September Goals

september goals

August was a rough month for me. A stressful month at work combined with some health issues has gotten me behind in multiple aspects of my life. I can’t believe summer is already coming to an end, but I can’t wait for the weather to start getting cooler. And of course, for pumpkin season.

I want to use my September goals to get back on track. I have a lot of areas that I want to improve this month and stay on top of. I definitely want to finally get back into (and stay into) the swing of things with my blogging. With my first half marathon coming up on November 19 (run with me and get 10% off your registration using code XOLAURENELIZ16), I need to start doing a lot more running. Expect my running to also start showing up in more posts around here.

Here are my September goals:

  1. Read 4 books. I’m one book ahead of schedule on my 2016 reading goal, and I want to make sure I stay ahead. If you have any recommendations for great reads, let me know!
  2. Run 5 days a week. I usually wouldn’t be so ambitious in my training. But I have a 10k coming up the first weekend of October, and I’m a couple weeks behind in training. Getting extra running days in each week will help me get caught up on that training.
  3. Reach 1,000 pageviews. It’s not a secret that my blogging lately has been spotty at best. And my pageviews reflect that. I’m hoping to get my pageviews back up with more regular blogging this month.

Looks like I’ll be doing a lot of reading and running this month! What are you hoping to accomplish this September?

No Spend September: Setting Up a Budget

Does anyone else tend to overboard on spending during the summer? Between weekend getaways, outdoor dinners and happy hours, and the overload of cute summer clothing on sale, it’s easy to keep spending money. So I’m implementing a No Spend September. Obviously I have to spend some money. I need to pay rent and utilities, and I of course I need to eat. But I’m cutting out nonessential spending, and cutting back on luxuries.

no spend september

I’m going to do regular No Spend September updates throughout the month with all things saving. But today, I want to start with setting up a budget. It’s harder to save money if you aren’t keeping track of what you’re spending.

Tools for setting up for your budget:

There are a lot of tools available for budgeting. You can even set up your budget in an Excel document and update it as you’re spending. Find an app or program that will work best for you.

Learnvest is what I’ve started using for my budget. They primarily offer financial consulting, but they also have a free mobile app that you can sync with your bank accounts. I also have my student loan account synced so that I can keep track of that in the same place. (Note: this isn’t affiliated with Learnvest in any way, it’s just the app that I like best.)

Knowing what you have:

Before you can start deciding how you’re going to spend your money, you need to know how much money you have to spend. I know for some people that’s not a fixed number. If you’re estimating based on previous months or paychecks, estimate on the low end to make sure you don’t overspend.

I have my fixed income from my day job, but I also make money on Poshmark every month. I budget with my day job paycheck, and then any extra money from Poshmark or anything else can be put towards my savings or student loan payments or used for a treat that I didn’t budget for.

Know what you need to spend:

Unless you have zero regular expenses, there’s money that you’re going to have to spend every month. That might include rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, loan payments, cell phone bill, groceries, etc. Start by budgeting for these expenses. You might not be able to predict your exact expenses, but I know that my utilities could be as high as $100 so I always budget for the highest possibility.

Budget for extras:

You can save a lot of money by grocery shopping and eating more at home. But be realistic. There are probably going to be happy hours, dinners and brunches out, and nights where you really just want something delivered.

Have a budget for fun things too, Whether that be going to a movie or a concert or anything else fun that comes up.

Be sure you have a budget for anything that you might spend on from a shopping day to an Uber ride.

Budget for savings:

If I don’t plan to put money into my savings account, it doesn’t happen. Budget whatever amount you’re comfortable with to add to your savings account each month.


What are your best budgeting tips?




What I Read August

What I Read August

Despite having spent most of July and the first week of August on Everybody Rise, I’m proud to say that I’m still one book ahead of schedule on my goal to read 40 books in 2016. After I got through that first book, my reading picked up a lot this month.

Everybody Rise ★★★★☆

I had mixed feelings about this book, but ultimately I did enjoy it. Despite hating the main character, Evelyn, for the large majority of the story, I still wanted things for work out for her. And wanting that for her made me want to keep reading. It did get off to a slow start, and it took me almost a month to finish reading it.

The Siren ★★★☆☆

I LOVED The Selection series by Kiera Cass. And this book hasn’t gotten great reviews. But instead of listening to those and skipping this one, I wanted to read it for myself anyway. I should have listened. It’s a mythological novel about a group of sirens living among the morals. And while it’s an okay read, it isn’t anything special or worth talking about.

The Girls ★★★★☆

I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve seen mixed reviews, but I loved seeing a cult based on the perspective of a 14-year-old girl who’s in and out of the group. It kept me hooked from the beginning as Evie Boyd transitions between her present-day life and her past.

