If you have read a single post in this blog, you know I am in a bit of a tight money situation. Add an extreme Type A personality to the mix and you have someone who is a pain in the ass to buy a house with. The truth to buying a house is that it is going to cost a lot no matter how you slice it. We DIYed a lot of our renos, shopped around a lot for everything, and planned like maniacs yet we still spent what felt like a million dollars in buying a house, I was essentially doing this:

 This is the list of costs that I wasn't expecting that really added up as we were moving, I thought of #6 at the very end but I like saying Friday Five so live with it:

1. Inspections: I don't know who I thought these people were paid by, but I did not think it was me. The average is $300, for a condo it could be less, for a big house it could be $700. Next time I will budget $700 to avoid the panic attack I had over it this time around.
2. Eating out all the time: Pots were packed here, pans were packed there, the oven broke, a million people were in and out of the house 24/7, we were running like chickens with our heads cut off, and I may or may not have been on a psychotic rampage by the time I got to packing the fridge and thrown everything out.
3. Start-up Fees for Utilities: I've moved every year for almost 10 years and somehow this one shocks me every time. Cable was $50, gas was about $50, water was $70, and a few others that I blacked out. Next time I plan to budget about $350 for this.
4. Things You Will Discover Are Very Very Broken: The first time it rained, it also rained inside our house, meaning we had to replace windows and roof pieces. We budgeted money to install a new backdoor, however when removing the original backdoor we discovered the walls were insulated with newspaper and the previous door was being held in with DUCT TAPE. I can't even make this stuff up. The walls were in such bad condition that we ended up having to cement and sand over most of them. This house was literally being held together by duct tape which isn't really checked for in inspections. Fortunately we were able to save about $7,000 by having my dad do our kitchen (shameless plug: if you're in the DMV my dad is a contractor who rocks) so that saved money we had budgeted went towards these things. Next time we will budget a couple thousand for this.
5. Cleaning supplies: More cleaning supplies than you could ever imagine. Newly finished wood floors = need wood floor cleaner, sanding every wall = need an industrial broom/dry mop/and will go through 29 (not joking) Swiffer pads, people everywhere doing tons of different things = over 30 rolls of paper towels.
6. Random House Stuff: Think shower curtains, shower curtain rods, the right sized rugs, bath mats, bathroom mirrors (unlike rentals they don't just come with the bathroom), lawn mower, yard maintenance supplies (shears, weed wacker), organizers, blinds, curtains...

Bonus- Relationship Counseling: JK. But kind of. We hated each other for about 48 hours during the move, then went out to dinner, drank a bunch of margaritas and everything was fine.

Even though this sounds crazy and expensive, it was so worth it. Things were stressful for awhile but I love our new house that is a home, and I love that it is both of our ideas  working together to make an awesome space. If you're thinking about buying a house I can't recommend it more, it's the best thing young people can invest money in- read this post by Harrison (my realtor/fiance) on things you need to know before buying a house. And if you are in the DMV in the market for a new house my realtor is really great (haha). You can find his info here.

What were some of your unexpected costs?

PS: Speaking of real estate, Harrison has been selected by Realtor Magazine as a finalist for top 30 realtors under 30! Please take 2 seconds to vote for him in their online poll here! They don't require any personal info, just a click on the vote button. Thanks!!

Friday 5: Unexpected Costs Buying a House

Friday, May 30, 2014

Today's my fake Friday haaayyy! We're going down to Southern Maryland for friends' wedding tomorrow and I. Cannot. Wait. It's going to be nice to get out of town for a few days and think about something besides the house.

So I'm veering off regularly scheduled postings because I need a little rant. My main guilty pleasure is my subscription to Us Weekly- I know I know. There are times I can't buy the clothes I want, drink the drinks I want, but I WILL know what the celebs are doing, and it WILL come to my doorstep every week and feel like Christmas. But this week when this puppy came in the mail:

I tossed it in the recycling. Without even opening it. Sorry not sorry, I know you work hard on that body, Heidi, but I'm finally at a point in my life where I like my body. I'm not the skinniest I've been, I'm not the fittest I've been, but I'm happy and proud and comfortable and no matter how good I feel about myself, these images sneak into my conscience as what I should look like, and make me see my body (that I work hard and cook hard for!) in a different way than I do right now.

