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January 28, 2015

Screw You Juno

After yesterday's false blizzard I'm officially done paying attention to the weather. For those of you that don't know, I grew up in upstate NY. Not Buffalo, but not Westchester either, which is not upstate by the way. The point is, I've dealt with snow my entire life and when they call for a blizzard, that's a serious statement.... of happiness. So when said "blizzard" doesn't in fact happen, this girl is not happy. 8 inches. We got 8 measly inches. I wanted all the snow.

I did however get a nice day off because of it. My boss sent out the mass "closed" text... about 40 minutes before they lifted the travel ban. Win for me. I did nothing all day... except cook pork roast for dinner, clean the house, work with my budget binder , alphabetize the movies, and watch Fried Green Tomatoes. Case in point I should have grown up to be a housewife. 

It bothers me if they're not in alphabetical order.

My next 3 weekends are already claimed and I'm feeling very meh about it. This weekend is the Super Bowl so I need to go through my tailgate board to find something to bring. After that I have SW's bridal shower. I should probably get on the gift buying. And thennnn...I go home for the long weekend, which I am super happy about. 

I'm sitting here procrastinating at typing a blog post because I'm procrastinating at getting ready for work. Clearly I have it together. I was supposed to draft posts yesterday but that obviously didn't happen because lately I've been spending any and all non-work time off the computer. I love it so much. 

I need to buy a scale. You know, as much as one needs that daily reminder to rein it in on the snacking. The thing is, I want a $129 scale and I'm not sorry about it one bit. I'm looking at you Aria. This scale will sync with my FitBit so I can keep track of my steps and make sure the scale is moving in the right direction. 

On a happy {?} note, I went to WW last Sunday to get a starting weight.... it's the same as it was last June. Hooray for maintenance I guess? 

And now I probably should really get ready for work. You know, since I'm sitting here in PJs at 7:30, hair all sorts of crazy with 20 minutes before I'm supposed to be walking out the door. Oops? 

January 26, 2015

Building a Budget Binder

I love the ease of using an online budget program like Mint, which I use, but hate that it’s not hands-on. I scoured Pinterest, blogs, and even did random Google searches looking for prinatables to create a budget binder. I refuse to buy printables. Here’s how I created mine along with links to the pages I used. 

The reason this took so long was because I was being cheap about the binder itself. $5.49 for a 1" binder? What in the actual fuck?! But then I decided to say screw it and just buy one I liked because a) pretty, and b) use & abuse. 

I'll never tire of this print. 
My first page was originally going to be in the cover pocket but it works better this way. I put it in a sheet protector to keep it nice and pretty. I was planning on buying a pack of those as well but again, $4.99 for 50? We have boxes of them unused at work. I'll help myself. 

Cover found at The Accidental Okie

The next thing I did was to decide which categories were going to work best for me. The important thing is to only add the pages you need which is why I made my own. Instead of spending money on actual tabs, I created my own cover sheets for the start of each section. 

I made these! Squeeee!

Savings Goals: 2015 is the year of saving goals for me so I already knew that this was a section I needed. Some are short term {500 emergency fund} and some are long term {52 week plan}. I found the $1,000 emergency Fund plan and loved how simple it was for such a big goal. I did the 52 week challenge for 2014 and loved it. I like this 52 Week Money Savings Challenge print because it already lists the dates, amounts, and it gives you the option of adding extra money for the week. I also added these Financial Goals pages for the smaller goals. I also like this setting goals page, although I didn't use it. 

Month to Month: I used this calendar because the boxes were big enough to write in. I also added these monthly check-in pages because I think it's good to see where improvement can be made. There's also a spot to add month-specific goals. I like this because if it's something that needs to be done, and will cost money, I can add it here, i.e taking all the coats to be dry cleaned. 

Outstanding Debt: This section was for debts that have been around a little longer than I care to admit...ahem EZ Pass. I'm really pleased with the print I created so that I can keep track of what's owed, when and how much I paid, and the remaining balance.

