3 Important Considerations When Renting
I'll never forget when my husband and I moved into our first apartment together. It was exciting--but also terrifying. Combining our lives into one space brought with it a lot of important decisions and choices to make. As young twentysomethings, we struggled to figure out how to make the best choice.
Certainly, there are all sorts of ways to go about picking the right place for you. Many people go purely for the aesthetic vibe of a location, but there are several other significant considerations to make when choosing the perfect rental.
1. How close is it to work?
Commute times for you and your roommate or partner are a really important consideration to think about. Certainly, the charm of that adorable apartment or the luxury features of that townhouse rental might beckon you in, but make sure you stop and consider this more practical consideration. How far is the rental from your work and anyone else you are sharing the rent with? And are you truly willing to drive that distance to live in the location?
It is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement or charm of a new place and forget this detail. However, a commute is something you won't be able to finagle down the road. Be certain you consider the drive time from your new place.
2. Can you afford it?
These are trying financial times for many, but even if you aren't experiencing financial hardship, you need to ascertain that you can afford the rental. Again, so many get wrapped up in the aesthetics of a place that they forget to consider their budget.
Before you start looking at rentals, figure out your budget. How much are you bringing in a month? What bills do you have other than rent? Sit down and do a hard look at the numbers.
Once you have your budget figured out, you need to determine how much you can afford based on the location you are renting in. use a rent calculator like this one to help you assess what you can actually afford to pay in the area you are living in.
As a rule of thumb according to Zumper, you want to make sure your rent costs aren't more than 30% of your income.
Go into the rental process knowing your budget and what you can actually afford. This will prevent you from making a choice on impulse and suffering financially for months or years to come.
3. Does the neighborhood align with your needs?
Be sure to look beyond the cute window or kitchen island and consider the neighborhood where your prospective rental is. Are you a couple who likes to walk to local, small-town community events? You'll want to consider this when making your decision. Does the school district's quality matter to you because you have a child who is school age? Make sure you analyze the district's performance.
Another thing to consider is the crime rate in your prospective rental's area. I love using Neighborhood Scout to analyze crime data for a particular area when considering a move. It gives extremely specific data for specific areas of a community and allows you to assess where your rental is sitting.
Overall, choosing a rental property is a big decision. Be sure to discuss with your roommates or partner what goals you both have and what you are looking for. Being prepared before checking out properties will help you make the wisest decision for you.
How do you make sure you choose the right rental? Tell me below.
This product actually helped my mastiff's failing hips...and is still working
I first want to say this... I am NOT sponsored by Honest Paws at all. I am not writing this because I was paid to. I am writing this because for months, I searched the internet in desperate search of a product that would actually help my mastiff (who is practically my child) when his hips were failling.
If you own a mastiff or a large dog, you know that hip and joint issues are always a fear. From the time Henry, our American mastiff, was a puppy, we tried to do everything we could to protect his joints. Joint supplements, special therapeutic dog beds, etc. We tried to keep him from jumping wildly. But still, at the age of six, every mastiff owner's worst nightmare started happening: His hips started failing.
At six and a half, it got so bad that he could barely move. The dog who used to play and run around the house was immobile, spending his days on the floor. His hobbling made my heart break. The vet gave us some supplements and eventually shots to try. He was too worried to do surgery because of his age. The shots worked for a while. The supplements worked for a while.
And then they stopped.
I had heard about CBD oil over and over again, but I was too afraid to try it. I decided it would be my last resort. I'm a paranoid dog mama, so I was nervous about side effects. And I was also nervous if the price tag was worth it. After trying so many failed products, I felt like it was just another sad attempt to revive my best friend that wouldn't work.
Finally, though, things got so bad I gave it a try. My husband was skeptical...but two weeks after starting him on Honest Paws for Mobility...he was better. So. Much. Better.
I wish I had used it earlier.
Let me be clear: there isn't a miracle product that will restore Henry to puppy state. His hips are still not great. He still can't get in our car. He still has bad days where it's hard to get up. But, for the majority of his days, he is back to being his old self. Playing in the yard. Running in the house. Chasing balls and playing with toys and just being a dog.
