about me

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Denver, Colorado, United States
i'm 33. i live with my husband, baby daughter 2 dogs and 1 kitty. i'm a chemical engineer with an MBA and work in technical sales. i tend to bite off more than i *think* i can chew and end up with a full bulging mouth for awhile before i can finally swallow. i thrive in chaos, but strive for order.


honeymoon part one

there have been a lot of things i've wanted to blog about over the past few weeks, but i am paranoid that the people i would be blogging about would somehow stumble across this and make things messier than they already are.  so i'm going to refrain from it until i can think of some way to make the issues more vague.

there are also several personal struggles that i am going though right now, but i'm not sure how to blog about them appropriately.  i'm sure they'll come out in time.

so in the interest of avoiding another 12 month span between blog posts, i will tell you the story of how i thought i ruined our honeymoon.

when we started planning the honeymoon, i had a very specific idea in my head of what i wanted it to be, as i'm sure most brides do.  i knew i wanted to go somewhere exotic and unusual.  no hawaii or mexico for me -um.. WAY too common.  this is what i wanted:

 so i started researching the greek isles (and telling everyone that's where we were planning to go) and i bargained with myself that if we stayed in a more budget hotel and not the $500 per night private villas it wouldn't really matter because HELLO! we were in the GREEK ISLES!  then that stupid volcano in iceland erupted and we decided that maybe going near europe wasn't such a good idea.

so my next choice was something like this:

it turns out that a private tahitian hut in the ocean with a glass bottomed hot tub is so far out of our price range that it would have cost more than our actual wedding.  so that idea was scratched.

then i thought that perhaps something in the caribbean would be better suited to our price range and schedule.  it was too overwhelming to pick the best island to visit, so i called a travel agent who specialized in honeymoons.  i told her that we wanted to go to the caribbean but under no circumstances did i want to stay in a cheesy sandals resort in jamaica. that's when she suggested barbados.

i started looking at hotels in barbados and found some amazing hotels (including the one where tiger woods was married).  i picked out 3 hotels that seemed pretty luxurious, but not too outrageous, and sat down with j to make a decision.  j pointed out that since we were on a very fixed budget, we could afford these hotels, but we couldn't afford much else besides food.. and wouldn't we want to do a bunch of activities while we were there?   we hopped onto expedia to see what the price range of hotels was in barbados and HOLY CRAP HERE'S ONE THAT IS $2000 CHEAPER THAN WHAT WE PICKED OUT!!!!!!

i didn't book it right away, because i am very anal prudent about getting past the marketing bull and finding out what a place is really like, so i had to spend 2 days googling and reading all 500 reviews on every single travel review website that i could find. overall,  the coconut court beach hotel got very favorable reviews from fellow travelers.  the gist of the reviews were that yes, the hotel was old and a little outdated (no 1000 thread count sheets here!), but the staff was superb, the location was outstanding, and the beach was the most perfect spot of beach on the whole island.

we decided to book.  because REALLY, how much time will we *actually* spend in the room, even thought it *is* our honeymoon?  the beach and location are WAY more important, right? and $2000 is a lot of island tours and yummy meals and alcohol and snorkeling trips and shopping, right??

we are practical people.

so we booked the resort, sent in the deposit, and looked forward to our first major vacation together and jared's first time out of the country.

to be continued... 



our house is being attacked by fruit flies.  they are mostly in the kitchen, but aren't afraid of exploring the bathroom and living room.

it is SO annoying.  and quite embarrassing.  i know i don't clean my house as often as i should, but we are not dirty people, so i really can't understand why we can't get rid of these little buggers.

a few days ago, i put all of our fruit in the fridge and wiped down the counters really well.   then i poured baking soda down the drain, followed with vinegar to let it fizz and clean all the nooks and crannies of the garbage disposal.   and then i poured a whole kettle of boiling water down the drain. 

i have 3 apple cider/saran wrap traps set out to catch them.

we take the trash out every day and have a closed trash can. 

it feels like nothing is working!  any ideas of other places they could be breeding?


giving back

around the holidays i start to get the bug to do some volunteer work.  i wish that i was a better person and it was a year round thing that i could commit too, but i'm not quite there yet. 
i used to volunteer a lot.  in highschool i was active in all the community service clubs and regularly worked at soup kitchens and did canned food drives and rang bells for the salvation army.  i also headed up the ecology club and we did cleanups and recycling drives.  then in college, my sorority did work with alzheimers patients and habitat for humanity among other things.
once i was on my own, it was difficult to find these opportunities.  and i had a lot less time.
but i really started to miss the feeling of giving back.  sending a check to feed a homeless family for thanksgiving every year just didn't really cut it for me.  i'm the type of person that would rather give my time than my money.  i've found that this is fairly difficult to do.
last year i was searching for volunteer opportunities in denver and was discouraged with all the hoops i had to jump though - applications and references?  commit to a minimum of 10 hours per week?  where were the "i have some free time this saturday and can help you out - what do you need?" events? 
i understand the reasoning behind the background checks and minimum hours, i really do.  i just wonder how many people they are turning away who want to help.
this year, i found this fantastic site - volunteer match. so far, I have wrapped presents and helped with a few adoption events at the lifeline puppy rescue.  this weekend j and i will be putting together food baskets for seniors and then helping again at the puppy rescue. 
it's nice to have something rewarding to do with my time, and lord knows we could use the karma right now. 



