Darling Little Things: iPad Accessories & a good lesson

So I mentioned earlier this week that I’m spending most of my days working all day and juggling a plethora of tasks and activities. I decided that in order to hold myself to such a to-do list on a regular basis and actually expect most of it to get done (and done well), I should probably invest in the necessary tools to do so.

I’ll start off by saying that I really tried to be budget friendly and I tried the android version FIRST. I have a droid phone that I’m perfectly happy with.. But unfortunately, my Kindle Fire was just too limited compared to the true android platform that is available on my phone. I do think I may still try and root it though once my warranty is up and I may have a different opinion or use for it at that point. Overall though I was a bit disappointed in its inability to match all of the apps I read about being available through an iPad or iPhone even.

So, I did some research.. I took a couple polls comparing the iPad 2 vs. the mini and new vs. refurbished. I decided to go with the iPad 3rd generation and chose to save $130 by buying a refurbished iPad directly from Apple because they offer the same 1-year warranty as new products. By purchasing through my Discover card, I extended that 1-year warranty to 2 years and earned double miles. šŸ™‚ So, while I’m loving the iPad.. I’m REALLY loving the accessories I got to go with it.

20130311-151941.jpg

I love turquoise, sea foam, greenish colors. I had my entire living room painted a turquoise color at one point. I found this pretty kelly green cover on Amazon for $31. See how it’s crossed out? I used my Discover miles available and got it for $13. SCORE šŸ™‚ See how it says Prime next to that price also? I got free 2-day shipping. I tell you what, Amazon Prime is worth the $75 annual fee just from the shipping savings, plus it arrives so much faster! So the iPad is protected. I wanted another layer of protection though for when I carry it with me. I browsed Etsy shops for days. I finally narrowed it down to one shop called Bertie’s Closet. SO many cute patterns. After about 3 Ā days of browsing the patterns and going back and forth between the same few, I made my selection.Ā 

My iPad sleeve

My iPad sleeve

FxCam_1362843360105

I love it!

On a slightly but related note: I read a very interesting discussion about the topic of surviving vs. thriving. I’m adding it in with this post about my iPad purchase because I totally related to what Jess Lively wrote about surviving vs. thriving.

For the last year or so I’ve had a “tighten up” mentality and have been trying to cut back and pay down some debt but not really written out a complete, specific plan. I’ve been making payments and more conscious of spending, etc. but not really doing it in the most efficient way. I’ve been operating in surviving mode for the last year, knowing I need certain things and putting them off until absolutely necessary and then feeling guilty for spending on necessities when I know I need to be paying down debt. Ā When I say necessities I’m talking about clothes and shoes to replace the 4 and 5 year old pieces I have now in order to continue on the business path that I’m trying to begin for myself, that type of thing.

”Ā I now encourage you to find your own ways to expand your time or money in order to thrive.Ā The choices are endless, the important thing is to think about what isĀ financially do-able, butĀ feelsĀ awesomely excessive.Ā The goal is to silence that internal voice that tells you that you are still in “survival mode.” You also do not need to commit to doing this millionaire thing forever, maybe it’s just a month or two. It’s all up to you.

Remember, as entrepreneurs it’s easy to feel like so much is beyond our control (when the next client will appear, what we will pay in taxes, whether the magazine picks our product for the gift guide),Ā but whether we survive or thrive is completely relative and within our means at all times.”

I’m working 2 jobs right now. Sure, it’s to pay off credit card debt. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t treat myself here and there and keep myself pumped up and going on the right track of accomplishment. As long as I am killing myself with 65+ hour work weeks and still expecting myself to get all of the cooking/cleaning/socialize so I stay sane bit and not indulging at least a little or feeling guilty about small indulges, I’m surviving.

I thought long and hard last night on my drive home about small ways that I can treat myself and things that I can do that won’t get me off track but might allow me to enjoy life a little more and feel like I’m doing things right, like I’m getting somewhere.. and thrive.

These fun accessories for my iPad.. a tool that I’ll use to stay organized with all of my business venture activities, blogging, personal finances, among other things.. are a small indulgence that is perfectly within a miscellaneous spending budget that I’ve allowed myself (but try not to use so it can just sit in the bank) and make me happy.

I’m always talking about balance. A balanced life is a happy life. Discipline is good but all work, no play.. never REALLY worked for anyone, did it?

I definitely encourage you to subscribe to Jess Lively’s Wish I Knew Wednesday email subscription, she has some great thoughts!

Happy Thursday!

Work stye, life style: Pt 2

So last week, I came across the idea of batching. I shared my love of Google calendar and my admiration of Jess Lively’s very clean set up for her coming weeks. After I published that post, I sat down with pen and paper and wrote down what I hope to usually accomplish in one day and allotted specific time frames for each of those goals. If you work from home (or are attempting to or would like to at some point) this kind of mentality is necessary for actually getting things done as opposed to just saying you need to get those things done and complaining about not having enough time at the end of the day. If there’s enough time during the day when you’re physically at your job in an office (or just in the building where you physically work) there is no reason why there’s not enough time when you’re sitting in your home office.. right? There are just a lot more distractions and a much more happy-go-lucky attitude that accompanies working from home.

