Luxury Laundry: Managing the Household Load

Having the ability to do everything does not mean that you should. Whew – glad that’s finally out and in the open!!!
If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed take a look at your to do list and ask yourself:

Do I have to do this?

If the answer is No – then delegate it or completely get rid of it.
If the answer is Yes – I challenge you! Are you absolutely sure you have to do this? Does it have to be done at a specific time?
Let me explain.
In my household – I handle the laundry.

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Continue reading “Luxury Laundry: Managing the Household Load”

Kimono Robe, Jean Overalls, & Grilled Cheese

You ever have those wardrobe items that you just wear all the dang time!?! I certainly do & I am not ashamed at all. I am an aspiring minimalist who is proud to not have a personal closet overflowing with clothes. Every time that I am in my closet or folding laundry – I look to see if there is anything that I can sell or giveaway.

“Y’all We Need to Streamline”

That is the phrase I say non stop in my house. My husband just laughs at me and the kids simply stare at their mother. But for real, I’m not joking – I’d rather keep just a few items (pre-loved preferred) – treat them well – and then release them for someone else to enjoy!
I soooo appreciate the folks that were kind enough to part ways with this kimono robe and the jean overalls!

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The Kimono Robe was thrifted right before a trip to Morocco and believe it or not – has an actual map of Morocco on it! God wanted me to have this piece of art, I am sure of it! When I wear this beauty I truly feel like the daughter of a King!!! Straight majestic orange crush vibes!
When I found the overalls one of the button enclosures was missing – which is probably why it was kicked to the curb. :/ Welp – I snatched it up, grabbed a button enclosure set, and my son’s teacher installed it for me! These overalls have been getting worn to every dang thang since! I have worn them to picnics, work, church, – you name it!
These two very different closet staples had never been paired together & I must say this combo will be repeated time and time again! The gold drop earrings, accessories, and heels – keep the look elevated.

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Tory Burch “Marion” Quilted Lambskin Tote (thanks hubby).
Asus ZenWatch 3 (thanks again hubby)
DSW Shoes (clearance).

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The African Women, elephants, and zebra animal print – make me ooh and ahhhh like a little child. ❤ I just might need to see Black Panther again, wearing this exact same outfit – so I can pretend I am a Wakanda native! hmm……let me go check out the movie showtimes….. (I’ll be righhhhhhhhhhht back)
20180325_210441.jpg“Did my husband just say “cheese” as in smile or “grilled cheese” as in food…?
Yea, sooooo the movie mission was abruptly put on hold (womp womp) -> blame it on the food temptation! I mean…one cannot work on an empty stomach and risk getting hangry!
Thankfully my classy ensemble could transform to ” I’m ready to eat chic” in a blink of an eye – by simply removing the robe in a lady like manner (aka throw to the nearest chair)!
My husband made a delicious grilled cheese & tomato soup lunch! I took some photos and rough notes – so maybe one day I can get up off my tooshie to melt some cheese on some bread and warm up a soup box. You’ll probably beat me to it – recipe is below. 🙂

 

 

Fancy AF Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup (1 Box – feeds 4)

  • Brioche Bread Loaf Slices

  • Shredded Cheese of Choice (Monterrey Jack & Mexican Cheese – is what we used) – 1/4 cup per sandwich

  • Olive Oil (a little)

  • Butter (a little)

  • Parsley or Cilantro (to garnish and look real fancy)

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350

  2. Shred up your cheese of choice – if you want it really cheesy then shred up a mountain high pile. *sing ” Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” while you do this – it’s only right! 😀

  3.  Warm up your box of soup on the stove top, stir occasionally low heat

  4.  Warm your olive oil and butter in a skillet (we prefer cast iron) – lightly brown your brioche loaves on each side – medium heat

  5. Place the bread slices into the buttery skillet. Top half of the sandwich (one slice) with your cheese mixture and place the other slice on top – cover  the skillet with a lid to get the nice cheese melt.

  6. Uncover the skillet and for added swag – place in the oven for additional browning and melting – keep in for just a few mins, remove, and slice your sandwich

  7. Pour your soup into a bowl & garnish to liking, plate the slices, and BAM -> all done. 🙂

This quick and simple meal was a hit! Can you tell!?! 🙂
We will definitely be having this fancy grilled cheese & tomato soup combo again!

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Feed me again please and I will bring a side of thrifted style, same outfit swag.
There is nothing wrong with wearing the same outift and repeating a yummy meal! 😉

 

Peace & Blessings,
Lo Johnson

Love Series: Pearls of Wisdom

My whole life I have been surrounded by incredibly strong women!
In fact, the Lord blessed me with the honor of having 5 grandmothers during my lifetime!!! 3 greats and 2 grands – to be exact!
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Photo taken in my Great Grandma Pearl’s formal living room – wearing my favorite thrifted overalls.  Isn’t this red throne & dreamy artwork – gorgeous!?! 😍😍😍
Over the past 4 years, three of them have passed away and my heart will never be the same. I am forever grateful for all they taught me and miss them dearly. Thankfully I will see them on the other side – in eternity with our maker.

