Monday, September 30, 2013

weekly wishes #2

happy monday everyone! we had a pretty crazy weekend with a birthday party for one of alices friends, getting ready for alices party and getting ready for james to work out of town this week, so im really happy to be back to our normal routine today. well, as back to normal as we can be with james gone and alice not feeling well. but anyways, mondays mean linking up with melyssa at the nectar collective for weekly wishes! 

lets start with last weeks wishes:

1. get all the crafting done for alices birthday party. 90% done. actually i would have been able to finish if i hadnt needed to practically re-write the pattern for alices party dress. but the last thing (party favors) will only take an hour or two this afternoon, so im pretty happy with my progress here. also, we got most of the shopping done on saturday too, so this party is really starting to come together (i cant wait to share it with you!). 

2. decide what i want to do for my birthday. done and DONE! the silverlake art craft and vintage market is the day after my birthday, and ive wanted to go for YEARS. for one reason or another it never works out for us to go but since its my birthday, im making it happen. now i just need to find a good place nearby for lunch/happy hour/treats afterwards... (do i have any local readers with suggestions?). also since my actual birthday is on friday (and james might be out of town again), there may be a girls day at disneyland happening. maybe. 

over all, im feeling pretty great about my progress last week, so im hoping i can carry that momentum over to this week! here are this weeks wishes:

1. finish alices birthday prep by myself. i know i already said that im almost done, but theres still a little shopping and a LOT of baking left to do, and im starting to get pretty anxious about being able to finish it without having james to stop me from freaking out. but i HAVE to make this party AWESOME. 

2. dont let the house fall apart. this isnt the first time james has worked out of town, but he hasnt done it since december (mostly because he hasnt worked much since december...), and maybe im a little out of practice at running everything by myself. so im just hoping that i can stay on top of chores/work AND maybe take alice out to do something fun. 

3. get as much blogging done in advance as i can. these next two weeks are CRAZY busy, and i know theyll be much easier if im not worried about writing a whole new post every day. also, id really like to have a little free time to work on some other projects ive got up my sleeve...

so those are my wishes for the week, what are yours?

The Nectar Collective

Saturday, September 28, 2013

weekend update #2

hey everyone! i hope youre having a great weekend!

i know its only my second week doing this, but i actually dont have much to update for this week. see, i gave myself the week off from sewing for the shop so that i could focus on the sewing i needed to do for alices party. and i am very happy to announce that her lumpy space princess inspired birthday dress (which i had to do some serious pattern alterations on), matching bloomers AND lady rainicorn inspired fabric buntings are ALL FINISHED!!!!

unfortunately, they took me just about all week and i dont have anything new for you in the shop. 

but all is not lost! yesterday while cleaning i happened to find several pieces from my old shop that never got listed and totally fit with the new poverty luxe line, so those will be in the shop soon. 

also, ive got most of octobers blog planning done, and i have to say, its going to be a great month over here: ive got a sweet sewing tutorial, two birthdays, AND my first ever sponsor feature. youre definitely going to want to stick around, because i have a feeling octobers going to be my biggest month yet. 

so thats whats going on over here, what have you been working on?

Friday, September 27, 2013

how being broke helped us to eat healthier than ever. (also 100th post?!?!?!)

ok, so im going to get on a little soapbox for a minute here, which i swore id never, ever do on this blog, but theres just one thing in particular thats been really bothering me that i actually feel qualified to address. 

see, i normally go out of my way to stay out of political/philosophical/religious/sociological debates because, frankly, i dont consider myself educated enough to make a structurally sound argument for my beliefs and opinions (because i was home schooled and actually studied formal logic, i just dont feel comfortable making arguments that i cant completely defend using sound logic and facts, rather than opinion and emotions). so i dont generally rant about such things in public. 

but this one thing, it comes up a LOT. and its not only something that im passionate about, its something that i have enough personal experience with that i really can refute a very popular misconception here in america:

that is, that healthy eating is "too hard", or that healthy foods are "too expensive" for poor people, and things like fresh produce and natural foods are luxuries that only the wealthy suburbanites at whole foods in $200 yoga pants can afford. people say this all the time and it drives me INSANE. 

why? because its a lie. 

