Country Theme Graduation Party!

I think it is safe to say that the party was a success. It was a lot of work getting ready for it but I had a great time and it seemed to me that everyone else had a great time as well.

The photo booth turned out better than expected and I think I pretty much got pictures of all our guests (except a couple sneaky neighbors that left before I got the opportunity to hound them ask them to come up to the photo booth). There’s a ton of pictures from the photo booth and I don’t think I have the space to post them all but I’ll post a few.

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I bought a huge roll of that red vinyl barn siding and we ended up not needing it because the outside of my mom’s house pretty much looked the same way. BIG time saver.

The outhouse door cover was a big hit too. I don’t think a lot of people noticed it until some other people pointed it out.

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Also, the picture wall with all the clothespins looked perfect! Rachel wants to keep it up all year long. Instead of doing it in the dinning room we ended up taking a painting down off the fire place and just doing it there.

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I cut out the “CONGRATS RACH” banner with my cricut and then, yes, I had to feed the twine through it which took some time and effort but we loved how it looked after we were done.

My mom had rented 4 tables and 20 folding chairs from a party rental place and we set them up on Sunday morning before the party.

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I thought the black chairs made it look a little too formal. I would have loved to have brown chairs, but what are ya gonna do? Each table had a small mason jar with a candle and a bigger mason jar filled with daisies. I loved them!

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All of the tables that held the food were covered in the awesome $1 gingham tablecloths that I got from the dollar store!

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Do you see the awesome milk can?! Remember it from my first Country Themed Grad Party post? Yep, it turned out great!

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I put out a card basket instead of a card box and I thought it looked pretty cute. I saw on Pinterest that someone did an advice box for their wedding and I thought an advice box would be even more perfect for a graduation party. Who needs advice more than a young gal that just graduated high school and is making her way out into the world?

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And that pretty much wraps it up. Sharing the day with friends and family was very special, not only for Rachel but also for myself. Thanks to everyone who came!

QUICK SHOUT OUTS!

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BIG thank you to my cousin’s awesome husband John for being the grill master! Food was delicious.

Thank you to my Aunt Mary for taking Bella up to her house for the afternoon so that she didn’t bark everyone’s face off. And also for letting me borrow your iced tea maker. You’re the best!

Thank you to my Aunt Patty for coming over the day before the party and planting some stuff in the front yard and also for helping with the veggie and fruit trays and everything else.

Thank you to my Aunt Maureen for helping put everything out when the party got started while my mom was freaking out about our parking situation.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

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I’m sitting at Barnes and Noble right now. Just got a black ice tazo tea unsweetened and I’m feeling good, finally, considering I’m out of work for the weekend. I’m just passing time until I need to go pick Sam up from work at 5 and I’m looking out across the busy parking lot. People coming in and out of the store. Cars buzzing by. People walking back and forth. It should be relaxing to just sit here and type what I’m seeing and how I’m feeling. But I’m bothered. Not by anyone in the parking lot or in the store for that matter. Not bothered by any noises or loud children. It’s actually fairly quiet here. I’m bothered because my back is to the entire store. I’m not sure why this bothers me haha! I’m waiting for a table to open up near me that I can slip into without looking like a complete idiot. If I have to sit here much longer I’m going to leave. It’s weird not being able to see what’s going on behind me. I can’t prevent an attack from behind in this position which is unlikely but very scary. Nonetheless, I’m trying to not think about it which is why I’m even writing this but considering I’m writing about it I’m afraid it’s not helping. I’m kinda hungry and I noticed that they sell The Cheesecake Factory’s red velvet cheesecake which I’ve had before and LOVED but I’ll hate myself later for it. On top of all the calories I don’t like eating in front of people when I’m alone. I’ll stuff my face to hell when I’m with someone or a group of people but when I’m alone I feel silly eating. Godddd, why am I so weird?! I also left my phone in the car by accident which is giving me a little bit of anxiety.

OHHHH! A table behind me just opened up. See ya later guys! Have a good weekend.

