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?

Being Grateful: Sixtieth Edition – Women’s Power Wednesday

Hi everyone! I wanted to make a quick, special edition post for Women’s Power Wednesday, originally started in our community by Shannon from Financially Blonde (who has a fantastic list of inspiring women on her own blog).

The basic premise is that we, as women, need to come together in the community, and I agree with that wholeheartedly.

I was going to hold off on writing this until next week, but I figured I could squeeze it in right now, especially after reading Kali’s wonderful thoughts on the matter.

I can say with confidence that I wouldn’t be where I am right now without a few key women that supported me throughout my journey to self-employment, and I wanted to give them a special mention because I’m beyond grateful for their assistance and friendship.

These women are all incredibly powerful in their own ways, and they’ve also empowered and inspired me.

I’m also going to give some special shout outs to women in the community that have served as a source of inspiration to me, financially or otherwise!

In the spirit of Women's Power Wednesday, I'm highlighting the women in the personal finance community that I'm grateful for.

Kali

Formerly commonsensemillennial.com, Kali was one of the first bloggers I really connected with, way back when I first started. I loved her writing style from the get-go, and we both have very similar views on money.

I was so excited to see her transition to working for herself, and even more excited when she announced taking the role of XYPN’s Marketing Manager. She’s an incredibly hard worker, but she always makes time to chat (even if it’s about cats =) and offer help.

She was a huge source of inspiration for me when I contemplated freelancing, but she also took a chance on me and brought me onto her team last year when I had nothing else going for me. I’m still incredibly grateful for that. I continue to learn so much from her, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without her help and kindness.

Cat – Budget Blonde

Many of you know Cat, as she’s basically a household name in the PF community, at least. It’s no wonder she was named best freelance writer at the Plutus Awards last year, and I’m very proud to have been a past student of hers (if you want to get into freelance writing, you should definitely check her coaching service out).

Cat gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get ahead with freelance writing. I had been stuck inside my head for months (classic analysis paralysis), but Cat wouldn’t have any of that. She gave me the confidence I needed to proceed with pitching and getting myself out there. I’m so grateful I hired her, as it was exactly what I needed at the time.

Besides that, Cat is just wonder woman. Her twins are almost a year old now (holy cow, that went by fast!), and she’s been blogging for years. I’m in awe of all that she’s accomplished in such a short time, and she’s a savvy businesswoman to boot.

Carrie – Careful Cents

As some of you know, I had the honor of sharing my journey to self-employment on Carrie’s blog. She has built an amazing, amazing community of solopreneurs, and she continues to inspire many people to take action with their career and life.

Writing for Careful Cents was one of my first paid writing opportunities, and documenting my journey was scary at times. However, I’ve been grateful beyond belief for the kind words others have shared with me there. I’ve been told my own journey inspired others to take action, and there really aren’t any words to describe how happy that makes me.

Carrie also offers coaching services, and she’s seriously a role model for anyone looking to become a successful solopreneur. The information she has to offer is invaluable, and I’d recommend any of her products.

Melanie – Dear Debt

Melanie made the transition to self-employment around the same time I did, and I’ve been especially grateful to have her to talk to from time to time throughout the journey. We’ve both faced similar struggles and feelings, and it’s always nice to know you’re not alone (and not going crazy).

Melanie is a world class hustler and she’s always inspired me to do more. I’m always blown away by how much she’s paid her student loan debt down just with side hustles.

Beyond that, Melanie is just awesome. She’s full of wisdom, she’s fun, and she’s not afraid to be herself. I still remember meeting her at FinCon and wanting to stick around her because she was so welcoming!

Special Mentions

I want to leave a few special mentions here, but this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. I enjoy so many bloggers it would take forever to list them all out, but you can always check my blogroll out for more.

  • Zina, from Debt Free After Three: Zina has had an incredible journey with paying off her student loans, and she’s a source of inspiration for anyone looking to accelerate their debt payoff. She’s gaining traction with freelance writing work, and I’m so excited to see where she’ll end up!
  • Michelle, from Making Sense of Cents: Michelle has been absolutely owning being self-employed since late 2013 (I can’t believe it’s been that long already!), and if you need to get your butt in gear, just read one of her income reports. Her blog was one of the first I read, mainly because she was paying off her student loans at lightning speed, and was a big inspiration to me in that regard.
  • Tonya, from Budget and the Beach: What can I say about Tonya that isn’t obvious? She’s strong, independent, extremely hilarious, and has been weathering the ups and downs of freelancing like a champ (and pushing forward on her own personal projects). I love reading her thoughts on things, and I always admire how she keeps things real and positive. She’s also a great source for fitness inspiration!
  • Mrs. Frugalwoods, from Frugalwoods: Mrs. FW has such a great writing style, and I think many others agree since their blog has grown incredibly quickly! I’ve often commented that I hope to be where she is in 10 years – she’s a financial role model for me. =) The Frugalwoods have a simplistic, yet fulfilling view on life that really resonates with me, and Frugalhound is always a hoot.
  • Shannon, from Financially Blonde: Of course, I have to mention the woman that started this in the first place! Shannon is no stranger to being in the male-dominated financial field, and I love hearing her stories of how she handled it. She’s a force to be reckoned with, and I love the story behind why she started her own financial planning firm. Heck, she started her podcast because there weren’t enough women talking about finance, and I’m so glad she did.
  • Shannyn, from Frugal Beautiful: Shannyn has been on a role when it comes to women’s empowerment. She’s all about self-love and respect while living a beautiful life on the cheap. She is one classy lady, and she’s also starting an inspirational series on her Instagram, which is pretty fitting for this post!

