How to Plan a Successful Beer Olympics

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My sister, Alyssa, and I have been fundraising recently for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for a cure that we have coming up in November. We’ve tried a million things to raise the funds, but one really cool idea that my sister came up with was hosting a Beer Olympics.¬†I had seen Beer Olympics scenes in movies, but had never been to one before or honestly, even thought they happened in real life, so when she told me about it, I was so excited! She spent several months planning and in the end, everyone had so much fun and she ended up raising $500+ for the cause!

Because we had so much fun, I figured I would share it with you guys! That way if you have a cause that you need some creative ways to fundraise for, if you want to throw an awesome get-to-know-each-other event for your wedding party or if you just want to get together a big group of friends for a day of fun, this guide can help you get started! With that being said… here’s how to throw a successful beer olympics.

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First, you have to figure out a few variables and set the foundation for your event.

Things to Decide

  • How many people to have on each team
  • How much each team will need to pay to participate
    • If participants pay individually or per team
  • Whether to provide beer (included in the participation cost) or if your event will be BYOB
  • How you will assign a country to each team
  • Which games you’ll play and how many
  • Where you will host your event

To give you an idea of how she set it up, she allowed each team to have four members. You signed up as a team to keep things organized and you could choose your participation fee based on whether or not you wanted your package to include beer. Some people chose to bring their own, while others just purchased the full package. [ADD FEE STRUCTURE HERE]

On the Google doc application form, Alyssa included a section to give your top choices for your team country and decided from there. Some beer olympic how-to articles suggest that the host/hostess is team USA, but Alyssa chose to stay sober and referee during the event and we both highly suggest this if you’re planning on throwing one!

We played four “olympic” games and finished off the day with a relay race. That doesn’t sound like much I know, but it took the full day and most participants had more than enough to drink in this timeframe haha, so I don’t think you need much more. The games we played were Beer Pong. Survivor Flip Cup, Dizzy Bat and Cornhole.

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The event was held in a friend’s back yard that was pretty flat and had a lot of open space. This made it easy to set up all of the events and have plenty of room for everyone to enjoy.

Once the foundation is set, you’ll need to spend the time leading up to the event planning out the details. Here’s the to-do list she used.

To-Do List

  • Collect information from teams (names of team members, team captain and contact information, preferences for team country, type of beer preferred, questions/concerns, etc.)
  • Make final decisions on which games you want to play
  • Make a list of things you’ll need and gather them all before the event. Here’s our shopping list to help you get started!
    • Tables (Ask around – most times friends will have a couple you can borrow)
    • Beer
    • Coolers
    • Ice
    • Pong Balls
    • Medals (some cheap ones from the dollar store will do!)
    • A banner for people to take photos in front of (ours was a painted sheet)
    • A tailgating tent if it will be super sunny or is really hot outside
    • LOTS of water (stress drinking water to participants all day long!)
    • LOTS of solo cups (we recommend getting different colors for the different teams if possible – it just makes things easier)
    • An American flag – because we live in the good ole USA! ūüôā
    • Music – see if you can borrow a speaker from a friend and have your most musically-inclined friend put together a playlist… that or just use Pandora or ¬†Spotify to make your life easier.
    • A score board (white board) and markers (you can find these cheap at Walmart or the dollar store as well)
    • If you’re going to referee, a referee shirt, whistle and visor – because you’re too legit to quit, right?!
    • A snapchat filter (for one, this is just so much fun, but for two, it helped generate even more buzz about our fundraising efforts!)
    • Optional: Rewards for the first, second and third place teams (she gave out gift cards)
  • Plan your opening and closing ceremonies (we had a moment of silence for those who have lost their lives to breast cancer, as well as the national anthem – the closing ceremony consisted of everyone getting their medals, rewards and trying to grab Ubers home! lol)
  • Decide how the sequence of events will go on the day of the event (which games will occur simultaneously) and how each game will be set up
  • Organize brackets for events

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Game Set-Up

Here’s how the games we played were set up. You can always tweak these to fit your “house rules” or what works best for your group.

Beer Pong

At our event, we set up the beer pong as pool play where rankings were based off of the first round and from there the bracket was decided based on who was the top seed in each match-up. Pool play was six cups, while bracket play was 10 cups. We threw out things such as redemption to keep the games moving along, but allowed it in the final throwdown between the top two teams!

Cornhole

Cornhole was set up very similarly, starting with pool play and then moving to brackets. Two members from each team played each other with normal rules to see who could get to 21 points first.

Dizzy Bat

At our event, we had six teams, so dizzy bat was played with three teams at a time. This will vary depending on how many teams you have participate. Once the first round was completed, the first place team from each round went up against each other and the same went for the second and third place teams, until we ended up with three winners who competed against each other for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Survivor Flip Cup

Survivor Flip Cup was also set up as pool and bracket play. We stuck to pretty normal rules here. The biggest deviation from normal flip cup is that each round, the winning team can select a member of the losing team to sit out making it increasingly hard for the losing team to win overall. Not going to lie… this game got the best of me, but it was really fun!

Relay Race

The relay race rounded up our day of events and all teams went against each other. It was a super fun way to end the day!

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Overall, we all had such a good time and were excited to raise money for the fight against breast cancer. Have you ever participated in a beer olympics? If so, what were your favorite parts?

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

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4 Ways to Make Your Period Suck Less

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Periods pretty much suck… period. I can’t think of one person who is like, “oh, I just love shedding my uterine liner every month, it’s so beautiful”. haha Um, no. When I think of my dreaded time of the month, I think of curling up in the fetal position from cramps that feel like a little baby demon clawing at the inside of my stomach. I think of walking around feeling bloated like the Michelin man and craving everything in sight. Not to mention, the cravings and emotions. Oh… and period poops… nuff said. And the fact that we have to go through this hell once a month for the majority of our lives is just not fair. Ok, I’ve made my point.

I think we can all agree that being on your period is just no fun.

BUT…

I’ve recently discovered some things that really help make your period less painful, more convenient and overall, just a little less sucky. So ladies, if you’re ready to change the period game, keep reading.

Viv Wellness

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Viv Wellness is a company I learned about a year or so ago and that I was super skeptical of at first. Their mission is “Periods without pain or shame, empowering women to be their best every day of the month.” I absolutely love that. They’re all about holistic, herbal supplements to help get rid of PMS and cramps during your menstrual cycle. Let me preface this by saying, that I’m pretty much an Ibuprofen addict and was freaking out about not taking it to help with my cramps. I was literally fearful of the pain I was going to be in. ¬†Nonetheless, I sampled the Perfect Period Pack and it comes with one bottle of Unwind and another of Relieve. ¬†Unwind is for the 2nd half of your cycle and Relieve is for the days you’re on your period. I will say it’s an adjustment. In the same way that you have to adjust to taking your multi-vitamin every morning or birth control every day, you have to adjust to taking a dropperful or more of the product 3 times a day.

But, I will also say, I was very pleasantly surprised. They do warn you that the first month, your cramps and PMS won’t just vanish completely, but that over the first 3 months, you’ll really start to feel the change and it’s true! I was so shocked that I could manage my pain and not have to fill my body with tons of medicine. I can’t say that I’ve stuck to using Viv 100%, just because it requires you to keep up with the routine and I’m not always the best about that, but I was really happy with the results and do like the product when I remember to use it correctly.

