Last night, at our workout class, we started the Spring Shape Up. Loads of patients are trying to get in shape for summer so to encourage them we issued a challenge: lose (at least) 5 pounds in 4 weeks and do it together. We have 30+ people doing it and it makes such a difference! Continue reading
While Mike was gone I went on sort of DIY binge. I used to do these things just to have something to do. Usually they would sit in my room for about a year until I decided to throw them out. But as I get older and wiser, I am realizing that DIY and refurbishment can actually give me SO many things that I can’t afford in retail form.
Last weekend I set to making my own infinity scarf (aka circle scarf or tub scarf). I took the original tutorial from this awesome blogger: Cotton & Curls. For some reason I considered myself for an expert tailor and decided to do the advanced version where none of the seams are showing. Big mistake. What should have taken one hour took three. I had to pull out and resew the seams so many times that I just gave up and did it the easier way. You can’t even see the exposed seam when I have it on!
As most of my regular readers know, I do not live on very much money. This is definitely not because of my employers, they are generous people … it’s because of my past.
I went to a private university in Boston, year-round, for six years. Boston is one of the most expensive cities in the country. And, as an architecture student, 80-hour weeks left me no time or brainpower to work. Of course, I waitressed and had internships but nothing lasted very long because I always eventually got burnt out. Continue reading
Caution: Men you may be very bored by this post. Ladies on the other hand, huddle around, it’s story time. Ok, so I was perusing TJ Maxx looking for summer dresses when a woman walked up to me, “I just have to tell you, you have beautiful skin.” Hah! Maybe from over there but get a little closer and you’ll see how wrong you are. “No! You have gorgeous skin!”
This woman was about my age, stunning with a brunette bob and huge almond eyes. And dressed stylishly to boot. And here she was telling me that I had gorgeous skin. I knew there was something wrong with this picture. But I went with it anyway. I was curious where she was going with this. Turns out, she works for Mary Kay. If you provide the location and friends, they will come over and do your makeup for free! Obviously they hope that you buy something but there’s no obligation. So she took my number and promised to call.
I got back to the office later that afternoon and my coworker, Elle, sidles over to me and says, “You’ll never guess what happened to me today. A woman walked up to me in TJ Maxx and said I had beautiful skin…” You can guess where it goes from here. Same woman, same store, different days. And we are coworkers!
So obviously it’s some way for her to make money but at the bottom of the situation there were FREE MAKEOVERS! So we thought it over, we communicated with Emily, our Mary Kay consultant, and we decided that we wanted to get them done before a night out.
So a few Saturday’s ago, I cooked up some appetizers and several ladies, including Elle, sat around my dining room table with bare faces. It’s amazing how naked you feel without makeup on, especially around relative strangers. Of course I forgot to take photos when all the food and makeup was on the table but the above photo is us with Emily looking all beautimous.
All the significant others sat and watched March Madness while Emily guided us through our makeovers. She gave each of us some great tips and gorgeous makeup supplies. Being the hostess, I got a sweet deal of $75 worth of makeup for $35.
After we had finished the makeovers and the men had told us how gorgeous we looked, we went line dancing! It was a fantastic night and so cheap! I love the makeup and face wash I bought and Emily got another party out of it. I highly recommend a Mary Kay Makeover to anyone looking for a fun Ladies Night. If you live in Peoria, let me know and I’ll get you Emily’s contact info.
I hope you’re all having fantastic days. Love and hugs – Ash
ps. I’ll be on vacation in Louisiana this weekend for a good friend’s wedding so no post tomorrow or Monday. Enjoy your weekends!
It’s Spring in my dining room! As most of you know, I’m an architect by training. So when we moved into our apartment here, I was SO excited to actually have some space to decorate. I absolutely love bold colors so I was pretty bummed when I realized that we couldn’t paint the walls. Instead, I’ve learned to inject color into a room through wall art, dish ware, rugs, etc.
I found a deal at our local grocery on a dozen roses ($5!) and used them to bring Spring into our home. It’s still pretty cold here but the sun in shining and it’s putting me (and everyone else) in a great mood. Not to mention my Happiness Project is actually working 🙂
And, if you’ve checked out my tagline (“braving the world with no money in my pocket and a smile on my face”) you know that we can’t put much money into making our apartment beautiful. So here’s the breakdown:
- Gorgeous Fire/Water painting – moving gift from a very close friend. You could probably do a simple, impactful painting for about $50. As a word of advice, shower praise on the artists in your life. There’s nothing better than a gorgeous piece of art that actually means something.
