Sunday, 22 September 2013

Weekend Recap & Menu Planner

We have had a great weekend. Friday night, we had a fun dinner out to surprise my friend, Jessica, for her birthday! We went to The Daily Kitchen & Bar which is very popular and has the coolest decor!

Saturday morning, we hit the soccer fields bright and early. This is our third week and Clyde still won't play. Suggestions welcome on how to overcome this! Help!

After soccer we hit our neighborhood playground.

My sister and brother in law went out of town for their anniversary, so we watched my niece and nephew for the afternoon. It was rainy so we saw Despicable Me 2! Again! We took Gammy this time so it was new for her. They love it!

My menu planner this week is posted on Whitney's Loan Officer Lately blog. Click on over here to check it out.

I just met Whitney this year and she is great. Very sharp and a Wahoo! Be sure to check out her blog, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Another Home Update

My gorgeous and smart client, and now friend, Kristen, bought a town home in Glen Allen, VA last November. We worked together for a while and Kristen claimed she was my worst client and that was so far from the truth. She is just the sweetest and I am so happy we found her the perfect home.

She has made some fabulous updates to the kitchen in her town home. It went from this before.

Not horrible but definitely not awesome like this...

And smart Kristen saved the old kitchen cabinets and relocated them to her laundry room to make some great storage there. She is working on finishing the laundry room now and hopefully she will let me share that before and after also because that room wasn't even dry walled when she purchased the home.

And because we all love a good before and after, let's review.

It looks terrific! I love the counter tops. Updated kitchens and bathrooms are on the top of home buyer's lists. These improvements will surely get Kristen a quick sale and great return on her investment when the time comes.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Menu Planner

Happy Monday! Nothing too exciting this weekend. We are still getting into our back to school routine. Here goes with this week's menu planner....

Sunday - Broccoli, Cheese & Potato Soup with Cheddar Zucchini Corn Muffins (We had this last night and is definitely a keeper)

Monday - Sante Fe Stuffed Peppers

Tuesday - Chicken Piccata, Risotto, Green Beans

Wednesday - Keep it Clean Tilapia, Asparagus, Red Potatoes

Thursday - French Dip Sandwiches, French Fries

Summer Reading

It's almost that time, time for all my favorite TV shows to come back on and for me to go into reading hibernation. The summer is when I hit the books and this summer was particularly good because I was able to fit in a fair amount of poolside reading now that C and C can swim! It was nice.

Here's what I read....
Safe Haven by Nicholas Spark
I picked up Safe Haven for $1 at a yard sale. I really loved it but I don't recommend the movie! 

The Happiness Project  by Gretchen Ruben
I purchased The Happiness Project in the airport on the way home from Michael's and I trip to Las Vegas. I read about 100 pages but couldn't get with it. I know people love it and it gets great reviews on Amazon but wasn't for me.

Guilty Wives by James Patterson & David Ellis
I got the recommendation for Guilty Wives from Natalie at Designer Diaper Bags & Dirty Diapers. I loved it and even got my sister-in-law to read it. She loves to read but said she didn't like James Patterson but she liked this book and read another by him after. The short chapters are good because I normally am getting interrupted by someone's need for a snack.

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan

Another recommendation from Natalie was The Engagements . It follows several couples over different time periods and their unique views on marriage, divorce etc. This was a slow read for me but I got so far into it that I was determined to finish it.

Now You See Her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
I picked up Now You See Her from the library because I loved Guilty Wives so much.  I had no idea I liked these mystery, thriller and suspense type books. But they are very quick reads for me. Definitely recommend this one.

Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer

Next up was Summer Breeze. This is a very light, easy read about friends with a little bit of romance and a great setting. I enjoyed it.

Island Girls by Nancy Thayer
I just finished Island Girls over the weekend. I liked it but enjoyed Summer Breeze a little more.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Beautiful Ruins in on my nightstand now. I started it in the middle of the summer but couldn't get into the story so put it down for another book.  I am thinking I may give it another shot.

What did you read? Anything that you loved and would recommend?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Birthday Menu Planner

Happy Monday! Today is my 36th birthday! (Not sure how I feel about being 36 yet, downward slope to 40?) Anyway, I am very excited about my day. Camille is already at school and Clyde will be headed out shortly. I plan to do some shopping this morning with my mom. And remember this post about the tan tote? Well before I pulled the trigger on one of those bags, I ran across a Ralph Lauren bag in a deep red and a dark hunter green at TJMaxx. I love the style but wasn't wild about the colors. So I took a picture of the label, came home and put the details into Google and discovered that Ralph Lauren made it in tan this season and Macy's carried it but the price was way more than I budgeted. Womp, womp. Then enters my fabulous, internet savvy husband who finds the very same bag, new with tags on eBay for a reasonable price. Woohoo! Happy Birthday to me!

What do you think?

Here goes with this week's menu planner....

Sunday - Pioneer Woman's Sumple Hearty White Chili and Zucchini Cheddar Corn Muffins

Monday - Open

Tuesday - Spicy Sausage Pasta

Wednesday - Kickin' Mini Meatloves, Beans & Rice

Thursday - Girl's Night

Thursday, 5 September 2013

New Tan Tote

My birthday is coming up next week and I really want a new bag in tan. A year and a half ago, I splurged on this bag from Kate Spade, I have carried it every day since so I feel that I got my money's worth. But man am I ready for a change. I really like a tote style that it large enough for wallet, phone, crayons, small coloring books, tissues, wipes and also the occasional file folder. But not so large that it looks like a suitcase. And I decided tan would be a good hue that works well with most colors.

