May 29, 2014

5 Tips to Save Money This Summer

Hey guys! Today Stasia over at Our Life on a Budget will be guest posting for me today! Not only have I been getting to know Stasia better these past few weeks, but we have a lot in common (hey budget queen) and are both helping co-host a link-up that just went last week! If you want to know more about the link-up, go back and read this post.
 
Stasia here :)! Stopping over from Our Life on a Budget
As the name of my blog infers, I can be pretty frugal!  So for today I want to share...
Displaying summer.jpg

1.  Check out that Farmer's Market

Chances are your area has a farmer's market and it is prime harvest season!  Get your fruits and veggies for the week and skip Walmart.  I love this option because you will eat healthier, you will be eating local, you will be economically supporting your community, and you will be connecting with your community! Plus it's a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.  We go each week and love it!

2.  Pick Up a Summer Sport


Play tennis at night, or early in the morning.  Call a friend and see if they want to go on an evening stroll instead of meeting for a cup of coffee!  Break out the corn hole set in your back yard.  All of these are free, easy AND good for the body!

3.  Eat In or Have a Cookout


This is a weak spot for our family.  My husband and I don't love to cook, but we both love to eat.  We have found that when we cook together, we enjoy it.  Pick out a new recipe, or cook some hamburgers! At the end of the day, It will be cheaper (and probably healthier) to cook at home!

4. Have Fun at Home


To hot to be outside?  Why not sit down with friends and have a game night indoors? Settlers of Catan, Apples to Apples, Wits and Wagers are some of our favorites.  Not into board games? Grab a deck of cards and play that instead…you will be surprised how much fun you have!

5.  Check Out Free Events in Your Area

Movies on the lawn, concerts, fireworks, story time (for the kiddos of course!) and more. Your community probably has an abundance of cheap or free events this summer so check out your city's webpage, the newspaper, or just google "free things to do in…" and see what comes up.

There you have it… 5 frugal, fun tips for the summer! 
Hope these tips help you have fun AND save a little money this summer!
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May 28, 2014

What You Wish Wednesday

SimplySweetMelissa
Happy Wednesday everyone and here we are for the 2nd WYWW! I am so excited to share with you all a very new link-up that I am helping co-host with some wonderful ladies! Leslie, Stasia, and Nikki are three gals you'll want to get to know because of their sweet personalities and precious blogs! So let me just take a quick minute to tell you once more about WYWW before diving in. This is a no-fuss and super simple link-up were we welcome you to join us in sharing whatever you wish! It can be anything from your favorite posts, recipes, DIY projects, tips and tricks...whatever you please! The only things we request are that you grab the link-up button which can be found on my sidebar and add it at to the bottom of your post, link-up whatever you wish and follow one of more of the hostesses! So here you have it! The 2nd WYWW! Enjoy!

1. I would love to have a little reading nook like this one day. I can just see my mornings being transformed if I had a little space like this to go and escape to first thing when I wake up. I can see it now...morning devotion time curled up in my own little corner with a cup of coffee and a nice view...
2. This video showcases true love, determination and trust in God. Watch it and let me know what you think!

3. LOVING my sweet blog friend's post today! Look at how adorable she is in her dress with hearts all over it. To bad I don't think I could pull this off quite like MK does!

4. Thankfulness. That word means so much to me lately. And this daily devotion is spot on and one I need to look at more often.

It's our hope that you join us in this new Wednesday weekly link-up and fell free to share your thoughts or ideas with one of us at anytime! We want to make sure everything is up and running smoothly and will make sure to fix any glitches we find. See you next time friends!


May 22, 2014

Summer Fashion Tips

Summer Fashion Tips





Summer is one of my favorite times of the year because it's one of those seasons that I get in the mood to experiment with clothing, colors, patterns, you name it. But with experimenting comes spending more money then I would like to, so this is were I try to find those classic and timeless summer looks that can transition from one look to the next. A lot of my friends like to lean towards lots of floral prints in the summer which is great, but why not invest in that rose gold necklace you've had your eye on? That necklace because of it's simple touches could be paired with pretty much everything you own! And that blush colored pink maxi skirt you saw on sale at the mall? Ring it up for me please! That maxi could be worn for a casual day out running errands or dressed up with a crop top. That options are endless, ladies! Summer fashion is so fun because the options are limitless and so fun! 

