Saturday, January 29, 2011

Budget Progress

So, you might remember that we're trying out a budget. We're trying to get a better idea of where our money goes so that we can redirect it to where we want it to go.

Well - one month in, I'm happy to report that it's going really well!  The coolest part has been to stop using our credit card.  We have always put everything on our credit card and just paid it off at the end of the month. Those of you who do something similar know that sometimes, that's pretty overwhelming!! This month, we used our debit card, and it's cool to look in the bank account and see money, and know that it doesn't need to pay off any bills!

We also have gotten more conscious about what we're spending. We are certainly not starving, and I even bought some new shoes this month.  But... we both have thought twice before purchasing things, and because of that, we have more money in our account.

I'll keep you posted on our progress. Oh - and those shoes? Pink Kate Spade heels for $40. I can fit that into the budget any day!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Do you like my blog?

I am so excited to be part of a very unique blog hop. Gail @My Repurposed Life and MeganDVD @ Beauty in the Attempt are hosting “The Bold and the Beautiful-your blog reviewed”.

Please take a look around my blog, check out the layout, pages, buttons,  sidebar and gadgets. I would love for you to gently critique my blog. I’m hoping you will leave me some positive feedback about my blog. It would be great if you could give me constructive criticism but be sure to tell me what you like about my blog too! Do you like my pictures? Does my blog load quickly for you? How about the font?  All tips and tidbits welcome!

So blessed!!

This weekend is my first bridal shower, and I am feeling totally overwhelmed by the generosity and support from those who love us.  I am so excited to see my friends and family and celebrate!

My sister Emily is on her way home from Delaware today for the shower. This morning, she sent me a picture from the airport with the caption, "Look who I found in the airport!"

You guys - that's my gramma from New York, coming in to surprise me!!!

I have got to get it together, because I'm assuming that the guests at the shower do not want to watch me cry repeatedly about how loved I feel. This is totally overwhelming and amazing.

This wedding is getting real you all -- I am the BRIDE!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wedding Accessories

The days are ticking by folks... this whole wedding thing is going to be here before we know it. Can anyway say "only74daysleftuntilthebigday"??

Since most of the big stuff is taken care of, we are starting to think about the smaller details. Specifically, I am starting to think about my wedding day accessories.

Without giving anything away, my dress has a lot going on, and I've decided to forgo a necklace completely. I'm not much of a bracelet wearer, so right now, my wrists will be bare too. That just leaves earrings.

Because the dress really is pretty busy, everyone suggested simple earrings. I get that. But I don't want to be too simple. So I just ordered these:

They are from Emma Stine and they are $32. Seriously? You should immediately go to her website and look at all of her beautiful jewelry - because it is stunning and surprisingly affordable.

I'll let you know how they look when they arrive... fingers crossed that they can be a little something extra! Does anyone have something old that I can borrow??


Something old
Something new
Something borrowed

Monday, January 24, 2011

When do you create?

I've been thinking a lot lately about when people sew (or craft, or whatever).  I am blown away by the bloggers who create a new project nearly everyday - who are constantly sewing or creating or crafting.

Who has the time to do that?? It seems like people fit it in at different times during the week.  My friend Brandy often sews for her Etsy shop in the evenings (after working at her full-time job and putting her sweet son to bed. Sheesh!).

I don't usually sew in the evenings unless I get home unusually early from work.  I tend to start sewing when Zac isn't home - mostly weekends. My favorites are the Saturdays he works a double, when I can start sewing in the morning and sew straight through until 9:00 PM! He isn't willing to hang out in the sewing room with me, unfortunately.

When do you sew? How do you fit it in with your busy life?

(Photo credit)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Look - a Nook!

I just realized that I never told you about one of my very favorite Christmas presents - a Nook!! I had mentioned to Zac a few times that I thought they were super cool, and that if someone gave me one I would love it, but I'd probably never buy one for myself. I'm a BOOK person... but I could be persuaded otherwise, right?

He passed that message along to my favorite future in-laws and I was totally surprised to open one on Christmas Day!

Ohmygoodness this thing is SO cool!  And it is exactly like I thought it would be - I totally love it and use it all the time. 

