Budgeting 101

When Zach and I learned we were expecting in April, we realized that we needed to start taking better care of our finances and getting some student loan debt paid down before his arrival. Even though I’d argue that we were never really “reckless” with how we spent our money, there were definitely places we could reign in (eating out, shopping, unnecessary purchases from Amazon….can any of you relate?!) so that we could save more money and pay down more debt. So, since we made that decision, we’ve been living on Zach’s salary as if we haven’t had mine. I believe that God calls us to be responsible stewards of our money as all of it is His anyways.  Since we’ve been working on our budgeting discipline and perfecting our tactics, I figured I’d share with you some of the things we’ve done that have made our budgeting a little bit easier. With a little discipline and hard work, regardless of how much money you make, I think anyone can be responsible financial stewards and pay down debt and STILL live a life that is fully rewarding with the money you make!

  1. Find a budgeting app that works for you! With the ease of smart phone apps, there are a million and one budgeting apps that you could use to help you reach your budgeting goals. Some of the apps that I’ve heard good things about are: Mint, Everydollar, PocketGuard and You Need A Budget (YNAB). Budgeting used to confuse me so much. Before we found an app that worked for us, I used to get stressed out because I was never sure how to organize our finances in a way that made sense and was functional for us. I suggest that if you want to start a budget, look into one of those apps mentioned above and try it out! We currently use the Everydollar app and love it so far. It can even be linked up with your bank account so that you know exactly how much you are spending in each category! Bottom Line: Find an app that works for you and stick with it!
  2.  Tithe, Tithe, Tithe. As Christians, we are called to give our first fruits (10% of our earnings) to God because after all, He provides for us and everything we own/earn is His anyways. It says in Proverbs 3:9-10 “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Zach and I have seen God provide for us over and over again because we have been faithful in consistently giving our first fruits of our earnings to Him. At times the finances didn’t mathematically add up and we were in a bind, but somehow, we’ve always survived and God has always provided for us. Even if it doesn’t mathematically seem feasible in your budget to consistently tithe, remember that God is in control and He will take care of you, regardless if the money adds up in your head or not! Start making tithing a part of your monthly budget and you won’t regret it!
  3. Use cash for all your monthly purchases. If you use cash for all purchases, then once you run out of it, you can’t overspend what you don’t have! We first got this idea from Dave Ramsey. He’s always taught that we should use cash for everything so that once the money in each category runs out, you’re done for the month and don’t spend outside of your means. We’ve made a few little adjustments, however. We tend to pay our mortgage, our utilities, our student loan payments all online as they are all synced up to our checking account and it’s just easier for us to get them paid that way then to physically pay with cash. However, everything else we use cash for so that once we’re out, we’re out! It’s almost fool proof. Keep in mind, you need to tailor it to suit your situation the best but I definitely recommend using cash for almost every purchase you make. Get rid of those debit cards and only keep a credit card for emergencies! Using cash also really puts into perspective how much money you are spending on things. $20 always seems like way more to me when I pay for it in cash versus using my credit card.
  4. Live within your means. This is by far the hardest part of budgeting! When you first begin managing your finances and you have to readjust your spending habits, you learn how difficult it is to live within your means. However, once you start to form a habit of it, it gets easier. When you begin forming your budget, remember that in order to live within your means, it may require you getting rid of a few things (Cable, Netflix, gym membership, Ipsy, etc.) but trust me, it will get easier and you’ll find other, cheaper ways to enjoy things! The sooner you stop overspending, the sooner you’ll be able to save money and pay off debt!
  5. Appreciate the FREE things in life and take advantage of them. There are so many things in life that are free but we get so focused on spending, spending, spending that we forget to look and take advantage of those free things! Since I’ve started budgeting, I’ve started taking advantage of free activities. Try taking a trip to the library to rent books instead of purchasing them, look on your local events calendar to see what kind of free festivals or celebrations are going on (Christmas time is the perfect time to look for these festive events), take a walk at a park with a friend, go on a picnic, sometimes there are free movie showings at the local movie theater, check and see, or if you’re like me, have friends over and make them dinner! Looking for the free activities brings out more creativity and is almost more fun at times then the expensive things!

