Friday, September 30, 2016

3 Tips for Keeping on Task

I love Fridays.  I really do.  The one day of the week where I have nothing planned, don't need to leave the house and can just relax and hopefully not have to worry about anyone or anything.
This past week was crazy - my husband was out of town at a conference in NYC and my girls had a ton of activities to be at.  Every time I thought I'd be able to relax, I just couldn't do it.  Something would come up.  I had a schedule all made up for the week but I admit by Friday I really wasn't following it.  So I thought this might make for a great Periscope or blog post... or both.
3 Tips for Keeping on Task
1. Brain Dump
Get all of your distractions out on paper.  Don't do this on your computer.  Make sure you sit down with few distractions at the beginning of the week or at the beginning of a project and write down everything that you have going on for the entire week or everything you need to do in order to accomplish your goal or task.  You can always sort it if you need or want to but it is important to just get every thing out if you can and as quickly as possible.  For particular projects make sure you write down steps involved, what it will take to get things done, time estimates and a plan to accomplish it.  Once you've done this you'll be able to figure out the best way to get started.
2. Create a plan
Once you have your brain dump and can see everything you need to do in regards to a particular project it will help you to create a plan for getting it done.  You can then create a schedule or at least know what it will take to get everything done and how you can accomplish it.
3. Set aside distractions and setting aside the time
Once you've had your brain dump and created your plan of attack, find a time to actually work on getting things done.  This means a quiet time where you can work on your tasks with little to no distractions.  For me, this is nap time between 12:30 and 2 and 3 and 4.  Not a great amount of time.  If I really need time with NO distractions, after the kids are in bed is also a good time for me to get stuff done.
Those 3 quick things can really help you to stay on task or to complete a project if need be.  I'd love to help you more - make sure you check out and join my FB group where we will be talking more about this in depth there.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Shout Out Thursday

It's that day again where I shout out someone who's encouraged me over the past week in some way or another.  This week I am calling out my friend Kija.  She is amazing.  She recently joined my Norwex team as a consultant and she's going to be taking the Honeybadger 101 Course with Kelly Paull with me starting in October.
She is a ray of light who makes me smile and I know if she were here in Boston she'd be one of my best friends.  I am so grateful for meeting up with her through Periscope and Jamberry.
I will be sending her a quick thank you note just to let her know how much I appreciate everything she's done.  I hope that you take the time to shout out someone who has encouraged you and hopefully send them a quick note to thank them for that encouragement.  Let them know how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them!
Everyone needs a little bit of encouragement now and again and often times it can be difficult to know if you've made a lasting impact on someones life.  Keep that in mind as you go about your week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Whatchya Reading?

I literally just finished up a book that I really wanted to share with everyone today.  It's called, So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson.
Now, as many know, the idea of public shaming isn't anything new but with the advent of the internet it has gone to a whole new level.  Things that once went down in private settings are now made public and things that one never had to worry about going viral are now being blown so far out of proportion that viral takes on a whole new meaning.
One of the reasons why this book has resonated with me so deeply is that I have to wonder how I would feel if one of my worst moments were taken and made public for the whole world to see.  It really made me think.  I mean, my children are amazing little people but every once in a while they turn into little terrors who like to create scenes and make life more miserable than it needs to be and sometimes my reaction can be less than stellar.  I try my best to stay calm and to not be anything less than a good person while out and about but every once in a while I can say that's not always the case.  How would I feel if my worst self came out and someone chose to film it or discuss it on a public forum or go out of their way to shame me?  I would be mortified.
I highly recommend this book - even though it really had nothing to do with finances.  Check it out.  You can get it on Amazon for kindle or in paperback.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Podcast Tuesday - What Are You Listening To?

