New blog space!

New blog space!

To all of my WordPress friends who, more than likely, feel abandoned by my lack of updates the last few months – I have returned! It’s a new year, I’ve got a new focus – and a new place to call blog home. I will continue to blog about life and the craziness over at Typepad from here on out, the new blog is called elle.elle. It’s a better suited brand for me that I can grow with and I just feel that I have more versatility and customization with that platform. I would love for you to add that link to your blog feed & catch back up with me. 

Happy 2014 & cheers to a new year!

P.S. If the link above doesn’t work for any reason, copy & paste: http://elleelle.typepad.com/blog/

Looking back on January: 2013 goals recap

I posted my 13 in 2013 goals at the beginning of this month, viewable here. Now that February is knocking on our door TOMORROW (time really does fly so much faster when you get older), I figure now’s a great time to review the last month and see how much progress I’ve made so far.

Of the 13, I’ve especially focused on 4 this month more than the others:

  • Be healthier
  • Project Life
  • Become debt free
  • Truly invest in the Mary Kay opportunity

Be healthier:

I do all of the grocery and meal planning in our house. Josh does go with me to the store (which is a lot more than most guys from what I hear from my girl friends), so we’ll give him that credit.. but when it comes down to healthier eating, it pretty much falls on me to work out the how. When I wrote my goals list I imagined being healthier to include eating healthier in an overall, balanced sort of way (not a diet way) as well as exercising. Now, baby steps usually get you there faster than trying to jump into several things all at once. So this month, we stopped drinking sodas (I did anyway) and have started drinking MUCH more water. If I have the occasional rare coke, it’s okay. The idea is to be balanced, everything in moderation. But overall-less of sodas is better. I started working fish into our meal planning. I cut back the red meat purchases we’re making and switched to ground turkey and ground chicken. We haven’t really been eating bread and I switched our tortillas out for wheat tortillas. The exercising part hasn’t really been incorporated into my routine much.  Josh has been going for runs a little more frequently and working with weights. During February, I’m going to run my first 5k (and probably want to die) and will start training against my own body weight to continue to save money for now. Once we get a little closer to financial freedom, I’ll probably go look back at joining a gym again because I love the group fitness classes. 🙂

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Project Life:

I love Project Life. It really gives you the chance to notice and appreciate all of the the little moments in your life that you normally would forget about at the end of the day. It is also getting me back into the habit of printing pictures regularly and there’s nothing better than going to pick up actual prints. Because the pocket sizes in the page protectors aren’t all standard 4×6, some of the photos are printed as wallets and then I have a few extras to hang on the fridge or on my coffee table. It’s just nice to have updated photos around the house all the time, even if they’re not all portraits.

Become debt free

I’ve spent a few extra hours this month coming up with a new budget, tightening certain areas and meticulously writing down every purchase and every cent of income as well as engaging in new opportunities for income. I have a pen and paper system that I always end up going back to, but since it’s tucked inside my planner – sometimes I forget to update it right away and certain things get foggy when I’ve misplaced a receipt. I installed a new system in our office for being organized with regards to my Mary Kay business, this blog, and our finances (in a post coming soon!) and hopefully it will be a visual reminder every time I walk into the office to write down the day’s expenses.

I also have a Mint.com account that I spent time last night updating to reflect all of my new budget rules/added categories as well as newly updated goals. I knew the first month was going to be the hardest, but I used cash all month (even for gas purchases.. I actually went into the gas station and prepaid with cash)! I’ve also trimmed all of my spending and [subsequently] developed enough of a cushion in my checking account that I can make a $290 extra credit card payment this month (which was my goal) and not stress about it! Besides that, I also set a goal to transfer $50 to savings every month. It doesn’t seem like much but I don’t ever transfer money to savings and have to improvise when things happen and involve large purchases. I made my first $50 transfer to savings this month! It’s taken a lot of self control but I’m so proud of myself for actually sticking to the system and am filled with determination to keep moving forward.


cash image Savings transfer

Truly invest in the Mary Kay opportunity

This is the first month where I’ve really put effort into Mary Kay. I became a consultant in December of last year and was trying to get my head around everything as well as do everything for the holiday time. Now that the holidays are wrapped up, I was able to spend time training and getting organized and start booking appointments. Now that I feel comfortable with the position, I am starting to see this business truly as a business and a real way to bring in extra income. This month I made a couple hundred extra dollars but now that I’ve proven to myself I can do it, I’m ready to get creative and get going to really make a splash. Everybody’s hesitant to try something new (especially a work at home something) but I have to say that although I was hesitant and stressed about the decision, I’m starting to see it was a fantastic decision and pretty soon I’m going to be reaping serious rewards and enjoying my life more.

I have made some progress in a couple other goal areas, just not as much. I’ve been working on small projects to add some TLC to our home (in posts coming soon). I’ve also made more of an effort in myself. For a while recently I was wasting my days and doing nothing but moaning about how I was frustrated with my life. I’ve set a schedule for myself and taken on projects and goals lately. I feel like I’m working towards something and finally holding myself accountable. The other major difference is that I’ve gotten into the habit of dressing for an occasion every day (most days). Just because there isn’t a special event every day isn’t a reason not to look and feel your best because you never know what’s waiting for you that day.

In February, I hope to take the healthier living up a notch by incorporating exercise. I plan to keep on track with my debt free payment/savings plan and to get more creative with my Project Life album. My Mary Kay business is also going to change to be more dynamic and be influenced by more creativity. I am going to bring in double what I did this month.

