The Buying vs Renting Debate

Sometimes in life, the greatest blessings are the simplest – clothes on our back, food in our bellies and a roof over our heads! Our home could be a one bedroom studio apartment in the city or a sprawling “mcmansion” in the ‘burbs… but the real question is does it make more sense for you to purchase or rent your home? 

Buying a home is quite the stressful experience – you’ll sign your life away on hundreds of documents, and then there will be lots of expenses like a mortgage payment, insurance, maintenance, repairs and property tax that you need to take care of not to mention the cost of putting down a lot of cash for your down payment. Renting your home might seem easier in comparison, but there are costs that still need to be factored in like renter’s insurance, a security deposit, and the possibility of financial repercussions to breaking a lease. 

As a newly engaged woman, building a home where my fiance and I can create our new life together as husband and wife is on our minds! But in the midst of the stress of planning a wedding, is buying a home right now the best idea or should we continue to rent, but in a place of our own? Time to consider the pros & cons of each: 

Pros and Cons of Owning A Home 

There are many costs that go into owning a home but there are SO many benefits to having a place that completely belongs to you! One – you get a chance to build equity! Equity represents the amount of your home and you own it. Once you pay off your mortgage completely, you’ll have 100% equity in that particular property. If your home value raises over time and you sell it for more than what you paid, you’re also able to make money. Another great reason to own your home is that it grants you stability. As long as you keep up with your mortgage payments, you are not allowed to get evicted from your home. If you rent, there may be nothing to stop your landlord from renewing your lease. This stability can be extremely important to families, especially those with small children. You also are able to make your own rules. Do you want a dog? You’re allowed too. If you’re thinking about renting a room in your home, you have that option to do so. By owning your home property, it allows you the freedom you would be limited to somebody else’s terms ie, your landlord. 


Image: AON Innovation 

Of course there are some cons when it comes to own your home. You are in charge of fixing all the repairs within your home. This can be anything with your heating system or if your foundation starts to sink. If you had cracks in your drywall, you’ll need to call a professional to come help you. If you live in the local area of Allen Texas there is a company you must call to help called Aon Innovations. The drywall team is their specialty and it’s because they take such pride in making the drywall look as if it was never repaired in the first place. No matter what size, small or large, they help repair and match any texture for you! Their service, professionalism, and workmanship is the core of their success. Worried about licensing? They are able to do both residential and commercial work no matter if your home is new construction or a remodel. 

Having your repairs done by professionals may cost you some money but it’s money well spent to have it done correctly and the right way one time. If you are renting your home, your landlord is the one to do it and it might not be their speciality so after hours of work and labor, they may still need to call a professional to come help.

Pros and Cons of Renting

Just as buying a home has its benefits, so does renting. I currently rent my home and I love it. My roommate has an incredible eye for interior decorating, and it doesn’t hurt AT ALL that her mom is an interior decorating GODDESS! 

When you rent, there’s no need to sink a huge chunk of your savings into a down payment. Typically, you’ll be required to pay a month of rent up front along with a security deposit. In some areas, you may be required to come up with your first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and that deposit. Either way, you’re generally not talking about nearly the same amount as a down payment, which means your money isn’t tied up. Another benefit is it also gives you the flexibility to pick up and move if you need to rather then if you owned your home. When you rent, you’re able to sign a shorter lease with a one year term and if you suddenly get a job in another state, you have the option to break your lease within about 30 days and move without having any sort of financial penalty or the hassle of putting your home up for sale. 

There are a few cons is that if someone breaks into your home, you are the mercy of the landlord to have them fix it. This means that maybe your hot water stops working and you’re forced to find another place to shower for a little while until the repair is finished. You also are working with someone else’s rules perhaps not able to paint the walls or not get a dog that you really want. There are many pros and cons to owning a home as well as renting but the most important thing to focus on is what works best for you and your lifestyle right now. You can’t go wrong with either option because at the end of the day, it’s the simple blessings that count! 

hoUSTon Alumni

Makeup artist, blogger, R+F Consultant, Account Manager at one of the largest Insurance Brokerages in the world… but one of my favorite (quasi) professional titles is UST Alumna! I didn’t always feel this way though, because my dream school was University of Texas in Austin. As a young girl growing up in Cypress, TX – a suburb of Houston – I wanted to explore a brand new city for 4 years! But God had other plans for me. And I’m so happy I had the opportunity to live, explore & study in one of the best cities in this country.

