Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Countdown!

What an amazing year! I can't say that I'm sorry to see it go, I'm ready for a fresh start and can't wait to wake up in 2007. Some highlights, in no particular order.

-Stood up for myself and left a less-than-ideal job.
-Found a hopeful career in Washington Mutual.
-Spent the first calendar year under the same roof with my sweetheart.
-Discovered an amazing new hobby with poison dart frogs.
-Started an aggressive 401k and started my investment portfolio.
-Got my first manicure.
-Ventured optimistically into property ownership, only to be thwarted on multiple levels.

And it was all sorta wonderful.

See you all on the other side!

New Year's Eve

In the mist of everything going on in the world, it seems incredibly trivial that I would even consider posting what I'm going to post tonight. However, I am on my third bottle of hard cider, and on my behalf it is nearly 1am.

I cried tonight. Not for political reasons, not for financial woe, not for lack of food or companionship.

I cried over my hair.

After debating about it for several months, I picked out a box hair dye in Herbal Essences "Chardonnay Shimmer." After the recommended 25 minutes, my hair was orange. No, not ALL the hair, just the roots. So bright orange-blonde roots with darker blonde tresses.

Not so hot.

I cried. I combed. Val played with my hair, kissed me, gave me a giant hug and ran to the grocery store to grab me some booze.

That boy has marriage potential!

And at any rate, after 3 drinks I'm thinking that my life isn't all that bad. Uneven hair aside, I have an amazing best friend, an incredible family, a great job, and an incredible budding handbag collection. My life is pretty damn sweet.

Besides, where's the harm in being just a little ginger?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Merry Christmas everyone!



We had a fantastic Christmas- Val and I ventured off to my mom and dad's place and crashed for a few nights. It was so nice to spend time with the family. Cracked crab for dinner, along with garlic bread and salad... Crude jokes, airsoft and nerf guns, mini helicopters, and huge amounts of family guy. It was a great time.

You can count on an awesome Christmas if your mom can rock a jug of wine along with a fully-automatic AK-47 airsoft gun. Not only is she scary good with it, but she can make berry pies to die for.



As far as Christmas loot goes, this year was fantastic. I got a very stunning necklace from my mom- copper and mother of pearl. Val and I collectively did exceedingly well- A 15 piece cookware set, a roomba (a robotic vacuum!), a knife set, and beaufiful sushi plates. I also got an amazing leather Coach satchel. My Louis Vuitton is jealous, now that I have a new handbag on my arm. Just look at how happy I am to be around such an exquisite work of craftsmanship.



Some things are totally worth roaring for.

Monday, December 18, 2006

This life is the best I've ever had.

It's strange when you finally realize that your childhood dreams were nothing but petty wishes and desires... As I get older, I slowly come to the realization that everything that I had wished for was rather trivial and pointless. I've spent my whole life questioning my self-worth, and by giving myself impossible goals... And of course I grade myself on whether or not I achieve them.

It. Is. So. Pointless.

I've always been so goal-oriented. I never really had the ambition to follow through with any of it, but I used to love sitting down and creating lists of things I want to accomplish before I die. Now, as I'm tied down to bills and loans and the standard 9-5, it's painfully apparent that this is what life is all about...Mediocrity.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Green Legged Lamasi Tadpoles: Round 2





Sorry about the blur factor! I just HAD to post a size reference. :)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Tadpoles!

In case any of you want to see them- Tadpole pictures!



Tad #1: A little older, and a bit on the shy side. You can tell that the hind end is filled out more- I really think he's going to have a right leg soon enough!



Tad #2: Younger, and always playing around with the greens in his pond. Everytime I look at him, he's bigger! Why must they grow up so fast?!

Survived the Storm...

Well, that was a barrel of fun!

After watching chunks of trees sail by in the comfort of the bank Thursday night, Val picked me up and drove me home. We knew it was going to be bad out, so we went to bed early and braced ourselves for the morning after.

The next morning we were out of power. Everyone was- the grocery stores were run by generators with plastic sheets taped over produce to keep in the cold. Batteries were stripped off the shelves, and we managed to buy the very last box of candles.

We placed the tadpoles in an insulated cooler and put them in the warmest place we could find, and wrapped blankets around our D. ventrimaculatus tank.

Driving around Redmond and Bellevue really put things in perspective. It was as if a bustling technological hub was reduced to a ghost town overnight. Every stop light was out, every non-grocery store was shut down (cops were outside to prevent theft and mobbing), cars were left on the side of the road after they ran out of gas... It was incredible.