Here are the top contenders...

BillyKirk Leather Tote Tan
MeChar Holly Tote

Cuyana Leather Tote
Merona Tote Handbag
Madewell The Transport Tote

Banana Republic Presidio Hobo
Which would you go with? 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

We made it! First Day of School!

We made it through the first day and my sweet girl was smiling as she got off the bus! Phew! And she gave me tons of details about her day. I am feeling like one lucky mom.

My niece Vail is on her bus and came to our bus stop so she could sit with Camille. This made things much easier! 

Clyde missed her like crazy! He was asking me all day when is Camille going to be home. We even had to drive by the school to see if we could see her on the playground. He was in charge of Mimi and made this bed for her. #meltmyheart

There has been a lot of talk about Camille starting kindergarten but this sweet boy starts his last year of preschool tomorrow. We met the teacher today. He is going to do great. 

There goes Clyde running up the street to meet the bus! 

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Back to School Menu Planner

I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday weekend! We are home in order to prepare for back to school on Tuesday. Yesterday, we went to a really fun birthday at the Goochland Fire Station. Here are a couple pictures that the host was kind enough to share with me.

Camille starts kindergarten on Tuesday and says she is excited so we will see how that goes! I am definitely that crazy mom and have over analyzed everything for this sweet girl.

Here goes with this week's menu planner....

Sunday - Tilapia Piccata, Wild Rice, Squash & Zucchini Saute

Monday - Ribs, Corn on the Cob, Baked Beans

Tuesday - Zatarain's Jambalaya mix with turkey kielbasa and chicken, Salad

Wednesday - Enchilada Lasagne

Thursday - Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes, French Fries

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Switch

If you're one of the four hardy souls who visit this abandoned dump on a regular basis, I can only assume you're suffering from Alzheimer's. Only someone without a memory could keep returning to read the same post day after day without update. If that's you, you've already read this yesterday.

Now I can't even remember why I started this obnoxious site. I recall getting a little annoyed with BS real estate media reports. Something that may have been noticeable at one time or another. Initially, I had nothing more than mild contempt for the media. It has grown.

It was fun for a while. People talked on forums. Came to visit. Occasionally left a comment. Even babes writing for respectable publications referenced me in their work. The impact had some Tasmanian media peeps actually being more measured in their spruiking. And fewer real estate goons were prepared to take ice-cold stats and pimp them in the media as scorching hot. Someone was watching.

But why did it all dry up? The crash I predicted never came and I gave up? Journalists and real estate agents were hunting me and I had to seek asylum in a foreign embassy? Tasmania's mould ridden housing stock finally destroyed my respiratory system? I bought a house? As I was accused of doing.

Less exciting. It was dead set boredom. How many times can you say the same thing over and over again? I never predicted any crash (well I don't think I did). I said things would get bad. I highlighted the risks and the lies that tried to minimise them. I highlighted those already trashed and the potential to get trashed. There's been no respite in Tasmania's housing market. Sales creeping back to already depressed 2010 levels may tighten the front side of some vendors' pants, but there's still a big hole in the back side of those pants. 

Take the house featured in my clumsy first post. I couldn't script a more perfect way to tie the current identity of this site up. Three years to the day and the joint is finally under offer. Over 1000 days on and off the market. Placed with various agents who stumbled in their attempts to move it. It sold for $450k in 2008...

Yep. Five years and a $121k face value loss later.

While the size of the loss is slightly uncommon, the listed/pulled/relisted game continues in earnest. Houses disappear for six months, only to relist with another agent, before being pulled again. Sure, there are horndogs out there who'll snap a house up they'll like, but there's not enough horndogs to make a healthy market. The agent who first listed this place is now offering great deals on a new Holden Cruze.

There's all manner of theories as to why this happened. All dumb as rocks. The most conveinent, lazy and stupid? The Greens made you overpay for your house, buy that new SUV and got you laid off from your job at a multi-national mining equipment manufacturer. If you believe it was someone else's fault, like the commercial told you, "you deserve it!"

And this brings me to the end. Sometime next month this site will have a new name and a new paint job (and it won't be green). I'll be talking about saving money, saving your mind and how to keep your arse out of trouble, no matter what.

Why? Us cheapskate money saving degenerates who ruin economies because we don't spend need somewhere to go and feel loved.

Seeya next month.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Our week away....

We have just spent 10 days away from home! It was the best but I am tired today. Back to reality tomorrow...our final week of summer before school starts. I have mixed emotions because we have a big milestone coming up...Camille starts kindergarten. I can't believe it and I am a little anxious about the transition. And I am not sure I am ready for summer to end. We have had such a great one...Camille and Clyde have been so much fun this summer and we done so many wonderful things. Here are some highlights from our week away.

Two Fridays ago, we dropped Camille and Clyde with Michael's parents (Neena and Moe) and then went with friends to Wintergreen for two nights. It was unseasonably cool which was great and we had probably a little too much fun as evidenced by the picture below.

Meanwhile, Neena and Moe took Camille and Clyde to a sleepover at the Aquarium which they loved! How is that for fun grandparents!

Sunday, Michael and I drove from Wintergreen to Sandbridge and we stayed for the week. The first two days we had rainy weather so we saw an IMAX movie and visited the Norfolk Zoo.

We rode bikes daily, took boat rides to dinner, played in the pool and actually only went to the beach once. Neena and Moe live on the bay at Sandbridge and have a pool right by the water so we really don't need the beach. It is a gorgeous setting.

Follow me on instagram at alysonstoakley to see more pictures from our trip! I will be back in the swing of things with a menu planner next week.