Monday, June 27, 2016

Honoring Our Heroes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HonoringOurHeroes #CollectiveBias

My handsome husband.

I want to start this post by stating: I wanted to write this post about my husband. He's a hero in my eyes. When I was going over the topic with Andy, he asked that I not write about him. When asked why, he said, "I just do my job." Andy wanted me to point out that the true heroes are the ones who didn't come home from overseas.

That being stated, I do want to shine a light on two of the people who helped my husband through his deployment in Afghanistan, and therefore, are some of my heroes-- his roommate and best friend, Tyler, and Tyler's wife, Jacki. Andy and Tyler were next-door-neighbors in the barracks at Ft Polk, and when they were in Afghanistan, were roommates.


Tyler received weekly care packages from his friends and family, especially his then-newlywed wife who was pregnant with their first child. Andy didn't receive a lot of mail overseas (I didn't know Andy when he deployed), and Tyler was so generous to share his packages with Andy and the other soldiers. Despite being away from home at such a pivotal time in his life, Tyler was almost always in high spirits and was integral in lifting the morale of the platoon. When they returned to the US, Tyler and Jacki would invite Andy over for dinner and to hang out. Tyler is still one of Andy's best friends and in fact, when we visited Louisiana in January, we stayed at their house (in fact, we stayed there the night before Andy proposed!)

Since Tyler and Jacki recently welcomed their second child into their family, I wanted to send them a little "thank you" care package. When I asked Andy on his input on what to send Tyler, he said "Food. Always food." For Jacki, I sent some fun things to spoil her since right now she's in the life stage of wearing baby food on her clothes and changing diapers. Since she is constantly cleaning up baby spit-up, I sent along some Kleenex® Facial Tissue that I bought at Kroger.

I picked out the KLEENEX® BUNDLE PACK Facial Tissues because you can never have too many tissues, and the KLEENEX® PERFECT FIT because, like the name suggests, they are the perfect fit! (I bought a pack for me and they're in my car cupholder.)

Our service members (and their families) sacrifice so much for us, that I try to support them wherever I can. The Kroger family of stores has raised more than $14 million since 2010 to support the USO. Kroger is one of my favorite stores to shop at, and the fact that they have partnered with the USO to support our troops makes me love them even more.

Buy one Kleenex® Facial Tissue 4-pack bundle from your local Kroger or Kroger banner store and Kleenex® Brand will donate one pocket pack to the USO. Click here to find your local Kroger store.

Visit the Honoring our Heroes website and send a thank you message to our troops!

For those of you with military heroes in your life, Kroger and the Kroger banner of stores are hosting 13 giveaways (one from each Kroger family), with a prize valued at up to $100. You can enter by sharing your Hero Story on social media with the hashtag #HonoringOurHeroes 

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Bailey's Budget | May 2016

I'm sharing my budget of the last full month I was a single gal! I know my budget will change in the months ahead as Andy and I adjust to becoming a team of two and putting our money together. I'm planning to take a break from sharing my budget for the month of June because it will be a little complicated for us to pool our money together, but I'll be back at it in August with my July post.

If you do the math, you'll notice I spent more in May than I made. That's because the way my budgeting software works, I could split my plane ticket in between two months. It's hard to explain, but all I can say is I love YNAB.

Income: $1,429.97
This is my monthly income from my HR job.

This includes things such as my Compassion International sponsorship and buying gifts.
This month I had to buy a unexpected gift for a friend.
Total Budgeted: $38.00
Total Spent: $42.18 (2% of monthly budget)

Everyday Expenses
This includes expenses such as groceries & pet care. (This went up slightly from last month because I had decreased last month's grocery budget for concert tickets.)
Gracie had an emergency visit to the vet this month and I was not prepared for it at all! However, I was under budget on my groceries so which helped make up for it.
Total Budgeted-- $125.00
Total Spent-- $275.51 (19% of monthly budget)

