Our Downstairs Bathroom Renovation

IMG_8465.PNG

Happy Monday, y’all! I wanted to share the progress we’ve made on the downstairs bathroom because we are officially done with the demo part! The plumbers are coming this morning and I’m super excited because that means we’re one step closer to putting everything back together.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen a lot of updates and videos of the bathroom already so thanks for following along! This is our first bathroom renovation ever so we’re learning a lot. This project has already become my favorite and I can’t wait to move onto the upstairs bathrooms once we complete this one!

WARNING, sappiness coming - I just have to brag and shout out to Chance real quick because he is my hero! We weren’t even going to touch this bathroom for a while, but when the pipes froze and burst we didn’t have a choice. Chance is the best because he lets me pick all of the finishes and does all of the heavy lifting for me. I got in there and started demoing the small stuff while he worked at night and he would come home on his lunch breaks and help out. For my birthday, he removed the big tub and completely ripped off all of the remaining floor tile and backer board! I love him so much, he is my hero and biggest motivator.

Before you look at the demo, take a look these before photos from the listing and when we made our changes later on to the vanity.

 

And now finally onto the demo! Scroll below to the see photos in chronological order detailing the progress we’ve made on the downstairs bathroom.

IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMG_7593.JPG
IMG_7629.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMG_8311.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG
IMAGE.JPG

Before I jump into the next part of this post, I just have to share the tools we used because a lot of y’all asked on Instagram and after some trial and error, we definitely found our favorite combination.

This Estwing Steel Brick Hammer is basically our new best friend. This tool helped us easily rip up all the tile - and we had A LOT of tile to get through.


Now back to the fun stuff!

We originally wanted to move the laundry room up from the basement and into this bathroom, but after seeing how nice it was to have extra space we’ve officially decided not to do that. Instead, we’ll be adding a tub to this bathroom and moving the laundry room to the second floor (where the master and other bedrooms are) because we have an entire unfinished room that we’ll be able to transform into a laundry area that won’t feel cramped.

The inspiration for our downstairs bathroom comes from our friends over at Hartley Home. I saw her bathroom and fell in love with the tile choices she made. We’ll be going with some really similar choices, grey tile for the floor and white subway tile for the shower with a white vanity.

The tile she used for the floor is sized 6 x 24 which I love! Since Lowe’s no longer carries this style or size, I had to do some research and found a really great alternative at Wayfair here. I’m so excited to finally order the tile and get to work.

Hopefully, I’ll have more updates next week (or maybe even this week) after the plumbers come.


Disclaimer: A few of the links are affiliate links, which means that I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!

The Best & Easiest Pantry (Almost) Vegan Banana Bread

IMG_8098.PNG

If you like my best, moist banana bread recipe, than you’ll love this new version! I’ve updated that recipe and mixed up the ingredients so that this is almost vegan - with the exception of the butter. But if you are vegan, you can substitute the butter for a vegan alternative and it will work just the same.

This recipe is super simple and “pantry-friendly” meaning you can make it with everyday ingredients that are commonly found in household pantries.

Sunday was a gloomy day so I decided to mess around with the rest of my bananas and try a new banana recipe. This mostly stemmed from me not wanting to go the grocery and trying to make do with what I had available and it actually worked!

I’m torn between which recipe I like more now…you be the judge! Let me know which one is your favorite in the comments below if you have a chance to try them both out.

Enjoy!

IMG_8096.JPG
IMG_8094.JPG

INGREDIENTS
• 2 very ripe bananas (the riper, the sweeter)
• 1 cup of sugar
• 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
• 2 teaspoons of almond extract
• 1 1/2 cups of flour
• 2 teaspoon of baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon of salt
• 1 cup of vanilla almond milk (you can use plain or unsweetened if you prefer)
• 1 stick of butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease 9-inch loaf pan

2. In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, and sugar. Mix together apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons of baking soda (it will fizz) and then blend into the butter/sugar.

3. With a hand mixer or spatula, mix in the almond extract and flour and stir until smooth.

4. Again with a hand mixer, or fork, mash the bananas until almost smooth, then fold them into the larger mixture. Add in the cup of almond milk and blend again until smooth.

Note: At this point, the mixture may seem too dry, but don’t worry it will be plenty moist! I’ve tested this several times and when I add too much banana or milk it’s too sticky.

4. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool until warm before serving.

IMG_8095.JPG

Simple Kitchen Organization Hacks

Simple Kitchen Organization Hacks vis Chaos With Coffee

Last time my mom was visiting, she made a comment about loving the way that I organize things. I don’t think I’m doing anything special or ground breaking over here in the organization department, but I figured I would share some simple little tips (or hacks) that I used in my kitchen. Maybe you will them helpful - or at the very least enjoy some more pictures of my kitchen (haha!).

Organize Your Pantry

This is such a simple tip that can really clean up your pantry and allow you to see what’s really in there. I’m guilty of having things hidden and buying too much of something because I later realized I already that item, but it was hidden out of sight.

