Being Grateful: Sixty-Third Edition

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you all had a great week.

I’ve been a little off with the days ever since coming down to visit my parents, as I’ve been here since last Friday. R had been able to take the day off and enjoy a three-day weekend with my family to celebrate Easter.

Last week, I was really grateful to see my grandma, cousin, and aunt, as they were visiting. We took them back to the airport early Wednesday and they had a good flight back.

It’s crazy to think I’ll be seeing them all in just another month and a half, but I’m happy as I barely saw my family after moving last year. I was already asking my grandma when she planned to visit again. =)

I just wish there was a better way for us to fly, because the airport we have to fly into to get Spirit’s low fares is an hour away from my family. (Not to mention LGA sucks.)

Anyway, let’s focus on the good.

The reasons I have for being grateful this week - includes spending time with family, going to the beach, and getting back to walking!

Being Grateful for the Beach

I’ve never been the biggest fan of the beach, mostly because I burn easily and I’m not interested in freezing cold water.

However, the beach here is a lot different from the ones back home. During the summer, the water feels like a sauna. The sand is smoother. And it’s much easier to get to!

My aunt and cousin love the beach, so we ended up going there last Friday. Sadly, it was absolutely freezing (at least to my grandma and I). It was around 80*, but the wind made it chilly.

R and I at least enjoyed the stereotypical long walk on the beach. We had taken two cars there – we parked in a different location, and ended up 10 blocks away from where everyone else had parked. Oops!

The tide was really low, so there was plenty of space to walk, and surprisingly, not too many people there. It was fun to walk around and take in the sights. (People watching at the beach!)

I brought my laptop with me as we didn’t know how long we’d be there for. I don’t work outside of the house often, so the whole location-independence thing really hit me there. How many people can say working at the beach is possible?

Working at the beach!

Working on the beach (yes, the glare kind of hindered things)

Then again, I’m sure going to the beach and enjoying it without working sounds more appealing, but I’ll take it.

Being Grateful for Knowing My Priorities

This could possibly be an entire post in itself (and one that may be written eventually), but I simply do not get turning to shopping when bored.

That’s probably due to not enjoying shopping in the first place, but seriously. I’m sure there are many other productive things you could be doing – shopping isn’t one of them.

Where’s this coming from? Last weekend, we didn’t have much to do, so my grandma, mom, aunt, and cousin all went to the mall. They came back with a bunch of stuff.

Pastel beach houses

Random, but aren’t these beach houses adorable? I love the colors!

My grandma is one of the worst offenders. While she is normally very frugal, shopping when bored (and getting a deal) is her weakness. She came back and couldn’t even remember what clothes were hers!

Anyway, the point is, as soon as they mentioned going shopping, I was able to say no thanks with ease. I’m all for spending time with family, but I didn’t want to be tempted to buy anything, and I had work to do. R agreed (he hates shopping) so he went running and relaxed afterward.

I’ve mentioned it a few times, but I haven’t actually gone on any sort of shopping spree in the last…two years, I’d say. I’ve purchased a few things here and there, but most of the clothes in my closet are not new. When you work from home, your wardrobe isn’t very important. ;)

Being Grateful for My Health

My poor cousin was miserable for half the trip because she had a sinus infection, and my aunt actually tried to change their flight to go home earlier, but it was too expensive.

That made us all reflect on the last time we were sick. Besides the never-ending stomach issues and allergies I have, I can’t remember!

Being grateful 63

I was also grateful for this amazing Malibu Bay Breeze I had…

Now, allergies aren’t fun at all, but they’re not as bad as hacking your lungs out, being completely bed-ridden, or feeling nauseous 24/7. Plus, I know when to expect them, so I can prepare in advance by trying to take pills that don’t work. =P

(Side note, this came back to bite me, as I was sneezing all day on Wednesday. My face and body ended up hurting, ha.)

Being Grateful for Walking

I’ve been saying I’d like to go walking for the past few weeks, and it’s sad to admit, but I just haven’t made the time for it. Work has been increasingly crazy.

However, the weather has been too nice to ignore. I made walking a priority last week. I’m starting off slowly, just walking around the apartment complex with R, but it’s been enjoyable so far.

I felt extra motivated last Saturday, and decided to try switching between running and walking (ala couch to 5k). I managed to run for 2 minutes each time, so that’s a start!

The beach we walked along. Beautiful!

The beach we walked along. Beautiful!

I know it’s cliche, but with summer on the way, my focus is back on my health. There was no reason to wait until now, but better late than never. I was even craving a salad over the weekend, and if you knew me 5 years ago, you wouldn’t believe that.

Now I’m just looking forward to going back home. Visiting my parents is nice, but I like being able to work from my home base. Plus, my best friend of 10 years is finally hauling his ass up (a measly two hours) to visit us, which means lots of shenanigans are going to happen.

Hope you all enjoy your weekend!

What have you been grateful for this past week? How was your Easter/Passover? 

Being Grateful: Sixty-Second Edition

Hello everyone! How are all of you fine people doing today?