It's Tuesday!
I have been playing catch up over the last few days when it comes to podcasts.  I am SO far behind.  I try to listen to them when I'm cleaning the house or trying to get stuff done but I am easily distracted by little ones these days.
This week I have been listening to Direct Sellers ROCK! which is put out by Power Coach Alicia.  Now, if you don't know who she is let me share a bit.  I first came across her during a free training provided by Melanie Parker over at Party Plan 123.  Alicia is a no-nonsense direct sales coach who does not mince words and will basically tell you like it is whether you like it or not.  She is a powerhouse in the direct sales world and has been a coach for at least a few years now after running a very successful DS business herself.
I recently started listening to her free trainings online and have only recently started listening to her podcast and actually investing in a few of her trainings.
One of the things to keep in mind about Alicia is that she does like to swear and so if you aren't a fan of that, well - I suggest finding someone else to listen to.  She is definitely not into the mushy stuff and she will pretty much say what she wants to say, how she wants to say it.  I personally have no issue with this as sometimes I need a swift kick in the ass.  I am linking to her website here if you want to check her out.

Monday, September 26, 2016

It's like that Joni Mitchell Song

Sometimes life can throw you a curve ball.  Something unexpected.  Something that can really make or break your day.  Sometimes you really have no choice in the matter or how things turn out and sometimes you do.
I want to suggest that there is actually something that can be done when life gives us a not so pleasant life circumstance.  I want to suggest that instead of letting a small something turn into a big something or letting our circumstance ruin our entire day instead of a few moments in time that we start thinking about our blessings and remembering that a bad 5 minutes should not ruin an entire day.  We also need to remember that if a person is rude to us that often they themselves are going through a bad moment and may need some compassion and understanding instead of us getting rude right back.
Yes there are times when life can throw a curve ball or when something can go so entirely wrong it can ruin an entire day, week, month or even an entire year of our lives but we need to learn to control what we can in every situation - our own attitudes - and start remembering that life is going to happen one way or the other.  We have to be stewards of our own time, our own lives and our own circumstance.
I want to encourage you today that while life can be cruel at times, we should not be victims to our own circumstance.  Life will happen, whether you choose to engage or not.  Try to be present.  Try to be a blessing.  Try to be compassionate.  And above all else, try not to let your circumstances take over your life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

3 Ways to Invest in Yourself

I have had a virus or cold for the last 3 days and it needs to GO!

So I haven't been as on top of things I should be this past weekend and my blog posts are one of those things unfortunately.  But I wanted to provide some content this week, so I figured I'd hop on here and throw up a quick post about 3 ways you can invest in yourself with little to no money... see what I did there?

Self Help Books

Yes, I said it.  Self help books can help you invest in yourself.  There are books on how to lose weight, how to maintain relationships, how to raise your kids, how to do better in sales and how to invest money.  There are literally thousands of books that are all about helping you be a better version of you.  So if you struggle with something, go find a book to help yourself improve in that area.  Currently I am reading Valerie Burton's book, "Successful Women Think Differently."  It was a FREE  download on  Seriously.  FREE.  I love that word. 

Courses and Training

If you want to get better at something you can find courses and trainings out there to help you to be better.  Just like with books, you can usually find a training on pretty much anything.  And there are tons of FREE resources out there.  But remember, many times with courses and trainings if you opt for the FREE version you are only getting a small piece of the pie.  You may need to actually invest money into these trainers and teachers in order to actually get the whole enchilada.  If you don't want to invest in a course or training then maybe consider listening to a podcast or TEDtalk and see if you can learn something there.  And many times you can find inexpensive courses and trainings out there that can help you to learn what you want to learn or get better at.  

Self Care

Now this may seem rather silly but it's important and you need to do it if you haven't been.  Self care can be anything from taking a walk by yourself for 5 minutes just to leave the house OR it can be indulging in a massage while the hubs watches the kids.  Self care is a vital part of investing in yourself and you need to do it.  After I had Lydia I had a hard time letting myself spend the money on massages, nail appointments or hair appointments.  I just didn't have the "time" to spend doing such things and I figured no one would notice.  But I noticed.  I noticed how I snapped more at my kids or how I didn't really like how I looked in the mirror or how I was just more tired and run down.  I wasn't taking care of myself.  My trips to the gym were infrequent or non-existent.  I wasn't taking time out for me.  So I've started making sure I book a massage appointment every few weeks to get out of the house and do something for me.  No kids, my phones turned off and it's just me time.  I'm not saying it has resolved everything I have on my plate but it does help to relieve some stress.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Podcast Tuesday