I could make this post about how Texas (and specifically Houston) is the best place to live, work, and study, but I pretty much summed that up in this post here. Instead, it’s about how many opportunities came from taking a chance on a small university right in my own backyard.

UST is an opportunity to “Be Your Bold Self” – a slogan that encompasses the core of what the University of St. Thomas has to offer. College is an experience where you find out more about yourself and uncovering who you’ve been all along! UST incorporates academics with other fundamental parts of learning like the arts, culture, diversity and even faith to develop on the skills you already have and the person you already are!

UST is an opportunity to explore one of the most diverse cities in the world – Located in the heart of Montrose, you are situated within minutes of anything you could think of. Downtown, Discovery Green, museums, parks, the largest and most renowned Medical Center in the world, shopping centers, restaurants (name a food, any food… you’re within 15 minutes of anything you want!), and bars!

UST is an opportunity to learn how to keep yourself accountable by working closely together with a small team – because when you enter the workforce, you’re not in a large auditorium with hundreds of your colleagues. You work closely with your peers and your boss to learn and collaborate. My largest class, except for one rare, auditorium style class I had Freshman year, was about 25 people. And that was a sophomore English class. Other than that, my classes averaged no more than about 10 students. It was like we were having meetings each class, which is going to prep you for the workforce better than a large auditorium style class where you hope your professor doesn’t realize you missed half the semester.

UST is an opportunity to learn how to live in a REAL working city – how many universities overtake the towns that they’re located in? College towns are friendly to college students… but that ain’t life honey! And I’m sorry to deliver this message, but you will not be a young, dumb college student forever. Majority of the students that attend UST commute (please don’t get me started on the availability and selection of student housing at UST, not all schools are perfect…), learning to sit in morning and evening rush hours is necessary and incredibly beneficial to know before the rude awakening of joining the workforce post graduation. Studying in Houston means you take your classes and focus on your subjects for that semester, but all the while, you get to observe and absorb what the next chapter will be like.

There’s so much more to life than the college that you attended. In a fast changing world, an education is VERY important, but your diploma doesn’t define your very being. I had some doubts in my first couple of semesters, if I made the right choice by going to and staying at the University of St. Thomas instead of transferring to my “dream school”. Sometimes (when I sit in traffic) I daydream about how different my life would’ve been, and then I think about how I would have never lived my life now any differently! I’m a University of St. Thomas alumni, but I’m also a hoUSTon alumni.

If you’re a hoUSTon alumni too, there are so many ways to give back to the school that has taught us so much. This year’s UST Rocks my Socks campaign brought us so much closer to the alumni participation goal and is a great way to give to the next wave of those wanting to become Celt Alumni! To find out more information on this campaign and other Alumni events to score some really cool Celt swag, visit the UST Alumni page (here!) or follow them on Instagram!

To learn more about the University of St. Thomas, click here!

xoxo
La Glam Greek

The World Needs Love, and It Starts with You

There’s a lot of mess in this world. We pray for love and peace, but really, it starts from within.

Same goes for when someone feels like they cant find someone for them, or they attract the same dead-end type of relationships.

As Rupaul said it, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna somebody else?”

I’ve often thought about my own love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. I hate that people who don’t have a Valentine date feel more “aware‘ of their single status. But I love the colors, and I just love the L O V E !

And then I thought, for so long, Valentine’s Day is about telling your crush you like them, or hoping to have that cute guy you keep bumping into at the deli to notice you and finally ask you out! If Valentine’s Day is all about love, why can’t you be your own date? Why can’t it be about loving yourself first?

It’s not about being selfish, because self care and self love, makes you a better person. It makes you a better friend, sister, daughter, companion, mother, aunt, cousin. When you can love yourself, you create the vibe in which you surround yourself.

There are SO many ways that you can treat yourself like the partner you deserve :

  • Take yourself shopping
  • Treat yourself to a glass of bubbly at a swanky downtown bar
  • Draw yourself a bath, add bubbles or milk, honey and rose petals
  • Light some aromatic candles and take a hot, steamy shower
  • Find some really smell-good lotions and serums to apply after your bath
  • Clean Linens
  • WORK OUT! Yoga or a quick meditation. I know it may sound weird, but try it
  • Journal – write down 10 things you like about yourself. Can be as simple and random as, “I like my earlobes” but write 10 things you like about yourself.
  • Put on some makeup, do your hair, and take some selfies. Take at least 20 and find a few that make you feel like a boss babe

So many ways to show yourself love, I don’t even know if I touched the tip of the iceberg.

