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Friday, December 30, 2011

Weekend Wonderment: New Years Style!

There is one day left in 2011! It's been a good year. I have learned a lot and know I have a lot left to learn! I started this blog in February and keeping up with it has challenged me to look at design in different ways. It helps me to expand my knowledge and stay on top of trends and ideas. I have enjoyed watching the page views grow and hope that it continues to each month! So tell a friend about the blog and help me increase traffic! I am hoping 2012 brings prosperity to this new little business and I'm excited about what lies ahead.
Thank you so much for being a part of this adventure. Stay tuned next year!

Something to toast on New Years: champagne with fruit

Something to wish on: large confetti pieces you can toss at midnight with wishes for the new year on them

Source: via Jenny on Pinterest

Something to watch: every clock you own counting down to 2012!

Something tasty to ring in the new year with: Fondue!

Something to let go: Take 2 or 3 balloons and tie on a piece of paper with something written on it that you want to let go from this past could be an illness, a broken relationship, weight loss, whatever thing that is holding you back from moving forward. Tie it on and watch it fly away. Choose a dark balloon color and let it disappear against the night sky.
Then tie on another slip of paper to remaining balloons with wishes for the new year. Choose a light colored balloon so you can watch it fly.

I hope everyone has had a fabulous year, a wonderful holiday and a prosperous New Year. Be safe, have fun and be fancy!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 Resolution No. 3: Save

This site has lots of tips-more than I would have given you!

I am probably not the best person to write this post...I like to save money when I can but I often don't set out to do so. I need to make myself more aware of what I am buying and spending money on particularly. I want to take into account how long something is going to last me, if I can use it in different ways. For example, everyone needs a little black dress in their wardrobe. Does everyone need one that is super sparkly? No, in a few years that trend could be gone. I would rather spend more on a classy piece that will last rather than splurge on something that I will be giving away down the road because it's no longer on trend. If I buy fresh fruits and veggies, will I use them in different recipes often throughout the week? Can I make a smoothie out of those last few berries? Yes. Do I need a party tray because I like all the fruit in it? No (I have never bought a party tray just for myself, it just came to mind), I can buy the fruit and cut it myself and make it last longer and get more out of it.
Get what I'm saying? I just want to make myself aware of how I spend and save a little along the way for those timeless purchases.

Here are some of my ideas, but please provide me with some of yours to help me save better!

1) My grandfather used to empty out his pockets of change every evening and put it in a huge jar with a top labeled "Baby Henry" for me. At the end of the year, he would roll the coins and cash them into the was usually $300+ and a great way to simply have extra money. I have tried to remember to do that and allot one jar or bucket for change but have never really stuck to it. This year, I want to try again! I just have to find a good tall container now since the other one is long gone.

2) Take advantage of online flash sales, see this post.

3) Take advantage of two for one deals at the store if it's something you use frequently, like toothpaste. My friend Morgan just gave me a rundown of coupon saving. I get the paper in the mail and always throw it away. With it I am throwing away a lot of savings! Clip the things you know you need, and the things you might want but pay attention to the expiration date and fine print for location availability. Paperclip them together by expiration date and toss them once the date has passed. Red Plum and Smart Source were two of her favorite coupon books. If you are in the Nashville area, try the Clipper as well for deals on restaurants and things around town.

4) Buy local. This may not save you money but you are supporting your local economy and knowing that something is handcrafted or homemade makes it better. Someone put a lot of work into your purchase!

5) Dine in and prepare for the next day. I try to take my lunch to work everyday, in order to eat healthier and save money. I've already bought the groceries, I don't need to let them go to waste. Make meals at home. Frozen foods have gotten healthier and makes it simple to have a good meal quickly, even if you don't cook or you don't have the time.

6) Make at-home lattes. I love Starbucks. So much. My wallet does not. Brew your own Starbucks brand coffee. You can even make it fresh if you get whole beans and have a grinder. French presses give you strong, fabulous coffee every time. There are so many tasty creamers and syrups out there to give you the same flavor, you just have to find the right one. If you want healthy versions and the same great taste, join the Tone It Up team and you'll have so many on the nutrition plan!

