Sunday, September 25, 2011

Three months until Christmas! Time to start my list!

All year long I think of things that I want and say to myself, 'that would be a good thing to suggest as a Christmas present'. Then I promptly forget about it. When the Christmas season rolls around and people ask what I want, well, I can never remember and leave them hanging. Not this year! I'm starting a list!

1.) A gift subscription to Real Simple magazine. I really got into this magazine when I was in Dublin. It was a little pricey over there, so I only ever bought it as a little treat. I love that they have a little bit of everything (fashion, food, home design, stories, etc) and it's totally for my age range (i.e. no stupid Cosmo quizzes).

2.) A gift card to Boden's US site. Ironically, I never bought anything from Boden when I was in the UK. Well, it wasn't so ironic. I was a student and I couldn't afford anything! They just recently opened their US site and I love the dresses they have on offer. Like this one!

3. An eReader. I've pretty much been anti-eReader ever since they came out. Now that I'm commuting, I'll eat my words. I love books, but who has time to go to the book store!? Not me! My bag is also already heavy, so adding extra weight in books isn't ideal. As far as brands go, all I know about is the Nook and the Kindle. Are there more? Feel free to give me recommendations, since I don't really know anything about them!

4. A Keurig to keep in my office at work. I really don't drink that much coffee and I can actually get decent coffee at a reasonable price in my building, so this one is a little difficult to justify. BUT the variety of K-cups gets me excited and I think in the long run I would save money. Oh, and it comes in a very cute red color!

5. A new camera. *Le sigh*  You may have noticed the reduction in photos on my blog in the past 6 months or so. My camera has been acting up (as in only turning on 20% of the time) and taking pictures is no fun right now. I've kicked around getting an inexpensive point and shoot to use in the meantime, but it's hard to find one that has an LCD screen that swivels. That's a feature of my camera that I really love. I could get an updated version of my current camera which is reasonably priced, or for an extra couple of hundred dollars I could get a small SLR, but then there are the expensive lenses and what not. So I don't know...I guess I'll have to see what Santa decides! :-)

I think that's a good starting point. Of course diamonds and spa gift certificates are always on the list!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Commuting Chronicles

Rolling briefcases.

 I hate them. Like really, really hate them. If you do a google search on 'I hate rolling briefcases' you'll find lots of other people who do too! And no surprise the first two blogs I looked at were people who travel via the DC metro.

Sure, I understand why people use them and I can empathise. But they are really freakin' annoying. More important, they're dangerous! When you're walking through a crowd of people you can't see the bag dragging along the floor, so you'll see people tripping over them all the time. I've learned to walk through the metro station staring at the ground in case one of these pops up unexpectedly in my path. Also, the doors of the metro are only open for a short period of time. DC metro-ers are very good about queueing up along the outside of the doors, allowing people to exit the car before boarding (they even beat the Brits at this one). One day I watched a woman struggle with her rolly bag (it flipped over) right in the doorway, so we were all stuck there waiting and hoping she sorted it out before the doors closed. I was walking behind a woman on the train platform and noticed that the wheels on her bag lit up as she rolled. What the hell is the point of that? If you can actually see the wheels, you're not going to be close enough that you would need to heed their warning. They need to wear stupid hats or one of those flags people used to put on their bikes in the 1970s.

All I'm asking is for a little warning....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Today was momentous

Today....for the first time in 2.5 years....I got a pay check.

It would have been completely thrilling if Uncle Sam hadn't taken his huge cut! Ouch! I don't think it was any sort of a coincidence that the story on NPR when I was driving home was Warren Buffet talking about how little he is taxed, percentage-wise, compared to his secretary.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I'm as American as apple pie

My first ever apple pie from scratch! Here's hoping it tastes better than it looks. My parents are coming for dinner tomorrow, so I figured they'd be good guinea pigs. I used a Pampered Chef recipe for the crust and the filling. Vanilla ice cream is at the ready!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Commuting Chronicles

Public transportation can be a total pain in the ass sometimes, but it's never short on entertainment! I figured this was an easy addition to the blog and should be fairly regular.

I was on a packed DC metro car headed to Union Station to get my train home. I was standing in the aisle and two school girls, probably 10 or 11 years old, were sitting in the seat next to me. The one girl had some really nice braids in her hair and since I was standing above them I was admiring them. I looked away and she started singing. Then I had the feeling she was looking up at me. She stopped singing and told me that she thought my necklace was beautiful. I thanked her and said that actually I was just admiring her braids. I told her how nice they were and I asked if she just have them done for the start of school. She said that she had just had them done last weekend by her aunt. And if I wanted, her aunt could do mine for free! I said she did hers for free because she's her niece. But, she assured me that no, she's a hairdresser and if I told her aunt that I was referred by her then she'd do them for free at her shop. Thinking about my darker roots, I said that I didn't think my hair would look as nice in braids as her hair. That's when she told me that I am a very beautiful woman and that I would look beautiful no matter what I did with my hair. I thanked her and she turned back to her friend and they started singing again. What a nice way to end the day!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Crazy productive!

