Local Spotlight: Charlotte Collective

Local Spotlight: Charlotte Collective

Collective- col·lec·tive

When used as an adjective, it means “done by people acting as a group”. As a noun it’s defined as “a cooperative enterprise”.

Charlotte Collective fulfills that textbook definition and more. This shop is a retail experience showcasing so many of Charlotte’s small businesses that we often see online, at pop-ups, or within other stores around the city. They have created a beautiful retail space, an anchor for the community, and a supportive space for each other as well.

With the work of local makers, creatives, and passionate entrepreneurs splayed across this prime location in Plaza Midwood; 1222 Central Ave, you automatically feel that you’re walking into something so much bigger than yourself. You’re supporting someone’s dream as you’re shopping through the items for your closet, home, technology, and more!

I got to take a look into the Plaza Midwood location before the grand opening. As I walked into the space, the sun was flooding in through the large garage doors putting an instant smile on my face. I was ready to learn more about where this concept came from and get a behind the scenes look at all the work that’s been put in to get here.

When I reached out to my friend, Amy from Worthy Figures, I couldn’t help but jump right in. She explained that this concept all started out of chance. Although Area 15 in NODA is a close comparison, she has always identified a need for an incubator spot for small businesses to test out having a small shop of their own. When the opportunity came in South End, she jumped at it quickly and started building her list of businesses to bring with her. This list being made up of entrepreneurs and creatives met on the pop up market scene for almost two years.

When looking at the line up, I couldn’t help but then ask a few of the business owners why they took the leap with Charlotte Collective. Lauren, the owner, creative and maker behind Feminist Goods Co., said “At the core of everything I do is the drive to create a community and safe space for womxn to be exactly who they are. For me, Charlotte Collective makes sense because it provides the opportunity to pull together and collaborate with other CLT businesses I love and founders that I admire to create a space where we can build closer relationships with our customers and community! Also, as a plaza Midwood area resident I LOVE that I get to be part of our neighborhood culture.

Talk about a mission. It seems that the biggest overall goal for this space is to give small business owners the opportunity to have a store front without all the risk or expense. To connect with their customers in person and to grow a community not just with their customers, but with each other. It’s a task they all commit to. Amy noting that the biggest obstacle being the time commitment. Some of these businesses have full-time jobs- talk about hustle! If their mission didn’t sell you on taking a visit, I truly hope their hard-work, hustle, and passion do. The collaboration that goes on to run a store with 16 different small business is no small feat.

Alley, the powerhouse behind The Alley Way Market, confirmed how comforting the concept of the Charlotte Collective is. She said, “I joined Charlotte Collective because my dream has always been to have a brick and mortar shop! At this point in my business I wouldn’t be able to afford a solo stand alone shop.  So when this opportunity came around I knew it would be perfect for my business.  What I didn’t realize is how much I would learn from all the other business owners! It has been a great experience being around like minded people..

I shopped my way through the store grabbing more than I’d like to admit. More than anything though, I left inspired. It takes a lot for a small business to take a leap on physical retail space. For all of them to come together to make each other’s dreams come just a bit more true can’t leave you anything but inspired.

Here are the brands at the Charlotte Collective along with their Instagram!

Feminist Goods Co.| Glory Days Apparel| Golden Reeds| LA Suds| Pretty Honest Candles| Rachel Tenny| Shani Amara| TayFlower| The Alley Way Market| Winnie’s Boutique| Worthy + Badass| Worthy Figures| The Cactus Club| Cosmic Creativ| Elise Design Company

Their official grand opening is tomorrow, July 13th from 10am to 8pm! You can RSVP here. I’ll also link all of their social media stuff below as usual so you can follow their journey. Their normal hours of operation will be Tuesday- Friday 11am to 7pm, Saturday 11am to 8pm, and Sunday 11am to 6pm.

Do not sleep on this CLT shop- keep an eye out for what’s to come for Charlotte Collective. They may be small businesses, but there’s nothing small about their passion, business savvy, hustle and impact within the Charlotte community.

