Friday, May 29, 2015

When life hands you lemons ... make lemonade ice cream! Its been a week of brain freezes for sure. And in the end, I learned an important lesson that I sometimes forget.

I am horrible at saving money, Ill be the first to admit that. But now that I'm earning enough to be able to save, I've been trying to put money aside in case of an emergency. Ive never before made enough where I had leftover for savings. Since I moved here with basically a couch (I didn't have a bed, or other furniture - I mainly brought personal items and clothes), I spent a lot of money making my house a home - and I'm so glad I did! And yes, I treated myself to some fancy Kate Spade purses...and I'm not going to apologize for spending money on that. 

So last week I was thrilled when I had more money in my savings account than ever before! I was going to apply for a credit card. I had worked hard all year to get my finances in order - pay all my bills early, when able, and save some along the way. I had gotten denied the year before, but surely after a year of being a financially responsible adult, a credit card should be given to me. WRONG! I got denied again! I called the bank upset that I had once again not qualified for a credit card. The financial advisor directed me to a website where I could run my credit. He told me the score the website gave me was pretty bad and instructed me to scroll down the page to see where the problem was. As it turns out, I had debts that had gone to collections from as far as 7 years back...from right after I moved to the States! I got off the phone with the bank and just broke down crying. After working so hard for a year, I probably only ruined my score more since another year had gone by without me paying these debts I didn't even know I had. They totaled almost $2,000!!

When I first moved here and started paying bills here, I wasn't aware of the ramifications of not paying bills on time. It literally takes years to work this off, and get my credit score up to a decent number. I right away made a plan to pay off the debts I owe. The night I found out and next day, I paid off 5 of the 7 debts! It made me realize that I am so blessed and fortunate to be able to pay them. I could have easily been in the same position as last year where I didn't have enough to pay it back.

All my debts will be paid by June 15th and I will finally be able to restore my credit. I am feeling super lucky, that even though my bank account has been completely drained of my emergency savings, I was able to pay off as much as I did. I love when I find the positive in something...even though this one was a tough one :) Its hard to find the silver lining - but SO worth it!!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Im a broker

image taken from google

(disclaimer - some buttons on my keyboard are not functioning properly. Apologies for any spelling errors)

Feels weird to say that...I'm a broker. I was telling someone the other day, who asked what I did, that I was a broker. Lynne said, Isn't it so cool to tell people that? And it sounds cool. But I also think that 75% of the people have no idea what I do (and up to 10 months ago...I didn't even know brokers existed). I figured it be fun to explain exactly what it is I do.

I work for a 3rd party logistics company - meaning we have no assets of our own (no trucks, truck drivers or containers). I have held 3 different positions since starting in July of 2014, the one I have now is my favorite. My title is Intermodal Representative/Broker (intermodal means multiple modes of transportation - a truck will pick up an empty intermodal container at the rail yard, drive to the shipper where he will be loaded with whatever product we are shipping, drive the loaded container back to the rail yard where it is placed on the train. Once it arrives at the final destination, another truck will take the full container to the consignee and unload the container). I have tried to explain this in an easy way, and say: I work with trains - but the girl I was telling this to, asked if I was the conductor...NO I don't actually get to operate the train :)

Here is what I do in a nutshell. My company is divided in operations and sales - I work in operations. The sales team will find a customer, say Target (we don't actually have Target as a customer), who needs to ship their products from their warehouse in North Carolina to Los Angeles for example. My team (the intermodal department consists of 2 other brokers and 2 coordinators) will reach out to large intermodal carrier, often via email or online, and get rates to see how expensive it would be to move Targets inventory from point A to point B. Once that's all done, and we have agreed on a price and won (often times there are more 3PLs fighting for the same customer or particular lane) we then have to make sure everything goes smooth and gets delivered ok.

I mainly spend my days quoting and solving problems (things go wrong with trains - shipments get delayed, containers accidentally get put on the wrong trains, and last but certainly not least - trains derail, which is really not good).

I never knew that this side of transportation existed and will never look at trains or trucks the same way ever again. Being a broker wasn't anywhere on my list of jobs I thought I would one day like to try considering Id never heard of it. Like any job, its not always fun - days are long and sometimes they get mundane. But I love my job - it has allowed me to feel like I am making it on my own, I'm able to do fun things, save and pay all my bills. I am so glad I kept working my butt off and trusted Him along the way. 