We literally went from being afraid he would have to be put down soon because he was suffering to watching him play and be happy again. I wish I had started his regiment sooner.
I have Henry on two dropper fulls a day, which is still about half of what he should take with his weight. With the auto renew feature, I spend $144 a month because of his size. However, this is cheaper than what I spent on his shots and supplements by far....and to see his quality of life actually improve makes it worth it.
As always, be sure to check with your vet before starting a new regiment. But I'm telling you...if you are in my shoes and have a dog that breaks your hear with joint pain, struggling to get up, and struggling with mobility, please try it. You will be so glad you did. We are six months in, and it is still working effectively even on this lower dose he is on.
If you want to give it a try, you can use this link to get $20 toward your first purchase of $30 or more. I am not sponsored but will also get $20 to put towards Henry's CBD oil purchases.
If you have questions, feel free to reach out. I'd love to chat more with you about how this has helped my four-legged friend. If it works for him with his hips as bad as they are, I know it can help other dogs, too. Let's spread the word and help our fellow dog owners out there find some hope in a terrible situation.
Quality, affordable skincare
Up until November, I was all for the Drunk Elephant line of skin care. These all natural, cruelty free products really did make my skin seem smoother, brighter, and better.
But then in November, my husband lost his job and I could no longer afford the HEFTY price tag that came with Drunk Elephant products. I was devastated, certain my skin would fall prey to wrinkles and dullness. I tried to find other, cheaper alternatives, but I struggled to find anything that was cruelty free and seemed to work.
Enter The INKEY List products. These products are winners for so many reasons:
I purchased my first threeproducts from Sephora but will definitely be buying more.Here are my recommendations so far:
For 14.99 you get a large amount of this moisturizer with peptides to help with fine lines and wrinkles. It is silky smooth and soaks in so you aren't greasy. I love this as a replacement for my more expensive moisturizers.
This was my first purchase from The INKEY and I'm in love. I was having issues with large pores. This scrub helps with pores and also is super cleansing without drying your skin out. You only need a tiny bit to do your whole face, too, so it has lasted a long time.
Eye cream and retinol products are sooo pricey. I've spent between $60 and $90 on these two products. So when I found this eye cream from Inkey, I was skeptical. However, after a month of use, I can say my eye wrinkles do seem less prominent and my eye area is definitely smoother. It truly works for the price. I'm obsessed!
I can honestly say I'll never go back to pricey skincare again. These products are AMAZING and such an affordable price. I love their mission to bring healthy, high quality skincare into the hands of all women. Definitely give these a try.
Have you tried THE INKEY? tell me in the comments below
With COVID completely shifting our worlds, going to the nail salon might me impossible due to quarantines, health concerns, and even financial reasons. But for me, having my nails done is a confidence booster. Even if I'm just at home, cue nails make me feel so much better.
That's where imPRESS Manicures enter the scene. These at-home kits are extremely affordable. For less than $10, you can get two manicures out of one set.
I am obsessed with the colors and when I use these nail sets, I get so many compliments! Below from left to right are:
How Do I Apply Them?
I love imPRESS manicures because I can apply a full manicure in about five minutes. Each pack comes with 30 different nails, a small file, an alcohol prep pad, and a cuticle tool. Here's what you do (and some tips I've learned along the way)
When applied like this, these nails truly do last up to two weeks! I usually get about 9 great days out of them. I always get so many compliments, too.
I definitely recommend checking them out. I haven't tried the pedicures yet but they are next on my list.
Have you tried imPRESS nails? Which designs are your favorite?
An Honest Review of Every Plate From a Not-So-Great Cook
So first, you should know that I am a TERRIBLE cook. Like burns everything, can't follow a recipe, smoke-filled house kind of cook.
I've tried many subscription food boxes because I wanted to get better at cooking and because I'm terrible at coming up with recipes for dinner. I've tried all of them out there, pretty much. And usually, I find that they're really expensive, I can't recreate the meals, or the meals are so odd, my family hates them.
I gave Every Plate a try after a friend suggested it. I've received one box so far and chose the following meals (Pictured above):
And after one week of trying the box, here are the pros and cons.