You can follow their journey here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

As always, thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next time.

xx Alicia

25 Things I’ve Learned As I Turn 25

25 Things I’ve Learned As I Turn 25

I feel as though this is a pretty typical post you see for big milestone birthdays. I wanted to put a bit of a spin on it and let you guys into how my last 24 years have shaped and molded me into what’s about to be one of the best years of my life! I have a lot to look forward to this 25th year, so it’s been extremely refreshing to look back and reflect on how far I’ve already come.

In the past 24 years, I have graduated college; technically not high school- long story, gotten a big girl job, moved states, have lived overseas, gotten a dog, purchased a house, started a blog, and have gotten engaged!

Then there are the struggles. I have lost those that I have loved, I have left a job, I have had major surgery, been rejected, had my heartbroken, and have struggled with myself.

Good or bad, I’m so grateful I opened my eyes on my 25th birthday, ready to take on another year. So without further a-do, let’s jump into it!

  1. Self-love and self- awareness is a journey. You get better and better at it, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
  2. Self-confidence does not equal self-love. I said it. I find myself still battling my confidence in other places in my life other than the love of myself.
  3. Some people just don’t love, respect, and/or support you as you do for them. That’s okay. Recognize it, evaluate the relationship you have with them and figure out whether it’s a healthy relationship to keep in your life.
  4. Emotions are not a weakness. Learn to communicate your emotions, but understand that being “more emotional” doesn’t make your emotions less valid.
  5. As you grow, some people will always see you for the person you were. Those people are probably not in your life anymore…you know who you are. You don’t need to prove you’ve grown. Your actions will speak for you.
  6. TREASURE YOUR ALONE TIME. Being comfortable being alone only makes you stronger when you’re with others. It keeps you balanced.
  7. Just do it. Life is too short. If you want to travel, find a way. Want to start a new hobby, try it.
  8. Spend time on what brings you joy.
  9. De-clutter your life and refocus on people, goals, dreams, and versions of yourself you want to work on. Anything that doesn’t serve that purpose, let go.
  10. Fail, fail again, and then try again until you succeed. Success comes from failure. The failure to try does not bring you success.
  11. Let your mom continue to teach you…especially when you think you can sew, but can’t.
  12. There’s not one way to do something. Honestly, don’t get stuck in your ways and realize everyone has their way of doing something.
  13. Everyone falls on the dance floor at least once in their life and everyone dances on a table at some point or another.
  14. Everyone has something to contribute and something to teach you. Listen up!
  15. Just because you’re right does not make you smart. Be smart and know when to be right.
  16. Stop pacing your life to those around you. Do things in your own time.
  17. Dear college, you were the best and worst.
  18. Family isn’t always a title given to those that are blood related.
  19. TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN. Skincare before makeup 100%.
  20. Making friends as an adult is so much harder.
  21. Take time and truly learn to have a healthy relationship with money. Financial independence is where real adulthood kicks in.
  22. In general, take care of yourself. Seriously, go to your annuals and don’t skip the dentist; although I’m not a fan. Just take care of your body.
  23. Get off your phone, be present.
  24. Your life isn’t over when you make a mistake. You’re alive right? Okay then, clean slate, keep living.
  25. Seriously- call out people commenting on someone’s body. It’s not cool. You don’t know someone’s story so zip the lips.

Bonus 26- Drink the beer, eat Chick-fil-A, and just be content with the fact that all your clothes will always be covered in dog hair.

Well that’s all folks. What would you tell your younger self? Let me know!

As always, thank you for stopping by.

xx Alicia

Local Spotlight: Black Fathers Rock!

You ever meet someone by chance and you can’t help but know their story? That sentence is the absolute description of my experience with Ryan, an author, speaker, host, father, and founder of Black Fathers Rock!. This local spotlight is all about a local non-profit organization that started as a dream, turned into an event, and is growing as an organization. This organization’s mission is to disprove and dismantle the stigma around black fatherhood.

You may be asking my connection and interest in this movement, right? Well, I don’t actually know my dad. An organization willing to help fathers in the community re-unite, better, and connect themselves with their family is something I definitely can get behind. Ryan put it perfectly when he told me, “You often overcompensate as an adult where you had an absence as a child.” and although he was primarily connecting this to fatherhood, I believe it’s a blanket statement for life.