ill be the first to tell you that were broke. to be completely honest, this year is the brokest weve ever been. but you know what? this is also BY FAR the healthiest weve ever been. and if i look back at our diet over the last year or so, the broker weve gotten, the healthier weve been eating. 

case in point, heres what i ate for breakfast for most of last week:

 organic strawberries in organic vanilla yogurt.  delicious, healthy, easy, fast, and (surprise!) cheap. (no really, i had a vons personalized deal on the raspberries and the large tub of organic yogurt was the same price as the non organic, i only paid a little over $5 for five breakfasts worth of berries and yogurt). anyways, this totally awesome breakfast, that most people would assume is prohibitively expensive (i know i used to), got me thinking about how our diets changed over the past couple years, i thought id examine exactly why weve been able to eat progressively better on progressively less money. 

heres what i was able to come up with:

1. we dont eat meat. meat is really, really expensive when you compare it to plant based proteins (and im talking about beans, cheese, eggs and tofu, not packaged veggie burgers and fake meats). even though its only me thats a pescetarian, we dont regularly buy meats any more (aside from jamess lunchmeat for work) and its saved us a lot of money. 

2. we plan our meals. and then ONLY buy what food is missing from our pantry/fridge for the upcoming week only. we dont stock up on anything or buy extra "just in case". this not only kept us from wasting money on food we dont need, its also kept us from wasting money on foods that we dont eat before they go bad and throw away, AND its made our fridge and pantry much more organized. a very rare win-win-win

3. we buy a LOT less snacks then we used to. we used to buy a lot of snacks. every grocery trip ended up including chips, crackers, cookies, candy, etc. just because. did we need any of it? no. i mean, snacks do have their place, but once i started really looking at what junk food costs vs. what a healthy snack (like, say, raisins) costs, we stopped with the junk food. and even though i typically bought this kind of stuff on sale with coupons, it still took a HUGE chunk out of our weekly groceries. 

4. we almost never buy processed "convenience" foods. you probably know by now that im allergic to just about everything. which means that just about any premade, packaged food is out. and since it was usually me that ended up eating all the poptarts and microwave mac and cheese, we just dont buy that kind of stuff anymore. and nobody misses it. when i first implemented the $50 a week grocery budget, i went over almost every week. when i stopped with the packaged foods, i was under budget almost every week. 

5. we can realistically only afford produce thats less than $1 a pound. (note: i will occasionally raise the limit to $1.50 if it means strawberries) i know this sounds like a bad thing right? wrong. because its gotten us to eat a WAY bigger variety of fruits and veggies than ever before. and since were spending way less on junk food, we have more money to spend on the produce that were getting for cheaper than before so these days id say roughly HALF of our weekly groceries is fresh produce. 

when you combine all the money we were spending on meats, wasted food, and junk that we stopped buying, we ended up having way more room in our budget for fresh, whole foods like produce, fish, and natural dairy products, which has helped us to eat WAY healthier than we ever did before. on top of that, most weeks theres STILL room left in the budget for ice cream and wine. its pretty awesome, if you ask me. 

so please, please, please dont ever tell ME that you cant afford to eat healthy.

end rant. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

spinach quiche recipe.

ok, so remember that time i made a pie with this crust:

and i said it was oddly salty and would probably work better as a savory dish (like quiche)? well it turns out, i was right. i made a quiche with it a couple times now and its fantastic. in fact, i like to think ive perfected my quiche recipe and its become a regular staple in the meyers house. even though its not the fastest dinner and maybe uses a few more dishes than id like it to, quiche is probably my new favorite weekday dinner because we never finish the whole thing and it makes FANTASTIC leftovers for lunch the next day. 

its been a while since ive posted a recipe, so i thought id share this one with you:

spinach quiche:
(serves 2-4)


one unbaked pie shell (I used pilsbury gluten free, but you can use whatever you like, or do without, it works fine without a crust too)
1 small onion (or half a large onion)
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
1/2 pound frozen spinach (or an entire ten ounce box)
about 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (whatever kind you like, cheddar and/or mozzarella is yummy, I'm also a big fan of using pepperjack)
1 teaspoon herbs de provence

here's what you do:

preheat oven to 400 degrees. start by thawing your spinach and preparing your pie crust, set both aside for now. next, finely chop the onions and garlic and saute in olive oil until they start to caramelize. while thats going whisk together eggs, milk, mayonnaise, herbs de provence, and 1 cup of cheese. next take your thawed spinach and put it in a piece of cheesecloth or a tea towel and squeeze out ALL of the liquid. add this and the onions/garlic to the egg mixture and pour into the pie shell. top with remaining cheese and bake for 45 minutes. 

