How to Build Credit

The whole point of credit is to show that you are a responsible adult who will be able to pay a lender back when applying for a loan. Applying for a loan is especially difficult if you do not have credit. It is a good idea to start building credit at a young age. The sooner, the better. It is something that is definitely not taught in school but it should be. This information would have been so much more helpful than geometry in my personal opinion. You will need a few nuggets of advice first before you start your financial journey.



Get a credit card. There is a lot of negativity associated with credit cards and I understand. They are a quick way to debt before you realize it. Despite this, they are also a good way to build credit. The trick is to start off buying small things like gas and then paying it off completely each month. It will show the lenders that you are great at paying back debts. It’s important that you use the credit card every month, not that you have it and it sits in a drawer otherwise it defeats the purpose of having it.



Once you have one credit card, then get another. One line of credit is okay but two are amazing. This can be something small like a clothing store credit card. Get your work clothes from the store and pay it off every month as well. Different lines of credit create variety in your hypothetical portfolio.



Get a small loan. This can be as simple as a student loan. Paying back a little loan will open the doors for you to qualify for large loans such as a loan for a car or house. It may even be beneficial to take out a menial loan just to pay it back almost immediately. This is a quick way to build credit fast if you’re in desperate need of good credit.



Get something in your name. Whether it is a gas bill or auto insurance, a bill with your name on it signifies you have been paying someone consistently. Rent, utilities, and phone bills are all included in helping your credit score grow.



Credit building can be intimidating. Don’t let the details bog you down. Start with these few simple tricks and you will have an amazing credit score in no time.



Interested in building your credit to buy or invest in a home?
Tom Davies with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
can guide you to methods or resources that will work best for growing YOUR credit score.

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Oklahoma Weather Ready

Oklahoma seems to be on Mother Nature’s hit list because it can never make up its mind about which season it is that day. Now that we are on the verge of spring it is a wise idea to prepare for anything Mother Nature wants to throw at us at any moment. A few ways we can prepare are some weather proofing techniques that will make your transition to weather war a bit less dreadful.



Trim and maintain your trees and shrubs. This is a quick way to lessen the debris in your yard before a large storm. Keeping your bushes and trees trimmed is a great way to cut the dead of winter from your landscape as well as prevention of cleanup later when wind and lighting strikes. All you need is a chainsaw and possibly a ladder.



Just like when you don’t want winter chill leaks into your home, you don’t want summer heat leaking in either. This spring do an inspection of all your window seals and re-caulk those that are beginning to peel and crack. Under the door is a common place to lose or take in unwanted air so place rubber feet or padding at the bottom of especially wide door crevices. Video on how to here.



Too hot or cold in your home due to large windows? Invest in blackout curtains at any home goods store. They will keep your house warm or cold by preventing sunlight from warming the house and protecting from drafty windows. This may also save you a little on your electric bill.



Check for holes in the attic. On a sunny day look for streams of light and on a rainy day look for drops of water. Black stains on your insulation are an indication of leakage. Small leaks can be easily fixed with caulk and sealant. This will let you know where to patch any leaks coming in and will prevent further damage in the future by catching it early. Check your insulation. Make sure you have enough and that all the pieces are fit together snugly. You may want to call in a professional opinion. Blown in fiberglass or cellulose can be used to fill in gaps if they are an inch above or below the joists.


Don’t let Mother Nature catch you unprepared. Surprise her with your resilience and proactive ventures.



Prepare Yourselves for DST

The dreaded Daylight Savings Time where we lose an hour of sleep instead of gaining one. This can really affect you and members of your home. Fortunately, this year the change comes on a weekend instead of a workday. For those that work the weekend, I sympathize. It is important to prepare in advance so that we can minimize feelings of jet lag, irritability, and sleep deprivation. Follow this advice if you have experienced urges in past DST’s to chug a Trenta iced coffee then immediately purchase another, set your husband’s Xbox on fire, or “accidentally nap for 6 hours” out of the day.


Start sleeping earlier. A few days before the big change start going to bed 30 minutes earlier. This will help your body adjust to the change and help you fall asleep faster.



Set your home clocks mid Saturday. This will trick your brain into already thinking it’s later. Then you can eat dinner earlier and prepare for bed at an earlier time.


Work out. Early in the day, do a high intensity work out. Releasing energy will tire you for later and relieve stress levels to make sleep easier. Don’t work out late in the evening because that will make it harder to sleep from all the adrenaline coursing through you.



Turn out the lights. We are perceptive to even the smallest amount of light. Melatonin is our natural sleep hormone that is produced when it is dark to aid in the sleep cycle. 30 Minutes before bed turn out all light and electronics. This will especially help kids adjust easier to the new schedule.


