Sunday, May 30, 2010

First Mate

This Memorial Day weekend was spent with my parents at the lake, where Rinks got his first chance at the wheel of the Papa's boat. His reaction? Absolute boredom. We caught him in action...

Papa's First Mate:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 39: The Po' Mo' Fo' Diet

Like Miss Oprah Winfrey herself, I had an A-Ha moment this past week. I discovered that while my bank account was fattening up, my ass was shrinking down. How could this be? The truth is, since I haven't had the luxury of eating out, I have been forced to cook. And since being forced to cook, I have discovered that it's a sonofabitch to make actual junk food. The sheer effort that it takes to make a pizza, fried chicken, or french fries makes me want to take a nap. It's like the Christmas miracle, where my innate laziness is actually working in my favor. So this has resulted in meals composed of grilled chicken on a the Foreman grill, boil-in-a-bag rice, and if I am feeling really ambitious- a green salad. The result? I have lost more weight on this "financial" challenge than I did on the actual "weight loss" challenge! I also cancelled my gym membership to save $40 a month and started walking Buddy Lee everyday, who kicks my ass more than any trainer every thought about doing and doesn't feel the slightest bit of remorse for it. So maybe for my next project I will write a how-to book called "Lose your dignity, lose your ass." And then I will sell a million copies which will allow me to once again eat in restaurants, gain it all back, and then go back to my self-loathing challenges.


So here is what my typical lunch is looking like these days... this is my "fancy" green salad with Field greens, red onion, tomatoes, avacado, feta cheese and balsalmic vinegarette. Budgeting never looked so tasty...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

LiveSouthNash Article

For those of you who do not live in the local South Nashville area, this is my article that is in the LiveSouthNash magazine this month! And as if I wasn't already a big deal? I am so excited to announce that I have been asked by "At Home Tennessee" magazine to write a column every month! So if you haven't subscribed to it yet, do it now and nobody gets hurt.

"The Thrill of the Thrift"
This week the B-word was used in our house. That’s right, Budget. I usually try to avoid this word like the Black Plague, but like most of us in these economic times, I caved. The thing is, I have never followed a budget. I grew up in the credit-crazed 80’s and 90’s in a middle class family that didn’t talk about money. If we wanted something, we got it. If we didn’t exactly have the money, we charged it. Debt was just a part of our language, something that we accepted as an ingredient that was necessary to live. But there is a side effect to that kind of mentality (aside from the obvious debt snowball), and it has to do with value and putting a price on the dollar. Because I didn’t have to earn anything growing up, I didn’t appreciate the things that I had, nor was there any satisfaction in acquiring them. Even after I started making my own money as an adult I still had the mentality that everything is disposable, that if something breaks down or tears up then just get a new one. No investment, no value, move on. However, I got the wakeup call I needed in the form of “The Great Recession” and for the first time in my life I started following a (gasp!) budget. But more surprising than my newfound discipline was my newfound thrill for the thrifty. Sure, it would be fun to dine on lobster and steak three times a week but there is something more thrilling about being faced with the challenge to eat on $50 a week that ignites my inner competitor, creating a spark in the pit of my stomach that no lobster can match. Suddenly when every spare cent matters in helping you achieve your goal, no restaurant meal tastes as good as the victory of your 49 cent double coupon canned tuna feels. And that is something you can take to the bank.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 31: Prostitution at the Home Depot

We all have a price. Julia Roberts found out hers in Pretty Woman. And I found out mine this weekend at the Home Depot.

