Day Trip to Asheville Recap (Plus a Surprise!)

Day Trip to Asheville | Journey to SavingHi everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. I know I did, which is why I couldn’t wait to update you guys on what happened!

If you’re dying to know what the surprise is, just scroll down. =) Otherwise, enjoy my recap of our trip to Asheville, our adventures with hiking, and pretty pictures. I’ll be trying to get together a slide show of all the pictures we took.

South Mountains State Park

I referenced a handy map from this website to see where waterfalls were located around Asheville. I’m a complete sucker for how beautiful and majestic they are, and was excited to see there were quite a few!

Some parks required admission, so I searched around to find ones without entry fees. This was supposed to be a frugal day trip, after all! I was not disappointed upon finding South Mountains State Park. It was a little over an hour to get to, which broke our trip up nicely.

We headed out at around 9:30am, and I was giddy with excitement as the weather had cooperated nicely. It was cool and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day to explore nature.

We arrived around 11, and found the park to be mostly empty. There were only a few other people going up to see the falls. The website had classified this as an easy hike, but I have to disagree. I don’t have much to compare it to as my hiking experience is severely limited, but my legs were getting numb after climbing so many stairs! Even R was breaking a sweat.

High Schoals Falls | Journey to Saving

High Schoals Falls!

It was all worth it, though. This is what we were greeted with:

After that, R wanted to explore further, so I let him run ahead while I took a break. I slowly caught up to him, and we stopped for a drink and some snacks. He told me that it looked as though the trail got easier up ahead, so I trudged along.

I’m really glad I did, as there was still more to see. Thankfully there were no more stairs – I don’t know why, but I prefer dirt, even rocks, to the stairs we encountered.

Going down was still difficult, though, as it was pretty steep, and I kept gaining too much momentum. There were times R had to hold me back as he was afraid I’d fall. I kept telling him, “I can’t stop, I can’t stop! Wee!” He wasn’t amused, having had his fair share of trip-ups while running in the mountains before.

Downtown Asheville

Eventually, we made it out, and saw a few really cute dogs along the way (dogs make my day, along with waterfalls). Our rough plan was to get to Asheville and walk around. Normally, I have a list of things I want to check out, but I felt like going with the flow this time.

St. Lawrence Basilica in Asheville | Journey to Saving

St. Lawrence Basilica

Unfortunately, that didn’t work out too well. We stopped for lunch, and made it to Asheville around 3:45. The best thing we learned: parking is free on Sundays. That was great, as we didn’t have much change on us!

We wandered around for a bit, but R wasn’t really feeling up to it for some reason. In his attempt to explain it to me, he said something about getting used to wandering around in the woods with no one around, and not adjusting back to city-life. The streets were bustling with a decent amount of people, and there wasn’t enough space to walk side-by-side most of the time.

Perhaps this is just downtown Asheville. Either way, I really liked it, and I hope we can go back just to explore the city. Trying to fit in hiking and sightseeing might have been too ambitious.

Catawba Falls

Given R’s blahness, I mentioned I had seen another set of trails not too far away. We would be going back toward Charlotte, so we agreed to stop and check it out on the way.

It was quite the adventure! You actually have to wade in some water and cross a few rocks at the beginning, and we got our feet soaked with really cold water.

Catawba Falls | Journey to Saving

Catawba Falls – where the trail stopped.

We were a little disappointed, though. I’m not sure if we went wrong somewhere (although there was just one straight path!), but according to the website I read, it was 1.5 miles to a waterfall from the entrance.

We walked, and walked…and walked. We reached something, but it certainly wasn’t the waterfall that was depicted on the site. There was a lower and upper falls, so we thought that maybe we just needed to go on a bit further.

Eventually, we wanted to give up. It was nearing 6pm, and the sun would start setting around 7. We didn’t want to get so far in that it would take forever to get out. While we both really wanted a nice payoff from continuing on, we at least got to see pretty mini-waterfalls.

Surprise!

And well, the payoff did end up coming, actually.

Engaged! | Journey to Saving

My grandma’s engagement ring that she passed down to us.

R proposed! 

Shortly after we agreed to take a further look down the trail, we found a tiny path leading out to a huge rock overlooking the trails and river. While I was busy taking pictures, R pulled out the ring from the backpack.

I turned around and he was waiting on one knee.

Obviously, I said yes. =D

Looks like my grandma’s nudging worked. ;)

I wish I had a better story than that, but truthfully, it doesn’t feel as though anything has changed. R and I have been living together for over a year now, we’ve combined our finances, we’ve been acting similarly to a married couple, and this was just the next step waiting to happen. We both agreed to wait until after we moved and got settled in, and from there, R has been waiting for the right time.

I preemptively wrote a post on what my affordable dream wedding would look like, so you can have a look at that for now. I have no other news to report, as we’re not really in a rush, and have no clue what year we want to get married in, let alone month. But as we get the details ironed out, I’ll be sure to let you know. Just don’t hold me to any wedding updates until at least next year!

