Monday, October 31, 2011

Hello Turquoise! Living Room Before/After, Part I

Part I of our living room make-over is complete!  The room is very big and bright, so I wanted to paint one wall a bold turquoise.  And, I wanted a color that would complement the pink carpet.  I'd like the room to be fresh, light, and open.  But, it still has a way to go!


Our cat, Sister, made a guest appearance.


Phase II will include putting a TV over the mantle and getting rid of the very big, old TV and entertainment center.  

Then, I'm going to slipcover the couch--maybe a chocolate brown or a coffee color.  It will go against the wall across from the fireplace. And, I'd like to get two armchairs for either side of the couch.  

My husband's music equipment will go where the entertainment center is now.  

By putting the TV on the mantle, it will open up the room, rather than divide it like it is now. 

I'm pretty excited to finish it!

Would you paint one of your rooms a bold, bright color?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cheap, DIY Halloween Costume: Zombies

This halloween, my husband and I lacked any clever costume ideas.  We had a work party to attend, and we didn't want to spend much money on a costume we'd wear once.

So, we decided to be zombies.  And, since it was a work party, we didn't go too bloody. (Some that I've seen are just gross.)

Great things about going as zombies:

  • You can wear anything.
  • All you have to buy is face paint.
  • Its really fun to paint your face.
  • Since we painted our faces, everyone thought our costumes were cool.
  • You can scare children (actually, the ones at the party weren't very scared at all).
  • You get to stagger around and grunt.

The total cost of both of our costumes combined: $9.

That's it. Nine dollars.  Can't beat that!

So, if you can't figure out what to be for Halloween this year, be a zombie!

What is your best DIY Halloween costume?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Planning for Lunch

I refuse to eat frozen or prepackaged lunches at work.  Refuse.

A few reasons why:
  1. They aren't that good.
  2. They aren't that good for you--sodium, sheesh!
  3. They leave you hungry an hour later. 
  4. I once got food poisoning from one of the most popular frozen dinner brands. It was horrible. 
In order to eat healthier and more delicious lunches, I've tried to do some planning.  Well, loose planning.  On Sunday, I usually make something, like yummy pasta salad or chicken breast, and figure out what I'm going to eat for the week (I may plan for leftovers). 

I don't mind eating the same thing all week--as long as it isn't sandwiches--I really don't like sandwiches.  Last week I ate leftover chicken, green beans (which were frozen), and pinto beans.  Simple, but quite delicious--and good for you! Eating somewhat-of-a-home-cooked-meal is very satisfying when you're in a cubicle all day.

Sometimes, I bring hummus, cheese and crackers, and some fruit, and it makes a nice lunch.  The fact is, its really not hard to bring something other than a sandwich or a frozen lunch.  Cooking a couple of chicken breasts isn't hard, throw in a veggie and some beans or rice or something.  Easy! 

This past weekend I was pretty busy, so I forgot to plan for the week.  I ate out twice, made a sandwich one day, and then brought leftovers for the remainder of the week.  I like to treat myself and eat out for lunch every now and again.  But, eating out multiple times a week gets pretty pricey, and where I work lunches aren't cheap. 

Another thing I do is bring snacks to work.  Right now I have some trail mix, wheat and peanut butter crackers, and sometimes carrots.  It helps keep me from loosing my mind sitting at my desk all day. And, I don't gorge myself at lunch and want to fall asleep once I get back to my desk.

What do you do for lunch?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oil Cleansing Method--FAIL!

I have, sigh, quit the oil cleansing method.

Its not that it wasn't working, but it wasn't getting better.  So, I switched back to my old facial cleanser--it didn't work either.

Its like I hit puberty again (really, I got off the pill and it screwed up my hormones and skin!) In fact, my skin is seriously worse than when I was a teenager. Eek!

My mom came to the rescue and ordered me the whole Mary Kay facial cleanser line (5 different products!)  She swears by it, so hopefully it works.  I'm tired of looking like a teenager!  I've been using the Mary Kay for about a week and so far my face is looking a little better.

I'm sad that my all-natural method didn't work.  I was really rooting for it to be a life changer!

Have any of your DIY remedies failed?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Getting Fit to Be a Career Woman, Or I Really Need to Exercise

So, as you may remember, I got that job.  And, I've been working now for about three weeks.  I like my job a lot and am learning about all kinds of new things. Plus, I get to dress business-y (which means I get to go shopping)!