So, there you have it, the 5 key things Zach and I have done to become responsible stewards of our finances! These things have definitely transformed the way we manage our lifestyle but they are oh so worth it too! By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to paying off debt, building up your savings, hopefully being prepared when an emergency happens (i.e. new car, new HVAC system in your house, hospital bills, etc.) and also discovering freedom when you learn that you aren’t controlled by money or your bills!

Hope you found this helpful! Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more posts about life, faith and DIY ideas!


The Pregnancy Chronicles: The Agony of Waiting

Part V

In today’s society, waiting becomes such a minute idea. With fast food, Amazon Prime, Walmart Grocery Pickup and many other convenient things, we now can almost eliminate the waiting factor. Patience is almost a foreign concept, especially in the US. We like to get what we want, when we want it. But what happens when we come across a situation in life where we are forced to be patient? I don’t know about you but embarrassingly, I often feel like kicking and screaming, being grumpy and having a hissy fit because I’m not getting what I want fast enough.

Patience, I have realized is a HUGE learning experience when it comes to pregnancy. I have learned that I have absolutely NO CONTROL over anything in pregnancy and it’s just so incredibly frustrating at times. All of pregnancy is a waiting game. You wait until you conceive (God willing), then once you find out you’re pregnant, you wait until your first ultrasound to see and hear that little heartbeat (hopefully it is beating), you then wait until 20 weeks to find out if baby is healthy (of which, you still have no control over) and the gender and then you finally wait until baby’s big debut, of which, you only have a due date estimate to go on. It’s just one big, huge, fat waiting game!

These last few weeks of pregnancy have been the most difficult for me in being patient. I have to admit, I’m failing at waiting and patience. I’m 39 weeks today and I feel like the last two weeks have gone painfully slow. After having several friends deliver at 37 weeks, I’ve been on high alert expecting our little guy to make his grand debut any day. Any ache, pain or discomfort I’ve felt have had me wondering if those were the beginning signs of labor. Still nothing. Every day I wake up with no labor pains is another day that I just want to sit on my bed and cry (remember that hissy fit I was talking about?! This is exactly when I’d like to have it) because I feel like I’m never gonna meet our little boy. Though I will surely meet him within two weeks or so, to me, it seems impossible that I could even go one day more without seeing his little face. Patience has been such a foreign concept to me lately. Though I’ve desired all through my pregnancy to let my body go into labor on my own and to labor with as little intervention as possible, the further along I get, the more willing I am to talk myself into getting induced and scheduling a date that I will get to meet him. Where’s the patience in waiting?

The Bible teaches us that we are to be steadfast in waiting. God never promises that everything will happen exactly how we want it to and when we want it to. News Flash: We are NOT GOD!! There are so many verses in the Bible that talk about the importance of waiting but I have noted just a few that speak to my heart currently.

“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” -Proverbs 27:14

 “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient…Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast.” James 5: 7-8, 11

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” Colossians 3:12

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:25

In church, we have been studying through James and last week we landed in James 5: 1-12. In the first half of this chapter, James writes about how we should be patient in the coming of the Lord and preparing ourselves for not the self-indulgence of this world but for the treasures of eternity. Though I know waiting for a baby isn’t quite the same thing, it’s also been convicting in that we reap exactly what we sow. Just as farmers plant their crops and have to wait to cash in on their hard work, so I must also learn to wait on this perfect little human God is designing and forming for Zach and I. Our little man will come exactly when God thinks it’s best. Right now, he’s still growing and developing and every minute he’s in my womb is another minute that he gets to develop a little more. I must learn to remain patient. I am so close. I will have a little boy in my arms before Christmas! God is working and knows exactly when his birthday will be. Patience. All the hard work my body has done these last nine months will soon pay off with a perfect little boy, designed specifically for Zach and I to parent, thanks to God! It will just be in His perfect timing! Patience.

Now I ask you, are you struggling in waiting? Take time to pray and ask God what He can be teaching you through this time of waiting.

