Saturday, October 31, 2009

Good Bye Explorer... Hello New Car

It's a sad day at the preppy house dear friends... This morning I took my car in for some basic maintenance... only to find out that my perfectly cute, paid off, wonderful SUV that I was planning on driving "until it died." Has met an untimely end, and is apparently a death trap! My sweet car spent a few years driving on the over salted roads of upstate New York. Unbeknownst to me the road salt wreaked complete havoc with my car, and more than a handful of necessary parts have in the words of our mechanic "disintegrated" and he's not joking. He let us look under the car and parts that are supposed to be connected are just gone, and the whole car is completely rusted :( 

Basically, he said I was a few weeks away from a very dangerous accident. I spent most of the day crying and looking for new cars. Crying because I really, really loved my car. I bought it after having a major accident in New York... I totaled my car in a six car pile-up...  The explorer was an unexpected purchase and I spent the next two years busting my behind to pay the explorer off. In December of 2008 I paid of the car and have been living sans car payment for a cheerful 10 months... until today :( 

I loved my car, it was my first major purchase as a responsible adult, she's never needed any work. I sort of feel like this car represented a major achievement in my life. Having it paid off made me feel like a financially secure adult. Today, that sort of crumbled. 

Buying a car was so far off of my radar. I've been budgeting and trying to save for medical school, so I don't have any money set aside for it, and I just used the good majority of my savings to make my first tuition deposit. I have to buy a car on Monday because my grandparents are coming to visit next weekend and I'll need a vehicle to drive them around as they aren't renting a car. Phew... the weight of this unexpected expense just makes me want to crawl into bed and hide. I know that in 8 months I will be living on student loans and the idea of taking on car debt in addition to that makes me cringe!

So for now, I am begrudgingly car shopping. At the moment I'm leaning towards a 2006 Honda Civic... What do you all drive? What used cars do you recommend?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lilly Pulitzer and a J. Crew Cardigan from Ebay

Since I am trying to spend less, and since I recently cleaned out my closet via ebay, I have been browsing for some fantastic deals... This week I found two items I couldn't pass up:

A Lilly Pulitzer tunic with gold embroidery around the collar, sleeves, and hem for $15 including shipping (for those true Lilly fans out there, what is the name of this piece do you know?)

And the J. crew Jackie Cardigan in a lovely bright berry color for $25

Yay! I'm wearing the tunic today to work, and it's a light linen blend so will be great with some white shorts for my trip to Puerto Vallarta over Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Row Nine, Rue La La, Gilt Group, and One Kings Lane

Readers, this post will be short and sweet...

Most of you probably know about these member's only shopping discount sites, but for those of you who don't I wanted to let you know and give you the option to sign up.

These sites feature designers from BCBG, Vera Wang, to Kate Moss and Seven Jeans. They are member's only sites, and I've now included links to Row Nine, Rue La La and Gilt Group invitations on my side bar for you. If you would like access to One Kings Lane which is a housewares sale site just email me and I'll invite you.

The fantastic thing about these sites is you can score designer duds at remarkable discounts, with no commitment. They don't cost you a thing, and they don't sign you up for a bunch of annoying emails or anything. The return policies on these sites are fantastic and the array of sales they offer is astounding. For some of the sites the sales run only for 24 hours, for others they may run for a week.

Hit the wall head on...

I had a bad day yesterday, and today isn't necessarily looking any better! I just sort of feel like I'm stalling out right now. There are amazing things happening in my life: medical school, personal growth that started with the exercise of budgeting, spiritual growth that started with a commitment to go to church every week during this topic, but the day to day of my life... getting up, going to work, coming home, picking up, going to bed... it just sort of feels like I'm sputtering through this week, and it's only Tuesday.

I'm sure each of us has had a bad week or two occasionally, so what works to cheer you up when you've got a case of the "mean reds"?

For now I'm going to tuck in and focus on the task at hand, I think one of the best blessings and biggest challenges of life is that it is only temporary... So I know that this day, and this week will come to an end, and there's a new day and a new week full of hope and promise, and hopefully a better mood just around the corner!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Are you an Early Christmas shopper?

