Home Heart Break: Home Buying Part 2

Collingswood.

It's right over the river into New Jersey. Something that I swore that I would never do. The taxes are higher, the roads are more crowded, and you forever have to say that you "live in Jersey". 

Yeah, Jersey get's a lot of flack but I could not pass by this house. I really felt like everything was right here. The price was going to put me into a tight position but it was so cute. I told my boyfriend we could at least go SEE it...It doesn't hurt right? Truthfully, I was already in love and was ready to do what it needed to take to get this place.

We contacted the realtor listed on Zillow and made an appointment after work this past week. The above picture is the master bedroom. Imagine waking up to that EVERY morning. Excited, I left for the appointment 10 minutes early so I could ensure I was the first person there. 

I franctically asked people walking by about the neighborhood. I snapped a ton of pictures of the outside - especially because this was the right side of a duplex. My boyfriend arrived second, followed by the realtor. My heart was beating so fast.

She walked up and greeted us. "She is so friendly.", I thought, "This is going to be great!". Then THE moment; She told us the property was under contract and wasn't accepting any more bids. I instantly felt like I was sinking.

My first house heart break. 

On the positive side, the realtor is meeting us next week. She's going to talk with us and walk us through the process. Let's see how this goes. 

READERS: Have you tried looking at houses? Did you have a major house heart break? Let me know in the comments below.

Pictures from the Zillow listing here.

How to be FLAWLESS

I love getting to try out new products. It's one of the reasons that I am obsessed with YouTube, Pinterest, and other blogs. When one of my friends told invited me to Influenster, I knew it was the perfect things for me. Influenster is a review site that let's people try to products in exchange for reviews and marketing for companies. I've gotten to try a bunch of products including shampoo, perfume, and healthy snacks. 

Recently, I received the Influenster #FlawlessVoxbox that contained a bunch of goodies. This box is also sponsored by Bustle, who I really only know for their meme filled Instagram account. I made an unboxing video, which you can check out below.

So if you want to check out the products, I have them all listed below:

READERS: Let me know if you are going to try any of these products. If you have tried them, let me know below if you like them!

This post does include referral links! Also, I received these products for free courtesy of Influenster and Bustle. All opinions are my own 🙂

DIY Sticker Storage

Sticker storage is one of the biggest struggles in the "planner girl" world. Before this box, I had them spread all across the coffee table in disorganized piles. Searching through the piles to create my spread for the week was becoming a chore and just plain old unfun. That's when I knew I had to do something. I quickly queued up some Youtube videos to get some ideas and came up with this! 

I recycled a cute shoe box to hold all my planner supplies. The box that I used was my Tory Burch box, but any box will do. 

Next, I took some old scrapbook paper that matched the box and made tabs (that I have yet to label). I measured the width and height of the box and cut pieces that would work as dividers. If you want this to look a little neater, I'd use 2 piece of paper and put the tabs inbetween. For the tabs, I used a template from Sjogren's Educator and printed it on a bright piece of regular paper and printed it out. I did have to scale the page down to fit my dividers - just play with the size while printing! 

In front of the dividers, I have my washi tape, ban.do sticker books, pens, random samplers, and post it notes. You can do whatever with the section, maybe even add more dividers.

I also just wanted to share with you some of my favvvvorite stickers! This is the monthly subscription from Station Sticker. It includes tons of shiny stickers, weekend sticker, arrows and page flags. They aren't specifically sized for any planner so you can make them regardless of what planner you have. My favorite features are that the foil theme changes month to month. You can see September (purple) and October (orange) above. 

READER: How do you organize your stickers? Have you used Station Stickers before? What are your favorite stickers?

24 things for my 24th year

Celebrating my birthdays is always a weird thing for me. I always associate it with bad times. I think stems from the fact that my Mom banned me from having birthday parties due to my brattiness at the age of 10. 

My plans for my birthday are very relaxed: Takeout Chinese, Mad Men, and cuddling on the couch. I think taking time to myself is the best thing I can do for my birthday. Most of the time I am running at work, busting my butt at the gym, or sprinting around the city trying to get someplace I'm needed. I want to take the time to reflect on the past year and figure out how I can improve myself. 

