Savings

Style and Savings Reads: 7: an experimental mutiny of excess (Part 2)

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Photo Credit: Goodreads

Jen Hatmaker, the author of this book lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and 5 children (2 are adopted from Ethiopia). This book is categorized as Religion/Christian Life/Social Issues, so there are many references to church activities and Christian scripture. Jen defines 7 as “an exercise in simplicity” and for seven months, challenges herself to set limits in seven different categories.

For Part 1 of my Review (chapters 1 – 3) click here

4 Media

Jen’s Lessons: During the Media month, Jen and her family significantly cut down their screen time

TV • Gaming • iPhone • Apps • Radio • Limited texting • Limited internet

Just for practical purposes of safety and school they did not completely cease texting and internet usage, but it made them a lot more mindful as to how often and for what purpose they were using technology (eg. research for a homework assignment vs. a Facebook status update)

Of course this was challenging at first, but they filled their new found free time with more imaginative games, family time, cleaning, and cooking meals together

My Take: It would be challenging for me to not read blogs online, scroll through social media posts, or watch TV after work. If I did choose to accept this challenge, I would read more, spend more time outdoors, and meet up with friends in person

5 Waste

Jen’s Lesson’s: Jen’s family focused on reducing their reducing, reusing, and recycling during this month by taking the following actions:

Gardening • Composting • Conserving Energy & Water • Recycling • Sharing 1 car • Shopping Thrift & Second-hand • Buying local

There were several ways that reducing waste tied back to previous months’ challenges:

  • Just as Food month, made Jen appreciate the variety and abundance of food in the U.S., gardening gave her an appreciation of the skill and effort it takes to grow your own produce

  • Continuing the habits of Media month’s goal of cutting back TV and computer usage helped with energy conservation

  • Wearing a limited number of clothing items during Clothing month, and participating in the clothing swap prepared Jen for shopping thrift & second hand

This month coincided with back to school season, and Jen realized that buying lunch size packages of snacks is not as economical as purchasing full size or bulk. Basically you pay extra for the convenience.

What stood out to me most was that Jen called attention to a wide-spread issue: buying organic food is not cheap!

During this challenge she felt conflicted between wanting to buy organic food and locally grown produce and wanting to reduce spending. For many people, this isn’t even a choice – they must choose the lowest cost option.

My Take: I have been good about recycling lately, but I know I could do better as far as conserving electricity. Thrift shopping was the inspiration this blog and I still believe that buying pre-owned is a great way to save money and support sustainability by reusing products that already exist rather than using resources to create new items

6 Spending

Jen’s Lessons: During the Spending month of Seven, Jen’s family limited their spending to only 7 Vendors/categories

Farmers Market• Target • Gas • Limited travel • Emergency medical • Bills • School

The most memorable part of this chapter was the realization that her son was in need of a haircut. With Great Clips not being one of the Seven vendors he was subjected to the embarrassment of an at-home haircut gone wrong. Jen also struggled with once again limited food options as fast food and restaurants were also off limits.

This chapter also had some eye opening statistics about the amount of U.S. spending on things like cosmetics and perfume vs. the cost of global clean water and education.

My take: Target was on Jen’s list because it’s a one-stop shop that would cover all of her family’s necessities – but I could really do some damage shopping at Target. I don’t think leaving Target as one of the seven vendors would help me cut spending. Restaurants and fast food do make up a significant chunk of our monthly budget so there would be material cost savings there, but it would be a challenge to prepare dinner and lunch every day.

7 Stress

Jen’s lessons: During the final month of Seven, Jen planned to pause for prayer 7 times daily and for her family to observe Sunday as a day of rest and a Sabbath dinner. Two of the seven prayer times were midnight and dawn and it was challenging for her to be awake at those times. She also set an alarm to as a reminder to observe the scheduled prayers.

My take: It was during our last vacation that I  realized the need to build pauses into a busy schedule. I like to have action packed sight-seeing trips, but this time I was feeling tired and jet-lagged. Next time, I make a travel itinerary, I will be sure to leave time for napping.

 

Overall, I enjoyed reading 7: an experimental mutiny of excess. In each month of Jen’s journey, I was able to see habits that I could also adopt in order to simplify my life.

