Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another one bites the dust.

Remember one of my big fears I mentioned earlier this year? Well, it happened. It was inevitable. I had dinner last night with two of my best girls and sure enough, one of them (kuntry bride) announced she is pregnant. Both of these girls have been big prayer warriors for me during my struggle, and she was very gracious with how she gave us the news. (Lucky has also been trying since day 1 of being married and is already frustrated.) I know that all must sound ridiculously selfish if you haven't gone through the crap the hub and I've gone through - I mean I don't want friends to walk around on egg shells around us when it comes to sharing good news. But there are better ways to do it than shoving ultrasound photos in my face and saying "Surprise!!!" (Yep, that has happened before.)

I am truly, truly thrilled for my sweet friend. She and her husband are going to be amazing parents! But I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt. No worries, I didn't like make a scene over my enchilada or anything last night. Surprisingly, I haven't cried at all over it. All I can say is that it just feels weird. I had a hard time sleeping last night. It's hard not to spiral into a case of the why-me's and it's-not-fair's. It's really hard to not get frustrated with the fact that it comes SO easily for other people when we've spent nearly 5 years and thousands of dollars and we're still nowhere. It's hard not to get angry. And once again, it's hard not to feel left behind. Last night, trying to fall asleep, I just felt very... alone.

Dammit, now I'm crying.

But I have to remember that nothing has changed for us. We're still plugging along - we've got our plan in place. And I must say I'm grateful... grateful that I've been in such a good place mentally and spiritually lately that I feel I'm really able to handle this news peacefully. A few months ago, I would've taken it a LOT harder. This journey has been a true roller coaster, so I'm thankful to be soaring high for the time being! The news is still uneasy. And I don't know what it's going to look like tomorrow, or a few months down the road, but I can't worry about it. I'm just going to do what I can with what I'm given today and lean on God for tomorrow. I'm going to love on my friend and pray for a happy and healthy pregnancy for her. And continue to pray for peace for me as we charge on. So hopefully the "weirdness" will soon fade and this new normal will become more... normal.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Emmy Favorites

Y'all know I'm an awards show junkie... and the Emmy's last night did NOT disappoint! Jimmy Fallon did an incredible job hosting. Lots of great laugh-out-loud moments. And of course seeing the stars glammed up is at least half the fun. Probably my favorite moment was the Glee-inspired opener...

Another fab moment was Jimmy's musical tribute to the shows we lost this last year. I of course especially loved his Billie Joe Armstrong imitation. He totally nailed his quirky head gestures - haha!

And of course there was the obligatory "In Memoriam" segment highlighting all the lost actors and TV crew members. But one of my favorites, Jewel, performed her song "Hole in my Heart" as the images played in the background - wow. This obviously isn't an Emmy clip of the performance (couldn't find one), but this is the song. I've seen her in concert several times. She's simply amazing. She usually just stands up on stage casually with her guitar, as in this video, and does her thing. Incredible...

I of course had E! on with red carpet highlights as soon as it started, but was running around the house getting stuff done. So I wasn't as glued to the tube and probably missed a lot of the glam. But the standout star for me? Claire Dane! WOW! My so-called hotness! Congrats to her for her big Emmy win for Temple Grandin.

And also big Hoorah's! for Jane Lynch taking best supporting actress in a comedy for her role as Sue Sylvester on Glee! SOOOO deserved and what a gracious acceptance speech...

Great show overall. Kudos, Jimmy Fallon! Loved it! What did you guys think?!

Alright, time to get this week rolling. Hope you all have a great one!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


So Flo totally faked me out yesterday.  Thought she had arrived yesterday morning, but really she's still in my driveway unpacking her things... while I sit here and wait on her slow ass.  So I had to reschedule my Femara check.  Well, technically it hasn't been rescheduled just yet, but point is I'm not going today.  No big, but it would've been super efficient and convenient to go today after my Moo Goo appointment.  Saves me a trip into town.  But whatev...  hopefully I'll get on with it tomorrow or Friday!  I'm ready!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Go Uterus, Go!