My pantry is nowhere near perfect, but I do have a few tips to share on how I cleaned it up a bit.

1. Use clear jars (preferably with labels) to store dry goods like flour, sugar and grains. Clear jars not only look more organized, but they also allow you to see the quantity and how much you have left.

Note: you can find cheap glass jars at yard sales and thrift stores or reuse glass jars around the house (i.e. pickle jars, etc.) You can find super cute labels at Little Label Co. here.

IMG_7759.JPG

2. This is my favorite tip ever! I stole it from one of my favorite blogs, Clean Mama! Instead of spending a lot of money on those pretty clear cereal containers (that are also costly), file your cereal bags in a clear plastic bin. I love this tip for several reasons:

  1. It’s affordable

  2. It doesn’t matter the size of your cereal box (I always get stressed out about the plastic cereal containers because sometimes I buy the family size cereal!)

  3. It looks super cute when you have cute clips!

Pro tip: you can pick up really cheap, clear plastic containers at HomeGoods & TJ Maxx - plus they have super cute bag clips!

Note: I’ve done this for all of my “clear bag” items - cereal, crackers, pancake mix, etc. I even did it for my chips as you can see and stack them from most full to least full.

IMG_7791.PNG
IMG_7757.JPG
IMG_7761.JPG
IMG_7675.JPG
IMG_7676.JPG
IMG_7679.JPG

Keep A Tidy Coffee Station

We drink coffee all day, every day in this household - hence the name, Chaos With Coffee. Typically, you’ll only find a Keurig machine on the counter, but lately I’ve been drinking a lot of espresso so I’ve kept the espresso maker out too.

1. Use solid colored jars to store espresso and sugar. Unlike your pantry items, clear jars can look messy on the counter so anything you keep in plain sight should be a solid color - and these jars should be filled with something you use every day so you don’t won’t need a clear a jar to remind you of the quantity.

2. Turn those k-cups into a presentation! Under the theme of keeping your counters declutter, keep the k-cups off! I’m sorry, but I have yet to find a k-cup storage box that pleases my OCD so I stack mine in the cabinet in the shape of a pyramid - this is probably what my mom meant when she said I organize things in a unique way haha. But hey, it works! It hides those ugly k-cups but makes them look presentable and tit’s functional!

3. Place those loose drink bags in a clear jar. We all have those random tea bags or the Emergen-c packs lying around. I organize them into a clear jar so that I can throw away the cardboard box when there’s only 1-2 items left.

Note: I’m still not 100% happy with the coffee cabinet, so if anyone has suggestions let me know!! I don’t like how the tea is organized and I’m open to k-cup ideas!

IMG_7763.JPG
IMG_7765.JPG

Declutter The Counter

As my mother always said, everything should have a place - or a home. I was raised by a very “Marie Kondo” mother. Everything had a place and honest to god, if something wasn’t used and didn’t “bring joy” it was thrown out. My mom would clean out the clutter every season, I’m not even kidding. I hated it growing up! I hate organizing and cleaning (but look at me now, turned out to be an OCD neat freak).

My mom knew we wouldn’t clean out the clutter ourselves, but she wanted a neat house at all times. I vividly remember sitting at my desk, playing on my desktop computer and my mom sitting on the floor beside me going through my stuff - she would hold up an item and say keep or trash and if I said keep to something that didn’t seem important or she felt would likely be trash soon, she’d “Marie Kondo” me and ask when was the last time I used and did I really need it and did it “bring me joy”.

I’m not kidding y’all, my mom is the original Marie Kondo! She would organize her friend’s homes all the time and she was constantly decluttering her sister’s house too. She’s the reason I can easily throw stuff away and keep a very declutter house - sometimes I think I don’t have enough stuff, but whatever.

Back to the point - keep your counters clutter free!

1. Only keep “daily use” items on the counter. We keep our espresso machine (for me) and the Keurig (for Chance) at our coffee station. The white jars between hold the ground espresso and sugar (both for me).

2. Conceal the bad and keep it functional. Winston gets dog treats all day long so I keep them concealed in a pineapple cookie jar. I strongly believe in only keeping what I call “daily use” items on the counter. If you have a cookie jar it should always have cookies in it and if doesn’t then get rid of that jar. Anyways, point is we never have cookies but we always have dog treats and I this pineapple jar serves two purpose - decor and functional daily dog treat jar.

3. Less is more. Like I said above, if you have something on the counter it should be used and if it’s not them remove it. You can still store items in a pretty way. I use a raised dish to store our fruit, but when there is some overflow I’ll place is neatly next to it. This also is a reminder for me to use what we have and not waste food.

