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Lovely Giveaway Winners

Congrats to Marsha and Susan for winning my Lovely Giveaway! When asked, “Who makes you feel the MOST loved?” they responded:

I am not sure who makes me feel the most loved. I am so blessed with so many special people. I will say my Little Fellow and I are playing a game of late – I tell him I love him, he tells me “I love you more” and I reply, “I love you more than more.” – Susan

My husband has made me most loved as he has been such an encouragement to me as I have had to deal with a chronic disease for the last 29 years. He’s such a hard worker in his teaching job to provide our necessities. The Lord has been so good to us and been a real blessing to gift me my husband for the last 36 years that loves me unconditionally. I would also have to say that my mom is a person who has taught me to love others unconditionally as well. She has gone through much in her almost 60 years of marriage and has kept her vows and been such a great example of loving unconditionally. – Marsha

I will email you ladies later today to get your mailing address! Thank you to all who participated. The prints are on sale over in my shop!

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Let’s Talk Money

This is my second “Hello, Adulthood” post where I talk about being an adult and doing adult things. Today I want to talk about money. Specifically debt (which is actually the opposite of money). Right? When Adam and I got married in 2009, we decided two things:

  1. We would stop using credit cards after we got back from our honeymoon
  2. We would pay off all our debt (using the snowball method)

The first decision (NO MORE CREDIT) was easy. If you literally cut up your credit card, you can’t use it. The second task, however, proved to be harder than it sounded. I’m excited to say that by the end of this year, Adam and I will be debt free. It will have taken over 3 years but this whole process has been totally and completely 100% worth it. I’m not going to go into super huge-number-type details but we started off with:

  • 2 of Adam’s smaller student loans
  • My VISA credit card (Not going to lie- I had built up quite the balance over 5 years and a wedding)
  • Two car payments
  • My large student loan

Believe me, we get lots of different reactions when we tell people our end goal. We get blank stares, speeches about why we need to stay in debt in order to buy a house (yeah, we’ve heard!), honest questions, and then a few that are actually interested in hearing how we are doing it. I promise this post is NOT my way of saying that our way is the only way. I’m just proud of how far we’ve come and to honestly say that I’m so stinking excited to not have a car payment anymore. So if you’re interested, below are my tips for those trying to do the same thing we are:

1. Figure out WHY you want to pay off debt. If you don’t have actually reasons to pay off debt, you won’t be motivated. Our reasons? We want a lot of cash flow, I want to own my own business without worrying about all our expensive monthly payments, and we truly want it to be a lifelong lifestyle.

2. Budget. Adam and I budget together two months out at a time. So when the beginning of January rolled around, we budgeted for January and February at the same time. It’s fun to see that your goals might be met in 4 weeks and it really motivates you. We also like to be prepared for any type of trips, events, or larger expenses ahead of time.

3. Set goals. We set goals for after we pay everything off. That’s another motivator. We want ‘X’ amount in our savings. We want to buy a house someday. We want to take a vacation after we’re debt-free.

4. Make big sacrifices. It will take a very, very long time if you only pay your minimum payments. You really have to make sacrifices. I work 60-70 hours a week. We haven’t taken a vacation (just the two of us) since our honeymoon. We aggressively paid off my Honda CR-V in 2010, sold it, and bought a really cheap Toyota. We went without cable/internet for two years. We have ridiculously cheap rent. We religiously shop at Marshall’s.

5. Know that you’re going to make mistakes/trip up THE WHOLE TIME. After all my “advice,” you need to know that it shouldn’t have taken us 3 years to pay all of this off. We slacked most of the time and made impulsive purchases (coughiPadcough). We overdrafted. We experienced annoying car problems. We moved way too many times resulting in extra fees and expenses.

At the end of the day, I feel good about being in control of my money. I like living within our means and I don’t stress like I once did. I wish that type of peace on anyone. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Dave Ramsey’s website (we follow his plan loosely) or feel free to ask me any questions or your own tips below! Sorry this post is so text heavy! I never do this. Tomorrow…pretty pictures. I promise.

