Category Archives: Aspire

Budget: Starting the Year Fresh

Budget. That’s what you’re supposed to do as a responsible adult. You are supposed to live within or below your means. You are supposed to have a savings account. You aren’t supposed to have credit card debt. These are the things that your mom tells you. These are the things countless Pinterest articles are written about. These are the things of nightmares.

It seems common sense when you say it out loud, “Don’t spend more than you make.” Obviously. Wait…what about credit cards? Those don’t count. Do they? What about store cards that have 25% interest? Those definitely don’t count. You’ll pay those off every month. You’re just using them for the discounts and coupons anyway!

It’s easy to see how someone, like me, gets into some serious debt without having much to show for it. We convince ourselves we need it or that waiting for it would be silly. We use our cards to get the immediate satisfaction of buying the thing instead of using better judgement.

This is going to be the year of change and major progress. This is the year I stop using credit cards. (Even just typing that I had some major anxiety…) It will be hard. I will get to eat out less and I will have less clothes. I will have to resist the urge to buy something just because I have a coupon…or three. Everything will change. That’s what I’m counting on.

I want to be free of the debt. Free of the worry and stress. Free from the addiction of buying STUFF. I want to look at the things I do have and know that I’m not still paying on it. This will take more than a year, but this is the year I start!

Here’s a link to the binder I’m using to stay organized. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00GDDUXJQ/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1453307692&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=organizher+expense+tracker&dpPl=1&dpID=51V4eucl9ZL&ref=plSrch 

Do you struggle with any financial goals? Do you have a specific plan to get debt free? I’d love all the advice I can get!

 

 

Advertisements

April “Reboot”

Wow this year sure is flying by isn’t it? March got pretty crazy for me, so I was a bit of a slacker on several things I meant to stay on top of. Allison and I decided that this upcoming month of April would be a fantastic time to refresh ourselves and our goals. A “reboot” if you will…

I was sick in late February, and my exercise goal of the month (100 body squats a day) went out the window and so did my exercise goal for March. This month I’m going to try and do a plank challenge AND re-do February’s challenge. I’m starting on April 1st (no joke) – want to join me? You should!! We can be accountable to each other! Leave me a comment if you are interested and I’ll do a middle-of-the-month-check-in to see how we’re doing! Here’s the link to the challenge.

Another part of my life that needs a little push is my food intake. We have been eating out SO much and both myself and my wallet are feeling the effects. We need to stop spending so much money on eating out and start eating at home again. To do this, I’ve made a whole month meal plan. I always do better when I have a plan, but I’ve never done a whole month! I figured if I at least have something on every day, we are more likely to use that meal instead of going out. These are just dinners, but still really helpful! I’m sure I’ll give in sometime (I just really love pizza), but I guarantee it will be cheaper and healthier than last month! I found this cute printable calendar and wrote it all out – then hung it on the fridge as a reminder!  Here is my menu:


So what about you? What are you doing this month to reboot/refresh/restart? Let us know! Comment below!

Reading Challenge: Book Three

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) By Mindy Kaling

This book took me entirely too long to read. I just couldn’t make myself pick it up. I HAD to finish it though, because it counted for my book written by a celebrity and book written by a comedian! Two categories on my list!

Mindy Kaling is clearly a very funny woman who has a successful career as a comedic writer and actress. She has witty stories staring famous people. She has honest opinions that many would be afraid to share. Unfortunately, her comedic genius didn’t transfer to written word very well. She seems to be  scattered story-teller with little forethought to the overall feeling to her book.

She did successfully make her life relatable and funny. There were times I laughed out loud. I finished the book wanting a more fluid tale. I didn’t hate reading the book, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

40 Things to do with your Best Friend

  
Happy Valentine’s Day from us here at Adore.Inspire.Create! 

Whether your best friend is your spouse or someone you’ve known since kindergarten , Valentine’s Day can be celebrated by all! And who says you have to have just one best friend? Maybe you have a few…

There’s no doubt that any relationship (romantic or platonic) takes effort. Life gets busy, and if you don’t take the time to nurture those relationships they can really tank fast! Although it can be easy to do the same old things with your buddies every single week, it’s a good idea to change things up and make new memories along the way. Here are 40 ways to do that! 

  1. Mani/pedi
  2. Coffee run
  3. Ice cream run
  4. Layout and read at a park
  5. Cook a fancy dinner together
  6. Make cupcakes
  7. Create a care package for a mutual friend
  8. Plan a road trip
  9. Make a bucket list together
  10. Pick out outfits at a thrift store for each other – photo op! 
  11. Make a time capsule 
  12. Volunteer at a food bank together
  13. Volunteer at a pet shelter together
  14. Get matching tattoos
  15. Try a new restaurant 
  16. Paint/wine night
  17. Try a new theme park
  18. Go paint pottery together
  19. Go camping
  20. Go hiking
  21. Upcycle a piece of furniture together from thrift store finds
  22. Have lunch together with each others’ moms
  23. Take a cooking class
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Play a board game 
  26. Do a puzzle 
  27. Watch a matinee movie
  28. Plant a garden
  29. Try knitting/crocheting
  30. Go to the gym
  31. Take a yoga class
  32. Find a local farmers market
  33. Make a scavenger hunt for someone else 
  34. Fondue night
  35. Go zip lining 
  36. Go cart racing
  37. Get your Christmas shopping done (super early!) and wrap your gifts
  38. Play cards
  39. Go antiquing 
  40. Fold oragami 

