Saturday, September 19, 2015

Oh Hey! It's September!

September?!?  UGH.  Blogging fail.

Our daughter got artist of the year at the end of her 5th grade/Elementary school year in June, as well as Honor Roll all year.

Summer was spent at home, going to the beach a couple of times, the zoo once, a few swimming lessons for the gal. Low key.

Happy First Day of Middle School to our gal!  She's not really too happy, but what can you do?  I believe I was more stressed than she was.

Oh, I celebrated TWENTY years at my work this August.  Twenty years!

Happy Lucky 13th Anniversary to Us!  This year was low-key because we're working hard to eradicate debt.  (Paid off one last flight school loan, down to one last car payment, then we tackle our one credit card bill.)  We spent $50 each on goodies (macro cell phone lens, book and Matthew West cd for me. Video game and two blu-rays for him) and went out to dinner with our gal in tow.

Next week, Happy Birthday to me!

Still working on my nail art.  LOL  Hey. I'm getting much better.

Life's been pretty low-key.  Like I said, buckling down on finances (See Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course for more info.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Make Your Own Nail Art Stickers

This isn't my invention and it isn't even a new thing, but I finally attempted to make my own nail art stickers and THEY WORKED!

So here's how it works (you can find a myriad of tutorials on the internet):

Take a plastic sandwich baggie.  Outline the shape of your nail.

Then, using your nail polishes or acrylic paints, start working on your desired design.  I wanted a Sailor Moon silhouette image.

Let this completely dry.  I waited overnight.  Then, taking some tweezers, slowly peel the design off the plastic baggie.  At first I thought "This is impossible. It's not going to work." but I eventually worked my way under one of the corners and presto!  The entire design lifted up.

I have no pictures of this.  Fail. 

Prep the nail you want to apply the sticker to.  I tried one nail with just a clear base coat, but that was a mistake, as the nail sticker didn't completely cover my nail.  On my other nail, I colored the nail the same color as the background of my sticker.  Much better.

Place the sticker where you want, cover it with a clear top coat, use a nail file to remove any excess from the tips, and Voila!

Nail Sticker!!

For this manicure, I did a galaxy nail manicure and then on the accent nail with the sticker, I added some of the same glitter as the rest of the fingers, to make it all look uniform

FUN!  This opens up so many possibilities!  It's so much easier painting on a flat surface than it is on a nail, and if you mess up, just try again without having to completely remove all the base coats on the nail you were working on. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thanking a Mentor

My husband & I are taking a financial planning class at church. We're enjoying it very much and have realized we're kind-of ahead of the curve. We're ahead of where the class says we should be and in this I thank two people, my mom and my former manager Jeff Cole.  Mom for being a hard-working woman who showed us girls that no one owed us a darned thing and if you wanted something, you worked for it.  Jeff for putting me into action.

I've been with my company 20 years.   When I started, I was still married to my ex and our finances were in shambles.  It was about bankruptcy, bounced checks, and constantly getting fired (not me.)  After the divorce, I was a single mom with a pretty decent job, but if I balanced my checkbook and had $10 left after paying bills and buying food, I was doing the happy dance.

In came Jeff Cole.  Jeff had been with our company a while, but had been promoted to a regional management position, which meant he was our new regional manager.  Immediately, IMMEDIATELY, Jeff would speak to all of us about investing in ourselves.  Paying ourselves first by putting money into our savings accounts via direct deposit, investing at least 10% pre-tax in our 401k, having life insurance, etc. etc.  

Over & over, every visit, Jeff would ask if we'd set up the direct deposit, if we'd started 401k. Here I was, 26 years old or so with a kid, ZERO child support,  and not 2 nickles to rub together and this guy wants me to save?  Is he crazy?

He decided to go into business on his own.  Before he left, he had a meeting with me and told me I was getting a substantial raise BUT it came with a caveat; the raise money would be used to fund my savings and 401k.  Basically, I would not feel the raise. The difference would be going into savings and a 401k.  I agreed.  I started saving, investing in our 401k and got myself a life insurance policy with both work and an independent insurance agency and prepaid my son's college in 5 years.

