April 1, 2015

Launch Day!

Well friends...I have something that I've been excited to share for a long time!

You know that I love subscription services, and have loved seeing them start to trend over the past few years. They're kind of genius, but are also really fun! Almost every blogger I follow has gotten hooked on one service or another, and I've tried two different ones that I've gotten really addicted to.

In all of the different options that I've seen, though, I've started to notice a void. Every service is so focused - it's clothes, jewelry, makeup, or snacks. They narrow in on a little niche, and live in that space. It's made me wonder - what if there was a service that just gave you a little bit of everything?

I've had this idea churning for a while, to be completely honest, but there's just been a lot going on in our life. Between the wedding, job change, and buying a house? I didn't think I really had time to devote to a huge, huge new project...but at the same time, I couldn't let it go. A few months ago I was talking it through with Steve over dinner and he said "you know babe...maybe we should go for it." The house purchase was the final straw - with extra garage space and an office to work out of, I finally felt like I could pull it off.

I started working on this back in November, just by doing research and developing a business plan. I needed to know - what subscription services are already out there, and how can I bring something new to the table? I also needed to build inventory - I knew that this wouldn't be an overnight project, and I've spent many weekends working on raw materials and finding just the right items to fill these boxes with.

The last few months have been absolutely insane, to say the least. I've wrestled with the back-and-forth - can I handle a second job? Is this worth the initial investment? Would something like this really take off? - and there have been many times where I almost threw in the towel. Seriously, I have such a newfound respect for those of you who have started websites, etsy businesses, or side projects - it's no joke!!

But in the midst of all of these fears and concerns, one thought has stayed so strong in my mind: I love bringing people joy. I love surprising friends with gifts and trinkets, and I've always loved sending and receiving mail. Despite my worries and fears, I truly believe that there is space for one more subscription service in the market, and I've been determined to bring it to life.

If you're still reading, you're probably starting to wonder about the logistics. What kind of subscription are we talking about? Could there really be something that sends you "a little bit of everything?" 

Well, friend...Absolutely. The box that I'm launching today won't give you more makeup samples than you need, or loads and loads of nail polish. You'll fill out a profile online describing your tastes and personality traits, and then for $14.99/month we'll send you a hand-selected group of trinkets and treats. In a nutshell? We'll be sending you a carefully curated Box of Crap.

The launch date for the Blue Dishes Box of Crap is May 1st, 2015. Until then, you can pre-order by filling out the form here! If you jump on board, here's what you can expect: 

  • Monthly deliveries of a carefully curated Box of Crap.
  • 5-7 trinkets that may or may not be useful, but will bring you a very temporary burst of joy.
  • A note sharing why we hand-selected each item in the Box of Crap specifically for you.

Are you on the edge about whether or not Box of Crap is for you? Let me break it down. We've all been there - wandering through Target because we needed eggs, but ending up browsing through a wide assortment of things. After thirty minutes, our basket is filled with nail polish, flip-flops, a seasonal wreath (that was only $1!), sticky notes in the shape of an arrow, and sidewalk chalk. 

It just happens - we naturally collect stuff that we don't need whenever we're shopping, and I think that there's a better way of making that happen. Put down your shopping basket, and let Box of Crap do the hard work for you.  

Ready to take the plunge? You can sign up today by emailing haley@boxofcrap.com to get on our waiting list. Be sure to share your excitement with the hashtag #bluedishesboxofcrap!

Box of CrapBringing the things that you don't really need to your door in one convenient, adorable package.

P.S..... APRIL FOOLS! I love subscription services, and - as a disclaimer - I absolutely don't think that they're boxes of crap ;)

March 31, 2015

Six Easy Ways to Save Money

I have always been frugal. My parents used to tease me about it - one of their favorite stories was from a middle school trip where I came back with more spending money than I left with. No joke! Mom and dad gave me a little money in case I needed it, but at some point along the trip they passed $10 to each student to buy lunch. I didn't spend the whole ten dollar bill or any of the cash my parents gave me...so there you go. I came back home with extra change, and was the only kid (probably ever) to go on a field trip and make a profit.

Now that I'm an adult (loose term there) with an income, I still try to be frugal! I watched my bank account closely before we got married, and especially since we've been saving for the house we have still been trying to cut back where we can. There are a few things I've done either this year or in past years that have made a huge difference at the end of the month, but hardly been noticeable at all. Of course, nothing beats the classic "save more, spend less," but sometimes it helps to have a few concrete ideas ;)

1. Switch to Republic. 

Most people I've talked to haven't heard of Republic yet...and I'm not always an early adopter, but I'm pretty excited to be on this boat already!

Phone bills are pretty generally accepted to be between $60-$100, so jaws drop when I tell friends that I pay $25/month for unlimited call, text, and data.

Yup. Is your jaw on the floor yet?

Republic devices default to call or text over wifi whenever you're connected, so they're able to keep costs down. Your phone options are more limited - there are a few different Motorolas to choose from (I have the MotoX) - but to me, it's absolutely worth it! The MotoX is a great Android phone and I've been really happy with it. Biggest sacrifice has been giving up sending emojis - they haven't really nailed that down yet.

