Budget is not a Bad Word Daily Living

Blah blah blah blah Budget

Back in Summer 2016 (oh so long ago). The husband and I enrolled in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Scratch that I SIGNED my husband and I up for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. This was a horrible way to spend summer  but mainly because it was summer, class was at 6 PM and 28 miles from our home and 6 PM is really the best time to hang out in your backyard blowing bubbles for your baby while your older daughters dance on the deck and ask repeatedly what’s for dinner.

BUT the experience was eye-opening because holy-cow-Batman, J and I got some money problems. Our habits are terrible.

Most of our issues are rooted in our lack of budgeting. We’re also walking into the last working quarter of our lives with PITIFUL retirement savings accounts. Phew. It feels great to say that out loud. The first step in fixing your problem is admitting you have a problem.

Anyhow. I can not recommend Dave Ramsey enough to anyone that wants to make a change with their finances. His steps aren’t an overnight solution but a disciplined approach to being a responsible handler of money.

In a nutshell you do the following:

And in between all that you learn how to do zero-based budget. You learn all this while attending classes, completing workbook assignments, putting what you’re learning into practice and having to do little accountability checks (don’t worry no one is pouring over your personal finances just doing a quick glance and answering specific questions if you have them.)

Can I tell you something? We completed classes in August and it took us until DECEMBER 2016 to be all in. We sat down and did budget meetings but for some reason last month things seemed real (cause it was Christmas and we was broke). Ridiculous, right? But with a trusty budget worksheet similar to Dave’s and some envelopes from my office supply bin we’re committed. We haven’t made any huge waves in our sea of debt but I’ll be sure to update you as we make progress.

Oh, and if you’re curious check out Total Money Makeover. Or listen to one of his podcasts via iTunes or even on his website. Hearing people do their Debt Free Scream after taking five years to pay off $350,000 in debt is really motivating. If people making less than J and I are saving $2K a month just by being serious about getting out of debt what excuse do we have?

Happy savings.

Kia

Daily Living

Practically a year?

Oh the shame! Where have I been? Good Lord. Everywhere but blogging.

Here’s a reintroduction: My name is Kia. I am a part-time librarian. A LuLaRoe consultant (that’s where I’ve been). A wife to an art-teacher. A mom to three charming girls that I only dream about running away from when they’re moody (so once a month.). I love emojis, making chocolate-chip cookies and wearing handmade sweaters.

Last year was a wild ride where I tried to manage my normal life schedule AND I became a LuLaRoe consultant. Woowee. Me and LuLaRoe were hot and heavy for about nine months until I decided I had to take a break because book fair, planning women’s ministry events at church, and mini-session season was full speed ahead from November-December.

Anyhow. I’m happy that this space exists because I need it! I look forward to sharing with you my 2017.

Love and light,

Kia

PS Thanks to the awesome Heather Elizabeth Photography for our Fall mini-session.

If I Had a Book Club

Scholastic Book Beats for Teens

So far, my favorite job in my entire working career of three jobs (Costco, non-profit Director, Librarian), has been working at a school library. Not only do I get to read books out loud to little kids practically every day, I get to read and recommend books to the tween population at our school. These kids are too old for Diary of a Wimpy Kid but too young for Gone Girl. Thanks goodness for Scholastic’ss Teen Book Beats Book Club. Every few months, I’ll peruse their offerings. Order one or two, read them and then recommend them to my library patrons. Oh, and it’s my job!

In this post, I’m reviewing The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, All the Rage by Courtney Summers and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

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First, I recommend that all parents download the app from Common Sense Media. They rate movies, tv shows, books and more. Each game, tv show, movie or book review has a recommended start age for and even list things parents need to look out for like profanity, violence, “sexy stuff”, etc. I use it before I decide whether or not to let my own kids see a movie or read a book.

And before I review these titles…guys, I am a glass half full kinda gal. I can find something in everything I read or watch that I love. So, please do your own research before going all in on these titles, just because I love something or think it’s ok to share with my pre-teen-don’t take my word for it.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. This book was on my radar after I read The Fault in my Stars. It popped up as a suggestion from Amazon Prime (my favorite place to buy books). I delved in and I loved that the main character was male (it’s been a while since I read a book with a male lead). In a nutshell, Ezra, the main character, has everything in life going for him. Tragedy strikes him. He questions everyone and everything in his life and has to discover himself again in order to find that he’s still a cool cat. In the meantime, he has a love interest that pushes him away at the end and the big question is why (but you easily put the pieces together towards the end). The recommended age for this book is 14+. There are a few sentences discussing oral sex and genitalia and some strong language. Would I give this to Olivia, my 12-year old to read? Probably not until next year. But if you want a quick weekend reading escape-pick this one up.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers. Can we say that this is a heavy book to read? Because it is. The writing style is a little confusing at times and somewhat choppy but I think it has a lot to do with the theme of the book. This isn’t a spoiler but it starts with a girl named Romy that is at a party and is sexually assaulted by a classmate. There is no way to gloss over rape and sexual abuse for the main character and how her small town turns on her when she names the sheriff’s son as her attacker. There is strong and sexually explicit language although there aren’t specific details of what happened to Romy when she was raped. It’s heart breaking to read her struggles with the aftermath of her sexual assault encounter and the confusion she experiences as she develops feelings for a new boy.  Common Sense Media recommends this book for readers 14 and older but I’m not going to hand this one to Olivia anytime soon. With that said, this might be a good book to open the discussion with your teen daughter about rape and sexual abuse.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Another heavy book. This one deals with suicide and mental health issues. The two main characters both dealing with heavy personal issues use each other to find hope and light in their worlds of darkness. They get pushed together for a class assignment and then (there’s a formula here) end up learning to deal with their problems and face their worlds, thanks to having each other. This book like the other two, have some strong locker room talk, does include descriptions of heavy make out sessions and has some profanity. Common Sense Media recommends this book for age 14+. I’d probably let Olivia read it next year, if she wants.