Defining Friendship

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/friendship

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/friend

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acquaintance

I have never had an abundance of friends. I like it that way! I have lots of acquaintances, but less than a handful of friends. Finding people who meet my definition (not Merriam-Webster’s) of friendship has been difficult. Creating a friendship takes effort and time. It takes two people intentionally acting together to learn and grow.

I knew Adriene and I would be friends when I witnessed her keeping her roommate accountable. She took a risk and had an awkward conversation to better her friend. How cool! She came into my life at a time that I had no friends physically to near me. We have grown immensely together and separately in the time that we have been friends and that’s exactly how we planned it. We try to push each other to be better each conversation we have. Our friendship defines friendship for me. Dependability, loyalty, lack of judgment, encouragement, and love. That’s what a true friend is to me!

How do you define friendship?

Friendship February

phonto

Last February – the month of loooveee – we dedicated most of our posts to what we adored! This February we are focusing on a different, more specific kind of love. The love of friendship! This is perfect for us, because Allison and I have had MANY conversations about how true friendship is good for the soul. The older I get, the more thankful I am for the friendships that have been active for so long.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. (NIV)

We’ll be filling up the blog with content so warm and fuzzy, you’ll feel the love too. So, join us this month in celebrating the joys of friendship!

 

No More Self-Hate 

No More Self Hate

Some people are full of confidence – some are not. I am part of the latter group. I don’t think I quite noticed how severe my self confidence deficit was until after college. Or, maybe, it’s more that I understood why I had such low self confidence in the first place.

I’ve always felt like I was mediocre. It seemed to me that in everything I attempted, I was second place, decent but not great, passable but not ideal. There is never a shortage of memories of how I just didn’t quite measure up.

Even now, I’m attempting to complete a higher education degree and it feels like it’s taking FOREVER. I’ve been taking a few classes here and there while working, being a mommy, and just doing life. I wish I was a super-mom with all the capabilities of doing it all and not missing a beat, but I am not. Even with my best effort, my grades are not where I want them to be and although I haven’t even applied for the program I want to be in, I feel like a failure. For some reason, this realization just really gets to me. I know I’m not perfect, and never will be, so why does this bother me so much?

What I think it boils down to is: History.

I never knew how much I self-deprecated until a friend was honest enough to tell me. I said sorry A LOT and it was annoying, even to me. I felt the need to apologize for who I was and what I did to almost everybody. Most days when I looked in the mirror I was able to pick out every unflattering thing about me and I found myself saying those things out loud! I’ve been doing this for years and I never noticed how much I was confirming my self-hate. Day after day, year after year, I have been disapproving of myself for so many silly stupid things. Those little things build and become bigger things, and before you know it, you’re telling yourself that you can’t do anything and you’re a useless human being.

Unfortunately, I think this is something a lot of women do. I remember seeing my mother look at herself in the mirror and say awful things too. I don’t blame her for what I do to myself, but I do think it influenced the way I learned to look at myself. She grew up in an age where women were expected to do a lot and didn’t have many resources for emotional help along the way. The media too, has not helped this. I have watched countless hours of television telling me how I ought to look, how to act, and what to buy to help me be the “best me”. All with an underlying message that who I am at the core is just not enough.

So, I’m DONE. I’m done telling myself I’m not good enough. I’m done with satan telling me lies upon lies about why I’m sub-par. It helps no one, and it definitely doesn’t help me reach any goals along the way. This is not how God intended me to see myself. I have a daughter now, and I don’t want her to learn how to self-hate. My husband reminds me not to say self-depreciating  comments because soon enough those little ears will hear, and that little mouth will say! I want her to grow to be a gentle, confident, and loving woman, so I’m doing my best to be a gentle, confident, and loving mother.

It is my hope, that if you suffer these things as well, you can feel good in knowing that others struggle with this too and that there is HOPE. We don’t have to live this way – it just takes some good ole’ elbow grease in cleaning up our language and our thoughts. I know it won’t fix all my troubles in a day, after all – it did take many years for me to get this way – so it will take many years to erase the word graffiti I’ve plastered on. But today I am making the choice to leave the self-hate behind, and move forward into the hope of the future. Today I make the choice to have no more self hate.

Reading Challenge: Book One

My first fitted bespoke bookcase

Starting the year with a book in hand is something I rarely do. I usually have lofty goals of reading lots of books during the year, but getting started isn’t an easy thing for me. This year I stepped up my goal setting by accepting a reading challenge. It gives me a more solid path to follow when selecting a book. By giving me a list of types of books, I am able to find a book that fits and just begin. I don’t have to struggle with the question, “what should I read?”, for quite as long.