Follow routine. Sticking to a routine is imperative to your evening. Good evening routine whether children or adults will pay off. Doing the same thing every nigh before bed will signal your brain that rest is near. These can be simple things such as reading, shower or baths, brushing your teeth and putting on pajamas.



Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. This may seem obvious but many still don’t follow this sound advice. Stop any energizing beverages after 4pm. There is a common misconception that alcohol helps you sleep. While it may get you to sleep faster, it keeps you from entering REM stage for extended periods of time. This means you are getting much less good and deep sleep and much more light sleep.


DST doesn’t have to be a struggle every year. The older I get the more I need my beauty sleep as opposed to my college days when I could sleep for a few hours before an exam and still pass. Don’t feel like that college student this year. You are a mature adult individual who can handle DST now. I believe in you.











Maintenance of the Month

This winter has been brutal. One can only imagine what their house is feeling during the winter months. There are some monthly maintenance items that you can check off the list in order to lessen your poor home’s burden. A few little up keeps can help your home work and look its best despite the dreary weather.


One thing you can do to help your air circulation is remove your vents to vacuum the dust from them. Just like you remove lint from the dryer, you remove dust from the vents to promote clean air and keep your systems from working harder than they should have to.


Grouting the floors, showers, and back splashes. I’m sure it has been a cool minute since those cracks have been updated. After years, grout can slowly wear away and collect stains so a new grout job will refresh its look. If your grout is newer then it may be a good idea to give it a scrub down.


Clean out the gutters. If the seasonal sludge has blocked up your gutters, it may be a good time to clean them. Investing in gutter guards may save you some time and effort in the future.



For safety purposes, check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors for dead batteries and if they are properly working. “This Is Us” fans will know the importance of this crucial step. Nobody wants another faulty slow cooker situation.



Keep your HVAC cleaned up. Replace the filters on it as well as schedule a routine maintenance appointment for it. It could save you money in the future to do small things to keep it running smoothly now.


y-door rot

Check for rotting wood. The frame of your house is an important structure that needs attention just like any part of the house. Check for rotting wooden beams in the attic, porch, and indoor frame. Have them replaced as soon as you can if they are eaten by termites or moisture.

These are just a few things you can start with now before full blown Spring cleaning commences. A few things each month will keep your home on the right track to a clean, safe and efficient home.






Life Hacks for Energy Conservation

Energy conservation in the home is often overlooked when it comes to budgeting. When done the right way it can be an effective tool to help you unexpectedly save in everyday finances. Here are a few of our recommendations to get you started in cutting those energy costs.



To start small you can invest in energy efficient appliances. This can mean replacing your old washer, dryer, or dishwasher with new energy efficient lean and green machines. Instead of replacing the dryer, you can at least remove the lint from the lint trap every time you dry a load of clothes. A full trap can use up to 30% more energy than an empty one. Two or more loads in a row can also take advantage of an already heated dryer.


pexels-photo-256307.jpegIf that’s a little out of your price range at the moment, another significant step is to replace your light bulbs. Most labels at the office or home supply store can tell you which are the bulbs that will last you for several years and the most energy friendly. They usually consist of LED or CFL bulbs. Don’t forget the outdoor lights as well. It may be a small step but you’ll notice a great change on your bill.



Saving on water can be as simple as changing your shower head. On average it takes a shower 20 seconds to release a gallon of water. Choose a new shower head that flows about 2.5 gallons per minute. If you reduce the temperature of your water by 10 degrees then you can save an additional 3-5% in energy costs.



A little caulk never hurt anyone. Windows and frame caulk can crack over the years leaving your house drafty. A fresh round of caulk is a great way to seal out the draft. This will prevent heat and air conditioning loss thus saving you dollars in the long run.


Replacing the air filters consistently and cleaning the heater filters is another way to lower your out of pocket expenses over time. As well as replacing the thermostat with a programmable one so that when you’re away you can set the temperature to 7 degrees lower or higher since you don’t need your home to be warm or cold if you are not in it.

We hope that some of these really drive home some ideas to more energy consciousness and financial savings. “Why would I want to save money?” Said no one ever.



Upcoming Event: 2/17/18 – Free Homeowner’s Q+A Sessions – FB Event Link

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Galentine’s Day Dates

It is the month of love. Love is shown in various forms and come in a variety of relationships whether it be significant other, familial, or friendships. It’s the perfect time to show your love to an often underrated relationship, your best gal pal. Don’t forget your lady friend this month of caring and sharing. Some much needed girl time can be found in these fun Galentine’s dates.


