Monday, December 16, 2013

Debt Free!

I did it, everyone. I dug myself out of debt. I am debt free! It is an amazing feeling. I sent the final payment in last Friday and by Saturday my account looked like this:

This weekend, I filled out the chart that had been hanging on my wall since January 2012. You can see that I started with about $56,000 total debt. The red line captures the debt, while the other lines cover income and expenses.

And the most ironic part of this is that the red pen ran out as I drew the line to zero! It is the only red pen I own and it has been with me since I started this journey. It is as if the pen said, "My time here is done" and decided it was through with this debt thing. Me too, pen, me too!

I've been doing this happy dance since Friday!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Best of the Blogosphere: 12/14/13 Edition

Every Saturday I feature a blog post in the following categories: Simple Living, Financial, DIY, Before & After, and Random. Here are this week's picks:

Best Simple Living: A great question posed by the Everyday Minimalist - do you own a wardrobe or a bunch of clothes?

Best Financial: I stumbled on this tumblr page the other day. Each post is a great reminder to exercise restraint in spending money. Check out #notbuyingthis.

Best DIY:  A great Christmas tree DIY - use old or broken CDs to make ornaments! Via Apartment Therapy.

Best Before & After: These examples from Better After have given me some pretty good ideas for how to organize my closet with some style! Especially since one has to walk through it to get to the bathroom!

Best Random: This NY Times Rent vs. Buy calculator is amazing. How have I not heard of this before?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Small Christmas Decorations for a Small Space

Growing up, my parents had a huge stash of Christmas decorations. We put up lights outside, wrapped garland around the banisters, set up a porcelain nativity scene on the coffee table, and of course, had a massive (9 foot) Christmas tree. I loved decorating for Christmas then.

Now, with no kids and little time spent in my own apartment at Christmas, I only have a few decorations to put out. I only have one box of decorations, contrast that with the 15 or so boxes my parents have at home in their basement. I'm content with having less, so this extends to my Christmas decorations as well. 

My philosophy for decorating for Christmas is this: choose only the decorations you like and keep them to one area of the apartment.

Here are the small changes I've made to my apartment for the holiday:

Now for the close-ups!

Yay or nay on the ornaments atop mason jars?
That's me and my grandma cutting down Christmas trees.
Some more ornaments - this time with cinnamon-scented pine cones! It smells lovely in here.

Last but not least, this adorable snowman air freshener!

How do you decorate for the holidays in a small space?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Table = More Space

As promised, here are photos of my new table. It is the Norden Gateleg from Ikea.
Look at all that space!
And now expanded on one side. The chairs are from Target (and are stored on a hook in my closet when not in use).

You'll also notice the mason jars hanging on the wall. This is the start of my wall herb garden! I need to buy the herbs, so I'll post about that when I've actually put some plants in there!

Here is a before and after of the dining area.

I'm very happy with these changes. Finally, the dining area is coming together!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Best of the Blogosphere: 12/7/13 Edition

Every Saturday I feature a blog post in the following categories: Simple Living, Financial, DIY, Before & After, and Random. Here are this week's picks:

Best Simple Living: This post on building a tiny house shows tons of before-during-after photos. I love seeing the whole process. Via Viralnova.

Best Financial: A soliloquy on the horribleness that is Black Friday. Via iheartbudgets. 

Best DIY: There are so many ways to upgrade the Lack Ikea table. Check out Apartment Therapy's roundup.

Best Before & After: You probably wonder how many more times I can post a kitchen before and after before I get tired of it. The answer is none, my friends. I love a good kitchen reno! Via Design Sponge.

Best Random: I love it when Apartment Therapy puts together one of their massive lists of good links. This one is a list of how to reuse random things. My favorite is using an old sink as a planter!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The End (Of Debt) Is Near!

Take a look at this glorious picture:
I'm entering the final stretch of the longest race of my life (more like a marathon). I've been in debt for 11 years. I only got serious about getting out of it in June 2012. Time has both flown by and dragged on since then. It has been a long and difficult journey, but it will all be worth it in a matter of weeks.

