- Hi, I'm Susanna, a Renaissance girl. This blog documents my journey as I transition from working full-time in the legal field, to making a living without a traditional job. I also write about my love of design, good books, food, movies, TV, and anything else that strikes my fancy.
- Color & Pattern
- Dizana Designs
- Etsy Love
- Food & Drink
- Great Products
- Leap of Faith
- Multiple Profit Centers
- Shopping on a Budget
Dizana Designs has you covered with a variety of graduation gifts. I’m adding Dry Erase Message Boards daily. In addition to the landscape boards I have offered in the past, I am now also offering portrait boards. Dry Erase Boards are perfect for the high school graduate preparing for life in the dorm. In honor of graduation season I’m offering free shipping on purchases of $50 or more; use code GRAD13 (good through June 30, 2013).
Did you have a nice weekend? Mine was a lazy one; I did a lot of sleeping and reading. Now it’s time to get back to work.
Watching… Silver Linings Playbook. I finished the book last week and watched the movie this weekend. I really liked the book; the jury’s still out on the movie. There were some HUGE differences between the two. The book is very loosely based on the book; in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a book adaptation that was as different from the original story as this one. I recommend seeing the movie first, I think I would have enjoyed it more had I not read the book.
Eating… Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds. Before Lent, I ordered a bunch of goodies from nuts.com. In addition to the sunflower seeds, I got wasabi peanuts, dried cantaloupe and some quinoa. Except for the quinoa, all of it had sugar in it so I had to hold onto it until after Lent. I gave the peanuts to a friend because they were way too hot for me. The sunflower seeds are perfectly yummy.
Reading… Dog on It. I finished The Glass Castle this weekend. It was depressing, as I expected, but also a very good book; I am glad I finally read it. For my next read, I decided it was time for something light. Dog on It was in a stack of paperbacks I’ve been planning to read. It’s a mystery about a P.I. and his dog, the dog narrates.
Cheering on… the OKC Thunder. In addition to sleeping and reading, I also cheered on my team this weekend. Wow; yesterday’s game was a little stressful to watch, but we pulled out a win. I’ve been trying to teach Diego to say “Thunder Up,” but he has yet to say it.
What have you been up to lately?
Do you have big plans for the weekend? I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather; think I might spend part of the weekend laying around reading and watching old movies, like one of my faves The Thin Man.
This is why I’m a dog person and not a cat person, although Daisy could probably give a cat a run for its money.
This cat wants to be a dog.
This really resonated with me.
An embalmed and bronzed woman in a church pew, weird.
Do you stop reading a book if you aren’t enjoying it? I used to make myself push through, but a few years ago I decided there were too many good books to waste time reading a bad one.
I LOVE a good nap. Do you take naps?
It’s spring; the ants are back. Time to breakout the homemade ant killer.
Some more budget inspiration.
I love a good before and after; this one is fabulous.
Have a great weekend!
Does anybody else ever feel like any time you acquire a little extra money, you always have something come up that wipes out that extra savings? If you own a home or a car, I’m sure you can relate. After some expensive and unexpected expenditures this month, I’ve been inspired to play budget limbo. Basically this means that I will be going through every category in my budget and squeezing out every last cent that I can to see just how low I can get my budget to go. I try to view this process as a game as opposed to an exercise in deprivation. Squeezing out the excess is important to me because not only does it help when I have unexpected expenses, it allows me to do other things that I want to do, like pursuing my dream of working for myself or accruing extra money to start traveling again. Why give even an extra $5/month to the phone company if I can save that money and use it for something else more fun (or not fun, as the case may be)? This week, I’m going to concentrate on the groundwork; in the weeks to come I’ll have some more specific tips to save money.
