Dressember – Introduction

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December is full of holiday parties, family get togethers and Christmas shopping. However this year I decided to add advocacy and awareness to the list, through an organization called Dressember. The challenge is similar to Movember, everyday in December I will wear a dress to raise awareness and money for human trafficking victims.

According to the Dressember website, the money is donated to International Justice Mission and A-21. “Dressember is giving 85% of proceeds to International Justice Mission and A-21 in its 2016 campaign. 15% is retained for administrative, technological, and marketing expenses (almost 5% immediately goes toward credit card processing fees!). This is standard for 501c3 nonprofit organizations, and we are proud of our relatively low retention percentage – many nonprofits retain closer to 20% for overhead expenses.”

When I was in college I had the opportunity to intern with World Vision, a quote from the founder Bob Pierce has always stuck with me “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” My prayer is that the Lord will use my small act of wearing dresses to change my heart and impact other’s lives.

Join me in the challenge? Support me in raising money? Check out my fundraising page for more details.

Dressember Day 1

Goal number two is to work on my picture taking skills

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Reading Nook: June 2016

Finished:

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

The Beauty Detox Foods: Discover the Top 50 Foods That Will Transform Your Body and Reveal a More Beautiful You

I heard about Kimberly’s Glowing Green Smoothie on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast and since consistently drinking it my skin has improved. Thus I decided to give her book a spin and see if there was anything else I could glean. I went in knowing I would disagree but it was off putting how dismissive the book sounded toward other ways of eating. I realize my goal when eating is to stabilize/maintain even blood sugar while this books goal is clearing skin and anti-aging. In short, I will just stick to my green smoothie in the morning.

Continuing:

What’s Best Next by Matthew Aaron Perman

The book slows down in the middle and its been hard to get through, however my perseverance is paying off since its picking up and becoming more readable.

Started:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

My love of The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey podcast is no secret and Big Magic was consistently recommended by her guests as a book they were reading and loving. A couple days ago my hold finally came through at the library and I have been loving it so far! Will report back with more next month.


Bonus: I am desperately waiting until October for Rachel Hollis’ cookbook Upscale Downhome: Family Recipes, All Gussied Up. I love recipes from The Chic Site but in a live stream Rachel gave a sneak peek. There are event plans included! For example, you need to throw a baby shower it has recipes, decor ideas and how to tie it together. I was sold and have been excited since. October please come quicker!


Reading Nook is a monthly series about what I am reading that month and my recommendations.

Summer Bucket List

Photo Credit: City of Bellingham

Photo credit: City of Bellingham

Find the best Mexican food in town

We live a town with an amazing number of local restaurants. We have several favorites but have yet to sample enough Mexican restaurants. Thus this summer we will enjoy the fajitas, burritos, and margaritas on  beautiful sunny patios all in the name of science and finding the best food.

Enjoy a mojito on a patio

Mojito is my favorite cocktail and its hard to get more summer spirited then lime and mint. Plus Bellingham has so many beautiful patios overlooking the bay, I need to make sure and take advantage of my gorgeous surroundings.

Two trips to sunny California

These are already planned and booked but I’m excited to getaway and enjoy the sunshine with family. (Are you noticing the sunshine theme?)

Improve my eyeliner skills

Such a simple petty thing but I would love to be able to confidently do a winged liner look. I’ve always admired the look but never get it right and end up wiping it away. This summer will be the time to learn, practice, and see if I can improve.

Dance regularly again

This item is two part: I want to improve the strength of my ankle so I can dance as well as find a space to dance on a regular basis. With both my husband and I getting new jobs in 2016 the regularity of schedule has been in flux. Now life is as calm as it will ever be and I would like to get back to ballroom dance. It’s how we met and nothing makes me feel more instantly happy then being swung around the dance floor. This is also a physical challenge since I recently sprained my ankle so need to strengthen it as well.

 


What’s on your summer bucket list? Leave me a comment and let me know how you plan to fill your summer.

Why We Budget

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Photo credit: YNAB

I sat down to write this post the first time and words would not come, I had an idea but no bullets or comments on the subject. Then we went to plan two summer vacations (both to California) and I remembered why we budget.

During our engagement, we started using You Need A Budget (YNAB) to try and manage money for wedding planning. It was very helpful when managing a large lump sum however it also instated good habits of checking in about money with each other. Since we were starting a new phase of life together it was a natural time to evaluate our money habits and work on changing both for the better. Now, two plus years later, we use it…

  1. To pay off student loans before too long. We are currently on track to pay off within 5 years of graduation! This is more of an accomplishment when you realize we both went to a private university 🙂
  2. To take vacations or travel without freaking out about money. One of my favorite budget lines is “travel” we pull from this for large trips but also for when we go to Eastern Washington for a long weekend. It allows us to pick up the check when on vacation with friends or to take two trips to California this summer (Sonoma and Palm Springs) without credit card debt or severely cutting back the month before to afford it.

