Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Failures have Served me Well

Top Chef All Stars is over, and the best chef, Richard Blais, won. I've been rooting for Richard all season, and love his neurotic and crazyiness. I was worried throughout, because I wondered that his obvious superior skills would get him kicked out, like Jen Carrol got axed earlier in the season. This was Richard's season to lose.

Last night during the finale, Richard talked about how he had choked during the finale of his previous Top Chef season. He said, "My failures have served me well."

If only we could all learn so much from our mistakes.
Congratulations, Richard!

What's in my Mary Poppins bag

I've been having a big of an identity crisis recently, as I've gone back full time to work and am still in law school (thus the sporadic posting for the past few months). I feel like I've been spinning my wheels, or more accurately paddling furiously just to try to stay afloat. While I contemplate my blogging future, I

That said, Whitney at the Glamorous Life of a Housewife blog asked her readers, "What's in your bag?" and then proceeded to show us hers. I thought about that post for a while, and since I'm still feel like I have identity limbo, I thought I'd share my messy purse with you and see if that helps me organize myself!

Here's my bag below. I don't call it a purse, because that seems to dainty and insubstantial for me. My New York in laws call all purses (no matter how huge) a pocketbook, which makes me giggle every time I hear it. So my handbag is not a purse nor clutch, not a pocketbook, but a bag.

I'm a cowgirl, that's how I roll.
Inside the bag is this:

  1. Blackberry. I've always have loved my cell phone, and feel even more attached to my Blackberry. Personal email, work email, my digital Bible, google maps, photos, work calendar. I love my Crackberry, and I don't know what I'd do without it. Although the other night I learned an important lesson about the Crackberry. When the baby is finally asleep and cuddled up in his crib with a blanket and I'm going through the house, turning off lights, turning down the heat and I can't find my cell phone-- DO NOT, I repeat, do not call your cell phone in order to find it. Because inevitably, the cell phone will be wrapped up in the blanket right next to the baby in his crib, and you'll have to spend the next hour trying to put the baby back down to sleep.
  2. Franklin Covey planner with a raspberry leather cover. While my Blackberry keeps me organized, I have to have a paper planner to jot down appointments, ideas, task lists, and to do lists. Nothing motivates me to finish my to do list than physically crossing it off in my planner. And the amount of receipts, coupons, random bits of paper that my planner keeps organized is a life saver.
  3. Small journal. This is my Gratitude journal I've been keeping with the girls from church. I also use is to write down scenes from the novel I'm working on, or random blog post ideas. If I don't write it down, the creative juices dry up like an old prune.
  4. Pens. Because I never have one when I need one.
  5. Newspapers. Yesterdays newspapers that I've skimmed through once but didn't get a chance to finish last night. The New York Times and The Denver Post. Wednesday is the Food/Dining day, so I always have to save the food sections for yummy recipes. There's a potato doughnut recipe in the Post that I can't wait to try out.
  6. Folder of paperwork from work that I work on at home. This whole flextime at work thing is a life saver! Who needs sleep, just keep working!
  7. Work Keys.
  8. MP3 player, headphones, and cord to recharge my MP3 player. I listen to audio ebooks that I can check out for free from the public library. I love it, and am able to get my reading fix while driving or cleaning the house.
  9. Watch. I bought this cute new watch at Walmart, but didn't have scissors in my car to cut it free of the box. Cuteness, practical, and only $10.
  10. Purse Hook. For those times when I'm eating at a restaurant and desperately do not want to but my bag on the grimy floor.
  11. Car key with silver spur key chain from Brighton. The little engraved spur makes me smile every time I see it. This is me, cowgirl style.
  12. Wooden boot from baby shower. Why this is in my bag is beyond me, but I think its adorable and can't throw away this party favor. Just five months ago I had a baby shower, and now I'm a mom. Crazy.
  13. Paperclip. Who knows?
  14. Yellow mittens for the Baby Buckaroo. Bebe's hands get cold all the time, probably because he sucks on them and gets them wet. And yet, I can never find mittens when I need them.
  15. Pink Flowered Pacifier holder. Just like the mittens, I lose pacifiers all the time. There are currently three pacifiers in this cute Paci pouch, made by my favorite baby designer Amy Coe. :)
  16. Vitamin water. Breastfeeding dehydrates a mommy like nothing else. I'm always parched!
  17. Diaper bag pouch. Since we just came back from vacation, I still have everything crammed in here in case of emergencies: gas drops, infant Tylenol, baby lotion, lanolin, thermometer, aspirator, pacifier clip and another pacifier (!), rattle, bracelet rattles, baby brush, and comb.
  18. Random makeup. Lip gloss, powder, Bare Minerals foundation, and mini kabuki brush. 
  19. Eye glass cleaning cloth.
  20. Hand lotion. It's Denver, and we have zero humidity so I'm always super dry.
Not pictured: my MP3 player (I was listening to The Count of Monte Cristo while taking this picture); my camera (obviously); and my flip cam (which I was charging).

