Four #FinanceGoals Reads

One of my Top 5 Goals on my 2019 Vision board was to focus on Career & Money. To put this into action, I have been reading personal finance books and sharing mini book reviews on Instagram @styleandsavings .

Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending by Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton suggests that we can increase our happiness, not by having more money, but by changing what we spend it on. Using psychology and behavioral research, they have come up with 5 principles some of which are counter-intuitive and may surprise you!

One of my fave bloggers recommended Bubbly on Your Budget by Marjorie Hillis earlier this year with a gorgeous Instagram photo. This book was written in the 1930’s and features beautiful vintage illustrations. The Style and Savings lifestyle of Living Luxuriously With What You Have is timeless!

Get Money by Kristen Wong is an interactive personal finance book geared towards millennials and written in a fun and relatable tone. As you read, level up by completing worksheets and viewing video tutorials on 
Then put what you’ve read into action and “Live the Life You Want, Not Just the Life You Can Afford”!

Happy Go Money: Spend Smart, Save Right and Enjoy Life by Melissa Leong combines happiness psychology with personal finance. To Do lists and “Money Talks” conversation topics at the end of each chapter will drive you to action –  including envisioning your future as a “Silver Fox” and building your retirement fund.
I was excited to read this book because it was published in 2019, written by a female author, and has a colorful cover – but it ended up being my least favorite of the four books I read. For a more comprehensive knowledge on how money impacts happiness, I recommend reading Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, which is one of the sources referenced in the book.

What are your 2019 Goals ? How do you stay motivated throughout the year?


On February 13th, 2018, thanks to my friend Veronica, I had the privilege of being in the same room with Michelle Obama.The stadium was packed with an audience excited to see the former First Lady and learn from her inspirational life journey. This past November, I was so excited when her memoir was released and spent most of my Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks on a cozy couch reading it.

In this post, I will share 14 top tips from Mrs. Obama’s story:

1 Be driven to excellence

During every phase in her life as a grade schooler,  Princeton undergrad, Harvard Law student, young professional, First Lady of the United States, and best selling author, Michelle Obama is driven to be the best at what she does. Whatever you do – be your best.

2 Be an advocate for yourself

As a kindergartener, Michelle Obama demanded that her teacher give her a second chance at a reading quiz. Don’t be afraid to speak up for what you feel that you deserve. 

3 Be prepared, punctual, have a plan

Having a father with a disability taught the Robinsons to be punctual to give him enough time to parking space close to where they were going. Losing a classmate to a fire taught them to be prepared and have a plan for surviving tough situations. This tip doesn’t just apply to emergencies, preparation and timeliness are keys to success in many areas of life. 

4 Be confident that you taught your children well and empower them to make their own choices 

Marian Robinson is described as having a Zen parenting style, saying: “I’m not raising babies, I’m raising adults”. Helicopter parenting is probably not good for anyone. 

5 Be around others who also value intellect & education 

As a kid, Michelle Obama had a cousin who teased her for speaking English properly, but when she went to Whitney M. Young magnet high school it was safe to be smart because she was surrounded by kids who had college aspirations. Spend time with people who have purpose and goals and want you to succeed. 

6 – Be a friend

From elementary school lunchtime to being a working mom in Chicago, one of Mrs. Obama’s habits has been to “keep a close and high-sprited council of girlfriends – a safe harbor of female wisdom”. Find a supportive group of friends that will not only serve as a social outlet, but also a support group. Give and receive help with each other’s families, vent, listen, celebrate successes, and share advice.

7 Be able to shake off the haters

Michelle Obama’s college counselor advised that she was “not Princeton material.” Ignoring this, she went on to graduate both Princeton and Harvard. After meeting many extraordinary people as first lady, she realized all accomplished people have doubters and critics – prove them wrong.

8 – Be intentional when choosing your man

A potential mate should be judged by character not from the outside in. Long lasting friendships, devotion to his mother, respect for independent women, and valuing truthfulness are some of the the qualities that the future Mrs. Obama saw in Barack Obama.

Good looks and finances can disappear, so find someone who is genuinely a good person that you love to spend time with.

– Be connected

People often get new jobs through connections and recommendations. Through a series of introductions, Michelle Obama was introduced to Valerie Jarrett, who offered her a job in Chicago’s City Hall and later became a Senior Advisor in the White House. Reach out to new people, learn about what they do and who they know. 

10 – Be your personal brand

As she became more connected, Michelle Obama had mentors that would reach out to her when they heard of an opportunity that matched her skills and interests. Build your personal brand, so others know what you can do.

