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.giftie etcetera blog response post [12/9/13]

Monday, December 9, 2013





Today's post is something I haven't done before.  I'm doing a response post to another blog.  A fellow Planner Nerd posted a blog today titled, "I Never Fold My Underwear".  I thought it was a fun post, && since I'm still without a proper camera [see the reason why here], I'm having to create posts without pictures.  I thought this was a perfect post to do.  You can view her original post at her blog Giftie Etcetera.

My "Never's"...

I never... make my bed.  I like it to air out, and no one sees my bed.  My bedroom is not a room I go into much during the day, so it doesn't bother me to have an unmade bed.

I never... waste a bird carcass.  Ewww right?  Ahaha!  This came to mind because I'm making homemade chicken noodle soup today.  Using the carcass of a chicken I roasted yesterday to make the broth.  I hate wasting food and will use everyyy bit of everything that I can. 

I never... not do something that will take 60 seconds or less to do.  Example:  instead of leaving my shoes on the floor, clothes on the floor, or toilet paper off the roll I follow the 60 second rule.  If it takes 60 seconds or less to do the task, I do it right then.  Why not?  No point in saving it for later and letting things get out of hand.

I never... have less than 3 cups of coffee to start my day.  Yes I have an addiction.  My day is planned each morning while drinking coffee, and catching up on my YouTube subscriptions <333

I never... waste a B&BW candle jar.  They make great organization tools that are pretty.  And since I pretty much only burn B&BW candles, all my jars match!

I never... waste candle wax [keeping with the candle train of thought].  Once a candle wick has gone as far as it can, there is always useful wax at the bottom of the jar.  I put it in my "fake Scentsy" warmer from WalMart.  

I never... use my crock pot without a liner.  I HAAATE cleaning crock pots.  I would much rather spend the money on liners.

I never... fold socks or underwear.  Etcetera is right, no one sees it and why waste time on it?  My socks are labeled "R" & "L" [I'll explain this OCD quirk on another day] so it's easy to quickly grab what I need.

I never... go grocery shopping without a plan.  I work hard at keeping our grocery bill under budget, it's kind of a game to me =) weird right?  I shop once a week, and meticulously plan out my meals down to the penny using my Grocery Price List journal I made.

I never... spend a full day doing laundry.  I do a load every day to stay on top of it.  Each day of the week also has specific loads to do.  Example: Monday's I do the kitchen towel's, mop heads, && the heads from my dusters.  Basically all cleaning items that need to be laundered.  Tuesdays: I do linen laundry.  Etc, etc, so && so forth.

I never... do my son's chores.  I'm trying to raise a self-sufficient man with good work ethic.  He takes out the trash, does his own laundry, and cleans his own room && his own bathroom [he's 15].

I never... buy physical books anymore.  We are ALL readers in my home and our library was getting out of control.  Now we exclusively use our kindles.  Which also makes it nice when we all want to read the same book at the same time!  

Well friends, that's my "never" list.  I'm sure there's more, but that's what came up first in my head.  I'm off to check on my chicken broth! =)  I'm very excited for homemade chicken noodle soup tonight.  It's been so cold here, and I think this soup will be perfect to warm our tummies.

xo Emilee

.book club [BOTM december 2013: Divergent]

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I think we've decided to go with Divergent for the December book of the month [BOTM].  There's a lot of buzz about it and a movie is coming out early next year.  It is a Young Adult Fiction, so it should be an easy read during the holiday hustle and bustle.  Don't think you'll have time to read this month?  How about the audio book version?  You can access it here... Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks




In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance. [from Amazon.com]

Click on the "Join my Book Club" icon on the right of the page to follow along with the discussion and reading progress.  I'm very excited to read this book with everyone!  Whether you read a physical copy, an e-book copy, or use Audible, I think we're really going to enjoy this read.

xo Emilee

.chit chat [November]

Monday, November 25, 2013


Can you believe it's getting close to Christmas already?  This year has really flown by.  Course it seems as I get older, the years go by quicker and quicker.  I can't lie though, I'm very ready for Christmas.  I plan on decorating this week.  There's just something jolly about a house full of whimsy holiday cheer.  I've already finished my holiday shopping and I'm readyyy!  

