Sunday, October 31, 2010

Life is sweet...

I'm in such a good place right now.  I just feel deep down that I'm where I'm supposed to be.

Work is going much better lately.  I'm beyond busy, but I'm not behind.  I get grants for my company and we were running pretty thin, but over the past couple of weeks, I've gotten some approvals.  That takes a huge weight off my shoulders.  I also found out Friday that my boss gave me a raise!  I didn't ask for one this year because we didn't have as many grants (studies) as I would have liked, which means we weren't making as much money as we could.  He surprised me though and I found some extra money in  my paycheck on Friday :)  It's not a huge raise, but every little bit helps!

Things are going amazingly with my finances.  I've got a budget that works and didn't have a problem sticking to it last month.  I feel so much better just knowing where every penny goes and I don't feel overwhelmed because I'm not sure if something will get paid or if I'll have the money for Christmas presents.  Its' a great feeling!

I'm single again and actually okay with it.  Shawn and I tried to make things work, but we just aren't on the same page.  It's sort of terrifying to think of starting over with someone new when Shawn and I have so much history and i thought we would end up together.  So I'm not thinking about it.  I know whatever is supposed to happen, will happen.  I'm enjoying the freedom and focusing on becoming the person I know I can be.

I'm also doing really well with my health/weight loss goals.  I've lost 11 lbs as of this morning, which is great!  I've also been trying to walk the dogs more often and to take them on longer walks when we do get out.  I've tried the 30 day shred and while it's hard, it's something I'm going to try to do more frequently.

The dogs are healthy, I'm making more of an effort to see/talk to my good friends, my parents and I have a good relationship...everything is just going so well right now.  And I know they can even be better than I imagine if I just keep working towards my dreams.

Night ladies!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Let's get thrifty!

Saving money has kind of become like a little game to me.  How much can I shave off this bill?  How much will buying the generic brand save me?  It's actually kind of fun.  I thought I'd list some of my money saving strategies, more for me than anything else.  That way if I get lax about things one day I can come back to this post and remember some of things I'm doing right now.

  • Pay attention to things like little extras when buying something like deodorant.  For example, I use Dove deodorant and needed to pick some up last weekend.  I was at Wal-Mart and automatically went to grab one of the fun scents like "fresh" or something like that and realized it was nearly $1 more than the original scent!  Easy way to cut some costs, plus I had that coupon!
  • Use the library.  I love to read, but buying books is expensive!  The library can pretty much get any book I want if I'm willing to wait a little bit and have some patience.
  • Don't replace things until it's absolutely necessary.  Maddy ate the ends off my glasses, but they're still functional so I use them.  My tv is a 19 inch huge box of a tv that I would love to replace with a flat screen, but I'll keep using it until it breaks.
  • Drive less.  Try to plan to run all your errands at the same time so you aren't using as much gas.  If possible, try to not drive at all at least one day a week.  It really cuts down on gas money and helps the environment!
  • Eat at home.  Simple.  Going out costs more money.
  • If you shop at Target, they should give you a nickel off for each reusable bag you use.
  • Give yourself a pedicure and spread out waxing eyebrows as long as possible.  Also, go to a natural hair color to cut out coloring expenses and spread out haircuts.
  • If you do need to buy something, check garage sales, craigslist and ask around.  
  • Also have garage sales and use e-bay/craigslist to get rid of clutter and make some extra money.
  • Eat what goes bad first (produce, perishables, etc.) and save leftovers to eat again.
  • I've cut down on dog treats.  Instead of each dog getting a whole treat, I break them in half.  
  • Keep your curtains and blinds closed in the summer to keep out heat and keep them open in the winter to bring in heat.
  • Use coupons.
  • Drink water.  It's free.
  • Only keep lights on in the room you're in at the time
  • Use a fan instead of turning down the AC
  • Use less shampoo and conditioner-most people use way more than they need.
I'm sure I left out a bunch, so let me know what tips you have!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was Madelynne's first birthday!  I can't believe this little feisty girl is one already.

