2.26.2010

Too Sleepy For Figure Skating

The Winter Olympics looks cold. For so many of the events as a spectator you can't even really see the whole event because it's an obstacle course like set up. The conditions don't really lend themselves to concession stands and or even sitting in actual seats most of the time. How can one bear to stand around in the snow for hours on end? Aren't they freezing their butts off? I could barely make it for an hour out walking around in Washington DC in December without feeling like I was getting frostbite and that death from exposure was imminent. They just sound like really tough [cold] sports to go and watch.

Even as a spectator in my warm cozy house I can't really get as interested in the Winter Olympics as much as I do the Summer games. As thrilling as bobsledding, luge, and skiing is they just don't hold my attention. I do however really, really love to watch Ladies figure skating. I stayed up and watched the short program on Tuesday and was looking forward to the long program last night. Only problem is that I could NOT keep my eyes open. I tried so hard but after the 1st skater Rachel Flatt performed the next thing I knew the other American Mirai Nagasu was taking the ice and she was the last to go! I'd missed just about the whole thing and couldn't even manage to stay awake through her whole performance.

I was surprised that Nagasu beat Flatt. Rachel's long program was good AND she was ahead of Marai going into the competition. I was glad to find out that Joannie Rochette from Canada managed to win the bronze. I can't even imagine the pain of losing my mother let alone on the eve of the Olympics. She could have fallen apart but she rose to the occasion. Kim Yu Na won the gold as I expected. She is miles above her competitors. Like a machine. She won by 16 points! It must kind of suck for Mao Asado and all other skaters to know that even on their best most perfect day they can't beat her.

Yeah, yeah!! It's Friday and pay day. It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow and the most exciting thing I will be doing all weekend is going to H.R. Block to do my taxes but that is just fine by me. In case you hadn't heard ALL footlongs are $5 bucks at Subway right now so I am going to stop and pick up a Roast Beef one up for dinner and Mj and I are going to watch a movie.

I love weekends!

Reception [Food Fest] Tasting

The tasting was less of a tasting and more of a all out food fest if you asked me. But, I am definitely not complaining. They offered passed hors d'oeuvres and wine or champagne while we were waiting to go into the tasting room. Once inside all of the food was set up buffet style and you could pretty much taste as much as you wanted of anything that was there. There was a lot to choose from! These are our plates just from round one.

We had Rosemary Chicken, Flat Iron Steak, Wild Rice Pilaf, Stuffed Shells, Mini Beef Wellington, Spring Rolls, dinner rolls, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and on and on. The provided a note sheet so we could take notes on what we liked and what we didn't. After tasting everything I think that we have decided that we like the Southwest Tri Tip steak. I originally figured I would just go for chicken because it's kind of generic and everybody likes chicken but this meat was so tasty and we both really liked it so beef it is. I am debating over if I want to put a beef or vegetarian option on my RSVP cards or not. Or, just tell them on our website that if they are a vegetarian to let us know? I think if we have dual entrees served then we have to provide menu cards and I am not exactly sure what that would entail. I guess I need to find out because I am planning on ordering my invites this weekend.

Southwest Tri Tip Steak
The reception package we chose is $55 per person [plus sales tax and 19% gratuity of course!!]and includes the following:
  • One hour bar service including cocktails, beer, wine, punch, and sodas
  • Assorted cheese & cracker display during cocktail hour
  • Starter, served entree, seasonal vegetables, dinner rolls
  • Champagne toast and coffee/tea service
  • Cake cutting service
I think that should be enough but I really liked some of the Hors d'oeuvres. It would costs $150 per 50 pieces to add those on. It would be nice to throw in something extra but that would be $300 minimum. We want to add on alcohol too after the cocktail hour and Mj and I both agree that alcohol is way more important! The next package up would be $20 more per person and include 4 hors d'ouerves AND an extra hour of bar service but that would be pushing our budget too much.

They also had some of their vendors on hand for everything from DJ and flowers to mobile spa services and chair covers. The cake vendor said he could do a peanut butter 3 tiered cake that serves 100 for $275, which is under budget. I found out that one of the sample centerpieces on one of the tables was $100!! That's exactly why I am making my own. $100 X 10 tables is $1000 bucks! Even $40 X 10 is too high for me. We visited all of the vendors and turned in our little card to enter the raffle but did not win anything. I was REALLY hoping to win the $500 ceremony but instead it went to a girl who is having a quincenera and doesn't even really need it. Sigh.