UPDATE: Country Theme Graduation Party Ideas

I’ve been racking my brain to the maximum extreme trying to come up with some more creative ideas for my sister’s country themed graduation party in June. If you missed my first post about it and some of the ideas I had, you can catch up here. I’ve told a lot of my coworkers about the country western themed fiesta to see if maybe they had any good ideas that I can steal use. One of my coworkers mentioned to me that there is a website that has cheap party decorations for pretty much any theme. It’s www.orientaltrading.com. I’ve never heard of this site and I was soooo excited once I checked it out. I have multiple things in my online cart that I’m just waiting to pull the trigger on but before I tell you about those I wanted to let you know that the invites came in the mail and I’m starting to send them out little by little. And what I mean when I say little by little is that I’m waiting for my mom to get me some of the addresses for some of the people that I can’t find on http://www.whitepages.com. Blah! I also got this cute cowboy boot stamp for the back of the invites on clearance at Michaels this week.

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I think it adds the perfect touch considering the invites say absolutely nothing about country themed anything which I kinda regret now.

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I saw these country western photo props. I was thinking about cutting out mustaches and stuff and hot glueing them to a stick so that people can use them in the homemade photobooth that I mentioned in my other post. I was kinda dreading it but now I feel fantastic that I don’t need to do any of that and this comes with more awesome stuff than just mustaches.

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Another item that popped out at me was this luau table skirt that I think would still fit in with a country theme party considering it is basically faux hay. I think it would look nice with a white table clothe with a thick strip of burlap running down the middle. We’ll see.

Getting extremely excited as the days and weeks get closer to the party!

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UPDATE!

To see how the country themed grad party turned out, along with pictures from the photo booth, click here.

Setting and Accomplishing Financial Goals!

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Setting and accomplishing goals are so important. They boost your confidence and improve your overall attitude. Setting goals and following through can be difficult so I thought I’d let you all know how I go about setting goals and trying to accomplish them.

Figure out what your goals are. Sit down and REALLY take time to think about it. Also, include your family in on your thinking process. You know what they say, “family knows best”… sometimes. Give yourself a realistic time frame to achieve these goals. Your short-term goals may take you 1-2 years or even 5 years to complete. Don’t get discouraged because time flies! Once you figure out what it is that you want to accomplish and when, the next step is to make a list of things you’re going to need to give up in order to get there. You may need to cut down on yearly vacations and just go every other year. Or it may be something as simple as not going out to eat multiple times a week. Whatever it is that you need to give up, list it below your goal.

Some of the things you need to give up my affect your family so make sure you talk to them about it. If you have children, explain to them that accomplishing goals are important and sometimes giving up certain guilty pleasures will help accelerate you to your goal. Younger children may not understand so cut back on family events that cost a lot of money like going to the movies, which all of a sudden costs an arm and a leg! When I was growing up it was like $5.50 to go see a movie and now it’s $10-$12 and if you’re a senior citizen, that’ll save you, what, $.25? Woopty-doo! And don’t even get me started on the price of 3D movies! Just because you spent $500 million making the movie Avatar, James Cameron, doesn’t mean you can charge us the same price just to go see it. Sorry for the randomness! Anyways, instead of taking the family to the movies have a movie night at home with a $1 red box movie and some good old fashion Orville Redenbacher. When the weather gets nicer check around your area to see if there’s any outdoor movie theaters or drive-ins. Also, summer is theme park season and the price of admission gets crazier every year. Kids always want to go multiple times but let them know that they can only go once or twice this summer and tell them to choose wisely.

Lastly, you’re going to need to review and re-prioritize your goals regularly. There’s going to be unavoidable setbacks. Also, some of your goals may seem unimportant after awhile so replacing one goal for another is not a big deal as long as you keep working towards something.

Quick Tips from 701 Money Savings Tips

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I recently purchased the Kindle book 701 Money Saving Tips by Ron Tomby. Though some of the book didn’t apply to me and some of the tips were a little redundant, it was a really cool, short read. I made a note of all of my favorite tips and thought I’d share with all of you 🙂

1. Before buying, ask yourself if buying the sale item makes sense. Even if it’s on sale, you do not save if you buy it and don’t need it. – Boy, did he hit the nail on the head with this one. When I see items on sale or on clearance I think to myself, “wow, that’s an incredible price. I’m going to buy it.” When I really should be thinking, “I don’t really need this even though it is at a great price.”