Ryan and His Family

Do I have your attention? I hope so because this story is not one you’ll want to skim over. Growing up as the oldest of two boys with a single mom, Ryan came from a household in Ohio that was filled with his mother’s love, but absent of his father’s presence. Growing up with no longing for kids, he now has a baby boy and adorable daughter to dote over as his wife continues to grow her career. Then life hits you. Imagine the summer of 2017 and having an overwhelming feeling come over you that just inspires you to build an event. An event comprised of two and a half pages of notes that come to life the following year. Then once that event is over you receive a large donation from someone outside the community that pushes you to start an organization. Literally within a year, the course and mission of your life has changed and grown. That is the synopsis of Ryan’s story.

From a small black book; that he carries around to this day, to building an event almost 150 people attended and extending six awards to deserving fathers in the community, and to now having a non-profit to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the community. While also being able to support and assist fathers in building success stories- all the while ensuring you’re growing and balancing your family life. That’s Ryan.

When you meet Ryan, the conversation comes easy and you can tell that the mission he has for his organization comes from the fire in his belly. He has lived his mission full circle. This year’s award celebration for Black Fathers Rock! will consist of six fathers in the community being recognized as well as two performances. It is this coming Saturday, January 19th at 6pm. This award celebration will actually be the LAST event at Pease Auditorium, so if you would like to experience this amazing event, make sure you buy tickets!

As I pulled information from Ryan, I couldn’t help but ask him what’s next once Saturday passes and he didn’t disappoint. He mentioned that he has two book concepts he will be working on, the organization will be aiding the initiative to place changing rooms in men’s bathrooms, and there will be a lot more programming being built for the community. He mentioned his wife will be helping and leading the programming, so we can expect to see some events coming up like “Donuts with Dad”, a parenting workshop, and a Fatherless Forum.

Ryan has big goals for Black Fathers Rock! this year. He described the organization as a necessary movement and explained that he hopes to see more success stories this year; at least one a month. 2018 treated Ryan well and the organization even better, when he told me a success story that made this all just a little more real for me. An honoree from last year was able to reunite with his children after a custody hearing, with the BFR award being a part of his story. These men that are being honored are fathers that take that title seriously and continue to find ways to better themselves in order to be their best for their families and community.

Truly, if you have the time to dig into your community and find organizations with great stories, take the time to listen. That’s what this series is all about! Not only is this organization starting a conversation and a movement, but it’s giving back to the community in so many ways. I couldn’t have picked a better Local Spotlight for this week.

2019 Award Recipients are below as well as how to follow Ryan and the Black Fathers Rock! organization. A link to donate can also be found on each of these pages.

Black Fathers Rock! | Ryan’s Instagram | BFR Instagram | BFR Facebook

xx Alicia

Local Spotlight: Worthy + Badass

Local Spotlight: Worthy + Badass

Worthy + Badass, what a name right? Well it’s not just a name it’s a movement, it’s a passion, and it’s Justine. Justine is the Boss Babe behind this killer business and brand! Worthy + Badass is a local small business that creates a collection of minimalistic jewelry and stationery. She also partners with other creatives on her site, teaches classes, and tries to expand her offerings constantly; like to “badass” t-shirts and NC state Christmas ornaments. I actually found Justine through Instagram with her necklaces and then was able to connect at a Girl Tribe pop-up before attending her event.

More about her later, but let me tell you why I chose this business to feature! I was lucky enough to attend an event and photoshoot held by Justine on the 4th of January. I walked into the building and instantly heard music and laughter. I entered the room and saw a DJ, Photographers, and Hair and Makeup artists- all volunteering. Volunteering their time for a day to make women feel powerful, beautiful, and well, worthy. Balloons on the floor, jewelry displayed, and women everywhere. Women of all ages, races, and from different paths of life. It was the most beautiful and overwhelming first take I have had at an event in a long time. An event that completely embodied the message it pitched.