Lately, she's been waking me up before 8am every single Saturday and Sunday.   Yesterday was no exception so I brought my comforter out to the couch and tried to sleep while she pulled out every.single.toy her and Max have.  Eventually I got up for good around ten and brought out her present!  My parents have had this tradition of wrapping up a present for each one of the dogs every Christmas and we watch them try to get their treat or toy out.  I didn't have Maddy last Christmas so I wanted to do it for her birthday this year.  



She's a pro at unwrapping gifts!  She sprinted around the house with it, wouldn't let Max help and had the toy completely out within a couple of minutes.  :)




I think she really liked it!



After the pups played for awhile I put a little bit of hot water in their dry food to make a gravy and they went at it!  They usually get dry food and organic treats only.  I'm not big on table scraps or lots of random treats because it's not very good for them and Max gets sick easily.  They really liked the whole "gravy" thing though and went to town!


I think it's so important to celebrate birthdays.  Whether it's for one of your pets, parents, friends, etc.  Life is way too short and making the most out of the time we have with those important to us is something that I want to look back on and know I did right.  I don't want to leave this world wishing I had enjoyed more, celebrated more, loved more...

Maddy's first vet visit

The first time I met her.  You can't even see her eyes!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!



Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tonight is one of those nights...

It's one of those nights where things just seem to line up perfectly.

I started off the day by waking up early with Maddy.  She's refusing to stay asleep once the sun comes up so I brought both dogs out to the living room where they can play with their toys and I hauled my fluffy comforter to the couch where I slept in until 10:30.  The room was cold and kind of dim so I snuggled into my comforter.  It was cozy.

I spent the rest of the day with my parents going to an annual charity auction.  My parents have been going for years and this is my third year going.  The charity benefits a local no-kill animal shelter, which is something very close to my heart.  I look forward to going every year and spending the time with my parents.

And now it's tonight.  Tonight the house is clean, the carpets have those lovely vacuum lines.  The only light is one over my fireplace and my favorite woodwick candle is burning.  It's cool enough to curl up under blankets, Ingrid Michaelson is playing in the background, Max is laying on my lap and Maddy is quietly eating a rawhide.

I love my home.  I love that sitting here I feel completely at peace.  This night is one I used to think of when I was still in the apartment.  I used to picture nights spent exactly like this.  And now they're here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's time...

It's time I fall in love with this life of mine all over again.

I've thought about how to write this post for the past few days, but putting everything that's going through my head into words isn't something that comes easily for me.

Lately, I've felt something in me change.  I want to enjoy the place that I'm in RIGHT.NOW.  Instead I've found myself living the majority of my adult years saying I'll enjoy life when....when I've gotten to my goal weight, when I graduate college, when I get an awesome job, when I fall in love and get married, when I have a baby, when the house is perfectly decorated.  The problem is that there is always another WHEN around the corner.  I'll never be happy unless I learn to love this life-the one that's currently passing me by each and every day.

I certainly don't have all the answers, but I do know that I'm starting by really simplifying my life and getting back to basics.  I don't need all this clutter in my life-including emotional clutter.  I want to surround myself with good friends and family instead of putting effort into maintaining relationships that bring negativity into my life.

So this is some of what I've been up to:

Taco Dinners with Best Friends
Enjoying the wonderful weather:







Playing with my camera:



Enjoying messy blonde highlighted ponytails before I go back brunette in November
Cleaning my pantry.  Before:


And After:


Life is good!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Deep Cleaning List...

I figured the easiest way to start my cleaning list for the house is to go room by room. 