4. Get creative. Chance eats bread every single day and I wanted a nice way to store it - I hate bread containers and I hate leaving the bag on the counter so I’ve started using a cake stand. It allows me to keep the bread out, but also keeps it fresh and it looks better than a plastic bag. In addition, it also lets me see when we’re about to run out - I don’t eat bread as often as Chance so it’s not a “daily use” item for me, but I’m the one who does the grocery shopping so I need to be able to see when we are running low.

IMG_7303.JPG
IMG_7741.JPG
IMG_7697.JPG

I hope you enjoyed some of these tips! I’m no expert, but maybe you’ll find something useful out of this post or at the very least discover some new resources that I mentioned above. Let me know your feedback in the comments below :)

Send Your Valentine's Day Cards On Time Guaranteed

Anyone a last minute gift giver? I’ll admit that I have definitely been known to be a last minute gift giver, but hey who hasn’t fallen victim to this at least once? I try to plan well in advance for holidays, but sometimes this thing called life happens - luckily there’s Paperless Post to help us get a little something special out the door that says, “Hey, I’m thinking of you,” totally stress free! This year, I’m getting out some last minute Valentine’s Day cards using Paperless Post!

I love that they have so many different cards to choose from, whether you’re sending Valentine’s Day cards to your besties or your significant other. Paperless Post is so easy to use, you literally just sign up for an account (it’s free) and then start making your cards! My favorite part is that you can make cards anytime and schedule when you’d like them to be sent via email - this definitely helps me out because my brain is bonkers and I’ll be thinking of someone’s birthday like 3 months in advanced.

I’ve include the super simple steps below to walk you through the process - it’s super straightforward and you can choose from free cards or buy coins to pay for premium designs.

STEP 1 - Choose Your Card

Once you’ve set up your free account, you can browse hundreds of different cards. I went straight to the Valentine’s Day section to begin picking out my card designs for the year.

STEP 2 - Customize Your Card

Once you’ve picked out your card you can start customizing to the recipient. Pro tip: I loved so many different cards, but you can only design at one a time, so I added a bunch to my favorites list so that I could go back and customize them later for people.

STEP 3 - Enter One or Multiple Recipients’ Names

The cool thing about Paperless Post is that you can make one card and then send it to multiple people, which is great for party invites or holiday cards. You can also build out your address book and save people so that you don’t need to manually keep re-entering their name each time you want to send them a card.

STEP 4 - Schedule Your Card For Sending

My favorite feature in Paperless Post is that you can schedule when to send your cards! I love this feature because I’m often thinking so far in advance when it comes to birthdays and holidays. This helps me make sure I get cards sent out in time and relieves some stress because I don’t have to be like, “OH MY GOD, I need to remember to send a card on XX date!” Anyone else have a brain like functions like mine?

I scheduled my Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day cards with Paperless Post this year as well a few birthday cards for friends and family that have upcoming special days! I hope you all found this post helpful!

Please leave your comments below and let me know if you’ve tried Paperless Post!

Bold Bathroom Tile I Am Totally Crushing On

Do you follow me on Instagram? If so, you’ve seen the disastrous downstairs bathroom that keeps causing us headaches. Finally, we’ve had enough with the pipes breaking so we’re completely remodeling it to avoid further issues - plus we finally will have a beautiful updated bathroom!

I’ve been scouring Pinterest and Instagram for bathroom inspiration and while we’re probably going to go with a more neutral color scheme, I couldn’t resist sharing these stunning bathrooms that totally caught my eye! If we had plans to stay in this our permanently, then I would likely do something way more colorful and bold. Unfortunately, I have to keep future buyers in mind, but someday I will have a totally insane bathroom!

Keep scrolling for some beautiful bathrooms that I discovered on Pinterest and Instagram! Keep you eye out for our updates as I pull in some of these design elements.

 
 

Our One Year "Housiversary"

IMG_7367.PNG

Oh my gosh you all! I cannot believe it’s been one year since we moved into our home! It seriously flew by, probably because we HAD SO MUCH going on with moving across states, renovating, work and getting settled in. It’s been a crazy, wild, exhausting, AMAZING year and I couldn’t be more happy with where Chance and I are in the progress we’ve made on our home and in our life together.

We’ve definitely faced our fair share of the “good, bad and ugly” but I think we’ve actually been pretty lucky because I’ve heard some first-time homebuyers horror stories and we’ve got nothing on those! However, I did want to share everything we’ve experienced because you only see what’s on Instagram, but I want you to know things are never perfect and we have learned so much.

The Ugly

1. Check your oil levels - Regardless of what anyone tells you at closing, always check the oil level if your house is heated by oil. The previous homeowners told us we didn’t need to compensate them for the remaining oil, but that we’d likely want to get it filled up soon - you would think this meant we had (at the very least) a few days of oil to get us through. We were wrong. They literally left us a drop of oil. We moved in February 9 on a very snowy day so it was freezing cold! We woke up in the morning to freezing temps inside our house, plus the hot water is heated by oil too so that meant we couldn’t even take a hot shower!