My favorite things about it?
  1. I read more! I am a huge reader, but when I don't have a book to read, I don't read. And sometimes it takes me awhile to find another book. No longer the case - as soon as I decide what to read next, I am reading it five seconds later.
  2. I can get books from the library. Our library is investing in a ton of new e-books, and with the Nook, I can borrow e-books and don't have to buy them.
  3. Same with friends with Nooks - we can share books! If you have one, let me know!
  4. It's a space saver. I can take multiple books with me without filling a bag. I can take thousands of books on vacation and just carry this little guy.
  5. It has crossword puzzles and sudoku puzzles on it. Fun!
  6. It is unbelievably easy to read. I thought it might take awhile to adjust to it, but it didn't. Love it!
  7. I don't have to find a place to store books that I don't really want to keep forever - but I can still buy books that I do want to keep forever.
Have you made the switch to an e-reader yet? Do you have any suggestions for books that I should read next? I just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, and loved Water for Elephants too!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some random stuff

  1. I had my first wedding dress fitting on Sunday. She has like 8 cats. I trust her implicitly and can't figure out why?
  2. I am taking a new medicine and I think it's giving me weird dreams. I say I think because I can't really remember them, I can just remember that I had them. Ugh.
  3. School started again this week. Bleh.
  4. The fact that Sarah Jessica Parker does the voice for the Nook commercial totally validates my choice of a Nook over a Kindle.
  5. We might get another snow day tomorrow!
  6. I love the radiator heat in our house but my feet are constantly freezing because the floors are too cold. I have two pairs of slippers - one slightly too big, and one slightly too small.
  7. Yeah, this is what it's like to be in my head for 2 minutes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Belle's Flower Girl Shirt

I had this idea for a flower girl shirt awhile ago, but just got a chance to actually make it this week. Our little flower girl is so sweet, that I thought she deserved a shirt as sweet as she is!

I free-handed the design, and just appliquéd it onto a cheap t-shirt I got at Target. If you don't know how to appliqué, you can see my tutorial here.

Close-up of the applique

And the shirt in action: 

What do you think? She liked it! I thought about making it the first item I list in my (currently empty) Etsy shop. Thoughts on that??

Did you make anything this weekend? I also had a chance to throw together a quilt top - and I literally mean throw together. Details later this week!

I'm linking to:

C.R.A.F.T. * The Girl Creative * I Heart Naptime * Under the Table and Dreaming * Kuzak's Closet * Young and Crafty * Tatertots and Jello * Sew Much Ado * Creations by Kara * Night Owl Crafting * Polkadot Giraffe * Not Just a Housewife * Sugar Bee Craft Edition * Polly Want a Crafter * The Train to Crazy * House of Hepworth's * My Repurposed Life * It's Fun to Craft! * Remodelaholic * 504 Main: Tickled Pink * Simply Designing * Freckled Laundry * KoJo Designs * Creation Corner * Simply Step Back *

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blog Award!

I am so excited to have received the Trendy Blog Award from the lovely  Biz at Busy Biz Blogs! Her blog is tons of fun, and you'll love the recipes she shares!

In order to accept this award, I need to pass it on to ten of my favorite bloggers. In no particular order of wonderfulness, I'm sending it to:

Clare at A Day in the Life of Clare (a friend in real life, too!)
Jenny at DIY Newlyweds
Brandy at Jumping Jack
Beckie's new adventure, Knock Off Decor
The lovely ladies at Kojo Designs
Mary Ellen at Mostly MEllen (another friend in real life!)
Amanda at Kuzak's Closet

Go visit some of my favorite blogs to read - I bet you'll find some that you love, also!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We're officially budgeted.

Last weekend, we had some friends over for dinner. Talk turned to money (not sure how??) and it came out that we were the only couple not on a budget. Oh - and the only couple who had no idea where our money goes each month.

We're fortunate that we aren't carrying any debt.  But - we truly live paycheck to paycheck, and for no reason. We can't figure out where our money goes each month, and that is definitely not a good thing.

So we're officially on a budget. Not a can't-have-anything-you-want sort of budget, but definitely a saving-is-the-most-important-thing budget.  First, we have to get through January, pay off the credit card, and start February off with a clean slate.

