Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Monthly Feature: Big Dog, Small Budget

We started this Monthly Feature to explain how we live with a big dog on a small budget.  Many people wrote they don't or can't even imagine how much they spend per month.  The simple fact is that we live loan to loan so we have to really contemplate the value of each $ spent.  Additionally, we thought that by sharing the various sites and coupons we use, we may give others good ideas.  Alternatively, if we're spending too much money - we were hoping you would share some good ideas!

So here is our November round-up!  

3 Dog Walking Sessions with RuffCity DogWalkers - $70 
(Her Thanksgiving walk was only 30 minutes, which is $15, with a $5 holiday cost)
Pet Dental Toothpaste from Amazon Prime - $5.43
12 Months of FrontLine from PetSupplies.com - $137.88
800 Poop Bags from Amazon - $1.49 
(The original cost of the poop bags was $26.49, but Law Student participated in a focus group at school and received a $25 Amazon gift card)
November Total: $239.79

June: $149.31
July: $111.99
August: $193.22
September: $182.83
October: $198.63
November: $239.79
YTD: $1075.77

This month was definitely more expensive than most.  This is mostly due to the cost of FrontLine.  However, the FrontLine and poop bags last one full year.  Luckily, we saved some money with only three walks and that Amazon gift card!

Any tips on ways to save?!

PS We are going to start responding to blog comments...you guys always say such helpful things!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Havi's Hanukkah List

Havi joined in on a family tradition this Thanksgiving....writing down her Hanukkah list!  We got Havi for Hanukkah last year (not really, her impromptu adoption coincided with the holiday and our expenditure of $3,000 to make her sick shelter pup self all better).  We decided last year as well as this year that taking care of Havi's medical and life costs throughout the year would be the Two Grads presents to each other.  We celebrate the holiday with traditional customs and one yummy night out (we'll blog about the customs and fab dinner later).  

We decided to do a fun holiday present series and we wanted to list some things the Two Grads and their Pittie are wishing for this holiday season.  With this list we were hoping to give you some ideas, you can give us some ideas, and maybe even ways to save on these wishes.  We will also be doing a volunteer for the holidays post!

Without further adieu, Havi's Hanukkah Happy Holiday list!

1. The pink gingham martingdale collar from Sirius Republic.  (She specified the pink, she has this complex where people think shes a boy.)

Specifically, this one with the words "Peace, Love, Pitbull" sewn on!  So cute!  Its amazing!  Havi already has a GREAT collar from winning Sarge's Peeps on Parade, but another one could never hurt.  Additionally, if she let us know that if we enter RPHD08 in the rescue code box, a percentage goes to Handsome Dan's Rescue!

It gets cold for a pup in this huge city.  Havi has told us many times that she needs some winter items...  

2. She's super jealous of her doppleganger Miss Crazy Maisie's sweater from Our Waldo Bungie.
this picture is reprinted with permission of Maisie's agent

3. She also hinted that a winter jacket would be a great addition to her ensemble.  Anyone have any ideas or recommendations?!

4. A new dog bed wouldn't hurt.  Her current one is from HomeGoods and is a nice grey bed that matches the rest of the room for $20 that she got as a present from her grandparents.  She mentioned shed like one for the bedroom, for when we push her off the bed!

What does your pup want this Holiday Season?  Have any recommendations for us or ways to save?

Be sure to check out Two Pitties in the City for their list today on what to have in a home when you bring home your first dog!  Also, A&A Friese have some great information on winter dog-gear, and they're Alaskan experts!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday Two Grads Style!

Hey Everyone!  Happy Cyber Monday.  This week we plan on sharing our holiday present wish lists, and Havi's budget.  But today, we thought we'd share some fun ways we saved this weekend!

We frequently chat about how much we LOVE Fresh Direct, and use them to spend only $60 a week (with a DeliveryPass) on groceries, and eating out once a week (with about 3 CostCo trips per year).  Well, this week as a thank you they sent us a bag of Pop Chips.  Yum!  Has anyone ever gotten anything yummy from Fresh Direct?  What's your grocery savings tips?