I love buying presents for people, and I love having a fully stocked gift closet so I'm not running out at the last minute trying to find the "perfect" hostess gift.

As such, I am an early Christmas shopper... I buy presents ridiculously early. However, this year I'm stumped as to what to get for the preppy boyfriend's father. PBF's family is always so kind and generous to me, I always want to give them something special. I have a few things for PBF's mom and sister, but his father has completely eluded me. Earlier this year I gave them a book as a hostess present and he raved about it, so I'm thinking of perhaps another book or two. He loves to cook, so perhaps a unique cook book of some sort? Maybe Texas' best BBQ or something... I don't know, I'm just stumped.
He's also been working out lately so I thought of maybe giving him a few personal trainer sessions, you know the kind where they come to your house and train you... but I thought that might be insulting? 
What have you all given your Father in law's for Christmas (I know he's not technically my father in law...)?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

30 Day Shred day 3 kicked my bottom

Okay so I promise sooner or later I'll blog about something apart from the 30-day shred, it's just that it's the new thing in my life right now...

So about my last post where I say it wasn't as hard as I thought, I'm totally eating those words. I was so sore the next day that I had to take a day off. I hopped on the eliptical trainer to work out some of that soreness (I'm of the school of thought that an easy workout generates blood flow and increases recovery time). The eliptical was tough and a good workout! So this morning I was back to the shred again. My muscles are fatigued, and I'm praying for less soreness this time around... we'll see.

For anyone who has ever hated workout videos, but wants to try one again... I recommend the shred you need the video ($10) and some hand weights ($10) and you're ready to go! It's cheap and so far as been an awesome workout. One note though, in the 25 minutes I did the workout I only burned 150, about half of what I would burn on the stairmaster, treadmill, or eliptical (measured with my polar heart rate monitor). However, exercise scientists say that weight training keeps your body burning calories at a high rate much longer than cardio, so overall it's about the same for calorie burn (in theory).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Be Grateful To Yourself, 30 Day Shred Day 1

This quote was the daily quote in my Real Simple Daily Quotes email earlier this week and it struck a chord with me:

"I finally realized that being grateful to my body was key to giving more love to myself." ~ Oprah Winfrey

As I've started to budget, I've begun to realize how much shopping I really do, and how much time and effort I spend on that pursuit. For me it just feels out of proportion. Clothes are an important part of your image, and how you present yourself. But, I don't want to feel like what clothing I have and what clothing I wear defines me. Right now I think my relationship with clothes is a little unhealthy. Part of that stems from just not knowing what to do when I'm bored, and the other part of that stems from having an unhealthy image of myself. It seems as though nearly all women want to work on their figure or lose weight. I know I'm constantly wanting to change my appearance. Right now I'm working towards accepting myself for who I am, and also working towards being healthy. Eating healthier, and focusing on getting the recommended amount of cardio and strength training in per week. I would like to see some weight loss, however, I would much rather have a healthy habit of exercise. So for now I'm doing the 30 day shred for strength and doing 5 days of 30-45 min of cardio per week.
When I started the budget I had no idea how transforming it would be, but I'm really learning some important lessons about my self, and my perspectives on life through this exercise. It's exciting to feel like I'm growing as a person.

30 Day Shred, Day 1 notes:
I woke up late, but was committed to doing the 30 day shred this morning (and I was excited to do it), so I ended up being a little late to work. Thankfully nobody at work cares if your late. The workout was challenging, but it was easy to catch on to because they are familiar and basic moves. I used 5 pound weights and even now I can feel the fatigue in my arm muscles. I also wore my heart monitor and found that my heart rate was higher throughout the workout than I had thought it would be (at one point I got up into the 90% of maximum heart rate range). I also burned between 150 and 200 calories, which is what I expected given that the routine is 20 min or so. I have to say, I'm not a huge exercise video fan, but this one wasn't bad. I certainly had more energy when I got to work today! Level 1 wasn't as excruciating as some of the reviews made it sound, but I did have to modify some moves (on the second round of squats and presses I did one press for every 2 squats... also, I can't do more than 13 or so pushups without stopping). So hopefully, I'll master level one this week and can move onto level 2 next week!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