Overall it was a wonderful and fun event. Free dinner and wine is always nice! Of course it made me want everything but I have to bring myself down to earth. The recent renovation on the hotel looks great. They really rolled out the red carpet for us and I am very happy that we chose it for our venue.

2.25.2010

Under Contract, Now Where's My Loan?

It's funny how so many things in the home buying process are backwards. You can get pre approved to buy hundreds of thousands worth of real estate but nobody will promise to give you any money for it until you have already signed a contract saying that you will buy it. On a resale you fall in love with a house but it's only until after you have signed the contract that the home inspection is ordered that could ultimately break the deal if there are any problems. We've agreed to buy a new contruction house that is nothing more then a pile of dirt with some stakes in it at this point. We don't know exactly when our closing will be because it's being built as we speak. We don't even know what our interest rate will ultimately be on the loan and yet we have signed the dotted line that we want the money. Even once we receive final credit approval an outside lender won't agree to the loan amount until the house is appraised for the purchase price which can't be done until the darn thing is mostly built and that likely won't be until April. We are supposed to be moving in May!It's backwards. And it's the way it's done.

We are almost 30 days out from contract signing and we still don't have financing in place. Not for lack of trying. Run back and forth with paperwork. Wait. Get pre approved. More paperwork. Submission to underwriting and more waiting. This is our 3rd time initiating this approval process for a variety of reasons. With less then a week before our 30 day time limit to secure financing we are told by the builder's lender that they will not offer us the loan we want. They are telling us if they don't get some type of credit approval for us in place by Tuesday we will be 100% denied from any loan at all with them. We don't want to spoil our chances completely but we also don't want to get stuck having to go with a loan program we don't want. We sumitted a loan application to our bank Monday. It will be great if they approve us for what we want but that also means $6,700 builder credit towards closing cost that we were anticipating with use of the preferred lender is now in jeopardy. They might still give it to us but they might not depending. Did we offically get rejected? NO. Did we refuse their counter loan? YES. Or did we agree to their counter offer and get accepted but just don't want it? DON'T WANT TO TAKE THE CHANCE. If we do, we may definitely stuck without the closing costs credit if we choose our bank and the loan program we want over theirs with the one we don't. That's a lot of money to just kind of not know if you are going to have.

Buying a house is not for the faint at heart I will tell you that much. There are variables and unknowns at every step of the process that could make or break everything. There is so much money involved and no average Jane could even begin to understand 1/2 of the paperwork that must be signed along the way. You are making plans to move in the not so distant future yet nothing is guaranteed until you go to closing and they put the darn keys in your hand. I've heard of people getting denied on a loan just 1 day before closing!

For the organized-plan ahead-like to be in control-type like myself this is a nightmare.
I am so over it. I want this house but I also want off this wacky roller coaster ride of confusion and uncertainty.


2.23.2010

HGTV Junkie

Hey, is anyone else addicted to House Hunters, My First place and Property Virgins on HGTV? I have to ask because if I find out I'm not the only one at least I'll feel a little bit better about my addiction. I can watch these shows for hours upon hours on end.

I love watching couples weigh out the pros and cons of one place over another and how much bang you can get [or not get] for your buck in the different housing markets. Location vs square footage. Attached garage vs back yard size. Granite counter tops in the kitchen vs an extra vanity in the master bath. I enjoy seeing the decor and layouts of different condos, town homes, row homes, duplexes, detached homes, and bungalows.

It's interesting to see what that couple with the $150,000 budget in Texas has to choose from. I gasp in dismay at the couple in San Francisco that decides to buy the tiny 980 square foot condo 2 bedroom/one bathroom and no parking space for $415,000. Then in the next episode, I drool over the 2,200 square foot home with the vaulted ceilings, huge back yard and finished basement that the couple in South Carolina managed to get below the asking price of $260,000. Every house in every housing market is unique in it's own way and there is always some advantage or disadvantage that even those with a high budget must weigh out before making a decision. It's fun trying to guess which one they pick!

Mj: We've seen this one.
Me: Maybe you have but I haven't.
Mj: You did see this one. Remember this couple got on our nerves because they were so anal and kept low balling everyone?
Me: Hmmmm...I don't know.
Mj: They are not going to like the busy street in the back yard.......Remember?
Me: Oh, yeah now it's coming back to me a little but I can't remember which one they pick.

