June 25, 2012

Watch Them Shine

If people were like stars, we'd be happy to watch each other shine. Love this!

Sometimes I forget that life is not like Christmas Eve at Walmart. There is enough happiness, love, success, joy, beauty, adventure, and excitement in the world for everyone; it is not a mad scramble to take "what's yours" before someone else snatches it away! It's easy to slip into negative mode and complain that you don't have enough, or become bitter when someone else's dreams start to come true while yours is stuck in idle mode. Greed, jealousy, and vanity are such ugly--but totally human--traits.

I saw that pic/quote online tonight and it got me thinking. Bottom line: I'm going to start behaving more like the stars. I'm going to sit back and admire my fellow celestial luminous beings (you guys) and acknowledge all the amazeballsness of us all. We all shine! We're magical, sparkly, glittering, wondrous miracles ♥

I hope you all have a fantastic week! I am down to two and a half days left of my rotation/internship and then I am back on summer break! Really looking forward to having a friend stay with us this weekend! I'm going to drag her along on my Blogger Challenge #6: Explore Your Town. We have a full, eventful schedule all lined up for her :)

Thank you for reading and remember: don't let anyone take your shine ♥ [An old man once told me that randomly on the street, which totally made me smile all day long]

June 24, 2012

Getting Real: Marrying Budgets

Blogger challenge #5: get real--as in fess up to something. So, here it is: I'm bad not good with money. Where does this come from? I have no idea. It's not from my upbringing--my single mother was incredibly frugal and a responsible role model. Maybe it's because I grew up in Hawaii, where residents rank #2 for highest average debt (second to California, with a $7,987 debt per person)--have you seen Ala Moana Shopping Mall?! Just being there makes me want to max out all my credit cards! Here's a picture of my closet:

And that doesn't include the two dressers I have stuffed full of clothes. So what? I enjoy shopping. A lot. Brett and I have an insane amount of interests and loves in common: funny movies, traveling, reading, going out with our friends, types of music and TV shows, food, plans for our lives, etc. BUT! We have one HUGE difference: spending money. Or, rather, him: saving money and me: spending it.

For the record, this is Brett's closet:

He also uses ONE drawer in one of "my" dressers. The boy is disciplined--and so tidy too! He recently "splurged" on three pairs of shorts (moving from Seattle to North Carolina means he gets to wear shorts for the first time in four years) and he felt so guilty about it, I heard "I can't believe I bought three pairs of shorts," for two weeks straight.

Brett understands that I'm a (super girly-girl) girl, which means I have more types of clothing, like bras and skirts and pumps and sandals and maxi dresses. Women need options. We also need makeup, hair tools, hair appointments, lash fills, pedicures, bags, jewelry, face creams... the list is infinite. He gallantly makes lots of room for these feminine wiles now that our budget is shared. There, I've said it. That dirty, ugly word: budget. *shudder*

Coming from a job like bartending, where cash monay was always at hand, to no job and graduate school, makes it particularly difficult to rein in the spending. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. My efficient, super resourceful, and financially savvy husband is whipping my butt into gear. I'm held accountable for everything, we keep a Mint.com account, paid off and cancelled all but two credit cards (don't ask) only one of which I still use (minimally), and we have frequent money talks. Yes, it's totally uncomfortable for me to talk about money, but you know what makes it better? When we go from "You can't spend money on clothes," to "You don't want to spend money on clothes because we're going to NYC in the fall." Gosh, it makes such a difference in my mentality! And money/spending/saving is a favorite topic of Husband's so I'm going to have to get over my timidity.

So, here are our marriage-friendly financial tips, when one's a saver and the other is a spender:

  • Use Mint.com or some other financial organizer that tracks your spending
  • Talk about your budget. We make it a less scary time by doing it over beers outside on a sunny afternoon
  • Make a worksheet with questions like "How old would you like to be when you  and your spouse retire?" and answer them together, on said sunny patio with a beer in hand
  • Practice give and take
  • Don't give up the date nights! There are such things as cheap, fun dates. We recently discovered a free admission art museum in Raleigh and it was awesome! Farmers/Flea markets, bike rides, picnics or simple walks around the neighborhood are so underrated!
  • Don't buy extravagant gifts for each other. Wouldn't you rather go on vacation during spring break than get another iPad? And anyway, when you restrict yourself to gift budgets, you're forced to be more creative and end up getting better presents anyway!
  • Cook together. Not only do you spend less on meals, but you get to spend quality time with your favorite person. Some of our best conversations are over cooking, then eating, dinner together
  • Plan for the future--trips, homes, babies--and start saving now. It gives you a goal and something to look forward to
  • We can't wait til I'm earning a salary so we can "spend one, save the other" of our dual incomes
  • Cut back on the extras: do you need HBO? Can you bring home lunch to work/school? Brew your own coffee in the morning and skip the $4 Starbucks capp. You do not need to buy that issue of US Weekly. Go here instead
  • Make a grocery list and don't stray from it!
  • Stick to your budget diligently
  • Be honest, work as a team, and keep an open mind

