Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When Life Gets Hard

     So what do you do when you feel hatred sneaking up in your heart? When bitterness silently steals your happiness? Well, I should know because this pretty much sums up my 2014. It was a toughie. If I'm being honest, making it to January 1st felt like a marathon where I finished last. 2014 was one nasty, school yard bully of a year. Why? Because I allowed myself to hold on to grudges and those grudges turned into dark clouds that followed me around every day. Don't worry, I wasn't trying to jump off any buildings, but life did get blurry for awhile and I struggled with trying to find myself. 
     The WORST thing about holding grudges is that the person(s) who hurt you so deeply has NO IDEA. They are just living life without a care in the world while you wake up every morning with the weight of the world on your shoulders. And you guys. That weight is so heavy

     So how do you do it? How do you move on from this? Can you recover? Obviously on January 1st I didn't magically wake up and find all the hatred and bitterness had been left in the previous year. But I did make a commitment to stop allowing these old wounds to continue to hurt me. How? I have no idea. I'm going to need a lot of help from my Savior. I'm also grateful to know I have a kind husband who is always around to hug me tight when I get lose sight of my commitment and a sensitive dog who oh so grossly sweetly licks away my tears when they sneak out of my eyes.

    It's hard to hurt so deeply and never hear the words we all learned at an early age- I'm sorry. But then again, when you're years in and you still haven't gotten that apology, it probably means it took the wrong train and got lost along the way. Aka- IT AINT COMING. I am going to try so hard in this new year to accept the apologies I never got. 

     Friends. Life gets hard. There are so many beautiful, happy moments and I am so grateful for those. But unfortunately we also have to endure the not so happy ones, too. You know the days I'm talking about. Those days where the worst mistake you make is getting on social media to find out that everyone else has it going on except you. Or those days when you've watched Netflix for so long the "Do you want to continue?" button pops up and you just yell at the Tv-ITS MY LIFE I CAN DO WHAT I WANT. Or when your favorite dog rings his potty bell seven times in one hour and you're suddenly considering putting him up for adoption. The days you look in the washer and realize you've forgotten a load of wet clothes in there for a good week now and it smells so bad you're wondering if they are going to get out and walk themselves to the dryer. Or even the days when you find yourself crying out of nowhere because you have allowed bitterness to sneak in and steal away your happiness.

     The weight of the world is heavy. But I know that I do not have to carry it alone. In this new year I am choosing joy over everything else. I am weeding out all the hatred and bitterness that snuck into my life.  I choose light. I choose forgiveness. I choose joy. Will you? 

     "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King Jr.

Pin It!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Financial Goals 2015

   I was kind of nervous to write this post because talking about money is such a personal matter, but I feel like if I throw this all out into the universe it will make me accountable for something. Justin and I spent two weeks in Florida for Christmas and then a long weekend in Indiana to wrap our vacation up. If you do the math you will see we spent a total of 53 hours in the car together. In those 53 hours we only had two fights, and both of them were about whose turn it was to drive. Since we survived and are still married I consider it to be a very successful trip. :p We basically had a LOT of time to talk about personal and financial goals for our family in 2015.   

 When we lived in Florida we did ok, but we kind of just wandered around aimlessly with no real goals or aspirations. We ate out almost everyday and bought stupid stuff. Our savings account was almost non existent if I'm just being honest. When Justin was offered a job in Boston his paychecks were a lot more than we were used to and we decided it was time to start being a little more grown up with our finances. We celebrated financial milestones and we were really proud of ourselves! However we still haven't learned how to tell ourselves "No". I think it may be even harder now because frankly, we don't have to. For example, we live right behind a super nice outdoor mall with great shops and restaurants. If I want a new pair of jeans, I don't even hesitate to walk across the street and spend $80 on a new pair. If we run out of soap in our bathrooms, right across the street I go to Bath and Body Works to spend $30 on soap for every bathroom and kitchen. And I never sweat it because I know we have the money to do those things. But here is where my thinking has shifted recently. I don't want to do those things anymore. I want to learn to tell myself NO. To be content with what I have and for that to be enough.   
 I am so proud for the amount of growing up we have done together as husband and wife, and I'm also proud of the financial milestones we've hit, but I want more. I LOVE the quote Dave Ramsey uses "the status symbol of choice is a paid off mortgage" I so want that to be us. I feel like it is easy to get in a rut when it comes to finances. We have a set amount of money we save every month, and even though we could save more-we don't. Instead we eat out, buy whatever the heck we want but don't need, and don't think twice about it. Well until now. Thank god we don't have any serious debt. No student loans, credit cards, etc. We have one car loan, but we hope to have that paid off in the next year or two. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I really don't want to be a slave to my stuff. As much as I have been pining over the latest Kate Spade purse and leather watch to match, I know those cutsey items won't be going with me to Heaven.   
 Justin and I hope to start a family in the future (very far away future, sorry Karen) and they will always be our main priority. I want to be able to explore the world and show them all it has to offer, put them in nice schools and teach them the true value of money because I honestly know it. I don't want our kids wrapped up in the latest and greatest, "Tommy has these shoes so I really have to have them too!" I want to live a happy, comfortable life without the stress of having things we will always be in debt to.   
 So this new year comes a fresh start and a chance for me to learn the true meaning of NO. I am really excited because we have just started Dave Ramsey's envelope system and I cannot wait to see how it goes. I have a feeling Justin may have to talk me off a couple of bridges and pry a couple of purses out of my hands every once in a while, but I am super pumped about the future. We have a couple of pretty big moments coming up this year and we can't wait to tackle them hand in hand with a new outlook on our finances.

