Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Seattle to Portland

Hey gang! I hope everyone has had an amazing week. P and I have been on vacation, and its been amazing. We flew to Seattle, and hung out in the city for a few days, then drove down to Greenwood, Washington to a ranch that has no cell service or wifi. Finally, we drove into Portland, Oregon for a few days. At first, I was not sure how I was going to feel about it, but after a few day with no phone calls, no text, no email, and no social media, it was actually amazing.

We were gone for a little over a week, but, I can honestly tell you that it was the best vacation I have ever been on. Getting away, disconnecting, being around family and friends, and being in the mountains, gave me a lot of time to think, pray, and contemplate. I actually feel stronger emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. My heart is full and my head is clear.

Some of the highlights: Meeting my bloggy bff Denise. Laughing a lot. Staying up until 2. Star gazing. Inside jokes. Swimming in a freezing river. Trail running. Hiking. Sleeping late. Eating amazing food.

I feel that for the first time in a long time, I have something to say, and I am ready to share.

For now, while we unwind, unpack, and get reacquainted with the real world, I leave you with some photos from the trip.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Sometimes life takes you to places that you never expect.
Sometimes in life, you bump into someone who becomes a life long friends.
Sometimes in life, you meet those people because of a little blog on a big Internet.

Friendship is a funny thing. It ebbs, it flows, and it changes. Relationships that you held so tightly to in one phase of life slowly drifted away. Other times, people come into your life unexpectedly and stick around for years and decades.

The Internet has changed friendship. People from different walks of life, who under different circumstances would never have met, are suddenly thrust together. Friendships are formed through comments, through emails, through social media platforms.

And occasionally, some of those Internet friendships transform themselves into something more, they become real life friendships. Friendships forged over years of communication through a screen.

But on that rare occasion that you find a friend amongst all those voices on the web that is honest, true, and real, you hope and pray that one day you will get to meet.

That happened to me last night. I got to meet my very first Internet friend.

My husband and I are in Seattle, WA this week on vacation. It just so happens that one of my oldest and dearest bloggy friends lives 20 minutes outside of Seattle.

We met for dinner at an amazing restaurant called Odd Fellows. We spent several hours eating good food, laughing, talking, and getting to know each other beyond the screen.

Thats us. Meet Denise--she is the one on the left. I'm the one in the pink on the right, obviously.
My mom is probably freaking out because I met someone in real life that I met on line. Denise's mom was worried too. 
If you have not had a chance to read her blog, go there now! She is always posting about life in the PNW, her family, her dog, her amazing cooking, and best of all, her photo's. Magazine worthy pics!

Denise, thank you for the years of friendship, and to many many more!

Tell Me: Anyone else met friends in real life that you have met online?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Money Monday:Family and Money

Much has been made about my generation. As millennial's, we graduated right before the great recession. We had our degrees, student loans, and idealistic aspirations. We were ready to light the world afire.

Then, the bottom dropped out. The economy sank, plans changed, and the lives we thought we were going to lead suddenly seemed out of grasp. Suddenly, millions of us moved from our college apartments back to our childhood bedrooms. We were called the boomerang generation, and were accused of taking advantage of our parents. We took jobs we didn't want (I myself worked as a substitute teacher, hotel maid, and at a day care) and eventually made it out of the nest. It took a bit longer and life looked a lot different than we wanted. But, after slogging through, we made it out of the nest, and made it on our own. 

Now, however, the tables have turned. Our parents are moving into the next phase of their lives, retirement. Their careers are coming to a close, and they are reworking on their own budgets to see if they have saved enough money. Its a scary thing to quit work and live on your savings for the remainder of your life. Many baby boomers are realizing that retirement may be a little harder than they imagined. They spent so long taking care of their kids, that for some, they neglected to take care of themselves. 

So now, the question becomes, is it the child's responsibility to help the parent financially? In Eastern cultures, it is very common for multiple family generations to live under the same roof, or next door to one another. Western culture is one of the few that encourages such extreme individual independence.

Forms of help 

Family loans. Children can loan parents money for a variety of reasons. To help pay off high interest consumer debt, car purchases, or cover medical bills. 

Monthly subsidy. A fixed amount may be given to the parents each month to help cover household expenses. 

Household merging. For thousands of years this has been common, but its becoming more and more popular in the US. Parents are now moving in with their child, their spouse, and their grandchildren. The parents pay a very low rent, and part of the monthly bills. In addition, they often help with child care and household chores. 

Gifting. Another way for children to give back to their parents is to buy the things they need. Groceries, clothing, lawn care and taking care of other necessities are some other ways children and give to their folks. 

Money and family can be sticky situations. There is something called the "powdered butt syndrome." That means, if they powdered your butt, they don't want to hear your advise or thoughts on money. Though the discussion may be tricky, it is a necessity. 

