UPDATED Essential Monthly Planner

Can you believe it’s been FOUR years since I blogged about my monthly planner and how I keep all my bills and events organized in one place? I noticed recently that it’s getting a lot of hits on Pinterest and I thought I’d post about how I’m keeping my planner now.

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Currently, I’m using highlighters and small post-it notes to keep everything together. I’m not sure where to start, so I guess we’ll go from left to right.

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On the border on the top left I use pink post-its with blog post ideas that I may want to blog about that month.

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Then, once I blog about one of those ideas, I move the post-it to the day that I posted the blog, which isn’t necessary but is helpful in case you want to go back to previous months and look at what you’ve done.

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On the bottom left margin I use these pale yellow (or as I like to call them, smoker’s teeth yellow) post-its with things that I HAVE TO get done during the month. And yes, I moved to PA from NJ back in May and I still have not gone to the DMV to get my license plates transferred. I just REALLY hate the DMV! Anyways, once I get an oil change or get my license plates registered, I’ll move that post-it to the day that I did it.

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In my planner, I write when a bill is due. Since we moved, we’ve got a lot of credit card bills to pay off. So for example, I write down on the 4th that my Home Depot credit card bill is due, then under that I put what the balance is that I still owe. Then under that I write “New Balance” so on the 4th when I pay that bill, I write what the new balance is after making the payment. Then I take that new balance and put it on the next months post-it under “Still Owe”. This makes it easier to know where you’re at with each of your outstanding credit cards without having to look each one up online.

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As for our other bills, like the mortgage, car payments, electric, etc., I just write down on the day that I pay them and then cross them off. I also highlight it in green, or in my case I highlight it in yellow and blue because I don’t have a green highlighter – haha!

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I use these teal colored post-its for any kind of photo sessions I might have. I would just write that appointment in my planner but since moving to Easton, I have not required clients to pay a deposit to hold the appointment, so the appointment days change a lot. With the appointment being on a post-it, I can just move the post-it to any day they may change it to. It keeps my planner pretty so I don’t have to scratch out anything.

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I use the bright pink post-its for fun events like birthday parties, people coming into town, events in the community, etc.

Btw, you can get these convenient post-its on Amazon and they’re super cheap. Pick them up here.

And that’s about it. I feel like my monthly planner has become a lot more efficient in the last four years and I hope it helps make your monthly planner more efficient as well!

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Affordable Front Porch Decor!

When we were house hunting we had to drive an hour and twenty minutes from the Jersey Shore area all the way to the Lehigh Valley each time we wanted to see a house. So we always made sure that we were seeing more than one house every time we made the trip. Most of the time, I’d find a house online that I wanted to see and then a few that I wouldn’t mind seeing or I’d just throw a random house on the list that I wasn’t interested in at all just to make it feel like I wasn’t traveling all that way for nothing if the house I liked ended up being a piece of shit. My agent Melissa Keck was tremendously amazing and put up with not only my random requests, like the house needs to have a window over the kitchen sink, but also Sam’s requests, like a room that can be dedicated as a video game room.

And I hate to say it, but the house we purchased was one of those filler houses. I put it on the list knowing I most likely wouldn’t like anything about it but wanted something to see before our appointment with the house I actually came to see.

This is the picture from the listing.

This is the picture from the listing.

The outside looked a little scary and uninviting and I ruled it out as soon as I pulled up, but once Melissa got there and we made our way inside, I fell in love! The absolute epitome of don’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover.

The stairway and foyer, as soon as you step in the door, was exactly what I knew I wanted and that was it. We almost put an offer in before Sam even saw it in person, but it had been on the market for a little while and we felt good about waiting a week for Sam to get there to see it.

Anyways, I knew as soon as we moved in that I wanted to make the front porch more inviting. We also noticed that a lot of our neighbors would spend time on their front porches during the early evening. We live on a street that gets a decent amount of foot traffic and I’m nosy as hell and like to people watch so sitting out front is my favorite thing to do when the weather is nice.

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Our first purchase was obviously seating. I wanted something really simple and comfortable. And after spending a shit ton of money on our new house, I obviously was looking for something affordable. I found this set on Wayfair. And by the way, if you ever need anything for your home, Wayfair is without a doubt the way to go! They have great products and outstanding customer service.

