April 24, 2014

Save Your Way to a New Wardrobe



 Please welcome to the blog Morgan. She's going to help you learn how to save money for big wish-list items!



Spring is finally here, and it’s without a doubt one of my favorite times of the year for fashion. It always a mood lifter to refresh your wardrobe, add in some short sleeves and bright colors. But it doesn’t help when you set your sights on that perfect pair of sandals, but the price is sort of (ok, way out) of your budget. Don’t feel you need to give up on an item just because the price isn’t right. In most cases, a cheaper but similar option rarely takes away the longing for the real thing. Recently, I’ve learned a few tricks that have helped me save money for luxury purchases. Saving can actually be a fun challenge and the best part is the reward at the end. Easy money-saving methods like these can take that designer handbag from the shelf to the crook of your arm before you know it.

Why pay at all?
Whenever possible, make use of free goods and services. The money you save will quickly add up. For example, in lieu of buying a new book or movie, visit your local library and borrow entertainment for free. Instead of paying for gas, try walking or biking whenever possible. Your wallet and your waistline will certainly thank you. There are actually quite a few free things you may not be aware of. I found this useful and surprising list of free stuff that really helped me save money. With so many items available for free, you’ll be able to put valuable money aside for your latest treasure. 

Cut down on the cost of groceries
It’s amazing how much money I spend on groceries and other necessity items per month. I’ve learned that taking a little time for bargain-hunting saves a ton of money. While clipping coupons is useful, it can be extremely time consuming and hard to keep track of what coupons you have. Shopular is a great app that delivers coupons right to your phone, tracks how long they are usable, and even alerts you of sales when you are near one of the participating stores! For even more savings, I’ve made use of purchasing gift cards at a discount where you can buy them lower and then use their full value. By combining these frugal techniques, your savings will pile up!

Work on the side
Cutting down on costs is always helpful, but sometimes adding extra income will do the trick. If your regular paycheck doesn’t cut it for designer duds, consider taking on some side work. You can use nights and weekends to do services around your neighborhood, such as mowing lawns, shoveling snow, or other helpful tasks. I’m a huge dog lover, so I’ve made extra cash in the past by walking and caring for dogs on the weekends. I have a lot of fun dog sitting my new furry friends and earn money at the same time. Advertising my services is made simple online, and I’ve found a lot of new clients. You’d be surprised how easy it is to earn money in your off-time. Just be creative!

Make a plan
The best way to ensure you’ll save money is to make a clear plan for your savings. Make a pact with yourself such as to not spend any five-dollar bills and instead put them aside in a jar. This wacky idea can end up saving you hundreds of dollars in a year with little to no effort. Also, an excel spreadsheet will help streamline your savings, as well as track spending and progress toward your goal. This way, you’ll stay on track without any guesswork.

     These thrifty tips will help you reach your luxury purchase goal, without any guilt from over-spending. The challenge of saving money can be thrilling, so don’t feel weighed down by the prospect of extra frugality. In the end, you may find yourself subliminally bargain-hunting from here on out!




Morgan is a fashion-lover, part-time blogger, philanthropist, and wanna-be extreme couponer. She loves to share great fashion finds and the occasional entertaining ramble on her blog at http://www.graygabbana.com/ !

 
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April 22, 2014

Frost Yourself

Diamonds are a girls best friend, am I right?

Believe it or not, I used to hate wearing jewelery when I was a teen. Now? I love a few pieces here and there. And I LOVE anything sparkly!

When Anjolee offered me an opportunity to try out one of their gorgeous custom-made pieces, I couldn't resist. They definitely did not disappoint. I chose the tennis bracelet style and it is exactly as pretty as I thought it would look.


Of course, I received cubic zirconia in my bracelet because diamonds are crazy expensive, but when you order your custom design, they use real diamonds. The order came in a shiny box that will be great for keeping it in perfect condition.

They have a ton of jewelery designs to choose from: tennis bracelets, birthstone bracelets, rings, necklaces. All beautiful.


 The bracelet went great with my classic look I was rockin' for Easter. It will be easy to dress this bracelet up or down and I'm excited to wear it again!

Top: Target // Jeans: JCPenney // Shoes c/o Jessica London // Scarf: Kohls // Bracelet c/o Anjolee


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April 10, 2014

What I've Learned Living Alone (So Far)

I've only been living on my own for a little over a week now, but already I've learned so much. I've definitely learned that I love it (for now). I mean, of course, coming home at the end of a long day to someone wouldn't be half bad. But I kind of enjoy the silence and not having to talk to anyone but myself.

