Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Review

In 2011, I said I was going to be open.

Clearly, this year exceeded my expectations and I definitely was open. I fulfilled my dream of moving to NYC after landing a new job. I was open to everything...and a lot of it came my way so much more easily than I ever thought it would!

I was especially open to new experiences and putting myself out there once I moved. I made an absolutely amazing group of friends who I've done so much with and continue to make plans with.

I'm still thinking about what I want to focus on in 2012 (though I still plan on being open to anything and everything!)...but in the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's Eve, whether you are with friends, family, a significant other or simply having a night on your own. :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Still Living Life

Well, I've still been living and loving life! After a relaxing few days at home over Thanksgiving, my social life was literally NONSTOP for the two-and-a-half weeks I was back in the city before Christmas. Holiday parties, birthday parties, happy hours, dinners, Secret Santa exchanges and just going out with friends kept every single night booked. I loved it, but it did a number on me as I have been sleeping 10 hours a night since then! On the dating front, I did sign up for a 6-month Match membership. (I've been on one date so far and there are some other prospects.) I'm also going to my very first speed-dating event in January with two girlfriends and I have a Lifebooker deal for the site I keep being drawn to, but haven't signed up for yet, How About We. I'm also letting coworkers/friends know that I want to be set up! We'll see what happens.

Now I can definitely say I'm ready for 2012...even though 2011 has been nothing short of amazing! Moving to NYC, making friends, finding a great living situation and being open to everything that came my way has been incredible. For 2012, I'm excited about trying new things (kickball league!), traveling to new countries (Costa Rica! Thailand!) and making more memories with the people in my life. And what better way to ring in the new year - along with my birthday a week later - than with a fresh haircut, manicure with my favorite color and a new dress? :)

Hope everyone had a very wonderful Christmas and that this holiday season is enjoyable!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Living Life

Life's been non-stop since my last update. It's included awesome nights out with friends, lots of exploring NYC, lax spending habits and...a break up.

That boy I'd been seeing for over a month? Pulled back suddenly and then broke up with me a week ago. Turns out he was also dating someone at work and chose her over me. (Ugh!) Luckily, I stayed really busy last week - but it didn't exactly help because I always fall fast and hard for guys, and this one definitely HURT. At the end of the day, at least it ended sooner rather than later...except I hate that saying! Because it sucks the same for me whether it's a month or 6 months or a 1 year relationship. I like/love/lust hard - always have, always will. Heart on my sleeve, all that stuff. I put all me into something right away and I know I'll never NOT be able to do that. That's just who I am! So when the right guy comes along, it'll all be worth it. :) (It would be nice if he could hurry...I'm also impatient and have a LOT of love in me!)

I've spent a fair amount of money recently on some new clothes, a new winter coat (it SNOWED on October 29th...I'm not ready for that yet!) and a pair of winter boots. And then? I realized I hadn't paid my Nordstrom card on time - and got hit with my FIRST INTEREST CHARGE EVER. Oops! I had ordered a bunch of stuff and sent 75% of it back, so I was waiting for the returns to hit before paying the card - except I wasn't paying attention to the date and November 1 passed before I realized what I had missed. Good thing it was only $ the end of the day, not THAT bad and a lesson learned!

I ended up having a great weekend (despite a Friday night of much-needed wallowing/me time) with friends. We all went out on Saturday which I needed. I couldn't be more grateful for them! On Sunday a group of us spent 3+ hours cheering for all of the NYC Marathon runners on 1st Avenue! It was so inspiring to watch all these people pushing themselves to accomplish the 26.2 miles through all the boroughs. I can't wait to cheer again next year! I would personally never do it, I'm not a runner and never have been - but I have total and complete respect/awe for everyone who completed it! (Including Ethan Zohn, who I saw run by!)

This week, I'll just be going to the gym a lot and reading... I was able to get Game of Thrones Book One from the New York Public Library on my Kindle and I am completely hooked! I'm reading it at almost every free moment and even turning down my favorite shows to read. It's been a while since I've been that into a book, and I love getting completely lost in a story of epic proportions! I also need to shore up my October budget and start thinking about Christmas!

