Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Skincare Routine

Let's talk: Skin!
This is a new series I want to do which is my "Let's talk" series. It will be on different topics that I am thinking about and the first one is on skincare.
I turn 29 on Friday! That seems so crazy to me, 29! It means I am not getting younger which I had hoped and it also means I need to start really taking care of my hygiene more then I have in the past. I've never really had a skincare routine but I am finally starting to get into the habit of taking better care of my skin night and day.
I am combination skin and I lean more toward oily especially in the summer. In the winter it's pretty standard combination skin. I sometimes am sensitive to products in the fact that they will make my skin burn or turn really red. I rarely breakout but I do tend to use brands that cater to sensitive skin to avoid that just in case.
So let's start with the products that I am currently using on my skin and how I feel about them.
1. Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Power Clear Scrub. This is what I have been using to cleanse my skin. I mainly use it in the shower once a day because if I use it twice a day it dries my skin out really fast. I shower at night so I use this at night before starting the rest of my skincare. In the morning I usually just wash my face with water.
2. Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner. This toner is awesome! I had really bad acne has a teenager and into my early 20s. Now I mostly have scaring, a few breakouts when it is that time of the month but this stuff is a miracle worker. It really has helped minimize my pores and I am keeping it in my skincare regime  moving forward.
3. Aveeno Absolutely ageless Serum. A serum is meant to deliver powerful ingredients directly into your skin and applied after toner but before moisturizer. This serum is okay, I was hoping to use the drunk elephant night and day serum but I couldn't bring myself to spend $100 on skincare items so I did my research and purchased some other serums that I think will help better. This was okay but I didn't like the smell and it didn't show any overall affects on my skin.
4. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream. Love this stuff, really has helped brighten my under eye and smooth out all the fine lines.
5. Aveeno targeted tone corrector. I apply this under my eye as well which has helped with my dark circles the most. Combining this with the eye cream has really been the best for my under eye.
6. For the morning I use this cetaphil daily facial moisturizer that has SPF 15. It's lightweight enough that I don't fell all greasy after applying it. Sunscreen is so important to have in your skincare routine, especially in the winter. I know so many people think it's okay not wear it because the sun isn't shining but you can still get sun damage through cloud cover. The best thing for your face is to wear Sunscreen everyday.
7. At night I use the Cetaphil moisturizing cream. This really makes my skin feel soft, smooth, and hydrated all night long.

I purchased a few new products today and hope they are better for my overall skin quality. These products did okay but they weren't my favorite. So here are the new products I am using:
1. Boots no7 lift and luminate triple action serum:
2. Boots no 7 lift and luminate night serum and day serum:
3. Boots no 7 lift and luminate night cream and day cream:

4. Boots no 7 lift and luminate eye cream:

I got all of these products at ULTA so check them out there.

I am excited to continue building my skin care routine and now that I am getting older I hope these products help my skin maintain it's youthful look.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Books I am reading: 2017

I set a goal to read 3 books a month for 2017. So far I am doing okay and have already completed two books. I decided to make the goal a little more challenging this year and have at least one of those books be a non fiction book. I realized I hardly ever read non-fiction. Which isn't bad but I want to broaden my horizons so I have come up with a list of books I want to read for 2017 so I can make sure and hit my goal.

Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack
The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack
A Lady's Favor by Josi S. Kilpack
The Vicar's Daughter by Josi S. Kilpack
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sheriff's of Savage Wells by Sarah M Eden
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (inspired by the new series coming out on Netflix this year)
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
Alice in Wonderland (Alice's adventures in wonderland)  and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

That's it for my list for right now. I was browsing through some options but nothing has stuck out to me really besides these books. This will keep my busy until about May.
What books are on your reading list? Please share because I am always looking for new books to read.

Thanks for reading

Thursday, January 12, 2017

We Bought A House! Tips for buying your first house

So as I have mentioned before we purchased a home in October of 2016. It's such a fun house and we have loved being home owners. Since purchasing we have had a lot of our friends ask us about the process of buying a home and I guess going into the process myself I really didn't have any idea where to start. I mean we had a general idea but it's nice to know what to expect going into it. Here are some tips on buying your first home and I hope they are helpful.