This week, I have one tip. If you implement only one of the suggestions I make in this series, this should be the one: the best way to save money is to PAY ATTENTION. It’s really easy with direct-deposit and auto-pay to stop paying attention; resist the temptation. I know this seems like an obvious tip, but lack of attention is how a lot of people get into trouble with money. This is why the number one recommendation by money experts to those struggling financially is to keep a spending diary; it forces you to pay attention. Where is your money going? You might be surprised.
I don’t write everything down by hand but I do use Mint to import and categorize my transactions. It let’s me quickly see where I stand with my money. Not only does Mint have its web interface, there’s also an iPhone app that makes it easy to access your info while on the go. In addition to Mint, I use a spreadsheet that I complete each month as I pay my bills. At the end of the year, I average what I spent each month in each category and set that amount as the budget for next year. The spreadsheet makes it easy to spot glaring errors. If last month’s bill is half of this month’s, that’s cause for investigation. Maybe there’s an error on the part of the billing company or maybe it indicates something going on with your home. For example, if your water bill is twice what it usually is, you probably have a leak you need to find. Not only does this spreadsheet help me know what I’m spending, it also helps me keep up with paying my bills. If there’s not a number on the sheet for this month, that means the bill hasn’t been paid. This is especially helpful since I’ve opted out of receiving paper bills. I keep my budget in Google Docs so it’s easy to access anywhere, but you could also use Excel or any other spreadsheet program. Here’s a template to get you started.
Beyond tracking your money, just pay attention to where your weaknesses are. How are you wasteful with your money? Maybe it’s being lazy and getting takeout after a long day, maybe it’s forgetting to take the clothes out of the dryer and restarting it multiple times to get the wrinkles out (both weaknesses of mine). Find ways to eliminate those holes – like making food ahead and freezing it for easy prep or setting a timer to remind yourself to fold the laundry.
Homework for this week: pay attention to your money. If you don’t already track your spending, start. Figure out how much money you are bringing in each month and how much you are spending. Create a budget; compare this month’s bills to last month’s bills. Where do you stand financially? Are you spending a lot of money on things you didn’t realize you were?
1. Yellow Ikat Pillow Cover; 2. Honey Soap; 3. Yellow Enamel Steamer Pot; 4. Yellow Felt Statement Necklace; 5. Recycled Bicycle Cufflinks; 6. 1935 FROWO yellow metal lantern; 7. Vintage Linen Napkins or Placemats; 8. Lemon Oil Painting
When my niece was little, she had a Sesame Street video that contained Burt & Ernie singing La La La La Lemon. Next to one scene in Fantasia, it was her favorite. I swear we watched it a million times. We still occasionally listen to the song, either Burt & Ernie’s version or Bare Naked Ladies’ version, and laugh hysterically; we’re silly that way. Today’s Etsy Love is inspired by Burt & Ernie; you can see the rest of the Treasury here.
Things are gradually progressing in the garden. This weekend, I mowed the yard for the first time this season; planted some of my plants started from seed; and did some sprucing up with spray paint on some grungy looking flower pots. This particular pot was looking really bad. I sprayed it with a coat of Kilz primer, followed by a coat of black, and a coat of oil rubbed bronze. I also began painting a bunch of faux terra cotta pots with the oil rubbed bronze. I’ve decided to go for a muted cohesive look from the pots and use flowers for pops of color.
Here’s the current state of the garden:
Newly Planted Blueberry Bush
Flower Bed Filling in Nicely
Potato Plants Starting to Break Through
I’m not sure about that blueberry bush; it looks pretty puny. I picked it up at Aldi on a whim. I had read several articles that said you can grow blueberries in a planter. After I bought the plant I saw more articles that said it wasn’t a good idea. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see. This week on the agenda: add more dirt to the potato pot; start seeding the lawn with grass seed; and finishing painting the rest of the pots.
Do you have a garden? What are you growing?