So that was my weekend! On Saturday we celebrated R’s birthday with some cheesecake and fettuccine alfredo (his favorites). We’ll be going out to eat tonight in celebration, as we didn’t spend much on our trip to Asheville aside from gas.

I think it’s safe to say we have a new hobby now! I’d love to go back to new trails in a few weeks, as the fall foliage was lacking due to a rainstorm earlier last week. The leaves are supposed to be turning then.

What’s your favorite part about hiking? What other frugal fall activities have you partaken in so far? Share your proposal story with us! 

Being Grateful: Forty-Eighth Edition

Hey everyone! I’m here yet again with your weekly reminder to be grateful. =) Let’s get right to it.

Being Grateful | Journey to Saving

Trip!

While it isn’t the weekend getaway we were hoping for, we decided to take a day trip to Asheville. Everyone has been telling me how beautiful it is, so I didn’t want to miss out!

We are celebrating R’s birthday and our anniversary, after all. I am really bad at celebrating things, and it looks like our budget will be okay, so we’re going for it.

Our loose plans are to do some hiking. Most of the leaves here are still green, so I’m hoping Asheville offers some nice fall foliage. If you have any tips for beginner hikers, please let me know! We’re looking at easy trails, so I don’t think we’ll need anything too crazy.

We’ll be going tomorrow as we both decided to stay up until 3am. Oops. You guys already know I’m a night owl! If you’d like to follow along and see pretty pictures, I’ll probably be posting some of them to social media.

My grandma

Being Grateful: 48th Edition | Journey to SavingI know I haven’t mentioned her lately, so I figured I would throw this in. My grandma has always treated R like family, so it was no surprise when he received a birthday card from her. The way she signed it had us both chuckling (see the picture). She has been dropping some not-so-subtle hints lately!

I found out after everything happened, but she was in the hospital yet again this past weekend. For some reason, doctors are giving her medication that isn’t reacting well with her blood pressure medication, and this is causing her to get light headed. Of course, she panics, and heads to the hospital. I’m really hoping she brings this up whenever someone wants to prescribe her new medication, as I’d hate for it to happen again.

She’s also tentatively planning on visiting for about a month at the beginning of the year! So she’ll be a very temporary snowbird. We’re not sure of the exact dates yet, but I have been thinking of having everyone in the family chip in $50 toward a flight for her, which should cover it.

Mentions

I have to stick this in. An unusual amount of people shared my posts this week, which I’m both really excited and grateful about. It’s always nice to know that people are enjoying your writing.

Briefly: Lauren at The Write Budget mentioned my Blog Tour post; DC at Young Adult Money and Claire from ReadyforZero both shared my Unexpected Expenses post; Natalie from Financegirl shared my post on Young Adult Money about How to Discuss Finances in a Relationship Early On; and lastly, my guest post at Debt Deb’s featuring 7 Financial Lessons Learned from My Parents’ Debt was picked up by The Globe and Mail! So I’m very grateful that Debs let me guest post on her blog. =)

Job prospects for my mom

Even though my parents are technically retired, my mom likes to keep busy, or she finds herself randomly shopping at Walmart for no reason. True story – Walmart is 2 minutes away from their house – very dangerous.

Considering the holiday season is fast approaching, many stores are hiring, and she decided to try for a retail job after spending months looking for an office job. While it’s only minimum wage, she has decided she’ll be happy just having something to do. At the very least, it should help them put extra toward debt, so I hope that something works out for her.

She had a decent interview on Friday, and has to go back in on Monday. Fingers crossed!

Weather

Being Grateful #48 | Journey to SavingIt has finally stayed in the 70s for the most part, and I’ve been enjoying it! R and I have been taking walks around our complex when he gets home at night, and the past few nights have been rather chilly. So much so, I’ve taken to wearing my hoodies. I am therefore being grateful for hoodie worthy weather. Catchy, isn’t it?

I’m ultimately hoping that we can turn off the AC once and for all this coming week. When I woke up yesterday, it was 74 degrees inside, but it slowly crept back up to 78, which is when the AC kicks on. Sigh. Why is consistency so hard to ask for!?

Relaxing weekends

I was really grateful that R and I had a relaxing weekend last week. R has been going into work on Saturday a decent amount, but he decided not to go in, so we pretty much did nothing.

For whatever reason, I always end up unhappy with this decision. I know the weekends are meant for relaxing, but I hate feeling unproductive! Does anyone else feel this way? I don’t necessarily have to be working, but R likes to do absolutely nothing and enjoy his time off, whereas I get restless.

That’s about all I have for this week! I’d love it if you guys could offer any suggestions or feedback you have for the videos. I’d like to start incorporating more into them, and it would help if I knew what you guys wanted to see. I’m thinking of uploading a few short videos on random money thoughts, and not posting them on the blog. Let me know!

What are you being grateful for this week? Have any fun plans for the weekend? Do you enjoy hiking?

