March 2017 Savings Update

Nearly two years ago, I began a debt repayment journey. I was $23,983 in debt and desperate to get out of the town I live in. I began the start-stop-pause-rest-run-sleep-repeat journey of getting out of debt. Last month I finally paid off my 16.82% interest credit card (PRAISE HANDS EMOJI!!!). I still owe a gross amount on my car, but I announced in my last debt repayment recap that I was going to pause the debt repayments and start saving money – for my upcoming summer in Nashville and something that was on the horizon. A wedding. Nailed it.

Until Justen and I get married, my monthly financial check-ins are going to be Savings Updates.

March Savings update // stephanieorefice.net

For March, I decided I wanted to save $1,000. Here’s how I did:

March
Starting: $0
Goal: $1,000
Saved: $1,250
Total Saved: $1,250
125% of my monthly goal completed / 25% of my overall goal completed

From here on out, I want to save $750/month so that by September 1, I have $5,000 to be used for our wedding. I’ll use the format I used above to show where I started, what my goal was, how much I saved, the running total, and the % of my goal(s) completed. I freaking love those percentages, you guys.


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March 31, 2017
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DIY floral letters for Spring

With spring right right around the corner, I’m so excited for bright days and pretty colors and FLOWERS! I am heart eyes about flowers. Last month I made a goal of finishing one project from a Pinterest board, and I wanted to share with you how easy peasy my DIY was! I posted this teaser for DIY floral letters on Instagram:

SO // stephanieorefice.net

The different pins I’d seen were here and here.

Here’s how to make your own floral letters!

DIY Floral Letters // stephanieorefice.net

For these DIY floral letters you’ll need:

  • Letters of some sort (I can’t remember where I got mine, but there are some on Amazon)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Fake flowers of some sort (you could get some like this on Amazon)

I’ve known I wanted to do this for awhile and have been on the hunt for the perfect fake flowers… fake flowers are SO EXPENSIVE, right?! I ended up finding some at the Goodwill Bins so I paid PENNIES for them ($1.69/lb). They were just what I never knew I was looking for!

It’s SO SIMPLE….

STEP ONE // GATHER SUPPLIES

DIY Floral Letters // stephanieorefice.net

STEP TWO // CUT FLOWERS
If you buy a stem of flowers, you should be able to pop  flowers off the stem, like in the picture below. You’ll still need to cut the stem part down a little more to make sure they stick to the letters.

DIY Floral Letters // stephanieorefice.net

STEP THREE // GLUE

Apply hot glue to the back of the flower and then firmly press it onto the letters. Make sure they overlap as much as possible so that you can’t see the actual cardboard of the letter. I did a base layer and then added a few on top to give it a little more dimension. I also added a few bigger letters to give it some more character.

DIY Floral Letters // stephanieorefice.net

STEP FOUR // DISPLAY

Find a place to display your beautiful, spring flowers! I love how simple this project is and the bang you get for your buck and time – the letters are so cute and the possibilities are endless with shapes/sizes of letters and flowers. You could even attach ribbon to the back so they could hang on the wall.

DIY Floral Letters // stephanieorefice.net

Easy peasy! Happy Spring! Do your initials spell anything cool? I’ll be SO for a little while longer, then I’ll be SM… so so weird.


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March 27, 2017
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Five on Friday

Hello everyone. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a Five on Friday. I’ve had a really overwhelming week and I decided I wanted to flush out my emotions here, so I want to share with y’all 5 things I’ve learned in my first week of being engaged.

First I want to say this. I know people who became “relationship gurus” after two months of dating someone, or who start sharing very expertly crafted how-to wedding planning posts while they’re still engaged or marriage wisdom a month or two into their marriage. To each their own, but I can only share my own personal experience which is constantly changing and growing. But I had a pretty major life event happen and have been spending a lot of time deep in thought.

What I've learned in my first week of being engaged // stephanieorefice.net

Here it is. Five things I’ve learned in my first week of being engaged.

ONE // I hate attention.

I knew this anyway. I hate birthdays and speaking in front of people and cutting my hair or getting new glasses or anything that might draw any sort of attention my way. Apparently it doesn’t even matter if it’s something exciting, I still hate attention. I haven’t responded to any of the texts or comments or anything because I am kind of hoping people have already moved on to something else.

