Why We Decided Not to Move

Last week I shared a post where I briefly mentioned that we had considered moving. The decision to stay in our blue house was not an easy one, and it was definitely a decision where we considered multiple factors. Arriving at the decision to take on adding two expensive outdoor features (pool and detached garage) was not easy. In fact, we spent years studying the housing market in our area, crunching numbers, and weighing the pros and cons. Ultimately, we decided that moving was not our best option. I’m sure I’m not the only adult who has faced (or is currently) facing life-altering decisions regarding whether or not to sell, so I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few of the deciding reasons we decided to stay.

Location, Location, Location

Our county is fairly large for our area, and moving to a different location within our county would drastically affect where we live. Currently, we can be to the interstate in 7 minutes. Our county has several interstate on ramps in different areas, and the one we live near gives my husband an extra 40 minutes every single day. That time adds up over the course of a week, month, or year. Not only are we near the interstate, we have an easy drive to the interstate with zero traffic lights. We are also five minutes (or less!) away from Walmart, multiple grocery stores, Hobby Lobby, our favorite movie theater, my gym, restaurants, and multiple family members. In my family, we’re the nearest to my grandmother who was just diagnosed with dementia. Knowing that I can be to her in three minutes is priceless. Our subdivision is also just outside of the city limits, but there is one house within our neighborhood inside the city limits. Because of that one house, our entire subdivision is zoned to receive city services without the higher taxes. In addition to all of the above, we have wonderful neighbors and live in a community where I feel safe. All of the homes in our neighborhood are well maintained with spacious lots. I just can’t imagine finding a better location.

Numbers

There were a lot of numbers that factored into our decision-making process. First, we have a fair bit of equity in our house. This was the trickiest part of the number game to consider. Having equity meant that we could cash in the equity on this house in order to upgrade to a house that met more of our wish list items. (More about our wish list in a moment.) However, equity also meant that we had a safety net and a low monthly mortgage payment. Selling our house and cashing in on the equity was a gamble that I wasn’t willing to take without doing my research first. So, I spent a couple of years watching the market. Housing prices in our county have remained steady – and honestly a little high – for the past few years. Our blue house wasn’t in the best shape when we purchased it, so we bought it for a low price. Finding another low-priced house that met our needs just wasn’t financially feasible. Similarly, purchasing land and building wasn’t fiscally responsible either. Numbers don’t lie, and they were telling me that we needed to stay in our blue house in order to live comfortably within our means.

Flipping?

I should mention that we also considered selling this house, moving into a smaller house, and flipping it for a quick profit. This was not an ideal solution for a number of reasons. First, I don’t want to downsize just to upsize again in a year or so. That would mean storing our furniture or selling it all just to repurchase something similar. Second, neither of us wanted to put in the labor required to flip another house. Getting our house ready to go on the market would take considerable work, and then we’d have to deal with keeping it spotless until it sold. I can’t even imagine having to get our 3 pets out of our house each time someone requested a showing. Then, we’d have to sell things, move, and completely renovate another house while living in it. This is not the quality of life we want for ourselves, so this option was quickly eliminated.

Wish List

No house is perfect. Even a house built just for us would have flaws. When considering moving, we had to take a hard look at our house and the areas in which we wished it could improve. In no particular order, our wish list for this house included:

  1. More garage space.
  2. A larger dining room.
  3. Separate office space for me.
  4. A pool.
  5. A larger laundry room.
  6. A second living room space for gaming and family gatherings.

However, our blue house has so many wonderful features that I have not seen in similar houses in our area, such as:

  1. A very large master suite.
  2. A completely renovated master bathroom that suits our needs and taste.
  3. A gas stove.
  4. A perfect location.
  5. A large, flat corner lot.
  6. A large, fenced-in yard.
  7. A color palette, fixtures, and furnishings that we chose for ourselves.
  8. Just the right amount of square footage.
  9. Potential to grow.

