!

Last, Dr. Campbell. After all...this whole thing was his idea. Thanks for rallying people department to do something monumental together.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Half Marathon Tomorrow

My life is about to change. Tomorrow I will be running a half marathon and I'm completely freaking out. Running a half marathon is kinda monumental. At least it is for me! To say I've trained adequately is a bit of a stretch. I started out so good and then I went to those conferences and all my training went to pot. Then I got sick. Then I just got crazy busy. So I'm really going out on a limb tomorrow. I know I can run 8 miles. I'm pretty sure I can run 10 miles. I'm hoping that maybe possible by the grace of God I can run 13.2 miles!

My bag has about about 5 different running outfits because who knows what the weather is going to decide to do. Today there have been 3 different forecasts! Could be 50 and cloudy. Could be 50 and drizzle. Could be pouring rain. Here's hoping for 50 and cloudy. Thankfully I have a friend who will meet me at the finish line with a sweatshirt and a smile! Yay Rebecca! You're the best! I also have great friends who I hope to start the run with. Maybe I can keep up with them too! Anyway...wish me luck! I'm going to need it!

These are the things I will be telling myself throughout the race...
1. you can do this
2. one foot in front of the other
3. just because you can't run 13 miles doesn't mean you aren't in shape
4. you can run 13 miles
5. the quicker you run, the quicker it's over
6. at least you won't be the last person across the finish line
7. focus on your arms, not your legs

Did you know that I burn approximately 100 kcal for every mile I run? So tomorrow I will burn about 1300 kcal. That's like an entire Qdoba burrito with guacamole! Or a lot of ice cream! Or several beers! Or 10 cans of Coke.

Here's hoping that enthusiasm plus a lot prayer gets me across that finish line!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Garden is planted!

It was a cold evening with threatening clouds, but we got our garden planted!

We now have tomatoes, variety of peppers, beans, rhubarb, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, lettuce, spinach, Brussels sprouts, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, musk melon, decorative corn and in 5 years someone is going to get asparagus!

We also have a garden gnome!

And a fence to keep the rabbits out!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


I'm not talking about wind-farms, organic farms, or natural gas. I'm talking about sustainabile finances.

Finally! I got to watch the show, Till Debt Do Us Part! I’ve heard of the show and I’ve even read Gail VazOxalade’s blog now and again. She’s a sassy lady who basically intervenes in bad debt situations. She makes couples who are in ridiculous situations get their crap together. It’s a bit like The Nanny. Anyone who has seen the Nanny knows that all she really does is go in, tell the parents to act like adults and take control, and then the kids start shaping up. Till Debt Do Us Part is a bit the same. Gail goes in and tells people they can only spend as much as they make, they have to ace their debt, and they often have to come up with extra sources of income. What do you know…life starts to seem better when these people start taking control and making their personal finances sustainable. Currently on the show, there’s a couple who are $60K in debt. Now they have to live on a cash budget, address relationship issues, and then at the end they’ll get $5000 to help with their debt. Some people use envelopes, Gail uses jars. These people are cutting their variable spending by 77%. You might be thinking, “Holy cow! That’s insane!” The thing is these folks aren’t really abnormal. At least I suspect that they aren’t. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a bazillion people buried in debt. There are a lot of people out there who need to get their financial crap together.

So here’s my take on it. People get pretty hyped up about sustainability in businesses and especially agriculture, but I’m not sure people apply these opinions to their personal financial lives. In my mind, sustainable means living now in a way that will make living later possible. At the very least, people should figure out how to live on what they have and not on what they don’t have. People need to be content. It took me longer than it should have to get my own crap together. So I’m not saying it’s easy and I’m not trying to make people feel bad. And obviously it's hard to be content. There's always something out there you want to have that you don't have.

Not going to lie…I had to make some changes in my spending in the last few years to make life sustainable. I had a chunk of credit card debt that needed to be paid off. To make it happen as fast as possible, I had to become so much more aware of how much I was spending on all the little day to day stuff. The biggest thing was making a reasonable budget and sticking to it. We’re not talking a general “oh it would be nice if my money flow looked something like this” kind of budget. We’re talking “I can spend $10 on coffee and soda this month and that’s it. Not a penny more!” kind of budget. Granted, that budget had some fun stuff worked in. Like I said, it was reasonable and I had to stick to it. In making that budget, I had to keep my priorities in mind. Those priorities were:

1. No more credit card debt
2. Emergency fund
3. Travel

It’s been a whole 2 months with zero credit card debt, and it feels so good! It feels so good and the budget discipline is so ingrained that I have ended up with extra money the last 2 months. That extra money has turned into a curve-ball fund. Unlike an emergency fund, the curve-ball fund is just for when life throws a curve-ball. For example, last month I was at a conference and I was texting like crazy. I texted $30 worth beyond my limit. Oops! This hasn’t ever happened, so it’s not worth it to me to spend an extra $10 per month to get unlimited texting. The other day, I really had the urge to hit up TJ Maxx. I didn’t need anything, but I ended up with some sweet sunglasses and a padded iPad sleeve. Boom. $30 impulse spending. Neither is a big deal though since I have a curve-ball account. Even on my measly salary I’m happy to say I’ve gotten to a place where I can cover surprises and I can splurge without freaking out. See? That is what I call sustainability!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Inch by inch and row by row

My official garden clogs.
Sunday afternoon we made some serious progress on our garden. We “hoed it up” about half way and then a guy tilled it with his power tiller! Whew! That would have been a lot of work to do it all by hand. I mean…we could have, but I was glad we didn’t have to. Since we had extra time, we made a mad dash to the garden center and bought 12 tomato plants! We have La Roma, Rutgers, Lemon Boy, and Sweet Baby Girl varieties. Three of each! Split between us, I think it won’t be so overwhelming. Still…that’s a lot of tomatoes! We also planted a row of radishes. Later in the week maybe we’ll have time to get the rest planted.

Looks like dirt, but actually it's a row of radishes in the making!
Not our garden
Also not our garden

Good work, John! Try not to get tetanus!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

April's budget got super messed up, but I win in the end!

It’s May 1st. That means it’s time to look over what I spent last month. Something went screwy and I blame all that business travel I had to do. When I put in all the numbers from mint.com into my excel spreadsheet, my spreadsheet says I’m $21 in the hole. I completely blame the 8 day biz trip. It shouldn’t have made a difference, but I have to blame something! Thing is, my bank accounts don’t agree. Bank accounts say I’ve got money to spare! Oh well. I guess it’s better to have error in this direction! I’ve got mint.com set up for a May budget that has quite a bit more detail. Hopefully that will prevent errors next month.

I’ve deemed everything left over a “curve-ball” account for when little freaks of spending happen or when I decide to splurge a little!

The end of April weekly money update looks something like this.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was $20 on a pair of awesome Cole Haan aviators.
2. Today I am thankful sunny weather!
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was get ready for the garden with my friends. Ok, so that cost a little bit of money, but it's negligible at this point!
4. I will consider this week a success if I run 3 times, get all my grading done, revise a manuscript, and run an entire half-marathon.
5. My favorite TV show growing up was Inspector Gadget. That was the first show that came to mind, so I have to go with it!

Weekly Money Check-Up is a fill-in-the blank post once a week. The first four questions are always the same each week and the fifth is always different. Care to participate? Fill in the blanks in the comments section or post it on your blog and link back to here! I usually post it on Mondays, but it can be posted any time of the week. Thanks for participating! :)