For the past few years one of my New Year’s Resolutions has been to create and stick to a budget. Joshua & I have gotten so far as to list all of our monthly expenses, but as far as budgeting goes, we needed a little extra help.

Our church was hosting Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, so we decided to sign up. I’ve already heard good things about Dave Ramsey via a couple bloggers, so I figured doing a financial class based around his principals is just what we needed!

The bulk of the class was learning about and following The Seven Baby Steps:
Dave Ramsey's Seven Baby Steps

Each week we covered a Baby Step in depth and/or other important financial information like being a good shopper, insurance and investments. We had homework every week which included reading a chapter or two from Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money, and it would usually enforce the lesson we learned in class.

Last night we wrapped up our final class, and I have to say I am so glad we did it! It has truly changed our lives. In these past nine weeks we’ve been able to look at our finances in a whole new way and make changes for the better.

One of the big things I learned is that you need to have a newly written budget every month. That means Joshua and I sit down and have a Budget Committee Meeting at the end of every month to discuss the previous month and create the following month’s budget.

Budget Nerd

Prior to this class I thought you created a budget one time and stuck to it every month. We set ourselves up to fail with that one because finances change every month. One month you may need to budget for one category while the next month you don’t need but you need to budget for a different category.


Other changes we’ve made in the past nine weeks:

  • Stuck to a written budget for a whole month. April is our second second month of being on a written budget. On average it takes about 2-3 months to get the budget right.
  • Closed my Old Navy card account (haven’t used it since August of last year)
  • Performed a plasectomy during our class by cutting up two credit cards (which we got right before we started the class)
  • Went to AT&T and upgraded our family plan which took our monthly bill down by about $50
  • Switched propane companies to reduce the cost of our propane bill
  • Signed up for life insurance
  • Made a conscious effort to use coupons more. I do 95% of my shopping at Target, and their Cartwheel app is awesome!
  • Started using cash more and our cards less via the envelope system
  • And our biggest change: we canceled our cruise that we would have been going on at the end of the month. It was a tough decision, but it was the right one. We still have our passports, so maybe one day when we are in a better financial situation we can go on a cruise.

Financial Peace

Joshua & I are on Baby Step 2 – Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball, and we’re hoping to be moving on to Baby Step 3 in 2015. The next class, The Legacy Journey, is coming to our church in the fall, so we might be taking that one as well.

Overall, this class was so well worth it, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to change their finances around. Seriously, this program is one of the best things that has ever happened to us.

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One of the few gems left behind by the previous homeowner was a table tucked away under several cobwebs and debris in the shed. As soon as I saw it the plan was to paint it and use it as a side table in the living room next to the sofa.

Joshua cleaned the shed out this weekend, so he was able to bring the table out to the garage for me to paint.

Painting a Side Table for the Living Room

I started by taking it out back and sanding it down.

Painting a Side Table for the Living Room

Next I cleaned off the debris left behind by sanding it with some Method Wood For Good cleaner.

Painting a Side Table for the Living Room

After it dried I brought it back into the garage and applied a coat of Rust-Oleum Primer.

Painting a Side Table for the Living Room

I let the primer dry for two hours, and then I applied the first coat of paint with a 4″ foam roller.

Painting a Side Table for the Living Room

An hour later I applied the second and final coat which I let dry overnight.

Painting a Side Table for the Living Room

At last, Sunday morning I brought the table inside the house and set it all up!

Painting a Side Table for the Living Room

I had everything else on hand, so the only items I had to buy was the paint and primer which totaled $15.88. Pretty good deal for a new table!

  1. Bumble and bumble Thickening Shampoo
  2. Bumble and bumble Super Rich Conditioner
  3. Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Original Conditioning Shampoo
  4. Bumble and bumble Prêt-à-Powder
  5. Bumble and bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish
  6. Bumble and bumble Spray de Mode
  7. Suave Dry Shampoo Spray
  8. Bumble and bumble Tonic Lotion
  9. Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil
  10. Moroccan Oil

My Routine

AM – Since I usually workout in the morning and my bangs are sweaty and oily, I’ll start by putting some dry shampoo on my scalp, whether it’s Suave Dry Shampoo Spray or Bumble and bumble Prêt-à-Powder. I’ll spray the Thickening Dryspun Finish at my roots and tease my hair for volume. Then I’ll use the Spray de Mode for style and hold.

PM – In the shower, I wash my hair with Bumble and bumble’s Thickening Shampoo followed by Bumble and bumble’s Super Rich conditioner. I get the big 33.8oz bottles from Sephora because they last me a super long time! For example, I bought the big bottle of shampoo back in April 2013, and I just ran out of shampoo about three days ago. Every other day I’ll use the Shimmer Lights shampoo to help clean up the blonde highlights in my hair and keep it shiny.