Personal Care
This would be for things like gym memberships, haircuts, personal care products, etc.
I went to Walmart. What for, I can't remember... Maybe mouthwash and cold sore medicine?
Total Budgeted-- $20.00 
Total Spent-- $34.17 (2% of monthly budget)

This is for all medical expenses, including chiropractic care & counseling sessions.
I had a doctor's bill come in that I had forgotten about and my counseling bill from an earlier session.
Total Budgeted-- $165.97
Total Spent-- $140.94 (10% of monthly budget)

Monthly Bills
This would be for bills such as cable, internet & cell phone.
Total Budgeted & Spent-- $165.85 (12% of monthly budget)

Car Expenses
This would be for things such as car insurance, car repairs & fuel.
Total Budgeted-- $50.00
Total Spent-- $41.09 (3% of monthly budget)

Fun Money
This includes purchases such as Netflix, Spotify, dinner with my family or friends, and buying books.
I bought some home office supplies (which I consider "fun") and a new pair of Tevas for the honeymoon. I also bought some books online, but hey, they were cheaper than usual since I bought them from Thrift Books!
Total Budgeted-- $124.96
Total Spent-- $157.75 (11% of monthly budget)

Bailey & Andy
This is for anything Andy and I do together, or things I buy for him. Andy makes more than I do, so the bulk of "our" purchases come from his budget, but I still like to fund what I can so he doesn't think I'm using him for his money :P
With the wedding just a few weeks away (at the time I wrote this post), Andy and I took a break on activities and buying things.
Total Budgeted & Spent-- $0 (0% of monthly budget)

This is my "catch all" of wedding expenses. I have a more detailed budget outlining each wedding expense that I will share after the wedding.
I ended up not spending any money on the wedding this month. Well, I did, it just didn't come from my work paycheck!
Total Budgeted & Spent-- $0 (0% of monthly budget)

I'm going to see Lydia in July, so I bought my plane ticket out there!
Total Budgeted & Spent-- $356.08 (25% of monthly budget)

Student loan-- Budgeted & Spent $72.54
This amount is the minimum payment for my student loans (payoff in 2023.)
Discover card-- Budgeted & Spent $94.00
This amount keeps going up because I've been charging wedding expenses on it. Thankfully, the wedding expenses will slow down soon and this number won't go any higher.
Personal loan-- Budgeted & Spent $230.39
This amount is the minimum payment for a personal loan (payoff in February 2018.)
Southwest card-- Budgeted & Spent $99.00
After careful consideration, Andy and I decided to open a Southwest credit card to earn the flight points. Thanks to the budgeting software I use, it's easy to use a credit card like a debit card. The $99 charge was the annual fee, which is easily worth the 50,000 flight points I earned by opening the card. The other purchases on the card were budgeted for as part of my other budget categories.
Total Budgeted & Spent-- $465.70 (33% of monthly budget)
Seeing that number makes me sick! Can't wait until the debt is gone for good!

How were your finances in May?

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Home sweet apartment!

Hi friends! It's been so long since I've written a post! My break from blogging/social media was much-needed and the honeymoon was amazing!!! I'll write posts about it in the future. Andy and I arrived home to Kentucky on Monday evening. We spent the night at the Hampton Inn (and got $50 off the hotel rate-- sweet!) and then did all the fun just-legally-married things on Tuesday morning.

I got my military ID! I was so excited to finally officially be an Army wife! It's in my maiden name until I switch my driver's license and Social Security card. I've already told Andy it could be a while before I get around to that. It doesn't bother him if I keep my maiden name for a few more months. I do plan to take his last name once I have time to go to the SS office and DMV (and In-Processing again, ugh!), as innuendo-filled as it is ;)

Also on Tuesday, we submitted our marriage license to Housing-- we're officially on the housing list and will have our on-post house at the end of July! We're settling into an off-post apartment for the 5 weeks until we have our house. It was a little dirty when we moved in, so my sweet husband has been cleaning it (I have a very strong gag reflex and strangers' messes is a trigger.) One of the benefits of marrying a soldier: he knows how to clean ;)

