Damn it feels good to be a debt-free gangsta.

Well, not totally debt free, or really a gangsta for that matter, but I sure am feeling good!!

The credit card T Fitch and I used, ahem, kind of a lot when we first got married is paid off as of today! And man, does it feel GREAT! We only had a few thousand dollars on our credit card, which I know may sound like a lot to some people. However, we were way, way less than the average credit card debt per household - $8,329 at the end of 2008 (Source: Nilson Report, April 2009). And the few thousand dollars on our credit card - well I wouldn't change that for the world. Without it, we'd have never paid the bar tab on our honeymoon cruise, went to Florida for the Gustafson's wedding or on our December 2007 cruise. Totally worth it. But then the bastards at Discover raised our interest rate and we knew we had to do something. I admit I was late on a payment - it was due on Christmas day and that's back when I didn't know the luxury of automatic bill pay and was a slave to my checkbook for hours each month. The tipping point was when we paid $180 in interest one month! A few months ago we transferred our escalating Discover Card balance to a Citi card with a zero-percent rate for 12 months and paid it off in three months. Voila. And here we are today: feeling good.

In a sense, I'm glad we went through the ridiculous interest rate b.s. It was the eye-opening look into credit cards I needed. Unless you can pay them off in full, they are bad. It really made me understand how people can get buried and buried and buried in credit card debt. Recently I saw a couple on the news that was paying THOUSANDS of dollars each month in INTEREST. They just began to drown and couldn't get out.

In the end, I consider it to be a good learning experience, and I'm very, very glad to say we haven't used a credit card in at least one year. This experience has taught us to be better savers and planners. If we don't have the money saved, we don't do it. From what I am told, that philosophy appears it follows Dave Ramsey's advice. I need to read up on his suggestions, but I know two friends that have found it very useful - including Kerry. (In glancing at his Web site; however, I find it funny people are paying for materials to help them get out of debt. Almost seems counter-intuitive to me.)

All said, it's a happy day for the Fitch household and bank account. Maybe we'll go out to dinner to celebrate - using cash of course.

PS - Huge props to Citi. Without the Citi card, we'd be in a heck of a mess. In the meantime, our Discover card has been canceled.


Happy 60th Birthday Joyce

My mother-in-law turned 60 in February and we had a party for her to celebrate. Here are a few photos of the table scape. A tasty dessert bar was set-up in the basement, though we unfortunately did not snap a pic of it. The bright decor is always fun to use, and I am a HUGE fan of my darling present-shaped candle holders! Is it inappropriate to use them as a centerpiece for my own birthday? 


Born to Entertain

I love to entertain and host get togethers. I think it was ingrained in me at age one-day. My mom's kind of an entertaining pro. (She's blushing and smirking as she reads this.) No, seriously, she's good, and it's turned into a passion of mine. If I could, I'd love to own an event planning company. (And bakery. And dog boutique. Man, I have a lot to get started on.) Anyway, I thought I'd do a better job of sharing photos from festivities I host. I try to throw shindigs as economically as possible (T Fitch may beg to differ), so you're not going to see celebrity-status soirees here, but entertaining Wendy-style nonetheless. In this post I've included the most recent fiesta I had a hand in. (I'll start taking better photos later.) 

Event: A Couples' Shower for Meghan and Scott (Fiesta Theme)

Hosted by: The Fitches, the Rings and Kelly Slattery 

Table scape: Red and aqua dominated the table scape. It's such a great color combination and also matched the invitations. 

Menu: Spicy Corn Dip, Black Bean Salsa, Bean Dip, Rotell Dip, Chicken Quesadillas, Mini Shredded Chicken Tacos, Fresh Guacamole, Veggie Enchilada Spirals, Regular Margaritas and Wild Blue Margaritas 

The invitations: 
Photographic Proof: 
In the next few days, I will post photos from past get togethers. In the meantime, party on party people. 


Four Babies and a Wedding

Lots of exciting news in my friends' lives lately! First, a dear friend of mine was married in Colorado over the weekend. April and I actually lived just a few doors down from each other on the ninth floor of Sandoz in Lincoln, and we were both advertising majors so we'd see each other around Andersen Hall. She then got a job at Barkley - the job I was applying for, but that's neither here nor there. Luckily, I joined the firm a few months later and we became good friends. We had a few fun NYC experiences together - such as my Lion King of a makeover from Sephora (never get a makeover from a man that just got back from the GLBT parade in Chicago...I'm just saying), literally going to the Lion King together, being on The Today Show together and meeting Michael Keaton. April has a beautiful voice and also sang in my wedding. I wasn't able to attend her nuptials, but I did get to meet up with the newlyweds and a group of their wedding guests at the Rockies game Saturday evening. It was so great to see them! The last time April and I saw each other was during a brief rendezvous at DFW airport - thanks to Rachel's clever Facebook skills. I love that April is a friend you can go a year without seeing, and you can have a great time the next time you reunite. April is a dear friend and wish her and Matt all the best. Congrats.

And you know what they say "first come loves, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage!" Well, four other friends have fairly recently found love, then tied the knot, and now are new parents! Four babies between July 9-13. That's a lot. A huge congrats to Bill and Katy on the arrival of Miles, Sabrina and Tom on the arrival of Alivia Miyoko, Melissa and Ashley on the arrival of Will and Mike and Denise on the arrival of Katherine Eileen. I am so happy for each of you and wish your families the best. Can't wait to meet all of your little ones. It looks like a trip to Baby Gap is in my future!


Brush, Floss and Smile

One of my clients is the Nebraska Dental Association and today I witnessed their annual Mission of Mercy event. Wow. NMOM is a two-day event in which hundreds of dental professionals from across the state volunteer their time to provide free dental care to those in-need.

Did you catch that? Free.

I admit I take dental care for granted. I always went to the dentist twice a year (except when I had the tongue ring and I was trying to hide it from Dr. S.). I grew up around dentists and now have a lot of friends and family in the profession. I wanted to BE a dentist. (Still have the dentist Barbie Michelle gave me.) But there are a lot of people that simply can't afford a trip to the dentist or don't have access to good dental health. Take these two stories I heard today:

1. An elderly man who was told by his dentist he needed four crowns. They are about $600 each. He was saving up for them, until he learned about NMOM on the news this morning. (Yay for the PR team :).) He can now put that money to good use on something just as important.

2. A woman with four kids was nearly in tears she was so moved by NMOM. Her one year old had two open heart surgeries last year. Because of the medical bills, finances are tight and they had to cancel their dental insurance. Today she and her four kids were able to get a much-needed dental check-up.

I've never seen anything quite like NMOM. It transformed Papillion-LaVista South High School into a fully functioning dental office. Patients registered and then went for a medical and dental exam to determine the services they needed today. They then went to anesthesia, if necessary, and then it was off to their service - anything ranging from a simple cleaning to oral surgery. I wish everyone could have experienced if first-hand. Omaha media was all over this story. I'll post links to the most powerful clips as they are posted online.

In a related, yet totally unrelated note, dentist Barbie is going anywhere from $79.00 - $99.00 on Amazon and eBay. I'm glad I didn't toss her out 906's window after receiving my biology grade! (Michelle, Megan and Shannon - I know you are laughing right now.)