House Things

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Once upon a time my posts were about adventuring around the world... nowadays I get my excitement from curtain shopping.  Oh, how the times have changed.

For the first month or so back home I had nothing on my windows.  Finally my mom and I found some old unused kitchen curtains, but we only had enough for two and a half windows.  Finally today I decided to bite the bullet and just buy all new matching ones.  I even splurged and got real curtain rods!  I would highly recommend Christmas Tree Shoppe if you're ever looking for curtains.  They had a pretty big selection for much cheaper than I was seeing at Target and Kohl's.

It's amazing how much cozier the room feels.  Safer, too.  I live in a very safe neighborhood, but being surrounded by five windows that anyone walking by could look in doesn't make for much privacy.

Also in the line of privacy, I got a doorknob!  For the last 6 months I've been using a rolled up pair of socks to fill the hole in the door.  But now I have a real doorknob... it even has a lock!  Technology these days.
And last but certainly not least, I got a toilet!  This is the one thing I've been begging for since I moved back in August.  In fact, hearing that my parents were planning on putting a bathroom downstairs was one of the biggest things that convinced me to move back home.  It's taken 6 months but we finally have one down there.  Of course I have to wait a little longer for it to be installed, but I have faith that before too long I won't have to run up and down the stairs a dozen times a day too pee! 

Happy Snow Day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

If you're friends with anyone from the Northeast United States, you've probably been inundated with pictures and talk of snow.  I'd say I'm sorry for adding to that, but I just love snow too much to not share some pictures.  Just some random ones from the last two days:

Calm before the storm.  Despite the snow not starting until around 3pm, the sky was pretty weird at 8am.
The snow had barely started but the traffic was terrible by the time I got out of work.
Then the snow actually picked up and it certainly didn't make the commute any easier. 
The most recent snow total prediction.  I'm right at the tip of the 24-30" range on the left.
My view this morning. 
My workstation for the day.

The snowbank formerly known as my car.

Getting ready to go out and play.

And last but not least, poor Mac trying to get outside in the morning.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

It's be almost 4 months since I've been out of the country, so naturally it's time to start planning my next trip.  This time, the trip will be with the boyfriend in May.

Back when he was in undergrad he studied abroad in Ireland.  He had a backpacking trip around Europe planned, but it just so happened to coincide with the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. 
Remember that?  
It was all over the news for a while here but it didn't directly effect many of us in the states.  Well for him, it basically cancelled his entire backpacking trip.  I forget the details, but I'm pretty sure he ended up stranded in Germany for most of the time he was supposed to be traveling.

Anyway, now that he is going to have some time off after the deployment, he has decide it's time to make up for that trip.  And I of course will never turn down a chance to go to Europe!

Right now the plan is London, Edinburgh, Galway, Killarney, and Dublin.

Yup, heading back to Dublin!  
It's crazy that it's been over two years since I've been to Dublin.  We won't have too much time there, but more than any other place I've lived, Dublin has felt like my second home.

We've got our flights into London and out of Dublin booked.  We've also decided to stay in a hotel while we're in London since hostels there are pretty pricey anyway.  The rest has yet to be planned but we've still got plenty of time to get everything in place.

Three Day Weekends Aren't Long Enough

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What ever happened to that lull after the Christmas and New Year's rush?  Didn't there used to be a stretch of time when nothing happened and everything quieted down for at least a few weeks?  I swear that was a thing. 

We had our annual work sales meeting last week.  It involved two days of meetings, dinners, presentations, a trip into Boston, etc.  I had to do a quick 5 minute presentation which meant any of the time I wasn't in those meetings was devoted for preparing for my presentation.  I can do a good job presenting, but that is 90% because I obsessively memorize every word I plan on saying. It's effective, but exhausting. We came back to the office for a few hours after it was all done and I just felt brain dead.  I'm pretty sure I still haven't recovered.

I was hoping to play catch up on sleep and laziness this weekend, but I was jumping between birthdays and football (go Pats!) and a million errands.

Finally yesterday I was able to be both (a little) productive and (a lot) lazy.  Gym, grocery shopping, napping, video gaming, food prepping, Downton Abbeying.  It was a successful day, but still not nearly enough of a buffer to get me ready for another week of work.
About all I have to show for my weekend.

A Quick Trip to New York

Sunday, January 4, 2015

I just got home from a quick trip down to New York.  My friend Inna (a recurring character on the blog as she calls herself) lives down there and since it's been several months since I've seen her, we decided it was time for me to get down to the city.

Because of all the New Years plans going on, I wasn't able to get down there until the 2nd and I could only stay until the 3rd.  Just by coincidence, another friend from Ireland, Clíodhna, happened to be visiting the states so we coordinated meeting down in New York.

