Carrie, CPA

24 Jun

I’m a CPA!


After all the hard work, long days, and sleepless nights, I FINALLY got a passing score for the last test this week!  (See more of my CPA journey here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.  The last one is my favorite.)

This is how it went down:

  • BEC Test: May 2009 – 80 (Pass)
  • AUD Test: August 2009 – 81 (Pass)
  • REG Test: March 2010 – 90 (Pass)
  • FAR Test: May 2010 – 80 (PASS and DONE!)

I honestly have no idea how I got that score on the FAR test.  All that praying really must have worked.  Yes, I worked my tail off, but that test was killer.  Oh well, who cares!  All that matters is that I passed!


So…are you done?  For the most part, yes.  I am done with the actual CPA Exam.  However, I still have to take an ethics exam (08/04/2010 update: Ethics exam, passed!) have a CPA vouch for my work experience, get my initial license form notarized, and send it off to the state board.  But, really, the hard part is O-V-E-R!

Was it worth it? Yes.

What now?  Losing the 8-10 pounds I put on during the CPA exam (actually only about 6 left to go until I’m back at my steady weight).  Enjoying my evenings and weekends.  Doing things I love that I had to put off during the year of the CPA.

Are you going to get a raise?  Not right away.  In my line of work, CPAs are few and far between so it should be …. helpful.

Can you call yourself a CPA?  Not technically.  To my friends and my blog readers, I can.  But I can’t use it professionally until all my admin stuff is completed.  This will take months.  I’ll probably be a full-fledged CPA with bells on sometime in October.

What did you learn?  Work your a$$ off.  When you think you’ve reached your limit, do more.

What’s your new project?  Setting up my new blog, wedding planning, leading a healthy/fit life, and enjoying my favorite peeps.

Wedding Budget

22 Jun

Drum roll please…. I present to you:

Draft Carrie & Lloyd Wedding Budget!

Disclaimer:  Most of these are estimates…but estimates I’ve researched.  I’ve estimated very high in most places.

love day budget

Leave your thoughts, reactions, complaints, and/or praises in the comments.   I’ll explain in more detail in a later post.  (This is the cliffhanger version of a blog post; is it working?)

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Wedding Talk: I Promise Not To Turn Into Bridezilla

16 Jun

I, Carrie, do hereby solemnly swear not to become a full-fledged Bridezilla blogger.  I promise not to focus solely on my upcoming nuptials and forget about all the other little things that this wonderful world has to offer.

That being said…I will be blogging about the weddin’.  Yep, I’m getting married, we’re having a traditional Catholic wedding complete with a full bar, an huge guest list, and cheesy wedding music.  Aw yeah.

So, where am I in this lovely wedding planning process?  Glad you asked.  Let me fill you in on all the details:

Church: Booked and SO happy!

Wedding Party:  5 bridesmaids; 5 groomsmen; 1 adorbs flower girl and ring bearer

Colors: hot pink (thank you Stacking Pennies for selling me with THIS flower photo) & yellow accents

DRESS:  I present you….with my perfect dress (disregard the first 10 seconds of Samantha’s antics):

So yeah…if someone could find me that dress at a more Carrie…On The Cheap than Carrie Bradshaw price, I would love love LOVE you! 😉

Money:  We’re on a budget of about $15,000 – give or take a few Gs.

Guests:  I’ve put a limit of 300 on the guest list. (08/05/2010 Update: The guest list has reached 350 and I think we’ll top out at 400…)  We made a draft list of 225 that grows slowly every day (we forgot about people, etc.).  Our parents haven’t seen it and I expect them each to add a fair share of people.  I want to invite EVERYONE I know, but I want to be able to TALK to everyone that day, too.

Honeymoon: Lloyd and I are going to splurge on this fo sho.  We want to go away for 2 weeks.  We’ll probably spend at least 1 of those weeks at an all inclusive resort (I want Sandals…I just have to convince Lloyd) and another week just at different location in the USA.  I would love to honeymoon in Europe, but I just don’t see that happening.

