February Spending Recap

if you remember, i did a full spending freeze for february.  i do think my frost has been going will since september but i saw some things slip by in december and january that definitely could have been avoided.  so, february was the month of zero spending.  or so i planned.  i didn't succeed, but i think i was pretty fantastic!

february 2
+$190 blog income (clever girls, blogher)

february 3 
-$5 itunes movie.  john was in town this week for training classes, so he came over and i cooked.  netflix was down (i was so mad) so we settled on an itunes movie.  definitely a spending freeze fail  but really netflix, you probably owe me $5.  that was all your fault.  but john bought the extra ingredients to complete the meal (meatballs, garlic bread) so that was some money saved for me.

february 6
+$25 paypal from swagbucks

february 7
-$27 petsmart for dog food

february 9
-$25 groupon.  for a brazilian wax, which is on my 101 list and i'm totally terrified.  i figured jump on the groupon while it was cheap plus had a discount code that applied.  i actually already scheduled it too so i can't wuss out (i cry when i get my eyebrows waxed and haven't done it in at least 4 years.)

february 13
+$25 paypal from swagbucks

february 14
-$70 hawkeye to the groomer.  technically money spent and therefore against the rules but she goes every 2 months (6 weeks in the summer), it was already set, and there's zero percent chance of me ever grooming this:

on my own.  her groomings are the some of the best money i spend all year.
-$20 vet prescribed food.  it cleans her teeth and it has to be ordered from the vet.  since i was in the area, i picked it up, even though i wasn't planning on getting it until march.  oh well.

february 20
+$6 blog income (ad sales)

february 23
+$25 paypal from swagbucks

february 25
+$15 blog income (collective bias)

february 27
+$3 blog income (ad sales)

february 28
+$50 5 hours of dog sitting

total: -$147, +$339 = $192

so yeah, pet supplies.  pet expenses did me in this month, but i will never not spend money on that dog, whenever she needs it.  including next month, at her yearly vet visit, at which i anticipate spending ohhhh $400.  sigh.  other than that, i had a feeling it would be a smooth.  i spent 10 days at my parents house, watching their dogs.  their dogs are more on a schedule than hawkeye, so i went straight to and from work back to the pups.

here's how i feel about those fails though - to me, a spending freeze is supposed to make me more mindful of what i don't actually need.  to get me to use what's in the pantry before buying anything new, to stop the money trickle that is coffees or packs of gum, to accept that i don't actually need any more clothes.  not to suffer (or make the dog suffer) when i run out of something truly necessary.  and whether or not i pushed the grooming and dental food back to march doesn't really matter, because i was definitely going to buy those things.  whereas the instant gratification that is coffee or last minute chipotle, i wouldn't go out march 1 and buy all those things i skipped.  that's what i think anyway.

money saving moves:
1) my computer cord broke, just stopped charging my laptop.  $80 for a new one, but john bought it for me as a valentine's gift.  romantic and practical!  and i picked a place for dinner that i already had a $50 gift card to and made him fudge and (earlier in the month) his favorite pasta.
2) groceries the first week were bought by my mom.  i helped her and my dad cook for their super bowl party so she picked up my groceries with her own.  which is awesome, since we went to whole foods and i would never pay whole foods prices on my own during a regular month, let alone spending freeze month.
3) i watched my parents dogs while they were in florida for 10 days.  normally, they'd pay me $1000  (still less than what their boarding place would charge!) for this but instead, they're watching hawkeye for 5 days in april when i go to vegas, left me $100 for the train (yes, the overpriced metra costs $100 per week, whereas my cta costs me $100 per month), and bought and left me groceries for the entire stay.  wins for everyone.
4) had a $50 gift card to whole foods for groceries for the last week.

well it wasn't a perfect month, but i still think i did really, really well.  i'm not sure i can ever have a totally perfect spending freeze month, so i'd be happy if they were all like this!  because without including pet expenses, i only spent $30.