When we got back home we had our first candlelight dinner together (perhaps my first candlelight dinner ever). We cracked open some sparkling apple cider and laughed about our situation of late- finding out we have to move, the snow storm, losing power. We drifted off to sleep cuddled together as the temperatures dropped well into the 30s.

2:45am rolled around, Val woke me up. Turns out a neighbor had left their fan on. He jumped up and hit the light switch, and we were both blinded by it. Thankfully, we're one of the lucky ones in the complex. The two buildings on the bottom of the hill still have no electricity.

It's incredible to know that so much was damaged, yet they could repair a large majority of it within 30 hours. We're definately lucky.

Monday, December 11, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

So here's the scoop:

Val got a full-time job offer at his company. If he dropped out of school he'd make 2x what I'm pulling in. This is where I kick myself for focusing on biological anthropology, and where I pat myself on the back for landing a damn fine sugar daddy.

I'm still in the mist of condo/manufactured home hunting. The problem with most manufactured homes is that they don't come with land, and if they're not permanently fixed on a concrete base they're considered a vehicle. That's right, by the end of this year I might own a 60' car. I always wanted a stretch limo.

There are a couple of condos in the area that I'd love to get my hands on. One of which is just down the street from Microsoft. The good thing about investing in a condo in that location is in a couple of years I'd be able to sell it and get a nice $30-$50k in my bank account. I've already spent that money- Most of it gets kicked back to my family, another chunk goes into another downpayment for a nicer place, and the remaining into my investment portfolio. Damn it feels good to dream.

I ventured off to a fellow dart-frogger's house this evening to pick up a orphaned vent. While he was there he gave us two green legged lamasi tadpoles. That's right, he GAVE me two tadpoles of a species that was just introduced into the country in 2005. It blows my mind that I have seen species of frogs that are so rare, let alone own two tadpoles of such a species.



The tadpoles are so cute- they have bright yellow eyebrows and yellow lips on dark bodies. They're simply adorable! So here's to hoping that I don't kill the poor little guys...

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Life.

A brief update:

Val and I recently got notice that our apartment complex has been sold and every apartment will be offered for sale. Our apartment (600sf) is selling for $230k. We have to move by February. We've only been here for two months, so the whole thing comes as a shock.

I'm looking into buying a 1200sq/f manufactured home in Bothell. The thing looks like the 70s died in it, but thankfully that's what Home Depot is for. Remodelling party, anyone? I just have to come up with $3k.

My great aunt Pearl isn't doing very well at the moment. She's in intensive care, and has lost the will to keep going. Please keep her in your thoughts/prayers/meditations if it is your style to do so.

My car needs a new blower motor and resistor, estimated repair costs are at $700. Thankfully, it isn't an emergency repair, but it's something more to think about.

Anyway, there you have it. Val and I are under a considerable amount of stress. If we can just keep it together until after Christmas....

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

Snowing!

Snow, snow, everywhere!

So my question of the day is..... If people are going to move to a state where there's a distinct possibility of snow, shouldn't people KNOW how to react? It took me TWO HOURS to get FOUR MILES. Caps lock is completely necessary here, since PEOPLE ARE FREAKING IDIOTS. I love Indians and I love Californians (well, one at least) but SERIOUSLY GET OFF THE ROAD IF IT SCARES YOU.

My beloved didn't even know that you drive in the fresh snow for better traction. Thankfully he parked his car at work and had the sense to walk home.

Ugh.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Val and I shared a simple Thanksgiving alone this year. We cooked up 2lbs of turkey, along with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cornbread muffins, cranberry sauce, and green beans... all while watching James Bond! It was nice to spend the day together cooking up a feast and laughing our heads off at the cheesiness that is "The Spy Who Loved Me."

On Saturday the real festivities will begin- The Greatest Cook in the World (who just happens to be my mom) will be provided even more food for us to gorge ourselves on. Since I have to be back to work at 8:45 tomorrow, there's no way I could just go home for the day. It's kinda sad to be away from my family this time of year.

Anyway, tomorrow promises to be all kinds of interesting. Yay for Black Friday! Let's hope that people don't blame me for their financial inadequacies.

I have Christmas gifts all planned out for my side of the family. It's Val's family that has us temporarily stumped... Why does it have to be so hard to shop for your SO's family?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Kid Tasered at Library



This is completely nuts....