[I continue watching]

This happens over and over! I don't think my interest is just because we are currently in the throes of the home buying process ourselves. It crossed my mind that I am finally getting to do what I've been watching on HGTV for months, but I have always loved looking at houses. I love looking at the different exteriors and architecture if I am driving through a neighborhood. I always want to check out the model homes just for fun if I happen to see the sign twirler on the corner pointing them out. I have always had dreams of owning a home that actually looked like a model home down to perfectly coordinated decor, stately furniture, and pristine lack of clutter.

Uh, how did I not know you could watch episodes online? I can only hope they keep cranking these out because I'm afraid I may be running out of new ones to watch! Oh, and of course I entered to win the HGTV dream house in New Mexico. I entered just about every day for two months. The odds of winning are slim to none and I'd have to sell the darn house anyways if I won it but I can't resist a good contest entry.

2.22.2010

McDonald's #2 With Sprite

In my old college days McDonald's was a staple in my weekly diet. That, Domino's Pizza, and Cup O Noodles. A couple years into College and some freshman 15 pounds later it was still one of my favorite's although I would normally limit it to weekends. At some point I stopped eating fast food french fries and hamburgers altogether save for the random few and far between times I might end up having it as a fourth meal with some friends after a night of being out. Nowadays the only thing I order from fast food restaurants is their salads. My diet totally changed to the point where I simply could not bring myself to do it. I went through a phase where I sort of gave up food altogether let alone fast food!

But yesterday Mj had a rare craving for it and since for years and years I've been talking about doing it I decided to join the fun. I used to order a Sprite but I got a Diet Coke this time around. I used to super size it but McDonald's has long since done away with that offering only Medium and Large so I went with the Medium. In the old days they didn't put the calorie info on the package and this time around I was too excited to be eating it to even take a look at it. I mean, I can always look it up online later and c'mon, if I ordered a hamburger and french fries how likely is it that I am concerned about calories and fat at this point anyways? Was it everything I dreamed it would be? YES! It was pretty yummy and it kind of felt good to be THAT bad and THAT indulgent for once. McDonald's after all is sort of the poster child for everything that is wrong with the American diet today and there I was eating it with vigor.

What I was surprised to find is that while enjoyable not only did the meal not really fill me up but that I was actually starving just a couple hours later as if I had eaten nothing at all. Mj had the same problem too. I don't remember that part. Granted, it was my only full meal for the day but still! $6.00 and 980 calories later....why am I still hungry? So, there I am having exceeded my calories and fat content for the day and yet I am hungrier then ever. I ate an apple and some string cheese as a snack but still went to bed hungry.

This morning I felt a little disgusted with myself. I mean, did I really have to go and do that? Nope, I didn't but I think it's a good thing I did.
  • #1 I know that I am not missing out on all that much. Sure it was delicious but I really enjoy my healthier choice meals too and feel much better about myself after eating them and usually a lot more fulfilled.
  • #2 it is another sign that I am doing well food wise. I used to have lists upon lists of foods that I absolutely could not would not eat. I used to go weeks without eating any actual solid meals. To go from that to being able to order a meal from McDonald's is actually a good thing. I can still be pretty regimental about my eating habits but I can vary from the norm too and it doesn't rule me anymore.
So today I have already decided that all I want for dinner is one lovely healthy sandwich with lunch meat and cheese between Sandwich Thins bread. Natures Own makes them too, but for only $2.00 which is a better price then Orowheat. I will probably have some pretzels with it. While it may not have the the curb appeal of my #2 with Diet Coke I have a feeling I am going to be just as glad to be eating it tonight.
Time to cleanse and degrease.

A Saturday Wedding

view of the sun setting from the ceremony location
On Saturday we went to Mike's friend's wedding. It's been so so long since I've been to one so I was really looking forward to going as soon as we got the invitation. I did go back and buy The Limited pants for $39.50 with my coupon AND ended up buying a dress for the wedding. It was so cold that I could not bring myself to put on a halter although I saw plenty of halters, strapless, open toed shoes paired with no jackets and no tights all night. Nope not me! I am always cold to begin with so I found a short sleeved billowy sleeved dress at Kohl's for $24.00 earlier that day and wore black tights and black pumps. I wore a scarf, my black pea coat AND had a sweater underneath that for good measure. It didn't dip much below the 60's but that is COLD for me. This brings my total shopping expenditure for the month to $69.00 which for a nice top, pants, and a dress is not bad at all.

