Monday, September 30, 2013

A Fancy Weekend at 24 Weeks Pregnant

I had the lovely opportunity of spending the weekend with one of my good friends, Monika of Champane Picnic (how great is that name?!).  Check out her hilarious and oh so stylish blog here.  She's getting married next year, so I got to help her go start her search for a gown (with her absolutely lovely and incredibly gracious mom and sister!!).   Seriously, guys- you have no idea.  The gowns were GORGEOUS and she looked amazing in all of them.  There were lots of tears and lots of laughter.  Emotions were kind of all over the place in the absolutely best way possible!  Personally, I was super touched by how her mom and sister included me in the process.  It's easy to see where Monika gets her big heart and positive outlook on life.  The girl time really just felt like hanging out with the girls in my family- super relaxed, full of hilariously awkward moments, some unmatched wit and most of all, some real conversation that you leave just feeling encouraged by.  Good people are sometimes hard to find, so the day was really refreshing!!

After Pete and I attended her and her fiancĂ©'s beautiful engagement party on Saturday, we went out to dinner in Little Italy.  Of course, we had to stop for a few outfit shots!  Dressing for a cocktail party at 6 months pregnant was a little scary, but I was so happy to find this dress by HATCH.  I chose the silk option in oxblood, since I was in love with it and felt like this could almost serve as an LBD.  Classic, romantic lines, forgiving silhouette and super warm color-  I was in love! (Wait, I think I already said that...)  I paired it with a sequined blazer since the party was out on a terrace by the water and some gold and black studded t-straps for some edge.

Here are the photos!

^^^ My sexy husband and his "flocks".  Thats flowing + locks for those of you who don't speak Peterese.  This man of mine is cray.  It's the perfect kind of cray though.

^^^Not the most attractive photo, but this is actually how I look most of the time:  Mid- word and using my hands to talk.  I really just wanted to show you how the dress moved!!  It's the thing I love most about it.

Dress (I got it for a better deal than currently listed- keep an eye out!) // Shoes (old) by Sam Edelman, but similar // Blazer, old but similar

Dressing a 24 week old baby bump may seem daunting, but I'm now convinced it's doable with a little pre-planning! :)  Now, go get that dress!  I'm obsessed.  OBVIOUSLY.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I miss the weekend already. (And 23 week bump watch!)

When I was going into the office everyday, I would obviously complain a little every Monday morning, not ready for the weekend to end.  When I started staying home, I thought, "Hey, this will be great not really knowing the difference between the week and the weekend!"  This really isn't the case.  I actually feel kind of sad on Monday mornings, mostly because our weekend time has been so much better since I started staying home and I'm sad for Pete to have to go back to work.  Since I am getting more done during the week, we can take on more projects over the weekends and have more family time.  I'm not as exhausted from the week, so Pete and I get up when Jacob gets up and just enjoy the time together.  It's these times that my heart just feels so full!!

This weekend was a lot of fun.  We took the kiddo to the Farmers Market in our downtown.  We've been wanting to go for quite some time now, but just never found the time.  We almost didn't go Saturday since we were tired and just relaxing, but we got motivated, got dressed and went.  I'm so glad we did!  I'm so thankful for this little family of mine, the home we've created and the town that we live in.

Here's a peek at our weekend...

^^^Some belly pics Pete snapped of me before we left for the farmers market.  23 weeks!!  He was making me laugh in that last one.  As if I didn't feel like enough of a dork posing for the photo, he wouldn't stop making me laugh!! I love this man.

^^^An obviously still tired baby.

^^^ Just a little live music in the morning.

^^^One of the vendors gave Jacob a free apple.  He was loving it and hasn't stopped eating from the giant bag we bought for only $3 all weekend!

^^^Jacob had fun trying to pick up the huge pumpkins!! We're going to go back in a couple of weeks to pick some up.  I have my eye on the white pumpkins!!

^^^Some AMAZING homemade jams!! We picked up a few sample sizes.  I had some peach chardonnay jam on my toast Sunday morning and it was amazing!  Pete swears the blackberry rum is even better!

