Wedding Registry Guide

Happy Friday, friends!

Now that I’ve been married for a few months I’ve had time to play with the wonderful wedding gifts Brandon and I received. I have a few friends getting married in 2017 and 2018 and they have asked me a few times what should I register for and what should I skip. So I wanted to break it down for you today in order to make your wedding registry fun for you and super easy for your guests.

What do you register for if you already have everything?

This is probably the most common question I’ve been asked. Brandon and I lived together before we got married so we had a lot of the basics like really nice cookware, plates and some kitchen gadgets. However, there were items that we knew needed to be upgraded like a knife set and switch from a Keurig to a Nespresso. We also wanted to have more serving items because we love to host at our home. Take a look around your home to see what you could upgrade and add that to your registry.

What to register for when we need EVERYTHING?

Luckily the internet will be your best friend when it comes to this because there are so many registry guides that you can research to see what fits best for you as a couple. Maybe you are not addicted to coffee like me so you want a really fancy electric tea kettle. Zola has some great Starter Guides that will point you in the right direction. Also, don’t feel overwhelmed as you register or think no one will get us this it’s too expensive. You do you is all I can say. I probably edited our registry a few times because you get scan gun happy that you scan items that you realize a week later that you don’t need 16 bath towels.

What are your registry favorites?

Instant Pot

Before we registered I read a lot of food blogs that kept talking about how much of a game changer an Instant Pot is so I knew I wanted to add it. I’ve used a crockpot for YEARS because it’s so simple and convenient until I started to use my Instant Pot. This little baby can cook a 4 lb rotisserie chicken in 30 minutes. Goodbye are the days of me buying the already cooked ones at HEB, I can now make my own. If you have a crockpot on your registry, I would replace it with an Instant Pot. It still has the slow cooker option but it does so much more, like saute, steams veggies and it’s a rice cooker to name a few.

New Sheets

Our sheets have always been from Target so we wanted some nicer ones. They are so soft, cozy and don’t get too hot which is a requirement for me. #alwaysafireball

Self-Sharpening Knife Set

When I say my old knife set was crap I mean it, times 10! They were probably 10 years old that I found on sale for $15 at Linens N Things (that goes to show you how old they were). They were so dull and I would get frustrated that my knife skills were severely lacking until this dream of a knife set came into our lives. They are so sharp that I can finally showcase my chopping skills. Every time you put them in or take them out of the knife block they sharpen the knives. No more wondering when was the last time I’ve sharpened my knives.

What should I skip? 

TOWELS! We spent so much time looking at towels and trying to figure out which towels would work best for each bathroom. Guess what! We didn’t get a single towel. If you need new towels, I would just use gift card money to purchase them.

Items that don’t suit you as a couple. If baking and cooking isn’t your thing, that’s totally ok so don’t feel pressured that you have to put every baking item on your registry.

It was so much fun sharing some registry tips with you! Zola is a one-stop shop for all of your registry needs especially if you want to do a HoneyFund instead of a traditional registry. They are changing the game for the modern bride and groom.

I would love to hear what some of the items you loved from your wedding registry, so please feel free to comment below.

Xo,
Heather

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New Year, New You, New Budget

Happy 2017! I love the start of a new year; it’s a clean slate, you can tackle something that you have always wanted to but couldn’t find the time or you can challenge yourself to be financially responsible.

In November I challenged myself to “No Spend November”, it wasn’t the easiest of things but my bank account sure loved it. A few rules that I stuck by were, no eating out for lunch, no Starbucks, no Happy Hour dates, no manis or pedis, and I could only buy the essentials. Trust me, it was hard to get my lunch and breakfast together every morning but the results were worth it. I was spending almost $50/week on LUNCH! That’s not including the occasional reload of my Starbucks card to keep my caffeine addiction in check.

Now with the new year I wanted to share a few tips on how to increase your savings and cut your spending in little ways that put off a big reward.