hope you like it!

stay tuned for tomorrow because its my 100th post!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

call me sassafras design giveaway!

hey everyone! i want you to meet my new blog friend allie:

she blogs over at call me sassafrass, and she is really, really cool. she blogs about things like weird music genres, books, and loving your brain. shes seriously one of my new favorite people. you should check her out.

you know what else you should check out? her brand spankin new design shop!  

so you know how poverty luxe just got a super cute blog makeover? that was all allie. she recently hooked me up with her honey sugar template, and i COULD NOT be happier. first off, as you can clearly see, its super stinking cute. second of all, allie is an absolute joy to work with. seriously. i have NO computer-y skills at ALL and she was super awesome and patient with all my dumb questions. 

and did i mention that her premade templates are only $25?! i had been shopping around for some blog design work for a while and trust me, this is an absolutely AMAZING price for such wonderful work. 

now, since youre all totally in love with allie and her blog and want to get a design package right now (p.s. she also does custom work, also at fantastic prices), there are two ways you can go about doing this:

1. you can head over to her design shop and shop your little heart out. 


2. you can enter to win one of TWO $30 design credits right here:

good luck everyone! 

***disclaimer: while i did receive a free blog design template, i have not been otherwise compensated for this review and all statements are my own honest opinions. yes, allie really is as great as i just said***

Monday, September 23, 2013

weekly wishes #1

ok, so im starting something new over here that maybe im a little bit nervous about. every monday im going to be linking up with melyssa at the nectar collective, for "weekly wishes" , where everyone shares their goals, challenges, wishes, etc. for the upcoming week. a LOT of the blogs ive been following lately have been doing it for a while, and i really enjoy reading everyone elses weekly wishes, so i thought id give it a shot too (also, this totally goes with my fall goal of making a more regular blogging schedule). so here we go. 

since i just started this week, i dont have any last weeks goals to revisit, but heres whats been on my mind this last week:

1. we have maybe, possibly been spending a little too much time at disneyland lately. if there is such a thing as too much disneyland, anyways. you know how we went last thursday? well we also went yesterday, and are going back this thursday for my dads birthday. on the one hand this is isnt really a problem because we crossed the "free disneyland" line with our passes a LONG time ago (like, in december), but on the other hand, alice is kind of expecting to get to go to disneyland every day. the good news is that alices character autograph book is almost full though. 

2. my "real job" is just about in the toilet. so you know how i work very, very, very part time at joanns? this used to mean that i taught two or three classes a week, for a total of 8-12 hours, but lately there have been some corporate-level changes that have caused, oh, EVERY SINGLE one of my classes for the past six weeks to be cancelled. obviously this is totally NOT OK because our budget at this point kind of depends on me bringing in a part-time income. i am getting a few hours this week to make some product samples (for the november/december classes), but unless something changes soon, this whole "working at joanns" thing may have run its course. the good news here is that this is just the kick in the pants that i needed to start actually pursuing self-employment. 

so thats that, now lets just dive right in to my goals for this upcoming week:

1. get all the crafting done for alices birthday party. alices birthday party is next saturday and im totally freaking out because ive done nothing. obviously the food and supply shopping cant be done until next week once weve got a final headcount, but this week i have a party dress, buntings, and party favors to make, before i start really freaking out. 

2. decide what i want to do for my birthday. i know this really shouldnt be that difficult, but i honestly have NO idea what i want to do. on top of that, i dont really have a "group" of friends, rather i have several separate individual friends that dont really know each other, and about a million food allergies so going out is not exactly an easy feat. honestly, im willing to take suggestions from strangers, what do you think i should do?

those are my wishes for the week, what are yours?

