Winner Winner!


Hello ladies (and guys?)!! I hope you are having a wonderful week!

But today – I wanted to announce a winner for the Aqua Anchor Designs giveaway that ended last night. First, let me say thank you thank you thank you for all of the entries!

But now, what you’ve all been waiting for…



Winner is picked randomly through Rafflecopter and I have emailed winner and they have 48 hours to respond. If I have no response within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner through Rafflecopter and 

Thanks again to everyone who participated! Since the giveaway is for items I personally make, it really made me feel great to see so many people who wanted them.

So, what are some things you would be interested in seeing at Aqua Anchor Designs in 2014? Any special requests?   


See ya Friday.

Happy New Year + A Giveaway!!

Christmas 2013

This post contains affiliate links.

Hello 2014!! I can’t believe we’re already starting a new year. I keep thinking we haven’t even had our wedding anniversary or Lucas’ birthday yet this year. Time flies when you’re having fun, isn’t that what they say?

Watching Lucas grow through 2013 has been such a blessing, but boy do I wish I had a pause button. He started giggling, crawling, playing with toys, standing, laughing, walking, playing peek a boo, blowing kisses, saying bye bye, and just recently giving the sweetest little baby kisses — sometimes with puckered lips and sometimes with a tongue sticking out. This Mama enjoys both 😉

Lucas Sleeping

Clint and I have made tremendous progress on the Finance front this year. (I won’t be posting December’s recap until Friday to give all our transactions time to clear so my numbers are right.) Clint has become so much more involved in our finances and budgeting and I am very grateful for that. Having all of the responsibility of the budget on my shoulders is daunting. Clint never actually “budgets” but he does look at the budget, usually on his phone using the YNAB app and helps to keep us reigned in. And I plan to tell you guys a little more about YNAB in the coming weeks too, as I’ve had lots of questions about it lately. If you’re ready to go ahead and get it now though, here’s the link for the $6 off. I’m excited to see how much more we can get paid down in 2014 and can’t wait to be #debtfree!


In September, I started Not Your Mainstream Mama and sharing my life with all of you. I really enjoy it– gives me the chance to get out all of my opinionated thoughts without shoving them down anyone’s throat. Haha! It is very time consuming though so I’m thinking about dropping down to 2 posts a week in 2014. I haven’t completely decided yet.

Christmas 2013

Last, but not least, I started Aqua Anchor Designs at the end of November and have REALLY enjoyed making things and sharing them with people. I got my first repeat customer this week and I was so excited about it. As far as Etsy shops go, I believe I had a really good first 30 days and can’t wait to see what this year will look like. I have garnet crystals (January birthstone) in stock that look great in shotgun shell earrings, by the way 😉 I have several ideas of things to add to my store throughout the year so keep your eyes peeled.

Speaking of Aqua Anchor Designs, what better time than now to do a giveaway!! I am about to start carrying scarves so I couldn’t decide if I wanted to give away a scarf or a pair of earrings, so I decided to just let you decide. It’s your choice between the earrings OR scarf pictured. I hope that you will share it across all of your social media networks for more entries. The more traffic this creates for Aqua Anchor Designs, the more likely I am to do more giveaways in the future. 😉 The winner will be announced next Wednesday here at Not Your Mainstream Mama and on my Instagram, Facebook page, and Twitter.


Which one would YOU like to win in this giveaway?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Holidays = Busy, Busy, Busy

Merry Christmas Yall

I’m having a rough month. In a good way and bad. The holidays are just such a busy time of year.

When I first opened my Etsy store, Aqua Anchor Designs, I didn’t really think it would take out at first. So I made one of everything just to have pictures and everything was going to be made to order with a 3-5 processing time. Well now, I’m busting my butt to keep up. Out of 16 sales, only 2 haven’t been shipped the very next day though so I’m doing good. But I am certainly not complaining. It’s such a humbling feeling to know that people actually like your stuff enough to pay for it. 😉 Of course, I’m a perfectionist, so I’m anxious the whole time I’m packaging up every order, thinking “oh no look at this little dark spot” or “they are not even going to like this”. I need to pray about that…

I also have some stuff going on with my job. 😦 Nothing that I’ve done, but just some rearranging of positions and basically what I’m doing is being eliminated. Which stinks, because I really do like my job. My plan was to stay there until we were ready for me to stay home. I could stay at the place I’m at though, just doing a job I don’t particularly like. So now, I’m looking to go part time somewhere. It’s not staying home, but it’s better than full time. Although, it will affect Our Journey to Become Debt Free. I would really appreciate thoughts and prayer on this, please.

So– I hate to do this… but I’m taking a break from Not Your Mainstream Mama.

You can do anything but not everything

Ooh, it pains my heart just to type that. This is NOT one of those, “Hey, I’m taking a break… and never coming back” either. Haha! I’m just taking a break through the end of the year and plan to be back the first week of January. I will continue to post every Wednesday for the Our Journey to Become Debt Free series though.