haha... I've themed my day.  I wasn't going to do this but I have come across such amazing podcasts lately that I feel like I need to share them and I have no other avenue to do this, so Podcast Tuesday is here.
Today I want to talk about Young House Love Has A Podcast.  For those who don't know, Young House Love is a blog written by John and Sherry Petersik.  And for 7 years they shared their love of DIY and their lovely homes and family with the internet world.  I have no idea how I came across their blog but I fell in love.  I was totally devastated when last spring the Petersik's decided to take a year off.  But, over the past few months they have started blogging again and I was super excited to find they have a podcast - and it does not disappoint.
Young House Love Has A Podcast is super fun and while it focuses on DIY, it gives us a chance to connect with our favorite bloggers on a different medium.  Many who followed the blog already felt like they knew John and Sherry pretty well, but now I feel like I know them on a totally different level.  Listening to them tell corny jokes or come up with silly puns or even geek out over things that I would never have thought would cause them to be quite so excited makes me feel like they are way more approachable than I ever would have thought in the past.
Young House Love Has A Podcast comes out Mondays and is definitely worth the listen if you like fun interviews with DIY guru's and HGTV designers.  And if you were a fan of the blog then it's a must listen.
Check it out, if you hate it I totally understand.  But I think you will like it... it's entertaining, fun and has interesting interviews so I'm sure you'll love it!  You can check out the blog at  and there is a link to their podcast there as well or you can find it through iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Monday, September 19, 2016

New Target Find

I have always loved the idea of a planner.  Haha, get that?  The idea of a planner?  Sounds great, but I've never ever found a planner that I absolutely had to have.  I remember in high school I was given a planner my freshman year of high school and I loved that thing.  Sadly they didn't have anything similar the next year and I've been looking and looking but never found anything that I liked quite as much.  
As a Jamberry consultant I thought maybe I should get one since I had things I needed to keep track of and using my phone wasn't really cutting it.  So I spent the money and got myself the company planner but it just hasn't worked for me.  I love the monthly calendar part and the party planning part of it, but for my every day life it's just not cutting it.  In fact, it just makes my life more complicated because I have to have a separate planner for my every day life.  
Needless to say yesterday when I went into Target I knew I needed to find something to help me make my life a bit more organized.  I browsed the dollar aisles as I usually do and then went into the office supply section thinking maybe I would find a new notebook and then I found The Day Designer... OMG... I am IN LOVE!  
The day designer planner is "a strategic planner and daily agenda for living a well designed life."  
Ugh... yeah!  That's exactly what I need.  It has a space for goals, has a place for my daily to do list, my top 3 tasks, a schedule, a place to write down dinner and gratitude.  I was using an app for gratitude, an app for tasks, an app for my schedule... I literally have a million apps for everything and it's driving me crazy.  I use the Notes app on my phone for pretty much everything but I like having things written down on paper.  It helps me feel more in control of my calendar and like I can get things together easier if I can see it and organize it on paper.
I highly recommend that if you need a panner that you look into this one.  It's pretty affordable - $20 or less at Target (I apologize but I can't find the receipt and there was no price sticker on the planner) and if you use your Target Red debit or credit card you should be able to get it for 5% off whatever the sticker price is.  Most planners sell for a heck of a lot more than $20 so to me, this was a good investment.  I've already been filling this one in and am very happy with it (it's a July 16 - June 17).  I am already excited to invest in another for next year! 
Does anyone else get as excited by being organized or is it just me?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Did you know?

