Since working on the kitchen makeover in my mom’s house a few weeks ago, I’ve been itching to make some changes in our house. We don’t need need a massive kitchen remodel, since our home was gutted to the studs and updated before we moved in. We do however, still have some decorating to do! I’m a self diagnosed “Pinterest-aholic” and one of my favorite things to do is puruse beautiful homes for inspiration. Lately I’ve been drawn to gorgeous runner rugs and I’m seeing them all over! From laundry rooms to kitchens, these beautiful vintage rugs in Persian, Turkish, and Moroccan styles are popping up everywhere. Here are a few of my favorites:
I have a thing about water. This isn’t one of those “I’ve got saltwater in my veins” kinda things; quite the opposite actually. I do NOT like water. Can’t swim, won’t swim, YOU CAN’T MAKE ME. I do however, LOVE the beach! Lucky for me, we live an hour from the gulf coast. Not the world’s finest beaches, but we’re pretty lucky for the proximity. We’ve been known to pack up the car on a whim, and drive to Galveston for the day. We’ll setup our umbrella and beach blankets, play some tunes, and read a book while catching some sun. It’s a perfectly relaxing escape from “big city living”.
This week we are spending an entire week at the beach! The whole crew from Eric’s side of the family has come to town and we rented out a beach house. There’s a chance of rain, but we are going to to make the most of it! I plan to soak up as much sun as we can and enjoy our time by the ocean.
I put together this roundup of cute beach blankets a while ago and figured this was the perfect time to share. I picked out the CUTEST blankets that are perfect for the beach, the backyard, or a picnic. They could even make super cute throw blankets to keep on hand at home.
Summer is here! Summer is here! If there’s one thing that screams summer (aside from the stifling Houston humidity) I’d say it’s watermelon! I’m sure you *can* get watermelon year round, but this is my favorite summer time fruit. Plus, pink and green are my favorite colors! I’ve scoured the web and found the cutest watermelon items. Everything from clothing and accessories to pool floats and items for the home.
This Saturday December 3rd, Rice Village is hosting a fun event that features free photos with Santa! From 9am to 5pm, kiddos can visit with jolly ol’ St. Nick, share their wishlists, and pose for a free photo. There will be booths setup from 11 to 2 with hot cocoa, cookies, and crafts! I will be hosting a DIY ornament station and we’ll do a fun kid friendly DIY with popsicle sticks! There’s also live music from Madeline and Micah, the brother and sister duo of Leybon. They’ll be performing classic holiday songs along with their original songs. Come out to Rice Village this Saturday and kick off the holiday season!
Happy Friday! I’m celebrating the weekend by sharing a free download with you! I don’t do it often enough, but painting can be super relaxing. I’m no artist, but there’s something therapeutic about putting a brush to paper and seeing the paint move around. I painted this along with my brush stroke circles for a little pop of color in my first apartment years ago. During the One Room Challenge I was cleaning and decluttering my office when I found it. I decided to scan it in and turn it into a cute background. It’s available as a free download for your computer or for your phone. Enjoy!
How to download:
For the desktop:
- Click on the desktop link.
- Save the image or drag it to your desktop.
- Once saved, open up System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver.
For the iPhone:
- On your phone, click on the iPhone link.
- Hold down on the image and click Save Image. It will be saved to your photo library.
- Once saved, Go to Settings > Wallpaper > Choose a New wallpaper.
Yep, you read that right. My husband was laid off and I’m saying it was a good thing. In Houston, if you don’t work in Oil and Gas it’s safe to assume you know someone who does. It seems like everyone we know has been affected in some way by the state of the economy. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions the last few weeks, but now that the dust is settling, I’m seeing that this awful situation we are in – actually has a few good points.
Last month I hosted a Galentine’s Day Craft Party at JoAnn’s Fabric and Crafts here in Houston. We had a fun evening snacking on delicious cupcakes from Whisk Bakery and creating Valentine’s cards. All the ladies had a great time and learned a thing or two. For a few, it was the first time they had the chance to try using a needle and thread. Everyone did such a great job and I can’t wait to host my next craft party!
Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Blinds.com. I was not compensated for this post but I received the product free of charge to review.
When we moved into #OliverHQ a few months ago we were happy to find out all of the windows had been updated and replaced. We had brand new blinds in all the windows except for the master bathroom. Really!? This was the number one place I needed blinds; especially with a walk in glass shower. I attended a Houston Blogger meetup at the Blinds.com headquarters here in Houston, TX and immediately loved the company. We got to tour the place and met several of the employees and from the start you could tell they were a company that valued their employees but more importantly they value their customers. They have a huge call center dedicated to customer support and have associates available to help with any questions you have! When I decided we need to get blinds for that bathroom window, Blinds.com was an easy choice.
After browsing the designs online and speaking with an awesome design specialist, I found the ones that would be perfect for my master bath. Without blinds, that room was really bright; which I liked, but in the summer it got really hot in there! I chose the Radiance 3″ Room Darkening Sheer Shadings because I liked the privacy they provide when closed and the light filtering they provide when open. The next step was choosing a color! My friends at Blinds.com sent me several samples so I could not only touch and feel the sheer blinds in person, but I could choose the perfect color. Who knew there were so many different whites to choose from! After choosing the perfect white for our bathroom, I had to choose how to open our new sheer shades. I decided to upgrade to the remote controlled battery operated motor because, well, why not!? This would be a perfect feature for a home with a small child. It keeps the cords up out of reach of little hands and is a great safety feature. Plus it’s really cool!
