Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Keep Those Dolla Dolla Bills in your Pocket

Otherwise known as easy money saving tips. It makes me so happy to see my savings increase but it can be really hard when I am making enough to pay bills and not much more. Lately I have been thinking about this and really want to try and build my savings up again. I have three small things that I do that really seem to help me. They may not add up to much at once but over time it is fun to see how much I can save by making these small changes. 

1. Don't spend your cash. This can mean something different for everyone. If you are just starting out and aren't quite used to saving it is easiest to start with just saving your change and maybe one and five dollar bills. But if you are looking for bigger savings then go all out and cease your cash spending. I know some people only like to spend cash versus using their card but for me it's easiest to use my card and keep track while saving all of my cash. 

2. Post-it note your credit cards. I like to put post-it notes on my credit cards with a short list of things I am saving up for, this helps for when I am out at the store and see something that I don't really need. The minute I pull out my card to pay I look at my list of bigger financial goals and it makes me think twice about that little unnecessary purchase. There have been plenty of times where I will decide that I don't need that item anymore once I give it some more thought after seeing my little post-it note. 

3. Delete emails from retailers before opening. Better yet, take yourself off the list completely. Not looking at the emails with each and every sale going on can help you avoid the temptation of spending your money on things that you don't need. Bonus: I am a great online window shopper, I fill up my cart with all the pretty things and then I have to just quick exit out and pretend it never happened. It's like shopping without spending the money...or coming home with the stuff but that's besides the point ;)

So what do you think? Do you use any of these tips? Do you have some other great tips? Share! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Rainy Weekend Well Spent

Happy last week of April!! Hopefully once we get into May we can get into some consistently good weather. This weekend was cold and rainy. But I didn't let that stop me from having another great weekend. We celebrated Colby Jack's birthday and spent time with some friends. 

Saturday I drove home after work to see Colby Jack and Jamal. I was so excited to give Colby J all of his birthday presents. I set him on the couch and then put all of his presents on it with him, he was so funny. He didn't know which he should investigate first but of course like I figured his favorite thing was the little cat toy balls with little rocks or something in them to make noise, he loves those things. 

After playing with Colby Jack we went to MyBurger with Archie and his girlfriend for an early dinner. It was delicious as always and fun to see them since it had been almost a year for me! After dinner we raced home so that I could go babysit for the rest of the night. 

Sunday morning Jamal had to work so I went over to my friend Kayla's to meet her new baby Autumn. She had in the beginning of April. She was so tiny I loved her. It has been so long since I've held a newborn so I was in heaven. Plus it was really fun to hang out with Kayla, it had been a long time since I had last seen her. 

I went home in the afternoon and waited for Jamal to get home with Colby Jack's birthday pup cake from Nadia Cakes. Colby J loved it! It was so cute. And then as usual we ended the weekend watching a couple episodes of Chicago Fire. 

The weekend flew by especially fast since I didn't go home until Saturday but even though it was a good mix of relaxation and hanging out with friends. I am so ready for more spring/summer weekends :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Wish List

Happy Friday friends! We made it through another week and are getting closer to summer. You know how when you have no extra spending money you want to buy everything and then when you actually do have some money nothing seems worth it? No? Just me? Well anyway I am in one of those phases where I want everything I see but no dollars to pay. So I am just going to tell you about all of my favorite things that I wish I could have right now and maybe you'll be lucky enough to find something you want too :)

I am loving this shirt from here. Seriously, how perfect for the 4th of July. It is on my list for sure right now and I am determined to get in time for some patriotic partying. 

I am loving all of the new prints from Erin's new etsy shop but this one is my fave. Hoping to add it my walls one day soon. 

A bed like this one from here but really any one would do. Jamal and I are in need of new bigger bed for when we move. 

One of these personal blender things. Love them. I wasn't sure how they would work when I first saw them but my roommate got one and loves it. 

A bar cart. These better still be cool when I can actually afford one. I love them, this one is a bit out of my price range for a loooonnngggg time but I still like it. 

I can't wait to get one of these, but that of course means I need a semi permanent day. 

And one of these. HA just kidding :) but I do really want some baby snuggles! 

Alright, that's all I've got. Linking up today with Erica for Listed Fridays. 

Have a fabulous weekend!! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Puppy's First Birthday

Today is Colby Jack's first birthday!! I can't believe how big my little baby is. Looking back at pictures from when we first brought him home seem like forever ago and yet just yesterday at the same time. My puppy isn't a puppy anymore, he is a dog. 

I am not home with him today to celebrate but we will have plenty of fun this weekend when I see him. I can't wait to give him all the gifts I bought him as well as a special treat. I would also like to mention that we achieved my goal of having him back to perfect health by his birthday. He is doing so good and I'll have a final update sometime soon. 