What’s Next?  I have a lot of wedding posts floating around in my head, so I’ll probably be really dishing it out over the next week or so.  I’m SO excited! I have found the love of my life and I get to celebrate that wonderful joy in front of all my friends and family!  I am so, SO thankful for this.  I feel so lucky and only hope every person in the world can feel such joy in their life.  Whoa.  Sorry.  Got deep there.

Next post:  Wedding budget!

A New Blog?

14 Jun

As I mentioned several times before, I want to move this blog to a self-hosted site this year.  I’ve been blogging on wordpress for well over a year now and I don’t see myself quitting the blogosphere anytime soon.

However, I’ve been debating over names & blog focuses for months.

First… I like writing about personal finance, but I’d love to drop my anonymity at some point while continuing to write about finances.  Translation:  no more personal information about net worth, salary, spending, etc.

Second… I don’t want to back myself into a one topic corner on my blog.  So, in addition to finances, I’d like to just write about life and general self improvement, etc.  I love working to better myself.  I’ve always got some sort of goal that I’m working towards.  So, I’d like to write a blog both about finances and livin’ a better life in general.

Third… I was planning to branch out into two different blogs:  one about finances/personal improvement and one about healthy living/exercise.  But…is there any way I could combine the two?  A sort of health meets finances meets personal betterment blog?  I read a lot of health & fitness blogs (like this one, this one, and this one), and I’m not sure I’m cut out for all the work it entails.  And what in the world would I call such a blog?  I am AWFUL at naming blogs (see current blog name, heh).

Fourth…  This blog is NOT about buying things “on the cheap” anymore.  It started that way, but my blog is now mostly about the ins and outs of personal finance.  I don’t blog about how to make a roll of toilet paper last a day longer or how to use 5 coupons for one item (although, I would be pretty stoked if I actually could do either of those things).  Basically this means that I can’t and don’t want to use my current blog name.

So, these are my current conundrums.  I’m debating over all of the above almost daily.  I want to move forward with a new blogging path, but I’m just not sure which path I want to take just yet.

I’d love to hear all your advice, preferences, and ideas for names in the comments!


Sidebar: I got Consumeristed today!  And wow, did the readers let me have it.  Apparently, I am not allowed to accuse McDonald’s of making me sick on MY blog since I never got proof from my doctor that their breakfast is what caused my sickness…

I thought a lot about what everyone had to say in the comments on the Consumerist and on my blog (which by the way, started to get a little mean, so I turned off commenting).  At first, I was pissed at how rude people were acting.  However, maybe they were a bit right (just mean about it)? 

I was quick to blame McDonald’s when I got sick, but I really have no proof that their food is why I was sick.  I still feel very, very certain that their food caused me to get sick (NO one else I’ve come into contact with has gotten sick and Lloyd and I ate the same things over the weekend), I can’t blame McDonald’s because I have no proof.  So, just as every person is innocent until proven guilty, technically so is McDonald’s in the case of the vicious stomach sickness that I endured last week.

But fo real, peeps on the internet are VICIOUS.  Unnecessary.  Seriously.

Swearing Off McDonald’s For Life!

9 Jun

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed my repeated tweets about how sick I was over the past couple days from eating McDonald’s breakfast.  Here is the offender in question:


Yeah, it may look appetizing in that pic, but it’s not so appetizing after what I’ve experienced over the past couple of days.

Here’s how things shook out after I ate the overpriced breakfast sandwich ($2.50 – really?) on Monday morning:

  • Ate the sandwich but almost immediately knew something was off, as evidenced by this tweet.
  • Felt generally disgusted and off for the rest of the morning.
  • Around 12:30, was visited by the lovely nausea rollercoaster.
  • Rode that ride for about 3 hours.
  • After about 3 hours, I felt all the blood leave my face and knew it was go time.
  • Getting sick at work is probably one of the top ten worst experiences that I’ve ever had in my life.
  • High point of the day was when Lloyd was able to drive me home since I could barely function at that point.
  • Arrived home where I spent the next 3 hours in the bathroom.  NOT primping.
  • This is where it gets good: after the bathroom experience is over (thank you, Lord), something inhabits my muscles causing extreme pain from my back and shoulders to my calves and feet.  Yep, top to bottom extreme muscle pain.  WTF?  I’ve had aches with the flu before, but with this I felt liked I’d been drilled by an 18-wheeler semi about 10 times and lived to tell about it.
  • Fever of 101.5.  Oh, joy.
  • Unable to sleep due to extreme pain.  Unable to take Tylenol due to fear of spending more time in the bathroom.
  • Even though I’ve clearly – very thoroughly – emptied my insides, my stomach insists on cramping like I’ve got 10 periods going on.  Trying to sip as much water/Gatorade as physically possible to prevent dehydration which I can feel creeping on due the dull ache coming from my kidneys.
  • Everything starts to mysteriously subside around noon the day after.  What I’m left with is a weakness so bad it takes effort to just stand up and nausea that forces me to give up eating completely. 
  • That brings us up to date and I’m still enjoying those last two side effects of nausea and weakness.
  • I had some soup last night and rode the nausea rollercoaster for the rest of the night.  So, yep, still not eating.


  • I’ve lost 4 pounds.


  • See above.
  • I’m out $2.50

What McDonald’s Has To Say:

I called up ‘ole McDonald’s today to inform them of this tragic incident.

The manager on duty took my name and information and repeatedly asked me if I had gone to the doctor.  I repeatedly told her “no”.  I am sure she was insinuating that her precious breakfast sandwiches were not the culprit of my sickness and instead I had some sort of summer stomach flu that goes around all too often.  Yes, the stomach flu could be an option.  But, I felt 100% fine before the damn Bacon, Egg, and Cheese biscuit.  In fact, I went for a 3 mile run that morning and was feeling fantastic after that.  Almost immediately after I ingested the bacteria-laced sandwich was when I started to feel like I was going to die.

So, back to the McDonald’s manager.  She tells me that she’s never dealt with this type of situation before (which is odd, because so many people I’ve talked to about mysituation have said they’ve experienced something similar from the restaurant) and told me to hold on while she consulted with her Mickey D’s posse.

Well, apparently, McDonald’s doesn’t have a” “Hold” button on their phone because I managed to hear a couple juicy sound bites from the posse’s infinite wisdom.

  • “Did she go to the doctor?” (again, NO!)
  • “Then, how does she know that she’s sick?” (Seriously?!!)

After the brilliant advice that the manager’s posse bestowed unto her, she returned back to me on the phone.

She told me that she’d have to send my information to the corporate office and that they’d call me back soon with some more questions (I’m assuming along the lines of “have you been to the doctor?”).

Lessons Learned:

  • Never visit McDonald’s ever, ever, EVER again.  Or any fast food establishment for that matter.  (Chipotle does not count.)
  • Since I’ve just cut my 1-2X per year visit to McDonald’s down to 0X per year, I just saved myself $5.  Which over the course of my lifetime might add up to about $350.  And if I invest that little nugget into high-yield savings accounts, well, then who knows what the future could hold for me!

Engagement Story

4 Jun

Last Saturday started out like any other day.  Lloyd and I worked on our fitness at the gym, had some breakfast and coffee, laid out at the pool, and enjoyed a River Monsters marathon on Animal Planet.  (P.S. If you haven’t seen that show, check it out.  All I’ll say is that there is some crazy stuff in the Amazon river.)

The afternoon flew by and before I knew it, it was almost dinnertime.  Lloyd told me that he wanted to go to one of our favorite restaurants downtown – La Bodega – and I happily obliged. (Sidebar:  I was sporting some new skinny jeans and flat sandals.  Love!).  Around the time we started to head out the door, Lloyd told me that I should pack an overnight bag.  At this point, I pretty much knew what was going down….

From where we live, it takes a solid 30 minutes to get downtown.  So on the ride there, I started to get butterflies.  I kept asking Lloyd where we were going and why I needed an overnight bag.  He was being all cute and mysterious.

We went straight to La Bodega for dinner.  Which was good for 2 reasons:

  1. I was starving and was about to eat my arm off.
  2. I need a mad drink to calm my butterflies.

I may have taken #2 a little too far.  Oh well…you only get engaged once.

