Wednesday, January 31, 2018

5 things I'm going to buy after my no spend month

Was it just me or did January seem 5000 days long? We've finally reached the last day of the month and that means the last day of my no spend month! And y'all I'm so proud of the success I had. Technically I cheated twice the last couple of days with eating out, but with my boyfriend over it was just easier than cooking at home that many times. But other than that I avoided all frivolous purchases! As I'm counting down the hours till I can spend again; these are the the items I've most been wanting, the 5 things I'm going to buy at the end of my no spend month.

1. A King Cake - If you don't know what a king cake is I feel bad for you. It's the traditional dessert of mardi gras and it's delicious, essentially a cinnamon cake with royal icing and colored sugar on top. I plan to order one to share with my co-workers.

2. Gummy Vitamins - I've seen a few bloggers talk about these vitamins this month and I've had them sitting in my Target cart for weeks. I seriously debated if they fell under an allowed purchase for January, you know because they're vitamins, but ultimately decided they were a little frivolous because they're for your complexion.

3. The rest of Kate the WASP's book - I purchased the first couple chapter after I bought my Fire tablet but didn't start reading them until this month. Buying the individual chapters and not all at once was a big mistake because I can't wait to read the rest. I've mentioned how much I love Kate before and this book has been everything I wanted and more.

4. A manicure - Admittedly I'm not one of those women who always has her nails done, but going to the nail salon has become such a little treat for me. I go about once a month mainly for them to do my cuticles and shape them with those perfect round edges I can never replicate.

5. Sandwich from my local bakery - Most people think sandwiches are a little boring, but they're honestly one of my favorite foods. We have a little bakery deli here that makes the best sandwiches on in-store baked bread. My go to is roast turkey and provolone on sourdough with spicy mayo, cucumbers, and lots of shredded lettuce.

Have you ever done a no spend month? What was your first purchase afterwards?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

My Perfect Hot Chocolate Secret

I am a big fan of hot chocolate. Growing up I anxiously awaited the week of winter when it was cold enough in Mississippi to drink hot chocolate. As soon as the temperatures dipped low enough I'd beg my mom to make me a nice big mug loaded down with marshmallows. Now that I live in a ski resort hot chocolate is something I'll honestly drink year round.

The secret to the perfect hot chocolate is obviously sharing it with Jude Law/ Mr. Napkinhead, but since that's an unrealistic expectation for most of us I decided to share my perfect hot chocolate secret. I've been working on perfecting the perfect mug all winter and I've finally nailed it down.

So are you ready for my perfect hot chocolate secret? Vanilla ice cream!

After I mix the powder and the hot water I add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It helps cool it down to a drinking temperature and creates the most delicious and creamy hot chocolate. I've tried it with a variety of hot chocolate mixes and it works with them all! And you don't have to buy fancy expensive ice cream; I usually just use the grocery store brand.

What's your hot chocolate secret?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Four Things

I've seen a few people do this tag on Facebook and thought it'd be fun to share my answers here on the blog. It's also Monday and we got about 5 inches of snow this weekend so my creative juices are currently frozen.

here's a random photo of me trying to look athletic 

four places I've lived

  1. Lousiana
  2. Mississippi
  3. Alabama
  4. Colorado 

four places I've worked

  1. The Daily Mississippian
  2. The United States Senate
  3. Treasure Bay Casino 
  4. Vail Resorts 

four things I love to watch on tv

  1. Scandal 
  2. Fixer Upper
  3. Chopped
  4. The Good Place

four places I have been on vacation 

  1. Washington DC
  2. San Diego
  3. Las Vegas
  4. Disneyland 

four things I love to eat

  1. taco bell crunch wraps 
  2. stuffed mushrooms
  3. Newks chicken salad 
  4. hummingbird cake

four things I love to drink

  1. sweet tea
  2. lime LaCroix
  3. pumpkin spice lattes
  4. classic margaritas with extra salt

four books I would recommend 

I'd love to hear four things about you!

Friday, January 19, 2018

4 tips to writing the perfect thank you note

When I was younger my mom always insisted my siblings and I write thank you notes for gifts. She'd take us to the store to pick out note cards and we'd spend the afternoon sitting at the kitchen table writing them. Now 20 years later I still always make a point to write thank you notes. Writing thank you notes not only show good manners, but for me are fun. I just dropped my thank you notes in the mail from Christmas, so I thought today would be the perfect time to share my 4 tips to writing the perfect thank you notes.

1. Don't put it off - In general I give myself 30 days to write and mail thank you notes; putting it off longer than this seems rude in my opinion. After a month you've probably had the chance to use your gift, or at the very least all the stress of the occasion has calmed down.

2. Have cute stationary - I always make sure to have some cute note cards on hand for random gifts. The Target $1 section always has really cute options. I also love May Designs when I'm wanting something a little more high end. They have so many great options to personalize your stationary to really make it your own.

3. Spell check - I'll be the first to admit that spelling is not my strong skill so maybe that's why I'm so paranoid about misspelling words. I can think of very little more embarrassing than misspelling a word on my thank you notes. I always first type mine in my phone to make sure everything is spelled correctly.

