Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fireproof Safe Project

First off I'd like to say I posted on Monday about my 5k in more detail, but Blogger not only didn't publish it, but also discarded it. 

My apologies. Now it looks like I've been gone for like 5 days. Ugh. Sometimes I hate this damn thing. If I find the patience I'll redo that post this weekend. 

Moving on to my latest home project, getting our paper life in order. 

My New Year’s resolution list for this year had a couple things listed that I haven’t really taken any action on. SHOCKER.

Those two things were

---get an emergency kit together

---gather all of our important papers and get them into a fire proof safe


Yesterday I realized it was almost October. Where has 2013 gone to? So if I was going to get that stuff done, I needed to just do it.

So I started pinteresting, the logical first step, and got a lot of ideas on what to put in a fireproof safe and what to have in a disaster emergency kit.

The fireproof safe idea came from realizing that me and BJ are adults and we need to be more responsible about where our insurance policy info, social security cards and deeds are stored.  The disaster kit idea came from being without electricity last Christmas for 3-4 days.

The easiest (and less expensive) thing to get done was the fireproof safe. So that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

It took an evening of organizing and dragging out stacks of paper, but it felt really great to finally have all of the important information in one place. There are still several small things I want to do, but for the most part it’s completed.

Our fireproof safe came from Wal-Mart and it was just under $50. It has a key lock. I wanted one with a button combination lock (not the spinning combination lock) but the shape/size of the one we got was better suited for what we were using it for (mainly documents), and it was almost half the price.  The only logically sized/button combination safe Wal-Mart had was $90. It looked like a hotel safe. And it looked like storing paper in it would be annoying to someone like me.

So, in addition to the safe, I bought:

1.    a pack of hanging file folders for $3

2.    a check organizer for around $3

3.    and a 4GB flash drive for $8.

So for $65-70 and one night of shuffling papers, I got our life on paper organized and safe. BJ was somewhat excited (maybe) but he certainly wasn’t as relieved as I was. This has been on my mind for too long

Here’s how I started organizing everything. I made a folder for each of these categories:

·         EMERGENCY


·         AUTO PAPERS


·         MARRIAGE


·         AUTO POLICY


·         SAMANTHA

·         BJ

·         PHOTO

Here’s what I put in each folder, and what I still plan to do for each folder:

In the EMERGENCY folder I have a spreadsheet of policy numbers, insurance agents to contact for those policies, emergency family contact numbers, debit and credit card numbers, log in information for online accounts, our Driver’s License numbers and Social Security numbers, our physicians and their contact information, etc. Basically all the information you’d need in an emergency on one page to glance at. I printed two copies, and after laminating them one will go in the safe and the other will be put in our disaster kit. I saved this spreadsheet to the flash drive I purchased so there would be a digital copy. (did not save to my lap top, in case it is ever stolen I’d rather someone have to WORK to find that kind of info than to be able to steal my identity from one neat spreadsheet on a silver platter)  I named the file September 2013 so I would know when it was last updated.  I tried taking a picture of this spreadsheet but there was no way to do it without giving the entire internet world some kind of personal info. So this is what I came up with:

Still to do: laminate sheets (plan on using those self-laminate sticker things)

In the HOME INVENTORY folder I have some scribbles in the form of a list on a note pad—a good start on documenting all the valuable “stuff” in the house. Having known some people that have dealt with break-ins, I hear it’s better to have PROOF of what you owned before someone steals it, rather than to try to prove you owned it after the fact.This file isn’t finished.  I want to have a “complete” list, so this is a work in progress right now.

Still to do: finish handwritten list, transfer to spreadsheet, add in serial numbers and purchase price (if known), take photos of the house (print them for the file and save them on the flash drive), video a walkthrough of the house and save that to the flash drive.   

In the AUTO PAPERS folder I have the deed to BJ’s car and the purchase papers from the one we just got me. I scanned these in and saved them as a PDF to the flash drive.


In the LIFE INSURANCE folder I have the information from my life insurance policy I got when I was 24. BJ doesn’t have any yet, so right now the folder just has mine. It’s the fancy folder of the info they send you when your purchase a policy. I scanned the front page of the packet—a page with the policy number, amount, and the company contact info-- and saved it as a PDF to the flash drive.