Day 1 and the previous homeowners (who knew we were a young couple moving from Virginia) left us completely helpless. Luckily, our realtor’s son delivers oil for a living and was able to make a emergency delivery that night, but his truck couldn’t get down the driveway so Chance had to get out there and hand shovel the entire driveway, which nearly a quarter mile!

2. Know where your pipes are located - In our downstairs bathroom, we discovered that the pipes aren’t in the basement like everything else. They are actually located in a crawlspace in the garage, which had NO INSULATION. Therefore, during the polar vortex of 2019, the pipes completely froze and broke, which is why we now how to remodel the bathroom - but I’m staying positive because was hideous anyways.

The Bad

1. Ask For A Written List of All The Utilities - We had no clue our house used propane for the dryer and stove so about 3 months into living in our house we received a notification that the propane had been shut-off for non-payment. The previous homeowners forgot to mention we needed to set up an account with the propane company, so while less annoying than the oil issue, it was still something I wish I had triple confirmed at closing.

2. Previous Homeowners Will Leave Junk - We didn’t get too unlucky here, but the previous homeowners left all of their window dressings (even though in the contract we specifically asked them to remove). This was more an annoyance than anything because I had unscrew, patch and paint over every damn window in the house. Not only that, but they had made their own window valances out of wood and drilled them into the freaking ceiling!!! To make matters worse, he used about 3 different type of screws so I had to change out the drill bit almost every time I unscrewed something. Very annoying, but be prepared. They also left all of their old hangers (gross) and junk in the garage and barn.

3. The majority of your toilets may need to be replaced - Our toilets are all at least 15 years old and the previous owners didn’t opt for quality brands. We quickly had to replace the downstairs toilet and already know we need to change the upstairs guest toilet fairly soon before it gets too bad.

The Good

1. The space - Every room in our house is the perfect size. Not too big, but not too small and shaped perfectly for the furniture I had been eyeing.

2. The yard - The previous owners hadn’t done much landscaping at all thank goodness because the little that they did was pretty rough. I was able to completely transform the front flower beds with what we wanted. Although we still have a lot of work to do in this area, I’m thankful we have a big project on our hands for the yard when we moved in.

3. Location. Location. Location. - We couldn’t have picked a better area to live in! We have the absolute BEST neighbors. We aren’t in a neighborhood, which I love, but we are on a state road, which means our road is always the first to be plowed when it snows. Plus, we are less than 5 miles away from Chances work! We are central to everything we need (less than 10 minutes into town), in yet we have that “middle of nowhere” vibe.

4. We literally love everything about our home - I know I listed out some of the good and some of the bad, but seriously we freaking love our home. We’ve changed a lot to cater to our tastes so far and we still have a long way to go, but I’m excited to share some of the transformations below! Hopefully, by this time next year, we’ll have even more updates to share!

The Renovations

The 4 Reasons Why We Chose to Elope

51105783_1011046412428939_7779488548306026496_o.jpg

Well hello! I’m Anna from Anna Mae Health and I’m new to Chaos with Coffee but I’ve been friends with Madalyn for 13 years. I’ve watched as she has put so much hard work into her career and this blog and I love seeing her thrive! Madalyn invited me to be a part of Chaos with Coffee around Christmas time and we decided starting 2019, I would contribute here and there.

So I am writing this about 2 weeks ahead of my wedding day. You’re reading this shortly after it actually happens. Why? Because we eloped! Now let me start this off by saying, however you choose to get married, you should never feel the need to explain yourself or give excuses. Do it exactly how you want, whether it’s just the two of you or with 400 of your closest family and friends (lol that’s brave).

No one knew we were eloping except for a select few important people. Brett (my husband!!!!!) and I got engaged only a little over 3 months ago after 3 years of dating. He and I had discussed eloping many times prior to getting engaged but were still undecided. Once we actually got engaged, I immediately started looking into wedding planning.

Of course, there are soooo many options. We could run away for a destination wedding, we could just go to the courthouse.

Do we invite our families?

Do we include a few friends?

4 Reasons Why We Chose to Elope

1. DISTANCE
We went through all of these scenarios. I am a planner (that’s what I do for a living plus I’m extremely Type A) so I made pros and cons lists and went through all the details of each idea. Brett’s entire family lives in Florida while mine is in Virginia. We have a few other friends scattered around the country, but the majority are in those two states. If we chose to have a wedding in Florida, the entire Virginia family would have to travel, and vice versa. Brett and I really did not want to burden so many people with that decision. So that was reason number one for eloping: distance.

2. COST
We just moved to Naples, FL, about 175 miles south of where we previously lived in Dunedin. We are hoping in the next few years we can save up enough money to buy a home with a really great down payment (we've been getting tons of great home-buying tips from Madalyn!). So we weren’t too excited about the possibility of spending at least $15,000, up to $40,000 and beyond for a wedding. For some, this is exactly how they want to spend their money, but for us, it just didn’t seem as important. This is where your priorities come into play. We had to decide what was most important to us, not everyone else. There’s reason number two for eloping: cost.