Justine, picture by LunahZon

Before I got my chance in front of the camera…which was hysterical and fun, I pulled Justine aside. If you ever get the chance to meet her, you’ll know who she is as her warmth radiates through the room and makes you instantly comfortable. So why did she build w + b? Two years ago after she came back from Basic, she wanted to rebrand the company she had into something that defined her more now than it did before. She opened up about her struggles and how building her business from a passion project helped her cope and grow. This rebrand whole heartedly represented how she now felt in the world and how she wanted to make more women feel.

I asked her to describe w + b in three words. Simple. Quality. Powerful. I attest to those words. I love my state necklace I have because it is simple and beautiful, I wear it often. It’s made of quality materials and if you haven’t gotten the feels already, this business has a powerful message.

Now the hard question, I asked her to describe herself in three words and I loved it. Badass. Innovative. Determined, although she more eloquently said “Bulldozer” first! My favorite answer from Justine though was when I asked her about her inspiration. All of her stamps for her collection come from a personal place. Each symbolizes something so personal, especially the butterfly and bee necklaces. The minute she started to answer the question, she lit up even more and you could tell that she puts so much of herself into her craft. She’s a hustler and she’s a fighter.

Picture by LunahZon

I was inspired and empowered by this event. I connected with women and listened to their stories. There was a flood of joy that washed over you at that event! It was a no brainer that I would feature Worthy + Badass. Justine has a stamping event coming up for Valentine’s Day as well as a few events TBD that she hinted at. She also does custom work if you’re looking for a gift for someone special or to treat yourself! Make sure you follow her and support her journey. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.

I wanted to share something with you guys that Justine asked each woman to share which evoked a lot of thought for me. “What makes you worthy + badass?” In short, my spirit and story makes me worthy + badass. In my life I have been tested often and failed some, but with each challenge I learned more about myself. I gained confidence and I learned my value. I found my worth sometimes in the darkest of struggles I faced. My story is still a work in progress, but you can bet that with each struggle I’ll have a story for it. A story that will be full of my accomplishments, failures, and most importantly, my lessons. A story that will embody my resilience and toughness- dare I say badass-ness . I could be more specific, but this isn’t the post for it. So I hope this small piece of myself is enough of a window into my soul.

Ask yourself the same question and own whatever comes to mind. You are worthy and you’re a badass, in case you needed someone to remind you!

So will you guys be checking out Worthy + Badass? Let me know if you do! Have a local place or business you want me to check out? Make sure you reach out to let me know and you might just see it as a local spotlight! As always, thank you for stopping by and I’ll see you next time.

xx Alicia

Christmas For Couples: Materials

Hey guys! Today I wanted to share some items for your couple friends. Sometimes I find that it’s easier to gift for the couple instead of the individuals. I tend to do this for friends that have already checked the boxes for what they wanted for Christmas. If you can relate, but don’t want to gift a material item then go check out my Couples Guide for Experiences that was posted today as well!

Decanter Set: Amazon $26 / Pop Art Portrait: Etsy $88 / Google Home: Walmart $99Tequila Cantina Testing Set: Thoughtfully $80 / Custom Wine Stopper: Etsy $17 / Wine & Chocolate Tasting Kit: Uncommon Goods $50 / Fondue Set: Uncommon Goods $30 / What Do You Meme? Game: Target $30 / Code Names Game: Target $15 / The 5 Love Languages: Amazon $10 / Beer & Wine Shadow Box: Gifts.com $69

xx Alicia

Christmas For Couples: Experiences!

Today I am sharing some experiences for your couple friends! Depending on the couple, I find that it’s easier to gift for the couple instead of the individuals. If you can relate, this is the guide for you! In the case that you don’t want to gift an experience, then go check out my Couples Guide for Materials that was posted today as well- gotta love choices! I have included places in Charlotte to check out as well as places Dan and I have visited over the years. I know that does not apply to everyone, but it gives you an idea of the experience to possibly purchase for the couple in mind. 

Spa Date: A couple’s massage or facials can be a great gift for those that need some relaxation in their life! 