Diva Cup

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So, I was really weirded out about the Diva Cup. I’ve been using tampons since about the 7th grade and I’m pretty content with how those work, but I really wanted to give this a try for a couple of reasons. For one, I hate how much money I spend on tampons. I mean, in the scheme of things, it’s really not that much money, but it is one more monthly cost to add on top of everything else and I feel like I go through boxes of them so quickly. The Huffington Post¬†calculated how much money the average woman spends on tampons in her lifetime… check it out.

1 tampon every 6 hours (on average) = 4 tampons per day x 5 days of a period (mine lasts 7! :/ ) = 20 tampons per cycle x 456 periods = 9,120 tampons. At 36 tampons per box, that’s 253.3 boxes x $7 = $1,773.33

Secondly, I hate thinking about how my tampon usage affects the environment. According to the Huffington Post’s calculations above, you use about 9,120 tampons in your lifetime. I recently read that this year, they’ve calculated that there are about 7.5 billion people in the world. I’m guessing about 50% of those are women, give or take. So 3.75 billion women x 9,120 tampons = 34.2 billion dirty tampons filling up our landfills and stopping up our sewer system in each woman’s lifetime. It’s kind of sad.

Back to the Diva Cup though. It’s a sustainable, easy-to-use, cost effective and eco-friendly menstrual cup. To use it, you fold it in half and insert it into your vagina. It suctions and stays up there, similar to a tampon. Then, when it’s time, you remove it from your body, empty it and wash it with warm soap and water. Trust me, I know how weird and awkward this sounds, but after you give it a few tries, it’s really not so bad. It doesn’t hurt at all and it really is effective for containing your period. One thing is that I would never, ever want to have to empty and clean it at work, but as long as you can time it so that you do that at home, it’s really great!

*Although I was given free products to sample, I was not paid to post about this product! 

Thinx Underwear

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So when I first saw Thinx, I totally thought, those are so weird and must feel like a diaper. I figured why not give them a try though. They call themselves the period panties for the modern woman and they come in several different types, from thongs to hiphuggers, high-waisted to briefs – and different color options. The way they work is that they are made of anti-microbial, moisture-wicking, absorbent and leak-resistant material – to fight bacteria and absorb liquid.

I’ll be honest, I was totally freaked out about using them. So… I started my period and put them on. One thing I had to adjust to was the fact that I hadn’t felt Aunt Flow come out of my body in a million years. I wear tampons and avoid pads like the plague, so that was a serious adjustment. However, I was surprised that they didn’t feel wet. They really were absorbing everything. I tried them out the first day of my period though and that was a mistake. I don’t think I have a super heavy flow, but I did wake up and have a tiny bit of blood in the bed. I contacted them though to ask their thoughts and all, and they mentioned that some girls need to wear them in conjunction with a tampon or cup the first day or two (they note this in the instructions, butttt I may or may not have read them in their entirety haha), but to give them another try on day 3. So I washed them and gave them another shot. On day 3, they worked like a charm! I was pretty comfortable and didn’t have to use any tampons. I was surprised that they felt dry and didn’t have a smell. Overall, I was pretty happy with them! If you want to make the switch and give them a try (you totally should), just click this link or the image below to get $10 off your pair! ūüôā¬†coupon-discount-thinx-underwear

 

Yoga

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When I’m on my period, the very last thing I ever want to do is go the gym. Seriously, all I want is to crawl under my covers, roll up into a ball with my heating pad and sleep my life away. However, I have found that if I can convince myself to just get up and do something with my body, it really does help. Now, I’m not saying go on a run (although tons of girls will tell you this helps), it just makes me cramp more and sometimes need to go to the bathroom, bathroom haha, but yoga is a super good way to ease your cramps, get a little workout in and give a little love to your body.

According to Do You Yoga, here are 6 yoga poses you can do to help relieve menstrual cramps.

  • Child’s Pose
  • Forward Fold
  • Knees-to-Chest Pose
  • Supine Twist
  • Cat & Cow
  • Savasana

 

Periods are never going to be fun or amazing or the highlight of your life, but there are definitely ways to make them more manageable, convenient and comfortable. Don’t suffer when there are tons of new ways to make PMSing a thing of the past. If you have more specific questions about any of the products, feel free to drop a comment or shoot me a message!

C’est la vie,

Anna

My Bucket List

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I recently came to the realization that I have already lived 26 years of my life and only experienced a small fraction of all of the things I want to do. Then, I thought to myself and really felt like in order for me to accomplish and experience all of those things, I need to start taking some serious steps to making it happen. So, I started making this bucket list. It is very much influenced by the Bucket List Journey because if you ever sit down and start making your own list, you’ll eventually realize that you know there are a lot of things out there that you want to do that you don’t even know yet.

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So, here it is… MY bucket list. This post will forever be evolving because as I cross items off the list, I’ll also be writing and linking posts back to this list so you can read all about them! ūüôā

Enjoy!

Anna’s Bucket List

  • Swim with dolphins checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Zipline above the jungle canopy¬†checking-off-my-bucket-listbucket-list-zipline-above-jungle-canopy
  • Go to an aquarium¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Go to the zoo¬†checking-off-my-bucket-listbucket-list-go-to-the-zoo
  • Go to the circus¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Go to the fair¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Visit all 50 states
  • Visit at least 50 countries
  • Create a blog¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Buy an expensive couture outfit
  • Go white water rafting¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Fly in an airplane checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Fly in a helicopter
  • Ride a horse¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Ride a mechanical bull¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Learn to Surf¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Rappel down a waterfall
  • Explore a cave
  • Go indoor skydiving
  • Hold a shark¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Get a weird piercing checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Get a tattoo
  • Dye my hair a crazy color
  • Take a police ride along
  • Ride in a hot air balloon (tethered: checking-off-my-bucket-list, untethered:¬†¬† )