4. Be sincere - I'm not a things person so expressing strong feelings for a gift is difficult for me. What's more important to me than the actual gift is the thought behind it. I focus on this when writing thank you notes. Sincerity always comes across and is appreciated; no need to say something is your favorite gift ever when it isn't.

What are your tips to writing the perfect thank you note?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Out West Wednesday : 6 Months of my Dream Job

It's been a little over 6 months since I started my dream job ( and probably about as long since I've written one of these posts) so I thought today would be a great day to talk about it. I'm happy to report that 6 months later I know taking this position was the right decision for me. As you remember, I struggled a little bit accepting it because I came to genuinely enjoy my old job and really loved that team. Luckily I've found even more joy in my current job and love my new team equally.

Just incase you forgot, I'm an events and conference services coordinator at a hotel for the ski resort. Events is such a natural fit for me. It's the perfect outlet for my slight control freak tendencies. Working in events has helped me learn to focus that need to be in control and accept and let go during the times I can't be in control. It's been really good for my time management skills, something I didn't get to practice in my last job. Also I love that I can spend hours on Pinterest or wedding websites and call it research which doesn't really help with the whole time management thing.

No matter what I do after this job, and hopefully it'll be another position in events, I know the skills I've developed and strengthened in this position will serve me well.

What skills has your current job helped you develop?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Mid Month Check-in

Once I started writing this post I realized I never actually published a January goals post, so this is going to be a two for one in a way. Every month I plan to do something to help work towards achieving my 2018 goals.

This month I decided to focus on my goal of adding $1200 to savings by doing a no spend month. That means no eating out and no frivolous shopping; I'm only allowing myself grocery shopping and the essentials. And let me tell you, it has been difficult! I'm obviously still spending money on rent and utilities, I mailed my mom's birthday gift, and I needed to buy some cold medicine last week. But other than that I've only bought groceries, and I've been limiting what I spend grocery shopping. I gave myself a $50 grocery budget for the month so I have to shop what's on sale and be smart about what I already have at home. It also meant cutting alcohol out because like it or not that's a frivolous buy.

It's been a rough couple of weeks, but come February I know I'll be glad I stuck with it! One of my checks every month goes to paying rent and my utilities, the other check is my fun check. The plan is that I'll be able to put the majority of that fun check right into savings and really jump start that $1200 goal.

How are you doing with your January / 2018 goals?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Current Movie Reviews

The Golden Globes were held last night, did you watch? I'm not a big awards show fan, but I am a big movie fan. I always try to see all the big films nominated and even included watching 5 Academy Award winners in my 101 in 1001 list. One thing I hate though is sitting through a movie, getting to end, and regretting sitting though it and thinking I should I seen something else. So today I'm sharing my review of a view movies currently in theaters in hopes that you don't sit through the wrong one!

Coco - Hands down the best movie I've seen in the last year. If it's still in your theater and you haven't seen it yet go see it today. I had been excited about this movie since it was announced so it had big shoes to fill and it totally lived up to my expectations. It was so good I cried watching it. The colors are beautiful, the songs great, and the story truly heartwarming. 5 out of 5 stars

Star Wars : the last Jedi - I hadn't seen a Star Wars movie in theater since Episode I in 1999, so that'll tell you how big a fan I am. But I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the story was really easy to follow, which is something I felt like the Force Awakens was majorly lacking. That said I still liked Rogue One better.  3.5 out of 5 stars

Lady Bird - My interest in this one was purely because everyone says it's going to win all the awards so I obviously had to see what all the hype was about. It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen but it may be the most relatable. The idea of wanting to get out of your small bubble to experience the world is something I certainly relate to. 3 out of 5 stars

Jumanji - I didn't want to see this one but the boyfriend did so I went along with it, and I'm so glad I did. I've never seen the original so I was worried I wouldn't enjoy this one, but you really don't have to have seen the original to understand it. There are lots of laughs and you know you're in for a treat if it involves Jack Black and the Rock. 4 out of 5 stars

The Greatest Showman - Y'all don't throw rocks at me but I really just could not get into this movie, like at all. I wanted to like it so badly because I love Zendaya and Zac Efron, but I just couldn't. I wasn't impressed by the singing or the dancing. Maybe I just expected too much because I'm a big fan of old, classic musicals. 1 out of 5 stars

Downsizing - This one was a little strange and by far the least of what I was expecting. I was expecting a cross between Walle and Honey I shrunk the kids; this movie was neither. It was honestly just kinda depressing. It does get you thinking about technology and where it can take us and the downfalls of it. 2 out of 5 stars

I, Tonya - I admittedly didn't know much about the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan before watching this movie, so I went in with a totally open mind. If you hate Tonya Harding and don't want to change your mind don't watch this movie. My heart just broke for her after learning all the tragic details. Say what you will, that girl was a victim too. 3 out of 5 stars

What current movies did you love? Any you wish you'd skipped?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

8 goals for 2018

On Monday I shared my new 101 in 1001 list so it only seems right that today I'd share my 8 goals for 2018. I don't always make resolutions, but I'm feeling good about the possibilities of 2018.