After writing up my daily schedule (I separated M/W vs. T/R for different projects that I work on and keep up with on a weekly basis) I went and plugged it all into my calendar. My calendar is also synced up with my phone and I added 10 minute pop-up reminders (and turned off the email reminders.. I don’t need an email every hour when it’s time to switch tasks). A pop up note on my cell phone to remind me to wrap up this task and get ready to transition to the next is a great idea for me. If you don’t like your phone next to you because it’s a distraction, then maybe email notifications that pop up in the corner of your computer are for you. For me, it clutters my inbox and I already have problems deleting emails regularly.

This week, (kind of like Jess Lively’s first week) isn’t as clean as I would like for it to be and you will notice a few overlaps in time frames because I scheduled things outside of where I decided it’s best for me to schedule future appointments in order to keep a better-flowing schedule for the future.

Behold:

Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 11.23.47 AM

I have Monday – Thursday planned out all the way until it’s time for me to put everything away and start getting myself ready to go to work at 5. I’ve scheduled everything from lunch to dinner prep and down time to recharge whether that be watching TV or taking a nap. I have found that if you don’t schedule it, it usually doesn’t make it on the day’s activities and ridiculous amounts of time are lost browsing Pinterest for “just a minute.” My M/W are a little bit more straight forward and flow easily. My Tues/Thurs are a bit different depending on if I have any bookings for my Mary Kay business. I would LIKE to have bookings between 10 & 12 on Tues/Thurs and so I haveĀ reorganizedĀ the rest of my day while still trying to accomodate all of the same things as M/W. If I don’t have a booking those days though, then I can follow the M/W schedule.

Next week is a new week that doesn’t have any preexisting appointments to jumble what I’ve set up.

Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 11.37.59 AM

As always though, life happens and there will always be some improv involved but I just feel so much more organized and READY to tackle the things I need to because I have a set time when to do it and set times when I can relax without feeling guilty about it. This is week 1 of batching. Here’s hoping for a much more productive and less stressful week!

Happy Monday!

Tablet Blog signature

Darling Little Things: a new makeup routine

With any new year comes lots of purging, reorganizing and clean slates. This year is no different. I recently became a Mary Kay consultant and am SOOO excited to have new products and a new skin care regiment. That being said, there is lots of stuff… everywhere. So, I decided to pare down to essentials and really love the items that I have and use them.

I have 4 make up bags that have random stuff in them, a couple of products that I use in each of them that got left behind when i decided to move on to a new make up bag. I went through everything and kept what I absolutely loved and threw out the pieces that have just been laying around taking up space and I have a beautiful little spot for all of it now.

FxCam_1357490112982FxCam_1357490136093

 

The beautiful part about this little set up is that I only bought the basket. I had originally set my sights on a larger basket but found this one in the kitchen section of World Market for a bargain price of $7.99. It fits better on my vanity counter anyway. I already had an empty mason jar just sitting on a shelf (I’m slightly obsessed with mason jars and buy them randomly just because) and I already had the cute little glass that are holding my brushes. I picked that up at Anthropologie for $4 bucks and thought it was the cutest thing.

Of course I have more make up that I don’t use everyday, the wilder colors.. I am a total sucker for the brighter colored eyeliners [purple, green, teal],but I’ve gotten to where I don’t wear those every day. SO, I did keep one make up bag with all of my beloved items that are for special occasions and it stays tucked in a cabinet in our bedroom and not thrown in a cabinet with 4 other bags full of random nonsense.

It feels good to pare down and simplify. Now the things I have are all things that I love and I don’t have to rummage. Time saver and I’m back to a place where I enjoy getting ready again. Cheers!

Tablet Blog signature

Darling little things: jewelry organization

Up until recently, I was utilizing a traditional jewelry box. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very classy, traditional, sleek.. and black. And plain. I had the recent lightbulb go off in my head that getting ready in the mornings and putting outfits together would probably be MUCH easier if I could actually SEE everything that I have. Plus, all of the pieces of jewelry that I own are pretty things that I love, so why not display them anyway?

I started with this DIY project (featured in the sneak peek post last week), a jewelry board. I found the original project tutorial on Something Like That Designs, she walks you through her process here, and also see her Finders Keepers Post for some other organization inspiration- I ended up copy catting some of her thought process!)

First: Sneak Peek Project Reveal

My beautiful jewelry organization board

All of my favorite earrings are easily seen on this board. This is so much better than digging through a drawer or box and trying to find the matching pair!

I tweaked the tutorial a smidge when I made my own board. I purchased a frame from Michael’s Craft Store & then browsed the paint aisle. While some of the other tutorials out there (there are a lot on Pinterest if you’re looking for a different spin) show just taking the back out of a frame, I chose to keep that cardboard that comes with it and actually keep the back of the frame as well. I painted the cardboard insert a rose gold color and spray painted my chicken wire (which you can buy in a roll at Home Depot anywhere from $10 and up) a burgundy color. The two colors look amazing with the dark wood frame, so I kept it as it was. The only difficult part I had was threading the earrings through the wire with the backing still on the frame, it took a bit ofĀ maneuveringĀ at times.. but we rent and I would rather spend that extra 10 minutes threading it through the wire with the back on than have lots of scuffs and things to fix on my wall when it’s time to do that, but that’s up to you!

