Saturday, December 19, 2015

My Gift From Influenster: Honeywell Console Humidifier

By now, I am sure you all know the joys of Influenster, but in case you don't, it is a wonderful site that sends full-size products to its members for testing purposes. You take surveys, unlock badges, and get free products to try! If this sounds good to you and you'd like to sign up, below is my personal referral link:

Now for the main event: my review of the Honeywell Console Humidifier I was sent for testing purposes! First of all, this could not have come at a better time. It started to get cold, we turned the heat on, and all of a sudden our noses were so dry they felt like they would crack and fall off! Influenster sent this humidifier and we were saved! 

The positives: this unit holds a serious amount of water. That means that it won't run out of water overnight and just be running like the humidifiers I grew up with did (I am sure technology has progressed since then). We have had it plugged in and running for about a week and it still isn't out of water. The other great thing is that you can set the level of moisture you want in the air and the unit will run until that level is reached and then cut off. When the moisture level drops below your desired level, the unit starts running again. That auto-off feature is my favorite thing about this unit... it takes away any worry I would have had of leaving the thing on accidentally. 

The negative: the only negative to this console is the size. This thing is pretty big. If you live in a place with limited space, it will take up quite a bit. It isn't really a problem for us, because I know that the reason we don't have to fill it up very often is because of its size. 

If you're looking to buy this Honeywell Console Humidifier, you can do so at Amazon or Walmart

Friday, November 13, 2015

Why I love LivingSocial and Groupon

LivingSocial and Groupon are a great way to get the things you want or need for cheaper. Is there a study course you'd really like to take, or do you want to get into better shape but don't have time or funds? If so, there is always a way. Check out LivingSocial or Groupon.

I am always checking LivingSocial and Groupon for deals in the area when I know M and I are planning a date night or when we may be going out with other couples (we always find deals and tell them too!). This is a great way to save money and still get what you really want: a nice night out.

I am always checking for online courses to further my education and career also. Today I found a course on how to master social media marketing for your business (great for bloggers!) $18. Here is the link to what I bought:

Click here!

I also got an online course for mastering Excel for $20! I know there are a lot of tutorials out there, but I really love the structure and flow of a course. I am excited to take this. I use Excel at work all the time and I could always stand to learn a few things about it.  Here is the link to the Excel class:

Click here!

A few weeks ago, I got a year membership to where I can take unlimited fitness classes online (in the comfort of my home), and a six month membership to take online yoga classes any time I'd like... and they have thousands to choose from!

Today, you can get 13% off your purchase by using the promo code TGIF.

Happy shopping! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Say Hello to Your New Side Hustle.

I recently read this article about turning a side hustle into a main gig that really inspired me.

Reading it made me realize just how many of my generation are innovative, resourceful, and intelligent. I am totally inspired by the members of my generation who are not afraid to get out there and work hard to make their career something that has meaning to them, or just to make it on their own in a world where it is increasingly hard to do that.

I decided to go diving, and I found out that I am only one of many millenials who seek out a side hustle or two.

For me, this is the result of a restless, curious, and entrepreneurial mind (the second part was recently discovered and came as a complete surprise to me), but many do things on the side to pay down debt, to get more experience, or are in pursuit of a professional goal such as licensing or certification.

Whatever your reasoning for wanting a side hustle, I have compiled a list of things you can do (most of them from home) using the skills you have to make extra money.

1. Make money on your hobby.

Do you love to bake? Pickle or can things? Make jams? How about making jewelry or sewing? If you have a food-related or crafty hobby, you can bet that there are people out there who will want to buy something handmade. For food items, look up your state's cottage laws and see what you can and can't sell using a home kitchen. Google a list of farmer's markets in your area and do some research on what you need to do to be a part of one. For craft items, craft fairs are an option for selling your items, but for all the other times when those aren't happening, list your items on Etsy or even on eBay.

