August Goals Recap (and Dress Peek!)

Hello everyone!  I can’t believe August is almost gone and, more importantly, summer, as well!  I think we might actually have a later summer in SoCal since it was dreary in June and July, though I suppose we can’t really complain since it’s constantly temperate.  Anyway, here’ s a recap of how I did for my August goals:

1) Complete 60 miles of runningPass, though contingent upon if I complete my 4 and 3 miler this Thursday/Friday.

2) Complete the 30 day Squat Challenge again, this time while using a 10-25 pound plate (reduce weight as I increase the number of squats), as well as the 30 Day Plank ChallengeKind of.  When I was squatting with weights, my legs constantly felt like lead during my runs, so I ditched the plates.  I’m definitely seeing results after two months of it, though, and B has as well since he accused me of flexing my quads one time when I wasn’t – hurray!  For the plank challenge, I did well up to 2.5 minutes, then I couldn’t really hold for 3, 4, 5 minutes.  So what I did for those days was hold on for as long as I can, and any remaining amount left, I would finish in another set (or two).  I am pretty amazed by it, though, since I’m now up to 3.5 minutes when before 2 was the most I could hold.  The body adapts quickly, and I’d recommend that challenge to anyone!

3) Pay off $800 of my debtFail.  I was a bit of a spending glutton this month, I’ll own that.  I bought running shoes since my old ones had over 400 miles, as well as plane tickets to visit my parents to spend time for my mom’s 60th.  I also paid for the second Pre-Cana class, as well as the deposit for the dress that I initially had my eye on (explain more in #4).  Total, I paid off $385 of debt this month.

4) Pay for the invites (materials) and second Pre-Cana class, start looking for a dress and photographer Kind of.  I didn’t pay for the invites yet but they should be ready next month (yay!), but did pay for Pre-Cana class and the deposit for my dress.  I ended up buying the floor sample since it was the exact size and color I wanted, and haggled them to retouch up all the beading, add a back panel, dry clean it, take $100 off, and half off veil and shoes.  I wanted a free veil and a deeper discount, but oh well, the dress is relatively new since it was a spring 2013 dress and 50% off is better than nothing, I suppose.  Do you want to see?  Well it was more rhetorical since I’m so excited about it and showing it anyway. 🙂

dress IMG_20130820_173922_898

5) Spend 15 hours on SpanishFail.  I only spent about 10 hours, and 2 hours of it was hiking with my old Spanish teacher where it was mostly me saying, “Ummm… como se dice… ummm…” 😉

6) Write 5 “love letters” to loved ones PASS.  I ended up doing this early on in the month – two of them weren’t really love letters but more gratitude letters to teachers who made an impact on my life – one English high school teacher who encouraged me to take tests to go the AP path, and another college professor who was influential in my “political awakening” I guess you can say.  I received responses from them, and it was a pretty cool feeling for both parties.  I also wrote the remaining three letters to those who are having a rough go in life, whether it’s a break up, being unemployed for numerous years, or going through some past stuff and having a hard time processing.  Even if I’m frustrated or whatnot lately with wedding or work stuff, I do realize I have so much to be thankful for, and I can only hope that the friends that have been there for me in the past, I can be there for now and always.

I’m not sure if I’m going to have any September goals other than survive since Fall is always busy season, but I’ll at least strive to get my debt down lower despite paying for some hefty deposits in the next couple of months.  If you had any goals in August, let’s hear how you did! 🙂

DC vs. Marvel: Who Rules the Box Office?

Full disclosure: I am not a comic book aficionado.  Even though I was familiar with superheroes, fantasy, and sci-fi  growing up, my knowledge base is mostly comprised of 2.5 years of movie watching data*.  And while my favorite movies are usually from the likes of Aronofsky, Almodovar, and Tarantino – unconventional, often dark, mind-twisting movies – I’ve found myself genuinely enjoying the more mainstream superhero genre for its entertaining, “sit back and escape” value.  One thing I’ve noticed within the superhero/fantasy/sci-fi genres are the rivalries in franchises – Star Wars vs. Star Trek being one of them, as well as the DC vs. Marvel worlds in the box office.  It leads me to wonder if there really is such a difference between the two, and if so, what?  Read the rest of my article here….

Wedding Update #643

Happy Thursday, everyone!  I thought I’d share updates on a monthly basis since posting kind of helps me feel organized and helps me reassess what the heck I’ve been doing all month.  Hope it’s not turning people off!