Kimono Dress from Kohl's $24.00
The wedding was beautiful. The ceremony was on a grassy area overlooking the ocean and the reception was just inside. They really lucked out because it had been raining all week and that morning but come ceremony time the sun was shining and although a bit chilly the weather was otherwise perfect. The bride was almost in tears (of happiness) throughout the ceremony and they looked really, really happy together.
They had about 75-80 guests which is probably about what we are going to have. The centerpieces were a lovely fresh flower bouquet in a nice large square Vase. The decor was simple, the food was good and we danced the night away. It was a good group of people and everyone had a great time.
It was a good reminder to me again that I should not sweat the small stuff in my wedding planning. Guests that care about us are just going to be happy to be there with us. I will put on a great event for my guests within my budget and not worry about the rest. There simply isn't any need to stress out doing otherwise or trying to do too much. What will be remembered 6 months down the road has less to do with how their colors were incorporated into the decor and more about how much fun everyone had dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller.
Oh, and the girl who couldn't handle the open bar, dirty danced with everyone including the girls, and threw up in the bathroom....we'll remember that too but of course there is little that even the most organized of brides can do about that!!

2.16.2010

Just A Little Shopping

I had an absolutely amazing 4 day weekend thanks to my job giving us both President's birthdays off. I had Friday and Monday off and the weather was fantastic. I was productive. I dropped my car off for repairs, met with two property management companies, and picked up some stuff for my centerpieces. I cooked, cleaned, and did laundry. I kind of felt like a super wifey having all of this time to go out and do errands, take care of the household AND feed my man. Because of those extra two days I also managed to get in some much needed relaxation. Time where I was able to just sit in the house doing not much of anything instead of running around from errand to errand and working on this and that all day long. If only 3-4 day weekends were the rule and not the exception.

As a reward for going back to work today I picked up this short sleeved Double Button Placket Shirt in white from The Limited on my lunch break. Their clothes are soooo cute but pricey so I normally don't step foot in that place unless I have a coupon. They usually have pretty great clearance deals too. Yes, I am on a budget being that the monthly amount due on our wedding venue equals my current mortgage and I'm in the middle of buying a new house. BUT, I had a coupon. That makes everything OK. The shirt was on sale for $29.70 and with my additional $15 off coupon I spent a whopping $15 and some change. I could have doubled that savings to $30 with a $100 purchase but that wasn't the plan. I went in for one single sale priced top and that's exactly what I got.

The only problem is that because of this little shopping trip I found out that ALL of their pants are on sale for $39.50 which means I might have to go back for another round of speed shopping!! This sale is huge considering they have such great fitting and quality pants that are usually so expensive that I would rather wear 10 year old pants to work then buy them. They are usually $60+. The good news is that I have another identical coupon that says it's for "a friend" and if I stick to the plan I can walk out of there spending about $28 bringing my total shopping expenditure for the month to $43 bucks!! That I can do.

It's actually quite helpful that there is just one Limited in the entire county that is only conveniently accessible from work while I am on my lunch break. I am on a tight budget but if I can reward myself with little things here and there I don't feel so deprived and I can work on filling out my wardrobe bit by bit. Everything in moderation!!

2.14.2010

I Don't Really NEED Valentine's Day



I am not one of those people that believes that Valentine's Day is this made up commercial holiday that is forced upon us just to make money. Ok well, it kind of is but forced is a strong word. We do and spend what we want ultimately and if I believed that about Valentines day I would have to believe the same about a lot of other mostly meaningless holidays that we celebrate just for fun. Yeah, it's a money maker but I don't see anything wrong with having another day to show appreciation to your significant other. Yes, we can do it every day but why does it hurt to add one more in particular and call it Valentines day? I have been single on Valentine's Day and it did kind of suck but it can only get you down if you let it-which I did. So glad those days are over.

The only reason I say I don't really need Valentine's day is because my Valentine makes me feel loved and appreciated every day and I hope he would say the same of me. We enjoy our time together doing something or nothing at all. It's not like Valentines day is our ONE day to do something together or do something nice for each other. We do that day to day anyways.

Just because I don't feel that I need Valentine's day doesn't mean I don't want to enjoy it. We don't expect anything grand or expensive from each other. I'm not going to pout if I don't get diamonds or jewelry and I think women who do behave that way are ridiculous. There is no pressure here. More then any other holiday Valentine's to me is more about being thoughtful than anything else. In addition to beautiful flowers Mj got me these adorable customized M & M's with our names, little love notes, AND one of my favorite picture of us together on it. Yes. Our big faces on a tiny, tiny M & M. How adorable is that? Every time I look at them I can't help but giggle a little. There are three packs. We will eat two and the last one will never be opened because I want to save them forever. I got him some cuff links he's been needing and his very own personalized foot and back massage coupon.

