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Coming back to this blog feels like I can finally stop pretending to be this person that everyone else thinks I am, and be the person I really am. I hide a lot of who I am on social media to avoid inevitable arguments.

I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month next month, and my book’s topic is on death and afterlife. After I decided that topic, I read a couple of John Green books (the fault in our stars, looking for alaska) which are — surprise! — about death. It got me thinking about what people would say about me when I go.

Towards the end of The Fault In Our Stars, there is a scene where Augustus, the dying character, holds his own funeral with just his friends. They write him eulogies that encapsulate who he is, who he was, rather than who those who knew him least would picture him to be.

C might be the only person that knows me these days. The fact that I have no ideas about God after what seemed like a yearlong study of the existence of God, for example. The fact that I’m pretty sure kindness and love and helping others do not exist in the vacuum of a religion or a political party. The fact that art is pretty much the thing that drives my life, and my house is covered in it.

I don’t plan on dying anytime soon. No, maybe I’ll just live forever. But the honest truth is that this blog, like nothing else in my life, is my eulogy to myself. Like pieces of a puzzle that most people don’t read, won’t read, won’t ever know about. But I do. It’s my own game of Clue on the internet for when that day, far away, will come.

WordPress better survive the Zombie Apocalypse.

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I get giddy about the most ridiculous things sometimes. About two months ago, I started couponing.. not the extreme kind (because no one needs 900 boxes of cereal or TP or whatever) but the normal kind where you usually just save money.

I swear, this week was like the jackpot of free and super cheap stuff. I spent $23 and got:

  • 2 boxes of Total Raisin Bran
  • 2 boxes of Wheaties Fuel (1.3 of the boxes were free, plus $5 gift card back!)
  • 1 box Ritz Crackerfuls (I don’t normally eat crap like this, but hey, they were free! The crackers are whole grain/whole wheat, so there’s not as much guilt there.)
  • 1 box Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain rice
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 1 jug Purex laundry detergent (This stuff is seriously awesome, and so cheap everywhere, even without coupons)
  • 1 stick deodorant (free!)
  • 1 Nivea men’s body wash (free!)
  • 2 4-packs YoPlus yogurt (free!)
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • birthday card for brother in law
But wait. I didn’t hit up my fourth usual grocery store so when I go on Tuesday, this is what I have left to get:
  • 2 boxes Green Giant broccoli – free!
  • AA batteries – free!
  • Stove top stuffing – free! (Ok, before you hate on me, we really don’t eat crap like this often. But this is one of those childhood comfort foods my mom used to make once in a blue moon.)
I kind of like scouting out the deals, though I have to wake up earlier on Sundays to beat the old ladies to some of the better deals. Seriously though, this week my newspaper and the new print cartridge I need plus the gas it took me to get to these places paid for itself. This doesn’t happen all the time, but this week’s deals were great!
Do you coupon? What free stuff do you get? Do you want to teach me the art of CVS free stuff (I hear it’s good)? 😉

For reasons I don’t really want to divulge, Friday I gave 2 weeks notice at work. It was a fairly sudden move (though we had discussed it – Chad knew it was coming) and honestly, scary as hell. It meant we had to go on a budget ASAP and figure out what our essentials are, and if we could afford them. Thank goodness Chad starts his new job in just a couple of months – it’s going to be a tight few months!

Aside from some very cheap eating out this weekend (we ate out twice for $30, mostly since my sis and her BF were visiting), we lived our new lives of “living simply.” Our A/C is out, but that’s a good thing… we got to keep the windows open to this nice weather all week. I don’t think I mentioned it before, but our cable has been out since some idiot screwed it up about two months ago… we get 21 channels, none of them being ESPN… and it’s nice. We watch some netflix, but mostly we don’t watch TV at all. I started couponing (not the extreme stuff… no, I’m just into the “get this for cheaper” type) a few weeks ago and it’s strangely nice to have a little project. We’re cooking lots of stuff ourselves from scratch and reading more. I’m making a list of (cheap!) baby projects I want to tackle, planning our move and all kinds of other stuff. I planted herbs and lettuce in a container garden today, too!

The only unfortunate thing about my new less-stress life is that we won’t be going to Charleston as much now – that gets expensive! – but that trade-off is well worth the things we’ll get in return… and Skype is free 🙂

Have you ever taken a major risk in quitting a job without a new one in sight? Any money saving tips you want to offer? 😉

I didn’t feel like being only a baby blogger. No, no, no. Well, that wasn’t the only reason I considered leaving this blog. Do you know what it’s like to work on a wordpress site all day then come over here and write and edit a blog? So tired of the blue/gray scheme here. And the way the buttons change shape depending on what browser you use. And just about everything else, really.

So Chad’s going through his interviews for two separate companies this week. It’s frightening how quickly the first is giving him an answer… on Monday! If it’s for the location that we would prefer (Atlanta) and the benefits are better than company 2, our choice is made.

