Thursday, September 25, 2008

Our Little Romantic Getaway

Yesterday was my first day off since the honeymoon and I've been really stressed. My sweet husband gave me $50 to spend any way I want, he said I deserved it. He suggested that I go and get a massage but I chose not to. I went to the mall and bought two pairs of shoes (75% on sale), and a cardigan instead.

Nonetheless we have been mentally stressed out and looked considerably to get away to some day spa. But since we've been trying to save money, tonight I made him his own relaxing environment - which I too will reap later this week - and then gave him his, "alone time" to relax and unwind. He loved it - it's priceless. After the spa thing, he went straight to bed. Poor thing haven't had any quality sleep this week. But I love doing things for him... willingly. :-)

Day Spa = $90 to $200

Our Own Aromatherapy Spa:
$5.00 - Tea Light Candles (pack of 100)
$1.25 - Bath Salts (1 small pack of bath salts)
$4.99 - Strawberries
$2.49 - Whipped Cream:
$13.73 - Total (Cant beat that)

Pictures of our home spa below

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

My First Famous Person

Last night Andrey, Izzy, and I went to Palmer College of Chiropractic to attend a Health Convention. The guest speaker was none other than Morgan Spurlock, the famous director and the main character of the movie / documentary, SuperSize Me.

The convention started out with the film at 4 PM, followed by a health expo at 4:30 PM. At 6:30 PM people congregated at Lyceum Hall on 7th Street.

It was pretty packed, but what else would people do on a Friday night when there's a free event to hear a famous person speak? So yes, Morgan Spurlock was my first LIVE famous person I've seen. Dre has met a few but didn't think it was a big deal.

^ Our Tickets. There were 20 door prizes but as usual, none of us won anything.

^ Here is an unsightly picture of me, Dre, and a random student in the background. I'm not familiar with mom's camera - there was a lag and we didn't think it took this picture, but i guess the camera did. ha ha! Unfortunately the other shots of us turned out blurred. Grrr.

^ Here's the main setup above. See the chef at the bottom right corner. He cooked while the first lecturer was speaking. The whole room smelled delicious.

^ The ceremony began with Palmer students marching up the isle in costume. Yes, the spinal column - very appropriate.

^ Then the president spoke and introduced the speakers.

^ Here is the first speaker who is a biochemistry teacher at Palmer. She spoke about whole foods vs. processed foods. Not too shabby. I was mainly distracted by the chef creating his magic to the side there. The aroma was impressive.

^ Here's the chef projected on the wall cooking 4 dishes in 30 minutes.

^ The above view of the chef.

^ Then came Morgan Spurlock. He gave away the four cooked dishes to four lucky audience members. The crowed cheered of course.

^ He is definitely an entertainer. He spoke about the reason he chose McDonalds vs. other fast food restaurants. Basically, McDonalds is the biggest chain thus the reasoning. He also spoke about the criticism he received while making his film.

^ Here he is during Q&A. I wish he spoke more about the obesity epidemic and the lifestyle of Americans as a whole - then the food choices, but I guess there was not enough time.

So that was that. All in all it wasn't too shabby. I was entertained more than anything. I love going to events such as this one. Hopefully there will be a financial convention somewhere nearby soon. I'll be there!
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fall Season

I love the fall season (coming up soon but it feels like fall to me right now). For me it serves as new beginnings. It has a lot to do with looking back to a new semester during the college days, old/new friends, new classes, and also strutting.

I dearly miss fashion. Its obvious that I let it all go a year after Dre and I started dating - Y2K5. But I miss my fashion sense... where did it go?

This morning I laid in bed awake. Dre was sound asleep beside me but I still asked him a question, "Dre, I miss my fashion sense. What should I do to get it back?" He tossed, turned, covered himself with a blanket, and then yawned as he managed to muttur, "Just don't spend and save money." Then he went back to sleep. Hhhmmm... men! Typical answer.

Not that I blame Dre, but I blame myself for allowing myself to stand still. See I secretly wish I never wear those scrubs to work ever again. They're loose and have plenty of wiggle room. They make me feel like I'm wearing sweats all day. Comfortable they may be, I feel lousy wearing them. At the end of the day after dealing with all the jazz and the craziness of working in a medical environment, I run my errands wearing scrubs around town - and it makes me ill.

Yesterday Dre took me out on a date at the new Japanese restaurant at Utica, Osaka. I decided to glam up and dress up when... omg... what the? What?!?!?!?! My favorite dress got tight?!?!?! WHAT!!?!?!?! So I got out my dress pants... hmmm... tight too. Resort to scrubs?? I didn't but I decided to wear my buffet jeans and a loose blouse. I wasn't happy.