Today we went on a picnic at a park where you can watch the airplanes coming in for landing at the nearby airport. The east coast is getting pounded with snow but it's 80 degrees here in February so why not? It's something we do anyways on bright and sunny weekends just to get out and enjoy the scenery. We didn't necessarily need Valentines day to do it but it was a good excuse. I lay on the blanket staring up at the totally cloudless blue sky and feeling the warm sun on my skin. We drank wine and ate sandwiches. I had my beloved Extra Sharp Tillamook cheese and crackers. We talked and laughed and closed our eyes and just enjoyed the day. There were families out spending the day with their kids and couples out walking their dogs. All I could think is that despite how stressed and busy things have been life is good. It's blissful moments like these that make everything worthwhile. Getting up and going to work everyday and running around like a chicken with your head cut off on weekends trying to get everything done is all for moments like this.

Nope, we don't really need Valentine's Day to say I love you but we do it anyways just because.

2.10.2010

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

Choices I make generally always come down to price and unfortunately my wedding is no exception. I've had to pick and choose what matters most to me focusing on those and letting the others go. For me that is venue and photographer. Our venue is a newly renovated hotel ballroom for the reception. It has a gorgeous garden area outside for the ceremony. I felt that if I could find a venue that was pretty on its own it would save me on additional decorating costs later. Generic maybe, but the price fit. It will be beautiful and also convenient for everyone especially our out of town guests to have everything in one spot. There were some amazing photographers I would have loved to have do our wedding starting at $2500 and up but I just couldn't do it. I like our photographer's portfolio and think I will end up with beautiful pictures. We are not doing engagement photos at all. I'd like to but just not sure if it's a must have considering budget. It might be fun to save that for a year we aren't spending so much on a wedding and I look forward to doing that and still being as in love as we are on our wedding day.  I stuck to a $500 or less budget on my dress and I really love it.

I will consider up lighting because we got such an awesome deal on our DJ in the first place that I might be able to fit it in. I didn't even know what it was until another blogger enlightened me-excuse the pun!   I really want chair covers because I can see just how amazingly well it transforms a room but may not because the chairs they use are actually OK. I was loving the look of tall elaborate centerpieces with fresh flowers but I am piecing together my own to cut costs. I am spending a little bit more on invitations then I thought I would because the cheap samples I got just looked....well cheap. I think I will go ahead and do the personalized table number cards and place cards because I found a decent price and feel it's one cute detail I can afford. I will forgo an additional Hors D'oeuvre at cocktail hour but may host a bit more alcohol.  I am telling myself that doing what I can is going to be A OK. It's not like my wedding is going to suck because there wasn't a fruit display in addition to the cheese or no chair covers.

Buying this house at the same time has added some extra pressure and provided some clarity on what's really important. Instead of Europe we will do Hawaii. We will have a good time wherever we go as long as we are together. Saving up money so that we can buy down our mortgage points for a more affordable monthly payment and getting our washer/dryer and refrigerator pales in comparison to having an extra dessert in addition to our wedding cake. Not that my wedding isn't important. Not that I don't want to provide a wonderful experience for our guests, but the fact that we are throwing this "party" and bringing everyone together in the first place is huge in itself. I will attend to the extras that I can but if not then so be it. The important thing and what I have always wanted is to have a beautiful event, have people that I care about there to celebrate this wonderful occasion, have a good time, and have great pictures to remember it all later.

Would I love to plan a no holds barred anything my heart desires wedding? YES!! But since that is not possible I will not sweat the small stuff. I will simply enjoy that fact that I get to do this at all and take pleasure in every moment. As far as I'm concerned the biggest thing missing from my wedding is likely to be my big sister and that's not something that even costs money. This wedding is not about the stuff it's about our love. And it's about our friends and family coming together to celebrate it.

2.08.2010

Let Me Upgrade Ya

Today Mj and I woke up and left for work at the same time. Why is this significant? Because it's officially his first day back at work since November and the first day of his new job. He looked so cute in his button up shirt, tie and sweater. I almost had a nervous breakdown when he spent about $1,300 on work clothes Saturday. Yep. Over a grand. In one day. On top of the $350 he spent last week before he flew to VA for training. Oh, and this is supposed to be the first month of his new budget that will get us on track for buying the new house. He is not used to having to wait when he wants and/or needs something. Being on a budget sometimes means you can't get it all now and that is something that might take a while to settle in. It really rattled me but I can't get too mad about it because it is for work and suits are not cheap. It is also the extent of his shopping for work clothes for the year. Most of his work clothes are still in storage and he can't get to them until we move into the new house so he had to do something.