So while I'm still working on bottling the urge of buying a new outfit (or four) every weekend, I have made real progress thanks to Husband's loving and gentle guidance. It helps to have someone understanding in your corner. He'll make me into a savvy financier yet!  :)

Please feel free to share some of your money-saving tips too! I hope you have a wonderful week--it's the last week of my community pharmacy rotation, it went by so quickly! Thank you for reading!

June 17, 2012

Summer InstaPics

Happy Father's Day, everyone! We had a very productive day at the beach house: church service, beach-laying, bike ride/run, BBQing, US Open-watching, nap. It was fantastic. I hope that you all had a similar carefree and happy day celebrating your papas!

This is a just a quick post to catch up on my recent Instagram pics. If you haven't already, please follow me here (@erin_shoe). 

1. Getting our sugar fix in Raleigh
2. Hamming it up before some used bookstore browsing
3. New Rebecca Minkoff wallet :)
4. Summer chicken salad with strawberries on our candle-lit porch followed by world map studying and dreaming of our future misadventures
5. Chillin at the neighborhood pool
6. Tofu, wiffleball, BBQ, and a glass of wine with my baybay
7. Dressed up and showing off my burn (from curling my hair while sitting on the floor watching Real Housewives--that show is dangerous to your health!)
8. I ride my bike, he runs--beach house routine

1. Treasure digging on the beach
2. Dunes at sunset
3. After working a nine-hour shift at the pharmacy, Husband had homemade spaghetti and an ice-cold beer waiting for me. He's so good ♥
4. Chasing the sunset after dinner
5. The waterway 
6. Day at the beach, dunes and pelicans
7. New Seychelles from my Momma! Thanks Mommy! Love you!! ♥ So excited to see you !!
8. The house at the end of the road that got struck by lightning--hope they had good home insurance!

1. Having bike issues
2. High tide moved us from the beach to our front yard
3. Friday date night at Provision Company in Southport
4. Road trip with the two boys
5. Top is from Sister-in-law (thanks Kim!) and shorts are from Sister (thanks Kris!), while shopping at a Myrtle Beach outlet mall before a (super fun!) baseball game
6. The Shoes enjoying the sun today! Currently reading: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
7. View while out on a bike ride/run
8. The boys waiting for us + beach chairs drying in the sun + handsome Husband

I can't believe that half of our summer and our time at the beach house is pau already! Went by so fast! My summer rotation at the pharmacy out here has been super exciting and I've learned a lot--so much more to learn, though! Both the pharmacists who work with me graduated from Campbell, so I've been getting a lot of useful tips and advice. I'm so grateful and still can't quite believe that I'm this much closer to being a pharmacist! Only three more years to go, and although everyone says the second year is the hardest, I'm not looking forward to it, but I'm up for the challenge!

In 18 days I leave for a two-week stay in Hawaii with my family--who I miss so much! I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone and eating some good local food :) 

After that, Brett and I will have one week together at our home (he's unable to come to HI with me) before I'm off again, this time to Chicago for a girls' trip with my besties! What a fantastic summer, I am so thrilled :) 

Happy Sunday, and have a wonderful week! ♥

June 10, 2012

Do as I say, not as I do...

After reading this post on Her New Leaf, I decided to challenge myself with all seven topics. [You can see previous posts here, here, and  here] This assignment post is to give advice. Hmmmm... give advice. I've thought about this for a few days now and I can't think of a single topic that I can advise about! I'm not an expert in anything; I've totally Forrest Gump'd my way to where I'm standing now, with the help of an endlessly supportive family, inspiring friends, and by completely winning the husband jackpot with Brett and his family!

But then I thought, "I'm a thirty-one [eek!] -year old woman, I have learned tons of things in this crazy life!" So here's a compilation of a bunch of random tidbits of "advice" I can dish out.