Alright, my bloodwork and first ultrasound are both scheduled for tomorrow to get this last IUI cycle rolling!  And I've got an HSG scheduled next week with my doctor to see if my girly parts are in working order.  If not, I'll need another surgery if we have to do IVF.  Not looking forward to all the stirrup time, but we're really excited to get things moving.  My friend asked me what the heck an HSG was... I just said it's more prodding at my nu-nu to see if my uterus is in good shape.  Pretty sure that's the textbook definition. 
So that same friend has been chanting "Go uterus go!" to the Go Diego Go theme song via e-mail today.  (I had to You Tube that one since I don't have kids.)  But I'll take all the praying and cheering on I can get!  So yeah... go uterus!  This is your freaking reason for existence.  Get it together and do your job, dammit!  Gawh!
I'll keep y'all updated as we progress along...  xoxoxo

Monday, August 23, 2010

More on Diapers

So y'all should see this kick-ass spreadsheet I'm putting together with diaper prices. I'm neurotic, I know. I'm basically recording the regular prices for each size in the different brands y'all suggested - but only in the largest quantity available at a given store. I'm doing Pampers, Huggies, Kirkland (Costco), Publix brand, and Target brand. Pampers seem to be the fave though... not as much love from y'all for the Huggies.

And I've only scratched the surface here... apparently there are different *types* of diapers. Like someone please explain Huggies Snug & Dry vs. Little Movers (or whatever they're called). And Pampers Cruisers vs. whatever the other kind is called. I see a price difference, but what is THE difference? Is one a Toyota and the other a Lexus? Please explain, mommas.

Also, there are apparently night-time diapers. Well, they make night-time maxi pads, so I guess that makes sense. My question - are these necessary? Maybe that question has an "it depends" kind of answer. I have no clue.

Some also mentioned their babies having sensitive little booties... is this really a diaper issue or a wipes issue or both? I did notice some "sensitive" diapers on the shelves. Dear me. This is hella confusing! I'm having a hard time figuring it out and I'm not even a mom yet! Seriously how do you guys decipher the diaper world with a screaming kid on your hip?!

Lastly, the stores I've checked/am checking are: Publix, Kroger, Target, Wal-mart, Babies 'r Us, Costco, and Sam's. Oh and diapers.com. Any other stores/sites you frequent that I should definitely check?

One last question... if I come across a really slammin' deal on diapers (in any given size or brand) - would it make sense to buy some ahead of time or is that completely stupid? Oh shit - are there different diapers for boys and girls? I didn't notice! OMG.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Financial Goals: Eye on the Prize!

The difference between a dream and a goal is a plan.
I either heard that on the radio or read it on twitter earlier this week (via Dave Ramsey, duh)... love it!  And it's so true.  You can't get to your destination without a map.   Stuck-in-the-mud right now or not, what keeps us going and plugging away each day is focusing on where the hub and I want to be 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, and 30 years from now.  It's incredible to think about!  Creating financial goals together is so important (and fun!).  It's about asking, "Where do we want to go, what do we want to do?" and then putting together a plan to get there. 
For us, the quick and dirty version is to rid ourselves of all debt, stay out of debt, build wealth and give.  Obviously our strides are short right now as we're still in *income crisis* mode while the hub is searching for full-time work.  But even with our tiggity-tight budget, every decision is made with these goals in mind.  And of course we have other "fun" goals mixed in... things we want to do with the house, traveling, newer cars, a boat.... I could go on!  Every goal of ours, big or small, has a strategic plan.  And just to share with you all, here are some of our biggest and uber exciting goals for the not-too-distant-future...
1.  Become debt-free (but the house) by the end of 2011.  The absolute dates here are fuzzy right now since our income is up in the air.  Once the hub lands a new job, we'll be able to knock the shit out of this one.  Progress right now is very slow - but there is still progress every month.  And we're throwing one heck of a party when we finally get there!
2.  Get college and wedding accounts rolling for the (future) kids.  Wedding?  Oh hell yeah.  I told the hub the other day, "OK, if we have a daughter and put $100 away each month, with 10% growth we'll have $100,000 for a wedding by the time she graduates college!"  Of course by then, $100k will only be worth about $50,000 or so in today's dollars.  But we can easily do fabulous on $50,000!  I love weddings, you know.  These are the crazy dreams I come up with!  Also, we plan to get college funds rolling as soon as possible too.  Pigs will fly over a frozen hell before we let our kids get a school loan.  And I would love, love, love for our kids to go to my old junior high and high school, which is private... so that of course would be figured in there too.  But none of this can happen before #1 (getting debt-free) is done.  And there's some other stuff that's gotta happen first too (emergency fund, etc.), but this is a fun one to think about!
3.  Pay off the house.  I get a head-to-toe rush through my body thinking about this one.  Maybe it's the Holy Spirit saying, "Git 'r done!"  Who knows... but wow, can't wait to get there!  Again, it's a little hard to speculate in our current income situation, but we expect to be able to accomplish this by my 40th birthday.  I'm about to turn 33.  But I look 19!  (So I was recently told. Thanks, checkout guy at Costco!)  All these goals - this one especially - have refueled my drive and energies at work.  Well, and my job being the only full-time one between us right now kinda forces us both to appreciate it more!  But having this goal in the back of my head, everyday, helps me plug away.  And we've also discussed that when the house is gone, I'll have the freedom to be a SAHM or do whatever I want.  So that's incredible to think about too!
4.  Become millionaires within 10 years.  This one is just fun, right?  And really, all these steps we are making will easily lead us here, so it is really just icing on the cake.  This should happen very quickly after #3 is done.  I'm a nerd, so you know I've run the numbers!  Millionaires with no debt.  No payments to anyone.  Can you imagine the amazing things we will be able to do?  The giving we can do?  The fun we can have?  The wealth we can build?  I saw a segment on the local news this week where a nearby Boys & Girls Club location was vandalized and all of their A/C units were stolen.  In this incredible heat!  That made my blood boil.  I want to be in a position where we can cut them a check and make them whole again.  That's the kind of stuff I get PUMPED about!  That is true life, right there.  And we cannot wait!  As much as the hub and I love *stuff* and love to do fun things and travel and whatnot, we really have a heart for giving.  I so cannot wait!
You guys always hear me talking about the budget, cutting corners, NOT shopping, paying off debt... well, this is WHY we do it.  Because we've got somewhere to be and we want to get there as quickly as possible.  It involves a lot of sacrifice today.  Saying "no" a lot of times to friends who want to go out, taking "staycations" instead of the real thing, driving a 12 year old car that locks up every time you try to put it in gear... but we're content.  We're content because we know where we're going.  We have to say "no" a lot right now so that one day we can say "YES!"  And my sweet 98 Accord will get us there just fine, won't ya, girl?! 

