3 Thoughts On Home Ownership

Welcome back! Today I wanted to share some thoughts as it’s been a bit more than a year of being a home owner. After taking some time and reflecting, I have come to three conclusions I stand by and remind myself about often. To give you the backstory on our house before jumping in, I’ll give you a short summary of our house hunting journey.

Dan and I started looking to buy a house in mid May of 2017 and closed on July 25th, 2017. Our house had three offers on it by the time we were even able to see it- thank goodness for our amazing realtor David Traugott. Honestly, we didn’t think we had a chance, but still put in an offer and maybe an hour later we got the verbal acceptance! I cried in the parking lot of a Dunkin’ Donuts, I’m sure all first time buyers have been here before…right? Back to present day and we love our house, but we have also needed to come to terms with some things. With that said, let’s hop into my top three thoughts on home ownership!

Setting Yourself Up Financially  When we bought the house as you could imagine our savings took a hit, but we knew we needed to start back up as soon as possible to ensure we had money ready and available for any unforseeable issues. One of the best things we did was set up a joint account that we transfer money into each paycheck. We have made a goal for this account, which is to save 20% of the house value. I think that everyone knows they have to save when they have a house, but my thought on this is to truly make a goal and stick to it. Breakdown what it will take to get there whether you get paid weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc to ensure your goal is feasible. 
In our case we use this account for other items as well, but we use the app GoodBudget to ensure we are budgeting our funds for the right things. For example, within the app we have “buckets” set up for the dog, house, wedding, and monthly charity donation we have set for autodraft. When money is put into the account we allocate the proper amount to each of those and when we use the joint card, we subtract the expense from the proper “bucket” to track our cash flow. 

Know Your Home This is a big one. We are one year out and have been extremely lucky. We have gotten our AC fixed with no major cost and have had to buy a new toilet, but that’s about it. We are fully aware that it could be worse and will be at some point when something big goes out. We took time to ensure we knew how old everything was for our house and if there was anything replaced. This goes for the AC, water heater, to the fence and roof outside! Over this last year, we have made sure to do what we can to take care of these items as best we can. There’s not a whole lot you can do sometimes, but when you can take preventive methods just take the time to do so. Even when that item may break at least you will have a plan and be aware that it was a possibilty! 
Even for the little things like a sliding door, take the time to maintain it and ensure it’s in good condition. Owning a house is such an amazing accomplishment, but it is not cheap so avoiding costs and taking care of your home is so important! Proactive measures and prevenative methods will always beat out being reactive and rushed when things do go wrong. And again, things will go wrong at some point. 

Have Realistic Expectations Would I love to redo my kitchen and fill my house? Of course, but with purchasing this house I had to humble myself and remind myself that we will grow into the space with time. Our house is four bedrooms, two and a half baths, and basically 3200 sq ft. Yes, we are crazy. No, we do not regret buying the home. Yes, the house is too big sometimes when Dan travels for work. At the end of the day though, we got an amazing deal, a house we can grow into, and a home that had everything we wanted on our list of “must-haves”. 
If you’re anything like us, most of the furniture in our home is a combination between both Dan and I’s apartments. We purchased some items and were gifted things as well, but for the most part our house is just a mashup of everything we have owned previously, which surprisingly works out for the most part. With this said, I have to remind myself that it’s going to take time to fill this house and that’s okay. My taste and style have already changed a hand full of times so the more time I have the better I’ll be able to buy and decorate the house with Dan. 

I used to get so frustrated with all the space we had and the lack of furnishings, but I’ve had to remind myself lately how lucky I am to be a twenty-something young professional with a house. I am so grateful to have a place to call home that has my name on it. To be paying money for more ownership into something. Having a home to create traditions and memories in. More and more I must remind myself that the material things that fill the home do not make it a home. 

Filling up the house and making updates are still expectations I have, but are now long term plans. When you buy a home, make goals and have expectations that are feasible with where you are in life and what makes sense. I understand the pressure to do so especially if you want to host people or if you just want that “Pinterest” look, but your friends will understand and well, Pinterest projects aren’t always all that they seem. Just remember to pace yourself accordingly and build a timeline of projects, goals, and expectations based on the right timing for you. You alone, not for anyone else. 