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  • Go snorkeling¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Walk a suspension bridge
  • Zorbing¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Witness a solar eclipse checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • See the grand canyon
  • Tour the White House
  • Ride on an elephant
  • Attend a rodeo¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Climb a volcano
  • Kiss in the rain
  • Dance in the rain¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Milk a cow
  • Churn butter¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Name a star
  • Relax in a natural hot spring
  • See Georgia football win a National Championship
  • Release baby sea turtles into the ocean
  • Go deep sea fishing
  • Go on a cruise¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Ride a train
  • Ride a subway¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Take a greyhound somewhere
  • Ride in a horse and carriage¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Explore NYC¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Camp in a tent¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Watch the sunrise and sunset in the same day checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Watch a meteor shower¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Go to the Olympics
  • Meet Britney Spears
  • Meet Selena Gomez
  • Sleep in a teepee
  • Sleep in a treehouse
  • Sleep in an ice hotel
  • See the Mayan Ruins¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • See a pyramid
  • Visit the 4 corners
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Go topless at a topless beach
  • Have a pen pal
  • Sing karaoke¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Leave notes on bathroom mirrors in 5+ cities
  • Write a book
  • Make a candle
  • Make a tie dye shirt¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Get a drastic haircut¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Try archery¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Go to a film premiere
  • Attend a music festival
  • Walk the Susan G. Komen 3-Day
  • Run a half marathon
  • Be a game show contestant
  • Be a TV studio audience member
  • Celebrate New Years in NYC
  • Visit the Eiffel Tower
  • Be an extra in a movie
  • Bet at the dog races checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Dance on a bar¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Go to a drive in movie
  • Be a part of a flash mob¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Read 100 books
  • See a ballet¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • See Cirque de Soleil
  • Set a record in the Guinness Book of World Records
  • Take a pole dancing class
  • Go paddle boarding
  • Do yoga somewhere cool
  • Visit Yosemite National Park
  • Go to the Kentucky Derby
  • See a broadway show¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Visit Niagara Falls
  • See Mount Rushmore
  • Go to the Grand Ole Opry¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Sleep in an over-water bungalow
  • Walk to the Great Wall of China
  • Get a Brazilian wax¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Get a spray tan¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Get a fish pedicure
  • Do a boudoir shoot¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Get a complete makeover
  • Get fitted for a bra
  • Get a full body massage
  • Go to the New York Fashion Week
  • Mud wrestle¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Wear colored contacts
  • Make 6 figures
  • Save $50,000
  • Become 100% debt free
  • Buy a house¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Have a housekeeper
  • Order room service checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Have sex somewhere crazy
  • Visit a winery
  • Put a message in a bottle in the ocean
  • Take a photography class
  • Order an expensive bottle of champagne
  • Ride a rollercoaster¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Ride a tandem bike
  • Go to a luau
  • Celebrate a holiday in another country
  • Drink from a fresh coconut¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Stay at a bed & breakfast
  • Host a dinner party
  • Host a pajama brunch
  • Use chopsticks¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Give a waiter a HUGE tip
  • Bake a pie
  • Take a cooking class
  • Go kayaking¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Experience a white Christmas
  • Climb a mountain
  • Go skiing
  • Go waterskiing¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Go snowboarding
  • Invent something
  • Slide down a fire station pole
  • Skinny dip¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Have sex on a beach
  • Have sex on a plane
  • Smoke a hookah
  • Stay out all night
  • Have a baby
  • Do a random act of kindness
  • Dance in the street
  • Get a college degree¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

bucket-list-graduate-from-college

  • Get my MBA
  • Visit the elderly at a nursing home¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Give blood¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Find out my ancestry
  • Learn Spanish (fluently)
  • Drink beer at Oktoberfest in Germany
  • See the Taj Mahal
  • Swim in a cenote¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Gamble at a Casino¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Eat fondue¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Let go of a floating lantern in Thailand
  • Go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  • Go to the National Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Climb a lighthouse
  • Fly 1st class
  • Go on a safari
  • Take a cross country road trip
  • Help someone cross off an item on their bucket list
  • Write a post that gets published
  • Play an instrument¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Host a foreign exchange student
  • Stay in a hostel
  • Plant a tree
  • Meditate
  • Pay for the person’s meal behind me in the drive thru
  • Sponsor a Christmas child¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

bucket-list-sponsor-a-christmas-child

  • Go on a mission trip
  • Go bowling¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Climb a rock wall¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Complete a ropes course¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Go to the World Series
  • Go to a Nascar race¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Go to a Super Bowl
  • Go to the Masters¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Run a 5k¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Run a 10k¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Ride on a motorcycle
  • Shoot a gun¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Ride a jet ski¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Ride a segway
  • Ride in a tuk tuk
  • Throw money and make a wish in a fountain¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Hike a trail¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

bucket-list-hike-a-trail

  • Get baptized
  • Yell off a cliff at the top of my lungs
  • Send my parents on a nice trip
  • Go on a trip with each of my siblings
  • Build something
  • Fix up a piece of furniture
  • Raft down the Martha Brae in Jamaica¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

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  • Stay at an all-inclusive resort¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

bucket-list-stay-at-an-all-inclusive-resort

  • Stay in a penthouse
  • Own a pair of Louboutins
  • Go to a concert¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Have a picnic¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list
  • Be a huge blessing in someone’s life
  • Eat pasta in Italy
  • Eat pizza in NYC¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

bucket-list-pizza-in-nyc

  • Eat pizza in Chicago
  • Get to a body size and look that I love
  • Remodel part of my house
  • Go on a crazy shopping spree
  • Go ice skating outside
  • Play in a Beer Olympics¬†checking-off-my-bucket-list

bucket-list-beer-olympics

  • Add more things to my bucket list ūüôā

What’s on your bucket list?

C’est la vie,

Anna

Cheap & Easy, DIY Fall Decor for the Girl on a Budget

Cheap-and-easy-diy-fall-decor-for-the-girl-on-a-budget

Happy first day of fall y’all! Although I’ve been filling my house with Sweater Weather, washing my hands with Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte and sipping on actual pumpkin spice lattes for days now. Go ahead, call me basic! haha

Nonetheless, there’s nothing I love more than adding a little fall flair to my home. But, if you’re like me, you have a million other things to worry about financially (bills, savings, new fall clothes, etc.), so you don’t want to break the bank, right? Luckily, with some of these DIY autumn decor ideas, you don’t have to! And although I consider myself relatively crafty, I’m always about easy crafts, so I can get back to online shopping and watching the latest episode of Grey’s. So, if you too are looking for some cheap, easy ways to add a little fall decor to your house, this one’s for you!

 

1. Pumpkin Floral Arrangement Centerpiece

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I love this one because it’s super easy, adds some fresh flowers to your home and looks pretty sophisticated for the girl on a budget, if I do say so myself.

Here’s what you’ll need:

budget-friendly-diy-fall-decor-cheap-easy-pumpkin-floral-arrangement-supplies

  • A pumpkin – This can be a real pumpkin for those of you going the extra mile. In that case, you’ll just need to cut a hole in the top and scrape out the insides like you do when you’re normally carving a pumpkin. Then, you’ll need to take an empty soup can, tupperware container, etc. to use to hold the water inside. This makes you super crafty and you win major brownie points. For me, I just used a $5 pumpkin trick-or-treating container from Michael’s. It was really easy and I don’t have to worry about it going bad on my dining room table.
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Fall flowers – I grabbed a few cheap bouquets that were on sale at Kroger for $5.99

**Helpful tip! Google “Michael’s coupon” any and every time you shop there. They almost always have a coupon for 40% off that you can show on your phone!

How to create your pumpkin floral arrangement centerpiece: 

  • Take your pumpkin bucket (or real pumpkin) and fill the inside piece about halfway full with water.

budget-friendly-diy-fall-decor-cheap-easy-pumpkin-floral-arrangement-centerpiece

  • Unwrap your bouquets of fall flowers and use one to measure the right height for your pumpkin.

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  • Cut the ends of your flowers to be all around the same length. I don’t cut them all exactly the same because I like a little variety and messiness, but that’s up to you!

budget-friendly-diy-fall-decor-cheap-easy-fall-flowers-centerpiece

  • Arrange your flowers inside your pumpkin to your liking and place it in the center of your table.