I promise I am done with the boring part of FICO scores.  But you really do need to know about how they are generated.  If you don't, you are only doing yourself a disservice.  FICO scores and your credit report are part of what decides whether you qualify for a mortgage, loans, credit cards and sometimes even if you can rent from someone.  If you have a ton of credit but aren't taking care of your credit that looks bad.  If you have no credit that also can look bad.  Knowing and understanding why will help you to understand why you may or may not qualify for credit on any given day.
With that said, if you haven't pulled a copy of your credit report in the past year then you need to.  To do this go to  
You will receive a copy of your credit report from each agency for free - you are entitled to 1 per year.  Check it over.  Make sure your information is correct.  Make sure that you do not have any inquiries on your report that you yourself didn't make or apply for.  Make sure all credit lines are yours and that you are not listed as an authorized user or that you are not listed joint on something that you are not supposed to be.  Make sure that all the payment information is correct and that address and social security numbers are correct.  If you find any errors you will need to dispute them and I will get into that in a later blog post as that is a long and drawn out process that can sometimes take years.
If you do not find anything erroneous with your credit report and everything looks good then review it and see if there are any credit lines that you should close out or if there's been any credit closures in the past year or so.  Also look to see when the last time you applied for credit was and make sure that no one has pulled your credit without your authorization.  If you have more than 5 inquiries in a 6 month period that is a red flag for creditors.  If you went through an auto dealership or a recent mortgage refinance be aware that they often go through more than one bank or lender when going through the process so not only will you have an inquiry from the dealership itself but you will also have one from each bank/credit union/mortgage lender who handled your application, as it is a necessary step for them to take to ensure they are not getting false information (which is also something that happens at times).
If you have any questions about how to read your credit report please let me know - I'll be happy to look it over with you - we can do it via Zoom, through Google Hangouts or some other private screen sharing way.  This was something I did a lot of when I worked at my last job, before I became a loan officer and I love helping people to see how they can read and interpret their credit report information and make it work for them!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Last 3 Factors That Make Up Your FICO Score

The last 3 things that make up your FICO score are how often you apply for, the mix of and the length of time you've had credit.   It is really important to know these things since they make up that last 35% of your FICO score.  Let's start with length of credit history.
How long ago did you start establishing credit?  What is the age of your oldest and your newest credit accounts?  How long since you last used your accounts?  How long since you closed an account?  How long since you last opened an account?  You want to keep your oldest credit lines open even if they don't have balances for as long as you can.  Obviously if your first credit line is a car loan then you can only keep it open for the length of the loan term but if it's a credit card - try to keep it open for as long as possible.  Some credit card companies will shut cards down that aren't in use after a few years but some will leave them open indefinitely.  This will help your FICO score.  Especially if that credit line is and stays in good standing.
Mix of credit sources in use makes up 10% of your FICO score.  How many credit cards do you have in your name?  How many have balances?  How many retail accounts do you have? How many installment loans?  How many mortgages?
People with no credit cards tend to be viewed as a higher risk when it comes to lending than someone who has and manages a credit card responsibly.  Closing an account does not make your credit history go away over night - it can take a number of years (usually 7-10 years).  So these are all things to keep in mind when it comes to your mix of credit and the length of time you've had credit.
Lastly, new credit.  The more accounts you open in a short amount of time, the worse this is for your FICO score.  Most creditors see it as a red flag.  If you are taking on a lot of debt all at once you need to be aware that while your FICO score may not take a hit right away, it will eventually catch up to you.  And if you are applying for a mortgage  you should NEVER apply for additional credit until the process is over.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Do You Pay Your Bills On Time?