After you get tasered, you can't just jump up and run off. That's why tasers are useful- they lock your muscles. I can't get over the fact that police officers would actually taser a student leaving a library while he was handcuffed and unable to stand. How about going after murderers? Drug Dealers? Pimps? But a student at UCLA leaving a library? Talk about a slow night.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Here comes 2007!

I simply can't get over how fast this year has gone. I am still in shock that I've been out of high school for the last 7 years. The good thing about dating someone younger is that it makes ME feel younger... almost as if my age should be calculated as the average of our ages. I can handle being 23.

I discovered something that really was a flash from the past. While I was tossing out memories at my parents' house, I ran across this picture:



Looks like old habits die hard. I still remember that game- I used to jump whenever that damn werewolf flashed on the screen.

I discovered that there's an awesome Apple II Emulator out there and there are countless games out there that are just waiting to take you back to your elementary years. Oregon Trail? Check! Ghostbusters? Check! Carmen Sandiego? You got it! Click here to get the Apple II emulator... and you can go here to download a crapton of awesome games.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Day Before Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

I know I'm a day early, but there's no way I'm going to remember to update this thing tomorrow! I hope everyone gets trashed in a responsible manner, and don't forget to scare some little kids!

And just for the record, here's my Ms. Pumpkin 2006!



That's right, ladies and gentlemen. Corona is the choice of squashes everywhere.

And in other, very exciting news I HAVE THE DAY OFF!!! So you know what this girl does to celebrate?! I took my lovely 1997 Subaru Outback Sport (aka Helen) to get her very first emissions test. The lovely girl passed (no pun intended!) with flying colors. $75 later, she now has shiny new tabs and is ready to show the world how sexy a Subaru can be.

Update of the Frogs: We have names in the house! Petri loves chilling in the warm tropical petri-dish spa in her tank, and Adama... well, you can see the similarities for yourself.



And here's the lovely Petri, enjoying her morning spa treatment:



Tomorrow we WILL be having the first of many Tuesday Nerd Nights. Heroscape, Guitar Hero, and Ninja Burger! Hope to see some of you there!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Saturday, October 21, 2006

New members of the household!

The day has finally arrived! I'm now the proud parent of two poison dart frogs! I have two lovely yellow dendrobates ventrimaculatus. They're absolutely lovely- they're already showing their true colors! Very, very sassy frogs. I love it!

I have yet to get great pictures of these guys, but here's what I have so far:





My mom gave me three phenomenal plants to add to my tank. A blooming orchid and two very stunning mini african violets. Thanks Mom!





And in other news, Val and I have officially been together for two years! Let's not get too excited here- we'll be together for many, many more! <3!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hello Jello!

So, Val and I are officially moved in (read: we're sleeping here yes, but all of our crap is still in boxes) and have decided to celebrate by having some of our buddies over for a moving in party tonight.

If you're in the area and want to share in the celebration, give me a call! Our apartment may be small, but the jello shots are fierce!



We've got lime and tequila, black cherry and Malibu, watermelon and peach (seriously tastes like a watermelon jolly rancher!), and pineapple. It just doesn't get any better than this!

Text, email, or call!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Out of the blue...

My morning routine was fairly normal today. Roll out of bed, throw stuff in the laundry, jump into the shower and then drag myself up to the computer to finish waking up. The first thing I saw- 5 messages from my Chinese Stalker(tm). For those of you who aren't familiar with him, he was a guy I met at China while I was teaching. I met him at one of the English Corners at a university. Well, soon enough he started showing up at my school and following me around. Everytime I tried to do anything without him, he'd call up the other teachers' cellphones and demand to know where I was. It was kinda scary.

I told him he had to back off because he was freaking me out. The next thing I knew he was sleeping across the street making sure I wasn't out with another guy and banging on my door at 3am in a jealous rage.

I didn't have a ride to the airport on the day I left, so I managed to stay chummy with him long enough to use his translation services to get me where I wanted to go. Once I was back in the US, I stopped talking to him completely. The last time I talked to him (on AIM) he had said "Murder will out" and logged off, since I didn't agree to meet up with him in Canada.

So... yeah. Part of me is intrigued. Why would he get back in touch with me after all this time? I'm really tempted to shoot back a message and to see what kind of drama follows.

In other news, I might be starting up Middle Eastern Dance. I've managed to get a bit plumper than I'm used to, and I could really use the toning! Classes start tomorrow.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Frog Videos!

