Wedding Table Linens

I have made a decision on my wedding Tablecloths!

YAY!

I had previously mentioned my love/hate relationship with table clothes…and chair covers for that matter…gag.

I had looked a round a bit for not Satin/Shiny Table cloth rentals, and I found a local place the rents burlap tablecloths, but he cheapest round ones were $35 a piece! What!!! Why would they be so much more? Anyway obviously I am not going to pay $35 a piece for tablecloths when we will probably have 15 tables. However the company also rents Burlap Runners for $5! much better.

So I’m going to do white (or off white) table clothes with burlap runners! I havent decided if I’m going to rent the runners or make my own with burlap by the yard. I’ll do some budgeting.

To give you an idea of what it will look like here yah go:

Cute…yeah? And simple, and rustic. I love it. I wish so bad we were doing big long tables, but it’s not practical for a few reasons. One being that our venue gives us round tables for free, and two, I think it’s easier for people to mingle when sitting at round tables where everyone can see everyone. However decorating square tables is soooo much easier. Oh well.

Did I tell you we booked our DJ and Photographer! I know…pleasing. And we are about 1/4 of the way done designing our invitations…yay! I actually need to go get paper to finish the design tonight! things are moving along! Up next is Hotels, Groom Attire and Rental stuff.

Oh and my sister is coming over tonight to help me make pillow cases for our couch pillows…holla!

A Wedding Is Comming!

Oh yeah…I almost forgot.

What with living in a renovation disaster (the plumber is here now trying to “fix” things) and anticipating the arrival of Mr. Gaunt, I had plum spaced out any wedding planning. According to My Knot To Do List, the following I am BEHIND on:

-Book My DJ: We have a DJ in mind, although a smidge out of budget. Mr. Gaunt wanted to have a face to face with him before we book, so this will happen in the next month.

-Hotel Blocks: I need to call around to some hotels to “block out” some discounted rooms for our out of town guests.

-Bridesmaid Dresses: I’m not too concerned about this because my bridesmaids can wear any grey dress they want, so they don’t have to order anything. But the ladies and I will be planning a trip to Seattle in the next few months to help them hunt for dresses.

-Groomsmen Attire: I told Mr. Gaunt that as soon as he gets out here we need to spend a day hunting around and locking down what his men need to wear. Im still a little up in the air about this one.

-Work on Invitation Wording and Design: Mr. Gaunt and I have already come up with our idea, and he has been working on it all month. I’m sooo excited about it!

-Decide who will marry us: This one is super tricky. We are undecided if we want to have someone we know marry us, or if we should just hire someone. I think its a very important job, so I don’t want to just wing it.

After all that junk, we need to sit down and re-budget. Find out how much we can spend on all the little stuff, and start a wedding notebook to stay a bit more organized. Up until now it’s mostly been brainstorming, but now we need to get a movin’!

And I leave you with a few fun wedding idea photos. Its nice to see fresh ideas!

(click on the photo for source)

Why I Shop Used!

First off, I’m not one to tell other what to do with their money, but my lord anyone who isn’t shopping at used clothing stores is throwing money out the window! I know it’s not for everyone, some people find it gross, dirty, messy, and just plain annoying to have to dig through piles of acid washed jeans and crop tops. However if you can get past all of that and just focus on the hunt, it is so worth it!

Personally I’m a shopper! Especially clothing! However it’s not uncommon that I buy something and only wear it once, or never. That’s why I don’t waste my money on good clothes, there’s no guarantee I will actually even wear it. The last “nice” thing I bought was a pair of boots for $95, I bought them 2.5 years ago and have worn them TWICE! They are now sitting in a Garage sale bag waiting to be sold for $10. Prior to that I have also purchased a $65 Sweater/duster at the Gap that I wore less than 5 times, a $105 dress that I wore once, and a plethora of fancy underwear that have all gone unworn completely.

For me, shopping at Goodwill, or Savers, or The Salvation Army is not only fun and somewhat therapeutic, buts it’s so practical! I have ZERO guilt if I buy a $3 shirt, wear it once and donate it back. It’s almost like renting clothing. sometimes I find Amazing things that I keep for YEARS! I have a red and blue striped t-shirt that I am wearing in my 6th grade yearbook photo, it’s the softest most memory filled shirt I own, and I bought in 1995 at Value Village for I’m sure less than $2. I also have a number of dresses and sweaters that I would have paid 3 or 4 time what I did because of how much I love them!

Anyways, like I said it’s not for everyone, but for me (besides the occasional trip to Target or the Outlet mall) it’s the only way to go! Last week I went to Savers twice to look for some sweaters and some casual tops, here’s what I found (nothing cost more than $5!):

Life Up and Down-sized.

