December Goals/To Do

I pretty much ignored the second half of my November goals. I've completely put school out of my mind! I feel a tiny bit guilty, but mostly I'm just glad I was able to take a break. :) What I'm not happy about is the lack of exercise. I'm seriously gaining weight daily (at least it feels like it). So I'm going to double my effort this month!


  1. Go to yoga daily (or run or go to the gym or play tennis - something for at least an hour/day)
  2. Do sit-ups for 10 mins/day and 8 lb weights for 10 mins/day
  3. Eat healthier (more trips to the Farmer's Market)
  4. Make periodontist appt for M
  5. Make dentist appts for me (cleaning/checkup) and M (filling/cleaning)
  1. Must keep all groceries/eating out for M and I to $450/mo
  2. Sell all old law books
  3. Sell purses
  4. Try to obtain spring internship
  1. Email Kaplan re: receipt
  2. Catch-up on any classes I've missed (listen to audio recordings and take notes)
  3. Sign up for next year's MPRE: Pushed to January
  4. Begin studying for finals
  5. Take final (12/8)
  6. Take final (12/15)
  7. Finish my paper (12/15-19)
Personal Enrichment
  1. Read at least 2 fiction books
  2. Continue writing my fiction novel (or short story... whatever it is, I'm having fun :))
  1. Buy xmas cards
  2. Write and send out xmas cards
  3. Finish purchasing presents
  4. Wrap presents
  5. Enjoy my 26th birthday :)
  6. Celebrate xmas with M's family and my family
  1. Clean up my bookmarks on pc and laptop
  2. Keep the house clean and smelling good (makes me less cranky ;))
  3. File receipts/docs that have piled up in the bedroom
  4. Clean out closet
  5. Finish watching the final 5 eps of Mad Men, season 3 (how did I get so behind!!?)
  6. Sell desk on craig's list, and move exercise bike to mom's house
  7. Buy small coffee table
  8. Make new CD for car
  9. Download new apps for iphone/organize apps/add new music

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow afternoon, M and I will be visiting my mom, sis, and grandma where we will (naturally) be stuffing our faces. Mmm, I can't wait! ;)

Hopefully there are enough leftovers to last us through the winter! ;) (we've been spending waay too much on food lately)

Wishing everyone in the US an early Happy Turkey Day (and those not in the US just a happy day)!

Bar Review

I'm taking the bar exam next July. Pretty much 99% of people take a bar review course (at least from what I've heard). I'm absolutely certain I need to take one. By the time I'll take the bar, I'll have been in law school 4 years. The most tested subjects are from year one. I barely remembered the concepts a semester after I studied them, let alone 3 years. :p

I was hoping not to think about signing up for another month, but faced with discounts expiring on certain courses and the possibility that others would fill up, I had to make my decision.

These were primarily the courses I was looking at, and some details about each -


  • Price (w/discount): $2860
  • Just started offering a complete bar review this year
  • Applies down payment paid to Barbri
  • Both live, taped, and online lectures
  • Guarantee (if you fail on the first go, you can take the course on the second go for free)
  • Includes PMBR (multiple choice review - this part has been around a long time)
  • unlimited essay review
  • Price: $3500
  • has been around a long time (and 80% of people seem to take it)
  • supposed to have really good study aids/time management charts
  • Both live, taped, and online lectures
  • well-known lecturers
  • takes a very long time for essays to be graded and returned
  • Price: $1395
  • online only
  • $100 off if you opt for online materials (instead of books)
  • phone and live chat support
I ultimately went with Kaplan, because (1) I liked the price; (2) it's a reputable company; (3) the guarantee is reassuring; and (4) unlimited essay review is impressive.

I had to put $200 down, and $250 was applied from the payment I already made to Barbri, so I still owe $2410. I hope that it's worth it!

Christmas Presents

After today, classes will be over, and I'll have three things to focus on - finals, my paper, and Christmas. Oh, and exercise. I want to establish a routine before the new year starts.

Back to Christmas. I have less people to buy for this year... a couple months ago, my good (or so I thought) friend broke up with her fiance (I'd been friends with both of them for 7 years), started dating someone new, and then "broke up" with me because I told her I didn't like him (wasn't quite as simple as that, but I won't go into details. Basically, I thought he was very disrespectful towards her, and condescending towards me). It made me angry for a long time, but now I'm over it. And glad for the $100-200 savings! :p

M and I always share in the cost of presents to his family and to mine. I'm going to leave his family out of my list because he's figuring out and compiling his own list of what he thinks they'll like. I changed my mind. :p

For M, I'd like to buy several small presents. I don't think there are any electronics he's interested in (nothing affordable anyway). So I'm going to try to aim for stuff he'd be amused by (something from ThinkGeek, probably) and things he needs (clothes).