The garage:
  • Move everything out and sweep
  • Take everything out of cabinet and clean cabinet
  • Re-organize everything as I put it back in
  • Touch up any paint or holes in the walls
  • Spray out trash can
  • Spray off garage door
  • Clean around water heater
The laundry room:
  • Pull out washer and dryer to sweep behind them
  • Mop the floor
  • Dust shelves
  • Clean and re-organize cabinet
  • Touch up any paint or holes in the wall
Master bathroom:
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Clean window
  • Scrub tub
  • Scrub shower
  • Scrub sink
  • Re-organize cabinets and clean them
  • Touch up any paint or holes in the wall
  • Clean toilet
  • Clean mirror
Master bedroom:
  • Vacuum
  • Shampoo carpet
  • Wash bedding
  • Flip mattress
  • Clean both windows
  • Dust dresser
  • Re-organize dresser
  • Dust nightstand
  • Re-organize nightstand
  • Vacuum and clean under the bed
  • Clean mirror
  • Dust bedframe
  • Touch up any paint or holes in the walls
Master closet:
  • Vacuum
  • Shampoo carpet
  • Re-organize clothes
  • Dust shelving
  • Re-organize shelves
  • Touch up any paint or holes in the walls
That's as far as I've gotten with my list.  Did I miss anything?  I'm sure most of you have this deep cleaning thing down much more than me so give my any advice you have!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happenings...

So yesterday we had bath night in the Cassie household.  The pups were not pleased:



But, they're all clean smelling and soft so I think it was worth it :-)  Although the scratches I got during the process don't feel so good today.

If you read my post from yesterday, then you know I needed to change my Pikepass address.  I'm happy to report that I can cross that off the list!

I also posted on craigslist for the very first time today.  I'm sure you guys are sick of me mentioning his name, but since I'm going through the whole Dave Ramsey program, I'm really focused on saving money and paying off my debt as quickly as possible.

Lately I've had some large bills like almost $500 to extend my washer warranty (which I feel is totally necessary since it has already broken once and it's less than a year old), a $400 medical bill, $300 plane ticket for my cruise, etc.

Christmas will be here before I know it, so I've already planned out what to get everyone so I can budget for all the presents next month and get anything shipped that might take awhile.  Unfortunately, it's hard to pay off debt when big bills come in and there are birthdays and Christmas all around the same time.  I feel like I'm constantly paying what comes in (I'm not behind on anything), but I haven't gotten a chance to really pay extra on anything.

Enter craigslist.  I hoping (fingers crossed) to get a good portion of my Christmas shopping money from selling some things.  I already know November will be a heavy financial month because I'm dying my hair back to my natural color so I can stop getting highlights every two months, Maddy's got a grooming appointment, Shawn's got a birthday, etc.  So hopefully it goes well!

This is the coffee machine I posted today:


It's a great machine, but I just don't like the taste of the t-discs and prefer Starbucks.  I orginally bought it to curb my Starbucks addiction, but it didn't work.  Instead I've just cut out Starbucks completely except for once or twice a month.

Well dinner is hot and ready-cheesy spaghetti, yum!-so I'm outta here!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Some October Goals...

Lately I'm feeling like my to do list just keeps growing without much ever getting crossed off.  These are some things I'd really like to cross off this month:

  1. Clean up my personal email.  
  2. Change my Pikepass address.  I originally had my bills sent to my parents since I was in the middle of moving last November, but it's about time I changed it to my home address.
  3. Read my neighborhood's covenants and restrictions.  Another thing I've been putting off for a year.
  4. Clean all my windows.  They've really gotten gross.  Probably since I haven't cleaned them EVER.  
  5. Make a list of every.single.thing that needs to be cleaned so I can get a plan to deep clean this house.  I'm talking cleaning the inside of the fridge and all my cabinets.  Filling any holes in the walls and doing touch up paint.  Pulling out the oven to clean behind it.  I want to really clean everything at least once a year, but I always get overwhelmed and miss things.
I know that's only five things, but I don't want to be unrealistic.  Nearly half the month is already over and honestly, cleaning all the windows inside and out is going to take tons of time.

Do you guys have any things on your to do list that just keep putting off?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Silent Sunday...


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Simplifying...

