December Goals

A few days ago I discovered that I have a crap ton of craft supplies. Like a crap ton, whatever that actual measurement is. I was cleaning my room and then found my journal. I actually forgot I had a journal, isn't that lame? I spent like an HOUR writing in my journal, which felt really great. and I realized that there's something kind of missing from my life.


I do REALLY WELL with goals. Short, attainable ones. Things to cross off. I love crossing things off a list. In 2013 I made monthly lists on a whiteboard and then crossed them off. I decided.. you know, I should really start doing that again.


and I was going to wait until January because the new year seems fresh but I am not about to waste an entire month of the year just because it's the last one. So here we have it…

December Goals //

December Goals

01. Finish reading Harry Potter & the Sorceror's Stone
02. Watch Harry Potter & the Sorceror's Stone
03. Add 50 things to my Gratitude Journal
04. Paint my nails
05. Send 15 Christmas cards
06. Try a new recipe
07. Visit a new coffee shop
08. Take at least one picture with my Instax
09. Watch Elf
10. Post 6 blogs


Also — I'm getting ready to start working on my new 101 in 1001 (seriously, it takes me half a year to write a new one) and I was wondering if any of y'all had any suggestions OR – do you have any questions about the 101 in 1001? I'd love for some of you to join me in making one! This next year I'm determined to make one that's way more realistic, haha. 

December 5, 2016

S’mores Mocha Recipe ft. Torani Syrups

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FlavorSplash #CollectiveBias

Let me just speak plainly about this:
I love coffee.
But y’all knew that already, didn’t you?

I love getting fancy espresso beverages when I’m out and about, but you know what I absolutely DON’T love? The cost. Sometimes those delicious and fancy espresso beverages are $5/each! Yikes. Trying to get out of debt can be really hard if you’ve got a coffee problem.

Earlier this year I bought an at-home espresso machine to help me save money without sacrificing the fancy coffee drinks. After a few months of making a drink and hating it, I started asking around – what order do I put the ingredients in, how much of each thing, how do I know if the milk is hot enough? I taught myself (with the help of my barista friends!) how to make coffeeshop fancy drinks. 

and here I am, at the end of 2016 ready to share with you something I have created.


Do you know what else is a no-brainer that I absolutely love? SUMMERS AT CAMP ARNOLD! I love and daily miss the smells of camp, the sounds of camp and… the s’mores of camp. Seriously, s’mores at campout was often the highlight of my week.

Back to the coffee.

I have created a recipe for y’all. With chocolate… and whipped cream… and marshmallows…. and graham cracker crumbles… and coffee.

A S’mores Mocha.

You’re so welcome, y’all. You are so welcome.

S'mores Mocha Coffee Recipe //

Like I mentioned earlier, I have an at-home espresso machine but if you don’t have one, I’ve included some ways to adapt the recipe to things you’re more likely to have at home.

S'mores Mocha Recipe //


1 1/2 tbs Torani Toasted Marshmallow Syrup
1 1/2 tbs Torani Dark Chocolate Sauce
2 tbs ground coffee
1 cup of milk
1 graham cracker (half crushed into crumbles)
1 small handful of mini marshmallows
Whipped Cream


Pour the Torani Toasted Marshmallow Syrup in the mug you will be using
Pour the Torani Dark Chocolate Sauce and stir with the syrup
Froth your milk to 140-160 degrees (or heat in microwave)
Pull 2 shots of espresso (or have about 1/4 cup of really strongly brewed coffee) & pour into mug.
Pour milk on top. Stir if necessary.
Top with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, marshmallows and graham cracker crumbles.
Embellish with graham cracker and chocolate pieces. Beware – these will MELT, so they’re better for dunking.

S'mores Mocha Recipe //


Since I’m always trying new espresso recipes, Torani syrups have been great to have on hand. They have a huge variety of flavors which allow me the creativity of making my own fancy drinks IN MY PAJAMAS. My dad likes them so much that he's started bringing money to give me when I make them for him! We get the coffeeshop flavor without the high price tag thanks to Torani syrup, which is made with real and simple ingredients and natural flavors. and speaking of dads, Torani has been family owned for three generations – since 1925, which is about the year my dad was born (I kid, I kid!). 

I found the Torani syrups in the coffee aisle at my local WalMart. 

S'mores Mocha Recipe //

Along with the toasted marshmallow syrup, I also picked up the bourbon caramel flavor because I am so ready to use that in a latte, amiright? has an extensive selection of Torani syrups that are perfect for staying inside with your friends and family when it's too cold to take your pajamas off. Hey do me a favor, check out's Torani syrup selection and let me know what kind of espresso beverage you think I should experiment with next! Thanks to Torani syrups, the possibilities are ENDLESS. 



December 1, 2016

November ’16 Debt Repayment Recap


October 28th, 2016
Car Loan: $17,618.23
Credit Card Debt: $3,199.86

Total Debt: $20,818.09

November 28th, 2016
Car Loan: $17,259.55 {-2.03%}
Credit Card Debt: $2,258.58 {-27.60%}
Total: $19,518.13 {-6.24%}


MAN this feels really good. I’ve been trying to be really diligent about taking any extra money (from apps like Ibotta) and putting it towards my debt, even if it’s only $20 – those little amounts add up.