It doesn't matter how good I feel, those pictures creep into my head when I'm throwing on my bathing suit (thanks, Society!), and it's not really fair because a) I don't get paid to be fit/skinny- in fact I don't even get a gym discount for my job  b) I cook for myself after full days at work- no personal chef for me  c) Speaking of work days, there is no time for 2-a-days and live-in personal trainers are not in my budget  d) Just no.

It frustrates me that it gets to me but it does, and not to mention this issue that came just a few weeks ago:

Yall hurry we all need to get thin fast! Don't get me wrong, I love Jenna Tatum and good for her for busting her ass to get down to that size 0 (ZERO I HAVE LITERALLY NOT BEEN THAT SMALL SINCE I WAS 6 YEARS OLD), but it's just not realistic for the rest of us. And I have curves that I like that will never, ever fit into a size 0.

And this one a few weeks before that:

"Determined to get their best bodies ever, Jessica and Lauren race to slim down before summer". Now I love J Simp and really appreciate her bluntness about her weight and body, but this cover even managed to have me feeling like I need to go down a size or 2 before my wedding, and I found myself picking apart the pictures of me trying on wedding dresses (if I could just flatten out my stomach a little bit more, tone my arms a little more, lose some of those thighs to make the fit look nicer...). Just no. I want to look good on my wedding day but I also don't want to be let down and stressed out by unrealistic expectations for myself, and I by no means want to "race" towards anything unless it's an actual finish line and not something that US Weekly and other media outlets tell me should be a finish line.

So today I said gurlbye to my US Weekly subscription (PS they make it really hard to cancel subscriptions- I was about to just cancel my credit card because that would be easier than talking to 29 representatives to explain why I can't keep it up) and bopped on over for some positive healthy body realness with Meg, Jasmine, Amanda, Diatta, Gwen, Kathy, Liz and a bunch of awesome women who are a little more on my level (and budget).

Thanks for all the good times, US Weekly but it's time for us to part. For good. Now what am I going to do with these extra $100/year?? Hmm!

Linking up today at Little Friday, Lovely Thursday , Thinking Out Loud , Treat Yo Self

I Did Something Carazzayy (for me)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

When I started clean eating the first two weeks were pretty miz- I was hungry (hangry) all the time and just wanted my regular ole easy processed foods and snacks back! Plus I couldn't figure out how in the WORLD people found energy to exercise without eating energy bars and drinking Diet Coke.

The truth is, our bodies function best when they are getting all the nutrients they are supposed to get, which is a lot of stuff you don't get from microwave meals and Subway sandwiches. Sounds pretty basic, but this is kind of a hard one to plan for when you have lived (what you thought was super healthy) on bread, Diet Coke, zero calorie snacks and frozen entrees for 27 years. Here is my list of power foods - clean foods - that keep me going during day and with enough energy to exercise after work.

One thing to note: I really had to change my mindset when I started eating clean. To me fat, carbs and calories were the enemy- I was probably more scared of those 3 things than getting struck by lightning (my biggest fear which is a story for another day) or giant spiders. I did a lot of reading and found that  there is a right way to do fats, carbs and calories, and now when I'm checking nutrition labels at the store it's to make sure I recognize all the ingredients and NOT to make sure it is low calorie/carb/fat.

1. Almonds
High in protein, fiber, Vitamin E and magnesium (magnesium helps with blood sugar), these are tiny capsules of energy. Also I read a study that found people who eat almonds daily are more likely to lose weight than those who don't. Of course I can't find it anywhere to post but I promise I read it! Just be careful, these are easy to mindlessly snack on so I portion out about 10 for my snacks
How to incorporate: Overnight oats, breakfast bakes, salad topping, casserole topping, snack

2. Greek Yogurt
High protein, low carbs, low lactose (woo lactards!). What else do you need to know!
How to incorporate: My fav way to eat this is with honey and/or fruit. It works as a substitute for pretty much all things creamy.

