yyerrrr, ya gonna drink that coffee?

pookie yorkie dog

This is Pooka. Pooka decided to climb atop the mountain of pillows that have found themselves on the floor (since hubble was remaking the bed) and taunt her momma for having to go to work on this glorious Monday. I have no shame in admitting I am more than a wee bitters jels bells of her. This chick lives the life.

 

Anyways… here are some things I’m lovin on lately…

Ronald and Nancy’s love story for the ages.

Leonard DiCaprio being ah-mazing.

This stylistic piece of real issues in the land o’ the rich&famous. >> (….actually I don’t really like this one but more the message it is sendin`)

Kate & the Prince take the Alps.

 

that is all for the monday moods.

// Kate

 

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honeymoon hoopla

hoenymoon maui

Howdy y’all! These last few weeks (months???) have been completely consumed with wedding planning. Contrary to the idea my Pinterest board entitled “weddding” – crafty, ehh? – gives I have not been crazy about it. It is just so so much time consuming work. For a day. no – no. For a night.  So I have not been letting the little things get to me and I have been crazy extra super decisive with the whole ordeal. Beige or off-white?! who cares! just pick one. Designing the programs is getting to be too difficult? Nix the idea! Everyone for sers tosses them in the garbage anyway.

The only struggle, and boy do I mean struggle, is with the two things Garrett has come to be in charge of. That would beeeee  – menswear (duh…) and the honeymoon. I am not really sure how Garrett became the corporal for the honeymoon mission but at least he is taking the role seriously. Maybe a little too seriously? Garrett’s first choice has been Switzerland. But I am over here like ummm Switzerland? I can’t even knock it too hard right now because truth be told, I haven’t really done any research on it. The flowers and fields are pretty and that’s about all I got. It is just not the honeymoon I thought we would go on. Next option? Caribbean cruise! For obvious reasons this sounds like a winner. Food and drink included, no driving or having to really plan anything, and we live in Flo-re-dah so easy access to the ports! We were already looking at options, and picking which one we preferred based off destinations… Then. There I was. Sitting in my office. It was like a little lighterbulb literally illuminated atop my head – WE CANNOT GO TO THE CARIBBEAN.  (that is my text to Gar-bear). I had completely forgotten about the Zika. SO back to the drawing board.

This story is really interesting, eh?

Alaska was assessed. It had the same cruise options and perks but boyyy do they get price-say! Alaskan cruises are a little too rich for our blood so there went that.

So. As of right now (haha) the winner is …. Hawaii!!! (I suppose the picture above already spilled the beans…)

That is how I felt too. “Garrett – we didn’t even discuss Hawaii??” Next thing I knew he was going to Barnes and Noble to get a book about Maui and calling hotels to determine availability. He tried to convince me that we have to do the Stairway to Heaven hike but upon further investigation I made the discovery that that sucker is condemned, has been closed for over thirty (30!) years, and it is illegal to climb. Is he trying to have me killed and/or arrested the first week of our married life!?

Anyway. I am feeling super excited about the idea since for a while there we had pretty much decided that no honeymoon would be happening.

vacation antartica

On a related note: how awesome is this postcard Garrett’s parents sent us from Antarctica?!! Literally mile zero – the bottom of the whole earth! Take that Key West. 😉

xo-Kate

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status: swooning

photo bagel

First and foremost- bagels.

I walked into my office as I always do on all Tuesdays (yayyyy) but this morning I was greeted by one of the managers peeked her head into my office and saying “there are bagels in there (pointing discretely to the break room) but I am letting you know first because there isn’t enough for everyone!!” haha. I am so very glad she thought of me. 😉 Apparently Einsteins brought us bagels because my workplace is such a loyal customer. I am not even really a bagel person per se but free is for me!! ya know what I mean?!

Secondly, I finally watching my boyfriend’s – I mean Leo’sacceptance speech. I know – a little late but that is what happens when you roll sans cable. But ermigoshhhh.  Does it get any better than Leo? Such a well-spoken tree huggin’ hawty. He had to have pre-written that speech with all those big words that flowed together so perfectly. Okay. I’ll stop gushing.

Kate

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Can I get a hallelujah? Can I get an amen?  

 

clouds photo

Why hello! This post is coming to you live from outer space! Actually it is coming from an airplane. That is still sitting on the tarmac. And actually being posted roughly five days after being written… But that is close enough. amirite?!