Change is hard but the progress keeps you going. Here’s to a great February & great progress!

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13 in 2013

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the new year, wanting to put so many intentions into play. But I tried to wait until after the new year started so that the holidays could pass and we could enjoy that time fully. Now that we are a little over a week into 2013, I’ve put together a complete list of goals that I would like to accomplish this year. I know it’s unlikely to keep all resolutions (or even 1 it seems like) but, I’m hoping by making a list of goals and not resolutions, they’ll stick a little better.

13 in 2013

1. Be healthier

I’m not cutting out all sugar or sweets or the random cravings for Mexican that I get, but I can reign in my sugar intake, I can cut out sodas again, and I can definitely drink more water and be more active.

health - 1 2. 52 week project – Project Life.

I’m committing to keeping up with a 52-week project of documenting and recording our lives. I’m already in love with it and am appreciating our everyday activities even more.

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3. Become debt free

I’ve worked out a debt payment plan to requires me to work more and work harder and it also requires all cash spending (I do not ever use cash) so that when the budgeted funds are gone, they’re gone and there is no overspending. It also requires a lot of self control and self motivation to continue pushing myself. But I know it’ll be worth it when [hopefully in 6 months] I have zero balances on all cards and a lot more play room for spending on house projects, new shoes I never indulge in, etc.

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4. Take more pictures, and take better pictures.

I’m so enamored with those photos on other blogs that I admire and am inspired by. I could spend an extra minute considering composition and could allow a day to edit and pump up photos that I feature on my blog. I have also been exploring other camera apps available on the Android market and am finding that I can add create different effects besides the few I was already doing. Overall goal – take more pictures that I’m proud of, that I find interesting.

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5. Finish our office/studio.

We upgraded to a 2 bedroom apartment (that feels like a house because it’s a garden style/cottage style, so we have 2 very spacious bedrooms besides our living area/kitchen/dining room) and besides our bedroom – have set up the back room as an office. Josh has a desk, I have a desk, and I rearranged EVERYTHING to build a craft table a while back. Only problem is, while it is functional, I would love to put lots of inspirational art and color over my craft desk and add some storage so it’s a bit more functional. For now it’s a big white wall. I hate white walls.

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6. Pay off my car.

I technically have a year and a half left, but I have a serious savings plan in effect right now [see number 2] that would free up quite a bit of funds after credit cards to sock into my car and hopefully pay off before the end of the year.. allowing me to have 6 extra months of no car payment! Whoo!

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7. Add more touches to our house.

My last apartment was my first apartment I lived in alone, that was just my space [before Josh moved in, that is]. Before that, I had roommates. So this apartment was EXACTLY how I wanted it.. meaning turquoise walls. I loved it. I loved the whimsical feel, I loved the intense color, even though everyone said wow.. that’s alot of color when they walked in. I didn’t care. It made me happy. Painting it back did not make me happy though, when we moved. So our new apartment is cream walls (not exactly white) and I am still a little anti-painting walls these days [and have since been fueling my painting whims on furniture instead] so I would love to keep collecting things that I continue to fill our walls. It’s hard though, when you’re on a budget and as picky as I am.. so I continue to keep my eyes open, but I’m hoping to find more opportunities to find things this year.

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8. Be more active with the pups.

My sweet babies are so lovey dovey and will spend all day curled up in bed with me if that’s what I chose to do. They are both rescue pups so they’re a little needier than your average dog I think, and the little one just loves to be held like a baby, believe it or not.

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9. Read more.

It seems like I used to spend so much time reading. I love to read. I just can’t seem to find as much time for it these days, but I would like to make a conscious effort to try to. The only difference is that any kind of reading, whether it be novels or the coffee table-type books that I got for Christmas about decorating and learning to sew, are all going to count.

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10. Learn to sew.

There are so many projects that I’ve pinned that I could TOTALLY do, if I knew how to sew. I’ve gotten past the first step, and acquired a sewing machine in the past year.. this year, I intend to figure out how to work it and use it!

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11. Truly invest in the Mary Kay opportunity.

I am a new beauty consultant who took a complete leap of faith at the end of 2012 and decided to join Mary Kay and start a small business. I am both terrified and excited by the possibilities and lack of structure that comes with being your own boss. I don’t have specific things that I have to do in order to make money, but the beauty is that I can work as hard or as little as I want – and I am working for myself and getting to have FUN.. I think that’s why it’s so weird and foreign to me. It seems too good to be true. There are so many other women out there doing it though, and doing it well, so why can’t I do it too?

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12. Wear red lipstick.

I’ve enviously looked upon other ladies who have gotten that red lip, subtle make up look just right and always store that thought in the back of my mind somewhere that I would like to achieve that some day too. It’s going to be this year.

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13. To take advantages of opportunities. 

Like a lot of people, I tend to kind of wait for what I consider to be opportunities to come my way. They do circle around now and then and once in a while I think gosh, this was such a great thing to happen! But I’ve learned that I need to be ready and be out there so that more of those moments are within reach.

opportunities - 13

What do your goals for this year look like? It seems like there are always a few of the same that crop up.. save more, pay off debt, eat healthier, lose weight.. I’ve got my own version of those but there are so many other ways to self improve, and whether it’s a new year or not – we should always be trying to be better!

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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.

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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!

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