Here I am, 15 years from that conversation, and to this day, I credit him and my mom's common sense inherent in me for not having credit card debt (we have one card debt that we're working down with this class' help - I tend to have $$ and not want to give it up. We also have an old school loan of my husband's and one car payment we're working to eradicate ), for having a 401k in the six digits, for making my husband prove to me 8 years ago when all the real estate craziness was happening that we could make the new house payments on paper and actually getting it done,  for being the one who says "No, we are NOT charging that, we don't need it," for paying for all the furniture in our house with cash, and for taking vacations in cash. (Colorado vacation? Paid for in cash.  We enjoyed ourselves and aren't paying interest months later on it.)

We're not rich.  I had someone tell me years ago  "That's cause you're rich!," a bit snidely I might add.  Combined, we do not make six digits, people.   We  just know how to work with what we've got. We are not slaves to the lenders.  We don't pay interest.  We don't have the money? Guess what, we're not buying it.

I want so much to tell younger people to please invest. Please pay cash, don't charge things, Sacrifice.   Please don't buy a new car and make payments.  Save and buy a used one now, so you can save, trade that in and buy a better one later.  

I blinked and I'm 45.  You'll be here so quickly. 

Thank you Jeff.  Thank you for making a 20-something gal just give up already and invest so you'd stop bugging her already.  My future is here and I'm so grateful.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

To Grey or Not to Grey.

Grey hair.  We'll all get them. Some of us earlier than others.  It's inevitable.

I was 19 when I got my first grey hair.  Since then, it's been boxed dyes and professional dyes over and over and over.

At what age do you give in?  At what age do you just let go and let "life" take over?

I'm still pretty young, I know.  I'm in my 40's.  But I've been dying my hair for almost 25 years.  It's exhausting, but we all know, especially in this day & age, that greying gracefully at this young of an age is not an option.  The stigma that I would feel going grey would be unbearable.  Isn't that horrible? I don't want people to think I'm old or think me stupid for wanting to go grey eventually.

I just don't want to be that 65-70 year old lady still dying her hair dark brown.  I do not want to be her.  We all know them; I know several.   "They can do whatever they want, Kaaren!"  Of course they can. I just don't want that for me.  I want to age gracefully, yet that sentence in itself is ridiculous.  For though we want  to say "She's going grey, kudos to her!" and "She's aging gracefully!" what we really think is "Good Lord, she looks OLD!!"  We don't think "Smart, learned, experienced, wise, sexy, attractive."  We think "OLD!"

Do I really want be the one going down fighting, wearing embarrassingly inappropriate clothes, getting Botox or plastic surgery or having inappropriate hair for my age?   Shoot, I don't like the current length of my hair too much. I think long hair after a certain age is a no-no.  Granted, I won't go buzz-cut short, but to my shoulders would be nice.  This hair down my back, that I have to dye every 4 weeks, is too long.   I am not 20. I don't even like bangs after a certain age.  My preferences are outdated, perhaps.

My husband's temples are grey.  He's got dirty blonde/light brown hair, so it's hardly noticeable, and I think he looks darned sexy that way anyway.  MY hair is dark brown. HOW do I "go grey" when I have this dark hair?  When I eventually decide it's time (when?? 50? 55? It's not too far away!)  How do I go from dark brown to grey; let the roots grow out? UGH!  NO!  Do like a lot of women I've seen online and just BOOM, go grey?  I'm a BRUNETTE.  What a thing to have to deal with, huh? (First World Problems; don't think I don't get the ridiculousness of all this, too.)

Ladies, tell me your feelings!  What do you think? What would YOU do?


Our little gal turned 11 this month.  Eleven!

We threw her a skating party and we had a blast. Our family from S. Florida and Tampa drove up and over to come FOR THE DAY to be with us.  For two families, that was six hours of driving/ 3 each way. Four to five for the Tampa people.

You can't understand how much I love them for that.  Isabel didn't invite a lot of classmates.  Four, to be precise.  She didn't want to invite the entire class. Just her 4 closest pals.  Two of the 4 showed up.  Having my sisters, their spouses and a combined total of 5 nieces and nephews just made the party.

Thank you sisters and brothers-in-law.  We love you so much!!

She designed this outfit and drew her shirt herself.

Attack on Titan cake.  Too hard to explain.  Japanese Anime.

Isabel and a classmate.

Sister Vicky and Lissette's husband John playing free video games.

Vicky's daughter Ava with her Aunt Lissette.

Me, Isabel, Lissette, John & their daughters Lyric & Giana.