We went to Owensboro Tuesday night to pick up some wedding gifts that we needed for the apartment (like kitchenware), and Andy suggested I stay the night at my mom's house instead of joining him at the apartment in Radcliff. He wanted me to spend time with my mom and Gracie and also said I would get a better night of sleep in my bed than on an air mattress. I have the best husband <3

Oh yeah! One more exciting bit of news-- I have a job interview for Monday morning. It's an Admin Assistant position at the Louisville location of my HR job back in Owensboro. The pay is AMAZING ($16 an hour!!) so the 1.5 hour round-trip commute would be totally worth it. It's a temporary job (6 months) but at this point I have to take what I can get. I'm struggling to get even an interview at Knox. I've been applying for HR Assistant positions on post for months now and apparently I'm qualified but not highly qualified because I don't also have military spouse preference, according to the lady I talked to about the job. Because Andy PCSed to Knox prior to us getting married, I am not qualified for spouse preference which really sucks. I'm trying not to get discouraged about my job because I know it's all in God's hands.

So that's just an update on life. We don't have internet at the apartment yet, but I do have some more pre-scheduled posts coming up. Hopefully we'll get internet tomorrow so I can finally read all of your blogs again!

The new Mrs. Cummins :)
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

5 reasons we're choosing to live on post

Once the wedding plans were in full swing, Andy and I began the discussions of where we would live after we became Mr. and Mrs. We went back and forth with the topic a few times, never seeming to reach an answer. I was adamant about living off-post, while Andy was adamant about living on. However, Andy managed to convince me that on-post living would be the best option for us, so here we are.

5 Reasons Why We're Choosing to Live On-Post

1. The convenience to work and the gym
Andy, obviously, works on-post, and when I return to work, I'd like to work on-post as well (ideally at HRC.) At my old job, I lived 5 minutes away and could come home for lunch breaks and I want the same for me but especially for Andy. Also, Andy and I will be utilizing the on-post gyms for our workouts since they're free, and a 5 minute drive makes it more likely that I'll go ;)

2. The safety
I'm not going to pretend crime doesn't happen on post, because we all know it does, but there is something about having guards outside of "the town" that makes me feel better. My old neighborhood in Owensboro was rough enough where I didn't feel safe walking outside after dark, but I haven't experienced that on-post. I think I will feel especially safe when Andy deploys because I'm on post.

3. No apartment living
If we chose to live out in Radcliff, we would probably be able to get only a 1 bedroom apartment that is about 600 square feet, but on post, the smallest houses are 2 bedroom plus a bonus room and come to about 1,000-1,200 square feet. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer a roomier place. Plus, there are no apartments on post; they're mostly all duplexes. Anyone who has lived in an apartment can tell you, it's much better sharing walls with 1 neighbor than 5.

4. Remodeled duplexes
I've already discussed the perks of a duplex, but along those same lines, all of the on-post housing at Knox has been remodeled in the last 10 years or so. I looked at some of the Radcliff apartments in our price range-- they were a little dumpy, to be honest-- and I much preferred the Knox Hills places.

5. The sense of community
I've heard mixed reviews, and my opinion may change in the future, but as I settle into military life, I want the closeness that I've heard you can generally find on a military installation. I'm sure that the closeness can sometimes feel like a fish bowl, but for now, I want to live somewhere where all of my neighbors have been the new spouse on the block before.

Did you choose to live on or off post? Why?

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"Attitude really is everything"

A while back, I read Candace Cameron Bure's book "Dancing through Life", and there's a quote in the book that stuck with me. So much so, that I still think of that quote months later.
"Attitude really is everything."

When I read the book, I was at Fort Knox, taking care of my (then) fiance after his eye surgery. As I was reading the book, I felt like God was speaking to me through it. Bailey, your attitude about the upcoming changes in your life is everything. I can either be sad at the things I am losing or I can appreciate the adventure. 

