Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Hiatus

I'm getting excited to head home for Christmas, and I think that means it might be time for a blog hiatus.

I hope you all get everything you wish for, but above all, you have a safe and happy holiday with all those you love.  That is what I have wished for this year!

Merry Christmas, and a very safe and healthy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Unemployment Mood

I know, I know.  I feel like I do a fair amount of bitching, moaning, whining and crying all over this blog.

And no, the title of this blog has not changed to Jenny BITCHING Bee.  But it is a part of what I'm going through right now.  Mood swings, depression, crying, and fake perkiness are currently a part of my day-to-day life.  It's not fun, that's for sure.

But what I really wanted to think about, was not how this affects me or what I get through, but how it affects my relationship with Mr. C.  Because you can bet your bottom dollar, it sure does.  In fact, a few days ago, Mr. C looked at me, and with wide pleading eyes, asked me to stop.  He told me I couldn't be so needy, he told me he needed to focus on his current rotation and exam, and he just couldn't do it all at once right now.

When he told me that, I immediately got defense.  Needy?  Me?  Never!  So rude!  So presumptuous! So...true.  Oy.  I have been moody, and this, for mean, necessarily means I'm needy.  And Mr. C has enough on his plate.  He's in his surgery rotation, which means he's in the hospital for 12+ hours a day.  And even after all that, he's expected to come home and study for the rest of the night, provided he can keep his eyes open long enough.

So it's hard to balance.  Because on the flip side, I'm home.  Alone.  Applying for jobs, and desperately wishing for company.  I cook and I clean more than I ever have.  And I count the minutes until he's home with me.*  

And then Mr. C comes home, and I need his attention.  I need to talk his ear off, I need him to acknowledge that even if it IS just cooking and cleaning** I accomplished something today.  But he's exhausted and needs to study.  And this has become a dirty, dirty cycle that causes us to bicker and argue  and be at each others' throats for every little thing.  

It's been on my mind a lot.  Because I can feel my moods effecting Mr. C and I's relationship.  I know that this is a rocky part of our relationship, and we are sticking by each other through these tough times, and we'll come out stronger on the other end.  But it doesn't mean I don't notice it, and it doesn't mean that I don't worry that he just won't be able to deal with it anymore and give up on me.

Have you ever hit a really rocky patch with your significant other?  Any tips on how to get through, even if you can't make the cause go away?

*I do realize that this could come off as pathetic and co-dependent, but if you know me, you know that's not really the case...it's just the way the cookie is crumbling right now

**Which isn't to say I don't think someone who chooses to stay home isn't productive or contributing, but it's just NOT what I was planning on doing with myself right now

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Etsy Triumph

After deciding to look to Etsy, and searching through some of the things they had for sale, I knew right away that this was a great plan!  The first one I saw was this one

It was just what I wanted!  So I contacted the seller, Rachel Walter, through her shop, Hand Picked For Me.  

I told her I was in LOVE with the Engaged Ornament and wanted to know if she would create something similar for Sister J for Christmas as well!  And Rachel was SUPER responsive, really open to my ideas.  After a few conversations back and forth, I came home to see this waiting for me:

Even the package was all done up for Christmas!  (And yes, I have no photo editing skills, so I used my camera case to block out my address ;))

Eek!  So exciting!  And the goodies that were on the inside:

This one is for Mr. C for Christmas!  We exchange ornaments every year, and it's a great way to remember one of the biggest events (for us) in 2010.

Then I also asked Rachel to make this one for me, with only a really basic explanation of what I wanted. And she nailed it: 

Now Sister J will have an ornament to remember their pregnancy and the exciting time waiting for my niece to arrive!

Rachel was really great - I'm so glad that this was my first Etsy experience and that Rachel was the first seller I've dealt with.  I highly recommend her shop for any ornament you may need!

All photos personal unless otherwise noted.  The Etsy seller did not ask me or give me any benefit for reviewing her work, either.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weekly Weigh-In: Week 1

Wahoo!  My POA was successful this week!

I've decided to weigh myself on Friday mornings.  That will be the official weigh-in day.  Which means you had best being seeing a check-in post within a few days, whether it's a positive or negative.