Since being on this budget, we have been able to save 4 times the amount of money that we normally save (Ya-hoo!), stocking away most of it into savings like the responsible adults that we have become (since 30 days ago). And when we had a yardsale last weekend, we made a couple of hundred extra bucks that I categorize as "wild card" money.
My definition of "wild card" money? Freedom to spend without guilt or dirty looks- a.k.a.- Install the backsplash in the kitchen that I have been wanting for months! Ashley's definition of "wild card" money? Put it in savings. (Who invited Captain Lame-O to the party?)
If you haven't noticed yet, I am the kind of gal who likes to get my way, any way I can get it. Some call it conniving, I call it resourceful. And on this particular occasion, a little persuasion was in order. So this weekend while standing at the Home Depot looking at tile, Ashley asked how badly I wanted this backsplash, and I knew exactly what his old dirty bastard self was really asking. And as it turns out, I am quite the slut for tile. I will spare you details and keep this site PG-13, but needless to say I got my backsplash, and now every time I walk into my kitchen I feel a little bit dirty on the inside. But don't look so shocked ladies, we have all done it- a little cuddle here and a tickle there when you needed something to go your way. No, it's not the first and it won't be the last. As a matter of fact, there is a stunning chandelier that caught my eye tonight which reminds me that I need to shave my legs for when I have the "discussion" with Ashley as to whether I can buy it.

My Kitchen before I became a cheap whore:

And After:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 26: The Wedding Crasher

As most of you know we had a little rain last weekend. And since then Nashville has been an outstanding example of what a Community should be. There has been overwhelming support donated in time, supplies, and money from people of all walks of life to the victims of the flood. So not to be out done, my friends and I decide to clean out our closets and donate some items to the flood victims last Saturday. And because we are who we are, we did this with the accompaniment of beer and some cocktails (and yes it was 10 in the morning, don't judge me).

I tell you that to tell you this.

After our 10am Purge Party I decided that I would the one who would take the items to the clothing drive at a nearby church (you can call me Saint Augustine, I don't mind). At this point I haven't showered, I have on what I slept in the night before (literally), and I am pretty sure I haven't even brushed my teeth. Do you think I noticed all of the cars filling the church parking lot or the 9 girls walking in wearing the same lemon yellow chiffon tea-length dress. Nope. Like the good Samaritan I prided myself to be, I pulled my car right up to the front door and loaded my arms with all of my goodies and marched straight into the church.

Here's the Scene:

Candles are lit, soft music is playing, there is an older man in a tuxedo wiping a tear in his eye as he looks onward. The bridal party is looking on from a few yards away as they give privacy to the bride and groom who are seeing each other for the first time before they pledge their eternal love and devotion to each other before God and State. The bride is covering her mouth in disbelief that this day is finally here. The Groom is holding his breath as he sees his bride in white for the first time.
And then I walk in.
I didn't grasp what was going on at first as I was clomping my way through the lobby (I'll admit, I'm not the most observant person in the world) until I stopped 5 feet from the happy couple. I managed to get out a "Uh. Whoops. Umm, Congratulations?" and then ducked to the nearest open door to escape my mortification. And so to the world I might be a good Samaritan, but to the Harris family I will forever be "that Homeless Lady at our wedding that smelled like day-old bacon and beer." Cheers.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Drunko

Oh how I love the Mexicans. They gave us burritos, George Lopez, and Cinco de Mayo. And you know what I love even more? Free beer. And thanks to my neighborhood planning committee and hefty HOA payments every month, we had our annual Cinco de Mayo fiesta complete with all of the tacos, beer and margaritas one dared to take on. And I gladly took on the challenge. When Ashley and I heard the word "Free" and "Beer" and then "Food" we skipped down the street like two fat kids going to a cake eating contest. And we were not disappointed. I filled my belly with tacos, margaritas, and Corona while dancing to a faux-Selena look alike belting out Alicia Keys songs in Spanish. Maybe it was the ambiance of the music, or maybe it was that 3rd Corona that caused me to get into the festive spirit of our gracious neighbors of the South; but deep down I know the reason, and it spells F-R-E-E.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day 19: Where in the hell is Noah when you need him?

What do you do when your entire city submerges underwater for a weekend?

You play dress up with your 8 month old baby while eating pizza for 4 meals straight.

"All this rain is making me crabby."

Check out the craziness!