If you haven't had enough frogs yet, take a look at these videos!

Frogs eating flies!

Male Phyllobates terribilis tries to pick up the ladies- Also, awesome commentary in the background.

Home is where the fronds are.

The vivarium is almost complete! I'd like to have something to decorate the back wall with... but I'm so happy with it. The moss will probably dry up and look like crap, but it's pretty for now!



I managed to put a gash in my thumb while working with the false gravel front. I cut two pieces of glass (7.5" x 2.5" and 3.5" x 2.5") and siliconed the same gravel I used in the pond to the fronts of the glass. This way you can see the ugly pipe and the false bottom that is holding the entirety of the land up off the bottom of the tank. Drainage = awesome. While installing the glass, I decided it be a great idea to push it into the corner... Resistance + sharp glass = blood. I can't believe how stupid I am sometimes.


I also got my package of Herptivite and Rep-Cal in the mail today. Mmmm, nothing like candy coating your fruit flies!

Turns out another local breeder is offering frogs for sale, but they are a thumbnail species. They're so incredibly tiny, but they seriously look like living opals. I might have to get a pair of those- they're supposed to be fairly easy to keep.
Behold D. ventrimaculatus:



Too many decisions!

Sunday, October 8, 2006

More frogs!

It's another 3 day weekend for Julie!

I LOVE working at a bank! Hurray for Columbus!

And in other news, the dart frogging adventure is evolving! After discovering that Seattle has a TON of dart froggers, I ventured out to find a few of them. Turns out, Darren Meyer (no relation) lives in Seattle and has a very, very impressive frog collection. We got in contact and Val and I went over to his house today to check out his frogs.

I don't think I've ever been more impressed in my life.

I don't remember seeing dart frogs in person ever. Seeing such amazingly brilliant and teeny tiny creatures was just a complete trip for me. Turns out there's a show in Puyallup a couple of weeks from now, and Darren will be there with a large amount of frogs for sale. Looks like Julie is going to be a new mom to some amphibians very, very soon!

Here are the kinds I'm looking at:







All pictures have been snatched from pumilio.com. They have fantastic pictures on their site, and I strongly encourage anyone interested in darts to check it out.

I'm strongly leaning towards the last frog. They're simply amazing in person- very vivid, very bold, and watching them stalk around in their tank is a really impressive experience.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

New Home, New Month

So it's finally October! It's much cause for celebration. Val and I are settled into our new home- it's tiny but we love it. When I decide to be brave enough to condo hunt again, we've decided to go with something smaller... We both love how cozy and relaxed our new apartment is. It's not as modern as our old apartment, but there's something refreshing about the leaky faucet and the 70's tile.

In 12 days, we'll celebrate our second anniversary. In honor of it, I have decided to use my vacation hours. Speaking of days off, Columbus Day is a paid holiday! I love working at a bank.

The frog project is still in full swing. After having the waterfall set up for a couple of weeks, it started leaking and I tore the thing out. I put a new false bottom in, and replanted everything. There's a little pond in the front of the tank. I'll have to buy some new gravel or buy some duckweed to make the rocks look a bit less out of place.



I have yet to pick the kind of frog that's going to live there... There's a project that's located in Peru called INIBICO that is quite phenomenal. Regardless of what frog I pick, I truly hope to be able to support this group and their cause.

Over the past 8 years, there has been an interest to farm raise dart-frogs in Peru and export these frogs the world over. The impetus for this project was experiments and data that Dr. Rainer Shulte had compiled over the last 10 years. Specifically, Rainer has shown that by providing artificial breeding sites in the natural habitat of dart-frogs that these frogs could increase their populations in the wild. Rainer felt if land owners in Peru were paid to keep their land intact and not sell the land to cattle ranchers and the timber industry, the natural habitat and the fauna and flora within could be preserved.

The vision was to provide artificial breeding sites in Dendrobatid habitats and harvest a percentage of the tadpoles. The tadpoles then would be raised in captivity in Peru. The metamorphosed frogs would then be exported around the world to institutions and hobbyists. The proceeds would pay the land owners and employee indigenous people. Overall, land would be preserved and the frogs would be "protected" while employing native people.


Click here to read more about it.

New Home, New Month

So it's finally October! It's much cause for celebration. Val and I are settled into our new home- it's tiny but we love it. When I decide to be brave enough to condo hunt again, we've decided to go with something smaller... We both love how cozy and relaxed our new apartment is. It's not as modern as our old apartment, but there's something refreshing about the leaky faucet and the 70's tile.