The set is really cute and during the summer I had some bright yellow pillows that added a pop of color, but unfortunately, I left them out during a rain storm and they blew around and got messy. And I guess I’m the idiot, because they weren’t outdoor pillows. Oops.

The next thing we got, which are my favorite, are these galvanized metal buckets from a thrift antique store in downtown Easton for $15! I LOVE galvanized metal and Sam was not exactly sure why I was obsessing over them, but…. men, am I right? They just don’t get it! If you follow me on instagram, then you saw me post a picture of these a couple weeks ago and you already know how infatuated I am with them!

Btw, the welcome rug has been with us for about 6-7 years now! We got it to put outside our front door at our first apartment and we brought it with us to our first home and it’s still holding strong – haha!

That’s about it though. I think my entire life revolves around finding affordable pieces not only for my front porch but my entire home! I love recycling furniture and random pieces, like my buckets! I’m currently on the lookout for a vintage looking mailbox, so wish me luck!

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ALL the Back-to-School Deals in ONE PLACE!

This isn’t my first blog about the best place to buy school supplies, and I’m sure it won’t be the last! But we’re smack dab in the middle of all of these amazing back-to-school deals and I’ve gone through the top store’s weekly ads and found you ALL the bargains! I literally geek out over school supplies, so please excuse me! Not to mention, I’m a list maker and I go through tons and tons of paper so when I can get a notebook for $.17, you KNOW I’m going to jump all over it.

Target – Weekly Ad

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This week at Target, if you spend $30 or more on school supplies, you’ll get a $5 Target gift card. And if you spend $50 or more on school supplies, you can get a pretty cool $10 Target gift card. Text SCHOOL5 for the $5 gift card coupon or SCHOOL10 for the $10 gift card coupon.

WALMART – Weekly Ad

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I’m going to be honest with you, Walmart is my favorite place to buy the back-to-school basics because they probably have the best deals! I mean, you can get a binder, some binder dividers, a notebook, and a folder for UNDER $3! I use binders and notebooks and folders all the time and I’m almost 30!.. Well, I mean I’m almost 28, allow me to not get carried away!

STAPLES – Weekly Ad

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Office Depot – Weekly Ad

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Office Depot is doing something kinda cool. As long as you spend a minimum of $5, you can get packs of loose sleeved paper for $.01. You cannot beat that!

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You can get TONS of school supplies when there are such great deals out there, but not all kids are quite as lucky. My friend Nick, founder of the non-profit Make Caring Cool, has started a back-to-school initiative where he’s trying to collect enough supplies for all the kids in two schools in the Norfolk, VA area! A lot of the children in these two schools come from low income homes and dont have the tools they need to succeed everyday at school. I’ve attached a direct link to the donation page below where any amount of money you can donate will go to good use and be very helpful to get these kids the supplies they need, but if you’d like to take a look around at Make Caring Cool’s page, you can click right here. You won’t be disappointed. There’s lots of amazing things going on over there!

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Donate to Make Caring Cool’s Back-to-School initiative here!

 

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Cheapest Way to Update a Room

The first time I ever painted a room was when I surprised my mom with a home office a few years ago. You may remember that I blogged about it. If not, check it out here. I swore, after painting that entire room TWICE all by myself, that I’d never paint again. I HATE painting. I’ve already painted our guest room and I knew I’d only need one coat so it wasn’t THAT bad. But when I finally made the decision to paint our dining room, I knew it was going to be a problem.

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Here’s a picture of our dining room right after we moved in. The color was nice but it made the room feel so dark and small. Sam actually liked this color and it truly wasn’t a bad color but I wanted my dining room to be light and airy. So after sampling about 6 or 7 different colors, we finally picked one! We landed on French Beige by Behr.

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I painted the whole damn room by myself. And you know that rickety, old ladder I was talking about in my last post about our office bookshelves? The one I refused to get on? Well guess whose big ass was up on it risking her life to paint around the ceiling. ME! But it came out so nice! We had to spring for the more expensive Behr Premium Ultra Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Extreme paint but it was worth it because I painted the whole dining room with ONE coat and ONE can of paint! Would definitely recommend the Behr Premium Plus Ultra for any tough paint jobs.