^^^Our view walking through town.

After the market, we had a DELISH breakfast at Sunny Day Cafe.  Cream cheese batter strawberry crepes....need I say more?

^^^My silly boy

^^^My handsome men

^^^Jacob helping himself to the sugar on my crepe.

^^^Playing statues.

I know next weekend will bring us more fun and memories, and that if I am settled into the time I have in front of me and willing to see the memories to be made within the next five days, Jacob and I will have an amazing week.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Organization System

We have made it over four years of living together with little to no organization or schedule of cleaning.  Considering how absolutely crazy I am, this is absurd.  With my staying home, I knew that in addition to the laundry, cleaning and cooking that I would take on full time, I would have to get an organization system together for paying our bills and keeping the house running smoothly.  It has surprised me how awesome and how much more of a home it feels like now that clean and organized is our new normal!

Ok, so one of the places we needed the most help on was budgeting and making sure our bills were paid, especially the irregular bills (i.e. medical bills, parking tickets, lawncare, annual insurance premiums etc) !!  This is a work in progress in some areas, but I found a system that has been a REALLY great start.  We used to simply have a little basket where I'd put the important mail, bills to be paid, anything to file in our non existent filing system, stuff to keep.  This resulted in an ALWAYS messy mail counter, bills that weren't opened,  bills that we thought were paid but weren't, bills that were paid, but we weren't sure if they was horrible.  Pete took care of the money and paying the bills; so, in theory, he was supposed to take the bills from the basket to work, pay them and then bring them back to file (read: throw them back in the mail basket to be confused with all the other crap because I never filed anything).

Anywho, enough with the disorganization!  This is how we're organized now...

So, here's what you'll need...

1) A small, open file container.  I suggest one that matches your home decor!  I chose one with a small area for pens, but if yours doesn't have that, I'd get a matching pencil holder.  Mine also has an envelope sized area in the front.  Again, if yours doesn't have that, you'll need something to store these items for mailing in as well.
2) 3-5 cute folders w/ tabs to write on
3) 2 heavy duty, magnetic clips
4) A magnetic notepad for shopping list.  Simply write down things you run out of or realize you need on this notepad.  I then use this list to create a grocery shopping list after meal planning every Monday before I go to the store.  Sometimes I'll do it on Sunday night if I'm feeling productive.
5) This weekly organization sheet.  I have about 15 preprinted and in this clip for easy access.
6) A calendar made on any word processing software with your monthly bills already filled in.  I did the next 6 months all at once so I don't have to go back every month and do this again.
7) Blank Envelopes (and blank thank you cards if you'd like!)
8) Stamps
9) Checkbook
10) Address Book
11) Pens, pencils, tape etc.
12) A larger home filing box to be kept somewhere else in the house with hanging files and tabs.  Tax information, birth certificates, marriage certificates and bill receipts will be kept in this.

Our filing system includes the following folders...
- Bills to Pay:  When the mail comes in, open each piece and throw away all the enclosures and envelope.  Place the bill flat in this folder.  If the bill is not on your usual monthly bills list, outlined on your calendar by date, write the name of the bill on the date that it's due on your calendar before filing.
- Bills Paid:  Every week, check your calendar to see which bills need to be paid.  After the bill is paid, write the confirmation number on the top of the bill, the date you paid it and your initials and file in this "Bills Paid" file.  Once a month, you can move everything in this file to a binder or file that you keep elsewhere in the house.  I have a binder that's divided by month that I keep with a small filing box that includes tax information and important documents.
- To File:  After I go through the mail each day, I place items like important receipts, annual statements and paystubs in this file.  Once a month, I take this file up to that filing box I was telling you about and file these in the appropriate long term file.
- Artwork:  I have this file because our mail counter was always covered with Jacob's artwork and his box of old artwork is elsewhere in the house, pretty inconvenient to get to!  I place all of his artwork (that doesn't go on the fridge) in this file and clear it out when it gets full.

