Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Budget

I can't believe December is over, or that it lasted this long, but here we are. This month was a bit nuts in terms of budgeting, with Christmas, my birthday and a trip to Nashville, but the new year will bring some more manageable spending (hopefully).

As I mentioned in my budget post, I set aside a specific amount for clothing, and, in an effort to hold myself accountable, what I bought and spent is detailed below.  This month was pretty light in terms of what I bought for myself, but I did manage to get some pretty amazing details - 
Women's Plaid Flannel Shirts

Old Navy Flannel - $20 (used Christmas gift card)
It filled a layering gap in my closet, and I liked that it would work with every sweater I own

Wide Pro Black Patent from the Stapled Clog
Found in a Savers.  They're not in the best condition, but most of the issues were fixed with a cleaning and some black Sharpie
I had been looking for a smaller bag to carry when I'm not lugging around my camera, and I loved the color of this (mine is cranberry, but I can't find an image anywhere).  The store I was in had it marked down 40%, but when the lady rang it up, it was only 25.  No idea how that math works, but I ran before she questioned anything.

2 Victoria's Secret bras - $60
Ugh. Nothing fancy, just needed some replacements.  I despise bra shopping, but it definitely needed to happen.

Total - $110 (total budget for the month is $150)

Overall, I'm pleased with everything I got.  I'm planning an early January shopping trip to hunt down some black dress pants (my pair died in October), so next month might include some slightly more investment-priced pieces, but it will be really nice to have black work pants again).

Linking up with Fran for the first time this month - I'm excited!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Project 365

This was the year that I picked up a new hobby - digital photography. Since last January, I've purchased my first DSLR (Nikon D3200), 2 lenses (the kit lens and a 50mm f1.8) Lightroom and Photoshop Elements.  I've moved from Auto Mode to Aperture Priority mode, and am planning on jumping into full manual during this project.

I am, at best, a beginner hobbyist, but I love it and I'm learning. My goal for Project 365 is to push myself - to be a better photographer, to take pictures of something other than my dog, to figure out white balance.  We'll see how it goes.

Some examples of what I'm doing these days -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

48 Hours in Nashville

Last weekend, I headed down to Nashville, TN for a quick visit with my brother.  He's in college, about to head overseas for a semester in Ireland, so the trip was part visit, part retrieval mission for him and all of his stuff.  We had a bit of a whirlwind food fest all over the 'Ville, my favorite kind of trip!

One of my best friends from college flew down with me, and we parted ways in the airport.  I rented the cutest car in the universe (tiny. yellow. gray interior.) and headed to Brub's dorm.  He and his buddies immediately scooped me up for a few hours at a bar and then milkshakes at 1 am... I didn't literally fall asleep at the table, but it was close #oldladystatus.

The next day, I went for a walk before Brub and I headed over to 5 Points for brunch.  I had yelped a place called Marche Fraiche, which got rave reviews, and well deserved.  Somehow, we hit the timing exactly right and only had to wait 20 minutes, just enough time for a cappuccino and the world's best croissant.  For brunch, Brub had a strata and I had a lox omelette.  Everything was amazing.

Once we rolled ourselves out of Marche, we did some exploring/Christmas shopping in 5 points.  There's the huge collection of locally owned artist boutiques all within walking distance of each other, so we took all of that in.  Brub also took me to a super hipster coffee shop with a rosemary latter on the menu... I passed on that, but my molasses cookie flavored coffee was supah delish.

We headed back to Brub's neck of the woods so that I could check into my hotel and spend 45 minutes not talking to another person.

Grimey's, one of Nashville's institutions of record selling, was having a Christmas party/concert sitution, so Brub and I and a bunch of his friends spent 3 hours listening to some very cool music and eating homemade gingerbread cookies. It wasn't my scene, but no one seemed to notice that I wasn't cool enough to be there, so I went with it.

After the concert, Brub and I went to Pharmacy for burgers and fries.  The wait for a table was an hour, so we trolled the bar and managed to find 2 seats pretty quickly.  In fact, by the time we got done eating, they were calling to tell us that a table had opened up, so that worked out nicely.

My last day in the 'Ville, I met Brub to pack up his room in the morning before we headed to Fido for a late breakfast.  I was pretty much useless with hunger at that point, which is always so pleasant for my family... Breakfast was amazing though - I had huevos rancheros and another schmancy coffee.

Brub and I split up again after breakfast, so I could go to OpryLand and he could finish packing and say goodbye to his friends.  OpryLand was very cool and very overwhelming (so much space, so many people...).
As a last meal for everyone, 10 of us, including most of Brub's best friends, went to Germantown for a Sunday dinner at Monell's.  It's basically going to your grandmother's house, except your grandmother is the best cook in the world ever. I ate 4 biscuits, a plate of mac and cheese and 3 leaves of greens. I regret nothing. And it was all served family style, which was awesome.

After a hasty car pack and a few drinks in the airport with my college friend, we headed home. It was a great trip, and I didn't regret it at all when my jeans didn't fit the next day.

Monday, December 1, 2014


One of the things I was most excited about when I got my new job was that my housing is dog friendly.  Originally, I had planned on getting a dog in the spring, but that plan went out the window after I hosted my parent's dogs.  About 12 hours after they left, I was way deep in the PetFinder black hole.  At one point, I landed on a rescue organization's page, staring down a shepherd/great dane litter. One of the puppies, Darcy, felt right to me, sappy as that is.   I submitted an application, went to an adoption event the next day and refreshed my email so many times it's a miracle I didn't break google.  In the end, it worked out.  Darcy became Tallulah, who came home on October 26th.  At this point, she's 16 weeks, 34 pounds and ssaaassssssyyyyyyyyyyy.  Sister wants what she wants, which is usually attention from other people, for me to throw her tennis ball or to chew something inappropriate.

She's my favorite.