So yesterday the worst thing happened... Okay so maybe I'm being dramatic, but you all know how I am about my phone.  First thing yesterday morning at work, I dropped my beloved phone into the toilet :'(  She's still sitting in a bag of rice, but I honestly don't have much hope for her.  It has been a very strange 24hrs without a phone.  I stopped into Aldi yesterday after work to pick up a few items I needed.  I went to pull my phone out to check a recipe on Pinterest and was like, "Ohhhhh yeah.....".  I went to set an alarm before bed and was like, "Ohhhhh yeah.....".  Woke up this morning and went to check the weather and was like, "Ohhhh yeah....".  It's been rough! Haha!  Currently, I'm utilizing my laptop && my kindle fire to reach the outside world.  I know that it is sad how dependent we are on technology, but I don't really feel guilty about it.  I love my phone, and I use it non-stop.  I'm getting a loaner phone soon to get me by until I decide what I want to do.  

For those of you that keep up to date with me and my POHS, I can happily report that so far I'm still doing great.  Not much to report there.  Other than I'm having to make some serious health insurance decisions very soon [as I'm sure most people are].  POHS is such an expensive condition to have, && I want to make sure I make wise decisions about my insurance choices.  

Since Thanksgiving is upon us I want to tell you all how thankful I am for you.  Thank you for uplifting me, being a loyal reader, and taking time out of your day to learn about mine.  Blogging is such a blessing and I'm very thankful to get to share that experience with you all <333  

xo Emilee

.goodreads book club update

Friday, November 22, 2013


From the start of the Emilee Speaks book club on GoodReads, we've been reading the entire Harry Potter series.  It's been more of a "read along at your own pace" type of thing.  Now that we've finished, [if you haven't read the series before please do so NOW!] I'm going to have a more structured book club.  Monthly book choices instead of a free flow.  If you'd like to jump in and join us for December, hop on over HERE and join myyy group!  I'll announce the December book of the month at the end of November [if you'd like to make suggestions for a book, leave a comment below].  Can't wait to read with you!!! <333

xo Emilee

adorn your android [november 2013]

android theme
Home screen

android theme
Photography & Music screen

android theme
Home management screen

I'm really only using 3 screens this month.  I have another screen that has the 4x4 Bookmark Widget, and another screen that has my Google Drive widget [I use it to house my proof of insurance for my vehicle, so I have it there for easy access].  I wanted to do more of a fall theme, but wasn't finding any icons that flowed well.  So I went with sort of a Shabby Chic theme.  

All Icons were found using the CocoPPa.  [CocoPPa username: emileeblogs]




sodastream review

sodastream



I was recently sent a SodaStream* starter kit via House Party to hold a party and essentially advertise the SodaStream Source.  It was NOT a requirement that I make a blog post on this, but I'm just so obsessed with my new SodaStream I had to share myyy thoughts!  

House Party is a neat website that you can sign up for to hold "parties".  Basically they send you a free item, and you commit to having a party with your friends to try out the item.  I was incredibly lucky to get in on the SodaStream party!  When my SodaStream arrived I fell in love instantly.  I've seen them in stores but never would have purchased it for myself.  However, after playing with one I definitely would have ended up buying one.  Several people from my SodaStream party have ordered one already ahah!  

REVIEW:
So far I cannot find anything negative to say about this unit.  It's easy to use, makes wonderful drinks, and is environmentally friendly.  What more could you ask for?  My favorite flavors include: Orange Soda, Ocean Spray Cranberry, Dr. Pete, and Diet Pink Grapefruit.  I will warn you, all of the flavorings have a sort of "artificial sweetener" taste to them.  None of the flavorings are made with High Fructose Corn Syrup, and the diet flavors are made with Sucralose instead of Aspartame.  The non-diet flavors do seem to be made with a mixture of Sugar & Sucralose.  This keeps calories lower than regular store bought soda brands, but something to keep in mind if you do not like to consume artificial sweeteners.  They do offer regular Cola flavoring without artificial sweeteners, it's made with 100% Pure Cane Sugar.  I haven't tried this one, so I am unable to tell you how it tastes.  There are other flavorings as well in their "Sparkling Naturals" line that are made without artificial sweetener.  