7) Shop out of season and in season. Don't buy blueberries in the winter, buy bathing suits to use in the summer. Farmers markets are full of in-season fruits and vegetables that are delicious. God grew them this time of year for a reason, so you might as well embrace them when they do. Buying products out of season means clear out sales, end of season sales and overall lower costs on items that just aren't being used right now.

8) Sell the stuff you don't want. I like to give clothes to Goodwill but if you are wanting to make some money off of it, try local consignment shops or if it's something that is gently used try selling online.

9) Take advantage of free offers. I live in an apartment. I love that there are two pools and a fitness center. The plus to apartment living is that those amenities are free to me. This means I don't have to have a gym membership because right now I don't need one. Maybe your company or church has a gym. Use it!

10) Get rid of the landline. Cell phones have nixed the need for a land line. Sure, they might be great in an emergency, but do you really want to pay for something every month that you might use once? Chances are, your cell phone will be with or near you so in the event of an emergency, you should be okay.

Decorate some old cans (Pringles cans are great sizes) and label them for something you want to give to or save for and drop some change or a few extra dollars in there.

Check out online coupons you can print at home and use at the store.

What are some money saving tips you use? I need help!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Resolution No. 2: Organize

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

With a new year comes a fresh start in many areas of life. One such area is my home! I am very ready to go through everything and get rid of things I don't need, then organize the things I do. My cabinets, closets and drawers are in need of a good purging. I know there are easy and inexpensive solutions for my mess. Take a look at these simple ways to reorganize all the nooks and crannies:

I do this now: put sheets folded or rolled into one of the pillowcases and stack them on a shelf

I also have done this, but need to clean my refrigerator. I love the result! I got plastic bins and filled each one with different things: fruit, veggies, cheese and cold cuts, breakfast items and then I grouped my refrigerated condiments on the smaller top shelf and drinks on the taller middle shelf. I like being able to pull out the veggie bin and make a salad without digging around for the ingredients for ten minutes.

Put your saved plastic grocery bags in an old tissue box and either tape it to the inside of your cabinet door or keep it with your trash bags and odds and ends. You'd be amazed at how many you can fit into the box!

This is genius. I definitely plan on organizing all those pesky rolls of wraps into a magazine holder. Now I just have to figure out what to do with the magazines!

Grab some stickers and go to town on all of those chargers that you have to sift through to figure out which ones go to which small appliance.

If you go get a jump start on your weekly meals, this is a good way to organize everything. It's similar to the refrigerator concept, but geared toward a specific meal. Just toss your ingredients in the bin and when you are ready, get to cooking!

Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

Let's face it, I have way too many shoes to ever fit in one of these shoe things. I do have enough cleaning supplies though! This gets it out from under my kitchen sink and into a central location, like my washer and dryer closet.

I have yet to explore Nashville's new Container Store, but online I have found so many stylish ways to stay organized. I grabbed a few just for you to see!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012 Resolution No. 1: Get Fit