Belly dancing can be a cool way to spend your afternoon together. This is possibly one of the few times it is socially acceptable to loosen up and shake the belly your mama gave you. Aalim Bellydance Academy has an intro class on February 13th at 8pm and 14th 6:30pm for all novices and beginners. It’s only $10 or free if it’s your first time. Aalim has hip scarves for you to borrow so you can shimmy while bonding through dance.


If you’re in more of a sit and chill mood after a hard days work then this mini sign workshop may be more your style. For $35 Board and Brush will supply the tools for you and your bestie to each complete a mini sign that you’ll want to hang on your wall at home. Held on Tuesday February 13th at 7pm. Book quickly, seats fill up fast. Reserve your spot here by February 10th.


Who needs to buy when you can make your own floral arrangement for your lady love. Bumble BFF is hosting a floral arrangement class at New Leaf Florist so you can create a valentine of your very own. Take your friend to a fresh evening of flowers, wine and light snacks that will cost you both nothing at all. Class will be Thursday Feb. 8th from 6-8pm.


There is no Galentine’s without brunch. It is a cold hard fact. The YWCA is supporting ladies by providing a beautiful brunch spread that will include mimosas and a photo booth to capture the day. Its February 10th from 10am-11:30am. Tickets are $35, 2 for $65, or 3 for $95 so you can bring multiple friends along for the ride. No other fundraising than purchasing the tickets, just pure fun and relaxation with amazing women.


The month of love isn’t only about your life partner;
it’s also about your partners in crime.




Homestead Exemption

Every tax season is a nightmare. This little tidbit of knowledge can help ease the burden of taxes this year. This tax season save money on your home with the Homestead Exemption. It is an exemption of the assessed valuation.


A homestead is any structure, condominium or home located on owned or leased land as long as the individual lives in it. It can include up to 20 acres as long as it is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to residential use. The exemption removes part of your home’s value from taxation thus lowering your taxes. Not all homes qualify; only the principal residence of the homeowner.


To qualify you must be a resident of Oklahoma and the homeowner that resides on the property by January 1st with the deed executed before January 1st and filed with the County Clerks Office before February 1st. You may file it for two years up to the delinquency date. Once you have applied for and granted the Homestead Exemption then you do not have to continue applying as long as you continue to occupy the homestead home.

pexels-photo-296886.jpegYou may even be able to apply for an additional exemption if you qualify for the original homestead exemption and are head of the household. There are several options including county, school, disabled, optional percentage and senior tax exemptions. This is potentially another $1000 if your total annual income did not exceed $20,000 the previous year. Apply today from our Oklahoma County Assessor site.




Easy Instant Pot Soups for Winter

It’s the perfect time of year for staying indoors, drinking mulled wine and reading books that you’ve been meaning to get to. With cold weather comes the best hot recipes that satisfy the soul and nothing does that better than a hearty warm soup. These recipes will kick start your winter watch-fest or read-in.


Simple Veggie and Beef:
This easy recipe will take only 20 minutes and then be ready to enjoy. 

  • 2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen Lima beans
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 3 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Set your Instant pot to sauté setting.  Cook meat and onions until brown and onions are soft.
  2. Add all the other ingredients to the Instant pot.
  3. Add lid and set to sealing.
  4. Click the manual button and set the time for 4 minutes. Allow it to naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes and then do a quick release
  5. Remove lid, stir, and add more salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot with your favorite rolls and enjoy!


zuppa toscana

Zuppa Toscana:
I don’t know about you but I am obsessed with Italian soups. They get it right every time. One of my personal favorites is Zuppa Toscana. The flavor and potatoes make for a satisfying dinner.

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs Hot Italian Sausage, Use 1 hot and one mild if you don’t like spice
  • 3 Strips of Thick Cut Smoky Bacon, chopped
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp Oregano, dried
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 4-6 Medium Potatoes, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth, low sodium
  • 1 Bunch of Kale** chopped, with rib removed
  • 1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
  1. Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode, and when it says Hot, add the olive oil.
  2. Add the sausage and brown it, stirring a few times. If you can get a good browning on it the flavor will be even better! Add the chopped bacon. Stir. Add the onions, stir them in.
  3. Add the oregano. When the onions start to look translucent, add the minced garlic, or add using a garlic press, and stir. Pour in the broth, stirring, and make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot to get up any brown bits. Add the potatoes.
  4. After adding the potatoes, check to make sure the contents don’t go over the Max Fill line marked on the inner liner. Cancel Sauté mode.
  5. Close the lid, set the steam release knob to Sealing.
  6. Set to Manual (or Pressure Cook), and choose 5 minutes* (High Pressure).
  7. After cooking cycle ends, allow a 10 minute NPR (Natural Pressure Release).
  8. Manually release the rest of the steam and when the pin in the lid drops, open the lid.
  9. Add in the kale, (or thawed spinach, if using) and stir well. Cover and let heat through for 5 minutes or so to soften the kale. If using spinach, just stir it in and proceed to the next step. Stir in the heavy cream. Serve!



broc cheddar soup 2

Broccoli Cheddar Soup:
A classic that is rich and gratifying. This is practically the only thing I order when at Panera. It’s too good to pass up. This is a Panera copycat so by making it at home I can save a lot of money.

