Friday, August 30, 2013

High Five for Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome to the weekend!

Before I head off to labor day cookouts and college football games I wanted to share my five favorites from this week.

 1. You know it's going to to be a good day when your mom makes you breakfast that looks like this. I stayed with my parents last weekend to hang out with my little sister. Breakfast was a nice bonus.
 2. An Instagram pic of me enjoying a Sunday drive. I've got to enjoy these sunny days while I can because fall is coming soon!
 3. This was my husbands dresser growing up. Some day our children will use it. I like furniture that can be passed down.
 4. This is what the walls in our spare room look like (the same room where the dresser above lives.) The people who lived her before us have girls. I feel like the pink stripe was a compromise to an all pink room. We need to paint and make this house our own.
5. I got new jeans in the mail! I ordered some skinny jeans for fall so that I could wear them with boots and they came today! I have been told on more than one occasion that I dress too old for my age (am I the only one who hears that?) Skinny jeans make me feel cool even in my black socks :)

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Love for Audiobooks

When was the last time you listened to an audiobook?

Sometimes I feel like people forget about them and how wonderfully convenient they are. This summer I "read" Slim for Life by Jillian Michaels, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker, Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, and I am currently listening to Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson. Actually, I was sitting in my driveway, in my parked car, when I got home this afternoon just so I could listen for a few more minutes it.

I have learned so much this summer from these books. I probably wouldn't have found the time to actually read these books in print, but because I checked them out from the library on CD it was easy to listen to them in my car. My commute to work is short (thank goodness) so I was surprised how fast I got through some of these books.

I prefer to listen to non-fiction books while driving so because I don't get so absorbed in the story. Last year I started listening to Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and I had the check out the printed book from the library to finish the story one weekend. It was that fantastic. Although when I'm listening to a non-fiction book I will sometimes check the printed book out of the library just to look sometimes up when I get back home.

Do you like to listen to audiobooks?

Monday, August 26, 2013

So You Want to Start a Book Club?

Yes, yes I do want to start a book club, and I am!

I have been thinking of starting a book club for a few months but I wanted something that was low to no commitment for my friends and gave everyone some options about what books they were reading. Life is too short to read books that you're not interested in. So this is what I came up with.

A get together at my house every three months and a choice of reading two books over those three months. That way everyone has the option of reading one, none or both of the books. Hopefully this schedule will be flexible for most of my friends and hosting isn't a huge commitment either since it's only four times per year.

So far I've had some great feedback from the women I've invited and I thought I would share what books we are reading with you. Our book club will get together in November and we are reading The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen and The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. I've read The Girl Who Chased the Moon before but I picked it for the book group because I wanted to make sure I knew at least one of the books was really good; although I have heard nothing but good things about The House at Riverton as well. I gushed about how much I love all of Sarah Addison Allen's books here.

I think it's important to be intentional about your friendships if you want to keep them. I've also let everyone in the group know that they are more than welcome to bring their friends, roommates, sisters, coworkers, etc.. Hopefully the books will be good common topics of conversation for everyone.

Have you read either one of these books? Are you in a book club?

Friday, August 23, 2013

High Five for Friday!

Happy Friday Everyone!

I'm linking up with Lauren to share five things that made me smile this week.

 1. The Google Doodle played my favorite song, Clair de Lune in honor of Debussy's birthday. It was definitely a nice surprise.
 2. I love reading in the morning (I've mentioned that before) but I espically like reading encouraing words to start my day. This is from One Year to an Organized Financial Life  by Regina Leeds and Russell Wild.
3. Have you tried these Bunny Grahams from Annie's Home Grown? They are fantastic. I love discovering new snacks.

4. This week my husband and I got to have lunch with his parents on Sunday and then dinner with my parents on Wednesday. I love seeing family and catching up with them.

5. I had this afternoon off! I love my job, but I also love have a free Friday afternoon :)

How was your week?

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Plans for the Half Bath

On Monday I shared my whole house color scheme. Today I'm back with some plans for our half bath.

These are the pieces I have for the bathroom so far.

The light fixture is in the middle of a makeover (obviously) and the mirror we've had for awhile. The faucet is an oil rubbed bronze color which I think will look nice with the light fixture. I'm thinking of getting cabinet hardware reminiscent of antique glass knobs; maybe something like this

I think the walls would look great in the Moody Blue color for Sherwin Williams it's the color in the top left corner.
And for the icing in the cake I'm thinking of doing either horizontal stripes in alternating between glossy and flat paint or stenciling stars on the wall in a translucent metallic silvery-bronze color. The idea of the stars came from here. The lighting in the half bath is not great so I think adding a little shimmer on the walls will up the drama factor. Plus since it's such a tiny room it's not as big of a  commitment when it comes to stenciling. Hopefully the crawl hands that are the results of a long day stenciling will be kept to a minimum. Right now I'm leaning towards the stars but I haven't made up my mind yet.

Have a happy Wednesday everyone!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Color Plan

Before I jump into my bathroom makeover I thought I'd think about what colors I want in our home as a whole. I'm thinking big picture here. This house is my first decorating project and although I know that I'll make mistakes, I at least want to have a plan to make the rooms look cohesive. (What can I say it's the Type A in me that needs a plan before I can start.)

