Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 25: A first, in great detail

The first time I lived on my own.

I was 19 and attending Portland State University in Portland, OR. It wasn't a far move from home but it was my own little place with a twin bed, desk, mini fridge, dresser, sink, and walk-in closet. There were co-ed bathrooms on each floor. I brought in a small television, shelf and various knick-knacks to really make it my own. It was on the first floor of the building and a friend of mine would come and knock on my window to walk to class together occasionally. My little room was pretty nifty.
This is similar to what my room looked like. (from
Front of the building. (from
I had some good times and not so good times. My stay here was fairly short as other issues took priority over school and I enjoyed working at the nearby Quiznos much more than going to class. You can see where the problems may have been. Um..yeah.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Just because I know you are dying to know what I am up to...

--Tonight was popcorn for dinner and this amazing apple crisp for dessert.
--I went to go see a lady about a couch tonight. In the boonies. I (as always) got lost but eventually found my way there. If I can fit the damn thing up the stairs and through two doorways, it is as good as mine.
--Buying the couch will mean that I have even less money.
--Buying the couch WILL also mean that my back will not hurt every morning.

--The reason I like working better than school is because work rarely ever gives you homework. I do not like, look forward to, or do my homework but when I actually get around to it, I kick its ass.
--I know I am in the right place because even though classes are hard, they are really interesting. I get a little pissed off that I can't join all of the student affairs professional organizations and I always feel like I could be learning or doing more.

--One of these days I will have health insurance. I will have this insurance strictly for the fact that I hate having to call up medical offices and beg them to give me a payment plan. Really lady, I am not trying to not pay my bill, just give me a break and a whole lot less attitude.
--I get to see a dear friend this week AND have another state on my belt. Woohoo, Ohio!
--I renewed my Netflix and it feels great. I missed it dearly.

--Absolutely everyone is talking about Fall actually coming. I know it was the first day of Fall this week but it was at least 85 here with crazy humidity so I doubted it. Today it was 84 BUT there were also huge wind gusts of 45-50MPH so that was fun. Yes, I did look crazy in my skirt and flip flops while battling to walk upright. Thank you skirt for not flying up over my head and flips for staying on my feet.

--I love Friday nights. Ya know why? Because when I go home, I have Project Runway, Grey's Anatomy and all the other shows available online just for me to watch. I make dinner (popcorn does count), get in my jammies and plop down in front of the computer for the best shows.
--I HATE that they have to have different versions of shows just for the fat people. I watched some clips from "Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss." Um, seriously? BIG BLISS. The normal people get no tag lines but apparently there is something wrong with those big girls. Even when they had that dating show for overweight people, all they would ever talk about is how much they eat, how they struggled with their weights their whole lives and how they could never feel comfortable with themselves. Skinny girls have food issues too! Oy. It just annoys the hell out of me.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

From Razor to Reclaim

(I am on a posting role tonight....hope somewhat interesting!)

My phone, a (RED) Razor, has served me well. It started to take a turn during my last employment at nConnect because I put it in the same pocket as my name badge that had a very strong magnet attached to it. I knew that I was in trouble when my hair clip was attached to my phone and it really shouldn't have been. The battery has been draining a lot faster and sometimes I don't notice so the phone calls either never come through or I can't answer because the battery is on low. Around the time I moved, my contract came around to renewal which means I could upgrade my phone if I resigned.

My last work situation helped pay for a majority of my phone services including the upgrade to a data and text package plus more minutes. I got used to using the Internet on my phone (something very new to me) and being able to text easily. It wasn't a terribly expensive plan but once I moved here, I need to cut some expenses so there went the fancy phone package. I downgraded to fewer minutes and no data or text. This is odd considering the phone I chose though since it would make emailing, texting, Googling, and Facebooking much, much easier.

From Razor to Reclaim. 

I got the former phone because it was also free but proceeds went to the (RED) organization.After all my issues, I wanted a nice little phone that could last me for another few years. The Samsung Reclaim is all sorts of fancy in my book:

This is no ordinary phone. Designed with more eco-friendly components and packaging, you can go "green" without sacrificing the advanced features you love - full QWERTY keyboard, instant access to social networking sites and personal and work email, Sprint One Click, 2.0 MP camera, Stereo Bluetooth® and more. Visit to learn what makes Sprint a leader in environmental responsibility.


