Monthly Archives: December 2013

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goodbye debt: the needs vs. wants list

December 31, 2013

On our way home from family Christmas festivities up north, Wes and I talked about our goals for 2014. I mentioned the things on my 25 before 26 list, of course, and thought about the goals that might be declared as New Year’s Resolutions. I saw no purpose in making another list of goals that included things like tackling baking challenges or mass closet organizations. So, Wes and I decided to tackle something together for 2014: our debt.

In our relationship, Wes manages the money much more than I do. When we got married I had this idea that I couldn’t relinquish any of that control over to Wes. I might have some trust issues–definitely working on those. The truth is, he is better at budgeting, investing, and generally keeping track of passwords, and the busier I became with school and work, the more he just took over. And thank goodness for that–someone has to keep track of it all!

Unfortunately, because I don’t pay attention to our finances, I tend to overspend. You know how they say most committed couples tend to fight about money most often? It’s true. We often argue about where our money is going and who spent what and why. It’s not fun to talk about money when you aren’t swimming in it, and when you’re the frivolous spender in the relationship (me) those discussions are often filled with a lot of guilt and “you’re not my mom!” accusations towards the other person.

Last year we tried to tackle our spending habits, but it’s very hard for us to find the time to evaluate our spending together. We did set a budget, and tried meeting once a month to discuss where we overspent, and establish small goals for the next month. Truth be told, we just didn’t find the time to have these discussions, and both of us continued to overspend in various areas at various times.

This year, we have decided to force ourselves to budget by tackling a very concrete thing: the mountain of debt we have accumulated as students. To begin, we started researching tools that both of us were interested in using to help us with our task. Things like Mint.com and online billing became buzzwords, and we started reading And Then We Saved, a blog about eliminating large amounts of debt in a short amount of time. As of January 1, 2014, we will be embarking on The Spending Fast ® and plan to eliminate 20K+ in debt in about a year and a half.

We recently put together our Needs vs. Wants list, and in an effort to remain accountable, I am sharing it with you today!

We thought making this list would be pretty challenging, but it developed pretty quickly. The hardest things to justify on either list were gifts and Hulu/video games. We’re having a hard time putting the kibosh on any birthday gifts, baby shower gifts, Christmas gifts. So while we’ve added it to the WANTS list, we decided it would be okay to reevaluate this decision on a case by case basis. Perhaps we’ll have spending room around one birthday and not another, or will be able to budget $10 a gift around Christmas instead of the usual $20. We also had a hard time justifying our Hulu subscription and the occasional video game purchase from Steam.com, but on the NEEDS list it remains. TV is my default form of entertainment and Wes games more than anything. We realize that it might be desirable to use this opportunity to diversify the way we spend our time, but also see that as an entirely different kind of challenge, and maybe one we’re not willing to tackle right now. So I suppose we’ll remain sedentary in our hobbies and selfish in the fact that we didn’t swap gift giving with our entertainment subscriptions.

There you have it. I’m getting ready to go print that list and then spend every last penny we have before I’m allowed to spend no more. (Kidding!)

Catherine

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in which the chronic non-finisher actually accomplishes a goal + giveaway winner

December 24, 2013

With December quickly rolling towards the New Year, it’s officially time to review last year’s resolutions and start dreaming up some new ones. Last year, I made a pretty comprehensive list full of things I wanted to tackle. After reviewing, I’m pretty impressed with my progress, considering I am notorious for starting things without ever actually finishing them. Like ever. Here’s a quick highlight of what I actually accomplished.

establish a morning routine

I have officially become a morning person. No longer can I sleep past 9AM. This is definitely the result of no longer working nights and just wanting to have more hours in the day in general. Also coffee. I just up and decided to like coffee.

listen to more music

I don’t really know how I did this, but I think I was just desiring to listen to a larger variety of music as well as break out Spotify a little more often. I tend to listen to the same stuff over and over again, and I tried really hard to take Becca’s recommendations seriously, and not just revert back to the tunes I could hum along to. I only wish I’d listened to a lot of these bands sooner (some were producing music when I was in high school, but I stuck to Britney Spears for a long time…). Wes also got me a record player for my birthday so we’ve been having a lot of fun finding records and stand to inherit a large collection from his dad this Christmas!

make time for friends

A little progress here…I’ve hosted a handful of craft days here and there. I got together with some great friends for a Christmas present wrapping party. That’s pretty much it. I think this will probably remain as a resolution for 2014!

