Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Big Night In

Since Brett and I are saving our pennies for bigger and better things, it's been a little while since we've been able to have a date night. Lucky for us, we get to spend a lot of time together, but nothing beats doing something special with your someone special. Last night we decided to go on a date, right in the comfort of our living room!

We put on some music, opened a bottle of wine, cooked a wonderful meal, and had a nice romantic candle lit dinner together (consisting of gourmet burgers and mac n' cheese - YUM), followed by a dessert of fresh fruit and some Mad Men on Netflix. That's a pretty amazing date in my book!

Our amazing spread!

My awesome burger, topped with cheese, ketchup, mayonnaise, avocado, spinach, and tomato. Drool.

It's great to take the time out of our lives to have some 1-on-1 time and really appreciate one another.

Have you ever had a date night in your own home? Share your stories in the comments! :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sad Bruins Fan

Guys. I'm sad. (Despite the hilarity of this photo.)

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Bruins are my favorite sports team. Hockey was never the sport-of-choice at my house (we were more of a football/baseball kind of family), so I was really introduced to the sport of hockey in high school. Our high school hockey team was one of our best teams, consistently playing in the state championship, and I had quite a few friends who played. We didn't have a hockey team at my college, so I got pretty into watching the NHL and the Bruins. I fell in love with this underdog hockey team and have been following them ever since, watching every game and learning about their history. When they won the Stanley Cup in 2011, that was just icing (ha) on the cake.

This year, (pretty unexpectedly) they put themselves back in the championship series. This was after coming back and beating Toronto after being down 4-1 in the third period of game 7 of the first round. This was after defeating the Rangers and sweeping the Penguins, two teams that were a hassle for us all season long. Against all odds, the B's were back in the Stanley Cup finals, and a sense of hope swept through every Bruins fan across the nation.

I don't know what it was, but the Bruins just looked so tired this entire series. They weren't the same team that was handing it to New York and Pittsburgh. The energy was entirely drained from them by the time they got to Chicago. Awesome opportunities turned into turnovers. Empty nets weren't taken advantage of. Tuukka was an amazing goaltender throughout the playoffs, but it's almost as if the team kind of took that for granted, and their defense was practically non-existent. Sure, there were some great plays and spurts of energy from the black and gold, but it always just seemed too little, too late.

There were also weak moments on Chicago's end, too, but out of the two teams, they were more consistent, more level-headed, and (what it seemed like) more determined to win the cup. It showed. They were on top of every loose puck. They took advantage of every Boston mistake. They created an almost inpenetrable barrier between the Bruins and Crawford. They skated hard to everything, and Boston just looked like they wanted to hang up their helmets and watch for the good part of this series. Unfortunately for us, Chicago wanted it more, and based on this series, the team that deserved to win, did.

I'm disappointed in them. They could have pushed harder in this series with the championship on the line. But I'll always love the Bruins, and I'll look forward to the first puck drop in October all summer long.

P.S. Can we talk about how adorable these photos are?

P.P.S. Even more important than the game itself, Jeff Bauman was the Boston Strong flag bearer at last night's game, and a little more than 2 months after losing both legs, he's standing and learning to walk on his prosthetics. Absolutely amazing.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Swept Up in Life

I've been pretty swept up in life the past few days, which is why I haven't been on my blogging game as much. I've been working my little butt off, been rearranging my schedule to prepare for the start of my assistantship next month, the Bruins (aka my favorite team in all of sports) are in the Stanley Cup final and could be eliminated tonight o_o (AHHHSONERVOUSOMG), prepping for NSO (New Student Orientation for you non-HESA folk) and CA training, and bumping up my marathon training, all on top of spending time with friends and enjoying this beautiful summer.

But I have to say, I kind of love it. I love having things to do that pull me away from sitting on the computer all day. That way, when I do have a second to sit down and write, I have a lot to talk about!

1. Mikey's new haircut | 2. Beautiful rainbow after a couple days of stormy skies | 3. Readin' like a fiend 
4. Did I mention that this is my house? | 5. Love this dress from A&F | 6. Gorgeous sunset on my evening walk 
7. Being silly with Brett post-BBC

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Life as an Extreme Couponer

You may often read the term "ballin' on a budget" frequently on this blog. That's because, like many of you out there, I'm not rollin' in the dough. But that term hasn't applied to me more than it has this week. Guys, I have a confessions to make.