  • Made from 80% recyclable materials with 40% of the casing made from corn-based bio-plastic
  • Sprint One Click Green Tile - Instant access to eco-friendly content for every area of your life

Even the packaging is environmentally friendly and quite spiffy:

Discovering new thrifty resources!

I am a thrifting girl, born and raised. I had my staples in Portland and since moving here the pickings have been a bit slimmer. I did find a fantastic and plentiful place, Value World.

I found the perfect pair of Levi's dark wash jeans for $3.80 and a purple short sleeved jacket for $1.60. The last time I was there I saw an amazing Ann Taylor grey dress for only $6.00! Too bad it was a size 2 though. Yes, I still contemplated it. Don't judge.

This will continue to be my little splurge as I need more professional clothes but have a grad student's budget. Here are my latest finds:

If you know me at all, you know my addiction to magazines. At $.25 a piece, I couldn't help but grab recent issues of domino, Harper's Bazaar, and Vogue. I also picked up Fat Land for $.60. It looked promising. The two shoe purchases were under $2.00 each. The black ones on the left are from American Eagle and although I stay away from shiny things, I love bows and they are quite comfortable. The ones on the right are Croft & Barrow shoes that are a tiny bit old lady but very work appropriate and really well padded. Overall, I spent just a smidge over $5.00.

I plan a few more trips to Ann Arbor to check out these delightful places if I ever get up early enough:
Ann Arbor Kiwanis Thrift Sale
The Treasure Mart
St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

Pantry Post!

I love food posts and knowing what are in other peoples' cupboards and refrigerators so here is a sneak peek of mine. 

Still a work in progress but I like the way it is organized so far.
Breakfast stuff (mostly): instant potatoes, pancake mix,
Multi-Grain oatmeal, Malt-O-Meal, Multi-grain Cheerios. 
Canned foods: Select Harvest soups, jar of dill pickles, Masala Simmering Sauce,
black beans, olives, peas, corn, tomato sauce, tomato paste,
mac & cheese, tuna packets, angel hair spaghetti
Grains: basmati rice, Bob's Red Mill polenta,
Jolly Time popcorn kernels,saltines, generic Triscuits,
pizza crusts that were later thrown in the freezer
Snacks: two kinds of Quaker products with pom-berry and ranch flavored snack cakes,
snack packs of healthy nut mixes, Justin's nut butters and cocoa almonds,
blue corn tortilla chips, Quaker caramel rice cakes
Drinks: my addiction of the sugar-free Arizona Green Tea mixes,
Stash Moroccan mint green tea, Yogi Bedtime tea,
sugar-free Oregon Chai Tea mix
The beginnings of my baking supplies: cinnamon, Molly McButter cheese sprinkles,
California garlic powder, various sprinkles, Pam non-stick spray,
veggie oil,olive oil, brown sugar and later this week
I bought regular sugar and flour but forgot the vanilla.

Fridge details:
The basics: mustard, reduced fat mayo, Trader Joe's almond butter with flax seed,
sugar-free blackberry jam, Pearl Soy Milk Coffee flavored, Fat free milk,
Healthy Balance apple juice, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray,
Hillshire Farms lunch meat, Eggland's Best eggs, Trader Joe's masala lentil dip,
YoPlus yogurt, 1% cottage cheese, various veggies, extra firm organic tofu,
Sara Lee Sandwich Thins, lots of cheese, too. 

People...I highly encourage you to post pictures of your kitchens! Good chance though if I have been to your house, I have looked through your cupboards already :)

Day 24: Something that makes you cry, in great detail

I don't know if many of you know this but in the last few years I have become a huge advocate and lover of the pit bulls. They have a notorious reputation for being these horrible, violence, vicious dogs which has only grown because of incorrect media coverage or owners that use them for defense and physical protection. To be fair, I used to be scared of these dogs too until I met my last boyfriend who loved the adorable pit bull. Across the street from my old apartment, a neighbor had a huge mastiff/pit bull mix that got out of the backyard one day. We saw him wandering around and after a very cautious introduction, we felt it was safe to have him stay in the house until the owner came home. This dog was huge with the biggest, sloppiest grin you have ever seen. I was taking a nap and he crawled right into bed with me and just took his own little nap for a few minutes.
From Dogtown's website. 
There are pit bulls that are trained to fight and protect their owners which may result in attacks and injuries but they are no more responsible for attacks and injuries than any other dog breed out there. The difference is that the news media actually reports more pit bull attacks than any other breed and misidentifies dogs as pit bulls more often than not. There are cities and states that have ban this breed and it makes me so sad.