Other items:
  • Considering re-joining (It's been 2 years since I used that site, the matchmaker doesn't have any more matches for me "right now" and I've never had anything come to fruition from using OKCupid in the past.)
  • I made brownies using a pre-made Trader Joe's mix over the weekend. I'm not a dessert person (except ice cream and creme brûlée!) so this was strange...I even added Nutella and chocolate chips to them!
  • I'm going to Atlantic City this Saturday-Sunday with my friends and I can't wait. Gambling? No. Okay, fine, maybe some penny slots... Dancing? Definitely!
  • Daylight Savings Time... sunny at 7am and pitch black by 5pm. I'm nervous for the impending winter but also excited! I just hope it doesn't mean being completely holed up all the time...
  • My Roth IRA that I opened 3 years ago at Vanguard is showing me a 3-year rate of return of 12.1%! How exciting!
  • Home to Seattle for Thanksgiving in two weeks and I cannot wait. I seriously need family time and getting away from the city for 4.5 days will be great. Then Christmas a month later! Need to funnel any extra money into my Gift Fund this month and next.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another Weekend Getaway (+ About a Boy)

September has been a very busy month for me! I moved into my new apartment, my Mom came to visit, I went back to San Diego on vacation and now I'm off for another brief weekend getaway to the Midwest for my best friend's brother's wedding. It's just Friday-Sunday but it'll be a blast! The wedding on Saturday is an all-day event with a morning ceremony, brunch, various afternoon activities (golf or spa) and then an evening reception. And of course I'm excited to spend time with my best friend! It'll be a weekend full of laughter and fun for sure. :)

So...about this boy. I've started dating someone as of a week ago. It's brand new and I'm quite possibly jinxing myself by blogging (and tweeting) about it already...but I don't care. I'm super, ridiculously happy! We were set up by a matchmaker, which is crazy in and of itself. (A few months ago, on a night where I might've had an extra glass of wine, I decided on a whim to try something different from all the online dating I've done previously...and this is what I found! I signed up as a free member.) Our first date was a blind date to me since I'm not the paying customer so I wasn't privy to a picture of him, but I was intrigued. I knew next to nothing about him except his first name, age, height and where he worked. He called me two days before to set up the date and suggested an Italian restaurant. I was excited and nervous because I'd never been on a blind date before!

The date was good. Not great or amazing or outstanding, but fairly solid. We had a lot in common (travel, being active, food and being family-oriented) and the conversation flowed easily. We took a cab together from the restaurant to my apartment where he dropped me off, gave me a hug and said he had a good time. Not 20 minutes later I received a text from him saying he knows he's not supposed to ask me out until after feedback (with the matchmaker) but that he had a great time and would like to go out again. I agreed and we ended up going out two days later, which hands down ended up being the best date I've ever been on. We went rock climbing so we met up in our workout clothes and talked non-stop. I loved the fact that we were doing a fun and challenging activity as a date! After that, he suggested grabbing some food so I took him to one of my favorite restaurants where we ended up getting a bunch of empanadas and splitting a pitcher of sangria. We stayed up talking until 4:30 in the morning! Definitely the longest second date I've ever been on. :)

And we've been out two more times since then, once for a quick dinner after work and then he cooked me dinner at his apartment. We are definitely in the exciting, fun, I-want-to-learn-everything-about-you phase. By the way, who goes on four dates in one week?! Honestly, though, it hasn't even felt like a week - it's felt like we've known each other for months. Which is a feeling I've never had with anyone else before. Now, due to my weekend away and a business trip for him next week, we'll have an entire week apart. Which is a good thing. (Perspective? Absence makes the heart grow fonder?) But he's already told me to leave next Friday open for a date he's already planning.

So, yes. Who knows what'll happen in a week or a month or whatever...but I'm living in the now and relishing this, because that's what matters!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

San Diego Vacation

I got back late last night from a wonderful 4.5 day vacation back to San Diego! I saw a LOT of old friends (and even met some new ones!) which is exactly what I set out to do. The night before I left, I was getting a bit anxious: I'd never been on a vacation by myself before where most people would be at work while I was there. However, once I arrived everything just was a blast! I had lunch/dinner/drinks set up for practically every day, and I didn't even get to see everyone I wanted to...or rather, some people didn't get back to me.