30 day shred and Boondock Saints II

I just received my copy of the 30 day shred, and as I'm exactly 31 days away from my Mexico vacation I'll be starting the shred tomorrow! Hopefully I'll be posting updates as to how its going! I've also been watching what I eat, and since my employer basically said she was canceling our gym memberships if we didn't use them I'll be doing a few spin classes a week at my gym. I'm not looking for drastic results, just a little more toning (I mean honestly I have cellulite on my CALVES? What in the world?), and maybe a 3 or 4 pound weight loss!

PS has anyone heard about Jillian's new show "losing it with Jillian" it'll be on NBC and it'll feature Jillian moving in with a family for a week and telling them how bad all their choices are for themselves. Sounds good! Also, if any of you out there are fans of the movie Boondock Saints it looks like there is a sequel (maybe not new, but new to me Boondock Saints II All Saints Day)

Summary and photo courtesy of

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tuescher's Truffles, High Waist Jeans, and What to do if you don't like your friend's friends

Woo Hoo!

We're having girls night tonight and I am so excited. We have a great group of friends in Austin, and for whatever reason I don't get to see them as much as I would like... so tonight all of us girls are meeting for Tapas! I cannot wait, as I already work downtown, I pretty much just have to hang out until the other girls get off work and can get through traffic to get here. This would be the perfect time to do some shopping... however I am not shopping, so hopefully my girls will get here soon (otherwise I may have to stop by Teuschers and pick up a champagne truffle just because). I loved seeing the awesome window displays at the Teuschers in Rockefeller Center on my way to work, and I was thrilled to see one opening in down town Austin... seriously I must go there soon!

On to better things, I've mentioned my big budget fail this month... part of that was a pair of high waist wide leg jeans similar to these but without the gold trim.

 I love these jeans they are so comfortable! Big Bonus they were $15 at TJ Maxx... I mean that's practically free, and I hate jeans I think they are so uncomfortable, so to find a comfy pair for cheap...I couldn't say no. Excuses aside, as much as I love them I'm late to the high waist trend... what should I wear them with? Right now I'm wearing them with this blouse, and a white caridgan, and I've tried the blouse tucked in to show of the high waist and it looks okay (my co-worker says it looks great), but I keep untucking it, which is fine, except then these great pants sort of end up looking like mom jeans... 

Any input? Any suggestions? So many of my basic tees are in black or dark grey that I'm afraid I have nothing to wear my super cute new jeans with! Aack!

On a much shallower note, I'm suffering a dilemma that many of us have suffered. I have a friend, who has best friends, whom I cannot stand. I think they are bossy, and rude, and always have to be the center of attention. They are the type of people who sit at a table of eight and pull two others into a private conversation to the exclusion of everyone else at the table. Honestly, I just think they are beyond rude. However, they are fabulous friends to my friend. I am thankful that she has such great girlfriends, and lucky for me these friends live out of town so they aren't here very often, but whenever they are here I want to make myself scarce. The challenge is that I don't get to spend as much time with my group of friends as I would like... so whenever we can get together I want to be there... does anyone have any great tips for being charming, and sweet and ever so courteous to afore mentioned friends?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Setting Goals for the year before Medical School

I have a confession, I am a chronic list maker. I love to take the things rolling around in my head and make lists out of them. I have a certain paper size I like to make lists on 5X8, at work I use the 5X8 Junior Legal pads, at home I have several notebooks that are 5 X 8.
Something about seeing all my thoughts in list form on a tidy little sheet of paper makes me feel organized. Who cares if my blinds are dusty (by the way does anyone have any super easy tips on how to clean wooden blinds?), who cares if my home office/gift room looks like a disaster I have a list, or two, or well, fifteen!
So what's on my list right now? My monthly budget (which I apparently is a huge FAIL, good thing I'm starting now), estimated moving costs (to put a deep seated root of fear in me and inspire me to budget and save), and my goals to achieve before medical school!
Ah, the goals list... I've been thinking and carefully crafting my list of goals that I want to achieve before medical school, I thought it might be fun to share! Hopefully for inspiration for you, and if you want I'd love to hear what some of your goals are now! These are in no particular order...