"According to the American Temperament Test Society, Pit Bulls pass the test with flying colors.  In fact, the Pit Bull scores 82% or more.  The success of Pit Bulls in this series of tests proves they are not naturally mean or violent."

One of the biggest stories involving pit bulls that broke in the past few years is the Michael Vick case. There was an excellent show on Animal Planet about his case and what happened with the dogs afterward. It truly makes me sick that this is what people do to animals. Michael Vick is only one prominent example of why these dogs have the reputations they do but also how resilient they can be as well. Vick had over 66 dogs in his backyard along with a dog training complex behind his property and he along with three other men were indicted on felony charges for dog fighting activity over a six-year period.  Charges included: breeding and training fighting dogs, hosting dogfights, killing dogs considered unable to fight and traveling out of state for dog fights. Many of the dogs were put into confinement for further observation and many non-profit agencies from across the country took the dogs in. A Motion was filed in Virginia U. S. District Court to move all but one dog to foster families or sanctuaries. Evaluation reports revealed that only one dog displayed aggression towards humans and numerous dogs presented "no threat to other animals." Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison. Three days later, the USDA signed 10 dogs over to BAD RAP's permanent custody.  22 Pit Bulls were sent to Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah where they will spend the remainder of their days.  (Source) Vick was later ordered to pay over $1 million dollars to cover court and adoption fees as well as life long care for those dogs unable to be adopted.

Going along with that, the mistreatment of any animal makes me cry instantly. Each time I have watched "Animal Precinct" or "Dogtown" I absolutely cry my eyes out. Both are amazing organizations that operate solely on donations.

There are many documentaries about pets that were left when Hurricane Katrina hit and they are all equally heartbreaking.
Dark Water Rising 
Katrina's Animal Rescue
I don't remember the exact one that I watched but I did have to watch it alone and with an endless supply of tissue nearby.

Boot Love?

I now live in a place that demands I own boots. I am not a boot person though. I have one pair that are decent but not necessarily classified as a "winter" boot. I like these boots:

But those are all completely impractical. What I really should be looking at are these:

Ah. Even the last ones give me a bit of an "eek" feeling. This will be another little adventure. 
All images are from the DSW website. All under $50.00. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 23: Something that makes you feel better, in great detail

If I am incredibly upset or depressed, sometimes I want to wallow in the sadness. I will purposely watch sad movies or television shows just to get all that frustration and emotion out of me. I usually only cry if I am incredibly hurt or stressed out not just sad.

Things that make me feel better pretty instantly are watching my favorite television shows (can you tell this is a stress reliever? Jason Bateman endorsed the watching of TV and if he did then I should end my shame of just how much of a stress reliever it really is. It's the usual lineup: Big Bang Theory, Buffy, Gilmore Girls, Sex and the City and occasionally Three's Company. Smart, fantastic shows.

Baking and cooking make me feel great when something comes out well AND tastes good.

Buying presents for other people. I hate spending money on myself but love to give little cards or treats to others when I have some extra money.

Finding a great, great deal at a thrift store.

Cleaning the house. I can feel productive and things feel all fresh and new again.

Crafting or painting. I haven't done either in quite a while but I have a whole Winter Break to tackle those projects again.

Being around little kids or babies is always an instant smile on my face. Same goes for puppies and kittens as well.

Day 22: Something that upsets you, in great detail

Something that upsets me is money issues. I have struggled with money since I was born and I absolutely hate dealing with it. Even in the profession that I plan to go into, I want nothing to do with funding, financial aid, or budgets. I despise money. I simply want enough to live on, enough to get me out of debt and enough to have savings for when something comes up.

