Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Content....

Why is it so hard for people, myself included, to just be content with the blessings they have?

I was lying in bed last night unable to fall asleep and was thinking of all the parts on the house remodel that needed done before we could list it for sale and work on getting our home on acreage. And then I'm lying there thinking, why not just be content with the lovely home we have? If I was, that might mean I'd be a lot more likely to be able to be a SAHM someday. Maybe we could payoff our little debts sooner. Maybe there would be less stress overall, if only we could learn to just be content.

I think it's human nature to want to accomplish and obtain, but to what fault? No matter how much money you make, you always find a way to spend it. You just start buying more expensive versions of the things you already had. Things you'd formerly been content with.

I resolve to consciously try to be more content in all aspects of my life! And grateful for the blessings I have.

I may not have 1000's of followers on this little blog, but each and every one of you are appreciated. I am thankful each and every time someone stops by to comment and say hello. Not to say I don't want to see followers grow, but in less than a year, I'm nearly to 300, and I think that's something to be thankful for! =)

P.S. I'm thinking when we hit 300 there will be a fantastic giveaway. And if we aren't to 300 by the end of next month, heck, I'll do one anyone to celebrate the one year anniversary of my bloggy world.



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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Three Day Weekends & Weddings

Let me start out by saying.... I love three day weekends. I wish I had them every week. I got to spend yesterday with my baby girl and she hopped up on my lap in the afternoon to cuddle and said, "Mama, are we having a sick day?" So stinking cute, since we'd stayed home sick one day awhile back and I'd told her we were having a sick day. Funny how much they retain and remember at just 2 years old. =)


Here she is about to go out and enjoy the sunshine this weekend. It's been stinkin' cold out, but I am definitely digging all the sunshine we've been having! Did you notice, Mama had to make her a headband to match her winter coat? Yeah, I'm that Mom.

The three day weekend also allowed me to finish up a custom wedding order. I adore custom wedding orders almost as much as I adore three day weekends. Almost. I had a lot of fun on this one and hope to see pictures from event! The flowers are all handmade -- so this bride is getting truly one of a kind hair pieces and garter for her big day. I love getting to be a tiny part of such a special event / day.


I think the apple green and peacock color combo turned out beautiful! I'd never worked with peacock feathers much before, but loved the challenge! And yes, I curled the feathers myself (tutorial coming soon!)

We have some exciting new products I got to work on this weekend that will be reaching our Etsy shop this coming week, so keep your eyes peeled.

Happy Tuesday!



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Monday, January 14, 2013

Gotta have Quik-Style!

Since becoming a Mom, I can count the number of times I've been able to take an uninterrupted shower on one hand. My morning routine has changed drastically as well. I went from getting myself ready for work, making one breakfast, and one lunch to getting myself ready for work, getting my daughter dressed (a challenge within itself! If you've read many of my other posts you know what I'm saying!), getting my breakfast and her breakfast made, and packing two lunches.

Now, I suppose I could do what my husband suggests and "just get up earlier." But ya know what? I miss my old friend sleep almost as much as I miss having my eyebrows waxed or at least plucked regularly!

I've tried it all. Shower right before bed. Shower early when daughter is still asleep. Shower after daughter wakes up. Nothing seems to work for us. But a remarkable product came into my life about a week ago. I received a Goody Quik-Style brush in my Holiday Vox Box from Influenster.


"The GOODY® QUIKSTYLE™ Paddle brush works like a towel and brush in one. The super absorbent (and antimicrobial) microfiber removes 30% of water from wet hair to help speed your drying time!" So seriously ladies, I've got some THICK hair. We are talking 20 minutes minimum to get my hair from wet to damp dry. With my Quikstyle, I can go from wet to dry in under 10 minutes.

Seriously #amazeballs stuff going on here. I will be buying another one of these babies very soon! They run about $12.99 at Walgreens, Target, CVS, and Wal-Mart. Money very well spent! I did receive the free brush from influenster but was not paid to write this post. I'm writing it out of sheer love for the brush!

I'm all about efficiency when it comes to my routine, which makes the Quikstyle my favorite new product I've discovered in 2013 thus far.

I'd love to hear any tips you have for getting out the door quicker on Monday mornings --- besides getting up earlier. #nowayjose

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It's all about the budget, baby!

Money. Oh what a necessary evil you are.

Finances. Bills. Expenses. Are your palms getting sweaty at the thoughts of those words?

I know the feeling. At just 25 years of age, I filed bankruptcy. No joke, and you know why? Because I had a ridiculous amount of credit card debt that I could not pay back. As embarrassing as that is to admit, I feel my story could help others.

I got my first credit card right when I turned 18. In just one short year, I had over $12,500 in available credit at my disposal and a car payment on a car that kept breaking down. By the time I filed for bankruptcy, the amount had nearly reached $35,000 in credit card debt. I was using credit cards for groceries, gas, medical expenses, car repairs, going out to eat, shopping, etc.

