Amazing What A Can of Paint Can Do (Sunporch Makeover Part 1)

A few weeks ago I shared my inspiration for my big sunporch makeover. Before I left for the beach I painted, and painted, and painted like a mad man. It took longer than I thought and I barely got the room done before I left for my best friend’s wedding this weekend.

Here is what the room looked like before:

sunporch total room before

It was dark and damp, and no one spent any real time in there other than the dog.

Here is what it looks like after three thick coats of paint.

sunporch corner 3 after paint


It FEELS bigger. And brighter. And the best part is that I finally get a little reflection of light into the dark office that is adjacent to the porch.

Painting brick is a painstaking process, and I split it up 1-3 hours over the course of four days. Total time? Nearly 12 hours (split over 6 different days, a little paint here and there) to get a good thick coat of paint on the dark sun porch of mine.I used this tutorial to paint the brick. Just a word to the wise, since brick soaks up more paint than drywall or sheet rock, be prepared to double whatever amount you think you need. For this small room I used 2.5 gallons. Here are the tools I used.


sunporch progress collage

Even though it was lots of hard work, DANG! Was it worth it :) The results are outstanding, and it never ceases to amaze me just how hard a $20 can of paint can work. Many thanks to my friend Rachael, the boyfriend, and my brother who helped me knock this out, little by little the past few weeks.

What Comes Next

Rugs, drapes, and furniture. I’ll be recycling some old hand me down pieces as well as giving some news ones a make over to fit the space. For the first time ever I curated a mood board for the space to help keep me on track with the colors and overall look/feel for the space. You can see I’m going with a navy/turquoise and green palate. Using the board as my guide has already made picking fabric and cushions much easier. So easy in fact, that I can’t believe I’ve never made a mood board before. I made mine using Olio Board.

sunporch olio board


There are two doors in the room, one that leads outside, and another that goes back into the office. I haven’t decided what color I want to paint the door to the office (I’m thinking the same gray I used on the front door makeover to go with a consistent theme…) and I’m thinking of doing either a kelly green or turquoise door to the outside to give the room a bit more interest since there isn’t much space to hang wall accents.

porch doors after paint2


My total for the room thus far just include three gallons of paint, plus a few painting supplies (although I had some left over from the various paint projects before) which totaled= $87.08

This means I have around $170 for the total room makeover.

What did you do over labor day weekend? Any home improvements?


Final Summer Reading for Your Finances (and Soul)

power of now

I can’t believe it’s already Labor Day weekend. After what has been the longest, most painful summer of my life, I can easily say I’m ready for a nice, crisp, fall breeze to come through and whisk some of those bad memories away. One thing I will miss about summer? Summer reading!

Call it a holdover from my elementary school days, but I do way more “reading for pleasure” over Summer than I do at any other time. I love delving into a big stack of books and finishing them one by one as the summer goes by. This summer in particular, the books provided a great distraction for when I wanted to get my mind off things and completely immerse myself in another world for days on end :)

So here it is! My list of Summer Reads (and some great newsletter additions for the fall) to help you end the Summer on a high note.


Dear 20-something Women, Stop Being In Such a Rush to Get Married


Dear Women,

I’ve never been married, but I’m also one of the guilty: I’ve dreamed of getting married ever since I was young. Over the years as each of my beloved sorority sisters has wed, the feeling has only intensified. It didn’t matter if my career was going gangbusters, or I was finding new ways to make more money.. I wasn’t “in” the married club, and I was left disappointed and impatient. Until last summer when I got engaged, and I realized there are far worse things than being single (like marrying the wrong man or having an unhappy marriage for instance.)

I’ve been blogging for two years now, so I’ve had a strong interest in keeping good finances for awhile now. Still, after that traumatic experience I became obsessed with making sure I was the most financially stable and independent woman I could be. It’s been a private mission of mine for nearly a year now, but then I came across this article on a study that found that many women who marry in their 20′s and experience divorce end up even worse off financially than they would have had they remained single. Marrying the wrong guy or doing it for the wrong reasons could RUIN you financially. Here’s how: (more…)

I Need $300–> How I Hacked My Budget

One of my very first posts on LBMT was about my need for a new car. (You can read it and see how far I’ve come!)Thankfully, I was spared that fate as my mother gave me her old car to drive around. It’s been a trusty vehicle for over 10 years now, but with 200,000 miles on her, the Aztek is not long for this world.