Summertime is also (in my opinion) perfect for stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Never in my life would I have thought I could pull off bright bold jewelry or a floppy sunhat but I was wrong! The pop of color against your "simple summer look" can played up the vibe of your whole look more then you even know. It's all about picking your pieces and putting them together with items that you wouldn't necessarily think makes sense. But that's just it...it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of money on a bunch of different items of clothing or accessories when you can invest in a handful of things that can be transitioned over the course of years! Put your money where it's well spent and work with the items that you've got. And viola, your a fashionista and you might not have even known it! 

May 21, 2014

What You Wish Wednesday

SimplySweetMelissa
Happy Wednesday everyone and welcome to WYWW! I am so excited to share with you all a very new link-up that I am helping co-host with some wonderful ladies! Leslie, Stasia, and Nikki are three gals you'll want to get to know because of their sweet personalities and precious blogs! So let me just take a quick minute to tell you about WYWW before diving in. This is a no-fuss and super simple link-up were we welcome you to join us in sharing whatever you wish! It can be anything from your favorite posts, recipes, DIY projects, tips and tricks...whatever you please! The only things we request are that you grab the link-up button which can be found on my sidebar and add it at to the bottom of your post, link-up whatever you wish and follow one of more of the hostesses! So here you have it! The first WYWW! Enjoy!

1. 10 Tips for a Christ Centered Marriage speaks truth to my heart and includes a bible verse for each tip that really resonate with me.

2. I wish I was better at cooking because these Mini Apple-Sour Dough French Toasts look beyond amazing and I can't wait to get Will to help me learn how to make them for breakfast!

3. Nancy Ray Photography and the rest of the team are some of the best photographers I have ever seen or met. Their film photography leaves me speechless and they are also located in Raleigh, NC where I lived from 2007-2012.

4. I enjoyed this blog post for the book recommendations it offered and for all the ways to truly be happier!

It's our hope that you join us in this new Wednesday weekly link-up and fell free to share your thoughts or ideas with one of us at anytime! We want to make sure everything is up and running smoothly and will make sure to fix any glitches we find. See you next time friends!


May 20, 2014

May Stitch Fix

Surprise, Surprise! Oh how I love a good surprise, especially if it's a little box from Stitch Fix waiting at my doorstep! I heard about this service about a year ago, but never knew much about it until recently when I decided to check out their website and truly learned what it was all about. I like to think of Stitch Fix as an online fashion retailer were you are given your very own personal stylist. How great does that sound?!

So here is how it works. First, you complete a Style Profile that is super easy and fun to take...maybe because I like doing quizzes, but you get the picture! Then you'll answer questions regarding your height, weight, clothing size, style preferences (such as feminine, preppy, boho, edgy etc.) along with price ranges you'd like to stick to. After that, you will be shown groups of different outfits and accessories and rate how much  you like them. Next, you move on to the another section that asks you if there are any colors, patterns, fabrics or accessories that you want to steer clear of. For me, I said I did not want to receive any yellow or orange items of clothing, clothing that was sheer, or rings. You also have the option to give links to your social media sites so that your personal stylist can get to know you better so I did that with one of my Pinterest boards and Instagram.

After you have completed all of the above, you are now ready to schedule your "fix"! I like this option because you get to decided when you want something to come to you, and have it work around your schedule and liking. I received my first two fixes earlier this month and couldn't wait to tear them open to see what beauties were inside! What's inside will be five items that are likely a combination of what you indicated in your Style Profile which is nice.

Once your box has shipped, you pay a $20 "styling fee", which is used on any items that you decide to keep from your box. You will have three days to decide what you want to keep, so take that time to pair your items with different things you already have in your closet. Make sure you utilize the little styling cards that are also enclosed in each box because they showcase different ways you can wear each item that you receive. This is very helpful because a lot of times I don't know how to style certain things and being able to see different ideas really helps!

One you decide on what you want to send back, the process is a piece of cake. All you have to do is place the items that you don't want into the enclosed pre-paid shipping bag and drop it off at any USPS mailbox. Then head over to Stitch Fix and complete the return survey. Provide feedback on each item so that your stylist knows what you thought and then schedule your next fix if you want! Super easy. If you decide to keep all 5 pieces in your box, you'll get 25% off your total purchase!

So without further ado, here is my review on the items I've received in my first two boxes!

