Category Archives: Life At Home

Little Bit of Life

I figured it was time to give a life update on here.  It’s been almost 10 months since J and I moved to my hometown.  Big things have happened in that short period of time.

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We’ve adopted a third dog, Bud.  We took him for 2 reasons – 1) we couldn’t leave a stray dog at a busy gas station parking lot in the middle of summer and 2) we’re crazy.  Bud really does have his own personality.  He’s mischievous, smart and a sweetheart.  He loves to play with socks (my fuzzy ones are his favorite!).  He loves all toys.  He likes to pick on his 2 sisters relentlessly.  Bud is also a huge fan of J.

My work is going amazing. I’m learning a lot, which at times can be a bit overwhelming.  I’m still on track to finish the Certified Financial Planner® classes and will hopefully sit for the exam next year.  I also have outlined my 5, 10, 15, and 20 year goals for work.  It’s crazy looking into the future that far, but it really shows me what all I need/want to accomplish in such a short time.  I also have been hard at work on merelynne.com.  I’ve been creating new budgeting pieces and recipes galore.  If you want more behind-the-scenes (and of course more pictures of my cuties) then follow me on Instagram.  I share beauties like my nice-looking hairstyle HA!

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J went back to school this past semester.  I’m so proud of him!  His class is going great and he’s doing really good in it.  It’s an advanced English class and he’s flying through it.  He plans on taking more classes this fall, but wanted to start off slow.  I think he just wanted to get his feet wet and show himself that he’s got this!  I could go on and on about how proud I am.

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Maggie and Tiny are still doing great.  Little Tiny (who isn’t little at 45 pounds) is still my little baby.  She cuddles with me every night, wakes me up early each morning, and greets me with I get home.  Her tail wags so hard and so fast that her whole body moves.  She’s adorable!  Tiny loves Maggie and never wants to be away from her.  She also likes to sneak attack Bud then take off running to hide in the other room.  She’s pretty smart and has learned how to open the back door to get in or go out.  I just wish she would learn how to close it behind her!

Maggie is still my first and is absolutely perfect.  She’s cuddles with me every morning after J leaves for work.  She patiently waits her turn to be greeted after the other 2 when I get home each night.  Maggie turned 6 this past year, which is crazy to me! I still remember getting her and having to wait a few months before I could actually take her home.  She’s just the best!

Life has been looking pretty good for us these past 10 months.  It’s hard to think it’ll be a year in no time since we moved here.  I’m having a great time being home!

Celebratory Date Night

You would think because we don’t have any kids yet we would have lots of date nights.  But we don’t.  We usually just grab dinner or cook together, which is always fun.  But we never have an actual lets-get-dressed-up night just because.  So, in the spirit of actually trying to still date one another, we like to declare a date night every once in awhile.

Usually there is a reason to celebrate…

I passed the latest exam in my CFP® courses!  I am so excited!  This one was on income taxation and it was a tough one!  I had to drive close to 7 hours (thanks to a highway being closed and having to take a detour) down to Birmingham, Alabama to attend a 2 1/2 day class.  The class was intense.  9 hours a day of learning and studying, and then after class I got to go to my room to study for another 3-5 hours per night.

I got home last Sunday night and was exhausted.  Then I had to wait almost a week to find out if I passed or not.  That was too much pressure for me.

I found last Thursday that I passed.  AHHH!  Que the singing Angels and the choir singing Hallelujah!

Now I get to move on to the next course.  No time for rest!

date night

To celebrate my victory over income tax J took me to sushi.  We had yummy rolls, crab rangoon and a few potato wedges in my honor.  I also secretly took a picture of J.  He wasn’t too happy that I actually took the picture, but he was too late to do anything about it! HA!

The next morning I woke up feeling refreshed, despite the fact the dog was up all night sick.  This is the second time this week she’s been up most of the night sick.  I feel so bad for her.  I called the vet, but they said there isn’t much I can do because she must have ate something that didn’t agree with her.  BUT after 2 nights now (not back-to-back) I think it’s time to take her in to get her checked out.  That’ll be fun!

Anyway… I felt good when I woke up.  So I took some time to curl my hair and put on my favorite Kate Spade earrings.  Boom!

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Don’t mind the Coors Light shirt.  It was a bar freebie back in college and it just so big that it’s actually comfy.  As a side note – I only drink Budweiser.  

Life in Pictures

A picture really does speak 1,000 words.  They capture moments that can be lost in time to never be remembered again.  With so much happening in our every day lives, I love the simple of idea of documenting the memories.  I think J gets frustrated with me sometimes because I want to make memories, constantly.  I want to have fun, be adventurous, try something that we’ve never done before and take pictures in the process.  When we traveled to the Dominican Republic, I kept saying that I wanted to do something to make more memories.  I wanted to try something new and so we did.  We tried deep sea fishing.  It was exactly what we had in mind, but we laughed and enjoyed one another.  It was perfect.

