Monday, September 29, 2014

Money Monday: Six Months Without Cable

Back in April, my husband and I made the decision to get rid of our satellite t.v. service. Our contract with Dish expired in January, and we never renewed the service. Instead, we subscribed to Aereo.  For us, Aereo was the perfect solution. We were able to watch television on our iPads, cell phones, and computer, anywhere. Plus, it provided 20 hour of DVR service, all for $8.00 a month.
Then, the Supreme Court decided that the way Aereo operated was illegal, and shut them down

After Aereo shutdown, we considered signing back up with satellite. But, when looking at it, we could not justify spending more than $600.00 a year to watch t.v. We ended up doing some research and found that there are some modern, high powered antennas that provide great reception, without a monthly fee. We started at the bottom of the totem pole with the cheapest antenna. It was about
$25.00, and didn't work for us. 
This did not work for us. 
This is the antenna that we have now
We returned it, and stepped up to the $50.00 level. That one worked, but the reception was spotty. Finally, we bought a higher priced antenna, the ClearStream Micro XG Indoor LongRange Antenna, which cost around $100.00. We have been using this one for about 3 months now, and it works well for our purposes. Sure, the picture can get spotty, but its nothing terrible. Plus, it is more sleek and modern than the others, so aesthetically, it looks better. 

In the end, for us, spending $100.00 for basic cable worked. We subscribe to Nextfilx, and so for $8.00 a month, we get a ton of movies and series to choose from. Plus, nearly every cable station has an app that you can stream their shows for free. If none of that works, then we do a quick YouTube search, and can normally find anything we want that way. 

Towards the end of our satellite contract, we found that we were spending way to much time on the couch. We would come home from work, eat dinner on the couch, clean up, and plop right back down on the couch and sit there for hours. We felt lazy and unproductive, but we lacked the discipline to turn off the t.v. and do something with our evenings. 

Now, we tend to come home, cook dinner, watch an episode of The Office on Netflix while cooking, eating, and cleaning up. Then, we will head outside to take a walk, play with the dogs, chat with the neighbors, work in the yard, or run errands. Given that we have less options at our fingertips, we are less likely to sit on the couch for hours on end. 

I can honestly say that I don't miss cable. There is nothing I want to see so badly that I am willing to pay over $100.00 a month for. 

Tell Me: Do you pay for t.v. service? What do you use? What are your favorite shows?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Confessions

Hi y'all!
Its Friday, which means another week has passed and its time to do our weekly confessions!

1.I told my assistant I had a meeting. I actually had a hair appointment.  I left at 3:00 to get my hair done, and when I was finished, I went home.

2.I made myself cry at work talking about the movie Marley and Me. I've never actually seen the movie, but I somehow got worked up about it at my desk.

3.I stiff armed my dog. The other day I heard my dog running down the hall and knew he was going to try and jump on the bed. I held my arm out like football players do, and he hit my arm straight on, and crashed down to the floor. 

4. I gave some guys at the gym dirty looks. There are not a ton of women who lift, so the guys at the gym in the mornings tend to take weights that the ladies set down between sets, or take room on the floor. The other morning, I had my little 3 foot area, and I walked 10 feet to pick up a dumbbell. When I came back to my spot, a guy started lifting there. I didn't take off my headphones, I didn't say anything, I just stared him down in the mirror. Real mature, I know. 

Fess up!!! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Around the House: The Hallway

We have been quite the weekend warriors the past few weeks. About 2 months ago, we got the urge to work, and we've been getting after it! 

We knew when we purchased our home 2 years ago, that it needed a little TLC. It was built in the 1950's, and had great bones, but there were some flaws that needed to be addressed.

This weekend, we decided to tackle the hallway.
Looking down the hall from the living room. What? You don't have a red industrial fan, I mean, air mover at the end of your hallway that you turn on every night to make noise so your husband can sleep? What's wrong with you?
Looking down the hall towards the living room. Fun fact, that pocket door was not there when we moved in. We actually bought the door, stained it, and installed it ourselves. 
Just so you know, I HATE painting. I cannot stand doing it. But, it is cheap, quick, and transforms a space, so I do it. But, I do have this weird obsession with taping. I just adore taping a room prior to painting. I'm not sure why, but taping is my favorite. It is so relaxing to me. 

The Result 

Again, where is your industrial air mover? #classy

Just sayin' hey! 
I know it is hard to tell, but the paint before was a cream/khaki color. It was old, a bit dirty/dingy, and tired. We ended up using the same base paint we did for the back bedroom, the Behr Revere Pewter. 
Y'all, this color is amazing, and I could paint every room in my house this color and be happy. 