Dear Colby Jack, 

     It was the longest and shortest first year. It felt like you would never be potty trained and then when you were I couldn't believe how fast it happened haha. Oh how your mindset changes with the situation. 
     I am so happy we made it to your first birthday. It was touch and go there for a while with my mom threatening to kick you out if you peed on the floor one more time and then the whole broken knee/surgery ordeal. Thankfully we all survived and are better for it :) 
     You have recently developed the funniest eating habits. You are getting picker with what you will eat and it just cracks me up. My mom and sister love to feed you their food so when Jamal and I don't share with you you get so upset. My mom gave you a pretzel filled with peanut butter and you cracked open the pretzel and only ate the filling! Speaking of PB, it is your favorite. The second you get a whiff of it you freak out. It never ceases to make me laugh how the first thing you do when we get up in the morning is go into the dining room looking for my mom at the table with a snack for you. And probably one of my most favorite odd habits of yours is how you eat your dog food. The type we give you ask brown pieces and black pieces. You will only eat the brown pieces. You literally pick up the black pieces and spit them out!! It is so funny. 
     Your favorite activities haven't changed much in your first year of life. You love jumping fro the couch to the floor 500 times a day as fast as possible. You also loved to be chased around the house, you would do this all day if we kept chasing. The car with the wind blowing in your face is one of your favorite places to be. I'm not sure if it's because you actually like the car or you are just so happy that you got to come with and weren't left home. Either way your like being in the car. You're fast friends with any human or animal and truly just enjoy life. And of course your least favorite activity is being home alone. It makes me sad to see you sad face when you leave. But the joy you have when we return home is unbeatable. 
     I love that you are the happiest dog. I seriously don't know how we got so lucky. You love everyone and just want to be friends. You make me the happiest and I love you so much. I will never ever tire of your excitement when I walk in the door. It brightens my whole day and makes me feel so loved. So thanks for that baby you are the best. Love you mucho muffin head, more than I ever thought possible. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lots On The Brain

My brain is a bit of a jumbled mess. I have so much going on and I can't quite get myself to form a proper post. I keep bouncing all over the place and I can't find that one perfect topic so today I bring you another addition of Brittany's Rambles. 

Yesterday in the mail I got $30 for free! Score!! This is the second item we have received this year with some free money. People send us surveys and include cash in hopes that we take the money and do the survey (which of course I will fill out and send back). Well I happened to be the lucky opener of this particular envelope and found six crisp five dollar bills. I was so so excited and jumped in the car to go shopping. I used the money to buy Colby Jack's birthday gifts. 

Speaking of Colby Jack's birthday, he turns one tomorrow. ONE. Can you believe it? I sure cannot. I am so excited to celebrate this weekend with him. I don't have any set plans yet but I know I will find something great. 
>>>Any MN blogger dog lovers want to head to a dog park with us or something similar??

We need new couple friends. For the past couple months it seems that all of our friends are busy when we want to go out or do something fun. How can this be? 

Lately I have had some really weird experiences at work regarding racism-usually towards others not me. It really baffles me that people think like this and don't even think twice to speak it out loud in a public setting. If I think about it for too long it makes me so frustrated, I literally just cannot believe how some people have no clue and don't even see that it is a problem! I have a possible post in the works but I don't even know where to begin.

And to end it on a happy note, only two and a half weeks til graduation :) but of course that doesn't mean summer break for me. My final summer classes start up May 19th.

Well that is all I have, I will be back tomorrow with a much better post talking all about Colby Jack and his first year of life. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Weekend 2014

Easter weekend flew by. Before I knew it it was time for me to hop in the car for my drive back down to school and the fun was over. So of course that means now it is time for me to write it all down so I can remember what a great weekend it was. 

Friday night I got home and had to convince Jamal to stay in with me, he was trying to go with a movie with his friends but I quickly reminded him how I just drove two hours and to see him and realized I was the better choice :) I think we once we eventually settled in and started watching TV we only got about an episode and a half before I was falling asleep. 
he was tired too

Saturday I got up early to run some errands with my mom before heading to my cousin Anne's bridal shower. It was a fun shower with a lot of games. The best/weirdest part was seeing one of my old high school teachers there! Turns out she is my cousins fiances mom!!! So crazy. She was one of my favorite teachers but it was still kinda odd to be seeing her at my grandma's. haha I would have never guessed. 
the bride to be in her white "dress"

After we left the shower I went home to get Jamal and we met up at MyBurger with Jamie and Nickle. We hadn't seen them in forever so it was nice to catch up over some delicious food. Afterwards we decided that we needed some more time so we went over to Rojo for some drinks. It was so good to spend some time with them it had been way too long!