*outgoing mail gets prepared and placed in front of the blank envelopes to be taken to the post office/mailbox.

The calendar is pretty directly related to the files listed above in its functionality.  But, other than listing bill due dates, I also list appointments, vacations and major weekend projects on this calendar.  No joke, I have our next three months of weekends filled with some sort of project or vacation.  At least I know we have a plan to get all of this stuff done before the baby comes! :)  Just to warn you, putting this calendar together takes time.  I didn't have a template, so I literally had to custom create each calendar and just move the days around for each month.  Thank God for copy, paste and grouping functions.  Hopefully, your word processing software has something that will be easier to use!

WHEW.  That was a lot!!  Remember, the first part of this is your weekly planning.  Check out this post for a free template that will help you plan out what you're doing every day, your meals for the week, appointments you need to make and things you need to plan to purchase or order outside of groceries (i.e. Jacob: new shoes, Sadie: crib, Mom: birthday present etc).

My next step is to really get a grasp on where our money is going.  I have a spreadsheet that I should be filling out once a week of itemized purchases so I can make sure it lines up with my other monthly budget spreadsheet.  That's just so much work.....  Hopefully I'll come up with an easier system soon so we can really be organized.  It feels great to know what's going on and to feel like your finances and home are under control.  It just took us four years to get there!! :)

HAPPY FRIDAY!!  Use your weekend to do at least one thing that will improve your peace of mind next week... maybe putting together this system in a way that works for you?! :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Office Refurb on the Cheap: Ikea Vittsjo Hack

Since I've been staying home and working a little on the side, I've really wanted to create a small space in the corner of my formal living room (my favorite room in the house!) that would inspire me and help me to feel like I'm doing more than emailing from my couch.  But, I definitely knew I didn't want to spend a whole lot of money on these efforts.  When I found the VITTSJO desk and bookcase, I knew they were the perfect size and look for the gold office space I was envisioning.  All I'd need is some gold spray paint!!

So, yesterday, my hubby was kind enough to help me spray these pieces with Rust-Oleum Gold Metallic Spray Paint.  Both the desk and bookcase were sprayed with about 2 and a half cans total.  That stuff definitely goes faster than you think!  No primer needed on these pieces!

Best Part?  The desk, shelving unit and spray paint came in around $90.  And, while I did purchase a few containers for storage from Target, I was able to style both pieces with things I already had around the house.  Now I just need a chair!!

So, there it is!!  I'm still playing with the gallery wall and I need a chair, but I'm definitely happy with the direction it's going!  I love how feminine and glam the gold feels.  Not bad for $90! :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

DIY: Graphic Stripe Painting

I've actually been having a lot of fun painting lately!  I'm definitely not very good at it, but it's fun being able to customize them to the individual color palettes within my house and finding the perfect place for them!  And, a couple of weeks ago, all canvases were 50% off at Joann's, so I picked up a couple and have just been waiting to get my hands on them.  Luckily for me, Jacob actually ASKED to paint this morning!

He painted the Ninja Turtles of course...

And, I decided to take on an idea that I had for one of the canvases I picked up.

Here's what you'll need...
-A Canvas
-Some tape:  I used scotch tape since I didn't have any painters tape.  Bad idea.  Get painters tape.
-Black Paint
-Gold Paint
-A Paint Brush

Super simple!!

 ^^First, gather your supplies!

^^Then, use tape to tape off your lines.  Use one horizontal stripe to anchor the design.  I prefer no vertical, but play with it!  It could work!

^^Use the black paint to paint all but one line.  Choose one line to paint gold instead. Let it dry a bit, then pull off the tape.

^^Yay for a new painting for my office space!  Can you tell I'm obsessed with stripes ( header)

I would definitely suggest getting painters tape.  My scotch tape kept coming up, so several of my lines had bleeding paint:(  Oh well!  I still love it!  :)  And, here's the preview of my new little office corner in my formal living room.  I'm working on refinishing my desk and bookcase, so I'll post a little tour as soon as that's done.  Here's a sneak peek! :)