3. Leafy Greens
We all used to watch Popeye immediately bulk up after eating his spinach, and while we won't see THAT extreme of results, we do experience decreased fatigue and more alertness due to the high iron levels. Iron deficiency is especially common in women so it's essential to get plenty of these puppies in the diet.
How to incorporate: Salads, green smoothies, sauteed sides

This is probably the most important factor in energy levels. Our blood is 80% water and helps the blood absorb nutrients and facilitate digestion. Dehydration = brain clouds (the worst), fatigue, and weakness. And it's free.
How to incorporate: I try to drink a cup of water each hour.

5. Carbs via Natural Sources
Carbs get a bad rap but they are where our bodies go for 40% of our energy. There's nothing wrong with getting carbs from natural sources like fruit, starchy veggies and sweet potatoes.
How to incorporate: Snack on fruits and veggies with hummus or fruit dip, smoothies, salads, honey

6. Eggs
Eggs have the highest amount of protein of any other food and supply 30% of our daily protein needs. And they're cheap. And they're easy to cook. Liiiike what else do you need? The protein gives us energy, keeps us full longer, and improves brain functionality.
How to incorporate: Breakfast casseroles, hard boiled, scrambles

6. Healthy Fats
OK READ THIS BEFORE YOU CLICK AWAY- I know when I used to see the words "healthy fats" I was like "yeah nope bye!". However healthy fats are necessary for our bodies functionality- they are good for our hearts, have been found to prevent cancer, and help our bodies absorb fat soluble vitamins (E, D, B, K). The fats we need to stay away from are yucky fats that come from unnatural sources. As with anything, moderation is our BFF, and if you are working on losing weight moderation of these is REALLY our BFF.
How to incorporate: Avocados, egg yolks, nuts, nut butters, fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna), coconut oil, olive oil

One last way I have found more energy was cutting out Diet Coke. This was the hardest for me, but after reading Erin's article on benefits of cutting DC out, I had to do it. I'm not going to lie- the first 10 days were hell. I had killer headaches and would fall asleep on the bus every afternoon. But I've been DC free for a month now and don't even think about it anymore! Ever! No more 2:30 pm crashes and my sweets cravings have gone down.

Question: what foods do you eat to give you energy??

Linking up today at Humpday Blog Hop, WOW Linkup, Weigh In Wednesday

Wednesday Workout: Clean Foods That Give You Energy

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ugh, Tuesday after a long weekend is like Monday on steroids. Fortunately I had a great/refreshing weekend and made a few delicious ovenless meals like this green chicken- I threw the 2 ingredients in the crockpot before I went hiking and when I came home it was ready!

This dish is also Tonii-approved which means anyone will like it (backstory: Tonii was a roommate who had never tried hummus , avocado, and a whole host of other "white" foods before we lived together. For the record- he would never choose to eat hummus or avocado but if they were the last 2 foods on the planet he could handle it).

Prep Time: 1 min (to pour stuff in the crockpot)
Cook Time: 6-8 hours
Servings: 4

  • Green Salsa (I used the one pictured below from Wal-Mart for $2.00)
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast ($3.50)

Throw it all in the crockpot on low for 6-8 hours. Cut off the crockpot and allow to cool and absorb the juices for about 45 mins before serving.

I ate it with a black bean salad which was just a few spoonfuls of black beans, shredded lettuce, a scoop of fat-free Greek Yogurt and a scoop of salsa. I had leftovers as a salad the next day. MMM mmm.

This weekend some friends came over and we christened the front porch with a happy hour and some Sam Adams Summer Ale (y'all I wait all year for these and hoard them like Cadbury Mini Eggs).