We All Are Passing Through

My Great Grandma Pearl is the last Great I have left on this Earth and she just celebrated a birthday on love day. ❤ To be 94 years old and still living in your own home – in your right mind – giving the Lord all the glory – #goals on #goals on #goals!!! 🤗
To celebrate this blessing of continued life I road-tripped to her house with my kiddies and siblings! We took her out to dinner and commenced to have a sleepover! She had us cracking up with all of her stories and life lessons! Listen –  it was midnight and she showed no signs of wanting to sleep! At 94, she was trying to have a stay up all night over!!!!!  Welp, her great grands couldn’t stay up and hang! 😂😂😂 We tapped out at midnight – don’t judge us.
In between giggling and cackling I  managed to jot down a few of my Grandma Pearl’s knowledge drops. Check out these:

Pearls of Wisdom

  • Be Thankful & Grateful
    •  Everything about her spirit exudes this. She is thankful that the Lord has provided for her and that she has lived to see generations of her family.
  • Live Spirit Led
    • She described a time where she wanted to fuss about something and the Lord told her no good would come from it – so she obeyed. She raised her kids to know the Lord and got them in Sunday School. To this day she looks forward to going to Sunday School at her church.
  • Prioritize Family
    • She raised 6 kids and was a working mother.  Being with her children was her top priority and she was not one to go out partying.  It her belief that leaving them alone and not being present – can cause kids to go astray. There was a time where her and my Great Granddad worked the same shift – she talked to her boss and asked him to switch her – so one of them could be home with the kids and not a sitter.
  • Choose Balance
    • In her younger years – an older woman and her doctor told her to “not do it all”! They told her if she continued working all day, come home cleaning & scrubbing, then cooking, getting the kids down, and polishing shoes – with no real rest – that her kids would have no mama. She definitely did not like the idea of  leaving young kids behind – so she let some things go and introduced balance. She chose to let her husband pick up some things – like cook dinner from time to time.
  • Nothing is “Free”
    • There is always a catch or some fine print – sooner or later. Ask up front and don’t fall for the tricks!
  • Get an Education
    • Just having a high school degree means the world to her! Getting a college degree is HUGE! Attending our graduations was always at the top of her list and made her so very proud. On this last visit, she made it a point to speak over my 5 year old and tell him he is smart!
  • Men: Treat your Ladies Right
    • I overheard her telling my brothers this. That as a man you may think you are getting away with mistreating your lady – but it will catch up to you. This goes for us all and is bible. “Love your neighbor as yourself” – read the verse here. Loving God and others – are the greatest commandments
I picked up on these nuggets and more during our conversations. Plus we got to make  more memories and just love on each other! That is what family is all about.

Spend Time with your Elderly Loved Ones

They have sooo much wisdom and you might just get a six-pack from non stop laughter! Okay maybe a 2 pack, but you get my point. 😂 In all seriousness, they have been there done that! Get those pearls of wisdom and family history  – written down.

Pass it to the Next Generation

On this last trip I did just that and snapped lots of photos – my favorite being a 4 generation family picture. Tripods sure do come in handy – so no one gets left out! 🙂
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My Great Grandma Pearl, Granddaddy Young, siblings, and kids. I am wearing a groovy thrifted Anthropologie top – available for purchase – here.

 

 

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Group Hug!
Peace & Blessings,
Lonisa

Super Bowl Sunday Swag

Football season brings flashbacks to my childhood – the traveling, tape watching, and all the fancy perks of being immersed in the world of the National Football League.

Now, as an adult, there are three triggers that bring out my inner football fan :

  • The release of Hard Knocks on HBO – to get hype!
  • My husband’s fantasy league draft – to talk trash!
  • Super Bowl Sunday – to eat snacks! 😀

To celebrate the big game I pulled out some official NFL swag – the leather jacket that my Queenie Mommaz used to rock! 🙂

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I absolutely loved wearing this memory jacket and pairing it with my thrift finds. The items pictured below cost me a total of $10 and they are designer brands!!!

I saw the polka dot top and then saw the Michael Kors brand! Instant snatch up! Long live the polka dot and the pinterest board dedicated to it’s greatness!!!

The purse was buried in a clutch pile, I tried it on, and knew it was something of quality. I did a quick google search right in the store and confirmed that Halston Heritage was a designer brand! I bought the bag for $4 dollars and have no plans of letting it go soon! That chain was made into a heart for good reason – plus it’s love month ! 🙂

These two classy chic finds and the jacket made for the perfect combo!

20180204_231102.jpgTo be honest the jacket is a combo all by itself. The combination of the simple truths that make me proud of both my parents.