I told y’all these were easy! Check out how cute this finished product turned out!

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2. Cinnamon Stick Candle

Candles are a girl’s best friend! They immediately bring warmth to a room and add a little cinnamon and they’ll make your whole home smell good too!

Here’s what you’ll need:¬†

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  • A small white/ivory candle – To go super cheap, you can grab a 99 cent white pillar candle from Walmart. These work really well for looks, but they’re unscented and unscented candles make me sad. That’s why I opted to grab the vanilla scented candles in the same size. They’re less than $3.50 a piece, so still pretty cheap!
  • Cinnamon sticks – I just grabbed these from the baking aisle. If you get them at Walmart, they’re cheap, but you’ll only get 6 to a container and you’ll need a good bit more than that. Run by Target though (who’s going to be sad about that, right?) and they have containers with a bunch more in them for not too terribly much more in price.
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks (obviously)
  • Twine – You can get a really cheap thing of this at Walmart, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc. and they usually come with a lot in them, so it’ll last you for lots of future crafts!

How to create your cinnamon stick candle: 

  • Unwrap all of your materials and lay them out on the table. You have to move kind of quickly with the hot glue, so it’s better just to have everything out to start.

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  • Put one vertical line of hot glue on your candle at at time and lay a cinnamon stick on top of it. Continue this until you have cinnamon sticks covering the entire outside of the candle.

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  • Cut a piece of twine and wrap it around your candle and cinnamon sticks several times before tying it off with a bow!

Wham, bam thank you ma’am – you’re done! ūüôā

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3. Candy Corn Candle

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Yes, this craft is as cute as it is delicious! Now, I have never been a fan of candy corn, but when I was putting this together, I snagged a few pieces and was pleasantly surprised that it tasted a lot better than I remembered.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • A small mason jar – They sell these individually at Michael’s for about $3 each, but if you think you’ll use them for other things (I’ve used them for all kinds of crafts), go ahead and grab the 8 or 12 pack at Walmart. They’re a lot more cost efficient.
  • A bag of candy corn
  • A small votive – Again you can grab unscented here or a vanilla scented votive, which is always my vote! These are both available at Walmart.
  • Twine
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue sticks

How to create your candy corn candle: 

  • Take your mason jar and fill it about 1/4 of the way up with candy corn.

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  • Place your votive down in the jar on top of the candy corn that is already in there.
  • Fill the jar so it’s about 3/4 to almost full making sure that the candy corn falls around the sides of the votive.

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  • Cut a long piece of twine and wrap it several times around the lip of the jar. Hot glue the end of this to keep it in place.

Candy corn candle complete!

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And last, but not least…

 

4. White & Gold Pumpkins

Any time you can throw some white/off-white and gold into your fall decor, I’m a fan! This craft is really simple, but throws a cute, non-traditional element into your autumn decorations.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • White or off-white pumpkins – I picked up these plastic pumpkins at Michael’s for $5 a piece¬†(all of their fall decor is on sale in store right now)! Sometimes I’ll also pick up some tiny, real, white pumpkins from Kroger to throw in as well.
  • Gold metallic sharpie

How to create your white and gold pumpkins:

  • This is almost going to seem silly it’s so simple, but decide what wording you want on your pumpkin and write it using your gold metallic sharpie. I suggest practicing on paper first and maybe finding a font you like online to copy. I just used “thankful” here, but you could throw in tons of cute words like “grateful”, “harvest”, or even your family name, like “the freemans”!

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  • If you absolutely do not love your handwriting, try out some polka dots or chevron. These don’t have to look perfect to still look really cute.

Pair a few different pumpkins together and they’ll be one of your fall favorites!

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To make this crafting 10x more fun, have a couple of girls over to do it together. Maybe throw in some yummy fall drinks (I have a delicious recipe for one coming to ya on the blog soon)!

All of you DIYers out there, send me your DIY fall decor ideas – I’d love to add some new goodies to my house this year! ūüôā

C’est la vie,

Anna

Save

White Water Rafting Adventure on the Chattahoochee River

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If you are looking for a fun weekend adventure here in the South, then white water rafting on the Chattahoochee River is for you! I recently visited my sister who had just relocated to Columbus, Georgia and when she first invited me down I had no idea what to expect of the city.

White water rafting has always been an item on my bucket list, so when I found out that Columbus had a beautiful downtown area on the river with some of the best white water rafting around, I couldn’t have been more excited.

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We went during Memorial Day weekend, so we were really nervous that it was going to be overcrowded (luckily we made a reservation before – be sure to do that if you’re going to go), but they really had a good process in place so that you didn’t have to wait very long. The guides were super nice and helpful as far as getting your gear on and showing you the safety guidelines before entering the water.

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Since most of us were beginners, we took the Classic Trip. On these trips, the water moves slower and the rapids are smaller. They are classified as Class I – III and there’s even a portion of the river where you get to jump out and actually float down the river, which is pretty cool.

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They also have a High Water Trip that you can take later in the day, but I wasn’t quite ready for that one. These are Class II – IV+ rapids which are quicker and larger… perfect for someone who’s gone white water rafting a few times in their life!

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Our trip was perfect for us though and we had such a fun time! Our guide made sure to show us a few cool tricks and to tell us all about the history of the river during our ride. I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a weekend adventure!

Do we have any experienced white water rafters out there? If so, where all have you been?

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

College Game Day Outfit Ideas

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Here in the South, Fall means cooler weather, pumpkin spice and college football! If you’re like most of us southern girls, you’ve spent a Saturday or two cheering on your favorite team. And although we all come together to watch our boys lay it all out on the field, Saturdays are also for eating, drinking, tailgating and wearing cute game day outfits.

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If you’re looking for a little college game day outfit inspiration… you’ve come to the right place.

Ashley’s Pick

Ashley is a huge Georgia Bulldogs fan and put together a super cute, but also comfy outfit in this black, cut out romper!

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Of course, she dressed it up with some red accessories and lipstick!

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Plus, the perfect black shoes to complete the look.

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Get Ashley’s look:

Romper – Dress Up

Necklace – Target

Shoes – Target

Watch – Michael Kors

 

Lauren’s Pick

Lauren is an Auburn University alumni and cheers on her Tigers in this classic look.

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She stays cool and pretty in the Alabama heat in this short and top combo!

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And I am obsessed with her accessories!

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Get Lauren’s look:

Top – Fabrik

Shorts – Fabrik

Shoes – Marc Fisher @ Nordstrom

EarringsHand in Pocket boutique **similar pair linked

Bracelets – David Yurman

 

Amanda’s Pick

On any given Saturday, you can hear Amanda singing Rocky Top and cheering on the Tennessee Volunteers in this trendy outfit!

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She takes this cute top and jeans outfit up a notch with all of her gorgeous accessories!

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And she’s ready to help her boys kick butt in these sexy boots!

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Get Amanda’s look:

Top – Swank

Jeans – Hudson Jeans @ Fabrik

Boots – Justin

Jewelry – David Yurman and Betsy Pittard Designs

 

Anna’s Pick

Last, but not least, it’s your’s truly! I’m a UGA alumni and live for Saturdays between the hedges. Here’s my summer-to-fall transition, game day outfit!

