Floppy Hat and Sweet Iced Tea

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Charleston’s on and off warm weather, flowers blooming all around and I’m finding sand in the folds of my jeans. I just know summer is right around the corner. Probably closer for us further south than you northerners/midwesterners. We’re starting to walk the beach more and add to our collection of ocean treasures.  All this makes me want to grab my floppy hat and sweet iced tea along with my favorite Dorothea Benton Frank book. I’ve painted my toes and its about time to stock up on sun screen and pull out my summer dresses.

I was recently sketching and doodling for some business cards I’m about to order. If you keep up with me on Facebook or Instagram you saw the original sketch of this idea. Then I saw it in a different form. I pictured a mysterious southern dame sipping on something refreshing while an orange sky melted into the sunset.

I’ll have this illustration available soon in my Society 6 shop. I imagine it will look fabulous on a tote bag or tank top. Also, look for new items to come in there. Something to spice up your bathroom perhaps?

My Top Five Tips for Budgeting

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We are currently in our fifth month of continuous budgeting. The fact that we haven’t given up yet is enough to call it a success, if you ask me. Obviously I’m not an expert and I know there are tons up them out there you can turn to. But I think sometimes hearing it from a real person with no experience some times is better. Plus, I think getting started and sticking to it was probably the hardest part so far, for us non-financially educated people. With that being said I wanted to share my top five tips for budgeting with you.

Make a Written Plan
This seems so little but its really such a big deal. You have to write down everything. I would actually suggest spending your first month just writing down every penny you spend. Then you can start seeing what you need to plan for in the next month. I also suggest starting your plan a couple weeks before the month starts so you have time to remember expenses that may not happen every month (auto registration, prescriptions, etc). Write a projected plan and then record your actual spending right next to it so you can see where you are and how you did at the end of the month. Update is at least 2-3 times per week, depending on how often your spend. I created my own in Excel because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted online–control freak.

Give
Let me start by saying I don’t recall the Bible saying this is something we have to do. However, it does say that this is the one area God invites us to test Him with. He tells us that when we give with a happy heart the windows of heaven will be opened and blessings will be poured out on us. I can also say that I have experienced during our on and off attempts to give regularly. I also don’t think there is a set amount or party to give it to. I think this is something between you and God. He will tell you what to do when you ask. We have been blessed tremendously in our finances as well as other areas.

Meal Planning
For a little over a month now, our meals have been more healthy, diverse and inexpensive due to meal planning. I order/purchase exactly what I need for the week along with any other home essentials and that’s it. I don’t have extra stuff that we don’t need, we have plenty of leftovers for lunches and nothing gets wasted. Not to mention it cuts down on the impulse buying. I even created my own little meal planners and calendars to make it fun to look at.

Avoid Temptation
Now that I’m not working in a mall anymore this is much easier. If we don’t have the money to shop, we just don’t. We rarely even window shop (unless we’re walking around downtown). If we don’t have it planned to spend we just don’t put ourselves in the situation to make an accident. Its like putting a woman on a diet in a pastry shop. Just don’t do it. You’re setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Surround Yourself with Inspiration
This sounds silly but I have found it to be so helpful. The more your fill your mind with information, the more hyped up you will stay about controlling your finances. I listen to a radio show every day on the way to pick up Lil, Bill and I talk about it a lot and I follow a great financial blog. The more you keep it in the forefront of your mind, the more conscious you will be of your spending. My coworker and I talk about finances at least a couple times a day. Why should it be a taboo? We should encourage and inspire each other.

And don’t forget to celebrate the small achievements. When we successfully stuck to our spending plan for one month, we were so pumped!

Like I said, I’m far from being an financial expert. I’m just tired of seeing people hurt because of their finances. Its so easy to control, it just takes discipline. We’re all adults here, we can control ourselves. Right? Let get to it. The benefits are awesome. Our savings has boomed and so has our relationship because of our partnership. Not to mention the money stress that’s no longer there.

What are your best tips for budgeting?

 

Penelopy Paper: Home Organization Printables

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Hello, darling. I have something new in the Penelopy Paper shop to assist with your planning: home organization printables. I’ve created just the beginning of the Penelopy Paper menu planning and calendar collection. They are all inexpensively priced and conveniently downloadable so you can print them, when you need them, at home.

I like to print the calendar and slide it into the front of a binder and then use a dry erase marker. That way I save some paper and its right on the outside where I can see it quick and easy.

Go check them out, choose your favorite and get to printing. I want to hear your feedback, too, so be sure to contact me or comment below with your thoughts. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Its Cold and Rainy, So Why Not Spruce Up My Portfolio?

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Ok so it isn’t ^THAT^ cold. These were a few snap shots from our little ice storm several weeks back. Though it wasn’t that bad right here in our area, we had some friends up the road in Summerville without power for several days. The past two days we basked in the glory of 70 degree weather. Last night a front rained down, running off our beautiful sunshine.

Where for art thou, Spring?

On our last rainy day, I took some time to update and spruce up my portfolio. Enough so that I felt confident enough to add a link in the menu again. Go ahead, darling, give it a look over. I need as many friendly eyes as possible to tell me what’s wrong with it before I apply for this part time, paid internship with Design Sponge. How lovely a gig that would be? No, lovely doesn’t even describe the awesomeness that is Design Sponge. Their feed often distracts me from my current fiction novel on my Nook. Darn you, technology.

I’m working on a collection of menu planning and organization packages for Penelopy Paper Etsy shop. I am putting together bundles which will be available for instant download. Talk about convenient. I will be sharing some photos and links soon.