And to make it sweeter, I’ve got a giveaway planned for January.  So be sure not to miss it!

I will post to my Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter though so you should follow me there. You should also SUBSCRIBE for future posts so you’ll get them right in your Inbox when my break is over. 😉

Have you been overwhelmed this holiday season? Do you have any special projects going on?

Month 9 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: September 2013


This is the 10th post in Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To see the others, please click here.

Hello everyone! I hope all of your Christmas preparations are going well, and that you aren’t spending too much money. 😉 We’re almost caught up with the debt series! September was a great month. No major expenses, no emergencies, good spending habits. All in all, I’m pleased.

Oh, and if you do need some more Christmas presents, be sure to check out my Etsy Shop Aqua Anchor Designs. I have listed a bunch of new Shotgun Shell and Bullet Casing earrings and have a bunch of choices in the Fabric Button Earrings and my Coffee Filter Wreaths. And don’t forget to use the coupon code AQUA5OF20 for $5 off a $20 order. You’ll need to order your item by this Friday, December 13 to receive it by Christmas.


But back to September, this is what we looked like at the beginning of September:

Debt Totals through August 2013And here’s what we had done monthly:

Monthly Totals through August 2013


We did really good on groceries in September, only spending $400.15. It’s crazy to me that last year I was spending $600-$800 a month. What was I buying?!

 One big thing we did in September, besides celebrate Lucas’ 1st Birthday, was clean out our tiny storage room in the carport. It’s the only outside storage we have and it’s where our Water Heater is. It was all part of our cleaning to get ready for Lucas’ party. And it was necessary because it looked like this beforehand:  Carport Before We couldn’t fit everything back in that room, especially not organized, so we went and bought a little Rubbermaid shed for our patio. It was on sale and was $200.15 after taxes. Lucas seemed to really enjoy helping Daddy:He’s so much more grown up already. 😦 But this is what we ended up with:

Shed and Storage Room After

Since we did good on our spending and only bought the shed as extra, we were able to snowball…. $858.38! Woohoo!! And it all went towards the CR-V. Working on getting it paid off by the end of the year. 😉

Aren’t “boring” months the best when paying off debt? No big expenses or emergencies and it all going right to debt! Have you had one lately?

Don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin or just SUBSCRIBE to have posts delivered right to your inbox.


Distressed DIY Chalk Paint Media Center

Buffet Turned Media Center with Distressed Chalk Paint

Oh aqua, how I love you!! By far, my favorite color, can you tell? Aqua Anchor Designs and now, aqua furniture in my house. Chalk paint is my kind of paint. Although it’s taken me several weeks to get this finished, it was pretty easy to do!

Just to remind you, this is what I started with when I picked this up at Goodwill:

Media Center Buffet Before
Luckily, I had vision. I told you a few weeks ago in my Living Room Inspiration post that I planned to paint this bad boy aqua.

Of course, I made my own Homemade DIY Chalk Paint. The store bought stuff is EXPENSIVE! To make mine, I mixed 3 tbsp water and 5 tbsp Plaster of Paris into a slurry. Then I mixed that with 2 cups of latex paint. This paint color is a combination of our Sunroom and Lucas’ room and I think some white too, so I can’t tell you exactly what it is, sorry!

First things first, you do not have to sand furniture you are going to paint with Chalk Paint. However, I was also told you didn’t have to prime a fridge for Chalkboard Paint and I’m still a little bitter about that. So, Clint sanded it for me the week we got it and it’s been sitting in the carport.

Media Center Buffet After Sanding

Most of my pictures are not in good light, because I work and weekends are hectic so I just use whatever chance I get to work/take pictures, sorry.

Shaye and I painted one coat on, thick, one night and this is what it looked like. Luckily for me, I was already going for a distressed look because we painted in the dark with only the carport light.

Buffet Media Center after One Coat of Chalk Paint

Then, we let that coat dry… For 2 weeks. Lol No that’s not necessary, but I just haven’t had time to finish it. By the way, this paint stores very well as long as it’s sealed air tight. I had mine in an old Cool Whip container with Press’n Seal on the top. You may have to add a little water, but I didn’t. Also, make plenty of paint! If you have to add to it, it gets clumpy and makes painting difficult– ask me how I know.

Finally, I put a second coat on (in the daylight) and I thought it looked amazing. I almost didn’t even want to distress it.

Buffet Media Center after Second Coat of Chalk Paint

I didn’t (by accident), but if I were you, I’d sand in between coats. Most imperfections and brush strokes come out pretty easily with a light sand.

After the second coat, I sanded it pretty heavily because I had a lot of brush strokes. I wonder if a foam brush would’ve been better? Any experiences to share?

Sanding Chalk Paint

Once I had it looking nice, I took some heavy grit sandpaper and distressed all of the corners and edges and in a few random spots on the flat pieces. It looked great while it was still outside. Now that it’s in the Living Room the distressing blends in and you can’t see it. So I may get the sandpaper out again.

