Monday, January 14, 2019

a breakdown of what I spent this weekend

Anyone else obsessed with MoneyDiaries on Refinery29? I seriously could sit and read them all day. When I first started reading them it was because I was nosey and find it fascinating to see how people spend their money. I also like to see how much different things cost in different parts of the world. And while I still like reading them at this surface level I've starting analyzing them a little more and reading into the deeper content. The Money Diaries series are a great first step to really thinking about how you spend your money. I've never really been a budgeteer. I know how much money I have in my account and I just don't spend more. But one thing I really want to work on this year is budgeting, and the first step is seeing how I spend my money. I thought a breakdown of what I spent this weekend would be a good first step in really looking into my spending habits.

Money Diaries are always anonymous and the photo is a random item they bought that week 

Friday 4pm- It's been a long week so I leave work an hour early and head home hoping to beat the traffic. It seems like everyone else had the same idea because I sit in traffic anyway. I get home and take the puppy out letting him run around extra long in the bark park at our apartment. Shortly after my fiancé gets home we head out to grab an early dinner. First we stop at Target to pick up an electric toothbrush he's been wanting. Electric toothbrushes remind me too much of the dentist so I don't get one, but I'd pre purchased it for him with the pick up in store function so I pay. We leave and head to McAlisters for dinner. I've been craving their chicken salad sandwich and sweet tea. He buys because I bought the toothbrush.
Total Spent : $42

Friday 7pm - Back home we decide to watch all the shows we've recorded during the week. We hardly ever watch anything live preferring to record them to watch later all at once. I decide to do some online shopping while we watch. Our engagement photos are scheduled in a couple of weeks and I can't decide what to wear. Last weekend I ordered a couple of party skirts from Amazon but didn't realize my shipping defaulted to my old Vail address until I received the shipping notice. My old post office is forwarding the box to me, but couldn't tell me when it'll arrive. These photos are obviously important so I don't want to wait and try to scramble a couple days before to find something. I order 3 dresses that I think will photograph well, hoping one will work and I'll return the rest.
Total Spent : $312

Saturday 9:30am - My favorite part of the weekend is waking up without an alarm. Getting to wake up when my body is ready does so much for my mental health. I eat a frozen breakfast sandwich and head out the door. I head to the post office to drop off my thank you notes from Christmas. I also need to buy stamps. Prices are going up this month and with my wedding I'll be using a lot this year. I pick out some pretty ones with hearts in the shape of flower that I think are the most wedding appropriate.
Total Spent : $100

Saturday 11am- I have a facial scheduled this morning. Spa days are a luxury I don't usually indulge in, but my parents gave me money for Christmas and a spa I've been following on Instagram was running a holiday special. I've already paid for the facial but the estonian convinces me to do an add on when I mention I want to focus on my skin care routine this year since I'm getting married. I also add tip and purchase a moisturizer she suggests that I can use for both day and night.
Total Spent : $129

Saturday 1pm - I call my fiancé when I'm leaving the spa to see if he wants to grab lunch before running some errands. He agrees so I pick him up and we agree on a popular brunch place in the mall since we needs to grab a few things anyway. We add our name to the waitlist and walk over to the shave store so he can buy some new shaving cream. Our table still isn't ready so I run over to pick up the book I have on hold at the library. For the last 5+ years I've been a big proponent of the library in an effort to save money and have less stuff; the Dallas library has a branch in the mall that's mostly used for children's story time but is super convenient for me to stop in and pick up books I've requested from other branches. Our table is now ready and I order a spicy chicken sandwich with pasta salad and a water; he has a cheese burger, fries, and coke. He buys because I'm going to buy the groceries later.
Total Spent : $0 

Saturday 3pm - Next stop is the grocery store. We always shop for the majority of our groceries at the same store to get the gas points. We make a quick list of what we'll cook this week and realize we don't need too much. We find a good deal on chicken breasts (buy one pack get two free!) and also decide to splurge and buy shrimp to eat tonight. Bacon, Sausage, a container of presliced veggies for roasting later in the week, a bag of romaine, orange juice, a block of cheddar cheese, and a bag of Smartpop.
Total Spent : $66