When you compare the lists, there’s obviously more to love about this house than there is to dislike. Plus, we knew we could overcome the majority our house’s shortcomings through renovations. Adding a pool and detached garage would solve numbers 1, 4, and 5 on our list. We could expand our laundry room into our attached garage if we no longer needed that garage closet space directly on the other side of the laundry room. We can gain a second living room space by finishing the bonus room space above our current garage. And, we can swap my office and dining room spaces if we find that we need more space in those areas. The sunroom I use as my office is long and narrow, which would accommodate our dining room table. The current dining room has more wall space that would help me to gain better office storage while also separating my workspace from our living area better. Alternately, I could use some of the bonus room space for a totally separate office space.

When we thought about our home desires, we realized that we already had everything we needed right here. Not only did our house have the potential to meet all of our wish list items, it just makes financial and practical sense to stay here. In our first house, we tackled every project with the resale value in mind. Even the paint choices in our first house were selected with the future buyer in mind. It paid off, but we never totally felt at home there. In our blue house, we made decisions for us, and it feels like home.

A 31st Birthday Wish List

Whew! April has been a crazy month! My pop-up business opened in March and continued through mid-April, and then I went to the beach for a week. It was a wonderful month, and I was certainly glad for the rest at the end.

My birthday is in exactly one month, so I thought it might be fun to put together a wish list in case anyone else was wondering what to get the 30-something woman in their life for an upcoming birthday or Mother’s Day gift.

    1. KitchenAid Ceramic Mixer Bowl
  1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette

  2. Kendra Scott Elisa Silver Pendant Necklace In Platinum Drusy

  3. Lunea Patterned Sneakers

  4. Folding Travel Mirror with Light

  5. Honey House Naturals Bee Bar

For my own mother, I ordered something a bit more personalized for her Mother’s Day gift to help her enjoy her morning coffee. I hope she enjoys it as much as I think she will!

How Exercise Helps Me Achieve My Goals

I recently shared my list of goals for the year and announced my word of the year: WORK. After that post, I realized I wanted to share a bit more about why I chose the word “work” to intentionally drive and focus my year ahead. Intentionally focusing 2017 around the word “work” was a decision I made during the last quarter of 2016 after a lot of reflection and prayer. 2016 was, by and large, a year of grad school for me. After I completed my coursework in September, I spent the remainder of the year resting, reflecting, and looking ahead.

Making 2017 my year of work lead me to some (somewhat) unexpected places: I’m finding time for exercise. In the past, it always seemed counterintuitive to me that so many successful people I knew made time for exercise. Wouldn’t it deplete their energy? How do they come back from the gym looking so happy? Where do they find time for the activities they actually enjoy?

I now know that exercise gives energy rather than depleting it. I also know that finding an exercise that’s enjoyable not only leaves me feeling happy, but it is also becoming an activity I look forward to most days.

My exercise routine is not one intended to transform myself into a body builder or to rapidly drop weight. Instead, the purpose of my routine is to help me have more energy and happiness. Focusing on work this year meant that I absolutely had to find a way to be more productive with my time, and exercise has helped me find more energy, which, in turn, has made it feel as if I have more time to dedicate to all those areas needing my attention.

Instead of feeling encumbered by needing to log an hour at the gym or 30 minutes on the treadmill, I know that I’ll gain enough energy to help me get through all of my tasks ahead.

Here’s some benefits I’ve noticed from regular exercise in my own life:

  1. More energy.
  2. More mental focus and clarity.
  3. I’m making better use of my time. Rather than crashing on the couch for several hours each evening out of sheer exhaustion, I’m now accomplishing more with my time because I feel better.
  4. I’m more intentional about taking my AdvoCare products, which make me feel better every single day.
  5. I’m happier.
  6. I’m sleeping better.
  7. I have more fun in my life.
  8. Household chores no longer exhaust me.
  9. I’m saying “yes” more.
  10. My work is more focused. I’m making better use of my time.
  11. Travis and I are spending more quality time together playing games, doing puzzles, or some other activity I never had the energy for before.

For the longest time, I thought exercise was absolutely no fun at all. In fact, I hated it. Finding the right routine for me has really changed my mindset about exercise. So, what’s my exercise routine look like?  I see a personal trainer for one hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I try to walk/jog on my treadmill for 30-40 minutes at least one day a week (usually Monday), I do a yoga flow class on Friday, and I try to be a little active in some way during the weekend. Examples: walking the dog, yard work, cleaning, etc.