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Dad Life: A little Friday Funny

In honor of my wonderful Dad who turns 63 tomorrow, here's a good laugh to get your weekend off on the right foot! Our friends showed us this video last week - hilarious. Each of the guys is a dead ringer for the hub and his three buds up here. The black dude is totally my husband (sans the actual "Dad" part).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Something I obviously know nothing about. (Though I have changed a bunch before.) Anyway, I'm doing some research. Mommas, give me the dirt on diapers. What are your favorite brands? Are any of the store brands any good (Target, Publix, Costco, etc.)? I'm personally a coupon freak, so on a lot of products I'm not very brand-loyal. I buy what's on sale. Anyone do this with diapers? How many do you go through in a day? Any secrets to getting a good deal? How many freaking sizes are there? And I know there are lots of options for cloth diapers. Not what I'm asking. Just interested in the 411 on disposable diapers for now. Spill!

Moo Goo News

Midway through another week already... and it's my last 4-day work week of the summer!  I am so ready for Fall though.  Bring on the cooler weather, please.  I am over this heat - it's exhausting and hard to freakin' breathe out here.  Anyway, we're also coming up on the completion of our 3rd cycle on Moo Goo.  That is, my acupuncture-diet-herbs regimen.  And we've decided to go ahead and move forward with our last IUI cycle next month.  I'm still going to continue on with Moo Goo alongside all the fun in the stirrups though.  It can only help!  Plus I still feel great on this diet and I know I'm doing great things for my body.  Dr. Liu also says Fall is the best time to do IUI/IVF and that summer is the worst - interesting.  (All 3 of our last IUI attempts were in the summer.)
So our plan is to do this final attempt with IUI next month on Femara.  I am very curious to see how my mid-cycle check looks after having gone through all this acupuncture!  Hoping for some really fabulous lining, since that has been a big issue for me.  Also during this IUI cycle, they'll do a mock egg-transfer test to see if my wonky uterus looks OK for IVF.  I think I'm thinking of the right test.... they're doing some sort of test to see if it looks good.  It's been a while since we devised this plan, so I may be calling it the wrong thing.  Good thing I'm not the doctor.  Anyway, they should be able to determine whether or not I will need a 3rd surgery before moving on to IVF.  I know... IUI, IVF, WTF.  Basically there are three scenarios:
1.  IUI cycle is a success. (Oh, that would be great!)
2.  IUI flops, mock-transfer looks good... immediately move to IVF.
3.  IUI flops, mock-transfer not good... have a 3rd surgery, then IVF.
We haven't met with the *financial* people yet at my RE's office about IVF, but we are planning to do one of these money-back-if-you-don't-get-a-baby plans.  From what I understand, you pay a flat fee up front for 3 regular (retrieval) cycles and 3 frozen cycles (for example).  If no live birth results from any of those, you get the bulk of your money back.  I don't think it includes any of the meds involved (which are also very $$$), but it can end up saving you a lot.  It's kind of like insurance.  Risk is, it works on the first try and you've way overpaid.  But either way, I think there's a lot of peace of mind there knowing you get some cash back if it doesn't work.  It definitely gives me a lot of peace.  It is a total gamble, after all.  My parents are stepping in and helping us make this happen - which is incredible.  And we're so, so grateful.
So after all that, if we're still at square one... I think we will probably go in another direction.  Not give up, but take a different path.  Like to Ethiopia or something.  Have you seen those little babies?  OMG.  So damn cute.  That's thinking way, way ahead though (which I tend to do).  We'll tackle that if and when we get there.  For now, I'm focusing on getting my body ready for the turkey baster.
I'll keep y'all updated!