~ Spiritual Growth - to be honest although I went to a christian college, I've found that my spiritual life has been sort of hit or miss since becoming an adult. I know medical school is going to be trying in ways I can't even imagine, but I also have a very keen sense (in a way that's completely new to me) that this really is God's will for my life. That being said (as cheesy and cliche as it sounds) I want to have a growing spiritual foundation underfoot, so that daily through the struggle of school I'll find my Rock.

~ Saving, saving, saving... I fear, that ya'll will soon become tired of my gratuitous repetition of this theme, but I can see now that it's going to be a struggle. Since my student loans won't come in until mid-September and school starts at the beginning of August I need to be financially prepared for the big move to the Bay Area and also need to be prepared financially to live for a few months before my loans come in. Right now I'm aiming for $12,200 for moving expenses, August living expenses, and September living expenses. That is a lot of money! One thing all of our cross country moves has taught me is that moving is always more expensive than you plan for!

~ Fitness... although I always seem to wish I weighed less than I do, I really want to create a habit of fitness in my life. In college I was a swimmer and I had a fantastic running partner so I was always fit and days where I didn't work out seemed weird. At the ripe old age of 26 I am a total couch potato, seriously its gross 4+ hours of TV a night... blech. So my goal is to get back into the habit of doing something active regularly, although I've tried a wide variety of things, I'm thinking I might start running again... not with a race or goal in mind, but just running because I love running.

~ Cleaning House... Okay I clean the house regularly now, but what I mean by that is getting rid of old and unused nonsense (which is why I'm selling a bunch of stuff on ebay right now, drop by and see if anything catches your eye, my username is danimjo). My goal is to go through and clean out the closets and the rooms one by one and narrow things down. Some people have great luck with garage sales, but for whatever reason every time the PBF and I have one it is a total flop, so I'm trying things like ebay and craigslist to sell whatever we don't want. After that we'll probably just donate whatever is left.

~ Second Job... This one is a huge maybe. I am nervous about saving all I need to for starting medical school, and so I'm seriously considering getting a second job part-time. The challenge here is that I'll need to work evenings and weekends. This of course leaves only a few fields open as options: retail or restaurant-unless any of you successful work from home readers know your company wants to hire me :). I have a long history of working in the restaurant industry and its the best bet to earn the most while working part time, the PBF is a chef and he and I met while we worked together. However, I hate the hours, and I'm a work a-holic. So I'm always that server that comes on saying I want 2-3 shifts a week and then I end up picking up for everyone and before you know it I'm working 6 shifts a week. I'm also always the server who has the 4 o'clock in time and then ends up closing because you can easily earn an extra $100 closing as opposed to going home at 9 or 10. That is not how I want to spend the year before medical school. But I know a few months of $400 weekends sure would boost my "Saving my way to $12,000" confidence!

So, there it is, in not so concise form, my goal list and all the associated ramblings that are rolling through my head!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pink and Green Christmas Ornaments on SALE!

For those of you that are looking for some super cute Christmas ornaments I saw these on sale at Kirklands for $5. They had the pink and green ones shown and they also had some super cute red and green ones.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Items I'm selling on ebay

Hey readers! I'm selling some stuff on ebay and thought I'd let ya'll know. My ebay name is danimjo. Here is a quick preview of some of the items from my closet:

Sick Days

I haven't been feeling well... so in my brief moment of coherence this morning I wanted to let you know since I'm taking a few sick days from work... I'm also taking a few sick days from blogging... I'll get caught up on reading everyones comments and everyones blog posts once I feel better!

Friday, October 9, 2009

SYTYCD Season 5's Janette and Madonna

I've been meaning to share this story for a few weeks now and keep getting distracted...
When season 6 of so you think you can dance started the PBF and I were watching the show and I saw a picture of last years winner Jeanine, I said I can't believe Jeanine won. 