We got home pretty late Saturday night and Sunday morning came way too early. We got up to head to the early service at church. One of my favorite parts of the service was during the tithes and offering music. There was someone singing (I don't even remember the song now) and in the background there was a painter painting these marks all over these boards they put up. As he went on it started it form words and eventually it said "It was finished". I just thought it was really cool and something different. 

After church we went to Rodizio Grill for brunch with my family. It is a brazilian steakhouse where they bring the meat to your table and cut it for you. So good. Later we went home to relax, open up our Easter baskets, and watch some TV. We got a few more episodes in and then went for a walk. Jamal grilled some pork chops for dinner and then it was already time for me to leave. 

It was a really good and filling weekend, I am so glad that I got to go home. But I think I am still full! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Listed Fridays: Summer Fun

Happy Friday & Easter weekend!! I am so so excited for all of the fun we have planned, but you'll have to check back next week to find out what I did. Today I am linking up with Erica for Listed Fridays. Basically I just have to post a list of whatever my little heart desires. Easy peasy and quick reading for a holiday weekend. I have a major one track mind and when I want/am planning something it is all I can think about and these days, like many, my mind is on summer. So I have a little list of all the fun things I am hoping to do this summer. I cannot wait. 

  • Visit brewery after brewery and add to our ever growing drinking glass collection
  • Attend Grill Fest and Bacon & Beer Fest (next month!!!!) and any other fest that we find
  • Move in with Jamal ♥
  • Take a trip? Maybe, hopefully.
  • Visit Duluth-it has been way too long
  • Have the best 4th of July yet, I live for this day
  • Go to the MN State Fair at least twice and eat as much as I possibly can
  • Go on lots and lots of walks
  • Eat grilled food as much as possible
  • Make s'mores at a bonfire
What are your fun summer plans?? Did I miss anything?
Erica Jacquline

Thursday, April 17, 2014

This Life is a Good One

No one has a perfect life. We dream of what life would be like if it were perfect and we do our absolute best to make those dreams come true but we will never achieve that goal of perfection. There will always be a petty argument with your boyfriend, traffic on a Friday afternoon, and the battle of wanting to eat all of the food but still fit in your clothes. But you know what? I am okay with that because when I stop and really think about it, those are small things in my life and if I look at the bigger picture I can see how amazing my life really is regardless of those imperfections. No it doesn't always feel wonderful, not all of the time, but enough that it makes me happy and is worth living. 

Sometimes I get stressed out with all of the things going on and it seems like I will forever be in debt with stupid school loans. But then I think of what those school loans brought me and how it will all be worth it one day. 

Yes, maybe I am stuck down at school two hours away from the one person and one dog I love the most but they are never more than a call away and I know that my weekend home is always on its way.

How about when I sit at school with nothing to do because I don't know many people down here. Those times really suck. A lot. But it's okay because I have so many friends back home that are just a phone call away. It also means that I have fun times with them to look forward to. I am always counting down until my next weekend home because it means that I get to see my favorite people and if I am lucky we have something fun lined up. 

It can seem like these days will never pass, like I am stuck in time and not moving forward but then I think about all of the fun things that we have planned for the summer and it recharges me. I think that if I can just make it through this time, or this test, night, or week then I will finally be home with my loves and having fun.

And even these boring days at school, I shouldn't just wish them away. When in my life will I ever have so much free time? So much time alone and to do as I please. I don't have to worry about taking Colby Jack potty ever hour or feel guilty about being on the internet instead of speeding time with Jamal. So yes I may hate this phase of life at times but it is perfect in its own way too. 

I have a beautiful life. I don't always realize it, but I do. Sometimes it gets hard and it feels tedious and it gets redundant and it is just no fun at all but then I think of whats to come and where I have been and I realize how amazing it truly is. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I have taken my sweet time posting about this topic because I am so scared of failure. I am afraid of what happens if something goes wrong and then everyone knows but I guess there is no turning back because Sunday night we made it official. I am graduating this May/summer. 
Best. Email. Ever. 

I am participating in the graduation ceremony and walking on May 10th but I still have a few classes to finish up over the summer. So as of this summer (I don't recall the exact date) I will officially be done with college and have my beloved bachelors degree. It will feel so amazing to be done with school and able to move on with life. I may one day come back and get my masters but right now all I can think about is the fact that I will have no more finals, no more homework, and most importantly no more long distance with Jamal.

I'll keep it short and sweet because I have a presentation today and I am not a fan of those. Adios friends. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 11, 2014

If I Moved to Chicago Tomorrow

If I moved to Chicago tomorrow...

