Our Home Tour

home tour It’s been a full two months since we moved into our new home.  We have unpacked all of the boxes, hung some pictures in the main rooms, found a place for everything, and have even had some friends over for a BBQ.  This little place of ours has finally started to feel like home.  Even Maggie and Tiny are comfortable, which is apparent by the destroyed toys all over the house, their hiding spots from one another, and the obstacle course to go to the bedroom … er, I mean stairs.
home tour home tour Slowly I will give a little preview of our house.  Our office is more of a wedding storage room at the moment from all of the items that we have to take for the wedding and the wonderful gifts that we have received from our friends and family.  That room is going to take us some time to get it back into office shape.

I think the next room up will be the guest bedroom.  I do have a few more projects to get through in there and then it will be ready.  I love the idea of having a tranquil room for friends and family to stay when the visit.  I want people to visit us and I think the best way to do that is having a space ready for them at a moment’s notice.
home tour Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and just enjoy the present.

Cheers!

8 Reasons I Hate Halloween

Reasons I Hate Halloween
Is it bad luck to start off a post with words like “I hate”?  Perhaps.  I mean, hate is a very strong word and I was always taught to never say it unless you could live without that person/event/situation/shirt for the rest of your life.  Let’s just say if Halloween disappeared off a calendar I would be none the wiser.  Halloween has never been a favorite holiday. Christmas, now that’s a holiday I can get behind and get fired up about.  Halloween is one that I would prefer to keep my front porch light off and go to bed early.

My top 8 reasons why Halloween can just fade away:

1) masks, face paint, wigs… Basically, I have a paralyzing fear of all things that disguise one’s appearance.  Last time I checked that was a main part of Halloween.

2) excuses that I can tell myself to gorge on candy

3) scary movies that seem to be on every TV station for the month

4) obnoxious downtown bar scenes that have too many people and too long of lines to get drinks

5) random strangers knocking on my door until late.  Mostly kids, but you never know who is knocking on that door and when I lived alone I prefered not to know

6) crazy animatronic creatures that go off at the grocery store causing me to scream, jump and then drop everything in my hands

7) oddly shaped food.  Who wants to head a pretzel that looks like a finger with a nail? I don’t!  I made them for a party once and absolutely could not force one down – my imagination was running too wild, and I’m the one that made them!
Reasons I Hate Halloween8) having to come up with a costume each year.  Since I do not like masks, face paint, or wigs it’s hard to come up with a costume for the years I do go out.  I think I have been a hippie every since high school.  Once my friends and I went as Captain Planet and the Planeteers, that was pretty fun

I might be a bit cynical, but I am okay with that.  Now if only I could hold my breath long enough for Halloween to be over and Thanksgiving to be on its way.

Cheers!

Going to the Dogs

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Yet, another post dedicated to the fur balls that I treat like children.  The ones that I like more than most people in this world.  The ones that can dig through the trash and then melt my heart seconds later.
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Yep.  If there was a dog lovers anonymous for people like me then I would probably … not join because I think there is nothing wrong.  This past week the pups had their first vet appointment at the new place in our new town.  They both got rave reviews.  Even little Miss Tiny who is supposedly terrified of everyone got praised for her temperament.  Could be because the nice ladies were feeding her treats.

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Love these dogs!

Cheers!

The Magic of Being Alone

The Magic of Being Alone Every once in awhile I get in one of those moods that I just can’t shake off.  It’s frustration mixed with sadness, a sense of being overwhelmed, and desperation.  Usually the onset of these type of moods comes from a couple of hard days at work where I just can’t seem to do anything right, too much time at home, not enough time at home, or too much to do and not enough time to do it.

Here we go, my complaints:

I work from home most days.  I have an office that I can go to, but most days it’s just easier to stay home with the pups.  So there are a lot of weeks that I am spending too much time at home.

Then I travel a lot.  A lot for our wedding and a lot for work.  I have to travel back to our old town every other week and stay for 2 days each time.  It gets hard being on the road for 12+ hours a month just for work and then add road trips to see family on top of that.

It’s hard to be diligent with every moment of my work day when I am not in the office with the file in my hands and little distractions.
The Magic of Being AloneWith this wedding less than 20 days away there is a lot to get done, crafts to finish, lists to make, packing to do, and making sure that I fit into my wedding dress.  It’s a lot to get done.

What I have to tell myself on days like these:

Although, I feel that I am not accomplishing as much as I was in the office, but I know that it’s little difference and my work quality is improving because I feel that I can take more time to complete each task.

The wedding is a celebration of J and I.  All that matters is that our friends and family are by our sides and we party the night away.  That does not require crafts or extra time organizing – it’s been taken care of and is ready to go.

I have an office and the days that I feel like I am not getting a lot done then I need to head over there and force myself to stay.  It’s nice there, quiet and doesn’t have 2 dogs that need attention.

The travel is temporary.  Work will not always have this much traveling and the wedding traveling will be over the moment on November 3rd when we walk through our front door.

