For the Lady Who Hauls it All

Would you believe me if I said that I searched for a purse (and I mean searched) for eight months with no luck?  Seriously, who does that? Unfortunately, it is true.  You see, I am slightly picky when it comes to shopping, especially when it comes to shopping for something I will use all the time.

Back in November, I realized that I wanted a purse that could fit everything I want to carry around with me.  As a business owner, it is important to me to have my planner on hand so I can respond to client emails on the go with dates I am available and so on.  Plus, my brain retains no information, so it is important for me to have a place to jot down any information that would otherwise get lost in my head.

I had just a few requirements for my new purse.  It had to have the option to be a crossbody bag because I was sick of having a sore shoulder from carting around a heavy purse on one side of my body.  It had to be either light blue (or mint green) or a light gray.  It had to be high-quality because I plan on using it for a long time.  It had to be just the right size – not too big or too small.  Because I am constantly going into and out of my purse, it had to have an easy way to close it.  It had to be somewhat affordable (read under $100).  And, it had to be cute.  No big deal, right?

Wrong.  Very, very wrong.  I spent a few whole days scouring the internet for the perfect purse over the course of a few months, I visited store after store, I asked for suggestions on social media, I regularly checked stores that I loved to no avail.  Eventually, I realized I needed to think outside the box.

As a photographer, I bought a cute camera bag a couple years ago for weddings and everyday use.  It is the Betsy bag in mustard from Jo Totes.  I love how versatile it is, the amazing quality, its affordable price, and how it does not look like a camera bag.  When I really got serious about finding a purse because I could not wait any longer, I searched Jo Totes for a camera bag that I would use as a purse.

Allison Purse in Mint Jo Totes Organization

Then, I found her.  The Allison bag in mint.  When I saw the bag online, I was certain that it had met all but one of my requirements.  The only thing I was unsure of was the price.  So, using the dimensions on the website, I made a mockup out of paper and carried it around my house.  Nerdy?  Probably, but it helped me make my decision.  I was able to lay out all of my purse necessities on the paper mockup version and a few seconds later, she was purchased.

Because it was such a struggle for me to find the right purse, I wanted to give you a detailed look at this particular purse and what I keep inside of it.  You know, in case any of you carry your whole life in your purse like I do.

Allison Purse in Mint Jo Totes Organization

This purse is definitely just as beautiful and well-made as I thought it would be.  It has a front pocket with a flap, a main compartment that easily zips close, two zipped pockets within the main pocket, and a back compartment that also has a zipped pocket.  The main compartment is velcro lined (the soft side that doesn’t stick to everything) and it comes with a couple dividers should I decide to use it as a camera bag and want to divide it into sections.

Allison Purse in Mint Jo Totes Organization

This is a view of what I keep in the main compartment.

Allison Purse in Mint Jo Totes Organization

I keep my wallet, my planner, a pen case, business cards, a tablet, and a portable keyboard in the open part.  I’m going to break down each item as well.

Allison Purse in Mint Jo Totes Organization

This is the wallet I use for my everyday purchases.  It is this Merona wallet from Target.  I hold my debit cards, license, library card, loyalty cards, and medical card in here.  I also keep a checkbook and my own personal blow money (money allocated in our budget that I can use to buy anything I want).  Later on, I will do a few posts on how we budget since we use a cash budget (envelope system) and how we keep that organized.

Allison Purse in Mint Jo Totes Organization

A few months ago, I bought my first Filofax planner.  I had used an Erin Condren Life Planner before that, and although I loved it in so many ways, I needed something smaller and more customizable.  I actually recorded a two part Youtube video about this subject (Part 1 and Part 2).  I currently use the personal sized Dakota Filofax, but it is no longer for sale on the Filofax website.  I actually purchased it in their sale section because I did not want to pay big bucks for the Filofax I really wanted before I knew if I liked the system.  I am sure I will do a more in-depth look at my Filofax (especially when I update it), but for now, the Youtube videos give a lot of information.  The pen case I use is this pink and white one from Target.

Allison Purse in Mint Jo Totes Organization

A little over a month ago, I received a Nexus 7 tablet (and this case) for my birthday along with a Zagg Flex portable keyboard.  I really wanted this combination for business purposes.  Eventually, I hope to get a calendar going that I can sync to my iPhone and my tablet so that I can easily add reminder and appointments for my business.  I also love that I can surf the web, add notes to my Evernote, and use my apps on the go, so it was extremely important that these could both fit in my purse.  I don’t carry them around with me always (like when I am just running errands), but I carry them often enough to need room for them in my purse.

Allison Purse in Mint Jo Totes Organization

In the front pocket, I carry the items I need the easiest access to.

Allison Purse in Mint Jo Totes Organization

This includes my phone and two sets of keys.  On one key chain, I hold our house key and the key/remote for my car.  On the other keychain, I keep the keys to my husband’s car (as well as a whistle – I used to be a teacher and you never know when a whistle may come in handy).

Allison Purse in Mint Jo Totes Organization

In the two zipped pockets within the main compartment, I hold the little items I don’t need all the time but might need at some point.  I did not picture my feminine products (I don’t think we need a visual of that).  I keep a Thirty One case with tweezers, nail clipper, bobby pins, and some hair bands.  I have a purse hook to keep my purse off the floor at restaurants.  I also carry chapstick, some tissues, a compact mirror, a flamingo keychain (I found it years ago and I don’t get rid of it in case it brings me luck!), a mini six-foot tape measure, and a whistle and pepper spray in case of an emergency.

All of that fits into my purse with some room to spare!  And, my purse isn’t huge with tons of space for everything to get lost in.  Although I’m really happy with my purse organization, I always love new tips and tricks, so feel free to share yours in the comments!

