3 Unique Ways to Create Your Own Style

Tired of opening your closet to see the same style, hanger after hanger? Then it’s high time to make some changes.

Now, you don’t have to completely overhaul your wardrobe to make it a reality, as that would take a small fortune done all at once. Besides, developing a new style isn’t something you want to take lightly — and it likely won’t and shouldn’t happen overnight. Otherwise, you might still end up unsatisfied after spending a lot of money.

Still, you can take small but important steps to discover and create a style that’s uniquely yours. Here are tips to get you started.

1. Find Your Inspiration or “Fashion Voice”

Taking steps toward creating your own unique style can be more contemplative and research-oriented compared to actively shopping for something. Indeed, most people don’t generally find their fashion sense while walking around department stores. Instead, it often occurs organically, influenced by factors like your environment, co-workers or classmates, friends or neighbors, musicians or actors, or influencers on social media.

You might even seek out a bona fide fashion icon from a list as diverse as Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn or Josephine Baker. Pay attention to any appealing themes associated with the styles and items from your muse or muses and try to slowly add pieces to your wardrobe to see if they’re a good fit — literally, financially and aesthetically.

2. Visit Local Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops

Many a fashion sense was born in the aisles of local thrift stores or consignment shops. As you journey onward to create a style unique to you, the great thing about visiting these types of shops is knowing you can take fashion risks without spending much at all.

While people often donate clothing once they find it no longer useful, these pieces are often in good enough condition for someone else to wear. But you’ll want to stay tenacious, determined and vigilant, as nearly 20 percent of Americans shop at a thrift shop each year. Fortunately, most thrift stores receive donations rather frequently, meaning there are always new duds to be found on the racks.

When visiting consignment shops, you might pay a little more than you would at a thrift store, but you’ll always pay less than the original retail price. Even better, if you visit these stores on a consistent basis, you can quickly gain a sense of when new inventory will arrive. Plus, if someone shares your fashion sense and regularly puts their items up for sale at your favorite shop, you can slowly build your own style from a steady and affordable source.

3. Add New, Unique Pieces to Create Strong Foundations and Accents

Sometimes your new personal style will start from your foundational garments up. It’s a great place to start, and these items are frequently versatile enough to become part of your outfit by design and intention. In particular, bodysuits are a prime example of intimate wear that perfectly suits outfits with your favorite legwear, like shorts, skirts, pants, jeans, overalls and capris. You can easily wear your favorite bodysuit with a sweater, shrug, blazer, jacket, or on its own when it’s warmer. Conversely, you can wear them casually for a barbecue with friends and family or something more formal like a romantic dinner with your partner.

Creating Your Own Style is Fun and Simple with the Right Approach

If you’re thinking about creating your own unique style, chances are you already have an idea or two in mind — and, hopefully, these ideas will help refine the process. So, start finding your inspiration, adding foundational garments with a special flair, and spending time at your local thrift stores and consignment shops and you’ll find you’re well on your way toward developing a style that you and everyone else will love.

What are the Most Important Features of a Living Room?

Your living room should be your sanctuary – a place away from your bedroom where you can relax at any time. This is why some individuals find it rather difficult to decide how to decorate their living room, as it is generally the first room to make an impression on guests. People also want to make sure that the space is comfortable to relax in, and that it will suit all emotions and occasions.

There are many different features to ponder over when renovating your living room. Keep reading to find out three of the most important features of any living space.

Flooring

One of the first aspects of your living room that makes a lasting impression is the flooring. Long gone are the days of colorful and funky carpets – family homes across the globe have opted to use different types of flooring. Some flooring types include wood flooring, laminate and engineered wood, and they all offer their own benefits to homeowners. Check out this wood flooring supplier for more information.

The options of flooring seem endless, so when making your choice on what to go for, it’s useful to consider the demand you will place on them. For example, for your living room, it might be a great idea to go for a slightly more expensive flooring type than your bathroom or kitchen. This is because different flooring types are made to endure different conditions. With that being said, do some research and take time to decide which floor is best for your living area.

Color Scheme

Another thing that your guests will notice immediately as they enter your living room is that of the color scheme. It can truly make a huge difference to the feel of the room and set the tone for the conversation.