NOTE: This is a very long and probably boring blog about our current plans and finances. Im mostly writing it to myself just to lay it all out, but would love any comments or opinions on any of the situation.  (=

Our good friend Jake is in town this weekend. Jake is a financial guru, kind of. He majored in finances in college and has worked in banks for quite some time. He’s very smart and financially together. He deals mostly with home loans and things of that nature, so he has been giving us advice on our financial situation.

Mr. Gaunt and I are a big cross roads with our life and our money. We are currently living at the top of our means, and we are looking to upgrade our future. Both of us are not great with money, we have both spent the last (5 for me) 10 years acting as if we don’t really need to think about the future and that when the time comes we will figure it out. TIMES UP FOLKS!

-We currently rent an adorable 2 bedroom (1000 sq ft) apartment in Colorado. It’s very nice and upgraded and we love it. However it is WAY too expensive, especially for renting. We have friends that pay as much or a little less that we do on their mortgages. On top of that we have a number of utilities to pay for. And the truth is, we feel like we have almost outgrown this place. With two bedrooms, our second room quadruples as an Office (with 2 desks and computers), A sewing and craft room (I have craft supplies coming out my ears), storage for extra bedding and blow up mattress for guests, storage for things like vacuums, board games, electronic equipment, painting supplies….the list goes on. Its pretty much crammed full of stuff, only organised enough so that I don’t go crazy. It’s so though that its hard to even do projects in there because it makes such a huge mess in the tiny space.

So of course we really want to buy a house. Of course we have no credit or down payment money. And renting a house seems like SUCH a waste. To even find a descent house to rent would put us way over our budget. It’s just not possible.

-We also currently have 2 cars. My car has a car payment…uggg. When my old car seized its engine back in May I went out and got a new (10-year-old) car to replace. Finally sucking it up and paying a car payment. At the time I did it, I really didn’t think I had any other options. Looking back it was a HUGE mistake.

I have spent the last year cancelling all of our extra service. Cable, gym, weight watchers, netflix, etc. I had saved us a little over $200 a month doing this. Well one freak accident and a car payment later and we have no savings anymore.

We also HAD to do some work on Mr. Gaunt’s car, that and the vacation to Washington in July (which I wouldnt take back for the world) completely wiped out our savings. Im talking $0 left. So now we sit living paycheck to paycheck.

So Mr. Gaunt and I have spent the last 3 months trying to convince both of our bosses to let me transfer to his team at work. So we can sell my car and carpool. We finally got the ok, and Friday will be my last day on my team. This is such a relief! So I plan on putting my car up for Sale on Craigslist this week. Hopefully ***FINGERS CROSSED*** I can sell it for about what I owe, and be done with it. There will be challenges to only having one car, but the savings (of almost $300 a month) will be so worth it. It was also make things easier when we move, as we can just tow the other car behind the uhaul.

-The wedding is our next big expense. I get mixed opinions when I talk to people about the wedding and the cost. For Mr. Gaunt and I its important to have a nice wedding for our friends and family to celebrate our union. Many people say “elope, or do it the back yard” but that’s not what we want. I’m sorry. I’m absolutely one of those girls that has dreamed about planning her wedding for years. The whole process is fun and exciting and wonderful! I wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course we don’t really have the money to go big. I’m trying my hardest to be crafty and frugal and make sacrifices in things like location and photographer so the we can keep it in budget (whatever that may be) the wedding wont be big, probably less than 100 guests. We are making all the food and drink and decorations. I plan to get an inexpensive dress and make my own invitations. But it’s still expensive. At this point we are hoping to keep it between $6k-$8k. Which seems like a lot unless you look at the national average of $20k for weddings. We are also taking all the help we can get, be it labor or gifts or whatever anyone wants to contribute. Weddings are a beautiful way for family and friends to come together and celebrate. We want the whole things to be as fun and low stress as possible. Go with the flow.

-And on to moving. We will be moving some time in April (or lease ends at the end of April) we have signed a 6 month lease starting in October. When the time gets closer we will look into the options of transferring our jobs or getting new ones. We really want to move to Olympia, but the most important thing in moving is finding affordable housing, schools, and jobs. Mr. Gaunt is currently looking into/thinking about going to nursing school in the winter of 2011, so we need to find a place where he can do that. And yes we understand that he will have to pay out of state tuition for the first year or so.

Moving fees in generall are going to be high. Renting a uhaul will cost us anywhere from $1500-$2000 to move to another state. YIKES! We are currently trying to decide if it makes more sense to just sell stuff and buy new instead of paying those costs. although things like our bed and couch are not things we want to give up, and they of course are the things that require the large moving trucks. I have even looked in to PODS and things of that nature, also crazy expensive. Our friend in Olympia have offered to let us stay with them for a short while so we can get jobs and look for places, otherwise we will have to rent something long distance.

We are also talking about really drastically downsizing our place of living once we move. Like I said we would love to have a house, but we want to buy one, not rent one. So we need to save money. If we can suck it up and rent a smaller one bedroom apartment for a year or two and save $300-$400 a month on rent then maybe we can get our shit together enough o buy a house. This would mean getting rid of lots of stuff and being ok with having just one bedroom for a while. It even means registering for wedding gifts might need to just be in gift cards so we can save them for when we do get a house. Would our guests be cool with just giving us money/giftcards?

-Mr. Gaunt is also in the works of building his credit. Neither of us have a lick of credit, although I have about $1000 I owe in old fees that I just havent been able to pay off. Which is why we are working on his credit first, I know its important for me too, I just need to pay that money off. Apparently its near impossible to get a credit card when you have no credit. We are working with our bank to get a “good customer” exception letter going to hopefully get a starter credit card. We have also been talking to Jake about our options for IRA’s and such to build some savings, as well as proper ways to use credit cards to help and not hurt you. ITs all just a very long complicated process, and unfortunately as Jake says, we are staring off in a bad economic time. Although there’s no time like the present!

-We are also working a LOT on our painting business. We have had great feedback, lots of email inquiries, and couple sales. We have plans to do a craft fair in October and I’m working my butt off promoting and listing new items. We really hope that this can be some extra income.

We are also looking into extra work. We both worked yesterday for time and half, and are working on Monday for double time. This will add almost 25% more to our paychecks. I also applied for a season position at Pier 1 that I could work in the evenings. We just have to make the sacrifice and work our butts off these days.

So that’s where we are at. I need to once again re work our budget to salvage any money we could be saving. And I want to note that even if we weren’t moving we still need to do this. We need to learn the value of a dollar and the hard work of paying yourself first. Life hands you all sorts of obstacles, and if you really want something you have to know how to get it. The next 2-3 years are going to be some of the hardest and most rewarding years of our lives. These are the years that we will build our future off of. And we thank everyone for their love and support during this time.

TODAYS TO DO LIST:

(I sacrificed a pool party and bbq and a sweet baby boy to get some shit done around here)

-Laundry

-Grocery Shopping

-Make dinner plans for the week. Ive been good at making enough dinner to have lunch for the both of us the next day.

-Make pumpkin scones and granola bars

-Finish painting and packaging up painting

-List 2 new items on Etsy

-Research selling my car

-Go through art supplies for garage sale. And the rest of the house.

-Call my mom, and maybe the grandparents too.

-Research housing and moving options.

And because it goes against my religion to post with out pictures:

The Perfect Sunday Man

For anyone who has lived closely with me(Mr. Gaunt)knows that Sundays are the bane of my existence. The love hate relationship I have with them, often turns me into a bitchy crying unproductive bump on a log.

Sundays for me are usually:

– Wanting/needing to go grocery shopping, but being too poor.

-Having a mountain of laundry to do, with no quarters, or no time to do it.

-A messy disgusting house that usually puts me in such a funk that I can’t even manage to clean it.

-So much stress that the weekend is almost over and I will have to return to work, that I can’t accomplish anything.

It’s all very pathetic and like I said, unproductive. Sundays are often the day when I let the little things get to me and the world comes tumbling down. The weather pisses me off, money stresses me out, I cry over my lack of house wife skills, and of course any and all feelings of weight/body image comes up. Lets just say Sundays and I are not friends.

At our company picnic on Friday. Drinking Sangria and 11am

Today however was the PERFECT Sunday, in fact, it was the best day of the week! And as cheesy and mushy it is to say, it was all because of my Perfect Sunday Man.

Mr. Gaunt and I have been going through a lot this last week, money, insecurities, family issues, but somehow our communication and ability to understand each other is stronger than ever. He’s been talking to me about his feelings like he never has before. I am so lucky and blessed to have such a wonderful partner. I know that women say “You can’t change a man” but sometimes they just offer up change all on their own. And if your lucky they thank you for inspiring them to do so.

I came home late last night after hanging out with friends to find my ENTIRE house cleaned and all of the laundry sorted! Holy Shit! He even organized my closet and cleaned up my makeup area!  He was in bed all snoring, so I woke him up and kissed him bunches and we laid together and talked to each other for almost and hour. I slept very well. Today he let me sleep in (which is something I NEVER do) until almost ELEVEN! Then he went to the grocery store and bought Whole Wheat Pancake mix, cantaloupe, and stuff to make Mimosas! He made a very yummy breakfast and we ate and listened to Iron and Wine Pandora. We are on the hunt to find the perfect Indie Love song for our first dance at the Wedding.