Saturday 4:30pm - Next month I'm going home for a mardi grass ball with my parents. I bought a new long dress but still need to get it hemmed. I take it to a seamstress with good reviews who will have it ready in a week. I don't have to pay until I pick up. Next I run over to DSW to return some shoes I ordered to go with the dress but don't love. While I'm there I decide to look around because I have a 20% off coupon and find some I do love.
Total Spent : $52  - $76 for returns 

Saturday 7pm - My fiancé cooks dinner (shrimp and grits!) while we watch the Cowboys game. The game doesn't end like we'd hoped, but dinner sure was good. I'm lucky to have a fiancé that likes to cook, and cooks things that I normally wouldn't. It really helps with the date nights at home. We also have a couple of beers we picked up last week on a liquor store run.
Total Spent : $0

Sunday 10am - I getting the start of a cold so we sleep in and skip church this morning. Sunday morning church is part of our weekly routine but we decide the extra sleep will be good for me and God understands. My fiancé cooks a big breakfast - pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs with pesto. I have chocolate almond milk and he has a mimosa.
Total Spent : $0

Sunday 1pm - The plan was to make crockpot chicken to go in a bag of tortilla soup mix I've had in the pantry for a while, but we realize we forgot to grab salsa at the grocery store. We decide instead we'll make burrito bowls and my fiancé runs out to grab a bell pepper and onion. He stops and turns in my winning scratch off ticket from the other week and also grabs some frozen cokes to drink while watching football. I do some laundry I've been putting off all weekend and roll spare change I've been collecting since I moved in April.
Total Spent : -$55 from my scratch off ticket and change 

Sunday 7pm - We make burrito bowls with grilled chicken, bell pepper, onion, rice, and frozen Mexican corn from Trader Joes. This is one of our favorite meals because we also have leftovers which reheat well for lunch the next day. My fiancé decides we should start watching Game of Thrones from the beginning since I've never seen it and he wants to watch the final season with me when it comes out. I shower (I usually shower at night to let my hair air dry) and head to bed early reading a couple of chapters of my book before falling asleep.
Total Spent : $0

Total for the Weekend : $570

Let me know, is this the kind of post you'd be interested in seeing more often? Have you done a similar breakdown of your spending?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

2019 Intentions

On Monday I finally shared by 2018 goals recap so today I'm sharing my 2019 intentions. Notice how I'm calling them intentions and not goals or resolutions? I like the idea of intentions because it gives me a little more grace if I don't fully accomplish everyone. Resolutions feels like you're setting yourself up for failure and if you don't accomplish goals you're a failure. But this year I'm simply intending to do these things. I'm also only focusing on 4 intentions this year, sure there are more things I'd like to accomplish in 2019, but these are at the top of my list.

1. Save $3600 - This is the most important thing for me on this list. Since I've moved to Dallas I haven't put as much of a focus on saving as I had been, and that needs to end. The fiancée and I hope to buy a home in 2020, but that won't happen unless we seriously save in 2019.

2. Read 12 books - This was such a success in 2018 I knew I had to continue it in 2019! I'd love to read more than 12 books, but with another year of a full calendar I just don't think that's possible. I'm in a good routine of reading at least a few pages every night before bed; if I keep that up all year I should have no problem achieving this one again.

3. Feel confident in photos - It took me a long time to figure out how to phrase this goal. Last year I wanted to go down a dress size and that didn't work. I still don't think the answer is hitting a certain number on the scale either though. I have a lot of photos in my future for 2019 and really all I want is to be able to look at them and feel like I look good. I think that's partly loosing some weight and partly feeling confident in my own skin and realizing I'll never be 16 year old dance team skinny again.

4. Get involved in something in Dallas - The hardest part about moving as an adult is making friends. In Vail I was in an unique position where almost everyone I worked with was also new and so we quickly all became friends and then was able to slowly add to my friend group from there. I haven't had that luxury here in Dallas. This year I really want to get involved in something to make some girl friends. Dallas is where I plan to spend the rest of my life so I seriously need to "find my tribe."

Did you make goals/resolutions this year? What are your 2019 intentions?