Soon, oh very soon, I'll be able to say I am no longer in debt!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Few New Things

As I am writing this, my dad is working on assembling my new wall herb garden. I should really attempt these things myself, but my dad insists on taking the reigns. I'll have pictures later in the week. For now, here is the picture I am modeling my wall garden on:
In addition to the wall garden, I picked up two new pieces of furniture at Ikea that really help save space in my small apartment. Right by the door I have replaced a too-big-for-the-space end table with a much smaller one:

The stand completes the landing space area. It has room underneath to accommodate a few pairs of shoes, plus it comes with a drawer that is now a catch-all for my keys and junk mail:

The item I'm most excited about is my new table. My current one is quite chunky and takes up a lot of space. The new one is built for small spaces, expanding only when you need it to. With one leaf expanded, it fits two people:

With both leaves expanded, it fits six:

But the best part is how small it gets when not in use. And the little drawers for storage!

The addition of these items and the repurposing of others has made a huge difference in my apartment recently. The space from the door to the kitchen is much more open. Stay tuned for photos of these items in use!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I have a lot to be thankful for these days. I'm almost done paying off my debt, I've got a plan for future financial goals, my health is holding up nicely, and several personal-life things are going well!

I hope everyone enjoys this day with family and/or friends.

I'll be back next week with some apartment updates. Dad is in town to help!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

No Microwave?

In a continuing effort to declutter and minimize the amount of stuff I have, I did something big this weekend. I took my microwave out of the kitchen. Since I moved in a year ago, I started noticing how infrequently I actually use the microwave. This is probably do to cooking more fresh meals and eating less processed foods (i.e. instant dinners) that require a microwave.

Disclaimer: I haven't sold the microwave yet. It is sitting in my closet right now. I'm just holding on to it for a little bit to see if I can truly live without it. My goal is to make it to January and if I haven't needed it during that time, I'm listing the thing on Craigslist!

I never thought about not having a microwave, but in the last year I've noticed how little counter space I have in my kitchen. Not having enough room to prepare food has really annoyed me, and I couldn't help take a glance at the microwave, sitting there taking up a ton of space, and wondering if I really needed it.

And now look at how much space I have as compared to before!

I'd love to hear others' take on getting rid of the microwave. Have you done it?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Best of the Blogosphere: 11/23/13 Edition

Every Saturday I feature a blog post in the following categories: Simple Living, Financial, DIY, Before & After, and Random. Here are this week's picks:

Best Simple Living: I wish more small space living options would come to DC. I'm jealous of these Vancouver options! Via Give Me Back My Five Bucks.

Best Financial: This week there was news of a new proposal for student loan repayment in the US. What if every borrower was put on the income-based repayment plan? This is done in other countries, such as Great Britain. Interesting idea to consider, via

Best DIY: Thanksgiving is next week, can you believe it? Design Sponge honors the holiday by proposing 10 DIYs for your Thanksgiving table.

Best Before & After: The mother of all kitchen before and afters! 20 in one blog post. Via theKitchn.

Best Random: I came across this handy resource this week: the Location Affordability Portal. Can you afford where you live? Check it out!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Challenging the Status Quo

Today’s post is about something I think about quite often: challenging commonly held notions. We all fall into the trap of acting like everyone else. We can’t help it. Humans follow leaders and find strength in numbers. But what about when “what everyone else does” stops making sense to you? 

Take debt, for example. All my life I was told that “money doesn’t grow on trees” and that there is “good” and “bad” debt. Student loan debt and a mortgage are “good,” credit card debt is “bad.” The two lessons here are that money is hard to come by and that debt can be both good and bad. The first is true, the second is the one I challenge.

If my money doesn’t grow on trees, it means it is hard to come by or you have to work extremely hard to get it. Following that logic, many decide that they’ll just take on a debt to have what they want now rather than later. In the case of a student loan or in some cases a mortgage, this makes more sense. You need an education to get certain jobs and you need a place to live. You don’t need to buy that one thing you want right now just because you really want it.

Debt has always been a bad word to me. It was what kept my parents paying bills on top of bills and working long hours. For a long time I thought that was just how it was, that this was how all families (except the extremely wealthy) live. We weren’t wealthy, so we lived on credit and everyone worked until they were physically unable.

I say NO to this. I challenge this status quo. Once I actually had debt, I realized it was a huge burden that was going to follow me around for over 10 years. My education was worth getting into debt for, but had I known then what I know now, I would have done things differently. Taking general education requirements at a community college, for example, would have saved me thousands of dollars.