Some friends and I went hiking in Great Falls on Saturday and I remembered why DC is the greatest city ever to live in, I mean really this is amazing:

My friend Tonii (as in Tonii-approved chicken) came home from Boston and we ate green chicken and watched the Ana Nicole Smith Story and Jodi Arias Story on Lifetime (Lifetime please give me more of these "docudramas")

Sunday we got up and went to see Christine Cain speak at church and ohhheemmmgeee I am ready to stop making excuses and do something with myself- this woman has done so much in her life, and had a major impact on human trafficking. Really take a lunch break and watch this video about not making excuses and putting our pride aside. And in case you don't want to click I put the video right here because this talk is THAT necessary to hear:

We at on the porch of Desperado's on U Street after- the drinks were good and my portobello burger was deelish!

Cooked out with some old friends Sunday night, had a lil photoshoot in front of an American flag:

FYI that's Tonii in the middle

Monday I made a green soup that I read is Zooey Deschanel's favorite to serve friends and ate it for lunch with a limited edition Sam. Obvi it was amazing:

Cooked out Monday night with Harrison's family and now to get back to some serious clean eating.

Linking up at Turn it Up Tuesdays, Delicious Dish Tuesdays,

2 Ingredient Crockpot Green Chicken + Weekend Recap

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

You guys, it's Saturday and there are 2 whole days of the weekend left!!! Fake Friday!!

And it's cookout season! And sunny! And I have Sam Summer Ale in the fridge! And a yard! And a porch! And I'm going to my first Nats game of the season tomorrow!

A few disclaimers about today's post. First: is pork clean? I don't know, but it's meat and it's so good. So before you type up a caps lock email or comment or pinterest comment or tweet me that pork isn't clean and why am I posting something like this, this is why. Second- this BBQ sauce isn't clean but you know what, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. This is a healthy dish that just isn't 100% clean, and is perfect for parties, and is so delicious. It came out of our 7-10 days of no oven/stovetop which has turned into 7-10 days of all crockpot everything + a few salads and veggie wraps. Also 7-10 days of hearing nothing from the Maytag man so..

Oh and third: I'm completely aware that this picture is of a pile of meat and sauce and doesn't even look like ribs and it's because these ribs literally fell off the bone. Yeah yall, that freaking good and tender. It went like this:
(as we're eating at our new dining room table)
Me: Wait there are no bones, they definitely had bones when I bought them right?
Harrison: Oh.
Me: Wait can you buy ribs without bones? Is that a dumb question? Did I do that? That would be weird if these have no bones, that's kind of creepy. Man my first ever trip to the new DC Wal-Mart and I can't even read the packages. That trip was so overwhelming.
Harrison: Oh.
(as I'm dumping leftovers from the crockpot into the tupperware)Me: HARRISON OMG THE BONES ARE ALL IN THE BOTTOM OF THE CROCKPOT! THE RIBS LITERALLY FELL OFF THE BONE!
Harrion: Oh.
So hey, different things get people excited. And yes, DC got its first Wal Mart and I made my first trip and couldn't believe how inexpensive the groceries were. I want to hate it but I got a wedding and house to pay for so. Also to prepare ourselves we looked at Wal Mart gifs and this won:

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 4 hours (with crockpot on high) 6-8 hours (with crockpot on low)

  • 2.5 lbs of ribs ($10)
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic salt (remember we love garlic so)
  • 2/3 Onion, sliced ($.50)
  • 1 bottle favorite bbq sauce (huge fan of Sweet Baby Ray's. Is there anything else?) ($2)
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid smoke or Worcestercire sauce
Rub the seasonings on the ribs, put in the crockpot, top with onion slices and dump the bottle of bbq sauce in. Let it cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. That's it. Garnish with a nice summer ale (ha). But really I don't think I've ever had ribs without beer and it was a struggle eating the leftovers at work the next day with water. 
The magic of crockpots to turn this into something delicious
Hope everyone has a great Memorial weekend! Anyone have cool plans? I'm going to have some bloody Marys and brunch with friends and head to the Nats game. Other than that I'm unpacking and organizing the new house- ahhh the life of a grown up. What is your favorite cookout recipe??