I cleaned ALL my linens. From my mattress pads, to my sheets, to my quilt, to my throw blankets and sham covers. I got a pretty good work out in. I fed my body well today. I shaved, because I don’t have laser yet :(, exfoliated all over in a hot shower today, used my deep conditioner in my hair, used extra serums and I used my extra moisturizing lotion. I made sure to light some candles and I jotted down a couple things I love about myself. One of which read, “I love that you get so obsessed with memes that you can watch them over and over and still laugh after watching it 18 times.”

Love yourself down to the simplest thing!

This Valentine’s Day, I hope you find some ways to show love to the temple that you live your life in every day.

Painting the Town Purple – How to Bachelorette Party in Houston

Once upon a time, not a long while ago, bachelor and bachelorette parties were simple, yet very festive and celebratory affairs, where a young, soon-to-be married couple would have “one last night” to be wild and free with some of their best friends before the impending incarceration in which we call marriage. (just kidding, I don’t think that way!) It used to be a night before or a couple nights before the actual wedding, and didn’t really consist of too much other than maybe dinner and drinks with your girlfriends, and perhaps a male stripper if you were on the wilder side… Then millennials started getting engaged and married and it turned into a weekend get-away with your closest gal-pals to get really wild. (I blame Vegas for this)

Now don’t get me wrong – AT ALL – I ABSOLUTELY adore a destination bachelorette party! But sometimes, it just doesn’t fit in someone’s schedule or perhaps even a budget! So when my cousin asked me to be one of her koumbares and plan her bachelorette party, she was very carefree & go with the flow, “I don’t mind at all what we do or where we go, here’s who I’d like to attend, knock yourself out…” the only thing was that between moving across the country in July to be with her Sailor, having a new work schedule and coming back and forth for dress fittings and wedding preparations… well time was a precious commodity.

Houston isn’t exactly a city one comes to to vacation. We’re a commercial city, people come here to work! But we know how to have a d*mn good time!

There are only a few things that one must truly need to successfully pull off a bachelorette party and that’s :

  • love
  • laughter

(lol, jk… but actually)

  • rest
  • relaxation
  • food
  • alcohol
  • good friends

Luckily in the Bayou City, the temperature rarely falls below 85 F well into mid October, so a Labor Day staycation was the perfect time to lay by the pool since that’s all anyone wants to do anyway!

Literally the Best Pool in the Nation, y’all!

Right in the center of downtown, is a little modern, urban oasis, with a Texas shaped pool, a pool that looks over Discovery Green, goddess treatment and a stellar spa (I highly recommend the massage!) – this is the place to hang out for the day or overnight. There are multiple hotels in Houston that would offer the same, luxurious experience, such as the Houstonian, but I decided that the Marriott Marquis would be great for a recently relocated Texan!

That evening, we went back to my house, which is close to a very popular nightlife district, to enjoy a rather naughty time learning about fun toys and being served by a handsome BUTTler. Decorating and party favors don’t have to be expensive, and you can find lots of really great and affordable things on Amazon!

Then we went out for a traditional bachelorette bar-hopping experience! (only thing is that we didn’t get out of the house til midnight, so we only stayed at one bar… haha!)

Brunch, which is always a great idea, can only be elevated by an accompanying performance! Houston now is home to a Hamburger Mary’s, the Original drag brunch! And let me tell you something, honey… Houston Queens can SERVE! On top of that, the food is GREAT!! (as are the Bloody Mary’s) As well as being a fun experience, it’s a great place to go with a group of friends.

Really wished I could’ve gotten better pics of the show oh.. & the food!!

I suppose Houston isn’t the first stop I’d consider for a destination anything, but there are fun things to do in every corner, which only a true Houstonian can truly appreciate. And besides, who doesn’t like a spa day and some time out by the pool accompanied by a fruity drink?

There are plenty of places to play here, my sweet bachelorettes (and any Maids of Honor or Bridesmaids who are currently stressing over where, what, how and when to plan a bachelorette party your best gal pal would love). Throwing a Bachelorette Party in your own town should be an easy job, let me know other ideas and suggestions! 🙂

xoxo
The Glam Greek

Confessions of a Nutcracker Market Virgin

Perhaps  it’s the typically warm Houston weather that can last well into November, maybe it’s the fact that I’m not quite in Christmas mode until after Thanksgiving, or possibly it’s because I don’t care for large crowds of (sometimes) boozed up women spending oodles of money in a tight, enclosed space, but I never felt the need the attend the Nutcracker Market, despite it’s considerable annual significance in this city.