Once I woke up to the fact that I could actually do myself a huge financial favor by getting out of debt quicker (thus saving a ton in interest), it was like a light-bulb went off in my head and I started examining other areas of my life where I kept with the status quo:

  • I live in a big city with good public transportation and bike lanes. Why would I need a car?
  • My clothes fit fine and last a long time. Why do I need to buy something new every season?
  • Something broke and I don’t know how to fix it. Why would I automatically buy a new one when I can teach myself how to fix it (i.e. Youtube videos) or take it in to a repair shop for less (i.e. shoes)?
  • I have plenty of food in my kitchen. Why would I need to go out and buy more just because I crave something particular?
  • I have functioning electronics that fulfill my needs. Why do I need to go out and buy the latest gadget?
  • I get a haircut at a local salon, spending close to $70 a few times a year. Why do I do this when my mom is a hair stylist and can cut my hair just fine?
  • I have plenty of makeup that looks just fine on me. Why do I need to buy more just because the fashion industry says something is “in” this season?
  • There are plenty of options for free exercise at my disposal: outdoor trails, free weights, yoga videos online, and a community indoor pool. Why do I need to “go to the gym” and pay for it?
  • I love reading and want to read as many books as possible. Why do I need to buy them when the library has perfectly good options?
  • I don’t have a ton of stuff so I don’t require a ton of space. Why do I need to buy a huge house or rent a huge apartment?
  • I don’t watch a ton of TV. Why do I need the fanciest cable package?

These are just some of the questions I’ve asked myself over the last 2 or 3 years. In every single instance I’ve realized I don’t need what society says I do. Some of these things are wants, yes. And once I’ve taken care of the real priorities, getting out of debt and building a comfortable emergency fund, then I’ll go back to some of these wants and reassess.

It isn’t always easy challenging the status quo. Even your most well-meaning friends or family members won’t always understand your reasoning. I’m the only person I know in real life that has attacked debt the way I have - paying off close to $20,000 in one year. I’ve made it my top priority to get out of debt, and have made the sacrifices necessary. But what is funny is I don’t consider any of the things I listed above - cable, car, gym membership, new clothes - as sacrifices. I started out thinking perhaps they would be, but then I realized I was perfectly happy without these things. I’ve become more financially stable in the process, and learned to prioritize the activities I truly enjoy.

These are my ways of challenging the status quo. What about you? Are there things you reject that “normal” society would think you are bonkers for not doing?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Glass vs. Plastic

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was reading Zero Waste Home, a book about minimizing your lifestyle and the waste it produces. I've finished the book and decided that it is time to a make a few changes. I don't think I'll ever be at the level of this book (not going to re-use toilet paper yet), but there are definitely areas of my life where I can reduce my production of waste. One is in the form of replacing plastic products with glass ones.

For example, it never occurred to me that you can still buy milk in glass bottles. This was the stuff of black and white TV and stories from my parents' childhood - a milkman that brings bottles of milk to your door. If only I had paid attention at Whole Foods before now - I would have seen milk in bottles long ago! Last weekend I paid attention and found this:

This jug of milk cost $3.99, only $1 more than the normal plastic jug I usually purchase. One thing I noticed about this brand of milk is that it seemed brand-less. It is just milk. I love the simplicity of that. No brand wars here, just plain old milk. I was also used to the various milks being in different color packaging: blue for skim, red for 1%, green for 2%, for example. Not with this milk. At first I thought there was a reason each bottle had a different color lid, but when I examined them I couldn't see any difference. The bottles were different but the product was the same. Now that I know this, shopping in the milk aisle will be easy.

Because the jug is glass and not plastic, I paid a $2 bottle fee. When I go back to the grocery store, I return the bottle and get the $2 back - see the "Please Rinse and Return for Deposit" language on the bottle.

So why switch to milk that comes in a glass container? It is part of my overall switch to glass over plastic when appropriate. I've been slowly gathering mason jars to replace plastic containers that wear out, and when I think about what I recycle, the majority is plastic anyway. By re-using glass jars at home and returning the milk jug to the store, I'm reusing items instead of buying brand new. This reduces my waste, thus reducing what goes in the landfill.

Now, I had originally thought that glass was better than plastic in all areas. Glass doesn't emit chemicals, glass cleans easier, glass recycles easier. After a bit of research (see here and here), it looks like glass can be more detrimental to the environment when produced in mass quantities. But, in terms of reusability, glass still makes more sense than plastic. In the case of this particular milk jug, when I return it to Whole Foods, they'll return it to the manufacturer, who will put more milk in it. That's a pretty good use of one jug. The plastic jugs never go back to the milk producer, they go right in the landfill or, if you are lucky, a recycling plant. I have a few plastic milk jugs at home that I reuse (one for watering plants, for example), but at the rate I consume milk, I've thrown more jugs away than I have reused. Not so great for Mother Earth!

