Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Budget Talk

My sister has lived in NYC one full month and of course already feels broke. In her defense, her rent almost exceeds her paycheck and a girls gotta live it up in the city, right?

So with that, lately there has been a lot of money talk in our family.

Couple that with my brother who is also employed but constantly counting pennies {insert: girlfriend, golf, etc} and I thought the bossy Big Sis should introduce the friendly word... Budget.

{Disclaimer}: By no means am I a money expert.

My out-go often exceeds my in-come.

But I am a Right brainer. I love numbers and budgets.
I found one of my first budget spreadsheets, post college-just entering workforce.


Clearly I liked to eat out. Who grocery shops at 23, right?!

I have come a long way. But, those sure were the good 'ole days. 

Budgeting can be a positive thing. It gives you a 'sense of reality & perspective.'

It can also be very in your face...tough to admit you spent $ on that shirt or $ on a bar tab.

So, for my siblings and any other recently employed & non-budgeters, I found these simple tips on How to Budget:

*Keep it Simple. Break expenses into two categories: Fixed & Variable. As for variable, list main categories that fit your lifestyle and have a miscellaneous category for infrequent purchases (Avoid my above budget!)

*Stay on top of it. Make an effort to frequently track your spending. (I found a good time is Monday morning after a big wkend).

*Review and adjust. At the end of the month, take a minute to review your spending and adjust the areas you need to cut back. You should know what to expect from your income and your fixed costs (rent, bills, insurance, cell, etc). If your expenses are exceeding your income, make an effort to pull back next month in the variable areas.

Give it a shot. I promise you will like it. It becomes almost a game and if it's not your thing then...Who Cares, it's your Dough to do whatever you want !

For those that budget, have any tips or tricks you've found successful?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

J to the A

I took a little trip to the Westside this weekend & popped in the Jonathan Adler store.

Pure goodness.

Having a bad day? This place will cure your mood in no time.

Full of color, details, & all kinds of inspiration...

Some of my faves...

Need to give a gift?

  $42   *perfect gift for a cigar smoker

                  $17.95  *who doesn't love a coffee table book?

 $28  *hilarious

   $28   *comes in several scents

{All Images via Jonathan Adler}

Friday, August 26, 2011

People amaze me everyday

There are some really cool people in the world. These guys are at the top of my list this week.

1035 miles. 13 cities. 2 wheels.

They are biking from Atlanta to NYC in memory of the firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11. A good family friend of ours, who is a local firefighter, is part of the team.

You can follow their journey here.

I walked down from my office this morning to meet my parents & his family and send him off. It was a pretty amazing.

In other news, it's FRIDAY..... It's been a wild week.

An earthquake, a hurricane, and the Atl is still sunny & dry. Hope you Enjoy your last summer sunshine days.

Come on Irene...stay away from my sis. She isn't very hurricane savvy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I did a Coral Project

Thanks for all your sweet text and emails about the Big 2. Jh had a slight wig out (def: here) from being exposed on the blog but we had a great dinner celebrating.


So... i've developed a slight creative itch lately from all my blog stalking. Just call me Crafty Catie (eeeekkkkk...that was for you bws & lina!).

We bought this china cabinet from Nadeau right after we were married as a temporary fit for our small love shack. When we moved into our current house I actually had it listed on the list of craig and a smart neighbor told me I was crazy to let this cheap thing go. She is way more creative than me and after listening to her rant about the different ways I could tweak it, I listened and kept.

This was it just until last week...

A random home for our china and other things. A complete eye sore for me.

These were my inspiration pics...

+ A can of paint & primer in one ....and here she is looking revamped

 I'm aware it's quite pink but when the doors are shut it's a nice pop of color.

Just believe me.


Monday, August 22, 2011

A Special Day

2 years ago today.

Happy Anniversary to the best husband a girl could ask for...

He cooks delicious meals. Cleans our bathrooms. Mows our grass. Does his own laundry....all while naked looking HOT.

It's been a fun, eventful, sometimes challenging, and most of all rewarding two years.

Love you husband.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekend & Wannabe Royal Wedding

It's the weekend. And we are in town. We get to wake up in our own bed on Sat & Sun. WAHOOOOOOP!

So, it's the Kris & Kim wedding this weekend. And true Kardashian style, they are trying to compare it to THE Royal Wedding. More like Royal Ripoff. There is all this media yap about 'Who will win Wedding of the Year?' ...

 "Kim is planning the wedding of the century. She doesn't see why a royal wedding should get more attention that hers. She sees herself as a bigger celebrity than Kate Middleton."

"Kim thinks it will probably be the biggest TV wedding of all time".

"Wedding cake might look a little familiar... (a 10-tier white cake with chocolate-chip icing and black-and-white decorations). 10 tier.  — which costs $15,000 to $20,000!! from Hansen's Cakes in L.A" 

I give the girl props on her work ethic and mega brand name...but seriously royalty?

Homegirl with the big Junk in her Trunk will never compare to Duchess Perfect. (Sorry, i know it's rude to compare).

Well, at least not in my eyes.

This is awesome...


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New York Recap

Good Morning. After a longgg delay at LGA Monday night I made it home and the sweet hubs was there to pick me up curbside. A 5:15am wake up call (those yanks wake up early!) & a 12am touchdown in the ATL made for a tough day back at work yesterday. But today I am feeling refreshed - here is the recap...

We had a blast!  Sisters are the best. It was so much fun to go and feel like a 'regular' know not do the touristy things.

We had no schedule, no reservations, and nowhere to be, which was pure bliss.

These were my digs for 3 days. They are not in their real apt yet, so this is their August sublet. I was slightly frightened & creeped out so much that I slept on top of my towel- yes my sister had me bring my own towel. Which I guess is understood given there is no washer & dryer (& she hosted me for 3 nts).

