Friday, March 29, 2013

Dirty Rockin.

This year I made a pledge to myself to really make some changes to the yard outside of my little house. I outlined some of what I wanted to do in this post awhile back. 

I started out by shoveling all the rock in this triangle... (ouch....) I love the fact that Sebastian's in the background mid run. Haha.


I wanted to put it in the back by the little pathway thing because nothing grows there and it's typically a mud puddle. First I had to clean up all the leaves from the last two seasons. My neighbor's kids like to throw their broken toys over the fence which is super frustrating. They also built this atrocious looking shed. It's directly in front of my kitchen window. Grrr.


My Dad left me a bunch of his landscape tools when he moved to New Mexico so I used this fancy rake to start pulling the rocks out of the flower bed. I also broke it. Conveniently Dad also left me duct tape! :)


My neighbor gave me a huge pile of iris and tiger lily bulbs to plant so I put them all into the ground trying to space them out so that they have room to get way bigger.


I need to get some mulch to put around the tree (can't plant anything there because there is a whole nest of carpenter ants that kill everything) and then I will fill in around the new plants with the mulch as well. I think it will look way cleaner. I will sweep the sidewalk. But it was supposed to rain the day that I did the whole planting thing so I decided to hold off. In case the rain washed it away for me. 


And the big thing of rocks was transported to the back....


Also needs to be swept but it looks wayyyy better! I'm just hoping I can find some more rocks that are the same color to fill in the other side and way back by the gate. Then the "back yard" would be totally done, with the exception of replacing the steps though Jennifer (my new roomie) has an uncle that is a carpenter so we are hoping that he will accept payment of beer and dinner to help us out.

Phew. Way more yard work to go but a little free DIY headway is good for the soul!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Colorado Adventures

The most amazing part of being graduated is that even with two jobs I finally have time to enjoy the beautiful country I live in! My roommate Jennifer and I decided to go on a hike one day to a trail called "Devil's Kitchen" on the Colorado National Monument. 



This is as you go up towards what we dubbed as the "oven."



The wide sweeping view of the valley that I call home!



Jennifer likes to get all up in and around the rocks.


I climbed up on top of this big ole sandstone rock (notice the difference in our clothing choices? haha)



Wow. So beautiful. I love it!



My "I love Colorado" moment... haha


Rock climbing with no make up on. We named that rock Steve, you had to love Steve to get up to the next point.




There's definitely a reason they call it colorful Colorado. 
It is so glorious to live in a place like this where I can have an active lifestyle and a natural jungle gym just outside my door. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sisterhood of the Trailer Park

Some exciting news to share with the class! My roommate situation has been resolved! My baby sister is going to be moving in with me in May! She had originally moved to South Dakota to go to college and have some time with our extended family out there but has since found that, though she loves being around family, the climate and school aren't really the experience she's looking for. She's a Colorado native and can't help it. So she's coming back! Yay!

Here's a picture of Ally and little Sebastian. 


She's going to be taking over this room:


Right now the painting job has potential but the grey not going all the way through the closet looks super bad so I have to at least paint the grey part. The colors my sister wants to decorate with are coral, teal, and grey. A really fun color scheme I think! Speaking of schemes...


That's the furniture my old roommate had (they used to be gorgeous vintage wood but she spray painted them with metallic paint. kinda cool but sad in a way too.) I want to get Ally a dresser that's a similar size as well as a desk. But! I want to get them and paint them coral for her! I think that it would be fabulous.

Like this one I found on Pinterest:


I think it would be super awesome! The one wall is already teal so I will leave it up to my sister if she wants to keep it or change it to all the same color. I do need to paint some trim white and that sort of thing but I think it will be a good fit for her.


I already have a full-sized bed as well as a white bed set and white curtains that she's going to use, plus my grey IKEA rug. So it will really be just accessorizing and personalizing the whole room to make it feel like home for her.


It also gives me another excuse to decorate, and a good home for my vintage mirror (small bathroom so we'll set up a vanity area in her room. Plus I have some shelves for the little doinky wall on the right side there.)


I am super excited that my sister and I will have this opportunity to spend some real time together and grow as individuals. She's fun and spunky and always reminds me to take things a little less seriously. Love my sister!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Review: Memoirs of a Geisha

Since I have graduated from college I have had the opportunity to actually spend time doing things I enjoy. Three specifically? Cook, read, wine. Sometimes beer since it's nearly summertime. So I decided that I will start doing a review of something or other every Sunday. No guarantee that it will be a book but that's pretty likely. 

My first review is going to be on the novel Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. 



The book came out quite awhile ago but this is my first time reading it and I am glad I did! Totally loved it! It was awesome! Everything about it was simple but purposeful and I really felt connected to the culture just by the way that the novel was written. I also feel as though the author did a good job making sure to give some cultural explanation to certain elements without making it into a text book. 

The story is about one girl's journey from a poor orphan (her dad dies soon after her joining the geisha community) to one of the most powerful geisha around. It was quite powerful and heart wrenching at times. 