Holy crap! I think I might need a bigger bag! (And my bag, by the way, was $3 at Walmart.)

So, what's in your purse?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

As Free as a Bird

I'm sitting in the JFK airport, waiting for our redeye flight back to Denver, and back to reality. We took a long weekend to get away from work, bills, and trouble to spend time with the Chef's dad and family in New York.

One 90th birthday party for the Chef's Pop Pop, three lazy mornings sleeping in with hubby and baby, and many many New York bagels later, I'm feeling refreshed and rested.

Baby Buckaroo is a good flyer, and on the flight to New York, he was as good as gold. Now I'm praying that he sleeps and is happy tonight for the flight back. I know tomorrow morning will be a rough one, and hope my day at work isn't too stressful.

I'm rambling and feel randomly vague in my thoughts. Five days on vacation... two redeye flights. I should be stress free and relaxed, right? Why don't I feel as free as a bird? Is this motherhood? Constant stress?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hungry all the Time...

Well, it's true. I'm back in the saddle again. My maternity leave is over, Bebe is in day care, and I'm back at work. Is it horrible, that as a first time mom, that I was delighted to go back to work? I love adult time and I love the fact that I can have a long conversation with some friends at work without being interrupted by a crying baby.

And I have the best boss in the world, who is letting me work an hour a day from home, so that my work day is shorter, and I don’t have to leave my little Buckaroo in childcare for too many hours at a time.

The downside of being back at work is the fact that I’m starving all the time. When I was pregnant I had to force myself to eat, and had to count calories and protein just to make sure that I was eating enough. My whole pregnancy I gained ONLY 15 pounds, and two weeks after having the baby I had lost 20 pounds.

Oh the Joy!

But the long, cold winter months of staying home with Bebe have not been kind. Now, I’m at work, and still breastfeeding, so I’m hungry ALL OF THE TIME!

By the way, this picture is of Prissy, an orphaned calf I bottle fed while I was in high school. By the luck of time, we needed to keep as many replacement heifers as we could that fall on the ranch, and little Prissy got chosen. When the ranch moved from Oregon to Oklahoma, Prissy made the trip—although my Grandpa and Dad refused to call her Prissy, instead naming her Bucket, short for Bucket Calf. (Ranchers are sure not creative when they need to be!)

So here’s Bucket, eating as much supplements as she can before her calf finds her and sucks her dry, and now I totally understand her pain. Prissy, err… Bucket, epitomizes the plight of nursing mothers everywhere.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thrifty Reading

In my eternal quest for financial wisdom, I've discovered that I love reading financial planning books. (I know! Crazy!) In the wee hours of the morning while I've been feeding Bebe, I've torn through books, including Thrifty: Living the Frugal Life with Style by Marjorie Harris.

This book was an incredibly quick read, and while the narrator's chatty voice entertained, it also verged closed to the line of irritating. However, there were great personal stories, interviews and thrifty living tips by Canadian based writers and people that I've never heard of (but I probably would have if I grew up in Toronto. Overall, the most thrifty thing I learned from this book is to always check out non-fiction like this from the library, because then I can return it and not have to worry about wasting money on a book that will sit on my shelf never again read.

I thought this book was full of interesting ideas and great advice, including Harris' top 20 tips about frugal living:

  1. Understand the difference between your needs and your wants. Being thrifty means being self-aware.
  2. Define and redefine your needs until you are confident that you know just who you are.
  3. To thrive is all-important. Being thrifty should enhance a feeling of well-being rather than deprivation.
  4. De-clutter your life. Organizing your life is the first step toward organizing your finances.
  5. Always have a budget in the supermarket, in the garden, in life.
  6. Never borrow more money than you can afford to pay back.
  7. Consolidate your debts.
  8. Figure out your net worth; you may not be as poor as you think.
  9. Take a percentage of everything you make and save it monthly.
  10. Become money literate.
  11. Always do your research before making any purchases, big or small.
  12. Read the small print.
  13. Buy well and you buy once. Quality is the hallmark of thrifty shopping.
  14. Thrift is not about cost but about value and long-term emotional investment.
  15. Avoid shopping as therapy.
  16. Repurpose, repair, refit, reuse, resell, recycle: from food to fashion to home evolution, be creative and make the most of what you've got.
  17. Never buy more than you need.
  18. Don't throw good money after bad...
  19. Thrift is about the experiences you create, not how much you spend to create the experience.
  20. The essence of frugality is quelling the desire for acquisition. It's about making things complete."


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