11 – Be positive

Barack Obama started his political career as a community organizer, but did not run for office until his wife gave him the OK. Be supportive and encourage your loved ones to pursue their ambitions.

12 – Be focused on what you can control

When the 2008 campaign began, strategizing and scheduling were controlled by campaign managers. While we can do our best to be prepared for anything, we can’t control everything. Michelle Obama focused on finding warm winter hats for her daughters to wear when their dad announced that he was running for president.  When the big picture is overwhelming, focusing on handling smaller details can help keep you calm. When you delegate to others, trust them to do their job.

13 – Be where you’re irreplaceable

We all have limited time and need to prioritize how we spend it. Making sure her daughters had healthy meals at home was important, but working full-time and being on the campaign trail left less time for cooking.  After some consideration, the Obamas agreed to hire Sam Kass to cook dinners in their home a few nights each week.

“No one else could run my programs at the hospital. No one else could campaign as Barack Obama’s wife. No one could fill in as Malia’s & Sasha’s mother at bedtime.”

Don’t feel guilty about outsourcing chores like cooking,  grocery shopping, housekeeping or yard work in order to dedicate your time to being where you are irreplaceable.

14 – Be your values – transform them into action

If you are fortunate enough to find a career that aligns with your interests and values, you will feel connected to your work, more motivated to put in in the effort it takes to succeed (and exceed) and generally feel more fulfilled. If not, volunteer outside of work for a cause that you care about.

Reading this book before the start of a new year inspired me to think about my interests and values and to set goals to work towards becoming the best version of me.

What are some of your goals ? Share in the comments below!

I’m 29 1/2 !!

October is here which marks the half-way point in my 30 x 30 goals project

Here’s what I’ve been working on for the past 6 months:

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        13 Complete     4 In  Process

  1. Win Top 10 Under 40
  2. Travel to Rome
  3. Grow plants in garden boxes
  4. Send Christmas Cards
  5. Go Glamping
  6. Commit to Walking Team – May to September
  7. Try skiing
  8. Learn how to be happier in the wintertime
  9. Play tennis weekly for 8 weeks
  10. Learn Italian – practice for 90 out of 100 days (April-July)
  11. Write a book / document each item on this list
  12. Become a famous alumni
  13. Be a tourist in Indianapolis
  14. Try cake decorating
  15. Visit Notre Dame
  16. Be involved in a charity/cause I care about
  17. Create a Wedding Album
  18. Complete 2018 Reading goal (16 books)
  19. Go to a CycleBar class with Brooke – April 28th
  20. Walk the full distance around neighborhood pond
  21. Hang photos/art in the front room
  22. Decorate guest bathroom
  23. Buy new pajamas
  24. Learn the words to school fight song
  25. Research  local elected officials 
  26. Vote in a non-presidential election
  27. Visit Fair Oaks Farms
  28. Try making coconut syrup
  29. Make 6 new recipes from my Pinterest boards or Meal prep 20 meals
  30. Call or text 3 friends each week

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Keep it Together Blog Hop: Hobbies vs Minimalism

As I mentioned in a previous post, memory keeping involves soooo much keeping! Not only do we hang on to mementos to include in our photo books, many of us memory keepers  also have lots of craft supplies.

Between Project Life core kits and value kits, Heidi Swapp embellishments, and various subscription boxes we’ve become proud of showing off a haul and end up building up a stash of paper, pocket pages and cards we may or may not ever use.

In the past couple years as I became interested in minimalism, I have tried to be more conscious of what I spend money on and bring into my home. This hobby is one of the exceptions I’ve allowed myself lately, but I still want to clear out things I don’t expect to use instead of using the excuse of keeping them ” just in case”.

I’ve put together 2 kits of supplies that I would like to sell or swap. Reply in the comments or send me a DM if you’re interested!

15 items for $3.00 + shipping OR swap

  • Simple Stories Snap Studio 2 pocket pages (6×8 with 1 2×8 and 2 4×8 pockets)
  • Simple Stories Snap Studio 8 cardstock pages
  • Project Life 30 paper clips
  • 3 4×6 Project Life cards
  • 1 4×6 Project Life acetate overlay card
  • 1 3×4 Project Life acetate overlay card

15 items for $3.00 + shipping OR swap

  • Simple Stories Snap Studio 2 pocket pages (6×8 with 1 2×8 and 2 4×8 pockets)
  • Simple Stories Snap Studio 8 cardstock pages
  • Project Life 30 paper clips
  • 2 4×6 Project Life cards
  • 1 4×6 Project Life acetate overlay card
  • 1 3×4 Project Life acetate overlay card

What do you do to organize or minimize your craft supplies?