For friends, I'm hoping I can use my credit card rewards points! I have 13k...

Total Budget = $800 (I upped this from 300 to 800 as I began making purchases... I'm probably STILL going to go over! gulp)

Bf - dress shoes ($105); jeans ($176); sweater ($100) -- I took it all back and am starting over (nothing fit him :p); BuckyBalls ($30); clouds t-shirt ($27); hand exerciser ($50); zombie board game ($50); squishable??
Total = ~$160

My Family
Mom - All-in-one Printer w/ink ($65 + $30); new cell phone ($100); eyeglass holder ($30)
Dad - Blu-ray player ($120); Planet Earth Blu-ray ($40)
Sis - Death Note Boxset ($60); One Piece game ($50); Dragon Age ($50); Eye Pet ($50?); Neopet plush ($15)
Grandma - carton of cigarettes ($50 - terrible, I know, but it's apparently the only thing she wants :p); cigarette holder ($14)
My half total = $365

Bf's Family
Mom - just xmas
Dad - Anvil DVD ($20) - for bday;
Stepmom - ? - for bday;
Bro - Ucreate Music ($35) - for bday;
Sis #1 - Planet Earth ($40); Dragon Age ($40)
Sis #2 - Tweakers ($20) - for bday;
Sis #3 - just xmas
My half total = ?

Friend #1 (T) - ShanaLogic goodies ($50)
Friend #2 (A) & hubby - Chanel No. 5 ($115 - a xmas/bday gift)
Friend #3 (S) - giftcard ($0)
Friend #4 (S) - giftcard ($0)
Friend #5 (B) - giftcard ($0)
Total = $165

Winner - Uncharted 2 Giveaway!

The winner is Well-heeled! Congrats :) Could you email me at with your address?

I wish I could've given a copy to everyone that entered! I chose Well-heeled because she doesn't play video games, but she might start with this one. I want to introduce all girls to the joys of gaming! ;) And if you have a gamer boyfriend, I bet he'd love it if you got involved in his hobby. If you're playing Halo (or Uncharted, or Call of Duty, or a racing game, or role-playing game) on the weekend instead of going to the movies, you'll end up saving money! (well... eventually ;))

M and I have so much fun playing games together (including games that I would never play on my own - i.e. Dead Space, Resident Evil. I need someone I can hand the controller to if a zombie/alien/mutant with a chainsaw comes running at me :P). The writing and voice-acting on some of these games is also phenomenal. Better than a movie. Games have come a long way from Sonic the Hedgehog (not to bash him; I loved Sonic when I was little ;)).

For anyone who loves a fantastic story, with deeply involved romance (in the style of choose-your-own-adventure books - you have many dialogue options/choices and this effects how the other characters view you), I point you to anything made by Bioware (I am so in love with their latest, Dragon Age, but also recommend Mass Effect and Jade Empire, and have heard fantastic things about Knights of the Old Republic - set in the Star Wars universe). These are games made for adults, to be appreciated by adults.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the giveaway. :) I might have another one in the near future... so be on the lookout!

November Goals

I know this is a bit late... but hoping it'll get me on track for these next two weeks! I can't believe it's almost December... that means it's almost Christmas... and that I'm almost 26! How time flies. Gulp.

Before 11/17

  1. Start the rough draft of my paper (at least 5 pgs)
  2. Finish slides for the presentation on my paper
  3. Prepare for my other (much shorter) presentation (do 1 pg synopsis and email to partner)
After 11/17
  1. Go to yoga daily
  2. Catch-up on any classes I've missed (listen to audio recordings and take notes)
  3. Finish the rough draft of my paper
  4. Begin studying for finals

My Perfect Day

Taking a cue from Frugal Dreamer and Serendipity... :)

"The idea is to close your eyes, imagine it’s a Friday morning a few years from now (2 to 5 years from now). Now think about exactly how you’d want to spend the day, keeping in mind that it is a weekday. The idea is to plan your perfect day, using the following questions…"

1. What time do you wake up, and how are you feeling as you greet the day?
8am, cheerful, rested, and eager to start the day!

2. Where are you? If you’re at home, what does it look like?
At home - a home that we own! - in a large master bedroom with lots of color, luxurious, soft sheets, with light streaming through the windows.