The thing about La Bodega is that it’s a Spanish tapas bar.  Ah-mazing.  If you’ve never had tapas, you need to get some in your life, and fast.  Another popular item on the Bodega menu are the pitchers of Sangria.  We polished off one two over the course of our 2 hour meal.

After dinner, we started to head to a location unknown to me.  It turned out to be a fancy hotel in downtown Kansas City.  One that we had celebrated our 2 month anniversary at like 3 1/2 years ago.  The hotel has all these scenic waterfalls and romantic areas.  We had taken pictures in front of the waterfalls for our 2 month anniversary so we did that again…which was cool since it was 3 1/2 years later.

Anyways, Lloyd finally led us to our hotel room.  When he opened the door, there were rose petals and vases of roses all over the room.  There were my favorite chocolates (caramel & toffee if you’re wondering) and candles (not yet lit – I guess he didn’t want to burn the place down).

I was in shock and excited and didn’t really know what to say.  So, I did what I always do when this happens.  I excused myself to use the bathroom.  I also kind of figured that Lloyd needed a couple minutes to do whatever he needed to do anyway.

By the time I emerged, he had opened the blinds to reveal floor to ceiling windows that showcased an impressive view of the Kansas City skyline.  (I’m a sucker for good views of any city.  I think it’s awesome.)  We looked at the skyline for a bit and made dumb comments about how pretty it was (I mean we’ve seen the KC skyline a bazillion times).

And that’s when things started to go down.  Lloyd planted one on me and as he was doing this, I could feel him reaching into his pocket.

There must be some genetic switch in women where when they know they’re about to be proposed to, the waterworks come on and they started bawling like a little girl.  Because that’s what happened.  Lloyd was reaching into his pocket and I started crying.

Lloyd started saying all these cute things like ‘you make me so happy’ and ‘I want to spend the rest of my life with you’ and ‘you are a super-duper hottie’ (okay maybe not the last one).

And before I knew it, he was on one knee and pulling out a ring! Whoa!  I couldn’t believe he actually had a ring in his hand!

So he slipped the bling on my hand and we talked and cried and kissed and yada yada yada.  It was very private and just the two of us and I couldn’t have asked for anything differently.

(P.S. Mazzy Star “Fade Into You” was playing in the background.  One of my fav songs ever.)

I found out that his family had helped pick out the ring and that he spent 3 hours at my parents’ house one night asking for permission to marry me.  What a stud.

So, there you have it.  We’re engaged!  And I couldn’t be happier.


Most annoying thing about being engaged:

  • Being asked “have you set a date?” a bazillion times
  • People forcefully saying “We better get an invite!”   Wow, really?  That makes me want to invite you less.

Little facts about Lloyd & I:

  • We knew each other for 1 1/2 years before he asked me out.  I think one of us was playing hard to get.
  • I was in love with him 6 months before our first date.  Ha.
  • I told my BFF that I would marry Lloyd one month before our first date.
  • Lloyd makes me laugh more than any person on the planet.  That’s how he got me.  If you can make me genuinely laugh, then I like you.
  • We are each others biggest supporters.  We decided early on in our relationship that there would be no toxicity or name-calling.  We don’t complain about one another to others and we fight fair.  It may sound impossible, but it works and it’s great.  I get pissed at him sometimes (and him at me, but that’s a lot less often), but I tell him and we move on.
  • I have this thing….where I feel the need to recite every minute detail of my life to someone.  Lloyd is so sweet and allows me to do that.  I feel better after I do that and he somehow manages to listen to all the boring details.  It’s a gift of his.  One of my BFF listens to the stuff, too, but Lloyd really get’s the brunt of it. 
  • Right before we started dating and during the early stages of our relationship, we used to stay up until 5 or 6am talking and laughing.  Wow, the first few months of a relationship are surreal, aren’t they?  They are so worth it.  I feel so lucky to have ever had something like that.
  • I kept a diary for the entire first year of our relationship.  Sometimes I’ll read it and it brings back a lot of great memories.  We were so engrossed with each other for that year.  😉

I am so lucky and blessed.  Thank you all for your congrats and well wishes.  It means the world to me.