I don’t have a stringent program that’s impossible for me to keep up with. In fact, I don’t always have time in my schedule for this exact routine, but I do the best I can. I know that I have two hours scheduled every week with my trainer, and I do the best I can to squeeze some activity into every single day. And, it’s totally working for me right now! Have I lost a ton of weight? Nope. Have I lost some weight? Yep. I feel so much better every single day that I truly think in the year ahead I’ll be able to continue focusing on exercise to help me do great things during my year of “work.”

2017 Goals and My Word of the Year

This year, I’m planning to simplify my goals a bit and only concentrate on a few for our home. Instead, I’m going to focus on a word this year. In years’ past, I’ve definitely had a major, overarching goal that could have been summed up by one word. For example, last year would have been school or MBA. But I’ve never publicly shared that word — until now!

My Word of the Year

This is going to be my year of WORK. I’ve finished my master’s degree, and it’s time to crush it professionally. This means I plan to work extra hard this year to make myself indispensable to my company. I work remotely, and I absolutely love my job. I want to make sure this year they know just how important they are to me. After having a career with some serious ups and downs, I feel like I’ve finally found a workplace to call home. Working from home sweetens the deal!

I also purchased a small business at the end of 2016. I know, Crazy! I haven’t decided how much to share about this new business venture here on the blog, but I’m sure there might be some crossover at some point. For now, let me just summarize a bit: I purchased a consignment event business from a person who started it from the ground up. This meant I purchased all of the equipment as well as the intellectual property. I have a business partner, and I really love knowing I can lean on her. She’s definitely part of my tribe. However, my business partner and I definitely have our work cut out for us. We’re changing the business name, creating a new website, implementing new banking and tax procedures, and moving the consignment sale events to a new town all while learning how to run a business.

Additionally, I’m setting a goal for myself to blog a minimum of 18 times this year. This means I must post at least once a month. I would really like to find a blogging rhythm this year. I have plenty of post ideas to share!

House Goals

  1. Add deck skirting to the front porch.
  2. Paint the last door in our house black.
  3. Tile the kitchen backsplash. (Check out some of the options I’ve been considering here.)
  4. Work on the overall curb appeal of our home.

It’s definitely going to be a busy year, but I’m really excited for what’s ahead!

Sitting Room Inspiration

A few months ago I realized that I had a desire to create a retreat within our home for me. Now that I work from home, I spend the majority of my time in our home’s office. I absolutely adore working from home, but sometimes I find myself craving a change of scenery. At first, I considered creating a backyard ‘she shed.’ But, then, that seemed overwhelming for a lot of reasons. First, I know I wouldn’t consistently use it if it wasn’t attached to the house. Secondly, a ‘she shed’ would be a tremendous expense and require more energy and time than I cared to give. Creating a backyard ‘she shed’ oasis simply wasn’t a good idea.

But then I realized that I have a perfectly suitable space already in my home: the back guest bedroom. The majority of our guests choose to sleep in the front guest bedroom because it has a larger bed, so it wasn’t being utilized very much at all. Plus, due its location, it feels pretty separate from the rest of the house. Which makes this room the perfect location for a quick escape.

blue-house_BackGuestBedrom at BetweenWeekdays.com

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted my new sitting room to function, look, and feel. I knew it needed to work as a space where I could watch Netflix, read, and work on craft projects and gift wrapping on the floor. But the room also still needed to be able to function as a guest room when needed. I also needed to accomplish this on a small budget. In terms of the look and feel for this room, I knew I wanted it to not clash with the rest of our house but to still feel unique. Since this room’s purpose is to be an escape of sorts, I decided to decorate it with light pink accents throughout so it would stand out from the rest of our house. The first step in deciding how I wanted the room to look was creating a Pinterest board. From there I pulled the below images to create a mood board of sorts for my new sitting room. So, what are the plans?

1. Pink!

I plan to paint an accent wall Quartz Pink by Valspar. I’ve heard that designers are tired of the accent wall trend, but I still love an accent wall from time to time. The rest of the walls will stay Montpelier Madison White by Valspar keeping the walls all very soft in color. (Our front guest bedroom and the hallway connecting the two bedrooms is also painted Montpelier Madison White by Valspar, which helps the spaces feel cohesive.) I also plan to sprinkle pink accents throughout the room with decor.