CONCLUSION:
If you don't mind consuming artificial sweetener, and are looking to cut calories, SodaStream would be an amazing option for you.  Even just using it to have plain sparkling water!  If you prefer pure cane sugar drinks, but want to limit your intake of High Fructose Corn Syrup, I'd say this would also be a good purchase for you.  The only downfall to the latter is that they don't have as wide of a flavoring choice for the no artificial sweeteners.

I took my sodas to work to have my party.  Nearly all of my friends are my co-workers and it was just easier that wayyy.  We had a great time tasting different flavors and even made rootbeer floats!  


soda stream

We work in I.T. so we've all got headsets on :)  I'm not pictured because I was the photographer, and my other co-workers chose not to be photographed.  We had a fun time being sillyyy && just taking a break! <333









*All opinions are my own, I was not paid to write this post.  I was sent the SodaStream Kit by HouseParty.com, however, making a blog post was NOT a requirement by them.  I chose to write about my SodaStream on my own accord. 

adorn your android [October 2013]

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I've mentioned before how I love to see other peoples phone layouts. So I think I'm going to start a monthly series on my layout. I change it up about everyyy month, so why not share it?  My username on cocoPPa is emileeblogs.




grocery store price list [menu planning]

groceries


I wanted to share with you my grocery store price list book.  I do 98% of my grocery shopping at Aldi.  They have the best prices in myyy town.  I don't coupon except for personal product items && cleaning items, so Aldi is the best choice for me.  

I created a price book by saving receipts and entering them into my book.  I separated it into categories, and list items in it accordingly.  This helps me stay on my grocery budget when menu planning && I always know how much I will be spending at the store.  

I used a little notebook that I purchased in a 3 pack from Wal-Mart.  I placed washi tape on the front && using a Sharpie I wrote "Aldi Price Book 2013".  Then I used self adhesive tabs on the pages to create categories.

groceries

On the pages I just list the item and price.  Depending on the item or category I will also include size and/or weight.  

groceries

My categories are:
  • meat
  • dairy
  • canned
  • produce
  • dry goods
  • bread
  • frozen
  • snacks
  • seasoning/sauces
  • condiments
  • misc. [because I also purchase my paper towels && ziplocs at Aldi]
And there ya have it!  An easy reference price book for grocery shopping.  I keep it tucked in the back of my FiloFax so that I always have it on me.  This way if I happen to be at a different store && see something on sale, I can quickly see if it's cheaper for me than at Aldi.  <333





project 20 pan [update 2]

project 20 pan

It's been awhile since I updated my project 20 pan.  This is where I'm at...  I've been able to cross out 10 items!  I'm going to be honest and say that I've purchased things since declaring project 20 pan, however they were only necessary purchases.  Only to replace things I've used up.  I've done really well at keeping my splurge spending at bay!  [Something I'm very proud of!]  I was terribly sad to see the last squirt from my Urban Decay De-Slick.  I loved this stuff.  With summer being over, and me no longer working during the day I have decided to not repurchase it just yet.  I don't have a need for it at the moment.  My Naked Palette never should have been included on this project!  Ack!  This eyeshadow lasts forever!  I'm never going to fully run out of it!  Same goes with my mark blush quad at the bottom.  The ONLY reason I included the mark blush quad, was to remind myself I have a large abundance of blush and do NOT need to purchase more.  I've done pretty well at using up the product that I really wanted to get rid of.  Maybe I'll start another project 20 pan, and make it more realistic by removing the Naked Palette and my mark blush quad.  

I challenge you all to do the same until the new year!  Pick 10-20 items that you need to use up before purchasing anything else.  Link your post below, or just tell me about it in a comment. 


hulu Xbox error code 4004 [fix]

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

hulu error code 4004


My Xbox hasn't had Hulu working for months. I'm in I.T. so I understand all the basic troubleshooting. Nothing was working. I primarily use hulu during the fall tv season, so I was starting to panic. Sure I have a kindle, a laptop, and a phone I can watch hulu on... It's just not the same.  After scouring and scouring the internet researching the error, I was at a loss. Every suggestion I found didn't work. I was getting frustrated.