Seriously, do you?  Have you ever missed a payment on a credit card?  Have you ever had a call from a debt collector?  Have you ever had to beg for someone to lend you money so you could pay your bills?
Repayment history makes up 35% of your FICO score.  That means that if you've ever been late, if you've ever had anything in collections or if you've ever skipped paying something or put it off for more than one billing cycle, that you have probably had your FICO score dip.
The fact is that repayment history makes up the majority of your FICO score.  You really need to do whatever is in your power to make your payments on time.  If you are late with a payment or do not receive a bill and then get charged a fee and you've never done this before you should call your credit card company and ask them to remove the late fee and see if they will report you as on time and not late.  This obviously can not be done more than once or twice but if you are a customer in good standing than you should be able to get the fees dropped and have them fix the credit reporting.
Some credit card companies will report you as late even if the payment is only 1 day late.  They also will raise your APR (annual percentage rate) so make sure you are making your payments on time so that you don't start having to pay more in interest, additional fees and have your FICO score affected.
Do these red flags show up on your credit report?
-Short Sale
If those words show up anywhere on your credit report you may have issues applying for and being approved for any additional credit in the future.  Banks and credit unions do look at the length of time between when these things occur and when you are applying for credit but these things are definite negatives and will not only affect whether you can get credit but what your FICO score is.

Bottom line: make your payments on time.  Pay your utilities, pay your credit cards, pay your bills on time.  Even if you only pay the bare minimums make sure you are paying something.
This is not advice that would probably be given to you by Dave Ramsey but this is my advice - if you can not afford your minimum payments on your credit cards than you are over charging.  You need to pay your debts.  If you are unable to then you need to figure out a way to get the balances to a reasonable level so you can pay them.  I do not recommend bankruptcy unless the debts are massive but there are other things that you can do.  I will go into that in another blog posts but I highly recommend that you get an accountability partner and someone you can discuss finances with and be honest with and go over your debts.

Monday, September 12, 2016

How is Your FICO Score Determined?

I want to get back into discussing FICO scores and why it is important to know what yours is.
The fact is, your FICO score is a debt calculated score.  Remember if you have no credit cards, no loans and no mortgage then you will have no FICO score.  If you ever want to get a credit card, a loan or a mortgage you may have issues when you apply for them and may need a coborrower or cosigner in order to qualify.  I will discuss those further when we finish this series, but you do need to know the distinction in case you ever decide to assist someone else in getting a loan or need someone to assist you.  Ok, back to FICO scores and how they are calculated.
The minimum requirements in acquiring a FICO score are at least 1 account opened for 6 months. That account must be reported to the CB for a 6 month period and the credit bureau must get no indication of you being deceased.  A student loan would qualify you to have a FICO score but just because you have a FICO score doesn't mean it's a valid score.
Banks and credit unions have their own ways of determining a valid FICO score, these may vary a bit from financial institution but for the most part this is the criteria:

  • 2 years of credit history.
  • 1 revolving line of credit (open ended, like a credit card)
  • 4 tradelines (a trade line is any credit line other than a student loan; credit cards, personal loans, mortgages are all considered tradelines)
  • And at least 1 tradeline limit of $5000 or more

Now, while these are the things that you need to have a valid FICO score, there is a calculation you can use to actually come up with your FICO score.  These are obviously subjective but this is how the 3 major credit bureaus determine who has a high or a low score:

35% - payment history
30% - Amount owed
15% - length of credit history
10% - new credit acquired
10% - mix of credit

I'm going to go into detail and break it down a bit further but as you can see - repayment of credit is going to affect you the most and how often you apply and what kind of credit you have available to you is going to affect you the least.  So you really want to do your best to pay your bills in a timely manner.

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Favorite iPhone App

How do you keep track of your schedules?  Do you make a to do list?  Do you write it out?  Do you keep it on your phone?  What kind of tools do you use when you are planning out your life?
For me, the easiest way to keep track of life is to use the Notes app on my phone.  I think I'd be lost without it.  It syncs to my computer so I can pull things up while I'm out and about and it helps me to keep track of my life without over complicating my life.

My To Do List for a week in August
One of my favorite ways to use the Notes app is for my to do list.  I've done my to do lists differently in the past but I'm trying out a new way my friend Trish Russell suggested in her Successful U course.  So far I like it but I may end up going back and doing it the way I used to in the past.  Obviously there are other ways you can do a To Do list but I like being able to see it and change it as needed.  I try to make out my list at the beginning of the week for each day.  It helps me to get focused and in some ways to create my schedule for the week of what must be done, can't wait to be done and so I know where I need to be when.

