What to Expect When You’re Buying a House

It’s not easy, and anyone who says it is, must be on some damn drugs–because even apartment hunting isn’t easy, so don’t listen to them, and they’re psychos.

What is up, lovies?!

Today, we’re doing a super #extra post about me being a know it all about houses…and what I’ve learned being in about 100 of them to finally find a house that I was cool with.

I’m also posting a vid about this as well to connect the two, but since my camera died, I figured I would just write this first!

When you’re looking for a house, you need to make sure that you aren’t stretching your budget– and you are able to afford your mortgage, but all of your extra bills as well– phone, gas, car, water…etc. But, there’s a whole vid on that attached here.

On to the fun stuff– finding your absolutely perf house. It’s not easy, and anyone who says it is, must be on some damn drugs–because even apartment hunting isn’t easy, so don’t listen to them, and they’re psychos. Not only that, but it’s frustrating, irritating, and heartbreaking all at the same time. Honestly, live at your parent’s for the rest of your life– it’s easier. #jkdont

When you finally think about buying that house, think about what kind of house you are willing to transform, or not transform! Turn-key, new construction, or fixer upper are all viable options when it comes to what is best for YOU. Yes, your parents may say that a turn-key is more practical, but honey– we’re livin’ on a budget, and I like to keep my electricity on…partially because I’m afraid of the dark.

Depending on which route you go, there’s a guarantee that you will need to take a look at some stats– school ratings, taxes, crime rates, is it far from work?, and take a look at Megan’s law websites as well. It’s useful and smart, too! After you do all your research, get out and drive! Go over to that neighborhood! No one is going to be wondering why you’re there (unless you have really nosy neighbors in some watch group) (they literally have nothing to do)

Anywhos, go there! Drive through the blocks and take pictures (ok, that might get weird) but take some observations: are the streets dirty?, are there a lot of parks?, where are the schools?, how are people taking care of their homes?, what are the traffic patterns like? Make sure that you aren’t passing over stuff. Like, oh, no there’s a fight outside someone’s house…yea I’m not going to live there, thanks. (Experiences make the best blog posts, right?)

Next on your to-do list is: Make a Wish List!

Make a wish list with your must- haves and your must- have nots. Need two bathrooms? Write it down. Need an office for your huge dream of being insta-famous? Write that down too. Don’t want a basement? Put it down. This way, you aren’t wasting your time on houses that A) have no office B) Have one bathroom and C) Have dark and scary basements! Yes, it’s okay to bend on some of your must- haves…but sometimes you just know…and that’s okay too.

Up Next: Find Some Houses!

Use apps and websites like realtor.com and zillow too! You will discover which one you like more, and sometimes one is more updated than another. Your realtor should be finding you houses, but do some of the leg work on a boring Friday night…search in zip codes that you’ve been driving around in…look at pictures and send some e-mails with addresses to your realtor. The one main rule: Don’t contact the selling realtor without stating that you are represented. Just don’t 🙂

So, the next step is going in and finding some fun houses to potentially buy! But, that’s a whole other story for another time! Make sure to take it easy and not be too stressed about the process…you will eventually find a house– either a month from now–or a year…either way, it’s okay! Don’t be to hard on yourself if you have high standards! You don’t want to be stuck in a house that you regret– and you def. don’t want to be in a house that you can’t sell because of all the issues!

Anyway, don’t be a psycho…because I’m enough of one for both of us. Be chill, go with the flow, and if you’re looking for a house– listen to your realtor…but most importantly, go with your gut. Mine is huge, so that’s why I go with it so much.

 

Love you, mean it.

K

I’m stating that I’m not at all a professional realtor– so my opinions are just that…not professional.  🙂

What Did I Do This Week?

On Wednesday, my husband got home and we decided to go out and grab some unnecessary home decor to help us get our minds off of stuff.

Hey you guys!

So, after a long and stressful week, we are finally at most people’s favorite day, Friday! For me, it’s not really the start of my weekend, but you guys like it, so I’ll post for you! This week, my husband and I were faced with some pretty tough decisions regarding his career, but we finally were able to solve it!

When we get stressed, we shop. It’s a super bad way to relieve stress, but we got stuff to make our house cuter– so that’s okay..right?

On Wednesday, my husband got home and we decided to go out and grab some unnecessary home decor to help us get our minds off of stuff. We went to home goods on 202 in Blue Bell, PA. Let me tell you, there’s a difference between good and bad Home Goods. The ones that get hit all the time…and the ones that don’t. This one– it’s a good one. It’s SUCH a good one.

We didn’t go too crazy, but they were just putting out their spring and summer stuff– so I knew we were going to find pineapples and flamingos galore. Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. We walked in, and we immediately went to the mugs. #mugmonday anyone? If you go into a store and immediately put something in your cart– you know you’re going to be there for a while.