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Thanksgiving Day at Cracker Barrel

The Pregnancy Chronicles: Maternity Photos at 29 Weeks

Part IV

Well, my apologies as this post is about 8 weeks overdue! Oops! It’s crazy how fast time is flying by while simultaneously going by at a glacial pace. How does that happen? In this instance, however, time seems to have gotten away from me and this blog has been thrown to the side as I’ve been trying to get lots of other things accomplished before our little mister joins this side of life 🙂 But, now that I actually have time to dedicate to this blog, I wanted to share with you some of my maternity photos my dear friend, Jennifer took of me! I was 29 weeks pregnant and Jen insisted on getting these photos taken before my baby shower on September 23rd. Little did I know that she was going to print a few of her favorites out to display at my baby shower. What a fun detail it was and then being able to take them home to decorate my house afterwards made it even more special!

These photos were taken at a conservation area in northern Columbia. After exhausting lots of other locations for photography I’ve done in the past, we opted for a new location and a new set of scenery. After taking a wrong turn and showing up on the wrong side of the conservation area, my late arrival made for a lot less time for photos. However, we were both pleased with how they turned out anyways! I’m so thankful that I got some maternity photos that I’ll be able to look back on in the future!

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Dear Younger Me…

If you could write a letter to your former self, what would it say? Would it be things you wish you didn’t do or things you wish you did do?

Some of you may recognize the title “Dear Younger Me” as a Christian song by MercyMe. I’ve heard that song over and over and  I hadn’t ever really thought about what it would look like if I had written a song or a letter to my younger self. However, I can definitely say I’ve learned and grown exponentially more in my upper 20’s then I have in the rest of my life. I definitely do wish I could have replaced the Maren I was back in college with the Maren I am now. Luckily, I’m so thankful for God’s grace and His ability to show me that He can refine me no matter how many times I make a fool of myself. This letter is proof that God can use every single one of us, amidst the filthiness and muck of our sins and use it for His glory. So, at 28 years old, here’s my letter to my younger self of what I’ve learned thus far.

Dearest Maren,

As I look back throughout my 28 years on this Earth, I’m reminded of all the big life lessons I have been blessed enough to learn. I think the majority of who I’ve become today has been mostly due to the faithfulness of Jesus and His desire to never let me go. As I look back at my high school and college careers, I’m almost embarrassed to remember the Maren I used to be. I just wish I could take the Maren that thought she had it all figured out, give her a couple good shakes, sit her down and explain that God’s

Senior Picture 1
Senior Pictures 2008

plans for her life are immeasurably more important and fulfilling than any desire this world could ever provide. I’ve made a list of some of the most important things I’ve learned throughout the trials that Jesus graciously gave me to bring me closer to Him.

Love Others, in ALL Circumstances// It’s always easier to love someone that is similar to you or has the same beliefs as you. Even though you had friends that did not have your same beliefs, you found yourself conforming to their lifestyles to fit in but when those newfound lifestyles started to clash with values you knew you couldn’t give up, it became easy to call them out on their flaws, get in disagreements and allow those differences to sever your relationships. The love you intended to have for them turned to prideful judgement and caused a friendship to go down in flames. 1 John 4:7 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God” and John 15:12-13 says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” These verses show that as believers and people who love Jesus, we are to love others (despite who they are and what they believe) for that love comes from Jesus. God’s love pours over into us so that those that don’t know Him may see Him through us. So, Maren, instead of convicting others for their differences, let’s love them and show them what it truly looks like to love Jesus.

Your Identity is Found in Christ ALONE// Finding and keeping good quality friends in high school and college were always a struggle for you. Often times, you’d introduce two of your friends to each other and then before you knew it, they were better friends with each other than they were with you and you would eventually become exiled from the group. Often times, your worth was measured through the amount of friends that you had and the amount of get-together’s you were invited to. One time in college, a friendship was severed due to miscommunications and differences in belief that left you broken and shattered. You thought your lack of friends meant that your worth had disintegrated right in front of you. How misled you were. You found your identity in your friendships and what others thought of you and instead, should have seen how worthy you were in God’s eyes. Things of this world, whether friendships or materialistic things, are fleeting and will never provide satisfaction, despite how much we think they will. The only thing we can anchor our hope and our identity in is God. He is the firm foundation when everything else is sinking sand. Colossians 3:3 says, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” and Galatians 3:26 says, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” If our identity is found in things of this world, we will consistently find ourselves empty and worthless, but Maren, you are so worthy in God’s eyes, despite what friends may think or say. Remember to find your identity in Christ and not of anything else!