Seriously... enough is enough. This is the time when a budget for weight loss and a new wardrobe is crucial and mandatory! I will not let myself go any more than I already have.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Eleanor & Traffic

A few weeks before our wedding an officer issued me a traffic violation for driving in between the construction barricades. Chris, Gina's Husband, was leading the way. Apparently we got in the wrong turning lane because the road supposedly merged into one - closing off the turning lane.

Picture above: there were no cones blocking the way
towards the turning lane. (Corner of Division and Locust)
Clearly other cars maneuvered to that "closed" lane
and didn't get caught. We went back to the traffic scene
and took pictures of other cars using the "closed lane."

As soon as we turned left in the corner of Division and Locust, the officer turned on his siren, cut me off in traffic, and chased after Chris. Chris turned into a street near Auto Zone. Gina and I decided check out the situation so we parked a few feet away from the incident - the Auto Zone parking lot. As soon as Gina and I were about to get out of my car, the cop approached my window.

Cop: "License and Registration please? I'm giving you a ticket."
Elle: " What did I do?"
Cop: "You were driving in between construction barricades and could have cost an accident."
Elle: "What?"
Cop: "Did you know it was illegal to drive in construction zones?"
Elle: "Yes, but the cones are not in place. There were no signs that the road is blocked. The cones are far apart and arranged vaguely."
Cop: "You would have gotten away but I would have called another cop to chase after you."
Elle: "You've got to be kidding me."
Cop: "If you have any questions, call that number above. Otherwise you need to show up at the court date."
Elle: "Well I'm going to ask for you because I do not understand this."
Cop: "I'm not going to be here. I'm going on vacation so don't ask for me."

So that was the end of that. Went to court the Monday we got back from our Honeymoon and appealed my ticket - which the judge rescheduled for another day.

Fast forward to last week... went to court, waited for an hour and a half then a prosecutor asked me what was up.

Elle: "Officer Miller gave me a ticket for driving within barricaded zones and I have pictures to prove that..."
Prosecutor: "Oh this is the one in Locust and Division, right?"
Elle: "Yes, I was with my friend who also got a ticket that same day."
Prosecutor: "I'll make a deal with you. If you pay the $50 court fee, I'll wipe everything out so you wont have anything in your record."
Elle: "Really? Just like that? You don't even want to see the pictures?"
Prosecutor: "Nah."
Elle: "Well, thank you. Where do I pay for the court fee?"
Prosecutor: "I'll grab the ticket and I'll walk you over to the clerk."
Elle: "Okay. Thanks again."

That's exactly what happened? I had to pay a $50 court fee but there's nothing in my record. Good for me and my insurance!
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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Where Did the Time Go?

Where did the time go? Suddenly every morning I travel to work in the dark, and oddly enough I pull in the driveway in the evening and it's still dark!

It's like work sucks out all the energy in me. But enough about work and more about the married life.

It seems like everyone is having a baby. From Hollywood A-Lists to the D-Lists... and then us, the common people. My mother has been begging for a grandchild and practically everyone else wants to know what our children will look like. Sometimes I wonder if people ask us about children because it's the next step after marriage, or perhaps there's nothing much to talk about. How exactly does one start a conversation with a newly married couple?

The top three questions we get are:
  1. How is married life?
  2. How are the newlyweds?
  3. When are the kids coming?
So I'm going to answer them:

1. How is married life?
It's swell. Fairly easy. No deal breakers yet. Dre is very patient and Eleanor is very tolerant. The his and hers bathrooms are brilliant!!!

2. How are the newlyweds?
We're tired. Wanna do our laundry?

3. When are the kids coming?
A year or two from now. Not ready for kids yet. We're tired all the time and the financials must be congruent to the best possible timing. Just got married a little over two months ago - we need to settle down first before embarking on to parenthood.

But seriously, time is going by pretty fast. It's fall (my favorite season) and it makes me want to organize because students go back to school. Maybe I miss it... but I know that I feel old when I see a herd of college students shopping at Target or studying at coffee houses. That same scenario used to include me.
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Jean - the - Cat

Here he is... the sweet, cuddly, cat that jumps on our bed at night then finds solace on our chest demanding lots and lots of TLC.