The blog suffered a bit for the first couple of weeks on the job because I've had to adjust--going from not working for two months to working 8-9 hour days.  Plus, there's breakfast, lunch, and dinner to plan for. There's getting the house all "moved in." And a puppy. And trying to see family and friends.  Its really a lot to juggle.

The biggest frustration I have had so far is being utterly exhausted when I get home.  You wouldn't think sitting in a cube all day would wear you out--but sheesh! it is really draining.  And, sometimes the last thing I want to do is get in front of the computer again. But, getting back to blogging has felt good.  Even when it feels like just another thing on my to do list. 

Sadly, though, despite feeling tired and slightly dazed from looking at the computer screen all day, I am most upset about gaining weight.  Albeit, its not a lot of weight--but its only been three weeks.  But I can just feel it--and it makes me feel bleh.

What better motivation to get moving?  The hubs and I have been trying to motivate ourself to exercise, but we've consistenly been relaxing on the couch.  We're doing better with eating better, so our next move is, well, to move.

Here are my goals:
  1. Do 15 minutes of yoga a day--I used to do yoga all the time, now, not so much.  Taking a little bit of time to stretch, de-stress, and use some muscle can go a long way when your at a desk all day.  I hold tension in my back and neck and yoga has helped in the past.
  2. Get outside. Take a walk.--We were walking the dog around the neighborhood (until we discovered that a couple of my husband's students live here too).  I'm hoping to head to the LSU lakes at least once a week and walk a few miles.
  3. Find a weekend activity, highlighting the active part of activity.--Whether its biking or hiking or whathaveyou, we need a hobby to make moving around more fun.
  4. Convince my husband to do all of this with me--he may even go for the yoga.
I'm trying to set reasonable, reachable goals to get us going. And, in order to stay motivated and interested, I'm keeping up with blogs dedicated to exercise.

How do you stay fit?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Before/After: the Study/Library/Den--Whatever its Called

We're in the process of getting our home together.  We are renting-to-own my grandmother's old house, so there is a lot of unpacking and repacking going on. But finally--finally!--we started painting! 

My grandparents added onto the house, so there is a big living room (the addition) and a smaller living room (the original).  We're having trouble figuring out what to call the original living room--the study? library? the den? Either way, it isn't the main living room. I like to think of it as my reading room. 

So, I wanted to go with a darker, deeper color scheme. Something that is enveloping, soothing. A place where you can get lost. 

I decided on plum.  And, thanks to DesignSeeds, I found the perfect color scheme:

Before, the room was painted a sunny yellow--which I did like, but I was more excited about choosing a new color and new "mood" for the room!

I had already moved the furniture when I remembered to take before pictures:

And, after! There is less light coming in the room because I took the pictures closer to dusk, but you can still get the idea. 

I've still got to get some accent color, and I've yet to figure out what I want to hang on the walls.  I'm also going to refinish some of the furniture.  Pretty much everything we have is hodgepodge hand-me-downs and Ikea furniture.  

Next, I'm going to paint the big living room! I can't wait!

Are you planning any renovations?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Using Spreadsheets for Finances

Spreadsheets have revolutionized our budgeting.  Especially our savings.

A couple of years ago we were in a small group at church looking at Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, and the leader helped us with a spreadsheet detailing our budget (thanks Sherry!).  Since then we have been working to get outta debt!

While our budget spreadsheet is very useful, the spreadsheet I made outlining our savings is amazing!

I have a column for each "cause" we're saving for:
  1. Emergency savings
  2. Tithes (we put half "away" until we feel led to give and give half to our church)
  3. Car savings
  4. Rent
  5. Vacation
  6. Christmas
  7. House down payment
When I look at my bank account, it (obviously) gives a total sum.  So, instead of guessing how much we can use for a given purpose, I have it all mapped out in the spreadsheet.  I used to save a certain amount of money per week or paycheck and put it back for rent.  I'm not sure if I'll still do it that way--it depends on how our paychecks fall in relation to each other. 

I also want to stress the "car savings" category.  We hope to build this one so that if we have any car issues, we have money put away for it so its no big deal.  I want to eventually do the same for clothes and medical stuff like new glasses. 

So far its been working well.  Although, we sometimes say screw it and spend some money.  However, we are in a much different place than say, two years ago.

I wouldn't call myself a "spreadsheet kind of girl," but lately I've been using them like crazy!

How do you keep your finances organized?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Guest Blogger Today

Today, I'm a guest blogger over at Life Blessons.  My post is part of Carmen's series, Secrets of a Newlywed.  Check it out!