Moving Day

Sorry for the short absence, I’ve been packing up and moving.  You can now find me at Healthy Living In The City.  I hope you come and visit me at my new home!

Getting Ready To Move

That’s right.  I’m moving!  Not physically (yet), though, but keep reading to find out more on that.  It’s a virtual move.  I’ve bought a new self-hosted domain, which means once I make the switch, you will no longer see, it will just be  And it won’t be The Urban Retrofit anymore.  I hope you all come with me on this new move.  I’m really excited about it and down the road, I’m looking at getting a new look for the blog, but one step at a time.  It’s kind of like a home renovation.  First I’ll make the move, and then I’ll overhaul the site, one page at a time.  Expect to see the move very, very soon!  (Like, hopefully if I don’t procrastinate too much with it, this week!)

So a real move?  Yes, Nick and I have been talking about moving for a while.  Now that I’m home, I’ve been tasked to get in touch with a realtor.  It’s in the middle of my list of things to do, among applying for jobs, and drinking 65 ounces of water every day (a february goal that hasn’t been going so well).  Our current residence is Nick’s place that he bought several years before we started dating to I’ve left a lot of the “should we rent”/”should we sell” thoughts to him, although I’ve definitely given him my opinion here and there.  Since it’s his place, I don’t want him to feel like I’m forcing him to move (unless I get a job outside the DFW area).  But the reality is, we are cramped for Texas standards.  We’d like to have a yard so we can get a dog and so I can have a garden that actually gets enough sunlight to produce anything.  We’d like to have more than one toilet.  We’d like to have room to entertain.  We’d like to have our own spaces; Nick, a man cave and guy room, me, a more efficient kitchen and a space for me to pick up my painting again.

Since we aren’t committed to Dallas for the rest of our lives and because I’m on the job hunt, once the ball is rolling and we have a renter or buyer lined up for our current home, we will probably rent in the Dallas area until it’s time for us to pack up and make a new home elsewhere or plant our roots here.  Now I just have to put things in action and get in touch with a realtor.

Do you have any thoughts or advice on moving? A virtual move or a real move.

Weekend Brunch

I’ve been cooking up a storm this weekend, tearing my way through Ellie Krieger’s The Good You Crave.  

It started out with the Blueberry Blast Smoothie

 I had a bag of frozen mixed berries so I used those instead of just frozen blueberries.  Nick thought the smoothies were too yogurt-y.  He’s partial to his Smoothie King smoothies which don’t have any yogurt in them (at least the smoothie he orders every time doesn’t), but I thought they reminded me of my favorite Jamba Juice smoothie which does have yogurt in it, so I thought this recipe came out great.

Next up, Scrumptious Scramble.  This was pretty simple, but was loaded with flavor.  I’ve made this before, in the summer-time, when tomatoes are at their peak, and it was better then, but I still really enjoyed it this time around.

I served the eggs with these amazing Apple-Pecan Muffins.  Having made these for the first time, I am now compelled to bake more.  The secret ingredient to keeping the fat down in these muffins (which is probably no secret at all) was apple sauce.  They came out so light and fluffy.  I’m in love with them!

And last, but not least, Energy Bars.  They made the whole house smell sweet and delicious as they baked in the oven.  Nick approves of these and they are much cheaper to make than buying a box of energy bars at the grocery store, so I’m sure this will become a regular item in our household!

G Love And Special Sauce

Last night we did something wild and crazy!  We went to a concert.
Nick’s friend came up with this outlandish idea, having heard the band before: G. Love and Special Sauce.  I’d never heard of them before so I was up for giving it ago.

We headed down to the House of Blues.  I’d never been there before, but it’s actually a really cool venue.  I didn’t take any pictures of the lobby area but they have all kinds of funky stuff hanging on the walls, like a bunch of shoes.
We enjoyed our $11 Bud Light and $7 Shiner (ridiculous) before the show started.

Watched the opening act: Kristy Lee.  I thought she had a really strong voice, similar to Amy Winehouse.

Then came the main act: G. Love and Special Sauce.  They, too, were really great musicians, but I was really confused by their genre.  It’s sort of Eminem meets John Mayer, just a really strange combination.  Rap meets super mellow male artist music.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around it.   It was too all over the place for me.

They brought Kristy Lee out to join them twice and to be honest, I thought those were the best parts of the G. Love show.  Separately, Kristy Lee and G. Love and Special Sauce were okay, but together, they were much stronger.  They  were so much more dynamic, lighting up the stage together.

While I’m not rushing out to buy G. Love and Special Sauce’s latest CD, they weren’t bad.  If I ever can get past their strange mix of genres, then I think I would listen to them again, but for now I’ll leave them as strong artists with a strange mix of sounds.

 Have any of you heard of G. Love and Special Sauce?  Love them?  Hate them?  What are your thoughts?