Simply put, I was living beyond my means.

When my bankruptcy was final, it was a relief. Prior to filing I had NEVER had a late payment. I'd been raised to fulfill my promises and live up to my obligations. I stressed each month to make ends meet, but I didn't see the big picture before it was too late.

I now have a much more healthy relationship with money and finances. I can attribute that mostly to limited credit use and sticking to a budget.

Having a family budget doesn't have to be scary! You know what is scary? Not having a budget. Seriously. Credit cards historically have the highest interest rates and highest fees imposed for late payments, going over your balance, and more.

If you are like many parents, by the time you had your children you had perhaps a student loan or two, a car payment, a couple credits, etc. Depending on your exact situation, that pregnancy and delivery might have incurred some major medical expenses for you as well. Now comes the expense of diapers (even if you cloth diaper, the initial cost isn't cheap!), formula or a breast pump (both big expenses!), and oh yeah, all those "things" everyone tells you that you need for your baby.


So how do you go about starting a budget? I started with just a piece of paper and a pencil. I wrote down my monthly net (after taxes / take home) income. Then I wrote down all my fixed expenses like rent, car payment, and auto insurance. Then I wrote down my fluctuating expenses like utilities, minimums on credit cards, and an estimate of what I spend on groceries, gas, etc. Hopefully in the end, that net income is more than your expenses column. With what is left, designate an amount for miscellaneous expenses and an amount for savings.

There are many resources available on the internet for spreadsheets and printables to make your own budget as well. I found the thing that helped me most was to go back through a couple months of bank statements and really see where I was spending my money. Wow, convenience store trips for snacks and energy drinks really added up in my young age!


Do you already feel like there may not be hope? Stuck just paying your minimums? Or you just don't know how to begin the process of paying down existing debt? There are some great calculators out there online, but one great tool I've found is this one over at CareOneCredit.com.

You simply enter the amount you owe, the amount you charge on the card each month, the amount you pay each month, and the interest rate. Then you can see graphs and tables that will tell you how quickly you can pay off that debt. Accelerate your payment amount by $50/month and see how much you can save in interest!


I strongly believe the best way to either stay out or get out of credit card debt is to stay accountable for your purchases and track it with a monthly budget. Don't get discouraged if you stray off course. Just know you may have to trim your budget elsewhere.

What better time to start than NOW? In the NEW YEAR! Do you have any questions about budgeting? Would you like to hear more about budgeting and saving? I'd love to hear your responses, comments, and questions!



I received compensation from Net Focus Media for writing this post.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

10 Tips That Could Save Your Life

Are you paranoid? I am. To a fault. I stress and worry. I always think of worst case scenarios. Especially after watching a thriller or suspense movie. Then I don't sleep. For days.

The sad truth of the matter is... in this day in age, you need to be a little paranoid. And you have to be prepared. You don't have to take it to my extremes by any means. #nothealthy.

But here are a few things you can do that may just save your life someday. I've borrowed these from a compilation of FWD's over the years from my Grandma, posts on Facebook and Pinterest, and word of mouth.




1.) This one makes total sense, and I wish I'd thought of it myself. Most cars nowadays have a key fob. That key fob has a panic button. You may not have an alarm on your home, but if you keep your keys on your nightstand at night, you can hit that panic button when in need and certainly will draw attention to your home. Whether it be break in, medical emergency, etc. You may never need it, but it provides a nice little piece of mind.

2.) This one I can vouch for from personal experience. While driving, ALWAYS lock your doors. In 2008, I was driving just a couple blocks from my home when I came to a red light. I was turning right. At the intersection a man who appeared to be homeless / a transient knocked on my window. I was alone, with my purse on the passenger seat, I just shook my head no and hoped the light would turn green soon. He then started to try to open my door and proceeded to kick the side of my car repeatedly. When the light turned green I sped away. Pulled into a parking lot a mile or so away and called the police. They and the several cars behind me at the light did nothing. I was scared beyond belief. I may never know the man's intensions and I hope they were not sinister. But chances are, if someone is trying to force their way into your vehicle, their motives are not pure.

3.) When walking outside alone in daylight or night. Stay off your phone and be aware of your surroundings. Even if just from the grocery store to your car. Don't allow yourself to be distracted. No more walking with your head down texting. You hear me ladies?

4.) Trust your instincts. This is a crazy world we live in. You know the saying "Better safe, than sorry"? Well, in this case, better paranoid, than dead. Some of the most notorious serial killers, i.e. Ted Bundy, were clean cut, decent looking, and seemed educated. If approached by a stranger look them in the eye, let them know you've seen their face, and keep your personal bubble. Try to avoid stair wells when alone if possible.