Picture courtesy of E! online

PBF: "well she was the best looking girl on the show."
Elle: "Better looking than Jenette?"

Picture courtesy of google images

PBF: "Jenette was way too skinny, Jeanine was the only girl whose body looked like a girl."
Elle: "Okay that makes sense, even though I still think Jenette is stunning."

Flash forward two hours and we are watching David Letterman.

Picture courtesy of google images

PBF: "How old is Madonna? Whatever age she is she's freaking hot!"
Elle: "HUH?"

In what world is this girl too skinny, 

Picture courtesy of google images

but this girl is hot and feminine?

Picture courtesy of abcnews online

 Does this make sense to anyone else? Even now I'm still laughing about this entire exchange...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dressing Room Breakdown and I May Be Addicted to Shopping


It's been one week since I started my budget... and although there's been uhmm ah lets call it "flexible math." I'm still considering myself on budget!
You see, I received a belated birthday gift this week. Totally unexpected and totally not budgeted! Hurray... so I used it to buy my sister's birthday present ($82), A stocking stuffer for the PBF's mom ($10), and a little hostess gift for our next visit to the PBF's parents house (whenever that will be) $4. I also bought myself a travel monogram coffee mug ($11), new dress $16, some new shoes $16, and some hosiery $7. I haven't gone crazy by any means, but I certainly did not stay within my planned budget of $50 towards gifts, and of course no clothes shopping!
I may be addicted to shopping, it felt great to browse for good deals for my sister, and for great deals for myself. Now of course I feel guilty, I set all these budget goals, and could have used the excess to save for school, but instead I spent it... Eeek! Then again, it was a birthday gift, and not budgeted so I probably shouldn't feel bad for enjoying how I spent it!

On to another crisis... while on the afore mentioned shopping excursion I had a dressing room breakdown. You know the one, where that horrible lighting managers to highlight every extra inch of you, and draws immediate attention to the cellulite (seriously, on my calves?) and stretch marks (seriously, on my hip bone?) you didn't know you had. Typically I call my friend Gretchen in those moments, but she is recovering from a serious break up and somehow crying over disliking my figure seemed a little self centered when faced with her very real pain.
So here I am, six weeks and 2 days away from vacationing with the preppy family. Laying on the beach, in all my glorious cellulite self... Aaak! Figure intervention seriously needed readers... I have a membership to a great gym that I hardly use- anyone have any tips on how to get out of bed at 5 AM to make it to the gym? I usually like to go afterwork, but the PBF hates how that cuts into our 'family' time. since I like to be in bed by 10:30, and the class I like at the gym doesn't end until 7... then I don't get home and out of the shower until almost 8, leaving a measly 2.5 hours of 'family' time before I'm off to bed again. I'm thinking if I can get up way before the sun and start my day off with a workout, maybe then it'll be manageable?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Eddie Ross Wednesday

Hello Readers! I had no idea princesses were so popular! My little brain is conceiving a plan for a regular post about any one of the various royal families of the world. Hopefully, I'll get it started sometime soon...
In the meantime, lets revisit an idea that used to be a regular feature...Eddie Ross Wednesday! Eddie Ross has a fantastic store on Etsy, when the store first debuted it was updated every Wednesday... however, Eddie has been busy making appearances in various magazines, and on various decor shows. Good news friends... today we have new updates to Eddie Ross on ETSY!

How fabulous is this black glass compote?

It brought to mind Juliska's "Harriet" Black Glass Compote as featured in a floral arrangement in the September/October issue of Brides magazine.

I love these black swirl champagne glasses, wouldn't they be perfect for your Halloween Soiree?

This footed Black Bowl would be a wonderful addition as an olive bowl for an elegant holiday dinner party, wouldn't it be striking against a white table cloth?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A modern day fairy tale the Crown Princess of Denmark

 I have a newly found interest in European royals, and although this may be old news to some of you I have recently discovered the love story of Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. 
Mary was an Australian and met "Fred" at a cocktail party during the Sydney Olympics. 