2. Online Tutoring

If you are good at math, or really good at writing, or you have an MBA and can tutor graduate-level business courses (and sooo many more subjects), you should consider online tutoring. The one that I have the most experience with is Simply decide what subject you'd like to tutor and take their test. Once approved, you will have to do a mock session (all online, no audio or video). Once you have finished that and passed, you can start tutoring. Basically, you log on when you want to work. I think this is great experience for someone who wants to teach online college courses someday as an adjunct professor and does not have online teaching experience.

3. Freelance Writing

I will admit that this isn't a side gig I have personally done, but my husband does some freelance writing. So through my research and my discussions with him, I can at least provide a jumping-off point for your research. Something I noticed when doing research is that writers are not paid enough! One benefit to freelancing is that you can build your portfolio while still making money on the side, even if it isn't amazing amounts of money.

The following articles will help start you off:

How to Make Your First $100 as a Freelance Writer

The First 5 Things to Do to Start Freelancing

25 Sites that Pay for Guest Posts

4. Secret Shopping

I have done this, and while it doesn't make big money, it is legit. I have met many people who have looked into this and either think it is a scam or find a company that requires you to pay a subscription to work for them (whaaaat??). Don't pay a subscription, you can find a good company for free. Here are a couple of companies you can shop with starting as soon as you create a profile:

Sinclair Customer Metrics

BMA Mystery Shopping

5. Clean out your house

Do you have some barely-worn stuff? Consign it! Do you have a whole bunch of stuff sitting around the house that you don't use? Someone will want to buy it! List it on eBay. Or Craigslist, or the Wallapop app. There are so many possibilities. This won't be a steady stream of income, but the benefits of it are two-fold: some extra money in your pocket, and a much more organized house!

6. Transcription

This is another one that I haven't done myself yet, so if anyone who has done it would like to comment below and let us know how you feel about it, please feel free! I found this article on transcription over at the Penny Hoarder and was really interested in doing it! It requires a lot of studying the company's style guide and rules for transcription to pass the tests (which you must pass before you start working), and it requires a lot of attention to detail and time. If you have this, go for it! This is a great option for people who want a flexible job that allows them to work from home. The Penny Hoarder's blog post on transcription has a much more complete list of transcription companies to work for, but one of the ones that allow you to work from your home computer without a foot pedal and transcription equipment is TranscribeMe.

7. Pet Sitting/dog walking

If you love animals and have some free time, this is for you! It is a great way to earn money on the side and spend time with a lot of different animals. This is especially lucrative if you live in a large metropolitan area (like the Washington, D.C. area), as people commute a long way for work and are gone from their houses for long hours. Get the word out: advertise on Facebook, tell your friends. Word of mouth is the best advertising.

8. Art modeling

Not for the shy!! Art colleges usually need nude models for their drawing classes and pay by the hour (pretty well). The time you can do this is limited, so it isn't going to be a full-time job, but if you aren't shy and you can sit still, call your local college art department and see if they need art models! 

Here are a list of other articles I found inspiring, all from Levo:

Why You Should Hail the Side Gig

5 Ways a Side Hustle Can Advance Your Career

Legit Ways to Make (Good) Money on the Side

Why Millenials Need Side Businesses

Working on a Second Job? You're *So* Not Alone

I hope these inspire you! Do you have a side hustle? Did I miss it here? If so, and you'd like to comment, please do! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Community Garden: The Spoils, Part 1

Well, this has been both the itchiest and most rewarding summer I have experienced as a gardener. M and I have been enjoying lots of fresh vegetables while researching and studying really hard to make sure we are the best gardeners possible.

Everyone we meet at the community garden (there are about 60-ish plots in all, I think) has said that the first year is the worst when it comes to weeds, and we sure have been battling those. It has been really tough. We have also been battling bugs. Specifically, we had trouble with grubs and squash bugs/cucumber beetles. There are many varieties of cucumber beetle and squash bug, and they basically all converged upon our garden this summer. Our squash made it, though! Aside from a few that got wilt, we managed to make it through with most of our squash. The cucumbers made it for a while, but ultimately got wilt and didn't make it. This is to be expected- only organic gardening is allowed, which we really like.

Now for the itchy part: we were also afflicted with bug damage. The mosquitoes were terrible at our garden plot this summer! I know that the amount of bug bites I have had on my legs all summer cannot look professional in a nice dress for work... but what can you do (aside from wear terrible, uncomfortable panty hose)? Oh well.