3. LARGE FAMILIES ON BOTH SIDES
The third reason kind of goes along with the first one. We are both Italian. Need I say more?

Let me just tell you...I thought I had a big family until I met Brett. He has a very large and very tight knit family. So some people might be able to say, “I didn’t invite that cousin I barely know”. Well that doesn’t exist in our families. We were both raised very closely with a lot of our cousins and that’s only scratching the surface of the number of family members we’d want to invite to a “real” wedding! The number of people was starting to scare me. That also made it difficult for us to plan an intimate wedding. If we wanted to invite our siblings, we felt we should invite our grandparents, then we thought about one or two cousins that we’re closest with, and then it just snowballs from there. We were having a hard time drawing that line. So that’s reason number three: large families.


4. YOUR WEDDING SHOULD BE ABOUT YOU
There are a ton of other small reasons that validated us further once we made our decision, but the last reason that I’ll list is the best one. I love going to weddings. They are beautiful and so much fun. But for some reason I didn’t feel like a big wedding would feel like “us”. Brett and I are private people and love private moments together. I don’t think we really realized it before planning this, but we really love romantic, intimate memories together. I was so excited to marry him in the most romantic setting with just our parents (yes, we decided to invite them). It would be incredibly memorable and very personal to us. We both like being different and not following what’s “normal”. I think it’s really important to do what YOU want, whatever that might be. So reason number four: us.


Stay tuned for details about our actual ceremony and tips for planning an elopement. I’d love to share it all finally and help anyone who may be interested but is hesitant to elope. Don’t forget to follow along over at @AnnaMaeHealth for more updates!


The Ultimate Cure To SUPER Dry Skin

The air in the Hudson Valley is WAY more dry compared to Virginia. I never had dry skin before moving to New York - I very rarely used moisturizer up until recently. Since we move here, my skin gets so dry and flaky every November that I don’t even know what to do with myself! It’s honestly super embarrassing because it’s THAT dry and I feel like you can see it from a mile away - plus dry skin makes you look older so the struggle is real y’all!

That said, as I promised many times on Instagram, I’m sharing a ton of moisturizers that I have tried over the past few months and the method that has finally cured my SUPER dry skin! I hope this helps some of y’all out if you’re going through the same thing.


THE PRODUCTS


1. Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion - recommended*

This stuff works! It’s the best drugstore facial moisturizer I’ve ever tried and it wears really well under makeup! This Cetaphil Lotion is super affordable and Frugal February friendly y’all!

I discovered this product last year right after I had the flu. My nose was so running and chaffed my upper lip and the area around my nose so bad that it was constantly red, dry and flaky. If you’ve been following for me a while, then you have definitely seen me rave about this moisturizer. I will literally let gobs of this stuff sink into my face at the beginning of winter, but luckily it works fast and really the key factor here is that it wears SO well under makeup and doesn’t run.

2. L'Oreal® Paris Hydra Genius Glowing Water Cream Normal/dry Skin

I tried this last year, but wasn’t a fan. A few celebs have raved about it, but it didn’t seem to absorb well on my skin and it actually irritated it and make my face all red. It felt super oily too and didn’t wear well under makeup so I wouldn’t recommend this one if you have dry, sensitive skin.

3. Equate Beauty Daily Facial Moisturizer

This is essentially Walmart’s “off-brand” version of the Cetaphil moisturizer - super cheap if you’re on a budget (or doing Frugal February).

This seemed to work okay for a few days, but then it really began to irritate my skin (my skin is super sensitive in the winter if you haven’t caught on to that already) so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with sensitive skin. It’s probably worth testing out if you have tougher skin that doesn’t get irritated easily because it does wears well under makeup!

4. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Moisturizer - recommended*

Okay, y’all I absolutely fell in LOVE with this moisturizer. It’s great for sensitive skin and it really does help with redness. I used up the entire jar pretty fast and will definitely be keeping in this my beauty bag.

It doesn’t wear well under makeup so I would recommend this as a night cream because it takes a while to absorb into your skin and is pretty thick. Seriously though, if you have sensitive, dry skin I would highly recommend adding this into your nightly routine! It’s a little more expensive, but the women at It Cosmetics know what they’re doing y’all - buy this moisturizer!

5. Clinique Dramatically Different™ Moisturizing Lotion+

I actually used this moisturizer back in high school and college so I gave it another shot since the bottle says it’s for SUPER DRY skin. I have mixed feelings about this moisturizer.

For starters, it smells really weird, which really threw me for a loop because every time I put it on my face I sort of felt more dirty. I just couldn’t get used to the smell - it’s not necessarily a bad smell, it’s just a very strange scent - not for me. However, this moisturizer does wear well under makeup and it was super light.

I still felt like my skin was too sensitive for it and that it actually brought out the redness, but I’m planning to give it another shot in the summer when my skin isn’t quite as sensitive.