As you can see, we also went to Home Goods and purchased some photo frames and small mirror for the wall. This was a big step for me. I am a minimalist, and always looking to declutter. But, P and I made this small cluster, and I like it. Sort of. 

The last thing we did, was change out the door knobs. All of the knobs were nasty, old, and worst of all, gold. #notmystyle

We replaced the gold with a dark bronze. Again, another cheap and simple repair that looks so much better. 

We still have a few more things to do in the hallway. We want to add crown molding, remove the attic fan, and paint the ceiling. Those will be done in the coming months, but for now, I am happy with how it turned out. 

Given that I have no sense of style or know how to decorate, what do y'all think?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cutting Myself Some Slack


She she is fickle mistress, who giveth and taketh away.

These past few weeks, I have been focusing on my running. I have been increasing my mileage, while still continuing to strength train. I have been constantly lifting for the past six weeks now, and I have really seen a difference. I have noticed that I am tightening up in some areas, but I continue to feel stronger as I run. Turns out, all those experts were right. #Whodathunkit??

This past week, I put 21 miles under my legs, with a plan to do 12 on Saturday.

I woke up around 5:00AM on Saturday, and nothing inside me wanted to get out of bed and workout. I ALWAYS want to get out of bed and workout. Rather than give into the siren song of sleep, I got up, did my bathroom, play with dogs, water, more bathroom routine, and headed out the door.

It was one of those runs that was simply hard. I knew from the first step that I was going to have to slug my way through it. It did not feel good. It did not make me happy. It was a mental battle from the start. All I wanted to do was go back to bed, and then binge on donuts.

Again, I was ready to quit before I even reached the first mile, but I knew I needed to push my way through. For some reason, my body is very slow to warm up to the run. It takes me a good three miles before I feel like my legs are awake and ready to work. I kept telling myself to just get past the third mile, and things would change.

Mile 3 came and went and nothing magic happened. It just didn't click. I managed to power through 8 miles. A little after mile 8, I just quit. I knew that I could not mentally or physically handle 4 more miles.

When I finished and began to make my way home, the mental demons starting flowing. I kept trying to combat it by telling myself I had done a very hard and fast 5 miler the day before. I reminded myself that I lifted less than 24 hours before, including doing squats, which explained the leg fatigue. I reminded myself that I didn't fuel properly, so it was understandable that the run was a struggle.

Even with all those variables, for some reason, it didn't matter. I kept telling myself I was a loser, and that I was mentally weak. I was so disappointed in myself that I allowed myself to quit.

I finally made my way home, and P was standing in the yard with the dogs, and he could tell from the look on my face that I was disappointed. I told him about the run, and his response was "You are not superwoman, cut yourself some slack."

It took a while, but I realized that just because one run didn't go as planned didn't mean anything. There is an ebb and flow to running, and some days you just don't have it.

The good news, there is always tomorrow.

A few hours later, I made peace with my run, ate 3 sandwiches, and gave myself a stern talking to. Accept your defeats, accept your shortcomings, and gear up for the next run.

Next time, game on.

Can anyone relate? Do you tend to be harder on yourself that others are on you, or you are on others? How do you bounce back?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Confessions

Hey Gang! Its Friday. That means, its time for our weekly confessions. Its time to tell all we did wrong this week.

1.I told my team that I had a meeting and that I needed my assistant to come. We actually went and got our nails did. We were both in pretty bad moods, and in a total funk. So, I made a decision to take a 20 minute break, and treat us both to painted nails. 20 minutes later, we were happy, excited, and ready to work.

2.I stole a beer. I was at a wedding last weekend, and I thought it was an open bar. So, I walked up, asked for a beer, and walked off. I didn't realize until later when I saw people at my table pulling out money that you actually had to pay.

3. I ate an egg shell. The other morning, I was making egg whites and a piece of shell fell in. It was small, well smallish. I figured, it couldn't hurt, so I never pulled it out. A few minutes later, I took a bite and it was crunchy.

4. I walked into a restroom, and thought it was the men's room, apologized, and walked out.  It turns out, it was the women's restroom, and I made a horrible mistake.

All right friends, its time, fess up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Around the House--The Back Bedroom

These past few weeks, we have been working hard on our back bedroom. We have lived in our house for 2 years now, and this is the only room that we have never done anything to.

When we moved in, the room looked like this.

The lighting in this room is not great, and it is hard to tell, but it was a weird mint green color.

First, we put up crown molding. We found this particular molding at a builder supply store for about $.80 cents, a foot, so we were able to install crown molding in the entire room for less than $40.00, including caulking, primer, and paint. 