Phew. It looks like I need to delve into some other types of YA books. Any recommendations out there? I say YA because I am a busy lady and I like the satisfaction of knowing I can get through a book in a weekend.

What are you all reading out there? Leave a suggestion or two in the comments!

 

Sometimes I dress nice

Keep it comfy

Hey, hey now! Working part time as a school librarian means I need two things when I get dressed in the morning: cute and comfy. I have adopted a uniform of sorts when it comes to getting dressed in the morning. It’s either jeans, a shirt and a sweater; or a dress with some sort of top layer. Those types of outfits fit into my cute but comfy requirements.

This summer I was introduced to a super fun clothing brand called LulaRoe. It’s a women’s (and children’s) clothing line that you can only shop via pop-up shops. The fun part is they have limited prints so when you see something you like, pick up the phone and call your LulaRoe girl ASAP.

This feather print Nicole dress is a favorite. I love to do extra twirls in this dress (ooops, did I leave something on that counter, lemme twirl and twirl again to get it). I’ve worn this with sandals in the summer, flats at church but for this season, my brown Hinge boots from Nordstrom will be my go to. My boots sold out at Nordie last year, but check out this other style that are a close second. Add a bright colored scarf and I’m out the door.1116_9473

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KiaGregory_StellaDot_LulaRoe_002I love me some delicate necklaces. I have been a long time Stella & Dot stylist because it’s the easiest way for this busy mom to feel on trend. I like to call it my affordable luxury. I may shop the clearance section at Target, but dang it I will look good while doing it. Check out my K (hearts) J Signature Engravable bar necklace. It reminds me of that tree that Justin never carved our initials into.

KiaGregory_StellaDot_LulaRoe_003KiaGregory_StellaDot_LulaRoe_004Another super cute dress size from LulaRoe is the Julia dress. I have three of these and love that they feel like your favorite t-shirt. I wore one to my brother’s dress rehearsal dinner with wedge sandals, another one with my Birkenstocks when I was lounging this summer, and the newest addition (that I’m rocking in this post) is perfect for warmer Fall days with a sleeveless Safari vest (similar to this one) and a pair of D’Orsay flats (like these Steve Madden ones). I added the Stella & Dot Signature Engravable Disc Necklace. It makes me feel like a Southern princess since it’s engraved with my monogram, y’all.

What are your wardrobe requirements?

(Clicking some of these links will take you to affiliate links, or my very online shop. Just giving you a heads up!)

Daily Living Photography Sometimes I dress nice

Smile and say cheese

Phew, It was a long time coming but we finally had our family photos updated! Ava joined us in 2014 and we haven’t had one professional family photo taken since we made our pregnancy announcement.

My friend, Ashley, was in town from Southern California and I coerced her into taking our family photos. I also promised her an early bed time and chain-store, personalized pizza for dinner. I mean, you can’t say no to that!

So, at last, just a mere 14-months after Ava made us a family of five we have pictures to add to that gallery wall I’ll finish one day. Here’s a few favorites of the gazillion that she took.

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And mamas, I absolutely hated stepping in front of the camera. I always feel weird, (what is my mouth doing? Is my right eye going all squinty on me? Why did I wear this dress?) But in the end…I loved them all. Don’t be afraid to step in front of the camera with your families, ladies. And don’t stress about clothes. Everything we are wearing we bought in the Spring. No new outfits necessary. And big shout out to Ashley Kelemen! You’re the best, girl!

xoxo

Kia’s Look | Dress Target Spring 2014, shoes Sole Society Spring 2014

Justin’s Look | Shirt JC Penny (He’s a big & tall guy so it’s a big and tall shirt), shorts Anchor Blue (yes, they are old)

Olivia’s Look | Chambray shirt & black jogger pants Brass Plum, Sandals Nordstrom Rack, Headband Michaels

Ella’s Look | Dress Tucker & Tate Nordstrom Rack, Shoes Chuck Taylor, Purse Zara, Bracelet Stella & Dot

Ava’s Look | Dress Harper Canyon Nordstrom Rack, Shoes (belonged to Olivia when she was a toddler)