I gave Dre a cat for his birthday earlier this year. Instead of getting a kitty, we decided to save a life and adopted Jean-the-Cat (pronounced Zhan-the-cat) at PetSmart. He's a pretty HUGE and LONG cat. He weighs about 15.9 lbs of cuddly love. He LOVES to eat. He meows constantly to be fed.

Every morning his toys are lined up by the foot of our bed on the floor. After bringing us each toy (during the night) he meows until one of us gets up to give him credit for his little presents. As much of an attention seeker as he is, we adore him. His previous owner said that they didn't have time for him - thus bringing him to the adoption center. Dre and I hope to give him the love he deserves. I'm sure he absolutely loves us in return.

Last night I fed him a serving of turkey dinner, a can of meat and gravy, and dried cat food. I stepped on his tail and was feeling a bit guilty (tse tse tse). This morning I walked over his feeding area and he cleaned two plates of his wet food and ate half of his dried food. lol. Cat eats a lot but he and I will work out a lot tonight.

More blogs about our cat to come - and pictures to come as soon as I purchase a digital camera.
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Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

Branson, Missouri

Andrey, Izzy and I planned a trip to Branson, Missouri for the Labor Day weekend. We looked forward for this mini-vacation until I started reading Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover. Dave lingered in my mind to save money instead of taking a vacation that will inevitably get us into debt. So we canceled our hotel accommodations in Branson and canceled the trip altogether.

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Then we all decided to go a cheaper route and spend Labor Day somewhere close by - Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. It looked fun with the water parks and amusement entertainment; also cheaper. As I got on to reserve a hotel there was another guilty feeling of, "Why should we go on vacation when we can save money now, invest, and then enjoy life later paying cash without debt? Plus there's that Europe trip next year for Marina's wedding." So we all decided to play it cheap this year. We canceled our Wisconsin fun to spend the Labor Day holiday in good old QC.

Saturday night we had a feast in our apartment. Dad came over but mom stayed home. We watched movies, ate, and whatever whatever. It was fun.

Yesterday Izzy, Dre and I went to the Locust Street park. There's a nice view in that park (near the driving range) overlooking Kimberly Road. It was a nice sight. From the top we saw the Lodge Hotel, Panera Bread, and that entire area. (Wish I had a digital Camera, but I'm saving up for one)

The three of us just had a picnic at the park and then relaxed with books. Ahhh the simple pleasures in life! It felt great actually... not to spend. Definitely a lifestyle change. We tried to invite mom and dad but they were content to stay home. Blah.

The rest of today is dedicated to cleaning and getting caught up with everyday life - then relaxing! It's a great weekend altogether. Very peaceful.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Debt & Finances

Yesterday I picked up a copy of Money Magazine (I think it was the March issue, I forget) and read some articles of couples who allowed themselves to get $190,000 in debt. Another story was of a newlywed who had no debt to begin with but just after two years, accumulated a whopping $90,000 of only credit card debt. Both stories then told of how they got out of the financial rut by hiring an advisor who educated them of investments, budgeting, and what not.

When I was a college sophomore I desperately wanted a credit card to make me feel more of an adult. I had the mentality to buy and take home now, and then pay later. So while I was in classes, I skimmed over bulletin boards for credit offers looking and comparing for the lowest interest rates. I found one that wasn't too shabby. I applied then received my first plastic within a few weeks. It was beautiful - a clear, see through VISA glistening in my hand. Immediately I went to the mall to buy buy buy. I felt like a million bucks with only a $200 credit limit.

Now the sad part was they approved me - I didn't even have a job - if anything, a minimum part-time wage job that couldn't keep up with my expenses. Later on my credit limit increased and I was out shopping like a rockstar! Again, buy now and pay later! WOOO HOOO!!!! Then came then compounded interests that accumulated... yikes!!! Then came annoying phone calls... Mom and Dad... help!!!!

There are lessons learned and there were many financial shames in my immature life. I made the transition my first senior year of college (I stayed an extra year as a super senior - stayed in college for 5 years which is normal now). I cancelled my first VISA with tears in my eyes, then I went to the library to educated myself with finances, from budgeting, investments, retirement and what not. From then on, I decided to start a savings account and dropped a percentage of my paychecks monthly.

Because of the accumulated savings, I was able to help finance our wedding and am debt free from such a crazy expense. As lucky as Dre and I to have generous parents (thank you and we love you!), we wanted to be responsible for financing the wedding as well.

Now that it is all said and done, Dre and I are debt free and are VERY frugal about a lot of things. We do not use credit cards and believe that before purchasing things, we should already have the money - not borrow or go in debt with credit card bills. I pray we will keep this up. I however am extremely excited to educate our future children about finances. I cannot wait until they learn the value of the dollar. No allowances, but commission. Excitement!!!!