I took a super early bus down there and we managed to completely fill the day with activities.  We attempted to go to the top the Empire State Building, but there are still a million tourists in the city from New Years so the line was over 3 hours long.  Instead we decided to go to the Met.  I've been to New York a few times, but I had never been to this museum.
Fun Fact: All of my things for the weekend were packed into that bag.  I'm pretty much a professional light packer.
The rooms of Egyptian art, architecture, and artifacts were my favorite.  Knowing these things were thousands of years old is just so cool to me.  It's hard to look at these items and not start imagining the stories behind them (of course there are plenty of placards that actually DO tell the story behind them, but sometimes I like to let my imagination wander).

After visiting ancient Egypt, we made our way to the 19th/early 20th century European paintings.  I will never pretend to know much about art or artists, but I do love looking at all of the paintings.  I rarely have more to say about them than "that's so pretty" or "the lighting on that one is cool," but I still enjoy them nonetheless.  I did get pretty excited to see Van Gogh, but that was mainly because of the episode of Doctor Who that he appeared in.  I know that was fiction, but I did feel a little closer to him than I did most of the other artists in the room.

 After the Met we went to find food.  We ate at this tiny authentic Mexican place.  I didn't see the name of the place while we were there, but after some internet sleuthing I found that it was called El Aguila.  Despite the crowds we experienced everywhere else, we had this small three-tabled shop to ourselves and it was perfect.
From there we headed to Rockafeller Center.  Before  checking out the tree we watched a light show on the facade of Saks Fifth Avenue.  We then entered the mob scene that was Rock Center.  The tree was beautiful, but there were so. many. people.  I think the traffic was mostly caused by the Lego store, but we almost just turned around and left.  Luckily we made it through the mob and out the other side and, because we hadn't quite experienced enough crowds, we decided to head over to Time Square.  Ironically this was the least crowded place we visited.
 It was getting pretty cold at this point so we headed back to Inna's apartment to relax.  We had sangria, ordered thai/sushi, and watched some TV.  The plan was to go out, but by 10 pm I was struggling to keep my eyes open.  My friends graciously forgave me for being a big bum and went out without me.  It sounds like they had a great night but got home close to 5am, so I'm glad I made the decision to not even try.

Because of the late night the girls had, we spent most of Saturday in our pjs drinking tea and watching tv.  When I had originally planned this trip, that was about all I was expecting to do, but since we had Clíodhna in NYC for the first time we were motivated to cram a lot more into our short time there.

It was so nice seeing the girls and, although it might be a long time before I see either of them again, I know we'll have a great a time as we did this past week.

$60,000 in Debt: Month 8

Friday, January 2, 2015

So many big things happened this month money-wise.  I spent a ton on Christmas shopping, though it's not really reflected here.  Just take my word for it.  It happened.

More importantly, I paid off my Discover card!  Prior to my last apartment, I had never carried a balance on a card.  I unfortunately reached the point where I had to start doing that, but I used it as a good opportunity to get a new card and add another line of credit.  It's a slippery slope once you realize you aren't going to pay it off each month.  I definitely didn't go crazy with my spending, but I probably got a little lazy compared to how I was in the past and by the time I moved out I had a pretty sizable (for me) chunk of money on both of my cards.

Paying off my older card first was a no brainer.  It was gaining interest every month I let a balance sit.  Because my Discover card was new, I had the first year interest free which was extremely helpful.  I was able to spread out my payments without any penalties.  And, as of today, that card has a $0 balance, too!

Now that they are both down to 0 I know that I'll be even better with my spending.  Instead of seeing this ambiguous number, I will see exactly how much I spent each month and it will be easier for me to understand where I SHOULDN'T be spending so much. 

Another milestone this month-  I passed the $15k mark since May!  In 8 months I've paid off over $15000 in debt.  That's pretty awesome.  There is still a long way to go, but every little milestone counts.

As much as I want to throw every penny I earn into my loans next month, I know that I have to focus again on saving.  I very likely only have about 6 months left in my parent's basement and I want to make sure I have a good amount saved up so I don't have to rely on my credit cards again. That was the biggest reason why I had to before. I had paid off so much in student loans that I didn't have enough saved when moving out.  I won't make that mistake again.

Ringing in the New Year

Thursday, January 1, 2015

I was so tempted to spend New Year's Eve on my couch with Netflix, but I managed to muster up the energy to go out with friends instead.  We headed down to Waltham to a friend's apartment.  She's the only one that currently lives within walking distance of bars so she won the honor of hosting us for the night.  Luckily she's a wonderful host and hopefully she enjoys it, too.

We had thought about going into Boston but we found a place just a minute away from her apartment that was hosting a Gatsby themed party.  I had no Gatsby gear, and it was $60 to get in so we almost didn't consider it, but after calling we found that included the cover, dinner, and all our drinks for the night.  We were all a little skeptical but it turned out as awesome as it sounded.

The bar was tiny and pretty full when we got there but we managed to wiggle our way up to the bar and find seats.  Sure enough we got a full meal, every drink was free, the DJ was awesome, and our bartended looked and acted like Andy Dwyer.

Considering we didn't even have a plan the day before NYE, I think the night turned out great... of course one friend who spent the morning over the toilet might feel that we had a little TOO much fun... but still, wonderful night overall!