1. Get your credit score to 700 or above. This is super important! Your credit score will determine what type of loan you qualify for and what type of interest you would be getting. Your credit is made of 5 basic things: payment history, credit utilization, how long you've had credit for, what new credit you have (in the last six months to one year), and what type of credit you have. You want to raise your credit by making payments on time, paying off anything owed as quickly as possible, avoid consolidating debt or moving it around by opening up a new credit card (this looks bad to lenders), and making sure you don't have any maxed out credit cards by keeping balances low. These are just a few ways to raise your score and I am certainly not a financial advisor so if you need help with this make sure and talk to someone who can help you.

Step 1B: Get rid of as much debt as you can. Your debt to income ratio plays a huge part in purchasing a home. Your debt to income ratio should not exceed 43%. If it does exceed that you will most likely not qualify for a home. Debt to income ratio is all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross (what you make before taxes) monthly income. For example if you have a car payment around $600.00 a month, medical bills that total $200.00 a month, credit card debt totaling $200.00 a month, student loan payment totaling $100.00 a month that is $1100.00 a month. If you make around $3200.00 a month (gross)  then your debt to income ratio is 34%. If you add a monthly mortgage payment of $1000.00 onto that then your total debt is $2100.00 a month and your debt to income ratio is 65% which is too high and you most likely wouldn't get approved.
Basics of it are you want to eliminate debt to increase the debt to income ratio so when they add a mortgage onto your debts you would be able to qualify. Just eliminate debt!!

2. After you have done everything you can to get your credit score up and get rid of as much debt as possible you will want to save money for a down payment. It's recommended that you save 20% of the house price as your down payment. So if you are purchasing a home for $200.000 then you would want to have $40.000.00 saved up for a down payment. That is ideal and probably not realistic for most people. If you did that you would be in the best financial situation but it's not always achievable.
First time home buyers usually qualify for an FHA loan and you can have a smaller down payment. I suggest (after figuring out what we would need to get this loan) saving about $6000.00 for a down payment. Sometimes it's less, sometimes more depending on your area but that is a good start.

3. After saving for a down payment you will also want to save earnest money. Earnest money is something you give to the seller to confirm that you really are going to buy this house and they can go under contract with you. We needed $1000.00 in earnest money. I don't know if everyone will need that much but that's a good start. 

4. Now that you have raised your credit score, eliminated debt, and have about $7000.00 (suggested you can do less just talk to your mortgage company) saved up it's time to get pre-qualified. You can get pre-qualified by talking to a mortgage company, your bank, etc. We went through a mortgage company First Colony Mortgage and we really liked them. Basically they will go over your finanical situation such as your credit score, what debts you have, how long you have been at your job (at least a year), and how much you make. Zack and I based our house off of Zack's income only because we want the option for me to be able to stay at home and not work down the line. If we added my income in we probably could have qualified for a much larger house. Make sure and think about those types of things, are you always going to be working, etc.

4B. They are going to ask for a lot of financial records during the qualification process such as your Tax Returns from the past two years, W2s from the past two years, bank statements from the last 3 months, pay stubs from the last 3 months. They are looking for consistency, making sure you will be a stable person for them to lend to so you want to make sure your financial history reflects stability.

Once you are pre-qualified for a house you can start looking at houses. I will probably do another blog post on what things to keep an eye out for (now that we know better) and what the qualification process is like after you've found a house you like. 

If you are thinking of purchasing a home I hope this was helpful for you. I know a lot of this information would have been helpful for us because we honestly went into the process without knowing a lot about buying a home. Somehow we managed to do it all just fine but we would have been more financially prepared if we had known more.

Anyway thanks for reading and next blog post I am going to talk about my what books are on my reading list for 2017. Can't wait to share that with you all!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mommy Favorites 16 Month Old

I am wanting to do these types of posts every two months or so. I feel like Claire doesn't change enough month to month now but these posts are really fun for me to put together to show case all her favorite things and what we have been really loving. The last time I did a mommy favorite posts was her 13 month one so it's definitely time.