Let me know in the comments, or better yet – join the link-up!

Keep It Together Blog Hop: Heidi Swapp Travel Kit Unboxing


This month, I’m keeping this post short & sweet. I found a Heidi Swapp Travel Embellishment kit on clearance at Michaels and I want to share what’s inside!


Most of the albums I’ll be making are for vacation pictures, so the travel theme is perfect.

I had been wanting to use stamps for a while to decorate 3×2 cards, so I was happy to find a stamp set was inside. I ended up purchasing this acrylic stamp block to use them.  Also inside are 6 flagged paper clips and 7 tags.

This kit also included colorful washii tape strips, transparent stickers, regular stickers with travel-themed phrases,  a gold alpha/numeric sticker set and divider tabs for the most important nouns – people, places, and food and adventures!

To get this amount of items in the kit for $4.99 was a great deal!

How do you share or display your vacation photos?

Let me know in the comments, or better yet – join the link-up!

Glossies Made Me Do It – August 2018


This month’s “Glossies Made Me Do It” is inspired by Essence Magazine’s July/August issue.

This full page ad made me pick up a pint of Talenti Gelato

Inspired by upcoming travels, and the book Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch, I decided to give it a taste.


Photo Credit: Goodreads

Love & Gelato is categorized as Young Adult fiction, but it didn’t feel too immature for me to enjoy the story. Lina, the main character is a high schooler adjusting to her new home in Florence, Italy. Along with the typical experiences of having crushes and making friends, she is also getting to know her father and unfolding the secrets of her mother’s college years as a photography student in Italy .

I enjoyed the book Love & Gelato and the Talenti Gelato very much!

This is Style & Savings so of course I have a tip for you!

If there’s a Pay-Less Super Market (or Kroger) near you, download their app and clip this $1.00 off  Talenti Pints coupon to your Plus Card. Using the coupon, I was able to get a pint for $2.99

What have glossies made you do?

Click here for previous glossy posts ❤

Keep it Together Blog Hop: Low-Budget Project Life


I have always been sentimental – almost to a fault. I have saved so many photos, birthday cards, art projects from grade school, movie ticket stubs, programs from plays, etc. I started making scrapbooks in elementary school and have several scrapbooks of photos and memories from then through high school. In college I didn’t make time for scrapbooking (although I continued to collect meaningful items). During that time, we were all about sharing photos on Facebook.

After having not made a scrapbook for a while, I started to become interested again when I made Walgreens and Shutterfly photo books of  vacation photos. I hadn’t heard of Project Life or pocket scrapbooking until I saw it on My Favorite Things and started watching Simply Alexandra’s YouTube channel.

I was already familiar with Simple Stories because I used their 6×8 binder and the 4×6 pocket pages to hold my my postcard collection. They were perfect for that purpose, but I hadn’t really thought to use them for an album. I decided to give pocket scrapbooking a try!

First, I needed pictures. I like to print photos through Walgreens because they are often ready in 1 hour or less and the location is convenient. If I don’t need the photos right away, I wait to get a good coupon code in my inbox. The best deal that I have gotten is 10 cent 4×6 prints.

As a Project Life beginner, I found Simply Alexandra’s videos to be an inspiration and really helpful to learn what types of supplies to use.

Of course I wanted to have the stamps, cards, pocket pages, and washii tape – but all at low prices!

I don’t think I ever would have purchased Project Life cards if I hadn’t found value kits on clearances for $2 and $4 at Walmart. Looking at the original price, I knew this was an outstanding deal! I quickly fell in love with the colorful prints, fun wording, and embellishments.


After searching Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Jo-Ann fabric, I found Wal-Mart also had the best deal on the Simple Stories 6×8 album and this Fiskar’s paper trimmer.

Michael’s has been my go-to for the rest of my supplies. I have been able to find sales on both the Simple Stories and Becky Higgins brand pocket pages.  Before shopping at Michael’s be sure to look for their coupon for 40% off any regular-priced item!

Also inspired by Simply Alexandra, I have made my own Project Life cards using cardstock, scrapbook paper, unlined index cards, washii tape, and stickers.


A peek at a page from my San Francisco travel  album


Have you ever created a scrapbook or photo book?

What are your favorite brands for paper crafting ?

Where do you find the best deals on your memory keeping supplies?

Let me know in the comments, or better yet – join the link-up!