Style and Savings’ Summer Reading List 2017

Summer is quickly approaching and now is the time to plan how I will make the most of these beautiful days!

As a kid, we would always participate in the summer reading program at the local library. Now I’m older and won’t get a free Dairy Queen Dilly bar , a beach ball, or a slinky, my incentive is the pure enjoyment of reading.

Here is a list of books (all of which are by female authors) that have been on my To Read list for a while that I plan to finally read this summer:

The Perfect Find by Tia Williams

I first saw a review of this book in Essence magazine, then added it to my Goodreads “Want to Read” list. I entered the sweepstakes to win a copy of the book and was lucky enough to win an autographed paperback. I now follow the author Tia Williams on Instagram @shakeyourbeauty, where she posts adorable photos of her daughter, her book signings, her fashion and life in New York.

#Goodreads drawing winner! Happy to have an autographed book for my collection! This should be a fun summer read 😎☀️📖

A post shared by Style and Savings blog (@styleandsavings) on

 

Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling

I have been a fan of Mindy since The Office and have been catching up on The Mindy Project on Hulu lately. I took a break from it for a while – but now that I am giving it another chance, I’m glad to see Mindy as a working mother with a successful practice who is launching her own business.

I read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? a couple years ago and I hope this book is also as funny.

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Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps  by Kelly Williams Brown

I added this book to my Goodreads “Want to Read” list back in 2014, when I may have still been experiencing a quarter-life crisis. During that time, I also liked to read the very relatable blogs Twenty Something Living and When Life Gives You Rubi. This book seems like it will fall in the info-tainment genre and I think it will be comforting to see how far I’ve come since then.

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps

The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life by Natalie McNeal

No one really wants to be in debt, but through budgeting and reducing spending there is a way out. Some examples of this are too extreme for my taste (see: tiny houses, junk cars, ramen dinners). Style and Savings was created on the principle to “live stylishly without spending your savings”. I want to maintain a level of comfort, while still living within or below my means.

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That wraps up my book list for the summer (in addition to the magazines I subscribe to).

What’s on your Summer Reading List?

February Friday Faves 2.2.2017

Welcome to the first Friday of February 2017!

Here are a few of my favorites from this past week:

Soap & Glory Gift Set

I have been a fan of Soap & Glory for several years now. This gift set was a Christmas gift from my sister.  I love the pink packaging and the fresh, clean scent. The shower gel lathers into lots of bubbles and the body butter is a thick moisturizer – perfect for protection from the cold winter weather.

 Sample Size 12 months

Speaking of soap and glory, 12 months Soaps is continuing to grow. These sample soaps are an adorable size and are made with natural ingredients.

 Thrifted Cardigans

I recently purchased  a dress and needed a cardigan to go with it. I found the black cardigan with the flower embellishment at a local resale shop. The brand is The Limited (they were pricey, but still sad to see it go out of business) and only cost $8.00! The red cardigan is Ann Taylor Loft from Poshmark for $13 plus shipping.

The Minimalists

The Minimalists is a podcast that I just discovered – they started in January 2016, so there are already 52 episodes that I can listen to. I’m still deciding what I think about it. I just want to live in a healthy balance somewhere between TLC’s Hoarders and HG TV’s Tiny House Hunters . For now minimalism seems extreme, but I am interested enough to keep listening and add it to my podcast rotation which also includes Gilmore Guys & AMPsConnected

Happy Friday – Enjoy your Super Bowl Weekend!

 

Friday Faves 1.20.17

I enjoyed reading several bloggers’ year in review posts at the end of 2016, and I wish I had written one too because I had so many fun and exciting adventures during the year. Also, I liked that the recaps focused on the happy events.

As a way to generate positivity, sometimes Style and Savings will have a Friday Faves post to look back on good things (big or small) that happened during the week.

MLK Holiday

Monday was an extension of the weekend – we were fortunate enough to have the day off in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Dress Barn Clearance

Belted Colorblock Fit-and-Flare Dress

Photo Credit: Dress Barn

 

After the closing of The Limited 😦  I found myself in Dress Barn looking for a professional style dress. I found this Calvin Klein A-line dress for 50% off at Dress Barn. The Dress Barn original price was $59.50 and other retailers sell it for as much as $89.98. The price variation on the exact same dress is crazy! Read about it here

Sheet Pan Fajitas

 

I found a Pinterest Win! I have already made this recipe twice: once with shrimp and once with chicken. This was a easy clean up way to make fajitas. The seasoning & lime juice & cooking time were perfect.

