When to Catch up?

I have sooooo much to blog about:

-working out

-what we are eating/buying

-The Garden

-my brother moving in

-Wedding stuff

-Weight loss

-Recipes (cake pops anyone?)

-4th of July

-Paintings

-MY 100,000 VIEW!

-My blogs 2 year birthday (tomorrow)

-PICTURES GALORE!

BUUUUUUUT I have no time. None. Well, none to spare for blogging at least.

This morning I was actually shockingly productive:

-Watered the garden

-Ate Greek Yogurt

-When to get my car downtown

-Ran 2 miles (walked a 1/2 mile) around Lake Padden

-Got coffee

-Went grocery shopping for the week

-Mom dropped off our new wedding present (EEEK! Another thing I have to share!)

-Folded and put away all the clothes hanging on the line

-Did 1 extra load of laundry

-Cleaned the whole kitchen and washed all the 4th of July dishes

-Cleaned our bedroom

-Picked Kale for lunch

-Made scrambled eggs and sausage and Kale for lunch

Now I need to finish a painting and take a shower. I have to be at work at 3 for TEN HOURS. Are you jealous of my life…INSANITY!!!!!!!!! Anyways I managed to upload all my pictures but it will be a while before I can break them up into blog posts. Until then you get these precious little gems…

Life and Walking

Mr. Gaunt and I talked about our life plans while on our 5k this morning.

He’s hoping to start nursing school in the fall/winter, but its a big step and we are working through it.

We talked a lot about sacrafice. About how much you have to give up to get what you want. How although we have givent up a lot, and we may FEEL like we want more, we really cant pin point what that would even be? Life is just different than it use to be. We have a completely different thing going on these days. Such different plans and goals than we ever have had. And we are happy, we really are. None the less change is always a bit un-settling, yah know? So we walked and talked and it was good. These walks are quickly becoming the best part of my day…gasp!

I think we are going to shower and then drive up to Birch Bay and maybe have lunch. Working the same schedule really is quite nice.  Have a great Thursday (thursday’s workout here) Also I have added 50 crunches to every days workout. Id like to work up to 100 a day.  Abs…lol…funny.

Not So Connected

Tomorrow a wonderful creature will come to my house, and bestow upon me the ability to see the whole world and all its glorious beauty…

….err…

Comcast is coming to hook up my internet tomorrow.

WAHOOOO!!!!

my mom “borrows” internet from the bar downstairs, and it comes in and out depending on where you are sitting. It annoys the crap out of me. I can hardly blog, let alone upload and edit photos. Hence the lack of anything interesting on here. It also means I have been staying at her house the last two weeks instead of my own, as I have no furniture and no Internet: No Pandora, No Facebook, No Netflix, no nothin!

But after tomorrow all that will change, and I will probably attempt to stay over there more.

And despite the lack of posts, I have actually been really good at documenting my house re-model. I have taken lots of before and afters to show you later this week!

Painting is taking WAAAY longer (and way more paint) than I had thought, as we have plaster walls and they drink up the paint like its their job. Lame. But things are coming along well.

I miss Mr. Gaunt more than anything. I’m glad we had some time apart, but I would like him back now. And my stuff, and my cat. A few more weeks and they will all be here with me!

Oh and today I bought some Zig Zag fabric that my sister and I are gonna make pillow covers for! I got it at Fourth Corner Quilts, they have a waaaay better selection than JoAnns, and my fabric was 50% off!

No Rest For The Weary

Evil doings…lol…When did I get so busy?

Seriously, for a girl with little friends and a pretty sweet work schedule, I’m shocked by how little time I have these days.  The weekend was devoured before I even tasted it. And now I’m sitting here running through my huge list of to-do’s trying to decided what will be pushed till later, and when later might be.

Our painting business it really thriving! I’m so stinking happy about this. We sold our 4th custom order this morning and have one more ready to purchase either today or tomorrow. I’m loving it, doing art is so much more motivating when people actually want to buy it! Now I can only hope that things will keep putting along and that one day we can be making a portion of our income off it. For now the money will sit in our Paypal for moving and wedding costs.

We are doing our first craft fair on Saturday November 6th at Smoky Hill High School, and I’ve been making lots of mini paintings to sell as well as lots of examples of our custom work. Because it’s an indoor show we needed to build walls to display our canvas, so yesterday Mr. Gaunt and I went to Buds Warehouse which is a discount recycled building materials store. We bought 3 hollow core doors for $30! Now we have to paint them and hinge them together to make an accordion style wall for display. I also need to order some marketing materials from Moo Cards this week. So it’s all a little hectic. But good hectic.

