Fave finds

Monday, October 7, 2013

Let me introduce to you....to my favorite finds from the last couple of months. These are literally across the board, with really no common theme. However they are all things I've been loving this month!

These freebie iphone backgrounds. How awesome are these?? Find them here. I was sporting the chevron (#1) but I'm thinking about a change to #14! or maybe the Giraffe (#17).



This lovely print. For all of my Ky followers, be sure to check out this site, Kentucky for Kentucky.  Pretty cool concept.



This amazing haircut that will be mine tomorrow at 2pm. Hello Melissa Hastings!! PLL returns Oct. 22 :)


This Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller is awesome! It's moisturizing, goes on light and has a dose of caffeine to wake up your skin. I'd say it's best for light coverage.


These peplum topsskinny jeans from express. The tops fit nice other than they could stand to be a little longer. I like to pair with a skinny belt. These particular skinny jeans are awesome! The fit is perfect & they pair well with boots. I've been needing skinny jeans after living in my Gap skinnies (from Goodwill for $3!!) for about a year now.

The peplum tops are on clearance in-store & online for $14.99. Jeans are currently buy one, get one for $29.99.
ALSO until 10/9 the retail me not app has an offer for $50 off $150, $40 off $120, $30 off $100, or $15 off $30. Can't beat that!

 
Rustoleum cabinet transformations. For right now, I love the IDEA of this product. I'm currently re-doing our cabinets, so when they are finished I will verify that the results are good, plus show before & afters!! You may remember me talking about re-doing our kitchen here and well, there's no turning back now!

I chose the dark kit & had it tinted in expresso. Learn more about the product here. Obviously this isn't as good as new cabinets, but it's a nice alternative.

This Keurig My K-Cup Replacement Coffee Filter . This lets you use your own coffee instead of using k-cups! I love k-cups, but they can get expensive, so this works for me for my daily brews. Then I can treat myself with the occasional k-cup!

 
 
That's it for me. What are you loving right now??
 
xx
Sam

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Easy extra income ideas

Friday, October 4, 2013

It's no secret that I'm money motivated, and being commission based can be awesome, but it also has it also has slow times. For this reason, I'm all about the side hustles. I thought I'd put together a list of easy extra income ideas that I can look back on in the future, and some of these may help some of you looking for extra income as well.


Labor

The bottom line is that people will pay for labor! Everyone has things around the house that need to get done, but few of us actually have the time to dedicate to these tasks. That makes this an excellent extra income opportunity! If you play your cards right, these things usually pay pretty well, because people are essentially paying for their time. By hiring you, they keep extra time in their schedules. Another bonus, a lot of times these gigs pay cash! Some examples of labor:

-Home/office cleaning
-Shoveling snow
-Mowing grass & landscaping
-Moving things
-Painting

I've done every single one of these things for extra income in the past. You can help out neighbors, people you know, or even put up an ad on craigslist or create some cheap mailers.

Resale

Another extra income idea is to resell items you either have on hand, or can get cheap. If you have brand new clothes in your closet with tags, check out Poshmark to sell what you no longer want or need. If you have a good eye for vintage & antique items, check out flea markets or yard sales & then resell your fab finds on craigslist or even ebay. Another thing you can do is purchase items on the cheap from amazon or ebay then resell on your own via the same sites or even an ecommerce site like store envy. Most areas also have buy, sell, trade pages on facebook. When looking for things to buy, keep with what you know. Remember, the money is made on the buy! Buy cheap so you have profit margin.

Capitalize on your talent or hobby

Everyone has their own unique talents & hobbies. Why not turn those into a little bit of extra income? If you can build or design, why not advertise your services as a carpenter, handyman or decorator? Or maybe you are super creative & you love painting & crafting. Start showing off your stuff on facebook to your friends, or even start up an etsy store to sell some of your goods. Good at photography? Why not start up a little side business? I currently have an etsy store called The Style House where I sell hand painted glassware & other fun things. It's so much fun and generates a bit of extra income for me as well. 

Capitalize on your knowledge


If you have the smarts in certain areas or subjects, you can capitalize on that knowledge! Try out tutoring or offer your services editing articles, etc. There are always college students looking for help writing a term paper or essay, and often these even pay by the word. In addition, in todays world every business is involved somewhat in social media, and some need people to manage this for them.