High school Graduation
High School Graduation      May 30, 2008

Emotions Lie// You grew up with a family that has struggled with depression and wore their hearts on their sleeves. You grew up thinking that your emotions were not meant to be controlled but expressed. You learned to let your emotions carry away your logic and trusted that they must be true if you were feeling them. You trusted entirely too much on what your emotions were telling you. Unfortunately, emotions lie. And despite this is one of the most difficult struggles to navigate, even today, don’t forget to believe biblical truth. God’s truth will never lead you astray. Even when your emotions want to listen to the devil’s attempts to pull you away from God, don’t give in. His truths will NEVER let you down.

Trust in God’s Plans, Not Yours// You’ve always been a planner. You like to have your life planned months in advance. You planned on getting married young, you planned on buying a house, planned on having a successful career and planned on having two children by the time you were 30. You even planned on having these plans work out the way you wanted them to. By God’s grace, most of the plans above actually came true, except for a few. After realizing that a job in the Animal Science industry doesn’t bring happiness and after spending over a year trying to get pregnant and not having success, it became apparent that your plans are NOT God’s plans. No matter how hard you tried to make them turn out the way you wanted, they somehow never satisfied your expectations. Even though the plans we have in our heads sound marvelous and well thought out, God’s already five steps ahead of you with an even better plan. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn this the hard way but once I have complied and learned to desire His will and plans for my life, it’s provided so much peace and freedom. God’s got this! He’s got your best interest in mind!

Give God ALL the Glory// The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is that God deserves all the glory. I remember always asking myself “what is your purpose in life?” So many young people try to navigate through their lives trying to determine what that very purpose is. Is it to be a doctor, a teacher, a nurse, a mom…? I’ve come to realize that we focus so much entirely on worldly success that we forget what the number one purpose is for why God put us on this planet. That very answer is found in the place we tend to skip over…the Bible. Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Our very purpose is to go out and make disciples of ALL nations. Our ONLY PURPOSE given by God is to make disciples and to give God ALL the glory in all we do. After all, He’s the only one that has authority over the Heavens and the Earth and deserves all of our praise. He loved us so much that He sent his ONLY son to die for us. The least we can do is give Him the glory in all we do and live our lives for His sake! So, Maren, don’t find your purpose in empty worldly things but instead, find your purpose in the eternal. After all, eternity is much longer than our time on this earth.

I hope you take these lessons of mine to heart and choose Jesus above all else. He is our firm foundation and if He is for us, what could be against us?! I sure wish I had known these things 10-15 years ago because I would have been saved from a bunch of wasted time and heartache. Always remember, though, that Jesus takes broken things (all of us) and does miraculous things with them. His purpose for you is so much better than the purpose you ever had for yourself! Run to Him and live for him!

Much love to you,
Future (2018) Maren

 

 

 

The Pregnancy Chronicles: 28 Weeks

Part III

Welcome to the third trimester! I never thought this time would come! I’m finally on the downward slope towards meeting my little boy and I can hardly wait…only 12 weeks away! Can it come any sooner?! Second half of pregnancy has definitely been way more exciting than the first half so I’m trying to enjoy every minute of these last 12 weeks because I’m sure they will go faster (even though it doesn’t feel like it)!

