Christmas Wrap-up

How was your Christmas? Did you survive? Was it wonderful/stressful/all of the above?

I think this may have been the best Christmas ever for Jack and me. We stretched it out over several days. Anyone else think Christmas should always be a four-day weekend? It was perfect!

We did our little celebration together on the 23rd, then spent the 24th getting doing some last-minute shopping, wrapping presents, and getting ready to host our families. Christmas Eve we had Jack’s daughter and her husband stay with us. They’re vegan, so I had a fun time cooking these yummy stuffed shells for them. Side note: we found out we’re going to be grandparents. (!!!) OK, for me, I’ll just be a step-grandparent, but that still counts! They shared this fun news with everyone over the holiday 🙂

My parents and my sister’s family joined us Christmas afternoon for dunch and presents for my niece and nephew. I put out tons of food from Trader Joe’s, so that kept things much simpler than if I’d cooked. We all hung out and played with the kids. It was nice! That evening, my stepson and his wife came over, along with their best friend. We ordered a Chinese food feast so again, we wouldn’t to cook. This will probably become a tradition 🙂 We did presents with all of them, after which, my stepdaughter and her husband headed home so she could rest (she’s having a rough time with her first trimester). The others spent the night with us, and I will admit that things went way too late for me and got way out of hand. We all enjoyed the hot tub and Jack’s new ping pong table, but I was so ready for bed by midnight. Jack somehow stayed up with them until 3am, god bless him.

The day after Christmas, we cleaned up the mess from the night before. Then I headed over to my parents’ house for yet another Christmas. I made a chocolate pie with my niece while we waited for my brother’s family to arrive – I can’t stress enough how freaking good it was. My mother made lunch for all of us, then we did more gift-giving. 90% of it was for the grandkids, which makes it more fun 🙂

That night, Jack and I were happy to have the house to ourselves. We watched a movie and had some drinks and relaxed. The next day we tried to get up early but slept in til 8:30. After a run, we met Jack’s daughter, her husband, and his son to see the new Star Wars movie. Mixed reviews from the group, but I loved it! We then made it home in time to watch the Falcons beat the no-longer-undefeated Panthers, which sort of made up for Louisville’s two-point loss to Kentucky the day before. Another movie, some hot-tubbing, and we were in bed by 10:00.

So now it’s back to work, for a couple of (chaotic) days. New Year’s Eve is the anniversary of our commitment to each other, so we’re looking forward to another celebration later this week. This one is sort of a milestone – 15 years! I’ve spent a lot of today writing down some of my goals for 2016, what I’d like to work on and what the planning will look like.

Did you have a very Merry Christmas? Are you thinking about your resolutions, or just enjoying the rest of the year?

 

 

Advertisements

Thanks for the Love!

Oy. I just spent almost an hour writing a new post, and then accidentally closed down my browser and now it’s gone 😦

But the gist of it was, thanks to my awesome blogger friends for nominating me for three awards!

By Jen Lawson, All Round Better Me, and Travel Run Style each gave me a blogging award, which means SO much to me. I love each of their blogs and I love that they enjoy reading mine and have shared it with their own readers.

I’m totally going to cheat now, and not quite follow the rules of either the Beautiful Blogger Award or the Liebster Award, and just tell you seven random facts about me, as inspired by the blogs above 🙂

  1. The best place I’ve ever been is the Alta Crystal Resort on Mount Rainier. All of the Pacific Northwest is amazing, and this was our last stop. We’d been from Portland to the coast to Seattle to the mountains. We’d spent the day hiking and the week living out of hotels. We were SO happy to have a hot tub to soak in and a real kitchen to cook in.
  2. The next place I’m traveling to is Dallas. For a Garth Brooks concert with clients. Have I mentioned I’m not a country music fan? But this should be an experience, a country music concert in Texas!
  3. My guiltiest of guilty pleasures is an Oreo Cheesecake Blizzard from Dairy Queen.
  4. The habit I’d most like to break is having a couple of (often several) drinks at the end of the day. I’ve been increasingly reliant on using alcohol to relax and to shut off my brain.
  5. The best thing I’ve done this week is spend time with my family. We’re currently in temporary housing while we look for a new home, and it’s really close to my parents and my sister’s family. I love that I can just drop by or meet my sister for hot yoga.
  6. My hero is Jimmy Carter. He is even dying with grace. #myhero
  7. I am having a harder time with being 40 than I ever expected. Not being a mother, I’m not caught up in raising any children, so I’m a bit at a loss with where to place my focus these days.

I’ve been thinking a lot about budgeting and spending and investing lately, so I’d like to share with you two young financial bloggers:

From Frugal to Free: This chica has already paid off her student loans and takes advantage of every side hustle to stack away some extra $$$. I SO wish I’d been this responsible when I was her age!

Half-Banked: A woman who is giving Millennials a good name (for once!). She’s striving to save half of her take home pay.

Hope you enjoy reading these blogs from two inspiring young women!

Have a great weekend! Do fun things!

Hooray for a Three Day Weekend!

It’s Friday! And it’s a long weekend! I appreciate this more than ever with my new job. I can’t believe it’s already been two months since I started. It’s still super challenging, with a long, slow learning curve. And every time I get a little bit of confidence, a whole new slew of things comes along. #foreverhumbled

But that’s what I came here to write about! It’s Friday, remember? This weekend, I’m looking forward to:

  • Dog-sitting at my sister’s house tonight (it will be so nice to cook in a real kitchen after these past two weeks at the hotel)
  • Being outside as much as possible (and hopefully inside for a hot yoga session)
  • Getting a new ‘do in the morning (I have never hated my hair more since I cut it after my 40th birthday)
  • Pre-gaming, gaming, and post-gaming tomorrow in downtown Atlanta (Yay football! Yay day-drinking! Go Cards!!!)
  • House hunting on Sunday (revamped strategy here; more on that another time)
  • Cooking out with the family on Monday (one last pig-out before Jack and I hit the low carb bandwagon on Tuesday)

What are you excited about this weekend? Got any great Labor Day plans?