What do you do?       

Saturday, February 21, 2015

< everything is better from scratch > Tzatziki dip

Everything is better from scratch and also, much healthier! I've learned so much these past few months working with my new trainer (hi Cara!!) about what kind of gross / toxic things are hiding in foods we consume every day. In order to be more attentive of what I put in my body, I've been trying to make more foods from scratch.

For some reason, I was craving the traditional Greek sauce Tzatziki! I found a few recipes online but (as usual) I didn't follow it exactly and ended up just doing my own thing. Here is how I put it together

What you need:

1 cucumber
3 5oz containers of plain Greek yogurt
olive oil

Mixing the ingredients

First, you'll want to grate your cucumber - I left the peel on. Once it's all the way grated, you want to put it in a strainer and push a plate on top. The weight of the plate will squeeze all the water out. The cucumber should as dry as you can get it - I got impatient and tried to squeeze the water out with my hands.

Mix your yogurt, with the dill (I probably used a good 2-3 tablespoons), 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the juice of half the lemmon and 2 cloves of garlic (fresh, not powdered). I also added some fresh pepper as well as some lemon zest.

Mix your dried cucumber in last and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. I covered mine in tinfoil and left it to chill for 90 minutes (that's as long as I could make myself wait before trying it!)

You can eat this with practically anything - a topping on burgers, with some carrots / celery for dipping, or like me - with chips :)

Its super refreshing and flavorful - mine was almost spicy from the garlic. It definitely tasted like more!

What's your favorite thing to make from scratch?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

#housetohome {TUTORIAL} floating shelf

When it came to deciding what should go over my couch, I thought 3 simple picture frames would be satisfying. I hung them up (off course I framed glitter....too much?) and loved them, for a day.

I searched Pinterest for something else, and I found floating shelves! I loved the look of this one so I decided to follow her instructions (click on the link for the detailed instructions and the cut list). My dad helped because I needed his help to figure out how to get it straight (planning on putting them in my dining room as well), and it is much more fun to do home improvement projects with my dad! He decided to add the back piece including the support beams to the wall, then screwed the top to it and last the bottom. Word of caution, I would stain the wood before you attach it to the wall, makes the whole process a lot easier.

The stain I used is Minwax Classic Gray (you can get the little can, that will be more than enough). If you get commonboard, the project shouldn't cost more than $25. I used a more expensive wood for the front piece, so my project was a little more expensive.
I love the way I turned out!! Added some Christmas light because I love how whimsical they look. This was so simple to put together and really broke up the white apartment walls. Let me know if you make one, I'd love to see how yours turns out!!

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I moved to Phoenix for 2 reasons. The biggest reason was that my sister was moving to the City of Angels...LA! I didn't want to live on the opposite side of the country and hardly be able to visit her. Not particularly interested in living in LA, I asked google to help me find a warm place close by. I found Phoenix and loved what I read, and loved what I saw when I went to visit with Lynne in March.

My move was definitely not a very well thought of plan (and trust me, I learned a tough lesson)...I had an apartment and a job...kinda. That job turned out to be part-time, not the full-time key holder position I was led to believe was waiting for me. Luckily the connections I made at that job, led me to the job I have now.

Nothing about the move was easy, the 2500 mile drive, having to start a home from scratch after selling almost all your belongings (I suggest not selling all your things before a big move, it takes much more time and money to replace your things), finding your way around an unfamiliar city, making friends and finding a new job. But in the end, I found more than I thought I would have.

I found a home. I love my little place and the memories being made here. I have a job that allows me to make enough money for bills (ugh), saving and fun things. I live a 6 hour car ride from Lynne and even LA has started to grow on me! I found friends that are amazing. I might not have many, but I have those I can call in the middle of the night. I have found peace, more than I have before. Life is full of positive changes, challenges and triumphs. Phoenix is home - for now.