The real champion this year was the okra! We like okra pickled and fried, and since we are in the habit of eating pretty healthy meals in our house, fried is not going to happen. Pickled it is!

Our garden is slowing down, but still going!

So far we have pickled 21 jars of okra, made 6 jars of habanero pepper jelly, and 3 jars of green tomato relish. And that is just what I have gotten to so far!

I am really proud that my habanero pepper jelly actually set! I made a failed first batch with some jalapenos. :/ There is Norman in the background!

We have given away even more okra than we have pickled!

We have grown about 15 huge zucchinis and about 8 nice-sized yellow squash, 3 butternut squash and 3 spaghetti squash. We also grew two delicata squash before the bugs got that plant too. Many of the zucchini and yellow squash got blanched and frozen for use in soups in the winter!

We have also harvested about 6 lbs of cherry tomatoes so far. Almost all of those go to making a really wonderful fresh cherry tomato sauce for pasta (I use it on baked polenta). Any green tomatoes that fall off the vine are used for green tomato relish!

Needless to say, even with the weed and bug problems we think it was a really good first year. Stay tuned for more, we are still growing!

Did you have a garden this summer? I would love to hear about it, and about how you're preserving your harvest for winter! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DIY Your Jewelry and Never Be Without the Perfect Accessory!

When I look around at the people I know and how they decide to style their outfits with accessories on a daily basis, it makes me realize how many different preferences there are when it comes to wearing jewelry.

Some people have matching sets to go with every outfit, some have a wide variety of costume and non-costume jewelry, and some have a few meaningful pieces that go with everything and that they never take off.

I fall somewhere in the middle. I have many pieces with meaning (like things M got me while he was deployed, or things that were my mom's when she was my age, for example), some with value and some with  not so much value, and many more costume-y pieces that I either made or just liked for some reason. I like to have a lot of options. That is why I like to make my own jewelry!

Now, I am no professional, so everything I do involves beads of some kind and very rudimentary jewelry-making practices, but I am very happy with the outcome of most of the things I make! My style is a little bit more on the classic side, so this it is easy to make some simple things that work perfectly. :)

If you want some customized creations that you can tailor to your favorite outfits (and something to keep your hands busy while binge-watching crime shows on TV), hit up the jewelry-making section at Michaels or Hobby Lobby!

Here are a few of my own creations (as you can see, I really like pearls!):

I found this cool DIY list to get you started. :)

Do you DIY your accessories? I would love it if you'd post links to your DIYs in the comments!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Fabulous Fall Sweater Refashion

Fall is my absolute favorite season! I love falling leaves, cozy warm food, fall fashion, but most of all, I love the cooler temperatures (like a true Northern girl)!

I found this really cool sweater dress from the 80s (I am guessing) at my favorite thrift store in the South while visiting my granny, and I have been saving it for the cooler temperatures.

I don't think I have mentioned this before, but I usually do not try things on when I am in the store. This is especially true if they are cheap like the "stuff a bag" thrift store I love, and anything that is inexpensive. If I am in an actual store, I will try things on. :) In the case of this particular sweater-dress, I tried it on when fall was approaching and realized that the top fit perfectly, but the hips and butt were a little too tight for what I like, so I thought it would make a wonderful sweater!

I love the pattern, it is just 80s enough. I also love the sleeve length and the little front buttons. There is a bonus... it has pockets!

Since it is knit, and me + knit almost always equals a disaster when using the sewing machine, I tried something new. I folded the bottom raw edge over once and used the sewing machine on it. As expected, it was really uneven and unsteady-looking. After that, I folded that end over one more time and sewed it by hand with a whip stitch from the inside. That worked marvelously! I love this sweater.

Since the bottom of the dress didn't fit, I took the before picture on my dress form.

You'll have to pardon my use of bathroom selfies... I haven't worn this sweater out yet (because it has still been a little too warm, darn it!), my sweet husband wasn't awake yet to take a picture, and I was just so excited to share it with you! :)

Look how cool the pockets are!