Monday, January 7, 2019

2018 Goals Recap

Happy 2019! I know I'm almost a week late, but last week I was enjoying the last of my holiday break from work and just honestly couldn't be bothered to do anything except relax. For the first time in my life I work in an office that closes for the holidays and enjoyed the most time off work I've had since moving the Vail back in 2015. To say I enjoyed my time off is a major understatement, but I'm feeling refreshed and rested like I haven't in a long time!

2018 was a huge year for me; new job, new city, new fiancé! When 2018 started I was honestly feeling a little over whelmed and burnt-out. Work was crazy busy as we were finishing up a major system upgrade I was tasked with being the point person for. It was a huge task, especially because I don't consider myself to be an especially tech savvy person, but I learned a lot and was able to add a huge experience to my resume. That stress combined with the cold, but dry (not good in a ski town!) winter had me in a funk. I knew I needed some kind of change and it was around this time last year that I really started to seriously consider a move. That ultimately came to fruition a few months later when I accepted my new job and made the 14 hour drive to Dallas. Shortly (as in within 60 days) after starting my new job in Dallas my director put in his notice and our team of 3 became a team of 2 about 6 weeks before our largest conference of the year. Thankfully everything went off without a hitch and we had a great conference. A few weeks after that the love of my life proposed and we started wedding planning for our big day! All of that is to say that 2018 was a total whirlwind of a year, started out kinda low but certainly finished out on a high!

One of my favorite 2018 photos

And now a formal 2018 goals recap!

1. Save $1200 - Okay confession time, I'm not 100% sure if I hit this one or not, but I'm pretty sure I didn't. I honestly can't remember how much was in my savings account when 2018 started, but I didn't add the $100 to my savings account each month like I'd hoped. Honestly I don't feel too bad about this one, because I did move and fully furnish a new apartment this year. 

2. Go down a dress size - This was a big time failure. I blame it on moving to the South where we cook everything in butter, drink sweet tea by the gallon, and Sprinkles Cupcakes is such an easy stop on my way home from church on Sundays. 

3. Publish 100 blog posts - Again, didn't do so hot here, at 53 posts for the year I barely hit half my goal. With everything I had going on I don't feel bad that I didn't blog more because I was busy! But I do hate that I missed out on such good content to share. 

4. Go to church consistently - This was a huge success! I'm happy to report that since moving to Dallas not only do I go to church almost every Sunday, but I'm also officially a member of a parish. We're getting married in our church here in Dallas so taking the time to fill out the paperwork to officially join only made sense. 

5. Read 12 books - 100% complete! Honestly I'm most proud of this considering how much else I had going on this year. The Goodreads challenge really helped me stay accountable for this one. Favorite titles from the year were The Alice Network, The Gilded Years, and Small Admissions

6. Visit one new place - I actually visited a few new places this year, St. Louis, Toronto, and San Antonio  Plus a move to a new place, Dallas!

7. Complete 20 things on my 101 in 1001 list and blog about them - If I really think about it I probably did 20 things, but I know I didn't blog about them. Hopefully I can get some posts written soon about some of these things. 

8. Don't feel guilty for doing what makes me happy - I'd say this one was a success. Sure I felt bad a couple of times for not blogging more or eating healthy, but (obviously) most of the time I just tuned that out and did what I wanted. 

How'd you do with your 2018 goals?

Monday, December 24, 2018

childhood Christmas memories and traditions

Happy Christmas Eve! Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite childhood Christmas memories and traditions.

1. Eating Chinese takeout on Christmas Eve - My family has been doing this for as long as I can remember and I still do it today. It started because there are only so many meals in a row you can eat holiday food leftovers, so mix in some Chinese takeout leftovers and you're good! I'm excited because our favorite Chinese takeout in Dallas is just around the corner from our church so we'll go to Christmas Eve Mass and then pick up all the leftovers before heading home to eat and watch some Christmas movies.

2. Putting on the Christmas story plays with my siblings - I have two sisters and a brother and we'd put on a full production of the Christmas story (the Biblical one, not the Red Rider BB Gun one) each year when we were little. We'd play the parts, making my older sister play everything except for Mary, Joseph, and the Angel. The costumes were old dance costumes, bed sheets, and bath robes; we'd even use stuffed animals as props! We of course thought it was Broadway quality, but I'm sure we'd all die laughing if we saw a recording of it now.

