Northwest Native: December 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2016 Resolution

I've given my resolution for this year a lot of thought (actually, even before it was officially my resolution, it was rarely far from my mind). I've actually never claimed a resolution before. Often it seems like it's setting yourself up for failure. Every year people complain that the gym is way too crowded in January but by March it's cleared out, right?

Well, this resolution is really important to both our future and our (well, at least my) present, and I figured making this my resolution could only improve my progress. Can you guess what it is?

Living With Less

Our lease is up in November, and we're hoping to save enough for a down payment so we can buy a house when our lease is up, or go month-to-month or maybe sign a six-month lease and then buy a house. Either way, buying a house is our goal, and we'd like to do it soon. That requires more saving and less spending, which is one half of the goal.

The other half is to keep clutter to a minimum. That means keeping the apartment clean and organized, donating/selling things that we don't want or need, and making sure we have the right organizational tools (which seems counterproductive to the saving money goal, because it means possibly needing to buy things for organizational/storage purposes).

Reducing Spending
So, how am I going to reduce spending? Are we going to live on ramen, never go out to eat, and cancel cable? No (though I would be so down to get rid of cable--sigh). My clothing budget is going to get stricter.

If you recall, I've been doing budget posts since I started this blog. Most of the reason I did that was that those are some of my favorites to read. I didn't hold myself to a monthly/quarterly/annual set budget, because I had never tracked my clothing budget like that. (My tracking consisted of checking my bank account, seeing if I have extra money, and going from there.) Now that I have a record of my spending over nine months, I have more of an idea of what to base my budget amount on.

In my December budget post, I did a roundup of my spending since I started tracking. I ended up at $1,045.89 for a nine month period. I ended up returning the boots I bought--I was so proud of myself! They were so cute...but taupe suede + living where we've had like a month of rain straight? It just didn't make sense. I'd rather have that money back than be able to wear those boots twice a year. The boots that my mother-in-law bought for me didn't end up fitting either, so I will have that amount on a Nordstrom gift card. Gift cards are the only reason I made it through nine months spending $954.91.

That comes out to $106.10 per month. I was going to make my goal $1,000 over the year, which would be $83.33 per month. I realized that that was probably a little too restrictive and decided to settle on $1,200 over the year, or $100 per month.

Now, I reserve the right to restrict anything from budgeting. For example, I desperately need to go to a bra fitting and buy myself some new bras that actually fit. And those things aren't cheap. But that's a necessity, and I wouldn't have included that in my budget in 2015 either. Other needs will not be included, such as underwear, work wear (I'm still wearing jeans, but if for some reason I have to buy dress pants or a pencil skirt or something, I'm probably not counting it). Also if something I own and love gets ruined or lost or I need to replace it, I may not budget it. And I may cheat like I have in the past and not include a $10 piece of jewelry because that's like two coffees.

As usual, gift cards don't count towards the $1,200 total, and I can also subtract money made from eBates, ThredUp, and Splender. (Also going to be hitting Shopkick and Swagbucks real hard to get me some gift cards!)

I can spend more than $100 in a month, but not more than $1,200 over the course of the year. So I could spend all $1,200 in one month, or I could spend $20 a month until December and then blow the rest. You get the idea.

I'm hoping to include one or two new pretty handbags in that $1,200. The bag I mentioned in my TWOsday post this week apparently disappeared in the color I wanted right after I posted that, so that's fun.

Increasing Saving
This is pretty self-explanatory, and really, it shouldn't be hard to increase what we're saving now...because we haven't been saving much. Especially over the past few months with Michael being unemployed for a while. We have a joint account where we put any wedding money we got, and we've decided that once we're back on our feet financially (February, perhaps?) we will move a large portion of that to a savings account and start putting either a set percentage of our income or a set dollar amount into that checking account every month. That way we can use it for shared expenses like groceries or gassing up the cars (it's so annoying having the, "But I paid for groceries last time!" discussion--cheers to ending that cycle!).

De-cluttering the Apartment
Have you seen that little trick going around where you turn all your hangers backwards in January, then when you wear an item, you turn it the other way? In June, whichever hangers are still backwards are not worn and should be given away. I think I'm going to try that out. I feel like I go through my closet at least every two months and somehow I always find more to get rid of. This might simplify things by not allowing me to hold on to something through another cleanout only to get rid of it in the next one.

Better Organization
First and foremost, I desperately need a nightstand. I didn't realize how much I did until I didn't have one...for a month and a half (and still going strong). I'm thinking perhaps this one. There's also this one which is similar and cheaper, but not quite as attractive.

We also need a kitchen table and chairs. This IKEA set is only $239, and while the quality isn't great, we aren't really at the stage of being picky and buying a gorgeous dining set that costs $1,000+ and will last us twenty years. (Side note: These organizers on the IKEA site make me swoon. Seriously. We have everything all over the place and not a single piece of our furniture matches.)

I'm linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

Do you have a New Year's resolution? What is it?

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: First Look

I am so happy that I was able to convince Michael to do the first look! He told me later on that before the ceremony, his sisters asked him how the first look was and he said it was incredible and one of the best moments of his life and he highly recommended it. I refrained from saying, "I told you so." ;)

This time I'm seriously going to let the pictures speak for themselves, no descriptions. I know, it's totally unheard of from me. But...I'm including like thirty pictures, so it's lengthy enough already. These were probably my favorite moments out of the whole day.