2. If you find yourself engaging in shopping as “therapy” when you had a bad day, consider switching to a physical exercise routine to get the same rush. Get healthy and save money. – Easier said than done I suppose, but I do like where he’s going. I can’t tell you how many times, after a bad day, I went to the mall to buy a new shirt or a new pair or shoes to make myself feel better. I’m sure if I just went for a walk or a run instead I’d feel just as accomplished but I decided to spend money on things I don’t need. Such a bad idea!

3. Swap services with friends and neighbors who can do things you can’t.  – I’m sure a lot of people do this but I don’t think I ever have. Not that I wouldn’t like to give it a try. Let’s say you have a hot, single neighbor who has a nice lawn mower. Maybe you could ask him to mow your lawn in exchange for cooking him dinner once a week. Haha, that whole scenario sounds like the beginning of a bad porno, but I’m being serious. Bartering will save you a ton of money. Give it a shot!

4. Limit yourself to a weekly cash allowance for your treats, i.e. pizza, ice cream, McDonalds, or whatever it is that you crave. – Not only will this save you money but it could help you lose weight. If you have an unlimited budget for snacks then you can go to hell in a hand basket but limiting your budget will force you to have to pick that one thing you’re craving.

5.When buying online search for promotion codes first by googling the name of the vendor or site you’re about to buy from and add “promotion code” or “coupon” in the search box. – I do this all the time. Usually you can at least find a promotion code for free shipping or something. Definitely worth checking out before purchasing anything online.

6. Find out about all of the benefits of your job. – You may be able to get a discount on your monthly cell phone bill just for being employed where you work. I know at my job you get 10% off your monthly Verizon bill if you can provide a CAT card that shows you work with the military. We also have a discount on auto insurance. So what you should do is sit down with your HR manager and ask her if she knows of any benefits that your job has.

And last, but not least…

7. When going to the grocery store, make sure you’re not hungry. – I do this all the time! More times than I can count. I end up leaving with a ton of stuff, most of it junk food. It’s not good to go grocery shopping when you’re full either. So not only do you need to plan and make a list of the groceries you need but you also need to plan around your meals and appetite. Geez-Louise!!!

Well that’s all I got for today. If you’re interested in buying the kindle book I posted the link at the top of this post. It’s only $1.99 and definitely worth it. If you purchase it, let me know what you think.

Happy Saturday everyone!!!

Top 5 Organizational Mistakes!

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1. Not finishing what you startSome people think that organizing a certain room is a great idea that they get so excited and think it’ll be so easy that when they finally start they get overwhelmed and quit halfway through. Before you start a new project make a list of all the things that need to get done in that area. This way you’ll be able to see what needs done and be prepared if it takes you longer than you thought. 

2. Buying organizational products before you know what you needI’m guilty of this one! Remember in August when I said that I was going to clean out all of the closets in my apartment? Well, I finally got around to cleaning my bedroom closet last weekend. But before I started I made a trip to Walmart for a few hampers, a basket for my bathroom, hooks for behind the door, and a shoe rack. Luckily, I was able to use everything I purchased. Also, sometimes I’ll buy something just because it seems useful and maybe it’s pretty but then I don’t end up using it or I’ll leave it out and find that it doesn’t serve a purpose.

3. Not throwing away/donating clothes or toys right away I do this all the time! Actually, as I type this I have 1 box and 2 garbage bags full of clothes in my closet that need to be donated and thrown away. When you do this, it never feels like your project is complete, which can lead to a mess much sooner rather than later.  “Oh, I never finished cleaning this closet so it doesn’t matter if I just leave this sweater on the floor for now. I’ll pick it up when I finish.” (Yes, that is the kind of conversation I have with myself)

4. Holding onto something because you think it could be usefulHave you ever not thrown away those ugly tennis shoes from high school because you think they might come back in style? OR “I couldn’t possibly throw away that old spatchula. I may need it if the other 4 spatchulas that I have grow legs and run away.” OR “Can’t throw away that old Mickey Mouse doll. What if someone brings their child over and I don’t have a toy for them to play with?” LOL.. I have no idea but if you haven’t used it for awhile, don’t make an excuse to keep it around. It’s only taking up space! Most of my clutter consists of items I think I MIGHT need at some point or I’m keeping it because I think someone else MIGHT need it. Just throw it away and clear some space!