Small thoughts that are totally “duh!” moments, but nonetheless they are necessary to repeat to myself.  The feeling typically does not last long and requires a quite moment by myself to snap out of.  I find that being myself with things that I enjoy doing help.  Like tonight, I packed for my next trip, watch the game on TV, went tanning (I know, I know not good for me.  But sometimes you just need a jolt of UV rays to make you feel whole again.), and worked on my blog.  J is out with friends, doing his thing.  The house is quiet and the dogs are sleeping.  It’s peaceful.

Cheers!

Our Wedding Invitations

wedding invitations
The moment I saw our invitations sitting outside our front door, I may have jumped a little.  I was so pumped that they came, they made it to our new address! 

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First thing I did was bring them inside and grab the camera, because that is normal, right?  The dogs were just as excited as I was or maybe just the box smelled… I am not sure.

wedding invitations

We opted for the simple Seal ‘N Send invites for several reasons:  1) they fit in perfect with what I wanted. 2) seemed easier for my friends to have a pull-off postcard to send back.  There was no envelope stuffing for our friends – so easy! 3) cost less to send and if you remember my save the dates I like saving money on postage.

Cheers!

Transforming Your Home to Fall: Budgeting Decorating Ideas

Getting Your Home Ready for Fall on a Budget
It’s that time of year where the leaves start falling, pumpkin decorations make their grand appearance and I get an excuse to wear over sized sweaters on a daily basis.  Fall is my favorite time of the year.  The weather is still nice enough to go out and do things with friends but the temperatures are cooler so that you can actually enjoy being outside without sweating. One of my favorite things to do is attend festivals around St. Louis, my favorite is the Apple Butter Festival in Kimmswick.

Fall is about that time that I transition our house look.  I like to add some deeper colors to the decorations, blankets with some texture that yearn for someone to cuddle up with, and autumn spice candles.  There are some inexpensive and quick ways to add a touch of fall to your home:

1) Faux fur throws.  I found mine about 2 years ago at Big Lots.  I had a coupon and it was on sale, so overall it cost me about $10.  It’s small enough that it folds up nicely on the couch and is light enough that you can throw it on while the air is running.

2) Fall decor.  I usually find clearance pumpkins, horns of plenty, and other fall-like decorations at the end of each season at Wal-Mart or craft stores.  Typically you can combine clearance items with coupons and get items pretty cheap, which always makes me happy.  However, if you are just starting out this fall and don’t want to wait until next year to decorate then hit up some local garage sales or flea markets.  Most people purge a lot of items during the summer months and while the temperature is still nice they will continue hosting garage sales for the first few weeks of fall.

3) Candles.  I love candles.  Maybe it’s because we have 2 dogs and I always have a fear that our house smells, but candles are the best.  I typically buy mine at Big Lots or the Dollar Tree.  They won’t last for 200+ hours like the expensive ones will.  Butthey will last me most of the fall season and that’s really all that matters to me.

That’s it.  3 simple steps and your home will be easily transformed from cool, light summer to warm and cozy for fall.

Cheers!

NOLA

Today is the day.  I am headed down to NOLA for my bachelorette party!  I will be down on Bourbon Street for the weekend celebrating with my sister, future sister-in-law, and close friends.  Cannot wait to party down and make memories that will last forever.

J and I are getting closer to our wedding, and this last fling before the ring is a reminder just how close we are getting.

Cheers to a good time!

Cost Per Wear: Frugal Living

A new way to look at your wardrobe – how much do you pay for cost per wear on your clothes?  It may cost $40 to purchase the items, but how many times are you going to actually leave the house in it?  That’s the way to perceive the value of your wardrobe.  That’s how my Dad made me look at my clothes.  Especially when we were out shopping.

There are two ways to determine your cost per wear for your wardrobe:

1) The price to purchase the item divided by the number of times you see yourself wearing it.  For example, $40 blouse divided by the 5 times you see yourself leaving the house in it equals $8 per wear.

2) Take the price to purchase the item divided by the value you imagine each wear will bring.  Let’s say that you buy a dress for $80 and you imagine each wear worth about $20.  That means you at least have to wear the dress 4 times to get an equal cost/value.

See?  Simple.

Next time you are out shopping the racks ask yourself, “is the price per wear worth it?”

If it’s yes and you have the extra spending money then buy.  If the answer is no or you do not have the extra cash then walk away.

Cheers!

Having An Emergency Fund Pays

J and I have been talking money lately, working on saving money, and paying off debt.  Luckily we have been able to listen to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University before we get married (if you haven’t heard of FPU, you have to check it out!).  The first baby step is $1,000 in the bank.  Seemed easy enough, right?  It took budgeting and being diligent, but we reached our goal at the end of September.  Awesome!

Then comes the first Monday of October… dun dun dun and my tooth starts to ache.  I try to “live” with the pain, but it just got worse.  I caved by Friday and had an appointment with the dentist.  The outlook of my teeth was not so great and the final cost for the repairs – $1,050.

Without our emergency fund, we would not have been able to take care of this bill without sacrifice.  We do not have to give up food for the month or better yet, I do not have to live in pain!  It’s hard to see that $1,000 we worked so hard to achieve walk away so quickly, but at the end of the day that is why we have it.