When they first met he introduced himself simply as Fred. They spent the evening together, and only afterwards did she find out he was the next in line for the thrown of Denmark. They courted long distance for a while and then in 2004 they were married and she became the Crown Princess. They have two darling children, Christian and Isabella.

What a wonderful real life fairy tale. Isn't she the most stunning princess ever! And he is just the very picture of prince charming... Oh America I truly do love you, but it might be fun to have a prince!

*All pictures from the royal couple's website or from the Huffington Post

Monday, October 5, 2009

The problem of Homelessness

Phew readers, we're starting off Monday morning with a heavy topic. As you may have figured from my posts about Graces, faith plays a very important role in my personal life. Yet, it has played a very small role on this blog.
There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that when someone reads your posts they are reading from their perspective. So many people have been hurt by the church and by Christians, and are so skeptical of the church the last thing I wanted to do was to create a faith-based blog that alienated readers not only to my blog but also to Christianity.
However, occasionally an issue arises that will cause me to stop and think, and really want to post about my faith... you may remember my post on Samaritan's Purse and their work in the Darfur region of Sudan last winter.
Today's post is another such example. Homelessness... You see it everywhere. Here in Austin there are homeless people begging on every intersection corner. Every time I see it, my heart breaks. I feel this rush of shame to see a person designed in God's image reduced to begging, and living on the street. I also feel this rush of inadequacy, there are so many homeless people all over the city. I can't give money or food to every single one I would simply go broke. Every time I'm faced with this I think of Jesus' words in Matthew 25:

"then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Fahter; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me....Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." 
In the next verse he tells those who did not feed the hungry, give to drink to the thirsty, clothe the unclothed, and care for the sick and the prisoners to depart from him.

Pretty serious stuff, right? So I often find myself wondering... how am I as a mere individual supposed to respond to such tremendous need? I try to be faithful tithing each month, and one part of my tithe goes to my church, and another part of my tithe I will give to a charity. Sometimes its an international charity and sometimes its a local charity that works with the homeless. When I worked in Manhattan I would pack an extra lunch and take extra pieces of fruit and extra bottles of water and give those to the homeless people I saw on my walk to work... the unique thing about Manhattan is I saw the same homeless people in the same places every day. But somehow, I always feel like I'm falling short, like its not enough. I feel like there's too much need for me to respond to.
I realize that there are problems and challenges working with the homeless population. I realize that if I give money it may be spent in ways that aren't healthy. However, this passage from Matthew does not say only give to the hungry if they're going to use it the way you want. It just says give. I believe that it's not my place to assume that any resources I share will be misused, I think my role is simply to respond to my conscious and give and what happens with that gift is between the receiver and my redeemer.

So readers, is anyone else convicted by homelessness? Or any other social issue? How do you respond? How do you find peace and come to terms with situations that may be much bigger than you?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reader Questions, Photos of San Francisco and The Culinary Institute of America

Thank you Up North Preppy for asking such great questions and helping get my mind off of budgets and shopping (or the lack thereof)!

So here is the Q and A for anyone who wants to know!

Is PBF (preppy boyfriend) moving to San Francisco with you?

Photo courtesy of homecookkirsten's blog

The answer is yes, of course. PBF and I have been together for four years, and after one year of dating we moved from Arkansas to New York so he could attend the culinary school, we then moved to Orlando, FL so he could do his externship for culinary school. After extern we moved back to New York for his last year of school. It just seems natural and beyond question that he would move for me to go to school after all the moving I did to follow him :) - That sounds snarky, and I don't mean it that way at all, I feel honored that I had the opportunity to live in each of those places, and all of our moving experiences brought us closer together as a couple as we struggled with job changes and finance changes and any other imaginable stress associated with moving.

Will PBF have to find a new job or can he do his current one from there?
PBF has an excellent job working for the culinary school he graduated from. 