inspiration always strikes me at the most random times.  usually i'm in the middle of something else and i have to stop what i'm doing so that i can do the new thing right. this. minute.  for example, i'll be blow drying my hair when i decide to make a new recipe for dinner.  so i stop blow drying to go take stock of the ingredients i have and make a shopping list.  with wet hair.  i have no idea why i can't finish the first thing i'm doing and THEN start the new thing.  i can either look at it as a super annoying habit, or multi-tasking at it's finest.. i think it's really just adult ADD.

so anyhow, i recently started reading a blog done by lori, a friend of mine from highschool - it's called  no more sweatpants.  it's a fashion blog that details her journey to be more creative with the clothes in her closet and to test her fashion boundaries.  i've spent most of my morning reading her archives and i am totally inspired to do something similar.  since i started working from home, i have become very lax in my outfits.  when i started gaining more weight, i slipped even further.  i'm typing this at 11:30 on a wednesday morning and i am still in my pajamas and fuzzy bathrobe.  in a few minutes i will most likely change into either workout clothes or jeans and a hoodie to run my errands.  if i meet a client i will wear the only pair of dress pants that fits me and a neutral colored cardigan. it's BORING.  and i feel FRUMPY.  which makes me feel worse about myself.  not cool.

i would love to get dressed up a little, but i'm terrified that i will look ridiculous because or how large i am right now.  but that is TOTALLY stupid.  i'm going to look the same size in jeans and a hoodie as i would look in nicer jeans, a sweater, cute shoes, and some accessories.   yeah i'll look big, but i'll also look put together.  this will make me feel better about myself which will help lead to better food and exercise choices which will lead to a smaller body and more confident me.

the other thing that inspires me about lori's blog is that most of her clothes are thrifted or from the places that i like to shop (ross, target, kohls, etc).   they're not expensive, yet she makes them look fantastic!  i've always been frugal, but a little wary of thrift stores.  lately i've been wanting to give them a go - make it more of a treasure hunt - and satisfy my shopping desire without spending money i don't have. 

so today, after i put on my jeans and sweater with cute shoes and some accessories, i'm going to drop by the local thrift store to see if i can find something unique to jazz me up a little. 

i'll let you know what i find.

what's the spin?

i used to belong to this really cool gym, qi.  it was an old warehouse converted into a gym and was downtown not too far from my old house.  it had a really nice yoga room, state of the art cardio equipment, and a spin room with a huge garage door that they could open in the summer.  there was local art all over the walls and i just loved the atmosphere.  of course, it came with a $100 per month price tag.

my friend deb was a member and i went to the spin-yoga class with her.  it was a half hour of spin and then a half hour of vinyasa yoga.  it was the only exercise class that i actually enjoyed, mostly because the music in the spin class was perfectly matched with the changes in the routine and i could really lose myself.  the routines were challenging and different every time, with a bit of yoga and strength training incorporated.  the instructors were really good at telling you what was going on and what form you should be using.

i went to this class for a few months, but when j and i started adjusting our budget, the membership was something that had to go, especially since i already had a lifelong membership to 24 hour fitness that was paid for years ago.
last night i decided to try out the spin class offered by 24 hour fitness and was highly dissapointed.

the instructor, while a perfectly nice lady, is a little older and i'm not sure she quite understands how a spin class should work. 

when i think of a spin class, i think of upbeat songs that most people know, that have super energetic bursts and then slow down a bit, so that you can match the intervals of the spin intensity.  this can be about any dance-y song that is currently on the radio.  i don't think my instructor understands this.  the intervals she has us do don't match up with the songs at ALL.  then after every song (or sometimes in the middle of them), she has to get off the bike and fiddle with her ipod because i don't think she has any idea on how to create a playlist!  this makes for a really choppy class that goes by pretty slowly because you can never get fully into it.

now lets talk about the routine itself. while i appreciate the encouraging "woooooo!" that she gives us every 2 minutes, i wish she would be as vocal with the actual instructions on what we were supposed to do.

in the qi class, the instructions would be something along the lines of this:  "turn it up to level 7 and hover - backs straights, arms bent, hand spread on the bars.  ok, now turn it up to an 8 and climb up that hill - stand up..  now we're going to do some jumps in 4 second intervals - turn it to a 6 and UP-1-2-3-4, DOWN-1-2-3-4, UP-1-2-3-4..."  the instructors were always talking and letting you know exactly what you should be doing.  