3. Who is with you?
M... and a puppy! ;)

4. What kind of work are you doing?
Part-time contract attorney, part-time pf blogger, part-time writer... A flexible schedule with enough money to make me feel as if I'm really contributing to our partnership

5. As you head out to face the day, how do you look? What are you wearing?
Charcoal gray suit, colorful blouse, black heels... polished and put-together. And then when I come home later in the day, it'll be a change into pajamas :)

6. How do you get to work?
Ideally, I would walk! But considering where we live... likely car. Likely the car I have now, but if I manage my money correctly - a BMW ;)

7. When you’re done with work, how will you spend you spare time and with whom? What activities do you enjoy?
Unwinding on the couch with a good book. Going to yoga.

8. What is your evening like?
When M gets home, ordering takeout and playing video games. Then playing with the pup, following by a relaxing bath :)

9. When you go to bed that night, how are you feeling after spending the day doing exactly what you love?

10. What are you most grateful for and what are you looking forward to as you go to sleep?
Grateful for my loved ones, my beautiful house, all the novels that the public loved and which were turned into movies (haha ;))

Back to Square One

I've been promising to update my debt totals for awhile now, and I decided today was the day. So... here we go.

Visa: $4502
Mastercard: $4462
2nd MC: $5789
Store #1: $1463
Store #2: $600
Total = $16,816.00

It made me feel sick to my stomach to know that in March I had zero credit card debt (thanks to a loan from M that I'm slowly paying back) and today I'm nearly back up to where I started. A fair amount is school related, but more than a fair amount came from clothes, shoes, eating out, the Europe trip... and who knows what else.

I feel like I acquire debt cyclically. Every summer I pack it on, every fall I vow to pay it off. (And so far I haven't even been the one paying it off - it's only gone away thanks to M's bailouts!) It needs to stop. I know my "debt chronicles" are going to continue for many many years because of my student loans, but I don't want them to continue because of credit card debt. I also don't want to disappoint M (let alone myself) - he was so proud of me for using this blog to (seemingly) turn my spending habits around. And it's also so incredibly unfair to him when I've been racking up all this debt and letting him pay for all our food and utilities!

I can't begin really tackling the debt again until I graduate law school and get a full-time job. For now, I need to just focus on not adding to it.

I at least have a lot of things to sell on ebay. I've been planning to sell them for months, I've just been busy (and when not busy, lazy!). So, that'll be step #1. We'll see how things go from there.

I know one of the reasons I've been putting off updating the totals was because I... well, I felt ashamed! I've never been the model of frugality, but at least I felt like I was moving in a positive direction and was pleased that you guys were coming along with me. Now I'm back at square one. :( All I can say is, I hope I've finally learned from my mistakes and can start to REALLY move forward. And I hope you guys will be still be around for my second go!

6 Years in the Workforce

I noticed that Sallie's Niece posted her Social Security annual statement and since I got mine in the mail a couple weeks ago, thought I would see how my numbers stack up. :)

2002: 1,126
2003: 8,860
2004: 8,964
2005: 13,478
2006: 46,240
2007: 47,965
2008: 15,853

I've been working non-stop since I graduated high school. I'm looking forward to a break next semester, and then looking even more forward to diving headfirst into a job that (hopefully!!) pays more than anything I've made to date. :)

Game Giveaway

I'm giving away one copy of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for the Playstation 3!

The game is an action-adventure played from the third-person perspective. It's Indiana Jones-ish, with an excellent story and awesome voice-acting, not to mention fun gameplay! I LOVED it, and I'm more of a role-playing games kind of gal.

If you're interested, please leave a comment telling me what your favorite video game is and why (or your significant other's fave game & why, if you want it for them). I'll then choose a winner on November 17th (next Tuesday) at noon! Winners are restricted to the US (sorry!!).

Good luck! :)

Europe Recap

Took me awhile to defeat the jetlag (and the remnants of the flu), and get back to my normal routine, but here we are.

I was kind of reluctant to make this post, because I didn't want to be reminded of the bad parts of the trip... It felt good to just stare at all the pretty pictures I posted on facebook and imagine that it was just 2 weeks of happy happy sunshine fun. :p In reality, it was 40% crappy illness, 13% mostly crappy travel (I kind of enjoyed some of our train rides)... and I guess that leaves 47% fun?

Maybe I'll just focus on the fun part. ;)

Our hotel in Paris was near the Madeleine, very close to a metro station, and surrounded by nice restaurants. It was also close to the Roissy bus stop (a bus that travels straight from the airport to the center of Paris), but due to my failure to map the route out and us both feeling out of it, we got lost. When we finally found the hotel, the front desk guy was irritated that I didn't speak French, and I wanted to punch him in the face. :p Other than that though, I did like the hotel.