Debt is a huge reason I hate money and I have no one to blame but myself. I have gone through ups and downs using the credit cards but they have been a support system and savior at times so I can't completely regret them. I am in a credit counseling program that consolidates all my payments into one lump sum and I get some pretty great deals from the credit card companies themselves for being willing to pay off my debt rather than just declaring bankruptcy.

When I moved to Michigan, I had my finances planned out very specifically. I knew exactly how much I was going to need to live off of, upcoming expenses and how much I could pay for rent. I did not account for other little things like influences on my financial aid that would decrease it or that I would have to borrow money for the move and pay it back quickly. I am on somewhat steady ground now but things are tight, tight, tight. It has been a rough few weeks though but luckily financial aid here is very nice and helpful.

My mom very lovingly stated "Well, at least you don't have friends!" which is true here but it wasn't like I was terribly social or spendy in Portland either. The one good thing in Portland was that there were always very cheap things to do just to get out of the house. I am still getting my orientation here and while there are not any cheap theaters nearby, there is already a favorite thrift store and I have kept true to some of my tricks to get out of the house but not spend much money.

Back to the topic at hand: I hate money. When people say they couldn't live on less than $50K for income, I look at them like they are crazy. I can survive on little but it is nice to have a cushion. I am not a fancy girl by any means--I bought a TV and DVD player off Craigslist as a huge "splurge" just so I could quite getting headaches by watching TV on my laptop that is at least six years old. When I bought my tires last year, the guy at Les Schwab asked how long I planned to have my car. My reply? "Um, as long as it keeps running?" and that is pretty much where I am at. The new budget is definitely making me redefine what I "need" versus what I "want." I need a kitchen table chair. I want a couch. I need underwear. I want to buy shoes. Etc.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mega Long Day ## Post.

Friday, September 10th. Day 16: Your first kiss, in great detail
My first kiss was a boy named Levi in Kindergarten. He had red hair and was just the most adorable thing ever. I had a birthday party and all my friends from my street and a few from school came over. It was a Cabbage Patch party complete with a Cabbage Patch cake, hat, plates, and party favors. During picture time, all my friends and I sat on the couch and Levi sat next to me. Both of our moms were telling me to give him a big ol' kiss. After much MUCH encouragement, I wrapped my little arms around his head, pulled him close and him a kiss on the cheek! They all "awwed" and I just smiled and quickly got off the couch.

Saturday, September 11th. Day 17: Your favorite memory, in great detail
I have several that I really love: 

  • Americorps when I was sent on Disaster Relief to Hazard, KY (yes, really). I was driving around in this huge old Ford Taurus with a retired volunteer who was at least 70 years old for my entire time there. We would meet with his wife and her team of Americorps volunteers at McDonald's each morning for breakfast and then head out on our adventures. It was just the most hilarious thing to be in these tiny hollows looking for people that needed help with someone I just met but felt very safe with. 
  • Driving up to the Gorge with Brittney & Dana to see Warped Tour. Listening to amazing music then sleeping next to some loud heavy metal lovers feeling the ground shake all night long in our tent. Of course, I still managed to sleep. 
  • Driving on the Columbia River Scenic Highway from Portland out towards Idaho at 4:30am. It was breathtakingly beautiful. 
  • While Jodie and I came back from an afternoon at the Navy Pier in Chicago, we got on a bus with a bunch of little kids that were part of a childcare group (Salvation Army? YMCA?) and they were just completely tuckered out. One by one they started to fall asleep on each other and although the teachers tried to keep them awake, they were just the most adorable children as their lids got more and more droopy and their heads slumped over on a friend's shoulder.

Sunday, September 12th. Day 18: Your favorite birthday, in great detail
I can't remember the year or age (yes, bad I know!) but it was a full day of events with all my girls in Portland. We started at the Beavers baseball game then hit up Bartini (my favorite) for happy hour. At some point we realized we should just keep going so we went to see "Blades of Glory" at Pioneer Place and then grabbed donuts from Voodoo Donut and pizza and beer from Rocco's. We ate SO much that night! But it was so much fun to have a relaxing day with my girls.