But this week, it was a positive...as in a good weigh-in, because I saw negatives!

Down 2.2 pounds this week!  Wahooooo!

So what went differently:

1) Being aware of what I ate:  By keeping track of my calories, it made me focus on where I was using my calories, the size of my portions, and on my hunger levels

2) Free yoga: I went once on Sunday, and then I went Friday night (ok, so that is post weigh-in, but I still went twice this week!)

3) Walks: It was cold.  And I was cranky, but I did at least one sizeable walk this week that I know was probably a part of contributing to my achievement this week.

4) I stayed positive!  Sure, there were times when I didn't eat the way I wanted to (I had THREE pieces of pizza this week - I haven't had pizza in such a long time!) [Note: Not in one sitting!  Two different occasions!] and there was some drinking, which always feels like empty calories, but I tried to plan the rest of my days around these moments and that definitely helped.  And I'm glad to see my pants aren't quite as snug as they were a week ago.

So this week I will stay on track, keep up with my POA, and hopefully keep seeing results!

Have you put your own POA into play?  How'd it work out (or how is it WORKING out) for you?

Quick Garland Wreath

I love reading other blogs and seeing other people's awesome DIY projects.  But living in New York City, and being on a limited budget, I find it hard to sometimes put awesome projects to work for myself.  But I saw this project on Creature Comforts Blog, and I realized, this is something I could do!  It was fast, didn't take a lot of fancy tools or gadgets, and was totally affordable!  Both wreaths were made for under $10!

I started with an embroidery hoop, which apparently has TWO hoops within it!  Wahoo!  I got a 9 inch wooden hoop at Michael's.  Cost: $1.49.  Not bad!

I pulled the embroidery hoop into its two pieces.  And yes, I'm watching the Sing-Off on my laptop, and yes, I'm doing this DIY on my bed.  Don't judge -  Mr. C was studying on the table, there wasn't any room left!

I bought 15 feet of silver garland and 15 feet of gold garland at Target.  Cost of total tinsel garland: $6.00.

I started with the top hoop - there was a little metal clasp, so I used that to hold the tinsel as I started to wrap it around the hoop.

I wrapped the entire 15 feet around, trying to pull the tinsel as tight as possible, and used some craft glue to stick the end of the tinsel to the hoop.  Unfortunately, my craft glue was a little dried up, and it was tough to get the wire to stick to the wood.  I think I could have used some stronger glue, maybe a glue gun, but since I didn't own one, I just wrapped the tinsel around some of the other pieces on the hoop to sort of tie it on.

With the gold one, there wasn't a clasp, so I had to use a lot of that craft glue to start off wrapping the tinsel.

For the gold wreath, I didn't use the entire 3 feet of garland, and I actually found that to look much better.    I cut off about a foot of the garland, and the two feet was plenty to wrap around the hoop.  With the silver wreath, I tried to cram the entire string onto the hoop, and there was just too much.  It's not consistent around the hoop, and it is loose in some places.

You can see here how much tighter the gold one looks compared to the silver.

All in all, this was a VERY easy project.  The two wreaths took me less than 10 minutes.  And they will be easy to store and use every Christmas!  I considered adding some decorations to the bottom of the wreath, but everything just looked excessive.  So with the gold and the silver, I'm leaving them plain.  If I bought some green garland, I would probably add some red and silver balls to the bottom of the wreath.

All personal photos.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My First Etsy Experience

So, Etsy.  I'm a little intimidated by you.  You're the cool, artsy girl, who does stuff her own way, doesn't follow anyone's rules, is a little bit different, and everyone loves you for it.

But me, I was scared!  I like rules!  I like order!  I mean, I am a Scorpio. :)  But so many people seem to love it, have great experiences there, and even sell their own projects through their Etsy shop.

So I went for it...I dived right in, and started hunting down Christmas presents.

Mr. C and I buy each other Christmas ornaments every year to add to our collection.  So, with some friends in tow, I went to explore the Union Square Christmas Market and the Bryant Park Christmas Market.

These markets are fantastic.  They are so...Christmas-y.  There is no better way to describe it!  They make you feel full of holiday spirit, and when it's cold out, it's the perfect place to grab a hot chocolate and wander about and see some of the amazing things people have for sale.