24 things for my 24th year

  1. Book an international trip and go.
  2. Read 8 books.
  3. Stick to a budget - cause I'm an adult. 
  4. Visit a relative that I haven't seen in over a year.
  5. Work on my blog and get 1,000 page views a month. (See, I'm trying!)
  6. Meditate more - yoga counts.
  7. Write in my journal at least once a week.
  8. Spend less time watching TV and more time seeing the city.
  9. Worry less more about money.
  10. Care more about seeing friends.
  11. Complete one project in the apartment that improves the space. 
  12. Move my body more. Spin class twice a week helps my sanity.
  13. Complain less, be thankful more. 
  14. Get a new coffee pot. 
  15. Measure my progress at work. I've been there for a year and have no way to measure my progress. 
  16. Get my ASP (Associate Safety Professional) certification. 
  17. Be conscious of how often I use the words sorry and just. 
  18. Pay off my car loan. 
  19. See 5 new breweries.
  20. Write more. I used to really like poetry and I'd like to focus on that more.
  21. Vote for the next president.
  22. Listen to more music instead of The Front Bottoms on repeat.
  23. Get a massage. (I've never had a professional one before)
  24. Turn 25!

READERS: Do you have a bucket list? Do we have anything in common? Let me know what you goals your have in the comments below!

Fortune Cookie Soap Subscription Box // Fall 2016 // As You Wish

Do you love binge shopping at Lush? Do you love subscription boxes? Do you love trying new products? Well, the Fortune Cookie Soap Box Subscription is the box for you! The box comes out every quarter/season with a slew of bath and shower products to try. These boxes always include one of their namesake fortune cookie soaps (seriously so cute). This is the ONLY subscription box that I have and I will probably subscribe til I die (or they stop making them).


Fortune Cookie Soap is a brand that I have been following for a while now. I remember originally hearing about them from xSparkage and Rachel Whitehurst on Youtube. The main draw to the company is that they make soap in, you guessed it, the shape of fortune cookies.

Since their original idea of the fortune cookie soap, the brand has expanded to include a bunch of different products like OCD Hand Sanitizers (which they donate money to an OCD organization), shower steamers, and Whipped Cream moisturizer lotions (personal fave).

I have been receiving the Fortune Cookie Soap box for a year now and highly recommend it. Check out my video to see my thoughts on the newest box! The theme is As You Wish based on the movie "A Princess Bride"(it's on Netflix).

READER: Do you subscribe? Do you think anything looks interesting in this box?

BAN.DO 2016-2017 AGENDA REVIEW

With the start of August, new agendas start. The frenzy to pick up a new agenda or planner may well be underway but I want to show you my Ban.do Agenda! I have been a fan of Ban.do for a while now because of their really cute pin shop. Ban.do supports a ton of my favorite artists like Tuesday Bassen and Rosehound Apparel! Since most planner girls tend to go with the Erin Condren Life Planner, I figured it would be helpful to show how I decorate my Ban.do Agenda.  I even have a code for free shipping 🙂


So, this planner is basically me as paper. There are tons of quirky things like a secret girl code, random to-do's, and random holidays smattered thorough the pages. I also really appreciate the art from a ton of small artists that I already follow on Instagram.

I am really happy with what I have done with the planner in terms of decorations and I hope you find this helpful when it comes time for you to decorate your own planner. In the video below, I show everything from my pens, to my stickers, to how I lay everything out. I hope you guys find this helpful when you are creating your own decorations in your Ban.do agenda or gives you ideas how to spice up any agenda you are using. 

If you haven't picked up your new agenda yet, Ban.do is doing FREE SHIPPING with the code FREE4SHIP. Let me know if you pick one up 🙂

READER: Do you use a planner? What planner do you use? What stickers shops are your favorite (definitely looking to expand my collection!!!!)

Cape May Brewery: Shore Stories

Inside Cape May Brewery

Hops, Water, Malt, and Yeast - I've always wondered how anyone figured out that mixing these four things together in a specific order could make anything palatable. But, my dear friends, Beer is one of the greatest concoctions man has ever discovered. Honestly, if we are talking seriously, it was probably a woman who discovered beer because they (me, we? whatever) used to spend most of the time in the kitchen.

 

Most Philadelphians "Go Down the Shore", meaning that they go to the beach making Cape May Brewery the perfect shore pit stop. Cape May Brewery is located in a little industrial park right at the end of the Garden State Parkway (pretty much the bottom of New Jersey). Coming from Philadelphia, making this my first stop down the shore allowed me to take the scenic route and avoid traffic. When my boyfriend and I pulled up to this place, we were ready for a beer.

Outside in the Hop Garden 

We headed in after taking a few cute pictures in the Hop Garden (cause duh, it's cute). The brewery itself is pretty small at this location but they have another area with larger tanks for bigger batches. It's NJ law to take an educational tour of the brewery but we just quickly walked through. I did stop and get a picture with my boyfriend and his family at the photo booth. It's FREE and has some beer related filters for optimal beer themed pictures.