5.) This sounds like common sense, but regardless of where you live, keep your doors on your home locked while away and while at home. My husband always tells me, if someone wants in badly enough they will break out a window, etc. True, but that window breaking will give you an advantage of warning and many criminals are looking for an easy target!

6.) Don't ever get into the mentality that something bad could never / will never happen to you. Better to have a plan that is never put to use, than none at all. Keep your cell phone charged. Have a strategy in place for family evacuation in case of fire, break in, or some other threat. Where will you meet up? Do you have a disaster kit prepped? Natural disasters and unforseen circumstances can crop up. Having a rubbermaid tote filled with some basic supplies doesn't make you a nut case. It makes you prepared.

7.) Have an exit strategy. It's sad that we have to think about these things, but when in a restaurant, theater, school, place of work. Always try to be aware of the nearest emergency exit. Teach your kids to do so as well.

8.) Coming from a blogger, this one might sound hypocritical... But keep your personal details private. The internet can be a scary place too. When you open yourself up online, you are not just letting your friends know about you, but potential predators as well. Be sure to check your privacy settings on Facebook and other social networking sites often to make sure any of their "updates" haven't exposed your account to any sharing you aren't wanting. For example, when you add a new profile pic on Facebook it will become public automatically UNLESS you choose friends only or otherwise.

9.) As a financial professional, this one has always been encouraged amongst employees. Vary your routine. Do you run alone in your neighborhood every afternoon on the same route? Do you take the same drive to work every day at the same time, parking in the same spot? If someone is watching you they will pick up on this.

10.) Prepare for combat. Carry pepper spray, a whistle, etc. It's ok to take some self defense classes. In fact, I highly recommend it. I have seen some recommendations of having small key chain weapons, like Kubatons. It is an offensive weapon that will be able to deter someone more than just your hands and fists. Simply put, there are defensive and offensive items at your disposal to carry if you desire. Research them. They may give you some peace of mind.


Do you have any additional personal safety or self defense tips you'd like to share? Please comment and let me know. I'd love to work on a follow up post. Knowledge is power my friends!

Please share with anyone you think could use these reminders! Sharing may also save someone else's life as well.

Be safe!!!
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Friday, January 4, 2013

The Week of "No's" - Revisited

About 6 months ago, I posted about my week of no's. And I felt compelled to revisit the subject.

I am the Mama of a 2 year old. "No" is an all too familiar word in our home.


Here's the most recent photo of us taken last week. She's getting so big. Almost 3. And I think the terrible 2's have only gotten worse!

This morning, like many others was full of "no's." No, I do not want my shoes on. No, I do not want to help you pick up my breakfast that I just spilled all over the floor. No I will not sit in time out. You get the picture right? I love her dearly though, and 99% of the time, she's a pretty good kid. I might be a little biased, but I digress...

So I decided to take a positive twist on "no". Each day of the week, I'm putting into place a new "no." And here is how it is all laid out...

Monday - No processed foods. This was the start of an attempt to completely eliminate processed foods from my diet, so far doing ok with it. Aside from energy drinks, do those count?

Update: I totally train wrecked this one. Although I did 3 weeks in October of whole foods / non processed, etc. And I felt great, but it was TOUGH.

Tuesday - No internet (at home.) I have to be on it at work....

Update: Totally haven't followed through on this one. With shop orders, listing new items, working on the new website, and a little online shopping, this one is probably the most unrealistic of all.

Wednesday - No TV. Ok, so I probably can't stop my hubby from playing video games. But Wednesday nights will be no tv shows or movies.

Thursday - No spending. Yup, that's right. I challenge myself to a day of no spending. No stopping for coffee, no going out for lunch or running to the grocery store after work for a few last minute things for dinner, etc.

This one is great. I'm working on expanding it to 2 or 3 days a week!

Friday - No chores - no housework. Yup that's right. Friday nights after work will be my night of rest. I've got all weekend to get that stuff done.

Saturday - No watches, clocks, or checking the time. Saturday is family time! No set time for being here or there, or doing this or that. Let the day take us where it may.

Sunday - No beverages - except for water. Sounds harsh, right? But if you knew me, you'd know I drink about 4 ounces of water per week, on a good week.

So there you have it - a week of No's with a positive twist.



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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

This year....

This year....


I will snuggle my daughter more.

I will complain less and appreciate the blessings I have.

I will read more and watch less TV.

I will write more letters.

I will go on more date nights with my hubby.

I will focus more on my health.

I will drink more water.

I will not dwell on the past.

I will laugh more.

I will not only start, but finish, more craft projects.

I will get my store website completed.

I will pamper myself every now and again. My eyebrows desperately need waxed. And I haven't had my nails done in years.

I will save more and spend less, determining needs and wants along the way.

I will focus on what matters and forget about what does not.

This year, I will embrace life and love.

I hope you all had a safe and fun New Year's!



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