Tips & Tricks: I added this section for my own know-how. I added the guide for creating your own printables {see below}, and a page I found online about when to toss certain documents. A while back I scanned, labeled and "filed" all of my old tax returns or documents I should probably keep. Having everything in digital form frees up space, saves paper, and I know it's secure on my external hard drive and in Dropbox.

I kept my binder pretty basic for a few reasons. For one, it's open for even more customization. If a page is no longer working for me, I can take it out or add something new. Second, I don't have a mortgage or kids so my budget isn't all that complicated. Also, if you're the type who wants complete control, or you just want to learn how to make your own, I would highly recommend signing up for Just a Girl and Her Blog's newsletter. She'll give you this free PDF:

I found it to be greatly helpful and used it as a guide to create all my cover pages you see above. I kept them basic for my first try, but now that I know what I'm doing, and have a guide if I forget, I can get more adventurous. 

So that's my budget binder. Do you have one? Do you budget? 


January 23, 2015

Eatin' Good in YOUR Neighborhood

This post is sponsored by Applebee’s.

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for a good burger. Give me a medium rare, bacon and cheese topped burger and I’m pretty much putty at the food version of Disneyland. The thing is, not all burgers are created equal.

Fortunately for you and me, Applebee’s is stepping outside the box.

Applebee’s is now offering the new “All-In” Burgers, which puts a creative twist on cheeseburgers, by smashing ingredients – like onions, bacon and even pineapple – into fresh ground beef before cooking to sear in the flavor, which are then topped with additional ingredients and served on a brioche bun for a better-tasting burger.
The American Standard: A new take on the classic cheeseburger, pickles, bacon and onion are seared in and topped with signature sauce and American cheese

Sweet Asian Pineapple: This spicy-sweet burger has sweet, juicy pineapple seared in and is topped off with spicy Sweet Asian Chile sauce and Jack cheese

Triple Bacon: Any bacon lover’s dream, this burger has bacon seared in and adds, you guessed it, more bacon, BBQ bacon ranch and cheddar cheese on top for the finishing touches

Mushroom Swiss: Portobello and button mushrooms are seared in for flavor and topped with smoky mayo and Swiss cheese.

K and his dad stuck with what they knew and both ordered the Triple Bacon burger. K is anti-cheese {I know, it's a travesty} so this was his burger. 

As much as I love bacon on a burger, I wanted something different and went with the Mushroom Swiss. Normally I'm not a big fan of Swiss cheese but on this it was perfect. There was so much flavor and it was cooked exactly the way I like.

Hooray for burger selfies!

And what’s a great burger without a great beer to wash it all down with? As much as I’d love to be a beer snob, I just don’t have the attention span for that. What I do have time for – trying as many craft beers as I can. If you’re into craft beer, or just trying something new, Applebee’s has you covered. They’re expanding their craft beer selection to add to the existing lineup of specialty cocktails.

If you’re interested in trying the new “All-In” Burger, you’re in luck! Applebee’s is giving you the chance to win a gift card good for dinner (or lunch) for two {a $60 value}. Just enter below and tell me which “All-In” burger you want to try. {**Valid only at participating locations:** New Jersey: Northern, Central*, and Shore (Monmouth and Ocean Counties) * excludes Mercer County
Long Island: Nassau and Suffolk Counties}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

January 21, 2015

Just Call Me Usher

Wednesday has pretty much snuck up on me with that whole 3-day weekend business. Good thing today's an easy one. 

Making Melissa

+ I just read The Giver for the first time ever 2 weeks ago. What a great book. My first thought was wow. Followed by wait, it's over? All finished off with a why didn't I read this sooner?! All signs of an excellent book if you ask me. 

+ My trainer, who I'd been working with since the end of September was let go. I picked the girl I've seen around the gym, whose body is enviable. We worked together for the first time 3 weeks ago and I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful love-hate relationship.

+ I rejoined WW in an attempt to get my eating under control before vacation. I'm on the fence about it. Part of me is just resigning to the fact that I won't ever be super in shape. Not because I can't do it but because I'm being honest with myself - I love burgers and I have a love/hate relationship with working out. 

