January 2017 Budget Review

There is a saying I have heard many times. One I probably have repeated on this platform before. “You can have it all, but not at the same time”. This phrase comes into my mind in this moment because I felt it was time to officially announce a break from Lauren, Etc. This January, I started taking 2 night classes at the local community college. My first college courses since August 2009, I was worried that I would have trouble jumping back into this type of learning. Two years of the alternative education that is an architectural degree program had made my next two years at the University of Florida difficult, and, ultimately, were what caused me to leave without a degree. I didn’t want to go back to school feeling like I needed to balance it all; I wanted to stay focused on school. I am no longer of the mindset that women (especially wives and mothers) have to do everything and be everything. There is no trophy for multitasking, only the added stress, decline in health, and possibility of everything being half-assed. Which leads me to one of my other favorite sayings “Don’t half ass multiple things, whole ass one thing.” I really felt it was my duty to put my whole ass into the process of going back to school. But as the weeks have progressed, an old problem has reappeared – sleepless nights. I initially started the blog as a creative outlet, so that my mind had a place to flourish, so I could focus on something other than Daniel Tiger and milk cups and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and the big slide at the playground. So when I officially decided to myself that the blog was going on hiatus, the creative thoughts associated with blogging that buzz around my head all day stopped. Instead they manifested themselves at night as random errands and to-do’s popped. After three difficult nights in a row, I decided I would come back to my little corner of the internet with a new monthly budget update, instead of a quick note about taking a break for the semester. Sometimes when it comes to activities that add so much value to your life, it’s okay to half ass it a little bit.

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Resolving To Be More Intentional in 2017

On Monday, I revisited the resolutions I made at the beginning of the year when I resolved to spend smarter. The year 2016 was focused on finances as it was the main goal for our family to purchase a home. We succeeded in that goal this May, and I have been so grateful every day since then to have a place of our own. While spending smarter will always to be important, we have set the habits that make smart financial choices easier to do in our everyday life. So in this upcoming year, I will be turning my focus to intentionality in other areas of importance. To promote a more intentional life, I will do the following:

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Revisiting 2016 Resolutions

As another Christmas season comes to an end, we have something just as exciting to look forward to…the start of 2017! Being the ever-optimist I am, I would like to make the argument that 2016 wasn’t just the great big dumpster fire we all claim it has been. For myself, it has been a year of growth and change. I have spent the whole of 2016 being extremely intentional, never settling, and always striving for improvement. My family and I finally have a home to call our own, a place we can put down roots, and really enjoy our own time together. Granted I’ve also had to say goodbye to more loved ones than ever before and my immediate family has had a couple of health scares. But, overall a lot has been accomplished, and I wouldn’t want to erase this year for anything. Instead, I would like to revisit some of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year to see how they panned out.

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November 2016 Budget Review

As a self-proclaimed “minimalist” I’ve strived to stay focused on the elements of life that I value most – my health, my relationships, and personal growth. I have been in this process of changing my relationship with possessions (for the better), but I overestimated how far along I had developed in devaluing stuff. Stuff does not define who I am and what I am capable of, yet I still sometimes feel limited when I don’t have the “right” stuff.

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September 2016 Budget Review

Hey, y’all! It has been WAYYY too long since I’ve sat down to curate my little corner of the internet. And I have to admit, I really miss it. I had three friends mention to me last week that it has been awhile since I’ve posted. And it has. And I have no excuse other than just letting life get in the way. I can’t make any promises that I won’t continue to post sporadically, but I’m here now so let’s get down to business…..to defeat, the Huns 😉

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August 2016 Budget Review

It has been a long time since I have not looked forward to the monthly appointment I make with myself to review our budget. When I first started taking control of my finances, it was so scary to look at the amount of money I owed for student loans and credit cards versus what I was actually making each month. I didn’t enjoy knowing I was at the misery of creditors, so those monthly budget reviews survived as a great reminder of why I was being so stringent with my daily expenses. But recently when I sit down to do these reviews and I continually see the amount of coming in being smaller than the amount of money going out, I make excuses. “We were really busy so we had to get a lot of take out” or “We had to do these repairs to keep our investment in working order” or the most recent which seems to be on repeat “We had a lot of unexpected medical bills”. Eventually it gets to the point when you realize that you can’t keep doing the same thing over and over each month and expecting different results. We just bought a home and we have two toddlers – unexpected bills are going to be a regular occurrence. So we have to adjust our budget to fit these expenses. I think it might be time to go back to living like we’re in debt. Because having a mortgage, technically, means we are.

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The Essential Baby Registry List (from a Twin Mom)

In the two years that I have been a mother I have not just learned how to be a parent, I have also learned which tools are really necessary as well as the luxuries that are worth adding into your home. One of the first overwhelming experiences you can have as a parent is deciding what to add to the baby registry. You haven’t even held this tiny person yet and you are supposed to know every single thing you need to buy in preparation. That’s a lot of foresight to ask from a person.

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When Self Care Turns Into a Hiatus

In all honestly, I’m not 100% bought in on religion. Try as I did for years, I could not drudge up the passion for God that I felt I should have to identify as Christian. I mostly lean towards Agnostic. But there are times when I feel like someone must be running the show. The way that miracles can just come out of nowhere or you can be thrown into so many situations and your limits are tested, pushing you past what you thought you could originally handle. The day this post was originally scheduled to publish, I had one of those days that just rocked me. August 11th, 2016 marked 731 glorious days that my two little blessings have been on this Earth; it was James and Emma’s 2nd birthday. And I was so prepared to celebrate and dedicate the day to this wonderful beings. I wanted to take in everything they had to offer and just fill myself with appreciation for them.

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Finding Time For Self Care with Kids

It’s currently Wednesday afternoon, and I’m just starting to type up the Tuesday scheduled post on self care with kids. Yikes! I am a bad mommy blogger right now. But my reason for being so late to post relates pretty directly to what I want to talk about today – taking care of yourself! After an extended weekend visiting family and spending 5 hours behind the wheel during a torrential downpour, I needed to do something to take care of myself. So with the contents of our vehicle scattered around the kitchen and the living room filled with new toys from family members, I peace’d out and drove my butt over to Pure Barre Madison. If a year ago, you would have told me that the best thing to do when you’re tired, stressed, and overwhelmed is go for a workout, I would have thought you were crazy. But 55 minutes later after a very intensive class with the owner Meredith, my legs were shaking, but my confidence was rock solid. I was motivated and ready for a grocery run, dinner, and lots of cleaning. And now that I’m finally sitting down to write this post, I’m thinking “I probably could have written at least half a post during the time I spent at barre”. But I would have gone into the evening feeling completely frazzled. And there wouldn’t be a lot of truth behind the lessons I want to share with my readers. If I’m telling y’all to step away from the computer screen and go for walk, but I’m glued to my phone, you’d be a lot less likely to listen to me. Or at least that’s what I tell myself as I bang out this Tuesday morning-scheduled post on a Wednesday.

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20 Fingers & 20 Toes: Looking Back on 2 Years of Twin Mom-hood

This Thursday marks the 2nd birthday of my fraternal twins, James Russell and Emma Jane. To say it has been an incredible ride so far is the quite the understatement, something I’m sure many of you can relate to if you’ve been in the throes of parenthood. And like most, I’ve learned so much through the unique challenges I faced as parent.

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