6. Tarte Double Duty Beauty Base Tape Hydrating Primer - recommended*

Not to sound like broken record, but if you follow me on Instagram then you know I’m pretty obsessed with Tarte right now!

This stuff is amazing! I actually use the Double Duty Shape Tape Hydrating Foundation on occasion too! The smell is great (v. important IMO), it’s super lightweight, absorbs into your skin quickly, excellent for sensitive skin and wears amazing under makeup! I use this on the daily and I’ve even included my routine in the details below!

7. Tarte Double Duty Beauty First Step Prep Moisture Reset Cream - recommended*

Super lightweight, smells amazing and highly recommended for your morning routine even if you have sensitive skin! I love this stuff and it’s become my go-to moisturizer in the mornings. It’s the first step in my skin routine each morning after I wash my face. I lather this stuff all over my face and neck.

It feels thick and dense in the jar, but I swear it’s ultra lightweight as soon as you spread it onto your face. It absorbs fast and it never irritates my skin. This stuff is GOLD you guys!

8. RoC Retinol Correxion Max Daily Hydration Anti-Aging Crème

I’m neutral about this creme. There’s actually nothing bad about it, but I prefer Tarte’s moisturizer since they are vegan and absorb quickly. This creme is a great nighttime moisturizer, it doesn’t really have a scent and it felt lightweight, plus is was definitely hydrating! If you’re brand loyal to RoC or just want to switch things up, then this moisturizer is definitely recommended!

It’s more affordable than Tarte and It Cosmetics, but you still get quality skincare from a well-known beauty brand if you want to raise the bar and upgrade from your drugstore moisturizer.

9. It Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation Spf 50+ Full Coverage Anti-aging Moisturizer - recommended*

As much as I love Tarte, I have to admit this is one of the best “foundations” I’ve ever tried. It’s actually just a tinted moisturizer and I was honestly skeptical because it says it’s “full-coverage” and so many tinted moisturizers are more like a thin veil, but this really does replace foundation y’all!

Highly recommend if you have dry/sensitive skin, although be careful around irritated acne/broken skin because the bottle says don’t apply overtop. It will irritate acne more if you try to use over a (sorry for the TMI) freshly popped zit.

10. Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Hydrating Foundation

I mean, what can I say? I love Tarte! This foundation isn’t full-coverage, but it’s lightweight and almost like a moisturizer because it’s so hydrating. It can get streaky if you try to apply it before letting your moisturizer absorb so definitely only use when you’re skin is feeling super dry or your moisturizer has set in - otherwise it will run.


THE SOLUTION

MY DAILY SKIN ROUTINE

I’ve highlighted my recommend products above and even though I change it up a little bit each day depending on how my skin did through the night, here is my general morning routine - don’t forget to wash your face with a washcloth FIRST - the washcloth is key (a tip I learned from my friend Kali) because it will get all of the dirt/grime and prevent breakouts:

STEP ONE: Apply Tarte First Step Prep Moisturizer Reset Cream; let absorb

STEP TWO: Apply Tarte Hydrating Primer; let absorb

STEP THREE: Depending on how dry/hydrated my skin is when I wake up, I’ll apply the following:

  • If my skin is dry: I usually opt for the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation moisturizer. Sometimes I’ll even skip the Tarte moisturizer in steps one/two and go straight for this usually because it’s super hydrating and sometimes the combination of all three leaves my makeup runny/streaky.

  • If my skin is hydrated: I’ll opt for Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15! I love this full coverage foundation because it’s oil-free, vegan and really knocks it out of the park when it comes to foundation. It’s basically a giant blur tool in real life. However, be wary because this stuff is basically a clay foundation so it can be a little drying, which is why I only wear it when my skin is hydrated. I can’t wait to try it this summer when I have tougher, hydrated skin!

STEP FOUR: Sometimes I will apply a light power if my skin is very hydrated or I need some extra coverage. I love Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation. I also really, really love It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder - this is powder seriously amazing and offers FULL coverage - more than the Tarte one previously mentioned to be honest.

And that’s it! It’s rare that my skin gets super dry these days now that I’ve found products that work for me! I only wake up with super dry skin if I neglect it for a few days on accident. No more flaky, gross skin you all!!!

Other products to consider:
If you need more coverage, try Tarte’s Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Waterproof Concealer or Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer - I used this stuff for YEARS and honestly the only other concealer that comes close to comparison is the Tarte concealer linked above.


NEXT ON MY LIST TO TRY

All of that said, I still have ton of other products that I want to try out based on my experience with Tarte and ones that you all recommended! Here is the list of beauty products to come next - let me know if you have others you’d like me try out as well!

  1. Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder

  2. Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Setting Powder

  3. Tarte Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Matte Foundation

  4. It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Moisturizing Super Cream

  5. Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20

  6. Tarte Clay Stick Foundation



If you enjoy this post, please let me know in the comments below! And follow along with us on social media using the links below :)

Disclaimer: A few of the links are affiliate links, which means that I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!