Archer Farms Guacamole & Salsa Combo

Tortilla chips dipped in Target’s Archer Farms Spicy Pico & Guacamole were a good side to the fajitas.I was hesitant to buy it since I didn’t know if I liked them together in the same container.  I’m glad I tried it – It’s so good!

Hope you had a good week – Happy Friday!

 

Cake Design Ideas

One of the most fun parts of wedding planning was visiting a local bakery for our Cake Tasting

Before our appointment, I decided to check out Instagram for cake design inspiration.

Here are a few of my favorites:

        cakethatbakedgoods                              sugaruffles                                 lunacupcake

 

While  the two designs on the left and right were fun, the cake in the middle looked the most elegant.

Cake toppers were another accessory to shop for and I liked that there are more options besides the traditional bride and groom figurines.

 

Glitter Mr and Mrs Wedding Cake Toppers in your Choice of Glitter, Elegant Custom Wedding Cake Toppers, Unique Wedding Cake Topper (S001)    love David's Bridal

                 Etsy                                    Amazon                                David’s Bridal

I decided not to purchase a cake topper – to me it wasn’t a must have, so I decided not to spend the money on it (#styleandsavings). I knew the cake would be gorgeous on it’s own.

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Our cake table

Photo Credit: Marta Lewis Photography

 

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

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DIY Wedding Card Box

Being a bride on a budget, I had a list of several decorations that I wanted to DIY instead of buy.

Wedding Card box / Card holder / Wedding money box - 3 tier - Personalized - Purple

I was inspired by this gorgeous Etsy listing. but I was not willing to pay so much 💵💰

Luckily I found these instructions from Michelle Ng’s blog.

Instead of painting and decorating a plain cardboard box, I found beautiful boxes on sale at Michael’s. They matched our purple and lavender wedding colors and even had our flowers (hydrangeas) on them.

While I saved time by not having to decorate the boxes, I didn’t realize these boxes are made of much stronger material and could not simply be cut with an Exacto knife.

Luckily, I have talented  parents (they ended up doing all of my DIY projects….) who were able to cut through the boxes with a jigsaw.

In addition to gluing the 3 boxes to eachother, the flaps on the front of the boxes were also glued shut. This way the boxes could not be opened and cards would be dropped in to the slot cut into the top box.

The pretty rhinestones came from a sticker sheet – also found at Michael’s

For more Style and Savings Wedding DIY Projects:

DIY Bridesmaid Bouquets

Silver Bells to Wedding Bells

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

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Style and Savings Shops Small

I really admire entrepreneurs and I want to show my support of those who have taken the leap, followed their dreams and built their own businesses.

Here are 4 woman- owned businesses that I have shopped this holiday season:

1

Possibiliteas

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Possibiliteas sells gourmet loose-leaf tea. With names like Creativitea, Positivitea, and Productivitea and ingredients to inspire your mood – this would be a great way to wish prosperous new year to friends and family.

I also found these teas to be affordably priced at 4oz for $12 or $14

2

12 Months Soaps

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Twelve Months Soaps sells soaps and bath bombs that combine history and self-care. Each month a new scent is released based on a moment in Black history. This one is called “Dreamgirl” in honor of the glamorous stage play.

 

 

3

KathysYarnCreations

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One of my friends has a headband & scarf set on her wish list. I found KathysYarnCreations while searching Etsy and I ordered a cute crochet headband – that I received in the mail in less than a week. When I asked her to custom-make a matching scarf she was willing to create a listing just for me. I would definitely recommend this shop and appreciate the great customer service.

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My talented Mommy made this headband for me…stay tuned to see more of her creations on Wedding Wednesdays

                

4

Mae B

maeblogoMae B started selling stationary featuring diverse illustrations, and has branched out to mugs and calendars. I think it’s very sweet that the name Mae B was inspired by the founder’s grandmother. In addition to being a shop, Mae B also has monthly blog posts covering topics ranging from goal setting, entrepreneurship to holiday gift guides.

If you are an entrepreneur or know of a small business you would like to feature – let me know in the comments!