In weight loss I joined weight watchers last week and then never went back…wow I’m lame. Ha! I’m having a hard to with this one, weight watchers is all about getting the most bang for your food points. Which means eating all diet foods. Meh…not the route I want to go. And the silly thing is that I KNEW that and that was why I quit in the first place! So I don’t know what I’m gonna do now. Working out is what I really need to do, I have just never discovered a workout plan that I liked. Im thinking of checking out the brand new 24 hours fitness they just built behind my house. Maybe if they have TV’s in the machines I might be interested in going. Before I found the gym to be so boring, and the tvs were always set to news and sports! But if I could ave my own tv then I could even schedule gym time around my favorite shows (we don’t have cable anymore so we don’t get to watch any new tv) and maybe that would motivate me. I do really like tv.

My current job is a test in my patients every day, and I am counting down the days until we move and I can quit it and find something new. I have already made the decision that I will NOT be transferring. We are still up in the air about where exactly we want to move. I plan on doing a post on this at a later date, not that the masses really care.

Anyways I have some food and other things to do individual posts about today, this is just to catch people up on whats going on!

Buds Warehouse. Much like the RE-Store for you Bham folks

Piles of stuff to dig through

Wearing High heels and dress pants. We had just left a wedding.

LOOK I FIXED IT!

3 Doors, a Bookcase and an easel. Maybe I shouldnt sell this car!

 

Life Up and Down-sized.

NOTE: This is a very long and probably boring blog about our current plans and finances. Im mostly writing it to myself just to lay it all out, but would love any comments or opinions on any of the situation.  (=

Our good friend Jake is in town this weekend. Jake is a financial guru, kind of. He majored in finances in college and has worked in banks for quite some time. He’s very smart and financially together. He deals mostly with home loans and things of that nature, so he has been giving us advice on our financial situation.

Mr. Gaunt and I are a big cross roads with our life and our money. We are currently living at the top of our means, and we are looking to upgrade our future. Both of us are not great with money, we have both spent the last (5 for me) 10 years acting as if we don’t really need to think about the future and that when the time comes we will figure it out. TIMES UP FOLKS!

-We currently rent an adorable 2 bedroom (1000 sq ft) apartment in Colorado. It’s very nice and upgraded and we love it. However it is WAY too expensive, especially for renting. We have friends that pay as much or a little less that we do on their mortgages. On top of that we have a number of utilities to pay for. And the truth is, we feel like we have almost outgrown this place. With two bedrooms, our second room quadruples as an Office (with 2 desks and computers), A sewing and craft room (I have craft supplies coming out my ears), storage for extra bedding and blow up mattress for guests, storage for things like vacuums, board games, electronic equipment, painting supplies….the list goes on. Its pretty much crammed full of stuff, only organised enough so that I don’t go crazy. It’s so though that its hard to even do projects in there because it makes such a huge mess in the tiny space.

So of course we really want to buy a house. Of course we have no credit or down payment money. And renting a house seems like SUCH a waste. To even find a descent house to rent would put us way over our budget. It’s just not possible.

-We also currently have 2 cars. My car has a car payment…uggg. When my old car seized its engine back in May I went out and got a new (10-year-old) car to replace. Finally sucking it up and paying a car payment. At the time I did it, I really didn’t think I had any other options. Looking back it was a HUGE mistake.

I have spent the last year cancelling all of our extra service. Cable, gym, weight watchers, netflix, etc. I had saved us a little over $200 a month doing this. Well one freak accident and a car payment later and we have no savings anymore.

We also HAD to do some work on Mr. Gaunt’s car, that and the vacation to Washington in July (which I wouldnt take back for the world) completely wiped out our savings. Im talking $0 left. So now we sit living paycheck to paycheck.

So Mr. Gaunt and I have spent the last 3 months trying to convince both of our bosses to let me transfer to his team at work. So we can sell my car and carpool. We finally got the ok, and Friday will be my last day on my team. This is such a relief! So I plan on putting my car up for Sale on Craigslist this week. Hopefully ***FINGERS CROSSED*** I can sell it for about what I owe, and be done with it. There will be challenges to only having one car, but the savings (of almost $300 a month) will be so worth it. It was also make things easier when we move, as we can just tow the other car behind the uhaul.