One item I did not take a picture of to review is the red dress shown above on the top styling card because when I took it out of the box, noticed that it was torn on the side...thus I did not try it on. I contact Stitch Fix about this and they immediately apologized and sent me a second box on the house (thus why I got two boxes in one month)!
 
Johnny Skinny Jeans by Kensie Jeans - $88. I liked these and am in need of another pair of skinny jeans, but these were a little too tight around the waist and although fit fine while standing up, were too tight when sitting down. So I sent these back.
 
Mulliken Raglan Striped Knit Shirt by Olive & Oak - $48. Oh how soft this shirt was! The colors of this shirt were vibrant and would be ideal for a day lounging around or running errands, but I did not like how long it was in the back so I decided not to keep it.
 Kerra Crew Neck Lace Blouse by Daniel Rainn - $68. I liked this item the most out of my first box because of the lace detail and overall quality of the shirt. However, for the price and the fact that the lace material only covered the front side of the shirt, I decided to send it back.
 Sheila Bead Collar Detail Dress by 41Hawthorn - $78. Oh how I wish this dress had fit me a little better! I loved the color of the dress, and the beaded detail around the neckline but it hit right below the knee and made me look shorter then I already am. So I sent this beauty back.
Ellyse Floral Print Flutter Sleeve Dress by Ezra - $48. I loved that I received a floral dress and this one was much better then the two that were in my first box but it seemed to be to big in the waist area. I sent this item back but if I had kept it, it would have been perfect to wear this summer and with nude wedges.
Anita Ponte Pant by Liverpool - $78. These pants felt like butter on my skin. They were beyond soft and stretchy in all the right ways. However, like my first box, I already have enough pairs of black pants so I sent these back even though they were perfect in size, quality and price.
Burgdorf Diamond Printed Henley Blouse by Fun2Fun - $38. All I can say is NO. This blouse was not for me. The colors washed me out and the sizing was all wrong. Notice how long the blouse was in the back. I sent this back and told my stylist to please send me items are are all one length for my next box!
Myrah Swiss Dot & Lace Detail Blouse by Ezra - $48. This item was one for keeps! I loved the color, the material, and the patterns on this blouse. I was happy with the fit and couldn't wait to style it with my favorite pair of white jeans.
Vivienne Floral Print Sleeveless Blouse by Daniel Rainn - $68. Again, another blouse that was way to long in the back. Is this a trend that I just hate or what? The fabric was thin and I would have had to wear a cami underneath and for $68, it just wasn't meant to be so I sent this one back.

Overall, I am liking Stitch Fix and am excited to get my third box in June. If you are interested in signing up, you can use this link as an invitation.


* I am in no way affiliated with Stitch Fix and was not paid to write this review. I purchased this items with my own money and  think this is an awesome service and wanted to spread the word about it!

May 19, 2014

Weekend Shenanigan's

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend! You might have noticed a few times over the past couple of days empty posts going live on my blog...I do apologize. It appears that scheduling post ahead of time (that are incomplete) and my computer having hard drive issues tend to resolute in one big bad scenario! One of those being 7 tips for shopping healthy on a budget that posted yesterday morning. 

As soon as I  saw that the post went live, I went back and finished it up and would love for you to check it out if you have the time later today! It was such a fun post to write so let me know what you think. On a more positive note, this weekend was splendid! Will and I went to his Let Me Run Coaches Appreciate Night were I got to talk to Erik Kynard, celebrated some GREAT news, checked out some new restaurants, heard a great message at church on Sunday and spent time with one of my best friends, Emily! An overall fun-filled and productive weekend to say the least.
 
Let me take a minute to tell you about Let me Run and Erik Kynard. LMR is a 7 week program for boys in grades 4th through middle school who meets twice a week for about an hour and learn about building strong and healthy relationships all while improving personal strength and having fun. Will has been a coach for LMR through his job since 2011 and has found it very rewarding. This year at the Coach Appreciation Night, Erik who competes in the high jump and won a silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, came out to speak and take part in the 5k with all of the LMR boys the next morning. He has such a kind soul and reminded me of how important programs like Let me Run are in the community.

