Friday, May 17, 2013

Mulching Around

One of the most challenging things in the home ownership process for me has been working on my yard. It seems like this year all of the exterior issues I've been putting off or babying along have finally started to break and die. Dang it.

 For example all the grass that I planted totally fried in the yard as you can see in the next two pictures:



And it even died over in the side yard. Totally stinks. Starting over again this year is what has to be done but it's not really all that much fun.


One area that actually did get some improvement was in the "backyard!" It is actually starting to look way better! Here's a picture of it before:


{Ignore the weeds... every time I try to get out there with RoundUp it randomly starts raining. Weed killing is this weekend.} Here's the random not cement section. I used to wonder if maybe this was a dog run in it's former life? Who knows.


Sebastian likes to run around in this section so instead of buying rock that would only attract heat (it gets NO shade in the summer) and burn his little baby puppy paws I scored a great deal on mulch at my second job. 3 large bags for only $10.00 plus my discount. Not bad! I would say if you're doing a large area it wouldn't be a good deal to buy bags but I was only covering some smaller spaces.


Here's the new view from farther back. I think it looks way better! Especially once I get the weeds totally taken care of. Try not to look at the neighbor's yard. Two years ago they covered the whole thing in brand new sod and then let it die. Seems like a waste. It looks awful now.


I also added mulch around this beautiful old tree in my yard. I love the view of the park. However I am jealous of the grass at the park... #yardenvy.


I still have some other major projects to get worked out in terms of the exterior of the house. Porches still need repair plus I found out I have to totally replace my entire skylight because it is leaking. Joy. 

How are your yard projects coming along?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Baby Sister Room Re-Do Reveal-ish

Well I have finally gotten my sister all moved in to the house. She did the long drive from South Dakota to Colorado all in one day. Crazy kid. She got in at about 5am. I feel like I am way to old for all that sort of stuff but she was glad to be home I think. However all the things on her bedroom to do list didn't quite get done but I think it still ended up looking pretty good.

Here's the mood board that we first started a few weeks ago when I announced that Ally would be moving in: Sister's Room



The original to-do list consisted of and what managed to get marked off:
  • paint over grey and carry over into closet
  • paint desk from Habitat coral
  • buy cheap dresser (also paint, coral drawers, white outer)
  • move full sized bed from striped room to Ally's room
  • make/find headboard
  • move side tables from my room to Ally's room
  • put IKEA rug in room
  • hang floating shelves on funky wall for storage
  • hang hook rack
  • full length mirror behind door
  • accessorize!

I definitely ran out of time to get that much painting done. Working 70 hours a week puts a damper on painting time. I do still plan on fixing the trim and the closet but it won't be until later this summer, you know. When I have an entire day off from work.

Here's a few pictures of what I managed to get done in her room before she got here though! The only thing I bought was the dresser:

 

 
Looks so awesome in the space! The rest is fairly neutral but this adds a fun shock of color, which is a direct reflection of my sister's vibrant personality.
 
 
 
 

So far it has been pretty destroyed with all of her boxes and bags and such being brought in. We're working on getting it organized and functional for her soon. I am very glad to have her back! My parents are also back from New Mexico this week to help with the swamp cooler set up (it's starting to hit in the 80s around here).

Happy Monday!
 

Friday, May 10, 2013

HomeOwnIversary



This is the official anniversary of owning my home. It has been just about five years since we stumbled upon this beauty back in 2008. It certainly wasn't much to look at back then. It was the height of the market, I was young, we were eager. But I think owning a home has been one of the greatest learning experiences of my life.

5 Tips for Single Lady Homeowner's
  1. You can do it. Don't be afraid to get dirty.
  2. Experiment with style, you never know what you will like.
  3. Paint makes everything prettier.
  4. Always know someone with a truck.
  5. Make a blog!


Here's just a glimpse of where this place started I have so many plans for where else it can go!














.Before we did all of our renovations the house was pretty nasty. I must say that I am very proud of how far the place has come and the fact that I was able to do it with the help of my wonderful friends and family. I look forward to being able to make the exterior even more wonderful and am excited to reveal to everyone the big changes from the living room remodel. It is almost done!


10 Things I've Learned Owning a House

  1. Water doesn't magically appear out of a faucet, you have to pay for that.
  2. If you put a tractor tire on your porch it is highly likely it will collapse and your Dad won't like that.
  3. It is worthwhile to invest in doing maintenance work, such as painting, cleaning, watering, etc. It feels good when people walk into your home and are impressed.
  4. Just because it's a manufactured home doesn't mean it's trash, just means it requires more creativity.
  5. Caulk is always going to be a funny word.
  6. DIY is a ton of fun but it's better to get a job done right. Leave the hard stuff to the pros (like roofs, major plumbing, etc.)
  7. Don't over spend on your house. For example as much as I love my house, it's still a manufactered home. Meaning that it's value will only ever be so much. Knowing where to make smart budget choices is key. You wouldn't buy granite for a trailer because it's probably too heavy and you'd never see any return.
  8. Thrift stores are your friend for furniture. Don't go into debt for a table, refabulous it.
  9. Know your own limits and when to ask for help.
  10. Your homeowner's insurance agent should be your friend. :)

My house isn't perfect, but I'm proud of it. I will continue to try and take my house from trailer trash to fabulous still . At this point I will probably be here for another year at least. My next place will be even more amazing and creative because I have learned so much from this experience in my life, all before the age of 25. I think that's pretty great.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Living Single: Monthly Update

Back in March I started talking about how I wanted to start working towards financial freedom, especially since I'm now out of college and don't have that extra interest backed cash coming in every few months. (High five to those student loans!) What is starting to become a challenge is the fact that those student loans have to be paid back.