I’m starting Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children now. What did you read this month?

25 Things to do Before the End of Summer

25 things to do before the end of summer

Summer is quickly coming to an end. You or your kids might be back in school already. But it certainly still feels like summer. And until it really starts to cool off, summer isn’t really over in my opinion. It’s not too late to fit in some last minute summer activities. Here are 25 things to do before the end of summer.

  1. Visit a beach.
  2. Dip your toes in the water.
  3. Eat your favorite ice cream.
  4. See an outdoor movie.
  5. Try making homemade popsicles.
  6. Visit a farmer’s market.
  7. Pick fresh berries at a local farm.
  8. Cook dinner on the grill.
  9. Get together for a picnic or BBQ with friends.pool
  10. Go for a swim.
  11. Read a book.
  12. Wear a swimsuit that makes you feel great about your body.
  13. Go for a hike.
  14. Take a road trip.
  15. Visit a free museum and take advantage of the free air conditioning.
  16. Go to a music festival or outdoor concert.
  17. Try something (1)
  18. Create your own signature cocktail.
  19. Get your nails done.
  20. Take a long walk with your camera.
  21. Take a walking tour of your own city or one you’re visiting.
  22. Visit a state or county fair.
  23. Relax.
  24. Go to a baseball game.
  25. Play with a frisbee.

What do you want to fit in before summer is officially over?

Currently August



Reading// The Girls by Emma Cline. I’m about halfway through, and I’m loving it so far. It’s based on Charles Manson’s cult and tells the story of a 14-year-old girl involved with the cult.

Watching// Bachelor in Paradise. Anything can happen in paradise, and I love watching everything that goes down. Anyone else watching? The twins might not be very smart, but they’re hilarious. And Carly’s take on everything going on is the best.

Eating// Healthier. At least I’m trying to. Yogurt or protein bars for breakfast and cooking a lot more at home.

Loving// The cooler weather we’ve had in DC this week. It’s been in the 80s and beautiful this week, which has been so much better than the heat we’ve had the past couple weeks.

Needing// A vacation. But since I’m not going to have time to take much time off in the near future, I’ve been living for the weekends. Not having a real full-week vacation this summer has definitely made a difference in my stress levels for the worse.

Wearing// Lilly Pulitzer. I’ve always been a huge fan of Lilly prints and styles.I’ve found some great deals on eBay and Poshmark. And I picked up some great pieces at great prices during the After Party sale. The summery, resort style is perfect for my summer wardrobe.

Wanting// to keep up my running. I had some health problems earlier this month, and I’m about 4 weeks behind where I wanted to be for the 10k I signed up for the first weekend of October. If I can run 4+ days a week, I think I can stay on track to finish my 10k without walking, even if it’s a very slow jog.

Looking Forward To// seeing Bruce Springsteen next week. My boyfriend got Bruce Springsteen tickets for his birthday earlier this month, and he’s taking me with him. He’s playing at Nats Park next Thursday, and I can’t wait for a great show!

What have you been up to this month?

What’s in My Beach Bag

what's in my beach bag

It’s that time of year when we’re taking beach vacations. Whether you’re spending a full week at the beach with family or friends or just sneaking in a quick weekend or day trip, it’s important to have all of your beach essentials on you. Here what’s in my essentials:

A cute beach bag: I’ve had my eye on these Lilly Pulitzer beach bags, but I’m having a hard time justifying the money when I already have a perfectly good one. You can use any tote that you don’t mind getting a little sandy (maybe permanently sandy) as your beach bag.

Beach towel: has the cutest towel selection! This one is on sale for $19! I also got this round beach blanket from Amazon.

A beach read: Tina Fey’s Bossypants is a perfect beach read. It’s light and funny so it won’t require too much thought or focus.

A cover up: Old Navy has some great options on sale right now. Anything comfortable that’s easy for you to throw on over your swimsuit will work.

A good sunscreen: I love the Hawaiian Tropic silk hydrating cream. It’s also available in a spray if that’s more your style.

Flip flops: Something like these is the perfect option. They’re cute, but cheap so you won’t feel guilty if you lose one.

A cute bathing suit: I love aerie bikinis. They fit well and true to size, and are at a great price point. They also have a fantastic selection. You can find the bandeau top and bottoms I pictured on sale now.

Cheap sunglasses: Sunglasses are another thing I like to keep cheap for a day at the beach. I don’t want my nice sunglasses getting scratched up by sand or lost in the ocean.

Not pictured: snacks and water bottles. I always have something to munch on and cold water to keep from getting dehydrated sitting out in the sun all day.

What are your beach bag essentials?


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