What I’ve been up to! (Moving, Crying & GTL)

So, I haven’t blogged since April 3, 2012.  Why?  Well, Life!  I will bullet point it for you.

  • My dog walking business in Kansas City grew fast and I had to hire my first employee in April 2012.
  • My husband and I bought a house in May.
  • November we found out that my husband’s company is moving us.  (The stress began)
  • We remodel our kitchen and paint it to get the house ready to sell 6 months after we bought our house.  (Stress on top of stress)
  • December we put the house on the market and sell it ourselves.  It went under contract in 2 weeks but for $5,000 less than we paid and after spending money on fixing it up.  So, we lost money.
  • Also, we didn’t know where we were moving to yet.
  • I had to shut down my beloved dog walking business that I had for 3 years and let my 2 employees know.  (The crying began)
  • We find out we are moving to the Bahamas with a monthly living allowance.  (crying stops and celebration begins)  Then I find out I can’t get a work permit and I will be a 36 yr old retired beach bum.  (Woohoo Life rocks!)
  • Then we find out that the Bahamas has a very high import tax and the cost to ship everything is ridiculous.  So, we have to either store everything or get rid of it.  So, we do the most Zen, cleansing thing a person can do.  We sell, give to friends and neighbors, donate and throw away about 90% of our material life.  I use my selling furniture funds and head to the Saks outlet and buy sunglasses, designer frocks that may make me look like Mrs. Roper and bathing suits for my new beach life!!!    (Fun!)
  • We get our 2 ragdoll cats registered with the import department of the Bahamas and we get them their shots.  Then I google many articles and blogs about taking cats on planes.  Holy Moly is it a lot.  Then we buy them Sherpas and do test car rides with them.  (Smokey sounded like a dying monkey).  Here’s a picture when they first got the Sherpas.  Before they hated them.

Sherpas

  • We close on our house the first week of January 2013.  The 2 pieces of furniture and 40 boxes we kept are moved to storage.  Me, my husband, our 4 suitcases and our 2 cats in their sherpas load up into our cars and head to a hotel in Kansas City for the week to finish up work and close down my business.  (Tears, tears and more tears…that is until we discovered that the Marriott provided free beer and wine on weekday nights.  Woohoo!)
  • We are still waiting on our move date so we head back to Pennsylvania so my husband can work out of corporate awaiting the Bahamian government to sign off on everything.  We are driving separate cars and my husband has the cats in the back of his hummer in the sherpas.  Within one hour of leaving Kansas City our cat, Sadie, shows up on his lap and has left blood all over his pants.  She clawed her way out of the netting of the Sherpa.  Her paw is bloody and she pulled out 2 nails and broke 2 more.  Not a good beginning to a THREE DAY ROADTRIP.  (Yes, I was crying again)
  • We stop at Walmart and get her a small hard cased carrier.  The 2 of them freak out because well they are cats and this is very stressful.  So, I decide they need to be together and an hour later we find another Walmart and put our self declawed cat in with her brother in a huge carrier.  They did much better but now we have 4 pet carriers for 2 cats.  They have the same amount of luggage as us!  So high maintenance.  Here’s my husband in a Walmart parking lot somewhere in the middle of Missouri putting together the first carrier we bought.  He’s so happy I snapped a pic of this.  Haha.

Roadtrip

  • So we get to our 1 bedroom suite that accepts cats in the suburbs of Philly with our 2 cats, 4 cat carriers, 4 suitcases and 2 cars at the absurd price of $4000/month.
  • So, it’s about mid January 2013 and we are awaiting on the small government of an island nation to give us the go ahead.  My husband would come home every night from work and before he took his coat off I would shout from where ever I was “So!  Did you hear anything?”  Well this went on for about another 2 months and in the end the contract for the Bahamas fell through.  (yes, major tears)
  • During those 2 months I did really enjoy myself and I prepared for my new retired life of GTL.  I went to the Gym 2 hours a day, okay well I didn’t tan but I did use a self tanner and I did laundry that was across from the gym in our hotel.  I never cooked or cleaned because we lived in a hotel so I was able to get mani and pedis and they actually stayed for a long time due to my life of leisure.  Well, all of that relaxed life ended and my beautiful long nails were ruined by opening our 40 boxes that had lived in Kansas for over 2 months and all of the Ikea furniture I had to put together.
  • We ended up staying in the Philadelphia area and we found a place in March of 2013 and we had only 2 pieces of furniture.  An antique desk and an entertainment console.  We had my laptop and his gaming computer and Playstation.  So, what did we have to buy?  EVERYTHING!!!  Tv’s, couches, coffee tables, desks, mattress, dressers, trash cans, pots and pans, appliances, forks, shower curtains, towels, plates, mugs.  It took about 6 weeks to get settled and we still don’t have everything.
  • So, this was the worst thing that happened.  Our precious ragdoll, Smokey, got sick.  He had cancer and passed away 2 days after taking him to the vet.  He was only 3 years old.  We took him to an oncologist and they even tried a blood transfusion hoping we could save him and he would live for another year or two but the transfusion didn’t work.  This was the hardest part of all the changes and I cried for a week straight and we still miss him every day.  He was full of personality and he was so loving.  Here are some cute pics of Smokey:

Smokey 1 Smokey 2

  • We ended up getting 2 more cats 3 months later.  Smokey’s dad was being retired but there was one litter left to be delivered.  We asked the breeder if we could have a male from the litter.  The litter came and there was only one cat and it was a boy!  It was perfect.  To socialize the only kitten in a litter the breeder put another kitten in the room with him.  Well, we fell in love with him too and we ended up with 2 more cats.  His name is Tag since he was our little tag along cat.  We named the Flame kitten, Chester, for the name of the county we live in since all four of our ragdoll babies started their lives with us here in Chester County.  Here is Chester (the white kitty) and Tag:

kitties

  • So, we are settled in Pennsylvania now with our 3 ragdoll cats.  I put on 8 lbs of holiday weight (Ugh!  Holiday cheese balls are the enemy!) and now it’s time to get healthy and happy!  Let’s have fun and make 2014 the best year yet!
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What our new blog is all about!

I wanted to give you an update about the new changes and what the new blog is about.  It’s a blog with attitude as I’m sure you can tell by the new name:  Bloggitude!

My sister Kerry visited me for a week over the holidays and she is full of personality and so funny.  Also, she is my go to girl for fashion, hair and makeup advice.  She lives a 12 hour car ride away so I text her pictures from dressing rooms constantly asking for advice on clothes.  So, here we are.  Sisters with no filters.  She is 3 years older than me with 3 human being kids and I have 3 furry kids (my ragdoll cats).  We are excited to be blogging about a wider variety of things and I will also be covering the Sass (Formerly Cinch) Diet.  We are so excited!

Also, I checked my all time stats on search terms and the number one term that brought people to my blog was Jennifer Aniston Bikini (Second place goes to Cheesecake).  So, to keep people happy (and randoms coming to our blog) I will occasionally be posting bikini pics of Ms. Aniston.

Jennifer Aniston Bikini

Jennifer Aniston Bikini

Funny enough she is on my husband’s freebie list of 5 celebrities where he gets a pass if the opportunity arises.

I will do another post updating everyone on my past 2 years.  I began to write it and thought it would be quick but a lot has happened and I need to edit it down.  That will be next.  I’m so excited to be back and I hope you enjoy the Cinch by Laura Blog 2.0!!!

A Trader Joe’s Find

Oh, how I love sun-dried tomatoes.  I found these at Trader Joe’s and I buy 2 or 3 packages at a time.  Most sun-dried tomatoes come packed in oil with herbs but these are just dried so no need to worry about extra calories from the oil.

I love to throw these in salads and they taste great with goat cheese or feta cheese.  My obsession with Trader Joe’s will continue.  I’ll post some more favorites soon.  Have any of you discovered any great finds at TJ’s?

Goals will Change Your Life!

“Goals will change your life!”  -Dave Ramsey

I’ve been trying to catch Dave Ramsey’s radio program as much as I can.  I was lucky enough to catch it Monday, January 2nd after New Year’s Eve.  He started it with the 5 things that make goals work:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Yours
  4. Time Limit
  5. Put it in writing

So, my current goal is to lose 21 lbs and my reward will be to get $1050 out of our household budget for shopping!  See the post here.

  • I did make it specific-lose weight
  • I did make it measurable-21 lbs
  • I did make it mine-I want it to happen.  I’m not doing it for anyone else.
  • Time limit-crap.  maybe I should have an end game here.  I missed this one.
  • Put it in writing-it’s on my blog for all the world to see.  duh!

So, I’m going to go easy on myself and have a goal of 1 lb a week.  I tried for 2 lbs before and rarely hit it.  So, I have 21 weeks from Jan 2nd to lose 21 lbs.

Time Limit-May 27th

So, I have until Memorial Day weekend to hit my goal.  Perfect timing to hit up holiday sales with my $1050 for summer shopping.

I hope this helps.  Dave Ramsey also says handling money is 80% behavior & only 20% head knowledge.  I’m thinking it’s 90/10 with losing weight!  Here’s his website if you’d like to take a look.  www.DaveRamsey.com

Herbs & Spices for Mexican Food

When I cook Mexican, which is quite a bit, these are my go to herbs & spices.

  • The Chipotle Tabasco sauce is my new favorite find.  It has this delicious smokey flavor that adds another layer to every dish and it is not too spicy.  I’m not sure if this is Cinch approved.  But I just use a couple of drops.
  • I found this salt free Mexican Fiesta herb mix, in the middle, at Whole Foods and really like it.  A little goes a long way.
  • I go through Cumin almost as quick oregano.  I add a ton of it to beans to give them a lot of flavor.
  • The other must is cilantro.  I love cilantro and I can never have enough on Mexican food.  I try to get it fresh but it doesn’t last long in the fridge.  I have a small shaker of dried cilantro but I honestly don’t even taste it when I use it.  I think I need a potted cilantro plant for my window.

Just as Cinch points out, using herbs & spices can really help in avoiding adding salt.  With all of these flavors I doubt you will miss the salt too much.