When Less is More

If you’ve ever considered downsizing your home, you may be familiar with the pros/cons list-making process. For the past few years, I’ve had an empty nest, with my son living in Los Angeles, and my daughter living in Oregon and then China. Our lovely brick home has been empty but for me and the dog, and though I loved the house with the bustling mess of two busy children, it’s a bit big and overwhelming to upkeep. So this past year I’ve been doing a trial separation, renting out the home to a delightful French family in St. Louis to work at WashU, and renting a smaller apartment close by.

The process of downsizing was at first daunting–furniture, clothing, and art had to be sorted and categorized and pared down–but I was quickly swept up in the cleansing process of spring cleaning. It’s also a good way to figure out which items you are truly attached to, and which you simply collected to fill in space. And–added bonus–you can figure out ways to eliminate unnecessary ‘necessities’ and hone in on a better budget.

If you’re considering downsizing, check out this article, so even if you’re not ready to physically downsize, you can start transitioning to a less-is-more mindset, and have a little extra spending money along with it.

More Money, More (Math) Problems

How many of us were in our twenties (or later) before we really got the hang of money management? The push to improve what is called ‘Financial Literacy’ can start as early as kindergarten, and should include practical lessons for high schoolers on saving money and how to pay for higher education. In Dallas, schools are integrating financial literacy into math classes, something I know I would have benefitted from when I was in school. Hopefully, teaching smart money skills early on will lead to more and more people able to finance their dream houses later in life. Read about how Dallas schools are doing it, and ways you can demonstrate positive financial decision-making in your own life here.

Then & Now

St. Louis celebrated its 250 year birthday this year. Maybe you saw the birthday cakes sprinkled around the city (250 of them!), or made it to one of the celebrations around town. St. Louis is a vibrant city, and has thrived and morphed throughout the years. This vid gives a nice glimpse into the things that have changed–and the remarkable amount that has stayed the same– across the decades. Seriously check out Grain For All–they have some awesome and high quality videos about St. Louis, and as a die-hard fan of the city myself, it’s always nice to find people who are producing art about St. Louis.

Welcome to Spring!

Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather, and fingers crossed it is here to stay! Here’s an awesome video I found, with a montage of uniquely STL sights. How many do you recognize? Now that spring is here, take the opportunity to revisit all those little sights and sounds around St Louis that make living here so amazing.

Line To The Future

With the ongoing installation of Gigabit Fiber under Delmar in St. Louis’ Loop District, business and entertainment is set to be (yet again) revolutionized.

The insanely high-speed internet provided by the wire will allow customers to surf, download, and upload at near-instant speeds, and will provide general data to the businesses of the area, so they can respond to consumer needs in real time.

The Gigabit Fiber Line will run underneath the other new line being installed down Delmar–the old-school Trolley. What a nice union, between old and new! Welcome to The Loop of the Future.

Keep an eye on both lines as they develop over the next months here.

All-Around Artsy

It comes as no surprise to me that St. Louis made the cut in the 10 Most Creative Cities list put out by Movoto. We have a well-rounded creative core, with music, visual arts, and performing arts, and a strong instructional base for arts lovers of all skill levels–with universities, private teachers, and a plethora of performance opportunities.

Feel-Good Flooring

The cool, rough tiles provide welcome relief for bare feet as you step out of the sun onto your covered patio.

Age-smoothed wooden boards creak and sigh gently as you creep down the stairs to the kitchen for your morning coffee before the household wakes up.

The inch-deep tread of the carpet pads your stretching toes as you swing your knees around the bed to meet the morning.
Wherever the location, whatever the function, pick a flooring that reminds you why you love it every time. Go for hardwoods for a sturdy and lasting option with kids, or a waterproof tile for easy cleaning and maintenance in the bathroom. Go Green with a comfy, water-resistant Cork flooring, or make a statement with a bold stamped-concrete patio.
This site can help you figure out what exactly you’re looking for, and the best, most cost-effective way to make it a reality.

You May Say I’m A Dreamer

If you’re at all like me, you daydream about beautiful homes. How to decorate them, tools and techniques for DIY improvement projects, paint colors, and more. I still think about all the places I’ve lived—the beautiful gardens, painstakingly-laid patios, and summer days spent mulching and planting. So I often find myself on this website, browsing design ideas and taking screen shots of serene home spaces. So many of these photos are simply breathtaking, and I find myself suddenly in the car on the way to the hardware store.

So check it out, and feel inspired to get those home fix-its underway.

To Keep Or To Shred

For years, tax season was the time when I beat my head against my paper-logged desk, wondering why I hadn’t kept better track of my receipts and important documents, and wondering how I could possibly sift through the towering piles of paperwork to find the useful bits. It took me years of experience, refining, and defining to get to my current filing strategies. Totally worth it– now, tax season is a calm, year-long practice instead of an all-nighter cram session.

Here are some tips to get you started on that journey to financial calm. Tax returns from last year? Keep ’em. Tax returns from when Kennedy was in office? Yeah, you can shred those. Piles of documents about the sale or purchase of your home? Check out this site to figure out which ones to keep and for how long.

Good luck! Being more intentional about which documents to keep and which to trash has made the whole tax process much more manageable for me. Hope it can do the same for you.

Making it easier for you

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