However, for me, the ornaments just didn't do it.  They were pricey.  They were hokey.  They were not full of the romance and spirit that I was hoping to get out of an ornament this year.

But at least I knew they were options!  I knew they were there, and I knew they would be there up until I left for Christmas.  So I went home, and put my Google to work.

I found some of the ones they were selling at the Christmas market on eBay.

This snowman ornament was cute, and could be personalized.  And was $11 less then they were selling it for at the Christmas markets.

These bears weren't at the Christmas market, but they had the same vibe and theme I was going for.

And that's when a little bell went off my head and a voice spoke to me: "Yo!  Busy Bee!  Check out that Etsy business!"  So I did.  And this little intimidated Busy Bee made her very first Etsy purchase.  And there was much rejoicing.  (Anyone get that movie reference?)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thanksgiving Fun!

Thanksgiving was a great success!  I talked a little bit about how I was a little bit sad to miss my first Thanksgiving with my family, but I really loved spending my very first holiday with Mr. C's family!

I have to admit, as a bad blogger, I took NO pictures the entire weekend.  Zero.  Zilch.  In fact, I didn't even BRING my camera with me to his house!  Who am I?!

The thing I missed the most (other than family, obviously) was going around the table and saying what I am thankful for.  So even though it is quite late, and it's not sharing with my family, and it's not around a table, I'm going to say what I am thankful for this year.  And it's been QUITE the year, so I have a LOT to be thankful for!

1)  My amazing, amazing family.  This year has been tough for us.  We've been through a lot, but coming to the end of the year, we certainly made it through.  And things are different.  But we are still our family, and we still love each other, and we have added two new members to the family (soon to be three!)

Here they are, making the Beaker face.  This picture includes my amazing aunt, and does not include my amazing Mr. C or Sister J's amazing Mr. D.  But they are included in my what I'm thankful for!

2) Mr. C.  There are so many millions of reasons I'm thankful for this amazingly wonderful person I have in my life.  Because he makes me laugh, because he keeps me sane, because he totally tolerates my insanity.  I could go on and on and on and...well you get the idea.  But I'll reserve most of my thanks for him, and tell him in person.

This is an example of one of the millions of reasons why I'm thankful to have Mr. C!  Look at this amazing art he makes for me in our kitchen!

3) Amazing friends.  For new friends, and for old friends.  Who make me laugh.  And let me cry.  And tell me when I'm being an idiot if necessary, but mostly let me get away with it.

I obviously can't post a picture of EVERY friend I'm grateful for.  That would basically be our entire bridal party, plus about a gazillion other people (just kidding - I'm not that popular).  But here's a good example of the silly things my friends and I love:


Harry Potter World:

Cheering on marathoners:

Group dinner after a visit to Kleinfelds (that only the girls were allowed to come to):

4)  I'm thankful for beginning to learn how to appreciate and be proud of my own accomplishments.  I did some freakin' amazing things this year, and sometimes it takes a friendly reminder from my parents or Mr. C or those amazing friends that I shouldn't let a little bit of unemployment make these accomplishments seem insignificant.

There are many other things, some more petty (Brooklyn! tea!  my crockpot!  martha stewart cupcake book!) but I am thankful.  2010 was amazing.  And Thanksgiving is an important time to remember these things.  Even if you don't say them aloud around a table.

What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Plan of Action

This is the starting line of my weight loss plan of action.  This will be the first time in my life I will actively be trying to lose weight and be healthy about it without Weight Watchers.  I have tried both the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet in the past, and where I stand now, I did not find those diets to be healthy or to promote long-term success.

So here is what I will be doing:

1)  Tracking Calorie Intake

I'm actually using an iPhone app to do this.  I'm going to eat less than 1,700 calories a day and hopefully this will lead to a 1.5 pound weight loss each week, which will help me hit my goal weight by late-April/early-May.  Or so says the iPhone app.

2) Free Yoga

Ok, it isn't free, but it is a class by donation.  Based on my financial situation, I believe I am justified to contribute what I'm comfortable donating to this yoga class.  I went today for the first time, spent a dollar, and enjoyed an hour long yoga class.  I also got to go with two of my good friends and killed two birds with one stone by exercising while socializing!