My first category I selected to read from was: A book that’s becoming a movie this year.

The Revenant. A book about revenge.

This book is a little out of my comfort level. I typically read young adult dystopian novels, but I want to expand the scope of my reading to gain from the variety available. This book has a different feel, a gritty and honest book that speaks of a rougher time in America. Glass my not have the purest of intentions, but his determination to reach his goal is inspiring. Throughout the book you see Glass face many struggles that seem insurmountable, but he lets nothing stop him from reaching the finish line. I think this theme proves that I picked the perfect book to start off my year!

The goal for this year’s list is not to just read, but to grow through reading. I want to challenge my current thoughts and assumptions through choosing new and exciting books I would usually pass by. I started this year with a hefty challenge and I anticipate a wealth of stimulating thought coming from it!

What are some of the books you plan to tackle this year? Will you join me in my reading challenge?

Staying Motivated 

Motivation

I think this post couldn’t come at a better time. I usually start the year highly motivated, but this last week kind of wrecked it. I’m not sure if it was the weather, or what I call the “media blues” (everything on the news and feed is so dang depressing), or hormones – but I was in a funk.

This happens ever so often. There have been a lot of things not going my way. My to-do list is growing faster than I can handle. It’s been an easy spiral to said funk, and I’m quite aware of it. It’s made me feel inadequate and mediocre in most aspects of my character.

It’s at this point I know something needs to change. So what does one do to be rid of this mood?  I’d thought I’d share a list of things I do to stay motivated when life is really getting me down. I’m still building the list of course, not all of it works every single time – but I know that it’s a step in the right direction, even when I feel like I have no direction!

  • Call a friend. You know, the one who is possibly doing more crazy ambitious stuff in a shorter timeframe than you and is “killin’ it”. I have this one – she’s the most organized person I’ve ever met and I absolutely love her for it. She’s great at keeping me focused on long-term goals and making sure I don’t sweat the small stuff. Instead of wishing I was like her and all her glorious get-it-done attitude, I try to learn from her and efficient ways. Make sure this friend is a real friend, and not someone who is going to put you down or make you feel even more guilty.
  • Take a shower. It probably sounds silly, but this does work for me. Just getting up and getting fresh changes my mindset. It’s sort of like a cleansing of the mind along with the physical cleansing too. It’s sort of like a reset button for me. This is why I usually shower in the morning, so that it starts my day off right.
  • Make a list. Of course! I try writing down everything that is on my mind, and all the things I need to do. I start in no certain order, just whatever is floating around in the noggin. After I feel like I’ve gotten it down on paper and in front of me, then I can organize and prioritize! I usually keep a running list of “to-do’s” in my planner, but sometimes I just need to re-write it and start new.
  • Pray. Whether or not you are religious, taking time to just breathe and talk out the stress will help! I believe in God, and I’m forever thankful that he’s there for me to talk to – especially those days when I don’t want to hear people give me advice, and I just want someone to listen. He’s the best listener out there! This usually helps me calm down, and refocus on what is important. It may not be motivational per say, but it does help me level out.
  • Keep some quotes around. I met a classmate once who had a sticker on his computer that said “work hard, stay humble” on it. I thought it was such a good idea, since I look at my computer every single day – what a good reminder! I don’t have much of an office space right now, but I have a goal that when I set up one, I will integrate motivational quotes into the setting. Really, I could do this anywhere – maybe my vanity mirror or the bathroom, or even the kitchen sink!
  • Keep a list of your long term goals. This year I have done that! I made a list of resolutions, and I look at them once in a while so that I can remind myself of what all my hard work is going toward.

Thats my list, but I’m always looking for more ways to stay motivated/ Tell me, what do you do to stay motivated? Comment below!

Resolutions for 2016

phonto

Allison and I have been friends for over 7 years now, and one of the best things about our relationship has been our vow to be accountable for each other. We don’t always keep up with it like we should, but it is SO SO good to have a friend who I can confide in and who still likes me when I fail. We are constantly trying our best to help each other be our best. One way we do that is by setting goals. New Years is always a great time for us because we have fun dreaming about the future, and making lists of what we want to accomplish. Knowing the other is on the look out makes it that much better! So, to keep up with our accountability we are posting our resolutions on the internet. Here are mine! See her’s here!

  • -Apply to Medical Schools (by June 1st)
  • -Keep up with baby photo book and organization
  • -Visit (at least) 3 new cities/places
  • -Blog weekly
  • -Sew an article of clothing for myself
  • -Memorize 12 Verses (see them here)
  • -Limber up: stretching to do the splits by 2017
  • -Squat more than my body weight
  • -Monthly Exercise Challenge
  • -Get a second PRN nursing job or side job
  • -Get involved in a Bible Study
  • -Learn basic scales on the piano (again)

2016Goals

What are your resolutions? Share with us!