Reading… The Glass Castle. I finished The Silver Linings Playbook; I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. In perfect timing, by sister loaned me The Glass Castle (thanks sis) the day after I finished Silver Linings. I know, I’m a little late to this one. I’ve had people telling me for years that I should read it, but the subject matter seemed so depressing. I finally caved and I’m reading it since it’s a book club selection. The subject matter is depressing, but it’s told in such a way that I’ve been able to pick it up again each night.
Loving… the new Yahoo! Weather app. Not only does it provide lots of useful information, the design is so much better than the default weather app. It provides the weather for your location along with a photo of the city.
Watching… The Bletchley Circle. I’m so glad I happened to see a preview for this show while watching Call the Midwife. Not only is it a British show but it’s also crime drama – two of my favorite things. It’s the story of four women that worked at Bletchley Park during WWII cracking codes. After the war, they are not allowed to speak of their duties during the war and are relegated to living lives as housewives. Knowing they can provide valuable assistance they instead band together to figure out the patterns of a serial killer.
Listening to… Coldplay on Austin City Limits. Tivo is so sweet; he occasionally records things just because he thinks I might enjoy them. He doesn’t always get it right but he was right about ACL.
Using… my Reel Mower. Sunday morning I got up and around, and headed off to church. Only I couldn’t ever figure out how to get there due to the marathon. So I came home, went for a run myself and then mowed the lawn for the first time this year. When I first moved into my house, my parents bought me a gas powered mower for a housewarming gift; I hated it. My front yard is so small, it was really difficult to maneuver. So I followed my hippy sister’s lead and bought a reel mower.
What have you been up to lately?
Varigotti, Liguria, Italy (by Tizi@no56) via All Things Europe
Isn’t this photo of Italy absolutely perfect? I have a serious case of wanderlust. Planning a trip is becoming a priority. This post about saving for travel has inspired me.
Think I might re-watch the first three seasons of Arrested Development before the new season comes out on Netflix in May. Have you seen this clip (thanks Cristian)?
This Cauliflower Blue Cheese Soup looks yummy.
Hope this movie gets made, if only for the soundtrack. Zach Braff has excellent taste in music.
Zooey Deschanel a terror suspect? Bizarre.
This Dove parody is pretty funny.
Think I will look into have any energy audit.
Have a great weekend!
Today’s From Scratch isn’t so much from scratch as it is using a product for a completely different purpose than it was intended. A few days ago I put on my yellow cardigan and discovered that there was a huge blue stain on the sleeve. I have no idea what caused it; but I’d only worn it once and am determined to wear it again. I began by using Shout, my go-to stain remover. I was disappointed when I pulled the sweater out of the washing machine and could not see any difference in the stain.
Since the stain looked like it might be ink, I did a quick internet search for removing ink stains and discovered several suggestions for using alcohol based products, primarily hand sanitizer and hairspray. I opted to try some hand sanitizer. I squirted some sanitizer on the stain, rubbed it in, and let it sit for about ten minutes. I washed it on warm; the stain definitely lessened. I decided to try again and was a little more agressive the second time. I covered the stain with sanitizer waited twenty minutes, and washed it on hot (the sweater wasn’t wool and since it did okay in warm water I wasn’t too worried about it shrinking). As you can see from the photo, the stain is not completely out, but it is a lot let obvious. This is definitely something I will use again. Maybe if I’d started with the sanitizer I would have had better results.
Do you have any great suggestions for using a product for something other than its intended purpose?
1. Cup Cozy at Viola’s Boutique; 2. Vintage Telephone at Ohio Picker; 3. Porcelain Birdhouse at l&m studio; 4. Crochet Slippers at White Noise Maker; 5. Modern Wood Bird at Studio Liscious; 6. Vintage German Orange Tourist Flashlight at Retro Files; 7. Chevron Pillow at Classics by Nature; 8. Clutch Purse at Pikula Bags
Today’s Treasury is an Ode to Orange, one of my favorite colors. Since I live in Oklahoma, I guess it’s good I’m an OSU fan. What about you? Do you like Orange?