in the 24 hour class, the instructions are more like this:  "woooooooooo!  ok let's start climbing. silence for 30 seconds.  ok now you're going down hill.  feel the wind in your hair!   woooooooooo!  ok now pedal fast."  i have no idea what level i should be at and it gets pretty boring - all we do is sprinting intervals and standing climbs.  for an HOUR.

my friend erin says the key to sticking with the gym is finding classes and instructors you like and then you'll want to go to the classes. unfortunately, this is the only spin class near my house.

i feel like i could teach it better.


omg i suck

it's been a YEAR since my last post?  sorry... this year has been so full of changes and revelations and stress that i think the thought of writing about it (after discussing it with pretty much anyone who would listen) just seemed overwhelming.  but now i realize that instead of talking to *some* people about things, i really should just be writing them down so that i can get it out without subjecting people to listening to my issues.  at least i know that you can just skim the post or skip it if you're not interested!

so.. what has been going on that is so overwhelming, you ask?  where do i begin..?   wedding.  houses.  jobs.  family drama.  friend drama. money.  self esteem. 

j and i were married on 5/14/10!   the wedding overall was good (at least people told me they had a good time), although of course it didn't go quite the way i planned.   i'm sure i'll go into more details later - but here's a quick summary.   it snowed and had to be moved inside.  some people created a lot of drama over silly things and it stressed me out.  there were family issues (apparently not attending my wedding is a way to get back at my mom for something she didn't even do).  i didn't feel comfortable in my dress.  BUT, when it was all said and done, i married the love of my life and that's all that matters.  

at this time last year, we had 3 houses and one of them was vacant. the vacant one was also trashed and there was no way we could rent it out in it's current condition.  our only solution was to sell the house we were living in.  my first house.  the house i loved and still have a strong attachment to.  we put it on the market in october and after 7 months, 80+ showings, and an offer that fell through, we finally found a buyer.  the day after we returned from our honeymoon (barbados!), we closed and the cutest couple ever took possession of our house.  i was so happy that they were my buyers because they are exactly the type of people i wanted living in my house.   we then moved into the quitman house, which is the one we rent to college kids (it was vacant for the summer) and started fixing up the fenton house (the one that was trashed).   lost yet?  it was insane.  we lived in 3 houses within a 3 month time span.  i don't recommend it. 

so... long story short, we spent all the money we made on the house we sold to put in new windows, appliances, floors, doors, trim, fixtures, etc into the fenton house.  which is now our home.  which i am trying to make the best of even though i would never ever have chosen to live in this house.  it is such a big stress of our lives and one that virtually none of our friends can understand.  right now everything in the house is functional, but not finished.  and it drives me BATTY!  

my job is actually going fantastically.  after not making my goal last year and losing out on a bunch of $$, i am ahead of my goal this year.  which is extremely helpful because j quit his job in september to go back to school.  it a decision that both of us are on board with and one that had to be made.  he's getting his BS in construction management, so i know that it will be very beneficial to our future.  it's just another financial stressor that we have to deal with in order to set us up for success.  being the main breadwinner though... that's a lot of pressure. 

i don't really want to get into the friend or family drama on this blog because i don't want to add fuel to the fire should these people read this.  let's just say that i am focusing on surrounding myself with individuals that act as positive forces in my life and am disassociating with those who i think are bringing negative energy into my life.   

one income. too much debt.  2 mortgages. it all piles up and we're having to make some serious choices.  we are cutting back the extras like crazy and it's really hard on my ego to have to admit that even though i make decent money and have an engineering degree and my MBA, i still am not on par financially with my peers due to choices i made, some which were beyond my control. hopefully my frugal forays will be entertaining and useful to you all when i blog about them later. 

and lastly...self esteem. 
i have always struggled with my weight.. but even though i've always been a little chubby, i've been comfortable enough in my skin to not let it be too much of an issue.  that has changed.  i have gained so much weight since the wedding that not only do my clothes not fit, but i don't even recognize myself anymore in pictures.  it's bad.  i don't feel like i went crazy with the fast food or anything (because that's really not my style).. it's just the little things that ad up.  having to eat out because we don't have a kitchen in the house we're fixing up.  not exercising because i have to tile a floor.  being stressed in general.  the past 2 months we've been eating really healthy and i've been getting back into an exercise routine, but the scale hasn't budged. it hasn't gone *up* anymore, which is a good thing, but it hasn't gone down either.  my normal habits at the gym just won't cut it anymore.  the motivation is *almost* there and this will be something that i will try to blog about more so it keeps me accountable. 

so there you go. my 2010 summary.  

my goal for the rest of 2010 is to post at LEAST every other day in december so that i can get back into blogging.  it's good for me.