Periscope Ideas - you can see what
I've already discussed and what I
haven't yet
The second way I use my Notes app is to create content for Periscope and my blog.  One of the things I have found is that I like to have quick outlines of what I want to discuss for the week in front of me when I'm planning out content.  In order to do this the Notes app is great - I can keep it open on my computer while I scope and no one knows the wiser.  I also like to have it with me so I can add things to it while I'm out if something comes to me - like while sitting waiting for my girls at swimming lessons or while at karate or dance.  It has fun little boxes for checking things off so when I've done something I can click it off and I know it's been done and it makes my life much simpler and look a lot more organized that it probably is.

Example of how I do
my meal planning
And the last way I like to use my Notes app for is meal planning.  Now, I also use Pinterest for this as well but the way I meal plan is pretty plain Jane.  I basically comb through Pinterest, food blogs and my cookbooks to come up with 3 recipes that I want to make any given week - preferably something that creates enough for 2 meals and something that won't break the bank (like I won't make 3 chicken dishes all in one week or a dish that calls for flank steak if I'm already making 2 chicken dishes if that makes sense).  Once I have pinned the 3 recipes on Pinterest, I then open my Notes app I will usually make out a list of all the ingredients I will need for each recipe, then I create my grocery list.  My husband and I have been using Peapod through our grocery store to outsource the shopping so we stay more on budget and keep better track of what we are buying.  So once my grocery list is created I then go to the Peapod site and put everything in there - double checking my list to make sure that I don't miss anything.  While it's probably more time consuming to do it this way - it works best for me and I like doing it this way because I keep the recipes there so I have them if my internet is down or my phone dies or for whatever reason I can't find the recipe on Pinterest (these things have happened to me in the past if you couldn't tell).

So tell me, what's your favorite app for scheduling or to do lists or meal planning?  I'd love to hear in the comments.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

How Much is Too Much?

30% of your FICO score is made up by the amount you owe on each credit line.
When you review your credit report you need to look at a few different things.
First off, how close to your credit limits are you?  If you have a lot of credit cards and are only using one and you've spent almost 80% of your available credit limit that will hurt you just as much as if you have 3 credit cards and all of them are near their capacity.
Next how much total credit do you have available to you?  Do you have several thousand dollars?  Only a few hundred?  Nothing?  Add up all of your credit limits then figure out how much you have available to you and that will tell you how much you have available.  This number is used to determine your debt to income ratio and is a very important number when it comes to applying for loans.  I'll get into that later but it's also super important when figuring out your FICO score.
Third, how much revolving credit verses installment loan debt do you have?  Revolving debt is anything open ended such as credit cards, lines of credit, anything that allows you to continue borrowing off the available balance.  Installment debt is anything that's closed ended, like an auto or personal loan, mortgage or a student loan.  In most cases you must pay a certain amount each month for a fixed term at a fixed rate.
And lastly, you must be aware that your account balance on your credit report will most likely be your statement balance.  So even if you pay off your credit card every month it will most likely not show $0.  This can hurt you if you pay everything with a credit card every month.  If your balance is high in relation to your limit it's going to lower your FICO score.
I always recommend to people that they should make sure they keep their limits high and their balances low and pay them off every month.  If you are unable to do this then you may need to rethink your budget and how you spend your money.  Easier said than done sometimes, but it's something to keep in mind if you ever want or need to take out a loan.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fall Expectations

