Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Perks of this Town

These past few weeks haven’t been the easiest ever for me. Moving to a new town where I didn’t know a single person, not being able to find a job so far, feelings of loneliness and boredom have quickly taken over, and I have caught myself wishing I wasn’t living here and wishing Mr. A wasn’t in law school so we would already be living in the city we’re planning to move to in 3 years.

But all of that is negative. And negativity isn’t going to help either of us get through these next 3 years successfully, happily, and together. Negativity will just make it harder for Mr. A to do what he needs to. He shouldn’t have to be worrying about me and my issues. I’m supposed to be supporting him and doing anything to get him through 1L.

So, I have to be positive. I have to find the good in this situation. Such as, due to being unemployed (or as I like to say, I’m in early retirement without the 401k or social security), I have been able to watch the ENTIRE series of The Office. That’s something, right? Also, our apartment has been more decorated than any other place I have ever lived. Mostly because I’m here all day and don’t want to look at blank white walls.

I have also been going to the gym a lot more and learning to cook has become a new hobby. Both are very beneficial. And going to the gym at noon is much less crowded, which means I am much less self-conscious and actually get more done at the gym.

Mr. A is probably thankful of my time to try out some new recipes so we aren’t always eating things from boxes or frozen meals. Last week, I made homemade (even the crust!!) cheesecake and it was DELICIOUS! Mr. A’s birthday is Friday, so I told him to pick a cupcake from the Cupcake Project and I will make it for his dessert for Friday.

I am also working on finding things about our new town, which I will call Ctown. It’s not too terribly difficult to find good things since the town we went to undergrad in was TINY and had NOTHING to do in it.

Here’s my list:

– Awesome, little hole-in-the-wall restaurants. They are usually cheap and have WONDERFUL food.

schnucks (Source)

– Schnucks grocery. ‘Nuff said

– Found a delicious Greek restaurant that is not only cheap, but it DELIVERS. Like, to my door. Which is perfect for nights like tonight when I don’t want to cook.

– Cable being as expensive as it is, I have found a way to live without it. And thanks to Netflix, I have seen some great movies that I otherwise never would have encountered. Indie films and documentaries are my new favorites.

– Public library. I love it enough that I wrote an entire post about it. Again, it’s free and being a reader, it’s great.

– Also, being home, I’ve taken a lot more pride in our little home and have been working to be neater and keep things clean a lot more than I ever have. I don’t let dishes pile up too high and I dust and vacuum once a week and make the bed everyday.

– This is more the people than the town, but the law students have proven most of my ideas about them wrong and I can see in some that we will be good friends and Mr. A has found some friends too. Ping pong league? Yes, please.

– Lake. On. Campus. (Beach, canoes, and paddle boats included)

– I’m 1.5 hours from my hometown. And my mom. So when I see a dress at Macy’s I want, and she has a $30 off coupon, she can drive down the next day and go shopping with me and then decide to buy the dress that I was planning on paying for.

– Dog parks. This will come in handy when we get a dog.

– Free on campus concerts (and for the concerts, you can bring alcohol..)

– A school with a REAL football team

– With said football team, comes a school not in a dry county, which means TAILGATING! I love the fall…

– Found a bar where we had a total of 8 drinks, only 3 were house alcohol, the rest premium and Mr. A’s were double pours. We left the place, with a tip, a whopping total of $27.00 WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!! No reason to go anywhere else in my opinion. And it means we can still have a social life on a limited budget

target_dog (Source)

– We have a Target. Joy.

– We have two malls within 15 minutes of each other. I went to undergrad in a town where there wasn’t a mall within an hours drive.

– Shawnee Wine Trail.

– Winery fall festival- 15 wineries with tastings, food, bands, and coupons to buy some wine…it’s what we’re doing for Mr. A’s birthday this weekend!

swimmer1.jpeg (Source)

– I can be on the elliptical and watch the university swim practice take place. And diving practice. Whoever thought of this while laying out the rec center, they are a genius! Definitely keeps your attention.

– This is a little bitter-sweet since I didn’t go to school here, but this is a REAL college town. At any given point, there are always people walking around, playing Frisbee golf, and lots of different events and activities.

-Another perk of not being in a dry county, stores that sell alcohol. So I can buy my wine and drink it in my happy little apartment.

– There is a martini bar here who does Monday Girls’ Nights- $20 and you get two drinks and a manicure. How cool is that? A couple of the girls in Mr. A’s law school group and I are going to go soon.

*****Please don’t think we drink all the time. We don’t. We’ve been out twice in a month and a half. But we do enjoy going out sometimes and this wine fall festival should be awesome.