Speaking of which. They start building it on Thursday. We are going to go out to the site on Saturday and meet with the builder. We had our design browse appointment on Sunday and ended up with a whopping $10,137 dollars in upgrades. I thought our loan agent was crazy when she said that she was giving us $10,000 for upgrades. Yeah right! It adds up so fast that it makes your head spin though. Also, a lot of the so called up grades are less of an upgrade and more a basic necessity. Like a garage door opener. How are you going to sell someone a garage and not the automatic garage door opener part in this day and age? Oh, and who ever thought that medicine cabinets in your bathrooms or an extra clothing bar in your closet would be considered an upgrade? We did go for some upgraded carpet, kitchen appliances, and doors among other things which definitely added up but a lot of the upgrades that we got were just little things that they get you on that should probably come with the house in the first place. When all is said and done $10,000 only adds $100 per month to your mortgage. Not that I don't think every $100 counts but by the end of this process I just kind of threw my hands up and went with it. We will get what we want in the house and be done with it.

The paperwork on this is never ending. Bank statements, W2's, pay stubs, VA documentation, letters of explanation and it just goes on and on. We got this huge packet in the mail-half of which I don't even understand and had to sign just about every page. They are waiting on one last bit of information and then we will be officially submitted to the underwriting department for final review and approval of our loan.

It's been another busy weekend capped off with the Superbowl on Sunday. I really enjoyed watching the game with my family. I have a bit of a snack food hangover today so I am feeling slow and heavy which I hate. We were out all day and finally made it home around 9:00pm where I collapsed into bed just as soon as I could. I forgot to take my sleeping pill before getting into to bed and was too tired to get up and take it but I somehow managed to sleep ok without it.

Another busy weekend down and many more coming up.


2.05.2010

Heidi's Plastic Surgery Media Circus

There is something wrong with Heidi Montag. Or should I say Heidi Pratt? I feel sorry for her that she felt the need to go through all of this to feel Ok. I really think she is oblivious to how bizarre it is for a 23 year old to have had thousands of dollars worth of plastic surgery including liposuction on a body that was never even close to being overweight or large. 10 Surgeries in one day!!!

Everyone has issues including myself. Admitting that you have issues does not necessarily justify or excuse your problematic behavior but it at least means that you have some sort of awareness about yourself. Heidi on the other hand is clueless. She says that she is "beyond obsessed" but then goes on to say that she will have more when the time comes. There are always little things that need fixing. Does she not see the problem with that? She says that she is a Christian but she poses in Playboy. She says that God only cares about what's on the inside but then she spends obscene amounts of money changing her outside appearance. She justifies these surgeries by saying that it's necessary because she is trying to be a Pop star but SHE CAN'T SING!! I am still amazed that she feels her triple D's are still not large enough for her. She's whittled her body down so much that I'm surprised she doesn't topple over when she struts along in her little high heeled shoes.

I haven't watched The Hills in a while but I have heard little tid bits about her baby obsession. If she gains any weight during pregnancy I know she'll fix that with more plastic surgery but has she thought about what she is going to say to her child when he/she wonders why she looks so different in pictures pre 2006? Is she going to say, "Oh, I had my dumbo ears fixed but there is nothing wrong with yours. You are fine." Is this child going to feel the need go to a plastic surgeon too to fix any similar perceived genetic imperfections that she had changed on herself?

She says that she wants to talk about it and be honest about what she's done unlike so many celebrities who hide it from public view but I think she really just wants the attention. Not just wants it but NEEDS it and will likely do or talk about anything to get it. Her media blitz regarding the plastic surgery started with People magazine and continues here in an interview with Access Hollywood. Her nose is so incredibly tiny and pert-almost freakishly so. Modern medicine certainly is incredible indeed.

I can only imagine the pressure that those in the public eye must feel to be "perfect." It's got to be very difficult but my goodness could she have at least waited until she hit her 30's to take such drastic measures? She even had her eyebrows arched. I hate to see her in her fifties. When people have gone too far you can tell and it really starts to look freakish especially as they get older.