Here's what I've learned over the past week:

1. The dishes won't wash themselves and having only a couple to do at a time is far better than having a huge pile.

2. Using the bathroom while leaving the door open is a luxury that I have never experienced. And anyone who says it's not is lying. (TMI?)

3. Frozen meals constitute dinner. But you should probably make an actual meal at least once or twice a week.

 
 Whitney's Chicken Fried Rice recipe is heaven.

4. You can literally leave the TV on USA Network all day if there is an SVU marathon on and no one will judge.

5. Having to drag laundry up and down two flights of stairs is a bitch.

6.  Spending an evening in pajamas on the couch with a glass of wine watching a movie. Nothing like it.

7. When the garbage is all the way on the other side of the parking lot, one has to work up the ambition to take it out before it overflows.

8. Opening your mail to find your first grown-up bill is enough to give you an aneurysm.

9. Some people who live in apartments next to you are....unique.

10. I haven't found out a #10 yet. What should I add to the list?

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April 7, 2014

Classy & Sassy

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I would like to review a pair of shoes from Jessica London's Comfortview line. Being that I love anything fashion and shoe-related, I couldn't say no to the offer. I had been looking into buying a new pair of "dressy" comfortable shoes for awhile now and I found the perfect pair that I could dress up and still wear casually with a pair of jeans.

I ended up choosing the Libby Flat by Comfortview in Black.



These shoes fit perfectly and are so comfortable. During my sophomore year of college, I wore a pair of flats to class and they rubbed right into the back part of my ankle. I still have a scar there. It hurt so bad and ever since then, I'm really picky about how my flats fit. I usually stay away from them because they rub and it hurts. These are the one pair that I feel totally comfortable wearing barefoot.

I decided to put together a look that would fit well with spring weather (even though it's snowing as a write this!) and be super girly, but classy - something I would feel comfortable shopping in.

 Top: Target // Jeans: JCPenney // Shoes: Jessica London

These shoes even come in leopard print! How fun!
Have a wonderful Monday and I hope you're able to wear a Spring outfit today! I'll be wearing scrubs :)



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April 4, 2014

Long Time, No Blog

HOLA MY LITTLE MINIONS!!!

I have not blogged since March 26th - WHAT?! I have been crazy busy this last week. I am all moved in to my new apartment in Winona and I just finished my first week of orientation at my new job in Urgent Care.  I thought I would update you all on the happenings from this last week.

Sunday

My mom, sister, and I loaded (and I mean - LOADED) up the car with all my crap and made the short drive to Winona.



Those pictures were my view from where I was packed into the backseat with boxes and bags. I couldn't even wear shoes because I had stuff by the feet too!

Sunday was spent unpacking and grocery shopping. Sleeping was.....interesting to say the least. I didn't have my chair, couch, or bed yet.

 
My little puppy bed for the night

Monday

After getting only 3-4 hours of sleep because of that whole sleeping-on-the-floor jig, Monday morning was rough. My mom stayed in town to be at my apartment while the furniture was delivered and the cable was hooked up. Fun story: my chair I bought fit up the stairs and into the apartment. The couch? Not so much. So they had to bring it back to Rochester and refund us and Monday afternoon (which was supposed to be spent unpacking) was spent searching around Winona for a new couch that would fit. Luckily, we found one that's almost the same color and fit perfectly. 

Monday morning I had general orientation for the organization I work for. Only 4 hours, but very boring. Although, I got a coupon for a free 30 minute massage out of the deal!


 Tuesday

My first day of floor orientation at Urgent Care! Within the first 4 hours, I knew I was going to absolutely love it. For the whole first day, I just shadowed the RN and took some vitals. And I've quickly learned that the Urgent Care is notorious for food apparently. Tuesday, we all got free Taco John's. Wednesday, they had a bunch of sandwiches from Winona Sandwich Company and Thursday, they had pizza delivered from Godfather's.


 Wednesday

I was able to start triaging my own patients with a little help from the other RN. This was also my first night all alone in my new place and it was so relaxing actually to not have anyone around. Does that sound bad?

Thursday

I started doing triage ALL BY MYSELF. And I got to go to the hospital and learn about port's (basically a thing beneath the skin where you can attach a needle and give someone fluids or meds without having to start a new IV everytime) and PICC lines. I also got to attempt to start an IV. I wasn't successful because I've only ever used the retractable needles and this one wasn't and was super awkward to use. Plus, I had to start it in the antecubital and I've only ever started them on the hand. I took it easy the rest of the night and watched some of the shows I DVR'd and laid on the couch and watched The Virgin Suicides. Low key nights are my fave.