  • 8oz cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk or heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 tbs franks red hot sauce (optional)
  1. Place chopped onion, carrots, broccoli, and chicken broth in the Pot. Place on Manual high pressure for 15 minutes.
  2. Do a quick release and stir in milk or heavy cream place pot back on saute until comes to a low boil about 5 minutes. Stir in cheese and hot sauce.
  3. Serve with bread or crackers.

Soups are the go-to for a night at home before a evening of Netflix and board games. These will start your evening off right with old recipes that can create some new traditions.












Gym Free Work Outs

It’s January and time to own up to those New Years resolutions. My resolution is to have no excuses to not work out, especially on days I can’t get to my gym or know it’s going to be super packed because everyone else decided to start working out again in January. In honor of those gym free days I resolute to work out from home. That’s right. I’m going to get creative and tone up from anywhere! Here is my January plan for at home or office fitness so you can follow along.


Week 1: An at home Crossfit regiment. It seems a very intense for me so I am going to try this simple Crossfit style workout from the comfort of my own abode. It is 10 lunges, 10 push-ups, 10 squats, 10 sit-ups and 10 jumping jacks. Repeat this 4 to 5 times in a row to complete your workout. Sounds fairly easy.


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Week 2: I will try a new workout each week to stave off boredom. I like to switch it up. Also you don’t want your body to acclimate to one workout. This week is called the Five, Ten, Fifteen. We will do 5 push-ups, 10 crunches, 15 squats, rest for 10 seconds, then 5 lunges, 10 reverse crunches, and a 15 second plank. Repeat this 5 times per day.


MB-0117-imgs_3-pilates abs

Week 3: 5 minute Pilates Abs. 10 single leg stretches for each side, 10 criss crosses for each side, 10 double leg lowers, 10 scissors, 10 back extensions, 10 double leg stretch. Repeat daily. Can be used as an alone ab workout or added to the end of your usual routine.



Week 4: Super Girl. This one is going to be intense. It’s called the Super Girl. If you get online you can research all kinds of workouts named after super heroes. It’s kind of awesome and will make you feel like you can conquer a genetically mutated monster afterwards. It is 20 squats, 20 knee tap reverse lunges, 40 punches, 10 one arm plank jumps, 10 alternate arm/leg planks, 10 Super Girl stretches, 10 reverse crunches, 10 raised leg crunches, 10 scissors. (See more here)

If you can make it through this, then you can make it through the entire year of gym-less fitness on those days you couldn’t get yourself to your favorite gym. Of course, all workouts should be followed up with a well balanced diet. Tell us how you’re doing on your gym free goals and give helpful advice in the comments so we can conquer January guilt together.




New Year, New House

It’s already the New Year people and it’s time for big ideas and big changes. There is the one thing that has been on your mind for a while now but can’t seem to get started. Now is the time. Those homes you have been eyeballing secretly, following the buyer’s apps, and drooling over those historic district houses, well now is the time to act.

Make your New Year’s resolution to treat yourself
to a well deserved new home.
You’ve survived through 2017 so you’ve earned it.


Why is the New Year a good time to buy? Tax Deductions. Start this year off right with huge tax deductions that are ready to be taken advantage of. Next year you will thank yourself while filing in February. I know it seems like a long way off now but so did the end of 2017, am I right?


In addition to the usual perks of buying, the holidays and New Year make everyone a little more jolly. The freshness of the New Year may make people nicer as you start your journey into purchasing. Your real estate agent will be more attentive due to slow traffic; the seller may be easier to negotiate with in the spirit of the season. YOU will be less stressed and more easy-going in light of the exciting prospects of ownership.


Not many people shop for houses this season so many sit on the market for a long time. This will save you money by getting a great deal in a slow market. Sellers will be thrilled to negotiate and sell to you after waiting a spell on a bid.


It’s better than renting. On rentals you are essentially burning your money each month. Buying is an investment that will eventually make you money if you ever decide to sell your home.

Make your New Year work for you, make your new year’s resolution to own.