Checkin off those goals.

Another goal checked off the list. This one was less focused on a better physical or financial well being and more on self expression and experimentation.

We celebrated a lovely lady’s birthday this weekend and I broke out the red lipstick to go with my party dress.

Firecracker red.

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Crossing off completed goals feels great (even if it is something a little more trivial like wearing red lipstick) & makes the year feel progressive.

I think it’s good to challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone in lots of ways and this was my perfect example.

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We had a lovely time and we got some great photos.

Hope you had a happy weekend!

In case you were wondering- the lipstick? It’s Mary Kay. The dress? It’s Forever 21. 🙂

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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. 🙂 So, while I’m loving the iPad.. I’m REALLY loving the accessories I got to go with it.

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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 🙂 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  days of browsing the patterns and going back and forth between the same few, I made my selection. 

My iPad sleeve

My iPad sleeve

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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.  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.

” I now encourage you to find your own ways to expand your time or money in order to thrive. The choices are endless, the important thing is to think about what is financially do-able, but feels awesomely excessive. 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), 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!

WHIRLWIND.

This year I made a big plan to make a lot of changes. I made 13 goals, I seriously considered the ways I was going to implement them and I committed myself to the goal of getting out of debt. I set up a plan to do that by keeping my regular job and working my Mary Kay business. Recently I was given the opportunity to take a day job that would work around my current night job and still allow me to have weekends free. I took it. In theory this second job (in addition to the first and Mary Kay business) would allow me to catapult my get out of debt plan and allow me to get there 3 months earlier than I had planned as well as use those extra couple of months to sock extra money into savings/paying off my car early (a goal I set for the end of the year). I must be old because these 60 hour weeks are KICKING MY TAIL.

It’s been 2 weeks of straight through 10-10 and Mary Kay on Saturdays and household chores/shopping/cooking/cleaning. It’s busy. But it’s worth it because of my four cards with balances, I’ve already paid off one! The second one is a joint card between Josh & I and we’ve each been paying $100 bucks every month and converted to a cash only system for all joint spending – that will be back at zero next month.

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The third card will be paid off next week and a little more than half of the last card at the end of the month. So as my March calendar with big red X’s indicates – I’ve got another 3 weeks of straight through 10-10s and then I can take it back down a notch.

It’s exhausting. Last week, when we didn’t prep all of our meals for the week – it was stressful all week. We’re back on track this week at least with the household things and we have meals for every day this week ready in the fridge or freezer, grab and go style. It’s also exhilarating. Being debt free opens doors. That dream job, that dream house.. that vacation we never take because there’s somewhere else that money should really go…

Soon to be a thing of the past.

Do you have any debt? Do you just deal with it as a part of life and still enjoy the little things or does it hang over your head like a weight? Or am I just a little too OCD for my own good? 😛

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Project Life Updates: Weeks 5 &6

Project Life for weeks 5 & 6 looked like this:

Week 5

FxCam_1361308384222Unfortunately, I’ve been a little bit behind with printing out photos and trying to keep track of all of my items that I want to include so I only have one page for both weeks 5 & 6 vs. the 2 pages for all of the other weeks. It’s definitely easier to do it at the end of the week so you can stay caught up. I’ve been stretching myself a bit thin lately and it’s showing a little. During week 5, of course I have a photo of one of my fur babies lounging, being lazy and so cute. I can’t not take pictures of them. I worked out some Valentine’s Day and February selling incentives for my Mary Kay business and got a super cute little office package from an old friend of mine. They brighten up my desk and fridge.

Close Up

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Week 6

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This week was filled with desk organization (post coming soon!) and of course more snuggle and cuddly photos of my puppies (they’re so sweet together). We’ve been focused on trying to eat healthier and have found some new things to try at the local Farmer’s Market (the star fruit in the top left photo) and homemade dog treats in the bottom left photo made of all natural ingredients and house favorites like wheat flour, peanut butter, milk, and honey. It’s a little more work but I feel better giving my pups natural treats and smaller treats so that I know what they’re eating and that they’ll be entertaining and snuggling with us for a long while.

It’s easy to forget the little moments and the “tasks” you checked off on your to-do list during the day and at the end of the week and it kinds of runs together. I’m so glad that I can hone in on the moments with this project.

Are you doing Project Life yet? It’s a growing phenomenon!

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Our Valentines.

Whew life has been a whirlwind lately!