-The wedding is our next big expense. I get mixed opinions when I talk to people about the wedding and the cost. For Mr. Gaunt and I its important to have a nice wedding for our friends and family to celebrate our union. Many people say “elope, or do it the back yard” but that’s not what we want. I’m sorry. I’m absolutely one of those girls that has dreamed about planning her wedding for years. The whole process is fun and exciting and wonderful! I wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course we don’t really have the money to go big. I’m trying my hardest to be crafty and frugal and make sacrifices in things like location and photographer so the we can keep it in budget (whatever that may be) the wedding wont be big, probably less than 100 guests. We are making all the food and drink and decorations. I plan to get an inexpensive dress and make my own invitations. But it’s still expensive. At this point we are hoping to keep it between $6k-$8k. Which seems like a lot unless you look at the national average of $20k for weddings. We are also taking all the help we can get, be it labor or gifts or whatever anyone wants to contribute. Weddings are a beautiful way for family and friends to come together and celebrate. We want the whole things to be as fun and low stress as possible. Go with the flow.

-And on to moving. We will be moving some time in April (or lease ends at the end of April) we have signed a 6 month lease starting in October. When the time gets closer we will look into the options of transferring our jobs or getting new ones. We really want to move to Olympia, but the most important thing in moving is finding affordable housing, schools, and jobs. Mr. Gaunt is currently looking into/thinking about going to nursing school in the winter of 2011, so we need to find a place where he can do that. And yes we understand that he will have to pay out of state tuition for the first year or so.

Moving fees in generall are going to be high. Renting a uhaul will cost us anywhere from $1500-$2000 to move to another state. YIKES! We are currently trying to decide if it makes more sense to just sell stuff and buy new instead of paying those costs. although things like our bed and couch are not things we want to give up, and they of course are the things that require the large moving trucks. I have even looked in to PODS and things of that nature, also crazy expensive. Our friend in Olympia have offered to let us stay with them for a short while so we can get jobs and look for places, otherwise we will have to rent something long distance.

We are also talking about really drastically downsizing our place of living once we move. Like I said we would love to have a house, but we want to buy one, not rent one. So we need to save money. If we can suck it up and rent a smaller one bedroom apartment for a year or two and save $300-$400 a month on rent then maybe we can get our shit together enough o buy a house. This would mean getting rid of lots of stuff and being ok with having just one bedroom for a while. It even means registering for wedding gifts might need to just be in gift cards so we can save them for when we do get a house. Would our guests be cool with just giving us money/giftcards?

-Mr. Gaunt is also in the works of building his credit. Neither of us have a lick of credit, although I have about $1000 I owe in old fees that I just havent been able to pay off. Which is why we are working on his credit first, I know its important for me too, I just need to pay that money off. Apparently its near impossible to get a credit card when you have no credit. We are working with our bank to get a “good customer” exception letter going to hopefully get a starter credit card. We have also been talking to Jake about our options for IRA’s and such to build some savings, as well as proper ways to use credit cards to help and not hurt you. ITs all just a very long complicated process, and unfortunately as Jake says, we are staring off in a bad economic time. Although there’s no time like the present!

-We are also working a LOT on our painting business. We have had great feedback, lots of email inquiries, and couple sales. We have plans to do a craft fair in October and I’m working my butt off promoting and listing new items. We really hope that this can be some extra income.

We are also looking into extra work. We both worked yesterday for time and half, and are working on Monday for double time. This will add almost 25% more to our paychecks. I also applied for a season position at Pier 1 that I could work in the evenings. We just have to make the sacrifice and work our butts off these days.

So that’s where we are at. I need to once again re work our budget to salvage any money we could be saving. And I want to note that even if we weren’t moving we still need to do this. We need to learn the value of a dollar and the hard work of paying yourself first. Life hands you all sorts of obstacles, and if you really want something you have to know how to get it. The next 2-3 years are going to be some of the hardest and most rewarding years of our lives. These are the years that we will build our future off of. And we thank everyone for their love and support during this time.

TODAYS TO DO LIST:

(I sacrificed a pool party and bbq and a sweet baby boy to get some shit done around here)

-Laundry

-Grocery Shopping

-Make dinner plans for the week. Ive been good at making enough dinner to have lunch for the both of us the next day.

-Make pumpkin scones and granola bars

-Finish painting and packaging up painting

-List 2 new items on Etsy

-Research selling my car

-Go through art supplies for garage sale. And the rest of the house.

-Call my mom, and maybe the grandparents too.