Do you reuse glass containers in your home? What are some of your favorite uses for them?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Best of the Blogosphere: 11/09/13 Edition

Every Saturday I feature a blog post in the following categories: Simple Living, Financial, DIY, Before & After, and Random. Here are this week's picks:

Best Simple Living: Someone not too far away from me, in Bethesda, lives in a Tiny Home! How adorable. Via Tiny House Blog.

Best Financial: This post is a few weeks old, but I only discovered it this week and it blew my mind. This guy's income is much higher than mine, yet he pays less taxes. Check out Root of Good to see how he does it.

Best DIY: I'm scared to dye my clothes - how about you? Fun to see others do it though, via Unclutterer.

Best Before & After: The lime green in the "before" shot reminded me of my grandparents' old bathroom. Yuck. The "after" is a great improvement! Via Design Sponge.

Best Random: I found a new tiny house website to obsess over! Molecule Tiny Homes.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

To Bike or Not to Bike?

That is the question!

I've been debating on getting a bike for the better part of a year now. DC is a fairly bike-friendly city. There are numerous trails and lanes to make commuting via bike possible and even enjoyable. However, one thing DC does NOT have going for itself is the number of bike thefts. When I first moved here three years ago, my bike got stolen right outside my office building. It was locked up, but not well enough, apparently. Anecdotal evidence tells me this is quite common: every single person I know who has a bike in DC has, at one time or another, had their bike stolen while living here. These accounts are backed up by actual reporting as well.

Giant Women's Bike $400 @ Bike Rack DC
Despite the bike theft problem in DC, I've decided to answer my own question with - TO BIKE! I have weighed the pros and cons and have decided that there are more pros than cons, so I'm in the market for a bike come the spring. In fact, I'm in a perfect position to own a bike:

1. I live a convenient 2.5 mile commute from work. The ride to work is downhill and there is plenty of space for bike riders along my route. My commute home will likely leave me sweaty, but since it is the end of the day, oh well!

2. Free bike storage both at work and at home. My office building does not charge a fee for bikes, but it does for cars. Likewise, my apartment building doesn't charge for storing your bike in the parking garage. Beat you all, car drivers!!

3. Biking will cut down on the time it takes me to run errands. I currently either walk or use public transportation. With my own bike, I will have the freedom to come and go as I please.

4. I'll save money over the long-term by not riding public transportation. I already save a lot by choosing public transportation over owning/driving my own car. Biking will increase my savings after the initial investment cost.

U-Lock with Cable $68 @ Bike Rack DC
The next few months will be devoted to saving and researching. But what I can say for sure is I've learned a few things from my experience getting my bike stolen and won't repeat them. For example, I'm getting a U-lock. Maybe two. Secondly, I'm registering my bike with the police. I'm not sure what good this will do, but at least I can say I did what I could to discourage bike theft.

And I didn't even touch on the obvious here - biking is great exercise! And more reason for me to boycott boring, money-sucking gyms!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Composting and Apartment Living

I started reading Zero Waste Home, which is a guidebook for how to eliminate waste in your home and, in general, contribute to a greener world. The book is based on the blog of the same name. I read the blog last spring and went over what I do and don't do as far as eliminating waste is concerned. I'm now taking a deeper look at the subject. First up is the idea of composting.

Is it possible to compost in an urban apartment? "Yes, but..." would be my answer. I've looked into a few ideas, and I'm not quite sold on any of them yet.

1. Stealth Composting
This is probably the least expensive option - you pay for the materials you need. But it requires more maintenance and a greater understand of composting in general. It also takes a few months to produce actual dirt for use. This one would probably be the most rewarding of the options. I would create the system and teach myself how to use it.

2. Nature Mill Compost Bin
The reviews on these have been all over the map, which is why I hesitate. Some love it, some say the design is shoddy and the company doesn't stand by the product. The convenience of this thing is its biggest selling point. You put in your scraps and it turns itself for you and in two weeks you have dirt. Those truly "green" folk would say this isn't worth it because you are buying another product that you could easily make at home with stealth composting. It also uses electricity, albeit a very small amount. But the convenience for an apartment dweller is almost cancelling out the negative reviews.