The shades you choose can also build character and even create a clean appearance for the whole room. If you don’t get much natural light, interior experts recommend that you opt for lighter colors to brighten up the place. If you do get natural light, you can afford some darker colors. However, it is important to remember that your furniture is less likely to be consistently changed compared to decor. Therefore, you should consider keeping furniture natural and adding new colors and tones as you go.

Wall Decor

On the topic of room decor, another important feature that truly makes a difference is that of wall decoration. This can be in the form of wallpaper, art features and wall furniture. For instance, family photos and family artwork make all the difference to the feeling of the room and can be a great feature for family spaces. Interior designers also love the idea of feature walls as this can be regularly changed to suit your furniture.

Make a lasting impression for your guests and family by considering these important features for your living space.

Kid-Friendly Car Organizing Tips

If you’re tired of being stressed out every time you get into the family car, then you’ll enjoy my kid-friendly car organizing tips. It seems like every mom has this car full of unorganized chaos from the kids. Traveling to and from school, events, and other kids’ appointments mean that the kids wreak havoc upon our family vehicle.  This post is brought to you by Easterns.com.

You’ll be excited to learn that you don’t have to stress out about having an unorganized mess of kid stuff in your car anymore. Today, I’m sharing some tips to help moms everywhere take control of the family vehicle and get organized right now.

Kid-Friendly Car Organizing Tips

Kid-Friendly Car Organizing Tips

Use Suction Cup Shower Caddies

This brilliant kid-friendly car organizing tip may not be suitable for all family vehicles, but if you have a spot to suction onto then you’ll enjoy using the suction cup shower caddies to get your car organized. This is an excellent organization hack for family vehicles that have kids’ art supplies or small items to keep kids entertained during family trips.

Keep Supplies in Glove Box or Trunk

Most family vehicles have decent cargo space, so be sure to utilize that space to keep handy dandy cleaning supplies on hand. You’ll want to keep supplies like a First Aid kit, baby wipes, hand sanitizer and perhaps some extra napkins on hand in your glove box or trunk cargo space. This will help you remove any immediate spill or mishap that occurs during your family road trip adventures.

Enlist the Kids

Most kids are old enough to take the trash out when you arrive home or keep their belongings in an organized area of the family vehicle. Make a rule that your kids must take out what they brought in. If they tend to keep supplies in the car for long trips, then make sure they each have a designated spot within your family vehicle so the kids can pick up after themselves when you arrive home.

At the end of the day, keeping your car organized in a kid-friendly way is all about utilizing organization hacks such as the shower caddy suction cup containers, and cargo space for supplies as well as enforcing rules that your kids can certainly follow. It may take 2-3 weeks to fully have this new habit developed fully to keep your family vehicle organized, but once you establish this routine, you will no longer stress out each time you head out on a family trip in the family vehicle.

Live With Less Challenge 2020

Declutter Live With Less Challenge

Are you feeling overwhelmed with stuff?  It seems that no matter how much I donate and purge beforehand, my home feels overstuffed after each Christmas.  I need this challenge for myself as much as I want to help encourage others!

Here are the Live With Less Challenge details:

Our first Live With Less Challenge of 2020 is going to be a fun one!  Each day you remove the number of items that corresponds with the date.  1st day, you remove one item, 2nd day, you remove two items, and so on and so forth.  By the end of the month you’ll have removed almost 500 items from your home!! 496 to be exact…if I did my math right. 🙂  Some days will be easier than other but as those of you who have participated in past challenges can attest, it’s surprising how much stuff we have that we don’t really need.  This is a great way to start a new year and I hope you’ll join us in our Live With Less Facebook group to share pictures of your progress and/or the items you’re getting rid of.  Click here to join.

In years past we’ve had a cash giveaway and I’ve kept up with everyone’s pictures but with our group now pushing 7,000 members it’s just not feasible anymore.  Even without the cash prize, I still hope you’ll join in the decluttering and in sharing your photos to help motivate others.  I can’t tell you how the pictures shared have motivated me.  Knowing you’re not alone swimming in clutter, seeing the progress others have made, hearing ideas for organizing, finding places to donate to, and so much more.  Truly, that group is an amazing group of people and I’m thankful to be apart of it.