Day 2 Of Official Unemployment: Taxes and Jogging Suits

Well, really, it’s been longer than that, almost 3 weeks, but I’m counting my unemployment starting when the severance and paid-unused vacation days were up, cause otherwise, I was on a paid vacation, right?  Anyway, thank you everyone for all the kind words and support from yesterday’s post.  (Although nobody actually commented on the blog post, I heard back from some of you in other means and modes.)

Today wasn’t really all that fun.  A lot of email sending to contacts I know, dealing with the Texas Unemployment website (ugh, overwhelming), and pretty much doing all of my taxes.  The taxes are done, I just haven’t hit submit yet because my audit risk is high

It’s mostly because of my Mary Kay business that I got rid of back in July.  My losses are greater than my profits.  Go figure, right?  If I was making a profit, I wouldn’t have stopped selling Mary Kay.  Anyway, I’m waiting for an epiphany or some sign to convince me that I won’t get audited.  Just kidding.  I’ll probably click on the submit button tomorrow, I just need to ponder it some more tonight.  To be honest, I’m small potatoes when it comes to the IRS, but seeing the slider bar move all the way to the deep red makes me need to process my options before I hit submit.  When it comes down to it, I’ll probably pay the extra $40 for the extra, extra audit protection just for piece of mind (but really, making that extra $40 purchase will be for nothing, since I probably won’t be audited).  Okay, enough ramblings over my stress of being audited!

In the process of doing my taxes, I itemized my charitable donation including ALL of the stuff I’ve taken to Goodwill over 2011.  So as I was entering the clothes, I saw this itemized donation option.
Women’s Jogging Suit.

When I saw this item, I thought to myself, this list is really dated.  To my, a jogging suit is something straight out of the 80’s.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  Neon colors, crinkled polyester, totally hideous.

Granted, there are plenty of very trendy workout clothes that are matching separates.  I’m sure Lululemon is filled with them, but a jogging suit?  And this got me to thinking that I actually saw someone out running earlier this week in the exact jogging suit shown above on the guy on the left, which was also worn by a man.  Now, heck, I am one to talk about having an outdated wardrobe, but comfort, on the other hand, I don’t mind going there.  If I remember correctly, because I had my fair share of jogging suits as a kid, (in fact, it’s pretty zoomed out, but here is a picture of me in a jogging suit, although I think the jacket is on the ground, off to the side)

the elastic in the waistband rides up at the slightest movement.  And they make a terrible swoosh swoosh sound.  Are they even breathable?  Workout clothing has come a long way from this hideous jogging suits!  Dry fit, yes please!

So I take it back, maybe the charitable donation list is just fine, because really, other than that man I saw running in a hot pink jogging suit the other day, all the rest of these dreadful items are either buried deep in people’s closets, sitting there in shame or they’ve made their way with the girdles (the item directly above jogging suit) to the Goodwill themselves to be itemized on this year’s taxes.  As for my jogging suits, they’ve been long donated to find their way to another person’s closet to hide in shame.

I’ve Got A Secret

I’ve been a bit quiet about this, but today I will share my secret.  I am unemployed.  It happened on Friday the 13th, just over two weeks ago.  I kept quiet about it because I was in the process of interviewing for two jobs and well, technically, my severance package wasn’t up until about an hour and a half ago.  I just got word back from the second and my anticipated dream job, that it’s a no-go.  They went with another candidate.  Boo.  Oh well, pout-fest is over.  It wasn’t meant to be and I’m moving on.

These past two+ weeks have actually been really nice, minus a few minor “I’m unemployed breakdowns”.  I was miserable at my old job.  I had been miserable for three years there.  It wasn’t necessarily the company, it was more that I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to be doing.  I had been looking into leaving for a while but the recession hit and the job market dried up so I felt stuck there since they hadn’t laid me off.  At the time of the recession, my job as an urban planner totally changed.  I was no longer their urban planner.  I became the marketing girl.  I got very resentful and that’s when I became miserable.  What kept me my job; doing all the marketing; was what made me want to leave every day I was there.  I played the marketing girl for over two years and I stopped growing professionally in terms of an urban planner.  They finally hired a marketing girl this past fall so once I tried her, I was off the hook for the marketing and I could move back to urban planning.  Except there really wasn’t any urban planning to do.  Bored , not stimulated, and totally under-challenged as an urban planner, they saw how miserable I was and they let me go.  Granted, it would have been nice to have a job already lined up, but in retrospect, I should have quit a long, long time ago.  On the upside of being let go, I got to enjoy a 2+ week paid vacation!

So for the past two weeks, I’ve been taking care of a lot of things that hadn’t had time to do otherwise.  I also went up to Cleveland for the dream job interview, which was fun in itself!  I’ve come to appreciate the fact that I don’t have to iron a single piece of clothing now.  I can structure the day the way  I want to.  It’s totally fine and acceptable to go to the gym at 3PM and start prepping dinner at noon.  Jackson and I have had lots of bonding time.  My portfolio is finally finished and I love the final product.  I finally have time to help Nick with his iPhone game graphics.  And I can focus on finding another job that is a much better fit for me.