At the beginning of the book the narrator tells the readers, "I wasn't born and raised to be a Kyoto geisha. I wasn't even born in Kyoto. I'm a fisherman's daughter from a  little town called Yoroido on the Sea of Japan" (Golden 7). The author's simple sentences are easy to follow and reflect the time and era that the story is based during. I thought it was a beautiful book and I highly recommend you read it before watching the film!

Does anyone have any other books they recommend? Leave it in the comments or tell me on Facebook. I am a freaky fast reader so I am up to suggestions!

So far on my list I have:
  • Paradise of the Blind
  • Love in the Time of Cholera
  • Inkheart
  • The Book Thief
  • Marley and Me
  • My Sister's Keeper
  • My Antonia
I think that's a pretty decent list so far but I love reading (English teacher up in here) plus it's something I learned from my Momma.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Critter Art

*I used to have a picture of this while I was in progress... now I can't find it... sorry!*

 This is my furbaby art! The whole project only cost me about $8.00 to create, and that was all just buying the canvases in a three pack at Michael's. I decided that since I don't have any children I could make some cool silhouette art, like I've seen on Pinterest to honor my precious babyfurries.


I'm pretty good at free hand drawing just from seeing something, like the animals moving around the house. But you can google search black and white images of cats and dogs and find some good silhouettes. At that point you could then cut them out and trace them and just fill in the space with black paint. They would also look really cool on a color. I just can't commit to more than black and white (maybe why I'm single? haha).


The living/dining area currently. They'll be changed to a different location once the whole redo action starts happening but they look pretty good right now I think! 


Does anyone else do tribute art to their animals? 
Happy Friday!! It's Spring Break for us next week and I start my second job working at Lowe's (uhmmm can you say... diy discount?!)  but I am sure I will be starting to make some headway on the walls and painting. Bye peach beach walls!

Linked to: I Should Be Mopping the Floor Savvy Southern Style House of Hepworths  Liz Marie Blog 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Lost Graduation Post

I have been looking through my past posts and discovered that I had never done a real graduation post! It was saved as a draft and then long forgotten. So here is the grad post that almost wasn't.... 

On the morning of our graduation several education majors, my best friend, and myself of course assembled in the parking lot of Albertson's across the street from the location of our graduation. We were clearly having some pre-graduation beverages. aka. mimosa. The young lovely lady in the beanie is my BFF Christie. We've been best friends since we were 11.


 Cheers! 


After that moment we went inside to assemble and Christie took my camera to capture the day for me. Such a good friend!


She got a good picture of my parents while they waited for the ceremony to start.


Approaching the seat that would hold my bum as an undergrad student for the last time.
WHOOOOOO!!!!!




This one is blurry but this is me with the president of the college, Tim Foster. My mom was up in the stands with her cow bell ringer and she started blasting it when I was shaking hands with the president. He simply looked over at me and said: "Cow bell, huh?" "Yeah, that's my mom!" He shakes his head and laughs, "Nice!"


Here's my lovely decorated hat and the certificate of my graduation! Or at least the holder... still haven't gotten the actual paper. But! It was amazing. So glad I get to start the next chapter in my life. Bye bye college!


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Living Room... Before

I finally took some better pictures of the "before" living room and dining room. Before being before I start painting and changing out decorations. I used to only have one which I decided wasn't a very accurate show of how the living room currently looks.

Standing in my "entryway" space this is your view:


I have already started some of the patching, the thing with a trailer is that instead of taping and mudding over the seams in the drywall they put these lousy stripes. As your house settles (mine's not on a concrete slab) it can cause slight shifts which make the new mud crack. Also is part of the reason floating floors are good in trailers.

Here's the view into the dining room standing in the actual doorway. (Hi Pouka kitten!)


See my lovely gigantic tv hiding out behind the dining table? haha. I just need to get that fixed and it will be all ready to power up and watch HGTV in wide screen high def. Woot. There's also a sound system hiding behind the couches. Pretty clever. That's one way I'm saving money on this whole upgrade ya' thing. Using older model equipment rather than running up a credit card for new crap. (Dave Ramsey, you be proud.)

Speaking of older model my best friend, and roommate, Seth upgraded his laptop to a MacBook for his classes in college and was no longer using his old computer. So he gave it to me! For free! The only finicky thing is the power cord has to be plugged in at a weird angle at all times. Whatever. I'm good with it.

Pouka likes it also.


(Shopping for some new art on Etsy.com. Love that place.) Next step is to take down all the wall art and patch the nail holes, fill cracks, etc. I'm trying to leave everything up until I find a new roommate. I hope I can remain that patient. lol.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring Wreath

Well it has finally happened. Yup. I have finally made something for my house! I will say that it's the first time I've ever made a wreath but it doesn't look to bad! Very simple and spring like.

Plus I only spent about $10.00 at Michael's on this because I already had a lot of the ribbon. I used a coupon on the styrofoam wreath.