After my shower, I towel dry my hair and spray in the Tonic Lotion. I’ll comb my hair with my Tangle Teezer and add either Moroccan Oil or Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil to my ends.


I get my haircut every other month by my longtime friend Jessica at Maribou Salon on Sutter. Sometimes she’ll touch up my color, but most of the time she gives my hair and bangs a trim and style. She is so awesome because not only does she do a great job, but she educates me about the products I use and she always squeezes me in whenever I need an appointment!

  1. Boscia Blotting Linens
  2. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion Tube
  3. Sephora Pro Large Domed Stippling Brush #41
  4. Tarte Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation
  5. MAC Mineralize Concealer
  6. Tarte Smooth Operator™ Amazonian Clay Waterproof Concealer
  7. e.l.f. essential concealer brush
  8. YSL Touche Éclat
  9. MAC 129SH Powder/Blush Brush
  10. bareMinerals Blush
  11. MAC 187 Duo Fibre Face Brush
  12. MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder
  13. MAC Viva Glam Lipstick
  14. MAC 242 Shader Brush
  15. EcoTools Sharpen & Smudge Duo Brush
  16. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio for Brown Eyes
  17. Benefit They’re Real! Mascara
  18. bareMinerals Eyecolor

My Routine

I start with blotting any excess oil with Boscia Blotting Linens. I apply Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion on my eyelids, and I let that set while I put my foundation on. I’ve gone back-and-forth between MAC’s liquid foundations and bareMinerals, but recently I was introduced to Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation; so far I’m really happy with it, and my skin seems to be doing better with it.

After foundation I’ll apply MAC’s Mineral Concealer under my eyes. If I have a few blemishes or acne scars that need to be covered up I’ll use Murad’s Acne Concealer with my concealer brush. I’ll then use Touche Éclat to do some highlighting and touch-ups.

Next is blush followed by a dusting on finishing powder. Then I’ll apply my eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara. Since I’m not married to one particular brand of eyeliner or mascara, I’m always trying new brands, especially when I get samples from Sephora.


I typically shop for all my makeup at Sephora, MAC, and Ulta. I hang onto all my empty MAC containers so I can recycle them for a free product via the Back to MAC program.


I’ve blogged about my struggles over the years with my acne/oily skin, and at one point I was on Jan Marini for a time. When I had a facial back in December I told my esthetician I needed help, I was put back on Jan Marini. Now, I don’t even know why I ever went off of it to begin with!

Cristina's Skin Care Favorites

  1. Jan Marini Skin Care Management System plus Age Intervention Duality
  2. Clarisonic Mia 2 with Acne Brush Head
  3. Say Yes to Cucumbers Eye Gel
  4. Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35
  5. Dior Hydra Life BB Eye Crème
  6. Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water
  7. MAC Makeup Remover Wipes
  8. Up & Up Eye Makeup Remover

My Routine

AM – After I workout, I wash my face with Jan Marini’s Bioglycolic Face Cleanser. I then wipe the cleanser off with a fresh washcloth and pat dry with a towel. Next I apply Say Yes to Cucumbers Eye Gel.

Then I apply my face serums/lotions: Jan Marini’s C-ESTA Face Serum, Jan Marini’s Bioglycolic Bioclear Lotion, and Jan Marini’s Transformation Face Serum.

Lastly I’ll apply sunscreen in the form of Jan Marini’s Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant SPF 33.
If feel like I need a little bit of extra coverage, I’ll add Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream SPF 35 to the mix along with Dior’s Hydra Life BB Eye Crème.

PM – Before I start my shower, I remove the day’s makeup with either Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water or Mac’s Makeup Remover wipes followed by Target’s Up & Up eye makeup remover.

While in the shower and letting my conditioner set, I’ll dry my face off and wash my face with my Clarisonic Mia 2 (Acne Brush Head) and Jan Marini cleanser. I like having the steam from the shower help open up my pores while using the cleanser.

After my shower, I apply some eye cream; no preferred brand in particular at the moment. I’ve usually got a sample or two of eye creams from Sephora, so right now I am trying out Philosophy’s Miracle Worker Retinoid Eye Repair Cream. Then I will apply my serums: Jan Marini’s C-ESTA Face Serum, Jan Marini’s Bioglycolic Bioclear Lotion, Jan Marini’s Age Intervention Duality, and Jan Marini’s Transformation Face Serum.


I’ve been going to Hoshall’s Salon & Spa ever since I right before my wedding back in 2010 for facials. I try to go at least every two months. For brows I go to European Wax Center because they’re reasonably priced, do a good job, and can always squeeze me in whether it’s by appointment or walk-in.