+ I'm in charge of planning my friend's bachelorette party {which will take place in the beginning of March} and I'm kind of freaking out. What if it's not "so much fun" to everyone?? Under pressure... {and now that damn song is stuck in my head}

+ This year is supposed to be all saving for me... and yet I have 2 weddings to attend, one that I'm the MOH for, my first adult vacation to go on, and a wedding next spring as well that I'm also MOH for. Saving is hard...

+ Only after I got home last night did I realize I left my iPad at work. Queue the water works. #fwp

+ As I was finishing this draft last night all I was thinking was fuck it, just go to bed. It was 9pm...

You guys. I think the winter blues have officially set in.

January 19, 2015

Book It!

Do you guys remember Book It from grade school? It more aptly should have been called ‘Will read for Pizza’ because that’s what it was. Pizza and books? Perhaps this is why I was always a chubby kid? What can I say, I like to read.  

In case you were wondering, Book It day and Mean Girls Day are one and the same.

Every year I participate in the Goodreads book challenge. Last year I wanted to read 50 books. I was nowhere near it. Ok, over 50%, but still, 36? I can do better than that. 2015’s goal is also 50 books but now that I’m finished with school books forever, I think I can attain this goal. I basically need to read 4/month. 

I noticed on Brianne’s blog that she had a 2015 reading challenge posted with a list of types of books to read. I thought it might be interesting to try and work through my reading list using the prompts. Lord knows both my actual and Kindle bookshelves are filled with books I plan to but never get around to actually reading. Maybe I should just make a plan to read all my unread books? Ehh, maybe in 2016...  Here’s the list. 

1. A book with more than 500 pages
2. A classic romance
3. A book that became a movie       
4. A book published this year
5. A book with a number in the title
6. A book written by someone under 30
7. A book with nonhuman characters
8. A funny book                                                      Food
9. A book by a female author                                 Wild 
10. A mystery or thriller                                         Gone Girl 
11. A book with a one word title
12. A book of short stories                                     My True Love Gave to Me
13. A book set in a different country
14. A nonfiction book
15. A popular author's first book
16. A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet
17. A book a friend recommended                         When You Reach Me 
18. A Pulitzer Prize winning book
19. A book based on a true story    
20. A book at the bottom of your to read list
21. A book your mom loves
22. A book that scares you
23. A book more than 100 years old                       Walden 
24. A book based entirely on its cover
25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't          The Giver
26. A memoir
27. A book you can finish in a day
28. A book with antonyms in the title
29. A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit
30. A book that came out the year you were born
31. A book with bad reviews
32. A trilogy
33. A book from your childhood
34. A book with a love triangle
35. A book set in the future
36. A book set in high school
37. A book with a color in the title
38. A book that made you cry
39. A book with magic
40. A graphic novel
41. A book by an author you've never read before
42. A book you own but have never read
43. A book that takes place in your hometown      
44. A book that was originally written in another language
45. A book set during Christmas
46. A book written by an author with your same initials  
47. A play
48. A banned book                                                            1984
49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
50. A book you started but never finished                        The Darkest Evening of the Year

I have a few selections already but am always open to new ones so if you have one let me know with the list number and title!

Since I’m off today I’m going to actually sit down and get through some chapters. Happy Monday!

January 16, 2015

And Then Christmas Came Again

You guys yesterday was fucking magical. Seriously though, if you stalk me on Twitter you’d know that the DMB tour dates were released on Tuesday... and that ticket request for said tour opened yesterday at 10am. 

Right now I’m pretty much in a bubble of euphoria because this happened at approximately 9:57am yesterday.

The request period is supposed to open at 10 but I’ll let you in on a little secret... it always opens several minutes earlier. Shhh. 

My BFF and I go to a show every summer. It’s tradition. This year we stepped up our game and we’re going to both the PNC show and the Camden show, which is on a Saturday. 

Since I’m the Warehouse member I do the requesting and all that jazz. After I requested I let him know and then this happened:

The ultimate goal is to get to a Gorge show. I’m pretty sure if that happens I may just die of euphoric arrest. Is that a thing? It is now because that’s what my obit will say. 

In other news {as if anything else is worth talking about} today starts my 3 day weekend. Can I just tell you how much I need this? Okay, not in that omigod I’m so stressed out sense, but this girl needs some down time. Books need to be read, miles need to be walked, and binders need to be built. 