  • My Dad – He played football at the highest level for 12 years!
  • My Mother – She equipped her 5 children to get touchdowns in life!

To the one whose name is written in this jacket – thank you for being the ultimate pro. & for doing it with style & grace. 🙂

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Peace & Blessings,

Lonisa

 

Money: January No Spend Challenge

I have officially completed day one of the No Spend Week Challenge!

A week ago, I had $354 of “play” money left for the month and I knew that I would be spending a nice chunk of that celebrating the birth of my husband. I gifted him some new basketball shoes so he can pretend to be LeBron in his work league. 🙂 We also had some time together without our dependents (YAY)!

My sister watched the kids and we got to catch up with some friends from our Alma Mater! Then later we went out for a yummy Sushi Dinner!

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       The Yellow Crotchet Top is Thrifted – cost $4! Brand: Free People

Every time my card was swiped I keyed the amount into my Simple Budget App.

After the birthday celebration, I had about $110 left. I used some of that the next day to ice my family with some Dunkin Donuts and fill up my car tank.

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I now have an Adulting Allowance of:

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I have no reason to spend that money in the next week and would like to carry over some funds into February. Based on what that month is looking like – the coins will be needed!

So I have challenged myself to spend no money between January 22nd – January 28th. Having a full tank of gas and bringing my breakfast/lunch from home – should cover all of my personal spending needs. There is nothing that I absolutely must buy and I have no planned hangouts.

Just because you have money does not mean that it must be spent!

Every month I try to pick a week or a few days to spend no money. There is nothing like challenging your inner self and it forces you to get creative! In all honesty, it is a jolt to the system that shakes off that “gotta have it” mentality!

The days that I have successfully spent no money are the days where I have:

  • Prepared
  • Practiced Self Control
  • Prayed (Temptation is Real!)

Fingers crossed that I can keep it going the next 6 days!  I absolutely love that on Instagram there is a community of everyday people sharing their journey of saving and getting out of debt! Lots of people have incorporated no spend days! I encourage you all to check out the #debtfreecommunity and #financialfreedom hashtags.

Do any of you have designated no spend days? 

Peace & Blessings,

Lonisa

Money: January Adulting Allowance Check In

Wow! We are officially halfway through the first month of the year! One of my goals for this year was to share how I live below my means and hold myself accountable. If you missed my first financial post – take a second to read it here so you can understand my approach to “Adulting on an Allowance”.

I started off this month with an Adulting Allowance of $600 – the goal being not to spend beyond that amount. Anytime I have swiped my card for lunch, gas, or picked up a random item – I have quickly keyed the amount into my Simple Budget App. I love this because I can see trends over time and understand my personal spending habits.

As of January 16th – I have an Adulting Allowance balance of $354! Not bad at all!!!

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The majority of my money has gone to – gas. In second place is the date category – I spent $66 for an April date with my husband  – I am taking us to a concert. In third place is eating out  – basically my lunches and random we hungry, don’t feel like cooking family fast food meals. 🙂

 

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Misc. – I did a  $20 Walgreens run for diapers, toothpaste, and hair product. I also had to pay $15 for misplacing my work badge – FAIL!

 

Typically food would be my #1 or #2 highest category. At work – I had a blessing come up at the start of the year! I received $90 meal dollars on my work badge as we have lots of working lunches. I have been using this “free” badge money on days where I have not brought my left overs. Next month – I am going to have to get my life together and diligently bring my lunch – because that $90 has dwindled.

For the remainder of the month – I know I will have to spend the remainder of my Adulting Allowance on:

  • Birthday gift & dinner to celebrate my husband (estimated $200) – maybe less 🙂
  • Gas (estimated $60) – currently my tank is full and should last a week
  • Eating Out (estimated $50) – maybe less 🙂

These estimates show me that I really only have about $40 dollars of play money available for myself. I am cutting it very very close! I am not going to let myself go over without putting in some effort to increase my coins.

Soooo, I have gotten back into:

Market Research Studies

I highly suggest looking up ones that are in your area. Basically the company will email me surveys – I take them and pray really hard that I will be scheduled to come to the facility 20 mins away from me. I will usually taste & review food (yummy) and get paid $40 dollars for 45 minutes of my on site time . I don’t side-eye $40 dollars – that is a lot to me – because that is more than a tank of gas! There have been times where I have participated in a 3 day wine tasting study (held in the evenings) – I received $175 and my required designated driver $75. Shoot, one time I showed up to a study late and they no longer required my participation – I still walked out with $200! Paid for being late & not adding value to a focus a group! Umm yea this is real life! Look into it 🙂

There are so many ways to put yourself in a position to get some extra cash. I will let you guys know if I get called in for a study (fingers crossed) and share I how I use the funds.