In 12 days, we'll celebrate our second anniversary. In honor of it, I have decided to use my vacation hours. Speaking of days off, Columbus Day is a paid holiday! I love working at a bank.

The frog project is still in full swing. After having the waterfall set up for a couple of weeks, it started leaking and I tore the thing out. I put a new false bottom in, and replanted everything. There's a little pond in the front of the tank. I'll have to buy some new gravel or buy some duckweed to make the rocks look a bit less out of place.



I have yet to pick the kind of frog that's going to live there... There's a project that's located in Peru called INIBICO that is quite phenomenal. Regardless of what frog I pick, I truly hope to be able to support this group and their cause.

Over the past 8 years, there has been an interest to farm raise dart-frogs in Peru and export these frogs the world over. The impetus for this project was experiments and data that Dr. Rainer Shulte had compiled over the last 10 years. Specifically, Rainer has shown that by providing artificial breeding sites in the natural habitat of dart-frogs that these frogs could increase their populations in the wild. Rainer felt if land owners in Peru were paid to keep their land intact and not sell the land to cattle ranchers and the timber industry, the natural habitat and the fauna and flora within could be preserved.

The vision was to provide artificial breeding sites in Dendrobatid habitats and harvest a percentage of the tadpoles. The tadpoles then would be raised in captivity in Peru. The metamorphosed frogs would then be exported around the world to institutions and hobbyists. The proceeds would pay the land owners and employee indigenous people. Overall, land would be preserved and the frogs would be "protected" while employing native people.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Last Post!

This will be my last post from my old apartment. We'll have internet up and running in our new place tomorrow (along with cable!). It just seems weird to leave behind this apartment that has been the basis for so many interesting memories...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Vivarium Ahoy!

I finished my vivarium!

And by finished, I mean that the ground work is done, there are some plants in there, and there's a functioning waterfall.

And because I'm a sucker for pictures, here's what I turned a 10 gallon aquarium into:

Friday, September 15, 2006

OMG SO TIRED! WTFBBQCORNPOPS!

It's Friday night and I've been fighting to stay awake. It's Friday! I'm only 25! I should be out partying the night away!

Or not. It's really hitting me lately that I'm a good portion of the way to 30, and 30 is more than halfway to 50.. I'm simply too old to be going out to clubs and being a hooligan. Life is going way too fast.

And I haven't really done much with it.

But no fixating on the negative for Julie tonight! I'm tired and cranky, and I have no idea what I'm doing writing such a pointless post.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

He's so good to me.


Don't you love those days when you realize that you've really hit the jackpot? Everything else has been nothing more than a roll of pennies.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

A new obsession...

As some of you already known, I'm prone to obsession. I find one thing to focus on and ignore everything else until my curiousity for said topic has been sated. On one hand it's almost always a positive experience to learn more about something new. On the other, ALL I talk about is my new obsession, whether it's a purse or gems or stocks or travel or various other silly things. I know this behavior has cost me many a good friendship and causes much grief to my fantastic boyfriend.

Well, today I have come to you with yet another obsession to add to my list:

Poison dart frogs!

Recently I've been gathering information and supplies to build the vivarium of all vivariums. I've already ordered polyurethane foam, moss, exotic driftwoods, and I've stockpiled a decent amount of plexiglass, silicon, and various gravel/rocks to build a habitat as natural as possible. Now I'm in the works of finding an appropriate pump to build a waterfall (yes, a mini waterfall!) in the aquarium to provide humidity and a little scenery. So far, this little project has sucked away a good deal of my play money.

The sad thing is that it's going to be at least a month or two before I can get this set up properly enough to enjoy it. The plus side is that it'll allow me some time to find a decent supplier of dart frogs.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Friday Frustrations!

I realize that I'm not to talk all that much about my place of employment.... I know there are eyes and ears all over the place. However, some things HAVE to be said. In all walks of life, and in all occupations, every worker looks at another at some point in their life and asks....

Why are so many people so stupid?!

And alas, there are no answers.

How we manage to survive the pangs and arrows of evolution, I know not! And yet I'm crawling out of bed at 6:45 in the morning to subject myself to another 4 hours of delicious, social torture.

Someone please sleep in for me.