Flying is similar to college. You start off scared as hell over-analyzing all the tidbits of conversations you hear prior to even your first class (or boarding) by those around you hoping and or assuming they are more experience in the matter than you are. You reluctantly drudge in, find a seat, eyeball the heck out of those around you, and settle into your area. You find yourself listening intently to what I call the seatbelt / life-vest speech as you would the first day lecture and find your self dosing off mid-speech as you inevitably start to dose mid-semester. (I know this isn’t just me.)  Then for the remainder of undergrad (the flight) you just pray (cry?!) that it all doesn’t go abruptly south.
Too much? Am I putting bad juju in the air literally moments before “wheels up”?! Oh man. The lights just dimmed. This is happenin and I totally feel for ya kid in row 17 that has apparently already had enough of this. Or maybe it’s just the whole leaving Disney World thing?? Nope. Gotta be this.
….Anyway. Figured I’d let you know how terrifying I find flying to be. Or at least the waiting to fly, taking off, and landing. The smooth stuff in between isn’t so bad. Especially if there are TVs. But this plane is sans headrest TVs. #budgetplane
We are airborne. I hear an enormously loud blaring sound and I’m in the front of the plane. Let’s just hope that budget planes do not come with A+ muffling systems and this is normal.
 …. we landed. Phew!! Easy-peassyyy.
Captain Kate – Over&out. (yaaaa right)
postscript: the spacing on this one is a little wonky. but I give up. you win wordpress. you win.
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feeling like a fiancé

RSVP Card Blog

So I’m getting married y’all! I say this like it’s new news, meanwhile it’s been over 365 days… But it feels like I should feel something. Like when it’s your birthday and someone asks “do you feel older??” and you ponder the question and if you are me you respond “no” and even if you respond “yes”, do you really?? 

I keep waiting for the trigger. The event when it will feel like this is it folks!! I’m about to be some poor soul’s wife! We picked our venue and I waited. Paused. Feelin’ it out. Nope – notta. Maybe with the linens. Nothing says “I’m a married person now” like scanning China with a wand in Bloomingdales. But no.

Side Storytime: we went to update our registry a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t a we-want-to-update-our-registry!!!!!” sort of thing. But more of a I-got-an-ambigious-email-from-some-registry-woman-named-Victoria thing. She emailed to let me know that a “large quantity” of items on our registry were being discontinued. Four days after we mailed our invitations. Obviously I was in a state of sheer panic since everyone knows that as soon as you get a wedding invitation you flock to the mall to make a purchase off the enclosed politely mentioned registry.

So instead of going on the beautiful canoe ride we had been planning all week (two days) I halted all courses of action Saturday morning so this atrocity could be addressed in the flesh!! So anyway. We get to the mall and meet with this wonderful lady who we met when we first registered and she proclaimed KALE!!! Hahah. She really did. I promise. See when we first registered there was a raffle going on and I won the fanciest crystal wine glasses but my name looked more like “Kale” than “Kate” on the piece of paper used for the drawing and thus she announced “Kale!” as the winner and I graciously accepted such a dazzling prize. #winning.

Okay. So we were back meeting with her (I really should know her name) and she let us know that there were only like 5 things that were being discontinued. None of which were direr. Thanks, Victoria. BUT since we were there we figured, why hey! we can add some items while we are here. Just to give our guests some more options, because we are considerate like that. Well Gar-bear’s parents happened to be in the mall too and came up to say “howdy” and to my amazement, this was their first introduction to the registry wand!!! How could it be so?! They were asking things like “so you just scan the code?” – okay, maybe that is all that they asked. But still. I was pretty amazed and kind of concerned about the struggle that would comprise a pre-technology registry. So today I think we should raise a collective glass to the registry wand. Because stressed out bridezillas getting random late Friday night emails from ladies named Victoria are scurry enough.

Side story –overandout-.

Back on track … I will admit I did feel a little summin when I was printing out our invitations. I was excited and I even fed the envelope through the printer right the first time. Complete guesswork and I prevailed! In all I ended up realizing the feelin was probably just my back giving out from being hunched over a macbook and printer and trying to place stickers on envelopes just so. Because people notice things like that. A sticker that is slightly more to the right than it is to the top.

I bet you read on in anticipation of just when I felt like a fiancé.

It still hasn’t come. I will keep you posted.

 

Lalalala.

Kate

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my biggest goal right now . . .

blog lush 0

is to not touch my face.

Yep. That is correct. It’s not like I have some kind of compulsion or infatuation with my face. It’s just that I work at a desk – sitting there all.day.long. So I start to slouch. (Mayyybe this is a posture thing and that should be the actual goal??) Said slouching leads to leaning and leaning leads to resting my face in my yucky germ infested palms. Then there it is.

blog lush 1

blog lush 2

Then there they are. The red dots and bumps that accost my face. I start to look like a version of myself circa 10th grade. betedubs – look at all these selfies!!! Don’t you just lahhhvee it? haha.

blog lush 3

(and here I am … touching my face. ahem.. appplyyyinggg the mask. duhz.)