After I was pleased with the distressing, I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in Natural to seal the paint and give it a smooth finish. I’ve never used wax before, but I’m in love!! The top of the media center is sooo smooth now. I was hoping to get a darker wax to give it an even more distressed look, but the only option was Natural.

And that’s it. Here is our gorgeous aqua chalk painted buffet turned media center.

Door of Buffet Media Center After Chalk Paint

Buffet Media Center Corner After Chalk Paint

Chalk Painted and Distressed Media Center

Clint and I both are in love with it, which doesn’t normally happen. We’re thinking about adding another shelf on the inside for better storage of the VCR, Nintendo, and PS3. Other than that, I am EXTREMELY pleased with chalk paint, aqua, buffets turned media centers and my very own DIY’ed Chalk Paint Aqua Buffet turned Media Center. 🙂

Have you ever used Chalk Paint? Was it homemade or store-bought? Have anything sitting around that would look good painted with it? I would love to see!


Speaking of aqua, I have a coupon code for $5 off $20 or more orders at Aqua Anchor Designs. I have Christmas earrings and wreaths and shotgun shell earrings in stock. 😉

Etsy Coupon

Month 8 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: August 2013

Month 8 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free
This is the 9th post in the Journey to Become Debt Free series, click here to see the others. This post may contain affiliate links.

We got back on track, for the most part, in August. After not making any extra Snowball payments in July, I was ready to pay some debt off! Especially if we planned to have the CR-V paid off by the New Year.

As a side note, I added 20 new listings for earrings this morning at Aqua Anchor Designs! You should go check them out!


But first of all, here are our monthly Snowball totals through July:

Monthly Snowball Totals through July

And here are our balances as of August:

Debt Payoff Totals as of August

Last month, I had budgeted an extra $350 for some dental work Clint and I were both having done. After both appointments, our total was $293.50. The excess was placed in other budget categories.

I’ll tell you about all the money we spent first. We upgraded our phones which cost us a pretty penny. I budgeted $320 and carried that over to September because that’s when the bill for it would be paid.

I also had a CD player put in the CR-V and I had the windows re-tinted on it. Trust me, it was necessary. It had a tape player and the radio got lousy reception, now I have a CD player that also gets lousy radio reception, but at least I can listen to a CD or Pandora or something. Oh, and the windows—they were bad! Imagine purplish blue peeling tint that you can’t really see through. Not a good thing for me, especially since I have a hard time driving at night. All of that money came from what was left of the $3,000 personal loan we got for the CR-V purchase though. After the CD player, window tint, tag, and use taxes we had $284.02 left.

I spent a lot of August preparing for Lucas’ 1st Birthday. We got him these Melissa & Doug toys for his birthday:

[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B004PBSUMU[/amazon-product][amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B000GYWXR8[/amazon-product][amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B000SONEQA[/amazon-product]

Since we were already buying from them, I went ahead and bought for Christmas too. This is some of what he’s getting for Christmas:

[amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B000MX7WBU[/amazon-product][amazon-product alink=”0000FF” bordercolor=”000000″ height=”240″]B000U4CUHC[/amazon-product]

On those gift purchases, I went overbudget in our Gifts budget category by $59.18. He’s worth it! 😉

August is the month that I officially bought and I paid for the web hosting, which ran be about $100. Luckily, we did pretty good on groceries this month coming under budget at $255.03.

The $284.02 left from the CR-V Loan (personal loan) and another $111.88 went towards the CR-V this month, in addition to the regular payment.

It seems like we’re starting to fizzle out here towards the second half of the year. It can be really difficult to keep your eye on the prize with such a slow process. I think that setting the short-term goal to have the CR-V paid off by the end of the year is the ticket to help us stay motivated to reach our long-term goal!

Are you working to pay off your debt? Are you setting short-term goals for yourself to stay motivated? I’d love to hear them!

My Big News: Aqua Anchor Designs

Aqua Anchor Designs Etsy Store

I told you on Monday that I would have a huge announcement today: I opened an Etsy shop! I am so excited about it and I am hoping everyone else falls in love with my items like I have. For now, I have Coffee Filter Wreaths and Fabric Button Earrings.

Merry Plaque White

I’ve been debating a way to make some extra income and people have recommended Scentsy or other direct sales. But honestly, I knew that I wouldn’t have enough motivation to sell things that I wouldn’t normally buy. I started brainstorming and decided an Etsy shop was the way to go for me. Partly because I love making things. But I also love my Coffee Filter Wreaths! And I’ve been wearing a different pair of my Fabric Button Earrings everyday and I normally barely wear jewelry. They’re so fun!

Aqua Greek Keys French Script

So Aqua Anchor Designs came to life:

Store Screen Shot

Can you tell I’m excited? I’m even really excited about the sturdy boxes I’m making for the wreaths that can serve as storage and the pillow box gift boxes for the earrings!

Pillow Envelope

I hope you’ll check out Aqua Anchor Designs and stock up on a Christmas wreath or two, and Fabric Button Earrings for Stocking Stuffers or Christmas gifts for all your friends!