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Monthly Archive for January, 2010

driving miss me

Saturday Nathan and I drove about an hour out of the city to check out that Jeep Cherokee. Turns out it sold the night before, and we didn’t get the message in time. Oh well. It would have been nice to drive off in an automatic, but I really do like our Wrangler even if I can’t drive it.

So Sunday Nathan said it was time for me to drive. I really don’t have any problem during the driving/shifting with a manual car, it’s just the stop/go action! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Most of the time it doesnt, and then a crazy Chicago driver honks at me, and I panic, and forget what to do all together! Which I can assure you is not good.

After this occurred we spent a good while in the park stopping and starting, stopping and starting. I’m just going to have to force myself to drive up and down the street every weekend until I get it. I need to get it because I want to drive. I miss driving.

Nice Jeep, man!


Nathan and I are trying to get our finances in order with a strong plan for the next year and thereafter. He’s really the “budget” person in the family in the sense that he keeps up with Quicken, and is much better at organizing our finances. But I do think we balance each other out quite a bit as I can be a good saver and planner for long term goals.

I found out a few things this weekend that I thought I could share to help other people out who are either afraid of money or were never taught properly how to manage it (I am both of these)!

Of course we own Suze Orman’s Young, Fabulous, and Broke. I have owned this for a few years now, and it sits lovingly on the back of the toilet for reading often.

I also learned about My Fico today! And, I love it. Not only does it report your Fico score, but lists in detail what has directly contributed to your score. It also has a planner feature that allows you to see how your score would be effected by a myriad of sources (paying on time as opposed to not, opening new credit lines, etc).

While I always knew a good debt to credit ratio was important to a Fico score, I did not realize how important it is – 35% of your score is based on this and timely payments! A person with the highest Fico score has not missed a single payment in 4 years! Very interesting!

Well, here’s to getting it together financially and looking forward to the future. The most important thing to remember is that a good score takes time and patience to achieve.


Oh Friday how I love you.
Today has been a classic grey, foggy winter day in Chicago. I spent most of it in the city (I mean, I live in the city but not down in the loop area) so it was nice to see the pretty fog in all of its glory – blanketing the building’s highest points.

I walked briskly across the river.
I enjoyed a nice “european breakfast” with lovely ladies.
I thought how exciting it is that we are going to look at a Jeep Cherokee tomorrow (if all goes well we will trade in the Wrangler for a “family car!”)
I felt grateful for a full weekend.
And, I am now sitting in my home with perfect mood lighting, a stiff drink, and plans for the night.



Oh, I’ve been working so much that I have made no time for writing! Or picture taking! Or dog walking! Or husband kissing!

I am looking forward to this weekend so I can catch up on every day things. We are behind in grocery shopping (which means more extra pick up and go purchases), and cleaning! As soon as I got home today I swept, vacuumed, and dusted. I already feel ten times better.

I also have sunny days on the brain! I leave for St. Thomas in 7 days tomorrow! This weekend I will pick up a new book for my trip!

California Rose

can’t sleep.

I love my husband.

hello you pretty thing…

polkadot suit

i have a crush on you.

from jcrew!

trick or treat

In line with treating myself, I decided to take a little vacation! This time of year I always get the itch to go somewhere, and usually on a whim which leaves few people the luxury of joining me. I mean, don’t get me wrong I begged my husband to take a day or two off from school to run away to the tropics with me, but he is a very responsible and stubborn man (which I admire) and so, declined sweetly. Thankfully he is also extremely supportive, and encouraged me to go anyway by myself!


I am going to St. Thomas in 18 days!

Can you believe it?! I can’t!

Until I was 25 I really didn’t spend any money on travel …at all. I could always find an excuse not to go or spend the money on something else less memorable. But I’ve decided it’s time to treat myself in ways that count. I know I mentioned we still are planning our honeymoon this summer (hopefully to Europe), but I have always wanted to go to the Caribbean. Instead of buying a couch or a stand for the tv, I am going to the Islands!

I don’t really need much of anything except a new sun hat, sunglasses, and sandles. I’m going to relax, read a book, swim in the pool, lay at the beach, and snorkel! It sounds loverly.

Any book suggestions?
Fun sun hats you’ve seen in your online shopping?
Or tips for traveling to the US Virgin Islands?

image from here

I apologize…

for two posts back to back of coffee…. but I’m trying to slow down a little more these days, and treat myself to small things that make me happy. One of my favorite things is a latte in a mug. Today I got to work from a cafe (Alliance Bakery), I ordered just that. But then I decided to get macarons, too! I tried my first macaroon today…and I must say, I love them! Plus they are so adorable!!

i heart alliance bakery

i heart alliance bakery

warm me up buttercup

I find cups of coffee comforting.

coffee in my cup

*expecting 14 inches of snow in the next 24 hours. exciting and scary!

a letter to my house

Dear House,

I know we do not own you. If we did we would probably have knocked you down, and built a new one in your place. You aren’t really that reliable. Like just now, I went to put my boots away and your closet door won’t open! I mean, really? Isn’t it enough that your heat stopped working for 24 hours in the middle of winter in CHICAGO?! Or, that your oven stopped omitting gas so I didn’t have enough time to bake christmas cookies for everyone? Or what about the fact that you are basically a colander of a house seeping out warm air, and pushing in cold air through one hundred tiny holes we can’t seem to fill fast enough! Oh and how could I have forgotten, your washing machince, dryer, and dishwasher have pretty much not worked since we moved in two years ago!

I guess the fact that your rent is dirt cheap, and you have a yard, AND all of our belongings are crammed in to your multiple closets is enough to keep us paying month after month. I do admit you have a lot of storage space!!

There’s just one thing I’d really like to get under control, though…


I really want you to feel like home. I want you to be cozy, and warm (I will even just go for inviting!). I mean, yeah I’d love to put some new furniture in you, but we really want to go on a fabulous trip this summer so that might have to wait. Can’t you meet us in the middle? Why didn’t you warn us before we painted 4 rooms 4 different colors?! Seriously.

Either way, it’s not that bad. You do provide us shelter.
But I really want to make it better this year. Let’s focus on making you in to a home. I mean, we are planning on being here another two years…another… two point five winters… another three valentine’s days and well, that’s a long time.

Let’s focus on the things we like, or even love and go from there.
What about the bright green shade of the dining room?
And, the light that streams through the art room at sunset?
You have really nice brick, too.

I know we can do this.
Carey Griffin