So now I’ll be spending the evening looking something like this. Sorry boo-thang! On the ups, my face smells like delish banana and oats. Maybe I’ll get crafty sometime soon and learn how to make face masks. Till such time comes I’ll keep lovin’ on some Lush.

lush 2

lush

 

shelves interior design

Oh and I figured that I would share Oswald on here. Oswald the owl. His current home is on the bathroom shelves. Isn’t he just the cutest?!

 

Any suggestions on gentle face products I should give a go?

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solid colors

blog style feet

blog style fashion

This weekend it was all about comfort and bringing in spring while knowing it is -unfortunately- still winter.  I know I live in Florida but the struggle is still real. That is why I paired an over-sized plum color top with my pink jeans and my gray flats. The plum has the dark deep feels of winter but the pale pink is totally a Easter-is-almost-here reminder. I also accessorized with my turquoise purse I love and that has been quite the hit since I got it.

blog style fashion 2

[top: Express (bought in-store but similar here) // pants: target (old) // purse: Kate Spade (similar) // shoes: Nordstrom Rack (bought in-store)]

photo

Since there were zero prints in this look I had no fear in pairing up all the different bright colors. I definitely felt put together but absolutely comfy as we blitzed around the mall and on our different errands.

Have you switched up your closets yet for spring?

xo-kate

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Snowball or Avalanche?

snow avalanche

If you have already started researching debt pay-down and how best to “attack” your debt (assuming you have more than one source like a lot of debt holders) you have heard of both the snowball approach, as well as the avalanche approach. While experts disagree on which approach is better of these two, all experts seem to concur that the best approach is to pick one source of debt and pay that one off entirely while making the minimal payment on all other sources.

But how do you choose which debt to pay off entirely?

Snowball approach would tell you to start with the lowest balance and pay that one completely off – regardless of the interest rates. To some this is counter-intuitive but the concept is basically to build momentum towards those large – sometimes five or six figure balances – and keep the debtor encouraged to keep paying off the debt.

Avalanche approach tells you to figure out which debt has the highest interest rate and completely pay this balance off first before moving to the next debt with the second highest interest rate. This approach can take a while since sometimes high interest rates are attached to the largest debts but it is encouraged because interest rates can tack on quite a bit to the balance due and in most situations you would end up paying less in interest rates during the course of your debt pay-down then you would by taking a different approach.

What am I doing?

I am taking the hybrid approach. I am not sure if it’s “a thing” but it is what is working best for me. Here’s what I did. I took all my debts (credit cards, federal student loans, private student loans) and made a list of what the balances were and what the interest rates are. I looked at both instead of just one or the other. For me, my high interest rate was also my lowest balance on a credit card so that was a no brainer – that became numero uno priority. After that I was in a  situation where I had two credit cards with balances only about $1,000 dollars apart and the less balance credit card had a lower interest rate. It just did not make sense to me then and nor does it now to not factor that in to at least some extent. So I paid off the credit card with the lesser balance but higher interest rate, first. Then I moved onto the slightly higher balance, yet lower interest rate, card. Then goes the private student loans following this same method of comparing balance and interest rate; and then will go the one consolidated federal student loan payment.

While this is working for me, I think what you ultimately choose will greatly depend on you, your dedication and your own situation.

 

Do you have your own method to get in the green sooner? Let me know!!

xoxo. kate

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The Holiday for Lovers

“Hallmark Holiday” issue aside, I am still a sucker for V-day. sue  me 😉  There is just something about love in the air, fresh flowers and getting to eat candies that makes me feel happy. I was actually referencing it all day as my second birthday. HAHA!  It was a low key day for us but I had to share the delicious meal Garrett made for me.  Chilean sea bass topped with shallots, tomatoes and a mixed green thing (hehe – I have no idea what it is….) and served with asparagus and almond rice pilaf. Yum!! He is an amazing cook.

2 meal dinner blog

3 meal dinner blog

4 meal dinner blog

the toppings !!! yummm!!

1 meal dinner blog

Ahhh, I could eat this every night I swear.  I am sure he has the recipe for it somewhere so if I can ever nab it, I will let you know. 🙂

Also – I decided to switch it up and try a different kind of wine! This is a Bordeaux and a blend of different reds. Don’t worry – it is a cheapy coming in right around $10. I know, I know – I’m an expensive one. haha. It was voted “best value” by numerous sources and I have to say I completeeely agree. It was like I was not even drinking wine because of how absolutely smooth it was.

1 wine blog

So if you leave yourself a tiny room in your budget for a little bar / alcohol, this is the way to go!

What makes a Holiday special for you?