I've become..

...a couponer. x_x

I now completely understand the rush those crazy ladies on extreme couponing reality shows. It's like stealing, but it's legal. I've only just started couponing, and I'm not sure how long this new mom-like hobby will stick with me, but I'm having a blast searching for the best steals deals possible and buying all these things I normally can't afford to buy on a weekly basis. Hooray!

Here's my haul from yesterday:

(All items above are from Walgreens)

1. Nice! Bath Tissue 12 Pack 
On sale - $4.99

2. Renuzit Air Fresheners
$0.89 cents each with rewards card & membership coupon
Buy 2 get 1 free coupon
Spent a total of $1.78

3. Dial Bar Soap 8 pack
On sale - buy 1 get 1 free
Buy 2 get 1 free coupon*
Spent a total of $5.49

4. Dial Body Wash
On sale - buy 1 get 1 free
$2.00 Coupon*
Spent a total of $15.37

5. Right Guard Hair & Body Wash
On sale - buy 1 get 1 free
$1.00 coupon
Spent a total of  $8.98

6. BIC Soliel Twilight Razors
$2.00 coupon
Spent a total of $4.49

Also cashed in 1,000 rewards points (equaling $1.00).

I would have spent $87.22, but after rewards, coupons, and in-store sales, I spent a grand total of...
(after taxes, which were $2.57.
If I was in NH I'd only spend $41.10!)

(A nice 52% off my entire order. Not bad, not bad!) 

I'm telling you, if you have time to sit down with the Sunday paper and check out the sales, clip coupons, and sign up for rewards programs (which are usually free!), you can save a butt load** of money! I'm still learning the ins and outs of getting the most for your dollar (I made a few mistakes here which I plan to correct on my next time around) but couponing and shopping the sales is totally worth the time and effort for all the money that you save!

Do any of you guys coupon? Have any tips for a beginner? Share them in the comments! :)

*I intended for the "buy 2 get 1 free" coupon to go towards the body wash, but apparently that coupon as well as the $2.00 coupon applied to both Dial products, and the machine took the "buy 2 get 1 free" off of the cheaper product. A little oversight by me - I'll just have to do separate orders next time. (Yeah, I'm totally going to turn into someone that every cashier hates... >_>)

**Actual measurement of quantity.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Au Revoir, Google Reader

Much to my sadness, Google Friend Connect and Google Reader are being shut down at the beginning of July. For those that are unfamiliar with these Google services, they were great tools to easily follow blogs that you loved and see all of their posts in one continuous feed. As sad as I am to see them go, it'll be great to test out some new services and challenge myself to promote my blog in different ways!

There are two ways you'll be able to follow this blog in the post-GFC era:

1. Bloglovin' - This is essentially the same thing as Google Reader. You can create an account and click on the "Follow this blog with bloglovin'" button, and all of my new posts will be automatically updated to your feed. Most blogs (that I read, anyway) will be connected on Bloglovin' and will have a Bloglovin' follow button attached to them. You can also import all of the blogs that you already follow on Google Reader to you Bloglovin' feed by clicking here!

2. Facebook - And if you don't feel like creating yet another new account on yet another website, I just launched a Facebook page for FEN (right here!), and will be linking all of my new posts to it. Click "Like", and all of my new posts will end up on your news feed!

Hope this was helpful! xx

EDIT (June 18, 2013): It's been pointed out to me by a couple commenters that GFC will not be shut down come July 1st, only Google Reader. I have added the GFC widget back to my sidebar, so if you're a Blogger user, you can follow my posts on your Blogger feed by clicking the "Join this site" button on the right! :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jersey Comes to Dean!

My wonderful friends Noble and Jeff came up from New Jersey last weekend for a visit! Since we live a few hours apart and conflicting schedules, we don't really get to see each other often, but we always have a blast every time we get together!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mud, Sweat, and Bruised Bums: Superhero Scramble 2013!

