Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"These are a few of my favorite things!"

I'm going to post some of my FAVORITE pieces that I wear to work. These pieces are especially great for my job because though I do run around all day with 5-12 year olds, I still want to look and feel professional. Because I AM a professional!

  • Wedge shoes: Wearing heels as a teacher is not for the weak, but I find that wedges are a good compromise. Plus, they are always in style and help me look taller, like Talls :)

  • Medium-long stretchy pencil skirt: I love skirts like this because it is a safe length (when sitting in from of kinders who are on the floor) and because its not constricting. If I have student who is injured, I dont' have to waddle my booty to the nurse...I can speed walk at a comfortable pace :)

  • Dark solid or printed dresses: Easy to get dressed in the morning AND to look put together at work. Dark colors just in case of a spill or a sweaty day!

  • Flowy tops and tanks: When working with young kiddos, you need breathing room for your body. Lots of stretching, reaching, yanking, waving etc. Leave room for your body to move.
Shoes from Payless, DSW and Loft.
Skirt from Loft
Dress from Loft
Shirt from Loft
....hmmm you'll never guess my fav teacher clothes store ;)
Finance Tips from Smalls

Lately I've had lots of my girlfriends ask me for financial advice because of their upcoming purchases, moves, life changes etc and so I thought I would share here. My hubs and I are purchasing a home (we're closing on April 29th!) and so...even though I wouldn't consider myself a genius by any means, I think I know a thing or two about how to get yourself in a good place financially.

First, in the words of my super-down-to-earth husband: money is just money. Yes, it provides for us and helps us survive in our society but if you look at it for what it is....its just money. I've learned that I have to be faithful with my finances and in turn God will take care of your needs.

Second: if you don't already have one, start a SAVINGS ACCOUNT. Tomorrow. Get one that allows for automatic withdrawals from your debit/checking account. Even if you are only putting away $5 a month; it's still something. The number one rule about savings accounts is that you can't touch it, EVER, unless you need it to survive (buy food, pay rent etc). Savings accounts have to be for rainy days only so don't withdraw from them unless you absolutely have to. NEVER pull money out of a savings account for anything less and say "I'll put the money back when I get paid next month." You're a liar :)

Third: Have a credit card? (You should! Read my credit card post). Only use a credit card for groceries and gas. This way you can pay it off montly and start building great credit (that you need for cars, homes, etc.) If you're over the age of 21 and you don't have any credit...it's time! Even if you're a student, credit cards are a good idea to build your credit. Most banks have "student credit" programs and will give you a small limit to protect you from going caraaaazy.

Fourth: Plurge on what you care about, save on what you don't care about. For example: I have expensive hair products because I really need it. My hair is crazy curly and is hard to care for if I don't nourish it correctly. However, I could give a rat's behind about toilet paper, toothpaste, make up, coffee mugs etc. I buy those things cheap cheap cheap. Pick your priorities.

Last: Plan your meals for the week with the groceries. Special event? Go out and have fun! Normal day? GO HOME and eat what's at home. It's not the most exciting thing ever but you'll appreciate the extra $ in your account at the end of the month.

Hope this is helpful, feel free to post questions if you have any!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Smalls Healthy Tips!

If you're like me (Smalls aka short and curvy) it can be difficult to stay "high school" skinny! Here are some of my tips for keeping yourself on top of your weight, but stay healthy AND happy :)

  • Don't diet! I got this concept from Bethenney Frankel's book "Naturally Skinny." Viewing food as something that you should be restricted from is just unhealthy and sad :(
  • When you go out to eat and a restaurant gives you a cup that you can refill before you leave: DONT!! Unless it's water, you don't need anymore so throw your cup away
  • Cut out snacking 2 hours before your bedtime
  • Speaking of bedtime: get good, healthy, sleep. If you want your face to look clear and beautiful you have to get your rest
  • Try to drink water everywhere you go. Restaurants, gas station stops, at home, anywhere! Water is the obvious choice for health, but the sooner you put it in your regimen the better you will feel (I personally don't drink any soda at all. It's not about the caffeine for me, its about the awful sodium....it just makes me bloated and my face breaks out so I don't drink it at all).
  • Eat when your hungry, stop when you're full

I have lots of little secrets that I use that help me stay on track wherever I go and these are a few. I just really HATE dieting and forcing myself to kill at the gym, so I try to live a healthy lifestyle. It's similar to my mentality about cleaning: if you keep it clean, then you don't have to clean it :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ode to the Maxi Skirt: Sweatpants in Disguise

For those of you who have yet to discover the wonder of the maxi skirt, let me introduce you...

