The summer I didn’t fix my hair (an overdue life lesson and a note to all girls)

17 Aug

Growing up, I really had no idea how to fix my hair. It wasn’t really “curly” but it also didn’t really dry straight either. My hair wasn’t wavy… It was…just…frizzy. And what made it worse was that I was too independent or too embarrassed to listen to my all-knowing-oh-so-patient mother who could have made my elementary/middle school years much.easier.

My hair through the years

Then, in high school, I got this AWESOME hand-me-down hair straightener from my older sister. And I thought I was sooo cool.

Except.

Any time it rained, any time there was more than .9% humidity, any time there was a strong ocean breeze from the beach 30 minutes away, the hairs on my head were like the American colonies when they rejected the authority of the Parliament of Great Britain… It was a rebellion never before experienced. That relationship pretty much lasted until college.

My “straight hair” after a good rain.

My best friend and suite mate always told me how beautiful my curly hair was. She used to get so excited when I would forego the straightener and let my natural “curls” do the work, but I always liked my straight hair better… Or… I liked the IDEA of my straight hair better… Because it was never really straight (the rebellion I mentioned). I had some good days!

See? A good day!

But the bad days made me feel on edge and insecure, so I went through life worrying about my hair. I would let unexpected humidity levels affect my mood instead of just enjoying whatever plans I had for the day. I would compare myself to other girls who had naturally straight hair and get jealous when my hair didn’t look like theirs! Instead of noticing their beautiful hair and COMPLIMENTING them on it, I would remain silent and focus on myself.

So, on the first day of June, I told myself I would wear my hair curly as much as possible over the summer. I bought hair mousse for curly hair and everything. And you know what happened? It was great. I felt more comfortable! Rainy days didn’t bother me and my hair didn’t see a pony tail holder almost at all! I was free – free to be me, free to focus on whatever was in front of me, free to enjoy the things around me.

Pros:

– an extra 30 minutes of sleep ⏰

– healthier hair đŸ’ȘđŸŒ

– rain only refreshed my style ☔

– my shining personality đŸ’đŸŒ

Cons:

– THERE ARE NONE! đŸŽ‰đŸ‘đŸŒđŸ˜‚

Here’s to you, Hannah! Thanks for encouraging me to be myself! Everyone should have a friend like you.

My hair this summer…and memories I had fun making!!!

Dear *your name here*,

Insecurity is hard. Sometimes people are mean. Sometimes, the mean one is another girl who is struggling with the same insecurities as you because some other girl made her feel insecure. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s hard to be a big enough person to stop it from continuing. But you can do it! Be the girl who notices when someone has a cute outfit or when they use a makeup technique you’ve been wanting to try! Speak up! Spread kindness! Be the girl who encourages people to focus on deeper things like intellect and personality.

Perfection is unattainable and completely overrated. Be you! Be‱you‱tiful!

Solidarity, sister! âœŠđŸŒ

Advertisements

Operation: Laundry Closet

10 Feb

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that we moved into a new apartment. Our walk-in closet includes our laundry area, which makes it super easy to pull stuff right out of the dryer and hang it up to cut down on ironing. Despite previous organizational efforts, it still felt so cluttered and hard to find my “groove” (if there is a laundry groove).

When I was younger, my mom (hi, mom!!) had over-the-door storage units she used on the back of our bedroom doors for VHS tapes (Hello, 90’s flashback!) she didn’t want in the living room… because, who really WANTS Veggie Tales, Toy Story, and every single Mary Kate and Ashley movie known to man in their living room while trying to entertain???

After searching every Walmart and Target in the area, I finally had to order it online. One set cost me $20. I found that using this over the door only works if you’re storing LIGHT items because the wire starts to bend. Since I didn’t want our closet door always being hard to close, I wanted to hang this unit separately on the wall.

And then I used just a few plastic cups (I used the dented ones my OCD husband doesn’t drink out of….) to put some laundry odds and ends.

Nothing super special this time. 🙂 Just giving you some encouragement that for $25 bucks, you can make doing laundry a LOT easier.

Any suggestions/ideas? Leave your comments!!

Breakfast SoufflĂ©: Panera Bread Knockoff

5 Jan

My husband and I spent almost every Saturday at Panera Bread the summer before our wedding. We’d plan and eat, eat and plan, and dream…and eat. I was living at a mentor’s house in the “between college graduation and getting married” stage and Stephen’s (which would become our) apartment didn’t have wireless internet yet. We’d go to Panera and I’d grab a table while he ordered our food and drinks. We would both order soufflĂ©s; mine was a four cheese soufflĂ© and his was a ham and cheese soufflĂ©.

We’re fans, to say the least. My husband asked if I could make the same soufflĂ©s at home. So, challenge accepted.