These are just a few ideas, the options are truly unlimited... However, you do need to be careful that you're not stretching yourself too thin. I've been guilty of this before. You dedicate yourself to too many things, trying to give each attention and then you end up not doing any of the things well. You don't want to fall into that.

If you want to learn more about extra income & get to know someone that KILLS IT with her side hustles, check out Michelle at Making Sense of Cents. She's inspiring!

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The obligatory Fall to-do list...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1st?? What?! This blog post is going to be oh so original what with everyone & their mother doing fall to-do lists... But what can I say? I do love Fall. I do make Fall plans. Anddd I like lists a lot.

Fall in Louisville... things to enjoy:

St. James Art Fair

I absolutely LOVE St. James. It's essentially a giant art show full of artists, artisans, crafters, etc. and it's set in the most perfect location, St. James Court in Old Louisville. I'm planning to go Friday with a friend. A lot of the art is expensive, but I usually pick up some little piece of jewelry or something fun. They also have a ton of food vendors, so I plan on indulging in a pumpkin beer and a slice of yummy pumpkin roll! Can't wait. Now I just hope we have good weather.

Huber's Orchard & Winery

Another place I just love visiting is Huber's! This is actually in Indiana, but just a short drive from Louisville. They have awesome wine (try the Starlight Red) and we get to pick pumpkins! Planning to get a small group together & hit this place up on a gorgeous day, sit outside & split a bottle of wine then head to the pumpkin patch!

Girls Night: Pumpkin Painting

Definitely want to get the girls together for some pumpkin painting (or carving, but I hate carving) at the house. I really want to paint some pumpkins for the porch like I talked about in this post.

Madison, IN.

Another awesome place to visit is Madison, Indiana. It's also just a short drive away on the back roads. This town is full of cute little shops, restaurants & coffee shops. It's so fun to walk around & soak up the gorgeous Fall weather & scenery. I think we are planning a boat trip with our friends to Madison this Saturday if the weather cooperates. Excited!

 Trails in Anchorage

Anchorage is this little historic town nearby that has the best trails. I want to take Kobe here some & change up our daily walking routine. Planning to go for the first time next Friday.

Other things I'm thinking for Fall....
PSL's. Enough said.
Boots, boots, boots!
Chilly nights on the patio with a fire.
Fleece lined leggings.
Pumpkin beer.
Late night coffee.
Yummy smelling candles.
Fall décor.


What are you looking forward to during Fall??? Tell me.

xo
Sam

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Chic Outdoor Fall Decor

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Hope you all enjoyed your long labor day weekend! We headed to the lake & spent Saturday on the water enjoying the final little bit of Summer. We had a huge storm over the weekend, so a lot of Monday was unfortunately spent picking up branches & leaves out of the yard. We did get in some lazy time to catch up on the dvr though. I also worked a little. Here in Louisville, temperatures had been in the 90's all last week, but it's cooling off a little this week. I got to enjoy those cooler temps this morning on my walk with Kobe.

Anyway, with Fall is fast approaching, I thought I would share some of my favorite chic outdoor fall décor ideas. I'm looking forward to giving our front porch a Fall feel pretty soon. Enjoy!

These pretty metallic carved pumpkins.

This monogrammed pumpkin in a pot. 

A chic wreath like this one.
 

How cute would it be to stagger a few lanterns on the porch?
 
Are you decorating for Fall?
 
xo
Sam

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Buying vs. Renting: Which is right for you?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Buying vs. renting... how do you know which is right for you?


In my area rent is very high, and in most instances you can own something for about the same monthly payment as you pay in rent. Of course, this varies by area, but here in Louisville that seems to be the case. This makes the idea of buying seem very desirable to the majority of people. While home ownership is a wonderful thing, it is not right for everyone. There are many factors you should consider to determine whether buying or renting is right for you at this time in your life.


Your Financial Situation

 Do you have debt?

It seems these days most people have their share of debt. In a perfect world, you would have no other debt when you buy a home. However, I realize not everyone is willing to wait until they are debt free to buy. If you have debt and are looking to buy, I say proceed cautiously. Be absolutely sure you can manage your other debt repayments on top of your mortgage & still have plenty of wiggle room each month. Be sure to have a plan in place to eliminate your debt quickly. Consider paying off other debt before buying a home.

Do you have an emergency fund?

An emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses is ideal, but obviously the exact amount depends on your personal situation. This should be a fund set aside for emergencies only. This acts as a cushion if you have job loss, medical issues or another emergency pop up & will help you cover your mortgage & other expense until you get back on track.

Do you have money saved for a down payment in addition to an emergency fund?

Having a substantial down payment (10-20%) can help lessen your monthly mortgage payments by reducing the principal loan amount. Putting 20% down can also eliminate PMI which can add up to an extra couple hundred dollars a month on top of your regular mortgage payments. No fun :(    What is PMI? PMI is Private Mortgage Insurance. You are essentially paying for insurance for the lender, that way if you default & get foreclosed upon, the lender is protected. So you get nothing out of this deal, it's just an extra payment.


Can you qualify for a mortgage?

All of the above factors are great for you to take into consideration, and once you have those answered, it's time to answer the tougher question: can you qualify for a mortgage? You can speak with a lender in order to determine if and how much you qualify for. I always recommend working with a local bank or mortgage broker, it makes the entire process run more smoothly. And remember, just because you get approved for a certain amount doesn't necessarily mean you should spend that entire amount. If you're self employed or have no credit score, you will need to find a lender/broker that will do manual underwriting.

Your work situation

Are you stable at work?

Do you work for a company in which you feel secure? Are you self employed and certain you can create income for yourself? These are all good questions to ask before making the leap into home ownership.

Are you able to provide employment & tax information for the last couple of years?

Assuming you will be getting a mortgage, you will have to provide lots of information upfront in order to qualify. Be prepared to submit employment history, tax information & bank statements for the last couple of years.

Your personal situation


Are you ready for responsibility?

With homeownership comes a higher level of responsibility. Be sure you're ready for it. You may have to make some touch choices when it comes to prioritizing. Every once and a while you may have to choose between going out with friends or staying home to cut the grass. You might have to cut out the daily lattes & shopping trips in order to save up for a new dishwasher...

 

Are you prepared for home maintenance?

Obviously there are tons of different types of 'homes' and with each type comes a different level of maintenance. However, no matter what type you choose, a certain level of maintenance comes with owning a home. Are you ready to take on (or pay to hire out) services such as mowing the grass, repainting the siding, or fixing a broken toilet? All of these become your responsibility once you decide to own rather than rent. No more calling the landlord to solve the problem.

Do you plan on staying put for at least 5 years?

The general rule of thumb for buying a home is to plan to stay put for 5 years. There are no guarantees, but at this point you should have some equity in the house & at least be able to recoup selling costs (commission, closing costs, repairs, etc.) If you plan on moving within this time frame, it may not be a good idea to buy.

Owning a home is a wonderful opportunity as long as you make sure you a ready to make the plunge. That time may come at different times for different people. There is no specific age, income or situation that dictates when that right time is for you.

Do you currently own or rent? What other factors are keeping you from buying a home?

xo
Sam

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Things I'm loving at the moment...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Happy Friday everyone! I spent this morning catching up on emails & doing some computer work, then I got to have lunch with a great business contact, a local mortgage specialist in my market. It's great to meet & share ideas with like-minded people in the same industry. Plus she's young & enthusiastic, so we have a ton in common.

This afternoon I'm working on my monthly newsletter, but then when Jason gets home I'm making tacos & we are just going to hang out at home tonight & be lazy.

Anyway, here are some things I'm loving at the moment...


Chai Black Tea at home lattes
Mmmm. So good! I just use private selection [aka Kroger brand] chai black tea, steep it in hot water, add some milk, cinnamon & stevia & I'm good to go.



Pure Barre
I am absolutely loving this workout! I don't so much love the price tag, but if you watch out for deals, it's doable. I got to take a class last night with a friend and our favorite instructor & lets just say I'm definitely feeling it today!



Catching up on my kindle
I think I've had too much reality tv lately. Yes, it's possible. So this week I've really been enjoying catching up on my reading in the evenings. I'm finishing up The Beach House: A Novel by Jane Green, and then once that's finished I'm starting Sharp Objects: A Novel by Gillian Flynn. Can't wait! Did you know now that most libraries allow you to check out books to your kindle? Mine does! Or of course you can get on amazon as well.

Carrie Beth Taylor Art
I'm absolutely loving this girls art! Check her website out here! Aren't these custom cards adorable? I found them on her Facebook.