2. Daybed

In order to keep the functionality of a guest bedroom while also providing a lounging space for me, a daybed is in order. I plan to keep the existing mattress and box springs and add them to a daybed frame. I really like the black metal frame on this particular daybed, because I think it will help the sitting room fit in with the rest of our house, which has a lot of black accents throughout.

3. Pillows

Daybed Pillows at BetweenWeekdays.com

In order for the daybed to feel like a couch, I plan to add a lot of pillows of various sizes. In the photo above, the first pillow is a euro sham, the second is a large decorative pillow, and the third is a smaller, faux fur accent pillow. I would also like to add in some purely decorative pillows like this or this.

4. New Lighting

I came thisclose to purchasing this light for my sitting room. It’s beautiful, but I’m on a budget with this room. I already own something that I think will look absolutely perfect in this room once it’s given a little makeover using the light above as inspiration.

Here’s hoping I can get this room pulled together before football season kicks off in earnest. I definitely need a retreat from my husband’s football viewing schedule.

Grad School Survival Kit

I recently completed coursework for my master’s degree. During the last year and a half, I’ve been exhausted, overworked, and pushed to my breaking point, but I have proven to myself time and time again that I am far more capable than I give myself credit.

Along the way, I’ve relied on a few simple things to keep me motivated and productive. Since school is back in session for so many this month, it seemed like a good idea to share the products that helped me through my accelerated master’s program.

First up on my list is AdvoCare Spark Energy. Last fall, I relied on coffee to give me the extra boost of energy I needed in the morning. However, I crashed HARD every single afternoon, and I was gaining weight from the tasty additions (flavored creamers, sugar, etc.) to my morning brew. With Spark, I have lost weight while receiving not only a morning boost but also mental clarity that lasts all day long. I can’t imagine starting my day any other way now. Plus the flavors are absolutely delicious.

The next item on my list is tiny but crucial to my ability to focus: bobby pins. (These are my favorite!) I have spent countless hours at my desk every single day for the past year and a half hunched over textbooks, and bobby pins ensure I can focus on the task at hand by keeping my hair out of the way. It’s a simple thing, but it makes a big difference.

A good planner. It’s been said time and time again that one simply cannot be organized without some type of planner, whether digital or paper based. In my world, if I don’t write an engagement down, it doesn’t exist. I’ve used a leather Day-Timer planner with monthly and weekly calendars for the past two years, and I love it. On each week, I insert a to-do list for all of the assignments I must complete each week. The entire thing zips up so it’s professional enough when I need to travel for meetings, etc. Plus, the entire thing is customizable to my preferences. I can also stuff quite a few extras inside it (calculator, pens, notes, business cards, etc.)

School Survival at BetweenWeekdays.com2

Lots and lots of paper. As an MBA student, I find myself constantly scribbling formulas and notes. I really like larger notebooks with dividers as well as project planners for individual assignments. The larger notebooks were especially handy for the math required in my accounting and finance classes, while I preferred the project planners for the individual projects required for each class as well as work meetings and projects.

I also discovered that I definitely have a preference when it comes to highlighters as gel highlighters are so much better than their marker counterpoints. I prefer the Sharpie brand of highlighters. Gel highlighters are mess free, and honestly, they’re just more fun to use.

Felt pens are also one of my favorite office supplies at the moment. I liked to use different colors for different classes when taking notes or filling out my planner. I also liked to coordinate my pen colors to my highlighter colors for study sessions. Having that visual representation in color really helped me when studying and preparing for the week ahead. (Felt pens are also good for taking mental health breaks to color  in adult coloring books!)

Tabs make it easy for me to reference my textbooks for important information. I adore the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery Tabs for several reasons:

  1. They’re large enough for me to write on.
  2. They’re pretty.
  3. The tabs remove easily when I’m done with the subject and it’s time to return my textbook.

I certainly am glad to not be heading back to the (virtual) classroom this semester, but I do hope some of these products may be beneficial to others who are. I still have one academic requirement left to complete before I can don a cap and gown again to earn my MBA this December, but, in the meantime, I’m glad to return to a slower pace for a few weeks and hopefully resume blogging on a more regular schedule soon.