TV table - homegoods
Wood basket - Joann (link)
Corner table - Ikea (link)
Striped curtains - diy (tutorial coming soon!!)
Shutter - vintage
Bookcase - Ikea (link)
Wicker basket - Ikea (link)
Orthopedic doggie bed - TJMaxx
Couch - America's Furniture Warehouse (link)
Rug - Rugs USA (link- NOW 75% off!!)
Throw pillows - all handmade
Throw - Target (sold out, but similar here)
Coffee table - diy (tutorial coming soon!!)
 Tray - Target (link)
End table - Ikea (link)
Bookcase - Ikea (link)
Little state frames - Ikea (link)
Floating shelf - diy (another tutorial coming soon!)
Gold mason jar + flowers - Joann (pink peonies - NOW 40% off!)
Pug coffee table book - Target (sold out but I found mine here)
Assorted picture frames - gifts for Christmas
I am blessed

Sunday, November 23, 2014

.. 6 months ..

I cannot believe its been 6 months (and a week) since my dad and I left Virginia and arrived in Arizona after 5 days in the car. That feels like it was yesterday, and yet it feels like I have lived in Phoenix for much longer. Learning has been the main thing I have done in the last half year - learning a new (giant) city, learning a new job... and another new job, and learning how to do everything on my own again.

I feel at ease here. This city is huge, but I love my neighborhood and my surroundings. I love that my sister and brother in law are only 6 hours away (I went to visit twice... more on that later).

Here are a few things that I've learned in the last 6 months:

1. YES, its hot in Phoenix

2. While it gets scorching hot here, its not unbearable.

3. Drinking water is very important.

4. Don't go hiking in the summer... I went in October and it was barely doable

5. This is one of the easiest cities to get around since its all laid out in a grid

6. But... they forgot gutters! Major flaw when it comes to rain storms and leads to (major) flooding

7. NEVER cut your hair thinking it'll prevent you from overheating. It doesn't work and you'll regret it (trust me)!!

8. I love palm trees!
I have a great paying job and while it is not even remotely what I would like to do forever, it is good for now. The feeling of being able to pay all your bills, and have money left over to save and do fun things has been one that I've never felt before, and I love it.

It'll be time to decided if I want to renew my lease in January and it'll be a tricky decision. On one hand, I love it here and I feel like I haven't experienced all that Phoenix has to offer just yet. On the other hand, there are different places to explore and I don't know if I want to go and explore those while I can. I love being close to my sister and can't imagine living on the other side of the country, and I loved Los Angeles (and surrounding areas) more than I thought and I wouldn't be opposed to moving to Cali - granted I can find a job that pays muchos money so I can keep paying my bills :)

But guess what? I don't have to decide right now - I am loving life right where I am today!

Happy 6 month-a-versary Phoenix!!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Remember me?

Yea hi...over here! Remember me? I took a long, unintentional, but necessary blogging break. I'd like to promise that I'm back...for good, but we all know how that goes!

A little update. I've been living and loving Phoenix for almost 6 months now! Some days I feel like I just moved here yesterday, and other days I feel like I have been here for forever. There is a lot to love...I love my apartment, I like my jobs, and life is good at the moment. Not sure if I mentioned it on here or not, but I started working for another company. I'm a full-time broker for one of Arizona's fastest growing logistics company. It's just a fancy way of saying that I work in the male dominated world of freight and truck drivers. So far it has been a crazy but fun ride, and I'm finally settling into a routine at work. I'm starting my 5th month with the company....crazy!

My sister and husband made it to LA! I've visited twice and LOVED it! I love being near the water and just the overall vibe of the state is amazing. If it wasn't so darn expensive to live there, I'd move in a heart beat!!

My apartment is coming together nicely. I thought it would take me about 6 months to get it completed, but now that the 6 month mark is nearing, I'm realizing that I need a little more time to get everything together. I will probably do an apartment tour in December since I hope to have the majority of my apartment finished by Christmas when my parents come to visit! Plus, I'm trying to buy pieces that I'll be able to have for years and I want everything to be perfect....perfection takes time...and money, lots and lots of money!

So stay tuned for the big reveal! I have some other fun DIY project that will be posted to the blog soon!! Not making excuses, but working 2 jobs leaves little time for blogging, but I'm thinking about posting maybe twice a week for now. I miss blogging, and I miss the here we go again!

Please follow along on Instagram (@sprinklesontoast) since I post on there more regularly! Especially when it comes to my apartment :) 

Glad to be back - thanks for following along,