10 Best // Ways to Avoid People

netflix: new season of house of cards is available february 27.  yes, all bolded, because if you haven't watched it yet, catch up.  and if you have, well then i already know you're as pumped for season 3 as i am.  kevin spacey, i officially forgive you for the $7 i wasted seeing k-pax in theaters back in high school.

laugh: how to prepare for winter weather when you live in the south.  southerners, you crack me up.

view: rachel's photos from the london eye.  so pretty, but my heart absolutely skips a beat.  so high!  i'll just check out the view from the safety of my computer screen.  on my couch.

read: here's 7 free resources for e-books.  ebooks > people.  obviously.

link up: if you blog, don't forget to take part in lauren's 'i am beautiful' linkup.  every 2 weeks.

clean: your dog's teeth.  i know, i know.  not nearly as fun as downing a bottle of wine while on a friday night nextflix binge.  but, this makes it really easy so you can actually do both.  and still have time to order pizza.  your dog will thank you.

cook: winter vegetable soup.  a must if you're in a cold climate like i am.  and yes, if you're wondering, i'm still loving the cold and snow and even more loving using it as a reason to avoid people.

plan: your trip to iceland.  i am the world's worst flyer, particularly internationally (india was the longest flight ever) but kiki always makes me want to visit iceland.  i don't know that i ever will since i'm such a wuss, but at least i'd know what to do once i got there.  i might be the only crazy really wanting to go in winter though.

create: saturday's the last day of february, so you're not totally out of luck yet if you haven't worked on your complete goals.  hop to it!  and link up is next thursday (5th) so get your posts ready.

prep: st. patrick's day is coming.  i realize it's not the go all out fest everywhere else that it is in chicago, but still - it's an excuse for cocktail cupcakes.  it's also one of my favorite holidays of the year, and no i am not irish.  so if you venture out this weekend, get your ingredients ready.  will you make marshmallow vodka lucky charms cupcakes?  or the perennial favorites, irish car bomb cupcakes?  only 2 weekends to go.  get excited.

101 in 1001 Update

i've been doing really well on my 101 in 1001 list over the years.  yes, years; i started july, 2013.  making my end date the end of march, 2016.  so just over 1 year to go, and just 20 things left on my list.  feel free to check it out to see what i've already done (ask if you want to know about anything in particular.)

but this post is about the 20 things i have left.  i've resigned myself to the fact that there's a few that i know won't get done.  namely visiting meredith in california and going to nashville.  with going to vegas in april and buying a house in august, there's just no way i'll have the money to spend on any other travel.  (yes, i could go to cali from vegas, but at that time meredith's baby will have just been born, and there's 400,000 things i can think of that i'd rather do than see a newborn, including sticking forks in my eye and dipping my feet into a piranha tank.)  the surprise baby also put a damper on #64 on my list, celebrate her wedding.  the boyfriend has not proposed yet, and she won't get married until the baby weight is gone anyway.

as for the rest, i do think i can hit all of them within the next year.  the one i'm most excited about is currently #13, "completely declutter my parent's house."  in what could possibly be the best news in, well, ever - my mother has finally admitted defeat and surrendered control on decluttering their house.  to me.  yes!!  she called saying 'you need to spend some serious time here, this is just out of control.  it's too much stuff.  it's embarrassing, no one should have this much stuff.  i need help.'  finally.  now, before you go thinking my mom is a hoarder, here's some before shots.

she's honestly pretty minimal compared to a lot people.  decor and tchotchkes has never really been her thing.  but she has attachments to sentimental objects and stuff that could potentially be useful, like things from my high school and pens and printer cartridges.  here's the problem though, she really pushes the limits on sentimental and useful.  the stuff from high school?  my 11th grade report card.  the printer cartridge?  for a printer she no longer owns.  this is the crap that just has to go.  along with eleventy billion vhs tapes because man, those really annoy me.