I just went and made myself a nice little batching schedule with reminders of when it’s time to switch tasks and color coded everything and dang it, I’ve got another week of this kind of schedule and all of that’s out the window. Not that I was doing all that hot with keeping up with the blog this week anyway. I’ve been reading TONS of other blogs and how they keep up with a busy life and multiple jobs and it seems that there is a trend.. we’re all the type to dabble in many things and not be happy with a regular 9-5 job. I covet those hours and I’m jealous of others who can lay out their schedule and clock out physically and mentally at 5 but that’s really not me, never has been and probably never will be. On this chilly, but sunny & beautiful Friday I’ve had several epiphanies. I’ve decided that I have to pursue a creative/personal career choice. A stable/predictable job is not going to do it for me. That might be easier, but less fulfilling. So while I’ve been afraid to fully put myself in a place where I can pursue something that will fill my SOUL with joy because of the instability, I think over the last year – two years, I’ve finally learned what it takes to make life work with what you’ve got and how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. And I’m excited to take the next steps. Long term goal: be financially free and able to pursue a business that allows me to be creative, challenges me to do more and be more. Short term goal: pay off credit cards.

So, all that rambling aside- a week from now I’ll be gearing up for 65 hour weeks for the next short while. If I can keep up for a month or two or three (maybe) I can pay off all credit cards and maybe my car (almost a year early) EEK!!! It’s not going to be easy, I’ll probably hate my life every morning but ya do what you have to do to get where you want to be. So I will more than likely be only posting twice a week and not expecting myself to keep up with a 4-5 post schedule while trying to work those 2 jobs and work my Mary Kay business. Just FYI.

Tangent and upcoming future aside – VALENTINE’S DAY.

This year I wasn’t upset that Josh and I didn’t spend it together. I wasn’t upset that we both worked. I know that I get more excited about holidays and festivities than he does so I did my thing and I put some creative energy into his gift and woke up to a super cute little display of his gift for me. It’s more about showing the love every day anyway, isn’t it?

It started on February 13th.

IMG_20130213_154403 FxCam_1360850753660I saw this heart banner idea and thought it was the cutest thing ever. I might just leave it up another week because it makes me happy when I walk into my living room. They’re also very cute on a smaller scale, on the fridge, on a mirror, etc.

I was very in the DIY mood this Valentine’s Day after seeing how cute my heart banner turned out. I browsed Pinterest and my bloglovin feed (tons of great Valentine’s ideas this whole week) and I came across a card similar to the one I made with candles and a cute little saying about fire. I adapted it a smidge and chose to use stamps instead of hand writing it on the card stock.

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I had the card stock, the raffia, the stamps and ink. All I had to do for this was buy some candles. I didn’t really like the idea of a super plain front to the card so I found a cute little heart border and printed it out and then wrote my love note on the back. Maybe I’m too proud of this, but I couldn’t get over how cute it turned out. Besides I always stand in the card aisle for an hour reading every card it seems like til I can find the right one. This was way better.

Everybody in our house got some Valentine’s Day love.

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Top left: My Valentine’s Day gift. He got me a tulip plant. I’m waaay more excited about it then regular flowers because these won’t die in a week and I’ve been wanting plants to put on the porch (this one’s staying inside I think) and around the house. Plus a pedicure gift certificate & chocolate covered pretzels, WIN. 🙂

Top right: His gift and some heart-shaped sweets

Bottom right: My heart banner over the fire place

Bottom left: Sweet treats for my 2 little four-legged Valentines

I went to an antique shop last weekend and found the cutest little heart-shaped ice cube trays for 75 cents. I’d been looking for shaped ice cube trays recently because I wanted to try making some treats for my pups to freeze. I made my own concoction earlier this week and let them freeze a few days. They LOVED them.

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Berry Heart Pops

Easy, make at home all natural treats for the four-legged family member(s) in your home.

Easy, make at home all natural treats for the four-legged family member(s) in your home.

Ingredients

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Peanut Butter (melt it a little in the microwave first, it’s much easier to stir and mix in with other ingredients)

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Greek yogurt

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I mashed the bananas up and stirred everything until all ingredients were mixed well. I then spooned the mixture into the ice cube trays. They were looking a little plain so I added a blueberry on top of each ones. Blueberries are a favorite, healthy treat for my puppies.

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I did have to use a small knife to kind of pop them out of the ice cube trays. I really expected the pups to have to take their time and eat them a little slower than they do most things but one of them gulped hers down, the other took about 20 seconds to eat hers. I was wrong on the timing part, but they LOVED them. I didn’t really measure any of the ingredients, just added until I had a good consistency. I mix peanut butter and greek yogurt to eat with fruit all the time, so I tried to make a similar consistency as when I do that. There’s no right or wrong really, you could eat one of these yourself – it’s not “dog food” but all healthy and natural ingredients.

That was the love in our house this Valentine’s, hope you had a lovely day too!