Well guys & gals, I fixed it! The "location" of my Xbox was set to "other" instead of "united states". Once I changed that, hulu started right up. After being incredibly angry that it was that simple, I was rejoicing! 

From your dashboard:
*settings
*system
*console settings
*language and locale
*locale

Hope that helps you!  


adorn your android [september 2013]

Monday, September 16, 2013

My cellphone is an extension of me.  There I said it.  I'm not ashamed and neither should you.  My cellphone is my mobile planner, my mp3 player, my music streamer, my camera, my brain, oh and my communication to the outside world ;)

I have an HTC EVO 4G LTE, and I've had it for almost a year and a half.  I adore my phone, and it has been perfect to me.  Today, I'm going to post pics of my customized homescreen [cause it's pretty & fun]!

My Homescreen:
android theme

  • At the top left I have my 2Do app widget.  It allows me to quickly view my to-do tasks, as well as quickly add tasks in
  • The top right folder is my "sleep" folder
  • Below that is my shortcut to the website Swap-Bot
  • Middle left to right: 2Do app, flashlight app, Candy Crush, CocoPPa [the app that I used to customize all my app icons]
  • Next row is my folders: Social Media, Music, Photography, and Games
  • Bottom: Phone, Gmail, all apps, GoSMS Pro, internet
android theme

  • Sleep folder contains my favorite bedtime apps: Sleep Cycle [which tells you what time to wake up that won't interrupt a sleep cycle], Relax Melodies Premium [my favorite sound machine app, and I purchased the premium version], Alarm Clock Extreme, and a shortcut to a gossip forum I like to browse before bed
android theme

  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
  • Youtube, GoodReads, Blogger, SnapChat
android theme




  • Music app, Pandora, SoundHound, Dogg Catcher Podcast Player
  • Tune In Radio, Audible, Amazon Mp3
android theme

  • Camera, Pixlr-o-Matic, PicsArt, Photo Grid
  • Gallery, Lumia, Textgram, InstaQuote
  • Text Cutie
android theme

  • 4 Pics 1 Song, Dots, My Singing Monsters, Google Play Store
  • Netgear Genie, Tap the Frog

I just love browsing at other people's apps & screens, so I thought I'd share mine with you all again.


budget bathroom organization

Monday, August 26, 2013




I've recently reorganized my master bathroom, using a very small budget.  Everything I used was purchased from the Dollar Tree & Dollar General.  It's not fancy, but I think it's cute and more importantly it's efficient.  I haven't labeled my baskets yet, because I haven't decided how I want to do that. Let's get to it...



In the above picture I'm giving you a sort of overview of the whole "vanity" area.  I know not everyone has a lamp in their bathroom, but I don't have the best lighting and with my POHS I don't see very well.  I HATE that the lamp cord runs behind the length of the counter, but there's nothing I can do about it.  


Here's the first bottom cabinet under the sink.  This is where I house my hair products.  There's also a lighted makeup mirror behind there in the back.  I'm storing it there right now because I can't use it.  My POHS is bothered by direct light in my eyes.  All the bins were purchased at Dollar Tree.



  • A: lamp & lampshade I purchased at Dollar General for under $8
  • B: Dollar General mirror for a couple of dollars
  • C: Wine glass from Dollar Tree that I keep my toothbrush & paste in
  • D: Glass candle hurricane from the Dollar Tree that I keep brushes/combs in
  • E: Little metal bucket from the Dollar Tree for my makeup brushes
  • F: Three drawer plastic storage I purchased from Dollar General.  Houses Q-Tips, Cotton balls, and Bobby Pins
  • G: Tiny candle holder from Dollar Tree with a B&BW candle in it