-Research housing and moving options.

And because it goes against my religion to post with out pictures:

Should We Grow Up?

I’ve mentioned before that Mr. Gaunt and I have been attending couples counseling (sort of pre-marital) for about 2 months now. I don’t talk about it much (with anyone, not just my blog readers) but we really enjoy going. We usually go once a week for an hour, and the topics range every week. Sometimes we talk about Mr. Gaunt and I, our future plans (children, marriage, etc) sometimes we talk about our families and how we were raised. We often talk (at least at the beginning of each session) about work, he seems to take an interest in Mr. Gaunt and I’s place of employment. I actually really like our therapist, he’s got tough love. He tells us when we are being kind of irrational, he helps us learn to work through our problems, but he also knows when to pat us on the back. Both Mr. Gaunt and I have been through a lot this past year, with our weight loss, job changes, attempting our own business, etc. He thinks we are smart capable people, he says we have more life knowledge and skills than most college graduates (neither Mr. Gaunt or I have yet to go to College.)

Tonight we talked a bit about “needing to grow up” and how we both need to focus on “selling ourselves” and “finding a career path that we can excel in” because if we want to do the family thing, we not only need to make more money, but we ned to be happy. I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy with my job, in fact its better than a lot of retail jobs I have had. I do struggle a bit with authority, with basic corporate rules and plans. I often have ideas that I really can’t put into action because it’s too hard to jump through the hoops and get others on board when so much already needs to get done. I also work with a wide array of people, ranging from the 18-year-old right of highschool still living with their parents, to the college graduate in transition to their “dream job” and with some older retired professionals just trying to wind down. It’s hard to find your place among so many characters. I wont lie, I may be kind of vain, but I like to excel, be really good at something, shine. Sometimes in a big corporation its hard to stand out.

Mr. Gaunt struggles with the same things, although he is usually more content with the day-to-day. I personally feel that Mr. Gaunt is AMAZINGLY smart and talented, and could do so much more with his skills. He just struggles with finding the next stepping stone.

For me the ultimate goal is to be able to work from home, or at least part-time from home. When we have children, I want to be there for them, I want to go on field trips, make them healthy meals, watch them grow up. I also want to make our family money, doing something I love. My mom worked from home most of my childhood (when she wasnt in school) and I remember always feeling so lucky that she was usually home when we needed her. She owned her own business and was very successful being creative. I want that. I have tried a few smaller scale things with my “artistic talent” I had an Etsy Shop (click on the SOLD ITEMS to view what I made) but didn’t feel like I had really found my niche. I love Food Photography, and would love to do more with it, but I need a better camera, and I need to take a class or too. I also need to put Photoshop on my lap top (where I do most of my blogging, maybe I will do this tonight). Cooking has also become a big passion of mine, and Id love to continue on the Food blogging route.

Which brings me to my next thing. I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog recently, its focus, its appearance, its name. And I really feel like it might be time for an UPGRADE! I want my blog to have more of a customized theme, more gadgets, possible ad space for sale (classy not tacky or obnoxious) and maybe a name that says more “Healthy Lifestyle” and less “Weight Loss”. I’ve been doing a bit of research, and some money will need to be invested, but I think its worth it!  I plan on fully researching it all before I make any changes, and of course all my archives will be there to see as well. Id like it to be more user-friendly and more professional. Mr. Gaunt and I have also talked about taking a creative writing class so I can work on my writing skills. A photography class is also MUCH needed when I upgrade my camera (all photography classes require you at least have a camera that can change lenses). So that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Id love any advice from anyone who has done a blog upgrade, or a life upgrade!

Until then we will keep putting along with dreams swirling in our heads.

Oh and because this IS a foodie blog, I actually made something from my list! My first salad dressing!

I followed the following recipe, only I didn’t have WHITE balsamic vinegar, only brown, which is why mine isnt as vibrant green. This was put on a salad paired with Mr. Gaunt’s Chili (plus a bag of frozen broccoli florets thrown in per my request)

Avocado & Cilantro Dressing

From The Guilty Kitchen

1 large ripe avocado
3/4 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup loosely packed)
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

_________________________________

1. Scoop out flesh of avocado and place in blender or food processor.

2. Add cilantro, citrus juices, garlic, vinegars and olive oil.
3. Blend on high until emulsified. You may want to add more olive oil and vinegar/citrus juices to thin out. This dressing is quite thick, but if you add too much liquid, it does take away from the delicate flavour of the avocado.