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I’m all about throwing in some animal print!

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And I love these lace up shoes that not only give me a little height (I can use all the help I can get in that department, haha), but also save my feet from being in pain while walking around all day.

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Get Anna’s look:

Top – Forever 21

Skirt – Lulu’s

Jewelry – Apple and Swank

Shoes – Target

Clutch – Mint Julep Boutique

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What are your favorite game day looks?

C’est la vie (& Go Dawgs),

Anna

 

Celebrating the Hubs with a Recap of Our Favorite Memories

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My husband’s birthday is in a couple of days – he’s turning the big 2 – 7! He’s not huge into birthdays and he’s definitely not into being the center of attention (unless he’s drunk and in a dancing mood lol), but I’ll be celebrating him all week long! I mean what better to celebrate than the day my soulmate entered the world?!

Bryan and I started dating in the 9th grade after a friend’s birthday party. Weirdly enough, I still remember what I was wearing. It was 2005 and I thought I was so hot in my holy jeans and floral tube top… yes, I said tube top haha! I have searched high and low for a picture from this party to no avail, but it’s the day I truly started to get to know my now husband, so it’s obviously gotta be added to my list of favorite memories.

Having been together for over 12 years now, there are a trillion memories I could share, but I’ve tried to pick out just a few of my very favorites.

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Bryan and I broke up and got back together a ton of times in high school, but this picture is what I like to think of as the day we fell back in love. It was Senior Day, one of our last days of high school. I had recently had some fall out with my friends, so I had no one to hang out with and even though we hadn’t been talking for a while, he stayed by my side all day. ¬†I was pretty sure then that he would be my forever.

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I love this picture because I remember how in love and happy I felt in this moment. Being long distance our first year of college was really hard and this was our one year anniversary after being off at school. I remember I thought we were big shots because we stayed at The Georgian Hotel in Atlanta and Bryan gave me a ring that I still wear to this day.

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I’ve been a University of Georgia fan my entire life, but it’s Bryan and his family who took me to my first game and taught me how to really hunker down for the dawgs! While I was in school at UGA, Bryan and I had so many fun game days and I hope we’ll get to share that with our children when that time comes.

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I felt so terrible on this day. I had just had my wisdom teeth out and had a virus at the same time, but it’s still one of my favorite days. Bryan had wanted a lab puppy for forever and I surprised him with our now fur baby, Champ. I have never seen Bryan so excited and I have never seen him so in love. I can’t imagine what our lives would be like without this sweet soul in them.

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It only makes sense that the day that this sweet boy asked me to be his wife would be on the list. I totally thought that I was planning a surprise birthday party for him, so to find out that he had planned the whole thing all along was so crazy. Even though his proposal speech came out a little bit like a blabbering mess, it was the sweetest thing he had ever said to me and I couldn’t wait to become his wife.

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This is by far the happiest day of our lives up until this point. It was on April 23, 2016, that we said “I do” and became Mr. & Mrs. Freeman!

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Jamaica will forever have our hearts. Our honeymoon was filled with adventures, amazing foods and lots of love. ‚̧

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Mexico was no Jamaica, but celebrating our first year of marriage was so exciting. We love traveling and experiencing new places and this trip truly was the experience of a lifetime. Here’s to hoping we go on a million more anniversary trips around the world.

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We recently just bought our first house and we are still in the process of making it a home, but this is such a fun time in life and we’re just happy to be where we’re at for now.

To you, Bryan Morris Freeman, I’m sorry to get mushy on you for all to see, but I love you with all of my heart. I love you for having my back, no matter what, even when I’m wrong. I love you for protecting me, taking care of me when I’m sick and kissing me everyday when you leave for work, when I get home from work and before bed. I love you for your delicious steaks, your willingness to split our chores 50/50, your green thumb and your bug-killing skills. I love you for how loyal and considerate and loving you are. I hope you have the very best birthday and that you never forget just how much I love you (in case you didn’t catch that already lol). Happy Birthday!

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C’est la vie,

Anna

 

 

 

 

26 Reasons I’m Excited to Turn 26

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Yeee! I can’t believe it’s already August and that my 26th birthday is here! I feel like it was just the new year, or better yet, that I was just telling all of you about the 25 things I had learned in my 25 years of life. But nonetheless, summer is coming to a close, kids are going back to school and I’m celebrating 26 years of memories and life experiences!

So, of course, I’m thrilled because that means birthday cupcakes and glasses of champagne, but there are a million other reasons turning 26 is so exciting. Here’s just 26 for your enjoyment…

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1.I’ve lived one more awesome year of life and I’ve still got 4 years until I turn 30! Thank God.

2. IDGAF what anyone thinks.

Just kidding… I probably care what people think more than most. I am always so nervous to offend or hurt or put off anyone, but I guess I more so mean I don’t care in that, I’m not afraid to be my true self. I feel like when you’re younger, people are so critical and don’t embrace being different, but the older you get, the cooler it is to be unique and be yourself. So if it’s lame to be obsessed with the Michelle Branch Pandora station, if it’s fat to eat ice cream twice in a day or if it’s not cool to take 1000 photos on every trip you go on… I don’t care because it makes me happy. ūüôā

3. I’m old enough to be treated like an adult, but still young enough to make mistakes without being crucified for them.

4. This year is for my career.

I feel like each year in life is filled with something that takes up a lot of your time or is your sole focus. Some years that’s been graduating from college, other years it’s been getting married, spending time with a sick loved one or buying a house, but this year I really think I’m going to get the time and space to make my career my top priority. I’m in a really good place in my life in general and I’m hopefully not looking to make babies anytime soon, so I’m excited to really dig in and see where my career can go.

5. I have a savings account and my 401K actually has a good bit of money in it.

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6. My family (on my husband’s side) is complete.

With our last brother-in-law getting married in June, we now have a full family on our own. I’m really excited to become true sisters with both of my sister-in-laws and to be a good aunt to my sweet, new nephew. Did I mention I can’t wait for Christmas?! It will definitely entail some major spoiling!

7. I bought a king size bed.

That’s a funny thing to be excited about, isn’t it? But it’s big and beautiful and has a gorgeous tufted headboard and I can’t wait to spend a gazillion hours in it.

8. I have plans to travel.

I absolutely love traveling and want to see as much of the world as I can. Luckily, I’ve already got a couple of trips in the books and am trying to plan a few more.

9. My husband is turning 27 this month.

Sucks to suck, bro. haha I’m just kidding, but it totally makes it better to say that I’m still in my mid-20s and he is officially in his late 20s!

10. No quarter life crisis here!

I think I told all of you guys when I wrote about 23 Reasons Being 23 is Awesome a few years back that turning 22 was really hard for me and I was excited to be done with that year (sad to think I really felt that way now, but oh well!). I had an early quarter-life crisis. So when a ton of my friends told me turning 26 was really hard for them, I was nervous. However, I really think the whole 22 fiasco was a life saver for me, because it hasn’t been hard at all. I’ve come to realize that 26 is really young and this is a really exciting time in my life.

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11. I’m getting my eyebrows microbladed!

