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My How Times Flies

1 Dec

Today is December 1st…wow!  In 24 days we will be celebrating Christmas, and in 30 days New Years Eve.  This year has been a whirlwind of events, travel, friends, family, and blessings.  I’m sad to see this  so quickly, but I’m definitely looking forward to 2012.  In a few weeks Dr. B and I will sit down and review our goals that we made during the beginning of the year.  We knocked a few out of the park, and others we fell somewhat short.  Which I can live with because the real lesson comes from the actual planning, and the process of striving towards the goal.

Screenshot of our 2011 goal spreadsheet

One milestone I’m happy to say that I’ve completed is starting my business, NataMari Designs.  I’ve been busy working on my designs, adding content to my new blog, and getting my online store setup.  It’s required tons of hard work but I love every minute of it.  So please when you get a chance check out my new blog and shop and tell me what you think!

Enjoy,

Natasha

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Pie Chart Shopping

4 Nov

Last week I blogged about my personal style, and how it has evolved after I got married.  One thing I have come to realize is that regardless of what style icon I’m channeling at the moment, to achieve that look, some form of shopping (on the Internet or in-person) has to occur.  Right?  I truly believe people don’t change…much.  I was a shopper before I met my husband, and It be unrealistic to believe that because I am married I wouldn’t shop anymore.  I have to admit shopping was once one of my favorite pastimes.  Most Saturday’s my older sister and I would meet up and shop, have lunch, then shop some more.  I tried not to spend more money than I budgeted for shopping.  And I always paid cash, so financially I was ‘responsible’.  Although I have to admit I could have saved much more than I did.

Now that I’m married, I try to limit my clothes shopping to buying seasonal basics and special occasion items.  But, that doesn’t always work.  Personally, I believe that getting married changes your perspectives and priorities, but it never takes away your desire to indulge in fashion.  In an effort to curtail impulsive shopping, I decided to try the Pie Chart Shopping method.  I came across this method while reading I Love Your Style by Amanda Brooks.  Amanda suggests making a pie chart to prioritize the areas of your life you dress for.  There are six main areas: work, play/casual, play/elegant, sports/exercise, social functions, and bedtime.

“The pie chart can help you visualize how much time you spend in each area, and how important those areas are to you, and budget accordingly.”

Now when I’m shopping, and I see something I like, my goal is to decide if it belongs one of  my high-percentage shopping categories such casual, exercise, and social.  If not… I don’t buy it.   I will still continue to shop, but with focus on social and casual clothing.  Which allows me to have my cake and eat it too!  Would you try the Pie Chart Method? What methods do you use to curtail spending?

Natasha

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Entreleadership

30 Sep

Dr. B and I are on our way to a 1 day Entreleadersip simulcast presented by Dave Ramsey. As you know from my previous blog post ‘A Debt Free Marriage’ we are Dave Ramsey devotees. Needless to say we are excited to have an opportunity to take one of Dave’s classes. Dr. B and I are in the process of planning a couple of business ventures, so we are using the Entreleadership class as the jump off. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out DaveRamsey.com. No schemes, and no gimmicks. Dave Ramsey presents sound advice, information, and knowledge from a Christian standpoint. Over the next few weeks I will be blogging about the information presented in today’s class.

Happy Friday!
Natasha

A Debt-Free Marriage

7 Sep
Cover of "The Total Money Makeover: A Pro...

Cover via Amazon

Dustin Riechmann over at EngagedMarriage.com, has an insightful article about the 5 Benefits of a Debt-Free Marriage.  This article is sooooo timely, as Dr. B and I are using the same Total Money Makeover methodology that Dustin and his wife used to become debt-free.   The total Money Makeover is a book written by Dave Ramsey.  The book gives step-by-step instructions on how to become debt-free.  The major components of the process are the 7 baby steps:

Baby Step 1) $1,000 to start an emergency fund

Baby Step 2) Pay off all debt using the debt snowball

Baby Step 3) 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in Savings

Baby Step 4) Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement

Baby Step 5) College funding for children

Baby Step 6) Pay Off Your House Early

Baby Step 7) Build Wealth and Give

Dr. B and I are on the end of baby step two, the Debt Snowball.  My car will be paid off next month (woohoo!) and then the last credit card by December!  Then in January we will start our 6 months of emergency savings.  We talk everyday about how we never envisioned ourselves being debt-free, not to mention being debt-free in less than a year!

Some lessons we have learned since starting our Total Money Makeover:

  • In order to become debt-free both spouses have to be on board and committed to the plan. It will not work if only one spouse believes in it.
  • Communications is essential.  As you open up and talk about your finances, it actually gets easier and easier.
  • Don’t be afraid to sell things that you don’t need.  When we sold our house we had a garage sale and made over $2,000!
  • A monthly budget is central to your success.  Create one and stick to it!