Some big things I’m experiencing these days are:
Baby Kicks/Movements: Oh the baby kicks! I can’t get enough of them!! I definitely know what other pregnant women were talking about when they said that feeling the baby move was the best part of pregnancy. It definitely is the best part of pregnancy, hands down! I love feeling him move inside me. It’s such a special bond that we have because it’s something that no one else will ever be able to experience. It’s just me and my boy!
Glucose Screening Test// Oh the nerves! Gestational Diabetes has been at the forefront of my mind since I got pregnant. Though I don’t really have anyone in my family that’s been diagnosed with Diabetes nor do I have any predisposition factors for it, I was so nervous about it because I just didn’t know what to expect. I’ve heard of some very healthy people that had been diagnosed with GD and a lot of my friends failed the screening test but passed the three hour tolerance test so I just wasn’t sure what to expect. Would I pass or would I fail? Well, last Friday gave me my answer. I downed that little Glucose drink in 5 minutes and, lo and behold, several hours later, I found that I passed it with flying colors! Thank you, Jesus! What a sigh of relief it’s been. I may have celebrated with some ice cream! 🙂
My Ever-Changing Body// I have to say, I never really struggled with body image too much, however, I’ve never felt more comfortable and beautiful in my own skin then I have since I’ve been pregnant. Before pregnancy, I always thought about how I needed to eat healthy and continually work out to stay in shape and that any ounce of belly fat was a sign that I needed to refine what I was putting in my body. However, pregnancy has given me such a confidence because my ever changing body is proof of how cool God’s design of a woman is! I love seeing how my body knows exactly how to grow a little life and it does it involuntarily without any conscious effort on my part! The changes I’m experiencing are totally normal and are a sign of something positive. I guess this is how I should always look at myself, pregnant or not. Right?!
Exercise// Or lack thereof! I decided that in second trimester I’d start trying to exercise again because I know how important it is to stay in shape and prepare for that day of delivery. I started doing some maternity and prenatal workouts, however, my body was just not having it! A day or so after working out my feet would ache and I’d have a lot of lower back pain and achy hips that made it hard for me to sleep. After consistently trying to exercise for a couple weeks and getting the same results, I decided that exercise just isn’t going to be a part of my life until after delivery. The most I’ve been able to handle is walking with Zach and the dogs. As much as I miss being sore and pushing myself to be better while working out, I think I’m just going to try and enjoy this time of being exercise free until after pregnancy. I will enjoy my newfound laziness….after all, it won’t last forever!

Since I’m entering third trimester, I thought it would be fun to share my bump journey thus far. I’ve been documenting my bump growth since I found out I was pregnant and it’s brought me great joy to see the growth! This definitely isn’t something I ever want to forget so I’m sharing it with you! Sorry for the poor quality. In retrospect, I should have had Zach take weekly and creative photos of me…oh well!

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Does the Grief and Pain Ever Go Away?

It’s been 7 months. 7 months since we lost our first little babe. It feels like it’s been a lifetime since the miscarriage happened but at the same time it feels like it was just yesterday. So much has been jam packed into 2018 that I forget to stop and think about all that we have been through as a couple since January. So much molding and growing in such a short time. It’s almost as if we’ve packed two years of life into a short half year’s time. God sure knows how to force us to grow and lean into Him!

Now, 7 months later, joy fills my heart as I feel my precious little gift from God move about freely in my womb. I can’t even begin to describe the love I have for this little boy and most importantly, I’m just so thankful that God chose Zach and I to be this little guy’s parents! I can’t wait to see what he looks like, how he smells, what his personality will be like, what mannerisms he will acquire and most importantly, how his love for God will develop (God willing). It’s easy to replace the pain and grief I had experienced for several months with the excitement and joy I’m now experiencing with this pregnancy, however, that grief and pain somehow find ways to creep back into my life at random times.

I remember when we first experienced the loss, I sobbed and sobbed for weeks on end. Waking up each morning felt like I had awoken after having the perfect dream and realizing that my life was far from perfect. I couldn’t fight back the tears. The pain was always the worst in the morning. However, after a good, solid three weeks or so, the pain started to lessen, or at least become manageable. It had lessened enough that I could at least function at work, attend events and spend time with friends without it consuming all of my thoughts. And when I found out I was pregnant in April, the pain was almost completely shielded by the joy and excitement I had with this new pregnancy! Almost. To be honest, the majority of my pregnancy, I haven’t struggled with the grief too much. I’ve mostly been so focused on growing this little human that I’ve almost forgotten about our first little person that left us much too early. It almost makes me feel guilty when I think about it like that. How could I forget such a special little soul that God had designed just for us? The only reassurance I have about it is that our little babe is now rejoicing with God in Heaven! Our little babe is in the arms of our perfect Father.