Sherwin Williams allows you to save colors online, which was really handy because I got to see how a bunch of colors worked together; adding and subtracting colors as needed. So this is what I came up with a the neutral base colors for our home.

The colors here (in no particular order) are Windsor Greige, Sandbar, Moody Blue, Sea Salt, Downing Stone, Perfect Greige, Kilim Beige.  Now I might not paint any of my walls these exact shades but I like the feel of these colors. Some warm and some cool for a nice balance of neutral tones with a little blue. I want to use these colors (or colors like them) on walls, window treatments etc.

As for accents I want to bring in bolder colors in things like pillows and artwork.
The colors here (in order) are  Antique Red, Naval, Evergreens and Surf Green. Again, I might not use these exact colors but I like the idea of the navy and green being the main accent colors and then bringing in more teal in the spring and summer and then more red in the fall and winter.

I'm not going to use all these colors together in one room at the same time but I think having coordinating colors throughout the house will help the flow and cohesiveness of it all.

Do you have similar colors throughout your home? Or is every room different? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Happy Friday

So this week hardly too pictures, but I still wanted to reflect on some highlights from this week!

1. I finished reading Mary Poppins and it was adorable. I'm glad to have finally read it (it was about time!)

2. The hubby and I went out to dinner with my sister and brother-in-law on a weeknight! We don't do things like that often so it was fun, and we had gift cards which made it even more affordable :)

3. This week the weather has felt like fall and I love it.

4. I'm finally watching season three of Downton Abbey and loving it even if it makes me ugly cry. I only have two episodes left and then I'm all caught up!

5. This post is super late because we were at a friends house for dinner! I think we're going to make it a monthly thing and switch up who hosts the dinner each month. I brought a salad with strawberries, pecans, feta cheese and a vinaigrette dressing. 

I will be a much better photograher in the upcoming week so next weeks high five for Friday will be much prettier.

Have a happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And so it begins...

On Monday I wrote a post about why decorating is important to me. Now that I have had time to think on that for a few days I have decided to start decorating my house with the smallest room. Since I'm a rookie at this, starting small is probably a good idea. So, which room is the smallest, might you ask? Well it's our half bathroom.

I stole this picture from my house tour post. Anyway, because I love lists I decided to start with a list of all the things I'd like to do in this room.

Half Bath

- Remove towel bars/holders

- Replace light fixture

- Paint

- Update mirror

- Add shelving

- Paint vanity?

- Add knobs to vanity

- Bring in accessories

 Because I am a person who wants to be inspired by numbers (as in making the most of my budget) I of course did a little research to see how much these things will cost. There are a few things I already have (like a mirror and light fixture that I just made over (praying that it works) which will keep the costs down.) I'll probably skip painting the vanity for now so that leaves me with purchasing paint, shelving, vanity knobs and accessories. I think I can do all of this for $100 or less. Or at least that is is the challenge I am giving myself. 

Do you think I can do it? I must be honest, this isn't going to be the fastest bathroom makeover (this girl doesn't even own a paint brush yet,) so a reveal next week would be doubtful. But I hope you'll still check in with me to see how things are progressing. You've got to start somewhere right?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Thoughts on Decorating

I am hesitant to write this post because I know as soon as I press publish I will think of a million more things to say. But, here is goes anyway.

This weekend I had a conversation with my mom about how our house (referring to my childhood) was never really "decorated" and I wish it would have been. I love decorating but to be honest I can be overly frugal and sometimes it can be hard for me to spend money on things I don't think I need. I had a comforter, I didn't need a new one. I had blinds to cover my windows, I didn't need decorative curtains. 

We are coming up on a year of living in this house and I haven't done much in terms of decorating but I think about how I'd like to decorate this house all. the. time. It consumes much of my thoughts and I always feel like I don't have enough money or my house is too messy and unorganized to even get started. The same went for our apartment before we moved. I didn't want to waste money on making it our own if we were only going to live there short term.

But now I'm realizing a few things. Decorating is important. At least it is to me. When I see houses like the Parade of Homes I just imagine myself living in the beautifully decorated spaces and I want that for my own space. I really love my home and just living with items that are purely functional and not at all pretty makes me kind of sad. For example right now I'm writing this blog post while my computer sits on a folding table in our front room. Next to me is a plastic tower of drawers holding office supplies. This is the first thing you see when you walk in our house. I am not worried about the "impression" people get of our home when they first walk in; I care because it makes me sad to see it that way. I am not at all inspired by folding tables and plastic drawers.

By no means do I think it's acceptable to over-extend ourselves to decorate our home but I do think it's important to use our dollars wisely. Making a plan about how we want each room to look and function and then executing that plan as our budget allows is a good idea. Then I'll see progress, which will free up my thoughts from constantly mentally decorating and allow me to be creative in other areas, or just sit back and really enjoy my time here with friends and family.