The Nectar Collective

Saturday, September 21, 2013

weekend update #1

ok, so just got back from hanging out with my good friends shannon and stacie of s & s ink, where we got the first chance in a very long time to talk business. lots and lots of business. it was really fun (and weve got a pretty fun collaboration coming soon for you guys), AND i got home SUPER pumped about business here at poverty luxe. my mind is totally racing with all kinds of new ideas and projects, but of course i need to slow down and take everything one step at a time. 

well heres step one. remember how one of my fall goals was to establish a more organized weekly workflow? well i noticed that since ive been planning out my posts for the week that ive had a LOT more free time to work on other aspects of the blog and shop rather than just planning and writing posts. so i want to take this a step further and start planning out my posts for the MONTH, and make things a little more consistent around here by having designated posting days and a couple regular weekly features. 

heres what ive got so far: im taking sundays and wednesdays off from blogging because those are usually our busiest days of the week, and saturdays (which to be honest, are usually pretty busy too) are for etsy shop updates. 

so without any further ado, lets begin my very first weekend shop update!

this weeks crafting time was mainly spend working on these super cute tiny baby bows:

which also come in a yellow rose print:

and pink daisy print:

did you notice how all those are fabrics that are already in my shop? well thats totally on purpose, so that you can make super adorable perfectly coordinated outfits. also it uses up my scraps left from the skirts and keeps even more pretty vintage fabric from being thrown away. 

ive also listed a couple new regular-sized bows:

including one that has matching tiny bows:

so that you can make a SUPER cute matching mother/daughter or big sister/little sister ensemble. what do you think?

Friday, September 20, 2013

some days, you just have to go to disneyland.

this week, james has been home all week (his job is a kind of an on-call type thing). now this was pretty fun the first time it happened back in february, but in the approximately ten times its happened since then, its, um, how do i put this delicately... lost its charm. 

it seems to be the universal truth for stay at home moms, that no matter how perfect your weekday routine is, as soon as dads home, all established order goes right out the window.  if you havent noticed by now, im not exactly the flexible type (but im working on it, i promise), so these types of weeks quickly descend into boredom and bickering and by wednesday night we were 900% done

so yesterday we ditched our responsibilities, packed a picnic lunch and headed to disneyland for a few hours. and it was great. alice got to spend some time with alice (who by the way, is really hard to find for a character who has two rides and a store themed after them):

alice was all over it, if we hadnt literally just got there, im sure she would have been content to leave. i mean, how cute it this:

alice specifically requested "pirates" (not sure why, she always cries) and "see mickey", but we didnt see regular mickey anywhere so she had to settle for halloween mickey at big thunder ranch: 

 which was totally fine because then she also got to pet the goats (which we had promised her last time but big thunder ranch was closed to set up halloween):

bet you didnt know disneyland had goats. well disneyland totally has goats. the nicest, sweetest, most patient and docile goats in the whole world. and alice loves them. since school has started, the park was pretty empty, but unfortunately weekday mornings are when all the stay at home moms take their toddlers, so a lot of the alice-appropriate rides still had unacceptably long lines (i mean, 20 minutes for peter pan? no thanks). 

even though it totally threw off my day/week as far as routine and productivity, we really needed to get out of the house, it was just what we needed. 

also, since we came back at naptime and had the whole afternoon/evening at home (where alice whined about wanting to go back to disneyland), i also got to spend some time working on these baby sized hair bows (on pin curl clips):

which should be up in the shop later this weekend. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

gluten free flops. spinach alfredo pizza.

ok, so you probably know by now that im really hesitant and skeptical about gluten free baking. and if youve been following along, youve probably also noticed that ive actually had a pretty good run so far and havent really had any big disasters. 

until last week, when i finally got to try this out:

now i probably should have put it together that i wasnt going to like this, because im a total bread snob and will endlessly make fun of anyone that uses pizza crust from a tube (objectively speaking, its terrible and tastes like playdough). but my mom found it at the 99 cent store and i have been DYING to try this recipe and at this point in my life i am pretty desperate for pizza, so i made it anyways:

and while the spinach white sauce recipe is absolutely WONDERFUL, if maybe lacking in the herbs department (im guessing maybe it was written by white people, but nothing a little basil and oregano couldnt fix), the pizza dough....

was... like, not even pizza dough. it was tough and cardboardy and oddly sweet (weird because the pilsbury gluten free pie dough is oddly salty) and was nearly impossible to pry off the pizza pan. 