How do we love the maxi skirt? Let me count the ways:

  1. Didn't shave? NO PROBLEM! Because no one can see your legs!
  2. Feeling lazy? Maxi skirts are super easy to wear. You can pair them with anything: tanks, button downs, Ts, ANYTHING! 
  3. Feeling fat/bloated? The maxi skirt sits at your waist, making it look tiny, and hides everything else below the belt you might not be feeling so great about.
  4. Maxi skirts are UBER comfy. They are usually super soft AND have elastic waistbands! (Double win!)
  5. They work great in all seasons! They are long enough to cover your legs and keep you warm in the winter and breezy enough to wear all summer long. 
  6. Maxis look great with flats, sandals, boots, or heels!
  7. Maxi skirts can easily be dressed up or down to fit the occasion:
    • With a sparkly necklace = Glam Maxi
    • With a colorful scarf = Cute Maxi
    • With a cardigan or blazer = Profesh Maxi
    • With a jean jacket = Weekend Maxi
Basically, these are awesome skirts that have the same feel as sweatpants but look way chic-er! 
You should get on board.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Terrifying Taxes!

In keeping with Michal's previous post regarding finances, I thought I would chronicle my recent experience with... (insert ominous music here...)

Filing TAXES!!

Up until I got married (this past summer), I was a dependent on my parent's tax returns.
This is because I :
  1. Am a little spoiled.
  2. Am a little privileged. 
  3. Am a little sheltered. 
  4. Have awesome parents who helped me out maybe a little too much...
  5. Got married pretty young (22 - right out of college).
So this made filing taxes seem:
  1. terrifying.
  2. daunting.
(Yes, I have a flair for the dramatic.)


I had off work today for MY BIRTHDAY!!! Just kidding, it was technically for President's Day, but my birthday was yesterday, so I'm counting this as my birthday present from my employer.
Husband had a break in classes/lessons/rehearsals after lunch today so he came home and we had a feast of left-over Pad Thai (from early birthday dinner) and Bar-B-Q (from real birthday dinner) and it was delicious. 

Then the discussion began of what to do with our free afternoon:

Me: What do you want to do?
Him: I dunno, what do you want to do.
Me: I dunno! (this is where I start thinking of the vultures in the Jungle Book)

Him: Why don't we get our taxes out of the way?

Well... Let me tell you, I have been pushing this to the back of my mind and pretending it didn't exist ever since I got my W-2s in the mail. But I knew it had to be done, and I knew I wanted husband's help because he's done it before, and I knew I wouldn't ever want to do after a long day at work, or want to spend any precious weekend time on it... so I agreed to spend part of my BIRTHDAY DAY OFF (okay... President's Day) doing taxes. 

We decided to file jointly. BECAUSE WE CAN!! (Yay for being married!)

Four W-2s, a few other forms, two phone calls to my dad, one to my mom, one interruption from our upstairs neighbor, two hours and a few tears later... We're DONE! 

It was a little stressful, and a little confusing (mostly because we've only been married since July and my name changed half way through the year) but since we're pretty poor, it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been... and we're getting a nice return! YAY!

Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with left-over birthday tiramisu. 
And it was delicious. 
And it almost made doing taxes bearable. 

Money Money Money!

Something that is crucial to becoming a "grown-up" in the world and helpful when you eventually separate the financial umbilical cord with your parents is CREDIT. If you are living off a debit card and cash and you're over the age of 18 you need to apply for a credit card. It is virtually impossible to be denied when applying for a credit card (especially if its the same bank as your debit card).

My parents got me a credit card when I was 16 years old and monitored how I used it so that I could learn to pay bills on time but also build credit in the meantime. It has really paid off (no pun intended) because I successfully learned how to manage my paychecks and spending, and I earned a great credit score (which has helped tremendously in the home purchasing department). Many banks like BOA offer a "student credit limit" if you're still in school.

Credit card beginners tips:
  • When starting out on a credit card it is good to set a reasonable limit (about $400-500).
  • Only use your credit card for things that are consistent month to month like gas and groceries.
  • Only purchase on your credit card what you KNOW you can pay off every month. It really skyrockets your credit score if you pay everything off every month, which is good reason to start off nice and slow/low.

New Adventures

Welcome to our new adventure! This blog is really for us to write down and share everything we have learned about fashion and clothing, how to look professional without being in "the red" on your debit card, what you can expect in your first year with your hunny, real world help and anything else that we think is necessary to share. Have fun looking around and leave us comments!