Michael found a mug that perfectly described his relationship with coffee. This one is pretty similar to what he found. I walked into the next aisle and found a new tablecloth!

Does anyone else have rules when they go into a Home Goods? Thankfully, my husband has caught on– and walks through every aisle with me and doesn’t stray. I promise you– you’ll miss something!

After debating some other items, we made a promise that we would throw more parties this summer. As you all know, I was pregnant and miserable last summer, so I didn’t want anyone to have fun. This year, I’m ready! We got an adorable pineapple outdoor tray as well as a wooden utensil holder, because I’m really rustic.

The moral of the story is, if anyone comes to my house this summer, they will feel super welcomed.

When we got home, we went right to sleep, and went right into work on Thursday. Today, I was off, and had plans of being in bed all day, but MP3 had other plans. He wanted to be up and out, so I put on my big girl pants and drove around to Marshall’s and Carter’s. (That stuff is in my haul also!)

I am super excited to be adding on another type of media into my blog, so please enjoy my random as hell vlog channel too! We all know I’m not organized to do this all the time, but I’m trying!

 

Love you mean it.

K

 

 

 

 

 

New Year New Me? Relax.

These “new year, new me” people. MY GOD. Is it just me or are people extra aggressive with their wishes this year?

Alright alright, so I spent too much at Christmas and I’m totally ready for my overly expensive trip to Jamaica (so my saving mantra is a bust)– but we have something to talk about:

These “new year, new me” people. MY GOD. Is it just me or are people extra aggressive with their wishes this year? First off, the line to sign up at Planet Fitness is out into the parking lot and the line at Whole Foods is even longer. Half these people haven’t eaten kale, but they read it’s a staple piece for starving yourself.

“I’m going to change careers”

“I’m going to stop being mean to my husband”

“I’m going to own a dragon”

…where do the delusions end?! Anyway, I have a couple of theories on new year new me, and since you’re already here, maybe you should stick around to read them.

First off, if you’re reading this, you are probably wondering if you are a “new year, new me” person that I’m bitching about. Guess what? You probably are, so stop it and set a goal when you are actually going to do it…like in July when you realize that your cookie pouch of a stomach is indeed not cute in your bathing suit. That’s a new year new me moment that will stick with you.

As for the other 4 people reading, you’re probably in the same boat as me– every day you say you’re going to eat different or less, work out more, stop gossiping…and then something always happens, and cookies are suddenly in your mouth while your dog silently stares at you judging your every move.

My thoughts? Stop trying to think that January 1st is magical. Yes; I get it, the first of a month can inspire change in some…some psychos. For all you normal people out there, stop pressuring yourself to make a change immediately. Change takes planning, change takes time, and sugar takes 3 days to get out of your system completely.

I applaud those who have stuck to their goals thus far, it has been 9 days and you are goin’ strong. I’m not going to encourage you, but you only have about 12 more days until it becomes a habit…and you’re on your way, so don’t screw up 🙂

 

xoxo

Kate

 

The Grad School Diaries

But in the spirit of saving, I am writing to let you know about surviving graduate school and some tips from a basically broke student teacher!

I once had dreams of blogging like Kate. Even started one with a friend, and had it going strong for a while! But then I got the acceptance letter for my graduate program and life went a little haywire for a period of time. Two years later, I’m still at it.
But in the spirit of saving, I am writing to let you know about surviving graduate school and some tips from a basically broke student teacher!

For the first few semesters, my main financial concerns were school supplies, gas, and a new laptop.

So let’s break it down:

SAVE WHERE YOU CAN!

Computer:

I knew I wanted a Macbook, and I also knew it was out of my budget. But when I remembered I have an amazing friend who works at the Apple store, he hooked me up. He ordered me the laptop, used my credit card, his store discount, and then instead of paying for tax and shipping, he arranged for pickup in Delaware. A short drive from my home in Philadelphia, and I bribed another friend with a road trip and Starbucks. So we made a day of it.

Saved me BIG TIME! Laptop still going strong today, worth the investment.

School Supplies:

I needed the basics: folders, notebooks, pens, highlighters, etc. I remember when I was younger, my mom was the queen of never paying full price for anything. She watched the sale ads every week from June through August for sales, and I learned a thing or two.

Office Depot does their penny sale. Spend $5 and then everything else is a penny. I scored notebooks, folders, pencils, and a pencil case.

Shop Rite, believe it or not, has excellent sales as well over the summer. Notebooks range from 25 cents to 10 cents, sometimes even go down to a penny. Packs of pens range anywhere from 50 cents to a dollar. Pencils , folders, sharpies, you name it. And not even the knock off brands, legitimately good stuff!

Gas:

Okay, we all know the struggle of the gas pump. It’s hard, and gas prices flip flop every single day. So I found a few tricks.