I decided then that I would have a good attitude about leaving my job, the move, and the adjustment to military life. And honestly, it hasn't been as hard as I had expected. Sure, it's not picture-perfect, but I can feel God with me every step of the way. Throughout all of it, He has answered so many prayers I didn't know to pray for.

Andy and I found our church home sooner than we had anticipated, in fact, prior to us even getting married. A friend of a friend is a pastor of a church geared specifically toward military families and we felt at home immediately. The pastor and a few key leaders in the church reached out to Andy and me the first week we visited, and we've been in touch ever since. They're helping us settle into life here, and the ladies are taking me under their wing.

A girl I worked at summer camp with a few years ago lives on post with her aviator husband and offered to show me around and help me settle into military life. She even let me housesit for them while Andy was having surgery and they were out of town.

Andy's cousin offered us literally every piece of furniture we needed to fill up our house... for free! We just had to pay for a U-Haul rental to bring them back to Knox.

For reasons I didn't understand, I somehow befriended numerous military girlfriends/wives in my past few years of blogging. I never desired to be one of them, so imagine my surprise when suddenly I became one. God wasn't surprised though, because He planned for me to have a support group long before I even knew Andy.

As hard as it was leaving my life behind in Owensboro, I'm excited for the new life that I am starting with my husband. And thanks to the positive attitude God has given me, I'm ready for this adventure.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Bailey + Andy: Proposal Photos

Andy's sister-in-law sent us photos from the proposal a while back, but I thought I'd wait and share them while Andy and I are on our honeymoon.

I'm so thankful that we were able to get photos of the proposal. Even if the quality isn't great and my blogger heart cringes a bit, a blurry photo is better than no photo. And in the end, it's not the photo that matters... it's the love behind the photo :)

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Wedding Dress Fittings

About a month before my first wedding dress fitting, I decided to try on my wedding dress for kicks and giggles. Imagine my surprise when the dress doesn't zip up!!!! I'm talking a 4 inch gap at the top of the back where skin was showing. I instantly started freaking out because that is every bride's worst nightmare. I called David's Bridal and they suggested exchanging it, so that Friday night I drove over to Evansville, dress in hand. The consultant said my dress would be in at the end of April, right around when my fitting was scheduled.

It was a relatively short amount of time until the fitting (just 4 weeks) and before I knew it, my new dress was in the store. On Sunday, April 24th, Mom and I headed to Evansville for my dress fitting. The timing worked out perfectly, because Andy had already left town early that morning to go back to Knox. I was so nervous about my dress-- Would it fit? Would it be like I remembered it? Would I still love it?

The answer to all of the above: yes!!! It was as gorgeous as I remembered it being, and it fit like a glove!!! (That was truly an answered prayer from God.) In fact, I didn't even need it hemmed or the sides taken in! My stomach didn't even look pudgy like when I bought it. The only alterations I needed was the V adjusted a bit for modesty, bra cups sewn in since the back was too low to wear a bra, and a bustle added so guests wouldn't step on my train during the reception. I loved my dress even more than when I first bought it! As I write this, it's exactly 7 weeks until the wedding and I can't wait to wear my dream dress. 

5/30/16-- Yesterday was my final fitting for my dress!!! My friend Stephanie came along for the final fitting (and also to learn how to do the bustle) since my sisters and Mom couldn't make it. I LOVE IT!!! I feel so beautiful in it and I know Andy will cry when he sees me in the dress. I wish I had thought to snap a picture at my final fitting of me in the dress. Just 13 days until the wedding! I can't wait!!!
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Saying "Yes" to the Dress + Other Wedding Shopping

This post mentions lingerie shopping. If you're related to me/work with me/are a man that isn't my husband, please spare us both the embarrassment and skip this post ;)

This post was originally written on January 18, 2016 with edits a few weeks later.

Last Saturday (1/16/16), when Andy and I had been engaged for all of two weeks, I went wedding dress shopping. It seems a little too soon to be dress shopping but when your engagement is only 5 months long, you must move quickly!

