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Monday, June 27, 2011

Mo Money Mo Problems

Or is it No Money Mo Problems? Either way I think money creates problems... not having it, having it, whatever.

I'm sorry I didn't write last week... I'm feeling sick sick sick (sore throat and just feeling exhausted), so last week I just spent some time doing some overtime projects for work and then resting. Shadow is being a crazy puppy (of course) so he's exhausting me, too, but it's nice spending time with him. This weekend, we literally did nothing... we watched a little USA soccer and played a little Mario on the Wii and lounged. It was magical.

And now... back to reality. There are so many things that are looming in the distance that I really feel I should be getting a jump on. We're moving out of our apartment, for starters. We're moving into Boyfriend's mom's house- she travels all the time for work and has a little puppy that is left alone often. Plus she might end up moving to Atlanta for her job, which means that Boyfriend and I living there would be better for everyone- for us, because we can save lots and lots of money by not paying rent and for Boyfriend's mama because we can help out with Beni (the puppy) and take care of the house.

I figure I can save close to $10,000 in less than two years by us living at home, which would pay for part of a wedding (our parents will be chipping in as well) and maybe (hopefully!) part of a down payment on a house. If Boyfriend starts driving at his job, we'll be able to save close to $1,000 a month even with paying rent. But this, again, brings me back into the dangerous territory of being an overplanner for things that are years away. That is definitely something I need to work on! I'm always trying to lecture Boyfriend about saving for our retirements and our IRAs. God, I sound old. I'm not, really, I promise I'm still fun!

Damn, I'm not fun. I can't even lie to my blog. Tonight all I've done is cook fish and rice for my boyfriend and me, play with my dog, and watch Gilmore Girls. I'm about to work out and clean the bathroom. What kind of 23 year old am I?

Don't answer that. Good night, few and loyal followers.

Monday, June 20, 2011

From Baseball to Weddings

What a weekend.

I mean it. What. A. Weekend.

This past weekend, Boyfriend (plus his mom and his mom's boyfriend Steve) and I (along with my parents) headed up to Phoenix to watch a Diamondback game as well as visit my favorite place ever: the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center.

*Disclaimer: The Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center is not paying me for this review, although if they'd like to send me some coupons for free stays or dinner for two at their restaurant at, I'm not above accepting it! lol. These views are completely my own. All photos pictured below are from

There, we met with Amanda, the wedding coordinator, who gave us a tour of the resort: Boyfriend and I definitely want a destination wedding, and this seems like the perfect place. We figured that while we were there with both sets of parents, we might as well make sure everyone likes it! And they did- they all did. Amanda was super nice and helpful, and we even got to see a few rooms set up for actual weddings. They do a beautiful job there.

Boyfriend's mom was generous enough to get our room for us, so it was especially nice to stay at the resort and have some space to talk about a potential wedding at the resort. Boyfriend and I are definitely keeping the resort as our number one choice when we start planning (whenever that is!).

On Friday, we went to Havana Cafe, a Cuban restaurant, for dinner. It was so, so delicious! When my family was in Miami one summer, we went to this Cuban restaurant every morning for breakfast, and I know my parents really enjoyed a chance to have Cuban food again. I had paella with lots of seafood, as well as platanos (plantains) and black bean dip. Everything was so good! I definitely like Cuban food.

Saturday morning we had the tour, then we headed out to the Dback stadium for the game! We decided to go to Coopertown, Alice Cooper's restaurant, for something to eat before the game and I'm so glad we did. I had a lobster quesadilla and Boyfriend had 20 hot wings (and was still hungry, crazy kid). Then at the game, we had a bunch of sunflower seeds and peanuts. But hey, that's game food- it doesn't count, right? Right?

After the game, we went to Grand Luxe and had dessert- I had beignets (people from the South, let me know if that's how it's spelled!), which is a southern dessert that is kind of like doughnuts but better. Boyfriend had cheesecake.

Stuffed, tired, happy, and ready for bed, we headed back to the resort and enjoyed one last night at the beautiful resort. Then we had a long, LONG drive home (Steve is a very, uh, careful driver! lol).

But I'm back and I had work today and everything, which means the vacation is truly over. But it was so much fun and I'm so glad both of our families got along so well. That will make things easier for traveling in the future!

Have a good week guys! One day down, four to go!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

While the game continues...

As I write this, Shadow, Boyfriend and I are at my parents' house watching the Mavs vs. Heat game (not having cable, of course, sends us begging to our parents for some screen time). Well, Shadow isn't so much "watching" the game as he is "running around with a rope trying to get Lula to play", and I'm not so much "watching" as I am "writing a blog post about my weekend so far".