If you’re not on this list, I apologize – I seriously think all of you are awesome (even the guys =)).

What’s one female personal finance blogger that has had a huge impact on you? Or name a woman that has had a positive influence on you!

Being Grateful: Fifty-Ninth Edition

Hello once again friends! It’s time to recount what we have to be grateful for, because there’s always something, even if it’s as simple as chocolate, our pets, or having access to the internet.

I apologize for the delay here, but better late than never, right? It brings me a lot of joy to write these posts and have you all share in being happy and grateful together. I’ve been blown away by the reception this series has gotten since I started it, and I can’t ever see myself giving it up.

It’s been mentioned before, but making gratitude a habit has been a huge game changer for me, and I don’t regret it at all. So if you need a little motivation, hopefully I can provide it! And since it’s the middle of the week, I hope it serves as an additional pick-me-up.

The reasons I have for being grateful this week - 59th edition!

Being Grateful for an Awesome Volunteer Opportunity

Back in December, I had applied to volunteer at a rather large convention happening this summer for one of my (new) favorite companies.

For those of you that have been to FinCon (separate conference, not the one I’m volunteering at), I think we can all agree there’s something energizing and amazing about the atmosphere for those 3 days we’re all together under the same roof.

Conventions and conferences are great opportunities for networking and friendship, and I’d actually love to go to more, but alas, they’re a tad expensive with tickets and travel factored in.

Anyway, I was eagerly awaiting to hear back to see if I was accepted (they had over 2,200 people apply), and the news finally broke last Thursday. I checked my email to see I had been chosen, and I pretty much did a victory lap around the apartment.

I am beyond excited that I’ve been given the opportunity to help out along with 500 other people. This convention has been massively successful in the past, and I hope to be able to contribute to that. Besides that, I’m really interested in seeing how everything is run behind-the-scenes.

Have any of you ever volunteered at a convention or conference?

Time With Parents

When I fly back home, I always fly out of the airport near my parents. Flying out of Charlotte is at least $100 more, and their airport is smaller, so it’s very easy to navigate.

I was happy to get to spend a few extra days with my parents due to the inclement weather we were experiencing last week. They didn’t really want to drive in the rain/sleet/ice mix that was going on during Tuesday, so we left on Wednesday instead.

Normally when I’m there, it’s either with R or family, but this time, it was just the 3 of us, and it felt like “old times”.

I know I probably sound slightly crazy to some people when I say that it was nice and made me feel more “at home” there, but what can I say? I’m very lucky and grateful to have a good relationship with them after all these years. As long as I’m only staying there for a few days, that is. ;)

My dad was also kind enough to make fudge the night they stayed over our apartment, which I’ve been happily enjoying since. Oh, and I had to make sure to bring back pudding from NY so my mom could make chocolate pudding pie.

It’s sounds so simple – and it is – but unfortunately, the instant pudding they sell down here doesn’t come out the same. Hopefully it will make its way down here at some point. Our favorite brand of tomato sauce finally did, which I was very grateful for! (I always buy it just in case it’s a fluke.)

Signs of Spring?

Yes, I know it’s only the beginning of March, but the weather is resuming its craziness, and it will be alternating from the 40s to the 60s all week. I’ll take it, as our electric bill these past two months has been painfully (and maddeningly) high. This is despite the fact we were barely here last month, and only have it set to 69*.

Plus, Daylight Savings Time is next weekend (I couldn’t believe that), which means more sunlight! I don’t know about you guys, but while I’m a night owl and don’t mind the darkness, I do like sunlight during the day.

I just like knowing the days will be longer and warmer soon. It’s been nice having the sun out past 6pm. I’m so ready to kick this feeling of hibernation. Anyone else?

Grateful for My Cats

I haven’t mentioned my cats in a while, but they’re still crazy and cute as ever. My parents got to watch them the entire time I was gone, and apparently they didn’t miss us.

I swear, as long as they have a place to sleep and someone feeding them treats, they’re happy. I wish life were that simple.

Nothing makes me happier during the day than seeing them curled up, napping. They always look so content and I just want to cuddle them, but I know better than to bother them during nap time. Looks are deceiving.

Concerts and Music

I’m not sure if any of you remember, but I mentioned back in November that I decided to purchase tickets to a concert as one of my favorite groups was going to be in Charlotte.

The reasons I have for being grateful this week - attending a concert!

The total ended up being around $65, and it was well worth it!

To be honest, I’m normally not the type of person who wants to be crammed in a bar/venue with loads of other people. I’ve only been to 2 concerts my whole life. R and I got stepped on, bumped into, and all that jazz.

BUT, I didn’t let that stop me from having a good time. Seeing them play live was amazing, and absolutely doesn’t come close to simply playing one of their songs on the computer. I’m so grateful we pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone and went.

The atmosphere was contagious, and it made me realize more than ever that music is a uniting force. Regardless of what language we speak, it’s the feeling that music incites in us that matters.

I’m sure they won’t be touring near us any time soon again, but I’m more open to seeing other artists perform live now. We’ll see!

What have you all been grateful for lately? Have you attended any live events recently? Going to any cons this year?