Breakfast Soufflé

Ingredients/supplies:

  • SoufflĂ© dishes
  • A baking sheet, a frying pan, and a mixing bowl
  • Oil or baking spray
  • All-purpose flour
  • Foil
  • Pillsbury crescent rolls (you’ll need 3 triangles per soufflĂ©)
  • Milk (I used 2%  because that’s just what we had in our fridge)
  • Large Eggs (you’ll need 1 egg per soufflĂ©, unless you have a big eater like my husband… then, 2 per soufflĂ©)
  • Cheese (I used my husband’s favorites Cracker Barrel sharp cheddar and some Sargento sharp cheddar)
  • Any fillings you’d like (green peppers, mushrooms, sausage, ham, bacon, etc.)

Instructions (see pictures below):

  • Preheat oven to 350*.
  • The eggs: In the mixing bowl, mix the eggs and the milk together. Cook eggs (until slightly runny) on low heat and set aside. Leaving your eggs slightly runny will help them still be moist when they come out of the oven…overcooked eggs are just gross.
  • The flaky-yummy-goodness: Lay some foil on the counter and spread some flour out. Roll the crescent rolls out over the flour (it will be easier to form into the soufflĂ© dish). Use 3 triangle to cover the entire inside of the soufflĂ© dish and hang corners over the edges.
  • When the dish is completely covered with dough, start filling your soufflĂ©s. Layer the ingredients until the soufflĂ© is filled almost to the top – cheese, meat, veggie, egg, veggie, meat, cheese. Once each soufflĂ© is filled, begin to fold the dough over top of the layers so there is dough over the entire top of the dish. Brush some melted butter over the top of the soufflĂ© so the dough stays soft while baking.
  • Discard the flour and place the foil sheet on the baking sheet (in case of spills, this will save you from washing ANOTHER dish later). Place soufflĂ© dishes on the foiled baking sheet.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 14-18 minutes or until dough is golden brown (it will need to be cooked all the way through).
  • Let cool. Enjoy.

Breakfast SouffléBreakfast SouffléBreakfast Soufflé Breakfast Soufflé Breakfast Soufflé

If you have any suggestions or feedback, please let me know! I hope these are as big of a hit at your house as they were at mine! 🙂

Operation: Apartment Therapy 2013 (the highlights)

23 Nov

I’ve always been really jealous of my friend Molly. She dresses cute without trying and has an apartment that looks like it came straight out of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I had a choice to make when I met her: I could either hate her for being so dang cute or I could be her friend and pray to God that she rubbed off on me.

Well, as you learned in my last post, the Mr. and I moved into a new apartment at the beginning of August. Besides the neighbors who have a radio alarm clock that has gone off from 4am to 5:30am EVERY day since we’ve gotten here, I am absolutely in love with the new space we got ourselves! Most of my success with this overhaul had to do with having such a beautiful blank canvas to work with, so I can only take partial credit.

BEDROOM:

I knew I wanted to do white and blue in the bedroom, but how that would turn out I had no idea. I started scouting out pieces for the bedroom before I did anything with the other rooms, I felt like it was the most important room to get right. This was a big project for several reasons. We were kind of starting over with this apartment. Our first apartment was so tiny that we didn’t have a lot of space to decorate or be creative. So, I started from scratch.

bedroom

window

Also, in the bedroom layout of this apartment unit, there is a built-in desk. I immediately decided I wanted a vanity, to which my husband graciously agreed to. This vanity turned out much better than I imagined it would. There is a place for everything: makeup, hair supplies, jewelry, etc.

vanity

vanity 2

jewelry

CLOSET:

There’s really no need for much explanation here. It’s also nothing super special, just reeeeaaaally organized… (And yes, that’s a $5 curtain rod from Walmart that’s holding my scarves.) 🙂

DINING:

This was my next project. With the world speeding up more and more as day pass, we really value sitting down and eating together whenever we can. (Even though, admittedly, we do eat in front of the TV after stressful days at work.) There is nothing more bothersome than a messy dining room table and unpleasant space when you’re trying to enjoy a nice meal. With a few more pictures, this space will be all finished! (I could only buy the frames they had in stock… have to go back for more. Also, ask me about the initial!!!)

dining
Like I said, I love our apartment. 🙂 It’s so full of love and memories already. I hope you enjoyed the tour! If there’s anything you see on here that you love and want to know where to get it, let me know!

Packing and Moving Plan

11 Aug

Moving. Don’t you hate it? The whole process from the beginning of packing to the finishing of unpacking is enough to earn you a three week paid vacation to some remote island.

Well, my husband and I just moved out of our first apartment as a married couple and into an apartment with just a little more space. And although we were only moving from one side of town to the other, we had to have all my ducks in a row because we were moving in the MIDDLE of a work week (and with me just starting a new job, I couldn’t take a day off).