- Table set with cool, high-back chairs (I plan on refinishing this) – Craigslist $80
- Striped rug – TJMaxx $65
- Plant – bought it as a seedling – Loews $10
- Recycled tire pot – Unclaimed Freight Store (check for one in your area) $10
- Yellow vase – Unclaimed Freight $3
- Green and blue swirl fruit bowl – hand painted by me! $25 (but worth the experience)
And now we’re at the weekend. YAY. Au revoir until Monday! I hope you all have a relaxing couple of days. Love and hugs – Ash
So you’re trying to eat healthy? I bet you have tons of people in the wellness community telling you “it’s really not that expensive!” Well they are wrong. Eating healthy can be VERY expensive. To keep the cost manageable you have to do a lot of planning. You have you cook most of your own food and you can’t have any food waste. Unless you plan, IT IS time-consuming and expensive.
Mike and I have been gradually increasing our health factor over the last several months while trying to keep costs low. We have set up a system where, whenever either of us buys food, we put the receipt on the coffee table for the other to review. It holds us accountable and makes us analyze where money could be better spent.
Then I meal plan. I’m very organized and love to plan ahead so this isn’t too hard for me but I was lacking the necessary tools. That’s why I made this bad boy. My meal planning board.
My dinner system:
- Cook double-portions every other day. This means only cooking from scratch 3 times a week! I cook half the meal only partially so it’s not overcooked when I reheat it for dinner the next day.
- Eat leftovers on the days I don’t cook.
- Have our “vacation meal” on the seventh day.
It’s quick and means that I can buy more in bulk. Our breakfast is the same every morning (Grainless Granola) and each of us takes care of our lunch separately. It’s a pretty nifty system but I was getting really confused about which meals I was going to cook and which food I needed on my weekly grocery shop.
So during our Simple Sunday this past weekend, the weather was nice enough to paint out on the porch. I finally did my Meal Planning board and I love it!
- Pretty frame (mine was $5 at Goodwill)
- Spray paint (for color)
- Spray paint (for chalk or whiteboard coating)
- some cardstock to label the pins
- fabric to hold the labels
- hot glue gun
- a little sandpaper to prep the frame glass
- painters tape (if you want to do a pattern)
- an old sheet to protect your floor
^ Separate the frame and glass. Sand the glass so it will hold the paint. Spray down all pieces with however many coats they need. *I started with chalkboard paint but it didn’t work all that well. I went back and exchanged it for whiteboard paint and repainted the glass.
< If you want to paint a pattern, wait until the base layer is dry and then tape it off and spray. *I originally had yellow stripes in mine but it was just too much with the raised dots AND baby yellow. After I finished it I went back and repainted it all white.
Stick the clothespins down with hot glue. If that doesn’t hold, graduate to the messier but much stronger Gorilla Glue.
^ Cut out your cardstock. And write out any of your favorite dishes. Hot glue your fabric pockets to store them in. Then label the pins with the same cardstock. Mine are for each day of the week and then Snacks to take to work for that week. Here’s the template I made for my labels: MealBoardLabels
Another idea, for complicated meals, write the ingredients on the back of the card so you don’t have to look back to the cook book every time.
And now you have a meal planning board! I’ve only been using mine for a week and I already love it. It takes the strain out of meal planning and makes cooking SO much easier. I will say it looks a little sad and bland with all the white and gray but I’m hoping I can paint the walls our next kitchen so it will just be a pretty accent on a sunny yellow wall. 🙂
Let me know if you have any questions. And HAPPY FRIDAY! Love and a toothy smile. – Ash
Large picture frames are expensive. Sometimes you can find deals in standard sizes but when you have a photo or poster of weird dimensions, forget it. Custom frames can cost $100+. So when I found this sweet wrapping paper (yes it’s supposed to be wrapping paper) at Paper Source, I bought it and decided to figure a creative way to frame it. Another cool thing is that the wood is heavy so it weighs down the poster and keeps it straight.
Tip: when you take it off the wall to move, all you have to do is roll it up! And use this for multiple frames. It’s really easy to do once you collect the materials.
Total cost (including the “poster”)= $15
- A poster worthy of framing
- 1/4″ x 1″ trim, the length of your poster
- wood stain and a brush (optional, you can keep it raw wood)
- 8-10 flat thumbtacks
- 4-6 wire brads (skinny nails)
- If you don’t have a saw at home, when you buy the wood, ask the hardware store to cut it for you. With only 2 or 3 cuts, they usually do it for free.
- Optional: Stain the wood. Let it dry in open air before proceeding.
- Pin the top and bottom of the poster to the back of the wood.
- Nail it into the wall with the brads.
- Admire your handy work 🙂
Let me know how it goes. Or just send me a photo! 🙂