In the MARRIAGE folder I have our marriage license, some copies of our marriage license I made back when I was changing my last name, and the photo release from our wedding photographer.


In the ASSET RECEIPT folder I have the receipt for our furniture we paid off this year, and the receipts for our Nooks. This folder will grow/shrink in time. Whenever I find an invoice/receipt of something we OWN I will put it in there.


In the AUTO POLICY folder I have a copy of me and BJ’s proof of auto insurance.


In the HEALTH POLICY folder I have BJ’s health insurance card. I will be changing health insurance in the next month due to a job change, so I didn’t add anything of mine in there.

Still to do: add in my new health insurance information.

In the SAMANTHA folder I have a copy of my driver’s license, social security card, debit and credit cards. I also stuck the last letter my papaw wrote me before he died in 1995 in my file.

Still to do: make a list of any medicines I take, allergies, doctor information, pharmacy information, copy of my passport (even though it still has my maiden name).

In the BJ folder I have a copy of his driver’s license and his social security card. I stuck a letter from his grandfather in his file.

Still to do: make a list of any medicines he takes (none that I know of), allergies (none that we know of), doctor information, pharmacy information, copy of his passport.

In the PHOTO folder I have the disc of our wedding photos, a disc of BJ’s pictures from his trip to Romania, some discs of family photos I made for our wedding slideshow, and some photos of my family that I know aren’t on a disk or computer somewhere.

Still to do: find SD cards from my trip to Italy and add those in there.

Also in the safe box is a check divider. This is an accordion style folder with little dividers in it. Some people use these for couponing. I plan on using it to organize the smaller stuff I’m stashing in this safe. 

In this divider (You can see in the photo that I have it stored in the lid) I have: my jewelry warranties, BJ’s shot record cards, and BJ’s social security card. When I’m finished uploading stuff to the flash drive I got for this project, it will go in there too.

Still to do: Add in my social security card (after I’m done using it at my first day of my new job), add in my shot records (getting them from my mom, they were in her lock box), add in our passports (same, momma had them safe for us).


Here's the flash drive I got. I organized the folders on it to match the folders in the safe: 

And that my blogging friends, is how I wrapped up a project in one evening! There are a few things left to do, but I feel like I got a great start on this last night. I actually had fun doing it. I found a bunch of papers we were keeping that could actually be shredded too, so the desk is in better shape. I feel better knowing all the important info we might need in an emergency and some priceless family memories we have held on to will be safe in case of a disaster.

I will have to post about my gradual collection of things for our disaster kit (in case of tornado, fire, or electricity out for days) and what I decided to do instead of making an emergency binder (that ended up being even better and probably cheaper than making one of those binders). I asked my facebook friends what they would want in a disaster kit and I got some great responses (like wine).

If you have any suggestions for something that needs to be in this fireproof safe project, or in a disaster kit, let me know! Thanks for reading!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pink up the pace 5k

Longer post coming next week, but I did a 5k this morning in 41:33 ish. 
It was a GORGEOUS morning. 60* and sunny.  BJ took this pic of me about to cross the finish line. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Piko tops and a Slow cooker fiasco

It’s a rainy - t-stormy – sleepy -  miserable day here in Arkansas. I did not want to drag my groggy self out of bed this morning, but I did. But let’s be real here, I never want to do that…rain or no rain.

I’m a ‘sleep til 9’ kind of gal.

I got up despite the rain, and got a pot roast going in the crock pot for dinner tonight (the perfect thing for a rainy day!) I checked to make sure it was plugged in and turned on….and even came back in the kitchen to touch the thing to make sure it was warm before I left.

Some of you may remember (if we’re friends on Facebook) than on Wednesday I prepared a yummy new recipe before work, and didn’t realize until my husband got home to check it, that I didn’t plug the dang crock pot in. 

That’s the problem with appliances, they need electricity to work. The knob was turned to low, but that doesn’t mean a thing if it’s not plugged in. I hate wasting food! But I wasn’t about to eat something with beef in it that had sat on my counter all day.