Except… well, we had decided that we didn’t want to buy a house. Honestly, we really have no right buying a house. We’re barely out of college, about to have a kid, I have student loans and a job that isn’t considered “mortgage-worthy.” So what does this mean? We’re looking for rental houses.

Have you seen rental houses? They suck! I don’t know if it’s the time of year or what, but it’s been hard finding one that we like. Depending on where we go, we need to put a deposit down by the end of next month… that really puts the time crunch on. And I am getting more, and more, and more frustrated!

I haven’t posted in a while… I know, it’s so random. I’ve been crazy busy with… well, I can’t say housework. We’ll go with “buying random crap off the internet”

Chad got two second interviews today, for over spring break! We’re obviously pulling for whichever company likes him more and wants to offer him a job. 🙂

So yeah.. we could be moving to NC or Cincinnati for real! Or… you know, staying in the Atlanta metro, as we found out. Ha. Not that I’d mind now. We’re going out to Farm255 tonight to celebrate this… it’s an amazing step forward in our lives.

Oh, and another step forward: we’re having a baby sometime around the first week of September!

Happy Friday!

I didn’t bake a cake this weekend. I didn’t even make cupcakes that look like rainbows. (Sorry, everyone). No, what I did do… is stumble upon the cleaning method that works for us.

Step 1: Major house cleaning, only once a week. We started this last weekend – scrubbed, swept, dusted, put everything away and sorted things. We did extra laundry, folded, etc. This week, we just need to wipe down the tubs, sweep the floors, vacuum, lightly dust and wipe down countertops as well as scrub the toilets and do a little laundry. Not too shabby!

Step 2: 10 minute cleanups throughout the week. Usually I put it off for the big clean, but I decided that it might look a lot more like when we started if I just cleaned the clutter a few minutes each week. That means shoving all the clothes to one side of the room for Sunday washing, trying to keep the throw blankets and pillows together and neatly stacked (Sidenote: We have like sixty million throws. Does anyone else share our love of blankets on the couch, or is this just a side effect of our stupid, crappy rental central heat?)

Step 3: Since I do my part on saving the earth by buying organic, using CFLs, not driving everyday or even most days and using all-natural cleaners (got Mrs. Meyers All Purpose lemon verbena cleaner, Green Works toilet cleaner and Purex Natural Elements laundry detergent… I’m almost all set!), I’m cutting myself a break here by allowing the use of paper plates and plastic cups. I know the plastic cups aren’t great, and we do use them sparingly/reuse them, but cutting down on the amount of dishes we do is an easy way to actually get Chad to do dishes (or myself… lol) and saves time trying to scrub that melted cheese/dried on rice off of plates – the paper is biodegradable.

Step 4: It’s ok to have containers to sweep stuff into, to deal with later. Just make sure you actually deal with it, no matter when it is, as long as it’s before your next move and you remember what’s in there. This is ok because otherwise, if it were laying around or you took it up to your desk and put it on top, you’d just have a cluttered desk and end up working elsewhere in the house and spreading the mess elsewhere… not that I know from experience or anything! Keep the mess contained.

Ok. I’m no saint and I know these rules are less than kosher to some, but I feel really good about how our changes are going, so far. Some of these I’ve been instituting for a few weeks and others are newer, but I know they’re all easily tackled.

A cleaning routine. We always randomly clean rooms here, and then push clutter into a closet (I’m looking at you, below-the-stairs closet). I know, I know, that’s lame. We have too much crap!

First, cleaning products. Slowly trying to switch over to this:

From this:

BAD. It makes me want to vomit. I don’t care how “clean” it gets things, it shouldn’t burn your lungs and make you want to spew, right? Ick.

So, having the right materials isn’t a major deal, it’s more that I have no cleaning routine. There’s no “Clean bathrooms on Tuesday” at our house, we just do it when we think we should. And sometimes, because of Chad, that might not be often enough.

Anyone have a good cleaning schedule? Do you try tackling it all on Sunday afternoons or Wednesday evenings or whenever? It’s one of my resolutions, so I would appreciate some advice.

I am so, so, sick of trying to convince myself I’m cool enough.  I don’t even know what the parameters are for that statement… isn’t that ridiculous?

Seriously, my house is never going to look like this:

I’m perfectly fine with that. But then, I start reading tweets of people way cooler than me, and I get ridiculously blown away. I’ve had to stop following designsponge on twitter because of how ridiculously braggy her tweets were getting, and she’s not the only one. I hate when people don’t seem real online, and as someone who talks to a lot of people online (mostly because my friends don’t live that close), I’d love to broadcast the PSA to keep it real.