On Wednesday, my first day, I arrived at 11am after taking an early morning flight from NYC. I picked up my rental car and after having a brief "oh-my-god-I-haven't-driven-in-six-months-do-I-remember-how-to-do-this" moment, I blasted the music and was good to go! (I actually got a free upgrade to a mid-size rental car because I needed to be able to adjust the seat higher due to my shortness. Sweet!) I spent the afternoon a mall. Forgot what a luxury that is after living in New York. I went a bit crazy at Nordstrom's which is my favorite! I also bought gifts (baby, wedding and thank you) for the friends I was seeing/staying with.

Thursday and Friday were packed with fantastic long lunches and dinners with great friends! And lots of Mexican food. :) Saturday was the beautiful wedding of my former roommate and his longtime girlfriend. Such a blast! The weather was perfect after the prior overcast days and the celebration was wonderful. Catch-up conversations, laughter, dancing, drinking and lots of love - everything you could want at a wedding! I saw a lot of great friends there, and the next morning we had an awesome breakfast courtesy of the newly married couple's families prior to most of us leaving.

Of course, this wouldn't be a personal finance blog without the numbers! I paid $385 for my RT flight a few months back and had already paid for it from my Travel Fund. My rental car cost me $124.22 for the 4 days (I got the cheapest insurance package at $10/day since I no longer have car insurance and my credit cards didn't offer enough protection) plus one tank of gas which was $45.67. Everything else cost me $409.81 which included all my meals, transportation to/from JFK, shopping, haircut at my old stylist and a mani/pedi. Total: $579.70. Not bad for 4 nights/5 days away! (I also spent $184.36 on the aforementioned gifts, but that'll be coming out of my Gift Fund.)
The trip definitely made me miss San Diego a bit and most of all my friends, but it also made me appreciate my new life in New York that I truly love! As much as I miss the people, I still know that moving to New York was the right thing...especially since my friends will always be my friends, and they are just a plane ride away. :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Here are some quick personal finance updates:

  • I spent $1,263 last month while I was being a nomad. Most of this was on food, cabs, gifts and fun things since friends were incredibly generous with letting me stay with them!
  • I spent $440 on movers. My Dad generously offered to pay the other half. (Yes, it was ridiculously expensive, but that was due to being last minute.)
  • I was able to save $700 which was split between travel, gift and E-funds.
  • I just wrote checks for September rent ($1,200), security deposit ($1,175) and September cable/internet ($67.73) which is billed forward.
  • I had to buy a wireless router (roommate has a desktop that he plugs in via ethernet)...the cheapest was $32 at Best Buy because I wanted it right away.
  • I've already got $140 in cash back rewards from my Chase Freedom card! Granted, $100 of that was the sign-up bonus...but I'll take it!
  • I've also been buying some things online (like this via Nordstrom!)...but I don't really want to talk about that. It's coming out of my budget but not putting me in the red, so it's all good. ;)
With all of this money going in/out, my bank account is FINALLY back to a "normal" balance after having so much inflow due to selling my car before moving here and the return of my prior security deposit just sitting there.


I can't believe it's September! My month is incredibly busy. First I had an awesome Labor Day weekend to kick it off with my friends. This weekend, my Mom's coming into town to visit! She's going to help me settle into my new place. (I still have five boxes to completely unpack.) Then it's off on a short vacation to San Diego to see one of my best friend's brand new baby girl and attend the wedding of two of my closest friends! Plus, since the weather has already turned rainy and a bit cooler, it'll be nice to spend a few days in sunshine and at the beach. Cannot wait, it'll be my first vacation since I moved. Then I'll have one weekend in the city before I head to the Midwest to be my best friend's date to his brother's wedding.

I'm glad my travel and gift funds are well-stocked, even with both flights already paid for! This month is going to pass by quickly but it'll also be a blast. :)

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