And in other news, Val and I now have our first joint checking account. This is where everyone goes "awwww" over the romance of having both your names on a checkbook. I'm such a romantic. <3!

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Relics

I'm currently running my old (make that VERY old) mac iBook. It's been so long since I've actually used the poor thing. Normally she sits abandoned on the entertainment center below a stack of books.... all seven gigs of glory forgotten.

But today she's humming her little tune, hot enough to fry an egg on, yet completely functional. I only had to repair her once- that was when the battery died in china. She was fixed for a couple of hundred yuan and now she won't work unless she's plugged in. She's on the list of Things Julie Needs to Repair, along with some of my old friendships, my grandmother's accordion, and my temper.

As you all must have heard, the Crocodile Hunter died. I was surprised by how heartbroken I was to hear it. He was a crazy man, but a good one. The world could have used more of that type... yet it seems like those are always the ones to die first. It seems so random that he would have died by a stingray- there are very few documented deaths of that kind. My heart goes out to his loved ones and I can only hope that some shred of good comes from his passing.... Maybe more people will decide to dedicate themselves to wildlife conservation or at least live their lives with minimal negative impact on their natural surroundings.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Weekend!

So it's another Thursday. In only 4 more hours, the clock will finally roll over to Friday- the sacred day of the week. Val and I are celebrating our last weekend of the summer together by venturing north to our lovely Canadian neighbors. As previously posted, the poor boy has never been out of the country. Looks like it's time to change someone's world view!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It's been a long time! Too long in fact- but life has been extremely busy. Condo searching (with no luck), apartment hunting (also with no luck), visitors and work. I remember someone saying that the busier life is, the less likely one is to write about it... it's so true. Each day I had something I really wanted to say, yet there simply weren't enough hours in the day to say it in.

Let's catch up, shall we?

Work- I love it. I didn't expect to like my job as much as I do now. There was a moment where I didn't feel like it was a good fit for me and that I would be better quitting, but after pulling through that slump I realized that it's a phenomenal job. I work with great people, and it's rewarding to help people get on the right track to actualize their financial dreams. Personally I've never been better with my finances in my life. Not only do I have an aggressive 401k set up, I'm investing in stock outside of it. It's a huge step for me, and I'm proud to say I'm setting aside 10% of each paycheck into some sort of savings, with my company throwing in an additional 5%. It's a great feeling. It's safe to say that this job is my first "real" job- the first one I've ever felt like it could actually be a long term thing.

Love- Great. We hit a bit of a slump- I daydream a lot about moving home to be with my family and he's set to live in Redmond forever and a day, but I think we both know we'd be miserable if we were apart. We're almost to the end of our 2nd year together, and we're stronger than ever. It's at the point where it feels like we've known each other forever, not much is awkward but we're still entirely too affectionate.

Summer- I can't believe it's almost over! Phill and Jenn (Val's Father and sis) were up to visit us! And on the last weekend of Val's freedom we're heading up to Victoria with my mum. He's NEVER been outside of the United States. I haven't left the motherland in 2 years myself... it's strange that it has been so long.

Superficial- I bought the coach clutch I was lusting over a few posts back. So divine- it's even better in person. I love the kiss-lock clasp, and the leather is so thick and fantastic. I keep my 2 sets of keys in it and my driver's license in my huge Louis. It makes it a lot easier to find- no more rummaging through my bag to find the things I need.

And that is all. Naptime and Snakes on a Plane!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Ownership

With the price of rent going up in our complex to $1200 in the next month or two, it's becoming very apparent that it's simply too expensive to rent.

I called up my parents today to discuss my options with them, and they're both very excited that I have an appointment with a realtor on Tuesday. I'm also calling various banks to see what kind of mortgages I qualify for. While I can't afford a house in the area, it would be nice to own something. And that my friends, are where condos come in!

I'm hoping and praying that I'll qualify for a loan large enough to get something here in Redmond. It'd be nice to have a place that I can really turn into a residence- no more institutional-ish white walls with the same cabinets that every other apartment has.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Clutches and Lunches

We've been obsessed with bento boxes for a long time now. For those of you who have no idea what a bento box is, it's simply a japanese box divided into compartments for lunches. We discovered such boxes at Best of Bento, and have lusted over the idea of having our lunches packed in such pretty little containers.

Val and I ventured to Uwajimaya today and picked up our very own. It's a bit of a challenge to make them visually appealing and just the right size to fit in a lunch box. Here's my first attempt- Stir-fried noodles with green beans! For a change I'm actually looking forward to my food.