Luckily I use slow cooker liners so all I had to do was tie off the bag and trash it. It was a sad moment for me. I’m usually so prepared and efficient!! Everyone has their days I guess.

Anyway.  Onto the reason you are probably reading this post…Piko tops.

Since I have lost weight, and now that I am starting a new job where “dressy casual” is the dress code, I have been in need of some regular clothes. (My job at the museum that I’m leaving required a uniform shirt, so I haven’t really needed a career wardrobe until now)

The emergence of a KABILLION online boutiques that offer basically the same (chevron patterned) stuff (and crowd your newsfeed) has gotten out of control. I have found one boutique though, that I like. Because the prices are lower, the girls there are nice and I get my stuff in the mail 2 days after I order it.

Part of me can’t believe I’m sharing this secret with my blog world. But it is only fair. I have a ton of online friends that will probably be interested in this! 

The reason I decided to post this info, is because I see a blogger advertising for a boutique online.... and I see people buying and buying. Getting online this morning was no different. But then I see people (like me) commenting in the background who like the “advertised product” but just can’t pay that much for ONE top, and then you gotta add $6.50 in shipping on top of that! Don’t get me wrong, I love the style of clothing at that boutique and I happen to love most of the blogger’s outfits….but those prices aren’t in the range I can bare to pay. Especially more than once. 

I got a Piko top (yes, the same kind) on sale yesterday for $19.99

Yep. Just $20.

I’m making a special trip to this shop to pick it up (and some other stuff I ordered) this weekend, but if I wasn’t, the shipping would’ve been $6 flat rate.

The regular Piko top price at this place is around $29.99 (which is still cheaper than the above boutique's price, even with shipping, by +/- $6). They also have thicker knit Pikos for $33 and Piko tunic dresses for $34. 

They posted the Piko sale on Facebook, and I commented on that post that I wanted a small dark red and a small light grey.

I only got the dark red, because the grey sold out before I could claim it.  And no wonder!! $20 for a Piko top and every in-the-know girl around is ON THAT sale like Miley Cyrus was on that foam finger.  (Sorry, had to)

So, ya wanna be in on the next sale? (Not sure when that will be, you'll have to ask them) Wanna just get a Piko top around $6 cheaper than other places? 

The shop’s name is Blackbird Clothing Company. They’re located in Searcy, Arkansas. They have a physical store and a Facebook account, no separate website.

To shop, you need to set up an account on the desktop version of Facebook or call 501-268-3111 and do it over the phone. 

After you have an account, when they post a picture of clothing you want to purchase,  you comment on that photo with the size and color you want, with ‘Run/Ship’ (run my card, and ship that thing to me girl!) If you’re in driving distance you can say run/hold, which means charge me for it and hold it for me until I can get up there to pick it up.

And that, is how I got a Piko top for $19.99 you guys.

Disclaimer/FYI: I do not work at this shop, I do not know anyone who works at this shop, and I am not an owner and don’t know any owners. I am not being paid for this post or being given anything for this post…although I wish I was! :)

Basically I’m not benefitting at all from this blog post. I’m just creating more competition for myself, which is why I questioned posting this in the first place! :)  I’ve only been to this shop once (it’s way cute!) because I live about an hour away. Also keep in mind that since I don't work there I don't know when the next sale will be, and I don't know what sizes/colors/styles they have in stock, or if they'll change the prices of clothing or shipping.  I'm merely wanting to give you a heads up on where to get that coveted Piko top for a little less money. 

If you could, just tell them Samantha Griffin sent ya please. I’d like to see what happens! :)


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

some great news!

I've been MIA a few days guys. Sorry bout that. 

Before I get to the great news, I've gotta admit that I haven't ran in 5 days. Yep. 5. What the hell right? I have a race this Saturday and all of a sudden I'm slacking right before. Ugh. Running tonight before I can be home and get too comfy to talk myself into it!! 

Onto the good part. 


I got a new job. 


I put my notice in yesterday and so I feel okay about telling everyone today! I have been looking for about a year now, and have had a really hard time with this search, so to end up with an ideal art-related job that pays substantially more than I make right now is a dream come true. 