Larger view of the Plastic Storage and my adorable metal bucket from Dollar Tree


  • A: Little ceramic painted birds from Dollar General for less than a buck, they were on clearance.  One says "Live" & the other says "Laugh"
  • B: These were a pinterest project.  I took glass containers from the Dollar Tree and adhered them to glass candlestick holders, put some glass beads in it, and a candle.  Spent about $9 total.
  • C: The yellow basket also from Dollar Tree has washcloths in it, and the yellow tea cup was from an antique store. 
  • D: This large pink basket I purchased years ago at Big Lots I believe, so I already had it on hand.  It holds all my curling irons, flat irons, and blow dryer.
  • A: The wooden over the sink shelf I purchased at Big Lots several years ago.  It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but I love the functionality of it.
  • B: Hello Kitty jewelry holder.  I have a major love for Hello Kitty.  She makes random appearances throughout my apartment.  I purchased this jewelry holder from Walmart about a year ago.  I put her in the bathroom for my "catch all".  This is where I take jewelry off at the end of the night, but don't feel like properly putting them away in the bedroom.
  • C: Makeup pencil holder is from Dollar Tree, it's just a glass container
  • D: The little tray that Jess' products is on was from Dollar General for a dollar
  • E: This is an empty B&BW candle jar.  I put my phone in it when listening to quieter podcasts.  It amplifies the sound, so I can listen in the shower.
  • A: Dollar Tree bin that holds boxes of gauze, bandaids, thermometer, etc.
  • B: Same dollar Tree bin that I keep manicuring things in
  • C: Little tin bird from Dollar General
  • D: Flower arrangement from Dollar General
  • E: Cute little painted 2 drawer wooden box also from Dollar General
  • *All the decor items were on clearance at Dollar General.  I think I purchased all of them for less than $10.
  • A: [All these bins were from Dollar Tree]  This bin has misc. makeup items that I want to store in the bathroom, but I don't use everyday.
  • B: Waxing & Shaving items
  • C: Sample Society product stash [I'll have another post on the contents of that basket]
  • D: Another empty glass B&BW candle jar.  This one has sample society products that I'm currently using.
  • E: That bin has all my currently using "face" makeup.  Like foundation, powders, blush, primer, highlighter, etc.
  • F: This bin has all my currently using "eye" makeup.

.financial planning series [part 3]

Friday, August 23, 2013

Today we're going to touch on one of my favorite topics, beauty products.  Women spend an average of $15,000 on makeup in their lifetime.  I know I have spent quite a lot in my lifetime, and I'm only 30.  There comes a point when you have to separate your wants from your needs.  I'm not saying we can't indulge ourselves, because come on we all deserve the occasional indulgence.  If you have to have the Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation at $55 a bottle, then maybe you shouldn't also purchase the Chanel Le Volume mascara [which is $30 a tube].  Be reasonable with yourself.  What is your makeup passion? What are your trouble spots?  We'll go through some decision questions to ask yourself in this post as well as some tiiips & tricks...

Why do you wear makeup?
Is it to make yourself feel better?  Is it because you think you're "supposed" to?  I know plenty of women who don't really care about makeup, and wear very minimal amounts.  If this is you, then you should ask yourself if you even need it at all.  If you're only wearing makeup cause you think you're supposed to, and you feel perfectly confident without it, stop wearing it!  You don't need it.  If you wear it because you feel you "need" it and aren't comfortable in public without it, that's completely understandable.  I think most women will fit into that category.  Are you a makeup junkie?  An addict?  A connoisseur?  [This is my category]  If this is you, being frugal with makeup will be much harder!  [Trust me, I know.]

What are your trouble spots?  
Do you have bad skin?  Acne scaring?  I personally fall into this category.  I need a good strong full coverage foundation, that is quality and won't clog my pores.  Do you have beautiful skin, and just love a perfect lipstick?  Then you'd be better off going light on foundation/powder purchasing budget friendly products and splurging on that one perfect lipstick that feels like butter.  You get where I'm going with this?  We don't have to have the BEST of everything.  It's not necessary.  Sure, it's fun & tempting.  However, it will eat up your pocketbook.  