However to meet these goals we have to make decisions about how much money is spent where, it’s hard to save for traveling if we don’t control how often we grab take-out.

Before YNAB my natural bent was to put tight limits on the necessary items such as rent, electricity, groceries, and anything not spent at the end of the month was put in savings. This might have worked (unlikely but I’m being optimistic 🙂 ) however I never accounted for eating out, a latte on my way to work, or the random weekend trip away, because they didn’t fall into my list of “necessary” items.

One of YNAB’s major rules is to give every dollar a job, this oddly gives you permission to spend! We each have a personal category to spend however we like (most of mine goes to coffee) and we aren’t guilty about it.

YNAB has four basic rules:

  1. Give Every Dollar a Job
  2. Save for a Rainy Day
  3. Roll With the Punches
  4. Live on Last Month’s Income

Overall, we don’t love being told “no” you can’t get Thai take-out every night yet we do love being able to say “yes” to a vacation to Palm Springs or paying off debt quickly.


Note: We are currently running YNAB 4 and have not updated to the current version. We have plan to eventually but not yet. Also this post is in no way sponsored, I just like the product.

Favorite: Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick

I recently purchased the Bite Beauty Spring Fling set, which features the new Amuse Bouche formula. This has totally solidified my love for Bite Beauty! Please Sephora, just take my money!

The set includes three mini amuse bouche lipsticks, a full-size primer, small mirror and cute travel bag which. The three minis are gazpacho (blue toned red), beetroot (bold berry) and verbena (rose terracotta). I have reached for verbena everyday since I receiving the set. This is no small statement since I am often a chapstick kind of girl, lipstick is generally for special occasions. However, Verbena, in particular, is the perfect lipstick for everyday wear, its an easy and not overwhelming color but clear that you have a bit of something on your lips. It adds to a polished simple look or balances out a more dramatic eye makeup. The Amuse Bouche formula is lightweight, decently long wearing and comes off evenly. I generally don’t notice I have it on my lips after application. While it won’t last through all of dinner, I can go all morning while sipping water before having to touch up.

While I am proclaiming my love of Bite Beauty, I want to give a shout out to the Matte Creme Lip Crayon. My lips are often very dry and these crayons allow me to be a part of the matte lip trend without creating a desert. I have found that they last longer however I notice they are on my lips (unlike the Amuse Bouche formula). I currently only have Pastille but I expect Sephora to receive more of my money shortly as to get a few more colors.

Reading Nook: May 2016

The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

I am rereading the Fringe Hours after hearing her on some new podcasts. She has a bubbly voice and is fun to listen to, the same goes for writing while still getting to the point. The Fringe Hours is sprinkled and punctuated with personal stories from Jessica and women surveyed for the book. I expect to reread this book many times throughout life as a reminder that its ok to say no, I don’t need a perfect spotless kitchen and that mindless Netflix watching doesn’t fill me up.

What’s Best Next by Matthew Aaron Perman

I started this on the recommendation of a friend and it very much falls into the productivity/career books. I appreciate how this book flips and starts with why productivity is important compared to so many fo the same genre that just starts with how to get more done.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Second reread for the month but sometimes you need old familiar books. We are planning a trip to see family over Memorial Day weekend and I always love reading cheesy fiction on such trips. Such books help escape normal life and enjoy the vacation more. I originally read this after the author appeared on The Lively Show podcast (noticing a podcast theme) and it seemed like a fun premise, William and Kate but not. The US is fascinated with the British royal family and its very clean in the book, fun to imagine what their lives could be.


Reading Nook is a monthly series about what I am reading that month and my recommendations.

January Favorites

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey

This is a refreshing podcast with a wonderful Christian lady. I found out the show from my amazing sister-in-law Hannah and it’s amazing! She brings on bloggers, writers, podcasters and many others. The goal is to feel like you are sitting at happy hour with girlfriends and Jesse accomplishes that. It’s happy hour with friends that makes me happier!

Brown ankle boots

My brother-in-law very kindly gave me these boots for Christmas and I’m not sure if they have left my feet since. Very comfortable and great for my daily workplace. Also I’m 5’4″ so the moderate heel is nice as well.

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

My husband and I follow the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan. (See my other posts on the subject) A revised book came out in September 2015 along with a beautiful cookbook and I have loved it ever since. The recipes are easy, delicious and I have yet to find a true dud. Yes there are some recipes I like less but that’s about it. In short its totally worth $16 and delicious no matter whether you follow THM or not. If you are still undecided try Lazy Lasagna as a sneak  peak 🙂