become a better budgeter

Nope. I added an event to my Outlook calendar for the last Saturday of every month and ignored the alert every. single. time. Maybe it shouldn’t be on a Saturday. How many 25 year olds budget on a Saturday night? Obviously not this one. Going into 2014, Wes and are planning on doing a Spending Fast from And Then We Saved. We’ve made a wants vs. needs list, documented all of our debt, and will hopefully be debt free in about 18 months. Depending on whether or not I find a job and how committed we are to curbing spending, we could have it eliminated in less than 10…I’ll keep you updated!

organize files from a few old laptops and hard drives

Done and done. It was boring. It took hours. My left butt cheek went numb. But I did it. Now to tackle the photos on my current laptop. Egads.

get to the salon and have my hair did

You know how this went down. The Pixie of 2013. I hated it while I had it, I miss it now that it’s gone. I think I will forever be mildly dissatisfied with my hair. Oh well! These days I’m rocking a short bob and I’m excited to try this style soon.

limit TV watching

This actually happened. Except for marathoning Alias while bingeing on homework, I can truly say I whittled down the time I spent in front of the TV to one to two hours a day. This is a huge accomplishment for this sitcom junkie!

curate library

Ahh yes, the epic book purge of 2013. I’ll tell you what, when it came right down to it, I donated a lot more than I actually read. At least books no longer cover the stairs and collect dust bunnies while stacked in the corners. I tried my darndest to just keep books that I truly loved or wholeheartedly intend to read! Interestingly enough, my favorite read, The Serpent and the Scorpion by Clare Langley-Hawthorne, wasn’t even from my own books–it was originally Becca’s. These days,  my current book obsession is collecting vintage Agatha Christies.

develop ideas for an Etsy store

Ehh. This may never happen. I can dream the idea but have poor execution. I think I expect to be able to sit down at a sewing machine and draw upon the sewing skills of ancestors past. That doesn’t happen.

make a quilt

Again with the whole inability to actually sew without ending up bawling in the corner for hours…perhaps this goal will be set again for 2014.  I really want to buy this eCourse by Elise Blaha Cripe, even though she warns that you should be pretty comfortable with a sewing machine. But this is how I do things–go in with no know-how and come out with…a half sewn quilt and…a melted ball of plastic that used to be a sewing machine before I set it on fire. 

make some new kitchen towels

I think I might try to whip this one out before the year is over…I’ve been wanting to play with some bleach pens. You know–go the no sew route. In the meantime, I’ve accumulated some lovely material to make some new couch pillows with. Perhaps I’ll tackle those too.

spray paint a large accumulation of thrifts that I intended to update with a can of Krylon

Done and done. I spray painted a bedside table, some bathroom storage solutions, and a metal hamper that stores yoga mats in my living room. Next up: the orange chairs at my dining room table. I’m terrified to do this–I’m really nervous I’ll hate the color, but I don’t want to paint the plastic shell over and over again…

procrastinate less

I don’t know what it was. Maybe I’m older and wiser. Maybe it’s called “Oh hi, school with no job, nice to see you.” Or maybe it had something to do with watching less TV. Regardless, I had zero all nighters and zero melt downs. This turn of events is a far cry from my end-of-semester-freak-out last Spring in which I tried bargaining with the higher education gods: I spent a solid two hours during finals week trying to reconfigure my Fall 2013 schedule so that I could eliminate summer classes, and, thus, find the drive to complete a 20 page term paper I’d had all semester to tackle. Not pretty. Something else that’s  not pretty? Wearing sweats to class on a daily basis. Procrastinating less helped with my sloppy student look quite a bit, too.

 limit mental health days (read: skips) for seated classes to three per class

This goal came out of skipping an art class countless times and worrying whether or not I could actually be kept from passing. I had a whole speech ready. “Seriously? I graduated from Drury already. I have this college thing D-o-w-n with a capital D.” I would then prove that I had learned something by correctly pronouncing chiaroscuro. This time around, I just plain went to class.

work on organizing and decorating bedroom

I purged a lot. Got rid of a stodgy comforter that was too hard to actually wash and then get dry in this humid hell we call Missouri. I also repainted our dresser that had fallen victim to the most horrible DIY of all time.

develop a home cookbook

Kinda sorta? I made a file on my computer. I typed up a couple of recipes. I realized I don’t really come up with very many new recipes to warrant a fancy home cookbook.

buy a bookshelf

I found this great industrial shelf at an estate sale a while ago. I hemmed and hawed about purchasing it for a solid 30 minutes, and have decided it was definitely worth the six bucks!

reupholster my living room chairs

That sewing thing again…

limit Coca-Cola and drink more H2O

This was hard. I love Coke. I grew up on Coke. I drank Coke for breakfast every day during college. But I did it, and I credit swapping Coke out for coffee (with no sugar, I might add) with losing 6 pounds in November.  Buh-bye, Coke (and most other sugary drinks!)