But it's on in the background, and Boyfriend is watching it, and I think that counts. :o)

I've had a really long week, so I'm sorry it's been a few days since I posted. I worked about 50 hours last week (plus a long commute, so I was away from home about 55-57 hours last week), which is rough and makes me very sleepy. It's all worth it, though, because the week is over and now it's just a few days until we head...


I know, you must be thinking that we are crazy for 1) going to AZ so often (three times in two months) and 2) going to AZ so often in summer, but I love it there. There's so much to do and so many different restaurants to try out. I can't wait to move there with Boyfriend (who, at that time, might either be Fiance or Husband). But for now, quick weekend trips are good enough for me!

This weekend has been busy, busy, so I'm really ready for a little vacation. After a full week, yesterday was full of errands: getting my oil changed, picking up some housewares from my grandma, visited Boyfriend's mom, and then got ready for UFC fight night. We had such a good time watching the fights! I had never been into UFC until I started dating Boyfriend. I'm still not a big big fan, but luckily our good friend Thomas brought his sister Vanessa so we could just rate the hotness of the fighters instead of their ground technique :o)

All in all, it was a great night with good friends: Thomas, Vanessa, her boyfriend Aaron, Mikey, Mike's sister Nicole, Boyfriend, and me. We ate sandwiches (with green chile, of course) with sweet potato fries and drank beers and vodka cherry sprites (for me, at least!), and we laughed so hard that other tables were looking over at us as if wondering what exactly was so funny.

I love nights like those! Vanessa even told me, "I have more fun with you guys than my other friends!", which made me so happy because I always have a good time with them, too.

And this week will be great for another reason: Boyfriend has this whole week off as a vacation week! So every night when I get home from work, he'll be there for the whole evening! We can take Shadow on walks before dinner, then take our time making dinner instead of rushing (usually, when Boyfriend is working, I have less than half an hour to get dinner made so Boyfriend has time to eat, change for work, and get his stuff together). We can watch a movie together and actually go to sleep together instead of me going to bed and him staying up hours later.

Sorry this is so short, but I'm off to the movies with the same group to watch Super 8... good night, loves!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Vampires, Werewolves, Sookie, oh my!

Thanks to my lovely, amazing, thoughtful Boyfriend, I'm enjoying a True Blood marathon of the first three complete seasons. He knows that, because we don't have cable, let alone HBO, I've been missing some of my favorite shows: Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant, Say Yes to the Dress, True Life,
Jersey Shore, and True Blood. So last weekend while we were in Phoenix, he snuck away to buy me the complete seasons!

I just love me some True Blood.

In other news, my mom's getting a puppy! My sister is taking Lula Mae the pitbull up to Albuquerque with her before she starts law school, and my parents have decided that a puppy would be a great thing for them now. I completely agree. My mom (an assistant principal at her elementary school) has summers off, so this is a great time for them to get a dog.

They've decided to get an apricot standard poodle. My mom had a little toy poodle growing up named Nicky, and she's always loved the breed. I think it'll be perfect for her, to have something to focus on while Jess is going to law school and I start my graduate work while working at my job now. Plus, Jess has her boyfriend Mateo and I have my Boyfriend to think about, too. Every girl knows that boyfriends are like puppies anyway... you have the keep them fed, and cleaned, and walked, and make sure they don't mess up your whole house :o) (just kidding!)

I'm tired, tired, tired, so I think I better head back to the couch to focus on nothing but Sookie, Bill, and this awesome nectarine. Night, dear friends!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Movie Summer

One of the best things about summer is the movie selection. I didn't realize how important summer movies are until I went through late winter/early spring (February-April) with Boyfriend, who I've mentioned is a movie buff. That season has very little as far as movies, because most companies wait to release their movies until it's closer to Oscar time or it's summertime.

Lucky for us, it's summer! Yay! Movies!

Mikey, Thomas, Boyfriend and I go to Sunday Night Movie Night every Sunday evening during summers (and during other months, too, but almost ALWAYS during summer) and I'm so glad we've started going regularly again, to movies that are actually worth seeing. So far we've seen Hangover II, Bridesmaids, Fast Five, XMen The Beginning, and Thor.

I love going to the movies. I used to go with my dad, to the guy movies that my mom and sister didn't want to see. We'd share a big bag of popcorn and a big Coke. Being in that dark room that was always a little cold, by my dad or my family, that was always the best.