I’d also love to address something right here, right now: I don’t really think I’m cool. After reading that last paragraph, I realize that people might think I’m braggy (I put out some ridiculous tweets and blogs, I know!). But I put out the good (“I heart falafel”) and the bad (“My husband passed out next to me”)  without trying to constantly spin it to be positive. Sometimes life just sucks, mine included, and I live in a “cool” town, have a “cool” job and play “cool” video games like Just Dance 2 (Kit, it’s ON). Why try to make it into something it’s not? It’s one thing to be positive, it’s quite another to ONLY be positive.

2011 is going to be a year of change for me. Mostly because I need to, but some unexpected, I’m sure. After all, we’re (90% sure) moving cross country, most likely to Cincinnati. My job is getting bigger and more kickass than ever, and I love it so much now. I feel like Katy Perry’s firework video, like this:

Life feels like it is just exploding! Marriage and the entire mystery of what our lives will be after Chad graduates. So, with that said, here are my fairly simple resolutions:

1. I will walk or play my dance game 5 times a week. Really, I love the dance video and I like our area ok, so I don’t mind doing either. Been waiting to do this for slightly warmer weather, and here it is.

2. I will be neater. Seriously, laziness has got to go. I’ve had my nice few months of lazy newlywedded bliss. Now, I need to deep clean everything more often… because I love when the chrome fixtures shine.

3. I will quit listening to shitty music because “it’s on.” No more Bieber, Rhianna or Lady Gaga just because they’re on. I’ll keep the Kesha though.

4. I’m making healthy dinners, meal planning and not eating out. Kills two birds with one stone: staying healthy and saving money.

That’s all I really want to say I’ll do as of right now… honestly, there’s a lot on my plate this year (and I can’t wait to share some of it with you in the next few months!) and my expectations aren’t too high.

I find it odd that, this being the THIRD christmas on this blog, I have not yet titled a post “deck the halls.” That just seems like something I’d do. Anyways, I’m here to share with you my excitement over christmas.  Let’s start with the tree. Please ignore the grainy photos – I tried brightening them a little because my house is dark and drab. It sucks to live in a rental. Anyways…

This is our tree this year. Well, and it has been for the last three years, too – this is a cheapie we bought for $20 at Walmart that we plan on retiring next year. Anyways, I change the theme every year, and this year’s is like a hipster etsy (I redecorated from previous posts): it’s got felt owls, exposed stitching, some Japanese style kirie, and some kitsch things like silver tinsel garland and red berries. [Last year’s theme was Elf, like the movie. It was an all silver and white tree and all across our living room, we hung three hundred feet of paper chains and probably 30-40 paper snowflakes, had paper trees on the mantle and tiny paper lanterns on the tree! Can you tell I really, really love themes?] You may have noticed the ducks there. I collect them – I probably have about 100? – and I put some out for Halloween and Christmas, Easter probably too. There are two Santa ducks because these are a special brand and they name each of their duck styles. But, you really didn’t care to know that.

This is my favorite ornament. Actually, we just got it last night, but I love it. You see, last weekend we froze our butts off helping my parents with this cool smores bar they set up at a holiday party for their church. We probably ate our weight in homemade graham crackers, hersheys & ghiradelli and jet-puffed marshmallows. So, it really does remind me of our first Christmas!

This photo sucks because my camera skills are sub par using Chad’s camera. Whoops. Anyways, we have some gifts wrapped, under the tree. I know you can’t tell from this, but I’m a serious gift wrapper. I layer different papers, different types of ribbon and bows and of course, use cute tags. I am aware that I am a dork.

Ouch, the grain in this picture is almost hurtful. Anyways, here are the stockings I hand embroidered while watching old episodes of SNL or the Kardashians or something. I think they were $1 each last year when we were doing the white theme, and I’m too cheap to go find better ones. They’re very nice, and I can’t find better for that price… and heaven knows I’m not sewing stockings. Tried that two years ago.

I understand that this is the worst photo in the history of cameras. In fact, if you stare at it too long, your eyes may bleed. The out of focusness, the ugly way the jar reflects… well, I’m sorry. But, I just wanted to share my pine-scented mistletoe. This reminds me of Chad’s house, because his mom has been burning this exact same candle all year.

You can’t tell, but this is the backdrop for the ducks. We only have a three foot banister where our stairs end, and it’s right behind the TV. I have no idea why they put the cable hookup on that wall, but that’s a story for another day. This has the same kirie plus some stars cut out of the world’s worst “survivor-esque” book. I was going to cut into a 1912 edition of a book no one has heard of, read or reviewed on the entire internet, but Chad stopped me, so we have lame stars. Oh well!

Cookies. This may be the best pic yet. Anyways, I halved Alton Brown’s recipe for “the Chewy” and got these babies. Mmmmmm.

Now, finally, the reason I was making cookies – to heat up the oven because it is 22 degrees, it feels like 11 and it is SNOWING!

Ok, I think these are the last of the dorky Christmas photos I’m going to share. Now… share your christmas decor with me!

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