Frugal February: How To Build A Budget System That Works

Frugal February: How To  Build A Budget System That Works

Disclaimer: We are not financial advisors. We are simply sharing our financial goals and strategies that personally work for us. Please, seek professional financial advice if you need direction in financial planning and goal setting.


Welcome to Frugal February!

Here’s some background before we dive into Frugal February: last year, I really started to look at budgeting because we were buying a house and I’d never made such a big purchase before. Chance has always been really great with money, he has it nailed to to a system that works for him - he saves, he invests, he basically does everything we should all be doing. Anyways, he inspired me to start looking at the big picture and be more financially responsible.

Fast forward, this year I want to improve even more so I’ve been diligently tracking all of my income and expenses - I literally have the entire year mapped out and I’m on track to save a good amount already to help me pay of my car. For me, budgeting is about reaching my goals faster so that I save more in the long run. It’s about planning for the unexpected - and actually if you take anything away from this post, it’s really that for me, budgeting is PLANNING.

Instead of spending willy nilly and having no clue what’s coming and out of my bank account, my 2019 goal is to have a plan. It’s not about restricting myself, it’s more about finding where I am throwing my money away and reducing waste. My goal is to plan for the things we need and put the rest into savings - or towards paying off debt. After buying a house, I reflected on 2018 and realized how often I would run over to HomeGoods and buy something I didn’t need or something that gave me 10 seconds of happiness. I realized I wasting SO MUCH MONEY. I still managed to add more to my savings and start 2019 better than I started 2018, but it wasn’t good enough.

So that’s why we are talking about Frugal February! I’ve been following this system since the start of the year and it’s helped me stay focused and avoid waste. I’m hoping this post inspires you all and hopefully gives some guidance if you’re feeling lost.

Follow us on Instagram below as we provide more tips, help you stay on track and answers questions throughout the month!

Awaken Your Abode

Anna Mae Health

Chaos With Coffee

Let’s Begin…

Frugal February Is Not

  • A miserable lifestyle

  • Being selfish, money-hungry, cheap or stingy

  • A fix-all for your financial difficulties

  • An attempt to talk up the fact that we are trying to save money

Like I said, Frugal February is really just my way of sharing the strategies that have worked for me to stick to a budget and reach my goals. It’s a plan.


What Is Frugal February

It’s essentially a month of zero-waste spend. The challenge is to only spend money on things you need and focus on reaching your larger financial goals through methods and strategies that we have found to be personally successful. We hope Frugal February gives you a heightened awareness to your financial spending and help you hold yourself accountable for planning your future.

I suppose you could even consider this a month-long exercise in self-control. We’ve outline some guidelines and even made some awesome templates to help you navigate your way through Frugal February.


How to Start Frugal February

1. Download the weekly budget and transaction templates

Get the Transaction Template Here | Get the Weekly Budget Sheet Here

To use these templates, simply click File > Make A Copy or File > Download and convert this to a .csv or excel file. These are completely customizable too, so feel free to change the categories/themes and the items within each so it fits with your lifestyle!

2. Write down all of your planned income. Then write down your monthly expenses (i.e. mortgage/rent, utilities, monthly subscriptions, etc.) Don’t leave anything out, no matter how small it is. If you don’t know the exact amount, I recommend rounding up - it’s better to account for more expenses than to be left with unexpected ones.

3. Finish filling out the templates with as much detail as possible. Like I said, keep things conservative if you aren’t sure exactly how much you plan to spend. For example: if it costs about $25 to fill up your car every week, round that up to $30 per week - this helps me save even more because I’m accounting for more expenses and therefore planning with less funds.

Pro-tip: when you see that you’ve saved more money at the end of the month than you “planned” you’ll be more motivated to keep going.

How to Implement Frugal February

Once I have mapped out all of my expenses that were necessary for living along with anything else I already had planned (i.e. hair appointment, dr. appointment, etc.), I have an idea of how much money I could save at the end of the month - aka how much more money I have to pay off my car or put into savings.

The challenge for Frugal February is to cut out all of your other non-planned expenses. So if you walk to HomeGoods and can’t leave without buying something, then try to stay far, far away from HomeGoods - or just do what I do, make a mental note of how much you plan to save and remind yourself of that and how much better off you’ll be in the long run if you don’t by that palm leaf notebook.

Money Saving Strategies

1. Map out expenses and income for the entire month in your weekly budget planner - it’s really more of a monthly budget planner because it has 4 weeks in one sheet

2. Buy groceries in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco and meal prep your lunches and dinners. We’ve saved so much money by not going out to eat or hitting bars every weekend - this stuff seriously adds up!

3. The Envelope System | Download Printable Envelopes Here

Cris from Awaken Your Abode created customized envelopes for you all to download and use! Print the template (hyperlinked above) to implement this system into your saving strategy! The idea is that each envelope contains cash for a certain category in your budget (ex. groceries, gas, daycare, petcare etc.)