Minimize Your Subscriptions 

Cut the Cable
Maybe you are like me and find yourself watching Netflix or Hulu more than you watch live TV. Cutting your cable can easily save you $70 if not more a month depending on your plan. If you want to keep your cable because you can’t live without your shows, call your cable provider to see if there are any deals for established customers, or if you reduce one of your cable boxes and replace it with AppleTV.

Cancel Your Magazine Subscriptions
Most of the magazines now are 85% ads. Use Pinterest or blogs for food or fashion inspiration.

Cancel Your Gym Membership
Right now most gyms are filled with the January Resolutioners so the gym is way too packed. Think about what you do while you are there, if it’s only cardio put your sneakers on and explore your neighborhood or city park. If you do a lot of free weights, head to your local Tuesday Morning or Marshalls to buy some free weights at a cheap price. Once you have a few pieces of equipment (free weights – light and heavy, and resistance band) check out Tone It Up on Youtube. There are a ton of FREE workouts that you can do in the comfort of you own home.

Cook More

I love to cook larger meals during the week so I can bring leftovers for lunch. My favorite resources are Pinterest and SkinnyTaste.com. Even though my kitchen is a mess afterwards, it’s nice to cook and hang out with my fiancee at the same time instead of siting on the couch watching TV. It gives us a chance to talk about our days and spend quality time.

If cooking every night isn’t your thing, Pinterest has a a lot of Freezer Meals. In an hour I was able to knock out almost 10 meals. (You can find some of my favorite in my Food board). When I was reading to make them, all I had to do was drop one in my crockpot and head to work.

Purge Your House

Every once in a while I purge my house and get rid of items that we haven’t used in forever or that we have upgraded. Anything that is still in good condition I try to sell on our neighborhood Facebook group, Craigslist or the Let Go app. If after a week, it doesn’t sell then I’ll just add it to our Goodwill donation and claim it on my taxes. If I do sell it, I’ll either treat myself to a manicure, a coffee, or I’ll put it into the piggy bank for a future vacation.

Smart Money Tips

If you have student loan debt, look into refinancing it for a lower rate which will significantly reduce your monthly budget. If you have student loan debt and are looking into refinancing, you can find more information here.

One thing that I’ve done recently is, a balance transfer on my credit card to get out of debt faster. This way I’m able to put more smart money towards it since it is interest free for 15 months! Before I completed a balance transfer, I was paying a hefty amount every month to get out of debt but the amount wasn’t reducing as much as it was increasing with each monthly statement. I felt like I was in a hole that I couldn’t get out of but now I’m seeing the light.

These are just some small steps to start your 2017! What are some items that you plan on cutting from your budget? Comment below, I would love to hear about them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Xo, Heather

New Year Resolutions

With 2016 coming to a close, it’s time to prepare for 2017 and reflect on how amazing 2016 was.

2016 was such a fun year and I couldn’t have wished for anything more!

Brandon and I got ENGAGED! 
Countless trips
Lots of parties hosted at our house
Our house turned into a home 
Fell back in love with cooking
New friendships
Strengthened existing friendships

As scary as the term “resolutions” can be, I have a few goals for 2017 . . .

Get Married! (that’s easy)
Cook more
Follow a devotional for the year. I have one but I haven’t followed it faithfully everyday
KonMari (aka declutter) my house. You can find some how-to videos here
Finish a couple of projects in my house (paint the kitchen dining room area, paint the laundry room, and build some shelves in the hall closet)
Read more
Workout consistently (Hello, Wedding Dress!)
Run at least 4 5k 

What are some of your resolutions for 2017 and what are your best tips for sticking to them?

Thank you for stopping by!

Xo, Heather

21 Day Fix

Happy Monday y’all! A new week starts again as well as a lifestyle change for me.