Resist temptation...
I have a full on nearly need addiction meetings type obsession with makeup.  I subscribe to about 75 Beauty YouTube vloggers.  Here's where my problem went from bad to worse...  These women tend to purchase more high end products, and OFTEN.  That's awesome for them.  It's their job!  Unless you are a beauty vlogger, or a makeup artist you don't need to hoard makeup.  [I'd be ashamed to show you my collection, it's massive]  I finally hit a point where I couldn't comfortably organize all the makeup I own.  It was my rock bottom.  My need for order and compulsive organization conflicted with my inner makeup hoarder.  It was like this lightbulb clicked on and I realized that just because Sally So & So says this new eyeshadow is the best thing ever, even though last month she was swearing by a different eyeshadow, I don't NEED that eyeshadow. I put myself on a "no buy" right then and there.  I am to use up everything I have in each category before purchasing more.  Example:  right now I have 3 brand new bottles of foundation waiting to be used.  I will use them all up before I purchase new foundation.  I don't care of Sally So & So found a miracle foundation that literally will take 10 years off your life... These 3 bottles I already have, must be used up first.  I've also noticed that since then, I have quit watching "haul" videos & reviews.  I don't need that temptation.  That wasn't even a conscious decision, I just naturally steered away from them.  

What I've Learned:
Where to spend my money && where NOT to spend my money.  When you become aware of your spending, you want to make better decisions.  I've learned that there is a dupe for nearly every high end product.  Ladies, the cosmetic industry is cut throat.  The drugstore brands are working harder than ever to have quality products.  There's some amazing stuff out there!  I have a few high end items that I can't see myself stopping use of, but I've replaced other things with drugstore.  

TIPS:
  • Instead of spending $36 on that NARS contour that Sally So & So told us make her look perfectly sun kissed, purchase an affordable pressed powder in a shade 2-3 shades darker than your skin tone.
  • Subscribe to ONE [not 10] monthly subscription box.  Birchbox is an affiliate with my blog, but I don't subscribe to them.  [Sorry birchbox, I'm an honest blogger...]  I subscribe to Sample Society and here's why... I feel that the products in Sample Society are much higher quality, they are crazy expensive brands that I would NEVER purchase for myself.  Here's why I suggest this... Last month I received a full size [not sample size] $30 Vincent Longo Eyeshadow Trio.  A $30 product in my box that only cost me $15, and that was just one item out of 5 that month.  I have a basket in my bathroom cabinet that is full of my sample society items.  I get so many high end eye cream samples from Sample Society, that I'll never have to purchase my own eye cream.  Reminder: these are very high end products that cost $30-$200 when purchased outright.  Yes they are usually not full size, but they are deluxe samples.  I've been using the same sample container of a Murad eye cream for 2 months.  I allow that $15 a month into my budget, because it fulfills my "need" for trying new things, while also saving me money in other ways.  If you need more info, just look at my Sample Society unboxing posts, to see what all I get every month.
  • Use an eyeshadow primer, and you can purchase cheaper eyeshadow.  If you're using a primer that makes shadow last longer & increase the pigment on your eyes, you don't need expensive eyeshadow.  Want an even bigger tip?  Skip that expensive Smashbox primer, and grab a tube of Monistat Chafing Powder-Gel.  It has the same active ingredient as nearly all high end primers, and will last you FOREVER!  You can use this as a face && eyeshadow primer.  It works perfectly and is the most affordable option you will find.  
  • Did you purchase a cheap mascara && it dried out on you really quickly?  Just squirt some eye drops in it and re moisten it.  
That's all I'm going to go into today.  I'm going to start a budget friendly beauty series so we can go more in depth.  In the mean time, check out myyy Pinterest board DIY Beauty.

xo Emilee

financial planning series [part 2]

Wednesday, July 31, 2013



I am in no way a college educated professional financial planner, but I think I'm about as self-taught educated as a person can get!  :)  You can be too.  While we're on the subject of self-educating ourselves to become financially serene, I have a tip for you.  You DO NOT need to purchase 100 different books on budgeting from people who make millions of dollars selling those books.  There is a wealth of knoweledge already provided for you on the internet.  If you want to know what "Mr. Money Advice Man" suggest for budgeting, google it!  I guarantee you there is a million blogs, articles, and forums that have leaked all the good points in his book.  I will be honest when I tell you, I've never read one of those Best Selling money guru's books.  We're smart women... we know deep down what we need to do to make our household budget work for us.  We're just scared, lazy, or frustrated.  Don't be!  It's not hard, and the reward is worth it.  

