Let’s catch up!

Can’t believe it’s been exactly a month since my last blog post! After drawing the curtain on our student debt pay-off series and sharing the final steps of my food sensitivities journey, it seemed like the right moment to take some time off.

But, I’m back now and ready to play a little catch up!

Work:

The summer hiring rush is on and our recruiting firm has gotten a lot of new clients who are eager to fill their job openings. We recently added a new candidate sourcing specialist to our team and I’ve been helping to train him. We also launched our new website and it was very well-received! As the designer, I can’t help but be proud of the outcome. 

You may remember that Ryan switched positions about four months ago. Well, he is still enjoying his new duties, coworkers, and being on first-shift. His company is growing rapidly which is exciting but it’s also proving quite stressful as current employees are trying to fill in the gaps left by the expansion and restructuring of staff. Hopefully they will get things balanced out soon!

Life:

As the deadline to find a new apartment loomed we were feeling very panicked but I’m happy to share that we finally secured our next home! It’s really tricky to find a one-bedroom right now and on a whim we stopped by a community who happened to have one available. We were the first to see it that afternoon and they had 11 other showing appointments after us! With that news, we immediately completed the applications and put down a deposit.

Our new place is in Bloomington and has an epic workout center (including a big gym, half-court basketball, indoor and outdoor pool), pretty grounds and walking trails, and is dog-friendly. The complex was recently updated so we’ll have new carpet, paint, and appliances. We move August 1 and are looking forward to it! Since we’ll be living too far away for me to walk to work, we’re car shopping. No luck yet but we’ll definitely be adding another vehicle in July.

Fun:

out 'n about with our friends, Austin & Jessica

out ‘n about with our friends, Austin & Jessica 

We drove down to Nebraska to help Ryan’s brother and his family move into their new house. It was a lot of work getting them settled and unpacked but it had been awhile since we’d seen them last so it was nice to be able to visit and fun to play with our 3-year-old niece.

Other than that, our weekends have been pretty chill lately – we’ve been hanging out with friends, enjoying the sunny weather, and catching up on some of our Netflix favorites.

I was also recently introduced to Zumba and am now hooked! I attend classes twice a week and love it. It’s the first time I’ve ever been excited to routinely workout. Zumba is a dance fitness program that is easy to follow and high-energy. We groove out to hip-hop, latin, and international beats while getting in shape. To be honest, it’s basically a party. The class I attend is taught by three-generations of Zumba instructors (daughter, mother, grandmother) and it’s such a fun and uplifting workout session / dance party. If you’re in the Twin Cities and want to give it a try, check out Zumba with Nessa, Tuesdays & Thursdays, 8 – 9:15 pm, in Burnsville at Youngman’s American Martial Arts. No membership needed – just pay $6/cash at the door.

So, that’s what we’ve been up to lately! July is gearing up to be very busy and very fun. We already have a trip to Illinois planned as well as a weekend lake getaway and visit from friends on deck! Not to mention we’ll also be packing and moving soon. Phew!

Hope you all are doing wonderfully and summer’s treating you well!

weekend review

One of my dear pals, Elecia, came up to visit us from IL this past week.

(You’ll remember her as my best friend since kindergarten, maid of honor, and New Orleans travel buddy.)

“E” had a work conference to attend in Minnesota and came up the weekend before to hangout.

During her visit we…

evisitblog

…visited the spoonbridge and cherry, played at the sculpture garden (and saw someone propose), wandered downtown, lunched at the Midtown Global Market, went thrift-shopping, stopped by Ikea and the MOA, watched the monkeys at the Como Zoo, soaked up the warmth at the botanical gardens, ate dinner at Mozza Mia and the Crooked Pint Ale House, played many games (500 Rummy, Presidents & Assholes, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers of Catan), and spent a late night out partying at The Pourhouse and The Shout House.

I’m so glad Elecia was able to take the extra time to stay with us because we always have such fun together. Can’t wait ‘til our next adventure!

$ Let’s Talk Money – The Finale

It’s been exactly 4 years since both Ryan and I graduated from college and to celebrate this milestone we have a happy announcement to make…

… our student loans are officially paid in full!

That’s right! The balance due no longer reads $43,000; a big beautiful zero lives there now.

paidinfullfinally

We’re pretty proud of what we have accomplished and look forward to attacking the last bit of debt we have – an $11K car loan.

Hopefully our journey (which you can look back at here) can help and inspire those of you still in the debt-payoff trenches.

One final tip: if you can afford to be aggressive about eliminating debt – do it!

The majority of our loans were at 6.8% interest. By paying off the loans in 4 years we ended up paying “just” $6,300 in interest. Compare that to taking 10 years and we would have had to pay $16,700 instead (gross!). Destroy whatever interest you have already accumulated so you can decrease the principal ASAP – that’s key!

We ultimately found success by trimming our expenses, sticking to a budget, building up an emergency savings stash and not touching it, living off one income while using the other to pay down debt, and finding free or inexpensive ways to have fun (so we didn’t go crazy during this payoff process).

However, there are many ways to tackle debt and as long as what you’re doing is working, that’s all that matters. Stay strong, stay committed, and keep up the hard work, guys!