it's the little things.  see when you look at the computer room up close?  that's a lot of unnecessary crap.  and the room with the rug and it's closet?  that's my old room.  it should be empty, but my dad can't emotionally let the furniture go and my mom then sneaks more things in there.  i guess it's nice that they love me, but guys... it's time to let go.  i haven't even had a bed in that house for 12 years.

so that is what i'll be doing for the next few weekends, until that place is half empty from what it is now.  and i couldn't be happier about it, because decluttering, sorting, and organizing is my absolute favorite way to spend my time.  some people like to lay on a beach, i like to clean out their closets while they're gone.  hopefully my mom doesn't totally regret letting me take control but... she should probably order a dumpster at this point.

challenge accepted.

10 Best // Life Lately

1. valentine's day.  was fantastic and i love celebrating it.

2. spending freeze is going awesome this month.  pet expenses have been a pretty penny but i consider those necessary.  so for unnecessary, for myself purchases, i've only spent $30 so far this month.  including food.

3. watching my parents dogs.  i'm on day 6 of 10 of pet sitting.  and this is what all three of these bums do all day, after waking me at 5:30 a.m.  at least, they did the first 3 days, then i started messing with them so they can't sleep all day and now?  now they sleep in.  i do things like take them for walks, make them go outside more, vacuum and wash dishes loudly so they get into a tizzy and can't sleep.  and when i'm at work, i randomly call the house phone and let it ring, because my hawkeye barks at the phone ringing (she thinks it's the delivery guy calling to say food is here) and wakes the other two up.  it's a good system.

4. i'm doing pretty well on my create goals.  i did end up making the fudge and posting the recipe (on wednesday, here if you missed it.)  vegas flights are booked, hotel will be booked on tuesday, and the itinerary is pretty well sketched out.  not doing great at creating more blog posts in general, but work has been crazy - january and february are the biggest months for divorce.  hopefully it'll calm down soon.  how are your february 'create' goals going?  1 week left!

5. starting a 6 day shred monday with mary, and i seriously recommend doing it with us.  it's free, and she sent me over a 6 day meal plan (with vegetarian options!) and a shopping list.  it doesn't get any easier.  aren't i constantly saying how i just need someone to tell me what to eat, but also fit into my picky standards?  everything is straightforward, nothing complicated and you can tweak small things as you see fit.  do it.  it's just 6 days.

6. dinner with betsy.  for belated birthday/christmas get together.  does she know me so well or what?  there's even an added $5 on there for hawkeye to taco bell.

7. it's definitely time for another 'things that have annoyed the crap out of me lately' post.  not that that's a life lately best, but the list is just getting too long to ignore anymore.  man, once a month for these posts?  people need to stop being so annoying.

8. like buttons on the bottoms of my posts.  see it right down there under pictures of hawkeye?  all posts have those now.  so you can thumbs up when you read, even if you don't have time or will power to comment.

9. slashed prices on sidebar ads.  i decided to be done with them, essentially.  my account with passionfuit ads ends in mid-july and i'm not renewing.  if i decide to do ads again, i'll do everything myself (honestly... it's not that hard.) but i'm pretty confident i just want them gone forever.  so anyway, the spots are just $2 and you can get them here.  i'll stop accepting them when the time frame runs out.  for $2 you get a month on the sidebar, i'll mention you in a friday 'ways to avoid people post' and you're free to guest post any time.  have at it.

10. princess hawkeye.  it's obviously pretty fantastic to be her.  hibernating for winter, i guess.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

yes, chocolate peanut butter fudge, just 3 ingredients!  semi sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and sweetened condensed milk.  literally, that's it.  my mom used to make these for me for last minute bake sale or birthday treats.  it'll probably take you longer to read the recipe than to actually make the fudge.

step 1: line a pan with foil.  i believe mine was 8 by 8 but size really depends on how thick you want it.  bigger pan = thinner fudge.

step 2: measure out half of a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk (so 7 oz.) into a microwave safe glass.  add 1 and 1/2 cups of peanut butter chips.  melt in the microwave and stir together.  i stir after 1 minute and usually do another 30 seconds.