Sidenote: I am not affiliated with Jo Totes in any way and did not receive any compensation for this blog post.  I simply love their products and wanted to share my love with others!

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Dominating the Dual Decorating Style

I’ve always been a decorating nut.  When I was in elementary school, I dreamed of buying an A-frame house that I would decorate with boat-shaped bookcases and giant wooden bear statues.  Thankfully, over the years, my style changed, but my obsession with the art of decorating has only grown stronger.

I learned early on in our relationship back in high school that San likes joint decisions when it comes to anything pertaining to our relationship.  Truthfully, we knew we would get married even back in high school (which seems kind of crazy now), so we often talked about what our kids’ names would be, what dog we would get, and what our house would look like.  Before Pinterest, I hoarded images of beautifully-decorated rooms in a Photobucket account.  When I would see San, I would show him the newest photos I had saved and he would often utter a polite “yuck” or “ew” to every one.

I grew up in a home where my mom made the decorating decisions, my dad tried to talk her out of them because it meant work for him or change, but eventually he would come around and love whatever she did.  My dad is not a guy who cares about aesthetics, so my mom got to choose the decorating style she wanted and he never complained once it was done.  I was quickly learning that San would not be like this and that I would have to cater to his likes as well.

The longer we dated, the more our decorating styles started to mesh together.  Then, once we were married, we decided we both had to agree on every decorating decision we made.  We quickly learned what we both liked and what we didn’t and eventually we found a “style” that would work as our dual decorating style even though our individual styles are pretty different.

A few years ago, I gravitated toward pretty feminine rooms like this:

 

2

Bryn Alexandra

1

Coburn Architecture

3

Laura Ashley

It’s pretty funny looking back at these because I wouldn’t consider them my style at all now, but I showed San rooms like this all the time while we were dating.  Poor guy!

San used to, in return, show me photos of rooms he liked, such as these:

San's Decorating Style

 Mojo Direct

San's Decorating Style

Ralph Lauren

San's Decorating StyleFour Seasons 

 

I think as we make decisions together, our style has grown closer and closer together, which is remarkable considering how far apart they were to begin with.  As you will see as we get further along in the renovating and decorating process, we gravitate toward rooms that look like these:

Our Dual Decorating Style

Pottery Barn

Our Dual Decorating Style

Vascusi Elson Interior Design

Our Dual Decorating Style

Vascusi Elson Interior Design

Our Dual Decorating Style

Flea Market Trixie

Our Dual Decorating Style

Better Homes and Gardens

Our Dual Decorating Style

The Lettered Cottage

Our Dual Decorating Style

Vascusi Elson Interior Design

Our Dual Decorating Style

 

Honey We’re Home

After looking at lots of photos, pinning away on Pinterest, and shopping together a lot over the past few years, we have learned that there are certain things that we really love when it comes to decorating that define our style.

Our style includes:

We like to say our style is like a bright, modern, cottage because we love lots of vintage elements, but we also like the room to feel updated and timeless.  We hope that made sense!  Our aim is for our home to be youthful, casual, inviting, and a little quirky (like us).  We have learned to decorate using things we both absolutely love and when it all comes together, it works because we are drawn toward alike things.  We can’t wait to get to decorating and will be sure to show you lots of inspiration that guides us along the way!

 

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It’s All in the Plans

My childhood was filled with building houses with intricate multi-level floorplans out of Legos, playing house in real houses when my dad (a carpenter) was working on one, and drawing out massive layouts of mansions on paper for my barbies to spend their days. When my dad would come home with a briefcase full of blueprints, I would eagerly ask him to open them up for me to see. This Old House was my show of choice before cartoons and I would choose a decorating book over a children’s book any day. To say that I’ve been house-obsessed since birth would be far from an exaggeration. We closed on our first house on April 29th and we moved in last weekend. We decided to start a blog to share our journey of decorating, renovating, organizing, cooking, and gardening with ideally our family and friends who aren’t closeby to see every change we make, but if others can gain inspiration or amusement from our journey, then even better!

The name, House Made of Marital Glue, comes from something we talk about all the time. I am a love and marriage photographer and write a weekly “Marital Gluesday” post where I discuss anything marriage-related. I came up with the term “marital glue” when I was thinking about all the rituals, routines, and other bonding moments that make marriages strong. We named our blog after this because we are sharing just the daily little things we do together that bring us together. Picking up a paint brush, making a meal, or designing a special piece of art are all types of marital glue that secure us as husband and wife. Our house becomes a home because of all the marital glue holding it together.

Today we are sharing our house’s current floor plan. Notice how I said current, meaning it is not going to stay that way. We have all sorts of crazy amazing plans for our house that will unfold over the next few years, but because owning our first home is a major life dream of ours, we want to document every little change we make starting at the beginning. Currently, our house has three bedrooms, one full bathroom, an eat-in kitchen, a living room, and a hallway. It has a small front porch on the front and just a simple set of stairs off the back into the backyard. The garage (not pictured) is technically “attached” to the house but the door leads to the backyard, so there is no door that connects it to the house. Here is how our house looks right now, just two weeks after closing. Marital Glue Floor Plan At Closing

This floor plan is very common in our area – we saw many homes with a very similar layout. The basement is unfinished, but it is huge and just waiting for us to finish it. We plan on adding probably two bedrooms, a family room, and another bathroom down there. We intend on doing some major renovations that would open up the “Dining Room or Bedroom” (it has two closets so it is technically a bedroom, but it is off the kitchen and has a chandelier in it right now) into a real dining area off the kitchen with an entry into the living room as well.

We cannot wait to share the progress! Tell us, what are some renovations you did to make your floor plan more modern or functional for your family?

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