– There’s a St. Louis Bread Company (known to non-STL folk, as Panera). I could drink iced green teas everyday.

schlafly (Source)

– They serve Schlafly everywhere.

– We can walk to all the events on/near campus because we live close enough. No parking nightmares for us.

– While we haven’t been able to experience them yet due to the super hot temperatures, we’re really close to several national parks with hiking and climbing (for Mr. A). Can’t wait for it to cool off so we can go and get out into the woods.

Basically, there is a lot to love about this town. There is a lot I have to be thankful for. We will not only survive the next 3 years, but we will be happy and have fun with it as well. I think we are on our way to making good friends and I’ll get a job eventually. This town isn’t so bad after all.

 

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Filed under Life in Law School (even if I'm not in it)

Oh, Mother

My mother and I have become a lot closer over the past few years. I would call us friends, even. Which considering how much we fought, even 4 years ago, I would never have thought “friend” would ever have described her.

But it does and I value her opinion.

When I was younger, I thought my mom was dumb and didn’t know anything and I was a super genius and I was getting so much by her.

When her and I were talking the other week, she said she knew a lot of what I was doing, and depending on how harmful it could be, she would let it go or confront it. (My best friend A, the guy that was my “bride’s man”- my mom said that if he was going to be there, she pretty much always let me go because she figured I would be safe with him around. My mom was such a sap.)

So, yes. I like to get advice from my mom or talk about things with her. Even more so now that I’m married, I turn to her because none of my close friends are married and I’m living in a town where I don’t have any friends yet.

She has given some great advice and tips. She’s helped with decorating and how to arrange some things in the apartment because Mr. A and I are pretty clueless about this whole household thing.

But…I don’t know that I always agree with her advice.

Most recently, her idea that I should be doing everything and Mr. A shouldn’t have to do a thing.

Umm…..is it 1924?

I don’t think so Mom.

Yes, I will take over a few extra things since Mr. A will need to study and do stuff for law school, but that doesn’t mean I become the maid and house servant and he gets to do nothing. We are BOTH in this marriage and that means we BOTH have to contribute to the household and the relationship.

My mom was shocked that Mr. A was doing laundry last Sunday and I wasn’t. He offered and let me sleep in some. Why would I turn that down?

Tomorrow, I’ll be doing laundry while he’s at school. And I will vacuum and dust and do little cleaning tasks. I do actually do something while I’m home. (Like look for a job…..)

My mom also can’t believe our arrangement where if I make dinner, he cleans the dishes, or vice versa. That way the person who is making the meal gets a little help. We’re only two people. We don’t have that many dishes to do and I usually do all the little dishes that get left around from drinks or snacks.

I know I’m home right now, but I won’t be forever. I plan on getting a full time job and getting my ass out of this apartment. And when I start putting in full days, I don’t plan on coming home and being Susie Homemaker all the time.

I think we have to share the responsibilities. When big papers come or finals, I will be more than happy to take over all the chores so he can study and do what he needs to in order to get the grades to get the job. That’s the whole reason we’ve moved to the city we’re in-his law school.

I am more than happy to support him and he supports me. We’re a partnership. He may be the one going to classes and taking exams, but we’re in this together.

But what do you think? Even if your spouse isn’t in law school, how do you balance? If your spouse is in a high demand job or a demanding graduate program, how do you handle it? Do you take over everything or do you share the responsibilities?

I’m just hoping I’m not being some super mean nazi wife.

 

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Filed under Home Sweet Home, Life in Law School (even if I'm not in it), Married Life

Tax Dollars at Work

library

This, is our library.

According to dictionary.com, a library is a place set apart to contain books, periodicals, and other material for reading, viewing, listening, study, or reference, as a room, set of rooms, or building where books may be read or borrowed.

Snoooooze. The definition of the library itself is boring and makes a person ask, “Who would ever want to go there?”

But, leave it up to some modern innovations to make even the most mundane of places seem intriguing and exciting.

UrbanDictionary.com: An awesome place that is underrated in today’s society. Think about it – where else can you chill in an air-conditioned place, that’s quiet, where you can read a cool mag or surf the net, where you can take a nap, check out movies, meet some friends for a game of chess or cards, read about whatever you like, get free bookmarks, talk to some fine librarians, walk around aimlessly, find out how glow-in-the-dark works….. and all for free!

Obviously, a guy who has a thing for librarians wrote this, but still.

See, this library things is new to me. Yes, I knew they existed. I’m not that dumb. However, I had never utilized all they had to offer until now.

It’s amazing how inventive you become when you’re low on funds and need to entertain yourself.