step 3: spoon into the foil lined pan and smooth out so it reaches the corners and just generally makes a nice flat shape.  it's not going to spread, so the edges you make will look exactly the same when it's done.

step 4: repeat with the rest of the sweetened condensed milk and 1 and 1/2 half cups of chocolate chips.  i like semi-sweet but it works with any sort of chips (including white chocolate or mint chips.)

step 5: spread the melted chocolate layer on top of the peanut butter layer.  try to nicely smooth out the top or make a design because, again, it does not settle or spread - how you place it is how it's going to stay.

place the pan in the fridge to cool and set.  this happens pretty quick, but i left it about 2 hours.  you can leave it shorter or longer, doesn't matter as long as it's solid and not warm when you remove it.

lift the fudge and foil out of the pan.  flip it upside on a cutting board and peel away the foil (should come away easily.  to ensure that it does, carefully measure that 7 oz when you do the peanut butter layer.  too much sweetened condensed milk makes the peanut butter layer sticky, so be exact!)

flip it right side up and starting chopping!  you could use cookie cutters for shapes too, but i just did little squares.

easy and adorable.  and delicious.  enjoy!

4 Staples of Vegas, 4 Things I'm Bringing, and the HP x360

as you might know, because i've mentioned it, oh, 400 times, i'm heading to vegas in april with john and his brother, eric.  i've been looking up all sorts of things to do and see, since vegas always changes.  (and to keep my mind off the fact that i have to fly there.  yuck.)  and even though it's a long list, there's some favorites about that fabulous town that never change for me.

(1) the strip and the gorgeous fountain show set to music.  (2) all the cool details of the hotel we're staying at.  (3) downtown vegas and the awesome light show canopy that stretches down the street.  (4) the warm air and frozen drinks combination.  i'm excited just looking at it.  all of these photos are from the last time i went there (time before last?), so i hope everything is still as fantastic as i remember!  and now, there's even more on my to do list, so to say i'm excited is an understatement.

and of course, i've already started thinking about my packing list.  yes, two months early.  do not even act like you're surprised.  (and no, the acid wash jean mini skirt is no longer with us, don't worry.  my pale legs sure are, though.)  since i love all things minimalist, and am of course a cheapskate who hates paying fees of any kind, i only ever take the allowed single carry on, plus a purse.  if you've seen my closet list, you're probably thinking that i could fit my entire wardrobe in a carry on.  you'd be right.  regardless, i'm just bringing the essentials!

(1) a laptop for researching last minute discounts (full price for a buffet?  this girl?  never).  (2) a tablet for poolside reading and, let's be honest, pinterest surfing.  (3) a movie player for the plane.  (4) a stand for being a clock/music player/weather alerter all-in-one while in the hotel room.  well, maybe not weather alerter, i don't think vegas changes temperatures by 60 degrees in a single day, like chicago does.

now if you're looking at that collage and thinking 'wait a minute... i think that's all the same product?'  you'd be right again - it's the HP Pavillion x360.  as you can see, the HP x360 bends the rules with it's 4 modes you can bend it into: laptop, tablet, stand and tent.  pretty perfect for a minimalist like myself so i don't need to bring 4 separate gadgets and waste precious carry on space.  if you're not quite as minimalist as myself, ladies, that translates into 'room for extra pair of shoes.'

so far, i think the tent option is my favorite, because it's so space saving.  i've been keeping it in the tent position while i play music when i'm getting ready, since it comes loaded with beats audio.  the keyboard is out of the way so i don't get makeup on it and i can hit 'next' right on the touchscreen to skip songs so easily.  i haven't used it as much in the stand position, but i already know i'll be testing that out during the flight for playing movies.  in attempt to keep me calm since i'm possibly the world's worst flyer, of course.

but another fun thing to note and look forward to when it comes to music, HP is bending the rules again and going on tour with with Meghan Trainor and making it come to life for her fans by documenting everything behind the scenes of her That Bass tour.  they're going to put out a six episode "All About That Tour" documentary so fans can see all the fun things like costumes and hair and makeup.  you can follow HP to know when those are out!  if you happen to be going to one of her tours, you can even participate.

and now i have 4 ways to watch the episodes and listen to her songs.  yes, look at me, my own little way of bending the rules and branching out from country music.
    so what do you think?  would a convertible pc work for your life?  how would you use the HP x360?