As I’m writing this, the sun is bouncing off my monitor. What started off as a “blah” kind of day has become quite cheerful. I love it when the weather clears up!

I love it even more as my office gets most of the sunlight during the latter part of the day, which happens to coincide with when I’m most productive. That’s mostly why I moved in here (aside from getting away from the distractions in the living room).

Needless to say, I don’t think I ever realized how energizing the sun was until I experienced living in a basement with super tiny windows.

Time to review what I’ve been grateful for this past week!

The reasons I have for being grateful this week, including a new job opportunity!

A Surprising Opportunity

As much as I love being transparent on this blog, sometimes I have to hide things for a little bit until details get hammered down. =) I have some pretty amazing and surprising news to share with you all!

I’ve been brought on to be a Community and Brand Manager for a new startup called Wherewithal. Our mission, in a nutshell, is to make saving simple for millennials.

How are we accomplishing that? By allowing users to earn cash back on purchases they make through our portal. That cash back is automatically invested for them according to the financial goals they’ve selected.

Again, that’s the tl;dr version, as I could ramble on about this for ages. I’m extremely passionate about showing fellow millennials they can save and still lead a fulfilling life.

We can be responsible with our money in a way that empowers us to get the most out of life. Saving is not always about deprivation (and shouldn’t be).

Anyway, I’m thrilled that I’m joining at the beginning of what I hope will be an amazing journey. This doesn’t change anything for my freelance work, as I’m working at a reduced capacity until the company receives funding. Nothing is guaranteed, and it would be foolish of me to act as such, even though my hopes are very high!

As most of you know, I turned to freelancing because I believed it was an opportunity for me to earn more. I never set out to be an entrepreneur or be my own boss.

However, I’ve learned so much, and I think those lessons will serve me well going forward. I can’t think of a better way to combine my love for writing, talking about personal finance, and educating and empowering my peers.

We can use all the support possible to get the word out, so if our mission is one you can get behind, please feel free to follow us on Twitter.

I’ll be heading up all our content and social media marketing efforts, and we have a pretty awesome blog you should check out as well (yes, I’m writing there!). Also, if you’re interested in guest post swaps or anything else, please let me know!

It may be a little early for FinCon hype, but I’m super excited I’ll be there on the other side of the fence this year, as we’re planning on having a booth. You’ll at least know where to catch me if you want to meet up!

More Opportunities Abound

I also let this one slip by the radar – I’m now a staff writer on Frugal Rules!

I couldn’t be happier, as John’s blog was one of the first I came across back before I even started blogging. I was sad to learn I was replacing Laurie, but happy that it was due to her pursuing other opportunities.

Speaking of which, her and Prudence have officially started their Fruclassity movement. I loved it the moment I heard of it, and I think it’s an awesome alternative to MMM’s “Badassity.” He also endorses it. ;) Check it out if you haven’t!

Grateful for My Dad’s Computer Knowledge

For the most part, I’m pretty savvy with technology, but not when it comes to building computers.

That has always been my dad’s department. I remember being maybe 4 years old, and seeing this huge contraption set up on our dining room table. That’s my first memory of having a computer.

It’s also because of his playing around with Photoshop 13 years ago that I ever developed an interest in the program, so I have him to thank for that.

When I was in high school and kept hogging my mom’s computer because I needed it for “research,” my dad offered to build me my first computer.

We went to a computer fair that had discount prices, and a few hours later, I was downloading and installing all the necessary programs my little teenage heart needed (anyone remember AIM? I was just reminiscing over that with my friend…).

My dad has always been the go-to computer-fixer-upper person, and I’m really grateful for that.

I’ve heard horror stories about dealing with private places or Best Buy’s Geek Squad. As far as I know, my dad has never tried to rip me off, although he does try to bargain with me. “Mind if I give you my second SSD in exchange for your spare HDD?” Well that sounds like a win…

Where am I going with this?

Grateful I Can Afford to Upgrade

Unfortunately, my current computer isn’t cutting it anymore. Most of the parts are 4 years or older now, and it’s not keeping up with everything I need to do.

Trying to run FireFox, Photoshop, and iTunes simultaneously is a nightmare. And to be honest, I don’t have much patience when it comes to technology, especially when I need to be efficient with my time as a freelancer.

So I’ve made the decision to upgrade. I gave my dad my budget and he found a few promising builds.

I really don’t enjoy spending money on this when it should be going toward debt, but for work-related purposes, I kind of have to.

Yes, I know, I just got a laptop last year, which is great for when I’m on-the-go or feel like relaxing on the couch. But I need a work horse for a desktop PC. Plus I like my dual monitors too much. Also, since R mostly hogs the Xbox, I’m forced to game on my PC (I might be reaching here).

Anyway, I’m grateful I can afford to buy a new computer, even if it means delaying some of my other financial goals. I don’t like typing that out, but it is what it is.

If all goes well and these parts last me another 4-5 years, it’ll come out to around $175 per year, which I can live with considering how often I want to toss my computer across the room the value I’ll get out of it. My laptop is a dream compared to this thing, so I’m looking forward to it.