I had a great design expert from Blinds.com that not only helped me pick out the blinds, but called me several times to make sure we got our delivery and to check if we had any questions or needed any help. Luckily, we were able to get the blinds hung in about 30 minutes with just the instructions sent along with the blinds. My friend Lura and I got the blinds put up all by ourselves. This was the same day we had a giant tree limb fall in our front yard that Lura and I went after with a chainsaw. (Girl power!) We had a little bit of trouble but we figured it out just as I was dialing the support number Blinds.com provided. The process was pretty simple; they make the attachments adjustable so you can attach the anchor to the window frame then adjust the connector on the blinds – so they fit in easily without having to measure and remeasure!
Because we’d provided the measurements of our window when we ordered the blinds, when we got them they fit perfectly! If we’d had a problem, we could have returned them quickly and easily thanks to their 100% satisfaction guarantee and their SureFit promise – you can return the blinds and they will make it right! My Sheer Shades from Blinds.com were a perfect fit in our home and I recommend them to anyone in the market for new blinds!
Earlier this week I read something that literally left me speechless. I didn’t know what to say and was in total disbelief. A few things came to mind but I decided to keep quiet. Many did not and made their distaste apparent. I thought about posting something about this a while ago but thought it too private. In light of recent events I’d like to take the opportunity to share because I see where it could benefit quite a few people.
What I read was someone asking for people to make donations to help them pay off their student loan debt. While I don’t think this is the way to approach getting a handle on your financial situation I think we should all keep in mind that everyone comes from a different background and you never know what is going on in someones life that could push them to such a point of desperation. What I want to do is share how Eric and I got out of debt.
Yep, I said it. Debt free. We have no more student loan payments, no more car payments, and no huge credit card payments. At 25 and in our first year of marriage we are starting with a clean slate. That slate, however, didn’t start that way. I’m sharing this not to brag but to show you that it CAN be done. It’s something we are very proud of but paying off more than $30,000 is no easy feat. It takes discipline and sacrifice. I also understand that every financial situation is different and some people are facing much more debt than others. It may take more time, but everyone can get a handle on their financial situation.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial expert. This is an opinion piece and is an account of my experience. This post contains affiliate links. If you shop from my blog, I may be compensated for clicks or purchases that you make. Thank you for your support! Please refer to my disclaimer page for more information.
Enter Dave Ramsey. For our wedding we were gifted the Financial Peace University – Home Study Kit. Hint: You can actually read the first chapter of Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money for FREE on Amazon.
The biggest takeaway from the course is “The Baby Steps”. He outlines 7 steps you should take to get a handle on your debt, save, and get in a position to give. That’s the ultimate goal. I like that he includes all kinds of examples and quotes from people who have used his resources and how they have helped them.
We are still working our way through the baby steps (and through the book for that matter). This is a great resource with a lot of information that is helping us now and will continue to help us in the future when we are ready to buy a house, save for retirement, etc. My hope is that if you are struggling with debt that this resource will help you like it helped us.
A few tips:
- We cut cable (over $100/MONTH!) and use Hulu and Netflix (less than $20/month for BOTH)
- We waited to get a pet. This one was really hard for me! I’ve wanted a dog for the past few years. We knew that getting a dog is an investment and a long commitment so we waited until we were in a financial position to adopt a dog.
- We created a budget. One of my favorite websites is Mint. I should do a whole post about Mint and my love affair with that site. Mint does all the work of organizing and categorizing your spending for you. Simply add your bank accounts and use the site to have one place to view all the transactions from your accounts. You can set budgets for each category and get a great visual of where your money is going. I’m a visual person, so I love that they create graphs and charts so you can compare spending, etc. I really can’t say enough about this site. Try it; it’s free! (Also, it’s safe – coming from your fav IT girl)
- We use public transportation. For the past 2 years I’ve used the METROrail to get to work. Parking downtown is EXPENSIVE. By riding the train I save $175 a month! Eric is now working downtown and riding the train as well. We save a lot of gas money this way. We are also helping the planet 🙂 It’s not always so great though – have you been to Houston in the summer? It’s HOT! It also rains a lot here. But those are small sacrifices we can make. Not everyone lives in a metropolitan area where public transport is as accessible as it is here. But I encourage you to look into carpooling or finding different ways to cut down your transportation expenses. My guess is you spend a lot of money in that category.
- We curbed our “eating out” expenses. We tried really hard not to go out to dinner so often. This was an area that was hard to cut out. We made wise decisions when going out to eat- I hardly ever order soda at a restaurant for example, or we try to share an entree. Eric ate PB&J’s everyday for lunch for the better part of a year. Food can be really expensive but it doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit either.
These are just a few of the ways we found to save. I hope this information will prove useful for someone out there. It takes a lot of time and effort but it is doable! I’d love to find out how others our age are getting a handle on debt.
What is your money saving strategy?