These envelopes will not include bill money if you pay bills online or by check. The amount of money that will go into the envelope is determined by the budget you mapped out for your expenses for the month divided by four weeks (assuming you get paid weekly.) The envelopes will get refilled weekly with that amount. Each envelope has a space to write down the amount you spent and what you spent it on. The amount of money in each envelope is all the money you have to spend on that category for the week so make sure you plan wisely (hint: gas money you should definitely plan accordingly)

So that’s it - as far as the kick-off goes to Frugal February! If you’re following along on our journey, we’ll be posting on Instagram as we go with more tips, strategies and updates to keep you motivated throughout the month!

Special thanks to Cris and Anna Mae for all of their help compiling ideas and strategies!

DON’T FORGET: Follow us on Instagram below as we provide more tips, help you stay on track and answers questions throughout the month!

Awaken Your Abode

Anna Mae Health

Chaos With Coffee

/  / /

Other Helpful Resources:

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

EveryDollar budget app — I use this every single day!

Live Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze (this is Dave Ramsey’s daughter)



The 2019 Galentine's Day Gift Guide

gift guide.png

You may have seen the 2018 Galentine’s Gift Guide - it was a HUGE hit with you all and it still has a ton of relevant gift ideas that can be used this year - but I wanted to share an updated gift guide with some new products I absolutely love!

I’ve broken this year’s gift guide into several sections - the first portion contains some thoughtful ideas based on interest, while the second half contains gift ideas that are perfect for anyone - and still very thoughtful, but honestly when is a gift not thoughtful?

I hope you all enjoy this gift guide! Leave your feedback in the comments below :)

/ / /

FOR THE CREATIVE SOUL & PHOTOGRAPHER

1. Lightroom Presets

Is your bestie a photographer? Blogger? Maybe you just want to treat your wedding photographer to something nice this Galentine’s Day. Lightroom presets are always a good idea! Who doesn’t love some fun, already-made filters?

A Color Story has tons of gorgeous, Instagram worthy Lightroom presets available here.

A Color Story Lightroom Presets

2. Creative Online Courses

Maybe you have a Galentine who wants to learn something new or refine her skills in something? You can check out these digital courses for photography, social media, lettering and more over at Brit & Co. - see below for some fun ones!


FOR THE BOSS BABE

1. How To Courses with A Beautiful Mess

These awesome online courses by the lovely ladies at A Beautiful Mess will teach your boss babe everything from how to start a podcast to how to build a profitable blog!

You can learn more about the courses here.

2. Social Media & Business Courses from Brit & Co.

Brit & Co. also has amazing courses to help your Galentine grow their social media courses and build their business! Check out some of the best ones below:

3. The Adulting Kit

How cute is this Adulting Kit from Pinch Provisions? Don’t worry, if you keep scrolling I’ll get much more in detail on the perfect Pinch Provisions Kits - they literally have something for everyone!

3. Doormats from Josie B.

Okay, honestly these are perfect for any Galentine, but this Slay Girl Slayy doormat just had boss babe written all over it! How cute would this be outside of your office or something? Shop here!

Slay Girl Slay Doormat via Josie B



FOR THE ADVENTURER

1. Pinch Provisions Kits

You’ve probably seen me rant and rave about Pinch Provisions Kits over the years because they are AMAZING. I’ve given them as gifts and buy them for myself all the time. Most recently my aunt gave me the cutest one for Christmas this year and it reminded me how great they are for gifts.

These “minimergency” kits are super small but packed with everything you need in a “mini emergency” - such as advil, nail polish remover, breath spray, hair spray and so much more! You can buy one kit and make it last forever with their refills - pro tip: if you gifted on e last year then send your friend some refills!

They have so many new kits now that I couldn’t pick just one to share with y’all. Here are my faves:

FOR THE WINE LOVER

1. A Winc Gift Box

Winc is a delivery wine service that delivers really great wine right to your door, while learning about your palette! But, did you know they have a ton of super cute gift boxes - and they are all different price ranges?

If youe Galentine loves wine, definitely take a look at these gift options - because who doesn’t love the gift of wine? You can also give them gift card if you’re unsure on what to give them.

2. Pinch Provisions Wine Kits

Yeah, Pinch Provisions literally thought of everything! Check out these super cute (and v. affordable) wine kits and minimergency add-ons they have available:

3. A Wine Aerator, Pourer & Stopper

My aunt gave me this for Christmas and it’s really cool if you drink a lot of wine like we do. It’s fun to taste test different wines with and without the aerator, plus it’s a 3-in-one with a pourer and stopper! Highly recommend for you wine friends! You can purchase the one I have right here.

Wine Aerator, Pourer, Stopper

And now for the great big gift list of things that are literally perfect for anyone and bound to not fail you if you need an idea for someone this year!



Disclaimer: A few of the links are affiliate links, which means that I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog!