Virtually Paint Your Room/House

So my husband and I wanted to paint our house completely different colors than the current blue and gray-blue. We wanted more neutral colors and I was really unsure if the colors that I was thinking in my mind would look good in real life. So I went to the Benjamin Moore website and found their virtual paint your room app and it helped me out immensely. Making my decision was easier as I was trying to decipher between having white posts/trim vs brown posts on our porch. It was also nice to sit with the pictures for a couple of days before committing to the decision. Especially because I’m such a visual person and sometimes thinking out an idea is just not enough for me. The other nice thing was we were able to use these pictures for the submission to our homeowners’ association for approval to make sure that there was no misunderstanding of what colors are going where and then we also used to this picture in order to show our painter. Hopefully this helps you out is well with your next project.

Virtual Paint:
image

To decision time:
image

Small House Living & Why I Like it!

Because it’s Eeeeeeeeeasy! Our house is around 1,000 sq. ft. (3 bedrooms, 2 bath). When I tell people that our house is around 1,000 sq ft which is smaller some of friend’s apartments, they would be astonished that the floor plan could even have a third bedroom. But it works. And yes , there are times like ANYONE you wish there was just little more space here and there but in the end, living on the smaller side of life has taught me so much about what I want out of life and how much easier it is to get it than what the American dream dictates.

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Flavored Waters

Banner Flavored Water

I LOVE flavored waters…….

however I have yet to make it at home. 😦 So I went on a hunt for recipes and I found this great blog with flavored water recipes. I thought I would start out simple, with just fruit, and go from there in my new experiment 🙂

I picked up the below Ball Mason Jars (pint & a half) from Wal-mart as I felt these were the best bang for your buck ($10 for 9) and they can go in your freezer as well. Note: that anything larger than this size can not go in your freezer IF you want to use it for something else.

Flavored Water 2I put about 8 blackberries in one jar and cut up some watermelon in another. I took a spoon (as I don’t have a “masher” utensil) and just started cutting/pressing the fruit into the bottom of the jar to help the juices come out of it. Then, I filled it with ice and then water to the fill/freezer line, before putting the lid on the jar.

Flavored Water 3Once the lid was on tightly, I flipped the jar upside down to move the water. You don’t want to do this too many times (a.k.a. don’t shake it) as you can bruise the fruit and it can change the flavor to not be “as crisp” if you get what I mean. 😉 Then, I left these on my countertop near a window. I thought I would see if the sun does anything to them like brewing sun tea. So I’ll report back to you about how they are soon.

Cheers!

**UPDATE**

So far my favorite flavored water is Watermelon with 2-3 mint leaves. I have found that if you put too much mint, it reminds me of spearmint which is a little overpowering.

5 ways to cut down on your cleaning

I have struggled with this for a long time. I like my home to look nice and be organized but it’s inevitable that we all have to clean.

And it’s good to take care of your space; not only in a hygienic way but also it’s good for the mind to not see all those “have to’s” or “need to’s” when you come home. So after talking to some friends about their methods and see what would work best for me, this is what I have come up with:

  1. Make it convenient!! – Seriously, why make something that you don’t want to do be more of a hassle? You will talk yourself out of it yet still won’t be happy with the results.
    Here are my tips:

    • I bought empty spray bottles and filled them with my glass cleaner. Then, I purchased extra rolls of paper towels so I could have a roll under along with glass cleaner under every sink in my house. This way, if the counter top or window need cleaning, I can clean in less than a minute, instead of thinking, “I’ll get it later.”
    • Suggested by my dear friend, I also purchased disposal wipes that look like they are in a baby wipe tube. These things are great for cleaning my toilet, the chrome on my faucet and even spills on my floor. I also found a site on how to make cleaning wipes
  2. Consolidate the time your time – if cleaning something will take you 5 minutes and you had this process for your whole living situation, you would constantly be clean!
    • So instead of using a glass cleaner and then a furniture/wood polish and a granite surface polish, etc. Find a cleaning solution that works for you on ALL the surfaces.
      • Vinegar and water has been a great mixture for cleaning and if you want something more soap like, try Castile soap. It has 18 different uses. Also by using one solution for multiple surfaces, you save money, space in your place, and time searching for all the “right ones.”
  3. Multipurpose your routine – I know what you are thinking…..but hear me out…..what I mean by this is try to buy things that you can reuse or wash or your own instead of using the dry cleaners. This will save you from finding time that is works into your schedule for that trip to and from the cleaners.
    • I have a reusable coffee filter in my machine. I always have coffee and never have to worry about running out of filters = save money. It was less than $5 at Wal-mart.
    • Old face clothes become rags to wash my car.
    • Dish towels, I use for my work out towels.
      Be aware of you have certain items for certain activities.
      If you let this idea go and use items for a multitude of activities in your house,
      you will spend less, have less clutter, use it more and also clean it more.
  4. Be organized – once you are organized, it’s easy to stay clean but until everything has a home. You don’t know where to put it so it goes into the “pile” or closet, etc. Then you have a mess waiting for you for another day. (I do like the out of sight, out of mind method but if everything has a home, you probably will not do this again)
    “Don’t put it down, put it away.”
  5. Live in every space – this is just like multi-purposing your routine but more in regards to the space your live in: from displaying your chotchkies (what I call dust collectors) or having furniture or other pieces in your life that is for display or those special occasions.
    • When I lived in Vancouver, space was very valuable and apartments were tiny like San Francisco or New York. Everything you owned had serve more than one purpose.For instance, having an ottoman that you can put blankets or pillows in it (another cleaning quick tip).
    • If you have collectibles, put them in a shadow box for display or another arrangement so you are not dusting every porcelain figurines every week.
    • Also, when you use every space, dust is not able to collect since you are constantly moving them. (i.e. you have glasses in a china cabinet or bar).
      And lastly,
      USE the fine china in your cabinet/closet!!
      Make every sit down dinner memorable, not just one.
      🙂

Hopefully you have found some things that will help simplify your cleaning regime so when you arrive home, you are home; instead of, facing all those “have-to-do’s.”

90-Day Spending Challenge: Pump Penalty

I commute about 50 miles/day for school. I try to carpool with friends or family when I can; however, I was curious how much money would be saved if you go 55 mph (state limit in Oregon), 65 mph (speed limit in most states), and 70 mph (the speed at lot of people out here travel). I know limits can go higher in California and Nevada borders them but….for the purposes of this Challenge, I wanted to know what individual impact I could make on my wallet with going the speed limit and SET MY CRUISE CONTROL into town.

I’ve heard that you can get about 10% more gas efficiency by going 65 mph and I also heard that if you let your car coast down hills in neutral, you will save more. Now, i couldn’t find a calculator for coasting and nor does my car have spiffy electronics in it, I did my own test over 2 weeks.

Goal:
Increase fuel efficiency

How:
– Use Cruise Control (whenever possible)
– Travel at 65 mph (or speed limit) 🙂
– Coast in neutral down hills (whenever possible)

Outcome:
I increased my fuel efficiency by about 10%!!

I went from filling up 15 gallons at 310-320 miles to about 340-360 (depending on how close to Empty I let my gas tank get).

There are other things that you can do to increase fuel efficiency like removing excess weight from your car but with living further out of town….my car stores a lot of things I may during my day so I DON’T have to drive home to get it.

90-Day Spending Fast Challenge: Frugal Bathing…??

Frugal Bathing

So I know what you are thinking = Frugal Bathing?? For Real?

Yes & No…..
Yes – I thought I would post this as I know we are having massive drought and some counties in California are looking at losing their water in just 90 days. Also, I was shocked after learning of some family member’s water bill being $500/month in California. WOW!!

No – Truth is my hot water heater broke and it’s taking longer than anticipated to fix it 😦

Either way, I LOVE my hot showers and I also work in a profession that being clean is a necessity.

Frugal Bathing Recipe:

  1. Pot
  2. 14 cups of hot water — I boiled the water in my electric tea kettle (hence I know the amount)
  3. Face cloth
  4. Hot Plate
  5. Castile Soap

So, once you are done boiling your water and pouring it into you pot, put a hot plate on the side of your tub before setting down the pot. You can add cold water to the pot if the boiling water is TOO scalding. Now, get in your shower.

Wet you face cloth, ring it out, put some castile soap on it and lather yourself from bottom-up (feet moving towards your neck). Do both sides. Now, rinse out your  face cloth before dunking it back into your hot water and without ringing out it out, bring it up to your shoulders/neck and THEN RING OUT, so the water rinse your off.

Put something warm on like a track suit or a fleece jump suit.

Once done with your body, you can move onto your hair. I found this easiest by wetting my ends with cold water and then ringing out a face cloth when I got closer to my roots. Yup, like I said, I like my hot showers and don’t like the cold. Shampoo, then rinse out with the cold water under the faucet = I found easier to get it all out. Also I just kept the cold water away from my scalp. Next, condition your ends and rinse out with hot water.

Wrap your hair up.

Lastly, I used the pot of hot water directly with the  face cloth to wash my face. When done, I poured the remaining water in my pot down the shower drain.

It was like camping; however, I still got my HOT shower in the middle of February 🙂

90-Day Spending Fast Challenge: Be Productive

So with this 90-Day Spending Fast Challenge, it’s not only about money, it’s also about how I spend my time. And one of things that when I lived in Vancouver that was so very important was everything having dual purpose. So in the morning I like to do my yoga, and I have laundry and dishes and making meals and getting the coffee ready, etc. just like everyone else so it occurred to me one day that if I wake up, put the laundry in the washer, and while it is washing (which is about 25mins on a short cycle) I can do my yoga and not worry about the clock and be in the moment. The buzzer will alert me like a stopwatch that I can put the laundry into the dryer, and jump into the shower. And once I’m out of the shower and freshening up for the day, then I can go back to the laundry and fold it.

Another thing that I like to do is to drink tea. So while my water boiling and/or the tea is brewing (aprox. 5mins each part),  I can wash the dishes so whether I get all the dishes done or just half done; it’s better than thinking that I can’t do anything in 5 minutes.

A cleaning method that I mention in another post is to use my castile soap (LOVE this soap because you can do so much with it) with a tub brush to clean the bathtub while you are still in the shower. This takes me a minute or so and if you do this 2-3 times a week, you always have a clean tub and it takes less time to clean as there is less build up of dirt/hard water deposits, etc.

Lastly, another thing that I do for cleaning my bathroom is before I leave for the day, I will pour vinegar and baking soda into my toilet and let it sit there for the day while I’m gone. This way I don’t have to smell the vinegar smell and by the time that I come back, the vinegar has helped loosed up the hard water deposits in my toilet and I may use a little more baking soda to get some scrubbing action when I scrub with a brush when I return.

So I hope these dual purpose time-saving tips help you be more productive beyond your money.