I have off today and this weekend, so I'm planning on doing laundry and trying to finish unpacking. Hopefully I'll get into a better groove with blogging and working. When I come home, I'm almost so tired I don't feel like writing!

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March 26, 2014

My Blogging Struggles



I was reading Taylor's blog this morning and she posted about 21 struggles that bloggers face. Humorous, as always. It got me thinking about my struggles with blogging as of late. March is basically over and I've only posted maybe 8 times this past month. Very unusual for me. Over the past year or year and a half, I've posted practically every single day. Not lately though.

I still adore blogging and adore the ladies I've gotten to know through this platform. I have no intentions of quitting or "taking a hiatus", "unplugging". That's not for me.

I will say that posts in the coming weeks may be spaced differently. There may be some new topics. I don't know yet. Things are changing. I move to my new place this weekend and start my first nursing job on Monday. I may work 7am-4pm some days, 11am-8pm other days, and some days I may have completely free. It's all up in the air at this point. I only know my schedule for the first two weeks of orientation!

So, without further ado, here are the blogging struggles I face

+ Promoting my blog/posts. Twitter? Pinterest? Facebook? How do I get people interested in reading, but not go overboard pimping my blog?

+ Twitter: struggle between promoting blog posts/actual real life thoughts/fangirling with friends. Are people becoming too annoyed with how much I post?

+ Ideas. What do people like to read on this blog: beauty, fashion, nursing, random thoughts, funny posts, blogging?

+ How will I find balance between my nursing job and blogging, while still keeping me time?

+ GFC: get rid of it to streamline my sidebar?

+ Working with brands: do I take their offer, as I could use the extra cash, or do I say no because people don't like to read sponsored posts?

+ Sponsoring: do I start putting some money, now that I will have a paycheck, into picking blogs to sponsor me? Will this attract more readers to my blog or will they just follow for a giveaway entry? Is it worth the money?

+ Wine: white or red?

+ Pictures: do I take more random pictures for my blog posts and risk looking like a goof? Who will take the pictures for my next fashion-related post? Do I invest in a nice camera in the future?

+ Media Kit: do I make one? Will it be put to use? Will it attract more brands to work with me in the future?

+ DIY: Will people be interested in a few DIY posts about some of the projects on my to-do list for my apartment?

+ Blates: do I take a leap of faith and ask if any bloggers in the Southeastern Minnesota/Southwestern Wisconsin area want to meet up sometime for a chat, some fun, and a sharing of ideas? Would anyone be interested in this?

+ Re-branding: this blog has been Sweet Silver Lining for almost 5 years now - is it time for a change? Have I grown out of the name or does it still fit me? Do I purchase a blog domain and make it a dot-com instead of a dot-blogspot-dot-com? If I did purchase a domain, what would it entail as far as changing links, making sure I keep readers/followers, and still make sure it communicates correctly with Bloglovin?

I'm sure there are more that I'm just not thinking of right now. But, for real, if anyone has advice or answers or anything for the above struggles, your opinion is welcome and much needed.

Have a happy Wednesday!


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March 21, 2014

A Friday of Hope

I got the idea around midnight last night as I was just starting to fall asleep for this post. It was very random and I had to grab my phone & write it down so I wouldn't forget about it.


+ I hope...you live somewhere where the snow is melting and the temperatures aren't going to drop back into the 20's this weekend.

+ I hope...you find a book or three that makes you want to read in your spare time. There's nothing like a good book that sucks you in.

+ I hope...your bedroom is not full of boxes and random stuff for moving like mine is right now.

+ I hope...you know that I'm here if you ever want to talk to someone: to vent, get advice, or just chat.

+ I hope...you can jam to a few good songs today.

+ I hope...you had a good amount of coffee this morning.

+ I hope...you don't mind my insane tweeting lately all the time.

+ I hope...you never feel angry or frustrated enough to forcefully grab a child (your child's) arm and kick her in the behind with your foot. This is what I witnessed yesterday while walking into Walmart. The child was maybe, barely, 3 and was playfully running away from her mother, who was loading the car. The mother proceeded to run after her, grab her upper arm, and kick her, literally, in the butt and drag her back to the car. I wish I would have gotten her license number and reported it.

+ I hope...you link up with Whitney for #backthatazzup Friday!

19 You & Me by Dan + Shay on Grooveshark


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