A lot of resolutions are not fulfilled for the length of the year. We may do good for about a week, maybe a month even. However, once we get interested in other things, the priority of the resolution diminishes slowly. I am not one to make a resolution because I know I probably won't stick to it.
Until 2011 rolled around! I was feeling sluggish and not at all in shape around this time last year. I saw pictures of myself and hated how heavy I looked. For someone short, a few pounds looks like more than it would on someone taller. Everyone's body is different and you just have to know how to treat it in order to be healthy for your body type. I didn't feel healthy and that was my main problem. I would work out every now and then and would give up because I thought it was too hard. I used to have good metabolism, especially in high school when I was an active cheerleader. At 25 last year, that was not the case! I knew I had to start doing something active to feel better and look better. My problem areas are my belly and my arms. When I gain weight, that's where it goes, as well as my face. I knew I needed to do cardio but really hated running and walking was monotonous even if it was outside (weather!). I was lucky enough to have a free fitness center as part of my apartment amenities and took advantage of the elliptical, which definitely burns calories. That was a good start. I downloaded the Livestrong app on my iPhone and kept track of my calorie intake and fitness. I recommend getting it just to make yourself aware of what you eat. A little can go a long way, and oftentimes not in a good way.
I admit I watched Jake's season of the Bachelor and loved sweet little Tenley Molzahn. I followed her on Twitter and noticed a lot of her tweets were about Tone It Up. So I investigated and found that it was best friend fitness duo that had tons of great workout routines on YouTube...for free.
I started a few of those and then bit the bullet to further my New Years resolution to get in shape. I bought their diet plan and it changed my eating habits completely. The diet plan is not about calorie intake, it's about eating the right foods at the right times. Their recipes are delicious and easy to make. I now find myself substituting high-calorie recipes with healthy ingredients and getting results that are tasty and good for me.
I've gone in-depth about Tone It Up because it was what I stuck to and what I love to still do and follow. I ended up losing and toning about 12+ pounds and am still sticking to it not to necessarily lose weight but to tone and be stronger and leaner. I have also incorporated barre technique into my workout routine with BarreAmped and I love it (Pure Barre is very similar and is nationwide if one is closer to you).
So I plan on sticking to my 2011 resolution to get fit and expand on it with get toned and stay that way!
Getting fit is probably the most popular New Years resolution. I encourage you to try Tone It Up or a barre class but most importantly, do what works for you to be healthy and happy in 2012.

Karena and Katrina are best friends and trainers. They started Tone It Up together and offer adorable tees and tanks in their store, amazing recipes that are so simple and delicious. Even though they are all the way in California, I feel like I know them because their fitness videos are friendly and fun to watch. They send out additions to the diet plan for members and post new workouts, recipes, and tips frequently.

To get yourself in gear for working out, it helps to feel good about the way you look. That starts with what you are wearing, even at the gym! Get great pants that make your butt look perky and hit the elliptical! Lululemon is expensive, but made well and it's so cute you can run to the store after a work out. New shoes in fun colors will make you want to put them on and go for a power walk. I drink more water now since my Water Bobble can be refilled from anywhere and it filters it. I love these hair bands that are stretchy and stylish too! TRAINERmats are genius ways to do some yoga or other fitness routines wherever you are. The moves are on the mat! I plan on getting a foam roller for a different type of routine (and a little massage!) A watch with a heart rate monitor tells more than time. I don't have one but it seems like a good thing to have if you are a runner and want to keep track.

2012 Look Ahead: New Years Looks

Source: via Kelley on Pinterest

Whether you believe the world is ending in 2012 or not is completely up to you. I think the Mayans just took a step back from their design and said "It doesn't need anything else." So they had a nice ornamental calendar.
It always makes me sad when Christmas is over. I love the lights and decorations and everything surrounding the holidays. However, it's time to look ahead to the new year. If you have plans to go out and are still wondering what to wear, I can help! (If you are planning on staying in, I have some ideas for that too! Stay tuned)
With such a bright and playful color in store for 2012, the new year looks optimistic. Honeysuckle, this year's color should get one last hurrah for New Years Eve I think. Branch out of the normal black, silver and gold color scheme and pop some color in with it.
I've put together three different looks with Polyvore to get your fashion brains in gear to celebrate the past year and ring in a new one with pizazz.

Celebrate 2011 in Honeysuckle with gilded accessories:

Ring in 2012 in a vibrant way with Tangerine Tango

Be classy and glamorous in traditional black and gold. You can never go wrong with matte black and gold sparkle.

Add a little bit of toughness to your New Years Eve ensemble with leather leggings, skull embellished pumps and a knuckle clasp clutch. If you will be outside celebrating, long sleeves are a must! Wearing a fun, flirty necklace in the shape of lips is sure to get you a quick smooch at midnight!


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