I'm not sure about anyone else but with Fall comes the expectation of schedules, back to school shopping and a million and one other things that I just don't have to deal with as much in the summer.  Life falls back into routine and there seems to be much more of an expectations that things will get done, where as I don't feel that pressure in the summer.  Not that things get thrown to the way side, but I definitely feel like I can put things off more than I do.
I embrace the chaos of back to school and routine because it helps me to get life back on track.  No
My Oldest daughter headed off to her
2nd day of the first grade.
more lazy days of nothing to do.  No more relaxing on the couch watching movies or Saturday morning cartoons.  With back to school is also back to afternoon and weekend activities.  It means meal planning and making sure that there's a meal in the crockpot or something made I can quickly throw on the stove or in the microwave to heat up after a long day out and about.
With the chaos of after school activities it means being more flexible about nap time and less flexible about my cleaning schedule and activities for the youngest.  It means making sure I take the car for an oil change and get gas before I "need" to and it means checking the calendars and making sure I didn't miss anything.  It means putting the girls needs above my own and scheduling appointments for them and making time for them to have "down time" and "screen free" time.
Expectations, back to school, fall, schedules - while for some it is a sad time, for me, it is welcome.  It gives me something to look forward to and reminds me of why I enjoy being a mom.  Not that I don't enjoy being a mom in the summer, but I kind of thrive on the busy-ness of life and less on the chaotic fun of summer.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Place To Be

Summer is pretty much over here in New England.  While I love fall with it's gorgeous leaves, cooler temps and of course the pumpkin spice, I am also sad that it's here.  Summers are too short and always seem to end so abruptly.  The typical New England summer starts mid-June and it seems like it ends right on Labor Day.
This year we were invited to our neighbors grandparents home in Rhode Island, about a 2 hour drive away, to hang out and go to the beach.  It was quite fun but I am NOT a beach person.  I would love to be one, but I'm not.  I'm paranoid enough when my girls are running around swimming pools, let alone when they want to boogie board and swim in the ocean.  Lydia and I enjoyed the surf and the sand from our beach blankets while the girls had a blast making sand castles and playing in the waves.
Being at the house near the ocean reminded me of why I want a small shack by the beach.  Even if it's small and only has 2 bedrooms, a living area and kitchen it would still be a fun place to congregate and have friends and family to.  I've often thought that the bigger beach homes are a bit over rated but a small cottage would definitely be a fun place to spend summer nights with friends while the kids sleep all bunked out in one room.  As long as there's a place for the kids to run around and enough room for a few sleeping bags on the floor, and an area for a fire pit who really needs a huge place?
My neighbors say they would rather just go to a hotel but for me, having that place we could go and invite people to join us at would be ideal.  We try to do that with our home now but I think people feel like they're intruding where as with a beach house or lake house it would be a welcome intrusion.  People could do their own thing during the day and then meet back at night for dinner or ice cream.  The expectation of visiting and being "stuck" would not be there as I think it's almost expected with a beach house that you'll be off on your own.  And if you choose not to be, it would be so relaxed that it would be ok... no one is stuck or forced and there would be no hard feelings if someone chose to nap instead of partaking in conversation.
Maybe that's just my idealized version of a beach house and what it should be there for... or really any vacation experience.  Maybe what's in my head is never truly the reality that will be, but this is how I would want it to be.  I'll keep dreaming...