We received a wedding gift from the Crockett's, a book called "The Total Money Makover" - it's very insightful and the author strongly advised against credit cards. It a basic book and truthfully, a lot of it is common sense many of us already know, but we just don't do. It however offers many insightful scenarios of how to handle finances when you think you're at the point of no return - for example: Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are ways to avoid bankruptcy but it takes sacrifice and effort. Also many other beneficial insights. There are also financial forms at the back of the book to help organize and manage money properly (this excited me the most). It's a good read I thoroughly enjoyed. Reading it made me want to live below our means to enjoy the finer things in life later on. I'm just lucky to have a husband who shares the same financial beliefs as I do.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 21, 2008 Storm / Tornado

Yesterday morning at 6 AM our cat, Jean-Claude, jumped on me. Before I became bitter from the rude awakening I got distracted by a loud thunder followed by a strong storm. Inclement weather had been a constant in this area so I didn't worry. I didn't scold the cat either.

I didn't think much of it until I drove to work. The scene was a complete shock. It literally looked like a natural disaster scene from a movie. The streets were a total devastation, trees snapped in half, electric wires all over the place, traffic lights busted, no electricity, and etc.

As soon as I turned into the parking lot of our office, I noticed that our sign had been snapped in half - severely torn down. I also noticed that a part of our office roof was across the street. Some streets were closed, a semi was turned over in the freeway, metal and electric poles fell on cars. It seemed so surreal.

Many businesses and residents around the area are in total devastation of the natural disaster. I hope at least the electricity will be restored soon since I cant go to work without it. Days off are nice, but it makes a difference on the paycheck. The Illinois side got hit pretty hard, but Iowa is doing all right.

If you look closely, you can see the tornado in some of the photos below. Post Tornado photos also included.
(click here for more photos)

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Friday, July 18, 2008

All Things Exotic

Our wedding theme pretty much was based on the "International" theme - more so... "ALL THINGS EXOTIC!" per Andrey's little infatuation. ha ha ha. :-)

A few days ago we went to the Asian Market. It was Andrey's first visit to such a place. As crazy and odd as it is for someone "non-asian" to see what was inside such stores, Andrey had an excited reaction. He was absolutely adorable. He was like a little kid opening presents during Christmas morning, inundated with all the new things, with all things exotic. He wanted to try everything vegetarian so we loaded up our little cart with all things exotic. lol. it was so funny.

So... it went really well. Our marriage is definitely fun, exciting with many things unheard to discover. Which was another reason I wanted to marry an international man of mystery... Russian/Ukrainian. Yes!!!!

With this whole international deal, Andrey's parents advised me to learn how to speak Russian. Andrey's sister, Marina, is engaged. My in-laws were not able to attend our wedding in the USA so Marina and Alex decided to get married in Ukraine in 2009. Thus, we are all traveling there next year!!! I FINALLY MEET THEM!!!! :-) Dre is already teaching me a few phrases. I'm super excited!!!
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Post Honeymoon Blog

(Top: Our beach chairs)
(Center: Dre swimming @ Kailua Beach)
(Bottom: Me @ Kailua Beach relaxing. Background: Diamond Hill)

Hawaii was splendid. We stayed at the heart of Honolulu at a hotel called, Ohana Waikiki West. We had an ocean view suite overlooking the popular Waikiki Beach.

Oahu is pretty crowded. It's not like the fantasy paradise like Kauai, Hawaii - an island full of nature and beauty. Honolulu is more city like. A different vibe than what I'm used Hawaii to be. There were millions of tourists (Japanese) everywhere that it was almost impossible to relax. Dre and I opted to travel far away from the city to enjoy a more serene beach. (See the pictures above)

We took more photos of our trip but it's too much to post in this blog so I'll establish an online photo album sometime.

So in Hawaii we took a tour boat cruise (including a luau), went to a Polonesian Magic Show, went to the waterfront to see the Aloha Tower, Pearl Harbor (sad), and we checked out the International Market. We tried to see Diamond Hill (inactive volcano) but the place was crowded so we skipped out on it.

We would have gone snorkeling and scuba diving, but I got a little paranoid since that whole bit about a newlywed scuba diving murder story was in the news. Forget that!!!! Freaked me out. Ha ha... now I regret not going. We will when we travel back to Hawaii.

So married life is pretty nice. More peaceful than what others anticipated - but it comes along with marrying the correct person with no regrets. That always comes in handy.