Think we can do it? Anyone out there with a budget have any budgeting tricks that might help us be successful??

And because pictures of our budget would be boring, here's some pictures of our cutest dinner party guest:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quilt show in Cincinnati!

The International Quilt Festival is coming to Cincinnati this year! This is how I found out about it:

Gramma: Did you hear that there is a huge quilt show coming to Cincinnati?
Me: Oh, how neat! When?
Gramma: The weekend of your wedding. Think we can still go?

So, we're buying tickets for the Thursday preview night and hoping that we'll have enough time to go, even just for a little bit. This could be the quilter's verse to the Alanis Morsette song, "Ironic."

Essentially, we are totally crazy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Do they know me or what??

This year, I got some of the coolest Christmas presents from Josh and Steph, Zac's brother and sister-in-law. They live in London, England (read about their travels here!) and recently took a trip to India. They clearly know me well... look at some of the presents they brought me!

A pin cushion from Liberty of London, one of the coolest fabric stores in the world.

Is this not to die for?? I want to keep them all together and make a quilt. They are just so beautiful, and I think they are most beautiful together.  I need to find a pattern that can do them justice.  I'm afraid to unwrap the jelly roll!

Scraps of vintage fabric!! So cool!

This is a hand beaded tapestry from India, circa 1930. I wish pictures could do it justice. It is so beautiful!! 

Do you love it??

It is sewn like a pillow, but we could also hang it on the wall or set it on a table. Any suggestions for where to put it?

Did you get any really thoughtful gifts for the holidays?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Craft Room Overhaul

After Christmas, my sewing/craft room literally looked like a tornado had gone through it. Wrapping paper pieces were everywhere, fabric remnants from last-minute gifts, and stuff that belonged somewhere else but needed to be put somewhere so company wouldn't see it filled the corners.

In short, it was a mess. I can't believe I'm sharing these photos with you... but we're friends. And this was my real life. And shame can be a good motivator.

Uh yeah. Not a whole lot of creativity going on in there when it looks like this!

This room is our smallest bedroom and will (someday) become a nursery.  So...I didn't want to do anything too permanent because this isn't a forever room, but it seemed crazy to keep things temporary since babies are year(s) away.

We have other house projects that are ahead of this one on the gets-money-list, so this is what we could do for free. I'm pretty proud of it!

The second shelf of the bookcase will eventually store fabric like this, but I don't have the materials to do so yet. I usually hate mirrored closet doors, but in this small room, they really add a lot of light and make the room feel larger (though it's doubtful I'll want to look at myself in the mirror during midnight feedings in a few years, so they probably aren't staying long-term!).

Much better, right?? My favorite part is the thread holder!

Sorry the pictures aren't great - mastering this new camera is taking a lot of time!!

I've got a system started for organizing my craft ideas, and now that I have a beautiful, organized craft room, hope to start sewing something soon!

What did you organize this weekend??

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Wow - thanks to everyone who participated in the CSN giveaway! Without further ado... our winner is...........

Comment #7, congrats Karie - enjoy your yoga equipment!!!

Karie, send me an email so I can forward you the information you'll need to redeem your gift certificate.

Everyone else, thanks for entering! Hopefully I can have another giveaway soon. In the meantime, I'm off to organize my sewing room - wish me luck!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CSN Giveaway!

Exciting news for all of my favorite readers - is offering a $35 gift certificate to one lucky Tara Being Tara follower!

If you aren't familiar with CSN, you are going to be in for a very pleasant surprise. CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from stylish modern office furniture to cute cookware to chic lighting pieces.  You name it - they have it!

I've ordered from CSN before, and was very happy with my purchases. Now, it's your turn to win something!

To enter the giveaway:
  1. Become a follower of Tara Being Tara.
  2. Leave a comment, telling me what fun item that you don't really need (but you really want) you would buy if you win!
That's it! The giveaway will be open until Friday, January 7 at 11:59 PM EST.  Oh - and you have to live in the US or Canada to win - sorry to any international readers (I still heart you!). Good luck!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bailing each other out

Zac and I decided to set some monthly goals for our house, our lives and our relationship. One was to do "extra" things for each other - go above and beyond what we usually do, and do it willingly and happily.