so i definitely wont buy it again. i will however, be making this spinach alfredo cream sauce  as soon as i possibly can. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

the completely normal persons guide to saving money at target

ok. so remember this post a while ago where i mentioned that i wanted to start a regular feature of totally normal ways to save money? well, i started outlining posts and its kind of turing into a WAY bigger thing than i had intended and its going to need a LOT more work before its ready. however, because i did promise some totally normal money saving tips, and i have been told that my money saving posts are enjoyable, i thought id start where every woman in america spends all of her free time and money:


yeah. i went there. and no, im not sorry. please dont try and tell me that you never go to target for "just one thing" and come home with a full cart because we ALL know that youre lying. because we ALL do it. 

when alice was first born, the only time she really slept was if we were out and about. we lived about two blocks from target at the time, so i would find every opportunity i could to go walk up and down EVERY aisle at target so i could get some peace and quiet. while this was really great news in the alice-getting-a-nap department, this was before i learned to be all thrifty, and it was wreaking literal havoc on our bank account.

but times have changed, ive grown up a lot, we no longer live in a depressing town where target is literally the only fun place to go, and over time ive learned to make most our target receipts look something like this (pardon the instagram filter):

once things got all settled after moving back to california, and we had caught up on replacing all the stuff that got lost/broken/discarded over the move, i had gotten our target spending down to a really not all that bad $35-$40 every week or so. i was pretty happy with that, but over the past few months, ive actually managed to trim that down to an even better $60-80 trip ONCE EVERY THREE WEEKS. im not kidding. and yes, that includes diapers. 

how did i pull this off? obviously im one of those insane extreme couponing ladies, right? well, im sorry to disappoint you, but i actually did this by combining a whole bunch of little, totally easy, normal things that anyone can do with just a few extra minutes. ive boiled it down to 10 simple steps, because ten seemed like a nice number. and here they are, in no particular order:

1. get a redcard. no seriously, GET A REDCARD (no, targets not paying me for this, its really THAT important). if you dont know what a redcard is, its a credit (or debit, if you have terrible credit like we do) card that automatically takes 5% off ALL your target purchases. PLUS you get free shipping at 5% may not sound like a lot, but over the course of the year it really adds up (our redcard savings last year was somewhere around $85), and that free shipping REALLY comes in handy, when, say, you need a new $60 bedframe that for reasons unbeknownst to mankind costs $30 to ship. 

2. bring your bags. target takes 5 cents of your purchase for every reusable bag you bring. i know that sounds totally insignificant, but if you take a second and be completely honest with yourself about how frequently you go to target and how many bags you use per trip, those nickels can add up pretty quickly. 

3. up & up everything. generally speaking, targets store brands, up & up, market pantry, archer farms, etc. are fantastic, which you cant really say about a lot of generics, AND are usually significantly cheaper than their comparable name brand product (especially the fruit snacks. we go through a lot of fruit snacks). in fact there are some things, like their paper towels, that i actually prefer quality-wise over the name brand. also, the store brands often have printable coupons and cartwheel offers (ill get to that in a second)

4. check out their groceries. im guessing most of you shop at target for like, household and toiletry stuff, rather than groceries, right? well if your local target sells groceries (not all of them do), check out the prices on all your staples, because sometimes (though definitely not all the time), they have much better prices than the grocery stores. for example, market pantry butter at our store is about $2.50 a pound regular price, the vons store brand butter is $2.99 on sale. same thing with whipping cream, $2 a target, $3.79 at vons. it definitely wont hurt to double check. 

5. get the cartwheel app. this ones kind of new, but if you have a smartphone or ipad or whatever, download the cartwheel app, RIGHT NOW. the way the app works is that you can select a certain number of additional discounts (things like 5% off diapers, or 20% off cheese), and generate a barcode that the cashier scans like a coupon. it just takes a few minutes to check the app for the things on my list (you are making a list, right?), and it usually saves us a few extra bucks. 

6. check for printable coupons. even if you dont do newspaper/manufacturer coupons (which arent exactly the easiest way to save money and totally deserve a completely separate post) target always has tons of printable store coupons, many of which are for the already fantastically-priced store brands. also, if theres something you really need a lot of, you can print each coupon twice from the same computer (so if you have multiple computers, you can print alot of coupons). 