TWO // I don’t feel any different.

People (mostly my mom) kept asking how it felt to be engaged and I just shrugged and said “the same.” The ring is sparkly and I like looking at it. Justen grabs my hand and looks at it at least once every time I see him. But I feel the same. I’m the same me, I have the same priorities and hopes and dreams and personality. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be bouncing off the wall excited or something but I just feel the same.

THREE // It’s solved no problems.

I’ve cried over the same problems I was crying about before Justen proposed. I’ve struggled to get out of bed with exhaustion and depression at the same rate I did prior to having a ring on my finger. Justen and I both acknowledged last year that we’re both realistic about marriage – it’s not going to fix us. From what I’ve read and I know, marriage is an instrument of healing in monumental measures, but it also brings new problems and issues and broken parts to the surface. There’s nothing we’ve felt tension about that has magically been fixed by having a ring on my finger. It puts a light at the end of the tunnel for the things that really weigh heavy on us (not having our own space, having to say goodbye every night, etc) but there’s not been an immediate solution to anything.

FOUR // Marriage means more than a wedding.

I’ve spent my whole entire life dreaming about my wedding. I wanted the party and the pretty dresses and sentimental trinkets and the whole nine yards. and the more that I am finally seeing the price tag attached to these things, I care less and less. I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars I don’t have on things that will cause me months of stress in a time when I’d rather be spending my energy preparing to build a new family with a strange and mysterious creature known as a male. The more people ask me questions about a wedding, the less I actually care about that portion of it. I never expected to have this kind of response. It’s coming from really deep within me, too. I actually feel my lack of caring about a wedding pulsing through my veins. It’s weird. I can’t even describe it, but people usually talk about being all excited and giddy with overwhelm at the thought of a wedding. I’m the opposite.

FIVE // There are a lot of important people in my life.

The one thing I really care about is being surrounded my friends and the people who have poured years and countless hours into me. Justen gets to marry me because of the people who have stood around me and protected me, who have sat with me when I’ve worn myself out, who have seen me grow and shed layers of immaturity and stupid ambition. and there are a lot of those people who fall into that category. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent a long time growing up, but there are a lot of people who have contributed to my becoming the person Justen is choosing, and I want to honor them by having them around me. Weddings and funerals are the only times I can see that people travel to celebrate someone’s life, and I don’t want to wait until I can’t be there to hold the flowers.

 

It felt good to get all of that out. Every time someone tries to talk to me about being engaged, I want to somehow just share all of these things with them because talking about a wedding stresses me out because I’m 2% excited about a wedding, 5% excited about being surrounded by people I love and 93% excited about starting a life with Justen Martian.

For those of you that have been engaged, what was your experience? Am I normal in any of this? 😀 I’m going to try and not go on and on and on about this on my blog, but I tend to run straight to my corner of the internet for help in processing things – usually they are sad, breakup things, so this one is different, but it’s still overwhelming and big.


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March 24, 2017
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Make me run a 5k

You ever say you’re going to do something and you then look for every single possible emergency exit?

As I’ve been looking over my 101 in 1001, I’ve realized there are a few things that I absolutely will not be able to do before June. I’ve also realized that there are some things that are completely realistic… but one of them I’d really rather not do.

Attempt a 5k.

Even the wording acknowledges the very simple fact that I absolutely hate running. Some people say you can walk a 5k but whatever, I want to try and run most of it.

I sat there looking for every possible emergency exit. Could I break my leg or wait so long I have no options for 5k or something? and then I realized there was another item on my 101 in 1001 list that I desperately wanted to complete; Do a Purpose Project for Mocha Club.

I’ve been a member of Mocha Club for nearly 11 years. You give up the cost of 2 mochas a month to help provide life-saving and life-giving relief in Africa. A few years ago they started Purpose Projects – something you want to do, with a monetary donation goal tied to it, and once that goal was reached you would do the thing. People started jewelry stores on Etsy, cut their hair real short, and I realized that instead of using a Purpose Project to do something I really wanted to do, I’d use it as the fuel to do something I really don’t want to do.