3) Walks

It is getting cold, but that isn't going to stop me!  I have a warm jacket, which I fondly refer to as my sleeping bag coat, and I will wear it to keep myself bundled up and keep burning those calories!

4) A Positive Attitude

Staying fresh, focused, and ready is going to be key to losing weight.  Without a positive attitude, I can't stay committed to my plan of action.  So I will be positive, no matter what happens, and I will stay focused and stay on plan.

Fridays will be my weigh-in day and I'll be sure to keep you posted on how successful this plan actually is.  Because the best part about moving forward with my own personal plan of action is that I can adapt it to make sure I am successful!

Have you ever created your own eating plan to lose weight?  Or have you ever been suckered into a fad diet?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Money, money, money

Oh, Abba.  

Money is NOT something fun to talk or think about.  In fact for most people, talking about money is downright rude.  But, money is an important part of each of these journeys I am on: unemployment, wedding planning, and yes, even attempting to lose weight.  

Because of that, money is on my mind a lot, and I have serious guilt issues about spending, giving, or taking money.  As is probably obvious, I don't have a lot of my own money right now, and neither does Mr. C.  This can make the wedding planning stressful.

My parents have amazingly gifted me with a significant sum for our wedding.  They are contributing about 75% of the budget, Mr. C and I will be contributing about 15% and his parents about 10%.  However, I was shocked from the beginning how quickly things added up and how much they cost, but my parents were dead set on things like our venue, and kept reassuring me that we would make it worth because it was worth the cost.  They did not have a wedding, and this is something I know they do want to do for me, as a gift.  Although not everyone has or understands these big weddings, it is something important for my family. 

However, I'm having some guilt now that I've heard some people have been saying things behind our back, shocked at how much things cost (people can generally get an idea about the price of our venue from its website) and where we are getting the money.  I even have my own guilt, currently unemployed, engaged to a student, but then having my mother send a check for thousands of dollars. 

For me, my first thought is, "This is none of your business."  Then my second thought is, "Oh my goodness, we are terrible people."

It happened recently, purchasing our wedding bands (post to come soon!).  Poor Mr. C had to deal with my immediate excitement and giddyness (oh!  sparkly!) and then the quick turnaroud: "Oh dear, that was expensive."  "Should we go back and get something simpler?" "I have a tummy ache because I feel anxious." (Legit.)

He calmly told me that the ring we picked was the one I wanted, he wanted, and what we both decided looked best with my e-ring.  And that it was less then we expected.  AND we came under budget.  Plus, I spent less on my ring that I will wear forever, then I did on my dress, which I will wear ONE DAY.

I guess budget concerns are a lot about perspective, as well as priority.  Who is anyone else to judge?

But that doesn't mean the nay-sayers still don't give me a tummy ache sometimes.

How do you deal with nay-sayers?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

E-Pics, the Final Round

Missed the first two rounds?

Warning: Picture Overload Ahead!

We turned the corner from the wall with the green (you actually can see it on the right hand side of this photo) and there was the bridge in all her glory!  We took a few moments, while devoted DC actually got ON THE GROUND for these shots.  But they are definitely some of my favorites from the day.

I love this one so much.  It's just blurry enough, but everything important stands out.  The bridge!  Kisses!  Mr. C's cute butt...oh no?  Just me?  ;)

We headed over to the new Brooklyn Bridge Park.  I had seen so many inspiration shoots with amazing props and themes.  But as I wasn't sure how long DC would be shooting us, I didn't get too elaborate, I only thought to grab this blanket right before we headed out the door.  But I think it still got the job done!

This one is Mr. C's favorite, but I HATE the way I look in it.  But I do love the whole bridge.

We started to head back to the subway and DC's car, when DC saw this and had to grab a few more shots.  If you can see, I had already changed back into my flip flops, but they still came out great!  And again, DC was lying in the middle of the road, ignoring traffic, to get some awesome shots.  (Ok, he didn't totally ignore traffic, he did move when a car came at him!)

Ta-dah!  Finally, the end of the E-Pic three part series.  Glad you stuck around to see it through (or did you?)

(All photos by ColeEffect)