7. know the coupon policy. those last two reminded me, you can totally stack up your coupon/cartwheel/redcard discounts to save a LOT of money. targets coupon policy (you can read the whole thing here) basically boils down to this:
for each item you can use:
 1 manufacturers coupon
1 target store coupon
1 cartwheel offer
and your redcard discount
and sometimes, if youre lucky, you can find an item that has all three discounts and get it for almost nothing. or nothing. or make a profit on it (true story, i once got some soup that was on sale for $2 for -15 cents). 

ok, so weve talked about all the ways that target can help you save money at target, which is nice and all, but now were going to talk about how you can help you save money at target:

8. make a plan. and by that i mean make a list. and a budget. and stick to it. you know what? dont even go into any aisles that dont contain something on your list. i know that seems almost too simple, but it can make a big difference if youre a disorganized, emotional shopper like myself. oh and while were on that subject, you know that thing they say about not going grocery shopping while hungry? dont go to target because youre bored, sad, lonely, or for any other reason other than because you need to buy something from target. just dont. 

9. beware the clearance racks/endcaps. and this is where everyone stops listening because i am obviously insane. i mean, its clearance, so its cheap, so im saving money, right? well, im a FIRM believer that no matter how cheap it is (and lets be honest here, target only marks stuff down 15% at first), if you dont need it, its not saving you money. so unless a new dress or lipstick is on your list and in your target budget for that trip, just dont even go there. but if it is, and you can find what you need for 30% off, than thats fantastic. its not that clearance is bad, its just, kind of dangerous i guess. 

10. stretch out your trips. i saved this one for last because its actually the #1 biggest contributor to the reduction of our target spending. why? because, like i mentioned before, im kind of an impulsive, emotional shopper, and just about every shopping trip involves some chips or ice cream or nail polish that i just picked up without really thinking. so the less frequently i go to the store, the less i spend on that kind of thing. see, i used to go to target about once a week to buy whatever i needed just for that upcoming week, but recently ive switched to re-stocking everything thats going to run out within the next month (obviously this took some serious observation of our habits) in one trip, and dont go back until were almost out of something absolutely non-negotiable (usually diapers). so while each individual trip costs more, ive cut my overall spending almost in half, with the added bonus of having TONS of extra free time. 

so thats it. my totally normal persons guide to saving money at target. is there anything i missed? please let me know if you have any other tricks up your sleeve!

Monday, September 16, 2013

fall goals.

so i just realized its been like, three weeks since i did my summer goal recap, and i still havent posted my fall goal list yet. i just want to clarify right now that its not because i havent made any (actually, the list was finished and i started working on things a while ago), its just that, i dont know, i had some more exciting things to talk about in my blogging queue. if youll pardon my tardiness, without any further ado, here are my fall goals:

for alice:

1. start actually, seriously potty training. ive been putting this off for so long (alice actually used the potty the first time around christmas) because i didnt want to pressure her before she was ready. well now shes almost two and showing very definite readiness (like politely asking me for a new diaper when she needs one) and i guess i cant really put it off any longer. even though i know this is totally necessary and will make things a lot easier later (with the added bonus of not having to buy diapers anymore!) im really not looking forward to the process, so wish me luck. 

2. have a totally awesome birthday party. so maybe im not so excited about potty training, but i am BEYOND stoked about alices birthday party! her favorite cartoon is adventure time, so weve made that the theme, and right now my mind is literally spinning with ideas and projects for the party, so i cant wait to share the pictures with you!

for me:

1. improve blog/shop workflow and organization. ive actually already been working on this one all month, but thats my big project right now. after conquering productivity in the housework department, i really feel like its really time to tackle productivity in the work department. i started by getting a month-at-a-glance calendar, to queue out my posts for each week, and currently im working on designating weekly "work time". im sure this sounds really boring and dull, but i for one, am having a fantastic time figuring this all out. 

2. try 5 new recipes. i am definitely a creature of habit, and it does not take long for us to get stuck in a dinner rut, so im really pushing myself this fall to break out of that. i just tried my first new recipe, which youll hear about later this week, so now i just need to figure out four more new things to try. 