It was 150 euros/night; quaint, decorated nicely, clean, with a large bathroom. As expected, no room service, no minibar in the room... it was something we really regretted not having, but that was only because M was so sick. :(

We visited all of the main sights -

  • Louvre
  • Musee d'Orsay
  • Notre Dame
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Champs Elysees
  • Arc d'Triomphe
We did the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, and it was really worth it! I think it was about 25 euros for each of us for a 2-day pass.

I think honestly the best food we had was at a little cafe around the corner, which (if I remember correctly) was called Cafe de l'Olympia. The waiters (and especially the lady at the bakery counter) were REALLY friendly, and were happy to speak English. The food was really yummy and it was inexpensive. We tried a few other cafes - one I remember specifically is Cafe Madeleine - and it was terrible in comparison. Egg shells in the omelette, soggy and odd-tasting croque monsieur, waiters who seemed to delight in speaking long sentences of French to us, even though we obviously didn't have a clue. Seemed really odd to me, since it was located in a very touristy area.

We skipped Strasbourg to spend an extra day touring Paris, and the day after we made our way to Cologne, Germany. It was a 5 hr train ride, but thankfully the train had plugs and wi-fi. We didn't make it to Cologne until 3:30ish, and by the time we got to our hotel room and took a quick rest, the sky was already darkening. We stopped by the chocolate museum, but we JUST missed the closing time. We did snag ourselves a bag of truffles from their store though (we tried one of each!). :)
On our way to the train station the next morning, we spent some time walking around the cathedral. It is MASSIVE! We also got caught up in some kind of football protest? There were hundreds of people dressed in red crowding in the street near the train station. And there were just as many police in the area surrounding them. It was exciting (though nothing really happened, other than them chanting, and the police announcing something over the loudspeaker. I hope we didn't miss the good stuff! ;))

Skipping ahead to Munich, we really only took in 3 sights - Nymphenburg Palace, Neuschwanstein Castle, and the Deutsches Museum. This is where I got sick again, so I ruined the last 3 days of our trip. :( SIGH - anyway... focusing on the positive! We spent some time with M's family, which was nice... M got to meet his mom's fiance for the first time. We stayed at a hotel near the palace. It was 109 euros/night, family-run, very friendly staff (except for the maid, who tried to walk in on us when we had the "do not disturb" sign up!), mini-bar in room, quaint... because I was sick, we again really regretted the lack of room service. I wasn't very fond of the room - it had a slanted roof that I kept bumping my head on, and a TINY bathroom. If we ever return to Munich, we'll definitely get a place in the city center. Although the public transit was fantastic - there were several trams that ran nearby that would take us pretty much anywhere we wanted to go. Not to mention all the train stations.

So how much was spent? As I mentioned before, M paid for most of the trip. It was an anniversary present to me, and a way to celebrate him completing his project at work. I spent about $600 - withdrawing cash for groceries, restaurant tip, etc and paying for a few train reservations. In total (plane, trains, hotels, food), he spent $8000. It made me gulp when I heard that. I guess that sounds about right, considering we were gone for 15 days. But considering only 47% of that was us having fun... the amount was really hard to swallow. I felt REALLY guilty when he added everything up (especially since he followed that up by saying he didn't think it was worth it!). Well, to be completely honest, I felt anger mixed with guilt. Anger, I suppose, because nothing can be done about it now. And guilt because... I dislike my inability to contribute 50%. :(

ANYWAY... again, focusing on the positive... we did see beautiful things, we spent quality time with his family, I got to see the "motherland" (my mom is from Germany)... and best of all, we can appreciate home even more! ;) Oh, and - we'll be much more prepared for the next time we visit! Assuming this trip didn't put M off vacations for good! Ummm, maybe I'll wait a few years before I even begin to think about it. ;)

I'm Back!

Back... and jetlagged. ;) For those of you on twitter, you might know that we almost ended up not going... M got a cold a day before we left (likely from me), and was adamant that we stay home. He ended up relenting, but was sick for 3 more days, and then I got sick AGAIN for the last 2 days of the trip, AND I got hives from our fancy hotel in Paris (90% sure that it was a reaction to the bedspread).

That said, I still got to experience many things, and I'm mostly happy that we went... M says he is not. He admits that he had SOME fun, but generally wishes we had postponed the trip. I'll elaborate more in a future post... and also discuss the (gulp) cost (92% of which he covered).

Anyway, what's done is done... I saw some beautiful things, but I'm happy to be home. :) I'll leave you with some pictures!

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