Pros to this box:
Cons to this box:
All in all, Every Plate has been my favorite food box I've received to date. I think it's definitely nice to mix up your dinner routine and to not have to think about finding recipes or making shopping lists. It was fun to try new recipes and to just know what was for dinner three nights this week.
If you want to give Every Plate a try, use this link and get $20 off your first box.
Yes, Romance Does Die When You Get Married
They say romance dies with marriage. Nine years in, I can say this: romance does deaden, dull, diffuse as the years pass.
The roses he got you will be few and far between. Fancy dinners, sexy outfits, and exotic destination vacations will feel out of reach. Hot, steamy kissing sessions will take the backseat sometimes to work, exhaustion, stress, and taking the garbage out. The traditional romance from the movies will seem like a faraway star you can't quite grasp anymore.
But as the romance fades, other things take its place. Beautiful, soul fulfilling things.
The knowledge that he knows you, every part of you, and still chooses you every day. The awareness that you can be unfiltered, uncensored, and true in front of him....and he won't judge you for it. True friendship. True laughter. Easy nights on the sofa watching Netflix in sweatpants having the laugh of your life. The faith that he will go to war for you even when he doesn't know why you are battling an outside force....he takes your side unwaveringly. He is always there. Always.
Inside jokes. Sweet kisses at midnight. Your favorite ice cream flavor on a Tuesday.
Romance will dull, but bigger things will grow. Give me the friendship, the trust, the support, and the laughter over roses, candles, and wine any day.
Because to me, these are the things that make marriage and love worth it all.
An Honest Review of the NYT Bestseller 'Untamed'
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"People will like me or not, but being liked is not my One Thing; integrity is."
Glennon Doyle's "Untamed" is a self-help/memoir novel that focuses on finding your true self and not being afraid to show that self to the world. It really relies on psychology similar to Carl Jung where he talks about the Persona and the Self. The persona is the mask we show to the world, and the self is our inner truth. Glennon's book really encourages readers to go wildly after their true self and to stop masking who they are. It also really encourages readers, especially women, to trust their inner knowing.
I have a ton of quotes I underlined in this book that I found motivational and helpful. She really made me think, too, about how women are silently conditioned to be small, shy, and fragile in our society. I appreciated that unlike many books, though, she didn't just explore gender stereotypes with women; she included a chapter that explores how we are conditioning men to tame themselves as well.
I did think the first half of the book was stronger than the last half only because it felt more focused and purposeful. The last half of the book felt a bit repetitive and all over the place. Additionally, I think it is very clear what Doyle's political views are. If you had different political views that her, I think it might feel like you were being criticized at certain points in the book. I think one could take the message in certain chapters to be: Listen to your inner voice of truth, unless that voice tells you something different than Glennon's political beliefs. I am not a political person and do not align with any political party, but I definitely think in certain chapters certain political views are challenged. With that being said, I think as long as you remember that every book is an expression of the author's views and it's up to you to take what you will from it, everyone can benefit from this book.
Overall, I think this book is a read modern society should explore because in a world that praises conformity and exhaustion, Glennon reminds us to take a moment and "be still and know."
View all my reviews
How to improve your budgeting skills during the pandemic
We are living in scary times. The nation is in a health crisis but also a financial crisis. With so many of us losing jobs, having hours cut, or just facing financial uncertainty, a lot of us find ourselves in a major wake-up call moment in terms of our finances.
Even if you aren't facing financial hardship right now, the realization that things can change in an instant may have you considering your family's current financial position. But for so many of us used to sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to finances, where do you even begin when it comes to budgeting?
We all know that budgeting is essential to financial success. Like anything in life, you have to have a plan when it comes to what money is coming in, how you will use it, and what your long-term goals are. Budgeting can help you reach those goals and make sure that sale at your favorite store doesn't distract you from what's really important in the long-run.
I'm not a financial expert. I'm an average, middle class teacher who hates spreadsheets and enjoys sales. However, in light of the financial crisis, I've been paying more attention to our family's budget. Here are some tools and tips that have really helped me with my budgeting.