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Life Occurrences

I’m not going to lie — I literally cannot think of a single thing to blog about this week. Literally. Mind=blank. With this blankness, I give you my recent iPhone photos. I’ve been completely preoccupied with a freelance wedding project. I’ve designed, proofed, printed, stamped, addressed, and am still in the process of stuffing the invitations. Very overwhelming at times but it’s so worth it when you see the final product. This – while balancing my day job, other freelance projects, romance with my husband, AND sleep – has my blog sitting over in the corner shivering in the cold…abandoned. Okay that was dramatic. I’ve also recently decided to go gluten free! We’ll save that for another blog post.

The thing is, Adam always tells me, “Sometimes you can’t do everything. Sometimes something has to be put on the back burner.” It’s true!

So for now, look at my pictures and I’ll do my best to think of something fun to share tomorrow. And yes…I have a pet mouse a work. And I gave her a Valentine yesterday.

What tends to get pushed to the side when you’re overwhelmed or stressed? Sleep? Friends? Housework? Something else?

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#phonephoto Week 2 : Red

Week 2 of the #phonephoto challenge and as you can see, the theme was RED! How perfect was this timing? Happy Valentine’s Day! I really loved compiling this post. Red is such a stark contrast to last week’s WHITE post. My favorites were Sue’s and Kate’s. What about yours?

I’m excited for next week’s challenge: GREY. I’m excited for this one the most because grey is my favorite color. Submit your photos here (details on the challenge can also be found on that page) by this Sunday at 8pm EST! Happy snapping!

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Lovely Giveaway

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d giveaway some love inspired prints. Comment below and tell me who has made you feel the MOST loved (and why). Also let me know which print you’d prefer! You have until Thursday night to enter. I’ll be announcing the winners on Friday morning.

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Lunch Ideas

I’m always saying, “Ugh. What should I take for lunch tomorrow?” I try not to eat out (and honestly there’s not a lot to choose from where I work during the day) and so I like to bring a fun lunch with me. All I have to work with is a microwave at work and so all these delicious “hot” meals always make me jealous. After awhile, a girl gets tired of the frozen burrito and PB&J sandwiches. I’ve compiled a few fun ideas for lunches and would LOVE any suggestions from you all.

Other great ideas include soups, sweet potato with chili (thanks Jess), and the ever faithful leftovers. Let’s hear your favorite lunches!

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CITY GUIDE: Indianapolis

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Kelley Heneveld of Indianapolis!

I’d like to show you the lovely city of Indianapolis, “Crossroads of America.” Since biking is my main form of transportation and the best way to get around, we’ll see Indy by bike.

1. Let’s start with breakfast at the City Market. The market is housed in a beautiful historic building established in 1886. Not only does it hold the local farmers market (summer and winter) but also numerous restaurant vendors.  I suggest getting a crepe and coffee at Three Days in Paris, a “pain au chocolat” at Circle City Sweets, or a fresh squeezed organic juice at Natural Born Juicers. If you forgot to bring your bike along, let’s walk next door to rent one at BGI’s Indy Bike Hub.

2. Over the last few years, the city of Indianapolis has been constructing the Cultural Trail, a path that gives you a great tour through different areas of town. From the City Market, the trail will take us to White River State Park, the Indianapolis Zoo, and Indy Slow Food Garden. We can visit any of these places and then continue along the canal, passing the State Museum along the way. When the trail comes off the canal, we’ll visit the Central Library. It a beautifully renovated library with one of my favorite views of the city from the sixth floor. The landscape includes the War Memorial Historic District- second only to Washington D.C. in acreage and number of monuments dedicated to veterans. You’ll notice “The Monument” as the city’s center point down the way.