Unless she had plastic surgery on her vocal cords I don't think this is going to do too much to help her career as a singer. It will keep her in the public eye for a while and when the interest dies down she'll come up with something else to stay in the spot light and keep her "Star status" no matter how tenuous.  I wish for anyone that has a dream to be able to go after and hopefully achieve it. I don't think she can sing at all but I certainly can't blame her for giving it her best shot and going after what she wants to do.

Her and Spencer seem to be really good at keeping people talking. Like it or not reality TV has made her a Reality TV Star and her plan to stay there seems to be working. At least for now.

2.04.2010

Bridal Party Drop Out

My older sister who was supposed to be my maid of honor has been officially kicked out of my Bridal Party. She's pregnant and although I have heard stories of bride's kicking pregnant ones out of their wedding party because they don't want their pictures "ruined" that's not why I'm doing it.

I had to kick her out because she may not be able to come at all. She is a high risk pregnancy because she is older and has fibroids. She is due August 24Th and will likely be put on bed rest at some point during her pregnancy so it is unlikely that she will be on a plane around July 10Th when I get married. She still is saying "we'll see" but I doubt it and I don't think either one of us needs the pressure of worrying about if she will be in it or not. If she does make it somehow I will be thrilled to have her there whether she is in the bridal party or not.

I am so incredibly disappointed by this. So is she. She lives in a podunk town, hardly has any friends, and was really looking forward to a visit back home. I have to look at the bigger picture though. She had two miscarriages and has desperately wanted a baby for a while now. This baby being born healthy takes precedence over anything else. I am finally going to be an auntie. It's about time one of us gave my parents some grand kids! I am happy for her even if it means she will miss a very special day in my life.

I currently have 3 bridesmaids. My longtime friend from college who now lives in Atlanta and a good friend who currently works for the same district as I do. My little sister will be my maid of honor now. Mike also has 3 stable groomsmen he can count on being there. He has a fourth that may or may not be able to make it so whether or not I ask a 4Th person to be in it will depend on that.

It's funny because I originally didn't even think I would have bridesmaids. I'm not a queen who requires "attendants" surrounding me. I didn't want anyone to have to go out and spend money on a dress just for me. That's why it was really important that I find cute re wearable dresses for them. I wish it were not $135 but for coordination purposes it just seemed simpler to go with David's Bridal. Once I started planning it just felt right to have my close friends and sisters to be part of this. I want that memory of them standing up there with me on my wedding day. I'm not into having an army of bridesmaids just because.

I never wanted a huge bridal party but I really did want my big sister there.

2.03.2010

My Biggest Fear

When she asked me if I was available to come to one of the high schools and speak at a meeting about our articulation program my heart dropped. Literally. I felt this cold wave of hysteria wash through my brain, my heart started beating fast, and my body temperature rose a few notches. Good thing I was sitting down because if not I might have fallen out. Yes, that bad. I am absolutely terrified of public speaking. Terrified.

I have acted in corporate video industrials, local TV commercials, done entire scenes in acting classes or for auditions and have modeled but the idea of speaking in front of a group of people is nerve racking. When I am acting or modeling I am trying to be someone else. I am putting on a facade. That's easy. But when I have to be me in front of a group of people and supposedly know what I am talking about that is a totally different ballgame for me.

I could have said no. My boss told me that I didn't have to do it but I knew that it would come up again down the road and be something looming ahead of me that I would have to do but was afraid of. So, I stalled for a bit but the next day I told her that I would do it. Even though everything inside of me was screaming "What the hell are you doing? Are you crazy?" I pushed through the fear and stuck to my decision to do it.

The best thing I could do to ease my nerves is be prepared. I wrote up a short script of things I wanted to talk about and practiced it. Very similar to what I would do if I were preparing for an acting audition. I printed my hand outs and make sure I knew them backwards and forwards. I know this stuff. I talk to teachers all the time over the phone and help them navigate this program. I can do this.

And that's exactly what I did. I arrived early. I didn't tell anyone how scared I was or that this is the first time I've ever had to do anything like this. It made me feel better to have them think that I knew what I was doing and that this was routine. I walked in and put the different websites up on the computer that was hooked up to the projector for display. I stood there with confidence and when the director introduced me to the group I smiled and jumped right in. My voice was confident. The paper that I was holding didn't shake. I took my time and I did a darn good job if I do say so myself. The director told me "I nailed it" as I walked out.

It was a roomful of about 10 people. Nothing major but to me this was huge. On my way back to the office I was smiling on the inside and outside. It is such a great feeling to have conquered my fear and to know that I actually can do something that I never thought I could.