Quick Edit - If you’re interested in reading about my journey to self-employment and other interesting tidbits about me, I had the honor to be interviewed by Paula over at Afford Anything today! If you’re not a reader yet, you should be. Paula is a great source of knowledge and inspiration when it comes to personal finance and business, and someone I greatly admire.

What are you being grateful for this week? Any new opportunities in your life? Do you lose patience with technology easily?

Being Grateful: Sixty-First Edition

Hello everyone! Happy Spring! I didn’t realize it was here already until I looked at a calendar a few days ago. =)

Oddly enough, we had warmer weather last week than this week, but it’s averaging around 65*, so I’ll take it.

I spoke with my grandma yesterday and she said they were dealing with another bout of snow, so I kind of have to be grateful for our weather!

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you get to experience some nice weather this weekend. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is allergy season. When we moved down here last April, I felt crappy for about three months!

Anyway, some interesting things happened this week, so let’s review.

The reasons I have for being grateful this week - a false fire alarm, a short power outage, and getting to see family soon.

A Fire Scare

Earlier this week, I was woken up by the sound of a loud “BEEP, BEEP BEEP” noise coming from somewhere in the apartment. I immediately proceeded to have a panic attack while looking around for my cats.

There was just one string of beeps, which seemed a little odd. If there was actually a fire, wouldn’t it be going off continuously?

I moved around the apartment – I didn’t smell smoke anywhere. I decided it was probably a test. Then it sounded again.

I called R at work, because that’s totally helpful and rational (I am not good around fires possible fires). He thought it could be a test, too, but we hadn’t received any notifications from our apartment complex.

I finally made my way outside. Nothing smelled like smoke, I didn’t see any smoke, and no one was gathering outside the buildings.

Since we’re on the third floor, I was able to look out over the parking lot. I noticed a van with “Fire Sprinkler System” on the side of it.

Looking around, I saw several guys going around to each of the buildings, hoses in hand.

At this point I was still pretty flustered because the fire alarms were going off right in my damn ear, and it was worse outside. It brought back some bad memories from high school fire drills!

R decided to come home to check everything out and calm me down because I could barely breathe. He then went to the office where he was told it was just a test.

Apparently, the sprinkler guys came unannounced, so they didn’t have time to alert anyone. I call BS on that.

Needless to say, I’m extremely grateful it ended up being a test. It got me thinking about what would have happened if it wasn’t, though. I definitely need to be better prepared.

Power Outage

So the strange happenings continue the next day, when the power suddenly goes out.

I was working from my laptop in the living room when the wireless cut out. Since we were plagued with wifi issues last year, I figured the router just needed to be rebooted.

It was a beautiful sunny day, so I had no lights on in the apartment. I made my way into our closet, where the router is, and went to turn the light on.

Nothing.

I turned the bathroom light on.

Nothing.

I went outside and saw that the stove and microwave clocks were both off.

Oh, crap. The power was out.

I call R again to let him know what’s going on. I decided to look at the website of our energy company, which happened to have a handy outage map.

Sure enough, there was a triangle right over our complex. 452 people were without power, and the estimated time to be fixed was another 3 hours away.

I had work to do!! Working from home is great, until something happens with the power or technology that’s completely out of your control.

But, thankfully the power came back much sooner than that – it was probably out for 30 minutes, at most. I was extremely grateful I didn’t have to relocate somewhere to get internet. (What can I say, I like staying comfortable!)

My Family is Visiting Soon!

I’m so excited that my grandma, cousin, and aunt are coming down to visit during spring break.

It feels like I was just in NY, but it’s been almost a month since I’ve been back. Plus, I didn’t get to see my aunt or cousin while I was there.

We’re not sure what we’re going to do yet, but we’re hoping the weather will be warm enough to visit the beach a few times.

My grandma is also quite sick of the snow, and we keep telling her to consider moving, so … we’ll see, but of course, I’m not holding my breath after last time!

I’m Going Back to NY!

So many exclamation points!

Yes, I already have plans to go back to NY in June. My cousins asked me if I was available to babysit, and I gladly said yes.

This might sound a little strange…why ask me when I’m all the way down here?

Well, my one cousin has to travel a lot, and in June, she’s doing 3 trips back-to-back. She was extremely upset at the notion of being away from her daughter for that long.

One of her trips is to LI, so she asked if I could fly up and babysit while she’s working, this way she can bring her daughter with her. The baby is nearing 2, and she’s extremely mobile. She didn’t want to ask my grandma to watch her since she’d probably get tired after a few hours.

She’s covering my flight and I’m super excited to be able to spend time with my … second cousin, I guess, since I barely ever got to see her when I was living up there. It’s pretty much a win-win situation for everyone.

I’ve actually never babysat before (I don’t really want children, and I’ve had next to no exposure to babies), so I asked my mom to come along. Her and I had been planning on taking a trip later in June anyway.

I’m thinking of this as a trial run to see how I do with kids. It’ll be an interesting experiment! Any time I’ve been around her she’s been a doll, so I’m not too worried.

Overall, I have a lot to look forward to these next few months!

What have you been grateful for this week? When’s the last time you visited with family or friends?