Louie, Noble, Jeff, Brett and I ventured up to Amesbury on Saturday for the Superhero Scramble - my very first obstacle race! I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about this race. I've never done an obstacle race before, and this one was intimidating. Luckily I got through almost every obstacle (minus the monkey bar rings and the rope climb - I have noodle arms!) and finished with minimal damage (a few cuts and bruises, but nothing too unbearable!). I'd totally love to do another obstacle race again sometime soon - after a few months of recuperation! :P

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Apartment Tour!

As mentioned in my previous post, Brett and I have recently moved into a new apartment! We're absolutely in love with the new place. It's so much bigger than my last apartment and it feels great to have the extra space! We're very lucky to have a place this awesome at our ages, and I really want to share it with you all! :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Five {#4}

Friday Five
Five things that mattered to me this week!

1. I'm blogging at you live from my OFFICE (I have an office now?) in my brand new apartment!* Brett and I moved into our new place (in the building next to us... >_>) on Tuesday and I finally finished unpacking and cleaning everything this morning/afternoon. The new place had a spare room, and I decided to turn it into a little office! It's nice having a desk again!

2. Noble and Jeff are coming up tonight for a weekend visit from Jersey! It's always a great time seeing them, so I'm pumped!

3. Yesterday I was offered a GA in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership at Bridgewater! I'm beyond psyched to start this GA. My friend Joanne had the same GA during her time at Bridgewater and loved it, so I'm sure it will be an awesome experience!

4. Tomorrow I'm running the Superhero Scramble! Slightly terrified. If I never update this blog again, you'll know why... x_x

5. Happy National Doughnut Day! *hops in the car and drives to Dunkin' Donuts*

*I'll post an apartment tour entry in the next couple days!

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Book Club Selection: A Dog's Purpose

For the month of June, the fiveleveninety book club will be reading A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron! Much like The Wednesday Letters, this book has been a part of my collection for a few years without once being cracked open. (The water stains at the bottom of the book itself suggest that I've had it since I spilled water all over my window sill, where I used to keep my books my sophomore year in college - 2009. Yikes!)
"All dogs go to heaven... unless they have unfinished business here on Earth. 
This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog's search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog's Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here? 
Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey's search for his new life's meaning leads him into the loving arms of eight-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures, Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.
But this life as a family pet is not the end of Bailey's journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders - will he ever find his purpose? 
Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on Earth is born with a purpose."
Being a dog lover, I knew that this would be a great read (whenever I got around to it), and what better time to read a fun book like this than summer time! Let me know in the comments if you're reading along or if you've read this book before and what you thought of it!

For my review of last month's book, The Wednesday Letters, click "Read more"!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June Goals

I'm currently enjoying this lovely summer morning on the deck of my family's house in NH, enjoying a nice cup of coffee (it's still cool enough to drink it hot at 8AM), listening to the birds wake up and my dogs incessantly whine while they impatiently wait for my parents to come home from a morning fishing trip. The deck of this house is one of my favorite spots in the world. I've spent many summers out here reading a countless number of books, chatting with my family while we eat deliciously BBQ'd meals, and enjoying the scenery of my parents' ever-growing jungle of a deck garden. When I'm out here, I can't be anything less than happy. :)

It's officially the first of June, so that means it's time for some goal setting! May was a lot busier for me than I had anticipated at the beginning of the month, and I completely forgot how stressful it is to adjust after the school year is complete. Many other things in my life took priority over the goals I set for myself last month, and as a result, I didn't complete one of them. To be honest, I was pretty discouraged and disappointed in myself after having such success in April, but I realize that when you set goals for yourself, you're not going to win them all. It's okay if you don't do as well as you'd like, as long as you keep working. I still ran and I still read (though not as much as I aimed to) and unfortunately I wasn't working enough to reach my financial goals this past month. But it's okay. I'm still working towards those goals, even if it means I can't reach them within a month.

Because of my results from May, I'm only going to set two goals for myself this month:

1. Read 2 books
2. Complete all of the 20+ obstacles in the Superhero Scramble on June 8 

I think those are two pretty reasonable goals, and I'll be able to spend much less time stressing out about not reaching my goals and more time focusing on things that matter. :)