Here is all of our latest happenings.
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The Start of a New Adventure

That’s right, tomorrow is the start of a new adventure for J and I.  I have been hinting around here for a few weeks about a big announcement.  No, it’s not that kind of announcement.  We aren’t bring a mini J and me into the world.  Every time we tell people that we have big news that is where their thoughts first go.  Then I followup with saying NO.  Let me chug a beer to prove it to you.  I know, I know, I’m so ladylike.
new adventure Drum roll please…. We are moving!  Yep, that’s right J and I are moving (again) to a new town.  Well it’s new for J, not for me.  I’m going home to the place I graduated high school from, learned to drive, had my first job, made one of the best friendships that have stood the test of time, and now the start of a new career.

An opportunity like this one doesn’t come around every day.  J and I decided to take a big leap into a future that we never imagined.  I am beyond excited to get home, get settled and begin.  J is putting on a brave front.  I think the idea of being far away from his family and close friends is pretty unappealing at the moment.  I, however, strongly believe that J will feel right at home in no time.  Something about him being more social and friendly then me.  Or perhaps it’s the fact J is the furthest thing away from a homebody and will force himself out making new friends.

Now you may be asking yourself – when are these crazy kids moving?  In a month?  Two months?  Nope.  We are moving tomorrow.  Our house is full of boxes and packing tape.  The poor pups have no idea what’s going on.  Our movers are coming to help us load up the truck and then we hit the open road tomorrow morning, bright and early.  We have a pretty little house waiting for us to make it a home.  I love new beginnings.

Weekend Recap

I love wine, pretty landscapes, good friends, and relaxing weekends. Yep.  That’s what I love.  Any of these mixed in to my days means it’s going to be good.  I traveled last weekend with the girls from college for a wine weekend.  So this weekend I wanted to take it easy.
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I wanted to sleep in on Saturday.  Wake-up naturally and without any hatred for my alarm.  Because I truly detest waking up by an alarm clock every morning.  BEEP!  BEEEEP! Is the worst, and no matter what I set the sound to on my iPhone they are always disruptive to my good dreams and warm bed.

I worked on planning out my life for the next few weeks.  It’s getting closer and closer to spilling the beans on our upcoming adventure.  I could do it now, but I think I’ll wait just a little longer… you know, for good measure.

Want to know one of my favorite things to do on the weekends (well besides sleeping in)?  It’s running errands – going to the grocery store, the bank, etc.  You name it and I love it.  Especially when the weather is as nice as we’ve been having lately.  Mid-70s for the weekend and all this week? I will take it!  Last week it dipped down to the low 50s for the last part and it was a bit chilly.  Still better than snow and ice, but not as great as the warm sun.
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What did you do this weekend?  Have any fun, out of town plans or did you stay close to home?

Baby Steps and Moderation

I’ve been trying to get healthier for awhile now, but old habits creep back in and I start back down the not-so-good bunny path.  I’m done trying to do a major overhaul on all areas of my life at once, which gets pretty overwhelming and leaves me feeling defeated.  I think I have finally found the best balance for me.  Moderation and baby steps.  Moderation for the bad habits like ice cream and Budweiser (not together), and baby steps to make better ones.

I’ve started making smoothies each morning that are nutrient packed.  That way I’m not skipping breakfast and starving by the time 12 o’clock rolls around.  I’m planning out my lunches, not just my dinners.  By planning what I want for lunch each day is not only saving me money, but keeping me on the right track.  My little lunch tote is packed with veggies, fruit, lean protein, and a small portion of pita chips (moderation, my friends, moderation).

I’ve also started reading health magazines and websites for extra motivation.  Instead of searching “food and drinks” on Pinterest, I’m tailoring my search for “healthy dinner recipes” or “low calorie snack ideas” that way I am not tempted or distracted by the sweetness of pies and cupcakes…. yum, cupcakes!  See, I have problems.

I’m starting to create tasty, healthier recipes and I plan on sharing the good ones with you.

It’s important that what fuels my body be good and worth it.  80% of how we look is what eat.  I’m not talking about just weight and size, but also overall health.  I don’t want to look exhausted all the time or have zero energy.  I’m so over it.

 

1st Day of April – Oh the possibilities for Spring!

I love the beginning of a new month, especially the beginning of Spring.

This time is where we shed the not-so-great or unaccomplished goals of last month and start fresh.  It’s a golden opportunity to dream big, set your heights high and then start plugging away.  April is going to be a big month for J and I in more ways than one.  I can’t tell all the details just yet, but by the end of the month it’ll be out in the open.
spring cleaning This picture really has nothing to do with this post or Springtime.