Behind the Scenes of Journey to Saving (Blog Tour!)

Behind the Scenes of Journey to SavingHello everyone! I am really excited to give you all a peek into what goes on behind the scenes of this little blog of mine. I was tagged by Ashley of Saving Money in Your Twenties to do this, and I really enjoyed her post, so check it out! For those of you who don’t know her, Ashley is a financial coach for those in their 20’s, and we live almost parallel lives.

I first stumbled onto her blog when she was getting ready to relocate to NY with her boyfriend. She was in the midst of leaving her job and packing everything up, but she was also making plans for starting her own business. Months later I ended up in the same position as her, except I moved down south from NY! Her posts are always fun and personable (she’s currently battling a mouse invasion in her apartment).

Okay, onto the “blog tour!”

Q1) What am I working on?

A lot! I just started using Asana to track my to do list, and I did a massive brain dump there. I have a lot of ideas swirling around in my head right now, I just need to sit down and make time for them.

I’m always working on building my freelance business, as that’s my main source of income right now. I’m trying to do a little less writing and more virtual assistant work right now, mostly because writing can take a lot out of me in a day! I have no clue how some of you do it.

I’d eventually like to branch out and help local businesses and entrepreneurs with their online presence, but I also want to get out there and possibly speak on personal finance!

I am working quietly behind the scenes to figure out where I truly want this blog to go. I want to get a newsletter going, some freebies, an ebook (maybe?), and a new theme, which I’ve mentioned a few times.

So look for more good things to come soon!

Q2) How do my creative doings differ from others in this genre?

I think Ashley answered this question well. I’m just trying to live my life and get out of student loan debt. I’m not someone who is overly concerned about numbers or spreadsheets, even though I love budgeting. That’s about as involved with math as I’ll get!

The original point of my blog was to share my journey to saving (eventually for retirement) with everyone, and to inspire others to start their own financial journey. There’s a mix of everything here! There’s also the new addition of video posts on the weekend. =)

Q3) Why do I write or create what I do?

Behind the Scenes of Journey to Saving

Sometimes I work here…

To help others. If it’s one thing I’ve learned in my mini-journey of being self-employed, it’s that I want to do something that will benefit others.

Story time – I wanted to major in psychology in college to eventually become a psychologist. Behavioral and cognitive psychology fascinates me as well, and I fell in love even more with forensic psychology (which paired well with my major of criminal justice).

However, I determined I had a lot of my own stuff to sort out, and I wasn’t confident that I would be able to help others on such a large scale (though I did minor in psych).

So I’ve taken the “blog about it” approach instead. For now, I am focused on helping others improve their financial situation, but I wouldn’t mind getting into blogging about mental disorders someday.

Bottom line: everything I write and do is intended to help someone, whether it be to educate, entertain, or inspire them (stole that from Chris Ducker!). I hope I’ve done well in that department!

Q4) How does my creative process work?

That’s a good question…I’m still sorting that out. I’m finally getting somewhat of a routine down, but it’s largely a work in process. Some days, I work on my laptop on the couch; other days, I work at my desk and get in the zone; sometimes, I flail around feeling overwhelmed. You’ll likely get a different answer any time you ask me!

I don’t have a writing schedule, which is horrible. Freelance work takes top priority, so I put it before my blog so I can, you know, get paid.

I would really like to get an editorial calendar going at some point, because I do really like the look and feel of being organized even if it’s a lie. If you’re looking for an awesome editorial calendar, you should download DC’s.

If I’m in a funk, I turn on music. I like anything I can chair-dance to, really. (I know I’m not alone!)

I also like to focus on one thing at a time. I used to be a big fan of multi-tasking until I realized that science was right: it takes away from your overall productivity.

Why the dual monitors, then? I enjoy having 10 tabs open when doing research for a post and driving myself crazy trying to figure out which one I need to reference, of course. The other is for writing.

Behind the Scenes of Journey to Saving

Lazy mode = working here (our free couch!)

I try to take little breaks when I’m writing, but I’m bad at following timers, so I just do it based on when I feel like my brain might melt. (Great idea, right?)

As I mentioned, I have everything laid out in Asana to keep me on task. I do a lot of writing in Google Docs, and at times I’ll use the distraction-free mode in WordPress.

Where do I get my inspiration? A lot of times, from fellow bloggers! After reading and pondering about personal finance so much, it eventually gets ingrained in my mind, to the point where I’ll stare at a tree and want to write a post, “well, what if money DID grow on trees?”

I hope you guys enjoyed this! I tried to inject a little more humor than usual…I’m supposed to tag others but I can’t think of who I wouldn’t want to do this, so please feel free to steal it.

If you haven’t, please check out my guest post on Debt Debs about the 7 financial lessons I learned from my parents’ debt. You can also check out my post on Young Adult Money about how to discuss finances early on in a relationship. Thanks!

What are you working on behind the scenes? What does your desk setup consist of? What plans do you have for your blog or business?