FAQ

Q: Do I have to throw the things away.
A: Absolutely not!  You can gift, donate, recycle, repurpose, or throw away.  Try to let throwing away be your last option if possible.  Be careful not to get stuck on wanting to repurpose or repair things though.  It’s easy to save things for “one day” and that day never comes.

Q: Are you sure there won’t be a cash prize this year?
A: Yes, there won’t be this year but maybe I’ll giveaway a smaller gift card to an active participant in our Facebook group.

Q: Is it okay if I post in the group daily?
A: Absolutely!  To keep your progress organized you can post all of your pictures in the comments of your first post….or not.  It could be fun to see all of the progress you’ve made this month in one place but you’re not obligated to.  Just share away.

Q: Do you have a list of easy things to start with?
A: As it turns out, we do!  Here’s our list of 200 Things to Let Go Of.

If you have any other questions please feel free to comment below and ask.  I hope you’ll join us and invite a friend to join you too!

If you’re looking for some more Live With Less encouragement check out these resources (and don’t forget our Facebook group). 🙂

 

 

 

Easy Ways to Calculate Your New Car Budget

Buying a new car entails so much more than I previously thought. From figuring out how much “car” you can afford, to determining what type of car will work best for you, the list of proactive steps to take before you sign on the dotted line seems endless. While yes, many steps come into play when buying your new car, the biggest step I want to help you with today is setting a budget for your new car purchase. If you’re heading to the local dealership and want some tips for how much you can spend on that new car purchase, then continue reading for some tips to help you set a new car budget with ease.  This post is brought to you by Butlerchryslerdodgejeep.com.

Easy Ways to Calculate Your New Car Budget

Easy Ways to Calculate Your New Car Budget

Consider Total Price

The total price of your new car goes beyond what the selling price is for your new car. You’ll want to take into consideration the total price that includes the sticker price, the title, insurance, and other fees involved with buying a new car. You can easily estimate some of those costs beforehand to get a general idea of what a new car may end up costing to use to calculate your new car budget.

Review Expenses

Take a moment to review your income and expenses in the house. This is an important step in calculating your new car budget because you can’t spend money on a new car if you don’t have any money. Take a moment to figure out what you can remove from your current household expense list to make room for a new car payment and what amount is left over after all other household expenses have been deducted from your household income.

Calculate Monthly Payment

Remember that your new car is probably going to carry a hefty monthly payment, so be sure you know how much the monthly payment will be on a new car. You can easily estimate a monthly car payment by talking to your local dealership about their current rates and pricing options. Consider getting a list of approximate monthly payment options to help you calculate your new car budget.

Down Payment or Trade-In

When you work to calculate your new car budget, you’ll want to take into consideration whether or not you’re putting a down payment on the new car or trading in an older vehicle. Each of these things will be taken off the total price of your new car purchase. Have a discussion with the sales rep at your local dealership to see what types of down payment options or trade-in options they have to help get your new car budget calculated.

At the end of the day, buying a new car can be stressful. This is a new expense that you’ll be adding into your already packed full household expense list. That’s why I highly recommend you follow the simple steps I shared today to calculate your new car budget. This will ensure you can get a new car without breaking the bank or added more stress into your life.

What is routine maintenance on a car?

Have you recently bought a new family car? Maybe you already have a family car that’s treated your family well over the years but now you want to figure out what some of your routine maintenance should be for your car. Knowing what routine maintenance you should have performed on your car will help you extend your car’s lifespan, thus saving you thousands of dollars in repair fees.  This post is brought to you by Reedmantollnissanofdrexelhill.com.

What is routine maintenance on a car?

What is routine maintenance on a car?

– Peek at your Owner’s Manual

The owner’s manual for your car will lay out all of the routine maintenance for your car. This includes when is the right time to get an oil change as well as any additional maintenance recommendations for your car. It’s always good to become familiar with your owner’s manual so that you’re car savvy.

– Change Oil and Filter

It used to be recommended that you get an oil and oil filter change every three months or 3,000 miles, but times have changed and cars have advanced. Some newer cars can go 5,000 up to 10,000 miles before they need an oil change, so check your owner’s manual or ask the dealership where you purchased your car.