  • Nature’s Spa & Wellness 
  • Brows by Hilary 
  • Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa
  • Savvy Salon & Day Spa

Wine Tour: A wine tour offers a great fun and learning opportunity for the couple. Each winery is different and often come with complimentary glasses! 

  • Konzelmann Estate Winery 
  • Treehouse Vineyards
  • Cabo Winery 
  • Divine Llama Vineyards

Event Tickets: Whether it be concerts, sporting events, or comedy shows- a night out is always a nice thought for a couple who enjoys any of the performers or teams in town.

  • Cher Tour 
  • Justin Timberlake Tour 
  • Luke Combs Tour
  • Hornet Tickets 
  • Checkers Hockey Tickets 
  • Comedy Tickets: Comedy Zone Charlotte 

Subscriptions: Some of these aren’t necessarily subscriptions, but have that feel in which you would need to specify your purchase quantity/time when checking out. 

  • Hello Fresh Meal Subscription 
  • Birchbox: Beauty Box Subscription for Him & Her 
  • Pack Up & Go: A Surprise Travel Agency
  • The Date Crate Subscription 

Food Tour: Know a couple who loves trying to places to eat? A food tour is a solid choice for them then! You can even make one yourself and personalize it- just set the couple up with some giftcards for each place.

  • FEAST Food Tours 
  • Taste Carolina 
  • Tour De Food

Cooking Class: If you’re friends are true foodies and want to learn how to cook some favorites then check out this opportunity. From sushi to southern food, there are a ton of options! Another bonus is that it’s usually BYOB, so you can also gift wine or a 6-pack.

  • Sushi Class at Carolina Meat & Fish Co
  • Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen 
  • Cocoa Lab 
  • Sur La Table 

Skill or Craft Class: Have a couple that has started a new hobby or got a new place? Maybe they want to craft a few new decorations or learn something new pertaining to their hobby. Look into businesses that offers these classes. Whether you pick a class or buy them a gift card, this can be a highly personalized gift. 

  • Crowned Sparrow Co. 
  • Skillpop
  • Candle Bar 
  • Painting With A Twist
  • Nailed It

Honorable Mentions: Escape Rooms, Horseback Riding & Museum Passes! 

xx Alicia

Christmas For Him!

Hey guys! So today I’m letting Dan take the reins for the Christmas for Him guide. Let me know how you think he did in the comments below! Let’s jump in. 

Are you having a hard time shopping for the man (or men) in your life? An astounding number of women spin their wheels endlessly around the holidays trying to find the right gift to buy their husband, brother, or even father. As a member of the male species, I find this to be extremely puzzling as we are pretty easy creatures to please. In this post, I dish out some tips on what you might want to add to your shopping cart for the men on your holiday list.

Experiences:

When it comes to experiences, men generally can be pretty easy to buy for. While women crave elegant and intimate experiences such as musical theater shows coming to town, couples cooking classes, winery tours, and yoga/spa sessions, guys can be more easily satisfied. The manliness inside of our bones is super content with any experience where we either get a thrill, a beer, or a little of both. Check out below where I highlight some of the hot experience gifts to buy for the lucky dudes in your life.

1.       A Day On The Range:  This experience would fall into the thrills category that I mentioned above. Men are competitive beasts and also tend to have a natural knack for the thrill that comes with weapons. To take advantage of this characteristic, you can put together a day where you take the man in your life out to the range and shoot. You can turn it into a contest between the two of you to see who is a better shot, or if shooting shotgun, who can hit the most clays. Is he not really into real guns? No matter, you can substitute in a day shooting archery bows (which is really super fun if you’ve never tried it) or even play some open paintball at a local course. Either way, this man will appreciate you spending time with him being active and engaging in an area where some women generally like to avoid. And if the man is a family member, it is a perfect way to get away from all the technology of the world and bond for a while.

2.    Comedy Night: Has your father, brother, or significant other ever cracked a joke during dinner that got on your nerves? The answer is most likely yes. Men love humor and all the silly dad jokes you see on the internet on a daily basis stem from this very passion. We may not always be funny, but it is the effort that counts. Do and quick search online of comedy clubs in your area and see who is on the schedule to perform in the beginning of the year. You can turn this into a night out on the town with dinner, drinks, and a show where you will both laugh so hard, it hurts.