It's talking me a little while to process that. I have always loved decorating and now that I am understanding just how important it is to me personally, I realize I have to make it more of a priority.

What are you thoughts on decorating? Is it something you've always loved but never achieved like me? Or is a new space a reason to decorate no matter what? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, August 9, 2013

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday! I'm linking up with Lauren to share five highlights from my week!

 1. I got a picture of Ellie and I both looking at the camera at the same time. She does not sit still when the camera comes out (unless she's sleeping) so this is pretty impressive.

 2. Grow little backyard strawberry, grow!
3. I went shopping with my youngest sister today! I've wanted these shoes for a long time and although I didn't end up taking them home today I have a feeling they will be home with me soon. These are perfect for work.

4. Garage sale find from Saturday. This was only $10 bucks! It will be beautiful when I'm done with it, just you wait and see :)

5. I took the afternoon off work today! Although I love my job, Fridays are especially high five worthy when you only have to work a half day. 

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Christmas Savings Divide and Conquer!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Today I want to expand a little on my Monday post. On Monday I shared my guide for the 2013 Holiday Season. One of the things I briefly discussed was start saving money this month! I wanted to talk about that a little more. The easiest way to save money is to divide it up into smaller chunks. There is more than one way to do this.

Here are a few examples for you using $500 as the savings goal amount.

First up, divide by month:  There are five months between now and the end of the year so you would need to save $100 a month to have $500 by Christmas.

By week: If you start this Friday that leaves you with twenty weeks until Christmas so that is $12.50 a week you need to save.

 By payday every other week: If you get paid every other week then you have about ten paydays until Christmas (depending on what day of the week you get paid and how they fall) so then you’ll need to save $50 out of every paycheck in order to reach your goal.

By payday first and fifteenth: If you get paid the first and fifteenth of every month then you have nine paydays between now and Christmas which means you need to save $55.55555 ($56 with rounding) each pay day in order to hit the makr.

Day by day: Or maybe you want to save a little every day.  There are 139 days until Christmas which means you need to save $3.59712 a day (okay let’s just round up to $4 a day.) Can you believe less that $5 a days gives you $500 by Christmas! That's awesome!

Do any of those saving methods work for you? Remember $500 is just an example, please use whatever savings amount you have set as your guide.

Monday, August 5, 2013

My 2013 Holiday Guide

Am I really talking about the holidays? On August fifth? Yes, yes I am because every year I feel like 
December is a stressful month and this year I want it to be different. My goal is to be able to sit back and soak up the Christmas season when it rolls around and I though I would share my plans with you.


-Write out a list of people I want to give gifts to and how much I think I want to spend. Make a plan to set that much aside between now and the Christmas season.

-Start on handmade gifts. If I want to crochet a scarf for my sister I better start now.

-Make a gift ideas list so that when friend and family mention something they like I can make a note of it which will make purchasing presents a lot easier.


-Practice some recipes.  This Christmas I want to make homemade cinnamon rolls and I have a cookie exchange to go to; so now is the time to get my practice on.


-Take pictures for Christmas cards. Every year I have the best intentions of sending out Christmas cards and every year it doesn’t happen. This year I want to be on the ball and take some good photos in October for Christmas cards.

-Buy a tree skirt. My cat likes to eat the tree skirt we have had in previous years so  this year I need to find something more cat friendly. I’d also like to get a few new decorations for the house.


-Start my Christmas shopping. I like to shop online so I am going to get started on this early in November so I don’t have to pay for rush shipping (which sometimes happens when I wait too long to buy gifts.)

-Address all of my Christmas cards so I can drop them in the mail the week after Thanksgiving.

-Get holiday outfits together for me and my hubby. Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and all of the parties in between, now is a good time to make sure we’ve got the basics covered. Which means make sure our dress shoes are in good condition and we’ve got some appropriately dressy outfits to wear.

-If I had kids I would use November to gather advent calendar ideas and supplies together so that I was ready to go come December first.


-Finish my holiday shopping. Wrap presents as I purchase them and do not wait until the last minute (like I normally do.)

-Spend time watching movies, driving around a looking at Christmas lights and drinking hot chocolate.

-Make memories with family and friends. 

Have you started thinking about Christmas yet?

Friday, August 2, 2013



(I'm a little excited for the weekend.)

Today I am linking up with Lauren to share my five favorites from this week.

 1. Reading in the morning is definitely one of my all time favorites. I don't know why it took me so long to develop this habit. Can't you just image getting up extra special early when you were in high school or college to read? I'm kidding, I didn't want to get out of bed either back then. I needed my beauty sleep.
 2. Harry Potter. I was so excited about these books, I wanted to take them home even though there is no possible way I could ever read them.
 3. I hung out with Rio! He's such a sweetheart. He turns his head a perks up his ears when you say his name. Most adorable thing ever.
4. At 5:51 PM there are only 144 days 6 hours 8 minutes and 33 seconds until Christmas. Not that I'm counting. This website  is the coolest. When you visit it from your computer, it snows! Sadly it doesn't snow on your phone.

5. My sister Alex is guest posting over on Simply Clarke about buying her first house. You should go check it out.

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