Greetings from Portland!

I made it! My flight was just fine. Yes, I drank close to a bottle of champagne, downed some Xanax, and had a double vodka before I even got on the plane, but I GOT ON THE PLANE. By myself. It says a lot about my anxiety levels that I was still fully functional despite all that crap I put it my body. So much adrenaline!

I’m writing you from my hotel overlooking the Willamette River here in Portland. I woke up at 3:51am local time and just couldn’t get back to sleep. There is this amazing espresso machine in the lobby, so I made a triple latte and started my day. I walked across the Steel Bridge (doesn’t it sound like Game of Thrones?) to downtown and spent all morning wandering around. Then I walked over to my best friend’s house and spent the afternoon with her and her kids. Much fun! And I walked about nine miles without even really noticing.

I am taking a million photos but I’m writing on an iPad, which is so not compatible with my Android phone. Somehow I managed to leave my laptop AT WORK. ‘Cause, you know, I’m just here for a work conference and all 😦 Anyway, I’ll share some pics when I get home (God willing). I am eating very well, with stops today for coffee, biscuits, Indian street food, and ice cream (pear with blue cheese!). Portland is such a great city, so much creativity, and I love all the progressive ideas. Quite different from my Southern home town.

Hope you’ve had a great weekend! Thanks for everyone for your encouragement about my fear of flying. One down, one to go 🙂

Project Downsize: Condo Shopping & Garage Clean-out

Yesterday was really fun and productive! I might be a wee bit hungover this morning, but it’s guilt-free since I still got all my work done 🙂

We started the day with a 10k run. This is the last long-ish run before next Saturday’s half-marathon. It was a pretty good run, and the longest distance I’ve done since my latest bout of cold/flu/food poisoning/immune system crash. I’m still totally freaked out about the race next week, but whatcha gonna do…

We ran through the part of town we’re most interested in moving to, and drove around to look at a couple of specific neighborhoods afterwards. It was a perfect spring day in Atlanta, and there were so many people out walking their dogs, exercising, and heading to the local farmers’ market. This is one of Atlanta’s few foot-friendly areas, and seeing everyone out and about made me excited to possibly live there. One dilemma we’re having is whether we’d want to do a high-rise condo or a small townhouse. I love the idea of the high-rise, but I’m pretty sure I would be miserable trying to take our three dogs up and down in the elevator twice a day. The townhouses are older and not the best-looking, but it would be much easier with the dogs, and they have little private backyard/patio areas. We could maybe get a hot tub!

After our run, we had mani/pedis and took a long nap. Then we tackled the garage. This was the big pile o’ stuff we were facing:

20150408_164231

We had to decide what we wanted to try to sell on Craigslist and some of Jack’s hobby sites, what was trash/Goodwill, and what we’d save for next month’s garage sale. We only spent about an hour on this and accomplished a ton. This is the Craigslist pile, lots of home decor and small electronics/appliances:

20150411_173058

And this is what we’ve got left for the garage sale:

20150411_173101

Not pictured is our patio furniture, which we’ll hopefully be able to unload on Craigslist as well.

After the garage project, we got cleaned up and met some friends out for dinner. The food was disappointing, but I did have this drink:

20150411_190526A green cocktail! Freshly-juiced cucumber, basil, lime and vodka. Getting my vitamins along with a buzz 😉

Advice time: Have you ever lived in a highrise? Did you miss your privacy?

Sunrise Hike

Happy Easter!

I’m not really a religious person, but I do enjoy tradition and ritual and spending time with family. This year, my sister and I wanted to check out the Easter sunrise service on the top of Stone Mountain. I left my house at 5:30am, confident I would make it in plenty of time, but I was shocked by the crowds. We did make it to the top before the sun was up though, while the moon was still high above the city.

moon

We couldn’t really hear the service, since the crowds kept us from getting very close and the wind was insane. But we enjoyed the hike up the granite mountain, the views of Atlanta, and watching the sun breaking the horizon.

sun

It was a lovely way to start the day.

Weekend Update

Yes, it’s Sunday and I’m up at 6am. Who am I???

Saturday night is usually the only night I stay up past 10pm and indulge in a few cocktails, but last night, I was completely wiped out from a 8 mile run and an afternoon spent shopping with my mom, my sis and my niece. Record step day, according to the Fitbit: about 28k. I also ran a million errands and spent about two hours making dinner. So now that I think about it, I’m not that surprised that I was asleep before 10:00.

Yesterday’s run was tough. My husband picked the route and it was much hillier than I was expecting. It’s also the first long run I’ve done since I got this cold/ear infection/bronchitis/sore throat that been plaguing me the past 2+ weeks. I will be gentle with myself and not be frustrated by my incredibly slow-ass pace. The good news is that I had much less pain that I generally have on longer runs. The other good news is that we shared a chocolate croissant afterwards, totally guilt-free 🙂

I have an offsite for the majority of this week, so I imagine I’ll spend most of today cleaning the house and packing for being away. The funny thing is that I’m going all the way to… Downtown Atlanta! It cracks me up that my company spends so much money putting us all up at hotels for the week. But. I’m definitely not complaining! I’m looking forward to spending time with my larger team and to only have to worry about taking care of myself for a few days. I know my husband is also looking forward to doing whatever he wants around here while I’m gone, and not having to eat vegetables or watch HGTV.

How’s your weekend going?