Monday, September 13th. Day 19: Something you regret, in great detail
I regret a lot which I know isn't great. I am always thinking "what if?" and that will never stop. However, the things I regret the most on a day to day basis are that I don't push myself hard enough AND I don't follow through. I am a very responsible person and if someone else needs something, I will always be there. For myself though, I rarely follow through and always have to internally push myself to try harder and be better. I settle for less for myself all the time and I am trying to break the cycle but it is incredibly difficult.

Tuesday, September 14th. Day 20: This month, in great detail
This month is a whole lot of "well, you got yourself here so figure it out." I have a new job, new education plan, new place to live, new very tight budget and new goals. I have a lot going on and it is stressful. My brain doesn't want to function all the time and my social anxiety creeps in when I wish it wouldn't but I am determined to do better. I have to do better and succeed at this since it is such a huge leap of faith that I am here at all. There are many opportunities around me and I want to advantage of everything. September is half over and there is still a lot that is going to happen!

Wednesday, September 15th. Day 21: Another moment, in great detail
When I was a nanny, both boys would be asleep when I arrived in the morning. When the older one was about 3, he would come down the stairs still sleepy and curl up with me on the couch to watch some cartoons. After about 10 minutes, his 2 year old brother would wake up and start hollering for me to get him out of his crib. I opened the door and he would kind of whisper "nanny" and then have his arms out for me to pick him up. As I held him in my arms, he would nestle his head in the crook of my neck and just burrow into me. He would be warm and sleepy as well and it was just the best thing. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Foods of the Road Trip

My hopes of doing an eloquent and complete update of my road trip have completely evaporated. I believe the last review was somewhere through Utah and possibly into Colorado. I do know that I ate some great food though!! Let's get that going and see if I am inspired....or just hungry.

I wanted to get some of my favorite foods before leaving Oregon so I pretty much had breakfast, lunch, or dinner with people as much as possible.

Papa's Pizza Parlor's taco pizza. I worked here in high school and am completely addicted to their pizza. I can recreate this one at home but it just isn't the same! To be extra indulgent, must have with ranch dressing.
Food carts of Portland: Whiffie's Fried BBQ Pork Pie and Potato Champion's Poutine. Below is the Fried Mounds Pie which was also shared with my friend, Brittney. Poutine is really best as a drunk or hangover food but exceeded my expectations of what fries, gravy and cheese curds could taste like all together.

The most delicious chocolate chip walnut cookie from the Doubletree Club Boise. 
Amazing Phad Thai with white rice on the side and french bakery treats. 

Dinner was from the hot foods at City Market with a side of watermelon and some tea. Best mashed potatoes!
This was my splurge after a really tough day of driving through the mountains. Fresh veggies and chicken stir fry with white rice and veggie spring rolls with peanut sauce. I even sprung for a Sprite! 
Dear friend Dann made me some dinner and it was amazing. Homemade meatballs and bread. For dessert, banana cheesecake! 
My treats from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory would not last a day in the car so I had to eat them that night. It was a challenge but I conquered it. 
Country Pride truck stop somewhere in Nebraska. Very simple meal but it was perfectly done all around. 
Ok, I didn't eat the noodle. That would be ridiculous. I ate AMAZING food in Chicago but didn't actually take any pictures. Weird. I had chicken tamales, the best cinnamon rolls and greek omelette for breakfast, a lunch of caramel & cheese popcorn, dinner at a Chicago institution that I can't recall the name of, and then had a hankerin' for Indian food around 11pm that night. Delicious. 

These are going to be a little lame but.....first pancakes in my apartment! Tastefully eaten on the floor in front of my computer. 
Lunch time on campus. I ordered pizza knowing I could get at least two lunches and two dinners out of it. Here is an example of one lunch plus some grapes and an empty bottle that was previously full of iced tea. I love that pizza!

So, ya hungry yet? 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 15: Your dreams, in great detail

So last night I had three separate dreams and they were all incredibly freaky.

1. Involved some sort of rats or vermin that scared the holy living crap out of me. I woke up pretty sick to my stomach then rolled over many times to try and forget about it. Thought about futon vs. mattress instead.