He travels and does cooking demonstrations for high school cooking classes and he judges regional and national cooking competitions. He can do this job from anywhere. 
Even better, the culinary school he attended has a wonderful campus in Napa Valley, which is only about 15-20 minutes from Mare Island (where I'll be attending medical school). So if he doesn't want to travel across the country he could possibly work on campus.

In addition, I only applied to medical schools that are in areas that would enable him to pursue a career in the culinary field. So should he decide he wants to change jobs San Francisco, Sonoma, and Napa Valley are all within a short distance of where we will be living and he should have plenty of opportunity to find a new job. 
I am a type A planner. I plan everything, and have several back up plans. Whereas PBF is more the sort of person who waits and sees what happens and then decides from there. So, while I've known since I was 12 that I wanted to be a doctor, he is still deciding what kind of career he wants. Although this difference in personalities sometimes creates friction for us, I am completely in support of him finding any kind of career that makes him happy. From personal work experience, I also know the value of working in many different fields and environments to develop professional skill sets so whatever he chooses to do there I am excited for him, because I see lots of opportunities (and because I am a planner and these things seem more tangible to me than they do to him, I am more excited about these opportunities than he is).

Will you be starting in the winter or the fall?
With this particular school the question is actually will I be starting in July or August. I have the option to pursue my Masters in Public Health while pursuing my MD. If I choose to do that I will start in July, if I choose to only pursue my MD I will start in August. I still have a few weeks to decide, but as for now I'm learning towards not pursuing my masters. I think medical school will be challenging enough without trying to get a dual degree!

If there are any other questions you'd like to know don't hesitate to ask!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Here is the actual budget... dollar values and all... EEEK!

I had a hard time deciding if I was going to give specific values, but I decided I am going to. I hate to talk about money, and although this might give you a relative idea of how much I earn, I'm not including earnings (plus this month is weird because I have a $2,000 school deposit, and three paychecks because I get paid bi-weekly, and my bonus, so everything this month is a little skewed). 
Wow! Good thing I started my budget this month, because it is going to be abnormally expensive! It's also a good thing that I have a little money set aside, I had no idea this month was going to be this expensive!
Okay, I'm a little embarrassed to be putting all this personal financial information out there for ya'll to see, kind of tacky, but it's for the sake of accountability. So we'll see how it goes..., I think posting the actual budgeting numbers will help me be honest and stay on track.

So here it is my budget (a few things to keep in mind I split rent, and because he likes to be the provider the PBF prefers that we don't split electric, also b/c he is a chef he usually does the meal planning and grocery buying so those bills are either non existent or abnormally low. Also, I'm committed to no new clothes this month, there's nothing I need, it's still in the 80's -90's here in Austin so I don't even have the change of seasons as an excuse!):

Car register       - $85
Credit Card       - $65
Entertainment    - $15
FSA Medical     - $50 paid $25 on 10-1-09
Fuel                   - $65
Gifts                   - $50
Goceries             -$50
Insurance            -$125
PCM medical     -$25
Personal Care     -$7
Pets/pet care       - $20
Rent                   -$550
Eating out          -$10 (enough for one happy hour or a few McDonald's trips)
Service Fees      -$2 auto bill pay fee
School Deposit  - $2,000
Phone                - $60
Tithe                  - $390
Savings             - $1,000
Student Loan    -$130
Unexpected      -$100

Total                -$4,799 (assuming I did the math right). 

Anyone have any tips or tricks to staying on budget or setting a budget? 
The gift budget this month is going to my sister's b-day gift! I love to go above and beyond for gifts and have hemmed and hawed over this because I know this is my last year to go overboard for a while, but I also know that every penny saved right now will keep me out of a dollars worth of debt down the road... so we'll see if I stick to the $50 budget and find some great things, or if I go above and beyond like usual.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I am a consumer at heart

Okay, so maybe I am a little more shallow than I thought... eeek! I'm glad I'm exercising some self control and re-thinking my spending habits and thought patterns as part of budgeting this month... so lets take yesterday for example. I set my budget and then throughout the day I thought about buying all of this:

At work - I'm really bored with my clothes, and I get 30% off at Gap right now, plus my $10 rewards coupon, I'll just look. Oh I want those pants, and those pants, and those socks, and those leggings, and those pants, and that bra.