The light at the end of the tunnel is real and it is glorious.

currently

reading | just started The Chocolate Money, recently finished The Russian Concubine

listening | Something Big – Shawn Mendes, Upside – Allen Stone, Déjà vu – Giorgio Moroder, and New Rush – Gin Wigmore

watching | the finale episodes of Mad Men and the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (on Netflix) – the first episode was absolute shite but the others got us laughing!

eating | thai chili, avocado toast (the red pepper flakes on top are a must!), and fetimans mandarin and seville orange jigger

drinking | on a definite smoothie kick right now! the combo of orange + mango + kiwi has been my favorite this week.

playing | wayyy too much candy crush. guys, it’s so addicted…

working | on migrating our company website to a new host provider. hoping this’ll be the last setback we have so we can finally launch!

organizing | my beauty products (using this idea) and our apartment search spreadsheet (we’ve got one more complex to visit & then have to wait patiently until June 1 to find out about any August openings at our favorites)

wishing | for the money fairy to appear with some funds that are solely ear-marked for fun – would love to ride roller-coasters this summer, get some new ink (got my next tat all picked out), or hit up a Broadway show downtown

enjoying | the lovely sunshine, green grass, and signs that spring will be in full bloom soon!

 So that’s me…what’s current with you guys?

currently

enjoying | taking long walks after work with Ryan, exploring new trails by our house, and the occasional weight lifting sesh – we’re working to maintain a healthier lifestyle and to shed some weight we put on this winter while hibernating

eating | homemade pizza, fresh red bell peppers, pineapple salsa, banana bread, and this phenomenal chicken taco crockpot dish

drinking | tea! this new convert is totally diggin’ the following – ginger, peppermint, red raspberry, and raspberry peach tulsi.

reading | teen fiction that can be quickly consumed – haven’t had the brain power for much else lately. currently on book two of The 5th Wave trilogy.

watching | Peaky Blinders on Netflix

listening | “Crystals” – Of Monsters and Men, “Lean On” – Major Lazer & DJ Snake, “Sons and Daughters” – The Decemberists, “Bulletproof Heart” – My Chemical Romance, “Muevelo” – Sofia Reyes, and “Electric Love” – BORNS

working | hard to finish up the design for my company’s new website. hope to have it live in a few weeks.

planning | to pay off our student loans by next month, pay off our car loan by December, buy another used car, find a new apartment, and work on saving some funds for a 2016 vacation – phew! lots to do.

annoyed | by the pesky ants that have taken up residence in our dishwasher. gross…and arggh! it’s definitely spring, folks.

loving | catching up with old friends on a more regular basis

looking | ahead to May when we take a trip to see family and one of my best girlfriends visits from Illinois – we’ve got lots of fun planned!

trying | to incorporate meditation into my life by doing 10 minutes a day – a neat app called Headspace has been really helpful.

obsessed | with minimalism, being more intentional, and simplifying every corner of my life – inspired about what the rest of 2015 will look now

So that’s me…what’s current with you guys?

weekend review x2

last weekend…

gamenight
… had friends over to try out a new board game – Pandemic. It’s a cooperative game where all players must work together to rid the worldoffour diseases. The game’s exciting but also absolutely maddening. I get so frustrated when we play because it’s so tough to win! It seems like every time we get close to a cure, a massive outbreak occurs causing us to lose. Let’s just say it definitely tests my patience and sportsmanship!

… went on an impromptu date to see Insurgent followed by dinner at one of our favorite pizzerias – Costco. Ha! But for real, I freakin’ love their pizza.

…. co-hosted the Minnesota Bloggers’ 3rd Annual Favorite Things Party with Lo. We had a really good turn out; with a little over 20 people and lots of new faces. Fun was had by all and it was great to meet more MN bloggers. I brought Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints as my favorite thing and I came home with two other chocolates to try and a darling magnetic succulent that now lives on our fridge.

fave things party

this weekend…

… finished my stack of library books and need to go back for more. I’ve been trying to read more, watch less. Haven’t read any I’d recommend yet but it’s nice to be working on decreasing my screen time.

… went out to dinner with Ryan’s cousin, uncle, and his uncle’s girlfriend at Burch Steak and Pizza Bar. The reviews we read spoke very highly of their steaks but the pescatarians in our group found many dishes to eat and rave about too. I squealed when I saw they had a few dumpling options on the menu (spaetzle, piergois, kinkhali, etc.) and ended up devouring schupfnudel (like gnocchi but thinly rolled) with a rich, creamy gorgonzola cheese and walnut sauce. The dish was so similar to one I fell in love with in Italy that I felt transported back to Florence every time I took a bite. They also had cheese dumplings with lamb stroganoff which sounded divine – would love to try those next time.

… spent an afternoon wandering around the Como Zoo and Conservatory. The polar bear was extremely active and a lot of fun to watch!

easterzoo

Hope you all had a lovely weekend too!

weekend review

This weekend Mr.C & I…

blogweekendspace

…went bowling and played euchre with friends

…soaked up the sun and nice weather

….spent an afternoon apart: Ryan played video games with his brother who lives on East Coast (technology’s great isn’t it?!) and I went with Jen to check out the exhibit and omnitheater film about Space at the Science Museum of Minnesota

…ran errands and relaxed with our latest Netflix obsession, Wentworth (think Orange Is the New Black…but a little darker + Australian!)

Hope you all had a great weekend too!