I picked out the Feed the Hungry 5k which takes place one month from today, on April 22nd. If we raise $1500, I’m going to run the 5k. Today I’m starting to do one of those Couch to 5k programs in anticipation of meeting my goal.

Please help me meet my goal of a $1,500 contribution to Mocha Club – and learn more about Mocha Club right here.


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March 22, 2017
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March 16, 2017

I spent HOURS making a post about what I was packing for Disneyland, and I’m sad that I got so busy I forgot to post it. I guess instead I’ll just share with you the one outfit I was really excited about, what I’d packed for March 16, 2017.

Disney hack: buy last year’s Disney Park merch on clearance at a Disney Store Outlet. I got those mouse ears for under $10 because they were 1/2 off park price and additional 25% off that. Praise hands emoji. The button is from Parkbound Buttons, the shirt is from onceuponamickeytee and the shorts were $5 at Goodwill. I’ve been in need of a new backpack so I caved and got this one which I LOOOVE.

I was so excited to wear this really accurate shirt, and I definitely got an extra shot of magic because…

Justen proposed to me at Disneyland! This is how it went down:

We had planned on getting a Photo Pass for the day so we could get a bunch of pictures taken all over. After one of the rides, Justen insisted we get our picture taken in front of the castle. I’d been trying to keep my expectations in check because I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly wonderful Disney trip by expecting Justen to propose, because if he didn’t then I’d feel disappointed and I never wanted that. We got a picture of Justen, my mom and myself:

Then Justen said he wanted a picture of just the two of us, and he went to pull something out of his backpack. I looked away because all of the alerts went off in my mind. I turned to look at Justen and…

Justen got the best ring ever. I didn’t even know how or when he did it, because we are always together. it was magic.

Excuse my nasty FitBit cover and my janky nails. I had asked Justen the night before if he thought my chipped manicure was noticeable and if I should re-paint my nails and he said no. EYE ROLL. 😀

The thing I love the most about the ring is that IT IS A CINDERELLA RING. SERIOUSLY. If you look at the ring from the side, there is a little gold carriage. I love that detail. It’s my favorite.

Actually that’s the second most thing I love about the ring. The first most thing I love is that Justen gave it to me because he wants to build a life with me.

THEN. Justen told me he had a surprise. We knew the Halters were going to be in town and we’d made dinner reservations with them, but he told me it wasn’t just the Halters. Rob and Stacy Birks, two people who have shown me what a healthy marriage is and have loved me and watched me grow and have welcomed me into their hearts, home and family, were coming too. and their daughter, one of my best friends, Lauren. and one of my other best friends, Taylor. and Justen’s uncle Brian.

But wait. There was more.

Justen’s work had purchased the photo pass for us. I cried even more then. I just lost it all.

I kept looking at the ring all day. I’d first seen it online and we finally found it in a store a few months ago. They’d asked me if I wanted to touch it and I had said nope and walked away. It was just so pretty. and now it was on my finger because Justen bought it for me to wear forever to remember that he is my family.

Tears.

Dinner was great. Some of the most important people in my life who had never met each other were suddenly and magically sitting at a table together. It was overwhelming and felt like a dream.

At the end of the evening, after we said goodbye to everyone and they all left and Justen and I were walking around Disneyland, I told him that was the thing I was most excited about: that soon, after dinner’s are over and people have left, the days will end with me and Justen.

Best day at Disneyland ever. and I once saw Kylie Jenner at Disneyland, the same day Kanye West was at Disneyland… so the bar was set high 🙂

Real talk, and props if you can read through to the end of this:

Two years ago I went to Disneyland with a boy. He met the Halters and Taylor. and then he broke up with me when we got back. He made some stabs at the friendships he’d seen. and I suddenly felt silly for loving Disneyland, and I questioned my friendships. I felt like I might be broken beyond repair, like I would never know how to trust or open up. I wrote blog posts about it to help me heal, and I struggled a lot.

From the beginning of our relationship, Justen has allowed me to be myself. He has invested in my friendships, he has jumped on my silly love of Disneyland, and he has carefully handled all of the broken pieces of my life. I have never once felt the need to hide my feelings, put on an act, or keep tender things secret. He is the best person I have ever known and I am so excited for the future with him.


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March 20, 2017
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