Today I want you to gather all your bills, pay check stubs, and bank statements.  [Don't be scared]  Get familiar with what you have coming in, and going out.  Look at what you need to cut.  Listen, I'm all about having a good time & enjoying life.  If you want that Starbucks, have it!  Just make sure to budget in how much you actually can afford.  If you have more bills than income... you cannot afford Starbucks.  [But that's a whole other post.]  How many vices do you have?  Do you need ALL of them?  If you're buying Starbucks in the morning, Subway for lunch, vending machine at work for a snack, ordering pizza for the family for dinner cause you didn't meal plan... we've got a problem.  So get all your financial statements, some highlighters [I'm a major color coder, so you will see me advise using highlighters often], and a pen & paper, and a calculator, cause we're going to dissect!

Dissecting your finances:
We're going to start small.  I want you to take last months bank statement.  Grab a green highlighter, and I want you to highlight all income.  Total it up and write it on your piece of paper.  Once you're done, just look at it for a moment.  Think about how hard you worked for that money.  How many transactions do you have that are money spent, in comparason to your income?  A lot?  Look at how quick you were to waste that hard earned money.  I like to look at everything in how much I had to work to pay for each item.  Let's say you make $10 an hour.  Remember that Starbucks trip?  You ordered your Venti Carmel Macchiato and then also decided to tack on a muffin for breakfast.  Your total will be with tax, nearly a full hours worth of hard work.  As you go through your statement, I want you to highlight in pink all the purchases that were made that you regret.  [Don't be hard on yourself, we all have them.]  Total those up and add them to your piece of paper under your income total.  Grab a blue highlighter now, and we're going to highlight all our "bills".  This will be mortgage/rent, utilities, phones, cable, internet, car payments, insurance, etc.  Add up that total and write it down underneath your "regret" number.  Let's stop and subtract those 2 from our total income.  Where does that leave you?  Are you already in the hole?  Do you have tons leftover [if so, what're you doing reading this? haha!]  

I want you to think about what you're looking at.  Are you content with your money spending?  Are you ashamed?  Figure out where you stand financially.  Is there some adjustments that need to be made?  If there are keep following this series.  I have tons of advice on frugal living, without feeling like you're deprived.  

Let's cover what we've done so far.  We've created our financially serene workspace in part 1, and now in part 2 we've dissected and assessed our finances.  Give yourself a pat on the back!  We're making progress!




financial planning series [part 1]

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Let's talk about money.  I know, I know, money is something that each and every one of us have a love/hate relationship with.  I want to help you have more of a love for your income.  A respect for the hard work you do, and an appreciation for the hard work your husband/wife/significant other does.  Now, I'm not wanting to turn you into a money hungry greedy Mr Scrooge.  I just want to help you become financially "serene". 

First and foremost I want you to think about how you pay your bills.  What's your ritual?  Do you have one?  Where do you sit down and do your financial planning?  Do you have a desk?  The coffee table?  The dinner table?  Floor?  Is bill paying something you regret?  Financial planning is something that we HAVE to do.  Much like eating and showering!  We might as well learn to enjoy it.  [Or at the very least, be able to sit down and do it without the need of antacid and a xanax haha!]  

We're going to create a space that is calming and serene.  A space that you enjoy and brings good positive energy to you.  I'm not telling you to run out and purchase a bunch of decorating items, organizing items, and a desk.  That would definitely defeat the purpose of all of this.  Work with what you have!

If you have a desk:
What is the state of your desk?  Paper clutter galore?  How can you be serene with your bill paying, if you're sitting in a clutter swamp?  Organize that puppy!  Do it now!  If you can't even find your bills, how are you going to be able to pay them on time stress free?  