If you travel the same route often, notice the gas stations! I made note in my head of who had the cheapest gas on my routes back for forth from class, and tried to plan out when I needed to fill up! Every cent counts at the pump!

Also I played it smart from the start. When it came time for me to get a car a few years ago, I made sure it was fuel efficient to the MAX! Aside from a Hybrid car, this was as close as I could get. Honda and I have become fast friends. My tiny silver Honda Fit quickly become the envy of my siblings and had them asking me to use it for their long trips out of town.

As much as I’m a girl who loves a good truck and SUV, I love spending less money at the gas station more.

Did I mention I’m trying to become a teacher? We are a group that needs to save when and where we can, because we ALWAYS need something!

I recently finished the dreaded semester of Practicum and am in the even more dreaded Student Teaching phase now! Stay tuned, I’ll write about how I learned to not go dead broke while doing my fieldwork next time.

Things I’m Loving: Fall 2016

I realize that my blog name is just the opposite of what I do on a daily basis– which is shop for unnecessary clothes and home decor…but, whatever sue me. Anyway, here are the things I’m loving lately:

Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner: Not only is this planner organized by month and day, you have the option to use the timed organization on each weekday page. The hours go from 6am- 9pm, so you’ll be pretty much covered, except for the rager you’re going to at 9:30…sorry about that. Anyway, I have the mini gold pineapples on my cover, but there are such great options if golden fruit isn’t for you. Sign up for their emails, you’ll get some great coups.

Kirklands: If you aren’t #blessed enough to have a store near you, go online and say buhbye to your money. No, just kidding..be smart and download their app. It’s a more organized home goods, and if you know me…I love a good home goods! They have pillows, furniture, and whatever else you def don’t need…but totally want. **Same goes for World Market. That place is a freakin’ castle of treasures.

Caramel Brulee Latte: Yes. This is a Starbucks drink…and yes, I’m aware this makes me look like a complete basic loser, but I’m in love. Go, get a holiday cup and enjoy the sugar coma for a couple hours…it’s worth it.

Lilly Pulitzer Romper: I got mine on sale, but there are plenty of options on the website for an alternative. The closest one to mine is this one. I am slowly buying outfits for my VERY late to the game “honeymoon” in February. I also snatched up this during my last trip in. **It was an essential, so I don’t want to hear it.

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Deep Gray Matte: As if I wasn’t painting you a nice basic picture of myself just yet…here’s the final nail. This color is literally everything. I’m usually a Nars fan, but I traded in my loyalty for this color…and I’m not looking back, so deal with it. Buy it, and thank me later.

That’s it for now, friends. Stay tuned for an affordable gift guide next week!

Love you, mean it.

Sunday’s With Poppy

I remember that Sunday. It was different.

Sunday was my favorite day. For most kids, Sunday is a worst enemy, the beginning of the school week. Sunday meant starting homework and projects, while the memories of Saturday still lingered in and out of their conscious. For me, Sunday was the day. I had no qualms with Sunday…I still don’t. For me, Sunday is the day for making fun memories.

From a young age, Sunday was family day. It was a day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with family. I would be considered blessed: both sets of my grandparents lived a couple miles away from us, and resided in the same town. Weekends were split among traveling, sports, house and yard work, and visiting family. We were a busy bunch; spending most of our days away from the TV and on the road. I wouldn’t trade it.

Unfortunately, my father’s father lost a long battle with cancer in the fall of 2001. We celebrated his life, and picked up the pieces of ours to try and get through each day. My mother had the idea of “Sunday Dinner,” which she later renamed as, “The Old Folk’s Gathering.” Her idea was to have her parents and her mother-in-law over for appetizers, a cooked meal, and dessert…all while having everyone home by 7:30pm for bowling. It was a time for laughter, love, and planning for the future. We planned many occasions while eating an Entenmann’s crumb cake.

In the beginning, my mother’s parents would arrive at 5pm…my father’s mother and sister would arrive at 5:15pm. They would bring dessert. I can still hear our Great Dane barking as my grandparent’s walked slowly up the driveway as my brother and father rushed to help with their groceries. Poppy and Umma’s shoes would scratch our kitchen floor as they walked in and a gust of cold air would fly in with them. I would run down the stairs with a new outfit on, just as my grandfather would ask when our alarm system would be fixed. My mother would shoo them out of the kitchen and I would be the first hug them. Poppy smelled of cold air and his head and shoulder’s shampoo, while Umma smelled of York peppermint patties and her favorite perfume, L’aire Blue. Umma would offer to paint my nails for me while complimenting my flashy outfit. I would take their coats off and run them up to my mother and father’s room. Soon, my grandmother would come in with my aunt. I would take drink orders, and bring out crackers.