The best thing families can do is to be open and honest about their financial situation as early as possible. As always, the great thing about personal finance is that you have the ability to change your situation, no matter your age.

Are your parents getting to retirement age? Do they have a plan? 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Confessions

Happy Friday friends!!!

Its now time for our weekly confessions.

1.I bought a box of cereal on Tuesday. I threw the box away on Thursday.  I don't understand how anyone can eat a standard serving of 1/2 cup, and be full. So I just had many many increments in 1/2 cup servings.

2.I had jury duty and got out at 11:00. I came home and had myself a lovely day off. Maybe I could have gone into the office, I probably should have....but I didn't.

3. I made a pretty obscene bachelorette gift for my cousins future wife whom I have never met. The caption on the card says "so your neck won't get cold." Again, I have never met her, so I probably could have just given her a gift card or something. Hopefully she gets my humor.

4. I pretend to pick up my dog's poo in front of peoples houses.  I didn't though, I just left it there.

Alright ladies, fess up!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday confessions

Happy Friday everyone. I hope you have had an amazing week!

It's time for Friday Confessions.

1.I spent one night cleaning out my chest of drawers, and before I went to bed, I thought, that was really fun. I know how to rage. I spent a few hours folding panties, cleaning out shirts, and organizing. Not exactly a party girl, but I had a really good time.

2. Sometimes, I don't return texts because I am lazy, and I tell the person I never received it. It's really not too big of a deal because the only people who text me are my mom, P, and BFF.

3. Someone was going number two in the restroom at work, and I walked in, smelled it and said, "eww, people are disgusting, and walked out." Given that I have a high profile at my place of work I probably should not have said that. But seriously, it was sick.

4. I ordered food to go from a restaurant,and forgot to pick it up. I just forgot, and felt really bad. Whoops!


Alright, fess up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


By nature, I am not normally very contemplative.

I don't spend a ton of time thinking about the day's gone by or yearning for yesteryear. At times, I could probably even be accused of being some what flippant. It is not hard for me to let things go, or shut things off.

However, on Sunday, I found myself laying in the afternoon sun on our deck thinking about years gone by. Yearning to go back in time, and grab the girl I once was and hug her, and whisper truth in her ear. I was yearning for friendship lost, for experiences never taken, and for mistakes that were made.

All of this was brought on by seeing someone I have not seen in 7 years. Someone whom I've always loved, but walked out of my life 15 years ago. Someone who cut the cord, and didn't make me a priority for a long time. That someone is my brother.

 Because he was my older brother, I idolized him. I wanted to be his best friend, and would do anything for him. He gave me my first sip of beer, let me drive his truck around the neighborhood when I was just 13 and my parents weren't home. He took me to my first high school party. He took me shopping with his money and bought me a pair of boots I wanted that my parents would not get for me because they were too expensive. He was a great older brother.

15 years ago, he was in college at Texas A&M, studying Economics, and seemed to have everything going for him. He was smart, funny, and had a ton of friends. Everything was going according to plan.

Then, one day, he called home and told my mom he was dropping out of school. He came home dropped off all his possessions, and walked out of our lives. He spent the past 15 years living in 7 different countries, working on and off, studying, and becoming fluent in several different languages. He has been a bit of a bohemian for the past decade. During that time, he would write a few letters a year, and call to check in maybe once a month at most.

For those left behind, it was almost like dealing with a death. We mourned, we missed him, we were angry, we accepted, and we grew, and we changed. We had to. It was almost like my brother leaving made my parents and I cling to each other that much more.

2 years ago, my brother came home, a decision that he never fully explained. He stayed at my parents house for a few weeks, and decided that he wanted to finish school and stay in the States. During the past 2 years, we have talked on the phone a handful of times, but have never seen each other until this past weekend.

For the long 4th of July weekend, P and I drove down to central Texas to spend the long weekend with my side of the family. To say I was nervous and didn't know what to expect would be an understatement. When he walked through the door on Friday afternoon, the moment was exciting, surreal, and uncomfortable. I didn't quite know how to act or what to say.

The weekend flew by, and he had a lot of fun. We talked, we ate, we caught up a bit. Will I see him again soon, that I cannot answer.

But, the experience left me thinking so many things. I was flooded with memories that I had long since forgotten. Sunday evening, I stared off into the sunset and allowed my mind to wander. I thought about the good and bad.

You never get a say in the hand you are dealt, you just learn to deal and adapt. You learn how to operate in the situation in which you are placed. You learn how to live and thrive even when you are hurting. You learn from the past, and hope for a better future. You learn that nothing is certain, and that sometimes plans fall through, and people let you down. You learn that "normal" is a fluid concept.