train for a half-marathon

I want to love running. I try so hard. But I think, deep down, I actually hate it. This does not bode well for running any sort of fraction of a marathon. Ever.

eat a fresh salad a day

Since the semester started I have packed a huge salad full of veggies and a little bit of chicken for lunch every single day. Add some homemade avocado dressing and I’m full for HOURS. I was also happy to discover that I totally love green bell peppers, and now I eat them plain all the time. Love them.

take more pictures of Wes and I

Nope. Still working on this. Perhaps our coupledom will be the topic of my Photo a Day challenge I put on my 25 before 26 list. Or was it Photo an Hour? Hmm. Either way. I’m sure Wes will just love it!

have more date nights

Date night still mostly consists of trying to find a movie we both want to watch on Netflix. Why is this so hard? We recently mandated that one of us would have carte blanche in the movie choosing  every other week. Last week Wes chose Red Dawn. I am happy to report Wes  now holds the title of Worst Chooser Of Movies In The History Of Movies. Previously, I was a lone contender, after suggesting Christmas With the Cranks during the last holiday season. I predict that with a Spending Fast in effect for 2014, we will have to get particularly creative when it comes to dates.

make my wedding scrapbook

I’m not even sure where my wedding photos are. This makes my tummy hurt. I’m pretty sure Wes uploaded them to Dropbox, backed them up on an external hard drive, and then stashed the disk somewhere. I really need to sort this thing out. In the end, I’m pretty sure one of us will have grey hair before I actually get the event scrapbooked. And that person will be me, because by then Wes will have no  hair. (I love you, Wes!)

Alright. Apparently I favor decorating my apartment over improving upon date night, but…short hair don’t care! I know you made some resolutions last year, too. What were they? Did you make it happen? What’s on your radar for 2014? Comment below!

And before I forget, the lucky winner of the Happy Birthday Berndette giveaway is…

I would LOVE to win!

Posted by: apartment136|December 6, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Congratulations, Andrea! I’ll email you shortly and get your goodies shipped in no time.

Until next time,

Catherine

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the great foundation quest

December 9, 2013

Is it just me or is it impossible for any woman to find that one amazing foundation? My number one problem is the fact that most drug store brands don’t carry a color light enough for my skin. I’m quite fair, so it’s always annoying when the fairest shade in the color spectrum is ‘Classic Ivory’ which is  always a shade too dark for me.  My next big issue with foundation is the formula. I must have a foundation that glides on smoothly, with minimal tugging of the skin. My other requirements include SPF, absolutely no chemical smell, and no sticky residue after it dries. It’s a lot to ask for, I know, especially since it’s so hard to find my color in the first place. For the last two or three months it’s been my quest to find a foundation that works for me in every way, and that doesn’t cost as much as my rent.

Recently, I discovered a formula I like from L’Oréal.

But before I praise its glories, I’ll tell you about a couple of duds, first!

DUD #1: Flower Beauty About Face Foundation ($13 at WalMart)

I had high hopes for this foundation from Drew Barrymore’s new makeup line. I bought the lightest shade available in LF1 and it looked so white in the bottle that I almost went for LF2. The LF1 shade matched my skin tone perfectly, which is the only thing I liked about it, unfortunately.   The formula is thick, something I didn’t think was going to be problem, but it pulled my skin too much as I blended. The coverage is sheer and it’s not easy to build the liquid for a thicker coverage. The typical redness in my cheeks was never neutralized and any blemishes I had stood out like a beacon, regardless of how many times I dabbed more of the foundation on them.  Then comes the issues with the pump. I was drawn to the line’s pretty, eye-catching packaging, but it turns out that if you put the lid back on the pump, it all gets jammed and the only way to get foundation out is to unscrew the whole bottle. This annoyed me. And it’s happened with every bottle I’ve bought.

DUD #2: L’Oréal True Match Lumi ($11 at WalMart)

I decided to try the luminous line from L’Oréal and bought the porcelain/light ivory. I should’ve known better, with “light ivory” tacked onto the color description. Way too dark.  But,this formula was easy to apply and didn’t pull my skin during blending. I liked that it was still thick enough to build coverage, and was able to cover redder parts of my face pretty well. I also liked that it had SPF 20, but it did smell like sunscreen (sigh). Overall, I just wish the color matched better! If you can find your shade in this line, I would recommend it for it’s decent coverage, but avoid if you don’t like smelly foundation.