Onto the topic of food! If you are in the Charlotte area, I HIGHLY recommend checking out 2 places. The first is Crispy Crepe on South Boulevard. Literally, the Cookie Butter Crepe I ordered Saturday for breakfast was indescribable. Just look at the photo below to see what I mean! The sliced bananas, chocolate covered strawberry and whip cream were the icing on the cake crepe...seriously! Thanks Caitlin for this recommendation!
Later Saturday afternoon, Will and I headed to Dilworth Coffee, one of my new favorite coffee shops thanks to their cozy atmosphere and specialty coffees (some of which come in mason jars)! After spending a few hours here, we decided to pack up and head back home where we took care of our pup and then headed back out for dinner at 131 Main, followed by a stop at Redbox to get Anchorman 2!

And there you have it friends! Another weekend that has come to a close. Only 5 more days until we get to enjoy the another one! Oh and I have some fun news to share before I wrap things up :) Leslie over at Our Joy...His Glory, Stasia over at Our Life on a Budget, Nikki over at Nikki's Nacs and myself have come together to bring you a new weekly link-up called What You Wish Wednesday! 
 
This Wednesday I will give you the breakdown of what to expect from WYWW and so much more! In the meantime, check out my other co-host's from this link-up to get to know them a little bit better.

May 18, 2014

7 Tips for Shopping Healthy on a Budget

Grocery shopping can be expensive, overwhelming and it's not my favorite thing to do. Nine times out of ten I find myself standing at the checkout line, wondering how I spent so much money on the items that have filled my grocery cart and why on earth did I feel the need to buy so many bags of chips?! I needed to find a solution, so I did some research online and found some helpful tips to shopping healthy on a budget.

When I made the decision to start eating healthier about a year ago, one of the first thoughts that ran through my mind was "this is going to be too expensive" to maintain. But that's not the case. Before I even started purchasing healthier items, I eliminated soda, chips, and candy. Right there, I was already saving myself money.

Here are some ways to shop for healthier foods without breaking the bank:

1. Look for weekly specials and have a meal plan. Look at grocery store ads to find the best deals and plan your weekly meals accordingly. Make a grocery list of the items you need and stick to that list while shopping (the hardest one for me to do).

2. Buy generic products. Generic products usually offer the same nutrition, and at half the price!

3. Be careful with coupons! Only use coupons for items that you would normally purchase. I used to struggle with this one a lot. Stocking up on foods that you don't normally eat will not be saving you money...at all. You think that because you can get 10 yogurts for $10 is a good deal but do you eat yogurt on a regular basic? If not, it's probably not your wisest decision.

4. Look high and low. Stores purposely put the most expensive, and sometimes the least healthiest items on the shelves that are at eye level. Be sure to check out the shelves that are also above AND below for better deals and healthier options. 

5. Never shop on an empty stomach. People tend to put more food in the grocery cart when they are shopping hungry. Also keep snacks with you to avoid buying food when out running errands.

6. Buy in bulk. Non-perishable items can be purchased in bulk which will also save you money.

7. Choose frozen or canned fruits and veggies. If fresh product is too expensive or you are concerned that you won't eat it before it spoils, buy canned fruits (canned in its own juices) or frozen fruits and veggies.

So what are some items that I recommend to be healthier alternatives and also budget friendly?
  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Whole grain bread
  • Low sodium soups
  • Eggs
  • Non-fat or low-fat milk
  • Yogurt
  • Block cheese (grate or slice at home to save money)
  • Lean ground beef

May 8, 2014

Savannah, GA: Food

For  part 1 and 2 of my Savannah posts, you can go here and here to get caught up!