– Check Your Tires

Every month you should check your tires to make sure that there’s no major wear and tear, the tire pressure is up to par with what your tires say to have the air pressure at, and the tread is still where it should be. Properly inflated tires help with gas mileage as well as to reduce the chance of a blowout. (Check out our post on how to Save Money on Tires)

– Check Your Fluids

There are so many different fluids a car needs to function properly. From your windshield wiper fluid to your brake fluid, power steering fluid and oil as well as transmission fluid. Check your owner’s manual to see what fluids you have and check them regularly.

– Examine Belts and Hoses

If you feel comfortable with this step, you should examine all belts and hoses under the hood. This is to make sure you don’t have any leaks or loose connections that could cause a future leak. If you’re not comfortable, your local car dealership would be more than happy to assist.

These are just some of the most routine maintenance recommendations for most cars. If you’re not sure how to proceed with any of these routine maintenance tips you could also have your car dealership’s service department handle these small tasks to ensure your car stays running smoothly for the long term.

Tips to Care for a Used Car

If you make the choice to purchase used, these tips for keeping your used car in top shape are going to keep things running for years to come. Any vehicle investment is something you want to have last for many years. Being able to keep your car or truck running smoothly will make your investment even better in the long run.  This post is brought to you by Waynesborocdjr.com.

Tips to Care for a Used Car

  • Have regular tune ups.

This is key for any vehicle but is definitely a must do tip for keeping your used car in top shape. Regular tune ups will alert you to underlying problems, as well as keep things running smoothly. At least once per year have your mechanic take the time to do a thorough check of your car You should also regularly take it in for oil changes and basic maintenance needs.

Things to have your mechanic check or change regularly:
-Oil and oil filter changes
-Air filter
-Fluids
-Belts checked or replaced
-Spark plugs
-Brakes and tires
-Air conditioning and heater upkeep

  • Repair things before they break.

There are many things that may not need to be replaced regularly, but if they do go bad can lead to other costly expenses. Checking things like your brakes, timing belt, radiator, transmission and even simple electrical needs on a regular basis and replacing at signs of wear is important. A routine replacement can prevent you from having multiple other problems associated with a break later down the road.

  • Check for potential recalls on your car model.

One thing you should always do when you have a used car is to regularly check for recalls on your car. From ignition switches, to computers, filters or braking systems you may be eligible for a free upgrade on parts if your model has had a recall in recent years. This is a very important part of keeping your used car in good shape. Don’t miss out on any covered recall item replacements. This will keep you safe, as well as keep your resell value higher.

  • Get to know common issues with your car model.

Just like you can check for past recalls, you can also look into what are common issues with your specific make and model of car. This will help you to know what to look for in terms of potential issues later, as well as knowing what areas you need to be more diligent with for upkeep.

These tips for keeping your used car in top shape are sure to make your initial investment a great long lasting one. Purchasing a used car is a great choice for many families with limited budgets.

Shoes for Travel

This post is brought to you by Victorylaynechevrolet.com.

When it comes to travel you want to be as comfortable as you can be but it’s usually not possible or ideal to pack more than a few pair.  Here’s my list of my favorite shoes for traveling.

Travel Shoe Categories:

  • – Flip flops – I love these for the beach, when sharing a bathroom, or for driving in the car.  I hate for my feet to be confined when I’m in the car for long trips so flip flops are my go to for car travel.  I love my Vionic flip flops.  They have a deep heel and a higher arch that just fit my feet perfectly.  I can walk a long time in them without my feet growing weary.
  • – Comfortable – Tennis shoes or running shoes can be great for hiking or when it’s wet out.  Sketchers can be wonderfully comfortable and not too expensive.  I personally, truly truly hate tennis shoes.  If at all possible I wear sandals or flats.  It’s a weird quirk I have.  Maybe it has something to do with being forced to wear them each year in elementary school.  …or maybe that just proves that I’ve always hated them.  My Sketchers however are very nice! They’re super lightweight and the ones I have slip on.  If you have a weird aversion to tennis shoes like I do, Sketchers are definitely the way to go!
  • – Casual – For a fall or winter trip this usually includes a neutral pair of flats.  These are my favorite because they pack up so small.  For summer or a warmer spring, I’ll take a cute pair of flat sandals.  Sperry boat shoes are also a great go to pair for just about any time.  I’ve just recently acquired a pair of Tieks flats and they do feel very comfortable.  They have a thicker than normal sole which is quite comfy and I love how they have a larger toe bed than any of my other flats.  I’ve heard that the Lucky Brand Emmie flats are nice as well but I haven’t tried them out yet myself.
  • – Long wear sandals – Birkenstock sandals (or my nicely made knock off pair), Chacos, or Vionics are my favorites to wear when I have to be in my shoes for a long time.  I could walk miles (and have) in these shoes.  Chacos are even waterproof…you know, in case you like hiking around waterfalls.