I was an English major.

I love books. All sorts. When I was younger, I was a huge R.L. Stein and Lurlene McDaniels fan. In case you aren’t familiar with either, Stein is like the precursor to Stephen King for early teens and Lurlene McDaniels is like early romance novels for teens. All of her characters had terminal illnesses I think. A little morbid.

Now, I will read just about anything. Non-fiction usually isn’t my thing, same with most science fiction, but I will give any book that comes with a good recommendation a try. Hunger Games? On my list.

But, books aren’t the cheapest hobby in the world. Especially when you want to read the new books. So, I listened to some other bloggers and took their advice and joined the library.

But no one told me how overwhelming it was. I walked down to the fiction section and froze for a moment. There are hundreds and hundreds of books. In just one section.

I completely forgot all the books on my “to-read” shelf on goodreads.com and just stared for a moment.

I then realized I looked like a crazy person, so I sat myself down at the online card catalog and tried to remember some of the books on my list.

The best thing? Even though my library may not have a book or it’s checked out, they are connected to an extensive inter-library loan program and I can get it from some other library.

It’s amazing what they can do these days.

I must have been in a reading mood because within 4.5 hours of checking out the book, I had it finished. Sometimes I read like a speed demon. It’s a blessing and a curse.

Tomorrow I will return my book, pick up the two I put on hold (from home!) and go to the law library with Mr. A. He will slave and sweat over criminal law and I will pour over the drama of American Wife and get lost in another world. A movie lasts 2 hours. A book can last days and usually have better acting.

Do you use your library or do you prefer to buy all your books? Any library tips for this newbie?

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Filed under Happy little posts, Life After College

Humble Abode

FINALLY!!

I have pictures of the apartment to post. Mostly, my MIL came to visit Tuesday and take us out to dinner before law school started Wednesday, so we cleaned and I took the opportunity to take pictures that wouldn’t have bras in the background.

So, I’ll show some before and after photos. I’m pretty impressed with it, especially with our limited budget and small space. (Warning: Please ignore the floral pattern couch and loveseat. It was free and practically new and couch covers are super crazy expensive, at least what I’ve found. Oh well.)

Living Room

DSCN0642 Before- Looking from the main bedroom towards the front door.                                 

 DSCN0650 Before- looking toward the bedroom. Kitchen to the left.

DSCN0657 Dad and Mr. A working on setting up the electronics

DSCN0710 Living room with Mr. A’s feet. Looking to get a large wall clock for above tv

DSCN0713 We didn’t want the apt. to look like a dorm room, so we bought these canvas baskets to hold movies and the games for the Wii and XBox. See? No, you can’t and that’s the point.

DSCN0711 Our special wedding toasting glasses. They are etched faces. Love these.

Main Bedroom

DSCN0645 Main bedroom before. Closet is off to the right. We actually have pretty large closets in both bedrooms. We each have our own closet, which is good because I have a lot of stuff. Who would have thought?

DSCN0723 Ignore the giant bear. It was my Valentine’s present that was a joke. Mostly bc the husband never buys “traditional” gifts and I told him I wanted the massive bear. That was way too long of an explanation.

DSCN0724 Dresser and our awesome tv. We already had bought a really nice one, then my dad bought us one as a wedding present, so we have two. What better than a big tv in the bedroom?

DSCN0725 This is the room from the decorating help post. If you haven’t, let me know which fabric you think will look good in here, because I’m decorating inept.

Kitchen

**I think I forgot to take before pictures, but here is what it looks like now!**

DSCN0714 From living room into kitchen. I put these baker’s racks together all on my own. I’ll pause for gasps…..I really like how it turned out. Our dishes and all the appliances were new, so it looks nice sitting out.

DSCN0715 Our little table. And a few boxes to still be unpacked, just not sure where to put it all. Mostly, the husband’s water bottles he uses when cycling and running. He has a million.

DSCN0718 Obviously, the fridge. Looks like a home with all the miscellaneous stuff.

DSCN0717 Magnet I found and just had to have. I love me some wine.

DSCN0716 Where I am learning to cook. I’ll let you know how my homemade blueberry cheesecake turns out.

Bathroom- Again, no before. I think I was too excited the day we moved in to take pictures.

DSCN0653 I ADORE our tree shower curtain. I wanted something a little different. And all our towels are a pretty green, and so the tree kind of looks like it’s coming out of the grass.

DSCN0654 Vanity and over the toilet shelves.

DSCN0722 Sink. Duh.

DSCN0721 Funny story about this. 1. The husband and I love turtles. 2. I had seen this painting at ZGallerie (love that store!) several times and it was always a little out of budget. Then, we went and it was on sale, with an extra 20% off. SCORE! Then guess what happened? That SAME day, Nashville flooded, and the mall where we bought it? It flooded too. And this painting had been on the floor, so we saved the little turtle. It’s in our bathroom and I love it.

 

I keep making a distinction of bedrooms and saying one is a main bedroom. The other is really Mr. A’s office, and we hope to turn it into a spare bedroom. However, this is what is looks like right now:

DSCN0719 See all the bags and boxes we will have to go through and unpack? Poor husband only has the front wall as his “office”. But, because I put together the kitchen and most of the living room, the extra room is his project. My goal is for it to be more presentable by 2011. I’ll give him Christmas break to work on it. haha

 

 

So, that’s our little home. We like it. We need to do some more decorating. Anyone know where to find a cheap sofa table? We want to put it in the entryway and hang all our pictures on the wall above it. Need to do my headboard project. We have some more work, but I love the little home we have set up together.

We truly have a place together, that we both worked on and put our sweat into. It’s good.

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Filed under Home Sweet Home

Decorating Help!

This is the bedding we have:

Minus the extra frivolous pillows

(Sorry I don’t have a picture of ours. I have some pictures of the apartment that I need to post, but need to get a few more when my clothes aren’t all over.)

I actually really like it.

However, it’s a tad more boring than I realized. And after falling in love with a yellow and gray pillow at Target, I wish I would have gone with those colors.

But since I didn’t and I can’t go rebuying our comforter set, I have come up with a little project for myself. The room needs some color. However, we live in an apartment and can’t really go painting the walls an accent color or anything like that. (Oh, what I would do if we could paint…)

So, I would like to make a headboard. We don’t have one for our bed, and I’ve heard of other people doing it, so it at least seems like a feasible project.

As far as I can tell, I’ll get some plywood, put some sort of stuffing or filler so it looks a little more full, some fabric, and use a staple gun and put it all together. I have a feeling I am WAY oversimplifying this, so if you have done this or know how, I will appreciate any and all suggestions and tips.

I also need you help with the fabric. Because the bedding is tan and has straight lines, I’m not exactly sure what colors or designs will look good with it.

Here are the choices. I have my favorites, but just because they’re a favorite, doesn’t mean it will really look right. I’ll mark my favorites, but I could really use some input on what you think, or if you have some other ideas!

(All fabric samples came from joannfabrics.com)

Browns: (husband likes the idea of chocolate, but I’m afraid that will make the whole room some shade of brown and even more boring than it currently is.

(All fabric samples are from JoAnn Fabrics

#2

#1 Favorite

# 3

# 4 favorite

# 5 favorite

# 6 love, but not sure how it would work

# 7

# 8

# 9 really like

# 10

#11 Favorite

# 12

# 13

# 14

# 15

# 16

(Had issues getting these to line up next to each other, so this is super long. SORRY!)

So now it’s time for your help. What do you think? Which one do you think would look nice, while adding color? I numbered so it would be easier. Mr. A and I appreciate all help…sometimes we can’t quite visualize it until we see it.

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Filed under Home Sweet Home, What to do?

Where was your first time?

Sometimes, you need a good misleading title.

No. I’m not talking about that. Not only is that private, my husband would kill me. We’re both a little old school in that department.

So what first time am I talking about?

Where was the first time you met your husband/wife/significant other?

I have always been interested in relationship stories. I love the first meetings, especially when one wasn’t interested in another. Or they met at a random place. Even the meetings while dating someone else. I don’t condone cheating in any way, but sometimes, you realize you’re with the wrong person when you find the right one.

Also, I would love to know how meeting someone in a bar happens. Mr. A and I met before we were legal in bars, and in our dry county where we went to college, not many bars anyways.

While I’ve told the story of how the husband and I met at the gym through his fraternity brothers, there’s more to it.

We went to dinner the next night, and yes, we have been together ever since. But we weren’t instantly boyfriend and girlfriend. We hung out in the library together, working on homework, more like I was in awe that this super cute boy wanted to hang out with me.

I have later found out, that the first time he took me home to meet his mom, step-dad, and brother, his mom had threatened the other two to behave and not screw it up. I told you how awesome my MIL is, right?

There was the fraternity St. Patty’s day party. The first real fraternity event that we attended together. Yes, I already knew every guy, but it was a little different to be there with a date. I’d walk off to talk to someone and no more than 10 minutes later, he was right next to me again. He wasn’t following in a clingy way, just checking on me and such. It was adorable.

Man, we are young. So glad his hair doesn't look like that, and no clue why his collar is popped. We were young...

(He would die if he saw this. But wow, we were young…This was at that St. Patty’s Day party.)

This was the Thursday before Spring break started.

He came up to, what I thought, visit his big brother in the fraternity, who happened to live in the same city as I do. I was working, but we hung out when I would get off or on my days off. I was clueless that he only came to hang out with me. It snowed on this spring break, and the poor thing only had short sleeve polos, so we had to go and buy him a jacket.

When I returned to school that Sunday, which was the day before my 19th birthday, he and I were talking about us. I told him that my friends were asking about us and what we were. He wanted to know what I was telling them. I said that it seemed like we were together, but maybe not official. I asked what he was telling his friends and he said that he would be telling them I was his girlfriend. This was his sly little way of saying we were “official”.

(I’m about to reveal how young we are. Oh, well.)

I then went to the restroom, and when I came back, he was on the computer. I asked if I could check my e-mail, and when I did, I had a Facebook notification. My class was the first class to have Facebook from the start in college. You know, the days when only college students could get it?? The cute, shy, adorable boy had requested to be my boyfriend on Facebook, to make it really official. (How did people know if others were really dating before this invention? So weird. And yes, I’m showing how young I am. Get it.)

We may have first met in a gym, but there were lots of other “firsts” and hang outs before we became what blossomed into us today.  First time he held my hand started with us interlocking pinkies while watching a movie. He tells me he was so nervous. First kiss in his dorm room, and he was shaking like a leaf.

He is still that sweet and shy 19 year old college freshman who gets nervous when something new comes up. He shook at our wedding just like he did when he first kissed me and told me he loved me. He’s my best friend.

Enough about my mushy relationship. How did you two meet? Was it funny? Was it love at first sight, or did you have to learn to like each other? Who chased who?

These are my favorite stories.

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Filed under Happy little posts

Vacay

****I’m done. I’m off my self-pitying soap box. I need to buck up.

When we got engaged and were talking about wedding stuff, we didn’t know how much, if any, of a honeymoon we would get to have. My parents were paying for the whole wedding and I knew they wouldn’t be paying for the honeymoon. His mom had a lot of other things going on and she couldn’t have afforded to pay for an entire honeymoon. His dad….well, that’s another story.

So, we were looking around at what could be possibilities. My uncle had a condo in Colorado Springs that he said we could use for free. We were pretty set on that. The problems were that we would have to drive because you have to be 25 (I believe) to rent a car and Colorado Springs is a place where you have to have a car to get around and go see the mountains. That means about a full day and a half of driving, just one direction. Also, we would still have to pay for all of our food and entertainment. It probably wouldn’t have saved us as much as we first thought.

The year before, I has been on a cruise and loved it. It was a short cruise, but a lot of fun and got to go t the bahamas and enjoy the sun and the sand. However, you still had to pay for all drinks and anything extra, which cost a pretty penny and we were only on the ship for 3 days.

While talking to my dad about all of this, he suggested we look at all-inclusive places. That idea had always been something that I thought we could never afford. However, with the two websites CheapCarribbean.com and Travelzoo.com, we found some truly amazing deals.

I mean, this is where we went for, what I consider for a week long, all inclusive vacation, a VERY good price!

The gorgeous beach at sunset

Well, the vacation bug has hit again.

I know we can’t go back to Mexico or to the Bahamas or Caribbean. We don’t need to be spending that money.

But how about a Christmas time, 3 day trip to Chicago? Or find a cabin in the Appalachian mountains and get away for a few days? We’d love to go to New Orleans, but not sure affordability/practicality to get there.

Chicago seems the most probable. We can take Amtrak, or maybe even fly because there is a small airport close to my home that does flights to Chicago in a lesser known airline. The train isn’t bad at all. There’s a food cart and even electrical plugs so that you can use your laptop and such.

We also really loved Chicago when we went. We loved walking up and down Michigan Avenue, shopping and people watching. We love Shedd Aquarium, and now they have dolphins and a beluga whale, which thrills me to no end. I feel this might be the most doable for a 3 or 4 day mini-vacation.

Now, here is where I need your help.

1. Law Students/Wive of Law Student/ People who know law students: Does the student actually get a Christmas break? Is it even feasible to plan a trip over that break or will my poor husband be studying the entire time?

2. What else to do in Chicago that won’t cost a ton of money? Any suggestions on hotels or areas to stay in?

Thank you for adding to my sad addiction. Hopefully we can actually make this little trip work!

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Filed under Happy little posts, Life After College