1. Save $1200 - Saving has been a goal of mine the last few years and is honestly something I pride myself on. Saving $100 a month should be very doable

2. Go down a dress size - This one isn't so much about losing weight as it is about feeling good. I'd rather ton up and feel good than see the scale go down.

3. Publish 100 blog posts - About 2 posts a week, totally do able. To hit this I'm going to try to be more proactive and write when ideas strike and build up a reserve of posts.

4. Go to church consistently - I'm ashamed to say church hasn't been my biggest priority the last couple of years. I only have the option of evening service and when it's already dark outside going home sounds more appealing than sitting in the pew.

5. Read 12 books - A book a month, again totally doable. I love to read but the last few years I've been lazy and opting for Netflix over a book at night.

6. Visit one new place - I'd obviously love to visit 100 new places but budget wise I don't see that happening. The boyfriend and I have a few towns we'd like to explore in Colorado once the weather gets better.

7. Complete 20 things on my 101 in 1001 list and blog about them - Hopefully I'll knock this one out in no time and it helps kickstart finishing the rest of the list! It'll also help me get to that 100 post goal.

8. Don't feel guilty for doing what makes me happy - This should be a no brainer, but it something I  need to remind myself of on occasion. It's okay to do something just because I want to to do it.

What are your goals for  2018?

Monday, January 1, 2018

101 in 1001

Happy 2018! I decided to start the new year off with a 101 in 1001 list. If you aren't familiar with the concept it became popular by Mackenzie from Design Darling; you can read her current list here. Essentially it's a list of 101 things you want to accomplish in 1001 days.

I did a 50 in 500 list that finished with my 25th birthday, but this time I decided to bite the bullet and do a full list. So my list starts today and will end on September 28, 2020. I'll make a new tab up top and mark items off as I go so you can follow my progress.

1. Get engaged
2. Plan my wedding
3.  Get married
4.  Change my name
5.  Buy a home
6.  Start a savings fund for my future children’s college
7.  Join a Bible study
8.  Have an emergency fund with 6 months worth of living expenses
9.  Go on a family vacation with my parents and siblings
10. Understand how my 401K works
11. Become a member of a church parish
12. Reconnect with an old friend

13. Write professionally
14. Have a side hustle
15. Attend a networking event
16. Get a professional certification
17. Become a salaried employee
18. Write a great LinkedIn caption
19. Update my blog “about” page
20.  Find a mentor
21.  Be a guest speaker
22. Learn a new resume skill
23. Become conversational in a new language
24. Update my writing samples
25. Create a 5 year plan

26. Visit 3 new states
27. Get two stamps in my passport
28. Visit Disneyland
29. Visit Disneyworld
30. Visit Harry Potter World
31. Go on a cruise
32. Attend the Albuquerque hot air balloon fiesta
33. Visit NOLA as a tourist
34. See a Broadway play
35. Enjoy a staycation
36. Visit my sorority little in Austin
37. Visit a National Park
38. Tour a winery or brewery
39. Eat five new foods at the Texas State Fair

40. Be the weight on my driver’s license
41. Train for a 5K
42. Run a 5K
43. Take a barre class
44. Take a cycling class
45. Take a yoga class
46. Drink nothing but water for a month
47. Go to the doctor for a yearly checkup
48. Shop only from the perimeter of the grocery store for a month
49. Eat only salads for dinner for two weeks
50. Have a no junk food month
51. Have a no alcohol month
52. Complete a Pinterest fitness challenge
53. Go for a bike ride
54. Run a mile without stopping

Just for Fun
55. Read 30 new books
56. Reread 5 favorite books
57. Host a Cinco de Mayo party
58. Own a Gray Malin piece
59. Watch 5 Academy Award winning films
60. Get my palm read
61. Join a book club
62. Play a round of mini golf
63. Have a digital free weekend
64. Try a new spa procedure
65. Host a wine and cheese night with friends
66. Reconnect with Theta as an alum
67. Attend a NFL game
68. Attend a NHL game
69. Attend a NBA game
70. Send out Christmas cards
71. Host a family holiday
72. Host a Grove tent
73. Clean out my closet
74. Reach $300 worth of sales on Poshmark
75. Attend the ballet
76. Attend 3 concerts
77. Take a cooking class
78. Create a Tshirt quilt
79. Join the Junior League
80. Rewatch a favorite television series
81. Make a complicated Pinterest recipe
82. Have two no spend months
83. Print off photos and delete them from my phone
84. Delete old phone contacts
85. Bake something from scratch
86. Do a canvas and cocktails type class
87. Get paid out from Shopstyle
88. Make Grammie’s spaghetti
89. Reach 1200 Instagram followers
90. Send 30 handwritten notes
91. Join a fantasy league

92. Volunteer regularly for a cause
93. Donate Blood
94. Become a CASA
95. Adopt an Angel Tree child
96. Bring breakfast for my coworkers
97. Give to Theta yearly
98. Grow out my hair to donate
99. Write to my Congressman about an issue
100.  Buy a just because gift for someone else
101. Donate $1 for everything I don’t accomplish on this list

Wish me luck!