Ever since I waxed my eyebrows too thin in the 7th grade, I’ve struggled with them. Cheers to not having to fill them in anymore and having beautiful, thick brows. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to post on the blog all about how the process goes, before & after pics, etc.!!

12. Everyone else is having babies.

This is kind of a sad thing sometimes because people aren’t available to go to brunch at the drop of a hat or spend a weekend at the beach with you, but it’s also so exciting because you get to enjoy all of the cute, happy goodness of babies without having to deal with the crying, pooping mess of it all.

13. If for some reason I do accidentally get pregnant, my parents won’t be totally pissed about it… they might even be happy.

14. Granny panties are life and I ain’t even mad about it.

15. When people meet me, they still think I’m 18.

This used to drive me crazyyyy, but considering that at 26, forehead wrinkles and gray roots are a real thing, I’ll take it!

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16. Jennifer Lawrence is 26… and¬†she pretty much rocked it this year, so inherently, that means I will too, right?

 

17. I’m redesigning the blog.

I know I’ve said this for foreverrrr, but when you aren’t a full time blogger and you have a job that truthfully is more than full time, it makes things hard. However, the redesign is not that far in the future and I can’t wait to unveil it for all of you!

 

18. People in my field are really starting to respect me and value my knowledge.

In the world of marketing, sexism and ageism are a real issue. So when I first started my career, it was really hard meeting with older men (and sometimes women) who thought I had no idea what I was talking about. I’ve really gotten to a point though where most of my clients consider me a marketing guru and want my opinion and that’s really cool.

19. I’m honest with myself and my friends.

I’m not trying to pretend that my life is perfect or that I don’t sabotage myself from time to time. I may cry about not having anything to do or anyone to do it with sometimes, but I also tell myself, you are bad about ignoring text messages and refusing to get up from your Netflix binge to wash your hair. Some days I want to be a ray of sunshine for my friends and other days I have to straight up tell them I’m lost and sad. No one’s life is perfect all of the time and I’m learning that’s okay.

20. Birthday coupons!

What can I say? I love to shop online and I love to eat! When I started getting floods of birthday coupons from my favorite boutiques and even a free birthday burrito from Moe’s, I instantly knew this was going to be a good year. #NotTooRichtoUseCoupons #NotTooOldtoTurnDownaFreeMeal

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21. I’m really starting to see the value in family and quality time.

I have always been super thankful for what a wonderful family I have, but as I get older they truly become more and more valuable to me. I’ve realized how important it is to call, just to talk, even when I don’t feel like it. I’ve learned that time spent with family, even if you’re not going anything, is time well spent. There’s something really special about how much your family will unconditionally love you and you really shouldn’t take that for granted.

22. My birthday is on the weekend!

I can’t explain how excited I am that not only do I not have to go to work on my birthday, but I can also sleep in… which never happens! I seriously can’t ask for much more.

23. I’ve learned that if you’re aggressively paying off debt, it’s okay to splurge sometimes.

24. I’m figuring out what causes are important to me in life.

26 years in, chances are you’ve dealt with some heartbreak or seen some sad things. Last year, I wrote about how the world lost the most beautiful soul and it really changed me. I’ve participated in fundraisers like Relay for Life, the American Red Cross Hero campaign, flood relief, coat drives, Toys for Tots, etc. my whole life. All of these things are obviously important to me, but fighting cancer really has taken on new meaning for me. That’s why in November, I’m putting that passion into action and walking the Susan G. Komen 3-Day to help raise funds to fight breast cancer.

25. There are a lot of exciting things I want to do in year twenty-six and I think I might actually have the drive and focus to do them.

26. Cake. Cake. Cake. Cake. Cake.

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Thank you all SO much for the sweet birthday wishes. Cheers to year 26!

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

 

What to Expect When Buying Your First Home

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So kind of surprisingly… kind of not surprisingly, my husband and I just bought our first house. (insert cheers, yay, so exciting, right? – thanks ūüôā ) Honestly though, we weren’t really looking… or preparing, which is how I think a lot of people our age end up going about their house buying process. During the marriage counseling we did a year or so ago before our wedding, we had started talking about and looking into Dave Ramsey. In the vein of what he teaches, I kept an envelope of $1000 in my drawer for safe keeping. Eventually though, that became way easier than going to the bank or something, so an envelope in a drawer became my savings… which probably wasn’t the smartest, but I’m still young and learning.

As far as the house buying goes… a lot of people plan to buy a house, figure out the timeline to work out with the end of their lease or something and then search and go look at homes for months until they find the perfect one. That wasn’t us either.

On top of all of that, I have always wanted to move to another city. I’ve been applying to jobs in Charlotte, Greenville, Nashville, etc. since before I graduated college (4 stinkin years ago!) and just nothing has been the perfect fit yet. So, we were content in our townhouse and I liked renting because that meant at any minute if I was offered a job in another city, we could drop everything and leave. But recently, my job has expanded and I’m growing and I love where I’m at and I love the opportunities it gives me, both to travel and to reach my career goals, so I’m not necessarily looking to leave a good thing behind, just because it’s not in my favorite city.

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So, then comes us buying a house out of the blue. I guess this is back in March or so, but we had chosen to extend our current lease at our townhouse and we were planning our anniversary trip to Mexico. I have a thing for looking at houses online though just to see how people remodel them and to figure out what I like, when one night around 11 pm, I stumbled upon this house that I just loved. I showed my husband, like I always do when I love a good house, and he loved it too – which NEVER happens. So being crazy people, we jumped in the car, drove 20 minutes or so to this house in the middle of the night and drove past it like 3 – 4 times to see all we could from the outside, haha! I hope they didn’t see us lurking outside.

And now we’re here! In the little tan, colonial house on the corner, STILL unpacking boxes, taking care of our own yard (well him, not me) and drinking Spiked Selzters on the back deck (well me, not him haha).

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So… all of this rambling about me, actually brings me to you, future, potential home buyer. I know whenever I thought about purchasing my first home, not only did it scare me, but also I had no idea where to start or what to do or how to prepare, etc. Hopefully, this post will help you out.

Here’s what to expect when buying your first home:

 

1. Money is everything

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Yeah, I know, it sucks. I have never been in the perfect monetary situation. It’s not that I rack up credit cards and do crazy things with my money, but I do have a good bit of student loans to pay off and I haven’t always been the best at saving. I had just recently started saving in attempt to be more adult-ish and smarter, but I should have started saving a long time ago. Luckily, I found a local lender who helped me to figure all of that out. I would seriously suggest finding someone local who will take the time to help explain things to you and meet with you, rather than something like Rocket Mortgage like you see on TV (don’t do it!!)

So I would say to you, your first step needs to be to save some money. Then, when saving that money, make sure you’re putting it into some sort of account. Why? Well, remember all of that money I told you I was saving in an envelope? Well… I couldn’t even use that towards my house down payment, because there was no money trail. Who knows? It could have been drug money or I could have borrowed it from someone or something weird like that (at least that’s what they told me haha). So first things first, they want to see that you have savings in your account that have been there for at least 6 months or so, to be legit.