Next, we began painting the wall. 

The main wall color is Behr's Revere Pewter, which is a soft grey. (thank you Pinterest for the suggestion)

Next, we painted the back wall with stripes. Again, Revere Pewter is the softer color, and Behr's Rockport is the darker contrasting grey. 

Finally, we painted the ceiling a bright white, and now, it looks so much cleaner and crisp than it did before. 

We have a few more minor adjustments to make. We need to hang curtains and then get to work on the closet. We plan to install some shelving units and create some better storage areas. For whatever reason, this closet is the largest in the house, so we want to make most of the space we have.

This has now become my favorite room in the house! I have some furniture that I am working on refinishing because I want to have all white furniture in this room. I'll show y'all that once I am finished!

What do you think, do you like it? Any projects going on at your house? 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

You Never Know

I don't talk about work much here on the old blog, but I really enjoy my job. I am in commercial real estate, and I manage a portfolio worth hundreds of millions of dollars. My job is is control expenses, manage a team, budgeting, keep operating systems functioning, ensure the assets look beautiful at all times, and many many other things. Its a high stress job, with lots of responsibilities, but I do enjoy it.

Sometimes, when things get really busy, I go to a place where I am not leading with love and kindness, rather, I am legalistic, demanding, and task oriented.

Given that I office at one of my assets, I see anything and everything wrong with the building. (Much to the chagrin of my team).  One thing that angers me is smokers who through their butts in the grass or in the flower beds rather than the ash trays. It is something that annoys me to no end, and I look for them every time I am outside.

For the past few weeks, there I noticed a gentleman at the building who rarely used the ash tray's. He threw his used butts in the drive way, in the grass, and in the flower beds that I paid thousands of dollars to install, and pay hundreds of dollars and month to upkeep. I watched him do this time and time again, and each time, I became more and more angry.

I sent memo's out to the entire building reminding them of the smoking policy and procedure. I emailed him company directly asking them to be cognizant of this, and still nothing changed. At one point, I went and picked up one of his used cigarette butts, put it in an plastic bag, and was ready to march up to his office and let him know he left something behind.

But then, I spoke with a man on my team who knew his story. It turns out, this man had been living in a hotel for the past 3 months. He wears the same clothes all week, because he does not have anything else to wear. He does not have a car, so he walks to work every day. Currently, he is going through a nasty divorce, and his wife cleaned out the bank account, locked him out of the house, and left him with almost nothing.

After hearing that, my heart dropped to my stomach. Was he doing something wrong? Yes. Was it making me mad? Yes. Had I stopped for moment to consider him and his situation? No.

Does he need to stop throwing those cigarette butts all over my property? Yes. Does he need to be dealt with? Yes.

But, I was reminded in that moment, that attitude begets attitude. Problems escalate, people get mad, upset, and hurt feelings when they perceive they have been wronged.

The problem with my situation was not my smoker friend, it was me. It was my attitude toward him and my approach to the problem. If I want a positive outcome, perhaps it would be better for me to tone down my attitude and lead with kindness rather than bitchiness.

Ultimately, it was more about me than him. I need to stop and think about others, not just myself. I have to think about how I want to hear news and information. Getting mad is easy, managing that anger, presenting it in a way that is more appealing is the challenge.

You never know what someone is going through. We have the choice to be a blessing or a curse to people. We can be the reason they smile that day, the reason they laugh, or the reason they feel even a glimmer of hope. We can build up rather than tear down. We can be the change we want to see.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Around the House: In the Yard

These past few weeks, my husband and I have been putting in a lot of time and effort (and budgeted money) working around our house.

The first project we took on was repurposing an old door into a trestles for our two of our rose bushes. The rose bushes need something to climb on, and rather than purchase something, we just repurposed what we had.

The next project we tackled was the hardest. We have a small strip between our house and driveway that we have never known what to do with. The people who we purchased our house from filled it with lava rock. 

I've never like the lava rock. It looked bad, attracted dirt, leaves, and trash.  

We ended up shoveling up all of the rock, and cleaned the bed.

Then, we ended up purchasing grey Mexican river rock from a whole seller. Below is what we ended up with. 

We also spent a good amount of time cleaning up the yard, and our garden area. Earlier this year, we shortened our deck and planted new sod in its place to open up the yard. We also cleared the area of the yard that we once used as a compost area. We didn't put the time or effort into composting like we should, so we ended up cleaning that area up as well. 

We have had a lot of fun this summer working on the yard, cleaning everything up, and making our home look good.

What summer projects have you tackled?