3. Vermicomposting
This involves buying red worms and setting up a bin for them to do their magic. This is appealing because it seems to take up little space, but means I'll have to keep those littler critters happy. I consider this to be on the same level as stealth composting. It is rewarding in the long run but a bit more complicated to start.

4. Composting Services such as Compost Cab and Fat Worm Composting.
This is definitely the simplest option. You pay a service to come get your food scraps for you. In exchange, you get some dirt every once in a while. I'm unlikely to do this because I don't want to pay for such a service. I would rather DC come up with a good curbside composting system like Seattle and San Francisco. But until that happens, this is a viable option, I guess.

Put your indoor composting tips in the comments! Have you ever tried any of the above?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Best of the Blogosphere: 11/03/2013

Every Saturday I feature a blog post in the following categories: Simple Living, Financial, DIY, Before & After, and Random. Here are this week's picks:

Best Simple Living: I can't stop drooling over this amazing 270 sq. foot apartment. I saw this first on Apartment Therapy, but am now enamored with the original site, Arch Daily.

Best Financial: I have enjoyed following Joan's journey to becoming debt free over at Man vs. Debt. I don't agree with her latest choice to cash out her 401k to pay down debt, but I encourage you to read it and see what you think of the decision.

Best DIY: A perfect solution for a headboard if you have slanted ceilings. Via Apartment Therapy.

Best Before & After: I normally read Punch Debt in the Face for motivation to punch my own debt. Today, though, I'm totally loving all the design choices that Ninja and Girl Ninja have made in their new home!

Best Random: Despite its name, this website is a great source of free images to use when blogging! Fellow bloggers, check out Morgue File!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Debt Update

Time for another debt update! Last time I tackled this topic on here I was suffering from some major loan payoff fatigue. This time, my progress is extremely positive, and I have that boost of energy to finally finish off this mo-fo for good!

After the payments I made yesterday and today clear, I’ll be below $3,000 owed. This means I have exactly two months to pay off the remaining debt to reach my goal of being debt free before 2014.

One of the best parts about seeing this debt get so low is looking back at where I started. Let’s take a trip down memory lane for a minute. Back in May 2012, I had approximately $41,000 in student loan debt. In July of that year I started blogging: 

July 10, 2012 - First blog post on debt. According to this post I was slated to pay off my first graduate loan by early 2013. 

September 15, 2012 - Paid off first graduate loan. Well in advance of 2013. 

November 30, 2012 - Realized that by the end of 2012, I will have paid off $19,000 in debt in only one year. 

January 18, 2013 - Went below $20,000 owed on my student loans. 

February 13, 2013 - Went under $1,000 owed on my remaining graduate loan.

March 4, 2013 - Paid off remaining graduate loan. Adios, 6.8% interest! 

March 27, 2013 - Embarked on Operation Debt Destruction: become debt free by the end of 2013. 

July 22, 2013 - Went below $10,000 owed on my remaining (undergraduate) student loan. 

September 2, 2013 - Went below $7,000 owed on student loan. 

TODAY - Went below $3,000 owed on student loan!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Little Things

It’s the little things in life that make you happy, they say. I don’t always feel that way, but that’s the statement that is flowing through my brain today. Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a few “little things” that I’ve done or experienced that have been extremely rewarding. 

1. Donating Stuff
A church right across the street had a sign up saying they were accepting donations for their Christmas Bazaar. Upon seeing this, I went home to grab the box of stuff I had leftover from the community yard sale I participated in a few weeks ago. I took it right over to the church and handed it to a kind woman taking the donations. She was so happy to receive these items, and chatted me up a bit. Not about joining the church or anything, but just about the bazaar and what the funds go to. I really enjoyed being able to help out a local church provide for its families and in particular, their elderly members. 

2. Exercising for Free
I recently discovered a free indoor pool that allows anyone in the community access, provided you have a valid ID showing you live in the city. I was so excited to start swimming AND not pay a dime that I’ve gone twice in the last three days. Pay for a gym membership? Never!

3. Using the Library
I love books. I don’t like spending money. Hello, library, you have made these two desires compatible! I am in a book club with some friends and I always try to suggest books that we can easily get from the library. I’ve bought one book in the last year for book club, so most of my efforts to encourage library use have been successful.. If I want to read a book and the library doesn’t have it, I just wait until it does. Patience - we can always use more practice with it.