3. The Christmas I didn't get anything on my list - When I was 6 years old I wrote a letter to Santa, put it in the mail, and then didn't get a single thing on my list. Okay so that sounds really harsh, and there's of course a good reason, but it was very traumatic to 6 year old me. My mom was 7 months pregnant that Christmas and I was not exactly excited about getting a baby sister. So instead of Santa bringing me those gifts they all came from my baby sister two months later. Instead under the Christmas tree I got the pink version of everything my older sister had asked for/gotten under the tree from Santa. My mom thought if the new baby gave me all the gifts I'd wanted I'd be more excited about her being born.

4. Reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - Growing up my mom would read this book to my siblings and I every year. This is such a classic story to me that I'm always surprised when more people have never read it. It's a great short read (about 75 pages) that's fun and endearing and really helps you remember the true meaning of Christmas. This year I borrowed a copy from my library and have been reading it a few pages a night to help put me in the Christmas spirit!

What's one of your favorite childhood Christmas memories?

Friday, December 14, 2018

2018 Gift Guide - Gifts $30 and under

When I started thinking about what holiday content I wanted to share on the blog I started by thinking of what holiday content I enjoy seeing from others. Gift Guides are the obvious go to for October through the end of the year, but if we're being honest those posts are the ones I'm least likely to open on other blogs. Now I'm not saying I never open gift guides, but I find most of them just don't appeal to me. Most feel like just a repeat of everything I could find by clicking the gifts section of Nordstrom and I think we're all smart enough to be able to do that without a linked gift guide. So after much thought I've decided to be much more selective in the gift guides I do publish this year and honestly today's may be the only one I publish.

Gifts $30 and under are my favorite gifts because they are so versatile. These can be for stocking stuffers, white elephant parties, coworkers or small just because. Most gifts in this category are a little frivolous but that's what make them so fun!

history of women mug - If I thought I had room for another coffee mug I would buy this one in a heart beat. I think coffee mugs are great gifts because they're available in such a wide variety of colors and prints and styles.
cow ornament - Ornaments are my favorite gift for someone I don't know well. Cute local boutiques have great options, but they're sometimes on the more expensive side. Department stores have great choices and are usually a great bargain!
glitter hour glass - There's no way you could open this and not smile! I think this would be such a fun gift for your favorite gal pal at work.
tumbler - Like ornaments, tumblers are some of my favorite gifts for people I don't know super well. Everyone needs to stay hydrated so this is a fun and practical gift.
peppermint bark - I can't stop won't stop eating peppermint bark. It is my holiday guilty pleasure and I thought this puppy paws version was extra cute!
earring supply kit - If you're trying to find a practical gift this is the one for you! It has a variety of earring backs and wires to help you make your favorite pair wearable again.
picture perfect picture frame - A framed photo is a great gift for someone when you know you want to give something meaningful, but maybe don't have a huge budget. This Kate Spade one is currently on sale and darling!
face mask set - This set is a great value; 4 masks for under $10! Add a bottle of wine or a candle and this is a super great gift for someone in need of a little self care and relaxation.
bubblebath - I love philosophy's holiday collection! These delicious scented bubble baths are such a  fun gift for any age

What are your favorite $30 and under gifts?

Monday, November 19, 2018

3 tips to furnishing a new home

7 months after moving into my apartment I've finally purchased and placed the last piece of furniture to furnish it! This post originally was on my calendar to publish back in the spring when I moved to Dallas, but life happened and things took longer than expected. Furnishing my apartment has been such a fun thing because this is the first time I've lived alone and had a place I needed to furnish. Both my rentals in Vail came furnished which was great there because I knew I didn't want to live in Colorado forever. When I made the decision to move I listed the few furnishings I'd picked up on Craigslist for sale meaning I was able to start with a fresh canvas here. These 3 tips for furnishing a new home are helpful wether you're starting from scratch or just updating what you already have!