I would have to live in a high rise condo, preferably in the South Loop and at least on the 10th floor; have to have a view. 

I would spend hours exploring my new city, long walks through the city and finding my new favorite spots.

I would go to Eataly for a whole day. I am dying to go there and experience it.

I would ask all of my friends from back home to come visit me so that they too can fall in love with Chicago.

I would go to as many Bears games as possible and even one year have season tickets!

I would finally make it to to the Skydeck.

I would stroll the streets with Colby Jack so he too can get a sense of his new home.

I would go and see Taylor do some improv and laugh my butt off. 

I would be scared of the cold winter to come and worry about how I would survive in a walking city but then remember where I'm from.

I would see Jamal's family so much more often. Weekly dinners with his grandparents. Fun city days with his brother.

I would go to Sprinkles cupcakes often because it is just that good. 

I would miss all of my MN blogger friends but would hopefully make some new Chicago blogger friends. Any takers??

I would sleep soundly at night knowing that I took a chance by moving in the first place.

And I would have no regrets to worry about like I would if I never tried it out. 

Maybe, hopefully this will all happen one day.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mini Pizza Bites

As a young and mostly broke college student my meals are a. pretty repetitive and b. cheap and easy. Sometimes I really want a specific dish so I go out and buy the ingredients but then I always end up with random leftover things that I have no idea what to do with. I am convinced that single person meals are far more difficult. So the other day when I had a bunch of random ingredients at home and no money in my bank account I had to get creative. And what I came up with is brilliant. 

Mini Pizza Bites

So simple and so good. 

What you need:
Chips, I used original black bean Beanitos so they were perfectly round (used to eat with hummus)
Turkey Pepperoni (used for naan pizza)
Cheese (used for naan pizza)
Tomato Sauce, I used spaghetti sauce because it's what I had and it tasted just fine (leftover from spaghetti)

What you do:
Lay out your chips in a single layer on your plate
Put one piece of pepperoni on each chip
Sprinkle your chips with cheese
Put the plate in the microwave for about 20 seconds to melt cheese
Warm up your tomato sauce
Dip your mini pizza bites in your sauce and enjoy!

See? So easy and so good. I won't lie and tell you that it tastes just like pizza but I think that it was a great substitution and helped use up some of those random leftover ingredients.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Perfect Spring Weekend

Here we are at Tuesday, the first full week of April is over and the weeks are just flying by. Does time go faster during the spring/summer? I am convinced that it does. I am determined this year to take advantage of the warm weather this year and do as many fun and outdoorsy things as possible and I started this past weekend. 

A while back we bought a livingsocial for a beer tasting at 612 Brew and we finally made it out there on Saturday with our friends Chelsey and Cody. It is in NE Minneapolis and in a great location. We intended to stay outside and enjoy the weather in their nice outdoor area but it was still a little too chilly for us girls so we made our way inside. With our livingsocial Jamal and I got to share a flight of beer, each have our own pint and we each got a take home glass. I like beer but I don't love it, I much prefer a good cider. Everyone else seemed to really like their beer so I guess it was good. I only kinda liked one from the flight we had but it was still fun to try them and I really enjoy doing tastings so it was worth it. The brewery doesn't serve food so they have food trucks out during the weekends so we got some food from the truck, nothing fancy just a good hot dog for me and a burger for Jamal :)

After we got our fill of beer we went to Target for a few groceries and while we were shopping my sister called and asked if we wanted to get dinner with her, my mom, and my aunt. Since they were buying we of course were in. We quick went home to drop off our groceries and then headed to 3 Squares to meet up with them. That was my second time there and it is one of my favorite restaurants simply for the fact that I've had amazing customer service both times I've been there. 
Delicious gorgonzola chips

The first time I was there I wanted honey mustard and they didn't have any so the waitress requested the cooks to make me some! I was impressed enough with that. Well then Saturday night after we finished dinner my sister was the only one to order dessert and our waiter brings out enough spoons and plates for all of us. He told us that he had a surprise and would be back. He came back with my sisters ice cream and a plate with chocolate cake and ice cream on it for the rest of us to share! So nice! Not to mention he was extremely friendly the entire time we were there. I just love that place and and am so impressed with their service. 

We ended the night by watching a few episodes of Chicago Fire and Chicago PD before falling asleep. Sunday morning we woke up, tag teamed breakfast and then continued catching up some some Chicago FD/PD episodes. Afterwards we spent most of the afternoon outside chatting with neighbors and just enjoying the warm weather. Colby Jack is going crazy and is so ready to run around but he still has to wait a couple weeks. But I can tell that the warmer weather is really making him restless. 

We had such a good weekend. I don't think it could have been better. I am so excited for many weekends like it to happen. 

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