2016 Goal Check In

Back in January, I made a list of goals for the year ahead. Since the year is halfway over, I thought it might be a good idea to check in to see if I’ve made any progress and also to see if I need to make any adjustments to my goals for the remainder of the year.

House Goals

I hope to accomplish much around the house this year. There’s a slight chance we will need to consider moving after I complete graduate school, so as much as I do not enjoy the thought of moving again I would like to be prepared as much as possible. Also, it’s much easier to coordinate home improvements while I’m working from home, which also may change after I have that diploma in hand. June update: we are no longer considering moving. My future job situation is still very much TBD.

The Blue House at BetweenWeekdays.com

  • Finish painting all of the doors black throughout our home. There’s only three left!
  • Complete the kitchen cabinets. After months of working with a contractor, we are on schedule to complete the kitchen cabinets in the next few weeks. June update: thankfully this never-ending task is DONE. 
  • Tile kitchen backsplash. June update: this should probably move to 2017…possibly 2018.
  • Replace dining room table. We’ve ordered a custom dining set, and we’re just waiting for it to be delivered.
  • Continue to steadily reduce clutter. June: steadily making progress.
  • Update the guest bathroom.
  • Continue the master bedroom closet makeover. June update: see the finished space here!
  • Stain the front porch and deck. June update: we’ve stripped the old stain from the porch!
  • Add risers to front porch stairs and skirting below the porch.
  • Continue making improvements to the outside of our home. In 2015, we repaired our fence and began working in the landscaping. This year I hope to accomplish a few more items to continue adding curb appeal to our blue house.
  • June update: finish my new sitting room. Details to come. 😉 
  • June update: take some new photos of the outside of our blue house. The one above is very old. 

In addition to this list, there are several other home-related tasks we will consider adding depending on what our long-term plans look like in a few months.

Personal

graduation-995042_640

  • Graduate from my graduate program. I am on track to complete courses at the end of the summer and to graduate in December with my MBA. June update: I have five weeks left of classes, a field test, and an exit survey separating me from my MBA. 
  • Celebrate our 30th birthdays. We will both turn 30 in May this year.
  • Complete two Advocare 21 day challenges. June update: I’m down 15 pounds and feeling fabulous. Message me if you’re interested in learning more about Advocare. I plan to complete two more challenges this year.  
  • Blog one time per month. June update: so far, so good! I very nearly forgot to blog in May, though.
  • Apply for adjunct professor positions. There’s a new program in our home state of Tennessee that provides a scholarship for high school seniors for two years of free tuition at community and technical colleges. It’s a wonderful program, and I’m hoping the influx of students will create more adjunct professor positions in our area.

And that’s it! This year is really going to be about focusing on schoolwork for me. I may update these goals a bit as the year progresses, but as of right now, my focus is on continuing my education. June: at this point, I’m almost singularly focused on completing grad school. 

Fake it Until You BECOME IT

If you’ve ever felt like a wallflower or as if you are powerless in your personal or professional life, I encourage you to take a moment to watch this TED Talk.

Body language not only shapes who you are but also how others perceive you. This is a lesson often hard learned by many introverts like myself in today’s society. Here’s to faking it until we make it!

 

New Beauty Favorites

Today I wanted to share some of the beauty products that I’m currently using and loving. From the left: evian’s mineral water facial spray, Aveda Air Control Hair Spray, Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette, Clinique Superdefense™ Eye Cream, and Clinique Calyx perfume.

A Few Favorite Beauty Products at BetweenWeekdays.com

1. evian Mineral Water Facial Spray

I’ve seen evian’s Mineral Water Facial Spray making the rounds on Pinterest, and I’m so glad I finally decided to try it. I’ll admit, it seemed a bit crazy to pay for a can of water, but I’m so glad I did. I use this spray to set my makeup, but I’ve read that other people use it to achieve beachy waves in their hair and to cool down after workouts or hot days. I’m pretty pumped to give it a try after tonight’s P90x session.