1. Have a budget and stick to it - Furniture is an investment, but that doesn't mean it has to break the bank. When I started furnishing my apartment the first thing I did was sit and really think about how much I wanted to spend, because let's be real I have champagne taste on a beer budget. The next step was prioritizing the most important pieces of furniture to decide where to spend the bulk of my budget. I decided the most important pieces for me were the mattress and couch as these were two items I knew I'd want to take with me and use for years to come. I obviously hope to use my tv stand and kitchen stools in my next home, but those are items where the size of the space plays a big role. Just because something is over budget doesn't mean you can't have it. I fell in love with this beautiful white dresser and almost didn't get it because it was more than I'd wanted to spend on that piece. I ultimately decided no other dresser was going to compare and it was worth it to skim the budget from other pieces so I could have this one piece I'd fallen in love with.

2. Have a realistic timeline and don't feel rushed - Admittedly 7 months was a bit longer than my timeline to furnish my apartment, but for me it worked. I bought the big things (bed, couch, coffee table) early but waited until I found pieces that really fit my look for everything else. The last item I purchased was a side table for my living room; I had moved with a table that was a little too big for the space but it did the job until I found a table that was perfect. Resist the urge to buy everything at once unless you're really in love with what you're seeing. Also don't feel bad about purchasing things our of order. I was convinced I had to purchase all my furniture before fun things like lamps and pillows, but I almost missed out on the perfect table lamp from Homegoods because I hadn't bought all my furniture first. Luckily I came to my senses and after not being able to get it out of my head for a week they still had one in stock when I went back to the store.

3. Do your research - There are so many places to buy furniture the options can easily get overwhelming. I suggest starting in a physical store where you can see things in person and get a feel for the style you like. From there go to online retailers like Overstock and Wayfair and search around. These sites let you set your budget and colors to help filter down what you're seeing. Look for links at the bottom of the page to similar items; often times you'll find something similar and less expensive. And always make sure to read the reviews! People will tell you the quality, if the color matches what's shown online, and how difficult it was to put together.

What are your tips to furnishing a new home?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Texas State Fair Recap

This is the last week of the Texas State Fair and if you haven't been you need to get yourself over to Fair Park ASAP! Fun fact the first "vacation" my fiancé and I took was to Dallas for the State Fair, so it holds a special place in my heart. My office took an afternoon to explore the Fair and it was so nice to explore in the middle of the week when the crowds were lower. It was mostly school aged kids, so there were no lines for beers.

If you've never been to the Texas State Fair the main thing to know is that the food is the star. Sure there are games and rides and the car exhibit (a nice inside AC treat!), but the real reason to visit is to try the food. Every year there is a contest for the best new food, this year's winner was a cotton candy taco! Next year I really want to go to the big awards show when they chose and announce the winner, so I can taste all the nominated dishes. That sounds like a smart thing to do a month before getting in a wedding dress, right!? Today I wanted a few items I did get to try this year!

Fletchers Corny Dog - Honestly you didn't even go to the Texas State Fair if you don't get a corny dog. I think the most iconic photo is a Fletchers with Big Tex in the background. Why is this such a classic every year? Because Fletchers invited the corn dog at the Texas State Fair! These are found across the Fair, the stands at the front will have the longest lines, but if you work your way into the Mid-Way you'll find more stands.

Texas Twang-Kie - This was the only new food we tried this time and it did not disappoint. Sometimes the special fried foods are good, but also a little gross and not something you want more than a bite or two of, but that was not the case with this one. This is essentially cornbread shaped like a Twinkie with white chicken chili inside and cornbread "fries" with more chili for dipping. This was seriously so good and something I would order at a restaurant, not just a fair where I'm trying to eat weird fried foods. This one was hard to find, but it's in the back corner of the food hall.

Funnel Cake Ale - This beer is so fun, it's a little sweet and makes you feel like you're at a Fair! It's rimmed with powered sugar with makes it a little sticky, but a whole lot of fun. Look for this in the beer garden and in the second car showroom.

Fried Oreos - How do you make an Oreo better, fry it of course! What makes this so good is that by frying them they get a little melty and even more delicious than a regular Oreo. Find these at stands all around the Mid-Way area.

My fiancé and I are hoping to go back next weekend to enjoy it one more time, any foods we need to try? I'm a little curious about the fried cuban roll and the Orange You Glad we Fried It.