5. If you have an organizational plan for a room or space in your home, don’t keep it to yourselfYou just finished cleaning off the dining room table. Everything that was on the table was either thrown away or has found a new permanent spot. Then your husband comes home and puts his briefcase and all of today’s mail on the table and then your kids come home and throw their book bags and toys on the table as well. If you’ve got a new found organizational plan for a certain space, make sure you communicate that plan with your family. They won’t know that the new table is no longer for everything and the kitchen sink if you don’t make it known. Just a side note, I’m not sure why I’m cracking up. I just thought of the above situation in my head and thought it was hilarious. I imagined this proud, accomplished mother, all smiles because she’s just finally finished cleaning off her dining room table that was covered in mountains of junk. Then, within a matter of 30 seconds her husband walks through the door, on his cell phone. He drops off everything on the table. His briefcase, the mail, change he may have had in his pocket, a couple receipts from today’s lunch purchase. He’s talking loudly on the phone to someone, I imagine it’s probably a colleague, and he’s on his way to the bedroom to get changed but he takes a quick second to kiss his wife, whose now looking bewildered, on the cheek. The room is silent, but only for a moment and then a stampede of children come in. Actually, maybe just three of them. One of them is around the age of 6. He blows his nose in a tissue and then throws it on the table along with his Batman lunch box and book bag. Behind him is an 11 year old girl, probably named Bridget or something, she’s just coming home from swim team practice and throws her wet towel on the table. Finally, her oldest son, she’s hoping that he’s old enough to realize that his stinky, sweaty hockey equipment doesn’t belong on the dining room table. She’s holding her breath, praying that he’ll take it straight to the garage or at least the mudroom. He walks towards her with a smile. He says, “hey mom! How are you? Have a good day?”  and kisses her on the cheek. He has passed the dining room table without dropping his stinky bag on the table! She smiles slightly, relieved. She always knew how smart he was. Her son goes to the refrigerator, pulls out a bottle of water and starts walking toward the living room…. Not before dropping his big, moldy smelling hockey bag on the dining room table. And the mother’s excitement turns to complete disappointment. HAHAHAHAHA! Really over the top but that’s what I thought of. 

Anyways, I hope this helps! Happy Monday everyone!

Organizing has never been so SAFE!

Happy President’s day everyone! Hope that you all had a great weekend. I know I did! I just got home a little while ago from my weekend at home with the family. I had an awesome time and got to see a lot more of my family than I thought I would have, which is always great.

Anyways, I was checking my e-mail this afternoon and saw the cutest thing from Groupon!

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It’s an organizer in disguise! Groupon calls it the U.S. Patrol Hanging Dress Safe. Although I wouldn’t really call it a “safe” it is a pretty cool idea in hiding some of your valuables. For $12.99 + $2.99 shipping, you get two of these dress organizers. I may have to get it only because my closet is so jam packed with stuff that no one would even imagine that this extremely hideous dress is holding all of my valuables.

If you’re interested in purchasing one of these, you can click right here, but hurry up because the deal is only on for the next day or so.

Traveling Stress-free

Traveling can be very stressful. It takes a lot of preparation to take a trip. First you have to book a flight far enough in advance to get a good deal. Then the entire week before you leave you need to make sure you pack all the clothes you’d like to wear during your trip, all your toiletries, all your shoes, your electronic gadgets, any medication, and whatever the heck else you think you may need. No matter what, once you get to the airport or finally get to your seat on the plane you start asking yourself, “Did I pack my glasses?” “Did I forget that dress in the closet?” “Don’t tell me I forgot to pack that gift for so-and-so.” “Did I leave the oven on?” “Does this sweatshirt make me look fat?” HAHA, just kidding. Although this blog post won’t be able to tell you if you left your appliances on at home or if your attire makes you look fat, it can help you with not forgetting the essentials.

