House Hunting, pt. 2.

crossingourfingers

So guys… we’ve finally come to pretty much the end of our house hunting search. We’ve found a home! It’s not ours and we are not getting our hopes up, but we are going to start the process within the next week and… well… eeekk!!

My husband and I have been house-hunting for about a month now. Our lease in our current home ends in August, which means that it’s still somewhat premature, but we are extremely anxious to move into our very own place. But can I just say– when you’re paying a ridiculous price for someone else’s mortgage, you kind of put things into perspective, especially when you see how much you pay per year on rent. It’s atrocious to swallow the dollar amount, so much so that I refuse to post it on here. But to say that we will be paying just a little more for our own place is an understatement to the investment we plan on making.

If all works out for the best, we will be in our new home by the end of February. But in the meantime, I figured a sneak peak at the model home’s kitchen will suffice. I’m hoping posting this does not jinx the process as I am NOTORIOUS for doing just that, but the excitement… it’s there… and it’s hitting me hard.

ktchn

 

Gym + Accountability: Our 2015 Resolution Check-In

As the first month of 2015 is coming to a close, it’s time to check in on our promises to ourselves. It’s time to assess our path toward our goals and changes. Our resolutions should not live and die on New Year’s Eve.

I’ve been a gym-goer for seven years. While I do have many stints of progress stagnancy, I have decided to kick things up in 2015. This means changing my workout routines, changing my supplements, taking in more calories and protein. I’ll be sharing my journey to a “better me” throughout the year with hopes of inspiring you all to join me. I’m going to push things a little harder. I’m going to run a little farther. I’m going to lift a little heavier. I’m going to focus and move and breathe and try.

If you read my recent review of the UP24 by Jawbone, you’ll know I’m all about accountability. And if you read my post before that, you’ll know I’ve been OBSESSING over my planner. So I figured, what better way to combine the two than to make an insert for my Filofax?!

Weekly Workout Log

I made it in an A5 size, which can be reduced to the personal size. From top to bottom, here’s how I’ve been using the tracker:

First– I started with the Monday-Sunday setup because I feel like many people start their workout routines on Mondays. Am I the only one? (Side note: My husband refused to start his “clean eating diet” on the 1st of January because it wasn’t a Monday. Instead, he waited until the 5th.)

Water– I like to tack off each water drop after every 20-ounce bottle I drink. You can choose to start small by ticking them off after every cup.

Workout: I like to keep track of the main muscle group I work on for the day. I know some dedicated gym rats keep track of every workout, every set and every rep, to include weight, but I’m good with just an overall muscle group.

Cardio: This is absolutely important to maintaining a lean figure. I like to switch things up every single day, so keeping track of the time and type of cardio I do is crucial. I only do 15 minutes of intense cardio so as to not have it be counterproductive to my workouts. Keeping track of the time and type of cardio helps me keep my gains, but keep off the bad weight.

Intensity: I use a red marker to color in the intensity level on the lady icon. I start with the bottom for least intense and work my way up. If I feel like I hit muscle failure and am nearly crawling to get out of the gym, I’ll color the entire icon red. If I felt more “bleh… just going through the motions”, I’ll just keep the color toward the feet. This is something I’ve borrowed from the UP24. I like tracking my energy level to see if there are any trends and what I could do to keep my energy at its peak.

Notes: I added this section for any other thing I would want to remember about my workout. Did I foam roll? Did I do abs? Did I take a pre-workout? These are just a few examples of ways I have been using this little block.

Feel free to snag the printable insert and let me know how it works for you!

House Hunting

househuntingThis year is the year… this year is the year my husband and I make the leap from casual renters to full-blown home owners. We have been traveling the world for five years now and have chosen to settle down in our location for a little longer. After a long debate, I finally convinced him that our smartest step would be to purchase a home.

Cons to home-owning: All the expenses that come with the home are yours. Unlike renting, you pay taxes. If anything goes wrong with the plumbing or heater, all repairs come out of your pocket. You also cannot just up-and-leave your home. One of my favorite things about moving is being able to be a part of various communities without a full-blown commitment.

Pros to home-owning: The house is yours! Don’t like the backsplash or the bathroom tile? You can change it! At the end of the day, every penny you spend on the house goes into something that’s yours. I can’t stress how sickening it is to me knowing that I’m paying someone else’s mortgage. You can also build a home. Whether you are going to be at the house for 5 years or for life– it just feels more permanent.

After convincing my husband that we needed to start building equity, we finally started the house-hunting adventure.

The good: It’s fun to look at so many homes. We absolutely love seeing property that has been completed renovated. We love seeing potential. We love the hunt. We also are very excited to finally something we can call our own.

The bad: We spend so much time looking that we have lost time to do other things we love. We are seriously looking every single free moment. Everything we’ve come across either been subpar or out of our price range.