3. actually plan something fun for my birthday. ok, so i dont know if you know this, but my birthday is six days after alices. so obviously all my birthday energy and resources are pretty spent by time mine rolls around. as of right now im totally clueless as to what i want to do (plus theres the added challenge that none of my friends are friends with each other), but i have to do something cool this year. 

for the family:

1. give family bible study another try. i was really bummed that we couldnt make it stick over the summer, so were trying again. we noticed this week that dinner time works better for us than morning or bedtime, so now we just need to settle on our day(s?) of the week and actually stick to it. 

2. have some friends over for dinner! i love dinner parties, and for one reason or another (the extra free time weeks are never the same as the extra grocery money weeks), we havent done it in a loooooong time. and we need to fix that. who wants to come over for dinner?

so thats what im working on this fall, what about you? id love to hear about your plans and goals for the next few months!

p.s. dont forget to check out my guest post and enter to win a $40 poverty luxe shop credit over at 91 dash!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

ive been blogging for six months?!

hey guys, you know what today is? saturday. ok well its not just any saturday, today is the six month anniversary (birthday?) of the poverty luxe blog! a blog-iversarry if you will. i know most bloggers accomplish way more than i have in their first six months, but considering that i dove into this whole blogging thing completely clueless (and i almost never finish anything i start), i like to that just making it this far is a pretty dang big deal. so if you dont mind, id like to take a short break from my usual chatter to reflect on blogging in general: 

first off this blog almost didnt happen. the "poverty luxe." blogger account was made almost an entire year before i wrote my first post. i had toyed with the idea of starting a blog ever since james and i got married and i moved to arizona, but was too overwhelmed by the hugeness of the blogging world and convinced myself that nobody would care about little old me and never got around to it. 

then one day, a few months after moving back to california, i was talking to my friend marisa about how even though we were broke, i was able to keep alice in seventh generation diapers, because if you work the amazon mom system, theyre only a teeny bit more expensive than the target store brand. that conversation led to more discussion about all my tricks to being fancy without spending any money, and eventually to the conclusion that i needed to start a blog about it. so i made the blogger account. 

and then out of fear, and laziness, and my general feeling of inadequacy in the computery department, i didnt do anything with it. i moved on and focused on other things, like my new job at joanns. and it was ok. 

but sometime around the beginning of this year it hit me: i dont even like my job that much, AND i know exactly what i want to be doing with my life. all ive ever wanted to do was to make a living selling the clothes and such i make out of recycled fabrics. but it had been months and months since i had sewn or done anything really creative, and we really didnt have the space. but i needed an outlet. a starting point. something that would push me to actually work towards my goals in life. 

i spent a good month researching blogs and reading blogs about blogging and in march i finally started blogging. and i was terrible at it. this was my first post, a wordy and disorganized rambling about coupons that now looking back is kind of embarassing. but it was a start. i had read somewhere that in order to maintain readers attention a good blog needs to post at least every other day, so i pushed myself to keep posting. 

and over time it grew and evolved into something way better than id ever imagined. 

see, i had originally intended for this blog to be primarily about moneysaving tips and guides to living well on a budget. but that kind of got boring, and i realized that there are A LOT of blogs doing that WAY better than i ever could, AND nobody was really even reading it. so i started getting a bit more personal, less informative and poverty luxe became more of a lifestyle blog about our daily life as a family. and thats when things really started moving forward. 

and i found out that blogging is a constant learning experience, and its AWESOME. 

first of all, ive learned to be more confident and open to talking about myself and engaging others in conversation, which has really helped me with my real life social anxiety (which had gotten really REALLY bad after coming back from arizona). ive been learning a ton about how to improve my writing, photography, and photo editing skills. ive learned that the blogging community isnt nearly as big and scary as i thought it was and ive even made some new friends, like aukele and allie. and the commitment to consistent posting? that not only helped me learn to be more productive with my time and energy, but it also toatlly jumpstarted my creativity, and i was able to re-open my etsy shop in july. 

but most importantly, i learned that this little blog is going places. 

maybe ive only just started, and maybe i havent made any actual money yet, but this month especially ive seen HUGE growth, and ive got SO many projects and ideas for both the blog AND the etsy shop that i cant wait to share with you guys. starting with.... drumroll please......

its still a little bit under construction, but i am SO happy to announce that i am now offering super affordable advertising opportunities to my readers!

well that ended up being way longer than i had anticipated, so ill let you go now, but stay tuned! ive got more fun surprises up my sleeve for next week. (like, *cough* another giveaway *cough*)