Food is essential. We must eat to survive, so why not enjoy what we are served? One of the things that I enjoy most while on vacation is trying new places and experimenting with new foods. So while in Savannah, it was only appropriate to do just that. And I must say, the South has the best food! Maybe I am being bias but it sure is lip smackin' good and something I will never grow tired of. So sit back and let your mouth water as I tell you about some of our favorite places we went to!
J. Christopher's. was the first brunch place we checked out on our first morning in Savannah. Will ordered Blueberry "Crunchcakes" which consisted of a stack of blueberry pancakes fortified with crunchy granola. I dined on the Hazelnut French Toast which was dipped in a hazelnut creme batter and grilled until it was golden brown and topped with whipped cream. Both were amazing.
Leoci's Trattoria. will make your mouth water, no doubt about it. We went here on our second night for dinner, and invited our two German friends (who were staying at the house with us) to come along and join us! Leoci's is an inspiring Italian eatery, with the option to sit indoors or out on the screened in patio. We picked to sit out on the screened in patio and it couldn't have been a better choice. We could still feel the breeze from outside and got to enjoy the "cozy" feel of the atmosphere. Best of both worlds. And don't get me started on the bread, wine and Gnocchi! Delicious is an understatement although next time I would like to try the pizza!
Goose Feathers Cafe. Even with an hour long wait, it's worth going! Goose feathers has the best variety of breakfast items, salads and sandwiches, and all at a really good price. Something about the atmosphere, even though very busy, was relaxing and a place that I could see myself becoming a regular at every time I visit Savannah.
Where does one go for casual fine dining while in Savannah? Belford's Seafood and Steaks in the City Market of course. From the charming old brick building, all the way down to the wine and cocktails, Belford's is high up on our list. If you like New York steak strips then I recommend it because it was just the right amount of food and came with really good Parmesan potato wedges.
Leopold's Ice Cream. One of a kind and a true Savannah hot spot. Known for it's delicious ice cream and milk shakes, this is a MUST for when you have a sweet tooth! I enjoyed the honey almond and cream ice cream sundae which was out of this world and highly recommended!

Another place you should check out if you are in the mood for dessert or after dinner drinks is Lulu's Chocolate Bar. We enjoyed the cheesecake and chocolate nut brownie and would have liked to stay for drinks but they didn't have any tables available so we got our dessert to-go. Next time though!

If you like coffee and need an afternoon pick me up then I recommend going to The Coffee Fox.

And if you'd like to try a Georgia Peach Sangria, go to Cafe at City Market.
Other places to try (that we did not get to go to):
Crystal Beer Parlor (The second oldest restaurant and bar in Savannah and known for their creamy crab stew)

May 7, 2014

She Designed A Life She Loved

 

Blouse: Rebecca Taylor, old // Necklace: Target, old // Jeans: Old Navy // Handbag: Rebecca Minkoff // Heels: DSW // Lipstick: Too Faced Lip Creme in Spice Spice Baby

This is my kind of day! One that consists of the warm sunshine, a nearby pool and amazing views. Now if only that could be a more frequent occurrence! Oh, and happy Wednesday! I hope your week has been good thus far. Today's post is simple and sweet. Don't you love them that way sometimes? I do because it's refreshing! And refreshed is how I feel today. If you didn't get a chance to read my post from yesterday, go ahead and check it now out. It ties in to what I want to talk about today.

How does one get to the point of feeling refreshed in a world that seems to be going faster then you think possible to keep up? That's a good question and one I have yet to master. But I have found a handful of things that have worked for me; even in the littlest ways, and could be of use for you as well. So let's dive in shall we?

ONE
Sleep in total darkness. It's as easy as that! I used to sleep with the TV on because I was scared of darkness. Yes. I admit it okay?! By sleeping in total darkness, you will help your body stimulate proper melatonin release which will ensure better sleep!

TWO
Get a massage. And it doesn't have to be purchased! Get a family member, friend or significant other to give you one for free if they are willing! It wouldn't hurt to ask. Nothing makes me feel more at ease then a deep tissue massage...may need to book my appointment for one soon ;)

THREE
Schedule time with friends. Friendships are one of the most important things in life. And you should never take these relationships for granted! Make it a routine to reach out to your friends on a regular basis. I try to do this as best as I can with my blogging loves (insert Emily, MK and Caitlin) because I know we all have different schedules.

FOUR   
Be a DORK! You don't have to be on your best behavior 24/7. Be silly. Crack jokes that aren't funny. Laugh at yourself. Sing in the shower. Whatever you feel to be dorky, DO IT. Life isn't meant to be too serious. It's refreshing to know that we are not perfect, so embrace it.

FIVE 
Exercise. I don't always like to do it but I would be lying if I said I didn't feel better after a nice long zumba class. Something about sweating out all the nasty toxins and focusing for an hour on something other then my long to-do list is just what I need more then I think. Some people like to run. Others like to do yoga. Whatever kind of exercise you like to do is great.

These are only 5 ways to feel refreshed, but there are so many more then just these! Do a Google search and you'd be amazed at how many search results come back...because maybe it's that important ;) Okay...or maybe it's just a popular topic that comes back with a lot of search results but either way! It IS important!
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