As far as savings go, I think the best thing to do is to save 20% of the amount of the house you want to buy and if not that, at least 10%. I’m pretty sure that’s what all of the responsible adults in our lives did back in the day and if you can do it – cheers to you!! But, if you’re like the rest of us 20-somethings that kind of, sort of have our lives together, but not really, you’ll be lucky to save 3% – 5%, which means you can only get an FHA loan. Read about these online and they’ll tell you these are a last resort for poor people (thanks internet), but every 20-something I know has done the same thing. We have other things we want to spend our money on right? Like traveling and clothes and lattes and stuff haha.

 

2. You’ll need a lender

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If you are taking your time to buy a house, go ahead and meet with a lender. Let them take a look at your finances. Ask them how much you’ll be approved for (don’t ever buy a house that number because they usually approve you for way more than you need and you can get yourself into a bad situation). Talk through with them what payments will look like and what your price range should be. If they’ll let you, go ahead and submit all the financial documents they need to review for your loan so they can actually get you approved. Our house buying experience was so last minute and chaotic that we were still getting this stuff taken care of up until basically we closed and it was stressful.

Things they’ll ask you for are items like your tax returns, pay stubs, any savings you have, any debts you have, your monthly payments, what you’re doing now, where you live now, bank statements (these are embarrassing btw – I’m sure they were like dang, this girl goes to Chick-fil-a ALL THE TIME), etc. They’ll start by getting you pre-approved which is when they take a superficial look at these documents and decide that they’re pretty sure you’ll get a loan. This allows you, when you find a house you like, to go ahead and make an offer that they’ll consider. Then, once all of that is taken care of, the items you gave them will go into underwriting. Basically, that’s a big word for some financial person violating your privacy for the next month or so as they scour through all of your finances and financial decisions and ask for more and more documentation until you feel like there isn’t one thing in the world they don’t know about you. Sounds fun, right? Then, they’ll give you the actual approval on your loan. But because things can never be easy, they’ll underwrite you one more time before they let you close. Truthfully, they just want to be 100% sure, without a doubt that you’re never going to not pay them back, which I guess makes sense if you think about it.

 

3. Choosing a home

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So, once you get past all of the ugly money parts of this process, some of the process is really fun. There was nothing more satisfying to me than constantly refreshing my realtor.com app to see what was new out there. I basically pretended I was on HGTV being like, oh! they have subway tile backsplash and quartz countertops, but oh no! they haven’t updated that heinous wall paper, until I found a house that checked off enough of my boxes that I considered it move-in ready. Now with this, as weird as it sounds, you need to call a realtor. I didn’t really think so, because me on my realtor.com app were way better at finding what I wanted and seeing it online way before my realtor could tell me it was out there. We live in a different day and age, you know? BUT there are a ton of things I couldn’t have done without my realtor. If your family knows someone, I suggest reaching out to them because then you’ll feel like they have your best interest at heart and you can trust them not to talk you into a home you don’t want just for a sale. They’ll allow you to physically see the homes you’re interested in, in person, and they’ll take care of helping you make an offer, talking with your lender, setting up your inspections, closing, etc. They really do take such good care of you during this process. So, sounds simple, right? Find a house you like, see it in person (still like it?), make an offer. Yes, it is that simple, but no, it’s really not.

 

4. Making an offer

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So you’re ready to make an offer… where to begin? Do you offer what they’re asking? Do you try to offer a little less to save some money? Do you include closing costs or do you ask them to pay for them? It’s all very confusing, which is why it’s so good to have a realtor help you. I don’t know if it’s this way in every market, but in a lot of areas right now, it’s a seller’s market, not a buyer’s. Which means there are a limited amount of houses for sale and there are a ton of buyers looking and ready to pounce. The day we came to tour our house, there were 16 other couples coming to look at it, that same day. We made an offer that day because we knew it wouldn’t be on the market long and there were 5 other offers. We got into a bidding war, which wasn’t fun. And in the end… another home buyer outbid us. What?! You weren’t expecting that, were you? They went about $10,000 above asking price and we just weren’t prepared to do that. So, we were really sad, but we were headed to Mexico, so no big deal, we’d get over it. BUT basically as soon as we landed, we found out that their deal fell through and it was on, we were trying to find a way to make a new offer with limited internet access, one too many pina coladas and all the way in Mexico. This time, there were again several offers, so we asked them to paying closing costs (because we simply didn’t have those funds upfront), asked them to leave the fridge (thank God they did) and offered the $10,000 above listing price they wanted and we got it!! Note though, this process is pretty stressful, because you and your realtor decide on an offer, she/he writes it up in a long, formal contract that you have to sign and you submit it and wait… and those hours of waiting to hear back the next day are brutal. Then, they often counter-offer and wait to hear back from you in the same process until y’all agree on something. Not to mention, you never speak to the actual people until closing, so it feels super weird when you finally do and you realize you’ve been negotiating with the sweet people who are just like you but five years older.

 

5. Leading up to closing

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So, you’ve saved some money, gotten with a lender, gotten approval, found a realtor, found a house, made an offer, etc. The work is not done. You have to have home inspections, termite inspections and an appraisal. With these, they’ll either tell you everything is perfect (not likely) or they’ll tell you some things need to be fixed. You then, have to turn around and ask the seller to fix these things. As if they have not already put so much money into fixing up their home to sell it, not a week or two before they’re done with it, they have to put more money into fixing more things. It sucks, but it is nice to move into a home that you know is safe and sound. The appraisal is also kind of tricky. This is to make sure that your loan matches the value of the house. In our case… it didn’t. The house only appraised for the original listing price, not our $10,000 above asking price offer. So… we either had to come up with that extra $10,000 to give them (which we didn’t have) or they had to accept our lower offer. Here comes another day of stressing, waiting to hear back. They must have just been so over all of this and ready to go, because they accepted it and we were so so so thankful. So once all inspections are done, things are fixed, appraisal is taken care of, you come and do one final walk through before you finally get to close!

 

6. A couple of last minute things

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Oh yeah, I forgot, it’s not quite that easy, there’s still a couple more things to do. Once you take care of all of the things you have to do to move out (that’s a whole other blog post), you’ll have to do a few things to get your home ready for move-in. Get ready to sit on the phone on hold for a while, because you’re going to need to call the cable company, internet company (if yours is separate), a homeowner’s insurance agency, the county wastewater group, the gas company, power company, trash service, pest control group, security company, etc. I also highly suggest having a maid service come in before you move everything in. Our house was clean, but you have to think that the sellers just got done moving everything out and probably didn’t do a spring cleaning before they left, so it’s good to hire someone to wipe out cabinets, clean baseboards, wash carpets, wipe off blinds, etc. so you have a fresh start.

 

7. Closing time (I’m totally singing the Semisonic song in my head while typing this, lol)

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YAY! So it’s time to close on your house, finally! The month (or possibly way more) of waiting in limbo is over. You, the sellers, their realtor, your realtor and your lender all meet together at the lawyer’s office. He goes through a spiel and then hands you 100,000 papers to sign (not really 100k, but it definitely feels like it). You have to sign papers about deeds and taxes and the property and a bunch of other stuff that you should probably read, but you don’t, because you’re just so excited to be done and get out of there. When the papers are signed and everyone is happy, they hand you the keys and you can’t wait to go yell from the hillsides! It’s done and the home is yours.