Crockpot BBQ Ribs

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Happy Friday y'all! We made it to a THREE DAY WEEKEND!! The house is almost where we want it- there are a few things to move/unpack/paint but other than that we're good, and despite not having everything 100% done I'm fine!

OH and miraculously we are surviving without an oven. We've had kale/mango/seed salad, crockpot green chicken, and crockpot ribs (recipes coming soon). To try next: crockpot meatballs, taco night via crockpot (thanks again, Meg!) and some veggie wraps (thanks Ursula for that idea!).

So here are my before and after pix of the finished downstairs areas (more pix coming next week- and soon tutorials on the stuff my mom and dad  we DIYed- I put a * next to things "we" DIYed. Shameless plug: My dad is a Virginia contractor. If you're in the DMV or Richmond area, he does a good job and finishes things- unlike certain contractors we had on this house- and gives honest prices).

Ok also, I know I'm a terrible photographer. I have no idea how to do this. Harrison majored in photography and is a realtor so I'll have him take some legit pictures to put up next week- I'm just too excited not to share!

Looking out from the kitchen (wall) before: 

Looking out from the kitchen BAR after:

What we did:
  • Tore up the carpet, finished the wood floors
  • Painted*
  • Got new windows installed
  • Installed a new door*
  • New vents
To Do:
  • Figure out a good way to store all our liquor (ideas anyone?) that takes up no room
  • Learn how to take pictures of rooms
  • Return the sad rug rolled up in the corner

I don't have a WAY before picture from this angle- aka before the carpet was torn up. Isn't it crazy how much bigger the house looks with that wall torn down?

To Do:

  • Find a rug (Target one came in and looked like 70's colors on a nintendo screen)
  • Throw away plastic cups and water bottles on the table haha
  • Hang stuff on the walls
  • Get a small side table- I don't think there's really room for a coffee table?
  • PS how sweet is this couch? The top of the ottoman is actually a LID so we can store blankets and pillows in it. It also folds out into a bed. Who's coming to visit!?

RIP giant orange wall. And plastic black countertops.
Kitchen Corner After:

What we did
  • Knocked down the wall (literally my mom did this by herself with a hammer while everyone was at Home Depot. Wonder freaking woman) and replaced it with a few cabinets to make a bar*
  • Moved some cabinets around, bought a few extra cabinets, and painted the cabinets*
  • New appliances (we got a serious hook up at Home Depot- seriously recommend)
  • New sink in a new spot
  • New counters (again- serious hook up. Let me know if you're in the DMV and need a granite guy- I've got one)
  • Ripped up (what turned out to be 5 layers of) linoleum and replaced with tiles* 
  • Added subway tile backsplash (thanks to the genius idea from Julie who is not only now my decorator but also doing my wedding invites)*
  • Bought a step stool from Ikea so I can reach everything. Best $7 spent in this home reno so far.

Question: any space-saving liquor storage advice? Also: See that giant red grocery bag? That is full of about 50 spices/seasonings. Anyone have storage solutions for this? In the old place we kept them in a cabinet where I could never find what I was looking for.

Main Bathroom Before:


QUESTION: I LOVE the ombre zebra shower print. Harrison doesn't. Can it stay or does it have to go? Is it tacky? Let me know thoughts in the comments!

still need to cover up that light switch... we ran out oopsies!

What We Did:
  • Tore out that blue-gray tile and replaced with subway tile in the shower, dry wall everywhere else
  • Replaced the floor with this strange faux-wood-floor-tile
  • Put that nasty white shelf in the laundry room*
  • Moved the sink to the basement bathroom (that will be finished someday in the far off future)
  • Moved towel racks to back of the door (thanks Pinterest!)*
  • Tore out the moldy medicine cabinet (almost threw up typing this) and replaced with a mirror from Ikea 
  • Got rid of those random pants hanging from the door (like what?)
  • Put the toilet seat down (new toilet has a "soft shutting" seat so gone are the days of a certain someone slamming down toilet seats and waking everyone else up when they get up to pee at 3 am)
  • Put in a new toilet- look if you ever own a house you have to get a Toto. Every house my parents flip gets a Toto, every bar I worked in switched to Totos- never been a clog, leak anything. And think about what drunk girls are trying to flush down toilets in college bars. They aren't that much more expensive and they live forever. Really, the day our Totos came was Christmas morning for this girl. Also- I've got a Toto guy. E-mail me or comment or tweet or something me if you want a hookup on the Totos.