Ever since I moved in to the house I've been using my guest room as kind of a storage room.  All the holiday decorations, anything I want to sell and anything that didn't have a specific place went into this room.  At first it was all organized, but as the past year went by it slowly turned into this:




It was ridiculous!  I could never find anything when I needed it and there wasn't even a clear path from one side of the room to the other.

So last week I decided to tackle this project and get everything organized once again.  The room's starting to look a little better:


But...that's mostly because my living room looked like this:



After working on it for HOURS, I finally finished!  The pile in the corner is all garage sale stuff.  I need to get some more boxes, but it's pretty much just staying there until I have a garage sale next Spring.


And all of the holiday/work out stuff is neatly arranged and easy to get to!


Hopefully, over the next couple of years this room will turn into a real guest room and be completely decorated.  As soon as I buy a queen mattress for the master bedroom, the full I have in there will go in here and that will be a start!

I'm sure you'll be seeing many more simplifying posts.  It's so freeing to get rid of all the junk that seems to clutter up my house and my head.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday...

I'm thankful that the dog I wrote about yesterday that was supposed to get put down is instead having surgery to repair the ruptured disk in her back with a 60% chance of a full recovery.  On the same subject, I'm so very thankful that both my puppies are happy and healthy.

I'm thankful for the woodwick candle burning on my coffee table as I type this.  It's comforting to hear the little crackling sound it makes.

I'm thankful that not only did I not kill any of the plants in my front yard, one actually bloomed!  I have no idea what it is, but I'm loving the purple color.




I'm thankful for my dad who always takes care of me.  He showed up yesterday to help block some holes that were developing under my fence so that the dogs can't get out.  He's always doing stuff like that and I appreciate it so much.  I know that I was definitely blessed with the best parents I could ever ask for.

I'm thankful for a coffee date with my bestie this weekend.  It's been almost a month since I've seen her and we're meeting at Starbucks-I haven't had Starbucks in nearly a month either!  I can't wait.  Now I just need to decide between my usual: tall iced white chocolate mocha with no whip cream or try something new: Salted caramel hot chocolate or toasted marshmallow hot chocolate.  I guess we'll see what the weather is like, if it's cold, I'm trying something new!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Difficult Day...

Today was a hard day for me.

I know that to people not very close to me I can come off as kind of cold or critical.  I'm extremely Type A and can seem uptight and impatient which sometimes translates into critical and uncaring.

I'm not though.  I'm actually too caring about some things and feel like I need to be kept in a bubble away from all the bad stuff that happens in this world.  I don't watch the news because it just depresses me. I can't stand for someone to tell me a story about a sick child or anyone going through pain.  I get so upset even for people I've never even met.  I don't know how to explain it-it's like I feel things too much.

Today one of my co-workers went home at lunch to let out her dogs and they were fine when she came in the door.  She let them out and heard one of them start shrieking.  She went outside and the dog couldn't move its back legs.  They were just dragging.  She took her to the emergency vet and her dad met her up there so she could come back to work.  She came in and was just sick about it.  Her dad called an hour later and said they were going to put the dog down.  She was just bawling and left work early to say goodbye.  I honestly felt so bad for her.  I could barely keep from crying at work and I've never even seen the dog.  Other people felt bad for her, but it really upset me.  I've been thinking about it ever since she left and I just haven't been able to shake my bad mood.

Then my bff was supposed to come over for dinner tonight and she called right before saying she had to take her dog to the emergency vet because something happened to his paw.  It turns out all four toes on his left paw are broken.  He's going to be fine, but of course I've been worried about her and the pup all tonight as well.

I'm also feeling kind of down because of some things that didn't turn out for the best.  I know that's life and things will always go wrong.  I'm just having trouble being as positive as I'd like lately.

I know some people are going to read this and be like "it's just a dog, why do you care so much?" but for some reason I've got a huge heart for animals.  Anyway, enough whining.  Tomorrow is a new day and I'm sure plenty of good things will happen if i actually look for them.
 
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