I love the henley-type buttons on the top!

Are you doing any fall refashioning? I would love to hear about it!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Community Garden: Our Mini-Farm

I cannot seem to keep my manicures nice this summer, and it is for the absolute best reason.

Back in December, I did some research and found a community garden program in our area. For those of you who don't know, M and I bought a house back in November. We love it! The house, the neighbors, our neighborhood and the location are all we ever could have asked for. Since we live in the DC area, space is at a premium. We have a small yard, but it is landscaped and it isn't the kind of space we would need to have the kind of garden I wanted, so I found the community garden closest to us and put our names on the wait list for a plot.

I was assured that it would take at least a year until we were called, so I started planning on having an awesome garden in the Spring of 2016. However, several plots came available in May!! We went out, chose our plot, and waited to see if we got the one we wanted. Seriously. It almost killed me waiting. And I am sure that I annoyed the coordinator, because I am ashamed to say that I sent her several mildly-obsessive emails telling her how much we wanted that specific plot.

It worked! M and I were now the "owners" of a very overgrown, weed-covered, unfenced (at least on one side) community garden plot. We saw all the potential, and the fact that it is prime real estate because it is close to the water source.

It was time to get to work! I spent many hours out there, pulling up the weeds by hand and piling them up into huge piles. It was back-breaking work and I was so sore afterward! I found so many interesting bugs hiding under all those weeds too, and I love bugs. A few days later (on his birthday!), M went out and constructed the fence.

Weed-free and fenced, we were in business!

Here is a picture of the plot before we started weeding.

And during the weeding... 

Of course it is still a work in progress, but we are so happy with our little mini-farm! 

We were so pleasantly surprised to find this amazing community garden so close to us. Do you participate in a community garden? If so, I would love to hear about it!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Take a Look at This Gem!!

I recently had the very distinct pleasure of traveling back down South to visit my Granny and hitting up my favorite-ever thrift store while I was there!

I scored some really great refashionables, and I was thrilled!

One of my favorite pieces was this amazing jewel shirt. At least I think those are jewels...

As you can see it is a little bit too big and billowy. And you can also see right through it. Oh well!

Either way, the print is fabulous! Here's a close-up:

I figured that with the cute print of this shirt, it didn't need too much to make it perfect. I shortened the sleeves a few inches so the cut wasn't so 80s, and I took in the sides to make the shirt just a little bit more form-fitting.

The next morning, I couldn't wait to wear it, so I wore it to Costco. :)

You'll have to pardon my use of bathroom selfies...

I hope you enjoyed this gem of a refashion!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Night Project: Wine Cork Magnets!

What better way to spend a Friday night than doing a little bit of crafting while catching up on my shows after a long week?

I have a plethora of wine corks! My parents gave me a bunch of them because they didn't want to throw them away and knew I would put them to some kind of use. Of course!

I started with this bread bag of corks and this package of peel-and-stick magnet tape.

Then I used M's knife to carefully cut the corks in half. After cutting a few real corks, I cut some of the newer, synthetic kind and realized that they are so much easier! So I ended up with a good mix. 

Then I cut small rectangles of the magnet strip using kitchen shears. It was easier to cut than I thought it would be.

Here is what they look like on our fridge!

Have a wonderful, relaxing, crafty weekend! :) 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Socks From Old Sweater Sleeves!

Wow, it has been a while!

Since it is warming up, you can go ahead and add this to your project list for next year! Bad me, waiting until Spring is almost here to post a tutorial about how to make warm socks! :)

You might remember my very original post about how to make mittens from an old sweater. Well, I hated wasting the rest of the lovely sweater I kept since I was 18 (and could still fit in it), and it was such a beautiful color, so I decided to make warm, cozy socks to wear around the house out of the sleeves.

I started with cutting the sleeves off.

Then, I turned the sleeves inside-out and sewed down the wrist cuffs. I also turned down the raw edges, pinned them, and sewed them down. 

I left a little spot for elastic, snaked it into the hole I left, and sewed it shut. 

Clyde really wanted to help. :) 

BAM. Warm socks.