After Breakfast I laid on the couch and read the two magazines that I have been ignoring for the last week. REAL SIMPLE and Whole Living (previously Body+Soul). My interest in cooking has been at an all time low this summer, as well as blogging, Foodgawker, and all food/health magazines. I’m not sure why I’ve lost interest, but its made me sad. Today though I sat back, relaxed and let myself fall back into the world of amazing food, cooking for my family, and living healthy. It felt so nice, like the old me. I even found a new food blog to crush on Dinner A Love Story. Check it out.

While I read Mr. Gaunt gave me a foot and calf masage…drool…unitl I fell asleep. And so we napped on the couch, for four hours…lol! It was so amazing. One of those naps that you have no regret during and no neck kinks afterward. It’s now 4pm so Mr. Gaunt and I do laundry, that was already nicely sorted and waiting in laundry baskets, quarters on hand.

Then we spent some time searching the web for a recipe to use some ground Turkey and Yellow squash we had. I found this recipe that SHOCKINGLY we had every ingredient on hand…yipee! So we made it, and it was amazing, and a blog post will be up tomorrow on it.

At our favorite restaurant Merles in Littleton on our 1 month of being engaged anniversary.

Part of the reason for our lazy sunday was that it was a SCORCHER out today, and Mr. Gaunt made it clear that I was not to step outside. Heat makes me super bitch, seriously. After dinner when it had cooled down to high 70s…lol…we finished some laundry and went swimming in our pool. While swimming we talked about our plan to start running. Yup, we have made a plan! We are gonna try the “run 1 minute, walk 3 minutes” until we can work up to longer sprints. Neither of us are runners, but we want to start, and we don’t have the money to pay for gym memberships. So we are gonna start Monday. I’m really hoping to get new shoes for my birthday, I’m pretty sure I want the Reebok Easy Tone They’re kinda like the Sketchers Step-ups only not super ugly.

After swimming we went up to Whole Foods and got Green Tea Ice cream and stuff for smoothies. I also decided to switch up our regular Cliff Bars and try the Odwalla Bars They are lower in fat (2g vs 6g) and were on sale, plus they have a Mocha flavor that I really wanted to try. I’ll give you a review next week after I’ve had a few flavors.

So now we are just sitting on the couch winding down. Next week I’m gonna talk to my boss AGAIN about transferring to Mr. Gaunt’s team, it’s all taking forever. I also think I might try to get a part-time seasonal job this winter. We finally sat down and budgeted the wedding, and if we are going to be able to pay for everything without getting into debt we need to make some extra money. Yes it will suck to work so much, but it will be worth it to be less stressed when we move and get married.  So I’ll be looking into this in the coming months. We are also in the beginning stages of building our credit, and deciding whether to keep my car or not. Until then my focus is and will continue to be the happiness and success of my family. And Thank you Mr. Gaunt for turning a usually crappy Sunday into a Perfect Sunday. Love.

Door to Door Organics!

So I’m not sure if I have mentioned it on here, but I really wanted to do a CSA box this summer (in case you don’t want to click that link, a CSA box is when you pay around $400 in early spring to a local farm and you get a delivery every week of their produce) but I had a lot of questions and concerns about the quantity and variety of my food. We were going to split on with Ms. G, and we still may but until then I found something pretty darn sweet.

Its called Door to Door Organics and they are based out of Colorado, Kansas City, Michigan, and some smaller states on the east coast. Basically what you do is purchase a WEEKLY or BI-WEEKLY produce box and you get a mix of organic local produce (whatever’s in season) and some imported stuff (whatever’s not in season). The best part is you only pay AFTER you get your box of goods, and they send you an email the week before spelling out exactly what you will get in your box. They also have an option to substitute out items, add more items (like Artichokes were $1.85 this week extra) and make a list of I LOVE and I DONT LOVE so they customize it for you.

I’m getting the Bitty-Box ($22.66), and my first box will be delivered to my house on Wednesday, and it will include the following:

1 lb Zucchini
1 lb Yams
1 ea. Sweet Baby Broccoli
1 ea. Red Leaf Lettuce
1 ea. Carrots with Tops
2 ea. Kiwi
2 ea. Fuji Apples
3 ea. Blood Oranges
2 ea. Bartlett Pears
1 ea. Avocado

I love that you get just one or two of each item. This will definitely reduce waste in our house. We can also at any time increase the size of our order. It’s all very user friendly, where the CSA box wasn’t so much.

We are trying to cut our grocery bill back to $65 a week, I buy a fair amount of organic food as well as some other pricey items (fresh fruit, nuts) but our bill was a little through the roof. So I’ve decided to give you all a SUNDAY SHOPPING update to break down what I bought and what I spent. Im also really going to try to shop bargains while staying healthy.  Also meal planning is really going to be a must. This is going to be a challenge!

Oh and this is a great list on why you should go organic for produce

I leave you with a sweet picture of my little Liam….love him!