There you have it!  Those are my top travel shoe picks.  Depending on where you go you might need rain boots, winter boots, or hiking boots.  You’ll want to take my list with a grain of salt but I hope it inspires you to rethink comfy traveling shoes.

Fall Foliage Across America – Hit the Road

This post is brought to you by Kingbgmc.com.

Fall Foliage Across America

From orange pumpkins and yellow mums at farmers markets to the brightly-colored foliage that graces the woodlands of America, just about any family can appreciate the beauty that fall has to offer through the great outdoors.

Pick a sunny weekend, pack the car, invite the family along, pack a picnic lunch, and bring the camera to ensure that the fall scenes freeze in time to enjoy for years to come.

Here are just a few popular fall foliage sites and destinations across America where families can enjoy nature its fullest this time of year.

State Parks and National Forests

State parks and national forests boast some of the best nature and hiking trails out there, as well as some of the best foliage and family fun.

All across Vermont, one thing is clear this time of year – fall is here. Woodford State Park in Vermont is a 398-acre park that borders Massachusetts and offers several hiking and nature trails to please the nature-lover and foliage enthusiast.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State contains a West Coast version of fall’s array of color. The park’s trails span over 1,200 miles and go through woodland areas with scenic views. The U.S. Forest Service recently reported positive fall color around sites such as the Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams Ranger Districts.

The Minnesota Valley State Park in Jordan, Minn. is a mid-westerner’s destination. During fall, there are 41 miles of hiking trail available to adventure-seekers and foliage enthusiasts. Enjoy viewing the reddish-orange-colored Sumac or other plant varieties.

Foliage Routes

Get together with family members to map out an individualized foliage routes or visit state websites that can provide routes for discovering the best places to experience fall’s beauty.

The Ozark National Forest in Arkansas has brilliant colors in the fall. Take a look at the state’s collection of candy corn-colored Maple and Dogwood trees. To find some of the best foliage, drivers are encouraged to tour throughout the northern part of the state, including Bull Shoals, Yellville and Flippin, along the tree lines of the Ozark Mountains.

Maine is also a state filled with lovely displays of foliage this time of year. To experience fall-tinged Maples and mountains, the Maine Office of Tourism recommends a driving tour through Naples, Sebago Lake State Park, and Grafton Notch State Park, into the White Mountain National Forest, and through Lovell and Fryeburg. Many regions in the state are already experiencing some of their peak times of foliage color.

Scenic Drives

The Natchez Trace, which is a roadway that cuts through the South between Natchez, Miss. and Nashville, Tenn., is one example of an area in the country filled with the colors of nature especially during fall. One portion of the scenic drive takes travelers through the northwest corner of Alabama with 33 miles of fall beauty.

Not far from the Natchez Trace in the northwest part of Alabama, Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville, Ala. is a southern sample of the array of foliage to find. Drive along U.S. 72 or meander through the park in Lauderdale County.

Fall in Love with Fall

No matter the time of year, nature across America is abundant with beauty, but especially in fall, the colorful foliage outside is to be appreciated. Take the time to bring the family together outdoors, take a nice drive, and discover all there is to love about nature during fall.