I’ve been listening to a LOT of Dave Ramsey which has helped me keep my eye on the prize. That and coming in here to edit the number and see the number drop and percentage increase. In December I’m going to start using Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar budgeting app and I’m going to attempt the cash-only system, but with Christmas and a trip to Disneyland it’s a rough month to start with that.

I’m also getting used to a much smaller paycheck and the importance of babysitting/side hustles, etc. It causes me to be more disciplined with my money, and I recently had this huge revelation that a planner is like a budget for your TIME, and I need one of those. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good planner?


Same time next month, y’all. Keep on keeping on.


November 28, 2016

Rules for Self Discovery

Desiring Egypt //

You know what will rock your identity?
Moving from one community of people to another in a quick time, especially when the community of people are both your church family and your co-workers on both ends.

This same thing happened, a little differently,  when I left SoCal and moved back to the Northwest. It’s not that I changed or anything, but it was like I was handed a blank canvas with the same paint and given the opportunity to paint something new. Get that? Same paint. The same foundation was there, but I got to make it look different if I wanted.

Two months ago I quietly left the church I was raised in. That denomination has a really strong identity – its own language and yearly events, global community, consistent program names, matching outfits – and then just like that, I stepped away. I moved towards a new group of people who already know and love Justen and started to squirm my way in.

A new canvas for my paint, if you will.

I keep thinking of this thought from the brilliant A. W. Tozer.

Rules for Self Discovery:

  1. What we want most

  2. What we think about most

  3. How we use our money

  4. What we do with our leisure time

  5. The company we enjoy

  6. Who and what we admire

  7. What we laugh at


Have any of you ever “started over” in a new community? Has it given you an identity crisis at all or is it just me? ;D

November 23, 2016

Five apps that earn gift cards

When I find something that’s almost-too-good-to-be-true but still tried-and-true, I have to share it. 

As y’all know, I’m trying to tackle my debt. One way I do that is by earning gift cards for things I’d be spending money on, thus creating more wiggle room in my debt crushing. Like… if I can put $5 on my Starbucks card but someone else could put $5 on my Starbucks card and I could put $5 towards my debt… that’s a win-win, for sure.

Here are five apps that I’ve discovered that help you earn gift cards.

5 apps that earn gift cards //

ONE // ibotta

If you’re reading my blog, I’m guessing you’ve heard of ibotta just because I think most people have heard of it. But in case you haven’t… ibotta offers you cash rebates for purchases. They always have opportunities for bonuses, and if you are diligent in checking to see their offers, you can make a lot of money. I’ve made $36 so far, and never once have I purchased something I wasn’t already going to the store to buy. If you sign up with my referral code, you’ll get $10 (and I’ll get $5 for referring you). The great news is that you can stack these with coupons and discount apps like Cartwheel! Major savings potential.

TWO // receipt pal or receipt hog

I use Receipt Pal. Justen uses Receipt Hog. Both have the same purpose – you take pictures of your receipts, for points that you can cash out for gift cards. Receipt Hog is way more fun and interactive, but they haven’t accepted me yet. Receipt Pal has a limited amount of receipts you can scan per week, but if you’re diligent the points add up quickly. I’ve already redeemed a $5 gift card for Regal and am currently trying to figure out where I should redeem my $25 gift card.

THREE // shopkick

In terms of ease, convenience and “no purchase necessary,” shop kick is the the way to go. You get kicks (points) just for walking in to certain stores, and you can earn more kicks when you scan certain items at the store. Even better? They offer “kick bates,” which means that if you buy certain items and submit the receipt, you’ll receive bonus kicks. Not only that, but you can link your debit card and earn kicks for qualifying purchases at a bunch of stores. You can stack all of the apps so far. A few weeks ago, I walked into Walmart and got 35 kicks just for showing up. I scanned Coffeemate creamer for 15 kicks. I checked ibotta and saw that they had a rebate for Coffeemate creamer purchased at Walmart. There was a kickbate. So I earned $.50 in ibotta, 150 kicks from the kickbate PLUS 2 points/$1, and then I scanned the receipt. All for something I needed to purchase anyway. Shop kick is by far my favorite gift card earning app, because I think it’s the easiest and requires NO money or purchase whatsoever. 

If you have my phone number I’d love to text you a link to join shop kick (I’ll earn a portion of the points you do for the first 2 weeks you have the app installed). If not, sign up here. 

FOUR // scratchy

This app is so stupid easy to use. They give you scratch cards. You scratch off 3 of the 6 squares and hope they match. If they do, you get a deal or a gift card. I’ve won a $5 Amazon gift card. and I’ve done nothing but play a stupid easy game. You earn coins as you play, and those can be redeemed for gift cards when you get enough. I’ve never had enough so I cannot vouch for the validity of that. If you’re already playing games, you might as well play a stupid easy one that might win you a gift card.

FIVE // all mplus apps 

It started with Sworkit. I downloaded the Sworkit app and realized I got points for finishing the app workouts. Then I realized you could also get points for mPlus places. THEN I realized there’s actually a plethora of mPlus points apps that all earn points in your mPlus account. My favorite is mPlus places. It’s like Swarm but with real points that get you real gift cards. There are a bunch of games that earn you mPlus points as well, so if you’re a person who likes to play games on your phone.. hello, you should earn real points that earn you real gift cards amiright?!

Have you used any of these apps? are there any other apps you use to earn free gift cards? Let me know if you download any of them! I’m more than happy to help you figure them out 🙂

November 16, 2016