I picked a Saturday that Brittany was surprisingly off from work and could make the trip up from Paducah. Brandi and Mom were off work as well. There was just one problem-- I had to work! Thankfully, my boss at LifeWay let me leave earlier in the day so the fun could begin!

After a quick lunch at Chik-fil-a, we went to Patti's ReSale in Owensboro to look at their wedding dresses. Except, Patti's doesn't sell wedding dresses anymore! Scratch that off the list.

We then hopped in the car to go to Evansville. I had seen on Facebook a new bridal consignment store called AnnaLe's, and I wanted to check it out. I was intrigued by the idea of a less expensive dress. Y'all know me, I'm cheap! I couldn't justify spending hundreds of dollars on something I would only wear for a few hours.

We went over to AnnaLe's and it was crowded. We had to wait 20 minutes for a dressing room. There was no one to help us. All of the dresses were small and I was in tears when I couldn't even zip up a size 10. The day had just begun and I was already ready for it to end. We left AnnaLe's and decided to venture onto Eastland Mall before our 4 pm appointment at David's Bridal.

I begged my mom to go to Victoria's Secret because I have never been in there for me before. The one time I've been there I was shopping for a friend's bachelorette party. Our trip in the store lasted just a couple of minutes, partly because I was having culture shock (you mean I can look sexy after I'm married and it's okay?! What?!) but mostly because I was not about to pay $75 for such little fabric.

Mom had the bright idea to look for lingerie at Macy's. My family would pull the ugliest, grandma-like nightgowns and say "Hey Bailey! This is more your style!" and I laughed because it's so true. After looking around for a bit, I finally settled on two $20 nighties that was more sweet than sexy and a white lingerie outfit (including a garter) that was way more than I wanted to spend. After thinking about it, I've never bought myself something sexy and nice before and I deserved to splurge a little.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the register and the three pieces were only $28! Woohoo! I was so excited at the price that I ended up buying 3 more lingerie-things. (Obviously I don't know much about this because I don't even know what they were called! Haha!)

We made a quick trip to Payless so Brittany could buy some nude heels for the wedding, and I happened to find a pair of coral flats for just $5! Coral is one of our wedding colors and I wanted a pair of flats that were sweet and cute but not too fancy. Perfect!

Then, the big event-- wedding dress shopping. Not only was I 100% convinced I would walk out of David's Bridal dress-less, so was my entire family.

We had a bit of time to kill as we waited for my consultant, so we browsed the racks. My mom or sisters would point to a dress, and I would nix it immediately for one reason or another. I did manage to find one dress that I liked, and I pulled it.

My consultant put me in the dress that I picked out first, and I really liked it. I walked out of the dressing room to show my family, and they just looked at me.... Brittany made a remark about my stomach looking weird (big?) and I just glared at her. I then tried on a few more dresses, but I kept thinking about the first dress.

My consultant pointed out the first dress I tried on was a 6, while I am actually a size 7. They didn't have any 8's in stock, so I had to try on the 6 because the only other size they had was an 18. 

Then the big decision, did I want it in white or ivory? It was a big decision at the time, but I ended up choosing ivory because it went more with my romantic, vintage wedding vision... and because I was nervous a pure white dress would make my not-pure-white teeth look even uglier.

It took only 2 weeks for my wedding dress to arrive. As of today (2/12/16-- exactly 4 months until the wedding), I am horribly nervous that I will look fat in my wedding dress. Andy assures me that I will look beautiful, but every time I look at photos of me in the gown, I see stomach pudge. 

By the time this post is shared, the wedding day has already passed. I'm sure I didn't even notice my "stomach pudge" on my wedding day, because I was too happy to become Mrs. Cummins. I know my husband (I can't get over calling him my husband!) didn't notice the pudge, because he thinks everything about me-- flaws included-- is beautiful.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Why We Decided to Get Married on a Sunday

Andy and I chose to get married on a Sunday. When we first picked out the day, I had quite a few friends and family members question our choice. But it made sense for us.