We headed to the bar after walking through the tour. The bar itself was crowded (weird for a Thursday at 2 pm!). We were able to snag a table outside - which is better for pictures anyway 😉.

$10 flight - comes with a free glass! 

The brewery offers a great deal on flights - $10 for 4 samples which includes a free glass. They had two different glass options but I went with the classic pint glass. The other glass was an IPA glass and it was shape that would be impossible to stack - useless for small apartment living and an anti-IPA person. When you pick up your samples it comes in this cute little tray with some more information and labels so you don't forget what beers you had. Unfortunately, I didn't capture that part in the photo. BUTTT my favorite beer that I tried was The Bog, a cranberry shady, and Devil's Reach, a Belgian strong pale ale.  We opted to get a growler of The Bog since we figured it would be perfect for afternoons at the shore.

This brewery is on my list to get back to. Especially because I heard their spring beer is a Cherry Limeade flavor (whaaaattt??!!). See ya soon CMB!


READERS: Have you tried any beers from here? What other breweries should I check out? Let me know in the comments below.

Weekly Top 3 {7/18/16}

Follow my blog with Bloglovin life in the city
  • Last Monday, I went to a Yelp Event at Yakitori Boy in Chinatown. Hands down the best karaoke bar in the city. The food isn't bad either - tons of vegetarian sushi roll options!
  • Thursday I headed down to the Jersey shore! I finally got a chance to use some of my vacation days. Look for some shore posts soon.
  • Grabbed some Chinese food Sunday to try and recuperate from the shore (and some stressful apartment problems).
around the internet

Attack a Savings Goal: Home Buying Part 1

A year ago, I had freshly graduated from college and I was considering the idea of moving to New Jersey. I grew up in the suburbs but moved to Philly for college. Just the idea of moving away from the excitement of the city threw me into panic attacks. Now, it's a year later and I still feel the same. I don't think I ever will really be someone who wants to move to the suburbs (this might be the millenial in me talking). At this point in my life. I have a steady income and a 5 year plan that includes staying in the city. The next logical step for me is to start looking at buying. I have been casually browsing Zillow and Realtor.com to check out home prices in areas of Philadelphia I am willing to call home. It looks like my price range is $300K and under for a 2 bed/2bath home. Some people might be jumping out of their seats thinking that's crazy price for such a small home but honestly, that's Philly pricing. Since I am planning on splitting this with my boyfriend, my savings goal for a 20% down payment about $30K. Here's a quick breakdown of what I currently am dealing with: Usable Assets
  • Savings: $2000 (Barclay Dream Account at 1.05% APR)
  • Emergency Fund: $5000
  • Roth IRA: $5500
Debts
  • Car: ~$8000
The car loan (which I am also aggressively paying down should be gone by Dec '17 (hopefully earlier). If not earlier. I am contributing around $1,000 a month to my Barclays savings account. Finding that $1,000 can be tricky but it you take advantage of some of my tips below, you'll be able to find some extra cash each month. 4 Tips to Aggressively Save for a House
  1. Minimize eating out. This is a good way to save a ton of money. Happy Hour, cheap pizza dates, and the occasional sushi splurge add up. I have limited my eating out budget to $50 a month which can cover about one brunch and one pizza.
  2. Drive less. That's one good thing about living in the city, I only have to drive to work and back. Everything else is accessible on foot or by public transportation if it's really far.
  3. Find activities that are cheap or free. If you are trying to save, there are usually a bunch of really cool events around town tempting you to spend. Coincidentally, there should be a bunch of really cool FREE events, like concerts, museums, and food tastings too. Uwishunu and Philly.com always feature interesting things that you can do for FREE. Most cities or towns have similar websites.
  4. Inviting friends over instead of going out. You can have a splendid time play old school board games (Yahtzee's my fave) or video games. You can easily get the supplies or utilize stuff you already have! Plus, creating a cheese or veggie platter can still be fun, festive, delicious, and CHEAP!

Weekly Top 3 {7/8/2016}

life in the city

  • AJ and I finally went the art museum on Sunday for the pay what you want day. It was crowded so we only ponied up $5 for the two of it. 
  • Headed over to BB&T in Camden to see Weezer and Panic! at the Disco. Perfect day to be out on the lawn.
  • Had my first water ice of the season. #ritas


around the internet

  • If you haven't heard, Pokemon Go is finally out. Unfortunately, the Pokemon website has also been down making it impossible to sign up with a Trainer account.
  • I have been obsessively reading The Financial Diet. There are so many really interesting articles on their about finance, saving, and budgets.
  • I splurged on this vest from Sam Edelman. I have been eyeing up black faux fur vests for a while and this one finally hit the sweet spot in my budget!