Friday we dined at Bobo in the West Village. A quaint, hip restaurant with great food. I wasn't allowed to take any pics of the restaurant because that is 'so touristy' but it was presh. 

Saturday, I sweet talked drug her and her friends to Hell's Kitchen Flea Market. I convinced them they would see great finds for their apts but they were not impressed. My mom did remind me that is the last thing I would have wanted to do at 22. True dat. I, however, loved it and came home with these turquoise plates below. The guy claims they are some 19th century special something, but I'm not so convinced. Regardless I haggled him down and they might just be my fave purchase.

Afterwards we went to the Young Designers market in Soho. Such great jewelry. Some of these young designers are a little aggressive in their pricing but you can sometimes find a steal. We had a delicious lunch and afternoon cocktails (can't remember name) before heading home to prop our feet up. Sat nt we had drinks at The Standard Rooftop bar and then dined at Los Feliz in the Lower East Side. Great, low key mexi spot with fabulous guac.

 *Unfortunately these are only my iphone pics. Blogger want cooperate and let me download my cam pics.

Sunday we woke to record rainfall  so we chillaxed and then did some shopping on 5th ave. We caught a matinee of The Help and then grabbed sushi at this cute little place in Gramercy. 

Such a great trip! We ate, laughed, shopped, and drank our way through the city for 3 days.
Thanks for hosting me Sista. Love ya much.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Help

I'm still here working out of our nyc office, but thought I would stop in to give this a quick review....

Entertaining. Tear Jerking. Touching. Satisfying.


I am not a movie cryer. In fact my friends often call me a 'Robot' but this one did me in. I guess it really hit home. Absolutely loved everything about it. From the clothes, decor, friendships, boundaries and more... it is a must see.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekend Again

Here we are. Happy Friday!

Out of town again. Our neighbor mentioned we should look into renting our house out on the weekends. Not a bad idea. JH will be gambling in Biloxi for a bach party.... and I will be living it up in nyc with my sister.

Let's hope I can keep up. I casually mentioned hitting up the Chelsea & Hell's Kitchen Markets Saturday morning along with the Soho young designer market and she told me she sleeps til 2pm but feel free to make myself at home.


In other news, I got a little crafty this week... I attempted a diy, which often equates to disaster. I'm confident, this little proj could actually turn out well. Be back next week with the finishing touches. I spent two days searching Michael's, Joann's, Hancock and the better half of my day yesterday searching the www for a 7" wood embroidery hoop. Who knew it would be so hard to find.

my work digs. 

Hope you have a fun filled, relaxing weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Website Source: Looks 4 Less

Hello friends. Happy Hump Day.

With the news of investors losing a trillion dollars in one day, I have resorted to low cost websites for my daily design inspiration.

Check out Looks 4 Less on DecorPad. I love this website for many reasons. It shows great looking pieces and current trends- then lists an exact replica at a deep discount. Sometimes the less is even better than the look.

Some of the items are a total bust .... Who would really want this?

this is $75 at Bellacor

and this is $39 at Urban Outfitters

But often the looks are great....

Restoration Hardware $1,395

Teva Living $540

Jonathan Adler $1,050

Urban Outfitters $62

Ballard Design $401.00

Home Decorators $135.00

They also show Looks 4 Less spaces with a list of sources on where to buy..

Go check it out.

Ps- don't follow the news and liquidate your stock portfolios. It's shear panic & fear; however, it's gonna be a rough ride til 2013, so save ya pennies.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Money Talk

First & foremost, it is FRIDAY!

With the market meltdown {it's pure craziness on the trading floor this week} I read this article via my daily finance reading & found it interesting enough to share.

A common question- How much does spending a couple of bucks on small priced items here-and-there really impact your overall savings? Here is a simple example for you.

*Assume these are bought 5x week for 40 weeks a year (200 out of 365 days), purchased over a 35yr career.

  • Latte ($3.95 each) = $27,650
  • Energy drink ($3.99 each) = $27,930
  • Muffin ($3 each) = $21,000
  • Lunch ($8 each) = $56,000
  • TOTAL: $132,580

Per the researcher, if this $132k was put into your retirement savings gaining a 3% return (very modest), you'd end up with an extra $246,560 after 35 years.

Pretty crazy, huh?

I agree, who really wants to deprive themselves of a little morning latte or pack their lunch everyday when it's a nice break to get out of the office for a bit. Not to mention, 35 years seems like a really long ways a way. 

But I'll admit, it's an interesting calculation. It's a nice number. And ask yourself, is home brewed coffee really that bad? Call me vain, but I'll gladly give up a muffin for that type of return...more change, less curves.

Anyway, the point of the article is these small purchases really do add up over a time and
if you give up a little now, you'll gain much more in the end.

Just a little Food for Friday thought.

Signing off on a TGIF note,

 Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


OPI Launches it's Fall/Winter 2011 'Touring America' Collection today.

12 colors, each inspired by an American City & their cultures:
Baltimore, Clarksdale, Hollywood, Jackson Hole, Memphis, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis and Tucson.

Gotta love the clever names...
  • Are We There Yet? (melon)
  • I Eat Mainely Lobster (coral red)
  • My Address is “Hollywood” (rose pink)
  • Color to Diner For (rosy red)
  • Honk if You Love OPI (grape)
  • Road House Blues (navy blue)
  • Suzi Takes the Wheel (gray)
  • French Quarter for Your Thoughts (gray)
  • Uh-oh Roll Down the Window (olive green)
  • A-taupe the Space Needle (creamy taupe)
  • Get in the Expresso Lane (brown)
  • I Brake for Manicures (eggplant)

Can't wait to get my hands on those melon peach colors.  {No pun intended} *I'm such a dork*