Friday, August 6, 2010

e.l.f. - A Love Affair

I know, I haven't gabbed about a product or gushed over some new accessory in ages. It's funny how much my blog has changed focus over the last three years, but so goes my life! I write about what's going on, and there's really not much of any shopping going on here... so yeah. I usually send my J. Crew catalogs straight to the recycle bin. BUT one thing you can't deny me is my makeup. I still gotta look good, right?!

I found out about e.l.f. several years ago when they first came on the scene. The whole "everything is $1" intrigued me... could this be for real? Uh yeah, it was. Of course now they've totally expanded their line and have different collections with higher price points. But even the highest ones are ridiculously cheap when you compare them to drugstore makeup brand prices, much less swanky high-end cosmetic lines. At only $1 an item, I grabbed a ton of products on my first order years ago - I mean, what's to lose? If it sucks, you only wasted a dollar, right? Well, fast forward to now... and nearly every single item in my makeup drawer is stamped with "e.l.f."

I've always been big into makeup - it's just fun. And I've tried all kinds of brands and labels when it comes to cosmetics. I was a pretty tried and true Estee Lauder fan in high school and beyond, with a little Bobbi Brown mixed in... and maybe a dash of MAC, Sephora, and other trendy brands here and there. With the exception of my liquid base and/or concealer (which has always been Almay), I was an exclusive department store brand makeup girl. I was a sucker for the free-gift-with-purchase. Even though I'd maybe use like *one* item out of that bag - ha! But like I said, when I caught word of this online cosmetic company where everything was $1 - I had to give it a try.

Little by little, my department store cosmetic items were being replaced by e.l.f. products. The last to go? My automatic eye pencil from Estee Lauder. It was quite the revelation, if you remember. Now the only items I use daily that are not e.l.f. are my Almay wand concealer and whatever mascara I'm using. Mascara is the only product they haven't quite mastered yet. I'll be happy to switch when they do, but for now I stick with Maybelline - either the old faithful pink and green bottle or the new Stiletto one.

If you're not familiar with e.l.f., there's a few things you should know. First, there is always ALWAYS a promotion going on. Never ever check out without entering some kind of coupon code. By always, I mean there is at least one promotion/coupon code available every single day. And often more than one, so you have to choose which one is the best deal for you. The best way to stay in the know is to become an email subscriber. The promotions are advertised via email, twitter, etc and most often are NOT made known on the website. I usually order from e.l.f about once every 3 months, spending about $30 (including shipping). And that's for A LOT of stuff. I wait for the bigger promotions to come out and then I jump on and order everything I need and more. As I'm about to show you, most of the products I use come from their all natural mineral line. Unless I'm just desparate and out of product, I will only purchase new items when they're at least 50% off. They will usually run promos by specific collections... like one week all Studio items are 50% off, then a couple of weeks later all Mineral items are BOGO 50% off, etc. But like I said, I try to hold out for the bigger ones... like 60% off the entire site (that's the last one I took advantage of) or 75% off all Minerals. Point is - there is always a promotion, so never ever pay full price.

Second, the company now has four main "collections" of products...