While it’s stressful knowing that I won’t be contributing financially to our relationship come the next payday, Nick and I will get through this.  Honestly, if I didn’t have Nick by my side, cheering my on and reassuring me that it’s really for the better that I’m no longer employed there, I would not be doing so great right now.  (So thank you babe, for being such a huge support!)  Things will work themselves out.  They always do.  As for right now, while very scary, I’m trying to embrace the excitement of not knowing what will come next!

January 2012 Wrap-Up

It’s hard to believe that January 2012 is coming to a close today!  It started off as a really rough month with lots of bad news regarding the health on Nick’s side of the family, but we just got word last night that the scary health issues that the women on his side of the family are battling both got very good prognosis from doctors, so we are ending the month on a good note!

I just got word today from one of the jobs I interviewed for that they have a hiring freeze so I didn’t get an offer from them.  I’m still waiting to hear back from the other job I recently interviewed for.  It’s torture waiting to hear if they will offer it to me or not, but I’m trying to embrace the exciting part of the unknown of where my career will take me next.

I started 2012 with just a couple of “resolutions”.  The first of which was to do strength training three times a week.  I’ve done okay, not great, with that goal, doing strength training somewhere between two to three times a week.  Another goal I had been to prep meals ahead of time, on the weekends, to make cooking dinner a quicker process during the week.  This goal has been a TOTAL FAIL.  I have yet to do it, but I’m not that upset about it.

With February starting tomorrow, I thought I’d make a couple of goals for the month.  I recently read in a magazine that you should take your body weight, divide it by two and drink that number in ounces of water every day.  Rounding up to a nice, whole number, that would be 65 ounces of water every day!  I’m going to make that the first goal of February.  That’s a LOT of water, though.  I’m not much of a drinker by any definition of the word.  I don’t drink much alcohol, but I also don’t drink that much of anything else.  My typical choice beverages are water, milk, and wine, and maybe occasionally orange juice.  If I do a tough workout, I’ll probably consume 24 ounces of water in a day, otherwise, it’s usually closer to 16 ounces.  Wine is usually 5 ounces pretty much every night with dinner.  Milk is usually 16 ounces every few days.  So in liquid consumed on a good day, I’m looking at 45 ounces total.  But as you can see from my math, just under half of that is not water.  This goal is going to be a challenge for me, but I know it’s a healthy thing to do.

My second goal is to be able to do a real tricep-push up by the end of the month. Right now, I struggle to do them on my knees, girly-style.  I can do regular push ups on my feet (as long as I’m not in Bodypump class, where I’m so fatigued by the time we get to push ups, I end up doing them girly-style).  I have such weak triceps it’s embarrassing, but I can change that by the end of the month!

On another note, Nick asked me to track my student loans as part of our merging finances (the most progress we’ve made in planning to get married… sorry, it’s not more exciting than that right now).  Up until I did this yesterday, I did not like to look at the total amount I owe.  It’s way to big and it stresses me out.  Instead, I just deal with the monthly amount, and while that is large as well, it’s a heck of a lot smaller than the big total.  Plus, I’ve just pretty much been paying interest over the last four plus years, so the grand total doesn’t seem to change that much.  Anyway, to confront the ginormous number and tackle the debt, I thought I would really track it every month.  On here.  Scary!  I’m scared to face it myself, let alone let be out there on the world-wide web, but eventually that number will shrink to nothing and actually writing it out every month will hopefully make me feel better about it (unless it ends up depressing me)!  So to make it simple, there are four student loan entities that I pay.  There are more than four student loans.  Some of those entities have multiple loans, but for simplicity’s sake I will list the payoff amount of each loan entity along with the grand total and the amount paid towards each entity and total amount paid.  I hope that makes sense.  And I hope you all don’t judge me.  It’s a lot of student loan debt!  Deep breath.  Okay, so here we go:

Pay Off Amounts:
Loan Entity 1: $57,971.67
Loan Entity 2: $2,585.95
Loan Entity 3: $63,485.83
Loan Entity 4: $42,195.72
GRAND TOTAL: $166,239.17 (YIKES!!!)

January Monthly Payments:
Loan Entity 1: $328.46
Loan Entity 2: $44.41
Loan Entity 3: $902.98
Loan Entity 4: $321.59
TOTAL PAID 01/12: $1,597.44

Okay, honestly, I don’t know if that made me feel better or worse :(   Ugh, I hate money, especially when it leaves my bank account!  On the upside, credit card debt = $0.

This has gotten way too long, but I hope to keep track of my February goals for you all and will report back at the end of next month with a (similar) getting-out-of-student-debt status!  Happy end of January everyone!