Walking to the front door after work - I want to buy a pretty fall wreath, and since leaves don't change color in central Texas I want lots of maple and oak leaves on it that are beautiful oranges and yellows.

Unlocking the front door - speaking of fall color, I should replace this summery pot with a nicely colored pot of mums.

In the kitchen watching my dogs eat dinner (I have to watch them or Bailey eats Peno's) - Since we aren't going to Austin City Limits, we should have Elizabeth and Jordan over, I should buy wine and cheese, and we should have a game night, and I should buy scrabble. I'm dying to play scrabble in real life again there's no reason I shouldn't own it.

In the bedroom folding laundry - wish I hadn't spilled bleach on these sheets, I want new ones anyway, we should buy new sheets, and a new duvet we've had this duvet since New York and the preppy boyfriend picked it out. It was sweet of him, but I sure would like to buy a duvet, and a nightstand for his side of the bed, then our room would look nicer.

Sweeping the floor in the living room - I love our tile floor, but I think an area rug would make this room so much cozier. I want a 5 X 8 area rug to put on the floor and then it will be so nice to sit on the rug by the fire in a few months.

Walking through the bedroom - we've lived here over a year and that picture is still propped up against the wall on the preppy boyfriends side of the bed. If it stays there I'm going to ask him to sell it before we move to San francisco. Speaking of pictures, I need to frame that 1950's Rockefeller plaza ad I bought when I worked in NY, oh and that Jack Vetriano poster I bought in 2005. I want a blue frame for the Vetriano, and some really nice matting for the Rockefeller ad.

In the bathroom - I love that new shampoo I bought, I should buy the conditioner to go with it, then my hair would smell good all day.

Wow, I have issues. I do think about other things throughout the day (lately a lot of "I can't believe I got into medical school"), but seriously... I think my consumerism is out of hand.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

B is for a Preppy Budget... hope its not Boring...


Because I have shouted it from every mountain top in North America, I am sure you know by now that I was accepted to medical school (hurray!). Although it still doesn't seem real to me, I am a planner by nature so I'm beginning to think out my financial plan for moving to San Francisco and paying for school and living expenses. The reality of medical school is that the average medical student graduates with $200,000 in debt... wow... $200,000! Scary number, right? So the first step in making this process real for me is coming to terms with that, and beginning to put myself on a "student" budget again. I've been out of college and enjoying a comfortable salary for a few years, so going back to the days of Ramen and Grilled cheese for dinner is going to be quite the switch!

Today being the first day of October marks the beginning of my new budget, (also the beginning of breast cancer awareness month... so many great pink products). I don't use a fancy budget spreadsheet, Bank of America online offers a free budget spreadsheet that uses data from my checking account and automatically sorts it for me... so I use that and a plain ol' Excel spreadsheet to track my spending to earning to saving ratio. Part of my budget for this month will be a commitment to not purchasing any new clothing or housewares (that means that I'm saying no to buying fall wreath again this year, maybe next year I'll find one). 
Since I won't be purchasing any new stuff, I'm also going to stop browsing for new stuff. This has me in a full on state of what am I going to blog about paranoia! Until right now I didn't realize how much the content of my blog revolves around buying stuff. I think this is going to be an important personal lesson as well as a financial lesson for me, I really am a more complex person. My life doesn't revolve around stuff (or maybe it does and I'm misleading myself?), either way we'll find out this month. Hopefully, a shopping free month on my blog won't bore you too much, but if it does hang in there, because in November we're going to Mexico on vacation with the preppy family for a week, which will mean new clothes and a new suitcase are needed!
Welcome to all my new followers! I know I've said it before, but every time someone follows my blog it makes me smile! I blog because I enjoy it, and I know its not a popularity contest, but when I started I never would have thought anyone else would want to read my drivel! So here's to a new frontier on the Completely Preppy blog, I hope you all learn and grow and enjoy it along with me!