I started packing about a month before our move date. A couple boxes each weekend… I started with things I knew we wouldn’t NEED to survive like winter clothes, decorations, most of our books, etc. I had 13 boxes packed before the serious packing even began.

As you will see in my custom Packing/Moving Plan listed on Etsy, I numbered and labeled every box so unpacking would be a breeze. I had high hopes for the inventory list, but things still ended up in places I didn’t expect… (Can you imagine how it would have gone if I hadn’t been organized?!) Once you have the packet in hand, it’s pretty much up to you how you want to pack.

Here are just a few suggestions (with pictures):

1) Be Prepared. Buy too much tape, too many labels, too many markers, too much wrapping, too many boxes. What’s worse than having extra stuff laying around while you’re packing is not having enough and having to stop everything to go to the store.

packet

2) Sandwich Bags, Schmandwich Bags. When you take things apart, put the hardware for each item immediately in a sandwich bag and label it. That way you aren’t missing screws, washers, or your patience. 😉

baggies

3) Hang-er-up! Since you have to move your hangers anyway, put them to use! Keep necklaces from tangling up by transporting them on hangers.

jewelry

4) Go to the expert. When I couldn’t find a mattress bag for our bed size at Walmart, I decided to go to a mattress store down the street. They get shipments all the time with mattress wrapped in heavy duty plastic (unlike the ones you’d buy in the department stores). They had cut it off their mattress and had no more use for it, so I got a bad for our mattress and a bag for our box spring… for free! Then we just taped the bags up!

mattress bag

5) Quit wasting space. I used our recycled grocery bags to wrap our glasses in, but since that wasn’t safe enough, I then layered our towels between the glasses. Since we had to pack the towels anyways, there was no point in using a separate box.

packing

6) Streeeetch. The professionals use stretch wrap to keep dresser drawers in place while moving. And since it’s available at Walmart for about $5, why not do it yourself? I put all of our hangers in our tall dresser and wrapped the drawers shut. Have you ever tried moving hangers? Bags are awkward, there are usually too many for a suit case, and taping them together makes them sticky.

stretch wrap

Well, those are my gold nuggets of moving success. I know it’s a lot of work, but it does pay off being organized. My husband and I knocked off an hour of labor from the price for the moving company. We gave them a copy of the binder and they knew right where to put all of the boxes without needing someone to direct them! 🙂 Yes, I will keep my $85/hr. Thank you very much!

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment and share!

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for the new apartment unveiling!

Easy Budgeting

9 Apr

If you are anything like me, you have every intention of being an organized and disciplined person. However, unlike everyone else, I hit that mark fewer times than I’d like to share. And you can forget about financial organization – until now…

After Stephen and I got married, one thing we never made time for was combining bank accounts. I must have said twenty times, “You have bills automatically coming out of your account and I have bills automatically coming out of mine. It would just be too confusing to have to change all of those settings…” Boy, was I wrong! (Yes, I admit it.) It was MUCH more confusing having to deposit our paychecks into certain accounts, transferring money into another account, and communicating about both. I’d had enough.

So, I came up with the plan of all plans. Before you think too highly of this blog post, remember that I am just now beginning to take responsibility for my own adult life as well as a household. So, to me, this is the plan of all plans. Hopefully some newly marrieds or some soon-to-be graduates will find these free printables (PDF) helpful.

Before starting, grab anything you have that relates to finances and have that handy. The key to budgeting is knowing exactly how much you need to spend and exactly how much you actually spend. You’ll need to know exactly how much you spend on everything so you know what you can and cannot afford to cut from your “budget.” Here is a great resource to help you get an idea of what your current situation is (be completely honest because that’s the only way you’ll improve).

Once I did some investigating, one of the most frustrating things I found was that our phone bill was costing $8 per month more than necessary because of a “service” AT&T added for simple phone support (a.k.a. someone to tell us how to use our iPhones if we had a question). My advice: look it up on a blog or  a forum. You’ll be able to learn a lot if you just take time to read. 🙂

I am starting with a 1-inch white binder from Walmart, some laminate sleeves, and the printables I’ve created to share with anyone who would like them. You can add pocket inserts for coupons, etc.

How to put the binder together:

  1. Use the list of expenses (printable) I’ve provided and itemize every financial commitment you have.
  2. Use the payment calendar (printable) I’ve provided to track when the payment in due each month and mark off that you paid it.
  3. Punch holes in the papers and stuff the binder.
  4. Collect all kinds of coupons and save even more money! 🙂

Like I said, I’m no expert. But I do know that Dave Ramsey is right… If you have no financial goals, you will hit them everytime!