Future things to look forward to. More trips, vacations, sight seeing... exploring! A little mini vacation with the hubby to Branson, MO in the near future, European trip in 2009 (meeting the in-laws - FINALLY!), and a Cruise to the Carribean with Rachel, Joan, and Judy!!!

Excitement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Babies will have to wait. I know that Arthur "TAGGED" me and said that I was next on the baby countdown... but hopefully in a year and a half or two I'll be ready.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008


(Andrey and I posing with his American Grandmother - Jody)

Andrey and I are finally married!! Big sigh of relief.

But everyday since the previous blog entry has been the worst stress of my life. Much more worse than the stress that came along during Grad School and studying for cumulative finals. So I'm ecstatic that all this wedding planning is over!! OVER!!! I don't ever want to re-marry or plan another wedding. One is enough for a lifetime.

Aside from being here on the honeymoon in the fabulous island of Oahu, Hawaii (pictures to follow) - Andrey and I would like to apologize for overlooked agenda. From the bottom of our hearts due to the hype of the day/ceremony/reception, we profusely apologize for unintentionally leaving out the "Thank You" speech during our wedding reception. Many people deserved public recognition and some were hurt. If we hurt you one way or the other we are extremely sorry.

Just because Andrey and I are already married doesn't mean this blog will cease to exist... if anything it will be more alive than ever!

More to follow so check back soon.
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Sunday, January 27, 2008

What's Been Going On

Wedding planning is extremely fun. Last night we had a conference call with Pastor Vic regarding the pre-marital counseling. It's easier than I thought. Dre and I have harmonious core values as far as living and raising a family. There will definitely be adjustments the first year of marriage, but there is nothing too big that we cant fix.

Today Dre and I met with our cake baker and finalized every detail- absolutely divine. I LOVE CAKE!!! YUM!!! I cant wait to see the final product.

We also finalized our ceremonial music - live string quartet. Tonight the musicians played for us and as soon as they played the wedding march, I was inundated with unexplainable emotion that almost caused the tears to flow down my cheeks. Mom cried, and Dre almost cried. Izzy was touched and excited to finally hear the pieces he composed for the wedding. It was just... unbelievable. No words to describe it. Beautiful.
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Monday, January 14, 2008

Eleanor & Andrey

1. What are your names?
Eleanor and Andrey

2. How long have you been together?
2 years and 10 months - getting married in 6 months. :-)

3. How long did you know each other before you started dating?
About a month

4. Who asked who out?
Andrey asked Eleanor out on a date

5. How old were you when you started dating?
19 and 21

6. What are your astrological signs?
Who knows

7. How tall are each of you?
5'5 and 6'7

8. Who's mother do you see the most?
Eleanor's mom

9. Who’s siblings do you see the most?
Eleanor's Brother

10. Do you have any children together?
Not yet, mabe in 2 years

11. What about pets?
Tatiana - dog. Soon = Butters = Cat

12. If so, what kind?
see above

13. Which bill is the hardest on you as a couple?
When we live together - rent

14. Do each of you work?
Both work.

16. Did you go to the same school?
Both of us went to a Christian Private University

17. Are you from the same hometown?

18. Do you live in the same hometown now?

19. Who is the smartest?

20. Who is the most sensitive?
Eleanor - she's the girl

17. Where do you eat out at most as a couple?
We don't go out to eat anymore... if anything, Subway

18. Where do you shop the most as a couple??
Grocery Store - we cook now

19. Where is the furthest you have traveled as a couple?
Seattle, Washington (Izzy went too)

22. Who has the best group of friends?
Our college buddies are 100 miles away

24. Who has the worst temper?
Ha ha ha ha... Eleanor.
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The Flat

Last Wednesday, Andrey and I took off work early to go apartment hunting. After an hour we found one we couldn't deny. Everything in the apartment is brand new and it's vast. It's a two bedroom, two bathroom flat with complimentary water and heat. The location is unbeatable. Two grocery stores are a block away, Starbucks is within a walking disstance as well as another coffee house, the gym is right around the corner, and the apartment is only two to three miles away from the main highway. I could go on and on but I'm completely satisfied. Afterwards we went furniture shopping. I glowed and smiled anticipating our future.

Today we're going to sign the lease but I move in once Dre and I get married. We're also going to get a little cat and name it "Butters." Love it! There's so much to look forward to. We're going furniture shopping this week - planning on purchasing a bedroom set. It's pretty exciting.

:-) Oh the taste of what's ahead... and it only gets better from here.
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