1. We found a new brand of clothing that we absolutely love and its the Cat & Jack brand at Target. It's easier to dress Claire in shirts and pants these days then a onesie and this brand has the cutest clothes for $5.00. It's great so make sure and check it out at Target.
2. Baby Moccasins. I really wanted to get some freshly picked moccasins but I can't afford them. Probably would never be able to afford them so I found this alternative instead and we have loved them so much. They hold up really well, in fact this gold pair we purchased back in September and she wears them almost every day and you can barely tell. They stay on her feet and look so cute in outfits.
3. Fawn Design Diaper Bag. I got this for Christmas and I have loved it. I am thinking of doing an updated what's in my diaper bag post since things have changed now that Claire is older.  I got this bag on sale, they were having a discount before Christmas so make sure and follow them on Instagram if you want to watch out for the deals they offer.
4. Sofia the First has been a favorite show of Claire's for a while. I like it cause it teaches good concepts and is really cute and fun.
5. We jumped on the Frozen train and can't get off. Claire loves it which I don't mind cause the music makes it interesting. She dances to Let it Go and it's so cute.
6. She was so spoiled for Christmas and got this little people play set. She loves it cause of course it has Minnie and Mickey.
7. She also got the camper one and it's cute cause she will pack up the camper and take it all over the house. This set comes with a dog which she carries around with her everywhere.
8. One favorite for me that I have loved is our car seat. So I drive a 2007 Toyota Corolla and it has a small back seat. Finding a convertible car seat was tough but this one fits and I love the style of it. Claire is still rear facing and I'll keep her rear facing until she's two. Check out this car seat if you have a small back seat like I do.

Well that's it for our favorites this time around. Have anything I should look into?
Thanks for reading.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Resolutions 2017

Another resolutions post! I know everyone is probably sick of these but I feel it's such a good time to reflect on the past year and see how I can improve. I just read my list of 2016 resolutions and feel that we did pretty good on that list. One of the major ones we did was purchase a home and I am glad that happened cause right now interest rates have jumped up a lot compared to what we got when we closed. I did pretty good with the blog goals I had until about October as well as the reading three books a month goal. I actually only missed one month of that and felt that I branched out a little in regards to books I read this last year. After looking back on my goals I decided to do the same categories I had before only make the goals in each one a little smaller and more manageable.

Spiritual Goals:
-Have family scripture study and family prayer every night before Claire goes to bed. We did okay this week but we need to really get in the habit of doing this.
-Attend the temple once a month. This is a goal Zack came up with and I think it's perfect and something I really need to do.

Personal Goals:
-Workout at least 30 minutes every 3 days. I can do this! Today I shoveled snow so I am counting that as a workout.
-Write in journal more. I love looking back on old journal entries and really want to write in my journal more. My best friend writes in hers every day and I just think she probably has some really good stuff in those books. Stuff her kids will want to read in the future when they are going through similar trials. So I may not write everyday but I just want to write more.

Financial Goals:
-save money for a cruise this summer
-budget for the end of the year expenses better (we have car registration, property taxes, Christmas, and a bunch of other things all due at the end of the year now so we definitely need to plan ahead).

That's it. I know they aren't much but I don't want to overwhelm myself with a bunch of things to do throughout the year. I've learned it's easier to accomplish a small list of tasks then one that is so long.

I hope to continue teaching piano lessons this year, keep up my youtube channel and maybe get started on that book that I want to write. All in due time and I am in no rush, just when I find myself "bored" or in a rut I can come back to this post for things I can do.

What are your new years resolutions?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Years Trip to St George

This year we went to St. George for New Years Eve. We stayed at a rental house that my husband's aunt owns and it was so fun. The house was incredible, very big and had lots of space for all of us.
On Saturday we went to Zack's Cousin's wedding open house.

 My favorite picture of the two of us. Her hair looks so red!
On Sunday we went to church and then went on a hike that afternoon to see some petroglyphs.  It was really fun.
 This is what we did during sacrament. She re-arranged the chairs in an empty classroom. It was cute.

 I love my red heads :)

 Sunday night we played games, Actually I think this was from Saturday night. We played poker and it was fun. Claire loved playing with the chips.

 On Monday we woke up and cleaned the house a little bit then went out to eat at Don Pedro's for lunch. It was really yummy food so if you need a good Mexican restaurant try Don Pedro's.

After lunch we finished cleaning the house we stayed in and drove home. By the time we got to Payson it was snowing and the roads were pretty scary. Glad we made it though. Love these people and I loved hanging out with them all this weekend.