Since I kept the back on, I wasn’t able to use the little cup hooks to hang my necklaces. I found these great little tacks at Walmart for a buck and was able to punch them through the back of the cardboard to hang my necklaces. The antique-y brass-gold color works nicely with my color theme.

Next: Everyday Items to Add Some Pretty Utility in Your Life

My newly updated dresser top

1. This great little ceramic egg crate was a steal of a deal and cost me $5 bucks at World Market (one of my favorites). I chose the yellow because I’ve been trying to incorporate more of yellow’s cheeriness into our home, but they had an assortment of pretty colors to choose from. The jewelry board organizes and houses all of my dangly earrings and the egg crate holds all the studs. I work for a rather conservative company that does not care for flashy jewelry. Instead of going without, I have grown a pretty large collection of studs that sparkle šŸ™‚ The egg crate lets me separate them into categories (pearl, diamond, costume jewelry, blue, gold, etc.) and they’re easier to find, easier to see.

2. This is an example of using things you already have on hand. I bought this [yellow, gold] candle holder a few years ago and have used it as a small vase, a candle holder, a few different ways over the years. I had stored it in a drawer when we moved and I rediscovered it recently. I decided to put a leather cuff and another larger bracelet in it. I can see what’s inside, and it gives adds visual interest with its pop of color.

3. This plate is probably my favorite. I found it on the clearance aisle at Michaels for $1.48. It had a sticker on it that said “sold as is.” There are no marks on this plate that I could see… so, after visiting and falling completely in LOVE with Paris on New Years Eve, of course I bought it. It holds my every day favorite pieces: my new & beautiful birthday present watch from the boyfriend as well as the b-e-a-utiful necklace that he bought me our first Christmas together, my favorite rings [including a spoon ring!] and a very unique spoon bracelet.

4. While cleaning out my jewelry box with all of my nice, real jewelry, I realized I had another jewelry box somewhere with costume jewelry in it that I used to wear quite a bit a few years ago. I found the [very adolescent] jewelry box and decided it was time for a more sophisticated update for the pieces I wanted to keep and continue to wear. I found this little basket/box with button and loop latch at Hobby Lobby and got it half off for about $4 bucks. It was lacking pizazz so I dug through my craft bag in search of something that would give it that little something extra.

Add a Paper Flower to a Plain Box/Basket

Ā I had some on hand but you can go to your favorite craft shop and purchase paper flowers. I layered 2 for the effect I wanted & added a contrasting button on top to complete the design. Now it’s got that something special to it and is different, but goes nicely with all of the other elements atop my dresser.

I’m still working on organizing a second dresser that holds tanks, scarves, socks, and a drawer full of randomness that I’ll hopefully be able to show soon, but for now is still a serious work in progress.

Always be on the lookout for items that can add some pretty in your life.

Making Your Best Grocery List

It’s been a few weeks.. but it’s time to start wrapping up the Be Prepared for the Chaos Series!

The third part in the series will discuss making your grocery list. The art of being prepared when it comes to food and not falling prey to those moments when you’re starving and there are no quick grab & go options, takes planning. Yes, it’s work. If you do the work up front though, there is alot less to do in the actual store. Just follow your list and toss the items in your basket.

I have created a list that’s relevant to our household when it comes to stocking up our kitchen on all of our staples.

Grocery list viewable here:

Master Grocery List p1

Master Grocery List p2

As you can see, I’ve attempted to divide the types of items into categories as well as allow for those extra items that vary from trip to trip. If you can get it all down in a format that you can refer back to, planning is much easier & there are fewer trips back to the store for forgotten items.

Making Your Best Grocery List:

1. Refer to your master grocery list and note which items you need to pick up

2. Select dinners that you want to make during the time frame between grocery trips. Me, I shop every 2 weeks. So I plan for a 2 week period. Breakfast items, lunch items, dinner items, snacks, etc. are all incorporated. I make a list of all of the potential meals so that I don’t forget about anything in my pantry and then I use a weekly menu board that I made to keep myself organized. This eliminates the whole “I know we have food, but I don’t know what to make tonight..” or “I was going to make this chicken recipe but I forgot to lay out the chicken ahead of time..”

Easy to make DIY menu board. Pick a frame & a favorite [light colored] scrapbook paper, and label each day with colorful stickers. Replace the glass on the frame and use a dry erase marker to update your menu board weekly with all of your dinner ideas to make dinner prep a cinch!

3. Read through all of the recipes that you have collected for this grocery trip’s dinners. Make note of any items that you will need to pick up so that you don’t get halfway through prepping dinner only to realize you didn’t have garlic salt in your cabinet like you thought.

4. The next step is finding coupons for the items that you didn’t add to the list just because they were on sale or BOGO when you began your meal planning process, like we discussed in one of the earlier parts in the series, viewable here.

Part 4: Couponing your grocery list – to come soon!