Now I'm in the weird 2 week phase were I know I'm leaving but I'm not gone yet. I've been bringing home stuff from my desk and wrapping up projects. 

I start my new job on September 30. It's Monday-Friday so I can be a normal person with regular weekends. I'll even get to car pool with the hubs some. 


I'm also really excited about the black bean chili cooking in my crock pot today. Even if it is 90*+ in Arkansas still, in my mind its fall and I'm having some dang chili. 

Sorry there aren't any pictures. I'll do better next time. :) 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I ran!

For 25 minutes straight last night! 

That's just insane. 

I have a 5k next Saturday September 21 and I'm kind of excited! I'm hoping to beat 39:49 --my time I got last November. I weigh less and I've been running more, so maybe that's a possibility! 

In other news, I made this fall burlap door hanger for our house this week! I love making these, it's just such a mess afterwards with all the stuff I drag out. 

Our house is ready for fall, and I wish our weather was!! It's still in the 90s here in Arkansas. Either way I've got 4 crock pot meals planned for next week...come cooler weather or not. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Baked Caprese Rigatoni

Found this recipe on Pinterest, and y'all know I'm a sucker for pasta. Tried it out and it was actually REALLY yummy! Even with no meat, BJ said it was awesome. 

Here's what ya do. 

1 box of Rigatoni (wheat if you can find it) 
1 jar red pasta sauce
1 large can of diced tomatoes (no salt added) 
1 small white onion (I used chopped/frozen kroger brand..easier)
3 cloves garlic, chopped 
1/2 cup fresh basil 
grated parmesan 
salt and pepper 
1 tbs olive oil 

cook pasta as the box says to
cook onion and garlic in a skillet with the olive oil 
add in canned tomatoes, let it cook about 5 minutes until it thickens 
add in the pasta and stir
add in the pasta sauce and 1/2 the basil
put in a casserole dish (or it can stay in the skillet if it's oven proof) 
sprinkle parmesan and the rest of the basil on top 
broil it until the cheese melts 

1/8 of the recipe is around 322 calories. depending on what kind of pasta sauce and noodles you use! 

It was really flavorful and easy to make! And at 322 calories I'm down. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Not a lot

Going on right now. 

Chopped my hair off on Tuesday. 

It's a little shorter than I wanted, but I love the shape. In a couple weeks when it's not so freshly cut I'll be in love with it :) it'll be great--esp with having to wash it so often because of running--it's great to have shorter hair. Less hair dryer time! 

Oh and I ran for 20 minutes straight Tuesday night!! 

So there's that. 

Like I said. Not a lot going on right now. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Whole Foods adventure

Yesterday I brought BJ to the restaurant in little rock where I went with my friends last week.

I think he loved it! He got the Root Benny and cleaned his I think he enjoyed it. It reminds me of midtown Memphis. 

Bj's food:

I ordered the same thing I got last time. Egg white omelet with a soy iced coffee. 

Then We walked over to the farmer's market because I wanted to buy some flowers, but the booth didn't bring any for some reason. Of course! 

So next we headed to Whole Foods, my idea, because I've been wanting to go for awhile but it's maybe 30+ minutes from our house. 

I found the espresso powder I recommended using in my iced coffee post. It was $4 ish. 

Other stuff: 

These were interestingly yummy. I've never had kale chips and I've been real curious. These were pretty tasty! They reminded  me of Pringles. The whole bag would be around 300 calories too. Which is awesome. 

This was on sale for $5! So I swooped some into our basket. 
(Reg $9 at whole foods and $8.18 at Walmart. Score!!)

Oh and this--I'm excited about trying:

I brought this for lunch today. It's 340 calories, including the guacamole pack that's in there. 

I hope it's good!! I've been looking for some better made/better tasting frozen stuff to bring to work for lunches. I've moved past SmartOnes. 

And lastly, some pretty white hydrangeas! I love white flowers for some reason. 

I had a good time yesterday. Not sure about BJ...but he seemed entertained off and on. At least he loved his food. 

Happy Labor Day guys! Be safe and don't be the people I see on the news.