Materials:

  • large styrofoam wreath
  • one roll of burlap ($2.99)
  • wide white ribbon
  • thin blue ribbon
  • three clip on flowers (Michael's @0.99 a piece) 


I used my glue gun to wrap first one layer of white ribbon, in case there were gaps, and then I wrapped the burlap on top of that. Followed by the white again and a stripe of blue. I glued the flowers (I'm too lazy to buy a whole flower and deal with having to cut it. These clips were awesome because I didn't have to, and they were the same price as a stem.)


For my first try at a glue gun wreath creation I think it turned out kinda pretty! I do want to get a suction cup and then tie it with ribbon to hang but this hook works out pretty well for now.


I love you burlap!


The irony of this is that the day I hung this up it was 62 degrees and gorgeous outside, Sebastian was roasting himself in the sun, and the next day it was 35 and raining/snowing. 

I love you Colorado!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Living Single

Ever since I graduated from college and started working in the school district things have gotten a little crazy... (Pouka's "yo' crazy" face)...


It got so crazy that my room started to look like this everyday and I considered it to be "clean." Holy crap.


I've decided that something needs to change. Stat. I can't keep living in a mess. Another thing that I did was have some honest time with myself. Since I've graduated from college the harsh reality that I won't be getting $1,000.00 every four months in student loan payouts has finally hit. I realize now that I have to be more financially responsible. I've been reading a lot about the Dave Ramsey debt get-rid-of program. Most of it is geared towards families so I'm trying to adapt it to work for single lady life.

First step is that I created a binder to keep track of bills, register all spending, keep Sebastian's documents, and roommate agreements all together.  

.

I'll give you more details on that in a minute. The first thing that I did in my honest moment time was to add up all of the debt that I have accumulated. Ouch. At 22 (23 next month! Woot!) I have $28,500 in student loans, $110,000 in home debt, $9,000 on my Civic, and about $5,500 in credit card debt. That's a total of about $153,000.00. Ahhhh geessshhh. I'm a little embarrassed to even be blogging about this, but I think it will help me keep on track. 


So I've decided to set up a three year budget plan spread. (Excel would be prettier to use but my computer is dumbdumb so I just wrote it out.) The whole premise is to set up tangible goals that would motivate me. A big one? No roommates. I've had roommates for 5 years and I am totally over it. I want to have a guest room and an office and space. 

**All this is contingent on that fact that I will unmarried in three years, which is extremely likely.lol.**


Another thing that I added in is my budget for each month. Subbing is a day by day thing and I tend to work most days but sometimes there are months (like this month where there is a week off for Spring break) that I won't be able to make as much. Also working for the school has my paydays once a month instead of biweekly like I was used to.

I put my expenses into a very specific order starting with housing, car, cell phone and car insurance, credit cards, grocery money for the month, savings, and finally flex money that I can spend on shoes or whatever else I feel so inclined. 


I've grown up in the generation of debit cards and I have been trying to switch over to a cash only budget. Ouch. In order to keep myself accountable I have my bank account app on my phone as well as keeping an actual register. Something about writing down what I've spent is a bit of a reality check.

I added tabs to keep it all organized.

                                  

I keep track of all the house hold bills so I can monitor usage (especially with the electric bill). Plus when tax season comes I can send all of these bills to my Dad, we process the house as a rental which means that these can be written off. Or something like that.

                                   

Another PDF (source at the bottom of the post) allows you to make a list of home costs. Which obviously I love. Allows me to prioritize projects and household things I need to save for.

                                              

Sorry these next pictures are sideways, it wouldn't let me flip them over. So just bear with me. lol. The folders have all the roommate rental agreements and other documents inside, which are crucial to keep track of.

                                  

Sebastian is a purebred so I have his AKC certificate and his shot records. That way if I do decide to breed him I can prove he's got his shots.



I've also been keeping my receipts together and putting them into an envelope so I can really hold myself accountable, plus a lot of receipts have coupons on the bottom. Which I appreciate.


I've also been keeping a book for coupons and my rewards cards so that I can start saving money, even the littlest bit helps.



In order to keep on track I've resisted the urge to not replace my roommate that's moving at the end of this month. I absolutely hate going through the process of finding a decent roommate but I know that if I don't have that extra income my debt situation will only be worse. My parents did the Dave Ramsey plan when I was a kid and I've seen it work, I just hope I have the self control necessary to keep on track myself. I'm also looking for a second job that I can work until I get a full time teaching position which would start in August of this year.

Following my budget plan will allow me to:
  •  be down one roommate by the end of this year, 9 beautiful months from now, and then no roommates by the end of 2014. 
  • pay off credit card debt by the end of 2013
  • have my car paid off by the end of 2014 or middle of 2015.
  • have adequate savings
  • be able to travel in the summers instead of getting a second job. 
These things excite me! I could have the freedom to decide whether or not I want to have a roommate. Plus I would still be able to keep upgrading my furniture and doing home projects. If I don't have cash to buy something than I can't have it. Which is why I'm going to sell my dining set in order to make the money to buy the new furniture I want rather than putting it onto a credit card or something like that.

Wish me luck! If you have any success stories/advice on how to make this work even better please please let me know!


You can find all the amazing PDFs for print out here.