And here is one last question for everyone out there: what the heck should I do about this closet? The space isn't big enough for a door that opens out, and we despise accordian folding doors of any kind.

Friday Five: Home Reno Before & After Pix

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wearing pencil skirts I used to always feel like a kid dressed in grown up clothes- they just didn't seem right and always hung somewhere around mid-calf (Kay, I know you feel me on this one). Until, that is, a miraculous blow out sale at Banana Republic in which I learned about petite pencil skirts (this is the one that popped my petite skirt cherry). I've always had in my head that "petite" means tiny/skinny, and I've always had a booty that would not be considered tiny or skinny, but that day I learned that "petite" is a length thing, and if your body is 5'4" in length or shorter you should be wearing petite. Old Navy has this nice graphic to explain it on their website, and Old Navy is Banana's cheap/poor red-headed sister so this goes for both:

So here is my round up of my fav affordable petite pencil skirts for the spring. I mean summer. I mean, whatever season it is right now that involves temperatures that are 48 one day and 88 the next day.

1. $17.99 @ JC Penney || 2.  $19.99 @ JC Penney || 3. $25.77 @ NY & CO || 4. $54.99 + 40% off = $34.99 @ Loft || 5. $26.99 @ Macy's (seersucker! Hello summer! use promo code "memdeal" for an extra 15% off) 6. $24.99 @ Gap

My fav pencil skirt looks via Pinterest:


I think nothing tops off a good work pencil skirt like pointed flats (or heels if you don't have to walk all over the falling apart streets of DC). I just ordered these taupe flats and also love these and these

QUESTION:  What are your summer work wardrobe essentials? 

Linking up today at Little Friday, Lovely Thursdays, Look What I Got, Tres Chic Fashion Thursday

Broke Girl's Work Wardrobe: The Pencil Skirt (should YOU be wearing petites??)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Moving comes with approximately 100000 random errands, meetings, appointments, and goings-back-and-forths which means sticking to a schedule is next to impossible. Sidenote- mad respect for people with kids who move and renovate?

The key to keeping my sanity in this unscheduled world of home renos was exercising (working out that agression!). I got in a few workouts as often as possible, but usually I had just enough time after work to let Andi out and squeeze in 20 mins or less of exercise. I love love HIIT and Tabata, but doing that every time is just too much, so I found some great, short, killer workouts! Also my apologies to everyone I had to meet up with on the run- I know, I was very sweaty and smelly. Sometimes showering after these short workouts just wasn't a priority...

Melissa Bender 20 Minute HIIT (incorporates a lot of yoga and pilates poses- not your typical HIIT routine) 

Jessica Smith's Barre Full Length Workout Video- Abs,  Butt and Thighs (Can we just talk about her dog Peanut? Anyone else have this issue too?? The yoga mat is like a magnet to Andi!)

Fitness Blender Brutal HIIT Ladder (of course I included Fitness Blender. This one is killer. You do 4 exercises each round. Round 1 is 60 seconds for each exercise, round 2 is 50 seconds, round 3 is 40, etc)

Sadie's 25 Minute Yoga Shred  (I know what you're thinking, but this  is a really really hard and sweaty 25 minutes of yoga)

Alright yall, humpday! We got this!! Today I'm excited to happy hour with some friends- hopefully outside barring rain!! How do you survive Humpday? How do you work out when you are crunched for time?

Linking up today with WOW Wednesdays, Humpday Blog Hop, Weigh-in Wednesday 

Killer 20 Minute Workouts (or less)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014