2. Slim down your Gym plan. 

A lot of people will say that your health is absolutely worth investing in, and I agree! Gym plans are so relative, though, that there's always an option to save a few bucks a month here. I love month-to-month options like the YMCA because you can step back for a season if your bank account needs a break. If you're used to more specialized studios like Pure Barre, yoga, or Crossfit? ClassPass is a great way to get a wide variety of specialty classes for a much more economic price ($79 per month vs. an average of $200 in Charlotte!). And if you want to get out of the gym membership game altogether, there are tons of free resources online - running programs to follow, youtube workouts, etc. etc. Especially now that it's nice enough to be outside, you can really get away without belonging to a gym at all!

3. Ditch Cable. 

If you can give up a few channels, giving up cable is an easy, easy way to save money every month. We've been going strong with Netflix alone for a while now, and it's more than enough. We also have a small, flat antenna that gets us basic channels - like ABC, CBS, NBC - so we can still catch major primetime events like the Bachelor ;)

Another non-cable option that has caught my eye recently is Sling - it's $20 for a select few channels, but includes some of the big ones (ESPN, TBS, HGTV and my BFF the Food Network!!). Anyone tried it??

4. Live Small. 

This has been a recent thing I've learned! I've told a few people this, but living in a smaller space has been great for our budget. When we have everything we need and there's not room for much "fluff" on top, it's easy to not go shopping. Hopefully, these habits carry over to our new home!

5. Stay In. 

This is easy for us because we love game nights and cook-outs, but having a night in can be so much more cost-effective than having a night out. This can mean so many different things! Cook for your significant other instead of ordering pizza (psst...do as I say, not as I do), pick up a case of drinks and ask friends to bring snacks over to watch the game together, or host a potluck brunch. Saving money doesn't have to mean being less social - there are plenty of ways to spend time with your favorite people while on a dime.

6. Find a Roommate. 

I know rent is verryyyyy relative depending on where you live and what real estate is like, but I'm just going to talk numbers here for the sake of transparency. When I lived alone during my first 6 months in Charlotte, my rent was $800/month (2br/1 bath - incredibly reasonable for the area of the city that I was in). When I moved in with two girlfriends, my rent dropped to $567. College life was another ballpark altogether, so we won't even count that - but let me just tell you, I paid $250 to share a room in a funky little house on the edge of downtown. Those were the days.

Anyway, bottom line? When I went from living alone to living with roommates, I was saving so much money that I could have signed up for ClassPass,  kept a more expensive phone plan, AND paid the entire cable bill for our house. Unless your roommate is so crazy that you'd need to hire a therapist to make it through the next day...it is absolutely financially beneficial to split that rent.

I know I've barely scratched the surface here - so tell me, do you have any tricks up your own sleeve to make budgeting a little less tight? And what are the things that you think are really worth splurging on? Splurging is sometimes hard for me because I've always been so tight-fisted, but Steve & I both love going on weekend trips or going out for dinner. I also have a pretty long wishlist of house splurges right now too...lamps, patio furniture, a new washer/dryer...a girl can dream, right? ;)


There are a few affiliate links in this post. As always, thanks for your support!

March 25, 2015

Wednesday Things

Sometimes you just gotta blog to blog. Am I right? No structure, no planned list, just a little chat over coffee.

Oh, you don't have coffee yet? Here, let me get you some. Now, let's chat.

- I talked on Monday about mood boards, and after the post went up a coworker said that he did some serious research to find out what a mood board is. In his research, he learned that Kim and Kanye do mood boards for their house too, except that Kanye always puts himself in the mood board. And...this is the moment where none of us are surprised.

But just because it seemed necessary, I gave that method a try with my man...


- Speaking of mood boards and last Monday's post... I just don't know about the house name anymore. One of my sweet friends told me that "The Mill" makes her think of puppy mills...and I'm not saying that you ruined it Anna, but you may have ruined it. Where do we go from here?! Do we re-name, or stick with it??

I also had a few questions along the lines of "...why do you need a house name?", so I'll give you a quick answer for that. Somehow, when I was in college we all had house names. I don't know if that's normal or not, but it was definitely a part of moving into a new place! So maybe that's the reason. Or maybe I just want a cute hashtag to keep all of our pictures easy to find on instagram ;)

- I've been wanting to be more of a bookworm recently and it has been so hard to find the time or make it happen...until I got about 30% of the way through Unbroken. It may have helped that we're in a Netflix lull right now and don't have any shows that we're super into. Anyway, I am loving the book and highly recommend it. I'm sure it's already been recommended to you by about a thousand other people, but still. I'll add myself to that list.

- Eating PB with a spoon while I finish writing this. Glad we're all on the same page.

- I have a new little project! I'm working on a Charlotte Food Bucket List - a list of restaurants for Steve & I to hit up before we die or move ;) I feel like I'm always hearing about new places, and I thought that this would be a fun way to mix it up instead of always rotating through our favorites! I'll be sharing our progress on twitter & instagram with the hashtag #CLTfoodlist, and also updating you from time to time in this space. Or at least, that's the plan. More details to come.

So, locals - what spots do I absolutely have to include?

- NC State in the Sweet Sixteen this Friday! We'll be having friends over to watch on Friday evening, and I am counting on all of you to watch it and cheer extra loud from wherever you are. "Wolf..."


That's all for today! Let me know if you have any book recommendations, restaurant recommendations...and what you think we should do about the house name. Keep or toss?

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