Over the last several months I’ve learned that my pain and grief resurfaces the most when I experience loss and grief through the eyes of others. Going through a miscarriage has definitely allowed me to be more compassionate towards others who have experienced infertility or loss. This year, I’ve known a couple who lost their baby due to some developmental complications and I’ve also known a woman who has, year after year, yearned for a child of her own, only to still be empty handed. As these people shared their experiences with me, while fighting back tears, it brought so many feelings, that I thought were long gone, back to the surface. I’m reminded that my pain and grief hasn’t disappeared yet and I’ve only just cracked the surface on healing. They are not long gone like I had thought but are still a very present struggle in my life.

I once, a couple years ago, prayed that God would soften my heart and allow me to become more compassionate toward others. I never thought that God would change my heart in such a drastic way but by golly, that’s exactly what He’s done! I believe that God has taught me to become compassionate to those experiencing loss and infertility. The verse, Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” has become my template in walking through life with people who have experienced, are experiencing or will experience the pain of infertility and loss.

So, to define this blog post’s title, does the pain and grief of loss or waiting ever go away? No, I don’t think it does. However, I think God will continue to heal me and lessen the pain so that I can use it as a way for me to make a difference in someone else’s life. Even though my grief and pain are still very present, I think that I can use them as a means to walking through life with others who’ve suffered similarly to me. I think that it gives me an opportunity to point those who are in pain and struggling to see God’s goodness and faithfulness to Him and to share the fullness I’ve experienced in Him through all of this. After all, as Christ followers, we are not promised a trial-free life but through those trials, we can be made right with God and end up on top of it all stronger than we were before! If I can use this pain I’ve experienced as a way to glorify God, then as much as it hurts, it’s all worth it for Him!

 

Laura’s Boho Themed Baby Shower

So, I may be a couple months late (excuse the pregnancy brain) on sharing this but better late than never! On June 3rd, Jen and I threw a baby shower for our sweet friend, Laura and her baby girl, Kennedy (who made her debut on July 30th. Yay!). I take great pride in planning special baby showers for all my pregnant friends and so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share that day with all of you…even if it’s a couple months late!

I’ve known Laura for about a year and a half or so and since getting to know her style, seeing her home decor and getting an idea of the style baby shower she wanted, we decided to do a Boho-themed baby shower! Although she was aware of the theme (and was nice enough to allow me to borrow some of her home decor), we were able to pull it off while still giving her an element of surprise on her shower day! Since both Jen and I tried to be budget-friendly with this shower, I thought I’d share with you some of the details I was most proud of at the shower and how we tried to stay on budget!

Some budget-friendly details I was proud of:
Flower Crown// This is one thing that Laura specifically asked for and I knew that I wasn’t crafty enough to make one myself, so Etsy to the rescue! I believe this one was only $18! I thought this accessory made Laura’s outfit match the theme of the shower perfectly!
Ribbon Banner// In Boho-style fashion, I saw a lot of great ideas for ribbon and tassle banners. After looking online for various prices on the banners that were $35+, I decided to head to Wal-Mart and pick up four different kinds of ribbon that fit our style. Jen had the twine and we were able to make the adorable ribbon banner for Laura’s chair in ten minutes or so and for less than $10!
Photobooth Backdrop// After falling in love with some ideas on Pinterest of a macrame backdrop, I couldn’t convince myself to spend $100+ on one from Urban Outfitters. Props to Jen for finding these awesome curtains for $1 at a garage sale! They fit our budget-friendly goals and style perfectly!
Greenery// I found the greenery at Marshall’s and decided that I couldn’t pass it up for the baby shower! Both Jen and I had some fun ideas of using greenery as part of the photobooth backdrop. Once I found that, I knew it would be perfect! At $25, I decided to buckle down and purchase it. Laura ended up taking it home with her and making an adorable wreath in Kennedy’s nursery afterwards so it was well worth the price!

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