Can you believe I’m 27 and have never had to make a car payment? I consider this both a blessing and a miracle. Not having to make a car payment has saved me time and time again: when I was a starving actor right out of college, to when I was getting back on my feet after my house nearly bankrupted me. I don’t need a new car yet, but in order to prepare I wanted to hack my budget and see where a potential $3-400 car payment would fit in. (Just getting started budgeting? Before you hack see this post!) (more…)

Sunporch Dreamin’

If you follow me on Pinterest, my pinning activity is a dead giveaway for which part of the house I am going to tackle next. After nearly a YEAR of neglect, I’ve finally gotten around to tending to my dark, damp sunporch that sits on the back of the house off of the office.

Don’t scream…. but here is what I’m working with. This is the view into the sunporch from the office.

office window into sunroom before


Nominate Me for the Plutus Awards

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I hate to come to you guys for another “ask,” especially on the heels of my reader survey (which, btw–THANK YOU to all who helped out with that) but here it is: I need your help to make the finals for the Plutus Awards.

What are the Plutus Awards?-- In short, they’re THE industry awards for financial bloggers. I’ve pleaded for votes every year, but this year is special because they are giving out an award for best video blog and I’d love it if Awkward Money Chat could be recognized.


What Do I Need from You?– Just click on this link, enter name and email, then scroll all the way to the bottom and hit submit, the form is already pre-populated with LBMT in the space for “Best Video/Multimedia” Production. You don’t even have to be a blogger to vote!

If I make the finals then a committee selects the winners, but I need as many votes as possible to get there.

Not in love with Awkward Money Chat? That’s Ok, I’d also love to be recognized for “Best Kept Secret” Finance blog, or “Best Designed Finance Blog” since LBMT recently got a snazzy new look. (Again, those links are pre-populated so knock yourselves out!)

Many, many, many thanks.

Figuring Out Which Budgeting Strategy is For You

how to cut spending


You’d think budgeting was my life, considering how often it has been written about on my site. We’ve covered how to start budgeting, how to build a budget (once you are ready), WHY you need a budget, and even more obscure topics like budgeting an irregular income and how to start budgeting with your significant other.

What’s the one thing that is missing from my plethora of budgeting posts? The very step that needs to come first: figuring out which budgeting strategy is for you. So in my effort to follow up more on the things I’ve been writing about, here are my tips on how to figure out which budget strategy is going to work best for you.  (more…)

How I Diversify My Income

June Income

Sorry I am a bit late getting this week’s first post up. I just spent the weekend in Montreal for a dear friend’s bachelorette weekend and the travel+hangover+surprise I’m writing about on Thursday …well set me back a day (or two) on my usual writing schedule.

Today I want to talk about income diversification. It’s been a hot topic around here lately since my post on how I’m saving 40% of my income went live on Learnvest, and then another post I wrote about increasing my income 60% appeared on The Huffington Post. The two go hand-in-hand, and I wanted to piece it all together for you today.


An Update on My Housing Situation

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I’ve put out an LBMT reader survey and I’ve already received lots of wonderful feedback. (Click here to take it, I still need a few more responses and I won’t close it out until Sunday!) One of the best pieces of critique I received was that I always tend to solicit advice from readers, and then never circle back and update others on what is going down. The respondent cited specifically the post on my housing situation, and so here is my update.


The LBMT Reader Survey (and my vision for the year)

My L Bee and the Money Tree Reader Survey has been open for about a week now, and already the feedback has come flooding in. I got a fantastic comment last night:

“I like that your blog is eclectic but it has been almost chaotic over the last few months…I know I would visit more often if there was a “this is the new direction that this blog is taking” post.”

And another reader told me that I am bad about writing about things and asking for feedback and then never following back up with all of you. A few of the things I seem to never circle back on show up in the newsletter (which you should definitely subscribe to above!), and other times my life and blog are so intertwined that I feel like I tell people things, or I write about them, and then never do. So, I thought I would take a minute to talk about the reader survey, why I’m doing it, and why I’d like your feedback.


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