Our favorite thing to do is to go to the movies, especially because we have a huge AMC theater two blocks away!  Well, this weekend we saw the Muppets, it was sold out for a 8:50 showing with all adults!    It was so funny and truly great for all ages.  We decided to purchase an AMC Stubs card for $6.  With it, we get free upgrades on all food and beverages, free online purchases, and $10 back for every $100 spent.  (And with tickets at $13.00 lately, thats easy to reach.)  It even takes the tickets we purchase through deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.  See any fun movies lately?

We also both received iphones lately, any fun apps to share?!  Any fun holiday money saving tips?!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Weekly Feature: Love Letters from a Dogwalker

We spent the day in NJ yesterday, and RuffCity Dogwalking came through and visited Havi!  We felt that 11 people and 3 dogs was just too many animals to throw Havi in the mix.  But it seems like Havi had a great time with their new walker, Caroline!


So happy to meet the cutest Pitty girl ever!  I think I'm in love...

She was super excited when I picked her up and it took me a few minutes to get her calmed down and leashed.

We headed out and she went both 1 & 2 pretty much right away.  We walked around the neighborhood and she enjoyed sniffing around and peed a couple more times.  Got stubborn when we would see another dog, but I got her to move on pretty quickly.

Came home and gave her some spring water and her peanut butter Kong and she was in heaven!  Crated her back up and we said our goodbyes.  Hope to see this princess again!  Happy Thanksgiving!  :)


PS - used the last poop bag FYI!
PPS - left her light on :)

Did you see our thankful post?  And our NYC Thanksgiving pic?  How was your Thanksgiving?!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Two Peas in a Pod are Thankful For...

It seems to be the theme this week to list the things you are thankful for...so here we go!

Two Grad Students on DS's 26th Birthday at Sammy's Roumanian
-Havi. In exactly one week it will be a year that Havi's awesome foster parents emailed us the below photo of Havi.  Having never had a dog (forget about a rescue or a pitbull) I saw the picture and just knew, and we submitted the application the next day.  Havi has brought so much extra love not only into our home, but our relationship.  She taught us more responsibility, budgeting, care, compassion, and forgiveness than we would have learned in a lifetime.  Overwhelmingly, I am also thankful for NYC being so supportive of pitbulls (free spay, neuter, vaccinations!)

Vintage Havi!
-Our apartment.  Picking, renting, and decorating our first home together is an awe-inspiring experience.  There is something unique about coming home to something that is "your" home, that you built together.
-Our parents.  Its rare that two people have two sets of parents that are so encouraging.  Our parents are not only our role models, but good friends.  They are supportive of our career goals, our relationship with each other, and our newest recipes.  We are truly lucky.

-Our friends.  We're insanely blessed to have friends that have become our family.  Our childhood friends moved with us into NYC, and the bonds you have with someone who has seen and let you grow into an adult is outstanding.

-Our goals.  We both sunk a lot of debt into attending graduate school.  Sometimes the lack of funds, lack of time, and lack of patience is overwhelming.  But most of the time, its amazing to know you're good at something, and that people will benefit from your skill.

-Our health.  When I was little my mom would say this and I would think only parents would say that-what a grown up thing to be thankful for!  Now I realize, your health is paramount.  We are lucky to not only have health insurance, but supportive and skilled doctors/pharmacists.

and now some silly thankfullness:

-Law Student's Dunkin Donuts Sleeve.  How great?!  Keeps my fingers warm and the drink doesn't drip.  Why didn't I think of this?!

-Our new iPhones and Kindles.  This past year DS's parents got our iPhones and LS's parents got our Kindles.  I know, I know we're all too dependent on technology.  But the phone makes life infinitely easier, and DS loves the games Doodle Jump and Words with Friends.  The Kindle allows us to read more easily because its so light to travel with!  (Will I make it to my goal of 26 books by December 31?!) Oh, also - DVR, WHY DID I NOT INVENT THIS?!

-Smelly cinnamon pinecones from Bed Bath & Beyond.  We both love the smell of cinnamon? and pinecones are so autumnal! What's better?!

-Warm showers.  Bad day, overtired - no better cure! Whenever I was sick, my dad would tell me to take a shower.  To this day, the power of a warm shower is overwhelming.