The next thing we needed to do was get rid of our small counter height table for two and get a dining room table that would sit more than just Sam and I. I went on Target.com to order a mirror and ended up buying a dining table and chairs. Isn’t that always the way?! But this table and chairs is amazing and I’m so pleased with our purchase.

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Moral of the story is that you can really make a room feel so much bigger, nicer, rejuvenated, etc. with a can of paint and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg! Unless you’re using an old, unstable ladder. Then it might cost you your life! -haha!

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Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram! 

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Office: Project Bookshelves!

I have to start by saying, my favorite room in our old apartment was the office! I was able to get things done and it was just a cozy and pleasant place to be. At the end of the day, I could go in there with a glass of wine and to relieve some stress I’d check some emails, browse Pinterest, or catch up on an episode of Kardashians that I may have missed. Don’t judge me! -haha!

When we moved into our new house we knew that the small room in the front of the house was going to be the office. We got a couple desks and set up our computers and monitors and video game consoles and calendars. It was a nice amount of space for an office but it was soooo boring and empty. I knew that I needed some bookshelves because for some reason I feel so much better when I’ve got my books around me (nerdy, I know). But here’s a picture of the office before our bookshelves.

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You see what I mean? It’s almost embarrassing to show. So it was no wonder why I didn’t want to spend much time in there.

Long story short, I wanted to put up some kind of industrial, rustic style bookshelves. At first I was going to put up shelves like this:

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Which look gorgeous but after I found out the price of the galvanized piping, I had to check myself. Not only the price but all the time it would take to screw in all those flanges. So once I found these shelves, I literally jumped for joy!

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I was casually surfing Pinterest, with or without a glass of wine, I forget, but that’s besides the purpose. I came across this blog post over at 7th House on the Left and shed a tear because THIS is exactly what I was looking for without even knowing what I was looking for!

Basically followed the exact same instructions but got longer planks of wood and some different stain.

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I especially loved that she spray painted the pipes in a matte black. I think it really makes everything look so much better! And by the way, you should have seen me sanding these boards outside in like 98 degree heat, COVERED in that sandy wood crap. Ugh!

So after I was done staining and spray painting, I basically just turned it over to Sam to finish the project. We have a really old, really flimsy latter in the basement that I refuse to climb, so it just goes to show how wonderful my husband is that he’s willing to risk his life to put up some shelves for little, old me!

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He’ll kill me once he sees that I posted a picture of him on here, but he’s such a cutie!

Anyways, the outcome of the whole project was insane! Way better than I thought it was going to be.

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Overall, I spent about $250-$270 for all of the materials, which isn’t bad at all. I also have some left over wood boards and stain so I’m thinking about adding some of those to our dining room!

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New Home, New Home Improvement Projects!

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My husband Sam and I just purchased our very first home in Easton, PA! It’s an adorable 100+ year old, 3 bedroom house with an office and a really cute view of the city of Easton. We’ve been here for about two months now and we’re finally starting to make it our own. I think we’re moving a little fast on some of the projects, or at least my bank account is telling me to slow down, but we’re moving ahead full force! It’s so much fun to take a room, or a house for that matter, that feels like someone else’s and make it into a place that feels 100% and completely your own. It’s empowering and scary and expensive, all mixed together!

There wasn’t too much that NEEDED to be done in the house so our projects have been fairly small. But if you consider how un-handy both my husband and I actually are, it might as well have been extremely gigantic tasks. I thought since I haven’t blogged in FOREVER, that I’d start sharing some of the projects and where we got the inspiration and the costs and what not.

The best part about owning a home is just that. OWNING your own home. Also, my puggle Melo really enjoys the backyard. When we were living in our one bedroom apartment, Melo would take his bones and try to burying them in the corners of the couch cushions and we used to be so sad. Thinking that he probably wishes he had a backyard to bury his bones in. Luckily, he’s out in the backyard everyday digging up and burying his bones and it makes us so happy! He also enjoys some #frontporchchilling with us too 🙂

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Follow me on instagram for a sneak peak of some of the projects!