The conversation would be normal: Cars, doctor appointments, the dog, school, and sports. Poppy would shoot questions out like bullets, as he occasionally took a drink of his red wine. Umma and Grandma would have light conversation about curtains and plans that were made for the next week. Every so often, Poppy would ask if he ever told us the story of the time he went to China. Although we would say yes, he would tell us a story we never heard before. He has experienced so much; he had seen his share of life. Poppy would tell the story of the time he played basketball with local boys on the mountain of Kunming. He would laugh when he thought about it, saying that he never could understand how he couldn’t beat a couple of 15 year old boys…he assumed it was because he wasn’t used to the altitude.

Dinner was served soon after, and my grandfather would sit next to my brother. If my sister was home, she would sit on the other side of my Umma. I would take my usual seat next to my aunt and mother, and we would pray over our food. My mother would thank God for everything we had, and we would dig in. Laughter would ensue after Poppy would tell a story about his travels through Europe with Umma. My grandmother would laugh, and Umma would roll her eyes and whisper to my mother that he was crazy. She would feed our Great Dane some table scraps and scold Poppy for doing the same. We would be in high spirits, laughing and joking about our problems from the week.

As time carried on, the “old folks” grew older. The stories we once begged for were told two or three times in the same sitting. Seats became empty as years went on. Umma passed in 2007 from cancer. I had never seen Poppy so broken. He would talk about his beautiful wife and what she did while he was in the war. My father’s mother became his only comrade. Conversation became more broken. My siblings and I grew up, and didn’t want much to do with Sunday dinner. I would miss dinner occasionally. I never realized how important it was to Poppy for us to be there.

My father’s mother passed in 2009. And then there was one. My aunt still frequented dinner. My mother renamed dinner to the, “Sunday Social.” By 2009, Poppy had lost half of his eyesight. He had to be picked up, and brought to our house. My brother or my father would drive to pick him up. He had become more fragile than before. Soon, talk of the fear of him falling was a topic of conversation before he would come in. I would sit quietly in the other room eavesdropping on my mother and aunt. I would pick my nail polish and pet our Great Dane. I would shake with fear and anger: Poppy was strong, and didn’t need assisted living. My parents and family thought otherwise.

In 2010, Poppy was moved out of his house to an assisted living facility. He had been stripped of his independence, and he hated every second of it. It needed to happen. He would fall, and not tell anybody. He would leave the stove on and forget it was on. He needed help reading his mail. It needed to be done, but he wasn’t happy about it. Most of the people in his facility were also veterans of WWII. He exchanged stories and compared locations. He even employed my sister to try to find his pilot on the “computer.” Although in his 90th year, he was keeping up with the times.

Our Great Dane would wait for Poppy to come over, and would sit at the table to wait for table scraps. We would still hear his stories. We would still be filled with his knowledge and wisdom. My sister gave birth to his first great-grandchild, and he felt blessed. My brother introduced a girl to us, and Poppy could not be happier.  He had created this strong, loving family…he had given us the life that we live. Permanent additions were made the table; while keeping the memories of the original members.

Poppy was put into hospice after a fall in the assisted living facility. I remember that Sunday. It was different. We didn’t have a cooked meal, but instead McDonald’s with a coffee from Dunkin Donuts. My parent’s went to see him first, then my uncle and his wife. My cousins and my siblings said goodbye. I didn’t. I stayed home. I waited for Sunday dinner to start. I stood in the living room with our Great Dane, waiting for dinner to be ready. It was never ready. I sat in the living room in complete silence, peeling my nail polish off.

I said goodbye to Poppy on a Wednesday. I walked down the hallway, and it smelled faintly of hospital food. I wanted to throw up.  I’m not sure why I was nervous, or what I was expecting. My mother had prepped me on his condition, and I felt sick. As I rounded the corner, I shut my eyes. When I opened them, there he was. My Poppy. No tubes, no sound. He was asleep. I sat next to him, and couldn’t look at him. I held his hand, and it was cold. He was freezing. I was so silent I could hear my heart beating in my body. I told him I would see him next Sunday and he squeezed my hand.

Poppy passed away in early 2011. He was at peace when he passed. The next couple of days were a whirlwind. As I sat in the funeral home, I eavesdropped on my mother making the arrangements for his burial while peeling my nail polish. I sat in our living room with our Great Dane while my mother gathered pictures of Poppy with his family. I felt the itchiness of my black tights on my legs and the squeeze from my black heels. The wake, the funeral, and the burial are all memories that come back to me in flashes. It was almost like I blacked out.

We soon picked up the pieces of our life and put them back in different ways. I went back to school, and my brother moved out of our house. My niece grew older, and our Great Dane passed away. We grew up at our dinner table. We grew up to know what true love looked like, and what family looked like. Lessons about Ellis Island and the Bronx in the 30’s were top notch, and we learned that Uncle Bacala’s was a restaurant and not an insult. We strived for love, laughter and family in our own life journey.

To me, I was taught everything I need to know about life, and then some.