I get so down on myself for so many things so much of the time. I sell myself short and I often can't see beyond my fears and perceived limitations but not this time. I exceeded my own expectations on how this presentation would go. I was the center of attention talking for about 45 minutes instructing teachers. Yes, little old office assistant me. I am pretty darn proud of myself at the moment and that feels amazing.

2.02.2010

On Shaky Ground

I felt the earthquake yesterday but it seems like no one else but me ever does. I was laying in bed when I felt it rattling beneath me. At just the moment where I might have started getting scared and was really wishing that hubby were here and that I was not alone it stopped. I have felt shaking before and usually figure I must be imagining it but I was totally validated when I heard that it happened at 6:19am, was a 5.5 on the Richter scale and based out of Rosarito, Mexico. I am a regular seismograph.

My life is feeling a little shaky right now too. House hunting has taken over my life to the point where I am just plain old worn out. The contract is signed, the financing is -hopefully- secured and we have our final design browse appointment Sunday. Yes, superbowl Sunday and it's a 1 1/2 drive!! It was the only time we could get with hubby being out of town this week and the one right down the street being closed over the weekend.

Oh, and get this. A foreclosure property that fit our price range came up yesterday. It has a deck and looks pretty nice from the four pictures we saw. It has fees but they are low and it's right in the middle of a lush golf course. It would mean doing that nasty commute but it's priced lower then the new house. Timing is everything. It was comforting to hear Mj say he still likes ours better because all of those what if's started running through my mind. I hate that feeling of second guessing yourself and wondering if you made the right decision. Especially on something so HUGE!!

I do expect things to calm down now that a decision is made but there are still so many variables. And the number crunching continues. What will our final interest rate end up being? How much does it cost to lock the loan rate? How much of the interest rate will points buy down? How many of those darn points can we buy? It's crazy how you have to sign your life away and pay $3,000 up front when all you can see of your so called house is a pile of dirt and there are still so many variables that will have a major impact on our monthly payment. They can't even tell us exactly when the house will be done so we can move in. We have heard April and May. All we really know is that it will be about 60 days after they pour the foundation. Whenever that is. Sigh.

This is a good thing. I can't wait to move into a HOUSE!! But it's scary too and I am just hoping for the best.


2.01.2010

Centerpiece For The Not So Crafty Bride


My Do It Yourself Centerpiece Idea
Mj bought me some pretty pink carnations last week for date night and it didn't take long before I was cutting them up and performing evil experiments on this unsuspecting innocent bouquet to get ideas for my centerpieces.

Unless I added much more flowers they looked sparse and kinda boring in the vases. I thought baby's breath might add to it but I didn't want it to look like a lack luster homemade arrangement. I cut of the tops off and floated them in a bowl hoping they would stand up straight but they didn't. They kind of float a bit on it's side although with two or three in a pretty glass bowl of water might look OK or a little lame.

I wandered into Michael's yesterday hoping for some inspiration. In the wedding aisle I ran into two other brides one of which had the exact same date as me-July 10. She was a newbie on the block barely getting started so we shared our wisdom with her about navigating this whole wedding planning thing. Look at me! Only 2 months into planning and I feel like a veteran.

Well, I found this really pretty little clear rounded bowl shaped vase, artificial flower petals, pink stones, and some black sticky dots. When I got home I put one of the carnation tops inside the round bowl filled up with water. I dropped in about 6 stones which look really pretty at the bottom adding some depth. I plan to use the artificial flower petals to scatter around it and the black crystal stickers to bedazzle it a little and incorporate my other color black. It will sit on a rounded mirror with 3 votive candles that are provided by the hotel. I can even use a couple for the cake table.

Everything I bought today cost me only $34.00. I'll need to go back and buy an additional 9 round bowls at $1.00 each if I decide for sure to do this and I will probably have to only buy one bouquet of a dozen pink carnations. I might buy some real pink flower petals to scatter also depending on the cost.

My only concern is that they might be too small. When I look at pics of other centerpieces on the net I am not so sure if this is enough but I don't see the point of putting too much money into this. If I can think of something small to add on I might. Like maybe a tall thick black candle? Or maybe I can just add pink light to the bowl to brighten it up with a submersible LED light from 100candles.com which will cost $20 for 12. It's nothing grand or elaborate but I think it fits me and my style perfectly. I don't consider myself to be all that crafty so I am pretty thrilled that I have managed to come up with something that might work that I can actually make myself.

All together this will cost about $55 bucks and that fits right into my budget.