5 Tips for Preparing Your Home for the Real Estate Market

Preparing Your Home for the Real Estate Market

Homebuyers can be picky and rightfully so. They are making a costly investment by purchasing a home that they will likely live in for many years. Buyers want to eliminate any risks and potential buyer’s remorse. For this reason, sellers must view their home from the point-of-view of the buyer and make improvements accordingly. Even minor changes can go a long way when preparing a home to be listed on the real estate market. Here are five tips to assure your home is show-ready before homebuyers look at it.

– Maximize Curb Appeal

The exterior of your home is the first thing buyers will see. It is the first impression of the house and has the power to turn buyers away before they even step foot inside. Making improvements to the landscape is guaranteed to add value to your home.

Enhancing curb appeal includes regular maintenance as well. Sprucing up the outside of the home consists of cleaning gutters, trimming low-hanging branches, and washing the siding by using the right garden hose sprayer attachment.  The home may even need a fresh coat of paint if the siding is chipped or dull from the weather. Mowing the lawn, weeding, and planting seasonal flowers and other plants will make the home look well maintained.

In addition to keeping up with yard work, the entrance to your home needs to appear inviting. You can give your front door a facelift with a fresh coat of paint and new welcome mat. If you have a porch, consider flowerpots or a bench swing to add even more curb appeal.

– Make Any Repairs

Ideally, you have been making repairs within the home as they appear. However, we all have busy lives, so sometimes that crack in the wall or broken tile gets pushed down the list of priorities until we become so used to it, we don’t even see it anymore. Before listing your home on the market, repairing any breaks, cracks, or tears is a must.

Some home repairs are easy fixes, but others can be costly and require experts. For example, a faulty air conditioning unit, leaking roof, or cracked foundation can cost thousands of dollars. Some repairs are hidden, and homeowners may not be aware that these improvements need to be made. Any hidden repairs will come up during the inspection before the sale closes.

– Renovate and Update Outdated Features

Houses can withstand decades of wear and tear, especially with proper upkeep. However, one visible sign of the home’s age is the interior features and décor. Outdated features, wall colors, and appliances are just a few areas that may need renovating.

An entirely renovated and updated home will always sell faster than one that needs only small changes, but unfortunately, home renovations are expensive. Luckily, even minor touch-ups can go along way. For example, replacing fixtures, faucets, and hinges in an outdated kitchen will help it look more modern.

Every homeowner has a different taste, and this is revealed through the home’s wall color. However, bright colors can be distracting and turn off buyers. Neutral wall colors are the safest bet when selling your home.

– Clean and Organize

Before you list or show your home, you should clean and organize every room, closet, and drawer. Dirty and unclean rooms are yet another thing that will drive away buyers. You should give your home an in-depth cleaning, making sure all corners of the home are free of dust and all surfaces disinfected. Cleaning every surface of a home is a lot of work, so using a professional cleaning service will assure your home is in tip-top shape.

Decluttering and organizing will allow buyers to see your home and imagine what their things will look like in the space. Buyers will open closets, cabinets, and drawers so you will want to organize these areas as well. If you have a big family with a lot of things, a storage unit is a great place to house these items during the selling and moving process.

All homes will have both good and bad smells, but during a home showing, eliminating bad odors is more crucial than ever. Cleaning your home will help this, but you can go the extra mile by lighting a candle or baking cookies.

– Stage the Home for Showings

Once everything in your home is clean and organized, it is time to stage! When it comes to preparing your home for a showing or an open house, simple décor is always best. Getting rid of bulky furniture and exotic prints has the same effect on the home as neutral wall colors. Simplicity will give buyers the chance to imagine their furniture and belongings in each room. In addition to décor, getting rid of personal items, including family photos, will further declutter the space.

Let in natural light by opening all the windows to make the space appear bright and cheery. Give your kitchen counters one more wipe down and fluff the pillows, and your home is ready for even the pickiest homebuyers.

  • – Alternative Options

Most of these changes and repairs are expensive and time-consuming. If you are on a time crunch to get your home sold, there are less traditional selling methods. Working with a real estate investment firm minimizes the necessary work of the homeowner. Investors will make a cash offer to any home and will not demand any changes or repairs. This option is favorable for homeowners facing foreclosure or simply need to relocate quickly because they are able to close within a week. Whichever method you choose, you should know all the steps that go into preparing your home for the real estate market so that you can make the best choice for you and your family.