There will be some sacrifices, but it’s truly worth in the end. I encourage you to at least listen to Dave Ramsey’s daily podcast, read his book The Total Money Makeover, or at least check out his website, what could be the worse thing that would happen…you become debt free? :-)

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Groupon is #Winning…My Money

4 Mar

A few weeks ago I subscribed to Groupon, as I wanted to see what it was all about. I had yet to purchase a  “Deal of the Day”, that is until Tuesday when I saw this in my email:

My Groupon score!

I had never heard of the Festival of Speeds, nor did I know where Howey-in-the-Hills was.  But it seemed interesting, and it was only $10.  So I clicked on the Festival of Speeds website, and found out that it is:

The Festivals of Speed produces a series of luxury lifestyle weekends featuring the world’s finest automobiles, motorcycles, watercraft, and aircraft placed for display at exclusive venues. In addition to the motor sports aspect, Festivals of Speed also displays the world’s finest luxury lifestyle products including, jewelry, fine art, exquisite dining experiences, select wine and spirits, fashion, real estate and other related products and services.

I knew Dr. B would love, love, love to go and so would I.  We went to a car show last year and I had the best time!  Also, when I saw that motorcycles and watercrafts would also be on display I was hooked (oh, and did I mention the part about wine and jewelry? :-).

I also saw that Groupon was offering a couples VIP package for $95.  When I checked the website, I saw that for $95 per person, you can purchase tickets to the VIP reception tent which included a Top shelf open bar, luncheon, and refreshments.  I thought it would be a cool experience for Dr. B and I, plus with Groupon we would only pay $95 for both of us (Top shelf open bar – sold!) !!! So, I brought my first Deal of the Day from Groupon.  I’m now officially addicted to Groupon. :-)

I have to admit that I don’t really care about the restaurant, or salon deals that they offer.   I’m more so hype about the deals that will expose me to new and exciting things..for half the cost.  Now those are experiences worth paying for.

As Charlie Sheen would say, “The only thing I’m addicted to right now is winning” … on Groupon.

Do subscribe to Groupon or LivingSocial?  What’s the best deal you have scored?

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Spring Fashions I’m Want Now!

13 Jan

I know Winter just got here, but I’m so over it.  Especially now that the new Spring fashions are hitting the stores.  Since I live in Florida, and it’s only cold about 3 months out of the year, I never invest a lot in cold weather clothes.  I usually buy 3 or 4 key pieces.  But, Spring and Summer, that’s another story :-)   Here some clothes and accessories for Spring that I am coveting. What key pieces have caught your eye, or is it too early to think about that now?  :-)

 

Tory Burch leather thongs in leopard print. Her shoes are always cute and stylish.  These come in several other colors too!

 

Michael Kors vibrant color totes.  Beautiful colors for Florida weather.  I especially love the crossbody style of the Kingsbury.

The Hamilton
The Kingsbury

 

Yumi Kim Gemma Dress.  Just cute, cute, cute!  I can dress it up or down.

 

Nixon Ceramic Watch.  I love large face watches, and white would look great with my skin tone.

The “Player”

 

David Yurman Oval Link Necklace.  This matches the DY bracelet Dr. B  brought me for X-Mas hint, hint Dr. B :-)

 

The entire H&M mini-collection designed by Elin Kling.  This girl has great style. This suit is perfect for Spring!

 

Chloe Sunglasses: I only wear aviators, the fit the shape of my face.  I love the black leather on these.

The Tamaris in black leather
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Who Knew? Caring for Nonstick Pans the Right Way

22 Dec

I am the worst when it comes to taking care of our nonstick pans.  I have an attitude that because they cost the most, they need the least care.  Honestly Dr. B is better than I am when it comes to cleaning and caring for our nonstick pans….I really can care less.  I pretty much just stick them in the dishwasher and press clean. I knew I was negligent, I just didn’t realize just how horribly negligent I was until I read the NY Times article, How Not to Wreck a Nonstick Pan.

You can read the entire article, but here are the highlights:

  • Preseason the pan first (I thought you only preseason woks).  According to the article you should was and rinse the pan, then rub it with a paper towel saturated with oil.
  • Don’t put them in the dishwasher.  The high heat and detergents will ruin the coating….oops :-(
  • Run a teaspoon of butter or oil on the cold pan every time you use it. (I use the pour and slosh around method, which the author says is a no no).
  • Avoid using nonstick sprays.  The soy lecithin in the spray can build up and become sticky and pasty.
  • Use lower temperatures when cooking.  High heat can cause the coating to crack.
  • Don’t use sharp or metal object to turn food, as this will pierce the coating (this is the one tip I did know).

Who new, nonstick cookware needed so much care.  Any other good tips out there for caring for cookware?  BTW, what’s a dutch oven I saw one and I think I should be using one, but I’m not sure how to use it :-)

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