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Struggle is Real

Mom guilt.  The struggle is real.  If you've ever worked full time or even part time while trying to balance life with kids and your husband or if you've ever been a stay at home mom who is no longer contributing monetarily to the household budget or if you've ever bottle fed or didn't baby wear or whatever, the mom shaming and the mom guilt is of control.  Like seriously out of control.
I have dealt with it and I know other moms who struggle with it.  Sometimes it feels like it's all in your head and then someone comes up to you and you say something and they just nod and you know they are judging you.  You just know.  Because they are.  With that little nod of the head they have given themselves away and you are left feeling guilty.
If you aren't a mom, you've probably heard the term "mom shaming" and thought it's just a made up thing.  But I can promise you, it's not.  There are countless articles about it, there are letters written about it, there are Dear Abby posts and blog posts and a million and other things that come up when you search the term in Google.  Mom shaming is a thing and mom guilt is a direct result of it.
The reason I am even mentioning mom guilt is because often I associate my mom guilt with money.  Funny how that works huh?  But I do.  My mom guilt is often tied, very much so, to my bank account or my credit card balance.  It is directly tied to how much money I am spending on myself.  It is directly tied to how much money I make on any given day and how much money I don't make on any given day.  It is tied to how much I spend, how much I make and how much I don't make.
I am sure that I am not the only person to ever experience this.
As a working mom I felt guilty for not spending enough time with my children.  Now I feel guilty for not being able to give them enough experiences or for spending too much money on them or for not spending enough money on them.  I feel guilty for not working out in the world and having them see me out in the workforce balancing home and career.
There are so many things that I worry about and feel guilty about but I want to assure you - mom guilt is not a good reason not to take care of ourselves.  It is not a good reason to go back to work.  It is not a good reason to try to do everything.  Mom guilt is the reason we need to take care of ourselves.  It is the reason we need to take time for ourselves and spend  a little bit of money on ourselves and need to forgive ourselves.  We are not perfect.  We will never be perfect.  Trying to live up to others standards is not going to help us to live a better life.  In fact, if anything it just adds on to the already large pile of guilt that's already accumulated.
So forgive yourself.  Move on and the next time someone says something like, "when are you going to go back to work full time?" simply nod your head because they just don't get it and think "when are you going to get that I love my life just as it is?" and redirect the conversation.

Friday, September 2, 2016

What's Your Favorite?

My new favorite podcast is HerMoney with Jane Chatzky. I never thought that I'd be as in like with a podcast as I am with this one.  And yes, I did say "in like."
Usually when I tune into a podcast I like it because of the host or because I feel like I'm gaining knowledge that I can't get elsewhere.  In this case it's a bit of both.  I truly like the host and I feel like she's sharing information that needs to be shared.
Obviously you have to take any information that is given and see if it checks out since it is endorsed by Fidelity Investments, but for the most part the information is solid.  One of the things that truly hooked me was her interview with Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruz.  I personally am a graduate of Financial Peace University and Rachel Cruz is one of my new favorite people.
Most of the interviews she does are not actually about money yet, it does come into the conversation and it's an interesting listen when cleaning the house or running errands.
What's your favorite podcast?  I have a few other favorites but this one is currently in the top 3.  Let me know in the comments what you're listening to.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

It Was Miserable

As a full time working mom there were so many things that I was unable to do although I was monetarily contributing to the household income.  I remember the week before I quit my job looking at my bank account and thinking how much I loved having the cushion and the flexibility to buy what I wanted when I wanted and not have to talk it over.  I bought Kyle a TV for Christmas one year and an Xbox 360 another.  I enjoyed spoiling Emma and purchasing things for my family when the need arose.  
But I also remember how stressed out I was.  How much I hated my job.  How much I hated being away from my daughter and trying to keep up with the housekeeping and put nutritious food on the table.  I remember feeling trapped.  Yes, it was nice to have money but at what cost?  My sanity?  Probably not worth it.  
So I quit.  I gave my notice and less than 2 weeks later I was finished.  
My bank account currently has the least amount it has ever had in it.  I no longer can just buy what I want or spoil the girls or buy Kyle the latest and greatest.  We now have to talk about finances and talk about expenses and talk about budgets.  It's all... rather depressing.  
But, there is an upside.  While not contributing to the budget monetarily there are things we are saving money on - such as full time day care, housekeeping, eating out (I cook now!) and take out.  We save on gas since I'm no longer commuting.  
Being a stay at home mom has it's own issues but I think every mom, whether working or not, has to deal with their own.  I felt guilty and frustrated not being able to be home.  I felt guilt and frustrated not being able to give 100% of myself to my job in the way I once had.  I felt like I was constantly calling into work.  Kyle traveled a lot the first year we had Emma and I remember she always seemed to get sick the day or two after he was gone.  It was miserable.  
Remember that there are two sides to every coin.  Having money verses not having money can be a difficult pill to swallow. Sometimes it is easier to let go of something if you have no other option - which is how I felt at the time.   No matter what stage of life you are in or where you decide to devote yourself or how you contribute to the family, it is important to remember that you are still contributing.