Dan Miller podcast
Dan's podcast, 48 days is awesome & so inspiring. His whole concept is '48 days to the work you love'. Check out more on his website, and definitely download his podcast. He also has a few books, 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal, No More Dreaded Mondays: Ignite Your Passion - and Other Revolutionary Ways to Discover Your True Calling at Work, and most recently Wisdom Meets Passion: When Generations Collide and Collaborate.



Million Dollar Listing
I just love this show! Tell me I'm not alone here. LA in my opinion, is way better than NY, but I like them both. I can't imagine earning a commission check that big, that's for sure! I am in love with Josh Flagg's grandma. She is pretty awesome!


Well, I'm off to make my afternoon chai tea latte! Hope you enjoy your weekends lovelies!

xo
Sam

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Kitchen Remodel Plan

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lately we have been revisiting the idea of re-doing the kitchen. Right now our kitchen looks a little something like this...

 
Nope, didn't bother to pick up. Sorry!
 
There are certain things I like about our kitchen, but there are numerous things I would change. However, with a limited budget, we will address the major issues & go from there.

Likes:
- Overall shape of kitchen, layout of cabinets & appliances.
- Kitchen table
- The fact that we have an island
- Natural light
- Window above the sink
- Storage space

Dislikes:
- Color (mustard yellow sounded like a good idea once upon a time)
- White appliances
- Countertops (currently Formica)
- Cabinets (oak, blahh)
- Cabinet handles
- Our broken sink
- The absence of a backsplash
- Light fixtures

The problem with re-doing a kitchen is that it costs lots of MONEY! Jason & I are talking about a plan of action, and so far here is what we are thinking of doing. We plan to do this in the most frugal way possible without skimping or DIYing something we shouldn't.

We are using these images for cabinet inspiration...

 
 
Hopefully the end result looks somewhat like this as far as color goes, obviously our cabinets are not this modern,
but it will still be a drastic improvement.

The Plan:
DIY: Stain cabinets a dark espresso color using this method from the blog Monica Wants It.
- DIY: Replace cabinet hardware with something more modern & sleek.
- DIY: Attempt to spray paint existing cabinet hinges to save money.


 
 

- DIY: Paint the walls a very light gray to brighten up the space.
- DIY: Install backsplash, either subway tile or something like this... I do love the chic & clean lines of both, so we'll see.


- DIY: Replace light fixtures. Do away with the fluorescent fixture near the island, unless it turns out to be a mess to patch the ceiling, in that case we will just replace with a more attractive option. Replace or paint fixture above kitchen table. Replace recessed lighting over island with hanging pendants.

- HIRE OUT: New countertops. Jason really wants granite so this will be one of the big expenses. There is no way we could install this by ourselves, so this will be left to the professionals. We are thinking a lighter color granite on the main countertops, then a contrasting darker color for the island.

- DIY: New appliances. Our appliances are functional, but boy are they ugly IMO. Hopefully we will be able to sell them on Craigslist for something though. We plan to replace with stainless steel appliances, and luckily our neighbors retired from GE, so they are sharing their discount with us. Thank you neighbors!

- HIRE OUT: New sink. Our faucet is broken right now, but since we are getting new countertops we will have to change out the style of our sink at that point, so we are dealing with it until then. We may do ourselves, but if the countertop installation guys can install, we will just go that route likely.

- HIRE OUT: We have the island, which we want boxed in & faced in stone, then we also have the wall with desk area. For this wall, we want to stain the lower cabinets to flow with the rest of the kitchen, but remove the upper cabinets. We want this entire wall faced in stone, and then above the desk area, we want open floating shelves.

For the floating shelves I like the idea of styling with a combination of leaning framed artwork, stark white dinnerware & glassware, & then fun bright pops of color.

- DIY: New curtains for sliding glass door.

We haven't gone through an entire budget yet for these improvements, but that is the next step in our plan. I plan on ordering the cabinet supplies first, as I can get started on that project whenever. If the stain is an epic fail, we will rethink our cabinets & go with a painted white finish, but keep the rest of the overall plan intact.

See my Pinterest inspiration board here.

I will keep you guys updated on progress & our budget once we pull everything together.

Have you ever re-done your kitchen? What was your biggest splurge & biggest save?

xo
Sam

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