With Spring here I want to clean, clean and clean.  Did I mention that I want to clean?  Because that is the only thing on my mind.  I started working in the garage last weekend, but didn’t get too far so this weekend it’s going to be completely overhauled.  I’m talking bringing everything out into the driveway to clean and sweep the shelves then we are going to trash a lot.  My poor trash guy isn’t going to be too thrilled with us… I love Spring cleaning!

Here are my other goals for April (besides the garage):

1) organize the basement
2) get rid of J’s broken recliner – it’s happening this month!
3) clean and organize the guest bedroom
4) overhaul the office/nook area and get rid of junk
5) sell some furniture to make room for a few new pieces
6) keep my car clean – J spent over an hour vacuuming and wiping down the inside of my car.  It looks so nice and now my goal is to keep it that way.

 I love the beginning of Spring.  Lots of goals and big dreams!

The True Weekend Look

I see all these bloggers that talk about their Saturday morning brunch at some super-hipster place and they look flawless.  That’s not me though.  Let’s be honest for a bit.  I don’t usually wear makeup on the weekends, I rarely get out of my sweat pants, and my hair is 98% of the time in a ponytail or top-knot.

Here’s a real shot of me on Saturday about 2:30.  We just got home from helping some awesome friends move into their new house.  J was taking a nap on the couch and I was getting ready to go study for a few hours.

Warning: this is not a pretty shot, I look rough.  

merelynne, truth about weekend look, look of the day Told you, I was looking rough.

That picture makes me look like I have lots of freckles, but I think it’s just the camera on my laptop. I guess it kind of looks like dirt a little, but I had just washed my face so it has to be the computer.  Yes, the computer.  I have better skin…. yeah, a lot better.

Sometimes I’m envious of those bloggers who wear cute clothes on the weekends, but that’s not me and I wouldn’t be real if I took a picture of myself dressed like that.  Honestly, if you ever see a picture of me dressed up on a weekend then you can probably assume that I changed into yoga pants about 3 minutes after the picture was taken.  That’s more me.

Setting A Few Home Goals

home goals J and I have been in our rental home for about 7 months now.  We signed a pretty long lease, so we still have one year and two months left here.  We aren’t crazy about where we live.  The neighborhood is great and it’s close to highways, but it’s just not the ideal home.  Our yard isn’t fenced in and with 2 dogs it isn’t very fun letting them out.  The walls are stark white and haven’t been painted in a while by the looks of it.  Plus there are like a million stairs, but that’s actually a good thing for us.

I am no longer going to focus on the not-so-great parts of where we live.  I’m setting some goals to work towards the next few months so our final year feels more like home.

Here go – the expectations.

1) design a gallery wall about the couch
2) hang fabric on the wall behind the TV and create a letter “R” gallery wall
3) stain the coffee table and side table
4) paint the DVD stand
5) create a calming desk space
6) rearrange furniture in the guest room
7) slipcovers for the couch and futon

Simple DIY projects. I’m pretty excited and have been planning what I want it to look like.  Now just to pick one project and do it.

I’m thinking the one that will make the most difference…. I’m going to pick out some fabric and hang it on the wall behind the TV.  Let’s do this thing!

I Put Myself Down

Yes, I put myself down.  Most of the time I do not even realize that I am doing it.  Does it build me up?  Does it build others up that are around me? I don’t know.  It’s small comments here and there undermining my own performance.  Do I really think that I can’t do something?  No, I know that I can do anything I put my mind to.  So then why do I do it?
merelynneIn this past month’s vlog in the Thankful Series I mentioned that I had my 30-day review with my current employer.  It was a great review until they told me that I put myself and my work quality down.  It was said nicely and politely, and in a way that told me it was untrue.

I put myself down…?

That’s all I could think about.  It was hard for me to hold back my tears because I was so ashamed that I did that to myself.

I didn’t know or realize that I insulted myself so much that it drew attention from others.

I talked it to death with J who said he could agree.  He knows that I could do anything I put my mind to, but even gave me recent examples of when my side comments lessened my accomplishments.  My Mom and Dad thought that it was a compliment because he wasn’t saying I was over cocky or have a big head.  They believe that my employer was trying to do me a favor.

I couldn’t see it because I didn’t believe it.

Luckily my review was on a Friday, which gave me two whole days to be consumed with that one thought:

You put yourself down and you do not need to do that.

Then I paid attention and realized – I do.

Why? I was always taught to be confident.  To walk into a room and act like you own it.  Did I start this bad habit in high school or college when I thought that others wouldn’t understand my ideas or reasons behind my actions?  Did I start because I really think so poorly about myself?

My employer doesn’t know.  J doesn’’t know.  My parents don’t know.  I don’t know.

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All I know is that I do and I need to stop.

I am making a conscious effort to realize it, pause  and correct myself.  It’s been about a month since my review and I can proudly say that I put myself down a lot less.  One day I might speak 100% confident in my abilities and work product, and that day will be amazing.

Don’t put yourself down.  Believe in what you do, confidently.  Others will believe in you.