    *This #bendtherules moment is brought to you in collaboration with HP.  Thanks for supporting these collaborations between brands and Not Entirely Perfect!

    What? You Never Ran Around In Your Underwear?

    because i'm sure i did.  i can't remember a single particular instance of doing so, but who hasn't?  although, even if i did remember - would i share it here?  i'm not sure.  so we'll let lauren take that one for the team.  one of the reasons i love lauren's blog is that she's absolutely an open book like that!  read on for the details.


    hello not entirely perfect readers!! i am so excited to be here today! i love stephanie's blog and am so happy that she is letting me guest post! i am lauren, and i blog at lot 48.  i write about anything, really.  my life, entertainment, memories.  but you will not find any recipes, fashion posts, beauty posts, or fitness posts.  i am not good at anything like that!  but i am currently running a linkup called "you are beautiful" where you can write about weight loss, self esteem, infertility, poor self image, or just going through a hard time.  the linkup is to create an atmosphere where we can all feel like we are not alone and be part of a supportive community.  the linkup runs every other thursday so please join in!! 

    today i am going to tell you my favorite high school memory.  it wasn't hard to choose because i was not a fan of high school at all, so choosing a favorite memory is really the only really good memories of high school. 

    so, in high school, i was in theater.  i loved theater, i spent 30 hours a  week at dance class, i took singing lessons, i wanted to be a performer more than anything.  i'm not now, because, hello, life, but i was in every school play that there was in my high school career.  i preferred to do musicals, and in the spring they did “straight” plays which means it is such a play and not a musical so i didn’t do those.  there was definitely seniority which was why i was so furious when i was a senior and they casted a junior as dorothy in the  wizard of oz, after i had just been a lead at regional theater over the summer.

    but my senior year in the spring, they did another musical, little women.  you can see me circled, i was meg.  the boy in the circle was my husband in the play and i used this picture when i talked about stage kissing so i am recycling, oh the horror.

    there was a tradition at my high school, and it was very top secret.  i am the youngest of 4 daughters, no brothers and all my sisters had been in theater at school.  they all knew the “sacred” and secret ritual that happens the night of the final show of your last show in your high school career.

    i swore never to tell, but i don’t care and i will take my chances of getting hit with rocks i guess, because high school was forever ago and this is too good a story not to share, right? right.

    so, after the final show ended, all the senior girls who were involved in the play escape from the closing night party and steal the key from our director/theater teacher to go into a room where students aren’t allowed in.  it was a big room where the air conditioning ducts were and some small stairs that led to the roof.  our high school was only three stories, so it wasn’t scary to go up there.

    and then, and this may sound weird, but high school kids are weird, right?  we would strip down to our bra and underwear and run around on the roof the high school yelling out “dixie high foreverrrrr!!!!!!!!!” and other silly things.  i remember it was cold and a lot of girls were super self-conscious about stripping down.  i was too because a) i am a prude and b) it was cold.  it was dark we could barely see each other, but we ran around screaming things and looking down at the tiny cars on the road.

    after only like, 10 minutes, we would all get dressed and go back inside because it was coooold.  when we came back down, all the boys slyly asked where we went, but everybody knew.

    since i was a sophomore i knew that night was coming and was so excited when it finally came.  it was fun!! i think it bonded all of us girls in a way, and even though i now only see what they are doing via facebook, i still remember the fun and crazy night where we ran around the roof in our underwear.


    comments turned off so you can go say hi to lauren on her blog or tell her you liked her post on twitter.