We did not plan for my teeth to have a meltdown, but things happen.  Life happens.  We must adapt, take care of ourselves, and move on.  That is exactly what we are doing.  Starting with our first paycheck of October we will commence the rebuild.  In a short time we will have our emergency fund back to full again and start working towards paying down our debt.

I have to admit that it feels pretty good to be able to take care of this medical bill without help from family and without having to put it on a credit card to pay interest on.  It feels real good.

Want to know something that I find humorous?  The week after we get married is when J can apply for insurance through his work and since we will be married, so can I.  His work has basic dental coverage and if only my teeth could have lasted a bit longer that $1,050 may have only been $700.  But that’s the way life goes and we keep moving.

If you do face a dental emergency like me then do not be afraid to ask questions:

1) does this office do payment plans?  Most would like payment up front since the work is done at that time; however, there might be a Care Credit option that you can apply for.  That way you get the work done and pay a minimal amount of interest.

2) does this office offer a discount plan?  My dentist does!  It was great to learn about it.  For a small annual fee they discount all of the procedures.  I asked for an example – my cleaning and exam that day would normally be $300, but with the plan it was only $175.  The plan more than paid for itself in that moment.  I looked through my costs of what I need done and without the plan it would have been $1,700 or more!  That’s crazy!

3) does your work have to be done right away?  A lot of dentists will be honest with you and tell you what are emergencies and what aren’t.  Those are nice dentists.

It pays to talk to the office staff to learn more.  Each place is different and at the end of the day they need your business.

Cheers!

5 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Graduating College

The other day I was having a conversation with my parents about life, childhood, and the fact that I am getting married, which blows my mind.  We were talking about life in college and how I could always hear my parents advice in the back of my mind, which guided me.  Or as I like to think kept me from having too much fun, until that one day at a local bar where a friend of mine got drugged because she took a drink from a cute guy.  The cute guy’s friend offered me a drink that looked eerily similar to my friend’s and I turned it down because I heard my Dad’s voice telling me not to take a drink that I didn’t see get made.  At that moment,  I couldn’t understand why the guy instantly lost interest in me… I was cute, I was funny, but why did he stop talking to me?  The next day as my friend was really sick and couldn’t remember the night… it hit me, I know he lost interest because I turned down his drugged drink.
5 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Graduating CollegeI really think that with their guidance I have made it pretty far in life with not many bad moments or memories.  My parents always helped and were there for me, sometimes they would let me figure things out on my own; and those moments were harder for me.  Once I graduated with my Masters and started really thinking of my career is when I realized I still had quite a bit of learning to do.

I always hear advice from family, friends, and sometimes even strangers about life.  Sometimes their advice is solicited and sometimes it is not.  So I listen to learn.  There are times that their advice misses the intended target or I have to learn on my own.

Here are 5 things I wish I would have known about before graduating college:

1) Trust your gut when it comes to your career.

it’s important to know that it’s okay to walk away.  Do not waste time in a career that is not right for you.  Now I am not suggesting quitting a job without any source of income or another job.  So, bide your time, look for a new job and when the time is right for you, make your exit.

For example, I thought retail was the answer.  My major in undergrad was Marketing – Retail/Merchandising.  That must mean I wanted to work in retail, right? No.  H-E-double hockey sticks No.  I tried it after college, full-time.  The hours were not great, I missed J in the evenings and on the weekends, and the part that determined my exit was being tossed around and had smoke blown in places that it should not be blown.

2) Don’t lose your best friends.  

My mom always said that there will be friends that go with that phase of your life, but then there are special friends that you will carry through every phase of your life.  It’s important that you keep those people you love, and to keep them, you have to be willing to work at those relationships.

3) Getting an A or a B really doesn’t matter.


I wrote about this in a letter to the incoming freshman class awhile back.  I wish I would have taken it a bit more seriously in college and would have had a bit more fun.  I am not saying that I never had fun, but there are moments that I missed out because I was worried about getting that A.  It didn’t matter.  I’ve never been asked for my GPA or class rank.  I think the degree I earned speaks for itself.

4) Don’t replace the busyness of college with an overwhelming workload.


In college I was actively involved on campus with several clubs and my sorority, and I always had something to do or people to talk to about something.  After college I felt the need to keep myself busy and threw myself into my job.  I wasn’t getting paid that great and there was really no room for me to grow, and I had just set the precedent that I would be available at 10pm Monday-Friday and anytime on the weekends.  When the time came for me to get a life outside of work and I met J, it was hard for my coworkers to swallow that I would only be working 45 hours a week and not 60.

5) How much work it is to be an actual adult without the label of being a student.

I never realized during college how much work and planning it takes to be an adult.  There are responsibilities that come the moment without any hesitation once you walk across that stage and receive that empty leather diploma holder.  I am not talking about bills being due or needing food and shelter; I am talking about the social responsibilities.

Don’t get me wrong being an adult is 1000x better than being a student, but sometimes I wish I could go back to that irresponsible student if only for a moment.

Cheers!