Words to live by // 21 Day Fix // 21 Day Fix Extreme // fitness // fitspo // workout // motivation // exercise // Inspiration // quote // quotes // fitfam //fixfam // fit //:

I’ve tried 21 Day Fix before and I use “tried” very loosely. I did well with the workouts since they were 30 minutes and effective but I didn’t follow the meal plan at all really. I thought it was too hard so I just didn’t try and because of that I didn’t get ANYWHERE near my goal. So after weeks of flip flopping between other weight loss ideas I decided to just bite the bullet and really dive into this program. What do I honestly have to lose besides pizza, donuts and tacos?? Not much besides a couple of pounds.

Today is the first day and I’m pretty proud of myself for not only packing my lunch but also packing my two snacks and breakfast last night. All I had to do was grab my lunch bag this morning and be on my way. Here is what I brought today:

Meal 1 – Shakeology with unsweetened almond milk
Meal 2 (Snack) – Greek yogurt with dried blueberries and raw almonds (12)
Meal 3 – Spicy California Roll (crab meat, rice and seaweed)
Meal 4 (Snack) – Half of a green smoothie
Meal 5 – TBD I have a few things I can put together for dinner

Workout – Total Body Cardio Fix

I’m not going to post about my 21 Day Fix journey everyday but I will every Monday for motivation to keep me accountable for the next 21 Days.

Thanks for stopping by!

Xo, Heather

ClassPass – Month One

With my upcoming wedding and getting bored of my past workout routine I knew it was time to change it up. I love being active and going to the gym but the last few months ago the gym started to feel like a chore. Once it started to feel like that, I knew it was time to find something new. Last month I finally signed up for ClassPass after hearing rave reviews from my friend, Corinne. It was the best decision I made for my health and fitness routine.

ClassPass offers two different plans, 5 classes/month for $50 or unlimited for $90. Right now I’m on the 5 classes/month plan, when I get closer to the wedding I’ll upgrade to the unlimited plan.

Most fitness studios in Houston are on ClassPass so if you want to try spin, pilates, CrossFit or barre you are able to for a low price. For example, a class at most spin studios will cost around $20-25, so if you are able to go to 2 in that month, your ClassPass paid for itself.

During my first month I attended the following classes:

Hot Core Weights
Yoga One Bellaire
Thoughts on the class:
It was a butt kicker! It incorporated strength training, yoga and cardio so it kept my body guessing the entire time. I was SUPER sweaty when I left
Would I take this class again?:
YES!
 

Pilates Reformer
1st Class Training
Thoughts on the class:
I took a pilates reformer class a few years ago and I really liked it. I was excited to see that I could take a reformer class using ClassPass. I left feeling very long and lean.
Would I take this class again?
Yes! Next time I plan on increasing my resistance because I’m a lot stronger than I thought.

Spin
RYDE
Thoughts on the class:
It was sooooo hard, but the good kind of hard. I felt no stress and had total clarity once class was over. The instructor pushes you to limits you didn’t know you could reach. At the end of class, they hand out chilled towels infused with eucalyptus oil. #bonus
Would I take this class again?
YES! I already went back this month.

Cardio Barre! Booty Barre
The Good Space
Thoughts on the class:
Umm….this class was ok. I’ve taken barre classes before so I knew was to expect but I wasn’t overly impressed with their version.
Would I take this class again?
The Good Space does offer other classes which I want to try but I would go somewhere else for barre.

Spin
Define Revolution
Thoughts on the class:
At the time I thought the class was pretty easy but I think it was because I didn’t push myself as hard. I was having an off day, couldn’t find the beat as easily as I normally do and wasn’t in the right mindset. The next day I was pretty sore, so it was effective.
Would I take this class again?
It wouldn’t be my first choice in a spin studio but I would go back to it. Like I said, it could have been more me than them.

As you can see, I tried to take a variety of classes to switch up my workouts. I still workout at home using 21 Day Fix or Tone It Up but at least once a week I need structure. If you want to know more about ClassPass feel free to comment below or tweet me (@BalsamoHeather) I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO, Heather