Money Well Spent

Since the beginning of this year, I have made room in my budget for two things that have been nothing short of life changing. Seriously, I cannot believe I waited this long for either of these things...

First off, I decided to sign up for a locker + laundry service at my gym. Those of you who follow me on twitter may have noticed me checking into Lifestart Gym around lunchtime each day. Yes, I am lucky enough to have a job where most days, I can make it over to the gym to workout during the day. With the exception of hot yoga (which I do at Inner Bliss), I'm not a head-sweater. Meaning that for the most part, I don't need to wash my hair after I work out. My gym has shower facilities in the locker room, and this year, I finally pulled the trigger and decided to pay the extra $15/month for a locker and laundry service. The benefit of this is (a) I leave all my gym stuff AT the gym, and so I'm not hauling stuff between home and gym everyday, and (b) I'm saving myself at least a half a load of laundry EACH week (and I HATE doing laundry). The biggest benefit of this whole system is that for the weeks that I'm not traveling, I've been making it to the gym 4x/week on average!!!!!

In addition to hating laundry, I also hate cleaning. Don't get my wrong, I LUUUURRRVEEEE a clean house... I just HATE spending time cleaning it. So earlier this month, N and I decided to cut back on eating out to fit a cleaning lady into our monthly budget. She comes once every other week, and her first day was this past Thursday. I cannot even describe to you the sheer joy of coming home to a spotlessly clean house. Seriously, she is amazing!!! I know some people are squeamish about having a stranger in their home when they are not there, but the best way to overcome this is to go with someone who is a referral from someone you know. Our cleaning lady has done work for my neighbors and many of their friends for a number of years, which certainly made me more comfortable hiring her. And for those who are curious, no, I do not clean the house myself before she comes. I usually just throw out unnecessary paperwork and consolidate unopened mail in one pile!!!

Seriously, LIFE.CHANGED. I'm making it to the gym more often, and I'm not stressed about having a messy house anymore. If that's not good for my health (both mental and physical), I don't know what is!!!! 

Home Improvement and a GIVEAWAY

N and I have lived in our house for about 3 years. In those 3 years, we have taken up ZERO home improvement projects. I suppose that's a good thing, and a testament to the fact that our home needed no work, but to be honest, I'm getting a little restless. I want to change some things around. Nothing overly complicated -- mainly cosmetic things. Change out some light fixtures, new paint, that sorta stuff.

I would love to have our attic guest room look like this:

I would also love to find an armoire and repurpose it like this for our bathroom:

Lucky for me, my home redecorating impulse is perfectly timed with The Great Big Home + Garden Show, which is being held at the Cleveland I-X Center from Feb 2 running through Feb 10th

I've never been to the show before, but I'm told that this year's event hosts over 650 exhibitors showcasing a variety of home activities like cooking, gardening, and home improvement. There are going to be a number of celebrity guests including Cleveland's very own Matt Fish, of Melt Bar and Grilled, Peter Walsh from TLC's Clean Sweep, and Matt Fox from HGTV's Room by Room, among other guests. 

There are a number of other cool features like the Idea Home and Dream basement-- all things to give you ideas on perhaps changing things around in your own homes. There's also the Product Runway show on Feb 2nd (that I've blogged about before here) and the Q104 Four-Legged Fashion Show on Feb 9th (Otto and Clair are very upset that they have not been invited to participate).

So, if all of this sounds interesting to you, you can save $4 buy purchasing tickets online here, and using the code SHOPCLE.  

In addition, you can also enter to win TWO TICKETS right here by simply tweeting about this giveaway and linking back to this post. For example: I want to win @cleshopaholic's giveaway to the Home and Garden Show

Please make sure you leave a comment letting me know you tweeted and also leave your email address in the comments. You can also enter by linking back to this post on your Facebook page.

The contest will end at 5:00 pm on Sunday, January 27th, 2013 with the winner announced on January 28th.  

Good luck!!!

Disclosure: I was provided with two tickets to attend the event and two tickets to give away on my blog. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. 

A little touch of the Holidays

I know its a little early for Christmas decorations, but over the weekend I was greeted by an absolutely intoxicating smell as I walked into Heinen's, and I was powerless to resist...

Winterberries + cinnamon scented pine cones for under $20 total. Yup. They're up. And I'm not even ashamed. Because my kitchen smells AMAZING!!!! Also, I've been told the winter berries will last all season, so really, if you think about it, its less expensive than fresh flowers!!

Get in the Holiday Spirit (locally): Urban Home and Garden

A couple of weekends ago, I was at Beachwood Place with clefoodgoddess for the Compassion from Fashion Event, when I happened to noticed a wonderfully decorated store that I had never noticed before: Urban Home & Garden. Lucky for me, the wonderful staff were more than happy to let me take pictures! I found out that the store is Cleveland-based, and there are two locations- one at Beachwood Place, and the other at Beachcliff Plaza in Rocky River.

Seriously, this store is really cute, and has some adorable little gift ideas and stocking stuffers. Not only can you enjoy the Christmassy spirit, but you can get some of your shopping done, and support a Cleveland business while you do it!!!

You and Me

Although N and I have been in our house for almost a year, its still a work in progress. Once we got our intial furniture and decorations set, we decided not to rush the rest and just pick up pieces as we found them. Our house is very contemporary: lots of dark wood and steel accents. We've picked up a few vintage pieces over the past year, and although I never thought of myself as a vintage-loving person, turns out, I do really LURVE vintage. (I'm not quite there on the vintage clothing though; I have to get over some ickiness issues first).

Anyway, late last year, I found these on etsy:

They took a while to get here (not unexpected), and I have to say, they are SO cute!! They're about an inch and a half tall, and look perfect sitting in a windowsill in our living room!!