2015 Financial Goals
  • Don't be a slave to stuff. Pass up that designer purse that is only a fraction of the price at TJ Maxx. Stop trying to justify it by previous statement. :p
  • Save more by spending less. The envelope system is going to be tough, but so worth it. 
  • Get creative with date nights to cut costs down.
  • Less drive-thru trips. My wallet and tummy will thank me for this.
  • Collect moments, not things. 

Sounds reasonable enough, right? I will be honest, I'm a little nervous. I really hope I don't fail miserably. I'm already getting a little depressed thinking about not going to the mall to buy Welly socks to match my Hunter Boots. Well I can, but it will take me a few weeks to save my "pocket money" from this envelope system to do so. haha! Do you have any goals this year? 
Pin It!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Cards 2014

I don't know if you guys know this or not, but I have a slight obsession with Christmas cards. I love sending them out and I love getting them. I run to the mailbox every day when December rolls around. I LOVE looking at all of the adorable photos and creative cards my friends send out. I display them for the whole month and then I hold onto them and display them the next year too.

I always have fun deciding what we want our Christmas card to be. When I was little I used to get cards from family members who also sent a letter catching us up on their life. I loved reading about everything and so when I got married that is what I wanted to do, too. However, I was too afraid people would get bored with my letter so I chose to do a more photographic approach. I don't know if I'll do this every single year, but I have had great luck with finding cards I like so far.

This year I worked with Brianna from the Collected Blog. You seriously have to go check out her blog, she is amazing! The previous Christmas cards she has done for other people in the past have all been so good. I would totally work with her again. 

We collaborated and late-night emailed back and forth for a couple of months trying to put together the perfect card. And she totally did it. I gave her the info and when she sent me the final proof I knew she nailed it. This is by far my favorite card we have sent out!! 

I had to pat myself on the back for not waiting until the last minute to send them out, too. :p If you ever want to be a little more frugal around the holidays you can always take your family photos yourself. All you need is a camera and a tripod! Justin and Hudson have grown to put up with the yearly photo shoots I make them attend, and they are really good sports about it. But it does take some practice to get the perfect picture. Here are some of my favorite outtakes from our little session-

 I promise you guys, I only got ONE good photo of all of us kissing under that dang mistletoe out of like, 100. But looking back at the photos make me laugh and these two remind me everyday that things don't have to be perfect to be awesome.I hope you all have an amazing holiday season. Xoxo

Pin It!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Doggy Birthday Cake

My (furry) baby turned three last week and I couldn't help but reminisce about the day we brought him home. He was the tiniest, furriest little heart breaker. I found Hudson on Petfinder.com, a website for all rescue pets who need a home. I fell in love with his photo so that same weekend we drove to meet him. I never wanted a dog who barked a lot because yippy dogs make me crazy (lol) so what happened when we first walked up to his kennel was truly magical. Hudson was surrounded by 10 of his brothers and sisters and they were all going crazy, running, barking, being puppies except Hudson. He was sitting there so patiently, just staring at me. And I just knew this was my new best friend. The lady handed him to me and he nibbled on my braid and licked my face and the rest is history.

This dog has been with me through some pretty tough times in my life. And some pretty great ones, too. You know those bumper stickers that say "Who rescued who?" I totally get them now. I don't make fun of dog obsessed people because chances are, I'm probably slightly crazier. :p

Each year for his birthday I like to bake him something special. This year I took him to a park and documented the occasion. I hope your dog enjoys this recipe as much as Hudson does!

This year I used a recipe from keepingmycents.com and it turned out great!

  • 2-½ cups water
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin (PURE Pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
  • 3-½ cups flour (whole wheat flour is better for dogs but you can use regular if need be)
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

(For the frosting I just mixed some non fat cream cheese with cinnamon and honey and slapped it on for extra taste.)

I still can't believe my baby is 3!!! He was just 9 weeks old when we brought him home. Do you guys do anything special for your pets birthdays?

Pin It!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Home Portrait Anniversary Gift

     Our anniversary was earlier this week and I was so excited about what I had made for Justin this year. Chelsea from one of my favorite blogs, Two Twenty One, posted a giveaway on her blog a few weeks ago and it gave me the perfect idea for an anniversary gift. A portrait of our first home together. I was obsessed with the house portrait Chelsea had done so I reached out to the shop owner to have one made, but she was booked up for months. I found another shop on Etsy and decided to reach out to that owner. Here is a photo of our home and here is the fun little portrait Jen from Busy Bee Prints made for us.