    Choose Your Own Adventure {Link Up}

    it's that time again - time to link up your post about how you did on your monthly goals.  the theme for january was complete.  to just finish something on your to do list.  my goal was to complete the declutter project in my apartment.  i said my apartment because i know i have a couple things at my parents house that i won't get to until later this month.  but i was totally successful in completely decluttering my apartment this month!  i posted about my last round here.  and the best part was completing my household inventory list.

    decluttering is a fantastic feeling.  if you haven't done it, i recommend you start during spring cleaning this year.  it feels good to not have a closet full of crap or clothes you never wear.  i think getting dressed is actually easier with a limited wardrobe, because you can actually see everything and you know you like everything.  if you need help, ideas, or inspiration, you can check out my organize pinterest board.  and if you want help paring down your closet, check this one.

    for february, the theme is create.  create a new scrapbook, write a book, start a painting, actually attempt a pinterest project, makeover a room that's been bugging you, whatever your creative side tells you to do.

    this one is tough for me, since i consider myself a very un-creative person.  so i'm definitely going to stretch the meaning, because you won't be seeing diy anything out of this girl.  goal 1 - create a recipe post.  i'm making my favorite 3 ingredient chocolate peanut butter fudge for john for valentine's day, so i'm determined to actually photograph my efforts and make a post about it.  goal 2 - create more blog posts in general.  i have a calendar and ideas for every day from now until the summer, but sitting down and writing them out has been a challenge lately.  goal 3 - create a vegas itinerary.  i need to book flights and hotel rooms!  and sketch out some ideas of what we all definitely want to do.  for me, it's fremont street and the bellagio fountains, but i'll have to get the guys' input too.

    so what are your february goals?  how did january go for you?

    general guidelines:
    1) if you want, follow your hosts not entirely perfect, life according to steph, and keeping up with ashley and cody.  (i like twitter, that way i can follow you back and tweet you encouragement throughout the challenge.)
    2) link up your post about your results below for the month - we want to hear all about what you did, how you fared, what resources you used, what you'd recommend to others, etc.
    3) please link to your actual post about your results.  links not having to do with the challenge will be deleted.
    4) feel free to use this button, created by the lovely sarah at venus trapped in mars.

    Not Entirely Perfect

    Thoughts on the Super Bowl

    i truly didn't care about this match up.  the only team i like is the bears (who will never see a super bowl until they release cutler, that's a fact) and i otherwise root for teams based on who i hate more.  like, i always cheer for whoever is playing the packers.  but i have zero feelings towards the seahawks or the patriots, so this game meant nothing to me.

    my favorite part was the fight.  because my favorite sport to watch is hockey and they don't let them fight much any more.  so this was like early 2000s hockey and i was very excited.  bloodshed would have been better but i'll take what i can get.

    katy perry was hands down, no question the worst half time show i've ever seen.  what a disaster.  i've never done any drugs but i'm still pretty sure there's not enough acid in this city to have made that show make sense to me, and her lip sync job was pathetic. 

    next time, just have lenny kravitz and missy elliot by themselves.  or let's go back to classic bands, not a pop star no one will remember in 20 years.  something needs to be done to revamp this half time nonsense if they want anyone to care.  but i do like the break that allows for beer and food refills.

    i'm glad godaddy pulled their original commercial about puppy mills, because whoever made that is a pretty sick bastard.

    on the other hand, my favorite commercial was the snickers one with danny trejo, probably almost entirely just because of how much i love danny trejo.  i also liked budweiser, of course.  and the budlight but the lack of life size pacman in my life makes me sad.

    the rest of the commercials - holy cow depressing.  what an awful year for ads.  the bar is set real low for next year now.

    i wish there was a day off after the super bowl.

    i'm really glad i didn't have to cook, and stress about it like my aunt and uncle do every year with their crazy party.  you definitely won't ever see me hosting a super bowl party, i'll stick to new years or halloween.

    very few of my thoughts on the super bowl have anything to do with the playing of football.