3. We’re probably getting hungry for lunch, so we’ll get on the Monon. This rail trail extends north as far as Carmel (more than 16 miles total). Our destination is Goose the Market, a charcuterie that sources only local meats and specialty foods.  Featured in Bon Apetit and voted “Best Sandwich” by the people of Indy, the Batali is always a great pick. We can sit at the community tables downstairs, drinking a craft beer or wine with our meal, or at the counter upstairs with a specialty soda and bag of locally made potato chips.

4. The Monon will take us back to the heart of the city.  Let’s lock up our bikes and stroll around Mass Ave. We’ll definitely stop in Silver in the City, one of the hottest shops that carries many locally made products and art. If we’re in the mood for an afternoon cocktail, we’ll visit Ball & Biscuit, a prohibition style lounge. If yogurt sounds better, it’s definitely Yogulatte; or beer, Chatham Tap.

5. Let’s grab our bikes and follow the Cultural Trail to Fountain Square for dinner and late night activities. Fountain Square is a growing attraction as a hip art scene- one of the most colorful, exciting districts in Indy.  We can dine on anything from Thai to Mexican, local to greasy diner fare. Afterwards let’s imbibe! Locally made meads at New Day Meadery or beer at Fountain Square Brewery are my suggestions. We can see a show at White Rabbit Cabaret or Radio Radio, go duck pin bowling at the historic Fountain Square Theatre, visit IMOCA, or finish the evening with a few more drinks at Brass Ring Lounge. It’s been a lovely day.

A big thanks to Kelley of Kelley Jordan Photography for sharing her favorite Indianapolis spots and photos. You can follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook!

Featured image by House of Hall.

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Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box Review

A few months ago I discovered Turntable Kitchen’s Pairing Boxes via Halle’s blog! I absolutely loved the idea and knew I’d want to subscribe soon and give it a try. The whole experience leading up to receiving my box was wonderful. I subscribed through their website and blogged about it the following week. Soon after, one of the guys from Turntable Kitchen commented on the blog post and started following me on Twitter. I only planned on subscribing for one month (and maybe a few more random months in the future) so when I couldn’t figure out how to unsubscribe, I emailed Turntable and they responded instantly. Within 2 minutes, I had confirmation that I would not receive another box in March. (Disclaimer: I didn’t unsubscribe because I was unhappy with anything but only because I like to try new subscriptions every month. If only I had a separate bank account to stay subscribed to to all of these wonderful services).

After receiving my first Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box, I can wholeheartedly say that I would recommend this subscription to anyone who loves music and food (okay who doesn’t love music and food?). The box came wrapped all lovely and it was fun unwrapping it all. Here’s what was inside:

Inside I found:

  • A specially-made letterpressed invitation card from Jen Merrill of Green Quince
  • A Heart Part from iHeart-This
  • 3 recipe cards (Roasted carrots with spoked paprika & honeyed yogurt — steamed mussels & beans — and Pear, Honey & Rosemary Galette)
  • Smoked Paprika
  • A vinyl of Thousand – The Fall/Your Wild Heart

I also get a digital mixtape as well as digital copies of the Thousand tracks on their website! I absolutely love this box pairing and I can’t wait to make those recipes. I think this subscription will be really fun to sign up for every few months. I paid $27.00 for the box (that price included shipping) so it’s not exactly something that I can afford monthly. Let me know if any of you sign up for it and be sure to share what was inside!

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#phonephoto Week 1 : White

I’M SO EXCITED! The photos for week 1 of #phonephoto turned out fantastic! The theme for this week was WHITE and I love the different shades, hues and interpretations. Each set contains wonderful photos and I’m so astounded at how lovely they all look together. Each set also links to the photographer’s site (if provided) My favorites are Riette’s, Sue’s, Sharon’s, and Ballookey’s! Which sets are your favorite?

Next week’s challenge is to submit a set of four photos based on the color red. You can see all the details here if you want to join in. All submissions are due by Sunday at 8pm. Happy snapping!