WINNER:  L’Oréal True Match ($7 on sale, originally $11 at Walgreens)

Walgreens was having a sale, so I jumped on the opportunity to try a new foundation for only $7! This is the best foundation I have found for me. It fulfills all of my requirements: it matches my skin tone, blends smoothly, has SPF 17 with no sunscreeny smell, and it dries completely with a matte finish that I like. To build coverage, I let it dry between layers of application, and the fact that it dries fast makes this process go a lot faster! I like this foundation a lot.

And now, my top  tips for applying foundation.

1. Always, always, always moisturize and exfoliate first. Protect your skin with SPF and if you notice any dry, scaly patches, squirt a little moisturizer onto a terrycloth wash rag and scrub it away. Dry skin makes foundation look flaky and, well, obvious. I usually have dry skin on my chin, and my sis says she has to Biore strip her nose three times a day just to make it smooth enough for BB cream! (I think she exaggerates here and there).

2. After dabbing foundation all over your mug, use a sponge to blend. Some people use their fingers, and I even read in a magazine recently that you shouldn’t use a sponge because it takes more product off than it leaves on. I, however, disagree and work to avoid putting bacteria on my face as much as possible. So, sponge it is. I would also recommend investing in a washable sponge like the one I’m using in the photos. It’s a little bit of an investment at $6, but a bag of 32 disposable wedges costs almost $4! I think it’s better on the pocket book and easier on Mother Nature, too.

3. Whether you use a sponge or your fingers, always use a blotting motion to blend, rather than a rubbing motion.  Rubbing pulls on the proteins in your skin that helps keep it taut. In addition, if you have some peach fuzz, rubbing against the direction of hair growth will accentuate it. And I don’t know about you, but I prefer to not accentuate my lady beard. Okay, so I don’t have a lady beard quite yet, but there is upper lip fuzz and my ancestry indicates I’ll be rocking the whiskers soon.

Do you have any foundation recommendations? I’d like to know your best drug store finds as well as department store finds!

xoxo,

Becca

P.S. Have you entered our first ever giveaway? If not, you should visit this post to learn how. Thank you for reading!

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happy birthday bernadette + giveaway

December 6, 2013

this giveaway is now closed.

Hello there! Is it snowing where you are? We are in the middle of a winter storm extravaganza here in Springfield, Missouri. It’s white. It’s cold. It’s frozen.

This week also marks Goodbye Bernadette’s ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! We are excited.

A year ago, we decided to transition our pilot blog (if you will) that was titled Cee Cee and the Bea over to WordPress, give it a facelift, yadda yadda yadda. We ended up with a name change, too, and a more focused vision of what we wanted this thing called a lifestyle blog to be about.

We’re going to continue writing about our everyday lives, the things we make, the beautiful things we discover, and my favorite–our ambitions. We LOVE sharing our aspirations here, and hope they inspire you like so many other bloggers have inspired the two of us.

As our lives change, you can expect the content to change with us. I am really anxious to develop content related to teaching over the next couple of semesters, through my student teaching, and as I transition into my first teaching position. All things teaching are really becoming a passion of mine (thank goodness, right?)! And, as Becca starts Beauty School, you can expect to see a lot of product reviews, beauty tips, and hair tutorials. She trims bangs like a BOSS! But the day-to-day, hopes & dreams stuff will always be here–we really just want to share this crazy life of ours with…everyone, apparently. 

Well anyway. Now that you know where we’ve been and where we’re going, we’d like to throw a big thank you your way for reading our blog. So, without further ado…here are the details on Goodbye Bernadette’s FIRST EVER giveaway! Spread the word!

We braved the snowstorm and had a little shopping spree at le Target (we like to say tar-jay with a soft j). The inspiration for our collection of goodies is one part wintery storm and one part–well, can you imagine two twenty-somethings on a free for all in Target? You better believe we were partial to things we would buy for ourselves! We also decided to match the color scheme of Goodbye Bernadette, for luck.

Giveaway includes Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling, a little floral compact mirror, a tin of Nivea hand cream, a tube of Baby Lips tinted chapstick,  an e.l.f. eyeshadow palette, and a blue knit scarf, just like Becca is wearing in the snowstorm!

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post. Giveaway ends December 20th, 2013 at 11:59 PM CDT. Open to Legal Residents (18 years of age or older) of the US only. Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. Winner will be selected by Random.org and be notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Make sure you leave your email address with your comment so if you win, we can contact you. By providing your information via your comment, you are providing your information to us and us alone. We do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner. Items for giveaway collectively valued at $38. Floral background material not included in giveaway. This giveaway was not sponsored by Target. All words are our own. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Good luck, and thank you for reading!