What is one thing you avoid until a rainy day?

Society 6 Shop: Hot Cocoa with Extra Marshmallows

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Happy Friday, Darlin! I’ve added some new products to my Society 6 shop using my latest illustration, which I shared earlier this week.  Hot cocoa with extra marshmallows is ready to decorate your house. Here are some of my favorite products.

Speaking of my last post, have you taken advantage of the free Valentine’s Day card offer? I imagine it could serve for more than just that holiday, though. Who doesn’t love being told they’re hot just because??

I’m starting a new illustration today and I can’t wait to share it. Its something a little more warm weather inspired. One look at it and you’ll wish you were at the beach. No sneak peeks yet, though. Watch for surprises on my Instagram and Facebook, though. You never know!

Free Hot Cocoa Valentine’s Day Card

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Ok, people, listen up. I have a little something for everyone but you better be ready to lay down some smooth talk to get it. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so its the season of love, mush and pickup lines. For a short time only, I’m offering you this free cheeky hot cocoa Valentine’s Day card for you to pass to your lover.

From today until Valentine’s Day I’m giving away a digital copy of the saucy greeting card for you to print at your convenience. The file is already set up and ready to print properly. Then you just fold, cut and add something mushy to the inside.

All you have to do is go here and like my facebook page (if you haven’t already) and share this post on facebook.  Then the fun part really starts. Connect your Facebook profile to the comment app below and leave a comment with your best pickup line. Connecting your facebook is important because its how I will get the download link to you. Once you’ve completed that, you’ll receive the file in your inbox within 24hrs.

After Valentine’s Day, this hot cocoa notecard will only be available for purchase in my Penelopy Paper Etsy page.

Alright then! Get to sweet talking!

 

**If you don’t wish to connect your Facebook account to the comment app, put your email address in the comment. Once I email you the link, I will go in and edit out your email address.

Hunting Island Lighthouse

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A week a go, Lil had a little break from school. I adjusted my work schedule to accommodate hers and at the last minute Bill managed to get a day off as well. We packed out picnic basket with a tiny feast, filled the gas tank and headed south to Hunting Island for a little adventure.

The Hunting Island lighthouse is the only one in South Carolina that is open to the public for climbing. Though it wasn’t my first time going up in a lighthouse, it was for Bill and Lil. The view up there is amazing. Hunting Island isn’t necessarily a tourist hot spot, so there’s a lot more vegetation than buildings to be seen. Its almost like a mini jungle, the trees and foliage are so thick.

They say this island looses 15-25 feet every year due to erosion. The lighthouse is made in pieces so it can be taken apart and moved. The original light house stood on land that is now merely a sandbar off the tip of the island.

We explored the lighthouse grounds and then settled in on a quilt for lunch. Then we climbed around in and through the trees on the shore.

There are two lighthouses here in Charleston: Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse and Morris Island Lighthouse. Our goal is to hit all of the South Carolina lighthouses. Right now we’re at 3/10. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

Any mini adventures or getaways for you lately?

 

New Items for Penelopy Paper

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Brrrr! Am I the only one ready for warmer temperatures?! I’m dreaming of 85 degrees, a good book, a beach chair and salt water in my hair. Who’s with me?? Speaking of salt water, I’ve added some new products to the Penelopy Paper shop that will have you dreaming of the ocean.

Head on over to view and purchase my octopus illustration note card and the seahorse typography note card.

So tell me, what are you doing to stay warm? 

Work: Wooden Spoons, Cutting Boards and Steely Dan

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With the Christmas season at work and some last minute designing for Riverland Church, December’s work schedule was crazy. It left little room for my own illustrations and commission work. January has things back to normal, though.

Work has slowed down so that we have time to experiment with new products. I’ve also finally been able to play with my watercolors and work on a commissioned piece. An Owensboro musician asked me to recreate one of the Steely Dan album covers. I took the Goucho album and used watercolor and ink.

I finished the Steely Dan piece today and started the research for my next illustration. I’m also working on a personal project to share with you on here at the end of this month or beginning of next. It will be a freebie so keep on the look out.

Resolutions and Goals for 2014

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I’ve finally penned my resolutions and goals for 2014. I feel last year was a win. I didn’t complete my booklist, exactly, but changed some out and added others. Though my book list was specific, my other goals were a little more general: commit to budgeting and yoga. Though the summer was a bit sketchy, I feel we finished the year in a strong place. We finished 2013 with our budget stronger than ever and a semi-regular routine of yoga–which, by the way, is the longest I’ve kept up with any workout since soccer in high school.

For 2014 I got really specific, though. I’ve reviewed and critiqued a lot of areas and come up with a list of goals I’d like to meet in several areas of my life, such as spiritual, personal, parenting, professional, finance and physical.

For finances I set purchase, saving, and debt level goals. For professional I set sales and computer work goals. In my personal section I set goals for reading, screen time, complimenting my family and living in the moment.  I want to improve spiritually by working towards a regular devotional routine, giving and serving more and being more careful with my words. My physical goals are about reaching certain points in my yoga practice and taking vitamins regularly.

One of the most important goal areas is parenting. I’m pretty sure my parenting will be affected and improved by some of my other goals. As a parent, I want to be more patient by having fewer distractions, busyness and making a point to go on at least one new adventure every month.

I designed a little visual of my goals to print and hang above my desk. I’ve also tacked it up on my desktop for now.

What area are you focusing on most this year? Do you have a plan for achieving it?