4. Completing Projects
I’ve been making several things lately for Christmas and birthday gifts. I’ve not features them here because some of my friends/family would see and know exactly what they are getting this year! I’m mentioning it now, though, because I love looking at a project when it is finished and realizing I made it. It is a thing that exists now because I created it, which is just an amazing feat, when you really think about it!

Have you noticed that none of the things that have made me really happy lately involve much, if any, money? Sure, I spent a bit acquiring the supplies needed to complete my projects. But it was minimal compared to what I could have spent just buying things and I wouldn’t have had the joy of making the items, either. 

What “little things” do you do in your life that make you happy? Share them with me - bonus points if they cost little to nothing :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Best of the Blogosphere: 10/26/13 Edition

Every Saturday I feature a blog post in the following categories: Simple Living, Financial, DIY, Before & After, and Random. Here are this week's picks:

Best Simple Living: What an amazing small space feature on Unclutterer. The bed folds down from the ceiling!

Best Financial: Here in DC the word "networking" is part of the normal vocabulary. Man vs. Debt offers ways to avoid spending tons of money on it.

Best DIY: The obligatory "it is almost Halloween so here are the DIY's" post! Via Apartment Therapy.

Best Before & After: I've been quite taken with wall gardens lately. Here's a cool example from Better After.

Best Random: I laughed a billion times reading this.The history of the world according to Facebook news feed. Via College Humor.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hanging Herb Garden

In my last post, I introduced the latest project that I've been throwing around, which is to decorate the wall in my dining area with more of my own photography.

While I'm still thinking the wall will contain some of my own photos, I'm now leaning towards a way to make the wall more functional. Since I am in a small space, functionality is essential! And thus begins a new idea.

I've been wanting to grow my own herbs for a while, but I wasn't sure how to go about this indoors. Then, thanks to Pinterest, it hit me: grow herbs in pots on walls! Or something to that effect....
Sweet Paul Magazine
Camille Styles

Another reason to do this project now: I mentioned my dad is a great carpenter and that he'll be visiting over the Thanksgiving holiday. He is certainly willing to just hang pictures, but I can obviously do that myself. A project like installing the above herb gardens is definitely more involved and it is one I may not do well on by myself. Enter: Dad!

Do you grow herbs or other edible plants indoors? Tell me how in the comments!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Photography Preview - More Wall Art

I have many side hobbies (this blog, for one), but another one I don't often talk about is photography. I have framed photos hanging on the wall in the living room, all of them taken by me. Since taking a trip abroad last summer, I have a new set of photos that I've been meaning to frame and hang. This time, I'm going to tackle the wall in the dining area, which is quite bare right now.

I have a few ideas for the photos I should frame here, keeping with the "international" theme going on in other areas of the apartment. Here are a few I'm thinking about framing:

Hamburg, Germany

Cologne, Germany

Dingle, Ireland

Dingle, Ireland

Dingle, Ireland
One motivation for getting these things framed soon is because my parents will be visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday, and that means I'll have a master carpenter available to hang and fix things to my heart's content!

What do you think of the photos? How about the photos in relation to the colors in the room?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I'm going to be MIA for this week - work has really picked up! I'll even be out of town for a conference later this week.

While I'm away, take a look at these awesome "larger" tiny homes from The Bungalow Company. I could look at these for hours!

That's all - have a nice week everyone!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Best of the Blogosphere: 10/12/13 Edition

Every Saturday I feature a blog post in the following categories: Simple Living, Financial, DIY, Before & After, and Random. Here are this week's picks:

Best Simple Living: Mr. Money Mustache makes the argument for limiting your circle of concern. As a result of this article I've also now put The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People on my list of to-read books.

Best Financial: Still avoiding your student loans? Stop. You can do it. Check out's five strategies for paying off student loans for help.

Best DIY: I love seeing other bloggers demonstrate their travel-themed designs! I have globes and photos taken from my various trips - Casey over at Waffling has framed maps of places she's been.
Best Before & After: I love bathroom makeovers! Especially when a builder-grade bathroom gets an upgrade. Via Better After.

Best Random: For those who live alone, do you ever think about what would happen if you fell and broke your neck? How long would it take for someone to find you? This article sort of has me freaking out a bit....Via Unclutterer.