The ugly: Contracts. Yes, contracts. We haven’t signed one with the real estate agent we are working with. In fact, she told us to look around and when we finally decide on a property, she’d be there. I’m not sure what the legalities of everything is, but EVERY SINGLE TIME we have walked into an open house just casually browsing, we are always given the third degree– “Are you working with a realtor?” being the first question and “WHY ARE THEY NOT WITH YOU?” quickly following up after truthfully answering the question. In fact, we’ve been turned away from viewing a potential home because we didn’t have our “real estate agent” present, regardless of our agreement with her. In all honesty, I love being able to walk into a home with my husband at our convenience. I ABSOLUTELY HATE having to walk around with a third person; I hate having to wait for someone to hold our hands. We have come to terms with saying “no” to the first question. It just makes our house hunting so much easier.

I’ve been vlogging the process. It hasn’t been that exciting, but I figured a weekend vlog would be a fun start to delving into the YouTube world once again.

 

Review: UP24 by Jawbone

It’s been nearly a month since purchasing my first fitness tracker, and of that month, the rubber beauty has only left my wrist long enough to shower. So just what can a fitness junkie like myself get out of this gimmicky gadget?

For starters, it keeps me accountable. It allows me to see how much activity perform on a normal everyday basis. This could be walking around the mall on a Saturday morning to taking the stairs at work. I’m able to see just how much I move around when I’m not at the gym.

The tracker also allows me to input my workouts, mood, meals, weight and sleep. Day in and day out, I’m able to scroll through the app to see the stagnancy and fluctuations of my lifestyle choices. Have I been taking it easy on my workouts lately? Should I consume more protein? How has my sleeping pattern affected my mood? These questions are easily answered only by staying accountable with myself every single day.

Another exciting part of fitness trackers is being able to compete with others. My mother and I have linked up our accounts so we are able to see how much activity the other person has completed. We usually text each other throughout the day with, “HEY! GUESS WHO JUST STEPPED MORE THAN YOU?!” A friendly competition like this helps us motivate one another.

I also have to mention one of my biggest pushes for a fitness tracker– I needed something that would kick my butt out of my office chair after sitting for longer than 45 minutes. Because I work predominantly behind a computer screen, it’s easy for me to forget to step away every so often. My Jawbone will vibrate after 45 non-movement minutes.

Related to this, you could also set an alarm. You don’t understand how nice it is to wake up to a vibration versus an annoying ringtone. See also, I like to snooze my alarm, but my husband HATES having to hear it. This keeps my alarms discreet so it does not interrupt him.

When fully charged, the band lasts for about a week. It’s quick and easy to charge. I always throw my tracker on the charger while I shower. It’s a no-brainer and why not charge it when it’s already going to be off of my wrist rather than wasting unaccounted steps?

There are 3 sizes– small through large. When shopping for one in person, you’ll notice that the packaging has a clear sheet of plastic with a cut-out. The cut-out is what you would use to measure your wrist. For reference, I use a size small. There are several different colors available. And if you’re a perfectionist like me, they do have replacement covers (the silver “Jawbone” cap) for sale on the website in the event yours gets scratched. (*You can see how scratched mine had become after traveling with it on… I still don’t remember what I brushed up against to scratch it…)

Have you tried a fitness tracker? If so, which one and how do you like it?

Staying organized in 2015

I believe I was born with some kind of obsessive disorder for paper products. I was always the student in school who utilized every single page in my academic agenda. My notebooks never went to waste, despite have a more than necessary. From diaries to planners– I collected and wrote and documented nearly every aspect of my life.

Tape and scissors were thrown crazily around my floor. Markers, crayons and pens were scattered about. Photographs cut, magazines disassembled, images glued and re-arranged. That was my life. Now as an adult, I’ve been using my paper goods to organize every detail of my days. As a working woman, you have to find ways to keep your head in check.

Coil-bound 2015 Planner from Target: This was purchased on a whim. I absolutely loved the design of the planner, but had already committed to other ones. I still bit the bullet because there was no way I was going to let it go. I use this planner as a diary. I like to write everything I’m grateful for, highlights of the day and paste any memorabilia that would fit.

Dreams and Schemes notebook from Marshall’s: This was a journal I started late in 2014. I still use it despite purchasing the Target planner for the same purpose. Sometimes I write more than the allotted daily space. Sometimes I like to doodle. Sometimes I just want to clear my mind.

Original Filofax and Saffiano Filofax: I purchased the Saffiano Filofax at the end of the year after deciding to make the leap into the Filo world. I chose it because the Original in nude was out of stock. I was not sure if it would ever be restocked or if it was a seasonal item. Lo and behold, the Original in nude came back on the market and my dream Filofax was quickly mine. I’ve be interchanging the two covers– the Original for every day use and the Saffiano for travel. Choosing two different sizes (the Original is in the personal size, and the Saffiano is in compact) was a great decision.

Disc-bound ARC planner from Staples: I’ve been using this planner since the middle of 2014. I have the 18-month inserts and was supposed to use it throughout 2015. It is the most customizable planner I’ve ever owned, which means I’ve been able to transform it into something other than its intended use.