Taxes, Taxes

I just finished up our taxes and e-filed. Fortunately, we are getting a refund this year since we have damages from Hurricane Ike that were not fully reimbursed by our insurance company. We have been wanting to replace our kitchen floor since we bought the house, but the estimate we got last month was quite a bit higher than what we expected. So we'll be using our tax refund to pay for the new floor and some other cosmetic work (wallpaper removal and painting) on the house. We also need a new roof on the garage and minor roof patches on our house, all thanks to Ike. Our insurance company's reimbursement for this work was a few thousand lower than any contractor we have been able to find, so we'll be doing this un-fun work on the house, too. I'd much rather paint or redecorate....I'd much rather show off a new rug or dining table than a brand new roof!

This Week's Menu

Let me know if you would like me to post any of the recipes and I will, along with a review. I typically cook dinner every weeknight and we take the leftovers to work for lunch the next day.

Sunday - Spinach Salad with Pinto Beans (cooked from dried beans, not the canned variety - will be my first attempt at cooking beans)
Monday - Mediterranean Chicken with Wild Rice
Tuesday - Shrimp & Bacon Spaghetti
Wednesday - Stroganoff (made with ground turkey rather than sirloin)
Thursday through Saturday - out of town, so no cooking required!

Sew Gracious!

A couple of weeks ago, I was stoked to receive an email from Alyssa, letting me know I was the winner of her blog giveaway. I got to choose a handmade wallet from etsy seller Sew Gracious. I chose the cute pink and green option above. Since I already have a wallet, I plan on using the wallet to hold my grocery coupons and Costco card. It really is adorable, and Sew Gracious has tons of other fabrics available, although I know there are tons of pink & green lovers out there in blogland who would kill for the damask print above.

Stop by Sew Gracious and check out her fabrics and fabulously preppy accessories. Let her know you found her store through me when you buy something!

Book Review: The Nanny Diaries

I try not to read too much chic lit, but I do love to read books before watching their movie adaptations. This one has been on my Netflix queue forever, and the book version finally popped up for me to reserve on Paperback Swap.

This is a really easy and hilarious read, with one or two "you might need a dictionary for it" words. Of course, as with most chic lit books, the ending is sudden and predictable, but there were several times I actually laughed out loud while reading this book.

The fact that there are mothers out there like Mrs. X astounds me (I have met one), and I could never "raise" my child using any of the methodologies she uses. The little boy in the story has a busier activity schedule than me!

Another reason I really liked the book is because I have always, from a very young age and to this day, devoured any chance to read anything related to the New York socialite lifestyle and this book is pretty full of it. I am going to add "lavender water" to my shopping list and see what all of the fuss is about.

What's your favorite chic lit book? What should I read next?

Such a Perfect Day

Today was so gorgeous. We decided to have a family picnic in the park downtown. David packed us a great lunch of pasta salad, avocados (with a dressing of sea salt & lime), crackers, bread, brie, fresh fruit, and a thermos of mimosas.

We watched a yoga class, read books and dreamed about our trip to Italy, and caught up on some newspaper reading. We took Oliver for walks around the park and then watched a bit of a band.

Here are some photos from today:

We will be quite busy the rest of the month. My Junior League provisional year starts this week (so excited!), my sister and her sweet little girl are coming for a visit, and we will be traveling back to Mobile for a birthday party. We hope to have some really fun news to share later in the month...!

Shopping Trip

I left work early today for a little retail therapy. The last three weeks have been hectic and next week will only get worse since I, personally, have to give a presentation and conduct a one hour Q&A (I'm doing the answering) with our global controller. Wednesday afternoon can not be over soon enough!
This fantastic weather (85 degrees today!) had me itching for some new springtime clothes. I couldn't find any of these online to post photos, but they are all adorable. Hopefully I'll wear them soon to some fabulous event and have some photos to post!
  • white leather hobo bag
  • high-waist, wide leg seersucker pants (the seersucker print is more narrow than the typical, so they don't come across as pajamas)
  • navy short sleeve shirt with high neck to match pants
  • plain but pretty navy silk top which I can wear to work, with jeans, or out with a skirt
  • amazingly adorable knee-length wrap dress
I just got a 30% off coupon for DSW, so I am going to try to score some sandals tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have another break from studying so that David and I can go on a picnic.

Speaking of studying, D-Day for my Regulation (1/4 of the CPA exam) is scheduled for May 1. Thanks for keeping me in your prayers, I think it is helping since the studying is going pretty smoothly!

I'm Alive! And Shecky's Is Ick.

Thank you for the emails of concern since I have not been posting lately. We're ok and still alive. Truthfully, nothing worth posting has really happened! We've been having our usual fun weekends, but the weather has been so nice that I've not wanted to sit in front of the computer long enough to make a blog entry! Work has been much more hectic than usual since I am heading up a very high profile project and also have to prepare my annual budget. I've been going to the gym on my lunch hour, so I've not been posting from the office. (Sorry loyal readers...impending swimsuit season has to take priority!)

I am sure that life is not going to slow down in the near future. We always travel quite a bit and have guests during the summer. And my Junior League Provisional year is about to begin! I think there are around 140 hours of volunteering, training and meetings that I have to do. I know I will enjoy it and I hope I can find some time to keep everyone updated on it. I did find out that my neighbor will be in my provisional class. She is absolutely adorable, and has two sweet little boys. I have admired her ever since we moved next door to her - she's classy, friendly, adorable and pretty laid back, and seems to be the kind of mom I want to be some day.

One thing that IS worth blogging about is Shecky's Girls Night Out. I googled the living stars out of it, trying to find more information and nothing was out there except their I hope I am able to help girls save their $35 in the future!

Shecky's is an annual event that is held in a ballroom downtown. It's advertised as a fun night of shopping, at a discount, with your girlfriends. They have cocktails (free, which was the only good thing about the event, we decided) and really toot their horn about their "famous" goodie bags.

I got free tickets and my girlfriend Melissa and I went to the event. I paid $15 for a goody bag (I got a discount from the regular $35) because they are supposedly so awesome. The shopping was very meh. Nothing was my style...way too much glitter and bling for my tastes and did not seem to be of a high quality. There was one vendor with designer jeans (True Religion and Rock & Republic) for $85, but all of those jeans looked "off" like they should be at an outlet and none were current styles. Melissa did score a set of skincare from a good spa, but it wasn't at a discount.

Now, to the goodie bags....I spent an hour googling and trying to decide if I should drop $15. The only info I could really find was on their website, which says the bag will have up to $100 in free products (key words: up to) from the vendors on their website. These vendors include...hmmm....I was planning on typing them all out so you could compare the advertisement to the actual bag, but they seem to have mysteriously disappeared from Shecky's website in the past 24 hours! I do know they included Khiel's and some other higher end brands.

Here's what was included in my bag:
  • The actual bag - I could take my lunch to work in it if it didn't say Midori on the side, but not too bad, since it fully zips closed. I'll use it for our car-travels back home, it will be very handy for holding things like curling iron and blowdryer that never fit into my suitcase. Or a few pairs of shoes.
  • A full size tube of Yes to Carrots body scrub - I can probably use this.
  • A full size Aveeno body wash - we'll use this
  • Caramel flavored Splenda - I love Splenda, but yuck
  • Schick Intuition razor
  • Aquafresh White Trays - I have to admit these are ok, but I get free whitening from my dentist, so the trays are going to ebay (let me know if you want them)
  • Six ob tampons - ???
  • Travel size Herbal Essence hair spritz
  • Dr. Miracle's hair treatment - I googled, apparently it's for helping with hair loss or dandruff. Absolutely fab for a girls only event.
  • Four ponytail holders
  • Wet & Wild lipgloss - absolutely thoughtless swag...since you are required to be 21 to get in the doors. Didn't we all stop wearing Wet & Wild in the third grade?
  • A pin that says "I <3>
  • Lip gloss that is specifically for black women (it says on the package)
  • A sample of this deodorant that supposedly lasts for seven days!
  • Fake press on nails - zebra striped with glitter nonetheless

No Khiel's anywhere in sight. Poo on Shecky's!

Not to let this end on a sour note - Mel and I were able to salvage the night. We ditched Shecky's and went to do some real shopping! I ended up buying a maxi dress similar to the one below and some gladiator sandals...something totally new for me as you know I rarely leave the house in anything other than stilettos!