I found an amazing clutch on Ebay today. It's another peice by Coach. Instead of the typical signature print on canvas, they have an embossed leather that's completely amazing. I'm a huge fan of Louis Vuitton's Vernis pieces, but know I'll never ever be able to afford them. The coach version is like a poor man's Vernis. At any rate, it's lovely and I'd adore having something like this to keep my various checkbooks in. Anything to help keep me organized!

I'm not a huge fan of pink for a purse. For an accessory though, why not? The sheen on the leather is just unbelievable, and the kiss clasp is adorable. I love the rare peices like this- it's nice to see something different.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Adam's Going Away Party

Adam's surprise going away party was today. It was great to see him and Leah again! It's been entirely too long... and in truth it was hard to leave knowing that it'll probably be yet another year until I'll see him again. I had a great time, and I hope life treats him wonderfully... he is one of the few people who deserves the absolute best that life can offer.

Val and I have finally found a potential place to live. It's tiny (550sf), but quiet, small, with a 24 hour pool and hot tub for $235 less than what we're paying now. If only we can scrape up the cash necessary to move in.... life will be awesome.

Has anyone else discovered Quady's orange muscat wine? It's incredible- so sweet, so delicate...It's perfect for a quiet stay-at-home-date complete with ripe strawberries and a good movie. We discovered it purely by accident, but ever since have been head over heels for it.

"No, we're never going to survive unless we get a little bit crazy."

There's a special kind of peace on finds when they wake up cuddled next to the one they love. Somewhere between the tickling, giggling and pointless teasing there's a sense of contentment that you just can't find anywhere else.

What a glorious feeling it is.

And in superficial news the Coach site has been updated! There are definitely a few handbags out this year that are to die for. I know a lot of people have been complaining about Coach's recent decision to up the price, but I have to say I'm a huge fan of their newer, more sophisticated designs.

A Coach purse is still a Coach purse though. For the hefty $428 price tag, I'd rather save up a few hundred more and invest in a Louis Vuitton. I still am lusting over the Papillon 30 and could find a vintage purse built like a tank that will outlive me. Now if only I had that kind of money to spend...

And on a side note, my beautiful and entertaining friend Amber celebrated her 25th birthday yesterday. Happy Birthday, Amber! May this year be even better than the previous!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Facebook!

DigiPen is FINALLY on Facebook! It's about damn time! I remember back in the day when I was living on Frat Row and listening to drunk Greeks fight in the alley while writing to Facebook... Thankfully the Facebook gods have decided to share the love with our geeky friends. Now they too can waste their precious lives.

And in other news, Key Bank is giving away free IPod Nanos!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Antsy

For those of you who have known me for more than 6 minutes, you probably already know that I go through rather predictable phases of frustration and angst. Anytime I get close to making a large decision or feel cornered I turn defensive and hypersensitive and paranoid. I'm right in the middle of one of those phases.

I know that there's nothing I can do other than wait it out and convince myself of the following:

I am not wasting my life.
I am not wasting my life.
I am not wasting my life.

Rinse and repeat.

It's not that I'm frustrated because I don't have any kind of career aspirations, friends I regularly see, or money to run off and travel. I'm really just bored with where I am. My life right now simply isn't what I expected for my mid-20s.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

On the road again....

It's that magical time of the year.... Moving time!

Val and I renewed our lease 5 months ago- oh how time flies when you're having fun! We've spent the last 4 hours driving around with little luck... 7 apartment complexes, 2 had apartments available for August. One was out of our price range, the other smelled like urine. What's a couple to do?

We drowned our sorrows with orange chicken and perused Craigslist... Lo and behold, there's a complex that is renting a 1bed/1ba for UNDER $1000. I'm so excited! We drove over to check it out and it's really clean, the pool is awesome, and the people are nice. It looks like we have a winner!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Retirement

I started saving for retirement today! I had a financial advisor set me up with a slew of investments. It may be a lofty goal, but I'd like for us to retire young and with a large chunk of change to play with.

Let's Play Catch Up!

I try to NOT be a slacker, but lately all I can do is make it through a full day of work, go home, force the boyfriend into slave labor (read: venture out to get the princess food) and fall asleep on the couch. Not a very exciting life, I know, but the bills are paid and we have everything we need.