1) Wedding favors decided – It’s a little tchotchke (luggage tags in the shape of airplanes), but it’s a practical one that goes with our aeronautical theme, plus I’m going to use them for the seating assignment card thingy. #multipurpose

2) Groomsmen outfit picked – since it’s winter we figured medium to dark grey slacks, and the groomsmen will wear just a vest while he’ll wear a jacket in addition.  B even thought of the guys wearing a tie in our primary theme color (purple) and he’ll wear one in our accent color (red), which I thought was the cutest idea.  Who knew underneath that t-shirt and cargo shorts exterior was an inner fashionisto?!

3) Pre-Cana class – one of two is completed, and there was a lot more people than I thought would be there (like 100 at least).  We had to do this scantron test seeing if we’ve talked about things related to marriage – though some were religious, I think most of the questions are good for any marriage since it asked if we’ve discussed finances, kids, addictions, family’s perspectives and pressures, etc.  We’re supposed to get our results by this Friday, so I’ll probably share that.  Another interesting thing that one of the counselors pointed out is that the U.S. is heading to Europe’s trend where we’re not reproducing at a rate where we used to (insinuating we’re “dying off” as a species) – I am pretty doubtful of what he said, so I’m going to look into that.  If anyone knows anything or has thoughts about this, please share.

5) I’m 84.56% sure I’m going to say yes to a dress!  When I put it on, I totally gasped, but the lady was also pulling tight on the corset at the back so that probably had something to do with it.  When I told GMD about it, she asked if it was within budget (Oh PF mom! ;)), and truth be told it’s a couple hundred above my high point.  However, I found a place online where I can get $300 off my next purchase, which I can then use for my bridal party gifts, so it can eventually be a wash?  I’m trying out more dresses with my girls on the 26th just to see if I can find something more economical, though.

6) Homey Hook-Up Part 3!  A loved mentor back in my college days hooked me up with her friend who’s offering to do our photography at half the price of market rates, and throwing in engagement pictures!  I love her style because it’s more natural and less Photoshoppy (though I told her it’s okay to erase the fine lines), so I’m all too excited about this.  B was still unsure about the price, but when he did some research and figured out that hers was half the price, not gonna lie, I eeked out a “told ya so!” as I pumped my fist in the air (well, not really, but I mildly gloated).

This is actually taking a lot more time than I thought, mostly with communicating things back and forth with my parents, B, and vendors… and then having to repeat myself when I’m asked questions I just spoke about a day ago. 😉  I do think about it if the opposite were to occur (if someone else was looking into the different aspects and reporting back to me), and know I wouldn’t like that since I’m too much of a control freak to not know what’s going on.  So, I pretty much just have to pipe down and keep doing what I’m doing.  Thankfully, B doesn’t feel that I’m being control freak, but thinks that I’m just managing the ordeal as best as I can, so I love how supportive he’s being!

Do you think we’re dying off as a species?  Can you tell I was typing this like how the Micro-Machines guy used to talk in the commercials?  Oh man, I just aged myself with that question, didn’t I?

Screw the Joneses, They’re Not Worth Going Into Debt Over!

If you watch broadcast television these days, you’ll notice a number of commercials trying to convince us viewers to buy the latest and coolest smartphones, to party lavishly like rockstars by drinking a certain brand of liquor, or keep our designer jeans in top shape with a certain detergent.  You’ll even see a man being the envy of their next door neighbor because of the new car he just purchased. It seems as though keeping up with the Joneses is infiltrating not only daily life for some people, but advertisements as well. We’re supposed to believe that buying a certain product will either keep you with the trend or set the bar for a higher standard.

First off, who are the Joneses, anyway?  Read the rest of the post here…

Honeymoon or Forever House?

A few weeks ago, B and I decided that for our registry, we’re primarily using Honeyfund since we’re already living in sin cohabitating and don’t need actual stuff for the house.  We threw honeymoon ideas out there, and we both agreed that South America is where we would most likely go.  Since it’s a fairly long flight plan, we thought we’d explore 2 or so weeks, so it would cost a few grand to do so.  Lately, though, he’s been mentioning that we should put any gifts towards our “forever” house instead.  I was caught a little off-guard, and responded that it would only be a small percentage towards the house, to which he stated something to the effect of, “Well like you always say, something is better than nothing!”

My only rebuttal was, “So that saying is only effective when it works towards my favor.” 😉

So I’d like to ask the reader – what would you choose?  A honeymoon or house?