2. Aveda Air Control Hair Spray

I’ve struggled with hopelessly straight hair my entire life. When I was a little girl I would sleep in foam rollers before picture day hoping they’d take the pictures early in the morning before all of my curls fell out. We always want what we can’t have, right? I recently noticed that dying my hair changed its texture allowing me the option of actually curling my hair. But how do I make it last? Aveda’s Air Control Hair Spray provides a firm hold without weighing down my fragile curls. It’s a bit pricey, and I don’t like the smell. However, anything that helps me achieve gorgeous curls is a win in my book!

The photo below was taken of me at a holiday event where I discovered the Aveda hair spray. It’s amazing to finally have some options with my normally-lifeless hair.

New Beauty Favorites at BetweenWeekdays.com2

3. Urban Decay Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette

This is my second Naked eyeshadow palette, and I love the Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette just as much as much as my first experience with an UD palette. I specifically wanted this palette for its rosy hues, and I love applying the darker powders on top of my eyeshadow to make my makeup look polished without much effort on my part. If you’ve never tried this brand of eyeshadow, I highly recommend it. It’s definitely worth the high price tag.

4. Clinique Superdefense™ Age Defense Eye Cream

I just finished my first tube of Clinique’s Superdefense™ Age Defense Eye Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20, and I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve worn an eye cream since I was 19. I’ve tried different brands, but as I’m getting older I’m learning more of what I need and expect in an eye cream. I love that this is oil free and has SPF 20. Even when my eyes are extremely irritated from allergies, this cream doesn’t bother me. I put it on before bed and most mornings, too. I adore it. Plus, a tube lasts a surprisingly long time.

5. Clinique Calyx™ Fragrance

I’ll be honest: I do not like the way this perfume smells straight out of the bottle, but I love the way it smells on me. I probably would have never tried it if a friend hadn’t handed me a sample in her car one day telling me to try it. Clinique’s Calyx™ is the only perfume I’ve ever worn that I genuinely enjoyed wearing that didn’t give me a migraine. It doesn’t smell like flowers or something sweet. It’s subtle and beautiful. I don’t wear this perfume everyday, but I do always spritz it on for dates, girl time, or whenever I’m traveling.

I have two questions for you: what are your latest beauty finds, and who’s up for a trip to Ulta?

To see more of my favorite things, check out my Pinterest board.

2016 Goals

Happy 2016! Last year was a strange one for me, but I still managed to accomplish many of the goals I set. Here’s hoping I can do the same this year.

House Goals

I hope to accomplish much around the house this year. There’s a slight chance we will need to consider moving after I complete graduate school, so as much as I do not enjoy the thought of moving again I would like to be prepared as much as possible. Also, it’s much easier to coordinate home improvements while I’m working from home, which also may change after I have that diploma in hand.

The Blue House at BetweenWeekdays.com

  • Finish painting all of the doors black throughout our home. There’s only three left!
  • Complete the kitchen cabinets. After months of working with a contractor, we are on schedule to complete the kitchen cabinets in the next few weeks.
  • Tile kitchen backsplash.
  • Replace dining room table. We’ve ordered a custom dining set, and we’re just waiting for it to be delivered.
  • Continue to steadily reduce clutter.
  • Update the guest bathroom.
  • Continue the master bedroom closet makeover.
  • Stain the front porch and deck.
  • Add risers to front porch stairs and skirting below the porch.
  • Continue making improvements to the outside of our home. In 2015, we repaired our fence and began working in the landscaping. This year I hope to accomplish a few more items to continue adding curb appeal to our blue house.

In addition to this list, there are several other home-related tasks we will consider adding depending on what our long-term plans look like in a few months.

Personal

graduation-995042_640

  • Graduate from my graduate program. I am on track to complete courses at the end of the summer and to graduate in December with my MBA.
  • Celebrate our 30th birthdays. We will both turn 30 in May this year.
  • Complete two Advocare 21 day challenges.
  • Blog one time per month.
  • Apply for adjunct professor positions. There’s a new program in our home state of Tennessee that provides a scholarship for high school seniors for two years of free tuition at community and technical colleges. It’s a wonderful program, and I’m hoping the influx of students will create more adjunct professor positions in our area.

And that’s it! This year is really going to be about focusing on schoolwork for me. I may update these goals a bit as the year progresses, but as of right now, my focus is on continuing my education.

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