1. Focus on savings
When you're in panic mode, it's hard to look at the long-term. You want to self soothe, which means treating yourself to quick purchases that make you feel better. But those small purchases add up.
Suze Orman is a financial expert who I really admire. Her advice has always been to have savings equal to 8 months of your current household expenses. This means that you should have enough money saved to float you through eight months of essential bills and living expenses.
It might sound overwhelming, but Suze is big on emphasizing the peace of mind that comes with saving. If you keep this big goal in mind, it will be easier to stick to your budget for small expenses and say "no" to the items you don't really need.
2. Calculate an effective budget
In order for a budget to work, you need to actually have it written out in detail. You need to allocate every dollar of income to a category. But for many, this is overwhelming. So many of us hate the idea of spreadsheets and calculations. Plus, there's the confusion that surrounds a budget. How much should you really spend on each category?
I've recently come across an amazing tool that does all of the work for you. The personal budget planner at Pigly.com helps you allocate your monthly income to various categories. It allows you to adjust those categories according to your expenses, and even gives you a low and high end cost for each category. I love that it serves as a foundation to create an effective budget.
They also have other tools to help you decide if you can afford a car payment, how long credit card debts will take to pay off, and other useful financial tools that are free and easy to use.
3. Find Deals on Items You Love
Sticking to a budget doesn't mean you have to cancel all fun. There are ways to find cheap and inexpensive things to do with your family. Search coupon sites online for deals and sales on your favorite items. One of my favorite sites to find deals is the Krazy Coupon Lady. You can find entertainment, dining, and even household item deals and coupons that will save you money and help you achieve your budget.
4. Communicate with your family
In order for budgeting to work, you need to make sure your entire household is on board with your budget and financial goals. Have weekly finance meetings with your family to assess what is working, what isn't, and how you are doing at achieving your goals. You need to make sure that you are staying on track as a family.
My husband lost his job in the fall, and we have found that having weekly discussions about our finances and our goals has really helped us improve our finances and our relationship. There is less tension about our goals, our money, and our spending. We have learned to work as a team and move toward the common future we both want, which has been a really wonderful thing.
The financial crisis won't last forever, but if you follow these tips, you'll leave 2020 feeling better about your financial direction, your finances, and your control of your money.
Clutter in living spaces is usually the ideal hide-out for rats since these areas are very rarely disturbed and therefore provide mice with just what they need for shelter. The most clutter is generally found in attics, basements, and garages. It is no wonder most rodent infestations in homes happen within these same areas.
Decluttering and properly organizing your living space is one way to dissuade mice and other small animals from finding shelter in your home, since they find open spaces and clutter-free areas less attractive.
Lack of organization at homes may be a result of a general organizational problem, and clutter in living spaces can be easily compared to clutter in other areas of our lives which inevitably creates problems.
Keeping rodents out shouldn’t be the only motivation for decluttering your home, cleaning up and organizing your living space is a healthy thing to do and it improves lives in more ways than one.
Here are a few tips for decluttering and organizing your living space.
Organize by Categories, Not by Rooms
The traditional way of tidying up a home is usually by moving from room to room and trying as much as you can to put things in order. This has now started to change. A simpler way to tidy up your home and keep your belongings organized is by categorizing everything and fully tackling one category before moving to the next.
Organizing by categories and not rooms is a method featured and popularized by the Japanese organizing consultant, Marie Kondo, and it has proven to be a very powerful method of organizing and keeping things in order. According to Kondo, start with organizing all your clothes, then move to your shoes, then books, photographs and so on.
Declutter by discarding
Many times, you find out that the reason for clutter isn’t exactly lack of organization, but rather due to too much stuff.
We go out to buy a new clothing item, a new purse, another beautiful pair of shoes and in no time the closet starts to overflow. Or you find yourself collecting books or tools without considering the limited storage space available. And over time, things begin to pile up and accumulate with more items and very little or no storage space, thus creating clutter.
The KonMari method (developed by Marie Kondo) suggests that the first step towards decluttering starts with identifying items that do not “spark joy” or bring any form of value to your life. These items should either be discarded, donated to charity, or be sold at your local thrift store.
How to remove clutter in less than five minutes:
Everything Should Have a Special Place
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