  • The main e.l.f. line, which is your basic everything-is-$1 stuff. I still snag some of these items whenever I'm purchasing. And you can actually find some of these at Target. I've seen a small selection at Kroger also. But whatever you've seen in stores is a teeny, teeny sampling of what's online. These products are great stocking stuffers and I've seen brides use them a lot to fill goody bags for bridesmaids. Great fun! And an excellent way to experiment with fun new colors on the cheap.
  • The Studio collection, which they dub as their "professional" line. I've used a couple of these products, namely the eyeliner and shadow stick which led me to dump my faithful Estee Lauder liner after 16+ years. Price point on this line is generally $3 (but again, wait till they go on sale).
  • The Minerals collection, my personal favorite! I've tried just about every product in this collection and have fallen in love with most all of it. I'll reveal my top personal picks below. The collection is all natural and 100% mineral based. Price point for most items is $3-5. (Don't make me mention the sales again.)
  • The Bath & Body collection, which is basically your bath gels, lotions, etc. Items are generally $4 each. No real steal of a deal here except for the body butter. Compare it to The Body Shop's Body Butter for $14 and up.... yeah, I'll go with the $4 tub from e.l.f., thanks. As for the hand soap? I'll pass. I refuse to pay more than $1 for a bottle of hand soap.
Third, shipping costs are a flat $6.95 (for U.S), no matter your order. There are often free or reduced shipping coupon codes too, so keep an eye out. And because it's an online-only retailer, there are no sales tax charges (except for NY, probably - where the distribution center is located). They also often throw out freebies with your purchase, like a complimentary magazine subscription. And it's a true freebie - not a thing where you will be billed after 3 weeks if you don't cancel. I was just reading my freebie US Weekly this morning, actually! Do be aware that they do not accept returns or exchanges unless items arrived damaged. I've never had anything arrive damaged, nor have I ever wanted to return anything. Folks, stuff is like $1. Again, if you don't like something, do a shoulder shrug and move on. It's a friggin' dollar. As for my personal favorites, here are the top 5 items I'm currently crushing on...

1. Mineral Eyeshadow, $3 each. OMG, so fun. Such a great rainbow of colors to choose from, and they go on beautifully. I love the texture and they're easy to apply as lightly or as heavily as you want. Most colors have a subtle shimmer to them, but a few (labeled matte) do not. These are the only thing I use for eyeshadow anymore. Love, love, love them.

2. Mineral Lip Gloss, $3 each. It took me a while, but I found my perfect lip gloss. I've tried every other lip gloss e.l.f. has to offer - this one is the best by far. My favorite shades are Trendsetter, Pageant Princess, and Sorority Girl.

3. Mineral Concealer, $5 each. Yes, it's called "concealer" but I actually use it as my foundation. I've tried the Mineral Foundation as well, but none of the shades seemed to work just right for me and my skin tone. But the "light" shade of the concealer does... and I can't tell the difference between the concealer or foundation really. So I use my Almay wand concealer to help cover up any blemishes or discoloration on my face, and then I apply the Mineral concealer lightly on top (which is basically a very fine loose powder). I don't use liquid foundation anymore after having discovered this stuff. If you've been wanting to try a mineral foundation, e.l.f. is a great way to do it without breaking the bank.

4. Mineral Eye Liner, $3 each. Yep, as soon as this product debuted I gave it a try and immediately fell in love. It tops the Studio collection liner that I mentioned, but I still use both since they offer different shades in each. LOVE this product a million times over. I have every color but most often wear Ash or Midnight.

5. Mineral Blemish Kit, $8 each. I know, quite the *splurge* on this site! But you won't go through this product nearly as quickly as a foundation or regular concealer. (And hello, again, these are list prices - not what I actually pay.) I don't use this everyday. It's basically a very, very fine powder that helps cover up blemishes or red spots. It only comes in one shade, and may not work if you have very dark skin - I don't know. But for me, it's awesome. Sometimes my wand concealer won't completely conceal a particularly stubborn zit or blemish. Mineral Blemish Kit to the rescue! It also comes with a special brush for application.

So those are my faves. What are some of yours? If you don't have any, you need to get some. Hop on their site and find some goodies. The great thing is, they have tons of reviews on their products. So it's easy to get a feel for what people like and don't like. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Are you ready, Atlanta?!

In less than two months, Dave will be here! Get your fist pump going! If you're on the verge of wanting/needing to make some big financial changes in your life, this is the event that will kick your butt into gear. I know I've mentioned this before, but it wasn't until we saw Dave live two years ago that everything really *clicked*. But no matter where you are with your money, this show is for everyone. And the icing? It's incredibly entertaining and hilarious. It will change your life. Promise.