I take a great pride in living in one of the top US cities that has an extensive fine arts district. The Houston Ballet is the 5th largest in the United States in terms of number of dancers, and the theater that houses their performances, the Wortham Center, is America’s largest professional dance facility! Each year, as the Ballet gears up for their almost 2 month long (exquisite and magical) production of The Nutcracker, they roll into town at the beginning of November with this Texas-sized holiday market to raise funds for the Houston Ballet Foundation, their Academy & scholarship programs.

Every year around this time, the ladies of the city are lacing up their sneakers, prepping their monogrammed shirts, summoning their girl gangs and preparing their bank accounts, but all I can think about is the traffic and the crowds and spending more money than my budget would allow and I usually say to myself, “Not today, Satan!”

Until this year.

For lots, this is an annual tradition. You get together with your besties and/or your mom, sisters, tias & primas and make a big day of it! Ladies often tailgate beforehand (as it’s now held at NRG Center, next door to NRG Stadium where the Houston Texans play, so tailgating is only fitting for this event), getting a pre-game buzz going so that they can shop, shop, shop til they drop. A family friend of ours asked if we’d like to EXPERIENCE the market this year with her crew. Because this isn’t just a holiday market, it’s a holiday EXPERIENCE! I however, had no vacation days left this year and could not finagle even a half day to attend, so we decided to go after work on a Thursday, their opening night to the public.

Tips for making your first time as painless and as enjoyable as possible:

  1. If this is your first time, like mine, I would suggest to do as I did for my first time as well and attend after 3 P.M. on Thursday evening as the crowd is minuscule to what (I’ve heard to be) the normal daytime crowd. Because you guys, OH EM GEE!!! When you walk in, your jaw hits the floor.

    Booths, upon booths, upon booths, upon booths, upon booths, upon BOOTHS of merchandise.

    Anything and everything from the obvious Christmas decor & gifts & wrapping, to clothing to accessories to home décor to knick knacks to snacks and food to furniture to jewelry to shoes to house-ware to ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN!!

    If you are a Nutcracker Market virgin like I was until 2018, you need NOT a crowd of retail hungry females ruining your experience when the experience in and of itself is overwhelming enough.

  2. Do your research : Upon entering the market, you are greeted by a volunteer who hands you a very  large, empty shopping bag with a program. The program contains a list of their sponsors and a FULL list of merchants including a description of what they carry, along with their booth number and a website, if applicable (you can also find this on the Nutcracker Market website if you want to do your research prior to attending).

  3.  If you need some help with the anxiety that can come from not knowing even where to start, there are plenty of bars with menu options from beer to mimosas to cocktails to double cocktails. (there are also non-alcoholic options like water!! Stay hydrated, my friends.)
  4. There are plenty of places to sit, but regardless, be sure to wear comfortable clothing and good walking shoes!
  5. Utilize the people there; lots of vendors have been there for consecutive years and right in the center of the market is an information center where you can ask questions to a handful of expert volunteers who will usher you in the right direction for whatever it is that you are looking for.
  6. Use ride-share to get there! Unless you plan on buying everything you see, the first time is really overwhelming, so I didn’t buy a thing. We took a Lyft, and used a code for $10 off a round trip ride that I found on the Nutcracker Market website. If you do plan on spending big bucks, then you might want to take your own car. Be aware of the $12 parking fee & $20 ticket price just to get in the market, FYI.
  7. Be prepared for buyers remorse/consumer regret. Everything you see there can literally either be made on your own or bought on Amazon/Hobby Lobby/Home Goods. Fight the urge to buy that $63 mermaid stocking… but the “see it, want it, buy it, own it” is REAL, girl!

You will leave feeling the Holiday spirit, financially depleted, and ready for next year’s Market!! If you’re anything like me, you will spend the ride-share car ride home creating a game plan for making sure you have at least one extra day of vacation, the vendors that you’ll plan to visit next year, the monogrammed shirts you’ll all wear, and who’ll be bringing the bubbly to the tailgate!

If you have any tips to help with my second go-around next year, please leave in the comments or email me! I’d love to hear more.

Should you be interested in visiting for the first time this year, check out their website for more information!

Houston Ballet | Nutcracker Market

xoxo

La Glam Greek