This is probably one of my longest blog posts ever and if you’re not in the thinking-about-buying-a-home stage in life, it’s probably too boring for you to read, but if you were like me, looking for anything and everything online to help me figure out what buying a home was like, you’ll be so glad for all of these nitty gritty details. I just wanted to ask anyone like me who was in a similar financial situation and who had finished buying their home a million little questions because I was constantly stressed the whole time, haha.

If you are looking to buy a home, please don’t be afraid to reach out to me! I’d love to answer any questions and help calm you down during all of that!!

And because I love my readers soooo much, I created a self-made short dictionary for you below for all of the phrases you don’t know, but need to. ūüôā

C’est la vie,

Anna

 

Anna’s Home Buying Dictionary:

Conventional loan – The most responsible, most highly looked upon home loans. You’ll likely need 20% of your house price for your down payment and you’ll get better rates and avoid a PMI.

PMI – Private mortgage insurance or basically the bank’s insurance policy on you in case you stop paying your loan off. Because you have less money to pay upfront, they charge you more money each month. It sucks, but that’s basically how things go in life.

FHA loan – This is a type of loan a lot of 20-somethings and first-time home buyers are getting and it only requires 3.5% down. Most sites online say this is good if you have not-so-good credit, but you get worse interest rates. Luckily, for me, my credit score was really good, so I still got a good interest rate.

VA loan – This is for veterans and doesn’t require any down payment.

USDA loan – This type of loan also requires zero down payment for homes in rural areas.

Underwriting – When the people at the bank look through all of your financial documents to assess if you should be approved for a loan.

Closing – When you transfer everything about the house from the seller to you and essentially close the deal.

Offer – The amount you propose to give the seller for their home

Closing costs – Around 2% – 5% of the price of your home. This has to be paid at closing and is different than your down payment. It includes fees for underwriting, realtors, lawyers and other stuff I guess? It can be harder to get sellers to cover this when it’s a seller’s market, but it’s worth trying!

Down payment – The amount of money you have to put down out-of-pocket, outside of your loan amount towards the home.

Earnest money – This is money you have to pay as soon as your offer is accepted to basically show good faith that you are going to make good on your offer and close on the house. I think it’s usually $500, but our sellers asked for $1000 since one offer had already fallen through. This is deducted from your down payment at closing though, which is nice.

Appraisal – This is when the people lending you the money come determine how much your future house is worth. You have to pay these people too. This is money we weren’t anticipating, so just know upfront to have this cash ready. Ours was a little over $500.

Home inspection – When you find a 3rd party inspector to come take a look at your house and determine if anything is wrong. They find all of the small details like water valves missing under the sink or support needing to be added under a step. This is another cost you won’t be expecting, so be prepared for that too. I can’t remember exactly how much it was, but it was a couple of hundred dollars. And if you’re smart, you’ll want them to come and re-inspect right before closing to make sure everything was legitimately fixed.

Interim interest – This was another unforeseen cost for us. At closing, we found out we had to pay $1000 more than we were expecting. This covers interest for the month that you won’t be paying a mortgage payment. For example, we closed on June 1 and won’t pay our first payment until August, so it covers that time in between.

Mortgage – The legal agreement for you borrowing the money from the bank to buy your house. This is what you’ll be paying back each month.

Escrow – This is an account the lender sets up during your home buying process to cover different fees. For example, our lender used that to pay our annual fee for homeowner’s insurance and then those monthly fees are just included in our house payment.

5 Tips for the College Graduate About to Enter the Real World

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My Insta and FB newsfeeds have been filled with images of caps and gowns and degrees and “I did it!” mantras. Congratulations class of 2017, you did it! You have completed 4 (or maybe more) years of studying, testing, cramming and… fun-having. Graduating from college really is such an accomplishment, but now, what are you going to do with that degree you’ve worked so hard for? Looking through my Timehop, I realized that I have been out of college for 4 years now. Say what?! I feel like I¬†just left UGA yesterday, but yes, time has flown by.

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College is supposed to prepare you for the real world, but truly, I don’t think there’s anything that can 100% get you ready for what’s next. So, with my 4 years of experience so far, I’m going to bestow upon you my professional opinion. ūüôā Here’s 5 tips to help you in these next steps of life.

1. Don’t settle for a job, but also don’t expect to get your dream job just yet

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You’ve worked hard in school, so of course, don’t go out and accept the first job you find, BUT don’t be entitled either. So many graduates come out of school thinking they’ll make $50K right off the bat and that they shouldn’t have to do menial tasks like they did in their internships, but lemme stop you there! You’ve done internships, yes, but you really don’t have any real experience, so employers are taking a chance on you. Unless you are becoming an engineer or something of that sort, you’re not going to make $50K and you should be super glad that someone is willing to invest in you, pay you relatively well, considering you have no experience, and give you benefits. Just remember, every job and opportunity is a stepping stone to getting you where you want to be in life.

2. Never ever ever say “that’s not in my job description”

This is not only one of my biggest pet peeves (and will be of your co-workers), but tons of bosses I have talked to will tell you, that this is the biggest turn off in an employee. It definitely makes you seem like you’re not a team player and don’t care about the success of the business as a whole. Plus, you know how Drake says “started from the bottom now we’re here”? Yeah… you gotta start at the bottom if you want to get anywhere.

3. Bond with co-workers over lunch, but don’t go out to eat every day

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Think the freshman 15 can only happen your first year of college? Think again! I loved going out to eat with my co-workers at my first job, but I literally put on 15 pounds, which definitely added to that early quarter-life crisis thing I went through. Plus, going out to eat for lunch every day starts to add up. Entry level jobs don’t pay that well, so you should probably save every dime you can.

4. Don’t let being out of school make you sad

There’s a good chance you’re going to be jealous of your friends who have continued on to graduate school and can go out during the week, get a spring break and that don’t have to dress up every day, but just remember you’re getting experience, starting life and who knows, you could very well end up 4 years down the road making $100k/year while they’re just starting to pay off their student loans. And yeah, it’s okay to miss your college days, but at some point, you do have to move on and once you do, you’ll realize how fun your 20s will really be.

5. Make financial plans

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Yes, you have finances now and they are very easy to mess up, so make plans. It won’t be fun to take away from your already small paycheck, but be sure to set up a 401K right away. Anyone who is older and didn’t do this, will tell you to do so. It comes out before you even get your paycheck and many employers will match your funds, so don’t miss out on free money you could be getting. Also, be sure to save money… don’t spend it all in one place. You don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck forever and that takes being conscious about how you allocate your funds. I highly suggest looking into some of Dave Ramsey’s advice. He’s really helped me to not get overwhelmed by my student loans and debts, but also not get in a bad situation. I couldn’t follow his rules to a tee (they’re super hard and I’m going to online shop every now and then), but he has some pretty good nuggets in there.

Graduates, don’t be afraid of the real world! It’s definitely different and takes a lot of learning and adjusting, but it really is so much fun. Looking for any other advice? Shoot me over a message and I’ll see what I can do to help! ūüôā

C’est la vie,

Anna