2. I kept thinking I was going to wake up late, which is what I do when I am worried about waking up for something important. I kept imagining I was getting up at 7:50am and that wasn't enough time so I was freaking out (in my dream) and when I woke up (at 3:36am) I double checked my alarm.

3. Don't remember but I believe it wasn't fantastic. 

If I were to take "Your dreams, in great detail" then I would have to say my dreams are:

1. Eventually be out of debt (not including student loans which will outlast us all). Shooting to be done with the indebtedness by 35 but hoping for much, much sooner.
2. Have a family.
3. Have an amazing job that provides me daily smiles and challenges. 
4. Travel. For the love of all, I feel the need to see this huge world.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 14: What you wore today, in great detail

So "technically" I wore this yesterday but my outfit today was very similar except that I changed to a long sleeved cardigan since it was really windy.

Cardigan ($9.99), white tank top ($5.00), pinstripe jeans ($16.00) AND brown ballet flats (probably under $10) : Mossimo from Target
Grey tank top ($3) : Old Navy
Necklace: can't remember
Cool vintage chair ($10.00) : Craigslist
(ignore pjs throw on there!)


And two recent splurges that I wanted to show off:
White linen shell ($2): Marshalls

Strapless print dress ($9.99): Target
(goes great with the purple cardigan above)

I am definitely a cardigan and jeans girl. 

Day 13: This week, in great detail

I have a lot going on this week so I shall make a list:

  • Technically was suppose to go to a graduate student orientation on Sunday but pajamas were a much better option. Other GAs told me it was okay to miss.
  • Tuesday was the Graduate Assistant orientation with breakout sessions in student affairs and research. A lot of this was repeat of another orientation I had last week but interesting none the less.
  • Working my new fall schedule: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays. 
  • I have my first class tonight, EDLD 550: Introduction to Student Affairs in Higher Education. 
  • I have a small "procedure" in a few hours that will hopefully go well. The rest of today will be relaxing until class tonight. Scratch that. Will have to wait for another time. Frustrated.
  • I ran around like a crazy person yesterday during lunch so that I could get all of my financial affairs in order and print out class materials. I also managed to down great Indian food in under 15 minutes. Stomach very confused--usually it takes me an hour to slowly enjoy my precious Indian food. At least I have a source for butter chicken now!
  • My second class will be tomorrow night, ELP 613: Introduction to Higher Education. I have been told there is a group project but luckily I work with someone in that class and there is potential to team up with him and his friends. Eh. I hate group projects. 
  • My third class (Tuesdays) will begin next week as all classes start today, Wednesday. 
  • Friday will be a full day of work. My work right now consists of me shadowing and learning the processes. It is strange that shadowing is considered work but I really love it.
  • Providing I am feeling good by Saturday, I am donating blood Saturday morning.
  • There is a huge book sale in Ann Arbor which I might peruse if I have money in my account (limit: $15).
  • Again, if money in my account, I am going to buy something to sleep on and kitchen chairs so that I can finally use my kitchen table. Might also see about getting a microwave or a TV. One or the other, not both.
  • Somewhere in here I will be paying bills (hopefully) and paying people off. 
  • Grocery shopping will be in here so that I can stop living off of cereal and grapes. 
  • Sunday (I will count Sunday as this week) is the MTV VMAs which I am really excited about. Eminem is performing and I found a website that could possibly stream the whole show. Oh, excited.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 12: What’s in your bag, in great detail

This is what I typically carry in my bag now that I am at EMU.

Clockwise, starting from the top: two papers telling me undergraduate student requirements to graduate, my Ann Taylor wallet thrifted from the Goodwill Bins (how I miss you!) with my new EMU Eagle card on top, checking account balances and checkbook, snack pack of cocoa roasted almonds, keys, black spiral for notes tomorrow at my GA (graduate assistantship) seminar, smaller spiral for notes and what I need to get done this week, my bi-polar phone, my "green happens" bag that fits perfectly over my shoulder but will be switched out once the weather gets worse. 

My wallet: Oregon drivers license, WaMu card (how I miss you, too!), my new EagleOne card for EMU, a coupon from Subway for a free breakfast sandwich, OSU student ID, Kroger card, Regal Cinemas card (which is useless around here), Regal Cinema gift card.