Also, look at this nonsense.

This thing hasn’t moved in weeks. I weighed this much over Christmas weekend. I suppose there’s something to be said for maintaining, but really, I’d prefer it to fly south. 

And on that note, I’m mentally checking out for the day. Work schmirk.

Have a great weekend!

January 12, 2015

People You Meet in Transit

It's not news that I take public transportation to get around. While I do absolutely hate not having the ease of coming and going as I please, this isn't all bad. It does have its moments though. Mainly with people.

Chatty Cathy
This is the person who gets on the bus/train and from the moment they sit down they have (strike) need to have mindless conversion with whoever they're next to.  Which of course is at levels where everyone around them can hear their thoughts on the weather and the traffic.

Nosy Nate
This guy is beyond annoying. He feels the need to comment on  absolutely everything. Did you just give your significant other a kiss on the forehead? You'll hear him grumbling that you should do that on your own time. Did you make a joke about not having the energy to cook Thanksgiving dinner? He'll tell you not to say that because other people are hungry and have no meal. No matter what you're doing, you'll hear his opinion.

Stretched out Stan
I loathe this guy. He's the one who thinks his balls are a gift to the world and can't fathom the idea of using only his space to sit and therefore feels the need to use half of yours. No matter how much you nudge he won't get it. Unless you do like I do and move you knee roughly so he forced to move over.

Lazy Susan
This chick pisses me off almost as much as Stan. When you're sitting by the window and you've rang the bell for your stop, she's the one who oh so graciously swivels her legs to the aisle. She doesn't get up and doesn't move which allows you a solid 6" in which to get out of your seat and into the aisle. Spoiler: it doesn't work.

Tone Deaf
Oh Marty. Your music, albeit shitty in my opinion, shouldn't be heard outside of your own headphones. When I do or do not have my own headphones in and can still hear your music, it might be a tad too loud. This is not a case where it's cool to be "turnt up". 

I can't save up for a car fast enough. 

January 9, 2015

Friday Five

Believe it or not, sometimes Friday isn't my favorite day of the week. I know, it's blasphemous. This particular Friday is just so-so. We are having a bunch of peeps over tomorrow afternoon though, so there's that. 

Anywho.... today I'm just going to keep it numerically short and simple because that's about as much patience as I have to sit here and type away when I could be in bed with my tea. #30goingon60

5 (ish). The number of magazibe subscriptions that I get sent every month. It's just a tad ridicuous. Especially I don't really get a chance to read all of them thoroughly. I've been a Shape subscriber for years so I can't let go of that. Yoga Journal will now be a permanent subscription because I absolutely love it. InStyle, Eating Well, Women's Health and Real Simple are kind of sample subscriptions. 5 issues and then no more. 

4. The number of times I ask make K retake a picture when I ask him to be my blog photographer. I know he hates doing it. And to that I respond with "nope, take another one". {See evidence below}

3.  The number of times I busted my ass in the gym this week. Hooray for today being Leg Day. That doesn't count all the walking I did on the treadmill at home. My fitbit is making sure I get in my minimum of 10k steps a day. I'm determined to be feel better for vacation in a few short months. 

2.  The number of days {including today} left in the 10-day yoga challenge I've been doing. Cue the sads. These pictures are some poses that didn't make the cut for Day 8: Somewhere you don't usually do yoga.

I considered going with this crescent lunge but I just wasn't as upright as I can get when I do it on the floor. Having a low ceiling really kills my vibe. 

Doing some low bridge on the kitchen table. I liked this... except my boob was melting into my armpit and it's just not cute. Yet here I am posting it on the web... -_-

I still kind of like this one. I don't feel like I'm as straight as I could be because of the low ceiling. Seriously. It kills my flow. I pretty much can't do sun salutations because of it and those are my favorite. 

1.  Weeks left until my first paid holiday of the year. Oh you bet your ass I'm counting down to this. I love mandatory holidays. And a Monday no less. Who doesn't like a 3-day weekend? Yeah, that's what I thought. 

Any plans for the weekend?