3.      Skydiving: What’s manlier than jumping out of plane from 10,000 feet in the air with nothing but a parachute and a pair of goggles (well hopefully he’s wearing clothes too)? The answer is nothing and skydiving is the thrill that most men truly crave deep down inside, but are too anxious to mention or they need a woman’s motivation to complete. Do a quick Google search and see where you can have this experience nearby. Usually they have some pretty good Groupons on these experiences as well. And, if you live in a hip city, they now have these indoor skydiving places where you get the sensation of jumping out of a plane without actually doing it. They are super cool, you can check out if there are locations near you at this link: https://www.iflyworld.com/find-a-tunnel/

Material Gifts:

If experience gifts aren’t the right fit, there are still plenty of material gifts that guys love to receive that you can add to your list as well. See below for the material gift suggestions for guys.

Kegerator: Best Buy $499.99 / Wireless iPhone Apple Ear Buds: Apple $159 / New Sneakers: Nike $100 / Cigar Box: Bed, Bath & Beyond $73.99 / Watch: Fossil $125 / Watch Box: Amazon $37.99 / Poker Set: Target $24.99 / Projector TV: Amazon $99.99 / Sound system for TV: Walmart $198 / Grill: Lowe’s $229.99

xx Alicia & Dan

Christmas For The Small Business Supporter

Another gift guide and this time with a giveaway! For this third Christmas guide I wanted to share some of my favorite small businesses with you. I have had questions on why I love small business so much and my short answer is because I was fully engulfed in that community in college. I helped start a small business and worked with local small businesses in Potsdam, NY everyday! Small business truly means a lot to me and I want to share that with you guys! 

So here are some of my gift suggestions from small businesses that I have purchased from, experienced, and love. These are the small businesses that you can choose from for a chance at a $50 gift card. Check out my Instagram post to know how to enter: here!

VeztonGirl Tribe/ Simple & Sentimental/ Charlotte Candle Company/ Daniel’s Custom Gifts/ Teals Prairie & Co./ MikayLove/ Cotton & Clay Co./ 704/ Worthy Figures/ Crowned Sparrow Craft Co. / Skillpop/ Hadley Designs

These are just a handful of small businesses I love and I’m always trying to feature new ones I find. Remember to check out the giveaway on my Instagram page, it’ll be open until the 12th of December!

My next Christmas shopping guide will be on Monday so look out for that as well. Good luck for those of you that enter and I’ll see you next time! 

xx Alicia

BLACK FRIDAY/CYBER MONDAY: Apparel

Back again for day three of my shopping guides to countdown to Thanksgiving. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner and there are some awesome sales going on when it comes to apparel. 

Naturally this had to be one of my shopping guides for you! I am including some of my favorite stores in this guide that have sales worth checking out. The Old Navy favorites are without the discounts, but everything else is the cost with the discount. So, what are you looking forward to most? Let me know in the comments! 

Old Navy

  • In-store & Online 11/21- 11/23: 50% off of your entire purchase
  • In-store only 11/23: $1 socks & for each pair purchased Old Navy will be donating to the Boys & Girls Clubs
  • Online only 11/24- 11/25: 40% off your entire purchase & 50% off all outwear, sweaters, & jeans 
  • Card Member Exclusive, Online only 11/25: Cyber pre-sale with 50% off your entire purchase with free shipping
  • Online only 11/26 -11/27: 50% off your entire purchase with a free pair of cozy socks

Target:

  • REDcard holders get early access to select Black Friday deals online only on 11/21
  • T-shirts are starting at $4, along with sweaters for men and women at $10- $15 in-store
  • Online starting now, all clothing and select shoes are on sale

Baublebar:

  • There are $10+ door busters on select jewelry
  • 30% off personalized jewelry
  • 65% off on select gift sets

Some other honorable mentions are: ModCloth, Macy’s, Kohls, and of course Amazon! Hope to see you tomorrow for my last shopping guide before the big shopping weekend.  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next time! 

xx Alicia

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