10. My indoor/outdoor rug.  Living with a pup that throws up every once in a while, its great to have an easy to clean rug (its the little things in life...)
Home Decorator's!
-We have to say it, the blog world.  Its so fun to put our thoughts and pictures down in this online journal.  But its even more amazing for the support and love we receive over the Internet daily.

-Greasy food. I refuse to explain further.

-The belief that people are truly good at heart.

-Season tickets to see the Devils and the Islanders (are we the only hockey fans left?!)

-The ability to budget successfully with helps from blogs, books, Amazon Prime, Etsy, and FreshDirect.

What are you thankful for?!
Like lists?!  Stay tuned Friday for our Holiday Present List!

Wordless Wenesday

Two pups are better than one!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Crate's Triumphant Return

When we learned that we had been approved as Havi's parents, we learned she was crate trained (gotta love awesome foster parents).  DS ran to order a crate on Amazon.  We measured Havi, and waited two nerve-wracking days for the crate to come.  (During those two days we just left Havi alone in our room for short periods of time and hoped for the best.  Eek!)  When we received the crate it was definitely way too big, but came at a great price, and Havi loved it!

She needed the crate because we didn't know her well enough to give her free reign of our bedroom, and at the time we lived with a chihuahua who wasn't such a big fan of Havi.
this is vintage Havi.  so small!
When we moved into our own place in April, the crate came as well.  Soon enough, we weaned her off the crate.  Not because she didn't like it, but because it took up so much space in our small apartment!
For six months we were in the green, Havi seemed to like the freedom, and we liked that the big metal box wasn't next to our bed.

Then, about a month ago, Havi ate DS's guitar books that were on our coffee table, the next week she ate a throw pillow, then all my birthday cards off the wall!  I decided she was definitely anxious about something, and we needed the structure back. (To be fair Havi has eaten an wooden ornament, 2 shoes,  and some of her blankets over the course of her year with me.)  DS begged me to wait one more week.  Well, we did.

Then we came home Friday night to this:
not so happy
That is the middle back cushion of my gorgeous couch.  (Luckily, she ate only the zipper, so a quick sew will fix it and no one will be the wiser).

Last night, we brought out the crate, lined it with a comfy towel (little nervous she'll eat a blanket), and placed her dinner inside.  At first she just laid outside the crate, then she slowly went in to eat and lay down.  And when I woke up this morning, there she was hanging out!  I am not nervous that a crate is a punishment or not a cage, I really am not one of those dog parents.
This is really just me trying to show the relative size of the crate, yepp I am INSIDE it!
hm, so I have to go inside to get that bowl?!
one tired pup
But I have some questions:

Why do you think Havi decided to be destructive all of the sudden?!
Did we reintroduce the crate the right way?
Are supposed to always feed her in the crate?
How long can we leave her in the crate for?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Weekly Feature: Loveletters from a Dogwalker

Sometimes I'm jealous of the time Havi gets to spend with her dogwalkers....

Hey guys,

Hope your having a fantastic week despite the crummy weather! Luckily it wasn't raining this afternoon for my walk with Havi. We headed to the park, and she peed and pooped on the way. When we got there, the crazy lady with the two Weims started leashing up to go, thankfully, so she sat and waited patiently for them to leave. Then it was just us and Barley and Bruckner the cavaliers and their walker. She had a great time, chasing the ball, running back and forth between them and me. I had to clean her slobber jaws off before we left, and we walked part of the way home with them as well. She still had a good pace after we parted ways, and she peed and pooped one small bit on the way home. I held her while she said hi to a little kid in the elevator and gave him a big sloppy kiss. :) I filled her water when we got back and gave her a milkbone when she was done drinking. Then we had just a couple minutes to snuggle on the sofa and thaw out. She is such a lap baby!! It was sad to go, but she said goodbye at the door. Hope you guys are staying warm and dry and have a great weekend!!


Ps happy belated bday!!

Do you wish you were Havi?!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pearly Whites....