  • Before you buy anything online, check retailmenot.com first to see if there's any online coupons.
  • Use mint.com to keep track of your expenses.
  • Never tell a friend that you don't like her boy/girlfriend or that they should break up, even if it's obvious to everyone but your friend--it will inevitably create a wedge between you. Just be there for her/him to pick up the pieces after they implode, which they will.
  • Ask for directions.
  • Drink green tea and stay away from soda.
  • Get outside. Plan vacations, even if it's just to the other side of town.
  • Girls, make lady dates with your girlfriends. Guys, do the man date thang. Everyone: no flaking!
  • I hate it so much, I'll say it again: NO FLAKING! Don't be that guy, people get tired of that guy.
  • Use a straightening iron to curl your hair.
  • Be grateful, stop comparing what you have and do with others more fortunate. You are blessed.
  • Dress like you give a damn.
  • Exercise at least 20 minutes a day.
  • Stole this one from Oprah: Surround yourself only with people that will lift you higher. Get away from those frenemies!
  • Appreciate your loved ones.
  • Get your college degree(s) and get on with it. Don't let parties, boys (or girls), and part-time jobs distract you.
  • You should "love people and use things," not the other way around. But also, take care of the things you have, I've spent way too much money replacing things that I was careless with. Love people though, definitely, keep loving them, just love your things too, lols.
  • Sing out loud, even if someone can hear you.
  • Never settle.
  • If you're single, go out with every person who asks you. At the least, you get a free dinner out of it; at the most, you find love. If no one asks, grow some guts and ask someone!
  • Mind your manners. Say "please" and "thank you," be nice to your servers, hold the door open, don't hurt the feelings of others.
  • Try new things, get out of your comfort zone, be okay with making a fool out of yourself. This is not a rehearsal, YOLO! Lol.
  • Keep an open mind, we are not built the same, we don't have the same beliefs. Accept, live and let live.
  • Make dreams into plans and take action.
  • Go somewhere you've never been before at least once a year. This world is huge, go explore all four corners of it!
I hate taking advice, so giving it out is a little hypocritical, but! there you are. Most of it is pretty obvs, I'm sure. Thanks for reading, and for putting up with my know-it-allness--ugh, how annoying :) This weekend was fun and relaxing--I'm easily four shades darker than I was on Friday! Husband is back from his school reunion and we are winding down getting ready for another week of work work work!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! 

June 7, 2012

Jack and Jill Party!

About a year ago, Brett and I were in Vegas for our Jack and Jill party with our nearest and dearest :) Looking back at these pictures always makes me feel really happy and thankful we have such wonderful people in our lives. After the horrible hangovers (yes, plural: hangoverS, consecutively) wore off and we were back in our little home in Seattle, I was able to really absorb the amazing amount of love that I got from my besties. Thank you guys again, for making this trip so much fun, full of laughter, love and support. We were both extremely touched and feel so blessed to have you all! Our joy is doubled with you in our lives ♥ 

Kim, Kristina, Nikki, Trish, Kari, Christine, Carla, Neysa, Jody, Dustin, Justin, Elton, Tony, Carlos, and all those who were in town and dropped in on our party, Karisa, Tiare, Mike, Brad, the Kardashians, and a case of pink eye (LOL!), thank you for celebrating with us with full and happy hearts! 

When can we do it again?
[click on pics to make them bigger]

I have to comment on this picture, on the left, 
because it's me carrying everyone's bags on the dance floor since I don't dance. 
So fun! LOL!

And then a couple of months later, at my bridal shower, 
my besties (KNT, Kristina, Nikki, and Trish) gave this little book to me!
Do you know how much WORK it is to make one of these?
I'm such a lucky girl. I love these chicks ♥

Hand-made card from Nikki, who also designed our wedding invitations (click here to see them).
I love you guys! You + me = KENT = forever! Hahaha. Cheesy. But so true! I can't wait til we're reunited in Hawaii (minus Kristina, sad face) and in Chicago (minus Tricia, sad face) next month!

I hope everyone is having a fab week! I'm done with my first week of my retail pharmacy rotation and it's a lot of work, but I love it! Brett's out of town for his biz school 5-year reunion this weekend, so I'm kicking it with the parentals-in-law, spending QT on the beach :) 

I hope you all, too, get to play outside and enjoy the sunshine with your loved ones!
Thank you for reading!

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