I know. Crazy. I don't remember being told that. Damnit.

So I have heard a lot of buzz around about Dave Ramsey and even recall my parents following his lead when I was a kid. I found his website {here} and found a lot of great advice. I wanted to know more! So I used my fabulous Google Chrome set up, seriously, I heart the Googlie; and found a ton of videos online.


I spent all morning on Sunday watching these videos and getting some great tips and steps to success. One thing that I noticed is that though a lot of his info is tailored to families and people in relationships (#singleladyfun) there's some things that I can incorporate into the single lady life I'm living.

For instance setting up a budget. My new favorite thing is Google Drive. You can create all kinds of documents just through Google without having to buy expensive software that if you're like me, you can't really afford at the moment. Plus it's fairly dumdum proof which I appreciate.


In my Google drive I set up a folder for all my "budget" goodies. Everything from paying off student loans, car, credit card debt, monthly budget, and a spending register. However I have no clue how to use or set up a spreadsheet.... I'm an English teacher... numbers are not me friend.


So in the truest nature of Google... I googled it! Managed to find some great resources and even found a preloaded spreadsheet that you can modify and fill in the blanks with your amounts, etc. (Shown in screenshot above) Here's the link if you want to try it out for yourself: Budget Spreadsheet


This page explains how to use the budget planner and even gives a pretty thorough tutorial if you need it. Plus it's just a great website for people like me who are starting out and want to get ahead in this money game. Check it out here: 20somethingfinance.com

For my debt repayment spreadsheets (sorry no screenshot) I used this one: Cardan Avalanche Spreadsheet. It was great because it allowed you to put in the interest rates and see how paying extra has an IMMEDIATE impact. For example if I pay even an extra $100-$200 on my student loans each month I end up saving a couple THOUSAND dollars in interest over the life of all of my student loans which is roughly 15 years for the federal loans.

Plus the handy thing about Google Drive... They've got an app for that! This is what it looks like on my Samsung Galaxy SIII. Of course my phone is an android or Google based phone which makes it easier but the app is free and easy to use, the larger documents take longer to load if you're not on WiFi but it you are using the register to track your purchases it's handy so you can just get on it, add it in, done.

I am a girl that loves clothes, shoes, nail polish, purses, and buying dog treats and toys. So for me the hardest part of this whole process has been just simply doing this:


I think if I can demonstrate enough discipline I can do it. I know I can do it, but it's not going to be easy. If you have any tips/tricks/words of wisdom or advice. Please feel free to share! I'm all ears. 



*PS. Google didn't ask me to do any of this. I was just sharing awesome things I found, for free, that work. :)



Monday, May 6, 2013

Faded by Seven

I've been trying to update little things around my house and outside. You know those little things that you've been putting off for... like ever? Well one of mine is the mailbox outside.  Currently it looks like this:


I haven't figured out exactly why the only number that faded was the "7" but I guess it wasn't so lucky in the sunshine department. For just a few cents (even less with my work discount, chicachicayeahhh) I changed out the number on both sides! Now it looks fresh and inviting. Not so trashy. Yay.


I painted this bench my parents gave me a couple of years ago... looks like I need to get after that again since it is peeling and fading. No one actually sits on it, but it looks less dumpy when it's freshened up. Who knows? Maybe someone will sit on it once it looks pretty!


I need to get around to changing out the light fixture and cleaning up the porch area. Including painting the deck and replacing the faux carpet. Probably taking off the ramp too since it's suffering and starting to collapse. Not safe.


Since I moved all my rocks I planted some pretty flowers, I put pots over them to keep Sebastian from messing with them. Plus we had a random freeze one night. They're doing well now! Yay!



I am so ready for spring time and summer time! At this point I only have 12 more days left of school! That's pretty exciting! I can't wait to have some adventures over the summer and get things done around the house. Yay for that.  :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Summer Blog Projects

Now that the school year is finally over and I have a couple months before we start back up I really want to focus on getting some things done on the blog. Not just doing projects for posts but actually doing a few things for the bloggy itself.

For example once I have my #totallyfly new blog look custom made by Jess at JWDesign I feel like the rest of the blog needs to represent, so the pages need a total overhaul.

The project page isn't the best at this point, right now it sort of looks like this still:



That is totally boring. Terribly uninformative. The links are all there but I feel as though adding in pictures would make a huge difference. Especially if those pictures are the links. What do you think?

Another thing that I want to do is expand my readership base. Obviously I can do that by linking up all over the place for various projects especially now that I've been posting consistently for a couple of months. I love love love meeting people like Sam at the Junk House and Brie at Breezy Pink Daisies. I just feel as though there are so many more people out there I would love to meet.

The house tour page also needs some updating:


What are some of your favorite things, as readers, about looking at House Tour pages? What sort of layout would be best for you? I hope to make that the "thing" about my blog is something that really works for the readers as well as for me.

What other suggestions would you make for updating the blog over the next few months? What would make your experience better overall? More Facebook or other social media interaction?

Tell me what you think, and as always, thank you so much for reading my lil blog. :)