First off, we don’t plan on incurring debt with our wedding, but in the event we do, we would for sure pay that off first.  But here’s some reasons for each choice:

Honeymoon:

1) We plan on starting a family fairly quickly, so I’d like to go on a nice adventure with just the two of us while we’re able-bodied before doing so (i.e., lots and lots of hiking!  Or at least sightseeing by foot).

2) I would try to find the most economical way of going to our destinations, and if we had to supplement, we’d make sure to save up for it since we’ll probably go a bit later after the wedding.  Plus, it’s South America, we would stay in modest lodging, we eat on the cheap, not big drinkers, and I don’t really buy souvenirs (though we do buy one artsy piece from international destinations), so we’d get our money’s worth.

3) We could easily squeeze in a kid in our current “starter” place if we’re blessed with one, though we’d most likely need a bigger place after that if we hopefully have more.

4) I value experiences and travel over things, though realize my partner might value long-term things more than experiences.

House:

1) We’d be able to get to our goal for our forever house faster.

2) A house is a long-term investment versus a fleeting two weeks.

3) We could still go on a honeymoon, but perhaps a domestic one. (digression: we have kind of an aeronautical theme, and when I suggested having passports as our invites, B responded with “but you don’t need a passport for domestic flights.”  Darn his pragmatism for dashing my creativity! ;))

4) I suppose it’s the more fiscally responsible thing to do, especially with how expensive it is to raise children these days.

So readers, what do you think or what would you do?  I’d really like to know (unless you’re on Team Forever House, then you can sit this one out.  Kidding, of course – I’m curious at others’ reasoning with their choices!).

Frugal Fitness Ideas While Traveling

Often times, I’ve heard friends or colleagues say how they fell off the fitness wagon due to a business trip or vacation they just came from.  Though I certainly understand that business trips can make for long days and that it’s way more fun to relax on the beach, I still think squeezing in a workout in is possible despite not being in your normal schedule or surroundings.  Here are some ideas for fitting in fitness while traveling… read the rest of article (and other bloggers’ great ideas)!

Recharged in Seattle

The past week, I was able to take a nice getaway to Seattle.  It was B’s birthday, and though it was overcast the first three days, the last few were beautiful and sunny, which is exactly what I needed for some recharging and relaxation!  Highlights from the trip include, but are not limited to:

1) I made my first cake-sized… well, cake!  I mostly stick with quick breads and cookies, but was kind of proud to be able to make B’s family’s favorite.  They all loved it, though, really, I don’t think anyone can mess up copious amounts of butter, sugar, and cream cheese.

2) I was able to unplug and read or watch trash TV (since B’s family gets channels we don’t get at home), and it was so nice to curl up and do this during the overcast days.  We also took the family to see Red 2 and it was pretty hilarious – I love me some John Malkovich!

3) We happened to be there while it was free museum day around Seattle (first Thursday of the month), so it was nice to be able to take in some culture.

4) We were supposed to go to Sea Fair on B’s birthday, but unfortunately his friend couldn’t get his boat up on time.  So, we opted for a hike with friends instead, and it was beautiful and challenging though short (less than 2 hours).  You’ll notice in the group pic that B decided to play thumb war (see #7) with me when the person counted to three… for the record, I didn’t fight it since who wants to see a grown man cry on his birthday.

5) I met GMD!!!  I was bummed because J’s car was broken into so I wasn’t able to hang with her for very long, but she is as sweet, awesome, and beautiful as she is on the interwebs!  I tend to imagine what people’s voices are like when I read their blogs, and I imagined hers to be charismatic, bubbly, and cheerful, mostly because her posts are always as such.  I thought I’d share that with her, but the words that decided to exit my mouth to convey this is “You sound like the girl in Clueless!”  Hi foot – meet mouth!  Thankfully, GMD understood what I meant, and it was great to finally meet her.  When we walked into the coffee store, I looked way up to spot J since he’s like 12 feet tall, but it turns out it wasn’t hard to spot GMD since her smile totally lights up the room.  She also doesn’t look anywhere near 30, so she needs to quit her trippin’. 😉  Her charming ways will definitely take her places!

6) I went on the Underground Tour, and it was meh.  The tour guides totally make the tour, but the tour wasn’t anything too spectacular.  It was still pretty interesting though, and my favorite historical tidbit was (spoiler alert) the most influential and wealthiest Madame back in the day had no one to leave her inheritance of a quarter of million dollars to, so it ended up funding the school systems.  Knowledge!

Here’s some pics, enjoy!

Anyone else had or will have fun summer getaways this year?