Since we're such puppy penny pinchers (look at that alliteration!) over in the Two Grad Students home, I can't believe we don't brush Havi's teeth!  Brushing her teeth would save money in the long run, as opposed to getting it done at the vet.  We give Havi a good bath once a month, complete with paw moisturizer and ear wash.  So why doesn't DENTAL Student brush her teeth?!

About two months ago we asked everyone for advice on the best toothpaste/wipes/brush, etc.  You all had a different opinions!  Well $5.42 on PetDental via Amazon Prime later, our biscuit flavored tooth brush arrived.  

DS played with Havi and the toothbrush for a while, nervous she wouldn't like the brush.  But what did our pup do?!  Just laid down and let us brush her!

In case you are unclear, that is Havi laying flat against the tub!

What's your teeth brushing routine?!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Power of Blogging

We LOVE this blogging community!! Especially the things we've won such as when Havi was the Dog of the Day, and then featured on Pitter Patter and True Story Tuesday, and winning an antler form Maisie and Me, and wining a portrait from Art By Elizabeth.  Were all lucky pups!

But I was especially astounded when I saw the participation In Two Pitties in the City's SuperLevi fundraiser.  Photos came in from around the country (36 states to support Levi).  And because we're a little short on cash, we tried to support via social media promotion.  But Havi wasn't so happy about being left out...

I also loved Mayzie's Rescue Me week, where bloggers featured pups that need adoption on their blog last week!

I did not know about about That Touch of Pit, a blog run by a foster dad who pulls from Animal Haven (where I volunteer!) until Love and a Six Foot Leash featured him today!  Where have I been?!

Saturday night after DS played hockey at Chelsea Piers, we settled in to watch the Season Three Premiere of our Favorite Show: Pitbulls and Parolees.  It is about a woman who runs a ranch for pitbulls in Villalobos, CA and her employees are all parolees.  She gives pups and people a chance that no one else would.  Needless to say DS, Havi and I cry through every episode.  Head on over to Chase Community Giving to vote (just one click!) and help them raise money for their ranch (run exclusively on donations) and check out some other GREAT charities.  They are currently on their way cross country to rescue dogs from Hempstead, LI where pups were rescued from a dog fighting ring (this holds a special place in my heart, because I attended undergraduate there).  

Also, check out this great article from Mashable.com about how one animal charity used social media to introduce their brand!  I love social media. Geek.

Does anyone else watch Pitbulls and Parolees, what do you think?!  Who else is a NYC blogger I don't know about?!  What did everyone do this weekend?!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekly Feature: Love Letters From a DogWalker

Oh how we love RuffCity dogwalking...

I was so happy to see her today! It feels like its been forever. She felt the same way as she got all Roly-Poly when I picked up the harness. 

She sat everywhere else though perfectly, even in the elevator! 

Unfortunately the park was empty so we threw the ball around for awhile and I fetched it each time ;) She wouldn't even put it in her mouth, but she never hesitated to chase it so for the sake of exercise I obliged! We kept waiting and hoping for a playmate but no one showed up :( So we left and took the last 20 minutes to walk around in the beautiful weather. The walk home wasn't bad at all, probably because we weren't coming straight back from the park- I tricked her! ;) She had a soft poop at the park, just a little softer than normal. 

Back at home I finished off the spring water in her bowl and gave her her big treat! Turned on the light too. Thanks so much for the lollipop- just what I needed! I've also credited you the $5 :) 

Have a great weekend- can't wait to see her next week! 

They even left me this note:

Does your dog get walked or do they go to playgroup?  What is the best thing about your service?!

P.S. Dental Student wanted me to point out that on Saturday morning, before dinner with my family, he took me to David Burke Townhouse for lunch.  His restaurants are across the country (including Chi-Town) and are GORGEOUS.  We had pretzel encrusted crabcakes, a pasta dish, seared tuna burger, and apple crumb pie.  Also, after the party at my apartment we went to the Gansevoort on Park for dancing (this is where the Kardashians is filmed in NYC), we then were not so classy when we ate 2am greasey diner food.  Sunday night after relaxing all day we went to a law school friend's wedding at my dream venue, the Angel Orensanz Foundation (look how dressy we look).  I think that sums up my birthday weekend!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More Birthday Events!