Last night, he helped me finish a 600 piece mailing at 11:30 PM.

Tonight, I brought him his spare key when he locked his keys in the trunk of his car.

This is not exactly what I meant when I suggested this goal. Or maybe, it's exactly what I meant?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Organizing my crafting dreams

One of my goals for this year is to figure out a way to organize all of my creative ideas so that I can just jump right in whenever I have time to craft. I feel like there are times when I could do something wonderful... but I am not sure what to make, or I just don't have all of the supplies.

I have books. I have magazines.I have pages torn out of magazines. And then, of course, is this beast:

The projects I have bookmarked online are ridiculous. Sure, some are really in-depth projects that you'd have to actually buy supplies for (quilts). But others are just quick things that need a few supplies I already have and 45 minutes.

So the big question is.... how do you organize all of this stuff? A binder? A spreadsheet? A list?

A quick Google search brings up information on how to organize your craft room and supplies - but nothing about organizing your brilliance.

If you're a crafter, how do you organize all of these things? As I begin my quest for the perfect system, any advice on how to do so? I promise to share what I come up with!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How I Stopped Biting My Nails

I'm a recovering nail biter. I've been a nail biter for as long as I can remember... and I even hold my pen in a way that doesn't work as well when I have actual nails. I've tried to quit a ton of times - when I was in middle school, my dad even offered me $50 to stop. I've actually stopped a few times, only to quickly start again when I have a huge project at work or immediately upon stepping foot on an airplane.

I figured I'd stop when I got engaged. Nope - a few months into getting engaged and I would try to show people my ring with my fingers curled so they wouldn't notice my ugly nails.  Finally, enough was enough. I went to a local nail salon and got fake nails put on. They looked like this:

Just kidding! They did NOT look like that - though I had avoided fake nails for years because I was afraid that this is how they would look.  You can see them if you look closely in our engagement pictures:

Yep - just pretty. I had them filled twice, and really enjoyed them. Overall, I spent about $80, which to me, was money well spent to stop having this nasty habit.  

I went today, and they took off the nails. What you see below is 100% MY nails!! (You get a left hand shot because I am right handed and it's the only way I can take a picture one-handed that is almost in focus).

Why I think this time I was successful:
  1. My nails always looked great. It was a lot easier to leave them alone when they looked pretty.
  2. I couldn't really bite them. They were essentially hard acrylic. That would have been dumb.
  3. I had them on for long enough to break the habit. At the beginning, I found myself still going through the motions of biting/picking my nails, even though I wasn't actually doing it. Now, I just leave them alone.
It seems small, but this is one of my proudest accomplishments! I know fellow nail biters / past nail biters will understand. I have gotten more compliments on my engagement ring ever since my nails have looked nice - which is just icing on the cake!

Have you kicked any bad habits? How did you do it?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Things to Do in 2011

I'm a huge fan of lists. And of making resolutions. Not necessarily always at the start of a new year, but just in general. I think they can be good.

At work, we teach the students how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals - goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. My resolutions are none of those things. They aren't specific goals - on purpose. This is just a list of things that I'd like to pay more attention to.  On that note, things I want to accomplish in 2011:
  • Get married!
  • Organize all of my craft ideas into a binder, so I can actually create!
  • Donate a quilt to a local fundraiser
  • Start an exercise routine (about 3x/week) 
  • Re-connect with old friends with whom I've lost touch
  • Visit my grandma in New York for a sewing weekend
  • Make an album of all of our pictures from 2010
  • Pack my lunch / eat lunch at home as much as possible
  • Make time to read
  • Make smarter food choices - like wheat bread over white.
  • Stick to a cleaning schedule
  • Stop worrying about what other people think and whether I'm doing things the "right way"
  • Make the most of my wardrobe. I tend to be a lazy dresser - I have great clothes, but I usually can't be bothered to put an actual outfit together.
I'm sure I'll think of more as the year goes on...and I'll add them to my list and keep you posted on my progress! What are you going to do in 2011? Jamie from C.R.A.F.T. is going to implement one new herb in her cooking each month.  Such a cool idea!

    Happy 2011!

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