I'm linking up with Macy for Wedding Wednesday.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

TWOsday [12.29.15]

I wasn't really sure what I was going to post today, which works out perfectly because it's Tuesday aka TWOsday aka THE EASIEST BLOGGING PROMPT EVER, PEOPLE. Just pick two random things on a Tuesday and link up with Stephanie. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

ONE. Portland is delicious.
Which city was was named the best food city in the country by the Washington Post? Oh, the one I live in? Okay, never moving. K thanks bye.

TWO. Current obsessions.
It has become my goal to own this purse. Probably the cognac (well, 'almond' if you're gonna go with their fancy name) one. I had to make a few Nordstrom returns after Christmas and now I am hoarding those gift cards to hopefully eventually put towards one of those beauties.
RM Regan Satchels
And we all know I have a sweater obsession...well, I'm obsessing over this amazing reindeer sweater from Loft! Can anyone give me insight on sizing at Loft? I only own one thing from their and they're shorts! With the flash sale it'd be about $22...but I'd have to pay for shipping so the dream may be dead. :(

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Stuff Michael Says [12.28.15]

I hope you all had a merry Christmas! Or if you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a great four days since I was last around these here parts! I thought I'd keep things light and jolly with another edition of Stuff Michael Says, because there have been some gems lately (at least since the last edition, which was way back at the beginning of September!).

Remember how I mentioned Michael's insane case of baby fever? See exhibits A and B.
I showed Michael a picture of a cute kid (probably from a blog or a blogger's Instagram, I'm guessing).
Michael: "See, don't you want one?! It'd be so good for your blog. Just imagine, 'Stuff ______ says!'" (He used the boy baby name we've had picked out for like two years...I almost posted it but I'm nervous about advertising it and jinxing it. Obviously I wouldn't care if someone who reads this blog named their kid wouldn't stop me from using the name...and no one that I know reads this aside from my mom who is done having children...but I guess I'm just superstitious and feel like if I don't say it at all, then no one we know will steal it. Even if I don't say it to them. Does that make any sense? No? Well, I can be irrational sometimes.)
Hitting me below the belt--with free blog content! Just kidding. ;)
He also texted me this gem last week.
Marlowe = Michael's cousin's baby that I got matched up with for Secret Santa (score!). I bought her super cute leggings and shirts and a BABY-SIZED PUFFER VEST from Old Navy. *Also sorry for the language that I just noticed.

"What if my nipples were on my butt?" Don't ask. I remember we were driving to my parents' house...but I don't remember the context. Honestly, I don't think there was any. Who needs context, right? These kind of thoughts are normal to come up with out of nowhere...

Sometimes you just have to put chocolate milk on your cereal, am I right? (Okay, I've never done that.) For some reason this cracked me up when he sent it to me. Oh, I remember now...because the cereal he was eating was chocolate Chex. With chocolate milk. This from the guy who claims he's allergic to chocolate. Confused? Me too.

You know that movie The Revenant with Leo DiCaprio and the bear? (Side note: Did anyone else see the trailer for Into The Grizzly Maze--which looks horrible in my opinion, and has a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes--and then hear Oscar buzz for Leo about a bear movie and think they were the same thing and get really confused? No? Just me?) Anyway, a preview for the Oscar buzz bear movie, not the horrible one, came on.
Me: "Is this movie set in Alaska?"
Michael: "No, the U.S."
I started to tease him so hard about that one. He gave me two excuses: 1. It's the continental U.S.! 2. Alaska wasn't a state back in the time this was set.
Mhmm, suuuure. ;)

Michael waited until the very last minute to buy gifts for his groomsmen. He kept looking on Etsy, but everything was really expensive or would take like four weeks. There were a bunch of personalized pocket knives on there, and in one case, hatchets. So he found some hatchets from a hardware store online, and bought an embossing kit from Amazon and personalized the leather sheaths himself.
Michael: "It's a sportsman's hatchet, that's f***in' cool!"
He is so not burly or outdoorsy or someone who would ever own a hatchet, but he was soo excited about these hatchets. It cracked me up.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Getting Ready

Today I'm going to share some pictures from the process of getting ready for the big day! The girls got ready at the townhouse my parents rented for the weekend, and Michael and his best men got ready at the reception location before Michael and I headed to the church for our first look.

Photos by Brooks Scribner Photography
Kendra from KLS Makeup Artistry did a great job on everyone's hair. Her main focus is makeup of course, but she's great at hair too! My sister did my makeup and the bridesmaids all opted to do their own.

I loved getting to see my fabulous bridesmaids open their gifts. A couple of them even teared up reading the cards and I thought I wrote pretty lame messages! I got everyone a gold Kate Spade necklace and I didn't even plan in my head for them to wear them for the wedding but all eight of them immediately jumped at the chance to do so, which made me happy.

A few of Michael, to be fair. :) We framed the second one in our windowpane frame above our fireplace.

I love all of these ladies soo much and they made our wedding day so special. So thankful for all of them!

Getting in the dress was such a major moment. I was getting jittery for the first look at that point!

That third picture was so awkward. My shoes were on and she had me pretend to be putting them on...I had no idea if it looked believable or not.

These photos were taken while we waited outside for the Lyft to arrive and take us to the church for the first look! I have to say that the side ones kind of weird me out because the dress had some pretty big and padded cups so my chest area looks super unnatural from the side.

I'm linking up with Macy for Wedding Wednesday.

I'll be taking Christmas Eve and Christmas off, so I hope you all have a great holiday! I'll see you back here on Monday!

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