About a week before your trip sit down and make two lists. One list for the things that you need to do before you head to the airport/train station/bus station or whatever and one list for things that you need to pack. I’m heading back home to Pittsburgh this Thursday and I thought I’d show you guys how I create my pre-traveling lists. 

 

To Do List

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Everyone knows I love me some highlighters! As you can see my To-do list is on the top of the page. I used three different highlighters to distinguish between the three days this week that I had available to do anything. On the bottom of the list is what I need to pack and I used the same three highlighters to indicate which bag I want the items to go in. Creating the list this way makes it nearly impossible to forget anything! Get done what you need to get done on the day that you said you would. Pack your items in the bags that you’ve selected and TAAA-DAAAAA! You can travel worry-free. Allay your mind and enjoy your trip, no matter where you’re going.

 

 

 

 

Coolest App EVER!

Ok, maybe not the coolest app ever. Hay Day, Fruit Ninja, and Angry Birds may be a little more fun but this app that I found today called Key Ring is pretty awesome. I don’t know if I’m late to the party, so to speak, when it comes to this app but if you’ve never heard of it you HAVE to check it out. If you’re anything like me and have thousands of loyalty cards, reward cards, or membership cards attached to your car keys and key rings then this is a life saver!  I haven’t input a lot of my cards yet but so far it’s working great.

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The cards I’ve added so far are:

A&P

A.C. Moore

American Eagle Rewards

Best Buy

CVS ExtraCare

IKEA Family

Michaels Rewards

ULTA Beauty

Walgreens Balance Rewards

I tried to add my Foot Locker rewards card but for whatever reason it wouldn’t scan the bar code and wouldn’t recognize it. It may be because the bar code was a little scratched. Not sure. And also, it didn’t have ShopRite as one of the recognized programs which kinda sucks because that’s where I do the majority of my grocery shopping, but it’s not going to kill me to keep one of my key ring cards on my actual key ring.

It works kinda like this…

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It will look like this when you open the app. You’ll be able to create an account that you can sync and access on multiple devices. I started using this app on my iPad and after syncing it and downloading the app on my Android smartphone, I was able to continue adding more cards and accessing the cards I had already added on my iPad. You’ll be able to start adding cards which goes a little something like this:

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Sorry this picture is so blurry but I couldn’t scan the bar code and screen shot at the same time LOL!

Anyways, all you have to do is put the bar code in the red box and it automatically puts the numbers in the cards information profile.

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After you scan the bar code you’re just going to select the program. Whether it is a loyalty card, gift card, or some other kind of card. Then you just select the store that the bar code belongs to. It will also allow you to take a picture of the front and back of the card if you’d like.

One of the really cool things about this app is that it also tells you when there’s good deals, whether it be online or in stores.

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As you can see with this Best Buy card it tells you that there are a few online deals and what not.

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As you can see it indicates with the orange box when there are good deals that you may be interested in. It also tells you which card, or store rather, has a weekly circular.

I haven’t tried scanning it at any stores yet but if it ends up working it just lifted a ton of weight off my car keys and cleared a ton of room in my wallet! If you’ve been using this app let me know how you like it, if it works, what you like/don’t like about it.

By the way, this app is available on iPhones and Android devices!

The Worst Blogger of All Time Award goes to…..

ME!

It has been way too long since I’ve blogged. I’ve been pretty busy with work and family and stuff so I really, really, really apologize! I’ve been wanting to blog and have been really missing it lately but didn’t know how to jump back into it. I guess the easiest way is to just go ahead and start doing it, so here I am! As I’m typing this blog it feels awesome! I thought it would have taken me all day to write myself a welcome back post but I realized that getting back into blogging is somewhat like riding a bike. No matter how long you’ve been away you can always  just jump back on as if you’ve never stopped. I have a few cool blog ideas for this week so stay tuned for that. Wish I was creative enough to come up with a new blog idea everyday but sadly, I’m not that good. Not yet any way.