Sunday, May 24, 2009

Celebration Elimination

Since February 1st, Patrick and I have been on a rather focused effort to get out of debt. I owe it all to Dave Ramsey...and my parents for introducing me to him. We are following his baby steps and are currently digging our way through baby step #2, which is to pay off all debt except the house (which we don't have). When we sat down to determine to the penny how much debt we were in, the goal seemed huge. Student loans sure do add up. We had to seriously cut our standard of living, which wasn't high to begin with. Anyone who has ventured in our kitchen since February can attest to fact that we have been living off of mostly beans, rice and cornbread.

We have had to be intentional about finding creative ways to stay motivated. Like, we designed our a list of our debt to put on our refrigerator so we could cross things off as we paid them. But it isn't just any list, it has a graphic of someone climbing up a flight of stairs to victory and surrounding by money. Don't make fun. I also have little celebrations with my coworkers by bringing in a treat every time we pay something off so that they can celebrate with us. But, my favorite motivator is what Patrick has creatively named "Celebration Elimination." After each debt we pay off we reward ourselves. Each reward gets bigger we are paying debts off smallest to largest. We paid off our first credit card last month and celebrated by going to see a movie in theaters. What a treat! And, we just paid off our last credit card this week. As you can see, Patrick got to cut up the card and I got to close the account. Our "Celebration Elimination" this time was driving to San Clemente yesterday to the Rainbow Factory store and getting discounted flip flops. Woohoo!

We are $10,000 down and plan to have one of the cars paid off next month!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I had an interesting encounter this weekend as I was having breakfast with a college student at the all too classy Denny's restaurant in San Dimas. I can't remember the last time I ate at a Denny's. I rarely go out to eat for breakfast, but when I do, where else would I go but the yummy Cracker Barrel? Since we don't have any Cracker Barrels around here, Denny's was our next option. After scanning the menu for a few, I finally settled on the grand slam. You can't beat 4 choices for $6! I went with a traditional egg breakfast including bacon, a biscuit and of course grits. I was so excited to see that grits was on the menu. I couldn't believe it.

The only thing that threw me for a loop was that it was on the menu as "creamy grits." What does that mean? Are we talking about texture here or do they have an entire different meaning for the word "grits"? I LOVE grits. I love them with bacon, cheese, shrimp, garlic, and any other savory flavored topping.

When our food came I proceeded to add a little butter, salt, pepper and then I crunched up my bacon to add. Without hesitation, my friend burst into laughter and explained that she had never seen anyone put salty toppings on their grits. "You mean you've actually seen grits?" I thought....out loud. "What do you put on them?" She then started listing sweet flavored toppings, such as sugar, with confidence in her knowledge of this exclusively southern dish. I was beside myself. WHAT? Are you kidding me? Not only could I not imagine eating grits as a sweet dish, I couldn't believe that this westerner was actually trying to tell me how grits are eaten. I began shaking my head and saying "no" repeatedly. I then began to carefully explain that grits is not a sweet dish and that this is just what happens when a Californian doesn't know how a southern dish is eaten. Grits is not a hot cereal like oatmeal or cream of wheat, it is's's completely different.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Rescue

Not too long back I wrote about Invisible Children and how excited we were to be a part of it. A couple of weeks ago they hosted an event called The Rescue. 100 cities world wide participated in the event. Now that we live in a big city, we got to actually go. We joined 4,000 people in Santa Monica for a silent 3 mile walk to City Hall, where we camped out until we were "rescued" by a celebrity and the media. The idea was to raise awareness by getting the media and celebrities involved. We couldn't leave City Hall until a celebrity showed up and spoke about the children involved in the LRA in Uganda. We came prepared to stay the night. Luckily for us, we live in one of the two cities most celebrities call home, so we were technically "rescued" upon arrival by Tom Arnold, Veronica Mars (what's her real name?), some guy from the O.C. (not Adam Brody), and a few others. It was a blast. We got to meet Michael Yo and watch him do an E! News interview with a few of the other celebrities there. We finished the night with a dance party at City Hall. The height of the event actually came almost a week later when the Chicago Rescue event was finally rescued by Oprah. The people there camped out for one week until Oprah finally agreed to sit down and talk with them. If you watched the show that Friday, you saw them on the show. Unbelievable.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our Humble Abode III

Our Humble Abode II