 

xo Kate

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To Rent or To Buy ?

house buying financials

To rent or to buy is probably an age old question. There are pros and cons to both but I personally feel like buying is just so substantial. It means that you did it. This is concrete and you are a grown up. Your roots are planted and you shall flourish. lol. All these ideas that populate in my mind that I correlate with home ownership are probably half-truths if even true at all. It is much like seeing someone driving a shiny new Porsche and immediately assuming they must be loaded then having the desire for a shiny new Porsche too. When in reality, it is quite possible that their finances are a mess and they are living above their means. Whatever the situation, I have learned that I need to look at our situation to make the determination of what is best for us.

So now that my fiancé and me are about to get married and two months after we say “I Do” our lease expires, we have been faced with the question: rent (again) or buy?

For the last two weeks at least I have been dead set on buy. Like any apartment dweller my upstairs neighbors are giants who bowl for sport and on any given Saturday night we have to deal with the ridiculous debauchery that is our neighbors arriving home from (or perhaps just leaving for?!) their night out. I have been dreaming of painting walls and growing a garden since practically forever and at 27 years old and having grown up in a small-ish town (where almost everyone from my local HS has bought and settled down), I feel like I am behind on this life milestone.

So instead of looking at our finances, I looked on zillow.  (this is the obvious and responsible next step – right!?) I guesstimated what I thought we could afford and started picking out “must-haves” and listing out “ummm nos“. We mentioned it in passing to my fiancé’s parents and they were happy for us but started pointing out all the cons (we were clearly already team-pro). At first I was pretty offended. We were adults – making adult decisions – and how could you possibly squash that for us?!  Two weeks laterrrr (yep – I hold onto things) I understand that they only have our best interests in mind and some of their concerns were pretty valid.

I also started thinking about all that was said and started really researching all that goes into home buying – not just researching and designing my future home.

Here are the best pieces of advice I have found and things to consider:

  1. Are you making your decision by just comparing the amount of rent you pay to a proposed mortgage payment? Yessss. This is the one that got me too. I mean really – doesn’t it pain anyone else to hear what some people’s (there goes the comparison trap again) mortgage payments are and feel totally taken advantage of knowing you pay 50% more in rent?! But it’s true. There is so much more to consider than monthly payment amounts.
  2. Do you have your down payment and some? A down payment is a necessity. It doesn’t matter if your bank requires one or not, you are going to want one to make your mortgage as low as possible to pay the least amount possible in interest. You will also want to make sure you have extra. Buying a new house comes with unexpected costs and repairs (even if new).
  3. Do you have a real understanding of how the process works, what costs will be associated, etc.? If you do not, you are not ready to make the purchase. Before buying anything – especially as something as expensive and monumental as a house – you should do your homework and this includes knowing everything about what to expect.
  4. Are you planning on staying where you are? This was a huge one for my fiancé and myself. We are not sure where will be moving and living and where we think we may end up living, we found out that the housing prices have not budged in quite some time. Meaning that we would actually lose money by buying since our house would resell for about the same, we do not plan on staying in our first home all that long, we would still have to pay costs associated with just the buying and selling, and we would inevitably have to do some types of home repair while living there (repairs that would probably be covered by your apartment management, btw).
  5. Have you considered who’s income you are relying on when calculating the mortgage payment? This question may be a little dicey and I may hurt your feelings but it is not without reason. But something major to consider is whether you are looking at your own income or your income combined with someone else’s or just someone else’s when deciding to buy as well as the stability of the income being considered. It may be advantageous to proceed with caution if you are considering the income of a recently acquired boyfriend or if one of the incomes stems from employment that is recent or temporary (your lending source may flag this anyway).
  6. Have you researched and considered in your budget home-ownership expenses ? While renting, usually a lot of things are included. Some perks that you may have while renting that you will not have when buying include: the cost of lawn and landscape maintenance, pool care maintenance, if you join a fitness club that was once included in your rent, homeowners insurance (more expensive than renters insurance), HOA dues, and the expense of miscellaneous repairs that would be covered by the maintenance men in your building.  We are both active people, not very handy and have very busy schedules so this was huge for us and a $20 dollar lawn cut and $10 a month gym fee add up quick.

 

When forced with the reality of all these major considerations, it dawned on me that even I – master arguer for what I really want – could not argue with myself that this would be a worthy endeavor at this point in our lives.

Most importantly and perhaps most surprisingly, when we both sat down to discuss buying, we both knew it was not a good time. It was liberating actually. We didn’t even have the mortgage and I felt like that expense and liability had been lifted. Renting provides the ability to move somewhere more inexpensive easily and allows us to better attack the debt. So while I’ll have to wait a little bit longer to plant my garden and paint some walls, it is better in the large scheme of things.

What big decisions have you recently made in your quest for intentional, debt-free living? What do you think I am missing from this list?

xoxo. kate

 

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