So to catch up:

Independence Day was a blast. Val and I drove home on the 3rd to visit my family. We camped out in the orchard and woke up to sunlight streaming through the tent. After getting Frugals for breakfast, we hung out at the pier and harrassed some sea cucumbers. We met up with my brother at home and smoked some salmon with some guidance from my father- there's nothing in the world like freshly smoked salmon. It's just unbelievable.

We headed home at dusk and watched the fireworks from the ferry. There was quite an impressive lightning show that managed to scare the crap out of us. I don't think I've ever been so thrilled to make it home in one piece before.

Fast forward through 4 days of week.... and BAM! A 3 day weekend! There was much rejoicing! Saturday: Sleepage. Sunday: Mt. St. Helens!

Val and I attempted to visit the volcano on our anniversary last year. After 3 hours of driving, the mountain was completely covered in fog. This time we had a simply incredible view... She was smokin'! Quite literally, in fact. Thanks to my sweet Kodak with a delicious 10x optical zoom, I was able to zoom in a bit... Behold!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New Coach Items = Animal Crossing?


The world is a strange and beautiful place.

I used to love those moments in college that happen when you're taking 4 completely different classes- yet one week out of each quarter, it seems that they land on the same exact topic- just approach it from a different angle.

I'm thrilled to discover that it continues to happen- looks like I just need to keep my eyes open a bit more. My current Nintendo DS love is Animal Crossing. My current purse obsession is with Coach... Coach seemed slightly inspired by AC by all the fruit designs that came out this summer (check out that coin purse!). For the fall, looks like they were checking out Blathers for inspiration. It's great to see that video games can be a bit of an inspiration for those in the designing industry.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Helen's Heart



So my precious Helen's heart stopped today. For those of you who aren't in the know, Helen is my lovely 1997 Subaru Outback Sport. She's a great little car- always reliable, forever spunky, gentle on gas, and incredibly safe.

I got up early to head out to work, aimed my alarm remote at my car and.....

Just that. Nothing.

My heart broke as I unlocked the door and wasn't greeted by her characteristic beep. Val, my knight in shining Ion that he is drove me to and from work. When we got home we tried to jumpstart her, all with no luck. No beeps, no turnover, absolutely nothing. Finally we drove to Sears, invested in a $90 Diehard battery, popped it in- and voila!!! Helen beeped back to life.


So here's the thing... Why would someone want to invest $90 in a battery named Diehard? Wouldn't you want it to be a gentler, more user-friendly name? Something like "Liveslong" or "Drivestrong" or "Willnotbreakdowneveripromise?" The last thing I would like to put into my poor already-dead-car would be something named "Diehard." I think she already did die. Hard, in fact.

Thankfully, the product is much better than the name.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dinner


Nothing is quite as satisfying as making your own sushi. We can buy 5 different types of fish with dessert and beverages at Uwajimaya for only $19. Once you start making your own it's really hard to go back to a sushi bar... It just won't taste as fresh.

On the topic of food... I really have to start taking better care of myself. I come home dead-tired and go straight for the junk. My waistline and my ego has taken a beating- I guess it's time I start utilizing that new elliptical that's in the living room.

Coach love!



Val and I ignored the glory of Mt. St. Helens today and ventured instead to the outlet mall. To my surprise, an item on my wishlist was there.... at 60% off!!!

Here's to having my own little slice of heaven!


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Summer is Finally Here!


The last couple of days have been unbelievable. Today Val and I celebrated the sunshine by venturing to Edmonds to bury our feet in the sand. Nothing is quite as wonderful as soaking in the sunshine with the one you love. I can't help but feel incredibly grateful to have him in my life. I have no idea where I'd be without him.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A job with benefits...

There are a lot of things that really annoy me about my job... But those little annoyances fade away when I look at all the benefits. Dental, vision, medical coverage, fantastic vacation perks and a great schedule. The best benefit of all is the free education that comes with handling large sums of money. I'm about the dumbest person in the world when it comes to rationing my paycheck, but I've really cleaned up my act since I've started working at a bank.

Improvements:

Online banking.
Multiple accounts (much, much safer and easier to manage).
ID Theft Inspect ($10/month for access to credit management and $15,000 worth of insurance).
Automatic Bill Pay (Money goes in and magically turns into a check! I don't even have to look at it!).

I'm really hoping to own my own place in the next few years. With a little bit of luck and a lot of work, I'm hoping to turn this dream into a reality. My credit has taken a dive in the last few months, but I know the worst is over now.