This weekend is my first 'real' weekend since I started working. I don't really count last weekend because it was a 3-dayer and that's not real life. I've decided that Friday commutes are the best because everyone else takes off that day. I was home in record time. We went out for dinner, which I've decided might have to be a new 'thing'. You know, like a date night! After dinner we walked around a bit and I decided we would walk down towards a shop where I used to work part time to see if one of my old coworkers was there. She was, so we had a nice catch up. And by 'nice' I mean 'hilarious'. I miss working with her. I was in good spirits as we walked back to the car then it hit me, I didn't include that part time job on my background investigation for my new job. Holy. Crap. Good spirits have gone down the pooper. Since that job has nothing to do with any professional position I want to get, I don't have it on my CV so I totally forgot about it. It's 9pm on a Friday night, so there's not much I can do until Monday! I email and text my boss. No response within 5 minutes (which was about the max I was willing to wait), so I call a friend who has super crazy high security clearance. Okay, maybe not that high, but in my mind she could hang with the President. Anyway, I call her. No answer. So, I text her and ask her to call me. Desperate much?? She senses the tone in my text (which is not jovial) and calls me. I'm pretty certain I'm one step away from being fired and she's all, 'No big deal! Relax! You paid taxes! You weren't fired! You tell them you forgot and they just write it down!' WHEW! Then she is reminded that she needs to report to her super crazy high security clearance people that we're back in town and give them our address. Apparently being friends with a foreigner and his wife who both lived on foreign soil is a bit of a liability. Oopsies! Thanks to her, I was able to sleep easy last night!

Oh yeah, this post is called, 'Crazy Productive'. I put that because today I've been just that! That's the one thing I do like about working. I enjoy being crazy productive on the weekends. Especially if I can knock everything out that I want to do on Saturday and just relax on Sunday. Today I cleaned up the kitchen and ran the dishwasher, changed the sheets on the bed, washed and dried three loads of laundry, cleaned the litter box, rented a carpet cleaner and cleaned the carpet in the guest bedroom, went to Ann Taylor Loft's fall sale and got a new pair of trousers, a top, and a cami, and polished it all off with a nonfat (not skinny, because I guess that's different) pumpkin-spice latte. Boo-yah!!! The only thing left to do is go to the grocery store tomorrow, but that will happen after we watch the Pittsburgh Steelers stomp the Baltimore Ravens! It's a backyard brawl, ya'll! I wish it wasn't so hot or I'd wear my hat.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


It's been quite a week! Sorry for the silence, but I'm trying to get into the groove with the job and commute thing. It hasn't been easy and I've been exhausted when I get home. I bought a ticket to use on the MARC train, but it wasn't valid until Thursday. This meant I had to drive for about an hour, then get the metro the rest of the way in. All in all, it was about 1 hour 45 minutes. This sucked. THEN, I got to use my train ticket and I thought life was going to be grand! Well, Baltimore is hosting this stupid grand prix this weekend so all of these roads are closed in the city. It took me 45 minutes to get out of the city, I missed my train and had to wait another 25 minutes for the next one, so that day it took me 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to work! Yeah, that's right. Two hours and fifteen minutes. 2.25 hours. My normal commute time by train should take me around an hour and 15 minutes, door to door. The majority of that is on the train or metro, so it's really not too bad. The ride home is the really nice because the train I get is non-stop between DC and BWI. The best part about all of this is that my employer pays my commuting costs. Getting the train and the metro adds up (fortunately parking at the station is free for monthly ticket holders) and once I saw the cost I was slightly regretting making the decision to commute. But at orientation they told us about the commuter benefits, which was a huge relief. I worked for this employer before, but it was a different location and because parking wasn't an issue they didn't reimburse us for commuting costs. I had completely forgotten that they did this and was sooo happy to find this out! That saves us $230 a month!

It's been hard to try and figure it all out. It's a bit of a juggling act now that I have a husband. It used to be that I'd go to work, hit the gym on the way home, or go to my part time job, come home, eat hummus and crackers for dinner. Basically, it was all about me. Now I just want to get home because we would like to see each other! He's also reintroducing himself in the kitchen and has been cooking me dinner. :) I'd rather sacrifice in the morning, getting up early so I can get to work early and leave early. I haven't bought a gym membership yet because I'm waiting to get settled into a routine. Allegedly there is a gym in our office building and we get a discount, but I need to investigate that further.

With this job brings new things to the household! We bought a car last week and I LUURVE it! We ended up getting a 2012 Honda Civic EX and it's way fun to drive. I did quite a bit of research between some different types of cars, new vs used, etc. We were leaning towards a used one, but finding a used EX is actually quite difficult. Then Honda came out with 0.9% financing on new models so we got a really good deal on it. My favorite features are the fact that we average 35 miles to the gallon and the bluetooth. I love talking to my car! :) I never really thought I'd care much about having bluetooth, but it's definitely an awesome feature. It looks like this, we even got it in black (because that's what was in stock), but ours doesn't stay shrouded in mysterious shadows.

Today we FINALLY ordered a sofa! I'm pretty psyched about it! Coming home and not having a place to relax stinks. Frankly, the state our house is in right now is not relaxing at all, so I'm hoping that now I'll be able to get this sorted out. I'll do a longer post on the living room updates when the sofa comes in, probably at the beginning of November. It's a darker green color (not sage, but not evergreen either) and it has coordinating floral print pillows that I think will look nice with the striped chair. The legs match the ones on the chair. They had Labor Day sales going on, so we got a good deal. I'm hoping to paint in here before the sofa comes. Here's a picture:

Oh yeah, and lastly...we had to get a new roof. This is not fun, so I won't go into detail. The fun part is I was able to fix the water damage in the guest room and I bought paint for that today!

It's been an expensive week around here! Ouch!