     If I'm being completely honest, I was a little nervous about seeing the final result. This was an Etsy shop who was trying to build up its name and I was one of her first customers. I am so glad I took the risk (if you would even call it that) because I am so happy with the final result. If you look closely you can even see Hudson on the front porch! So sweet. This was our first home together, but this house is really Justin's baby. He bought it all on his own and he is so proud of it. This house means a lot to us both, but it's extra special to Justin. Seeing his face light up when he opened his gift was so so sweet.

     I think this is a great idea for almost any occasion and the sweet shop owner is offering a discount to anyone who mentions that I sent them her way! I hope you guys will check her out! What do you think? Doesn't it look just like our house? I can't wait to frame it!

Use this link to find Jen on Etsy! (Click Me!)

Pin It!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Oh The Place's You'll Go Baby Shower

    My older sister is having a baby in December and as soon as I found out I volunteered to throw her a shower. I love parties and babies, put the two together and what's not to love? Her "adopted momma" helped me get everything together and we had fun working together. When she found out she was having a girl I was SOOOO excited because I knew how cute this shower could really be. No offense boys, but you just aren't nearly as much fun! :p My sister's theme for baby's nursery is Dr. Suess so I wanted to try to put a girly, pastel twist on the theme and went with an "Oh the Place's You'll Go" approach. My amazing friend Kim helped me come up with my ideas and was even kind enough to send an entire package of adorable things for the shower. Is she a great friend or what? (Will list sources below!) I hope you guys think the shower turned out as cute as I do! It was such a blast to put together, I'm a little sad it's over. Ok enough blabbing, here's what you came for anyway;)

 Congratulations Felicia! You make an adorable little momma!

Invitation: Partyville Printables on Etsy

It's a Girl Banner: Kim from Newlywoodwards

Tissue tassel banner: DIY with help from this tutorial

Prints for Onsies: Kim from Newlywoodwards

Cups for veggies: Shop Sweet Lulu

Cake: Kroger (I just added a simple bouquet of food safe flowers to the top)

Gold Lettering for globe: Kim from Newlywoodwards

Hot Air Balloon centerpieces: DIY from this tutorial (HINT-to get a better net just use more strings and make the diamonds MUCH smaller. I just used her tutorial to get me started)

Personalized Hot Air Balloon Thank You tags: Kim from Newlywoodwards

Chalkboard Easels: Walmart 

Jars full of baby blocks: Target

Pin It!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Justin Turns 30!

    I met Justin when he was 25 and we became great friends right away. By his 26th birthday I had this kind of, sort of, might be love feeling about him, but I wasn't positive. On his 27th birthday I knew he would be stuck with me forever and I mentally started planning his surprise 30th birthday party. (Have I mentioned that birthdays are a big deal to me?) This is a conversation Justin and I shared the other day- 
Me: What's your favorite holiday?
Justin: Your birthday.
Me: That's not a holiday.
Justin: Oh yes it is. We all know birthdays are holidays in this house.

I laughed out loud when he said that. I have always been the kind of person who thinks birthdays should all be special. I don't expect anyone to buy me the moon or anything, but it is the day we were brought into this world and I feel like thats worth celebrating. I have tried making all of Justin's birthdays like that for him. I know one day we will have a family and things will get crazy and we won't be able to fly to Vegas, but I will never stop being crazy about birthdays. 

   So like I said, I had this surprise birthday planned for quite a long time. I did not expect to be living in Boston though, so that was a little tricky. Once I got all the details worked out I was excited to really go to town on the party. I struggled with a theme for a little while because I didn't want it to be cheesy. Justin is a work on your car, come home from work covered in grease and sweat, yell when the Red Sox win a game kind of guy, but at the same time the dude can shop until he drops and sometimes decorates better than me.  I racked my brain and then finally found the perfect idea on Pinterest. 80's night! I started pinning things like crazy to my secret Pinterest board and knew this party was going to be a blast. I wanted it to be an 80s party without being super cheesy. I'm so excited with how it turned out and couldn't wait to share the amazing photos on my blog! ( A huge thank you to Ashley McCormick from Ashley McCormick Photography for taking these amazing photos for us) At the very end of this post I will name all sources from the party and please feel free to ask questions if I leave anything out! 

    How fun is this? What do you guys think? Would you throw a rockin 80's party? I totally felt like I spent a night in 1984. Isn't the birthday boy like-totally awesome?

Food: Justin's parents made an amazing BBQ for all of our guests. (Justin's favorite meal!) We had BBQ pork loin, baked beans, coleslaw, corn bread and lots of sweet tea of course!

Activities: I handed out 80's DVDs for prizes for best dressed. A Photo Booth was set up for the guests to go and strike their best prom pose. The guests signed a book telling Justin what their favorite memory was with him. Justin went to town on his 30 piñata and there was lots and lots of delicious cake. I was hoping to play Pin the Glove on Michael Jackson, but we ran out of time! I sent everyone home with a Rubiks cube and a bag full of 80's candy as favors. 

Old movies, records for plate mats, tapes and cassette player:Savers Thrift Superstore
Rubiks Cubes for party favors: DollarTree.com
30 balloon and piñata: Party City
80's candy: Walmart and Walgreens
Photo backdrop: DIY 

Pin It!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...