I hope that your Adulting on an Allowance journey is going well! If you feel that you are already over – do not beat yourself up. Understand your situation and look for ways to help yourself out by either securing some extra funds or reducing personal spend (where possible). 

I’d love to hear how you are doing and knowledge share!

Peace & Blessings,

Lonisa

Money: Budget Based Adulting Allowance

Money is a tool. A tool that is used to help you, your family, and ultimately communities. Talking about money can sometimes be very difficult because many of us want more of it, yet do not have habits established to be good stewards of the money that we do have. We think that getting more money – will get rid of our debt, increase our savings, and/or enable us to be out here LIVIN LIT LIVES!

Sure (with a shoulder shrug) – that is possible – but more money does not make that happen.

You do.

It is a personal choice – what are you going to do with your hard earned money? How are you going to spend it?

Will we throw money towards debt? Will we save and invest our money? Will we take a combo save & debt repayment approach?  Will we give our money? Will we spend money that we do not have and keep a credit card balance?

I am not going to tell you the right choice for your current season – I don’t know your life.

However, I am going to share with you how I have been living off an LFS.

In our house this acronym equates to “Left For Spend”. It is basically the adulting allowance that one has in a given month – after all the required adult responsibilities have been paid.

So here is how to calculate the monthly Left For Spend – Adulting Allowance :

Monthly Income – Bills – Savings – Giving = LFS

In my household – we have all of our recurring bills, monthly saving, and monthly giving amount, plus our LFS in our budget sheet. As a family we have decided that we are going to save, give, and play with a certain percentage of our income. The amount allocated to saving and giving – does not get reduced if I overspend that month. In doing this we are ensuring that we do not financially short change our future and community giving.

After applying the formula – I am left with an LFS Adulting Allowance of $600.

Any spending that is not a required bill, savings payment, and giving payment- is taken out of this $600 LFS sum.

My allowance spending falls into categories such as:

  • Pampering (Hair & Nails)
  • Clothing (My boys and I)
  • Random household spoiling
  • Gas (because this amount fluctuates – it comes from here)
  • Entertainment
  • Eating Out
  • Bday gifts to others
  • Gifts to myself 🙂

At the start of every month there are two things that I do to set myself up for success:

1.  I write out how much I think will be spent in each Miscellaneous Category depending on what is coming up and any known needs

  • Doing this helps me to realize there are boundaries on my spending and that in fact – the majority of it is already “spent” before the month even starts – because I want to get my nails done, eat out once or twice, grab my husbands bday gift, and get my boys a few things.

2.  I key into my phone app my $600 Adulting Allowance Amount – then once I spend money – I just add the expense and it keeps the running total. Takes 2.2 seconds to log this -> I swipe my card then type the amount into my app.

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  • I love this app because let’s say it is day 7 of the month – and I’ve gotten my nails done, picked up my husbands gift, ate out with girlfriends, and gotten my boys new boots. I may have dropped from $600 down to $300. So knowing that there is more than half the month left – with gas to buy, some more eating out – I am encouraged to choose wisely. I think twice before swiping my card – is this purchase really worth it?  Hmmmm. Maybe not.
  • Suggested Apps: Simple Budget (Android) and Left to Spend (iPhone)

Please do not read this and think that this is easy – it requires discipline and being a fan of delayed gratification. Plus you have to have a debt vengeance.

Credit Card Debt – I had it at one point – l was adding to it – then I started to change my spending choices – say no to things – work to increase my income – and not spend the increase  – this enabled me to ultimately get rid of it.

Student Loan Debt – There was a time that I was so focused on getting rid of my student loan bill that my saving was minimal and so was my LFS Adulting Allowance. My husband and I had lawn chair living room furniture because we refused to buy a new couch until our student loans were gone. No shame.

It is during these seasons that I truly learned that with self control it is possible to live below ones means in order to hit a financial goal.

My desire is to see more people getting rid of the credit card balance mentality and to eliminate student loan debt. Learning to live below your means – helps to achieve this.

Over the next few months I will be sharing my monthly personal spending in full transparency. The months I come under will be shared and the months I go over will be shared. If I go over – my LFS Adulting Allowance for the next month will be reduced. I hate when that happens!

To make it very clear I do have an emergency savings fund established for true emergencies – like my furnace suddenly needing to be replaced (happened last month). The emergency fund is not used to fix me overspending on shoes I just had to have. If you do not have an emergency fund – I strongly encourage you to start saving up some money to have a little cushion.

Alright – so – if this post is talking to you – there is an action item. Set aside time to figure out your Adulting Allowance and set yourself up to spend within that amount. Be a good steward.

It is my hope that in reading this you understand the importance of not overspending and that in the coming months you can see this in action. The true goal being to enjoy life without creating/adding debt.

Thank you so much for reading & happy adulting on an allowance 🙂

 

Peace & Blessings,

Lonisa