If you don't have a desk:
For the longest time I did all my household planning including finances at the dinner table.  I know what you're imagining.  You picture paper clutter all over the dining table, a laptop sitting there, and yesterday's coffee mug!  Well you're wrong!  I had a wonderful tote that I kept everything I needed.  That tote lived in a chair tucked under the table.  This portable office housed my netbook, my kindle, my budget binder, my planner, pens/highlighters, charging cables, and anything else I needed including my "serenity items".  I use this one from Reisenthel, it's sturdy & has an aluminum frame...
Serenity items & creating your space:
I LOVE candles!  Sorry Scentsy ladies, I can't live without my candles.  There's something about that flickering flame that calms me.  My candle of choice is Bath & Body Works candles.  "But Emilee... those are expensive!"  They can be, you are right.  I ONLY purchase them when they are on sale.  2 for $20 is when I usually stock up and I always stack a coupon with that.  For a quality candle I have no problem spending $10 a piece.  You could even get the smaller ones that are even cheaper, which I might suggest to you if you're taking advantage of the portable office approach.  To me, having a candle flickering and emitting the most pleasant aromatic experience is a bill paying necessity.  What do you feel most calm with?  Classical music playing?  Candle burning?  Being surrounded by pictures of loved ones?  Think of the things you LOVE!  Make sure to incorporate that into your space.  Make it a happy place for you.  How about your favorite tchotchkes?  You need a space that you are happy to sit in, feel comfortable in, and that is YOURS.  If you're taking advantage of the portable office, you may be at the dinner table or coffee table.  During bill paying time, that space is YOURS and YOURS ONLY!  

Homework:
I want you to hop on Pinterest.  Create a board just for ideas for YOUR PERSONAL SPACE!  An Illustrated Discovery Journal of sorts [If you're not familiar with Sarah Ban Breathnach's books, an Illustrated Discovery Journal is a Visual Autobiography of your Authentic Self.  Pictures that speak to you, ideas, things you love.]  I want you to focus on things for your space.  For example:  Take this picture of an office space below...

This wouldn't take much to create.  What do you love about it?  The desk?  Well that looks like a wall shelf!  Take shelf brackets & a shelf, mount it on the wall.  Voila!  How about the flowers?  That could easily be replicated with Dollar Tree items.  Find "office" spaces that you love & pin them!  Then use your creative side to recreate them!

I will do this homework with you!  Once you've created your board, post the link in a comment below.  Share your progress!  We are in this together!  Happy pinning!

bittersweet ends & happy beginnings [from the heart]

Monday, July 15, 2013

For the past 4 years I've been working a part-time job outside the home while also building my mark cosmetics business.  I've works very hard at increasing my customer base, increasing sales, and making new friends.  As of August 8th, I will no longer be a mark representative.  They have decided to fully merge with Avon, leaving us with the only options of either becoming an Avon representative or quitting.  I've chosen the latter as you know.  Avon doesn't personally appeal to me, and I'm a little disgruntled at the way mark chose to announce this merge.  For lack of better words, they basically screwed all their representatives over.  I no longer respect them, and no longer wish to be a part of the company.

While that part of my life is coming to a close, I'm very excited for the new opportunities it's allowing for me.  This past week has been a doozy for sure.  As some of you know, I was currently also working 68hrs outside of the home as well.  I worked 28hrs at my part-time job that I've had for 4 years, plus took up a temp assignment at another corporation working 40hrs a week.  I was overworked and my blog lacked due to this.  Well not only did I lose mark this week, my temp assignment ended early.  Like mark, that was unexpected.  I'm not bitter about it though.  The money was nice, but I felt like my life was spiraling as I worked really hard to stay organized and on top of things.  

New beginnings!  With these two closed doors, a beautiful new door has opened.  My blog is flourishing.  Even with my neglect of it lately, and moving to a new platform [this is why the post count is low], I'm being offered great opportunity through sponsors & readers.  I want to take this moment to thank you all for your patience this last year.  I appreciate each and every one of you.  

What can you expect?  Better quality content on a regular basis.  With all the free time that I have now, I will be able to devote so much more time to this blog.  I've got so many ideas for posts & series!  I'm renewed and so excited to get started! I cannot wait to share them with you all!  I will be working on developing a schedule that works for me [you know my compulsion to have every minute of my day planned out].  

I'm ready to dive in head first and make this blog be something that we can all be proud to be a part of.  


happy 4th of July

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Happy 4th of July!

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