I thought I would share some pictures from my birthday fun!  The weekend kicked off with a party at our apartment (which we also called our 7-month housewarming).  

My girls devoured these chips!  The napkins say "There is nothing in life a straight iron and glass of wine can't fix." 
We love cinnamon candles, and always look for the cheap ones or the ones on sale!
Everyone in my birthday has a birthday sign they get for their 1st birthday.  It gets put up every year.  So, mine is 25 years old!
That's Havi checking out the food options.
Our chalkboard wall guest book!
The drink and food spread...
This mixer cracks me up.  Its a penguin!
The famous chocolate lollipops!
Havi waiting for her guests!
 On Saturday, we went out with my family to BLT Bar & Grill for some burgers!

Havi showing me birthday love!
 After a dinner with my girls at The Smith (delicious mac and cheese, tuna tar tar, artichoke spread, and salmon) I went with DS to see a movie with our BuyWithMe tickets, where we got 4 tickets for $33!
No one thought it was weird I was posing with this sign?! 
I got a delicious Crumbs cupcake form my friend!
Havi looks scared!

Havi is exhausted from all the celebrating!

Birthday Freebies:  My favorite birthday gifts, are the freebies!  This year I got a free scoop from Basin Robbins, free medium drink from Dunkin Donuts, free Philosophy bath wash from Sephora, and free pancakes and a milkshake from my favorite diner, Big Daddy's!  Usually all you have to do is sign up for their newsletter!

What fun ways do you celebrate brithdays?!  Any birthday freebies you love?!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Birthday Crafts

Every group of friends celebrates birthdays differently, but in my group of NYC friends, we all celebrate the same.  We get together around 10 at someone's apartment, drink a little (okay, a lot), then go to a bar.  Because people who grew up on LI tend to move to NYC in their 20s, we wind up having a birthday about every weekend (especially celebrating one another's school and camp friends birthdays).

I love birthdays.  In fact I don't even have a birthday, I have a BirthMonth!  Every year I like to do something a little different.  Last year, I had my birthday with about 30 friends at Frames in Port Authority, a fabulous bowling alley where DS took me on our fourth date!  This year, I invited everyone over for a belated housewarming and quarter century birthday celebration.  I was trying to think of what to serve, especially because people would come over anytime between 9pm and 12am, and therefore could not serve hot food.

So on Friday, I went to my mother's house where we thought to make chocolate lollipops!

What you will need (that you may not have in the house)  
-Molds, I did presents and hearts!
-Chocolate candies
In the house?
-Wax paper

1. Take the chocolate and empty into a bowl.
2. Place the chocolate into the microwave for 30 seconds.
3. Mix the melted chocolate with a spoon.
4. Drop the chocolate with a spoon into the mold.
5. Place a stick in each mold, twisting the stick as you place it in.
6. Drop a little bit of melted chocolate on the back of each stick, to act as a glue.
7. Place the mold in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
8. Take the chocolate out of the mold, place in bag.
9. Tie with ribbon.
10. Ta-da!
(I usually do this over wax paper, its easier for clean up).

-I made about 40 lollipops.  For all the supplies it was probably about $25.  The best part is that you usually have leftovers of everything, and it all stores well for the next time.  The molds, sticks, bags, and ribbon can be used again and again because they're sold in bulk.  I also had a ton of chocolate left which stores well also.  So I probably could have made 80-100 lollipops for the $25.
-This is great and easy to do with kids.
-The whole operation takes about an hour, with minimal cleanup.
-There happens to be a candy place by my mom's house.  But I searched a little and found much cheaper options on Etsy and Amazon.
What a SWEET birthday gift!

Do you have any great craft ideas to share?!

P.S. Yesterday we spoke about ways we are cutting back.  Another is through Kindle purchases.  Because I read about a book a week (because I am a fast reader and have my goal of reading 36 books in one year), it was costing us about $40 a month.  Now Im trying the old fashioned way of borrowing peoples books!  Through the Kindle, Dunkin Donuts, Weight Watchers and not eating out as much, we hope to save about $200 a month!  Keep the great ideas coming about ways to come back, we appreciate your help!