With only a 5 month engagement, I knew in order to book the venue, photographer, videographer, etc that we wanted, we would need to pick a non-traditional day. We knew we wanted a wedding at Smothers Park in downtown Owensboro, and they have downtown block parties on Fridays. So, the only weekend day left was Sunday. My family wouldn't need to miss work and guests could still travel in from out-of-town.

A Sunday afternoon wedding meant the whole affair would be more casual than a Saturday night. And a more laid-back wedding is what we wanted. The groomsmen wore khakis and a white button-up shirt while I wore casual summer flats (in coral, of course.) We served hors d'oeuvres instead of a sit-down meal.

But there's one reason we chose a Sunday wedding that is more important than vendors and food: it has meaning to us. Sundays when Andy and I were dating long-distance meant seeing his face for the first time in a week, even if it was only through a computer screen. Sundays when he moved up to Kentucky meant a sad goodbye as he returned to post. Sundays have always been bittersweet for us, so I wanted to make one particular Sunday a Sunday we would never forget.

Although I am thankful for Andy every day, I'm especially thankful every Sunday at church. He holds my hand and we sing worship songs together and I think about all the times I would sit by myself in church and pray that someday I would have a husband that would take me to church. Every Sunday I am reminded that God answered my prayers by giving me Andy, and every Sunday I thank Him for His goodness.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Wedding Planning: The End is Here!!!

By the time you read this post, the wedding will be over. Andy and I will be Mr. and Mrs., and we'll be relaxing on a beach in Jamaica. I still wanted to share this post because I wanted to record these memories, and also, because I want other brides to know it is okay to hysterically cry a month before your wedding when the stress gets to you.

1. Bailey's Bridal Shower. Yup, I even blogged about it here.

2. Write thank-you notes from bridal shower. Yup, I mailed them out the week before the wedding!

3. Bailey's Bachelorette Bash! Also blogged about here.

4. Buy bridesmaid jewelry. I bought this two days before the wedding, haha!

5. Order wedding favors. We decided to skip these. I doubt anyone will notice nor care.

6. Work on "must have" photo list. I made a Pinterest page of photos that I like, as well as provided my photographer a list of people I wanted photos with.

7.  Begin draft of letter for my groom. I typed out my letter (and edited and edited some more!) and then wrote it by hand once I liked my final version.

8. Peel those stupid stickers off centerpieces. It was so hard at first but thanks to lemon essential oil, it was so much easier!

9. Pay final deposits (ceremony, reception hall, videographer, DJ, rental store, reception dinner). I took a day off from work in mid-May to do this and it felt great getting it all paid!

10. Order guest book. We (I mean me) opted to go with a Peachwik canvas that our guests sign instead of a traditional guest book. We're going to hang it in our living room! 

11. Order programs.  I sent Andy a sneak-peek of the programs before I ordered them and he loved them! I love them too! 

12. Call guests who have not responded to RSVP's. Andy, my my mom, and I all took care of this and finally got as close to a final count as we could.

13. Give cake baker, rental store, & reception dinner venue final head counts. Yes. Let's not get started on the rude email from my cake baker two days before the wedding though...

14. Have final fitting. Yup! It fit like a GLOVE!!!

15. Meet with photographer, videographer & DJ one last time. Done!

16. Become Mrs. Cummins!!!! Check :)

And it's a wrap, folks! So glad that's over! :)

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Cummins

In case you haven't heard.... Andy and I became husband and wife yesterday!!!! It was a beautiful (but incredibly hot!!!) ceremony at Smothers Park overlooking the Ohio River in Owensboro, KY. More photos are to come as the photographer releases them, but here's a sneak peek of our special day. 

While we're away on our honeymoon in beautiful Jamaica, I have some new posts scheduled that share more details about the wedding and planning for the day we became one. See you all in about a week and a half, once we're settled at Fort Knox!

Love, the new Mr. and Mrs. Cummins
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