Owning a home has been wonderful and we have some amazing memories and traditions we have created here. I always love reflecting on our journey and how we got to where we are. As the end of the year creeps up on us, I can’t help but look around at my slimly decorated home for fall and smile. I smile because 2018 has challenged me, rewarded me, and humbled me. All things I have been able to process and work through within these four walls of my home, for which I am grateful for. 
So how long did it take you to decorate your home? Were there things you were grateful you thought about once you owned your home? Do you like these types of reflection posts? Let me know in the comments! As always thank you for stopping by and I will see you on my next post! 

xx Alicia

Working Out Is Not For Me

Well guys and gals, physical activity is not for me, except I need it to be for my health. Does this sound like you? Well you are not alone I promise. Now don’t get me wrong I have come to love my body throughout the years and there have been serious struggles in that department, but I think everyone experiences what I have. All it takes is one thing to light that fire under your butt to make fitness a part of your routine.

It was not my upcoming wedding nor my new lifestyle my job has afforded me, it was actually my mental health. I try to take some time to reflect each week and something I have noticed lately is that some of my happy and healthiest memories were when my mental health was on point. When I say that, I mean I was present in the moment, had energy, and was active and engaged. I’ve been working recently to try and make working out for me and I wanted to share with you the changes I’ve been making little by little. 

I hope these changes can help those of you that are stuck and have a hard time working out. Just remember to take it day by day and make changes at your own pace. We are all different, but I believe in you just as much as I believe in myself. 

Know your “Why”?

First and foremost, know what motivates you and why you want to make a health change. With this said, keep things positive. NEVER, I MEAN NEVER, put yourself down and have that be your “why”. I know how easy it can be to fall into that pattern as we are our own worst critic, but it’s simply not healthy. To be transparent with you all, I have been there and it sucked. I had to completely change my mindset and instead I started thinking about all the things I wanted to do and would be easier when my body and mind were healthier. 

Start with your food intake.

Something I learned is that fitness doesn’t matter if you’re not fueling your body well enough. That’s why I wrote my meal prep post, it’s how this all started and I have really felt the difference. My biggest thing was portion control and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Oh and drink water, I use the MyFitnessPal app to help me track how much I drink and I was not drinking as much as I thought. So be mindful of your hydration.  All in all, try and pinpoint one or two habits that you can start with so that it’s not too overwhelming!

Start small and do it at your own pace. 

I used to give myself a hard time about not completing certain workouts until I realized that even a 30 minute walk is a great start to get my body moving. If you go to a gym, try some classes if they offer them to see what works for you. I’ve always loved Body Pump and I’m always looking for a gym that has it consistently that works for my schedule. In the mean time, I am all for free at home workouts! I enjoy the flexibility that working out at home provides me and I like that I can pace myself when doing the programs so that I am still comfortable. Let me know if you want some recommendations!

Make a schedule. 

This may seem silly, but I’m throwing it back to my sorority days. When I told myself I was going to start this commitment, I sat down and scheduled my days by 30 minute increments. From when I would wake up to when I would get home from work, I made sure everything was scheduled in order to help me build a routine. I truly believe that building a firm schedule will help you get into a routine that will end up coming natural after a few weeks. This has helped me tremendously and was perfect timing as I’ve been waiting to do to this anyways to ensure I made time for All Things Alicia, so now I feel the most organized I’ve been in months!

This advice for starting out if you’ve been struggling as I have been is my own opinion and has worked for me, hopefully these changes can help you too. I think self-care is so important, physically and mentally. Fitness and nutrition have been able to check both of those boxes for my self-care and I’m still learning throughout the process. Don’t give up and if you need a break, take one. Don’t push yourself so much that this feels like a chore instead of just a part of your routine. I hope to keep you guys updated with my journey and hope you can share yours with me as well. Let me know what you are doing or have learned down below in the comments from your health journey and make sure to check out my Instagram to chime in on content. As always, thank you for stopping by and I’ll talk to ya next time!

xx Alicia 

Fall Book Review

Happy Monday! I’ve been M.I.A on social media this weekend due to Florence, I’m sorry. Charlotte was very lucky not to get completely hit, but there was still some damages and a lot of rain. In the time I had inside going stir-crazy, I was able to get some reading done. If you are anything like me and love a good book, here are my three suggestions going into the fall. These choices range in genre, but have kept me turning each page rigorously trying to see how each chapter would end and begin. Let me know if you end up reading any of these and tag me or use the hashtag #atabookreview.  Without further to do, here are my favorites going into fall!

1. Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave 

“Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream, she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor. And then she gets hacked. When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home, and the estranged sister, she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life. In a world where celebrity is a careful construct, Hello, Sunshine is a compelling, funny, and evocative novel about what it means to live an authentic life in an inauthentic age.”


This specific book felt slightly relatable in a way to my personal journey. I think we all at some point in our lives feel like an impostor which made me root for the main character. Without giving too much away, there are times in this book where you want to throw it across the room, but then you’ll quickly run and get it to continue reading to see what actually happens! This is my kind of book. It makes you hate and love Sunshine all at the same time, you find a little bit of yourself within her, and it has a big shocker as well. This is a 241 pager and I read it in just over a day with not one single regret.

2. Boy, 9, Missing by Nic Joseph

“In the tradition of Defending Jacob or Drowning Ruth, this is a suspenseful debut that explores the ramifications of revenge, justice, and the aftermath of a terrible night in the lives of two families.

It should have been just a quiet evening with friends. But Francis lost his brother that night in what was ruled a tragic accident. He’s tried to move on in the last twenty-three years, even though his father certainly hasn’t. Indeed, his father still blames the lone witness, Sam, the nine-year-old son of friends. Perhaps if Sam would have just said something, anything, about what happened that night, but Sam still seems unable-or unwilling-to utter a word about the accident…
And now, twenty-three years later, Sam’s own nine-year-old son has disappeared.”

Boy did this one keep me on my toes! This book threw me for a loop and I am completely okay with it. I am not one usually for some suspense, but this book has actually been the gateway to trying to read more books like it! Coming in at 324 pages, this novel pushed my emotions as any good read should. I cried, gasped, and became happy in many chapters within these pages. The way this is written as well hooks you. As you flip through each chapter and secrets unravel, you just want to know what happened to this poor nine year old boy. You start to make assumptions and with each one you make, you are met with the truth or another clue. This book will keep you engaged and wanting more once it’s done. 

3. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

“In this tale of a kidnapping gone wrong, Mia, the black-sheep daughter of prominent Chicago judge James Dennett, impulsively decides to go home with Colin, a young man she meets in a bar. The one-night stand quickly turns into a nightmare when Colin forces her into his car in the middle of the night, and Mia learns he’s been sent to abduct her for ransom. But just before the drop-off point, Colin, for reasons unknown, decides not to hand her over to the man who has hired him and instead takes her to a remote cabin in Minnesota. Back at home, Mia’s mother, Eve, cannot understand why James doesn’t seem to take the news of his daughter’s disappearance as seriously as she does. Gabe, the detective assigned to the case, wonders the same thing. The narrative unfolds in four different perspectives—from Mia, Eve, Gabe, and Colin, in alternating chapters—which are also structured as “before” and “after.” The organization can prove puzzling, but Kubica’s debut thriller builds suspense steadily and will have readers guessing what’s really going on until the final pages.”

This book was a wild card for me as I found it through Amazon’s suggestion based on one of my monthly free books I get. Well Amazon did not let me down as this 399 pager forced me to take breaks from reading. Each chapter is a different perspective that throws you into the story more and more. As you devour all the information of one chapter, you are met with new information the next that changes what you thought previously and it goes on like that until the very end. This book truly struck a cord with me about deception, love, and life. It will make you question everything you read by the end due to the shock it’ll cause from the last few chapters. Who knew an ugly fictional story about a kidnapping could make you have goosebumps…at least it did for me. 

With each book I suggested, there was a turning point that made me grateful to have them in paperback so that I may reread them all over again. I hope you find some time to decompress and pick up a book. Now that fall is here, some hot cider, an oversize sweater, and a comfy couch will be calling my name for more literature to be read and judged. Keep checking in for more suggestions every month or so and if you have any must-reads, comment down below! As always, thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next time. 

xx Alicia