It's nice that Boyfriend and I love to go to the movies, mostly because there's very little else to do in this town other than eat or drink. And it's especially nice to go on a Sunday evening with our friends and then talking outside of the theater for another hour, in the beautiful New Mexico evenings.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

And a link!

Also, if you're interested, this is a link to my column from last Friday!

Have a good weekend! I'll be back on Sunday evening with (hopefully) some photos from our trip!

Weekend! Weekend!

Because of my job, I got a three day weekend (with Memorial Day), followed by a three day work week, and now another three day weekend with our compressed Friday schedule. A girl could get used to this!

Boyfriend and I leave tomorrow for a weekend in Phoenix. I love Phoenix and I would love to someday live there... sooner rather than later. Because both of our families live here, we are constantly trying to schedule fair timing with our mothers. Every Sunday is pretty much shot because we spend a few hours with his family and a few hours with mine. Then we both get guilt trips about seeing our grandparents more often. It's exhausting. If we lived somewhere else, the pressure would really be lifted.

I know this because my sister came home last weekend for my dad's birthday and while it was great to see her, I couldn't help but notice how happy everyone was to see her. Nobody told her she needs to see her grandparents more often or gave her a kicked puppy face when she left. My parents might have been a little kicked-puppy-ish, because they miss her, but because she lives in Albuquerque, if she misses a Sunday dinner or a bbq or a holiday, people understand. With me living in town, it's a bigger deal. The only real stresses I have with Boyfriend is money (sometimes, but I make a pretty decent salary for a journalism major!lol) and mostly... family.

Someday, I want to move away from my hometown, but not because I "hate this place" like so many of my peers say. I don't hate my hometown; I love the heat and the weather and the school. I love the college and I love my family and friends. I just want some space. Living here (and writing a column with as uncommon a last name as Candelaria) and with my parents knowing like, everyone, and it being a small town... I just feel like I constantly have to be aware of how I come across to everyone. Ever since the newpaper put my photo next to my byline (which is awesome, of course), people can actually recognize me, especially if they see my last name. And since I look a lot like my mom and with my uncommon last name, people stop me and say either, "are you Jenna Candelaria? Is your mom___/is your dad___/do you write for the paper?"

As soon as that happens, I feel like a politician or something... like I stop being just Jenna and then become either a vice principal's daughter or my dad's daughter (like an ambassador for my family!) or a columnist. I have to smile and be happy and friendly and appreciative when people read my column. I love this town and all the support I've gotten after baring my soul through the newspaper and my column (which follows my life in the real world, including personal details about my life with Shadow and Boyfriend), but I just feel like there's pressure, sometimes.

I know I probably sound pretty whiny! I'm so lucky to have found a position at a newspaper, doing what I love to do. I've always loved writing and after starting as an "under 18" contributer at 14 for the Sun-News, they've kept me writing for them for almost exactly 9 years now. I've found that while I would love to write novels (like most bloggers, I think, or people drawn to writing!), I think being a syndicated columnist would be my absolute dream job. I'm so lucky that I get to do it and get paid for it, and I'm lucky to have such a support system in this town.

I guess all of this leads up to a need to get away for a few years. I just want to be able to be with Boyfriend and go to concerts or comedy shows or sports games. I want to be young before I grown up too fast, you know?

Speaking of columns, though, I have to share one of my biggest pet peeves that I don't talk about often. What I HATE is when people approach me and say, "I read your column."


What do I say to that? "I didn't know you could read! Good job!" or "Oh... thank you?" or "Yeah? Good."

Mostly I just say "thank you!" but it's awkward because they didn't actually say they liked my column, they just said they read it. Most of the time, I don't want to know what people thought of it because since I started writing so young, people would always offer advice on how to be a better writer (which is fine, except when it comes from people who aren't great writers or who offer horrible suggestions like, "I just think it's too long. You should have them add a photo or something"... it's a column. About my life. I'm not adding photos. And it's only 500-600 words!) or I get emails about how I'm a "terrible writer because I only write for the younger generation"... um, my column is called Real World 101. That means that it's about recent college graduates, soon-to-be college graduates, or college students. I'm not writing just for the 60+ community here!

If you read my column and you'd like to mention it to me, please feel free to tell me! I like hearing that people other than my mom actually reads the column (or this blog, for that matter). Just please say something like, "Hey, I read your column, I liked it!" or "I didn't understand this week's column". Don't just say "I read it" and then wait for a response.

Thank you. Sorry this post is so whiny. I promise I'll get off my soap box now :o)